Monday, May 29, 2017

National Biscuit Day

Today is National Biscuit Day and this biscuit day (as opposed to National Buttermilk Biscuit Day on May 17th) refers to the British type of biscuit, a.k.a. the cookie. But since I missed the Buttermilk Biscuit Day on the 17th (and because I have way too many cookie recipes to even begin to choose, much less make a manageable collage), I’m celebrating with these four (my favorite) recipes for the American biscuit. Just click on the name beneath the delectable looking photo to take you straight to the recipe.

Seven Up Biscuits

Cream Cheese Biscuits

Angel Biscuits

Hardee's Raisin Cinnamon Biscuits

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer Barbecue in a Bowl

For me, Memorial Day always marks the official beginning of grilling season, and local weather looks favorable for doing just that. But with new construction of a covered deck and attached open area for grilling underway, firing up the grill is an impossibility. So, what's a person to do?

I thought about all of the things I love about cookouts - barbecued ribs, grilled sausages, baked beans, and deviled eggs. Then I thought about putting everything together in the crockpot to yield a complete summer barbecue in a bowl, hence the name of this flavorful dish. It's easy and versatile. Use your favorite baked beans (I like
KC Masterpiece Seasoned with Smoked Pork Baked Beans
to give me the taste of ribs), your favorite sausage, and your own special recipe for deviled eggs to use as a topper. Delicious, easy, great fun, and the taste of summer in one bowl. The family will love it!
Summer Barbecue in a Bowl

1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 24-ounce can KC Masterpiece Seasoned with Smoked Pork 
Baked Beans
1 onion, diced
3/4 cups ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup molasses
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
6 slices bacon, cooked and cut into bite-size pieces
1 pound Kielbasa or the sausage of your choice, cut into bite-size rounds

Place all of the ingredients EXCEPT the sausage into the slow cooker and stir gently to combine. Scatter slices of sausage on top, cover with lid, and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Gently stir in the kielbasa before ladling into bowls for serving. Top with a deviled egg.
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Friday, May 26, 2017

Make Your Own Tartar Sauce

I am one of those people who judge a book by its cover. If the cover doesn't appeal to me, I'm not going to buy the book. In the same way, I am put off by certain foods simply because of the name. I didn't eat yogurt until I was in my 40s because the name yogurt sounded well, quite frankly, nauseating. When I was a little girl my dad told me that chocolate mousse (the concept of mousse was totally lost on this eight-year-old) was made of ground moose horns. That did it for me. I did not eat chocolate mousse, again, until I was in my 40s. Another thing that I've managed to avoid for most of my life is tartar sauce. Come on! Tartar sauce? TARTAR??? Tartar is the stuff the dental hygienist scrapes off of your teeth! Who came up with the name tartar sauce? I mean, really! Tell me that I am not the only one who says, "Ew" at its very mention?

I’d placed an order with Omaha Steaks (as the result of a combination of insomnia and too much wine) after seeing a late-night commercial. It's not that I got a bad deal, I didn't. In fact I got a great deal, and, come grilling time, I will be ever so glad that I have a nice supply of burgers, steaks, franks, etc. I also have a box of Pub Cod because it came with the collection that I ordered. Initially I was a bit leery, but as it turned out, it's very good!

I had malt vinegar, and I used it on the cod, but then I thought it might be good with a little remoulade, or… gasp!.. tartar sauce. Egad! I honestly had no idea what went into tartar sauce, so I started looking up recipes. None of them sounded bad, and it didn't look hard at all; essentially it was mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire, and herbs. Nothing wrong with that. So, I whipped some up and used it with the fish. It was delicious! It had a clean, crisp, light, delicate taste, made particularly pleasant with the fresh dill. This would be good as a sandwich spread in addition to using with fish. Okay, I'm sold. I like tartar sauce. But it really needs a better name.
Tartar Sauce

½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
1 heaping teaspoon sweet pickle relish
1 heaping teaspoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon finely minced fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before using to meld flavors.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Buffalo Pimiento Cheese with Moore's Original Buffalo Wing Sauce

