Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Yesterday was a nasty day in NY. What better thing to do when you're homebound than cook. NOT! It was brought to my attention after I was finished... "Ma, I think you over did it a little, don't you"?

I needed to use up the beautiful peppers that I bought a few days ago. The price was right so I sprung for the yellow and orange ones besides the usual red and green ones. My first thought was to cut some up to save for a taco salad for maybe Wednesday's dinner and to slice some for Sausage and Peppers. That didn't work because I threw them all into the pot to cook! They were so pretty... like springtime!

I had a ham in the oven for dinner but when PJ called to see what was for dinner, I could tell Ham wasn't what he was in the mood for. That's fine. We can make other meals out of the ham. I told him to call me back when he figures out what he'd like. He called and said he'd love to have either hotdogs or Brats. Such a simple man! So Brats it is... smoked and also New Orleans style. One pack would have been enough but I wanted to try the New Orleans style and I know the guys like the smoked so what the heck. In the mean time I had defrosted a package of ribs, just because. There wasn't enough for an entire meal so I figured they could be added to brats for dinner. The leftover brats can get thrown in the Sausage and Peppers. There has to always be a plan! Today I will finish making the sausage and peppers.

I hope the neighbors didn't see my at the grill. There's only 3 of us at home and a lot of food on the grill! Good thing they didn't know there was a ham in the oven and a pot full of peppers and onions!

We ended up having a very nice dinner. I liked the brussel sprouts the best though. (recipe for B.S's and ribs below. YUM!) Now I don't have to cook for a few days. I guess that means I have to do the laundry!

Barbecue Ribs
4 pounds pork spareribs
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 dash ground black pepper
1.Boil ribs in water for approx 1 hour.
2.In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rum, chili sauce, garlic, mustard, and pepper. Coat ribs with sauce and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, or refrigerate overnight.
3.Preheat grill for medium heat. Position grate four inches above heat source.
4.Brush grill grate with oil. Place ribs on grill, and cook for 30 minutes, basting with marinade.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and yellow leaves removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Place trimmed Brussels sprouts, olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal tightly, and shake to coat. Pour onto a baking sheet, and place on center oven rack.
Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shaking pan every 5 to 7 minutes for even browning. Reduce heat when necessary to prevent burning. Brussels sprouts should be darkest brown, almost black, when done. Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Last night's dinner was delicious. In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme for this time of year, I decided to make a dish that I loved when we went to New Orleans. It was pretty easy and had just the right amount of heat. Enjoy!

Cajun Shrimp Etouffee
An authentic Louisiana recipe with a rich and spicy fresh tomato based roux with fresh garlic, bell peppers, celery and onions mixed with crawfish and shrimp. Serve over steamed rice.
20 Min
50 Min
1 Hr 10 Min
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
2 tablespoons seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup fish stock
1 pound crawfish tails
1 pound medium shrimp - peeled and deveined
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns 'peanut butter' brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I use a large fork with the flat side to the bottom of the pan in a side to side motion. This is your base sauce or 'Roux'. It is very important to stir this constantly. If by chance the roux burns, discard and start over.
Once the roux is browned, add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the skillet, and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and fish stock, and season with the seafood seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.