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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Great Tips For Artisanal Breads, Corn On The Cob, And Everything Strawberry

Croissants, Open Hearth, Baguette, White, And Challah Bread

Everyone that knows me, knows there are a couple of things I love. Artisanal loaves of bread and strawberries. Not only do I love to eat them, but they are also in full display in my home.

On any given day I’ll buy artisan bread and I know it wouldn’t take me long to use them in different recipes, so I could easily devour them. Truth is, I can really get carried away, and I need to cut back.

I had this idea where if I could immortalize them, maybe, just maybe, that would make it easier for me not to rush out and buy a loaf all the time.

I ended up drying them out in the oven, turning them into giant croutons. I baked them off on a really low temperature (175 degrees F) for about 3-4 hours. I let them cool overnight, then varnished each one of the loaves along with a couple of croissants.

Now, I can just admire them any time I want, and not have to worry about the weight gain that would certainly be inevitable.  Turns out, it became a lifelike breadbasket that makes a beautiful centerpiece for any table.

How about this one? You know what a pain it is when you want to remove the corn kernels from the cob. Here’s a great tip.

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I love adding grilled corn to different dishes. It’s the task of removing the corn kernels that really disturbs me. They fly all over the place. They’re all over the cutting board, on the counter, and on the floor. It’s a battle keeping more than you seem to lose.

Take a Bundt pan or an Angel food cake pan, both shown in the pictures above, set the base of cob into the hole. Hold the top of the cob with one hand, using a sharp chef’s knife, slice off the kernels. I promise those kernels will all fall right into the cake pan. VOILA!

I do have one more short story. When I first moved out on my own, my grandmother gave me a strawberry canister set for my kitchen. Well, just like most girls, I thought I’d keep that theme going and stick with all things strawberry

I was 19 years old then, now I’m in my 50’s, and I think my strawberry themed kitchen now looks more like the store you see in every Cracker Barrel.

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Hutch

But you know what?, there’s a story and a memory behind everyone one.

 

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Lobster Mac And Cheese

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I’m pretty confident in saying, Mac and Cheese is a favorite comfort food for people of all ages. There are so many recipes out there from the classic version to endless variations of the classic. Chorizo and smoked Gouda, or how about butternut squash mac and cheese! The one I like to serve, when entertaining is my Lobster Mac And Cheese. The lobster adds a delicate sweetness, and then complimented by a variety of awesome cheeses that go into my recipe. Let me show you how I make my Lobster Mac And Cheese.

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Equipment:
16 quart stock pot, 9 x 13 casserole dish
yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:
4 cups of lobster meat, large dice (approx. 3- 1 1/2 lb lobsters)
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
4 cups of whole milk
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup of corn (optional)
1 cup of Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup of Brie cheese, without the rind
2 cups of shredded Fontina cheese ( reserve 1 cup for the top)
3 tablespoon of freshly finely chopped chives
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon
2-16 ounce packages of cooked just under al-dente Paccheri Rigati ( large rigatoni shaped pasta)
Topping:
4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1-1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of freshly chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
3/4 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:
Butter casserole dish.
For 1-1/2 pound lobsters, cook time is 15-20 minutes. Note: They need to be a vibrant red color when fully cooked.

Directions On How To Cook A Lobster:
Note: I prefer to cook lobsters one at a time.
Bring a 16 quart pot (a little over half filled) of well salted water up to a rapid  boil. Drop the lobster into the pot, quickly place the lid on. Using a towel, hold the lid in place for just a minute, giving the water a chance to come back up to a boil,  then start the cooking time. After about 15-20 minutes, remove the lobster from the pot and set aside to cool.

Boil 16 ounces of pasta just before the al dente stage, and drain. the pasta will finish cooking during the baking process.

Remove the lobster meat from the tail and claws. Chop the lobster meat into large chunks and place into a bowl.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Next, to make the cheese sauce, melt the butter whisk in the flour in a large saucepan. Cook for 1 minute over medium, heat. Slowly add in the whole milk. Sprinkle in the grated nutmeg, Kosher salt, and black pepper, continuously whisking until sauce becomes thickened and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tarragon, finely chopped chives, cheeses, and (optional) corn. Last, add in the cooked lobster meat. Mix until all ingredients are well combined.

