Portable Breakfast–Mason Jar Granola Parfaits

Mason Jar Granola Parfaits


I’ve got a quick post for you today about a breakfast that I’ve really been enjoying.  Granola, fruit, and yogurt parfaits assembled in a mason jar.  I love the portability of it and they look pretty darn cute once assembled.  It’s a great way to make you look forward to a healthy breakfast and honestly, these days (being enormously pregnant) it’s one of the only breakfasts that keeps me full for more than a minute.  They are highly adaptable depending on what fruit you have on hand and what is in season and you can control the amount of sugar that you add to it.  I just wrap my mason jar in a cloth napkin and put it in my lunch bag.  When I get to work, it’s ready to eat!

Mason Jar Breakfast Parfaits

For this recipe, you’ll need 1 pint mason jars.  Feel free to half the recipe if you want a smaller portion.  I use whatever combination of nuts and seeds that I have on hand for the granola.  You could also add 1 cup of dried fruit to the recipe if you would like, just add it 1/2 way through the cooking time. Makes about 4 parfaits. 


3 cups of rolled oats

1/4 cup flax meal

1-1 1/2 cups of nuts and seeds of your choice (roughly chop larger nuts)

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1/2 cup of honey

2 teaspoons of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Spread granola evenly on a large, parchment lined sheet pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Check after 30 minutes.  If granola isn’t golden brown, stir again and allow to cook for 10 more minutes.  Cool and store in an airtight container.

To assemble parfaits:

4 cups of fruit of your choice cut into bite-sized pieces if necessary (I’ve been using a lot of berries lately)

1 large container of Plain Greek Yogurt (you need about 4 cups)

1/4 cup of honey

Prepared granola

Layer yogurt, honey, fruit, then granola in a mason jar.  Repeat with one more layer.  Tightly screw on the lid and store in the refrigerator.  Can be assembled the night before.


Healthy Snacks and Substantial Salads

My husband and I are pretty active people.  It seems like we are always on the go, doing something, so snacks are an integral part of our weekly food repertoire.  Now that baby boy seemingly has an endless appetite as well, I snack heartily and often.  I could really use a sherpa to carry the large bag filled to the brim with little glass containers of various food items that I haul to work every day. 

 The name of the game is, preparedness.  I know well that if I don’t have tasty, healthy, nutrient dense snacks at the ready, I’ll grab something less than satisfactory to quell the gnawing hunger and kicking baby in my tummy.  It is with this in mind that I bring you the following post.  All of the items are perfect for packing either for an office lunch, a picnic, or in our case, a daily snack.  And since most of the items are meat and dairy free, you don’t have to obsess over whether or not you ice pack is keeping everything cold enough.

Edamame Hummus

This is literally our new favorite hummus recipe.  It’s somehow tastes brighter than a traditional hummus made with chickpeas.  I usually chop up several kinds of vegetables on Sunday and pack them up for the week.  I used this pita bread recipe but substituted whole wheat flour for half of the flour and added a tablespoon of honey.  Makes 2 1/2 cups.

2 cups of shelled, frozen edamame

1/4 cup of tahini

juice of 1 lemon

1 clove of garlic, smashed with the flat of your knife and roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon of roughly chopped mint

1 Tablespoon of roughly chopped parsley

1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon of ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup of olive oil

Either 1/4 cup of greek yogurt or 1/4 cup of water

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and add edamame.  Cook for 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Add edamame and all ingredients through pepper to the bowl of a food processor.  Turn the processor on and slowly drizzle in olive oil.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add either yogurt or water.  Process until smooth. 

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Salad

I love, love, love this salad.  It is one of my all time favorites.  The balance of flavor and texture really satisfies all of my cravings.  This salad is also a great bruscetta topping, served over salad, or tossed with pasta.  I like to eat it with a slice of toasted focaccia smeared liberally with ricotta and drizzled with honey and olive oil.  Serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower, divided into bite-sized florets

2 roasted red peppers, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

a small handful of parsley, chopped

1/2 cup of calamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

1/2 cup of almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup of golden raisins

2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

1 small clove of garlic, minced

2 teaspoons of honey

1/2 teaspoon of salt, divided

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss cauliflower with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Spread cauliflower florets on a sheet pan, leaving about 3 inches of room on one of the ends (this is where you will toast the almonds).  Roast for 15 minutes.  Add chopped almonds to the pan on the reserved space.  Roast for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and add to a medium-sized bowl.  In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, balsamic, garlic, honey, and remaining salt until blended.  Add to the cauliflower almond mixture along with remaining ingredients.  Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed. 

