It' s 2 degrees out! So I suggest you dream of the summer and make some southern cooking---
Here are 5 dishes, serve 'em small and have a Party.
Carolina Crab Cakes on Biscuits with chipotle mayo
These is tasty lil hors d’oeuvre will rock your party every time and they are super simple to make! Try to make your crab cakes and biscuits a similar size, not too big..as they are tasters, remember!
Makes about 20 small bite crab cakes or 8 nice ones
For the crab cakes.
1 lb crab meat; lump, claw or a combination of the two, picked over for shells
1 cup saltine crackers
1 large egg
2 tablespoons minced onions
1 tbls minced celery leaves
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
pinch dry thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Vegetable oil for frying.
Italian parsley for garnish
Grind the saltines to a medium coarse powder.
Mix together everything, reserving about half of the ground saltines.
Form into cakes, dip to coat with cracker crumbs and pan fry until golden brown.
This is the almighty, all around, every day, where have you been all my life stuff you need!
Make enough, it lasts forever!
3 1/z oz cn chipotles en adobo ( about half a can)
¼ cup lime juice
12 oz prepared mayonnaise ( not Hellman’s-go generic here )
Whip in processor, Store in Tupperware or a clean jar refrigerated.
Simple and Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits
4 cups ap flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
12 ounces butter—cold, cut up
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 each eggs—for egg wash
2 tablespoons heavy cream—for egg wash
Preheat oven to 400˙
In electric mixer at slow setting with paddle attachment - mix all dry ingredients
for two minutes
Cut butter into small pieces.
Turn to medium setting and add the butter in pieces very quickly so
that you are done in lest than one minute. Turn off machine.
Add the butter milk, Turn the machine back to slow and run for 20-30 seconds,
just enough to incorporate.
Remove loose dough to a LIGHTLY floured board. Fold together any wet spots
gently---don’t over work.
Roll out to 1 inch thick.
Use a mold, knife or pizza cutter to cut into desired shape.
Move to a sprayed sheet pan .
Mix egg and cream and brush onto biscuits before baking for a nice shiny sheen.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden, < NOTE—Set timer for 25 minutes and
the ROTATE PAN for even browning.
Split the biscuits. Top each round with a crab cake. Hit that with a dollop of chipotle mayo. Garnish each with an Italian parsly leaf.
Warm Pear, Smithfield Ham, and Hazelnut Salad
Smithfield Ham is like and American Prosciutto--- a slowly aged, dry cured ham, rich and salty, best for seasoning then slicing and eating straight up. In this dish the ham is cut into small strips and crisped, to toss into a warm salad. In summer, try this with peaches or nectarines.
¼ lb Smithfield or another American dry cured ham, “Speck” or prosciutto
I head chickory or two frissee or other assertive, slightly bitter green
1 nice firm bosc or other crisp pear
¼ cup hazelnuts, skinned
1 small shallot, minced
pinch of dry tarragon
1 tsp Dijon
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 tbls lemon juice
½ cup hazelnut oil or vegetable oil
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 350. Put hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and roast for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and using a dry dish towel, rub off most of the skin ( if a little is left it is ok, giving the flavor just a hint of tannins)
Coarsely crush and reserve.
Tear the greens into largish bite sized pieces.
Slice the pears into half moons, not too thin. Put all of this in a salad bowl.
In a heavy skillet large enough to eventually hold the entre salad, heat two tablespoons of the oil. Add the ham and cook until sizzling. When it is crisp and golden, remove the ham and ad to the salad. Now working quickly, add the shallot and let it sizzle. Now whisk in the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, tarragon, Now add the oil and whisk well. Turn off th het and ad the contents of the salad bow. Toss quickly to coat with the oil and served seared, seasoning with salt and pepper as you go.
Serve in small tasting bowls, fork or chop sticks thrust in, ready to eat!
