Pure Deliciousness!

For me, being a “foodie” means that I have an overwhelming amount of cookbooks and printed recipes from various on-line sites. One of my notebooks is full of recipes from so many years ago I’m not going to say but it’s around 40! I’m on a cleaning out mission as Spring arrives.  I’m sorting through, deleting, and categorizing ….making life simpler!  This recipe/menu is definitely one of our favorites and one I’m keeping!  I’m substituting Louisiana shrimp for the crab meat that is called for.  This is simple, delicious and something you can proudly serve guests!

Bronzed Red Snapper with Wild Shrimp Sauce

Sauteed String Beans with Grape Tomatoes and Almonds

Grilled Pineapple with Mascarpone and Nutella

Sauvignon Blanc


Bronzed Red Snapper with Wild Shrimp Sauce

For 2

1 Red Snapper, fileted and bones removed

1 tablespoon Zatarain’s Cajun Spice

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 pound fresh shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 teaspoon Zatarain’s Cajun Spice

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 clove garlic finely minced

a splash of heavy cream

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives

Sprinkle the fish with the cajun spice blend.  Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until the oil is just smoking.  Quickly “bronze” the fish, about 3 minutes on each side.  Remove the fish from the pan and deglaze with the white wine.  Simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the shrimp, lemon juice and garlic.  Simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, about five minutes.  Add the heavy cream.  Place a fish filet on each plate and top with the shrimp sauce.  Sprinkle with fresh chives and serve.

Sauteed String Beans with Grape Tomatoes and Almonds

1/2 pound fresh string beans, ends snapped

1 handful grape tomatoes

1/3 cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon butter

Melt the butter in a saute pan.  Add the string beans and cook over medium heat until just tender, about five minutes.  Add the tomatoes and almonds and continue to cook over low heat until the almonds have browned.  Season with pink salt and a bit of freshly ground pepper.

grilled pineapple with mascarpone and nutella lg.

Grilled Pineapple with Mascarpone and Nutella

1 whole pineapple, peeled and cored, cut into 1/2 inch slices

coconut oil spray

1 small container mascarpone cheese

1 tablespoon honey

1 jar nutella

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Heat the grill to medium heat, spray the pineapple with coconut oil spray and grill for a couple of minutes on each side.  Mix the mascarpone with the honey and heat the nutella a bit so it will be “runny” (I do this by boiling water in a saucepan and placing the jar of nutella in the hot water for about five minutes.  Toast the hazelnuts in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes.  To assemble, place to pineapple slices on each plate.  Put a dollop of the mascarpone mixture on top and drizzle with nutella.  Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top and garnish with a fresh mint leaf if you’d like.  SO DELICIOUS!!!

Finally Friday!


It’s time to make a menu for Christmas Eve or day!  This is a wonderful selection of yummy dishes sure to please!  I hope you enjoy and have a safe and very merry celebration!

Roast Pork Tenderloin with Prunes and Shallots in a White Balsamic Reduction

Potato and Turnip Gratin

Fresh Organic Green Salad with Honey Crisp Apple and Toasted Pecans

Assorted Christmas Cookies

Bordeaux, your choice

roast pork loin resized


Roast Pork Tenderloin with Prunes and Shallots in a White Balsamic Reduction

Serves 6

1 boneless pork tenderloin

French gray sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Sangre de Cristo Spice Company Herbes de Provence

1 cup pitted prunes

6 shallots peeled and halved, lengthwise

1/4 cup White Balsamic Vinegar with Fig Infusion (I use Alessi)

1/2 cup chicken broth

Rinse and pat the tenderloin dry.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a deep oven proof pan, preferably with a lid, heat the olive oil, sprinkle the tenderloin with salt and pepper.  Seer all sides of the meat in the heated oil.  Add the herbs, prunes, shallots vinegar and broth.  Let simmer for a couple of minutes then cover and place in the preheated oven for 1 hour.  I like to open the oven every fifteen minutes and spoon some of the juice over the meat, then replace the cover and continue cooking.  Insert a meat thermometer to insure you have a reading of 145 degrees.  Remove the meat from the oven and let it stand for about ten minutes before slicing and serving with the sauce spooned over or served on the side.

potato & turnip gratin resized


Potato and Turnip Gratin

Serves 6

This recipe is so delicious!  I used an old Bon Apetit recipe to begin then wandered off, as I always do, finding my own path with it.

