Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Frogs Legs in White Wine Pasta

Ahhh... yet another reason that I love my Silver Spoon cookbook. What other cookbook offers and ENTIRE SECTION dedicated to our little Kermit friends?

Its been quite a while since I had frog legs... the last time being at a French restaurant as an appetizer.. and I really wanted to recapture the lemony garlic flavor that they created, they were so wonderfully light and delicate.

In the end I opted for the Silver Spoons "Frogs in White Wine"... and modified it a tiny bit.

I was in luck, as I wandered into my local fish market as I do... they had them fresh! SCORE!
I will also confess I took some sick pleasure in making the legs dance around a bit in a little froggie chorus line before tossing them in the pan. I couldnt resist.

So on to the serious part!!!!!!!

I lightly floured and fried the legs in some shallow oil until just golden, careful, they dry out quickly. (I season my flour for dredging with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, sometimes cayenne)

frog massacre

For the pasta sauce
 about 2T of butter and 2 T flour to make a roux, once that is ready start whisking in your milk til youve got a sauce a thinkness you like.  For this sauce I added some sauteed mushrooms, fresh thyme, and a squirt of lemon juice at the end.  Salt to taste.

I suppose you could do this with shrimp... but then you'd miss out on the fun of the chorus line now wouldnt you?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Baked Potato Chowder

I made this today totally on a whim. Someone on Facebook (evil facebook) mentioned cooking potato soup, and for some reason, it just sounded.... right. Considering we currently have a ton of potatoes, and a bunch of bacon in the freezer.... pretty much every ingredient was laying around and needing to be used up.

It's incredibly rich and heavy.... perfect if you're REALLY hungry... which I wasn't... and ended up putting way more in my bowl than I could even remotely handle. But very tasty none the less!


5 baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
1 cup chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
5 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese, and Romano cheese, mixed
6 ounces sour cream
2 chicken bouillon (I use oxo)

valley of ingredients

Bake potatoes 1 hour in a 400 degree F oven. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes and set aside.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add garlic and green onions, cook until soft. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the milk while stirring until all the milk has been added. Bring heat to medium and keep stirring until the soup mixture starts to get thick.Add bouillon cubes.
Add the potatoes, salt, ground black pepper, bacon and cheese. Stir well and continue to heat for about 15 minutes, allowing the flavors to blend. Stirring well, mix in the sour cream until well blended with the soup. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cream Sauce

This is my super easy short cut recipe for a cream sauce. I call it a short cut because I use corn starch as a thickener and fancy-pants people don't like that. But whatever, I'm not making a bechamel every time I want something creamy for dinner. ;)

You can really get creative with this, its totally a base so you can throw in whatever:

Sauteed Mushrooms
Sauteed Onions

Really your only limit is your imagination.

Cream Sauce Base

2 Tbsp Corn Starch
1 cup stock (fish, chicken, veg depending on what you are serving it with)
1 cup cream
Salt & Pepper to taste

Mix your corn starch with a bit of the stock in a small bowl to make a slurry. In a pan over medium heat bring your stock to a low simmer. Add cream, and also bring to a low simmer (do not let it boil!!). Whisk constantly and begin adding corn starch slurry. It will start to thicken quickly so keep your eye on it.  If it thickens too much you can thin it a little with a bit more cream, just keep whisking!

Once it starts to thicken you can add your flavorings such as mushrooms or herbs and then season to taste.

Voila! Home made cream sauce!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Masoor Dal & Raita

When possible, Dave and I avoid mass produced meats, opting to eat mostly fish or else obtain or meats from farmers we know such as Deep Roots Meats and Running River Ranch.

Also, I just like to try to cut out meat now and then. Yup!  Me... Queen Carnivore of the World... reduces meat from her diet.

Not because I buy into the evangelical preachings of PETA, or because I believe ZOMG animal fats are POISON (I'm pretty sure the human race would have died out long ago if that were the case). My reasons are simply because the meat "industry" is destroying part of our human culture (farming), and killing off entire species and replacing them with quite unnatural meat producing science projects. Creatures that are treated just like that, a product, an invention. I just want to do my part to help support those farmers who are literally fighting the fight to keep some quite ancient traditions, and breeds, alive. The less I support the habit and buy the cheap stuff regularly at the supermarket, the more of a treat it becomes and I appreciate why it is more expensive to buy the grass fed, pasture raised stuff every now and then.. instead of every day.


All of this brings us to one of our favorites, which will probably become a staple as Dave is a huge curry fan! So flavorful and so filling. I've decided there is something mentally wrong with people who don't like Indian food!! ;)

Masoor Dal

1 cup red lentils
1 half large onion, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ginger root, minced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato puree
2 cup peas


Wash the lentils in cold water until the water runs clear, put the lentils in a pot with water to cover and simmer covered until lentils tender - approx 30 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking: In a saucepan, saute the onions and garlic in vegetable oil.
While the onions are cooking, combine the curry paste, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, salt, sugar, and ginger in a mixing bowl. Mix well. When the onions are cooked, add the curry mixture to the onions and cook over a high heat stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomato puree and reduce heat, allow the curry base to simmer until the lentils are ready.
Drain the lentils and mix them and the peas into curry base and serve immediately.

Cucumber and Tomato Raita

This recipe is ridiculous easy... you pretty much don't even need a recipe.

