Yeah, so it’s pretty clear from the title of this post that I’m about a month late in getting around to it…
Garden & Gun
But it’s never too late for a beer-based beverage! Especially one that acts as a welcome substitute for a Bloody Mary when the summer is too sticky for tomato juice but you still need something to knock last night’s fog out.
The basic version of this drink is just lime juice and beer, but The Chef pointed me toward a Garden & Gun recipe that uses soy and Worcestershire, and my salt addiction rejoiced. (If you are not a sodium addict, you can control the amount by limiting the sauce additions.)
So if you like to drink anything bloody (Mary or Beer – this is not a vampire reference), try this out on Memorial Day. It’s an icy, refreshing change of pace. Ole!
1 beer (Mexican preferably, but anything without too strong a flavor will do)
2 limes, juiced
dash of soy sauce
dash of Worcestershire
dash of spices (like Tony’s)
- Run a lime wedge around your glass and rim with salt.
- Fill halfway with ice.
- Add all ingredients, saving beer for last.
- Stir and slurrrrrrrp. Salty goodness.
My brother Martin is finally getting hitched, so I figured we needed a stout yet sassy beverage for his engagement party. In the name of printing up (completely unnecessary but adorable) little St. Patrick’s Day menu cards, this cocktail was named “the Smartini” as a Martin/Sarah mashup.
As a general rule, I think most dudes will drink a fruity cocktail as long as it:
- isn’t bright pink
- uses some sort of unorthodox ingredient, and
- doesn’t come in a fancy cocktail glass that makes you inclined to raise a pinkie.
And this cocktail passes all of those tests. The Acai Berry liquor is a trendy new kind of booze we had in Charleston while dining at Cypress (the oysters, OH THE OYSTERS!), and The Chef and I are pretty much basil sluts on every level, so this was a no-brainer.
While I didn’t squeeze the 3 dozen lemons it would have required to make a pitcher of this stuff, if I were making smaller batches, I’d definitely use the fresh stuff. Also, this has agave nectar in it, which is just nature’s fancy-sounding answer to Splenda, so do not be afraid.
The bottom line: this was refreshing and delectable, so throw it in your spring rotation.
2 parts Acai berry liquor (Veev)
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part agave nectar
2 parts club soda
1 package basil, roughly chopped
cucumbers and lemons, sliced for garnish
- Pour your Acai berry liquor in a pitcher or tupperware container. Add basil. Let steep for 1-4 days, depending on desired strength of basil flavor.
- Combine all ingredients and chill.
I made this in a much larger quantity – i.e. used two bottles of Veev and increased amounts of the other ingredients proportionally – and that worked very well. Put it in a pitcher and dress it up with the cucumbers and lemons, and you got one pretty and potent cocktail.
To round out the Akin Family Christmas trilogy, we now have the quintessentially Southern giblet gravy. I know words like “gizzard” and “turkey neck” turn some people off, but for real Southerners, they just mean flavor.
This is my Aunt Sylvia’s gravy recipe, and it’s the perfect accompaniment to turkey or oyster dressing. And it’s actually pretty darn good over everything, but people look at you funny if you cover your whole plate in it, so consider yourself warned.
turkey neck, liver, and gizzard
1 boiled egg, chopped
1 large spoonful of dressing
- Boil turkey neck, liver and gizzard in chicken stock. Chop.
- Add one large spoonful of dressing and the egg and stir until mixed.
- Thicken with cornstarch to desired consistency.
So despite my moral dilemma of yesterday, I’ve decided to go ahead and pull this one out of The Vault. (As it turns out, my threshold for withholding secret recipes is quite shallow, which is probably to be expected from a person who has a blog about recipes on the Interwebs.)
Anyway, perhaps the groundhog will take a page from my book – you know, bringing things to light and such – and ignore his stupid shadow so we can get on with Real Spring instead of this faux Fall we’ve been having.
Annnnnd, rambling is now over. As I mentioned previously, this recipe has been a long time coming. My cousin Melissia had to watch my Aunt Sylvia make it three times to come up with the recipe because it had never even been written down. So it’s old school traditional is what I’m saying.
I’m also saying it is delectable, so even if you have to tinker with it a little bit to get it right, your efforts will be rewarded.
