December 30, 2014

Black Garlic Porcupine Bread

1 head black garlic*, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 sourdough boule
3 sprigs worth of thyme leaves
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the bread lengthwise and widthwise, leaving about 1/4 inch thick crust at the bottom, creating 1/2 inch cubes. Meanwhile, melt the butter, oil, garlic, anchovy paste, salt and pepper in a small saucepan. Place the bread on enough to foil to wrap the entire loaf. Drizzle the bread with the oil then sprinkle with cheese, taking care that the majority of the mixture and cheese seeps into the cracks of the bread. Sprinkle with thyme. Wrap with foil and bake, on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. Unwrap and bake an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Look for it at Whole Foods and other well-stocked supermarkets or substitute regular garlic. Black garlic is sticky fermented garlic.
My thoughts:
This is a type of bread I remember seeing at parties back in the '90s (along with dip in a bread bowl--the '90s were lousy with sourdough boules it seems) and it seemed like time to bring it back. I've heard it called "pull apart" bread but porcupine bread is so much cuter sounding. If you were crafty, I bet you could even make it look like a porcupine by cutting out ears and using olives for eyes or something. It is fun for a party but it also a great alternative to regular garlic bread at a good, old-fashioned, Italian-American meal.

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December 23, 2014

Pepperjack Turducken Slammer

4 (1/4 inch thick) slices turducken, warmed*
1 tomato, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 head bibb lettuce, separated into leaves
4 slices pepperjack cheese
8 slices country white bread
optional: mayo or mustard


Place the lettuce on 4 slices of bread. Top with cheese slices, then the turducken, onion and tomato. Spread remaining slices of bread with mayo or mustard, if desired. Top with remaining bread. Serve immediately.

*I used leftover turducken I sliced while cold then warmed in a nonstick skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side. I didn't brown the slices but you want it warm enough to melt the cheese.

My thoughts:
Let's just start out by saying that this is not a sandwich for the fainthearted. It is possibly the most filling sandwich I have ever had and I am including a whole muffaletta from Central Bakery in that claim. Anyway, when I ended up with quite a bit of leftovers from my bacon-wrapped, Italian sausage stuffed Turducken (you can get one too from Costco) I wondered what to do with it all then remembered the episode of Supernatural where Dean tried the Pepperjack Turducken Slammer which turned out to literally turn people mad. As Dean said about turducken, "It's like the perfect storm of your top three edible birds.". I studied the scene and decided to recreate it at home. On Supernatural it was on a bun but that seemed too, well, bready so I went with slices of country white bread. The result? A super filling, savory, over-the-top sandwich that will drive you crazy (in a good way).

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December 19, 2014

Cranberry-Tangerine Ketchup

1 1/2 lb fresh cranberries
3 cloves garlic, quartered
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup fresh tangerine juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon Ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground dried orange peel
1 teaspoon ground roasted ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


Prep your jars/lids. Place all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot. Bring to a rolling boil and cook until most (if not all) the cranberries have burst and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender or ladle in a regular blender to pulse until smooth. Return to a rolling boil and cook until thickened to ketchup consistency if necessary. Ladle into pint jars leaving 1/4 inch headroom. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 pints

My thoughts:
This ketchup is the best way to use up your last bag of cranberries. I love it on turkey or ham sandwiches after the holidays, but it is also good when used like my nemesis, tomato ketchup. Try it on latkes!

 This recipe is part of Ball Jar's 25 days of Making and Giving so consider giving this as a hostess gift this holiday season. Check out the Ball Canning 25 Days of Making and Giving, presented by Jarden Home Brands, until December 22, 2014.

To enter the Making and Giving Promotion, visit  Follow the instructions to enter. One can enter once a day, each day, to win that day’s Daily Prize. Each entry during the first 24 days for a Daily Prize also grants an entry toward the Grand Prize (the FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System – valued at $299!) which will be selected once the contest concludes.

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December 17, 2014


2/3 lb ground pork
2/3 lb ground lean beef
2/3 lb ground veal
1 big carrot, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 1/2 cup cider
1 1/4 cups mashed Russet potatoes*
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1/4 teaspoon chervil or savory
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
pastry for a 2 crust pie
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, sauté meat until no longer pink, breaking up any large chunks. Drain off any fat. Add onions, carrots and spices and saute until the carrots are tender, 8-10 minutes. Add cider and bring to a simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, then stir in potatoes and allow to cool to nearly room temperature.

Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry. Fill with meat filling. Cover with remaining pastry. Pinch shut. Brush with egg. Vent and bake 40 minutes. Allow to sit 5 minutes prior to serving.

*I used roasted Russet potatoes

My thoughts:
Tourtière is a Canadian meat pie served traditionally around Christmas and New Year's. This version is roughly in the style of what is served in Manitoba and has quite a mix of spices! Tourtière in other parts of French-speaking Canada vary in which spices they use but most serve it with chutney or other pickle-y items. It is a bit time-consuming but very easy to make and your whole house will smell fantastic as it bakes! The finished dish is flavorful and well spiced and really does taste like the holidays.

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December 15, 2014

Broiled Oysters with Bacon and Leeks

12 oysters (unshucked)
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 leeks, minced (white parts only!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs or matzo meal

Saute the leeks and garlic in 1 1/2 tablespoons bacon grease until soft. Remove from heat. Add the bread crumbs and bacon bits and stir to combine. Shuck the oysters. Discard top shell.

Place oysters in their shells on large baking sheet or broiling pan.

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over each oyster.

Broil until crumbs are golden, about 3 minutes.

My thoughts:
Oysters are my favorite food if I have to pick just one. Maybe it is growing up in Baltimore but add oysters to anything and I am in! Oyster stew, po'boys, oyster casserole, scalloped oysters, oyster stuffing, oyster Eggs Benedict, whatever! I even put a Buffalo fried oyster on the half shell recipe in my new cookbook. So when I could add two dozen oysters from Barren Island Oysters to my produce delivery one week, I had to do it! We hadn't shucked oysters at home before and it was a little tricky because the oysters' shells were so irregularly shaped but we got the hang of it. If you don't have an oyster knife, you can place them in a 350 oven for about 3-5 minutes or until they start to open. Then you can pry the shells off pretty easily. Since I had the oysters in the half shell, I came up with a savory, bacon-y stuffing for them. It was so good; not overpowering of the oysters at all but a fun, flavorful change from just having raw oysters. Serve as a meal or as an appetizer. The recipe can be easily doubled.

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December 10, 2014

Stripetti Squash with Sage and Romano Cheese

1 2 1/2-lb Stripetti*, halved lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, small dice
5 leaves sage, chiffonade
1/3 cup grated romano cheese
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the squash cut side down on the parchment. Bake for 30 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork. Scoop out the insides. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet. Cook the onion until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the sage, squash, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through and all ingredients are evenly distributed. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese. Serve immediately.

*Stripetti is a cross between delicata squash and spaghetti squash which has thinner, milder strands than typical yellow spaghetti squash. Regular spaghetti squash can be substituted.

My thoughts:
I probably sound like a broken record but I am still really enjoying my weekly produce box. I get a good variety of vegetables and fruit and I have a lot of fun trying to think of ways to use it all up! Sometimes I am surprised, like when my turnip was pink inside or when instead of regular spaghetti squash I got Stripetti. I ended up liking it even more than regular spaghetti squash. I hope it makes it into the box again. I kept it simple and just tossed with with some sage and romano cheese. So good!

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December 05, 2014

Bacon-Apple Kalette Salad

2 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz halved kalettes, lightly steamed and cooled
3 oz crumbled feta
1 large crisp apple (I used Gold Rush) cubed
2 tablespoons aged apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Toss together the bacon, kalettes, feta and apple in a medium bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
My thoughts:
My mom called me all excited about a new vegetable she had read about in a magazine called kalettes. It is a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. I'm a little eh about kale but I like Brussels sprouts so I wanted to give it a try. I couldn't find it anywhere so I finally emailed the kalettes people via their website and they said it is mostly available in California but some Trader Joe's nation-wide sell it under the name "kale sprouts". I do not really care for TJ's (mostly because of many bad experiences at our local one) but I did manage to track it down. I did some experimenting to come up with this salad. Raw, the kalettes were a bit bitter and too tough but a quick steam and cooling took the edge off enough that they could be used in a salad. So, it was a little more work than just tossing them in raw but it the salad was hearty and tasty despite the simple ingredients.

