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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vegetarian Tomato Sauce with Black Eyed Pea Melange

Occasionally I enjoy meatless recipes. This doesn't always go over well with me family. However, I created a great meat substitute using black eyed peas. I originally came up with the black eyed pea mixture to fill some homemade ravioli's made with wonton skins. This recipe is great over any pasta.

Black Eyed Pea Melange

½ C yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ C olive oil
2 T butter
1 large can black eyed peas, rinsed
1 T creole seasoning (Tony Cachere’s or Zatarains or whatever is available in your area)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 t granulated garlic
Fresh grated parmigiano reggiano

Add olive oil and butter to skillet. Add chopped garlic and onions in hot oil. Saute until translucent. Add balck eyed peas and simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and add to food processor. Add a ½ C parmigiano reggiano. Pulse to a coarse chop. Set aside.

Quick Tomato Sauce

One can diced Italian style tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ C olive oil
¼ C heavy cream
1 t creole seasoning

In a large sauce pan open and begin simmering the tomatoes. Place a skillet over med heat and add olive oil. Add chopped garlic to hot oil and cook until garlicis golden. When garlic is done, add garlic and oil to the simmering tomatoes. Cook until sauce reduces by a quarter. Add cream to sauce and stir incorporating completely. Remove from heat and add black eyed pea mélange to the mixture.

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2006

Turkey Frittata with Spinach and Broccoli

Eating healthy is on everyone's mind these days. Two of the veggies that make it on all the "eat healthy" lists is broccoli and spinach. I discovered frittatas because I was looking for a way to incorporate healthier items into all of my meals, but the thought of having steamed broccoli for breakfast was not appealing. I enjoy the fritatta becaue I'm one of those people who can't really eat eggs by themselves and omelettes never seem done enough for me. I created this recipe because I had these odds and ends in my fridge and to keep them from giving up the ghost. If your doctor has warned you off eggs, this works equally well with egg beaters.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 C baby spinach washed and dried
2 C broccoli tops chopped
1 tsp butter
2 cloves garlic chopped
½ C red onion sliced
½ C red bell pepper sliced
½ lb ground turkey
1 tsp Dry Italian herbs
1 tsp Creole seasoning blend
1 tsp Black pepper
5 eggs
2 tbsp Italian bread crumbs
1 C Gruyere cheese grated

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add olive oil and butter in a large sauté skillet with an oven safe handle*. Add ground turkey and cook until brown. Saute garlic, onion, broccoli and bell pepper for about 5 – 6 minutes. Add spinach and stir to wilt the spinach. Put in herbs, seasoning, pepper and bread crumbs. Beat eggs thoroughly before adding to the skillet. Add the eggs and incorporate everything. Add half the cheese and stir to distribute through the egg mixture. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the frittata and place in the oven. Bake until golden and cheese is melted

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2005

*Tramontina makes a wonderful line that has removable handles so they work equally well in the oven or on top of the stove.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Red, White and Blue Velvet Cake

Just in time for July 4th I'm back with a great recipe, I created. I promise; scout's honor. I know there's another one on the internet, but I'd created the recipe before I saw that one. I use a traditional Southern Red Velvet Cake recipe. I've made some modifications. If you've never made a red velvet cake then you can find great recipes for them all over the internet. I make one red velvet and then I substitute blue food coloring and make a blue velvet cake. White sour cream icing is spread between alternating color layers to create a 4th of July confection that is delicious. I used traditional food coloring from McCormick, however if you are looking for a natural alternative, try all natural food coloring from Dancing Deer. Here in Houston, it is available at HEB Central Market or Whole Foods. If you live in the DC/Virginia area you can probably pick it up at Fresh Fields.

Cake recipe

Vegetable oil for the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine salt
3 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring, substitute blue food coloring for the Blue velvet cake
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Flour and Oil 6 (9 by 1 1/2 in round) cake pans (3 for each cake)

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, cream, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.

Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the floured and oiled cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spacing them. Bake 30 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through the cooking, Baking time should be about 30 minutes. When you notice the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, Stick a knife or toothpick in the middle. If it comes out clean then the cakes are ready.

Take the cakes out of the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake completely from the sides of the pans. One at a time, turn the cakes onto a plate and then turn them round side up and place on a cooling rack or if you don't have a cooling rack you can sit then on a rack out of the oven. Let cool completely. While the cakes are cooling go ahead and make your frosting. If the frosting starts to get too warm slide it into the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a hand-held electric mixer with a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, cream, sugar(add a little at a time), and butter on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high, and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Have a spatula handy as you will probably need to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Be sure and turn the mixer off before doing ths. This batch of frosting is usually enough for just one cake but in this case we aren't going to be covering the sides so it will be enough to for our purposes.


On a 10 inch cardboard cake round. place a blue cake rounded side down. Ensure that the layer is level. Add frosting just to othe edge of the cake. It's okay if some slides over but the goal is to have the red white and blue of the cake on display. After frosting and a red layer, again ensuring the layer is level. Add more frosting. Repeat the procedure until the cake is completely assembled. Garnish with Red and Blue candy sprinkles.

Because of the butter, the frosting is very sensitive to heat. Store it in the refrigerator or somewhere cool until you are ready to serve.

Reduce the speed of the mixer to low. Add the vanilla, raise the speed to high and mix briefly until fluffy (scrape down the bowl occasionally). Store in the refrigerator until somewhat stiff, before using.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Oven Roasted Habaneros

30 medium habanero peppers
2 T garlic powder
2 T olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1 T smoke flavoring

Slie peppers in half. Always wear gloves when working with habanero peppers. Toss in a bowl with garlic powder, olive oil, sea salt,brown sugar and smoke flavor. Let sit in the fridge for an hour. Lay peppers on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 200 degree oven for one hour or until the peppers take on a raisin like appearance. Store in an an airtight container or in a jar with Balsamic vinegar. They are great chopped in salads or blended in soups and hot sauces.

