Category: food

Peruvian Quinoa Stew

By , March 3, 2014 1:18 pm

IMG_4421I am always on the lookout for new dishes to try out and/or tweak.  Enter the Peruvian Quinoa Stew.  I went out to dinner with a friend and I was just craving a nasty, crappy burger.  My friend, Craig, tries to be healthy whenever he can be (he trains at a Krav Maga gym and is a total beast;)), so he orders the PQS, a vegetarian dish.  It comes out, it looks great. I ask him how it is and his response is “meh…” I always find this answer to be a challenge to taste the food myself, so I dig in.  “Meh…” was an understatement.  The flavor was just so bland.  There was nothing there.  Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely edible (as i proved by eating my double bacon cheeseburger AND finishing his stew off), but it still left something to be desired.  I decided to make it a plan to reinvent the PQS. Plus, it gave me another chance to cook with quinoa.  I was still warming up to it back then.  I hadn’t really been sold on the idea of this little grain since you have to season the shit out of it to make it taste less like cardboard filler.  I have since grown to accept it as a necessity in my pantry and I really enjoy it in stews, soups, salads, and toasted in granola. Hopefully, if you haven’t had any luck with quinoa, this will change your mind! ENJOY!!

 

PERUVIAN QUINOA STEW
YIELDS 5-6QUARTS OF STEW
INGREDIENTS:

1C Quinoa, uncooked
2C water
1 Sweet Onion, diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Celery Ribs, sliced in 1/4in thick slices
2 Carrots, sliced in 1/4 in thick slices
1 Orange Bell Pepper, diced
1 Summer Squash, cubed
1 Zucchini, cubed
1-28oz can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
1/2C Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
2C Kale, chopped
1C Sweet Kernel Corn
3tsp Cumin
1tsp Chili Powder
2tsp Coriander
1tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes
1-48oz Chicken Stock
4C water
Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until almost all liquid is absorbed (about 12 mins). Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large stock pot or Dutch Oven (about 6-8 qts), saute onions, garlic, carrots, bell pepper, and celery in 2T of oil.  When onions start to appear clear and are tender to the touch, add tomatoes and their liquid, chicken stock, water, zucchini and summer squash.  Return to a simmer and cook until squash is fork tender, but still firm. Add Kale and corn.  Return to a simmer.

This is when you need to taste the stock and make sure the flavors are there.  Season accordingly, until a desired flavor is reached (You should be able to just taste the cumin and coriander and there should be a gentle after-heat from the crushed red pepper flakes).  Add the quinoa.  Continue to simmer until the quinoa has absorbed some of the liquid and has thickened the stock (about 10 mins). Serve hot or store in freezer. Mine just doesn’t seem to stay there very long ;)

Croissant Pudding

By , December 11, 2013 6:46 pm

This dish has become a staple in our family for Christmas morning breakfast.  It is just one of the best things and actually, the REAL reason I get excited for Christmas morning.  Yup.  I’m a fat kid.  I love me some custardy stuff.  It isn’t just for breakfast, either.  Essentially, it is a bread pudding.  Whatever you add to it (Or, in our case, whatever time of day you eat it), is really what determines its nature.  I’m actually going to make it for the restaurant as a dessert using a favorite holiday treat as an additive (I’ll post more on that when I cross that bridge…).  This serves about 4-6 normal people (3 in my house.  My bro-in-law and I are custard junkies), so you may want to double or triple the recipe if you plan on having seconds ;) Picture will be posted at a later date, since I can’t seem to find it :/

CROISSANT PUDDING

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-large eggs
  • 2/3C sugar
  • 2C milk (preferably whole)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4-large croissants (preferably day old) torn into large pieces

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 300*.  Lightly butter shallow baking dish.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, milk and salt until combined.
  • Add croissants, toss to coat and let sit to absorb liquid (about 10 mins).
  • Pour mixture into baking dish and smooth with spatula.
  • Bake until pudding has puffed up and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (about 40-50 mins).  Cool at least 10 mins before serving.

 

Carrot Cake

By , December 11, 2013 6:17 pm

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I have recently made this recipe for the restaurant.  I know what you’re thinking.  And the answer is: YES.  She WAS that good of a baker and her goods mesmerized people all around us.  This time, I made the carrot cake without nuts, and served it with a mascarpone whipped cream frosting,  Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream, drizzled with Spicy Caramel Sauce and dusted with ground nutmeg. Some people just don’t dig on the carrot cake, usually.  But not this one.  I had numerous people who usually HATE carrot cake say that they loved it and would never have even tried it because of the horrible monstrosities that they have experienced with others before; frosting that was too sweet, dryness of the cake (which is the ultimate sin in all of baking), and the number one complaint about previous ventures, the “weird textures,” which included the addition to nuts in the cake.  I totally get that.  I hate nuts in my cake.  I’m eating something soft.  Why should that have to compete with a totally different medium of texture like a nut?! Kinda ruins the whole experience in my mind. I never let my mom know that I hated them.  I just picked them out, or just ate them. Until I got older and started to help her bake. Then I found my voice. We would make one with nuts, and one without. Yup.  My mommy spoiled me :) Now go spoil yourself with this recipe :D

CARROT CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2C AP Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 2C Granulated Sugar
  • 1-1/2C Canola Oil
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 2C Raw Shredded Carrots
  • 1 20oz can Crushed Pineapple, drained. (applesauce can also be used in place of the pineapple)
  • 1/2C chopped Walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 350* and grease 9’9″ pan
  • In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • In a large bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, canola oil until well combined.  Add carrots and pineapple.  Add flour mixture and combine thoroughly.
  • Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 1 hour, or until top is browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool for about 30 minutes before cutting.  Also freezes well.

