Appetizers

Spicy Boiled Peanuts Recipe

Spicy_gourmet_boiled_peanuts_3 Spicy Boiled Peanuts are part of the Southern culture and a necessity at hurricane parties. They are super easy to make, but take a few hours to cook. You can make them plain or spicy. You can add beer or vodka or tequila. You can eat them hot (the preferred method) or cold and they can be frozen for up to six months.

Although we live in a sub-tropical climate, we prefer our boiled peanuts to be spicy hot. I've become interested in growing peppers, so pretty much everything I make these days has one of my gorgeous beauties tucked inside ;-) My recipe for spicy boiled peanuts is no exception. I experimented with this version and believe this is the best yet. Feel free to adapt it to suit your needs.

Spicy Boiled Peanuts Recipe
Serves 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1-1/2 to 2 hours

Ingredients:
4 pounds Green Peanuts (only available between June and August)
6 quarts water (substitute with 2 quarts beer and 4 quarts water, if desired)
2 medium Cowhorn peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
6 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons Cajun Seasoning

Directions:

  • Place peanuts in colander and rinse well.
  • Pour water into large kettle or stock pot.
  • Add peanuts, peppers, salt and seasoning.
  • Bring to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and cover.
  • Cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until peanuts are tender.
  • Remove from heat and allow to soak in water for 30 minutes.
  • Drain and serve immediately.

Homemade Salsa Recipe

SalsagardenAfter months of cultivating my organic salsa garden, the fruits (or veggies in this case) of my labor are ready for harvest.

I tended these gorgeous tomatoes, peppers, and herbs myself, but didn't have much success with the garlic. From what I now know, garlic is grown during the winter months. Other than that, my garden was a success and today I would like to share my favorite Homemade Salsa Recipe with you.

There's nothing better than the rich, robust flavor of homemade salsa made from home-grown vegetables. However, if you don't have homegrown produce you can still enjoy this delicious recipe. Simply purchase the ingredients at your local grocery store, health food store or Farmer's Market. Enjoy!

HOMEMADE SALSA RECIPE
Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 stalks Cilantro, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
5-6 stems Chives, finely chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 Vadalia onion, finely chopped
1 small Habaneros or Cowhorn pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 Banana or Sweet peppers, seeds removed and finely chopped
1/2 Green, Red, or Yellow bell pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
3-4 vine-ripened Tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Cover and place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Serve with organic blue chips and enjoy!

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Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

What you are about to read is my highly regarded, and up until this moment, highly secret spicy garlic grilled chicken wings recipe. I have decided to share it with you today because that's what good cooks do ;-). 

Spicy-garlic-grilled-chicken-wings-the-cheap-gourmetSPICY GARLIC GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS RECIPE
Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

 

 


INGREDIENTS:

12 Chicken Wings, tips removed and divided into sections
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 stick Butter, unsalted
1/3 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo seasoning

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat gas grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash chicken wings and pat dry with paper towel. Remove tips and cut wings into sections.
  3. Lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper over wings.
  4. Place wings on hot grill. Turn after wings have cooked for about 7 minutes.
  5. Place butter, hot sauce, garlic and Adobo seasoning into a 1-quart pan.
  6. Heat over medium-low heat. When butter begins to melt; whisk lightly to incorporate all ingredients.
  7. When wings are finished, remove from heat and place in a container with a lid.
  8. Pour melted sauce over wings and shake well to evenly distribute.
  9. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately.
  10. Serve with chunky bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks if desired

 

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Spring Vegetable Soup

Spring Vegetable Soup uses fresh ingredients which are available year-round. It's easy to prepare and makes a great pick-me lunch or light dinner.

SPRING VEGETABLE SOUP

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes

Springvegsoup 

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, minced
1 Garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup Carrot, finely diced
1 cup Zucchini, diced
6 cups Vegetable broth, heated
2 cups green Cabbage, shredded
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, ground
Lemon wedges for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add zucchini and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    3. Add hot broth and bring to boil. Cook 1 minute.
    4. Stir in cabbage, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until cabbage has softened, but still has a bit of crunch.
    5. Serve hot with lemon wedges to squeeze into each portion.

 

The Diva DietMore recipes like this can be found in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet".  


Gourmet Flatbread Pizzas

Gourmet Flatbread Pizzas

Did you know you can make your own gourmet flatbread pizzas for about half the cost of delivery pizza? This recipe can easily be adapted to suit your tastes. Final cost is about $3.50 per pie!

To make these pizzas you'll need flatbread which can be found in most major grocery chains or health food stores. They are available in white, wheat, soy, multi-grain and sundried tomato.

