Charlotte Cooks Wins a Telly Award!

We won a Telly Award for our Shrimp Creole show!

While I can’t post the video yet, here is the recipe for the dish. I hope they release the video soon on You Tube. I think it is circulating now on the channel so I’m guessing when they air a new show this one will become available. When it does, I’ll update this post to include the video.

Until then, enjoy making this recipe which also features Raw Kale Salad.

Creole inspired by NOLA cuisine.

NOLA Style Shrimp Creole

  • 2 pounds Peeled and De-veined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons All- purpose flour
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small Green Pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cups Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Cayenne to taste
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1 bunch Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon Tabasco or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
  • 2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley, minced

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat.

Add the flour and stir so it looks like wet sand on the beach.

When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook until the onions are golden brown.

Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper.

Reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt.

Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, add the fresh tomatoes. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.

Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and thyme.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer.

Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and adjust seasonings.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp.

The key is to not  to over cook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.

If you boil them, they get tough so just simmer gently. They cook quickly!

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

I hope you join us in WTVI-PBS Charlotte Thursday evenings at 8:30 to see our new shows.

As always, thanks for watching Charlotte Cooks!

In My Kitchen December 2012

And so here it is, near the end of the year. I love the holidays.

The Christmas china gets put in the cabinets to use on a daily basis, parties get planned and attended, my son comes home and all is good.

Cheesecake on Christmas China

Cheesecake on Christmas China

In my kitchen are fantastic cookie cutters for making sugar cookies. The cookies will be decorated and given to anyone who visits. There are impression cutters and outline cutters. The impression cutters are my favorites; they have been around my kitchen since 1978 and get used every year. I love filling in the designs with all kinds of colors and sparkling sugar. Since I am making some today,  a post on them will soon follow.

All kinds of cookie cutters

All kinds of cookie cutters

I love these impression cutters.

I love these impression cutters.

We are making candles in my kitchen too. While these were made last year, we make them every year for gifts. They are nice to take along when visiting. Kayla made these for her mom last year. It is always nice when it is cold outside as the process goes along quicker.

We made these candles last year for my son's girlfriends mother.

We made these candles last year for my son’s girlfriends mother.

My kitchen is busy making all sorts of gifts.

Here is one of my TV shows loaded  with all sorts of gift giving ideas from my kitchen to yours! Have fun!

Head over to Celia at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial to see all the fun things going on in kitchens across the world.

The Bread Show

We had a wonderful weekend in the North Carolina mountains visiting friends. This post is to provide a quick link to the bread show we did on Charlotte Cooks not too long ago.

In my mind, the show was a comedy of errors with too hot lights, dough rising way too fast in response to the too hot lights. . . Sometimes, you just have to laugh!

If you want to make m “No-Knead Sourdough Bread“, here is the visual.

Spero, this one’s for you!

I am working on a post about some amazing Greek olive oil I discovered this weekend.
Watch for the next post for a chance to try some too!

“Charlotte Cooks” Bread

In January, we filmed an episode of “Charlotte Cooks” about making no knead bread. The episode was released and began airing on TV and You Tube on April 2.

The comedy of errors that went with the taping, I think, were glaringly obvious. The process made me think this is how Lucy Ricardo would have made bread. In spite of the dough getting out of hand, she would have continued on, so I did too.

To shoot the episode, I had to have bowls of dough in various stages in order to shoot continuously. The camera crew was not prepared to step up the pace we normally shoot. The idea was to keep one step ahead of the rising dough. Russ had to keep telling me to slow down. Guess I was trying to keep pace with the dough rising.

I had 5 bowls on dough going at various stages, all while trying to talk about the different stages and move them along to the next for a supposedly seamless show. I gave up on seamless.

The loaf you see me plop on the baking stone turned out the size of a small car and looked and tasted fantastic. That loaf finished baking after we finished shooting so we didn’t get shots of it. With all the different loaves and bowls around, maybe it wasn’t clear as to which one to shoot, but we shot everything. I think there were around 17 loaves finished for the set that day. (Thank God for commercial steam ovens.)

As you watch the episode you will see, by the bowl of dough that gets plopped into the oven, the dough had a mind of its own. Things got to a point where everything was comical; flour everywhere, dough spilling over the sides of the bowl and the oven at 450°F in addition to the camera lights. So the room was perfect for rising dough quickly.

I didn’t think we had enough good material to actually put together a show but Russ, the main man on the show, did a great job. I love my camera crew!

Setting the set for filming

The Main Man, Russ

You can read my post and get the recipe for No Knead Bread here. Yeah, you can cut it half and make a single loaf, but then you wouldn’t have the fun playing with 2 balls of dough.

If you want to make the Chocolate Cherry Bread, reduce the flour by 1/2 cup, add 1/2 cup dark cocoa. Just as you use raisins, substitute dried cherries and put 1/2-1 cup of dark chocolate chips in the flour. Everything else is the same!