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December 01, 2014

Cranberry-Ricotta Cake


2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2/3 cup half and half, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
pinch salt
1 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a standard loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the egg, ricotta, half and half, oil and vanilla paste. Slowly stream in the dry ingredients (while the mixer is running!) and mix to combine. Fold in cranberries. Pour into prepared pan, bake 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean. Unmold to a wire rack and cool.

My thoughts:

I was asked to come up a recipe that paired well with Lipton tea. Since it is the holiday season, I thought I'd come up with a simple cake that could be served as dessert or better, yet for breakfast! I combined rich ricotta and fresh cranberries to create a cake that is moist, slightly tangy and full of bright cranberry flavor.

I ate it plain, but it would also be good with a drizzle of thinned leftover cranberry sauce, sprinkled with powdered sugar or even toasted and spread with butter. The choice is yours: classic dessert or decadent breakfast?

Sponsored post by Lunchbox, all opinions and recipe are 100% my own.

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November 24, 2014

Pomegranate and Grapefruit Green Salad

5 oz Dole Sweet Baby Lettuces
1 cup pomegranate arils
1 ruby red grapefruit, supremed and diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta

for the dressing:
1 oz ruby red grapefruit juice*
1 oz olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/4 teaspoon honey
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Toss together the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk together the salad ingredients (or shake them in a dressing shaker) until well-combined. Drizzle over the salad. Toss and serve immediately.

*Squeezed out of the bits leftover from supreming the grapefruit.

My thoughts:
Dole approached me to create a recipe for a healthier Thanksgiving side dish. I was excited because it was the excuse I needed to make the grapefruit-pomegranate salad I had thought of last year but never got around to making. I thought the sweet baby greens would be a good choice because I didn't want them to overpower the grapefruit and pomegranate but to complement it. Supreming the grapefruit and peeling the pomegranate was a bit of work but the rest of the salad is so easy! What I would do is prepare the grapefruit, pomegranate and salad dressing the day before Thanksgiving and refrigerate them. Then you just have to toss it all together and serve in the big day! The perfect light, festive yet flavorful side for Thanksgiving!

Check out more healthy Thanksgiving dishes by Dole. My favorites are the Butternut Squash with Eggplant-Pomegranate Sauce because I can't get enough of pomegranate and Vegetable and Kale Au Gratin because it uses up a lot of the vegetables I always have on hand and baby kale is kale even I like!

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November 21, 2014

Turkey Kale Salad with Creamy Dijon Dressing

1 lb sliced turkey breast
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
1 stalk celery, sliced

for the dressing:
1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise (Best Foods on the West Coast)
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon
1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:

Every year, I enjoy sharing Thanksgiving leftovers recipes with you all! They are some of my favorite recipes to create. This year Lunchbox approached about me about developing a leftovers recipe using Hellman's mayonnaise (which I use anyway!) I was happy to do so. I used leftover turkey, carrots and celery from my faux Thanksgiving dinner and some kale I received in my veggie box. It ended up being a very hearty salad, perfect for lunch the day after Thanksgiving.

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November 19, 2014

Leek and Mushroom "Scalloped" Oysters

1 tablespoon butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced (white parts only!)
5 oz shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 pint oysters, drained and liquid reserved
1/3 cup half and half
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 sleeve saltines, crushed (about 1 cup) and toasted*

Preheat oven to 350. Melt the butter in a skillet. Saute the leeks and mushrooms until the leeks are soft and translucent. Scrape into a medium bowl and toss with oysters, parsley and bacon. Stir in spices, half and half, and 1/4 cup oyster liquid. Pour into a buttered, shallow 2 qt baking dish.

Top with toasted saltines. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges and the oysters are cooked through.

*I toasted them in a dry skillet for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally

My thoughts:
I love oysters! To keep with the Maryland theme this year it only made sense to to make an oyster dish. It is creamy but not rich and and tastes of the sea.

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November 17, 2014

Maryland Stuffed Ham Stuffing Balls

1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cups cubed cabbage
3 cups cubed ham, lightly browned
1 bunch lacinato kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
18 oz sliced potato bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cups turkey, ham or chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
freshly ground black pepper
kosher salt

In a large pan, saute onions in butter and olive oil over very low heat until the onions are translucent. Do not brown. Add the cabbage, kale and stock and cook until the vegetables have softened. Scrape into a large bowl and add the bread cubes and the spices. Combine with egg. Form medium-sized balls. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to overnight.

