Friday, May 23, 2014

A Trio of Showstoppers for a Triple Celebration

Shrimp Deviled Eggs, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Blue Cheese, and Planked Salmon
Best Showstopper of All:  Watching Grill Master Adam Cook!


     As I'm writing this on Friday of  Memorial Day Weekend, I can hardly believe that it's already been two weeks since we celebrated three events on the same day. Allison graduated from college with flying colors; Jenn, who flew in for the graduation, had a birthday along with her cousin Maddie; and it was Mother's Day. Because Jenn's birthday usually falls on or is close to Mother's Day and we have aunts and a grandma that live close by, I am usually the hostess of the get-together.  This year I felt like a guest at my own party because Caroline's boyfriend Adam showed me how to make  planked salmon ever and his version of roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and blue cheese. Uncle Russell brought over a huge salad and assisted Adam with the salmon. I rounded it out with deluxe deviled eggs with shrimp Dijon filling. It was a fabulous meal but the most wonderful part about the day was catching up with the Yates family and seeing the cousins enjoying each other's company. A house filled with love and laughter is really what it's all about  <3

Deviled Eggs with Shrimp and Dijon

12 hard boiled eggs
1 cup frozen cooked salad shrimp
1/2 cup mayonnaise
                                       2 tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce                                   
2 tablespoons sliced green onion
1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Optional: salad greens and baby dill for garnish


     Peel the shell away from the hard boiled eggs and slice each one in half. Remove the yolk from each half, place it in a mixing bowl, and set the halves on a serving platter. With a fork mash each yolk.  Add the mayonnaise, hot sauce, green onions, Dijon mustard, and black pepper.  Combine well and gently stir in the all but a few shrimp.  Spoon a teaspoon of the yolk mixture into the well of each egg half. Top with the remaining shrimp. If desired, garnish with a bit of dill. A nice touch is a bed of few greens on the serving platter.

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Blue Cheese

1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 pieces bacon (I used turkey bacon)
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (I used Gorgonzola)
Optional: Some really good balsamic vinegar to drizzle before serving


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse and drain the Brussels sprouts.  Peel off the tough outer leaves and cut the tough stem at the base off.  If they are on the large side, cut each Brussels sprout in half and place in baking pan.  Dice up the bacon and sprinkle it over the Brussels sprouts.  Pour the melted butter over the Brussels sprouts and bacon.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from over and distribute the crumbled blue cheese over the top.  Replace in the oven and bake for another five minutes.  Then place on a serving platter and drizzle with a bit of some really good balsamic vinegar if desired.

Planked Salmon

1/2 pound of salmon per person is more than enough
Dry rub made for salmon
Cedar planks


     Submerge the cedar planks in water and let them soak for a couple of hours.  Cut the salmon into serving portions and rub the seasoning into each one.  *Uncle Russell brought over a salmon rub made by Weber Grill and everyone loved it.  Adam likes to take the skin off before cooking, but Uncle Russell and Uncle David say to leave it on. Heat the grill up, then lower the temperature to 350 or low to medium low.  Place the empty planks on the grill for 3 minutes.  Then turn them over and place the salmon pieces on them.  Close the cover and continue to cook for 20 minutes.  Keep a watch on the temperature and try to keep adjusting the heat so it stays close to 350 degrees.  It's best to cook it low and slow.  After 20 minutes, check a piece of salmon to see if it flakes with a fork in the thickest part.  If its not ready, give it more time and keep checking it often - just be careful not to over cook it.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Loaded Whole Wheat Oatmeal Cookies

Here's a confession:  No matter how healthy I eat during the day, I always want a bit of something sweet at night.  This cookie recipe came about one evening when there wasn't anything in the kitchen that was going to meet my little craving.  Roy loves oatmeal raisin cookies, but I wanted something that at least gave a nod to being halfway nutritious.  So I substituted whole wheat flour for white and threw in other accouterments besides regular raisins to jazz it up.  I knew I had a winner when I took some down to Allison and her college roommates, and she asked for me to make them again.  She graduates this weekend, so I made some for the celebration.  They freeze well and are in the freezer now - hopefully they will remain undiscovered until Saturday! 

Ingredients For About Three Dozen Cookies:

The Good Stuff

1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds
1/4 cup pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

The Dry Stuff

3 cups old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

The Sweet Stuff

3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Using an electric mixer combine the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter together until "creamed" (it will look spreadable).

Add the eggs and the vanilla and blend well.

Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt.  The electric mixer could be used to combine this as well.

Using a wooden spoon or something similar, add in the oatmeal, almonds, raisins, pepitas, cranberries, and apricots and mix until everything is combined together.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls onto it.

Bake for 12-14 minutes until the cookies start to get brown on top.  The cookies will feel very soft when they are first removed from the oven, but they setup as they cool. Let them sit for at least a minute on the cookie sheet before they are transferred to a cooling rack or platter. Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!