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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oatmeal Made Over

Hey folks...On a cold day like today...Hot cereal is a must...How about taking something like oatmeal and making it over? Adding a few odds and ends like Pecans,Apples and what not?

I got this recipe from Women's Day-Don't judge me-Instead of simply topping oatmeal with fruit, this recipe cooks apple slices within it, allowing them to break down and infuse the grains with bright flavor and texture. Pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon sweeten the deal.

This sounds good...I can taste it in my head.. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 tablespoon(s) pecans
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 red apple, such as McIntosh or Braeburn, cut into 3/4-in. pieces
  • 2 teaspoon(s) brown sugar
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes; chop.
  2. Bring 2 1⁄2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of salt and stir in the oats. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the oats begin to thicken, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apple is just tender and the oatmeal has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  4. Sprinkle with the pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon before serving.
Enjoy! Eat well my friends!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Banana and Pear Milk Shake


Here is something a little different to start the week off... A drink!   A banana gives this milk shake texture without packing on the calories while a pear sweetens the deal. Added bonus: This healthy breakfast (or snack) only takes 3 minutes to prepare. Overly ripe bananas will work just fine in a recipe like this one, as they will just be easier to blend.  Check it out..

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 small pear, (approximately 3 ounces), peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 small banana, (approximately 2 3/4 ounces), peeled
  • 1 cup(s) (8 fluid ounces) skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon(s) sweetener
DIRECTIONS:

This is so easy, I shouldn't have to even write this...

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve chilled or with ice.

Enjoy!  Drink Well My Friends!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Inside Out Grilled Cheese

The best way to improve on a great grilled cheese is to sprinkle some cheese on the outside of the bread. It creates a super-crisp, cheesy crust.  This is also the ultimate comfort food snack on a cold winter day,like what we have been having on the east coast lately.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 slice(s) bakery Pullman bread
  • 1/2 cup(s) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 pound(s) Swiss cheese, preferably Gruyère, sliced
  • 8 ounce(s) ham, thinly sliced
  • Dill pickle slices (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup(s) apricot preserves
DIRECTIONS:
 Butter each slice of bread and sprinkle with Parmigiano, pressing to help it adhere. Invert the slices onto a work surface, cheese side down. Top 4 of the slices with the Swiss cheese, ham, and pickles. Mix the mustard and preserves and spread on the remaining 4 slices of bread. Close the sandwiches and griddle over moderate heat, turning, until golden, crisp on the outside and melted inside, about 3 minutes. Cut in half and serve right away.

Enjoy with a nice steamy bowl of Tomato Soup.
Enjoy!  Eat well my friends! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella


Hello everyone...I'm back with another great recipe to start your week off..Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella.
You can do so much with chicken...Probably why it has overtaken beef as America's most eaten meat...At least that is what is being said.

Slow Cooker Chicken Marbella, Made famous by the former New York City–based specialty food shop The Silver Palate, this dish is a heady mix of sweet, salty and tangy flavors—the result of pairing pungent olives, capers and prunes with white wine, brown sugar and parsley.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup(s) dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoon(s) brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoon(s) red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 6 clove(s) garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon(s) capers
  • 1/2 cup(s) prunes
  • 1/4 cup(s) pitted green olives
  • 4 small chicken legs, split (4 drumsticks, 4 thighs; about 2 1/2 lb total), skin removed
  • 1/4 cup(s) fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup(s) long-grain white rice
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker, whisk together the wine, brown sugar, oregano, 2 Tbsp of the vinegar, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Add the garlic, capers, prunes and olives and mix to combine.
  2. Add the chicken, nestling it among the olives and prunes. Cover and cook until the meat is tender and cooked through, on low for 5 to 6 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours; gently stir in the remaining Tbsp vinegar and parsley.
  3. Thirty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to package directions. Serve the chicken, prunes, olives and cooking liquid over the rice.
(Don't sweat the) TIPS & TECHNIQUES-

 Although prunes are standard in Marbella recipes, You can substitute them with dried apricots or nectarines.

Serve with a red wine...
Enjoy!   Eat well my friends!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roast Beef & French Onion Grilled Cheese

It's Cold Outside...And when it's cold outside...one should have a nice quick fix of a meal to eat inside!
So my answer to that on a cold day is this bit of what I like to call Neuvo Americana comfort food.
The Roast Beef & French Onion Grilled Cheese sandwich.

According to Women's day, where I found this recipe-Nutty, gooey Gruyère is even tastier when melted on top of savory roast beef and sweet, fragrant sautéed onion.

