These nuts make a nice gift during the holidays. These nuts have a nice sweet and salty with a touch of heat to make them memorable. They have sweet maple syrup combined with a kick of cayenne pepper, then there’s fresh rosemary and flaky sea salt added to the mix. That whole sweet-salty-spicy thing gets me every time, and the rosemary makes this festive for the holidays as well as all winter long. These Spicy Maple Rosemary Roasted Nuts have got it all.
I’m staying with the chocolate rum theme. These rum balls are inspired by some cake balls I had at a birthday party they were so addicting I wanted to keep eating them. I went home and started looking up recipes and found this version of cake balls, but with brownies and rum. Sign me up. I found that a cake like brownie mix soaks up the rum better and use about 1/2 cup of rum, a nice dark spiced rum. The added sprinkle of salt on top adds a nice contrast to the chocolate and hides where my toothpick was used during dipping. Use a microwave or a chocolate melter to melt the chocolate chips for dipping the brownie balls. I use almost a whole bag of chocolate chips for one batch of dough balls and I add like a teaspoon of coconut oil to the chocolate to thin it out just a touch.
If you know some bacon lovers, this chocolate bark is simple and yummy. A dark chocolate sweet and salty treat. I found the toasted hazelnuts at Trader Joes in their nut section. The recipe come from the book The Practical Paleo. Hey, if they can do chocolate and bacon I might be in.
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp. bacon grease (or coconut oil)
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
I put the chocolate chips and the coconut oil together in a bowl and microwaved it for one minute. Stirred the chocolate and then microwaved it in 30 second increments till melted. The recipe calls for spreading the chocolate out on the parchment paper and let it cool for a minute and then spread the chopped nuts and bacon on top.
But I like mixing half of the bacon adn nuts in with the chocolate and then spread out on the parchment. sprinkle the rest of the bacon and nuts on top. And last sprinkle the sea salt on top. Let cool and break into pieces.
I am lucky enough to have this served to me when I visit Wild Country Maple Syrup farm. This recipe transforms bacon into a sweet and salty candy treat with a nice thick chewy bite. Great to snack on its own or use in other recipes. I recommend a bloody Mary garnish.
1 pound sliced bacon
½ cup pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll baking pan with foil. Spray with nonstick spray.
Combine maple syrup, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
Drizzle the maple syrup over the slices of bacon and grind Black Pepper on top and for some more spice sprinkle some red pepper flakes.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until the bacon is browned and crisp.
Let cool on a rack for a few minutes to let them dry and stiffen up.
Hot Off the Press: a new magazine start-up called Our Green Plate—focused on farm to table and food culture in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. #ourgreenplate
I had the opportunity to do some recipe photography for the magazine. It was so much fun to work with the art director Brian Donahue at BeDesign Inc. and Karla Spies the amazing food stylist and set design collaborator. The recipes are delicious and perfect for the bounty of cucumbers harvested from the garden.
7 1⁄2 tablespoons or a scant 1⁄2 cup vodka, preferably organic
1 1⁄2 teaspoons cucumber simple syrup*
1 cucumber 1 lime
lemon bitters (optional)
Peel and thinly slice the cucumber. Cut the lime into eighths. Place 4 cucumber slices in the bottom of a cocktail shaker and add the simple syrup. Squeeze in one of the lime pieces and muddle them together.
Fill the shaker with ice, add vodka, cover and shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add 2 or 3 drops of lemon bitters and garnish with thin slices of cucumber.
*For cucumber simple syrup, mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water together in a small saucepan. Heat on low, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat, add 6 or so cucumber slices. Pour in glass jar and store in the refrigerator up to a week.
This is a very flexible recipe; you can make it with or without the herbs, and omit any herb you don’t like or don’t have. If you just have parsley, that’s delicious too. If you like it extra garlicky, add another clove. Bottom line: it’s basically impossible to mess this recipe up!
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1⁄2 cucumber, English preferred
1⁄2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste or put through a garlic press olive oil
Peel and grate the cucumber on the large holes of a grater. Place in a small sieve and sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon of kosher salt. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then squeeze out all the excess water. Mix the cucumber in a small mixing bowl with the Greek yogurt, garlic, chopped herbs, and lemon juice. Allow to rest in refrigerator for an hour or more before serving to develop flavors. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve on a plate or in a bowl with a little olive oil drizzled on top (optional).
My favorite thing about Gazpacho soup is you can really put whatever vegetables you want and blend it up. A trip to the garden or farmers market and pick up the ingredients. I use this recipe as a rough guide for my chopping and blending. I always add a jalopeno or some hot pepper into the blend. And usually whatever tomato juice, V8 or bloody mary mix I have in the refrigerator. Of course the garnish is also fun, be as creative as you want. Best served cold.
My friend in river falls makes these awesome jams, BBQ sauces, ketchup ect. We worked as a group to pull together the sets and styling. So much fun to work and sample these products. Once you try this BBQ sauce you will be looking at an empty bottle and trying to get more. You can follow him on Facebook and check out the web site to get more recipes.
food styling: Kati Standal
Here is the recipe fro the Asian BBQ sauce-
BAKED OR GRILLED SALMON
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs dried dill
2 tbs soy sauce
1 cup of ice cubes
1 1/2 lbs salmon filet (about 1″ thick)
Put water, salt, sugar, dill and soy sauce in a large bowl, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Pour salt mixture into large zip-loc bag. Add ice and salmon; seal. Put in the fridge for 2 hours. Flop the bag a couple times.
Oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover baking sheet with aluminum foil. Take salmon out of the brine and put skin side down on baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes. Brush the Rooster Sauce on salmon flesh side for about the last 2-5 minutes. The filet will be done when fat starts to bubble out. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grill: Get a full chimney of charcoal going. I you have a gas grill follow oven directions above. Cover half of the grill with aluminum foil. When the coals are ready, bank coals on one side of the grill. Place the grill rack with the aluminum foil on the opposite side of the grill for indirect grilling. Take salmon out of the brine and put skin side down on aluminum foil side of the grill. Check after about 15 minutes. Depending on the heat of your grill this could take between 17 to 20 minutes. Brush the Rooster Sauce on salmon flesh side for about the last 2-5 minutes. The filet will be done when fat starts to bubble out. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
What do you do when your friend gives you some eggplants from his garden? Make Baba Ganoush. I find eggplant intimidating, I look at it and have no clue what to do. I do like Baba Ganoush and after looking up the recipe I decided to give it a try. I choose to grill it which was real easy since I asked my husband to grill it. The best part about the dip is the tahini anything with tahini is good for me, it’s like a sesame peanut butter.
The best Baba Ganoush is in the middle east, I have never had it as smokey and flavorful as there, I don’t know how they do it. Perhaps I should request my neighbor smoke the eggplant next time he has his smoker going in the backyard. This is a simple and tasty dip, great for all those fall vegies.