Recipe courtesy Demetria Dixon ©2006

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thyme & Basil Hot Water Cornbread

2 C Corn Meal
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 C boiling water
1 tsp fresh basil chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vegetable or canola oil
3 C vegetable oil

Place Meal and salt in a bowl. Add hot water and the egg. Stir, completely incorporating the egg. Add basil, thyme, zest and oil. Heat remaining oil in large cast iron skillet to about 300 - 325. Place a heaping tablespoon of the batter into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.

For extra added flavor crumble fried bacon or pancetta to the batter before frying.

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2006

Dark Chocolate Sabayon w/ Rum &Triple Sec

6 egg yolks
½ Cup sugar
¼ Cup Dark Rum
¼ Cup Triple Sec
½ C melted dark chocolate

Dark Chocolate Ganache
¼ C El Rey Dark Chocolate (chopped) – You may use any dark chocolate you prefer
¼ C cream

In a small sauce pan, heat the cream on a low flame. Watch the cream very carefully. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Once the cream is heated through pour over chocolate. Whisk until the mixture is thoroughly combined and glossy. Set aside.

In a large (heat safe) glass bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, rum and triple sec until incorporated. Now if you prefer you can transfer this to a double boiler. I simply take the bowl and rest it atop a pan of simmering water. Don’t let the pan touch the water. Whisk continuously until the mixture thickens. This can take anywhere from 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set bowl atop a bowl of ice to immediately stop the cooking process. Fold in cooled dark chocolate ganache until completely incorporated. At this point the sabayon is ready to eat. It is delicious served over fresh fruit.

Suggested serving:
For a quick delicious dessert, buy a store bought pound cake, cube and drizzle with rum or orange juice. Serve in a beautiful dessert cup topped with Sabayon and fresh fruit.

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Habanero Caramel Cookies

This is a recipe I created a couple of years ago. I love working with peppers and I wanted to do a dessert with Habanero peppers. I tried doing ice cream but the peppers were so hot that it would not freeze. It did make quite an exciting malted. Because of my long history with Habanero peppers, I implore you to please wear gloves. I can not stress this enough. These peppers will burn the skin and you really do not want to accidentally rub your eye with Habanero juice fingers. That said, this is a fun recipe which always gets a great reaction when I bake them.

2 ¼ C self-rising flour
¼ tsp salt
½ C butter (unsalted) ¾ C granulated sugar
¼ C brown sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract 2 large eggs
½ C homemade caramel w/chopped habaneros
Optional ingredients, ½ C Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips, ½ C chopped pecans or toasted almonds.

Preheat oven to 350º

In a sauce pan add 1 C sugar and enough water to wet to dampen the sugar. Heat pan until sugar and water melts and begins to turn amber. Turn off heat and add 1 C cream slowly stirring continuously. Once caramel is the desired consistency, add habanero peppers.

Cream sugar, brown sugar and butter together until creamy and the sugar has dissolved. Beat eggs thoroughly (none of that barely beaten egg stuff, I despise the taste of egg in baked goods.) and add to butter and sugar mixture. Add salt. Slowly incorporate flour to the mixture. Add ¾ of the caramel to the dough. Fold caramel into dough, just until caramel can be seen through out the dough. Using hands seems to work best; however because of the heat of the habanero pepper, I highly recommend wearing gloves. If you are using optional ingredients please add them now. Use a plastic spoon to drop a teaspoon of dough of a greased cookie sheet. To each cookie press a dab of caramel on top. Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2005

Saturday, February 03, 2007

February's Featured Cookbook

Good Southern comfort food. Sticks to your ribs, warms you on cold nights, comforts you when things go wrong. My featured selection for February is by Paula Deen. Paula is that wonderful combination of down-home Southern charm, gentility and mad skills in the kitchen. If you tried her Chicken Salad recipe or had the pleasure of visiting one of her restaurants, then you know what I'm talking about. She just makes you feel welcome in her kitchen, like you can sit a spell and do some good eating and it's okay. I know everyone is preoccupied with New Year's Resolutions and hitting the gym, but we all need a treat every now and then. So treat yourself.

Find this book and more at Books for Cooks and More.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Yee Haw - Japan Goes Western - Taste TV

Fresh Banana Nut Ice Cream

Puree 2 ripe bananas
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
¾ C Sugar
2 ½ C Cream
2 eggs
2 oz sour cream or crème fraiche
½ cup of chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts

1. Add bananas, lemon juice and brown sugar to a blender or food processor. Puree/Process bananas and set aside.

2. Combine sugar, cream and crème fraiche and heat (on low) until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs. Temper the eggs by slowly adding some of the hot cream mixture to the eggs while whisking continuously. Once the egg mixture is thoroughly combined and the bowl is warm to the touch, whisk eggs back into the hot cream. Add banana puree.

4. Stir continuously until thickened. Mixture should coat the back of a metal spoon. This should take about 10 – 12 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool completely. At this point you can start the ice cream maker; however, I prefer to age the mixture first. This is done by putting the liquid in an airtight container and placing it in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. This aging process allows the different ingredients to marry up and increases the depth of flavor. After aging, chill in ice cream maker. Incorporate toasted nuts to the chilled ice cream before freezing.

Recipe yields a little less than a quart.

Recipe courtesy of Demetria Dixon ©2004