Showing posts with label easy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy. Show all posts

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Three Mushroom Sachets#Perfect Day

 

During the month of December, I was fortunate enough to participate in an exclusive trial of a revolutionary new product to the food world, Animal Free Cream Cheese.  I know it sounds bizarre, but the creators at Perfect Day did just that, creating a smooth, creamy, flavorful and versatile product, suitable for replacing a traditional animal based cream cheese in virtually any recipe.  Using a process of fermentation, scientists were able to isolate the milk protein and extract it, serving as the building blocks for the creation of this imaginative and quite genius spread.  

Through the resourcefulness of Chef's Roll, an industry leading hub for Chefs, both at home and professional, restaurant employees, restaurateurs, foodies, small businesses, Culinarians and the like, plus a bevy of sponsors with amazing products.  I was selected as one of only 100 chefs to participate in the opportunity to develop recipes in two categories for this soon to be trending food item.  Many thanks to both for a key ingredient and inspiration for this featured recipe, Vegan Three Mushroom Sachets.  


I wanted to showcase this wonderful animal free cream cheese with a recipe that would not hide its delicious taste and texture.  After a bit of research, I found inspiration in the Middle Eastern Borek, which is a pastry filled with either meats, cheeses or a sweet filling.  Phyllo dough is used, which is naturally Vegan and that was certainly an attribute to the dish as a whole.  I chose to create these almost hand pie- like pouches, filled with Perfect Day Animal Free Cream Cheese and meaty, earthy mushrooms, three types actually; Baby Bella, Button (8 oz. each) and the piece de resistance of the three, Black Morels, (5 small or about 2 oz.) which I personally foraged, dehydrated and stored from an anomaly of a season past.  I foraged almost 200 in one area!! This was especially satisfying, since I'd only collected 3 from the wild, before this moist and cool, late March mid morning.  Procurement of the Morels is a story for another day, so I must dial back my ADHD to the experience at hand haha, you can read about it here anytime though, just search Morels and Foraging on my page for stories and the recipes they inspired! 

I started this featured recipe by gently cooking about 2 tbsp. minced yellow onion and pressed, minced garlic, 2 cloves, until soft and translucent., about 6 minutes.    I used a plant butter for this part.  After sauteing the thinly sliced mushrooms in a bit of roasted Walnut oil with a tad of extra virgin olive oil, I de-glazed with a small portion of the mushroom water from re-hydrating the Morels, about 1/4 c. and cooked out the excess moisture.  I combined them with the chiffonade of fresh sage and mint, about 1 tsp. sage and 1/2 tsp. mint.  I added 1/4 c. nutritional yeast for body and flavor reminiscent to that of Aged Parmesan.  I then folded the veggie blends into the AF cream cheese. SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste).  I used Himalayan Pink Salt, fine grain, for lots of beneficial trace minerals and harmonious balance with the mushrooms.

Additionally, you can elevate the filling even more by using a counter top smoker and smoking the cheese blend before placing the filling in the pastry.  I used double sheets of the Phyllo dough to make the sachets, placing 2 tbsp. portions in the center and folding over to the ends, and then folding the outer sleeves under the filled portions.  I brushed them with plant butter, during and after.  Bake the sachets on parchment paper lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes in a 375* convection oven until golden.

  

Vegan Three 'Shroom Sachets with Perfect Day

Delicious warm or at room temperature.  Makes 10 sachets or you can reduce the portions to about 1 tsp. each and make appetizer servings.  

This dish is just perfect as is or as a vegan main course alongside a nice gourmet greens salad with cranberries and roasted pecans.  Additionally, the appetizer portions will go well at ANY social, dinner or occasion where food and wine is involved, even the strict carnivores can appreciate this dish.   My tasters approved unanimously, myself included.




