Monday, December 26, 2011

Steak Panini w/a Chipotle Mayonnaise

Are you all tired of me yet? We had left over steak from our last night's raviolis. My parents bought us a Cuisinart Griddler as a Christmas present, with a waffle attachment. We thought we would try it out tonight. We went to the store and bought a loaf of sour dough bread and sliced it and decided to make a panini with the left over steak from last night. I whipped up some chipotle mayonnaise and bought a few other things and the panini we made was mm mm good. That Griddler was awesome! It worked perfectly and the absolute wonderful thing about it, is the fact that it is dishwasher safe..hubba hubba! But seriously, I hope you enjoy the sammy!

Leftover steak, sliced as thinly as possible
Fresh spinach, enough to cover bread
Red pepper, sliced
Tomato, sliced
Brie, spreadable cheese

Chipotle Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tsp Chipotle seasoning
1 tsp chili powder

Mix all seasonings together well.

For the sandwich, on one side of the bread, spread the brie cheese, and layer all ingredients. On the other side, spread the Chipotle mayonnaise. Put the sandwich together and put on the griddle.Grill until the cheese has been melted. The sandwich was fantastic.

"Steak Dinner" Ravioli's w/a Pomodoro Sauce

As those of you who have been following this little blog of mine may know, we began a Christmas tradition a few years back when my parents came to visit. We made homemade raviolis and so far every year we have continued with this tradition. Each year I try to come up with a different filling and a different sauce. This year, I got the bright idea to make a steak dinner inside my raviolis. Since there was going to be so much going on inside, I didn’t want a sauce that would over power so I made a simple Pomodoro sauce. Oh my word…pure heaven! I hope you all enjoy. I will say this as well…grant it the mess is a killer, you end up with flour glue over every inch of your kitchen, but if you ever get the chance to make homemade raviolis, do it! There is nothing like them!

Standard pasta dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

 To make the pasta dough: In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to mix. Drizzle in 1 tablespoons of the olive oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead and fold the dough until elastic and smooth, this should take about 10 minutes. Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil and wrap the dough in plastic wrap; let rest for about 30 minutes .

Pomodoro Sauce:

2 pkg crimini mushrooms, sliced
10 shallots, diced
3 elephant garlic bulbs, diced (you can use regular garlic, and I would estimate about 8 cloves)
25 Tomatoes, smashed, skin and seeds removed
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in olive oil)
3 tbsp thyme
3 tbsp oregano
3 tbsp basil
3 tbsp sage
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups chicken stock (I didn’t have beef stock)
2 small cans, tomato paste

You can of course use canned tomatoes, but my hubby bought me a birthday present that I wanted to try out. He knows I am into canning and to make it easier on me, he bought me a Weston Roma Deluxe Electric Tomato Strainer, which is so going to help me when I start canning next year. We went through approximately 25 tomatoes in about 10 minutes. Last year, trying to blanch, peel and seed 25 tomatoes, would have taken me about 45 minutes.

Slice and dice all of your veggies.

In a dutch oven, heat up about 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté till translucent. Add the garlic and continue sautéing. Add all spices and mix thoroughly. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about 5 – 7 minutes. Deglaze with the red wine. Add the chicken stock and the juice from your tomatoes.  Stir in your tomato paste and the sun-dried tomatoes. Bring up to a boil, and then turn down to a simmer. Let cook for about 6 – 8 hours. The sauce went from being watery to a thick rich beautiful sauce.

Filling for the Ravioli

1 chuck roast, marinaded
Standard Steak Marinade (click here for marinade)
2 ½ large onions, sliced
2 cups spinach, blanched
2 4oz containers of blue cheese

Marinade the chuck roast for about 2 hours prior to grilling. Grill on medium heat until the meat is medium well. You don’t want bloody meat for your raviolis. Bring in and let the meat rest so the juices will redistribute. While the meat is resting, in a cast iron skillet, heat up about 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add all of your sliced onions. Let sauté for about 45 minutes on medium heat, until they become a nice golden brown. This is known as caramelizing.

While the onions are sautéing, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add your spinach and let cook for about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove immediately and drain. When the onions have caramelized, in a food processor, add your onions and spinach and pulse until chopped finely. Pour out mixture into a large mixing bowl. Slice up your meat, add that to the food processor and pulse until well chopped as well. Add that to the onion, spinach mixture and mix until well blended. Fold in your two containers of blue cheese and mix until well blended. 
Looks a little gross, but I can tell you the taste was out of this world!

