Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIAW 9- Last Post of the Year!

Happy WIAW everybody!  As always thanks to the wonderful Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting this wonderful linkapalooza.

I've been gorging myself this holiday weekend (actually, it's kind of turned into a week long food fest), but unfortunately I didn't manage to snap many photos.  So this week I'm keeping it short and sweet with some of the good eats I did manage to make/photograph/eat.

They are all crazy delicious recipes that you have to try.  If you only make one, please let it be this:

Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Red and Brown Onions

Seriously, I could not get over how amazing these potatoes are.  I had about four cups of leftover mashed potatoes from Christmas dinner, which would have been pretty good on their own.  However, I find that reheated mashed potatoes kind of loose their sparkle, and since I'm one who can't leave well enough alone, I had to jazz them up.  It's so easy, and the results are insanely delicious.  Imagine the savory, salty, oniony goodness with the creamy buttery potatoes.  Make these.  Right now.  

3-4 cups mashed potatoes
1 medium brown onion
1 medium yellow onion
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh thyme
garlic powder
cayenne powder

1.  Peel and cut your onions into half, then slice into thin rainbows, about 1/8 of an inch thick.  In a large skillet melt butter and oil over medium high heat, when hot add the onions and stir to coat evenly.
2.  Add salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste to the onions and let cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes.  Lower the heat and cook an additional 5-10 minutes until thoroughly caramelized.  They will be pretty browned and very soft.
3.  Add the thyme and garlic powder to taste.  I used 3 sprigs and 1/2 tsp.  Next add the potatoes and stir until thoroughly combined.  Allow to cook until heated through. 

Buffalo Chickpea Dip

As a lover of all things 'buffalo' I often find myself faced with the problem of delicious food that is absolutely horrible for me.  For most people this is not an issue because the are sated with the occasional buffalo product at a party or potluck.  I however have to get my fix on a more regular basis.  If you find yourself in the buffalo crazed crowd, then by golly you should give me a medal.... or at least try this spread.


2 cups cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
7-8 tbsp Franks' Red Hot


1.  In a small sauce pan melt the butter and add the blue cheese and hot sauce.  Stir to combine.
2.  In a food processor combine chickpeas and butter mixture.  Puree until smooth and creamy.  Add additional hot sauce if desired, and serve with celery sticks, tortilla chips, etc.

This dip tastes exactly like buffalo chicken dip (a.k.a crack-cocaine of the culinary world), with the smooth creamy texture of a fine hummus.  Give this a try, you won't regret it.

And this boys and girls is where I must end my post.  I've been a bad photographer this week, but I pledge that next year (only a few more days!!) I will make a more valiant effort to document my culinary exploits.

Have a fantastic New Years!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

WIAW 8: Weekend Edition

Hey y'all Happy WIAW!

Seriously though, can we throw some love out to Jen over at Peas and Crayons for hosting this shindig?

This past Saturday/Sunday I had an awesome food weekend (as always).  However, this weekend is different because I managed to take pictures of it all!!!  I usually forget or am so hungry I say 'meh.'

I thought I should commemorate this glorious food documenting  miracle by sharing all of my tasty footage.

Let the Feasting of the eyes begin!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WIAW sept- Un jour imaginaire.

WIAW seven- an imaginary day.

Here's the deal ladies and gents- I've been taking pictures of delicious delights all week, but failed to reign in on just one day.  So instead of posting a mish-mosh of all my eats I've decided to put them all in one imaginary perfectly pigged out day.

So sit back, relax, and feast (with your eyes).  Also give thanks to our Jenn at Peas and Crayons for providing us this most food-filled of days- WIAW.  Oh, and on a more personal level- I'd like to thank everyone who has commented on my posts.  Y'all really know how to make a girl feel special.  Seriously though, it's nice to know people are reading.

Monday, December 12, 2011

You BREAD-er Believe it!

My apologies for the title.  Try as I might I just can't resist corny word play.

As I'm sure you've already deduced (from my insanely clever title) this post is dedicated to bread.

The idea of making bread yourself can lead to a number of reactions: smug (I do that all the time!  I even milled my own flour),  terrified (you let it 'rise'?  like the living dead?), apathetic (meh, that's what Foodtown's for), or curious.

