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.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Roasted Turkey Noodle Soup



2 Tbsp EVOO
1 Med. Onion – Diced
3 Carrots – Diced
1 Cup Cremini Mushrooms – Sliced
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
2 Celery Ribs – Diced
3 Cloves Garlic – Diced
1 Cup Green Beans – ½” Cut
4 Cups Roasted Turkey
4 Cups Turkey Stock
4 tbsp Flour
1 Cup Frozen Peas
1 8 oz. Pkg Egg Noodles


In a med-large pot add 2 tbsp EVOO over med-high heat.  Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms.  Cook about 5-7 minutes.  Add salt & pepper.  Add in celery, garlic and green beans.  Cook another 5 minutes.  Add in 1 cup Turkey Stock to deglaze and cook about 5 minutes. 

Add in turkey and remaining stock.  Simmer about 2 hours with a lid slightly cracked.  Add in flour to thicken and cook about another 15 minutes.  Cook Egg Noodles for 7 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  After 2 hours add in peas and noodles.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve with garlic bread to sop up the gravy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thanksgiving Pommes De Terre a la Boulangere

1 Pkg Bacon – Cooked low and slow, fat rendered out (save) and bacon crisp & chopped.
1 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Bacon Fat
3 Med – Large Sweet Potatoes – Peeled & sliced about 1/8” thin (I use a Mandolin)
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 4 oz. Goat Cheese
1 tsp Coriander
2 Cups Beef Broth

In large pan add bacon in an even layer.  Turn stove on to low - med. heat.  Cook bacon low and slow, rendering out fat until bacon is crispy.  Save fat.  Chop bacon into bits.

Butter a 9x13 baking dish, bottom and sides with 1 tbsp butter and bacon fat.  Take ½ of the potatoes and create 2 layers with each slice overlapping the previous one.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the salt, pepper and cinnamon over potatoes.  Break up ½ of the goat cheese and drop evenly over potatoes.  Sprinkle ½ of the bacon over potatoes. Repeat potatoes, seasonings, goat cheese and bacon.  Sprinkle coriander over top.  Add 2 cups beef broth.  Pour down the side so as not to disrupt the toppings.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and place in preheated 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 hours.  (I put my dish on a cookie sheet just in cast there was any spill over.)  Take foil off and cook another 20 minutes to let the top layer of potatoes brown and crisp.  Test with a knife to make sure potatoes are fully cooked.  Let rest for at least 15 minutes before you cut into it to let the beef broth soak into the potatoes.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Oreo Cookie Cocoa Pebbles Krispie Treats



1 Stick Butter
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Brewed Coffee – cooled
1 tsp Cocoa Powder
12 Oreo Cookies – Chopped
7 Cups Rice Krispies
6 Cups Cocoa Pebbles
2 16 oz. Bags Mini Marshmallows

Grease a 9x13” baking pan w/ butter.

In a large bowl combine cookies, cocoa pebbles and rice krispies.  In a large pot over med/high heat melt butter, salt, coffee, cocoa powder.  Add in marshmallows and whisk until melted.  Once melted continue to cook for about another 3-4 minutes, until they start to foam up. 

Pour over cookies and cereal and mix to cover quickly.  Pour into baking pan, wet hands, and flatten out to an even layer.  Set aside to cool and set up about 30 minutes.  Cut into about 1” squares and enjoy.

Dried Cherry & Pistachio Brittle


2 ½ Cup Sugar
1 ¼ Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Water
1 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Butter
1 Tsp Espresso Powder
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
¾ Cup Pistachios – Chopped
¾ Cup Dried Cherries - Chopped

Line a cookie sheet (w/ sides) with parchment paper.  I used an 11 x 16” pan.  Spray generously w/ non stick spray.

In a large sauce pan (I used a Dutch oven), over high heat combine, sugar, corn syrup, water, salt, butter, cayenne pepper & espresso powder.  Stir with whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes or until candy thermometer reads 290 degrees.  NOTE:  You HAVE to use a candy thermometer and get the temperature to 290 or it won’t work.

Add baking soda.  It will foam up, don’t worry.  Keep stirring and whisk in dried cherries and pistachios.  You must work quickly because this reaction happens FAST.  Pour mixture onto cookie sheet and spread out evenly.  Let cool for about ½ hour, then crack brittle and enjoy.



Sunday, November 10, 2013

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Pt. 2

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup butter – room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs + 1 Egg White – beaten
2 Tbsp Brewed coffee (just use leftover from the morning or cooled)
2  cups mashed roasted bananas – Mashed – (Roasted in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour)
½ cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan

In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt & cinnamon. In a large bowl cream together butter, brown sugar, eggs, coffee until well blended. Beat in flour mixture in 3rds to the wet mixture.  Fold in chocolate chips and bananas until mixed.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center of cake.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Fudge Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
2 ¼ Cup Flour
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Butter (softened)
¾ Cup Sugar
¾ Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla
2 Large Eggs
1 12 oz Package of Dark Chocolate Chips

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Set aside.  In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until combined.  Add the eggs 1 at a time to combine.  In 3 batches add the flour and mix to combine.  Add choc. chips and mix to combine.

