Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chilean Sea Bass with a Pineapple-Dijon Pan Sauce

For those of you who follow me on my Facebook Fan Page, you know that my husband and I just returned from a fabulous week in Maui. Back in the day, I spent ten years as a travel agent. I have been on many vacations, all over the world. This particular return trip to Maui, thirty years later, is very high on my scale of "best vacations ever".

 Just landed from a helicopter tour of West Maui and Molokai. So much fun!

We ate fish, pretty much every single day.  That's unusual for both of us, because Craig isn't the biggest fan of fish.  The exception is fresh salmon, which we like to grill or roast.  Otherwise, we both prefer fish that is very mild, and with a hint of sweetness, if possible.

In Maui, we ate a lot of Mahi-Mahi and Opah.  We had one of our most memorable meals at Mama's Fish House, in Paia.   What really stood out for me, was the Pineapple-Dijon-White Wine sauce that was served with my fresh Mahi-Mahi.  I did my best to clean my plate of every delectable drop of that sauce.   The price of the Macadamia Encrusted baked Mahi-Mahi, stuffed with crab and topped with a tiny lobster tail was $52.00-- and that doesn't include our appetizers, cocktails and side dishes.  Ouch.   It was worth every penny, because it was perfectly prepared, and we had a front row view of the ocean.

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Easy Broiled Lobster!

Lobster. What more can I say, except that I love it. I rarely order it, at restaurants, because it's a bit of a budget stretch. I've never bought a live lobster to cook at home. I just can't be personally responsible for the demise of these delectable crustaceans. That's not to say that I won't buy them prepped and read to be cooked.

Valentine's Day (and New Year's) is when I find that there are great sales on Lobster.  These were frozen lobster tails, that I thought would be perfect with Filet Mignon.  Top 'N Tail... Surf 'N Turf.  This is such a classic steakhouse menu item, usually at a hefty price. At home, it can be more affordable, and surprisingly easy to make. You can thaw them, overnight, in a refrigerator. In my case, I do a "quick thaw" in cool water-- about an hour.

These aren't East Coast lobster, but Honduran lobster tails.  They're not huge, but a perfect size for a Top 'N Tail dinner.  These can be baked, steamed or grilled.

I decided I wanted to try broiling them, since it's too cold for grilling.  Cut the shells, lengthwise.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Perfect Filet Mignon

The official Valentine's Day always falls on February 14th. I'm a very lucky wife, because I'm married to a wonderful guy.  For that reason, I willingly forgo expecting him to make dinner reservations on Valentine's Day.  It's far too overpriced crowded, for me!

My husband doesn't get off that easy, though.  He owes me a rain check for a romantic dinner, in the near future.  In exchange, I prefer to make a restaurant quality dinner, at home.  Fortunately, my guy does dishes. See what I mean? He's a gem, and I'm not shy about saying that I love him so. As corny as it may sound, every day really is Valentine's Day for us.  I enjoy cooking for him, and he appreciates what I serve him. Win-win.

My husband loves Filet Mignon, as do I.  It's such a lean meat, and so tender.  Though Craig isn't a huge fan of seafood (or so he says), I've seen him lick his chops when he's served a delectable crustacean, like lobster tail.  It just so happened that I was sent two frozen Filet Mignon from the Certified Steak and Seafood Company. Here's what they company says about this product:   

Buttery Prime Angus Filet Mignon

If there was ever a steak that you will believe can “melt in your mouth” the Certified Steak and Seafood Prime angus Filet Mignon is it. With a delectable almost sweet beef flavor, and a strong buttery undertone that only Prime angus offers, it has to be tasted to be believed.

Each Prime angus filet is slow aged,  custom cut and trimmed for consistency in color and quality. It is a flavor you will remember long after your meal is over. Great accompanied by grilled root vegetables and horseradish mashed potatoes.
All kinds of recipe ideas danced through my head-- like Beef Wellington or an encore of Beef au Poivre.  I thought about making a Bernaise sauce, or a red-wine reduction sauce.  But when I saw that frozen lobster tails were on sale for a really good price, how could I resist?

