Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil

August 5, 2014

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It’s getting to be that time of year where the folks with gardens are looking around and trying to figure out what in the world they are going to do with all the zucchini they have on hand. That’s right, we’re getting well into zucchini overload time. And if you’re one of those folks searching for fabulous zucchini recipes, some tasty options include zucchini bread, stuffed zucchini, zucchini fritters, Zucchini Parmesan and Cheesy Bacon Zucchini Casserole (the last two being particular favourites of mine). But I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got the one zucchini recipe you simply must make tonight!  The husband and I have found a new obsession with this Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil.

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Oh my stars! I mean I like zucchini. I am a fan. But it is a vegetable. And although veggies can be quite tasty, especially fresh right out of the garden like they are now, they are still vegetables. They aren’t say…cookies or cupcakes. I don’t really get obsessed with vegetables. That was until I took one bite of this spectacular summer side dish. Stopped me right in my tracks. It is just so savoury, so rich and creamy. The zucchini practically melts in your mouth – but don’t take that to mean it is mushy. I hate mushy vegetables. The grated zucchini here is almost like a puree. I am addicted!

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I’ve made this dish using all zucchini and I have made it using 1/2 zucchini and 1/2 yellow squash – because that just happened to be what I had on hand. Unbelievably tasty every time (and there have been quite a few). I’ve served it with all sorts of grilled meats at this point and without fail it stole the show. It is very easy to prepare. You can even whip it up ahead of time and just reheat when supper time rolls around. So, if you find yourself with a few zucchini on hand…no wait….what I mean to say is – go get yourself a bunch of zucchini. Now! The backyard gardener around the corner from you will be relieved to find a good home for their excess. Treat yourself to this Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil tonight!

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Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients:

  •  1-3/4 pounds zucchini (preferably smaller zucchini, as they are less watery)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

Directions:

Grate the zucchini by hand with a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk ( the food processor choice is certainly my lazy self’s preference). Wrap the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess water as possible. Repeat a few times, replacing the towel if necessary.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shredded zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is tender, about 6 minutes. Turn the heat down to low; add the heavy cream, salt, pepper and basil and simmer until the cream is absorbed. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Creamed Zucchini with Garlic & Basil brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Malted & Salted Buttered Popcorn Cookies

August 1, 2014

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Malted & Salted Buttered Popcorn Cookies! Were so many delicious words ever strung together? I mean you just know these cookies have got it all going on. I love anything malted, salted tells me I’ll get my sweet/salty fix, and buttered popcorn? I can barely contain myself! And my reaction to the words “buttered popcorn” doesn’t even register next to the husband’s. Oh my Lordy in heaven! He loves him some popcorn. I am not kidding you that our popcorn popper is in high use nearly every night. In all honesty, he wants popcorn about 4 -5 times a week. Well, let me re-phrase that…he eats popcorn 4-5 nights a week. I think he wants popcorn every single day of the year! So you can just imagine the fabulous wife points I got when I sashayed on out of the kitchen and sidled up next to him with a plate full of these stunners in my hands! And it’s not just the idea of them that is good. You know how sometimes you get an idea of a flavour combination that you think will be killer but when you actually make it, it kind of falls short? Not happening here. These cookies are really quite remarkable and unique. Each bite delivers a crispy crunch as well as a malted chewy chocolatey blast. And when you a get a bite that just happens to have that little extra buttery surprize popcorn piece, well it’s nothing short of sheer bliss!

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I initially came across this recipe in one of my all time favourite cookbooks, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman. I had taken note and was planning on baking up a batch of those cookies. But Deb hadn’t added malted milk balls to her version. Then I saw that enhancement to the Smitten recipe over at Sift and Whisk. I really love malted milk balls so their addition certainly made it a winner for me. The only problem I had with the Sift and Whisk version was that it called for using microwave popcorn. Uh-ohh! That was a deal breaker. I really do not like microwave popcorn and as much as the husband loves popcorn, even he would turn his nose up at the microwave variety. Call us crazy. Whatever…There really is a big taste difference between microwave and stove top corn, so much so that we sort of consider it a different animal altogether. I know microwave popcorn is supposedly easy. But really…how hard is it to pop up some corn with a glug of good old oil right on top of your stove? We actually have a Whirley-pop stove top popcorn popper that has a hand-crank on top to allow you to stir the corn kernels while they pop. Yup, if you stop by and wander into my kitchen, I’m pretty sure you’ll see it in permanent residency on my stove top. (remember…the husband is popping corn about 5x a week). But if you don’t have that level of specialty popping equipment, don’t despair. Just grab any old big pot with a lid, and shake it a bit while the kernels are popping. It is so much tastier than that old microwave stuff. And don’t even think to ask my husband about the differences in popping oil, you know olive oil vs. coconut oil vs. peanut oil, unless you’ve got awhile because he can go on and on about it. Consider yourself warned…But anyway, back to these Malted & Salted Buttered Popcorn Cookies.

