Lowcountry Boil

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the US. Spend time with your loved ones and remember those who sacrificed so we could spend this time together. The recipe below is a classic great for get-togethers with the framily [sic].

Heather says:

Making Low Country Boil is a time honored tradition in the South. Remember how leery I was when I posted my recipe for fried chicken? Lowcountry boil* is another traditional recipe where people will bicker over the right way to get things done. What I’m sharing below is a framework; how you change the ingredients to fit your taste will depend on the tradition you are following or creating.

*notice that sometimes there is a space and sometimes there isn’t, that’s a whole other debate. I tend to stick to Lowcountry, but other people have strong opinions on the matter.

This recipe for Lowcountry boil can be multiplied to feed a crowd. The proportions are for 4lbs medium to large headless, deveined shrimp.

It’s a casual dinner, meant to be enjoyed with cold beer, lots of napkins, talk about the heat, and good friends.

Lowcountry Boil is a one pot wonder. The sausage, potatoes (and onions, if you’d like) are tossed in first, then comes the sweet corn, and finally, at just the last minute the shrimp join in the fun. Never forget, over cooked shrimp are rubber shrimp; as soon as they are cooked through, it’s time to lift the basket or strain the contents.  I’m not cool enough to have a basket insert. Large batches can be prepared outdoors in a turkey fryer, with the exact same timeline.

If you have a picnic table, cover it with newspaper or butcher’s paper, dump out the spread and everyone can pick at the Lowcountry boil to their hearts’ content. Having to peel the shrimp slows people down enough to enjoy the meal and complain about the heat and bugs. It’s a bonding experience.

Lacking a picnic table, we chose to eat indoors, but enjoyed it all the same.

Recipe for Lowcountry Boil

  • 2 lbs smoked or kielbasa sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces  (We prefer smoked, sorry Mom)
  • 3 lbs new or Yukon Gold potatoes – If they are large, quarter them
  • Optional 1 – 2 onions, paper removed and quartered
  • 6 ears of corn, husks and silk removed, broken or cut in half
  • 4 lbs medium shrimp, headless and deveined
  • Crab Boil (love me some Zatarains) or Old Bay Seasoning (I two time on Zatarains w/ Old Bay)  - to taste, somewhere between 2 tsp per quart of water – 1 TBSP per quart
  • 3 – 4 whole cloves (not heads) of garlic

Heat a large pot of water over medium-high heat and add the crab boil or Old Bay.

While waiting for the water to boil, beware of sneak thieves, they will lurk about.

When the water boils add the potatoes, garlic, optional onions, and sausage. You can reduce the heat a little, but keep it boiling. After 10 minutes add the corn

Cook for 5 minutes.

Add the shrimp, turn off the heat, and cook for 3 minutes.

Strain.

Serve.

Enjoy.

Garlic and Soy Chicken Thighs

Heather says:

The humble chicken thigh certainly doesn’t get as much attention as its counterpart the boneless skinless chicken breast.  In my area BSCB have been running in the neighborhood of $5 a pound on sale, which makes thighs much more attractive. This recipe is flexible, substitute low sodium soy sauce if you wish.  If you have it on hand, consider adding fresh, grated ginger.

Printable Grocery List.

Garlic and Soy Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 spring onion or 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • black pepper* to taste

Directions:

Trim the excess skin and fat from each chicken thigh. I leave just enough skin to cover the meat.  Place the breasts in a baking dish just big enough to accomodate the chicken.  If you have too much space between the pieces the sugars in the sauce will burn and your evening’s entertainment will consist of dish scrubbing.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, onion, garlic, and pepper*.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Turn each piece so it is well coated and then leave it skin side up.

Bake at 350°F for 30 – 40 minutes.

*If you aren’t cooking for sensitive palates (ie young kids or picky spouses) consider substituting crushed red pepper flakes for the black pepper.  These will add a nice kick.

Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala

Heather says:

Like many people, I love chicken marsala. If you’ve gone gluten free, no worries, you don’t have to leave chicken marsala behind. This version is a simple variation on the classic, all you need is brown rice flour (This is the one I use) to use in place of wheat. I made this for company the other night and it turned out well. I hadn’t expected the brown rice flour to hold up as well in the sauce as it did. This is also a lower cholesterol version of the recipe -the original called for butter, I only used olive oil to stay within a guest’s dietary restrictions. Modify the recipe as you see fit.

I prefer to serve it with a side of roasted potatoes rather than gluten-free pasta, but it’s a to each their own kind of comfort food. For what it’s worth, mashed potatoes or hasselback potatoes would work wonderfully, too. And if you’re going lower carb just serve it over a bed of quickly sauteed greens like kale or spinach. This will also add some color to an otherwise pale plate.