1 pan cornbread
3-4 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 raw eggs
2-3 boiled eggs, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 can oysters
1 tsp+ poultry seasoning
1 tsp+ sage
salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook celery and onion in broth until tender.
- Crumble breads and mix all ingredients together. Taste and season accordingly. (This is where the extra sage or poultry seasoning comes in.)
- Pour into 9×13 pan.
- Bake for at least 40 minutes (longer if all of the excess moisture hasn’t evaporated).
Despite the long absence from you, Num, I have returned. And I have brought with me the spoils of my annual Ripley Christmas trip.
Namely, the somewhat hyped and super delicious cider recipe from Uncle Stewart’s tailgate… and Akin Oyster Dressing. (I’m still debating the morality of posting that second one since it took me several years to annoy my cousin Melissia and Aunt Sylvia into relinquishing it, so time will have to tell on that one.)
For the moment, this simple sipping cocktail will have to suffice. And I guarantee it will quench any thirst, a winter one especially.
Apple Cider or Juice
- Mix cider and spices as directed on package. (Incidentally, the spices come in an adorable milk carton package, so this drink is both cute and yummy.)
- Add Hot Damn to taste.
- Heat (do not boil) and imbibe.
This is another holiday dish that I will definitely be putting into the year-round rotation.
I first had this dip at a Christmas party 8 years ago, and I searched for the recipe for 5 years before someone pointed out to me that it had been right under my nose – namely in Heart & Soul – the whole time.
While this does take a little while to prep and cook, it is totally worth your time. And not just because it is delicious, but also because each step of the cooking process leaves the house smelling better than the last. Butter, creole seasoning, fresh herbs and seafood? I’m on board.
Two words of caution: Make sure to thaw and rinse your seafood well to get rid of any unnecessary fishiness, and make sure you use 2 teaspoons of creole seasoning and not 2 tablespoons at each of the saute steps. Not that anyone has ever ruined 2 pounds of perfectly good seafood by doing that, but I’d like to prevent it if at all possible…
1 lb crawfish tails
1 lb shrimp, raw and roughly chopped
1.5 sticks of butter (.75 cups)
6 tsp creole seasoning
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tbsp fresh basil (3 dried)
3 tbsp fresh thyme (1.5 dried)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
- Melt half a stick of butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add crawfish and saute for 5 minutes. Pour crawfish and butter into a bowl and set aside.
- Melt half a stick of butter in a the skillet, add 2 tsp creole seasoning, and saute shrimp in butter for 3 minutes. Add shrimp to bowl with crawfish.
- Melt the rest of the butter in the skillet with 2 tsp creole seasoning. Add onion, green and red peppers, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes or until veggies are tender.
- Add fresh herbs, tomato paste and flour to veggie mixture in the skillet and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
- Process half of crawfish/shrimp mixture in blender (do not puree).
- Add crawfish/shrimp mixture (both processed and not-processed halves) to skillet and mix thoroughly.
- Stir in green onions and add hot sauce to taste.
- Serve with Thin Garlic Crostinis and get out of the way.
You might think I’m titling these cake balls “crazymaker” because you’ll be made “craaaaazy by how good they are!” or something equally infomercially. You would be wrong. I am titling them this because every time I’ve made them, they’ve made me a few shades more insane.
On the face of it, this recipe is simple. And in reality, I think it once was for me because I remember making literally 7 different varieties of these when I worked at the state capitol. For some reason, though, the last time I made these, my kitchen and Ripley were covered in batter and sadness by the time it was all said and done.
Nonetheless, you dessert folk get seriously neglected here at Nummy, so I’m trying to throw you a sugar bone. If you actually make the cake/icing mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it, the step where you dip the balls in melted chocolate might not make you postal.
1 box cake mix + ingredients to make it
1 container icing
1 bag of chocolate (white, dark, whatever)
- Make the cake according to package directions. Cool and crumble.
- Stir in icing until cake and icing mixture is smooth and creamy. CHILL.
- Melt chocolate in the dreaded double-boiler. (Or ANY OTHER WAY to melt chocolate if you know one.)
- Roll into balls and dip into chocolate. Place on parchment paper to dry and lightly dust with sprinkles.
