Welcome to my little corner of bliss. Most people adore a good donut, myself included but there is something about a beignet that brings out my hidden smile. You know what I mean. One of those sly devils hidden just so in the corner of your mouth, waiting for that perfect something to set it free. Beignets are my little something special. This Sunday I took it up a notch and made them with pumpkin. It is fall and even though it’s still 80 degrees here I’ve had pumpkin on the brain. I may never recover from the swoon y’all. If you wish to join me on the porch, fan in hand with a platter of beignets keep reading. I warn you, they are prone to induce giddiness.

Pumpkin Beignets Adapted from Chef Jamie Shannon’s recipe for Beignets

Serves 4-6

Beignet Batter

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon Chicago Spiced Sugar mix (or substitute with the following spices)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1 cup milk

1 medium egg, beaten

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

1/3 cup powdered sugar

caramel sauce

Combine and sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and spices in a large bowl.

Combine the milk, egg, pumpkin and vanilla in a small bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Combine thoroughly. Is it just me or does mixing batter make you hum as well?

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot (you don’t need a deep fryer) over medium high heat until approx. 325 degrees. Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature, or if you don’t have one sprinkle a tiny bit of flour into the oil. If it sizzles instantaneously you’re pretty much ready.

You will need two teaspoons. One to lift a spoonful of batter, the other to push the batter into the hot oil. Part of the reason I love beignets is because they are so easy to make. They don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical and I adore the diversity that takes shape when those little beauties hit the oil.

Try not to fry more than 8 or 10 beignets at a time. Crowding them will lower the temperature of the oil and cause your beignets to be soggy. Make sure to adjust the heat of the oil while you cook to keep the temperature at 325 degrees, or at a constant slow rolling boil when you add in each batch.

Fry each batch for no more than 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides and cooked all the way through. Pull the first couple of beignets apart to see if they are cooked all the way through. This will give you a better feel of the golden color that you are looking for and the amount of time you need to leave them in the oil. Drain on a rack or paper towels.

Serve them fresh, hot and liberally dusted with powdered sugar. A little word of advice though. Make sure that you have set the table before you put the platter down, otherwise you can forget about getting a chance afterwards. These little lovelies will be gone before the napkins finds their way to the table never mind onto a lap.

I wish I could tell you that this look of glee came solely from the rapture of devouring a pumpkin beignet but that’s not the case here.

It’s actually a combination of astonishment and an Ah-Ha moment. Check out what’s happening to the left. Yep, that would be my love drowning his beignet in not only caramel sauce but pancake syrup as well.

Can you say gargantuan sweet tooth and lets not forget an instigator on all levels. Who am I kidding, go for it guys.

Would you just look at those little golden nuggets of breakfast delight. Dusted and drizzled to perfection. They almost look to good to eat.

Almost my friends. Ask me if there are any left.

What brings out your hidden smile?

You so have to make these and let me know what you think. Have fun playing in the kitchen this week.

Love ya,

Tickled Red


Do y’all remember those Sunday suppers at your grandmother’s when you were growing up? I do. All of my aunts, uncles and cousins packed into the house laughing or possibly squabbling. A table so full that we actually had to eat somewhere other than the dining room. Usually supper ended up becoming a musical chair symphony but the food and family made it all worthwhile. I have to tell you those memories find me often and fill me full of warmth.

Pam Anderson and her family know all about time well spent in the kitchen.  Creating not only their own long-lasting memories full of joy but also some ingenious recipes that have evolved from their lively gatherings. Fortunately Pam, along with her incredible daughters Maggy and Sharon, share some of their culinary creations with us on their blog Three Many Cooks. Pam has also been tempting our taste buds with her sensational cookbooks for some time now. Her latest book Perfect One Dish Dinners (which is her second book to hit the NY Times best sellers list) has now become a weekly resource for my family inspiring some exquisite, yet deceptively easy meals. Especially for some of our Sundays gatherings.

Pam brilliantly planned the recipes ahead of time for you in Perfect One Dish Dinners. She grouped them into meals consisting of an entrée, an appetizer and a desert. She even went so far as to give you helpful alternatives and recommend the perfect beverage to accompany each dinner. The beauty of her new book is that you can also mix and match the recipes as you please.

Just to give you all a little taste of what awaits you in her new book here’s what we had this Sunday. The guys and I spent a wonderful afternoon with my dad, step mom and sister enjoying what is a staple dish here on the coast. We made a Low Country Boil or as Pam calls it, Frogmore Stew. It’s a  spectacular blend of shrimp, kielbasa and vegetables infused with garlic and spices.

