One of my most favorite appetizer dishes is none other than Arancini, or more commonly known as stuffed rice balls. This is a dish of little Sicilian or Italian Rice Balls that are usually filled in the center with a creamy cheese or meat sauce ragù, then breaded and fried. They’re reminiscent of little orange balls.

Arancina means “little orange” in Italian and thus.. hence, we have these little “orange” balls of stuffed rice bursting with flavor. For this recipe I used Mushroom Risotto that was leftover from the prior days dinner.

Served with a tasty marinara sauce and topped with fresh Parmesan Cheese and fresh basil

18aThe cheese of choice for these delectable morsels was Havarti. Of course choose the cheese or cheese combination of your liking

zootooPrepare your rice or risotto per package instructions. Allow it to cool completely

shroomzI had on hand some very nice looking Shiitake mushrooms. I greatly enjoy the taste of these east Asian mushrooms. I add them at the end of cooking the risotto as I want them to retain texture and firmness

3Take a scoop or risotto or rice–about 2 Tbsps full and flatten out a tad in the palm of your hand

4Place your cheese of choice, or ragù in the center of the risotto and fold it over using your palms to make a ball

7aOh, they look so nice. Can you spot the shiitake mushrooms and orange bell pepper?

8aRoll them in the flour

10aA little dip in beaten eggs

11aCoat with seasoned Panko bread crumbs. I seasoned the bread crumbs with parsley, pepper, a little onion & garlic powder

12aOut of the bread crumbs and into the 350 oil frying pot

13aFry a few at time until nicely golden

14aPlace on paper towels to drain off excess oil

16aAdd a touch of parsley, fresh basil, and Parmesan cheese and that’s it!

17aA very delicious appetizer or snack — Arancini

22aThat Harvarti cheese tho…

Baked Stuffed Oysters

I can eat oysters any day –fried, on the grill, on the half shell, in a bisque, soup or casserole –any day any time. Today I had a taste for baked stuffed oyters and the flavors did not disappoint. If you enjoy oysters as much as I do, then give this dish a try.

Served with one of my tasty mixed cocktails18

With a little squeeze of lemon and we have something going on

If only you could savor the flavor…

 I went about it all like this…

First of all you have to start with quality ingredients. I picked up a pound of oysters from Westborn Market, a place I truly appreciate for their fresh produce, gourmet products, and hard to find food items. To properly get to the jewel inside those shells, use an oyster knife if you should have one…or a good sturdy knife if not. If you don’t have a glove specifically for the purpose of opening oysters, fold a kitchen towel to protect your hand. I used one of my butter knives to open the oysters. You want to get the tip of the knife under the hinge, work it a bit, and simply pry the oyster open. After opening the oysters, I used my little sharpie knife to gently run across the top shell to dislodge the muscle that attaches  the oyster to  its shell. Afterwards run the knife (gently again) under the oyster so that it’s free-floating in its delectable juices on the half shell. Try not to tilt the oyster as you do this — you want to keep that delectableness…that oyster liquor. And of course if your opening of the oyster is less than perfect, just pick out any bits of shell

Yes! This is what we want. That’s a beautiful thing don’t you think? Again, we don’t want to spill any of that sumptuous elixir out of the shells, so try to keep as much as you possibly can within the shell

Oh my! My oh my. At this point we could just squeeze a little fresh lemon over these luscious freshly shucked oysters , add a dash of Tabasco or your favorite Hot Sauce and enjoy. This reminds me of my travels last year (2014) to Rhode Island where we enjoyed a very delicious Seafood dinner at the Nordic Lodge.

Nordic Lodge, Charleston Rhode Island. This is Deven, expert oyster shucker, serving up some great Oysters on the Half Shell. Delicious!  I Had some great conversations with him…a really nice young man.