Up until a few weeks ago I found myself in the curious/terrified set.  However I think I've moved into the cautiously optimistic crowd.  That's right kids, that glorious carb fest pictured above I wrought with my own two hands!  In like one hour.  Seriously.   If you'd like this hot bun coming out of your oven then see the recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

WIAW SIX: squash it to me

Today's WIAW is brought to you by squash (more specifically acorn and pumpkin), actually pumpkin might be a gourd (I'm no botanist), but 'gourd it to me' just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Anyway, apologies for being a bum and not posting.  My rhythm got thrown off during Thanksgiving, and I've been struggling to climb out of my pit of laziness ever since.  I assure you though I have been cooking!  and eating!  and I will post all of the back-logged recipes!

For now though you will have to satisfy yourself with some squash-core food porn.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIAW # f-i-v-e: Time Jump

Evening/morning/afternoon ladies and gents.  I apologise for being a bum and not posting any recipes.  I promise!  This weekend!

Welcome to WIAW:  Burned out Edition!

As always, thanks to the lovely Jen at peas and crayons for hosting this shin dig.

I've had a hell of a week since last Wednesday.  I've been temping as a personal assistant this week, and lets just say the first day didn't go to well.  (I spilled coffee in the boss man's lap!  I didn't realise this was possible outside the parameters of some beta-lady chick flick.)

Thankfully it's gone a bit better since then (no spills!), but by the time I get home I'm pooped and just want to stuff my face and watch a Frasier.  Scrambled eggs all over my face, what is a girl to do?

So that brings me to my next point of mediocrity/laziness.  The meals which you are about to witness did not all happen in the same day.  To be quite honest I'm not sure where or when these bad boys happened,  but I do remember that they were all extremely tasty....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIAW IV: This Time It's Personal

Great title right?  (Maybe if this post was a part of a film quadrilogy in which I blow things up.)  Any who, it's WIAW again kids, and this being the fourth post means:  I've been doing WIAW for  a whole MONTH!!!!  Woooo!!!

You see I usually fail at making commitments to personal projects, so this is quite a milestone for me.  I've got to say, it does help to know people read these posts (whilst so many of my others are left out in the cold *tear*).

Enough of my yammering- let's get to the eats!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Pizza and Porridge

Happy Tasty Tuesday everyone!  Be sure to stop by and say thanks to Alissa at 33 shades of green for hosting this awesome blog party.

 I've got two new greenhorn gourmande original recipes for you to sink your teeth into.  More after the jump!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Pie for the Poor

This Saturday I went to the most awesome event EVER!

Picture this boys and girls: free (good!) beer, 25 delicious savory pies, and a really good cause.  What is this gloriousness you ask?  The Brooklyn Kitchen hosted a savory pie contest to benefit the Greenpoint Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry.  Basically people paid a small fee to enter the contest, and even smarter people (->yours truly<-) paid a small fee for the chance to taste these philanthropic pies.

There were about 25 pies in the contest, and I managed to snag pictures (though unfortunately not a taste!) of the ones I found most interesting.

Let the pie porn begin!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Happy hump day everybody!

This WIAW was brought to you by the letter T- for Tuesday.  Yesterday was a pretty good food day.  I managed to have bacon in two out of three meals (the remnants from my baconocalypse), and I ended the day with freshly baked cookies.  What could beat that?

For those of you not in the know, WIAW stands for What I Ate Wednesday, a blog party hosted by Jen over at Peas and Crayons.  Basically you post the pictures and descriptions of what you ate during any given day.

Anyway, here we go!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bacon. Need I say more?

Hey kids, I've just heard about another awesome blog party.  Tasty Tuesday!  I knew I had to join, it shares the moniker of the wonderful day when restaurants would come and sell stuff in my college's student center.  ( I still miss those fucking empanadas.)  Anyway, as far as I can see this party is the celebration of tasty recipes, and boy have I got some for you today.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIAW Part !!

This What I Ate Wednesday is brought to you by Monday.

Generally I hate Mondays, as does this monkey.

I also hate monkeys.....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I've Gone Bannanas for Apples!

As all of my dutiful readers will know (hey Mike), I went apple picking a couple of weeks ago.  The fruit of my labors did not go to waste.  With my apples I made a feast fit for Johnny Apple Seed.  This feast included: applesauce, apple bars, apple butter, and Chicken Normandy.

