Low Country Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and Grits. One of the quintessential low country dishes great for breakfast, brunch, or in my home, the perfect after work snack. Low country cooking is unpretentious, yet flavorful. It is representative of true American flavors! Low country refers … Continue reading

Professional Food Photography

In 2014, while I was completing my dissertation research and writing, I began working at a local restaurant as an “escape” from the drudgery of writing. One day, while working, I met a talented photographer named Brandon Vick and as they … Continue reading

Midwest Sunday Dinner* (Four Recipes in One)

* Full disclosure: I am not from the Midwest. My mother was raised in OH, but even she doesn’t eat the typical  “Midwest diet” of meat and potatoes. This is simply my interpretation of a meat and potatoes meal. Also, I never ever order meatloaf when dining out because nothing compares to this moist flavorful meatloaf!

Homemade meatloaf served with fresh snapped peas, glazed carrots, and cheesy garlic mashed potatoes. All recipes are included in this post.

Homemade meatloaf served with fresh snapped peas, glazed carrots, and cheesy garlic mashed potatoes. All recipes are included in this post.

 

HOMESTYLE MEATLOAF  Serves 8

3 lbs of meat loaf blend (equal parts ground chuck, ground pork, and ground veal) OR 2 lbs ground chuck and 1 lb ground pork OR 3 lbs ground turkey (not turkey breast alone, make sure ground turkey is mixed with dark meat for better color and flavor)

2 yellow onions pureed using food processor

2 bell peppers (preferably red), diced

3 cloves garlic minced

2 teaspoons dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon beef seasoning OR salt

2 large eggs, whisked

1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

3/4 cups favorite bbq sauce or light brown sugar, extra sauce or sugar to top before cooking

Optional- 1/2 cup 1% milk or 1/2 cup plain tomato sauce

Ingredients for meatloaf shown. The bbq sauce, Boss Sauce, is my family's company. I will post information about it soon! We are expanding our market. It's delicious!!

Ingredients for meatloaf shown. The bbq sauce, Boss Sauce, is my family’s company. I will post information about it soon! We are expanding our market. It’s delicious!!

Ingredients for Turkey Meatloaf

Ingredients for Turkey Meatloaf. Use dark meat turkey for better color and flavor.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In large bowl place ground meat of your choice. Create a well in the center of meat.

Fill well with onions, peppers, and garlic.

Meatloaf

Liberally season meat with dry mustard, cinnamon, ground black pepper, and beef seasoning or salt.

Meatloaf

Mix meatloaf mixture with clean hands until seasoning is well incorporated.

Add eggs, bread crumbs, milk or tomato sauce, and bbq sauce or brown sugar.

Meatloaf

Mix meatloaf mixture for another 3 minutes or until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Meatloaf

Line a large glass dish (do not use a shallow dish) with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.

Place meatloaf into pan and shape into a loaf  using hands.

Meatloaf loaf

Top loaf with 2-3 tablespoons of bbq sauce, brown sugar or 3-4 strips of bacon.

Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes – 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Please note that while cooking the meatloaf will generate liquid. Drain this from pan. You can save this liquid to make a quick gravy.

Final Meatloaf

 

(CHEESY) GARLIC MASHED POTATOES

2.5 lbs butter potatoes (all purpose potatoes, not white potatoes), peeled and cut into quarters or eighths

1/4 cup sour cream

2 cups half and half

1 stick salted butter

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/2 tablespoon salt

Optional: 1/2 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese AND 1 cup shredded Muenster cheese

Mashed Potato Ingredients

Directions Serves 8

In large stock pot bring potatoes to boil in (salted) water. Once potatoes are tender (fall apart when fork is inserted) drained potatoes, but return them to same warm pot and return pot to the stove. Turn of the heat/eye.

Potatoes

 

Immediately, add stick of butter, and half and half. Begin to mash in pot using a masher. FYI NEVER put potatoes in the blender. the starch becomes glutenous.

Mashed Potatoes

Once potatoes are smooth add sour cream, white pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until smooth and seasoning well incorporated. If too thick add more half and half (or another milk) by the tablespoon full. Top with parsley flakes and serve.

If making “Cheesy” add shredded pecorino romano and Muenster cheeses when adding seasonings. Then top with parsley flakes.

Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Cheese is optional)

Cheesy Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Cheese is optional)

GLAZED CARROTS  Makes 8 cups

12 large carrots peeled

2 tablespoons salted butter

1/2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Not shown: ground nutmeg, salt, ground and cayenne pepper

Not shown: ground nutmeg, salt, ground and cayenne pepper

Directions

Julienne carrots (find instructions here, you may also slice them on a mandolin)

Julienne Carrots

In a large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar. Add carrots to pan and coat with butter-sugar mixture. Liberally season carrots with ground ginger, nutmeg, salt, and if using, cayenne pepper. Stir carrots until well coated.

Carrots

Turn heat down to low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until carrots are tender, but not mushy.  Serve.

Carrots

 

FRESH STEAMED PEAS

4 cups fresh snapped peas

1 cup water

2 tablespoons vegetable base OR 1/2 tablespoon salt AND 1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons unsalted/salted butter

These are fresh peas! They taste 100 times better than canned or frozen.  Not shown: Ground dry mustard, butter, garlic powder or water

These are fresh peas! They taste 100 times better than canned or frozen.
Not shown: Ground dry mustard, butter, garlic powder or water

Directions

In 4 quart pot, melt butter over medium heat.

Add rinsed peas, seasoning, and water. Bring pot to boil for 3 minutes. Reduce temperature to low. Simmer on low for additional 3 minutes. Serve.

An easy Sunday dinner! A great meal for impromptu guests. This meal will serve 8 dinner guests,

An easy Sunday dinner! A great meal for impromptu guests. This meal will serve 8 dinner guests,

Mussels For Two

 

Steamed Mussels in a flavorful white wine broth. A great dish to add to your Valentine's Day menu.

Steamed Mussels in a flavorful white wine broth. A great dish to add to your Valentine’s Day menu.

This is a quick and easy recipe using all fresh ingredients! This is a perfect appetizer to accompany your Valentine’s Day meal. You can serve these mussels in the shell or removed from the shells and over a bed of fresh pasta. Make sure you have fresh crusty bread on hand to sop-up the flavorful broth. Please note, when choosing a white wine, do not buy a “cooking wine” from off of the shelf. Do not cook with a wine that you won’t drink. I suggest buying an inexpensive dry wine that you enjoy and cooking with it. This rule applies to white and red wines. 

Mussels shown removed from shells, served over pasta.

Mussels shown removed from shells, served over pasta.

Ingredients

4 lbs of mussels, butter, red onion, fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine

4 lbs of mussels, butter, red onion, fennel, roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine

4 lbs mussels debearded and cleaned

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) salted butter

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion quartered and sliced thinly 

5 cloves garlic peeled and sliced

5 sprigs fresh thyme

3 roma tomatoes chopped

2 fennel bulbs sliced thinly 

2 cups good quality dry white wine (i.e. chardonnay)

1 tablespoon salt 

Directions

If possible, buy mussels fresh, the day in which you plan to use them. If you are unable to do so, remove mussels from plastic bag and place in the back of your refrigerator with a damp paper towel covering them, for one to two days. This will allow the mussels, which are alive, to breathe. 

When ready to prepare, place mussels in a bowl and fill with cool water. Allow mussels to sit for 20 minutes to allow them to expel the sand and dirt inside. Begin to debeard and clean mussels. For tips on debearding mussels please visit this site. Any mussels that are opened, do not close when tapped, or chipped, discard (they are not viable/they’re dead). Once mussels are clean place them in another bowl. Do not simply pour cleaned mussels and water into another bowl, for the sand and dirt that was expelled will transfer to clean bowl. You may use a slotted spoon to transfer mussels.

Meanwhile, in a large heavy pot heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add slice garlic, red onion and fennel. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often. Add tomatoes, thyme, and salt. Cook an additional 5 minutes.  Pour in two cups of wine and increase heat to medium high. Add mussels on top of vegetables. Place cover on pot.

Allow mussels to cook covered on medium high for 10 minutes. Remove cover and stir so that vegetables are no longer at the bottom of the pot.

Mussels steamed w white wine, fresh thyme, fennel, red onion, garlic, and roma tomatoes.

Mussels steamed w white wine, fresh thyme, fennel, red onion, garlic, and roma tomatoes.

Cook mussels an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove/discard any mussels that are unopened. 

Serve mussels w some of the liquid in bowl with crusty bread. Provide guests with a plate/bowl for discarded shells.

If serving mussels over pasta, remove mussels from shells and continue to cook in liquid for an additional 5 minutes. Remove all of thyme stems. Pour mussels w sauce/liquid over cooked pasta. 

