Tuesday, April 29

HOW TO: Make Surprise Celebration Brownies

What is a celebration brownie? Well, its the perfect surprise to the end of any occasion, party, or celebration. These easy to make brownies are packed full of tasty candy bar bites and fun colored sprinkles. Best part you can make these with either homemade brownie mix or boxed brownie mix.

Full time 1 1/2 hour
Makes approximately 18 brownies

You will need:

1 batch home-made or store bought brownie mix, prepared
3 candy bars, chopped (I am using Hersey Milk Chocolate, Hersey Dark Chocolate, Hersey Krackle Bar)
1/4 cup colored sprinkles

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350' and line an 11 X 7" baking dish with aluminum foil. Spray foil well with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl prepare your brownie mix according to recipe or box.

Fold in the chopped candy bars and 1/2 of the sprinkles.

Pour brownie mix bake into the prepared baking dish.

Spread the remaining sprinkles over the top of the brownie batter.

Bake in oven 40-50 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

Remove from oven once done and let cool in oven for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from oven by gently pulling up on aluminum foil.

Allow to cool 20-30 minutes before slicing. Serve and cheers!

Sunday, April 27

TEA TIME: Marrakech Minted Iced Tea

Marrakech Minted Tea is the traditional beverage of choice in Morocco. Made in small metal pots right on the streets of Morocco, Marrakech tea is the perfect balance of green tea and mint. This tea will create it's own foam if poured from high heights.

Makes 6 servings
Full time 2 hours

You will need:

12 ice cubes
6 green tea bags or 4 tbsp green tea leaves in a sachet
1 bunch mint tea leaves
4 cups ice cold water
1/4 cup raw sugar cane crystals

Let us begin:

Thoroughly rinse a pitcher with hot water and set aside.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.

In the bottom of the pitcher place raw sugar, mint leaves, and green tea.

Pour in boiling water and set a 6 minute timer.

Once timer has gone off, remove the tea.

Add in cold water and ice cubes.

Place in refrigerator and let sit for 1 1/2 hours before serving.

Serve and cheers!

Wednesday, April 23

Cajun Oven Fried Chicken

Cajun fried chicken is one of my comfort foods. Subtle spice and heat really help the chicken to sing! I love making this on weeknights when I need a little pick-me-up.

Full time 1 hour
Serves 3-4

You will need:

7-8 chicken legs
1 1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 425'

In a small bowl combine all herbs and spices, stirring well to fully blend. Set aside.

Pour flour into a zip top bag, set aside.

Using a paper towel pat the chicken dry to remove excess water.

Sprinkle chicken liberally with seasoning mixture.

Pour remaining spice mixture into the bag with flour, there should be a significant amount left, and shake bag to mix.

Add chicken into the bag and press out excess air.

Shake bad to fully coat chicken in mixture, allow to rest for a moment.

Place butter in a baking dish and place in preheated oven.

Remove from oven after 5-8 minutes or butter is sizzling, use caution as this will be very hot.

Add chicken into the baking dish and return to oven.

Bake in oven 45 minutes or until 180' is reached on meat thermometer, rotating once half way through cooking.

When fully cooked remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes.

Move to serving platter.

Serve and cheers!

Monday, April 21

TABLE FOR TWO: Roasted Rosemary Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken with potatoes, a classic pairing. Add in a collection of simple, but robust flavors to create this great weeknight meal. 

Serves 2
Full time 1 hour

You will need:

For chicken:
1 half chicken (or 2 large split breasts)
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For potatoes:
2 large potatoes, diced
1/4 cup olive oil 
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chopped dried rosemary
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

For cooking:
2 tbsp chicken stock or water 

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 350'

Rinse and completely pat chicken dry.

In a small bowl combine chicken rub ingredients, working into a paste.

Rub chicken with paste to completely coat evenly.

Place chicken in a large baking dish.

In a large bowl toss potatoes and salt to fully coat potatoes.
Add in remaining potato seasonings and toss to evenly distribute.

