Grilled Oysters with Spicy Tarragon Butter

serve

There’s a birthday in the house. A very special birthday. Our dog Bob is 2. We rescued him just about a year and a half ago. It was hard. He wasn’t very sure he wanted us and we weren’t sure we could handle all of the neurosis this rescue dog came with. We knew all about these difficulties when we decided to rescue him. He was born in Georgia. He and his siblings were immediately put into a shelter. They had to have been abused. He was adopted and returned (was this the abusive person?). He was then sent to another shelter – one of those horrific kill shelters. At 3 months he was rescued from that awful place, and then rescued from one rescue organization by the fabulous folks at Underhound Railroad. He spent 3 months under the care of Underhand Railroad living with a foster mom a few miles from here.

We talked about a dog. We talked about rescuing a dog. We scoured sites looking for the perfect dog. AND THERE HE WAS.

We met him. He wouldn’t look at us. He wouldn’t come near us. He hid behind his foster Mom (thank you, Jamie).

We glanced at each other across the lawn and knew. He needed a home. He needed love and support. He needed us. We wanted to be those people for him. We decided his name had to be Bob. Twofold – (1) Canned Heat from Woodstock – Woodstock Boogie “I’ve got a dog his name is Bob” and (2) the movie What About Bob – we say this an awful lot.

The first three days he spent under a table – shaking. Then we lost him, in the woods, for 3 days. Wet, scared puppy, rain, halter *poof* gone. When he came back we just weren’t sure anymore. Bob was just NOT happy with us. I talked the Dear One off the ledge. He talked me off the ledge. The folks at Underhound asked us to give it more than a week. So we did. Their support was incredible – phone, emails, texting.

Then Bob fell in love … with me. Not so much the Dear One at first, which was very difficult when WE wanted a dog and the dog didn’t want BOTH of us. Be patient, he will come around. Those words became our mantra.

We were patient. We were frustrated and sad. Our hearts were aching for this poor little dog who had to have been so badly treated that he had no faith in humans, even those who walked him and fed him and gave him treats – or our friends who fed him under the table when they thought we weren’t looking.

Suddenly, once day, without our realizing when or how it happened, OUR dog appeared. The one who jumps up and down when he hears my car. The one who wants only the Dear One to chase him around the yard. The one who knows if I say “time to brush your teeth” to come running to the kitchen. My secret service agent. The Dear One’s play mate. He is more of a puppy now than he was at 6 months old when he first entered our lives.

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Happy birthday, sweet dog. Thank you for letting us put a silly hat on your head. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you Dear One (as always) by indulging me with really wanting this insane dog. Perhaps this insane dog found the perfect insane home with two insane humans and all their insane friends.

So when Bob turned 2 and he was really and truly now OUR dog, he needed a special dinner. Enter the birthday dinner …

birthday-cake

A meatloaf cupcake, wrapped in bacon, mashed potato frosting and carrot candles. Maybe it was gone in 2 bites.

The grownups, however, didn’t want Bob’s birthday dinner surprise so we had Baked Oysters with a Spicy Tarragon Butter. This is a Bobby Flay recipe from Food & Wine.

We have a friend who grows oysters. When he calls and says he has oysters the only answer to be given is – OH.YES.PLEASE. We ate a bunch of them and had a bunch left over, but no shucking knife. Our dear friend said to just bake them in a hot oven and they’ll open right up.

These are so fresh, so sweet, so perfectly briney and grown just off the coast a few miles from our house.

  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 dozen medium to large oysters, such as Gulf Coast or Bluepoint

NOTE: The oysters we used were farmed by a friend the day before. These are, without a doubt, the best oysters I have ever eaten.

Light a grill.

oysters

NOTE: It’s February – in Maine. The grill is away in the shed, shivering, waiting for spring to make an appearance. I turned the oven  up to 500 and baked the oysters for 10 minutes. The top shell lifted right off and we continued from there.

tarragon

In a food processor, pulse the butter with the tarragon, hot sauce, salt and pepper until blended. Transfer the tarragon butter to a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a 2-inch-thick log. Refrigerate the butter until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Slice the butter into 36 pats.

NOTE: I had 2 dozen oysters, but made the same amount of butter. There would have still been a lot left over with 36 oysters. I sliced the butter and froze it. There’s a salmon somewhere just itching for this butter!

baked

Place the oysters on the hot grill, flat-side up. Cover the grill and cook until the oysters open, about 5 minutes.

