Food. Health. Lifestyle.

Nikki Shaw is the owner of Flavor Caterer and was a finalist on the third season of The Next Food Network Star. She is a graduate of Howard University and the Southeastern Culinary Academy. Check this section often for Flavor updates and daily recipes and for more information, visit ChefNikkiShaw.com

Today's Flavor with Chef Nikki Shaw

 

Thoughtful Thursday FRESH SUMMER VEGETABLE & PASTA SALAD

1 pound corkscrew pasta

3 bell peppers (green, red & yellow), chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced

½ cup black olives, chopped

1 6.5-ounce jar marinated artichokes, drained & chopped

½ cup red onion, chopped

1 cup olive oil

½ cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

1 cup fresh basil, chopped

Italian seasoning, to taste

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta according to directions on box. Drain pasta then place in a large bowl. Add bell peppers, tomatoes, olives, artichokes & onions to the bowl.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil & Italian seasoning. Pour dressing over pasta then toss. Season with salt & pepper. Serve room temperature or chilled.

servings: 8 / prep time: 15 minutes / cook time: 10 minutes

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Waistline_Wednesday BUTTERED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

2 pounds fresh Brussels Sprouts

2 cups water

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped

sea salt, to taste

1. Rinse sprouts with cold water & drain. In a large skillet, bring water to a boil. Add sprouts, cover & cook for 7 minutes or until tender. Drain the sprouts in a colander to remove all of the water.

2. In the large skillet, heat butter & garlic on medium heat for 1 minute. Add sprouts & sauté for 2 minutes. Lightly season with salt.

servings: 8 / prep time: 5 minutes / cook time: 10 minutes

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Quality Time Tuesday GRILLED SALMON & SPINACH “COCOONS”

4 6-ounce salmon fillets

¼ cup olive oil

4 cups raw spinach

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

¼ cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons green onion, finely chopped

1. Rinse salmon with cold water then dry with paper towels. Tear off four 2-foot long sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, fold each sheet in half to make stronger. Brush each 1-foot square with olive oil to prevent fish from sticking.

2. Pile 1-cup of spinach in the middle of each sheet of foil. Place a salmon fillet on top of each pile of spinach. Season each fillet with salt & pepper. Whisk together remaining olive oil, lime juice, honey & green onion. Gently curve edges of foil upward to prevent sauce from dripping out. Spoon sauce on top of each fillet.

3. Leaving fish flat, pull up the long sides of the foil to meet together evenly at the top. Fold the long sides down, leave 2-inches of space on top of salmon for steam to gather. Roll the short ends inward to seal the “cocoon”.

4. Grill the “cocoons” over indirect medium heat, with the grill lid closed for 20 minutes. Or, bake on 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the fish cool for 5 minutes before opening the foil.

servings: 4 / prep time: 15 minutes / cook time: 20 minutes

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Romantic Monday CHEWY PECAN BROWNIES & FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM

¼ cup unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup flour

pinch salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

½ cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped

French Vanilla ice cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch baking pan. In a saucepan on low heat, stir chocolate & butter together until melted. Remove from heat then let cool.

2. Pour mixture into a medium bowl then stir in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour, salt & baking powder. Stir vanilla & coffee powder together then add to mixture. Mix in pecans.

3. Pour batter into baking pan & bake for 20-25 minutes. When done, cool before cutting. Serve with ice cream on top.

servings: 12 / prep time: 15 minutes / cook time: 30 minutes

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Fun Friday___HAWAIIAN BBQ CHICKEN PIZZA

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1 cup BBQ sauce, separated

4 small ready-made pizza crusts

2 cups smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

2 cups pineapple chunks

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt & pepper, then generously brush on half of BBQ sauce. Bake chicken in a pan for 25 minutes. Let chicken cool then chop into small pieces.

2. Lay pizza crusts on baking sheets. Spoon remaining BBQ sauce onto each crust, then spread it all over the top leaving a ½-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over each pizza. Next, sprinkle chicken, pineapple & cilantro over each pizza.

