Sunday, December 6, 2015

Shrimp Cakes with Spicy Cajun Mayo

Shrimp cakes are common all over the Gulf Coast, this recipe is healthier because it has whole-wheat breadcrumbs, is packed with fresh vegetables and delectably crisp without having been deep-fried. Serve these shrimp cakes several ways. On top of a salad, as a first course or like a burger on a with the Cajun mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.
    6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 

    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1/2 cup finely chopped celery
    1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
    1 pound  raw shrimp, peeled,
     deveined (see Tip) and coarsely chopped
    1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
    2 teaspoons salt-free Cajun seasoning, divided
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy skillet, such as cast iron, or a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and bell pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.
Add shrimp, breadcrumbs, egg, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and salt to the bowl.  Combine, then form into 8 cakes, 3 inches wide and about 1/2 inch thick.
Wipe the pan, add another 2 teaspoons oil and heat over medium heat. Add 4 shrimp cakes and cook, turning once, until the shrimp are just cooked(4 to 5 minutes per side) Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and the remaining 4 cakes, reduce heat as necessary to prevent over browning. 
Cajun Mayo

Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise and the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Serve the mayonnaise with the shrimp cakes.

top of a salad
a burger
Tips & Notes
To peel shrimp, grasp the legs and hold onto the tail while you twist off the shell. To devein, use a paring knife to make a slit along the length of the shrimp. Remove the dark digestive tract (or “vein”) with the knife tip. Shrimp is usually sold by the number needed to make one pound. For example, “21-25 count” means there will be 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound. Size names, such as “large” or “extra large,” are not standardized, so to get the size you want, order by the count per pound.


Rouille  is a red garlicky sauce (pronounced roo-EE, rouïo in Provençal)
Traditionally it is an accompaniment for bouillabaisse, but also nice with grilled seafood. (or w/anything you care to add it to) It will keep in the  fridge either the same day or the next.  If the rouille is stiff, thin it with a few drops of boiling water. Here are several recipes
Marseille Recipe
2 chili peppers
4 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 handful bread
1 Tbsp rock salt
 Trim, de-seed and chop finely the peppers, in a mortar, crush the peppers, garlic, rock salt and olive oil
(1 teaspoon) together to obtain a thick paste. Crumble the bread, moisten it with hot water (or the bubbling broth if you're preparing bouillabaisse), and press it into a tight lump, squeezing out the liquid.
Add the bread lump to the paste and beat, adding olive oil, until you've raised a smooth sauce. If the sauce tends to separate, add another tight lump of bread and hot broth, and keep beating.
Nice Recipe
2 tsp cayenne pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 cup olive oil
2 egg yolk
5 g saffron*
In a mortar, crush the garlic to a fine mash.
Add the egg yolks, and beat into a mayonnaise while adding about a half-cup of olive oil.
When the sauce is thick and smooth, stir in the pepper and saffron.
* again, Saffron is the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, It will keep in an airtight container for several years.
Eating Well
    1/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
    3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
    2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 teaspoon minced, garlic
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 Pinch saffron,
Combine red peppers, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and saffron in a food processor; pulse, scraping down the sides as necessary, until smooth.

Seafood Stew

Here's one from Eating Well (I added a suggestions in regards to the seafood as I said make it your own) this recipe makes 2 servings, 1 3/4 cups each.
    2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    Pinch of crumbled saffron threads *
    1 cup no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with juice
    1/4 cup vegetable broth
    4 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
    4 ounces bay scallops, tough muscle removed (substitute or add oysters)
    4 ounces small shrimp, (41-50 per pound), peeled and deveined
    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seed, salt, pepper and saffron; cook for 20 seconds.
   Stir in tomatoes, broth and green beans. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
    Increase heat to medium, stir in scallops and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes more.
* Saffron adds flavor and golden color to a variety of Middle Eastern, African and European foods. It is the dried stigma from Crocus sativus, It will keep in an airtight container for several years.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

