The Keys is one of my favorite vacation spots. It tugs at my inner pirate and pulls me in with its beautiful sunsets, fun bars, and good times. After I leave, I can’t wait to get back. It’s my to-go destination for a laid-back and adventurous vacation. The Keys are a state of mind as much as a place. So there’s no surprise the Keys has its own unique cuisine too.
This recipe is inspired by one of my boyfriend, Brian’s favorite Keys dishes from Lazy Days on Islamorada. It has all the fresh flavors of the Keys. Fresh fish crusted with panko bread crumbs, sautéed, topped with fresh diced tomatoes, roasted red peppers, scallions, and fresh grated parmesan cheese with a drizzle of key lime butter.
4 (4-ounce) fish fillets, such as snapper, flounder or cod.
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ripe tomato, seeded, chopped small
2 scallions, finely sliced (green and white parts)
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Prepare and keep warm white wine Key lime sauce before cooking fish.
Rinse fish and pat dry with paper towels.
Spread bread crumbs in a baking pan or pie plate. Press fish into crumbs on both sides to coat well. Place fish in a baking pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a bowl, stir together the chopped tomatoes, roast peppers, scallions. Squeeze half of a lime, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Refrigerate until right before serving.
Heat a nonstick griddle or cast-iron griddle over medium heat. Once hot, add oil.
When oil is heated, add fillets, cooking in two batches. Cook each fillet 5 to 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fish.
Sprinkle each fillet with chopped tomato, scallions and roasted red pepper salsa; sprinkle grated cheese over top. Spoon white wine-Key lime sauce over and serve hot with white rice.
White Wine Key lime sauce Ingredients
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped roughly or green garden onion
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock (note we tried it without the chicken stock and it was still good)
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons freshly grated lime zest
1/3 cup Key lime juice
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add shallot and saute for about 1 1/2 minutes. Add white wine and bring to a boil; boil for 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Spoon shallot from pan and discard. Add chicken stock and cook for 2 minutes.
Add butter and cook over medium-low for 3 minutes, swirling pan or whisking gently to combine. Remove from heat and whisk in lime zest and Key lime juice. Keep warm over low heat while the fish is cooking. Serve warm.
This recipe pairs great with Scout & Cellar 2018 CHE FICO PINOT GRIGIO RISERVA.
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!
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
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.
If you love French Onion soup, you will LOVE this French Onion Stuffed Pork tenderloin! This smothered pork tenderloin has all the great flavors of a French onion soup, plus juicy pork, and it’s made in one pan!
Seriously! Brian, my boyfriend said this meal made the Top Ten! It’s savory, it’s gooey, it’s rich, it’s easy, and it’s all done in one pan, which makes for easy clean up! I personally love cast iron so my 10 inch cast iron skillet is my go-to for one pan meals!
Grab your favorite oven-safe skillet, and let’s get started!
Preheat the oven to 350°F while you brown the onions and garlic. This will take about 20 minutes. You will use two onions, which may seem like a lot but trust me the onions will reduce as they cook. Cook the onions and garlic in an oven-safe, large skillet. The pork tenderloin will be going back in there. Be sure to keep the cooked onions warm by putting an aluminum tent over them while you prepare the pork loin.
Before butterflying the tenderloin, mix the oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a bowl. You will rub this oil mixture on both sides of the tenderloin. To butterfly the pork tenderloin, use a sharp knife to make a horizontal cut about one-third of the way up from the bottom of the tenderloin. Flip open the thicker, top flap (like opening a book). Then, take the knife and cut another horizontal line through the thicker part of the tenderloin to open it up even more (like a trifold). You should now have a flat surface of meat that will hold the flavor of the French Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. Put a piece of plastic wrap over the laid out pork and pound it out to about a 1/3 inch thickness, be careful not to tear it. Once the pork has been butterflied, rub both sides with the oil mixture.
Top the pork tenderloin with half of the cooked onions and half of the shredded cheese. Roll up the pork tenderloin, making sure you wrap up all that goodness inside! Then, using cooking twine, tie the rolled pork tenderloin up to hold in all the ingredients. Heat the same skillet that you used for the onions, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Next, sear the pork tenderloin on all sides, rotate it about four times to get as much of the pork seared as possible.
Next, cook the pork tenderloin for about 15-20 minutes, making sure the internal temperature is at 145°F. Take the tenderloin out of the oven. Don’t worry, I did not forget about the rest of the onions and cheese. Top the tenderloin with both and broil for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and Enjoy!
