Category Archives: Good for Dinner Guests

The Best Fried Chicken in the WORLD right from your kitchen!

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We don’t eat fried chicken a whole lot but every once in awhile Evan or I will get a hankering for some good ole fried chicken. Usually when this happens we hit up our “go to” place = Max’s Wine Dive.  It’s always an expensive trip (the wine always gets us damn it…) and it’s quite far from us now that we live out in the boonies. This time we gave it a go at home. It was awesome!

Prep: 24 hrs (if you can wait that long)

Cook Time: 15-17 min per batch

Serves: 4 with sides

Finger Lickin'

Ingredients:

  • 4 Thighs and 4 drums (separated) with the skin on.
  • 2 Cups Buttermilk
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • More salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Blend jalapeno, buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor.
  2. In a large glass mixing bowl: add marinade and chicken and cover with plastic wrap, let sit overnight.
  3. Heat peanut oil up in fryer to 325 degrees F.
  4. Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper to flour.
  5. Take chicken out of marinade and let sit for about 20 min on a baking sheet just to warm them up a bit so the fryer oil doesn’t drop drastically. Pat dry, dredge in flour, then egg wash, then flour again.
  6. Fry pieces in several batches, how many will depend on your fryer’s size. Fry for 15-17 min.
  7. Place on wire rack and keep warm in oven if you are doing several batches.

Serve with cayenne honey and a side of collard greens and a starch 🙂 I did mashed sweet potatoes. Mmmm!

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Grilled Shrimp with French Green Lentils and Roasted Carrots, Fennel, and Shallots

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This healthy and earthy dish is very satisfying and simple to make. You will be happy you tried it 🙂 I used the carrots and fennel from our CSA from JBG

 

Prep : 25 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Serves: 2

Shrimpy

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup cooked green lentils
  • 10 Large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined, leave tail on.
  • 1/2 Cup carrot, cubed
  • 1/2 Cup fennel, shaved
  • 1/4 Cup shallots, shaved
  • 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • Pinch of dill pollen
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions:

  1. Make a vinaigrette with balsamic, 1 TBS olive oil, pinch of dill pollen, pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
  2. Roast veggies on foil lined pan with 1 tbs olive oil and salt and pepper pinch for 20-25 min. Reserve in foil to keep warm. 
  3. Heat medium skillet to high and saute shrimp in a TBS of olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Mix roasted veggies, lentils, and vinaigrette together and serve shrimp on top.
  5. Enjoy!

Crockpot Chicken, Carrots, and Mushrooms with Lentils and Wild Rice

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This a great healthier  week night meal that is easy to set up and can cook in as little as 4 hrs in the crock while you are off at work or running errands.

This is not the greatest photo, but it was late and I was hungry 🙂

Chicken and Lentils

Prep: 10 min
Cook Time: 4-8 hrs
Serves: 4 ish

Ingredients

  • 6-8 organic chicken thighs, remove fat (the ones I had were small so we had 2 each)
  • 2.5 cups no sodium chicken stock ( I like homemade or Kitchen Basics)
  • 1 cup blend of wild rice and lentils (pick your favorite)
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • .5 cup chopped carrots
  • .5 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon thyme
  • .5 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place stock in pot, add rice, veggies,oil, and herbs: stir.
  2. Add chicken thighs to pot, season lightly with salt and pepper. 
  3. Cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. ( I do 4 on high)
  4. Serve, salt and pepper to taste. 

A “Lighter” Version of Crawfish Étouffée That Will Keep Your Waistline Happy :)

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Using a stick of butter or even a half a stick of butter just doesn’t sound very appealing to me especially after the holidays. So I made one of my favorites with a quarter of the fat and it turned out awesome!  You will notice I served this in a “bread boat”, this is how Evan likes it. You can do it plain, in a boat, or on top of rice-your choice!

