Monday, May 7, 2012

Sausage and Grits Souffle

Just stopping by to post this recipe for the few who have requested it, enjoy. Thanks, Chrissy!

    • Sausage and Grits Souffle

      2 c. milk
      2 c. water
      1 c. quick grits
      salt & pepper
      1.5 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese (6 oz.)
      1 tsp. hot sauce
      3-4 sprinkles of nutmeg
      6 large eggs, separated
      1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese (1.5 oz.)
      1 lb. ground hot sausage

      Preheat the oven to 425 F. Grease a 2 quart souffle or round casserole dish and put in the freezer.

      Brown the sausage and set aside.

      Bring the milk and water to a boil in a large saucepan. Whisk the grits into the milk mixture in a slow, steady stream (to avoid lumps), bringing the mixture back to a low boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 more minutes, stirring until the grits are tender. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the cheddar cheese, hot sauce, nutmeg. Let cool slightly.

      Whisk the egg yolks into the grits until combined, stir in the sausage. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Fold in one-third of the egg whites to lighten the grits mixture. Then gently fold in the remaining whites.

      Spoon the mixture into a prepared dish, spread evenly, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake about 25 minutes, until puffed and firm around the edges and still slightly soft in the middle. Remove from oven and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Banana, Peach, and Black Bean Empanadas

Wow, it's amazing how a little ridicule can motivate. She is kind of annoying. Like how we work out our issues in the blog-sphere? Mostly, I don't like the idea of this blog being named after only one of us. I'm doing this for the family. Holding it together.

So how about some peace making empanadas? The first time I made them it was far from peaceful. The dough was sticky and took forever to roll out, and after all that work they were tough. I think I chucked one at the dog. I finally gave up and bought some Goya wraps (found in your freezer section). Now I actually want to keep making them again since I only have to make the filling! And this recipe from a friend makes a great filling, I just added the peaches but you can use any fruit really. Zesty and sweet.

So Lora, stuff one of these in your mouth. And enjoy!

Banana, Peach, and Black Bean Empanadas

Vegetable oil
1 firm medium sized banana diced
1 small peach diced
3/4 cup diced onion
1 can black beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 thawed package Goya discos
1 cup monterey jack cheese

Heat about 2 T oil in skillet. Add banana and peaches, saute for about a minute. Transfer banana to paper towel to drain. Add onion to skillet, saute for 3 min. Add beans, cilantro, and seasonings. Cook until hot and mash mixture with potato masher until course paste. Season with salt and a couple of splashes of water or broth to loosen mixture and add moisture.

Preheat oven to 425. Place 1 heaping T of mixture in middle of each disco and top with cooked fruit and cheese. Pastry will stretch to cover when folding over. Seal edges with a little water and a fork. Bake until golden about 15 minutes. Or, if you want to live on the edge you can fry them!

I serve with plain yogurt blended with cilantro and hot sauce.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Perfect Pancakes

I'm on the verge of making an executive decision.

I think I'm going to change the name of this blog to: Lora's Eats.

I've been abandoned by my co-pilot. My co-anchor. My sister with whom I shared the womb.

The womb, people!

OK, I'm over it. I've just covered my emotions with a pancake.

They make everything better, don't they?

So, about a year ago I went on the hunt for the perfect pancake recipe (yes, sorry I've been holding out on you for that long!). I was tired of the mixes I had tried and all the recipes I had come across.

Then, it happened. Jessica posted her favorite recipe on Facebook and it was everything I wanted; full of flavor (without needing a ton of toppings or syrup), light, fluffy and tender.

This is the basic recipe, and then below it I've shared a spin I put on it this past weekend (pictured above). We've been trying to eat more healthy around here. I think these pancakes hit the mark. Even though, pancakes could never be considered "health food", I felt better that I at least attempted to make them healthier. If you come up with any good variations, please share! I think I'm going to use pumpkin puree instead of the cider next time (and add a bit more almond milk).


Good Old Fashioned Pancakes (their words, not mine)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl and set aside to cool.

Whisk together dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then fold the wet into the dry - just enough to incorporate the two. Do not over mix or the pancakes will not be tender.

Cook pancakes (duh) using your preferred method and serve with pure maple syrup.