 

 

Banana Bread Pudding Brulee

By , December 9, 2013 5:43 pm

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While looking for bread pudding recipes, it was quite a struggle to find one that incorporated quick breads, as opposed to the usual day old baguettes.  I found a recipe for a pumpkin bread pudding brulee, which used the latter. Not exactly what i was looking for, but I read the recipe throughout anyway.  I found a new technique that I was DEFINITELY going to experiment with, which turned out to be a huge success!! YAY ME!! I did eventually find a recipe from Bobby Flay that incorporated pumpkin bread, along with pureed pumpkin (Which you can replace the bananas and banana bread with in this recipe!), so I added the brulee technique from the other recipe and voila!!  I used the Banana Bread Recipe that you can find on this website. I also served this with our Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ice cream (Recipe found within as well).  Enjoy!!!

Yields 16 Servings

BANANA BREAD PUDDING BRULEE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4C Heavy Cream
  • 2C Whole Milk
  • 12 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Vanilla Beans, scraped (or 2T Vanilla bean Paste, or 2T Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla powder, or 2T Vanilla Extract)
  • 1C Granulated Sugar
  • 6T Maple Syrup
  • 2C Mashed Bananas
  • 2 Loaves Banana Bread, cubed
  • 2C Brown Sugar (for the brulee)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 325*
  • In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, cream, and vanilla bean and seeds (or whatever medium of vanilla you’re using) to a simmer.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together yolks, sugar, maple syrup, and bananas. Slowly add cream mixture, constantly whisking to avoid scrambling the eggs (if you’re using vanilla bean, remove pod at this time and lay out on a dishtowel to dry. This may be used to make vanilla sugar!!)
  • Place banana bread cubes into a shallow baking dish and pour the custard mixture over, allowing to soak in for about 15 minutes.
  • Ladle into ramekins or custard dishes and place in a water bath (a larger roasting pan with HOT water that comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Or, you could just bake in the dish that you had them soaking in the first place. I prefer ramekins, since they’re individual serving sizes.
  • Bake for about 1 hour, or until the tops start to turn golden brown and the center jiggles slightly. Remove from oven and water bath.
  • Spoon about 1T of brown sugar on top of each of the bread puddings. Use a brulee torch or place under the broiler until brown and bubbly.  Serve warm with some Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream.

Spicy Caramel Sauce

By , December 9, 2013 4:55 pm

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Why conform to pop culture when you can WOW people with something different and off the beaten path?! With the resurgence of Salted Caramel EVERYTHING, its a nice change to check something unique out.  Now, I know what you’re thinking-“DUDE!! Salted Caramel is the S**T!!!” Undoubtedly, it is pretty amazing.  BUT Spicy Caramel Sauce is where it’s at.  Truly.  It has a veritable myriad of uses.  I have made it for Apple Streusel Dumplings (recipe coming soon!), Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ice cream topping,  swirled on top of a Bourbon Buttercup Squash Soup, drizzled over Carrot Cake with mascarpone whipped cream frosting, talks of cocktails, BBQ mops, Pork loin glazes, and so forth.  Enjoy this recipe and change it up a bit!! Don’t always go for what Starbucks tells you is hot (although I DO love me some Starbucks ;) )

 

SPICY CARAMEL SAUCE

  • 2C Heavy Cream
  • 1C Apple Juice
  • 2 Star Anise
  • 8 Whole Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 4 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 3C Granulated Sugar
  • 1C Water

DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine cream, apple juice, and spices in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and let steep for about 20 mins.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and keep warm while preparing the caramel.
  • In a large saucepan over high heat, combine sugar and water.  DO NOT STIR!!! Let this boil until it reaches a deep amber color. SLOWLY add the cream mixture, constantly whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins for sauce to thicken up.  Keep refrigerated up to 2 weeks.

Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream (French Style)

By , December 9, 2013 4:41 pm

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I have just discovered the joys of  ice cream making at the restaurant, due to a gift from a friend (THANK YOU LIL DB!!!).  The reviews all came back as “This is the best freakin ice cream I’ve EVER had!!” so, it may be a staple recipe!! The image above was our inaugural batch, served as a tasting with Spicy Caramel Sauce, whose recipe you can also find on this site!  The key to this ice cream’s allure is this magical little bottle of yum:

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MADAGASCAR BOURBON VANILLA ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1C Whole Milk
  • 2C Heavy Cream
  • 3/4C Granulated Sugar
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • 6 Egg yolks (8 for a richer custard like consistency)
  • 1T Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Powder

DIRECTIONS:

  • Heat milk, cream, vanilla, sugar, and salt until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, SLOWLY adding the cream mixture to temper eggs.  Once all the cream mixture is incorporated, pour back into the sauce pan.
  • Place saucepan over medium heat and constantly stir until mixture thickens to coat the back of a spoon.  Run your finger through the back of the spoon.  If the sauce doesn’t run back into the stripe you just made with your finger, remove from heat.  Pour into a large bowl over an ice bath.  Whisk mixture until cool.
  • Pour custard into ice cream bowl (this has been frozen for about 4 hours prior, preferably overnight) and churn to manufacturer’s directions (about 20-25 mins).  Using a rubber spatula, place ice cream into freezable container and freeze for about 4 hours before serving. Yields 1 quart of ice cream.

How cute is this kid?!

By , December 7, 2013 1:07 pm

Auntie got him a chef costume so he could play dress up with his sister, and he wanted to make mommy breakfast in the morning AWWWWW :) IMG_3128

LOVE THIS GUY!!! <3

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