2 large russet potatoes, washed

4 large turnips, peeled

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon herbes de provence

1 bayleaf

gray salt and pepper to taste

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

a dash of cayenne pepper and one of raw sugar


1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese

1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese

In a sauce pan, heat the cream, broth and remaining ingredients.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and let cook at very low heat for about 1/2 hour.  The mixture will have reduced a bit.  Pour this through a seive, into a large mixing bowl.

Slice the potatoes and turnips with a mandoline so that they are very thin.  If you are using a knife, be sure it is VERY sharp and make the slices as “paper” thin as possible.  Place the slices into the mixing bowl with the sauce then spoon out into an oblong, glass baking dish.  Cover the dish with foil and bake for one hour, with the pork, at 350 degrees.  After the hour is up, remove the foil.  Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden.  NOTE:  You may want to begin baking this dish a half hour before the pork tenderloin.

organic greens resized

Fresh Organic Green Salad with Honey Crisp Apple and Toasted Pecans

My neighbors have the most awesome garden.  I got a very welcome phone call asking if I’d be interested in some greens they had just picked from their garden.  YES….was my reply.  I tossed the greens, after washing them and spinning them dry, with on organic Honey Crisp apple and about a cup of slice, toasted pecans.  A simple vinaigrette completed the job.  Here’s my tried and true vinaigrette recipe:

1/4 cup good olive oil

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

gray salt and pepper to task

Whisk together and pour over the salad….then toss.

christmas cookies2


Assorted Christmas Cookies

Whatever your favorites are, offer them up for dessert and make it easy on yourself!  A bit of the bubbly or a nice, strong espresso…..or both!  These are some of my favorites.

Finally Friday!

It’s Finally Friday and I’m back with a great recipe that is quick to make and oh so delicious!  When a family is moving it is easy to grab something from a fast food establishment or food market than to cook.  Add to that the fact that just after we moved here I underwent a full left knee replacement and that explains why I have not been posting about food very much.  I was concerned about gaining weight while off my feet but the opposite has happened.  I’m feeling better and more fit than I have in a very long time.  So I’m back in the kitchen, getting creative and coming up with recipes I think you’ll love!  Today’s recipe works as an easy weekend meal that even guests will love!  Pair it with a cold Corona and you’ve got it going!

black bean enchiladas 1


Black Bean Enchiladas

Makes 10 enchiladas

1 package of white corn tortillas

1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed

1 fresh, red bell pepper chopped

1 sweet onion finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon good quality chili powder

salt and pepper to taste

2 cans “Hatches” Green Chili enchilada sauce

3 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Heat the enchilada sauce in a pot until just simmering.  Heat the olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat and add the onion, cooking until it is just transparent.  Add the chopped bell pepper, rinsed black beans and garlic and heat through.  Grease an oblong pyrex or other pan and pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce into the bottom and spread to cover.  Take one tortilla and dip it into the remaining sauce to soften it.  Place it in the baking dish and spoon the black bean mixture  down the middle and sprinkle with a bit of cheese.  Gently fold one side of the tortilla over the other and place seam side down in the baking dish.  Repeat this method until you have made 10 enchiladas.  Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas and sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and back for ten more minutes, the cheese will be melted and the sauce should be bubbly around the sides.

black bean enchiladas 2

Guacamole Salsa

2 large, ripe avocados

1 bunch of scallions finely chopped, including the green ends

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro washed and chopped

juice of one fresh lime

salt and pepper to taste


Shredded Iceberg Lettuce

Sour cream


black bean enchiladas 3

To serve the enchiladas:

Place two enchiladas on each plate.  Top with shredded lettuce then guacamole salsa and sour cream.  Serve with tortilla chips if desired and don’t forget that icy cold beer!  Enjoy!

