Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sushi, Sashimi, Miso Soup and Edamame

Sushi, Sashimi, Edamame, and Miso Soup

Sushi, Sashimi, Miso Soup, and Edamame

Everyone in my family loves sushi, mostly California rolls, but I’m getting them to branch out. I love fresh sashimi, and my waisteline can spare the extra rice. Everyone also loves miso soup, which literally takes 5 minutes to make, and I always keep all of the ingredients on hand (all but the miso paste and tofu are kept in the cupboard). So, on a week night when I don’t have time to cook, and don’t want to order out, this is a great fast meal. While I love to make homemade sushi and rolls, they are very time consuming. I have an amazing Japanese grocery store/Sushi Bar nearby, but I’m also lucky to have a local grocery store that carries an excellent selection of sushi, rolls, and sashimi. I always keep edamame in the freezer (it’s a great healthy snack alternative), so I can literally throw this dinner together in a matter of minutes. I usually start by soaking the wakame for the miso soup and cutting the tofu. I also start boiling two pots of water – one for the edamame and one for the miso soup. Whie I’m waiting for the water, I plate the sushi and/or sashimi (depending on whose plate it is). When the pots of water are boiling, I prepare the edamame (according to the directions on the package – but you really just boil it for a few minutes until it’s hot all the way through), and the miso soup. Drain the edamame and season generously with Kosher salt, and add to the plate with the sushi. Pour miso soup into bowls (I like to put the bowls on the sushi plate), and you’re done.

For the Miso Soup:

  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1.5 tsp. Instant Dashi (Handashi) – available at Japanese/Asian markets
  • 1/2 Cup Miso Paste (light)
  • 1-2 TBS. Dried Seaweed (Wakame is traditional)
  • 1/2 Cup Cubed Tofu (I prefer firm)
  • 2 TBS. Green Onions – chopped

Place dried seaweed in a bowl and cover with warm water to rehydrate. In a medium stockpot, bring water to a boil.  Add instant dashi and stir until all of the granules are dissolved. Add miso paste and stir until paste is dissolved and incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and serve.



Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Italian Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

Last weekend I had one of my hard core chicken tender frying marathons so that I could re-stock the freezer for the kids. I was overzealous in the amount of chicken that I bought (about 10 lbs.) and I was growing tired of the process. So I decided that, for the last package of chicken, I would make cutlets which would involve fewer batches to batter and fry. The chicken breasts were thick, so I sliced them in half and pounded them out a little bit; this way the inside would be fully cooked without the outside being too browned. Well, we didn’t eat the cutlets that night, so I refrigerated them to have for the next day. I wasn’t in the mood for Chicken Parmesan (and I like more of a breaded cutlet for that anyway), and they looked kind of uninspiring just by themselves, so I decided to turn them into sandwiches. I didn’t really have that many options in my refrigerator, so the sandwich is a result of what I had on hand. I did have the option of using regular bacon and making a standard club sandwich, but since I had some proscuitto, I decided to crisp that up instead. The tomatoes you see in the photo are Kumato tomatoes – they’re not an heirloom, but a hybrid, and they’re excellent. I love arugula, as does my daughter, so she and I had that on our sandwich while I made the boys’ sandwiches with leaf lettuce. The garlic herb mayonnaise was super easy because I just combined prepared mayonnaise with garlic and herbs. I had really great French dinner rolls, but you could use Italian rolls, or even ciabatta bread. The sandwiches were a big hit and made it onto the “make that more often” list. This recipe is for 4 Servings, but can easily be adjusted.


  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts – sliced in 1/2 to make 4 thinner breasts (or purchase the thinner cut breasts)
  • 3 Cups Buttermilk (enough to cover chicken)
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Corn Starch
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil (enough to cover when frying – amount will depend on the size of the pot you fry in)
  • 1 Package (about 4 oz.) Proscuitto
  • Mozzerella Cheese (can use shredded or sliced)
  • 1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – finely chopped
  • 2 tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning
  • Arugula, lettuce, or your favorite green
  • 2 Tomatoes – sliced
the toppings

