Monday, December 30, 2013

crispy potato rounds

These little beauties are like a cross between oven roasted potatoes and a potato chip. These toe the line between crispy perfection and soft loveliness. They're pretty much awesome.
 A step that you don't get to see, but is going on right now, is a pan in the oven. This is pretty important. A pan in a preheating oven to drop the potatoes on later. Now, you gotta start off with some thin sliced potatoes. These are just regular old white potatoes. Nothing fancy.
Place those potatoes slices in some cold, cold water and bring the whole pot up to a boil together. Along with some salt. Once the potatoes are soft, but not falling apart, drain.
Here's where all the good stuff comes from. Drizzle in some olive oil, sprinkle in some salt, and really get into those potatoes with a spatula. Really, move them around and stir them up until you have a pasty substance on the outside. You want that.
It's hard to see the paste, but it's there. I promise.
A little extra oil goes a long way, especially on a hot pan.
Onto the pan goes the potatoes, and into the oven goes the pan. For about, 20 minutes. These will get tossed half way through, then another 10 minutes in the oven.
Yum yum! I like the extra crispy bits, I don't know about you. These are yummy. Very yummy.
Crispy Potato Rounds
Thanks for the great recipe, Tracey's Culinary Adventures!
2 1/2 lb white potatoes, cleaned and sliced to 1/4 inch rounds
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a clean and dry baking pan in the oven on the bottom rack. Place sliced potatoes in a sauce pan and cover with water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a cool and cook for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are soft but not crumbling. Drain and add to a large bowl. Drizzle in 3 Tablespoons of oil and salt. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes to form a pasty exterior. Remove baking pan from oven and drizzle remaining olive oil onto pan. Shake potatoes onto hot pan and bake in oven for 20 minutes. Toss potatoes and cook an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

raspberry crumble bars

My favorite part of any muffin, or strudel, or pie is always the crumbly topping. Always. Crust is always my favorite. So when I saw this recipe, I thought... oh! It's basically like a dream come true. All the yumminess of a pie, but extra crust. Who could ask for anything more?
So just like any other crust, this starts with flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. That's it!
To make the crumb nice and tasty and perfect, you'll want to cut in a stick of COLD butter and one egg.
You can use a fork, your fingers, a pastry cutter... anything you've got to cut the butter into the flour. You don't need a fine crumble, just enough to make sure most of the flour is incorporated.
You'll want to pour half the crumble into your greased pan and press it around with your fingers in one even layer.
Yes. Just like that. Now it's time to make the fruit spread.
To make my life immensely easier, I use raspberry jam. I always seem to have jams and jellies in my cabinet that I rarely use, so this was a great opportunity to use some up.
To make the fruit easier to spread, I warmed it in a small saucepan with some cornstarch, lime juice, lime zest and the tiniest bit of salt.
Once the jam is nice and loosey-goosey and will spread around the pan easier, pour it all over the crumble.
You'll just want to wiggle a large spoon back and forth to spread the jam- if you try to push it around, it'll bring up some of the crumble.
Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top of the jam and pop into the oven. This will cook for about 35-40 minutes.
Ooh, la la! Here's a big tip! LET THIS COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE CUTTING. You will have a big mess of jam on your hands. And on your counter. And on your floor. And everywhere else. I just pop mine into the fridge for a few hours and then... voila! What a yummy breakfast!
Raspberry Crumble Bars
Adapted from the good people at Smitten Kitchen!
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold salted butter, cubed
1 egg
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
Juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Drop in egg and cubed butter, then using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in butter until coarse crumbles form. Spray an 8x8 baking pan with cooking spray, and pour in 1/2 of the crumbs. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. In a small saucepan, warm together the jam, lime juice and zest and the pinch of salt. Once the jam is warmed, pour the jam over the crumble and push around with a spoon until it goes almost to the edge of the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the crumble over the jam and place in oven. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until crumble is browned and jam is bubbly. Let cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Friday, December 20, 2013

pizza dogs

I got the inspiration for this dish from a pizza place here in Savannah. They do this thing with a 1/4 lb beef hot dog where they wrap it in dough and put cheese on top. They give you mustard to dip it in and they're pretty awesome. But, I thought to myself "Why don't they just put pepperoni in there?" This is almost like a hot dog stromboli. Ed suggested that I do a whole section on just food that I wrap up in bread. I'm okay with that.
This is what I use to make my Pizza Dogs. Nathan's Dinner Beef Franks are all beef and no mystery meat, either. I could only eat 1/2 of these rolls, which means that 4 of these franks go a long way.
I want to make sure my franks are completely warmed through before I even pop them in the oven. Nothing would make these more terrible than a cold hot dog in the middle of some warm cheese and dough. I don't want them browned- just warmed and not much more.
We are going to use a whole pound of pizza dough. You can make your own- you can cheat like I do and buy fresh raw dough from a local bakery or pizza shop. I cheat a lot when it comes to dough. That one pound needs to be split into 4 parts.
Each one of those little sections is going to be stretched into a semi-rectangular shape.
Here's the pizza part- sliced mozzarella and sliced deli pepperoni. You can use small pepperoni, but the deli pepperoni fits so much easier.
And now it's frank time! I put my hot dog on one side of the rectangle and then roll it up. It seems easier that way.
Perfect. It doesn't look like much, but it packs a whollop of flavor!
Each one of these is getting a little brush of egg wash and a sprinkle of kosher salt before being popped into a preheated oven until the crust is nice and browned and perfect.
That's what I'm talkin' about! Now all that you need is a knife, a fork and some marinara!
Pizza Dogs
1 14 oz. package Nathan's Dinner Franks, or other large beef hot dogs
1 lb raw fresh pizza dough, split into 4 equal parts
1/4 lb sliced deli pepperoni
4 slices sliced deli mozzarella
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Marinara, for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm dinner franks for 3-5 minutes without browning. Stretch each section of dough into a rectangle approximately the length of the franks and about 3 times the width. Layer slices of deli mozzarella and pepperoni onto the fresh dough, then top with the warmed frank. Roll each piece of dough around the frank and lay seam side down onto a greased baking pan. Repeat until all franks are gone. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until dough is browned and golden. Serve with warm marinara and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