Watch the next 20 minutes and let me know what you think.

Crown Roast of Pork or Lamb

Instead of doing a turkey this year, why not try your hand at creating a beautiful crown roast or either pork or lamb?

Having your butcher do it is costly but you can do it yourself and really get all the “Oohs and Ahhs!” from everyone who comes to your table.

The procedure is simple; you can watch how it is done in the Charlotte Cooks episode of “Holiday Meals”.

Grab your bone in pork loin and cook along with the video.


For a pork crown roast, ask your butcher for a “Frenched” bone in pork loin. You may need to order it so check before you just expect the cut of meat to be in the butchers window. This is a big piece of meat so you will only need 1.

For the lamb, you will need to purchase 2 lamb racks for each crown roast. When buying lamb, keep in mind that the gamier tastes typically come from New Zealand and Australian while American lamb has a milder taste.

I love lamb no matter where it comes from.

When serving lamb, please leave the mint jelly alone! There is a nice condiment you can make with mint that is much nicer.

Mint Sauce

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces rice wine vinegar unseasoned
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

Place the sugar in the bottom of a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Do not stir while the sugar is melting, just let it melt.

The sugar will melt into a warm caramel. When it is golden brown, carefully pour in all of the vinegar at once.

Be careful as this will spit and spatter!

The sugar will sieze but as the vinegar warms and comes to a boil, the sugar will re-melt.

Add the chopped mint and salt and simmer for 5 minutes.

Spoon over your lamb as desired. This can be served warm or cold.

Store the sauce in the refrigerator, if there is any left.

In culinary terms what you have just made is a “mint gastrique“.

The flavor of the sauce is complex and fresh thanks to the gastrique.

A gastrique is part of an arsenal of skills to use in great sauce making.

This is worth learning.

I hope you all try your hand at a crown roast of pork or lamb sometime this season.

It will surely impress all your family and friends!

Please let me know if you have questions.

You can find all recipes from Charlotte Cooks TV shows by following the highlighted link.


The Hummus Show


Basic Hummus

  • 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on your taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Up to ¼ cup water if mixture seems to be dry while processing
  • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Bushes brand is the best


Be sure to adjust salt and pepper after adding your mix-in flavors.
Sometimes you will need to adjust your salt and pepper, sometimes you won’t.
Always give it a taste to be sure.

Drain chickpeas and rinse.
Combine remaining ingredients in blender or food processor.
Blend for 3-5 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth.
Add 1/4 cup water as needed while processing.
Place in serving bowl, and create a shallow well in the center of the hummus.
Add a small amount (1-2 tablespoons) of olive oil in the well. Garnish with parsley (optional).
Serve immediately with fresh, warm or toasted pita bread, or cover and refrigerate.
For a spicier hummus, add a sliced red chili or a dash of cayenne pepper.

Storing Hummus
Hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days and can be kept in the freezer for up to one month. Add a little olive oil if it appears to be too dry

Mix-Ins and Flavor Enhancements

Using your imagination, you can create an amazing array of flavored hummus. All you need to do is figure your flavor profile and mix in your ingredients.

For one entire recipe of Basic Hummus, use ¼ to ½ cup of any of the following suggestions.

Favorite and classic combinations are:

  • Scallions, chopped fine
    • Use garlic flowers, chives and chive flowers for more flavor power.
    • Roasted red peppers
      • Either fresh roasted from your grill or oven, or from a jar; simple puree and mix in. You can leave some in small dice for accents. Enhance the color with a sprinkling of chives or parsley.
      • Roasted Garlic
        • Roast your garlic using your favorite method. Cool the garlic and squeeze the paste from the cloves, mash with a fork until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Mix into a basic hummus recipe and stir to combine.
        • Guacamole
          • Add 3 cups fresh cilantro to the basic processing, also add 1 clove fresh garlic, and 1 ripe avocado, ½ sweet onion, process until smooth
          • Chili lime
            • Fold in Chili powder, lime zest and lime juice. Start with 1 tsp. chili powder and adjust to your taste for level of heat.
            • Lemon Parsley
              • 2 cups Italian parsley leaves, zest and juice from 1 lemon, process with basic hummus until smooth
              • Pesto with Sun Dried Tomato
                • Fold in your favorite pesto and add some small diced sun dried tomatoes.

Use your imagination to create your own favorites.

Basic Hummus without Tahini


  • 1  16 oz. can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Up to ¼ cup water if necessary
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.

Serve immediately with pita bread, pita chips, or veggies.

Store the hummus in an airtight container for up to three days.

Pita Chips

  • 1 package pita bread, can be old but not moldy
  • Olive oil to brush the bread
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the pita breads into small bite sized wedges.