Farro and Roasted Vegetable Salad

Farro and Roasted Vegetable Salad

This salad is really versatile and keeps you full for a while.  In the summer, I’ll substitute roasted cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant for the root vegetables.  Roasted mushrooms would be brilliant in this as well.  Feel free to play with using different herbs or add a bit of feta or cubed, roasted chicken or tofu.  Cooking times often vary with farro, so be sure to read package instructions.  I start checking after about 30 minutes.  I’ve also made this recipe successfully with oat groats.

1 1/2 cups of farro

3 carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 celery root, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 sprig of rosemary

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 cup of dried currants

a handful of parsley, chopped

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds

2 Tablespoons of sherry vinegar

1/3 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

pinch of allspice

1 teaspoon of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Put farro, 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt in a medium sauce pan with a lid.  Bring to a boil, cover, and lower to a simmer.  Check for doneness after 30 minutes, then every 10 minutes until it is tender.  It usually takes 40-50 minutes.  Cool slightly.  Toss the vegetables with a 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the whole sprig of rosemary and a couple of generous pinches of salt and pepper.  Spread on a sheet pan and roast for 30 minutes, stirring half way thorough the cooking time.  Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly and discard rosemary.  While the vegetables are roasting, in a small bowl, add the shallot and the teaspoon of salt to the sherry vinegar and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Add olive oil, a few grinds of pepper, and allspice to the vinegar.   Add the cooked farro, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to a large bowl.  Toss with the sherry vinegar mixture and taste for seasoning.  Add additional salt and pepper to your liking.  Serve cold, at room temperature, or warm.

It’s Super Bowl Time – Muffulettas and Chicken Wings!

Buffalo Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Dressing

It’s that time of year again–Super Bowl time!  One last excuse to throw dietary caution to the wind and meal out!  Two things that get the task accomplished better than the rest are chicken wings and big, meaty sandwiches.  It just wouldn’t be football without them!

I can distinctly remember when Super Bowl chicken wings became a tradition for me.  It was my freshman year of college and some friends and I decided to try out a new wing recipe.  They turned out to be everything we’d ever hoped for in a wing, crisp, naked (without breading…) and tangy with sauce.  They weren’t light-your-mouth-on- fire wings (we saved that for Dave’s Insanity) but we loved them so much that we ended up returning to the grocery 3 times for more ingredients.  I think we made enough wings that day to rival your busiest sports bar.  That was more than a decade ago and we’ve upheld the tradition nearly every year since then.  If we’re making wings, we usually end up making blue cheese fries.  I’m not sure if it was my brother or sister-in-law who came up with this creation of simple genius but it’s a keeper and dead simple–crinkle cuts topped with homemade blue cheese and broiled until melty.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

A Delicious Wedge of Muffuletta

Speaking of mmmmm, muffulettas are an excellent addition to the Super Bowl spread.  I can’t remember exactly when I first started making muffulettas but I for darn sure remember the first time I ate one!  I used to meet my mom for lunch at a local Cajun restaurant named, Doodles.  They had an extensive menu of Cajun and Creole favorites, killer Po’  Boys, and The Muffuletta.  When I tasted the combination of  crisp, buttery bread, spicy meat, ,melty cheese and tangy olive salad, I was inspired!  After several trips to Doodles, I went home and got to work on recreating the experience for friends and family.  There’s still no muffuletta like Doodles (it was destroyed in the tornadoes last April–the owner has no plans to re-open) but I hope that my version does it justice!  Friends and family seem to think so and often request it for birthdays and celebrations but where it really shines is in a game day spread.

We had some amazing friends over to taste test this decadent game day combo of wings and muffuletta sandwiches and they gave us their full approval!

Game Day Buffalo Wings

There are two different ways that you can make the wings.  I’ll detail both below.  To increase the heat, you can add more Sriracha to the sauceI don’t normally suggest specific brand names in recipes but for the wing sauce, Franks’s Red Hot sauce is hands down the only one I use because of its thick consistency.  It really coats the wings.  Speaking of sauce, remember that Asian barbeque sauce from this post?  It makes a fantastic wing sauce!  The Blue Cheese is also excellent on french fries, sandwiches, or as the dressing 0n a classic iceberg wedge salad.  I’ve also used it as a dip for homemade barbeque potato chips–so yummy!

Serves 6 to 8

Blue Cheese Dressing

1 cup of sour cream

1 cup of mayonnaise

8 ounces of crumbled blue cheese

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon of hot sauce

1 Tablespoon of white vinegar

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.  Serve as a dip for wings or anything that strikes your fancy.