Flaky, Delicious, Hearty and Vegan with Perfect Day AF Cream Cheese



Thursday, June 10, 2021

Creek Gourmet: Sauteed Garlic- Lemon-Thyme Butter Crayfish

It's that time of year again and I can't wait.  My sister Bonnie and her husband J.R, who are both avid 'outdoorsmen' gift me with small bounties of local Virginia crayfish, caught fresh from the creek near their hunting cabin, deep down in a hollow, the same place we found our first Morels.  They have been a bit scarce over the past two years, hauls so small, they leave them, in hopes of a larger haul in the near future.  On a gorgeous day maybe two weeks ago, before the rains finally made it to our region, we got together and helped her with some watering of the expansive garden plot down at the cabin,  full of rich, red soil.  After toting fresh water from the creek in 5 gallon buckets, I went back to enjoy the natural beauty of the landscape and the man made pond, where we helped to feed the newly restored and restocked fish, juxtaposed to the cabin site.   

As I walked along the winding creek, I paid close attention to the deeper sections and noticed movement from small fishes and ultimately langoustine looking critters, scuttling amongst the mud and pebble laden bottom, plus around and under mossy rocks.  I even observed a crayfish noshing on another crayfish, apparently that is not uncommon with these guys, creek cannibals indeed!  They bait the traps with protein, usually a good sturdy chicken leg, raw preferably, because it has staying power and isn't easily conquered by the hungry brood, and they seem to like it very much!    The traps remain submerged until a decent haul is amassed.  Sometimes, they may eat the bait and scurry away, given enough time between trap checks.   The crayfish remain alive all the way up until the time to cook them arrives, being transported in a bucket with fresh creek water.

With the hardest part being done, the fun and most delicious part is just around the corner.  I give these "mud bugs" or "crawfish", as they are known by in the lower lying states, namely Louisiana, a good time in a sink pool, for around 2 to 2 1/2 hours, refreshing the water many times over.  I swish and slosh them a bit with a rubber spatula.  I plan to use a scrubby brush on their little hands and bodies for the next time around, as I have observed on every Mukbang video featuring seafood, for good measure.  Next, I transfer them to a large strainer or colander, shaking it constantly and running more cool water over them for the final rinse. 

The crayfish are ever moving and you will have to shake them down relentlessly.   I then chop copious amounts of fresh garlic, parsley and sprigs of thyme from my herb garden.  Then, I melt some  salted butter and a couple turns of the pan of good Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large saute pan and infuse it with garlic and thyme flavor, at a just warm temperature.  After about 5 minutes.  I turn the heat up to medium high and add the crayfish.  I shake and toss until all the crayfish are a brilliant bright red, about 5 minutes, dressing with the parsley, fresh lemon and cracked pepper, then transfer to a large platter, pouring the pan juices over.  

We eat them with our good, clean hands and lots of paper towels.  We lick our fingers too.   Man, I can't wait.

Beautiful and Tranquil Virginia Landscape

There were small, medium and large alike.  I noticed one of the traps nearby, but it had yet to be baited. 


Virginia Crayfish, looking for food.

My sister Bonnie, watering their garden.



Virginia Crayfish hanging out in the sink

 
Sauteed Virginia Crayfish in Garlic Lemon Thyme Butter

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Screams and Sprouts; Ginger Scallops/ Pea, Carrot, Dill Sprouts/Sage Flowers/Mulberry Gastrique


Illustration of Scallops and Sprouts Salad w/Mulberry Gastrique


I wanted to discover the delicate side of my growing garden and I had a wonderful learning experience in sprouts.  I am at the thinning phase for some, so I thought it would be fruitful to see what I could develop with some of the freshest springtime ingredients available, literally in my own yard.  The birds hadn't eaten all of the Mulberries from our tree just yet and I was able to procure a full cup, from which I made the Gastrique.
 I reduced the berries and honey with a little water down to about 3 tablespoons, then added the aged balsamic, reducing again to about 2 tablespoons.  I used a good aged balsamic and wildflower honey.  Fresh ginger, lemon, organic extra virgin olive oil and Irish butter also make an appearance.  I used slices of ginger to scent the olive oil before searing the scallops.  I added the Irish butter after flipping the scallops and getting the caramelization on the tops.  I made a simple vinaigrette using the organic olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, sage flowers, cracked pepper and Fleur de Sel. I garnished with microgreens from my homegrown Brassicas.
 The recipe turned out wonderfully, though the stencil of the pea shoots could have been better.  I wanted to share the above photo of how my mind sees recipe ideas and ingredients before becoming a finished product. Grab some sprouts from your garden and have at it, it's a most rewarding experience.  Micorgreens can have upwards of 40 times the nutrients of regularly grown greens, bigger isn't always better!






