Sunday, September 30, 2007

October Challenge: Company's Coming!

September is over already! I only wish I could have contributed more ideas, but it was nice to see the dishes that everyone came up with. As I peer out my Berlin apartment window, I see yet, another, gray drizzly day. It takes everything in my power not to declare October a soup fest ... but I won't do that to you southerners. Company's coming is a challenge to try out a four-course meal ... appetizer, soup or salad, main course and dessert (yes, we're baking this month) - but not all at once (I'm not that crazy). It's designed so everyone commits to at least one category each week and it doesn't have to be in order. I won't put any restrictions on it, your choice on what you choose ... but you will get major points for using these in season produce - squash (pumpkin type not zuchini or summer), apples, french (daikon) radishes, turnips, and sage. Also, I'm looking for new cocktail ideas so if you feel like really dazzling us ... you could feature a cocktail on a post!

To inspire everyone, I'll leave you with some pictures of the four-course wedding dinner we enjoyed this week at my brother-in-law's wedding in Vienna, Austria at the lovely Hotel Sacher.

Appetizer: Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with a Seared Scallop

First Course: Cream of Potato Soup with Mushrooms

Second Course: Roast Pork Medaillons with Basil Potato Gnocchi

Dessert: their famous Sacher Torte

End of September

It is the last day of the month, so it is time for the challenge wrap up. Just one more recipe to share, on Friday, I made Robin's chicken and rosemary pizza with goat cheese. It turned out pretty good (it is wonderful with goat cheese!), but a little over browned. Maybe my oven runs a little hot. For the pizza dough, I used a different recipe that my family has used for years.

Bread machine pizza dough with beer

1 cup flat beer
2 T butter
2T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 pk active yeast.

Combine in bread machine in order listed and put on dough cycle.

Every other time I make pizza dough I am disappointed. That beer really gives it a lot of flavor! I haven't made it without a bread machine, but don't really see why that wouldn't work. This time I double it to freeze half for later, and used 1/3-1/4 of whole wheat flour for extra texture.

The October challenge is Robin's Choice. Ooooh, what could it be? For November, we will be cooking out of one of KristiB's favorite cookbooks: Hot Sour Salty Sweet. It is a pretty big (read:expensive) book, but you can find it for less. My library actually had a copy, and after looking it over, I am going to buy it. It is a gorgeous book!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BBQ brisket dinner

Sometimes when I pick topics for this blog, I have an ulterior motive. For this one, I wanted to make a brisket and need a little inspiration to do it. I originally pictured doing this on a weekend and having people over to share in it, but turns out, we have been booked on the weekend. So, I planned to squeeze it in this week for a mid-week dinner party, but my guests got some mysterious "apple pie" stomach virus all the way from Texas and couldn't make it. It was with a nervous stomach that my husband and I sat down to eat this meal...unsure if we were just going to see it again later.

To make the brisket, I start the morning of by smoking my meat. In this case, I got the charcoal going in the chimney starter, and pulled the meat out of the fridge to come to room temp. The only seasoning I used was salt and pepper. I prefer to use chunks of hickory, but the only thing I could find were hickory chips. I soaked these chips in water for about half an hour. When the fire was ready, I dumped the coals on either side of my Weber kettle grill for indirect grilling, and then pull a handful of the soaked hickory chips on each pile of coals. I placed the meat on the middle of the grill, put the lid on and let it smoke.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

After about 30-45 minutes, the smoke has run out. When you open the lid, it starts to flare up again, but I will also put a handful of charcoal on both sides, and then another handful of hickory chips. I'll turn the meat over, and let it smoke another 30-45 minutes.

When the smoke runs out a second time, I take the meat off. The best way to handle it now is to wrap it tightly in foil, put in a heavy dish, and place in a 180-200 degree oven to let cook the rest of the day. I have a gas oven, which is great, but gets a little hot if I leave it on all day. I put mine in my crock pot which I think runs a little too hot for brisket. About an hour before serving, I would recommend putting it back on the grill for a little more smoke. Plus, when your guests arrive, then think you have been smoking it all day. All that is left is to slice and serve with your favorite tomato based BBQ sauce.

