Friday, June 29, 2012
I am not a Southern girl.
I don't talk like a Southern girl, I don't act like a Southern girl and I surely don't cook like one. I could only wish!
My husband loves southern food. Loves it.
He was the first person I ever saw that ate grits. I don't think we even had them in this state until Cracker Barrel opened, and I'm guessing they are not often ordered here in Rhode Island. Now Jonnycakes, that's another story.
My hubby grew up in New Mexico so he still has a fondness for good Mexican food, chili peppers and biscuits and gravy.
Lord you should see his face when he is diggin in to a plate of biscuits covered in heavily peppered cream gravy. The man is in heaven.
When I saw this really easy recipe for Sausage and Biscuits Casserole I knew I had to make it for him.
He loved it.
Sausage and Gravy Casserole
1 pound sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Sage flavored)
1 small onion, chopped
6 ounces of cream cheese, room temp
1 can crescent rolls
Oven to 375.
Lightly spray a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place half of the crescent rolls in the bottom.
Cook the onions in a little bit of olive oil just until they become tender and translucent. Add in the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces as you cook it. Drain any grease. Add in the cream cheese. Pour onto the crescent rolls. Top with the other half of the rolls. I put the other half on a lightly floured sheet and pushed it with my fingertips until I knew it would fit over the top of the mixture.
Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes in pan and serve.
Cooking notes* I originally made this in a 8x8 pan and I felt it was just a little too small. I also reduced the amount of cream cheese from 8oz to 6 oz. It was just a little bit too creamy for our liking.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I have to tell you all that I accomplished something that I've been saying I was going to do forever and just never got around to it.
I organized all my recipes! I was practically giddy about it. I just sat down one Saturday and grabbed them all and started categorizing. I put each category in a folder and then into hanging file folders, then those went into a pretty wicker basket.
I won't tell you how long it took me to find a basket that held the hanging file folders perfectly, or that I looked like a kook keeping one of the hanging folders smushed up in my purse so I could "test" it out on the basket. Let's just say it wasn't easy. I did finally find the perfect one at Target.
So all my recipes are categorized and are in order. Now if I could only do that on the blog. I keep saying I will but I just never have the time to do it. *sigh* someday.
The only problem with going through all my recipes? I wanna make like 40 of them right now!
It was hard looking through so many without salivating. This recipe was on a little scrap ripped out of a magazine. I almost couldn't read the source but I finally did make out that it was from Taste of Home. I'm actually getting better about keeping some info with the recipe now so I know what the source was.
This just sounded easy and delicious and it was.
My youngest doesn't even like mushroom and he ate this. He just gave them all to his brother. Two happy boys.
Chicken Portobello Stroganoff
adapted from a recipe at Taste of Home.com
1 lb ground chicken
12 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms cut into thick slices (I used 1 and a half pkgs of baby bellas)
1 shallot, chopped (or small onion)
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoon white wine or chicken broth
2 cups chicken broth
½ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup (8oz sour cream)
Hot cooked egg noodles or pasta
In a large skillet cook the shallots (or onions) in the oil over medium high heat just until they become translucent. Add in the sliced mushrooms and 3 more tablespoons of oil. Cook until the mushroom are about ½ way done then add in the chicken. Add in the minced garlic.
Stir in the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated. Add the broth, cream, lemon juice and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Reduce heat. Gradually stir in sour cream, heat through. Do not boil. If the sauce doesn’t seem thick enough (mine didn’t) mix a few tablespoons of cornstarch into a bit of water and add it into the pan to thicken it up. Serve over noodles or pasta.
Friday, June 22, 2012
We had some absolutely gorgeous weather last weekend.....LAST weekend.
This past week a heatwave took us over.
Temps nearing 100, high humidity. What's a poor curly headed girl to do?
Well I'll tell you we had a few nights of "cool" suppers. Cold cut sandwiches, cukes, hard boiled eggs, salads, stuff like that. It was too hot to even heat the grill. Now you know it's super hot when we don't crank up the grill.
We did however cook this delicious chicken on the grill before the hot weather found us.
I love chicken on the grill.
The slightly blackened skin, the smokiness, the crunch.
Let me make one very important statement here. If you are wondering if this chicken will taste like coconut....it won't. It's not coconutty at all. I'm not sure if the coconut is acting as a tenderizer or what is going on, all I know is that was one tasty batch of chicken.
