Pickled Shrimp

Did you know that shrimp cocktail can go from OK to straight up fantastic by pickling your shrimp? I didn’t until now. I have gone my entire adult life boiling plain ass shrimp and serving it as Shrimp Cocktail!

Where have I been? All this time I’ve been thinking that the quality of the shrimp I get makes the only difference.

Who likes plain ass shrimp? Not me. As a matter of fact, if you know anything about me, I don’t like plain ass anything.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you definitely don’t want to go to your regular ol’ grocery and grab a pound of shrimp not knowing how fresh it is, because you can’t. Freshness definitely counts. Do not get nasty old shrimp.

BUT.

The.Following.Makes.Such.A.Difference.

This is a recipe for pickled shrimp given to me by my brother-in-law, who has been an executive chef for many years here in Alabama.  There’s a certain trust you have about someone who works in the kitchen daily and enjoys it. He loves to cook at home, so there’s the trust for me.

Actually, I can’t imagine someone choosing that profession and not liking it. Who wouldn’t like doing that for a living??

Wish I could.

So, so wish I could. But, I would so miss my work peeps.

We had my brother-in-law over a couple of weeks ago and I cooked dinner for him – a tad intimidating to say the least. He’s a professional; I’m a wannabe. Nevertheless, I jump at the chance to cook for anybody because for whatever reason I just love feeding people. I love the process from making food to watching people eat and seeing a reaction on their face. Even if it’s a look on their face like this-tastes-like-crap-but-I-don’t-know-how-to-tell-you, I still appreciate it. Playing with food is my absolute passion, and if I don’t get real feedback I can’t fix what isn’t right about what I’m making.

Anyway, this is SOOO easy and makes your shrimpies taste so good, even before it takes a dip in cocktail sauce.

Pickled Shrimp

Adapted from my brother-in-law 

2 lbs shrimp, deveined if possible, but leave shells on

1/2 gallon water

1 tbsp salt

4 tbsp pickling spice

1/2 onion, halved

1/2 carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 lemon

Ice and water in a large bowl

Bring water through lemon to a boil for two minutes, add shrimp and boil for an additional two minutes. Immediately pour shrimp into an ice water bath.

Peel (except for tails) and serve with cocktail sauce. Makes about 4 appetizer servings.

Happy Hump Day!

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Shoepeg Corn Pico de Gallo

I have to admit, I have a thing about salsa, pico, dips, spreads….. You get the point.

Have I mentioned that I’m an appetizer whore?

Why yes, I think I have.

There’s something about the anticipation of a meal… the lingering, the sipping of wine, and of course having an appetizer. I tend to like to drag things out as far as food is concerned. Just ask my husband – there are times (usually when he’s hungry) when the sweet man asks me kindly if I would “please keep the dinner preparation/cooking under 3 hours”.

Doesn’t he understand how much joy I get from all this work I do in the kitchen? I think he does understand it by now, but he definitely doesn’t share the same joy.

So many times when I am making something, feeling all creative, I’m deep down worried that this is going to turn out to be….well, crap. But then it doesn’t!!

What a wonderful feeling.

This was one of those days. Love it.

This is a kind of like a salsa or pico de gallo, but also similar to what my dad called “Indian Salad”, which was really a Greek salad made of cucumber, tomatoes and feta. The possibilities for this is endless.

Shoepeg Corn Pico de Gallo

10 oz can shoepeg corn

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 cup black olives, diced

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered

4 oz Feta cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tsp seasoned salt

Combine corn through feta. Whisk together the vinegar through salt and pour it over the veggies. Stir to combine.

Done!

Refrigerate; and keep in mind the longer it’s there the better it will be.

xoxo

~Dixie Chik~

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Bacon Burger with Muenster, Onion Strings and Buffalo Mayo

I have many childhood memories from both my mom and my dad in relation to food. Let me give you a mini-ride down memory lane.

In regard to my mom I tend to remember –

1. Salmon Croquettes. Refer to this. You need to, seriously.

2. Potato Salad. She referred to hers as “German” potato salad, which includes lots of mayo, bacon and green olives, amongst other things, and is the only potato salad I will eat. Not sure if it’s actually German, but it’s something that’s so ingrained in my head I’ve yet to question if it’s actually a foreign recipe or if she just says that for the hell of it.

3. Southern Dressing. Yes, dressing, not stuffing. Here in the South, we don’t do stuffing. Honestly, stuffing isn’t a good thing unless you’re using it in a recipe that has absolutely nothing to do with Thanksgiving. When my mother makes dressing, the consistency requires a rather large spoon, i.e. not a knife. Again, that wouldn’t be normal. We need to spoon it out and pour on an obscene amount of cream of chicken soup. That’s the Southern way.

As far as my dad –

1. Fried Shrimp. If the man were still alive this would be the first in his arsenal I would have picked his brain for. I know he breaded them in cornmeal but I’ve yet to be able to re-create this recipe. His shrimp were crispy, but tender and the flavor was amazing. They will forever stand out in my mind. He always made these with what he referred to as “Indian” salad…this was actually a Greek salad for all intents and purposes. Again, another one of those things I wonder about now that I’m grown.

