Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Main Course

For the main course I served E and A grilled lamb and three cheese risotto.  Risotto is my favorite comfort food...who am I kidding, anything with cheese is my comfort food!  I used Romano, Asiago and Parm...

The lamb I kept simple: salt, pepper, olive oil, sear each side on high heat and finish in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes. 

I also did my first balsamic reduction, which turned out great! The reduction is exactly what it sounds like, balsamic vinegar that has been slow cooked down to a near syrup. Love me some balsamic vinegar.

A quick note about the table setting, it was done on the cheap. The place mat is a gift bag that I cut to size. Two came in a bag and since Valentine's Day items were half off I only paid 50 cents for them. The votive holders were also on clearance; a pack of three was $1.50.  What's not in the picture is the napkin that I tied with the decorative twist tie that came with the gift bag. The electric heart was $5, the dishes (out of all the dishes I have, and I have a lot, I didn't have white ones!) averaged about $5 for each piece and I used silverware I already had.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Second Course

In between the courses, there were four, I gave them little gifts. The first gift was a little note card I made with five reasons why I love me some them. The second were a box of chocolates because they both have serious sweet tooths. The final gift to Babe was this little pink and red bracelet because she has really gotten into accessories as of late. Big E received a mug with Char.lie Br.own on it as his final gift. The Pea.nuts crew was his favorite cartoon and comic strip growing up.

The second course was this most delicious soup. This soup is a breeze to prepare and doesn’t take many ingredients. Since the onions take a bit of time to cook I cooked them the night before; saved a ton of time the next day. I added milk to the soup but with the addition of the flour I could have left it out.

The onion slivers are optional but they went over really well. I took some sliced onions, dunked them in buttermilk then into seasoned (salt pepper smoked paprika cayenne) flour. I deep fried them in vegetable oil until browned, drained them then topped the soup off with them right before serving. This will make enough soup for about 3-4 people

Caramelized Onion Soup w/Fried Onion Slivers

What You Need:
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3-4 medium to large onions sliced or diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic diced
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 quart low sodium chicken OR beef OR vegetable stock
  • ½ cup whole milk (optional)
  • ½ cup Swiss or jack cheese (don’t use mozzarella it is too stringy)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
What To Do:
  • In a medium boiler over medium heat, add butter and olive oil and let it melt. Add all of the onions and garlic. Stir to get a good coating of oil and butter on the
  • Cook the onions, stirring often, until they are good and brown, NOT burned. About 20-30 minutes
  • Sprinkle with flour; stir to coat. It is OK if the onions begin breaking apart as you will be pureeing part of the mixture
  • Increase the heat to medium high and add broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Sauce should begin to thicken. If it gets too thick for your liking add more broth
  • Carefully remove 1-2 cups of the thickened onion mixture and add to a blender to puree (if you have a stick blender use that instead and puree the mixture to your liking)
  • If using a blender, add the pureed mixture back to the rest of the soup that should be still simmering on low
  • Add the milk, if using, cheese, cayenne and mustard. Stir until cheese melted.
Serve warm.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fresh Crab Salad

So this weekend I prepared the belated Valentine’s Day meal for Babe and her main man. It was very lovely. We had old school Santana playing, candles burning, lovely cocktails (mock for the kid) and the meal was delicious. I am so not saying that because I prepared it either. It was really very tasty! I love that my family happily indulges my whimsy.

The meal started with this Fresh Crab Salad w/Ginger Lime Dressing. See it was supposed to be a tower of vegetables and fruit topped with fresh crab meat but my tower tumbled as soon as I took it out of the mold! While the tower would have made for a great presentation, the simplicity and deliciousness of this dish made up for any presentation worries!

Mixed greens under tomatoes, cucumbers, mangoes, red onions, avocado tossed in fresh lime juice (so they wouldn’t turn brown) and crab that I steamed the night before in Cajun seasonings. Prior to serving I drizzled with the dressing I made the night before also. As an aside, I could have drunk this dressing by the tablespoon. Simple, fresh ingredients make the best meals.

