Monthly Archives: April 2007

Shrimp and grits – It’s a Southern thing

Shrimp and grits

To be completely honest, I disliked grits for most of my life. My mom loved them. Dean loves them. And now I love them. Dean was raised with the rule that you had to at least eat a couple of bites of something before you could say you didn’t like it. And because of that Dean has one the broadest palates I’ve ever seen. So my hat’s off to Denny and Sharon.

Now back to the dish at hand – shrimp and grits. I came across this recipe about a month ago, and thought ‘wow this looks really good.’ As stated before, I disliked grits until about a year ago. I have tried to eat them at different times during my life, a spoonful here and taste there. One day Dean and I were out to lunch and he ordered cheese grits with his pulled chicken. Dean commented on how creamy the grits were and that I had to try them. I said the same thing I always say ‘I’ll do it because you want me to, but I’m still not going to like them.’ Well I had to eat my words that day because they were good! So I started looking for recipes for cheesy grits or shrimp and grits. And this is the one I went with. Now with a lot of southern recipes, this is not figure friendly. There is cream, white cheddar cheese, and bacon. (G0sh, it has to taste good!)

Changes: I used a pound of large shrimp instead of buying the extra large shrimp mainly because of the price difference. Also instead of wrapping the shrimp in bacon, I fried the bacon and crumbled it over the shrimp and grits. I used 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease to saute the shrimp. I tossed the raw shrimp in the Essence and then sauteed it for 5-6 minutes. I didn’t fix the crispy spinach, but I have made that spinach before and it is delightful.

Bacon-Wrapped Gulf Shrimp with Creamy White Cheddar Grits, Crispy Spinach and a Sweet Spicy Tomato Jam
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2006

18 strips bacon
18 jumbo shrimp (16-20’s) about 1 1/4 pounds
1 1/2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
1/4 cup olive oil
1 recipe Cheesy Grits, recipe follows
1 recipe Fried Spinach, recipe follows
1 recipe Tomato Jam, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut 2 inches off of each strip of bacon and reserve the short pieces for another use. Place the trimmed strips of bacon on a sheet pan and bake the bacon until slightly pink and some of the fat has rendered out of it, about 6 minutes. While the bacon is cooking, peel the shrimp, leaving the tails attached. De-vein and set aside, refrigerated, until ready to use. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bacon to cool. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, season the shrimp with the Essence and wrap a strip of the parcooked bacon around each shrimp, slightly overlapping the bacon as you twist it around the shrimp. Set aside and repeat with the remaining shrimp and bacon slices. Set a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, and add the olive oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, lay the shrimp in the pan and cook for 2 1/2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 1/2 minutes. Serve the shrimp over the top of Cheesy Grits and garnish with the Fried Spinach. Drizzle the Tomato Jam decoratively over each plate.

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

Recipe from “New New Orleans Cooking”, by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch, published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Cheesy Grits:
6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups quick cooking or old-fashioned grits (not instant)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar

In a large, heavy saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add a generous teaspoon of salt and the grits and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. When the grits thicken, add the milk, cream and butter and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the grits are tender, smooth and creamy. Taste and season the grits with the remaining salt and pepper. (If the grits seem too runny simply allow to cook a bit longer, uncovered and stirring frequently, until the desired consistency is reached.) Fold the cheese into the grits, and keep covered and warm until ready to use.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Fried Spinach:
1/2 pound baby spinach
Salt and pepper

Preheat a fryer or large Dutch oven half-filled with vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. Place the spinach in the oil and fry until dark green and crispy, 30 to 45 seconds. Remove from the oil and place on a paper-lined sheet pan and season with salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute

Tomato Jam:
1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon toasted, ground coriander

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Originally uploaded by jenianddean.



Filed under Emeril, Entrees, Seafood, Shrimp

Grilled Pork Chops with Orange Barbecue Sauce

blood orange pork chops

Once again, while John was home from Korea, I made these wonderful pork chops. They have a sweet and tangy flavor. The jalapenos add a slight heat to the background of the barbecue sauce.

In regards to “1 quart of orange juice”, I would cut that in half. My barbecue sauce never thickened up. It still had a wonderful taste, so I think this could have been a misprint or something didn’t go right when I made the sauce. I had no complaints about the flavor or the sauce. I also used 1 cup of blood orange juice and the rest was no pulp orange juice. I couldn’t find a bottle of blood orange juice so I had to juice them myself, and blood oranges are a little pricey which is why I didn’t use only blood orange juice.

Grilled Pork Chops with Orange Barbecue Sauce

Batali brushes citrusy-spicy barbecue sauce on pork chops after they’re almost cooked through so the sauce doesn’t burn on the grill. He prefers flavoring the sauce with blood orange juice, which is less acidic than classic orange juice, but both are good.

1 quart plus ¼ cup fresh orange juice, preferably blood orange juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, or other pure chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin 8 bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick (10 to 12 ounces each)
1 cup ketchup
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 jalapenos, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 orange, preferably a blood orange, sliced crosswise (8 slices)

In each of 2 large resealable plastic bags, combine 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of chile powder and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin. Seal the bags and shake to mix. Add 4 pork chops to each bag, seal and shake again to coat the chops. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Light a grill. In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 1 quart of orange juice with the ketchup, garlic, jalapenos, vinegar and fennel seeds and bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 30 minutes.

Season the barbecue sauce with salt. Season the pork chops with salt and grill over a medium-hot fire until nicely charred and just pink in the center, about 12 minutes per side. Brush a thick layer of barbecue sauce on each chop, cover the grill and cook until the pork is nicely glazed, about 3 minutes. Top each chop with an orange slice and serve.