Wing Sauce:

1 12-ounce bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1 stick of butter

1 Tablespoon of white vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Sriracha

1 clove of garlic, minced

Heat ingredients over medium-low heat, whisking occasionally until butter is melted.

For the wings:

50 chicken wings (about 5 1/2 pounds) (I use the ones that are already separated)

Vegetable oil (at least a quart)

prepared wing sauce

prepared blue cheese

salt and pepper

Heat about 3 inches of oil in a large dutch oven to 375 degrees.  Fry wings in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan, until wings are golden brown and crisp (about 10-15 minutes).  Drain on a paper towel lined sheet pan and season lightly with salt and pepper.  You can finish the wings in two ways:

1. The single dip: Using tongs, toss wings in a large bowl with sauce until thoroughly coated. Serve immediately.

2. The double dip: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Toss the wings with sauce and spread evenly on a sheet pan.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until crisp and sizzling.  Remove from the sheet pan and return to the bowl that you used to toss them in sauce.  Toss with another layer of sauce.  Serve immediately.


My first choice for bread is muffuletta bread.  If you can’t find it, a round ciabatta loaf works well.  Leftover olive salad is great on salads, as a topping for fish, or on other sandwiches.

Serves 6 to 8

Olive Salad:

2 cups of pimento stuffed green olives

1 cup of pitted Calamata olives

1 1/2 cups of Giardiniera vegetables

1/2 cup of pickled cocktail onions

1/2 cup of pickled banana pepper rings

1/2 cup of roasted red peppers

1/4 cup of capers

2 stalks of celery, finely diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of honey

1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon of chopped, fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon of dried)

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

Put olives in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 8-10 times until the olives and  have a slightly chunky, uneven texture.  Place in a large bowl and add Giardiniera, cocktail onions, banana peppers, and roasted red peppers to the bowl of the food processor.  Pulse 8-10 times.  Place in the bowl with the olives.  Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.  This can be made in advance.

To assemble the Muffuletta:

2 large, round Muffuletta or Ciabatta loaves

1 stick of softened butter

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup of grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1/2 pound of Capicola ham

1/2 pound of Sopressata salami

1/2 pound of Genoa salami

10 slices of Provolone cheese

4 cups of prepared olive salad.

Heat the oven on the broil setting.

Hollow bread, Slather with Butter, Melt

Slice the loaves in half, horizontally.  Remove some of the bread from the inside of the loaves, creating a nice depression for all of the filling.  Mix the butter, garlic, and Pecorino together and slather 1/4 of the mixture on each half of bread.  Place the loaves cut side up on a sheet pan and broil until lightly golden.  Remove from the oven and adjust the heat to 375 degrees.

Add the meat, cheese, and olive salad

Fan each kind of meat out over the bottom half or the loaf.  Top each half with 5 slices of cheese.  Top the cheese with 2 cups of olive salad, spreading evenly over the surface.  Top with the other half of the bread and wrap in foil.  Repeat with the remaining loaf, meat, cheese, and olive salad.  Place both sandwiches in the preheated oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Remove from foil, cut into quarters, and serve.

Winter in a Bowl – Beouf Bourguignon.

Beouf Bourguignon


Hello everyone!  It’s been a while.  I’ve been hibernating, literally.  As some of you know (and some of you don’t), I’m pregnant.  This new development has wreaked havoc on my blogging abilities (or pretty much my abilities in general).  For eating, instead of being the comforting, colorful, expressive activity of days long past is now a merely a means of survival.  Pregnancy is messing with my taste buds and I don’t like it one bit!  The good news is that they slowly seem to be returning from their little strike against all things vibrant and tasty.  It is with this return that I bring you one of the near necessities of winter cookery–beouf bourguignon.

I usually make beouf bourguignon about once a year.  This tradition first began years ago after watching a Bobby Flay special on France where the dish was featured.  It looked amazing–so much richer and sexier than the stews of my youth.  I made it immediately and was hooked!  We recently made it for close friends of ours for our “big announcement” dinner and they raved.  For days.  I was relieved and touched because it meant that the small changes that I made to my recipe were successful. It also meant that I could bring the recipe to you! 

Now I’m not going to lie.  This recipe is not one for those rushing home from work, trying desperately to get something edible on the table kinds of days.  You will hate life, you will hate me, you will hate the recipe if you try to make this when you get home from work.  Annnd, you’ll be eating dinner around midnight as well.  Make this on a weekend when it’s snowing or raining or too darn cold to go outside.  Get it started, then curl up with a good book or a movie while it bubbles away.  You will be rewarded for your efforts with a big hug for your tummy (and maybe a blissful moan or two).