Place potatoes around chicken in baking dish.

Bake in oven 45 minutes or until chicken reaches 180' on a meat thermometer.

Remove from oven and place on serving platter.

Serve alongside bread or rolls and cheers!

Friday, April 18

Creole Roasted Potatoes

Creole spice adds a great spin to this weeknight family favorite. 

Full time 1 hour
Serves 3-4

You will need:

4-6 medium white potatoes diced into 1/2" pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Let us begin:

Preheat oven to 425'

In a small bowl combine all herbs and spices, stirring well to fully blend. Set aside.

In a large bowl place diced potatoes and olive oil.

Toss to fully coat potatoes.

Add in the spice blend and toss to evenly distribute the seasonings.

Place coated potatoes into a 8" baking dish.

Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork. Make sure to stir half way through.

When fully cooked remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes.

Move to serving platter.

Serve and cheers!

Monday, April 14

MAKE IT: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi has to be one of my favorite food of all time. I could eat an entire batch by myself. One of my newest loves is using sweet potatoes instead of white to make the gnocchi. It adds a little extra dimension and flare to an already wonderful dish.

I will admit to a great short cut to making these recently. I start with a bag of frozen potatoes. It cuts down on the time needed for boiling, peeling, cleaning. But 100% from scratch is just as easy, just make sure you account for the extra time.

This will serve 4 (or me)
Full time: 1 hour (includes potato cook time approximate and rest time)
You will need:

1 bag of frozen potatoes (or 4 cups)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 tbsp salt

Let us begin:

First follow the directions on the potato bag to cook them.

Once cooked open bag and put in a bowl, you want to mash but only to take out lumps so try not to over mash.

Spread mashed potatoes out on a flour dusted cutting board and let sit for 10 minutes

Carefully pour egg and flour over potato

Using your hands gently fold the egg into the potato. It will be a little sticky at first but then it will blend nicely

Knead very quickly to create a light and soft dough.

Cut dough into workable pieces approx 3-4" in size

Roll dough into a long rope that is roughly 1/2" thick

Cut into pieces 3/4" long

Using the back of a fork, roll piece to create texture and rounded shape

Lay out on a flour dusted board of wax paper

Let them sit put for a minimum 20 minutes before cooking. If desired you can now put them in a flour dusted container and cook in a day, just store in refrigerator.

Get a pot of water boiling and put in the salt

Cooking in batches of 2-3 dozen each. Cook gnocchi by dropping them gently into pot. They will rise when cooked

Count to 15 once they rise them gently retrive them with a slotted spoon

Place in a bowl with sauce or butter and continue process until all gnocchi are cooked

Serve and cheers!

Saturday, April 12

MAKE IT: Marinaded Cheese

A traditional dish in England, marinaded cheese is often found gracing the table at the holidays. I however, love to serve it for brunches as part of a cheese platter. Marinaded cheese is traditionally made with Edam, Munster, or Swiss but, feel free to experiment with any soft cheese you like.

Makes 1 lb cheese
Full time 24 hours (15 minutes to prep, at full flavor after sitting for a night but, can be eaten after 2 hours)

You will need:

1 lb soft cheese (I am using Swiss)
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp minced garlic

Let us begin:

In a small pot combine olive oil, vinegar, oregano, thyme, peppercorns, and garlic.

Heat over medium high heat until it boils/bubbles.

Remove from heat once it begins to boil/bubble and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While this cools, cut the cheese into small 1/4" cubes.

Pierce each of the cheese cubes with the end of the knife several times to help the cheese soak in the flavors.

Place the cheese cubes into a seal-able container.

Add in the paprika and toss to coat the cheese.

Pour in the cooled oil mixture and toss again to coat the cheese.

Seal container and puff out the excess air.

Allow the cheese to sit in the refrigerator overnight. You can serve it after 2 hours, but it is at full flavor after a nice long rest.

To serve drain out, excess liquid and plate up. Cheers!