Some dishes are not seasonal. Traditional Fruit Ambrosia is a year-round favorite and this dish is perfect for celebrating the 4th of July. When the Ambrosia is put into a rectangle dish, the top can easily be decorated to resemble the American flag with the use of blueberries and raspberries. Kelly’s Fruit Ambrosia: Whip real cream until thick, adding sugar and vanilla flavoring. Reserve. In a bowl, add 1 can of drained diced fruit – fruit cocktail, diced apple, and slices of bananas. Cover the fruit with the whipped cream. Spread the Ambrosia mixture into a rectangle dish and cover with a final layor of whipped cream creating a white “background.” Utilize blueberries for the stars and raspberries for the stripes for a patriot design. Serve chilled and celebrate our Country. © Kelly McBride Loft
Kelly teaches adult, children and family dining classes. Please view this featured link from the Houston Chronicle newspaper regarding Kelly's expertise.
Welcome to "Celebration Logic"
These weekly highlights focus on creative entertaining, culinary creations and recipes that reinforce life's celebratory moments with entertaining confidence. These blogs of creative entertaining tips and recipes are available in printed book form and in e-book form.
Summer indulgences include walking into a full-service bakery, as the combined baking aromas of butter, sugar, and eggs fill the air. These distinct aromas can only mean pleasureful treats. One of my favorite treats is German Chocolate Cake. Its distinctive and iconic icing makes it uniquely a classic. This is the recipe that has been passed down in my family. German Chocolate Cake Icing: 1 – 12 oz. can of evaporated milk; 1 cup of sugar; 2 pre-beaten egg yolks; ½ cup of butter; and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Cook these ingredients and stir over a medium flame until thick – about 12 minutes. When cooked, add 1 ½ cups of coconut and 1 cup of chopped pecans. Spread over a baked chocolate flavored cake or chocolate flavored cupcakes. © Kelly McBride Loft
Let’s keep dining easy and fast at least one evening per week. Try my No Fuss Tacos for a tasty Taco Tuesday dining moment. First, in a skillet pour in one 28 oz. can of peeled plum tomatoes, including the juice. While in the skillet, cut open each peeled tomato. I recommend discarding the tough, stalk end of the tomatoes because no one likes to find that in their tacos. Then, add 1 lb. of raw ground meat to the tomatoes in the skillet. Give it a little mix to infuse the tomato flavors into the juice. Brown the meat mixture. Drain the meat thoroughly. Put the meat mixture back into the skillet and add a dash of onion powder and Cayenne pepper. [If your family likes hot spices, add more of the onion powder and Cayenne pepper. You can add a dash of chili powder and paprika, too.) Always remember you can add more spice, but you can’t take it out if you over season. Reserve the prepared meat until ready to serve. Shred lettuce and offer shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, avocado, guacamole, Pico de Gallo, hot sauce, etc. for the condiments. When ready to serve, fill the taco shells with the heated meat mixture. Top with any of the suggested condiments to create a south of the border treat! © Kelly McBride Loft
New cooking toys are thrilling to explore and my new summer toy is a cast iron shrimp pan. Shrimp dishes make the summer season special and this shrimp pan can be utilized inside the home or with your outside grill. Try my recipe for stuffed shrimp, which explores the creativity of cooking and the fun of flavor. Kelly’s Stuffed Shrimp: Prepare the cast iron shrimp pan by seasoning it, with oil. Just prior to making the stuffed shrimp, spray the shrimp pan with non-stick spray. In a pot on the stove, for the stuffing, cook the “Holy Trinity” of cuisine by sautéing chopped onion, green pepper, and celery in butter. Fold in fresh toasted bread crumbs. Lightly season with kosher salt and Cayenne pepper. Reserve. (Parmesan cheese will be added to this stuffing later.) Prepare and devein fresh shrimp. Marinate the raw shrimp: 1 lb. of shrimp, ½ stick of butter, the juice of half of a lemon and 1 crushed garlic clove. Reserve. When ready to cook, place the marinated shrimp, with the tails up into the crevasses of the shrimp pan. Stuff each shrimp with the prepared stuffing, adding Parmesan cheese to the stuffing mixture, first. Bake the shrimp at 400⁰F for 10 minutes in the cast iron pan until the shrimp turn pink. Serve hot and the summer smiles abound. © Kelly McBride Loft