Fudge Brownies:
1 Box of Fudge Brownie Mix
2 Eggs
¼ Cup Water
¾ Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 Tbsp Brewed Coffee (cooled)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl add brownie mix, eggs, water, oil, salt, cayenne pepper and coffee.  Whisk to combine.

Grease muffin pans with butter or cooking spray.  Fill muffin cups ¾ full with brownie mix.  Using a 1” cookie scoop (or using teaspoons to make a 1” diameter ball), scoop cookie dough into the center of the brownie mix.  Bake for about 26 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

*** You will have extra choc. chip cookie dough.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and scoop 1” balls of the cookie dough onto the sheet.  Place in a 375 Degree oven for about 11 minutes.  Should yield about 50 chocolate chip cookies.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lentil & Sausage Soup




1 Tbsp EVOO
1 Large Link of Linguica Hot Sausage - Diced
1 Large Onion – Diced
2 Ribs Celery – Diced
1 Large Carrot – Diced
5 Gloves Garlic – Peeled and chopped
2 1/3 Cups Dried Lentils
1 Cup Red Wine
2 1/4 Quarts Water
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme
1 Can Diced Tomatoes – Drained
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper

In a large pot over med/high heat add EVOO and sausage.  Cook for about 5 minutes to render the fat.  Add in onions and cook 5 minutes, Add celery, garlic and carrots and cook for 3 minutes.  Add in wine and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add in dried lentils and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add in water and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.  Add in bay leaves, thyme and tomatoes.  Simmer, partially covered for about 30 - 35 minutes.  Take out bay leaves, add salt and pepper and adjust seasoning to taste.  The lentils should have a bit of a bite to them.  If they are mushy, you’ve over cooked them (they’re tricky so just watch the time).

Serve with a nice piece of crusty bread to sop up all the broth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Roast Chicken Tortilla Soup



1 Package Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs (about 12)
1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp Pepper
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp Fajita Seasoning (or Taco)

In a bowl combine seasonings and coat chicken.  In a large pan add the apple juice and then the chicken.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  Cool for about 15 minutes then remove the chicken and shred.  Put the remaining juices in a small saucepan and reduce by half. Skim off the fat and set aside.

1 Cup Wild Rice (I used a wild rice mixture)
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
6 Cups Water - boiling

Over high heat in a med. sauce pan add the bacon fat and the rice.  Cook about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the water, cover w/ lid, reduce heat to low simmer and cook for 45 minutes.  Drain off any residual liquid.

4 Tbsp Bacon Fat
1 Med. Onion – Diced
2 Carrots – Diced
2 Celery Stalks – Diced
6 Garlic Cloves – Minced
½ Anaheim Pepper – Diced
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
1 Tsp Cumin
¼ Tsp Cayenne
¼ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
8 Cups Chicken Stock - boiling
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
1 Can Black Beans – Drained
1 Cup Frozen Corn
5 Corn Tortillas - torn

In a large pan add the bacon fat, onion & carrots.  Cook for about 5-7 minutes.  Add the celery and garlic and cook about another 3 minutes.  Add the Anaheim pepper, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes and cook another 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock, the reserved from earlier chicken juices, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add in the chicken thighs, tomatoes, black beans and corn.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add in the torn corn tortillas and cook about 10 minutes.

Take 10 Corn Tortillas (taco size) and cut into strips.  Spray w/ cooking spray and sprinkle w/ fajita seasoning.  Bake on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve soup w/ a garnish of the baked tortillas on top and maybe a few slices of avocado and a squeeze of a wedge of lime.



Bacon Pistachio Brittle


2 ½ Cup Sugar
1 ¼ Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 Cup Water
1 Tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Butter
1/8 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tsp Espresso Powder
1 Tbsp Baking Soda
1 Package Bacon – Rendered slow and cooked till extra crispy - chopped
1 ½ Cups Pistachios – Chopped

Line a cookie sheet (w/ sides) with parchment paper.  I used an 11 x 16” pan.  Spray generously w/ non stick spray.

In a large sauce pan (I used a Dutch oven), over high heat combine, sugar, corn syrup, water, salt, butter, cayenne pepper & espresso powder.  Stir with whisk until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes or until candy thermometer reads 290 degrees.  NOTE:  You HAVE to use a candy thermometer and get the temperature to 290 or it won’t work).

