Hot Langoustine and Artichoke Dip

Langoustine Greek Yogurt Dip-3

A quick dip with langoustine, artichoke hearts, pepper jack cheese and Greek yogurt onion dip.  Easy and delicious!  This is sponsored content.

Langoustine Greek Yogurt Dip-3

I’m addicted.  Seriously!  This dip is so easy to make and the addition of Sabra Greek Yogurt Dip makes it creamy and, well, amazing.  It was a mad dash to get the photos and video work done so we could nosh on this cheesy, bubbly deliciousness.

Langoustine Greek Yogurt Dip

As you probably know, I do a lot of work for Sabra Dipping Co as a brand ambassador.  I’ve used hummus to make Quinoa Falafel (which were BOMB) and hummus as a sandwich spread for a wicked delicious panini and I’ve even used Sabra salsa to make a Bloody Maria, just to name a few. 

Well of all of the things I’ve made with Sabra products, I’d have to say that this dip takes the cake.  My videographer and I devoured the entire dip in….well, I have no idea how fast it went because it was gone in the blink of an eye.  Seriously.  I loved the kick from the pepper jack cheese and the briny artichoke hearts and HELLO baby lobsters?  Yes, I’ll have those any ole day.  

Hot Langoustine and Artichoke Dip | farmgirlgourmet.com #client

This dip would be a fabulous addition to your holiday menu planning.  You could even double or triple this recipe to feed a huge crowd for your next big party.  Or, here’s a great thought, 1/2 the recipe for a personal sized dip.  :)  Ok, I’m kidding, you should totally share this dip.  It’s too good not to.  Your friends and family will thank you!  Let’s stop talking and start whipping up this easy dip, shall we?  Don’t forget to give me a ring when it pops out of the oven.  I’ll swing right over.  :)

What’s your favorite dip to serve for large gatherings?  Tell me in the comments below!

Hot Langoustine and Artichoke Dip

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6-8 Servings

Hot Langoustine and Artichoke Dip

A quick dip with langoustino, artichoke hearts, pepper jack cheese and Greek yogurt onion dip. Easy and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb langoustino, rinsed
  • 1 10oz container Sabra French Onion Greek Yogurt Dip
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 can artichoke heart bottoms, diced
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • sliced baguette, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray an 8 x 8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add the langoustine, Greek yogurt dip, cream cheese, diced artichoke hearts and 1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, stir to combine. Pour into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining shredded pepper jack cheese.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, or until bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately with sliced baguette.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2015/10/hot-langoustine-and-artichoke-dip.html

Disclosure: I am a paid brand ambassador for Sabra Dipping Co.  All opinions are my own.

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Pasta with Tilapia, Olives and Feta with Greek Yogurt Sauce

campanelle-tilapia-2

Campanelle with Tilapia, Olives and Feta | farmgirlgourmet.com #pasta #dinnerinunder30 #whilethepastacooks

Hey guess who?  Long-time-no-bloggy, huh?  If you don’t know, I’m a co-owner of Savorx Spice & Flavor Co. and we’re a startup spice company located in Spokane, WA.  We’ve been going full speed ahead like Vin Diesel in the Fast & Furious taking our concept to market.  We just landed a big local grocery chain, so we’ve been busier than busy.  Which ultimately means – no time for blogging for this girl.

Tonights dinner forced me back to my office to hammer out this post.  I knew you’d love this quick and easy pasta dish as much as we did so here I am.  Back in the chair I sat in for 10 hours today and let me tell you, it feels good to be typing this.  Really good.  This is a pasta dish that’s done while the pasta cooks.  Talk about easy!  Less than 30 minutes and it’s time to eat!  Perfection for a busy week night.

campanelle-tilapia-2

My New Years resolution (or year plan as I like to call it) is to get myself back on a schedule.  After joining with Pete to take on Savorx in April of 2013, there hasn’t been much in the way of a schedule for me.  I just knee-jerk daily to whatever needs to be taken care of.  In the past 9 months, we took a brand that was sitting idle for almost 2 years and we launched a successful 60 day Kickstarter for our Spiceologist Block (thank you to everyone who pledged!), we sold a ton of spice rubs at every local farmers market, craft fair and vintage sale we could get into, we redesigned the packaging and labels of our rub line and we moved into our processing facility….all before October of 2013.

We are just about to launch a brand new website (Monday? Stay tuned) as well as dabbling in some wholesale opportunities locally and beyond.  We successfully managed our first holiday season as a retailer and came out of 3 months of holiday push without becoming alcoholics!  Score!

