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Cuppylicious!, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood

Not-so-Old Bay Seasoning

Old Bay Seasoning

More like "everything but the kitchen sink" seasoning.

I’ve never tasted Old Bay Seasoning, so I don’t know how close this comes, but I thought it tasted pretty awesome in Jen’s Grandma’s Best Crab Cakes. You need a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.

Total time: 8 minutes

4 bay leaves
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground mace
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground allspice

Most people use Old Bay Seasoning for seafood, but I hear tell of folks who put it on everything like a season-all or season salt.

I had to grind them all together in my mortar. I suspect I could have gotten away with ground bay leaves if I had them and ground celery seed or maybe even celery salt (to replace seeds & salt), but I think grinding up the red pepper flakes is important, too.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pork, Poultry, Soup and Salad, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo in a brioche bread bowl

Our May hostess, Denise of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need from creole spices, homemade stock and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

Total time: 2-5 hours, depending on how you manage your time, or if you’re using canned chicken broth. This took me exactly 3 hours and 24 minutes, including my bread bowls and chicken broth.

Serves 10-12.

1 cup (240 ml) (230 gm) rendered chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil
1 cup (240 ml) (140 gm) (5 oz) flour
2 large onions, diced
1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 lbs.), cut into 10 pieces I used chicken breasts
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) Basic Creole Spices, or store-bought Creole spice blend I used double. Mmmm…
2 pounds (2 kilograms) spicy smoked sausage, sliced ½ inch (15mm) thick I left this out.
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers (capsicum), seeded and diced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
3 quarts (3 liters) Basic Chicken Stock (recipe follows), or canned chicken stock
2 bay leaves
6 ounces (175 gm) andouille sausage, chopped
2 cups (480 ml) (320 gm) (11 oz) sliced fresh okra, ½ -inch (15mm) thick slices (or frozen, if fresh is not available)
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Worcestershire sauce
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Filé powder, to taste I left this out.
Tabasco, to taste I left this out, too.
And I added 1 Tbsp of red pepper flakes. I should have added a handful, since I like it warmer. Maybe next time.

1. Prepare homemade chicken stock, if using. The challenge came with a recipe, but I was making stock for several meals, so I did my own.
2. Prepare homemade Basic Creole Spices, if using.
3. Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables.
4. Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning.
5. In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. **DANGER! IT SPITS!!** Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the onions. Switch to a wooden spoon and stir the onions into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.
7. Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes.
8. Add the sliced smoked sausage and stir for about a minute.
9. Add the celery, bell peppers, tomato, and garlic, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes.
10. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally.
11. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.
12. Add the chopped andouille, okra, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper, several dashes of filé powder, and Tabasco, all to taste.
13. Simmer for another 45 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and serve in bowls over rice. Pass more filé powder at the table if desired.

Seen here served in a homemade bread bowl.

I didn’t think I’d like gumbo. I had some seafood gumbo as a kid (made by a really burly, wild Italian man), and I didn’t think I’d care for it this time around – BUT I DID! Not only that, but I really enjoyed it. I should have made a full recipe.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Poultry, Soup and Salad

Satay Chicken Wraps

Satay Sandwich

Satay Sandwich with chicken, carrots, onions, cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts and plenty of raita on homemade naan

Guy Fieri’s Satay Chicken Salad Wraps without some of the obnoxious recommendations.

Total time: Approximately 2 hours.

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, pounded, cut into 1-inch strips
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 cups julienned, finely chopped, or shredded vegetables such as onions, carrots, bell peppers, bok choy, chinese broccoli, or mustard greens (pick at least 2 vegetables!)
1 cup washed and rinsed bean sprouts, clover sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, julienned cucumbers or thinly sliced tomatoes (pick at least 2!)
1 tablespoon minced ginger, optional for bean sprouts
1 teaspoon minced garlic, optional for bean sprouts
cilantro and green onions, to taste
raita or other dressing
naan or pita or flatbread or tortillas

Marinade for the chicken:
3 Tbsp peeled, roughly chopped ginger
3 Tbsp roughly chopped onion
2 Tbsp roughly chopped garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 tablespoon fish sauce

Serves 6.

