Monday, March 24, 2014

Croque Madame

We were given tons of farm fresh eggs and they are perfect for this kind of sandwich. A croque madame is simply a croque monsieur with an egg on top!

Croque Madame

sourdough bread  
black forest ham
jarlsberg cheese, grated
dijon mustard
white sauce
egg {cooked to your preference}

  • Turn on the broiler and toast the pieces of bread for about 5 minutes, turning over once. I do this so that the bread doesn't get as soggy when you put the sandwiches together.
  •  Make the white sauce as directed and set aside.
  • To assemble the sandwiches take one slice of the bread and slather it with the dijon mustard, layer two spoonfuls of the white sauce, 2-3 slices of ham, some of the jarlsberg cheese and more white sauce on the second slice of bread and put that on top. 
  • Now take more of the white sauce and spoon it on the top of the assembled sandwich. Layer with the remaining cheese. And for the finishing touch, spoon on more of the white sauce over the top, almost covering the cheese.
  • Turn on the broiler again and set on the lowest setting {if you have one} and cook for about 7 minutes, turning once or twice. The cheese will be melted and the sauce on top will have a nice brown coloring.
  • Once the sandwich is ready, add a cooked egg to the top.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus

Tim really wanted some hummus today, voila. If you're in a hurry, you can even go to your grocery stores olive bar and pick up some ready made roasted garlic and red peppers.

Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas, drain and reserve liquid
8 cloves garlic, roasted
1/2-1 red pepper, roasted
2 tablespoons of liquid from chickpeas
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

About a year and an half ago we went to Park City to watch Chris run a marathon and before eating lunch went into a store called It's F'N Hot. They sell many different kinds of hot sauces, salsas, drink mixes, spices and even dried peppers. I knew Tim would love the store, so I made it a priority stop. We sat at the counter and taste tested many different hot sauces, many being made from ghost chili and trinadad scorpion peppers. We also discovered that many of the sauces had added pepper extract which gave them that burning pain you usually feel when you eat them. We aren't too fond of those so we went with a more pure sauce, just the pepper and a few ingredients. Tim's been eating it on literally everything which means we will need more soon!

While we were there, his dad picked up a seasoning called Slap Ya Mama, a southern spice seasoning. I decided to use it in our stuffed peppers to give them an extra kick.

Stuffed Peppers

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6-8 oz hot italian sausage
2 cups rice, cooked
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon slap ya mama seasoning
salt, to taste

6-8 peppers, seeded and halved
1/2 cup cheese, shredded

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and cook the onions and garlic until translucent.
  • Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is completely cooked. Add the cooked rice, tomato sauce, slap ya mama seasoning and salt.
  • Cut the peppers tops off, seed them and cut in halve, if needed. Depending on the type and size of the pepper halving might not be necessary.
  • Stuff each pepper with the sausage-rice mixture and put onto a baking sheet lined with foil.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Moroccan Beef Tagine

I love ethnic food and any reason to make my own spice blends. I had never heard of ras el hanout until yesterday and was intrigued. I had most of the spices, so that was a plus for making it! I've also changed the prunes to golden raisins. I love golden raisins and think they are a better replacement. Another provision was made, I'm using basmati rice instead of cous cous. I do enjoy cous cous and it's usually served with this type of meal, but I have a lot of rice and knew it would work just as well.

Moroccan Beef Tagine
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 1/2 lb stewing beef
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix {recipe below}
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
cilantro {fresh}
1 14 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock, divided
1 1/2 lb butternut squash, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
3 1/2 oz golden raisins
slivered almonds, toasted

  • Mix all the spices together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator overnight. That way the spices will penetrate and flavor the meat. 
  • When you're ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or dutch oven and cook the meat over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the onion and cilantro stalks and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in half of the stock and stir. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on the pan and reduce to a simmer for 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Add the squash, raisins and remaining stock once ready. Give everything a gentle stir, then put the lid back on the pan and continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours.
  • Once the time is up, take the lid off and check the consistency. If it seems a bit too watery, simmer for 20 minutes more with the lid off. Season with salt and scatter the cilantro leaves and toasted almonds over the tagine.

Ras El Hanout Spice Mix:

2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cardamon
2 teaspoons ground mace
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • Mix all of the ingredients together.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Chocolate on chocolate action. I'm actually not the biggest fan of sweets, but these cupcakes are great because they have bittersweet chocolate and coffee in them. Coffee really compliments chocolate well. This buttercream is an american buttercream. Meaning it consists of powdered sugar, something I'm not the biggest fan of. But, under the circumstances, I think it works. I'm hoping to experiment with some different buttercream recipes soon to figure out what I like best.

Chocolate Cupcakes
Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

3 oz bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
3/4 cup coffee {hot}
3/4 cup bread flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a standard-size muffin pan with liners. 
  • Place the chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the muffin pan cups. Bake until the cupcakes are set and just firm to the touch, around 17-19 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

1 cup butter, softened {unsalted}
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

  • Cream the butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn the mixer off.
  • Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. 
  • Increase the mixer speed to medium and add the vanilla, salt, and cream; mixing for 3 minutes.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Pan-Sautéed Halibut with Caper-Chive Cream Sauce

I'm a bit excited because I ordered my 36 cupcake holder yesterday. I've been making cupcakes a lot more lately and haven't had the best way of transporting them. Which reminds me... I'm going to make chocolate cupcakes for a friends daughters birthday on Thursday. I'll be posting about them! Hopefully this holder will work out! 

Anyway, halibut is on this menu this week! I've been craving wild rice as well so it's paired with that and some steamed broccoli.

Pan-Sautéed Halibut with Caper-Chive Cream Sauce

3-6 halibut filets, deboned and skinned
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
slap yo mama seasoning
creole spice blend

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle fish evenly with the seasonings.
  • Melt the butter in the pan and add fish; cook 2 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove fish from pan; keep warm.

Caper-Chive Cream Sauce:

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
1/4 cup chives
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
salt, to taste

  • In the pan used to cook the fish, turn down the heat to medium-low heat and add the butter, olive oil and white wine. Let simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and capers and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until completely mixed. Add the cream and allow to stir until thickened.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the desired consistency is achieved.