There is nothing that I like more than a new recipe for Pimiento Cheese, and last week's Post-Dispatch had a bunch of them! Do you know that I have an entire binder full of Pimiento Cheese recipes? It's hard to imagine that something so simple can be changed in so many ways that it would result in a binder of recipes, but it has. Generally, I'm a purist; I like my Pimiento Cheese with only a handful of ingredients. That's the cheese of my youth, and that's what I turn to more often than not. But, I do like to mix things up a bit, and this week decided to make Buffalo Pimiento Cheese using one of my new favorite seasonings, Moore's Buffalo Wing Sauce. Moore's has a variety of marinades and sauces, one better than the next, from Original, Zesty Garden Herb, and Teriyaki Marinades, to Spicy Habanero Wing and Hot Sauce to Creamy Buffalo Ranch, to the Original Buffalo Sauce that I used here.
I find these sauces to be incredibly versatile. I've been stirring the Buffalo Sauce into ranch dressing, drizzling it on top of slices of avocado, mixing it into remoulade, and whisking it into sour cream for topping smoked salmon and baked potatoes. The uses for this tasty sauce are endless. You're' going to want some, and you can get it here.

You must try it, along with this recipe for Pimiento Cheese.  So easy, and so deliciously good!
Buffalo Pimiento Cheese

1/2 cup Duke's Mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped
Melissa's Fire Roasted Sweet Red Bell Peppers
2 teaspoons (or more to taste) Moore's Original Buffalo Wing Sauce
2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

Whisk together mayonnaise, peppers, and wing sauce until combined. Fold in grated cheddar. Chill for at least an hour to allow flavors to meld.
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I received a complimentary sample of Moore’s Original Buffalo Sauce in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Half-Pound Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies

Many a time I have voiced my opinion on the lack of fun in the so-called "fun sized" candy bar. How much fun can you have with a tiny candy bar? Go big or go home is my motto. The same thing goes for cookies. So, when I saw this recipe for Half-Pound Chocolate Chip Cookies how could I possibly resist?

It wasn't long after I read the recipe that I decided to make them. Unfortunately, I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, lacking the chocolate to be grated and stirred into the dough. I did, however, have some frozen Snickers available, so instead of using the called for chocolate, I grated a couple of frozen Snickers. Oh my! What a fabulous difference that made. So, my recipe is an adaptation of the Half Pound Chocolate Chip Cookie from the Cookies & Cups blog with a little something extra (Viva la Difference!), that I've renamed Half-Pound Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies. Yes, go big or go home, indeed. You're going to love these. Be sure to share them with one or two friends, these are indeed half-pound cookies, and that's a lot of goodness.
Half-Pound Chocolate Chip Snickers Cookies
Slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups
1 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cold eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 frozen Snicker bars, grated (See Note)

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together at medium speed for two minutes. Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and mix until combined.

Turn the mixer to low, and slowly add the flour, mixing until just combined. Add chocolate chips and grated Snicker bars, and mix until evenly incorporated.

Using a food scale measure out the dough into six equal portions of 8 ounces each. Form the dough into balls and place 4 inches apart on your prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the bottoms are lightly browned and edges golden. Allow cookies to cool on a baking sheet for four minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: I used a good quality box grater (see below) in order to grate the Snicker bars. Make sure to use frozen bars, although it seemed to me that grating them got a little easier as they thawed a tiny bit, but you certainly don't want to try this with a Snicker that hasn't been frozen.


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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pistachio Vinaigrette

