September 29, 2014

Dark Chocolate Coconut Kiss Drops

24 dark chocolate kisses, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (sometimes sold as "desiccated" coconut)


Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg, buttermilk and vanilla paste. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (except coconut). Slowly stream into the bowl as the beater is running. Scrape the bowl down using a spatula. Scoop tablespoons of dough and place on sheet, about 3/4 inches apart. Sprinkle with coconut. Bake 8-10 minutes or until  cookie is just set. Remove from oven. Cool 2 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen cookies (recipe can be doubled)

My thoughts:
I was asked by OXO to create a recipe using OXO products (I used my spatula set to scrape down the bowl) as part of their Cookies for Kids' Cancer campaign. By making this batch of cookies, OXO will will donate $100 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer on my behalf. Since the cookies were for a children's charity, I wanted to make something kid-friendly. What is more kid-friendly than a cookie topped with candy? The recipe is super easy and kids will have fun sprinkling the coconut and carefully pressing a candy into each one. I loved (still love!) dark chocolate and coconut as a child so that was my inspiration for the flavor choices. Slightly cakey-chewy they remind me of a coconut macaroon crossed with a sugar cookie, topped with chocolate.

For every stickered item sold, OXO will donate 25 cents in support of pediatric cancer research as part of its $100,000* pledge to Cookies for Kids' Cancer. Look for specially marked OXO products at participating retailers in September.

* In 2014, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer through specially marked baking tools, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

September 19, 2014

Carrot Top Frittata with Spinach, Ham and Asiago

9 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 carrot, finely diced
1 cup cooked white rice
2 portobello caps, diced
1 bunch carrot tops, finely chopped
1 bunch spinach, finely chopped
1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
8 oz ham, cubed
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup coarsely grated Asiago
olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Brown the ham on all sides in In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, heat oil and butter. Whisk together the eggs, spices, cheese and buttermilk, put aside. Add the garlic, onions, ham, mushrooms and carrot and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the carrot tops, spinach, rice and parsley. Cook until the greens are wilted. Add the egg mixture. Stir to evenly distribute all ingredients. Keep on medium heat and cook until just beginning to set. Bake about 10 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown. Remove from pan and slice.

My thoughts:
Did you know you can eat carrot greens? I had vaguely thought they were poisonous but when I got these huge carrots with lovely greens from our weekly Washington's Green Grocer delivery I googled it and it turns they are perfectly edible. I think they look like other, actually poisonous plants but since these had carrots attached, I knew I wasn't just eating some random, wild field green. As it turns out they are super tasty! They taste a lot like like slightly bitter greens but with a carrot after taste and aroma. YUM! We had some other odds and ends from our delivery, buttermilk from our milkman and mushrooms from the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival so I turned it all into this really hardy frittata that I can't want to have again.

It even made good leftovers!

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

September 10, 2014

Eggs Benedict
 with Hot Hollandaise


For hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks

1 tablespoon cold water
3 tablespoons Frank’s® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
1⁄2 cup hot melted butter

For serving:
8 eggs, poached

4 English muffins, toasted
8 slices Canadian bacon

To make the hollandaise, place the egg yolks, water, and Frank’s® RedHot® Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce in a blender and cover. Blend until the mixture is frothy, about 30 seconds. Remove the center insert of the blender cover, and, while the machine is running, stream in the butter very slowly. Continue to blend until a thick sauce forms, about 3 minutes.

To poach the eggs bring a pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of white vinegar, and crack your eggs, one at a time into the boiling water. Let cook for 6 minutes. Alternatively, you can try using silicone poach pods. Spray the pads with cooking spray, then add the eggs and float them in a small, covered saucepan of boiling water for about 6 minutes.

Using 4 plates, place 2 halves of each English muffin on each plate, cut side up. Place the Canadian bacon in a dry skillet and cook over low heat 1–2 minutes or until warmed through. Place a slice of Canadian bacon on each of the 8 English muffin halves on plates. Top each with a poached egg. Drizzle with hollandaise. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I'm excited to share this recipe with you all because it comes from my latest cookbook, Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat! I spent the better part of a year developing 65 new recipes for this cookbook using a variety of Frank's sauces.
I wanted it to be a book beyond just wings (although it includes Classic Buffalo Wings, Baked Hot Wings, Mexican Beer Wings with Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce, Atomic Wings and Sweet Thai Wings!) so there is a breakfast chapter that includes this recipe among others. There are also lunch recipes like Spicy Ranch Chicken Salad with Gorgonzola and Beer-Battered Chicken Sandwiches; dips and sauces such as Ultimate Hot Baltimore Crab Dip and Hot and Spicy Cocktail Sauce; dinner-worthy recipes like Red Hot Sopes with Slow Cooker Carnitas and Chili Pie; side dishes like Mexican Street Corn Off the Cob and Blue Cheese Pecan Broccoli Slaw and there is even a sweets chapter with Hot Nuts Brittle and Honeyed Beer–Hot Sauce Ice Cream.

