Saturday, June 26, 2010

Katie's Spicy (game)Cocktail Sauce

Rick bought a tabletop gas grill for his new place, and tonight, we are going to be watching the Gamecocks play some baseball against their rivals the Clemson Tigers for a chance to go to the College World Series Championship games.  Rick's excited that his team is doing well and of course about the new grill.  I decided to get some local shrimp from Sammy's Seafood (a little stand up Hwy 41 from where we live) to throw on the grill as an appetizer to go with our steaks and veggies.  For the sauce to go with the shrimp, I decided to make some cocktail sauce.  I used a recipe from as a guide, and here's what I came up with.  It's a little bit on the spicy side so it's definitely not kid friendly.  I was really unsure how it was going to turn out so I brought over some McCormick's in case it was yucky.  We didn't need it! 

Here's what we did...

Spicy (game)Cocktail Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup garlic chili sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup horseradish

Mix all ingredients together and chill for about 1-2 hours.  Serve with grilled (or boiled) shrimp.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Misses, Lots of Misses

Today when I was riding the CARTA express hom from work, it dawned on me that I hadn't blog in over a week.  It's not that I haven't been cooking because I have.  Okay, I haven't as much as normal.  I blame the hot weather for that (or at least that's what someone near and dear to me said this week).  The other problem is that I've had a week of MISSES and FAILS this week.  Here are the top three highlights...

1.  In an attempt to get rid of the okra, I thought that doing a gumbo-pasta creation would be an excellent idea.  Think onions and okra and tomatoes and garlic and shrimp and bacon....yummmmmm!  WRONG!  It was bland (despite the amount of Creole seasoning I dumped in it) and not that good. I have no idea what I could've done differently.  It smelled pretty dern good when it was cooking, but the final result was lacking.  For the first time in a while, I actually threw it out.  I figured that I could either throw it out that night or wait at least a week until it was a science project and sacrificing a tupperware container with it.

2.  On Friday night, I thought that I'd look all cute and wear heels.  I used to wear heels all the time, but since I walk a lot more than I used to at work, I wear flats.  So anyway, I'm wearing a cute dress and one of my favorite pair of heels.  I'm feeling good about mysel, and then BOOM!  I fell.  Gotta love hypermobile joints!  My right knee got all scraped up. I've been tempted to tell people that I fell rollerblading (in fact a couple people asked if that was what I did), but I've sucked it up and been honest.

3.  I went to buy steak tonight, and I wasn't paying attention to what I was buying, and I ended up with Sirloin Tri-Tip.  When I got it home, I had no idea about the cut so I had to google  Apparently, it's one step above roast.  FAIL.  Luckily, Rick isn't coming over this evening so if I have yet another miserable meal, I'm on my own.  I'm marinating it as I speak so we'll see.  I mixed together McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning (that stuff could make a piece of poo taste good so there is hope!); low sodium soy sauce; 1 clove of garlic, pressed; some extra virgin olive oil; and a little bit of red wine.

Anyone else out there having a failure-ific week?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Open Crab Cake Sandwiches with a Pickled Okra Relish

During my search for something to do with my bounty of okra, I came across this recipe on  I thought that it would be a nice jumping off point for our meal on Sunday night.  I wanted to do something a little more than just a crab cake, and serving it as an open-faced sandwich sounded like a cool idea.

To say that this meal was labor-intensive was an understatement, I got started about an hour and half before my expected ETA for dinner.  Rick didn't come over because he has been busy unpacking and settling in his new place, but my friend, Kelly (of all of the wonderful Kelly Creation posts), came over to join me.  Granted, I was taking my sweet Sunday time this Sunday evening, but I doubt it would be something that I would ever do during the week. Using crab meat from crab legs instead of lump meat from a container or can (like the guy at Publix tried to talk me into getting) definitely added the time, but both Kelly and I agreed that it was amazing. Besides, using lump crab meat not only is more expensive (Publix has snow crab legs on sale this week), but it also takes all the fun out of it!

The crab cakes and relish could definitely stand alone without the open sandwich part. I gotta admit that I did the open sandwich so that I wouldn't have to make a real side dish:  We enjoyed it with some reduced fat Pringles (gotta love coupons!) with it, though.  I had to tell Rick how great it was, and I can't wait to make it for him.  I think it will definitely make our Top Ten.
Here's what I did...

Open Crab Cake Sandwiches with Pickled Okra Relish
Ingredients for Relish
  • 3  tablespoons  olive oil, divided
  • 1  ear fresh corn
  • 1/2 of a medium-size red onion, minced
  • 10  pickled okra pods, thinly sliced
  •  1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 can of diced tomatoes (no salt added type)
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
  • 2  tablespoon  chopped fresh cilantro
 Ingredients for Crab Cakes
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoon  minced fresh chives
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  pound  fresh crabmeat
  • 1/2  cup panko (plus a little extra for a plate to coat the crab cakes)
  • 1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil
To Make 'Em Open Face Sandwiches
  • 2 English muffins
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo per muffin half
  • extra virgin olive oil
Directions for relish
Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small plate and brush over corn,
Broil corn 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, 13 to 15 minutes or until edges of corn kernels begin to brown (about 5 minutes and then turn); cool. Cut corn from cob.
Combine corn, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining ingredients; toss gently.

