Friday, September 12, 2014

Puff Pastry Goat Cheese Heirloom Tomato Tart


1 Sheet Puff Pastry - Thawed 40 minutes
1/2 lb Mini Heirloom tomatoes - Cut in 1/2
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 tbsp Salt
1/4 tbsp Pepper
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
5 oz Goat Cheese - Room Temp
4 oz. Mascarpone Cheese - Room Temp
4 Large Garlic Cloves - Thinly Sliced
1/4 Red Onion - Thinly Sliced
2 tbsp Capers
1 tbsp Basil - Thinly Sliced

In a bowl add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper, evoo and mix to combine.  Let marinate for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry and place on a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and sprayed with cooking spray.  Roll the edges in about 1/2 inch to form a border.

In a bowl combine the goat cheese and mascarpone cheese.  Spread on the puff pastry.  Divide the garlic slices along the cheese mixture.  Add the red onion, tomatoes and capers, spreading out evenly.  Drizzle the puff pastry w/ the marinade.

Place the puff pastry in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the crust becomes golden and topping is just starting to brown.  Sprinkle w/ the basil, let cool about 10 minutes then slice and serve.  Can also be served room temperature.  Enjoy.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Roasted Stuffed Hatch Chilis


4 Hatch Chilis - Sliced in 1/2 longwise, seeds, ribs removed
1 tbsp EVOO
1/2 Onion - Diced
3 Garlic Cloves - Smashed - Diced
1 Cup Mushrooms - Small Dice
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
10 Ground Turkey
2 Cups Kale - Fine Chop
3/4 pkg Queso Fresco - Crumbled
2 tbsp Parmentone Cheese - Grated (use Parmesan as a substitute)

In a pan over med/high heat add in the evoo, onion, garlic & mushrooms.  Cook for about 10 minutes until the veggies are slightly softened and browned.  Add in the salt, pepper & paprika.  Cook for another 2 minutes.

Add in the turkey and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the kale and cook another 3 minutes.  Remove to a bowl.  Add in the 2 kinds of cheese and mix thoroughly.

Line a baking dish wil foil and spray with non stick spray.  Preheat your oven to 425.  Stuff the mixture into the chilies and line the tray.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and the cheese has melted.  Enjoy.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Salted Caramel Sauce


Ingredients:
3 Cups Sugar
3/4 Cup Water
2 1/4 Cups Heavy Cream
10 1/2 tbsp Unsalted Butter - Cut into small pieces
3 tbsp Pink Sea Salt  - Or Regular Sea Salt

Directions:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.

Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream.  The mixture will bubble.  Stir in the unsalted butter and salt.  Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool.

* The salted caramel sauce will keep in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.  Reheat before serving.
* Original Recipe w/ smaller portions:
http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/salted-caramel-sauce.html

Friday, August 15, 2014

Coconut Milk Braised Pork Loin


2 2lb. Pork Loins
1 tbsp (each) - Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Thyme
1/2 tsp (each) - Taco Seasoning, Cumin, Poultry Seasoning
1 Cup Dried Apricots - Large Chop
1 Stalk Celery - Large Chop
1/2 Onion - Large Chop
2 Garlic Cloves - Smashed
1 Can Coconut Milk
3 Cups Chicken Stock
2 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)

Generously season the 2 pork loins with the spices making sure to cover the entire thing.  In a Dutch Oven or any large pot that can go in the oven, over med/high heat, add the evoo and butter and sear the pork loins on all sides.  Remove from the pot and add the apricots, celery, onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes scraping up all the bits of the pork loin stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Add back in the pork loins and cover with the coconut milk and chicken stock.  It should almost cover the pork loins but not completely.  Place lid on pot and set in a pre-heated 350 degree oven, turning the pork loins every hour.

Remove from oven, remove lid and let rest for about 15 minutes.  Remove the pork.  Put the pot on med/high heat and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes.  The liquid should basically come up to a bubble and break down any remaining bits of the apricots and veggies.  The apricots will thicken the sauce so no need for flour or corn starch.

Slice the pork loin into about 1-2" slices.  I served mine over garlic mashed potatoes but it would be good w/ buttered noodles or rice as well.  Garnish w/ parsley and enjoy.  The pork will be fall apart tender and the sauce will be slightly sweet and spicy.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Homemade Granola Bars


1/2 Cup Almonds - Chopped
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Flaxseed Meal
1/2 Cup Quinoa - Uncooked
1 Cup Oats
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter - Heated in microwave for 30-45 seconds
2 Egg Whites - Beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
6x9 Baking dish lined w/ foil and sprayed with cooking spray

In a large bowl mix the almonds, cranberries, chocolate chips, flaxseed, quinoa, and oats.  Stir in the peanut butter, egg whites and salt to combine.

