Fleur de Lis

Fleur de Lis

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Monday, January 16, 2017

The St. Germaine Cocktail

I've always been intrigued when I see the St. Germain Cocktail listed on a drink menu. Imagine my delight when I recently saw the following bottle for sale. Not only the beautiful bottle of St. Germaine, but a beaker with the recipe for the St. Germaine Cocktail imprinted on the glass!

From their website:

The liqueur is made from elderflower, a small, white starry flower that blooms through the spring and summer. In Europe, the flower is used in many foods and drinks, but in the U.S. it’s gaining popularity in the form of this liqueur.

Saint Germain liqueur seems to bottle the taste of these warm floral notes. Still produced in an artisanal manner, the liqueur is made from flowers that are gathered from the hillsides in the French Alps during a short four-to-six-week period in spring. The picked flowers are bicycled to a collection depot (yep, bicycled) where they are immediately macerated to preserve the fresh flavors of the bloom. Extracting the flavors of this flower is not an easy process, and the Saint Germain company keeps theirs a family secret.
Each bottle of Saint Germain is individually numbered, reflecting the year in which the flowers were picked.
Cool, huh?

Here's the recipe from the St. Germain website:

2 parts Brut Champagne or dry white wine
1 1/2 parts St. Germain liqueur
2 parts sparkling water

When one puts one’s name on something, that something must be perfect. This something is. Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add Champagne first, then St-Germain, then Club Soda (the order is essential, not arbitraire). Stir completely and garnish with a lemon twist. And, if you have done all of the above perfectly, feel free to put your name on it, as well.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Spicy Cayenne Baked Catfish

If you're looking for a meal that can be on the table in less than 30 minutes, I'm going to share another one with you.  

I know there are those blog readers who do NOT like spicy food. I understand. However, there are those of you who LOVE and ADORE spicy food. So even though the catfish fillets are lightly coated in a very hot cayenne olive oil, these are not mouth burning hot. More of a gentle heat that sneaks up on you one bite at a time.

This Red Cayenne Chili Oil is made by crushing 12 pounds of fresh, whole, ripe cayenne chilies for each gallon produced.  The oil and chilies are fused together for two hours before decanting and filtering. 

1 lb. catfish fillets
Granulated Garlic
Chili Powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rinse catfish fillets and pat dry with paper towels.

Place catfish on baking sheet and lightly drizzle with the chili oil. Spread the chili oil evenly over the catfish with a brush.

Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and chili powder.

Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.  

Serve immediately with lemon slices.

Sunday Afternoon Snack

The unseasonably warm January weather continues. We both needed a little something to hold us over until suppertime. There's no need to grab that bag of chips, the jar of salsa, the junk food. Get into the habit of buying a little cheese to have on hand, some specialty crackers, a nice jar of jelly or jam, fresh fruit, some nuts.  Voila!  

Imagine if you have unexpected guests drop by. Five minutes in the kitchen to plate your delicious snack items and your guests are sure to feel very special.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Surf and Turf: Grilled T-Bone Steaks and Broiled Lobster Tails

We had an out of the ordinary warm January afternoon yesterday and planned a supper on the deck. Grilled T-bone steaks and broiled lobster tails were the main event for the surf and turf portion. A side dish of steamed green beans and a crescent roll rounded out the meal.

Follow these links for the recipes!



Espresso & Blood Orange Grilled T-Bone Steaks with sauteed garlic and mushrooms

Sometimes you need to go big! T-Bone steaks were on sale at Publix this week, so you know what happened don't you? Friday night's meal was planned around grilling! And when steaks are on the menu, a marinade is on the prep list. The lovely owner of King's Olive Oil Company was extremely helpful in helping me choose a combination of oil and vinegar.  I carried over the flavors when I prepared the mushrooms. The recipe for those will follow the steak recipe.  

If you're not a fan of coffee or espresso flavor, don't worry. The flavors are so subtle you'll never know there is espresso. BUT, this olive oil and vinegar combo add such a depth, you'll be sure to impress your family and friends. I can honestly say this is the best steak I've ever grilled!

For the marinade:
2 T. Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 medium shallot, grated
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T-bone steaks (total weight 2 lbs.)

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Pour into a Ziploc bag large enough to hold your steaks.

Place steaks into Ziploc bag and seal carefully. Place in refrigerator for up to 3 hours.

Remove steaks from refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat gas grill or prepare charcoal grill.

Remove steaks from marinade and grill until steaks reach your desired temperature. 

Place on serving plate and cover loosely with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes.

While steaks are resting, prepare the mushrooms.

1 garlic clove, grated
1 small shallot, grated
8 oz. sliced white mushrooms

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, and shallot. Allow olive oil to heat for a minute or so and then add mushrooms.

Stirring frequently, continue to allow mushrooms to cook and soften for 5 - 7 minutes.

Lightly salt and pepper the mushrooms and add the vinegar just before serving.  

