Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Venison, Bacon and Black Bean Mini-Chili Bowls

Venison is a lean and nutritious protein, and if prepared well, an amazing substitute for any red meat namely beef. I enjoy the time of year when I can acquire, through my hunting family members, a fresh batch of Venison to develop recipes for special occasions or a hearty week night or weekend   This recipe came to me while in the 'lab' and thinking of recipes that would cater to a game night themed menu. 
 I really enjoy Venison, as does some of my family, including my girls and nephew.  The kids ages run between 8 and 9 1/2.  I have received a good amount of positive feedback, excluding that of my mom, who has no desire to consume any type of wild game, something about her childhood and getting fed up at a young age when, literally! The base recipe actually sparked several other recipes, quite different in presentation, color and taste, all pleasing .  
The following recipe is essentially my spin
 on chili beans and corn bread, popular amongst the young and old.  The bowl for the chili is my take on Yorkshire Pudding, which I enhanced with Chinese Five Spice and onion powder to compliment the flavor profile of the Venison fillling.  These gems are bite sized, as I used a miniature muffin pan.   I was feeling especially elated about this recipe because I actually did my own grind with my Kitchen Aid with grinder attachment.  I added more moisture element with some chopped bacon.  I found that warm and earthy spices like allspice, cinnamon, clove and even star anise really mesh well with Venison as well as onion and garlic.  The end result of this chili is used as a filling, for a more spoon and bowl chili, simply add a can of tomato sauce, an additional can of beans with liquid, chili powder and a pinch of sugar, sugar optional.
1 lb. ground Venison
1/4 c. raw chopped bacon
1/2 c. chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/4 c. tomato paste
3 tbsp. beef broth or water , plus more if needed
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
1 11.5 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
Sour cream, Sriracha and Parsley for garnish, optional
For Miniature Yorkshire Puddings:
1 c. ap flour
2 large eggs
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 450*F.
Over medium high heat in a large saute pan, add bacon and cook for several minutes until golden and fat has been rendered.  
Remove all but 2 tbsp. of the rendered fat, (reserve additional bacon fat to lightly brush muffin cups)
Add the onions. Continue to cook for about 1 minute until fragrant, 
Add Venison. 
Cook until meat is browned and add garlic.
Cook through, about 4 minutes.
Add tomato paste, broth, fish sauce and spice. 
Bring up to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes.
Fold in black beans and turn off heat.
Meanwhile prepare the Yorkshire pudding cups.
Brush mini muffin pans with reserved bacon fat, cooking spray OR olive oil.
Place muffin pan in oven for 5 minutes.
 Combine ingredients until smooth in a vessel with a pouring spout for ease.
Fill muffin cups about half full with batter. 
Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden. 
Once cups have cooled just enough to remove, do so, to start the next batch. 
*Having 2 mini muffin pans comes in quite handy here. 
You may use the regular sized, 12 cup muffin pans to make dinner bowls, 2 per person.* 
Transfer to a baking sheet or large flat platter and press down or with a paring knife, cut half circle in  the center of each to create a crater to house the filling.
Wait until all have been baked to start the filling process.
Makes about 5 dozen mini chili bowls.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Denese's Roasted Pumpkin Rolls

