Birthday Crab and Shrimp Au Gratin!
Admittedly, this is not how I would prefer to use premium seafood. However, it is my sister’s birthday, and she gets to pick the menu for her dinner- and this is one of her favorites. So I made it. Or she would have beat me up (and I’m sure she still can).
Crab and Shrimp Au Gratin
2 c. milk
4 T. AP flour
1/3 t. salt
1/3 t. pepper
1/8 t. Tabasco sauce
2/3 c. cheez whiz
8 oz cooked shrimp (I poached mine in water with lemon, coriander, black peppercorns and salt)
4 oz cooked crab (I used a full pound of claw meat)
1 T. butter
1 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 sleeve ritz crackers, pulverized and mixed with half a stick of melted butter
Mix flour, salt, pepper and hot sauce with part of the milk in a jar; shake well. Add Cheez Whiz with the rest of the milk and 1 T. butter in a double boiler; cook until cheez has melted. Add flour mixture; stir until smooth and thickened.
Add seafood and pour into casserole dish. Top with grated cheese and buttered cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Birthday Crab and Shrimp Au Gratin!
I decided instead of making a cake for my sister’s birthday, I’d make brownies. Unfortunately, I was also making the rest of the dinner, so from scratch brownies weren’t really possible (well they could have been- but it’s freakin’ hot in that kitchen!).
Just as I was wondering how to make a brownie mix more appealing, my Mom hands me a recipe for “Brownie Supreme.” Basically, this is a glorified brownie mix. Perfect! And it was pretty easy, although by the time I got finished doing the extra steps I probably could have made brownies from scratch….Oh well!
Dump contents of brownie mix in a medium bowl and add ¾ c. of sifted all purpose flour. Put all liquid ingredients called for by the recipe in another bowl. Add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla to the wet ingredients.
In a double boiler, but one stick of butter and 2 squares (2 oz) of unsweetened chocolate. Melt it, then add 1 cup of sugar. Mix together.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then add the chocolate mixture. Stir everything together- but don’t over stir.
Pour into a large pyrex dish and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until set in the middle.
After they cooled in the pan, I stacked mine on a cake plate and stuck candles in them. In my opinion, this is way better than a cake! (Unless you make me a homemade red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese frosting.)
Diane and I had lunch here one day last week. It is a relatively new place, and I've heard wonderful things about it.
Di had the salmon patty sandwich, and I ordered the fried catfish sandwich (I have to get my fill of bottom feeder while I'm home cuz Devin doesn't like them).
Both sandwiches were excellent, and the fries were perfect! They were thin and crispy and tender- and the smoked ranch they were served with was divine!
This place will definitely be on my must have list when I come back next summer. The food is great and they have a huge menu of bottled beers. I think Dev would be in heaven!!
Firstly, let me say that I realize fried food isn't particularly good for me.
Secondly, let me say that I don't eat it very often.
Thirdly, let me say that when I do eat it, it should be as good as this was.
Love's Seafood Restaurant has been around forever. They have a beautiful spot on the river and the views from the indoor and outdoor dining rooms are wonderful.
The food is pretty much all fried (but you can pay a little extra to get things broiled)- but it is fried to perfection. I really do mean it's perfect. Nothing is every over-fried or tough. The shrimp are plump and juicy and crispy on the outside. The sauces are good, too. I have no idea if they make them or if they buy them, but I do know that the tartar sauce is excellent!
If you ever find yourself in the Savannah area and want some perfectly fried seafood, please, please, please get to Love's as fast as possible. Oh- and wear your stretchy fat pants- you'll need 'em.
I have already blogged about the impending demise of one of my favorite restaurants in Savannah- the Middle Eastern Cafe.
This is my attempt at making the hummus served there. I tried to include as many measurements as I could, but as you will see when you read the recipe, it was very difficult.
Hummus from the Middle Eastern Café
2 cans chick peas, drained- liquid reserved
5 cloves garlic roughly chopped (the food processor will do the rest)
2 lemons worth of juice
½ jar of tahini or to taste (but it will take more than you thought it would)
Lots of olive oil (again, more than you thought it would take)
Pinch of sugar
½ cup of white vinegar- but add a little at a time and taste til you have it right
This recipe was hard to figure out because the man who described it to me used no standard measurements. Everything was hand motions and portions of his palm.