Top steaks with mushrooms and serve immediately.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Broiled Lobster Tails with Browned Butter

Now before you think you can't afford lobster tails on a Friday night in January, let me stop you. If you have gone through a drive through this week or ordered one of those fancy coffees, you can afford a $3.99 lobster tail from Publix!  The 3 oz. lobster tails were on sale last week and since the temps today were actually in the low 70s in JANUARY, we decided to have Surf and Turf night on the deck.

But before we dig in, let's make our browned butter. Here's the link for the recipe for Browned Butter. Trust me when I tell you it's worth the 10 minutes or so to make it!

If the lobster tails you purchase are frozen, let the thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or place in a bowl of cold, salted water for 30 minutes or so.

First things first....let's cut the shell. Using kitchen shears, carefully cut along the back side of the lobster tail down to the last joint. Do not cut through to the end.

Turn the lobster over in your hand and squeeze tightly. You'll hear and feel the shell crack.

Next, flip the lobster tail over and gently loosen the lobster meat from the underside of the shell all the way to the last joint.

Turn the lobster shell side up in your hand and carefully pull the loosened lobster meat up through the shell. Pinch the lobster shell together and gently place the lobster meat on top of the shell.

Brush with some of the browned butter (please tell me you've made the browned butter!), and lightly salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler on high. Place lobster tails on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Do not use parchment paper on the baking sheet.  Do not ask me how I know this.

For 3 oz. lobster tails, you'll need to broil for about 3 minutes. For 6 oz. lobster tails, 6 minutes. Watch carefully, you don't want them to burn!

Plate and serve with the browned butter and lemon wedges.


Browned Butter

It only takes a few minutes and the flavor that you'll have to enjoy with lobster is unbelievable. Brown butter adds nutty, toasted flavors to sweet and savory dishes. Trust me, there is nothing to it!

www.seriouseats.com provides great written step by step instructions which I'm sharing with you here.

First of all, melt your butter in a light-colored saucepan so you can check the degree of brownness you're getting.

Butter consists of clear yellowish butterfat, water, and milk proteins. When browning butter, those proteins are what's actually browning. The heavy bottom ensures the butter heats evenly while the light color allows you to monitor the butter's color as it browns. Heat the butter gently over low heat it has melted completely.

Butter contains a good 13 to 17% water, which has to go before the fat's temperature can rise enough to brown the milk proteins. Once the butter reaches a temperature of 212°F, the water in the butter starts to evaporate much more quickly. As a result, the butter will start to bubble and splatter dramatically. I usually place a splatter screen over the pan at this point, though swirling the pan and stirring constantly to make sure any and all bubbles get released will work as well. 

If you're confident, you can raise the temperature to medium or medium-high at this point, though higher temperatures means your butter will go from perfect to burnt much faster. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent the butter from catching and burning.  

After about five minutes the butter will start to foam. This is when you want to watch the butter like a hawk, stirring it around with your spatula to prevent the milk solids from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

You can tell the butter is browning because dark golden flecks (browned milk solids) will appear in the melted butter, which will start to smell nutty and toasty.

The foam can make it hard to see if the butter is browned to your liking, so to check the color, try clearing away some of the foam with a spoon or take the pan off the heat and spoon a little of the butter onto a white plate.

Once you're happy with the level of browning, pour the butter—browned milk solids and all—into a heatproof bowl and stir it for one or two minutes to cool it down. If you were to leave the butter in the pan, the residual heat would continue to cook it, and the butter might scorch from a perfect brown to a burnt-tasting black.  Also, keep in mind that only the milk solids turn a dark golden brown, not the butter itself. The fat will be darker as well, but not as dramatically as the milk solids. 

The last step is to let it cool slightly and pour (or spoon it through a fine mesh strainer to remove most of the solids.

Now you are ready to spoon over steamed vegetables, cooked pasta, or as we're going to use it tonight, spooned into dipping bowls for lobster tails!


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Rosemary and Black Truffle Oil Potatoes


Sometimes in the middle of a hectic week, you want simple comfort food. Tonight was going to be hot dog night. But I wanted it to be a little special, you know? So instead of chips or french fries, I cubed up 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, brought out one of my favorite cast iron skillets, and browned them up for about 10 minutes. Still sounds ordinary, right? This is where we raise them to another flavor level.  How you ask? With a light drizzle of these two specialty oils: Rosemary Olive Oil  and  Black Truffle Oil.

A light drizzle is all you'll need to transform plain potatoes to a new family favorite.

4 - 5 medium Yukon gold potatoes (peeled or unpeeled, your choice)
2 - 3 T. Rosemary Olive Oil
1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped (stem removed) 
Drizzle of Rosemary Olive Oil and Black Truffle Oil

Cube potatoes. I hope you've entered to win the chopper (just like the one shown below) over on my Facebook page!  The contest ends on Thursday night (1/12/17) at 8:00 p.m. CST!

Heat rosemary olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add potatoes and spread in a single layer. Let potatoes cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.

Remove potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt. Transfer potatoes to a serving plate, sprinkle with chopped rosemary and drizzle with additional rosemary olive oil and black truffle oil.  Serve immediately.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Baked Salmon with Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

Tonight's dinner can be classified under many categories: fish, sheet pan suppers, easy weeknight meal, healthy eating......but the category that means the most is DELICIOUS. 

