Black Eye Pea Fritters

20160102_175542

We always have a traditional East Texas New Year’s Day meal that includes Black Eye Peas, Greens (cabbage this year), ham, and cornbread. And we always have leftovers. I had both black eyes and purple hulls in the freezer, so I mixed them this year, simmering them until tender with some bacon, onion, red sweet pepper, and a jalapeno.  The mix was tasty, but we had more leftover than we ate.  I tried mashing the peas and making them into fritters and we gobbled them up!  We like mideastern food like falafel and these were even better! If you choose to use canned peas, be sure to add some extra veggies and seasoning to the mix before mashing. This is messy, but oh, so worth the cleanup!

Black Eye Pea Fritters

about 4 cups drained, cooked peas, or equivalent in canned peas

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

4 large green onions, green part chopped, plus more for garnish

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt1 teaspoon your choice other seasoned salt, or more to taste

1 teaspoon your choice other seasoned salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar

1 heaping cup fresh breadcrumbs

coconut oil for frying

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set out baking sheet coated with cooking spray

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in an iron skillet over medium heat. Heat peas briefly in skillet, then mash with potato masher until about 2/3 of peas are mashed, leaving some whole.

Add the flour, egg, green onion, oregano, lemon zest, cayenne, and  breadcrumbs to the pea mixture. Fold in the cheese. Add seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

Place 1/2 cup breadcrumbs at a time in a shallow bowl.  With table spoon scoop mixture and roll into balls,  Press into flat 1/2-inch-thick discs and coat in breadcrumbs. Will make about 16 patties.

Wipe out the skillet. Heat additional coconut oil in batches, a few at a time, sear the fritters until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Place on a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven until cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

IMG_3208

We make a rotisserie chicken stretch into several meals at our house, and I am always trying new ways to use the “rest of the story” when I remove all the chicken bits from the bone. If time permits,  I also cook the bones and strain the broth to use in other ways. But I always pull the meat away, shredding or chopping as I go. Most of the time I have 3 two cup portions to use or freeze. This salad was a perfect lunch, using 2 cups of leftover shredded rotisserie chicken.  This makes 2 generous servings for a lunch entrée.

Chicken, Mandarin, and Pecan Salad

2 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1  hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup chopped pecans

8-10 canned  mandarin orange slices

 

Creamy Lemon Dressing:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

freshly ground black pepper

Combine all salad ingredients except oranges and toss. Drizzle with Creamy Lemon Dressing, then scatter mandarin slices on top.

Garden Salad

IMG_2461After our weekend family gatherings with meals that inlcuded a Saturday dinner of smoked pork tenderloin, roasted corn, roasted green beans, a lunch of sausage,vegetables, and rice, baking (and eating) breakfast scones, root beer popsicles, ice cream treats, and our Memorial Day feast of grilled hot dogs, Kielbasa, smashed potatoes and all the trimmings – we were more than ready to have salad for a meal.  All the food was pretty healthy, there was just alot of it!  If you begin to feel that way as summer arrives, there is no tastier choice than a fresh vegetable salad.

If you are going to avoid a long session of prepping, remember to save those small amounts of leftovers that sometimes get tossed.  Of course you can always make soup, but think salad and stash those left behind cooked vegetables – green beans, corn, beets, asparagus, Grilling and roasting vegetables is very popular, and nothing tastes better topping your fresh ingredients. Quantities suggested below will vary according to what is in your own frig. I love it when I have a few things from my own garden. The combination of colors, textures, and flavor make this crunchy salad a feast!  Top with make-your-own or bottled Balsamic Vinaigrette, recipe below photograph.

Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 cups mixed leaf and Romaine lettuces

2 carrots, sliced

4 -5 radishes

2 ears roasted sweet corn, cut from cob

1 cup roasted green beans left whole or cut into pieces

1 small yellow squash, sliced

1 small green pepper, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

chopped red onion (optional)

Prepare all vegetables and place on top torn lettuces in large bowl.  Add Balsamic Vinaigrette and toss.  Serve with a crusty baguette.

