Mexican Succotash

The original succotash was introduced by American Indians in the 1600’s. The name was derived from the Narragansett Indian word msickqqustash, meaning boiled corn. I’m not quite certain what they call it in Cabo, but corn is an obvious staple of Mexico; so, here we go! Last month at Diamante, the posse and I enjoyed poolside time, strict studying and taking notes while “reading” Audible books, the occasional margarita, wild golf cart rides around the property, and then back to the villa for cooking dinner. This is one sweet and spicey version of succotash that we concocted. It may be served warm, room temp, or even chilled…your choice! Take a look! PS. We served it with a grilled shrimp, and lime and honey fruit. That’s coming to you tomorrow right here! Stay tuned.

1 Tbs olive oil
1 1/2 t butter
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
3/4 t salt
3/4 cup diced red pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced jalapeño pepper
1 Tbs minced garlic
1/2 cup diced fresh tomato
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t cracked black pepper
Pinch cayenne
1 cup green beans, cut on bias in 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup water
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 cup cooked fresh or frozen baby lima beans (thawed)

Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium heat.
Add onion and salt.
Cook stirring until onion is golden and soft, about 6 minutes.
Add pepper, Jalapeño, and garlic.
Cook until peppers are soft, about 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne.
Cook and stir until heated through, about 1 minute.
Add green beans, water and 1/4 t salt.
Cook 4 minutes.
Add corn and lima beans. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.

2/3 cup serving is 140 calories.


Soup Freezing = Healing Energy

Sup Dog!?? My cool collegiate city has an infamous beer and hot dog spot by that very name. But my pups aren’t fans of hot dogs. They love it best when I’m prepping soups for the sweater weather ahead. They hang out quite closely in the kitchen, waiting for the accidental chicken drop! We all know food feeds the body, but I happen to fully believe that it feeds our essence as well. Perhaps that’s why my favorite meal is always warm soup. To me, it helps calm, fight stress, and heal emotional wounds, and makes the common cold feel more tolerable as well! Somewhere a fork salesman weeps, and a spoon salesman cartwheels! Any time is a great time for my homemade Brunswick Stew.

Breast meat of 1 roasted chicken, chopped
1 lb cooked, chopped pork tenderloin*
2 cups low fat, low sodium chicken broth         
1 1/2 cups frozen lima beans
1 1/2 cup frozen white corn
14 oz can diced tomatoes        
10 oz can Rotel     
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs basil (in tube)
*May use purchased fresh BBQ for ease if desired

Bring chicken broth to a boil.
Add lima beans and corn.
Cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and Rotel (both undrained), Worcestershire and basil.
Stir and cook 5 minutes.
Add chopped chicken and pork
Stir well to combine all.
Cook covered on medium low for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
Serves 8.
Appx 350 for cup and a half serving.

Potatas Bravas

Back, oh, a decade or so ago, Brenton fell in love with the lifestyle and cuisine of Southern Spain. Upon her return to the grand USofA, we experimented with numerous recipes, based on her taste bud memories. One of our favorites, and a routine “go to” even in this decade is the Potato Frittata. It’s all about gaming your brain with a delicious amount of starch…and while we have you dancing around in that head of yours, here’s another starchy option, appetizer style, served all fancy! Here are the particulars!

Olive oil
2 diced plum tomatoes
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t paprika
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

Cook tomatoes in olive oil until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add garlic, thyme, paprika, and pepper flakes.
Cook 3 to 4 more minutes.
In separate skillet, cook potatoes in olive oil until tender and golden, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Drain on paper towels.
Sprinkle with salt.
Serve in spoons over tomato sauce.
Drizzle with “aioli” sauce.

Sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
In medium bowl, whisk together all three ingredients until well combined.
Refrigerate until ready to use.
Makes 20 spoons.

Lemony Shrimp Scampi

Good Afternoon Fine People! As the warm days are waning (thank goodness in my simple opinion!), I offer those of you who only enjoy shrimp during the summer months one more recipe to ease through your palate with brightness. As I watched the “winners” being announced during the Emmy Presentation Sunday night, I couldn’t help but to think that there are no “Category Winners” on this site. I love everything that I post; and if I attempt something that is less than suitable, it doesn’t make it “on air”, sorta like some early versions of TV shows! This is a sure red carpet winner; so go ahead, be fabulous, then sit back and wait for the oohs and aahs!

Entree Seafood Lemony Shrimp Scampi
Vinaigrette:
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Zest of 2 large lemons
Juice of 2 large lemons
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper until smooth.
Set aside.