The Fresh Toppings


Season chicken generously with salt and pepperSlice chicken in half and soak in buttermilk for 4-12 hours (the longer they soak, the more tender they are). Combine flour, corn starch, 2 tsp. salt and 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper in a large plastic bag and shake to mix thoroughly; set aside. Add vegetable oil to a medium or large stockpot – oil should cover the bottom of the pan by about 2 inches (enough so that when added, chicken will be submersed). Heat oil to 350 degrees. In the meantime, heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a medium saute pan, add proscuitto slices and cook until crispy; fry the proscuittodrain on paper towel. Remove 1 chicken breast from buttermilk (do not try to shake off excess buttermilk – this makes for good batter) and transfer immediately to flour mixture. Shake until chicken is well coated. Set coated chicken aside on a cooling rack. Repeat process until all chicken breasts are battered. Working in batches, add chicken to oil and cook until outside is golden brown and inside is cooked through (about 5-7 minutes each, depending on size of your cutlets). (You can test on breast by cutting into it). Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the mayonnaise by combining mayonnaise, garlic and herbs; set aside. Garlic herb mayoPlace cutlets on a baking sheetFried chicken cutlets and top each cutlet with mozzerella cheese.Thru Jan 24 237 Bake until cheese is melted. Assemble sandwiches by coating top pieces of rolls generously with mayonnaise. Add one cutlet to each bottom roll;melted cheesetop with crispy proscuitto,Top with Fried proscuitto and then top with tomato slices and greens.Add lettuce and tomato
Slice sandwiches in 1/2 and serve immediately so chicken is still warm.

Braised Hangar Steak with Vegetables

Braised Hangar SteakI had a version of this at a great restaurant named Seasonal which I stumbled across when I was in NYC competing in the Sterling Vineyards Ultimate Host Challenge. Seasonal’s version had a different combination of vegetables, and their broth was probably homemade. I didn’t have any homemade beef stock on hand, so I used store bought. I actually preferred my vegetable combination – they were all very fresh and were perfectly cooked. You can use whatever vegetables you like – choose ones that are in season. The key to this dish is that the hangar steak (a very flavorful cut) is incredibly tender due to the braising. When served, the dish looks almost like a soup, but it’s not really eaten that way – the broth is just a vehicle for the steak and vegetables. I served it as they did at Seasonal with a potato pancake and sides of creamed pureed spinach (phenomenal) and a horseradish sour cream. This recipe is for 2 Servings, but you can easily increase it.


  • 2 Hangar Steaks
  • 2 TBS. Flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 4-6 Cups Beef Stock/Broth
  • 6 Scallions (green parts only)
  • 4 Kohlrabi (peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes)
  • 8-10 Baby Carrots
  • 1 Bunch Enoki Mushrooms


Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper and dredge in flour. Add steaks to pan and brown well on both sides.Brown steaks Remove steaks from pan and set aside. In a stock pot, heat beef broth; add steaks and cook for 45- 60 minutes, until very tender. VegetablesAdd carrots and kohlrabi and cook for another 10 minutes until vegetables are al dente. Add Enoki mushrooms and scallions and cook for another 2 minutes. (Optional: strain broth before serving.) Serve 1 steak per person in a shallow bowl with broth and vegetables. Accompany with potato pancakes, creamed pureed spinach.The finished dinner

Grilled Chicken Greek Salad

Grilled Chicken Greek SaladMy daughter and I both love Greek salads, and we often order them with chicken. It seems like there is a Greek restaurant on every other corner in the Detroit area, so it’s easy for us to fulfill a Greek salad cravings. The other night I had some leftover grilled chicken and it occurred to me that I could easily put together a salad. My friend jokes that when we go out, I always get a salad- this is only partially true-  the reason is that I love good entree salads, but I just don’t make them at home very often. As standard when I make one of my kids’ favorite dishes, I got the question: “Why don’t you make this all the time?” The homemade dressing is easy, but the alternative is to buy bottled Greek dressing. I have not listed ingredient amounts because that is a personal preference. The dressing, however, makes 6 Servings.


  • Mixed greens (or use Romaine or a good leaf lettuce)
  • Grilled Chicken – shredded (or you can use rotisserie chicken – skin removed)
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes – halved
  • Feta Cheese*
  • Red Onion – sliced and cut into 1/2- 3/4″ lengths
  • English (seedless) Cucumber – sliced
  • Cooked Beets (can use canned)- sliced or cut into cubes
  • Kalmata Olives
  • Pepperocini

* I don’t buy crumbled feta because I think it is too dry. I buy the feta that comes in a block in liquid and crumble it myself (this also allows me to control the size of my crumbles). You can substitute reduced fat or fat free feta, but both will be drier.

