Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil is a classic one-pot meal from the coastal region of South Carolina and Georgia (the Low Country). Also known as Frogmore Stew or Beaufort Boil, Low Country Boil is a simple, yet delicious meal that is a lot of fun to eat. This particular recipe serves about 4, but by increasing the quantity of ingredients, you can feed a crowd. You can even find Low Country Boil calculators online to determine the amount of ingredients you will need to feed a particular amount of people.

This is a basic recipe, but you can do your own thing. I have seen recipes that include crabs, crab legs, clams, green beans, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc… I added mushrooms to my Low Country Boil, as seen in the picture. Serve with crusty bread and cold beer.

Low Country Boil

1 gallon water
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into eight wedges
2 pounds baby potatoes
1 sausage rope (about 14 ounces), cut into bite-size slices
4 ears corn, shucked, cleaned and cut into fourths
2 pounds fresh shelled shrimp

melted butter
cocktail sauce

Bring the water, lemon, Old Bay, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves to a boil. Add the onion and potatoes, return to a boil, and cook 10 minutes. Add the sausage and corn, return to a boil, and cook 10 more minutes. Check to see if potatoes are tender. If so, add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 3 minutes. If the potatoes are not tender, cook a few more minutes before adding the shrimp. Drain and serve on a large platter (or on newspaper in the middle of the table) with melted butter and cocktail sauce.


Christmas Meltaways

Christmas Meltaways 2

Cornstarch and powdered sugar help to make these bite-sized cookies melt in your mouth. These tiny cookies are quick to make and not too sweet. They are a nice addition to your holiday baking.

Of course these cookies can be made any time of the year. Just use different colored nonpareils.

Nonpareils

Christmas Meltaways

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Christmas nonpareils

Preheat oven to 350º.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the butter and powdered sugar together. If your butter is soft enough, you can do this with a wooden spoon. Next, mix in the flour and cornstarch mixture. I usually lose patience with the spoon  (or mixer) and just finish mixing the dough with my hands. Knead in the nonpareils. Pinch off a small amount of dough (about a non-rounded teaspoonful) and roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet. They are pretty small (and will only be about 1 inch in diameter when baked).

Unbaked

Bake the meltaways for 9 – 12 minutes (I like crunchy cookies, so I bake them for 12 minutes). Let cool completely.

Baked Christmas Meltaways

Makes about 6 dozen.


Fresh Fig and Vanilla Custard Tart

I have never eaten a fresh fig before last week.  Publix had a buy-one-get-one-free special on them and I got a carton of Brown Turkey figs and a carton of Black Mission figs.  I liked them but no one else in my family would eat them. I needed a way to use them so that they didn’t go to waste.  I adapted this recipe from a couple of different ones I found online.  I think it turned out well.  I rolled the tart pastry fairly thin and had enough left over to make a couple of little fig tartlets as well.
Fresh Fig and Vanilla Custard Tart

For the crust:
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon. salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons chilled butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
12 to 16 ripe figs
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the crust

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and then add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms very fine crumbs. You can also do this in a bowl, cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter or fork. With the machine running, add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the ice water (adding more if needed) and process until the dough comes together.  Remove dough from food processor bowl and shape it into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for about 15 minutes. Roll the dough into an 11-inch circle and put it in a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough evenly into the tart pan. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to look perfect. Prick the bottom of the tart shell with a fork in 8 or 10 places, and then put the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes while you heat the oven to 425°F. Put the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet, line the shell with foil, and fill with beans or pie weights. Bake until it’s lightly colored, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the tart and reduce the oven temperature to 400°F; remove the weights and foil.


To make the filling

Cut off the stems of the figs (leave the skins on) and slice the figs in half ( if they’re large, you may choose to quarter them).

 

Arrange the figs, cut side up, on the tart shell. Whisk the egg yolk, sour cream, brown sugar, and vanilla until combined.

Carefully spoon the custard around but not over the figs.

Bake the tart on the baking sheet in the 400°F oven until the custard is lightly colored and set, about 30 minutes. Serve slightly warm.


