Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kielbasa Stir-Fry


Kielbasa Stir-Fry

It's been awhile since I've shared a family recipe with you! This recipe isn't a New Mexican recipe, but one that my parents used to make while I was growing up. It's one of those recipes that when I moved out on my own that I asked my mom to show me how to make.

Stir-fries are incredibly easy to prepare, and once you know the basics of creating a stir-fry, you can adapt the recipe to incorporate other flavors. When I asked my mom how to make this dish, she told me that it is just like making my family's fried rice recipe but just to omit the egg, rice, and change the meat. (I hope to share my family's fried rice recipe with you very soon-- since that recipe is all the way from Hawaii, can you guess the meat??)

Like I mentioned above, this recipe is very versatile. Cook down onions, cook your meat of choice, add your favorite vegetables, then flavor the stir-fry with garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and some sugar/honey to balance out the acidity. Lastly, serve over rice or quinoa-- you can probably serve these up with some noodles as well, which I haven't tried yet but I bet it would work well though you'd probably have to use some more oil in case the mixture dries out with the noodles. You can really play with this dish however you'd like, but I love the salty bites of the kielbasa.

This is also an incredibly fast meal to make and takes less time to prepare than it takes for quinoa or rice to cook. Joe was impressed how short it took to prepare and liked the meal so much that he served himself three servings so we hardly had any leftovers for the next night.

I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as I do, it really is one of my absolute favorites!











Kielbasa Stir-Fry
A T&H family recipe

1-2 Tbs. vegetable or canola oil
1 medium/large yellow onion, sliced
1 lb. kielbasa, sliced and cut into halves or quarters
1 package of stir-fry vegetables, fresh or frozen (I like Trader Joe's frozen stir-fry vegetables variety)*
1 tsp. garlic, finely chopped or grated
1/2 tsp. sesame oil
1-2 Tbs. soy sauce (for gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauce)
1/2 tsp. sugar or 1 tsp. honey, optional
3-4 c. cooked quinoa or rice, for serving

*(If you don't want to use a frozen stir-fry mix, use 2 c. snow peas, 3/4-1 c. carrot diced, 1 c. mushrooms, and 1 small can of water chestnuts, drained-- you really can use whatever vegetables you like.)

In a wok or large skillet, heat a the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until soft and starting to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Add in the kielbasa and cook until the meat starts to brown, 3-4 minutes. If the onions and meat start cooking or browning too quickly, lower the heat a little bit.

Add in your mixed vegetables and cook through but still a little crisp, about another 5 minutes. (Frozen vegetables will take longer.)

Once the vegetables are cooked through, lower heat to a medium-low or a medium heat and stir in the chopped garlic and cook for an additional minute. Drizzle the mixture with sesame oil and toss to combine. Drizzle the mixture with soy sauce until you get the color and flavor you like, I usually put 1-2 tablespoons. Add in 1/2 teaspoon sugar OR 1 teaspoon honey and give the mixture one final toss.

Serve stir-fry on top of warm, cooked quinoa or rice.

Makes about 4 servings


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Peanut Butter and Jelly Baby Lattice Pies


PB&J Baby Lattice Pies

Through one of my favorite blogs, Juanita's Cocina, I found out about this new "book club" called "Pass the Cook Book Club." It's a group that picks a couple of recipes from a particular cookbook to make every single month. So every month bloggers will select one recipe, make it, and feature the recipe on their blog at the end of the month. Last month was Guy Fieri, but I just didn't have time to participate.

This month, the club selected recipes from the Picky Palate, which is one of the most popular and creative food blogs available. I've featured one of Jenny's recipes on this blog actually, her famous Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. She's got so many creative dessert recipes, I was so excited to try out another one of her recipes for my blog this month!

Naturally, I chose her dessert recipe, Peanut Butter and Jelly Lattice Pies. This looked like a very easy recipe and appealing recipe, and I had all the ingredients on hand. Instead of using pre-made pie crust, I made my Easy Homemade Pie Crust. I was a little confused with her recipe because it didn't indicate which type of muffin pan to use, so I looked up her recipe on her blog and it used a mini muffin tin so I used that. Her recipe also stated that it made 12 mini pies, but I got an even 24 mini pies using her recipe. This is reflected in the recipe below.