In memory of and in the line with Chef Paul's "A Fork in the Road" (lighter, healthier, fare here is a recipe I've taken from taken from Eating Well. (per usual make it your own)  It's a zesty Cajun-style pasta full of lean chicken, peppers and onions. (Makes: 6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each)
    8 ounces whole-wheat pasta (your choice)
    1 tablespoon canola oil
    2 slices bacon, chopped
    1 large sweet onion, (halved and thinly sliced)
    1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1-inch pieces)
    1 medium green bell pepper (sliced)
    3 cloves garlic (minced)
    4 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (see Tip)
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
    1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
    1/2 cup sliced scallions (for garnish)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions (Drain)
Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bacon and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown (2 min.) Add chicken, bell pepper, garlic, Cajun seasoning and pepper. Cook stirring, until the onion and bell pepper are beginning to soften (4 min.)
Add flour and stir to coat. Add tomatoes and their juice; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is bubbling and thickened and the chicken is cooked through (about 2 minutes) Remove from the heat. Stir in sour cream; stir the pasta into sauce. Serve sprinkled with scallions (if desired)
  If you have a blend without salt; season the sauce with salt to taste.
(not whole wheat pasta)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Vegetables as a Main Dish with Brown Rice

This is one of the first recipes developed for "A Fork in the Road" and being a "veggie freak" it was among the first I tried. Love all the colors in it.

2 tsp salt
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 ½ tsps onion powder
1 ½ tsps sweet basil leaves (dried)
1 tsp garlic powder                        

1 tsp garlic (minced)
1 tsp dillweed     
½ white pepper                   
½ ground nutmeg             
¼ black pepper                   
¼ tsp savory leaves (dried)

1 tsp dry mustard            
1 tsp thyme leaves (dried

1 eggplant
½ cup apple juice
2 cups onions (chopped)
1 ½ green bell pepper (chopped)
1 cup celery (chopped)
2 cups defatted chicken stock
4 cups fresh tomatos (peeled) or 2 14½ oz cans diced
3 bay leaves
3 cups fresh mushrooms

1 cup each zucchini and yellow squash (diced)
Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl. Peel eggplant and slice lengthwise sprinkle with ¼ the seasoning mix. Preheat a 2inch heavy skillet (non stick 5 min.) Cook eggplant until brown (2 min.) add apple juice and cook turning occasionally till eggplant is stick and caramelized. (6 min or so set aside)
Combine onions, peppers, celery with 1tbl seasoning til crust forms (12 min) add 1 cup of stock scraping the skillet to get all the brown bits. Add garlic and continuing to cook til evenly browned an sweet tasting. (5 min) When the liquid has evaporated and a new crust has formed add tomatos add remaining seasoning, bay leaves along with rest of the veggies. Reduce heat to medium simmering til eggplant is tender. (12-15 min) Serve over brown rice

Butternut Squash Marmalade

4 cups butternut squash (peeled and diced)
1 cup onion (chopped)   
1 cups apple juice
¼ tsp dillweed
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp white pepper
2tbs lemon juice
2tbs orange juice
12 pks of artificial sweetener
(he suggest use ½ & ½ Equal, Sweet & Low)
Place squash, onions and apple juice in a 3 quart pot cover bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook til squash is fork tender and almost all the apple juice evaporates. (25-30 minutes) Transfer mixture to blender or food processor with remaining ingredients.

Pepper cornbread

A homage to Chef Paul is this recipe. Taken from his own words he wasn't quite certain what to call it should it be peppercorn bread or pepper cornbread no matter here is this recipe.

1tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour      
1 cup corn flour            
1 cup yellow corn meal
1/4 cup baking power

2 tbs olive oil 
1/4 cup nonfat mayonaise
1/4 cup nonfat cream cheese
2 cups evaporated skim milk

vegetable oil spray
1tbls crushed red pepper
1 tb pink peppercorns *
1 tb green peppercorns *
* if you can't find separate containers use the medley one

preheat oven to 350 degrees
 Place the eight dry ingredients mix thoroughly adding in the mayo and cream cheese. Mix using your hands forming small balls. Add the evaporated milk and oil   using a spatula fold completely til blended.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Crawfish Quiche

Prep: 35 min  Inactive: 1 hr  Cook: 50 min   Total Time: 2 hr 25 min
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne
    1 cup solid vegetable shortening                  
    5 to 7 tablespoons ice water
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/3 cup finely diced yellow onions
    1/4 cup finely diced bell peppers
    2 teaspoons chopped garlic
    1/2 pound peeled crawfish tails
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 eggs
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Dash hot sauce (again I like Louisiana Red hot)
    1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
    2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    1/2 cup grated sharp white Cheddar
    1/2 cup grated medium Cheddar
Combine flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Cut shortening until it resembles a coarse, crumb-like texture. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, gently mixing until the mixture makes a dough. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap,  refrigerate for an 1 hour to 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Dust a work surface with flour and roll the dough into a 12-inch round about 1/4-inch thick. Fold the dough into fourths and unfold into a 10-inch fluted quiche pan. Rolling a wooden rolling pin over the pan to cut off after you've pressed into the pan. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork then place a parchment paper over the crust and fill with handy dried beans. Bake the crust for 12 minutes remove from the oven and cool slightly. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F then melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the crawfish tails and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk the cream, eggs, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chives, and grated chedars. Arrange the crawfish mixture evenly into the pastry shell. Sprinkle the grated cheeses over the crawfish. Pour the cream mixture over the crawfish. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the center sets and the top is golden. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, before slicing. Garnish with fresh chives and serve warm.

