Monday, August 3, 2015

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad for SRC

I may have posted about this once or twice before, well, OK, about 31 times so far, sheesh, can't  believe I've made over 30 posts about the great recipes I've found because I'm a member of the Secret Recipe Club.

There are four groups, A, B, C, and D.  Once a month we are assigned a blog to make a recipe from, and then we share our efforts on our assigned day.  I'm a member of group A now, which means my 'reveal day' is the first Monday of the month.   And you can't tell anyone who your assigned blog is until 'REVEAL DAY', which can be really hard. sigh.  Cause when I make something I really like I want to shout it out to the world, or at least blog about it.
I used to be in Group B, and had the same problem with it as I do now.  That Monday keeps sneaking up on me.
But I was prepared.   I had it under control, I'd actually picked out a few recipes, and made a couple.

My assigned blog this month was  Food Ramblings.   Elizabeth has a bunch of great recipes on her blog and not only cooks, she also knits.  Hey, I have a couple of things in common with her, I cook and knit as well.  But I don't do patterns, just scarves, lots and lots of scarves.   And she's expecting a baby in a few months as well.  She's busy.   And will be getting even busier.

I was torn this month.   I've been trying to eat cleaner, or at least trying to incorporate more good food into my diet. So this recipe really appealed to me.  I love Black Beans and Quinoa is a fun grain to play with and um, putting both of them together in a dish, sheer bliss.  And I happen to like the other ingredients as well.    Onions and peppers and tomatoes, what's not to like?  I did switch it up a little.  I didn't use a fresh red pepper, the price for it was too outrageous, $4.99/lb, I mean really?  But I did have one in the freezer which I'd bought and frozen a few weeks ago.   And I used a couple of fresh tomatoes chopped up instead of the canned ones, but that was for convenience sake and because I forgot I used up the last canned tomatoes in the spaghetti sauce I just made.

I also made the Sausage Pinwheels, but I'll blog about them later on.

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa (either the red or white, cooked according to the package directions)
1/4 cup Coconut Oil (the original recipe called for vegetable oil)
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Chili Powder
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. Lime Juice
1 tsp. Sea Salt (I cut the salt in half, and then added the full amount after tasting the salad)
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper ( or a little more if you like the heat)
1/2 cup frozen peppers and onions, thawed
1 15 oz. can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1 Red Bell Pepper, roughly chopped (I used a frozen one I had in the freezer)
1 can Diced Tomatoes, drained  (I used 3 tomatoes I had sitting on the counter)
1/3 cup Cilantro, chopped (I ended up using some dried Cilantro cause the swallowtail butterfly caterpillars had eaten mine, darn bugs).

Cook Quinoa according to package directions.  While it is cooking, whisk together the oil, spices and lime juice.

Set aside.
  When the Quinoa is done,
fold in the peppers and tomatoes and pour the dressing over it all.  Mix well, and either serve warm or refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.
This goes very well with Beef or Chicken or just by itself.
I will say, I like a little heat, so I would add a chopped jalapeno next time I make it. And maybe a slightly different profile of spices because the coconut oil was rather pronounced.
I also wanted to give a shout out to Quinoa here.  This is such a great 'grain', it cooks up so easily and multiplies in size before your eyes.
Uncooked on the left and cooked on the right.   I love this stuff.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Roast Turkey and Meatball Stroganoff for Senior Lunch

I think I'm still trying to recover from last week.
We served Roast Turkey and all the fixin's for our Thursday Lunch.   I get carried away sometimes, and in fact, should have been carried away last week.
I got into the center just about 5:30 am, and got the Turkeys prepped and in the oven by 6 am.
Yes, I did say 6 am.
We serve lunch at noon, and I needed them to be ready.   I then peeled and baked 10 pounds of sweet potatoes, and luckily for me, Lisa mashed them and made a lovely Sweet Potato Casserole when she came in.  We also peeled a lot of potatoes, mashed them.
I made a Green Bean Casserole, along with Cornbread Stuffing and a Bread Stuffing.  Jon made the gravy and, before I forget, I also made some No-Knead Dinner Rolls.   I'll tell you about them in a later post.  They were so simple and so good.
Lisa made Pumpkin Pies and some Dutch Apple Pies, and we also had a donated Pumpkin Pie so we were all set for that.

