Singing Shrimp with Pineapple

This is a wonderful dish that is easy to make and quick.  It is made with fresh pineapple, shrimp, spices, red crushed pepper, bell pepper and onions and served with rice.  It has just a hint of heat in it to make the shrimp sing. I live in an area where shrimp comes off the boat and pineapples will grow in your flower bed.

https://trkingmomoe.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/pineapple-almost-ready-to-harvest/

The recipe that is the inspiration for this came from Dole Pineapple Co. It was around the early 1990’s I saved the recipe from a friends recipe box. She had spent time in Hawaii. I fell in love with this after she invited me to lunch and she served this.

The secret to this dish is the singing spice combined with cilantro and mint.  You will mix it up first so you can sprinkle it on the shrimp with a little salt and let it rest while you prepare the pineapple. peppers, onions and garlic. The pineapple is sliced thinly cross ways and cut in small bite size pieces that will take the most time. When everything is sliced and chopped, you can start cooking your rice in a separate pot.  By the time the rice is cooked the Singing Shrimp with be ready.

Singing Shrimp with Pineapple

Singing Spice

1/4 teaspoon each

ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground all spice, ground anise seed, and ground ginger.

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper. ( add more if you want it hotter)

Mix these together in a small bowel.

1 cup water

2 tablespoon flour

Mix  water and flour in a small bowel and set aside.

1 pound of peeled large shrimp, deveined

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowel place cleaned shrimp and sprinkle with salt and half of the singing spice.  Cover and set aside until ready to cook.

Prepare Vegetables and fruit.

1 large green or red bell pepper, seeds removed and sliced into strips

1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, core removed, sliced thinly crosswise and cut into bit size pieces.

1 large onion cut into wedges

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon dried cilantro or (2 tablespoons fresh chopped)

1 teaspoon dried mint or (2 tablespoons fresh mint chopped)

In a large skillet over medium high heat.

1 tablespoon oil

Cook garlic, onion and bell peppers while stirring until tender. Stir in what is left of the singing spices and the flour and water mixture. Add shrimp on top and cover. Simmer 5 to 7 minutes until shrimp is pink. Remove from skillet.  In the skillet add pineapple, cilantro and mint. Stirring until heated.  Serve shrimp and pineapple over hot rice.

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Roasted Herbed Chicken Leg Quarters With Vegetable Wine Sauce

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I live on a fixed income and depend on the local food banks to help me make ends meet.  I write for another blog and was encouraged to write a food blog sharing my recipes and ideas on making do when you have run out of ideas and money.

Last month included in my box was 10 pounds of leg quarters.  I am very fortunate to have a small apartment freezer that I am able to freeze any extras to use later.  I thawed the legs out enough to separate them and divided them up for meals.  It is growing season right now in South Florida so the box includes donations from local organic farmers.  It is usually blemished produced they can’t sell.  I also freeze the extra to use later.

I love cookbooks and have kept all of mine from the last 40 years.  I am glad I did because I depend on them for ideas.  It is faster to look through a cookbook then to dig around in the internet.  Internet is fine if you know what you are looking for.  Most of the time I am looking for a recipe for what I have on hand. Then I run across one that is perfect for things I do have but was not thinking about using that. This recipe I stumble across and thought wow.  I adapted the recipe to what I had from the original recipe that was in the 1987 annual year book for Cooking Light Magazine. I don’t even know if it is still being published. This book came from a thrift store that is where I got most of my cookbooks over the years.

This recipe is absolutely delicious.  The wine was a bottle of mark down wine that I paid $3 for and have been using it to cook with. I also freeze all the herbs I get in my box.  Having them on hand can make a meal taste good.  I left the leg quarters whole while roasting because they are easier to cut when cooked.

Herbed Chicken Leg Quarters With Vegetable  Wine Sauce.

3 leg quarters

1/2 teaspoon  dried whole thyme (used a couple of frozen sprigs)

1/2 teaspoon rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

salt to taste

I cup white wine ( used pink wine)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place legs whole in a Roasting pan that has a lid.  Add wine and sprinkle the herbs on top. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes with lid on.  Remove lid and finish baking for 15 minutes to brown the chicken.

While the chicken is roasting prepare vegetables.