To round out the meal, I served baked beans and mac and cheese...which are considered vegetables in this part of the county.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Serve these hot or at room temperature.

6 bacon slices
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/4 cups purchased barbecue sauce
3/4 cup dark beer
1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 to 6 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies
6 15- to 16-ounce cans Great Northern beans, drained
Chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Transfer 2 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet to large bowl. Finely chop bacon; add to bowl. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to bowl and whisk to blend. Whisk in 4 to 6 teaspoons chipotle chilies, depending on spiciness desired. Stir in beans. Transfer bean mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.Sprinkle with parsley and serve.Serves 8 to 10.

Bon Appétit July 1999

The Mac and Cheese is a recipe from my husbands family

1 cup dried macaroni, cooked according to package directions
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar (I use less)
milk (they like the whole milk, I use whatever I have)
1/2 tsp salt

Combine cooked macaroni, cheese, eggs, sugar, and salt. Pour into baking dish coated with cooking spray. Add milk until it comes to 3/4 of an inch to the top of the dish. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes (but I usually bake hotter and for longer) until top and bottom is nicely browned.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Pacific Northwest

Cedar Planked Salmon and Field Green Salad with Feta and Craisins

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I didn't use a recipe for this one. KAJ - you should be proud of me. Ok, I already lied. The salmon was based upon a recipe by Bobby Flay. I soaked my cedar plank for awhile...a couple of hours. I sprinkled salt and pepper on my salmon, then lathered on some Dijon mustard followed with a sprinkling of brown sugar. After putting my salmon on my cedar plank, I put the plank directly over hot coals for a few minutes so the plank produced some good smoke. I then moved it off direct heat and grilled for another 25 minutes.

The salad was easy. Just field greens with balsamic vinaigrette (~3 T balsamic vinegar, a spoonful of Dijon mustard, then whisk, then whisk in olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and honey, to taste). Toss greens with dressing. Add craisins and feta and toss slightly, then plate.

A good, healthy meal representing the pacific northwest. I rounded it out with Adelsheim pinot noir, Elizabeth Reserve (Dad, sorry I used the Elizabeth, but the Bloom had no other pinots from Oregon or Washington St. No really, none, and I wanted to be authentic) A very quick dinner as long as you get your grill ready in a timely fashion.

For dessert...snickerdoodles!
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I normally am not a fan of cooking light baking, but this kid really knows her stuff. YUM!! Not sure what region snickerdoodles are from. Ok, found it, either New England, or Pennsylvania Dutch. Hey, those regions are pretty close together!

Mad at your mom Meatloaf

Yes, that's what DH decided to call it because it was so good, he was mad at his mom for not making it like this! I know there is already a meatloaf recipe posted, but I had committed to cooking this one already. It was soooooo delicious!!! It's a cooking light recipe, called Italian Meat Loaf with Fresh Basil and Provolone. I cooked it exactly as directed and served it with some asparagus and fake hollandaise sauce, as well as some potato cheese gnocchi I made from scratch. I even took a picture, gasp!!!

DH says it's one of the best meals I've made and he can't wait to eat more meatloaf for lunch today. And for the record, I used 96% lean beef. Ha!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hawaiian Chicken & Gingered Broccoli

Just made this one tonight and it was excellent. Two separate recipes though, and neither are electronic!!

Hawaiian Chicken
1 lb chicken breasts
16oz can crushed pineapple
1/4c light soy
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1/8 tsp ground ginger
dash red pepper

Drain pineapple, reserving liquid (1/2c). Place pineapple liquid and soy in large skillet. Bring to boil. Add chicken. Return to boil, reduce hit, cover and simmer about 10 minutes or until done. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine drained pineapple, kiwi, green onions, ginger, and pepper. Cook over medium-low until warm, about 3 min. To serve, remove chicken from soy and spoon pineapple mixture over chicken.