Spread on the baking dish and press down to form a firm base.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Cut into about 1" cubes.  Enjoy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eggplant Parmesan


2 Large Eggplant - Peeled & Sliced about 1/2" thick
3 Eggs - Beaten
1 Cup Flour
3 Cups Sundried Tomato Basil Wheat Thins - Use a blender or food processor to turn into crumbs
3 Cups Tomato Sauce - I make my own but your favorite brand is fine
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Basil - Torn
9 Slices Mozzarella Cheese - About 1/4" thick
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Shredded
Canola Oil - or Vegetable Oil

Over a wire rack placed over a cookie sheet place the sliced eggplant.  Generously salt both sides and set aside for 1 hour.  The salt will draw out the bitterness in the eggplant and make all the difference in the world in the taste.  After an hour, rinse the eggplant under water to remove the salt and pat dry with a paper towel.

In a pan over med/high heat add about 1/4" of oil and heat to the point if you dropped a tiny bit of flour in it would sizzle.  Working quickly and in an assembly line take each slice of eggplant and dredge in the four, tapping off any excess.  Then dredge in the beaten egg and then the wheat thins and place in the pan.

Fry on each side about 1-2 minutes or until golden and browned then place on either a wire rack to drain or on paper towels to drain off any excess oil.  Repeat process until all are fried, adding oil as needed.

In an 8x8" pan place a ladle full of tomato sauce on the bottom and move around to cover bottom of pan.  Layer in a single layer of eggplant.  Cut to fit if necessary.  Ladle another tomato sauce layer, sprinkle 1/3 of the basil over the eggplant.  Repeat 2 more times to make a total of 3 layers.

Divide the ricotta cheese over the eggplant in dollops, place the slices of mozzarella cheese over that and the remaining tomato sauce.  Sprinkle the top with the parmesan cheese.

Place in a preheated 350 degree oven.  I put it on a cookie sheet in case there was spillage.  Cook for 35-40 minutes when the top should be a nice bubbly brown.  Let sit about 15 minutes before serving. Should serve about 4-6 servings.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Mock Banana Nutella Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Ice Cream


3 Bananas - Diced & Frozen
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Cup Nutella
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon


In a food processor or blender add the bananas, yogurt, peanut butter, nutella, salt and cinnamon.  Blend until a smooth consistency.  Transfer to a container and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

It's a great, healthier version of ice cream for the hot summer months.  The salt helps cut the sweetness.  Mix it up by, after blending, add in peanuts or candies.  Enjoy.

Original version of the recipe courtesy of Food Network:  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/geoffrey-zakarian/frozen-banana-yogurt-with-peanut-butter-and-chocolate-hazelnut-swirl.html

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Zucchini Carrot Fritters


3 Med / Large Zucchini - Shredded
2 Carrots - Shredded
1/2 Large Onion - Shredded
3 Garlic Cloves - Smashed & Finely Diced
2 Eggs - Beaten
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Coriander
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Cup Bisquick
3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese - Shredded
Canola Oil
Butter

Put the zucchini in a kitchen towel and squeeze until all the liquid comes out.  In a large bowl add the zucchini, carrots, onion and garlic.  Mix to combine.  Add the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne and mix to combine.  Add in the eggs, biscuit mix and parmesan cheese and mix to combine.

In a non-stick skillet over medium heat add 1 tbsp canola oil and 1 tbsp butter.  Scoop zucchini mixture into pan (about 1/4 cup) and pat down to about 2" circles.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown.  I covered the pan to allow the center to cook.

Drain on a paper towel after removing from pan.  As a topping I mixed together sour cream and dill and put a dollop on each one.  Enjoy.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Peach Nectarine Blueberry Crostata


Dough

1 1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Sugar
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Cold Butter - Cubed
1/4 Cold Milk
1 - 2 tbsp Water (if needed)

Filling

3 Peaches - Peeled & Sliced
3 Nectarines - Sliced
1/4 Cup Blueberries (I used frozen because that's what I had)
1/4 Cup Flour + 1 tbsp
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves

In a food processor add the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon and pulse a few times to combine.  Add in the butter cubes and pulse until a coarse meal consistency.  Add in the milk and pulse again until combined.  Should be like wet sand.  If needed add in 1 -2 tbsp of water if dough is too dry.

