Shrimp & Sausage Etouffee

I modified this Paula Deen recipe to include some smoked sausage.  I’ll warn you it is a little spicy so go less on the cayenne pepper and hot sauce if you like things really mild.  The clam juice adds a real good flavor to the sauce in this etouffe and the heat was just enough for me to feel it and not be overpowered.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more if desired
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 to 3 dashes hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1 (8-ounce) can clam juice
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • Salt (Cajun seasoning has salt already)
  • 2 pounds small or medium shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb beef smoked sausage, sliced and browned in a little oil or butter
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Rice, optional
  • Diced green onions, for garnish

 Make the roux, mix oil and flour in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk flour into the oil to form a paste. Continue cooking over low heat and whisk continuously, until the mixture turns a caramel color and gives off a nutty aroma, about 15 to 20 minutes. To the roux, add the onion, green bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook over low heat about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are limp. Add the black pepper, white pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, green onions, parsley, and hot sauce to taste.  Add 1 bottle of clam juice and the tomatoes with their juice, stir to blend. Add the salt, starting with 1 teaspoon, then add more if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the sausage and shrimp and stir. It will take about 3 minutes for shrimp to cook, don’t overcook. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir; the heat from the dish will melt the butter. Transfer the etouffee to a tureen, serving bowl, or if you prefer, over rice. Garnish with the green onions

Monster Burgers

 

Treat your kids to something spooky for dinner…….a monster burger!  I saw this in a magazine and just had to try it.  My kids had a great time gobbling up their monster burgers.  It was fun to watch them create their own monster masterpiece. 

Ingredients:

Hamburger buns (we usedEner-G  gluten-free tapioca dinner rolls)

fully cooked hambuger patty (I made patties using ground sirloin and seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder)

cheese slices (cut into jagged teeth)

tomato slices

deli ham slices

ketchup

To assemble top hamburger patty with your favorite condiments, ham slice folded like a tongue, cheese slices and then tomato.  Top with bun and then add your pickle eyes.  Feel free to get creative  with this.  Maybe an olive nose toothpicked on the bun  or some shredded lettuce on top for hair.  Go for it!

Hammock Trading Co Restaurant (Sandy Springs, GA)

Recently our company took us to a new local restaurant located on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  There were hammocks hanging from the ceilings and Jimmy Buffet music was playing in the background.  There’s a great bar with large HD TVs if you want to hang out and watch your favorite game.

There were lots of delicious seafood goodies on the menu along with their famous watermelon mojito.  I was blown away by their good food.  We later learned the chef of Hammock has worked at the Bellagio in Vegas and at Bones in Atlanta.  The dedication to his craft really shows in his food.

On Tuesdays they have $2 street tacos so I called them up to inquire a bit more about them.  They are served on charred corn tortillas and you today could have them stuffed with either brisket or shrimp.  The shrimp also features radish, onion and cilantro.  The brisket has a kick of jalepeno coupled with tomat, onion and cilantro.  I decided to order three tacos and give them a try.   I was pleasantly surprised to find that the chef had decided to treat me to four tacos at no extra charge.  The fresh shrimp was juicy and you could taste some chili sauce.  The brisket has a great kick to it and is really flavorful.

On my first visit I had the oysters rockefeller and some homemade bbq chips with a blue cheese sauce, scallions and bacon.  Did I mention the watermelon mojito? 

This place rocks!  Please overlook the fact that they are situated next to Happy Hocker Pawn and get over to the Hammock to treat yourself to some seriously good eats.  Your taste buds will thank me!

Hammocks Trading Company on Urbanspoon

Homemade Ricotta

 

Who wants to make their own cheese?  When people talk about making their own ricotta cheese from scratch I figured it would be some long complicated process.  Boy, was I wrong!  This is a really easy step by step recipe that results in some fresh creamy ricotta that you will really enjoy.  This just takes some time and patience and then you will be able to say you made your very own cheese!

Ingredients:

4 c whole milk

1/2 c heavy cream

1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt

1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice

Combine the milk, cream and salt in a very large pot or saucepan.  Line a colander with cheesecloth and set inside a large bowl.  Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat stirring occassionally with a spatula.  Don’t let the mixture scald.  Once the milk has reached a steady simmer add your lemon juice and stir gently.  Stir quickly just to blend.  Let the mixture sit for a minute or two (turn down the heat slightly so it continues to simmer but doesn’t reach a boil).  Stir with spatula for another minute.  Once it looks like the mixture has seperated into curds and whey (cheese curds and liquid) it is ready.  Drain the mixture in the colander lined with cheesecloth and let it drain at room temperature for one hour.  Transfer your ricotta cheese to an airtight container and then refrigerate.

Mama Mia Meatball Lasagna

 

I decided to do a lasagna using veggies instead of noodles and then topping it with some savory meatballs.  The result was a yummy italian casserole and my kids didn’t even know there were veggies inside.  I also made some homemade ricotta to go inside which was fabulous!  I will share that recipe with you later.

Ingredients:

1 eggplant peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1 large zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch slices

salt and pepper

olive oil

2 c riccotta

1 c italian cheese, shredded

1lb mozzarella ball, shredded

1/4 c chopped italian parsley

1 jar of your favorite GF pasta sauce

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 egg beaten

1/2 tsp granulated sugar

3 medium baking potatoes peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch slices

1/4 c chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

granulated garlic

1/4 grated parmesan cheese

2 sliced of GF bread (process into breadcrumbs using food processor)

Lay eggplant and zucchini slices on a kitchen towel and sprinkle with salt.  Let drain for 30 minutes.  Pat veggies dry and brush with olive oil and roast in 400F oven for 6-10 minutes until slightly golden.  Combine beef, pork, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs in a large bowl.  Form into meatballs and then brown in a large stockpot with some 2 T olive oil.  Once all sides are browned remove meatballs to plate to drain on papertowel.  Combine pasta sauce, diced tomatoes, sugar and salt and pepper in saucepan.  Using hand blender puree until smooth and heat just until warm.  Combine ricotta with 1c of cheese, the mozzarella, parsley, egg, salt and pepper.  Mix to combine.  Lower oven to 400F and spread 1c of sauce in bottom of 9X12 baking dish.  Layer in eggplant and zucchini and then cover with some of ricotta mixture.  Layer with potatoes and then top with salt, pepper and half of the chopped herbs.  Repeat layers and then top with meatballs and some additional sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.