Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bacon S'mores

Yeah, you read that right.  Bacon.  S'mores.  Warm gooey marshmallows, creamy chocolate, and salty, crispy bacon.... they are magical.  I am a little worried that I will never make anything this delicious ever again.

Bacon S'mores
Graham crackers
bacon (regular thickness) cooked until crispy
milk chocolate
jumbo marshmallows
camp fire (this is key)

Toast marshmallows over fire until golden brown, I like mine just a teeny bit charred.  I use two per s'more.
Assemble s'more with 1 slice of bacon.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Weekend Redirect

If you are looking for a really tasty, really simple, and just a little out of the ordinary vegetable dish, you should click here for Roasted Baby Vegetables w/ Olives and Feta!  It makes a great vegetarian main dish or  side dish for grilled chicken... maybe with this rub.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese

Cheese.  Bacon.  I am pretty sure they were made to be together.

This beautiful pan of food was made for our pig out meal a couple weeks ago.  When we ate leftovers, we just mixed the BBQ pork in with the mac and cheese... oh! Fat Kid Heaven.  No, neither of us are fat, but we would be if we ate this all the time.  

Bacon Mac 'n' Cheese
1 lb pasta, cooked 2 min shy of being done
5 slices bacon, chopped
3 Tbsp flour
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
4 oz shredded Monterey jack
1 1/2 C buttermilk (room temp)
3/4 C water, room temp (or broth of some kind)
1/4 tsp Pirate's Bite or cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg

   Cook bacon in a 3 qt sauce pot until crispy.  Remove bacon and drain, but leave fat in pot.  You need 3 Tbsp of fat, so remove some if needed or add oil to make 3 Tbsp.
   Add 3 Tbsp flour to pot and stir so there are no lumps.  Cook for about 2 minutes over med heat, stirring constantly.
   Slowly add buttermilk and water, stirring constantly. Simmer until thick.
   Add nutmeg and Pirate's bite.  Slowly melt in cheese. (Reserve about 1/4 C)
   Add pasta and bacon to pot.  Pour into a 13x9 dish.  Sprinkle reserved cheese over the top
   Bake at 375 deg F for 20 min.
   Serves 6-8.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coconut Almond Ice Cream Sandwiches

Sometimes the only thing that can make a cookie better is ice cream and another cookie.

Coconut Almond Ice Cream Sandwiches
2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 C white sugar
1/2 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp Nutiva Coconut Mana (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 C white chocolate chips
1/2 C chopped, roasted almonds
5 oz sweetened shaved coconut
ice cream*

   Cream butter, coconut mana, and sugars together.  Incorporate eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla
   Add 1 C flour, baking soda and salt.  Gently work into butter mixture.
   Add second C of flour.  When it is about halfway incorporated, add coconut, white chocolate, and almonds.  Mix until flour is fully worked into mixture.
   Make a heaping Tbsp into a 1 1/2 in disk.  Place about 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
   Bake at 350 deg F for 8-10 minutes.
   Cool.  Makes about 2 dozen.  (If I am not making them into sandwiches, I only do about 2 tsp per cookie; this will make about 3 dozen.)
   Take ice cream that has been slightly softened (leave out about 15 min.) and place 3 oz scoop on a cookie.  Put another cookie on top.  Wrap in plastic, freeze for at least 30 minutes.
   Makes ~12 ice cream sandwiches.

*I used a high quality vanilla, but use whatever flavor you like.  Dulce de leche, white chocolate, even coffee would be delicious;  just stay away from ice cream with stuff in it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Creamy Dijon Vermouth Sauce

I've been trying to make more sauces lately.  We love eating fresh vegetables and fish in the summer, but I generally don't want to do too much to them.  Sauces are the prefect thing to jazz up a plain meal.  There are a lot of good bottled sauces in stores.  However, I don't normally buy bottled sauces or marinades so I forget  to to browse through that section.  This sauce is tangy, smooth, and creamy, yet light, and is made with ingredients I usually have on hand.
over salmon and roasted asparagus w/ zucchini quinoa