The Nordic Lodge. If you’re ever in this neck of the woods, do stop in. Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program…

 I sautéed three scallions, 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, one medium shallot, 1/4 cup chopped celery,  and 2 cloves of garlic,  (all very finely chopped or minced in a food processor) in 4 Tbsp of butter. After sweating that for a few minutes, I deglazed the pan with 1/4 cup of  Pernod. If you don’t have Pernod, white wine will work quite well. Next, I added heavy cream to a consistency that I wanted. Generally heavy cream is not used, but I wanted a nice creamy texture.  The aromas!!  Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste, and a dash of Tabasco Sauce, 1 Tsp of Worcestershire sauce,  1 Tsp anchovy paste (lends a nice saltines), and let the mixture cook down a bit for a few minutes. At the point pictured above I added finely chopped asparagus. Now, the original recipe calls for 1/2 pound or about 2 cups of  fresh finely chopped spinach — for use with approximately 30 oysters. In this recipe I substituted asparagus for spinach because it was a rainy evening, I had no fresh spinach on hand,  and I really didn’t feel like venturing out into the rain to the fruit and vegetable market just to pick up spinach. Thus… I relaxed, poured myself a lovely glass of white wine, and used what I had on hand–asparagus. So, whatever green vegetable you have on hand. Just give it a good mincing and carry on!

Next I added a four-cheese blend featuring Smoked Provolone, Mozzarella, Asiago, and Romano cheeses just till melted

In another pan I heated about 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and added 3 Tbsp chopped parsley with 1/2 cup of bread crumbs,  seasoned with salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste.  Although I delight in making fresh bread crumbs, I used Panko bread crumbs, but gave them a little smash before-hand. Keeping those stocked in your pantry is a must

And mix it all together

Added 1/4 cup grated  Parmesan cheese and mixed it in well. Now we’re ready!

Spooning the asparagus mixture onto those lovely oysters. Ideally you would want to have some rock salt on hand. Again, it was a rainy night, I had none, and I was not venturing out…so I used some Kosher salt. The salt is used just to stabilize the oysters in the dish so they don’t tilt and lose that scrumptious oyster juice. Of course the rock salt will lend to a more appealing presentation and photograph. Thus, I do recommend using it

Oh my…my oh my. These were in a cast iron skillet if you were so wondering

Topping with the breadcrumb mixture

Ready to go into that oven that’s been preheated at 450 F

Topped with a little of that Smoked Provolone, Mozzarella, Asiago, and Romano cheese mixture…because my Men-folk like it like that. Then into an awaiting oven preheated at 450 F and baked until golden…about 10 minutes, but you make the call

Time! Oh let me tell you about it…

Plate with fresh lemon slices. Add a nice mixed cocktail featuring fresh pineapple, apple, cucumber, and white Tequila


And let’s have at it shall we?

Frying up a few oysters was a must. Served with fresh and fried red & green jalapeño peppers, along with capers..amazing

2Baked Stuffed Oysters

Enjoying the lovely sunset behind the Nordic Lodge as we waited for our page for dinner. Very beautiful and serene scenery

Nordic Lodge

Nordic Lodge, Charleston Rhode Island. We had a blast!

Tempura (天ぷら ) Shrimp & Vegetables With A Honey-Fig Reduction

I love the use of tempura batter because it’s lite and allows the flavor of what you coat  it with shine thru quite well… while still giving you the  taste of a very wonderful batter. The simplicity of this dish certainly shines. Tempura a Japanese method of frying seafood and/or vegetables that have been battered.  I only wanted a lite coating of the batter, as I did not want to obscure the texture and flavor of the vegetables — nor  of my fresh from the Gulf of Florida shrimp.  I prefer that you’re able to actually see what the batter is coating.

The squash blossoms were stuffed with a lovely Herb honey goat cheese mixture featuring  rosemary, thyme, marinated red cherry pepper, marinated artichoke, a little salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Simply Sublime

Yellow summer squash and sliced zucchini

I began with a very beautiful plate of fresh shrimp straight from the Florida Gulf. The aroma is amazing

Summer squash, blossoms, thyme, and rosemary from my garden

Peeled, deveined, and cleaned the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. To stretch the shrimp out flat, make a small cut on the underside and simply straighten them out

Allowed the shrimp to marinate in Saki for 30 minutes

After removing from the Saki bath, I sprinkled them with a little cornstarch, which aids in giving a nice crisp texture. The tempura batter was made by mixing 2 beaten egg yolks, 2 cups of ice water, and 2 cups of sifted flour

Save the shrimp shells for later use in making a wonderful seafood stock. I placed them in a ziplock bag and into the freezer they went.

