Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Snack time! - Roasted Okra

Okra is a very southern food but some of our picky eaters were a little hesitant when it was brought out for the gumbo class. Mostly around here you see fried okra, I mean what doesn't the south fry, but plain and green is a different story. For the gumbo, we placed frozen okra on a pan and placed in the oven at 350-400 - it's been a while y'all but I know its fine on either temp as long as you are watching it! Drizzle the okra with some olive oil and let it bake! For gumbo, frozen okra just needs to be a soft to the touch and no longer slimy so you just have to keep testing and checking on it.

When the okra was "gumbo ready" - we added what we wanted to the gumbo and Mama Butta let us taste test the remaining okra. The hesitant buttas tried it and suprise, didn't think it was half bad! Mama Butta said you could also cook the okra for a while longer and really let it get crispy. It was so good! Bake it until desired crispy-ness - some smaller pieces might turn a little black but that's fine. Add some salt and pepper and you are good to go - almost as good as popcorn! AND we couldn't believe how healthy okra is for you! 1 POUND of okra has about 150 calories - imagine how much you can eat without feeling guilty!

The Baby Buttas have used this tip to make okra as a side for turkey burgers, steak and also a snack! Hope you enjoy :)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pimento Cheese Burgers

Happy Friday! The pimento cheese burger recipe is finally posted!

The recipe for the pimento cheese tells you how to make it by hand but if you have a food processor it is so simple!! Grate your cheese with the blade and then just add the other ingredients to the bowl and mix! The butta clan isn't the biggest fan of mayo so we added just the one tablespoon. But our plan was to add one tablespoon at a time to judge how much we wanted.

Pimiento Cheese

8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
2 green onions, finely minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 4 oz. chopped pimientos plus liquid
1 heaping Tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, grate cheese and add finely minced green onion (this should be to taste). Add the remaining ingredients and whip until light and fluffy. Use on sandwiches or as a dip.

Classic All-American Hamburgers

2 pound ground beef (80% lean)
1 tablespoon good Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Light the grill.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl and add the mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix gently with a fork to combine, taking care not to compress too much. Shape meat into 6-3 ½” patties of equal size and thickness.

When the grill is medium-hot, brush the grill grate with oil to keep the burgers from sticking. Place the burgers on the grill and cook for 4 minutes. Using a big spatula, turn the burgers and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until medium-rare or cook longer if you prefer them more well-done.

Toast buns or English Muffins on the grill.

Serve with favorite condiments!

I wish we had taken some pictures of this charcoal when it really started to burn. You place the bag in the grill and simply light the corners. Instead of the typical charcoal lumps, ("lumps" isn't my the best choice of words -sorry!) the charcoal is more like strips. It probably took about 10-15mins before it was ready to grill. Yes a gas grill would have been so much easier, but you really can't beat the taste of a chargrilled burger - simply delicious!!!

While the charcoal was doing its magic, we formed the burgers. This cooking class is teaching the baby buttas so much - we probably would have just put salt and pepper on some meat and grilled it. The olive oil and mustard made these burgers amazing - it really added to the flavor of the meat.

Our grill masters for the evening did a great job and the burgers were fantastic!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Stay tuned: Pimento Cheese Burgers coming up!!

Sorry about the delay in postings!! We won't be having class tomorrow but the recipe for the pimento cheese and the burgers will be up soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Orzo with Roasted Vegtables

You want me to eat that - yeah right! SOME of the baby buttas said that if they had taken one look at the orzo they would have politely refused - to many colors and to many veggies. This cooking class has really expanded our palates! It has really helped and encouraged the baby buttas to try new things when they know exactly what is going into each dish. This orzo dish was loved by all and we hope you will enjoy it as well!

Here is the recipe:

1 small eggplant, peeled and ¾ inch diced
1 red bell pepper, 1 inch diced
1 yellow pepper, 1 inch diced
1 medium onion, 1 inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ lb. orzo

For the dressing:

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:

4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¾ lb. good feta, ½ inch diced (not crumbled)
15 fresh basil leaves, cut into chiffenade

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the eggplant, bell peppers, onion and garlic with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.

Meanwhile, cook the orzo in boiling salted water for 7-9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.

For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then add the scallions, pine nuts, feta and basil. Check the seasonings and serve at room temperature.

Orzo hot and fresh from the pot with the dressing added

Mixing all the ingredients together. BE CAREFUL during this step, be sure to lightly toss everything together and avoid mixing and mashing!!