IMG_2459

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients in a jar, tighten lid, and shake!   Taste and adjust amount of vinegar or seasoning as you wish.

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

IMG_2345One of my favorite treats when we go out for a special meal is Lobster Bisque. We rarely cook fresh lobsters at home and when we do there is seldom enough leftover to add to a bisque, but now I have found a way to use other white fish in a way that will put this particular bisque on our table more often!  Joe and all three of our sons spent last week fishing near Homer, Alaska.  Happily, they brought back plenty of salmon and halibut to add to our freezer.  They also brought back a method for cooking what they call Poor Man’s Lobster!  The first fish Joe cooked was halibut cooked like this. I found there are recipes everywhere with many variations.  Almost any type firm fleshed white fish can be used – cod, haddock, monkfish.

Poor Man’s Lobster

  1. Fill a pot with water, at least 2 quarts of water..
  2. Add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Do not ever stir the mixture.
  4. Add chunks of halibut, do not over crowd.
  5. They will sink to the bottom, and then rise to the top when they are done.
  6. It should take just a few minutes.
  7. Remove with slotted spoon.
  8. Remember do not stir the mixture.
  9. Continue until all the halibut is cooked.
  10. Dip in melted butter and eat!

We had plenty of this, drizzled with lemon butter, and heaped on some crusty French bread. It really does taste like lobster!

We had a sandwich bag of leftover fish, so I made this wonderful Lobster Bisque the next day for our lunch. Feel free to use the real thing, but the Poor Man’s Lobster worked for us. Don’t let the long list of ingredients and directions fool you.  It is easy, and the results are worth any effort!

Lobster Bisque on a Budget

  • 6 to 8 ounces lobster broken into small chunks
  • 2 shallots,  minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • 4 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup  white wine
  • 1 T Worcestershire  Tabasco
  • 2 Tablespoons  dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cup half and half
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  1. Saute shallots, onions, and garlic about a minute in a sauce pan00000
  2. Add white wine and stir to combine..
  3. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, and thyme and saute for another minute.
  4. Add sherry and stir
  5. Add the paprika, hot water, bay leaves, and tomato paste, combine well.
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Whisk in whipping cream,half and half  and the butter and bring to a simmer
  8. Add the lobster and heat through.
  9. Serve with crusty garlic bread.

Thankful for Leftovers

IMG_1827

 

Wonton Soup, with (leftover) Kale

I was born in the 1940’s, and grew up in a family that always found a use for even a tablespoon of leftover food. Waste not, want not!  I have a fondness for leftovers, and creative ways to use them, as you might notice if you have read my blog in earlier years.  This year I mention some ingredients you may have collected to use for Thanksgiving cooking, as well as Big Bird and other menu items!

Turkey

Before you are tempted to toss that Thanksgiving turkey remains, slice off some to store in the refrigerator for sandwiches.  Then gather the meat left on all those bones, chop and put into Ziplocs to freeze.  This chopped turkey makes wonderful Tetrazzini or added to marinara, a delicious spaghetti sauce.  You can also use it with rice, broccoli and cheese for a hearty casserole. See links below for posts in past years which mention this.

CranberrySauce

Serve for breakfast with your favorite sausage and toast or biscuits. Better than jelly! Jellied cranberry sauce slices are great to top hot open face chicken or tuna sandwiches.

Mashed Potatoes

Extra mashed potatoes make great soup. Thin the mashed potatoes with milk, cream or broth and garnish with thinly sliced scallions.

You can also make fabulous fritters When I was growing up, my parents owned a small cafe.  I used to ask Daddy to make “fried mashed potatoes” when he had mashed potatoes on the menu. . Add flour and an egg to bind the mixture, fold in some chopped onions and shape it into patties. Daddy cooked them on his hot griddle.  An iron skillet heated with a small amount of cooking oil works just fine.  You can also add chopped ham or bacon bits..  If you want a crispier fritter, dip the potato patties in a mixture of bread crumbs and flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  This is also featured in a previous post, link below, along with a great potato pancake recipe.

