Lobster Claw Salad

Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend…Meet me at the pool and then go enjoy this “lobsta” salad…We’re going bold here, no more just blending in! Left image above was shot in our kitchen at the villa at Ocean Edge Resort, Cape Cod Massachusetts back in 2014, where I made my first ever Lobster Roll. I still can’t figure out why I waited so long to create that; but I’ve been enjoying that dance ever since. Life Changer! Above right image is a tray of fresh claw meat from Maine Lobster Now, where I order all of my lobster tails and fresh claw meat. It is literally shipped the same day that it is cooked and picked. Sweetest lobster that you’ll ever taste, and their bisque is amazing as well. Give it a try. As always, I receive nothing, nada, zippo for mentioning my favorite companies and products; just sharing the love and hoping to give you a fresh idea to elevate the every day.

2 lbs lobster claw meat*
3 to 4 oz organic, prewashed whole red butter leaves
1 avocado, cut in chunks
2 large fresh tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmans’s Light)
8 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 Tbs celery leaves, chopped 
4 Tbs chopped fresh basil
3 Tbs chopped fresh chives
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons

Combine mayo, celery, celery leaves, basil, chives, lemon zest, and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add in lobster, avocado, and tomatoes.
Toss gently.
Arrange lettuce on plate.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with lobster mixture.

*You may use meat from the entire lobster if desired, but I totally prefer the most delicate, tender claw meat. I order from Maine Lobster Now.  They package the claw meat the day that the lobsters are cooked and ship only next day air, never frozen. So I freeze immediately upon receiving.

Note: Serves 6 to 8 if you have a side such as asparagus, and a small homemade roll or cornbread slice.

Pork Tenderloin with Creamy Tarragon Sauce

Well Happy Almost Weekend! Hope yours will be stellar; mine will bring even more clarifying studying and activities (thank you F and B)! Back up…I spent the first several months of the quarantine cleaning out cabinets, drawers, closets, shelves, counters etc. Now I’ve moved on to the part of the home that I actually SEE daily and live in!!!! Good bye extraneous books, nik naks, patty whacks, and I’m giving the dogs the bones! So here’s another boneless pork for ya!

For Pork:
1 peppercorn pork tenderloin
Bring to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat skillet over medium high heat.
Drizzle olive oil all over bottom of oven proof skillet.
Salt and pepper both sides of tenderloin.
Place in skillet and sear one side for 3 minutes.
Turn over and sear other side for 3 minutes.
Add more oil and 1/2 cup water to skillet.
Transfer to preheated oven and cook uncovered for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest out of skillet for 10 minutes.

For Sauce:
1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove minced
1 t fresh ground pepper
1/4 t kosher salt
1/4 cup brandy
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t Dijon mustard

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat.
Add shallot, garlic, pepper, and salt.
Cook 2 minutes until shallot is soft.
Take off heat and add brandy.
Return skillet to medium heat and cook until nearly evaporated, about 1 minute.
Add cream and bring to simmer.
Cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Stir in tarragon, Worcestershire , and mustard.

Slice tenderloin and drizzle sauce over to serve.

Shrimp Waldorf Salad

One of my MOST favorite paintings ever! There was this horrible oval floral painting, that the don and I were gifted from my paternal grandmother when we married in 1975. Soon thereafter, we found it hanging in the dining room on Forest Hills, where it remained for fifteen years to our dismay. But you know, family…So years later when Torrey and I opened our gallery, the don enlisted her help for a surprise commission from Wayne Trapp for my Christmas gift. Sweet way to rid us of that awful painting. It’s me in a “Walk in the Garden”! Do you dream in color or black and white?

And speaking of walking in gardens…here are lettuce, celery, apple, grapes, cranberries, and a few more added ingredients to make the perfect lunch, brunch, or dinner salad. Artful edges!

1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
2 Tbs honey
1 t cider vinegar 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in small bowl. 

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 
1 small head Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 lb cleaned, cooked medium shrimp 
4 small celery ribs, chopped 
1 honey crisp or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into small pieces 
16 red grapes, halved
1/4 cup dried sweet cranberries
Put lettuce in large mixing bowl. 
Add shrimp, celery, apple, grapes, and cranberries.
Spoon in dressing. 
Toss to coat. 
Divide between 4 plates. 

Pork Tenderloin Chop with Mustard Sauce

Knock Knock, it’s Peg. A true statement with some potential craziness is headed your way right here, right now. I love sipping bone broth from a mug, especially during allergy (RIGHT NOW), cold, and flu seasons. But I cannot stand meat on a bone. I want it all boneless…fish, chicken, pork, and the twice a year red beef. So, the only pork chop that I will enjoy is one that I slice from a pork tenderloin! Who wants that thin, dry chop on a bone when you can have this yummy thick delicious “chop”?!? Leave your love life to chance, but not your cooking!