In a food processor or blender, combine all marinade ingredients until smooth.  Place chicken and marinade in a plastic bag or other container and store in the refrigerator.  Marinate at least 1 hour.

Heat a large frying pan over high heat and add peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken, stirring frequently for 3 to 4 minutes. Once cooked through, remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. To the same pan add the vegetables and saute for 2 minutes longer, remove to a bowl and keep warm.  If using bean sprouts, now’s the time to add them into the frying pan with ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.

I serve these “family style”, with fresh naan. To build a sandwich, I slather raita across the naan, then layer on the meat, warm vegetables, cold vegetables or fruits, then garnishes (and sometimes more raita).

My favorite so far is chicken, carrots, onions, sauteed bean sprouts, cilantro and green onions, with the homemade naan and raita.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Meat, Pork, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Sri Lankan Curry

Sri Lankan Curry

Sri Lankan Curry with pork

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Total time: 1.5 hours.

1 pound (½ kg) boneless meat, or about 1 ½ pounds (¾ kg) short ribs or cross ribs (or boneless lamb shoulder) I used pork!
1 tablespoon (15 ml) vegetable oil
10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
1-3 green cayenne chili, finely chopped
generous 1 cup (250ml/250 gm/9 oz) finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) turmeric
1 teaspoon (5 ml/6 gm) salt
½ cup (120 ml) coconut milk
1 tablespoon (15 ml/15 gm) tamarind pulp
¼ cup (60 ml) hot water

1/4 cup tamarind paste
3 cups (720 ml) water

Dry Spice Mixture:
1 tablespoon (15 ml/13 gm) raw white rice
1 tablespoon (15 ml/10 gm) coriander seeds
1 teaspoon (5 ml/4 gm) cumin seeds
one 1-inch piece (2½ cm) cinnamon or cassia stick
seeds from 2 pods of green cardamom


Sri Lankan Curry

Sri Lankan Curry with pork and hot curried chicken, with rice and appam

1. Cut the meat into ½ inch (13 mm) cubes or separate the ribs. Set aside.
2. In a small heavy skillet, roast the dry spice mixture over medium to medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring continuously, until it smells amazing! You will be able to see that the rice is a toasted color.
3. Transfer to a spice grinder or mortar and grind/pound to a powder. Set aside.
4. In a large, wide pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the curry leaves, green chile, onion and turmeric and stir-fry for 3 minutes. I cooked my onions until they were golden brown. So good. Add the meat and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so all surfaces of the meat get browned.
5. Add the reserved spice mixture and the coconut milk and stir to coat the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Add the tamarind paste to the 3 cups of water.
7. Add the tamarind/water mixture to the pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered at a strong simmer for about an hour, until the meat is tender and the flavors are well blended. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot.

Shown here with hot curried chicken, rice, and an appam.

Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Indian, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Baked Goan Fish with Fresh Green Chile Chutney

Goan Fish

Raw Goan Fish, ready for foil and grilling

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

One 2-pound (1 kg) firm fish, such as pickerel, trout or red snapper, cleaned and scaled – I used pink salmon
about ¼ cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
about 8 fresh curry leaves – I didn’t know where to use these, so I skipped it
2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml/18 gm) fine sea salt
½ cup (120 ml/110 gm) Fresh Green Chile Chutney, plus extra to serve as a condiment

Preheat your grill or start your charcoal.

Wash and dry the fish. Cut slits every three to four inches along each side of the fish.  Grease a large stretch of foil 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of the oil.

Goan Fish

Goan Fish, fresh off the grill with lots of juice!

