Wednesday, December 12, 2012

East Lodge Crab Chowder

                             Cookie'z East Lodge Crab Chowder

This recipe is comfort food at its best. Whether you like shell fish or not, the mixture of garden veggies, spices, fresh herbs,  and creamy savory broth will wrap your palate under a cozy flavor blanket!

*** If someone is allergic to shellfish, substitute the real crab for chunked tilapia or swai and add the imitation crab.***

1 lb.  fresh or pouched crab meat (claw, white lump, or combination) If canned, 3 5 oz cans, drained
4 oz. imitation flaked crab (optional)
3-6 slices smoked bacon, slightly cooked, cut in small squares

The following vegetables, finely diced:

3 small regular carrots or 8 mini carrots
1/2 red bell pepper
2- 3 medium potatoes (CUBED)
1/2 cup red onion
1/2 cup yellow or white onion
3 stalks celery
2 green onions (tops & green)
3/4 cup roasted corn kernels (drained can corn is okay)

3  fresh thyme sprigs
4 tbs chopped chives

Seasoned with :

1 Tbs or 2 cloves crushed garlic
Tbs: sea or kosher salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper, and/or 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp white or black pepper

How to:

In a skillet or dutch oven at medium-high temperature, put 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil and 1 tbs unsalted butter. Saute all veggies, add two sprigs of fresh thyme until tender. Push to one side of the pan. 

Make a roux on the other side of pan:

6 tbs unsalted butter****
6 tbs all purpose flour,  till a creamy paste
Pull in the veggies, thyme sprigs and mix.ADD: 1 pint Heavy Cream
          1 pint Whole or 2% milk****
          6 cups Low sodium Vegetable, Chicken, or Seafood Stock
(If using boullion, 1 tsp/cube per cup of water).

ADD seafood and bacon:

Let it cook on medium, stirring often until very thick. ADD 1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine.
Add remaining fresh thyme, pulling out stems. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and COVER. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
Garnish servings with extra thyme, chives, and oyster crackers! Be bless



****For a lower calorie version, you can substitute fat free evaporated milk or Half & Half  or just 2% milk for the heavy cream, and half the butter for a butter/canola oil combination. But ask me if I'd do it? ------>

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Presidential Shrimp Tapas

                                                   Rustic Shrimp Tapas 

What in the world are Tapas? Simply, they're Spanish-inspired snacks in the form of canap├ęs or appetizers.  They're excellent with a drink or wine. Savory nibblers made up of several ingredients, with extra depth and dimension. **

I conjoured this one up last night while watching the 2012 election. Oh, gosh, I just couldn't help  myself... again! Needed something to distract me. Talk about easy. Let's get right to it!

Preheat Oven to 425° 

20 medium shelled (de-tailed) fresh or frozen RAW shrimp
2 tsp. olive oil or just vegetable spray
4 tbls chopped chives 
10 sliced black olives
12 oz. shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 bag shredded mozzarella cheese
tsp cumin or taco seasoning
4 cups of round unflavored tortilla chips
4 slices of semi-cooked bacon cut in one inch bites 
1 cup drained pineapple chunks (optional)
1/2 cup (more if you like) sliced jarred jalapeno peppers 
Your favorite salsa or picante sauce

Oil medium foiled pizza pan 
Spread out and layer ingredients as follows: tortilla chips, shrimp, Mexican cheese,
mozzarella, pineapple, bacon, jalapenos, chives, seasoning.
Spray the top of all layered ingredients
Place in oven for 8 minutes or until edges of chips and cheese are charred. Let it cool a bit.  It's VERY HOT!
When you serve, tear a small handful  from the tapa, dish out, and dip into salsa. You can also top it with avocado, sour cream.

You'll thank me in 4 years during the next election. *wink*

**For a REAL treat, check out the origin and legends on this little goody!

Try it and comment here on results. Questions and suggestions welcome! Thanks ya'll!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cookie'z Tex-Mex tamales

Southwestern Hot Tamales Without the hat and spurs!

You'll love these authentic tasty tamales. I usually make them with the corn husks and steam them upright on the stove with my handy dandy steamer pot, but recently tried it with parchment paper, steam/cooking them in a pan.  It was fun and not too difficult. Here's how!

