BLT Pasta

BLT Pasta

Just a couple of things..

The initials BLT stand for Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, and it’s traditionally consumed between two pieces of toasted bread (which has been smeared with Mayo)

If you choose to make a BLT sandwich, you should be choosing only top quality ingredients, pay an extra dollar a pound and get the heirlooms, find good quality romaine lettuce, and please, make an effort to buy top quality bacon, I know it’s getting expensive, but you can taste the difference.

Armed with that knowledge of what a good BLT sandwich should be, let’s transfer it to a pasta recipe!

What you’ll need:

4 strips of thick bacon, diced

1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1/4 cup of dry vermouth

1/2 cup of chicken broth

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/8 teaspoon chili flakes

1 cup of baby spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 sprig of fresh thyme

1 cup of french bread, cubed

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon, olive oil

Misenplace:

Wash and cut the Cherry tomatoes in half, lengthwise. Prepare the Spaghetti as directed on the packaging.

For the Recipe:

In a saute pan, cook the bacon until the fat has been completely rendered out of it and it’s crispy.

Remove the bacon from the pan, set it aside for use later. In the same saute pan, remove all of the bacon fat except 1 tablespoon. Add the grape tomato halves, sugar and cook on medium heat.

Cook for approximately 4 minutes. Then add the Vermouth and cook on medium low.

Once the liquid has almost evaporated, add the vinegar, chicken broth and red pepper flakes.

Cook the sauce on low until the liquid reduces by 1/3.

Add the Spinach, Bacon and Thyme and cook for 2 minutes, were just looking for the spinach to wilt.

At this point, the sauce is finished, toss with your cooked pasta and serve it hot.

I topped the pasta with garlic breadcrumbs, i’m not sure I’d include them next time, it’s a bit strange to me. (partially why I decided to leave them out of the recipe)

(recipe inspired by here

Coconut and Lime Cookies

Coconut and Lime Cookies

There are a few things about the coconut lime flavor that I love, mostly the flavor reminds me of a tropical setting, and that’s pretty much all it takes to make me think of my wife. (this happens on many subjects, what can I say? I love the woman)

Some of the other things include a Candle from Yankee Candle (lime in the coconut, it’s amazing!) A song by several different musicians (Put the lime in the coconut) and last but not least, there’s a drink with lime and coconut that’s also not half bad.

This cookie method is pretty normal, it follows the “snickerdoodle” family of cookies as the dough is rolled in sugar before it’s baked.

What you’ll need:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups white sugar

1 egg

1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon lime zest, minced

3 Tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup unsweetened toasted coconut

For the recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350*

In a medium bowl, sift the Flour, Baking soda, Baking powder and Salt.

In a larger bowl add the sugar and the room temperature butter.

Using a hand mixer, cream (or mix) the butter and the sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy. It should take about 3 minutes.

Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, add the Lime Zest, Lime Juice, Egg and Vanilla Extract.

Beat on medium until the mixture is combined.

Now, were going to slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed butter. Once the flour and butter has been combined, add the toasted coconut.

Using a medium cookie scooper, scoop out 12 cookies and roll them in granulated sugar. Place the cookies, flat side down on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake each batch of cookies for 9 minutes. If you follow this, you’ll have slightly underbaked cookies, which I prefer, if you want overbaked cookies, cook for 10 or 11 minutes per batch.

The cookies will appear very puffed up when you remove them from the oven, but they will deflate and flatten out nicely once they cool off.

Serve with Ice Cold milk.. or perhaps something that has rum in it!

 

recipe modified from here

Sausage and Potato Chowder

Sausage and Potato Chowder

This is perfect for one of these winter nights, you know, when the sky is grey, and the cold feels like it’s getting to your bones. When you can see your breath while you wait for the car to warm up. When all you really want to drink is hot chocolate and watch happy movies about families that have a tragedy and find some way to overcome it.

If you are adventurous enough, you could even add some pumpkin puree to this and make it an early fall treat. I prefer it exactly how it is.

What you’ll need:

1 pound Spicy Sausage (I used Jimmy Dean, if you use sausage with casings, remove the casing)

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 carrots, peeled and cubed

2 leeks, sliced thick and rinsed well

1 large onion, cubed

4 ounces of light cream

48 ounces of chicken stock

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 teaspoon of chives, chopped

1/4 teaspoon of sage, chopped

1 tablespoon of cornstarch and water mixed together

Misenplace:

Peel the carrots and cube them evenly, peel and cube the onion, Slice the leeks and rinse them thoroughly in a water bath (leeks can have sand in them, it’s better to take the extra step),

For the recipe:

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions and leeks.