Rub the fish inside and out with the lime juice, then with the salt. Stuff some of the chutney into the slits you made, and put the rest in the belly cavity. Place the fish on the oiled foil and rub the remaining oil over it. Wrap the fish tightly, using more foil if necessary.

Move your charcoal to one side of the grill or turn off the heat on one side of your grill.  Place your foiled fish on the “off” side and close the lid.  Grill 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your fish (10 minutes per pound), keeping the heat at 400F or above.  Depending on the size of your grill, you may need to rotate your fish halfway through.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Seafood, Side Dishes, Soup and Salad

Salmon Feta Salad

Salmon Feta Salad

Spinach, salmon, feta, nuts and grapes with a spicy orange cilantro dressing.

Total time:  10 minutes.

Serves 2.

1 bunch spinach or 1 package of baby spinach
1 cup smoked salmon, deboned and separated
1 cup red grapes
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 c pecan pieces
1/2 c pine nuts

3 T olive oil, divided
1/4 c minced ginger
1/3 c orange juice
1/3 c red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp orange zest
1/2 c loose chopped cilantro
2 T brown sugar

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan on medium heat for 1 minute.  Add ginger and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Add orange juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil for 3-4 minutes until the orange juice feels reduced and slightly thicker.  Remove from heat.  Add orange zest.  Puree together with remaining dressing ingredients.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Poultry, Seafood

Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Salmon Stuffed Chicken Breast

Total time:  1 hour.

2 boneless chicken breasts
3/4 c smoked salmon, separated and deboned
3/4 c feta cheese
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp salt or to taste

Serves 2.

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a small bowl, mix together feta, salmon, garlic, dill and salt.

Using a sharp knife, slice open each chicken breast horizontally, almost all the way through, leaving the two halves attached.  Open up the split breasts and lay them out flat.  Place each piece of chicken, laid out flat, in a plastic bag or plastic wrap one at a time.  Pound the chicken pieces to ¼-inch thickness.

Scoop filling into the chicken breasts and seal them with 3 or 4 toothpicks.  (Make sure you remember how many you use.)  Roll filled breast in breadcrumbs.  Repeat for the second one.

Bake 45 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before trying to remove those toothpicks.

I use a glass baking dish whenever I bake meat. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to keep better watch on your chicken.

Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pasta & Rice, Poultry, Side Dishes, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Cardamom Chicken Pierogi

Cardamom chicken pierogi

Cardamom chicken pierogi

Total time:  Approximately 1.5 hours.

The August 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by LizG of Bits n’ Bites and Anula of Anula’s Kitchen. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make pierogi from scratch and an optional challenge to provide one filling that best represents their locale. This recipe is inspired by Elise’s Cardamom Honey Chicken

Dough Ingredients
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/8 tsp ground coriander
1/2 to 1 cup lukewarm water

Filling Ingredients
1 pound cooked chicken, shredded
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp sherry
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste

Mix together filling ingredients and chill completely before use.

Cardamom chicken pierogi

Cardamom chicken pierogi

Sift together seasonings and 2 cups of flour into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Break the egg into it, add a little water at a time (in my situation 1/2 cup was enough). Bring the dough together, kneading well and adding more flour or water as necessary. Cover the dough and let it rest 20 minutes.

On a floured work surface, roll the dough out thinly (1/8” or as thin as you can go) cut with a 4-inch round or glass. Spoon a portion (tablespoon will be the best) of the filling into the middle of each circle. Fold dough in half and pinch edges together. Gather scraps, re-roll and fill. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bring a large, low saucepan of salted water to boil. Drop in the pierogi, in a single layer in the pan. Return to the boil and reduce heat to medium. When the pierogi rise to the surface, continue to simmer a few minutes more (usually about 5 minutes), until they’ve started to puff out.

Toast in a toaster oven at 375F for 10 minutes or until puffy and light brown.

I’m not sure if it was the honey or the sherry or, really, I have no idea… but the dough was very chewy after it was cooked. I’m glad I enhanced the flavor of the chicken with flavored dough; a very worthwhile experiment.

