Dining With Miss Lil: Tis The Season

May 3, 2009

By Lil Nickelson

fruitChef Cary Neff, a former Executive Chef at Miraval Resort Spa in Scottsdale, AR wrote a book titled “Conscious Cuisine” which recommends that we our menu should change as the seasons did do.

Chef Neff also states that we plan our meals backwards; we center our meals on the meat as our main ingredient, and then choose the sides to go along with it. He recommends we should first pick fresh fruit and vegetables that are in season, legumes (beans) and whole grains for our meal, and then complement them with some animal protein, or not. We also should eat fish at least three times a week, preferably not fried. Here is my sister Sabrina Hallett’s low country boil recipe, a seafood lover’s pleaser all year round.

July is prime time for fruits. Melons (water, honey dew and cantaloupe) and stone fruits (apricots, cherries, nectarines, plums, peaches and mangos), grapes and papayas are plentiful in summer time. Here’s a link to a recipe for a peach or plum galette (free form rustic tart or pie).

Berries are at their peak right now; blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries can be purchased at their lowest prices. I buy them in large quantities. I use them fresh in fruit salads, ice cream or sorbets and vinaigrettes. I flash freeze the rest to store for future use in the coming months in smoothies, muffins and fruit desserts such as cobblers, galettes and pies.

Vegetables at their peak right now include fresh sweet corn, beets, cucumbers, tomatoes (especially NJ beefsteaks), zucchini & summer squash, peppers and green beans. Here is the link to a recipe for a tomato and cucumber salad.

For salad greens I mix baby spinach, with arugula and baby romaine lettuces (red and green). I roast red, yellow or sweet peppers and add them to my salads. To roast simply place them on a lit burner and blacken on all sides. Seal peppers in a bag for a few minutes and peel the skin off, discard the seeds and cut them up in slim strips (see the recipe for a mixed salad and fresh raspberry vinaigrette below).

Try these recipes and please send in your written responses to recipes that I have shared that you have tasted or tested. I also encourage you to include photos of the recipes you’ve cooked to: hwcontact@ahoo.com. Let’s make this food column a little different from others.


Sabrina’s Low Country B0il

10 medium size red potatoes (cut in half)
1 large onion, medium dice (Vidalia or yellow)

2 packages of Hillshire Farms smoked beef sausage, cut in medium chunks

2 packages Bird’s Eye nibbler corn on the cob (12 ears total)

2 lbs. fresh large or jumbo shrimps, whole with shells on

1 cup of seafood seasoning mix **

Water to cover red potatoes

** Purchase from fresh fish market or make your own (see below)

how to make

Place a large covered stock pot of cold water on to boil with the seafood seasoning mix. Add the cut potatoes and onions to the mix once the water begins to boil. After 20 minutes, remove the potatoes from the pot.

Add the chunks of sausage to the mix and cover for 10 minutes, and then remove the sausage.

Add the corn nibblers by arranging them around the edge of the pot and cover. Cook for 15 minutes and then remove the corn.

Add the shrimp and cook for an additional 10 -15 minutes until they turn opaque and then remove the shrimp.

Cut the flame off, and pour the liquid into a big bowl and let set until it cools. Layer the potatoes & onions, sausage, corn and shrimp back into the original stock pot and cover. Once cool, pour the seasoned water back into the pot. Let the food sit covered for an additional 20 minutes before you serve. Taste a piece of a potato to see if it is seasoned to your taste.

Seafood Seasoning Mix

1/2 cup Lawry’s seasoning salt
1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning

2 teaspoons of crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 teaspoons of Paprika

how to make

Place all ingredients into a plastic container with a lid. Toss all together and taste.

Links For Recipes July 2009

For Peach Galette recipe:


For Plum Galette recipe:


For Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette with Mixed Greens recipe:


Chef Parking
Chef Parking (Photo credits: www.myparkingsign.com)

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