And yes, I’m totally cheating and using pictures from the first time I photographed chicken marsala. (I was hosting a dinner party and have only just found my 50mm I thought I lost in a move).

If you want to speed up production, you can use two skillets. Since I was cooking for a group, I let the mushrooms begin to cook down in a second skillet while I cooked the chicken. Just be sure to use the pan used for the chicken so you can scrape up all those wonderful bits of goodness produced by the Maillard Reaction should NOT go to waste.

I went with a sauvignon blanc brought over by a friend, which we finished with the meal.

Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup seasoned brown rice flour (add a pinch each of: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and dried basil. Stir)
  • Approximately 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sweet white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced – baby portabellas, crimini, shittake or even button
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • optional green onions for garnish

Remove any visible fat from the chicken breasts and cover them with plastic wrap or wax paper and pound thin with a mallet, empty wine bottle, or rolling pin. Pro-Tip Pounding the chicken breasts physically breaks down the muscle tissue, leaving you with tender chicken you won’t ever need a knife to cut. Don’t skip that step, go ahead and take out some of the day’s frustrations. It’ll be worth the effort, I promise.

Cut the chicken into manageable pieces. You don’t have to go to bite size, but generally you want pieces people will only need to cut in half. This is a nice compromise between fiddly, fussy cooking and providing a pleasant dining experience. Cut it smaller than in the picture, that’s just to illustrate what the pounded chicken should look like.

Heat your pan over medium to medium high heat. Add 2 TBSP olive oil to the pan. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned rice flour, shake off the excess.

Cook the chicken 2 – 3 minutes a side in the hot pan. Then set aside. You’ll need to cook the chicken in two – three batches to avoid crowding the pan too much.

When the chicken has been browned and set aside, add another small drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then the 3 cups of mushrooms.

Cook the mushrooms until they start to sweat. If your pan starts to dry up too much, turn the heat down a little and cover. When the mushrooms are golden brown around the edges, releasing their liquid magic, it’s time to add the 3/4 cup of  wine.

Simmer until about half the liquid is gone, then add the 1 cup of chicken stock or just more wine, if you prefer.

Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium, simmer for 3 minutes and add the chicken back to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Return the chicken to the skillet and ensure it has all been coated in the sauce.

Serve and enjoy.

Shared on : Mouthwatering Monday at A Southern Fairytale

Tomato Pie: Smack Your Granny Good

Heather says:

Two years ago I stumbled upon the deliciousness that is tomato pie. The framework for this recipe can be credited to Paula Deen, but it has been played with enough, to call it my own.

Before giving this pie a shot, make sure you have fully ripe tomatoes. I know, I know it’s tempting, what with the bacon and basil, but just sit tight and wait. Don’t ruin this with a tomato that has seen the inside of a refrigerator. Fine, you won’t ruin it, but. . . it’ll be worth it.

Some people get very persnickety about the bottom crust. You have three options:

  1. Blind bake -pre-bake the bottom crust-  but know that you will absolutely have to protect the edge of your pie during the real baking and I hate putzing around with foil like that
  2. Instead of draining the seeded tomato slices in a colander you can do so on a clean flour sack towel -it doesn’t have to be that particular one, you just don’t want to end up with linty tomatoes. Bleh.
  3. Suck it up and deal with it because it’s delicious.
Tomato Pie

Tomato Pie

Double Crust Tomato, Onion, and Bacon Pie Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pie crust (9″ pie) – feel free to cheat and use refrigerated pie crust if you’re in a hurry and sometimes I am
  • 4 very ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 3 slices bacon crumbled
  • 3 TBSP cream cheese or mayonnaise*
  • 1 tsp dried basil, divided -If you have fresh, use a small handfull and cut into a chiffonade -fancy word meaning thin raggy strips
  • salt/pepper to taste

*It absolutely must be mayonnaise, not low-fat and for the love of all that is holy not miracle whip

Tomato Pie Recipe Instructions

Core each tomato. This is simply a matter of removing the hard area around the stem. Cut each tomato in half through the equator. Use your finger to scoop the seeds out and into the trash or sink. Then slice each tomato. Place the sliced tomatoes in a colander over a large bowl or the sink, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow this to sit while preparing the other ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Slice the onion very thinly. No, thinner. No, thinner still, we want the Calista Flockhart of onions.

In a bowl combine the cheese, bacon, and 3TBSP mayo. Mix thoroughly.

tomato layerCarefully lay the bottom pie crust in a 9″ pie plate. Arrange a layer of tomatoes, sprinkle with half the sliced onion and 1/2 tsp dried basil.