What you'll need: 2 med or lg bowls, 1 13 x 9 lasagna pan or glass cassarole, one larger drip pan.

For the dough wrap:
4 cups Masa Corn Flour, 1 cup cooked corn grits ( cooked in beef or chicken broth)
1 tbs each: sea or kosher salt, baking powder, toasted cumin seed or powder, chili powder or taco seasoning, garlic powder, cayenne.
1/2 stick room temperature butter or baking shortening OR 1/4 cup Corn Oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup warm chicken or beef broth dripped in a little at a time.( if too wet, just add a dust of  any flour)
 Parchment paper, stapler (optional)

For the filling:
1 roll chorizo sausage ( soyrizo works too!) or 2 stadium bratwurst
1 drained can beef or turkey chili with NO BEANS ( save broth for later) 
1-2   finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (from can)   
1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken 
1/4 cup minced red onion ( yellow or white  would work)
6-8 strips of red, green, and yellow bell peppers (optional)

1 LARGE can red enchilada sauce, divided.
1 tbs freshly chopped cilantro

Juice from 1 lime

In large bowl, mix dough ingredients with your hands,  till  it is a maliable dough consistency. Set aside.

Next:  Mix filling in food processor or blender * all ingredients EXCEPT chorizo and only enough of the enchilada sauce to aid the mixing. Pour into bowl and add the CHORIZO, and a little more red sauce. Mix well with spoon or your hands.
*OPTION: If you like a chunkier filling, SKIP the processor, but maintain a shredded consistency with the meat combinations!

Ready to Fill the Dough:
Unroll and cut 4 -5 sheets of the paper, about 8 inch squares.
On each sheet, place a few handfuls of the tamale dough and roll out till flat, leaving 
about 1 inch borders on the paper.  Now put enough filling over the tamale dough to extend. Add a few drops of lime juice and a little more chili sauce. ADD a few bell pepper strips.

 CAREFULLY ROLL paper OVER -away from you with the dough until you form a hose-like roll to the other end of the paper.  Check/ peek by pulling back a little of the paper to see if it FORMED the tamale. ( grin when you see what resembles a REAL HONEST- TO- GOODNESS tamale! I sure did!)  Continue to roll till end of the parchment paper smoothing out the roll.  Repeat with remaining rolls.

 NOW carefully CUT EACH long roll into even portions with bottom part of a santoku or chef's knife blade. If you mess up, don't worry. Try again.
Mix the remaining chili, enchilada sauce in a cup and pour a little in the bottom of the pan. Place all wrapped tamales in neatly side by side. 
POUR remaining chili mixture OVER the papered tamales. ADD remaining bell pepper strips.
Put the pan into a LARGER pan with an inch or so of water and cover with foil.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Remove from water pan to your counter. Let it cool before you pull back the veil of your artwork! 

When ready to eat, remove paper. For toppings , slice/chop some green onions, shredded cheddar/co-jack cheese, shredded lettuce, olives, sour cream,  extra enchilada/chili sauce, or even guacamole! Relish the smiles on your company's faces! 

If you have tried this, let me know how you liked them. If any concerns, questions, or comments,  feel free to post them here! 

Another Dianne the CookieZealberry kitchen drama!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Barbeque Time in Half!

                No preaching, but Ya' gotta read this first!

Guess what? No more freaking over what happens on the smoker. No more BACKYARD FIRES. No more complicated fix-ups at the end of a loooooooooooooong day of making your favorite smoked and barbequed meats, making yourself so sick, that you wish you never started it! Now you can do what the restraunteers do without laboring over a hot stove or grill all day! My secret? Well... if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret now, would it? And if I did, I'd have to kill... Okay... Okay! My arm's twisted.  I'll  tell you anyway, point by succinct point.  (The science of all this is equally as beautiful, but  that's another blog!)
In a world with instant gratification, this is as close as we can get to delicious smoky barbeque in less than half the time. HOW? Technique & smoking. TECHNIQUE and SMOKING! Time on the grill and time in the oven.  I can't say it enough. 
Now. I pledged to no lengthy rhetoric. 
                                                        So ON with the show!