NOTE: A baking sheet and 500 degree oven for 10 minutes did the same thing.

with-butter

Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a platter, trying to keep the liquor inside. Quickly remove the top shells and loosen the oysters from the bottom shells. Top each oyster with a pat of tarragon butter and return the oysters to the grill. Cover the grill and cook until the butter is mostly melted and the oysters are hot, about 1 minute.

NOTE: Turned on the broiler and put the baking sheet back into the oven.

Serve right away.

Roasted Carrot Soup #SundaySupper

carrot-soup

It’s Sunday Supper time again. This week’s event – Fancy Appetizers – is being hosted by Wendy Wholistic Woman. Stop by and see her wonderful site!

I love having a garden. I love growing many different kinds of vegetables. I don’t like trying to figure out what to do with it all so it doesn’t spoil.

I can.

I freeze.

I cook and freeze.

I get stumped.

I flip through magazines.

And lookie what I found!

Roasted carrot soup with a tinge of ginger. This should work. The Dear One loves soup. Me? I’m not so crazy about soup. But this one is thick and rich. Unusual. Ginger. Besides, I get to try out my new immersion blender!

I’m very happy now that I’ve made this – it’s snowing and cold and snowing. Soup is perfect! And the orange color is so cheery!

  • 1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, cut into medium dice (to yield about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large rib celery, cut into medium dice (to yield about 1/2  cup)
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger (from about 1/2-inch piece, peeled)
  • 2 cups homemade or low-salt vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground white pepper
  • Chopped fresh chives or chervil for garnish (optional)

Heat the oven to 375°F.

carrots-peeled

Place the carrots in a medium baking dish or on a baking sheet, you want the carrots in a single layer without touching. Drizzle carrots with the olive oil. Toss them to coat well and roast, for about one hour, stirring once halfway through roasting, until they’re tender, blistered, and lightly browned in a few places.

chopped-ingredients

Melt the butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s translucent and fragrant, 2 to 3 min. Stir in the celery and ginger and cook until the celery softens a bit and the onions start to brown, 4 to 5 min. Add the roasted carrots, chicken broth, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover. Cook at a lively simmer until the carrots are very tender, about 45 min. Turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.

Purée the soup in a blender in batches, never filling the blender more than a third full, and bearing down firmly on the towel-covered lid so the soup doesn’t come flying out. An immersion blender is perfect for this! If serving immediately, return the soup to the pot and reheat; garnish with the chives or chervil if you like. Otherwise, refrigerate for up to five days; reheat gently and taste for salt before serving.

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Grilled Swordfish with Husk Cherry Salsa #SundaySupper

done

It’s been a long time, but know that I feel the urge to blog again, I’ve rejoined the fab people over at Sunday Supper. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a great bunch of food folk who post recipes from a specific theme each Sunday. There’s information at the bottom of this post on how to join. I’m going to do my best to keep up! This week’s #SundaySupper Tastemaker event is being hosted by Candace from Authentically Candace. Thanks for the hosting!

A friend of mine with a garden that is fair size bigger than ours and with some ingredients that are ‘experimental’ for my limited gardening knowledge, lets me come over and explore. While she and I were walking around her garden one day, I came across these Husk Cherries. They’re also called Choke Cherries or ground cherries.

husk-cherry

As you can see, they’re covered in paper, much the way a tomatillo is. They’re about the size and color of  a Sun Gold tomato, maybe a little smaller in size. Inside, they’re structurally akin to a tomato.

picked

peeledThey’re sweet. They’re tart. They’re like candy. They’re fabulous. Definitely going in my garden this year.

But now that I have them, what am I going to do – aside from admiring them!

They’re a pain to peel because they’re so small. They’re sticky.

But once peeled and rinsed, you just want to do something fabulous with them. I searched and searched until I came across a recipe from Michael Simon, who I am liking more and more every day.

 

FOR THE HUSK CHERRY SALSA

  • 1 pound ground cherries (husked, washed, and sliced in half, about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup thinly shaved red onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 1 lime (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and season with salt and pepper. For better flavor, let sit for 1 hour before serving.

made

FOR THE SWORDFISH:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (5 to 6-ounces each) swordfish steaks

Prepare the grill (medium-high heat). Whisk the oil, mint, lemon juice, basil, and garlic in a medium bowl to blend. Season the lemon and olive oil mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Brush the swordfish steaks with 2 tablespoons of the lemon and olive oil mixture. Grill the steaks until just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side (depending on thickness of steaks). Transfer the steaks to plates.

Add the Husk Cherry Salsa to the top of each Swordfish steak and you’re done!