Finally Friday!


We’re going Italian today!  It’s hard to beat great Italian food.  I’m one of those make it from scratch, never use sauce out of a jar, well, almost never, kind of cooks.  This is one of my favorite “comfort” meals.  We all need one now and then!

Ice Cold Peroni Beer

Pan Fried Ravioli with Sicilian Dipping Sauce

Pork Chops Marsala

Broccoli Rapini

Angel Hair Pasta

Fresh Plum Tart




When I eat Japanese food I like to drink Kirin, Chinese calls for TsingTao, soooooo, Italian has to have Peroni!  I’m not a big beer drinker, but there are certain foods that just cry out for the crisp, cold flavor of beer.  Peroni is the perfect accompaniment to today’s appetizer!

fried ravioli


Pan Fried Ravioli with Sicilian Dipping Sauce

These are super easy to make and they always get applause.  Be sure to drain the ravioli well on paper toweling before serving.

1 package wonton wrappers

1 cup low fat ricotta cheese

1/4 chopped, fresh basil

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, finely minced

Mix the cheeses and herbs together.  Take one wrapper, top with a spoonful of cheese mixture and then with another wrapper.  Moisten the edges and crimp with a pastry wheel if you desire.  Heat 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil in a small saute pan and add “ravioli”, one at a time, until golden brown on both sides.  Sprinkle the finished ravioli’s with parmesan cheese and garnish with a fresh basil sprig.

Sicilian Dipping Sauce

1 cup finely chopped, plum tomatoes

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Mix all ingredients and let stand at room temperature for up to one hour.  Serve in a bowl on a platter surrounded with the ravioli.

Chef Chuck's Italian Pan Fried Pork Chops03

Photo by Chef Chuck

Pork Chops Marsala

4 bone in pork chops

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 shallot, finely chopped

1/4 cup marsala wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup fresh sage leaves

1 tablespoon raw sugar

sea salt and pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the chops.  Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan.  Add the chops and brown on both sides, about three minutes each.  Remove the chops and add the marsala to the pan, then the garlic and shallot.  Place the chops back in the pan and add the chicken broth.  Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour.  Remove the cover and sprinkle the chops with the raw sugar, spooning the sauce over them and allowing to simmer on very low heat for another five minutes.  Add the capers and sage leaves to the sauce.  Serve with the pasta, spooning plenty of sauce over both.


Broccoli Rapini

Some say this is an acquired, but I find myself craving it almost anytime.  Broccoli Rapini has a slightly bitter taste.  You’ll want to find it in peak season, usually the end of winter to beginning of spring.  Wash it well and chop the leaves and part of the stem.  Saute the greens in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes on low heat.  Add two cloves of garlic, thinly sliced, and saute for two more minutes.  Season with sea salt and serve.  Note:  This is delicious as a light lunch served with Sicilian Salsa and good crusty bread…..and a Peroni, of course!

Fresh Plum Tart

I always give credit where credit is due.  Ina Garten always manages to provide some of my best recipes.  AND, you can order the book if you want!  Delicious!

Photo: James Merrell

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), diced
1 egg yolk
2 pounds firm, ripe Italian prune plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the flour, walnuts, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix, either by hand or with an electric mixer, until crumbly.

Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a 9 1/2-inch springform or tart pan. Arrange the plums in the pan, skin-side down, to form a flower pattern; begin at the outside and work your way in.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until it’s lightly browned and the plum juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer the tart to a flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Finally Friday!