Over medium flame, heat…in a medium pot (or deep fryer), 4 inches of oil (Canola or peanut) to 350 F. Fry the shrimp in batches for 2 to 3 minutes until golden. Do likewise with the vegetables

The texture was exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to see the shrimp and squash through the batter. The flavor was amazing. I also fried (with no batter) red pepper rings, grape tomatoes, and sliced jalapeño peppers, garnished with fresh rosemary and thyme

The Honey-Fig reduction really balanced the dish out nicely and was a nice complement to the Honey Herb goat cheese stuffing in the squash blossoms.

A great wine pairing would be a nice crisp Pinot Grigio or Sweet White Blend

Tempura (天ぷら ) Shrimp & Vegetables With A Honey-Fig Reduction

For dessert…

Grilled Pears with a Honey Yogurt Sauce with dried cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese

Bon Appétit Logo

Butternut Squash Soup with Crab and Warm Apples

Ahhh…Autumn, such a lovely time of the year. Truly a time to enjoy the beautiful display of colour as the leaves display their beautiful hidden array of hues. There’s nothing like taking a trip up north to observe this wonderful display. However, a nice walk through the neighborhood, park , or just sitting in the back yard will suffice as well.  My boys enjoy trips to the apple orchards where we gather delicious apples, drink warm cider and  delight with those sweet treats — doughnuts!   Then too, the weather is perfect for the Fall wardrobe of colorful sweaters, and fabrics of suede and leather to add a stylish look as you relish  nice days spent outside in the crisp Fall air. However, there are a bevy of Fall soups to enjoy  and today is such a day. Winter squash crops are abundant with a variety of versatile squash that are a natural partner to a number of vegetables and meats, and are conducive to great seasonings. Butternut Squash Soup is on the menu.

Topped with steamed snow crab; garnished with fresh thyme, chives, and perfectly pretty red zinnia pedals. I found that the flavor of the crab was such a beautiful complement to the sweetness of the squash

With a crisp of prosciutto and cubes of warm apples that were sautéed in butter.

Time to choose our specimen, right next to a bevy of acorn squash. When  choosing squash, look for those that are firm, hard, and without blemishes. Winter squash are harvested in the Fall when they are mature and their skins have hardened.  If  you grow them yourself, and want to store them for future use, be sure to leave part of the stems attached or they won’t keep very well. I think I may add a few varieties to my garden next year

Cutting the squash in half lengthwise reveals a brilliant orangy-yellowy flesh

Spooning out the seeds

Rubbed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and fresh cracked black pepper, with a little butter added…then into a 400 F oven and roast for about 45 minutes or until it’s fork tender. Alternatively you could peel the squash with a good vegetable peeler and dice the squash. However, I find that roasting is much easier and less labor intensive

Our squash is out of the oven!

Scooping out that flavorful, tantalizing flesh

All done, let’s continue shall we…

Next, I sautéed one medium onion for about 5 minutes until softened, then added fresh thyme and one bay leaf, salt and pepper, and continued to cook a few minutes longer to allow the herb flavors to diffuse into the onion

Adding the squash to the onions and herbs

Two Tbsp honey

Next, the chicken stock (or  low sodium broth if you like). 2 – 6 cups, depending upon the amount of squash you use. Add enough to get the right texture. For the one squash that I used, I added about 1 and 1/2 cup

Now just let it simmer for about 20 minutes to let the flavors of the onion, thyme, and bay leaf meld together. Afterwards remove the thyme and bay leaf and transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor (if you have an immersion blender, that’s even better), and blend  until it is thick, creamy, and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a sauce pan and mix in 2 Tbsp of heavy cream. At this point give it a taste and add salt and pepper to taste and a little sugar to get that desired sweetness. The sweetness will be there, but you may want to accent it with a little sugar Now ladle into your favorite serving bowls and enjoy!