Greens, such as Spinach, Kale, Chard

Even a small amount of remaining sauteed or fresh (if not dressed) greens can be a great addition to soups or omelets.  In the photo above, I combined frozen wontons with chicken broth, kale, and a bit of hoisin sauce for a delicious soup.

 


Mustard

Do you have a bit of mustard left in the jar?. Add some oil and vinegar and make vinaigrette by just shaking it up right in the jar. Or stir in a little bit of jam — ideally apricot, or a red-currant jelly — and use the mixture as a glaze for pork or chicken. This is especially nice if your mustard is a fancy one like Dijon.

 


Bread

Slice it and freeze it for morning toast,,make bread crumbs by pulsing the bread in a food processor, or make a batch of croutons. Just cut the bread up into chunks, toss with olive oil and a little salt and sauté in a pan or toast in a 400 degree oven. It’s also great for crunchy crostini. You can also keep it in the freezer for the next time you make cornbread dressing, to which I always add some torn up leftover sliced bread. Another use is not for eating – we save bread in the freezer for our grandchildren to take to the neighborhood lake to feed the ducks!

Buttermilk

Substitute buttermilk for regular milk in pancakes by adding a little baking soda and decreasing the baking powder just a little. Use it for marinating chicken for fried chicken — it both tenderizes and gives a little tang. Or try it in a salad dressing with a small amount of oil.  By the way, you can avoid having leftover buttermilk by purchasing powdered buttermilk which you can store in the frig so you can make exactly the amount you need every time.

 


Coconut Milk

Stir and freeze in ice cube trays for use in drinks and soups later. You can also substitute coconut milk for some or all of the water when you make rice – delicious!  (when I do this I add some toasted coconut flakes on top. . Or sub for butter to finish a sauce, stir a little into some broth along with cooked pasta.

 


  Pork

This is one of my favorite leftovers~  so much so that I often cook extra so I will be sure to have some!

 

Pork Fried Rice, Vietnamese Salad

Chop some plus any extra vegetables and make into a pasta sauce. Add a little broth, butter, and Parmesan, toss with hot cooked pasta and you’ve got an instant meal. Cooked pork also makes a great soft or crispy tacos,

 

Rice

Fried rice puts leftovers to delicious use and actually works better with cold cooked rice.

Mix the cooked rice with a little egg, some Fontina or your favorite cheese, add some seasonings and make rice cakes. Cook them in a little olive oil.

 

Tomato Paste

I often have leftover tomato paste.It can be frozen in ice cube trays  You’ll have it on hand for stirring into soups and stews.

 

Flour Tortillas

Extra corn or flour tortillas can be frozen in a Ziploc bag and used later for savory or dessert pizzas. Place the tortillas on a baking sheet, brush with a little oil and crisp them in the oven. Top with a bit of tomato sauce and cheese  to make an individual pizza. For dessert, brush with butter and brown sugar, bake until crisp and add  toppings

 

https://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/lovely-leftovers-or-still-thankful/

https://kitchenkeepers.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/gourmet-leftovers/

 

Mexican Chicken Stew

030

 

I once received this recipe in an email from my friend of many years, Julie. She labeled it “heavenly!” Don’t let the long list of ingredients fool you. The hearty stew is very easy to assemble, and goes together quickly, particularly considering the large quantity.  It is one of my favorite meals to prepare for sharing with a family who needs a meal brought in.  This week I took a crockpot full to our son and daughter-in-law who just brought their beautiful new baby Nora home. As stated in the recipe directions, it reheats beautifully and freezes well. It is a delicious one pot meal, good with a pan of cornbread or warmed corn tortillas.

Note:  When I make this, I preheat the oven to 400 degrees and begin roasting the lightly seasoned chicken breasts, then put the rice on to cook (1 cup equals 3 cups cooked). While these two ingredients are cooking, I assemble the other ingredients and chop the fresh veggies. By the time all other ingredients are in the pot, the rice is done and the chicken is ready for shredding. If you wish, buy a rotisserie chicken to bone and shred.

