Honey French (Cyborg) Bread

Why cyborg?

Well, because this very nice loaf of bread started out in the bread machine, but was then rescued from teh machine and finished in the oven in a traditional bread pan.

The result?

No more hoooge “paddle hole” in the middle of the loaf; but still a wicked tasty loaf of home made French bread; perfect for sammiches, and toast, and…

whatever floats your fancy. This is the loaf of bread you need to bring your bread machine out of the shadows and dust off – da google knows that my 20 year old machine is gonna see a lot more use this holidaze season!

INGREDIENTS
•1 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/3 cup water
•1-1/2 tbsp honey*
•3 cups flour
•1 tbsp sugar
•1/2 tsp salt
•2 tsp yeast

*I used Mike’s Hot Honey which is infused with chilies, but everyday honey will most certainly work a treat here.

The only tricky part of this recipe/method is that you need to load the ingredients into your bread machine in the order specified by your particular machine. My machine’s instructions are “Wet. Dry. Yeast.”

With that said, load the ingredients – in my case, the olive oil, water, and honey; then the flour, sugar, and salt, and finally the yeast in the bread machine pan – in the order called for by you machine.

Push the “Dough” button, then go about your life.

The machine will mix and knead and worry about the first rise of the dough, and then, with all that bother out of the way, it will beep to tell you when you actually need to do something about it all.

Brush a loaf pan with olive oil, then punch the dough down, gather into a ball, and arrange in the prepared loaf pan.

Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to rise for an hour or so.

While the bread is rising in the loaf pan, heat your oven to 375º.

Pop your risen loaf into the hot oven and bake until it is golden brown and sound hollow when thumped – mine was perfect in about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool before slicing – it will be hard, I know, because – fresh baked bread! – but truly, this bread cuts better when cool, so, be patient.

*SIGH*

This is the bread I’ve been waiting for; totally worth the carbs.

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Sweet Chili Glazed Salmon – Now With Hot Honey!

To be perfectly honest, I prefer this salmon on the grill, but it really is totally tasty baked as well.

Just, do not try to broil it; my fishmonger maintains that broiling is terrible for fish, and I am not gonna argue with Captain Porky (who also smokes a fine salmon and makes a quite nice lobster salad and key lime pie, so, all in all I am gonna listen to most anything he/they tell me.

But, back to the salmon…

INGREDIENTS
•3 tbsp Thai-style sweet chili sauce
•2 tbsp lower sodium Tamari*
•1 tbsp Chili Infused Honey (or plain honey)
•1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
•Salmon filets (I like mine without the skin)

*You can also use plain soy sauce. I default to Tamari because, unlike soy sauce, it is gluten-free.

Whisk the chili sauce together with the Tamari, honey, and ginger until well mixed.

Pour over the salmon and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Note: I usually do this in a large zipper bag and allow the salmon to rest in the glaze for an hour or so in the fridge, flipping the bag when I think to so that the salmon is evenly coated with the glaze.

Heat your oven to 450º, then arrange the salmon on a foil-lined baking pan, pouring any glaze remaining in the bag evenly over the salmon.

Bake until the salmon is cooked through and flakes nicely, ten to fifteen minutes.

We enjoyed ours with stir-fried blanched asparagus.

And it was good.

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My Take on Sofrito

Before we even start, let me just say that I know that this is not the sofrito my niece’s grandmother would have made.

And I am OK with that.

See, my husband does not care for green peppers, and I don’t care that much for cilantro, so using red, yellow, and orange peppers, and then parsley was the way to go for this household. I also did not have aji dulce peppers, but a cup of Sweety Pie (or Peppadew) peppers worked a treat.

In the end, I got a fine seasoning blend for soups, stews, whatever you may choose to add this too.

This will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks, any extra (I kept one pint for fresh) can be frozen in ice cube trays until solid, then stashed in a freezer bag until needed.

Note: you are gonna want to cover those ice cube trays with plastic wrap, or your entire freezer will smell like sofrito – not perhaps the best pairing with ice cream.

INGREDIENTS
•3 large peppers, seeded and chopped
•3 large onions, peeled and chopped
•1 cup Sweety Pie or Peppadew peppers
•12 cloves garlic
•1 large handful parsley

Prep could not be simpler; add all of the ingredients to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until finely chopped.

Store in the fridge, or, use those spare ice cube trays and freeze for perfect two tablespoon sized individual chunks for use as you will.