Make Ahead:

The pork chops can be marinated overnight. The barbecue sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Recipe by Mario Batali
From Batali Revs Up the Grill
This recipe originally appeared in September, 2006.

Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

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Filed under Entrees, Food & Wine, Grilling, Pork

Banana pudding

Banana pudding

Not Yo’ Mama’s Banana Pudding

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies
6 to 8 bananas, sliced
2 cups milk
1 (5 oz) box instant French vanilla pudding
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Line the botten of a 13″x 9″ x 2″ dish with 1 bag of cookies and layer bananas on top.

In a bowl, combine the milk and pudding mix and blend well using a handheld electric mixer. Using another bowl, combine the cream cheese and condensed milk together and mix until smooth. Fold in whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and stir until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies and bananas and cover the remaining cookies. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Originally uploaded by jenianddean


Filed under Desserts, Paula Deen, Pudding

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Grainy Mustard Glaze

cedar plank salmon with mustard crust (on grill)

Salmon is one of my favorite fishes. When John was in town from Korea, I made this recipe. It was absolutely wonderful. It was super fast to put together, and once you put it on the grill there isn’t much you have to do after that. The part that does take time is soaking the cedar planks. It takes 30 minutes. A couple of different recipes I have read suggest using apple juice to soak the planks in, but I just used water, and they worked wonderfully.

By using the cedar planks, the salmon doesn’t fall apart like it has the tendency to do on the grill. And the cedar really does give it an unexpected flavor.

I used a cajun spicy mustard as my grainy mustard to give it a little heat.

Cedar-Planked Salmon with Grainy Mustard Glaze

Eight 7-inch square cedar planks
1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
salt and freshly ground pepper
eight 6 to 8 ounce salmon fillets, skinned

If using a charcoal grill, light the grill. Soak cedar planks in water for 30 minutes. When the coals are covered with a light gray ash, push them to opposite sides of the grill and set a disposable drip pan in the center. When you put the planks on the grill, set them on the hot grate above the drip pan and away from the coals.

If using a gas grill, preheat the grill to high. Turn off one set of burners. When you put the planks on the grill, set them above the unlit burners.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend the whole-grain mustard with the mayonnaise, dry mustard, soy sauce, honey, and lemon zest; season with salt pepper. Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

Drain the planks and pat dry. Set the salmon fillets on the planks, skinned side down. Spread the mustard glaze over the top and sides of each fillet. Arrange planks on the grill according to the directions above (gas or charcoal). Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the salmon is browned and just cooked through. Using a long metal spatula, transfer the salmon to plates and serve.

Make ahead: The mustard glaze can be refrigerated overnight.

Food & Wine – June 2006

Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

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Filed under Entrees, Fish, Food & Wine, Grilling

Butterscotch Creme Brulee with Caramel Corn

butterscotch creme brulee with caramel popcorn

I found this recipe a year ago in Food & Wine, but I was under the impression that creme brulee was difficult to make so I put it on the back burner until I was confident I could make it.  Since then I have made several creme brulees with much success.

Our friend John, who is currently stationed in Korea, was home for a visit in February so I thought this was a prefect occasion to make this recipe.  I had made a chocolate creme brulee for John and Susan’s 20th wedding anniversary dinner about 8 months before so I knew John really liked creme brulee. (chocolate creme brulee recipe will be posted at later date)

The key to making a silky creme brulee is straining the custard through a fine sieve.  This will eliminate any egg that may have  “cooked” when the hot mixture and egg mixture are whisked together.

Also the recipe calls for granulated sugar for the caramelized top, I use turbine sugar or raw sugar.  Personally I think it does better with the propane torch.

I use a 6-cup measuring cup with a pouring lip to fill the ramekins.  I have better control of where I’m pouring and I have less spillage.

Butterscotch Creme Brulee with Caramel Corn

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
9 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar.
Caramel Corn (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 300 F.  In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, brown sugar, and salt.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the sugar melts and small bubbles appear around the rim.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the chocolate until melted.  Add the vanilla.  In a medium, bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Gradually whisk in the hot cream mixture, then strain the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl.

Set eight 1/2-cup ramekins in a roasting pan.  Pour the custard into the ramekins and add enough hot water to the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until the creme brulee are set but still slightly jiggly in the center.  Uncover and let cool and firm, at least 5 hours.

Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar evenly over each creme brulee. Carmalize the sugar with a propane or brulee torch.  Top the creme brulee with the caramel corn and serve.

If you don’t have a propane or brulee torch —
Set the ramekins in the freezer for 20 minutes, until icy cold. Preheat the broiler and position a rack 6″ from the heat. Place 4 of the ramekins in a baking pan and fill it with ice.  Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar  evenly over each creme brulee and broil for about 1 minute, until the tops are caramelized.  Remove the creme brulees from the ice water and refrigerate just until chilled, about 15 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining creme brulees.

Caramel Corn

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups freshly popped corn
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts

Line a large baking sheet with lightly buttered parchment paper or foil.  In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring to a boil.  Wash down the side of the saucepan with a wet pastry brush.  Cook the syrup over moderate heat without stirring, until a medium amber caramel color forms, about 7 minutes.  Remove from the heat and carefully stir in the butter and salt until melted.  Add the popcorn and peanuts and carefully stir to coat all the pieces.  Pour the caramel corn onto the buttered sheet and spread in an even layer.  Drizzle any remaining caramel on top.  Let cool for 30 minutes, then break the caramel corn into pieces.

Food & Wine – November 2005

Originally uploaded by jenianddean.

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Filed under Creme Brulee, Desserts, Food & Wine, Tips