Category Archives: Food

Stuffed Peppers

Here’s my mama’s recipe for stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

Medium-large green bell peppers
Ground pork
Instant white or brown rice
Salt
Pepper
1-2 large cans of tomato sauce

Preparation:

1. Using a pairing knife, cut a circle around the stem of a bell pepper in order to remove the stem and central stalk with seeds. Once removed, use a spoon to scrape out all seeds and spines inside the pepper. Rinse under cold water then set aside to dry.

2. In a large mixing bowl combine ground pork, rice, salt, and pepper. I don’t use exact measurements, I mix to sight. The ratio of ground pork and rice to peppers depends on how many peppers you wish to prepare and how large they are. 4-5 medium peppers needs approximately 3 pounds of pork, give or take. The denser you pack the peppers the longer it will take for them to cook through, so keep that in mind as you set up your ratios. Mix your pork mixture by hand. Yes, it’s messy, but you will get a more evenly combined mixture without pockets of unmixed pork or rice.

3. Once your pork mixture is evenly and fully mixed, spoon it into the prepared peppers. Again, try not to over pack. The denser your peppers the longer they will take to cook through and you run the risk of undercooked pork (highly unhealthy). Once you’ve filled all your peppers, place them on the bottom of a large, heavy bottomed stock pot. A cast iron dutch oven works just as well (Le Creuset or Staub). What ever kind of pot you choose must have a lid though. Do not stack the peppers. Keep them in a single layer even if that means cooking in multiple pots or in batches. Cover the peppers with tomato sauce. I generally use one 29-oz can of tomato sauce per 4 peppers. I like a good ratio of sauce to pepper. Feel free to play with the ratio if you’d like. But keep in mind that the hearty tomato sauce is key to a good stuffed pepper. Add water to the pan (I add it too the sides so as not to wash off the tomato sauce from the tops of the peppers) till the “sauce” level reaches the tops of the peppers. Do not fully submerge the peppers! They will begin to float and can flip onto their sides while cooking leading to uneven cooking.

4. Cook covered on medium-high heat till the pork is fully cooked through (no pink coloration left). Thorough cooking is essential. Consuming uncooked or under cooked pork is highly unhealthy and can make you sick.

I don’t like to eat the peppers, but that’s just me. I cut the pepper off the cooked pork filling, dice the pork, and serve with a generous amount of the tomato sauce/broth that the peppers were cooked in.

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Blondies

A collection of great blondies recipes. Enjoy!

Blondies with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Yield: 16 blondies

Ingredients:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper.
In a large bowl, whisk butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix just until moistened (do not overmix). Fold in 1/2 cup each chocolate chips and walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips and walnuts.
Bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares.
Hazelnut Blondies
Yield: About 2 dozen
Ingredients:
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins rubbed off with a kitchen towel, and chopped
1 heaping tablespoon chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella, plus more for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-by-11-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper. Butter parchment.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
Melt butter. Beat butter and sugar until combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in hazelnuts and Nutella.
Press dough into pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs, about 25 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Cut into squares. Serve with additional Nutella. Blondies can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days
Raspberry-Almond Blondies
Yield: 9 large or 16 small blondies
Ingredients:
9 tablespoons (1 1/8 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds, (3 ounces), toasted
1 pint raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; cream on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture, and beat on low speed, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated. Mix 3/4 cup almonds into batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan; spread with a rubber spatula. Scatter berries and remaining 1/4 cup nuts over batter in pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into blondies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 55 to 60 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before cutting into squares.

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Brownies

Here’s a GREAT collection of brownie recipes. Enjoy!!

Double-Chocolate Brownies

The better the quality of chocolate you use, the better the results.

Yield: Makes 9 large or 16 small squares

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces coarsely chopped good-quality semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.
Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
Pecan Fudge Brownies
Yield: 16 brownies
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides. Butter paper; set pan aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Place butter and chocolates in a large heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water. Heat until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in sugars, eggs, vanilla, flour mixture, and half of pecans. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack; let cool completely. Using paper overhang, lift brownie onto a cutting board; cut into 16 squares.
Rocky Road Brownies
Yield: 16 brownies
Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
1 bag (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as cashews, pecans, or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter paper.
In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, combine butter and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until melted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Remove mixture from heat; stir in sugars and salt, then eggs, and finally flour, stirring just until combined. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from oven, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, then marshmallows and nuts. Bake until chocolate is shiny and marshmallows are puffed, about 5 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.

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Sweet Tea with Vodka and Lemonade

A perfect summertime cocktail. Because it’s a combination of iced tea, lemonade, and booze, I’ve dubbed it the Tipsy Arnold Palmer.