GOURMET FLATBREAD PIZZAS

Yield: 2 personal pizzas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 12-15 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 Flatbread, round
1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Green Onions,sliced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup Pizza Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce (marinara works well)
1/2 cup Canadian Bacon, chopped
1/4 cup Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese (Cheddar cheese works well too!)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Add olive oil to a small skillet and saute onions and garlic until translucent; about 3 minutes. Cook on medium-low heat.

3. Spread 1/4 cup of sauce on each flat bread round. Top each round with 1/4 cup Canadian bacon and 1/8 cup artichoke hearts. Divide green onion and garlic mixture and add half to each pizza round. Top with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

4. Place pizzas on pizza stone or flat baking pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

5. Remove from oven. Transfer to plate and serve. 

 

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How to Make Deep Fried Pickles

Deep_fried_pickles

Although most people are trying their hardest to avoid deep fried foods; few can resist the deep fried pickle. If you've never tried one, you owe it to yourself to indulge in this unusual culinary delight. Nearly everyone who tries them agrees they are unexpectedly delicious and incredibly addicting!

While it's hard to determine who made the first deep fried pickle, research indicates it originated in New Orleans. Today, deep fried pickles are served in restaurants and bars across the country, with each having a unique recipe and flavor.

Deep fried pickles can be made from just about any type of pickle including pickle slices, pickle spears, and whole pickles. It doesn't matter what flavor of pickles because they all taste great when they are deep fried. The most common choices include regular dill and garlic dill, but bread and butter pickles and baby gherkins are excellent choices as well.

Choose Your Pickle Type and Flavor

The first thing you will need to do is choose your pickle type and flavor. Crinkle-cut slices tend to hold the batter better than other types. In general, slices are easier to eat than other forms of pickles. Whole pickles take longer to cook and have the potential to squirt hot grease into the mouth of the pickle-eater, so if choosing whole pickles, consider yourself warned.

Pickle spears also make a good choice, and are almost as easy to eat as slices. Just be careful when biting into them, as they retain their heat for quite some time and could potentially burn your mouth if you're not careful.

Regardless of your choice, it's best to use refrigerated pickles when making deep fried pickles. The batter tends to stick better when they are cold.

Choose Your Batter

Batter can be made from cornmeal or flour and include a variety of spices, depending on your tastes.

Choose Your Cooking Oil

You can use any type of frying oil including vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, or peanut.

Constructing the Deep Fried Pickle

Deep-fried-pickles-constructing-the-cheap-gourmetNow that you have selected your pickles, batter and oil, it's time to begin constructing.

Step One: Thoroughly drain juice off pickles and remove excess using a paper towel.

Step Two: Coat each pickle with egg wash using the recipe below.

Step Three: Coat each pickle with batter mixture using one of the recipes below.

Step Four: Repeat steps two and three to double-coat your pickles. The breading will adhere better if you give it a double dunk.

Step Five: Place each battered pickle on a cookie sheet that is lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze for at least 30 minutes. If you neglect to freeze your pickles, the batter will not adhere and you'll end up with a naked pickle and a bunch of batter floating in the oil.

Step Six: Heat cooking oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step Seven: Carefully drop each frozen pickle into the preheated oil. Stir occasionally and cook until pickles float on the surface of the oil and turn golden brown. Generally, pickle slices take 2 to 3 minutes; spears take 3 to 4 minutes; and whole pickles take 4 to 6 minutes.

Step Eight: Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.

Step Nine: Transfer to serving plate and serve with your favorite dip!


Deep-fried-pickles-egg-wash-the-cheap-gourmetEgg Wash Recipe:

1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk or buttermilk - you can substitute with whole milk, 2% milk, soy milk, rice or almond milk

In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk together using a fork for about 30 seconds. Set aside.

If you prefer deep fried pickles that have a bold and spicy flavor, add a few drops of hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce to the egg wash recipe.


Deep-fried-pickles-cornmeal-batter-the-cheap-gourmetCornmeal Deep Fried Pickle Batter Recipe

2 cups plain Cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Parsley flakes
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Mix ingredients together and set aside.

 

Flour Deep Fried Pickle Batter Recipe  

Deep-fried-pickles-flour-batter-the-cheap-gourmet

3 cups Flour - this can be any type of flour including white, whole wheat or rice flour.
1 teaspoon Garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning or Mrs. Dash seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Mix ingredients together and set aside.

Deep fried pickles are usually served with Ranch dressing; however, you can use any type of dipping sauce or dressing that you prefer. Chunky blue cheese dressing makes a great accompaniment, as does Thousand Island dressing.

You can easily adapt the above recipes to suit your tastes. Replace the suggested spices with those of your choice and experiment to create your personal deep fried pickle recipe.

 

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