This recipe pairs great with my french onion risotto and a glass of Scout & Cellar’s 2018 LITTLE JANE PINOT NOIR. Little Jane Pinot Noir is elegant and complex with red plum, black cherry and fresh raspberry balanced by garrigue, Asian spice, and a hint of coffee bean with soft tannins and a lingering finish.
Risotto recipe is at the bottom of this post.
3 tablespoons butter
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon EVOO
Salt & Pepper
½ cup beef broth
1 pork tenderloin
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese, divided
3 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.
Add onions, drizzle EVOO over top, stir and saute for 5 minutes.
Add garlic, stir to combine and saute for 2-5 minutes
Add beef broth, stir and cook until the onions are browned and tender (approximately 15-20 minutes).
Transfer cooked onions to a bowl and tent to keep warm.
Butterfly the pork tenderloin.
Cover the entire cut of meat with plastic wrap and pound to an even 1/3 inch thickness.
In a small bowl, combine oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Rub over both sides of pork tenderloin.
Top the pork tenderloin with half of the cooked onions and half of the shredded cheese.
Tightly roll the pork tenderloin to completely enclose all of the fillings.
Using cooking twine, tightly secure the roll.
In the same skillet over medium heat, add the pork tenderloin to the pan and sear on all sides (about 3-5 minutes on each side). Turning the pork tenderloin a total of 4 times.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pork tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F.
Remove pork tenderloin from the oven.
Increase oven temperature to broil.
Top pork tenderloin with remaining cheese and onions and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.
Slice and serve warm.
Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.
5½ cups beef stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 cups Aborio rice
6 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch black pepper
First, heat your stock in a pot until warm, and keep over low heat to make sure it is warm while you work – this helps the rice to better absorb the liquid.
Heat your butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add in your onions and cook for 15-20 minutes or so, stirring often, until they are golden brown and caramelized. Add in your rice and garlic, stir to combine, and then add in your ½ cup of stock. Stir often, you want to make sure that the rice doesn’t burn, stir until the liquid has been absorbed, then add in another ½ cup, stir, and when that liquid has also been absorbed, add in another ½ cup of stock. Continue to do this for another 18-20 minutes, until the rice is tender.
When your rice is ready, stir in the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve hot.
I’ll never forget the day I stopped by grandmother’s house to ask her to share the family recipes. I pulled up a chair at her kitchen counter, pen in hand and she asked “Where do you want to start?”
I remember being a little girl having family picnics at the lake down the street from her house and for dessert she always would make her famous rum cake. My cousins and I would always feel so grown up because we were eating rum cake. LOL
So I asked for her rum cake recipe. She laughed, opened her recipe box and handed me a recipe card. It was the Bacardi Rum Cake recipe card. “It’s that easy”, she laughed. We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and writing down her recipes.
This recipe makes the moistest cake you’ll ever eat. And it’s been popular since the 1970s, it’s soft, fluffy and super moist, bursting with rum and yellow cake flavor. Not to mention it’s easy to prepare, and perfect for any occasion.
You can use any rum. I use my favorite rum, 82°West 1911 Special Dark Rum. 82 West Distilling is a craft rum distillery in Tampa, right in Seminole Heights!
It all starts with a cup of pecans sprinkled over the bottom of a bundt pan. Then you mix a package of yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and half a cup of rum until smooth. I did make one adjustment and added a tablespoon of Vanilla and mixed until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour.
Once the cake is done, you prepare a simple butter-rum glaze made of butter, sugar, water and rum. Spoon the sauce all over the warm cake. Let it sit to soak in all the delicious butter-rum glaze and serve.
1 cup chopped pecans
1 box yellow cake mix (You just use the cake mix as is, do not add other ingredients listed on the cake box.)
1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (92 g)
1⁄2 cup cold water
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup dark rum
1 tablespoon vanilla
1⁄2 cup butter
1⁄4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup dark rum or rum
Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of a greased bundt pan.
Stir together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and rum.
Pour batter over nuts.
Bake at 325 in the oven for 1 hour.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
Transfer onto a serving plate and poke top with a toothpick.
Melt butter in a saucepan.
Stir in water and sugar.
Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Stir in rum.
Drizzle ½ of the glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake.
Allow cake to absorb glaze.
Drizzle the remaining glaze over the top of each slice right before serving.