While these pies were baking, the house smelled wonderful. It smelled like strawberry Pop-Tarts in the best way possible! Unfortunately, all of my jam oozed out during baking, and it made my pies very peanut-buttery, so I ended up putting a dollop of extra jam on the top when I served them up. I think next time I bake these, I'll put the peanut butter mixture on the top of the jam to hopefully prevent them from oozing out too much. I've also added these notes to the recipe below. I actually really liked the extra dollop of jam because it gave a fresh flavor that the cooked jam didn't add, so I would definitely add extra jam again when serving.

This was a fun recipe to make and to serve to others! I'm so happy that I found out about Pass the Cook Book Club and am already looking forward to next month. If you'd like to join the club or find out more information, please click the picture below to be taken to their page.













Peanut Butter and Jelly Baby Lattice Pies
slightly adapted from The Picky Palate Cookbook by Jenny Flake (page 179)

1 9” refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature (I used my Easy Homemade Pie Crust recipe)
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 c. strawberry jam preserves (or another flavor you like!)
1 large egg white
sugar crystal sprinkles, for sprinkling
powdered sugar, for sprinkling
strawberry preserves, extra for topping


Preheat the oven to 350 and spray a 24-count mini muffin tin with nonstick spray.

Unroll the pie crust onto a lightly floured countertop. With a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, cut circles out of dough. Press the dough rounds into prepared muffin pan. Roll the scraps of dough to an even thickness and using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 inch strips for the lattice topping.

Add the peanut butter and sugar to a medium bowl and mix to combine. Drop 1/2 teaspoon of jam into each mini pie crust. Do the same with the peanut butter mixture. (I placed the jam on the top of the peanut butter mixture and it ALL oozed out. I'm changing this to put it on the bottom of the pie crust in hopes that it won't ooze out as much.) Use the pie strips to form a lattice top. Cut the excess dough from the edges of the pies. Add the egg white and 1 teaspoon water to a small bowl, whisk to combine. Brush over the tops of the pies. Sprinkle with the sugar crystal sprinkles and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and with the top of a knife, loosen the edges where jam has oozed out. Let the pies cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Dust with powdered sugar to serve. (I skipped the powdered sugar and topped my pies with about 1/4 tsp. of more jam. Since the jam oozed out, the peanut butter overpowered the pies, so topping the pies with jam really helped!) 



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bacon Pralines


Bacon Pralines

People love bacon. Even non-meat eaters love bacon, hello tofu bacon. I like the real thing. Bacon has such a following that you see bacon everywhere and people are using bacon for some mad-scientist creations: maple bacon donuts, maple bacon cupcakes, bacon chocolate bars, bacon ice cream, even bacon flavored vodka. I think I even remember seeing bacon-scented perfume? Some of the bacon creations don't appeal to me very much, but I do happen to love the maple bacon donuts. Rebel Donuts here in Albuquerque have an excellent version and oftentimes they're so fresh that they are still warm! (Rebel Donuts also serves a chicken and waffle donut that I've been waiting to try!)

Sometimes you get an idea that you think is absolutely genius. This is my mad-scientist creation with bacon: bacon pralines.

If you like the maple bacon, sweet and salty flavors, then I am sure you will love these bacon pralines. I haven't seen any bacon pralines or bacon praline recipes floating around, so I thought that I would try my hand and them!

These pralines are not the soft, caramel kind that you find in some parts of Texas. These are the Louisiana version that are more like fudge (but not really because it's a little harder than fudge but they're not hard by any means) and taste more like brown sugar and butter. Pralines are one of the things on my long list of favorite desserts. :-)

I made my bacon in the oven, but if you prefer to make them on the stove, you can certainly do that as well. Just make sure that your bacon is cooked until it's crispy as you don't want any rubbery and fatty pieces in your pralines. Another thing I learned is to not cook your pralines at too high of a temperature, which is why you see some tiny white specks in mine.

