Tag Archives: Emeril

Spinach Artichoke Paninis

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I really have to give the classic, ubiquitous spinach-artichoke dip some credit for helping me get over my aversion to vegetables and eat more wholesomely. Growing up, I was never a fan of spinach or artichokes and avoided them both whenever I could. But I always enjoyed the spinach-artichoke dip. I even ordered it at restaurants quite often.

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So I would willingly eat and always enjoyed this dip that contained both spinach and artichokes, yet I kept insisting that I hated both spinach and artichokes. Until the day came that I realized how completely stupid that sounded.

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And on that day I thought, “Get over yourself. You like spinach and artichokes in at least one preparation; isn’t there at least a teeny tiny chance you would like them in other preparations?” And so I decided to give them both a try. And you know what? I love spinach! And I love artichokes! Full stop.

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So then it got me thinking, if you have come around on these two produce items, aren’t there other foods that deserve a second chance? Turns out, yes there were (to say the least). And my world opened up to all the beautiful, healthy produce I’d been missing out on. Thus, I must say a big thank-you to the wonderful spinach-artichoke dip, an appetizer I still love on its own merits.

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So why not turn that dip into a pressed sandwich? Heck, yeah! This was beyond delicious, like fist pump and high five someone delicious. And also incredibly easy to throw together on a tired, busy weeknight. I used my handy-dandy sandwich press for this, mostly because I love it and feel I don’t utilize it enough. But you could always cook up these sandwiches on a griddle and use a hand-held panini press, or a heavy skillet to press them. If that’s the route you choose, be sure to butter the outsides of each sandwich first. Enjoy!

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Source: adapted from Kicked-Up Sandwiches by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 tbs minced garlic
Kosher salt and black pepper
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
18 oz. jarred marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
15 oz. baby spinach
8 oz. Brie cheese, rind removed if desired
4 oz. Monterey jack cheese, grated
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
16 slices White sandwich bread

Directions:
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is very soft, about 10 minutes. Add the artichokes and cook another 2 minutes. Add the spinach in two batches and cook until wilted after each addition. When the spinach is nice and tender, remove from the heat.
Set a strainer over a bowl and add the spinach-artichoke mixture to it. Allow the excess liquid to drain, about 5 minutes.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the three cheeses, tearing the Brie into pieces as you add it in. Then add the warm spinach-artichoke mixture and stir until nicely combined and the cheese has begun to melt.
Assemble the sandwiches: evenly spread a packed half-cup of filling between two slices of bread. Repeat with the remaining bread slices and filling.
Preheat your panini press to manufacturer’s instructions. When ready, carefully place each sandwich onto the grates and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. Do this in batches if necessary. Remove, cut each sandwich in half and serve immediately.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is, hands down, my FAVORITE Thanksgiving dessert. I cannot go a year without eating it. And, it’s actually one of the very first things I learned to make in the kitchen! I remember helping my mom make it as a kid, and my favorite part was that there was always too much filling for the pie crust, and she would pour it into a gratin dish and bake that off. Then I would get to eat the gratin pumpkin custard with a spoon. With whipped cream on top, of course.

After I graduated college, I made this pie all on my own (a feat at the time) for Thanksgiving that year. I took it to my aunt, who was hosting my dad’s large family, but of course I kept that extra custard gratin all for myself.

Now, when I first learned to make it, I took the easiest route possible. I used a can of pumpkin puree and followed the directions on the back of the can. I used a store-bought, frozen pie crust. You know, the kind that is already made and rolled out and crimped into an aluminum pie plate. It was simple, yet always my delicious pumpkin pie.

I’ve grown up a bit since graduating college, and my cooking has most certainly evolved. A lot! I decided it’s high time for my pumpkin pie to evolve, too. I did a 180 degree turn from my first pie. That was the simplest pumpkin pie ever, and this was quite possibly the most complicated pumpkin pie ever!