This recipe was a real joy to create and features roasted pumpkin.  I felt the need to develop more pumpkin recipes, and could not recall hearing of or seeing any using roasted pumpkin in rolls.
Pumpkin provides a ton of  positive attributes like vitamins A and C.  They pack a mean punch of calcium, iron, magnesium, fiber and a rich amount of beta-carotene, which also gives pumpkin it's bright color, abundant in anthocyanins.  Anthocyanins are flavanoids, antioxidant in nature, that have shown evidence contributing to the prevention of certain diseases and cancers.
Good dinner rolls are part of what makes any meal memorable, especially around the holidays. Thanksgiving is closing in and here is a perfect recipe to help make your menu POP!
I received very positive feedback from my tasters and my daughter Bronwyn loved hers as breakfast and an after school snack, warmed with apricot preserves! Another taster friend of mine enjoyed his with homemade peach jelly.  The rolls are light and airy with very subtle roasted pumpkin notes, boasting just the right amount of savory sweetness. This recipe can accommodate a crowd, but don't worry, they may be frozen after baking or before the second proofing stage and will keep for months.  You probably won't have that issue though!
8 oz. roasted pumpkin
2 c. milk, plus 1 tbsp. for glaze ( I used 2%)
2/3 c. ( 1 1/2 sticks) butter at room temperature
about 9 c. AP flour
4 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 pkg. yeast, about 1/2 oz.
2 large eggs, plus one egg for glaze
Press the roasted pumpkin through a strainer with a rubber spatula, and into a medium bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine pumpkin, milk and butter.
Stir and heat slowly until warm, between 105 and 125 degrees.
Make sure you DO NOT heat liquid too much, as it will kill the yeast and affect rising properties.
Meanwhile, combine 4 1/2 c. flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
Pour dry ingredients into stand mixer bowl with bread attachment.
Stir on 1 setting for about 1 minute.
Move setting to 2 and gradually add liquid ingredients. The liquid should be lukewarm.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time until dough forms a sticky ball, about 3 1/2 cups.
The dough ball should pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Once dough clings in ball on the dough attachment, remove dough and place on lightly floured surface.
Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour if needed, about 5 minutes.
It is o.k. for dough to be a little sticky.
Place dough in a large greased bowl and turn to coat.
Cover with a clean cloth or towel and let rise in a warm and draft free place for 1 hour.
After one hour, punch dough down and divide into 3 pieces.
Let dough rest for 15 more minutes covered.
After 15 minutes, cut each piece into 16 pieces.
Flatten each piece with fingertips, then form a ball by tucking the egdes under.
Place on greased cookie sheets about 1/2 inch apart for soft sides or two inches apart for more crisp surface area per roll.
Let rise (covered) for about 30 minutes more, or until doubled in size.
Combine remaining egg and milk in small bowl and brush rolls with mixture.
Bake at 400*F for 10 minutes or until golden.
Makes 4 dozen.

Perfect for breakfast sandwiches....

Light, airy and full of fresh baked flavor, with a serious side of Love!!!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Banh Mi Chow Chow, Antioxidant Extraordinaire!!!

This recipe idea came about when I had a bunch of radishes remaining after a meal one night.  I wanted to utilize the phytochemical and sulforaphane* rich gems in a manner with ease of access and diversity.
I decided to create a pickled type condiment using most of the same ingredients as you would in a Banh Mi.  I enjoy that particular combination and I totally enjoy foods and condiments that are sweet but sour, spicy and tangy at the same time.
This chow chow starts with toasting a bit of pickling spice in a dry non stick pan and proceeding with the other pickling ingredients; salt, sugar, water and vinegar.  A pinch of hot pepper flakes bring on the heat.  Lots of small cloves of smashed garlic add depth and character to this version, and the cilantro and sweet peppers bring brightness and more flavor.
This recipe is crazy versatile and addictive.  It is not a sweet relish per se, but more on the lines of Saurkraut, with its acidic notes. During trials,  I enjoyed this on a regular hot dog with chili, a cheddarwurst dog, and even on a corned beef sandwich, which was spectacular!!!
My tasters included three of my sisters and mom, they rated it from liked to loved!  This recipe would pair excellently on a smoked brisket sandwich.  I am pleased with the outcome of this recipe because I consumed more radishes in 2 days, than I had in my life thus far...Score one for team eat more veggies!
2 c. radish matchsticks
1 c. thinly sliced mini sweet peppers, yellow, orange and red
1 tbsp. fresh petite cilantro leaves
1 c. water, divided
1/2 c. white distilled vineger
1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar
5 very small cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. pickling spice
pinch of red pepper flakes
scant pinch of celery seeds
In a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pickling spice.
Add 1/2 c. water, SEASONED rice vinegar, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper flakes and celery seeds.
Turn heat to medium high.
Stirring constantly, bring up to a boil for about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool for several minutes.
Add remaining water and distilled vinegar at this point to aid in cooling. Stir.
Toss radishes, peppers and cilantro together.
Add veggies to an air tight jar or container with lid.
Once liquid is completely cooled, pour over veggies.
Turn vessel several times to distribute spices.
Let stand for about 10 minutes or let sit overnight in refrigerator for more developed flavors.
Use a fork to remove from container so it may drain and make sure you remove the larger pieces of pickling spice before each serving.
Makes about 1 quart.
*Sulforaphane is an antioxidant compound which  is suggested to help stave off certain cancers like prostate, breast, ovarian and colon.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Apple Cheddar Stacks, Military Style