Catering and Private Chef Menu

Ebullient Enterprises Catering Menu

Enjoy our delicious soups, main dishes, sides, desserts, and beverages for your next meeting, party or special occasion. Our menu reflects our most common requests. If there’s an item that you’re interested in but it doesn’t appear on the menu, please inquire with one of our ebullient consultants. We offer delivery for a fee, and will return to retrieve the dishes.

                                     Soups
All soups require a 2 quart minimum purchase.

2 quarts (serves 4-6)                               $35

4 quarts (serves 7-8)                               $60

Farmhouse Vegetable

Heirloom Tomato

Southwest Chicken

Country Turkey Noodle

Oaxaca White Chicken Chili

Loaded Baked Potato

Cream of Broccoli

Butternut Squash Bisque

Mom’s Beef Stew

Abuela’s Chicken and Dumplings

Okra Gumbo (Chicken and Sausage)

Seafood Gumbo +$15

                                Meats and Main Dishes

Choice of 2 meats and 2 sides base price $20 per person. 2 person minimum. Pricing a la cart available upon request.

Additional meat + $3 / Additional side + $2

Pork Chops (fried, smothered, or w chutney)

Meatloaf (turkey or beef)

Chicken (Herb roasted, Mojo, Smothered, Curried, Jerk, or BBQ)

Cubed Steak

Beef Short Ribs (Braised or BBQ)

BBQ Pork Ribs (Regular or Peach Tamarind BBQ sauce)

Turkey Breast

Pork Shoulder (Traditional Mojo or BBQ)

Salmon (Ginger Glazed or Jerked) + $3 per person

Shrimp (Etouffe, Curried or Grilled) + $3 per person

Jambalaya (Chicken, Andouille or Turkey Sausage, and Shrimp) + $3 per person

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Ham, Sausage, and Shrimp OR Crab and Shrimp) + $3 per person

Lasagna (Beef, Turkey, Eggplant, Cheese, or Seafood)

Bourbon Baked Spiral Ham Market Price 

                             Sides

2 quarts (serves 4-6)                               $20

4 quarts (serves 7-8)                               $40

Greens (mustard, kale, collard, or mixed)

Callaloo

Braised Kale and Cabbage

Cabbage (smothered and fried)

Roasted butter or sweet potatoes

Broccoli (steamed or roasted w or w/o parmesan)

Vegetarian Red beans and Rice (white or brown)

Vegetarian Black beans and Rice (white or brown)

Arroz con Gandules (contains pork)

Vegetarian Curry Chana and Aloo

Dahl

Jasmine, Basmati or Vegetable Fried Rice (white or brown)

Dressing (Sausage +$5)

Homestyle or Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Potato Salad

Platanos Maduros

Curried Eggplant

BBQ Baked Beans (Sausage + $5)

Corn Bread or Muffins (Regular or Jalapeño Cheese)

Breakfast/Brunch Selections

Quiche (various combinations available)                                                                                                      $23- $43

Breakfast Hash (Ham, Pork Sausage, or Turkey Sausage)                                                                    $15 per quart

Cheese Grits                                                                                                                                                                $15 per quart

Salmon Croquetts w Remoulade                                                                                                                        $2 per piece

Chicken or Tuna Salad (Fruit, Curried, or Plain) w/ an array of crackers and breads               $25 per quart

Kale Salad with Homemade Vinaigrette or Salad Dressing                                                                     $15

Sauces and Accompaniments

Peach Tamarind BBQ Sauce                                                                                                             All $10 per pint

Remoulade Sauce

Habanero Hot Pepper Sauce

Seasonal Fruit Salsa

Homemade Croutons

Grilled Cheese Croutons

Desserts

Croissant Bread Pudding w Rum Sauce                    $30

Banana Pudding                                                                 $25

Praline Cake                                                                         $25

Beverages

Flavored Lemonade (Mango, Passion Fruit, Watermelon, or Peach)                        $20 per gallon

Sangria (White or Red)                                                                                                                  $50 per gallon

Sorrel with Rum                                                                                                                               $40 per gallon

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Idea

A delicious and special meal should always be enjoyed on a well decorated table to include fresh pressed linens, shined silver, sparkling glassware, and a beautiful yet simple centerpiece. When creating or purchasing a centerpiece, it should either be low and broad or placed in a tall candelabra or vase with lots of volume on top. I recommend these styles for it allows for decor that does not interfere with conversation.

