Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Farmer's Market Secrets and a Fruit Crisp

Are you all going to Farmer’s Markets this summer?  Obviously, I have been.  I have learned a couple of secrets at the Farmer’s Markets I have been going to.  I can’t promise that all markets are the same….but let me tell you what I have learned.  I don’t want to give away all of the Farmer’s secrets, but I have to share this. 

First off, if they tell you that something is ripe….eat it right then and there.  Or later that day.  It won’t last till tomorrow.  Ripe means almost done.  Buy your produce slightly under ripe and let it ripen at home. 

Second, sometimes the produce will look a little icky and wilty.  It is just because it has been sitting in the sun, and it maybe has gone for a long truck ride to get there.  Especially if you are in Nevada.  Our produce isn’t grown in Reno.  It has had a long car ride.  How do you feel after a long car ride in the summer?  Probably a bit wilty and gross.  Just put your produce in the fridge or in ice cold water and it should perk back up.  Don’t get discouraged and think the produce has gone bad….it hasn’t.  And for cryin’ out loud, don’t say bad things about the produce to the farmer.  He or she worked hard to grow that.  Don’t hate.

Lastly, and this is the best secret…..if you don’t have something specific in mind, and you are willing to buy what is there…..shop the last 30 minutes of the market.  Most of the farmers will have marked their produce down so they don’t have to take it back home with them.  I have gotten some smoking deals by just trolling around at the end.  Some even give stuff away right at closing.  Seriously.

Are you wondering what to do with all that fruit you have brought home?  I am going to show you a kick ass fruit crisp recipe.  It is crazy easy and tastes amazing.  You all know what a fruit crisp is, right?  It is delicious fruit baked with a crispy sweet topping.  And….you can use virtually any fruit.  Ok, you can’t use melons or citrus, but pretty much any stone fruit, berry, apple or pear will work.  Let me show you how I make it.

I started with about a pound of fruit.  I used blueberries and super ripe nectarines.  Did I mention that you can mix fruits?  And that you totally should?

My nectarines were so ripe that the skin slipped right off.  If you are using fruit that needs its skin removed, like a peach….do it.  Peel your stone fruits by scoring the top and dropping them into simmering water for about 30 seconds.  The skin will come right off.  If you are using an apple or pear, use a paring knife.

I put my fruit into the bottom of a pie pan.  I sprayed my pan with cooking spray first.  You could do that, or use butter.

Isn’t my fruit pretty?

Let me warn you….I think the best thing about a fruit crisp is the crunchy topping.  I make a thick, buttery sweet topping.  Every bite gets a big ‘ol piece of topping.

I used flour, oats (quick), brown sugar, cold butter, pumpkin pie spice and chopped nuts.  I had some mixed nuts in my cupboard that I threw in the food processor.  That is the best thing about this crisp….I bet you have all that you need to make the topping in your pantry already.

I put all the ingredients in the food processor.  My ice cold butter has been cut into small pieces to help the processor along.

I pulsed this until I had pea sized chunks.  Look very closely and you will see that there are clumps of butter and other stuff that is now pea sized.

I covered my fruit with the topping, making sure that not a speck of fruit was showing.  Remember….I really like this topping.  If you are more of a fruit gal, you can feel free to NOT use all the topping.  But that would be weird, in my book.

I baked this at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

At the end of 25 minutes, I had this thing of beauty.  The fruit still manages to creep up no matter how much topping you put on!

I let this cool a bit before serving.  One of the great things about this recipe is that it is still crazy good room temperature.  It doesn’t have to be served smokin’ hot.

I served mine with whipped cream, but ice cream would be amazing on this.  That is what I normally would do, but this is Paisley’s and she asked for “whiff cream”.

Look at the beautiful nectarines and blueberries!  They are at the peak of their season right now so they didn’t need any additional sweetening.

Remember, fruit freezes well!  Buy a ton from a farmer and freeze it in pie pans!  Then, all it needs is the crunchy topping which takes like 5 minutes to throw together.  How awesome would it be to have this great dessert always on hand?

Yum!  Look at the crunch on that!!  Man, I really love butter.  And brown sugar.  And this.

I hope you try this recipe!  And please don’t tell the farmer’s I’m spilling secrets.

Fruit Crisp

1 pound fruit, such as berries, stone fruit or apples/pears

                -peeled and sliced if necessary

½ cup flour

1 cup quick oats

¾ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup, (one stick) cold butter, cut in cubes

½ cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place fruit in a pie pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Place remaining ingredients in food processor.  Pulse until mixture is in pea sized clumps.

Cover fruit completely with topping.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until top is browned and bubbly.

Serves 6-8

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Olympics!