Okay, so this beach trip was quickly approaching and I felt the need to lose a few extra pounds.  I had only about a week until departure, so I enlisted the aid of the surefire Military Diet to expedite my goal.  One  of the meals includes one small apple, a 1 oz. piece  of Cheddar cheese and 5 crackers.  At face value, the trio was a bit boring, so being the resourceful person that I am, I tweaked the ensemble just a bit.
Since the diet is calorie based, I could add the dollop, which is a Chile Garlic Sauce, no fat, no calories. I ended up with a rather tasty treat, interesting enough for your next super snack in less than 5 minutes. I used a mandolin to slice the cored apple. This process really added a sense of volume to the snack.   I stacked the slices into even piles.
 Coring provided the well for the cheese (which I grated and filled in the centers) and I microwaved them for about 35 seconds.  I garnished each with a tiny bit of the Chile Garlic Sauce and SPST for a sweet and savory, crunchy and chewy, slightly stretchy and spicy, satisfying snack/meal.
1 small apple of choice, I used Gala
1 oz. Cheddar cheese
5 saltine crackers
Slice off top and bottom of apple.
Core the apple.
Using a mandolin, slice the apple and make equal piles of them on a microwave safe dish.
Grate the Cheddar and fill the wells created by stacking.
Offset the base apple slice to aid in stabilizing the cheese well.
Microwave until the cheese just starts to melt, about 35 seconds.
Top crackers with Apple Stack.
Garnish with fresh cracked pepper and  Chile Garlic Sauce if desired.
Serves 1.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Gluten Free Banh Mi Romaine Boats

Bursting with color and fresh flavor, this recipe is a gluten free version of the Vietnamese sandwich called a Banh Mi.  Traditionally served on a crusty and rich baguette, this style cuts calories and fat tremendously.  I enjoy the super crunch the Romaine lettuce provides, mimicking a crisp crusted bread.  There is no harm in eating 3 or 4, and not having to worry about the fallout.
The protein for this dish is marinated overnight, so this dish comes together quite literally in minutes if the prep work for the veggies is done ahead of time as well.  A mandolin makes crazy light work of the English cucumber and the radishes( I stacked the radishes after using the mandolin and cut them into matchsticks)  Pork is used for this recipe, as is in the traditional,  but I marinate this in a Chinese BBQ marinade to give it that brilliant color and flavor profile. I have written an adaptation to this marinade below to achieve very similar and desirable results.
Chinese BBQ Marinade:
1/2 c.beet juice
2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or finely minced
2 tbsp. Cane or granulated sugar
1 tbsp. Chinese 5 spice
1 tbsp. white distilled vinegar
2 tsp. fish sauce or Miso
2 tsp. onion powder
Combine ingredients in small bowl.
1-1 1/2 lbs. pork loin, cut into thin strips
Pour marinade over protein, press out air in resealable bag, refrigerate 4 to 24 hours for fullest flavor and color.
When ready, drain.
Saute over medium-high heat until desired done-ness, at least 145*F.
Serves 4-6.

Radishes, matchsticks
English cucumber
Romaine Lettuce

Spicy Sweet Chili Sauce:
1/4 c. mayo or Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp. Sweet Asian Chili Sauce
1 tbsp. Sambal Oelek or to taste
1 tsp. Miso
Combine ingredients in small bowl.  Serve along side Romaine Boats.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Spinach Beef and Bacon Stuffed Shells

