Cauliflower Waffles

So, there I was, on a gray Saturday afternoon, slouching about a new shopping center with my husband, his mom, brother, and sister-in-law. We had already had a FINE lunch at Kuma’s, shopped at HomeGoods and Nordstrom Rack; were at Barnes and Noble with coffee (for Rich and his mom), a bargain book (for me), and, while waiting for L&L to finish checking out Lucky Brand jeans at Nordstrom, much to my surprise, my husband adds a book devoted to cauliflower prepared in almost infinite ways.

!

Note: my husband “tolerated” my Cauliflower Bread Sticks, as well as most of my other white veggie based attempts to slip some o’ the good stuff into our diet. Search “cauliflower” on this site, I have tried a lot of stuff, and his general reaction has been:

“Meh.”

So, that he chose this book (and not from the bargain section) meant that I should give cauliflower another try.

And I am very glad I did.

It helps that cauliflower “rice” is such an “it” thing just now that I can buy a rather large bag frozen and keep it on hand for whenever the mood strikes.

So… waffles:

INGREDIENTS
•1-1/2 cup riced cauliflower (thaw if frozen)
•4 large eggs
•1/4 cup flour
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1-1/2 tsp sugar
•1/2 tsp dried chives
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
•2 tbsp chive cream cheese

Add the eggs to a blender jar and pulse until well mixed and just a bit foamy.

Add the flour, oil,  and seasonings and pulse to blend.

Note: do not try to cut out the sugar; you will need it to cut some of the “cauliflower” taste from the waffles. I, obviously, chose to make mine savory instead of sweet; if you’re looking for a more traditional “breakfast” waffle, try adding a teaspoon or two of vanilla in place of the spices, and plain cream cheese in place of the whipped chive.

Add the riced cauliflower, the cream cheese, and the mozzarella to the blender jar, cover and blend until you have a smooth batter, pausing and scraping down the blender jar sides every now and then.

Want your waffles gluten-free? Replace the flour with 1/2 cup of almond flour.

Apply cooking spray to your waffle iron and preheat it.

Add the waffle batter, I find that a crêpe paddle is a big help in spreading the batter across the waffle plate, then close the waffle maker and cook for about ten minutes.

Lift an edge of the waffle to loosen, then transfer to a rack in a preheated 200º oven.

Reapply cooking spray and repeat with the remaining batter. This recipe was enough for two batches in my waffle iron, for a total of eight cauliflower waffles.

Again, because I chose to make our waffles savory, we enjoyed them for dinner with Multi Pot Korean-Style Beef Flanken Ribs topped with a Cucumber, Carrot, Scallion, Lime and Sesame salad.

And we were both pleased.

Note: leftover waffles? Allow to cool, then stash in the fridge or freezer in a zipper bag. When you next feel the need for a waffle or two, pop ’em in the toaster and all is very, very good.

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Irish Crème Cream Cheese Frosting

We were gathered together at Barb’s for an early mid-week lunch.

The wine – ermmm Fruit Salad – was not flowing, because Mira needed to get to work that afternoon, but we had begun planning the menu for our next Book Club Gathering.

Iberian Meatballs? No problem, and… I thought I could serve them with a batch of Gluten-Free Cauliflower Waffles. Then, Barb put in a request for gluten-free Brownies (Mira) and…

a rather specific frosting from me.

Baileys Irish Crème, to be precise.

So… I did some research and found a few possibilities; then immediately switched stuff up.

Nice frosting!

INGREDIENTS
•8 oz cream cheese, softened
•3 cups confectioner’s sugar*
•1/8 – 1/4 tsp black pepper (trust me)
•1/4 cup Irish crème liqueur
•Heavy cream or milk

Note: I used two tablespoons each of Espresso Crème and Original.

*Or more, if you like.

Whip the cream cheese with the sgar in a mixer bowl until well blended and fluffy.

Add the Irish crème and the pepper (it works, truly); and continue to whip.

If you think it needs it, ad heavy cream or milk by tablespoons, then whipping again,  to get your frosting to the desired thickness/consistency.

Stash in the fridge until your friend Mira brings the gluten-free brownies (quite good, from a mix at ALDI), then frost and serve.

Barb, sadly missed out, but don’t feel too bad for her, she had scored Hamilton tix for that day, so…

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Peach Marmalade

A long time ago, I stopped by to visit a friend from school, and his mom was busy making this incredibly wonderful smelling mixture of peaches and citrus and – surprise! – maraschino cherries!

Mrs. B called it marmalade, but I call it heaven on a Bay’s Sourdough English muffin – with just a schmear of soft Irish butter brushed on first.

