Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pistachio brittle

Pistachio brittle, originally uploaded by chrisfreeland2002.
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 cups toasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla

Toast pistachios on baking sheet in 300 degree oven for 5-7 minutes, until fragrant. Remove from oven and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Butter the bottom of a large baking sheet. Set aside.

Stir sugar, syrup, water and salt together in heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Using candy thermometer, bring sugar mixture to 240 degrees (soft ball stage), stirring frequently. Stir in butter and pistachios, and bring to 280 degrees (soft crack stage).

Remove from heat and quickly stir in baking soda and vanilla, just until mixed through. Immediately pour onto buttered baking sheet and spread out to desired thickness. Just before candy hardens (30 seconds or so), sprinkle kosher salt lightly across the top. Let cool and break into bite-sized chunks.

Keeps for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Warm Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip by TagDragon
Artichoke Dip, a photo by TagDragon on Flickr.

4 7.5 ounce jars Marinated Artichoke Hearts, well drained
2 4.5 ounce jars Chopped Green Chiles, well drained
1 8 ounce package Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1 cup Mayonnaise
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
3 cloves Garlic, pressed
1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon Butter, melted

1 ½ cups French Breadcrumbs
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons Butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove any tough leaves from the artichoke hearts and chop the artichoke hearts. In a large bowl add the artichoke hearts, green chiles, cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan, garlic, lemon juice and combine thoroughly. Watch for clumps of cream cheese. Grease baking dish with melted butter. Place artichoke mixture into baking dish. For topping mix together breadcrumbs, parmesan, and melted butter. Carefully spoon over artichoke mixture.

Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown.

Serve warm with pita chips or crackers.

Makes 4 cups.

Note: To make French breadcrumbs tear off pieces of French bread and pulse in a food processor until crumbs form.

Via Flickr:
Made for Sharon's Pumpkin Carving Party

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jicama ginger slaw

1 head cabbage, sliced
1 medium jicama, peeled & julienned
1 lb bag baby carrots, shredded
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2" chunk of peeled ginger, diced
1 jalapeño, deseeded & diced
2 limes, zest & juice 
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup bottled poppyseed dressing
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 T black sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Use a food processor to slice the cabbage & shred the carrots. Peel jicama and cut into matchsticks. Chop green onions into small rounds. Place all in large bowl with diced ginger and jalapeño. 

Zest & juice 2 limes into a smaller bowl. Whisk in rice vinegar, oil, dressing, salt & pepper. Pour dressing on top of slaw and mix.  Add more of each ingredient in the dressing to your taste.

Let sit for at least an hour for flavors to develop. Stir before serving.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

My friend Sharon has a Cinco de Mayo party each year. It’s always a lot of fun and there are some great memories and stories of previous parties. I made these bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers for this year’s party.

8-10 large Jalapeño Peppers
8 ounces Cream Cheese (1 package), at room temperature
12 ounces of finely shredded Cheddar & Monterey Jack Cheese - divided
(can also use Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese)
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 pound hardwood smoked regular sliced Bacon (1 pound has approximately 16-18 slices)

Preheat the over to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl combine together the cream cheese, 8 ounces cheddar & Monterey jack cheese, and garlic powder. Mix until blended and manageable.

Rinse the jalapenos and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and veins with a paring knife or spoon. Rinse off any remaining seeds. If you like the heat and hot foods leave in the veins and seeds.

Fill each jalapeno half with the cheese mixture. Fill full but do not over mound the cheese mixture. Wrap each stuffed jalapeno with a slice of bacon. Start at the top of the jalapeno and wrap around the jalapeno slightly overlapping the bacon. Try and encase the jalapeno and cheese mixture as much as possible. Skewer or toothpick the wrapped jalapenos if needed.

Place the wrapped jalapenos on a rack on a baking sheet. Do not crowd or have them touching on the rack. Lightly sprinkle the top of each jalapeno with more finely shredded cheese.

Bake for 17 to 20 minutes. Then broil for 3 minutes until the tops are lightly browned. Watch the jalapenos in the last few minutes of cooking. They can go from done to bursting cheese mixture very quickly.

Carefully remove from oven (there will be hot bacon fat in the baking sheet), allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a platter lined with paper towel to drain.

