Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Figgy Yule Cookies

Figgy Yule Cookies paired with Yule, photo by Heather Hanson
photo by Heather Hanson

Now bring us some figgy pudding! In cookie form of course! To wrap up the holiday cookie pairings with Boom Island Brewing, I adapted this cookie to feature their holiday release, Yule. Yule is a Belgian Strong Ale, brewed with a different fruit addition each year. This year's fruit was black currant. Instead of featuring a currant studded treat, I opted for a classic Christmas dessert in cookie form. The figs are simmered in Yule for an extra kick and in is mixed into the icing in lieu of brandy.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Recipe adpated from Food 52

Yields about 4 dozen cookies

For the cookies
  • 8-10 large dried Turkish figs, diced
  • 1 cup Yule
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks) softened
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
For the icing
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Yule
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract
  • In a small saucepan, simmer the figs and Yule until the figs are soft, about 15 minutes. Strain figs and set aside.
  • Mix together the flour, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Set aside
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg until well combined.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Fold in the strained figs and orange zest.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerate for 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets by lining in parchment paper.
  • On a well floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/8” thick. Cut into 2” rounds. Arrange on baking sheets about 1” apart.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown along the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • In a small saucepan over medium low heat, whisk together the powdered sugar, Yule, butter and vanilla extract. Simmer, stirring frequently, until smooth and well combined.
  • Drizzle icing onto cooled cookies
  • ENJOY!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Witbier Cookies

Witness Witbier Cookies paired with Witness Wit, photo by Heather Hanson
photo by Heather Hanson Photography LLC

If witbier were a cookie, this would be it. These are sure to add a bit of citrus-y joy to your holiday! 

The thing that surprised em the most when I tackled this recipe was the beer reduction. I've made reductions with stouts, porters and sours before. Bute never a wheat beer. And never reduced down so far. The resulting syrup was malty and sweet with just a hint of the orange and cardamom used in the beer. I'm tempted to reduce another batch to play around with. Ice cream toppings, a salmon glaze, or perhaps a dash in a cocktail or two?

 Recipe adapted from Food Republic 

Yields about 4 dozen cookies 

for the cookies
  • 2 – 12 oz bottles of Witbier
  • 5 Tbsp honey
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), softened
  • 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
for the glaze
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • Combine the beer and honey in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan. Over medium heat, bring the beer to a gentle boil, skimming foam as needed. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (this may take up to an hour). Allow to cool slightly.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and well combine. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the coriander, orange zest and beer reduction, mixing until just combined.
  • Combine the flour and baking soda. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.
  • Drop batter by heaping Tbsp onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  • For the icing, whisk together the vanilla, zest, orange juice, cream and powdered sugar. Spoon a dollop onto each cookie and spread icing to the edges. Allow to set 15-20 minutes before serving.
  • ENJOY!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Framboise Lemon Bars

Lemon and raspberries may seem like more of a summer treat, but these bars will add a refreshing palette cleanser among all of those other holiday sweets. Lemon Bars marry well with any number of beers, but for the raspberry kick, Framboise seemed the most appropriate. This sour style of fruit beer is readily available at most liquor stores. Lindemans is by far the best known, but I'm sure you can find any number of local or other export varieties on the shelves! These bars were made with Boom Island's Framboise, which is only available from their taproom. And sadly, very limited quantities remain.

The recipe is my own

Yields 24-28 bars

For the crust
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup Framboise
For the filling
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ cup flour
  • juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup pureed raspberries
  • ½ cup Framboise
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • powdered sugar for garnish
  • raspberries for garnish

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  • Whisk together the powdered sugar, flour, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Stir in the Framboise until just combined.
  • Press crust into an ungreased 9” x 13” baking dish. A pint glass works wonderfully to roll the surface into a smooth, even layer.
  • Bake the crust for 25-30 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Whisk together the eggs, flour, lemon juice, zest, raspberries, Framboise, sugar and salt. Pour the mixture on top of the cooled crust.
  • Bake lemon bars for 20-25 minutes for until the filling is set and just slightly jiggles in the center. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. Refrigerate for at least two hours., preferably overnight
  • Before serving, cut chilled bars into 24-28 pieces. Dust generously with powdered sugar. Top each bar with a fresh raspberry.
  • ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate Lace Sandwich Cookies (Brussels)

