Dressing Sauces & Condiments
Turn those end-of-season strawberries into delicious homemade jarred jam. Other than freezing them, it’s the best way to enjoy berries year round.
While many of your have just started picking strawberries at your local U-pick farm, in east Tennessee strawberry season is ending and we are beginning blueberry and raspberry picking season. Which means it’s the perfect time to make jam out of those end of season strawberries. While jam making is not something I normally dive in to, my dad has made jam and jelly for as long as I can remember and therefore has all the tools to do so. We actually made this jam at the same time as the strawberry syrup.
Homemade strawberry syrup only requires two ingredients: strawberries and sugar. Whip up a batch for breakfast this weekend.
Not only is my dad the king of pancakes (amongst other things), but he also makes his own syrup. Growing up in upstate NY we had the luxury of having a small patch of woods behind our house with sugar maples, which my dad would tap in the winter to collect some of their sap which would be boiled down into maple syrup. Sadly I did not appreciate it as a kid and only wanted Mrs. Butterworth’s. Since my parents moved to TN he cannot make his own maple syrup anymore but still continues to make homemade strawberry syrup which has always been my favorite anyway. I love serving it over waffles, pancakes, or French toast topped with even more strawberries. We made a huge batch from one of our strawberry picking excursions, multiplying the recipe below in order to make 5 quarts. This is one of the reasons why they own a chest freezer.
One year ago: Therapy Brownies
Irish meets Mexican in these baked Reuben taquitos with a thousand island dipping sauce. Classic Reuben flavor with a twist.
St. Patrick’s Day may be over but Reubens are good year-round, which is why you should use up any leftover corned beef that remains to make these taquitos. Oh yea you better believe I mixed Mexican and Irish into one amazing appetizer (or entree). I was inspired to do such a thing after experiencing Irish eggrolls for the first time and figured I could expand it into other food genres. Cooked corned beef is mixed with shredded cabbage and creamy swiss, then rolled into white corn tortillas to be oven-fried with a light spray of cooking oil. While they bake, whip up the thousand island dipping sauce and you’ll be ready to dive in.
P.S. Job hunt news: I had a second phone interview for the job I told you about last week! The one with the writing assignment. Overall I think it went well and enjoyed the conversation. Unfortunately I blanked and then blundered a bit over one question, but managed to compose myself and continue on without another hitch. Hopefully I will receive good news in a week or two regarding the next step in the process!
One year ago: Raw S’mores Cookie Dough Bites
Need ranch seasoning/dressing/dip for your holiday party or dinner, but don’t feel like venturing to the store? Then I am here to rescue you! (Assuming you have all these ingredients in your pantry.) This ranch seasoning mix can be made to use immediately or stored for later use. I decided to make it spicy, but if you prefer a non-spicy, traditional version then omit the red pepper.
One year ago: Apple Pecan Pie
Two years ago: German Pancakes
Normally for Single Serving Sunday I try to share recipes that only make one serving, but with the upcoming Thanksgiving feast I decided to do something special – a Thanksgiving meal that serves two. Many recipes for Thanksgiving produce a magnitude of servings, but what about the people out there only cooking for two, or four? This menu I have prepared easily serves 2 with leftovers. Because who doesn’t want leftovers from Thanksgiving? That being said, the turkey could serve four but if you have hearty eaters you may want to double the sides.
This dinner consists of a slow cooker turkey tenderloin with gravy, Greek yogurt-rosemary rolls, bagel-bacon stuffing, roasted brussels, twice baked sweet potatoes, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, and pumpkin crème brulee for dessert. Take a moment to be jealous.
My turkey tenderloin came out so juicy and flavorful that it will be hard to convince me to cook a whole turkey in the future. It literally fell apart when I lifted it out of the pot. By using a slow cooker I was also able to do whatever the heck I wanted in the oven, which is a huge perk for those of us with only one oven (one day I hope to be spoiled with a double oven). Even the gravy was amazing after cooking in all those delicious juices.
As you are aware, I have a habit of adding Greek yogurt to anything I possibly can so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it shows up here in dinner rolls. The rosemary really sold me on these rolls. If you don’t like rosemary, please substitute for another herb because they will rock your world with their subtle herby-ness. You can also prep these the day beforehand and refrigerate before the last rise. The next day, take them out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you want to bake them.
Then there’s the stuffing. I’ve seen stuffing made with all types of bread but this was the first recipe I had seen using bagels. I originally set aside two corn muffins for stuffing, but those were thrown into the freezer once I discovered I could use a bagel instead. I freaking love bagels! And I was not disappointed by the trade-off, especially since there was bacon involved.
For a green side I chose brussels sprouts. Only a couple Thanksgivings ago I discovered that I no longer hated them and actually became obsessed. As a result, they are nostalgic to me at this time of year. Just a simple roasting and a drizzle of balsamic is all they needed.
Growing up we usually had both regular mashed potatoes and mashed sweet potatoes but knew I would burst if I tried to add both onto this already long lineup. I went with a twice baked sweet potato that is topped with pecans and coconut. Although it is less sweet than a marshmallow topping, it has a crunchier topping that will make you forget about those puffy white things (no offense marshmallows, I still love you).
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without some cranberry sauce. This version uses pomegranate juice for a more complex flavor. This can be made the day beforehand or even a few days before to minimize the amount of work you have to do on the big day. But if you do have to whip it up the same day, rest assured that it will only take 20 minutes.
Of course, once you’ve stuffed your face you’ll still find room for dessert, right? Especially for pumpkin crème brulee. I know you may initially think it’s a crime to not have pumpkin pie but it’s basically pumpkin pie and crème brulee all in one. Are you really going to be upset by having both?