2. Smoked Sausage Baskets. Simple, but yet something that I remember him making on a regular basis. He would make smoked sausage, cut the links up and put them in napkin lined baskets with sharp cheddar cheese. It’s a flavor combination I can taste as I type this; and as a matter of fact I can’t help but to think of watching Miami Vice on those ’80’s Friday nights.

3. Burgers. Burger night has stuck with me as far as I can remember. I do remember my mom having a part in making these, but one of the things that stands out in my memory is after frying the burgers in a pan, they would remove them and dip the inside of the buns in the burger grease. I have a feeling that made magical burgers. I also had to have every condiment I could get my hands on, including lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, ketchup, etc. But the most critical part of this meal was Fritos dipped in cottage cheese.

You see, burgers combined with Frito’s and cottage cheese go hand-in-hand. They. just. do.

Try it one time and you’ll be hooked. Just don’t get that fat free crap.

Now, here’s a burger you need to grill soon. I’ve been meaning to make onion strings for months,and finally got around to making them this weekend – and at the same time creating a pretty amazing burger.

So.

Good.

Bacon Burger with Muenster, Onion Strings and Buffalo Mayo

1 lb ground round

2 tbsp bread crumbs

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp seasoned salt, like Lawry’s

Onion strings – this is a very easy recipe for these

1/2 cup mayo

1 tbsp buffalo hot sauce, or more depending on your heat tolerance 😉

4 onion rolls

4 slices Muenster cheese

1/2 lb. sliced bacon, cooked

Combine the ground round through seasoned salt; form into patties and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. I have discovered this makes grilling so much easier because they tend not to fall apart.

Grill the burgers until desired temp, then top with cheese and close the grill for about a minute; remove and cover with foil.

Mix the mayo and hot sauce together, then slather some on the top part of each bun. Place the burger on bottom bun, then top with bacon and onion strings, then top bun.

Eat.

Please have Frito’s and cottage cheese with this.

*wink wink*

~Dixie Chik~

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Caprese Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Brie and Honey Mayo

I’m just curious – is it just down here in the deep south that winter/spring decided to take a year off and let summer come in as a fill-in? It went from being slightly chilly in February to it’s-freakin-hot-and-the-bugs-are-dangerously-gigantic. Seriously, they are psychotic. And the grass it out of control.

Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love summertime; I’m definitely a beach/pool/sun girl. But sometimes a little cushion in between cold and suffocating humidity is a good thing. Not to mention the tornadoes.

Speaking of springtime….did you know that April is Grilled Cheese Month? I didn’t either until my good friend Google told me. Funny how search results can be so random and have nothing to do with what you’re looking for.

Grilled cheese has been a staple in this house since the day my daughter started eating real food. When we grill out – she gets a grilled cheese. When I make any type of seafood – she gets a grilled cheese. If she had her way, she would eat a grilled cheese every night. But, not gonna happen. I’m just waiting on her to branch out those taste buds and eat like her mama.

This is a grown-up grilled cheese that has flavors of Caprese salad and a hint of sweetness from mayonnaise combined with a little honey.

It’s scrumptious –

Caprese Grilled Cheese with Mozzarella, Brie and Honey Mayo

2 tbsp mayo

1 tbsp honey

2 slices of thick white bread (I used potato bread)

1 handful fresh basil leaves

1 handful grape tomatoes, washed and halved

Mozzarella cheese – didn’t measure, but use enough to make a hearty grilled cheese

2 tbsp Brie cheese

2 tbsp butter

Mix mayo and honey in a small bowl until combined, then spread this on one side of one slice of bread. Next, spread Brie on the other slice and layer the basil leaves, tomatoes and Mozzarella.

Grill in panini maker or in a regular pan on the stove prepared with butter.

xoxo

~Dixie Chik~

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Chocolate Bread

I’m going to have to blame this on Pinterest.

Damn it, Pinterest. Not only are you taking over the entire internet, you’re converting a non-baker.

How many times have I told y’all I’m not a baker?? Once, twice, fifteen times?

Something about all those seductively delicious looking cupcakes and breads screaming at me from their little pins make me want to get out my flour and black and white (yet sexy) apron and bake my ass off. Is it that I want to be known for my baking skills?

No.

As a matter of fact, as I’ve told you before, I haven’t really ever enjoyed baking. I don’t like the whole the-measurements-have-to-be-perfect thing. I love cooking; throwing in this and that, etc. I get immense joy from experimenting and playing with food. However, let’s not jump to conclusions. I still don’t have fantastic baking skills, and I’m taking it one day at a time.

I just want to play in my kitchen… and for whatever reason it’s beginning to really reach beyond jalapenos. It’s time I stop avoiding it.

Who knew?

This is a recipe I found on Pinterest that, for some reason, the second I re-pinned it I had to make it – and yes – recreate it.

Chocolate Bread with Bailey’s Glaze

Adapted from Mehan’s Kitchen

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup cocoa

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp saltes

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup oil

3/4 cup whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze

1/3 cup Bailey’s liquor

1/2 cup powdered sugar, or more

Combine the liquor and sugar to make a syrupy glaze. If it’s too thin, add more sugar and whisk.

Preheat oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Using a stand mixer, combine brown sugar through salt on low until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolk, oil and milk. While the mixer is running on low, slowly pour this in with the flour mixture, just until a soft dough forms, then stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving. Drizzle with glaze.

 

This pan vanished within 30 minutes.

Just sayin’

~Dixie Chik~

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