Dry Rubs 03 – Coffee Butt Rub

Sounds weird doesn’t it… rubbing coffee on your butt, but, make no mistake, this is one good rub for your butt. Its a somewhat smokey / spicy rub I use to marinate butt or shoulder cuts of pork before turning them into slow roasted pulled pork.

here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tbs onion powder
  • 1/2 tbs garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp  ground red pepper flake
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch dried thyme
  • 3 tbs finely ground dark roasted coffee

mix thoroughly in a large bowl. Apply liberally to the pork and then wrap the pork in plastic wrap and let the rub work its magic in the fridge overnight. Then, remove the pork from the plastic and brush off the rub. Place the pork in a covered roasting pan and slow roast in the oven until done.


Dry Rubs 02 – Cajun Fish Rub

Break out the sea salt and dried seasonings, its time to make a nice Cajun fish rub. Great on catfish, flounder, and slight flavor fish like tilapia. There’s another use for this rub; I put a tablespoon of this into the water when making rice to go with the fish. Sprinkle it over buttered veggies. Yes, you can probably find 101 uses for this slightly spicy flavor bomb.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup sea salt
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ground white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon file powder (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed (optional)

File powder, also known as gumbo file, is just ground dried sassafras leaves. Its generally available in good spice shops. The fennel seed is added to bring a note of sweetness to the hotter spices. Make sure you run the dried thyme, fennel seed, and peppercorns, though a spice mill. This should make about 1 cup of rub.

Nice Rack

Nice Rack

Dry Rubs 01 – Dried Herbs

I like to apply different types of seasonings to many things I prepare. I like to think that it’s one of those small changes that can make a big difference to the meals we make. Dry rubs, wet rubs, marinades, sauces, these can change the flavor profile of food. So, when on your third day of chicken from that big weekend sale, it won’t be ‘oh, chicken again’ blah blah, but ‘wow! It’s chicken, again’. So I will share some of my favorite dry rubs this week. I think they are rather simple and easily made… give them a try and enjoy ‘wow, chicken again!’.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ¼ cup dry rosemary
  • ¼ cup course sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons dried garlic flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage

I run the dry rosemary needles through a mortar before adding them into a large mixing bowl. I don’t try to powder them, just crush the needles up a bit. Use the mortar to crack those peppercorns too before tossing them into the bowl. Toss the other dry herbs and salt into the bowl and mix this together thoroughly. Transfer to a jar and store away from light and heat and this should stay fresh for several weeks. If you alter this and use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs, use the rub right away and store the excess in the fridge. This is one of those occasions where dried herbs are better than fresh. This should make about ¾ cup of rub. Apply it to porkchops or chicken before cooking and add a bit of Tuscany to your table.

Dried Herbs Rub

Dried Herbs Rub

Celebrating My Inner Honey Boo Boo Child

You better redneckonize! SPAM SOUP! Really? Soup from a can of spam? Yes! I have this somewhat spicy black bean soup that I usually put leftover cooked ham in. Well, while cleaning out the pantry I came across a can of spam (the low sodium one of course) and though ‘left over ham’. So, here’s a warm soup for a cool day and clears out a couple of can from the pantry.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 can of spam cubed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in 1 can black beans and chicken broth.

In a blender, puree remaining can of beans until smooth. Mix into the pot. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Mix in ham, cumin, salt, and pepper. Simmer 20 minutes. Garnish with Cheddar cheese and serve with a cool beer and you can add a dash or two of pure Louisiana hot sauce ‘to taste’ as we say.

Spam with Less Sodium

ps. Honey boo boo child in no way endorses this or any other spam, at least not that I’m aware of

Honey Boo Boo Child

Honey Boo Boo Child

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

It’s just starting to be pumpkin season here and the huge orange gourds are sprouting at all the local markets. So, let’s grab one and make a little heart warming pumpkin soup. This is a wonderful addition to anyone’s repertoire of soups. This recipe is one of the simple ones. Pumpkin soups are a blank canvas on which you can paint with a wide variety of spices, but this one will have just three. The warming part of this soup comes from a liberal dose of smoky paprika.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • About two cups of diced pumpkin
  • 4 cup of water
  • ½ onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream, or half and half

Start by melting the butter in your soup pot and sauté the onions. Deglaze the pot with the water to bring up those tasty bits. Then, pour in the rest of the water and add the pumpkin and spices. Let this boil until the pumpkin softens up. Then, using our indispensible magic wand (immersion blender) blend the mixture very smooth. Then turn to a simmer and add the cream. Let this all blend together and serve it hot.