Pour dough out onto the counter and form into a ball.  Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap.  Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While dough is in the fridge start on the filling.  In a large bowl add the peaches, nectarines, blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and mix to combine.  In batches add in the 1/4 cup flour and mix between batches to coat the fruit.  You don't want to dump it all in at once and clump up.

While the dough is resting in the fridge occasionally come back to the fruit and stir.  It will start giving off juices and you want to keep mixing to keep coating the fruit.

After at least 30 minutes take the dough out and with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch consistency.  It doesn't have to be perfect and if there are holes just patch them.  It will be about 14 inches in diameter.

Spray a cooking sheet (with sides) w/ cooking spray and place the dough on the sheet.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of flour over the dough.  Using a slotted spoon place the fruit in the center of the dough and spread out, leaving about a 2" diameter to the edges.  Fold up the edges over the fruit, crimping the edges along the way, patching any holes to keep the juices in the dough while it cooks.

Place tart in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 35 minutes.  Keep an eye on it as ovens vary, may take a minute or two more or less.  You're looking for a golden crust.

When tart is out of the oven, heat up 1/4 cup of apricot preserves in the microwave until loose (about 15-30 seconds).  Brush the preserves over the tart.  Let cool for about 15 minutes and then serve.  Can also be served at room temp or topped with basil infused marscarpone cheese or vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sweet & Spicy Ketchup


10 Roma Tomatoes - Diced
1 Cup Sugar
1 Medium Onion - Diced
4 Garlic Cloves - Smashed & Diced
2 tbsp Molasses
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp Cumin
1 tbsp Pepper
1 Cup Cantaloupe - Diced
1/4 tsp Cayenne
2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

In a medium size pot combine the tomatoes, sugar, onion, garlic, molasses, salt, cumin & pepper.  Over high heat bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer for about 15 minutes.  Use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes, etc. and simmer for about 45 minutes (covered).

Uncover and cook 30 minutes.  Add in the cantaloupe, cayenne & vinegar and cook another 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.  Strain through a wire colander or a food mill and put back on stove to thicken on med / low heat (about 10 minutes).  Adjust seasoning if necessary.  Place in airtight container in fridge.  Enjoy.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Homemade Guacamole


4 Garlic Cloves - Smashed - Preferably roasted
2 tbsp - Red Onion - Finely Diced
1/2 Roasted Red Pepper - Finely Diced
4 Avocados - Diced
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/2 Lime - Juiced
3 Dashes Cayenne Pepper

In a bowl add the garlic, onion, red peppers and avocado.  With a fork smash the avocado.  Add salt, pepper, lime juice and cayenne pepper.  Mix to combine.  Taste and adjust for seasoning.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Asian Meatballs


16 oz. Ground Chicken
16 oz. Ground Pork
1 Cup Grilled (or Roasted) Peppers, Chopped
1 Fresno Pepper - Seeded, Chopped
1" Sliced Grilled Onion (about 1/4 cup)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 tbsp Grated Ginger
1 tbsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs

Sauce:
3 tbsp Low Sodium Sauce
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Water
3 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp Trader Joes Sesame Soy Ginger Marinade
1 Green Onion - Thinly sliced on an angle
1 Fresno Chili - Seeded, Thinly sliced
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Seeds

In a food processor add the grilled peppers, fresno pepper, onion, salt, pepper, ginger.  Pulse into a paste.  In a large bowl add the chicken, pork, paste mixture, soy sauce, sugar, mustard, sesame oil, bread crumbs.  With a fork, mix to combine.  Take a small scoop and microwave it about 30-45 seconds or until cooked.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Using a small 1" scoop make balls about 1".  Put on a large cookie sheet (with sides) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 13-15 minutes.