Of course, Mrs. B bought her peaches fresh and peeled and sliced the lot…

Me? Nope!

Why would I, when I can score a large bag of quality sliced, organic frozen peaches for under $15 a bag?

I also switched up the brown sugar added, choosing to use this smoked brown sugar (available on Amazon) to add just a hint of depth to my marmalade.

And it was good. Let’s make a batch!

INGREDIENTS
•1 navel orange, sliced*
•2 Clementines, sliced
•1/4 cup water
•6 cups peeled, sliced peaches
•4 cups sugar
•1 tbsp smoked brown sugar
•1/3 cup maraschino cherry juice
•Maraschino cherries

*My only orange had an extremely thick rind, so I zested it, and then peeled it before adding just the slices to the pot. We’ll add the zest in a bit.

Place the orange and Clementines in a large saucepan with the water.

Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Note: watch the pot and remove from heat if the water boils off.

Add the sliced peaches, sugar, brown sugar, orange zest, and maraschino cherry juice.

Increase the heat to medium and stir.

Note: back in the day, Mrs. B also did not have the handy-dandy non-stick pan that I was using, so, if you’re like her, you’re gonna need to stir a lot and watch the pot as the sugar melts. As it is, I was able to work on a few other projects, coming back to this pot and stirring every couple of minutes.

Lovely.

Cook, uncovered, and stirring every now and then, at a good simmer, still over medium heat, for about 30 minutes, until the marmalade has thickened and the color taken on a nice golden hue.

While the marmalade is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and sterilize canning jars and lids.

Note: we have water that will leave a (harmless, but unattractive) cloudy film on canning jars, so I add about 1/2 pint of white vinegar to the water in the canning pot and – voila! – no more filmy jars.

I choose to break up my peaches just a bit with my immersion blender – leaving good sized chunks of peaches, but making it all a bit more spreadable on those English muffins (or toast, I guess toast is good, too).

Give it a taste.

Nice, right?

Ladle the marmalade into prepared (sterilized) canning jars, then add three or four maraschino cherries (without stems) to each jar; pushing the cherries down into the marmalade.

Note: do you recall the Swozzled Cherries from last December? Well, I divided up my marmalade jars into “adult” and “general audience” versions by using the swozzled cherries in half the jars I made. Keeping things straight is a snap, simply mark the lid of each jar with the swozzled cherries with a Sharpie marker, and you will know whom to give which at the end.

Place lids on each jar, tighten the bands on each with just your fingertips, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.

Remove, cool on a rack, then label and give out, or hoard, as you prefer. I ended up with eight half-pint jars.

Nicely peachy, but with an added bright citrus punch.

And then, those cherries!

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English Muffin Za!

Did you ever realize that you have been making something that you have been eating since before you were allowed near the stove (especially after the “screwdriver in the light socket incident”) wrong?

I mean, not totally wrong, but just wrong enough that my – in this case English Muffin Pizza – never quite matched up to the ones my mom made.

SO, I went to da Google and – whatd’you  know? It was the temperature!

I’d been doin mine at the standard 350º, when, in fact, da Google assures me that 375º is optimal.

And, of course,da Google was right.

So, let it be known that this is the way to make English muffin pizza.

Oh, and if you have the opportunity, do look for Bays English Muffins by the eggs at your market. We prefer the sourdough, but original was all they had when I was at Target.

Note: this is not a sponsored post. Bays has provided me with nothing more than the enjoyment I get when biting into one of their most excellent English muffins.

So, here’s the deal. Heat your oven to 375º and line a rimmed baking pan with foil.

Split your English muffins and arrange, split side up in the pan.

So, here’s where I am gonna be a big vague; it is your English muffin pizza, so you get to choose how you top it.

I used a jar of Trader Joe’s pizza sauce with cooked ground turkey, black olives and one tablespoon of Sherry Peppers Sauce stirred in and simmered for just a bit.

I also sautéed some sliced ‘shrooms in butter and avocado oil, along with another tablespoon of Sherry Peppers Sauce until the ‘shrooms were nicely browned on the edges and any pan juices were cooked away.

Oven heated. Pan prepped. Sauce made. ‘Shrooms sautéed. Muffins split and arranged in the pan.

Cheese!

Spoon the sauce (with meat and olives or what have you) over the split English muffins to cover.

Top the sauce with cheese – I used a nicely aged Provolone I had in the fridge, but you could go with Swiss (my mom’s default, and really quite nice on these), or a blend of your own favorite(s).

Top the cheese with the ‘shrooms (or pepperoni, or whatever other topping you prefer), then pop the pan into the oven for ten minutes.

