Perfect Fried Green Tomatoes 

Crisp cornmeal coating over garden fresh, tart green tomatoes, this simple Southern favorite can easily get a bad rap if they are under seasoned or have soggy breading. But you won’t have to worry about that with my recipe… Just a few easy steps will make these the crunchiest, most flavorful fried green tomatoes you’ve ever tasted. Give them a try this summer!

Perfect Fried Green Tomatoes

Serves: 2-4

  • 3 -4 large green tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 c. yellow corn meal
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. grapeseed or peanut oil, for frying
  1. Slice tomatoes and arrange in a single layer on a plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with half of the salt. Turn tomatoes over and sprinkle other side with remaining salt. Allow to sit for at least 1/2 hr up to 8 hrs. (The salt will draw the excess moisture out of the tomatoes and prevent the breading from becoming soggy, so the longer the better!) Pat tomato slices dry with paper towels.
  2. Place 1/2 c. flour in a bowl. Season with dry mustard and paprika. In a second bowl, beat egg together with milk. In a third bowl, combine remaining 1 c. of flour with cornmeal. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat or a sauté pan. (It is important to use an oil with a high smoke point, such as the ones listed above to ensure crisp breading.)
  3. Dip dried off tomato slices into seasoned flour, then into the milk and egg mixture, and finally dredge in the cornmeal and flour bowl. Shake off any excess and place slices, a few at a time, into heated oil.
  4. Fry the slices for 3-4 minutes per side, then turn. Fry an additional 2-4 minutes, until they are golden brown and tomatoes are tender. Remove from oil and place on a baking rack over paper towels to dry. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, if needed. Serve immediately.
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Matcha Green Tea Smoothie

If you aren’t familiar with matcha it is green tea, however it is made by grinding up utilizing the entire tea leaf rather than just steeping it and discarding. This means you are ingesting 100% of the leaves’ benefits! Green tea is full of antioxidants, vitamin C, it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, fights disease, AND is a great metabolism booster! I opted for a vegan variation of this smoothie made with almond milk and pea protein, but you coukd certainly substitute your favorite milk or protein powder if you prefer.

Matcha Green Tea Smoothie 

Serves: 1

  • 12 oz. almond milk
  • 4 Tbsp. matcha smoothie powder (I used Wegmans brand Matcha Super Greens blend)
  • 1/2 banana, peeled and sliced
  • 3-4 ice cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. protein powder (optional- recommend organic pea protein powder)
  • 1 tsp. agave nectar (optional, for sweetness)

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend well until smooth. Drink and enjoy.

Watermelon Salad with Rum and Mint

Summer, with all of it’s picnics, barbecues, and soirees, is one of the best times of the year. That being said, it’s also one of the busiest, at least for me. So when the neighbor invites you over to their backyard bash at the last minute or you’re just too busy running back and forth to the pool and sporting events but don’t want to show up to a party empty handed, what do you do? Probably buy one of those plastic trays of pre-cut (and questionably fresh) fruit from the grocery store or a grab a pound of deli macaroni salad that you know will still be sitting untouched at the end of the night… we’ve all been there. What do I do then? Take watermelon! I know, I know, I was just dissing the pre-cut fruit and that’s NOT what this is, but I promise you it is equally simple AND quick! This “salad” is nothing more than melon balls with a quick citrusy sweet drizzle of rum and a sprinkling of mint but it is enough to elevate a summer staple and look like you “tried.” It also makes a refreshing summer dessert! 

Watermelon Salad with Rum and Mint

Serves: 6-8

  • 6-pound piece seedless watermelon, chilled
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. light rum
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice (1 lime)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. slivered fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated lime zest
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together lime juice, sugar, rum, and salt.
  2. Using a melon baller, scoop melon into balls (or cut into bite-sized chunks).
  3. Add melon to lime mixture in bowl. Sprinkle with mint and lime zest, tossing gently to combine. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate, up to 2 hours.

Original recipe from Martha Stewart Living. 

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

As far as I’m concerned, you can never have too many salmon recipes. Here is a simple marinated one, topped with a yummy sriracha cream sauce and served alongside a delicious stuffed tomato. Salmon recipe courtesy of Damn Delicious.


Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets

FOR THE SRIRACHA CREAM SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the Sriracha cream sauce, whisk together mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Sriracha and condensed milk in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder, honey and 1 cup water; bring to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes; let cool to room temperature.
  4. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine teriyaki marinade and salmon filets; marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, turning the bag occasionally.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  6. Place salmon filets along with the marinade into the prepared baking dish and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  7. Serve salmon immediately with Sriracha cream sauce.

Cheesy Shrimp Ciabatta Toasts

This is such a decadent appetizer! I love it for summertime and it’s such a fresh, creative way to serve shrimp. Plus who doesn’t love cheese bread?! A baguette or some French bread would work for this too, if you want a crunchier end result, but I think ciabatta is just perfect!

Cheesy Shrimp Ciabatta Toasts

Serves: 8-10

  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp, tails removed
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread, sliced in half like a sandwich
  • 1 c. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c. fresh dill, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  1. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the shrimp and Old Bay seasoning. Cook for just a minute or two until coated well with the seasoning. Remove from heat and let cool, then chop into small pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Place chopped, cooled shrimp in a medium bowl with the mayo, garlic, dill, and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture evenly onto cut ciabatta bread.
  4. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Bake bread halves on sheet for 10-13 minutes, until everything is warmed through and cheese is melted. If a crisper toast is desired, broil on low for a minute or two. Slice into sticks and serve warm!

*Based on an original recipe from Jam Hands.

Pineapple Upside Down Stuffed Brioche French Toast

I don’t know whether to call this breakfast or dessert… it seriously tastes like pineapple upside-down cake! Thick, buttery brioche bread is stuffed with cherry cream cheese, fried until golden brown, then topped with bruleed pineapple pieces and a to-die-for brown sugar maple glaze! Don’t count the calories on this one… just enjoy it!

Pineapple Upside Down Stuffed Brioche French Toast

Serves: 6 toasts

  • 12 thick slices brioche bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 block cream cheese, softened
  • 10-12 maraschino cherries, plus more for garnish
  • Whipped topping, optional

For bruleed pineapple topping:

  • 16 oz. fresh pineapple, cut into thin chunks
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar

For maple brown sugar glaze:

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. pure maple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roughly chop maraschino cherries and mix into softened cream cheese until just combined. Spread mixture evenly over 6 slices of brioche bread. Top with remaining 6 slices to make sandwiches.
  2. In a shallow bowl or pie plate, combine eggs, milk and vanilla. Heat a non-stick griddle over medium high heat. Brush with butter.
  3. Dip each sandwich one by one into egg mixture, just enough to coat, don’t soak them or they will become soggy! Place immediately onto heated, buttered griddle. Cook for a minute or two, until browned. Flip and brown other side.
  4. Place browned French toast sandwiches onto a baking sheet sprayed lightly with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Remove from oven and leave on pan to cool a bit.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine butter, sugar and maple syrup. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Place pineapple pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle each piece with a layer of dark brown sugar. Broil, watching carefully, until sugar is allowed to caramelize and brown.
  7. To serve: Cut each French toast sandwich in half diagonally. Top with a few pieces of bruleed pineapple and drizzle with maple brown sugar glaze. Garnish with whipped cream and a cherry!

Best EVER Tiramisu 

I’m not kidding with the title… this is LITERALLY the best tiramisu EVER!! I’ve had so many people comment that it beats any they’ve had at Italian restaurants or even some big chain restaurants. I credit it to the extra Kahlua flavor… I would swear some tiramisus that I’ve had don’t even use any. And yes, technically this IS optional (ie. if you’re going to be serving this to kids, just leave it out), but it really does take the flavors of this dessert to another level. My advice is to not skimp and use a knock off coffee liqueur in this instance; go with the good stuff! It really does have a richer taste!