When traveling, many places inspire us and sometimes it is the unexpected inspiration that comes from a unique place that lasts a lifetime. Valldemossa, Mallorca is such a place, in Spain. Likewise, music is a lifelong memory trigger and this unique village in the Balearic Islands, in the Mediterranean Sea, masters the melding of memories and music. Music composer Frédéric Chopin, 1810 to 1849, known for his composition Prelude in E minor, op. 28 no. 4, created music that allows oneself to be lofted into inspiration, as he was inspired during his stay in Valldemossa in the 1800’s. Chopin created some of his most memorable music while living in the Carthusian Monastery, even while ill. This quaint village features frequent Chopin concerts and the town’s people revere music. An island surrounded the sea, Valldemossa preserves a tribute to Chopin and its visitors are gifted with lasting memories of beautiful music, music history, and life by the sea in Spain. Try my Poached Fish recipe to envision seaside memories of enchanted places. You will need a linear fish steamer. Purchase a good whole fish of your choice, which will fit into the steamer. Clean the fish to remove any scales. Into the fish’s cavity place lemon slices and fresh herbs. Set the fish into the fish steamer rack. Pour chicken stock (salted) into the fish steamer. Add lemon rind and bouquet garni. If you like spice, add a pepper to the stock broth. Seal the lid and poach the fish on high heat for about 15 – 20 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. I like to serve a whole fish with a whole loaf of bread to continue the theme of wholesomeness. A whole fish makes any dining experience extraordinary and Chopin’s music playing simultaneously make the dinner momentous! © Kelly McBride Loft
Memorial Day ceremonies commemorate those brave souls who have courageously protected our way of life and this year seems even more significant with the active efforts from the frontline battlers of COVID-19. We honor those who have given us our path to quality lives and we gratefully acknowledge those recent heroes who continue to keep us safe in healthcare. – Wishing to spice up your safe-distancing holiday. Try my Mango and Shrimp entree with spicy tomatoes and rice. This dish combines fruity flavor with spice and shrimp! It is a great way to kickstart the summer. Mangos are a delightful fruit with a distinctive taste. When used in cooking, the fruit is easily diced and holds up well during heating. First, dice the fruit of a mango and reserve. Prepare the deveined shrimp for sauté. Boil and prepare the rice of your choice. First, sauté lightly the prepared shrimp in a tab of garlic butter and remove from the pan. Prepare the sauce with 1 – 10 oz. can of mild tomato diced tomatoes & green chilies, 1 – 8 oz. can of tomato sauce, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let the sauce heat until bubbling. Add the shrimp and mango back into the sauce. Serve hot over the rice. Fly your flag proudly and create an outdoor patio gathering for memorable moments. © Kelly McBride Loft
Graduates still need to be acknowledged, even with social distancing. Every grad deserves a chocolate cake to go. Let the recipient keep the heat resistant cake container, as part of the gift and include the recipe for Grad 101 cooking-on-their-own! Kelly’s Bayou City Cake: Prepare a 9 in. X 13 in. greased heat resistant dish. Mix together 4 eggs and 2 sticks of butter. Then, add 2 cups of sugar. Add (pre-stirred together): 1 ½ cups of flour, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the egg mixture. Sir well. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 cup of shredded coconut and 1 cup of chopped pecans. Bake at 350⁰F for about 30 minutes, until baked. For the Icing: Mix 1 stick of melted butter, 6 tablespoons of milk, 1/3 cup of cocoa powder, 1 package of powdered sugar, as needed until the desired thickness is reached, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread the icing on the cake and then press chopped pecans into the icing! Applause, applause for the many successes and future successes! © Kelly McBride Loft
Gratefulness for our moms, manifests in many ways and if you know how to cook, your mom was probably your first teacher. Mother’s Day treats are delightful; however, a cake is most celebratory. Enjoy my Carrot Cake recipe, to treat mom to her well-deserved day of recognition. Combine the dry ingredients of: 2 cups of flour; 1 ½ cups of sugar; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Then add: 3 eggs; ½ cup of vegetable oil; 1 cup grated carrots; 2 cups of chopped nuts; a 20 oz. can of drained & crushed pineapple. Pour into 2 prepared cake pans and bake at 350⁰F for about 30 – 35 minutes, until done. Frost with Cream Cheese Icing, which is cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar and evaporated milk to bind. Happy Mother’s Day! © Kelly McBride Loft