Sadly the applesauce did not last long enough to get a picture taken, but I assure you it was delicious.  If you're interested I followed this man's recipe pretty closely and it paid some tasty dividends.   The only change I made was to sub water for cider because I was to cheap/poor/lazy to buy it.

Moving on, Apple Bars.  They are way better than apple pie.  Twice as tasty, 10 times more portable, and maybe a little easier to make.  I managed to take a decent photo, so the recipe is included.

Apple butter is a concotion that I had heard a lot about, but had never actually had the opportunity to taste.  Let me just say: Do believe the hype.  It is really worth peeling and chopping the apples for what seems like an eternity.

Last but not least, Chicken Normandy.  If you read my post (Red Red Wine) you would know I have an affinity for cooking with le booze.  Chicken Normandy meets this requirement.  Picture it:  Succulent fried chicken legs braised to perfection in a hard cider cream sauce.  Drool worthy, no?  That's enough words, here are the pictures.

    Apple Bar.  You can find the recipe here.

Apple Butter.  I used this recipe, with a substitution of alspice instead of cloves.  There are a lot of apple butter recipes floating around on foodgawker at the moment, but this one appealed to me because it uses honey instead of sugar.

                                                 Chicken Normandy.
Sadly this photo turned out to be the ugly stepchild of my apple pictures collection.  Do not let the image deceive!  This recipe is fantastic.  I followed it to a T.

This brings us to the end of my apple shenanigans, tune in tomorrow for another enthralling edition of WIAW.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are you a food voyeur?

I most definitely am.  I spend an embarrassing amount of time on foodgawker, so imagine my delight when I discovered What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) over at peas and crayons.  The concept is very simple; write a post photographing what you ate on any given day.  Then every Wednesday there is a "party" post on peas and crayons linking to everyone else's WIAW.

This appeals to me for a number of reasons:
1.  Food porn,
2.  Links to a bunch of really interesting blogs, and
3.  The chance to be a food exhibitionist.

Anyway, without further ado I present my very first WIAW.

Frittata with potato, bacon, orange cherry tomatoes, and banana pepper.  Coffee and water.

Half a Mutsu apple.  Also known as 'King' apple.

Sausage and Lentils with a Garlic Red Wine Sauce (A.K.A last night's dinner.  Recipe avaialble here)


Smoothie: Almond milk, greek yogurt, frozen strawberries, banana, honey, and spinach.


Red Wine Spaghetti (Recipe available here.)

After Dinner Refreshment:

At $2.50 for 4x16 ounces, how could I refuse.  (Not my photo.)

So that was my (last) Wednesday: a boozy hump day celebration.  What did you eat?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Red Red Wine....

Make me forget!!!  No, but seriously.

Make me some fucking amazing food.

As a lover of all things alcoholic (I'm looking at you St. Ides), cooking with booze really appeals to me.  So this past week I made not one but TWO dishes featuring my favorite colored vino, red wine.

Both dishes were delicious, however there was a clear front runner.

Sausage and Lentils with a Garlicky Wine Sauce.  SO GOOD!  I literally licked my plate.  (I know TMI, but seriously- it's plate licking good.)

The other was a beautiful Red Wine Spaghetti.  The spaghetti is cooked in a mixture of water and wine which imparts a beautiful burgundy hue to the pasta, as well as a very unique taste.  This dish was good and I probably will make it again, but only if I ever happen to have leftover wine.  Seriously though, this thing took a whole 750ml bottle which = no remnants to drink.

Anyway, I'll let you be the judge on the alcohol vs. delicious food dilemma.

P.S.  Scroll to the end for a festive surprise.

Not the most beautiful girl at the dance, but boy is she tasty.  (Hmmm.  I may need to rethink my metaphors.)

Lentils and Sausage  (Adapted from Nigella Lawson)
Serves 4


  • 1 tbsp bacon grease  (you can sub. olive oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, small diced
  • 8-10 ounces French lentils ( you can sub. green/brown)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock (aprox.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 Hot Italian sausages
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot heat up your bacon grease.  Add the diced onions and sprinkle with salt and cook until softened.  
  2. Next add the lentils, bay leaf, and enough chicken stock to cover the lentils.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer until tender and most or all of the liquid is absorbed.  Remove bay leaf.  Set aside and keep warm.
  3. In a large pan heat up 1 tbsp olive oil.  When hot add the crushed garlic and cook about a minute until fragrant.  Add the sausages and brown on all sides.
  4. Carefully add the water and wine.  Reduce heat and cover pan.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes until sausages are cooked through.
  5. Remove sausages from pan and place in pot with lentils.  Mash garlic cloves in the liquid and pour over the sausage and lentils.  Mix until sauce is incorporated; salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot with remaining wine.

Wine waster/Great taster

Red Wine Spaghetti  (Slightly adapted from here.)
Serves 4-6


  • 1 750ml bottle dry red wine (I used 2-buck-chuck shiraz)
  • 16 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot pour all but 1/4 cup of the wine.  Add about 2-3 cups of water to have a sufficient amount of boiling liquid.  Bring liquid to a boil and generously salt.  (Be careful this step can cause boil over).  
  2. Add the pasta and cook until just before al dente.  Strain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. In a deep pan heat up the olive oil.  Add the garlic and red pepper; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add the remaining wine and reserved cooking liquid; bring to a simmer.
  4. Place the pasta in the pan and slowly stir until liquid is absorbed.  Toss with the parmesan, sprinkle with black pepper, and serve.

As promised:

UB40 performing Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine."  Enjoy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A week in review

No weekend cooking extravaganza to recap today; this weekend I barely stood in front of the stove.   Instead of holing up in my apartment as my hermit like tendencies usually spur me to do, I actually left my house (gasp!) and went upstate to visit friends and go apple picking.  So this post is merely a summary of the things I cooked this past week.  Well the ones I've managed to take pictures of at any rate.  

On the menu this week there was:

'Korean' Pulled Pork and

Spicy Daikon Salad

I've placed Korean in scare quotes because it's really more Korean inspired than authentico.  However, it was authentically delicious.  Although the meat by itself was a bit dry, the copious amounts of rich, savory, salty broth that was produced more than made up for this.

I want to go to there.

As you can see I served mine over rice.  It would be equally tasty (and twice as portable!) between two toasty buns.

To round off my porky feast I made a daikon salad to go with it.  Although the flavors of the two were pretty similar, I think it added a nice fresh crunch to what otherwise would have been a porkpocalypse.

It looked better in person.  You'll see.  


'Korean' Pulled Pork
  This recipe was inspired by a recipe for Korean beef tacos.

  • 1.5-2lbs pork 
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (low sodium works best)
  • 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1.5 inch ginger grated
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar + 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp Korean pepper powder 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 
  • 1 tbsp gochujong (Korean chili paste)
  • 1/2 onion

  1. Place pork in slow cooker. Large slice the onions and place in slow cooker.
  2.  In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until combined; pour over the pork. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  3.  Remove bones (if you used a cut with bones), and add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper and 1 tsp rice vinegar.

This recipe is super easy and super delicious.  Leaving you with plenty of time to make:

Spicy Daikon Salad

I adapted this recipe from here.  It is simple and delicious, and the tedious task of dicing daikon into miniature matchsticks is well worth your effort.  

My matchsticks are uneven because I have the knife skills of a four year old.

  • 1 lb. Korean daikon cut into 3-4 inch matchsticks 
  • 1 Tbsp salt 
  • 2-4 tsp sugar (to taste) 
  • 2 Tbsp Korean red chili powder 
  • 3 green onions, in 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 large clove garlic minced 
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil 
  • 1 ½ Tbs. rice vinegar 
  • 1 Tbsp gochujang

  1. Toss julienned daikon with 1 Tbs. salt and let sit 5 minutes to draw out the water. Rinse off salt and drain well, squeezing out excess liquid.
  2. Place daikon in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the remaining ingredients over. Toss well, rubbing the seasonings onto each piece.
  3.  Check seasoning and add more salt and chili powder or gochujang to taste. Can keep up to one week, refrigerated.

The hardest (and most annoying) part of this dish is chopping up the raddish. After that it's a cake walk.  Anyway steam up some rice and in three easy steps (x2) you can have a delicious Korean-ish meal.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Weekend Cooking Bonanza!

Now that I'm employed (yeah!)  at a shitty temp job (boo!) I find that I am less inclined to cook during the week.  While I still manage to make meals Monday through Friday, extracurricular baking and such has been relegated to the weekend.

And this weekend I was quite the A+ student.