Now you can begin putting your raviolis together. Take some of your pasta dough and roll out until you get it to your desired thickness, and with a pizza cutter, make two pieces. We started out putting egg wash on both sides, but found it wasn't sticking well, so we ended up only egg washing one side. On the other side, with a small spoon add your mixture. Take the egg washed sided and cover your filling and with either a biscuit cutter or whatever other device you are using, cut your beautiful little raviolis! Enjoy everyone!!

My weapon of choice...biscuit cutters, you can choose whatever size you want.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blueberry Preserves Thumbprint Cookies

Well I hope you all are having a wonderful time spending it with your families! I know I am. I am wishing my parents and Dave's kids and dad could be here as well, but alas they are unable to be this year. So we are getting geared up for our annual Ravioli fest! This year is going to be an interesting one, with a "steak dinner" inside our little ravioli's. I know y'all must think I am nuts, but that is okay, I can't wait to try them. I will post the recipe tomorrow, along with pictures. But today is my desserts. I am getting ready to make some fudge, and before I do that, I wanted to use up some homemade preserves that I made this past summer. We went blueberry picking and I made some blueberry preserves. I added just a hint of cinnamon in the preserves and they are just sweet enough to be perfect! So I decided to whip up some of those cute little thumbprint cookies! Hope you all enjoy.

1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup white sugar
your favorite jelly or preserves (I used my homemade blueberry)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix thoroughly the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk and the vanilla. Work in the flour and salt until it becomes a dough consistency. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, I used a 1 inch ice cream scooper. In a small bowl, pour the white sugar. Dip the top into the sugar and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Press thumb deeply into the center of each cookie. Repeat. I was able to get about 24 cookies out of the dough.

Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Fill the centers with your preserves. Return the cookies back into the oven and cook for another 10 minutes or until the cookies are slightly brown.

Immediately remove from baking sheet.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pork Loin w/Orange and Honey Sauce

Tonight was clean out the fridge night. My dear hubs bought me a fridge for my birthday present. Now some of you may think WHAT...a present...a fridge...but for those of you who know me that was the best present you could have ever given me. We are SLOWLY redoing our kitchen and the fridge was the next in line to go. So we are having to get rid of as much as we can so we can replace our old one tomorrow. It is very exciting times my friends!! Very exciting times!! Well tonight I pulled out a pork loin from the freezer and pulled a whole bunch of veggies from the fridge. I went for an oriental theme since what I pulled was a bunch of peppers, Brussels sprouts, and I even had oranges. So I hope you all enjoy!!

1 pork loin, seared
1 red onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 orange pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 pkg mushrooms, diced
9 – 10 Brussels sprouts, halved
6 cloves garlic, sliced

5 cuties, juiced
½ cup Kikkoman Ponzu sauce
1 tbsp Oriental Hot chili sauce
1 tsp oriental hot mustard
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp pickled ginger, minced
3 dehydrated oranges, chopped finely

For the sauce, in a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. You can go easier on the “hot stuff” per your taste buds, but my family likes it on the spicy side. Mix to taste. If you find something is missing, add a bit more until you get it to the flavor you wish. Above is the exact measurements I used and we loved it! Sear the pork loin on all sides in a cast iron or a non-stick skillet and deglaze with about ½ cup chicken stock. Add all of the chopped veggies into the slow cooker and nestle the seared pork loin into the middle of the veggies. Pour the chicken stock over the pork and veggies and also your sauce. Set the crock pot to 6 hours.

Oranges, Meyers Lemons, Limes, Oh My!!

I actually saw this idea off another blog I follow and fell in love! I am a novice when it comes to canning, preserving, dehydrating, and follow a number of blogs religiously. I happened upon one blog that suggested dehydrating citrus (Food in Jars), and when drinking water, toss one in. As the citrus rehydrates, it releases a gentle flavor into your water. Well...I am hooked. Meyers lemons are my absolute favorite, and you can only get them certain times of the year. My local grocery store currently has them on sale for $0.39 a lb and I felt like I won the lottery! Now mind you I don't have a huge dehydrator, but I do have two of them. My weapon of choice is the Nesco American Harvest Snackmaster Encore Dehydrator and I have had it for about 3 years now. One of these days I may decide to upgrade, but for now I adore it. It has served me well and is just perfect when I go to dehydrate tomatoes, fruit, etc. So with my huge score of Meyers lemons, I set out to dehydrate. I also got lucky with Limes. A previous post showed my dear hubs making me a key lime pie for my birthday. The recipe called for 1 cup of fresh lime juice, well, he ended up getting 14 limes, and only used 3. I also had oranges to use up so let's get to work!