Add the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce stirring gently not to break up the pasta. Pour the entire mixture into the buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved Fontina cheese evenly over the top.

For the crumb topping, add the melted butter to the Panko bread crumbs. Mix in  the Italian flat leaf parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

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Confetti Sweet Corn

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White corn and shoe peg corn are my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I like yellow corn, but if I had to choose it’s always the white variety. I have 2-10 ounce packages of frozen thawed shoe peg corn here. I always look for the fresh corn first but if I can’t find it, this is my “go to” when I want to make this dish. I will tell you that if I could have found the fresh, I would have grilled it first to add some of that smokey flavor to the kernels. It’s alright though, I’m going to be adding some delicious ingredients to the corn to make it even better. So now for the other ingredients, I have green, yellow, and red bell peppers, carrots, and some red onion that I’ve diced up into a 1/4 inch dice. On med heat, in a cast iron skillet, I have some unsalted butter along with a little olive oil melting away.

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Once the butter and oil is ready, next I add in all the colorful veggies. I stir them around for a minute then sprinkle with some Kosher salt, and black pepper. I saute everything for 3-4 minutes just to get some color on the veggies. Next I add in the  shoe peg corn. Continue to saute the corn with all the veggies  for another 2 minutes, enough to warm the corn through. Then turn off the heat, pour the colorful corn with those veggies into a serving bowl, and add some Chiffonade some fresh basil leaves and stir those through. There you have it, a simple, delicious, and colorful dish.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 6-7 minutes
Equipment: Cast iron skillet
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2-10 ounce packages of thawed frozen shoe peg corn
1/4 cup of 1/4 inch diced carrots
1/4 cup of 1/4 inch diced red, yellow, and green bell pepper
1/4 cup of 1/4 inch diced red onion
1/4 cup of Chiffonade fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Directions: Note: If using an indoor grill pan to grill the corn first. Get the grill pan nice and hot first, then brush the ears with a little Canola oil first before setting them on the grill. Just a  minute or so on all side to get the nice charred grill marks. Next let them cool down a bit before trying to handle them to remove the kernels from the cob.
Melt the butter and oil on med heat in a cast iron skillet. Next add in all the veggies with Kosher salt and pepper. Saute for about 3-4 minutes, enough to soften and get some color on the veggies. Add the corn in just to warm through, stirring everything together for another 2 minutes. Turn the heat off, then add in the fresh basil leaves. Pour into serving bowl.

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Frittata Muffins

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My grandmother taught me you can always recreate a new dish, using your leftovers to make a Frittata.

I’d made chicken fajita style dish the night before and the leftover filling I thought would work perfectly in a Frittata. Then I saw my jumbo muffin pan and that’s how my Frittata Muffins came to be. These would be great to serve for brunch or to take on a picnic.

All I’m saying is, don’t be afraid to experiment. If you have leftovers and you’re not sure what to do with them make a Frittata.

Instead of making one large Fritatta I made individual muffin style Frittatas. Check it out!

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Mini Fajita Frittatas

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 12 Jumbo Frittata Muffins
Equipment: 2 jumbo muffin pans (capacity 6-cup jumbo muffin pans)

Ingredients:
3 cups of leftover chicken fajita filling
12 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (reserve 1/4 cup for top)
cilantro, garnish

Note: The spice blend below was used my fajita filling.

Recipe For Fajita Spice Blend:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup of chili powder
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
2 tablespoons of Paprika
1 tablespoon of Onion powder
1 tablespoon of Garlic powder
1 tablespoon of Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon of Cayenne pepper

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients together until combined and place into an airtight jar. Store in a cool dry place for future use.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Lightly spray a 6 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the leftover chicken fajita mixture, 1/4 cup of the shredded Monterey Jack cheese and combine. Fill each muffin tin halfway up with the frittata mixture. Sprinkle the reserved shredded cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow the Frittata Muffins to cool for 10 minutes before running a rubber spatula around the outside of each one to ensure they’ll come out easily.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Store up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container or plastic zip-lock.

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