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Even thought it’s currently coming down in buckets outside it’s still summer and that means it’s officially grill season. The smell of barbeque seems to be drifting from every corner so we joined the masses and fired up our grill for some tasty treats. I adore outdoor cooking and keep my grill handy all year round for a quick fix. I was hankering for some old fashion comfort food so decided on BBQ ribs with homemade BBQ sauce, sweet potato fries sprinkled with basil salt served with garlic lemon mayo (I could eat these all by themselves for a meal!), and grilled corn on the cob. A quite simple yet satisfying meal.

If you don’t have a BBQ (that’s a tragedy that you must remedy immediately) I’ve included instructions for oven grilling the ribs.

I promised the lovely Diana I would post these recipes…So cheers to you missy! Enjoy.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

No, not cheese silly....Fresh grated horseradish.

Crab-Boiled Country Style Pork Ribs

Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

You’ll need:

  • 6 pounds country style pork ribs
  • 1/2 cup liquid crab boil
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 2 pieces
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, washed, ends trimmed, and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed and toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated horseradish
  • 1 cup malt or cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

Essence (Emeril’s Creole Seasoning):

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Preparation for ribs:

In a large pot, combine all the rib ingredients and enough water to cover by 1-inch (about 12 cups) and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a slow boil, cover the pot, and cook for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until ribs are very tender when pierced with a fork.

While the ribs are cooking, prepare the BBQ sauce. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan, over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the onions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the ketchup, horseradish, cider vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce and stir to mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and the flavors have married, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

GRILL: Preheat grill to around 400. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Generously coat the ribs with the BBQ sauce. Grill the ribs turning and brushing with the sauce until cooked through and marked nicely.

OVEN ONLY: Preheat the oven to broil. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the ribs to one of the prepared pans. Blot any excess liquid with paper towels, and discard the vegetables and cooking liquid. Spread half of the BBQ sauce over the 2nd lined pan. Lay the ribs flat over the sauce, and spoon the remaining sauce over the ribs to coat generously. Broil until the sauce is caramelized, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Mayonnaise

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

You’ll need:

  • 5 sweet potatoes, cut into about 1 by 5-inch “fries”
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the sweet potato “fries” on a foil-lined baking sheet and toss with the olive oil. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the basil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl combine the mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice, and stir to combine.

When the sweet potato fries come out of the oven, sprinkle with the basil salt. Serve with the garlic mayonnaise alongside for dipping.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

You’ll need:

  • 4 ears of fresh corn, in their husks

Prepare your grill, gas or charcoal, with direct, high heat, about 550°F.

Remove the visible silks from the tips of the corn and any long pieces inside. DO NOT remove the husks!

Submerge the corn in their husks in cold water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes prior to cooking.

Place the corn in their husks on the hot grill. Cover. Turn the corn occasionally, until the husks are charred on all sides, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove corn from grill. Let sit for 5 minutes. Use a hand towel to protect your hands while removing the silks and charred husks from the corn.

Serve hot, with butter and salt. Or better yet, herb butter. YUM.

What are your favorite flavors of summer? Got any great BBQ recipes or secret tips? Please share!

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Oh, yeah. I’ll been know for taking risks. And when I caught those fresh broad beans eyeing me from across the produce section I knew I must scoop them up even though I had absolutely no plan for these tasty morsels. See, told you – I’m wild.

I ended up making some bean fritters (ala Naked Chef style) with refreshing mint yogurt sauce. (Think falafel here). They were a delightful surprise to the usual (well, nothings really usual around here) weeks dishes.

Whack together some cilantro, mint, cumin, cayenne pepper, fresh broad beans, half a spicy chili, lemon zest, salt, and flour in your Cuisinart and you’re ready to dunk these mini footballs in hot oil for a couple minutes. Crunchy on the outside yet so moist on the inside. And who doesn’t love to dip?

Here’s the short Jamie Oliver video:

If the video doesn’t play: click here

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My brother Joe and his lovely wife, Janet

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Janet for over twenty years. She has an amazing smile that sparkles from across the room, finds humor in even the small things, competes in triathlons AND in addition to be an incredible mom to the sweetest niece and nephew an aunt could want, coach & mentor of young girls, den mother, PTA leader, (uh, yeah, I could keep going on here!) is ALSO a personal chef. So, I must say, I feel fortunate this talented lady is my sister-in-law. After our wedding in Spain last month, my brother and his family joined us in Sweden for a week of sight-seeing, golfing, and lounging out on the lake. Sadly, the latter two didn’t really make it on the agenda….but next time Joe, I promise!