Boat

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Serves: 4-6 People

Mmm

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Crawfish meat (shelled and deveined)
  • 1 C. Celery, chopped
  • 1 C. Red and Green Bell Pepper Mixture, chopped
  • 1 C. Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Bay leave
  • 1/2 C. Chicken Stock, no sodium
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 1 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 1 TBS Favorite cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 TBS. Jalapeno (fresh), minced
  • 1 tsp. Black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 TBS Flour dissolved in water

Instructions:

  • Heat butter and coconut oil on medium, once hot add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the Holy Trinity: Bells, Onions, and Celery! Saute for 12-15 min
  • Add Crawfish, seasoning, bay leave, and chicken stock and simmer for 10 min.
  • Add flour to thicken sauce and season to taste with salt or more cajun seasoning.
  • Serve over white rice or in a bread boat.

Enjoy!

Pizzettes with Fried Brussel Sprout Leaves Tossed with Crispy Bacon and Golden Raisins

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Mini pizzettes for everyone! These are cute and delicious little pizzas that are sure to please any party guests. I have been on a pizza kick for my just about my whole life… I LOVE pizza! Ever since I learned to make my own dough- we no longer eat “delivery” pizza because it’s ALWAYS a disappointment for many reasons, it’s $$ for what it is, it makes you feel like crap, and it’s just simply not. that. good. We still enjoy going to local pizza places like Salvations and Rounders but that requires driving all the way into town which is not close.

Next time you need an appetizer plan for guest, try these babies out! You will not regret it!

Fried Sprouts

Prep: 1hr

Cook Time: 10-15 min

Serves: 8 tapas sized pizzas

Crust/Dough

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) Package active dry yeast
  • 1 C. Warm water
  • 1 TBS. Sea salt
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 2 1/2-3 1/2 cups Bread flour
  • 2 TBS Lemon thyme, fresh
  • 1 TBS Chopped rosemary, fresh

Pizza Toppings

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh whole milk mozzarella slices, small ones (1-2 per pizza)
  • Crispy cooked bacon
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Salt/pepper
  • Golden raisins

Meyer Lemon and Sage Dressing

  • 1 C. Sour cream
  • 4 Sage leaves, chopped rough
  • 1/8 C. Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic, granulated
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
  • 1 TBS Meyer lemon juice
  • Blend above ingredients with a stick blender or regular blender. Place into ziplock bag and reserve in fridge.

Brussel Sprouts

  • 2.5 C. Whole brussel sprouts,
  • 2 C. Peanut oil
  • Cut bottoms off sprouts and begin to peel the leaves apart, this may take a while, get a helper… place sprouts in a salad spinner or strainer to get water off the leaves.
  • Heat fryer to 350 F
  • Fry sprouts for 30 seconds, do in batches until done. Season lightly with salt add rasins to the batch after frying and toss.
  • Don’t fry in advance do these while pizzas are cooking so they remain crispy 🙂

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl.
  2. Add sea salt, olive oil, herbs, and 2 1/2 cup flour.
  3. Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute.
  4. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 5 minutes. If making 2 pies split dough into 2 balls.
  5. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  6. Cover, let rise in warmest place in house away from draft until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  7. Punch dough down each ball.
  8. Divide into 8 balls and roll out 8 little pies.
    * I like to par bake crust for 5-8 min to make it CRISPYYYYYY
  9. Once par baked top with olive oil, mozzarella, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 min until cheese is melted.
  10. Top with fried sprouts, bacon, parm shavings, and dressing!

yum

Enjoy and Cheers!

20 hr Sous Vide Pork Belly with Five Spice Rub on a Bed of Collards and Mashed Potatoes

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This pork belly will melt in your mouth… not in your hand.  I am LOVING my new cooking device, the Sous Vide Supreme, it’s the coolest thing ever!

I made this pork belly for NYE and it was a hit! It’s super simple (if you have a Sous Vide device). 🙂

Sous Vide Pork Belly

Prep: 15 min

Cook Time: 20-25 hrs

Serves: 8 Tapas sized portions

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lbs whole pork belly sliced into 8 same sized portions
  • 1 TBS Five Spice Powder
  • 1/2 TBS Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground fennel
  • Pam/butter for greasing skillet (not that you REALLY need it, but just for good measure incase your pan is too hot).

