Monday, October 26, 2015

Herbed Vegetable Sticks

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag Green Giant Fresh® Cauliflower Crumbles (16 ounces of chopped cauliflower)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup (for topping) Italian mix shredded cheese
  • 4 leaves fresh sage
  • 6-8 stems fresh thyme (leaves)
  • 1 large or two medium stems of rosemary (leaves)
  • 1-2 large dollops of Gourmet Gardens® Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon McCormack's® Peppercorn Medley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Redmond's® Real Salt
  • Marinara sauce for dipping (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.


Directions:

In a mini-food prep or regular processor, pulse the cauliflower into tiny crumbs ("rice" texture).  Place in a container (such as a pyrex bowl) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooking, mince the fresh herbs together and set aside.

Line a bowl with a flour sack towel and dump the cauliflower atop the towel.  Gather the edges together so that the cauliflower forms a ball in the center of the towel.  Twist the gathered cloth until the liquid from the cauliflower come out from the bottom of the towel.  The size of the ball of cauliflower will shrink by about half if you do a good job of squeezing!

Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Empty the cauliflower from the towel back into the mixing bowl.  Add egg whites, 1/2 cup cheese, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper.  Mix thoroughly.

Pat the cauliflower mixture into a rectangular shape, approximately 1/4 inch thick (perhaps 9x7 or 10x8) on a baking sheet.  Place in the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown on top.  The original recipe stated 18 minutes, but it took me 24 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with 3/4 cup cheese (or enough to make a complete layer of cheese on top).  Return to the oven and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Slice in half lengthwise and then make strips.  Serve with warm marinara sauce if desired.


Myrtle's Note:  These are originally titled "breadsticks," but they are not bread in any fashion.  So, I took the liberty, for my peace of mind, to just change the title to something that was more fitting.  Not owning a regular food processor, I started not with a head of cauliflower, but with a bag of chopped cauliflower.  [In case you are considering it, do not try to pulse cauliflower in a NutriBullet.]  The recipe intrigued me, even though the idea of using cauliflower did not sound very palatable to me.  I liked how they turned out.  I did not have marinara sauce, but I could imagine they would be good with that as the original recipe suggests.  I think was made them more tasty in my mind is that I switched from Italian herbs to fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage.  And I added garlic.  So, really, I essentially tweaked the recipe to fit my own tastes.  Finally, I will note that I cooked them on a baking stone, not being a parchment paper person.  They did stick a bit, but I think part of that is because I needed to do a better job of squeezing out the liquid from the cooked cauliflower.  Not being a bread maker at all, I am unsure as to which type of baking surfaces are best.  I might try metal next time.  Because they were a bit soft on the bottom, after moving them to the cooling rack, I returned them to the oven for an additional 2 minutes.


Yield:  16 sticks.

Adapted from:  http://ifoodreal.com/cauliflower-breadsticks-recipe/




Thursday, October 22, 2015

Apple Cider Donut Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the Cider Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup hard cider

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Directions:

Spray a bundt pan with Pam's baking spray and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring chopped apples and cider to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until apples are fork tender. Remove pan from heat, cool for a few minutes, then pulse in a food processor or blender until pureed. Measure out 1 cup apple mixture and stir the milk into it. Set the apple/milk mixture aside for later.  NOTE:  You will have more than a cup of the apple mixture leftover.  You can either try to halve this part of the recipe or freeze the leftovers for the next time you make the cake.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  It will still be granular. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the oil and mix well. 

Add the flour mixture and apple/milk mixture alternatively in three additions, scraping the bowl as needed and mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat once more, just to combine.

Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place the cake in its pan on a cooling rack for ten minutes before removing the cake itself to a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside for later.  NOTE:  There will be leftovers from this.  You can either try to halve this part of the recipe or use the leftovers for another cake or perhaps cinnamon toast!

While cake is cooling, prepare Cider Glaze. Melt butter, sugar and water over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil and let boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add the cider, stirring to combine.

Place baking sheet under wire rack. Using a pastry brush or marinate brush, cover cake with glaze. Do this in several passes, letting one application of glaze sink in and then going back over the cake with another and another until the cake is soaked with glaze.

Then, sprinkle the warm, glazed cake with cinnamon sugar, using fingers to rub it onto the sides of the cake.


Myrtle's Note:  This recipe has leftover ingredients!!  I found that odd and a bit frustrating and so noted that above.  The recipe is adapted from another recipe and changed to coconut oil. I changed that right back.  ICK!  The cake is rather moist and tasty, so it is definitely worth the bake, however it leaves you with a disaster zone of a kitchen!

Yield:  12 wedges

Source:  https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/apple-cider-donut-cake/



Saturday, October 3, 2015

Myrtle's 15-Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of 15 beans
  • 8 strips Wright's Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • 2 cups diced smoked ham
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 bottle Honey Lager
  • 3 springs fresh rosemary
  • 2 bunches fresh thyme
  • 1 handful fresh sage leaves
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon savory
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 2-3 bay leaves (depending on size)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 onion
  • 4 dollops Gourmet Garden® Minced Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick's® Ancho Chili Pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon McCormick's® Peppercorn Medley
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon Redmon's® Real Salt


Directions:

Soak the beans overnight in beer and enough water to cover the top of the beans.

Drain the beans and set aside.  Mince onions and set aside.  Cube ham and set aside.  Mince fresh herbs and set aside.  Put marjoram, savory, and tarragon in a prep bowl and set aside.

Cut bacon into 1/4 inch strips with kitchen shears and cook in a stock pot.  Once browned, scoop to a paper towel lined plate and pour off the rest of the bacon grease.  Do not clean the pot.

Over medium low heat, add the butter and allow it to begin to brown.  Add onions and cook until the onions turn translucent.  Add the garlic, salt, peppers, and smoked paprika mid-way through the onion cooking.

Then add the brown sugar, bacon, cloves, and ham and stir thoroughly.  Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes.  Next add the beans and the water, stirring again.  Finally, add the bay leaves and stir once more.

Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.  Add herbs and cook 30 more minutes.  Raise the temperature to bring the soup back to a boil, uncover, and cook 15 more minutes to reduce the soup a bit.

Myrtle's Note:  I wanted to make 15-Bean Soup without the flavoring back.  As you can see, I cast a wide net for my flavoring.  The end result was better than I hoped, a bit smokey, savory, and a hint of sweet.


Yield: 8 servings

Source:  Myrtle