We paired it with Pam’s  absolutely delicious salad of Greens with Apples, Dried Cherries and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. Now you are probably saying to yourselves, “Where are the pumpkin seeds”? Funny story about that. It involves three guys and you’ll just have to wait for it. We replaced the missing pumpkins seeds with pecans, which worked out just as well.

I also made this. Oh yeah, read it and weep y’all.

Better yet look and weep. Can I just say drool buckets! I couldn’t help myself, I’ve a passion for cheesecake.

Here is what you will need to make this beauty straight from Pam herself.

Rum-Raisin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust

Serves 12 to 16

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided

24 gingersnaps, preferably Nabisco

2 pounds cream cheese (regular or light Neufchatel), softened

4 large eggs

1/3 cup dark rum

1 cup dark raisins

4 teaspoons all-purpose flour


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring 1 quart water to a boil for a water bath.

Mix butter and 2 tablespoons sugar until well mixed. Coat a 9 inch springform pan with vegetable-oil cooking spray.

Place a single layer of gingersnaps, flat side down, on pan bottom (there will be spaces between them), and generously brush with butter mixture. Brush flat sides of remaining gingersnaps with remaining butter mixture, and place them, rounded side out and slightly tilted toward the outer edge, around pan sides. Bake until sugar on cookies bubbles, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Meanwhile beat cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixture until fluffy. Gradually add remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar and beat on medium speed until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down sides after each addition. Beat in rum, or as Pam and her girls would say…” Perfume the cream cheese”. Toss raisins with flour and stir into batter. Cover exterior of springform pan with a double sheet of heavy-duty foil to ensure that no water can seep in; set in roasting pan. Pour batter into springform pan.

Set roasting pan on oven rack and pour in enough hot water to come about halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake until perimeter of cake is set but center jiggles when pan is tapped, 55 to 60 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let stand in water bath for 30 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath and set on a wire rack; cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours. Slice and serve.

Light and creamy with a hint of rum, sweet plump raisins and a crunchy spicy crust. What else can I say but that everyone loved it.

It was so yummy that my surfer was busted by M2 sneaking seconds. “Dad!!”“What?!? I don’t have anything!”

This cheesecake  is just too bloody brilliant for words. Look at all that rum soaked creamy goodness. Now that makes any Sunday mo bettah!

I’m not the only one who has found Pam’s new book, well excuse the pun, perfect. Today you will find quite a few people posting some recipes from Pam’s Perfect One Dish Dinners. I have listed the ones that I know of below, have fun checking them out. I just wanted to say thank you so much to Pam, Maggy and Sharon for passing along the gift of this lovely cook book when I was at their Big Summer Potluck. It has a few spots on the pages now and flour in the crevices but then again it’s loved.


Love ya,

Tickled Red

Warm, gooey, feta, sage sausage stuffed mushrooms happen to be one of my biggest down falls. Now if you don’t like fungus, as some people call mushrooms, make a creamy dip from the same recipe and serve with baguette slices. Don’t forget the olive tapenade on top. Goodness I could just swoon now…sigh.

I’m not allowed to show up at Thanksgiving or any other family event without these little babies in hand. I’m kind of proud of them seeing as how when I first met my surfer I evidently couldn’t cook. At all, what so ever. He still tells everyone to this day that he’s the reason I’m such a good cook and he’s right. I came up with this recipe because I adore stuffed mushrooms. Unfortunately most of the ones that I’ve tried have been dry or bland. These have flavor baby and by not frying the sausage before hand they stay moist. Also you’ll have plenty of the stuffing batch leftover from the recipe to make some dip if you choose to make both like I do. This of course appeases my love. He’s not a fan of mushrooms one little bit. He thinks that they taste like dirt gasp,blasphemy. Although he does love my stuffing recipe, so voila. Two recipes from one. The tapenade was one of those whims that I came up with one night. It’s ended up being the “cherries” on top so to speak.

These mushrooms are really simple to make, even if you go to the trouble to make them with homemade bread crumbs.


3-8 oz containers of button mushrooms

1-package of Jimmy Dean Sage sausage

2 or 3-4 oz Tomato basil feta cheese (depends on how much you love feta)

1-12 oz bottle of Cardini’s Caesar dressing

Pepperinchini to taste (1/2 tsp)

2- French baguette (or 1/3 bag of Pepperidge Farms Italian bread crumbs)

First preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

Tear up 3/4 of one of the baguette into small pieces and place in a baking pan. Toast for 10 minutes or just until crisp. Pulse in a blender until the pieces are crumbs.

