Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chaz's Cherry! OR The Cherry-Limeade Margarita

My favorite bartender and one of my friends, Chaz, and I made up a new margarita yesterday. To be fair, it's mostly Chaz's expertise that makes this so amazing.

This is so simple, and uses a few basic bar tools. Begin with a chilled glass and ice.

1 shot (1 jigger OR 44.3602943 milliliters, according to Google) of tequila and 1/2 shot (22.18014715 milliliters) of triple sec.

Add a splash of sour mix, grenadine, and fresh squeezed lime juice.

Garnish with cut lemons, limes, and maraschino cherries.

Going, Going, Gone!

After one drink, they might notice you...

After three drinks, no one will forget you. Drink responsibly and always use a designated driver.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Monkey Bread or Pull-Apart Cinnamon Bread

Get ready for some seriously easy, so tasty pull-apart goodness! You'll make this repeatedly, promise.

Begin with 4 (7.5 oz, 212g) tubes of prepackaged, refrigerated Buttermilk biscuits. Prepare 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg. Cut up one apple into small 1/2 in cubes. The type is up to you, I prefer golden delicious.

Take your kitchen scissors and cut the biscuits in thirds. (When I cooked them, I cut them in halves, though they should have been smaller.) Roll the pieces in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Grease a Bundt pan, and throw the covered pieces in.

After the first layer, put 1/2 cup toasted pecan halves. (If they're not toasted, the cook time isn't sufficient to cook them through and they'll be crunchy.)

Add the next tube of biscuits. I rolled some of the apples in the cinnamon sugar and didn't roll others, I didn't notice a difference in the final product. So, it's up to you to decide.

Add the third tube of biscuits, then more apple, then the final tube.

In a separate bowl, melt a 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and mix in 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Pour over the biscuits.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 20 or so minutes. This is really hard to know when it's cooked all the way through, because the goo in between the biscuit dough will make any knife come out gooey. So, use your best judgement.

You can see that the top looks pretty dry. I upped the measurements on the butter/brown sugar mixture to try to compensate for that. Basically, if the goo doesn't cover all the biscuits before you put it in the oven, it won't be enough to keep it moist.

Enjoy the gooey, cinnamon, apple, pecan goodness!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Celtic Knot Cookies with Tiny Chef Tristan

These bad boys are super cool looking, but did not want to work with me at all. That being said, they taste so good that the recipe itself is so good it's worth sharing. I saw these at Sprinkle Bakes, whom I just adore. I did a couple of the knots, and then just made balls. The added dough made for a moister, softer cookie. Since I had Tiny Chef with me, he wanted to take all the picture! Lol. So, that's what's up with the quality.

This recipe called for "Graham Flour" which I'd never heard of. But hey, they've got to be called graham crackers for a reason. So i looked at the selection at a normal grocery store, just to be sure, and there was none to be found. I went to our local "hippy organic tree hugger" grocery store. Lo and behold, it was there.

It was around three dollars, so pretty cheap for a random ingredient. The recipe begins with sifting 2 cups AP flour, 1 1/2 cup graham flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt together. Add 3 tbsp crushed graham cracker cookie crumbs.

Using an electric mixer, bring 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter to room temperature. Whip until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup of packed brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy again.

Add 1/2 cup of unsulfured molasses and beat until light and fluffy. Add 1 whole egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Mix until incorporated.

In thirds, add the flour mixture. Mix on low speed and try not to over mix. Gather the dough into a ball and put in the refrigerator for four hours to, preferably, overnight. I left it in there for a day, and that might be why I had a hard time working with the dough. By this point, Tiny Chef had gone home, so the photos are a bit better.

The hand in the background belongs to my werewolf boyfriend. Jealous? That's right, we both know you are. Lol. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface. You don't need much additional flour to keep the dough from sticking. Basically, play with it like play-dough that decided to be a bitch.

Position the shelf in the middle position and then heat the oven to 350. Bake for anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes. I give such a wide range on this because it depends on the shapes you make.

These cookies taste sort of like gingerbread. Sprinkle Bakes suggests serving them covered in powdered sugar, but I hate adding needless sugar to such a mellow cookie. So, I coved them in peanut butter! It adds to the flavor without overtaking it.

Enjoy, everybody!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Colcannon or Mashed Potatoes with Kale

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that's basically a healthier version of mashed potatoes. I'd never had kale before this. Turns out, the leafy vegetable tastes just like broccoli, and cooks just like collard greens. Now, for those of you who have never been to "The South" and had "Soul Food", you're probably still skinny, but get a damn gym membership and stop missing out!

Some recipes, including the one I drew from, uses cabbage instead of kale. I changed the ratio of kale to potato from 1:1 to 1:2. So we begin with 3/4 of a pound of kale and a large pan. The kale will cook down a lot! But you need a big pan to start and add enough salted water till it goes half way up the volume of the veggies.

Chop up 1 pound of "new potatoes" or "red potatoes". Try and keep them roughly the same size, that way they'll cook evenly. Boil in salted water.

Chop up one big leek or two smaller ones. By slicing it down the center, you can easily rinse the dirt out from between the layers. Leeks are super dirty, so make sure you rinse thoroughly.

I had leftover buttermilk from the Irish Soda Bread I made earlier in the week, so I didn't use normal milk for this. It's like using sour cream instead of whole milk. The problem, is that when you heat it up, it curdles. Not too pleasant to look at. Dump the leeks, 1 cup buttermilk, and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter into a pan on medium low heat until the leeks are soft.

Combine your cooked potatoes, wilted kale, and buttermilk mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste, but 1 tsp of ground garlic and 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg. The original recipe calls for mace, which is basically nutmeg. But the kale needs the fresh, punch of nutmeg. We have a grinder for nutmeg, and it's the most convenient thing in the whole damn pantry.

I had a hard time not eating the whole pan. I have a problem, I'm a potato salad addict. And this is like a nutritionally sound version of that sinful dish.