Add baking soda.  It will foam up, don’t worry.  Keep stirring and whisk in bacon and pistachios.  You must work quickly because this reaction happens FAST.  Pour mixture onto cookie sheet and spread out evenly.  Let cool for about ½ hour, then crack brittle and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Chicken & Wild Rice Soup



1 Pkg Chicken Thighs – Bone in, Skin on (about 12 pieces)
Water
2 Tbsp Salt
2 Tbsp Pepper
1 Onion – Chopped
2 Carrots – Chopped
2 Ribs Celery – Chopped
5 Garlic Cloves – Smashed

2 Cups Wild Rice (I used a rice blend)
2 Tbsp Bacon Fat
6 Cups Water - Hot
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Roasted Mushroom Spice (I make my own but you can use 1 cup chopped fresh Crimini mushrooms)
Pinch Cayenne

1 Med. Onion – Diced
2 Ribs Celery – Diced
4 Carrots – Peeled /Diced
1 Cup Green Beans – 1/2” cut
1 Cup Potatoes – Peeled / Diced
1 Med. Zucchini – Diced

In a large pot add chicken, salt, pepper, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cover with water to about 1” from the top.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook about 45 minutes.

In a medium sized pot, add bacon fat and rice.  Stir to coat and cook (constantly stirring) about 4-5 minutes.  Add in water, pepper, mushroom spice (or mushrooms), cayenne.  Reduce to simmer, cover and cook about 45 minutes.

Once cooked, remove chicken from pot and let cool.  Remove bones and skin and shred chicken.  Strain broth and skim fat.  To the broth, add in chicken, onion, celery, carrots, green beans, potatoes, zucchini.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add in rice and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Delumpkin Pumpkin Cake


1 - 15 oz. can pumpkin
1 cup melted butter
1/4 cup strong, cold coffee
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup Werther's Caramel Specialties Caramelts, chopped (15 candies) or butterscotch morsels

 DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, melt the butter for 2 minutes in microwave. Remove and add the pumpkin, cold coffee, vanilla and sugars, stirring to combine. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, stirring well to combine. Add the eggs and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined; add flour and mix only until all the flour is incorporated into the batter. Stir in the chopped Werther's candies (or butterscotch morsels) and turn into a 9x13-inch baking pan that has been greased and floured (I use Baker's Joy spray). Bake for 30-37 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Cool in pan on a wire rack until completely cool, if frosting.

Delicious, silkily moist pumpkin cake that can be dressed up with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream or enjoyed completely naked.

Recipe courtesy of: 




Monday, October 7, 2013

Beef Stew



2 1/2lbs cubed beef
½ cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8 tbsp EVOO (4 tbsp into 2 batches)

2 tbsp EVOO
1 Medium Onion – Diced
3 Large Carrots – Diced
3 Ribs Celery – Diced
1 Cup Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
5 Cloves of Garlic – Minced
2 Med. Potatoes- Peeled & Diced
1 Cup Red Wine
¼ Cup Worcestershire Sauce
3 tbsp Grain Mustard
1 cup Green Beans – ½” dice
1 cup Frozen Peas
1 Cup Frozen Corn
4 Cups Beef Broth
1 Cup Water

In a large bowl cover the beef in flour, salt, pepper. Shake off the excess. In a large pot over med/high heat add 4 tbsp EVOO. Add the beef in 2 batches and brown on all sides and then set aside.

Add in another 2 tbsp EVOO and onions.  Cook for 2 minutes then add in carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, potatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add in red wine, Worcestershire sauce and mustard and cook for 5 minutes

Add in green beans. Cook for about 5 minutes then add in peas and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes then add in beef broth and water.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, adjust seasonings and then serve.



Friday, October 4, 2013

Pork Loin Veggie Lo Mein


EVOO
1 Cup Sliced Crimini Mushrooms
1 Cup Green Beans – ½” slices
½ Bunch Asparagus – ½ “ slices
1 Cup Broccoli – Chopped
1 Cup Red Peppers – Sliced & Cut in ½
1 Savoy Cabbage – Shredded
2 Cups Pork Loin – Cooked & Sliced
1 Cup Bean Sprouts
1 lb Spaghetti

Sauce:
4 tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp Peanut Butter
½ tbsp Ginger – Grated
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2 Green Onions – Diced (for garnish)
2 tbsp Sesame Seeds (for garnish)

In a large sautee pan over med/high heat add 2 tbsp EVOO.  Add mushrooms and cook on each side to brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Remove mushrooms.  Add about 1 tbsp EVOO and add in green beans, asparagus, broccoli.  Cook about 5 minutes until browned.  Remove from pan.  Add 1 tbsp EVOO and cabbage.  Cook about 8 minutes until caramelized.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook spaghetti according to directions (about 8 minutes).  Reserve about 1 cup of liquid if needed to thin out sauce.

While pasta is cooking, in a small pan over med / low heat add soy sauce, sesame oil, mustard, brown sugar, peanut butter, ginger and chicken stock.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring to combine and not burn.

In a large bowl add in the pasta, veggies, bean sprouts, cooked pork loin and the sauce.  Combine fully.  If needed to thin out the sauce add in some of the pasta water.

Garnish with green onions & sesame seeds.  Enjoy.