Ultimate Shrimp & Grits

I’ll never be able to do enough cardio to exercise off the deep love I have for the food of my Daddy’s Alabama family.  Shrimp & Grits are, by far, the one dish I can never say no to, as my jeans will attest…

This Food Network recipe from Tyler Florence tabs itself the “Ultimate” and I have to say, he’s not just tooting his own horn.  This dish is pretty damn good & it satisfies my 3 recipe musts:

  • Must be quick
  • Must have ingredients that are easy to find
  • Must not require culinary school skills to make!


Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Shrimp & Grits

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Place a 3-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add the milk and cream. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal. When the grits begin to bubble, turn the heat down to medium low and simmer, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, thin it out with a little extra cream. Season with salt and pepper.

  • 2 TBLS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped (1 tsp pre-chopped in the jar)
  • 1 pound Andouille, or spicy Italian sausage, cut in chunks
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 to 3 bay leaves
  • 2 pounds raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  • pinch cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBLS finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Place a deep skillet over medium heat and coat with the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic; saute for 2 minutes to soften. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until there is a fair amount of fat in the pan and the sausage is brown. Sprinkle in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to create a roux. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and continue to stir to avoid lumps. Toss in the bay leaves. When the liquid comes to a simmer, add the shrimp. Poach the shrimp in the stock for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are firm and pink and the gravy is smooth and thick. Add the cayenne pepper, Tabasco and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the parsley and green onion. Spoon the grits into a serving bowl. Add the shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately with crusty bread and ice cold beer. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Makers 46 & Snickerdoodles

TYSnickerdoodlesWhen I was young it seemed that there wasn’t a cookie that I didn’t love.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat 😉   Snickerdoodles were a particular favorite of mine!  I don’t know what I’ve been doing wrong, but somehow I’ve never managed to bake one that I absolutely loved.

Some were too crisp, some too soft, some too sweet and some have been strangely tasteless.  I was ready to throw in the towel and commit to buying my Snickerdoodles only from the bakery, when finally I found a recipe that satisfies my picky Snickerdoodle palate.

On Season 2, Episode 9 of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on The Food Network, Trisha was doing holiday cookie baking.  One of the things I like about Trisha’s Southern Kitchen is that she cooks the same foods that everyday moms and wives have been cooking forever.  It’s salt of the earth fare that doesn’t involve a lot of fancy cookware or ingredients that are expensive and hard to find.  She makes the same mistakes in the kitchen that everyday cooks make and she laughs and has workarounds like we all do.

Trisha’s Snickerdoodle recipe was straightforward and was different than the others I had tried, so I decided to give it one more try.  The recipe was a hit with the family and not a single cookie lasted the weekend!  The ultimate sign of success in my kitchen!  To get Trisha’s insights and see her method, click on the episode link above to watch the video (about 2 minutes).

Trisha Yearwood’s Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1+1/2 Cups +2 TBLS Sugar
  • 2 Eggs (Trisha uses medium)
  • 2+3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar and the eggs and mix thoroughly with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and well combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt, and stir into the shortening mixture.

In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with the cinnamon.

Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 tablespoon per ball), and roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar.

Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake two sheets at a time until the edges of the cookies are set but the centers are still soft, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through.

Transfer the cookies to wire racks for cooling.

Store in an airtight container.   Recipe adapted from Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen by Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2008

I just broke the red wax seal on a new bottle of Makers 46.  The warm vanilla undertones of the smooth bourbon should go perfectly with the cinnamon sweetness of the snickerdoodles!  Looks like my evening is set!

If you are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to like:  health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, gadget reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a community page on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Food Network’s Can O’ Beer Cake


The named the recipe didn’t entice me, but the picture sure did!  The tiny air pockets in the cake, the luscious glaze and the dark cherry compote look too good to pass up, so this is definitely gracing my next dinner party table!

Can O’ Beer Cake

Ingredients

  • Nonstick baking spray, for preparing the pan
  • One 15-ounce box yellow cake mix (I am substituting a chocolate cake mix)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • One 12-ounce can lager, such as Budweiser or Sam Adams
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • One 12-ounce bag frozen cherries, thawed
  • Whipped cream for serving, optional

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 10-cup plain Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray.

Whisk the cake mix, oil, eggs and 1 cup beer in a large bowl until smooth and well-combined, at least 30 seconds. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula, then bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, pour 2 tablespoons beer in a heatproof glass bowl and microwave until hot, about 30 seconds. Stir in 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until dissolved.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. Using a toothpick, poke several holes over the cake, then drizzle the beer syrup evenly over the cake until it soaks in. Let the cake cool completely.

Stir the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons beer together in a bowl until smooth. Add more beer, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed to form a thick glaze. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake and let stand until set, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining beer and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar with the cherries in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the cherries are warmed through and the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cherries to a bowl and let cool completely.

Serve cake slices with the cherries on the side and a dollop of whipped cream, if using.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Zin-ful Cranberries

cannedcranberriesMy family never ate any cranberry sauce that was homemade.  In the preparations for Thanksgiving, someone was always assigned the task of bringing two cans of jellied and one of whole berry cranberry sauce.  And you couldn’t try and pull a fast one by buying store brand.  It had to be Ocean Spray on Grandma’s Thanksgiving table!

When I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my own family I automatically followed the same routine until I became obsessed with the Food Network a few years back and made my first foray into making cranberry sauce from scratch.

For the first few years, I stuck with the basic “back of the package” recipe:

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 – 12 oz bag of whole fresh cranberries

Boil sugar and water, add cranberries and cook 10 minutes over a slow boil until berries have popped, refrigerate until time to serve.  *If you wanted it jellied you strained out the berry solids and skins using a mesh strainer before refrigerating.

BORING!

cb3This year I put some time and creativity into the preparation and came up with a winner:

Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 & 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.  Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold.  Sauce will thicken up as it cools.  Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.

Tomorrow I am attacking the bird, the stuffing and the gravy!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to:  recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood