Simply Southern

Larry wanted ribs and potato salad for dinner. Easy-peasy. I seasoned up the ribs and put them in the slow cooker and left them to cook by themselves for about 6 hours. Dinner was a simple Southern styled meal. Delicious and no fuss about it.

Sorry for the poor quality of this picture. I didn’t realize it was so bad until this morning. I was in a bit of a hurry I guess. Oh well. These things do happen. 🙂

Once I got the ribs going, I made a simple potato salad, also per Larry’s request and a one of my favorite summer salads, with corn, green beans and tomatoes. You have seen this salad many times before. Sometimes I add green beans, and sometimes I don’t. But either way it is a perfect salad for those hot summer days. Bring on the Summer

Larry wanted something simple since he was going to have a late golf night. Once he got home, everything was ready. All we needed to do was serve it up and top it with sauce. This time, our sauce of choice was some Mexican BBQ sauce, again, per Larry’s request. Southwestern BBQ Chicken Pizza with Blue Corn Crust It went very nicely with the short ribs.

We are keeping things simple right now since we are going to be gone for a few days. Our niece is getting married in Colorado Springs, and Larry’s whole family (which is very large) is coming out. I am going to be breaking my long streak of posting with no breaks, but just for a few days, and then, I’ll be back once again. 🙂

Stay happy, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – More Irises

Yesterday I posted about the beautifully colored irises that are popping up all over the place. Nature Walks – Irises In Bloom I knew I would find more, and sure enough I did too. I went out to lunch with my friend Suzanne, and as I was leaving her house to come home, I discovered this yard that was just full of beautiful irises. Their whole yard was a sea of beautiful purple and yellow irises. They were mostly the traditional medium purple with hints of yellow, but there were also pockets of just bright yellow irises and then a tiny section of nothing but dark, dark purple irises. They were just breathtaking.

This garden would have been my mother’s dream come true. She did have a ton of different colored and different varieties of irises in her garden, but nothing like this.

I have learned to always bring a camera with me, even if only my phone camera. You just never know what you are going to see in this big beautiful world of ours.

Got To Use Up Those Leftovers

You all know how much I absolutely love re-creating from my leftovers, but in today’s hard economic times, it is even more important than ever. Larry and I are in very good financial shape, however, even we are feeling the crunch at the grocery store. Every time I go to the store, it costs more and more. So now more than ever, I really try my best to use up everything as much as possible, leaving nothing to waste. This time my creative leftovers included some turkey we had in the freezer, that I mixed with vegetables and pesto sauce and served it all over some leftover pasta. YUM!

Pretty much any vegetable will go well with a pesto sauce. Pesto is one of those very versatile sauces that can be used for just about everything. This time however, I used mushrooms, red bell peppers, asparagus, red onions and tomatoes. I cooked all the heartier vegetables first, then added the tomatoes right at the end.

Once the vegetables were cooked, all I needed to do was to heat up everything else and bake my cheese bread, and dinner was served. It was delicious, quick and easy-peasy, and I got to use up leftovers. In a word – PERFECT!

I was brought up on the philosophies of re-use, re-purpose and recycle. These are still ideals I practice today and everyday.

Be creative at first, and then re-create later. Who knows what you will come up with. But the most important thing is to have fun while doing it.

Stay happy, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – Irises In Bloom

My mother loved irises. They were her favorite type flower, though like me, she loved all kinds of flowers. Because of mother, irises are some of my favorite flowers too. They always make me think of my mom, and when I see them, I know she is around, watching over me. Right now, we have so many different colors of irises blooming. They are so beautiful.

Of course we have lots of purples.

But we also have some pinks and yellows too. And I know once I go exploring around the neighborhoods more, I will see even more beautiful colors too.

There are so many different colors and varieties. Some are big and some are small, but no matter what color or size, they are all beautiful to me.

Color your world with as many colors as you can. They will definitely brighten your days.

Thai-Styled Green Curried Shrimp and Sausage with Vegetables

I love curries. Mention the word curry to me, and I am definitely in. There are many different kinds of curries found all over Asia and around the world. They range from sweet to hot, and everything in between. Though there are many different variations of curry, there are about 19 main types.

