Wednesday, August 6, 2014

SULTRY SUMMER FARE


It's just so very hard to believe the dog days are upon us and it's August already! How did that happen???? I'm all about giving it one last hurrah and as everyone who knows me, knows I love a sultry summer's night Sunday supper as much as the next girl with traditional Southern fare and bounty from the garden. So I thought I'd share a few of my tried and true, "go to", fail-safe recipes that will never disappoint and are easy enough to throw together in a pinch. These coupled with two signature cocktails from friends, because God forbid there aren't some custom drinks in the mix from the mixologists.


Enjoy the rest of your summer!!!





















































Silk Charmeuse

2 parts vodka
1 part Fever Tree Ginger Ale
1 part Domaine de Canton
Juice of a half of a lemon
6 leaves crushed mint
Ice

Shake and strain over ice - garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.



Aviation

2 oz. Leopold's Gin
1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. Creme de Violette
Ice

Shake and strain over ice - garnish with a lemon peel

Thanks Elliott (my very own personal mixologist at Houston's Peachtree Road Atlanta)!
 



Creamed Corn

4 ears corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon salt
Small pinch of freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup half and half, more as needed

Remove the husks and silks carefully from the corn.  Using a sharp knife, cut the corn kernels from the cob.  Reserve the cut corn, and discard the cobb. 

Heat the butter in a large skillet or frying pan until hot and foaming.  Add the corn kernels, salt and pepper to the pan, and stir well to coat the corn with the hot butter and seasonings.  Cook over medium heat for five minutes, stirring often, and taking care that the corn does not brown.  Sprinkle flour over the corn, stir well to blend, and cook for 2 minutes longer.  Add the half-and-half, stirring well, and simmer for 3-4 minutes longer, until the corn is tender and the half-and-half coats the corn lightly. 


Corn can vary greatly in starch content, so it may sometimes be necessary to use a bit more half-and-half to keep the sauce from being too thick.  Taste carefully for seasoning, and add more salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.





Deviled Eggs
1 dozen large eggs
Fine Sea salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons snipped chives and chervil

Put the eggs in a large saucepan with water to cover by 2 inches.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a rolling boil over high heat.  Immediately remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.  Pour off the hot water and fill the saucepan with cold water.  Gently crack the eggs in the water to loosen the shells.

Shell the eggs, cut a very thin slice from the bottom of each egg so the eggs will stand up.  Slice off the top third of each egg and scoop the yolks into a coarse strainer; reserve the whites.  Press the egg yolks through the strainer into a bowl.  Blend in the mayonnaise, cream, sugar and vinegar. Season with salt.

Using a teaspoon or pastry bag fitted with a star tip, generously fill the egg whites.  Arrange the eggs on a plate, sprinkle with chives and chervil and serve.



Fresh Corn Salad


5 ears of corn, shucked
1/2 cup small-diced red onion (1 small onion)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar 3 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until the starchiness is just gone. Drain and immerse it in ice water to stop the cooking and to set the color. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob.

Toss the kernels in a large bowl with the red onions, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste for seasonings and serve cold or at room temperature.

 
 
 
Old Fashioned Tomato Pie
Pie Crust:
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water
Filling:
2 ¼ lbs assorted heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground pepper, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
½ cup assorted chopped fresh herbs (such as chives, parsley, and basil)
½ cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise

Prepare Piecrust: Process the first 4 ingredients in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With the food processor running, gradually add 3 tablespoons ice-cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until the dough forms a ball and leaves the sides of the bowl, adding up to 1 tablespoon more water, if necessary.

Shape the dough into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 30 minutes. Unwrap the dough, and place it on a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle lightly with flour. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. 

Preheat the oven to 425°. Press the dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the dough 1 inch larger than diameter of pie plate. fold overhanging dough under itself, along rim of pie plate. Chill 30 minutes or until firm.

Line the piecrust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. (This will keep the crust from bubbling up.) Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Remove the weights and foil. Bake 5 minutes more or until browned. Cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).

Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

Prepare Filling: Place the tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the onion and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in hot oil in a skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes or until the onion is tender.  Pat tomatoes dry with a paper towel.

Layer the tomatoes, onion, and herbs in a prepared crust, seasoning each layer with pepper (1 teaspoon total).

Stir together cheeses and mayonnaise and spread over the pie. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, shielding edges with foil to prevent excessive browning. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.





Crunchy Noodle Salad
Kosher Salt
1 pound thin spaghetti
1 pound sugar snap peas
1 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds, divided
½ cup smooth peanut butter
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
4 scallions white and green parts, sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, return to a boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp tender.  Lift the sugar snap peas from the water with a slotted spoon and immerse them in a bowl of ice water.  Drain.

For the dressing, whisk together the vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and peanut butter in a medium bowl.

Combine the spaghetti, sugar snap peas, peppers and scallions in a large bowl.  Pour the dressing over the spaghetti mixture.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and the parsley and toss together.




Sauté of Heirloom Tomatoes and Okra with Bacon Garnish
5 slices bacon
1 large onion cut into 1/3 inch wedges
4 cups okra, washed, and trimmed sliced ½ inch thick
½ teaspoon salt, more as needed
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 medium heirloom tomatoes, cut into ½ inch wedges

Cook the bacon slices in a large skillet until crisp.  Leaving the rendered bacon fat, remove the bacon from the pan and reserve.
 
Add the sliced okra to the skillet, and cook, stirring frequently, over moderate heat for 10 minutes.  Add the onion wedges, salt and pepper and continue cooking, still stirring for 5 minutes.  Toss in the tomato wedges and reduce the heat to low.  Cook, partially covered, just until tomatoes are heated through, 3-4 minutes. 
Carefully taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.  Serve warm with reserved bacon slices crumbled over.




Roasted Shrimp and Orzo

Kosher salt
Good Olive oil
3/4 Pound orzo pasta
1/2 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice, about 3 lemons
freshly ground pepper
2 pounds (16-18 Count) Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1 cup chopped fresh dill 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.




Breakfast Shrimp for Supper

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 small onions, chopped, about 1 1/4 cups
4 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion or scallion
1 clove garlic finely minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup water

Heat the butter in a heavy skillet until hot and foaming. Add the onion, scallion, garlic, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir well, and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Pour in the water, and simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, just until the shrimp are cooked through. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed. Serve hot over plain rice.




Perfect Roast Chicken
 
1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
 large bunch fresh thyme, plus 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large yellow onion thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed and cut into wedges
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

SETTING SAIL

 
"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than those you did. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Mark Twain

Wherever you may be - enjoy the journey- Happy Fourth!