Shrimp Cornbread Muffins

Baking Shrimp Cornbread Muffins is a great way to meld several flavors of the South into a delicious handheld savory treat. These muffins would also be great with either crawfish or crab.


Shrimp Cornbread Muffins
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of, 2014)

Makes 8 large muffins

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 lb large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat melt butter. Add shrimp and cook for 2 – 3 minutes per side; add garlic, a dash of salt and pepper, and cook one minute more. Allow the shrimp to cool and then chop coarsely. Place the shrimp and the chives, garlic sauce from the pan, and Cajun seasoning in a bowl and combine. Refrigerate the shrimp mixture for at least 20 minutes and then bring to room temperature before adding to the muffins.

In a large bowl whisk together flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, jalapeno, and 2 teaspoons salt. In a small bowl whisk eggs until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add buttermilk and melted butter, and combine. Add egg mixture to the flour and whisk until just combined.

Divide batter equally among eight muffin cups. Place 1 tablespoon of shrimp mixture in the middle of each muffin and press down slightly. Bake 10 – 12 minutes and remove from the oven. Add an additional tablespoon of shrimp mixture to each muffin. Return to the oven and bake for 2 – 4 minutes. Let cool in muffin tin 10 minutes. Carefully remove muffins and serve immediately.

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Home-Fried Potato Chips

After a couple of so-so attempts at frying my own potato chips Ample Bites stumbled across an article in the October 2014 issue of Bon Appetit that enlightened me. Four key steps ensure extra-crispy Home-Fried Potato Chips that are neither excessively oily or “over-fried”.


First, rinse the potato slices in cold water several times to release the starch from them.

Second, soak the slices for about 2 hours in a solution of white vinegar and cold water.

Third, pat the slices dry before frying them.

Fourth and finally, fry them at a lower temperature of 300F.


Yesterday I followed those directions and the process yielded wafer-thin, light and crispy Home-Fried Potato Chips that I could not stop eating. My next attempt to improve my frying skills is likely to involve Fritto Misto.

Home-Fried Potato Chips
(Mark Kelly with knowledge from Bon Appetit, October 2014)

Makes about 6 servings

1 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil for frying

Slice the potatoes crosswise using a mandoline.

Place the slices in a large bowl and submerge them with cold water. Stir the potatoes to help them release their starch. Drain the water. Add new water and repeat until the water runs clean after stirring. After draining, cover the potatoes with cold water and the vinegar. Let stand for about 2 hours.

Remove the potato slices from the vinegar water and pat them dry by placing them on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. While the slices are drying prepare the fryer or frying vessel by bring the oil to a constant temperature of 300F.

In batches, fry the chips for 5 – 6 minutes until the oil stops bubbling and the chips are a golden brown. Transfer the chips to a paper-towel-lined wire rack and season immediately with salt to taste. Continue frying in batches until all of the chips are done. Serve immediately of save for up to six hours in an uncovered paper-towel-lined bowl.

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Italian Sausage Bites

I came up with Italian Sausage Bites as an appetizer after our family made 200 pounds of sausage last weekend. Italian Sausage Bites is a simple appetizer that features the homemade sausage, marinara sauce, and fresh mozzarella.


Italian Sausage Bites
(Mark Kelly, 2014)

Makes 20 – 25 Appetizer Servings

i large crusty baguette
1 28 oz. jar of prepared marinara sauce at room temperature
4 Italian 6 – 8 inch-long sausages, grilled
8 ounces fresh mozzarella

Allow the grilled sausages to cool to room temperature. Cut the sausage on a bias.

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cut the baguette on a bias into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place the bread slices on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes. Turn each piece of bread over and bake for another 4 minutes. The bread will be firm and crusty but not overly firm. Allow to cool.

To prepare the appetizer arrange the bread slices on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Spoon a thin layer of marinara onto each slice. Place a piece of sausage on each bread slice. Top each piece of sausage with another thin layer of marinara. Top the marinara with a small piece of mozzarella.

Broil the appetizer until the mozzarella bubbles and begins to brown taking care not to burn the bread. Reset the oven to 325F. Lower the baking sheet to the lowest rack and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes to warm them through.

Serve with the remaining marinara in bowl along side for dipping.

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