3. Bake pizzas for about 10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Transfer pizzas to a cutting board. Cut into wedges then serve hot.

servings: 4 / prep time: 15 minutes / cook time: 35 minutes

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Thoughtful Thursday HONEY-LIME GRILLED LOBSTER

4 8-ounce lobster tails

Old Bay seafood seasoning, to taste

8 wooden skewers

1 stick butter

¼ cup fresh lime juice

¼ cup honey

1. Using kitchen scissors split each lobster tail in half lengthwise. Sprinkle each piece with Old Bay seasoning. Thread a skewer lengthwise through the center of the meat of each piece; this will prevent the tail from curling during cooking.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. After the butter has melted, skim the foam off the top. Stir lime juice & honey into the saucepan. Pour ½ cup of the sauce into a small bowl to reserve for dipping.

3. Brush the sauce over the lobster meat. Grill the tails over medium-low heat. Cook until the meat turns white, about 2-3 minutes. Turn the tails over & grill for 5 minutes longer. Remove from the grill & serve with the reserved butter sauce on the side.

servings: 4 / prep time: 10 minutes / cook time: 10 minutes

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Waistline Wednesday MANGO SORBET – GLUTEN FREE

6 cups fresh mango, peeled & chopped

¼ cup sugar

pinch salt

1 teaspoon lime peel, grated

¼ cup light corn syrup

1. In a blender, puree mango. In a large saucepan, heat 1 cup of mango puree with sugar, salt & lime peel. Stir mixture over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Whisk in remaining puree & corn syrup.

2. Pour mango mixture into a 9-inch metal pan & freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Let frozen mixture soften at room temperature for 5 minutes. Break up frozen mixture with a knife & place pieces back into blender. Pulse mixture in batches until smooth.

3. Pour the smooth mixture into a freezer-safe container & freeze for 4 hours or overnight. Let sorbet stand for 5 minutes before scooping.

servings: 8 / prep time: 8 hours-overnight / cook time: 10 minutes

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Quality Time Tuesday CRISPY CALIFORNIA CRAB CAKES

2 cups safflower oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons sweet hot mustard

1 egg, beaten

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Old Bay seafood seasoning

2 cups lump crab meat

2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

1. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. In a separate small pan, lightly sauté butter & garlic for 1 minute. In a medium bowl, combine butter, garlic, mayonnaise, mustard, egg, cilantro, lemon juice & seafood seasoning. Stir mixture well then gently fold in crab meat.

2. Pour Panko into a small dish. Shape crab mixture into 2-inch cakes then completely coat with Panko. Shape & lay all cakes on a cookie sheet until ready to fry.

3. Place crab cakes in hot oil & cook for 1½ minutes on each side. Transfer crab cakes to paper towels to soak up excess oil.

servings: 8 / prep time: 15 minutes / cook time: 10 minutes

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Romantic Monday TROPICAL FRUIT SMOOTHIE

1 cup pineapple, chopped

1 cup bananas, chopped

1 cup mango, chopped

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup mango sorbet

1. Cut all of the fruit into 1-inch pieces. Place the cut fruit into resealable freezer bags. Seal bags & freeze for 4 hours or overnight.

2. Place frozen fruit, pineapple juice & mango sorbet in a blender. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Serve in wine glasses & garnish rim with sliced fruit. servings: 4 / prep time: 4½ hours / cook time: 0 minutes

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Fun Friday__CRISPY FRIED CHICKEN FINGERS

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup milk

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons seasoned salt

2 teaspoons pepper

safflower oil

1. Cut each piece of chicken lengthwise into 4 strips. Place chicken & buttermilk in a large bowl, then refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove chicken from buttermilk & pat dry with paper towels. In a bowl, whisk together eggs & milk. In plastic bag combine flour, garlic powder, seasoned salt & pepper.

2. In a large heavy skillet, heat 1-inch of oil on medium-high heat (350 degrees). Working in batches, coat chicken in egg mixture first. Then, coat chicken in flour mixture.

3. Fry the first batch of chicken for 10-12 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time. Remove chicken from oil & place on paper towels.

servings: 6 / prep time: 2 hours / cook time: 25 minutes

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