Labor Day Filet with Red Wine Reduction

Recently on a family trip to the 30A area of the Florida panhandle we were visiting one of our favorite local restaurants to take advantage of the abundance of fresh seafood not found in the land-locked state of Tennessee.  That night at dinner we had a couple of nice surprises:

(1) We ran into some friends that were also visiting the same restaurant and staying in the area (isn’t it cool when you are hundreds of miles away from your stomping ground and you see someone you think looks familiar and when you get closer, you realize “Hey, that IS you…!”)

(2)  Our daughter loves salmon and catfish but isn’t much of a seafood fan so she IMG_6152 (002)went the “turf” route of “surf n turf” and chose the filet medallions with red wine reduction.  Served with mashed potatoes, she said it was the best steak she ever had and didn’t stop raving about her dinner, even when we were back home in Tennessee.

So…..we tried it at home and I must say, the results were pretty darn successful!  Tonya picked up some nice filets from a local butcher (we usually stick to rib-eyes or New York strips so Filet Mignon is a treat!) and we had a bottle of red wine ready to go. We rubbed the filets with cracked black pepper and ghost pepper sea salt (from Gulf Coast Saltworks out of Panama City, FL) and IMG_6160 (002)

then seared on the grill to lock in the juices, finishing the meat on indirect heat.  Served with mashed potatoes (the reduction makes a fantastic gravy!) and grilled asparagus, our daughter said it was “almost” as good as what she had at the restaurant but we all agreed it was an instant house-hold favorite!  Good enough to lick the cast-iron skillet!





Labor Day Filet with Red Wine Reduction

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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3-4 10-12 oz Filets, seared in pan or on grill and cooked to desired wellness and set aside.IMG_6142 (002)

2 cups red wine

1-2 tbsp finely chopped shallots

5 tbsp butter

salt and pepper to taste

Start by sauteing the shallots in 1 tbsp butter and any juices from the filets in a heavy skillet over low to medium heat until tender and translucent.  Add the 2 cups of red wine, bring to a simmer and reduce by half.  Stir in the remaining butter 1 tbsp at a time until the reduction is smooth and syrupy.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour the reduction the steaks and serve immediately.


So Easy Fish Tacos

(This is Tonya hijacking Scot’s blog again…)

We have a rule in our house:  Whoever gets home from work first is in charge of dinner.  Lucky for me, I often beat my husband home!  I am always looking for a quick meal, one which can be ready in less than 30 minutes and this is definitely one of those meals.  They are also a delicious healthy alternative to burgers this Memorial Day weekend. 

Cooking your fish in a heavy skillet (iron skillets work great) will keep it moist and help cook it more evenly.  If you would rather cook on the grill simply wrap fish, oil and spices in aluminum foil and cook over medium high heat approximately 3-4 minutes per side.  We love this fish served on a tortilla with kale or cabbage and topped with avocado and pico de gallo.  Enjoy!

So Easy Fish Tacos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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IMG_5753 (002)

4 tilapia fillets

2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp paprika

Salt and pepper

Tortillas, avocado, salsa, shredded kale or cabbage, pico de gallo, or any other of your favorite toppings.


Pat tilapia fillets dry with paper towel.  Heat olive oil 1 to 2 minutes over medium-high heat in a large heavy skillet.  Stir in spices.  Reduce heat to medium.  Place fish fillets in pan and cook on one side 3 minutes.  Carefully turn fillets and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until fish is white and flaky.  Reduce heat to low and break apart fish in skillet.  Your fish is ready for tacos!


Back to Scot…

As I stated when I started this blog I am a lucky guy!  And traffic is awful so I usually get home around dinner time which means Tonya has probably created a wonderful dinner with an aroma that immediately hits me as I walk in the garage.

So I will contribute a beer pairing.  Truth be told, I don’t actually worry about the pairing because  I KNOW dinner will be great!  I like to recommend beers I have tried and enjoyed with the meal and hope others will like them as well.  IMG_5651 (002)

Take this suggestion:  Miro Miel Honey Blonde Ale by East Nashville Beer Works.  It’s a light and crisp beer using local honey and actually compliments the fish tacos and balances the saltiness of the fish and tortilla chips!  If you are in Nashville make sure and visit the brewery’s taproom!

Huli Huli Chicken Wings

Tonya and I decided to forego our wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii this year and instead spent the weekend working the concession stand at our daughter Emma’s school, taxiing eight high-schoolers from a dance to late night bowling and watching a middle school performance of The Wizard of Oz.  Hawaii could come to our kitchen, by golly!

One of the highlights of the weekend was doing what we like to do the most, spending img_5247Saturday night together working on a recipe.  Inspired by an recent episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, we channeled our inner “Polynesian”, threw on our hula skirt and coconut shell bras and put our spin on a batch of Huli huli marinade for some chicken wings!

Huli huli chicken is a common and favorite Hawaiian dish that is generally found at roadside stands or food trucks along highways on the islands.  Huli huli chicken was originally created and trademarked by Ernest Morgado in 1955 as he developed his version of teriyaki chicken. Huli means “turn” in Hawaiian. Ernest created a “rotisserie” using two mesh grates to turn large amounts of chicken at one time while liberally basting the chicken with the marinade. His original recipe remains a secret but many variations are used today.

img_5244While the recipes differ on some levels the primary ingredients include ginger root, pineapple juice, ketchup, sherry or chicken broth, soy sauce and brown sugar.  As long as these staples are included the Huli huli marinade remains intact. The key is that this is a marinade so the measurements or amounts don’t have to be exact and can include garlic, Sriracha, rice vinegar, dry mustard or lemon juice.

Huli huli chicken is frequently skin-on chicken pieces grilled and served with sticky white rice.  We decided we didn’t enjoy enough wings last weekend at the big football game party so used the Huli huli marinade on chicken wings and substituted the sticky white rice with brown rice topped with sauteed zucchini and onions.  Huli huli would be fantastic on chicken thighs, too!

Huli huli chicken wings

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
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20-25 assorted chicken drumettes and wings or 4-5 chicken pieces


1/3 cup ketchupimg_5257

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

1/4 cup sherry or chicken broth

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsps Sriracha

1 piece ginger root, grated and crushed

4 green onions, chopped

1/4 tsp dry mustard

Mix all ingredients in bowl, stirring until brown sugar, honey and dry mustard are dissolved.  Set aside about 1 cup of marinade and pour the remaining over the chicken in a large plastic bag, seal bag tight and refrigerate at least 4-8 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, brush your grill grates with cooking oil, and once the grill is pre-heated, cook the chicken until the juices are clear, turning and basting frequently with the marinade you set aside.


Speaking of beer, you would think I would suggest something like Kona Longboard or a Coconut Stout to go with the Huli huli wings.  Actually, a great pairing was the Sunseeker Pils, a light bodied pilsner brewed by Green Man Brewery, located in one of the coolest towns east of the Mississippi,  Asheville NC.  Sunseeker was the perfect beer to evoke thoughts of sunshine along with the island fare!