Gouda Grits with Smoky Brown Butter Shrimp

I am totally a grits girl.  I grew up eating grits for breakfast.  Sometimes as a snack after school.

If you didn’t think I was Southern before now, that should prove my Southern roots.

And my favorite kind of grits growing up:  cheese grits.

Lots of cheddar cheese melted into a bowl of piping hot grits.

Last night I took my love of cheese grits to a whole new level with Gouda Grits with Smoky Brown Butter Shrimp.

Applewood smoked gouda was whisked into the grits until they become a dreamy bed for the browned butter shrimp.

The shrimp (local, wild caught) were seasoned with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder and cumin.

The shrimp are cooked in a bath of melted butter that browns as the shrimp cook (I had to cook my shrimp in two batches – you don’t want to overcrowd the pan).

On top of the shrimp and grits – sauteed corn.  This was the last of the summer corn that I had frozen back in July (oh, how  I’m going to miss having that on hand).

In the bowl, ladle in a good amount of gouda grits.  Perfectly creamy.  On top, smoky browned butter shrimp and sauteed corn along with a sprinkle of chives.

A bowl of Heaven.

I seriously could eat gouda grits for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.

Canned Tuna Ceviche

You’re either going to love this recipe idea or hate it.

Canned tuna is one of those things that you either love or hate.  I think that cilantro falls in that category.  Along with mushrooms.

I personally have always loved canned tuna.  In fact, tuna noodle casserole is one of my favorite retro dishes that I crave.  It reminds me of weeknight dinners growing up.

Canned tuna (actually, I used the pouches because I can do without the extra liquid in the cans) is perfect for throwing together a quick lunch for work.

But canned tuna ceviche kind of makes canned tuna seem fancy.  If that’s even possible.

canned ceviche

I halved the recipe since it was just for me (you won’t catch Big Guy eating canned tuna ever…maybe fresh, but never canned).

In the mix:

1 pouch of tuna
diced red onion
juice of half a lime
salt
pepper
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
diced tomato
diced pickled jalapeno

Simply mix all the ingredients together and let them hang out in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Once you’ve given the tuna some time to soak up the flavors, serve with avocado slices and crackers.

A little bit of spice and a lot of flavor – considering it’s canned tuna and all.

Is there a food you just absolutely won’t eat?  

 

 

Bacon-Blue Burgers with Arugula and Quick Jalapeno Jam

I know that I shared with you my Fall Bucket List yesterday and that I should be posting a pumpkin recipe or a soup recipe but I can’t bring myself to not share with you the most incredible burger recipe.

After a gorgeous weekend, Big Guy and I wanted to end the weekend {and summer} with something “totally summer.” It didn’t take us long to agree that burgers were for dinner on Sunday.

This burger isn’t anything “fancy” – in fact, it’s a little messy.  But messy equals delicious.

The burger recipe is from my newest obsession, “Seriously Delish.”  After featuring it on a Friday Favorites post as my “Favorite Drool” I ordered the book that same day.  I just had to have it.

And now that I have it, I want to cook allthethings.  It’s full of incredible recipes that will make you want to go to stay home and dirty up every single dish you own.

Bacon and blue cheese are usual suspects when it comes to burger toppings.  However, this burger becomes something special when you add a homemade jalapeno jam.

Four jalapenos were deseeded and diced (I actually used a mini food processor for this step as to avoid having jalapeno hands all night) and then simmered with a combination of water, brown sugar, a little apple cider vinegar and honey.  Once cooled, it comes a delicious spread for the burger.

Another key component – quality beef.  We used an 85/15 mix of grass-fed beef.  The beef was gently mixed with salt, pepper and olive oil before being formed into patties.

Instead of a cast iron, we grilled our burgers to a perfect medium.  Juicy and tender, the burger would have been amazing on it’s own.

Piled high:  bottom bun, jalapeno jam, burger, blue cheese crumbles, bacon, arugula, top bun.

burger

The flavor combination was unreal!  Sweet and savory – each bite was perfection.  Pungent blue cheese was balanced with the sweet jalapeno jam and the bacon.  But bacon makes everything better.

On the side, a simple tomato salad and a glass of Petit Verdot that I savored with every sip.

Goodbye, summer!  I’m counting the days until you return…

 

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese

Imagine one of the most classic combos – grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Now combine the two and you have an ooey-gooey roasted tomato grilled cheese.    