Last month, Lennie, a good friend of Jim's and mine, took me to dinner at one of my favorite places. It was something I was kind of dreading because this had always been Jim and my place. It was where we went to celebrate almost every birthday I had while we were married. (If you read this blog regularly, you know that Lennie is a widower, and our good baseball buddy who would come over a couple of times a week for dinner and to watch the game). As it turned out, despite my trepidation, it was a lovely evening; we had a delicious meal, and enjoyed each other's company. I'm glad that he took me, it was a very sweet thing to do, and now that I've broken the ice, it'll be easier to go back to my favorite place. My point in telling you all of this is that we ordered a salad as a first course, and it came dressed with pistachio vinaigrette. It was sensational! Ever since that evening I have been searching for a recipe for pistachio vinaigrette that is as good as the one we had that night.
I found a variety of them and, after a bit of experimentation, came up with what I think is the apex of pistachio vinaigrette dressings. It is wonderful on a salad of nothing more than spring lettuce. If you want to get fancy, add some very thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, paper-thin slices of red onion, and be sure to top off your salad, no matter what you do, with chopped pistachios. This is easy enough for every day, but fancy enough for company. If you can't get pistachio oil locally (an absolute must for this dressing), you can get it here. I highly recommend the purchase; it makes a world of difference. 
Pistachio Vinaigrette

4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons
pistachio oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons crushed pistachios
2 tablespoons minced chives
Salt and Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Blend together the first four ingredients. (I used a bullet blender because nothing emulsifies a salad dressing like a bullet blender.) Stir in the pistachios, chives, and salt and pepper to taste. This recipe can be doubled, tripled, quadrupled, well, you get the picture. It's delicious, so trust me you're going to want to make as much as possible.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

175 Best Superfood Blender Recipes, Reviewed

I don't know about you, but my bullet blender and I have a very close relationship. I keep telling myself that I like to keep my counter tops clean, but that doesn't apply to the bullet blender; we're as chummy as the coffee pot and me. When I had the flu, that bullet blender became my best bud, pressed into service daily to make what I referred to as my Flu-Fighting Smoothie.
Lately it's gotten a real workout, because I was given 175 Best Superfood Blender Recipes to review. If you are a fan of the bullet blender like I am, you are going to want this book. The recipes are phenomenal!
This book is way more than just smoothies, it's sauces, salsas, dips, soups, dressings, and desserts. Each recipe is made using wholesome, nutritious foods to set you on the path to optimal health.
There is even a section for kids! Now, I ask you, when have you seen a cookbook (that is not a children’s cookbook) with a section just for them? I loved this.
The first thing I made was the black bean dip, and I nearly ate the entire thing myself. I can only imagine what would've happened to me if I would have. That's a lot of beans!
As someone who gravitates more toward savory than sweet, I also enjoyed the Spicy Tomato Avocado Smoothie and Creamy Tomato Coconut Soup.
Here are a couple of recipes for you to try, and then, what the heck, just get the book. You will love everything, marvel at the speed and ease, and can pat yourself on the back for taking such great care.
One caveat is that it is bit short on photos. It does make up for this, however, with wonderful informational content.


Disclaimer: I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

One Pan 30-Minute Mushroom Alfredo

Those of you who follow me on my personal Facebook page know that, on the 13th of this month, my husband and I would have celebrated our 22nd anniversary. It was a tough day for me. Today was also a tough day for me, because I finally decided to try one of those one pan, toss everything together, pasta dishes. I couldn't imagine that this would possibly work, or if it did, be any good, but it was wonderful! And considering the late Mr. O-P used to love pasta, I thought of him with every bite, knowing that he would have not only enjoyed it as much as I did, but been equally as intrigued at how easily this came together.

I decided to use up some things in the fridge, so this recipe is based upon a number of them that I'd seen online. Once I tasted it, I completely forgot that I had also planned on throwing in a handful of fresh spinach at the end to wilt on top of the pasta, and add a few gratings of fresh nutmeg. I'll do that next time. From beginning to end, this took me no longer than 30 minutes. Imagine a pasta dish, to serve as a main, that's delicious, versatile, and can be made, start to finish, in 30 minutes or less. This is a keeper, my friends.
One Pan 30-Minute Mushroom Alfredo

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces thinly sliced cremini mushrooms
1 tablespoon finely minced fresh garlic
8 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In a 12-inch skillet (I used my square 12-inch copper chef pan), heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Toss in mushrooms, stirring until softened, then add garlic, and stir for one minute more. Add pasta, butter, chicken stock, milk, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, put the lid on the pan, and set the timer for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes are up, remove lid, sprinkle Parmesan on top of the pasta along with the chopped parsley, and toss until the cheese is melted. Serve.

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