Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blacksmith Pizza

Many, many years ago before Maisie and even before Eammon, I remember visiting right around Christmas time (because it was wicked cold up in Massachusetts) with my Blacksmith friend George Martell and his family.  George made a wonderful dinner of grilled pizzas and I fell head-over-heels in love with them and dubbed them Blacksmith pizzas in his honor.  Grilled pizzas in this country are said to have started at Al Forno restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island and while I have enjoyed them there many, many times, I honestly like my own better as I tailor them to whatever flavor profile strikes my fancy.  I have been making these pizzas ever since George introduced me to them and they really are quite easy to make.  Because a lot of the preparation can be done in advance and because they are individual portions that can be customized, they are perfect for when we entertain or have guests, both those who love and are willing to try anything as well as those that are fussy with their food.

IMG_7906eMaisie adores Blacksmith pizza and this day she was eating one with tomato sauce and because it’s what I had on hand, Fiesta blend cheese. (That’s why it looks so orange)

IMG_7877eOne pound of pizza dough (homemade or store bought) portioned and rolled into eight balls.  Place a few tablespoons of olive oil in a 9x13-inch baking dish,.  Make sure to roll each ball of dough around in the oil to coat it completely.  Cover the dish with plastic wrap and then a dish towel and place in a warm area allowing the dough to rise.

IMG_7880eOnce the dough has risen, working one dough ball at a time, gently separate a dough ball and roll it in the excess oil in the bottom of the dish to coat and then with your hands, gently spread and flatten the pizza dough into an 8-inch free form circle or what ever shape it turns into.  I make sure that there is a good amount of oil on my dough so I just stack my flattened dough one on top of another on a plate.

IMG_7884eHave your grill blazing hot and quickly place your flattened dough on the grill.  Cover and cook for 30-45 seconds, just until the dough starts to bubble and the raw sheen of the dough disappears.  You will only be cooking one side of the dough at this time so remove the dough to a plate with the cooked side up.

IMG_7893eDough fresh from the grill with the one cooked side up.  At this point you can either continue making your pizzas or cool the half cooked dough and place in a zipper bag in the refrigerator for later use.  The partially cooked dough will stay for up to a week.

IMG_7895eIf you’ve refrigerated the partially cooked dough, bring it to room temperature before continuing.  To finish the pizzas, place the partially cooked dough raw side down and to the cooked side add your favorite toppings.  The pizza will only be on the grill for a minute or less to finish the cooking process so the pizza can’t be loaded down with toppings and all meats need to be cooked completely before putting them on the pizza along with any veggies that you may want cooked.  I often cook pepperoni and roast or sauté veggies such as peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms to use as toppings.  If you’re making these pizzas for a party you can have all your cooked and raw toppings as well as cheese set out as a pizza buffet and have each person customize their pizza.

IMG_7897eOnce you’ve added your favorite toppings, gently but quickly transfer your pizzas to an extremely hot grill.  I find using my favorite tongs and a spatula works the best for this process. 

IMG_7904eClose the lid on the grill and cook for 30-60 seconds just until the once raw bottom is cooked and crispy and the cheese has melted. 

IMG_7899eWhat’s great about these pizzas is that you can really use whatever you have on hand which was what happened this time as I didn’t plan so I hadn’t picked up a lot of our usual toppings.  This tray contains pizzas for Maisie and I.  Mine are in the top row and have a light coating of Roasted Garlic Onion Jam, very thinly sliced prosciutto and a light sprinkle of Fiesta blend cheese.  Maisie likes basic pizza so I reduced the juice from a can of fire roasted tomatoes (I used the tomatoes on Eammon's pizza) until it was thickened enough to spread on the dough and then Maisie topped her pizzas with a good amount of the Fiesta blend cheese

IMG_7901This tray was Eammon’s with all his pizzas being topped with Roasted Garlic Onion Jam, some very thinly sliced prosciutto and a light sprinkle of Fiesta blend cheese.  The top row pizzas also have the drained diced fire roasted tomatoes, thinly slice red, orange & yellow sweet peppers and diced Vidalia onion.  Because I was leaving the veggies raw I made sure to cut them very thin.