Since I know how to the play the piano, I have always had a saying that this gift is one thing that no one will ever be able to take away, because it is part of me, part of my synchronicity with life. With all of the changes in our lifestyles, the one thing that no change can impose on us is our ability to be creative, unless we relinquish it. The same goes for kitchen creativity no matter what the imposition or budget constraint. It is how we style our food, as much as it is natural to say a blessing, for thankfulness for our food. Here is an easy concept, which takes no artistic skill: Create a nest shape of Quinoa mixed with colorful julienned vegetables. Top the interior of the nest with a sunny-side-up or over-easy egg. It will make the people in your life feel most special and it will make you feel special also as you feel thankful for your personal skills, that make you uniquely you. © Kelly McBride Loft
For those of us who miss walking along the Seine River, pass Notre Dame, and through Rive Gauche, we can, with creativity, bring that French experience into our homes. Rive Gauche means left bank of the river, which refers to the famous Parisian Latin Quarter. This 5th arrondissement – the Latin Quarter, is also known for its close proximity to la Sorbonne Université, le Jardin du Luxembourg, and Musée d’Orsay. The district embraces its extraordinary history and celebrates its intellectual stimulus, including Hemingway, Picasso, and Matisse. One of the most culturally distinctive sections in the Quarter is bordered by Quai de Montebello to the north, Boulevard Saint-Germain to the south, Rue Saint-Jacques to the east, and Boulevard Saint-Michel to the west. Quaint cobblestone streets thread the way to French cafes, crêperies, boulangeries, bistros, trattorias, and Mediterranean cuisine specialties. The Latin Quarter is an exemplary mélange of eclectic cuisine that continues to exalt international heritage. Indulge in flavors from around the world and experience a full immersion in delectable delights from escargot to gyro rotisserie selections. Keeping it close to memory, a home-style Rive Gauche dinner should include a hearty round of Boule bread, real unsalted butter, poisson (fresh fish, preferable cooked with wine or Champagne) set on top of julienned vegetables, and paired with a lamb kebab. The ideal sweet treat would be a homemade crepe, with fresh fruit filling. It’s more than a memory if we bring this to our tables; it is more than just c’est la vie. This section of time is not life as it should be; but, if we hold these enhancements close to our hearts, we can keep our favorite impacting cultures as part of our quintessential lifestyles. © Kelly McBride Loft
Kelly’s Fillets de Sole a la Crème et au Champagne
4 to 8 fillets of Dover Sole (2 per person). Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.
In a Dutch oven arrange:
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped Shallots
Set the fish fillets on top of the Shallots and dot with a small amount of Butter
Top the Dover Sole with a 2nd Tablespoon of finely chopped Shallots
Pour a ½ of bottle of Champagne over the fish. Add enough water to just cover the fish.
Bring this to a simmer on top of the stove. Then, cover with a piece of grease-proof paper, such as parchment paper (NOT foil). Bake for 8 minutes in the oven or until flaky.
Julienne cut Carrots, Leeks, and/or Zucchini and lightly sauté. Set the vegetables into individual heat proof dishes. Remove the cooked fish, to place the fish portions on top of the julienned vegetables. Reduce the oven to WARM, to keep the fish warm, while making the sauce. Move the Dutch Oven back to the stovetop.
The Sauce is to be made in the Dutch Oven: Make a Beurre Manie, which is a mixture of equal parts of Butter and Flour (3 Tablespoons of soft butter and 3 Tablespoons of flour combined). To the Dutch Oven hot liquid, now on the stovetop, add: the Beurre Manie, little by little, stirring with a wooden spoon. When smooth add ½ pint of heavy Cream (room temperature) and season with kosher Salt and white or black Pepper. Add more cream, as needed for the desired sauce thickness. Ladle the sauce over the Dover Sole and serve hot. Joie de Vivre! © Kelly McBride Loft
There is a very important French culinary term: mise en place. It means putting things in place. This is the preparation that systematically encourages us to gather the ingredients as we set out the correct pots and pans, wash the vegetables, prepare the proteins, etc. Organized mise en place allows one to expedite the mixing or cooking, without spending time searching for the correct tools, seasoning, or realizing at the last minute that one does not have enough eggs to make a dish. Planning is key and even more so now as certain ingredients may be scarce. This is my mom’s recipe for Smothered Steak, which I have enhanced through the years. You will need: cubed Steak, a little butter and flour, canned mushroom soup, Sherry, carrots, potatoes, and bell pepper.