Sesame “Fried” Catfish Fingers with spiced honey on a bed of fennel and carrots
Catfish is the ubitquitous fish of the South..But be careful. Beware of imitations! There is a lot of funky imported catfish out there. American catfish is the only choice here. It is farmed sustainably, fully approved by the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch. If you have a table top fryer, now is the tome to break it out. Otherwise, dust off the wok!
Makes about 20 Hors d’oeuvre
1 ½ lbs American catfish
1 cup white sesame seeds
salt and cayenne to taste
vegetable oil for frying
6 oz honey
a few cardamom pods
1 dry hot chile
a few coriander seeds
1 large carrot
In a small pot, add the honey and spices. Bring to a boil and turn down very low to simmer. Cook 10 minutes. Let cook, strain and reserve. (it lasts a long time)
Using a mandolin, shave the carrots and fennel into very thin strips.
Put in a bowl and dress with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper.
Arrange “nests” in small tasting bowls. Reserve cool until ready.
Cut the catfish into bite sized “fingers”. Submerge in cold water.
Season the sesame seeds with salt and cayenne.
Remove the catfish from the water and toss the in the sesame seeds.
Heat oil to 350. Drop the catfish in a few at at time and fry for 2-3 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Drain on a paper towel.
Place a catfish finger on each tasting bowl of carrot fennel salad and drizzled with spiced honey
Ric’s Best Gulf Shrimp and Grits
What is a Southern tasting party with Shrimp and Grits! Shrimp and grits is the ultimate Southern comfort food- The styles vary from Carolina to N’Awlins. This is my take—I tend to lean a lil more toward N’awlins myself…a lil creamy, a lil spicy, just enough grits….
You can make the sauce up to two days in advance. Store in the fridge.
Makes 20 tasters or 4 dinners
20 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails off.
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon CAGE
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red bell peppers—diced
2 cloves garlic—minced
½ cup white wine
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 can crushed tomatoes in juice
1 tbls fresh thyme
1 tbls fresh parsley
¼ cup onions—diced
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbls tabasco sauce
1 tbls Worcestershire sauce
2 cups grits, coarse corn meal or polenta
salt and pepper
1 bunch scallions, chopped netly
Make the sauce
Heat pan to medium. Add the olive oil and heat it up 15 seconds. Add
the onion and cook until golden brown. Add the tablespoon of the CAGE and stir it in. Add the garlic and the crushed pepper. Toss the garlic around a bit then
let it saute until it is a light golden color. Add the wine and let it
simmer, reducing by half. Add the tomatoes. Turn it up and bring to a oil. Let boil 3-5 minutes then add the herbs.
Add the cream and cook gently now for 10 more minutes. Stir well.
Make the grits-
If you are using instant grits, follow package diretions.
If using real coarse cornmeal. The ratio of liquid is 6 to one liquid to grits.
Measure 3 cups of water. Season with salt to taste.
Bring to a boil , Sprinkle in 1/2 cup grits. Stir and cook over medium heat until it is tender and pulls away from the sides of the pot when stirred. Add generous knob of butter and black pepper. Hold warm.
Cook the shrimp.
In a heavy pan add a little olive oil. Add the shrmp and season with the cage. Cook until just pink and add the sauce to the pan. Cook 5 minutes until shrimp are cooked through.
In small tasting bowls, spoon in a little grits. Top with a shrimp and a spoonful of sauce. Garnish with scallions
Mississippi Mud Pie
1 stick butter
2 each 1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons corn syrup, sorghum syrup of molasses
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 each pie crust, 9” graham cracker, chocolate or vanilla chefwafer pie shell
In a saucepan, heat butter and chocolate, stirring often, until melted and
well blended. Beat eggs then stir in the corn syrup, sugar and vanilla.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, stirring well.
Preheat oven to 350*F. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell(you
can use chocolate or graham cracker crumbles and form a shell using melted
butter as a binder). Bake 30-45 minutes, or until you begin to see the
tell-tale sign of the mississippi mudpie-cracks! Cool.
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