I basically started by putting the chickpeas and the garlic in my Mom’s food processor and whizzing them around for a few pulses. I then added about half the lemon juice, a pinch or two of salt, a pinch of pepper and about ½ cup of tahini. I let the processor run for about 30 seconds and began streaming in olive oil. After about ½ cup, I put in a few capfuls of white vinegar. Then I tasted it- it was nowhere near the flavor or texture of the good stuff. So I turned the processor back on, put in a generous pinch of sugar, more vinegar, more tahini, more salt and more lemon juice. I ran the processor until it broke (sorry Mom!). The flavor was great, but I still had not processed it smooth enough.
Luckily, Mom had another smaller food processor- so I began processing it in small batches, adding a little of the reserved chick pea liquid and more olive oil to each batch until it was smoother (like almost completely emulsified). This took much more oil and much longer in the processor than I ever imagined.
I really don’t think it’s as good as the good stuff, but it is pretty dirn close. My sister requested this for her birthday dinner- so I guess she’ll be the final judge!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We simply could not resist it. We had to try this place out.
Hmmmmm. What do I have to say about Screamin' Mimi's.......
First of all, the layout makes no sense. The line to order snakes right by the tables, so if you are sitting on that side of the restaurant, you are eating with people's butts in your face.
The decor is eclectic- chalkboards on the walls on which people doodle. The atmosphere is rather cramped, but fun. To be honest- it would be better to get your pizza to go and head to one of the squares for a picnic.
The pizza was not bad...it just wasn't Vinnie's.
The slices, as you can see, are HUGE.
Diane's doing her best to dispatch with that one.
After lunch we headed out on a search for macrame cord. Don't ask.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I used the Greek method I blogged a while back, which is really just marinating the fish in lemon juice and olive oil for about an hour, while mixing a can of tomatoes with fresh garlic and lemon juice. Put the tomato mixture on the fish, top with lots of breadcrumbs and bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes.
I served the fish with a hash mixture of cabbage, onion, potatoes and bacon. As an appetizer I wrapped some canteloupe pieces in prosciutto.
It turned out rather well. I'm always intimidated by cooking for my parents, because they are both such good cooks- but everyone cleaned his/her plate, so it must have been acceptable.
The above pics were taken at the Middle Eastern Cafe downtown on Montgomery Street, across from the court house.
This place has the most amazing food! Everything I've had there has been wonderful- fresh, homemade and insanely tasty (especially the hummus).
Unfortunately, not enough people are going to this place, because it is struggling to stay open.
YOU MUST PUT DOWN WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW AND RUN TO HAVE LUNCH/DINNER AT THIS PLACE!!!! Savannah can not lose this wonderful dining opportunity!
Spread the word!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
That's just what we got when Diane, Suzanne and I went to lunch today at Sushi Zen. Hitomi, one of the waitresses there, used to work at another sushi place in town, which is where I met her 6 or 7 years ago.
I haven't seen her in probably 3 years, but she recognized me after we sat down and ordered. She came over and we hugged and chatted a few minutes.
After we paid our bill, she brought 3 small origami boxes over to the table. Each box held 2 origami cranes. Hitomi explained that they were good luck. It was such good luck to run into her again- I'm sure there's more good luck to come!
Monday, July 7, 2008
Di made turkey burgers, Suz put together some tasty bean dip, and I roasted some veggies to be put on sliced baguettes with goat cheese. Everyone else was instructed to bring an edible and whatever they wanted to drink.
Our turn out was light, because as usual, it clouded up and a storm threatened about 4:30 (the party was to start at 5). But the ones who braved the weather brought great food and we all had a wonderful time! Diane, Suzanne and I were joined by Jim and Kathy Ryan (friends from childhood and college), Mr. and Mrs. Ricks (Suz and Di's parental units) and 2 of Suz's friends from Belk (sorry I don't remember names!).
Here's a pic of Di grilling the turkey burgers- with moral support from her Mom, Jackie....
Suz, Jim and Kathy held down the appetizer table while Di grilled burgers and I prepared toppings...
At some point I'm sure Diane and Suz will post pics from the party as well. I think Suz might even create a flickr page for herself just for the occasion!!
Di and I left her house in search of lunch, and on the way home got caught in a pretty violent afternoon storm. We decided to stop at some friends' house since they were on vacation, we had a key, and it was raining so hard we couldn't see out the windshield.