First, there was no canned pumpkin. Nope, I roasted, peeled, and pureed a whole sugar pumpkin. Secondly, no condensed milk. And thirdly, I made the crust from scratch too. Honestly, I loved doing it this way. It felt pure and clean, and it served as a wonderful reminder of how far my cooking has matured. A very concrete way to cement just how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished in the world of cooking and baking. And it reinforced how much passion I have for cooking and baking from scratch.

I can’t say I’ll never make pumpkin pie using a can of puree again, but I am very happy to have done it starting with an actual pumpkin at least once.


(Why yes, please – I’ll have some pie with my whipped cream!)

Source: adapted from Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh, by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
PIE CRUST:
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
8 tbs unsalted butter, chilled
3 to 4 tbs ice cold water

PUMPKIN PUREE:
1 (4-5 lb.) sugar pumpkin
Vegetable oil, for drizzling

PUMPKIN PIE:
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
Whipped cream, for serving

Directions:
PIE CRUST:
Place the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it in with a pastry blender until it is the size of small peas. Add the water, one tablespoon at a time, and combine everything with a rubber spatula until it comes together. Use more water if needed.
When the dough has mostly come together, knead for about one minute in the bowl. Shape it into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.
When it is well chilled, transfer the dough to a floured surface. Flour your rolling pin and hands. Roll out the disk until it is about 12 inches around and 1/8 inch thick. Carefully fit it into a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp the edges decoratively. Then refrigerate the shell, lightly covered, for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

PUMPKIN PUREE:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the stem off the pumpkin and discard it. Cut the pumpkin in half. Scoop out the seeds and either discard or save for another use. Cut the halves into quarters, and cut the quarters in half. Transfer the pumpkin pieces to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with vegetable oil. Toss to coat well. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until the pumpkin is tender (the tip of a sharp paring knife should go in easily), 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it aside until the pumpkin is cool enough to handle. Then peel the skin off (if it doesn’t pull off easily, use a paring knife to slice it off) and chop the pulp into pieces. Transfer to a food processor and puree until completely smooth.
Push the puree through a sieve and discard any lumps or fibers left in the sieve.
Place the sieve over a clean bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Transfer the pumpkin puree to the cheesecloth and make sure the bottom of the sieve does not touch the bowl. Refrigerate overnight, letting it drain any excess liquid. Discard the liquid.
This will yield 2 to 2 1/2 cups.

PUMPKIN PIE:
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Lightly coat one side of a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray. Position it, greased side down, on top of the chilled pie crust. Fill the crust with pie weights or dried beans and blind-bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment. Working quickly, use a pastry brush to brush the egg white all over the crust. Set it aside to cool, about 20 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 375 F.
Combine 2 cups of pumpkin puree and all remaining ingredients (except the whipped cream) in a large mixing bowl and whisk until well blended. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake until the custard is set and the crust is lightly golden, about 1 hour.
Let the pie cool completely, then serve with whipped cream.
Note: original recipe calls for a 10 inch pie plate, but most pie plates are 9 inches, including mine. So I had a tiny bit of leftover filling, not enough for a separate gratin. Boo.

Cornmeal Fried Okra

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You know what these were?  Little. Nuggets. Of. Crack.  Crack, I tell you!  I think if I lived alone, and well, no one could see me, I would probably make a batch of this just to eat.  All by myself.  The whole thing.  Clearly, my waistline appreciates my husband.

I had lots of fried okra growing up, but my mom never used the typical buttermilk/egg wash step when she fried it.  She just rolled it around in flour and cornmeal, then straight into the oil.  I loved it, and I’m sure I’ll make it that way for you before too long.  But I have to admit, there’s something to that buttermilk step.  Though it may not be absolutely necessary for a delicious end result, it is serving a purpose when it completely messes up your kitchen.  That step gives it a bread-y yet crunchy exterior, and I promise you can’t taste any slime.