Mexican Chicken Stew

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion,  chopped

4 large cloves garlic,  chopped

l large green pepper, chopped

2 jalapenos, seeded and minced

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried cumin

2 (28-ounce) cans petite chopped tomatoes

3 cans black beans, drained

3 lbs. chicken breasts, roasted and shredded (about 4 large chicken breast halves)

1 bag frozen sweet corn

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 (32 oz) boxes chicken stock, 2 quarts total

2 limes

3 cups cooked white rice

Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Optional:Sour cream, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Extra lime quarters

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Add green pepper, garlic and jalapeno and continue sauteing until soft. Add spices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and aromatic. Add tomatoes, beans, chicken, corn,Worcestershire, and stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook 20 minutes.

Cut the limes in half, squeeze juice into the pot, and then add the juiced halves as well.

Add rice and cook 5 minutes longer to warm rice through. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Ladle into bowls and serve with lime quarters for squeezing at table. Pass sour cream and cilantro for desired additional toppings.  This is wonderful reheated and freezes well.

 

 

 

 

 

Sauteed Mushrooms in Red Wine

022

Mushrooms are a delicious topping for any grilled meat or as a topping for buttered pasta.  I used lemon juice from our Meyer lemon harvest that I froze into mini muffin cups.  Each lemon “muffin” is exactly 2 tablespoons, and very convenient for adding to sauces. I picked a handful of fresh parsley from the garden to toss on top.   Note:  if you happen to have any leftovers, this is a wonderful addition to the next night’s spaghetti sauce!

Sautéed Mushrooms in Red Wine

1 lb mushroom, sliced

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup red wine

salt and pepper

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried French thyme

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Melt butter in  sauté  pan. Add sliced mushrooms and sauté over high heat until they are nicely browned. Add salt, pepper and red wine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice and parsley. Serve immediately.

Salmon Hash

IMG_0052

Mary Ann’s Salmon Hash

 This is a great way to use leftover baked or grilled salmon and leftover baked potatoes!

4-5 ounces baked or grilled salmon, skin removed and coarsely shredded

1 small baked potato, peeled and diced

5 green onions, chopped

¼ cup green pepper, chopped

2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1 lemon, cut in half

1 Tablespoon butter

salt and pepper, to taste

Melt butter and olive oil in non-stick skillet.  Add green onion and green pepper, followed by salmon and potato.   Season with salt, pepper, dill and juice from one of the lemon halves.

Slice remaining lemon half to use as garnish at serving time.

Lovely Leftovers, or Still Thankful

One of the joys of preparing a family holiday meal is having leftovers.  OK, I know not everyone enjoys putting them away and then figuring out what to do with them.  And I do have a husband who does not complain about eating leftovers.   I really do like Thanksgiving leftovers, and thought it might be fun to look at some before pictures and then talk about how the remains were revisited. Some of the “leavings” went home with guests, but here’s how we took care of ours.

First, the bird!  I am the first to admit, the turkey was in the roaster a bit too long.  This was my first time using an electric turkey roaster but it won’t be the last.  No basting, shorter cooking time, and even though it was falling off the bone the meat was tender and moist. I rubbed it with olive oil and a Texas salt rub that had plenty of cayenne and paprika and stuffed it with slices of orange, Meyer lemon and fresh bay leaves, rosemary, and basil straight out of the garden.  I glazed the turkey with pomegranate jelly.  Honestly, there was not alot leftover.  We had enough for turkey sandwiches.  But usually I make turkey tetrazinni and turkey noodle soup.  Any that remains after a couple of days gets chopped up and stored in Ziploc bags in the freezer.  This can be used in just about any chicken recipe.

Fruit salad with cooked dressing is one dish we included this year that I remember my Mother always putting on the table for holiday meals. Our cornbread dressing is another.  In the 40’s and 50’s we never had turkey or pumpkin pie.  We had baked chicken and cornbread dressing and sweet potato pie.  We had alot of this leftover because the recipe makes alot and since it competes for dessert as a sweet, I think people “saved for dessert.”  That is OK, because I love it.  We have eaten it as a side with sandwiches but my favorite way of eating this leftover is for breakfast!  I will include this recipe.  The dressing is delicious drizzled over fresh fruit.  I included the cherries and marshmallows because that is the way Mother made it, but I prefer to omit them.

