Friday, November 17, 2017

Seafood Stuffed Lobster Tail #FishFridayFoodies

It's hard to believe that it is coming up on 2 years since I started this fabulous group called Fish Friday Foodies.  What makes it so fabulous?  The amazing, supportive and loving group of bloggers who join me each and every month.

We take turns each month choosing a theme.  This gives us all inspiration to get creative and have some fun.  This month, with Thanksgiving breathing down our necks, I had stuffing on my mind.  I love stuffing and thought it would make a perfect theme for this month's Fish Friday party.

I asked the members to join me in stuffing fish or seafood, or using seafood or fish in a stuffing.  Stuffing is not just for turkeys! I can't wait to see what the others have decided to share with us today.  You will find links to all of their recipes at the bottom of this post.

I am so excited about the recipe I am sharing.  Frank does not care for shellfish.  He will eat shrimp and he likes certain types of fish but stays away from clams, lobster, crab, oysters, etc., so I was taking quite the chance serving up this Seafood Stuffed Lobster Tail.

This decadent dish contains not only the lobster meat that you removed from the shell but shrimp an crab as well.  All this succulent, tender meat gets sauteed up in butter, stuffed back into the shells and then gets topped with butter soaked Ritz crackers.  This was the most wonderful seafood dish I have ever made!!

I picked up these frozen lobster tails when my local grocer had them on sale for $5 each.  They are great to have in the freezer, especially during the holidays.  I use them for Lobster Bisque or Dragon and Phoenix Soup, I steam them and serve them with drawn butter, I add them to Pot Pie.  If you are lucky enough to have leftovers when you are done stuffing the shell, you can turn them into a Seafood Roll and enjoy it for lunch.  That's what I did!

Removing the meat from the shell is easy peasy.  Just cut down both sides with some kitchen shears and then cut across the tail to remove all of the membrane on the underside of the shell.  Wriggle your fingers under the meat and it pops right out.  The shells are perfectly ready and waiting to be stuffed.

I served this up with pan seared Filet Mignon as the surf portion of Surf and Turf, just in case Frank hated it.  I need not have worried....he was very surprised how much he enjoyed this preparation of seafood.  How could he not?  If you are a seafood lover, you will be swooning over this dish and if you are on the other side of the fence, give it a shot, you may just be as surprised as Frank.

Seafood Stuffed Lobster Tails
adapted from Cuisine at Home

4 (4 oz) lobster tails, removed from shell and cut into chunks, shells reserved
3 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into chunks
8 oz. crab meat
1 stick butter, divided
Juice and zest of  half a lemon
dash of cayenne pepper
2 T. chives, minced
24 buttery crackers (like Ritz)

Melt 4 T. of butter in a large skillet over med high heat.  Add the lobster and shrimp, cook and stir until pink.  Add the lemon juice, zest and cayenne.  Remove from heat and stir in the crab meat, 16 of the crackers that have been crushed and chives.  Let cool and then spoon mixture into the reserved lobster tail shells.

Place the remaining 4 T. of butter into a small microwave safe bowl and cook until melted.  Stir in the remaining 8 crackers, crushed, and sprinkle over the top of the lobster tails.  

 Tails can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 24 hrs before baking.  When ready to serve, bake in a preheated 400* oven for 15-20 minutes, until topping is crisp and stuffing is heated through.  Print Recipe

Scrumptious Stuffed Seafoods

You Make Me Blush Champagne Cocktail #CranberryWeek #MadeinFrance

I thought I would serve a cocktail on this Friday, the last day of  Cranberry Week.  I don't know how your week has been but I can really use a cocktail to kick off what I hope will be a relaxing weekend.

The cocktail starts out with this gorgeous, ruby red simple syrup made from fresh cranberries and cranberry juice cocktail.  Not only is it perfect for this drink but it would be absolutely beautiful drizzled on a dessert plate or over ice cream.

You can use any sparkling wine that you like with this cocktail.  I had a bottle of French Champagne from Jacques Bardelot that I received during our #MadeinFrance event.  That event was a wine and cheese party and this cocktail was also served up with a cheese platter as guests arrived for dinner one evening.

