Saturday, May 31, 2014

Guide to Cocktails

From Colleen Graham, your Guide to Cocktails
The herb contest is done and the winning drink inspired the theme of this edition. Yes, it is all about basil and how fantastic it is in drinks and the many ways to mix with it. Basil cocktails galore, I hope you enjoy, Cheers!

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Cocktail of the Week: Union Square
Spring Suite CocktailStrawberry and basil. It is a flavor combination that, if you have yet to discover it, is fabulous and the Union Square is a perfect way to experience it. The gin base is a perfect backdrop for the combo and this is just one more cocktail that gets better as the summer goes along and the ingredients come straight from the garden. Get the recipe...
Herb Contest Winner: Basil B. Bennett
Spring Suite CocktailThe name sounds like a friendly gentleman that lives in the bungalow down the street and the drink has as friendly a personality as that image implies. The winning drink for this month's cocktail contest is Mike Manjon's Basil B. Bennett and it is a fun mix of gin, basil syrup, lime juice, and a celery shrub. It's perfect for summer and very aromatic, I think you'll like it.Get the recipe...
Read the full contest commentary...
Chris Milligan's Basil-ica
Spring Suite CocktailThis is the drink that first opened my eyes to the beauty of basil beverages and it remains a favorite. In it, our favorite Santa Fe bartender mixes Plymouth Gin with St. Germain, basil, and both orange and Peychaud's bitters. Fantastic, transparent, and balanced to perfection. Get the recipe...
Mixing with Basil
Spring Suite CocktailSweet basil is the most popular and universal variety and it, for the most part, is the best to use in drinks. There are other basils that can be used as well and each will bring unique notes to the drink. It also tends to pair best with lemon, lime, tomato, and mint, and there are a number of great basil cocktails that go beyond these expectations. Read more tasting notes and explore more cocktails...

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Basil North
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Basil North

Basil North Cocktail - Cape North Vodka
Basil North Cocktail
Photo Courtesy of: © Cape North Vodka

Sabai Sabai
Photo Courtesy of: © Mekhong
Sabai Sabai

Sabai Sabai - Thai Welcome Drink - Mekhong
Sabai Sabai
Photo Courtesy of: © Mekhong

Dobel Spicy Chill
Dobel Spicy Chill Cocktail Recipe - Maestro Dobel Tequila
Dobel Spicy Chill
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Starry Lime

Starry Lime
Starry Lime (image source: Flor de Jamaica)
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Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekly Crockpot Recipe

Easy Garlic Thyme Chicken - Week 31
Diana Rattray
From Diana Rattray, your Guide to Southern Food

Easy Garlic-Thyme Chicken

Scroll down for more chicken recipes. 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled
6 chicken breast halves, with bone, skin removed
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Wash chicken breast halves; pat dry. Place chicken in slow cooker; sprinkle with garlic and thyme then pour orange juice and vinegar over the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Remove chicken and keep warm. Skim fat off juices then strain juices into a saucepan. Bring juices to a boil and continue to boil until reduced to about 1 cup, or about 10 minutes. Serve chicken with juices.

More Chicken Recipes
Related recipes, slow cooker and conventional 
Garlic Roasted Chicken, Slow Cooker
Crockpot roasted chicken with garlic, butter, and chicken broth, along with other seasonings.

Garlic Grilled Chicken
Boneless chicken breasts are marinated with a mixture of salsa, garlic, and lemon juice, then grilled.

Saucy Spiced Sesame Chicken
Chicken is broiled with a sesame, garlic, and ginger sauce.

Orange Spiced Chicken
Chicken with a flavorful orange sauce. Ingredients include orange juice, vinegar, nutmeg, garlic powder, and basil, along with chicken pieces and other ingredients.

Patti's Chicken Cacciatore
A crockpot cacciatore recipe with chicken breasts, onion, bell pepper, spaghetti sauce, and seasonings.

Lemon Chicken

Lemon chicken
Jeffreyww/FlickrThis chicken is made with lemon, garlic, thyme, butter, and other seasonings. An oven chicken recipe.