Photo by Heather Hanson 

Beligan beers and chocolate are a favorite pairing of ours, especially a dubbel. When I came across this recipe, I was sure I had a treat on my hands. Do the cookies look familiar? They do bear a striking resemblance to a popular brand-name cookie named after the capital of Belgium. It seemed only fitting to pair them with a Belgian style beer!

These cookies are one of the more challenging ones I've made to date. The first batch turned out perfectly: an even golden brown, beautiful lacing, wonderfully crisp. Only they had melded into one large cookie. The second batch, I had halved the recipe, but forgot to halve the flour, resulting in a very different, albeit tasty, cookie. The third batch I rolled instead of dropped and as a result the cookies didn't spread as thin as they should have. The fourth batch burned. Once they start to caramalized, they brown quickly! The fifth batch finally yielded something close to the desired result, but nothing nearly as pretty as the ones at Two Peas. But they tasted wonderful.

So what did I learn?

3/4 tsp is really 3/4 tsp. Any larger you risk one giant cookie as they meld together.

Space them FAR apart. I ended up making 10 per sheet to give the cookies ample room to spread.

Drop the dough, don't roll it. Rolling compressed the batter and the cookies did not spread evenly thin. The edges burn before the center was done as a result.

Mix the sugars and butter well before adding the dry ingredients. The dough comes together very fast anyway, so not point in rushing by trying to throw everything into the same bowl as once. You'll achieve that wonderful brittle like texture if you dirty that extra bowl.

Parchment paper or silpats are a must.

Watch the cookies closely during the last 4-5 minutes of baking. Once they spread, they caramelize fast. Be prepared to yank them out the oven the moment they look uniformly golden.

And over course, enjoy! Even the accidents were incredibly tasty!

Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Yields 20 sandwich cookies

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp baking powdered
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 oz dark chocolate, melted

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
  • Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the butter, cream, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Beat in the sugar until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Slowly mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combine.
  • Drop dough by the scant teaspoon onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 3 inches between cookies. They will spread a lot as they bake. 10-12 cookies per sheet is ideal.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, checking after the 6 minute mark. Remove them when they are a deep amber on the edges and golden brown in the center. The cookies will begin to brown very quickly once they spread.
  • Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheets and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. They will crisp up as they cool.
  • Pair up cookies of similar size and shape. Spread one cookie with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Top with the second cookie, gently pressing together. Repeat with remaining pairs.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti

This marks my first attempt at biscotti. Why until now? I have no idea. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily it came together. The recipe reminded me a lot of an Irish soda bread, sliced and baked a second time. This particular fruit and nut combo I chose to pair with the citrus-y Belgian-style beer pictured. Though they work equally well with coffee or tea. A chocolate hazelnut version may be in the near future.

 These cookies would be a treat on Christmas morning with a steaming cup of coffee. Bright red cranberries and a hint of green from the pistachios keep them dressed up for the season.

Adapted from Kristen Jenkins’ recipe for Donna Hay Magazine

Yields about 80 cookies

  • 2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 1 c shelled, unsalted pistachios

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and sugar. Add the eggs, vanilla and zest, beating until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and pistachios.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.
  • Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll each portion into a log, about 10 inches long. Flatten slightly. Transfer both loaves to a parchment baking sheet.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until firm.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut each loaf into ¼ inch slices using a serrated knife. Arrange slices on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 8-0 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheets.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Viennese Pecan Crescents

Christmas cookie season is upon us! I am working again with Boom Island Brewing Company to pair up these festive treats with each of their beers. But even if you aren't a beer person, these cookies are sure to please. Buttery shortbread, rich pecans and a healthy dusting of powdered sugar...what's not to love!  The shaping of these cookies is a tad tedious, but worth the extra time. And after these cookies are baked, they freeze beautiful so you can happily enjoy them throughout the holiday season.