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried Basil
  • 3/4 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 TBS. Feta Cheese – crumbled (optional)


Arrange lettuce on plate; add all remaining ingredients except feta, in whatever amount you desire, and arrange neatly on plate. Top generously with feta cheese. For the dressing: combine all ingredients in a jar or tupperware container with a lid; cover with lid and shake vigorously. Adjust seasoning as desired (if dressing is too tart, add more oil or a dash of sugar). If adding feta: add crumbled feta, shake again, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Drizzle dressing over salad, add fresh cracked pepper and enjoy!Grilled Chicken Greek Salad Close-up

Thai Summer Rolls

Thai Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce

Thai Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce

I love the idea of posting a recipe that includes the word “summer” when it’s mid-January and very cold in Michigan. The last time I made these was for an end-of-summer/back-to-school party. They are somewhat time consuming, but they are always a crowd pleaser. I typically serve them as part of my Chinese New Year feast, and, no matter how many I make, they always disappear quickly. I shop at several local Asian grocery stores (better selection and prices), but I’ve seen all of the ingredients for this recipe at the local grocery store in the ethnic food/Asian section. I make the summer rolls with ground chicken, but you could substitute firm tofu (cut into small cubes or strips), or even chopped shrimp (I make a Vietnamese shrimp roll which is very similar). I don’t always use carrots (they’re more traditional for Vietnamese style rolls), but I had a bag of shredded carrots, and I do like the color they add.


  • 1 Pack of Large Rice Paper Wrappers Rice paper wrappers
  • 1 Lb. Ground Chicken (or Tofu or cooked chopped shrimp)
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 4 TBS. Fish Sauce
  • 2 TBS. Fresh Lime Juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 Fresh Chili – seeded, membrane removed, finely chopped (or substitute 2 TBS. Chili Sauce)
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine (or Rice Wine)
  • 3-4 Cups Lettuce (Romaine or Green Leaf) – chopped
  • 5-6 Spring (Green) Onions – green parts only, thinly sliced lengthwise (matchstick style)
  • 1/2 English Cucumber- peeled, seeded and cut into matchstick strips
  • 3/4 Cup Shredded Carrot Strips
  • 5-6 Oz. Vermicelli Rice Noodle (sticks)
  • 1.5 Cups Fresh Cilantro
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil (Thai basil if available, otherwise chop the regular basil)


In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together honey, fish sauce, lime juice, chili, and wine. MarinadeAdd ground chicken (or whatever you are using) and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. In the meantime, soak the rice noodles (as directed on the package) until softened and drain. Soak the noodlesAssemble all of your ingredients around a cutting board or section of counter to create a good workspace. Assemble all ingredientsPrepare the dipping sauce (see below) and set aside. Saute chicken over medium heat until fully cooked; drain and move to workspace. Saute the chickenFill a pie plate about 1/2 full of warm water. Add one rice paper disk to the water and gently swish around (keeping flat) until the paper is softened – remove and lightly dry it on a paper or kitchen towel. Lay the rice paper disk in the center of the cutting board. Beginning about 2 inches from the bottom edge of the rice paper, lay about 2 TBS. of your chicken (or whatever you are using) on the rice paper forming a line, leaving one inch clear on each side (you will fold the sides over when you wrap). Lay the green onion strips, a thin layer of lettuce, the carrots and the cucumbers and then add the cilantro and basil. Finish with a thin layer of the rice noodles. layered and ready to rollTo roll: fold the bottom portion of the rice paper over the filling (it should cover it, if not use less filling next time or start your pile higher up). Although the rice paper seems really thin and delicate, it is actually very stretch and pretty durable. After folding the bottom half, fold the two sides over and then roll into a tight cylinder. Fold the sides overThru Aug 26 028Place the seam side down, and use a sharp knife to cut the roll into the desired number of pieces (two is traditional, but if you’re taking it to a party where there will be other appetizers, you can cut into three pieces – the middle one is just awkward because it’s open at both ends). Repeat process until all ingredients are used, or until you are tired of rolling. 🙂 Serve with room temperature with dipping sauce.