 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Dee Lish's Deliveries- Meat Lasagna


 I special delivered this lasagna to one of my older sisters, Terry, along with one of my signature Roasted Pumpkin Cream Pies (also featured on this blog, under the same name), chosen from my catalog of options.  She lives alone, so she specified the size and ingredient call for the dish, including, no fennel, extra beef and lots of three cheeses; Parmesan, Sharp Cheddar and Mozzarella.  I encouraged Terry towards a more wholesome request with the addition of fresh spinach to her dish, adding much needed and good for you nutrition and also a vibrant splash of color!  She agreed and was very pleased with her results. 
I'd been promising my fellow left handed sister a good home cooked meal, to welcome her back home from a lengthy hospital stay, of which I had planned on braised short ribs and perhaps some creamed potatoes and a slow cooked green.  She never worries about calories or fats (and has a somewhat tall and lean stature) especially not after having been deprived of her own freezer stocked with her favorites.  Her first choice was actually some chitlins', something she never tires of talking about having during the cool and winter months, but that was a dish that requires more time and effort than I could offer amidst the obligations and work load, plus pain, that beset my schedule and body at the time, particularly when its cold.

Terry makes a primo Seafood Alfredo,  loaded with treasures of the sea like bay scallops, crab meat and shrimp.  My girls and I just adore it and its the one request we've made when she feels up to it again.  She's the type that loves a dish that's over the top. For instance, if you'd like a cheeseburger, Terry makes a 1/2 lb. double bacon cheeseburger. Ask for a sandwich and it's a club, with extra meat/cheese and if there's cake involved, ice cream is definitively its natural accompaniment! Her eyes are most certainly bigger than her stomach, as she hardly, if ever, finishes any one thing she prepares and is subject to lose interest easily, after the initial culinary desire has been met, which can be a particular treat for those around her. 
 She's a real character and sweetheart, a sister and a friend.  

I am glad Terry made the request as she did, because in doing so, I was able to write another solid and delish lasagna recipe, this one with the flat lasagna and now my more favored over the rippled one.  I also omit the egg that I usually use in some of my ricotta mixtures and replace it with an Italian cheese blend to serve as a binder.  The sheets also aid in preparing smaller portion dishes.   This will be the recipe that makes the menu, once my meal service is fully up and running.   I'll be sharing more about its details in the weeks to come.  In the meantime between time, happy eating! 


Monday, December 7, 2020

Korean Barbecue Meatball Subs

 

I'm not going to 'beat around the bush', this recipe is bad ass!  I'm proud to share it with you, plus it's a less stress, no mess ingredient call and with the use of a pressure cooker or crockpot,  the flavors can be super infused for a bevy of bold taste, in a short period of time!  The flavors of Korean Barbecue kick you right in the mouth and finish with warm buns and tangy toppings.  I used sweet and hot banana peppers for a splash of color and some mozzarella cheese, bringing in some neutral and stretchy cheese goodness that we look for in a meatball sub. I used store bought, precooked chicken meatballs for a fast, familiar and complimentary flavor profile, mimicking the flavor of Korean Barbecue chicken! 
 Once the veggies have been chopped, the rest is smooth sailing into a delicious and unforgettable lunch, dinner or game day special feature, so easy, a toddler could do it!  No shade toddlers, I'm just saying, it's crazy easy!  This dish is not too  harsh on the middle, so what the hell, have 2, just wait until the next day for the second one, the taste is even better after the cavorting of ingredients overnight!  
Recipe:
2 lbs.  store bought or precooked chicken meatballs
1 11 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. ketchup
1/2 c. veggie stock, you may also use less sodium beef or chicken stock
1/4 c. Gochujang
5 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped
1/4 c. pure cane sugar
2 tbsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. mirin 
2 tsp. Liquid smoke, mesquite 
1 tbsp. dried cilantro, divided
12oz. grated whole milk mozzarella
1 small jar sweet/hot banana peppers
 4 green onions, trimmed, white and green parts, sliced
8 to 10 hoagie buns
Olive oil for drizzling
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
 