Cooking with Frank’s RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce: Delicious Recipes That Bring the Heat is available for Amazon in both hardback and for the Kindle, and is coming soon to a bookstore near you!

Until then, enjoy this sneak peek!

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

September 08, 2014

Beet & Blue Salad

for the salad:
3 large beets, roasted
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese*
1/4 cup toasted pecans

1 shallot, grated
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Quarter beets. Place in a small bowl. Add cheese and pecans. Set aside.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Drizzle with dressing when ready to serve.

Yield: about 4 side servings

*I actually used Ädelost, a Swedish blue cheese but Stilon or Gorgonzola would work as well.

My thoughts:
I came up with this simple salad to use up beets I got in my last Green Grocer box using pecans, blue cheese and dressing ingredients I had on hand. I was a little skeptical something so easy would be tasty but I was pleasantly surprised! The sharp blue cheese was the perfect foil for earthy beets and the honeyed dressing added a touch of sweetness. A great salad to ease you toward colder days.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

September 05, 2014

Cookie Studded Buttermilk Chocolate Bundt Cake

2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 3.5-oz package Bahlsen Waffeletten Dark Chocolate cookies

for the glaze
1/4 cup buttermilk*
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Spray with baking spray or grease and flour one Bundt pan. Set aside.

Place the cookies in a resealable bag. Use your hands to crunch them into coarse crumbs (as pictured above). Set aside

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the buttermilk, sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla paste until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa. With the mixer running, stream in the dry ingredients and beat until well-incorporated. Fold in 1/2 cup cookie crumbs. Scrape into prepared Bundt pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a thin knife inserted in the cake comes out with just a few damp crumbs.

Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Drizzle cake with glaze then sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

*I use buttermilk my milkman delivers straight from the farm. It is very thick. If using store-bought buttermilk, you may need to add additional confectioners sugar to get to glaze consistency.

My thoughts:
German-based (but widely available here in the US)  Bahlsen recently invited me to enter their “Let the Good Times Roll” contest. I was invited to use their chocolate-dipped Waffeletten cookies to make a festive, easy-to-make birthday cake to celebrate the 125th birthday of Bahlsen. My own birthday just passed and I had been thinking a lot of about the birthday cakes I've had over years and thought it would be fun to try my hand at a cake incorporating cookies that I already loved.

To me birthday cakes are a simple, homemade affair. Growing up we always had a from-scratch chocolate or hot milk cake (who wants a cake mix cake for their birthday? Blah.) that my mom would often top with whatever toy we were into at the moment. I remember one pink cake topped with small My Little Pony "flutter pony" figures that I loved. No fancy, over-the-top icing or decorations and certainly no yucky fondant. I wanted to recapture that homey, free, happy feeling with this cake. I skipped My Little Pony toppers this time, but I created a cookie-studded cake so easy a kid could make it. Bundt cakes are my go-to for simple cakes these days because they don't need to iced, plain or with a basic glaze is perfection. The cookies "melt" inside but provide a burst of chocolate flavor when you bite into them. The result: a moist, chocolate-y cake that is special enough for any birthday but doesn't require a culinary degree to make!

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg

Full disclosure: Bahlsen sent me two boxes of cookies to experient with and I hear I will also receive a Tiffany cake plate for my efforts at some point in the future. 

September 03, 2014

Mississippi Comeback Sauce

3/4 cup cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chili sauce (like Heinz)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
juice of 1 lemon
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours prior to serving.

My thoughts:
This sauce is a classic from, you guessed it, Mississippi. It is said to have been the invention of a Greek restaurant in Jackson called The Rotisserie but I've found versions of it all over the South.

It is sort of like tomato-y remoulade which makes it great for dipping fried seafood (especially catfish!) in, but it is also great with fries. I've heard you can also use it like salad dressing a la Thousand Island but I personally haven't tried that.

 photo coconut-sig_zpsb2fb208a.jpg