IMG_7912eMaisie gives Blacksmith pizza a big thumbs up…as do Eammon and I.  Give them a try, they’re easy and pretty darn awesome.

Here’s some food p@rn of the grilled pizzas that I’ve blogged about in the past.IMG_6167eMaisie’s favorite, tomato sauce and cheese.

IMG_6174eMy all time favorite pizza...Ever!  Roasted Garlic Onion Jam, figs picked fresh off my neighbor's tree (with their permission of course) and goat cheese.

IMG_6171eOne of my longtime go-to pizzas, pesto, caramelized onions, goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes.

IMG_6176eEammon likes more ingredients and this is one of his favorites, tomato sauce, olive tapenade, caramelized onions, prosciutto, sun dried tomatoes and cheese.

IMG_6178eThe always delicious Roasted Garlic Onion Jam, prosciutto, caramelized onion and cheese

IMG_6197eAnd just because I love her and think she’s stinkin’ adorable, Maisie eating her Blacksmith pizza way back in August 2009.

No real recipe, just some pizza dough, olive oil and your favorite sauces and toppings.  For planning serving sizes, Maisie and I will eat one pizza with a side or salad or maybe two pizzas by themselves.  Eammon can easily finish four pizzas as a meal. 


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Long Beans with Walnuts

IMG_8702eDoesn’t that just look delicious?  Well let me tell you, it tasted even more wonderful than it looked. 

IMG_8696eRecently Maisie and I picked the first long beans if the season from our garden.  As luck would have it, I had just tucked away a recipe for Skillet Green Beans with Spiced Walnuts and I knew that the recipe was going to be the inspiration for our beans.  This recipe had wonderful flavor and the heat from the cayenne wasn’t in-your-face but sort of a tingle on the finish.  I really enjoyed this preparation and found that I liked it hot from the pan, at room temperature but even better, loved it cold the next day on top of a salad of greens.  I hope that you’ll give it a try.

Long Beans with Walnuts (Adapted from here)

2 TBS. bacon fat, butter or oil (I used bacon fat because I had just fried up some hickory smoked bacon for another recipe and was too lazy to wash the pan.  After tasting the beans I would definitely use bacon fat each and every time I make this dish, total yum!)
1 oz. piloncillo, grated or shaved (or brown sugar)
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne, more or less to taste
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 lb. long beans or string beans, cut in 2-inch lengths
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet over medium-low, heat the bacon fat, piloncillo and ginger until the sugar is melted and the ginger starts to become fragrant.  Add the cayenne and walnuts.  Stir to coat the nuts well with the sugar & fat mixture.  Add the beans and toss to coat stirring for about 1 minute.  Cover and reduce temperature to low.  Allow the beans to cook for about 5 minutes.  Remove lid, stir to coat everything and taste for degree of doneness.  The long beans are done when they are cooked but still have a bit of bite, season as needed with salt & pepper. 


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Toll House Double Stuff Oreo Brownies…say what?

IMG_8807eI recently saw this recipe for Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bars and I knew that Maisie would love making them so that’s how we spent a bit of time this afternoon.  The original recipe was really quite simple, make homemade chocolate chip cookie dough add Oreo cookies, top with a boxed brownie mix, bake and then try to distract yourself with activities or get out of the house long enough for the bars to cool.  I decided to simplify the recipe even further by using refrigerated Toll House cookie dough in lieu of making homemade and with that little change, making these outrageously decadent brownies was super simple and Maisie was able to do everything herself.

IMG_8757eMaisie with all the ingredients.

IMG_8762eSpreading the Toll House cookie dough into a parchment paper lined pan.

IMG_8763eLaying in the Double Stuff Oreo cookies.

IMG_8776eHappy little girl as there were a few extra cookies so she enjoyed a double-Double Stuff Oreo.

IMG_8779eMixing up the brownie batter.

IMG_8784ePouring the brownie batter on top of the Toll House cookie dough and Double Stuff Oreo cookies.

IMG_8789eSpreading the batter and making sure that it was perfect.

IMG_8803eFinally cooled, the entire tray cut in half.

IMG_8808eClose up baby!!

