Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Recipe: Brownie Bark

I made these for yesterdays Warrior playoff game.  It was a winner, quick, easy, crisp outside edges giving you more of the "corner brownie experience" yet the center of the square was soft and chewy like the middle of a regular brownie.  I accidentally doubled the salt and since I didn't top it with  flaked salt it was salty but good. I'll back off the salt by 1/4 t. next time as indicated in my recipe but if you want to top it with flaked salt back off to 1/2 teaspoon as in the original recipe from The Chew's Carla Hall.


½ C. unsalted butter
½ C. semisweet chocolate chips
½ C. sugar
½ C. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
⅓ C. flour
¼ C. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
¾ t. Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Place 1-inch of water in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until simmering. In a medium, heatproof bowl, add butter, chocolate, sugar, dark brown sugar, and vanilla. Place on top of the simmering water and allow to melt. Stir until smooth. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Stir in egg whites.

In a medium bowl, add the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir until smooth. Pour batter onto the prepared baking sheet and spread to 1/4-inch thick. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until dry and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Break the brownie brittle into pieces and serve.

Note: Will keep in an airtight container for up to a week but believe me it won't last.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Recipes, this week: Jalapeno Fries and Spicy Coconut Chicken soup.

I normally don't deep fry things at home, too messy, time consuming, not good for me and what to do with the leftover grease, painful.  Ignoring all that I gave these a try.   I cut the recipe in half using and only used ⅓ C. flour & cornmeal since I was testing it but if your going through the effort and mess do them all. I cooked them in a small cast iron fry pan and only used about 1/4 inch of oil, enough to go half way up the jalapeño which made it a bit harder but less oil waste even though I had to add more oil as I cooked more. I also used Greek yogurt vs. sour cream since it was what I had on hand. The coating didn't stick very well which made them look a bit messy since they were naked in some spots but also homemade and it didn't effect the taste. They were not too spicy and the dip cooled them off but I think the dip needed more time to sit so that the flavors could meld. I more than likely won't make again only because they were messy and time consuming and it is not something you can do too much ahead. Original recipe came from Valerie Bertinelli's Home Cooking show.

vegetable oil for frying
10 jalapenos, seeded and cut in strips
1 head garlic, roasted
¼ C. buttermilk
¼ C. mayonnaise
2 T. Greek yogurt
Kosher salt
Coarse black pepper
Plate 1:
½ C. buttermilk
1 egg
Plate 2:
¾ C. flour
¾ C. cornmeal
½ t. paprika
¼ t. Kosher salt

Garlic: Preheat oven to 425°F. Place bulb on a piece of heavy duty foil, enough to wrap around bulb. Cut the top off of the bulb, drizzle with EVOO, salt and pepper, replace top and gather foil around bulb. Bake 35 minutes.
Dressing: Mix buttermilk, mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, salt and pepper. When garlic is done, remove garlic from paper wrapping, mash up with a sprinkle of salt then add to dressing. Refrigerate.
Jalapeños: Add oil to a deep fry pan. Heat oil to 360°F. Seed and cut into strips. Dip in buttermilk then in flour mixture. Add to hot oil, fry till golden brown. Remove to a paper lined plate to drain. Then place on a rack in a 200°F oven to keep warm until you fry them all.

Although I didn't take a picture I will the next time I make it.  This soup is a touch spicy which I loved, brothy but creamier than chicken soup because of the coconut milk.  Even though I doubled the mushrooms it was still more brothy but the bonus was that I made the stock from my rotisserie chicken bones, free be. I got the recipe from the newspapers Parade magazine, Jan 22, 2017. It was quick and since I made it the day before I needed, it made it even easier the next day.