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Bottom line is that you’ve just got to make them. I can honestly say, it is one of the few cookies I’ve ever seen my husband eat more than two of at a sitting. Remember, he likes those fruit desserts and couldn’t really care less about chocolate (shock, horror). But he came back to the cookie jar several times the evening these babies showed up. Actions speak louder than words so that should tell you something!

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Malted & Salted Buttered Popcorn Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: sift and whisk &  The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup (45 grams) popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter, melted
  • 1¼ cup (155 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (109 grams) light brown sugar, packed
  • ⅓ cup (65 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (100 grams) roughly chopped malted milk balls
  • coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make popcorn. Pour the oil over the bottom of a large dutch oven that has a lid or a Whirley-pop stove top popcorn popper. Add the popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and heat it over medium- high heat. Once you hear the kernels beginning to pop, keep agitating or stirring the pan until you no longer hear the popping noise. Pour the melted butter over the popped corn and then sprinkle with the salt. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl and separate out any unpopped or partially popped kernels. You should have about 4 -4 1/2 cups of popped corn.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add egg and vanilla. Beat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute, until egg is totally mixed in. With the mixer on the lowest speed, gradually add flour mixture, and stop mixing when there is still a little flour visible.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Fold the buttered popcorn into the dough taking care not to crush the popcorn completely. When popcorn is almost evenly distributed, add chopped malted milk balls (even the dust!), and fold into the dough.

Using a medium-sized cookie scoop, scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing each dough ball at least 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of each dough ball with coarse sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges turn light brown.

Allow to cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The cookies will deflate a little once they come out of the oven, and will end up thin, with crispy edges and chewy centers.

Enjoy!

Malted & Salted Buttered Popcorn Cookies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 


Festy Besty Boozy S’mores Fudge

July 28, 2014

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Woo wee! Would ya’ll just take a look at this fabulous S’mores Fudge I just whipped up!  Yup, what you’re seeing there is a rich decadent creamy chocolate fudge, surrounding fluffy mini marshmallows, all sandwiched between a buttery graham cracker crust. And you did read that title right…there’s booze in it! Marshmallow Vodka booze to be exact, which goes along just perfectly with the whole s’mores vibe. (Though I suspect Bourbon would be a good choice as well.) Why is it that I’m always reaching for that bottle of booze to give recipes that little something extra? Wait…don’t answer that. :)

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Anyhoo… This fudge was super easy to make and only required me to have the stove top on for 5 minutes and there was nary a bit of oven time need at all. As I’ve mentioned in past blogs, heating up the kitchen one fraction of a degree during these hot swampy Virginia summers is really frowned upon. So no-bake desserts are very popular around here right now. The only thing you might be left wondering at this point is what is the meaning of that “Festy Besty” bit in my recipe title. Well let me explain and also take a moment to plea for a favour.

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The Festy is this phenomenal 3 day camping music festival which takes place the 2nd weekend in October on the beautiful grounds of the Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson Country Virginia (about 45 minutes away from Charlottesville). This event is the brain child of  The Infamous Stringdusters. The Stringdusters are a pop bluegrass, progressive bluegrass or newgrass band – take your pick of descriptors there. Basically  these incredibly talented musicians are schooled in traditional bluegrass which they are able to combine seamlessly with the improvisational skills and blistering solos of a consummate jam band. To hear a recording of them is delightful but let me tell you, seeing their enthusiastic and passionate performance live is a unforgetable experience to say the least! Every year, The Stringdusters hand-pick the line up of bands which will perform at the Festy in an attempt to display a wide range of musical genres, not just bluegrass. Yeah…you heard me. A music festival… held on the grounds of a brewery! And you don’t have to worry about driving anywhere after a full day of listening to a lineup of smoking hot bands, eating tasty grub and washing it all down with cold refreshing Devils Backbone brews. Nope cause you’ve got a tent pitched only a small bit away from the stages. Brilliant!  (And even more brilliant if you leave all that tent pitching work to the Show Sherpa. Sooooo worth it!) The husband and I went last year for the first time and that is all it took. We were hooked and have vowed not to miss any of the future Festys come what may! (I think there is supposed to be a vow which specifies something about hell and high water here…)

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it our not, but the husband and I are both musicians. I play mandolin and he plays pretty much anything with strings, but most recently has been seen with a banjo over his shoulder.

