Pie Crust – perfect, flaky everytime

This fool-proof, easy pie crust recipe ensures a perfect, flaky crust every time.  I usually make the double-crust pie amount so I can have enough dough left over to cut it into strips, add butter, cinnamon and sugar and bake.  Do you remember your mom doing this?

For one single-crust pie or 4-6 tart shells:

1  1/2  cups sifted all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

4 to 5 tablespoons cold water

For one 8, 9, or 10 inch double-crust pie or for two single-crust pies:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup shortening

5 to 7 tablespoons cold water

Sift flour and salt together, cut in your shortening until it’s the texture of cornmeal.  I do this by hand.  Add the water and mix by hand until it forms a ball.  (You can also do this entire process in your Kitchen Aid mixer – just as easy.) If you are making the double crust amount, cut portions in half – two balls of dough.  Flatten the ball on a lightly floured surface, roll from the center to the edge until about 1/8 inch thick.  If your recipe calls for a bake pie crust, use a fork to prick holes in the crust before baking.  If your recipe doesn’t call for a bake pie crust, don’t prick the crust – it will leak!

Bake 400 degrees until golden brown or about 10 minutes.  HINT:  put ice cubes in your water to make it very cold – this makes it easier to mix your dough.


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Filed under Dessert, Holiday, Louisiana / Cajun, Pies

Mistletoe Martini – A holiday favorite!

One of my colleagues, Michelle Reynolds, shared this delicious holiday martini recipe.

3 ounces Finlandia Tangerine Vodka

6 ounces of your favorite Lemonade

1 1/2 ounces Cranberry Juice

Squeeze of Lemon

Shake well over ice and serve in a sugar rimmed chilled martini glass.  For a pitcher of martinis:  use 1, 2, 1/2 ration and a few ounces of water.  You can play with the lemonade and cranberry if you prefer more of one over the other.  Delicious!

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Filed under Beverages, Holiday

Basil Pesto – a little lagniappe

Nothing smells better than a freshly picked bunch of basil.  This time of year my basil seems to grow faster than I can use it.  Basil Pesto is great way to use up that fresh basil and an easy way to have a little lagniappe all year-long.

There are so many uses for pesto, it’s great on pasta,  sandwiches/pannini, dips, pizzas, soups, fish or chicken, or as above over fresh mozzarella cheese.  Pesto freezes well  – divide the leftovers into an ice-cube tray, seal it tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. After it has frozen, I place in a freezer zip lock bag. Since Pesto has a very concentrated flavor, you will not use more than one or two cubes at any time (unless coating large quantities of meat!). Later pop out a cube, defrost in microwave to use.

This is one of the easiest bunch of goodness you’ll ever make.  I use my blender.  (Can you believe I don’t have a food processor?)

  • 2 cups fresh  basil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted – trust me here, toasting makes all the difference in the world
  • 3 cloves or garlic, roasted
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, optional, you know I like a little kick!
  • 1/2 to 1 cup grated Parmesan – I always say, ‘more is better’
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup good Olive Oil – to make it smooth and somewhat emulsified.

Chop the basil, pine nuts, and garlic together with the salt and peppers. Add the cheese. Then add the olive oil in a stream until it looks right. Sit back and wait for the Wows, Ohs, and Ahhhs!

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Filed under Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Pasta, Soup, Uncategorized

Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Cream Sauce

This is a quick and easy summer recipe.  My sweet friend, Céire Smyth Martínez and I are always sharing recipes or talking about cooking.  She is a fabulous cook and we enjoy going to the farmer’s markets together.  Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe Céire!

1 (16 oz) container sour cream (you may use fat-free)
2 teaspoons chili powder, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup water (I use a little less)
1 pound med-size shrimp
3 tablespoon orange juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoon olive oil
2 avocados, chopped
8 (6 inch) corn tortillas, warmed

Optional:  Add chopped cilantro ‘I LOVE IT!’ or you can add a little slaw.  Your options are endless!