To say it’s been whirlwind is an understatement.  But, with all of that said, I can tell you that I’ve never been happier as to where my future is headed.  Great things are happening here at Farmgirl Gourmet and amazing things with Savorx Spice & Flavor Co.  I often wonder if someone pinched me, if I’d wake up and this was all a dream.  I sure hope not, because this is one roller coaster I don’t want to get off of.

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I’m really glad I took this time tonight to sit down and write.  This is definitely not a profound, thought provoking post, but it sure feels good to sit down and write from my heart.  Nothing sponsored.  No brands making sure I said everything right.  Just me, the keyboard and your eyeballs.

Thanks for reading Farmgirl Gourmet and for supporting me and especially for being patient as I slip away now and then to wear my Spicy Hat.  I have the best readers and I love you all to bits.

Ok, enough blah blah blah – let’s eat.

Pasta with Tilapia, Olives & Feta with Greek Yogurt Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings

Pasta with Tilapia, Olives & Feta with Greek Yogurt Sauce

A quick dinner in under 30 minutes. This dish is done in the time it takes to boil the pasta. Serve with a crisp salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb shaped pasta, such as campanelle
  • 3 tilapia loins, cut into bit sized pieces
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, quartered
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Boil pasta in salted water, according to directions, until al dente.
  2. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium high heat. Swirl the pan and add the tilapia pieces. Sprinkle with the greek seasoning and allow fish to brown lightly, turning, for about 5 minutes. Remove fish and place in a bowl and set aside. Note: it should be a bit undercooked in the middle as it will continue to cook while it rests.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and olives and stir until the butter begins to bubble, about 1 minute. Turn down to medium-low and add the yogurt and stir to combine. Using a spider or slotted spoon, remove the pasta from the water, draining as much as possible, and add to the yogurt mixture. Toss to coat in sauce. Add the fish pieces and any accumulated juice. Sprinkle with feta and parsley and serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2014/01/pasta-tilapia-olives-feta.html

Campanelle with Tilapia, Olives and Feta | farmgirlgourmet.com #pasta #dinnerinunder30 #whilethepastacooks

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Cod Pockets & Cookbook Review

Cod Pockets | farmgirlgourmet.com

Cod Pockets | farmgirlgourmet.com

Did you know that I have over 300 cookbooks?  My sweet husband remodeled a room in our house a couple of years ago and turned it into my office.  There was this weird little closet and a window that looked out into the attic – room with a view?  Not from that window.  Anyway, he ripped all of that out and made me a wonderful bookcase to house my hoarding problem collection of cookbooks.

I was asked by Cooks & Books & Recipes if I’d like to review the latest cookbook from the Pike Place Fish Market guys and seeing as I need to fill up this bookcase, I said yes.  301 cookbooks.  Check.  I was able to choose any recipe my heart desired and after looking through the book several times, I finally landed on this super easy recipe for “Cod Pockets”.  The recipe is loose in that you can tailor it however you see fit with regards to the veggies involved.  That’s right up my alley as I always shy away from the usual suspects – zucchini and squash.  I loaded it up with sweet peppers and fresh basil and a nice big chunk of cod and in a snap we were eating this low cal, super delicious, wished I had a hunk of bread to mop up the juice fish dish.

Continue reading about the Pike Place Market Fish cookbook and get this recipe for Cod Pockets at:  Cooks & Books & Recipes blog.  Check out all of the other blogger book reviews and scrumptious recipes while you’re there.

Disclaimer – I was provided a book for review free of charge.  All opinions are my own.

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Sweet & Spicy Tilapia + {Giveaway}

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia | farmgirlgourmet.com

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia | farmgirlgourmet.com

A year or so ago my Dad decided he needed a camera upgrade.  He is really big into nature photography and is often out driving around looking for a moose or eagle to snap.  He showed up at my house one day with his “old” camera (by old I mean maybe a year old) and a couple lens’ and handed me his Nikon D5000 and said “it’s all yours”.  Since that day, my photography skills have changed immensely.  Don’t get me wrong, snapping pics with a point and shoot camera is not a bad thing and you can actually get fantastic pictures with one.  The advantage of having a DSLR is that you can shoot completely manual.  Which, if you know what you’re doing, can produce spectacular images.

With all of that said, me and 11 other fabulous bloggers decided that we’d like to give one lucky reader a Canon T3i DSLR camera.  Yep, you heard me right.  It’s a beaut!  Check it out…..