For the Dipping Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 3 TBS. Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBS. Rice Vinegar (unseasoned)
  • 1 TBS. Fresh Cilantro – chopped
  • 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic – minced
  • 1 tsp. Finely Chopped Chili (Jalapeno works well) – remove seeds if you don’t want too much spice, otherwise use seeds

Combine all ingredients in a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk until sugar is dissolved. Allow to stand at least 30 minutes for the best flavor. Can be made ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temperature.

Platters of finished rolls

Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Shallot Panini with Avacado Mayo

Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Onion Panini with Avacado Mayo

Smoked Chicken, Roasted Pepper and Shallot Panini with Avocado Mayo

This little sandwich doesn’t look very impressive in the photo, but boy was it good! I love grilled sandwiches, and I love them even more when they’re done on a panini press. My Dad was the one who got me started on paninis; they were one of his signature dishes. The great thing about paninis is that you can stuff a lot of different stuff into a sandwich, add cheese, put it on the panini press, and the sandwich stays together. I think the best panini creations are those that are a result of using what you have in the fridge/pantry. The options for bread are limitless, as are the options for meat, veggies, and cheese, and you can easily throw together a simple flavored mayo or mustard (or leave it off altogether). Prior to Thanksgiving, Bryan smoked a whole chicken (as a test run for the turkey he would smoke for Thanksgiving). The smoked chicken was great, and we had plenty of leftovers – hence, I was inspired to make paninis. I didn’t have much else around, but I did have a red pepper, some shallots (no onion – which worked out fine; I liked the shallot), some cheese and an avocado. My avocado had some icky spots, so I didn’t have enough to put slices on everyone’s sandwich, so I decided to just mash it and combine it with mayonnaise to make a spread. If you don’t have a panini press, you can make these sandwiches in a pan or griddle on the stove just like grilled cheese, or you could do them on an outdoor grill. Now I’ll have to post some soups or salads – the perfect accompaniment for a weeknight dinner. I haven’t posted very specific quantities because that’s easy enough to figure out depending on how many paninis you are making.


  • Smoked or Roasted Chicken (at room temperature)- fairly thinly sliced, (can substitute any deli meat)
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 2-3 Medium Shallots (can substitute several rings of sliced red onion)
  • Italian Bread (can substitute any sliced bread)
  • Pepper Jack Cheese – sliced
  • Avocado
  • Mayonnaise
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove stem, seeds and membranes from the peppers. Peel and thinly slice the shallots, place in a bowl and toss with a enough olive oil to coat. Place the peppers skin side up on a baking sheet (foil lined for easy clean-up). Sprinkle the peppers and shallots with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Thru November 15 088Cook for 10-15 minutes, checking occasionally. Flip peppers and onions to roast on other side until they reach the desired tenderness; remove from oven and allow to cool. Thru November 15 095When peppers are cool enough to handle peel off the skin. Peel and remove the pit from the avocado and mash the flesh. Thru November 15 091Add desired amount of mayonnaise. Assemble the sandwiches by spreading a layer of avocado mayonnaise on one or both sides of the bread. To the bottom piece of bread, add a layer of chicken, Thru November 15 097then peppers, then shallots. Top with cheese Thru November 15 101and the top piece of bread. Heat the panini press, pan, griddle or grill to medium high. Brush both sides of the sandwich with olive oil and cook until the outside is well browned and the cheese is melted.Thru November 15 106


Lamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes

Lamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzoal PotatesI was going to blog this as Braised Lamb Shanks, but I ended up using lamb shanks, lamb shoulder, and lamb steaks. As I have mentioned in the past, we have a local lamb dealer, and this year I bought half a lamb. Unfortunately, “Mary (literally the name of my lamb lady) had a Little Lamb.” So, my lamb shanks were tiny. I combined 2 lamb shanks, 1 lamb shoulder, and 4 lamb steaks in this recipe, but you could certainly make this with all shoulder or shank (I don’t think the lamb steaks are a typical supermarket cut) – the recipe is for 4-6 lbs. total of lamb (includes bones). All of these lamb cuts have a pretty high fat content(particularly the shoulder), so I recommend braising the lamb in advance and allowing it to cool in the refrigerator so that you can easily remove the fat from the top. The finished product received rave reviews (from my family – worst critics ever). The mashed potatoes were a result of “what’s in the fridge/pantry” – which always results in some of my best recipes – this one definitely qualifies. In fact, it is worthy of it’s own blog, though I will blog it here as well. Serves 4-6.