Place balls in the bottom of the roasting pan under the rack and around the turkey on the rack for the last 1/2 hour of roasting and cook until cooked through.

My thoughts:
This year I wanted to stay close at home for Thanksgiving so I went with a vaguely Maryland themed menu. I made an Old Bay-rubbed turkey and arranged these stuffing balls around it. In Southern Maryland the specialty is stuffed ham. A large ham is stuffed with kale, spices, cabbage and onion and then boiled (often in a flannel shirt or pillowcase!). It is tricky to find a stuffed ham all the way up here in Baltimore so I compromised and came up with this stuffed ham-inspired "stuffing". I used smoked ham and the same ingredients I'd stuff a ham with and added slightly sweet potato bread. It was so good! A little different but not so wacky anyone would turn their nose up at it.

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November 14, 2014

Spiced Kuri Squash Pie

2 1/2 cups roasted Kuri squash*, cooled
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
3 eggs
3 tablespoons spiced, dark rum (like Kracken)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1/2 teaspoon ground roasted ginger
1 9-inch graham cracker pie crust

Preheat oven to 350. Place the pulp of the squash in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a regular bowl if you have a hand mixer) and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the buttermilk, eggs, sugar, rum and spices. Beat until smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust**. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through and set. Cool on a wire rack and slice.

*I cut mine in half, scooped out the seeds and roasted it for 40 minutes. I recommend roasting cut-side-down and on parchment-lined baking sheets.
**If you have any leftover filling, bake it in a buttered ramekin and call it a souffle.

My thoughts:

Everyone who knows me knows I hate pumpkin pie. The fact that pumpkin pie flavored things has become so popular chills me.

I do like actual pumpkin and other winter squash so I thought I'd try this riff on the traditional pumpkin pie with new spices and a different squash. I added a Kuri squash to my regular produce box order because I heard it had a "chestnut" like flavor and I've only very rarely seen it at the store. It sounded like the perfect squash for a pie so I roasted it up and it was so much better than pumpkin pie could hope to be.
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Ostkaka (Swedish Cheesecake)

2 1/4 cup whole milk, small or large curd cottage cheese*
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup 2% milk
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar


Preheat oven to 350. Grease or spray with cooking spray a 9-10 inch spring form pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cottage cheese until the curds break down, about 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and milk and beat for 2 minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and beat until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until lightly browned, slightly puffy and a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack. Cool slightly. Run a thin knife around the end of the pan then unmold. Serve warm with fruit compote or better yet, lingonberries.

*If your cottage cheese is wet, drain 20-30 minutes prior to beginning the recipe.

My thoughts:
Ostkaka is so popular in Sweden it has its own national day, today, Novemeber 14th. I love Swedish desserts so I though it was a perfect excuse to make this cheesecake. Ostkaka literally means "cheese cake" and while that certianly is what it is, it is not like American cheesecake, it is denser and much less sweet. In Sweden, it is tradtional to make the cheesecake by starting with fresh milk and curdling it with rennet (which you can do, rennet tablets are available in most grocery stores) but that is a lot of work for a simple dessert. Even in Sweden, most people start with cottage cheese-like farmers cheese. To make it easier to make here in the United States, I started with good quality cottage cheese which is readily available and yield a texture that is very similar. Some recipes call for almond extract, some for slivered almonds, some for grinding your own almonds; all if which are great but I think that almond meal (almond flour) yields the best, natural almond flavor and the most even, consistant results.

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November 12, 2014

Garlic Kale Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 small onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch lacinato kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons milk

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the kale, onion, garlic and potatoes. Boil until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, mash in remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
Are you ready for another side dish? Do you have your Thanksgiving menu down? If not, give these a try! I'm slowly learning to like kale (lacinato kale, anyway) and this is a new favorite was to make it. I boil it all up together and since kale is pretty hearty, it keeps its shape and texture while the garlic and potatoes become meltingly mashable. It is a great way to make mashed potatoes seem like a healthier option! Anything with kale has to be healthy, right? Right? Plus, if you are pinched for time, it can do double duty and be your only side dish.

