Friday, November 21, 2014

Apple Sage Stuffing with Belgian Pale Ale

Photo by Heather Hanson

I'm back! Sorry for the always seems to get in the way of these side hobbies. It's has been an incredibly busy, productive and very happy fall. Though the snow on the ground seems to indicate we have now moved onto winter in Minnesota. 

Know what that means? Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I've got a few tasty recipes coming up that stemmed out of a collaboration with a local brewery. Sadly, if you live outside of Minnesota you won't be able to get your hands on a bottle of their beers. I have suggested similar brews to accommodate. 

I'm starting off with my favorite Thanksgiving dish...stuffing. This was cooked and paired with Boom Island Brewing Company's Silvius Pale Ale.  The earthy sage, sweet apple and slight sourness from the sourdough work incredibly well with Silvius' lightly toasted malt backbone and subtle peppery finish.  If you can't get your hands on a bottle from Boom, try out another Belgian pale ale such as Orval Trappist Ale, Ommegang's Rare Vos or Leffe Blonde.

the recipe is my own

serves 10-12


• 12 cups dry bread cubes (we used a combination of sourdough and rye)
• 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
• 1 onion, finely diced
• 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
• 2 Braeburn or granny smith apples, diced
• 2 tsp ground sage
• ½ tsp pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• 2 cups Silvius Pale Ale
• Preheat the oven to 350
• In a large saucepan, melt 6 Tbsp butter. Add the onion and celery and sauté until tender, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the sage, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
• In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes and diced apple. Toss with the onion mixture. Drizzle with Silvius and mix until the bread cubes are slightly moistened.
• Transfer the stuffing to a 9x13 baking dish and dot with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, 1 hr or until the stuffing is heated through and beginning to brown.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Blistered Cherry Tomatoes with Bacon

Occasionally the odd craving will hit me. Such as having a bowl of blistered cherry tomatoes for breakfast. Why? I have not a clue. It felt very British of me. Paired with the salty bursts of flavor and crunchy bites from the bacon, I must say, I have no regrets.

the recipe is my own

serves 1

The Ingredients:
1 slice bacon
1 handful cherry or sungold tomatoes (8-10)

The Process:
Add the bacon to a cold cast iron skillet and set over medium low heat. Fry, turning frequently,  until fat has rendered and bacon is crisp. Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Crumble and reserve.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add the tomatoes to the bacon fat in the skillet and sautee until the skins blister and begin to burst, turning occasionally, 4-5 minutes.

Remove blistered tomatoes to a serving bowl. Drizzle pan juices over top. Sprinkle with reserved bacon. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Corn Chowder with Pablanos and Zucchini

Are you tired of corn yet? I know I am. Oy vey! This is the last corny recipe for a while. I promise!

Well, at least until the salsas and pickled corn get prepped for our winter stash.

adapted from Vodka and Biscuits

serves 4

The Ingredients:
3 slices of bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash, diced
1 Tbsp butter
3 ears of corn, shucked and kernels removed
2 cups milk
3-4 green onions, sliced, divided
salt and pepper to taste

The Process:
Heat a large, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon crisp. Remove and reserve the bacon for garnish.

Add the onion, pablano and garlic to saucepan with the bacon fat. Sauté until the vegetables are tender and fragrant, 3-4 minutes.

Add the butter and squash and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium and cover saucepan with a lid. Cook the vegetables an additional 5 minutes or until the squash is tender.

While the vegetables cook, combine the milk with half of the corn kernels in a blender. Blend on high until very smooth.

Transfer the corn purée into the saucepan along with the remaining corn and half of the green onions. Bring soup to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the corn is heated through and the soup has reduced slightly.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve hot, garnished with reserved bacon and remaining green onion.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Salsa Verde

No time for chit chat today as I've quite the work load ahead of me. But enjoy this wonderful salsa verde. It's a treat with chips alone, but salsa verde also makes a great white chili base and in addition to playing well with chicken in a slow cooker.


Recipe courtesy of Driftless Organics

yields about 2 cups

The Ingredients:
1 lb tomatillos, hulls and stems removed
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
3-4 jalapeño, stems and seeds removed
¼ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp lime juice

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F

Arrange the onions, jalepenos, garlic, and tomatillos, stem side down, in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Roast, turning the vegetables once, until the tomatillos are softened and slightly charred, about 10 mintues.

Combine the roasted vegetables along with the cilantro, salt and lime juice in a food processoe. Blend and process until smooth.