  • 4-6 lbs. of Lamb (shoulder, shank, steak or any combination)
  • 3/4 Cup of Flour (for dredging)
  • 4 Medium Shallots – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 Cloves Garlic – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 TBS. Red Wine
  • 4-6 Cups of Beef Broth – enough to reach top of meat, but not cover
  • 28 Oz. Crushed Tomatoes (preferably San Marzanos)
  • 3 Carrots- peeled and cut into 1″ Chunks*
  • 1 Package of Baby Bella (or your favorite) Mushrooms – halved
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Herb Bundle (Rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley) or 1 TBS. Dried Italian Herbs, 1-2 tsp. Dried Rosemary, and 1/2 tsp. Dried Thyme
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

* You can add additional root vegetables such as parsnips or potatoes – I served the stew over mashed potatoes, so I did not use them.


Pat the lamb dry and season generously on all sides with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Lamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzoal Potates 004Dredge each piece of lamb in flour. Heat olive oil (just enough to cover the bottom of pot) in a large stockpot or Dutch oven. When oil is hot, add lamb pieces (you probably have to do two batches) and brown on all sides. Add lamb to hot oilRemove lamb and set aside. Lamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzoal Potates 010Add garlic and shallots to pot and allow to sweat and remove the browned bits from the pan (add more oliveLamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzoal Potates 015 oil if necessary). Add wine and allow to further deglaze the pot; continue cooking until wine is reduced by 1/2. Lamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzoal Potates 020Return the lamb (with any accumulated juices)to the pot and add the tomatoes. The lamb should be covered with cooking liquid; if not, add more beef stock. Add the herbs, cover the pot, and reduce heat. Lamb Stew with Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzoal Potates 024Allow to simmer for about 3 hours – until meat is very tender. Skim fat from the top (if you have time, refrigerate the whole pot and the fat will congeal and be easier to remove) and remove the herb bundle (if you used one). Season to taste with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Add any additional vegetables to the pot, return to heat and cook until added vegetables are tender. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, or wide egg noodles.

* If you like a thicker sauce, you can make a simple slurry of corn starch and water and add to the stew to thicken it.

Buttermilk, Leek, and Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes


  • 4 Large Russett Potatoes (or 6-8 smaller boiling potatoes such as Yukon gold)- peeled and cut into 1″ chunks
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek (white and light green parts only) – thoroughly cleaned and finely chopped
  • 2/3-3/4 Cup of Buttermilk
  • 4-5 TBS. Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 1-2 TBS. Butter
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper


To a stockpot, add enough water to cover potatoes. Bring water to a boil and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are fork tender (but not mushy), about 5-6 minutes depending on the type of potato and the size of your chunks. In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a small skillet and add chopped leeks. Cook until leeks are soft; remove from heat and set aside. Add buttermilk and butter to a small saucepan and heat to just below boiling; add gorgonzola and stir until dissolved and incorporated. Drain the potatoes and mash with a masher or potato ricer. Add leeks, hot buttermilk mixture, salt and pepper (to taste) and mix thoroughly (if you like really smooth potatoes, you can use a hand mixer and whip the potatoes). Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as necessary.

Leek Risotto

Leek RisottoSometimes the simplest things are the best. This is one of those recipes that was a result of creating something out of what I had in the fridge and pantry; sometimes I question why I spend so much time thinking about new recipes…I should just learn that some of the best creations take the least amount of thought. The holidays are over, and I’ve made a commitment to using up all of the great food that we have in our freezer. Because we buy so much locally raised meat and poultry, it is typically frozen. I’m not so great about planning meals in advance, so using meat out of the freezer is not easy for me, but I’m really trying to be better about it. So, Friday afternoon I decided I’d use up some of the fabulous boneless pork chops I had from Melo Farms. I did my standard Ultimate Tender Pork Chop recipe, but was lacking a side dish. I love to make risotto, so I always have Arborio rice on hand. I didn’t have much to mix in with the risotta, but I did have a couple of leeks hanging around in the vegetable drawer, so I decided to make a simple leek risotto – result: excellent. The leeks have a mild onion flavor, but they have a butteriness (not sure that’s a word) about them that works so well with the creamy risotto. What’s great about this recipe is that you only need 1 leek; so don’t go out and buy a pack of leeks for this recipe, but, rather, make this with a leftover leek – because almost all recipes only call for a few leeks and you, undoubtedly, have leftovers (they are great in quiche and mashed potatoes as well). So, simple is often better, and, some of the best inventions come from working with what you have. (Serves 4 as a side dish)