Directions for crab cakes
Stir together first 6 ingredients; add crabmeat, and toss gently. Stir in breadcrumbs. Cover and chill mixture 30 minutes. Shape into 4 patties.
Cook crab cakes in hot oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for  4to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

For the sandwiches
Brush each half of the English muffins with extra virgin olive oil and toast in a toaster oven.

Place 1 tablespoon of light mayo on each English muffin half and the top with a piece of lettuce.  Top with a crab cake and then with relish.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Okra, okra, everywhere!

The Okra Fairy came to Wyngate Circle this week, and I'm the proud owner of a rather nice sized bag of the little boogers.  I haven't decided what I'm going to do with mine (other than pickling some of them), but my neighbor Kelly has gone ahead and used some of hers.  I had the privilege of getting to sample some of the yummy Chicken Gumbo that she made in her Crock Pot this week.  She found the recipe on Whole Food's website.  Here's what she did...

Chicken Gumbo with Fresh Okra


4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

Sea salt
Ground pepper
4 tablespoons unbleached flour
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced celery
2 cups sliced fresh okra
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon hot sauce, to taste
3/4 pound cooked chicken sausage, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
12 raw peeled large shrimp, fresh or frozen (optional)
Cooked long-grain white or brown rice

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to skillet. Brown chicken on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pan and heat until hot. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture should be about the color of peanut butter. It is extremely hot, so be careful not to splatter. Add onion, green pepper, celery and okra. Carefully stir in the chicken broth. Return chicken and any juices to the pan. Add chicken sausage, bay leaves and tomatoes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. If desired, add shrimp and continue to cook another 5 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Serve over rice.

To make this recipe in a slow cooker, after browning the chicken, place in slow cooker. Scrape up any brown bits from the pan and add to the cooker.

Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil to the pan, and heat until hot. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture is extremely hot, so be careful not to splatter. Add the onion, green pepper and celery, and cook until the vegetables start to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and stir until smooth and incorporated. Pour mixture into the slow cooker. Add the okra, bay leaf, tomatoes and hot sauce. Cover, and turn cooker to low. Cook for 7 to 8 hours, adding another 1/2 cup chicken broth or water if necessary. Thirty minutes before serving, add the sausages and turn cooker to high. Five minutes before serving, add the shrimp. Serve over cooked rice.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Old School Spaghetti

Do you remember back in the day when you were a youngen and you had the treat of having spaghetti for dinner?  Or how about when you were first learning to cook and one of the easiest (and yummiest) things that you could make was spaghetti?  It was cool because you could have a "dinner party"...aka all your college friends came over with some cheap wine that they got someone else to buy for them and you had made dinner!  It was nice because you could feed a ton of them with one pot, salad out of a bag (when it was invented), and some bread.  Of course, if you were like me, you had some vegetarian friends which meant that you had to do a meatless marinara sauce, too (i.e., just sauce out of jar with some extra veggies thrown in).

Nowadays, I tend to steer away from these types of recipes as I search for new and exciting meals to make.  I want things that are healthier (or so they seem) than a "traditional" spaghetti from my childhood, but I've been craving a night that doesn't require much effort or brain-power and provides us with lunch for a couple of days.  Maybe it was the 80s A to Z videos that they were playing on VH-1 Classic today that inspired me to make this throwback meal, but whatever it was, I opted to break out a jar of spaghetti sauce (usually reserved for chicken parm or stuffed spaghetti squash), a green pepper, a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, and some lean ground beef to revisit an old favorite.   I can't tell you how much I had to fight the urge to toss in a little wine when I was cooking the sauce, but I was strong.  I did, however, add some oregano and a little roasted red pepper flakes to my Classico Sweet Basil Sauce (check out their website for a printable coupon!)

I hope that all of you moms out there have a similar recipe that you make for your families.  I'm sure you do.  Every kid loves spaghetti night!!!  My mom used vermicelli noodles instead of spaghetti, and I never knew the difference until I saw a box of it in her pantry once.  I opted for Barilla Plus Spaghetti which has extra protein and fiber and Omega 3s in it...okay, so it's not totally old school because of that, but you better believe that I'm gonna be topping mine with some powdered cheese!

Here's what I did...

Old School Spaghetti
1 jar of spaghetti sauce of your choice (I used Classico Sweet Basil)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, minced
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 box of spaghetti of your choice
Red pepper flakes (if desired)

Cook pasta according to the directions on the box.

In a skillet, cook beef, garlic, onion, and green pepper until the beef is browned and the vegetables are tender.  Meanwhile, in a large pot, heat sauce, tomatoes, oregano, and red pepper flakes (if desired) over low eat.  When the meat and vegetables are done, add them to the pot with the sauce and turn the heat up until it starts to bubble.  

Place spaghetti on a place and then top with sauce (and powdered cheese!!!)


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