Toll House Double Stuff Oreo Brownies  (adapted from here)

1 big batch roll refrigerated Toll House Cookie dough
1 pkg Double Stuff Oreo cookies
1 brownie mix for a 9x13-inch pan (eggs, oil and water as directed on the box)
Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray and then line with parchment paper.  Spread the cookie dough evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.  Add a layer of Oreo cookies. Mix together the brownie mix according to the directions on the box.  Pour the brownie batter over the cookie dough and Oreo layers. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Find some way to entertain yourself as you wait for the brownies to cool.  Cut into squares, grab a big old glass of milk and indulge.



Friday, June 24, 2011

Mango Gazpacho

Though I’ve tried many variations throughout the years, I have found that I don’t particularly care for traditional vegetable Gazpacho.  Then again I don’t care for V8 Juice, tomato juice or even bloody Mary’s so I can see why traditional Gazpacho just isn’t my thing.  What I have found though is that when fruit added, like in my Watermelon Tomato Gazpacho, I go absolutely Gaga for it and can’t get enough.  Recently I was perusing some cooking blogs and saw this recipe for Mango Gazpacho and I knew that I had to make it... and immediately as it’s been hot as Hades here in Georgia and I’ve been craving some fruity healthy goodness.  In addition, mangos are in season, on sale and I absolute adore them.  As luck would have it, I saw that mangos were on a super-duper sale this week so I stocked up and I’m glad that I did because I’m going to be making a couple of batches of this Gazpacho as I can’t stop eating it.

IMG_8661e1This Mango Gazpacho is delicious and the sweetness of the mango contrasts nicely with the acidity of the tomatoes and heat of the jalapeno and added hot sauce while the olive oil adds a velvety mouth feel.  This is a great soup for our hot Georgia summer days and I hope that you’ll give it a try and let me know what you think.


Mango Gazpacho (adapted from here)

2 large ripe mangos (about 4 cups), peeled and roughly chopped
6 large very ripe plum tomatoes (about 4 cups), roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 medium shallots
1 cup roughly chopped peeled & seeded cucumber, plus additional diced for garnish
1/2 cup roughly chopped celery
1 jalapeno, seeded & deveined
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup vegetable stock or more to reach desired consistency
1/4 cup olive oil, plus additional for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Favorite hot sauce, for garnish
fresh basil for garnish

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the oil, salt, pepper and the garnishes, process until smooth. Then slowly add the olive oil so it blends into the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.  You can store the soup in the refrigerator up to 2 days, if the soup is too thick after being stored, add additional vegetable stock to thin it out.

When ready to serve, pour the soup into chilled bowls and garnish each one with some diced cucumber, a few drops of hot sauce, olive oil and some fresh basil. Serve immediately.


If you love mangos, check out my other mango inspired recipes, Mango Thai Chicken and Mango Lassi.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Watermelon Frosty

I saw this recipe for a watermelon frosty on Happy Healthy Life and my mouth and tummy immediately said YES!!  I had watermelon in the house, a few frozen bananas in the freezer and I though I didn’t have any fresh lemons I always keep some frozen lemon juice on hand so I was all set as far as ingredients.  I immediately got some watermelon in the freezer and a few hours later I was relaxing and enjoying a wonderfully refreshing drink.  I love that this drink has no dairy but it’s still creamy and smooth because of the banana.  I’ve made this drink a few times already and have frozen watermelon chunks waiting in the freezer as I plan on making this drink all summer long.  I make the drink sans alcohol but you could always replace some of the water with your favorite alcohol for a more “adult” beverage.


Watermelon Frosty (Adapted from here)

2 cups frozen watermelon chunks*
1/2 cup water (or part alcohol of your choosing)
1 packet Stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 frozen banana**

Place everything in a blender and whiz away!


* Remove the rind from the watermelon and then cube the flesh into 1/2-inch cubes.  On a parchment or foil lined baking sheet lay the cubes of watermelon out so that they are not touching one another and place in the freezer.  Once the watermelon chunks are completely frozen remove them from the baking sheet and place them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. 