Bon appétit – Profitez de votre soupe

With a few dollops of sour cream and pink zinnia pedals, which are quite edible. The warm apples were a very nice addition

A swirl of crème fraîche  and red zinnia pedals

Wine pairing…

A nice crisp white such as Pinot Grigio goes very well with our soup

Fall weather…

Sartorially speaking, the day called for suede slacks and suede & leather footware…

Oeufs en Cocotte aux Herbes

Eggs En Cocotte with Herbs is a lovely way to display and  of course eat eggs. It’s a simple recipe when displayed that looks complicated. This traditional French dish is very elegant, pleasing to the eyes and for a certainty pleasing to the palate.  I was thinking omelet today, however I do those often, but my husband, I’m sure, wouldn’t have complained if I prepared an overstuffed seafood omelet of some sort. Then again… my ramekins were sitting there screaming: Use us! Use us!     🙂    It was a nice break from breakfast as usual during the week, and Hubby was well pleased.

Side note –How about those Tigers! 2014 American League Central Division champions. Forth straight – Go Tigers!!  *Avid sports girl here.*

Breakfast is served with a little hot tea to round it out

Garnished with fresh basil, thyme, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Served with delicious Home Fries with fresh chives

I began by sautéing finely chopped shallots and garlic in a  little olive oil, then added chopped swiss chard and cooked until it wilted, added salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Poured in the egg whites beaten with a little cream, along with chopped fresh chives, parsley, and thyme.  However, my mind was in omelet mode and I whipped the whites a tad longer than I should have–thus the bubbles

Carefully added in the yolks. placed the ramekins in a water bath and into a 350 oven. Baked for about 15 to 20 minutes, or just until the whites set. Keep checking them

Sprinkled on a little cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes

As I mentioned–The Tigers are once again Division Champs, clinching the title last evening with a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the final game of the regular season. What a great day to be at Comerica Park. Unfortunately we weren’t at that game, but we were there Friday, September 26

Great night at the park with Hubby and the boys

Take me out to the ball game…

My 16-year-old is the ever-present artist. He managed to get some sketching in as well as enjoy the game

Be well and have a wonderful day

 Always treat others as you wish to be treated

Ruby Dee

Scallion Beggars Purse with Roasted Sweet Red Pepper Sauce

If you know me, then you know I have a great love for all things French. I especially love those little French pancakes known as crêpes. I make them quite often and this morning I had a taste for a simple crêpe filled with a nice blend of mascarpone and cream cheeses with some type of berry sauce. However I had some rotisserie chicken in the fridge and thought that the chicken, along with a few other ingredients would make a nice savory crêpe. I had been planning on making scallion pancakes with a seafood entre, so I utilized that  idea  for my savory crêpes.  This was an “off the head” recipe…no set amount and measurement of ingredients. I just “went with it” as they say. I was very much pleased with the outcome. 

A nice long chive worked well  to cinch the crêpe

The scallions imparted a very lovely flavor to those delicate crêpes. Garnished with scallions, thyme, and squash blossoms

I sautéed one small shallot, 2 small red onions – fresh from one my veggie boxes – until translucent and fragrant. I added the shredded breast of rotisserie chicken to that and continued to saute. Next went in several sliced mushrooms. Continued to cook for a few minutes until they were cooked down a tad, and added cubes of zucchini, a chiffonade of swiss chard, grated ginger,  and mixed in some cream cheese. Finally, seasoned with fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste. As mentioned this was not a “set” recipe. I just kind of went along by feel and what I wanted to taste in the final product. The ginger really gave it the flavor I wanted. It was just enough for the flavor palate I was looking for.

One of the roasted peppers for the red pepper sauce. Recipe at the bottom

Placed a small amount of the filling in the center of the crêpe, carefully bunched it together and cinched with a nice long chive. The recipe for the  crêpes is the one I use most often and can be found on this site by doing a search for crêpes. However for this recipe I added several minced scallions to the crêpe batter and blended in the food processor.

Red Pepper Sauce – Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil, 4 large red bell peppers (roasted), 1 large onion, 2 cloves of garlic (minced), 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1/2 cup heavy cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. 1 or 2 tbsp sugar for sweetness


 I coated the peppers with a little olive oil, wrapped them in foil and baked at 350 for about 35 minutes. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the peppers, onion, garlic, and saute  for about 5 minutes. Add the wine and simmer gently over low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer 2/3 of the mixture to a food processor and puree. Then return the puree to the pan with the remaining 1/3 of the mixture. Stir in the cream, season with salt and pepper, and simmer over very low heat for about 15 minutes Stir in the parsley and simmer 5 minutes more.