1 carrot shredded

1 small zucchini squash shredded

1 small yellow squash shredded

3 radishes shredded

1/4 cup finely diced onion

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup water

1 chicken bouillon cube

When chicken is done remove from pan and place on plate to separate the legs from the thighs.

In the pan on the top of the stove add the vegetables and bouillon cube and cook for 4 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Mix flour and water to make a paste then add to the vegetables and simmer until thickened.  Spoon over chicken when served.

This even tastes better as a left over. The radishes add a little zip to the flavors almost like a little hint of horseradish.

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Beau Monde Seasoning

 

Beau Monde in French means “high society” or “good society.” This was historically people of wealth and titles.  They were also the ones who could afford spices that came from the region in South Asia known as the Spice Island.  These spices was brought to Europe through the trade routes that took a long time to travel.  Spices like cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, mace, nutmeg, allspice, bay leaves, black pepper and white pepper came from that region. Also included in this region is ginger and turmeric that were both rhizomes of herbaceous plants. These spices were almost priceless and worth more then gold before modern travel.  In the 15th century, Europeans began to explore the Oceans to find another route to India for tea and spices.

Spices were sold in tea shops and apothecary shops. Because they were so costly they were kept locked up like jewelry to prevent servants from stealing them a little at a time. Some spices were used for medicinal purposes besides cooking. Spices where kept in locked spice cabinets until the last quarter of the 19th century when shipping became faster and safer and the prices fell.

Apothecaries would blend the most expensive spices with less expensive herbs to make them more affordable to people that was middle class. These blends were known as “Beau Monde” spice. Usually they contain sugar or salt. There were blends for pies, cakes, pickling and sausage making. The herbs that were grown in Europe and blended together was known as the generic name such as “Herbes de Provence,” which means herbs of rural France, and certain herb blends are still called that today. Our culinary history is full of regional herbs and spice blends that still retain their regional names. Some of us are lucky to inherit our  ancestors recipes that included their recipes for herb and spice blends.

Now today there is a company by the name Spice Island that has a celery onion season salt that has been trade marked “Beau Monde.” That means no one else can use that name on their commercial spice blends. This leads to confusion for many cooks that are looking for a copy cat recipe when unable to obtain the commercial Beau Monde season on the internet. What they usually find are heirloom recipes for spice blends that are made with spices from the Spice Island region. These recipes where usually used as a starting point for sausage making, pickling and meat rubs. There are variations of these that were adjusted to taste or availability.

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Traditional Heirloom recipe using spices from the Spice Island region.

In researching Spice Island company I found a few hints as to why this company ended up calling a season salt Beau Monde.  The company was established in 1941 as Spice Island Company and in December of 1941 the Pearl Harbor was attacked leading us into WWII. I can only speculate that the trade mark was also granted around then. The war in the South Pacific made spices from Asia hard to obtain. Many food items were rationed because the war cut off suppliers. The first year or so into the war things looked bleak because we were not making any head way with winning the war.  A business decision not a culinary decision must of been made to recover the original investment to go with what they had to work with.  The company was granted a trade mark that today would have remained a generic term in the public domain.  They created a very nice celery onion seasoning and gave it the trade mark name Beau Monde and built their company on that.

In the 1950’s after the war people could enjoy entertaining and party food recipes where developed by companies to market their products. Herb dips of sour cream that used Beau Monde seasoning became popular.  These same recipes are still enjoyed today.  But finding the commercial Beau Monde seasoning can be hard because not all stores carry it.

I went to 5 stores until I found it.  I had never used it so I had no idea what it tasted like.  I normally don’t buy top shelf spices. I have always made my own celery salt using celery leaves that I dry myself.595

https://trkingmomoe.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/drying-celery-and-pepper-flakes-diy/

I was familiar with the heirloom spice recipe because I make my own sausage when pork is cheap. I also use it in Cincinnati Chili.  I can see why there is so many requests for a copy cat recipe because even stores that have Spice Island don’t carry the Beau Monde.