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We love to play bluegrass tunes as well as some Old Time and Americana songs. So we are really looking forward to the Festy this year because in addition to hearing all those great acts over the weekend, there are many impromptu jam sessions taking place back at the camp sites and everyone gets to join in. That is where this Festy Fudge comes in.

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When we are ready to take a break from picking, I will be ready to offer everyone some of that delicious Festy Besty S’mores Fudge. It will be just perfect, enough sugar to keep you going, a little booze to keep you loose and the wonderful campy S’mores vibe to boot. I mean what is camping without s’mores? And these little gems are coated with a graham cracker crust which will keep the melted chocolate off of your fingertips, and hopefully off of your strings, when the snacking is done and the playing resumes.

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The husband and I will definitely be in attendance at Festy 5 come this October. In fact, I even entered a photo contest which the Festy Experience is hosting. And I’m a finalist!!! Here is what I hope will be the winning pic:

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The winner gets free weekend camping and back stage passes. Oh my goodness! We would so love to win this. And this is where that favour I mentioned come into play. I’m going to have to ask you for some help. You see the winning photo will be chosen from the photo that gets the most votes. So….Please…pretty, pretty please with S’mores Fudge on top, please take a couple of minutes and cast a vote for our picture at this link: http://thefesty.com/festybesty-finalists-cast-vote-winner/ The deadline for voting is Sunday August 3rd, and thus far, I don’t really have a lot of votes compared to some. Help a girl out ya’ll! But regardless, even if you don’t do the “vote for people” thing, you should check out the Festy. Tickets are on sale and the lineup looks incredible. You don’t want to miss the raging good times to be had by all! If you are a bit too far away to take part in the Festy, make some of this stunning S’mores Fudge to console yourself. You won’t regret it and keep your fingers crossed for us to win!

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  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe slightly adapted (I added the booze bit – go figure!) from: On Sugar Mountain

Ingredients: 

For the Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons melted butter

For the fudge:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar of marshmallow fluff
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 -4 Tablespoons Marshmallow Vodka  (some folks would say this is optional. I don’t think so, but do as you will…)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

Directions:

Prepare the graham cracker crust. Line one 9 X 9″ square pan with aluminum foil. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Press half of the graham cracker mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set the remaining graham cracker mixture aside for the moment.

Make the Fudge. Add the sugars, butter, heavy cream and salt into a medium-sized , deep pot and bring to a boil Boil for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and using and electric mixer, beat in the marshmallow fluff. Next add the chocolate chips to the mixture and beat until the all of the chocolate has melted and the fudge is smooth. Add the Marshmallow Vodka to the mixture and continue to beat until combined.

Pour half of the fudge over the prepared graham cracker crust in the 9 X 9″ pan. Top with the mini marshmallows. Cover the mini marshmallow layer with the remaining chocolate fudge and smooth the top. Cover the top of the fudge with the remaining graham cracker mixture and press down gently. Cover the pan and place it into the refrigerator to set for at least four hours. Cut into squares and serve.

Enjoy!

Boozy S’mores Fudge Brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


Carne Asada Tacos

July 25, 2014

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Taco Time! And not just any old tacos, but mouth-wateringly delicious Steak Carne Asada Tacos. These were some of the best steak tacos I’ve ever eaten. And I swear, I’m not just saying that. The meat, which had been marinated overnight, and grilled to perfection thanks to the mad grilling skills of the husband, was very flavourful and truly tender. It practically melted in your mouth. And the toppings…Oh the toppings!

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There was the usual mexican cheese blend and sour cream to be sure, and I had just made up a batch of that stunning Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salsa that I told you about a couple of days ago. And although tasty perched on top of tortilla chips, that salsa really shone on top of these spicy tacos. And then I really turned up the heat by adding a bit of that Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema that I told you about a week or so ago. That was nothing short of spectacular! My taste buds were singing, let me tell you! Yup, exactly like I said…Best. Tacos. Ever.