Beouf Bourguignon

Ideally, you’ll need to start this recipe a day in advance so that the meat can marinate.  I’ll admit that I’ve thrown the meat in the marinade in the morning and let it hang out for a few hours before cooking instead of the extended overnight marinade.  There are many cuts of meat that you can use for this recipe.  For this round, I used deboned, cubed beef shanks simply because that was the only local, grassfed meat that my grocer had at the time.  You can use pre-cubed stew meat, or any of the following cut into 1″ cubes: rump roast, sirloin roast, chuck roast, top round, or bottom round.  You could even make this with short ribs.  Mmmmmm. 

Marinade Ingredients


1 medium onion, peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled

1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

2 cups of red wine (Burgundy, Cabernet, Merlot, etc.)

Tie the bay leaves and the thyme together with some kitchen twine.  Throw all marinade ingredients into a zip-top bag, along with the cubed beef.  Allow to marinate overnight (or for the slacker version, see above).

Beouf Bourguignon:

3 pounds of beef of your choice (see note above)

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1/3 pound of bacon, diced

2 Tablespoons of butter

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

2 shallots, peeled and diced

1/4 cup of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

2 cups + 1 cup of beef stock

reserved marinade

3 carrots cut into 1-inch chunks

2 stalks of celery, sliced

pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper

(optional garnishes: chopped chives and truffle oil)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drain the meat, reserving the marinade.  Thoroughly pat dry. Toss with the flour, shaking off excess.  Heat the butter and oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted.  Add the bacon and cook until lightly browned.  Remove with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Brown the beef on all sides in batches so that the meat has room to brown (you don’t want to overcrowd it or it will boil, not brown). Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and reserve.  Add the shallot, carrots, and celery and cook for 3 minutes, add the dijon and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add 2 cups of beef stock and remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom lightly to loosen any yumminess that’s stuck to the bottom of the pan. 

Beouf Bourguignon Before Braising

Cover and place in the oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours.  Check halfway through to make sure that it isn”t drying out.  If so, add the remaining cup of beef stock. 

Skim Excess Fat

Remove from heat and carefully lift the lid off.  Skim excess fat off of the top of the stew.

Mushrooms and Onions

When there is about an hour left, it’s the perfect time to start the accompaniements.  By the time they are finished, the stew will be ready

1 bag of frozen pearl onions

1/2 pound of mushrooms (button or cremini work well), quartered or halved depending on the size

1 cup of beef stock or wine

2 Tablespoons of chopped parsley

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons of butter

salt and pepper

Heat butter in a large, oven proof saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the pearl onions and mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally until lightly browned.  Add beef stock, garlic, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the stew and cook for 45 minutes.  Remove from heat and divide amongst the servings of stew.

Buttermilk Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potato Ingredients

6 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1″ pieces

1 cup of whole buttermilk, lightly warmed

3-4 Tablespoons of butter

1-2 Tablespoons of freshly grated horseradish (or prepared horseradish if you can’t find fresh)

salt and pepper

Place diced potatoes in a saucepan and cover by 1-inch with water.  Season with salt.  Bring to a low boil.  Check potatoes for doneness after 15 minutes by inserting a fork or knife in a potato.  Drain the potatoes and run through a potato ricer (my favorite method) or mash with a potato masher.  Place potatoes back in the sauce pan and stir over medium-low heat for about a minute to release the steam.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To Serve:

Place a scoop of mashed potatoes on a plate or shallow bowl creating a well in the center.  Ladle the stew over the potatoes.  Spoon over the mushrooms and onions.  Garnish with a sprinkling of chives and a drizzle of truffle oil if you would like.  My mouth is watering!  This would also be great served over slices of toasted, butter and garlic slathered country bread.  I’m just sayin…

*You can definitely make this in advance or freeze it.  Leftovers are great as-is but if you want to mix things up a bit, try this recipe for Pot Roast Potato Cakes, adapted from Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen.

The Great Big Apple Post

Apple Abundance!