I thawed the frozen filets by placing them in cold water, for about two hours.  The lobster tails thawed even faster.   "Surf & Turf" it would be, for dinner.

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Fruit Ambrosia

Fruit Ambrosia brings back childhood memories of Thanksgivings Past.  My mother, always made Fruit Ambrosia, and I love it to this day.   I don't remember how she made it, and she never wrote it down. She always added coconut and maraschino cherries.  Yum.

I forgot about this classic Southern dish, until the December-January 2013 issue of Cook's Country Magazine arrived.  I took one look at their Fruit Ambrosia recipe and I made a note that I had to make this childhood dish.

"Noelle" and "Ellen"
Today, I attended a baby shower for a sweet, young, friend (and fellow food blogger) Noelle, of "The Joyful Table".  We were asked to bring a salad. What perfect timing!  I had just purchased the last of the seasonal Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit (that I dearly love), and I also found Blood Oranges and Cara Cara Oranges were in the produce aisle. Score!

If you've never tried Blood Oranges, I hope you can find still find some while they are in season. 

They are such a beautiful color, and have a deep citrus flavor. Yum!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Milky Way Brownie Cups (or, the best brownies ever!)

On my "About Me" page, I admit that I have a true weakness for caramel.  As an ice cream topping, I'll choose caramel over chocolate.
I finally overcame my fear of making caramel, when I made Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream, and now I made my own caramel ice cream topping.   Since then, I've made different variations of Caramel Flan and Panna Cotta.

Milky Way Bars are the candies that I would barter from my son, when he'd deposit his heavy bag of Halloween Goodies.  I prefer milk chocolate, over dark, and caramel and that light creamy nougat-- I have loved them for as long as I can remember.   I stumbled across a photo of Milky Way Brownie Cups, and I became obsessed with wanting to make them.

I am really excited to share this recipe with you. While the concept of the recipe isn't new (just google "Milky Way Brownie Bites), I did what the judges on American Idol often say--  "I made
them my own" by making the brownies, from scratch--thanks to King Arthur Flour  If you only buy 

boxed brownie mix, I can promise you that you will never do that again. This recipe is truly the best I've ever made (and I've made my fair share). The brownies bake with a fudgy center, and crispy edges. In my book, that is the "Ultimate Brownie".  Best of all, they take minutes to make because you use melted butter, eggs, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking powder a pinch of salt-- and vanilla.  You don't need a mixer, because a whisk will do the job nicely.

 These wouldn't be Brownie Cups without a Mini Muffin Pan.  Because I'm such a kitchen gadget Queen, I have this set of scoops-- and I use them all the time, because they are such a time saver and I can make all of my baked goods to be the same size.

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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Frito Chili Pie

I finally shared  my Signature Chili Con Carne recipe with you, just in time for the Super Bowl. Tomorrow, I am feeding three men who are geared up to watch the 49'ers and the Ravens battling for the Ultimate Football Prize.

Today, I made my traditional Chili with meat.  I gotta say, it's a good batch, if I do say so myself! I have a nice variety of chips, ready to be poured into small bowls.  There's definitely more than enough chili, and hot dogs. Of course, there's plenty of ripe avocado, waiting to become fresh guacamole.  I even baked some treats that I know my men will love (will blog those soon).

I don't buy Frito Lay Corn Chips, very often, because I can't stop eating them.  Nom, nom, nom.

All that cooking and baking made me really hungry.  I can eat my homemade chili beans several days in a row, and never tire of it.  I've never made Frito Chili Pie, though I've heard of it. It was lunch time, and my husband just finished setting up our new Flat Screen HDTV (super excited to finally have one), so I made him a "thank you" lunch. NOTE: I added a little bit of cornmeal "paste" by adding a little water, to thicken the chili a bit.

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