Monthly Archives: March 2014

More Burger-Like Options – Triple Pork Burgers

It seems like I have been making a lot of burger and sandwich options lately when it comes to mealtime around here. I have been doing a lot of work lately, which has left me less time to get in the kitchen and try out some new things, and it doesn’t help me any that I love sandwiches and burgers overall anyway, so I am always looking for an excuse to try out something different. I had come across this recipe on Food Network a while back and have wanted to try it for a while, but finding chorizo to use around here is not always an easy thing. When I saw some on sale when I went shopping this past week, I finally had the opportunity to get it and give this one a try. If you like your pork, this triple pork burger is a great option for you.

Triple Pork Burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 pound fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup finely grated Pepper Jack cheese
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 slices bacon, cooked crisp
8 rolls, sliced
Curly leaf lettuce
3 sliced plum tomatoes
Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise, recipe follows

Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon hot sauce

Preheat a flat top grill pan or large skillet to medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, mix the ground pork, sausage, Pepper Jack cheese, shallot, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste. Form the meat mixture into equal-sized patties that will fit nicely onto the buns you chose.

When the grill pan or skillet is hot, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable and oil and heat until it is smoking. Cook the pork burgers for 4 to 5 minutes and then flip the burgers and continue to cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on the opposite side until they are cooked through and nicely browned on each side. Remove the pork burgers from the pan and serve on split rolls with a slice of bacon, lettuce, tomato and  the Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise.

For the Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover the mayonnaise with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are serving, allowing the flavors to meld. The mayonnaise can be made a day ahead.

These burgers have a little bit of everything to offer for the pork lovers. You get the ground pork, the heat and bite of chorizo and the crispness and great flavor you always get from the bacon all in one burger. Throw in the great taste you get from the smoked paprika mayo and you have a great option for a burger indoors or for when you are grilling outdoors. I personally did not have any cheese in mine, but Michelle and Sean both loved the addition of the cheese inside their burgers. You can use whatever cheese you like best, but the Pepper Jack seems to go really well with these burgers.The original recipe from Food Network uses these to make sliders, which I think they would be great for as well if you want a great snack or appetizer for a party.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Pork, Sandwiches


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Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR

Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day – Photo Gallery | SAVEUR.

If you are looking for something else to make on St. Patrick’s Day besides your standard corned beef and Cabbage, Saveur Magazine has a number of great Irish recipes here that are perfect for you to give a try. Some are quite unique so check them out and see if there’s anything you want cook for yourself this year! I am working today but am hoping to get on later to share some recipes of my own. See you later!

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Posted by on March 15, 2014 in Cookbooks, Cooking Websites, Dinner, Holidays


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Simple Southern Sides, Part 2 – Jamie Deen’s Homemade Baked Beans

Continuing along with some of the southern side dish recipes I have tried recently, I wanted to try something new with some baked beans so I was on the lookout for another recipe. I have tried good ones in the past but I did not want one that I had to put in the slow cooker and I wanted one that I could put in the oven with the other items I was cooking so I could have the stove top free for other things. I came across this recipe on Food Network from Jamie Deen, one of Paula Deen’s sons. I always like his recipes as he tries to keep things simple and a bit healthier when he can, so when I saw this recipe out there I knew I was going to give it a try.

Homemade Baked Beans

1 pound dried pinto beans
8 slices bacon, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 large Vidalia onion, chopped
Pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Sort through the beans and pick out any dried-up beans or small pebbles and discard them. Rinse the beans well in a colander, then add them to a large Dutch oven and cover the beans with 3 inches of water. Bring the beans to a boil for 2 minutes. Cover and let the beans sit on the stove for 1 hour. Drain the beans and rinse them again. Alternatively, you could soak the beans in water overnight to achieve the same results.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Add the bacon to the same Dutch oven and cook it over medium heat, while stirring, until the bacon has rendered some of its fat, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high, add the garlic and onions and saute until the bacon is almost crisp and the garlic and onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Season the bacon with a good pinch of salt and pepper and then stir in the chili powder, sautéing for 1 minute to toast the spice and until it is fragrant. Stir in 4 cups of water, the chicken stock, ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, yellow mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the pinto beans, bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the Dutch oven with a lid and place it in the oven for 5 hours. Check the beans every few hours to give them a stir. Add some water to the pot, only if needed, if the beans are looking dry and to prevent them from burning. The beans are ready when they are tender and the sauce is thick.