What I like most about the  centerpiece below is that it combines fresh vegetables (artichokes), succulents (which don’t require much water), and the rustic wood element. I’m creating centerpieces with height and color using gilded branches on top and fresh vegetables at the base. I’ll be sure to post photos soon.

I hope you’re inspired to created a centerpiece or possibly many arrangements for your guests to enjoy this holiday season. Remember, a beautiful warm and inviting home is more important than the food you serve. Make sure your environment and of course you, are welcoming to all who enter.

 

Flat-bread “Pizzas” (Three Recipes)

An inexpensive way to entertain guests and make food preparation easy on the host is to invite friends and family over for wine and tasty hors d’oeuvres. When it comes to wine, you can choose your  favorite dry red or white wine, although I find it much more economical and visually appealing to create a large pitcher/punch bowl of red or white Sangria (I will post the Sangria recipe later). When choosing hors d’oeuvres, I think simplicity and taste are key. For that reason, my “go to” hors d’oeuvres are flat-bread pizzas. The only item that is not homemade is the naan/flat-bread. Naan, is a leavened, oven-baked flat-bread used most often in West, Central, and South Asian cooking. I purchase naan at my local grocery store or Asian market. Naan often comes in various flavors such as rosemary and sea salt, garlic, or traditional plain. Of course, you are welcome to make your own. Have fun experimenting with flavor combinations, especially sweet and savory. Below you’ll find my favorite three flat-bread combinations.

Yours in service,

L. Tamar

PEAR AND GORGONZOLA FLAT-BREAD 

Ingredients

2 plain naan

2 anjou or bartlett pears (make sure bartlett pears are firm, not over ripe i.e. not mushy)

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons salted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

Directions

In sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar. Toss chopped pecans in brown sugar mixture. Make sure to coat pecans thoroughly. Remove from sauce pan and spread in thin layer on prepared cookie sheet (covered in wax or parchment paper). Bake at 250 F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Let stand until completely cooled.

Place naan on pizza or cooking sheet. Drizzle each with olive oil.

Slice pears very thinly using sharp knife or using a mandolin. Do not remove skin. It’s easiest to cut pear away from core, cutting it into 4 pieces prior to slicing.

Top each naan with one whole sliced pear.

Next sprinkle each naan with 1/2 of the crumbled gorgonzola cheese.

Top each naan with half of the candied pecans.

Bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven. Let cool. Cut into bite sized pieces. Serve.

pearpear and cheesepear cheese and pecans

ARUGULA, PROSCIUTTO AND CARAMELIZED ONION FLAT-BREAD 

finished arugula

Ingredients

2 garlic naan

1 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 bulbs garlic (preferably roasted)

2 teaspoons salt

2 yellow or red onions sliced thinly

4 tablespoons salted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese

8 slices prosciutto sliced thinly

2 cups fresh arugula (rinsed and dried)

Directions

Place naan on cookie/pizza sheet.

Blend next for (4) ingredients (basil, salt, olive oil, and garlic) on high using blender to create fresh pesto. Blend until smooth.

Spoon 1/2 of pesto onto each naan.

Melt butter over low/medium heat in medium sauce pan with top. Add sliced onions and brown sugar. Cook slowly over low heat until onions are translucent, soft, and reduced by half. This may take up to an hour or an hour and a half. Remember: Low and Slow. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place 4 ounces of sliced mozzarella on each naan. Top each with half of the caramelized onions.

Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and top each naan with half of the sliced prosciutto. Return to oven for another 5-7 minutes.

Remove from oven and immediately top with fresh arugula.

Let cool slightly. Cut into bite sized pieces. Serve.

fresh pestopesto pesto and cheeseonionscooking onions onionsonions cheese pestoonions cheese pesto hamarugula

TOMATO AND FRESH BASIL FLAT-BREAD 

tomato finished

Ingredients

2 garlic naan

1 cup fresh basil

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 bulbs garlic (preferably roasted)

2 teaspoons salt

8 ounces sliced mozzarella

10 sliced campari tomatoes

10-12 fresh basil leaves

coarse salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions

Place naan on cookie/pizza sheet.

Blend next for (4) ingredients (basil, salt, olive oil, and garlic) on high using blender to create fresh pesto. Blend until smooth.

Spoon 1/2 of pesto onto each naan.

Top each naan with 4 ounces of sliced mozzarella cheese.

Top each naan with half of tomatoes.

Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven and add fresh basil, salt, and red pepper flakes immediately.

Cut into bite sized pieces while still hot.

pesto pesto and cheesetomato and cheesetomato cheese basil