I can foresee some adaptations of this recipe already-- cupcakes, ice cream sundaes, etc. which I'm sure will make an appearance some time in the future.













Bacon Pralines
A T&H original recipe

1/2 lb. bacon
3/4 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. heavy cream
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
3/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. chopped pecans

Cook bacon until crispy, then roughly chop when bacon is cooled. (I baked my bacon on a foil lined baking sheet at 400 degrees until it started to turn a golden brown.)

Place a large sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

In a medium saucepan, place dark brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter and heat over medium heat until the butter is melted, stirring constantly. Once the butter is melted, bring to a boil. Boil for exactly one minute, without stirring. (If you boil at too high of a heat, you'll get white spots in your pralines like I did with mine so don't use too high of a heat.)

Take the saucepan off the heat and add both the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Stir quickly, until the powdered sugar has melted into the mixture. Add in pecans and chopped bacon and stir until combined.

Spoon praline mixture onto the parchment paper. I used a couple of tablespoons for each, but you can make these as small or as large as you'd like. Work quickly because the pralines set up fast!

Makes about a dozen pralines, depending on size.

Note: If you want to make regular pralines without the bacon, omit the bacon and add an additional 1/2 c. of chopped pecans.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Brie, Bacon and Basil Pasta


Brie, Bacon and Basil Pasta

We have pasta nearly every week in our house, though it typically is turkey spaghetti because it's quick meal and one of the few dishes that Joe prepares. When it's my turn to make pasta, I usually opt for something a little different. The other day I made this Brie, Bacon and Basil Pasta dish that had us going back for more until there was hardly any for leftovers the next evening!

I had some brie that I didn't use from a party that I had at my house that I wanted to use. I found this recipe on Pinterest and immediately made it. It's like this dish was created specifically for me because it has some of my favorite things wrapped up into one meal: pasta, caramelized onions, brie, and bacon. And I added pine nuts for a little extra flavor and another favorite of mine. :-) One thing I didn't do was to remove the rind from the brie-- I thought perhaps it would melt into the sauce but it didn't and looked a little unappealing, so my suggestion would be to remove the rind beforehand.

This dish can be easily converted to a gluten-free dish if you can't eat gluten, which I did since Joe can't have gluten-- just use gluten-free noodles and check your ingredients. President's Brie Cheese and Boar's Head Bacon are all gluten-free.

One of these days I'll have to re-photograph this dish because they definitely do not do the pasta justice! It's times like this that I wish my photographer skills were better. Now that it's lighter later now in the evening, I'll have to try and get some better photographs. (Still have another round of brie in the fridge so it may come sooner than later!)

But seriously, if you like/love the ingredient list as much as I do, please make this dish! It's absolutely wonderful.










Brie, Bacon and Basil Pasta
slightly adapted from What's Gaby Cooking?

Ingredients

10 oz pasta (we used gluten-free pasta)
1/2 c. reserved pasta water
4 pieces thick sliced bacon
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. brie, cut into cubes (rind removed or sliced off as much as you can)
10 basil leaves, cut into a chiffonade
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1/3 c. pine nuts, toasted (plus more for topping), optional

Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and the cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining, then drain the pasta and set it aside.

Place the bacon in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon on both sides until brown and crispy. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set it to cool on a paper towel lined plate. Once the bacon is cool, break it into bite sized pieces. (I sliced the bacon into cubes first, then cooked it.)

Add the thinly sliced onion into the cast iron skillet with the bacon grease and saute over medium high heat until the onions are caramelized, about 5 minutes (this will probably take a lot longer-- 15-20 minutes). Add the garlic and toss for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

Add the cubed brie into the cast iron skillet along with the reserved pasta water. Stir constantly until the cheese is melted and then add the cooked pasta and pine nuts to the mixture and toss to combine.

Add the basil and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with extra basil and extra toasted pine nuts.

Serve immediately.



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