Monday, May 30, 2011

BBQ Shrimp and Sea Scallops

BBQ Shrimp and Sea Scallops

I told you last night that Memorial Day is a special day for us.  Dan is a Navy veteran.  I try to make meals all weekend that he really loves. 

I’ve seen recipes for BBQ Shrimp basting sauce over the years from celebrity chefs and frankly, while delicious, they seem a bit exhausting to prepare.  I came up with this simplified recipe.  I honestly think I hit a home run with this seafood BBQ basting sauce.  Try it as written and write to me and tell me what you think.

You will note that used different seasonings on the shrimp and scallops, although I finish with the same sauce.  Why?  Different shellfish require different seasonings to taste great!  And you are searing the scallops…  Certain seasonings do better under the sear.

New rule if you visit this page... you MUST double click on the pic to get the "Full fOOD Monty."

Serves 4:

For the Shrimp:

½ lb. large Shrimp, shelled and deveined  (About 16 shrimp - Important:  reserve shells*)
½ teaspoon Essence of Emeril (common ingredient with the sauce)
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
½ teaspoon Dried Thyme
½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

For the Scallops:

½ lb. Sea Scallops
½ tablespoon Cajun Seasoning
½ teaspoon Blackened Seasoning (Suggest Old Bay)
1 tablespoon Butter (common ingredient with sauce)

For the Basting Sauce:

1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tablespoons Butter, divided by tablespoons, two of the tablespoons chilled
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ small Sweet Onion, chopped
Reserved Shrimp Shells*
½ tablespoon Essence of Emeril
4 springs fresh Thyme
3 dried Bay Leaves
1 Lemon, sliced
6 ounces. Light Beer
1 1/8 cup Cold Water (divided by one cup and 1/8).
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons loosely packed Light Brown Sugar


Cooking Spray for the Grill
Fresh Chopped Parsley and Chives (for garnish – optional)
Fresh Lemon Slices

Sprinkle shelled shrimp with Essence, Cayenne Pepper, herbs and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Season scallops with Cajun Seasoning and Blackened Seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Add olive oil and one tablespoon of butter to the pan.  Add garlic and onion.  Sauté for three minutes until softened.   

Add all ingredients to pan, including shrimp shells and lemon slices, but exclude the brown sugar and remaining butter.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about 30 minutes.

Seafood BBQ Sauce Boiling Away

Strain.  Return strained liquid to pan.  Add the brown sugar and chilled butter, one cube at a time, until sauce thickens.  Your goal is to get about 4 or 5 tablespoons of basting sauce at the end.

Spray grill with cooking spray.  Preheat grill to 400°.

Skewer 8 shrimp on a metal kabob.  Add to grill.  Grill five minutes on one side.  Baste continuously with the basting sauce.  Flip and cook for another five minutes.  Baste continuously.

Note:  When I do both the shrimp and the scallops, I like to reserve about an 1/8 cup of the basting sauce for those scallops.  This is an eyeball recipe so reserve as much or as little as you wish!

BBQ Scallops

Add one tablespoon of butter to cast iron skillet.  Heat on high.  Add scallops.  Cook for three-to-four minutes.  Turn scallops and add remaining basting sauce to the pan.  Cook for two more minutes

Suggested side dishes:  Grilled corn-on-the-cob, cucumber and Vidalia onion salad with sour cream and dill dressing, and Jalapeño corn bread. 

Once again, Happy Memorial Day and to all of you who served and to those who lost family or friends in our fright for freedom, this meal is for you!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Perfect Memorial Day Steak Dinner for Two

Cook's Note:  Don't forget to click on the food pictures tonight to get the full "Food Monty."  ;.))))  You can just see how juicy the steak is when you click on the pic!

The Perfect Grilled Rib-eye Steak
with Mushrooms and Thyme,
Vidalia onion and Grill-Baked Potato

Dan is a Navy veteran.  In honor of Memorial Day and his service to our country, I try to make something a little more special than burgers and hot dogs (not that there is anything wrong with that).  