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Crockpot Chicken Recipes 
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On the Side
Macaroni and Cheese Recipes 
Vegetable Salad Recipes 
Potato Recipes 

Big Green Egg Custom Mahogany Table

Custom made Mahogany table for Big Green Egg Smoker: [a gift for my son-in-law, from his dad, who is an architect]

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guide to Home Cooking

From Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, your Guide to Home Cooking
Hopefully our friends in the North are finally starting to warm up. Drop into the Krazy Kitchen to get the latest product recalls, grab new recipes, and catch up with the gang. Have a great week!
Triple Chocolate Shortcut Cookies Recipe
These chewy, moist, and delicious cookies start with a devil’s food cake mix and are loaded with both white and dark chocolate chips. The recipe is quite a time-saver, and they are incredibly fast and easy to make. You can make the dough the day before and refrigerate. Then all you have to do is scoop them onto a cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The chocolate flavor and texture are to die for!... Read more
Swiss Chicken with Mushrooms Recipe

Chicken is browned, covered in mushrooms, green onions, sour cream sauce, and Swiss cheese, then baked to perfection in a claypot. If you are unfamiliar with cooking in a claypot, be sure to read my article before beginning. It is important that the claypot be pre-soaked and placed in a cold oven to bake... Read more

Bacon Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes Recipe

It is everything you love in a baked potato, and more. A comfort food for many, these twice-baked potatoes are kicked up with bacon, Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, sour cream and chives. This recipe may be made in advance and cooked later... Read more
Turkey, Leek, Broccoli Pie Recipe

Full of cheese and eggs, along with vegetables and smoked turkey, this quiche recipe is filling enough to satisfy the heartiest appetite. Get the smoked turkey from the supermarket deli counter, or use your own homemade. Best of all, this casserole may be served warm or at room temperature... Read more

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A to Z Recipes and Food

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Guide to Low Fat Cooking

From Fiona Haynes, your Guide to Low Fat Cooking
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a relative newcomer to our grocery stores, but it's an ancient food relied upon by the Incas. Quinoa provides all eight essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein, making it popular with vegetarians. For non-vegetarians, it's simply a delicious alternative to couscous, rice, and other grains.
8 Ways With Quinoa
Quinoa is not only a good source of protein, it's a good source of iron, fiber and B vitamins. Despite its status as a super grain, quinoa is technically a seed, but no matter, it's a great alternative to rice and couscous in salads and other dishes, and ideal for those who need to eat gluten free. ... Read more

Cucumber Salad
Cucumber Salad
Cucumber Salad
Fiona Haynes
One of my favorite summer side salads is this cool, refreshing cucmber salad. It's quick and easy to make and perfect for your upcoming summer picnics... Read more

Low Fat Rice and Black Bean Salad
Low Fat Rice and Black Bean Salad
Low Fat Rice and Black Bean Salad
Fiona Haynes
Enjoy this easy to assemble rice and black bean salad with your favorite grilled or broiled fish, chicken, pork or lean beef dish. For quick preparation, use pouches of 90-second microwavable rice, or ... Read more

Green Bean Salad
Green Bean Salad
Green Bean Salad

This vibrant green bean salad has just the right amount of crunch, a little saltiness, thanks to a small amount of bacon and a sweet tang, thanks to the balsamic vinegar.... Read more

Mexican Food

From Chelsie Kenyon, your Guide to Mexican Food
Esquites- Mexican Corn with Butter

If you love corn, then you will love the simplicity of this classic Mexican side dish called Esquites. All you need is the freshest corn you can find,... Read more

These flaky pastries are perfect for a meal or even a snack. First you make the Dough and then you can stuff it with all sorts of things, from... Read more
Chicken Soup with Lime
Chicken soup with lime

Most people would not think of eating a bowl of hearty stew when it's 100 degrees outside. Nor does a cool, refreshing salad seem like the right... Read more
Tamales stuffed with Chicken and Cheese

Try these flavorful Chicken and Cheese Tamales for your next family gathering. Whether it's over the dinner table or at a party, they are a definite crowd-pleaser. They are... Read more

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Maine Lobster Benedict

Maine Lobster Benedict
Submitted by: Chef Tom Gutow

Legend has it that eggs Benedict originated at Manhattan’s famous Delmonico’s Restaurant. Here it Maine, we substitute Maine Lobster for the Canadian bacon, and sometimes embellish the toasted English muffins with steamed asparagus spears.


