Oh How I LOVE Springtime

My herbs are in full bloom and I get so excited to go outside and gather fresh herbs when I am cooking!  My favorites are my Genovese Basil.  Perfect for Salads, Sauces and Appetizers:

 

My favorite is Pesto a la Genovese to stir into hot cooked spaghetti or drizzle it over my Summer Caprese Salad.  And it goes without saying it is an essential ingredient is my Classic Marinara Sauce or Red Gravy.

My Version Capresse Salad

My version of a Caprese Salad

Line a platter with your choice of lettuce..I like either Romaine or soft Butter Lettuce.  Alternate slices of Creole Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Basil Leaves and scatter a handful of Kalamata Olives and Drizzle with Pesto Genovese.  Season with freshly ground black pepper.  Serve immediately.

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Springtime Basil!

 

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Bay Leaves, two different kinds…so fragrant… that goes in EVERYTHING New Orleans Style!   Like Gumbos, Soups, Stews, Red Beans and Jambalaya….

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A Wedge Salad to rival any “Steak House” dinner classic.

BABY ROMAINE WEDGE SALAD W BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

Ever wonder what happened to that steak house salad that we all loved to eat??  I think it was over shadowed by the ever popular Caesar Salad and although some restaurants may offer them, it just doesn’t compare to how they used to taste.

Well here is a recipe that I taught in a recent class that got rave reviews.  The secret is to use a good quality blue cheese and lots of it!  Definitely start with a block of blue cheese instead of one that is already pre-crumbled.  When choosing a cheese, make sure it is well “veined” with deep blue color for that strong taste that seems to be missing these days!

I know that the classic wedge salad calls for iceberg lettuce and I don’t have a problem with that, but to bring it up to a more sophisticated version I love to use Baby Romaine lettuce.   Add some crumbled, crispy bacon and grape tomatoes and you have an awesome starter to any meal!!

HEARTS OF BABY ROMAINE WITH BLUE CHEESE AND BACON
CHIQUI COLLIER
Serves 8
• 8 strips good-quality smoked bacon
• 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
• 4 baby romaine lettuces Or two firm heads of Iceberg Lettuce
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Blue Cheese Dressing, recipe follows
Cook bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. When cooled, crumble and set aside.
Cut the baby romaine hearts in half lengthwise; rinse in cold water and drain on paper towels cut side down for 15 minutes. Wrap in a kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Divide the wedges among 8 chilled salad plates. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon about 1/4 cup of Blue Cheese Dressing over each salad and top with several halved grape tomatoes, crumbled bacon, a few grinds of black pepper and some chopped fresh parsley. Pass the remaining dressing if desired.
Chiqui’s Blue Cheese Dressing:
2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise or homemade mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
*1/2 cup Buttermilk or more as needed
2 cups hand crumbled blue cheese (about 6-8 ounces) or more if desired
1 French shallot, finely minced
2 tablespoons Regina red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh Garlic
1 teaspoon Dried Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Tony’s Seasoning
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Lemon-pepper to taste
Place all ingredients except blue cheese in a bowl and whisk together to blend. If you desire a more pourable sauce, add more buttermilk to reach desired consistency. Gently stir in crumbled blue cheese. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed glass container for up to 5 days.
Yield: 3 1/2 cups **To make your own buttermilk, add one tablespoon vinegar to each cup of whole milk. Let stand 10 minutes before using.

 

Hope you will give this a try real soon and that you love it as much as I do!

……..until next time, Bon Appetit,

Chiqui

 

 

 

 

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Pies: Sweet and Classic

 

Being a true southern gal, I can honestly say that I love crunchy Pecan Pie.  But I equally adore Chocolate Cream Pie.  Rich homemade chocolate filling and a generous amount of fresh {real} whipped cream can truly cool you off on a hot, sunny day!  As wonderful as these two pies are, there is something so satisfying about my Mama’s classic cheesecake; add a handful of sliced Louisiana strawberries if they are in season if you want to dress it up.

And surely, if you are going to make one of these wonderful pies from scratch, by all means, Sugah, make a crispy, flakey real pie crust!!