We find that our local market often has really great prices on steak this time of year.  We decided to grill up a couple of rib-eye steaks.  At our local farmer’s market, I found these awesome Vidalia onions.  If you are not from the south, you might not know what a Vidalia onion is, but we look forward to them this time of year.   

Our market also had a great price on white mushrooms.  I have thyme growing in a pot on my patio.  Mushrooms and thyme are like peas and carrots… just meant to be together.

I have shown you my grill baked potato recipe before on the Facebook community page.  All you have to do for the potato is skewer it and rub it down with olive oil and course sea salt.  I like to grill them for about an hour on tin foil sprayed with cooking spray until the skin is extra crispy, turning twice.  Depending on the size of the potato, you might need to finish them in the microwave. 

This steak is great with that potato and we had a small garden salad with ranch dressing.  I’ll share my ranch dressing recipe with you another day. 

For the Onion:

Butter flavored Cooking Spray
1 large Vidalia onion, slit into eight wedges with root portion intact
1 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Vegetable Seasoning, to taste (Suggest Chef Paul Prudhomme’s)

For the Steak:

1 tablespoon Olive Oil (for grill)
Cooking Spay for Grill
2 – 8 oz Rib-eye Steaks
1 tablespoon Extra Tenderizing Worcestershire Sauce (suggest French’s)
1 tablespoon Grill Seasoning for Steak
Fresh Parsley and Chives for garnish, optional

For the Mushrooms:

Butter flavored Cooking Spray
1 cup sliced white Mushrooms
½ tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 or 5 springs fresh Thyme
Vegetable Seasoning, to taste (Suggest Chef Paul Prudhomme’s)
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Preheat grill to 500°.  If you are cooking the potatoes, finish those first. Keep them warm under a tin foil tent.  You have cooked the potatoes on tin foil, so you will need to follow the directions for the steak.

While the potatoes or cooking, or about 20 minutes before you grill the steaks, place onion in and all ingredients in a tin foil packet on grill.  Close lid and let the onion cook for about 20 minutes.  You can continue cooking the onion as the steaks prepare.

Turn grill heat to off.  Spray and oil grill by brushing grill with oil. Re-ignite.   Your grill should still be at about 400°.

Rub steaks with Worcestershire and grill seasoning.

Place steaks on grill.  Grill for seven-nine minutes on first side.  Flip and grill for three more minutes for medium rare.  You can pull the steaks at 145° and let them sit for a ten minutes to allow for carryover cooking.

While steaks are grilling, drop tin foil packet containing mushrooms (including all ingredients) onto the grill. 

Happy Memorial Day!  To those of you who served or who have lost family in the service of our country-- fighting for our freedom and our prosperity -- tomorrow is for you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Easy Tuna Caesar Salad

I love making Caesar Dressing from scratch.  This is an even quicker weeknight version which requires no raw egg, and you get to take a little help from the store.  The tuna gives it a protein kick.

This is an arranged salad.  Everyone takes what they want at the table.  You can eat this with a knife or fork or like a lettuce wrap.  It looks pretty, too. 

The store-bought dressing product used to make this Caesar dressing contains Parmesan Cheese.  The little extra olive oil makes this taste a little richer.  I add fresh grated Romano and lemon juice at the end.

Easy Tuna Caesar Salad
Serves 4:

4 oz. Romaine Lettuce Leaves, washed and trimmed
2 ounces freshly grated Romano Cheese
½ cup Whole Grain Croutons
Squirt or two of Fresh Lemon Juice
Freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste
1/3 cup Wish Bone® brand House Italian Dressing*
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Dash of Course Sea Salt, to taste

Arrange salad leaves on a plate.  Flake tuna over lettuce.

In a small mixing bowl, add anchovy paste and dressing product.  Whisk together.  Add olive oil and salt to taste.

