Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankful Brussel Sprouts

I made this yummy side dish for Thanksgiving from Brussel Sprouts and Butternut squash we grew in the garden. It was a beautiful dish to make rich with color and nutrients. I was fortunate enough to have two recipes to work with as I blended them together and added my own touch (because that's what I do!).

The first recipe I saw and worked with was the one from none other than Ree The Pioneer Woman. Ree's Beautiful Brussel Sprouts were the driving force behind this beautiful dish. I loved the added spark of vibrant red she added and with pomegranate's in season I knew that my garden friends deserved this wonderfully sweet touch!

The second recipe I used to inspire me was from Life Made Sweeter, a recent addition to my blog roll. It was Kelly's sauce on her Roasted Balsamic Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts that caught my attention. It included maple syrup and I knew then that including our own home made maple syrup was the perfect was to truly celebrate Thanksgiving with love from our homestead.

I prepped my Brussel Sprouts by trimming the stems and outer leaves and then sliced them in half. To prep the squash I cut the ends off, carefully peeled it, cut it in half, removed seeds and guts, then cut it into cubes. I roughly chopped a red onion, tossed it all together in a baking dish, tossed with olive oil salt and pepper, and put it in the oven with the turkey. 

While it cooked I deconstructed the pomegranate and then mixed my sauce. For the sauce I mixed generous amounts of maple syrup, healthy dashes of pomegranate juice (Pom is the brand I used), a couple of squeezes of balsamic glaze, some herbs and spices, salt and pepper, and a  squeak of olive oil. When the squash was soft and I could smell the sprouts it came out of the oven to cool just a bit. I tossed it with about 1/4 cup dried cranberries and about 1/2 of the pomegranate seeds. I drizzled the sauce over the top and tossed to combine.

This was one of the best Thanksgiving sides I have ever made. Thank you for the inspiration!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Taco Hand Pies

This recipe is from Lemons for Lulu and it was a lovely way to switch up our usual Taco Tuesday. It uses pie crust, which next time I might roll thinner or maybe even some puff pastry sheets instead. The kids loved them and they were perfect in their lunchboxes the next day.

  • 1 box refrigerated pie dough (14.1 oz)
  • ¾ lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¾ teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ¾ teaspoon cumin

  • ½ cup black beans

  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • ½ teaspoon water

  • Instructions
    1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef, stir to crumble. Add salt, chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin; stir. Continue to cook until beef is no longer pink and seasoning has been incorporated. This should take 8-10 minutes. The beef mixture should thicken as it cooks. Stir in black beans, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
    2. Preheat oven to 425. Sprinkle flour over a work surface. Roll out one sheet of dough. Cut dough into circles using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary. Repeat with remaining sheet of dough.
    3. Arrange half of the circles on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place a tablespoon of meat mixture on the dough circles, top with roughly a half teaspoon of cheese. Place the other circle halves over the meat and cheese mixture. Pinch edges together with the tines of a fork Combine egg and water in a bowl. Brush egg wash over the top of each hand pie. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes or jut until golden. Remove from oven and let hand pies cool slightly before serving. Serve with your favorite taco fixings on the side.
    4. Store hand pies in the refrigerator in an air-tight container or a zip-top bag.

    Scotch Eggs

    Once upon a time there was a pig named Notorious P.I.G. Piggy Smalls. 
    true story...

    ... and let me tell you, he earned his name! But that's a story for my other blog. Anyway, he provided us with some yummy meat. The last of the meat is about to be made into Scotch Eggs this weekend.

    The first thing you need to do to make Scotch Eggs is to make some sausage. There's plenty of recipes out there for making sausage, and though I wish I could put my hands on the recipe for Hinderers sausage, we rely on the good old Joy of Cooking for our recipe. 

    Truly, the Joy of Cooking is all Shane uses for this recipe. It is the golden standard. 
    Here's a picture of the recipe from the book. If you don't own a copy please go get one now. 
    In the mean time, you can see the pictures to guide you through. 

     Using barely hardened eggs (an art I will never seem to master)

    take a lump of sausage and form it into a patty in your hand. 

     then carefully, oh so carefully, surround it entirely with sausage.