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Carne Asada means grilled meat and traditionally steak is the meat of choice, usually a flank steak or skirt steak to be specific. Personally I love flat iron steaks and lucky for me (and the folks I was serving) flat iron was on sale at my local grocery store. So if you are making these tacos, or should I say, when you are making these tacos, once you have managed to choose the steak, the next step is to marinate it. I believe allowing the meat to sit overnight really gives that tangy marinade time to work its magic, but I suppose if you are really pressed you could call it quits after about 4 hours. And if you are not a fan of tacos, which I can’t imagine. I mean…what are you like?!!!  Everybody like tacos!

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This marinade will yield up a wonderfully flavourful steak that you can eat all on its own, cut up into chunks for skewers,  or slice thinly over a fresh green salad. Bottom line is, whatever you do, grill up some of this unbelievable Carne Asada Steak. You’ll be glad you did!

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Carne Asada Tacos

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe for marinade from: Plentytude

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, minced
  • Juice of 3 limes and 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • A few turns of freshly cracked black pepper
  • a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 2 – 2 1/2 lbs. flat iron or flank steak
  • 12 taco sized (the smaller ones) flour or corn tortillas
  • taco toppings like: shredded Mexican Cheese, crumbled cotija cheese, zesty black bean & grilled corn salsa, fresh salsa, guacamole, Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema, fresh diced tomatoes, sour cream, fresh cilantro

Directions:

Combine garlic, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Cover another bowl with a gallon-size plastic zip bag, and roll down the sides to cover the zipper area. Place steak in bag and pour marinade on top of steak. Close the bag securely, pressing out excess air, and massage the marinade thoroughly into the steak. Leave the bag in the refrigerator overnight.

Heat up a grill. Season each piece of meat with a few turns of freshly cracked sea salt and black pepper, and grill to desired doneness. Remove steak from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice steak across the grain into thin slices and serve with tortillas and taco toppers of your choice.

Enjoy!

Carne Asada Tacos brought to you by:  Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 


Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad

July 22, 2014

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I’ve got a great Summer Salad recipe for you today. Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad is just the perfect dish to enjoy on those hot and steamy days. Served cold it is wonderfully refreshing, and just bursting with fresh summer flavours. Not to mention, this baby has got a bit of a kick to it! With all of those jalapenos, cayenne peppers and red pepper flakes, your taste buds will sit up a take notice! Now I prefer to grill up some corn to use in this recipe. I know it is a bit of extra work, but it is so worth it. Corn is in season right now and there is an abundance of it at all of the local markets. Lovely fresh corn, spiced up with a marinade and fired over a grill just puts that frozen or canned corn to shame!

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This dish is very versatile and works great as a side salad, is very tasty over some greens as a Meatless Monday entrée or makes a delicious salsa served with tortilla chips. I most recently served it along with some Carne Asada Tacos (recipe soon to follow – stand by) and folks went wild! Definitely add this little gem to your summer recipe book of tricks!

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Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad

recipe slightly adapted from: Bowl of Delicious

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups of fresh grilled corn (scroll down for recipe)
  • 1 -2 jalapenos, diced fine
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 avocados, diced

Directions:

Prepare Spicy Grilled Corn as per the recipe below.

Whisk together olive oil, honey, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, red pepper flakes  and cayenne pepper in a large bowl.

Add black beans, grilled corn, jalapenos, red pepper cilantro and avocados to bowl. Toss gently to coat with dressing.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.

For the Spicy Grilled Corn:

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 ears of fresh corn in husk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp chili powder

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt, brown sugar and chili powder in small bowl and whisk together.
Preheat grill.
Peel back the corn husks, discarding all but a couple inner layers. Remove corn silk, then baste with dressing, and recover corn with remaining husk.
Grill on med-high for 20-25 minutes, turning 3-4 times during cooking time.
Remove the corn from grill and allow to cool a few minutes. Once it has cooled enough to handle, cut off stem end, place the flat cut end on bottom of large bowl, and use a corn zipper to strip the kernels from the cob. Or if you don’t have a zipper, run a small sharp knife down the length of the cob, slicing off kernels.

Enjoy!

