Sunday, June 29, 2014

Coca-Cola Ribs & BBQ Sauce

I've created recipes using my favorite wake up beverage for beans and roast beef so I wanted to try using it for ribs.  Not only just marinating the ribs in Coke, but also creating a bbq sauce to baste them with.

Coca-Cola Ribs & BBQ Sauce

Cut ribs into 4 rib pieces.  Place in a large plastic bag that seals and add in one can of Coca-Cola.  Marinate overnight or for at least 8 hours.  Place ribs in a crock pot for 2 hours with juices from bag and heat on medium high.  Remove from crock pot and grill for about 15 minutes, basting with the BBQ sauce below.

Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground mustard

Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cook until it thickens.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

4th of July Strawberry Pie

With a hint of orange and cinnamon, this pie is just too good to limit to one holiday.  

Strawberry Pie

2 pie crusts (you can make from scratch or buy already made)
2# strawberries, cleaned and halved
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp butter

Line the bottom of your pie pan with one layer of crust.  Place the strawberries in a large bowl.  Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, orange zest and sprinkle on top.  Drizzle orange juice over the strawberries and mix in cut pieces of butter.  Place in the pie pan.  Cut out star or whichever design you prefer in crust or just cover the strawberries with it and cut slits in for venting.  Pinch together the top and bottom crusts at the edges.  Brush on a tablespoon of milk on top and sprinkle cinnamon sugar to finish the crust.  Bake for 40 minutes at 425°.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Stella Braised Brisket

Tender, lots of flavor and can you imagine how good your house will smell...that describes braising a brisket in Stella Artois will do.  I made a simple rub but you can use just salt and pepper and still have a wonderful result.

Stella Braised Brisket

Rub ~

2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Brisket - mine was 2.5 pounds
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup beef broth
1 pint Stella Artois
4 carrots, pared and sliced into 2" pieces
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed

Remove any excess fat from brisket.  Combine the spices together in a small dish and then rub on both sides of the brisket.  Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven. Sear the brisket on both sides.  Add in the vegetables along the side and then pour the broth and Stella Artois.  Bake for 3 hours at 325°.  Remove from pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Blackberry Gelato

What do you do with the leftover ingredients from peach gelato in your refrigerator?  Make another!  The remainder of blackberries is now gone from my freezer so I'll be waiting for my plants to produce those, raspberries and blueberries.  The apple tree appears to be loaded too.  

Blackberry Gelato

2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer.

Lightly beat egg yolks, gradually temper with the milk and then add into the saucepan. Heat until thickened, stirring frequently.

In another large saucepan, heat the blackberries until they soften and release their juice.  
Remove the berries from the pan and strain to remove the seeds.  Add the juice and pulp back into the saucepan and stir in sugar and cream.

Cool egg mixture for a few minutes before pouring into the blackberry mixture.  Stir and place a piece of wax paper on top.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  

Pour into ice cream maker and run per manufacturer's directions.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sausage & Corn Gravy With Buttermilk Biscuits

My freezer contains a lot of frozen corn that I needed to use up so I came up with a brunch recipe.  Since I was making biscuits plus the gravy, I did use a pre-made turkey breakfast sausage although you could easily make that too.

Sausage & Corn Gravy 

2 cups corn (either fresh cut off the cob or frozen)
2 tbsp flour
1 cup milk (I used 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup cream to use up some cream on hand)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 # turkey breakfast sausage, cooked and drained

Head corn in a large saucepan.  In a covered container with a good seal, shake together flour and milk.  Add into the corn.  When it thickens, add in the breakfast sausage.  Serve over warm biscuits.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Using a food processor, add in ~

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sea salt
6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into slices

Pulse in the food processor until butter is incorporated.  

Pour in ~

1 cup buttermilk.  Pulse just until the dough comes together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface.  Pat out dough until it's 1" thick and cut into rounds.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 450°.

Makes 12 biscuits.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bacon Buttermilk Dressing

Happy first day of summer!  It's already 88 degrees here and climbing.  Another good day for a salad so today I made my own dressing.  My mom has made thousand island dressing lots of times so it was time for me to make my first dressing and I chose to make one with ingredients in my refrigerator on a regular basis.

Bacon Buttermilk Dressing

1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
3 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley

Whisk together buttermilk and sour cream until smooth.  Fold in spices.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peach Pie Gelato

There's no crust but all the flavors of a peach pie is in this frozen treat.  I might crumble some cookies next time for a little more texture but for right now, I'll just savor the peach and cinnamon goodness.

Peach Pie Gelato

1# peaches, peeled and sliced (I used frozen so all the hard work was done)
2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp peach vodka (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer.

Lightly beat egg yolks, gradually temper with the milk and then add into the saucepan. Heat until thickened, stirring frequently.

Place frozen peaches in a food processor.  Pour into a bowl and stir in the cream, peach vodka and cinnamon.

Cool egg mixture for a few minutes before pouring into the peach mixture.  Stir and place a piece of wax paper on top.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  

Pour into ice cream maker and run per manufacturer's directions.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Grilled Ham & Brie Sandwiches

Need an easy weeknight meal that takes your usual grilled cheese sandwich up a notch?  Try using Brie.  It melts and coats the rest of the inside of your sandwich perfectly.

Grilled Ham & Brie Sandwiches

Sliced bread - I used french bread
Softened butter
Thin sliced ham
Peach preserves

Assemble just like a grilled cheese sandwich.  Butter the outside slices of bread and place one piece face down in a frying pan. Spread peach preserves on top and lay down ham over it.    Place slices of brie on top of the ham and top with a second piece of bread, butter side on top.  Grill until a nice golden brown, carefully flip and grill the second side.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Orange Cookies

Happy Father's Day ~

Today's treat is an orange cookie that I baked for my cat sitters so I could spend some time with my dad.