Apple Cider Pancakes

1 1/2 cups white wheat flour (I use King Arthur's)
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (for added protein, to offset all the sugar in the cider - and add a zingy flavor)
1/4 almond milk (if you don't usually buy it, it's great for baking. Or anything but skim can be used)
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted & cooled

Same instructions as above.

Serve with roasted pecans, walnuts or almonds & pure maple syrup.

Original recipe found at All

Saturday, October 1, 2011

3 Minute Pasta

I'm posting this because Tracey is lame. Even though she has three recipes lined up to post, she keeps going to bed at 8pm and leaves no time for this place. Well, I say there is no excuse great enough...except for an adorable 6 month old who like to wake up and just giggle at 5:45 am.

I know this because Tracey and I took the kids on an adventure in the woods this week and witnessed the cuteness and giggling wake-up call first hand. I don't know how she does it.

Vi and I returned home from our time away happy, tired and hungry. I had a box of penne and a can of garbonzo beans in the cupboard and decided that had to make a meal since I certainly wasn't shuffling out to Wegmans on this cold, dreary night.

I call this 3 minute pasta because that's how long it takes to prepare after the pasta is cooked. Hey, most of Rachel Ray's meals aren't actually achievable in 30 mins unless you have a production crew and three arms. :p

This turned out really yummy so I wanted to share. Great dish to throw together when you need something fast and comforting.


Lemon Chickpea Pasta

1/2 lb penne - cooked until al dente
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic minced
1 can chickpeas - rinsed
Zest of one lemon
2 dashes dried oregano
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, washed
1/2 cup grated parm
Dash hot pepper flakes
Salt & pepper

Cook pasta. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain pasta and add evoo to hot pasta pan. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add chickpeas, sauté 1 min. Add remaining ingredients and add pasta back to pan. Stir well until heated through (add another splash of evoo if it's too dry). Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with more cheese.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lime Kale Chips & Spicy Dip

Momma G tried her darndest to get me to eat broccoli as a kid. I didn't just not like it. I haaaated it. I may or may not have been spanked for "hiding" a large hunk of it in my milk glass at one time, and then lying about its whereabouts. What's that greenish thing in my milk, you asked? Silly parentals. It's moldy milk, of course! Better throw that out too.

I've grown to like broccoli (strange seeing as we had such a traumatic start). Another green thing I've grown to like...kale. And it kinda reminds me of the flavor of broccoli. Which is also funny because I wouldn't have even known what to do with it a short while ago. I've been doing this funny thing lately when i go to the store or farmer's market. I throw stuff in my cart or basket that I've never bought before but i know is good for me. It forces me to try new things and I'll have to eat them before they go bad or I'll feel guilty.

I've only made kale chips a handful of times, and believe me when i declare their deliciousness! Baking kale this way miraculously makes it so crunchy! You can't tell from the pic, but these little guys are thin little crispy, salty wafers and you won't be able to keep them around very long after baking them.

I was having a craving for something spicy and salty today and rummaged though the fridge. I found a lime, a head of kale (that was one day away from being toss-able) and some Greek yogurt. Hmmmm...

I've made kale chips with lime juice before (thanks to this helpful blogger's suggestion), but never with just zest. I like it better with the zest because i think the juice makes them a bit soggy. And I thought a spicy dipping sauce would go well with them. If you haven't tried Sriracha sauce before and you like spice - you should try it. It's in the Asian aisle. It has such a delicious flavor, in addition to the spice.

This little snack has all the saltiness, crunch and flavor that one expects from a snack - with zero guilt and a side of nutrition.

I guess Momma G was right. Eating veggies can be delicious. But don't tell her I said that.

Crispy Lime Kale Chips

1 head kale, washed, dried and torn away from the stem into bite-size pieces
1/2 tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle of salt
Zest of one lime

Preheat oven to 300.

Place kale pieces on large (or two small) cookie sheets. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle on the zest and salt. Toss gently with your finger tips until all the kale is coated with a little oil.

Bake 15 or so minutes (check them) until slightly brown and crunchy.

Spicy Dipping Sauce

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp sriracha - start here and then taste and add till you get the right heat level
2 tsps lime juice or more if you like
Sprinkle of salt

Mix together. Taste and adjust. Serve.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

I found myself crying when I read this story posted a few weeks ago by a popular food writer and blogger. Her request to honor her husband's memory by making this peanut butter pie (his favorite dessert) inspired me.

