Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Shrimp & Grits & Washington D.C.

My goal in D.C. was to go to as many DDD places that I could. I only made it to 2 but that's ok because I found my new favorite meal. Most of the places we went to there were what some would call Ghetto or Scary. But I think those Dives of a place can sometimes have the BEST food. I found this first place on YELP, Capitol City Diner. It sounded great, and everyone said their Chicken & Waffles were awesome, any place with waffles I can do. When we drove up I could tell most of my family didn't even want to get out of the car, since their may have been a crack house next door. But they followed me blindly believing that I knew what I was talking about. When we got inside it wasn't much better, a small diner car with one cook and no customers. But by the end of the meal everyone was eating their words!

Next up was our first Triple D place. Oohs & Aahs Cafe. This place was in an even scarier neighborhood but so worth it. When we walked up it was this tiny little place with a kitchen downstairs and a couple of table upstairs. The only thing that kept my family from leaving was all the pictures of "famous" people that had eaten there littering the walls.
But they were sooo glad they stayed, this was truly some of the best food I have EVER had. They gave us a sampler platter of all their side dishes to try and they were incredible. The cabbage was to die for, I have truly never had better cabbage, and I WILL find out how to duplicate.

I got the Shrimp & Grits, which one of the items they featured on the show. I was in complete and utter amazement at how absolutely wonderful this meal was. The grits were sweet, smooth, and melt in your mouth good. With spicy shrimp atop of it that went so perfect together. I couldn't have been happier with my meal. I loved it so much I took the leftovers home and ate them for breakfast, and the were still just as good.
I also tried the peach cobbler and for someone who isn't usually a fan, I could have eaten the whole thing!

So if you are ever in D.C and you don't go I will pity you!
Remember awhile back when I recreated the Arepas I saw on Triple D. Well I got a chance to go the restaurant that I first saw it on. But I gotta say I actually liked mine better. Which usually doesn't happen but everyone agreed with me as well. This is actually a good thing, since I can make it anytime I want.
Onto my meal. As soon as I had the Shrimp & Grits in D.C. I knew that I wouldn't not stop until I could recreate them. When I got home I got the recipe from the restaurant off food network and went about acquiring ingredients. You would think that would be easy, but apparently there is not ONE single store in AZ that sells OLD Fashioned grits. My husband told me to just give the quick cooking ones a try and if they didn't work then order online.
I am so glad I listened because they turned out perfect, and just like I remember.

Now if you are not a fan of grits please still try this recipe because these grits unlike any I have ever tried and when I saw the recipe I understood why. One word "Heavy Cream", really it can make any meal better. So please I am begging you to try this meal and you will not be disappointed.

Cajun Grilled Shrimp and Grits

adapted from Food Network

  • Ingredients


  • 1 cup old fashioned grits/ or quick cooking grits
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules or freshly minced

Grilled Shrimp:

  • 1T chili powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1T seafood seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1T garlic powder
  • 1T onion powder

  • 3 T butter or olive oil
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined


Grits: Boil 2 cups of water in medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients in consecutive order while stirring slowly. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Slowly stir in the grits. Allow to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes until reaching the desired consistency, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the grits to a serving bowl and keep warm.

Shrimp: Mix all of the dry ingredients thoroughly in bowl until well blended. Melt the butter or olive oil in a large grill pan over high heat. Generously coat the shrimp in the seasoning mixture. Add them to the grill pan and cook until caramelized on both sides. Remove them from the pan to a serving bowl and serve with the grits.

Suggestion: Adding cheese and/or gravy with fried onions, to taste, will elevate the dish considerably

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chocolate Ganache & Presley's Party

I love the party site Karas Party Ideas. It has every party idea imaginable. For Presley's last birthday I got the idea of a Cookies & Milk party from there, so when I was trying to decide on a theme I went through the site and found the perfect party idea.

An Ice Cream Party! It had ideas for the cake, party favors, invitations & hats. I of course copied it all, and while it turned out so super cute I will not be showing you the other pics for fear it would make mine look less Awesome!

I realized that to make this cake I would have to learn how to make Chocolate Ganache. I was a little nervous but also excited since I had always wanted to learn.
I am so glad I tried it since it was the Easiest thing ever!
There are literally 2 ingredients.

Chopped bittersweet chocolate
Heavy cream that is boiling hot
whip some more till smooth
cool slightly and then pour on

let it run off or help it along in the fashion you want
The remaining that I didn't use I waited until it was cooled and hard, stirring along the way, then I scooped with an ice cream scoop and plopped it on the cake to look like ice cream.
Easy Peasy!

