Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Monday, March 28, 2011

Chicken With Trinity Sauce

In cooking, the term trinity is used to describe three important, go-to starter ingredients. In Cajun cuisine the trinity is bell peppers, celery & onion. The French trinity is onion, celery & carrots. I have two personal trinity-onions, garlic & basil sauteed in olive oil, of course. But my trinity sauce is a good deli mustard, mayonnaise & honey. With these 3 ingredients, I can combine many other ingredients such as raisins, nuts, coconut, curry to name a few OR nothing at all and still have a delicious dish.
I have smothered fish in my trinity sauce and never regretted it. It's the base of my Cole slaw.
Sauce with cashews
& unsweetened coconut

Trinity Sauce

 Today, I decided it would be  boneless chicken thigh night, but really wasn't sure how I'd prepare it. I thought about it throughout the day...roasted chicken with rice and corn, chicken with sauteed cabbage, maybe a whitesauce and broccoli. What to do? Then my BFF, Sunny, called and I remembered giving her the Trinity Sauce recipe for tilapia on Friday and bingo, how-to-cook-my-chicken question was answered.
I couldn't have been happier with the results. It was sweet, tangy, and buttery moist...add cashews for crunch and unsweetened coconut for another layer of taste and texture, and this is a keeper. Hope you enjoy it, too. I served it with rice and spinach and a toss salad.

Chicken With Trinity Sauce

1 package boneless chicken thighs (usually 5),
remove fat, rinse and pat dry
onion powder
garlic powder
2 tablespoon Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoon Honey
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup of cashews, pieces
1 teaspoon parsley
dash of garlic & onion powders
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Sprinkle chicken with garlic & onion powders and salt and place in a baking pan, ( I prefer a dark pan) no oil or butter, please. Put in oven and bake for 30 minutes. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, honey, mustard, onion & garlic powders and parsley. Mix well. Add coconut and cashews. Mix. Remove pan from oven and drain any liquid. Baste with sauce on both sides. Put back into oven for 15 minutes. Done!
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Heavenly Coffee Or Not! The K-Cup Update