Our sons and their wives are good cooks, so we are fortunate to have their great contributions to our family gatherings.  My son Ben made our mac and cheese, green beans amandine, and the cranberry sauce, which he tells me he cooked by adding honey and some garam masala to fresh cranberries.  This was tasty spread on toast to make a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich.  The last 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce got whirled in the blender with Greek yogurt and orange juice to make a cranberry smoothie.  Son Sean made a beautiful berry pie and his wife, Teion, made Paula Deen’s pumpkin pie. And although we didn’t get to taste, son Jeremy made campfire turkey and dressing which they called from their camping spot to say turned out great.

Fruit Salad with Cooked Dressing   (just like Opal made it)

8 or 10 oranges, peeled, sectioned, each section cut into bite size

2 cans pineapple chunks, drained

1 jar Maraschino cherries, drained

1 cup of miniature marshmallows

1/2 pint whipping cream, whipped

Toss with cooked dressing and whipped cream and let set in refrigerator to chill.

Cooked Dressing

2 Tablespoons vinegar

4 Tablespoons sugar

2  whole eggs

2 Tablespoons butter

Combine and cook, stirring, until thick.  Cool before adding to fruit.

Salmon Souffle

Salmon souffle is (like many of our favorite recipes) a dish with a story. Thirty-seven years ago, my good friend and neighbor Jean Merrill presented me with a gift: a cookbook titled Helen Corbitt’s Potluck.  I see several things that make me smile every time I take it from my shelf in the kitchen. First there’s its tomato red binding with a fanciful line drawing of a cow with some leaves in her mouth on the bottom right corner.  Just inside, the inscription “Mary Ann – thanks for being such a good friend. Love Jean  ’75.”  There’s the same cow from the front on the page.  Only this time she is standing with a pig and a chicken on her back.  The pig has a bottle of wine and a strawberry on its back, and the whole crew is plopped into a huge pot of vegetables labeled POTLUCK.  Not such a remarkable title for a cookbook unless you also know that Helen Corbitt was no everyday cook with her list of dishes to take to church dinners. This feisty chef authored 4 other cookbooks and is best known for her position as Director of Foods for Neiman Marcus and her menus for the Zodiac Room there.  So what makes me laugh when I pick up PotLuck is the unlikely face any recipe in there would actually find itself being called that.   In its pages, this little book has narrative and humour, and treasures from its author.  Poppy-Seed Dressing is one of her best known recipes. I have made  I have made Artichokes and Crab and a wonderful Lemon Rice Soup.  For my nieces bridal luncheon in 1983, I served Helen’s Cold Yogurt Soup.  But the recipe I have used so often that the book opens to its page is this one.  And every time I have made it, I have used leftovers, because the 1 1/2 cups of flaked salmon it calls for is just about right for leftover bits when I grill a salmon fillet.  I think Helen, the queen of sass and souffles,  would have approved.

Salmon Souffle

3 Tablespoons butter

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon curry powder (we like to use a heaping teaspoon or more)

1 1/2 cups fresh or canned salmon flakes

Pinch of thyme

Salt and pepper

1 cup milk

4 eggs, separated

Melt the butter, add flour and seasonings, and cook until bubbly.  Add milk, bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from stove.  add egg yolks beaten until light and the flaked salmon (no bones or skin). Cool.  Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.  Pour into a buttered souffle or casserole dish.  Place dish into a larger baking pan and add hot water carefully into the bottom pan (hot water bath).  Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.  Left over chicken or ham works well instead of salmon.

Serve with Bengal Sauce, recipe follows.

Bengal Sauce

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon flour

1 cup milk or half and half

Salt

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

2 teaspoons grated coconut

1/4 cup slivered almonds

Melt butter, add flour, cook a few seconds.  Add milk and cook until smooth and thickened.  Add seasonings, coconut and nuts.

When I made this earlier this week, I served Italian plum halves filled with homemade fig chutney which I baked alongside the souffle.