Black peppercorn pork tenderloin
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
Cooking spray
3 Tbs butter
1/2 cup fat free chicken broth
2/3 cup fat free Half and Half
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 t fresh lemon juice
1 cup mushrooms, stems removed
Fresh parsley

Slice pork into 5 or 6 pieces, 1 1/2” thick.
Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
Spray with cooking spray.
Cook pork 5 to 6 minutes on both sides, until cooked through.
Transfer to plate and keep warm.
Add broth to skillet and scrape to loosen browned bits in skillet.
Add Half and Half, mustard, lemon juice, and mushrooms.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 6 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.
Slice each pork piece into thirds.
Place on plate, and top with sauce and mushrooms.
Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6.

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Butter

Zinging into spring with a simple little midweek veggie; heck I’d serve this at a dinner party…oh that’s right, we don’t have those anymore, but SOON!! Nothing unusual about this little asparagus side dish, except its deliciousness. It’s perfect vintage southern and an ideal pairing with any protein. Try it, even if you’ve tried it before. Totally worth every little dancing taste bud that it hits sliding down the throat. Yum! Captured the below pics with the afternoon sun streaming in my westward facing kitchen windows. Perhaps it’s a bright and encouraging sign that we are turning the corner on Covid.

2 lbs thick asparagus, trimmed
1 Tbs olive oil
2 t fresh thyme leaves
3/4 t  Kosher salt, divided
4 Tbs room temperature unsalted butter, divided
1/4 t ground black pepper
4 minced garlic cloves

Place oven rack 6 inches from broiler.
Preheat oven to medium broil.
Place asparagus on rimmed baking sheet.
Pour oil, thyme, 1/2  t salt over asparagus.
Toss gently to combine.
Broil asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove and toss asparagus to turn over.
Broil another 3 minutes, until lightly browned.
Transfer asparagus to serving platter.
Place 1 Tbs butter and garlic into skillet over medium high.
Cook until lightly golden.
Place remaining 3 Tbs butter, pepper, and remaining salt in small bowl.
Pour garlic melted butter into bowl.
Stir until combined; will make creamy sauce.
Pour sauce over asparagus and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.

Mahi, Two Ways: Part One

Well hellodie from the fishing scene in Istanbul! Follow the journey from the Turkish shore all the way back to Morehead City’s Captain Jim’s Seafood, and then straight in to Peg’s Kitchen for a lively adventure in fish prep! First, Istanbul, 2013… Lone fishermen in small boats catch Bluefish on the Bosphorus Strait and deliver them straight to the docks where they are cooked on sight for locals and tourists alike. Fanciful, docked, decorative boats serve as open air kitchens. Can NOT get any fresher than that! The cooks are constantly singing melodic tunes of “Balik Ekmek”, meaning “Fish Sandwich.” We indulged happily!

Fast forward to 2021 , where we are state side, and here in Greenville, NC cooking some great fresh mahi filets, two ways! No need to escape to the shore, I’m gonna school ya from right here. So, Be Inspired and Come in Hungry! Perhaps one of these recipes will become your signature fish dish…One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish! (Thank you Dr. Seuss.)

First Way: Sautéed Mahi with Clarified Butter

6 oz mahi filet, 11/2″ thick
1/4 t Kosher salt
1/2 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t olive oil
2 Tbs clarified butter
1/4 cup dry white wine, more if needed
1 Tbs capers
1/4 cup baby tomatoes
1 Tbs chopped chives, for serving
Cilantro, for serving

Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat.
Drizzle oil on bottom of skillet.
Add butter to skillet and swirl to evenly coat pan.
Add fish to skillet.
Cook 4 minutes.
Flip fish to other side.
Add wine, capers, and tomatoes to skillet.
Reduce heat to medium low.
Cook 6 minutes, until cooked through.

To plate:
Place filet on plate.
Spoon cooking juices with capers and tomatoes over filet.
Garnish with chives and cilantro.
Serve with a side of roasted red potatoes.

Blueberry BBQ Chicken

Entree Chicken Chef Farmer BBQ Sauce

Photo from Southern Season website.

Oh goodness! Vivian Howard of Chef & The Farmer has a scrumptious Blueberry BBQ Finishing Sauce…a unique twist on BBQ sauces. I LOVE that they claim right there on the bottle that the sauce is “great with chicken and pork and grilled veggies and cocktails and friends and weekends.” Well said! Don’t worry if you don’t live in our fab ENC; you may order it from the restaurant or Southern Season. “Take a break from traditional red sauce and go blue!” You do watch A Chef’s Life, right?

2 large organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup Chef & The Farmer Blueberry BBQ Sauce
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepperEntree Chicken Chef Farmer BBQ

Preheat oven to 400°.
Salt and pepper both sides of chicken breasts.
Heat olive oil and BBQ sauce in skillet on medium high until sizzling.
Place chicken in skillet and reduce heat to medium.
Cook 4 minutes til browned on one side.
Turn chicken over.
Place in oven.
Bake 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to rest 4 minutes.
Slice chicken on diagonal.
Drizzle with skillet juices.

Serves 4.

Fresh Tomatoes Preserved (for Winter!)