Recipe adapted from Gale Gand

Yields about 5 dozen cookies

  • 1 c unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c finely ground pecans
  • powdered sugar for coating

  • Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Gradually add the flour and nuts and mix until just combined. The dough with be very crumbly.
  • Shape the dough into tiny crescents using about 2 tsp of dough for each cookie. Place on an ungreased sheet pan in rows, leaving 1 inch in between. Chill the cookies for at least one hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Bake about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.
  • Allow cookies to cool slightly and then dredge in powdered sugar to coat.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Speculaas (Belgian Spice Cookies)

Silvius Cookie Pairing
Prettig sinterklaasfeest! Happy St. Nicholas Day! Enjoy the fest with these traditional Belgian spice cookies!

Recipe adapted from NPR

yields about 3 dozen small cookies

  • 1 c unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ c sugar
  • ¾ c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • ½ c almond meal*
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp salt
* almond meal or almond flour is readily available at most grocery store. To make your own, pulse about ⅔ cup sliced or slivered almonds with 1 Tbsp flour in a blender or food processor until finely ground.

  • Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined.
  • In a second bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking soda, spices and salt.
  • Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly.
  • Divide dough into 2 portions. Roll into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out ¼ inch thick. Cut using cookie cutters. Arrange on a lightly greased cookie sheet, spacing the cookies at least an inch apart. Alternatively, press the dough into a cookie mold to shape.
  • 10 to 15 minutes, or until cookies are browned and slightly crisp.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Spiced Cheesecake with Black Currant Sauce

This cheesecake is the last recipe of my Thanksgiving collaboration with Boom Island Brewing Company. Every holiday season the brewery releases a Belgian holiday brew, dubbed Yule. Yule is a potent beer...upwards of 12%-13% ABV. A Belgian dark strong ale is probably the closest style one could use to describe it. Each year this holiday treat is brewed with a different fruit. This currant.

To match the richness of the boozy backbone and rich malt, I felt a cheesecake was appropriate. The spices are a nod to the holiday season...cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. And the gingersnap crust of course! The topping I opted for a black currant jam (far easier to find than fresh or frozen black currants this time of year) to tie into the fruit undertones of this beer. Raspberries, blackberries or blueberries would be equally as welcome.

This cheesecake was a treat to come up with. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

The recipe is my own

serves 10-12

for the crust
• 25-30 gingersnap cookies (2 cups finely ground)
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• ¼ tsp salt

for the filling
• 24 oz cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup sugar
• ½ cup brown sugar, packed
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 ½ cups sour cream
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp of allspice
• ½ tsp salt

for the topping
• 1 cup black currant jam

• Preheat oven to 350°F
• Place gingersnap cookies in a food processor. Cover and process until the cookies are the texture of very coarse sand. Add butter, brown sugar salt, and cinnamon. Process until well combined. Transfer mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch spring form pan. Using the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Once chilled, place spring form pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is fragrant and set, about 10 minutes.
• In a mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the sour cream, cream cheese and sugars until smooth and free of lumps, 1-2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined. Stir vanilla, spices and salt. Pour into crust.
• Lower oven temperature to 325°F. Set the cheesecake on a baking sheet and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until the center is mostly set, but still jiggles slightly. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the spring form pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate.
• Spread a thin layer of currant jam over the top of the cheesecake. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

IPA Cranberry Sauce

photo by Heather Hanson

Nix the canned cranberry sauce this year and make this homemade sauce using your favorite IPA! IPAs can become even more bitter when boiled or reduced, so I chose add it at the end. This late addition allows the more delicate hops flavors and aromas to shine through. IPAs with citrus, floral or tropical fruit notes work best with the tart cranberries. Please celebrate responsibly. The alcohol does not cook out of this one. While there is not enough beer included to get anyone tipsy, do take care to inform guests that alcohol is included in the dish.

the recipe is my own

serves 6-8


  • 1 – 12 oz package fresh or frozen whole cranberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • ½ cup IPA

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the cranberries and orange zest. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the berries burst and the sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the beer. 
  • Serve warm or chill until ready to serve.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dubbel Mashed Sweet Potatoes

On to the next Thanksgiving side!