Cherry Crumble

This is a super easy dessert that is a perfect ending to any meal. There is no need to defrost the frozen cherries, but I do like to cut them in half before tossing them with the sugar, cornstarch, and almond extract.  Adjust the amount of sugar in this recipe to your tastes.  Some cherries are naturally sweeter than others and keep in mind that the crumble topping has sugar in it too. Nuts (almonds, pecans, or walnuts) are a great addition to the crumble.  Any frozen fruit could be used for this dish. Serve warm or at room temperature with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.

Cherry Crumble

•6 c. frozen cherries
•1/2 c. sugar
•2 Tbs corn starch
•1/2 tsp almond extract
•1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick), cold, cut into chunks
•1/2 c. flour
•1/2 c. brown sugar
•3/4 c. rolled oats
•1/4 tsp salt

Make your cherry filling: mix the cherries, sugar, almond extract and corn starch together.  Place in  baking dish.

Assemble your crumble:  combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, and salt in a bowl.  Work the cold butter into the mixture with a fork, pastry cutter, or with your hands until evenly distributed. Top the cherry filling with the crumble mixture.

Bake your crumble: bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.


Brussels Sprouts with Breadcrumbs

This is my favorite way to prepare Brussels sprouts. Anyone who thinks they do not like Brussels sprouts should try them this way.  They are absolutely delicious!  I love the way they caramelize.  A squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving adds a nice touch to the dish.

Brussels Sprouts with Breadcrumbs

1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, and halved
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper
garlic powder

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts and boil until just about cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Brussels sprouts to skillet, increase heat to high, and cook, stirring often, until the Brussels sprouts are well browned in places, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over sprouts and stir well. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder.


Pork Chops with Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce & Garlic Orange Spinach

Valentine’s Day Dinner

.Pork Chops with Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce
.Garlic Orange Spinach
.Baked Potatoes
.Chocolate and Coconut Cream Fondue

This is the meal I made for Valentine’s Day.  It was a nice, as well as easy meal.

Pork Chops with Raspberry-Chipotle Sauce

4 pork chops, trimmed of fat
1 T. oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 T. finely chopped shallots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 12 oz. bag frozen raspberries
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
2 T. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse pork chops and pat dry.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 T. oil in a skillet over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking.  Add the pork chops to the skillet and cook, turning once until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.  Remove pork chops to a plate and cover with foil; set aside.

Add shallots and garlic to skillet and saute for about 30 seconds (you may have to add a dash of oil).  Add the raspberries and cook, stirring for another 30 seconds.  Add the red wine, scraping any bits on the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the mixture over high heat until about 3/4 cup liquid remains.  Add the stock and chipotle.  Reduce over high heat until about 2 cups of liquid remains.  Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan and heat to boiling.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon some of the sauce onto a plate and place a pork chop over it.

Garlic Orange Spinach

1 10 ounce bag of spinach leaves, washed with stems removed
1  clove garlic,  thinly sliced
2  T.  olive oil
3  T. fresh orange juice
1  T. orange zest
salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot heat oil over med. high heat, add garlic and cook stirring constantly until it begins to brown, about 30 seconds.  Add orange juice and cook until reduced about 30 seconds.  Add spinach and orange zest and saute until spinach wilts.  Remove from heat and season with salt & pepper.


Chocolate Banana Bread

Chocolate Banana Bread

From January 16, 2009:  This is a wonderful quick bread recipe that I got from my friend, Robin.  She uses soy milk or almond milk instead of cow’s milk with good results.  I like baking this in my mini loaf pans.  This recipe yields about 4 small loaves.  The cooking time for the mini loaf pans is about 35 minutes.

Chocolate Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

In a mixing bowl cream the butter with the sugar. Add the banana, eggs,  milk, and vanilla; blend well.

In another bowl, sift together the flours with the cocoa, baking soda and salt. Combine with the banana mixture until well blended and smooth, then fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts if desired. Transfer to a greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf