Blogs, Recipes

Sticky Salmon in Parchment Paper

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious and healthy dinner, this salmon in parchment paper is the perfect recipe. The salmon is cooked in a parchment paper pouch creating an almost mess free dinner that’s not only easy, but yummy! Best part? It’s ready in just about thirty minutes. Just mix up a handful of pantry staples, pour over top, fold up the parchment paper, and bake. Every bite is sweet and savory!

We’ve been looking for ways to reduce our calories and eat healthier. In this recipe, you’ll notice Liquid Aminos and may be asking yourself, what is that? 

Liquid Aminos look and taste similar to soy sauce. It is made by fermenting coconut sap with salt and water or treating soybeans with an acidic solution to break them down into free amino acids. It adds a savory, salty flavor to meals and is naturally vegan and gluten-free. You can find it at most grocery stores. Can’t find Liquid Aminos, you can use Soy sauce. 

So here’s the story behind the parchment paper. I wanted to make an easy clean up dish- it’s been a crazy week. So I thought I’d make salmon in a foil packet. I opened my pantry and to my surprise… No foil! I’ve been reading about French cuisine and I remember reading about Salmon en Papillote, which translates to Salmon enveloped in paper! I had plenty of parchment paper and so this recipe was born!

By cooking the salmon in a parchment paper packet, you’re creating an envelope for your food to cook inside of. Not only does this save on mess and dishes, but cooking your food in parchment steams the food and cooks everything in their own juices. Cooking food this way preserves nutrients and creates an insane amount of flavor because all of the aromas are trapped inside. You can add vegetables into the packet with the salmon. I served mine with side salad.

How to make the parchment paper packet?

  1. Creating the packet isn’t difficult, but it requires a particular shape and folding technique. 
  2. Fold a 12-by-16-inch piece of parchment in half, then cut it so that it’ll be shaped like a heart when you unfold it.
  3. Cut a 12-by16-inch piece of parchment paper for each piece of salmon you’re cooking and fold it in half. Using scissors, cut the folded paper into half of a heart, then unfold. 
  4. Brush both sides of the paper lightly with olive oil.
  5. Place your salmon to one side of the creased line down the middle of the heart. Pour the sauce over the salmon. 
  6. Fold the other half of the heart over the salmon. Starting at the pointy end—the bottom of the heart—fold the edge of the parchment paper in small, overlapping triangles. This helps create a tight seal, making sure that the salmon will cook in its own juices and not dry out or lose flavor.
  7. And that’s it! Just transfer each packet to a dinner plate, cut a small opening in the paper, pull apart the packet and devour the contents. You’ll barely even need to wash the plates.

Looking for a wine?

Scout & Cellar Hushkeeper Pinot Gris is the perfect pairing! Zippy-yet-balanced with lemon, pear, and underripe pineapple on a medium-bodied frame with a bright finish. For this Pinot Gris, grapes were picked by hand from dry-farmed vines planted over 30 years ago. After harvest, the grapes were pressed and placed in stainless steel vessels where they fermented for 3 weeks. The wine then aged in stainless steel until bottling, unfined and lightly filtered with natural bentonite clay.

Now that you know all the whys and hows, let’s get cooking!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound salmon
  • 1/4 cup Lite Maple syrup (yes the kind for pancakes)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos (or reduced sodium soy sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha, optional
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parchment paper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, Sriracha and pepper, to taste.

Take two pieces of parchment paper, fold in half, and cut a half-circle starting at each crease. They should look similar to a heart-shape when unfolded. 

Brush each piece of parchment with olive oil on both sides.

Place the one piece of salmon in the middle of one side of a prepared parchment paper. 

Pour the ginger syrup mixture over the salmon. Save the rest of the sauce for serving. 

Fold the other half of the circle over and seal the parchment edge by making overlapping folds around the edge. At the end, fold the last crease in the opposite direction of the rest to ensure it seals. 

Repeat with the second piece of prepared parchment and remaining ingredients. 

Place pouches on a baking sheet.

Place into the oven and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.(Baking time may need to be adjusted depending on the thickness of the salmon).

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before cutting open parchment. 

The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

Drizzle the salmon with the leftover sauce. 

Serve immediately.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Honey Orange Glazed Grouper

This Honey Orange Glazed Grouper is a citrusy sweet recipe that I guarantee you’ll have on repeat. A quick and delicious dinner that will be  on the table in no time! Perfect for a healthy lunch, weeknight dinner or a dinner party! To make this easy fish dinner you need less than 30 minutes, isn’t it great?

And it keeps getting better and better! You can use this sauce for just about anything from fish, shrimp, chicken or as a salad dressing. It’s very versatile and delicious!

I love experimenting with new marinades and sauces. And really love using orange marmalade in my homemade salad dressings so I figured it would be great in this recipe. The outcome? Amazingly delicious! You’ll want to drizzle the sauce on all your side dishes too. So I recommend pouring about ¼ cup of the prepaped sauce into a separate bowl and save for the table. 

What to serve with this dish?

Cold Zucchini noodle salad or steamed Broccoli, pan fried Asparagus.

Want a starch? Couscous or rice are also great choices, but anything will do as long as you like it.

Grab a bottle of Scout and Cellar 2019 FIELDHOUSE WHITE BLEND and you have yourself one delicious meal! The taste? Under ripe peach, under ripe apricot and white flowers with refreshing acidity that hangs on so the wine finishes clean; as the wine warms, notes of pear and honey emerge.

TIP:

I covered my broiler pan with foil then sprayed it with non-stick Olive oil spray, which is a real clean up saver.  The honey makes the grouper crispy and crackly and tastes like heaven, but makes cleaning up no fun.  What good is a quick dinner if you are scrubbing the pan all night, right? 

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound grouper fillets
  • 2  tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Orange Juice
  • ¾  teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions

Preheat broiler.

Combine all ingredients except grouper, mixing well.

Season filets with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place fillets on an oiled broiler pan and brush fillets with honey glaze to cover.

Broil or 4 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Flip fillets, brush with honey glaze and broil for an additional 2 minutes, then brush with honey glaze and broil for additional 1-2 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily.

*Don’t have a broiler pan? No worries! You can use a baking sheet. Don’t forget to cover it with foil and oil it for easy clean up!

Blogs, Recipes

Chili Lime Cod with Fresh Pico de Gallo over Slaw

You know it’s funny, I’m a huge seafood fan. But I don’t cook it near enough as I should. Well, today I took one step closer to changing that, in the form of a quick, easy and healthy weeknight dinner.

There are so many different methods to make cod. From baking cod to fried cod. 

In this recipe, I pan fried it in a small amount of olive oil. Pan-fried cod pairs wonderfully with so many different side dishes. If you are trying to keep things light, whip up my slaw and Pico de Gallo recipe below. If you’re feeling a little more indulgent, make a batch of angel hair pasta with a creamy sauce. The possibilities are endless. 

And, if you want to pair this dish with a Clean-Crafted™ wine, try Scout and Cellar’s 2017 GALLIVANT CHARDONNAY. Opulent and plush with aromas of yellow apple, vanilla and baking spices and flavors of baked pear and brioche on a medium-bodied frame with a bright finish. It’s delish!

What about a light beer? Try 7venth sun Kolsch- Crisp, sparkling, and slightly fruity. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Cod Fillet
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne 
  • ½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • Zest and Juice of 2 Limes

Fresh Pico de Gallo Ingredients 

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • I clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 

Slaw Ingredients

  • 1 bags ColeSlaw mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

To make the coleslaw, combine cabbage, carrots, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, honey and salt and toss together with slaw mixture. Set aside. 

To make Pico de Gallo, stir all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.

For the cod…

In a small bowl combine all of the spices with lime zest and mix well.

Rub the filets with the spice mixture. You will use the entire rub – so make sure to coat them very well.

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan.

Add the seasoned cod to the pan, cooking until lightly golden on one side – about 4/5 minutes.

Carefully turn the cod over and cook until opaque and completely cooked through.

Place the slaw in the middle of a plate, place the cod on top of the slaw, spoon Pico de Gallo over top and sprinkle with Cilantro.

www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen
Blogs, Recipes

DELICIOUS RATATOUILLE

It’s ratatouille season! 

Ratatouille is a classic summer French style stew, it’s fun to say and even has an adorable Disney movie named after it!

Ratatouille is packed with summer vegetables: tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers and it’s pretty easy to make!

With a little imagination, there are endless ways to serve ratatouille. For Sunday dinner, toss it with pasta or alongside grilled chicken or fish. Or for an easy weeknight dinner, serve with a dollop of goat cheese or with a fried egg on top. It’s even tasty straight from the fridge as a snack (it’s delicious cold)! Seriously the possibilities are limitless! 

For the tomatoes, I love the brand Pomi! They only have one ingredient: TOMATOES! You can find Pomi chopped tomatoes in the canned vegetable aisle. Pomi is usually on the top shelf. 

Looking for wine to pair with Ratatouille? Scout & Cellar 2018 VEINTE MALBEC, Lush and fruit-forward with blueberry, black plum and wildberry jam balanced by mocha on a fresh, well-structured frame with round tannins and a lingering finish. DELICIOUS!

INGREDIENTS

  • 26.46 oz Pomi Chopped Tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz Diced Tomatoes, drained
  • 1 medium eggplant, diced into cubes
  • 1 large red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, cut into ¾ squares
  • 2 medium zucchini , diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided, more to taste
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit 

Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up, if desired.

On one baking sheet, toss the diced eggplant with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil until lightly coated. Arrange the eggplant in a single layer across the pan, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt, and set aside.

On the other baking sheet, toss the bell pepper, and zucchini 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer. 

Place the eggplant pan on the middle rack and the other vegetables on the top rack. Set the timer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. 

Add the onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender and caramelizing on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

Add the tomatoes, and use a wooden spoon to stir any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan into the mixture. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

Once 15 minutes are up, remove both pans from the oven, stir, and redistribute the contents of each evenly across the pans. This time, place the eggplant on the top rack and other vegetables on the middle rack.

Bake until the eggplant is nice and golden on the edges, about 10 more minutes (the eggplant will be done sooner than the rest). Remove the eggplant from the oven, and carefully stir the eggplant into the simmering tomato sauce.

Let the zucchini and bell pepper pan continue to bake until the peppers are caramelized, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Then, transfer the contents of the pan into the simmering sauce. Continue simmering for 5 more minutes to give the flavors time to combine.

Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon olive oil, the fresh basil, dried orengo and red pepper flakes. 

Season to taste with additional salt and black pepper.

Serve in bowls, with additional chopped basil, or black pepper on top (all optional). 

Like all stews, this ratatouille’s flavor improves as it cools. It’s even better reheated the next day. Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 days, or for several months in the freezer.

http://www.scoutandcellar.com/whiskawaykitchen

Blogs, Recipes

Homemade Mac & Cheese

As many of you know, I joined the initiative #EducateYourself. I knew some but I am learning so much more. As a foodie, I wanted to learn more about the Black Culinary community, this is where I learned about James Hemings and his brother. 

The story of James Hemings is  fascinating, here’s a little taste. 

In the 18th century, James Hemings was one of America’s most accomplished chefs. He was also Thomas Jefferson’s slave. Hemings grew up as a household slave in Monticello, Jefferson’s Virginia estate. He could read and write and Jefferson trusted him. So when Jefferson sailed to France in 1784 to become America’s trade minister, he brought Hemings with him. While in Paris, Hemings was trained in the art of French cooking. He studied first with the caterer and restaurateur, Monsieur Combeaux, apprenticing with pastry chefs. After three years of study he became the head chef at the Hôtel de Langeac, Jefferson’s residence that functioned also as the American embassy. Here his dishes were served to international guests, statesmen, authors, scientists, and European aristocrats.

In 1796, James Hemings was freed by Jefferson on the condition that James would train his younger brother to replace him as chef in the Jefferson household. In 1802, Jefferson served a “macaroni pie” at a state dinner, more than likely prepared from a recipe by James and cooked by his brother. Since that time, the dish has been associated with the United States. Unfortunately, no written record of the Hemingway’s mac and cheese survives.

Enslaved chefs played a huge role in refining some of America’s current staple foods, like mac and cheese.

If you want to learn more about James Hemings. Check out: Thomas Jefferson’s Crème Brûlée: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Hemings Introduced French Cuisine to America written by Thomas J. Craughwell . There’s even a children’s picture book, My Name Is James Madison Hemings written by Jonah Winter. 

Here is my Mac & Cheese recipe, inspired by the 1824 cookbook “The Virginia Housewife” written by Mary Randolph. It is believed that  Randolph’s recipe may have been one of James Hemings creations.

Pair this Mac and Cheese with Scout & Cellar 2019 Fiddleneck Chardonnay, Lake County, California

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter, to grease the dish
  • 16 ounces large elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups Milk
  • 2 cups Half and Half
  • 2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Italian cheese blend. shredded
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder

Topping:

  • 1 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ¼ tsp Smoked paprika

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″). Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add the dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente.  

While pasta is cooking, mix all 3 cheeses in a large bowl. Remove ½ cup of the mixed cheese and set aside, you will use this for the topping. 

Drain the pasta and drizzle olive oil over the pasta and combine to keep from sticking.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in the flour and whisk to combine.  Mixture will look like very wet sand. Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  

Slowly pour in the 2 cups of the milk, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  

Next, slowly pour in the 2 cups of half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.

Continue to heat over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened. 

Lower the heat and stir in seasonings and whisk together. 

Stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine.  

Stir in the rest of the cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat. 

In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  

Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  

For the topping, mix the 1/4 remaining cup melted butter, remaining cheese and crushed crackers together in a bowl; scatter the cracker mixture evenly over the macaroni.

Bake until the cheese is bubbly and the top is lightly golden brown for about 15 minutes.  

Blogs, Recipes

MOJO PORK

Every Christmas, my family has a smorgasbord of Italian and Spanish dishes. And Mojo pork is always on the table.  This recipe has become my go to for easy slow cooker meals..

This recipe is juicy, succulent with garlic and citrus  and melt-in-your-mouth tender. The pork is SO tender and juicy on the inside, while deliciously crisp and golden on the edges! I love it over yellow rice, in tacos or used to make a Cuban sandwich. And the best part is, you make this in the slow cooker so it cooks all day and will be ready when you get home from work. 

I have to admit, it has taken me many failed attempts and trying a variety of different recipes before finally creating this one and falling in love. It was all worth it! My secret little ingredient is Coca Cola! It really lifts the pork to bolder and better flavors! The orange juice and lime juice combo tenderizes the pork, while the natural sugars in the juices and the coke combined turn what would be just another pulled pork recipe, into heaven in your mouth! The trick to getting crispy edges, after shredding the pork, pop it in the oven on boil for 5-10 minutes until the meat is gold brown and crispy!

Pair this with Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™ 2018 L’ORIGINAL SPARKLING ROSÉ. 

A vibrant raspberry in color with fine, fizzy bubbles and notes of candied cherry, macerated strawberry, blood orange and cantaloupe on a full-bodied frame with a mouth-coating finish.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Coke
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cloves garlic , peeled and smashed
  • 1 medium sweet onion , sliced thin
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 3 pound pork shoulder roast
  • Limes and Cilantro for garnish

Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, orange juice, lime juice, salt, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper, and garlic.

Make slits in the pork with a paring knife and rub liberally all over with the oil mixture.

Place pork in the slow cooker, along with the onion and bay leaf. Pour the remaining juices from the bowl over the pork.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Using two forks, shred into thick chunks.

Transfer the pork to a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (or lined with aluminium foil or parchment paper).

Pour 1 ladle full (about 1 cup) of the liquid from the slow cooker over the pork to season. 

Broil for 5-10 minutes on high heat until the meat becomes golden browned and crispy on the edges.

Season with a little extra salt and pepper if desired. Pour over more of the slow cooker juices once the meat has crisped for added flavor, just before serving!

Serve over rice or as tacos.

Blogs, Recipes

Blue Cheese Burgers with Red Wine-Onion Jam and Crispy Beer Battered Onion Rings

Are you looking for a delicious Memorial Day recipe? Look no more!

Burgers are one of summer’s classic dishes and an ever-popular pick at backyard barbecues everywhere! Not only are these burgers a cinch to make but they are the tastiest burgers you will ever eat! 

I love using Italian sausage in my burgers! It is a  smart shortcut, because the meat is already seasoned. Caramelized red onions are tasty in their own right, but simmered in a sweet/spicy mix of red wine, honey and herbs, they turn into the most delicious jam ever. And it is a perfect addition to these Blue Cheese Burgers!