Fresh Crab Salad
Adapted from

What You Need:

For the Ginger Lime Dressing:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Creole or Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp dry ginger
Zest of an entire lime
Juice of an entire lime
3 tablespoons olive oil

For the salad:
2 cups salad greens (1 cup per serving; I used a spring mix)
1 cup each diced tomatoes, diced cucumbers, diced mangoes
½ cup each diced red onion, diced avocado (tossed in lime juice, discard used lime juice)
1 ½ cup fresh, cooked crab meat

What To Do:
Mix all of the salad dressing ingredients together, except the olive oil, until combined
While vigorously whisking the dressing, slowly add the olive oil until it comes together
In a medium bowl toss the vegetables and fruit together
Plate the salad then pile a heaping of crab on top
Drizzle with Ginger Lime Dressing


Correction: The Ginger Lime Dressing is my personal recipe but the salad is adapted from the site listed.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Flat Out Chicken

Roasted oh man how delicious a roasting bird smells and tastes with it's crispy skin and juicy meat, lawdhammercy! When we have roast chicken, typically for Sunday dinner, I will put it in the oven on our way to church...maaaaaan!

The wonderful thing about roasting an entire bird are the endless possibilities. I split the chicken open because I want all of the skin crispy!  The best tool IMO for cutting chicken are kitchen shears. A good pair of shears are an invaluable kitchen tool! For this bird I used my basic roast chicken recipe...

What you need:
  • 3Tbs olive oil (or canola or vegetable)
  • 2 teaspoons each pepper, garlic powder, paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste 
  • A whole roasting chicken 10-12lbs (adjust cooking time for smaller birds) 
What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • In a small bowl mix the oil and spices together. Set aside Clean and pat chicken dry
  • Cut the chicken down the middle on the breast side
  • Spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray
  • Lay the chicken, flat out, on the cookie sheet
  • Rub this mixture all over the chicken and under the skin of the chicken
  • Roast at 325 degrees for 2 hours. Again, adjust the cooking time down for smaller birds.
  • Once removed from the oven, cover the bird loosely with foil and LET THE CHICKEN REST for about 15 minutes before slicing into it.  That baby is tired and needs its juices to redistribute! LOL


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Food Photo Purge - Brown Butter Cupcakes

You know how you look at a recipe or think of a recipe and you just KNOW it is gonna be the banginest ish ever? Like, you will burn the roof of your mouth to taste it right out of the skillet, boiler, muffin tin??

Then you make it and it is a BIG FAT FAIL!!!!!

I wanted these cupcake to be great but alas they were not!  The frosting was redeemable but the cupcake was dry and sucked sooooooooooooooooo horribly bad.

But they look pretty right! LOLOL

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Food Photo Purge - Linda's Sweet Potatoes

My mother, L-Beezy (that's her rap name; family joke), has been making these stove top sweet potatoes since I was little. Try as I might I have yet to perfect these...but I have a blast trying.

Thinly sliced sweet potatoes cooked in sugar and butter and cinnamon and vanilla creates this rich syrupy goodness that the oven baked marshmallow topped stuff can't match.  Once I perfect these, I will post a proper recipe.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Heart You

So I'm planning a Valentine's Day dinner for B and her fave guy (her daddy). It's just a small way for me to show them some love...I'm hokey that way. It's going to be a tad fancy as there will be invitations, a menu, four courses, a full on set table, background music and I will be their cook and server. B is gonna eat this whole concept up! Lol

I'm a little giddy with excitement too!

I love a good get together even if it's just two people. The pictures are of the name tags, menu and invitations personally made by my Ninah B.  I will give these to the dynamic duo so they can "pencil me in" on their

The menu will include Fresh Crab Salad, Sweet Onion Soup, Rack of Lamb with a balsamic reduction atop a three cheese risotto with roasted asparagus and an ice cream trio of honey, pistachio and strawberry each with their own accoutréments. My plan is to give them small gifts between courses then their big gift at dessert.  I LOVE love so this psuedo holiday is right up my loving alley!

Do you all have any special Valentines Day plans?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Food Photo Purge - Shrimp and Grits

One day I'm going to do a proper post for my shrimp and grits. Not today though. LOL

I'd never heard of shrimp and grits until I moved to Texas. Man what a treat I'd been missing!  There are as many ways to make shrimp and grits as there are to make gumbo!  After much practice I finally created my recipe!  It includes cream and white wine and stock and typically three cheeses and of course rich and delicious.

