I am not really here this week. I’m sad to say that while you all, at least on the east coast, are enjoying the return of the polar vortex, and sleet, and rain, and snow… I am on a cruise to the Bahamas. I know… you can hate me now… I am jealous of myself for you and feel shame. And I have too much vacation guilt to leave you all hanging for a week. So…
I love Bruschetta. But the sad truth is that I often can’t eat it. Balsamic vinegar and I just do not get along. Sulfites are not my friends.
So I have worked out my own quick, easy, delicious, sulfite-free version. Perfect for nice summer tomatoes or winter freeze-dried ones when you just really want to taste summer.
1 large or 2 medium ripe tomatoes
a handful of fresh basil
1/2 chopped small onion
1 garlic clove minced
Chop up your tomato and try to take out a good bit of the seeds and juice.
Finely chop a little onion and mix the two together.
Mince your garlic. I really don’t like biting into a piece of raw garlic so I try to really mince it here.
Rough chop your basil, and you do want a good bit of basil. Throw that in.
Sprinkle a small amount of oregano and pepper. Then a good bit of salt.
Drizzle the whole this with a very liberal coating of olive oil. Mix well. Wrap with plastic wrap and let it stand for at least an hour. Refrigerating for several hours to overnight is best.
When you are ready to eat, toast up some bread.
Stir the bruschetta and scoop on.
The hardest part is not losing some when you go in for the bite, but I would certainly never tell if you make a mess!
It’s the end of the month again… which is crazy! This month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was quite possibly, my favorite. We had a couple of snow days. I had time and tea and this was the perfect way to wile away a snowy afternoon.
The bread was so delicious and impressive I am sure I will be making it on sunny mornings as well. And it really isn’t as hard as it looks!
Beauty surrounded the Daring Bakers this month as our host, Sawsan, of chef in disguise (http://chefindisguise.com), challenged us to make beautiful, filled breads. Who knew breads could look as good as they taste?
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1/4 cup butter softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
1/4 tsp cardamom
Between the layers
1/2 stick (4 tbsp) butter, melted
4 tbsp cinnamon (roughly)
1 tbsp sugar
also 1/4 additional cup of milk to brush on the top.
In a bowl whisk the egg with the milk and water.
Add in the sugar and yeast, stirring well.
Kinda mush in your softened butter. This part is a little gross-looking I know but also kinda fun.
Add in your dry ingredients and mix well.
Turn the dough out, adding more flour as necessary, and knead until you get a silky smooth and fragrant dough. This is a really nice dough to work with.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and allow it to rise, covered, until doubled. About an hour and a half.
Now the real fun begins.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four equal parts and one small part.
Roll each of the four large parts into as best a circle as you can. You are aiming for a roughly 8in diameter. This is not the easiest dough to roll out. Be persistent and you will get it.
Brush the first layer with melted butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
I am gonna now say something that you will most likely never hear me say again. You need to be careful not to put too much cinnamon and sugar down here. I know, I know! Gasp! Am I not the person always saying more cinnamon and sugar and such is good? Well… for reasons that will soon become clear, you want to have restraint here.
After you have the circle all covered in butter and cinnamon and sugar deliciousness, then place the next circle carefully on top of the first and repeat. You want to make a nice neat little stack of cinnamon and sugar and butter.
Once you put on the top circle, the fourth, only brush it with butter.
Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into eight triangles. Like a pizza.
Next make cuts, longways, in the center of each triangle. You want to be careful not to cut through the base or the tip.
Take each triangle and fold the tip up and push it through the cut in the middle.
(I’m a vine! How cool! How techy! How you know her husband was home for a snow day too!)
Pull the end back through the other side.
Next pinch the ends of the wide part of the triangle together.
(Ooo another vine!)
Arrange the slices back in a circle in either a cake pan or pie pan.
Now, finally, take the last little piece of dough you had saved and roll it into a long snake. Make a coil and place it in the middle of the triangles.
