Instant Pot Magic: Let’s Steam a Whole Artichoke

Here’s something that I never ate until I was an adult. That is a fresh, whole artichoke. My husband’s family loves to eat this vegetable — just for the fun of it. It is a social activity — sort of like a Louisiana crawfish boil. My mother-in-law boils the artichokes in a pressure cooker until tender. To eat them, you pluck off individual leaves, dip them in butter — or garlic butter. — and pull the pulp off the leaf between your teeth. You also eat the artichoke heart — that’s the best part. When my husband brought some colossal artichokes home from the grocery store, we decided to try cooking them in my new Instant Pot. So simple and the artichokes cook much quicker than boiling on a stove. In addition to enjoying the wonderful flavor of the artichokes, we learned that they are a powerhouse of nutritional value.

Continue reading

Nostalgia: Detroit Deep Dish Pizza

Nostalgia. In my opinion, one of Detroit’s best kept secrets is its deep dish pizza. Uniquely Detroit, it differs from Chicago-style pizzas in several respects — and I much prefer Detroit’s style. Detroit’s pizza is rich and flavorful with a very thick, chewy crust and layers of melt-in-your mouth cheese.  When I lived in Detroit, we would drive across town just to eat this pizza at an “authentic” Sicilian restaurant. Now that Pizza Hut has added this style of pizza to its menu, the secret of Detroit’s deep dish pizza is “out-of-the box”. I started writing this post about how to make the pizza over a year ago; now seems like a good time to finish it — so you can have your own “Detroit Deep Dish Pizza” recipe.

Continue reading

Family Favorites: Green Bean Casserole with a Homemade Crispy Onion Variation

I love “Green Bean Casserole.” With a creamy sauce and topped with crunchy French’s® Crispy Fried Onions, it is hard to resist. Although it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving holiday meal without this dish, the casserole is really great any time of the year. Recently I noticed a recipe for this dish which included homemade fried onions rings for a topping and I recalled how much I liked the dish. This recipe author also took the extra effort to use fresh green beans and make a sauce from scratch. That’s alot of work as the original recipe uses just three main ingredients. I liked the idea of the homemade crispy fried onion rings and decided to add it to my variation. Although the verdict is still out on the homemade onions rings, my husband and I sure ate alot of “test runs” of “Green Been Casserole.” So, here is my casserole using French’s® Crispy Fried Onions.

.

Continue reading

Instant Pot Magic: Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta

I am excited that I received an Instant Pot as a Christmas present this past December. I love new kitchen gadgets and this gives me a great opportunity (or excuse) to test out new recipes. The Instant Pot fad has been around for several years now, so I’ll admit that I’m a little behind the trend. But rather late than never at all. “One-pot meals” seem like the perfect dish to make in an Instant Pot and so I initiated this little this pressure cooker by making “Chicken Marsala with Bow Tie Pasta.” The marsala cooking wine gave a nice flavor to this classic dish.

Continue reading

Family Favorites: Old-Fashioned Scalloped Potatoes

Mrs. Grossnickle made the best recipe of “Scalloped Potatoes” that I can ever remember. The dish was probably loaded with cream and butter. Not healthy by today’s standards, but very tasty. When I was growing up, the Grossnickles lived across a cow pasture which we could see from where we lived on a small hill. “Scalloped Potatoes” was served at almost every Sunday dinner after church and especially at holidays such as Easter. I am guessing that we were invited to the Grossnickle’s home for some of these meals and this is where I ate the “best” dish of “Scalloped Potatoes.” I consider this to be an old-fashioned “comfort food” and still like the dish after all these years; although with slightly less cream. For nostalgia, I’m making this dish again on Easter Sunday.

Continue reading

Rich Meyer Lemon Tart with Gingersnap Crust

I have a Meyer lemon citrus tree growing in my backyard which makes a crop of fruit each winter — sometimes more, sometimes less. The fruit look like very large lemons with a tart, aromatic flavor, although they are technically not lemons at all. I look forward to figuring out recipes to use these unique lemony-looking fruit. Every now and then I like to indulge in something special and rich. A recipe for a Meyer Lemon Tart with a Gingersnap Crust in a magazine caught my eye. I’ve had this magazine tucked away for a couple of years — this seems like a good time to try the tart. The crust is made like a graham cracker crust — only using gingersnaps. The filling is similar to a Key Lime Pie using sweetened condensed milk and Meyer lemons. The ginger flavor in the crust balances the sweet, rich filling. If you like sweets, this is dessert hard to to resist.

Continue reading

Meringue Nests with Fresh Fruit for Passover and Easter

I cannot remember a Passover meal without my mother-in-law’s meringue nests for dessert. These are truly a family tradition. The little meringue shells are made from egg whites and sugar with a hint of vanilla extract and are filled with fresh fruit. They are tasty and colorful and truly remind me of spring. Fill them with whatever fruit is in season — blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or strawberries. Best yet, this dessert is fat-free and healthy. It will surely impress! This is the “perfect” and elegant dessert for spring — serve it for Easter dinner, too!

Continue reading

Baked Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese & a Shrimp Variation

Here is my second crawfish recipe for this spring during the peak of the Louisiana crawfish harvest. I don’t think that I would have considered making macaroni and cheese with crawfish but a local magazine featured this dish. Wow, this baked version is pretty good. Although I was skeptical at first about adding seafood to macaroni and cheese, the flavors blend nicely. The recipe uses penne pasta baked in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with Italian bread crumbs. Yum. Since crawfish tails are so, so expensive, I made several “trial runs” of the recipe using peeled shrimp. These turned out great, too. Here is a shrimp variation.

Continue reading

Easy Crawfish and Corn Bisque & Shrimp Variation

Here’s a delicious and easy recipe for Louisiana crawfish — “Crawfish and Corn Bisque.” Crawfish season in Louisiana has arrived and it is time to cook up some crawfish recipes. Our local Rouse’s Supermarket serves a very tasty version of “Crawfish and Corn Bisque” on their soup and salad bar. Surprised to find crawfish soup at a grocery store? The Rouse folks are from New Orleans and they do know how to cook. I like to occasionally stop by and pick up a quick noon meal at Rouse’s lunch counter; this time they were serving the soup. I have been contemplating making the bisque myself and decided to concoct make my own recipe by combining ideas from several Louisiana chefs and sources.

Continue reading

My Favorite “Hush Puppies”

A fried catfish platter with French fries and hush puppies is a favorite Friday night supper during Lent. And you can’t find a better plate of a fried catfish than at the iconic Baton Rouge restaurant of Ralph and Kacoo’s Seafood. I wasn’t surprised when I checked out their internet site and saw that they boasted of being the largest seafood restaurant in the South with a seating capacity for 800 patrons. The restaurant is massive and everything about the place shouts “big.” The restaurant has an interesting saga. My favorite food and memory of Ralph and Kacoo’s Restaurant is however, not the catfish, but their hush puppies. Their little fried cornmeal treats are unique — just a touch of sweet with green onions and spices. The best ones that I ever have eaten. I am going to try to re-invent these hush puppies. However, rather than frying catfish, we’ll more likely serve them with broiled or baked catfish — I’ll save that recipe for another time.

Continue reading