I’ve got the song “Summertime” spinning around in my mind today!  It’s hot, hot, hot and time for some easy cooking and living!  I’m keeping things simple and delicious with my post today.  I’m not a big meat eater, but I do like some good sausage on the grill, it has to be really good for me to bother.

holmes smokehouse sausage

I discovered Holme’s Smokehouse Original Pecan Smoked Sausage from Texas and the rest is history.  My Texas roots took over the moment I read the label and the bonus of it being a BOGO at our local Harris Teeter last week cinched the deal.  I limit my intake of cured meats like this, but this is worth the splurge once in a while.  With the first bite, the snap of the casing and the burst of juicy, pecan smoked flavor, I was in foodie heaven!

IMG_0646 (2)

So this is what we had for dinner the other evening.  Holme’s sausage on the grill, with ciabatta bread that I brushed with garlic olive oil from Golden Isles Olive Oil and fresh okra and summer squash from Uncle Don’s.  I tossed the veggies with plain extra virgin olive oil, a bit of pink salt and put it right on the grill with the sausage as it cooked.  A nice, crisp Pinot Grigio…cool and refreshing….a perfectly quick summer meal!

Finally Friday!

We’re celebrating our independence this weekend!  What better way than with some delicious, juicy ribs and lots of fresh veggies as sides!  This is my special rib recipe, easy and so yummy!  Be safe and enjoy this holiday!


BBQ’d Pork Loin Ribs

Summer Cucumber Salad

Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes

Herb Buttered Corn on the Cob

Sweet Tea with a Twist


BBQ’d Pork Loin Ribs

2 sides of pork loin ribs

1 cup ginger ale

1 cup good beer (I used Red Stripe)

1 tablespoonCajun rub (I use Sangre de Cristo Spice Co.’s, available on-line and at Island Natural Foods Market)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauce

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Place the ribs in the ginger ale and beer, cover with foil and bake for 2 hours.  Remove from the liquid and rub thoroughly with the Cajun spice mix and brown sugar.  Refrigerate for 2 or more hours.  Heat the grill to 350 degrees, place the ribs on the grilling rack and slather with Jack Daniel’s sauce.  Grill, turning often, until both sides are cooked and caramelized.  Serve with LOTS of paper napkins, or better yet, put a roll of paper toweling on the table!


Summer Cucumber Salad

2 large cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandoline to get these almost paper thin)

2 teaspoon sea salt

juice of one large lemon

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

4 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup warm water

In a large bowl sprinkle the cucumber slices with salt, place wax paper over the top and place a couple of large cans on the paper to weight the mixture down.  Let sit for a couple of hours then squeeze out the liquid and lightly rinse.  Place the cucumber slices in a clean bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Allow to refrigerate for an hour or so before serving.  I keep these in the refrigerator all summer.  They are always cool and delicious!

heirloom toms

Sliced Heirloom Tomatoes

Buy them locally at Uncle Don’s Local Market in all the various colors and sizes.  Slice, sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and freshly chopped flat leaf parsley or basil….so good and so summery!


Herb Buttered Corn on the Cob

6 ears of corn, husks pulled back, not removed, and silks removed

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 clove garlic, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, minced

1 tablespoon fresh chives, minced

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix the butter with remaining seasoning and slather on the corn.  Pull the husks back over the corn ears and place on the grill with the ribs.  I put these on the upper shelf and once the ribs are cooked I put them on the larger grill for just a few minutes.

13th colony

Sweet Tea with a Twist

Sweet Tea is the “house wine” of the South, but my version has a bit of an adult twist!  I like adding a shot of corn whiskey to each glass with some fresh mint to top it all off.  A great new Georgia distillery Thirteenth Colony has their corn whiskey for sale at the 19th Hole on St. Simons Island.  It also makes a great mint julep if you prefer.  Here’s there website if you want more information or recipes: http://thirteenthcolony.com

Finally Friday!