2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 t kosher salt
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes.
Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
Add shallots and cook until soft, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add shrimp, salt and pepper.
Cook until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove shrimp from skillet.
Increase the heat to high.
Add wine.
Cook for 1 minute until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add cooked pasta, cooked shrimp and vinaigrette to the skillet.
Toss until all ingredients are coated, adding the reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta.

Transfer to a large bowl, garnish with dill, and serve.

Mexican Street Corn

Diamante Resort, Cabo San Lucas
Left: Poolside View of the Villa ~ Right: View from The Dunes Course

When in Cabo…Try your darndest to consume all of the locally farmed goods available. We hung out in the beautiful villa kitchen almost every evening, prepping fresh deliciousness to share around the dining table. So let’s all stretch our culinary senses and live more scrumptiously. Yum…and more to come (think Baha Artichokes!)

8 ears fresh sweet corn
2 Tbs canola oil
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Zest of a lime
2 jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed, and sliced
1/2 cup cotija
Sprinkle of chili powder

Brush corn with canola oil.
Grill corn and peppers over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes.
(Or boil until tender if a grill is not available. Then char it in a skillet over medium high heat.)
Stir together sour cream, cilantro, and lime zest in bowl.
Brush corn with mixture.
Sprinkle with cotija and then chili powder to taste.

Fresh Corn, Cucumber, and Radish Salad

Here’s to Sunday evening, and looking forward to the bold new work week tomorrow. Let’s get it going with a simple side, starring fresh, in season ingredients for Monday dinner. This isn’t a particularly strong trick, but it gets the job done. So casually hit the pause button and enjoy. Eat fresh corn!
Starch Corn and Radish Salad
This is what you need:

Kernels of 6 ears of cooked corn
6 inch Persian cucumber, thickly sliced and quartered
5 radishes, thinly sliced
4 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs champagne vinegar
1 Tbs sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 Tbs chopped dill
1  Tbs chopped cilantro

Stir together oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
Add corn, cucumbers, and radishes.
Toss.
Add dill and cilantro.
Toss gently.
Serve room temperature.

Oven Baked Shrimp Boil

This is a terrific, easy to prep dinner for a full house of actual PEOPLE over the Fourth of July Holiday. So take a quick peek here and “up” your kitchen success, while sparking extra joy. I’m totally thrilled to be seeing my family (on the regular now) and friends (cautiously) in the flesh, after admittedly being emotionally paralyzed with Covid Fear. But there are also some wonderful lessons learned and accomplishments achieved during Quarantine that will be part of my life forever, thanks to guidance from a trusted life coach, and an organizer unparalleled! So go out there, have some fun, celebrate America, eat good food, and most importantly relish the joy of human interaction…hugs optional…

1 lb Baby Dutch yellow small potatoes
4 ears corn, cut into halves or thirds
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1/2 lb andouille sausage, sliced in half lengthwise, then into 2 inch sections
Stick of butter, melted
8 sprigs thyme, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 lbs large cleaned shrimp
2 heaping Tbs Old Bay seasoning (I prefer blackened)
8 oz pilsner beer

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Microwave potatoes on plate 4 1/2 minutes.
Place corn, standing on ends, in baking pan.
Add potatoes and sausage (cut side down).
Drizzle with half melted butter, half lemon juice, thyme, and garlic.
Place lemon wedges on pan.
Bake 15 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Make pouch of aluminum foil.
Add shrimp, Old Bay, lemon zest, remaining lemon juice, remaining butter, and beer.
Bunch foil together at top.
Place in center of baking pan.
Return to oven and roast 15 more minutes.
Remove from oven.
Empty shrimp and juices onto sheet pan.
Turn corn on side to absorb juices.
Return to oven for 5 minutes.

Serves 6 with a side of salad. 

Collards and Black Eyed Peas

Well Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail…And I have my Bunny Bait ready and waiting. No Easter Bunny is missing the house of my Grands! And my niece Jordan (Instagram @jblodgett1) makes this special concoction to insure that the bunny doesn’t miss your home.* She has that covered, so I’m covering your brain game with an excellent green veggie/starch combo for Easter lunch, or any meal actually! I promise you one thing; this simplified recipe will become famous. So, tuck your head down, don your mask, take your hand wipes, race to the grocery, break the “always fresh” recipe rules, and secure these simple ingredients. Make one dish easy on yourself with the best canned ingredients ever! Sit back, hit the pause button, and enjoy your Easter. I hope you have family and/or loved ones with you. Vaccinations are becoming more available; but please continue to be diligent in your efforts to stay safe and healthy. I cherish you all!