I would like to make a toast right now to Caroline of Caroline's Cooking who hosted this week long event.  It is a lot of work making an event successful and she pulled it off without a hitch.  Cheers Caroline!

You Make Me Blush Cocktail
adapted from Cuisine at Home, issue #60

1 1/2 c. fresh cranberries
1 c. cranberry juice cocktail
1 c. sugar
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 bottle Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Dip the rim of 6 champagne flutes into the orange juice and then into sugar, set aside.  

Place the remaining orange juice and the cranberries into a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to a sauce pan with the sugar and orange zest.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let cook for 10-15 minutes, until syrupy.  Strain and allow to cool to room temperature.

When ready to serve pour 1-2 T. of syrup into the prepared champagne flutes.  Top with Champagne and serve.  Print Recipe

See all the other recipes being shared for today's final Cranberry Week post - we hope you've enjoyed following along and will try some of the many cranberry creations!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Say Yay for Beaujolais #FrenchWinophiles

Welcome to an early edition of The French Winophiles.  We normally post on the third Saturday of each month, followed by a twitter chat.  We are still chatting on Saturday and would love to have you join us at 11 AM ET. You will find us by using hashtag #Winophiles.  This month we will also be using the hashtag #Beaujolais.

So why are we posting early this month?  Beaujolais is releasing their 2017 harvest today!  Each year the current harvest of Beaujolais wines are released on the third Thursday and it has become a great marketing tool for them.  You can learn more about Beaujolais wines and this event by reading this invitation post written by Jeff of Food Wine Click, who is hosting this month.

This year, on of our members, Lynn of Savor the Harvest, was able to procure samples of four different Beaujolais wines for our group to try;  Nature Terra Vitis from Vignerons de Bel Air, Brouilly from Domaine de Briante, Morgan Côte du Py from Domaines Piron and Cote de Brouilly Les Garances from Domaine Baron de L'Ecluse.

You can see what the others have to say about this wine in their individual posts:

The recipe I chose to showcase this wonderful wine made with primarily Gamay grapes is a rustic dish from Israel called Shakshuka.

Shakshuka is a dish of eggs poached in tomatoes and vegetables.  Often served for breakfast, I decided to enjoy it for brinner and pair it with the bottle of Côte du Py.  You can find versions of this dish in nearly every culture. This dish in France is spelled Chakchouka. I shared the Italian version, Uovo al Piatta con Pomodori, last Easter season.

I found this recipe by Celeste of The True Spoon on a website called Honest Cooking. It appealed to me because Celeste had paired it with Beaujolais when she served it.  I also was thrilled with the addition of beets to the recipe.

I had recently received a wonderful box of produce for our #FabulousFallBounty event that starts in just two days.  One of the items included in this box were some steamed and peeled baby beets.  Perfect for this recipe.

The most interesting thing about this pairing was the difference in my tasting as compared to Frank's tasting.  I took a sip of the wine and was please with how light and smooth I found it.  I thought that it was the perfect wine for this rustic dinner.

Frank also enjoyed the pairing but after he took a couple of sips of the wine he said "Wow, this is really a chalky wine".  We, more I than he, enjoy chalky wines.  I like when you take a sip of wine and it is so dry that your mouth feels like you just licked some chalk.  But I was surprised when Frank said this.  I didn't find the wine that dry at all.  It was not sweet. It was very fruity.  But it did not leave that chalky feel in my mouth as it did in his.  This just goes to show that tasting is in the buds of the beholder.  We should never judge a wine on someone else's review.  We all have our own palates and a wine that I love may not be the wine you love and vice versa.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and pairing that I am sharing with you today.  Stay tuned for further Beaujolais pairing from me and the other members of The French Winophiles.  You can find our posts on most social media platforms by following #gogamaygo and #lovebeaujolais.  Please join us for our chat this #Winophile chat Saturday morning at 11 ET when we discuss all of our #Beaujolais pairings.