Makes 16-20 bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers

I leave the stems on. If you remove them don’t cut off the entire top of the jalapeno.

Caution: Jalapenos can cause burning sensations on the skin. Wear rubber gloves if you have sensitivity skin and keep away from the face and eyes. Do you touch your face or eyes for several hours after working with jalapenos. Wash hands thoroughly after finished handling peppers.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie by TagDragon
Strawberry Pie, a photo by TagDragon on Flickr.

Strawberry Pie is a quintessential summer dessert. Cold fresh strawberries suspended in a simmering strawberry gelatin, you can’t beat it.

1 pound fresh, washed, hulled, sliced Strawberries (any areas discarded)
½ cup Water
1 cup Sugar
1 tablespoon Corn Starch
¼ cup fresh Lemon Juice
1 packet of unflavored Gelatin (from a 1 oz box with 4 packets)
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
3 cups whole medium-size fresh, washed, hulled Strawberries
1 Graham Cracker Pie Shell

Add sliced strawberries and water to a small sauce pan. Cover and over medium heat simmer until strawberries are very soft. About 10-15 minutes. Watch the berries; it is easy for them to boil up. While still hot, strain the strawberry juice from the berries. Mash the berries to release all the juice. There should be a little over 1 cup of juice. Add water to make 1 cup if needed. Discard strawberry pulp. In a small bowl combine the lemon juice and gelatin and immediately mix until gelatin is dissolved. In a small bowl combine the sugar and corn starch and mix well. In a small sauce pan add the sugar and corn starch mixture and 1 cup strawberry juice and over medium heat bring to a boil and then boil 1 minute stirring often. Off the heat, add the gelatin mixture and vanilla extract to the strawberry syrup and stir until dissolved and completely mixed with the syrup. Cool 25 minutes. Carefully add the whole strawberries and gently stir until the berries are coated with the syrup. Starting with the larger strawberries, spoon them into the pie shell in an even manner. May have to add a few extra strawberries to fill in holes. Carefully pour the remaining strawberry syrup into the pie shell over the berries and around the edges. Do not over fill with the syrup. Refrigerate for at least three hours.

Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Makes one Strawberry Pie.

Use small, large, and odd sized berries to make the juice. Save pretty, medium sized strawberries to use whole. If using a premade pie shell, I prefer the Keeble Ready Crust Graham 2 Extra Servings Pie Crust.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Not just beer-battered, Schlafly Dry Hopped APA battered Vidalia onion rings

Reaally simple crowd pleaser: Thick slice 1 large Vidalia onion, separate into rings. Mix 1 cup flour & 1 bottle Schlafly Dry Hopped APA, or other Pale Ale, in large shallow pan. Add 6 dashes Tabsco, 1 teaspoon salt. Let batter sit at least 30 minutes or longer. Heat oil in frydaddy or cast iron skillet on stovetop at 385. Working in small batches, coat onion rings with batter and drop into hot oil. Cook until crispy and golden on both sides, turning at least once during frying. Carefully remove to plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.

Serve with Creole Mayo: 1/2 cup mayo, 1tsp creole seasoning, juice 1/2 fresh lemon. Whisk ingredients together with fork. Adjust seasoning & acid to your taste. Also good with some roasted garlic or other savory mix-ins.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mashed potato gratin

Mashed potato gratin, originally uploaded by chrisfreeland2002.

8 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 tsp kosher salt, separated
4 tsp butter
1/2 cup milk, more as needed
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan 
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 T chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash & peel potatoes.  Cut in cubes and place in medium saucepan.  Fill with cold water until covered, add 1 tsp salt.  Bring water to a boil.  Boil uncovered until potatoes are tender, approximately 12 minutes.  Once tender, drain potatoes and return to saucepan.  Add butter, milk, sour cream, Parmesan, remaining salt, and pepper.  Using electric mixer, beat potato mixture until smooth, adding more milk to bring to the right consistency - you want them creamy, not soupy.  Adjust salt and pepper, to taste.  Spoon into gratin dish, top with a bit of parmesan, parsley and ground pepper. Bake uncovered 10 minutes to melt Parmesan. Place gratin under low broiler for 3-5 minutes until top is browned.  Remove from oven & serve immediately.  

Serves 6.