This will neatly cover up any overlap or wacky places from the triangles coming together.
Brush the dough with milk and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile heat your oven to 460 degrees
Bake the bread for 5 minutes at this very hot temperature, then turn it down to 400 degrees and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes. If your bread is getting too brown on top you can cover it with aluminum foil.
It is done when the bottom is a nice golden brown.
Allow the bread to cool for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
If you like you can top with a simple confectioners sugar and milk glaze or sweetened condensed milk.
We, however, just tore into it and ate it as it was. Warm and delicious with tea.
Post with 1 note
Mardi Gras is March 4th and so you know that Carnival is in full swing down in New Orleans. And I miss it! Like whoa I miss it! But another year is gonna pass and all I can do is cook the food and curse the cold and snow and slush here. Sigh. Maybe next year…
But I did pull out a copy of New Orleans style Barbecued Shrimp I got when my family visited a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (started in New Orleans, of course! Did you ever wonder why it was called Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse? It seems like the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but you see, there was a Chris Steakhouse in New Orleans and it was pretty well known. So when the Ruth’s people bought it they wanted to keep the name… and wanted everyone to know they were the new owners. Thus, tada! Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was born and has been confusing people all over the country ever since.)
Note, this version did not come out anything like the barbecued shrimp we had at Ruth’s Chris… but did taste more like the barbecued shrimp found at other New Orleans restaurants. It was still really really delicious. And I will totally make this again, though I would cut down on the butter.
Ruth’s Barbecued Shrimp
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Shrimp (how much really depends. If you can get the nice big gulf shrimp, then you need like 15 – 20, Devein those suckers good. If you get a bag of frozen shrimp from the grocery store, cry a little at how much more expensive shrimp is here than in New Orleans or along the coast, and use the whole bag)
8 oz salted butter (I am gonna cut this in half to 4 oz the next time I make it)
1 - 2 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 oz dry white wine
1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 Tabasco sauce or other Louisiana style hot sauce (Crystals is good, I hear!)
Place a large saucepan, cast-iron if you’ve got it, over medium-high heat. Cook the shrimp until they are just done. You will cook them a little more in the sauce, so you want to be careful to not over-cook them here. Just done.
Remove the shrimp and set aside.
Add in your onion and cook for just a minute. (Ok, I didn’t have green onions. I used a regular onion and cooked till translucent. It was still delicious.)
Pour in the white wine and reduce volume by half. It will be super quick. Like two minutes, tops.
Next, add in your chopped garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco.
Give it a stir and sprinkle in the paprika and cayenne. Cook for one minute.
Cut the butter into small pieces and slowly add piece by piece to the pan. Shake or stir the pan quickly to melt the butter.
When all the butter is incorporated, add the shrimp back to the pan and toss well. You want to coat the shrimp and heat them through.
Pour the shrimp and sauce into bowls and serve with good crusty french bread.
Rich and delicious. Close your eyes and pretend you can hear the parade rolling by!
Staying in for Valentine’s Day? What better to have than a beautiful thick-cut pork chop in a red wine reduction studded with whole garlic cloves. It’s beautiful, impressive, delicious, and well… who cares about garlic breath if you are both eating it, right?
We had it with Creamy Cheesy Risotto and I was in heaven. Best part is you can easily make this after work.
Pork Chops with Wine and Garlic
2 pork chops
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine
scant 1/2 cup beef broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
8 - 10 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 (additional) tbsp of butter
Heat the oil and butter together over high heat. If you’ve got a cast iron skillet, now would be a good time to break that baby out; if not, a heavy skillet is a must. Not a non-stick.
Salt and pepper both sides of your pork chops and sear them until they are a nice golden brown. Its ok if they aren’t completely cooked yet, you will finish them off later.
Remove the pork chops and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and throw in the whole garlic cloves. Cook them, while stirring constantly, until they are nice and golden. About 3 minutes for me.