Just slice the citrus the same width apart. You want them to finish drying as close to the same time as possible. Lay them out on your drying sheet and voila! Instant dry fruit that you can throw into your water.

I have actually been using them in recipes and will be posting a recipe later on today if it turns out good!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Meatballs w/Veggies Pasta

Probably about two months ago, we went to this HUGE candy store that specializes in novelty candies as well as other items, and purchased a bag of squid ink pasta. We have been dying to use it in a recipe and last night figured, what the heck. Now my idea of what I was going to be making was completely different then what we ended up doing, but it was still yummy. My vision, was a garlic seafood dish, with clams, mussels and a lemon, wine butter sauce. What we ended up with, as you can see from the pictures, was a far cry from my original idea, but I didn't want to go to the grocery store. Call it laziness, call it being frugal, I ended up working with what I had in the fridge!

2 lbs ground beef
½ cup bread crumbs
3 cloves black garlic
2 eggs
3 cups fresh spinach, blanched and chopped
1 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp sage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp crushed red peppers
1 pkg crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups kale, chopped
2 cups white wine
3 cups chicken stock
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp sage
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chipotle
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the fresh spinach and blanch for about 3 – 4 minutes. Remove and drain completely. Chop. For the meatballs, in a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, including the spinach and mix well. Make about 1 ½ inch balls and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and bring up to medium heat. Place the meatballs in the oven and brown on all sides, making sure not to overcrowd. Cook for about 2 – 3 minutes on all sides. Remove from the pot and set aside. In the drippings, add the onions and sauté till translucent. Add the garlic and the peppers. Sauté for about 5 – 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking till mushrooms are soft. Add the butter and let melt. Deglaze with the wine and make sure all of the bits from the meatballs have been scraped off the bottom. Add the chicken stock and all of the spices. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the kale and drop the meatballs back into the mix and let simmer for about 10 more minutes making sure the meatballs have cooked all the way through. Right before serving, SLOWLY mix in the grated Parmesan cheese, a bit at a time making sure to stir in completely, or it will seize on you and form a big clump. Server over pasta!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Key Lime Pie

My dear hubs made me a Key Lime Pie for my birthday "cake" this year. Some of you who know me know that I am not a big dessert person, but he pretty much said, this year I have to eat a birthday cake! One of my all time favorite desserts is key lime pie. If I go into a restaurant that has it...I drool all over the menu, but never order it. *Shrug* dunno why, just don't. So he had the bright idea to make the pie, then force feed it to me tonight! Mind you...after seeing these pics...whose complaining! Tee Hee. Now he borrowed the recipe from Emeril Lagasse from the Food Network's website, so I have attached the link as well, I mean you gotta give prop's where prop's are due right! But...MMMMM...can't wait to dig in tonight!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (Hubs used a preformed graham cracker crust)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick butter) melted
2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
2 whole eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime zest
Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling. Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Gumbo

I had Andouille Sausage...I had Shrimp...and I had pickled some Okra this past summer after a trip to the farmers market...what to make...what to make. I love gumbo, creole, jambalaya anything New Orleans. You can pretty much find recipes out there for different styles, different flavors, but however you choose to make it, the stew/soup/meal will turn out excellent.
In order to make it, I had to use two different stocks, shrimp and chicken. Dave and I have this motto, we never throw anything away. All of our veggie scraps and chicken scraps (the carcass) gets put into freezer bags and periodically we make homemade chicken stock. So I used our homemade chicken stock for this recipe. Also, we do the same thing with the lil shrimp carcasses. Whenever we have shrimps, and we peel them, we save the peels and freeze those as well. So while you are preparing your veggies, you can actually start making your shrimp stock for this recipe. It is pretty much ready in no time and add such flavor to the recipe! However, if you can't be bothered, you can definitely use store bought!