In honor of the Summer Olympic Opening Ceremonies, on TV tonight, I am reposting a recipe that I did last year.  It's Fish and Chips!  Jolly Good.  As you must know, and I really hope you do know, the Olympics are in London this time, so fish and chips seemed fitting.
Enjoy, and I promise I will be back next week with all new recipes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms

Hi everyone!  I'm so excited because cheerleading starts again for the season today!  Not for me, although that would be rad.  But for Addy.  I wish I was a cheerleader, even at my advanced age, but my high school friends would tell you that I am way to spastic to ever cheer. 
Anyhoo, I love cheer because I love watching her do something she loves, I love the coaches and other moms, and I just love the whole spirit of small town (kinda) football.  So before I take Addy to day one of cheer camp, let me give you a quick recipe.
People are always asking me what to do with my Gourmet Rooster savory spreads.  Seriously, every Farmer's Market, I get at least 5 people asking me what to do with them.  The savory spreads are great on sandwiches, with cheese & crackers, with meats, etc.  You just have to use your imagination.  What would you want to put onions on or in?  Or roasted red peppers?  Just sub in one of my spreads and you have the perfect flavor!  They are super easy to use....they are already cooked and seasoned to perfection.
Today I am going to show you a really easy recipe featuring my Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread.  I have shown you a recipe for stuffed mushrooms before....
Today's recipe is a twist on that recipe.  I still use ground sausage and I still use a creamy cheese, but I am using Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread which will give these stuffed mushrooms an really different, but amazing flavor.
These will be your go-to appetizer.  I swear.
For this recipe (the stuffing), I used sage flavored bulk sausage, Philadelphia Cooking Creme (plain flavored), Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread, Parmesan cheese and chives.
This recipe is super easy....it even has very few ingredients.  Perfect for a quick app.
I also used plain white button mushrooms.  I bought mine out of the bulk bin because I wanted big ones.  The pretty, already cleaned ones aren't big enough.  I wish they were because I hate cleaning mushrooms.
But here I am cleaning my mushrooms.....
I used a clean, damp towel.  Don't run them under the faucet....this will make them tough.
I also pulled the stem out of each mushroom.  This will give you the perfect well to fill with stuffing.
I threw my stems away.  They really aren't good for anything.
I started my filling by browning up the sausage.  This goes fast.  You've done this before, right?
Next, I added my cream cheese.  You can use regular cream cheese or cooking creme.  They taste the same.
I let this melt into the hot sausage.
Then, I added the Roasted Red Pepper spread.  At this point, the mixture will seem kind of soupy.  I let mine simmer for a few minutes to thicken up a bit.
Plus, I accidentally ate about half of the filling at this point.  It is that good.
I stuffed each mushroom with filling.  FYI-I had placed my mushrooms in a baking dish that I had lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
I also topped each shroom with Parmesan cheese.  I love the way this makes a crust when baked.  The parm is a must.
Finally, I sprinkled chives on the top of each mushroom.  Now this part is totally up to you.  I like to add my chives before baking because I like the way they get crispy in the oven.  You can do that, or you can add them as soon as you take the shrooms out of the oven.  The chives will add a fresh oniony taste if you add them after baking.  Your choice.
I baked these at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Delicious!  And such a fun and cute little appetizer!  The sausage is yummy, the spread is sweet and the cheese is creamy.  And the Parmesan cheese and chives are magic on the tops.
These are the perfect little cocktail party appetizer.  Or dinner if you eat a plate of 10.  Like I did.
You know you want this.

I will see you on Thursday!  Off to cheer....maybe they will let me learn the routine;)

Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Stuffed Mushrooms
24 whole white button mushrooms
½ pound pork sausage
4 ounces cream cheese
½ cup Gourmet Rooster Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Spread
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Prep mushrooms by wiping them with a damp cloth. Pull out stems and discard. With a paring knife or spoon, make each hole a little bit bigger.

In a large skillet, brown sausage over medium high heat. Once sausage is browned, about 5 minutes, add cream cheese, salt and red pepper spread. Mix well and simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Fill each mushroom cap with sausage mixture, about 1 teaspoon each. Top each cap with Parmesan cheese and chives.

Bake at 400 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes or until tops are slightly brown and bubbly.

Makes 24.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus!

Good morning!  It’s a Farmer’s Market day….so let’s jump right in.  I’ve got stuff to do;)

Today I am going to show you how to make a favorite of mine.  You all know that veggies aren’t my thing…..but I love them when they are wrapped in bacon;)  I’d love just about anything if it is wrapped in bacon.  Especially asparagus.

