Sunday, January 22, 2006

Operatic recipe - Tenor à l'orange

OK, its a joke, but its a good one!!
Recipe: Tenor à l'orange


At least 2 good-sized tenors
20 gallons of High-C Orange drink
Olive Oil
6 boxes of Portamento (a tagliatelli-like noodle)

PREPARATION: If you announce you're going to serve
tenor, you'll attract a
big crowd, so prepare at least two! It used to be
difficult to catch more
than one tenor at a time, because they are by nature
nocturnal animals who
avoid others of their species. Lately, however, they
have changed their
habits, and they can usually be found in groups of

They are easiest to capture in the summer, when they
can be found
frequenting outdoor stadiums. Less well-known examples
can be captured by
using vocal students or fans as bait. (Females are
usually best, but there
are cases where males work better).

Once the tenor has been caught, carefully rinse off
all sweat from the last
aria. Remove the stomach, which is full of
ill-digested phrases and
swallowed consonants and would make the casserole lid
impossible to shut
anyway. Pull the recording contract out of his
clenched fist (you may have
to cut the hand off). In rare cases, the recording
contract may be tattooed
on his chest. If the tenor is German, remove the
throat, which is so tied up
in knots as to be indigestible.

The major danger in cooking tenor is that the head,
which is empty, will
collapse. Stuff it with a mixture of parsley and paper
money. American
dollars work best, but Euros and English Pounds are
acceptable too.

Marinate overnight in olive oil and garlic. (Only in
the case of the
American or Northern European variety; with the
Mediterranean variety, this
step can be skipped.)

In a big casserole put a layer of portamento, a kind
of thin spaghetti, with
little balls referred to as "nodes" on either end. Lay
the tenor on top of
portamenti. Be careful - there is a new variety of
tenor, often French,
which turns sour in contact with portamento. Cover
with High C Orange drink,
and bake at highest heat in the oven.

When the High-C boils, it fills up the lung capacity
of the tenor, who then
lets out a strangled cry which sounds somewhat like
"All'armi!" This means
the tenor is done to perfection, and can be served.

Buon appetito.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Seafood Bisque....

Otherwise known to my kids as "Octopus Soup". (Inside joke to those who haven't read the story at Just The Coffee Talking).

Seafood Bisque

3 T butter
1/4 c diced onion
3 T flour
1 T parsley
1/2 t salt
2 c milk
2 c chicken broth (or water with chicken bouillion)
1 1/4 c fresh mixed seafood (octopus, cuddlefish, crab, shrimp, squid and mussels)

In a saucepan cook the seafood mixture in about 1-2 cups of water. Boil about 5 minutes and drain part of the water. In 2-3 batches briefly process the seafood in a processor to chop the pieces smaller. (I pulse it about 3-4 times. The pieces should be about 1/2" big... do not process longer or you'll have seafood paste).

Melt butter in a large pot. Cook diced onion until tender. Stir in flour all at once. Add parsley, salt and pepper. Take off the heat, briefly. Cook 1-2 minutes while whisking or stirring. Put the pot back on the burner and add the broth, whisking smooth. Add the milk, heat to boil, boil 1 minute. Reduce heat and add the seafood. Simmer until needed.

I like my bisque nice and thick so if your soup isn't thick enough, raise the heat to medium high and in a cup or small bowl place about 1/2 cup of flour. Add about a cup of water or more while whisking smooth. If it's too thick add a little more water. With your whisk going continually, pour about 1/5 of the flour/water mixture into the soup pot and blend quickly. Add another 1/5 and again blend. Giving the flour mixture about 1-2 minutes between additions, stop when the bisque is as thick as you desire. If you get it too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 cup until your desired consistancy. If you do add more milk/water or flour before to add more salt and pepper to adjust the flavor accordingly.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Turkey Burgers!

I know this seems too easy to be good. Believe me, it's both. You may be tempted to leave out the garlic or the tabasco sauce... don't. Both are small amounts and both add just the right touch to the overall flavor.

Meritt's Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 lb. good quality ground turkey
1/4 c bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t hot sauce (Tabasco)
Black pepper

Make into patties and cook over medium heat in oil for 5 minute per side till done. Serve on buns with lettuce and ketchup.

Shrimp and Red Bell Pepper Bisque

4 red bell peppers
3 - 4 cups chicken stock or broth
1 t paprika
1 t sugar
3/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c fresh grated romano cheese
hot pepper sauce
1 T olive oil
1 lb. raw, peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped shrimp (easy to chop if partially frozen!)
3 T chopped fresh basil

Char the peppers under a broiler or on a grill until black. Put into a paper bag and let cool about 10-15 minutes. Peel off the black skin and seed the peppers. Julienne one of the peppers, coarsely chop the rest. Set aside the matchstick pieces and put the coarsely chopped peppers into a large pot with the chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the peppers are tender (5 minutes). Work in batches to puree the pepper mixture in a blender or processor until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan or pot.

