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How to make homemade butter (recipe!)

Homemade butter

This weekend we purchased a KitchenAid Professional 5 mixer. I have wanted one of these mixers for years, but they're expensive and I didn’t want to spend the money. As it turns out, we purchased this used on Craigslist for $130 (which excites me enough to add it to this post.) It was originally listed for $200 (and retails for over $400,) and I'm very proud to have negotiated (with some assistance) to the final price.

After we got the mixer and brought it home, we felt like we needed to immediately start using it due to the excitement. However, we needed to do some shopping and didn't have a lot of time right then. I remembered that we had some heavy cream in the refrigerator that Andru purchased for our coffee. We normally follow a Paleo diet and this cream, from grass fed cows, is an acceptable part of the program. That said, this month I'm following the Whole30 program, and that doesn't allow any dairy except butter from grass fed cows. I knew butter that butter is made by churning cream, but I thought for sure there was more to it than that.

Click to continue reading How to make homemade butter (recipe!)


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Coconut Cardamom Rice Pudding Recipe

coconut cardamom rice pudding recipe

I'm an absolute sucker for rice pudding, mostly because I've found it to always be pretty delicious, regardless of the source. Whether it's something ordered at a New York diner, an Indian restaurant, or bought at the supermarket in a Kozy Shack plastic tub, if I see it as an option, I'm usually getting it. This rice pudding recipe is adapted from Monica Bhide, who suggests serving it with fresh mango. While that is good, the recipe does stand up on its own as well, as the coconut and cardamom bring something nice and different to the table, without changing the overall goodness.

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Contest: MUG Root Beer Giveaway

MUG root beer fathers day giveaway
We’re less than a week out from Father’s day, and I can smell the charcoal already. While some may head out to a nice steakhouse for a special dinner for Dad, tons of us will be gathered around a grill doing it ourselves. My friends at Mug Root Beer want to help make all of this summer’s BBQs a culinary triumph for you.

From today until Sunday at 8:00 PM Eastern, comment on this entry about your most memorable “Dad” moment. Did your dad show up to the aforementioned steakhouse in a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops? Maybe your friend’s dad stepped in to save the day when a road trip went bad, or your uncle’s BBQ went up in a blaze of meat glory. I want to hear about it! I’ll be choosing five of the most memorable BBQ stories that you all share and the winners will each receive a prize pack, containing the fantastic recipe for MUG Root Beer Southern Specialty Brew-B-Q sauce (and the sauce is awesome - I was given a copy of the recipe and made some last night) and all of the ingredients to boot, in an insulated MUG bag with a MUG apron.

Lay’em on me guys - I want to hear your Dad stories!


Quick Palmiers Recipe

palmiers

File these under “Super Easy, Still Impressive” - palmiers (light, sweet puff pastry cookies) are criminally cinchy to make and an impressive and tasty way to end a meal on a high (and not too heavy) note. I love to eat these with chocolate sauce or whipped cream, and every once in a while I get a little crazy and add some cinnamon to the sugar.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425.

Sprinkle half of the sugar on a cutting board. Unfold the puff pastry and press it down into the sugar. Sprinkle the other half of the sugar on top of the puff pastry and spread it around with your fingers, brushing off the sugar that doesn’t stick to the pastry.

Fold the sides of the puff pastry in to the center. Fold the pastry again so there are four layers. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry across the short side into 1 inch slices. For the best results cut straight down, not back-and-forth like with bread or steak.

The very best baking results will be achieved using a silicone baking mat like a Silpat, but parchment paper will work in a pinch. To bake, take the sliced pieces and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Unfold them slightly and twist the edges down, so that the cookies make a V (this part is not the easiest thing to explain, I know - basically you’ll have one end standing up on the cut side, and it will be the point on the V that’s formed with the two ends lying flat on the the non-cut side). Bake until the tops are slightly golden (about 7 minutes) and remove from the oven. Flip them over and put back in the oven another 4 or 5 minutes or so - until the tops and sides are nicely browed and the sugar has caramelized. Remove and let cool, then eat!


Recipe: Chicken Souvlaki Salad with Dressing

Chicken Souvlaki salad recipe

At home one night with plenty of nicely marinated chicken but no pita to be found, I had an epiphany - if souvlaki is basically an undressed Greek salad with chicken on a pita, why couldn’t I eat it as a DRESSED Greek salad with chicken without a pita? And thus my new summer standby meal was born - the chicken souvlaki salad. This recipe will feed two very well and leave four wanting more (I suggest getting some baklava for dessert).