INGREDIENTS: 
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon(s) thyme leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 slice(s) (1/2-inch-thick) rye bread
  • 1 tablespoon(s) melted unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) whole-grain mustard
  • 2 ounce(s) Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 2 slice(s) roast beef
DIRECTIONS:
 Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in thyme leaves and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes more (add 1 tablespoon water to the skillet if the onions start sticking).

 Brush one side of each slice of bread with butter or oil. Form sandwiches with the bread, whole-grain mustard, Gruyère cheese, roast beef, and the onion mixture. Cook the sandwiches, covered, until the bread is golden brown and crisp and the cheese has melted, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Enjoy!  Eat well my friends!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sour Cherry Fruit Slump


It's Friday....I'm off pasta...Time to indulge my sweet tooth! I must admit...until I read about this in Food and Wine...I didn't know what a slump was...

It turns out..A slump (sometimes called a grunt) is reminiscent of a very simple cobbler. However, the dough is dropped over the fruit and it cooks on the stovetop instead of being baked. The method results in very light, puffy steamed dumplings on top rather than the crisp, browned biscuit dough that typically adorns a cobbler. The recipe calls for various berries or plums (or a combination) in addition to the tart pie cherries to round out the flavor and brighten the sour cherry color.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup(s) cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly grated lemon zest
  • 4 cup(s) fresh, frozen (thawed) or canned (drained) pitted sour cherries
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) blueberries
  • 1 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) baking soda
  • 2 1/2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoon(s) canola oil
  • 3/4 cup(s) nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
DIRECTIONS:
  1. To prepare fruit: Stir together 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in a 9- to 10-inch non-reactive deep-sided skillet or 3-quart wide-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in cranberry (or orange) juice and lemon zest, then the cherries and other fruit. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring. Simmer, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and add up to 2 tablespoons more sugar if desired.
  2. To prepare dough: Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add butter and oil. Using a pastry blender, two knives or a fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk, mixing with a fork just until incorporated. The dough should be very soft and slightly wet; if necessary, stir in a little more buttermilk. Let the dough stand for 3 to 4 minutes to firm up slightly.
  3. To finish: Use lightly oiled soup spoons to scoop up the dough, dropping it in 8 portions onto the fruit, spacing them evenly over the surface. Return the slump to the stovetop and adjust the heat so it simmers very gently. Cover the pot tightly, and continue simmering until the dumplings are very puffy and cooked through, 17 to 20 minutes. Cut into the center dumpling with a paring knife to check for doneness. Let the slump cool on a wire rack, uncovered, for at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dumplings. Serve warm.
A tall cold glass of milk is warranted for this...
 Enjoy!  Eat well my friends!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Pasta with Roasted Squash, Sausage, and Pecans


Okayyy, Here I am again with yet another pasta dish.....I'm on my Italian groove this week. Aren't you surprised at how many back to back posts I've put on this blog?  I've decided to pay this blog a little more attention.

With this recipe, you caN toss pasta with sausage, butternut squash, sage, and pecans for a terrific, hearty dish.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 1/2 pound(s) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 3 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon(s) chopped sage
  • 20 whole(s) sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup(s) pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 1 pound(s) sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 pound(s) fusilli or other curly pasta
  • 1/4 cup(s) freshly grated aged Asiago cheese, plus more for serving
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. On a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the squash with 2 tablespoons of oil and toss. Arrange in an even layer and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Bake for about 30 minutes, until just tender. Add the chopped sage and toss.
  2. Meanwhile, put the pecans in a pie plate and bake for about 4 minutes, until toasted.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the whole sage leaves and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until crisp, 2 minutes. Transfer the leaves to a plate and pour the butter into a bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the sausage to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the sausage, until no pink remains, 7 minutes.
  4. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the sausage and melted butter and gradually stir in the cooking water over moderate heat. Gently fold in the squash, pecans and the 1/4 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Scatter the sage on top and serve with more cheese.
 Enjoy and remember, eat well my friends.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Fettucine with Mushrooms and Goat Cheese

This is pasta week for me...or is it just starch week? I don't know, but I seem to be on a roll.