Instructions:
Place meatballs frozen or thawed in Ninja Foodi. 
Add stock first, pouring over meatballs.
Add remaining ingredients, down to cilantro, adding 2 tsp. to the pot. The remainder will be for garnish.
Place the Foodi on pressure cook mode and set time for 30 minutes.
Once 30 minutes is up, carefully release pressure and remove
 top and stir.
Place Foodi on Sear/Saute mode at medium high and reduce until desired consistency of sauce is reached, generally about 10 minutes.
Place oven on broil setting.
Split hoagie buns and place a bit of sauce and a scant amount of cheese to each bun.
Add up to 5 meatballs to each bun.
Sprinkle generously with cheese.
Drizzle all subs with olive oil.
Sprinkle on remaining cilantro and place under broiler.
Broil until golden and bubbly, about 4 minutes.
Garnish with sliced green onion and sweet/hot banana peppers.
Makes 8 to 10 Subs. 
Serve with chips, fries or green salad.

If using a crockpot, simply place all ingredients in the vessel, then place on high setting for 4 hours.
Follow assembly instructions as stated for the Foodi.
If using a stovetop, place all ingredients minus meatballs in a medium heavy bottomed pot with lid and bring up to a boil, add meatballs and simmer for 2 hours, then place on medium high setting for the last 15 minutes to thicken the sauce.








Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Southern Style Sides: Down Home Green Beans



If you happen to have a ham bone around, from 'Virginia Prosciutto', in all its salted and cured glory would be great, now is a great time for this delicious and flavor rich dish that is these green beans.  Most of us have a sure bet menu items that our families' gravitate towards, travel well and get rave reviews, even from people we may not normally share the table with regularly.  I've been making this version of green beans for years, especially for the special dinners, birthdays and holidays.  
If pork is not really your thing, no worries, smoked turkey wings, legs and necks, make delicious music with the greens too!
Old fashioned green beans aren't just dumped from the can and heated. Freshly snapped from the garden during this time of year is optimal, work with what you have access to. Soul Food style greens and beans should be simmered for additional time, up to 2 hours, sometimes more, infusing the vegetable with depth and charm, fulfilling and full of love and effort.  You can taste the history in each bite.  
A few aromatics are all you need and a little more time, your tasters won't soon forget it.  I am a fan of a quick steam or saute of a garden fresh green bean, simple and drizzled with a little olive oil or sprinkled with some almond slivers .  As popular as green bean casserole is, I've never really fallen into that matrix, the cream of mushroom in the can, saving families since the thirties, when it was created and marketed for making affordable dinners and gussying up a plain meal in minutes, a godsend for the Depression Era. 
This dish is as easy as pie, needing only the time to simmer for a couple of hours and reduce the liquids.  The pieces of ham are just a little added bonus!  

Recipe:
1 gallon green beans, from the can, drained and rinsed
1 ham ðŸĶī or portion
2 medium onions, quartered
4 cloves 🧄, peeled and smashed
1 small pinch, red ðŸŒķ️ flakes
🐔 or ðŸĨ’ Stock or water, enough to cover green beans in large, heavy bottomed pot
ðŸŦ’ oil
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Start by sauteing onion and garlic over medium high heat, in a large vessel, with a heavy drizzle of Olive oil.
Once onion is aromatic and showing signs of caramelization, add remaining ingredients and bring up to a boil.
Once mixture starts to boil, reduce to medium and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After above time, reduce again to medium low and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced and beans are tender and flavorful.
Taste as you go, check the seasoning of the green beans until the desired intensity is reached.
Whenever that time comes, turn to low.
This recipe makes a large quantity. For smaller families or dishes, simply halve the recipe.
You can freeze the extras, for slow cooked veggie goodness in a flash later!
 