I served this with roasted Brussels sprouts and tangerines and No Ordinary Pot Roast in case you are wondering what else is in the picture.

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November 10, 2014

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Tangerines

1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
1 onion, cut into half moon slices
juice and zest of 1 tangerine
2 tangerines*, peeled and quartered
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the onion, Brussels sprouts and tangerines in a single layer. Drizzle with tangerine juice and olive oil, sprinkle with zest, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until the sprouts are crispy and browned and the tangerines are slightly caramelized.

*I used juicy Fall Glo tangerines but any variety would work!

My thoughts:
I've been experimenting with a lot of side dishes this fall because, well, the holidays are coming up and I have a lot of produce at all times thanks to my vegetable box deliveries. This is one of the experiments I wasn't sure about but totally worked! Who knew roasted tangerines could be so good? They were juicy and slightly crisp. Brussels sprouts are always awesome roasted but this combination was particularly inspired. Some roasted Brussels sprouts recipes are so heavy, relying on lots of bacon or ham or tons of oil for flavor but these were super light and flavorful. Plus they are easy enough you can throw them together even if you have a ton of other dishes going on.

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November 07, 2014

Chipotle-Squash Lamb Tacos

1 medium onion, cut into rings
3 1/2 lbs boneless leg of lamb
2-3 large banana leaves*

for the sauce/marinade
1 (7-oz) canned chipotle peppers in adobo
1 small onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup roasted acorn squash (about 1/2 of a squash)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

to serve:
shredded red cabbage
diced onion
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
warm corn or flour tortillas

Blend all of the sauce ingredients in a blender until smooth. Set aside.

Line the bottom of a 4 quart slow cooker with the onion rings.

Place the lamb in the middle of the banana leaves. Pour the sauce over the lamb, turning to coat.

Wrap the leaves around the lamb to form a package. Place on the onion rings.

Cover and cook on high 6 hours. Remove the lamb from the slow cooker and cube it. Divide among tortillas and top with desired toppings.

*I buy these frozen and defrost them overnight in the refrigerator.

My thoughts:

The American Lamb Board asked if I'd be willing do create a new recipe using lamb, I was happy to do so! I like lamb but rarely cook with it, it can be tricky to find. I thought I'd make tacos but with a fall-twist; the secret ingredient is acorn squash! It it added a subtle flavor and helped to temper the heat from the peppers. I've always wanted to cook something in banana leaves so when I saw them frozen at the grocery store, I picked them up. Cooking meat for tacos (in a pit!) is a traditional way in Mexico so I tweaked it to work in the slow cooker. It worked well, the meat stayed very moist. It really is a great recipe for someone who perhaps has never tried to cook with lamb before; simple yet yielding delish results.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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November 03, 2014

Jollof Rice

1 red bell pepper
28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
1 scotch bonnet (or habanero) pepper
4 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon madras curry powder
1 beef bouillon cube*
2 tablespoons Lawry's seasoning salt
2 tablespoons ground chipotle pepper
1 lb cubed beef
5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 onion, cut into half moon slices
3 cups beef broth
2 cups (uncooked) basmati rice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/2 lb okra, diced
1/2 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
canola oil for cooking


Cut the bell pepper into slices, brush with oil and put under the broiler until charred. Put pepper slices in a blender with the crushed tomatoes, hot pepper, garlic, bouillon cube, curry powder and nutmeg and blend until it forms a thick sauce.

Cut the chicken thighs into small chunks, and cut the beef into small bite-sized cubes. Season both meats with Lawry's seasoning salt and chipotle pepper. In a hot dutch oven, add a tablespoon of oil and brown the chicken over a medium high heat. Remove the chicken from pot into a bowl and cover to keep warm. Add the beef cubes into the pan and brown well. Add the onion slices once the beef is browned and cook until the onions are soft and fragrant.

Return the chicken to the pot and add the tomato mixture, thyme and the broth. While this is cooking wash and drain the rice 2-3 times and set aside. Cook meat without a lid for 40 minutes over a medium-low heat stirring occasionally. Stir in the rice and cook for 20 minutes on low heat covered with foil and a lid to keep in steam. While this is cooking, sautee the mushrooms in a small amount of oil.

