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
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.
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
St. Patrick’s luck shines in March and I like to create a seasonal salad which includes spring greens, watercress, walnuts, blueberries, fresh pear, crumbled blue cheese, and fresh steamed crab claws. Highlight this lovely salad with a homemade vinaigrette dressing made with finely chopped shallots, walnut oil, a good balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve this festive salad with Irish Soda Bread and wow oh wow, it is as worthy as any good-luck charm since it makes those gathered so happy and luck is in how you make it. © Kelly McBride Loft
Few things enhance springtime more than fresh herbs. Have some fun and host an herb “lunch and learn.” Set up your focal points with herb garden displays and begin the guests’ arrival with a flights of chilled cucumber soup shots, flavored with a distinctive array of herb selections which include the cucumber soup infused with choices of basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and French chives. Reinforce the culinary tasting with toast points topped with herb infuse cream cheese including basil, rosemary, thyme, sage and French chives. To make the cucumber soup, peel the cucumbers and then slice each (linear) to remove the interior seeds. Run the prepared cumbers through the food processor. Reserve the cucumber yield in a large bowl. Slowly add half and half milk to adjust the thickness to a soup quality. Add a dash of salt and a tiny dash of sugar to enhance the flavor. Then, create the herb enhancements for each herb soup featured. Refrigerate the multiple herb infused soups and be sure to label each. The array of cucumber soups should be refrigerated for at least 4 hours. Serve the chilled soup is tall shot glasses. Then, accompany the soup shots with herb infused canapes! For lunch serve a fresh fish selection enhanced with bouquet garni, en papillote. Your guests will begin to understand the importance and the art of combining the herbs. For dessert, be daring and create herb enhanced vanilla ice cream. Your grasp of tying the seasonal impacts to entertaining will be most appreciated by eager-to-learn guests, as each person will learn to distinguish one herb from another! As a luncheon favor – give each guest a potted fresh herb to take home. © Kelly McBride Loft
Need a popping good snack beyond popcorn? Roasted brussels sprouts are a great alternative or addition. Brussels sprouts can be purchased fresh on the stalk or fresh in small plastic bags. I like to trim off a small portion of the ends, if purchased in a bag. Rinse the brussels sprouts early, to allow the brussels sprouts to dry. When ready to roast, cut each in half. Hand toss the halved sprouts in olive oil. Then, in a large plastic bag, add 1 cup of Parmesan cheese and a dash of garlic powder. Shake the bag to mix the ingredients. Then, little by little, shake the brussels sprouts in the bag to coat each with the cheese mixture. Place the coated sprouts onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Roast the brussels sprouts at 400⁰F for about 10 to 15 minutes, until cooked to your preference. Serve these delightful wholesome treats hot for TV time or gathering time. Who says green food can’t be fun to eat… © Kelly McBride Loft
These days, the local grocery stores are selling very tasty whole chickens, made fresh daily. So, for the days when you desire a home-cooked meal, but don’t have the time to cook a significant protein, it is time for a plan. Just purchase the cooked bird and re-create it as your own flavor design. There are enhancements that work well. One is to drizzle the sliced chicken with a sauce made from a mixture of half fresh squeeze lemon juice and raw honey to create lemon chicken. Another version of lemon chicken is to marinate the cooked chicken breasts in a dash of lemon salad dressing for 10 minutes and then sear the chicken breasts in olive oil with basil leaves. The taste and presentation are outstanding. These cooked chickens can also be enhanced with cranberry or rice pilaf, too. So, be the amazing preparer, when time constraints abound. It’s your dining time and you own it as a culinary star! © Kelly McBride Loft
There are a lot of Chili recipe inspirations and every family has a favorite. For years, I have tinkered with various innovations and by accident, the best discoveries, I found our family favorite. The secret is derived from my Osso Buco Sauce. Begin with cross-cut veal bone marrow shanks. Rinse the shanks with water and then dip those into a half and half mixture of Cayenne red pepper and paprika. Then, dip those into flour. Sear each shank in a deep pot with a dash of olive oil. Be careful not to burn the oil. Remove the shanks from the pot and then create a ratatouille of minced onion, chopped celery, and chopped carrots. Sauté the vegetables in the same pot, possibly adding a dash more of the oil to incorporate the flavors. Then, add 2 – 5.5 oz. of tomato paste. Keep stirring with a high heat. When bubbly, add, little by little, alternating beef broth and a good Malbec wine. This should utilize about 1 ½ cups of beef broth and about ¾ bottle of the wine. Place the veal shanks back into the pot, and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. Enjoy the Osso Buco served over pappardelle pasta, while reserving the delicious sauce for exceptional chili, the next day. Strain and refrigerate the sauce overnight. The next day, lightly brown and drain high quality chili meat. Heat the Osso Buco sauce and adjust the seasoning, or should I say adjust the “heat” impact of the chili to your personal preference. Add the lightly browned and drained chili meat. Since the sauce is cooked and the meat is cooked, it is only necessary to simmer the chili for 30 minutes. It’s a home-cooked amazing dish for a February wholesome bowl of made with love integrity. Be ready because someone is going to want a second helping. © Kelly McBride Loft