1 T. coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 T. ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 C. (1 qt.) chicken stock
13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
2 T. Bragg's liquid amino
1 T. chile garlic sauce
1 t. sugar
1 C. rotisserie chicken
1 lime, juiced and zested
Garnish: Cilantro

Add oil to large sauce pot or fry pan with high sides. Add onion, sauté 3 minutes, add mushrooms and sauté till browned. Add ginger and garlic, sauté another minute. Add coconut milk, liquid amino (or soy sauce), chile garlic sauce and sugar. Bring to a simmer, cook 20 minutes. Add cooked chicken, heat through, 5 minutes. Stir in zest and juice of lime. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a wedge of lime. Makes 4 servings.

New Recipe Testing: Bloody Mary Salad, Spicy Coconut Chicken Soup, Jalapeno Fries

It's been awhile since I wrote up some new recipes I've been testing so here goes.  One is a hands down winner, a new family favorite.  I've made it three times since the first time, each time slightly different, discovering what I can and can't do.  Another one was spicy but comforting, quick and easy and the third, good but messy and more of something I would prefer to eat out and not very often.

The Bloody Mary Steak Salad is an explosion of flavor in your mouth. Best new salad this year even though it's only April. It was quick and easy to make. It is a total goober salad. Sometimes raw onions are overpowering so I'll pick around them but I cleaned my plate so don't be afraid. If you don't care for blue cheese stick with the ¼ cup. I used a half cup and it was good but a bit strong since blue cheese isn't a favorite. Original recipe came from the Sunday paper originally from "Mighty Salads" cookbook from Food52.com. It didn't have spinach but since I had some in the fridge I added it and it could have handled more. The next time I made it I used a head of romaine with more hot sauce, also excellent. Final test I added two heads of romaine lettuce and although good my goobers and dressing got a bit lost but for a crowd it is a good stretch but I'll stick with the spinach or only one head going forward.

½-1 lb. skirt steak
1 pint grape tomatoes
¼ red onion (½ C.), thinly sliced
2 stalks (½ C.) celery, sliced
¼ C. (6 lg.) green olives, sliced
2 T. pickled jalapeños, diced
Lettuce: 2 large handfuls spinach or 1 head romaine
¼ C. picked parsley leaves
¼-½ C. blue cheese
2 T. horseradish
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. dry sherry
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 ½ t. - 1 T. Franks hot sauce
1 T. lemon juice
¼ t. coarse black pepper
¼ t. Kosher salt
Grill steak in a grill pan or on the BBQ, 3 minutes per side. Remove. In a large glass bowl (plastic will stain) mix dressing ingredients. Slice steak across grain into thin bite size slices and add to dressing, let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Cut tomatoes in half, thinly slice onions, slice celery, olives and jalapeños. Add to bowl, stir. Pick leaves of parsley. Toss in parsley, spinach and blue cheese before you serve. Makes 2 servings.

  • Meat: Try Extra lean loin strips of beef, Beef Loin Top Sirloin, NY, your favorite tender steak, or even shrimp.
  • Add pickled green beans or asparagus, cut in thirds.
  • Add thick cut cooked bacon, chunked.

Monday, February 13, 2017

A New Area to Explore, Wine Tasting in Lodi

The rain finally left us for now so it was time to get out in the sunshine.  Saturday was a beautiful day so we started with breakfast at Bills and then it was off to Lodi for a day of wine tasting.  Now that I know I can get there in the same amount of time it takes to get to Napa we will go often.  I wasn't sure what to expect, didn't know anything about this area and flooded roads was not on my radar even though CA is drowning.  Once we made it off of the freeway and through some flooded roads we hit our first winery, Durst.  There was an event going on this weekend but we decided to just do some tasting on our own.  Lodi is what Napa use to be, more like Livermore.  The tasting we did were $5 each and free with a purchase.  The service was personable and laid back, not touristy.  This is what all wineries should be.  I understand the days of free tastings are over but when a bottle is purchased your fee should be waived and when wineries charge you over $25 what is the point of a tasting if the bottle is $50.  The wines were also reasonable, about $25 per bottle.  We ended up with 6 bottles from 3 wineries.  We only went to one winery we didn't buy a bottle.  They were OK but more pricy and not as good as the other three we went to so we didn't do a guilt purchase.

