Basalmic goat cheese crostini

Here was an experiment that began with a delicious baguette and left over goat cheese. This turned out nicely and we paired it with some wine. For this situation I chose to make it like a French bread pizza, however slicing it as Crostini would be ideal and what I would do next time.

You will need:

  • Fresh baguette
  • 8 oz goat cheese
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 onions
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • Basalmic glaze (you can make it or buy it)* recipe below

Step one:

Cut baguette in half and place on a baking pan. Preheat oven to 350. 

Step two:

Heat olive oil on medium high heat. Cook onions for at least five minutes. Add tomatoes and cook down until onions are caramelized.

Step three: 

Sprinkle mozzarella on bread. Add onions and tomatoes. Add goat cheese and fresh cracked pepper. Place in oven and cook for 8 -10 minutes.

Step four:

While bread is cooking in the oven, slice spinach and gently sauté over medium heat using the same pan you used for the onions. Cook until tender and set aside.
Step five:
Sprinkle spinach on top of the bread and drizzle with glaze. Enjoy!

To make basalmic glaze:

Bring 2 cups basalmic vinegar and 1/2 cup brown sugar to a boil and reduce heat for twenty minutes.

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Twix Cookies

 I found the basic recipe off of Pinterest and thought I would give it a try. I think the shortbread cookie was a nice touch – I modified the recipe a tiny bit for my purposes. Also, the original calls for a biscuit cookie-cutter, but I used smaller rounds so people could enjoy a bite-sized treat. Source: http://www.chef-in-training.com

Recipe Ease: simple, but has several steps

You will need:

  • One bag Kraft caramels
  • One bag milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tbs evaporated milk
  • One cup confectionar sugar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Step one:

Preheat oven to 350°.Cream butter and sugar. Add in salt, vanilla, and the flour. Blend until combined well.

Step two: Roll out dough with a rolling pen and some flour. Cut with a biscuit cutter or round cookie cutter. Assemble cookies onto a cookie sheet and bake for 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before the next step. I put my cookies in the freezer to hasten the process.

Step three: Melt caramel in the microwave. If necessary, add the  evaporated  milk to the caramel for smoother spreading. Spread the Caramel onto the cooled cookies. Again, allow to cool off before the next step.

Step four: Melt the milk chocolate in 30 second increments in the microwave. Spread the chocolate onto the caramel layer. Enjoy!

Caprese Chicken

This was a delicious choice for the summer. I used fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden, and the result was a really simple, refreshing meal. I served it with mashed potatoes, and would definitely add more tomatoes next time, as they were the highlight of the meal, in my opinion. Using a good quality balsamic vinegar is also important – there are many types that are infused with flavors that would be interesting to try.
Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast
  • Olive oil, 2-3 tbs
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, good quality.
  • Fresh basil, chiffanade (cut into strips)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half.
  • Mozzarella, fresh and thinly sliced. (you may substitute shredded)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step one:

Heat olive oil on medium heat. Salt and pepper the chicken liberally. Cook chicken for six minutes on each side, and then remove from heat.

Step two:

Saute garlic in the balsamic vinegar for several minutes, until softened. Add the basil and tomatoes and cook it down for a couple of minutes, until they begin to soften.

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Step three:

Add the chicken back in the pan, and thinly sliced mozzarella on top. Cook until the mozzarella is melted, and serve. Enjoy!

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Drunken Noodles

 Recipe Ease: easy

Length: 25 minutes

I’m a big fan of Thai Food. My personal favorites are Tom Yum Soup and Red Curry; however, I will never turn down a bowl of Drunken Noodles. The spice, the aroma comforts me instantly.

When I did my research (okay, just googled) the name, I found many theories. Some say you have to be drunk to eat all of that spice, or that the chef must be drunk to throw in such a variety of ingredients, or that it is a famous hangover cure. Regardless, the dish didn’t seem that difficult to make.

While you could find most of the ingredients at a typical grocery store, I opted to go to an international market which had a huge variety of soy sauce, fish sauce and the like. The recipe calls for thick soy sauce, and this is far more thick than the soy sauce we are used to. You could add molasses or honey to regular or use Hoisin in a pinch. I pointed out in the ingredient list where you can use a substitute if you have trouble tracking down the ingredients.

The beauty of the dish is you can put in whatever you like. Many recipes called for egg or tofu. I added in some baby bok choy because it looked so fresh and nice at the supermarket. We served it with beer, and it was the perfect dish for a cold, snowy night.

You will need:

  • 12 oz bag rice flake noodles, soaked in warm water for 8 -10 minutes and drained.
  • 2-3Tbsp. Thai chili garlic oil (you can use sriracha)
  • 4 Tbsp thick soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 4 Tbsp Fish sauce
  • 3 tbs sesame oil (you can use canola)
    3 cloves garlic, minced.
    1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
    12 medium sized shrimp, cleaned
  • 1/2 1lb chicken breast, sliced thinly
    1 red bell pepper cut into bite-sized pieces.
    1 Cup packed fresh thai basil leaves. (you can use regular basil)

 

What gorgeous veggies

I found some great sauces at the local international mart

 

One package easily fed 5 people
Steps:
1. Whisk Thick soy, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili oil and fish sauce together and set aside.