I use greek yogurt, about a cup, dice up about a quarter of a cucumber and a quarter of a tomato
and blend it into the yogurt, adding a bit of water until its a consistency I like.

You can mix all sorts of stuff into a raita for different flavors, cilantro, cumin, even fruit. It is usually served to help soften the blow of the spicy curry. ;)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

So... usually on Sundays we roast a whole chicken. Just the two of us usually only finish off half of it, the other half usually going into my salads for lunch. 

Dave loves chicken pot pie. I guess its the closest thing to any sort of meat pie (btw, Sweeny Todd... AWESOME movie) that is easily accessible here in the States. Cracker Barrel, apparently, is the Mecca of Pot Pie.

I even went so far as making the pie crust from scratch using the "Good for Everything" pie crust recipe from Dorrie Greenspans "Baking" book. Its a damn fine pie crust. As if I needed an excuse to use my new mixer *grins with glee*


1 half of a cooked chicken, cut into pieces
2 sliced carrots
1 cup frozen green peas
3 stalks sliced celery
1/3 cup butter
1 chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions, celery and carrots in butter until soft and translucent. 

Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and thyme. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Stir in peas and cooked chicken.

Pour hot liquid mixture into oven-proof bowl (we used soup crocks). Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Fried Gator

One reason to love living in Florida...and in this case... befriending a very unique breed of hunter.

After our regular outing to the Central Florida Highland Games a while back, and playing at the archery range for a little bit, I decided I'd like to get back into archery. So I hopped in my little car and scooted myself over to an Archery Shop I'd driven past several times.

After picking out a bow (and noticing some beautiful hand-made ones)... testing it, and deciding to buy it, I paused and looked at all of the trophies on the walls.

Some of you might not know I work with leather, so I thought to myself, they must do something with these hides. So combined with the fact that I had just had a conversation with a Highland Cattle farmer about how he has to waste his beautiful hides because he can't find a tanner in the country to make it worth anything to him... but said he would sell untanned hides to me if I could learn to, or find someone, to tan them for me, I was spurred to ask.

And out from the back of the shop came a most unique fellow. Not only does he tan all sorts of hides, from deer to gator.. and even more bizarre, fish and frog, he even collects bark from trees to make his own tannin's  as well as builds bows from the horns and bones of the animals his family hunts.

Truly.. nothing of the animals these people hunt go to waste. The way it should be. I love these people. And that's not because he offered to teach me tanning... or hooked me up with some fresh gator.... which is what this post is actually all about! Who'da thunk it right?

So yea... after about 2 hours of awesome conversation with this gem of a man.... and we got on the subject of cooking... he rushed off and back again with a frozen chunk of fresh wild Florida gator.

Very cool. I had only ever had silly little "gator bites"... made from farmed gator... that probably wasn't even raised in Florida and was god knows how old. Leaving little in the flavor department.

This gator was fantastic.... and did not "taste like chicken".... if I could compare it to anything, the texture was more like frog... and had a flavor closer to catfish... which you probably know I adore, since we eat it every single week.

I cooked it pretty much like I would fry chicken (or chicken livers... or catfish!)....

Marinated it in 2 beaten eggs with a generous amount of cayenne and garlic powder for about 2 hours.

Then, dredged each piece in salted and peppered flour and fried til nice and golden in some oil in my iron pan.

I also made the dipping sauce.... about a cup of mayo, squirt of ketchup, spoonful of brown mustard, 2 spoonfuls of horseradish, several shakes of Franks hotsauce, some more cayenne, and a few shakes of garlic powder. Yea... I didnt get too specific, just kept messing with it til I got a flavor I liked. :)

Hopefully everyone gets to meet a person as awesome as this guy!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Heart(y) Stew

One interesting thing I have noticed with the fall of the economy, is some more unusual bits of meat for the American market, cheap, offal being sold in our regular supermarket. I would have never have imagined finding ox heart, chicken feet, or kidneys outside of ethnic markets this time last year. But now, they are popping up in my little white bread Publix, and it gives me warm fuzzies.

So I jumped at the chance to try ox heart, which I'd never had before, and at $2.30 for a whole one.... how can you argue?

I chose a very simple recipe, as I really wanted to get a feel for the flavor of heart. And let me tell you, it is fantastic. More like very lean beef than offal, with a very very slight kidney-like flavor and texture. But I am betting if you were feeding it to people with a palate that isn't used to the flavor of kidney (like most of us yanks)... they would have no idea they are not eating plain ol beef. Which I think could be a huge help to families struggling, to cut corners with such a large nutritious piece of meat, at such a bargain price!

Heart Stew


1 whole ox heart, cut into cubes
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
flour for dredging (can omit if you're going paleo!)
salt and pepper 2 TBS each
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
olive oil
1 cup oxtail soup
1 pint beer


Dredge heart in flour mixed with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot like a french oven, once hot, sautee heart in oil until browned on all sides.
Add onions, carrots and celery, stir until onions begin to go transparent, adding oil if necessary.

Add oxtail soup, beer, bay leaves and thyme.Bring to a boil.
Cover and cook in oven for 4-6 hours at 250 degrees, or until heart is at desired tenderness.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

They'll never know what they're eating. But they'll know it tastes wonderful, and warm, and filling. :)