Thanksgiving 2013 – Garlic Cheese Grits And Spinach Souffle

cheese grits and spinach

Let’s face it – Thanksgiving is all about carbs. I can’t just settle for mashed potatoes and mac and cheese — I must serve cheese grits as well!

This is a wonderful recipe. It combines the essence of the traditional cheese grits casserole with the sophistication of a spinach souffle. Your vegetarian guests will thank you!

Honey is a natural flavor enhancer. While there is only one tablespoon in this recipe, the honey makes the souffle tastier without making it sweet.

Yield: 12 generous servings

Ingredients:

1½ teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup finely grated Parmesan

3 2/3 cups milk (not skim)

1 cup stone-ground or old-fashioned grits

Salt and black pepper

1½ cups grated sharp cheddar

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

6 ounces baby spinach leaves (7½ cups loosely packed)

6 scallions thinly sliced (2/3 cup), 1 tablespoon reserved

Directions:  Grease a 2-quart souffle dish with 1½ teaspoons butter, dust with 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and set aside.

In a medium non-stick saucepan bring the milk and the 2 tablespoons of butter to a simmer over medium heat. Add the grits in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until grits are thick and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan when you stir, 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in 1¼ cups of the cheddar, the remaining Parmesan, honey, garlic, hot pepper sauce, and black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Taste the grits and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Add the egg yolks one at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate each before adding the next. Stir in the spinach by handfuls.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they are thick and glossy and hold stiff peaks. Add a quarter of the whites to the grits mixture and, using a spatula, stir until just combined. Add remaining whites and rapidly but gently fold them in along with the scallions.

Spoon the batter into the prepared dish, smooth, sprinkle with the remaining cheddar, and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue baking until the souffle is puffed, golden brown, and barely jiggles when you shake the pan, 35 to 40 minutes longer. Sprinkle with reserved scallions and serve at once.

Cooking With Honey – Short Rib Tacos

short rib tacos

My family loves pulled pork, but every once in a while I like a change.  These tacos satisfy their hankering for barbecue and my yearning to try a new recipe. We enjoyed these last night!!

Ingredients

3 – 5  T. canola oil

2 lbs. short ribs

2 – 3 shallots, chopped

3 – 4 cloves garlic smashed

Salt, pepper for seasoning, (I also use a few t. of seasoning mix that contains sea salt, red pepper,fennel seed, dehydrated garlic, peppercorns)

Prepared horseradish

Couple of t. flour

1/2 cup of wine

1 qt. beef stock

2 – 3 bay leaves

1/2 t. cumin

1/3 t. all spice

1/4 t. cayenne

Couple of chipotle peppers (canned peppers with a little of the adobo sauce)

2 T. tomato paste

2 t. honey

4 carrots, peeled, halved and then quartered

Warm soft corn or flour torillas

Toppings: guacamole, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, monterey jack cheese, queso fresco, chopped avocado, salsa, sour cream, etc.

Directions

Heat canola oil in large, heavy dutch oven and either heat oven to 425F.

Rinse short ribs, pat dry. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning mix on all sides.

Rub generously with prepared horseradish. Sprinkle with flour so that all sides are lightly coated.

Add beef to heated pan and sear well on all sides — you really want to get a good coating on the beef — if the coating sticks to the pan, don’t worry, it will deglaze.

Add chopped shallots and garlic to pan. Deglaze with wine, let it cook down a bit.

Add chipotle peppers and tomato paste.  Add beef stock. Add spices & honey.

Stir well, bring up to a simmer, cover and place in oven.

Reduce heat after 20 – 25 minutes and cook at 300 – 325 F for about four hours.

With one hour to go, add carrots to pot, stir in and cover; continue to cook for about 45 minutes to one hour.

After about four hours, beef will be easy to pull apart and liquid will have cooked down to rich, spicy sauce.

Pull beef apart and serve with sauce, warm tortillas, and toppings.

Honey Peking Chicken With Steamed Buns

peking-chicken-with-steamed-buns

Ching Shih would probably have wanted Peking Duck rather than chicken, but these are just as good!

Honey Peking Chicken

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts, skin on

1-1/2 teaspoons five spice powder

3 slices of ginger, smashed with side of knife

3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice wine (or dry sherry)

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

2 teaspoons kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

1. Using the tines of the fork, prick holes through the skin and meat of the chicken. This allows for the marinade to seep through. Combine all the rest of the ingredients and marinate the chicken breasts for up to 4 hours.

