Saturday, December 29, 2012

Simple but Superior Guacamole



A Friend gave me several gorgeous home grown avocados 

and I mashed them up with a bit of lemon, salt, hot pepper

 flakes, and finely chopped onion making a simple but 

superior Guacamole for Christmas Day!

This is two large Avocados worth of Guacamole!
Please the Pit in the middle of the dish and it helps keep the Guacamole from turning brown


Serve with Tortilla Chips!

A Great New Year's Appetizer!
Melissa



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Baked Stuffed Shrimp with Crab Meat and Ritz Cracker Crumbs

Coming out of the Oven

I made Baked Stuffed Shrimp with Crabmeat and Ritz Crackers Crumbs to bring with me to a Christmas Dinner at my husband's favorite sister's house in Florida this year. She was cooking a Prime Rib so I wanted to bring something to compliment what she was cooking in a a "Land and Sea" sort of way. I thought about doing a Shrimp Mac and Cheese but when my husband brought home some beautiful leg crabmeat and some nice shrimp I decided to do a Crabmeat Stuffing on them.


Small but Cute and Tasty

Recipe:
1 Two LB - Bag of the largest Shrimp you can find
1/2 lb Leg Crabmeat
1 1/2 sleeves of crushed Ritz Cracker Crumbs
1/2 small onion finely chopped
4-6 Tbsp butter
1 splash of olive oil

I devein the shrimp and butterfly them laying them out of a greased cookie sheet. Then I saute a finely chopped onion in a little olive oil and butter until it is clear. I add the flaked crabmeat (I use a fork) and toss lightly over medium heat. I add a bit more melted butter 3-4 Tbsp and then add the crushed Ritz crackers. I don't let it cook very much. The stuffing should be moist. I use a tablespoon and mound a bit into the spoon and use my palm to make a little dollup of round fillingness and place it on top of a butterflied raw shrimp. I repeat this until all of the shrimp are stuffed. At this point I melt another Tablespoon or Two of butter and drizzle it all over all the Shrimp. Some people sprinkle a little white wine or sherry but I didn't have any white wine so I didn't do that.

When ready to bake and serve:
Bake them for 20 min in a 350 degree oven. 
You have to be very careful not to let them dry out. 
Serve immediately with cocktail sauce and plenty of lemon.Years ago in my grandmother's day, they used to serve these with drawn butter in a little cup and people dipped the shrimp into the butter. I think we have gotten away from doing that in this day and age but if you are guided to try it, it is the old fashioned way of eating them.


Close Up of Stuffed Crabmeat
and Ritz Crackers on Butterflied Shrimp



Your Tray of Shrimp should look like this
At this point you can cover and refrigerate until ready
to cook and serve. I was bringing these to a party.
Honestly these Shrimp weren't the biggest
but they were big enough and very tasty

I baked them for 20 min in a 350 degree oven.
You have to be very careful not to let them dry out.
Serve immediately




On the Plate - Scrumptious!

You'll never go wrong bringing these to a party. I always bring some Cocktail Sauce and Lemon to serve with them.


Happy New Year Everyone!
Melissa

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Star Fruit Buttermilk Pancakes - Florida Living at it's Finest!


RECIPE BUTTERMILK PANCAKES - Combine the Following ingredients in a large bowl: 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour, 1/4 c. sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 c. buttermilk, 2 large eggs, beaten, 1/4 c. butter, melted, plus more for brushing the heated griddle,1 tsp. pure vanilla extract - while cooking add sliced star fruit - serve with heated maple syrup, more sliced star fruit, and butter if desired! I heat my plates in a 200 degree oven and keep the pancakes already cooked warm while I cook the rest.

Cook on medium heated griddle
which has been brushed with oil or butter,
 place sliced star fruit into batter
Turn over Star Fruit Slices so they are covered with a little batter. This makes it cook well when you turn over the pancakes and they won't stick to the pan

Serve in a heated platter with plenty of butter, heated maple syrup, and sliced star fruit


Pictured with maple syrup and starfruit with no butter 
 still yummy!

Hey, maybe one or two of them got a little overdone, they were still delicious and a great way to use up all the Star Fruit I have inherited from a neighbor's tree while visiting in Florida this winter! 

Buttermilk Pancakes are a good choice for this because they are very fluffy and can hold up the fruit well!