Whisk together sour cream, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt and cinnamon. Add water, stirring until smooth. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Peel and devein shrimp. Combine remaining seasonings in a shallow dish; add orange juice and shrimp, turning to coat. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade, discarding marinade.

You may grill your shrimp at this time if you prefer.  Or, you can chop your uncooked shrimp, first, sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over med-high heat 1-2 minutes. Add chopped shrimp and cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Either way you cook the shrimp – IT’S DELICIOUS!

Serve with sour cream mixture and avocado in warm tortillas.  This is an easy dish to take for a summer outing.

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Filed under Chicken, Dip / Spread / Sauce / Seasoning, Entree, Fish / Seafood, Holiday, Louisiana / Cajun, Mexican, Salad, shrimp, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Spring, Summer

Quick Summer Pasta Salad

This is a pasta salad that you can made on the run.  All of the ingredients are readily available in your local deli – so if you are on the run and don’t have a lot of time – this is a quick and delicious summer pasta salad to take. It’s bursting with flavor and can also be made ahead of time. 

Sue Patrick Richard and Tracey Patrick Blanchard shared this recipe – they are excellent cooks! 

16 ounces of Pasta – tri color is pretty or my favorite, Castellana Trecce Dell’orto
Chop 1 small red onion
Chop 2-3 cucumbers
Shred 2 cups cheddar cheese – I prefer to shred my own.  The pre-shredded is too dry. 
1 – 12 ounce bottle ranch dressing or you can make a batch of Ranch dressing and use 1 and 1/2 cups.
Chop 1 tomato or use grape tomatoes – as many as you like
Kalamata olives – as many as you like

Add 1/4 cup chopped or torn Basil

Almost 1 jar of McCormick Salad Supreme Seasoning (contains Romano cheese, salt, sesame seed, poppy-seed, celery seed, paprika, garlic, black pepper and red pepper.)
Optional:  Add grilled shrimp or grilled chicken

Cook pasta – drain and cool.  Add onion, cucumbers, cheese, tomatoes, olives, and dressing.  Mix well.  Cover the top with a healthy amount of Salad Supreme Seasoning and then set your chicken or shrimp on the top of the seasoning.  Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Right before serving toss salad and serve.  If the pasta has absorbed too much of the Ranch dressing, you can add a little more at this time.


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Filed under Chicken, Fish / Seafood, Holiday, Louisiana / Cajun, Pasta, Salad, Side Dishes / Vegetables, Spring, Summer

Margarita Pie

This is an easy summer pie recipe that can be made ahead of time.  Keep one in your freezer for surprise guests.  Tracey Patrick Blanchard shared this refreshing pie recipe.  Thanks Tracey!

1 and 1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter

Mix ingredients together and press into glass or ceramic pie pan to form the crust.

1 can condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 envelope lemon lime unsweetened Kool-Aid
2 and 1/2 cups Cool Whip or whipped cream

Mix all ingredients together and pour over pretzel pie crust.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in freezer until ready to eat.
Remove from freezer about 30 minutes before serving.  Add remaining Cool Whip or whipped cream on top before serving

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Filed under Dessert, Louisiana / Cajun, Pies, Spring, Summer

Licuado de Melon – Refreshing Watermelon Drink

It’s summer and time to enjoy the delicious taste of watermelon.  Looks like this summer is going to be a super hot one.  This watermelon drink is super refreshing and so easy to make.  You can make it the day before.  Serve chilled.  Thanks Céire!

  • 1 small watermelon or half of a large one
  • juice of 2-3 limes or more to taste, make sure to have some of the lime pulp
  • about 1/4 cup honey, to sweeten
  • up to 4 cups of chilled water

Cut the watermelon into chunks, discarding seeds.  Place chunks in a large sieve, over a bowl, and use a wooden spoon to press/mash fruit, extracting the juice.  Stir in the lime juice and sweeten with honey.  Serve chilled.

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Filed under Beverages, Celebration, Holiday, Louisiana / Cajun, Summer