Scrambled Eggs and Chorizo

Yesterday, we celebrated Mardi Gras Pensacola style. It was one of those perfect days that are rare and wonderful- the weather was perfect, sunny and low 70’s, the kids had a great time, we were hanging out with friends drinking bloody Mary’s with all the fixin’s and beers from the stands on the sidewalks. After the 4 hour long grand parade, we left happy, a little bit buzzed, and loaded down with beads, moon pies, stuffed animals and cups.

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That handsome guy on the far right is my husband, by the way. Am I lucky or what? Anyway, so after all that Mardi Gras fun and debauchery yesterday, I knew as soon as I opened my eyes this morning that I wanted something delicious and hearty for breakfast.

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A picture of said debauchery…

There are few things I love more than salsa/ or Louisiana hot sauce on scrambled eggs. My children, maybe, but not much else. This breakfast goes great with both. The potatoes get nice and crispy, and the chorizo is nice with the eggs and cheese. I kept this pretty mild, but I would have cranked up the spice a little if my kids weren’t eating it too. I removed the chorizo from the casings and browned it in my cast iron pan, then set it aside leaving the small amount of grease in the pan to brown my potatoes and shallots in. For my potatoes, I had a half bag of baby Yukon gold potatoes that I’d been needing to use. Because baby potatoes are difficult to peel, I boiled them for about 12 minutes and then put them in an ice water bath. This makes the peel just slide right off. Then I diced them up. But you can use whatever kind of potatoes you want, just allow for extra time to cook them.

 

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There’s tons of things you could add to these. Next time I think I’ll had some diced peppers too. Fresh tomatoes would be nice as well. A little jalapeno to kick up the heat a bit. Whatever floats your boat. These were delicious. Just what the doctor ordered after a day of indulging.

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Scrambled Eggs and Chorizo

1 lb chorizo sausage

approximately half of 1.5 lb bag of baby Yukon gold potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced

1 shallot, sliced thin

8 eggs, beaten

4 oz manchego cheese, grated

tsp chives

1 clove of garlic, minced

a pinch of cumin

salt and pepper to taste

cayenne pepper, to your own liking

Directions:

Heat non stick pan on med high heat. (I prefer cast iron, but whatever you have.) Brown chorizo in pan, remove and set aside. Leave grease in pan. Add a little more oil, if necessary. Add shallot, garlic and potatoes to pan. Don’t stir too much, as you want them to get crispy and brown. Once they are almost brown enough, add eggs and cumin, chives and cayenne pepper, and 2 oz of the cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, as the eggs scramble. Add the chorizo back in, mix well. Top with remaining cheese. Turn off heat. As the mixture sits in the pan, it will continue to crisp, so once it’s to your liking, remove it from the pan entirely. Serve with salsa and or Louisiana hot sauce.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

brussels

Brussels sprouts. I remember my mom serving them steamed with a little butter as a child, and while they weren’t terrible, they definitely weren’t good. But at Mama’s house, that doesn’t matter. You ate what was on your plate or you didn’t leave the table. So fast forward 2o years and that’s how long it would be before I ate another one. These definitely aren’t your mother’s Brussels sprouts.

Disclaimer* My mother is a wonderful cook. The fact that Brussels sprouts just don’t taste good steamed, is in no way a reflection of her. I feel pretty sure that anyone whose Mom served them sprouts that way is agreeing with me at this very moment.

 

Bacon. Or Bacon’s favorite cousin, Pancetta. I’m partial to pancetta, but you can use whatever you’ve got. This recipe is so easy and so good. Something magical happens to Brussels sprouts when you roast them. The natural bitterness melts away and the outer leaves crisp up and you really don’t have to do anything to them. Sometimes when I make this dish, I do a quick balsamic vinegar reduction that I drizzle on top, but I think my favorite way is like this. This is a great week night quick and easy side dish that will become a staple at your house, like it has mine.

 

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

1 lb bag fresh Brussels sprouts

1 tbs olive oil

5 oz pancetta, diced

salt and pepper to taste

fresh grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Move rack to upper most position. Wash sprouts, then cut off the hard stems on the bottom. Cut into halves or quarters. Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix with pancetta. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet or I used a cast iron. Bake about 10 minutes, when sprouts begin to brown. Gently turn them over, bake another 10 minutes or until they are brown and crispy. Remove from oven and serve, with freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.

Seafood Etoufee

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I don’t know about where you guys are, but down here we know how to do Mardi Gras right. Pensacola isn’t quite as big as Mobile’s celebration and certainly doesn’t get all the acclaim that New Orleans does, but don’t let that fool you. The earliest documented Mardi Gras celebrations were held in Mobile, Biloxi, New Orleans and finally, Pensacola.

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Historic Pensacola

 

Mardi Gras is a whole lot of fun. I mean, what’s not to love? The booze, the debauchery, the FOOD…. (I’ll admit, that’s what I’m really in it for.) So, this year I thought I’d try my hand at etoufee. Monday evening my brother was in town and we were enjoying ourselves out on the beach when time got away from me. (Had nothing to do with the mojitos. I swear.) So, in a rush, I stopped by my local market and grabbed some steamed snow crab legs, shrimp and a filet of Mahi. The mahi was for my one child that doesn’t always like shrimp, and as he’s a teenager and eats more than the rest of us combined, I like to be prepared. So, leftovers. My point is leftovers. I had shrimp, crab legs, and mahi sitting in the fridge begging to be used.