Store, covered, in the refrideratro for up to 1 week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Roasted Peach Frozen Yogurt With Granola Crumble

I've been wanted to try my hand at frozen yogurt for a while. My mother has recently been making her own yogurt at home, from a culture she procured at a local Greek restaurant. Ever since I dipped my spoon into the homemade yogurt I've been itching to try so many things with it! I cannot describe how rich and tangy hers is compared to store bought versions. She recently got me a mini slow cooker so I can making the yogurt myself...1 cup at a time.

But back to the frozen yogurt. I toyed with starting by making a classic vanilla yogurt, but the ripe peaches I came across quickly changed my mind. Bringing in one of my other favorite peach desserts I opted to add a touch of cinnamon and bourbon to the mix. The granola crumble on top lets me enjoy the best of both

the recipe is my own

yields about 5 cups frozen yogurt and about 3/4 cup granola

The Ingredients:

for the Frozen Yogurt
3 ripe peaches, sliced in half and pit removed
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp Bourbon
pinch of salt
1 cup plain yogurt, NOT fat free

for the Granola Crumble
The Process:
1/2  cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp pecans, chopped
3 Tbsp flour
1/4 brown sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cinnamon
pinch nutmeg

The Process:
for the frozen yogurt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the peach halves on a foil lined baking sheet, cut side up. Drizzle with honey.

Roast peaches for 20-25 minutes, or until peaches are tender. Allow to cool.

Once peaches are cool, transfer the fruit along with any pan juices to a blender or food processor. Process on high until puréed. Add the sugar, salt,cinnamon,  bourbon and yogurt and mix on low until well combined.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Cover and refridgerate over night.

Using an ice cream maker, freeze the chilled base according to the manufacturer's directions. Serve immediately for a soft serve yogurt, or chill in the freezer for 2-3 hours for a firmer frozen yogurt.

for the granola crumble:
preheat oven to 350

Combine the oats, pecans, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients and using your fingers combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Spread the mixture into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes or until the mixture is golden brown. 

Allow to cool slightly. Serve a top the frozen yogurt

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Venison with Carrots

Last hunting season, a friend graciously gave us a venison roast. He openly admitted he had no idea what cut of meat he had just offered us. I love venison, but I have never had the opportunity to cook it myself. But I was up for the challenge. The meat was rich and dark and well marbled throughout. For fear of drying it out, I opted the slow cooker method. I'm hoping our friend has a successful season again this year. I'd love to try my hand at steaks on the grill. And the thought of helping him butcher the deer fascinates me as well.  When it comes to food and where what sustains us comes from, I'm really not that squeamish.

Not a game fan? This recipe will work equally as well with a beef roast. I served this up alongside oven roasted potatoes. I'm partial to the crispy skins. But if you'd rather, feel free to toss potatoes or any other root vegetable that strikes your fancy into the crock pot with the roast. It makes for a fabulous one pot dinner.

the recipe is my own

serves 4-6

The Ingredients:
2 Tbsp butter
2 1/2 to 3 lb venison roast
salt and pepper
1 lb carrots, sliced into 2-3 inch lengths
1 cup water
1 package (1.8 oz) leek or onion soup mix

The Process:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper the roast. Sear the roast in the hot pan, 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned all over.

Transfer roast to a slow cooker along with and pan drippings. Arrange carrots around roast. Whisk soup mix into 1 cup of water and pour over the top of the roast.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Shred and serve.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pablano Polenta Stuffed Peppers

My usual course of action with several peppers on hand is to stuff them. Typically, fillings involve ground meat and rice, smothered in tomato sauce. On rare occasions an Indian inspired version comes about, using lentils or chickpeas and copious amounts of cumin and garam masala. This tex-mex corn-centric version is a first for me. I blame the endless sea of sweet corn we were blessed with late this summer.

adapted from Martha Stewart's Polenta Stuffed Peppers and Stuffed Poblano Peppers

serves 4-6

The Ingredients:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 pablano pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
2 ears of corn
1 1/2 cup shredded monteray jack cheese
4 bell peppers, halved, stem and seeds removed

The Process:
In a large saucepan set over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of butter. Add the poblano, onion and garlic.  Sautee util tender, 2-3 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil.

Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, salt, pepper and cumin. Reduce to a simmer. Whisk frequently until the polenta thickens, about 5 minutes. Add additional water as needed. Remove from heat and fold in the remaining butter, corn kernel, and half of the cheese. Stir until cheese and butter has melted. Season with addition salt, pepper and cumin to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375

Arrange the pepper halves in a large shallow baking dish. Spoon the polenta into the peppers.  Add 1/2 of water to the bottom of the baking dish. Cover with foil.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes.

Uncover and sprinkle the peppers with remaining cheese. Return dish to oven and bake an additional 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the peppers are tender.

Serve garnished with salsa and cilantro.