Gingered Broccoli
1 head broccoli
1 Tb grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4c rice vinegar
1 Tb hoisin or sugar
2 Tb soy

Chop broccoli. Set aside. In saucepan, combine ginger, garlic, vinegar, hoisin or sugar, and soy. Bring to boil and then add broccoli. Steam for 5-7 minutes.

This dinner was so good. I hope you enjoy it, too!

Apple Pie

Of course we had to make apple pie for dessert. That is so I right? We just used the Betty Crocker Apple Pie recipe with ganny smith apples, but they were too tart. It wasn't quite right. I don't know, I wasn't great, but I managed to forced it down with some ice cream.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Philly Cheese Steak...

Normal picture of dinner
Alright, initially I didn't understand the challenge this month. I thought you had to cook things from your own region...i.e. the taco salad(I was going for Tex Mex). I get it now. I made this, as I have done before, but in retrospect, I wish I had consulted this site on Making a Philly Cheese steak.
What I did...
1/2 lb roast beef from deli
1 onion
1 green pepper
4 soft rolls
4 slices provolone cheese

Saute thinly sliced onion until soft, then add sliced green pepper. I like mine almost burnt:) Add salt and pepper to taste. Saute 4 slices of roast beef per sandwich for about 2 min per side. Put two halves of provolone on roast beef after flipping. Toast open face rolls with some butter. Top with mayo, meat, cheese, onions and green peppers. I served them with french fries and steamed veggie medley.
This is the "IN YOUR FACE!" picture...I'm very artistic, right?:)
The nice thing about this is all the variations that you can do. Maybe you only like your onions slightly sauteed or maybe you like mushrooms instead of green peppers...its whatever you want. This is also not very healthy...sorry :(

Rachael Ray vs. Chicago

I think anything Rachael Ray should be considered regional American cooking. I've made her chicken rosemary pizza twice with great results. Don't let the homemade pizza dough scare you off. I always sub mozzarella for the goat cheese, but I'm sure it tastes great either way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Easy Tomato Baked Chicken

I have no idea if this qualifies as "regional" cuisine, but come on, it's chicken. Everything chicken qualifies, right? Plus, I'm finally cooking, so I want to maximize my impact!

I made this dish last night and it was great. It was SO easy, SO healthy, and a hit for the house. I served it with corn on the cob and a side salad.
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained (use some fancy spiced up tomato mix)
1/4 cup Light Balsamic Vinaigrette Reduced Fat Dressing (I had some balsamic/red wine combo)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

PREHEAT oven to 425ºF. Place onions in bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish; top with chicken.
COMBINE tomatoes, dressing and garlic powder; pour over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese.
BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

Very tasty. We highly recommend it, although I used a 9x9 casserole dish and it turned out great!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Meatloaf from the Heartland

Wikipedia says meatloaf can be considered "Midwestern" ... so we're claiming it! Now, I know everyone has their own special family meatloaf recipe that has been passed down through the years and you all are thinking it's the best. However, you must try this "gourmet'd" version of meatloaf. I found an inspiring recipe from an old Bon Apettit magazine and then halved it for two and modified it heavily. This is the best meatloaf I have ever had and maybe one of the more nutitionally healthy! I'm going to post my version since I did modify it heavily but if anyone would like to see the original, please let me know and I will post it. Sorry for the pics, it's really hard to make meatloaf look good in a photo. Plus we weren't able to wait the 20 min. resting time (it was late and we were hungry!) and the slices fell apart when we took them out. Don't let the pics turn you off .... this is a keeper!

