Sunday, August 6, 2017

LuLu’s West Indies Salad Recipe

During our delightful getaway to Perdido Key in the Florida panhandle several years ago, our good friends Christy and John F. took us by boat through the intercostal waterways to LuLu’s in Homeport, Alabama.

Lulu's West Indies Salad

LuLu’s is the brainchild of Lucy Anne Buffet, the sister of Jimmy Buffet, who resurrected a small family-owned property in Homeport and quickly turned it into a world famous restaurant. LuLu’s well-deserved reputation is owed in great part to the caring and delightful food that is served there and their friendly staff. This is the real deal for all who appreciate fine food.

LuLu’s West Indies Salad has been adapted by Lucy from a recipe of Bayley’s Steak and Seafood restaurant in Mobile, Alabama. In her delightful cookbook – with a very interesting introduction – entitled Crazy Sista Cooking, Lucy Anne Buffet lays out her recipes in simple yet easy to follow steps.

Now, I did not eat the salad shown below, but I certainly would have given it a go because of its elegant simplicity. Lucy cautions to use the ice cubes as described below to chill the water. I think it probably has something to do with the amount of water added to the crabmeat, but this looks great served with pink champagne.

LuLu’s West Indies Salad

Ingredients (Serves 4-6 as an appetizer)

  • 1 lb fresh jumbo lump blue crabmeat (regular lump crab OK, but watch for shell bits)
  • Salt to taste (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 medium Vidalia (or sweet) onion, sliced paper thin, in half moon shapes
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ice water (with 4-5 ice cubes)

Preparation

  1. Place half the crabmeat gently in th bottom of a glass bowl or plastic container, carefully picking out any shell. Sprinkle with just a smidgen of salt and pepper.
  2. Cover crab with a layer of onion.
  3. Repeat steps with remaining crab, salt, pepper and onion.
  4. Pour oil and vinegar over layers.
  5. Place ice cubes in a liquid measuring cup. Fill with water until volume reaches 1/3 cup and pour over crab. (Ice cubes are essential but don’t pour the cubes into the mixture)
  6. Cover and marinate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  7. When ready to serve, shake bowl gently, or if using a leak-proof plastic container, turn upside down and back upright to gently mix salad.
  8. Serve in a shallow bowl with juice.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How to Cook the Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

The last time I ate a soft-boiled egg was over 25 years ago when a particularly gooey drop of yolk decided to befriend my $150 Hermes tie.  Thanks to a botched job at the dry-cleaner, they have become inseparable friends and, as such, I decided then to give up both expensive ties and soft-boiled eggs.

Nevertheless, our daughter has insisted that I share a recent recipe that appeared on Cook’s Illustrated that explains how you “steam” rather than “cook” an egg to achieve a soft-cooked egg “that delivered a set white and a fluid yolk every time.” Before caving into our daughter’s request, I have decided to share the highlights of Cook’s Illustrated “science” required to achieve the perfect soft-cooked egg.

Science Class:  According to America’s Test Kitchen, the traditional way of cooking soft-cooked eggs is to add eggs to boiling water. Sadly, this lowers the temperature of the water and makes for uneven cooking results depending on when eggs are added, hom many,  and how quickly the water reaches the boiling temperature again after each immersion.

The folks at America’s test kitchen have found that “steaming” eggs in a small amount of water achieves consistently perfect results.

How to Cook Perfect Soft-Cooked Eggs

Note:  This recipe works for any number of eggs.  Use large eggs that have no cracks and are cold from the refrigerator.

Preparation

  1. Bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Using tongs (or better yet a steamer basket), gently place the refrigerated eggs into the boiling water.  The eggs will not be submerged.  Cover the saucepan and cook the eggs for 6 1/2 minutes.
  2. Remove cover, transfer saucepan to sink and place under cold running water for 30 seconds.  Remove eggs from pan and serve, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

This is a simple and foolproof way to cook perfect soft-boiled eggs.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Kit-Kat’s Protein-Packed Poached Salmon and Quinoa Bowl

Salmon is a rich oily fish.  Salmon is “high in protein, high omega-3 fatty acids, and high vitamin D content.”   Pair salmon with quinoa, which is also a rich source  of protein, dietary fiber, several B vitamins and dietary minerals, and you have a protein-packed meal that is great for diets.

Salmon and Quinoa Bowl Recipe

Inspiration for this wonderful recipe came from my niece, Katherine (aka Kit-Kat).   The beauty of this great recipe maybe prepared beforehand, is relatively simple to prepare and quite colorful.

I prefer to poach the salmon to avoid smells in the kitchen and then break off chunks depending on how many servings I need.  Most diets seem to call for 4 oz of protein and once you add quinoa and some color and greens you have a salad bowl that most gourmands would relish.

You can prepare the bowls before your guests arrive and refrigerate, but do try to bring the bowl to room temperature before serving.  Poached salmon will last about 3 days in the refrigerator.

Poaching Salmon

I have used the following New York Times recipe for years.  Once you poach the salmon, allow to cool to create several flavor-packed protein bowls.  Refrigerate the salmon and you can get several meals or snacks from leftovers.

Ingredients  (2 lbs makes eight 4 oz servings)

  • 1 small bunch fresh dill
  • Center cut for size consistency (roughly 4 oz per serving).  Wild salmon is great, but farm-raised salmon is fine if you are poaching.
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered

Preparation

  • Place small bunch of dill with salmon SKIN UP in a large skillet or saucepan.
  • Cover with water, and add salt, sugar, mustard seeds, peppercorns and onion.
  • Place over high heat and bring to a boil.  Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and let salmon cool in water for an hour.
  • Remove skin.

Kit-Kat’s Poached Salmon and Quinoa Bowl

Ingredients (for eight 4 oz salmon servings)

  • 2 lbs of center-cut poached salmon (see preparation above)
  • 4 oz per serving of cooked quinoa (follow instructions, but drain thoroughly and allow to dry)
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped red pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped scallions
  • Several arugula leaves (optional)
  • Sprig of mint
  • 1 wedge of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

  • Add warm or room temperature quinoa to bowl
  • Pull apart about 4 oz of poached salmon and place on top of the quinoa
  • Add pepper, scallions and mint over salmon
  • Garnish wish wedge of lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bowls can be prepared beforehand, but cover if you plan to refrigerate.  Serve at near room temperature.

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