The cheese should be melted, bits of the English muffins should be browned at the edges, and you should have a practically perfect little ‘za!

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Firecracker Sauce

Never let it be said that I turned my nose up at an interesting condiment.

And this is most certainly that!

Wicked tasty, too!

The original recipe called for using this sauce on shrimp tacos, and I am pretty certain that that would be a fine application.

But, why limit oneself? So far, we have loved this sauce on carnitas tacos and even with

beer-battered fish and chips.

It also makes a kinda nifty burger sauce.

INGREDIENTS
•1/3 cup mayonnaise
•3 tbsp sweet chili sauce
•1 tbsp Cocktail Sauce*

*My own cocktail sauce is loaded with more horseradish and lemon than store bought, and I use a chili sauce base that doesn’t contain any corn sweeteners, so, bonus!

Method is wicked simple; a couple of hours before you plan on using your sauce, combine the ingredients together until nicely blended, transfer to a lidded jar, and stash in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend.

Tasty, tangy, and good for so very much more than shrimp.

Bang!

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Butterscotch & Bourbon Pudding

We were having one of the last gatherings of the holidaze season and, well, it was the holidaze, so I wanted a wow-worthy dessert.

Pudding!

“Pudding?”

Yeppers! Home made and with a not so secret ingredient: bourbon.

No, this pudding is not for the kiddies, people, trust me on this.

I found the recipe on line, but there seemed to be so many errors in method and unnecessary warnings about “danger” that I am not linking to it.

I also,of course, changed a few things – like, the amount of bourbon called for.

All in all, it was a big hit, and since many of our dinner guests at this meal have issues with gluten, did I mention that this pudding is Gluten-Free?

Coolio!

A quick note: a large, non-stick pan and low heat will be your best buddy with this recipe.

INGREDIENTS
•1/4 cup unsalted butter
•1 cup dark brown sugar
•2 cups heavy cream, divided
•1 cup whole milk
•1/4 cup bourbon
•6 large egg yolks
•1/4 cup corn starch
•1/2 tsp Kosher salt*
•2 tsp vanilla extract

*No Kosher salt? No problem! Just use 1/4 teaspoon of table salt instead.

Melt the butter over medium low heat, stirring every now and then, until it is thick and wet and well blended, but the sugar hasn’t melted just yet – mebbe five minutes or so.

Whisk in one cup of the heavy cream, and still over medium low heat, cook for another ten minutes or so, stirring once in a while.

You begin to see how that low heat is your best buddy here.

At his point, the butterscotch is gonna thick a bit, and be very silky smooth.

Whisk in the remaining cup of heavy cream, 3/4 of a cup of the whole milk, and the bourbon, and the vanilla, then turn the heat to low and let’s get the egg mixture put together.

Whisk the 1/4 cup of remaining milk into the corn starch in a large mixing bowl until smooth, then whisk in the six egg yolks and the salt.

This is the part I differed with the original recipe, which called for simply pouring the egg mixture into the warm butterscotch pot.

Nope.

I chose to ladle a bit of the butterscotch mixture into the egg mixture while whisking until it was well incorporated and then added another ladle just for safety sake.

This is called tempering, and if you skip this step, you may very well end up with butterscotch scrambled eggs.

Now that the egg mixture has been warmed up, feel free to whisk it into the remaining butterscotch in the pan, still over low heat.

Cook, stirring constantly, until the pudding has thickened and just begins to bubble.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a storage container or individual dessert glasses.

I was a bit short on pudding glasses at the time, but a container with a tight lid worked a treat.

Stash the container in the fridge to chill until needed and, bonus; the pudding maker gets to lick out the pan!

 

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Overnight French Toast

Who doesn’t like waking up to a tasty batch o’ French Toast in the morning?

Well, OK, one of my nephews, who gets skeeved out about egss, so, yeh, not him quite so much.

But, most everyone else, right?

And the cool thing with this recipe, you put it all together the night before, so, come morning, heat up the oven, pop it in, then sip your coffee and chill for a bit.

Genius, yes?

INGREDIENTS
Nut Topping:
•1 cup brown sugar
•1/2 cup butter
•2 tbsp Lyle’s Golden Syrup or corn syrup
•1/2 tsp allspice
•1 cup chopped pecans and walnuts

Custard:
•1-1/2 cup half & half
•6 eggs
•1 tsp vanilla
•1 tsp Cointreau
•1 tsp cinnamon
•1/2 tsp Kosher salt
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper

•One loaf French bread, sliced

Note: no French bread? No Problem! Use your own fave, slightly stale bread.