A little back story here….My mom took me to Disneyland when I was 19.  Yes, I had been before, but this trip was really memorable.  Mainly because I had bacon wrapped grilled asparagus.  On a stick.  I think it was in a little booth across from the Jungle Cruise.  I didn’t know that I liked asparagus before that.  I had always stayed away from it because it is green…..and a vegetable.  But I fell in love with this.  It was smoky, salty, fresh….and again…..on a stick.  Since then, I have frequently enjoyed asparagus….especially wrapped in bacon.

Today’s little treat isn’t just bacon wrapped asparagus.  I am also going to show you how to make a Carolina Style Hollandaise sauce that is unbelievable drizzled over the tops of these guys, or served as a dipping sauce for your asparagus.   Do you know what hollandaise sauce is?  It is a thick sauce made from melted butter, lemon and egg yolks.  I jazz mine up with my smoky, sweet and tangy BBQ sauce.

This is a perfect side dish, appetizer, or even brunch dish.  You will love this.

The bacon wrapped asparagus component to this is really easy.  It really is just bacon and asparagus.

I don’t normally buy my asparagus all pretty and trimmed like in the picture above, but the asparagus sold in bunches at my store was really thin.  You need a big fat asparagus for this.  You need sturdiness to hold up to the bacon.  Plus, if you are grilling this, you don’t want it to fall through the grill.

I wrapped each piece of asparagus in ½ a slice of bacon.  You probably noticed that I have mine on a baking sheet.  Yes, I am roasting mine as opposed to grilling.  Your choice.  I didn’t feel like starting my BBQ. 

I put mine on a rack set on a baking sheet.  This way, the hot air can go all the way around the asparagus and the bottoms won’t get soggy.

I roasted mine at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  The bacon gets crispy and the asparagus gets tender.  Perfection.

If you grill yours, grill it for about 20 minutes or until the bacon looks brown and crispy and the asparagus looks ever so slightly charred.


Salty deliciousness.

Let me show you the sauce…because that sends this over the top.  Maybe the little booth across from the Jungle Cruise (does that even exist anymore?) should offer a dippin’ sauce.

I’ve shown you this sauce before…..but here it is again.  It is so good, it deserves to be posted twice.

I used butter, lemon juice, egg yolks and Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce.

I make this in a blender, which really is the easiest way to make a hollandaise sauce.  No double boilers or anything fancy-shmancy.

That is the inside of my blender.  Isn’t it an artsy shot?;)

That is the lemon juice and egg yolks.

Then the BBQ sauce.

Then, I slowly drizzled in the melted butter through the opening at the top.  You don’t get to see that because it was a two-hand job.  I needed both hand to steady the bowl that I was pouring from.  You really do want to drizzle this in slowly, while the engine is running.  This will emulsify the sauce and make it smooth and thick. 

Hollandaise sauce doesn’t need to intimidate you.  It is super easy.

Yum!  Like I said, you can serve this as an amazing appetizer…..

Watch out for double dippers!

Or you can serve it as a side dish with the sauce drizzled over….like so:

So delicious.  You must make this.  Hurry up and do it while the asparagus is still good!

Too bad mine isn’t on a stick.  I will work on that.

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

1 ½ lbs. fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed

1 lb. bacon, each slice cut in half

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Warp each piece of asparagus in a ½ slice of bacon.  Place on rack set on top of a baking sheet, making sure ends of bacon are tucked underneath.

Bake at 400 degree for 30 minutes, or until bacon is crispy and asparagus is tender.

Carolina Style Hollandaise Sauce

3 egg yolks

10 tablespoons butter, melted

The juice of one large lemon

¼ cup Gourmet Rooster Carolina Style BBQ Sauce

In a blender, blend the egg yolks and lemon juice.  Add in the BBQ sauce and blend.  Through the opening at the top, slowly drizzle in the melted butter while the motor is running.  The sauce should be thick and creamy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chicago Style Mini Corn Dog Muffins

Good morning!.....Sort of.  I guess it is almost 11am.  It feels early though.  I am on a weird schedule that I would love to get off of.  I stay up late and sleep late.  And then I feel like half the day is gone by the time I get moving, which it is.  I guess I shouldn’t complain though….the kids sleep late too.  And by late, I mean 8am…not like noon or anything.  I know we will have to fix this once school starts again, but hey, it’s summer! 

That was quite the ramble wasn’t it. 