Stock Ingredients:
2 pounds medium shrimp, with shells
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1/2 cup white wine
3 black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Gumbo Ingredients
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large red onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale, chopped
1 cup pickled okra, sliced
6 tbsp butter
3 tbsp corn starch
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle
1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
Reserved Shrimp stock (About 4 – 5 cups)
1 cup white wine
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 pound andouille sausage, cut in
1/2-inch pieces
Peeled, deveined shrimp
Plain cooked white rice, for serving

For the shrimp stock, peel and de-vein the shrimp and reserve the shells. Refrigerate the shrimp until needed. In a saucepan or stockpot, add all ingredients but the water. Slowly add the water until ingredients are covered. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Skim impurities (i.e., scum) from top of stock and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Strain stock and reserve.
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the sliced andouille sausage and just sauté until almost done. Remove from the heat. Add the shrimp and sauté until just slightly translucent. Again, remove from the heat. Add a touch more oil if needed. Add the onions and cook till translucent. Add the garlic, all peppers and garlic. Sauté for about 7 – 8 minutes. Add salt and dry seasonings and garlic and stir to combine, cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add about 2 tbsp of butter and let melt.

Deglaze the bottom of the pan with the wine and the chicken stock. Add the reserved chicken stock and the diced tomatoes. Add the kale to the mixture and let simmer. In a coffee cup, take the remaining 4 tbsp of butter and the corn starch and mash the butter and cornstarch together until well blended. Pour the mixture into the gumbo and make sure you stir completely. This will help thicken the broth slightly. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Oreo Peppermint Truffles

My colleagues and I are participating in a cookie swap this Friday Dec 16th. I started surfing online to see if there was anything I was interested in making since I am not a big cookie fan and thanks to Kraft Foods website, I found this absolutely gorgeous recipes. I did not make any changes to it, and included the link directly to the recipe. Grant it, I am not a food artist, so mine do not look EXACTLY like their beautiful picture, but I think I came darn close if I do say so myself. My hubs had to sample a couple and he gave me the mmm mmm two thumbs up, so they passed the taste test! These lil buggers are easy to do and just absolutely beautiful. I found Chinese to-go boxes at Michael's and I am putting the little truffles in the boxes for the ladies! I hope you all try these.

6 candy canes, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup), divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (16.6 oz.) OREO Cookies, finely crushed
2 pkg. (8 squares each) BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Reserve 1 Tbsp. chopped candy. Mix remaining candy with cream cheese and cookie crumbs until well blended. Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan. Sprinkle with reserved candy. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chicken, Kale and Potato Soup

Hi my friends, man it has been a long time since we have chatted. Forgive me! I have just been so overwhelmed, between work and the holidays, I have been neglecting my cooking! Mind you, I have still been cooking, just not recipes worthy enough to share with you. This one, however, has changed my mind!

As with all my recipes, I found a base recipe and changed it to my liking. Dave helped me with this one and we just adored it! I hope you do as well!

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups leeks, sliced
4 scallions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lbs mushrooms, sliced
1 cup corn, frozen or roasted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 cup dry white wine 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth, divided or homemade chicken stock (I used our homemade)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled white potato (about 1 lb)
3 cups loosely packed torn kale (about 5 ounces)
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add leek; sauté 6 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the mushrooms have been sweated and cooked through. Spoon leek mixture into a large bowl. Place 1/3 cup flour in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned chicken to leek mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining chicken mixture, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, water, and mustard to pan; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in potato and corn. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until potato is tender. Stir in kale; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
I put in just a touch of Parmesan cheese in my bowl when I served this and the taste was heavenly!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pickled Red Onions

Now you may be thinking HUH? Why would you pickle onions?, my father eats these by the truck load, and two, they go awesome on a pulled pork sandwich! Now grant it, all of the jars I made were packed away nicely into a sturdy box and made their way across a few states. They now currently reside in Tennessee with my father just waiting for the day that he will open them and start eating them right out of the jar...but I digress. This is so easy and so utterly tasty. You can make refrigerated pickled onions and they will last for weeks, or you can go the extra step and process them in a water bath for 10 minutes which is what I did so my dad could keep them for a while. It is your basic brine along with onions. When I made these, I actually used about eight very LARGE red onions and really doubled the brine recipe, but if you are looking to just make this for a tasty pulled pork sandwich, go ahead and just use one or two red onions.

My father can't have a lot of salt in his diet so you may want to add a bit more salt and sugar in your brine. I would mix the brine and do a quick taste test to make sure it is not to HOLY COW for you.

