The Food That Sings

Okra and Corn Maque Choux July 21, 2010

Filed under: Side Dish — alisonfsu @ 1:49 am
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Looking for a side dish that features fresh summer vegetables, but still delivers a nice kick? This dish features simple, clean vegetables and spicy sausage- a hit in my book! My friends Kristen and Chad have made this recipe a few times, and we enjoyed it this weekend along side baby back ribs and homemade macaroni and cheese. This maque choux does not disappoint!

Okra and Corn Maque Choux

Adapted from Southern Living

1/4 pound of spicy smoked sausage, diced

1/2 cup chopped vidalia onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob

1 cup sliced fresh okra

1 cup diced tomato

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Sauté sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until browned. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add corn, okra, and tomato; cook, stirring often, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 8 side dish servings


What’s Cooking Connecticut? July 20, 2010

Filed under: Pasta — jlcouch @ 2:32 pm

A few years ago my Mom gave me this cookbook, What’s Cooking Connecticut Shoreline? and I have slowly been working my way through it (per my husband’s request).  All of the recipes have been submitted by families and local restaurants up and down the Connecticut shoreline and they all turn out fantastic and EASY to make.  One of our more recent favorites is Spaghetti Al Crudo with Crispy Tilapia.  According to the cookbook, this recipe comes  from Andrea Panno at The Guilford Bistro.


Spaghetti Al Crudo with Crispy Tilapia

3 large tomatoes, choppoed

3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped

salt and pepper, to taste

parsley, to taste

2 tilapia filets


3 tablespoons of water from pasta (for sauce)

3 tablespoons olive oil, for fish

1 pound of spaghetti, cooked al dente



Saute tomatoes and garlic in olive oil for 1 minute.  Add salt, pepper, and parsley to taste.  In a separate pan, fry tilapia that has been seasoned with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice and has been lightly dredged in flour, until crispy.  Set aside.   Add precooked spaghetti in with tomato/garlic mixture, add pasta water and more olive oil if needed and saute for 1 minute.  Add fresh arugula to tomato/garlic mixture, stir and plate.  Top with crispy tilapia and fresh parmigiano-reggiano if desired.


Ultimate Fish Tacos with Spicy Pink Sauce and Mango-Radish Salsa July 15, 2010

Filed under: Tex-Mex — alisonfsu @ 4:10 pm
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I love Tex-Mex, and fish tacos, but tend to only order them at restaurants. Last evening I tackled fish tacos and was amazed with the simple preparation and full flavor. This recipe is taken from the t.v. show Tyler’s Ultimate, and these tacos are just that, ultimate! The spicy pink sauce makes enough for another meal, and the salsa (which I just ate for lunch), was even better the second day. Add these fish tacos to your menu this weekend!

Fish Tacos with Spicy Pink Sauce and Mango-Radish Salsa

Ultimate fish tacos

Adapted from Tyler Florence

1 pound of tilapia (originally called for mahi mahi)

1 cup of flour

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons water

1-2 cups panko bread crumbs

Olive oil

1/2 head of cabbage, finely shredded

1 bunch cilantro, leaves picked

2 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Spicy Pink Sauce

1 cup sour cream

1 chipotle in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon of adobo sauce

1/2 lemon, juiced

Kosher salt and pepper

Mango-Radish Salsa

1 lime

1 mango

3 radishes

1/2 red onion

Mango-radish salsa ready for a spin

1/2 tablespoon chili powder

1 handful of cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper


Cut the fish into 1-ounce strips. Set up a breading station of flour, beaten eggs with water, and seasoned panko bread crumbs. Season all with salt and pepper. Dredge the pieces of fish in flour, egg, then bread crumbs. Lightly fry the fish, in batches, in a hot pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil. The fish will cook quickly, so watch carefully so that your breadcrumbs do not burn. Drain on a paper towel and season with salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare the spicy pink sauce. This can be made ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to eat. Put the chipotle in a blender and puree until smooth. Add the sour cream, adobo sauce, and lemon juice and continue to blend. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate.

Prepare the mango-radish salsa. This can be made ahead and refrigerated until you are ready to eat. Roughly chop the mango, radish, and onion. Place the mango, radish, onion, handful of cilantro, chili powder, olive oil and lime in the food processor and pulse until the salsa is your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and chill until ready to use.

Dress your fish with spicy pink sauce, salsa, cabbage, and a sprinkle of cilantro. Serve with warm tortillas.