Canon T3i DSLR Giveaway | farmgirlgourmet.com

Look at that gorgeous camera!!!  What do you think?   Don’t forget to check out the 11 other blogs participating in this giveaway!  Here’s the list of their blogs:

Enter using this widget:

Canon EOS
Rebel T3i Camera

 

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia | farmgirlgourmet.com

Now that you’ve entered to win that beautiful camera, how about a quick weeknight recipe?  It’s super tasty, super fresh and super quick.  That’s super!  Best of luck in the giveaway.

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 Servings

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia

A quick and zesty tilapia dish perfect for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients

  • 4 6oz Tilapia Loins
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon local honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange tilapia loins in a single layer and set aside. Combine orange juice, lime juice, honey, olive oil, garlic, soy sauce, salt, cumin, pepper and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Pour over tilapia and let rest 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat broiler.
  3. Pour the marinade into a small bowl and set aside. Place baking dish with tilapia under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until fish flakes and is done to your liking. Remove and drizzle the marinade over the fish and serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2013/03/sweet-spicy-tilapia.html

Sweet & Spicy Tilapia | farmgirlgourmet.com

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Clam Cakes with Lemony Greens & a Poached Egg

Clam Cakes with Greens & a Poached Egg

This is the second recipe I have developed for the Charleston Wine + Food Festival Lambs & Clams Contest.  You may remember my first recipe: Lamb Roulade with Mushroom Duxelles and Tawny Port Jus (so yum!!).  A few weeks after we ate the best lamb I’ve ever had in my life, I received a giant box from Rappahannock  River Oysters.  By giant, I mean GIANT.  Inside were big beautiful clams and oysters.  My kids were begging for Clam Chowder, but I knew I had to bring my A Game.  The last challenge was a tough one. Everyone made something incredible with their leg of lamb and I figured clam chowder wasn’t kicked up enough to win this challenge.  By the way, a big congrats to Gwen over at Bunky Cooks for winning the 1st challenge (I came in 3rd).  I am planning to give her a run for her money this go.  :)

Ok, back to these clam cakes.  Crab cakes are a pretty common menu item, but I have yet to see a clam & oyster cake in my seafood eating travels.  Aside from opening the clams (I figured out the trick eventually) this recipe is super fast to make and was a great lunch for the husband and I.  Let’s go make some, shall we?

Shucking the clams and oysters was interesting at first, but I quickly figured out the trick.  Make sure you were protective gloves or your hands can get rather beat up from the sharp oyster shells.  You will need approximately a dozen of each for this recipe.

Panko breadcrumbs tighten up the clam and oyster mixture and make for a light finished cake.  I used 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutters (available at most kitchen stores) as molds in the skillet.  This helps keep the cake together while it’s cooking.  Remove it with tongs right before you flip the cakes.  Assemble the greens and poach the eggs while the cakes are cooking and you will have a quick lunch or dinner.

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite recipes on the Charleston Wine + Food Festivals Facebook page!  This is a fun contest and the winner will be given an all access pass to the Charleston Wine + Food Festival in March 2013.

Recipes created by the other bloggers participating in Lambs & Clams:

Vivek’s Epicurean Adventure – Linguine with Clams Steamed in Ginger, Jalapeno & Vermouth

Taste Food Blog – Smoky Clam, Chorizo, and Butternut Squash Stew with Saffron Aioli and Oyster Croutons

A Cook Blog – Che Casino

Mango Tomato – Lambs and Clams Contest #2

Eat Drink RI – Baked Oysters

Bunkycooks – Southern Rockafella’s

One Vanilla Bean – Chorizo + Manchego Stuffed Clams

 

Clam Cakes with Lemony Greens & a Poached Egg

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 clam cakes

Serving Size: 4 Servings

Clam Cakes with Lemony Greens & a Poached Egg

An easy clam and oyster cake recipe with lemony greens and a perfectly poached egg on top.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces shucked clams & oysters, without liquid
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Lemony Greens:
  • 4 cups mixed lettuce greens
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved with vegetable peeler
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Poached Egg:
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, add the the clams & oysters, shallot, egg white, heavy cream, dijon, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined, but not pureed. Remove to a medium bowl and stir in the Panko bread crumbs. Allow to rest for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 4 - 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter rings to the pan and fill each with the clam mixture. Allow to cook for 4 minutes and carefully remove the rings with tongs and flip the cakes over. Continue to cook until the center is firm and no longer gelatinous, about 4-6 minutes longer. Remove to serving plates and assemble with the lemony greens and poached eggs, recipes follow.
  3. For the Greens:
  4. In a medium bowl add the lettuce greens, lemon juice, olive oil, Manchego, salt and pepper. Toss lightly with your hands to coat. Set aside.
  5. For the Poached Eggs:
  6. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add the vinegar. Using a slotted spoon, stir the water to make a whirlpool. Carefully break the eggs into the swirling water. The water should be slightly bubbling, not rapidly boiling. Allow the eggs to cook for 3 minutes (or longer to your taste). Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate while you assemble to clam cakes.
  7. Assemble:
  8. Top each of the 4 clam cakes with 1 cup of the lettuce mixture. Top each with a poached egg and sprinkle with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/11/clam-cakes-with-lemony-greens-a-poached-egg.html

Other seafood recipes you may love:

Disclaimer: I was provided clams and oysters free of charge from Rappahannock River Oysters for the purpose of recipe development.  All opinions stated are my own and this post has not been sponsored or paid.