What you'll need:
Apple cider vinegar, Liquid smoke,  Kosher Salt, Lg bottle of Pork rub, 1 plastic water squirt bottle, aluminum foil,  2-4 3lb bone-in meat portions, Large bag of quality instant lite charcoal, hickory CHUNKS or small logs. ( You can use "chips", but don't let me find out about it. lol.) Your favorite barbeque sauce. ( Once again, I have my own, and have been told it's very competitive.)

1 ) FIRST-- Know your products. Make 'em your friends-then love them into total surrender!

Buy the better cuts of shoulders, chops, roasts. Bone -in is always BEST with ribs because it lends to the flavor part that you don't have to FIX.  If it's pork spare ribs, baby back, whole shoulders, butts, or roasts, make sure they're laced with enough fat to keep the flesh lubricated. There is still enough "lean" stuff there to not overwhelm the tastebuds or defeat your healthy diets. Working with 3 pounders makes the job more fool-proof and less time consuming. Larger meats units will make your job change, and to establish consistency (and reputation), you don't have time for that!

2 ) Generously prep your beauties with vinegar and/or a dry rub that will become its outter wear AND flavor injection! ( You can skip the vinegar if you're running short of time.)

Get a large pan and pour in a few cups of apple cider vinegar, kosher or sea salt, and 1/4 cup liquid smoke.  Place the meat there for a minimum of 15 minutes, then turn over for another 15.  REMOVE to a clean counter or cutting board.
DRY rub the meat.There are TONS of dry rubs out there with a balance of seasoning. Just make sure you've got PLENTY. One such commercial brand is "GRIPPO" barbeque seasoning. It's pricey, but wonderful.  (I will give you my own dry rub special if you email me:
~~RUB a large amount on and all over the you're pressing in dough. Turn over and repeat. CHILL.

3-- Start ONE SIDE of your charcoal grill with 5 - 8 lbs of charcoal till white ash appears. 

ADD enough pre-soaked and fully drained hickory chunks to cover the coals.

4-- Lay the fantastic meat over the fire side for at least 5 minutes on each side. (You are creating a nice crusty char bark.)
 Now, place it on the grill side w/out the coals and wood and let smoke for 2- 2 1/2 hours (turning as needed) or until you see the meat shrink on the bone a little. Resist opening the grill lid. It affects the temperature and interferes with the smoke intensity.
Check every 20 minutes or so to see if the grill maintains an IDEAL SMOKE TEMPERATURE.  If it dies down, add a few more coals and more hickory.

5-- Take meat off the grill and let it rest about 15-20 minutes ( or longer) so that the juices redistribute. THEN brush or dip meat into your favorite barbeque sauce.
 Return to the fire side of the grill for about a few minutes. 
 REPEAT the dippings at least 3 times to create a crust. REMOVE and place in a big pan and let it rest for about 15 minutes on the counter.

6--  Tear large sheets of foil. Place and wrap each meat item twice tightly. 
Pierce several slits on meat packets to release steam and place in 175 degree oven Cook for 2 - 2 1/2  hours), checking after each hour.  Push finger inside one, to feel if the meat easily depresses. ( this means it's getting done.)

7--  OPEN the top of each packet of ribs and broil for no more than 5-6 minutes so the final bark forms. REMOVE from oven and fully open the top of each packet allowing the steam to escape and meat to cool-about half an hour. 
Open and sprinkle MORE pork rub and BRUSH a coating of the sauce as desired. Let cool.

8-- Now what? You kidding? You know what! 
Tear a piece of meat off the ribs or roast and taste. AHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh. 

9-- Ribs are a knockout later when stored in freezer.  Separate portions, fold in foil, then into freezer bags and place in the freezer up to 3 months. 
When reheating, use the conventional oven on very low heat.  Don't rush this. Go for a walk, or call whats-her-face. 
If you use a microwave, you may be compromising the moisture. However, in a pinch, place on a "3" power and heat only 5 minutes at a time, turning as needed.

10-- YOU DID IT! You made the BEST barbeque in town!!

Let me know your results, questions, or concerns! I've been through it.

Photos, including mine, compliments of Photobucket and Free Images.