Serves 4


Nana’s Spaghetti July 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — jlcouch @ 12:18 am

Nana's SpaghettiThis is a family favorite that I’ve brought into my home courtesy of my grandmother Audrey Dempsey.  Where she got it from we don’t quite know, but I like to think that some Italian friend secretly passed it on to her straight from her vault of authentic family recipes.  What makes this recipe so special is that it is a true Bolognese sauce that has a deep and rich beef flavor.  You’ll see that there is only very little tomato in the sauce. Leave it to simmer on the stove to really build its deep flavors.


For the paste:

1 green pepper

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

The vegetable paste in the food processor

1 stalk of celery

1 large carrot, peeled

For the sauce:

1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1lb of ground sirloin

1 8oz can of tomato sauce

4 bouillon cubes

1/2 cup red wine


1.  Chop all vegetables and add to the food processor.  Process all of the vegetables until they have formed a paste.

2.  Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Saute vegetable paste until cooked through.  Approximately 10 minutes.

3.  Add sirloin. Use the back of your spatula to break up the sirloin. Cook through until there is no more pink.  Approximately 10 minutes.  Meanwhile dissolve the bouillon cubes in water (according to package directions).

4. Add tomato sauce, bouillon cubes, and red wine.  Bring to a boil and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Serve over spaghetti with freshly grated Parmesean cheese.


Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad June 1, 2010

Filed under: Pasta — alisonfsu @ 1:05 am
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As the weather heats up, I am always looking for quick and fresh meals that do not heat up the kitchen. If you like to eat caprese salad, then you will really enjoy this pasta salad. The flavors are clean and fresh and the meal is quite healthy. I took this pasta salad to a cook out at a friends house for Memorial day and it was a hit! Hope that you will try it as a stand alone meal or side dish!

Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella Pasta Salad

Adapted from The Washington Post

16 ounces of penne (fusilli, bowties, whatever shape you like)

10- 12 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces

1 container of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Fresh, caprese-style pasta salad

15 to 20 medium to large basil leaves, coarsely chopped

4 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

2 handfuls of toasted pine nuts

1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar- more to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until done. In a dry saute pan, toast two handfuls of pine nuts for approximately 2 minutes. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water until cool. When it is completely dry, transfer to a large bowl. Add the mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, scallions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and add additional balsamic to taste. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 4-8.


Roasted Cauliflower with Indian-Spiced Barbeque Sauce May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — alisonfsu @ 3:42 pm
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I have been trying to eat more vegetables. When I stroll up and down the vegetable aisle, I rarely select cauliflower because I think that it has very little taste. Well, with a little roasting and tangy “barbeque” sauce, my cauliflower was transformed. I was impressed with how much flavor roasting the cauliflower brought out, and was scraping the plate for every last bite. The cauliflower has a slightly burned look on the top of the florets after cooking, but they do not taste burned and provide a crunchy treat. I hope that you too will give cauliflower a chance!

Roasted Cauliflower with Indian-Spiced Barbeque Sauce

Adapted from Bon Apetit


1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 2-pound head of cauliflower, cored and cut into  1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Roasted cauliflower

1/2 cup of ketchup

1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar


Preheat the oven to 400. Toast ground cumin in a small skillet over medium heat until it begins to smoke and is darker in color, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Toss the cauliflower and 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl. Transfer the cauliflower to a medium baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

While the cauliflower is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add ginger and garlic; saute until fragrant, approximately 3 minutes. Add ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and toasted cumin. Bring mixture to a boil, slowly whisking to blend. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

Remove cauliflower from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with enough barbeque sauce to coat, approximately 2-4 spoonfuls. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 side-dish servings with extra barbeque sauce


Coffee Rubbed Grilled Cheeseburgers May 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — alisonfsu @ 1:25 am
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Everyone can make a tasty burger, but I was looking for a rub that would take it to the next level. This coffee rubbed burger is incredible! The spice mixture carmelizes and produces a sweet and spicy coating that locks in the juice. My husband grilled up 4 perfect burgers and we had to resist eating all of them! The spice rub makes enough for another meal, I think that I am going to try it on chicken breasts. The six ingredient spice rub is easily found in your pantry and will produce a burger you can entertain with!

Coffee Rubbed Grilled Cheeseburgers

Adapted from Bon Apetit

Ready to eat!

Coffee Spice Rub
1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee (I used Dunkin’ Dark)
2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


1 pound lean ground beef
4 slices of aged cheddar
1/2 Vidalia onion, cut into thick slices

For spice rub:

Mix all ingredients into a small bowl. Store left over spice mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

For burgers:

Form the meat into 4 patties. Using thumb, make a slight indentation in the center of each burger. Coat both sides of the burger with the dry rub. Place Vidalia onions in an aluminum pouch on the grill seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill burgers over medium-high heat until desired temperature. Add the cheese to each burger before taking them off of the grill.

Dress the burgers with selected condiments and onions. Enjoy!