I am a coffee drinker. I enjoy the aroma, the taste, the mouth-feel and the comfort it gives me. I've been drinking this brew since I was a tot....yes, a tot. Grandpa Frank would put coffee in a cup plate, add milk and sugar and hand it to one of his many grand kids. It was actually just a sip of coffee, but enough to prime our palates for the taste of it. I used to be able to put up a pot at 10 PM, drink it down and still fall asleep the minute my head hit the pillow. Now...not so. Not a drop after 6 PM, though I switch to decaf for that final cup.
I used to be a Maxwell House coffee drinker, but my taste for a stronger brew intensified as I got older. I was never a Bold Dark Roast gal, but love an Espresso on occasion. A splash of Anisette or Sambuca and it's a holiday. My preferred ground coffees: Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts. Both brands make a delicious decaf, too.  I stock up on Dunkin's when it's 4 (1 pound) bags for $19.99! You can't beat the price or taste of coffee from 7-Eleven or of all places...McDonald.  I don't mind spending my money on what I most enjoy, but I can't justify the price of Starbucks or other gourmet coffee shops.
For years, long after automatic coffee machines became popular, I would brew in a percolator. I loved the aroma of this method as well as the full bodied taste. There was something about seeing it perk in the glass top stem that made me feel like this was the way coffee should be brewed. I still own one and will keep it forever. It's as shiny as the first day I received it from my mom, Eugenia. Her comment as she handed it to me was, "Now keep the outside sparkling clean....Aunt Katie used to say, 'You should be able to see your face in it'". Who was I to argue with Great Aunt Katie?
Throughout the years, I've brewed in a Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, Melitta Drip, Bunn among other makers. Cuisinart was my favorite. Then it happened....that phone call from my sister, Kaz. I never heard her so excited. She'd just purchased a Keurig Brewer. Huh? She'd been wanting one, but didn't want to spend over $100 for a coffee maker. She saw it on sale and went for it. She liked the fact that she could put her morning-to-work travel mug under the spout and have a hot cup of coffee in under 1 minute! And was thrilled with the variety packs that came with the unit. I was happy she was happy, but not enough to run out and purchase one.
That all changed on a visit to Florida when I stayed with my sister, Judey. Yep, she too, had a Keurig Brewer. I must just put a mug on the drip plate, press a size button and Voila! was cool....very cool.  The brewer was super fast and those pods or K-cups as they're called are amazing. No mess is my middle name.  I mentioned it to my husband in practically every birthday was that month....hint, hint.
To my birthday gift was the Keurig Brewer. Gosh, I love that man! I immediately set up the machine according to the took 5 minutes. Don't forget this step. In the box of K-cups that came with the brewer were two decafs and since it was after 6 PM, I chose Timothy's brand. I'm sorry to say, I was so excited that I didn't pay great attention to the mouth-feel, aroma, taste...blogging was not on my mind. I don't remember not enjoying it, so I have to rate it as fine.
Then, I got SERIOUS. The next day, I purchased the reusable filter. I was having spending-pangs about the cost of the K-Cups. There are different amounts in boxes --50, 24, 18, 16 or 12 with prices ranging from $30 to $15 to $11. You can join a K-cup club on or purchase boxes at a good price on as well as sites like &
The varieties are ridiculous....200 and counting. Some brands are: Gloriajeans, Vanhoutte, Coffeepeople, Diedrich, Wolfgang Puck, Twinings, Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings and others mentioned below. The specialty flavors include: Coconut, Maple, German Chocolate Cake, Kahlua, Mocha, Irish Creme to name a few. There are Teas (English Breakfast is nice), Hot Apple Cider and Hot Chocolate and you can make Iced Tea & Iced Coffee with a Keurig. Tea brews excellently....the Hot Chocolates on the weak side. Chai Latte (tea by Cafe Escapes) was downright awful.
A reusable filter at Bed, Bath & Beyond cost $18 and at my local supermarket $15. There is a big selection of K-cups at BB&B. If you have a membership at stores like Costco, Sam's, BJ's you can get a box of 80 K-cups for less than $40. The downside is...not a large variety to choose from and sometimes your favorite brand is unavailale by the time you make your next shopping visit.
The reusable filter was a disappointment, at first. According to the instructions it should be filled to the 2 Tablespoons mark and should not be tamped down. The coffee was tasteless, weak and not enjoyable at all! The water comes out so quickly that the coffee grounds were barely wet, so how could it make a good cup of coffee? I threw it out and brewed a second cup by hitting the small mug button...still a lousy cup of coffee. A friend had a can of Espresso coffee and gifted it to me. I'm not a bold roast gal, but thought I'd give it a try, so I filled the reusable filter with it. Surprise! It was a very good cup of coffee. So, I guess the trick to using the filter is to fill it with a bold roast so that it compensates for the light brew it tends to brew. Give it a try.
Taste is very personal. Some like it Bold, some Medium Roast, some just pass the coffee over the mug and call it brewed. Each his/her own, but I like it to be a full-bodied medium roast...if there's bitterness, I'll spit it out. So this is how I rated the variety of K-Cups that came with my B-40 Elite Keurig Brewer and a couple that didn't. I used filtered water:
Emeril's Big Easy: Intense flavor, good aroma, but bitter (not a keeper), Tully's Extra Bold French Roast: good aroma but bitter after-taste (not a keeper), Tully's House Blend Extra Bold: no better than the French Roast, Green Mountain Dark Magic: so-so aroma but strong, bitter taste (not a keeper), Green Mountain Breakfast Blend: nice aroma, no bitterness but a bit mild (okay), Green Mountain Nantucket Blend: not a full-bodied coffee, similar to the Breakfast Blend (okay), Donut Shop: Original & Decaf had a good aroma, slightly bitter taste yet on the mild side (okay), Folgers Gourmet Decaf: great aroma, no bitterness, medium roast (my favorite decaf), though I haven't tried the Folgers Original yet....I would think it's as good as the decaf, Caribou Blend: pleasant real coffee aroma, rich-full-bodied taste, no bitterness (#1 favorite). Caribou has 6 varieties and the reviews were very good on each of them. I will eventually try them all. I have a strong feeling that the Caribou Columbia & the Mahogany will be the Bold Roast I'll enjoy when I'm in need of an extra kick. As an aside: it was at Judey's that I decided I wanted a Keurig and the coffee she served was Caribou...need I say more.
Update 2013: Yes, I have more to say 2 years later: I still love Caribou Blend. Medium Roast is still my favorite roast. I switch my morning coffee from: Folgers gourmet (red K-cup), Millstone Foglifter, & Caribou Blend. Green Mountain Colombian Fair Trade Select is tasty, too. I didn't give Timothy's Decaf a fair review, so I tried it again....decent. It's a bit light for a medium roast, but no bitterness and it's a smooth brew.
2013 Updates
Now for my favorite flavored coffee. I love, love, love Wolfgang Puck Jamaica Me Crazy. It is medium roast coconut infused coffee. It is the treat I enjoy during the afternoon. It has plenty of coconut flavor and reminds me of being on a beach on a sunshiny day. My autumn flavor is Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice. It is a light roast, so for me, I brew a smaller cup. I tend to add Creamy Chocolate Coffee-Mate powder to my regular brew, but never to a flavored coffee. Most flavored coffees tend to be light roast, so check the strength so you can brew the proper size for your enjoyment.
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Love my Folgers & Chocolate Coffee Mate!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Citrus Garlic Fish Taco