  • 1 Cup Arborio Rice
  • 1 Leek – chopped (white and light green parts only)
  • 3-4 Cups Chicken Broth (hot)
  • 1 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh Parsley – finely chopped
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper (to taste)


Heat chicken broth over medium heat and keep hot. Add olive oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium; add leeks and saute until tender but not quite browned.Slice leeks and then halve Add rice to saucepan, saute for a few minutesSaute leeks and then add about 3/4 cup hot chicken broth, stirring constantly.Add Chicken Stock Cook until most of chicken broth is absorbed and then add another 3/4 cup hot broth, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until risotto is tnderRepeat process until rice is tender but still al dente. Add parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper.





New Year’s Day Good Luck Soul Food

Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Cornbread, Black eyed peas, collard greensEven though I’m not Southern, I always make sure to eat soul food for good luck in the New Year. There are a variety of explanations for how the tradition began, many of which are very interesting, but all I need to know is that I need to eat black eyed peas and collard greens to insure prosperity in the New Year.  Bryan is a converted fan of both dishes. I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, so forget diet food on New Year’s Day – nothing accompanies black eyed peas and collard greens better than crawfish cakes, crispy buttermilk fried chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, corn muffins, and sweet potato pie. Truth be told, I didn’t get to the sweet potato pie ( I peeled the potatoes only to discover that they were white sweet potatoes – who knew?) I will make mini pies later today. We had a few friends and neighbors over for a casual gathering. We had bowl games on in the den, but the highlight of the evening (well, some people did offer compliments on the food) was a game of celebrities.

I ate my share of prosperity inducing food, so I am hopeful that 2013 will bring good health and good fortune to all. 13 is my lucky number; the world did not end in 2012, and, with the loss of my dad last year, it would be hard for this year to be any worse than last year. I am publishing the recipes for all of the New Year’s Day foods separately (see links below). I wish you all the best in 2013.

Spicy Black Eyed Peas

Collard Greens

Crawfish Cakes

Macaroni and Cheese

Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Crawfish Cakes with Spicy Remoulade

I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of the finished product; as is always the case when I host, I hate to take time away to take pictures (particularly when it’s important that the food be served hot).This recipe is basically a remix of my crabcake recipe. It’s a tradition in our household to eat soul food on New Year’s Day for good luck in the new year, so I figured crawfish cakes were more soul foodish than regular crab cakes. They were definitely well received by all of the guests.


  • 1 lb. Crawfish Tails – chopped and patted dry*
  • 2 TBS. Red Pepper – finely chopped
  • 1 TBS. Red Onion – finely chopped
  • 2 TBS. Celery – finely chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic – finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 Cups Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 TBS. Olive Oil
  • 1 Bay leaf – crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Onion Powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper

My local gourmet grocery store carries shelled, crawfish tail meat – I paid $11.99 for a 1 lb. bag, but the time/effort savings is worth the cost. If your local grocer doesn’t carry crawfish tail meat, find a seafood/fish monger.


Combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise with 1 TBS. finely chopped red pepper, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 1/8 tsp. onion powder, 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp. Kosher salt, and 1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper.  As an alternative: combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise with your favorite Cajun spice mix.


Combine crawfish meat, peppers, onions, celery, garlic, egg, mayonnaise, spices and 1/2 of the panko bread crumbs.Through Janusar 038

Through Janusar 042 Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixture should be moist, but dry enough to form into cakes – add more panko bread crumbs if mixture is too moist. Form mixture into golf ball sized balls (10-12) and flatten into disks about 3/4 inches high. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Pour remaining panko bread crumbs into a medium bowl and coat both sides of crawfish cakes with additional panko. Add crawfish cakes to pan and cook until browned (about 4-5 minutes), flip and cook on the other side until browned. Transfer cakes to a plate lined with paper towel and allow to drain. Serve warm* with roumalade.

Can easily be made in advance and re-heated in the oven.