Clean the mushrooms, then remove the stems & hollow them out (be careful not to go to deep). Arrange the mushroom caps in two glass rectangle baking dishes.

In a large mixing bowl mix sausage, 2 1/2 packages of feta cheese, the entire bottle of Cardini’s Caesar dressing and half of the toasted bread crumbs. Mix well. Add more bread crumbs as needed. The stuffing mix should resemble thick oatmeal.

Use a teaspoon to stuff your mushrooms, try to keep the stuffing around 1/2 an inch above the mushroom rim.

Cover the baking dishes with foil and bake the mushrooms at 350 degrees for 25- 30 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake a little longer until golden and bubbly (2 to 3 minutes max)


Left over stuffing

1-8 oz package of cream cheese


Take the left over stuffing, add the remainder of feta (if you have any), cream cheese and egg. Mix well. Place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Cut the rest of your baguette into approx 1/2 in slices , rub a garlic clove across the slices (this gives just enough flavor). Toast the slices under the broiler on low until lightly toasted (don’t step away, they will burn)

Olive Tapenade

1 1/2 cups mix of Kalamata, black olives,green olives, pitted (rinsed)

3  roasted red peppers out of the jar (rinsed)

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon salt (kosher or sea)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Chop olives and peppers between a fine and rough chop. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in oil and vinegar. Add to your lovely Feta Dip baguette slices.

I hope that y’all enjoy these as much as my family and I do. If you happen to hate them, lie to me.  Just kidding, you guys know that I love your honest direct comments. By the way I’ve finally caught up on my responses, I know I’ve been a bad, bad Red 🙂

Remember to have fun in your kitchen this weekend. Go ahead and play with this recipe, tweak it with some of your favorite flavors.


Tickled Red

Y’all might have guessed already but we went on an excursion this past weekend. A quick trip up the coast to the Outer Banks so that DS could meet some groms and do a little coaching. As with any trip short or long, I’m playing catch-up this week. In the mean time I thought that you guys might get a kick out of seeing a few pictures of the kids and their coach at the contest this past Sunday. I know I did. This was my first time watching my surfer in action with a fresh group of young die hard surfers. I’m used to watching him coach some of our local groms that I’ve watched grow up from the time they were tiny tadpoles. Those knuckleheads are use to me hanging around terrorizing them.

A couple of young competitors waiting ever so patiently, yet oh so intensely for their heats to begin.

Heat: A 20-30 minute competition where you are trying to accumulate points based on maneuvers, degree of difficulty, landings and the length of your ride. You’re only allowed a certain amount of waves.

“Alright son, make sure that you count your waves. You see that break over there? That’s where you should be. Don’t get caught up in the pack either…”

“Put me in coach! I’m ready”

This would be a pack during a heat. Everyone out there is jockeying for the same waves whenever they come rolling in. The fastest surfer wins the peak. But if you stand up and try to drop in on a wave at the same time as someone else you’ll get disqualified for that wave and loose points.

Dedicated parents who deserve a shout out. They run their kids up and down the east coast from VA to FL, even all the way to the west coast. On occasion they take them out of the country for some competitions. When I grew up there was only football, baseball and tennis. My softball team practiced once a week and had games on the weekend. Now I’m married to a traveling coach and raising part-time gypsies and by no means is that a complaint. I love our gypsy life!

This young man’s focus and dedication to his sport impressed me so much. If this cutie wasn’t in the water competing he was right beside DS as he was filming the other kids. Picking up pointers by chatting about the other heats while they were taking place in the water.

Eat while you can cutie, you don’t know it yet but your coach is a slave driver. No sugar, no sweets, no breaks…he’s a ruthless tyrant! Run, hide in the ocean. Maybe he won’t notice that you paused for a donut.

 Nah…just kidding, but you do need to stay out of the water long enough to enjoy your food darlin’. It’s should be savored love, not scarfed down in a millisecond between sessions.

Don’t forget, girls surf too! Not to mention they usually have the most colorful and stylish boards out there. I adore this sweet young girls polka-dots, I’m pretty sure that I had a pair of kicks that matched at one time.

This little lady works just as hard as the boys out there, sometimes competing along side of them during open heats. Okay, surf trivia time. See how she’s diving under the waves with her board, that’ s called “Duck Diving”.  I thought I’d share that little tidbit of lingo with y’all, just in case your life doesn’t happen to revolve around surfers, mountains of sand and lovely skintight wetsuits.


Okay, you busted me. This photo’s just for my personal pleasure and my compulsion to ogle my darlin’s bum. Sorry I couldn’t help myself, my Ga Ga’s have a mind of their own. 