Beet Shakshuka
adapted from The True Spoon

8 oz. baby beets, steamed, peeled and chopped
8 oz. fingerling potatoes, cut into bite size slices
3 T. garlic infused olive oil
1/2 red onion, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. caraway seeds
3-4 eggs

Place the potatoes and onion in a cast iron skillet.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat.  Place in a preheated 400* oven for 15 minutes.  Add the beets to the skillet. Stir, flipping the potatoes to allow even browning and return to the oven for 10 minutes.  Stir in the tomato sauce, cumin and caraway seeds.

Pressing down with a spoon create indentations for each egg you are using.  Add an egg into each well, season with salt and pepper and return to the oven for 10-12 minutes, until whites are set and yolks are cooked to desired consistency. Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes before serving.
Print Recipe

Join me on Saturday as I pair the Brouilly with a marvelous French Soup that I prepared for #SoupSaturdaySwappers featuring #FabulousFallBounty.

Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake #BundtBakers #CranberryWeek

Happy Bundt Day!  Each month a group of us get together over at Bundt Bakers to bake a cake that matches the theme chosen by the host of the month.  This month's host is Sue of Palatable Pastime and she chose a pretty open theme of "Punt the Bundt".

Sue said we could make any Bundt that would be good to serve up on a game day. To me that meant something without any frosting or glaze so that it could be easily eaten out of hand.

It just so happens that we are also celebrating Cranberry Week, hosted by Caroline of Caroline's Cooking.  Bloggers in this event have been sharing their favorite recipes using Cranberries all week long.  I shared a Cranberry Coffee Cake on Monday and I will be back tomorrow with a recipe for a wonderful Holiday cocktail.

Tonight we are celebrating our Little Miss Melody's Christening Anniversary over at Amy's house.  Amy, being Melody's Godmother, celebrates with a dinner each year to commemorate this joyous event.

I volunteered to make dessert and then went on a search for a Bundt cake containing cranberries that would meet our Angel Face's standards.  I found this Orange Cranberry Bundt by Jeff Mauro of The Kitchen.

I adapted it slightly by omitting the orange liqueur and adding orange extract since it was meant for a three year old.  If you are making this for a Football Party feel free to omit the orange extract and replace with 2 teaspoons of orange liqueur.

Melody and I got up early and started baking. The batter was light and fluffy and seemed to fit perfectly in my pan.

Then, while the cake was baking, I could smell something burning.  I opened the oven and the cake had overflowed.  Of course, I had no baking sheet under it to catch the spills.  The overflow started burning, my house filled with smoke.  There was nothing to be done but turn on exhaust fans, open windows and pray for the best.  

I pulled it out of the oven and allowed it to cool for about 20 minutes.  Then I went to work trying to rectify the situation.

I trimmed off all of the burnt overflow and held my breath while I turned it out of the pan.  It slipped out beautifully.  I LOVE baking spray, especially when making Bundt cakes.

I dusted it simply with powdered sugar after it had cooled completely.  It was the perfect cake for transport to our Christening party or your Tailgate party.

I served it up with a dollop whipped cream but that is not necessary at all if you are in a situation where you aren't using plates and utensils.

Orange Cranberry Bundt Cake
slightly adapted from Jeff Mauro of The Kitchen

1 c. fresh cranberries
2 1/2 c. + 1 T. flour
zest and juice of  2 oranges
1/2 t. orange extract
4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 t. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. baking soda
2 1/4 stick butter, room temperature

Toss the cranberries with the 1 tablespoon of flour, set aside.

Whisk together the orange juice and zest, orange extract and eggs. Set aside.

Place the remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl of stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.  Turn on low speed and combine dry ingredients.  Start adding the butter, a little at a time, until it becomes crumbly with pea size pieces.  Turn the speed to medium and slowly add the orange mixture until combined.  Increase the speed to med high and beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Fold in the cranberries.

Pour into a Bundt pan that has been liberally treated with baking spray.  Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350* oven for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

More "Punt the Bundts"


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

More Cranberry Creations

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Copy Cat Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki #FantasticalFoodFight

Our theme for this month's Fantastical Food Fight is Copy Cat Fast Food recipes.  We don't eat a lot of fast food in this house.  On those occasions when I do eat fast food , I tend to order the same thing each time.  McDonalds= Sausage McMuffin with egg or a Fish Filet Sandwich.  Taco Bell= Bean Burrito.  Arbys=Beef & Cheddar.  Subway= Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki.