Super tender with just a wee bit of tang.
I cooked my chicken in the oven and then finished it off on the grill.
Soy & Coconut Milk Chicken Thighs
adapted from a recipe at The Reluctant Entertainer
Chicken Thighs (bone in or boneless) (I used 4 pounds, approx. 8 thighs)
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 can (13 ½ ounces) coconut milk
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
3 -4 Bay leaves
Mix all the ingredient together. Marinate the thighs for 12 – 24 hours. Oven to 350. Place the thighs on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until juices run clear. Throw the thighs on a hot grill for 5 to 7 minutes to crisp up.
Monday, June 18, 2012
So summer is finally here in New England. We take a few weeks longer to get started then most of the country but we eventually get there.
This past weekend was just perfect. It was sunny and 75 with no humidity. I wish the weather would stay like this all summer long. We sat by the fire every night, we grilled, we had family and friends over for Father's Day. It was pretty idyllic.
My garden is in and thriving. The yard work, though it will never really truly end, is pretty much under control. We widened a few flower beds and changed the landscape up just a bit. I love working with stones and pavers. It’s one of my most favorite things to do. Maybe that’s why I’m always changing the size and shape of my beds? I sit in the grass with my shovel and rubber mallet and dig trenches and pound rocks and pavers into the earth. I really love it.
On those long days when we are out in the yard until dusk, I’m not serving up dessert too often. They are lucky if they get a hot meal on those kind of days. Mama gets tired!
There are exceptions though. Like this one. I love this recipe - one pan, a few measuring spoons & cups and a trip to the oven. Done!
What could be easier?
A giant chocolate chip cookie you can cut into wedges like a pie. Big chunks of gooey chocolate surrounded by a big soft and chewy cookie.
I recommend using a cast iron pan when making this recipe. If you don't have one...I highly suggest you put it on your wish list. It's one of the most used pans in my kitchen. Once you cook an egg in cast iron, you will never go back to a regular skillet again.
I used Trader Joe's Belgian chocolate with this recipe. I bought the little 4 pack of bars and chopped it into chunks. You can substitute chips in a pinch.
One Pan Dark Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookie
Recipe from Sophistimom
1 stick butter
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate, cut up into chunks (or chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350. Melt the butter in an 8 inch cast iron skillet set over medium high heat. Stir in the sugars and vanilla and remove from the heat. Let rest in the pan until it is warm, but no longer very hot (about 5 minutes).
Crack the egg into the butter and sugar mixture and use a fork to whisk it into the mixture. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt on top and very carefully stir it in until the mixture is smooth and well-mixed. Stir in the chocolate chunks. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the edges start to turn golden brown but the center is still soft.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
We planted eight cucumber plants this year.
You know what that means right?
It means I better prepare myself for a boatload of cukes.
It means my friends and family and co-workers will have an abundant supply of cukes.
It means I'll be having cukes for lunch and with dinner at least 5 times a week.
It means that I'll be on the lookout for recipes to make that contain cukes...like this one.
I found this on a site called Better Baker. Although it's clearly not a baked good, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to make this. It reminded me of the Dill Pickle Dip that my friend Rebecca turned me on to.
We happen to love cucumbers. My husband could put away a half dozen by himself I swear. One of his favorite summer treats is a cucumber straight out of the garden with a little salt & pepper. He loves them.
I served this with my favorite new cracker from Trader Joe's....Raisin Rosemary Crisps Crackers. I love them! They went perfectly with this recipe.
I used mini cukes in this recipe. I found them on my latest trip to the market and I just couldn't pass them up, they were so darned cute!
adapted from a recipe by Better Baker
1 ½ cups cucumber (peeled and cut into chunks)
3 scallions or green onions, chopped
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
To make in the food processor: Place all ingredients in the processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. You can make this as smooth or as chunky as you like.
If preparing this by hand, finely chop the cucumber and onions. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until you get your desired consistency.
Cover and refrigerate overnight for flavors to blend.
Serve on crackers, with veggies, on a bagel, etc.
Friday, June 8, 2012
One of my most favorite things about the summer is the abundance of berries.
Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries in particular. I just can't get enough of them.
Every year we pick enough blueberries to freeze and last us the winter. They always seem to just run out when the next years picking is about to begin. I spend an entire day picking and then freezing berries every July. It makes me happy when I open my freezer and see bags and bags of berries just waiting to go into pancake batter or a delicious baked goods.
