Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Prosciutto, Artichoke Heart, and Leek Panini

It isn't like I was wondering if this would be delicious.  Let's put crack dip in a sandwich with pork fat and check to make sure it tastes good.  That is what I did.  And I put some greens in there just to make sure we didn't die.  

Don't be scared.  This sandwich IS good.  And you will be fine.  Just eat it with a salad.  

Prosciutto, Artichoke Heart, and Leek Panini

8 thin slices of prosciutto
1 leek, sliced and rinsed
1/4 yellow onion, sliced
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1-2 tablespoons of sour cream
8 slices of sourdough bread
2-4 tablespoons of cream cheese
a couple handfuls of baby arugula
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, crisp up prosciutto and set aside on a paper towel to drain.

Add some olive oil to the pan, turn down heat to medium and slowly cook and caramelize onions and leeks. After about 10 minutes, add artichokes hearts and cook until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper and mix in sour cream.  Set aside.

Prepare Panini: To make 1 sandwich, spread cream cheese on two slices of bread.  Top with a small handful of arugula, a spoonful of the artichoke/leek mixture and two slices of crispy prosciutto. Grill in a Panini press or on a griddle until bread is crispy.

(Servings: 4, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 10 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese

When I ate one of these for the first time, I cursed in my head.  If there is a more perfect bite in the world, I don't even want to know.  

I need to tell you something.  I am not really fancy.  But I pretend to be.  And for the longest time, I was intimidated by fancy ingredients.  I have always been frugal.  And even though most people probably wouldn't consider me frugal nowadays, I used to be hardcore (and I have gradually loosened up as I have gotten older...and richer).  I used to question buying Green Giant canned green beans or just go with the Kroeger brand.  I used to think it was frivolous to buy deli meat at the deli counter rather than the prepackaged deli "meat".  And I used to buy frozen chicken breasts in those zippy bags.  So believe me, I have been there.  

For those of you who worry and budget and stress about your grocery bill, have no fear.  I am here to tell you that fancy food does not need to be expensive.  I know I go on and on about Whole Foods, but it is my favorite place on earth.  It is what inspired me to make these...because Black Mission Figs just started showing up.  And are on sale.  $3.99/lb.  The nice thing about Whole Foods is that you can always buy exactly how much you want.  This is what it came to for me:

Figs:  $3 
Prosciutto:  $4
Goat's milk blue cheese (amazing):  $2.50

I know it ain't no pigs in a blanket...$3 for 30 people-kind of appetizer.  But it isn't as scary as I once thought.  

Don't go crazy with the prosciutto.  Ask for it to be sliced as thin as possible.  I don't like it to completely cover the fig, because then it just tastes like pork fat.  Share with bro-in-law over skype.  

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs and Blue Cheese
recipe courtesy Michael Chiarello via FoodNetwork

8 Black Mission figs
1/2 cup blue cheese, cut into cubes
8 prosciutto (thinly sliced, cut in half lengthwise)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill. You will need medium to high heat for grilling. The key is to crisp the prosciutto quickly and leave the blue cheese just melted with the inner part of the fig cool in temperature.

Cut the figs in half and place a piece of blue cheese on each fig half. Wrap the prosciutto around each fig half, covering the cheese. The ends of the prosciutto should overlap.

Grill each piece until the prosciutto begins to color and crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from grill, lightly drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. Serve warm.

(Servings: 4-8, Prep time: 10 min., Cook time: 10 min. Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  10/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  1/5
Dishwashing Effort:  1/5

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oatmeal Pancakes with Lemony Maple Blueberry Sauce

This was a delicious camp breakfast.  It could be easily adapted to work as a great backpacking meal (or you could just bring fresh fruit backpacking...day one/two?...otherwise just sub some dried fruit)  The sauce didn't thicken up for me as much as I hoped it would, but I also didn't follow any of the measurements, so what can I really expect?  It was still delicious.  

I used old fashioned oats in the pancakes (with some hesitation) and they really were great.  The pancakes were so filling.  I could only eat 4 smaller (4 inch) pancakes.  

Uh.  Just wondering.  Is that for me?
I doubled the recipe for 3 people and it was too much.  But don't worry, Copper needed breakfast too!  

Camping is his favorite.  No, we did NOT take him hiking in his tank top.  Totally embarrassing.  

Oatmeal Pancakes with Lemony Maple Blueberry Sauce

1/2 cup old fashioned oats or 1 packet of instant oatmeal
3/4 cup “Complete” Pancake mix (just-add-water)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 cupswater
2 tablespoons oil for skillet if not non-stick
Lemony Maple Blueberry Sace (recipe below)

At Home: In a large zip-top bag, combine oats, pancake mix, cinnamon and pecans (you will need the extra room to mix the batter).

At Camp: Pour 1 cup of water inside the zip-top bag containing the pancake batter ingredients. Seal bag and mix the ingredients by gently kneading and squeezing them together.