Forget the marshmallows and pecans. Serve up these mashed sweet potatoes with a surprising twist! A Belgian dubbel's subtle spice and banana notes will sing when served alongside this dish. Again, I turned to Boom Island for their HooDoo Dubbel. Chimay Red, Ommegang Abbey, Goose Island's Pere Jacque and Rochefort 6 will work wonderfully in a pinch. Or omit the beer all together and stir in chicken or vegetable stock instead.

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray

serves 8

• 3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 overripe banana, sliced
• 1 orange, zested and juiced
• 1 cup Belgian dubbel (or stock)
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
• Salt and pepper to taste


• Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 1 to 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes and set aside.
• Return the pot to the stove top over medium heat. Add butter and bananas to the pot. Cook bananas 5 minutes and add the juice of 1 orange to the pot, reserve the zest. Allow the juice to cook out, 1 minute.
• Add the potatoes to the pot along with the Hoodoo and brown sugar. Mash potatoes, banana, stock and sugar together until well combined. Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and orange zest, to your taste.
• Mash to combine spices and serve

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Spatchcocked Turkey with Cloves and Orange

Photo by Heather Hanson

We should draw our attention to the turkey before the big day arrives. 

I loved this bird more than any other turkey I've ever made. I've taken to brining most turkeys, but the time and room in the fridge can be prohibitive. This bird does need to spend the night before hand in the fridge, but the fear of brine leaking everywhere is no longer a concern. 

This is a smaller turkey, only 10-12 pounds which will still feed a fair number of people. 

The true beauty of this turkey is the cooking time. Spatchcocking...cutting out the spine and spreading it flat, breast side up, cuts down the roasting time to about 90 minutes. The breast remained unbelieveably moist, the dark meat still has time to cook through, and because the bird was flayed open far more of the skin roasted to that perfect crispy golden brown.

So what beer to pair?

Pair with a Belgian Tripel.  Again, as a collaboration with Boom Island, we opted for their Brimsone Tripel. Tripels are a farily common Belgian style. Often corked and caged, these big bottles make quite the presentation at the dinner table. If you can't find Brimstone try Unibroue's La Fin Du Monde, Westmalle's Trappist Tripel, Chimay White or Tripel Karmeliet.

"The centerpiece of Thanksgiving dinner needs an equally impressive beer to join at the table. Brimstone's higher alcohol and effervescent carbonation holds its own against the richness of the turkey, while the hints of clove and honey from the beer help pick up the spices and citrus used in the basting oil."

recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

serves 10-12

• 4 tsp ground coriander
• ½ cup kosher salt
• ¼ cup finely grated orange zest
• 2 Tbsp brown sugar
• 2 tsp rosemary
• 1 Tbsp thyme
• 2 tsp black pepper
• 1 10–12 lb. turkey
• 2 medium onions, quartered
• 4 large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
• 4 celery stalks, halved crosswise
• 2 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• 4 wide strips orange zest
• 1 tsp whole cloves
• ½ cup Belgian Pale Ale

• Combine coriander, salt, orange zest, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, and pepper in a small bowl.
• Place the turkey breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp kitchen shears and some muscle power, cut along both sides of the spine and remove. Flip the turkey breast side up, spreading open as much as possible. Press down on breastbone to flatten. You should hear a crack and feel the bones give way. Rub the entire turkey with salt mixture. Place turkey, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Chill, uncovered, overnight.
• Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a roasting pan. Rinse turkey, pat dry, and place, skin side up, on top of the vegetables. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
• Heat oil, orange zest strips and cloves in a small saucepan until oil is sizzling, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
• Brush turkey with oil, and add ½ cup of Silvius to the pan. Roast turkey, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue to roast, rushing with oil every 20 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°, about 1 hour longer. Transfer to a platter; tent

with foil and let rest at least 30 minutes before carving.