 

 

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Amatriciana Sauce

One of my favorite places to go for breakfast is The Florentine in Chicago – mostly because of their over easy eggs served on top of a spicy pancetta and tomato sauce with grilled sourdough bread slices on the side.

Absolute heaven.

So, imagine my great pleasure at finding a recipe for this sauce, kindly provided by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos from The Food Network, and, it is every bit as tasty as it is simple to toss together?!?

For this test run, I used air fried ravioli to dip in the sauce, but I am gonna come back with eggs and sourdough slices soon.

INGREDIENTS
•2 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
•1/4 pound pancetta, diced
•3 cloves garlic, chopped
•1 tsp red pepper flakes
•6 fresh basil leaves, torn
•1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
•Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Purée the tomatoes with the Sherry Peppers sauce in a blender – or with an immersion blender – until smooth.

Add the olive oil to a pan over medium high heat, then add the pancetta and cook, stirring quite often, for about seven minutes, until nicely browned.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for one more minute.

Add the tomatoes, and basil, then reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and turned a deeper, darker red.

Give it a taste.

I thought 1/2 teaspoon each of Seasoned Salt, Black, and Aleppo peppers were nice, along with the chopped fresh parsley.

Then… in (another) departure from the original recipe, I also added one tablespoon of white sugar to balance all of the flavors and really bring the sauce together…

for me, at least. If you don’t want to add sugar, try one tablespoon of honey, or even some finely grated carrots.

Serve your Amatriciana with your fave pasta, but don’t forget about the eggs and the grilled sourdough slices.

Tasty!

 

 

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“Pecan Pie” Teacakes

I was wrangling a two pound bag of confectioners’ sugar around the kitchen when, I happened to notice a recipe for “chocolate chip teacakes” on the back of the bag.

Hmmm.

The recipe looked a lot like one my mom used to make – but with crushed almonds instead of chocolate chips; and with almond flavoring in place of the called for vanilla. And, they were shaped like crescents…

but! Other than that, EXACTLY the same!

Meanwhile, in Canada, a cousin had set me on the search for “Pecan Pie M&M’s,” and, of course, Amazon did not disappoint.

The M&M’s, however?

Waaay too sweet to eat as is, but…

hmmm…

chopped up in cookies?

That MAY very well work!

So, here’s what I did:

I added the M&M’s to a food processor and coarsely chopped ’em into bits.

Then…

well, let’s do the details…

INGREDIENTS
•1 cup unsalted butter, softened
•3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
•1 tsp vanilla
•1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
•1 cup confectioners’ sugar (for rolling)

Note: I was, somehow, out of vanilla the day I made these, and so used almond extract. Worked a treat. If you want to make these the way my mom did, go ahead and use the almond extract, and replace the mini chocolate chips with finely chopped almonds.

Heat your oven to 325º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream the butter, the 3/4 cup of confectioners’, and the vanilla or almond extract together until a bit fluffy.

With the mixer set on low, beat in the flour, then stir in the chocolate chips or crushed M&M’s or almonds until nicely mixed.

Shape the dough into one inch balls (a cookie scoop works great for this) and arrange one inch apart on the parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the teacakes are set, but not browned.

Cool one minute, and then roll in the remaining one cup of confectioners’ sugar.

The recipe suggested rolling the teacakes in the sugar again once cooled, but I thought that an unnecessary step, so I didn’t.

The teacakes were still fine.

The recipe also said that you would get four dozen teacakes.

I, using my one inch cookie scoop, ended up with exactly 40 cookies, but wasn’t really all that bothered about it.

Good teacakes, quick to come together, and offering a lot of possibilities with stir ins and extracts. Go forth and have tea(cakes)!

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Cornbread and Croutons and Tomato Soup. All Gluten-Free!

With the holidaze fast approaching, I have been making plans for feeding friends and family with the goals of:

1) providing everyone with tasty, healthy(ish) meals, and

2) not making anyone sick.

With both in mind, I recently came across two gluten-free packaged goods that I thought might very well round out our feast daze menus, and, not make anyone sick.

And, you know what? With a few wee, tiny tweaks, they were pretty darned good!

Important Note: this is not one of those sponsored posts; the fine folk at Hodgson Mill and Trader Joe’s have not provided me anything. This is just me testing out products I’ve come across on my loving husband and myself before serving them to family and friends.

So.

That taken care of, let us talk cornbread, croutons, and creamy tomato soup.