Roasted Vegetable Meatloaf (2-4 servings)

1 medium zuchini; halved lengthwise and seeds scooped out, then cut into 1" crescent moon chunks
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1" chunks
1 medium fennel bulb, outer leaves discarded and cut into 1" chunks (don't use the frilly ends, just the bulb)
splash of olive oil
1 lb. ground beef
1 c. coarsely grated whole milk mozzarella
3/4 c. bread crumbs (preferably panko)
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1/2 c. ketchup, divided
1 large egg
small sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves removed from stalk (roughly 1/2-1 T.)

Step 1: Make a Roasted Veggie Puree - Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange prepped zuchini, bell pepper and fennel in a single layer on a metal baking tray. Toss lightly with olive oil and season with salt. Roast 25-30 min. until vegetables are tender. Cool. Puree vegetables in a food processor or blender. Set aside

Step 2: Make the Meatloaf - Preheat oven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, mozzarella, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, fresh rosemary and 1/2 c. of the roasted vegetable puree. In a medium bowl, whisk 1/4 c. ketchup and egg then add to beef mixture, incorporating well. Form into a loaf with a rounded top and place into a metal loaf pan. Spoon remaining 1/4 c. ketchup over top of loaf. Bake meatloaf until cooked through, juices run clear and top is browned, about 1 hr. 10 min. (160 F internal temp). Remove from oven; let meatloaf rest 20 min before serving.

My thoughts: The combination of the red pepper, fennel, and rosemary flavor the meat so well. Plus the oil that comes from roasting red peppers makes a very moist meatloaf. Usually you would need to use meat with a little more fat in it to get a nice tasting meatloaf, but I was able to use lean meat because the veggie puree helped keep it soft. The original recipe did not call for puree'ing the roasted veggies but I thought that the puree gave the meatloaf a more consistent flavor throughout and you did not have veggie chunks you were running into and I think it really helped hold the loaf together. If you have leftover veggie puree, it tastes great on bruschetta or crostini ... or I have used it for baby food even!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Remember this one Robin? We made pizzas one Sunday night and Robin brought this recipe. We loved it and it has been in regular weekend night rotation ever since. The recipe is based on the Pizzeria Uno pizza and it is from copykat.

I feel like I really should tweak this one a bit, but other than using less cheese, I pretty much follow it as written. I would like to replace some of the oil with butter and make it with less crust and more toppings, but just never get around to it. It definitely is not the real thing, but will do if you have a craving for pizza like this.

And what is the deal with New York style pizza anyways? I mean, I can understand if you are in a hurry and that is all that there is, but true Chicago style is just AWESOME!!!

Pork Medallions with Cranberry Stuffing

Hello friends. I made a dish a couple nights ago and we have been arguing on who gets to eat the leftovers. Geesh. It was really good. I would like to note that I have never bought pork loin before......**1*4&wf=9&recipe_id=107309

2 pork tenderloins (1-1/2 lb.) (I used the super lean ones)
1/4 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing (i used some italian and some tomato)
1 Tbsp. GREY POUPON Dijon Mustard (I had stone ground, but dijon would be good)
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1/3 cup dried cranberries

CUT each tenderloin crosswise into 6 slices. Pound meat slices, cut-sides up, with meat mallet to 1/2-inch thickness. Add to large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Cook on medium-high heat 3 min. on each side or until browned on both sides. Reduce heat to low.

COMBINE dressing and mustard; pour over meat. Continue cooking 3 min. on each side or until meat is cooked through and sauce is thickened. Meanwhile, prepare stuffing as directed on package, but reducing spread to 1 Tbsp. and adding cranberries to the water along with the stuffing mix.

SPOON stuffing onto serving plates. Add meat; drizzle with sauce.

Chipotle Chicken Salad

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm leaving town in a couple of days and am trying to eat myself out of house and home. I do not want to go to the grocery store!

But I did for this dish because I had everything but the Fritos and avacado.

This is a Southwest inspired recipe and who else but an American would put Fritos on a salad! Use the Fritos! They rock this salad!

