Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sausage, Cheese, and Salsa Crostinis

I made these appetizers a while back and forgot to post them! oops!  These are perfect for a Fiesta-themed meal and easy to prepare!

1 package of sausage
1 jar of chunky salsa (mild, medium, hot - doesn't matter)
baguette slices (I bought the pre-cut ones)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced

Cook the sausage in a skillet.  Drain excess liquid.  Toast the baguette slices.  Place a spoonful of salsa on the bread and layer sausage, cheese on top.  Toast in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Add a small dollop of sour cream and cilantro.

I hope everyone has a great Memorial weekend.  We're traveling to Memphis on Friday and will be having a crawfish boil this weekend!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Eggs Benedict

For someone who doesn't usually eat breakfast, Ben is quite the morning cuisine expert.  A couple of weeks ago he made these eggs Benedict and he was not surprised to hear that this would be my first time to try one.  This is not unusual because I am known by many as the type of person who eats bread, chicken, and cheese.  I was not forced to try new things as a child, something that Ben thinks is horrible, so now when I'm in my 20s I'm finally getting around to trying different foods.

2 eggs
2 teaspoons white vinegar
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
pinch cayenne
pinch salt
1 English muffin, halved
4 slices of Canadian Bacon

First we'll start with making the Hollandaise Sauce.  Whisk egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl until it has thickened and doubled in volume.  Place the bowl over a sauce pan with barely simmering water (the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl).  See picture below of Ben's "double-boiler. Continue to whisk rapidly, but be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will start to scramble. Slowly drizzle the melted butter and continue to whisk. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and cayenne. 

For the rest of the eggs Benedict - brown the Canadian bacon in a pan and set aside.  Toast the halved English Muffin.  In a non-stick skillet, add water half way up.  Add white vinegar.  Bring to a slow boil and carefully crack the eggs in the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 3 minutes until egg white is set.  Remove from the pan with a large spoon and allow to drain.  Assemble muffin, bacon, egg, and pour Hollandaise sauce over the top!

Here's a picture of the eggs Benedict without the Hollandaise sauce so you can see the assembly a little better.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chocolate Kiss and Reese's Cookies

These cookies are amazing!!!  Well, they're amazing if you love chocolate.  Oh, you don't love chocolate?  Then I'm going to have to ask you to move along to another blog, because I do not understand how you cannot love chocolate (just kidding...kind of).  Ben gets all of the credit for finding the recipe.  We added our own twist, though.  We added reese's peanut butter cups to half of the cookies.  This was probably the best decision we made.  Ever.
bag of Hershey's kisses
bag of Reese's peanut butter cups
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
granulated sugar

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Unwrap kisses and reese's.  Mix the shortening and nutella in a stand mixer.  Add the brown sugar until mixture is fluffy.  Add milk, egg, and vanilla.  Beat well.  In a separate bowl, add cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add flour mixture to nutella mixture.  Refrigerate dough for one hour.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and then roll in the granulated sugar (see 2nd picture below).  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place cookies on the sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Immediately place kiss or Reese's in each cookie after taking them out of the oven.  Let cookies cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipe from here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Prosciutto Wrapped Fruit

Prosciutto wrapped fruit is a great, light appetizer perfect for the summer when mangoes and cantaloupe are in season.  Buy thinly sliced prosciutto and cut it into strips.  Wrap it around the mango and cantaloupe slices and you're done! 

Another summer dish is a simple fruit salad.  I cut a cantaloupe in half and scrapped out the middle to turn it into a bowl.  Then filled the bowl with mangoes, cantaloupe and strawberries.

Fruit salsa is also one of my summer favorites that goes really well with grilled chicken.  Just chop mango and kiwi, mix with cilantro, a little garlic powder, salt and pepper, and diced tomatoes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls

For breakfast on Mother's day, I tried my hand at homemade cinnamon rolls.  I prepared them the night before, so I could just pop them in the oven on Sunday morning.  This ended up working out well.  However, when I was about to put them in the oven on Sunday I got a little worried because they looked severely lopped-sided and were starting to resemble something similar to "the blob" rather than cinnamon rolls.  Luckily when they came out of the oven they were not harmed!