Monday, August 17, 2020

Creamy Parmesan and Bacon Tortilla Cups


 This appetizer happened sooo fast and was received so well, I had to share with my fellow Culinarians.  I had to stop in by Kroger, which is usually a once monthly deal, when I pick up my scripts and saw some sweet deals going on, my wallet approved of.  There was a gourmet dip in the deli section, reduced and reasonable, so I grabbed it up, taking advantage of something that would normally be out of my budget's comfort zone, saving me several dollars, that I would gladly keep for other essentials. 

 I was initially envisioning this gourmet dip, smothering a baked potato, turning a side dish into a main course with a few sauteed mushrooms or garlic shrimp and leafy green salad by its side.  As I made my way through the store, picking up some healthful steps with my Samsung Health app that's installed on my phone, I saw the tortilla cups.  These two items were not meant to converge, until I was back at home and having a few of the cups with a Spinach dip another family member picked up on the same visit.  I have a Ninja Foodi and it helps facilitate many of the spur of the moment ideas that may need my immediate attention, before I either forget, or fail to write down.  Luckily, this recipe became only a matter of putting 3 things I enjoy together and adding some heat.  I filled the cups with the Parmesan forward dip and sprinkled in a few real bacon pieces from the package, usually adorning a salad.  I placed my Foodi on the broil setting and in a matter of  minutes, there was this piping hot, cheesy, melty, crunchy and smoky 2 -3 bite snack, full of flavor and good enough to share with others.  The family loved it and looked forward to the next time they would be making an appearance.  That was good enough for me.  We don't normally agree on everything, at least not all the time, but this time, everything fell into place, like Plinkos on a game of The Price is Right, gotta love it when that happens!  

Recipe:

Tortilla Chip Cups

Parmesan and Peppercorn Gourmet Dip, (Kroger)

Real ðŸĨ“ Pieces

SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)


Instructions:

Fill cups midway with Parmesan Peppercorn dip.

Sprinkle with real bacon pieces.

Place in Ninja Foodi or under a broiler.

Broil until bubbly and melty.

Plate and serve. 

Makes as many as you don't feel guilty eating.

P.s. The shadow you see directly behind the plate is actually one of our dogs, Grizzley, he wanted in on the action! I was out by my herb garden, trying to catch some good natural lighting and he was curious about what smelled so darn good and if there was enough for him! 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Walking Waffles

With the entire Virginia School system and others closed for the next two weeks in an effort to keep the pupils and families safe, the need for additional meals and snacks at home will be at the helm of our to do lists.  By the time we as parents hear the "I'm Hungry" song from one to potentially several kiddoes, on repeat,  especially from the tweens and teens, we will have to arm ourselves with some quick and filling fixes, preferably wholesome and nutritious ones, some maybe not so much.  Enter this quick idea, from which several variations may spring from, the "Walking Waffles" .
 I came up with this a couple of mornings ago, before the break began.  Time was closing in on us fast, and I knew the kiddoes wouldn't have time for a complete sit down and plated breakfast and make it to school on time. With some quick thinking I decided to layer the would be plated items in a 16 oz. plastic cup, so that when they started their meal, it was in a vessel that could travel also, if needed.  I filled the lower portion of the cup with the fruit pick of the morning, fresh sliced strawberries (I added the fork before adding the waffles for stability and ease of movement) and quartered the blueberry waffles, so they would both fit in the cup and be in smaller, bite sized portions. I drizzled the whole shebang with some pure maple syrup.  That way the excess could drip down onto the fruit and add delicious sweetness below.
 Make it super special by adding some whipped cream to the top or stick in a couple of slices of crisp bacon or sausage links (your choice, regular or vegan) at the top, for a super meal on the go, for both the kids and the parents.
There is no wrong way and the fruit choices can be the same or mixed, depending on preference. This method will also curtail some of  the additional dish washing, which will certainly be a part of the upcoming weeks. Let the kids pick the flavor profiles and they will receive it better, plus they'll have a go-to if they have to do it themselves.  Have fun with it and Godspeed.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Best .Oatmeal .Cookie. Ever.