Instructions:

  1. Heat Sous Vide device to 160 F
  2. Mix herbs and seasonings together in a small bowl
  3. Coat pork belly portions in rub throughly
  4. Vacuum seal each portion separately
  5. Immerse in Sous Vide that’s heated to 160F for 20-25 hrs
  6. Take out and either sear the belly fat side down on a hot skillet to get a nice browned top or reserve in fridge until ready to fire and serve.
  7. Serve on top a mound of collards or greens and mashed potatoes.

I made a nice tarragon cream sauce to garnish on the side of the plate. It went nicely with the pork and the fennel notes.

Pork Belly

Enjoy and Cheers!

New Year’s Eve 6 Course Meal at the Fawn House

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This New Year’s Eve Evan and I had a dinner party for 6 of our good friends.  We have never been really big on going out to bars/restaurants/ downtown  for NYE, so we decided that we would do a 6 course meal and invite everyone stay at the house.  It worked perfect we all chipped in $20 a person and had a meal that was AMAZING and no one had to drive home afterward 🙂

You may notice something trending in this menu… can you guess what I got for Christmas from my Fry Daddy???

Here’s how it went down…

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Name Tags I made

First Course: charcurterie sampler : chicken liver pâté, NY chorizo, sottocenere with truffles, cheddar farmstead block, olives, hot and sweet pickles and peppers, with a cracker and bread assortment

Charcuterie

Sampler

Second course: pizzette with fried brussel sprout leaves tossed with crispy bacon and golden raisins drizzled with a tarragon and meyer lemon cream sauce and parm shavings

Fried Sprouts

Third course: 20 hr sous vide spiced pork belly on top a collard and mash mound

Pork Belly

Fourth course: 5 wild mushroom risotto with 110 min egg

110 Min Egg

Fifth course: sous vide duck breast topped with  hibiscus flower and fried shallots on a bed of arugula

Sous Vide Duck

Sixth course: strawberry and champagne shortcake with dark chocolate snow and whipped cream sprinkled with pop rocks

Dessert

If you were wondering…I got a Sous Vide Supreme!

 

HAPPY 2013 EVERYONE! CHEERS!

Delectable Shrimp and Grits… Oh and ZestyBeanDog is Still Alive :)

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Well helloooooooo everyone! After many comments from friends and family I have decided to let everyone know that ZestyBeanDog is still ALIVE! After going through some big changes (career wise) I’m happy to say that finally… I think have my head glued back on straight!  A little over a month ago I quit a marketing job of 3 years to pursue my passion: teaching yoga and working with my Green Feet Fitness business fulltime. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Also let’s not forget all the other full time jobs I have like: keeping a pretty clean house, being my husbands personal chef, doing laundry, paying bills, being a dog entertainer, and much much more.  It was a long over due decision and I’m glad it’s finally here! Sometimes life gets in the way of hobbies but here’s to new beginnings!  It will be so nice to get back to reading your lovely blogs as they are always such an inspiration to me. Thanks and MUCH LOVE!

This is a zesty spin on shrimp and grits, I hope you enjoy!

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Prep Time: 30 min

Serves: 4

Cook Time: 30 min

Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients: 

  • 1 C. Corn Grits (Bob’s Red Mill Brand is nice).
  • 24 Large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 5 Slices of uncooked bacon
  • 1 TBS Rendered duck fat
  • 1/2 C. Fontina cheese
  • 1/4 C. Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Stick of butter
  • 1/4 C. Heavy cream
  • 1/4 C. Milk
  • Scallions and Green Onion
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Old Bay

Instructions: 

  1. Cook 1 Cup of corn grits as directed on package.
  2. Add cheese, cream, milk, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Cook up bacon in large skillet on medium high. Keep grease heated and add TBS of duck fat to grease. Keep heat to medium high. Reserve bacon on a paper towel, once cooled break into pieces.
  4. Add shrimp to heated greased skillet and sprinkle Old Bay on top of shrimp as well as a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 1.5 min on each side, until done. Don’t over cook.
  5. Place a mound of grits on a plate top with shrimp, then bacon crumbles, then scallions and green onions. Sprinkle with some parmesan (if you are feeling saucy)  and garnish with a Meyer lemon wedge.  Great with brussel sprouts!