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My facorite Mardi Gras “Krewe”

Thus, I came up with my version of a seafood etoufee. Or gumbo. Or whatever you want to call it. At my house, we call it GOOD. I made my own stock, just because it’s simple and I think it adds depth to a dish. Here’s a link to my seafood stock recipe, in case you don’t know how to make one.Seafood Stock. But chicken stock will do fine as a substitute. Feel free to substitute out the seafood with your personal preferences, I certainly did.

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Seafood Etoufee

 

 

Seafood Etoufee

4 tbs butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbs flour

2 ears of fresh sweet corn, cut off the cob

1 med yellow onion, diced

2 stalks of celery, diced

2 potatos, diced

4 cups of seafood stock, (or chicken)

1 cup dry white wine

1 5 oz lobster tail

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 lb lump crab meat, peeled and deveined

1 filet of fish (your choice, but a white fish is best. ), cut into small pieces

1 tsp fresh parsley minced

1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 tsp frsh thyme, choppe

dash of paprika

dash of cayenne

juice of 1 lemon

1 c heavy cream

3 cups whole milk

Directions:

Heat butter in the bottom of large heavy pot, such as a dutch oven at med heat. Add celery, onion and sweet corn. Cook until it starts to soften. Add flour, stirring frequently. Slowly add stock, stirring to incorporate the flour mixture. Add wine. Add potatoes. Simmer about 10 minutes. Cut heat down, to low simmer. Add parsley, rosemary, thyme, paprika, cayenne, and lemon juice (I also added a tbs of tomato paste, because it was open and waste not, want not.) Salt and pepper to taste.

Stir in all the seafood, add more stock if needed, just to cover. Cook until fish barely flakes. Add in cream, and milk. (Disclaimer- these measurements are to your own liking. If you like it a little thicker, cut back on the stock. A little creamier, have a heavier hand with the cream. Add a little until you get it to your desired consistency. To each his own.) Allow the stew to warm through until at a bare simmer. Serve over rice.

Seafood Stock

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If you aren’t making your own stock yet, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life, I really don’t. So simple. And delicious. So go do it next time. You won’t regret it, I promise.

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Seafood Stock

2 carrots, unpeeled and roughly chopped

2 celery stalks, roughly chopped including the leaves and ends

1 tbs olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 cup dry white wine

6 cups of water

1 tbs tomato paste

1 bay leaf, dried

1 tbs thyme, roughly chopped, stem and all

1 tbs parsley, chopped with stems

shells, peelings and discards from whatever seafood you’re using to prepare your dish. I used lobster shell, shrimp peelings, and empty snow crab legs, after I had cracked them and taken out the meat.

Directions:

Heat olive oil at med high. Add garlic, celery, carrots, onion and seafood shells. Stir occasionally until it starts to brown. Add wine and water. Bring to a boil. Cut down to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes, then add paste, and seasonings. Allow to simmer another 20 minutes. Strain through sieve.

Dijon Wine Reduction Lamb Chops

This is my first official blog post ever so I’m simultaneously saying welcome and apologizing! Bear with me as I figure this stuff out…..

I have always had a very real love affair with food. And not just food,  but wine and condiments (Dijon mustard being at the very top of that list) and pretty much everything else decadent in life. My love of food and drink is rivaled only by my love of the Gulf. Living here in Gulf Breeze gives me the awesome experience of combining the two, and that is what this blog is about. I have no formal culinary training (assuming hours of watching Top Chef and Chopped doesn’t count) and everything I know about cooking I learned watching TV or through trial and error. Sometimes I get it wrong, but sometimes I get it really, really right. So, I thought I’d share some of the right times, and I hope you enjoy!

Spring comes early down here (in the Florida panhandle). I don’t care what that stupid groundhog saw or didn’t see, whatever. It’s February 21st today and I’m wearing flip flops. Yesterday, I was on the beach in a bikini and cover up. But I digress….

Although it might seem early in the season to be cooking lamb chops, down here it already feels like mid Spring. Which must be why I was inspired to cook this dish tonight….

I served this with roasted Brussels sprouts and pancetta, and Yukon gold melting potatoes, both recipes I will post later….

Dijon Wine Reduction Lamb Chops

1 shallot, minced

1 tbs whole grain Dijon mustard

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup of white wine

1 lemon, juiced

12 French ribbed lamb chops

1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped finely

1 tbs chives, chopped finely

1 tbs garlic, minced

2 tbs cold butter, cut into pats

Directions:

Salt and pepper lamb chops. Heat  1 tbs olive oil in large saute pan to med high heat. Cook lamb chops 2-3 mins, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes. (Depending on how well you want them done. I like mine med rare.) Remove from pan, set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

Add chicken stock and wine to deglaze pan, scraping all the good pieces off the bottom. Add shallot and garlic and allow sauce to simmer until reduced by half, stirring occasionally.

Stir in Dijon mustard, lemon juice and cut heat down to simmer. Add butter slowly, one pat at a time.  Once butter is incorporated completely, add chives and rosemary and cut heat off. Serve pork chops with sauce on top.