Creamy Dijon Vermouth Sauce
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp dry vermouth
2 Tbsp all natural sour cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 med clove garlic, finely minced or pasted
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

   Combine all ingredients.  Warm over medium low heat.
   Serves 2-4 (Two if you pour it over everything, like I did in the picture)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Super Thick Tarragon & Dill Pickles

I love pickles.  LOVE them!  Eating them, making them, giving them as gifts.  I feel like a mad pickle scientist when I set out to cure a bunch of cucumbers.  This is the cleaned up version of what my kitchen looks like on a pickle making day.
Super Thick Tarragon & Dill Pickles
1 sterilized pint mason jar w/ new canning lid
~3 med Kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/3 inch thick
1 tsp dried dill (1 Tbsp fresh)
1/2 C water
1/4 C white vinegar
1/4 C tarragon vinegar
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
3 med cloves garlic, crushed
~10 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flake (optional)

   Fill jar with cucumber slices.  Add dill to jar.
   Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, stir occasionally to make sure sugar and salt dissolve.
   Pour boiling liquid over pickles in jar (you may need a funnel.)  Fill as much as possible, make sure all the spices are in the jar.  Immediately close lid tightly.  As it cools, the "button" will pop down properly sealing it.  If it doesn't pop on its own, press it after several minutes and it should stay down.
   Let pickles cure for at least a week.  Shake them every once in a while to distribute spices throughout the jar.
   Refrigerate after opening.
   Makes 1 pint.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

7 Ingredient BBQ Sauce

A seven ingredient BBQ sauce?  Yup, not kidding.  I think if you have a really flavorful meat, you don't need an overly complicated sauce.  We wanted something tangy to cut through the richness of the smoked pork with the all purpose smoking rub, but for some reason I didn't want to go for a straight up mustard, vinegar sauce, so this came about.  The seven ingredients are cheap things that I always have in the house, I can whip this up in no time for chicken or pork.
w/ Super Thick Cut Homemade Dill Pickles

7 Ingredient BBQ Sauce
1 C tomato sauce (=1 small can)
1/2 C cider vinegar
1/4 C yellow mustard
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 lrg chipotle, finely minced (optional)
1 lrg clove garlic, finely minced (~1 1/2 tsp)

   Combine all ingredients.  Bring to a bubble over medium heat, cook until thick, about 20 minutes.
   Makes a little less than 1 1/2 C of sauce.
BBQ Sandwiches:
   When sauce comes to a bubble, add whatever meat you are using.  Heat meat in sauce until sauce is thick. Depending on your sauciness preferences, this is enough for up to 5 C of finely chopped or shredded meat.
   Serves 4-6

Monday, July 16, 2012

All Purpose Smoking Rub

I told you about the rub I like to use for smoking, Dillo Dust.  Well, it seemed unfair to use a rub in a recipe that you can only get if you order from LaRue Tactical.  Last week I set out to make my own version of the rub for when I run out of Dillo Dust.  This version tastes almost exactly the same!  I cut down on the sugar a little then added a bit of spice because of my personal preferences.

Also, I feel like I need my own catchy name for this... so if you have any suggestions, please share.
7.6 lb Boston butt (cut into a few pieces)

All Purpose Smoking Rub
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp celery salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp chipotle powder (optional)

   Combine everything.
   Makes enough for about 7.5 lbs of meat.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fast Food From Home

A couple weeks ago the hubs and I went white water rafting on the Ocoee with my parents.  It is about a three hour drive and my dad volunteered to do the driving if we handled breakfast and dinner that day.  I generally avoid fast food with my exception being long (6+ hours) car trips.  I decided to make food reminiscent of a drive-thru because it is portable, and let's face it, breakfast sandwiches are delicious.  Yes, it cost more than ordering from the $1 Menu, but I felt so much better about eating it and I could make huge portions that would properly fuel us up for the day.