 

Vinaigrette Ingredients

:

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

Salad Ingredients

:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 head of Romaine lettuce or 2 hearts of Romaine
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
  • 2 Tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese

Preparation:
Mix the marinade. Reserve half to dress the salad, and combine the other half in a zipper bag with the chicken. Marinate the chicken for 4 to 24 hours.

Grill (or saute) the marinated chicken breasts. Slice thinly. Prepare the salad vegetables. Top with the chicken and cheese, then the reserved vinaigrette. If you’re feeling really saucy, you can use tzaziki as a dressing instead of the reserved half of the vinaigrette. Or you could just use both.


Recipe: Summer Berry Muffins

bbrb-muffins

It’s time for fresh berries! One of my favorite ever weekend breakfasts (okay, most weekend breakfasts are my favorite) is a nice warm blueberry muffin. Or a few. And yes, there are plenty of mixes and bakeries around who will hook my breakfast up right for just a little bit of time and money, but I’m still firmly of the belief that everything tastes better when it comes from my personal oven.

These muffins are an adaptation of a recipe from the Butter Queen Paula Deen - when I went to buy blueberries this week, there were some raspberries that I just couldn’t resist. I added a streusel topping recipe found on the Chowhound message board for a little bit of extra sweetness and crunch. And before you ask, I did not eat muffins straight off of my counter - there IS a plate under there. It’s just clear. I swear.

 

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Cinco de Mayo Dessert: Mexican Chocolate Icebox cookies

Mexican chocolate icebox cookies

Cakes are great, pies are good, anything gooey and sweet is fantastic. But cookies? So underrated. Cookies are, in my opinion, the best way to end a party. Put a big plate of cookies out at the end of a party and people will eat them up! I made these Mexican Chocolate Icebox cookies the first time a couple years ago, and they’ve been the sleeper hit in my repertoire.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cayenne
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 T (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

PREPARATION:
Sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla extract and egg. Gradually add flour mixture until dough is uniform in color and no unmixed flour remains.

Shape into two 9” logs and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap is airtight. Freeze overnight. The dough will keep up to six weeks in the freezer.

When ready to use, preheat oven to 375F and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cookies should feel a bit firm at the edges. Store in an airtight container when cool.

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Cinco de Mayo Dinner: Mexican rice recipe

taco-platesHopefully you didn’t fill up too much on and , because I believe I have a beauty of an entree idea and a gadget that is perfectly matched.

“Make your own…” bars are super fun, and incorporating them into a party is always a hit - everyone gets exactly what they want.  And a Cinco de Mayo taco bar couldn’t be more awesome! Get yourself a meat or two, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, radishes, and some leftover guacamole and pico de gallo, set them all out in bowls with a stack of warmed tortillas for soft tacos and a stack of taco shells. And I recently made the life-changing discovery of these taco plates that keep your tacos upright and your ingredients safely inside the shells.

So what’s to serve with the tacos?

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Chimichurri Sauce Recipe

chimichurri

How’s the weather, everyone? Summer made its debut in my neighborhood over the weekend, which means one thing: GRILLING. And lots of it. And one of the very best condiments for a nicely grilled piece of meat is definitely chimichurri. Originating in Argentina, chimichurri is a vibrantly hued sauce that is packed full of flavor, and as a bonus in the warm weather, it doesn’t require an iota of heat to make!

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Preparation:
In a food processor, chop the garlic. Add the red pepper, parsley and cilantro and process until the herbs are finely chopped. Add the cumin, salt, olive oil and vinegar. Pulse until the mixture has emulsified and the sauce is bright green. Serve immediately on whatever you just took off the grill.


Recipe: Coconut Crunchy Shrimp

coconutshrimp

Yesterday in Chicago the weather was sunny and 65… in the middle of February!  It was spectacular.  I was inspired by the warm weather to create something that reminded me of summer or my favorite warm weather place, the Caribbean. 

The first time I ever tried coconut shrimp was at a restaurant I worked at in college.  They fried them up and served with a sweet plum sauce.  I absolutely loved them and ordered them almost every shift I worked.  My version requires no frying and it so easy and quick to make.  I also borrowed a great broiling technique from Ellie Krieger from the Foodnetwork, which works every time.

Some people say they are not fans of the texture of coconut, which I can kind of understand.  A great tip for flaky coconut is to throw it in the blender or food processor before using, this helps the coconut blend in well with the breading. I did not do this as me and Husband love coconut in any form.


Prep Time : About 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (this just makes life easier)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut, I used sweetened and used a heaping 1/2 cup
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 egg whites
3/4 panko crumbs (japanes style breadcrumbs, found in almost every grocery store in the Asian section)
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (which is a milder chili powder)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Nonstick cooking spray

Click to continue reading Recipe: Coconut Crunchy Shrimp


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