Bon appétit et ont une merveilleuse journée!

Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce and Proscuitto Wrapped Shrimp

I must say that one of my favorite cuts of beef to cook is flat iron steak. Similar to flank steak in that it cooks fairly fast and to perfection of your desired doneness. I find it to be a  tender cut of beef, especially when marinated. The chimichurri sauce is  a nice bright saporous addition. On the menu today — Surf & Turf. I picked up some great prosciutto from Gratiot Central Market as well as a few pounds of shrimp. I had an entirely different use planned for the prosciutto, but  thought what better way to utilize it than to wrap the shrimp with the prosciutto. It added the perfect balance of saltiness.

Served with rice pilaf and roasted brussels sprouts

 Generally when I do steaks, I’ll also do a saute of mushrooms. This is balsamic mushrooms and onions

Margherita Prosciutto has such a nice flavor that imparts just the right amount of saltiness in my estimation to just about any dish it’s used in.  A wonderful Italian salt-cured ham indeed. I had it sliced paper-thin. Most often prosciutto is served uncooked, but when cooked the flavor is nicely enhanced

Cleaning up the flat iron steaks of silver skin, the tough connective tissue, as well as any excess fat, then seasoned with Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper

The grill was heated over moderately high heat with a few TBsp of oil,  fresh thyme and garlic. Cooked for approximately 5 to 6  minutes then…

…flipped and cooked for about another 6 minutes for medium rare. Cook a little longer if you desire your steaks medium. My husband prefers medium–I prefer medium rare. So these were cooked more towards medium doneness. I aim to please  🙂

0aIn the meantime, for the chimmichurri sauce, I did a chop of fresh parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint, shallots and garlic

Placed it in the food processor and minced

Added a little salt to taste, red wine vinegar, olive oil,  red pepper flakes and mixed well

That wonderful prosciutto was wrapped around shrimp that were cleaned and deveined. The shrimp had been marinated in white wine, garlic,  fresh minced ginger, and fresh cracked black pepper for about 1/2 hour. No salt needed as the prosciutto would take care of that

4aSautéed in a little olive oil for a few minutes per side

And of course when the shrimp take on a nice pink color, we know they are done

Rested the steak for about 10  minutes to allow those wonderful juices to “re-gather” themselves together. Sliced the steak on the bias and added the chimichurri sauce and a few chopped scallions


I think the next time I wrap shrimp in prosciutto, I’ll stuff them first with perhaps a  crawfish mixture. Just a thought in the making.

Flat Iron Steak, Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp with Chimichurri Sauce,  Balsamic Mushrooms and Onions with Rice Pilaf

22Wine pairing was a nice Antica Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 vintage

Below is a short video below of a flat iron steak I cooked several months ago, served with a red wine reduction, topped with fried onions and green pepper corns, served with a mash of celery root stuffed in a portobello mushroom cap. Photo above.

Crêpes with Nopales – Cactus Pear Compote

It is only so long I can go without making crêpes, and most often that crave is for something sweet rather than savory. I do have a bevy of savory crêpe recipes in my arsenal. However, “sweetness” seems to always win out when I make them. Earlier today, while  at the fruit and vegetable market (one of my regular favorite spots) I picked up a few cactus pears–prickly pears, if you will–and immediately I figured a nice compote would work well with these with some classic French, lovely crêpes. Initially I thought of mixing them with apple when composing the compote but dismissed that idea as I wanted the flavor of the pear to take center stage.  The crêpe recipe that I use is a classic Julia Child recipe, posted below.

Garnished with fresh lemon thyme, a sprinkle of cinnamon on the left, and a few crumbles of feta on the right. I think I can eat feta on just about anything. I love the tartness that it imparted as opposed to the sweetness of the cactus pear compote. The star anise added a nice complement as regards esthetic garnish. However, it was steeped in the sauce when comprising the compote to add its unique flavor

The crêpe was very lite, delicate and flavorful


Recipe components along with a roja pelona cactus pear – time to make the crêpes. Crêpe Recipe: 1 cup flour (I used all-purpose flour although the recipe called for instant-blending flour), scooped and leveled, 2/3 cup each milk and cold water, 3 large eggs, 1/4 tsp salt, 6 Tbsp clarified butter or melted butter with the foamy milk fats spooned off.

