June 2012

Sangria

sangria
We leave for Spain tomorrow! I am excited about the Spanish ham, paella, manchego, and of course, SANGRIA. I thought I would leave you with a recipe to get myself in the Spanish spirit and hopefully brighten up your weekend.
Recipe
  • 1 bottle of your favorite red wine (I used a Pinot Noir)
  • 3/4 cup Bacardi
  • 1/4 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher of your choice, and chill for at least an hour to let the flavors marinate. Serve over ice with as little or as much fruit in there as you want. Drink responsibly.
Ha.

Cheesy Popovers

cheesy-popovers
If you don’t know I love popovers by now, you don’t know me at all. I love the taste, I love the texture, I love the ease of making them, I love all the different butters you can top them with, and I love them at Neiman Marcus Cafe for lunch.

I wanted to make them for dinner last Sunday, and simultaneously realized we had an excessive amount of shredded cheese in our refrigerator. It only made sense to do what I did: Cheesy Popovers. Just like the original, but with cheese. Yum.

Recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (whole is best but not required)
  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease a popover pan. Beat the eggs in a bowl, and mix in the remaining ingredients. Bake for about 30 minutes without opening the door (though I do usually check via the oven light around 20-25 minutes). Serve immediately – popovers should always be served right out of the oven!

grilled-peach-onion-and-bacon-salad

Since I moved into our new home, I get a depressingly small amount of mail. I am pretty sure that I did all the proper ‘mail forwarding’ steps and notified all my credit cards, etc of the move – but I barely even get any junk mail anymore. It’s sad. So, needless to say, I cannot explain the joy each month when my ‘Bon Appetit’ and ‘Food and Wine’ magazines show up. Not only do they fuel my passion for recipe-reading, but they also count as mail. For me.

Food and Wine has a lot of odd recipes. Many that I often want to try, but am a little too weirded out by the addition of strange things like fennel. I have never seen so many recipes that call for fennel.

This recipe also falls into the odd category. Bacon – Peaches – Onions – Mint – Buttermilk Dressing???? Weird. But, it caught my eye. It looked so amazingly delicious to me that I knew I wanted to make it the second I laid eyes on it. And boy was I glad. Serve this for a summer dinner party and your guests will be impressed by the amazing flavor and originality of this dish – and don’t tell them you got the recipe from Food and Wine, so they think you’re a real food pioneer. Recipe here.

Also, if you’re thinking that photograph looks shockingly good for my blog, I didn’t take it. I forgot to take one all together. But, mine looked exactly the same so I don’t feel all that fraudulent.

grilled-pork-chops-with-browned-butter
Last week I realized why I married my husband. He likes to talk about what he eats as much as I do.  Seriously. Some couples like to do outdoor activities, some like to discuss global issues and politics, some have a passion for conserving the environment. The Braleys – we like to eat.
John went to a business dinner last week, and the post-meeting feedback I received was strictly about food. The Porch, a go-to restaurant in uptown Dallas, has fantastic pork chops. So fantastic, that I heard about them for the next three days. I’ve never had them before, so I can’t claim that these taste just like them, but I created a similar recipe based on the information that my husband was more than willing to share.
Recipe
  • 4 bone-in porterhouse pork chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 Cipollini onions
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 cups fresh cherries, sliced and pitted
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Start by making the sauce. Melt the butter over medium high heat in a large skillet, until the butter gets browned and bubbly. Add in the cute little onions, and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and let the mixture reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the wine, and reduce by about half. Mix the remaining sugar with the sliced cherries, and pour into the skillet, mixing well. Add the chicken broth, and cook on medium-low for about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the grill for medium to high heat. Brush the pork chops with olive oil and plenty of S&P.  Place the pork chops on the hot grill, and cover for 3 minutes. Flip over, and grill for 4 minutes more, or until a thermometer reads 145 degrees in the thickest part. Overcooking pork chops is a sure way to dry the heck out them. They should not be cooked over 145 degrees, as they will continue to cook for about 5-10 minutes after you remove them from the grill. Transfer the chops to a plate and tent with aluminum foil.
When you are almost ready to serve, mix the corn starch with water, and whisk into the cherry mixture. Bring the heat to medium-high, or until the sauce thickens. Pour the sauce over the pork chops and serve immediately. These got my husband’s thumbs up, so if you want a fun spin on a grilled pork chop – and are tired of walking past the giant vats of fresh cherries at Central Market and wondering what you could do with those – give these a try.
 
my-favorite-egg-salad-sandwic
I can’t stop eating egg salad sandwiches lately.  I ate one for dinner Monday and Tuesday night, and I’m about to eat one for lunch. So, I thought I would tell you about it. I like my egg salad heavy on the mustard and dill, light on the yolk and mayo. I’ve always had a bit of an aversion to egg yolk, but I like it in small portions in my egg salad.
Recipe
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon light mayo
  • 1-2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • several sprigs of chopped fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dried dill)
  • S&P
To boil the eggs, place them in a pot filled with water (water should go over the eggs about an inch). Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand for about 10 minutes, then transfer the eggs to an ice bath for a few minutes (this ensures the yolks are bright yellow). When they are cool enough to handle, peel the eggs and slice in half. I use two egg whites, and one whole egg. You can do whatever your preference is, but I don’t like a lot of yolk. Plus, it lightens it up a bit. Slice the egg whites and yolk, and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with plenty of S&P. Mix in the mayo, mustards, and dill. Toast two pieces of multi-grain or wheat bread, top with sliced pickles and warm egg salad.  If you are looking for a new easy weeknight meal, I highly recommend you throw this into the rotation.
peanut-butter-cheerio-nutella-treats

Um, have you had the new Peanut Butter Cheerios?

If you haven’t, I suggest you run to the grocery store immediately and get yourself some. I did that the second my sister told me they existed. Shortly thereafter, they turned into these:

Peanut Butter Cheerio treats, with a layer of Nutella. Boy oh boy oh boy. Peanut Butter Marshmallow Nutella = a no-brainer. The specific idea for these treats came from a hunger-fueled texting session with my sisters Kirta and Bente, in which we were throwing out all sorts of crazy things we could do with PB Cheerios. Yes they are outstanding with milk, but the options – oh the options!! This is ultimately where we landed, and it really is a nod to our natural ability as food pioneers.

That’s an old photo of us.

Another great thing about these treats is that they are gluten-free. Bente has to eat a gluten-free diet, and it just so happened that it is her birthday week. So naturally I made three batches and one is en route to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Recipe

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package large marshmallows
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (don’t use the organic stuff)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-5 cups Peanut Butter Cheerios
  • Lots o’ Nutella

Start by melting the butter and marshmallows in a large pan over low heat. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth, then remove from heat and add the vanilla (vanilla should go in every baked good). Pour in the cheerios and mix thoroughly.

Grease a square 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish, and press half of the cheerio mixture into the pan. Using a spatula, spread plenty of Nutella on top. Press the rest of the cheerio mixture on top of that, making sure to leave plenty of it stuck to your spatula for a proper taste test. Let them cool and then eat your heart out. And before you have to ask, yes these are good with ice cream.