The recipe is easy to make and only takes a couple of minutes.  What I would do if you are in a area where you can’t find the commercial made Beau Monde and your bottle is close to empty. I would make a small batch of it.  That way I could taste what I still have and make adjustment to what I am making.  The reason for this is all celery salts and onion salts vary in flavor. You should be able to get pretty close to the commercial blend so it can tied you over until you can buy another bottle.  If you are like me, I hate to pay more in shipping then what the item cost when  I buy off the internet.

1 teaspoon of celery salt

1 teaspoon of onion salt

1 1/2 teaspoons of confectionery sugar

1/4 teaspoon of corn starch

Put it in a small jar and shake.  You will notice that your bottle list dextrose or monodextrose. This is sugar that comes from corn. The corn starch keeps it from clumping up and flowing.

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19 Polish Cake ‘The Prince’ (Krolewicz)

I remember this cake growing up around Polish families. I can’t wait to try this for the Holidays. It is like a Boston Cream Cake only better.

aho's home made food

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When I think Polska, I think cakes. Since I can remember, I see my Mum baking stunning cakes for every occasion or even for no occasion. Multiple-layer cakes, cookies, sponges, every day casual cakes; amazing variety.
Krolewicz, which literally translates as “a prince” is one of my favourite cakes. I’ve never dared to try baking it until I moved away from Poland and it’s become impossible to have it without baking it myself.
Was easier than I expected ^^
Let’s get started, shall we?

INGREDIENTS:

For the honey dough:
3 cups*  flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
150g margarine
1 egg
3 tbsp running honey

For the sponge:
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup good quality wheat flour
1 tsp potato flour** (starch)

For the cream:
0,5l milk
200g butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp potato flour (starch)

View original post 615 more words

Christmas Cherry Scones

It get busy around here at Christmas and I find myself running out of time. Like everyone I want to have on hand something other then cookies or cake to serve guests or just for coffee. Scones are a wonderful addition to your Christmas baking.  They can also be work.

You can find great recipes and instructions on how to make a great scones. There are many videos that show techniques in handling the dough so your scones are light and delicate. But by the time the holidays begin I am warn out, tired of baking and cleaning up after myself in the kitchen. I also have a limited budget to work with.  Items like butter, sour cream and cream cheese can be budget busters.   This is where baking mixes can be a big help with saving time and money.  Sometimes you just want something that is not overly rich that you can enjoy with a hot drink or start your day out with.

Here in southern United States, we have a biscuit mix that is in our local grocery stores this is Southern Biscuit Formula L Complete Biscuit Mix.  I discovered it several years ago on the shelf of my local Walmart store and now find others are carrying it also.  It is also offered on line if you can’t get it locally.  I normally don’t post recipes using a product that may only be available regionally.  This recipe may also adapted to other biscuit mixes that you can find in your region.  DSCN2167

This picture was taken at 6 AM and I am stumbling around waiting for my coffee to perk.  I am tired and the idea of standing in front of the stove cooking a 5 star breakfast is not going to happen. The Martha Steward in me is on strike and I don’t care about whether “it is a good thing,” or not. I am not going to drag my mixer, food processor or waffle iron out.  I am not going to flip eggs, pancakes or fry anything. This Santa’s helper is whipped.  I can’t even perk up enough to think about a “yum-o” right now and blend up a smoothy. It is more of a semi-homemade moment.

I grab the biscuit mix and look at the instructions.  Then I sigh and decide I am not even up to making sausage gravy. Maybe I have a can of it in the back of the cupboard. Nope I don’t and the cats are now looking at me wanting me to open a can of cat food for them.  My fault I should of stayed away from the cupboard that is a sign for them in the morning “it is time to eat.”

I now have my first cup of coffee in hand and the cats have left out of the back door to do what ever they do outside before the sun come up after they eat.  So it is back to figuring out how to feed everyone else.  The biscuit mix is still sitting out.  I think God said “let there be light,” and  a light bulb turned on in my brain dead head or maybe I have been watching too many Christmas baking videos on You Tube. The idea of scones flash through my head.   Why not all I have to do is sweeten the batch of biscuits and add some dried fruit?  I don’t have to use expensive butter and measure lots of other ingredients.

If you are using a different biscuit mix that has a basic recipe that calls for less mix then what I am using, adjust the sugar and fruit down.

Here is what I did.

Preheat oven 400 degrees.