Worth the effort…I PROMISE. You will be pleased as punch bourbon this winter when you make your vegetable soup, pasta dishes, baked chicken, and/or sauteed fish.  Don’t shrug this off; honestly, do it! This is THE simplest of all canning. Totally legit. It IS after all the season to “put up” summer produce, right?! I tweaked this recipe from Southern Living’s softback Little Jars, Big Flavors, featuring Virginia Willis. (Thanks Lou, for the intro to Virginia at Chapel Hill’s Southern Season!) So run out to your local produce stand or grocery and snatch those ‘maters up this weekend.

After the 60 second boil and ice water bath, they peel quite easily.

After the 60 second boil and ice water bath, they peel quite easily.

Sauce Canned Tomatoes Cookbook

Proof that I used the Little Jars, Big Flavors cookbook. Thanks Virginia Willis!

This is what you’ll need:
Complete Canning Set, just makes things easier!
9 lbs fresh tomatoes
2 Tbs salt
4 cinnamon sticks
6 garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 cup lemon juice
4 Tbs sugar

The first several steps make it a cinch to peel the tomatoes.
Bring large pot of water to a boil.
Prepare an ice bath in large bowl.
With knife, cut a large x on bottom of each tomato.
Drop tomatoes into pot.
Cook 60 seconds.
Remove with strainer directly in to ice bath for 2 minutes.
Remove tomatoes from ice bath.

Peel and coarse chop, discarding skin and core.
Place chopped tomatoes in soup pot.
Add salt, cinnamon sticks, garlic, lemon juice, and sugar.
Cover and bring to boil.
Once boiling, remove lid, and boil 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove pot from heat.
Cover and let stand 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare jars and lids by boiling them 10 minutes in water bath.
When ready to fill, remove jars and lids from water.
Ladle tomatoes and juice into jars, leaving 1/2″ head space.
Place lid on jars, and screw rims on loosely.
Lower into boiling water bath.
Process in boiling water 40 minutes.
Remove from processing bath to counter top.
Listen for the popping sound, signaling a proper seal.
Allow to stand 24 hours untouched.
Label and transfer to dark pantry.
Good for a year.
Refrigerate after opening.

Makes 6 pint jars.

Ahhh...Dinner from a Father's Day Basket with my Homemade Italian Tomatoes!

Ahhh…Dinner from a Father’s Day Basket with my Homemade Italian Tomatoes!

Chile Queso Dip/Sauce

Well hello California Chrome! Way to own the Derby. Extremely well done. And now…let’s doff those pretty hats and go to Mexico. It is, after all, Cinco de Mayo tomorrow. So I’m sharing the love with a simple but expertly crafted appetizer that you can prepare with ease and in turn share with friends. Pair it with Gray’s Margarita and you have it all covered. Mix all with Laughter; Keep Calm and Munch On.Appetizer Chile Queso Sauce

1 shallot, finely diced
2 vine ripened tomatoes, diced
3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs butter
2 serrano chile peppers, thinly sliced
1 red jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
1/8 t kosher salt
1 Tbs all purpose flour
1 cup milk
4 oz grated pepper jack cheese
4 oz grated American cheese
Tortilla chips for serving

Combine 1 Tbs shallot, tomatoes, and half the cilantro in small bowl.
Set aside.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add remaining shallots, serrano peppers, jalapeño peppers, and salt.
Cook, stirring, until shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle flour into pan.
Cook, stirring, until flour is absorbed, about 1 minute.
Whisk in milk.
Bring to simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.
Stir in pepper jack and American cheeses until melted.
Remove from heat.
Stir in remaining cilantro.
Pour into serving bowl.
Top with tomato mixture.
Serve with chips.

*Author’s Note: This is also excellent over baked chicken and sauteed fish. Yum.


Mango Chutney

Ingredients just pored in pot, totally uncooked.

Ingredients just poured in pot, totally uncooked at this point.

Put this one in your Trapper Keeper. Mangos (may also be spelled mangoes) have been grown in India for an amazing four thousand years. Right?! Mangos were introduced to the tropics of Florida in 1863, with the first successful variety commercially grown being the “Haden”. Other popular Florida mangos are the Tommy Atkins, Keitt, and Kent. Their peak seasons are mid June to late August, making this a perfect time to can Mango Chutney to blast you through the winter and spring. Uhhh, I think I’ve also just completed my non-shopping Christmas shopping with all of this canning I’ve been up to (don’t end a sentence with a preposition!). Yes Ma’am. Go for it. Enjoy it with pork, chicken, potato salad and so forth!

Here ya GO!  Task Complete.

Here ya go! Task Complete.

10 mangos, peeled and cubed
2 small onions, chopped
2 cups golden raisins
4 Tbs ginger paste (in refrigerated produce section)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 t mustard seeds
1/2 t red pepper flakes
5 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar

Combine sugar and vinegar in large pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
Add remaining ingredients.
Bring to boil, and then simmer, uncovered, stirring every 5 minutes approximately 45 minutes, until thickened and syrupy.
Pour in to clean, prepared mason jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space.
Close jars with lid and lightly placed rim.
Process in boiling water 15 minutes.

Makes 11 to 12 half pint jars.

Do NOT double this. Make additional separate batches if desired.