Measure the flour into a mixing bowl, then whisk in by dribbles the milk and water to make a nice smooth blend. At this point if you really want to ensure a perfectly smooth batter, pour it through a fairly fine-meshed sieve to remove any lumps.  I also added 2 Tbsp sugar. For savory crêpe creations,  I leave out the sugar. Whisk in the eggs and salt

Add 3 Tbsp of the melted clarified butter

Whisk to blend smoothly. If using all-purpose flour, let it rest 1 hour or more in the refrigerator. If instant-blending flour was used, it should rest 10 minutes.

 Heat the crêpe pan until drops of water dance about, then brush lightly with melted butter.  Spoon 1/4 cup into the pan at a time, tilt in all directions to attain a nice thin circle. The batter should cover the pan with a light coating. After about 30 seconds or so, gently lift the edge with a spatula. The bottom should be lightly browned. Flip using your spatula or fingers as I do at times. Careful there! Cook another 15 to 20 seconds, maybe 30. Transfer to an awaiting plate, and repeat the process 1/4 cup at a time until the batter is used up.

My crêpe stack is building. If you don’t use them right away, they can be stored in the fridge in a plastic bag up to 2 days or in the freezer for several weeks. I never do that, as they are so very delectable. No they don’t last very long in my household.

Prickly pear cactus fruit, also known as tunas, are native to Mexico, grows wild just about everywhere. There are hundreds of varieties with vast flavor profiles,  from brisk and tart to creamy-sweet. The variety I used is the roja pelona as already mentioned.  This variety is devoid of thorns that some other varieties have.

After peeling — Chopping the cactus pear. It has a very nice taste reminiscent of that of kiwi. As you can see, the flesh of this fruit is juicy and has a brilliant, beautiful deep red color. Almost “Ruby” red  🙂

Our prickly pear was combined in a pan with wine–a nice Riesling– star anise 1 Tbsp butter, and 1 Tbsp sugar or to taste until you get the desired sweetness. I simmered this for about 6 minutes. Star anise has a very prominent licorice-like flavor that some people do not care for, so leave it out if you wish

Added 1 Tbsp of orange marmalade, some lemon zest,  and simmered 6 minutes more until the pear was basically falling apart

The seeds of  all tunas are edible, but I preferred to strain them out as I wanted a smooth consistency

Beautiful color, beautiful aroma, beautiful flavor!

Also among the garnish was a little fennel frond. Fennel has a licorice taste as well and I thought it went nicely with the star anise

Delicious, I’m ready to make more!

As you can see, this wonderful fruit requires diligent care when harvesting. I would suggest using long tongs should you ever have the pleasure of doing so.  Although this variety has no thorns…you’ve got to work through some to get to the fruit…ouch!

Tunas or prickly pear cactus fruit. “Opuntia”  Opuntia is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae. The most common culinary species is the Indian fig opuntia. Most culinary uses of the term “prickly pear” refer to this species. That little tidbit is courtesy of Wikipedia


Beef Stroganoff – Бефстроганов Befstróganov

This is a classic Russian dish  that I do at least once or twice a year.  A deliciously flavorful dish of beef cooked to perfect tenderness, with a very lovely  creamy mushroom “gravy” sauce.

Stroganoff simply means sautéed strips or cubes  of beef and mushrooms in a sour cream sauce served with noodles. Preferably  the meat of choice is a nice tenderloin filet of beef. However, if tenderloin is beyond the budget, try making it with thin slices of flank steak cut diagonally across the grain. If you freeze the steak for about an hour–just enough to firm it up, thin slicing will be much easier. Other good cuts of meat for this dish are sirloin or porterhouse steak. A simple tasty dish.

Typically, as mentioned,  the creamy meat mixture is served over noodles, but goes great with rice as well.

