Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Truffle Honey Roasted Carrots

If you can't tell, truffle oil is easily one of my favorite things in the entire world.  As evidenced by this recipe.  And this recipe.  AND this recipe.  OH, AND this recipe! I put that sh^! on everthing.

At first, my husband was all like "Truffle oil is too strong!"  Now, his favorite dishes when we go out to eat include massive amounts of this liquid gold.  When I bought these gorgeous carrots from the market, I knew exactly how I wanted to prepare them.

The funny thing is I am not a huge carrot fan.  Sure, an occasional carrot in veggie dip is OK.  I hate baby carrots- mine have to be the real deal.  And don't get me started on those little square ones you find in fried rice!  Ugh, those are the worst. Remember my version of homemade fried rice?  That recipe, although the pictures make me cringe, is one you need to try right now if you have a box of white rice sitting in your fridge!

Ok Heather, reel it in and bring it back to these carrots.  I promise you, even you are not a carrot fan, you will find when prepared this way, they are delightful little veggies.  And since we are talking about carrots, I will leave you with some lyrics from a little ditty that came to mind as I was writing this...

"My mouth piece simply certified a total package 
Open up my mouth and you see more carrots than a salad 
My teeth are mind blowing giving everybody chills 
Call me George Foreman cause I'm selling everybody grillz"

Smile for me daddy... :)    

Truffle Honey Roasted Carrots
1 pound of carrots
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon truffle oil
Fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat over to 375 degrees

In a large baking dish, scatter carrots in a single layer.  Dot the top with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, pulling them out of the oven at least twice and flipping them around to coat in butter.

Remove from oven and drizzle with honey and truffle oil.  Put back in oven and roast for another 10 minutes.  If you want them really brown, you can flip on the broiler and toast those babies up!

Remove from oven and try a carrot.  Adjust with more salt, pepper, honey or truffle oil as you see fit and then top with some bright green parsley!

My carrots were very thin.  If you have thicker carrots, you might want to slice them into thinner sticks.  If you prefer them large and in charge, you might want to boil them for a few minutes or bake them longer to achieve a softer consistency.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Beer Batter Fried Cheese Curds + Harissa Ranch Dipping Sauce

Happy Tuesday!  Hope you all are enjoying the grind.  July 5th was our 9-year wedding anniversary.  Yay for us winning at the marriage game!  Unfortunately, I ruined our long holiday/anniversary weekend by crashing our car.  All jokes aside, it was pretty terrifying.  I'll spare you all most the details, but I was at fault because I ran a red light (that I did not even see until the moment of impact). My airbags deployed when the other car hit my driver's side and my car spun out a few times.  Thank the good lord above that we all walked away free of severe injuries.

Have you ever been in a collision?  This was my first accident, other than a few minor fender benders.  That smell when the airbags go off!  I feel like it was burnt into my nose and throat.  It didn't help that it was about 100 degrees that day and we were all stuck on hot asphalt for about an hour.   I got pretty scratched/bruised up and the day after came the aches.

But I feel like I was more shaken up mentally.  My mistake could have led to something much worse.  Alternate endings kept running through my head. Thankfully, my husband has been so amazing throughout the ordeal.  Taking care of me, the car and insurance.  I don't want to get too sappy, but he truly is my rock. My love.  We have been through hell and high water, but we get through it together.  Happy 9 years baby... here's to 90 more :)

Now that Debbie Downer has left the room, let's talk about this recipe! I hope the pictures above have you salivating over some fried cheese curds.  Isn't curd such an ugly word? What is a cheese curd you may ask? Well, they are basically cheddar cheese babies.  Before the cheddar cheese goes and grows up on us, this little curdies are a byproduct of the cheese making process. Salty, firm and a bit squeaky when you eat them raw.  They are delicious, but even more so when you coat them in a beer batter and fry them until they are golden brown beauties.

Beer Batter Fried Cheese Curds + Harissa Ranch Dipping Sauce

For the curds:
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup beer ( I used Rolling Rock)
16 ounces cheese curds, unflavored

For the sauce:
1/4 cup of your favorite ranch dressing
2 tablespoons harissa paste (or any other spicy sauce, like sriracha)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients; cornstarch, flour, baking powder, salt, garlic powder.  Next, whisk in the beer until a thin batter forms.