Open the pot and scatter the okra on top, re-cover and cook 10 more minutes. Stir in sauteed mushrooms and serve.

*I suggest Knorr's

My thoughts:
This rice dish is a staple in several areas in West Africa. It is so homey and filling! It does take a bit of time but it is very simple and the results are worth it, I promise! It made a great dinner (we served it with a side of fried plantains) and even the leftovers were good for lunches the next day.

What's funny is that my husband made this last week and then just a day or so later, a lot of controversy erupted over Jamie Oliver's recipe for Jollof Rice that was recently published. It was lambasted for using fresh tomatoes and other ingredients not common or authentic to the dish. I'd like to think we did a better job!

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October 31, 2014

Apple Butter Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese

1 large onion, cut into rings
2 1/2 lb boneless pork roast
1 cup Musselman's apple butter
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
12 slices sourdough bread
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Place the onions in a single layer in the bottom of a 4-quart slow cooker. Place the pork roast on top of the onion. Pour the apple butter, tomato paste, granulated garlic, salt and pepper over the pork. Cover and cook on high 4 hours then on low for 2. Remove the roast and shred with forks or "meat claws". Return to the slow cooker and toss with juices and onion.

Melt a 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a skillet. Meanwhile, divide the cheese evenly among 6 slices of bread. Place a slice or two of cheese topped bread in the skillet. Cook until the cheese is starting to melt. Top with pulled pork and another slice of bread. Flip, cook until golden. Repeat for remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I love apple butter! We go to the Apple Butter Festival in Berkeley Springs, WV where they cook apple butter over wood fires in the town square every year. So when Musselman's asked if I could great a new recipe using their apple butter, I thought it sounded like a great idea. I hadn't tried it before (I normally buy mine at the festival or make my own) but I was happy to try it. I was pleasantly surprised, it was nicely flavored, well-spiced but not to cinnamon heavy like I feared. This made it even easier to make a the pulled pork I planned (I love apple butter and pork!) because I didn't have to add many extra ingredients. I added some tomato paste to keep it from being too sweet and garlic powder but I really didn't need to add much. I carefully pulled the apple butter and tomato paste on top of the pork so it stayed thick during the cooking process. No one likes watery pulled pork! While it would be great just on a sandwich (or as my husband takes it for lunch, over rice) I took it to the next level by incorporating it into a grilled cheese. So good and hearty enough for lunch.

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October 27, 2014

Bolognese Alla Diavolo Pappardelle


For sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup whole milk
½ cup dry red wine
3½ cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce can) diced tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sea salt to taste

For pasta
2 pounds flour
10 eggs
3 tablespoons Frank’s® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce

To make the sauce:

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or tall-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and carrots until the onions are translucent and soft, stirring occasionally, about 5–8 minutes. Add the sausage and ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large chunks, until the meat is browned, about 8–10 minutes.

Add the spices and milk. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the milk has cooked down and the meat looks dry, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine has cooked down and the meat looks dry, about 20 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least 1½ hours and up to 3½ hours, adding small amounts of water occasionally if the mixture looks dry. When the sauce is done, add salt and pepper to taste.

To make the pasta:

Place the ingredients in a large bowl. Start mixing either by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook until a dough forms. Remove the dough to a lightly floured cutting board and knead, sprinkling on small amounts of flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your pasta machine to create sheets of pasta. Gently fold the sheets in half and slice them into 1-inch-wide strips.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, 2–3 minutes.

Drain the pasta and then serve immediately topped with the sauce. Store the pasta and sauce leftovers separately.

My thoughts:
This one of my favorite recipes from my new book, Cooking with Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat, I love it not only because the pasta rolls out like a dream or that it is honestly delicious, it shows how versatile hot sauce can be! Who knew pasta infused with hot sauce would be so good? It tastes spicy, not "hot" and if you didn't know, I don't think you'd guess the secret ingredient was hot sauce!

from the book:

"A classic Italian sauce paired with hot sauce–spiked pasta? Sounds crazy, but trust me, it is amazing. Somehow the addition of the hot sauce makes the pasta silky smooth and incredibly easy to work with. It is the perfect light, tasty, fresh foil for a rich, meaty sauce"

Cooking with Frank's RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat is available now! Click on the title to see it on where is available in hardback or for you Kindle.

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