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Mexican Shrimp, Tomato & Chili Wraps

Mexican Shrimp Tomato and Chili Wraps
Mexican Shrimp Tomato and Chili Wraps | farmgirlgourmet.com


I have a confession.  I totally messed up on this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  I wrote down that my post wasn’t due until Friday the 29th, when in fact, it was due today!  As it turns out I was given a new blog last minute.  Like today.  It’s a blog that I love, and follow from the UK called Lavender & Lovage.  I’ve had the pleasure of making one of Karen’s recipes before in a previous SRC post for Curried Carrot and Apple Soup.  Karen has a ton of great recipes on her blog, so don’t miss it!  

For this impromptu post, I was so happy to find a quick Mexican Chicken recipe that I knew my husband and kids would love.  I substituted shrimp in this recipe to accommodate the protein I had on hand.  The verdict: we all loved it!  This may be my new go-to recipe for a quick Mexican inspired dinner.

Be sure to check out the other SRC posts below.

Mexican Shrimp, Tomato & Chili Wraps

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

Mexican Shrimp, Tomato & Chili Wraps

A super quick recipe for a satisfying Mexican-inspired dinner of Mexican Shrimp, Tomato and Chili Wraps.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or vegetable)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1 large tomato, large diced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves only
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder)
  • 24 medium shrimp, shelled & deveined
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado, halved and sliced
  • arugula leaves or baby lettuce mix, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat a large frying pan and spray with cooking spray.  Add the corn tortillas one at a time and fry on each side until just starting to color.  Remove to a tortilla warmer, or aluminum foil.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  Keep warm in a low oven.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onions and saute until they begin to color.  Add the tomato, garlic, oregano, cumin, chili powder and cook until the tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes.  Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the shrimp turn pink.  Remove and serve immediately with avocado and arugula.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/06/mexican-shrimp-tomato-chili-wraps.html

Check out these other great weeknight recipes:

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Kitchen Play: Salmon with Herbed Butter and Burst Tomato Sauce

Salmon with Herbed Butter and Burst Tomato Sauce

Today’s post is for Kitchen PLAY’s Progressive Party Series in conjunction with CUTCO Cutlery and is all about Salmon.  

It’s salmon season here in the Pacific Northwest and people are clambering for a nice big hunk of Copper River salmon.  If you’ve never had it, I suggest you source some, and quick.  The Copper River is located in Alaska, and the wild salmon that are caught on this river are like no other, but the season is super short – only about 3 to 4 weeks long.  The color of the meat is so deeply orange-red hued that it’s almost a work of art.  The flavor is sweet and buttery and needs little more than some salt and pepper to taste out of this world.  

If you buy a lot of fresh whole or sides of fish with the skin on, then you really, and I do mean REALLY, need this Salmon Knife from CUTCO.  Not only is this knife a thing of beauty with the classic brown handle, but it is so razor sharp and flexible that you hardly need to apply any pressure to zip the skin right off the meat.  

This knife would also work great for slicing lox uber thin.  Yes, it’s really that sharp.  Here’s what CUTCO says about their knives:

We’re Really Sharp
Our three step heat treating process ensures our innovative Double-D® and straight-edge blades are durable, flexible and hold a razor-sharp edge.

Here’s the part that I love the most about the CUTCO company:

  • The Forever Guarantee: Forever performance, forever sharpness, and 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.



When Kitchen PLAY sent out the word that I was going to partner with CUTCO for this Progressive Party Series, knew I had to participate.  When I was selling real estate I gave my clients either the Spatula Spreader or the Entertainer Pack from CUTCO as a thank you for doing business with me.  Almost every client sent a thank you back to me later about their CUTCO product.  They are really well made, and I am elated to be working with them and helping promote the Salmon Knife.