We had food from a Savannah restaurant called Zunzi's. I forgot to take pics of our food, but it was AMAZING. I ordered the grilled salmon on a baguette, and Di ordered the felafel. We halved the sandwiches so we could taste both. Not only was it a ton of food and very inexpensive- it was also some of the best takeout I've EVER had. The felafel was made on site (none of the dry mix foolishness) and the sauces were perfect. My salmon was moist and went perfectly with the light sauce and chewy french bread.
Anyhoo- back to the weather...
We ate our lunch at our friends' house, thinking it would stop storming soon and the water would drain off the streets.
Well, it did stop storming, but the water had no intention of going anywhere fast. We eventually abandoned the idea of driving home at all, and walked to Di's house (about a mile and a half).
Here are some pics I snapped along the way...
As you can see, it was a bit wet.
After walking/wading home, we discovered we had no power. We played a few rounds of progressive rummy(sp) before our brains were fried (plus it was pretty dark). Suzanne got home from work around 5pm, so we decided to head downtown to eat dinner at Vinnie Van Go-Go's (the best pizza joint on the planet).
While waiting for our table (in the rain), we noticed some teeny little birdies begging for food out in City Market...
A rainbow appeared in the sky and I tried to capture it in a pic, but it doesn't really show up:
First thing out of the gate, I ordered a Spodee- a rot gut red wine mixed with Sprite. I know it sounds awful, but it really matches the surroundings. Here is a pic of us showing some love to the spodee...
I then ordered my slice- mushrooms, fresh tomatoes and ricotta cheese. The slices are HUGE and I ate every crumb of it.
As we were eating, I noticed a sign on the back of the bar taps that sums up the way I feel about Vinnie's....
Here are a couple of pics from our dinner. Conversations really haven't changed much since they were in middle school... :)
William and Jeff:
The only one missing was Alan. I went to dinner with his family the next night. As soon as I find those pics, I'll post them.
It's great to see how the guys are growing up. I can't believe they will be Seniors this coming year. I will most definitely be flying home to witness them walking across the stage!!!
On this particular evening, Mom and I decided to take some aluminum cans to the recycling center behind our church. Since we live right around the corner, we grabbed the dog and the leash and walked over.
The church where I was raised has an interesting history. It is one of the older congregations in the state of Georgia. The church has been meeting on this site since not too long after the colony was founded.
Behind the church is a graveyard, with graves dating back to the early 1800's.
As Mom and I walked through the graveyard to get to the recycling bins, I decided to snap some pics. Sometimes it's hard to believe my sister and I used to run through it to get home from church (because it was dark and we were both scared out of our wits).
Here are some of the pics. Hopefully I'll be able to return there before I leave and take some better ones. Maybe I'll even have time to copy some of the information from them.
Oh- and here's a bonus pic of the dog walking Mom....
Mom and I bought a watermelon while we were out and about. When we brought it home, I went ahead and cubed it and put it in a big plastic container in the ice box so we'd have it around to nibble on.
The more I thought about the huge container of watermelon in the ice box, the more I thought about making something with it. Then it came to me- SORBET!
The recipe was easy (I think I got it from allrecipes.com).
2 c. watermelon puree
3/4 c. simply syrup
2 T. fresh lemon juice
You just mix everything together and chill it for an hour. After that, I dumped it in Dad's ice cream maker and came back 45 minutes later.
Here are some pics:
I realize the pic of the finished product is really lousy. I just couldn't get it to scoop in an attractive way. I can assure you, however, that the taste was wonderful. Next time I will probably eliminate half the sugar called for in the recipe.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
These are the pork kabobs I made for the Country Bob Cook-Off.
I made the sauce from about 3 glugs of Country Bob's sauce, 2 glugs of soy sauce, a dash of pineapple juice and a clove of minced garlic. The pork pieces marinated for about 2 hours in the marinade, then I skewered the pork with red pepper, onion, pineapple and canteloupe.
The pork had a pretty good flavor- a little sweet, but that was the point.
Diane made grilled chicken using Country Bob sauce as a marinade and baste. I thought the chicken turned out well.
Both dishes tasted good- but I think Diane probably was a little truer to the premise of the contest because the Country Bob sauce was the dominant ingredient in her dish, whereas I only used it as a background flavor in mine.
We both agree that the sauce makes a great addition to a recipe, but probably not as a stand alone sauce or baste. This comes mainly from our avoidance of high fructose corn syrup- and the Country Bob sauce contains a pretty hefty amount of it.
We enjoyed preparing our dishes, and I'm sure Suz enjoyed being our unbiased taste-tester. Of course, in true Suz fashion, she didn't really pick one dish over the other.