Clapping On The Down Beat

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A season of cooking December 26, 2012

Filed under: Meal Planning,Sharing and Caring — clappingonthedownbeat @ 8:27 PM

A Merry White Christmas!  This is out my front door.




It rained Christmas Eve, heavy thunder and lightning rain.  Then starting Christmas morning it turned to snow.  The temperature dropped and the wind picked up and it blew snow around all day and night.

DSC06338  DSC06362

We had a wonderful Christmas though.  We opened presents, ate breakfast, stayed in our pj’s, and played all day.  Then we sat down to a feast.  I like to do something different every year.  Inspired by our trip to Savannah this fall, I decided on a southern style dinner.  We had spiral glazed ham, collard greens, roasted sweet potatoes, cheesy grits with shrimp and spicy creole sauce and corn bread.  I made creme brulee for dessert.

Breakfast Burritos

1 lb sausage
2 tablespoons butter
6 large eggs
1/4 cup chunky mild salsa
8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
3/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1 chipotle chile in adobo, seeded & chopped (optional)

Over medium-high heat, in a large nonstick skillet, add the crumbled sausage. Stir and break up until sausage is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Place on paper towels to drain and dispose of remaining grease.
Place the butter in the skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Add the eggs, stirring frequently until they’re scrambled and cooked through, about two minutes. Add the cooked sausage, chipotle peppers if desired, and salsa to the egg mixture and stir gently. Remove from heat.
Warm the tortillas as directed on package. Place about 1/2 cup of the egg and sausage mixture onto each tortilla and sprinkle each one with cheese. To form the burrito, fold the sides of the tortilla in toward the middle and then fold up from bottom. Serve immediately or freeze.
If the burritos won’t be eaten right away, freeze them using the following steps: Lay freezer bag flat and place the burritos inside so they are lying side by side and not overlapping. You may need to use multiple bags depending on how many burritos you are freezing. Close the bag most of the way and then press air out of the bag, gently smoothing the wrinkles so that it clings to the food to protect against freezer burn. Finish closing the bag completely and freeze as soon as possible.
When ready to eat, take the burrito out of the bag and wrap in a plain paper towel. Leave it wrapped in the paper towel and microwave until hot, about one to three minutes on high.



Italian Apple Strudel

1 cup  raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 lemon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup bread crumbs, dry, plain
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 pounds tart green apples
olive oil
confectioners’ sugar

Make the strudel dough and let it rest.

2 1/3 c. flour

1 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

4 Tbs. butter

1 egg

5 Tbs water

In a mixer with the dough hook, add dough ingredients and mix about 12 minutes.  Knead till dough is elastic.  Cover and rest 30 minutes.  (Note: add a tablespoon of water at a time if dough is too dry while mixing).

In a small bowl, toss the raisins with the rum. Let them stand, tossing occasionally, while preparing the strudel. With a fine grater, remove the zest from the lemon. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, strain it if necessary and combine the juice and zest in a medium-size mixing bowl.

In a medium-size skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and toast, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the sugar and the cinnamon. Add the remaining cup of granulated sugar and the rum and raisins to the bowl with the lemon juice and zest.

With a paring knife, peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Cut away the seeds and cores and cut the apple quarters into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. As you work, add the apple wedges to the bowl containing the lemon-sugar mixture as you work to prevent them from darkening. Let the apples stand, toss them occasionally, until the sugar begins to dissolve and the apples are coated with the syrup.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and brush a large baking pan with olive oil. Lightly flour a large, smooth wooden or marble surface. With a rolling pin roll out the dough from the center to the edges into a very thin rectangle that measures about 36 x 24 inches. The dough will give you a little fight at first, but will relax more the more you roll it. As it gets thinner, you should be able to pull and stretch it gently with your hands to coax it into the shape you want. Don’t worry if the dough tears a little in spots, you can patch it later, or if it doesn’t form a perfect rectangle. Flour the rolling surface and pin lightly as you work to prevent the dough from sticking.

If necessary, turn the dough so one of the longer sides facing you. Place a kitchen towel or length of double-thick cheesecloth so it is under the entire far side of the dough rectangle by about 4 inches. (This will help you move the strudel to the baking sheet once it is formed.) Spread the bread crumb mixture evenly over the dough leaving a clean 1 1/2-inch wide border on all sides of the rectangle. Dot the bread crumbs with small pieces of the remaining 1/4 cup of butter. Arrange the apple mixture in a long mound along the side closest to you. The mound of apples should measure about 4 inches wide and as long as the bread crumb mixture, leaving the 1 1/2-inch-wide border clean.

Fold the clean border closest to you over the apples. Begin rolling the strudel into a fairly tight roll, starting at one end of the apple mound, giving it a half-roll and gradually working your way down the roll. Repeat as necessary, working your way down gradually down the roll each time. Don’t worry if the roll is uneven or tears in places. You should end up with a fairly even, lumpy looking roll that is centered, seam side down, on the kitchen towel. Use the towel to transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet, bending the strudel into crescent shape if necessary to fit it on the pan.

Cut off any excess dough from the ends. Seal the ends of the strudel by folding the ends of the roll underneath and pressing them firmly with your fingers. Brush the strudel lightly with olive oil and place in preheated oven. Immediately reduce the oven temperature to 375. Bake 30 minutes. Check the strudel: the top should be a light golden brown. If deeper in color than that, reduce the temperature to 350. Rotate the baking pan in the oven so the strudel cooks evenly. Continue baking until the strudel is deep golden brown and the crust is firm, about another 30 minutes.

Remove the strudel from the oven and cool 30 minutes. With two metal spatulas, carefully lift the strudel to a wire cooling rack and let stand until completely cooled.

To serve, cut the strudel into 1-inch thick slices and sprinkle them with confectioners’ sugar.

DSC06373 DSC06374 DSC06375


Collard Greens

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon , chopped
  • 3 large bunches collard greens
  • Chicken/Vegetable stock
  • 1-2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

 Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don’t need to be stripped. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices. Cook bacon slices till soft and slightly crispy.  Place greens in pot with bacon and add about 1-2 cups stock. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, simmering, stirring occasionally. Add more stock if necessary to keep greens “wet”.  Finish with apple cider vinegar before serving.

Corn Bread

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Preheat an oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan.

Sift together the dry ingredients into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk, sour cream, butter and egg. Fold into the flour mixture; do not overmix. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool. Cut into squares.

Shrimp and Grits

  • 2 cups uncooked white coarse-ground grits
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded gouda and Gruyère
  • 1 pound unpeeled, medium-size raw shrimp
  • 4 thick hickory-smoked bacon slices, diced
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium-size Vidalia onion, diced
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Madeira
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  1. Prepare Grits: Bring 7 cups water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in grits; reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 hour or until tender. Fold in cheeses, cream  and 1/4 cup butter.
  2. Prepare Shrimp Sauce: Peel shrimp; devein, if desired.
  3.  Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet.
  4. Melt 6 Tbsp. butter in hot drippings in skillet. Reduce heat. Add onion, poblano pepper, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add shrimp; cook, stirring often, 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt and next 2 ingredients; toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle flour over shrimp mixture; toss. Add broth and next 2 ingredients. Cook just until shrimp turn pink, stirring to loosen particles from skillet. Stir in bacon and parsley. Serve over grits with green onion.


I entered the giveaway on the Very Jane site, one of my favorite sites!


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