2. Heat a large wok or the biggest skillet you have over medium heat. Add oil to skillet and cook garlic, onions and shallots until light brown.


3.  Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

4. Add drained noodles, bell pepper, sauce mixture, and stir fry five minutes

5. Add basil and cook for a bout two minutes or until some of the noodles are a bit crisp on the edges

Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes

Total cook time: 45-50 minutes

Recipe ease: easy

This is a recipe of Nigella Lawson’s that I have been meaning to try. If you are looking for a classic roast chicken dish and/or some comfort than this is perfect. I made it on a very cold night, served it with some wine, and enjoyed every bite.

I picked a spicy chorizo from Whole Foods and had to use a blood orange rather than a regular for the zesting. I then sliced up the blood orange and set it out at the table for something sweet.

The original recipe calls for two red onions, and 12 chicken thighs, but I felt it was a bit much. The large onion I used cooked nicely and caramelized in the pan, and contrasted nicely with the creamy potatoes. Delicious.

You will need:

  • 1-2 tablespoons regular olive oil
  • 6 chicken thighs (bone in, with skin)
  • 2 links chorizo sausages, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 lbs baby potatoes, half the larger ones
  • 1 large red onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • grated zest of one orange
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put the oil in the bottom of a roasting pans. Rub the skin of the chicken in the oil, season with salt accordingly, then turn them skin-side up. Add the chorizo sausages and the new potatoes to the pan.

You don’t need to be precise with the veggies

 

The chicken thighs were from a store that had an in house butcher

 

That is some good-looking chorizo

 

All nestled in the pan and ready to go

Sprinkle the onion and the oregano over, then grate the orange zest over the pan. Cook for 20 minutes, then baste the chicken with the juices. Continue cooking for about 20 – 30 minutes or till chicken is done.

The end result

Instant comfort

 

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Mayo

Recipe Time: 30 minutes. *marinate the salmon overnight or up to 30 minutes before cooking for the best results

Recipe Ease: easy

I tried this recipe from Damndelicious.net and really loved it. I’ve been looking for the perfect Salmon recipe and have tried all kinds of variations: teriyaki, sweet-chili, and honey; this was the one that combined all of the elements I was looking for – that sweet, but spicy taste. The key is the Sriracha Mayo – I could make this for a variety of items – like spicy wings.

Sriracha Mayo  – You will need:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Teriyaki Salmon – You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 (5-ounce) salmon fillets

Steps:

  • To make the Sriracha cream sauce, whisk together mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Sriracha and condensed milk in a small bowl; set aside.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; set aside.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder, honey and 1 cup water; bring to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes; let cool to room temperature.

  • In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine teriyaki marinade and salmon filets; marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, turning the bag occasionally.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Place salmon filets along with the marinade into the prepared baking dish and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve salmon immediately with Sriracha cream sauce.

Apple Cider Donuts

These were inspired by a recent trip to Carter Mountain Apple Orchard with the family where we fell in love with their apple cider donuts. I found an excellent recipe here: http://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2013/11/07/apple-cider-donuts/ and tried it out. Soooo Delicious. We chose to make donut holes instead of donuts.

Ingredients:

Donuts

  • 1 and 1/4 cups  apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature1
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup  packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature2
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • orange slices* optional
  • cinnamon sticks* optional

Topping

  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60g) unsalted butter, melted

Directions

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  1. Simmer apple cider over low-medium heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 15-20 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, spices, and/or orange slices for flavor if desired. In this step you are reducing the apple cider for a stronger flavor. You will need 1/2 cup from this reduced cider. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spray a mini muffin pan or donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. Toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of concentrated apple cider.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and very gently mix together with a whisk. Be very gentle as overmixing will develop the gluten and result in a tough textured donut. Whisk until all ingredients are *just combined.* Some small lumps may remain, but not many. IMG_0892  IMG_0893
  5. Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling 3/4 of the way full. You’ll only need a couple teaspoons of batter for each. Or, if making donuts, follow my instructions in the post above about filling the donut pan. Bake the donut holes for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The donuts will take the same amount of time. IMG_0894
  6. Make the topping by mixing the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Dip the top of the donut holes or donuts lightly into the melted butter. Then dunk them all the way into the cinnamon sugar, using your hands to mix it around so the entire donut hole (or donut) is coated generously. Repeat with all the donuts. You may need more cinnamon-sugar. Donuts taste best on the same day, though they may be covered tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. IMG_0897   IMG_0895
  7. Make ahead tip: Prepared donuts freeze well up to 2-3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave if desired.