Pour desired amount of dressing over lettuce.   Top with cheese and croutons.  Add lemon juice and fresh pepper to taste.  Serve any leftover dressing on the side.

*Not a paid endorsement and blogger received no free product.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Brats Braised in Beer with Spicy Onions

Brats are a summertime favorite.  With Memorial Day right around the corner, I want to show you my favorite way to make them.   I like to use leftover seasonal beer with a spice, such as Octoberfest by Sam Adams.  I normally have a few bottles around come spring in my fridge which are still quite fine for cooking.  I like this beer because it gives the brats a nice kick.  You can also use a lager and add a dash or two of Allspice.

The addition of the garlic and the mustard while braising gives the onions an extra special flavor.  That was my idea.  As the brats braise, the grainy mustard coats the brats, too.  So when you grill them up, wow! 

You can probably find the original recipe sans the garlic and mustard on the Sam Adams website.

This cooking method keeps the brats extra juicy.  They will actually plump up from having braised in the beer PRIOR to grilling.  I've seem people grill them and then put them into the beer bath but trust me, this is so much better!

Skip the fork and use tongs to turn the brats, otherwise those juices will run out.  Of course, as with most of my recipes, you can double or triple it as needed. 

You will need: 

1 - 20 ounce package Bratwurst -  Suggest Johnsonville® Original
1 large Sweet Onion, sliced (rustic chop or slice is fine)
1 clove of garlic, peeled but not chopped
3 Samuel Adams® Octoberfest Beers (Or three lager beers with a dash of Allspice added)
1 tablespoon Spicy Brown Mustard

Add brats, onion, garlic and beer to large pan on stove.   Stir in the mustard.

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Preheat grill to 350 degrees.   Grill brats for about 7 minutes and return to the beer bath. 

Serve these on the plate or on buns with the onions, your favorite toppings and picnic sides!  Enjoy!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Tomato Basil Chicken with Goat Cheese and Lemon

Tomato Basil Chicken with
Goat Cheese and Lemon

Because we can never have enough creative chicken breast recipes, here you go. 
You know, I am not a photgrapher.   I am a  cook!  I do my best.  Just click on my PICS to get the "Full Monty."  LOL.

This tastes entirely decadent.  The goat cheese is so, so creamy.   The fresh herbs and lemon just make this dish pop.  As with all of my meals, you can bet it won’t impact your waistline. 

I like to serve this with a simple (big) salad made with baby spinach, artichoke hearts, chick peas and red wine vinegar and oil dressing.  

Staying on my economical theme, you can make this for two with one chicken breast.  Yes, your read that right... Carefully slice your chicken breast in half and pound it thin.  If you are cooking for one, make both servings and have the other for lunch the next day.  This heats up in the microwave just fine. 

Note:   When you pound this chicken breast, pound it a little thicker than scaloppini.  You want a thickness to the chicken so it doesn’t cook too quickly.


Serves 2:

2 tablespoons dry packed Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped (not in oil)
½ cup Dry White Wine
One 8 oz chicken breast, halved and pounded thin.
2 tablespoons Flour
1 tablespoon Grill Seasoning for Chicken
1 tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
2 slices Lemon
1 tablespoon bottled Minced Garlic
2 teaspoons Capers, drained
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
One tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoons ice-cold Butter
1/8 cup of Water, as needed
1 tablespoon Greek Olives, pitted and chopped
2 - ½ inch rounds Goat Cheese
Lots of fresh chopped fresh Basil, to taste
Chopped fresh Chives, to taste
Grated Light Parmesan Cheese, for topping at table (optional)

Soak chopped sun dried tomatoes in the wine, about 30-45 minutes until softened. 

Preheat oven to 250°.

Dredge chicken in flour.  Sprinkle with grill seasoning. 

Heat non-stick skillet over high heat and add ½ of the olive oil.  Reduce heat.  Add chicken and brown both sides, about four minutes.