Simplicity is key when it comes to summer cooking.  I like to prepare a one dish meal in the morning that will be served that evening.  This recipe is quick and delicious.  We Southerners love our pie!  This is a savory pie filled with sweet Vidalia onions and heirloom tomatoes from Uncle Don’s Local Market!  I think you’ll love it!  Pair is with a crisp green salad and you’ve got a delicious meal that can be prepared the morning of or the day before you plan to serve it!

tomato vidalia pie2

Southern Sweet Vidalia Onion and Heirloom Tomato Pie


1 1/4 cups organic, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Cajun Seasoning, I use Sangre de Cristo Spice Company’s, organic and so delicious

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons chilled butter, cubed

4-5 tablespoons ice water

Place all of the ingredients, except for the water, in a food processor.  Process until you have a crumble, corn meal like mixture.  With the motor running, slowly pour the ice water through the feed tube until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the processor bowl and forms a firm ball.  This can happen very quickly so be prepared.  Place the dough on a floured surface and shape it into a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.  Return the chilled dough to a floured surface and roll out into a circle that is a couple of inches larger in diameter than your pie pan.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the rolled dough into a 9″ pie pan and crimp the edges.  Prick the crust with a fork, line it with foil and place pie weights of a small, oven proof plate onto the foil.  Bake the crust for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and brush the crust with one beaten egg white, reserve the yolk for the filling.


2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced

1 large Vidalia onion sliced

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 egg yolk

1 cup shredded colby jack cheese

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dry)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded

salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle the bottom of the prepared pie crust with 1/4 cup of bread crumbs.  Top with half of the onion slices and half of the tomatoe slices.  Whisk the mayonnaise with the egg yolk until pourable.  Drizzle 1/2 the mayonnaise mixture over the onion and tomato.  Sprinkle with 1/2 the thyme and 1/2 the basil.  Top with 1/3 of the cheese.  Repeat this process again.  Top the final layer with the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and spray with olive oil.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 for one hour and ten minutes or until golden brown and bubbly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about ten minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Finally Friday!

Google Images

I’ve featured my Peruvian Chicken recipe before but it deserves another round.  The sides have changed and I think you’ll love them.  I’m exploring different grains as the weather warms up, cool salads packed with nutrition and light desserts.  Have a wonderful weekend….stay cool and enjoy!

peruvian grilled chicken

Peruvian Chicken

2 3-4 pound chickens, butterflied (I asked the butcher at Harris Teeter to do this for me and he did a great job!)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon dry marjoram leaves

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

Place the chickens in two large zip lock bags.  Combine the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Pour half of the marinade into each bag, seal and refrigerate overnight, turning every few hours.  Heat your grill to 400 degrees, or if using charcoal, heat until coals are turning white.  Grill for about 6 minutes on each side.  Cut into the chicken to make sure the juices are clear.  Cut into serving pieces and place on a platter.

These Veggie Fritters Taste So Good, You’d Never Guess How Great They Are For You!

Quinoa and Vegetable Fritters

I have to give credit for this recipe to 12 Tomatoes, one of my favorite spots on the internet when it comes to good eating!  These are so yummy and you can vary the vegetables as desired.


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cannellini beans, rinsed and drained overnight, optional
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or seasoned breadcrumbs)
  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • olive oil, as needed


  1. Wrap grated zucchini in paper towels and wring them over the sink to squeeze out excess moisture.
  2. If beans are not already dry, pat them dry with paper towels, then transfer them to a large bowl and lightly mash them.
  3. Add zucchini, quinoa, garlic, parmesan, panko and basil to the bowl, and season everything with salt and pepper.
  4. Add your egg and egg yolk and, using two forks or your hands, mix together until combined.
  5. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and let the pan get really hot.
  6. Form quinoa mixture into 2-3-inch patties, then carefully drop them into the hot oil.
    Note: only fry a few pancakes at a time so that the pan stays hot.
  7. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown, then flip and repeat on other side.
  8. Continue with remaining fritters.
  9. Transfer cooked patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then serve immediately as is, or with sour cream or yogurt

Recipe For Cilantro-Lime Cucumber Salad - This cucumber salad is light, just as you would expect anything with cucumbers to be.

Cucumber Cilantro Salad

2 cucumbers, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Golden Isles Olive Oil Persian Lime Olive oil

Juice of one lime

1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely minced

sea salt to taste

red pepper flakes to taste

Toss the cucumbers and cilantro with the olive oil and lime juice to coat.  Add the remaining ingredients, toss and chill for an hour.