Happy Holidays and Peace on Earth,
Melissa



Friday, December 21, 2012

Star Fruit Pie

STAR FRUIT PIE
Star Fruit right off the Tree
Star Fruit Cut Up
I juiced some Star Fruit in a little juicer I bought at a thrift store here in Florida and decided to make a Pie similar to a Key Lime Pie recipe only substituting the Star Fruit I got from a neighbor's tree here in Florida. It has a very subtle sweet flavor and I decided it might be perfect in a pie.
Combine sugar, graham crackers, and melted butter
into a pie plate and press lightly 

Ingredients: 
2 c. crushed graham crackers
5 Tbsp. white sugar
5 Tbsps. Butter melted
3 eggs
1/2 c. star fruit juice
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
Beat two Egg Whites until Stiff

Add 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg along with condensed milk and star fruit juice,
mix well and then fold in stiff egg whites

Bake Crust for 5 minutes in 325 degree 
then pour in Milk Star Fruit Mix

Bake for 20-25 minutes

Serve with Whipped Cream and decorate with a slice of Star Fruit

I served this after a wonderful Salmon Dinner last night and it was hugely successful! I would make this again.














Monday, December 17, 2012

Star Fruit - Great in Salads

Star Fruit is a sweet and tasty fruit from Southeast Asia but grows in Florida. I got interested in it last year on a visit and this year I noticed a tree growing in a neighbors yard and I knocked on her door and introduced myself. Seems her Star Fruit Tree gives her bushels and bushels of fruit 4 times a year and is extremely prolific. She was overjoyed to share her bounty with me and I filled a big bag in no time at all. Turns out we had a lot in common and she even invited me to her Quilting Club and offered to lend me her sewing machine!! So you just never know whats going to happen when you see a Star Fruit Tree growing in someones yard and you decide to knock.
 You must have guessed that I am now in Florida this winter and it's true that I am, here with the Star Fruit!!
 Makes a great snack and is apparently only 30 calories per fruit! I cut some up in a bowl for a snack this afternoon and it was delicious!
When you cut it up it looks really beautiful! Even the seeds are delicious! I have done two things with Star Fruit. Put them in salads and also dehydrate them in my Excelsior Dehydrator. I want to try juicing them because I now have a wonderful source for them. Delightful!



Saturday, December 8, 2012

Melissa's Hot Pepper Sea Salt


I mixed my powdered hot pepper that I made by dehydrating my garden grown peppers in my Excalibur Dehydrator and then I made the powder by whizzing the dried peppers up in my Vita Mix Dry Container. I then mixed with Sea Salt and put in Shaker Containers I bought online.





Thursday, December 6, 2012

Decanting the Blueberry Cordial and Blackberry & Raspberry Brandies

For those of you who follow my blog, you may remember that I put up some cordials and Brandies in August from Berries I picked or bought locally. Some of the Blueberries and Raspberries are from my own yard and the rest were picked or sourced in New Hampshire while on two separate berry gathering trips last summer. I documented the making of them athttp://www.gloucestergourmet.com/2012/08/making-blueberry-cordial-and-blackberry.html 
It is now over three months since mixing the brandy and vodka in with the berries and it was time to decant some of the stuff for Holiday Gifts.  I use some funnels I got at the Dollar Store and use a coffee filter to separate the liquid from the berries. I tried doing the berries, whole, in some of my experiments and in others I used a blender to blend the berries into the alcohol. I have to say that the blenderized berries decanter quickly and I got more liquid out of the bath. The whole berries are a bit harder to decant, I know some people like to re-use those berries for baking, fruit salads, or putting over ice cream. I am not a huge fan, I tried the whole berry technique and I have to say that the blenderized berries worked better for me.
with the Brandies to give it a little Sweetness. I heated the honey slightly and poured it into the bottle with the brandies and gave it a good shake. The Blueberry Cordial already had sugar mixed in it so all I had to do was decant that into a bottles.

Raspberry and Blackberry Brandy in a Snifter

  I serve the Brandies in snifters and sometimes heat the Brandy a bit first to release the aromas. A heated and flavored Brandy in a snifter on a cold evening is fantastic. The color is ruby red and the flavor is sublime.

