Archive for September, 2011

September 28, 2011

Dried Red Pepper Flakes

We had/have an over-abundance of hot-peppers (mostly habaneros – since I could actually find uses for the cayenne, but its hard to find many uses for more than 1 habanero at a time usually). Since I love store-bought red pepper flakes (on pizza, in soups, spice up any dish, etc) I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make my own in order to use up a bit of peppers…

After some research I discovered, no – it wasn’t too hard (even without a dehydrator). For the first hour or so of these being in the oven the house feels slightly spicy to the smell, but not too bad. Now, if only this made more (guess I need to spend another full day with the oven on to make these), since I’ve already put quite a dent on the baggie of dried pepper in the last week!

washed & dried

sliced & diced

dried & crispy

crushed & spicy & bagged

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

  • about 1 pound assorted peppers (a mix of habanero, cayenne & jalapeno is what I used) – and I had less than 1 pound, do whatever fits on a pan for you!

Wash & pat dry your assortment of peppers. Cut off the stems & cut in half. For more mild flakes scoop out insides. I left them in there and when I use my flakes will just use less if I want something less spicy. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet in a 250 degree oven for about 8 hours. They will look dry and brittle when you are done. The house may feel a bit ‘spicy’ during this time.

Remove from oven and let cool. Place them in a large zip-top bag and carefully crush them (with a rolling pin). Get your flakes to the desired consistency and then do not open your bag for a few minutes to allow the dust to settle. Place in a container and enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor all year (or as long as it lasts)!

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… what spices or seasoning have you made (or would you like to make instead of buying)

September 23, 2011

Mushroom Brie Bisque

There are many ways to get inspired by food. Sometimes you are craving something. Or you could have an over-abundance of a certain ingredient and strive to use it. Other times you see a recipe or picture of something and know that you MUST make it (hopefully that has happened to you once here?). This recipe fell into the “OMG I have to make this” category!

I spend many (many, many) hours browsing around on FoodGawker and when a beautiful image from Tide and Thyme came up featuring Mushroom Brie Bisque – I knew there was my inspiration for a starter soup!! The stars must have been aligned since Brie was on sale last week (I LOVE when things work out)

… speaking about things “working out” – yeah, that describes this soup: IT WORKS! There is a nice creaminess to this soup with the complex flavors from the soft/melty brie soft pillows of mushroom and the salty creaminess to bring it all together 🙂

Mushroom Brie Bisque

adapted and edited from Tide & Thyme – serves approx. 4

  • 2 shallots or leeks or a small onion – minced
  • 16 ounces portobello mushroom caps (or baby bellas), cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 8 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water to mix with cornstarch

Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and shallots, and sauté until most of the water has cooked out of the mushrooms, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the milk, as well as the chunks of brie cheese.

Simmer the soup, whisking until the cheese melts down. Make a “slurry” with the cornstarch and water, and whisk into the soup to thicken. Bring to a soft rolling boil and remove from the heat.

One Year Ago – Stuffed Jalapenos & Enchiladas

And I leave you with this… Where do you most often get your “divine intervention” for what you cook?

September 20, 2011

Cookie Dough – egg free

“Rich – I made you a snack – it’s in the fridge next to the milk…” I think that if I said that phrase more often we might be engaged (just kidding honey, kinda)

But in all seriousness – Rich LOVES cookie dough, even though he tells people all the time (as he is shoveling mouthfuls of cookie dough) how consuming raw eggs is bad for you. I figured I would show appreciation for all his hard work & commuting & such and treat him to a batch of ‘raw’ cookie dough to help deal with the tough semester he is having.

I didn’t want to go fully “vegan/healthy/raw” on him just yet though. I am sure that he will enjoy those ‘healthier options’ when I do try them [soon], but I am trying to loose weight and didn’t want to be tempted by having something sitting around that I could pretend was healthy. This Egg-Free Cookie Dough I (quite obviously) know is not “healthy” even if they are egg free and won’t give us salmonella!

packed in plastic for your snacking pleasure

Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

adapted from The Cupcake Project (using a whole stick of butter – no need to mess around with measuring a stick & a half… going for easy here)

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 2/3  flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk

Mix up all ingredients in a bowl (fork, spoon, spatula, whatever) & add in your mix-ins (e.g. 1/2 cup chocolate chips). DONE – we like chilled chocolate chip cookie dough, so this is now stored in a Tupperware in the fridge ready for danger.