(4 servings)

For Hollandaise Sauce:
½ cup (1/4 pound) unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Sea salt

4 English muffins, split in half and toasted
12 asparagus spears, steamed until just tender
1 pound cooked Maine lobster
1 tablespoon butter
8 eggs, poached


To prepare the Hollandaise Sauce: 
Melt the butter in a double-boiler on top of the stove. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. When the butter has melted, whisk the egg mixture into the melted butter, stirring constantly and cooking until the sauce starts to thicken. Season to taste with sea salt. Remove the double boiler from the heat and keep the sauce warm over the hot water.

To assemble Maine Lobster Benedict:
Toast the English muffins and place 2 halves on a plate. Cut the steamed asparagus spears in half, and place 3 halve-pieces on each English muffin half. Sauté the Maine lobster in 1 tablespoon of butter until it is heated, and portion on top of the English muffins. Top each muffin half with a poached egg, and dollop the Hollandaise Sauce on top.

A note on Hollandaise Sauce: Home cooks fear to make Hollandaise Sauce as often the fat from the butter and the protein from the egg yolks separate and the sauce breaks or curdles. If this happens, don’t despair. Add a few teaspoons of the hot water from the double boiler mixture to the sauce to emulsify it, and whisk furiously. I guarantee the sauce will become smooth again. Happens to me every time.


Per piece:325 calories
21 grams protein
15 grams carbohydrates
20 grams fat
504 mg. sodium
1 gram fiber.

Herb Grilled Maine Lobster Tail on Arugula with Chive Ricotta Gnocchi & Corn Milk

Herb Grilled Maine Lobster Tail on Arugula with Chive Ricotta Gnocchi & Corn Milk
Submitted by: Sous Chef Kelly Patrick Farrin, Azure Cafe, Freeport


(4 Portions/Dinner Entree, prepare in 45 minutes total, cook time 15-20 minutes, total meal in 1 hour, 20 minutes)

Main Components Ingredients                               AmountMaine Lobster Tail                     4 each
Herb Infused Butter                   4 oz.
Wilted Arugula                          4 cups packed
Grape Tomatoes                      1/2 cup
Chive Ricotta Gnocchi               32 each
Corn Milk Puree                        6 oz.

Grilled Maine Lobster Tail
Ingredients                              Amount

Maine Lobster Tail                    4 each/split and deveined
Unsalted Butter                        4 oz.
Thyme                                    1/2 teaspoon, minced
Chive                                      1/2 teaspoon, minced
Rosemary                               1/2 teaspoon, minced
Salt and Pepper                      To Taste
Maine Sea Salt                       Pinch per Tail

Wilted Arugula Ingredients                              AmountFresh Arugula                           4 cups packed
Extra Virgin Olive Oil                 1 Tablespoon
Grape Tomatoes                      1/2 cup quartered
Garlic                                      1 teaspoon, minced
Fresh Lemon Juice                   2 teaspoon
Salt and Pepper                       To Taste

Chive Ricotta Gnocchi Ingredients                              AmountRicotta Cheese                        1 Cup
Egg Yolks                                2 each
Parmesan Cheese                    1/2 cup, shredded
Nutmeg                                    Pinch
Lemon Zest                              2 teaspoon
Chives, minced                         2 Tablespoon
All Purpose Flour                      3/4 cup
Salt                                         1/2 Tablespoon
Butter                                      2 ounces

Corn Milk Puree Ingredients                             AmountCorn on cob                             2 each
Salt                                        To Taste


Grilled Maine Lobster Tail (Prep Time: 5 mins.)1. To remove lobster tails from live lobsters, twist tail back and forth until it breaks free.
2. Cut with sharp knife down the middle underside of each tail lengthwise, remove intestinal debris. Leave lobster meat in halved shell.
3. Remove all small "feeler legs” from underside of each tail.
4. Place head and claws in small pot of boiling water for 8 minutes. Then remove and cool.  Set aside.
5. In small sauce pan add butter, thyme, chives, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to simmer, and reserve.
6. Rub lobster tail with Maine Sea Salt and grill, meat side down first for 2 1/2 minutes.
7. Flip lobster tails and brush meat with herb-infused butter.  Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 more minutes. Reserve excess herb-infused butter.