This orzo is truly a meal within it self. We all agreed that it would be simply divine with shrimp or chicken. If you add meat, just marinate with dressing!

Stay tuned: Roasted Veggie Orzo coming up!!

It was pretty clear last night that this week's meal has been one of our favorites so far. We made pimento cheese to top off some fab burgers and a delicious roasted veggie orzo. Very yummy recipes to follow!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day! Tomato Pasta with Basil and Garlic - Take Two!

(Sorry for the horrible photo quality - it was taken from my blackberry)

Post from baby butta, Meredith:

Last month we made Tomato Pasta with Basil & Garlic. It was soo good that I wanted to make it for my family for Mother's Day. I followed the recipe exactly as we made it from mama butta but made mussels and shrimp instead of italian sausage.

It was a big hit and my family loved it!

For the shrimp and mussels they were sauteed with wine white (Two buck chuck from Trader Joe's of course!), butter and garlic. Put all ingredients in a skillet and then place the lid on. The mussels are ready when they pop open and the shrimp are done when they are pink. *I wish I could take credit for the whole meal but my little brother handled the seafood.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day and thanks to my mama butta for leading the way so I could impress my family and celebrate my mom!

Shrimp Tacos

Since we had already made a mexican a dish (enchilada casserole) we thought long and hard about what would be fun to make for our mexican themed Cinco de Mayo meal! Since summer is approaching fast, we decided on shrimp tacos - light and healthy!

Mama butta had this super yummy citrus vinaigrette and we marinated our shrimp before grilling.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 oranges, zested
1 lime, zested
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil

In a medium bowl, place the orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, zests and balsamic vinegar. Stir the ingredients together, then slowly whisk in the salad oil. Makes 1 cup.

Wonderful as a salad dressing or marinade for chicken or fish. Don't marinade shrimp too long or they will become tough! (One of the baby buttas took home the leftover marinade - we will have to see her thoughts about using it as a salad dressing)

We also made beans as a side for the meal!

Traditional Brothy Beans

2 cups dried pinto beans
3-4 slices bacon
1 large sweet onion
1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced

Pick through dried beans and discard any stones or other debris. To reduce cooking time, soak overnight if possible.

In a large Dutch oven, saute chopped bacon until almost crispy. Saute onions in the bacon and fat until translucent. Add chopped garlic and cook for about a minute or so. Add soaked beans and cover with approximately 6 cups of fresh, cold water. Bring to boil and gently simmer until beans are soft, adding water or chicken broth if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Only 1 or 2 more cinco de mayo recipes to come.

It's hard to believe that we are coming up on our 8th week of cooking class - we baby buttas have learned so much and we are so appreciative of our Mama Butta for taking us in and teaching us some skills!! Stay tuned for this week's class: Pimento Cheese Burgers - because every southern gal needs to learn how to make pimento cheese!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Skinny Girl Margarita

To top off our mexican meal on Cinco de Mayo we made Bethenny Frankel's Skinny Girl Margaritas!

2oz of Clear Premium Tequila (count 1, 2 while you pour, no need for measuring)
Tiny splash of Orange Liquor
Juice of 4 Fresh Lime Wedges
Splash of club soda (optional)

We didn't have any club soda so ours were just Triple Sec, Tequila & lime juice. It was a little tart for our taste so we added a splash of water. They were delicious and very fresh tasting - not heavy and sweet like one you have a mexican restaurant.

Mama Butta stuck with a Corona - another great choice for a mexican meal!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fiesta Dip!

We made an amazing sauce, dip, dressing - not really sure the best way to label it because can be used for so many things.

The ingredients include: Hidden Valley fiesta ranch mix, sour cream and tiny bit of lemon juice.

There is a recipe on the back of the package for dip but even just the mix and sour cream, it is simply heavenly! For our Cinco de Mayo night we topped our shrimp tacos with it and used it as a dip for chips.

Mama butta also said that she has used it as a veggie dip for a party and that if you add vinegar it would be a great salad dressing.

This simple recipe is great to have up your sleeve!! And very delicious!

Stay tuned: Cinco de Mayo recipes to come!!

Last night we had a lovely meal of shrimp tacos, homemade salsa, semi-homemade dip, skinny girl margaritas, & cheese dip from San Jose!
Stay tuned for fun recipes and pictures!