8 - 9 large red onions
8 cups cider vinegar
3 tbsp pickling salt
2 tbsp sugar

Peel and thinly slice the onions into half shaped moons. In hot, sterilized jars, pack as many onions as you can fit into one jar. Don't be afraid to smoosh them down. Once the hot liquid hits the onions, they will actually shrink a bit so it will create space in the jar. In a large sauce pan, bring the vinegar, salt and sugar to a boil. Ladle the hot liquid into the jars with the onions, seal and process the jars according to manufacturer's directions in a water bath. Remove the hot jars and let cool in a non-draft area of your kitchen. Once cooled, make sure all of the jars have sealed. For those jars that have not sealed, you can turn those into your refrigerator onions. What you will get is a beautiful pink hued jar of onions that will be absolutely fantastic with your meals.

Apple Chutney

I absolutely adore this time of year. A dear friend of ours has a plot of land and years ago planted about 5 or 6 different types of apple trees, crab apple trees and two pear trees. She lets us come and harvest these luscious fruits whenever we wish. This past weekend we struck gold and pick two large bags of different types of apples, one large bag of crab apples and one bag of pears. Since there is no humanly way possible for us to eat all of these apples prior to them being turned over to the lil bugaboos, I decided to make a yummy chutney. I tried my hand at this last year and we just loved it. Now I canned my recipe, but you could definitely pair down the recipe and just make it on the fly. Or since we had a huge amount of apples (and I still didn't use them all), I doubled, possibly even tripled the batch and ended up with 30 jars of this wonderful goodness. Roast a pork, and pour this chutney over it and you will be in heaven my friends.

2 quarts apples (any kind, we had about 3 different kinds and mixed them)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 lbs. seedless golden raisins
4 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 red peppers, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons candied ginger
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons table salt
4 cups white vinegar

Apple Preparation: Wash, peel, core and chop your apples. Place into a pot with water and lemon juice to prevent browning. We had a large pot with about 1 cup of lemon juice.In a large stock pot, combine all of the above ingredients, one at a time and stirring in between each addition. Over medium heat, simmer the mixture for 60 to 85 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.Once mixture is done cooking, ladle it into hot and clean mason jars, leaving a 1/2" head space. Use a soft cotton towel and wipe the rims clean before placing the seal and ring onto your jar. Process jars in your water bath canner for 10 to 15 minutes or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once they are done, carefully remove them from the water and let them cool in a non-drafty area of your kitchen.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Chicken w/Chipotle and Sour Cherry sauce

About three to four years ago, Dave and I planted two cherry trees in our yard. It was in response to a nasty storm that knocked down an absolutely beautiful tree of ours that was in the front yard. Well last year they both started producing cherries, albeit sour cherries, but cherries non the less!! Last year, I made cherry preserves, rhubarb cherry preserves, and a few cherry turnovers. This year so far, I have made a batch of cherry preserves, and I thought I would actually try to make up a few recipes with these luscious little morsels. Our lawn services is getting ready to come spray them for little pests, so I had to hurry up and harvest some this evening. I made up this recipe and I hope you all enjoy!

3 chicken breasts, no bones or skin
2 cups cherries, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 cup homemade chipotles in adobe sauce (find the recipe on my blog, link is here)
1/2 cup brandy
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
7 twigs, fresh thyme

In a large skillet, heat about 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Sear the three chicken breasts on all sides, until golden brown, but not cooked all the way through. Remove from the pan. Deglaze the pan with the 1/2 cup of brandy and scrape up all of the bits of chicken from the bottom. Add the chopped cherries and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar has completely melted, making sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Bring it up to a low boil and add the 1/2 cup of chicken stock and the fresh thyme. Turn down to a simmer and add the chicken back in. Cover and let simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the chicken has cooked all the way through. Make sure to periodically turn the chicken and stir the sauce, taking care that the sauce does not stick to the bottom of the pan. If you want more sauce, add a bit more chicken stock. The sauce will thicken as you cook, so you may feel the need to thin it out with additional stock. We served with rice and brussel sprouts. It was excellent!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roasted Red Potato Salad

I made this yummy recipe up this past weekend. I get so tired of eating store bought potato salad, that I just kind of threw stuff together until it tasted good. I also have a very rough time of overcooking my spuds until they are mush, so I thought I would roast them instead...fig'rd I couldn't go wrong that way!!!