Brian and I love to top these burgers with homemade Beer Battered Onion Rings! I included our recipe below. It’s delicious! Not a beer fan? Sub in any other carbonated beverage, including ginger ale, club soda or your favorite soft drink.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • ½  pound ground Italian sausage
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 hamburger buns, split

Red Wine-Onion Jam Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat your grill to high heat.

Mix the meat and blue cheese in a large bowl until combined. 

Shape the meat into four burgers, each about 1 inch thick.

Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.

Place the burgers on the grill and grill until golden brown, three to four minutes. 

Turn the burgers over and continue grilling to medium, about three minutes longer. 

Remove the burgers to a plate and let rest while you grill the buns.

Butter the cut sides of the buns and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill, butter side down, and grill until lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds.

Place the burgers on top of the bun and spoon some onion jam on each burger. Top with the buns and serve immediately.

Red Wine-Onion Jam

– makes 3/4 cup –

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan on the grates of the grill or on a stovetop over medium-low heat.

Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Add the wine, vinegar, honey, and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated, five to seven minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. 

The jam can be made two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Crispy Beer Battered Onion Rings Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pale ale beer 
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour with the paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Whisk in the beer until the mixture is well combined. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

While the batter rests, cut the tip off of the stem side of the onions then remove the peel. Slice the onions horizontally into 1/2-inch-thick rings and toss them with the remaining 1/2 cup of flour.

Add the vegetable oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pot (Dutch oven) to a depth of 2 inches and heat it over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 375°F.

Working in batches, dip the onion rings into the prepared batter, shaking off any excess, then immediately drop them into the hot oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Allow the onions to cook in the oil, flipping them once to guarantee even browning, for a total of about 3 minutes. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate.

Immediately season them with salt. Repeat the coating and frying process, returning the oil to 375°F between batches, with the remaining onions.

TIPS: 

When measuring beer, don’t include the foamy head in your measurement. 

Shake off as much of the excess batter as possible when coating the onion rings in order to get the best ratio of onion to batter.

Blogs, Recipes

PAN FRIED WHITEFISH WITH ARTICHOKES, OLIVES, AND CHERRY TOMATOES

It’s almost summer and what goes with summer. FISH, well at least here in Florida! Light and flavorful pan fried fish always reminds me of summer. 

The sauce is what defines this recipe. Prepare the sauce first and allow it to simmer as you pan fry the fish. And, if you don’t like Black olives or even artichokes, no worries leave them out. Just add one tablespoon sea salt and ¼ cup lemon juice!

A tip, I have learned along the way is to add the SALT later in the dish. So you will notice salt is not on the ingredients list. The artichokes and olives give this dish enough salt, but if you feel you need salt, taste and add a pinch as needed. 

Scout and Cellar Sauvginon Blanc is the perfect pairing for this recipe! Oh and GO BUCS! Definitely need a Bucs wine glass for this dish! LOL

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 grouper filets
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • I can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 can (6 ounces) Large Black Olives
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup Dry White Wine
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Parsley Leaves, for garnish
  • Parmesan Cheese, for garnish
  • DON’T LIKE OLIVES OR ARTICHOKES:
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt 
  • ¼ cup lemon juice!

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat the olive in a heavy skillet until lightly smoking, then add the onions, sautei for 1 to 2 minutes. 

Add the garlic, Italian seasoning and pepper, stirring to combine. Saute for 2-5 minutes until fragrant. 

Add the chopped artichokes and whole cherry tomatoes. Slowly add the chicken broth and stir. 

Place lid on for 5 minutes, liquid to reduce. 

Once liquid is reduced, add the white wine, stir and place the lid back on. Tomatoes should start to burst. 

Add the olives and stir to mix. Place the lid back on and cook for 5- 1 minutes. 

Add butter, stir and melt on low heat. 

Heat a separate pan, add a drizzle of olive, then add the fillets to the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. 

Place the filets  in the tomato mixture pan and cover with the sauce, cook for 2-4 minutes. 

Serve the fillets topped with the tomato mixture, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and parsley. 

You can serve this on its own or with a side of cauliflower rice/white rice. 