Take a moment to visit the other great Easy Dinner Recipes for Two!

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Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Mussels in White Wine and Garlic

Ready

“It’s a beautiful day,” says he.

“I know!” I respond, “FINALLY!”

“We really should get out and about.”

“Oh, yes, please! That would be great.”

It’s one of the first truly nice days of spring. The sun is shining, there’s a light breeze, it’s warm(ish). I want to get out and feel the sun on my face. A nice walk in Acadia National Park. Oh, Sand Beach, I haven’t been there yet. My head was filled with places on Mount Desert Island I wanted to explore.

The Dear One, however, had other ideas in mind.

See, there’s a tree. A tree he cut down. A tree destined to be cut and split and stacked and dried for the wood stove for the winter.

THE WINTER? Seriously, Dude? It’s April! I’ve barely had time to recuperate from this past winter much less think about NEXT winter.

Well, you see, he explains, it has to be cut and split and stacked now, and covered in plastic so that it dries out to be ready for next winter.

Now, back to that tree … it’s down a ‘slight’ hill, on the opposite side of the house from where it needs to be stacked, and looked MUCH smaller standing upright.

“Okay, I’ll take the big part of the trunk. You take the branches. Whatever is too small to cut for the wood stove, throw on the wood pile.”

This is when I realized that the man of my dreams is completely OFF.HIS.ROCKER! Has he not seen these delicate, little hands? Has he not seen me struggle to pick up heavy grocery bags? Most importantly, has he NOT SEEN MY TIARA!? A princess, I tell you! A City princess, at that, carrying a tree? Stacking wood? Surely you jest.

Jesting he was not. But I princessed up, rolled up my sleeves and heave ho’d. I threw branches and stems on the burn pile (wait, ce qui es une BURN PILE … oh, I am so new to this planet!), carried big branches up to some God awful contraption so it could be cut into logs, and stacked up wood that Mr. Lumberjack split.

I smelled. I dropped a birch branch on my toe. I dropped a birch log on my ankle. I was covered in sawdust and dirt and YUCK. Every single inch of my body hurt … except, perhaps, a 1/4″ spot on my left ear.

AND I WAS STARVING. I needed a HOT shower and a hot, quickly made dinner.

I sent Simon Legree the Dear One off to the market to pick up dinner … mussels, garlic, parsley … while I stood in a scalding hot shower trying to wash away the memory of the day.

In the time it took to boil a pot of water, shallots were sliced, garlic was minced, parsley was chopped. When the pasta was dropped into boiling water, the shallots, garlic and white wine simmer, after about 5 minutes the mussels were added, another short 5 minutes, added some parsley and butter. Everything done at the same time. 15 minutes from start to finish.

A few slices of toasted Italian bread, glasses of fabulous red wine, and I was a happy, though still sore, camper.

It doesn’t really get easier than this dish. Next time I may add some arugula in, or perhaps halved grape tomatoes, the possibilities are endless.

  • 2 C dry white wine
  • 4 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 4 pounds live mussels
  • 1/3 C mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, chervil, or basil, chopped
  • 6 T butter, cut into pieces

Rinse and scrub mussels under cold running water. Using your fingers or a paring knife, remove beards (strings that hang from the mussels’ shells), and discard.

In a large stockpot set over medium heat, combine wine, shallots, garlic, and salt. Simmer 5 minutes. Add mussels. Cover, and increase heat to high. Cook until all mussels are open, about 5 minutes. Stir in herbs and butter. Remove from heat. Divide mussels and broth among four bowls. Serve immediately.

NOTE: We were STARVING so I threw this over pasta. If you serve the mussels without pasta toast some bread, rub it with garlic for dipping.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Taquitos

Baked

All the back and forth in my life, coupled with the Dear One’s travels, make my ability to blog … well, hampered, to say the least.

This recipe was one I made with my brother, Nick, for a Super Bowl party he was attending. You may remember the other recipe we made together, Buffalo Chicken Bites. Snarky comments aside, the chicken bites were fab.

These were good, but I think if they were to be made again, I would change these slightly.

First, canned chicken? It was okay, but if you’re going to cheat, you may as well buy a rotisserie chicken. A poached chicken breast would be best.

Smaller tortillas, more blue cheese, more hot sauce, maybe some chopped celery.

But, changes aside, these were easy, taste great, and are good for a Super Bowl party when grab and go food is called for!