Transfer chicken to oven-safe pan.   Top each slice of chicken with a slice of lemon.  Warm for five-seven minutes.

While chicken is in the oven, add remaining olive oil, garlic and capers to hot pan.  Sizzle for one-two minutes, making sure that the garlic does not burn.  Reduce heat.

Add the wine and sun dried tomato mixture, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Add tomato paste, lemon juice, butter (one slice at a time), water and olives.  Cook for three minutes.

Serve chicken with a slice of goat cheese and lemon on top of a mound of the sauce.  Tope with fresh basil and chives.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chicken Paprikash

It was actually cool the other night here in Central Florida;  52 degrees!  That's not a typical temp in May.  It made me put the cover back on the grill and head into the kitchen.   I refuse to use the oven/electricity in the summer, so I grill out when I can.   Sometimes a person just gets hungry for old family style comfort food.   Cool weather brings that on.

Growing up in a family with grandparents from Eastern Europe, this was one of my favorite dishes.  I've had variations over the years.  My mom used to make a great version but she was always on Weight Watchers and thought her recipe was too fattening.  She hardly ever made it.  The closest she came on occasion was a version produced from one of those cooking bags, which I later found was full of MSG.

Not this dish!   This one is so simple and inexpensive to make, and healthier too.  If you haven't noticed, I have been writing several chicken thigh recipes.  Why?  They are less expensive, and you can get a bunch at a warehouse store and freeze them for next to nothing! 

You can even feel free to remove the skin if you like to make this dish even lighter.   I would do so AFTER the braising process is complete.

Chicken Paprikash

I served this with frozen mini pierogi with
crispy onions and sweet and sour kraut.


4 bone-in-Chicken Thighs (skin on)
2 tablespoons Paprika (I used Spanish Paprika)
1 tablespoon Garlic Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1/2 large Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 medium sweet Onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup of Vodka
2 cups Chicken Broth
3 ounces Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence (not traditional but I like it)
1 - 4 ounce can Sliced Mushrooms (yes, canned are fine for this dish)
3 tablespoons Philadelphia Brand Savory Garlic Cooking Creme
2 tablespoons Sour Cream
Fresh Dill for garnish (optional but suggested)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle paprika and garlic salt over chicken. 

In an oven-safe dutch oven (they usually are oven-safe ;.), brown the chicken in a tablespoon of olive oil.  Set chicken aside in bowl.

Add remaining olive oil and cook pepper and onion until softened, about five minutes. 

Add vodka.  Deglaze the pan, pulling all the browned bits from the bottom.  Let Vodka reduce by half.  Add chicken broth and whisk in tomato paste.  Add herbes de provence and add the chicken back to the dutch oven. 

Note:  You can leave the vodka out, but I think it adds something.

Cover with lid or tin foil and bake for 45-50 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 175 degrees and juices run clear.  Adjust cooking time as needed.   The longer the better with this dish.

Carefully remove pan from oven back to stove.  Remove chicken to bowl.  Tent with foil to keep warm. 

Add in mushrooms.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about 10 minutes, until broth reduces. 

Stir in cooking creme and then add the sour cream.  Pour sauce over plated chicken and top with fresh dill.

Note:  My sweet and sour kraut is simply canned kraut, a half a can of diced tomatoes, and a few tablespoons of brown sugar, to taste.  So easy!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Shrimp Stuffed Shells With Pecan Pesto

Shrimp Stuffed Shells w/ Pecan Pesto

Take a look at our Sunday dinner!   This is a delicious touch of spring on a plate. 
I created the recipe for two, but you can double or triple it as needed. 

The pecan pesto is awesome with the feta cheese.  To me, pecans taste fresher than pine nuts.  Cheaper, too!