Topped with fried onions, that were dusted with flour, fried in a small pot (a little deep fry), then sprinkled with a pinch of cayenne pepper and salt

Garnished with fresh thyme, parsley, and chives. I also had a side of fresh beets

Served over hot buttered noodles

Beginnings.  Seasoning the beef before refrigerating.  Note: I didn’t used the green peppercorns or the cream of mushroom soup. That was used in another recipe that I was preparing at the time


1 1/2 to 2 pounds beef tenderloin, sirloin, porterhouse or flank steak  (with any fat and/gristle removed)  cut into thin strips or cubes

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

6 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 Tbsp flour

1 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1 onion, sliced

1 cup beef stock – heat before adding

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tsp prepared mustard


I seasoned the cut beef with salt, fresh cracked black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, covered and refrigerated overnight. You can do this for a couple of hours, but I find overnight  adds more enhancement of flavor. Allow the meat to attain room temperature however, before cooking.

Melt 3 Tbsp of butter(or the oil–I used oil) in a heavy skillet. Add the onion and cook until translucent, then remove and set aside. Turn the heat to medium high, and sear the beef, turning to brown on all sides. You may have to do this in batches.  Remove the beef and set aside with the onions. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of oil to the skillet, and stir in the mushrooms. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until blended.  Add the hot stock and whisk until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Stir in the mustard and sour cream. Season with salt, pepper, and the nutmeg . Now add the beef and onion to this, reduce the  heat and allow to simmer –stirring occasionally– until the meat is very tender.

Garnish with herbs and serve over hot buttered noodles or rice.

Paired with a very nice Shiraz

Crab Stuffed Shrimp, Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms and Forbidden Rice

With summer going swimmingly and the garden full of yellow summer squash and zucchini blossoms, I can’t resist picking those little beauties whenever I venture into the garden.  The delicate, sumptuous flavor of the flowers are an excellent accent to whatever you choose to stuff them with.  I picked up some colossal shrimp while on one of my regular treks to Gratiot Central Market in downtown Detroit.  I enjoy the “hustle & bustle” of this busy place that offers a wide variety of quality meats, seafood, and other food products. Thus,  todays menu is stuffed shrimp and squash blossoms.

The stuffed shrimp and blossoms were served with forbidden rice (black rice) and ribbons of summer yellow squash that were gently and quickly sautéed in a little extra virgin olive oil. The grilled mango added a great flavor of sweetness to the crab mixture.  Grilling fruit really enhances its natural sweetness.

The forbidden rice was cooked per package instructions. Give it a good rinse (1 cup), and heat till boiling in 2 cups of water. I also added about 1 tsp of olive oil. Reduce the heat and cook for approximately 30 minutes until the water has boiled out, remove from the heat and just let it rest

My husband was very pleased to enjoy this meal, and surprised that just one of the shrimp filled him to satisfaction. You only need one of those colossal shrimps that cooked to perfection I might add. I aim to please and he was quite well pleased

Those shrimp are a handful!

Prep work for the crab stuffing included finely chopped shallot, yellow onion, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, celery, chopped prosciutto, and garlic.  I began by sauteing the bell pepper, onion, jalapeno pepper, and celery for a few minutes–added the shallot and garlic and cooked until fragrant, then added in chopped grilled mango.  Next added two 6 oz. cans of crabmeat. I let that cook for about 10 minutes. Afterwards I allowed the crab mixture to cool, then added about 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs and one beaten egg, fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt. It was “stuffin” time!

Used a small teaspoon to place the crab stuffing into the butterflied shrimp. Gave them a gentle pat to firmly pack it in.

The stuffed shrimp were placed in a baking dish sprayed with cooking oil

I had a few more pieces of lovely prosciutto left, so I decided to wrap one of the stuffed morsels with it. I love the delicate flavor and the intrinsic saltiness that the prosciutto possess. Delectable! Adds just the right amount of saltiness. These went into a 350 ( F) oven and baked until the shrimp were nice and pink

All done. The shrimp cooked perfectly…happiness

Stuffing the squash blossoms with the crab mixture. I love flowers, I love cooking…what can I say about cooking and eating the flowers? How great is that? I grabbed the blossoms before they closed–have to get them in the morning or very early afternoon. Don’t forget to snip the stamen out and give them a gentle cleanse.

Saute in a little olive oil. No batter this time. Wrapped one in my last piece of prosciutto

Crab Stuffed Shrimp, Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms and Forbidden Rice. Those shrimp are almost like mini lobster tails

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