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 C buffalo sauce
  • 1 C shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/8 C blue cheese crumbles
  • 1 can (12.5-ounce) Swanson® Premium Chunk Chicken Breast in Water, drained
  • 8 8-inch flour tortillas
  • coarse Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Filling

In a bowl, combine the cream cheese and buffalo sauce. Mix well. Stir in the Monterey jack cheese, blue cheese crumbles and chicken; mix well.

Stuffed

Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll up. If needed, microwave the tortillas for about 30 seconds to make them soft and pliable enough to roll. Place on a baking sheet. Spray the taquitos with cooking spray, then sprinkle with coarse salt.

Rolling

Bake in the preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with blue cheese dressing for dipping, if desired.

Ready to Bake

NOTE: These definitely needed more of a kick. Maybe a little more buffalo sauce. Perhaps a few dashes of hot sauce. Maybe a bit more blue cheese. And while I like the 8″ tortilla, I really think the smaller ones would be better.  They would be crisper. And as my pal Sandra would say … I like crunchy!

Steamed Clams & Tomatoes

STeamed Clams & Tomatoes

I have been in the car for a lifetime. Okay, not quite a litetime, perhaps it was just a month. Okay, fine, not a month. SIGH! It had to be a week. Really. Those 6 1/2 hours in the car battling Friday traffic to the Cape seemed to have lasted at least a week!

I am TIRED!

My tushy is SORE!

I am CRANKY!

I am STARVING! Yes, I know, when am I ever NOT starving.

A quick stop at the supermarket and then I can stretch (unpack the car), have a glass of wine (put the groceries away), and do what helps me unwind best (we’re hungry, what is there to eat) … COOK!

But it’s late and the sun is setting. I really want to sit with my love and watch the sun set over the bay and don’t necessarily want to be tied to the stove (an electric one to boot … oh, the horror), so whatever it is it has to be quick … but it still has to be GOOD!

Oh, Everyday Food, you have saved me yet again. While I miss the printed magazine terribly – oh, please bring it back – the online version will suffice (a little) and brought me this fabulous, quick and easy recipe.

To make this a little more substantial, I put it over linguine. But for a really light supper, just bread and a salad would do the trick!

  • 2 T olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 t hot pepper flakes
  • 3/4 t dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
  • 4 pounds clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

NOTE: I used Little Neck clams.

Ingredients

In a large pot heat oil over medium-high, add garlic, hot pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add tomatoes

Add tomatoes, increase heat to high, and cook until the tomatoes burst, about 4 minutes.

NOTE: They don’t really burst, they’re already cut in half. But the skins start to pucker and the tomato halves start to break down a little.

Add clams

Add clams and 3/4 cup water, cover, and cook until clams open, stirring once, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle chopped parsley on top to serve.

NOTE: I sliced some Italian bread, brushed it with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and put them into the oven as I dumped the clams into the pot. Perfect to sop up all the delicious liquid in the bowl.

Turkey Vegetable Chili

Turkey Vegetable Chili

It’s cold.

I’m sick.

Bubonic plague sick.

Oh, no, not the flu. The flu would be too simple. Here’s some drugs, get some sleep, you’ll be better.

I have the energy sapping, can’t keep your eyes open, will not go away virus that is sweeping the nation.

I needed to make something. Something warm. Something healthy. Something that freezes well.

The solution, this wonderful one-pot turkey vegetable chili. Filled with veggies and turkey. It’s hearty without being too much. Best part, it’s a Weight Watcher’s recipe and each one cup serving is only ONE POINT.  Okay, I made my Grandmother’s Biscuits to go with, so it’s no longer one point, but I’m ill and can afford the extra calories, and besides, I’m shooting for filling, healthy and yummy, not diet conscious.

There’s a lot of energy sapping chopping here, but the end result is totally worth it!

  • 10 oz. extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes (I use mexican style w/ green chiles)
  • 2 medium zucchini – diced
  • 2 medium yellow squash diced
  • 15 oz can black beans – rinsed & drained
  • 2 cans fat free low sodium beef broth
  • 4 celery stalks diced
  • 1 or 2 packages dry chili seasoning or to taste

NOTE: This is the original recipe. I usually use low sodium chicken broth. I use one packet of the chili seasoning.

Ingredients

Saute turkey, pepper, and onion in the bottom of a large stock pot until browned.

Into the pot

Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat until veggies are tender (about 30 minutes).

Cooking

I like to simmer mine for a while longer to help the flavors blend, but it’s definitely not necessary.

Makes approximately 20, one cup servings.

NOTE: When I freeze tis I freeze it in ziploc bags, laying flat, in both one and two cup portions.