This event is a progressive dinner party…so don’t forget to check out all of the other recipes and CUTCO tools by visiting www.kitchen-play.com.  
To celebrate summertime dining, CUTCO Cutlery is also sponsoring a delicious giveaway at Kitchen PLAY. Simply recreate one or more recipes from this month’s Progressive Party, post about the experience on your blog and provide a link to your post on Kitchen PLAY to enter.  All qualifying bloggers in each course will be entered to win a CUTCO Salad Mates gift set, which includes a Paring Knife and Trimmer (six prizes total, valued at $113 each). Prizes will be shipped directly to each winner. Please review the complete contest rules before entering.



Salmon with Herbed Butter & Burst Tomato Sauce

This recipe can be used with any type of salmon available and would be equally delicious with halibut or swordfish.
[print]

Ingredients
Herbed Butter
3 sprigs fresh oregano
3 sprigs fresh basil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Burst Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1/2 cup minced shallot
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups grape tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup Italian parsley, coarsely chopped

Salmon
1 whole salmon, about 3 lbs, skinned and cut width-wise into 3 inch pieces
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
salt & pepper, to taste
cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Herbed Butter: in the bowl of a food processor add all of the herbed butter ingredients and process until smooth.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Preheat the broiler and spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  3. Burst Tomato Sauce: In a medium skillet set over medium-high heat, add the grapeseed oil and warm.  Add the shallot and garlic and saute until fragrant and starting to become translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and saute until they begin to burst, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, balsamic vinegar, sugar and parsley and turn down to low.  Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Place the salmon fillets on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with grapeseed oil, salt and pepper.  Broil for 6-7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top each piece with a dollop of the herbed butter and then some of the burst tomato sauce and serve.
Makes 10-12 servings (or 5 if you really love salmon)

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by CUTCO as part of the Kitchen PLAY Progressive Party Series.  CUTCO provided me with a free salmon knife for use with this sponsored post and is compensating me for my time.  All opinions expressed are my own and a positive review was not encouraged nor required.
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Alice’s Famous French Dressing

Alices French Dressing
 

A few weeks ago I heard the doorbell ring so I headed to see who it was.  I was surprised by my mailman standing at the door with a box.  The ground was blanketed by a foot or so of snow and he was bundled up to keep out the cold.  He stood there on my stoop with a giant smile on his face and said “Why are you getting avocados in the mail?”  He then proceeded to bribe me, jokingly, with not handing them over unless I gave him one.  We both share a love of gardening and he often takes a handful or so of tomatoes from my summer garden on his way to the next house.  So I wasn’t shocked by his facetious bribery.  We chatted for a while about the weather, gardening, his family and my blog.  I swear it wasn’t my diversion tactic to not share the green globes of goodness in that box, but he sauntered off forgetting all about his opening statement. 

As the door closed, I bolted to the nearest sharp object to open the box.  Inside was a layer of rafia and as I peeled it back, uncovered this….

 20 beautiful avocados in varying varieties.  They came to me via Virtual Potluck from SoCal Avocados a 25 acre ranch located in Southern California.  Each one of these avocados were hand picked just for me.  Not mass picked and stored, hand picked from the tree and packaged for me and me alone.  That’s service!  Its hard to decifer what was in this box from the photo but here’s the low down:
  • Bacon – now how can you go wrong with an avocado named bacon?  Right?  Delish! and they don’t really taste like bacon.
  • Fuerte – This one was so creamy.  It was my fave for sure.
  • Pinkerton – An interesting shape with a small seed.  Delish as well
  • Haas – We all know this one.  It’s the usual suspect at the market, but SoCal’s tasted far superior to any I’ve ever purchased at the store.
So now that I have this box of 20 avocados, what do you do with them (besides eat them like candy).  Well first I had to wait for a bit for them to ripen.  The great thing about that was they all took varying times to ripen.  So I wasn’t standing over 20 ripe avocados wondering what to do with them all at once.
 
We enjoyed them in a California Omelet one morning with local bacon and farm fresh eggs.  We had delicious guacamole for our Super Bowl party.  We ate them on tacos and sandwiches and sometimes just ate them to eat them.  They really are that good.  Last, but never least, we enjoyed them on a Grilled Shrimp Salad with my grandmothers famous French Dressing that’s made in a mason jar.
 
 
 NOTE: Check out Miss in the Kitchen for the full Virtual Potluck avocado roundup!
 
 
Alice’s Famous French Dressing

Yield: Makes 2 Entree Servings

Alice’s Famous French Dressing

This French Dressing was a staple in my grandmothers house.  She passed this recipe down to me and is now a family friendly in our home too.