Many recipes add the cheese into the grits, I prefer mine on top of my grits. There are just layers of flavor to this dish: boiling the grits in seafood (or chicken) stock, sauteing the shrimp and vegetables in the same pan you fry the bacon in, the different cheese variations (I've used smoked Gouda)...possibilities are endless!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Stephanie's Pasta Soup

It's cold again!!!!!! That means I get to make soup!

My girlfriend, Stephanie, doesn't cook. That's an important fact.

Well last month she hosted a dinner party at her beautiful home. When I tell you she did the doggone thang in the kitchen! She did that! The lasagna, the bruschetta, the salad....everything was delicious.  One of the dishes she made was Pasta Fagioli Soup (without Fagioli). Everybody kept going back for more. I couldn't get enough of that soup. It was spicy and filling and just plain old good! Traditional fagioli soup has beans(fagioli) but she omitted them. The vegetables and beef and pasta more than made up for the missing beans! This soup was very filling...the kicker? All made in the crockpot...FTW!!!  I scaled it down because I was hoping no one in my house liked it but me! #Greedy

Note that this is a soup recipe so you can adjust the flavors and liquids and vegetables to your liking.

Stephanie's Pasta Soup

What you need:
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 small onion, rough chopped
  • 3 carrots, rough chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups beef stock (or vegetable stock or chicken stock)
  • Tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsp parsley (I used fresh)
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (I used the green kind cause that's what I had on hand)
  • 1 cup spaghetti sauce
  • 4-6 ounces uncooked pasta (elbow macaroni, shells, etc)

 What to do:
  • Brown ground beef. Drain fat from beef.
  • Add beef along with the other ingredients, EXCEPT the pasta, to the crock pot
  • Stir the ingredients to incorporate
  • Cook on low 7-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours
  • During the last 30 minutes on high or 1 hour on low, add the uncooked pasta, stir to incorporate
  • Continue to cook until pasta is cooked



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Twitter, Cocktails, TV

I LOVE a good cocktail!

So I'm going to begin a weekly segment on my Twitter feed called #CocktailHourTV.
Remember when TV went off?
I'll make a cocktail (or just have wine) post the recipe or bottle, watch ratchet TV and Tweet my commentary! Y'all should join me!!  Good times for sure!

You can follow me @ThreeFoodWords!

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Friday Five - Five Under Five!

Happy Friday!!

I visited one of my favorite crack houses this week *giddy*. Oh the clearance goodies I found.  Here are five of my favorites:

New Cereal = Cheap Price $1.50
This smells divine $2.48

I can't wait to taste this! I think it will be divine making smores $2.21

Love these chips! $1.74 per bag

Did you find anything good stuff this week while out in your favorite stores?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Alon's 7-up Cake

So if you’ve been reading me for any amount of time you know that baking is really not my thing. I mean I have some things that I can successfully bang out but a pastry chef I will never be! I’m good on

Ninah Bee’s friend, Alon, is honing her housewifery skills by cooking more meals at home. So over the holidays when she kept bragging about this cake and even when my sister was also bragging about this cake...I KNEW I needed to make it.

This cake is junk in your trunk delicious!!! It was moist and flavorful and just downright good. Ninah created some kind of glaze to go over the cake but the cake didn't last that long! LOL

Now, I’ve heard Southerners talk about a 7-up cake but I can’t recall ever eating any. I mean the cakes that my grandmothers baked were so boss I never had a desire to try anyone else’s! This cake right here? This cake right here? Gangsta!!
What you need:
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 7 ounces of regular 7up
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract

What to do:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream sugar, butter and oil
  • Add eggs one at a time mixing thoroughly after each addition
  • Add cake flour and 7-up to cream mixture. Mix until just combined
  • Add the lemon and coconut extracts to the batter and mix for about a minute
  • Pour cake batter into a prepared Bundt cake pan or two prepared loaf pans
  • Bake cake for 1½ hours at 325 degrees or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.