And I leave you with this, today’s Question of the Day… What is your favorite Guilty Pleasure (food related or not)!? [mine is chocolate]

September 17, 2011

Bacon Habanero Infused Vodka

As a teacher, I often think about my personal vs. public life. This blog makes me think about those private/personal lines and my privacy as well (especially right now as I am teaching Internet Safety/Responsibility/etc). I am an adult, but I am also an educator and the shaper of young minds. My students know that I blog and I am sure that some of them have found it. 

I’m an adult who is legally allowed to consume alcoholic beverages (not that I ever really do though, seriously, its pretty rare for me- I can count on my hands the number of times I have had a drink in the past year). Even though I am an adult – I always want to be a responsible role model for my students.

So here is the post, written by a teacher in her late 20’s who is a lover of food and exploring new ways to use her ingredients and who also encourages her students to make the right choices in their life…

I made Bloody Mary Tomato Juice for my Grandmother with lots of our garden fresh tomatoes and wanted some spicy vodka to go with it, especially since I was making the drinks for my grandmother who loves them spicy (a constant challenge to make them spicy enough for grandma)! We have an over-abundance of habaneros in our garden (all thanks to one plant) and I am trying to come up with ways to use them without burning my face (or hands) off! When I stumbled across Kitchen Konfidence, I knew that I had to make this for my grandmother (and share with my spice-loving neighbor).

At first I was not sure if I should add the bacon (by all means feel free to make this vegetarian by leaving out the bacon), but it did add a bit of ‘smokiness’ to the vodka. Play around with it & be careful with the heat (no touching your eyes) and how long you let this infuse!!

enjoy responsibly and always think before you act

Bacon-Habanero Infused Vodka

  • 2 – 3 slices (cooked) bacon
  • 2 habaneros, sliced in half
  • 1 jalapano
  • 2 cups (approx..) vodka

Cook, drain, & cool Bacon. Slice your peppers in half. Add all solids to a mason jar (or any clean recycled glass jar you have around the house). Pour your quality vodka over top. Allow to infuse for up to 7 days – the longer you let it set, the stronger it will be.

Feel free to use this after 2 days or so (at 2-3 days I took mine out and it was more than plenty strong for me – if you like it spicier, leave it) but after about a week, take out your solids & use your infused vodka with caution & enjoy responsibly!

I wonder what else this ingredient can be be used for… I can see some sort of “Devil Drink” to be a perfect use for this Habanero Vodka for Halloween – suggestions? 

And I Leave You with this, Today’s Question of the Day… What flavors  of an infused liquid have you created or do you think you would enjoy the flavor of?

September 12, 2011

Bloody Mary – Tomato Juice

When Life gives you Lemons – You make Lemonade… SO when Life give you Tomatoes, you make Tomato Juice! We have been enjoying our garden fresh tomatoes for more than a month. I am getting to a point that I am sick and tired of chopping to make bruschetta and tomato salad and salsa though. It is time to give my blender a work-out to help ‘deal with’ my tomatoes! We loved Habanero Tomato Soup last week and since my Bloody Mary loving Grandma was home from her trip & coming to visit I had no other option but tomato juice!

The flavor of this juice was wholesome & pretty good (mom was not a fan of it).  I’m not sure what I would & should change but I know that I want to experiment some more [next year probably]… any suggestions!?

“Raw” Bloody Mary Mix

roughly based on Our Share of the Harvest

(make about 1 quart)

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, washed, cored and halved
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1- 2 celery stalks
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Throw all ingredients in the blender – blend until smooth. Taste, adjust as needed. Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight +) to let all of the flavors meld.

Serve with some Habanero Infused Vodka and a stalk of celery. Enjoy responsibly!

And I leave you with this, Today’s Question of the Day… Tomatoes are a Fruit, Lemons are a Fruit… what is your favorite “Fruit Juice”?

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