The recipe for using Southern Biscuit Mix calls for:

3 1/4 cups of mix

1 1/4 cups of butter milk

( I keep powered butter milk on hand to bake with and mix it with water according to instruction.}

To that I added:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

The cherries and chocolate chips I had on hand but you can use raisins, blue berries, semi-chocolate chips, nuts and other dried fruits.

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Mixed in a large bowl.  I used my hands. Remember to mix your dry ingredients first then add your vanilla to your liquid before mixing together.  I put the dried cherries into the dry mix before adding the milk.

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Flour the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan.  You are not going to bake in this pan.  It is to help you shape the dough in a rectangle.  You don’t even need a rolling pin. If you are using a different baking mix that makes a smaller batch you can use a 9 inch square pan.

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I just patted the dough evenly into the pan.  I tried to handle the dough as little as possible because I wanted the scones to be flaky.

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I flipped the pan out on a flour service. Now you cut them into triangles.  I used a pizza cutter but a knife will work .  Use what you have.

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Place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper so they don’t touch.  They spread while baking.

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Brush them with a little milk or cream to make them brown on top.  Sprinkle them with finishing sugar.  That is a coarse sugar.  I used coarse cookie sugar sprinkles.

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Bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees.  Then with out opening the door turn your oven off and reset your timer for 10 more minutes. Then take them out.  They will look like this or a little lighter.  Everyone’s oven is different. Mine oven runs a little hot and brown faster.

While they are baking you can quickly clean up because you only have the bowl, pan, measuring utensils and pastry surface.

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I sat down then and enjoyed a couple  on a paper plate with my second cup of coffee. They smelled so good and tasted just right not too sweet, wonderfully flaky morning treat.  The sun is now shining through the window and the day is starting to look better. Everyone will think you out did yourself. Hide a few to nibble on while wrapping presents later in the day.

Delicious Pecan Fruit Cake

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Fruit Cake has a bad reputation as being dry and heavy like a brick.  I found this delicious recipe many years ago on the back of a cake mix.  I have adjusted it to taste like a fruit cake that my family fell in love with from a local market.  It was a southern pecan fruit cake made by a company in Texas.  It was also very expensive for a little bar of it.  My oldest grandson loved it and would ask for it. The cake was not loaded down with spice, molasses or liquor to over power the taste. So the flavor is buttery and allows the fruits and nuts flavor the cake. It smells wonderful while baking. My mother loved dark spicy fruit cake and would buy a 2 pound cake in a tin every Christmas when I was a kid. She also got to eat most of it all by herself.

Fruit Cake is expensive to make because of the glace fruit and nuts that it takes.  It is not hard to make but does take time to bake.   Early in the fall you can start finding the little containers of fruit in your baking section of the grocery store.  I would start buying a container at a time until I had what I needed that way it won’t break your budget.  You can get them after Christmas marked down and they keep a year.  The fruit I have used this year came from last year after the holidays. All you have to do is store the sealed containers in the back of your cupboard.  Any one that bakes always watches for nuts to go on sale this time of the year and stores them in the freezer to use for several months.

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Nordic Ware pan with 4 oval shaped mini loafs that I have had for almost 20 years. 

The cake is baked in a slow oven for over two hours.  I put a 9 x 13 inch pan with hot water on the bottom rack and the cake on the middle rack to bake.  The hot pan of water will help keep the cake moist while baking. The idea to do this came from watching  videos on line demonstrating how to make good fruit cake.  There are several ways of preparing the baking pans and other techniques you can pick up while searching through you tube. You will simply have to chose what fits with the pans that you have to work with.  I did not want a tube cake but to make 4 small loaves to share with family and friends. My little loaf pan cavities are oval shaped so I had to line the pans with non stick foil to shape the liner.  Parchment paper works really well for baking.  If you don’t line your pans it will be hard to remove the cake. Do a little research on line first and that will help prevent mistakes.

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Removed the cake using the liner.

Pecan Fruit Cake 

1 lb. Glace Red Cherries

1 lb. Glace Pineapple Pieces

8 oz. Chopped Dates

1 1/2 cups Pecans

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 box Butter Pecan Cake mix

1/3 cup water

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons butter vanilla extract

light corn syrup to brush on top

Preheat oven to 275 degrees and prepare pan.