Cut one of bottom corners of the zip-top bag with the pancake batter and squirt 1/4 of contents into a lightly oiled skillet on medium high. Let pancake cook until bubbling on top. Flip and let cook until golden brown. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Top the pancakes with lemony maple blueberry sauce!

(Servings: 2-3, Prep time: 15 min., Cook time: 20 min., Difficulty: Easy)

Lemony Maple Blueberry Sauce

1/2 pint fresh blueberries (Substitutes: any other berry, or soft fruit like peach,
pear, and plum)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 lemon (juice and rind)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter

At home: Pack syrup in a leak-proof bottle; pack sugar in a zip-top bag.

At camp: Using a sharp knife, gently peel the yellow part of the lemon rind. Avoid cutting too deep into the white part of the skin (it's bitter). Finely chop the yellow peel and set aside. In a skillet, melt the butter over low heat, then add the blueberries. Mash some of the blueberries with a fork, then add the remaining ingredients, including the lemon rind. Simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. Makes 1 cup.

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  9/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sausage, Potato and Green Bean Camp Casserole

Since we have lived in Colorado, we have missed lots of 4th of July fireworks.  Which means a lot of things:

1.  Copper loves life a lot more.
2.  We have spent the holiday mostly in the mountains.  
3.  The fireworks in CO are pretty lame!  Just sayin'!

This year, Scot, the mountain man, declared, "I need mountains AND fireworks!"  So, we took a hiking/camping trip and made it back to the city for the fireworks.  Since Scot is resting from an injury, I took his sister up Mt. Elbert.  And we survived!  Without boys!  

I am honestly a little surprised.  

Nothing against the sis-in-law, it is ME.  When I say I have no sense of direction, I mean it.  And getting lost on the tallest mountain in CO is just not ideal.  Especially when I am chaperoning a newbie.  

Luckily there were 8 million other people also hiking it AND only one turn/decision along the entire trail.  I love being dramatic and making things seem way harder than they are!  Yay!  

After a long hike, making use of the first aid kit (several times) (sis-in-law secretly fell off the mountain...aw, she's fine), and plenty of blisters later...we were ready for a hearty dinner.  And this is what we had!

Smoked sausage is a great day 2/3 camping ingredient.  First, it is meat.  And meat is good when you are in the woods.  Gawd, it is so good.  Second, it is pretty "food safe".  (I have no proof of this, so I am not liable...if it doesn't work out for you.)

Something about this meal was so full filling (butter).  Stick to your ribs.  Meat and potatoes.  Yum!

For dessert, we tried out this baked banana dessert thing (it is kind of like a fancy s'more stuffed in a banana):

I personally did not indulge in one of these babies because that is just too much for me to handle.  But Scot thoroughly enjoyed it.  Sis-in-law did too but was a little on the fence about warm banana-ness.  Definitely fun and different from your typical s'more.  

Sausage, Potato and Green Bean Camp Casserole
adapted from Allrecipes

1/2 stick of butter
1 medium onion, diced
3/4 pound smoked sausage, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used Kielbasa)
3/4 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
7 small to medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, diced small
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup water

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

In a large cast iron skillet, melt butter. Add onion and kielbasa and let cook for about 5 minutes. Add green beans, potatoes, salt, and pepper. Add water and tightly cover with foil. Place over a grill for 20-30 minutes (opening up and turning occasionally…added more water as needed) until potatoes are tender.

(Servings: 3, Prep time: 20 min., Cook time: 40 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  2/5

Copper just isn't a floor dog.  And I wouldn't be one either, so who am I to judge.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Texas Caviar

I had never heard of Texas Cavier until a few months ago when TWO different friends brought it to TWO different potluck events.  Good story.  But the truth is:  this stuff is wicked good.

Might as well just call it black-eyed pea de gallo.  It is really your typical pico but with beans!  The Texas Caviar that is pictured here has some random additions that I just threw in to use stuff up (black beans and corn...and some tomato).  But, I have since made the exact recipe below and it is a wonderful combination.  In reality, you can throw whatever veg. you want in with the beans.  

I personally believe that black eyed peas are the most delicious bean out there.  Everywhere like such as.  I have recently discovered that I am a lover of white-ish beans.  Including but not limited to black eyed peas, cannellini beans, great northern beans, navy beans, and lima beans.  And edamame.  So, I guess I like green too.  I know you were all dying to know what my favorite beans were.  

PS:  This is also known as Cowboy Caviar.  I'd like to avoid conflict with Texas, so I will give this to them.  Oh yeah, and I don't care.   

Texas Caviar
adapted from Allrecipes

2 (15.8 ounce) cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 cup diced jicama
2 fresh medium jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and minced
1/2 small red onion, cut into small dice
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into small dice
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into small dice
1 bunch cilantro, minced
6 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lime juice
6 tablespoons light cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl; cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 2 days. Before serving, adjust seasonings to taste, adding extra vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl.

(Servings; 8-10, Prep time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)

foodforscot Ratings:

Shanon (taste):  8/10
Scot (taste):  8/10
Effort:  2/5
Dishwashing Effort:  1/5