Portuguese explorers swiftly started trading curry spices in the 15th century, after they established the first marine trade routes from Europe to India. Fast forward to the 1700s when the British were incorporating “curry powder” into their cooking back home. Over the years, curry’s contrasting notes of sweet, spicy, sour, and heat have adapted to the ingredients and cultural preferences of various regions. There are as many types of curry as there are hands cooking it. But most types of curry start in India.

The most popular Indian styled curries are:

  1. Madras, which is a combination of herbs and spices mixed with tomatoes.
  2. Korma is a combination of herbs and spices mixed into a cooling yogurt sauce.
  3. Rogan Josh is a blend of lamb cooked with chilies, cinnamon, cloves and yogurt.
  4. Vindaloo, which is a combination of meats and spices in a red sauce and is usually known for its spicy heat.
  5. Saag or a green curried sauce using spinach as the base.
  6. Tikka Masala, which is usually chicken cooked with garlic, yogurt paprika and tomatoes. This is usually a creamy sauce that is relatively mild.
  7. Jalfrezi, which is meats and/or vegetables cooked in chilies, spices and oil and is not as creamy as some of the other types of curries.

Then there are Thai curries which are completely different than the Indian curries. In Thailand, curry means paste, and it is usually composed of aromatic chilies, garlic, coriander root, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime rind. The Thai curries are mostly known for their colors and they are red, green and yellow. There is also a Massaman curry, which has a little Persian influence and is the mildest of the Thai curries.

Some of the lesser known curries, but just as delicious, are curries from Japan, Ceylon, Jamaica, Trinidad, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Africa and Portugal. I have enjoyed all of these curries as well. Like I said, if curry is in the name, I am most definitely going to eat it. Out of all the different curried varieties, my favorites are both the Indian and the Thai.

My latest curried adventure was a green Thai-styled curry with both shrimp and chicken chorizo, combined with vegetables. I served it over fettuccine.

Thai-Styled Green Curry with Shrimp, Sausage and Vegetables

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 lb sausage, sliced

1 cup asparagus spears, cut into pieces about 1-1 1/2 inches long

1 red bell pepper, cut into very thin strips

1/4 red or white onion, sliced very thin

1- 1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 can coconut milk

1 1/2 TBSP garlic

1 1/2 TBSP ginger

2 TBSP lime juice

1-2 TBSP honey

1 tsp lemongrass curry, or regular curry

3 TBSP green curry paste

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste

black seasome seeds for topping

olive or vegetable oil for cooking

Get a large skillet or wok very hot and add the oil. Cook the shrimp for about 5 minutes, making sure to turn them over to cook evenly. Then add the sausage and vegetables and continue to cook until the vegetables are tender and the sausage is cooked, or about 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly.

Combine the coconut milk, spices, lime juice, curry paste and honey and add to the meat and vegetable mixture. Combine thoroughly. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, stirring often. (I hadn’t added the green curry paste yet, so my sauce is not quite green).

You can serve the curry over pasta or rice. This time, I served it over fettuccine, and topped it with some cilantro and black sesame seeds. I served it along side some fried beef wontons and a cool, crisp, citrusy chardonnay. Delicious! You can also serve it with a slightly sweeter white wine too, like a Riesling or a Gerwertztaminer. The sweeter wines will help cut the spiciness of the curry.

We enjoyed it out on our deck, as we so often do, and it was a perfect way to unwind and enjoy the evening.

Stay happy, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – Egrets in the Trees

I love seeing all the egrets around our lakes. Usually I only see them one at a time, although sometimes I see two or three. But I have been seeing them everyday. I never get tired of seeing them I just love them. I think they are so elegant and graceful. Here are a few hiding up in the trees. They thought I wouldn’t find them, but lucky for me, I did.

Raspberry Orange Muffin Tops

Sometimes when things happen, it is just plain old kismet. I had some raspberries in the fridge, and was wondering what to make with them, when lo and behold, I came upon a recipe for Raspberry Orange Crumble muffins. This delicious inspiration came to me from our very own “My Meals Are On Wheels” blogger at Many thanks. Of course I personalized them a bit, and turned them into mini muffins instead, but I followed your recipe for the most part. They were a big hit with everyone.