Begin with putting 2 to 3 cans of 22.6 oz. mushroom soup into a Dutch oven, depending on the number of people that you are feeding. With a whisk, slowly stir in and add Sherry until the soup becomes as a saucy consistency. Add fresh cracked pepper. (I don’t add salt because salt is already in the soup.) As part of your mise en place are, peeled and pre-boiled carrots, for about 1 hour. Prepare a washed bell pepper. Peel and slice potatoes (keeping covered in water to not turn brown, while assembling the dish.) Once the carrots have parboiled, prepare the cubed steaks. Do not use an egg batter. In a skillet, sear the flour dipped cubed steak. (I like to rinse the meat with a little water first, that way the flour adheres to the meat.) Lightly sear the steaks in butter briefly, to create a crust on the meat. Now, assemble all. Push some of the prepared carrots and raw bell pepper into the mushroom soup mixture. Then, add the seared cubed steaks, making sure that soup is in between each addition. Add the peeled and sliced raw potatoes. Finish with the remaining carrots, making sure that the soup mixture covers the top portion. I like to double layer the covering, first with tin foil. Then, place the Dutch oven top of the foil. Bake for at least 2 hours at 400⁰F. It is a one dish meal that is sure to please. © Kelly McBride Loft
It has been said that the most challenging of times can also be the most meaningful because of the emotional bonding we have with our families, as we gather our strength. Though separated by social distancing, we are united in our prayers for recovery and protection from the virus of 2020. Our participation with Easter remains profound and we can still break bread in our homes. Easter is always significant.
Easter lunch and dinner include the tradition of multi-colored eggs. Try a fun concept. Fill the boiled eggs with multi-colored flavored fillings. The best way to do that is to purchase savory cream cheese and vegetable cream spreads. Just add a touch of color to each flavor choice. Fill each egg half with the variety of fillings and your family will be hopping to enjoy the spectrum of choices. Happy Easter! © Kelly McBride Loft
Many may be working from home; however, food can still be interesting and fun. I am beginning to recall recipes from my grandmother and her hand-pies are a sweet memory. All you need are canned biscuits, some flour for dusting and frozen or canned fruit. First, prepare the fruit. If canned, the fruit will already be sweet enough. You will only need to thoroughly strain it. If frozen, the fruit may need to be sprinkled with some sugar or brown sugar, by heating on the stove. Just strain it, once prepared. Make the hand-pie crust by rolling out a biscuit from the can, dusted with flour. Fill the pie with a small amount of the drained fruit on the half-side of the circle, not touching the edge with the fruit. Fold over the dough on top of the small fruit pile. Then, crimp the dough to the other half by pressing the edges together. Fry both sides of the pies in the oil of your choice. A great tip for frying any item: Always turn with item with two utensils to avoid a splash back from the hot oil. A spatula can flip the pie and a large fork placed on the opposite side can steady the pie to minimize the splash. Wearing gloves is always a good idea, too. Making hand-pies is a fun project for family time and homemade cuisine creates memorable moments. © Kelly McBride Loft
As we try our best to stay well during these monumental times, many are relying on sandwiches to provide substance. I have a suggestion. Reinvent the same cold cuts of turkey, smoked turkey, ham and/or smoked ham. Instead for putting the cold cuts onto slices of bread, roll 3 to 4 spears of canned asparagus with 2 slices of the thinly sliced cold cut. Top with each asparagus roll-up with your choice of salad dressing and served chilled. I prefer the blue cheese topping; however, mayonnaise or sour cream will work, too. If you have paprika, sprinkle a dash on top of the dressing. Pair your cold cut roll-up with deviled eggs for an extra flavor booster. This is a very good and fast alternative to lunching at home or a needed take to work for those who work to keep us safe. We thank our first responders and health care workers during this time of need. © Kelly McBride Loft
It has been said that a lot can happen in a week; however, this week has been the most accelerated and impacting that I have ever known, as all of us deal with the new virus concerns. Please know that I wish everyone good health during these challenging times. With precautions being addressed, home-cooking is highlighted. May I suggest shrimp bruschetta. Since there may be limited sources for shrimp, canned shrimp will work as a substitute. First, begin with ¼ stick of butter to sauté ½ cup of bell pepper, ½ cup of chopped celery, and ½ cup of chopped onion with a dash of chopped parsley. Sauté the vegetables until tender. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of Cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of sugar, salt, and pepper. Add another ¼ stick of butter as you add the drained and peeled shrimp (about 1 lb.). Cook this for about 10 minutes, if the shrimp are raw. Then, add 1 ½ cans of tomato sauce (15. oz.), 1/4 can of spicy diced tomatoes (10. oz.), and ½ cup of boiling water. Simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered, stirring often. Prepare the crostini by slicing a French-style baguette and brushing each slice with garlic butter. Toast the bread. When the etouffee/bruschetta mixture has cooked, with a slotted spoon, portion the shrimp mixture onto each crostini. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately upon putting the shrimp onto the toasted bread for a wholesome spicy treat. © Kelly McBride Loft