**Once bananas are fully ripe and the skins are heavily spotted or fully brown, peel the bananas and place each one into a snack-sized zip bag.  Squeeze out as much air as possible when closing and then freeze.  Though frozen bananas don’t look great they are wonderful in smoothies and banana bread.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Home Style Chicken Curry and The Secret Recipe Club

IMG_7799e2 I read about a secret recipe club over on Amanda's blog and it immediately intrigued me.  How it works is, each month you are assigned a different participating food blogger and without telling them, you make one of their recipes of your choosing.  Then on a specified date everyone who is participating that month posts their recreation or version of the recipe they made.  I thought, what a great way to find some new food bloggers and try out some different recipes while also forcing encouraging me to post more to my own cooking blog, so I signed up.  So, I’m hoping that this will be my kick in the tush motivation to post more often to my cooking blog.

This is my first month participating and I was assigned Rachel’s Tangerine Kitchen and was beyond excited because Rachel is blogging from India and her blog is overflowing with wonderful international recipes.  I must have spent hours scrolling through all of her recipes and drooling over all the possible things I could make.  I narrowed my selection down to about seventeen dishes…can you tell that I liked Rachel’s blog a lot!!  In the end what really helped me choose was when she wrote about being brought up on the dishes typical of Kerala cuisine and how those were her comfort foods.  I knew right off the bat that we would love Kerala cuisine as the spices that are used in most of the dishes fall right into the flavor profile that Eammon and I love.  In the end I chose her home style chicken curry and when putting together my shopping list I found it quite interesting that the only thing I had to purchase besides the chicken, were the fresh curry leaves and coconut oil as all the required spices are just staples in my pantry.  If that wasn’t telling that we’d love this dish, I don’t know what was. 

IMG_7807eOkay I’ll admit that curry isn’t very photogenic being multiple shades of brown but the taste, well that’s a different story as it was wonderfully delicious.  I’ve never cooked with curry leaves and as soon as I started cooking them with the shallots they filled the house with an interesting yet wonderful aroma. 

IMG_7812 I found that I adore munching on the slightly crisp curry leaves once they’ve been sautéed with the shallots or onions and it’s good that I liked the curry leaves and that they weigh close to nothing because they are pricy at $30 per pound.

I thought that the curry would be very spicy hot with the chili powder and all the chilies but it just had a mild kick to it.  The recipe made a large amount and we enjoyed it over a few days and Eammon enjoyed it most served over Basmati rice with a mango lassi on the side.

Rachel’s recipe was simple to follow and I made just a few changes (marked in parenthesis).

Home Style Chicken Curry  (adapted from here)

2 TBS coconut oil
6 shallots, peeled and sliced
Curry leaves (I used 12)
1 c. grated coconut
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1 TBS.chili powder
2 TBS. coriander powder
(I added 2 tsp. garam masala)
(I added 1 tsp. fennel seeds)
2 TBS coconut oil
4 onions, chopped
5 green chilies, stems removed and slit (I used small green Thai chilies)
1 tsp. garlic paste (I used 1.5 tsp. finely minced garlic)
1 tsp. ginger paste-1t  (I used 1.5 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger)
3 tomatoes, chopped
(I added 2 med. potatoes, diced)
2.5 lbs chicken (I used boneless, skinless breasts)
Salt to taste
For tempering
Coconut oil-1T
Shallots-3 peeled, sliced
Curry Leaves

Heat 2 TBS oil in a very large pan. Add the 6 sliced shallots and the curry leaves. When the shallots turn soft and a golden brown, add in the coconut scrapes. Fry until the coconut turns golden brown. Add in the spices and sauté for a few minutes. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, blend the mixture with a little water into a thick paste.

Into the now empty pan add 2 TBS coconut oil, add in sliced onions and the slit green chilies. Sauté until soft and add the ginger, garlic and tomatoes.  Cover and cook until the tomatoes are very soft and start breaking down.  Add in the ground paste and add a few cups of water.  Add the potatoes and cook until they are soft, adding water if necessary.  Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is cooked adding water to make the sauce your desired consistency.  Add salt to taste.
In a small sauté pan, heat oil for tempering. Add in the sliced shallots and the curry leaves. Sauté until the shallots are golden brown. Pour this into the chicken curry.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coffee Crusted Steak

I saw this recipe for coffee crusted steak on Kevin & Amanda’s site and thought, what an interesting idea, so I decided to give it a try.  I strayed a bit from their recipe in the cut of steak, kind of coffee, fat used and cooking method…but the idea of using coffee on a hunk of beef came straight from their site.

