Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce for Shrimp Cocktail

By Paul Briand

I've been assigned an appetizer for our Christmas Day dinner and am bringing the shrimp cocktail.

But instead of the usual cocktail sauce, which I'll also bring, I wanted to offer an alternative dipping sauce.

Here's one I found at

The yield for this recipe is about a half cup of dipping sauce, which is probably enough for a dozen shrimp. So make adjustments as necessary depending on how many shrimp you intend to serve.

2 teaspoons chopped scallions
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey

1. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the ingredients and heat through, stirring with a fork until warm;
2. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sloppy Joes

By Paul Briand

Every family should have a Sloppy Joe recipe on hand, and we as a society can do oh so much better than the canned stuff we find on the store shelf.

I like this recipe because it takes all of 15 minutes and can feed a small horde.

It comes courtesy of the Food Network.

A couple of points: This recipe seeks to be more healthful by calling for low-salt or no-salt ingredients, and there are comments attached to the online recipe that the lack of salt failed to bring out some of the flavor. So, the saltiness aspect is a jump ball -- trade a healthier recipe for something that might not be as dynamic for the taste buds.

And be advised on the jalapenos -- their heat is not to everyone's taste. Lastly, I had some leftover corn and threw it into the mix. It's not in the original recipe but I liked the little sparkle of color.

1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 can small red beans or pinto beans, preferably low sodium drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 whole-wheat burger buns

1. Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks;
2. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard;
3. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally;
4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more;
5. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.
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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bourbon-Glazed Salmon

By Paul Briand

I like bourbon. My wife Jane likes salmon. Marry the two and you've got a great-tasting, easy-to-make meal.

The recipe is basically for a marinade that ultimately becomes the glaze for the salmon.

I came upon the recipe in a round-about way. It originated from Cooking Light magazine and was posted on I saw a reference to it on one of the Twitter postings for someone I follow as part of my Baby Boomer writing for Yes, it's a tangled web we weave, so to speak.

For the record, I used Jack Daniels, which is technically a whiskey, not a bourbon. But the effect is the same. Once the bourbon cooks down in the marinade/glaze you're left with a sweetness that's enhanced by the brown sugar.

3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons bourbon
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
Cooking spray
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag;
2. Add fish to bag, seal, and marinate in refrigerator 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally;
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat pan with cooking spray;
4. Add fish and marinade to pan; cook fish 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness;
5. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates and drizzle each serving with about 2 teaspoons sauce;
6. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions and 3/4 teaspoon sesame seeds.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Turkey Tetrazzini

By Paul Briand

If you have turkey still leftover in the freezer from Thanksgiving. And if you want another take on a turkey tetrazini recipe for those leftovers, here's the one that's been in our family forever.

Come to think of it, I think the Pilgrims themselves used this recipe after their feast with Massasoit.

My take on this recipe includes more cheese than originally called for, I use half and half instead of cream, plus I use large shells instead of spaghetti.

This recipe, by the way, works equally as well with chicken and you don't need leftovers from Thanksgiving to pull it off. Most markets that offer roasted chickens these days also offer roasted turkey breasts, which provides plenty of meat for the recipe.

2 cups of turkey
1/2 pound of mushrooms
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup cream (substitute half and half)
Sherry (to taste)
Black pepper
16 ounces of cooked think spaghetti (substitute shells or your favorite paste)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (substitute 2 cups, add some different cheese to the mix)

1. In a large skillet over medium high heat melt a half stick of butter and sautee mushrooms;
2. As they start to shrink add flour to make a rue;
3. Add the broth, cream and sherry, stirring until the sauce thickens;
4. (At this point, I diverge from my family recipe and also add a cup of cheese);
5. Add some black pepper;
6. Stir in the turkey and heat through;
7. In a bowl, combine the turkey mixture with the the cooked pasta;
8. Pour the mixture into a baking dish;
9. Top with rest of cheese (You could also add a sprinkling of bread crumbs here, too, as an option);
10. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees covered for 15 minutes until the cheese melts and the top starts to brown;
11. Serve with cranberry sauce.
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