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This fight is refereed by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. Each month, she provides us with a theme and then stands back and watches us duke it out.  It is a lot of fun and you are welcome to join us, just drop Sarah a note and let her know.

I decided to copycat the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki Sub for our fight this month.  Mostly because I prefer my own versions of egg sandwiches, bean burritos and beef sandwiches.  I have no idea where to get the fish fillets they use at McDonalds and not sure I really want to know what kind of fish it is, if it is fish at all.

But least the food is recognizable and I know how to make teriyaki chicken.

I also know what toppings and type of cheese I prefer on my sub so all that was left to do was find a recipe for the dressing.

I found 5 or 6 different recipes for Sweet Onion sauce that was supposed to be the same as that used by Subway.   I took a little of this and a little of that, combining until I felt the taste most reminded me of that I enjoy from Subway.

I put together the sandwich and drizzled the dressing onto the roll, allowing it to soak in a bit.  Frank thought it was almost exact.  I, personally, thought that Subway's was tastier but perhaps it was the sub roll.  Subway has really good bread.

It was much less expensive than going to Subway and I knew that the ingredients were fresh, healthy and organic.  

Copy Cat Subway Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki

For Sweet Onion Dressing:

1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 T. minced sweet onion
1 t. brown sugar
1 t. balsamic vinegar
juice of 1 lemon slice
pinch of garlic salt
pinch of poppy seeds
1 grind fresh pepper

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, cook and stir for one minute.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

For each 2 sandwiches:

1 large, skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 c. teriyaki marinade of choice 
2 slices cheese of choice, I used provolone
toppings of choice, I used spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers
2 whole wheat sub rolls

Marinade the chicken in teriyaki sauce overnight or for at least 4 hours.  Cook on a hot grill or grill pan until it reaches an internal temp of 165*, about 20 minutes.  Set aside to rest for a few minutes before cutting into slices.

Cut open sub rolls.  Cut the cheese slices in  half and place two pieces onto each of the sub rolls.  Place under the broiler until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.  Divide the sliced chicken between the sub rolls.  Add toppings of choice.  Drizzle with Sweet Onion Dressing and serve.  Print Recipe

More Fast Food Copy Cats

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Overnight Monkey Bread Pudding #BreadBakers

I didn't bake bread for this month's Bread Bakers.  Well, I did bake bread, but it was old, stale bread that had been baked once before.

Kelly of Passion Kneaded invited us to share a Pull Apart Bread this month.  I decided to make these adorable, little, individual monkey breads for Frank and I to enjoy for brunch yesterday.

I have been baking so much that my counters and freezer are overflowing.  I really didn't want to make up a huge Bundt pan of Monkey Bread that serves 12 people so I adapted a recipe that I found in Cuisine at home and made 4 miniature Monkey Bread Bundts, perfect for just the 2 of us.

I began with 2 cups of stale bread.  You can use whatever bread you have on hand.  This was one whole wheat sub roll and it was the perfect amount.

Combine the bread cubes with the wet ingredients and put them into your Bundt Pans.  I have this little cupcake size Bundt Pan that I am loving but you can use any size pan and just adjust the ingredients accordingly.  

Place them in the refrigerator overnight and in the morning they are ready to be popped into the oven for 15 minutes.  How easy is that?

You should really make sure that you treat the pan with baking spray.  I forgot and luckily my little breads came out perfectly anyway but I wouldn't trust that to happen again.

They do pull apart and can be eaten with your fingers or you can do as we did, drizzle them with hot, pure maple syrup and use a fork.  YUM!!