Cook the vegetables until they begin to soften (about 10 minutes)

Season the vegetables with a pinch of kosher salt and a few cranks of freshly cracked black pepper. Add the Italian sausage.

Brown the sausage completely and then drain the fat. Don’t worry about getting all of the grease out, were going to skim the top of the chowder later. Place the vegetable and meat mixture into a larger sauce/stockpan.

To the stock pan add the 2 bouillon cubes, the chicken stock and potatoes.

Bring to a boil and then lower heat to low and allow to simmer until the potatoes are that wonderful state of fork tender.

See that fat floating on the top of your hard work? Well, were going to remove it. How you ask? with a ladle, of course! just skim the edges around the pan with the edge of the ladle, if you do it correctly, you should remove a good amount of fat and very little liquid. The alternative of this would be cooling down your soup at this point, putting it in the fridge and waiting one day. The next day the fat would have solidified and you could just pull it off the top with ease. But who has that kind of time!?

When the potatoes are soft enough for your tastes (but hopefully not neglected or overcooked) add in the cream, turn the heat to low and allow the cream to warm through.

Add the cornstarch slurry, the soup will thicken up quickly, you can add more or less depending on your preference. Turn off the heat and finish the soup with the sage and the chives.

I wanted to serve this in a bread bowl, I knew that’s how I was going to present it when I was creating the recipe in my head.

I bought a loaf of peasant bread and pre-heated my oven to 400*

Cook the bread for 10 minutes, carefully remove the bread from the oven and cut the top of the bread off with a serrated knife. Carefully scoop the hot bread insides out with a spoon. Do this carefully, you don’t want to break the bread, or remove too much of it.

Ladle the soup into the bread bowl and top with some herbs and crushed red pepper.

Seared Turkey Chops with Apple Pan Sauce

Seared Turkey Chops with Apple Pan Sauce

Today were going to use a french technique to create a pan sauce.

After frying our turkey chops you’ll see that you are left with brown bits of meat on the bottom of the pan. The french call this “fond” which means base. The french then “deglaze” this fond with a liquid, stock, liquor, even water will work, but use something flavorful, rule of thumb dictates that adding something with flavor will give extra flavor, instead of water. After we deglaze the fond, were going to add some more flavor by adding some fall flavors to the pan. Were going to finish the pan sauce with a tablespoon of room temperature butter, it’ll create a richer and thicker sauce for us.

Also used in this recipe is a mashed sweet potato that i made specifically for this dish. (click the link for the recipe)

What you’ll need:

4 turkey “chops”

olive oil

1 tart apple, peeled, diced

1/2 stick of butter, softened

1/4 cup of sweet vermouth

1/2 cup of apple cider

1 cup flour

1/2 tablespoon seasoning of your choice

Misenplace: Peel and give the apple a small dice, toss with lemon juice to prevent browning.

For the recipe:

In a saute pan, cover the bottom of the pan with olive oil, do not turn the heat on yet.

Using kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, season your turkey chops liberally on both sides.

Take a shallow dish and mix the 1 cup flour with the seasoning you chose. I picked poultry seasoning, i think it’s perfect for this situation, however there’s not too many choices that are wrong. Now coat the turkey chops with the flour, making sure that you carefully remove all excess flour from the chops.

Heat the olive oil in the pan on low-medium.

Carefully place the chops into the hot oil, by laying the chops away from you. You do this because the oil is hot, and you are still young and wish to keep your eyebrows.

Cook the turkey chops for approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Carefully flip your chop over and cook for another 3 minutes. After the 3 minutes are up, remove the chops to a platter.

See all of the brown bits of food in the bottom of the pan? No, no it isn’t a dishwasher’s worst nightmare. It’s flavor, just waiting to be harnessed and turned into something great. In order to do this, (while keeping the heat on low) were going to pour off as much as the fat you can from the pan. Don’t scrub the fat out, just let it pour.

Next were going to pour the vermouth into the pan, itll become angry and start to boil and steam and look crazy, just allow it to do it’s work, making sure to scrub the bottom of the pan with a fork or heat safe spatula.

Next add the diced apples and the apple cider to the pan and allow to reduce by 1/3. Add the room temperature butter to the pan sauce.

Now were going to arrange our food, we worked hard on it, so take some time and decide how you want to plate it.