Ingredients

    French Dressing:
  • 1 10 oz can tomato soup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups salad oil (such as canola)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion or shallot
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or prepared mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Shrimp:
  • 12 large shrimp, deveined and shelled
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Salad:
  • 4 large handfulls of mixed greens
  • 1 red pepper, julienned
  • 6 large mushrooms, washed and sliced 
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 4 hard cooked eggs, peeled and quartered

Instructions

  1. In a quart sized mason jar, add all French dressing ingredients.  Shake vigorously to combine.  Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator up to a month.  
  2. In a small bowl, add the shrimp, salt and pepper, garlic, olive oil and lime juice.  Toss to coat.  Allow to marinate for 20-25 minutes.  Meanwhile heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.  Spray with cooking spray and add the shrimp.  Sear for 1 minute and flip.  Grill for 1-2 minutes longer.  Remove to a plate and allow to cool slightly.
  3. To assemble the salad:
  4. Add the greens, red pepper, mushrooms and green onions to a large bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of French dressing and toss lightly to coat.  Plate the greens on 2 large plates.  Divide the shrimp, avocado and hard cooked eggs onto each plate.  Serve with extra dressing, if desired.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2012/02/alices-famous-french-dressing.html
 
Other great salad recipes:
 
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Thai Tilapia with Brussels Sprouts & Spicy Cashews

Who says eating healthy has to taste bad?  You really can make a great meal and still not feel like you need an extra 3 hours on the treadmill.  Take this super easy to make dinner.  You can sub brown rice if that’s your fancy, I didn’t have 45 minutes to wait for it, so white worked for me.

I guess you could say this dinner was born out of a “fridge cleaning” experiment.  About 3 weeks ago I bought a Costco sized bag of Brussels Sprouts.  I never got to them in the time before they turned into….well, you know.  A few days before Thanksgiving I fell victim to the same giant bag of Brussels Sprouts.  I can’t help myself, I really love them and always have great designs on using them.  Well, this time I managed to do just that.  AND….the kids liked them both times.  SCORE!  Anyway, they were calling my name last night.  This is what it sounded like….

“Heather please use us before we turn to mushy spheres of goo.  We don’t want you to feel bad when you throw us in the trash – again!!”

It went something like that.

I decided to give them some Thai flare with yellow and red curry and some light coconut milk as well.  I would have never guessed that Brussels Sprouts and Curry would ever taste good together, but I was wrong.  Dead wrong.

If you’re not a Brussels Sprouts fan, you could always add some broccoli instead.  But I say – give the Brussels a chance.  If you don’t boil them or cook them for 30 minutes, they are quite tasty and still have a crunch to them.  These aren’t your Mother’s Brussels Sprouts!  Ok, they aren’t my Mothers.  I hope you give this recipe a try!  Let me know if you do.

Thai Tilapia with Brussels Sprouts & Spicy Cashews

Yield: Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Tilapia loins
  • cooking spray
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil, or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 cup roasted red pepper, diced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 14 oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, torn
  • cooked white or brown rice

Instructions

  1. Heat broiler. Spray a small baking sheet with cooking spray. Add the tilapia loins and season with salt and pepper. Toss the cashews and cayenne in a small bowl and add to a piece of foil. Broil the fish for about 3 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes with a fork, and broil the cashews for about 1-2 minutes. They will burn fast, so keep an eye on them.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the brussels sprouts, red pepper and green onions and saute for 5 minutes, or until the brussels sprouts are started to get a little color. Add the yellow curry, red curry paste, cumin, soy sauce, brown sugar, salt and coconut milk. Heat through, but do not boil.
  3. Plate some rice and top with the brussels sprouts mixture, then add a tilapia loin and sprinkle with cashews and cilantro and serve.
http://www.farmgirlgourmet.com/2011/12/thai-tilapia-with-brussels-sprouts.html

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Cajun Shrimp Stew – Emeril’s Sizzling Skillet Style

Ok, does this not look good?

It was warm and hearty and a really great stick to your ribs recipe for Cajun Shrimp Stew.  This recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse’s new cookbook Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders.  Being a part of Emeril’s 3 week-long blogger party, I have been given 3 recipes to share with you and today is your lucky day, as this is one of them!  This recipe is one you will need to plan ahead for.  It’s not a quick toss it together, but it is SO WORTH IT.  Delish!  Should we get to the pictorial????  Oh alright, let’s do it.

Like any good farmgirl, I started this recipe by heading to the garden and digging up some veggies.

We’re starting with Rich Shrimp Stock.  So add some olive oil to a large stock pot.

Add a pound of shrimp shells (and heads if you have them) and saute for 4 to 6 minutes.  Insert a fun song here [fish heads, fish heads, rolly polly, fish heads, fish heads, fish heads, eat them up YUM]

Ok, my son didn’t think that song was fun either.  He just gave me the “you’re weird” stare.

