Monday, October 2, 2017

Seasonal Flavor

Here it is. The obligatory Fall pumpkin spice recipe. Like I have said before, I have nothing against pumpkin spice or anything but, the hoopla it generates, I find ridiculous. Regardless, I am not above indulging in the flavor of the season. This was an experimental recipe and it seemed to generate lots of compliments so I hope you like it too.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones (Adapted from
2-3C all-purpose flour
1/3 cup  brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon molasses 

3 tablespoons half and half or cream
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 bag cinnamon chips

Simple Sugar Glaze 
1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or cream

Pumpkin Spice Glaze 
1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 to 2 tablespoons half and half or cream

Preheat oven to 400F
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 Cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg together until blended. 
Cut the butter into small cubes then scatter over the flour mixture. Use two knives or a pastry cutter to “cut” the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal with a few pea-sized bits of butter, about 5 minutes. (You could also use a food processor for this – if using, add flour mixture to the bowl of a food processor, add the cold butter cubes. Then pulse three to four times).
In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, molasses, half and half, egg, sour cream, and vanilla extract until blended.
Stir the pumpkin mixture into the flour and butter mixture until a soft dough forms. Add additional flour, 1/2 Cup at a time, if dough is too wet. Add cinnamon chips. Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Knead three to four times until it comes together.  
Pat the dough into a circle (a rolling pin can be used here). Cut the circle into even sized triangles (I got 10). 
Place scones onto a parchment lined baking sheet then bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.   Use a fork to drizzle with glazes (recipe below).
For the simple sugar glaze, add the sugar to a medium bowl then add one tablespoon of half and half in increment stirring in between until desired consistency is achieved. . Stir then judge the consistency. If when you pick a spoon up and out of the glaze it slowly drizzles back into the glaze, it is fine. If it is too thick, add a little more half and half (a little goes a long way, here). If it is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.
In another bowl, make the pumpkin spice glaze. Combine the sugar, pumpkin puree, spices then add one tablespoon of half and half. Stir and check consistency. Adjust the same way as you would the simple glaze. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

South of the Border

So, the Hubs and I just got back from a most fantastic, week long stay in sunny Cabo San Lucas. OMG, was it the BEST! I love Mexico and Cabo did not disappoint. We relaxed, we drank, we ate, we surprised my husband by having his family meet us there. It was one of the best vacations ever! Last night he was craving brownies and, not having any store shit in the house, I decided to make some from scratch using the bar of Mexican dark chocolate that I brought home. I think this will be my go to recipe for brownies from now on. They were so incredibly good. The brand of chocolate was Maria Tepoztlan in the black box (dark). Now, if you read online reviews of this product you will see people have a lot of strong opinions about it. I ate some of it straight up and, at first, I didn't care for it very much but it kind of grew on me. I went back for more. Love it or hate it, it made a damn fine brownie.  The chocolate bar is not divided into squares like regular bakers chocolate so I did my best to approximate the amount I used. My base recipe was an old recipe that made over 3 dozen brownies. I halved it because I do not need that many brownies in my house. So, that is why my measurements are kind of odd. Regardless, these things were out of this world. I highly recommend that you try them.

Mexican Chocolate Brownies

1 1/2 sticks butter
2-3 ounces Mexican Dark Chocolate
1 1/8 Cup flour, sifted
3/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 2/3 C sugar
2 heaping Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 Tbs espresso powder
1/4 C vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat over to 325F and grease a 9"x9" baking dish

Over low heat melt butter and Mexican chocolate in a small sauce pan. Set aside to cool

Sift flour and salt onto a plate and set aside

In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs until foamy. Whisk in sugar and then cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk in vanilla and espresso powder. slowly add flour mixture and cocoa powder and whisk to combine

Pour batter into baking dish and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Brownies should still be gooey in the center.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Waste Not, Want Not

The Hubs and I have a vacation coming up (YAY!). So in preparation, I am trying to use up things in my refrigerator that just won't keep while we are gone. One of those things is a package of linguica sausage that we have had in there for what seems like forever. I had originally wanted to make enchiladas out of it but, being pressed for time, I decided to go the casserole route. Hubs kept asking me what was for dinner and all I could say was, "Something cheesy". I honestly had no idea what I was going to do. I quickly browsed the pantry and grabbed some things I thought would work well together and started at it. I am happy to report it came out really well. We practically ate the entire thing! I have no idea what to call it though since it was a strange combination of Portuguese and Tex Mex flavors. All I can say is it was damn tasty.

Chicken And Linguica Casserole

1 large chicken breast, poached and chopped (reserve cooking liquid)
2 Linguica sausage patties, chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs Adobo seasoning
1 can Rotel
1/2 can nacho cheese soup
1 can red enchilada sauce
10 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat over to 350F
In a large frying pan add oil and linguica sausage and fry until sausage begins to crisp. Add oinions and continue frying until softened. Add chopped chicken and Rotel and saute and 3 or 4 minutes. Add nacho cheese soup and stir to incorporate. Add reserved chicken poaching liquid if needed to ensure full blending of the soup with the other ingredients. Remove from heat.