I chose to place some mashed sweet potatoes on the plate, and top it with the pan seared turkey chop. Next were going to spoon some of the pan gravy over the turkey. Don’t forget to add some apples as well, it doesn’t have to be perfect, just make it look clean and appetizing.

There you have it, a simple, elegant recipe that you can use anytime of the year, and you can impress a date, your significant other, friends or family.

Crystallized Ginger and Greek Yogurt Cake

Crystallized Ginger and Greek Yogurt Cake

It’s not often I find something that I can eat everyday without every becoming sick of it, some of those examples would be french bread pizza, Filipino Adobo, Cinnamon rolls, pancakes, my wife’s ham and egg sandwiches, coffee, and now this..

This cake involves two rather strange ingredients. The first being Crystallized ginger. A quick search of Google tells us that Crystallized ginger is ginger that’s cooked in a sugar/water mixture then coated in sugar.

If you don’t know what Greek yogurt is, it’s yogurt that’s been strained of any excess liquid, creating a yogurt that’s healthier and thicker.

what you’ll need:

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Greek yogurt
3/4 cup crystallized ginger, cut in tiny pieces

Our misenplace would be taking the butter and the eggs out ahead of time, so they’ll be at room temperature when were ready to use them. Also, preheat your oven to 300* were going to cook this sucker slow and low.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the room temperature butter for approximately 4 minutes, allowing it to lighten in color.

Add the sugar, and the vanilla.

Mix until thoroughly combined together. Next, add the eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture.

The mixture will be thick, this is what we want. Now, were going to add the dry ingredients, so mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture.

Next were going to alternate between the flour mixture, and greek yogurt. So take 1/3 of the vanilla yogurt and add it to the butter mixture. Continue doing the alternations until both the Greek yogurt and the flour mixture are used up. Next add in the crystallized ginger to the cake mix.

Prepare your bundt pan by rubbing shortening (or butter) on the inside of the pan and then coating the shortening with flour. Pour the cake mix into the pan evenly. Once all of the mix as been placed into the pan, gently tap the bottom of the pan on a counter top to ensure no air bubbles will be present, and to make sure that cake was evenly distributed.

Bake this at 300 for 1 hour. Of course, if your oven is as evil is mine is, you can start checking for doneness at the 50 minute mark.

Once the 1 hour is up, remove from the oven, allow to cool in the pan for approximately 15 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan to a wire rack. When the cake as cooled completely (about 2 hours) place the wire rack into a sheet pan.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of milk and about 2 cups of powdered sugar.

Pour the icing over the cooled cake.

I just realized that i don’t have a picture of this cake on a plate, oh well, I guess i’ll just have to make another!! *wink*

Just a quick note, I’ve successfully made a variation of this cake, omitting the ginger and adding orange zest and juice. It was just as good, I think the variations would be endlesss. I’m going to add fresh strawberries next time.

Chili

Chili

I know it’s been a while, I don’t really enjoy cooking in the summertime, It’s extremely annoying when you don’t have access to an air conditioner. I’ve a small collection of recipes that need to be published, I’m going to start with what I cooked today.

Chili!

I have a love/hate relationship with Chili, as it’s traditionally seasoned with a spice called Cumin.

I.

Hate.

Cumin.

I find it vile and repulsive, I just don’t like the taste it gives food, also I feel it’s extremely overpowering.

So, this Chili isn’t authentic, and it’s not seasoned with Cumin.

What you’ll need:

1 pound of ground beef

1 8ounce can of tomato sauce

1 onion, diced

1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes

1 cup of water

1 can of small red beans

1 tablespoon of vinegar

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 tablespoon of diced, seeded jalapeno

1 bay leaf

Today’s misenplace is simple, dice the onion and jalapeno, and open all cans so they are ready to add into the pan.

In a saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it’s hot.

Add the diced onions and jalapeno into the hot saute pan, and cook for approximately 15 minutes, until the onions soften up. Please add a pinch of kosher salt and a few cranks of black pepper.

Next add the ground beef.

Cook until the meat is fully browned, about 10 minutes on medium.

Thoroughly drain all fat from the ground beef, and transfer the beef to a larger pot. This is the perfect opportunity to taste your seasonings and adjust them accordingly. In a large pot, you are going to add 1 can of red beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of tomato sauce.

you are also going to add the water, vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder to the pot.

Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat so that the chili is simmering gently. Cook for approximately 2 hours, the chili should be thick and reduced by almost half.

Serve the chili with whole picked Jalapenos, cheddar cheese and diced onions. Having some cornbread around wouldn’t hurt either.