Add 2 rough chopped carrots, 1 large onion rough chopped, 1 stalk of celery (you guessed it) rough chopped and 2 garlic cloves, smashed.

Add 12 cups of water to the pot.

2 bay leaves, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp of peppercorns, 3 sprigs of Thyme and 2 large sprigs of Italian parsley.  Give it a stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45-60 minutes.  Strain the stock into a bowl and wipe out the pot.

Let’s make some roux!

Heat up 1 cup of vegetable oil in the stock pot over medium-high heat.  Whisk in 1 1/2 cups of flour and whisk constantly until the roux begins to brown.

You’re going for peanut butter color here and it should take about 10 minutes.  If it’s browning to fast, turn down the heat.

Add 2 1/2 cups of chopped onion and 12 cloves of minced garlic and cook until the onions get soft (about 4 minutes).

I’d like to interject a comment here: If a recipe calls for more than 3 cloves of garlic – I LOVE IT.  That is all.

Start adding the Shrimp stock slowly and whisk to combine until smooth.

Let’s kick this puppy up now.  Add 2 bay leaves, 1 1/4 tsp black pepper, 3/4 cayenne, 3 tsp fresh thyme and 4 tsp kosher salt.  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add 3 diced russet potatoes and simmer for another 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is thick.  Add 2 lbs of Shrimp (that have been tossed with 1/2 tsp salt), 1/4 cup of chopped green onions and 2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley.  As soon as the shrimp are pink, it’s time to serve up some happy.

Serve the Cajun Shrimp Stew over steamed white rice in a large bowl.

Gorgeous.  Tasty.  Make it today.  Invite friends.  It makes a lot.  I hope someone’s reading this.

Cajun Shrimp Stew
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Ingredients

1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups finely chopped onion
¼ cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
10 cups Rich Shrimp Stock (page 173)
2 bay leaves
1 ¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
3 large baking potatoes (2 ½ to 3 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 pounds small or medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped green onion, green part only
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Steamed long-grain white rice, for serving
Instructions
1 Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the flour. Whisk to combine and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until a medium roux is formed (it should look a bit darker than peanut butter), about 10 minutes.  (If the roux begins to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and take your time – it is important that the roux not be burned at all of the stew will have a bitter taste.)  As soon as the roux is the right color, add the chopped onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Stir in the stock, little by little, and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Add the bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, and 4 teaspoons of the salt and reduce the heat so that the sauce just simmers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the floury taste is gone, 30 to 45 minutes.
2 Add the potatoes and continue to cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, 30 to 40 minutes longer. (Add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin the gravy should the stew get too thick during the cook time. The sauce is meant to be thick and rich but not pasty.)
3 Toss the shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the shrimp, green onion, and parsley into the stew and continue to cook until the shrimp are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the bay leaves. Serve the stew in shallow bowls over hot white rice.

6 to 8 servings

Rich Shrimp Stock

Ingredients
1 to 1 1/2 pounds shrimp shells and heads
1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
14 cups water
1 large onion, unpeeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped celery
2 small carrots, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 large sprigs fresh parsley

Instructions
1 Rinse the shrimp shells and heads in a large colander under cold running water and allow to drain.
2 In a large stockpot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shells are pink and toasty-fragrant, 4 to 6 minutes.  Add the water and all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming an foam that comes to the surface.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook at a slow simmer until the stock is flavorful, 45-60 minutes.
3 Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heat-proof bowl and allow to cool completely (if not using immediately)

Makes about 12 cups




Full disclosure: For my commitment to this blogger cooking party, I received a copy of this cookbook, as well as a set of Emeril – by Zak! Table Art 7-piece Flame-Shaped Serving Bowls, and Emeril Seasoning; a $50 grocery reimbursement and Emeril cookbooks upon completion of the party. The top performing blogger, as selected by T-Fal, will be awarded an Emeril by T-Fal Slow Cooker. YOU will be eligible to win a copy of the cookbook, as well as the 7-piece zak! set. 

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Emeril’s Tempura “Fish & Chips”

Today marks Day 1 of 3 weeks of Emeril.  It’s going to be All Emeril, All the Time at Farmgirl Gourmet World Headquarters over the next 21 days.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to have been chosen to participate in this Blogger Party with 19 other bloggers from all over the country!