Pour in the wine and add the bay leaf. Let it reduce, stirring occasionally, until it is fairly thick.
Add in the beef broth and the pork chops. Arrange the chops so they are swimming in the sauce and allow them to cook another 3-4 minutes.
Add in your vinegar and sugar, stirring to get well incorporated and cook until your pork chops are done through. Turn them over to make sure both sides get in the delicious sauce.
Remove the pork chops and keep warm. Turn the heat back up on your sauce and let it reduce until it is very thick and rich and the garlics are all soft.
In the final moments melt in the last tablespoon of butter and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Pour the sauce, including the garlic, over the pork chops and serve.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Wednesday was World Nutella Day. As you may remember I love World Nutella Day! Well… I love Nutella. I would love a World Pizza Day just as much too. I think we should start that. Today, February 9th, is National Pizza Day (at least according to Wikipedia) and apparently November 12 is also National Pizza Day (National Pizza Day with the Works except Anchovies). And, September 5 is National Cheese Pizza Day. We need to end this confusion and just declare one final World Pizza Day!
But I am digressing; we are not here to talk about pizza, we are here to talk about Nutella. And I am not gonna lie, this is one of those recipes I kinda made up as I went along. But they were delicious.
Long live World Nutella Day!
Nutella Hazelnut Candies
1/2 - 1 cup hazelnuts
3 tbsp baking soda
bag of dark chocolate chocolate chips
1 jar of Nutella (you won’t use it all but hey, who doesn’t want a jar of Nutella lying around?)
mini cup-cake liners (or candy molds if you have them)
If you think back to last October I made an amazing hazelnut cake from the Hairy Bikers. In it I described how to peel your hazelnuts… well… unless you were lucky enough to find already peeled ones, we are doing that again.
Fill a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan half full with water. Add in the baking soda and bring to a boil.
When it is boiling add in your hazelnuts. Watch it because it will foam and bubble up. And turn a dark red/black.
Boil the nuts for five minutes. Meanwhile fill a bowl with ice water.
As soon as your five minutes are up, use a slotted spoon to remove the nuts from the boiling water and dunk them into the ice bath.
The skins should now easily rub right off.
Lay the hazelnuts out to dry for ten min. and pre-heat your oven to 390 degrees.
Roast the hazelnuts for 15 minutes, stirring every 5. They should be a nice golden nutty brown when they are done.
Set the hazelnuts aside to cool. I made a ton of hazelnuts but have plans for a Nutella hazelnut banana bread.
Line a mini muffin tray with the cupcake liners (or use your candy molds if you got them. I don’t, mini muffins it is!)
Using a double boiler (or a bowl set on top of a pan of boiling water) melt a heaping 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
Carefully put a thin layer of chocolate in the bottom of each mini muffin liner.
While the chocolate is still warm, gently press a hazelnut in the center of each one. You want to make sure the hazelnut sticks in the chocolate but not that it pushes all the way through to the bottom.
Pop those into the freezer for about 4 minutes to set.
If you have any extra hazelnuts, feel free to chop them up for decoration and a little added crunch later on. If you don’t, no worries - they will still be tasty.
Once your chocolate is all set, carefully cover the hazelnut with a daub of Nutella. Do your best not to touch the sides so the Nutella can be completely encased in chocolate. Some of mine do have the layer look where I failed to do this.
Back into the freezer for another few minutes just to firm up the Nutella a little bit. It won’t set but it will be slower to melt when you get to the last step… pouring more melted chocolate on top!
Melt another 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips back on the double boiler.
Spoon the chocolate over the whole Nutella hazelnut goodness in the muffin tins. I found it helpful to give the pan a good shake after all this to make sure the chocolate settles into all the cracks and crannies.
Before putting them back into the freezer to set, I sprinkled a few bits of chopped hazelnut on top. Fancy!
Let them cool another 5 minutes and then bring back to room temperature and enjoy!