Wilted Arugula (Prep Time: 5 mins.)1. Wash arugula in cold water, place in salad spinner to remove excess water.
2. Cut grape tomatoes into quarters, length and width cut.
3. Bring saute pan to medium heat.
4. Add olive oil and garlic to saute pan.  Cook just until it begins to change color.
5. Immediately, add grape tomatoes. Cook 1 minute.
6. Add arugula to saute pan, toss with tongs for 1 minute.
7. Finish with fresh lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from pan leaving behind excess liquid.
Method - Chive Ricotta Gnocchi (Prep Time: 15 mins.)1. Mix ricotta cheese, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, lemon zest, chives and salt together in mixing bowl with rubber spatula. Fully combine.
2. Slowly add sifted All Purpose flour to ricotta mix. Fold small amounts of flour into wet ingredients until it forms and becomes a soft dough.  Reserve excess flour.
3. Once soft dough is formed, let sit in covered bowl for 5 minutes to rest.
4. Place dough on clean, floured countertop to reduce sticking. Kneed dough until smooth and elastic.
5. Cut dough into 4 equal parts and roll with fingers to form long and round, 1/2 thick ropes.
6. Cut dough into 3/4” segments and reserve on floured baking sheet, make sure gnocchi are not touching each other.
7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Place gnocchi in water and with a wooden spoon, carefully stir to separate.  Then, boil for 5 minutes.
8. Remove gnocchi from heat and pour into colander.  Lightly coat with Olive Oil.
9. Pour onto sheet pan and cool in refrigerator.
10.  Heat saute pan over medium high heat. Add butter and gently place gnocchi in pan.
11. Brown each side for a crispy outer shell. Finish with salt and pepper to taste.

Corn Milk (Prep Time: 10 mins.)1. Shuck and clean corn.
2. Remove kernels from cob with knife, cutting downwards into the pith of the cob.
3. Place kernels in food processor and pulse until macerated.
4. Pass corn puree through fine mesh strainer (chinois).  Use the bottom of a ladle and press until puree is almost dry.  Reserve liquid, discard pulp.
5. Heat double boiler and place corn liquid in bowl.
6. Heat until it thickens.
7. Place in small squirt bottle or use teaspoon to sauce plates.

Production (Plating Time: 3 mins.)1. Place butter seared gnocchi’s in center of plate.
2. Next, use tongs to place wilted arugula on top of gnocchi.
3. Arrange 2 grilled half lobster tails together and place on top of arugula.
4. Spoon extra herb-infused butter over grilled lobster tails and shell.
5. Finish with circular pours of corn milk around plate.
6. Garnish with fresh rosemary. Serve and enjoy, Cheers!

Which Wine With Maine Lobster

Which Wine With Maine Lobster
Wine and LobsterAsk a wine expert what to pour with Maine Lobster and you’ll probably get a short answer: “It depends.”

Are you grilling, boiling or stir-frying the lobster? Are you pairing it with cream sauce, tomato sauce or black bean sauce? Karen MacNeil, chair of the professional wine studies program at The Culinary Institute of America, helps us navigate through the possibilities:

With a simple steamed or boiled lobster with drawn butter: “Go for something that isn’t as overwhelmingly big as California Chardonnay or white Burgundy. A fascinating match, although completely unconventional, is Albariño from Galicia, in the northwest corner of Spain, home of the largest fishery in Europe. That white wine is just built for shellfish. Oregon Pinot Gris could also be really fun. It’s a little weightier than Pinot Grigio.”

With lobster in a creamy sauce: “For lobster done in opulent manner, I think white Burgundy is the quintessential match. You can also do California Chardonnay, but I give the nod to white Burgundy because it generally has a bit more acidity. I wouldn’t cut corners. I would go for a Puligny-Montrachet, a Chassagne-Montrachet or a Meursault, and if the budget allowed it, a Grand Cru. Whether from California or Burgundy, Chardonnay is mouthfilling. Lobster also has a substantial mouthfeel, so it’s a textural match we’re making as well as a flavor match.”

With chilled lobster in a salad: “You’re looking for some bracing acidity because of the vinaigrette. French Chablis, Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé would all be great. An unconventional choice is German Riesling—a kabinett, high in acidity and matching the light freshness of the dish. If the salad has a strong herbal note or a lot of baby greens, I’d prefer Sauvignon Blanc. If it’s warm outside and the salad is primarily seafood without greens, consider a sparkling wine.”