Melt the butter with the brown sugar, and Lyle’s (or corn syrup), and allspice in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat, stirring often.

Stir in the nuts and toss to coat.

Grease a rectangular two quart baking dish and spread the nut mixture evenly across the bottom.

Arrange the sliced bread over the top of the nut mixture, pressing the slices gently into the mixture.

Beat the eggs together with the half and half, vanilla, Cointreau, cinnamon, salt and Aleppo pepper (trust me on this, every kitchen should have Aleppo pepper in its spice rack) until well combined.

Pour this over the bread and nut mixture, again pressing the bread down a bit so it is well coated in the custard, then cover tightly with foil, and stash in the fridge overnight.

Note: here’s a thought – if you were fancying breakfast for dinner, you could just do this in the morning and enjoy at night, mebbe with some sausages on the side.

Whenever you plan to enjoy this, pull the baking pan out of the fridge while you heat your oven to 350º.

Remove the cover and bake for 45 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve with the nut mixture on top.

And mebbe a bit off to the side, for to nut goodness to the sausage,

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Mixed Berry Vodka – How Was It?

A bit over a month ago, I put a batch of Mixed Berry Vodka together to serve friends at the holidaze.

The thing is, I got started late, because, stuff, and so, it has taken until this snowy January Saturday that I’ve been able to decant and sample my mixture.

The result?

Not too, too bad at all, nice flavor, terrific color, and, all in all, a keeper.

So.

To recap.

INGREDIENTS
•1.5 L vodka
•1 bag frozen sweet cherries
•1 bag frozen dark cherries
•1 bag frozen blueberries
•1 vanilla bean

Cut the cherries in half (you want to maximize the amount of cherry surface exposed to the vodka) and place in a large container along with the blueberries and the vanilla bean.

Pour the vodka over all, give it a gentle stir, then cover tightly and stash in a cool, dark place for a month or so.

When done, strain the berries and vanilla bean out and transfer your now deeply red vodka into another suitable container or two.

Enjoy.

I don’t think that my mom-in-law will object to my using the carafe that I make her Arnold Palmer’s in when she is visiting got pressed into service for the greater good of berry infused vodka.

All in all, a nice treat.

 

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Creamed Spinach

With the new year, a lot of folk have made promises to eat a better, more balanced diet, and we are no exception.

Of course, that still doesn’t mean I plan on giving up my Irish butter and whole milk!

Take this recipe, based on Tyler Florence‘s creamed spinach recipe. It does use butter – but only one tablespoon – and it does call for cream, but if you feel that strongly about it, whole milk or half and half will work a treat in its place.

But.

Stay away from those 2% or non-fat “things.” Doubt me? Look at the ingredients on the back and tell me if they don’t look like some science experiment gone wrong.

Anyway, back to the spinach. Tyler’s recipe called for two pounds of baby spinach, but this one bag was the perfect serving for the two of us with no leftovers. Always a plus.

INGREDIENTS
•1 tbsp avocado or olive oil
•1 tbsp unsalted butter
•1 onion, minced
•2 garlic cloves, minced (or more, to taste)
•1 bag fresh baby spinach
•1/2 cup heavy cream
•1/2 tsp nutmeg
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1/2 tsp black pepper
•1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Melt the butter with the avocado or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft – about five minutes.

Add the spinach and toss with tongs to mix with the onion, garlic, butter and oil.

Cook, continuing to toss the spinach mixture, until it is wilted and the pot is kinda dry.

Turn the heat to low and stir in the cream and seasonings.

Cook, stirring often, for ten minutes more.

Serve hot.

This batch went perfectly with parsley potatoes and a rack of Pineapple and Pepper Relish Barbecue ribs.

Go ahead, enjoy your spinach.

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Pineapple Pepper Barbecue Sauce

Sweet, but with just the right amount of a kick to it, this sauce is a pretty terrific way to zip up your cocktail meatballs, ribs, chicken, or pulled pork.

Here’s the thing, though…

I started out with my own home made Barbecue Sauce and Pepper Relish to make my version. The recipes are at the links above, and, if you make your own, I think you’ll be pleased; but, feel free to use your fave barbecue sauce and pepper relish from

the store, too. There is nothing at all wrong with going that option!

INGREDIENTS
•24 oz Barbecue Sauce
•8 oz Pepper Relish
•6 oz pineapple juice
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*

*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.

Stir all of the ingredients together in a medium pot over medium-low heat.

Cook, stirring often, for about 90 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the color a deeper, richer red.

That’s all there is to it!

Great sauce, as I said, for ribs, but do try it out on your next batch of cocktail meatballs or sausages.

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