chocolate croissants

Yum yum yum. Yum yum yumm, yum yummy yum yum. Oh. Sorry. I was speaking food. What I was trying to say is, these are easy. These are perfect. These disappeared fast. Maybe I should make some more. With only 3 ingredients, they are super easy to whip up.
Start with some puff pastry. Defrosted puff pastry. Frozen will break on you and that's no good.
I rolled the puff pastry just a tiny bit. Not too much. Just enough to thin it out and make it a bit larger.
Then I slice the puff pastry into 8 equal pieces. One for each chunk of chocolate!
Fold the puff pastry over each little chunk of chocolate, then brush the rest of the pastry with egg wash. Roll up and that's it. Seriously, that's it.
Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Brush the tops of each croissant with more egg wash, and I crimp the edges of mine just a little bit. It doesn't do much, but I do it all the same. These are going to go into the fridge for 10 minutes to firm up, then into the oven.
10 minutes is all the baking time you need. You don't want them to be browned, just very slightly golden. Powdered sugar is necessary but not required. You may be tempted to eat one of these immediately, but I do recommend waiting a few minutes. Burning your mouth on chocolate isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's certainly not the best.
Chocolate Croissants
What a wonderful idea, The Comfort of Cooking!
1 sheet puff pastry, dethawed
1 bar chocolate, broken into 8 pieces
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
Powdered sugar, for dusting

Whisk together egg and water. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out puff pastry then slice into 8 rectangles. Place a piece of chocolate onto the end of each rectangle. Fold over the puff pastry over the chocolate, then brush the egg wash over the remaining pastry. Finish rolling then place onto a baking pan, seam side down. Repeat until all chocolate and puff pastry is gone. Crimp edges with a fork, then brush with egg wash. Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes than bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until very slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let set for 10 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

bbq baked beans

When Ed and I met, he had a can of baked beans in the cabinet and it kind of hung out in there for years... until one day it disappeared. Or at least, I didn't notice it had vanished. Like, one day, it got tired of waiting to be eaten, so it got up and left. Ed didn't eat it. I definitely didn't eat it, and unless the dogs figured out how to use a can opener, they didn't eat it either. Maybe it went into a bag for food donation, maybe Ed ate it one night coming back from the bar, maybe it got lost in a move somewhere, but that was one mysterious can of beans.
So, since we don't have that go-to can of beans in the cabinet anymore, I went for broke and made my own. Turns out, it's pretty easy. And pretty darn delish! How can anything that starts with bacon be bad? I mean, really? These are whatcha call "bacon ends". It's the not-so-pretty portion of bacon slicing that most grocery stores don't have. The butcher we go to now, however, has lots of bacon ends for sale, and it's SUPER cheap. And, it's perfect for dishes like this; bacon used for seasoning.
The bacon shouldn't be crispy. You just want to render the fat and make the bacon soft and squishy. Set the bacon aside, because we aren't done with it yet!
To all that bacon fat you rendered, you'll add in the onions and bell pepper and the garlic. This will become amazing and delicious because it's cookin' in the bacon fat.
While the veggies are cooking away, it's a good time to mix up the liquids. This particular bean recipe is BBQ baked beans, so it's gotta have barbecue- of course. You can make your own, but I just used a hickory barbecue sauce and it was just fine. To that is some Worcestershire sauce, some molasses, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, salt, pepper and chicken stock. That's it! Whisk it up!
Now, it's time for the beans! These are baked beans, after all. This is two cans worth of drained pinto beans. I know some people like using pork and beans, but I like my beans to be undoctored. HOWEVER, I have no patience for soaking, rinsing and boiling beans. No ma'am. Mix this up with the sauce we made a minute ago then transfer into an oven safe dish with a lid.
 Make sure you sprayed the bottom of the pan (or pot in this case) with some non-stick cooking spray. Or, you will be sorry. I was.
Remember that bacon from earlier? How you could you forget? It's going right on top. Top your pot with the lid, and pop this in the oven to bake for AT LEAST an hour. Not because the beans need it, but because the sauce will get better, and better, and better. I cooked mine for 2 hours. I wouldn't cook for much longer than that, though, you don't want the sauce to reduce too much. You'll never use can beans again!
BBQ Baked Beans
2 can pinto beans, drained
1/4 lb bacon ends, or 8 strips of bacon
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 Tablespoons molasses
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a cast iron skillet or saute pan, cook bacon until soft and have rendered about 1/4 cup of fat. Remove from pan and set aside. To the bacon fat, add the diced onion, peppers and minced garlic. Cook vegetables in the bacon fat until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together barbecue sauce, chicken stock, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard  powder, black pepper and salt. Add drained beans to vegetables in the pan, and stir in sauce. Transfer to a baking dish with a lid. Top with cooked bacon and cover with lid. Bake in oven for at least 1 hour, up to 2 hours. Let sit for 5 minutes to thicken slightly before serving. Enjoy!