In 2007, my family and I took a Carnival cruise around the Mediterranean coast. My Papa, grandfather had the biggest sweet tooth and loved to try all the Italian desserts. While we were in Naples, we stopped at a cafe for Limoncello. In the bakery case, they were selling fried dough dusted with powdered sugar, Zeppole. Naturally, my Papa ordered us some to go along with our Limoncello. We were handed a brown paper bag filled with Zeppoles.
We explored Naples, carrying that beautiful greasy bag, pulling Zeppole out one at a time, getting the sugar all over ourselves. We were two very happy people!
Zeppole are tiny Italian doughnuts – crisp, light and incredibly fluffy, usually served in a brown paper bag or wrapped in parchment paper.
As it turns out, Zeppole are really easy to make at home and take almost no time at all — about 15 minutes.
1 cup of unsifted flour
2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
dash of salt
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Confectioners Sugar for Dusting or maybe Cinnamon Sugar
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Crack your two eggs into the mixing bowl and beat until foamy.
Add all of your dry ingredients into the eggs in the mixing bowl while on slow speed and then add your ricotta and vanilla right away.
Continue to mix on a slow speed till it is all combined. The batter will be thick…creamy and sticky. It is not a cookie dough consistency…it is a rich thick waffle type batter. Do not over mix.
Have your oil ready in your favorite pot. I use a cast iron dutch oven. Your oil should be approximately 375 degrees.
I use a small cookie dough scoop …first I spray it with oil so that batter doesn’t stick …then scoop up the batter (no exact measurement here : ) and carefully drop it into the oil…repeat with consecutive scoops but don’t let them touch…
Zeppoles will turn themselves over. Fry them for about about 3 minutes…if they are a little bigger…a little longer.
Once you get to that nice deep golden brown it is time to scoop them up and place them on brown paper or paper towels to drain. Continue with another batch.
Sprinkle them with Confectioners sugar or some Cinnamon Sugar.
These Blackened Chicken Wings are tender and juicy on the inside. The blackened seasoning spice mixture almost forms a crust on the chicken to seal in the juices. Of course, you have to serve the chicken wings with homemade Blue Cheese dressing! This easy homemade blue cheese dressing is better than anything you can buy at the store.
My friend, Adam lives in Asheville, NC during one of this hikes he came across some Ramps, wild leeks. He dried and powdered the leaves and mailed Brian and I some to get creative in some of our recipes. I thought I’d sprinkle a 1/2 tablespoon into my Blackened seasoning, it was AMAZING! But don’t worry if you can’t find Ramps, the seasoning is still delicious!
I can not wait for football season so we can make these at our tailgate!
To make the blackened chicken, I mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and then generously coat the chicken wings with the seasoning on all sides, using my fingers to press the seasoning on to the chicken.
Heat your skillet until it is searing hot skillet (use your cast iron skillet if you have one!). Drop 4 tablespoons of butter into the skillet and allow it to melt and bubble. Then place the chicken wings into the HOT skillet and cook until the chicken is blackened on each side and fully cooked inside.
I used butter for this recipe to give the chicken a richer flavor, but you can certainly use a healthier oil, such as canola oil or coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil because the skillet needs to be searing hot, and olive oil smokes at high temperature.
2 pounds of chicken wings
1 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons blackened seasoning, divided
4 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoon Onion powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Combine all the spices and herbs in a small bowl. Mix well.
Place the chicken wings into the spice mixture on both sides to coat the chicken.
In a large skillet heat 4 tablespoons of butter.
Carefully place the spice-coated chicken wings into the butter, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
If the chicken is blackened but not fully cooked, just lower the heat and cover with a lid, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
Serve the blackened chicken wings with blue cheese dressing.
BLUE CHEESE DRESSING
3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 to 4 ounces Blue Cheese crumbles, chunky
Milk, buttermilk or water to thin out the dressing, optional
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the blue cheese. Whisk until combined.
Do you have over ripe tomatoes? Don’t throw them out, turn them into Slow Roasted Tomatoes! Save for later and add to other dishes, or even for snacking. Not only are these delicious but your house will smell AMAZING!
Halve tomatoes then place along with garlic cloves on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.
Drizzle a little olive oil on the tomatoes and add herbs and seasonings if you’d like.
Bake for about three hours in a 225 degree oven.
Allow them to cool then put into a jar, cover with olive oil.
Store in the fridge then use them as you need them. YUM!