One night hanging out in the Swedish midnight sun (Yes, it’s true. The sun sets at midnight in the height of the summer) Janet made us the most scrumptious salmon cakes. Her clients, including her own family, rave about these fish patties and I can see why. Simple, easy to prepare, and just plain delicious. You’ll love them.

Janet’s Salmon Cakes on Mixed Baby Greens

Makes four servings

You’ll need:

  • 1 lbs salmon
  • 1+ cup white wine
  • 1+ cup cracker meal
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 round tsp Old Bay Seasoning or seafood seasoning (see below for recipe)
  • 1/2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 20 blades chives
  • 1 tbs dill, fresh
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper sauce
  • 2 lemons, juice and zest
  • Salad greens – mixed baby greens
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1+ tsp chili sauce, such as Siracha
  • 2 tbs dill pickle relish – or chopped dill pickles

Preparation:

1. In covered pan, poach salmon in wine and enough water to just come to the top of fish. Quarter a lemon lengthwise and add 1/4 piece to pan along with a few sprigs of dill and chives. Cover and simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
2. In medium bowl, flake the cooked salmon with a fork. Add about 1 cup cracker meal and work through with hands. Add the eggs, Old Bay, bell pepper, chives, dill, cayenne pepper sauce, and the zest and juice of 1 of the lemon and continue to blend well. If the mixture is wet, add more cracker meal. Let stand 5 minutes while pan is heating. Form into 4 patties about 1 inch thick.
3. Heat heavy skillet with just enough oil to coat the bottom.
4. Cook until golden brown, about 3 – 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.
5. Combine mayo, and relish and chili sauce to taste in a small dish.
6. Toss salad greens with course salt and the juice of the remaining lemon. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.
7. To serve, place salmon cake on a bed of baby greens, and top with chili mayo.

Old Bay Seasoning

The exact recipe is a secret, but this is a close approximation.

  • 2 tablespoons ground bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Store in an airtight container in a cool place. Makes about 1/4 cup.

July 2008 - Midnight Sun in Sweden

July 2008 - Midnight Sun in Sweden

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You know it’s not going to be fat free if it’s got Paula Deen’s name on it. Just make sure you share this treat so it doesn’t all end up on your backside. Wonderfully dense and super moist, this cake’s richness is perfectly balanced when topped with fresh strawberries and a teeny dollop of vanilla cream. I still have a couple slices left, but you’ll need to hurry.

Southwest Georgia Pound Cake

Courtesy of Paula Deen

You’ll need:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (you may use lemon or almond flavoring instead)

Preparation:

Generously grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Do not preheat the oven.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and heavy cream to butter-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in flavoring.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Put into a cold oven and set the temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Bake for an additional 15 minutes if necessary. Remove from the oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto cake plate. For a real treat, serve yourself a slice while it’s still warm.

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This gooey rich slice of heaven has to be one of my all time favorite treats. Chocolate goodness oozing out the moment your fork hits it….

Just across the water from downtown Portland, there is a pint-sized cozy restaurant serving fresh, local and organic dishes known as The Farm Cafe. Countless nights I’ve made my way over there squeezing in at the teeny weeny bar (they don’t take reservations) just to order this yummy chocolaty treat. Their version is a cross between molten cake and a traditional soufflé – more like a fallen chocolate lava soufflé (and I mean that in the best possible way). They make each pot of deliciousness to order so be prepared to kick it for twenty minutes over a glass of wine. It’s SO worth it. Check this review.

This last weekend I prepared dinner for just under thirty guests at the golf and country club and wanted to serve a deliciously memorable meal. I started with baked halibut in saffron broth over mashed potatoes with a tomato and black olive ragoût followed by this to-die-for chocolate molten cake – recipe by Dave Lieberman.

My apologies; in my haste to keep the hot – hot and the cold – cold (remember – I was plating for over a couple dozen peeps!) I totally spaced taking a snapshot of the final product and only took a few pics of the prep. The good news is I will probably be making some more of this loveliness tomorrow and may be able to grab a decent photo.

Molten Chocolate Cake

Courtesy of Dave Lieberman

You’ll need:

7 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
11 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 6 (6-ounce) ramekins. (I dusted them with sugar instead of flour).

Place 5 1/2 ounces of the chocolate and the butter in the top of a double boiler, and melt them over simmering water.

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick, about 8 minutes. Reduce speed and add flour. Add the chocolate mixture and continue beating until glossy, about another 5 minutes.

Divide half the mixture into the ramekins. Divide the remaining chopped chocolate among the ramekins, making a little pile in the middle of each one. Top with the rest of the batter.