You knew I couldn’t go that long without another Hairy Bikers’ recipe. They have a new show/book coming out. This time its in Asia! Someday I will be able to see it here in the States! Someday!
If I do get back to the UK anytime soon you know I am gonna have to bring a suitcase just for all the Hairy Bikers’ books I will buy there! Walk into some bookstore and be the crazy American girl who bought all their cookbooks hahaha. I say soon though because if I don’t go soon I’ll just pay the extra to get them all from Amazon.co.uk.
I realized as I was making these last night (what, you think I plan out these food blogs in advance? Hahahaha yeah, sure, keep thinking I’m that together) I realized I should have done these last week at least because they would make great Super Bowl party food. Ah well, any party would work!
Savory Ham and Cheese Pies
This is in the very first episode and beginning of the book: Norway. I never knew how badly I wanted to visit Norway until that episode. Seriously, it’s beautiful!
(Side note: see comment above about making these last night - I didn’t convert from grams and milliliters to standard American measurements like usual. I’m very sorry.)
700 ml lukewarm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried yeast
950 grams of flour
225 ml milk
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
200 g of chopped ham (I used the pre-diced stuff you can get in the grocery in the vacuumed sealed bag. If you go that route, try to find the very small diced ham)
1 cup shredded Jarlsberg cheese. (I have no idea what Jarlsberg cheese is or where you get it. I used Cracker Barrel White Cheddar. It was delicious!)
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh stuff)
1 tsp caraway seeks
salt and pepper to taste
1 beaten egg for sealing and making the pies all shiny
First… you have to make a starter. It’s ok. Its not that bad, I promise. Pour the lukewarm water into a bowl, add in your sugar and yeast and stir to dissolve.
Add in 350 grams of flour and stir. Cover and leave the mixture in a warm spot for 2 - 3 hours.
Add in the rest of your flour (600 grams), the eggs, and the butter and milk. I put the butter into the milk and gently warmed the whole thing, just until the butter was starting to melt.
Let it cool a minute and then stir with abandon until you just can’t stir anymore. Then it’s time to knead!
Put the now well-kneaded, smooth and silky dough to rest and let it rise again for another two hours.
Meanwhile, make your filling. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Gently sauté the onions until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook for another two minutes.
Stir in the ham, parsley, caraway seeds, and finally, the cheese. Before the cheese all melts go ahead and turn off the heat. Stir until the cheese is melted and your house smells amazing. Salt and pepper to taste and leave the mixture to cool.
Roll out your dough pretty thinly and cut into 12 - 15 circles.
I used a cool aluminum foil pan as a guide because my biscuit cutter was just too small, but a large cup, a bowl, all kinds of things would work.
Place a spoonful of the cool filling on 1/2 of the circle, brush the beaten egg around the edges and seal the dough shut.
Repeat with all of your circles of dough. Go until you run out of filling or dough. I ran out of filling first.
Brush the tops of your pies with the egg and bake in a 390 degree F (200 C) oven for 15 minutes until risen and golden.
Cheese and bread, how can you go wrong!
The Saints are out of the Super Bowl. This is sad to me but my husband assures me there will be good commercials to watch… and I can knit while the game is on!
But just because the Saints are out of the Super Bowl doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy an amazing classic New Orleans drink while watching.
There are hundreds of milk punch recipes. Seriously, give it a google. It is a very old recipe that used to be drunk all over the country; there is even a recipe written by Ben Franklin. The drink, however, went out of favor and was forgotten… everywhere but in New Orleans. One of the cool things about New Orleans is that they tend not to get rid of the past, they just add on to it. Some versions of this punch have powdered sugar, some have ice, some are served slushy and some are just straight-up liquid. Mine is kinda like a cross between a milkshake and a drink.
Inspired by the Smitten Kitchen, a drink I had in New Orleans, and a milk shake I had at the Alamo Draft House.