Now for some tips on how I timed everything in order to be hot and ready all at the same time. An hour before turkey is done cooking (mine only took 4 hours), take rolls out of fridge (if prepared the night before), toast the bagel for stuffing, and prep the brussels sprouts. Bake the stuffing and brussels at the same time and with 20 minutes of cook time remaining, add the sweet potatoes and rolls to the oven. At that time, remove the turkey from the slow cooker and prepare the gravy. Slice up the turkey and serve! Then once your belly has digested a little to make room for dessert, torch the creme brulee just before you’re ready to dig in.
One year ago: Buckeye Cupcakes
Two years ago: Apple Blackberry Pie
It’s that time of the month again! No not that, sick-o…. it’s the 4th Thursday and the month and therefore Pass the Cook Book Club time! For July, we were given three recipes from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten. I almost made the blondies but ended up going for the ribs as I have never cooked them myself before.
I prepared the BBQ sauce the day before to make my life easier the next day when cooking the ribs. The BBQ sauce alone smelled amazing as it simmered on the stove and this recipe made a TON of BBQ sauce (I had a lot of BBQ sauce leftover, but I am actually excited about it because it’s delicious). Then the next day, my plan-ahead-preparations were thrown off by going to the store to buy the ribs and finding out they were frozen solid! I then had to thaw them in the sink full with water but it worked fairly quickly.
Finally, once they were in the oven topped with BBQ sauce, their aromas began seeping through the surrounding rooms. Despite the treat my nose was enjoying, I was still nervous somehow about whether they would be good or not because I am not a grill-master. But as soon as they were transferred to the grill I was convinced they had to be good when one of the bones literally fell off the meat. This was further verified upon finally sinking my teeth into the ribs and cleaning off every bone – not a trace of meat left on those suckers!
One year ago: Strawberry Malted Pancakes
When grocery shopping I always bring reusable shopping bags and have never run into a cashier that seemed confused by them. However, half the time I bring them into other stores such as Target, Marshalls, etc. the cashier starts looking for a bar code tag even though the first thing I said to them upon approaching was “Hi, I am using my own bag today”. Reusable bags are common enough these days to not have it be so odd to bring one into a regular department store. Besides, I’m not going to avoid plastic bags at the grocery store just to acquire them elsewhere. I do use them for my small bathroom trash can and really should work on an alternative, but I don’t need very many to meet that call to duty.
Which brings me to a cool thing happening on the west coast (other than my brother, sister-in-law and nephew moving there in a month) – bans on plastic bags! It started in San Francisco in 2007 and has slowly spread to other major cities over the years such as Los Angeles and Sacramento. Chicago, Portland and Dallas look like they might be next. So start busting out those reusable bags if you haven’t already!
Oh and food? Yes you are here for food not my ramblings and I am here to tell you to make these hot dogs. They are regular turkey hot dogs topped with Mexican inspired deliciousness. It involves a salsa made from corn, jalapeno, avocado and some seasonings. Then some chipotle peppers come out to play mixed with Greek yogurt for a perfect cream topping. I even served them with some spicy sweet potato fries, which were also dipped in any leftover cream.
It’s June’s edition of Pass the Cook Book Club! This month we cooked burgers from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries, and Shakes and I have to say if the burger I tried is any indication of the rest of the cookbook, then it’s a dangerous one!
This burger was so insanely good, I had to put comfy pants on afterwards. Bobby certainly knows what he’s doing when it comes to burgers and you really cannot go wrong with half an inch of cheese and crunchy potato chips. Of course then there’s the sauce which you’ll want extra of so I doubled the recipe for you. Thanks to Kita and Bobby, I look forward to being in a bathing suit this weekend even less than before but it was absolutely worth it. I almost paired it up with onion rings but decided it had enough going on already, but I couldn’t skip the Bobby Flay milkshake O:-). Post soon!
For The Secret Recipe Club this month, I had Nicole of I am a Honey Bee. She actually had my blog in February and made my Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken so it was fun to return the favor, especially since I read her blog already and always like what I see. She also does Thirsty Thursdays posts with Amanda of Fake Ginger and I almost made her Red, White, and Blue Sangria, because it would be the perfect Fourth of July drink.
That was until I saw the recipe for these Everything Bagel Bites. I love making homemade bagels but shaping them is sometimes a pain. This recipe avoids that by cutting them into nuggets. However, it also results in a dangerously poppable treat as I downed 6 before I even knew what happened. I was just standing in my kitchen testing them out before photographing and could not stop! Pairing them with a bacon-scallion cream cheese dip just enhances this effect.
As a side note: I have discovered one benefit to the summer heat – letting dough rise outside! Yup, I set the dough for these bagel bites outside to rise, covered and in the shade. I am a genius.
I love that veggie burgers come in all sorts of flavors. I myself have made a few including edamame and eggplant, and even though there’s never been a disappointment I still shy away from trying a homemade black bean burger. I have zero explanation for this especially after successfully making black bean brownies. Today I once again am sharing a non-black bean veggie burger. Maybe one day I will venture down that road, but for now let’s focus on sweet potato.
Sweet potato might be one of my favorite starches. I first fell in love with it in French fry form, and then later in gnocchi. Twice. So trying it in burgers seemed like the next step. The incorporation of garlic and smoked paprika sealed the deal for me. The flavors were incredible! And of course you know I can never say no to topping it all off with avocado, especially when in cream form.
Speaking of the cream, while it I mistakenly thought the avocado went into the cream instead of just sliced on top of the burgers. However, it ended up being a happy accident because it made the sauce taste that much better, and believe that the avocado slices would’ve squeezed out due to the softness of the burger patty. I should’ve just pretended I did it on purpose and not said a word to you but I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. Especially when it turns out to not be a bad thing!
I have a feeling you are eyeing that creamy goodness in the background. Never fear for it is being posted tomorrow!