Individual Monkey Bread Pudding
adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #90

2 c. cubed, stale bread of your choice
2 T. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 c. + 1 T. half and half
1 egg, beaten
2 T. brown sugar

Combine the butter, both sugars, cinnamon, cream and egg in a bowl.  Divide the mixture between 4 cupcake tins that have been treated with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Bake in a preheated *350 oven for 15-20 minutes, until puffy and golden brown and the top begins to crisp and an internal temperature of 165* is reached.  Print Recipe

Plenty of Pull Apart Breads


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Concord Grape Pie #BakingBloggers

Cynthia who used to blog over at Feeding Big and ran our Fill the Cookie Jar group has decided to take a sabbatical from blogging.  Blogging can be very time consuming.  When it becomes more of a chore than a pleasure or when life is busy enough without the added stress of worrying about posts it is time to set it aside and just BREATHE.  I am glad Cynthia is taking this time for herself but we will miss her here in the blogging community.

My friend Sue of Palatable Pastime considered taking over the FTCJ group but then took a poll and decided to change it up a bit and just make it a baking group.  She asked for a co-host to this group and I agreed to give her a hand when the need should arise.  Running a group can create a lot of paperwork.  We dubbed our new group #BakingBloggers and decided that we would post a themed baked good on the 2nd Monday of each month.

Today is our first day of posting and the theme chosen was pies.  Perfect during this month when many of our readers are looking for an alternative or an addition to the Pumpkin Pie traditionally served this time of year.  Of course, not all pies are sweet so I'm sure we will find at least one savory pie to add to our repertoire this month.

My pie, however, is sweet.  Very sweet and very delicious but a little goes a long way. The reason my pie was so sweet was because the fruit I used was so deliciously ripe.  All this planning was going on in early September.  I had taken Little Miss Melody to my friend, Kim's house, to pick pumpkins from her garden  Kim said that she and Kurt had made all of the grape juice and grape jelly that they needed for the winter and their vines were still full.  She told me to help myself to all the concord grapes I wanted.  I grabbed a bucket and started picking.

Concord grape pie is not hard but it is a little time consuming.  First you need to peel the grapes.  This isn't as hard as it sound.  You simply hold the grapes over a bowl and squeeze.  The fruit pops right out and you are left with the skins.  Don't discard them, the skins are used in this recipe.  They are what gives those grapes the lovely purple color.

The next step is removing all the seeds.  This too is easy if you have the right equipment.  I use my food mill and it makes fast work of it.

Mix together the pulp and skins with sugar and lemon juice and it is ready to go into a pie shell.  Make sure you use a deep dish pan and that you place your pan on a parchment or silicone covered baking pan.  This pie has a tendency to drip and make a mess.

Sprinkle it with the crumb topping and it is ready to go into the oven.  When it is done, cool completely and then refrigerate.  This pie is best eaten the following day cold from the refrigerator.  If you try to cut the pie warm and don't give it time to set you will be having concord grape soup.

This pie is like eating a grape jam sandwich with sugar on top.  It is very decadent and rich.  It is a once a year treat that you will look forward to each time the grapes are ready for harvest.  I adapted my recipe from one found on  The first time I made this I used the measurements as written and a regular pie shell.  Luckily, I had used a baking pan because there was more filling out of the pie than in.

The next time, I used a deep dish pan and there was still way too much filling.  This time I used a deep dish and reduced the recipe.  It was better but still overflowed quite a bit.  I am writing the recipe as I will make it next time, reducing the ingredients of the filling even more.

Concord Grape Crumb Pie

3 c. Concord Grapes
2/3 c. sugar
2 T. flour
1 t. lemon juice
pinch of salt
1 (9") deep dish pie shell
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. cold butter, cut into pats

Squeeze the end of each grape, opposite the stem, removing the skins from the pulp and dropping them into a bowl.  Reserve the skins in another container.  Place the pulp into a saucepan over med high heat and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring for a minute or two.  Pour pulp into a food mill set over a large bowl.  Run through the mill releasing juice into the bowl and capturing the seeds in the mill.

Add the reserved grape skins, sugar, flour, lemon and salt to the grape juice and pour into the pie shell.  

Place the oats, brown sugar, flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the grape filling.

Place the pie onto a baking sheet that has been covered with a silicone mat or parchment paper and put into a preheated 425* oven.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight before serving.  Print Recipe

Pies a Plenty