July 25, 2016

Toasted Marshmallow Apple Butter Milkshakes


for the milkshake:
1/2 cup Musselman's apple butter
1 1/3 cup vanilla bean gelato
1 cup milk
8 large marshmallows

to serve:
whipped cream
cinnamon sticks

Skewer marshmallows on a wooden skewer or fondue fork. Toast over an open burner. Place on parchment paper to cool. When cool, slice 4 marshmallows in half, leaving the other four marshmallows whole.

Place the apple butter, gelato, milk and halved marshmallows in a milkshake maker or blender. Blend until thick and creamy. Pour into 2 glasses. Top each with whipped cream and two whole, toasted marshmallows. Sprinkle with cinnamon and insert cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.

My thoughts:
I've been a Musselman's apple butter blogger for a while now and it has been fun developing recipes using their apple butter so when they approached me to develop a summery recipe using apple butter I agreed but I admit I was a little stumped! Apple butter seems so autumnal to me that I struggled a bit to think of a way to pull it into summer. Then a heatwave hit and I knew what I had to make! It is total milkshake weather. To make it even more summery, I added the campfire classic toasted marshmallows to the mix and the result was a sweet, toasty, spicy delight!

Note: I used gelato in this for a lighter milkshake but vanilla bean ice cream can be substituted.

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July 22, 2016

Summer Vegetable Pasta with Andouille

6 (turkey) andouille sausages, cut into coins
8 oz crimini mushrooms, chopped
3 Hungarian hot wax peppers*, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced
3 small pattypan squash, chopped
2 small bunches collards (~12 stalks, about 4 loose cups chopped), ribs removed and coarsely chopped
10 oz hot, cooked short pasta
freshly ground black pepper


Saute the sausage in a small amount of oil in a large pan until browned on both sides in a large, high-walled skillet. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add the mushrooms, peppers, onion, squash and collards to the pan and saute 1 minute. Cover for 2 minutes or until the collards start to turn bright green. Remove lid and saute until the vegetables are all tender, 10-15 minutes. Toss with hot pasta, serve immediately.

*I think cubanelles would work as a substitution here.
My thoughts:
I love collards. Normally I go the southern route with them and cook them for ages with smoked meat but this time they were so fresh and vibrant looking I went in a different direction. I used them more like I would spinach or chard but being collards, they held their shape better and stood up to a long saute with the other ingredients. I added in some local onions, squash and Hungarian hot wax peppers for extra vegetable goodness and a hint of spice. It was great! Not to heavy, full of flavor and veggies and the turkey andouille provided a lot of hot sausage flavor with very little fat added. Perfect for a summer evening meal.

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July 20, 2016

Zucchini and Feta Stuffed Hamburgers

1 1/3 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 cup finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini), squeezed dry
5 oz feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon dill
freshly ground black pepper

rolls for serving


In a medium bowl, combine the ground beef, zucchini, pepper, feta and dill until well mixed. Form into 6 equal patties.

Prepare grill according to manufacturer's instructions. Grill the burgers for 5-8 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.

My thoughts:
Zucchini season is in full swing right now and though we don't grow it ourselves, my produce box each week has been full of summer squash. This week instead of making it into a side dish, I folded it into some lean ground beef and made some of the moistest burgers I've grilled. Despite the water being wrung out of the zucchini prior to use, it had the magic effect of keeping the burger tender and from over cooking despite a long(ish) time on the grill. The feta helped too, I'm sure and added a yummy salty-savory note to the burgers. Bonus: I had a cheeseburger without having to toss on cheese at the last minute. So if you love flavorful burgers and want to sneak some extra vegetables into your meal these are the burgers for you!

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July 18, 2016

S'Mores Krispie Treats

4 tablespoons butter
13 oz large marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups crisped rice cereal (AKA Rice Krispies)
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 graham crackers, crumbled into big chunks


Coat 13x9x2 inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the cereal, chips, graham crackers (chunks and any crumbs!). Set aside.

Melt butter over low heat in a large, tall pot. Add marshmallows and vanilla and stir until nearly completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in cereal, chips and graham crackers. Use a greased spoon or spatula the cereal into the pan. Use the back of the spoon to press it firmly into the pan in an even layer. Cool, cut into squares and eat.