While meatballs are in the oven, in a large bowl add the soy sauce, mustard, water, sugar, marinade.  Mix to combine.  Let the meatballs sit for about 5 minutes then toss in the sauce.  Garnish with the green onion, fresno chili and sesame seeds.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stuffed Pork Roast


3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Pork Roast - About 2 1/2 - 3 lb - Butterflied
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Onion Powder
2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
5 Garlic Cloves - Finely Diced
3 oz. Thinly Sliced Speck Proscuitto
1 Bunch Rapini - Blanched in Salted Water for about 5 minutes.
1 1/2 Roasted Red Peppers - I grilled mine
4 oz. Goat Cheese - Crumbled
1 tbsp Poultry Seasoning
1/2 Cup Hot Water

After you butterfly the roast, season with salt, pepper and onion powder.  Coat the roast with the dijon mustard and sprinkle the garlic over evenly.  Layer the proscuitto, rapini, pepper and goat cheese evenly along the roast.  Roll up the roast and use string to tie it closed then generously sprinkle with poultry seasoning.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a skillet ( I use cast iron) that can go in the oven, over med/high heat, heat the oil.  Brown the roast on all sides and the ends.  Add the water and transfer to the oven for 35 minutes or until the internal temp reads 145 degrees.  Let rest 10-15 minutes before carving.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

German Chocolate Cake Cookies


1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
3/4 Cup Crisco
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Espresso Powder

Filling:
3/4 Cup Evaporated Milk
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1/2 Tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Coconut Flakes
1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl add the eggs, crisco, salt and espresso powder.  Mix to combine then add the cake mix.  Mix to combine.  It will become thick and almost like a dough.

Using a small ice cream scoop (size of a mellon baller) scoop out the batter onto the lined baking sheets.  Lightly press each ball into about a 2” diameter and about 1/4 high.  They will not spread so you can put them fairly close together.

Bake for about 7-10 minutes.  Mine took 9 minutes.  Cool completely.

In a saucepan over medium heat add the evaporated milk, brown sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.  Whisk together and bring to a boil.  Once it boils cook for about 4 minutes whisking constantly until thickens.  Remove from heat and add the coconut and almonds.  Stir to combine then cool completely.


The cookies should pretty much be the exact same size but if not, try to match up accordingly.  Take about 1 tbsp of the filling and spread on one side of the cookie then place the other cookie on top and press gently to even out the filling and smoosh the cookie together.  Enjoy.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Cinnamon Rolls


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
6 tbsp Butter – 3 tbsp & 3 tbsp
1 packet instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp Espresso Powder
Topping:
¼ Cup Sugar
¼ Cup Heavy Cream
½ tsp Salt
¼ Cup Chopped Almonds + 1 tbsp

In the microwave heat the almond milk and 3 tbsp butter until 110 degrees

Transfer mixture to a stand mixer and sprinkle on yeast. Let activate for 10 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp sugar and the salt and stir.

Next add in flour 1/2 cup at a time until combined and dough is pulling away from the sides.  Add dough to a large bowl coated w / Vegetable Oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

When the dough is almost finished rising, in a pan over medium heat add ¼ cup sugar, 3 tbsp butter, cinnamon and espresso powder.  Wait for it to melt and stir to combine.

In another pan, over med/high heat add 1/4 cup sugar and  wait till it melts.  Shake the pan to ensure it all melts evenly.  It will look like it's burning but don't let it.  Let it completely melt and come to a dark brown color then add the heavy cream , salt and almonds. Stir to combine then remove.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle about 1/4" thick and about 12" long. Brush with the sugar, cinnamon mixture and sprinkle w/ 1 tbsp almonds.

Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a serrated knife, cut the dough into 1 inch sections, you should have about 12 rolls.

Butter an 8×8 square pan along the bottom and sides.  Pour the sugar, cream mixture along the bottom, coating evenly.  Place the cut rolls in the pan and press down gently.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes then place a plate over the rolls and invert them onto the plate. (the bottom of the baking pan w/ the almond sugar mixture now becomes the topping for the rolls).  Enjoy.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Double Stuffed Oreo Cookies



1 pkg Devils Food Cake Mix
2 Eggs
¾ Cup Vegetable Shortening
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp Espresso Powder

8 oz pkg Cream Cheese – room temp
½ cup Butter – room temp
2 tsp vanilla
2 cup Powdered Sugar

In a mixing bowl add the cake mix, eggs, shortening, salt and espresso powder and mix about 2 minutes until everything is combined. It will look like a fudge consistency.

Take a cookie scooper or 2 teaspoons and make the cookie balls.  Place them on a cookie sheet lined w/ parchment paper.  I used a cookie scooper and they ended up being too big so maybe cut it in ½.  Flatten out cookies.

Place cookies in a 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes.  (Mine took 9 minutes).  Place on a cooling rack for at least ½ hour.

In a bowl combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Mix to combine.

Spoon frosting onto the cookie and place the other cookie on top.  Enjoy.