Want to make this?   You will need-

10 Jumbo pasta shells, cooked per box direction
10  Shrimp – Steamed in Old Bay and fresh herbs until pink

Steamed Shrimp

For the Steamed Shrimp:

2-3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 sprig fresh Oregano
½ tablespoon Old Bay

For the Pesto:

2 hands full of fresh Basil
1 hand full of fresh Mint
1/2 cup Pecan halves
1 or two grinds of freshly ground pepper
Course Sea Salt, to taste
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1  tablespoon Lemon Juice
Drizzle ¼ to ½ cup Olive Oil, more if needed

For Shrimp Stuffing:

6 of the Extra Large shrimp, peeled, deveined, steamed and chopped into six pieces each (reserve four whole cooked shrimp from topping)
1/2 cup minus two tablespoons chopped tomatoes (canned are fine)
½ teaspoon dried Oregano
3 tablespoons Philadelphia Brand Savory Garlic Cooking Cream
1/3 cup crumbled Reduced Fat Feta Cheese


Butter flavored Cooking Spray
Extra Feta for sprinkling on top of baked shells.

Cook pasta shells per package directions and steam shrimp.  Let shrimp cool in refrigerator.  I like to put the shrimp on ice to stop the cooking process.  You want to steam the shrimp just under done, as they will bake longer in the oven.

Shrimp on Ice

Note:  Reserve a ladle of the starchy cooking water from the pasta.

Eyeball the Basil and
Mint Measurements

Add all pesto ingredients to food processor except for the olive oil. 

Pulse until ground.  Turn on food processor to low and drizzle in olive oil until the pesto is well-blended. 

You can add extra olive oil as desired. 

Right before you pour the pesto on the shells, I like to take a ladle of the starchy cooking water from the pasta to thin it out.  This step is optional.

Combine all ingredients for shrimp stuffing in a mixing bowl.  Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the cooked (cooled) shells.  Place shells in baking pan sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray.  Top with Pesto.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Uncover and top with remaining feta cheese and bake for approximately five minutes.

Get creative with the plating.
Serving suggestion:   I like to top the plated shells with the leftover tomatoes (reserved 2 tablespoons), and two whole cooked shrimp.  You can pass extra pesto around at the table as desired.  I like the combination of the warm and cool pesto together. 

If you have never tried warm pesto, try it.  I think you will be surprised how good it is.

Note:  To warm up the whole cooked shrimp back up, just toss it into the microwave for about 15-20 seconds on high.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Santa Fe B.E.L.T. (Bacon, Egg, Lettuce and Tomato) Pasta

Oh my gosh.  This is one of our favorites.  I just made this dish tonight.  I wasn't going to blog as I am watching American Idol, but with Dan's urging, I got out the family laptop. He said I had to share it with you.  

Santa Fe B.E.L.T. Pasta

This week it is all about economical - and healthy -  meals.   You could feed an army with this one.  I made the recipe for two.  You can double, triple, or quadruple it as needed.

You know how I love the Philadelphia Cooking Crème.*  It adds tons of flavor but not a lot of calories.  I used the Santa Fe Blend in this dish. 

Philly Cooking Creme adds flavor
but not the calories!

Other than the salt I added to the pasta water, I didn’t add any additional salt or pepper to this recipe.  I DO NOT use the bacon grease.   This dish only looks decadent!

Santa Fe B.E.L.T.  Pasta
4 ounces Whole Grain Thin Spaghetti
2 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
2 slices of Thick Sliced Bacon, cut into strips
½ pint Grape Tomatoes, halved
3 ounces Baby Spinach, washed and stemmed
1 ladle Starchy Pasta Water
5 ounces Philadelphia Brand® Cooking Crème – Santa Fe Blend
¼ cup dry White Wine or Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 – 2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 large Hard Boiled Egg, diced
Chopped Fresh Chives, to taste
Dash or two of Spanish Paprika, to taste (optional)

Cook pasta one minute under package directions.

Add one tablespoon of oil to large non stick skillet.  Add bacon.  Cook until crispy. 

Transfer bacon to bowel.   Carefully dump out bacon grease. 