I thought this recipe was great because it makes use of the dried beans instead of canned, which I find have a lot more flavor to them. There are not many ingredients in this one and once it is under way I was pretty much able to leave it alone and let it cook since I was making these with the spare ribs I made last week, so both were in the oven and are on their own all day while I could do other things and then have dinner ready all at once. The beans had a nice flavor from the mixture of the chili powder, ketchup, molasses and sugar and we all loved them. This recipe does make a lot of beans (the website says it makes 10 servings) so you will have lots leftover to use for other meals or you could freeze some to have on hand for another time.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe as there is always plenty of cooking going on around here and I am always finding new recipes to try. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on March 13, 2014 in Cooking, Rice, Side Dishes


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Simple Southern Sides, Part 1 – Sweet Potato Corn Bread

I had made a Mardi Gras dinner last week at Sean’s request so I tried to find some recipes for some good side dishes that fit the theme we were going for and were going to be easy to make. Since I was making gumbo as the main part of the meal, I wanted to have some bread to go with it and what would be better than some corn bread? Well I found this recipe on Epicurious for a sweet potato corn bread that sounded really tasty and very easy to make, so I thought I would give it a shot.

Sweet Potato Corn Bread

1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9 inch by 9 inch baking pan. Pierce the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork. Microwave the sweet potatoes on high until they are tender to the touch, turning once, about 12 minutes. Cut open the potatoes and allow the flesh to cool. Mash enough of the potatoes to yield 1 cup packed. Reserve the extra mashed sweet potatoes for another use. Place the 1 cup of mashed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and the buttermilk.

Blend the cornmeal, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and ground ginger in the food processor. Add the pieces of chilled butter and blend in the food processor until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the cornmeal mixture to the egg mixture and stir until they are just blended. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan.

Bake the corn bread until it is a deep golden color on top and a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of the corn bread comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the corn bread in the pan on a baking rack. Serve or let stand at room temperature and serve when you are ready.

Cooking the sweet potatoes in the microwave saves you at least an hour of cooking time in the oven and helps you get the corn bread made a lot faster. I think the bread came out really well. it was not at all dry like some corn bread can be and had a great flavor from the sweet potatoes. If anything, it maybe could even used a bit more sweet potato for extra flavor. This recipe makes a lot of cornbread and says it will serve 10 to 12 people. I actually cut the recipe in half and made a smaller batch for us and we still had plenty to last for the week. I think I would make this one again as it seemed better than some of the traditional cornbread recipes I have tried.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. I still have a couple of good southern sides to share – a red rice recipe and a baked beans recipe from Jamie Deen, along with the gumbo I made for Mardi Gras, some parfaits, a new pulled pork recipe, beef stroganoff, chicken fingers, 3 pork burgers and a whole lot more. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



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Posted by on March 11, 2014 in Breads, Cooking, Side Dishes


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No Sauce Pizza Time – Pancetta, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Pizza

I just came across a bunch of recipes for pizza that do not make use of any tomato sauce so I have wanted to give some of them a try. Sean loves pizza but he does not like a lot of sauce, so making no sauce pizzas is a great option for them. honestly, I find the sauce on a lot pizza overpowering and too acidic for my tastes anyway, so making some pizza without sauce seems like a good idea to me. This recipe from Williams-Sonoma is for a pancetta, asparagus and goat cheese pizza that I adapted for our own purposes since I did not have any pancetta or goat cheese on hand. Bacon substitutes for the pancetta here and I used mozzarella and Parmesan instead of goat cheese for the  cheese.