Blogs, Recipes

Ropa Vieja

One of the things I love about cooking is how the flavors can take you back to a specific time or memory. This recipe reminds me of my family whether it was dinner at La Teresita or the smells of my grandmother’s house. La Teresita is a Spanish restaurant in Tampa. My family have shared many meals together here. Every time we would go to dinner at Le Teresita, my dad would order Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in Spanish. We would laugh as he made a joke that he liked the taste of old clothes then he would shake the bread basket, and ask “Más pan!” It became a family joke!

You’ll love this dish if you’re into big, bold flavors! It is delicious served with black beans, white rice, and sweet plantains. Typically this dish is made with flank steak, which is lean and has long, shreddy fibers, and is how the dish earned the name “old clothes.” It’s the traditional choice, but you can also use chuck roast. 

Brian and I love to use our Le Creuset braiser. So naturally, I used the braiser for this recipe. However you can also make this in a slow cooker. I included instructions for both below. 

I can not think of a better wine to pair with this dish other than Scout and Cellar’s 2018 OSO PARDO TEMPRANILLO. This wine is deep purple-red in color with notes of cherry, blood orange and leather lifted by a hint of violets on a textured frame with a bright finish. I love the story of where this wine comes from, La Mancha, Spain. The winery was founded over 30 years ago, when 28 wine growing families decided to join and work together, creating something larger than any of them could have done on their own. To this day, the estate operates as a cooperative, with over 6,000 acres of vineyard with about 60 viticulturists and vintners. Click the link to learn more and order a bottle.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 pounds flank steak
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 poblano pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt or more to taste
  • 15 ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup Spanish green olives, pitted (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • white rice steamed
  • 1 lime quartered
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Pat roast dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large heatproof pot over high. Cook chuck roast, turning occasionally, until browned on both sides, 5–7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 250°. Cook onion, bell peppers, and salt (plus 2 Tbsp. oil if using flank steak), stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes. 

Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pan, until vegetables are golden brown, 3–5 minutes. 

Stir in wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated. Stir in paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Add tomatoes and stir. 

Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Nestle the meat into the tomato mixture and tuck in bay leaves on either side. Cover and transfer to the oven. Braise until meat is very tender and shreds easily, 2½–3 hours. Let cool for 15 minutes.

Skim excess fat from sauce; discard bay leaves. Using 2 forks, tear and smash beef into sauce until it’s shredded and covered with sauce. 

Stir in olives and vinegar.

Top with cilantro. Serve with white rice, black beans and sweet plantains.

SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS

Add the wine, vinegar, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices to the slow cooker and stir. Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce.

Add on top of the meat the onion, bell peppers, olives, and garlic cloves.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 9 hours or high for 5 hours.

Blogs, Recipes

Grouper Piccata

Living in Florida has many benefits, sunny days, beautiful beaches, and it also comes with the benefits of AMAZING fresh fish. 

I was lucky enough to grab some grouper fillets from my local fish market but you can also score some at your store’s frozen section. If you are unable to find grouper fillets, you can use snapper, cod, catfish or even chicken. 

This sauce highlights the fish without taking over. In this recipe, I use a simple piccata sauce with lemon and capers to create an easy meal that everyone will love! Oh, and this is a one pan dish! Hello easy clean up! 🙂

I’m not usually a Chardonnay fan but since I received a bottle of Scout & Cellar Fiddleneck Chardonnay I thought I’d give it a try. I am now a Chardonnay fan! The Fiddleneck Chardonnay is the perfect pairing to this recipe! It’s not oaky like most Chardonnays I have tried in the past. It’s light and refreshing with notes of yellow apple, candied lemon peel, and ripe pineapple. It truly is delicious with the buttery lemon flavor of the grouper piccata! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 6-ounce grouper fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Sprinkle grouper fillets with salt and pepper. 

Dredge fillets on all sides in flour. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large skillet. 

Add fillets to skillet; cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove fish from skillet.

Add garlic, lemon juice and wine to the skillet, scraping browned bits from the pan. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. 

Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Tip: if the sauce is too bitter, just add ¼ cup of chicken broth at a time. 

Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, capers and parsley.

Serve sauce over fish.

I served mine with a side of angel hair pasta and baby broccoli.