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
2 t salt, divided
2 14.5 oz cans Margaret Holmes seasoned black eyed peas
2 14.5 oz cans Margaret Holmes seasoned collard greens
2 Tbs chipotle chili in adobo sauce, diced
3 Tbs lime juice
4 cups cooked rice
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese, for serving

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Add onions, a pinch of salt, and cook until browned, about 8 minutes.
Combine cooked onions, peas, collards, and chipotle chili in large pot.
Bring to simmer and cook 20 to 30 minutes.

To serve:
Place rice on side of plate.
Place collard mixture half on rice and half beside rice.
Squeeze lime juice on rice and collard mixture.
Sprinkle with cilantro and cheese.

Note: This is also delicious served over Raisin Cinnamon Toast instead of Rice.
Voila!
*Jordan creates specialty items all year long for holidays and “every days”…so follow her Instagram for details. She specializes in all things wonderful! Respond to me if you can’t find her; I’ll get you there.

Lemon and Pepper Jelly Shrimp

The great Rocco DiSpirito was on The Drew Barrymore Show a couple of weeks back and I was blown away! Rather than totally freak out when I researched his life as a chef, I decided to Keep Calm, Munch On, Try his Recipe, and Order a Couple of his Books. No recipe hunting for you this weekend good folks; I’m just handing it out to you. Just enough spice to make you happy but not ring the fire alarm! This is so full of ease and joy to prep, that you will be cooking it quite often. Add a simple salad or asparagus (to my version) and you have a totally balanced meal, nutritious, and calorie conscious. This food is pure art; and…we’re off!

This is what you need:
1 lb large, cleaned shrimp
2 Tbs olive oil
1 t coarsely ground black pepper
1 t coarse ground salt
2 Tbs butter
Juice of a lemon
3 to 4 Tbs Pepper Jelly, to taste*
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

*I used Jammit Jams Garlic Pepper Jelly, so I omitted the 2 garlic cloves.

And this is how you do it:
Blot shrimp dry with a paper towel.**
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
Add 2 Tbs olive oil to skillet.
Add shrimp, seasoned side down, and sauté for 2 minutes.
While this is sautéing, season the “upside” of the shrimp.
Flip shrimp over with tongs and cook second side 2 minutes.
Immediately remove shrimp to separate bowl.
In hot skillet, add lemon juice, butter, and pepper jelly.
Stir until jelly is meted and all is combined, about 2 minutes.
Toss shrimp back in skillet and stir to cover with sauce.
Serve over cooked rice.***

**I blot most things dry before placing in a skillet…shrimp, scallops, chicken, beef, and pork fillets. It improves the texture during cooking if the protein is dry when added to the pan. Trust me!
***Rocco’s recipe calls for sautéed broccoli rabe to be served with this shrimp, which really cuts down on the calories. Unfortunately, that’s not one of my favorites, and honestly, I really like a little starch. OOPSIE !! I think we have a winner here; and speaking of winners, Super Bowl LV is in 8 days…who’s going to win?
P to the S. I have a favorite! TB for history, just saying.

Roasted Chicken Breast with Polenta and Cherry Tomatoes

Wake up Monday…I’m here to put some well being in to your day. The last couple of weeks I took some personal time to try a few recipes that I have seen on Food Network, daytime talk shows, and in magazines. I went straight by the recipes (well, for the most part)! It was fun, mindless cooking, with the recipe front and center, rather than analyzing and creating. So remember the Buddy System and pass it on; be sure to tag the source if you post it on the Insta. This first one is from Katie Lee Biegel, as seen on The Kitchen a couple of weeks ago. Kicks you happily in the back of the throat and keeps you smiling. Simply put, it’s simple but not simplistic. How’s that for using a “root” word thrice in one sentence…grammar baby! Ha!

Nonstick cooking spray, for the baking dish
1 lb tube polenta, sliced 1/2″ thick
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
2 t Italian seasoning* 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving 
6 cloves garlic 
1 pint cherry tomatoes (a slight break from Katie’s recipe, because this is what I had on hand)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Place 5 slices of polenta in an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1 Tbs olive oil.
Place the chicken breasts on top of the polenta slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top each with the Italian seasoning* and Parmesan.
Arrange the garlic cloves and tomatoes around the chicken.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining 4 Tbs olive oil.
Bake until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 30 minutes.
Garnish with Parmesan and olive oil to taste.
Serve warm.

*If you don’t have premixed Italian Seasoning, simply combine and whisk together the following:
1 1/2 t dried oregano
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried rosemary

Katie’s cookbooks always find their way to the top of my browsing pile! And her newest book It’s Not Complicated comes out in March. Can’t Wait!