The delectably rich-tasting sauce that clings to each strand of fettuccine here requires no cooking. Just combine goat cheese, Parmesan, milk, and some of the still-hot pasta-cooking water, and it's a wrap!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 tablespoon(s) butter
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 pound(s) mushrooms, cut into thin slices
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1/2 pound(s) mild goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup(s) grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1/3 cup(s) milk
  • 3/4 pound(s) fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh chives or scallion tops
DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a large frying pan, melt the butter with 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the pepper, and the dried tarragon, if using, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to moderately high and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and no liquid remains in the pan, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, Parmesan, milk, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Stir until smooth.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the pasta-cooking water and drain. Whisk 1 cup of the pasta-cooking water into the goat-cheese mixture. Toss the pasta with the mushrooms, the goat-cheese sauce, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil, the fresh tarragon, if using, and the chives. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta-cooking water. Serve with additional Parmesan.
  4. Variation: Use fresh basil instead of or in addition to the tarragon and chives in the recipe.
  5. Wine Recommendation: Dolcetto, while beloved in Piedmont, is less appreciated in the United States. Yet its light tannins, cherry fruit and clean, dry finish are just the ticket to balance the full flavor of the cheeses here.

Enjoy...Eat Well My friends..(And drink well too!)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nonna's Spaghetti & Meatballs

You know how much I love pasta right ? Spaghetti in particular....right?  So I came across this recipe on the Eating Well website called Nonna's Spaghetti and meatballs that I'd like to share with you.

INGREDIENTS:
Meatballs:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup(s) dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
  • 1/2 cup(s) finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup(s) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup(s) minced fresh parsley
  • 3 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounce(s) lean (90-percent or leaner) ground beef
  • 8 ounce(s) ground pork or Italian pork sausage
  • 8 ounce(s) ground veal
Sauce and Spaghetti:
  • 1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup(s) finely chopped onion
  • 3 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup(s) dry red wine
  • 1 can(s) (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can(s) (14-ounce) diced tomatoes
  • 1 pound(s) whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped fresh oregano
DIRECTIONS:

  1. To prepare meatballs: Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup onion, cheese, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add beef, pork (or sausage), and veal; gently mix until combined (do not overmix). Using 1/4 cup for each, make 16 meatballs and place in a 6-quart slow cooker.
  2. To prepare sauce and spaghetti: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine and boil for 1 minute. Add crushed and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Pour the sauce over the meatballs.
  3. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
  4. 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
  5. Spoon any fat off the sauce; add oregano. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the spaghetti with extra Parmesan, if desired.

    Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat.
Don't sweat the Tips & Techniques-
Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled "Panko breadcrumbs." Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.
Stovetop Variation: Make the sauce (Step 2) in a large Dutch oven instead of a skillet, then gently add the meatballs to the simmering sauce. Cover and gently simmer until the meatballs are cooked through, about 1 hour.

As usual....Red wine should accompany this meal-

Enjoy...Eat well my friends!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Mushroom Blackbean Tortillia Casserole


Hello folks...Check this out..This filling and flavorful vegetarian casserole is one of those amazing make-ahead dishes.

 It comes together in about 30 minutes, so you can make it any night of the week for a satisfying meal. Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze well, leaving you with a tasty stockpile to draw from when you need an easy meal later on in the week (or the month).

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 teaspoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 pound(s) cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1 can(s) (15.5-ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed and halved
  • 2 cup(s) salsa
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
DIRECTIONS: 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned, 7 minutes. Add garlic and cayenne; season with salt and pepper. Add black beans and stir to combine. Cook until beans are warmed through, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Arrange 5 tortilla halves in a 2-quart baking dish. Top with half the bean mixture and 1/2 cup salsa, then sprinkle with one-third the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortilla halves, bean mixture, salsa, and cheese. Top with remaining tortilla halves, salsa, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake until center is hot and cheese melts, 10 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is bubbling, 5 minutes.
Enjoy! Eat well my friends!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Chicken Gumbo In One Half Hour

Here is something you can cook in one pot that only takes a half an hour and is perfect for cold wintery trapped in the house days like today!

Rely on rotisserie chicken, smoked spicy sausage, and frozen okra from the store to stack up flavors in our quick rendition of a classic Cajun stew. This takes about say, thirty minutes to prep and another thirty minutes to actually cook.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen, cut okra
  • 8 ounces smoked (precooked) andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced 1 inch thick
  • 1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), skin and bones removed, meat shredded (about 4 cups)
  • Store-bought or homemade cornbread, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium. Add flour, and cook, whisking constantly, until pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in bell peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups water; stir in okra and sausage. Bring to a boil. Stir in shredded chicken, and warm through, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; if desired, serve with cornbread.

    Enjoy!