Anyhoo, my recipe today is a great one!  It is quick and easy, and kids love it!  I am going to show you how to make Chicago Style Corn Dog Muffins.  I have told you before, I love food on sticks.  And I especially love corn dogs.  But I never quite figured out how to make my own.  Deep frying anything with the stick already in it freaks me out.  How does it not burn?  I started making my corn dogs in muffin form a few years ago.  My kids thought it was the greatest thing ever, and I did too, mainly because it is so easy.  It is essentially just hot dogs in corn muffin batter.  Once you pop them out of the muffin tin, you have your own little corn dog that you can dip in ketchup and enjoy sans sticks.

The best part about muffin corn dogs is that you can add anything you want to the batter…..things that you wouldn’t be able to add to a regular corn dog.  Sure, you can add honey to a regular corn dog or even cheese, but you can’t add pickles!  I add pickles, tomatoes, onion, celery salt and poppy seeds…..just like a Chicago Style hot dog!  Yum!

You can also make these little babies for a great party appetizer.  Corn dogs are an international crown pleaser;)

For my recipe, I use hot dogs (duh), corn muffin mix, red onion, chopped tomato, chopped pickle, extra flour (which I will explain later), sugar, eggs, milk, celery salt and poppy seeds.

I use the cheapy muffin mix, but you can use whatever you like.  You can even make the batter from scratch if you are super chef.

I used red onion, which is actually frowned upon by true Chicagoans.  Sue me.  I prefer red.

Just FYI-a Chicago style hot dog is a hot dog on a poppy seed bun with tomatoes, pickles, onion and celery salt.  It is served with mustard, never ketchup.  I will break that rule too.  That’s just me though…..I’m a rule breaker.  And a lone wolf.

I chopped my hot dogs into coins.  It’s funny that I would use that word because I actually have a fear of coins.  I bet you didn’t know that about me.  Coins freak me out and make me feel sick.  Feel free to laugh at me and discuss my weirdness.  I ALREADY KNOW!

If you are using a mini muffin tin, you will want to chop these up pretty well.  Size matters people.

I fry my hot dogs up for extra flavor.  The browness makes for extra yumminess!

In this bowl is 2 boxes of muffin batter, 2 eggs, milk, sugar and flour.  I use a little bit of sugar to sweeten my batter.  I think this makes for a tastier corn dog.  The flour is to combat the wetness of the tomatoes and pickles.  Just a little extra binder.

The brown stuff you see is celery salt.  Every Chicago Style Hot Dog worth its salt (celery) has this.

Once I stirred that together, and the batter will be lumpy, I added my chopped tomatoes, onions and pickles.  And the hot dogs, obviously.

I mixed this all up.

I scooped my batter into a mini muffin tin.  My kids like anything mini, and I like pretending I’m at a cocktail party.

I sprinkled poppy seeds over the top to mimic a poppy seed bun.

These baked for about 10 minutes.  Once they cooled a bit, I popped them out of the tray.  Remember to grease your pans!

So cute!  And they taste just like a Chicago Style hot dog….and a corn dog.

If you don’t like Chicago Style hot dogs, you could obviously just make plain corn dog muffins.  You could also add honey to the batter, or cheese, etc.  Make these your own!  What does your family like?

So good!  And so good dipped in ketchup!  Sorry Chicago.

Look at that hot dog.  I swear it is 10 times better just because I browned the hot dogs.  This step shouldn’t be skipped.

I hope you make these for your family!  Your kids will love it!  I might even send mine over.

Chicago Style Corn Dog Muffins

2 8.5 oz. packages Corn Muffin Mix

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon celery salt

5 hot dogs, chopped and browned in a sauté pan

¾ cup tomatoes, chopped

¾ cup pickles, chopped

½ cup onion, chopped

2 teaspoons poppy seeds

Cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and spray 2 mini muffin tins (24 count) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together muffin mix, eggs, milk, flour, sugar and celery salt.  Batter will be lumpy.

Next, stir in chopped pickles, tomatoes and onion.  Gently fold in hot dogs.

Scoop batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle tops with poppy seeds.

Bake at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.  Once cooled, remove from muffin tins.

Makes 48 mini muffins.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pulled Pork BBQ Enchiladas

Good morning!  I am up and at ‘em early today.  Well, early for me.  The girls have been sleeping late since they are out of school so it is hard to motivate to do anything in the morning.  Mostly, I watch Sons of Anarchy on Netflix while I wait for them to wake up.  Have you watched it?  It is an amazing show.  I can’t believe it took me this long to start watching it.  God bless the good people at Netflix.

Back to food…..My mom showed me this amazing find from Costco about a year or so ago.  I never really go to Costco for the same reasons I try not to go to Target.  I spend way too.  Also, who needs 150 yogurt cups.  I guess if I had a huge family I could see going more often, but a family of 4 probably doesn’t need to hit the Costco too often. 