I made Pumpkin Banana Bread, Roast Chicken with Fennel and Red Potatoes, and Roasted Cauliflower and zucchini Cheddar Soup.  All three were AMAzING, but I have to say the soup was probably my favorite.  It's one I made last fall, and it was as good as I remembered!  Anyway that's enough of my idle ramblings, here are the recipes and some tantalizing food porn.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Makes 2 9x5x3 loaves

  •   1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 13/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup mashed banana
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and lightly flour two 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs until lightly beaten and add sugar and mix until blended.
4. Add pumpkin puree, water, and vanilla extract and mix together with the egg/sugar mixture.
5. Add banana and melted butter.
6. Add the dry ingredients (in #2) and stir until the ingredients are combined - do not over mix.
8. Bake for 55-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean and dry.
9. When you remove the loaf pan from the oven, let the pumpkin bread cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
I culled this recipe from several Pumpkin bread recipes.  I knew I wanted to make a Pumpkin-Banana bread, so I just substituted Banana for oil.  This loaf is delicately sweet and incredibly moist.  I usually pop a slice in the toaster oven for a few minutes and then give it a healthy smear of cream cheese.  Next time I make it I think I'll add some walnuts or mini chocolate chips.  

    Roast Chicken with Fennel and Red Potatoes

  • 1 (3 to 4 lbs) roasting chicken
  • 2 fennel bulbs, top removed and sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 4 medium or 2 large red potatoes cut into 1in chunks
  • 1 bulb garlic, peeled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Remove giblets and excessive fat from chicken. Rinse chicken including the inside. Pat dry the outside. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside and outside of the chicken.   
  3. Place the bird in a medium sized baking dish.  Stuff the lemon in the cavity.
  4. Place sliced fennel bulb, potatoes, and garlic in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Arrange the vegetables around the bird in the pan. 
  6. Roast for approximately 1½ hours or until the juices run clear from an incision at the juncture of the leg to the body. Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

This recipe was inspired by Ina Garten's roast chicken from her Barefoot Contessa cookbook.  The chicken came out moist and flavorful.  It's really amazing what a little salt and pepper can do.  

Roasted Cauliflower and Zucchini Cheddar Soup


  •   1 head of Cauliflower (chopped up into medium sized pieces)
  • 1 medium sized zucchini (cut into medallions)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 28 ounces of  low sodium chicken Broth
  • 1 shallot medium diced
  •   1/2 a small onion medium diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic small diced
  •   3 strips of bacon
  • 2 cups of white cheddar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. On a cookie sheet, place the chopped up cauliflower and zucchini, drizzle with olive oil and top with the sea salt and course ground pepper. Place into the over for 30-40 minutes or until the cauliflower is easily pierced with a paring knife.
  2. Fry the strips of bacon until crisp, reserving about a tbsp of the grease.
  3. In a large dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot reheat the reserved bacon grease.  Add the shallot and onion and saute until lightly browned and fragrant.  Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  To this add the chicken broth and crumbled bacon strips.  Bring to a boil.  Once the cauliflower and zucchini are done add them to the broth; cover and simmer for another 15 minutes.  Next turn off the heat and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.  Once cooled blend using an immersion blender until smooth and creamy.  
  4. Return the soup to a low heat and gradually stir in the cheddar cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste.
This soup is so good!  The cauliflower takes on a slightly nutty taste from the roasting, and the cheddar cheese ( I used extra sharp) makes it incredibly creamy and savory.  Although the zucchini doesn't play a pivotal role in the flavor profile of the soup, it adds lovely viridescent specks  to what would otherwise be a rather bland looking pottage.  Seriously though, you need to make this soup.  Like right now.  For reals.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homemade Baked Beans with Molasses and Bacon

As an aspiring foodie, I'm constantly trying to expand my food horizons.  One such recent venture has been into the land of dried beans.  Yes, I've been tackling those familiar yet mysterious pebbles found in the bulk food section.  The verdict?

Dried beans are awesome!  They are inexpensive, nutritious, and with a little forethought- very easy to prepare.  Oh, and RIDICULOUSLY delicious.  So for those of you who have been thinking about making the plunge, this recipe is a great way to dive into the world of dried beans.

So good!