So this is the start of our review of ALL Lodi wineries.  I can't wait to continue this adventure.
  • Durst:  R4.5.  We were greeted by the wine maker who was chock full of stories, very passionate about wine making and extremely attentive.  She even said if it wasn't the event she would sit with us outside and talk to us for several hours.  We started with the whites which are normally not my favorite but the nose was scrumptious, the flavors light and crisp, not too sweet so that was purchase number one and for that we chose Sauvignon Blanc 2016 which wasn't even on the list and then we tried the reds and found another purchase, Amada Mia Red 2014 (pix from here). 
  • Bokisch:  R5:  Loved ALL the reds, purchased Gracianio and Tempranillo), the view, the server, the chairs around an unlit fire pit (only because it was so nice heat wasn't needed) and the beautiful views of the oat trees and vines.  These were Spanish grapes which I don't know a lot about but I am willing to learn.
  • Harney Lane:  R3:  We didn't purchase wines here because we didn't find a stand out when comparing them to the previously two wineries and we were now in the thick of the event so the place was very crowded so they couldn't be as personable.  Because of this we will return another day to make sure we made the right call.
  • D'Art Wines:  R4:  This was our final stop and two more bottles were purchased (Dog Day Red and Zinfandal 2012). 
UPDATE:  Visited 4 more wineries and not a looser in the bunch, some better than others, loving Lodi Wine Country.  Macchia: R4, Klinker Brick: R4, Woodbridge: R3.5, Heritage Oak: R3.5  We purchased 1-2 bottles per winery at $20-25 each.  Another successful winery trip.  The final nail will be once we try what we brought home.  Once drank the rating may go up or down.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017 Winning Superbowl recipe, Stuffed Mushroom Dip

This years winning Super Bowl 2017 recipe was the stuffed mushroom dip.  I put all the cheese in the dip vs. saving half for the topping along with panko part accident and partly because I thought the topping was additional cheese but I also didn't want it to have a hard top.  For the party I served it with fresh bread slices, today I baked the second dish and had it with baked baguette slices.  This was excellent, creamy, flavorful and cheesy.  The mushrooms were half of the Costco container and the sausage was from Sprouts Farmers market, it was a bit over the half pound at .7 lbs but that is not required since the mushrooms come across as meaty.  It is chock full of goodies.  This dip couldn't have been better.  It is a definite repeat offender. Offender because it is hard not to eat it all and my scale may be offended tomorrow.  Original recipe came from The Chew, Clinton Kelly.

I also made BBQ'ed pork (OK but dried out in the crock pot after hours), the Coney Island Chili sauce was better than my first attempt, more spicy but when people need to assemble there food it seems to not go over great.  I made it to go along with the Nacho/Tacho bar.  The Spicy Queso was a thick blob of cheese, tasted good but the texture wasn't right, way too thick and not smooth.  I wanted a pourable sauce to put on the Tachos along with the sour cream sauce, and pickled jalapenos.  I also made baked ham and cheese sandwiches, spicy pretzels, Caramelized Onion dip (an old favorite), guacamole (good but less cumin), cheeseburger muffins (better next day dipped in ketchup but otherwise I sausage balls are better, more flavor and less doughy)

Drizzle of EVOO
½ lb. Hot Italian sausage
1 lb. button mushrooms, chopped
½ onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, grated
1 T. fresh thyme, leaves pulled
4 oz. cream cheese
½ C. sour cream
2 C. Gruyère, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°F.  In a large saute pan, drizzle with oil and cook sausage until brown and cooked through.  Finely chop the mushrooms and onion.  Add to sausage, cook another 5 minutes to brown mushrooms and soften onions.  Add garlic, cook another minute.  Remove from heat, add thyme, cream cheese, sour cream and Gruyère.  Stir.  Transfer to two buttered 5x5" casserole dishes or one large.  Bake 30 minutes or cover and refrigerate till ready to bake.  Serve with baguette slices, fresh or drizzled with oil , S&P and baked in the oven till golden brown.