I suppose it really is beneficial to review your heat with your coach right after the competition, but personally I would be distracted by the donuts and looking for the nearest tent to hide under. Hence some very good reasons why I’m not a competitive surfer. That and I’m a sloth.


After an all day marathon of… in the water brrrrrrr freeze…out of the water wait, wait, wait…in the water brrrrr freeze  it’s so nice to pack up, head for the hot tub, gorge on some pizza and pass out by 9pm. Surfers, they have it so rough don’t they?

 More Outer banks fun to come, as well as some yummies 🙂

Love you guys!

Tickled Red

My wish for you all everyday is that your days be as serene and peaceful as our east coast sunrises.

I love you guys!

Tickled Red

Y’all know my surfer is a California boy.

Stuck in the south.

For 23 years.

Married to lil’ ole me, about half of that time.

Lil’ ole me who tries ever so diligently to bring him over to the dark side.

Southernized dark side that is.

Grits, seafood chowder, country ham, country music.


Not for this Cali Boy.

Not at a surf contest.

ESPECIALLY not right before he competes.

Heaven forbid Mr. Announcer!

Yeah I said cut it, what of it Mr. Announcer?

67% of the population likes Country Music?

Don’t make me laugh!

You’re serious?

You’re hilarious!!

By the way my wife,  she’s Darth Vader in disguise.

She’s trying to bring me over to the dark side.


So hand over her Keith Urban CD already and let’s get this contest going.


Tickled Red aka Darth Vader

Did any of you out there guess what the slice of decadence is up there? If you guessed bread pudding pat your self on the back and treat yourself to something sweet. I would send you a slice but it’s all gone. Don’t ask me! I came home and all that was left of my bread pudding were some crumbs in my skillet. I must have mice.

I have had this recipe on the brain for quite sometime. It is a mix of two recipes. One from my great-grandmother and a creole bread pudding recipe from Commander’s Palace. I sort of threw the pantry into it so to speak. Lets just say that you have 2-3 hours to kill this weekend, here’s how you’ll want to do it. All you will need to go with it is a cup of coffee or a glass of milk and some mice.

Here is what you will need to get started…

1 tablespoon butter

12 medium eggs

3 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons pure vanilla

1 cup sugar

1 cup honey

1 teaspoon Chicago Spiced Sugar mix

1 oz dark  rum

1 loaf of french bread

1 cast iron skillet

Preheat the oven to 250

Whisk together the eggs and the cream in a large bowl. Yes 12 eggs y’all.

Add the dark rum. If you don’t have a weight at home use a little less than a shot.

Then add the vanilla.

And the honey. Y’all can thank my great grandma Effie Joe for the dark rum and honey contribution.

In a separate bowl…

Combine the sugar and the spiced sugar mix, stirring until well blended. I have always found a fork works best. Then add the sugar to the hopped up liquid mixture and whisk until well blended.

Slice the entire loaf of french bread into approx. 1 inch thick slices.

Arrange as many whole slices evenly in a large cast iron skillet. Tare some of the slices into small pieces and fill in the gaps.

Pour the mixture over the slices of bread. Can I just say, if I were a cat we wouldn’t make it past this part.

The bread will float so use a fork to push those little suckers back down. Make sure that they’re covered completely and begin to absorb the liquid.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 2  to 3 hours or until firm all the way through, depending on the heat of your oven. I use a kabob skewer to check. The bread pudding will puff up and expand while cooking so you don’t want the foil to bind it down. See…mid way through and all puffed up.

Remove the aluminum foil during the last 10 minutes or so to get that lovely golden toasted crust. Let the bread pudding cool when you remove it from the oven. Don’t be  alarmed when the bread pudding drops like a souffle gone bad. But this isn’t bad, this is soooo good.

Spoon some of that gloriously sweet rich bread pudding on a plate and serve warm. If you are daring and aren’t scared of sending your body into sugar shock add some white chocolate drizzle over it. I ain’t scared y’all!  Guess what? If by chance you have to run out but you’re wily like me and are on to those mice, cut yourself a slice and hide it way back in your fridge. I recommend the spot behind the science experiment. No one would dare to look there. It’s even better the next day. It might not be as gooey but it tastes divine.

Now I have a small dilemma with this recipe. My bread pudding needs a name, and Oscar is already taken. Do I call it Skillet Bread Pudding, Rum Bread Pudding, Rum Bread Pudding with White Chocolate Drizzle or Bread Pudding Suprise-Watch out for a spoon in the middle? I’m going to let you all decide.

As always have fun making this recipe and by all means, play around with it to make it your own.


Tickled Red