Zesty Black Bean & Grilled Corn Salad brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 

 


Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

July 18, 2014

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Summer grilling weather is happening as we speak. Temperatures have certainly soared to a level at which the thought of turning on the stove top, or heaven forbid the oven is ludicrous. Yup…I say don’t do a thing that would encourage that mercury to climb one fraction of an inch higher inside your house. Come supper time, send the husband out into the wilds of the backyard to grill up some meat. A favourite summer grilled entree around here is the humble yet very tasty hot dog. No fuss, no muss! And how in the world could a hot dog get any better? Well there is that bit where you can add some chili and cheese to arrive at the Chili Cheese Dog. Those are pretty special, but I think I’ve found something to add that might even surpass them. Are you ready for it? Wrap them in Bacon!

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Everything is better with bacon and hot dogs are no exception to that rule. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner, but I am so glad that I finally got around to it. The addition of a little strip of bacon makes those dogs seem so much fancier.

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And when you throw in some home-baked Buttery Hot Dog Buns (so much for keeping the oven off :) ) and a delicious condiment like this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema, the simple grilled dog has gone completely over the top…soaring to – dare I say it – gourmet heights! Now I knew that bacon wrapped hot dogs would be fantastic. And I must say, these Buttery Buns are perfection – rich, tender and soft, yet tough enough to stand up to not only a bacon wrapped dog but also all of the toppings you can heap on as well.

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But the big surprize was this Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema. I am completely head over heels in love with it. It hits your taste buds with a wonderfully fresh and spicy zing which is quickly followed with a smooth, cooling creaminess. I’m a bit out of control, putting it on everything. I just can’t get enough. I’ve probably whipped up my 4th batch at this point. Now I will warn you, it is spicy! So for those of you with tender tongues, go easy. You have been warned. But for those of you out there like the husband and myself, get ready for a new addiction. So what are you waiting for? Get that grill fired up and make some of these Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema today.

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Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns

  • Servings: 5-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

sources: Jalapeno/CilantroCrema sauce inspired by: Milk & Honey , Buttery Hot Dog Buns from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 10 hot dogs (your choice – but I love Hebrew Nationals or Nathans)
  • 10 strips of bacon (not thick cut)
  • 10 Homemade Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe below-or just use store-bought ones if your oven is entirely off-limits!)
  • Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe below)
  • Additional toppings such as: cheese, chopped white onion, mustard, ketchup, coleslaw

Directions:

Bake Buttery Hot Dog Buns (recipe will follow) and set aside to cool.

Prepare Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema (recipe will follow). Pour into squeeze bottle and place in fridge to cool.

Wrap each hot dog with a strip of bacon. You can secure each bacon end into the hot dog with a toothpick if you wish, but I didn’t and the bacon stayed put!  Cook each hot dog on a grill over a medium to low heat. Do not try to turn your dog too soon or the bacon will be more likely to stick to the grill. Gently rotate each bacon wrapped hot dog as they cook so that all sides can be cooked evenly. Remove from the grill when the bacon becomes crispy. 

To get those nice grill marks on your hot dog buns: Brush each side of hot dog rolls with melted butter and place on the grill for 15 -20 seconds before flipping to other side. Set aside and keep warm.

When ready to eat, grab a warm home-made bun, place a bacon wrapped dog in it, squeeze some of that delicious Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema over it and add whatever other toppings you desire!

For the Buttery Hot Dog Buns:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (361 grams) King Arthur Unbleached Flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 tablespoons (35 grams) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (28 grams) nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup (46 grams) potato flour or 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) soft unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (227 grams) lukewarm water

Directions:

Combine all of the ingredients, mixing then kneading to make a smooth dough. Let the dough rise, covered, until nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Lightly grease a New England-style hotdog bun pan. (if you don’t have a hot dog pan – see below)

Gently deflate the dough, and stretch it until it’s about 15″ long and 6″ wide. Place the dough into the pan, stretching it to the edges.

Let the dough rise for 45 to 60 minutes, until it comes to within 1/2″ of the top of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease a baking sheet, and place it on top of the risen buns.

Put the covered buns into the oven, weighing the baking sheet down with something heavy and oven-safe; a cast-iron skillet works well.

Bake the buns for 18 minutes, remove the weighted baking sheet, and bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer, if necessary, to brown the buns.

Remove the pan from the oven, and cool the buns in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn them out onto a rack, rounded side up, to cool completely.

