Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Pumpkin Amaretto Bisque with Blue Cheese Honey Crostini

Here in Texas, we are officially in the stage of watching everyone else on Facebook and Instagram enjoy the beginning of Fall, pumpkin spice everything and breaking out the scarves and cute boots while we continue to roast daily. So, even though it's in the high 90's and the humidity is out of control, The Home Town Cook’n Recipe Contest is gearing up for the holidays and they're looking for the best dishes to serve on Thanksgiving. I thought highlighting pumpkin in a savory way and adding a healthy amount of booze would brighten up the holidays even if Mother Nature decides not to cooperate in my neck of the woods. 
Using canned pumpkin makes throwing this soup together quick and easy. I pureed mine in my Vitamix for an ultra velvety finish and the sweet and salty crostini are the perfect crunchy dippers!
3 Tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 ½ teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup Amaretto liqueur
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups pure pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
12 (1/4 inch thick) slices baguette
3 ounces blue cheese
2 Tablespoons honey
½ cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Pour in the Amaretto and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow to simmer until Amaretto is reduced by half.
Add the stock, pumpkin puree and nutmeg. Simmer, over low heat for 15 minutes.
While the soup simmers, place the baguette slices in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Place the bread in the oven and toast for 10-12 minutes, flipping them over halfway through. Spread the blue cheese evenly over the crostini and return to the oven for 3 minutes, or until the cheese is warm and melty. Remove from the oven and drizzle with honey.
Turn off the heat, remove the thyme stems and stir the cream into the soup. Using an immersion blender or Vitamix, puree until smooth. Serve immediately with warm crostini.
Serves 6

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sensational S'mores

Recently I took part in a S'mores contest on Instagram put on by The Feed Feed and Ghirardelli. To say that my kids were thrilled is a huge understatement! I was so honored to have been chosen as a finalist in their contest. I didn't win, but my kids sure felt like they did!
Here are my entries:
This one was my absolute favorite! I picked up an apple fritter from the bakery, sliced it in half and warmed it up. Sandwich it with a Caramel Chocolate square and a roasted marshmallow and you will be in ooey-goooey caramel apple fritter heaven!
I called this one The Crispy Camper. I used crispy granola bars in place of graham crackers and used the caramel chocolate squares. This might be the only thing I like about camping....
On the first day of school I had this fun treat waiting for the kids after picking them up. I made Funfetti Blondies and then sandwiched it with dark chocolate squares and roasted marshmallows. Throw some more sprinkles on top and you'll be party ready! 
This is the one that was picked as a finalist entry. My son LOVES all things coconut and I was thinking about the Girl Scout Samoa cookies when I came up with this one. I made coconut macaroons and paired them with chocolate caramel squares and toasted giant marshmallows. This was so rich and so decadent and totally stretchy pants worthy!
It is always fun to be featured on a company's Insta feed
Are you following me on instagram yet? Please do -here's the link. 
Spoiler alert: my entire feed is food and Beignet ;)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sandwich Bros Southwest Strattas

My second entry for The Sandwich Bros recipe contest was actually my favorite. I took their breakfast pita pockets, chopped them up and added them to a mix of eggs, cheese and green chiles. My inspiration was chile rellenos and I loved how quick and easy they were to make!
If you're pressed for time, you could mix these up the night before and then bake them the next day!

Sandwich Bros Southwest Strattas
3 large eggs
¾ cup milk
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 (7oz) can diced green chiles, drained well
½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 package Sandwich Bros Sausage and Cheese Pocket Sandwiches

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 4 ramekins with non-stick cooking spray and place on a large cookie sheet.
Whisk the eggs, milk, garlic salt, green chiles and pepper jack cheese together in a large mixing bowl.

Prepare the pocket sandwiches per box instructions. Cut into 1 inch cubes and gently stir into the egg mixture. Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Serve immediately. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Sandwich Bros Breakfast Nachos

Goodness gracious I'm so glad it's Friday! Am I the only one that feels like this was the longest week in existence?! To celebrate let's have nachos for breakfast. 
My love for Tex- Mex runs deep and when I saw Sandwich Bros breakfast pita pockets I knew I could give them a southwest spin. These nachos are so quick and easy to make and my kids actually have requested them three times since I made them!
Apparently the judges enjoyed them as well:
"Thank you for participating in the Sandwich Bros. Really Tasty Recipe Contest and congratulations! Your recipe “Sandwich Bros. Breakfast Nachos” was selected as a SANDWICH BROS. Really Tasty Recipe Contest Honorable Mention. 