Mix in the paprika and sugar. Simmer 5 minutes. At this point you can refrigerate it for use the next day or continue on by whisking in the cream and romano cheese. Season to taste with a dash or few or hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the reserved julienned pepper and the shrimp. Saute until the shrimp is cooked through (3 minutes) being careful not to let the shrimp clump. Dive the shrimp into 4 serving bowls. Ladle warm soup over each and sprinkle with the basil. Serve.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Much thanks to my anonymous BIL for the original version of this one.

Meritt's Pesto Pasta Salad
(too easy!)

1 package 4 cheese torillini (dry, fresh or frozen... your choice, just cook it normally)
1 small jar pesto sauce (I use homemade - and no, I don't measure)
1/2 c black olives (if you use the canned, chopped or sliced it so easy!)
1 T fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered

Mix. Serve warm or cold. Both are delicious.

Seasoning for Grilled Burgers

This one originally started out as a copy cat style recipe. I have to admit that if you do this right, your burgers will taste like the popular golden arches!

Meritt's Burger Seasoning for Grilling

In an empty spice container or other shakeable container mix;

4 T salt
1 1/2 t pepper
1/4 t onion powder

When you make your hamburgers make them incredibly thin, try for less than 1/2 inch thick if you can. While grilling sprinkle on the seasoning liberally. Flip. Toast the buns briefly over the grill as well and then add dots of mustard, ketchup, reconsituted dried minced onion and 2 pickles to each burger. If you are liberal with the seasoning you'll end up with a pretty good match to mcdonalds.

Hot Fudge Sauce

Looking over the recipes I don't see that I've offered my hot fudge sauce... gasp! OK, but keep this one under your hat k? Cause it's amazing. So amazing that I (a person who does not care for chocolate, doesn't crave chocolate and can walk by a bowl of candybars, m&m's or anything chocolate without blinking an eye... will eat this with a spoon!)

Meritt's Hot Fudge Sauce
(it's for ice cream but I won't tell anyone if you eat it up with a spoon!)

3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 stick butter (not margarine! ewwww)
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 c sugar
1/3 c milk or coffee (leftover from breakfast is a great way to use it up!)
1/3 c cream (I've used half and half when I didn't have any cream on hand)
1 t vanilla

Melt butter and chocolate in a pan over low to medium heat. Stir smooth, do not scorch. Add sugar, cocoa, milk or cream, coffee and vanilla. Let it simmer about 2-3 minutes to thicken. Cool. Stores well in a canning jar.

Bleu Cheese Dressing

As I'm munching on this right now, I decided I'd pop online and share the recipe. If you like bleu cheese you'll love this.

Meritt's Bleu Cheese Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Kraft is best)
1 c sour cream
1 clove minced fresh garlic
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c bleu cheese, crumbled
fresh cracked black pepper
*optional: 1 teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch dry dressing mix

Mix all together with a wire whisk. I sometimes add the ranch dressing mix just for something different.

Blackened Shrimp and Scallops

This appeared on Blurbomat, and was too good to not post!! All commentary comes from DJ Blurb, not Opera-gal.

Recipe: Shrimp and Scallops

Due to many many email requests, here is the recipe I spoke of recently. Unfortunately, I'm not certain where I found this, so I don't know who to credit. The internet is a big place place, apparently. If you invented this recipe, I salute you.

Yield: 4 Servings

* 1 ts Olive oil
* 2 tb Slivered garlic
* 1/2 ts Crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/2 lb Lg shrimp, peeled, deveined
* 1/2 lb Bay scallops
* 1/2 ts Paprika
* 4 tb Chicken broth
* 1 ts Fresh lime juice
* 1/2 c Finely chopped fresh italian parsley
* Salt and pepper

In a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic and saute until it begins to brown.

Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the pepper flakes to the skillet and increase the heat to medium high.

Add the garlic, shrimp, scallops, and paprika. Saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the chicken broth and cook for 1 minute.

Remove the shrimp and scallops with a slotted spoon, place on a platter; set aside and keep warm.

Add the lime juice, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste to the pan and just heat through.

Pour the sauce over the shrimp and scallops and serve immediately.

To blacken the shrimp and scallops, put the paprika in first and increase the heat. Let the paprika sit for a bit at the higher temp and then add the shrimp and scallops. You'll need to move fast at this point or else the shrimp will turn to rubber. I have no idea if this is proper blackening, that's just what happened when I was doing it. I forgot to cut the parsley and let the paprika get very hot. The first time I made this, the shrimp was overcooked and it made a huge difference to cook the shrimp just right. If you want a bit more sauce for dipping bread or to cover noodles or rice, add more chicken broth and up the seasonings a pinch or two.