Melissa’s Dee-Lite! …by Chef G

Melissa's Dee-Lite (22)This is a very special dish inspired by my good friend Chef Melissa in Beverly Hills.  When I first saw a photo of this salad I was instantly intrigued … strawberries and asparagus in one dish?  REALLY?  Well, I can say without hesitation that this is one of the most flavorful salads I’ve ever tasted and prepared.  And the cool thing is that it is ALL natural…very healthy, yet oozing culinary ecstasy!

Below are the ingredients. Note that I did not include amounts or measurements.  Melissa shared only the ingredients with me, and I just went for it.  Not having a detailed recipe gives you the opportunity to experiment with flavors, and I encourage each of you to do just that.

INGREDIENTS:

clip_image001 Fresh spinach

clip_image001[1] Spring mix

clip_image001[2] Grilled asparagus (broil with olive oil on baking sheet for 6 mins)

clip_image001[3] Fresh strawberries cut in half

clip_image001[4] Toasted almonds

clip_image001[5] Poppy & sesame seeds

clip_image001[6] Dried mango & figs (I just used fresh figs, no mango)

DRESSING: whisk together…

clip_image002 Mustard powder

clip_image002[1] Olive oil

clip_image002[2] Red wine vinegar

clip_image002[3] Brown sugar

clip_image002[4] Black pepper and salt to taste

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Melissa's Dee-Lite (1)     Melissa's Dee-Lite (4)

Melissa's Dee-Lite (7)     Melissa's Dee-Lite (9)

Melissa's Dee-Lite (18)     Melissa's Dee-Lite (20)

Melissa's Dee-Lite (21)

 

Check out the photo album below to see my step-by-step preparation…

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G’s Spicy Creole Crab Cakes

IMG_0214Y’all are gonna LOVE this one!  I recently helped out my good friend Chef Carolyn Shelton, a southern Louisiana native like me, cater an exclusive dinner party.  One of the appetizers that she served was her famous Zydeco Crab Cakes, based on the classic Chesapeake Bay (Maryland) recipe.  I had never prepared crab cakes before, so I decided to try a variation of the Zydeco Crab Cake. 

IMG_2428I used Chef Carolyn’s recipe, but as always, I had to make it my own.  First though, I’d like to share an eHow Food video recently produced by Chef Carolyn demonstrating her technique. The Jumbo Crab Cake is based on her Zydeco Crab Cake recipe:

Chef Carolyn Shelton

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So here is the recipe that I came up with:

clip_image001 1 lb. white lump crab meat

clip_image001[1] 1/4 cup each chopped orange and yellow bell pepper (use whatever color you like)

clip_image001[2] 1/3 cup chopped green onions (use more for intense onion flavor)

clip_image001[6] 1 cup Panko bread crumbs

clip_image001[6] 1/2 cup butter crackers

clip_image001[3] 1 tsp Creole seasoning

clip_image001[4] 1/4 tsp white pepper

clip_image001[5] Cayenne pepper (to taste)

clip_image001[7] 2 tbsp fresh cream butter

clip_image001[8] 2 large eggs

clip_image001[8] 1/4 cup spicy Creole mustard

clip_image001[8] 3/4 cup shredded hickory smoked Swiss & Cheddar cheese (my wildcard ingredient)

Gently mix all the ingredients together by hand, trying not to break the crab meat up too much.  Some cooks will sauté the veggies first, but I add mine fresh for texture and more flavor. 

Shape crab cakes, place on wax paper, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Heat the butter and olive oil over medium to med-high heat, and pan fry the crab cakes for about 3-4 minutes on both sides.

Put ‘em on a plate and eat ‘em! Rolling on the floor laughing

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Now I need to explain a couple of things about my recipe.  First, it is not common or traditional to add cheese to crab cakes.  I just wanted to experiment.  I used a rather mild cheese, and the flavor was not as strong as I would have liked it to be.  If I add cheese to this recipe in the future, I will get a much stronger cheese. 

Also, because cheese melts and gets gooey I used both bread crumbs and butter crackers to make sure that they held together when cooking.  You also might have noticed that I didn’t use flour to coat them.  You can do so if that is your preference.

Last, if this is your first time preparing crab cakes, I suggest that you leave out the cheese.  It can be tricky to keep it from overcooking.

As always, I encourage y’all to take this recipe and make it your own…have fun with it!

IMG_0185     IMG_0187

IMG_0190     IMG_0193

IMG_0196     IMG_0201

IMG_0206     IMG_0207

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G’s Vegetable and Turkey Meatloaf

b (4)-2This recipe will make a lot of folks smile. Why?  Because it is a very healthy variation of a Weight Watchers meatloaf…and it is DELISH!  And believe it or not, I added probably more vegetables than turkey.  Also, this recipe requires plain rolled oats.  Well, all I had available in the pantry were maple & brown sugar flavored instant oats…I used them, and the result was quite unique and flavorful.

a (1)I found the recipe on a blog titled LaaLoosh (Weight Watchers Recipes – Healthy & Easy to Make Low Calorie Recipes).  A friend requested a good recipe for turkey meatloaf, and this is one of two that I decided to try and prepare myself.  The other recipe was my own version of a veal and bison meatloaf…also VERY delicious.