2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Drain the breasts, discard marinade, and pat the chicken very dry, especially the skin side. Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in large oven proof fry pan on high heat. When oil is hot, place chicken, skin side down in the pan. Fry until the skin is golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. (tip: don’t move the chicken when you are frying it. just leave it alone and let it fry to crisp up) Turn skin side up and place oven proof fry pan in the oven for 15 minutes, until cooked through.

3. Remove from pan and let rest on cutting board for 10 minutes. Carefully cut the chicken breast into thin 1/2″ slices – try cutting on the diagonal to get nice, long, thin slices.

Steamed Buns

Ingredients

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour for dusting work surface

2 cans Pillsbury Buttermilk Biscuit dough (7.5 ounces each)

20 parchment squares (about 4″x4″)

Directions

1. Dust work surface with the flour. Open the can of dough. Separate out the biscuits – there should be 10 in each can. Keep the dough covered loosely with plastic wrap or towel. Roll each biscuit into an oval and fold in half. Place on parchment square. Keep covered until ready to steam.

2. Steam the buns for 12 minutes. You’ll steam the buns in batches, avoid overcrowding the plate while steaming otherwise the buns will stick to each other.

To Serve

1 English or Japanese cucumber, cut into very thin julienned strips, soaked in 1 cup ice cold water, drain before serving
3 green onion stalks, cut into the thinnest possible shavings, soaked in 1 cup of ice cold water. drain before serving
1/2 cup Hoisin Sauce

To Eat

Open bun up (careful not to break it apart!), slather some Hoisin sauce, add 3 slices of chicken, a few cucumber strips, and green onion shavings. Enjoy.

The Romancing The Bee Diet – Day Two – Grilled Tuna Salad With Avocado and Honey

Fat bee

The Diet is going well!  I haven’t felt a bit deprived and I’ve already lost a pound! I’m pretty sure I could live on Broiled Grapefruit with Honey and Cinnamon.  🙂

I don’t want to get bored, though, so here is another delicious Romancing The Bee Diet recipe. Enjoy!!

Grilled tuna salad

Yield:  2-4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound very fresh tuna steak, 1-inch thick

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for sprinkling

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for sprinkling

Grated zest of 1 lime

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 teaspoon wasabi powder

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon honey

5 dashes Tabasco sauce

1 minced scallion, white and green parts

1 firm, ripe Haas avocado, medium and diced

1/8 cup finely diced red onion

Directions

Brush a heated grill pan with oil. Brush both sides of the tuna with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook the tuna for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side. Remove to a plate. The tuna will be cooked on the outside and raw inside. Allow to cool slightly and cut it into medium-diced pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi powder, honey, soy sauce, Tabasco, 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the sauce to the tuna, add the scallion, avocados, and red onion, and mix well. The sauce will “cook” the raw parts of the tuna after it sits for a few minutes.

Holidays With Honey – Tuna Tartare

tuna tartare

This will be another part of my contribution to The Feast of the Seven Fishes in Chicago. I like the fact that it’s red and green, and the Asian flavors will be a refreshing prelude to the traditional Italian pasta dishes.

Yield:  25 servings

Ingredients

1 3/4 pounds sushi grade tuna

2/3 cup olive oil

3 limes, zest grated

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 1/4 teaspoons wasabi powder

1 1/4 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce

1 1/4 tablespoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon honey

2/3 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (6 scallions)

1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh jalapeno pepper, seeds removed

3 ripe Haas avocados

Directions

Cut the tuna into 1/4-inch dice and place it in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, hot red pepper sauce, honey, salt, and pepper. Stir until honey is dissolved. Pour over the tuna, add the scallions and jalapeno, and mix well. Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed, and peel. Cut the avocados into 1/4-inch dice. Layer the tuna mixture over the diced avocados in a 9″x13″ glass dish.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Serve on crackers.

Holidays With Honey – Phyllo Spinach Triangles With Honey (Spanakopita)

IMG_1037

It sounds like a lot of you are getting ready for holiday parties. While you have your phyllo dough out, why not try these too? This is my standby winter appetizer recipe. Spinach is in season, and they freeze beautifully!

Yield:  30- 60 triangles

Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil

2 pounds spinach, washed and drained

1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled

1 tablespoon honey

1 to 2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1 pound phyllo pastry sheets

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saute pan, add half of the spinach and saute until spinach wilts, tossing with tongs, about 2 minutes. Remove spinach and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Repeat with remaining spinach, using 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Pour off any liquid from the pan, and add remaining olive oil.

Add scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the scallions, along with the parsley,salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).

Stir in the feta, honey, and as much beaten egg needed to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.

Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle.

Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use a pastry brush to brush a strip of phyllo with melted butter.  If a thicker pastry is desired, add another strip and brush with butter again. (See picture above.)

Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag.

Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.

Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot.

(These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)