Earlier this month, we embarked upon a major weekend road trip through Tennessee and Georgia.  I really think we were in the car for more hours than not.  Needless to say, it was a great time visiting friends, enjoying the outdoors, and witnessing the marriage of a lovely couple.  The wedding location was perfect!  Stunning!  Magical!  We had a wonderful time!  The couple recommended several activities that wedding guests could participate in during their stay.  One of them was to go apple picking at Mercier Orchards.  We jumped on the chance to both enjoy the beautiful countryside and to take home a nice cache of apples.  The selection of apple varieties was fantastic and the staff infinitely knowledgable about every facet of the apple biz.  A definite bonus to our apple picking experience is that Mercier Orchards allows guests to taste as many apples as they can stomach so you know the flavor and texture of every apple you take home!  By the time we finished picking, we had a whopping 9 varieties (not to mention very full bellies)!

(I have to interject, the whole time I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been singing in my head, “Apple Bottom Jeans, and the boots with the fur…”)

Anyway, now that I have that out of my system, we can get down to recipes.  I’ve got three for you (with an option to make a 4th).

Apple, Cheddar, Thyme Scones

Roasted Apple Cheddar Scones with Thyme

The kitchen smelled so good when I made these that I ate 3 within an hour of taking them out of the oven.  If you don’t want to cook them all at once, freeze the uncooked scones and cook to order.

2 pounds of firm apples (I used Rome Beauty, Honeycrisp, and Granny Smith)

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme

1 stick of butter, frozen for 15 minutes, grated, then frozen again for 15 minutes

1 Tablespoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of kosher salt (plus 1 teaspoon extra for topping the scones)

1 cup of grated aged sharp white cheddar

1/2 cup of buttermilk

3 large eggs (2 used in the recipe, 1 for egg wash)

1/4 cup of apple juice

1 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon of sugar

Preheat oven to 375.  Peel and core apples.  Cut eighths, then cut each wedge in half lengthwise, giving you 1-inch chunks.  Roast on a parchment or silpat lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes.  Cool. 

 Combine all dry ingredients.  Stir in butter and cheese.  Add wet ingredients, including 2 of the eggs, lightly beaten and apples.  Stir until just mixed.  Don’t over-blend.  Dust counter generously with flour.  Place dough on floured surface and dust lightly with flour. 

Pat or roll dough into 1/2″ thick rectangle with the shortest end facing you.  You are going to fold the dough like a letter–fold the bottom 1/3 up over the center 1/3.  Fold the top 1/3 down over the center/bottom 1/3.  Pat or roll out into a 1-inch thick square.  Divide into thirds horizontally and vertically.  Cut each square in half diagonally so that you are left with 2 triangles.  Place the scones on a cookie sheet with about 2 inches between each scone.  Brush with remaining beaten egg.  Mix 1 teaspoon of kosher salt with 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Sprinkle evenly over each scone.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.  Cool slightly on a wire rack before eating (if you can stand to wait)

Pork Chops with Apples, Turnips, and Potatoes

Pork Chops with Roasted Apples, Turnips, and Potatoes

Serves 2

This dish is perfect for a simple, romantic dinner for 2 but can be easily be multiplied for a delicious family meal.  You can play around with the root vegetables that you pair with the apples. I’ve used parsnips and carrots in place of the turnips with delicious results.

2 bone-in 3/4″ thick pork chops

1 apple, cored and cut into eighths, then halved horizontally (to give you about 1″ chunks)

2 turnips (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1″ chunks (you want them to be the same size as the apple)

12 ounces of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ chunks


1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

For Pan Sauce:

1/2 cup of chicken broth, apple cider, or white wine

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tablespoon of butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the pork chops with 1/2 of the marinate.  It’s great if you can let it marinate overnight but I usually forget that part and just let it soak up the marinade while I’m prepping and roasting the vegetables.  Toss the remaining marinade with the vegetables.  Spread in a single layer on a parchment lined sheet pan.  If you are doubling the recipe, you should probably divide the vegetables over 2 sheet pans.  Roast for 35 minutes, stirring half-way through the cooking time.

Heat a skillet on high and sear pork chops for 1 minute on each side.  Place in oven on top of the vegetables and roast for 7 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour the broth/wine/cider into the pan that you seared the pork in over medium heat.  Stir until reduced by half, scraping up any brown bits attached to the bottom of the pan.  Remove from heat and add butter and lemon.  Pour over finished pork chops.

Breakfast of Champions!

Stewed Apples/Apple Sauce

Makes 6 servings

These are an awesome topping for everything from oatmeal to ice cream.  You can even drain some of the juice off and top with pie crust or crumble topping for a quick dessert.  To make the stewed apples into applesauce, just remove the whole spices and puree in the food processor. 

2 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths

1 1/2 cups of no-sugar added apple juice (I used Simply Apple)

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

5 whole cloves

Place ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cover.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove apples with a slotted spoon, leaving behind juice.  Increase heat to medium-high and reduce until juice is syrupy, 4-5 minutes.  Pour syrup over apples.