You know, as I wrote this up, I remembered that it was actually enjoyable to see the finished product of these things, especially with fun flavor combinations like carrot cake and cream cheese frosting with orange sprinkles. Cute as sh*t, no?
closetcooking.com (pic has asparagus, recipe doesn't)
While we are nothing if not traditional around the holidays, this was one of my favorite new recipes from Akin Holidays 2K11. It was, as per usual, from my favorite old cookbook, Heart & Soul.
While I generally jump at the chance to make a new variation of Dot’s Breakfast Casserole, I saw this and knew that this sausage/mushroom/HOLLANDAISE concoction was clearly meant for me. And as with our standby breakfast casserole, it is stupid easy to make and just plain satisfying.
The interesting thing here is that it’s mushrooms (instead of the usual bread) that provide much-needed texture to the eggy goodness here. Also, while this is pretty much the same recipe you’ll find in H&S, I have taken some liberties (because what’s not better with Worcestershire?) and shortcuts (because water baths are for babies, not food), so it won’t match up exactly if you get to fact-checking.
1 lb hot sausage
8 oz portabella mushrooms
8 oz button mushrooms
dash of Worcestershire sauce + Cavendar’s
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8-10 eggs, beaten thoroughly
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Grease 9×13 in. baking dish and spread cheddar cheese on the bottom.
- Cook sausage, drain, and layer on top of cheese.
- In the drippings from the sausage, cook the mushrooms until just tender, adding Worcestershire and seasoning as needed.
- Add into dish on top of sausage and pour egg mixture over the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the liquid (egg) in the middle of the casserole is firm.
- Serve and top individual portions with Hollandaise. Nom nom nom.
When I told Dot that The Chef and I would be making Hollandaise for (the third) “Christmas morning” (in a row), she did not look convinced. And I’ll admit, I had some reservations.
Any time a cookbook directs me to a double-boiler, I have flashbacks of making those damn cake balls that everyone loves that are 100% NOT worth it. Trying to squish cake and icing into balls so you can dip them in rapidly hardening “melted” chocolate does not bring holiday joy; it brings profanity.
Anyway, The Chef directed me through the cheater technique for sauces (i.e. the blender), and I have no idea why anyone would go old school ever again. The consistency came out perfect, and the lemon juice provided just the right amount of acidity to cut through all the glorious buttah.
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
Add egg yolks to blender with salt and lemon juice. Blend.
- Blend on low, slowly adding melted butter. Sloooooowly. That’s the key.
- Serve immediately. Or if you have to wait a few minutes, keep in a warm – but not hot – spot in your kitchen until you’re ready.
I’d bet you can put this on top of anything from ham to cardboard, but we used it on the Honeycomb Breakfast Casserole, and I can verify that goodness first-hand.
Merry New Year, Nummy!
I was thinking of making some sweeping New Year’s Resolution about posting more interesting things than soup in 2012, but then I realized I hate resolutions and I still love soup, so everyone can deal.
Seriously though – I wonder what percentage of people actually follow through with resolutions. Because I’m betting 90% of us just end up hating ourselves for not being able to cut it and the other 10% are overachievers who the rest of us hate.
Anyway, the soup: Not only is this delicious, but it’s also a good alternative when you’re looking to strap on the Italian feedbag but don’t want to pile on the calories. The tastes are the same, but because it’s mainly broth and veggies, it could be construed as mildly good for you. And it has a 2 full servings of veggies! (I made that up, but it could be true.)
Also, because this is not cream- or roux-based, all of you clichés who have resolved to eat more healthily in the new year can keep the dream for one more day.
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp oil
6 cups (or more) chicken broth
1 cup pasta sauce
2 cans stewed/diced tomatoes with juice (if stewed, chop those suckers)
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, barely chopped
1 bag spinach, roughly chopped
1 zucchini, chopped evenly
1 package refrigerated tortellini (tri-color for the fun)
1 cup parmesan cheese + extra for garnish
Seasonings to taste:
Italian seasoning + extra basil/oregano/thyme (fresh would be the bomb)
- Saute garlic and onion in oil until translucent.
- Add the next four ingredients and all of the herbs and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Bring to a boil. Add chicken, zucchini, and tortellini.
- Cook under zucchini and tortellini are tender. Stir in parmesan. Serve.