This recipe is a keeper so I wanted to post it here. I made it last week, and I shared it with people I love. I recommend you do the same. I guarantee they'll love you back.


Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

Serves 10 to 12

8 ounces chocolate cookies

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

2 cups heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner's sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan or a glass pie plate.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner's sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Fold 1/2 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture. Pour the filling into pie plate/pan. Refrigerate overnight before serving. Serve with remaining whipped cream and chopped peanuts.

Adapted from Jennie's Kitchen.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chopped Caprese Salad w/ Warm Onion Dressing

My sister Shawnie is an inspiration. Look at this thing! Are ya kidding me?!

When she was 11, she would fake illness to stay home from school. I know that is neither unusual nor inspiring, but her motive was both. She wanted to bake. And not cookies or rice crispie treats. She baked challah bread. Have you ever made it? Me neither. It's too complicated.

Shawnie has an innate ability to cook and bake. She is always coming up with new, delicious recipes, and I was lucky to be over for dinner when she created this masterpiece.

Isn't it breathtaking? I'm thinking of enlarging this photo and putting it on my boring white living-room wall.

It's as delicious as it is beautiful. And a wonderful way to use tomatoes for a late summer dinner.

Thanks for the dinner, Shawn, and for your inspiration.

Love ya-


Shawnie's Chopped Caprese Salad & Warm Pearl Onion Dressing

1 1/2 - 2 cups peeled, fresh pearl onions (here's an easy way to peel them)

Marinate them overnight in:

1/2 c. EVOO
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes, cut into strips
2 tsp garlic powder
sprinkle of salt
few turns of the pepper mill

Salad fixins (vary amounts based on number of servings):

4 large red tomatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 pint mixed colored tomatoes (or less, depending on number of servings)
1/2 - 1 lb soft mozzarella, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Your favorite store bought or homemade croutons
Large bunch of basil, chopped

Before serving, pour marinated onions and marinade into saute pan. Cook over med-high heat (stirring frequently) until onions are caramelized.

When ready to eat, arrange salad fixins on platter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and drizzle warm dressing over the top. Sprinkle with the chopped basil.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Calalou and Basil Soup

It's been too long since I posted. No excuse other than my cute 4-month old. :) Haven't cooked any very interesting foods for awhile. Figuring it was high time I stopped with the excuses and started cooking real food again!

I remember when we had a farm share last year Lora and I had greens coming out of our ears. Kale chips, soups, greens and beans where our go-to recipes for all the excess. Last week a friend shared her favorite "greens" soup recipe and I had to try it. So the great part is this recipe would work with any green you want to cook down and get out of your fridge! I added tomatoes and basil because that's what I add to everything in the summer. Wish I had this recipe last year!

When I went to the market last week I expected greens to be at every stand. It was bizarre, nothing. No spinach, swiss chard, kale... nothing!! Guess its only a spring thing, but our farm last year produced all of it all summer long.

Well, It was the last thing on my list and Abel I were racing to see who could spot green first. Finally, I saw some collard greens and another big huge barrel full of this light large leafed green. The woman behind the bench was watching me, "You know what that is, Honey?"
"No." I replied. "Is it good in soup?"
"Why, yes!" She beamed. "It's calalou."
So there you have it. It's delicious but anything else you have in your fridge will work too.



Calalou and Basil Soup
makes 2 hearty servings so you probably want to double or triple it!

2 large handfuls of any green leafy veggie, deveined and rinsed
7 or so large leaves of basil
1 large onion chopped coursely
3 cloves garlic sliced coursely
olive oil
2 fresh tomatoes chopped into course chunks or 1 can diced tomatoes
2.5 cups chicken broth or more if you like thinner soup
salt and pepper

Saute onion and garlic in about 4 Tablespoons olive oil for 2-3 min over medium heat. Add greens and basil and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil. Cook down for a few minutes and flavor with salt and pepper. Blend in food processor or blender until smooth, add more stock if needed and heat through before serving. A swirl of heavy cream would be great but I didn't have any... was still good. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maine Corn & Fish Chowder

I took a cooking class in Bar Harbor, Maine last week. The instructor, Sharon Joyce, shared recipes for blueberry muffins, popovers, steamed mussells, and this chowder. Sharon explained the traditions and food culture of the region, while whipping up a feast for the class, with our occasional assistance.

