Gambas Al Ajillo – Barbecued Chili Garlic Shrimp

Recipes in this PostGambas Al Ajillo - Barbecued Chili Garlic Shrimp

I will admit I have been remiss at not sharing this recipe earlier. As I was going through photos that my friend sent me from Memorial Day, I happened upon this one, and forgot that I had never shared this with any of you. This dish is so simple, great as an appetizer, or you could have it with rice and something green as a main dish. I actually made this on my Weber, but you could also make it on the stove top.

I subscribe to Saveur Magazine‘s digital edition, and was thrilled to find this recipe in their June/July edition. I adapted it to the ingredients I had available, and it was fantastic.

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Strawberry Torpedoes – Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries

Strawberry Torpedoes - Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries
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I recently joined a great MeetUp, Entrepreneurs Professionals Glendale, and wanted to bring something nice for everyone to share. One of the members, Aron Ganz of Ganz Media gave the berries their name, Strawberry Torpedoes, a much shorter name, and I am grateful for that!

This is a group of entrepreneurs and professionals, who own small to medium businesses. We are not drones of the corporate world, and realize that even though being self-employed has its difficulties, it has huge rewards. Our group, led by Lynn Sarkany of MarketFinders, meets to exchange ideas to help our businesses, share stories, and network with each other. If you are a like-minded individual, you might consider joining us. Please visit Entrepreneurs and Professionals to find out more.

I had recently found a whole bunch of baking chocolate on sale, had some strawberries and a package of cream cheese. But, instead of making the Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that I made last time, I thought I would add a little more adult flavor to the dish.

I added cocoa, coffee, vanilla, almond and cinnamon to the cream cheese filling, and I injected the berries with balsamic vinegar. When you bite into these berries, they explode flavor into your mouth.

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Nancy’s Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

Recipes in this Post Nancu's Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

I have a wonderful friend, Nancy, who makes the best chicken, Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken. Nancy was a Pan Am stewardess, so you know that chicken had to be good. Now, Nancy is a member of Kiwanis. As part of her volunteer work with Kiwanis, she invited my son to help her be Guest Chef at Ascencia. My son was too interested in playing with the other children who had also been invited to help her. I don’t think the kids did much helping, they just did a lot of playing.

She made this moist, crusty chicken that everyone loved. I got to be on the clean up team, but I’m not a forensic chef, so I didn’t know quite how she made it. None of those children made any notes on how she prepared that chicken, either.

Nancy;'s recipe for Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Nancy’s Recipe for Garlic Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Well, I saw Nancy a few days ago, and she wrote the recipe down for me. I asked her if it had bread crumbs, and she said no. Well, I decided to change the recipe, just a bit and add Panko bread crumbs. I like Panko bread crumbs because they stay nice and crisp, and they have very little flavor of their own.

My local corner store had some lovely fingerling potatoes at the counter when I was checking out a few days ago, and I picked some up. Potatoes go very well chicken, and these little ones will be done at the same time the chicken will be done. Tonight, when I was washing them, I noticed one of them had grown a few eyes. I put it back in the bag and put it in the dry goods drawer. It will be going out and living in the Apartment Vegetable Garden when its roots get a little longer.

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Crab Bisque

Recipes in this PostCrab Bisque

I am so happy that it is finally getting cooler in Southern California. As a matter of fact, there was thick cloud cover this morning, and I had to wear a sweater. It was a good day for soup.

After making Crab Salad with Thousand Island Dressing, I had a half a package of crab left over. I also had some cream left over from making something else. I knew I needed to use that crab, I needed to use the cream, and I wanted something warm. I have always liked crab bisque, so I decided to make that.

I had this brilliant idea when looking in my pantry and spying a can of Great Northern white beans. I didn’t have that much cream, and I really wanted the soup to be filling. To compensate for not using real crab, or real crab stock, I added a little anchovy paste for flavor. Both additions worked beautifully. Honestly, if you wanted to, you could omit the cream completely, as the beans do a fine job of thickening without all those calories.

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Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Recipes in this PostBiscuits and Sausage Gravy

When I was in college, one of my friends introduced me to another girl, Biba Hughes, who would become my best friend. I dated her brother, I got the father/daughter talk from her father because my father had died, and I was privileged to be in the kitchen with her mother, who made the absolutely best food. One of our favorites was Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. Her mother made the best, and still does. Mine is good, but Jeanne Hughes has some mother thing going that just makes hers the best.

With that in mind, and a package of raw bulk sausage in hand, I decided to make sausage gravy for dinner. I will happily admit that I am biscuit challenged, so I just got a package of refrigerated biscuits. No recipe for those here, yet.

Jeanne Hughes usually uses Italian sausage, but I had regular bulk sausage. I still wanted to make my gravy like hers, so I added the missing ingredients, garlic and fennel seed. She also has a secret ingredient that I am about to share with you…

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Thousand Island Dressing with Balsamic Toasts

Recipes in this PostThousand Island Dressing with Balsamic Toasts

Why would anyone want to write about Thousand Island Dressing? It’s yucky! It’s that reddish stuff that sits on the salad bar and congeals because no one wants it, and rightly so. It’s the “secret” sauce on the Big Mac, and has become so common that you probably don’t even notice it on your sandwich anymore. That’s a pity, because this is a grand dame of salad dressings with an interesting and honorable history.

One of the Thousand Islands only supports one tree and two bushesThousand Island Dressing is named for the archipelago of 1,864 islands that straddles the Canada-U.S. border in the Saint Lawrence River. Some of the islands are very small indeed. The one pictured above supports a single tree and two bushes. The dressing was popularized by May Irwin, a Canadian vaudeville star in the 1890’s. She had a home in Grindstone Island, one of the Thousand Islands. She said that the dressing reminded her of the Thousand Islands, and enjoyed the dressing so much that she requested the recipe from Sophia LaLonde, a fishing guide’s wife who frequently made the dressing for her husband. Miss Irwin then gave the recipe to George Boldt, the proprietor of the famous Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, who instructed his the hotel’s maître d’hôtel, Oscar Tschirky, to put the dressing on the menu. In 1950 the dressing became a standard, and started its decline into the gloppy mess we have today.

One of the things we do at The Good Plate is to reconstruct packaged foods, so they taste better, and don’t have the preservatives common in packaged foods. I knew that venerable Thousand Island Dressing deserved a better place, and making it from scratch would make it one of my favorites, especially for sea food salads.

I made a crab salad for the dressing, and some Balsamic Toasts to go with them. This was in the midst of Spane and his friend making Play Dough on the stove. There are little bits of homemade Play Dough all over the place. Time to clean!

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