The book came in the mail on Friday and let me just say, if you don’t have an Emeril Lagasse cookbook, then make this your first.  Sizzling Skillets and Other One-Pot Wonders is a fantastic book.  The recipes are each drool-worthy in their own way.  The thing I love about it is that its not Italian or Asian.  It’s a completely eclectic collection of recipes.  Whatever your craving, it’s in the book. Like our dinner tonight of Tempura “Fish & Chips” pictured above.  The recipe includes a Ponzu Radish dipping sauce that was tasty.  I also made up a quick Sriracha Mayo because I know the kids are not too savvy on radishes.  The verdict was 5 thumbs up!  My Dad, being one of the thumbs, really enjoyed it.

I will be giving away Emeril’s book in the next 3 weeks but if you can’t wait, you can pre-order the book by clicking here.

Photo Credit – www.zak.com

Stay tuned on Tuesday for my 1st giveaway of the Emeril by Zak! flame bowls.  Let me just say, they are awesome!   I’m a huge Zak fan, not only do they have great kitchen products, but they are located a mere 15 miles away from me.  Supporting local makes me feel like I’m doing my part in being a locavore.

I wish that I was able to give you the recipe for the Fish and Chips, but I promise you that I will be sharing one with you on Tuesday…and you won’t be diasppointed!  :)  So stay tuned.

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Pan Seared Scallops with Toasted Israeli Couscous & Roasted Vegetables

Last night was one of those toss it together kinda dinners.  I really had no plan.  The entire day was filled with this or that and unfortunately my to-do list never got ta-done.  Anyway, I opened the fridge and found a package of scallops which sounded good.  Then on to the pantry where this bright purple box of Israeli couscous was starring at me.  I had the protein and the carbs now I needed some fresh veggies, so out to the garden I went for carrots, onions, tomatoes, baby beets and fresh herbs.  The end result, well, it was pretty darned good.  The kids each had 2 helpings and the Hubs licked the spoon.  I think that’s a good sign it was a winner.

Note: One thing I didn’t do that I would do next time is to roast the tomatoes whole with the carrots and onions.  The pop of fresh tomato is usually great but didn’t pair as well with the earthy roasted veggies.  So don’t chop them, just toss them in the roasting pan.

Get a pot with 4 cups of water boiling and add a tablespoon of chicken base, or alternatively you could just use 4 cups of chicken stock/broth.  I like chicken base, but that’s just me.

Preheat the oven to 450.  In a roasting pan or pyrex dish add 3 medium carrots that have been chopped coarsely, 1 medium onion chopped coarsely, 6 small red peppers or 1 large red pepper chopped, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Mix it all together and put in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes. (toss in the tomatoes & baby beets here as well if you’d like)

Note: I roasted my beets separate because I’m the only one in the house who likes them.  If your family won’t squeal in horror (like mine) then add them to the carrots.

To get the veggies to have a little charred color, I popped them under the broiler for about 2 minutes.

In a skillet lightly coated with cooking spray, add 1 1/2 cups of Israeli couscous and toast over medium high heat until it begins to turn a golden brown.

Note: Israeli couscous is larger in size than regular couscous.  It can be found in the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store or at specialty stores like World Market or Trader Joes.  The flavor is nutty and the texture is creamier than traditional couscous.

Like this.  The smell will be heavenly too.  Add this to the boiling chicken stock plus 1 tablespoon of butter and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook according to package directions.

Baby scallops I heart you!  Really I heart you when you are giant Diver Scallops.  Anyway, make sure the scallops are dry before adding to the hot frying pan coated with cooking spray.  Otherwise you won’t get a good sear.  You want to cook your scallops like a hooker – Hot and Fast!  Low and slow is for sauce.  :)  So make sure the pan is good and hot.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sear those babies up!

In a large bowl add the cooked couscous, roasted veggies, 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper if needed.  Top with the seared scallops and a sprinkling of parsley and serve.

Pan Seared Scallops with Toasted Israeli Couscous & Roasted Vegetables
[print]


Ingredients
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
4 baby beets, scrubbed and peeled
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb scallops, rinsed and dried on paper towel
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

Instructions
1 Preheat oven to 450.  In a baking dish add the carrots, onion, red pepper, beets, thyme, olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Toss together and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
2 Bring 4 cups of chicken stock to a boil.  In a skillet coated with cooking spray add the couscous and toast over medium-high heat until golden brown.  Add to the chicken stock and add butter.  Cook according to package directions (about 12 minutes).
3 In the same skillet that’s been recoated with cooking spray, add the scallops and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Sear on each side until cooked through, about 4 minutes (or longer depending on size).
4 In a large bowl add the couscous, parmesan cheese, roasted vegetables and toss to combine.  Pour onto a serving platter and top with seared scallops and parsley and serve.

Makes 6 Servings

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