Original version of recipe from:
http://www.thepinkapronblog.com/cooking/homemade-oreo-cookies

Monday, February 17, 2014

Homemade Sweet Potato Tater Tots


2 large sweet potatoes
Sea Salt
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
½ cup flour
Vegetable Oil

In a med/large pot cover the potatoes with water by about 2 inches.  Add in about 4 tbsp sea salt.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes or until a knife can pierce easily, but still firm.  Remove potatoes and let cool for about 5-10 minutes, then peel and roughly chop.

Add the potatoes in the food processor in batches and pulse about 5-10 times until you get a coarse chop.  Do not puree.  You want texture.  Add the potatoes into a bowl w/the sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper.  Stir in the ½ cup flour to combine.

In a medium saucepan heat the vegetable oil on med / high heat to about 350 degrees.  (I added a dash of garlic oil and a dash of hot pepper oil, or you could smash a garlic clove and place in the oil until browned and then removed).  Using a small cookie scoop or melon baler, scoop about a 1” ball of potato mixture into the oil and cook for about 2 minutes each side or until golden brown.  Remove onto a cooling rack or a tray lined with paper towels.

Dipping sauces are great but these should be so flavorful you won’t need any.  Enjoy.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Homemade Soft Pretzels



1 ½ cups warm water (110 – 115 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ tbsp kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast

4 ½ cups flour
4 tbsp butter (melted and cooled)

7 cups boiling water
¼ cup baking soda

1 egg – beaten
1 tsp water

Toppings:
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp toasted garlic
1 tsp toasted onion

In a stand mixer combine the water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Add in the butter and flour and using the dough hook, mix on low for about 5 minutes.  If you don’t have a stand mixer then mix by hand in a bowl and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed by hand for about 10 minutes.

Remove dough from mixer, oil bottom and sides of mixer and place dough back in bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  I sealed mine with a rubber band to ensure the seal.  Set aside for 1 hour in a warm dry place.  I had turned my oven on to warm and set the bowl on my stove covered with a towel.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and generously spray with non stick cooking spray.  Pour dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a large shallow pot or pan (about 3” tall) add water and bring to a boil.

Lightly kneed the dough into a long log.  Cut the log into 16 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a long rope about 16” long and about ½” thick.  Take each piece by either end and twist together 1 or 2 times and lay over the untwisted part making a pretzel shape.  Set aside. 

When the water comes to a boil add the baking soda.  Gently put the pretzels into the boiling water in batches for 30 seconds.  I fit 4 at a time in mine.  Using a spider or a slotted spoon remove the pretzels onto the baking sheet.

Lightly brush with the beaten egg and water mixture and whatever toppings you want.  I used salt, garlic and onion.  Bake for about 13-15 minutes.  In my oven it was closer to 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Immediately remove from baking sheet to a cooling rack.  Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. This recipe made about 16 pretzels and only takes 2 hours start to finish

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hot Garlic Dill Pickles

18 Pickling Cucumbers – cut into ¼ long strips
1 Large Red Onion – Sliced into strips long wise
20 Garlic Cloves – Peeled & Smashed
2 Carrots – About 4” long and cut into ¼ strips
4 Fresno Chili Peppers – Sliced w/ seeds
3 Serrano Chili Peppers – Cut in ½ w/ seeds
2.3 oz Package of Fresh Dill
The Brine:
¾ Cup Pickling Salt
1 tbsp Black Peppercorns
½ Cup Pickling Spice
3 Cups Water
¾ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
½ Cup White Vinegar
½ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

Rinse your pickling jars and rings in hot soapy water.  Set aside and let dry fully. 

In a med/large pot add the ingredients for the brine and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer for about 3-4 minutes.

While the brine is on the stove, equally divide the dill into the bottom of 6 pint containers.  Add in the other ingredients in equal parts.  Pour the brine over the pickles leaving about ½” from the top.

Place lids on jars and screw to close but not too tight.  Place jars in large pot of water covering the jars by about 2” of water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.  Remove jars, tighten seal and set aside in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.  Then Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Chicken, Lentil & Chick Pea Soup

2 tbsp Bacon Fat
2 Ribs Celery – Diced
1 Onion – Diced
4 Large Garlic Cloves- Minced
1 tsp Grated Ginger
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 Jalapeno – Seeded, Diced
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
1 Cup Lentils
6 Cups Chicken Stock
1 14.5 Can Diced Tomatoes
2 Cups Diced Chicken
2 Cans Chick Peas – drained

In a large pot over med/high heat add the bacon fat.  Add onions and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Add in the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add in ginger, salt, pepper, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, Dijon mustard and tomato paste.  Stir to combine and cook about 2 minutes.  Add in thyme and lentils and cook about 3-4 minutes.  Add in the chicken stock and simmer w/ a lid cracked for 20-25 minutes or until the lentil are cooked with a slight bite to them.