IMG_7854e1Coffee Crusted Steak served with Potato Salad with Bacon 

I had two beautifully well marbled New York strip steaks which I made sure were nice and dry.  I then sprinkled them with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and then I went and looked at my stash of coffee.  I debated between the Guatemala Organic, the Rwandan blend, my favorite decaf or….
IMG_7874e Fresh Market’s dessert coffee, Wake Me Up Before You Cocoa. 

Now Kevin & Amanda used a hazelnut coffee and I liked the idea of using a flavored coffee but I almost totally wimped out.  Instead I threw caution to the wind and heavily coated the steaks with my chocolate coffee.  I then misted the steaks with some olive oil and placed them on a roaring hot grill.  Three minutes on the first side, flipped them and then one minute on the second.  I let them rest tented for about 10 minutes and they were a perfect medium rare.

Am I glad that I tried coffee crusted steaks and even more that I used a chocolate flavored coffee?  Heck YES!!  The coffee added a whole new dimension to the flavor of the steak and the little hint of chocolate was just an added depth of flavor which was wonderful.  When I served the steak Eammon asked what they were coated with but I wouldn’t tell him until he tried it.  He had no clue even after tasting that it was coffee but he and I really both really enjoyed this preparation.

Coffee Crusted Steak  (adapted from here)

2 – 10 oz. well marbled New York strip steaks
sea salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste
flavored ground coffee of your choice
olive oil

Season steaks with salt & pepper and then cover with ground coffee.  Lightly mist with olive oil.  Place on a very hot grill and cover.  Cook for three minutes covered then flip steak and cook uncovered for an additional minute or until done to your liking.  Remove to a plate and tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Potato Salad with Bacon

I am forever perusing cooking blogs and I don’t even want to venture a guess as to how many recipes I have emailed to myself in hopes of making one day as I’m sure that it’s probably more than I could make in two lifetimes.  Recently though I have been working on better organizing my recipes and as I organize I’ve been watching for those recipes which I could make immediately because of having all the ingredients in the house.  This potato salad was one of those recipes and though I didn’t have the exact ingredients in the original recipe I had perfect-close-enough substitutions and honestly after making the recipe I would leave my substitutions in place as this was a perfect recipe for us.  When I saw this recipe for potato salad. something about it just worked for me so it ended up in my email box.  

IMG_7864eFunny thing about this recipe is the night that I first served this potato salad Eammon immediately exclaimed that this was “the best potato salad ever.”  So why is that so funny?  Because Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker got this recipe from her friend’s grandmother and on that original recipe card it was titled “Best Ever Potato Salad”.  So below is my slightly adapted rendition of their Best Ever Potato Salad.

Potato Salad with Bacon (adapted from here)

4 c peeled & cubed potatoes (I used russet because that’s what I had in the house)
10 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 TBS Dijon mustard
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium Vidalia or sweet onion, chopped
1/2 medium red and/or orange pepper, chopped

Boil the potatoes until they are fork tender then drain the potatoes and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a fry pan over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Pour off all but 2 TBS of the bacon drippings.

Remove the fry pan from the heat and add the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar and salt to the reserved bacon drippings and whisk to combine.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, celery, onion and pepper. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and stir to evenly mix. Add the potatoes and bacon and gently stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oriental Chicken Salad

Recently I have been trying to use up items that I have in my pantry and freezer as both are quite full and in need of a clean out.  To that end, I have tried to only purchase fresh veggies and milk each week.  Since I really don’t pre-plan our meals, I get what veggies look good and are at a good price and I work around that with the items available in my pantry and freezer.  In my refrigerator from my last shopping trip I had two large containers of mini red, yellow & orange sweet peppers, a bag of tri-color coleslaw mix and my ever present supply of cilantro & green onion so I knew that I wanted to work with those.  In addition, in the freezer I had a package of breast meat left over from a rotisserie chicken, so it worked out perfectly when I found this recipe for Asian Chicken Salad on Dianna’s Double Batch blog.  As it turned out, I had every ingredient needed to make my adaptation of her recipe…aren’t adaptations wonderful!