I couldn’t come up with a sauce to serve with these (for dipping or on top). Sour cream didn’t at all taste right.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Meat, Pasta & Rice, Sauces and Dips, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Beef with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

Beef with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

Beef with Curried Tomato Almond Sauce

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour.

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a savory recipe. The original recipe given called for chicken, I used beef, and I substituted heavy cream in place of milk.

1 Tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
24 ounces beef, cubed or diced
Salt to taste

Spice Blend:
1.5 tablespoons (20 ml) garam masala seasoning
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) black pepper

4 tablespoons (60 ml) butter
1 large onion, cut in half pole to pole
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-ounce/425 g) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup (80 ml) almond butter
1/2 cup (80 ml) heavy cream
½ to ¾ cup (120 to 180 ml) chicken broth or water, more as needed
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Almond Cream

Almond Cream


Mix together almond butter and heavy cream in a food processor or blender (or whisk until smooth). Set aside.

Stir garam masala, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

If desired, pound meat to ¼ inch (6 mm) thickness to promote even cooking. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the meat; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the meat in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Set aside on clean plate and keep warm.

Melt the butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook gently for several minutes to infuse the butter with onion flavor. Keep the heat low to avoid burning the butter; a little color is fine. Add the spice blend and garlic and cook for 1 minute or till fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the tomato sauce, stir well, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Whisk in almond cream until thoroughly combined with tomato sauce. Return to simmer. Add broth (or water) to sauce to reach desired consistency; return to simmer. Add more broth (or water) as needed to thin sauce as desired.

Transfer sliced meat to sauce. Simmer gently for a few minutes until meat is heated through.

Serve meat and sauce over rice. Garnish with chopped parsley and/or sliced almonds if desired.

As this is, I couldn’t possibly label it as Indian, but it definitely has an Indian flavor to it. So if you’re looking for something reminiscent of Indian food, and you’re not a fan of cumin or fenugreek, this is definitely a winner.

Beef, Cuppylicious!, Ethnic Foods, Meat, Sauces and Dips, Thai, The Daring Cooks' Challenge

Beef Peanut Curry

Curried beef with vegetables on rice

Curried beef with vegetables on rice

Total time:  Approximately 1 hour.

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a savory recipe.

1 pound sliced beef
14 ounces (1 can) coconut milk
2/3 cup peanut butter or other nut butter*
1 carrot, sliced or julienned
1/2 bushel of fresh spinach, rinsed well
1/4 cup Thai red curry paste or more to taste
1/4 cup soy sauce (or 2 Tbsp fish sauce)
1/4 cup loose (not packed) brown sugar
1 Tbsp chopped onions (optional)
1 Tbsp vegetable or other oil

* To make your own nut butter, process in a food processor an amount of nuts equal to double what the recipe requires. In this case, I used 1.5 cups of salted, unshelled peanuts, and processed until a smooth paste formed. Some nut butter might require oil (to process and make smooth) and salt (to taste).

This is a stirring-constantly stir fry.

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add onions (it should sizzle) and cook until clear or golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Add sliced beef and cook until brown on all sides, 2-3 minutes. Add curry paste and mix well until all pieces of meat are coated.

Add carrots, coconut milk (remember to shake it before opening it!), and peanut butter. Stir well. Add soy sauce and brown sugar, mix well, and cook until it just starts to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking until the carrots are tender or desired doneness, 5-10 minutes. If you like your carrots firm, skip the reduction.

Add spinach and stir well until the spinach wilts and is completely covered in sauce.

Serves 4-6.

This is a little more sauce than there is food to coat, so if you have more vegetables, you should probably add them.

The flavor of your red curry paste will vary, so use caution if you don’t like a lot of heat. I never put seafood anything in my curry paste, and I always use the full amount of peppers, because you never know if you’ll get “lame duck” peppers instead of the good hot kind you really want.