I think you are ideally supposed to use plates, or at least pie plates, for the dredging-in-the-flour step.  I used a bowl, which technically doesn’t leave enough room to properly dredge each okra piece.  It kind of makes the wet and dry slurry together and makes something of a paste.  I found that that was just perfectly okay with me.  The end result is no less delicious.  I’m practically drooling just writing this.  Hmm.  It’s making me wonder if Matt plans on being out of town for a few days anytime soon. 😉

Source: adapted from Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh, by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
Canola oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tbs hot sauce
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 pounds okra, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds

Directions:
Heat the oil in your deep fat fryer according to manufacturer’s instructions. You want the oil heated to 360 F.
In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, egg, and hot sauce to combine. In a second bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, cayenne, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
Working in batches, dredge the okra first in the buttermilk mixture, allowing any excess to drip off, then in the flour mixture. Shake to remove any extra breading. Repeat until all of the okra is breaded.
Fry the okra, in batches, in the hot oil, turning it as necessary, until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the fried okra to paper towels to drain, and season lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining okra.
If you have any left, transfer it to a serving bowl, take it to the table, and serve hot.

Blueberry Pancakes

During the last week of August, I realized I had almost let the entire summer get away from me without making blueberry pancakes once. I had a scant few days of blueberry season left before I would be guilty of committing a total travesty. Fortunately, crisis was averted and deliciousness was enjoyed.

Pancakes have always been one of my favorites. My mom made it for breakfast quite often, but the most enjoyable pancakes were those we got to eat for dinner. There’s something quite magical about breakfast for dinner. It somehow inherently feels like getting away with misbehaving; there’s a certain sense of impish satisfaction that accompanies it. It’s fun and cozy and relaxing.

I attempted to make these into blueberry lemon pancakes by adding the zest of an entire lemon into the batter. It provided a background flavor at best, and that’s actually being a little generous. I’m not saying it added nothing, but I certainly cannot add lemon to the title of the recipe based solely upon this preparation. I think next time I will increase the lemon zest amount and see what happens.

I can recommend this recipe as written though. The pancakes were fluffy and the blueberries burst with sweet goodness with every bite. This will remain a go-to recipe for me. I hope you enjoy it too.

Source: moderately adapted from Cook Without a Book: Meatless Meals, by Pam Anderson

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbs canola oil, plus more for the griddle
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions:
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk, 1/4 cup water, egg, and oil.
Heat a griddle over medium heat and brush generously with canola oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Whisk until just mixed.
When water splashed on the surface of the griddle splashes confidently, pour on the batter, about 1/4 cup at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the griddle. When the pancake bottoms have browned and the top surface starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes, flip the cakes and cook until the second side has browned and they are cooked all the way through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. You can use a toothpick to test for doneness, the same way you would use a knife to test a baked cake’s or quick bread’s doneness. Serve immediately.

Grilled Salmon with Tamarind-Peach Barbecue Sauce

Peaches, peaches and more peaches!  That sums up the month of August in my kitchen.  I first tasted peach flavored barbecue sauce several years ago and found it delightful, a pleasant marriage of sweet and tangy.  That dish was a version of barbecue chicken, which, let’s face it, can be a little high in calories what with all that beautiful chicken skin. I knew I couldn’t let National Peach Month get away from us without making a peach barbecue sauce of some kind, but I wanted something lighter than a whole chicken.

Enter this recipe.  It fit the bill nicely.  The tamarind didn’t overwhelm but added some nice flavor.  It paired nicely with the salmon.  I must admit, as much as I love the texture, I often find salmon’s flavor to be on the bland side.  I look at it as a blank flavor canvas, so I always either marinate it, spice rub it, or sauce it up.  Or, I glaze it while it’s cooking.  That may be one of the best ways to have salmon.  The sticky lacquer of the glaze compliments the thick fattiness of the fish so beautifully.  Now I’m thinking I must make this kind of dish soon…

This barbecue sauce would make a fine accompaniment to pork or chicken as well.  The flavor did not overwhelm the salmon at all, but, given my love of glazed salmon, I found myself thinking the dish would have been better had some of the sauce ingredients been reduced down to make a glaze that would have been brushed on while grilling.  An idea for a different dish, perhaps.  I suppose I also think glazed would’ve been superior simply because I associate barbecue sauce with meat or poultry, and associate glazes with firm fish, like salmon.  Does anyone else feel that way, or is it just me?