A nice bowl of frozen vanilla yogurt with fresh raspberries and chopped pistachio nuts completes the meal….yum!  Easy cooking for easy summer living….enjoy!

Finally Friday!

Nikki Dinki photo

Nikki Dinki with Bobby Deen

So many doors have opened for me as I have written The Permanent Tourist over the past two years!  But I have to say that one of the most exciting opportunities is being contacted by the publicist of a budding new star on the Food Network’s Cooking Channel to write about her, the new show she co-hosts with Bobby Deen and the time she spent filming here on St. Simons Island last February.   I got to speak with Nikki Dinki about her career and her flair for incorporating vegetables in unexpected ways so that anyone can love them!  It’s all about thinking outside of the box, enhancing vegetables with sauces and butter, yes butter, in ways you may never have considered. The show made its premiere appearance on the Food Network June 2nd and offers a blind taste test of foods we might consider junk food and how Nikki and Bobbi create a healthier version.  You’ll find participants, blind taste testers, choosing the healthier version, much to their surprise, when they learn which dish is which!  So without further ado, here is a delicious recipe Nikki kindly sent for me to share with my readers!  It’s easy and perfect for weekend entertaining, especially since it features shrimp and we all know how tasty our sweet Georgia shrimp is!

Nikki's brown butter rigatoni with cauliflower breadcrumbs

Brown Butter + Lemon Rigatoni with Cauliflower Breadcrumbs

Serves 4

½ head cauliflower, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

½ cup loosely packed parsley

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1 ½ ounces parmesan cheese, shredded

1 pound rigatoni

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup heavy cream

2 lemons zested + the juice of 1 lemon

1 pound large shrimp, peeled + deveined

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place a large pot of salted water over high heat for cooking the pasta and preheat the oven to

400°F. While they are heating, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until finely chopped.

Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and ½ teaspoon

of the salt and bake until brown – about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

2. Turn the oven heat up to 450°F. Add the parsley, parmesan and panko to the bowl of the

food processor. Toss in the browned cauliflower and pulse until everything is finely ground.

Transfer the mixture back onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes more, stirring

every 2 minutes until breadcrumbs are crispy and brown. Set aside while preparing the pasta.

3. Cook the pasta in the now boiling water until al dente according to the package directions.

Once it is finished cooking, drain the pasta and return to the pot. While the pasta is cooking,

make the brown butter lemon sauce.

4. In a large skillet melt the butter over medium heat and cook it until browned – about 5

minutes. Turn heat off and let the butter cool for 5 minutes; then add the cream, lemon juice

and zest, parsley and 1 teaspoon of the salt and stir until combined. Add the sauce to the

pasta and toss together until well combined; leave over low heat while you make prepare the


5. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the

shrimp with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper in a medium bowl; then

add to the skillet and sauté until pink and slightly charred, turning once – about 4 minutes


6. Serve immediately, dividing the pasta among 4 dinner plates and topping each portion with

one-quarter of the shrimp and scatter the cauliflower breadcrumbs evenly over the tops.

Meat On The Side

Look for Nikki’s cookbook in 2016.  Published by St. Martin’s Press, this book will guide you on your way to creative cooking!  I cannot wait to get a copy!  One more to add to my ever growing cookbook collection!  Get to know Nikki better here:  www.nikkidinkicooking.com, you’ll find more yummy ideas and recipes!

AND, before I end!  When Nikki and Bobby were here on St. Simons Island they filmed a segment with one of all of our favorite local restaurants, Southern Soul BBQ.  If you’re a fan of the restaurant I know you’ve tried the Drunken Cubano sandwich made so famous there.  The show airs this coming Tuesday, June 16th at 9:00 pm on the Food Network’s Cooking Channel.  You’ll get to see how Nikki and Bobby added a healthy touch to this classic favorite and see how participants responded!  Talking with Nikki was delightful and I know you’ll enjoy the show when you tune in!  Another fabulous offering from Food Network’s Cooking Channel to program into my smart tv for regular taping!  For more on Junk Food Flip go here:  http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows/junk-food-flip/bobby-deen-nikki-dinki-junk-food-flip-face-off.html

Finally Friday!