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to pan.  Return to heat. 

Add grape tomatoes, the pasta, and half of the spinach.  Add cooking water to wilt spinach.  Toss mixture in pan. 

Add in cooking crème, wine, and the rest of the spinach.  Toss well until everything is coated with the crème.  Transfer pasta to bowel. 

Santa Fe B.E.L.T. Pasta, topped and ready to eat!
Top with bacon, cheese, hard boiled egg, chive and paprika.  Serve immediately.

*Not a paid endorsement and no product was supplied to blogger. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spanish Chicken in Sofrito Brandy Sauce

As you know, I am always looking for quick and easy (and inexpensive) dinners.  This meal feeds four.  The sauce is so delicious, this will soon become one of your favorites.

You can certainly make this on the stove.  You know I am all about saving energy and not heating up your kitchen in the summer.   If you can, make this on the grill.  You can recycle the tin foil pans, too.  ;.)

Do NOT forget to click on the pictures.  You'll get a better look at the dish!

Spanish Chicken in Sofrito Brandy Sauce
with Asparagus Bundles
 For this recipe, you will need -

Four Bone-in Chicken Thighs

There are two steps to this chicken:  The marinade and the sauce.

The Spanish Marinade:

3 tablespoons bottled Softrito (suggest Goya)
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh Culantro
2 fresh Oregano Springs
One tablespoon Grill Seasoning for Steak (reserve)

Whisk together all liquid ingredients.  Add chicken thighs and fresh herbs.  Marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours (more if possible).

Spanish Chicken, Marinating
Before you grill the chicken,  you will need to sprinkle the thighs with one tablespoon of Grill Seasoning for Steak.

I like to cook this chicken in a tin foil pan, sprayed with cooking spray, on top of the grill.  I cook the chicken to 170 degrees.   Then I transfer the chicken to a grill-safe skillet.  I use my side burner for the next step.

The Sofrito Brandy Sauce:

Two tablespoons bottled Sofrito
1/2 cup Dry White Wine
1/4 cup Brandy
2 teaspoons Corn Starch
Pinch Sea Salt
Pinch Fresh Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and pour over cooked chicken drained of fat.  Be sure to remove the skillet from the flame before adding the mixture. 

Alcohol and an open flame don't mix... no matter if you're drinking it or using it in a marinade.  ;.)

Reduce the sauce for one minute, until thickened.  Serve with asparagus wrapped in ham.

Drain chicken and place
into a grill-safe skillet
before adding the sauce mixture!

Asparagus Wrapped in Ham,
grilled to perfection

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Clams and Oysters Mama Pirri

Clam Boats and Dan's LITE Fried Oysters

Happy Mother's Day to Mama Pirri

Moms are the greatest people in the world.  We were not able to have any kids of our own (except for our Dog Eddie).  My own mom passed away several years ago.  Dan's Mom (Mama Pirri) is like a mom to me.  I like to do it up right for Mama Pirri.  I would have liked to put up e-pics of my own Mom... I only have good paper pics of her to share. 

True story... My mom died of MS.  She was in a nursing home when she met Mama Pirri right before Dan and I married.   As Mama Pirri and I were leaving, Mom called out in a faint voice... "Mary Kay, she likes you.  Don't screw this up." 

Needless to say, Mama Pirri took me under her wing from that day on.  She knew what mom really meant.  We have been the best of friends ever since.  Mama Pirri said that Mom's comment reminded her of something that her own mom would say.

Going out on Mother's Day can be a real chore; you have to wait for a table; you rack up drink bills at the bar while waiting, and the food and service is just -- okay -- because the restaurant is so darn busy.   What kind of treat is that for anyone?  Really?  Shouldn't you enjoy spending time with Mom in a less stressed out way?