In a very large bowl mix fruit and nuts.  Then add flour and mix with a large spoon.  In a mixer blend on medium speed the cake mix, water, eggs and vanilla.  Beat for 2 minutes until smooth.  Fruit cake uses very little batter and it is just enough to coat all the fruit. Add batter to the fruit mixture and mix with a spoon until blended.  If you have a heavy mixer with a dough hook add the fruit to the batter and mix with the dough hook until blended.  It will save your arm a lot of work. You are stirring 4 pounds of batter and that is heavy.

Spoon in a angle food tube pan and press down evenly.  You can also bake it in two 4 x 8 inches loaf pans or four mini loaf pans. Bake for 2 1/2 hours at 275 degrees.  Place a pan of hot water at the bottom of your oven.  It took 2 hours for my mini loaf pans.  You have to insert a skewer to see if it comes out clean.  Every oven bakes differently so keep an eye on them and check them a little early to see if they are done. When the skewer comes out clean  let the cake cool for a couple of minutes and brush on syrup to glaze the top while it is still hot. Leave the cake to cool completely in the pan.  The liner will help you lift the cake out. Wrap and store in a tight container.  The cake will taste better after it sits for a couple of days before serving. It also freezes well too. I did not remove the foil before wrapping because it will help the cake from drying out.

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If you  like making fruit cakes. Natasha’s Palace is hosting a fruit cake challenge.  Stop in and see her fruit cake recipe and results.

https://nataschaspalace.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/the-fruitcake-challenge-part-3/#comment-1500

 

Bourbon Sweet Potato Cookies

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This cookie recipe will really add something different to your holiday list of cookies.  It is not overly sweet and full of flavors that just roll of your tongue.  It has real wow factor going for it. If you do make these for cookie exchanges and gift giving make sure you include the recipe because you will asked for it.

When I shared these with a few neighbors to find out what they thought, because the kids didn’t seem to impressed with them, the cookies were a big hit.  I was asked for more if I made them again.  No worry, the recipe makes about 100 cookies but they won’t keep long because of the sweet potato and pineapple.  They do freeze well so you can make them ahead. I froze some for later in the holiday season. It is a perfect cookie for a cookie exchange and so uncommon that you will be asked for the recipe.  Many will be surprised at what is in them if you don’t tell them they are sweet potato.

I was gifted a small bottle of bourbon this year that I had hidden away for the holidays.  Also I had all these sweet potatoes I had frozen last month and was looking for a good recipe to use them in.  I collect cook books from thrift stores.  The cook books are my little pleasures that I indulge in. The inspiration for this recipe came from one of the cook books.  I had to make it my own recipe because of what I had on hand but kept close to the original.  Before I made them I looked all over the internet but found nothing like these.  I do that when I have to adapt recipes to see if there are other versions.

They are not difficult to make and you will only have to brush a bourbon glaze on them right after you take them out of the oven.  The cookies need to be warm for the glaze. Moreover, they don’t require much fuss and decorating. They are a soft moist cookie that glistens after the glaze sets up.

If you make these let me know if you enjoyed them?

Bourbon Sweet Potato Cookies

1 1/2 cup raisins soaked in 1/2 cup bourbon

2 cups cooked mashed sweet potato cooled

20 oz. can of crushed pineapple drained and all liquid squeezed out

Preheat oven 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper

1 cup chopped pecans warmed for 5 minutes in the oven to bring out the flavor.

Whisk together and set aside:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups quick cooking rolled oats

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Cream together:

2 sticks of room temperature butter

3 cups packed light brown sugar

Add one at a time:

2 large eggs

Now add the mashed sweet potatoes and pineapple beat until smooth.  Add raisins and all the liquid that is with them.  Now at slow speed spoon in the flour mixture.  When all of it is incorporated stir in pecans.

This makes a soft dough that you drop from a large spoon about 2 tablespoons full and space about 2 inches apart. Bake 2 sheets at a time for 15 minutes until they are firm and golden brown on the bottom.  Brush with glaze before removing while the cookies are very warm. Remove and cool.

Glaze:

I cup of confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 or 2 tablespoons of water to make a brush able glaze but not watery.

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