But this week I wasn't as ambitious.   I made some Meatball Stroganoff, along with some salad and Harvard Beets.   Lisa made Carrot Cake and Chocolate Chip cookies for dessert.
See the pretty plates the meals are on?  They were donated by Doris, who generously bakes us a cake to raffle off each week.   This week she made some Bread Pudding and Miss Merle also made a Carrot Cake for the raffle.

And I made a few Danish Pastries for the kitchen crew.  I made the dough at home and brought it with me to finish it off there.   And then promised I would make some for dessert in a couple of weeks.  
I swear I look for any excuse to bake.  And this recipe is so good. And not that hard to make either. But don't tell anyone, I want them to think I slaved over the oven for hours.

Coming up over the next few weeks, Baked 'Fried' Chicken, Stuffed Peppers, Pork Roast and Fish.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sticky Wings #5 with Crosse and Blackwell Chutneys

In my quest for the perfect wings, I've made and enjoyed a lot of sauces, but this one has come closest to that elusive sweet/hot flavour that I've been craving.

I love wings, and will eat just about any kind I can get my hands on.   Hot, mild or sweet, they're all good.

But this past weekend, well, I was really conflicted as to whether or not I wanted to share the wings I made with my guests.

I'd sampled a few before everyone got there, and I almost hate to admit it, but I think I could have eaten most of it.

The sauce was that good.   And luckily for me, I made notes as I was making it.
Just so I could share the how to's here.
And I want to recreate it again.
I'm actually thinking this might make a great glaze on pork as well.  Or how about putting it on pancakes or, I'm getting so many ideas here.
Nothing like having lots of options/ideas.

But before I go any further...
Sauce Recipe:  Makes enough for 4 lbs. of Chicken Wings
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes

1 jar Crosse and Blackwell Major Grey's Chutney  (9 oz).
1 jar Crosse and Blackwell Hot Mango Chutney   (9 oz).
1/2 jar Pineapple Preserves, about 6 oz.
1/2 cup Black Currant Preserves
1/2-1 cup Flaked Coconut
1-2 tablespoons Sesame Seed Oil
2-3 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar

Mix all together into a pot and bring to a boil.   Taste and add more Sesame Seed oil or Rice Wine Vinegar if needed for your taste.   The Rice Wine Vinegar helps to cut the sweetness a little.  Set aside.

Place a single layer of Chicken Wings, drums and flats, on a greased rimmed baking pan.   Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, turn wings over, bake an additional 15 minutes.  Pour off any 'chicken juice' that has accumulated, use it in a stock later on.  Turn the wings again.  Turn oven down to 325 degrees.   Baste the wings with the sauce.   Bake an additional 20 minutes, turn the wings, baste again with the sauce, be generous here.  Bake 20 minutes, turn, baste again and continue to bake for another half hour or until the wings are nicely browned.   They will be tender and falling apart by this time.   Serve with the additional sauce if you like or reserve it for later.
They will have become nice and brown and gooey.  Just make sure you serve with lots of wet wipes or napkins.
Please trust me on this, but you can also lick your fingers as well.
Just sayin...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tapas Night for July.

Another night, another Tapas Night done.  
We had a bit of a crowd last night, which is all good.  Mainly because we had a lot of great food. 

There was everything from ribs to smoked amberjack to pizza.  
I could also say there was everything from eggs to chickens.

From the top... 

and in sort of a peculiar order.

I managed to snag a taste and they were so good.

Smoked Amberjack, caught and smoked by Leon.

 I was going to say that Amberjack is now my favourite smoked fish, but that would be a lie, I don't think I can pick a favourite, I like most of them. 
Smoked fish, that is. 

This was very good. 

We have a new pizza joint in town, and this was a good representation from it.  Or so I'm told, I took the picture, and by the time I got back to sample some.   It was gone.

We also had a good representation of eggs...
 I got to taste some of these.

They sure tasted better than my picture of them. 
And I've had this kind before, they have cumin and pepper inside and are yummy.

I did say chicken, didn't I?

I made some Sticky Wings, (one of the guests named them)  I'll be sharing the recipe soon. 
Cause the sauce, OMG, was so good.  

And I didn't dislocate my arm patting myself on the back either.  