Pancetta, Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pizza

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 ounces pancetta or bacon, minced

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 bunch slender asparagus, ends trimmed

1 pound Food processor pizza dough or store-bought pizza dough

Cornmeal, for dusting

6 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

4 scallions, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced

1/4 pound soft, fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the pancetta or bacon and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the pancetta is browned, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Cut each asparagus spear into 3 pieces and then cut the thick ends of the asparagus in half lengthwise. Place the asparagus in a small bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and toss the asparagus to coat.

Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface to an 11 or 12-inch oval or round. Sprinkle a rimless baking sheet with the  cornmeal. Transfer the pizza dough to the baking sheet. Brush the dough with some of the pancetta cooking oil and the sprinkle the pancetta mixture onto the pizza. Spread the mozzarella cheese over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch plain edge. Sprinkle the scallions and then the goat cheese over the mozzarella cheese. Arrange the asparagus over the pizza. Grate some Parmesan cheese over the asparagus then season the pizza with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the pizza in the oven and bake the pizza until the asparagus is tender and the edges of the crust are brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pizza to a cutting board and let the pizza stand for 5 minutes before cutting it into small wedges or pieces and serve.

The pizza had some great flavor from the bacon and asparagus. I loved the asparagus; it had the same roasted flavor I get when I roast it in the oven and the mix with the bacon and just a hint of red pepper flakes and scallions was perfect. This makes a great appetizer dish, a snack for watching the game or just for something different on Fridays for pizza night. You could easily leave off the pancetta or bacon altogether and make it a vegetarian pie.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. There’s still lots of good stuff to come. I am trying a beef stroganoff recipe tonight that I’ll be sharing soon too. until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!




Posted by on March 10, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Pizza


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There’s Nothing Like a Good Rack of Ribs – Food Network’s Almost-Famous Barbecue Ribs

We all love ribs in our house and I am always looking for a new recipe to try when it comes to making them. The problem I often run into is that many of the recipes are designed for smokers, charcoal or gas grills, none of which I have in my condo. I have been able to adapt a basic way of slow cooking the ribs in the oven and then using different rubs and glazes, which has worked really well for me in the past and which is what I did for this recipe, which is from Food Network for their Almost-Famous Barbecue Spareribs. I’ll post the recipe and method just as they do it and then let you know what I changed as far as method to make it work for me.

Almost-Famous Barbecue Spareribs
For the Marinade:
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 4 -to-5-pound racks pork spareribs

For the Rub:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Barbecue Sauce:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
1 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

For the marinade: Whisk the brown sugar, vinegar, onion, garlic, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in a bowl. Put the ribs meat-side down on a cutting board. Starting at one end, slip a paring knife under the membrane that covers the back of the rack. Loosen the membrane with the knife, then pull it off. Coat the ribs on both sides with the marinade. Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight.

For the rub: Mix the brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, celery seeds, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl.

Soak 2 cups of hickory wood chips in water, 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium low (275 degrees F) and prepare it for indirect grilling: For a charcoal grill, bank the coals to one side; for a gas grill, turn off the burners on one side. Cover the grate on the cooler side of the grill with foil.

Drain the wood chips. For a charcoal grill, scatter the chips over the hot coals; for a gas grill, put the chips in a smoker box and place over direct heat. Close the lid and allow smoke to build up, about 10 minutes. Rinse the marinade off the ribs and pat dry with paper towels. Work the spice rub into both sides of each rack with your hands.

Place the ribs, meat-side up, on the foil over indirect heat. Close the lid and cook, undisturbed, until the meat shrinks back slightly to expose a bit of the bone, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Rotate the ribs (keep them meat-side up and over indirect heat), then close the lid and continue cooking, about 2 hours to 2 hours, 30 minutes. (For a charcoal grill, add more hot coals as needed to maintain the temperature.)

Meanwhile, make the barbecue sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and chili powder until incorporated, about 1 minute. Whisk in the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, the molasses, Worcestershire sauce, honey, mustard powder, espresso powder, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper and the cayenne. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Whisk in the ketchup and pineapple. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Whisk in the liquid smoke. Let the sauce cool to room temperature, then remove the garlic. (The sauce will keep, refrigerated, up to 2 weeks.)