Here are the stars of our dinner prep tonight. Click on the links to learn more about these amazing and healthy oils and vinegars from King's Olive Oil Company.

They were paired together for the glaze for the salmon, and the Blood Orange was used solo for the roasted asparagus.

To make the glaze:

5 T. Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
2 t. Blood Orange fused olive oil
2 T. whole grain mustard
1/8 t. ground cayenne pepper
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 T. brown sugar

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredient together. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

1 lb. salmon fillets, cut into equal serving sizes
Blood Orange fused olive oil

Pat salmon fillets dry with a paper towel. Lightly coat both sides with Blood Orange fused olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and lightly brush on a layer of glaze. Return to oven for five minutes. Remove from oven and apply more glaze. Check internal temperature. 145 degrees F. is your magic number. Continue to cook in 5-minute increments, applying more glaze each time until 145 degrees F. is reached.  Serve immediately.

If you'd like to roast some asparagus for your side dish, the sheet pan is the perfect solution. Wash asparagus spears and break off the tough ends. Place spears on the baking sheet and drizzle with Blood Orange fused olive oil.  Lightly salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  The asparagus will be ready at the same time as the salmon!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Lemony Rosemary Garlic Chicken

One of my most favorite flavor combinations:  lemon and rosemary. During these cold winter days, this dish will transport your senses to the sunny Mediterranean. One again, our friends at King's Olive Oil Company are providing the oil and vinegar for this recipe.

The stars of this dish are Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar and Rosemary Infused Olive Oil.  Whisked together with a few additional ingredients these two come together to make an amazing marinade for the chicken.

1/2 cup Sicilian Lemon Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. Tone's Tuscan Garlic Seasoning Blend
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 head garlic, cloves separated and "smashed" with the flat side of a knife

4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 slices lemon

In a medium bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and Tuscan Garlic Seasoning Blend. Place chicken breasts into a Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Add all the garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Seal carefully and place in refrigerator for several hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, place chicken breasts and sear until browned on both sides.

Spray a small baking dish (7 x 11) with non-stick spray and, when chicken is browned, place into the baking dish. Place a lemon slice on top of each chicken breast and then top with the rosemary sprigs as shown below.

Add wine to the skillet and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bit from the bottom of the skillet. Pour in reserved marinade and garlic cloves and let cook for 1 - 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour over chicken.


Cover with foil and bake for 20 - 25 until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove rosemary sprigs before serving.

Serve over quinoa, rice or noodles. Spoon sauce and garlic cloves over chicken.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Flavors of the South Casserole

What do you do when you have New Year's leftovers? In my case, the leftovers included ham, mustard greens, and field peas. True, those are some of my favorite Flavors of the South.  But when you add GRITS to the equation, now you're talking.

I combined cooked grits with the above-mentioned leftovers and a new casserole was born. Doesn't this one just scream Made in the South?

5 cups cooked grits
1 cup cooked chopped mustard greens
1/4 cup minced yellow onions
2/3 cup cooked field peas or black-eyed peas
1/2 - 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. hot pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
Combine all ingredients (with only 1 1/2 cups of the cheese) in a large bowl. Pour into prepared baking dish.

Bake for 40 minutes and remove from oven. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and return to oven for 10 additional minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 Serve with additional hot pepper sauce on the side.

Chipotle Chili

It's a longstanding tradition when snow (of any amount!) is in the forecast, chili is on the menu. And with low temperatures forecast in the teens, a chili with some HEAT is needed!

One of the best ways to have a delicious dish, is to add flavors from the beginning. In this case, chipotle is our base flavor, so we will begin with this: http://kingsoliveoil.com/product/chipotle/
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 - 4 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, chopped
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
2 T. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground coriander
1 T. Mexican oregano
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
2 lbs. ground chuck
1 (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
3 cans beef consomme
1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can chili beans 
2 T. Worcestershire sauce  
1 T. chopped cilantro (optional)

In a large Dutch oven (I used a 7 1/2 quart), heat chipotle olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions.

Let the onions cooks for 4 - 5 minutes and then add the green peppers and, stirring occasionally, let them cook for 3 - 4 minutes.

Now it's time to add the garlic and chipotle peppers. By the time you allow this mixture to cook for about 4 minutes, your kitchen will smell amazing.

Next add salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and Mexican oregano. Stir to combine thoroughly and cook 3 - 4 minutes to let the spices heat through and become aromatic.

Lower the heat to medium and add the ground chuck, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the ground chuck is browned through.

Add the whole tomatoes, along with the juice, breaking them up with the wooden spoon. 

Add the diced tomatoes and beef consomme and increase heat to bring to a boil.

It's time to add the beans and Worcestershire sauce! Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally so the chili won't stick.

A few minutes before serving, add the chopped cilantro, if using, and taste. Add salt and/or pepper if needed.

Top with your favorite toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, etc. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.