Mirliton Dressing

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Ever ignore the strange pear-shaped green vegetable at the produce stand? Mirliton or coyote squash is easy to transform into a dish everyone will love. Mirliton dressing with seafood and ham is one of my favorites and is an easy dish to cook in larger quantities for the week. In addition to dressing, it can also be pickled, sliced thin for stir fry and curried among many other uses. I used the whole vegetable, skin and all for added nutrients. They are out in abundance and an easy win to add to your shopping list. For the protein, I like ham and shrimp; however it is easy to substitute ground meat or ground chicken for the ham if you do not eat those meats. I did make my own bread crumbs for this dish and will include that recipe below. Certainly your favorite brand will work in this dish as well.  Check out the recipe below and share your thoughts. 

Mirliton Dressing

Serves 4

2 mirliton

1/2 lb shrimp

8oz diced ham

1 cup diced onion

1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

2 cups of kale *optional (I added it because I had it)

1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

1 tsp cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

Bread Crumbs

4-6 slices of wheat bread (depends on size)

1/2 cup dry oats

2 tbsp of flax seed

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

Pinch of salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre heat oven to 350. 
  2. Rinse mirliton and boil in a pot over high heat for 30 minutes.
  3. In the last 10 minutes of boiling, toast bread, then grind it, the oats and the flaxseed in a food processor, blender or other device. Place in a baking dish and add seasoning and 2 tsp of olive oil. Mix well and brown in the oven for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain mirliton, rinse in cool water and let cool for 15-20 minutes. While the mirliton cools, rinse and chop kale small. Dice onion and sauté both in 1 tsp. oil.
  5. Peel shrimp and chop before adding to skillet and cooking. 
  6. Dice ham and add to skillet. Reduce heat. Remove breadcrumbs from oven 
  7. Chop mirliton small and add to the skillet. Add seasoning and mix well. Add in breadcrumbs and mix well. 
  8. Pour mixture into baking dish and bake for 10-15 minutes until top is lightly browned.
  9. Enjoy!

A Bit of Louisiana

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To kickoff the Lent season, I have to start with my take on a Louisiana classic, Shrimp and Grits. This is a warm and inviting dish that can be made lots of ways. It was perfect and quick after my intense kickboxing class and certainly an easy dish to prepare after work on Friday. If you don’t have these ingredients at home, you can have most of them delivered to your front door with an easy order through www.indieplate.com which delivers local, farm fresh ingredients to your home. Check them out to see if you live within their delivery area and take advantage of their weekly deals and discounts. I actually placed my order midday Saturday that was delivered yesterday and was excited to try out the local, stone-ground grits that I have heard so much about. Below are the ingredients and directions. I hope it is as enjoyable for you as it was for me tonight. Please share if you like the recipe.

Ingredients for grits (serves 4):
1 cup stone ground grits
2 1/2 cups of water
1 1/4 cup of milk
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter

Ingredients for shrimp:
6-8 medium peeled and deveined shrimp per person
1/2 small yellow onion diced small
2 tbsp green onion
1 tbsp minced garlic fresh
1/2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coarse black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup water

Directions:
1. Measure milk into a measuring cup and let it come to room temperature.
2. Put two cups of water on boil in a medium-sized pot. Once it begins to boil, add the grits.
3. Add salt and stir the grits until well incorporated and then reduce heat to low.
4. Don gloves. Peel and devein shrimp while the grits cook.
5. Stir every 3-5 minutes and add milk and additional water in 1/2 cup increments until the grits are the creamy consistency of your preference. The grits will take 25-30 minutes.
5. Dice and mince the onion, garlic and scallions (green onion). Set aside green onion for the end of the dish and add other ingredients over medium heat with an inch of water.
6. Once onion and garlic are soft, sprinkle flour in an even coat and stir until flour starts to brown. Add Worcestershire sauce to pan and water and stir.
7. Sprinkle seasonings on shrimp before adding it and butter to the pan. Stir for three minutes and add the green onion. Turn off heat. The shrimp will continue to cook in the residual heat.
8. Add butter (and cheese if preferred) to grits and stir until melted. Salt to taste. Turn off heat.
9. Plate and enjoy.