ALL AMERICAN PIE CRUST

Makes enough pastry for one 9-inch deep-dish double-crust pie or two 9-inch deep-dish pie shells
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and put in freezer for 15 minutes
• 1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening cut into pieces freeze like the butter
• 1/2 cup cold iced water

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the frozen butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine 5 or 6 times to cut in the butter.
Remove the lid and fluff the mixture with a fork, lifting it up from the bottom of the bowl. Scatter the frozen shortening pieces over the flour and pulse the machine 6 or 7 times. Remove the lid and fluff the mixture again.
Drizzle half of the water over the flour mixture and pulse the machine 5 or 6 times. Remove the lid, fluff the pastry, and sprinkle on the rest of the water. Pulse the machine 5 or 6 times more, until the pastry starts to form clumps.
Overall, it will look like coarse crumbs. Dump the contents of the processor bowl into a large mixing bowl.
Test the pastry by squeezing some of it between your fingertips. If it seems a little dry and not quite packable, drizzle a teaspoon or so of cold water over the pastry and work it in with your fingertips. Using your hands, pack the pastry into 2 balls, as you would pack a snowball. Make one ball slightly larger than the other; this will be your bottom crust. Knead each ball once or twice, and then flatten the balls into 3/4-inch-thick disks on a floured work surface. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling. Or you can freeze it to use for later.  About 10 minutes before rolling, remove the pastry to from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface.  Proceed as directed in your recipe. Continue reading

CRAWFISH SHORTCAKES WITH WARM REMOULADE SAUCE

20160330_190758Crawfish Shortcakes w a Warm Remoulade Sauce

ANOTHER AWESOME CRAWFISH DISH THAT CAN SERVE AS AN APPETIZER IF MADE SMALL OR AS A MAIN COURSE IF MADE BIGGER.

Either way this is a wonderful recipe to make this crawfish season for something a little different!

Savory Herb Biscuits  (12-14 large)
Chiqui Collier

3 cups White Lily Self-rising Flour
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary leaves, chopped (optional)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon seafood magic or your favorite Creole seasoning
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (you may need a little more)

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients and whisk together to blend well. Make a well in the center and add 1 cup heavy whipping cream and fold into the flour mixture. Add the remaining cream a little at a time until you achieve a moist but firm biscuit dough….just until the dough holds together. Continue reading

Crawfish and Tasso Pasta

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Crawfish season is upon us here in south Louisiana and we are so blessed to be able to purchase precooked and peeled crawfish tails.  This makes preparing a quick meal so easy and delicious!

The recipe for this pasta dish came together the other night when my son Ben decided to cook our dinner.  He just looked in the fridge, the pantry and the freezer and came up with this delicious dinner in less than 30 minutes. Continue reading

ITALIAN MOCHA MARBLE CHEESECAKE

IMG954737ITALIAN MOCHA MARBLE CHEESECAKE   RECIPE PAGE 196 IN MY COOKBOOK “COORKEY N’ORLEANS STYLE.”

 

This cheesecake was made with a half recipe of the ingredients.  The full recipe will serve 16 guests.  This was for 9 guests and we had extra to send home with some of the guests.

This cheesecake is light, airy and not overly sweet.  The reason for the lightness is the use of Ricotta cheese and not cream cheese and the fact that whipped heavy cream is folded into the batter before baking.  I used chocolate cream filled cookies similar to Oreos and scraped out the filling to use for the crust.  Sometimes you can find plain dark, chocolate cookie wafers and sometimes they are not available, so these worked really well!

I have also used unsweetened cocoa in the filling instead of chocolate milk powder with great success.  In the recipe it calls for three containers of ricotta cheese.  Try to use whole milk ricotta and each container should be 16 ounces.

This is a great dessert for any special holiday or gathering.  I promise you will get lots of compliments and requests for the recipe!!

 

…until next time, Bon Appetit,

 

Chiqui

 

LET THEM EAT CAKE!!! UMMMM???? BUT WHICH ONE??

A RAINBOW ICE CREAM CAKE????20141231_211933

 

A LIGHT AS AIR LEMON OLIVE OIL CAKE??????

 

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MY FAVORITE CHOCOLATE CAKE???20161015_150731

MY SUPER MOIST CARROT CAKE??

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OH, LET’S JUST MAKE THEM ALL!!

RAINBOW CAKE  RECIPE PAGE 186-187 IN THE COOKBOOK.

 

So good and so “cool”.  Everyone will love it.  Three layers of chocolate cake and strawberry and pistachio ice cream…..or you could use mint chocolate chip, too! Continue reading