Best EVER Tiramisu

Serves: 9-12

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese – room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 -7 oz packages Italian Lady fingers
  • 2 cup cold espresso
  • 1 cup Kahlua
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa for dusting
  1. Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. This is your sabayon.
  2. Remove from the heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon-colored.Add Mascarpone to whipped yolks, beat until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream in the mascarpone sabayon mixture and set aside. The mascarpone does not have to be at room temperature, but it will help it mix in easier if it is. Take it out of the refrigerator as you gather ingredients to make the recipe.
  4. Mix the cold espresso with the coffee liquor and dip the lady fingers into the mixture just long enough to get them wet, do not soak them!
  5. Arrange the lady fingers in the bottom of a 9 by 12 inch baking dish (or container similarly sized). A 9 by 12 inch cake pan will fit two packs of lady fingers perfectly!
  6. Spoon half the mascarpone cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat process with another layer of lady fingers and cream.
  7. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Dust with cocoa before serving

Tres Leches Cake 

I made this cake for a Cinco de Mayo bash at work. It’s a traditional Mexican dessert and it’s extremely rich, due to the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream mixture that you pour over it… the “three milks.” It has a delicate, creamy taste with just a hint of cinnamon!


Tres Leches Cake

Serves: 12-15

MILK MIXTURE:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CAKE:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar

FROSTING:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. To prepare milk mixture, empty the can of condensed milk into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring continuously. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly until mixture begins to thicken and becomes slightly darker in color.
  2. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the evaporated milk, cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  3. For the cake, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 325 F. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. Heat the milk, butter and vanilla in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.
  5. In a large bowl whip the eggs with an electric mixer on medium-high speed and gradually add the sugar; beat 1 minute. Increase speed and whip until the mixture is very thick and voluminous, 4 to 8 minutes longer.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the melted butter mixture, beating until combined, about 30 seconds
  7. Add the flour mixture in two additions, beating until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and whip the batter until it is fully combined and smooth, about 30 seconds.
  8. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and gently tap the pan on the work surface to settle it. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
  9. Using a skewer, poke about 50 holes in the warm cake (you do not need to poke all the way through). Slowly pour the cooled milk mixture over the cake. Let the cake cool about 15 minutes, then refrigerate until the milk is completely absorbed and the cake has cooled completely, about 3 hours. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before frosting it.
  10. For the frosting: With an electric mixer, beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread evenly over cake. Cake can be covered with plastic wrap and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.

*Recipe adapted slightly from the Cooks Country cookbook.

Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

Talk about comfort food… this pasta has it all! Rich, creamy alfredo sauce, tender chicken and savory mushrooms. You could also leave the chicken out for a vegetarian-friendly meal.



Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Alfredo Pasta

Serves: 2

For Pasta:

  • 1/2 lb. dried linguine (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and cut into small pieces or coarse shreds
  • 8 oz. assorted fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster, and baby bella but use whatever you like!)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, (optional)

For Alfredo Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Cook the fettucine in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and saute until tender.
  3. Sauté the mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil until tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce has reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  5. Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in, set over medium-high heat along with the reserved cooking liquid.
  6. Add the butter-cream mixture and half of the Parmesan and toss to combine thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Top with shredded chicken and sautéed mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.
  8. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.


Alfredo Sauce adapted from chef Emeril Lagasse’s fettuccine Alfredo.

Classic Mint Julep

I’ve long enjoyed watching the triple crown races every year, a tradition started with my Pap years ago. We would get a list of all the contenders, then assign each family member a horse and wait excitedly to see who won! Soon our interest turned into full on Derby day parties, with foods like Bourbon pecan pie and traditional Kentucky hot browns. And no raceday soirée would be complete without… the mint julep. A classy Bourbon cocktail served by the tens of thousands at Churchill Downs on the big day, you can make your own at home now too! 

Serves: 1 julep

  • Leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs
  • 2 sugar cubes or 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 1/2 ounces good bourbon whiskey (I go with Woodford Reserve)
  • Mint sprig for garnish
  • Crushed ice (CRUSHED is key!)
  1. Place the mint and simple syrup or sugar into a julep cup, collins glass, or double old-fashioned glass.
  2. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint but gently enough that the leaves don’t break into tiny bits.
  3. Add the bourbon.
  4. Fill with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.
  5. Garnish with the mint sprig.