FoodBlogSouth Conference

Being a Birmingham area foodie, I am super excited that there is a food blogging conference right here in town on January 27th and 28th being hosted by FoodBlogSouth. Since I’ve started Endless Appetite this spring I’ve really enjoyed sharing recipes, food stories and food photographs from my kitchen. It amazes me the variety of people across the country who follow Endless Appetite – there is even a spy from the C.I.A. (and I’m not talking about the Culinary Institute of America) following my blog. I look forward to learning how I can make Endless Appetite that much better.

They have an All-star lineup slated for the conference, but I am most excited about Hélène Dujardin being a guest speaker. I follow her blog Tartelette closely, and the photos on her blog are the most delicious. She has a wonderful book Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling, which I bought for my husband for his birthday since he takes all the photographs for Endless Appetite. He tends to read it late at night when he can’t sleep, but the photographs he takes the next day are always better than the previous set.

This event will be a great forum to meet other writers, chefs and cooks, photographers and experts in the industry. The details can be found at their website: www.foodblogsouth.com or find them on Facebook.

And I promise a blog post on apples coming soon!

THE Meatloaf

We’re going old school with this post–takin’ it back to that longtime comfort food, meatloaf.  There are usually two camps when it comes to loaves of meat–those who love it and those who hate it.  My husband happens to fall into the LOVE category.  His passion for meatloaf is one I have never before witnessed.  If meatloaf happens to be on a menu, it cries out to him with its sweet, Siren’s song.  No matter how enticing the rest of the menu may be, he will order the meatloaf in a heartbeat.

It was with this love in mind (and my husband’s birthday dinner) that I crafted a new meatloaf recipe.  I wanted to make the ultimate meatloaf–juicy and flavorful with a few interesting tweaks.  I researched and plotted and planned.  There are a lot of bad meatloaf recipes out there.  You know the ones–dense, dry, and flavorless.  I’m hoping that with this one, all of those meatloaf woes will be solved (and maybe, just maybe some haters will turn into lovers).  I think so.  Hopefully you will too!

One of the keys to meatloaf is to get your hands dirty and don’t over mix:

Mixing Meatloaf
It’s fun, it’s squishy and kind of gross!  Notice that I straight up pulled a Paula Deen and forgot to take my rings off.  I often do…That just means they get a good polish after I finish cooking!  If you must, go ahead and mix with your favorite spoon or spatula.
THE Meatloaf
Serves 6-8
The recipe for the sauce makes about double what you need for this recipe but it’s great on steaks and burgers.  I’ve also frozen the sauce for future meatloaf cravings.  If you want to make the meatloaf without the sauce (although I highly recommend you try it with), you can smear equal parts ketchup and mustard over the top of the uncooked loaves and sprinkle with brown sugar.  We’ve even made smaller, slider sized loaves and served them on brioche buns, topped with slaw.  This is great for parties–especially football-releated gatherings!  Just reduce your cooking time by about half if you decide to do this.
For the sauce:
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of black vinegar (You can find this at the Asian market.  If you can’t find it, double the balsamic)
1/2 cup of malt syrup or molasses (I prefer the malt syrup.  I found it at Whole Foods.)
1/2 cup of yellow mustard
1 1/2 cups of ketchup
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire
1 Tablespoon of tamarind paste (You can find this at the Asian market)
1/2 cup of diced red onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup of prunes, pitted and chopped
1 teaspoon of sambal oelek, sriracha, or red pepper flakes
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Mix everything together in a medium-sized saucepan.  Bring to a low boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, puree with an immersion blender, or carefully puree in a blender or food processor.  Stir in baking soda.
For the meatloaf:
3 slices of thick bacon, finely diced
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup of garlic croutons
1 cup of milk
a handful of parsley
1 Tablespoon of horseradish
1/2 cup sauce recipe (above)
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound of ground beef
1 pound of country sausage
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
pinch of pepper
Preheat oven to 375.  Place onion, garlic, celery, and carrot in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until finely chopped.  Reserve.  Saute bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until it just begins to brown.  Add chopped vegetables and cook, stirring regularly for 10 minutes.  If they start to brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium-low.  Remove vegetable/bacon mixture from heat and cool.  Grab a handful of parsley and chop in food processor.  Add to a large bowl (you will later mix your meatloaf in the bowl).  Place croutons in the food processor and process until they resemble breadcrumbs.  Add to the bowl with the parsley.  Pour the milk over the crouton crumbs, allowing the milk to soak into the crumbs.  Add all remaining ingredients except for the ground pork and beef.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Add ground meat and mix until ingredients are evenly dispersed.  Do not over mix. 
Divide the meat mixture in two and shape into two loaves on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spread 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sauce over loaves (depending on how saucy you like it).  Bake for 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Roasted Okra Croutons

Most of you know by now that my husband and I are members of a CSA.  We absolutely love the variety of delicious, fresh produce that we get in our weekly share, however we sometimes have to get really creative if an, ehem, overabundance of a certain vegetable occurs. 

