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. . . AND I WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT

. . . AND I WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT.

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OUR FREE WILL vs. DEPENDANCE

OUR FREE WILL vs. DEPENDANCE.

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GUMBO GRAVY OVER STONE-GROUND GRITS

I started my process of thinking through the menu for this cooking class with the idea that I was going to make shrimp and grits.  As I pursued recipes and thought about the best thing for the class (and something I had never made before) I came up with this “Gumbo Gravy of Stone-Ground Grits”.  It is sort of a shrimp and grits on steroids!  I love the gumbo-ish texture to it and the stone-ground grits will convert many would be otherwise . . . grit haters!

Let’s start cooking!

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GUMBO GRAVY OVER STONE-GROUND GRITS

PREP: 15 minutes
Crockpot time: 2.5 hours
SERVES – 6 or more

Ingredients
•    1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
•    1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
•    6 ounces andouille sausage, diced
•    Vegetable cooking spray
•    2 teaspoons vegetable oil IMG_5507
•    1 cup diced sweet onion
•    1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
•    2 garlic cloves, minced
•    3 tablespoons Browned Flour
•    1 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
•    1 cup sliced fresh okra
•    2 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
•    Slow-Cooker Stone-ground Grits
•    Garnish: sliced green onions

Preparation
1. Toss shrimp in Cajun seasoning in a medium bowl.
2. Cook sausage in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add oil, onion, and next 2 ingredients; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle Browned Flour over sausage mixture; stir until blended. Stir in chicken broth, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, stirring often, and boil, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until thickened. Add shrimp, okra, and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Serve over grits.

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That’s all there is to it now . . . ENJOY!

Thank you as always for reading and for your support.

Kris

For more information about upcoming cooking classes and idealic lodging in the fabulous Flint Hills VISIT OUR WEBSITE!

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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LIGHT THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING WITH CRISPY GREEN BEAN APPETIZER

The last cooking class at The Lark Inn was “Lady’s Tea”.  We just had a fabulous time!  We enjoyed wonderful teas, special appetizers, finger sandwiches and various types of scones.  My next several postings will be sharing those recipes with you!

Light Thousand Island Dressing with Crispy Green Bean Appetizer

This recipe makes for a very nice dipping sauce for veggies and as we discovered at one of our “cooking class after parties” a very nice dipping sauce for nearly everything!  It will pack a little bit of heat with the chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce.  I only used one and the heat was perfect tending on the almost too warm side.

Ready?  Let’s get started!

Light Thousand Island Dressing with Crispy Green Bean Appetizer

PREP: 15 minutes

SERVES – 10

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 3 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 8 oz fresh or frozen green beans

Directions

Dressing:

Combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, milk, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the chipotle in a blender; pulse until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the relish and bell pepper.

Green Beans:

Prepare a large mixing bowl with iced water.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Drop the green beans into the boiling water for 2 minutes.  After two minutes of boiling immediately remove the green beans and place them into the icy water.  This will stop the cooking process of the green beans, retain the vibrant green color and preserve their crunchiness.

Arrange your dressing in a small glass or dish with the green beans in a fun and creative arrangement.

ENJOY!!

Thank you as always for reading and supporting these postings.  What a blessing it is to do what I love to do and be able to share it with others!

Kris

For information about our next cooking class at The Lark Inn Guesthouses or a fabulous get-a-way/cooking weekend in picturesque Flint Hills of Kansas please, VISIT OUR WEBSITE.  We’ll see you there!

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GARLIC SAUTE’ED GREEN BEENS

This recipe is a favorite of mine,  Not just because it is so simple to prepare, but because it is so simple to prepare AND it has such a nice and unique flavor.  Green beans have been getting a bad rap for quite a while now, and I have to say, that bad reputation has been well deserved by those mushy green things that came sliding out of a can on to many peoples’ plates through the years.  Well, these green beans are far from mushy and they will delight you!

Now remember, this recipe is from our recipe book: Wedding Week at The Lark Inn” and we were preparing meals for masses of people.  This recipe will serve 15.  For something more for your family simply divide the quantities by 3.

OK no that’s out of the way, let’s get started!


Shopping List:

3 lbs. of Crisp, Fresh Green Beans

4 Cloves of Garlic

Wash the beans and snap them into sections about 1 to 1/12 inches long.

 Hint:  Snapping green beans means that you bend them until they break (do I have to explain everything?!).  If they only bend, they are too ripe.

Dice up four cloves of garlic (you could substitute 2 teaspoons of minced garlic)

Drizzle olive oil in your large skillet (or possibly two depending on the size of your skillets) Heat the skillet up on medium/high heat.

When the skillet is warm, throw in the green beans along with the garlic and drizzle with a bit more olive oil.

Turn the beans frequently to avoid burning and cook until just al dente

 Tip:  For my friends from the south Al Dente is not short for Albert Dente.  This means that you don’t cook the bean until they is mushy.  You only cook them until they are just tender enough to stick a fork in them . . . (I have to say it) as in “Stick me with a fork, I’m done!”

When finished, remove from the skillet and serve

Serving:

We serve everything family style with each item in a bowl or platter of it’s own which requires those at the table to work together so that everything is passed in the same direction.  I have faith in you control freaks out there . . . you can work through this!

Wine:

With the light pork meat and veggies, you will want a fairly light wine; for my palette,  either a nice Chardonnay or Pinot Noir will work great.

ENJOY!

Thank you for reading!

Kris

For more information about our scheduled cooking classes or customizing a  cooking class of your own, please visit my web site at www.TheLarkInn.com

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SPINACH CHICKEN SALAD

 This is a fabulous chicken salad . . . and pretty too.  We made this in my December cooking class and the spinach makes it light enough to go well any time of year.  On the other hand, the chicken is heavy enough that it can hold it’s own in the Winter or Fall.  it’s appearance is festive regardless of the time of year or event.  ENJOY!

PREP: 30 MINUTES

COOKING TIME: 5-10 MINUTES

RESTING TIME: 30 MINUTES

SERVES – 6

Ingredients:

4 BONE-IN SKIN-ON CHICKEN BREASTS, POACHED WITH HERBS AND AROMATICS

1-2 SPRIGS OF FRESH THYME

1 TEASPOON PEPPERCORNS

¼ CUP CELERY TOPS AND END PIECES

3-4 TABLESPOONS CRANBERRY HORSERADISH SAUCE (OR 3 TABLESPOONS WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE* AND 1 TABLESPOON HORSERADISH SAUCE)

½ CUP SLIVERED ALMONDS (TOASTED)

½ CUP CHOPPED CELERY

SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER TO TASTe

¾ CUP MAYONNAISE

Directions:

  1. 1.     After poaching chicken, discard the skin and bones and cut into bite-size pieces**
  2. 2.     Combine cooked chicken with the cranberries, cranberry horseradish sauce, almonds, celery, salt and pepper.  Add the mayonnaise and mix well.
  3. 3.     Chill until serving time.

 

* recipe to follow for Whole Cranberry Sauce

** To poach chicken: place chicken breast (with bone and skin) in cold water to cover with fresh thyme, peppercorns and celery.  AS SOON AS IT STARTS TO BUBBLE/BOIL TURN OFF THE HEAT!!! Cover and it will continue to cook for ½ hour.

If you would like to learn more about the Lark Inn Cooking Classes or crafting a custom cooking class for you or your organization, please visit my website.

Thanks for reading!

Kris Larkin

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