5 pound(s) cooked red potatoes
9 clove(s) garlic clove(s) (medium)
4 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp dill, fresh
2 Tbsp parsley, fresh
1/2 medium Vidalia onion(s), finely chopped
1 small sweet red pepper(s), finely chopped
1 small yellow pepper(s), finely chopped
1 small orange pepper, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped (small)
1 1/2 cup(s) reduced-calorie mayonnaise
1/2 cup coarse ground mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
6 slices crisp cooked bacon
2 Tbsp dill, fresh
2 Tbsp parsley, fresh

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Wash and dice the potatoes and place into a bowl. Rough cut the garlic and mix in with the potatoes. Pour the olive oil and mix together. Chop the parsley and the dill and mix in with the potatoes and garlic. Layout onto a baking sheet. Cook for 50 minutes. Pull out and let stand until completely cool. Meanwhile, chop and cook bacon until completely crisp. Drain from oil and let cool. Chop all veggies and place into a large bowl. Combine the cooled potatoes and bacon and gently mix together. In a separate bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together until well blended. Sample and see if it is missing anything and just add a bit of whatever ingredient it is missing to your satisfaction. Gently mix into the potato veggie mixture. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Before serving, toss in additional chopped fresh parsley and fresh dill.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hot Sausage Won-Tons

Wowza...It has been a long time since I posted a recipe...I am such a bad girl. I didn't realize how long it has been. The parentals were down for a nice visit and we took a nice little road trip to PA. When we got home, we (I) had a craving for eggrolls so we made some. After they left, we (I) had a craving for Won-tons so I used the same basic filling for the Won-tons. They were sooo yummy. I guess you can say I have been on an oriental kick lately. Hope you enjoy.

1 pkg won-ton wrappers
6 Hot sausages, casings removed
4 carrots, diced into VERY small pieces
4 celery stalks, diced into VERY small pieces
1 small leek, diced into VERY small pieces
1 clove elephant garlic, diced into VERY small pieces
8 mint leaves, chopped
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp red curry paste
3 tbsp beef stock
1 tbsp flour
2 eggs, beaten

In a large skillet, brown the sausage, making sure to break it up into very small chunks. Once browned, remove and set aside. Add the leek, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until almost done. While sauteeing the veggies, add the mint leaves, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, red curry paste and beef stock and and continue to cook until veggies are tender. Add the sausage back in. Sprinkle the flour over top and mix in to the filling. You want to make sure there is no liquid in the mixture. Remove from heat.
Prepare an area for you to work. You will need a plate or something large to place the Won-tons once you have finished making them. Take one of the won-ton wrappers with a corner facing you (they are shaped in a square). Take about a teaspoon and 1/2 of filling and place in the center of the won-ton wrapper. With your beaten egg, baste the outer edges of the wrapper (the two sides away from you). Take the corner of the won-ton facing you and fold over the filling making sure to seal all edges. You should end up with a triangled pocket. Then just fold the corners over. Continue doing this until you have gone through all of the wrappers.
In a non-stick skillet, spray liberally with Pam or 1/2 tsp vegetable oil. Make sure the pan is coated. On medium heat, making sure not to overcrowd the won-tons, place them on one side for about 5 - 7 minutes until they begin to brown. Flip and brown the other side. Remove from heat. They were super Yummy!! We served them with the following sauce:

Won-ton Sauce:

1/4 Beef Stock
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp Chili sauce
1 tsp flour

Mix all ingredients and heat to thicken. This was a really add to taste type of recipe so these are the basic ingredients and Dave kept adding to taste. So if you find something overpowering, or not enough, just add a bit more of one ingredient and make it to your liking.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thai Chicken Burgers w/Asian Slaw

Tonight we did our take on Thai chicken burgers with and Asian slaw dressing. Dave and I made the burgers and I made the dressing for the slaw. This is a combined post. Hope you all enjoy. Just keep in mind as you are making these that you can pretty much make any nationality of burgers. You can spice them up and make Mexican burgers or Italian burgers or Indian burgers. The combinations are endless. We ate these on a bun, but for the photo session, I had decided to eliminate the bun.

