Saturday, August 31, 2013

Tomato-Basil Cheese Toast

We have so many tomatoes right now. I'm staring at the basketful on my kitchen table as we speak. An oppurtunity to use fresh tomatoes and basil from my garden is one I'm fully okay with! 

This is one of those things I grew up eating, and absolutely love. It definitely makes me think of home.

Tomato-Basil Cheese Toast

bread, sliced
mozzarella cheese, shredded
monterey jack cheese, sliced
tomato, sliced
creole spice blend
basil, chiffonade

  • Preheat oven to broil. 
  • Put a piece of parchment or a silicone mat on a baking sheet. Place the bread on the baking sheet and add a layer of mozzarella, tomatoes and monterey jack cheese. Sprinkle with the creole spice blend.
  • Place in the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.
  • Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo

I received some great news on Monday, my older brother Jason and his girlfriend Shannon are getting married in December. Happily I will be attending even though we are really busy at the restaurant during the winter. I look forward to seeing my family and to enjoy a mini vacation during my hectic schedule.

On to this yummy pasta. I was looking for something really quick and simple. Other than roasting the peppers, which is still quite simple and quick, this took no time to make at all. It would also be great with other vegetables and chicken added.

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo
Recipe from Closet Cooking 

1/2 lb pasta, cooked
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
2 red bell peppers {roasted}, chopped
1/4 cup basil

salt and pepper, to taste

  • Melt the butter in pan over medium heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  • Add the cream, goat cheese, parmesan and roasted red peppers. Simmer until the cheese has melted.
  • Remove from the heat and add the basiland puree with a hand blender or in a blender {I used my BlendTec}.
  • Return to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add in the pasta and mix thoroughly.
  • Serve with grated parmesan.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Shrimp and Andouille with Cheese Grits and Red Wine Gravy

Mmm, who doesn't love a southern classic. I actually grew up in the south, well Florida! My mom was always cooking delicious southern fare. I remember getting out of bed and having an awesome breakfast spread of jalapeno-cheese grits, biscuits and gravy and other yummy things. I was kind of excited to cook grits again, it's been so long. I received a request the other day from a friend who is also far from home and missing this particular dish. I just hope it's similar to what she's looking for!

Shrimp and Andouille with Red Wine Gravy

3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 andouille sausage links, small dice
25 large shrimps, shelled {tail on}
1 tablespoon creole spice blend
1 teaspoon slap ya mama seasoning

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon creole spice blend
1 teaspoon slap ya mama seasoning
1 1/4 cup red wine, reduced by half
1 1/2 cup beef stock

  • In a pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and both onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is slightly browned.
  • Add the andouille sausage and cook until the sausage starts to caramelize and brown. Add the shrimp, seasonings and remaining tablespoon of butter. Cook until the shrimps are thoroughly cooked.
  • Remove the mixture from the pan and set aside. To the pan, add the butter and flour and make a roux. Add the smashed garlic and seasonings and continue to cook until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Whisk in the red wine and beef stock, stirring until incorporated with the roux. The gravy will thicken over 5-6 minutes
  • Once the gravy is done, pour through a sieve to remove all of the excess garlic and other particles that were in the gravy.

Creamy Cheese Grits

2 tablespoons butter
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup grits {quick-cooking}
8 oz cheddar cheese {sharp}
salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a pan add the butter and garlic and cook until tender, making sure not to brown the garlic. Set aside.
  • Bring the water to a pre-boil and add the cream. Lower to medium heat and slowly add the grits to the liquid and continue to stir until they are fully cooked, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low and add the garlic-butter and cheese and stir until the cheese has melted.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

*If you desire thicker grits, reduce the water to 3 cups.


Creole Spice Blend

This is a similar spice blend to the beloved blackened redfish seasoning. I usually purchase it at the store but now that I've discovered this yummy recipe I'll just keep making it.

Creole Spice Blend

2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon slap ya mama seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme

  • Mix all of the ingredients above thoroughly.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Spinach Pesto Hummus

Recently when I was in Florida visiting my family, I went to the Winter Park Farmer's Market. There was a vendor there selling assorted dips and salsas and one of them happened to be a spinach pesto hummus. When I tried it, it reminded me so much of saag. I loved it!

Spinach Pesto Hummus

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
10 oz spinach, blanched
1/4 cup parsley leaves
7-10 basil leaves
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon paprika
half a lemon, juiced
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a blender or food processor, add all of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Season to taste.