We do not *have* to eschew gluten, but many of our family and friends do, so, when I find options that look as though they might be good, I am gonna try them.

First, Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free Cornbread Mix. It was easy to toss together, and baked up into a nice pan of cornbread.

But. We both thought it could be a tad sweeter; so, next time I make this, I will add one tablespoon of honey to the measuring cup before adding milk to make up the amount of liquid called for on the box directions. Still and all, the thought of Gluten-Free stuffing and… dare I say it? Croutons! will make some in our circle very, very happy!

For the croutons:

Heat your oven to 400º, and cut the baked cornbread into cubes and arrange on a foil lined baking sheet.

Seasonings:
•1/2 cup melted unsalted butter or olive oil
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp dried parsley
•1/4 tsp dried basil
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper

Stir the seasonings into the butter or olive oil and pour over the cornbread cubes on the baking sheet. Stir gently to coat each cube.

Bake for ten minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the cornbread over.

Return to the oven and bake for another six to ten minutes, until the croutons are nice and crispity, and loaded with flavor.

Set aside to cool, then strew over soups and salads with abandon, in the knowledge of a job well and gluten-freely done.

Next, the soup:

Who knew that Trader Joe’s had an organic, low sodium, gluten-free creamy tomato soup? Not I, that’s for certain.

So. Croutons made and cooling, I set about to see how this was warmed up on top of the stove.

Hmmm. Not too, too bad, but…

Add ins:
•32 oz organic tomato soup
•2 tbsp chopped basil
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•Freshly ground black pepper

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Much better!

Served with the cornbread croutons, we most certainly did not feel as though we were missing out on anything at all.

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Mac ‘n Cheese ‘n… Tuna?

Say what?

See, I was in the mood for a bit of tuna noodle casserole, butt the only pasta I had on hand was a couple of boxes of those classic blue boxes of Macaroni and Cheese.

Undaunted, I went on Kraft’s website, and they very kindly provided me with, not only a recipe, but also a new, to me at least, way to add the veggies to the casserole that totally worked a treat, and will forever more be the way I wrangle ’em for tuna casserole.

I should also note that the casserole was wicked tasty, and so popular in our house that Rich actually had leftovers for lunch twice!

INGREDIENTS
•2 boxes Kraft Mac & Cheese Dinner
•1 stick butter
•1/2 cup milk
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp dry mustard
•1 tsp Aleppo pepper
•3/4 cup diced onion
•3/4 cup diced celery
•1/2 cup Sweety Drop Peppers, drained
(or diced red pepper)
•2 cans oil-packed tuna, drained
•1 tsp hot sauce – or, to taste
•1 tsp black pepper
•1 tsp dried parsley

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

A note on Sweety Drop Peppers: these tiny, tasty (not at all hot) Peruvian peppers can be found at some really well stocked supermarket olive bars, or through, of course, Amazon.

Whisk the Sherry Peppers Sauce together with the dry mustard and Aleppo pepper in a small bowl and set aside – or – whisk together and then stir into the drained, flaked tuna and set that bowl aside.

Boil the pasta as per the directions on the package, but – and this was the genius, and totally new to me, bit – add the onion, celery, and Sweety Drop (or diced red peppers) to the boiling water for the last three minutes of cooking.

Note: feel free to add 1/2 cup or so of frozen peas as well, if you like.

Drain the pasta and veggies, then add the butter and cheese packets to the warm pan, put the cover on, and let the butter melt.

Stir in the milk until smooth, then add the pasta, veggies, tuna mixture, and hot sauce; and stir until well coated with packaged cheesy goodness.

Give it a taste.

Surprisingly tasty!

But…

I opted to stir in  some coarse ground black pepper and dried parsley – feel free to use fresh parsley, if you have it!

All in all, a fine batch o’ tuna casserole!

As for me, I shall me making this again!

Yeh, not for dinner with friends, but as a quick, simple to toss together dinner when I haven’t thought, or had time to plan a “real (for  us) ” dinner?

Yeah, youbetcha!

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Another Look at Firecracker Sauce

Just consider this tasty looking plate with one our local markets finest pub burgers and air-fryer onion rings.

Practically perfect, right? Could not be made better, correct?

Nope!

Because the burger is served with my Fresh Relish, certes, but both the burger and the onion rings benefited a heckuva lot from the addition of Firecracker Sauce.

It’s not just for tacos, anymore!

Best thing, this comes together in under five minutes, and is shelf stable in the fridge as long as your mayo, chili sauce, and sweet chili sauce jars say they are, so, bonus!