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.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Skillet Corn Cakes

Corn, corn and more corn. But this time, for breakfast!

These cakes, fritters or patties (what you will) are quite lovely served with fried or poached eggs...runny yolks soaking into the cornmeal...


adpated from Cookie Monster Cooking

serves 4

The Ingredients:
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsps baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
3 ears corn, shucked and and kernels removed
3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
¼ cup olive oil, divided

The Process:
In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.

In a second bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Fold in the corn kernels and green onions.

Heat half of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches,  spoon 1/4 cup amounts of batter into the skillet, flatten each dollop slightly. Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown and cooked through.

Serve hot, with salsa or garnish of your choice.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tomato Beet Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This dish is in the run for one of the most colorful salads of all time. Just look at it! What a perfect way to show of those gorgeous heirloom tomatoes! Sungolds, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Valencia...

And any number of vibrant beets.  Wouldn't chioggia beets be pretty on this platter?

This is why I love my CSA.

adapted from Martha Stewart

serves 2

The Ingredients:
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 
1 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar  
3-4 small beets, scrubbed (about 1/2 lb)
2-3 large heirloom tomatoes (about 1 lb)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
2-3 Tbsps crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper

The Process:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

In a small jar, combine the oil and vinegar. Seal tightly and shake until well blended. 

Trim the tops and root tip off of the beets. Wrap beets in foil and bake, 50-60 minutes or until tender. Allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins. Slice crosswise 1/4 inch thick. 

Slice the tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes.  Arrange with beets on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with feta, cilantro, and drizzle with balsamic dressing. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Zucchini Muffins with Feta

I have a slightly hard time calling these muffins. Zucchini muffins should be sweet and spiced, right? Like carrot cake and pumpkin bread and other vegetables parading around in baked good form. Yes, they are shaped like muffins. And certainly they fit the baked goods mold. But the savory factor throws me. Apparently cornmeal muffins are acceptable, but these? My brain is trying to tell me, no, these are biscuits. But they are far to moist and tender to be biscuits.

And I will make them again.

adapted from Chilly Frosting

yields 12 muffins

The Ingredients
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 large or 2 small zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly oil a miffin tin, or line with paper liners.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.

In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.

Fold the zucchini and feta into the batter.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Corn Dog Fritters

Corn dogs are a guilty pleasure of mine. With mustard. Always with mustard. This portable meal is not something I would consider making at home. Until now. This recipe is state fair food at its finest, in bite-size form! On-a-stick optional.

adapted from Mantitlement

yields 15-20 fritters

The Ingredients
canola or vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 ears of corn, shucked and kernels removed
3 all beef hot dogs, diced

The Process:
Fill a large, heavy-bottomed deep-sided saucepan half way full of oil. Bring oil to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combined. Fold in the corn kernels and diced hot dog.

Working in batches, gently drop the batter by heaping tablespoon into the oil. Fry 2-3 minutes, turning once, until the batter is cooked through and golden brown.

Remove to a paper towel lined cooling rack and immedieately sprinkle with a touch of salt.

Serve hot, with condiments of your choice.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sweet Corn Risotto

I find something very soothing about making risotto. The slow additions of broth, the constant stirring. This dish has the added bonus of using up the last of the summers bounty of sweet corn.

I still have a few additional corn recipes in the works though...fritters, sweet corn cupcakes and chowder all come to mind.

adapted from Food and Wine

serves 2-3

The Ingredients:
1 ear of corn, shucked 
3 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup Pilsner or saison (or dry white wine if you must)
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

The Process:
Cut the corn from the cob: Place an ear of corn, base side down, on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, start at the top and cut downward with a gentle sawing motion, cutting corn from the cob at about two-thirds the depth of the kernels. Continue cutting until all of the corn is removed. Set the corn kernels aside.