Repeat the first layer with the remaining tomatoes, onion, and basil.

Top with cheese mixture. Add the second crust, seal the edges, and cut slits in the top.

Use water to glue on any decorative touches.

Use water to glue on any decorative touches.

Tomato PieBake for 45 minutes, checking after 30. Use the foil trick from the pie crust recipe to protect the edges of the crust.

Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes (at least) on a wire rack. If you can wait longer to slice the pie, the cheese won’t be as runny.

We look at each other and say, but we LIKE the cheese to be runny.

Enjoy.

***Submitted to: Mouthwatering Mondays***

Pork and Miso Ramen

retrochick.JPGMichele says:

Ramen. It’s a single word that conjures images of students and young newlyweds alike, united by their grumbling bellies and meager budgets.  Most of us have been there, done that—myself included—and if you’re anything like me, you may have also done a happy dance when you finally said sayonara to your noodle heavy twenty dollar a week food budget.  Despite my longstanding eagerness to eat something (anything!) other than what the Japanese refer to as gakusei ryori, or “student food”, years later I still find myself craving the salty, slurpy soup that got me through the leanest times in my life.

Fortunately for those of us nostalgic for ramen, it’s pretty hip these days!  Made with fresh noodles, the giant bowls come garnished with everything from pork belly to pickled vegetables to quail eggs to kombu (AKA seaweed).  Though delicious, these gourmet bowls can leave one asking, where has all of the cheap ramen gone?  It turns out that the answer is closer than most of us would have ever guessed: it’s hiding in our own home kitchens!

With a few ingredients that you can buy at any well stocked grocery store (check Amazon if you can’t find miso), you can throw together a restaurant-worthy bowl in under an hour.  Best of all, once you’ve made the broth, you can customize the bowls individually to make each one as healthy or as unhealthy as you’d like.  That’s right.  This homemade, veggie filled ramen can actually count as healthy…ish (those pesky fried noodles are the “ish”).  For once, you’ll be able to have your cake ramen and eat it, too!  If only those poor college students should be so lucky.

pork-and-miso-ramen

Pork and Miso Ramen

Pork Marinade:
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine (or apple cider) vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Everything Else:
  • 1 pound boneless pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups fish broth (I used a 32 ounce carton of store-bought)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (homemade or a 32 ounce carton of store-bought)
  • 2 tablespoons shiro (white) miso paste (you can find it on Amazon if your store doesn’t carry it)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely minced
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ pound (8 ounces) mung bean sprouts
  • 1 pound (16 ounces) bok choy
  • 1 bunch (approximately 10) scallions
  • 3-3 ounce packages dried ramen, seasoning packets discarded
  • 4 eggs, hard boiled or poached
  • Sriracha for serving (optional)

Step 1: Make the marinade by combining ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and black pepper in a gallon sized zip top bag.  Use a fork to poke holes in the pork chops.  Add the holey pork to the bag with the marinade and allow the meat to marinate for 30 minutes.

Step 2: While the pork marinates, mix 4 cups of fish broth with 4 cups of chicken broth in a stock pot, then add 2 tablespoons miso paste, 1 teaspoon ginger, and ¼ cup soy sauce to the broth.  Cover and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.  If making hard boiled eggs, cook them now and set aside.

Step 3: While the broth simmers, heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is warm, remove the pork chops from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels.  Cook in the heated pan for 4-5 minutes, then flip; cook an additional 4-5 minutes, then remove the pork chops to a plate or plastic cutting board.  Tent pork chops with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Step 4: While the pork is resting, wash the bean sprouts, bok choy, and scallions.  Discard the roots from the bok choy and scallions.  Slice the bok choy into ribbons; set aside.  Cut the scallions into ¼ inch pieces; set aside.  Thinly slice the pork; set aside.  If you’re a worrywart, throw the pork into the broth to make sure that it’s one hundred percent cooked; there’s no shame in it, but it does change the texture of the pork.  If making poached eggs, cook them now and (you guessed it!) set aside.

Step 5: Five minutes before serving, bring the broth up to the boil.  Add the noodles to the boiling broth, being careful not to break up the ramen; slurping the noodles is half of the fun!  Cook the ramen for 3 minutes or until the noodles are soft.

Step 6: Ladle the broth into soup bowls.  Use chop sticks or a pasta server to add ramen to the bowls with the broth.  Add pork to your bowl of noodles.  Top the noodles with bok choy, bean sprouts, scallions, and egg.  Don’t forget a squirt (or three) of Sriracha!

Serves 4 ramen lovers.

Michele Newell is a housewife turned blogger turned Home Ec 101 contributor.  You can read her near daily ramblings at Dreams Unreal.