Coat the bottom of a casserole dish with a thin layer of enchilada sauce. Cover sauce with a layer of corn tortillas. Add half of the chicken mixture for the next layer. Top mixture with another layer of tortillas. Add a think layer of enchilada sauce and top with 1 Cup shredded Cheddar Cheese. Repeat layers 1 more time to use up remaining ingredients.

Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes-1 hour until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Let stand before serving.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tastes of Summer

It has been a very harrowing week. We are in the process of moving (YUCK) and it has pretty much overwhelmed us. Then this week we lost a very dear friend when a careless and impaired teenager plowed into him while he was on his motorcycle. He was rear-ended and never saw it coming. He didn't stand a chance. We said our good byes to him in the ICU on Monday and yesterday he was taken off life support. He was such a good person and are hearts are heavy that he was taken from us so tragically. Needless to say, we haven't had much for an appetite lately but we try to keep moving forward and stay busy lest we dwell on our loss. I came up with this recipe as a way to use up some farm share vegetables as well as some veal cutlets that my mother gave me. It was pretty tasty. I made my own pesto using basil, garlic scapes, parmesan cheese, and walnuts but if all you have is store bought, by all means use it. Splurge for a good brand though. This meal is real easy to make and is done in just a few minutes. It's great when time is of the essence or if you just don't feel like expending a lot of energy but still want a tasty something to eat.

Veal Caprese

1 Cup Prepared Pesto
5-6 small veal cutlets
1 tomato, sliced
6-7 slices of fresh mozzarella

Pound cutlets with a meat mallet to tenderize
Marinade veal in pesto sauce for 2 hours or overnight.
Turn on oven broiler and let heat up
On stove heat up and over proof pan.
When pan is hot, place veal cutlets in a single layer
Top cutlets with tomato slices, and cheese
Place pan under broiler until cheese is melted and begins to brown. By this time the veal should be cooked through. Serve with pasta or zoodles.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We're Jammin'

I have to say that this is my new favorite condiment. I first had it on a burger in New Haven after I went to see a play with my friends. I wasn't sure what to expect but was too hungry to care. I order sliders with this onion jam and some other stuff on them and I was blown away by how great it tasted. So, I decided to try and make it myself. I think I have come up with a pretty good interpretation. My favorite way to have this is on a burger with bacon and blue cheese. It is freaking delicious. So get ready to jam out with this stuff! You won't be sorry.

Sweet Onion Jam

2 sweet onions, sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
2 Tbs bacon grease
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 C brown sugar
1/3 cup white wine (dry)
1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 Cup red wine vinegar

Saute onions in bacon grease over low heat until soft and golden
Add salt, pepper and herb and continue to saute until herbs soften
Add remaining ingredients and simmer low until liquid has evaporated and mixture becomes thick and sticky. Be careful not to burn it - keep stirring, especially towards the end.
Remove bay leaves.
Let cool and store in clean jar in refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Holiday Things

This weekend was Memorial Day so we had our annual get-together. With the sketchy weather turn out was disappointing. It will probably be the last time we do something like this since we have so much food leftover it seems like a waste of our time and money. Don't get me wrong, we had fun but it's a lot of work hosting a party. Next time we will go to somebody else's party, lol. For this party I concocted a sweet and sour crab dip that I developed based on how I like to eat crab rangoon at those Chinese buffets. I like them with sweet and sour sauce. At first people were scared of it because it looked strange but once they tried it they were gobbling it up. I served it with wheat thins but fried wontons would be good or just use it to make actual crab rangoons.

Sweet and Sour Seafood Dip
1 can crab meat
1 can tiny shrimp
1 block cream cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbs sugar
3-4 green onions, chopped fine
1 bottle prepared sweet and sour sauce (I used LaChoy brand)

Place all the ingredients except the sweet and sour sauce in a stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat together until combined. Place in a bowl or if your feeling fancy mold it into a shape on a plate. Pour sweet and sour sauce over the mixture and serve with crackers.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Stuff It!

My husbands' granddaughter had her first birthday last week. As usual, I was asked to make something. Stuffed mushrooms were requested. I was then told that if I made my crab stuffed mushrooms I would have to make another variety because someone had an allergy. yeah, guess what I am NOT making! I said I would make my pizza stuffed mushrooms and originally decided I would make the traditional pepperoni and a supreme version (pepperoni, sausage, peppers and onions). Well, when it cam time to make them I decided the pepperoni ones were enough and they were a hell of a lot easier to make than the supreme version. That left me with the leftover ingredients to deal with. I made stuffed peppers for dinner out of it. The husband whined about how he didn't like stuffed peppers. He has no idea how close he came to getting shanked with a fork. When all was said and done he said they were the best stuffed peppers he had ever had. Go figure! This stuffing would seriously taste good in anything. Stuff it into mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, you name it. He actually put some of the leftover stuffing in an omelet the next morning and it was pretty killer. So, go crazy with it.

Erika's Stuffing for Anything
1 pound bulk Italian Sausage
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed (we like garlic and go heavy with it)
1 small onion, diced
1 zucchini, grated
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 C Parmesan cheese
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
salt, to taste

Brown sausage with the onions and garlic until cooked through. Add zucchini and pepperoni and continue to saute until zucchini is soft. Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is evenly distributed and mixed together. Stuff filling inside of anything!