Anyway, this is the amazing find….the goods, if you will;)

Have you had this?  It is pulled pork that you just have to re-heat in the microwave.  It is smoky and tender with little bits of charred pieces throughout.  You add your own sauce, so this just screamed out to me.  I happen to have access to some pretty good BBQ sauce.

I bought some last week, and I decided to try a new recipe with it.  I made Pulled Pork BBQ Enchiladas, and they were amazing.  They are the perfect meal to feed a crowd, and they also freeze like a champ.  This would be such a great meal to give to a new mom or someone else that deserves a good hearty meal.  Let me show you how I made them.

Besides the pulled pork, I also used corn, black beans, shredded cheese and red onion.

And tortillas, enchilada sauce and Gourmet Rooster Smokehouse Bacon BBQ Sauce.

I know that corn tortillas are typically used in enchiladas.  I use flour for two reasons.  The first is that I like flour tortillas better.  My kitchen, my rules;)  Second, I think that enchiladas are easier to make with flour tortillas.  They roll better.  Corn tortillas fall apart so easily and when you make enchiladas with them you have to dip the tortillas in oil and enchilada sauce just to make them pliable.  With flour, you skip those steps.  I’m all about ease.  I think that is due to my extreme laziness.  Seriously, I’m lazy.  I’m having a hard time even writing this when I could be watching Sons of Anarchy;)

I kid.  I love to write for you.

In this bowl is corn, black beans, cheese and BBQ sauce.  I used a can of corn.  If you are super fresh and natural, feel free to use fresh corn.  Again, I’m lazy.  But I did manage to rinse my beans and drain my corn.  Just barely.

Next, I added about half the package of pulled pork and mixed.  This pork smells heavenly.  You would never know that I didn’t have this outside in a smoker for 8 hours.  Well, you would know if you were in my backyard seeing as though I don’t have a smoker.  But you get my point.


I also whisked together a can of enchilada sauce and more BBQ sauce.  If I wasn’t feeding kids I would have probably gone with Smoky Chipotle BBQ sauce, but Smokehouse Bacon is an excellent choice too.

I used a 13x9 pan for these enchiladas.  I lined my pan with foil for easier clean-up.  I poured enough of my enchilada/BBQ sauce in the bottom of the pan to cover it.  Since my tortillas don’t get dipped in the sauce, I need sauce on the top and bottom to make the enchiladas nice and enchilada-ey.

Now I’m ready to roll, literally and figuratively.  I spooned filling down the side of a tortilla, probably about ¼ to ½ a cup.  You will see when I show you my full pan that I was a little aggressive on the first….it is fatter than the rest.  You will find your rhythm.

See?  Fatty on the left. 

I packed about 8 into my pan.  I came out pretty even as I only had a smidge of filling left.  I ate that to take care of that problem.

I poured the remaining sauce all over the top, making sure to cover everything.  I sprinkled cheese over that, and then red onion over the cheese.

At this point, you can cover the whole thing tightly with foil and freeze.  When you are ready to bake, just let it sit out on your counter all day to defrost.

I was ready to eat, so I baked mine right away.  I baked this, covered with foil, for 30 minutes.  Then, I removed the foil and baked an additional 20 minutes.

These smelled amazing.  I could smell the BBQ deliciousness, but also the Mexican flavors. 

Yum.  These turned out even better than I was hoping for.  They smoky BBQ sauce works so well with the pork and enchilada sauce.  This was definitely a welcome change from plain enchiladas.

Chris loved it….my kids loved it…..Of course, I loved it.  It is food after all.

For you purists, you can make this with corn tortillas, but give flour a shot.  It is easier, and I think better.  You all know where to get Gourmet Rooster BBQ sauce now, right?

Pulled Pork BBQ Enchiladas

1 pound Kirkland Smoked Pulled Pork

15 ¼ ounces corn, drained

15 ½ ounces black beans, rinsed and drained

3 cups shredded Mexican Blend Cheese, divided

2 cups Gourmet Rooster Smokehouse Bacon BBQ Sauce, divided

28 ounces Enchilada Sauce

½ cup red onion, chopped

8-10 flour tortillas

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, stir together pork, corn, black beans, 1 cup of BBQ sauce and 1 ½ cups of cheese.  Set aside.

Line a 13x9 pan with foil.  Whisk together enchilada sauce and remaining BBQ sauce.  Pour enough sauce into the bottom of the pan to completely cover.

Fill each tortilla with about ¼ cup to ½ a cup of filling and roll tightly.  Fill pan with rolled and filled tortillas.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle on remaining cheese and red onion. 

Bake enchiladas, covered with foil, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.  Let cool slightly before serving.
Makes 8-10 enchiladas