We really enjoyed this salad, it was quick to make and very fresh and summery tasting so a perfect recipe to make and enjoy after a long afternoon at the pool


Oriental Chicken Salad (Adapted from here)

For the salad:

2 packages (3 ounces each) ramen noodle mix, Oriental flavor, flavor packet set aside for dressing
½ cup sliced almonds
1 package (16 ounces) tri-color coleslaw mix
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
6 green onions, whites & green, chopped
3-4 each, mini red, orange & yellow sweet peppers, cut in long strips
vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)

Heat oven to 350 F.  Break up the ramen noodles and place them and the almonds on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 6 minutes, or until the noodles and almonds turn light brown.

Place slaw mix, chicken, cilantro, green onions & sliced peppers in a large serving bowl.  Toss to combine.

Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.  Scatter the toasted almonds and noodles on top and serve.

Vinaigrette dressing:

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 TBS fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 reserved flavor packet from the ramen noodles
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, pepper and one of the reserved flavor packets from the noodles in a blender.  Once combined, with the blender running, gradually blend in the oil.


Blog Parties I may be attending:  Cast Party Wednesday, Delectable Tuesday, Everyday Sisters Sharing Sundays, Fat Camp Friday, Food on Fridays, Food Trip Friday, Foodie Friday, Fresh Food Friday, Friday Favorites, Friday Food, Friday Potluck, Full Plate Thursday, Homemaker Monday, Jam Hands, Let’s do Brunch, Make a Food-e-Friend Mondays, Mangia Monday’s, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Menu Mondays, Mingle Monday, Mommy’s Kitchen, Mouth Watering Monday, Savory Sunday, Seasonal Sunday, Simply Delish, Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday’s, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, This Chick Cooks, This Week’s Cravings, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Tuesday Time Out, Tuesday’s Tasty Tidbits, Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What’s on the Menu Wednesday, Your Recipe My Kitchen

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grilled Corn & Bacon Pudding

Maisie absolutely adores grilled corn and will eat it hot or cold and day after day.  I love using grilled corn in recipes like my Super Simple Summer Shrimp Salsa Salad which I eat all summer long so I generally have extra ears of grilled corn in the house.  The other day I saw a recipe for Bacon & Corn Pudding and I thought with a few minor changes and with using the grilled corn that I had on hand, that it would be a winning recipe for us. 

As I was making the recipe I thought that it was quite similar to another recipe that I make, Corn Soufflé and in many ways it is but the taste is completely different.  My Corn Soufflé is creamy and mild in flavor and while not sweet per se, sweeter than this recipe.  By using grilled corn, onion, bacon and cheese, this recipe is much more flavorful.  The corn and onion really stand out and the cheese, though there, just adds to the richness as a background flavor.  The bacon adds a nice smokiness to the dish and a little extra crispness to the top crust.  One thing that is very similar between the two dishes is the overall  they’re both very light and have that soft “pudding like” texture.  This recipe was easy to make, a winner taste wise and pieces reheat beautifully in the microwave so I will definitely be making it again.


Grilled Corn & Bacon Pudding (Adapted from here)

6 large eggs
2 cups half & half (I used fat-free because that’s what I had)
1/2 cup melted butter
2 TBS sugar
4 TBS flour
1 tsp each, or to taste, salt & pepper
4 ears of fresh corn, grilled until some of the kernels are charred and then kernels sliced from the cob (I used bi-color corn)
1 medium Vidalia onion, minced (or other sweet onion)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used Fiesta blend cheese because that’s what I had on hand but cheddar or Colby Jack could be used.)
6 slices pre-cooked bacon, julienned (divided 4 slices & 2 slices)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix together the eggs, half & half, melted butter, sugar, flour, salt and pepper.  Once fully blended add the corn kernels, minced onion, shredded cheese and the 4 slices of julienned bacon.  Stir to blend and then pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking or casserole dish.  Top the mixture with the 2 remaining slices of julienned bacon.  Bake for approx. one hour or until golden brown. Once removed from the oven allow the pudding to stand for at least 10 minutes before serving so the pudding can set up well.



