Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Eggs Benedict with Welsh Rarebit Sauce

 
When I was growing up, there was a fabulous English pub downtown called Fox and Goose. I went there a couple times after I turned 21, but I mostly went for Sunday brunch in my youth. I remember they didn't take reservations, so you had to arrive quite early. However, their drinks were great and the food was fantastic. My mom always got pancakes (because she's kind of boring like that) but I would usually get the eggs benedict.
 
Now I know eggs benedict is usually a pretty boring brunch staple, but this place did it so well. You got to choose whether you wanted smoked salmon, slab bacon, spinach or grilled tomatoes (instead of Canadian bacon) and then it was topped with Welsh Rarebit sauce instead of Hollandaise. I do like hollandaise sauce but damn, Welsh Rarebit on eggs and slab bacon is absolutely brilliant.
 
Rarebit is a pretty easy sauce. Make a roux, add beer, add cheese and adjust with mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Simple, but so tasty.
 
Eggs Benedict with Welsh Rarebit Sauce
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 bottle of stout beer
  • large handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • dry mustard powder
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Eggs
  • Slab bacon
  • Toast
Directions
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and cook until raw flour taste is cooked out.
  2. Add beer, stirring constantly and cook until thickened slightly.
  3. Add cheese, stirring constantly until melted. Season to taste with salt, Worcestershire and mustard powder.
  4. Assemble eggs benedict with toast, cooked slab bacon, poached eggs and Welsh Rarebit sauce on top.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Puff Pastry Wrapped Pear Salad with Goat Cheese

 
The other day, I got a bunch of pears in my CSA box. Anyone who knows me knows that I hate pears. I usually have no idea what to do with them and they often go bad before I get a chance to use them. I might eat them when they're still new and under ripe, but not once they become ripe. Asian pears are different, but I really hate traditional Bosc or Anjou pears. I decided to try something new with this pears in my CSA box. I enjoy poached pears with goat cheese or as desserts. I like fancy entrĂ©e salads (this can also be a super fancy first course salad with less mixed greens, it's really up to you).
 
This combined the great crunch of puff pasty, the tang of goat cheese and the sweat/salty/spicy flavor profile of the honey spiced almonds. It was simple yet delicious. I highly recommend it for your next dinner party or, just the next time you have pears. I also recommend these almonds with just about anything.
 
Puff Pastry Wrapped Pear Salad
Ingredients
  • 2 Anjou or Bartlett pears, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into 4 pieces
  • handful of honey spiced almonds (see below)
  • soft goat cheese
  • egg (for egg wash)
  • mixed greens
  • desired vinaigrette dressing (I used an apricot white balsamic, but a champagne vinegar would also be nice)
  • Dried cranberries, prunes or other desired fruit.
Directions
  1. Place pears, cut side down, on silpat mat and cover with puff pastry, stretching slightly so it covers pear completely. Trim away excess and use to make leaves or other fun shapes. Cut a couple slits to vent
  2. Brush the pastry with egg wash and bake at 425 until golden brown and puffed. The pears will steam inside the pastry and soften slightly. Remove from oven when done and allow to cool slightly
  3. Just before serving, toss mixed greens with dressing, dried fruit and nuts. Remove to individual plates and top with the warm pear. Fill the hole in the pear with soft goat cheese and add additional to the salad as desired.
 
Honey Spiced Almonds
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp olive oil
Directions
  1. Toast almonds in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until golden and fragrant.
  2. Meanwhile, mix sugar, salt and cayenne pepper together in a large bowl.
  3. Dissolve water, honey and oil together in a nonstick skillet and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add hot toasted nuts to the pan and toss until nuts are coated evenly.
  5. Add nuts to the sugar mixture and toss until coated. Spread onto a baking sheet and cool completely.



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Secret Recipe Club: Cauliflower Mac and Cheese



It's Secret Recipe time of the month again. I always look forward to the third Monday of the month because I get to find a new blogger, write about their amazing recipes and even rediscover some of my old favorites.  It's one of my favorite times of the month and my husband loves it too.

This month, I was assigned Tea and Scones hosted by the Tea Lady (at least, that's what she calls herself in her comments/signoffs). She has so many recipes for savory foods, desserts and yes, scones. I wish I had more time to make more of her recipes (especially the scones) but this month was absolutely crazy at work and on the weekends. I made her delicious Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. It's a great recipe but different as it does not have a roux. It's great when it first comes out of the oven, but it doesn't hold over too well as leftovers. Still good, but try to eat it all the same day.

I made a half batch of this recipe and it was more than enough for 4 people (two of us, plus leftovers the next day). That's assuming you have giant portions too. If you want the whole recipe, check out her original recipe, but if half works for you, see below.

Ingredients
  • 125 grams pasta (I used penne, but macaroni or shells would work too)
  • 350 grams cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
Directions
  1. Boil pasta according to package directions. About 3 minutes before it's finished cooking, add in cauliflower and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Bring cream and milk to a bare simmer with mustard powder. Add in cheese and stir until smooth
  3. Add pasta to cheese sauce and mix until coated. Pour into baking dish. Mix breadcrumbs with garlic, butter and rosemary. Top pasta with breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes and eat immediately.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Oven Roasted Baby Back Ribs and Collard Greens

 
Ribs are such a fun, perfect summer food (or fall too). I used to make ribs in the crockpot regularly, but I never liked the way they turned out (too much falling off the bone). I always thought ribs in the oven wouldn't turn out as well or ribs on the grill would take too long, but this was so easy and delicious. I absolutely loved these oven roasted baby back ribs. You can finish them on the grill afterward to give them a nice char (we don't have a patio so I finish ours under the broiler. Still good, but not quite as good...
 