Slightly obsessed with icing, I know.
Ingredients for Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for filling
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (plus a little extra)
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for icing
4 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 425 (unless you are waiting until the morning to bake them).  Place the oven rack in the middle.  Grease a 9" round pan.  To make the dough, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter in a separate small bowl.  Stir buttermilk mixture into flour with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds.  Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough until smooth.  If the dough becomes sticky add more flour.  Roll the dough into a 9x12 rectangle on the surface.  Brush with melted butter (see picture).

For the filling, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ground cloves, salt and 1 tablespoon melted butter into a small bowl.  Stir until the mixture looks like wet sand. (add more butter if needed)  Sprinkle it over the dough (see below).

Tightly roll the dough into a log.  After I rolled mine, I had to cut off some dough on both ends because the cinnamon did not get distributed to those areas.  Cut the log into 8 or 9 pieces and place them in the 9" round pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the icing.  In a bowl combine the buttermilk and cream cheese.  Whisk until smooth - the mixture may look like cottage cheese at the beginning, but keeping whisking.  Slowly add the powdered sugar while whisking.
Please excuse my frumpy-looking cinnamon rolls. 
Place a piece of foil in a cookie sheet and spray it with cooking spray.  Place a cooling rack on top of that (see below). Carefully place each cinnamon roll on the cooling rack.

Spoon icing over the cinnamon rolls.

I love this icing recipe because it has just a hint of cream cheese AND because you can make as much of it as you want, unlike certain store bought cinnamon rolls that only give you the tiniest bit of icing!

This recipe is adapted from here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!  If you're feeling festive tonight, you should try Ben's margarita recipe!  Unlike the margaritas you find at restaurants, this recipe does not call for tons of syrup.  It has just the right about of lime flavor, but not so much that you can only drink one (which is what we're going for, right?).

Disclaimer: These measurements are by no means precise.  I've mentioned before how Ben just kind of eyes ingredients.  I probably haven't seen him use a measuring cup more than five times, ever.  So with that being said, brace yourself for Ben's version of "measured" ingredients.

lime margarita mix
crushed ice
tequila (he used silver)
triple sec

Fill the blender 3/4 full with crushed ice (this is important, because crushed ice is easier to blend, thus leaving fewer large chunks in your margarita).  Carefully blend the ice in the blender.  Use a large spoon to stir the ice around to make sure everything gets blended nicely.  Pour the margarita mix in the blender for 10-12 seconds (with the restrictor cap on the mix).  Pour the tequila for 4 seconds (without the restrictor cap).  Add 1 generous pour of triple sec.  Turn the blender to liquefy and let it blend for about 10 second.  Turn the blender off.  Stir the margarita around with the large spoon and add more crushed ice if needed (about a cup).  Turn the blender on again for a couple of seconds.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  (For Ben that means adding a touch more tequila).

So there you have it.  Those are Ben's measurements.  I tried to translate it into normal, everyday measurements, but that was just impossible.

*I highlighted the restictor caps on the margarita mix and the tequila because the flow of liquid varies greatly whether or not the cap is on, so be careful!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

In honor of the Kentucky Derby, Ben and I made a chocolate bourbon pecan pie this weekend.  Yummy!  AND I found out that this pie tastes even better after it has been refrigerated overnight.  As overwhelming as pecan pies may seem to be, this recipe breaks it down nicely, plus if you use store bought pie crust (shhh don't tell) it means prep time only takes about 15 minutes!

1 9" premade pie crust
3/4 cup chocolate morsels
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup bourbon (or water)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons cornmeal
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.  Place pre-made pie crust in a glass pie dish.  Sprinkle chocolate morsels and chopped pecans in the bottom of the crust (see picture below).  In a saucepan, mix corn syrup, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and bourbon or water and boil for 3 minutes - stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, butter, cornmeal, vanilla, and salt.  Gradually mix 1/4 of the hot mixture in the egg mixture, whisking constantly.  Continue until all of the hot mixture is incorporated into the egg mixture.  Pour over the crust (see second picture below).  Bake for 55 minutes.  

The recipe I was using didn't call for extra pecans on top, but it makes it look so much better, so 35 minutes into the baking I took the pie out and arranged some pecans on top, then continued baking for 20 more minutes.  If you think the pecans are burning you can place some foil over the pie.

*You'll noticed that I cut back on some of the ingredients compared to Southern Living's recipe, because the pie crust could not hold everything.  But if you got a 10" crust you could probably use the same measurements as the recipe.

This recipe is adapted from Southern Living.