This is one of my most cherished recipes. I created it in 2012. The book in which it was written, was a gift from my sister Brenda, meant  to house such treasures of this very caliber.  Sometimes, we are afraid to step outside of our comfort zone and open our vulnerabilities to the world, especially when dealing with cooking and what our personal idea of what is "good" really is.  This is one such time, but since I am not yet global per se, I feel the best way to obtain such status, would be to let the world in on one of my best kept secrets.
This recipe was misplaced in my sea of culinary journals and sketches for years.  I ran across it this past summer, luckily because my family had inquired about it for as long as it was missing.  I was advised to keep it to myself, but here we go....
Be advised, this cookie is dangerous. One bite will lead to another, then another, and more. Before you know it, you will be in 3 cookies deep and wondering how the heck you got there. You will bade for time, until you may shamelessly have another.  You will want to give out some as gifts, freeze some, anything to feel better about becoming a cookie monster. Try this recipe if you dare.  I will leave this recipe on my website for a total of 23 days. Why 23? One of my lucky numbers is 23. After the specified time, it will be removed promptly, to return to my personal recipe file, to only be baked by me alone.  I would take advantage of this opportunity if I were you.  Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. For more exciting and informative  content delivered right to your mailbox, enter your email address and hit the submit button at the top of the desktop version. I'd love to have you join me!

Recipe:
3 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. rice flour
1 1/3 c. cake flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. butter, softened, unsalted
1 large egg
2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. unsulphured molasses
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Mix dry ingredients together well in one bowl and in another, cream together butter, egg, molasses, sugar and vanilla.
Incorporate wet ingredients into dry  gradually, in a folding fashion, until evenly blended.
Drop by heaping teaspoons or roll into balls about 1' in diameter and place on a well greased cookie sheet.
Bake until golden, about 13 minutes. For a softer cookie, cut cooking time down to 11 minutes.
Let cool slightly before transferring to wire rack, then cookie vessel.
Makes about 5 1/2 dozen, depending on size.



Friday, April 12, 2019

Hearts and Crafts: DIY Serving Boards

I recently purchased some bamboo cutting boards for the kitchen.  I wanted to 'trick it out' a bit to give it more personality and eye appeal.  I thought it would be cool to add some stencil work, but couldn't find anything suitable in the particular store I was in at the time.
When I arrived home, I decided to test out my idea by flipping the board over and practicing my design and testing the furniture markers I had purchased for the project.  I started with some freehand diamond shapes, because the tape I purchased to create the design, wasn't the proper tape and would not even remotely stay in place!  It was putting a damper on my creativity, but I kept on going.

My assistant, Aaron,  also aware of my current endeavor, came in with a brilliant idea, using a six pack ring as a stencil, with the positive and negative spaces seeming ideal for a contemporary and unique style. To my pleasant surprise, the design came out well.  I used coconut oil to finish the serving board after allowing it to sit. I have since set out on a search for even more "stencils" to adorn the flip sides of  my cutting boards.

I allowed the design to set for over 24 hours.  I also wiped the board with hot soapy water on a cloth and wiped dry.  I plan to do more serving and displays from this side more than anything.  I was concerned about possible transfer of substances, but after a bit of research, I decided it was safe enough considering the wood is actually stained and there was no further bleeding or wipe off.  Besides, I wouldn't want to damage the artwork.  I'm sure my next one will be even better. The imperfections of my first finished board add to its custom, hands-on flare.  These make wonderful personalized gifts too!