Okra.  It just loooooves the soil and growing conditions in Alabama.  It might as well be our state vegetable (is there such a thing as a state vegetable…) and I believe we are on week #8 of said state vegetable’s inclusion in our CSA share.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I love okra, I really do but my creativity starts to wane after several weekly infusions of it.  Taking a cue from Bubba of Forrest Gump, we’ve made fried okra, okra and tomatoes, okra curry, several different kinds of gumbo, vegetable soup with okra, grilled okra, pickled okra…I could go on. 

Now fried okra is the stand-out favorite for most and I’ve consumed some excellent (and not-so-excellent) versions before but we try to eat fairly healthy around the Endless Appetite household so rather than frying myself and my waistline into oblivion, we had to come up with a healthful solution to our okra overabundance–enter roasted okra!  This stuff is the bomb!  It really is.  I can handle eating it once a week and boy do we!  It scratches that crunchy, salty itch that I experience too often.  I would sit down and eat a bowl of it like popcorn!  Our favorite thing to do with these glorious, crispy critters is to sprinkle them on top of salads much like croutons:



End of the Summer Salad with Roasted Okra Croutons

Serves 4

If you want to just make the okra for a side dish, sans salad, I would double the recipe and use two cookie sheets so the okra will roast instead of steam.  This salad is my go-to salad for the summer/early fall.  Sometimes I throw in toasted cubes of bread or cornbread, calamata olives, and roasted red peppers for a quick panzanella.  I’ve included directions on how to make the dressing vegan/dairy free as well which I often do and enjoy just as much.  This dressing is great on numerous salads, as a dressing for slaw or drizzled over fried fish or fritters.

For the Okra:

1 pound of okra, sliced into about 1/3″ slices

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

pinch of fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss the okra in a bowl with oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread evenly on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Be sure you don’t overcrowd the pan.  Cook for 15 minutes.  Stir and cook 10-12 more minutes until brown and crisp.

Chive Dressing:

1/2 cup of buttermilk or almond milk mixed with 2 teaspoons of lemon

1/2 cup of mayonnaise or Veganaise

2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon of wine vinegar (or lemon juice)

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 small clove of garlic minced into a paste

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh parsley or dill (or both!)

2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh chives

pinch of pepper

Whisk together all ingredients. Will last in the fridge for a week.  Makes a little more than a cup.

To assemble the salad:

1 English cucumber, quartered and cut into 1″ chunks

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 Tablespoon of sherry vinegar (wine vinegar will work too)

1 Tablespoon of olive oil

1 Tablespoon of torn basil

salt and pepper to taste

prepared chive dressing

roasted okra

Toss cucumber, tomatoes, onion, vinegar, olive oil, basil, salt, and pepper together in a bowl.  Spoon onto individual plates.  Drizzle with chive dressing and sprinkle over okra.

Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Golden Tomato Vinaigrette

Zucchini Flowers
Isn’t that a lovely flower arrangement? Well, ehem, yes it is but I’m not planning on enjoying the view of the tissue paper softness of those brilliant buds for long…because I’m going to eat them!
I would like to introduce you to someone special.  Someone whose visits I eagerly await each summer.  Meet Zucchini Flower!  If you’ve already met, congratulations!  You are most well aware of the utter deliciousness unleashed by the delicate flowers of the zucchini plant. If you haven’t, just wait.  You are about to have a new BFF. 
Speaking of BFFs, I’m not the only one who dances a jig when I see these beauties draped across #5 pint-sized plastic like Marlene Dietrich on a velvet sofa.  Enter my friends, Emily Ruth and Jason Terry.  The Terrys understand the siren song that is zucchini flower frying in fat–and they know when they get THE call from the farmers market that it is time to drop everything and come over to my house for some good eatin’!  I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a little back story on this.  Anyone who knows Jason Terry would not ever say, “you know, I bet his favorite food is a stuffed zucchini flower.”  Jason likes to drink Coors, he is a Hamburger Helper man and all around Good Ole’ Boy.  One would not put the two together but when I made these the other night, he proclaimed proudly, loudly, unabashedly, “Zucchini Flowers are my favorite food!”  Obviously the man has good taste…
Frying the Flowers