In a medium sauce pan, add the stock along with the corn cob. Heat to a gentle simmer. Keep warm.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and sauté
until the onions are tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat evenly.

Slowly pour in the beer.  Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer, stirring continuously.  Once the beer has been absorbed, add the warm chicken stock, one ladle full at a time, allowing each addition to be fully absorbed before adding the next.  Patience is key.  Stir gently and continuously.

Once about half of the stack has been absorbed, add the corn kernels. Continue to add the stock as before. Discard the corn cob after the last of the stock has been added to the risotto.
Once the last of the stock has been absorbed, the rice should be creamy in texture and slightly al dente. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan cheese.  Remove the risotto from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and let rest for 3-5 minutes before serving. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thai Cucmuber Salad

This is the last of the Thai inspired recipes. At least for a little while. I really can't make any promises.

The search for this recipe was inspired by the continuous onslaught of cucumbers from our CSA farm. If only they sent us slightly smaller cucs...I'm itching to try a few fermented pickle recipes...

Ever notice the trends the circulate among food blogs? Paleo and vegan diets are dominating my news feed. And the spiral cutter was all the rage this summer. Zucchini pasta anyone?

I don't buy the hype. Just let me get to the tasty food...

adapted from She Knows

serves 4

The Ingredients:
2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
2-3 Tbsp cup toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

The Porcess:
In a medium bowl, combine the cucumber, cilantro and sesame seeds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drizzle the dressing over the cucumbers and toss to coat.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Kale and Carrot Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

CSA veggies, meet Thai. I have no apologies anymore.

Vegan and gluten-free. Dear lord this seems so unlike me...

The original recipe calls for creamy peanut butter. I used crunchy because it is what I had on hand. Personally, I enjoy the extra bit of texture. And the almond milk is unnecessary. The other ingredients pack so much flavor, you need only add a touch of water to thin it to your desired consistency. Adjust the heat level to your personal taste by using more or less Sriracha.

adapted from Running to the Kitchen

serves 4

The Ingredients:
3 cups carrot, shredded or julienned
2 cups thinly sliced kale
3 Tbsps peanut butter
1 -1 1/2 tsp sriracha
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ tsp olive oil
1 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp freshly grated ginger
2-3 Tbsp water
salt to taste
1- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

The Process:
In a large bowl, combine the carrots and kale.

In a small bowl whisk together the peanut butter, sriracha, sesame oil, olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup and ginger. Add water 1 Tbsp at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt to taste.

Drizzle the peanut butter dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Curried Chickpea and Carrot Salad

The Thai food has returned. I warned you a string of these recipes was coming...

With the heat of summer at its apex, avoiding the heat of the kitchen is a must. But the need to prepare food calls. This recipe is prefect for those sweltering days. No hot ovens or stove tops. And it comes together in a flash

adapted from Vegan Yack Attack

serves 4

The Ingredients:
2 - 14.5 oz cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup golden raisins
3 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp curry powder
The Process
In a large bowl toss together the garbanzo beans, carrots, cabbage and raisins. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add additional water as necessary to thin. 

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chocolate Milk Stout BBQ Ribs with Mole Spice Rub

Chocolate, beer and barbecue don't seem like an obvious pairing, but trust me on this one. Do you like mole sauce? How about chocolate milk stout? dark roasty beers have an affinity for roasted and grilled meats. Stouts and Porters also love chocolate. See? The combination isn't so crazy after all.

These ribs are brilliant on the grill, if you are a master at the low and slow. They are equally as tasty slow roasted in the oven.

The recipe is my own

serves 4

The Ingredients:
1 rack (2 1/2-3 lbs) pork ribs

for the rub
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cocoa powder
pinch cayenne pepper

for the sauce
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp oil
1 can tomato paste
1 cup chocolate milk stout
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 T cocoa powder
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp Ancho chili powder
1 tsp salt

The Process:
For the rub
Combine the spices.