Lay the wedges flat on a sheet pan and brush with olive oil.
Season the wedges with salt and pepper.

Place a piece of parchment on top of the cut pita wedges and set another sheet pan right on top so the pita is between two sheet pans.

Place into a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes.

You will need to peek at the pitas to ensure they are not getting too brown. If the pita is not golden and crisp after 10 minutes, remove the top sheet pan and parchment.
If you want the bread wedges to be more golden, place them back in the oven until they are at the desired color.

Caution, don’t walk away as they will burn on you very quickly. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

Enjoy making Hummus! Let me know what kind of “Mix-in’s” become your favorites.

Sardine and Anchovy Pasta

Charlotte Cooks

I hope you enjoy watching the show! Here are the recipes from the featured episode.

Sicilian-Style Sardine and Anchovy Pasta with Bread Crumbs


For the bread crumbs:

  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon each, coarse salt and coarse black pepper

For the pasta:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 oil packed anchovy fillets
  • 2 four ounce tins of sardines, packed in oil
  • 1/2 pound linguini or spaghetti, cooked to al dente in salted water, drained and cooled with cold water to stop cooking.


To a large skillet preheated over medium heat, add 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, and chopped garlic.

When you can smell the garlic add bread crumbs.

Stir bread crumbs until deeply golden in color.

Add parsley and a liberal amount of salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon of each. Remove bread crumbs from the hot pan, put them in a bowl and set aside.

Return skillet to heat and add 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Add anchovies and sardines to the pan and sauté over medium heat 2 or 3 minutes.

Add hot, cooked pasta to the skillet and toss with sardines.

Add bread crumbs to the pan and toss thoroughly to combine and evenly distribute the mixture. Adjust seasonings to taste with pepper and salt.

Taste before adding salt as the anchovies typically are salty. You may not need to add any more.

Top it all off with a shaving of a good quality of Parmesan cheese.


Oven Fried Chicken Fingers and more

Charlotte Cooks

Oven Fried Chicken with Fresh Cole Slaw, Mango Salsa and Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes


Oven Fried Chicken

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into fingers
  • 2 cups buttermilk + 2 additional cups, keep separated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups panko
  • 2 Tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • ¼ cup Olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°F

Cut the chicken into fingers.

Marinade 30 minutes in 2 cups buttermilk.

Remove from buttermilk and pat dry.

Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Set up a standard breading station.
3 containers:
#1 is flour
#2 is 2 cups buttermilk
#3 is seasoned panko (season the panko with Montréal steak seasoning)

Here’s the set up:

Pan #1: Flour, seasoned    Pan #2 Buttermilk    Pan #3 Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs   Pan#4 Sheet pan for breaded chicken

Dredge each finger in flour, then buttermilk, then panko. Making sure each finger is well coated on all sides.

As each finger is coated, place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Drizzle each finger with a small bit of olive oil.

Place sheet pan in oven and bake the chicken until golden brown; usually about 20 minutes.

Ovens vary so watch yours.

The internal temperature should reach 165°F on a food thermometer.

Keep warm in a 150° oven. Do not cover so the chicken remains crispy.


  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • There are 2 kinds of rice vinegar; seasoned (with salt and sugar) and unseasoned. Read the labels and choose seasoned for this recipe.
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pound bag of tri-color coleslaw mix
    • Or thinly slice cabbage, carrots and some red cabbage for about 1 pound total weight.
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Choose a large bowl; Allow lots of stirring room.

Slice scallions, place into the bottom of the bowl.

Add the celery seed, mayonnaise, rice wine vinegar, sugar and whisk to smooth.

Slice the cabbages and carrots and add to the dressing.

Stir to coat.

Adjust flavors with salt and pepper if needed.

Allow to sit for at least one hour in the refrigerator before serving to allow flavors to meld.

Stir well before serving.

Mango Salsa

  • 1 pound mango slices, fresh or jarred mango, cut into medium dice
  • ½ sweet onion, small dice (like Vidalia)
  • 1 small diced jalapeno,
  • ½ cup sweet grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • ½ bunch chopped cilantro
  • ½ bunch chopped scallions
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cut all fruits and vegetables, combine everything in a bowl and serve.

Salt and Vinegar Roasted Potatoes

  • 3-4 small red potatoes per person
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ cup Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 ounces Malt vinegar (you may use more or less depending upon your taste)

Place the potatoes into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.

Salt water once boiling begins.

Cook until done.

Drain and place on a clean kitchen towel.

Cover and whack each potato with a rolling pin to break it open but not smash it flat.

Place the smashed potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil.

Place in the 400° and bake about 35-40 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown and the skins are crispy.

Remove from the oven, place in a serving bowl.

Sprinkle salt and malt vinegar over the potatoes and serve warm.