As an Honorable Mention, you’ve won a Sandwich Bros. Prize Pack (water bottle, bag, t-shirt, nail decals and 52 FREE product coupons)."
My kids will be thrilled with the swag! Thanks Sandwich Bros for a fun contest!!
Sandwich Bros Breakfast Nachos
½ cup drained canned black beans
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup diced tomato
¼ cup guacamole
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup sliced green onion

Preheat oven broiler to high. 

Prepare all 4 sandwiches per package instructions. Once heated, cut each into 4 wedges and arrange in a small pie plate. Top with black beans and cheese. Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 

Top with tomato, guacamole, sour cream and green onion. Serve immediately. 

Makes 4 servings.
Also, if you feel inclined my recipe entry for My Mardi Gras Mambo Fried Green Tomatoes with Duck Confit and Duck Bacon Remoulade is up for fan favorite voting and I would love any votes I can get! You can vote once a day through Monday and the winner will receive $350! Thanks so much!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mardi Gras Mambo Fried Green Tomatoes with Duck Confit and Duck Bacon Remoulade

My entry for Maple Leaf Farm's duck contest is up for public voting today to hopefully win the People's Choice award- $350!!
Here's the link to vote if you'd like to help me out. It's a quick and easy vote once a day until Monday the 18th at noon:
This is the first year I tried my hand at this contest and I'm kicking myself that I never entered it before. I was intimidated at first, since although I love duck and will order it at a restaurant, I've never made it at home. Now I am in love with the confit (so easy to use and already fully cooked) and especially the duck bacon (I'd never heard of it before and now I'm in love)! The duck bacon may become a regular freezer staple from now on. The contest called for dishes that highlighted duck for a holiday and naturally, I chose to celebrate Mardi Gras. Fried Green Tomatoes are one of my favorite appetizers and the tangy juicy tomatoes are then topped with the shredded duck confit and a creamy spicy duck bacon remoulade sauce. It's set atop mixed greens, sprinked with chives and even more of the crispy salty crunch crumbled duck bacon. You could serve one as a hearty starter, or give each guest two for a main course.

Mardi Gras Mambo Fried Green Tomatoes with Duck Confit and Duck Bacon Remoulade
 
2 packages Maple Leaf Farms Duck Leg Confit (16 oz each)
5 slices Maple Leaf Farms Duck bacon, chopped finely
4 medium green (unripe) tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon pepper
2 cups buttermilk
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying
1/3 cup mayo
1/3 cup creole or whole grain mustard
1/3 cup ketchup
2 Tablespoons minced shallot
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
3 cups mixed salad greens
2 Tablespoons chopped chives
 
Prepare the duck confit per package instructions using the oven method. Once the confit is warmed through, shred the meat and discard the bones and skin. 

In a cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, cook the bacon until browned and crisp (about 10 minutes). Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon, and allow to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Line a large cookie sheet with paper towels. Sprinkle the tomato slices evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, lay them on the paper towels and let them stand for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, dry thoroughly with paper towels.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cornmeal, bread crumbs, flour, pepper, and the remaining salt. Pour the buttermilk in a shallow dish.

In a large Dutch oven fitted with a deep-fry thermometer, over medium heat, bring the oil up to 350° degrees.

Working in batches dredge the tomato slices, first in buttermilk, then the cornmeal mixture, shaking off any excess. Carefully place tomato slices in hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon, and allow to drain on a wire rack.

Place half (about ¼ cup) of the crisped duck bacon into a small mixing bowl. Add the mayo, mustard, ketchup, shallot, lemon juice and parsley to the bacon and whisk to combine.

To serve lay the greens on the bottom of a large platter. Lay the fried green tomatoes on the greens, top evenly with shredded duck confit and drizzle with duck bacon remoulade. Sprinkle with remaining duck bacon and serve immediately.

Serves 6-8

Serrano Honey Lime Vinaigrette

   Sometimes the best lunches are born when you're cleaning out the pantry! I had less than half of a package left of a quinoa,...