This recipe combines the smokey goodness of apple wood smoked bacon with the deep savory-sweetness of molasses (along with a healthy dose of organic ketchup).  There are three major steps to this dish: an overnight soak in the fridge, a 2-3 hour simmer, and finally a 1 hour bake.  Obviously you could do all of these steps in one day (i.e. wake at the crack of dawn to put the beans to soak, boil in the mid-afternoon, and bake in the evening), however I am not an early riser, so I did the soak the evening before I wanted to eat the beans.  At any rate, this recipe is relatively simple and so delicious that you won't think anything of the minimal effort put into the extra steps.  Enjoy!

Homemade Baked Beans with Molasses and Bacon

Serves 10-12

1 1b Great Northern beans (Navy are traditional, but I prefer a larger bean.)
2 large yellow onions
1 medium carrot
1 medium stalk of celery
3 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
4 slices apple wood smoked bacon
1.5 cups ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1 tbsp each cider and balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1.  Sort and rinse the beans.  Place in a large bowl and cover with about two inches of water.   Cover bowl with wrap and place in fridge overnight.

2.  In the morning small dice the onion, carrot, and celery.  In a large pot or dutch oven heat the oil and add the vegetables.  When softened add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Now add the beans and enough water to cover them by about two inches.   Add the bay leaf. (Note:  You can either add the beans with or without the soaking liquids.  Keeping the liquid means keeping the minerals and vitamins in the water, however some say that draining the liquid can help prevent some of beans' infamous side effects.)  Bring the mix to a boil for five minutes, and then simmer 2-3 hours partially covered until beans are tender, making sure that they don't dry out.  Drain and refrigerate beans until ready to use.

3.  Preheat the oven to 325.  In a large dutch oven fry the bacon.  While the bacon is cooking dice the remaining onion and mince the remaining garlic.  When browned, remove the bacon and cook the onions in the remaining bacon grease.  Once softened add the garlic and ginger powder and cook for another minute.  Next add all of the remaining ingredients into the pot and stir with the crumbled bacon.  Once thoroughly mixed, place in the oven and bake for approximately one hour.

Serve as a traditional side to BBQ fare, or eat by themselves (they're that good!).

Sunday, September 25, 2011

First Post and Salutations!

Hello food blogging community!  Welcome to my first post: Butternut Squash with Bacon Mac and Cheese!

I think this particular recipe is appropriate for the occasion.  As my title would suggest, I'm relatively new to the food scene.  I began cooking in about the last year or so, when I was booted off the student meal plan.  Since then I've made some really good (and bad!) food.

Anyway, this is my first time preparing butternut squash (although I have dealt with some of it's cousins), making it an ideal first time.

I decided upon this recipe after browsing the internets for various versions of the dish.  In my opinion this one is very good, however, I think next time I'll make a few adjustments by the way of increasing the amount of cheese sauce.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash with Bacon Mac and Cheese

1 small- medium butternut squash
1 tbsp olive oil
6 strips of bacon
1 medium yellow onion
16 ounces whole wheat penne (you could really use whatever you want)
2 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup flour
6 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
1/4-1/2 tsp onion powder

1.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Peel and chop your butternut squash into approximately 1/2 inch cubes.  Remember, pretty pieces = even cooking!  Next, toss the squash with the tbsp of oil and then salt and pepper and move to a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes.

2.  While the squash is roasting, cook your bacon until crisp and small dice the onion. Remove bacon and grease from pan, leaving approx. 1 tbsp of grease behind.  In the remaining grease saute the onion until softened, seasoning with s&p and a dash of cayenne.

3.  Boil salted water and cook penne until al dente.

4.  In a small sauce pan off heat, slowly mix the flour and milk.  I usually start out with about a tbsp of flour and a fourth of a cup of milk, adding more as the flour is dissolved.  When the flour and milk are well mixed turn on the heat, and let simmer until thickened.  Remove sauce from heat and slowly mix in the cheddar cheese.  Once the cheese is well incorporated, give it a taste and season with s&p, cayenne, and onion powder.  The onion powder may seem like an odd choice, but it really intensifies the cheesiness of the sauce.

5.  Once the squash is done roasting, remove from baking sheet.  Turn the oven up to 450.  Toss together with the penne, bacon (crumbled into pieces), and onions.  Pour into a 13x9 casserole and spread evenly.  Pour cheese sauce over and mix until well combined.  Sprinkle mixture of parmesan and panko over the top.  Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4-6.
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