Sweet Tea with Vodka and Lemonade

Yield: 8 drinks

2 large tea bags for iced tea
1/2 cup boiling water
8 fresh mint springs
4 cups lemonade made from frozen concentrate
1/2 cup vodka
Ice cubes
8 lemon slices

Place tea bags in medium bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water. Let steep 4 minutes. Discard tea bags. Place mint sprigs in large pitcher; mash with muddler or handle of wooden spoon until slightly bruised. Pour in tea, lemonade, and vodka.

Fill 8 highball glasses with ice. Divide sweet tea among glasses. Garnish with lemon slices.

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken

The secret to great fried chicken is brining, it keeps the chicken incredibly moist. Don’t brine the chicken for more than 24 hours, it could get too salty.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Yield: 24 pieces

Brining:

24 cups water
1 cup coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
18 Turkish bay leaves
30 unpeeled garlic cloves, smashed
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
5 large fresh rosemary sprigs
1 1/2 bunches fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 bunches fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 3 1/2 pound chickens

Frying:

6 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons garlic powder
5 tablespoons onion powder
4 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for serving
6 cups buttermilk
12 cups peanut oil (for deep frying)

Brining: Bring all ingredients except chickens to boil in large pot. Boil 1 minute, stirring to dissolve salt. Cool completely. Chill brine until cold, about 2 hours.

Rinse chickens; add to brine, pressing to submerge. Chill at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Drain chickens and pat dry, removing any herbs or spices sticking to skin. Cut each chicken into 8 pieces. Chef Ming Tsai shows how to break down a chicken here.

Frying: Line 2 large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix first 6 ingredients and 4 tablespoons coarse salt in large bowl. Place buttermilk in another large bowl. Dip each chicken piece in flour mixture to coat; shake off excess. Dip pieces in buttermilk, coating completely, then dip into flour mixture again, coating thickly (do not shake off excess). Place chicken on prepared sheets. Let stand 1 to 2 hours at room temperature to dry.

Pour peanut oil into heavy large pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pot and heat oil over medium-high heat to 320 to 330 degrees F. Working in batches of 4 pieces at a time, add leg and thigh pieces to oil (use splatter screen to protect yourself from hot oil). Adjust heat as needed to maintain temperature. Fry until cooked through and skin is deep golden brown, turning once with wooden spoons (to prevent crust from breaking), about 13 minutes. Using wooden spoons, transfer chicken to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Add breast pieces to oil and fry until cooked through and skin is deep golden brown, turning once, about 7 minutes. Transfer chicken to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with coarse salt.

Transfer chicken to platter. Serve warm or let stand up to 2 hours.

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Chicken Paella

A great and simple recipe. Doesn’t take a lot of time and has a terrific result.

Chicken Paella

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

8 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved (about 3/4 cup)
1 bunch parsley, stems removed (about 2 cups)
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 cup jarred baby artichoke hearts, halved
Salt and pepper
2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound fresh Spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
6 garlic cloves, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1 cup calaspara or Arborio rice
1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup jarred piquillo pepper, thinly sliced
10 ounces shredded cooked chicken (about 2 cups)

1. Make the parsley salad: In a large mixing bowl, toss the cherry tomatoes with the parsley, onion, vinegar and artichoke hearts. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Let stand at room temperature while you make the paella.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to simmer. Remove the stock from the heat, stir in the saffron, cover and set aside.

3. In a large, heavy skillet or paella pan, combine the olive oil, chorizo, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and the chorizo begins to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and mix to coat the grains completely.

4. Stir in the reserved chicken stock, peas, pepper and chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake until the edges are golden brown and the rice is cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Top the paella with the parsley salad and serve immediately.

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Summer Tequila Cocktails

Patrón Pomegranate

1 ounce Patrón Silver
1/4 ounce Patrón Citrónge
Fresh pomegranate juice
Lemon squeeze

Pour Patrón Silver and Patrón Citrónge over ice. Add fresh pomegranate juice to taste. Finish with a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with an orange twist.

Patrón Grapefruit

1 ounce Patrón Silver
1/4 ounce Patrón Citrónge
Fresh grapefruit juice
Splash of club soda

Pour Patrón Silver and Patrón Citrónge over ice. Add fresh grapefruit juice. Top off with a splash of club soda. Garnish with grapefruit peel and lime.

Patrón Pineapple

1 ounce Patrón Silver
1/4 ounce Patrón Citrónge
Fresh pineapple juice
Lime squeeze

Pour Patrón Silver and Patrón Citrónge over ice. Add fresh pineapple juice. Top off with a squeeze of lime. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Key Lime Margaritas

Yield: 4 drinks

1 key lime (optional), quartered
Kosher salt (optional) for rims of glasses
3/4 cup Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
1/2 cup reposado tequila
1/2 cup fresh Key Lime juice
2 teaspoon superfine granulated sugar (optional)

Run lime wedge around rim of glasses. Put salt on a small plate and dip glasses in salt to lightly coat. Blend liqueur, tequila, juice, and sugar in a blender until combined. Serve over ice.

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