Since I am a veggie freak I often sneak in extra or multiple colors of the holy trinity peppers. I also will make mini quiches

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cajun Pecan-Crusted Catfish

Crunchy, battered catfish fillets have always been a Louisiana favorite these fillets are coated in a spicy melange of cornflakes and pecans and baked for a traditional a healthy take on this bayou favorite.
   Makes: 4 servings  Prep Time: 15 minutes   Total Time: 40 minutes

    1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
    1/4 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco) or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper to taste
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
    2 cups cornflakes
    1/2 cup pecan pieces
    1 pound catfish fillets, about 1 inch thick, cut into 4 portions

    Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
    Blend buttermilk, hot sauce (or cayenne) oregano chili powder and garlic salt in a shallow dish.      
    Pulse cornflakes in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Transfer to a large plate.
    Pulse pecans in the food processor until coarsely chopped; mix the pecans with the crumbs.   
    (Alternatively, place cornflakes in a seal able bag crush with a rolling pin chop nuts with a knife.)
    Dip each catfish fillet in the buttermilk mixture, then dredge in the cornflake mixture coating both      
    Bake the catfish for 25 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Serve immediately.
sides. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cajun Crab Croquettes

This is a take on the lighter side for crab cakes which gets a Louisiana spin with Cajun spice and corn. Although any type of crab works here, the preferred the texture of is lump crabmeat. Serve with Zesty Rémoulade Sauce. Make it a meal: Serve w/arugula salad. (4 servings, 2 croquettes each)
Cajun Crab Croquettes
Prep Time: 30 minutes Total: 50 minutes
  3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  1 small onion, finely diced
  1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper
  1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning, divided
  1 large egg white
  1 pound pasteurized crabmeat, drained
  3/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs, divided
  1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, corn and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Let cool for 5 minutes. Add crab, egg white, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, mayonnaise and lemon zest. Mix well.
  Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions (about 1/2 cup each). Form each portion into an oblong patty that's about 4 inches by 2 inches. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning and 2 teaspoons oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle 1 heaping teaspoon of the breadcrumb mixture over the top of each croquette, then gently press it on.
  Bake the croquettes until heated through and golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Zesty Rémoulade Sauces

A classic mayonnaise-based sauce that's commonly served with seafood. 
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons Creole mustard
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon sweet relish

This is a lighter version & only makes 2/3 cup  Time: 10 minutes for both

1/4 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 scallions, finely chopped

2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped rinsed capers

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, scallions, capers, mustard, relish and pepper in a small bowl.
    Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Pork, White Bean & Kale Soup

 Makes 6 servings, about 1 2/3 cups each                 Total Time: 40 minutes

Picture curtsey of Eating Well
The newest thing, kale is matched up here with
white beans and chunks of lean pork tenderloin to create a soup that is going to give you lots of protein.Smoked paprika gives the soup a Spanish flair which is apropos.  
3/4 teaspoon salt 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion(finely chopped)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut
  into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons paprika, preferably smoked
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste   (optional)
1 cup white wine
4 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped (about 8 cups lightly packed)
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed (see Tip)
 Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring once or twice, until no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate with tongs, leaving juices in the pot.
Add onion to the pot and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic, paprika and crushed red pepper (if using) and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine and tomatoes, increase heat to high and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add broth and bring to a boil.
Add kale and stir just until it wilts. Reduce heat to maintain a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in beans, the reserved pork and any accumulated juices; simmer until the beans and pork are heated through, about 2 minutes.
Tip: While there is convenience of canned beans, they tend to be high in sodium. Give them a good rinse before adding to a recipe to rid them of some of their sodium or opt for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties. Or, if you have the time, cook your own beans from scratch.