Raspberry Orange Muffin Tops

The Muffins

2 cups flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup either sour cream or yogurt – I used yogurt this time

1/2 cup milk

2 TBSP orange zest

2 cups fresh raspberries – you can also use blueberries or blackberries as well

Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C.

Spray your muffin tins with cooking spray and/or line them with paper muffin cups.

Just like with most cake batters, mix the dry ingredients together and set aside. Then combine the melted butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add the milk and yogurt and mix again. Next comes the flour mixture, half at a time, and mix in between each addition. Mix just until everything is combined. Normally I would fold in the raspberries at this point, but this time, especially since I was making mini muffins, I did it a little differently. This time, I filled the muffin tins to about 2/3 full and added 1 raspberry in the center of the batter. I ran out of raspberries, so some of the muffins had a blueberry instead. No one noticed the difference, or if they did, they didn’t mention it.

Add a little of the streusel topping on top of each muffin and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown and done in the center.

Streusel Topping

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

6 TBSP melted butter

Mix everything together until it resembles course sand and then top the muffins with a little bit of the streusel topping before baking. For mini muffins, it came out to a little less than 1 tsp per muffin.

Allow the muffins to cool slightly before removing them from the pan. All that is left to do at this point is to enjoy them while you can. They won’t last long. 🙂

Stay happy, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

Nature Walks – Mud Puddles

The ducklings were out swimming again. They look like they have already grown some too. They grow up so quickly. One minute they are the cutest, little, tiny ducklings, and then they are teenagers, and then before you know it, they are ready to fly the coop and off they go to spread their wings. But they are still little and cute right now. This time they were playing in the mud puddles. Just like kids anywhere, they were having so much fun playing in the mud.

You can still have fun and act like a kid, no matter how old you are.

Chicken Crepe Cannoli – Part 2 – The Crepes

Yesterday I left you with a teaser, and only showed you the sauce for these delicious crepe cannolis. Chicken Crepe Cannoli – Part 1 – The Sauce Today, I bring you the finished product.

There is some question as to whether or not these are called cannolis, cannelonis or even blintzes. The simple answer is – Yes. An Italian friend of mine actually told me, not that long ago, that the term cannoli is normally usually used for desserts, and that canneloni was usually used for savory dishes, however somehow along the line, the term canneloni got shortened to cannoli, which is now the accepted term for both savory and sweet. And as my friend and our very own Dolly, from koolkosherkitchen mentioned, they are also very similar to blintzes. All of these answers would be the correct answer too. What you call them doesn’t really matter much though. In all honesty, the only name that really applies is that of delicious.

I made both the marinara sauce and the batter for the crepes the day before and let them both set in the fridge overnight.

I doubled my recipe for the crepes because I needed to make enough to feed about 15 people.

The Herbed Crepes

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup water

1 cup flour

1/3 tsp salt

2 TBSP melted butter + more to cook them

1 TBSP fresh herbs, chopped fine

Mix everything together, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of a hour and up to about 24 hours.

Once you are ready to make the actual crepes, get a small skillet very hot and add about 1 tsp of butter to the pan before EACH crepe, so they don’t stick to the pan. Add about 1/2 cup of batter to the skillet and immediately roll it around to completely cover the pan with a very thin layer of batter. Cook for about 1- 2 minutes then carefully flip the crepe over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Repeat until all the batter is used.

You can fill these crepes with anything you like. This time, I used cooked chicken, spinach, mushrooms, garlic and onions that I sauteed all together.

Allow the filling to cool slightly, then start carefully rolling them into the crepes. The crepes are delicate, so a very light tough is needed.

Preheat the oven to 350* F or 180* C.

Place the rolled crepes, or blintzes or canneloni or cannoli, or whatever you choose to call them, into a large baking pan, sprayed with cooking spray. Place them side by side. Top them with the sauce and then mozzarella cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the inside temperature is at about 160-165* F.

When we left to go to the party, my tray was full. When we left to return home, it was empty. I think the results speak for themselves. I think they were a huge hit. Coming home with an empty tray and happy tummies are the best compliments a chef can get. I’ll take it. 🙂

Stay happy, stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.

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