Chicken burgers

4 lbs ground chicken, as lean as you possibly can get the meat
4 scallions, minced
4 sweet peppers, minced
4 large shiitake mushrooms, minced
1 clove elephant garlic, minced (or you can use 4 - 5 cloves regular garlic)
2 tbsp sweet chili oil
4 tbsp thai peanut sauce
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp chinese spice
2 eggs
2 cups bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients together. Make sure the mixture is fairly dry. When Dave originally started mixing it was a bit "soupy" He countered this by adding a bit more bread crumbs. Form into fairly large patties. When he grilled the burgers, he "baked" them. He started out on high heat to char the lines into them, but then turned them to low to bake them. He cooked them for about 20 - 30 minutes depending on how well done you want them to be.

Asian Slaw

1/4 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
5 sweet peppers, julienned
5 scallions, biased cut
3 carrots, julienned
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1/4 soy sauce
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp ginger root, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced

For the dressing, mix the rice wine vinegar, vegetable oil, sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger root and garlic together until blended well. In a bowl mix the cabbage, peppers scallions and carrots together. Pour the dressing over the salad. Let stand in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Egg Nog Cake

Was down in TN visiting the 'rents this past weekend. It was great seeing them. Had a fantastic, relaxing trip. On Sunday, mom invited a few of her Eastern Star friends over and we made homemade ravioli's and pasta sauce. Barb, brought over these fantastic little cakes, and I wanted to share to them with everyone.

1 store bought angel food cake
1 box confectioner's sugar
1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup bourbon (no blended whiskey)
crushed pecans & vanilla wafers (equal parts - usually start with 1 cup of each.

Cut the cake into 1" pieces. Combine butter, sugar and bourbon and dip cake pieces into this mixture. Then roll cake in nut-wafter mixture. Store ina tin with waxed paper between layers. (this cake gets better as it "ages").

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu

This was our last week of cooking and our friend cooked for us. The meal was absolutely fantastic. Hope you enjoy!
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 slices swiss cheese
6 slcies ham
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp paprika
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filing, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Remove the toothpicks and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Shrimp and Crab Quesadillas

Welp, it is Superbowl Sunday and as any good American we are sitting in front of the TV, stuffing our faces with fattening food and having a great time. One of the "finger" foods I made is a Shrimp and Crab Quesadillas. Someone gave this recipe to me, but I made just a few changes to it. They were yummmy!!!

8 oz cooked shrimp
8 oz lump crab meat
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels, I used frozen
1/2 cup pico de gallo
1 small can chiles
1 1/2 cup each shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp garlic
salt and pepper
6 8 inch flour tortillas

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except for the cheese. *Note* depending on the ingredients used, this could be a bit watery, so make sure you have drained the shrimp/crab prior to mixing in the bowl. Top 3 of the tortillas with some of the 2 cheeses (about 3/4 cup) and about 3/4 cup of the mixture. Place the remaining tortillas on top. Cook quesadilla in a non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned (3 - 4 minutes), flip and cook 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges.

Chopped Part Deux - Dave Style...Argula and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This was Dave's "salad" of sorts. Arugula is a very peppery, bitter tasting leafy vegetable. His interpretation was to "wilt" it and then combine it with some yummy ingredients. Hope you enjoy.

1 bunch arugula, chopped and destemmed
1 jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
1 pkg mushroom
1 tsp chipolte tabasco sauce

Soak the arugula. We found it to be VERY sandy and needed to be washed thoroughly!!! In a sautee pan, drain the olive oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes, add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the arugula and the sun-dried tomatoes. Cook until wilted. Mix in the tabasco sauce and pepper. Serve.

Chopped Part Deux - Dave Style...Scalloped Potatoes

He also made his version of scalloped potatoes. He was given fingerling potatoes. His one complaint to his recipe was that he did not slice the potatoes thin enough...other than that he enjoyed them. hope you do as well.

1 lb of fingerling potatoes, sliced thin
1 cup milk
1 onion, diced
1 stick butter, cubed
3/4 cup flour
salt and pepper

Coat a baking dish with pam. Layer the baking dish with a thin layer of potatoes. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of the diced onion. Sprinkle 1 tbsp flour and a bit of salt and pepper. Put about 4 pats of butter. continue building the layers. Top the whole mixture with the milk. Put in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. About mid way through, being very careful, mix the contents so the sauce can blend and be evenly distributed.