     See this amazing toasted brown round bundle of goodness?

    Just look what happens if you are as talented in making these as SP is. 

    HEAVEN ON EARTH! Happy breakfast!

    Coconut Curried French Lentil Soup

    Coconut Curried French Lentil Soup {Vegan} | Vanilla And Bean

    Coconut Curried French Lentil Soup
    • 2 Tbs Coconut Oil
    • 3 Cloves of Garlic, minced, about 1½ Tbs
    • 1 Yellow Onion, small dice, about 1 C
    • 1½ tsp Cumin, ground
    • 1 tsp Curry Powder (I use hot madras)
    • 1 tsp Thyme, dried
    • ½ tsp Cinnamon, ground
    • 6 C Vegetable Broth
    • 1½ C French Green Lentils (aka Lentiles du Puy), picked through and rinsed
    • 2 Bay Leaves
    • 1 Can of Coconut Milk (14 oz) with 2 Tbs reserved for drizzling
    • ½ tsp Sea Salt
    • ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
    • 2 Sprigs of Fresh Cilantro, chopped, for garnish (optional)
    • 4 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme, for garnish

    How To Make All Butter Buttermilk Pie Dough

    All Butter Buttermilk Pie Dough and tutorial for rolling out dough and blind (par) baking a crust | Vanilla And Bean

    From Vanilla and Bean
    How To Make All Butter Buttermilk Pie Dough
    • Pan Spray
    For One Disk (11-12 oz):
    • ½ C (113g) Unsalted Butter, refrigerated*
    • 3 Tbs Milk
    • 1½ tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 1¼ C (190g) All Purpose Flour
    • 1 Tbs Granulated Sugar
    • ½ tsp Sea Salt
    For Two Discs (11-12 oz)
    • 1 C (226g) Unsalted Butter, refrigerated*
    • 6 Tbs Milk
    • 3 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
    • 2½ C (380g) All Purpose Flour
    • 2 Tbs Granulated Sugar
    • 1 tsp Sea Salt

    Thursday, November 19, 2015


    Shumai are open-topped dumpling,s stuffed with tasty ground meat and vegetable filling, then steamed. Tonight I will be making these with the first batch  of our own ground pork. I will likely close them and give them a quick pan sear for a seal and extra flavor before steaming. 

    1 pound ground chicken (or pork)
    1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
    1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrot
    2 Thai chilis, minced
    2 Tablespoons chopped basil
    2 Tablespoons Asian fish sauce
    2 Tablespoons sugar
    2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 large egg beaten
    1 small shallot, minced
    1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    40 wonton wrappers
    Green leaf lettuce leaves for steaming
    special equipment: bamboo steamers
    Soy sauce and Sriracha chili sauce, for serving


    1. In large bowl, combine the ground chicken with the coconut milk, carrot, chiles, basil, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Using your hands mixed thoroughly.

    2. Follow the directions on the wrappers, create your shumai dumplings in the wonton wrappers. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling. 

    3. Fill a wok or a very large skillet with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil.

    4. Line a double tiered bamboo steamer with lettuce leaves and arrange the shumai in the steamer without crowding.

    5. Cover and steam over moderate heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

    6. Repeat with the remaining shumai. You may also choose to pan fry them for extra crisp after the steam or even skip the steam all together. Yummy versatile and great for the whole family!

    Serve immediately with the sauces.

    Shu Mai

    It looks like this recipe MAY have originated from a Food and Wine magazine. I found a nearly identical recipe here: Chicken and Coconut Shumai

    Chicken Pot Pie Soup

    • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed, I used 2 chicken breast & boiled them
    • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
    • 3 tablespoon butter
    • 2-3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 4 celery ribs, diced
    • 1 x 10 ounce bag frozen peas
    • 3 carrots or 12 mini carrots, chopped
    • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream or ½ & ½
    • 4 cups water
    • 2 ½ tablespoons chicken base
    • 4 teaspoons Montreal Steak seasoning
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    a large pot of water to a boil, once water is boiling add in potatoes
    and cook until tender. Strain potatoes from pot and set them aside in a