Add in the tomatoes, chicken and chick peas.  Simmer about 10-15 minutes or until the broth becomes a little thicker.  Enjoy.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Stuffing



1 ½ Loaves of French or Italian Bread – Cubed
2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning
½ Tsp Pepper

2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
½ Onion – Diced
1 Leek – Diced and rinsed in a bowl of water
2 Ribs Celery - Diced
2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
2 Eggs – Beaten
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Poultry Seasoning
1 Tbsp Pepper
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Celery Salt
6 Cups Turkey or Chicken Stock

In a large bowl combine the bread, evoo and seasonings and mix together.  Spread out on a sheet tray and cook in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until browned.

In a pan over med/high heat melt bacon fat and add in onion and leeks.  Cook about 15-20 minutes or until caramelized.  Add in the garlic and celery for the last 5 minutes.  In a large bowl beat eggs and add in salt, poultry seasoning, pepper, cayenne pepper and celery salt.  Add in the toasted bread and mix thoroughly. 

Pour mixture into a baking dish and add in the stock.  Press the bread mixture into the stock to soak it all in.  Cover with foil.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 ½ hours.  Take foil off and bake about another 30 minutes until stock is mostly absorbed and top is golden brown.

Peanut Butter Cup Squares

12 Tbsp Butter – Melted
2 Cups Pretzels – crushed in a blender but still some small bits.
1 ½ Cups Confectioners Sugar
1 Cup + ¼ Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1 ½ Cups Extra Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Tbsp Brewed Coffee (use leftover from morning)
1 Tsp Sea Salt

In a medium bowl combine the butter, pretzels, confectioners sugar and 1 cup peanut butter until mixed thoroughly.  Press into a 9 x 13 pan.  Wet your fingers to press it out evenly and not stick.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, ¼ cup peanut butter and coffee.  Heat about 30-60 seconds to melt.  Stir to combine until smooth and pour over peanut butter mixture.  Set in fridge for about 10 minutes and then sprinkle top with salt.  Put back in fridge for about another 50 minutes.  Enjoy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts



1 Hot Linguica Sausage Link (approx 7 oz) – Diced
1 lb. Brussels Sprouts – End trimmed and sliced in ½
1 Medium Onion – Sliced
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
2 Garlic Cloves – Minced
1 tbsp Salt
½ tbsp Pepper
2 Cups Turkey Stock

In a large pan over low/medium heat add the sausage.  The goal is to cook it low and slow to render out the fat and make it crispy.  Mine took about 20 minutes.  Take sausage out and set aside.

Add in the sliced onion and cook about 3 minutes over medium/high heat.  Add in the bacon fat and brussels sprouts – sliced side down and cook about 5 minutes or until they are caramelized.  Add in the salt, pepper and turkey stock.  Cover and simmer about 20 minutes.  Remove lid, turn heat up to medium/high and cook about another 20 minutes or until all the liquid is gone.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vegetable Beef Barley Soup



2 Cups Barley – Cooked
2 Tbsp EVOO
½ Pound Beef Chuck – Diced
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
1 Med. Onion – Diced
3 Carrots – Diced
1 Cup Cremini Mushrooms – Sliced
2 Celery Ribs – Diced
3 Cloves Garlic – Diced
3 Med. Potatoes – Peeled, Diced
1 Cup Green Beans – ½” Cut
¼ Cup Ketchup
½ Tbsp Mustard
½ Cup Marsalla Wine
¼ Tsp Fresh Rosemary – Finely chopped
4 Cups Beef Stock
4 tbsp Flour


Cook barley according to instructions – usually 45 minutes.  Set aside.  In a med-large pot add 2 tbsp EVOO over med-high heat.  Add the beef, salt & pepper and brown on all sides.  Set aside. 

Add bacon fat, onion, carrots, mushrooms.  Cook about 5-7 minutes.  Add in celery, garlic, and potatoes.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Add in green beans, ketchup, mustard.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Add in Marsalla wine to deglaze and cook about 5 minutes. 

Add back in beef, rosemary and beef stock.  Simmer about 2 hours with a lid slightly cracked.  Add in flour to thicken and cook about another 15 minutes.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve with garlic bread to sop up the gravy.