This is officially my favorite grilled cheese sandwich to date.

And I loved using up some of what will probably be the last of our tomatoes (yep, they’re still growing and producing) in this summer-to-fall transition.

The sandwich couldn’t be easier to prepare but you do need a little bit of time in order to roast the tomatoes.

Simply halve and deseed a handful of plum tomatoes (I used 6 of our homegrown plum tomatoes).  Toss with garlic and olive oil and roasted at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the mayo, cream cheese and cheddar cheese.

Once the tomatoes have roasted, pulse in a mini food processor along with fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper.

I veered off from the original recipe and I added the tomato mixture to the cheese mixture and mixed.  I then slathered 1/4th of the mixture onto a slice of bread and topped with another slice of bread.  (p.s. Udi’s Gluten-Free Millet-Chia bread is amazing!!!)  Cook the sandwiches on a panini press until toasted and all the cheese was melted.

This sandwich has all the flavors of your favorite soup and sandwich combo in each and every bite.  I loved the roasted tomato flavors with the sharp cheddar.  And the fresh basil gave the sandwich freshness.

I typically don’t like hot soup unless it’s cold out so this is the perfect sandwich for when you want the comforting combo but it’s “too hot out.”

 

 

Mushroom and Corn Tacos

It’s about time I share a recipe with you guys.  These tacos are a perfect way to lighten up dinner after a few indulgent days.

Typically Mexican food is perceived as being heavy.  Not these tacos.  These mushroom and corn tacos are guilt-free and full of veggies and beans.

tacos

The filling is a mixture of mushrooms, onion, banana peppers (instead of poblanos), corn and black beans.

The flavor comes from spices that include oregano, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salsa verde, lime juice and hot sauce.

The corn tortillas are filled with the mixture and then topped with a squeeze of lime juice, feta cheese and fresh cilantro.

My tacos fell apart as I ate them making this a very messy dinner.  But messy usually means delicious.

And these were delicious.

 

Lobster Roll {and the unofficial end of summer}

My birthday week is officially here.  And my summer is unofficially over.  We spent our “last” summer weekend just being happy.  No rushing around, no traveling.

And lobster rolls seemed like the perfect ending to our weekend (and to our summer).  We’ve never cooked with lobster at home so it was fun to work with a new-to-us ingredient.

First we steamed the lobster tails for about 7 minutes and then shocked them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

After doing a Google search, we landed upon a YouTube video on how to remove the meat and it was actually super simple.

We chopped the meat and then allowed it to chill for about 30 minutes. While the lobster meat was chilling, I prepped the spicy mayo:  mayo, Dijon mustard, mustard powder, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, salt and Sriracha.

The lobster meat was tossed in a little melted butter, chopped tarragon and salt.

A buttery roll is crucial.  It can make the difference in having a good lobster roll and having an ohemgee good lobster roll.

The rolls is stuffed with the lobster mixture and then topped with spicy mayo and chives.

It seemed necessary to have a pile of Kettle Salt and Vinegar chips next to he lobster roll with a cold brew to wash it down.

Not bad for our first time experimenting with lobster.

Not bad at all.

 

Caprese Mac ‘n Cheese

The newest issue of Cooking Light arrived last week and as soon as I flipped the page and saw Caprese Mac and Cheese I knew it was on the next weeks menu.  (p.s. – Check out that deep dish pizza on the front cover; seriously drooling over here.)

Mac ‘n Cheese has always been a favorite of mine (along with beef tips and rice, right Momma?) and I love to indulge when given the chance.

But if you make it from scratch and not from a box with 93 ingredients that you can’t pronounce you don’t have to feel guilty.

This meal is:

cheesy
comforting
a little spicy
curl-up-on-the-couch worthy
satisfying
creamy
decadent
bursting with flavor
herbaceous
perfect for a rainy evening

In order to make this meal gluten-free, I used a brown-rice pasta, gluten-free panko, and subbed in cornstarch for the flour.  Instead of adding the cornstarch to the hot oil, I simply whisked it into the milk before adding it to the hot saucepan.

I loved the panko topping.  Little bites here and there were full of crunchy cheesiness.  Those were my favorite bites.  And using two cheeses makes it a mega bowl of comfort.  Sharp Parmesan and luscious mozzarella ensure that every bite is cheesy perfection.

I also baked this in one large dish instead of individual ramekins.  Either works perfectly.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?