I didn't buy a rotisserie chicken-instead I baked a boneless,skinless chicken breast in foil in the oven for 25 minutes at 375. I seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Chipotle Chicken Salad Gourmet Magazine July 2006

Melissa Roberts-Matar

1 rotisserie-cooked chicken (2 lb) at room temperature
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 (15- to 19-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro sprigs
1 rounded tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 firm-ripe California avocados, halved, pitted, and left unpeeled
3 oz corn chips such as Fritos (1 1/2 cups)
1 heart of romaine, separated into leaves
Remove chicken from bone in large chunks, with some skin if desired, and toss together with onion and black beans in a large bowl.

Purée cilantro, chipotles, oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender, then add to chicken mixture.

Cut avocado into 1/2-inch cubes, without cutting through peel.

Toss chicken mixture with chips. Scoop avocado into chicken mixture with a spoon. Serve salad on romaine leaves. © CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Chicken Fried Steak...Hell Yeah!

I am sorry that I will be adding a dash of cursing to the monthly challenge, but luckily it is so tough for me to contribute that it probably won't be a problem for very long. At any rate, this one has almost no nutritional content, but your husbands will LOVE it! Mine did. I used a combination of Alton Brown's recipe and a Southern Living recipe. This is how I roll...I went to the store and asked the butcher who was stocking the meat for some cube steak..."We don't have that."...What should I use for Chicken Fried Steak(this is my first time)..."Tenderized round steak." He was right, that stuff was actually made just for Chicken Fried Steak.

At any rate, this is what I did... salt and pepper meat, dredge in flour, egg, flour. Let rest. I fried them in my ALL-CLAD pan (because it is not non-stick) in peanut oil, 3 min a side and placed them in the oven while I was making the gravy. I pour out some oil, added 3tbsp flour, put in some chicken and beef broth, milk and thyme. Served it with some homemade mash potatoes.

I would make it again, but it needed ALOT more salt. And we ran out of gravy... Here are the BEFORE....

and AFTER!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sloppy Joes

Yeah, that's right, I said sloppy joes. You can't really get more American than that, can you? Go ahead and sing the song if you want...

I did a little research on the origin of sloppy joes and found a lot of interesting information about it. The consensus is that it either originated in Iowa from a loose meat sandwich or in Cuba, and then found its way to the US either through New Jersey by a restaurant owner, or through Key West via Hemmingway. An article for more reading can be found here. Where ever it is from, it is a staple of kids everywhere.

See, I did a lot of research to make up for the fact that I am passing off sloppy joes for my challenge.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I used a recipe from Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals 2 cookbook and made the entire meal with can be found here. Really, when made from scratch, it is a pretty healthy meal with lean ground beef and fresh, chopped veggies. The deviled potato salad turned out pretty well and I liked that it had a little kick to it. The meal included dessert, and in this case was root beer floats. Yum, yum!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Baby, it's cold outside!

I realize it's still summer in the States, but, here in Germany it's not ... and it hasn't been all summer long! Currently, we're on about a 3 month long schedule of cold, dark, dreary, drizzly weather with an occasional peep of the sun. Cold, dark and dreary reminds me of my days in Minneapolis and when I think of Minneapolis I can't help but think of good old Minnesota Wild Rice soup (picture coming as soon as the photographer gets off work). Do you know how hard it is to find wild rice in Germany? I'll be savoring every bite!

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

1 c. wild rice (uncooked)
2 carrots, finely diced or shredded
2 celery ribs, finely diced ... plus leaves for flavor
1 leek, white part only ... halved and thinly sliced
knob of butter (1-1.5 T)
2 T. flour
2 c. milk
1 c. veggie broth
1 bay leaf

Cook wild rice in 4 parts salted water (4 cups) over med-lo (simmering) heat for 45-60 minutes. Wild rice should pop open and be tender, but the water may not be completely soaked up by the rice. Drain wild rice, reserving a couple of ladles of cooking liquid.