Sometimes I just like to have fun in the kitchen.  I’ve found some pictures of foods I absolutely love on Pinterest and I’m pairing them with my recipes today!  It’s all about deliciousness and letting my culinary imagination go!  If you have not visited Golden Isles Olive Oil in Redfern Village here on St. Simons you are truly missing out!  Last weekend we had such a great time discovering what can be done with flavored olive oils and the many variations of balsamic vinegar that you’ll find there.  Go for an olive oil and balsamic tasting!  The ladies in the shop are super helpful and ready to help you get your collection going or put a gift basket together for a friend!  I’m sold and I think you will be as well!  So, without further ado!  Here is my “fantasy” meal…..I think I’ll be making it this weekend for Mr. T to enjoy as well!

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Asparagus, Bacon and Cheese Tart

Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes with Blackberry Sauce


heirloom tomato salad


Heirloom Tomato Salad

1 each, yellow, red and green heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced

1 bunch fresh tarragon


1/4 cup Golden Isles Tarragon Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Sicilian Lemon White Balsamic

1/4 teaspooon dry mustard

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Whisk the olive oil and vinegar together, add the seasoning and drizzle over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with fresh tarragon for garnish.

asparagus tart


Asparagus, Bacon and Cheese Tart

1 package puff pastry, thawed

1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped off and lightly steamed, not more than 3-4 minutes (If you like your asparagus really crisp you won’t want to steam it…personal preference)

6 slices of Smithfield applewood smoked bacon, fried and crumbled

1 log goat cheese, softened and crumbled

1 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced

Roll the thawed puff pastry out to an 11×14 rectangle.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Roll the edges of the dough slightly to create a “crust”.  Cover the dough with the goat cheese and mozzarella.  Place the asparagus on top of the cheese and sprinkle with the bacon.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.



Meyer Lemon Pudding Cakes with Blackberry Sauce

I’m not going to even think of taking credit for this recipe.  I found it on the Dixie Crystal Sugar website.  But I will suggest adding a bit of blackberry ginger balsamic vinegar to the puree for a little “zing”.  I even learned that a little balsamic added to vodka and some sparkling makes a pretty refreshing cocktail!



  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest (zest from approximately 2 large lemons)
  • 1 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (juice from approximately 1 large lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries (or berries of choice)
  • 2-4 tablespoons Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    For filling

    1. Lightly butter and sugar four 10 ounce ramekins or five 7 ounce ramekins and set aside.
    2. In a small bowl measure out sugar.
    3. Add lemon zest and with your fingers, rubbing firmly, rub zest into sugar.  This will release oils from citrus zest and perfume th sugar with lemon flavor and scent.
    4. Sift flour and salt into bowl with zested sugar and set aside.
    5. In a mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, buttermilk and lemon juice and mix until combined.
    6. Turn speed to low and slowly add sugar and flour and mix just until incorporated.  (Batter will be runny.)
    7. In a separate bowl whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.
    8. Add batter to whipped egg whites and gently fold the two into one another until mixed.
    9. Place ramekins in a large roasting pan (or similar) and fill with hot water around ramekins so that it reaches half way up sides.
    10. Pour batter into buttered and sugared ramekins dividing evenly and bake 40 minutes until they’re golden brown and spring back when gently pressed.
    11. Allow to cool slightly then invert gently onto a serving dish and serve with puree of choice.
    12. Garnish with whole berries and mint sprigs.

    For puree

    1. Using a stand blender, food processor or emersion blender, add berries and 2 tablespoons sugar and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust sugar if needed.


    Recipe developed for Dixie Crystals by Christy Landry @myinvisiblecrwn.