Rub the mixture on both sides of ribs. Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

for the sauce
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Whisk the remaining ingredients into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.

for the ribs
Preheat the oven to 250 

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the seasoned ribs on top. Brush with BBQ sauce and roast in the preheated oven, turning ribs and brushing with BBQ sauce every 30-45 minutes until fork tender, about 4 hours.

Allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving

Serve with remaining Mole Stout BBQ sauce

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Thai Coconut Curry Lentil Bake

I must apologize in advance. I'm on a bit of a Thai kick. Between the flaked coconut, curry pastes, fish sauce, cilantro and lime juice I have on hand, Thai seems like an obvious choice.

adapted from Amuse You Bouche

serves 3-4

The Ingredients:
1 cup brown lentils
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 de chili de abrol, crushed
2 slices of day old bread, torn into chunks
½ Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste

The Porcess
Add the lentils to a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils are soft, about 20 minutes.
Pour the 3/4 cup boiling water over the coconut. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, combine the bread, garlic and chili. Pulse until an even crumb forms. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with oil. Toss to evenly coat.
Preheat the oven to 375.
Drain the lentils. In a casserole or baking dish, combine the lentils, coconut-water mixture, and curry paste. Sprinkle generously with seasoned bread crumbs. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the topping begins to brown.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chioggia Beet Chips

Fewer vegetables are as pretty as chioggia beets. Those vibrant alternating stripes of white and red. Even baked to a crisp they keep their festive look. And in chip form, even the beet haters can't help but try one. I can't say these chips will convert them, but it is a step in the right direction.

adapted from Martha Strewart

yields 3-4 servings

The Ingredients:
3-4 medium beets
1 tsp olive oil
sea salt

The Process:
Preheat the oven to 350.

Thinnly slice the beets about 1/16" thick, using a sharp knife or mandoline.  Toss beets with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. work in batches if necessary. Sprinkle generously with salt.

Bake, 5-7 minutes and flip. Bake an additional 5-7 minutes removing chips that are beginning crisp. Continue to cook remaining chips 2-3 minutes a time, flippine regularly, until all have begun to brown.  Allow to cool on a wire rack. The chips will continue to crisp up as they cool.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

I always seem to have too many bananas on hand. So when I came across this recipe I had not choice but to give it a try. Not only did the muffins call for a whopping 5, FIVE! bananas, it also incorporated peanut butter. As a child I loved spreading peanut butter onto bananas. Why I never thought to bake with this combination until now is beyond me.

Of course, now I want to try this recipe out with a healthy dose of bacon. Viva Las Vegas!

adapted from American Heritage Cooking

yields 15 muffins

The Ingredients:
For the Muffins
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup chunky peanut butter
5 overripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ tps baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

For the Streusel
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp peanut butter

The Process:
Pre-heat the oven to 350°.

Line 15 standard muffin tins with liners.

For the Streusel:
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add the peanut butter and mix with a fork until coarse crumbs form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

for the Muffins:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar with the butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the yogurt, bananas peanut butter and vanilla. Mix on medium until well combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Using a spatula fold the dry ingredients into the wet, , scraping the bottom with each fold, until just combined. Do not to over mix!

Fill each muffin tin to the upper edge of the liner. Crumble a generous portion of the streusel topping onto each muffin, pressing down slightly.

Bake in preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean

Allow the muffins to cool 5 minutes in pans before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Banana Pepper, Kale and Summer Squash Frittata

CSA veggies make for some of the best breakfasts! This recipe seems like a lot of produce. And it is. But most of the vegetables cook down quite a bit and are mixed up with just enough egg to hold the whole thing together.

A word of caution on using banana peppers...some a ridiculously hot, others are quite mild. You really won't know until you try a bite, so don't toss a whole pepper or two into the frittata willy-nilly. Wearing gloves is recommended when dealing with any spicy pepper. At the very least, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands prior to touching your face. Pepper spray is incredibly effective for a reason...

adapted from a recipe courtesy of Driftless Organics

serves 2

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 Tbsp butter, divided
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 summer squash, coarsely grated
1 banana pepper, coarsely chopped
2-3 leaves of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

The Process:
Preheat the broiler and adjust the oven rack to about 4" below.

Melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a 8" cast iron skillet set over medium heat. Add the garlic and squash and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the banana pepper and satuee an additional minute.  Add the kale and thyme, cook until the kale is just beginning to wilt. Add the remaining butter and swirl to coat the pan.

Pour in the eggs, swirling the pan to distrubute them evenly. Reduce heat to low and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the edges have begun to set. Sprinkle with feta and place under the broiler.

Broil until the top of the frittata is set and is begining to brown, 3-4 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cucumber, Edamame and Tuna Salad with Garlic Thyme Vinaigrette

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that bring the most pleasure. Of course this salad had the added bonus of putting a dent in my ever growing crop of cucumbers.

the recipe is my own

serves 2

The Ingredients:
1 - 5 oz can tuna, drained
1/2 cup edamame, shelled
2 small cucumbers, diced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

The Process:
In a medium bowl, toss together the tuna, edamame, and cucumbers.

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme and salt. Adjust to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Drizzle vinaigrette over salad, and toss to coat. Top with feta.

Serve immediately

Friday, August 22, 2014

Garlic Butter Shrimp over Quinoa and Spinach

I'm pretending this is a healthy dish, paraded over a bed of quinoa. But it's really not. It's shrimp drenched in garlic butter. No, it does not compare to the wonder that is Giovanni's Shrimp Truck on the North Shore of Oahu. But few shrimp dishes are. I'll take what tasty seafood I can get in this land locked state.

adapted from Pinch of Yum

The Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
7-9 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 tsp chili powder, divided
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
4 cups fresh spinach, torn
4 cups vegetable or shrimp stock (save those shells for just this purpose!)
6 Tbsp salted butter, divided
1 lb shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 Tbsp dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley for serving
lemon wedges for serving

The Process:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes more, or until fragrant. Add the uncooked quinoa and ½ teaspoon chili powder. Cook, stirring frequently for another 1 minute until the quinoa is coated in chili and oil. Add the broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is tender.  Add the spinach during the last 2-3 minutes cooking and steam until wilted. Fluff with a fork and toss with parsley.

While the quinoa is cooking, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium high-heat.  Add the shrimp and remaining 1 tsp chili powder. Cook until the shrimp are opaque, 3-4 minutes. Add 2-3 minced cloves of garlic and swirl around in the pan until the garlic is fragrant.

In a small saucepan over medium-heat, melt the remaining 5 Tbsp butter.  Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Whisk in the dry white wine.

To serve, layer the quinoa mixture into the bottom of a casserole and top with a layer of the shrimp. Top with chopped parsley and drizzle with garlic butter. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Strawberry Banana Mini Muffins

Everyone has their "perfect" banana bread recipe. Mine fluctuates all of the time, though I too have settled on a favorite. But never will I claim to have the best, or most moist, or "to die for" recipe. Tastes are far too complex and too many wonderful variations exist for me attempt to exult a recipe.

However, one thing I do love to do is use previously frozen bananas. I never get  around to eating our bananas before they become over ripe. By the time I do notice, usually I'm in no mood to turn them into baked goods. So into the freezer the freckled fruits go, to be used at my leisure. When ready, I defrost them for an hour or so on the counter. Of course now the bananas are an unappealing brown mass. Peeled and plopped into the recipe they are oozing with sweet fragrant juice. I've heard some microwave their bananas to yield similar results. To each their own.

UN-frozen overripe bananas will work equally as well.

 The recipe is my own

Yields 36 mini muffins or 12 regular sized muffins

The Ingredients
2 eggs, lightly beaten 
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil   
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, finely diced 

The Process
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly oil the mini muffins tins.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, flours, bananas, baking soda, salt and vanilla. Stir until just combined. Fold in the strawberries.

Spoon by heaping Tbsps into the prepared mini muffin tins.  Bake for 10-14 minutes,  or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Transfer muffins from the tin to a wire rack to cool.