My thoughts:
It has been forever since I made Rice Krispie treats! I was snacking on some S'mores flavored marshmallows recently and thought how great would this flavor be in a Rice Krispie treat? As it turns out? So good! The chocolate melts and coats a lot of the cereal (yum!) but a few chunks remaining so every bite is full of chocoalte-y goodness. The graham cracker is a more subtle addition, the cereal is alreafy pretty crunchy but since I broke the crackers over the bowl of cereal, the flavor is there adding that authentic S'mores flavor. All of the taste of the campfire classic made into shareable bars.

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July 14, 2016

Salade d'Oeuf

6 hard-boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon
4-6 cornichons, finely diced
3/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
3 tablespoons finely diced sweet onion


Slice eggs in half and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a food processor or mini chopper. Set aside.

Chop up the whites. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

Place the mayonnaise, mustard, and Herbes de Provence in the mini chopper with the yolks. Pulse until smooth. Pour over the chopped eggs. Add the cornichons and onion and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

My thoughts:
Impressed by my French? I can't say I saw any egg salad in France when we were in Lille last month but I did see quite a bit of it when I was in London, Bath and Windsor. So many British sandwiches with hard-boiled eggs! In France, I ate a lot of  the Welsh, sort of a Frenchified Welsh Rarebit and steak with their famously pungent cheese, mariolles, melted over it for lunch, not egg salad. Anyway! Since it is Bastille Day, I thought I'd share this Frenchified egg salad I had for lunch back here in Baltimore.

What makes this egg salad French is the use of some of my favorite French imports: cornichons, Dijon mustard, and Herbs de Provence. I used my Rodelle Herbes de Provence (alas, my trip was far from Provence so I didn't bring any back with me) which is a coarse blend of thyme, fennel, basil, savory, and lavender. This added a ton of herbalious flavor which really elevated this from an ordinary egg salad to one I'd serve to guests. The cornichons added the pickle-y flavor I love so much and a bit of crunch.

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July 12, 2016

Yakitori-Inspired Spicy Asparagus and Bacon

5 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 lb thin asparagus, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 teaspoon ichimi togarashi (coarsely ground dried Japanese chili)*

Fry the bacon pieces until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. Add the asparagus and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bacon. Sprinkle with ichimi togarashi. Serve immediately.

*Shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7-spice powder) is a good alternative.

My thoughts:
One of my favorite yakitori dishes is bacon-wrapped asparagus served on a skewer. It is so simple but so good, especially when they go the extra step of sprinkling it with spices. I was going to make that but the asparagus I had was so skinny, it was unskewerable. So I took the idea and made this sauteed version instead. Just as good but a little easier, making it a great choice for a weeknight side dish. The  ichimi togarashi adds some heat but not overwhelmingly so letting the asparagus really shine.

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July 06, 2016

Roasted Eggplant, Fava Bean and Feta Salad

1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 small sweet onions*, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh, shelled fava beans
1 cup mixed olive-cured spicy olives**, sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup cubed feta
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with foil. Toss the eggplant and onion with some olive oil, (light) salt, and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile, boil the fava beans for 2 minutes in a small pot. Drain. Cool. Place in a medium bowl. Add garlic, olives, feta and the cooled onion and eggplant. Toss to evenly distribute all ingredients. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 hours to meld the flavors.

*I used sweet candy onions
**I buy mine by the pound at my local Italian store but they should be available at any olive bar. They have loads of red pepper flakes so they are pretty spicy!

My thoughts:
I'd never encountered fresh fava beans until just recently when they made an appearance in my weekly produce box. I was surprised at how thick and almost velvety the pods were. Who knew? The yield wasn't huge (possible because I waited a while to shell them) but it was enough to make this vaguely Greek, Mediterranean-eque salad. When you are making it, it looks like you are going to have 10x the eggplant as everything else but remember, it cooks down quite a bit and the final fava to eggplant ratio is quite good. I also used some spicy olives I had leftover from my pan-European snackies dinner that turned out to be an inspired choice, they flavored the whole dish with virtually no effort on my part. I like spicy olives but they can be a bit much on their own, however, they are perfect in salads like this what help keep them from overpowering everything. And the feta? Well, who doesn't like cheese? I cut mine up from a big brick but feel free to use pre-cubed. I think the salad is the absolute best the first day but it is still pretty good 2-3 days later if you have leftovers. Just make sure to refrigerate them in a nonreactive container.

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