Fill a deep pot halfway up with an unflavored oil, such as peanut, vegetable, or canola. Heat over high heat until a thermometer reads 375 degrees.

With a slotted spoon, coat about 6-10 curds at a time and let most of the batter drip off before adding to oil.  Fry for 2-4 minutes until the curds are golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on a paper towel-lined sheet pan.

Serve when hot with the dipping sauce.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Shrimp Ceviche

I made this the day after I made homemade ribs, cornbread, coleslaw, and baked beans.  We had leftovers, but my body was shouting at me that I needed to digest something fresh and clean.  Boy did this little number do the trick.

Not all shrimpies are created equal.  We have been addicted to these shrimp we get from our local farmer's market.  These little babies here are royal red shrimp.  They are so sweet and almost taste like lobster!

This is not a traditional ceviche, in the sense that I cooked my shrimp first.  We are not big fans of under cooked shrimp; in fact we prefer them on the tougher side.  Also, the veggies remain crisp and fresh by not having to soak them in the marinade all night to "cook" the shrimp.

I could have had this for lunch all week if I had made more!  With the hot summer days fast approaching, put this recipe in your back pocket for a refreshing, yet filling meal!

Shrimp Ceviche
makes about 2 servings for two hungry humans
10 jumbo shrimp (Royal Reds!)
1/2 English cucumber; halved, seeded, and diced
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 chili or jalepeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
1/2 avocado, sliced

1 garlic clove, smashed and minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
heavy pinch of salt and fresh black pepper

Saute the shrimp in a pan with a little bit of oil (I used avocado) and salt & pepper.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, flipping once.  Remove from pan, place on a plate throw them in the fridge to cool down.

In a large bowl, mix cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro, and chives.  Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the garlic, lime juice, oil, paprika, salt & pepper.

Remove shrimp from the fridge and shop into bite sized pieces.  Peel and pit avocado and dice (or slice like I did!).  Gently toss the veggies, marinade, shrimp and avocado together.  You can serve this immediately or place in the fridge for a few hours to eat later.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Giant Meatballs in White Wine Broth

Aren't meatballs the best?  As you can tell by my Italian style, Asian style, & Swedish style meatballs on the blog, we just can't get enough of them!  That is why I am so excited to share this recipe with you.  These are unlike any other meatballs you have ever tried.  

Credit for this recipe is entirely due to Mandy over at Lady & Pups, which is perhaps the most innovative and beautiful food blog out there.  Gahhhh, I just get lost in her site!  Most of her recipes are not for the faint of heart, as she embraces highly skilled cooking techniques to deliver recipes I would never dream of on my own.  Go over to her site and I dare you not to spend at least an hour perusing her posts.  

These meatballs have 4 types of meat in them! Beef, pork, chicken & prosciutto.  If you are a vegetarian, you should probably click that tiny little X at the top right of your screen now!  After you mix all the goodness together for the balls, you then braise the baseball size meatballs in a deeply flavored broth.  Holy cannoli these were so good!

Giant Meatballs in White Wine Broth
Recipe adapted almost exactly from Lady & Pups

For the balls
1 pound ground beef (high fat content)
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped prosciutto or pancetta 
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 onion, grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch 
1/4 c + 1 tablespoon milk

For the braise
1 tablspoon butter
1 onion,  roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
4 sprigs thyme
4 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
1 bottle dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 Parmigiano cheese rind

For the finish
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper to taste
Crispy onions (these are my favorite)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together by hand and form into large meatballs, about the size of baseballs.  This should make 8 meatballs, or 10 smaller sized ones.   Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until browned. 

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter and add onion, celery, carrot, garlic and saute over medium high heat until softened.  Add thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, white wine, stock, and cheese rind. Add meatballs and any juices from the pan.  

Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and cover pot.  Place in oven and cook for about 2 hours.  Remove the meatballs from the both and place on a plate while you strain the vegetables out of the stock.  Return meatballs to strained stock.  