During a recent visit to Florida, I dined at an upscale Mexican restaurant, De La Vega. I adore paella and was torn between this favorite dish and a seafood taco. I opted for the paella...a post for another time. I just couldn't get that darn fish taco out of my mind and being it's Lent, I thought it would be a perfect meatless Friday meal.

A traditional fish taco consists of a white fish, a type of Cole slaw and salsa. Many recipes call for fried fish and I've had the fish stuffed inside a crunchy corn taco shell instead of a soft flour tortilla. Both are terrific. But, I wanted something just a bit different...something refreshing....something with a clean taste. Citrus. But what? Lemon, Lime, Orange? I wanted the meal to be light.  First, I could afford to lose a few pounds (again) and I believe that a Friday Lenten meal should be on the "lean" side. I don't think that having fish on Friday means a decadent lobster dinner. To me that's not much of a sacrifice.

Slaw with walnuts & seasoned
 with Citrus N Garlic
I chose Catfish and rummaged through my cabinets and fridge for various ingredients. Cabbage for Cole slaw, sweet baby carrots, mayonnaise, honey, flour tortilla. It was missing the crunch of a corn taco shell, so I grabbed walnuts. So far so good. What about the spices, the seasonings...what to use, what to use?

Then it dawned on me. Kitchen Kick'n Seasonings! Tom of Tomarc's of Troy had kindly sent me Citrus N Garlic Kick after I featured his seasonings on my post, Pork Tenderloin With Maple BBQ Sauce. This seasoning had everything I wanted for my Citrus Fish Meal... Granulated Garlic, Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Minced Garlic, Lime Powder, Chili Powder, Sugar, Basil, Black Pepper, Parsley, Rosemary, and other spices. What could be better in a Mexican dish than garlic, chili powder, orange, lemon, & lime! The thought of a cold, salty Margarita drifted through my mind. I bet a splash of tequila would add a unique flavor to this dish. I'll try that next time.
My catfish needed nothing more than Citrus N Garlic Kick, salt and a pat of butter. To double the wonderful citrus taste, I added the spices to the homemade Cole slaw...perfect. I couldn't have been happier with the end result, a refreshing, taste-bud poppin' recipe. Thanks, Tom, for your creative seasonings that affords chefs of every level endless cooking possibilities and a culinary delight.  This recipe satisfied my craving for a Fish Taco and kept my penitential observance of abstaining from meat simple.

Citrus Garlic Fish Taco
2 Catfish fillets
Citrus N Garlic Kick
4 pats of butter
olive oil
2 flour tortillas

Cole Slaw:
1 cup shredded Savoy cabbage
5 baby carrots, slivered
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon Citrus N Garlic Kick
8 walnut pieces, chopped
Preheat oven at 400 degrees.  Drizzle olive oil into a baking dish. Sprinkle catfish with Citrus N Garlic seasoning, salt lightly and put 2 pats of butter on each fillet. Bake in baking dish for 20 minutes or until white and flaky.
In a small bowl, mix cabbage, carrots, honey, mayonnaise, Citrus N Garlic seasoning and walnuts.
Place baked fish on a flour tortilla, top with homemade Cole slaw. Serve with fresh tomatoes.
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