Final Presentation and The Big Dunk
 Stuffed Zucchini Flowers with Golden Tomato Vinaigrette
I usually make about 4 zucchini flowers per person (although honestly I bet everyone would eat double that if they could).  They are sometimes sold in the clear, plastic clamshell containers (similar to what strawberries come in) and sometimes sold like flowers, soaking in a vase of water.  Also, sometimes small zucchini are attached and sometimes not.  If they come straight from your garden, then you don’t have to worry about how they are sold!  The vinaigrette makes more than enough and is fantastic on mixed greens, drizzled over fresh mozzarella, or tossed with pasta.
Serves 6 as an appetizer
For the batter:
1 egg white (reserve the yolk)
1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of beer or sparkling water
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
Whisk the egg white until white and frothy.  Whisk in beer, followed by flour and salt.  It should be the consistency of pancake batter.
Goat Cheese Filling:
1 1/2 Tablespoons of chopped herbs (I like a mixture of parsley, chives, and basil)
1 egg yolk (reserved from above)
3/4 cup of soft goat cheese (if it is sold in 3-ounce logs, you will need 2)
3 Tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt and pepper
Stir all ingredients together.  Spoon into a zip-top bag.  Cut about 1/4 inch off of the tip of one of the bottom corners.  This sort of makes a pastry bag.  It works.
Golden Tomato Vinaigrette
1 Pint of golden cherry tomatoes
1 clove of garlic, smashed with the flat of your knife
2 Tablespoons of honey
1 Tablespoon of basil leaves
2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
Add all ingredients except olive oil to a blender or food processor.  Process for 1 minute, until smooth.  Slowly drizzle in olive oil.
To Prepare the Zucchini Flowers:
2 Pint-sized clamshell containers of zucchini flowers
Finished batter
Goat Cheese Filling
Golden Tomato Vinaigrette
Vegetable oil
Remove the zucchini from the zucchini flowers if attached.  Leaving the stem in tact, quarter the zucchini up to the stem lengthwise so that the pieces fan out slightly.  Gently open the zucchini flower.  There may be a protrusion inside the zucchini flower at the base.  This is the, um, oh, freshman biology was so long ago…pistol…stamen…anyway, gently pull that out and rinse the inside of the zucchini flower.  Open the petals and squeeze about 1 Tablespoon of the filling into the flower.  Meanwhile, preheat about 1 inch of vegetable  in a large skillet.  I drop a little batter in the oil to see if it is hot enough.  If the batter immediately sizzles, you’re good to go.
Dunk the stuffed flowers in the batter and place in the oil.  Cook for 1 minute and flip, using a slotted spoon.  Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until golden.  Remove from oil onto a paper towel lined plate.  Sprinkle lightly with salt.  If you are using the tiny zucchini that you removed from the flowers, repeat the same process.  I’ve served this a couple of ways.  As you see above, tossed on a plate with a bowl of golden goodness in the middle.  I’ve also served the fried flowers on a bed of arugula, drizzled with vinaigrette.  It’s awesome either way.

Dinner Tonight Quickpost: Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Roasted Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Here is a quick post to help you get a fantastic dinner on the table in oh, about 15 minutes.  It’s not even a recipe really but a method that you can tinker with according to whim or craving. 

For 4 people, you need 1 1/2 to 2 pounds (depending on how hungry you are) of large Wild American Shrimp (preferably with the heads on–shells on at the very least), either a pint of cherry tomatoes, 2 cups of chopped tomatoes, or 1 28-ounce can of plum tomatoes drained and broken up with your hands, 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or more if you like), anywhere from 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (depending on how skinny you want to make it), 1/2 cup of crumbled feta, and fresh basil or parsley.  You could also add dried oregano, red pepper flakes, capers, olives, lemon zest, orange zest, etc. depending on your mood.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Dump shrimp on a cookie sheet.  Throw on tomatoes and garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper (this is where you would add any additions).  Top with feta.  Roast for 10 minutes.  Give it a look at 5 minutes.  If the shrimp are completely pink, they are ready.  Remove from oven and top with fresh basil or parsley.

Serving suggestions:

You could serve this over grilled bread, pasta, rice, or zucchini ribbons (for you low carb folks–just take a vegetable peeler or mandolin and make long, thin ribbons of zucchini.  Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil and wine vinegar or lemon juice).

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