For one drink (multiply as needed)
3 scoops of softened vanilla ice cream (you want it to be soft serve consistency)
2 oz of milk (roughly 1/4 cup)
2 oz of whiskey or bourbon (again roughly 1/4 cup - it is a strong drink)
1/2 tsp of vanilla
whipped cream and nutmeg for the top
Put your ice cream, milk, whiskey, and vanilla in a blender.
Give it a few good whirls.
Pour the thick deliciousness into tall cups.
Top with whipped cream (we had some Redi-Whip in the fridge and it worked beautifully, but I would never not encourage someone to make their own!)
Grate on a little bit of fresh nutmeg, or sprinkle some from the jar. I really like grating nutmeg - it is a lot of fun, so I may have put a little too much on the ones in the picture.
And that’s it. You can easily whip one of these up and be back in time for the next commercial break! … or hmm… the next play of the game. Yeah, cause that is what we are watching… the football game.
This has been a crazy week for me. My work is hitting a court deadline so things are super busy and then, Monday evening, I got an e-mail from Studio360 about their resolution segment. If you are not familiar with the show, it’s a weekly NPR show (I tend to listen to the podcast more than the airing on my local station ‘cause I am so like that) that deals with art and culture. I believe last year was the first year they put out a call for listeners’ creative resolutions. They picked four people and then followed those four people all year as they progressed on their projects.
I entered on a whim this year, sure that I would never hear from them at all. Well… I was very wrong and am gonna be one of the four people they follow this year! You can read all about my project and listen to the short radio spot or the longer show if you like here! I’m on right before Matthew McConaughey. (And there is a sentence I never expected to type.)
So… when life gets crazy, good or bad crazy… I go to soup and bread. Warm and comforting and it’s a staple, along with pizza, of my life.
This is far from the most photogenic of soups but please don’t let that keep you from making it. It is easy and delicious! Great for the cold winter days ahead of us.
Soupe du Berry
(Red Bean Soup from Berry)
From Twelve Months of Monastery Soups by Brother VIctor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette
This makes 6 servings. When I made it I cut it in half and it was plenty for two people
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cups precooked red beans, or the equivalent in canned beans
1 bottle red wine
4 cups beef stock (or veggie stock)
1 ham bone
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Sauté the onions and olive oil in a large soup pot for 2 - 3 minutes.
Add in the red beans, wine, stock, ham bone, and bay leaf.
Bring the soup to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low.
Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for at least an hour. After the hour has passed I take the back of a wooden spoon and mash up the beans a bit. I like the thickness this adds to the soup.
Add the salt and pepper and nutmeg. Stir well and cook for another 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the soup rest for 10 minutes. Remove the ham bone and bay leaf and serve.
With some bread, of course.
This is hands down, no contest, by far my favorite quick bread of all time. I really, really love this bread.
So why have I not added it as one of the very first posts to this blog? Because this is only the second time I have ever made this bread. My grandmother makes it every year and gives me a loaf. She always tells me I don’t have to share if I don’t want to. Usually I do… but for sure I keep track of every crumb that might go uneaten and look upon that person with scorn! It’s that good.
I didn’t get to see my grandmother for the holidays this year and so have been staring at the recipe with longing for several weeks. I just wasn’t sure it would be good as a January bread. I have strong Thanksgiving/Christmas associations here. But the more I thought about it the more I have come to decide that this is a perfect winter quick bread. It is sweet and moist and light with tart cranberries. It’s what you eat on a bright winter morning with a cup of tea looking out at a cardinal in the snow.
We have no snow, just mud and rain, but in my mind there will be snow and sunlight and nowhere to go… just delicious tea and bread and a good novel.
From my grandmother who got it from her mother who got it from her sister-in-law (linage like this is how you know it is good.)
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup orange juice
grated orange rind
2 tbsp melted butter or margarine
2 tbsp hot water
3/4 c cranberries, cut in half
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional. I opt out personally, but I am not a big nuts-in-things person.)