With Mother's Day coming up, this idea is a sure bet.  My sister Linda wants one and I can't wait to come up with her something that she will love.  I have 6 more sisters, so I may just opt for a series of smaller ones, that all fit the same motif, almost like a puzzle, with each one of them having a piece. Fitting, because all of my sisters and my two remaining brothers have a piece of my heart, and we are all a part of the big picture, created by 2 masterful artists; Mom and Dad, Douglas and Laura. My Dad is now my Guardian Angel and my Mom is my angel in this world, almost 80 years strong, my muse and my friend...an integral part of my heart and the reason it beats.


My personally customized boards shown with the Earlywood ™ Trifecta. I gifted these to myself for Xmas.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

French Onion Bread Bowl w/ Fresh Dill and Cheddar

A fast and simple way I like to dress up the normal menu is by using a loaf of herbed bread as a bowl.  In just a few simple steps, your friends and family will be impressed and you can be the 'Belle' or 'Ben' of the ball(game that is!) or your next gathering.  This recipe shows a french onion dip, but you may fill it with whatever your heart desires. Add some fresh herbs and a sprinkle of cheese/cheeses or even toasted bread crumbs from the center of the loaf, for added flavor and texture. Cater the size bread needed, to the amount of filling you will have or use smaller bread vessels to spread around the table. Day old or more bread would be easier to cut and manipulate.  Easy, Elevated and Delish. 
Instructions:
A loaf of French Bread of choice
A small paring knife
Your favorite dip, store bought or homemade
Fresh Herbs
Cheese, optional

Using the paring knife, cut out center of bread to about 1 inch from the edge, lengthwise, about 1/2 inch the other way.
Hollow out bread roughly 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches into the loaf.
Fill with dip of choice.
Garnish as desired.
Serve with crudites, assorted chips,(bagel, pita) etc. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake and Other Lemony Delights



  Meyer lemons are a fragrant and bright citrus fruit, that is a a cross between a lemon and a mandarin.  They made their appearance in the Americas in the early 1900's.  Their season is between November and March.  I was in place at just the right time to catch them for $2 for 2 lbs.  Knowing the standard price encouraged me to buy many many bags and set aside a day and an evening to process the whole lot.  I spent quite a few hours peeling and juicing the yellow gems and wanted to go ham in the lab aka the kitchen to see what I could could come up with.  After peeling the lemons, I laid the peels out on parchment and dried in a 200 degree oven for about 2 hours.   I used some of the fresh peels to make Meyer Lemon Peel Candy. I spiked mine with Crown Royal Apple Brandy.
Apple Brandy Lemon Peel Candy

I used ice cube trays to freeze the zesty juice in portioned increments to fit the bill for likely amounts in recipes: 1 and 2 tsp. amounts and 1 tbsp. increments. After freezing the cubes, I placed them in separate resealable zip lock bags for easy accessibility, works like a charm!!  I also used my mortar and pestle to make a course ground powder to use in soups, stews and water baths.  My daughter Bronwyn was the first to actually make a tall and frosty jar full of this delicious Meyer Lemonade!  The tangy citrusy and lemony drink was perfect.  I love the idea of having these cubes on hand for many of our treasured treats, which brings me to the featured recipe.
 I am obviously a fan of things lemon, and this creation stemmed from the wonderful fragrance that filled the air during my lab or kitchen time, that's devoted to the development of one specific item or technique.  I also made my first preserved lemons from this batch, I impatiently waited in angst for the 3 week time frame the lemons needed to be ready to eat/use.  I have used them thus far in a recipe starring pork and they were fabulous, albeit, a little goes a long way.  I  rehydrated some of the Meyer Lemon peels and incorporated a touch of that water into the glaze for the end.  Lemon zest will do just fine if you don't happen to have dried peels on hand.  If in season, zest some of the fresh peel into the batter for even more sweet/tart twang.
Recipe:
3 1/2 c. cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 1/4 c. sugar
6 large eggs
1 c. or 2 sticks softened butter, unsalted
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. evaporated milk
1/2 c. Meyer Lemon juice
1 tsp. Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste*
Preheat oven to 350*F.
Combine dry ingredients until well blended. 
In another bowl, cream sugar, eggs, butter, oil and milk
Add juice and extract.
Mix in flour in two batches, careful not to overwork batter, producing a tough cake.
Pour into a large greased and floured bundt pan, tapping on hard surface to release any air pockets.
Bake until toothpick or skewer inserted comes out clean, about 55 minutes to 1 hour.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
For Glaze:
1 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. milk, more or less for desired consistency
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. meyer lemon peel water
1/4 tsp. *MBVBP
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt

In a medium bowl, combine confectioner's sugar, butter, vanilla and salt.
Add milk slowly until you reach the desired consistency.
Fold or stir in lemon zest.
Spread or pour over cooled cake.
Serves 16-18.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Brussels Sprouts Hash with Kielbasa and Balsamic Glaze

A delicious and nutritious meal or super side can be ready in minutes.  This hash is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, color and flavor.  The implement of the Kielbasa makes it a full meal  or you may omit it for a vegan or vegetarian dish to satisfy and deliver.  Brussels Sprouts are a member of the cruciferae family, related to broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  A mandolin makes light work of the sprouts, which can be bought halved, by the pound.  This is a simple one skillet dish my family and I enjoyed very much.
Recipe:
1 lb. fresh Brussels Sprouts
1/2 lb. Kielbasa, cut on bias in 1/4 inch slices
1/2 c. thinly sliced yellow or red onion
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 medium carrot, grated
Pinch of Fennel Pollen
Olive oil for drizzling
Balsamic Glaze
SPST
Instructions:
Using a mandolin or food processor, slice the brussels sprouts, onion and carrot.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and drizzle in a little olive oil.
Place each piece of kielbasa in the pan carefully, so that a flat side will be directly on pan.
After about 2 minutes and the protein is caramelizing, add the veggies and garlic.
SPST.
Cook undisturbed for about 2 minutes, then toss contents of pan over and over to redistribute the veggies and in turn flipping the kielbasa.
Add pinch of Fennel Pollen.
Shake pan constantly and toss for an additional minute or until veggies are tender crisp.
Garnish with balsamic glaze.
Serves 2-3 main dish, 4 as side dish.
Note:
*For a tasty spin, omit kielbasa and serve as warm slaw on smoked sausage dogs or brats with mustard of your choice.






Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Potatoes and Turnips Lyonnaise

This recipe goes well with just about any protein, and with the help of a mandolin is a stress free and delicious affair.  With the aid of some simple and earthy ingredients, this recipe may be for a weeknight meal, or elevated to a more formal affair, just from the plating alone.  A friend of the family had a surplus of turnips, which she shared with us and this is one of the many I developed as a result. Belonging to the Family Cruciferae, including cauliflower, broccoli, collards and kale, also Brussels Sprouts, turnips are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium.  They also provide a substantial amount of our daily allowances of vitamins A, C and K.  They blend in well with potatoes, and with thinly sliced onions in tow, this recipe is a wonderful collection of bulbous goodness!
Recipe:
3 turnips, peeled, thinly sliced, about 3 cups
2 potatoes, such as Russet, peeled,  thinly sliced, about 2 cups
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. butter, plus 1 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
Toss sliced veggies together as evenly as possible in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large oven safe saute pan over medium high heat, melt butter and olive oil together.
Once butter is melted and hot, carefully add veggies and garlic.
Shake pan constantly as veggies cook and SPST.
Cook for several more minutes , shaking pan and tossing careful not to break up veggies too much.
Place tight fitting lid over pan, and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Remove lid and transfer to oven, baking until browning is evident on top, about 15 minutes.
Serves 6 to 8.  Let stand for several minutes before cutting or plating.
I served this recipe with simple Salt and Pepper Bone In Chops.