Orange Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp orange juice
1/4 tsp orange extract
1 tsp grated orange peel
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

raw sugar

Cream together butter and sugars.  Mix in egg, orange juice and extract.  Gradually mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.  Scoop balls onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 14 minutes at 325°.  Remove from oven.  Brush tops with water and sprinkle raw sugar on top.  Cool on a baking rack. 

Makes 34 cookies

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Summertime Reading ~

Summer arrives next Saturday and hopefully it starts off to less rain and more sunshine.  So far my peas, parsley and squash are looking good as well as the berry bushes.  Some of my downtime reading this summer includes ~

Since my seeds all came from Italy and I embrace the Tuscan influence in quite a few of my recipes, this book seemed like the perfect addition to my collection.

Naturally continuing with the same theme, I finally added this Marc Vetri book to my ever growing collection.

And finally (well at this moment since I have a hard time restraining myself with food fiction or non-fiction books).  One of my favorite things to eat and cook with ~

Please post if you have any suggestions of books that I might want to add to my library.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chicken Ramen Noodle Salad

Summertime...or what seems to be a close resemblence to it finally.  Pasta salads were always around when I was growing up.  I decided to use ramen noodles instead of the normal shells for fun. Just throw out the nasty flavor packet. 

Chicken Ramen Noodle Salad

2 - 3 oz package of ramen noodles
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1 cup peas
1/4 cup celery, sliced
1 - 15 oz jar Miracle Whip or mayo
2 tbsp onions, minced
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pinch of sea salt

Cook the ramen noodles for 3 minutes in boiling water, drain and cool.  In a large bowl, combine the noodles, chicken, peas, celery, onions, cheese and spices.  Fold in the Miracle Whip or mayo.  Keep refrigerated.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Boursin Mashed Potatoes

The ultimate comfort food with the hint of cream cheese, herbs and garlic...that's what these easy to make potatoes remind you of.  I've tried using this before with spaghetti squash but the results weren't as tasty.

Boursin Mashed Potatoes

3# potatoes, I used Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
6.5 oz Boursin Garlic and Herb Cheese
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk

Cook the potatoes in salted water until tender.  Drain and mashed until smooth.  Melt in butter and stir in Boursin cheese and milk.  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Blackberry BBQ Sauce

Here is the BBQ sauce I promised a little over a week ago using blackberries. I'm glad that all my berry bushes are coming up nicely since my freezer is almost empty at the moment. Nautrally I couldn't resist adding a little heat to compliment the berry flavor ~

Blackberry BBQ Sauce

2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 dark brown sugar
2 tbsp raspberry vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ancho chili pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Cook the berries in the chicken broth until tender.  Remove the berries from the pan and strain to remove the seeds.  Add the juice and pulp back into the saucepan and add the remainder of the ingredients.  Simmer until it thickens slightly.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mini S'Mores

No dessert says summer more than a S'More.  I made little bite size ones this morning before a day of sunshine and grilling starts

Mini S'Mores

4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
9 marshmallows, cut in half
4 - 1.55 oz Hershey's bars, melted

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg and graham cracker crumbs.  Place a tablespoon of cracker mixture in a greased mini muffin tin and press down for the crust.  Bake at 350° for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and top with a half a marshmallow.  Return to oven for another couple of minutes.  Remove and allow to cool completely.  In another small saucepan or microwave safe bowl, melt the Hershey's bars.  Spoon over cooled marshmallow.  Place in refrigerator until chocolate hardens.

Makes 18

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Orange Honey Glazed Pork Chops

You would think with honey as one of the main ingredients of the glaze that these pork chops would turn out sweet.  That's not the case.  The orange juice and ground ancho chili pepper take out the sweet flavor and give it the right combination of orange and a mild heat.  Plus you can make this marinade after work, let it sit in the refrigerator for a half hour and it's ready for the grill, oven or frying pan.

Orange Honey Glazed Pork Chops

1/3 cup orange juice (I used the juice from one large orange)
1 tsp orange zest
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp ground ancho chili pepper
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix all the ingredients in a large sealable plastic bag.  Add in 2-6 pork chops and allow to marinade in the refrigerator for at least a half hour.  Remove from marinade and shake off any excess.  Cook with your preferred method.  You can save some extra marinade (before you add in the pork chops) to brush on chops if you desire.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Chili Rum BBQ Sauce

I was watching a news broadcast the other week and the reporters were interviewing on site at a rooftop restaurant in Minneapolis and they were using a chili rum BBQ sauce.  I thought I have chili sauce and on.  I also conveniently happened to have pineapple juice on hand so here is what I created from what was in my refrigerator and I will be making again.

Chili Rum BBQ Sauce

1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp pineapple juice
1/3 cup rum
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a simmer and cook down for an hour.  Use what you need and refrigerate the leftovers.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

A misty Sunday morning requires a little bit of pampering for breakfast.  Combining banana bread with my favorite streusel seemed like the perfect start to the day.

Cinnamon Streusel Banana Bread

Banana Bread

1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cups flour
3 ripe bananas, mashed


1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

In a small bowl, use a pastry blender to combine the cold butter, dark brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt.  Mix until combined and then set aside.

Banana bread ~ cream together butter and sugar.  Add in eggs and mashed bananas.  Gradually add in dry ingredients.  Place 1/2 of banana bread mixture in a greased loaf pan.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the streusel on top.  top with the remaining banana bread.  Sprinkle the remaining streusel on top and bake for 1 hour at 325°.