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Whisk together your dry ingredients (you can sift them if you have a sifter. I do not, but I do have a whisk.)
Zest and juice your orange. I bought a very large navel orange to try and get the required 1/2 cup of juice from it. If you need to though, there is nothing wrong with adding some juice from the store as well.
Add in your wet ingredients, all except the cranberries. Those you pour in last.
Pour the batter into a well-greased bread pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
When the bread is done, pull it out and butter the top. Yep, spread butter all over the top of the nice hot bread.
Now, summon all your will power and wrap it up in wax paper. And put it in the fridge. For three hours. Yes, your house will smell amazing. Yes, you will have the bread right there, ready for a slice, but you have to resist.
And it will get harder still. Because after those three hours are over, you have to rewrap the bread… and put it back in the fridge for 24 hours.
I know! It is torturous! On a side note, if you want to freeze the bread, simply rewrap it and then freeze it. It freezes beautifully!
I wrap mine first in another sheet of paper and then aluminum foil. This is what my grandmother does and so it is what I do. It is the only thing that feels right.
After the 24 hours are over, then you can feast. I highly recommend a cup of tea, and a pretty window… and ignoring work in the morning until the last crumb is gone!
Hey everyone! We are having a big push at work and I am just wanting to hibernate form the cold. My wonderful husband has agreed to write this weeks food blog. His last one, Cranberry Salsa, was delicious and this one is amazing as well.
Hey guys! The husband here, back with another dish that may be one of my new favorite meals.
SUPER TURBO TERIYAKI BURGER II!!!!!!!!! (Makes 4 burgers)
Okay it’s really just a Teriyaki Burger but it’s a damn good one. And it’s something that can easily go from separate ingredients to delicious meat in your mouth in like 15 minutes flat.
Check this out. You’ll need the following:
1lb of Ground Beef
2 1/2 tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Ground Red Pepper (Cayenne)
4 Hamburger Buns
4 Pineapple Slices
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 slices Monterey Jack Cheese
BBQ Sauce of your choice
Beer (for drinking while you cook)
When we cooked these up, we decided to forgo the onions and lettuce, but you don’t have to.
Alrighty, start by cracking open that beer and take a sip. Good? Okay time to move on.
Slice up your onion (it’s up to you how you liked them sliced or chopped), throw them on a medium-high heat skillet with the olive oil and sauté those suckers til they are nice and brown.
Set the onions aside and wipe down your skillet. Lower the skillet to medium/medium-low.
Alright here’s where things get NUTS. Get your ground beef, garlic powder, cayenne, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and egg, mix them all together (with your hands… no time to get shy) until they are well combined.
This is where the bread crumbs come in. Add breadcrumbs a tablespoon at a time while mixing until your mixture is JUST thick enough to form patties.
Okay stay with me here, don’t panic… because it’s going off the rails a bit. Form the ground beef mix… into patties. Four patties to be exact.
Good? Good. Okay now lightly butter your buns and toast them on the skillet (or throw them in a toaster oven without butter.)
Brace yourself, this is where it gets fun. Place your newly formed patties onto the skillet, and then pour a little more teriyaki sauce onto the burger while it’s cooking.
Keep an eye on the burger, beer in hand, and take a few sips while waiting patiently for the meat to get the gorgeous brown color on the bottom that hamburgers are known for. This should only take 2-3 minutes.
Once it’s nicely cooked on the bottom, flip it, poor a little more teriyaki sauce on, and then for the pièce de résistance, place a slice of that yummy cheese right on top of the burger.
While the cheese is melting, and the second side of the burger is cooking, place the pineapple slices on the skillet and grill them a little bit to get them a little dark. Not for long. 30 sec to a minute between each side.
Now this next part is CRITICAL so don’t mess it up!!!!
This is the optimal burger order:
Serve your burger with another beer, some fries, and maybe a pickle on the side, and enjoy the best day of your life.
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