People ask me about serving the Blueberry Cordial. I use it as an after dinner drink when I have company and I serve it in small crystal glasses. Since it is basically flavored Vodka, you could easily shake it with some ice and serve it straight up in a martini glass as a cocktail. Blueberry Freeze Cosmo or something. 
Small Waterford Crystal Glass with Blueberry Cordial 


This makes a fantastic gift during the holidays or you may just want to keep it for yourself! Last summer I found some pretty decanters to give as gifts with it too.  It is best to let the fruit soak in the alcohol for 3 months as it imparts the best flavors that way. 

RECIPES:

Blueberry Cordial
Glass Quart Jar container
2 cups Vodka
1-2 cups Chopped Blueberries (I put them thru the food processor on a quick pulse)
1 cup Sugar

Mix together and shake every couple of days for 2 months, strain thru cheese cloth or coffee filter and then decant into a pretty decanter or glass container. Serve in small crystal glasses as an after dinner drink. You can also flavor a champagne or sparkling wine cocktail with a bit of the Blueberry Cordial.
This makes a fantastic Holiday Gift and now is the time to plan it when berries are in season. I know you can make it with frozen berries in a pinch but what could be better than your own hand picked Blueberry Cordial. I happen to know that the berries I picked in New Hampshire were Organic which is a nice thing too!

Blackberry Brandy
Glass Quart Jar container
2 cups of Brandy
1-2 cups of chopped blackberries (I put them thru the food processor on a quick pulse)
optional: You can add sugar to this if desired or you can wait and flavor to taste with a sugar syrup after the two months of shaking. Personally, I don't really like sugar in my brandy and enjoy the tart Blackberry taste without it. It is a matter of personal taste.

Mix together and shake every couple of days for two months, strain they a cheese cloth or coffee filter and then decant into a pretty glass container. Serve in Brandy Snifters. You can warm the Blackberry Brandy and serve it in the snifter warm. It is really a wonderful after dinner drink! The Warmed Blackberry Brandy is the perfect dark winter drink after a wonderful meal, best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire!



Monday, December 3, 2012

December Meeting of Gloucester Glitterati Food Bloggers - What we Ate, What we talked About!

left to right: 
Pati Pawlak - Open Kitchen Live https://plus.google.com/103912900128614823947/posts an interactive Cooking show on Google+, 
Heather Atwood http://www.heatheratwood.com

The Gloucester Glitterati Bloggers were lucky enough to get together for a little holiday party tonight in East Gloucester to discuss, Blogging, Twittering, Videos, Cooking Shows, Cooking Competitions,  Recipes, Ideas, and Writing! All the while, we enjoyed each others creations which were incredibly delicious!!

 Sheree made an incredible Lasagna with an extra Sauce and a fantastically rich Macaroni and Cheese
View of Gloucester Harbor Sunset 

Christmas Tree with twinkle lights

Pati Pawlak brought the cutest little Gingerbread House

Macaroni and Cheese on left and Lasagna on right, Sauce in rear

Heather Atwood's basket with ingredients for Persimmon Salad. She wrote about this very salad in her blog today and we got the chance to try it out. The persimmon and pomegranate combination with the filberts was delicious! Check out her blog for the details. www.heatheratwood.com

Heather preparing Persimmon Salad

Persimmon Salad

Melissa Abbott's Salad made with Lettuce from her December East Gloucester Garden with Honey Mustard Dressing made with Honey from her Beehives!

Jennifer Amero's fantastic
Chicken Hot Pepper Jelly Lettuce Wraps

Jenn and Sheree starting the buffet Heather and Laurie in background

 Lettuce Wrap, Salads, and Mac and Cheese
Heather and Pati discuss making a cooking Video
The conversation ranged from how to ad links to our twitters, tagging, Facebook, Writing ideas, Blogging tips, Cookbooks and Video Ideas. Laurie Lufkin brought a selection of really wonderful desserts and I am sorry to say I did not get a photo of them. They were delicious, lemon Squares, gingersnaps, and apples squares were super YUM! I apologize for not getting the photo to document the dessert part of the wonderful meal. Everyone said this was the best Gloucester Gitterati meeting we have had yet, food was fabulous, and I for one feel refreshed with new social media ideas and support.

It is so great to have the company and friendship of other foodies and bloggers! Thanks to All
Happy Holidays,
Melissa