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

Smoky Pumpkin Soup

Vegitarian Lentil Soup 01

A friend of mine stopped over yesterday; because her water wasn’t working right she came over to soak some lentils, quinoa, and rice. It got me thinking that I haven’t made lentil soup in a while. Now that the fall weather is approaching, I feel more ‘soup days’ approaching. I like nice thick hearty soups on cool day and lentil soup is one of the very few soups that I make which is vegetarian friendly.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups rinsed and drained French Lentils
  • 3 med sized carrots
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Boquet garni

  • 1 Tablespoon dried tarragon
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Few sprigs of fresh oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorn balls

Peel and cut carrots diagonally about 1/4 inch thick. Peel and mince garlic. Chop onion and tomatoes. Add oil to large pot over medium heat. Sauté onions and carrots until they start to brown a little. Add tomatoes, paprika. Stir and cook covered for a few minutes. Then add water, Worcestershire sauce, lentils, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil.

While soup heats to a boil, you can prepare your seasoning packet! Double two layers of cheese cloth large enough to contain herbs. Place 2 bay leaves, black peppercorn balls and sprigs of fresh herbs in the center of the cloth and tie up. Add herb packet to pot and cook covered for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until lentils are tender.

If the soup looks too thin, uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes. If it looks too thick, add a touch more water. Serve with good, crusty bread!

french lentil soup

french lentil soup

Last of The Summer Ale with Shrimp

So, summer is winding down here, and one of the things that goes away with the long daylight hours, is the summer ale from Blue Point brewery. So, before the taps run dry, there is one more shrimp fry to host. Let’s grab the summer ale, and the flaked coconut, pour a finger or two of rum and cook it up!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 24 shrimp
  • 2/3 cup Blue Point Summer Ale
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 3 cups oil for frying

In medium bowl, combine egg, 1/2 cup flour, beer and baking powder. Place 1/4 cup flour and coconut in two separate bowls.

Hold shrimp by tail, and dredge in flour, shaking off excess flour. Dip in egg/beer batter; allow excess to drip off. Roll shrimp in coconut, and place on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer.

Fry shrimp in batches: cook, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Using tongs, remove shrimp to paper towels to drain. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce. And enjoy the last of the summer ale… and look forward to the Oktoberfest lagers.

Coconut Shrimp

Coconut Shrimp

Six Can Chicken Stew

So now that storm season is under way, I want to share a secret recipe for making meals from cans… all cans… the stuff we should start stocking in our pantries. This first recipe, six can chicken stew is a quick and easy way to make a four hour meal in thirty minutes or less.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 can of chunk chicken
  • 1 can low salt chicken gravy
  • 1 can sliced potatoes
  • 1 can sliced carrots
  • 1 can mixed vegetables
  • 1 can mushrooms

Open all the cans and drain out the liquid. Toss the gravy and the chicken into a medium sauce pot over a medium heat. Then, rinse the contents of the rest of the cans to wash off any excess sodium and add them to the pot. Heat this through thoroughly. Now, you can add your own seasonings, I usually use rosemary and thyme and a little basil.

You can serve this in thick bowls and get about two or three servings. Quick and easy, that’s the theme.

Indian Style Rice Pudding

What to do with left over rice? Rice pudding! This recipe is based on an Indian version of rice pudding. There is cream, and coconut, pistachios, and a little cinnamon. The sweetness of the cream and coconut milk means you do not have to put in as much of sugar or butter the many traditional rice pudding recipes call for.

Here’s what you’ll need:
• 1 cup cooked long grain or basmati rice
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 3/4 cup coconut milk
• 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1 1/2 ounces golden raisins, approximately 1/3 cup
• 1 1/2 ounces chopped unsalted pistachios, approximately 1/3 cup

In a large nonstick sauce pan over medium heat, combine the cooked rice and milk. Heat until the mixture begins to boil. Decrease the heat to low and cook at a simmer until the mixture begins to thicken, stirring frequently, approximately 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to medium, add the heavy cream, coconut milk, sugar, and cardamom and continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Use a whisk to help prevent the cardamom from clumping. Once the mixture just begins to thicken, remove from the heat and stir in the raisins and pistachios. Transfer the mixture to individual serving dishes or a glass bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Stuffed Flounder

Canned crab meat is a great shortcut in making so many recipes where the crab is being used as an accompaniment. I usually don’t use the canned if I’m using crabmeat as a standalone, like stuffed crab salad. Although when I’m making a crab – corn chowder, I can go either way. But with this recipe, canned crabmeat for the stuffing is a great way to use canned crabmeat when you run across a good sale on it.

  • 4 pounds whole flounder – cleaned, rinsed and dried
  • 1 pound crabmeat, shredded
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly grease a large casserole dish or a baking sheet lined with tin foil. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large saucepan. Stir in onion, green onions, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until onions are soft. Then remove pan from heat and stir in shredded crabmeat, seasoning, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Now, rub the flounder skin and cavity with butter. Stuff the cavity with crab mixture and place in prepared pan. Bake this for 30 minutes, or until flesh is firm and white at the thickest part of the fish.

The more adventurous cook will take the flounder head, put it in a pot of water with some celery trimming, left over onion ends, top and bottom of the green pepper that would otherwise been thrown out and other aromatics lying around, perhaps one of those soy sauce packets from the Chinese take-out, and make a fish stock. Then you use the fish stock to make couscous to serve with the flounder.