Friday, June 3, 2011

Curried Roast Chicken Pieces with Spicy Sweet Potato & Carrots

A recent commenter on Cook Lisa Cook left a link to one of her recipes, Curried Roast Chicken Leg with Spicy Sweet Potato Chips.  After one look at her recipe, she had me and I was going to be making her recipe…Or my version of it because she was only cooking for one and also, I can never leave good enough alone.

The combination of coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon & chili powder is always a winner for me so I knew that we would love the flavors.  In addition, my friend Trixie recently gave me a big bag of her homegrown sweet potatoes so I’ve been wanting to use some of those and I had all the other ingredients to make this recipe either in my pantry or freezer.  Making this recipe for dinner this week was a no-brainer.

I of course made some changes from the original recipe as I bumped up the spices quite a bit, added carrots because I had so many in the house and because we love it, a lot, LOT more garlic.  I used chicken leg quarters and they just happened to be huge so if you make this recipe, adjust accordingly. 

IMG_8097eThe recipe was simple to make, one big bowl and a roasting pan so not a lot of dishes.  The only thing to watch out for is, use gloves because I ran out of them and spread the spice mixture on the chicken by hand and now because of the turmeric I’m sporting lovely yellow nails. 

We loved this recipe as the chicken was juicy and tender with a nice crispy and flavorful skin.  The sweet potatoes and carrots were naturally sweet and wonderfully flavored by the spices and the shallots and garlic were mellow and a great addition to the dish.  Even though I put in quite a bit of chili powder the dish was not “hot” spicy in any way and I will probably up the chili powder the next time I make this…and I will be making this wonderful dish again.  We also enjoyed the cucumber & mint raita and even though it wasn’t needed to “cool” the dish it was a very refreshing addition.

Curried Roast Chicken Pieces with Spicy Sweet Potato & Carrots  (Adapted from here)

For the veggies:

1 lb. baby carrots
2-3 medium sweet potato, peeled & cut into sticks similar in size to the carrots
6 large shallots, peeled & halved
20+ cloves garlic, peeled
1 TBS coriander
1 TBS cumin
1 TBS turmeric
1 TBS cinnamon
2 tsp. dark chili powder (or more to taste)
sea salt to taste
melted coconut oil or oil of your choice

For the chicken:

5-6 chicken leg quarters, skin-on, bone-in, fat & excess skin trimmed away 
2 TBS coriander 
2 TBS cumin 
2 TBS turmeric
1 TBS cinnamon 
1 1/2 TBS dark chili powder (or more to taste)
sea salt to taste
melted coconut oil or oil of your choice

Pre-heat oven to 450 F. 

In a large bowl add the spices for the the carrots and sweet potatoes.  Add enough oil to make a mixture that will easily spread on the veggies.  Add the carrots and sweet potatoes and mix to coat all the pieces evenly.

IMG_8083eLightly grease a large shallow roasting pan and add the shallots, cut side down, garlic and the sweet potatoes & carrots.  Place in the hot oven for 10 but not more than 15 minutes while preparing the chicken.   

In the now empty bowl (no need to even wash it out) add the spices for the chicken and enough oil to allow the spice mixture to easily coat the chicken.  Add the chicken to the bowl and spread the spice mixture over the chicken pieces working it under the skin a bit but not fully separating the skin from the meat.

IMG_8088eRemove the partially cooked veggies from the oven and place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies.  Return the pan to the oven and roast until the chicken is cooked completely, depending on the size of your chicken pieces, 30-40 minutes.

IMG_8090eOnce the chicken is fully cooked, remove the chicken pieces to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil.  Turn on the broiler and place the veggies back in the oven for just a few minutes allowing them to crisp up a little more.

Cucumber and Mint Raita
1 cup plain yogurt (I used fat-free Greek yogurt)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed & chopped very finely
handful of mint leaves, chopped very finely
pinch of cumin powder 
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together. Add salt to taste.  Chill and serve as a side to the chicken and veggies.



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