Sausage and Egg English Muffin
12 oz breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean Light variety)
1/3 tsp crushed red pepper flake (optional)
6 med eggs*
salt and pepper
4 slices cheese (I used havarti)
4 whole wheat English muffins, split and toasted

   Mix sausage and red pepper flake together.  Form into 4 patties that are slightly larger than the English muffins.  Cook over med/med-low heat until cooked through.
   Scramble eggs with a little salt and pepper. Cook in sausage fat over med-low heat.  Try not to break the eggs up too much, attempt to keep the eggs in a large single unit so you can easily cut them and put them on the sandwiches.
   Place cooked patty, egg, and cheese on muffin, wrap in foil, and warm in 300 deg F oven (if necessary).
   Makes 4.
*I used fresh eggs from my mother-in-law's chickens.  They tend to be a bit smaller than what you get in the store.  6 =4 lrg eggs

Tater Tots (because a fast food breakfast requires potatoes)
As many frozen tater tots as you want
~2 tsp low salt blacken seasoning
(salt if your frozen tots do not have salt)
4 sheets computer paper

   Cook tots according to package directions.  A few minutes before being done, toss with blacken seasoning, finish cook time.
   While they are cooking, make these paper holders:
1.  Fold almost in half (top left square)
2.  Fold sides over once, about 1 cm
3.  Flip paper over and fold edges over twice, about 1 cm each and tape.
(3.5  Maybe draw some pictures.)
4.  Fill and enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake w/ Fresh Peaches

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors.  And I know I do quite a few cakes with buttermilk... but it is sooo good!  Can you blame me?  I was going to make a complex blueberry peach compote to go over this cake.  Then I was like, peaches are in season... I don't need to mess them up.  Make sure all the peach juice goes over the cake, you don't want to waste any of that goodness.  (Bonus:  You can feel a little bit healthy eating this dessert because of the fresh fruit.)

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake w/ Fresh Peaches
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 C white sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbsp lemon zest (~2 lemons)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (1 lrg lemon)
1 tsp vanilla
3 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C buttermilk
fresh peaches, peeled and sliced

   Cream butter and sugar together.  Incorporate eggs one at a time.  Add lemon zest, juice, and vanilla.
   Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
   Alternate adding flour and buttermilk to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.  (flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour)
   Divide evenly into two greased 8x5 loaf pans.
   Bake at 350 deg F for 45 min-1 hour, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
   Allow to cool.
   Slice and serve with fresh peaches.
   Makes 2 loaves, each will serve about 6-8 people.  (Pound cake freezes great, just so you know.)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Garlic Pepper Burger w/ Chipotle Honey Mustard

Way back in June, for Father's Day, we made these burgers.  There is nothing too fussy about anything in this burger.  It is all about letting a few ingredients stand out.  (Entire menu at bottom of page.)

Garlic Pepper Burgers
2 lbs ground beef (I used an all natural 90/10)
slices of fresh tomato
cooked bacon (I used a locally made bacon)
6 slices white cheddar
6 buns, split and lightly toasted
   garlic pepper seasoning:
   2 tsp garlic chips, that are slightly crushed
   1 1/2 tsp sea salt
   3/4 tsp tri-color peppercorns
   1/4 tsp smoked black peppercorns
   1 tsp chopped fresh oregano (1/2 tsp dried)
   1/2 small onion, minced
   2 Tbsp worcestershire

   In a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, combine garlic, salt, and peppercorns.  Work into a powder that has some larger chunks.  Add that and the rest of the seasoning ingredients into the beef.  Use your hands to mix it together.
   Form into 6 patties that are slightly larger than the buns you plan to use.  Cook over medium heat using your desired method.  (Our original plan was to grill, but it poured down rain, so we did them in a skillet.)  Just before they reach your desired doneness, top with cheese to melt.
   Assemble burgers.
   Makes 6.

Chipotle Honey Mustard
1/4 C deli style mustard
1 Tbsp honey
1 tsp minced chiptole in adobo
1/2 tsp chipotle powder

Combine all ingredients.  Males enough for 6+ burgers.

Father's Day Dinner Menu

Crispy Smoked Chicken Rolls w/ Black Bean Hummus
Garlic Pepper Burgers w/ Chipotle Honey Mustard
"Black" Roasted White and Sweet Potatoes and Salad
Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake w/ Fresh Peaches