Chopped Part Deux - Dave Style...Red Snapper w/Cranberry and Orange Sauce

His main dish was a Red Snapper w/Cranberry and Orange sauce. This was very good as well. We had never cooked with Red Snapper before and were pleasantly surprised. The cut we got had no bones, and was not a "fishy" fish at all. It did not smell up the kitchen which is a huge negative for us!!! I would definitely get this type of fish again! Hope you all enjoy.

For the fish:

3 filets of red snapper
sea salt
lemon pepper
4 tbsp butter, unsalted

For the Sauce

1 cup fresh cranberries
1 seedles, navel orange, peeled
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper
juice from 1 lemon

In a sauce pan, add the cranberries, orange, salt, crushed red pepper and the lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Test the cranberries for tenderness. Add the sugar to taste. You may need more sugar for your palate. Put contents into a food processor and puree. If the contents are too thick, add a 1tbsp of water and reprocess to desired consistency. It is a sauce, so it should drip off the spoon.

For the fish, season both sides of the fish. Preheat a pan, this is important so the fish does not stick. Add the butter and let melt. Place the fish (if the skin is still on) skin side down, until the skin is crispy. You do not want to mess with the fish until it is will give on its own. If you try to flip and it is not allowing you to put the spatula underneath, don't continue. You will be able to put the spatula, underneath the fish when it is good and ready to flip!! Flip the fish, and then let cook on the meat side.

Chopped Part Deux - Dave Style... Sunchoke Cake

This weekend it was Dave's turn. His mission, to make a meal from Red Snapper, Sunchokes, Cranberries, Arugula and Fingerling Potatoes. Two hours later, *giggling*, he came up with a very tasty meal. This recipe is what he came up with using the Sunchokes, or the Jerusalem Artichokes. Hope you all enjoy!

1 pkg Sunchokes, grated
1 cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
1 tbsp minced garlic
5 eggs
2 cherry peppers, pickled, and seeded (either hot or mild), pureed
salt and pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together. The Sunchoke releases alot of water. So you can either put in a colander and press out the additional liquid, or as you are forming into a patty, press the liquid out. The patty should be about a sand-dollar size. Put olive oil on a preheated griddle. Place the patties on the griddle and cook on one side till brown. Then flip. Don't flip too early, or they will fall apart.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Coffee-Mate Cafe Party Oatmeal Cookies

Hosting a Coffee -Mate Cafe Party is awesome. Making cookies using one of Coffee-Mate's creamers is even better. I found a recipe on Coffee-Mate's website for Oatmeal cookies that I thought sounded quite interesting. I improvised a bit because in the recipe, it calls for Cinnamon Flavor Creme Flavor "Liquid" Coffee Creamer, which I didn't have, BUT, I had their Hazelnut Biscotti Powdered Creamer. So I thought, hmmm...I think that would be quite yummy! So I gave it a try! Hope you enjoy the cookies.

3/4 cup margarine or butter (I used unsalted butter)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp Hazelnut Biscotti Coffee Mate Creamer
2 cups rolled oats

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat margarine or butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add about half of the flour, all the brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, baking powder, vanilla, baking soda, and the powdered creamer. Beat till thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Stir in oats. Drop by rounded teaspoons two inches apart onto an ungreased cook sheet. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or till edges are golden. Cool cookies on a wire rack. Instead of a cookie sheet, I actually used a heart shaped mold for my cookies.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

You've Been Chopped! - Mushroom and Sour Cream Sauce Phaedra Style

This was the last recipe! It was yummy. I channeled my mushroom alfredo sauce, but with a twist. I used the sour cream which was the last ingredient and instead of putting it over pasta, it was used as the sauce for our polenta.

1 pkg crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 leek, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 milk
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
1/4 white wine
2 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste.
slices polenta, fried

In a large saute pan, heat extra virgin olive oil. Saute the leeks, until limp. Add the garlic, and mushooms and saute until cooked. Add the white wine. Saute for about 7 - 10 minutes. While the mixture is cooking, spray a hot griddle with Pam. Cooked the sliced polenta until golden brown. Right before serving, slowly add the milk and continue stirring. The milk has the potential to curdle so make sure you either turn the heat down to low or turn it completely off. Add the cheese a little at a time and stir until completely melted. Again, the cheese could clump, so you want to make sure you don't add it all at once. Stir in the sour cream. On a plate, place 1 - 2 slices of the sliced polenta and spoon over the mushroom mixture.