Out of all the berries, it's a total toss up for me as to which one is my favorite. I think it's a tie between the strawberry and the blueberry.
You go berry picking too?
What's that you say? You'd love to find a new recipe for those berries? You'd like an easy biscuit recipe? You want to be able to substitute any berry you fancy in said recipe?
You want it to be easy, delicious, practically no-knead?
Well I have the perfect recipe for you! These biscuits were amazingly good and so quick to make. I did make a few changes from the original recipe, I increased the sugar (imagine that!) It had a scant 2 tablespoons and even with the sweet berries it just need a tad more. If your sweet tooth is even more sugary than mine, add in even a bit more sugar.
Blueberry Cream Biscuits
The key to theses melt in your mouth biscuits is a light touch. Don’t overwork the dough.
adapted from a recipe in Better Homes & Garden Magazine
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup blueberries
1 ½ cups whipping cream
Oven to 425. In a large bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Toss the blueberries with the flour mixture. Stir in the cream until just moistened.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Gently lift and fold four or five times, making a quarter turn between each fold. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Form into a 7 to 8 inch square approximately 1 inch thick. Using a floured pizza cutter or knife, cut 12 to 16 biscuits, leaving the biscuits intact. Bake in the upper half of the oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut or pull apart to serve.
I’m going to make this savory too. I’m going to add garlic, chives and Parmesan cheese the next time I make it.
I'll post it when I do!
Monday, June 4, 2012
I visit my local Asian market about once a month or so.
I have a list of items that I buy pretty regularly:
- Baby Bok Choy
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Sesame Oil
- Sweet Chili Sauce
- Fish Sauce
- Frozen Dumplings
- Won Ton Wappers
- Noodles Galore
- Lap Xuong
I had you up to that last one right?
Lap Xuong - Chinese Sausage.
I LOVE it. I mean I love it in the same way that I love figs and caramelized onions and chocolate. I am totally addicted to it.
It's a good thing it's usually in the freezer until I'm ready to use it cause I swear I would cook it up and eat it every night.
What is it? Well let me allow Jaden from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen tell you:
"I should probably compare Chinese Sausage to pancetta, as it’s more like pancetta than bacon. But it’s much sweeter and not quite as salty. Each sausage is dotted with fat…lot of it. Is that a good thing? Well, I believe that sausage without fat is just pork. The fat is where the flavor is, but I do understand the fine line between full-flavored and too fatty. I’ll show you exactly how to deal with this and let you decide how much of that fat to keep or discard".
You know when you order take out fried rice and you see those little bits of reddish sausage? That's it. It's a little sweet and a tiny bit chewy and a whole lotta delicious. You just don't get the full spectrum of it in those little tiny bits in the fried rice.
If you haven't visited your local Asian market, I strongly recommend that you get out there and find it and explore all the amazing foods that Asian markets offer.
So you get that I love Lap Xuong. Imagine how happy I was when I saw Jaden made Brussel Sprouts with Chinese Sausage. I think I let out a gasp of joy when I first saw it. One of my favorite veggies with my favorite sausage!
I used my slicing blade on the food processor to shred the sprouts. If you don't have a food processor you can cut each brussel sprout in half and then finely chop.
I've made this twice since this posting. It's pretty quick and easy to make. I did cook mine for a bit longer than Jaden's recipe specifies.
Brussel Sprouts with Chinese Sausage
recipe from Jaden's Steamy Kitchen
1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts (I used 1 pound)
6 ounces Chinese Sausage (or substitute with 4 ounces pancetta), diced
1 teaspoon fish sauce (or soy sauce)
Add the Chinese Sausage to your wok or large saute pan. Turn heat to medium low and let the sausage cook gently for 5 minutes. Watch the heat - don't let the Chinese Sausage burn. Move the Chinese Sausage up the sides of the wok to let the fat drip down. Remove the Chinese Sausage to a plate, use a slotted spoon to keep the fat in the pan.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add in the brussels sprouts. Toss to coat the brussels sprouts with the fat. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add in 1 tablespoon of water and toss. Let the brussels sprouts cook for 2 minutes. (I cooked mine for about 10 minutes).
Add in the fish sauce. Toss in the cooked Chinese Sausage. Taste and add season with additional fish sauce if needed. Remember, the Chinese Sausage is very salty, so when you're tasting, get a bite with both ingredients.