Now for the rest of the offerings...
 Cheese and crackers, always a popular choice.
 I had a very ripe Brie in the fridge and put it out alongside some of my Seeded Crackers.  
I added some Black Sesame seeds to the crackers this time round, but can't say they added that much to the crackers.
 I also made some of my No-Knead Bread, cause I like to make bread, and most people seem to like eating it as well. 
I know that, cause there's never any left over.

I guess I need to get the mixer out again.  
There was some lovely ripe Avocado slices, I love it when we can get something like that.   I forgot to ask where these were purchased, cause they were perfectly ripe.
 Wings, see there was more chicken...

Love these things.
 Susie called this a Chicken Etouffe dish, and it was very tasty.  

 And then there was this gorgeous fruit salad.
We now have a farmers market fairly close by, twice a month and they said they got all the ingredients there. 

 I made some No-Knead Rye bread to go with some Pickled Herring I had in the fridge.

Guess what I'm having for breakfast? 
Yup, Pickled Herring and Rye Bread.  

Just can't get the Dane out of this girl.
 And for a dish that was totally unique and really tasty, a Tomato Cobbler.  

I noticed people going for seconds on this one.  
And it was so good.  I would have gone for more, but it was gone by the time I got back to it.

I will be getting the recipe from Gail, soon.  
 A Caprese Salad,  or at least that's what I call it.

What is there about Mozzarella, tomatoes and basil all together?  
And I really don't care  for the taste of Basil, except for this combo.
 I got a shot of the Pineapple, but not the Santa toothpick holder.  

You knew there was going to be Pineapple didn't you? 
 There were also these Croquettes.   I do love a good Croquette.  And these had a lovely bite to them.
 Just one shot of the table. 
 I managed to snag a taste of the Brussel Sprouts on this platter.   I used to hate the taste of Brussel Sprouts, but have gotten to be fonder of them as I got older.  Of course, when you roast them, they become sweet and really tasty.  
 This was a great chopped chicken and egg salad.   I did get a quick taste of it.  

 And this bean salad was wonderful.  But then again, I love beans,and pretty much any combo works for me.
 Potato Salad with Home Made Mayonnaise.  

Need I say more?

Something about that is just so right.
I also put out some cold cuts in case anyone wanted them to put on some of the home made bread. 

We did have dessert as well.

I think there was a theme going on, cause every one had chocolate.

There were some mini cupcakes, the perfect size.

I love the mini ones, they are so easy to just pop into the mouth.   
 This was a lousy picture, sorry.  But the layers of chocolate and cream and cake, so good.
And then there was this pie, which did not last long at all.  


There you have it, another Tapas Night and more food than you can shake a stick at. 
Although I don't know why you would want to.

I need to go wash some wine glasses and think about some of the great conversations I had last night and start planning for Tapas next month.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Danish Pastry - Snegle (Snails)

I think, no, I know I'm in trouble now.
I love those wonderful, buttery bakery items known as Danishes, collectively, that is.
You might know them as Cheese Danishes or Cherry Cheese Danishes or Lemon Danishes or ...

I made some Cherry Cheese and plain Cheese Danishes the other day, but then I decided that I also wanted some Snegle as well.
Snails in another word.

These beat the best Cinnamon Rolls I've ever had.    And I love Cinnamon Rolls, but, from now on, I'm making these as a treat every so often, like, oh, every week?
Just kidding, but now that I'm conquering laminated dough, I know I'll have to make them from time to time.

Next week?  I think so.  

I took half of the laminated dough I made, spread some cinnamon butter on it,
folded it in half

then cut them in slices,

rolled them up and baked them.  After letting them proof for about 1/2 an hour.  They do need to relax a little after the strenuous workout you just gave them.

When I was finished, I draped them with a confectionary sugar glaze,

 and after sampling a couple, I went around with a sugar glaze in my eyes.

They were really hard to keep from eating, and eating and eating.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (or to taste, you might like more cinnamon than I do)

Roll out half the laminated Danish dough, to about 16 x18 inches.  Not too thin, but not thick either.
Spread the filling over half the dough and then fold over.  Press down a little, then slice into equal slices.
Mine were just over 1 inch wide.  Place in a round cake tin lined with parchment paper or a well greased tin.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes.   Glaze while still warm with a mixture of confectionary sugar and milk, just til it's spreading or dripping consistency. 
 Yield 15 snails.

1 cup Confectioners sugar
3 teaspoons milk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla or Lemon Extract
Mix together until it's about as thick as a thick gravy or thin pudding.