Mama Pirri loves clams and oysters.  Dan and I decided to put together a Mom's-Day feast fit for the Queen of Neptune.  If your mom loves seafood, consider making this next year.  Any mom would love this better than going out.  The love and time that you put into making a home-cooked meal from the heart surpasses anything that money can buy!  Because of the sacrifices they made for you, moms really do appreciate it!

One of my mom's famous sayings (and she had many as she was a total sitcom character)... "Money doesn't make the man.  The man makes the man."  She did love Dan.  I am proud that she got to see us get married before she passed on.  I was so happy to have him help with the meal.

Mother's Day Menu at the Chateau LaBrie

Appetizer:   Steamed Clam Boats with Fresh Herbs, Lemon and Wine
Salad:           Pat and Gina Neelys' Watermelon Salad*, minus the Arugula...
Course:        Dan's Famous LITE Fried Oysters --
                               -- served with  -
                                         Jazzed Up Tarter Sauce (Secret Recipe...sorry)
                                         Cheesy Roasted Asparagus
Dessert:       Dan's Rum-Spiked Carrot Cake

Course #1:

Clams, Tomato, Fresh Herbs & Wine

Steamed Clam Boats (Per Boat)

I have seen similar recpies on TV and in magazines, but this is my version. 

One Dozen Littleneck Clams  - scrubbed
1/8 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
Course Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
2 -3 Springs Fresh Oregano
2 - 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 clove of Garlic, minced
Squirt of Lemon
1/4 Cup Dry White Wine

Combine all ingredients.  Secure the tin foil into a "boat" shape.   Grill packets for 15 minutes, until all clams open.  Serve clams in packets. 

Course: #2

Pat and Gina Neely's
Watermelon Salad (See link)

Pat and Gina's Watermelon Salad:  This was awesome.  Dan doesn't like Arugula so we left that out.


Course # 3

Dan's LITE Fried Oysters

Dan’s Famous LITE Fried Oysters

The egg mixture makes these extremely light.  Dan’s deep frying method is quick, that the oysters do not have the time to soak up the oil. 

2 – 8 oz containers shucked Oysters, rinsed and patted dry
60 oz. Canola Oil
3 Eggs, Beaten
Splash of 2% Milk
2 Cups Cornmeal
1 tablespoon Old Bay
1 tablespoon Spanish Paprika
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
Course Sea Salt, to taste
Squirt of Lemon Juice, to taste
Freshly Chopped Parsley, for garnish (optional)

Rinse oysters and pat dry with paper towel to remove any of the salty packing liquid. 

Add canola oil to a deep pan.  Using a candy thermometer, bring oil to 350 degrees.

Combine eggs and milk in one bowl.  Combine the cornmeal, Old Bay, paprika and garlic powder in another.  Dip oysters into egg mixture and then roll in corn meal mixture.  Drop oysters in batches into hot oil.  Be careful to use a splash guard.  Bring oil back to 350 degrees and cook oysters for about three minutes until golden brown.   Transfer to a plate or bowl lined with paper towel and pat with more paper towel to remove the excess oil. 

Immediately season with sea salt and a splash of lemon.   Top with chopped parsley (optional).

I like to serve this with my special tarter sauce (secret recipe…sorry – I don’t do that to you very often).  I pair this with fresh asparagus sprinkled with veggie seasoning.  I drizzle this with olive oil and grill it up in a tin foil pan for about 10 minutes.  I top it off with grated Swiss Cheese.

Course #4

Dan’s cake recipe is also a secret….  Actually, no... It's Duncan Hines mix with two shots of rum replacing some of the water... and canned Creamed Cheese frosting... 

PS:  The reason that I included a Neely recipe here is because Mama Pirri gets a kick out of Dan and my interaction in the kitchen.  She always laughs and says we need to take "kitchen couple etiquette lessons" from Pat and Gina.  Dan gets all hyper when he can't find something he needs in a drawer, and my response is... "If it were up your you know what you'd know it." ;.)  LOL.   Pat and Gina, if you ever offer couple's kitchen counseling, we are so there!