So here is the Vegetable & Turkey Meatloaf recipe:

Ingredients
 1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
 1 medium yellow onion, diced
 1 large zucchini, shredded
 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
 3 medium carrots, shredded
 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
 1/2 lb mushrooms, chopped
 4 garlic cloves, minced
 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
 2 tbsp tomato paste
 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
 1/4 cup liquid egg substitute
 1/2 tsp paprika
 1 tsp salt
 1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a loaf sized baking pan with foil.

2. Spray a nonstick skillet with non fat cooking spray. Sauté the onion until softened – about 3-5 minutes. Add in the carrots, celery, and bell pepper, and cook for another 3-5 minutes to soften the veggies. Add in the zucchini, mushrooms and garlic and sauté about 3 more minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, oats, parsley, egg substitute, applesauce, tomato paste, paprika, salt and pepper. Fold in the veggies.

4. Empty the mixture into your baking pan, and shape mixture into a loaf form with your hands.

5. Bake until browned and meat inside is thoroughly cooked – about 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and let stand about 10-15 minutes. Cut into 6 equally sized slices.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 15 minute(s)
Diet (other): Low calorie, Reduced fat, Reduced carbohydrate, High protein

The result…

My meatloaf was REALLY moist, not dry at all.  It was probably more moist than some would like it to be because I used a lot of extra veggies, but the flavor was amazing.  And the only seasonings I used were sea salt, black pepper, and Hungarian paprika.

Check out the photos of my preparation…

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G’s Cilantro-Basil Key Lime Rice

CBKL Rice (10)In a recent post I prepared some really tasty chili made with organic ground beef, and I mentioned that I wanted to pair it with a Cilantro-Basil Key Lime Rice…here’s the very simple recipe for the rice.

I actually found a recipe at a vegetarian culinary site called Chef In You for Cilantro Lime Rice (chipotle style). As usual, I jazzed up the basic recipe and made it my own. Here are the ingredients I used:

clip_image001 2 cups aromatic Jasmine rice

clip_image001[1] 3 cups water

clip_image001[2] 1 tbsp chicken bullion

clip_image001[3] 2 tsp fresh cream butter

clip_image001[4] 4 key limes (juiced)

clip_image001[5] 4 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

clip_image001[6] 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped

clip_image001[7] 1 yellow, red, or green bell pepper, diced

clip_image001[7] sea salt to taste

For cooking instructions, check out the recipe at this link: CILANTRO LIME RICE (CHIPOTLE STYLE)

Here’s my finished dish, served with G’s Organic Beef Chili

OB Chili (8)

Check out photos of my rice preparation below…

CBKL Rice (1)     CBKL Rice (2)CBKL Rice (3)     CBKL Rice (4)CBKL Rice (5)     CBKL Rice (8)CBKL Rice (9)     CBKL Rice (11)

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G’s Organic Beef Chili

OB Chili (1)I woke up the other day and had a hearty appetite for for good bowl of chili.  I also recently saw a recipe for Cilantro-Lime Rice, and I thought to myself, “What an excellent combination Chef G!” 

Now like many consumers, I am really concerned about the “pink slime” we now know is used in many store brands of ground beef.  But I discovered that the ground beef I usually purchase actually contains no pink slime or other fillers, and is from naturally grass-fed animals not injected with antibiotics — ORGANIC Ground Beef.  Ground beef that is labeled USDA Certified Organic does not contain pink slime.  And even though it is a little more expensive that regular ground beef, the taste is noticeable and amazingly fresh.

I’ve been making chili from scratch for years, and like so many other foods I prepare, I don’t use a recipe. What I did long ago was learn the basic ingredients of a spicy Mexican chili that give it an authentic taste. So what I will do is share a basic “foundation” recipe that is really easy and will make you not want to ever again purchase canned chili in the grocery store. I will include the ingredients that I used for this chili. Here it is:

clip_image001[54] 1 Anaheim pepper, chopped

clip_image001[55] 1 or 2 habanero peppers

clip_image001[56] Several cloves of garlic, chopped (I LOVE GARLIC!)

clip_image001[57] 1 tablespoon cooking oil (optional)

clip_image001[58] 1 pound ground organic beef

clip_image001[59] 1/4 teaspoon ground roasted cumin

clip_image001[60] 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

clip_image001[61] 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

clip_image001[62] 1 tablespoon chili powder

clip_image001[63] 1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro

clip_image001[64] 3-4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped

clip_image001[65] 1/4 cup water

clip_image001[66] 1 tablespoon corn flour

clip_image001[67] Natural sea salt and cayenne or chipotle pepper to taste

Sauté pepper and garlic in cooking oil for about a minute or two.

Add ground meat and brown.

Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat.

Add tomatoes and let simmer, until tomatoes cook down.

Combine water and corn flour, and whisk into chili (this provides a real authentic kick to the flavor)

Add basil and cilantro and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve over Jasmine rice. If desired, garnish with grated cheese, onions, sour cream…or whatever you like with your chili.

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NOTE: You can also add chopped onions, beans, jalapeno peppers, or other ingredients that you like in your chili. Just have fun with it!  (Check out photos below)

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