This recipe is great for a week night meal, full of nutrients and relatively easy to make.  Considering on-hand ingredients, it is easy on the wallet as well.  The filling boasts a healthy dose of spinach and three cheeses, including Cottage, Mozzarella and Parmesan.  A small amount of cooked crumbled bacon adds depth to the flavor profile as well as subtle smokiness.  The sauce can be home made or store bought, depending on your time constraints and it can be prepped ahead of time and baked when ready.  The family received this recipe well, including my nephew and his little girl, Saniah, she is 9 months old!  My 8 year old Bronwyn loved them too.
1 12 oz. box jumbo shells
1 lb.ground beef
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 10 oz. chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed of excess moisture
3 tbsp. cooked and chopped bacon or turkey bacon
1 c. cottage cheese
1 c. Mozzarella cheese, divided
2/3 c. Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 24 oz. can Roasted Garlic and Onion spaghetti sauce
1 15 oz. can your choice spaghetti sauce
sugar to taste, optional
parsley for garnish, optional
Sharp White Cheddar for garnish, if desired
Olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 375*F.
Prepare pasta in salted water,  according to instructions, cooking until just short of al dente, about 6 minutes.
Rinse and stop cooking process under cold running water.
Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, brown beef with onion over medium high heat until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic. SPST.
Drain beef mixture and set aside to cool slightly.
While mixture is cooling, combine spaghetti sauces and sugar to taste in medium pot and bring up to temperature.
In a medium bowl, fold together beef, spinach, bacon, cottage cheese, 1/2 Mozzarella and 1/2 of Parmesan and egg.
While sauce is heating, use a teaspoon to fill shells with beef mixture.
Divide heated sauce among two spacious baking dishes, and nestle shells evenly among the two.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 25 minutes or until shells are heated through and internal temperature reaches 180*F.
Remove foil and sprinkle with remaining cheeses and return to oven until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
Let stand for several minutes before serving.
Garnish with white Cheddar.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Denese's Corn Flake and Buttermilk Biscuits

Two things inspired me for this recipe, a surplus of buttermilk and a cacophonous amount of corn flakes.  I initially processed the flakes into crumbs, as an add- in to breading and for various other fried or oven fried recipes.  Alas, fried foods are not a mainstay in our home, so they were more or less just hanging around. Regarding shelf life, I became curious as to how to utilize the crumbs in a way  I hadn't before.
I  love making homemade biscuits for my family, usually on a Sunday morning, at least twice a month.  I fiddled with the ratio of flour to crumbs and was satisfied with a 3 to 1, flour to corn flake crumbs.  The biscuits came out beautiful and with a unique flavor profile, accommodating sweet and savory fillings.
The corn flake crumbs lend a whole grain appearance to the bread.  The texture is supple and interesting.  The addition of the corn flake crumbs also add a plethora of vitamins and minerals like Vitamins A, D and C. These puppies also pack a mean punch of B vitamins, Iron, magnesium and potassium.   The family received them well and I have been making them in place of my usual buttermilk biscuits. So next time the box of corn flakes gets low and you crave something new and good for you, give them a try.  These may become you next favorite thing, perfect for slathering the jams and jellies you made from this summer's fruit and veggie harvests!
3 c. AP flour, sifted
1 c. corn flake crumbs, processed finely
1 tbsp. double acting baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. lard or vegetable oil
6 tbsp. frozen butter
1 1/2 to 1 3 /4 c. buttermilk, plus a little for brushing
Preheat oven to 450*F.
In a large bowl, sift flour and baking powder together.
Add salt and corn flake crumbs. Stir until well blended.
Cut in lard or vegetable oil with fork until flour seems grainy and takes on a pebbly appearance.
Grate in butter, bit by bit, tossing in flour blend, making sure gratings get singularly coated with flour.
Add buttermilk gradually, until stirring creates a loose sticky ball.
Pour out onto lightly floured surface.
Lightly flour hands.
Press dough out with hands, and fold in half. Repeat about 6 times.
With lightly floured hands or rolling pin, press or roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
*For thinner biscuits thus more biscuits, simply roll out to about 1/4 thickness.
Using a biscuit cutter, cut out biscuits and transfer to large un-greased baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
*For a softer sided biscuit, place only about 1/8 inch apart from each other, so they will bake against one another and can be pulled apart when finished.
Brush tops of biscuits with buttermilk.
Bake until risen and golden, about 15 minutes, depending on oven.
Remove from oven and brush with butter if desired.
Transfer to paper towel lined vessel and cover loosely until ready to serve.
Makes around 1 dozen biscuits.