Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Root Beer Baked Beans with Bacon

Hello Friends! Today, I am sharing a very simple recipe for one of the tastiest beans I've ever made.

I almost didn't post this recipe, because I didn't take pictures of the cooking process, and only two quick shots of the finished recipe.  I made these beans as a side dish when I made Jamaican Jerk Chicken, for the second time-- it's that good!

It's funny, but root beer isn't my favorite beverage of choice, unless you serve it in a frosty mug with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream.   With this recipe, root beer is deglazed just enough to give a sweet and savory flavor to these beans.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Italian Style Sloppy Joe's - Another Manly Dinner

The men in my life (aka: my husband and adult son) are so easy to please, when it comes to what I cook for them. They lovingly express their appreciation for my culinary achievements with more "sophisticated" fare, such as "Osso Bucco" or classic "Beef Bourguignon with homemade egg noodles".

Yet, one of their favorite recipes that I still make for them is "Sloppy Joe's".   It's certainly not fancy, but it's comfort food that never fails to please them. There's something about ground beef, tomato paste, tomato sauce, bell pepper, onion-- and a few other goodies-- served atop a hamburger bun that they sink their teeth into with gusto.  While my son no longer lives here, officially, he is a frequent guest for meals-- and I'm absolutely fine with that. 

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bavarian Zwetschgendatschi – German Plum Sheet Cake (Tart) Recipe

That's a mouthful of a recipe name, isn't it? "TCH-VENCHKEN-DATCHI" is as close as I can get to teaching non-Bavarians how to say that word. German Plum tart is probably a lot easier to remember.

My Bavarian Mutti made this dessert for as long as I can remember.  This dessert is as traditional to Bavarians as apple pie is to Americans.  To keep things authentic, I wait until August-- when I call my local produce store and ask "do you have Italian prunes in stock"?  I hold my breath-- and I feel a sense of joy when the answer is "yes".  

Italian plum/prunes have a very short season-- pretty much between August and September.  Last year, I waited too long, and there were none to be found.   

This year, I got really lucky!  Craig and I drove 90 minutes to Los Altos Hills to visit my Bavarian cousin.  Her Italian plum tree was full of ripe fruit-- ready for the picking!  (The pink ribbons is an effort to keep her  neighborhood squirrels from stealing her fruit.)

She generously filled a big bag full of those precious fall fruits, so I could go home and make my own Zwetschgendatschi.

These two "cousins" (left and right of me) are 100% authentic Bavarians and haven't lost their spunk being 95 and 80, respectively! They are very active ladies, with a hilarious zest for life.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Jamaican-Style Jerk Chicken and Citrus Mashed Plantains

Summertime is when my cast-iron Dutch Oven is lovingly tucked away into my kitchen cupboard, until the summer temps start to drop. That's when our Weber grill has it's winter cover removed, is given a gentle wash up and is made ready to prepare grilled recipes.  Heaven!

We own a gas grill, and it has its own merits. It's perfect for when you want to grill a quick burger or chicken kebabs. However, when it comes to flavor-- to us, nothing beats the flavor of charcoal and/or wood chips.

Wait.  I take that back--just a little. The very best barbecue, in our opinion, is with a fire pit and real wood. But, that's for the reaaaaaaaaaaally serious pit-masters. So, we have been working on learning ways to work with charcoal and wood chips to make our faves--like brisket, and baby back ribs, to name a few.

I've never had Jerk Chicken, and I have been missing out!  Jerk Spice originates from Jamaica. Meat is marinaded with a blend of spices-- always including allspice, and habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers.  I like a leeeetle bit of spice and heat to my food, but I'm pretty wimpy when it comes to turning up the scoville range of peppers. So, with this recipe, I used jalapeño peppers.  There are plenty of other goodies that I tossed into the blender-- cinnamon, cumin, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, ginger.... maybe not exactly a 100% authentic version you'd find on Jamaica-- but it is absolutely delicious! 

My Vitamix whirred all the ingredients into a thick, brownish marinade.  I bought three organic chickens and asked my butcher to quarter them-- which he gladly did.  After placing the chicken into a large gallon-sized zip-loc bag, I poured the marinade over it and gently mixed it all up-- then placed it in the refrigerator overnight.  I let the chicken come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before starting to grill.

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