Source: Emeril at the Grill, by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients:
2 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 serrano chile, stemmed, halved, and thinly sliced
4 cups peeled, pitted, diced peaches
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
2 tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tsp tamarind paste or tamarind concentrate
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
4 (6 oz.) pieces salmon fillet, pinbones removed
1 tbs olive oil

Directions:
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chile and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the peaches and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, orange juice and zest, vinegar, brown sugar, and tamarind. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, or until thickened. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender until it’s smooth. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing with a rubber spatula to extract all the juices. Discard solids. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Allow sauce to cool to room temperature before serving.
Preheat a grill to medium heat level.
Brush both sides of the salmon with the olive oil, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Place fish on the grill and cook for about 2 minutes. Then rotate the fish 45 degrees and cook an additional 2 minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for another 2 minutes, or until it’s cooked to your desired doneness.
Serve the salmon drizzled with the barbecue sauce.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Ginger Barbecue Sauce

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am a chile-head, and that I love spicy food. I am obsessed with chiles of all kinds. I’ve always known jalapenos, but moving to New York and expanding my palate has opened up my world to an amazing variety of chile peppers. I’ve discovered chipotles, poblanos, anchos, serranos, Thai birds, fresnos, and of course, habaneros. I really and truly love habaneros. I love their fruity, intense heat and their pretty colors. Every year, Matt and some of his coworkers go in together and buy a whole bushel of habaneros from this Amish guy upstate who breeds them himself. They split them, and he brings home an enormous baggie full of the little red chiles. I put on gloves, and proceed to rip out the seeds and membranes, all the while trying not to cough too much. Then I puree them and keep them in a giant container in the refrigerator, and it becomes a habanero mash.

Whenever I need a habanero, I get a teaspoon or so of the puree. As you can see, I’ve got a ways to go before it’s all used up. One of the best uses I’ve found for this overabundance of habaneros is Jamaican jerk dishes.

I know I didn’t taste jerk anything until adulthood, but I immediately fell in love with it and now I cook it often. Jerk is so versatile and can marinate almost any protein. I especially love it on chicken. We grill it, and the smoky charcoal essence combines with the complex jerk flavors… I’m drooling just typing this…

Anyway, this chicken was wonderful. Complex in flavor, very spicy, smoky from the grill, slightly sweet and nicely lacquered. Don’t skimp on the marinade time, or you’ll miss some of the robust flavor.

Source: Emeril at the Grill, by Emeril Lagasse

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Ingredients:
1 bunch scallions, roughly chopped
8 habanero chiles, seeded and stemmed
1/3 cup minced garlic
1/3 cup minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tbs dark rum
3 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs light brown sugar
1 tbs fresh thyme leaves
2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 tbs kosher salt

Directions:
Combine the scallions, habaneros, garlic, ginger, lime juice, rum, soy sauce, brown sugar, thyme, and pumpkin pie spice in a food processor. Process to form a smooth paste.
Place the chicken in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag, add the marinade, and seal. Refrigerate, turning the bag occasionally, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Heat a grill to medium-high and lightly oil the grate.
Remove chicken from marinade and discard the marinade. Wipe the chicken with paper towels to remove any excess. As you can see in my picture, I wasn’t too hyper about this step and mine turned out great. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt. Place the chicken, skin side down, on the grill and cook, turning and rotating frequently, until it is lightly charred and cooked through. An instant read thermometer should read 165 F. This will take around half an hour. Remove chicken from the grill and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Ginger Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients:
6 tbs ketchup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tbs distilled white vinegar
2 tbs freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tbs butter
1 tbs dry mustard
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs tamarind paste
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/2 habanero chile, seeded and minced

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Serve the sauce warm or at room temperature, drizzled over the chicken.