With grilled lobster with a composed butter: “You might be able to get away with a toastier Chardonnay here, the toast mirroring the char of the grill. If you were ever going to try red wine with lobster, this is your chance, as the grill becomes the bridge. I’d be curious about how a Pinot Noir would work. If you have a stronger sauce than just butter, rosé would be a great idea. Some of my favorites are from Spain, from Tempranillo, Garnacha or Carignane grapes.”

With stir-fried lobster with Asian seasonings: “Definitely either a German Riesling, Champagne or sparkling wine, but I’d have a preference for the Riesling. Its high acidity, aromatic profile and background note of sweetness make it a logical contender with Asian and Southeast Asian seafood dishes.”

With lobster in a tomato sauce, perhaps with pasta: “Tomatoes are relatively hard on wine. Here’s a case where Chardonnay would give me the shudders. I would harken back to tradition and opt for Chianti. It’s one of the highest reds in acidity, and its flavors have withstood the test of time as a good foil for tomato sauce. For not much more money, you can get Chianti Classico, and for not much more yet, you can get Chianti Classico Riserva. I almost always opt for that. The grapes are better and the wines are aged a bit longer.”

Freezing Lobster

Freezing Lobster

Information provided by the University of Maine Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition and the Lobster Institute

How to Prepare and Freeze Whole
"in the shell" Lobster:

Properly prepared whole or "in the shell" lobster has a good quality shelf-life of 9 to 12 months.
  1. Lobsters should be chilled and live.
  2. Blanch at 212° for 60 seconds in a 2% salt brine (1.5 ounces, or roughly 1/2 cup, of non-iodized salt or sea salt to 2 quarts of water).
  3. Chill after blanching in cold running water or in a tub with a mixture of 50% water to 50% ice. 
  4. Following a 15-20 minute chill, remove excess surface water.
  5. Place lobsters in commercial freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.  (New Ziploc vacuum bag systems available at supermarkets work well.)
  6. Place in second freezer bag or over-wrap with a laminated freezer wrap.
  7. Freeze at -18° C (0° F) or lower -- standard for home refrigerator/freezer units.
  8. Store frozen at -18° C (0° F) or lower.  The lower the storage temperature, the better the lobster meat quality will be maintained.

How to Thaw and Prepare Frozen Whole Lobster:

  1. Lobsters should be thawed overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. Thawed lobsters should be boiled in a 2% salt brine for 12-15 minutes.

How to Freeze Tails and Claws "in the shell":

  1. Follow steps 1 through 4 above.
  2. Remove claws and tails from blanched lobsters.
  3. Continue with steps 5 through 8 above.

How to Prepare and Freeze Picked Tail and Claw Meat:

Lobster meat that has been picked and frozen will have an acceptable shelf life of 3-6 months if stored at temperatures of 0° F (-18° C) or lower.
  1. Follow steps 1 through 4 for freezing whole lobster.
  2. Remove tail and clase meat from the shell.
  3. Place in commercial freezer bags and remove as much air as possible. (New Ziploc vacuum bag systems available at supermarkets work well.)
  4. Continue with steps 7 through 8 for freezing whole lobster.

How to Thaw and Prepare Picked Tail and Claw Meat:

  1. Thaw meat in refrigerator over night.
  2. Prepare meat by steaming for 8 to 10 minutes in a colander above a steaming pot of water.

Storing Live Lobster

Storing Live Lobster

Live lobsters need to be kept alive and fresh until they're cooked to prevent deterioration. You can store them briefly in the fridge or in a lobster tank.

Storing Lobster in a Fridge:

Ideally, live lobsters should be cooked the same day they're delivered. However, they can be kept for one additional day when stored properly. In a fridge, keep lobsters as cold as possible in an open container such as a cardboard box. Pack them with seaweed or damp newspaper to keep them moist but not wet. Never store them on ice or in tap water, as the fresh water will kill them.

Storing Lobster in a Tank:

Lobster tanks enable you to keep lobsters for several days after they are delivered, and they provide a focal point for customers. If you are considering purchasing a tank, do your research and ask a lot of questions. Tanks should have an adequate filtration system, materials resistant to breakage and mold, and backup power systems.