When rice is cooked, prep veggies and sweat in soup pot along with a splash of olive oil on low heat for 10 minutes, until tender. Remove veggies from soup pot and temporarily set aside. Melt butter in soup pot until foaming. Add flour to form a roux (thickening agent). Let the butter/flour mixture cook gently for a minute or two (be careful not to burn/brown the butter). Slowly add milk and veggie broth and whisk to combine, turn up heat. Your milk mixture should slowly thicken, season with salt and pepper. Try to keep the heat low enough to prevent boiling. Add back your veggies and drained wild rice and the reserved rice cooking water (if you need a little more liquid). Add a bay leaf to the pot, turn off the heat, put the top on and let soup steep for a bit with the bay leaf. Soup will thicken a little more while cooling. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Monday, September 10, 2007

NYC Bagels and Veggie Cream Cheese

I think this qualifies as American food, but I found the most incredible recipe for vegetable cream cheese. For those of you who enjoy a good bagel (not one that comes in a bag) from time to time, you'll appreciate this recipe. My husband is a new man as a result of it!

8 ounces light cream cheese brick
1 celery rib, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
One-half teaspoon celery seed
One-fourth teaspoon dried dill weed
One-fourth teaspoon dried thyme
One-fourth teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons fresh chopped parsley
(we added 1 sprig of green onion)

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until blended and the celery and carrots are in tiny chunks. Put the mixture in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Helpful hints: Don't use a food processor. We made it there first, and it just didn't have the right consistency (watery) or taste. On our second try, we shredded the veggies with a manual shredder, added 1 sprig of green onion, and hand mixed the cream cheese with spices before folding in the veggies. It definitely has the right consistency now, and is BY FAR a better choice (even if your elbow falls off in mixing...).

It's best on an everything bagel, but sesame, plain, and wheat are acceptable alternatives. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Taco Salad?

Okay I know that I am reaching, but I really wanted to contribute. I will do better next time. At any rate, all I really did was make a great salad and try to spice up the dressing with a recipe I found on, but then I didn't follow that either. Recipes are not our thing.

Chop up some tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms ,avocados topped with salt, pepper, and lime
Delicately seasoned ground beef...Brian will not eat a meatless meal.

Ranch Dressing, Salsa, Red Pepper, Mexican seasoning in a food processor. The recipe called for chipotle seasoning, but I did not have any:( Brian liked the dressing, but I thought it just tasted like spicy ranch. I probably will not make it again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

South Carolina Low Country - Shrimp and Grits

First of all, let me just say that today is my son's first birthday. I am posting this on my cooking blog because a year ago, my ex-friend was just so pleased to tell me that she would love to see me in a year because there was no way I would be cooking as much as I was then. So, here on my COOKING BLOG I just wanted to say PLLBBTTTTT!!!!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Last night I made shrimp and grits. I was exhausted from watching the football game Monday night, didn't have a whole lot in my fridge, but I did have about a pound of shrimp in the freezer leftover from when I made pad thai. I was thinking I could whip up something cajun, when I found a shrimp and grits recipe from Southern Living. I have tried many other recipes, but none have come close to the spicy, creamy concoction I had at my cousin's wedding. Well, this one came pretty darn close. First of all, it was SO SIMPLE to prepare. Everything came together in under 30 minutes. I made some changes to the recipe, most of them not on purpose, but the biggest ones were to use less butter ( 2TB) and add a bit of cream at the end to thicken the sauce a little bit more. If you don't have grits, use polenta, and I used some milk to make mine to give it a little more of a creamy texture. My one complaint is that it seemed a little to simple. I almost wish that there were onions or tomatoes in the sauce....Or maybe I was just wanted some of the steamed broccoli I made for my son to round out the meal. This one is definitely a repeater.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

September "America the Beautiful" Challenge

For September, let's challenge ourselves on regional American cooking. You know...New York Cheesecake, Chicago Style Pizza, Louisiana Cajun, Iowa corn, I guess. Make one meal a week that represents a part of this country. Be creative, I'll accept some stretching on the interpretation if needed.

Now get cooking!