Category Archives: recipes

Candied Jalapenos

‘Tis the season for holiday baking and gift giving. While I have yet to do either so far (we don’t even have a Christmas tree yet!), I have dipped into my stash of jars twice already for potluck-style parties. And, it occurred to me that someone out there might also appreciate having a stash of these goodies for impromptu appetizers. Today I’ll introduce you to the candied jalapenos; tomorrow you can learn about the tomato jam. I’ve found that they are lovely on their own and combined, on top of the fact that they are super easy to make and you really only need to can them if you want to hold onto them long-term.

Every summer, I plant at least two jalapeno plants in my garden. I started doing this because I love bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers and there is nothing more fun that filling up a platter for a summer bbq and popping them in your mouth. With my garden jalapenos, it sometimes becomes Popper Roulette as some peppers end up much hotter than the others. This is completely different than the year I grew both jalapeno and Serrano peppers and got them mixed up in the picking basket (the serranos were huge!)

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Wordless Wednesday: Lemon Pull-Apart Loaf

(recipe here)

Momofuku-esque Roast Pork

Ever since we had the backyard renovation, I’ve been wanting to do a whole pig roast. Except, it’s kind of expensive and you need a lot of people to eat the, you know, whole hog.  I think for a good sized pig, you can feed 100 people.  We didn’t have 100 people at our wedding, where would we ever round up that many people for a party?

So, when I get it in my head to chow down on porky goodness, we try to round up enough people to help us make a dent in a 7-pound pork roast.  Not just any pork roast, though, a Momofuku-style pork roast.  When we were in New York, one thing we had to do before we left was eat one of David Chang’s steamed pork buns, a pillowy soft bun stuffed with tender pork belly.  We couldn’t reasonably take part in his bo ssam dinner, so when we got home I ordered up his cookbook.

Some of the recipes in the cookbook are time-consuming and some have hundreds of steps.  Some are time consuming because they have hundreds of steps!  But I haven’t been disappointed with a single recipe I’ve tried and his bo ssam recipe, along with the green scallion sauce, have become my go-to dishes.  I’ve taken them to potlucks, and we’ve made it while camping.  I’ve never heard anyone turn it down.
Learn how I turned a 3-page recipe into just a few key steps…

Fun with Flatbreads

Every since Smitten Kitchen’s latest flatbread recipe appeared in my feed reader, I’ve been obsessed.  It’s like an addiction in the worst way. You never know when the craving is going to strike and you start wondering how much flatbread one person can eat before they need to admit they have a problem.

The worst part is, you can get your fix within minutes.  The dough comes together easily with no appliances needed.  Once it’s rolled out, it bakes for 5 minutes, you add cheese (cheese!) and then let it get crispy for another 4 minutes.  At most, you’re eating warm, honey-ed, salty flatbread within 15 minutes of even thinking about it.  Do you know how dangerous that is?

Read on to find out just how dangerous it can be…

Cocoa Dusted Bacon

The world may think bacon is just a trend and will be replaced by something new, but I don’t care.  I will always eat bacon-wrapped tasty things and I will always keep at least two packages of bacon in the freezer for backup.  If you braise a hunk of slab bacon, I’ll eat it.  I still enjoy the piece of candied bacon in the bloody mary at Small Bar, even if I can’t really taste the bacon vodka that’s in it.

Bacon is good. I’m sorry, that’s just all there is to it.

Read on to learn how to make bacon more addictive…

Sweet and Salty Brownies

It started with the brownies.  I was craving something chocolate, something rich, something baked.  I had stared at the Sweet & Salty brownie recipe in Baked Explorations many times.  So, I just made them.  I made them with the full intention of having a square or two and then taking the rest into work.  I wasn’t even fully invested in them, using the salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s instead of making my own (it goes in between the layers of brownie batter, for a bit more salty/sweet loveliness).  I haphazardly sprinkled on the sugar/sea salt mixture, thinking it was more for decoration than anything else.  And then, I ate one.

I ate one brownie, then I ate another one.  I ate one more after they cooled.  Then a fourth, because it looked silly just sitting there all by itself in the row.  I placed them in a container and then into the fridge.  They never went to work.  Well, they did, as part of my lunch for the next week and a half.  I think Travis may have gotten in one or two.

These are dense, fudgey brownies.  They are not too sweet, using both dark chocolate and cocoa.  There is a sweet/salty layer of butter caramel in the middle of each bite and then there a sprinkling of sugar and salt on top.  This was a brownie that becomes the standard for brownies.

Until I added something that made it completely ridiculous, a little bit naughty, and absolutely fabulous…

Sweet & Salty Brownies (from Baked Explorations)

1 1/4 c. AP Flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. dark cocoa powder
11 oz. dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

Topping – mix together 1 1/2 tsp fleur de sel and 1 tsp sugar.

Note: I was a bit bad at following directions, not to mention I totally used a jarred salted caramel sauce instead of making the one in the recipe. But the brownies still came out amazing! And, really, you should own this book yourself and then you can follow it word for word.

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat, beat in the white and brown sugars, and let it cool to room temperature.

3. Meanwhile, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa in a separate bowl.

4. Add 3 eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the vanilla. “They” say that if you mix too much at the point, the brownies will get too cakey, but I haven’t found that to be a problem yet.

5. Pour the flour mixture over the chocolate/egg mixture and fold until no more white streaks remain. Pour half the batter into the pan. Drizzle salted caramel sauce over the brownie batter until a decent-looking layer has formed. Try to avoid the edges so the caramel doesn’t ooze out the sides and make a sticky mess of itself. Pour the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel and smooth out the top.

6. Bake for 30 minutes (mine needed 40 minutes for the tester to come out clean), sprinkle on the salt/sugar topping, and let cool completely in the pan. Slice as desired. Eat while warm, cool, cold, and any where in between.

Curried Lentil Soup

It’s definitely not the most photogenic of meals, or maybe I’m just not good enough to make it look pretty.  But it is simple, easy, relatively quick, and very tasty.  It’s also something I think is pantry-ready, assuming your pantry is stocked with curry powder and lentils.  Your pantry should always be stocked with an onion or two and lots of garlic.

Molly Wizenberg’s (aka OrangetteCurried Lentil Soup has been making its way around the internet, after appearing in Bon Appetit magazine.  I happened to have a carrot slowly withering away in the fridge, so I thought I’d whip it up while waiting for the lone carpet guy to install new carpet in the dog room and while Travis played outside breaking concrete with a sledgehammer.

Because I remembered my Vindaloo curry powder (from Penzey’s) packs a wallop, I paired it with some sweet curry powder.  Even so, the soup has quite a kick to it, at least to me.  The pureed chickpeas add heft and thickness to the soup, but it’s not a creamy soup as if you had added cream or half and half.  I consider it a pretty healthy soup.  Even with the piece of crumbled bacon (bingo bacon!) I put on top.