    In a large pot, over medium to high heat add butter, once butter has
    started to melt add in carrots, cook for 1-2 minutes, then add in onion
    and celery, season vegetables with 2 teaspoons of Montreal Steak
    seasoning. Cook until onions are translucent. Add in water and chicken
    base, bring is a boil. Let it cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
    In a water bottle or cup with lid add ½ cup of ½ & ½ with the flour,
    shake vigorously. Add in the remainder of the milk to the pot and then
    add in flour mixture. Add in frozen peas, potatoes and cubed chicken,
    season with salt and pepper and add an additional 1-2 teaspoons of
    Montrell Steak seasoning. Let it simmer 30 minutes, until the soup
    starts to thicken.
    Remove from heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to cool, then serve.

    Chicken Pot Pie Soup'


    Tuesday, November 17, 2015

    Grilled Mexican Street Corn

    This recipe is ripped straight out of a Hannaford Express this summer. This corn recipe is hands down one of my all time favorites.

    Cuban Stromboli from Wine and Glue


    This recipe from Wine and Glue was an excellent find this week. 
    It was quick and easy and oh so kid friendly. 
    I went liberal on the first batch I made and discovered that it could have used more kick to it. So I made it a second time last night and nailed it. 
    That's what the above picture is from. Yummy stuff folks that we highly recommend!

    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1/2 lb. Spicy Italian Sausage (I used Jennie-O)
    • 1 (13.8 oz) tube refrigerated pizza dough
    • 7 slices swiss cheese
    • 6 slices black forest ham
    • 8 sandwich style dill pickles
    • 2 TBSPs mustard
    • 1 TBSP mustard
    • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a cast iron skillet, preheat your olive oil and then cook your Spicy Italian Sausage until completely cooked through, crumbling it as you cook.
    3. On a silicon mat lined baking sheet, spread out your refrigerated pizza dough until it is about 14 by 12 inches.
    4. Spread out your swiss cheese, spread the mustard over it, layer it with the slices of ham, the pickle slices and the cooked sausage.
    5. Carefully roll up the dough, starting with the long end, and then place it seam side down and pinch both ends closed.
    6. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle with the garlic salt.
    7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing

    Leek and Caramelized Fennel Dip

    This dip was a yummy thing to do with freshly harvested garden leeks. It was a pleasure to make on a crisp Saturday afternoon, filling my house with the decadent scents of caramelized fennel.

    I found this recipe on the blog A Cozy Kitchen and it is my hope that I get Adrianna's new book A Year of Cozy for Christmas!

    As I assembled it I had a moment of pause teetering on regret.
    This LOOKS like pate - it's not going to taste like fois gras?

    It turned out just find despite my hesitation. It heated up very nicely, but next time I might top it with a more melty cheese than the shredded pizza mozzarella I used. It just never got as bubbly as I wanted.

    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 fennel bulbs (1 1/2 lbs), *thinly sliced with a few fronds reserved as garnish
    • 1 leek, thinly sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 7 ounces brie cheese, room temperature and removed from the rind
    • 2 ounces (about 1/2 cup) shredded Parmesan-Reggiano
    • Zest from 1 small lemon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) shredded mozzarella
    • Bread or crackers, for serving
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium skillet, set over medium heat, add the oil. When hot, add the fennel and sear on both sides, for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. You may need to do this in batches depending on how big your skillet is. See note below for slicing the root end off each slice. After you’re done with the fennel, transfer it to a food processor.
    2. In the same medium skillet, add a teaspoon of olive oil, if needed. Add the leeks and cook, mixing often, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the leek mixture to the food processor, along with the brie cheese, Parmesan-Reggiano, lemon zest, salt and crushed red pepper. Pulse until mostly smooth, about 30 seconds. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to your liking.
    3. Transfer to a small oven-safe baking dish or bowl. Top with the shredded mozzarella and place in the oven until the cheese is melted and browned on top, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with slices of bread or crackers.

    Serve with slices of baguette and a knife and Voila! Perfection!