Cheers enjoy!

Cajun-ified Scotch Eggs (Made with Duck Eggs)

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Probably just made up a word here… cajun-ified 🙂  I’m sure Evan could give you a whole list of words I’ve made up over the years – Must be from my Mom.

Anyhow, these eggs are prepared like your traditional Scotch Eggs but  are so much better! The idea came from thinking about what to prepare for a birthday dinner party for my good friend Hannah.  The Fawn House was open for business (the name I give my kitchen when I’m creating fun new foods). The theme was Cajun Fusion since she’s Cajun! Knowing that  she loves duck eggs and sausage, I decided to marry the two and create a Cajun-ified Scotch Egg! These eggs are accompanied by a tasty remoulade to your dip the eggs in.  Evan was my Fry Daddy, as he tends to be 🙂 I prep he fries!

Duck eggs can be found at your local farmer’s market or Asian market. They can be found on occasion at Central Market, but I’d call first… You also can do these with regular eggs if you cannot find duck eggs. Duck eggs have a richer yolk and are quite tasty!

Prep: 30 min

Cook Time: Approx 20 min (includes egg boiling).

Makes: 5 Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 5 Duck eggs, hardboiled (don’t boil them all the way to completion, take them out about 2-3 min early, the will cook the remainder in the fryer).
  • 1/2 lb Ground pork sausage or andouille, raw (If you’re doing ground pork, I’ll tell you what to season it with below).
  • 1 C. Panko bread crumbs
  • Peanut Oil
  • 1 beaten egg, can be duck or regular.

Seasoning for ground pork, if not using Andouille

  • 1/2 tsp Salt, kosher
  • 1 tsp Cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Thyme, dried
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Onion powder

Instructions

  1. Hard boil duck eggs and place in ice bath to stop cooking. Set aside. Remember take out 2-3 min early.
  2. Mix spices in to meat if preparing your own sausage. Roll sausage into 5 even sized balls.
  3. Heat fryer to 350 degrees F.
  4. Wrap duck eggs in sausage like you see below.
  5. Dip wrapped egg in beaten egg then panko bread crumb and set aside. Continue until done with all 5.
  6. Place duck eggs in heated fryer oil and fry until golden brown, about 5-7 min.
  7. Place on paper towel.

Serve with your favorite remoulade dipping sauce! These are filling and delicious 1 egg is plenty for an appetizer portion you could even get away with halving them. I completely forgot to get a pic of them split open! Next time I cook these, I will update this post with one. Enjoy!

Pan Seared Ahi Tuna with a Cilantro Ginger Slaw

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This is a delicious and healthy lunch or dinner dish that is super simple to prepare. You will love it!!!

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 6 min

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ahi tuna steaks (I like to do about a 4-5 oz steak).
  • 2 cups Green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups Purple cabbage, shredded
  • 2 TBS Pickled ginger
  • 3 TBS Cilantro, chopped rough
  • 1 TBS Black sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coconut oil

Dressing for slaw

  • 1 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Agave nectar
  • 1 TBS Yuzu juice
  • 2 TBS Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Wasabi paste

Instructions:

  1. Wash Ahi and pat dry, season with salt and pepper. Place in fridge while you prep slaw.
  2. Mix cabbage, cilantro, sesame seeds, and ginger in a medium mixing bowl. Place in fridge.
  3. Mix up slaw dressing and reserve, dress right before serving.
  4. In medium to large skillet heat 1 tsp of coconut oil on medium high.
  5. Sear tuna for about 3 min on each side, at the end of the second side sear the edges quickly- serve rare.  You can always cook longer but do not over cook! You want it to be pink in the middle. 🙂
  6. Place tuna on top of dressed slaw salad! Serve with anything else you like, I did sweet potato gnocchi!