Best Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad



We had the absolute honor of cooking for a few of the chefs who helped prepare the food for Maya Angelou’s funeral last weekend.  Since Art Smith tweeted #BestShrimpSalad with regards to one of the side dishes we prepared, I suppose I should share the recipe.  🙂

Peel and devein 1.5 pounds of shrimp.  Saute them in olive oil in batches just until cooked.  Be careful not to overcook them. Set aside.

Boil 4 ears of corn.  Slice the kernels off the cob.

Deseed and chop 2 yellow bell peppers, chop 2 ribs of celery.

Peel and segment 3-4 navel oranges.

In a large bowl, add a pint of whole cherry tomatoes and all of the ingredients above.

Mix the following to dress the salad:  Juice of 3 lemons, 1/3 cup of olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons of dijon mustard, 3-4 minced cloves of garlic, 6 splashes of tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.  Whisk it all together and taste, make adjustments to suite your palate before dressing the salad.

Just before serving, add fresh chopped basil and a diced avocado or two.


Photo by Art Smith



Fried Chicken


Chicken2 Chicken3 Chicken4I have a new method of preparing fried chicken.   I cut the chicken the morning I plan to serve it.  It gets sprinkled with paprika and put in the refrigerator uncovered for the day.  Right before frying, it gets a buttermilk bath then is shaken with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, dill, garlic and cayenne.  Give it a try, I promise you’ll like it!

What’s For Dinner?

P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6We had roasted and dried tomatoes in the freezer and microbasil growing in our sunroom so I decided to make a sauce by combining them with red wine, garlic, capers and shrimp.  Served over pasta with parmesan cheese.   It’s fun playing with ingredients!

Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon rolls are a holiday staple at our house.  We have them Christmas morning every year.  I tried one year to make them before I went to bed so they would be ready to pop into the oven the next morning but they rose and then fell before I woke up.  Now I just lay out everything I’ll need the night before and get up early to get them going.  This recipe came from a Family Circle magazine probably 15 or 20 years ago.  It was billed as the T.J. Cinnamon’s recipe.  It is so very good, I hope you’ll try it!

Start by dissolving two packages of yeast in 1/2 cup of warm to the touch water and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.  Let it stand for at least 5 minutes to get foamy.  In a mixing bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.   At low speed, gradually add in 1 cup warm milk, 1/3 cup salad oil, 2 eggs and the yeast mixture until well blended.  Slowly add in another 1.5 cups flour and knead the dough for 10 minutes.  I knead mine with a dough hook in my stand mixture but you could knead it by hand on a floured surface.

TJ2The dough is smooth and elastic after kneading.  At this point, put it in a bowl with about a tbsp. of oil in it, cover with a clean towel and let it rise for an hour.

TJ3While the dough is rising, make the filling.  You’ll need 1/2 stick of butter at room temperature, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of cinnamon.

TJ4Just mix all ingredients until they come together.

TJ5Here’s the dough after rising for an hour.  Turn it onto a floured surface.

TJ7Roll the dough into a rectangle approx. 18 by 10 inches.

TJ8Spread the cinnamon filling on top then roll it up on the long side.  You’ll end up with an 18 inch long log of cinnamon filled dough.  Cut the dough log into 14 equal slices.

TJ9Place the slices into greased 9 inch round cake pans.  This recipe makes two pans.

TJ10Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes.  Heres what they look like after rising.

TJ11Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (until golden brown).  I remove them from the cake pan after about 10 minutes and glaze with a mixture of 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 Tbsp. milk and 1 tsp. vanilla.   I hope you’ll give them at try, they will not disappoint!


Cornbread Stuffing

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Here’s my holiday stuffing recipe.  What I actually do is buy a bag of Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing and follow the recipe on the back, with lots of add ins.  The bag calls for melted butter and chicken broth.  I crumble, fry and drain a package of sausage and add it to the stuffing mix.  I saute shallots, celery and mushrooms in the amount of butter the package calls for and add it along with a package of raw cranberries and a huge diced apple.  The chicken broth gets added at the end and walnuts go into half.  It’s baked at 350 for 30-40 minutes.  If these ingredients sound good to you, the finished dish will be heaven!

Roasted Tomatoes

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We’re swimming in tomatoes this year.  Since I refuse to toss a single one, I’m preserving excess cherry tomatoes by roasting them.  They go into a 350 degree oven with olive oil, salt and pepper for about 35 minutes.  After they cool, I scoop them into a quart freezer bag and pop them into the freezer.  Sometime around December, I’ll defrost them and toss them with pasta for a blast of summer.

Roasted Peppers With Goat Cheese and Basil

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We grew Alma Paprika peppers specifically for this recipe. Any thick skinned cherry pepper would do nicely.  I cut off the top and scooped out the seeds, then placed them in a baking pan.  I lined the inside of each pepper with a large fresh basil leaf then filled it with goat cheese.  I’ve also tried this with a chunk of parmesean and some fresh marjoram.   Drizzle the peppers with olive oil and sprinkle on salt and pepper.  They get baked at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  They are creamy and just plain yummy both warm from the oven and cold from the fridge (if you have any leftovers!).

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