I served these with collard greens and homemade bread. I now try to make these anytime ribs are on sale. I make these using a homemade bbq sauce with ketchup, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar, but you can use whatever bbq sauce you prefer.
 
Oven Roasted Baby Back Ribs
Ingredients
  • 1 rack baby back ribs
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • desired bbq sauce
Directions
  1. Mix together brown sugar, pepper, salt, paprika, onion, garlic and cayenne to form a dry rub.
  2. Place ribs onto foil and cover on both sides with dry rub. Wrap ribs in foil and place in the refrigerator for several hours.
  3. Remove ribs from the refrigerator and cook at 300 degrees for 2-2.5 hours until the ribs are tender.
  4. Remove ribs from foil and brush on both sides with sauce. Finish on the grill or under the broiler until ribs have a nice char.
Collard Greens
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs collard greens
  • 2 strips thick cut bacon
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • chicken stock
  • salt, pepper and crushed red pepper
Directions
  1. Dice your bacon and fry in a large pot until half crisp. Add onion and garlic and fry until fragrant.
  2. Add the chopped collard green leaves to the pot with apple cider vinegar and a little chicken stock. Stir greens until coated and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cover pot and cook on low until greens are cooked and wilted (about 15 minutes, perhaps more). Season to taste with more vinegar or salt if desired.
 



Friday, October 9, 2015

Pimento Cheese Dip



Pimento cheese is one of those horrible things I've learned to love since moving to Virginia. I always loved it growing up because my nanny would have it at her house from time to time, but I didn't have it for almost 20 years. I moved out here and had it at a friend's house as part of a cheese tray and I was hooked all over again. It's so delicious even though I know it's just cheese and mayonnaise. I know it's so bad for you yet it's one of my favorite things with crackers or crusty bread.

You can alter it to fit your tastes, but I make it with a combination of cream cheese and cheddar. I like the texture the cream cheese gives. This is a guess since I never really make it the same way twice, but give it a shot for your next football party.

Ingredients
  • 2 oz cream cheese, whipped until soft
  • 1/2 cup diced pimento peppers
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or more if desired)
  • a couple spoonfulls of mayonnaise
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste.
Directions
  1. Mix cream cheese until soft. Add pimento peppers and cheddar cheese and mix until just combined. Add in mayonnaise and adjust seasoning to taste.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bacon, Cheddard Cornmeal waffle with spinach salad and fried egg

 
Waffles are a great breakfast food, but they don't have to be sweet all the time. I've only ever eaten sweet waffles, but the beauty that is Chicken and Waffles has really left the waffle game wide open. I tried to experiment with something new and for a savory "breakfast for dinner option" and this did not disappoint.
 
I based this on Joy the Baker's recipe for savory cornmeal waffles. There are a couple additions and changes I made to ensure that my waffle was extra light and fluffy, but they were still delicious. I made these with a lightly dressed spinach salad (arugula salad would also work), a fried egg and hot sauce. You could also just take these bacon cheddar cornmeal waffles and dip them in maple syrup for a sweet/savory combination. In some ways, I feel like I liked that option better.
 
Give this a try the next time you want to use your waffle iron but try something different.
 
Ingredients (makes about  3 or 4 waffles)
  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp chopped chives
  • 3 strips crisp bacon, chopped (more if desired)
  • 1 handful shredded cheddar cheese.
Directions
  1. Mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Mix together butter, egg yolks and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Mix liquid ingredients into dry. Fold in bacon, cheese and chives.
  3. Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter
  4. Cook waffles in preheated waffle iron according to manufacturers directions
  5. Serve with eggs and a spinach salad for a fully savory meal or serve with maple syrup for a sweet/savory combination.
 


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sourdough, flax, seeded crackers


I made these crackers over the summer and I'm only getting around to posting them now. We were going on a road trip with some friends and they have a nice car. They only allow food in their car if it is "clean food" that won't have crumbs or spill. As great as cookies or coffee cake would be for our road trip, I knew I had to make something else. I opted for browned butter rice crispy treats (you don't need a recipe for that) and these Sourdough flax seed crackers I found on the blog "The Gingered Whisk" These "Everything" crackers remind me of an everything bagel. There's just the right amount of savory onion flavor. You can eat these by themselves or they would be great with smoked salmon and cream cheese for a delicious appetizer (I didn't do that before, but that just gave me a fabulous idea).

Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sourdough starter (fed or unfed is fine)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
ingredient for toppings
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp dried onion flakes
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
Directions
  1. Mix together all ingredients for toppings and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, flax seed and salt. Add starter, water and olive oil and mix until you form a stiff dough. Knead a few rotations until you achieve a soft dough. Divide into two disks and wrap.
  3. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of topping on your work surface and roll one disk on top of seeds until thin. Lift dough, sprinkle another Tbsp and roll dough til 1/8 inch thick. Cut into squares with a pizza cutter and place on a baking pan with a silpat mat. Bake about 10 minutes at 400 for until lightly browned but not burnt. They should be firm when removed from the oven but they will crisp as they cool.
  4. Repeat with the other disk. Let cool completely before storing in airtight container.
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