Make extra, the holidaze are almost here!

Now, in the past, I have used my own Cocktail Sauce for this recipe, but, in a pinch, any could chili sauce will do. It will just not have some of that extra horseradish and lemon goodness.

INGREDIENTS
•1/3 cup mayonnaise
•3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
•1 tbsp cocktail or chili sauce

Simply combine the ingredients together in a small jar with lid, then stash in the fridge until needed.

Burgers, shrimp, sammiches, t is all good.

And then, there are the tacos…

A little Pickled Avocado would not be remiss in any of these options, either.

 

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Best! THESE Are Your New Way to Make and Mash Potatoes

A bit early for the holidaze on this side of the border, and, at the very last minute kickoff for our cousins to the North – this recipe, more or less from Tyler Florence and adapted a wee, tiny bit by the nice folk at Delish and yours truly; makes the, bar none, hands down, no question, absolutely best mashed potatoes I have ever had the pleasure to wolf down.

ANd now, after a weekend back in New England, serving them up to friends; they also totally agree.

Even if there was a bit of fear in their eyes as I explained what I was gonna do.

See, Tyler recommends boiling potatoes in butter, cream, olive oil and seasonings until tender, then straining all that potato essence infused liquid into a bowl and then…

mashing the potatoes with it!

GENIUS!

Note: the nice folk at Delish opted for half and half, but I tried the first time with heavy cream. The second time I made them, I used half and half, and think that they were a little more better. I have no idea why.

Both Mr. Florence and Delish used three pounds of peeled, chopped potatoes. I used 24 ounces of small, whole unpeeled red potatoes the first time, and 24 ounces of small, whole unpeeled yellow potatoes the second. The yellow potatoes were best, I think, but you do what you want.

INGREDIENTS
•24 oz bag small yellow potatoes
•3 tbsp butter
•3 tbsp olive oil
•1 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1/2 tsp dried sage
•1/2 tsp dried rosemary
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•Half and half to cover the potatoes

Pour the olive oil over the butter, potatoes, and seasonings in a pan. Add half and half to just cover the potatoes, then cover the pan, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Be careful to avoid boiling over.

Place a colander in a bowl and drain the liquid from the potatoes into the bowl.

Note: the potatoes will have a thick coating of the half and half mixture.

Return the potatoes to the pan, then add some of the liquid from the bowl and mash.

Note: why not just mash the potatoes and the liquid in the pan without draining? I found that there was just a bit too much liquid (unless you like really soft mashed potatoes) – and so did not use all of the drained half and half.

The result?

Perfectly tasty mashed potatoes!

Try these once. They will be your holidaze potatoes forever more.

 

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Parfait! Baked Soul Rolls

Earlier this week, I posted the recipe for Soul Roll Sauce (so simple and tasty!), and Soul Bowls – the wicked nice result of an error on my part about how many egg roll wrappers come in a package (answer to follow, don’t stress).

Today, I figured I would revisit one of my most popular appetizers, Soul Rolls – now baked, not fried!

Oh, and there are TEN egg roll wrappers in a package, so, but TWO.

INGREDIENTS
(makes 20 Soul Rolls)
•2 pkg egg roll wrappers
•1 lb ground turkey
•1-1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1 tsp ground black pepper
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 tsp garlic powder
•1 tsp paprika
•1 tsp dried parsley
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•1/2 pint Pepper Relish
•1 bag coleslaw mix
•1-1/2 cup cups shredded pepper jack cheese
•1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

To make the filling, cook the ground turkey with the onion, seasonings, and Sherry Peppers Sauce in a large pan until completely cooked through.

Drain well and stir in the pepper relish.

Heat your oven to 350º.

Place an egg roll wrapper on a board and add a couple of pinches of the coleslaw mix as shown here.

Top with a spoon or two of the meat mixture, then some of the cheese.

Starting from the bottom, pull the wrapper up and over the filling, then dab a bit of water on the remaining three corners and pull the two sides in and over the bottom piece, pressing the moistened sides gently into the bottom wrapper to seal.

Roll up and over, gently squeezing the filling so that it is nicely compressed, until the top corner seals the the roll.

Apply cooking spray to a rack set into a large baking pan, arrange the rolls in a single layer, then brush each roll lightly with your preferred cooking oil.

Bake until gold brown, about 25 minutes.

Serve with the Soul Roll Sauce and/or, if you like, a nice mustard. It’s all good.

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