Bake until just set around the edges, but the center still jiggles. About 10-12 minutes. DO NOT overcook. (I found they didn’t need the full time – so keep your eye on them carefully).

Cool just a few minutes and un-mold each cake onto a plate.

Raspberry Coulis

You’ll need:

1 (10-ounces) package frozen raspberries (if available with syrup)
2 tablespoons sugar – to taste (sometimes I use vanilla sugar)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice – to taste

Preparation:

Puree raspberries with syrup, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.

Alternatively, you can throw the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice into a sauce pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for approximately 8 -10 minutes, puree with a hand held mixer, and pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids.

Either option should be chilled before serving.

You can also use fresh raspberries if available and in season – just increase the amount of sugar.

This dessert really does plate up so pretty and of course, you can take your own creative liberties, but this is how I prepared it: I placed the cakes upside down on the plate (the sugar coating/dusting works better than flour if this is how you intend to serve them) then lightly dusted them with icing sugar, added a bit of the home-made raspberry coulis – so the upside down dome appears to be wading in the sauce, and finished with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

It turned out freakishly good…One of the ladies commented, “That was the best thing I have ever eaten. Would it be possible to have another?”

I promise – your guests will love you.

Bon Appétit!

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Yeah, ok. So it seems (hearing the rumblings coming from the mouths of my close friends at least) the majority of my posts are centering around food in some form or fashion. But I can’t seem to help it. Every recipe I’ve tried lately has been a hit and I feel obliged to share.

This baked fish & saffron concoction I whipped up last week is no exception. It was absolutely D-I-V-I-N-E. Yes, I do agree, this dish has a helluva long title and it does take a little prep work, but I promise it’s totally worth it.

I’m making it Saturday night for 26 peeps….Wish me luck!

Halibut

Baked Halibut in a Saffron Broth over Mashed Potatoes with a Tomato and Black Olive Ragoût

Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network.

Tomato and black olive ragoût:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 pound very ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup basil chiffonade
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

In a saucepan heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and olives and cook until sauce is thick and most liquid has evaporated. Season with herbs and salt and pepper to taste, adding sugar if necessary to correct acidity. Serve warm on top of baked halibut in a saffron broth with mashed potatoes.

Mashed potatoes and saffron broth:

2 quarts chicken stock
1 large pinch saffron (about 1/4-ounce)
Salt
5 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups warm milk
Freshly ground white pepper
3 large shallots, minced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

In a large saucepan combine chicken stock and saffron and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, add potatoes and cook, covered, until fork-tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Strain liquid into another large saucepan and reserve. Add butter to potatoes and stir and mash until completely melted. Add milk, stir well, and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm while making the halibut. In a saucepan saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add reserved saffron stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add green onions and simmer 5 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Halibut:

8 (6-ounce) halibut fillets
Creole seasoning, recipe follows
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup saffron broth from above

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Season halibut fillets with Creole seasoning on both sides. Rub fillets with olive oil and place on a lightly oiled shallow casserole or baking sheet with sides and pour saffron broth around fillets. Cover filets loosely with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 5 minutes, uncover and bake another 5 minutes, or until flesh flakes easily. Serve fillets in a large bowl on top of mashed potatoes, with saffron broth ladled over all and fish topped with a generous dollop of tomoato and black olive ragout.

Emeril’s ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Yield: 2/3 cup

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Chocolate Pots

This sure to impress no bake dessert is hella easy to whip up. Scrumptiously smooth, these cute chocolate pots can be prepared hours before your guests step foot onto your front porch and will have your chocoholic friends begging for more. Last night, I served this silky brown loveliness in martini glasses but espresso cups would be just as fun.

Chocolate Pots

Courtesy of Jamie Oliver serves 4-6 depending on portion size

You’ll need:

1/2 pint (285ml) heavy cream
7 ounces (200g) semisweet chocolate, at least 70 % cocoa
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons brandy, (Cointreau or Grand Marnier as alternatives)

3/4 ounces (20g) butter

Preparation:

In a thick-bottomed pot, heat the cream until near boiling. Remove and set aside for 1 minute before adding chocolate. Stir in until melted and smooth. Once melted, stir in egg yolks and brandy. Cool slightly, add butter and stir until smooth and shiny. Pour into individual serving pots.

Sometimes if you add the butter when the chocolate isn’t cool enough it will make the chocolate look as if it has split. To rectify this allow the mixture to cool a little longer before stirring in some cold milk, a little at a time, until you have a smooth consistency again.

Chocolate Pots

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