The party turned out Gorgeous and Presley had a blast!

Chocolate Ganache
adapted from all recipes


  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream


  1. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Stir in the rum if desired.
  2. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over a cake. Start at the center of the cake and work outward. For a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling, allow it to cool until thick, then whip with a whisk until light and fluffy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Indian Naan and Butter Chicken

I have always wanted to try Indian food but have always been a little apprehensive. I think because of all the spices I had never heard of. But when I saw this dish on Mels Kitchen Cafe I knew it was finally time. First off I love everything she makes and second the name Butter Chicken just sounded to good to pass up.

It thought it would be a way bigger chore than it was to make the naan as well but they are so simple to make. So definitely do them both together.
Well once again I was not dissapointed it was GREAT! I loved it and the family loved it. I can't wait to make it again. The flavors are so different from what I am normally used to, but the rich flavors and creamy texture was amazing. Thanks again Mel- you sure do know how to pick them.

I used my favorite organic brown rice bowls from Costco. They so rock! And we made kind of an Indian taco. Also I think the cilantro is a must, it brings out the flavor so well.

Indian Butter Chicken

Note: I lightened up the recipe using fat free half-and-half in place of the heavy cream. If you don’t want to buy a special ingredient and have heavy cream (or regular half-and-half) on hand, they will both work just fine.

*Serves 6

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 jalapeƱo, seeded, and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half
1 1/2 pounds (about 2-3) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter

Hot cooked rice for serving
Chopped fresh cilantro for extra garnish

In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeno. Stir often while cooking until the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander. Cook stirring, constantly for another minute.

Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and add tomato paste and chicken broth. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and add the half and half. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and add the chicken pieces and the salt and pepper. Stir. Keep the sauce at a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened.

Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into chunks and stir into the sauce until melted. Serve the chicken and sauce over hot rice. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro, if desired.

Naan – Indian Flatbread

Melskitchencafe. com
*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. Thistutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.

*Makes about 12 pieces of naan

3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons, melted butter

Pour the milk into a liquid measure and heat in the microwave until warm to the touch (about 110 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). If using active dry yeast, mix the sugar and yeast into the milk and let it sit for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is foamy and the yeast has activated. Once the yeast/milk mixture is foamy, pour the mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour (proceed with the second paragraph of the recipe). If using instant yeast, pour the warm milk into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the sugar, instant yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Proceed as directed below.

Mix well to combine. Continue adding flour gradually in small amounts, until a soft dough is formed that cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough by mixer or hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest at room temperature, covered lightly with greased plastic wrap, for about 2 hours.

After the dough has rested, turn it onto a lightly floured surface (I like to use my roul’pat for this) and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, rounding each into a ball shape. Cover the pieces with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes. While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, try grilling the dough on a lightly oiled outdoor grill or use a hot griddle to bake the naan – you’ll have to experiment with cooking times but I’ve seen either of those methods used with cooking naan also.)

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, one by one, roll each piece into a circle about 6-8 inches wide, depending on how thin or thick you want your naan. Lay the circle of dough on the hot pizza stone and spritz lightly with water. Close the oven and bake the naan for 2-4 minutes, until it is lightly puffed (some pieces will puff more than others) and brown spots begin to appear on the top. Remove the naan from the baking stone and place on a cooling rack. Brush lightly with melted butter. Stack the hot naan on top of each other as it comes out of the oven. Cover with a towel and let the naan cool completely or serve warm.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Evil Shenanigans-

Monday, July 11, 2011

Triple D Hungarian Cabbage & Noodles

I made this awhile ago after I saw it on Triple D and then forgot about it( since it was before the blog). Then I saw the episode again and remembered how much I loved this dish. 4 ingredients, easy, cheap and completely Delicious. If you are a fan of cabbage you will love this meal. My family loved it, and it made for a great One Pot Wonder.

Hungarian Cabbage and Noodles

1 head of cabbage-chopped
1/2 pound of bacon-chopped
1 package extra large egg noodles
1 small onion-diced

1. Cook the egg noodles in a large pot of boiling water until al dente. Then drain and set aside.
2. add chopped bacon to pot and cook until crisp. Then take the bacon out and drain on a paper towel
3. discard half of the bacon grease, then put the chopped onion in the rest of the grease and cook until tender.
4. add chopped cabbage to the pot and stir. Put a lid on and cook for 5- 10 min. stirring occasionally. Cook until cabbage is tender but still has a bite to it.
4. add pasta and bacon and salt and pepper to taste.
5. stir and serve

Great with some parmesan or romano cheese on top.
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