Slice each bun down the middle vertically, without cutting through the bottom; then cut between the buns to separate them.

No Hot Dog Pan Option: To make regular (not New England-style) hotdog buns without a pan, divide the dough into 10 equal pieces and form each piece into a cylinder 6″ in length. Transfer buns to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the buns slightly (dough rises more in the center, so this will give them gently rounded tops), then allow to rise for 90 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

For the Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup store-bought pickled sliced jalapenos
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeno brine
  • 1/2 cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 of a small white onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons sour cream
  • salt to taste

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached.

Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs with Jalapeno/Cilantro Crema on Buttery Buns brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 


Caprese Quinoa Bake

July 15, 2014

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Swampy summer is in full swing here in Virginia. Some folks were talking about a polar vortex showing up to cool things off a bit, but it must have taken a detour because it definitely has not whirled itself anywhere near here yet! It is Oppressive out there! I think my friend’s little girl described it best when she stepped outside and said “Feels like dog breath in my face.” Yup. That is pretty much it. So big heavy meals aren’t particularly appealing to me now. Light and fresh is what is called for and I think I’ve found just the thing. This Caprese Quinoa Bake with its roasted cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar drizzle practically screams summer. The good things about summer that is…not the dog breath things. I must admit, I’m a new comer to Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). Sure I’ve seen it around and heard folks raving about it and could see it was quite the fad. But I was afraid it might be like kale (I. Hate. Kale.). You know, supposedly really good for you,but something you had to literally had to choke down, like cod liver oil. I avoided it and figured if I waited long enough, it would disappear from the group consciousness. But feeling a bit adventurous one day and desperately trying to find a new recipe for Meatless Monday, I decided to give it a go and I was quite pleasantly surprized by its fluffy texture and light and nutty taste. I really like it. Like I might like it more than rice. And come to find out, it not only tastes great but it is also really good for you. It has been grown in the Andes region as far back as 3,000 – 4,000 years ago. Technically it is not a grain, but a seed and is a closely related to spinach. This super food is gluten-free and protein packed, high in fiber, phosphorus and magnesium, a good source of calcium and has high levels of antioxidants and omega 3’s. Yay Quinoa! It is very easy to prepare and quite adaptable to a variety of dishes (quite a few more of which will be showing up here soon…what can I say? I’m smitten!) One thing you do want to remember is to rinse it before cooking. Quinoa naturally has a bitter coating on it. Most brands you purchase in the stores claim to be pre-washed, but just to be sure, place it in a fine mesh strainer and give it a 30 second shower before cooking.

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I can tell you not only will this dish be in high rotation this summer, but with all of it’s sweet, savoury fresh flavours, I think it will make it into the cooler months as well. It was a very satisfying meatless Monday main dish, would be equally brilliant as a side dish or if you found yourself catering for some serious carnivores it would also be quite tasty with the addition of some italian sausage or pancetta. (You definitely want to stay on the good side of those carnivores in my opinion. And it’s a bad idea to let them go hungry!) So don’t fear the Quinoa, embrace it. I’ve totally drank the kool aid and I’m not looking back!

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Caprese Quinoa Bake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Domesticate Me

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups petite Roma or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 small shallots, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup packed basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 cup of grated cheese)
  • 8 ounces fresh part-skim mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4–inch rounds
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Ingredients:

Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
In a small pot, bring the quinoa and 1¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for 15 minutes until all of the water has been absorbed. Let the quinoa rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, place the halved tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Transfer to the oven and roast for 10 minutes until they’re tender and the skins have started to burst.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. When hot, add the minced shallots and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots have become translucent and the garlic is fragrant.
In a large bowl combine the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, cooked shallots and garlic, and basil. Stir in the grated mozzarella and season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Transfer the quinoa mixture to a large skillet and smooth the top. (A round, square or rectangular baking dish is also just fine.)
Starting in the center, overlap slices of tomatoes and mozzarella in a small circle. Make a second circle of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella, covering the surface of the quinoa. (If you’re using a square or rectangular dish, just make two lines of overlapping tomatoes and mozzarella and call it a day.)
Cover the skillet loosely with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.
While your quinoa bake is in the oven, place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vinegar becomes syrupy. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Sprinkle your quinoa bake with freshly sliced basil and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Caprese Quinoa Bake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 


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