This chowder recipe was my favorite of those shared (all were delicious, but I think this is the one I'll make with the most regularity - um, sans lobster). This recipe is almost 100 years old (if not older), and was given to Sharon by a woman who worked as the head house keeper to a very wealthy Maine family many years ago. When the family would travel for business or pleasure, they would always request this chowder (with corn or white fish) for their first meal after arriving home. It's so simple, no bacon (sniff) or stock, I can see why it was a go-to dish.

Even though it was warm outside, I made this chowder while we were still in Maine so we could capitalize on the low-cost seafood. I am SO jealous of Mainards and their ability to buy lobsters and still afford to eat for the rest of the week.

I love this recipe because you can also make it with haddock or grouper - more realistic for an upstate New Yorker.

This is a loose chowder, so if you are looking for a thick one, you'll have to find a different recipe. I don't think adding a roux to this one would work well. It uses water for the majority of the liquid.

This recipe is so simple and can be made really inexpensively as a plain corn chowder. It's one of those "file it and make it in a pinch" type recipes.

Thanks to Sharon for sharing her stories and recipes!


Maine Corn & Fish Chowder

1 large onion
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic
2 potatoes - such as yukon gold, peeled
Fresh thyme, or pinch of dried to taste (it doesn't need any herbs, but I had thyme on-hand so I added it)
Fresh corn from two cobs and/or a couple of filets of white fish
1-2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream

Saute 1 large onion chopped in 2 tbsp butter, until translucent (do not brown)
Add 2 garlic cloves, minced (honestly, I added this. you can't make ANYTHING without garlic!!)
Saute for 2 mins and add 2 large yukon gold potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Stir the potatoes and coat with the butter and onions
Add water just to cover potatoes and simmer (do not boil) until potatoes are tender
Add fresh corn, and/or white fish chopped into bite-sized pieces
Add whole milk to cover the corn and/or fish (about an inch or so)
Simmer for 7-9 mins until corn and/or fish are cooked through
Salt and pepper to taste
Add 1/2 cup of cream and simmer for a few minutes more.

Serve with crusty bread or Maine's traditional popovers!

If you happen to have a lobster - this is how we cooked it before we added it to the chowder:

Place a 1 1/2 - 2 lb lobster in the freezer, for approx 30 mins prior to boiling (seen as a humane way to end the little guy/gal's journey on earth)
Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a rolling boil
Salt the water heavily
When the water is at a rolling boil, place the lobster in the pot and cover with a lid
Set your timer for 12 mins
Once the timer rings, place the lobster in a shallow bowl and allow it to cool for several minutes, until you can comfortably handle it.
When cool, pick it up and crack the tail away from the body. The green goop inside should be removed (once thought edible, it's no longer recommended you eat it). The body of the lobster actually has hardly any meat, and it's not really worth the effort of getting at it. Pull the tail meat out and chop. Crack the claws and pull out the meat. The leg meat can be eaten by cracking them at the joints and then using your teeth to push the meat into your mouth (kind of like a freezy pop - but much more delicious).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

whole wheat rhubarb streusel muffins

Aren't these purdy? They taste as good as they look.

Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that wonderfully transforms once it's cooked. Raw, its bitter and tough. Heat brings it to life, and morphs it into something so delicious. Kinda like when I throw my cranky, grumpy 4 year old into a warm bath...

I realize this is the third sweet recipe in a row...sorry. It's all beans or sugar around here.

Many of you know that our family has recently increased by 1. T's sweet little baby boy has captured all of our hearts. ;) I thought another sweet recipe would be perfect way to celebrate his awesomeness.

These muffins are delicious, moist, not overtly sweet and moderately healthy! They call for white wheat flour, which I've been using to make bread lately (post to come). It's a great option for those who are opposed to full-fledged wheat flour, and it's right next to the white flour at the store so it's easy to grab.

I used vanilla yogurt instead of the author's recommended sour cream. I also added a bit more rhubarb than recommended. Next time I'm going to add 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries or blueberries - just because.

Follow a recipe verbatim? That's just too much like following the rules.

Here's the link to the recipe. Thanks Smitten Kitchen! Sooooo yummy.