To finish, braise some leeks in some butter with salt & pepper until soft.  To serve, place a meatball in a bowl, ladle some broth over the top and garnish with leeks, crispy onions and a crusty baguette! 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Zucchini Fritters

Howdy ho!  Here's what's been going on with me: 

1.)  It was my birthday this past weekend!  My sweet hubby bought me a new (old) record player.  I've been collecting records for a a few years , but only had one of those cheapo Crosely record players.  DO NOT ever use those.  They are shit and ruin your records + the sound is awful. 

We went to Bananas Music here in St. Pete.  Did you know that they have one of the largest record collections in the WORLD with over 3 million records?!?!  They also have a warehouse with a ton of equipment.  I was able to pick out a perfectly functional vintage turntable, amp, & speakers and they are glorious!  Music never sounded so good. 

2.)  I joined a spinning studio and love it.  Central Cycling is my new place. For me, I have to pay for my exercise because I feel much more accountable if I do so.  This place it great.  Totally dark, except for some rad black lights and motivational sayings in neon paint on the walls.  When I look up, all that I see is phrases like "SWEAT IS FAT DYING" or "DO IT FOR THE HOLY SHIT, YOU GOT HOT" or "YOU DON'T GET THE ASS YOU WANT BY SITTING ON IT", and it motivates the hell outta me! 

3.) We got our flights to Merida, Mexico for November!  My baby brother is getting married to the most lovely lady from Merida.  They have been together for a while and I've heard so many great things about this city.  So excited to finally visit. On the invite, it says the reception goes from 7:00pm until 6:00am! I guess they even serve breakfast at Mexican weddings.  My 9:30pm bedtime ass better figure out how to make it through the night :) 

 Now onto this recipe.  Can you believe that I made these about 5 months ago and am now just getting around to writing it?  Sheesh, it is a shame because they are so good.  My timing is probably better because summer gardens are in full swing and your garden should be runneth over with some zucchini soon.      

They are basically crispy, GBD (golden brown delicious) pancakes... with some zucchini in them.  That makes them totally healthy :)  The recipe is super easy, very forgiving and you can whip these up on a whim very quickly.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!   


Zucchini Fritters
2 medium zucchini, grated
1/2 onion, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced

flavor-less oil for frying (vegetable, canola, avocado, grape seed, etc.)
Sour cream mixed with lemon zest, salt & pepper for garnish

Grate the zucchini and onion.  Place in a kitchen towel and squeeze until you have extracted most of the water.  In a large bowl, add zucchini, onion, and the remainder of the ingredients.  Mix until a thick batter forms.

In a heavy skillet, fill up with about a 1/2 an inch with oil.  Heat over medium high heat (about 350-375) and drop large spoonfuls into hot oil.  Cook for about 2 minutes until golden brown and then flip.  Remove when the opposite side is brown and cool on a paper towel lined cookie sheet.

Season with salt & pepper, serve with seasoned sour cream and enjoy this indulgent vegetable fritter!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Baked Camembert

Sharing a super quick appetizer recipe with you.  A few reasons why this is the most perfect crowd pleaser: 

- CHEESE!  Ooey, gooey, melty cheese! 
- Bread.  Hello gluten! 
- Garlic, because face it, if they don't love your garlic breath, they can go pound sand.
- Rosemary, so we can be sure to get our daily dose of greens :)   

Seriously though, don't you want to jump into your screen and dig into this?? 

Baked Camembert
1 wheel Camembert cheese
1 baguette
1 bunch rosemary
4 cloves garlic, sliced into thin chips (madolin works best to get paper thin slices)
2 tablespoon good olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Chop up a baguette and toast or grill until charred. If you are feeling really randy, you can use the rosemary to skewer the chunks of bread.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Remove cheese from wrapper and slice the rind off the top.  Place the wheel of cheese back in the wooden container (I obviously did not do this) and cook on a sheet plan in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Preheat olive oil over medium and add garlic chips.  Cook until brown and crispy.  Don't let the garlic burn!  Chop up some rosemary (about a teaspoon).

Remove cheese from oven and drizzle with garlic oil, garlic chips, chopped rosemary, and salt & pepper.  Dip the bread into cheese and experience pure nirvana!

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