    Eat well my friends and stay warm!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Walnut -Cranberry Turkey Salad


I should have posted this shortly after Thanksgiving and probably not now in the middle of the winter...But if you had the foresight to do some adequate grocery shopping as I did yesterday...Hopefully you have the ingredients in your house to fix you and your significant other, a nice healthy salad for this afternoon, when you two are snuggled together watching a movie...(Before the big game tonight)

I got this recipe from our friends at Food and Wine. The dressing for this light, delicious turkey salad is made with low-fat mayonnaise, yogurt, and chopped herbs.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 cup(s) (4-ounce) walnuts
  • 3/4 cup(s) low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup(s) low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup(s) flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup(s) snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon(s) chopped tarragon
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/4 pound(s) (4 cups) roast turkey, diced
  • 3/4 cup(s) dried cranberries
  • 8 ounce(s) (8 packed cups) mixed greens, such as baby kale, baby arugula, and chopped radicchio
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) freshly squeezed lemon juice
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Let cool, then coarsely chop the nuts.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the mayonnaise, parsley, chives, and tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Fold in the turkey, cranberries, and walnuts.
  3. In another bowl, toss the mixed greens with the oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Mound the salad on a platter and top with the turkey salad. Serve right away.
A glass of white wine will go nicely with this-

Enjoy!

Eat well my friends!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Balthazar Brioche French Toast

If your area is effected by the predicted snowstorm...Here's hoping you went out last night and did your grocery shopping...If so and you have a fully stocked kitchen...Here is a nice breakfast recipe for you and your spouse or significant other.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup(s) superfine sugar
  • 4 cup(s) milk
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch(s) nutmeg
  • 1 loaf(s) day-old brioche or challah bread, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 1/4 cup(s) Clarified Butter
  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Syrup, for serving
  • Fresh fruit or crisp cooked bacon, or serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and milk. Add cinnamon and nutmeg; whisk to combine.
  2. Layer bread slices in a shallow baking dish and pour over egg mixture; let stand until bread begins to absorb liquid, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn bread slices and let bread absorb liquid on the opposite side, 2 to 3 minutes more.
  3. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Place a baking sheet or ovenproof serving platter in oven.
  4. Working in batches, coat the bottom of a medium skillet with some of the clarified butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add 3 to 4 slices of soaked bread and cook until golden brown and crisp. Turn bread and cook until golden brown and crisp, adding butter as necessary to help browning and to give the French toast a nutty flavor. Transfer French toast to baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining clarified butter, soaked bread, and butter.
  5. Serve French toast immediately dusted with confectioners' sugar, syrup, and fresh fruit or bacon, if desired.
As usual...a nice tall glass of milk goes well with this.
Enjoy!  Stay warm and eat well my friends!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hoppin John



HAPPY NEW YEARS....I hope you all are starting your New Year off right with a nice platter of Hoppin John...

What is Hoppin John you say? Well for those of you who aren't African-American, here is a brief history lesson...

Hoppin' John is a peas and rice dish served in the Southern United States. It is made with black-eyed peas (or field peas) and rice, chopped onion, sliced bacon, and seasoned with a bit of salt. Some people substitute ham hock, fatback, or country sausage for the conventional bacon; a few use green peppers or vinegar and spices. Smaller than black-eyed peas, field peas are used in the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia; black-eyed peas are the norm elsewhere.

In the southern United States, eating Hoppin' John on New Year's Day is thought to bring a prosperous year filled with luck. The peas are symbolic of pennies or coins, and a coin is sometimes added to the pot or left under the dinner bowls. Collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, chard, kale, cabbage etc. along with this dish are supposed to also add to the wealth since they are the color of money.

Another traditional food, cornbread, can also be served to represent wealth, being the color of gold. On the day after New Year's Day, leftover "Hoppin' John" is called "Skippin' Jenny," and further demonstrates one's frugality, bringing a hope for an even better chance of prosperity in the New Year.

INGREDIENTS:
  • pound dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 small smoked ham hocks or meaty ham bone
  • 2 medium onions, divided
  • 3 large cloves garlic, halved
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 can (10 to 14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with chile peppers, juices reserved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 green onions, sliced

DIRECTIONS:
 In a large Dutch oven or kettle, combine the black-eyed peas, ham bone or ham hocks, and 6 cups water. Cut 1 of the onions in half and add it to the pot along with the garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the beans are tender but not mushy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove the ham bone or hocks, cut off the meat; dice and set aside. Drain the peas and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaf, onion pieces, and garlic.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot and bring to a boil. Add the rice, cover, and simmer until the rice is almost tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Mince the remaining onion then add to the rice along with the peas, tomatoes, and their juices, red and green bell pepper, celery, jalapeno pepper, Creole seasoning, thyme, cumin, and salt. Cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced green onions and the reserved diced ham. Serve with hot sauce and freshly baked cornbread.





Enjoy...Have A Happy and Prosperous New Year !  Eat Well My friends.


Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.


1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as Cooking.com.

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website Recalls.gov






Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household