Baste the ribs generously with the prepared barbecue sauce. Close the lid and continue cooking until glazed, about 20 more minutes. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board. Let the ribs rest a few minutes before cutting them into individual ribs. Serve with more sauce on the side.

Okay, that’s the basics for a charcoal or gas grill. For the oven, I did everything the same except after marinating the ribs overnight and rinsing them the next day, I placed the ribs in a 300 degree oven covered in aluminum foil for 45 minutes. I then took the ribs out, removed the foil and continued to cook them for another 2 1/2 hours, rotating the pan every half hour. After that time, I then brushed on the barbecue sauce and cooked them for another 20 minutes before putting them under the broiler for the last 5 minutes to really crisp up the sauce. That was it and I think it worked really well. The ribs were fall off the bone tender and I really liked the combination that the rub and the sauce gave to the ribs. Marinating the ribs for a day really helped to break down the meat, give it flavor and make it cook even better. I liked the touch of the pineapple, honey and liquid smoke in the sauce to give it added flavor so I would definitely try this one again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe as i still have some good stuff to come. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



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Posted by on March 8, 2014 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Pork


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Jazzing Up the Vegetables – Caramelized Cauliflower with Honey and Smoked Paprika

Cauliflower is in season this time of year so it is often on sale around here now, making it a good time to get some if you like it. I have to admit, I like cauliflower, but I often find it quite bland as far as taste. it is one of Michelle’s favorite vegetables, so I thought I would get some fresh cauliflower while it was a good price but I wanted to do something with it that would really bring out some flavor in the dish. I came across this recipe from Williams-Sonoma for a caramelized cauliflower with honey and smoked paprika to really punch up the flavor some.

Caramelized Cauliflower with Honey and Smoked Paprika

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 large cauliflower, about 3 pounds, cut into 1-inch florets

Salt, to taste

1 shallot, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons water

1/2 lemon

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large fry pan or skillet set over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and melt the butter. Add the cauliflower florets, sprinkle them with a generous pinch of salt and toss the florets to gently coat them with the oil and butter mixture. Spread the florets into a single layer and cook, without stirring the cauliflower, until the undersides are lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip each cauliflower piece over and continue cooking, undisturbed, until each piece is evenly browned, about another 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat the process until all sides of the cauliflower florets are evenly browned, about another 3 to 5 minutes more.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the shallot, the red pepper flakes and the smoked paprika to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the honey and the water and saute until the liquid reduces to a glaze, about 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze the juice of the half a lemon over the cauliflower, stir the vegetables to combine them well and cook them for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste the vegetables and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper as appropriate.

Transfer the cauliflower to a warmed bowl and serve immediately.

It is a very easy side dish to make and tastes great with the paprika, pepper flakes and the honey glaze on the cauliflower. In my opinion it gives the cauliflower a lot more flavor than it ever had before without having to smother it in cheese and it just uses a few simple ingredients. I will surely remember this one again as it gives a nice option for a vegetable we do not have that often.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. I have a few new ones I have tried recently, including a new ribs recipe and some things we made for Mardi Gras, including gumbo, red rice, sweet potato cornbread and banana’s Foster parfaits. It was all pretty delicious and I think you will like them. until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!


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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Cooking, Vegetables


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Superb and Scrumptious – Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich with Peach Chutney

It’s no big secret that I love sandwiches. I am pretty sure I could just eat different sandwiches for meals all the time and be quite happy with it. I am always looking for new ideas for sandwiches and Michelle and I were watching “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” a few nights ago when we saw this sandwich being made at the Leaping Lizard Cafe in Virginia Beach, Virginia. it was for a chicken salad sandwich with peach chutney that looked amazing. We both immediately wanted to have one and since driving to Virginia Beach at that time wasn’t very practical, I decided we would be better off making it ourselves. They were not real specific about amounts for the ingredients and it took some searching online before I finally found a posting at Group Recipes for one that seems pretty darn close to what they made.

Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich with Peach Chutney

1 rotisserie chicken, dark and white meat picked and pulled

1 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (to taste)

4 scallions, sliced – white and green parts sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1/3 cup toasted almond slices

For the Peach Chutney:

1 can sliced peaches in natural juices (16 ounces), drained but not rinsed

3/4 cup diced red pepper

3/4 cup diced onion

1/4 cup raisins

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

For the chutney, combine the peaches, red pepper, onion, raisins, cinnamon, ground cloves, ground ginger, cider vinegar, sugar and water together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn the heat down so the mixture is at a simmer. Simmer the chutney until the liquid is reduced by 2/3, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the chutney to room temperature.

For the chicken salad, whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise and curry powder together in a medium bowl until well blended. Set the dressing aside for the flavors to meld, about 15 minutes.

Take about 1/3 of the picked chicken and place it in the food processor. Pulse briefly in the food processor until the chicken is finely ground. Combine the ground chicken, the remaining shredded chicken and the mayonnaise mixture. Toss in the sliced scallions and almonds and mix gently to fold in the chicken. Toss in 1/2 cup of the cooled chutney with the chicken and blend well.

To make the sandwich, take two slices of preferred bread and place sliced tomatoes on half of the bread. Spread the chicken salad over the tomatoes and top with lettuce or other leafy greens. If you desire, place the sandwich on a panini press to toast it lightly; do not press down on the sandwich while it is in the panini press. Slice the sandwich and serve.

This chicken salad was delicious and made a great sandwich. I loved the mix of the chutney with the peaches and raisins and what it added to the sandwich and the curry in the chicken salad was not overpowering at all and added some great flavor. The sandwich had everything you could want – great taste, vegetables, fruit and some crunch. I would definitely make it again and had leftovers for lunches for days and had the chutney with a bunch of other meals as well.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on March 5, 2014 in Cooking, Lunch, Poultry, Sandwiches, Sauce


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Simple Sides for Burger and Sandwiches, Part 2 – Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings

I just have a quick recipe for tonight. it is the perfect side dish for burgers or sandwiches and it is pretty easy to make. I got the recipe from Saveur Magazine and it is for cornmeal crusted onion rings. I love onion rings and homemade onion rings just taste better than the ones you buy frozen in the supermarket. Some of them are okay, but others are pretty bland without much flavor. This recipe has great flavor from the cornmeal and the seasoning so it is worth the little bit of effort you have to put into it by deep-frying them yourself.

Cornmeal Crusted Onion Rings

2 large onions, sliced crosswise 1/2-inch thick and separated into rings

2 cups flour

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup milk

1 cup cornmeal

1/3 cup cornstarch

3 tablespoons baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoons seasoned salt

Vegetable or Canola oil, for frying

Submerge the onions in a large bowl of ice water. Soak the onions for 30 minutes. Meanwhile place 1 cup of the flour in a separate bowl. Stir the buttermilk and milk together in another bowl. Whisk the remaining 1 cup of flour, the cornstarch, the baking powder and the seasoned salt in a third bowl. Set the bowls aside in a line to make a dredging station for the onions.

Pour enough vegetable or canola oil in a deep cast-iron pan or Dutch oven to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until the temperature reads 350 degrees on a deep fry thermometer. Drain the onions from the ice water and pat them dry well with paper towels. Working in batches, dredge the onions in the flour, shaking off any excess, then dip them in the milk mixture and then in the cornmeal mixture. Place the onions in the hot oil, flipping them once, and fry them until they are golden and crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the onion rings on paper towels and sprinkle them with seasoned salt before serving.

That’s all there is to it. If you didn’t want to use the seasoned salt you could certainly use other seasonings or herbs instead to fit what you like. There are lots of choices you can try, such as Creole seasoning or maybe even some Old Bay if you like that kind of flavor. As I usually do when I deep fry, I tried to use less oil then recommended to cut back a  bit on the oil and I think it worked out fine using just a bit more than half of what they recommend in the recipe. Soaking the onions in ice water first does take some the sharpness and bite out of them for you as well. They had a great flavor from the cornmeal and went really well with the burgers that I had made that night, so I will definitely be making these again.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another recipe. I have lots to choose from, including some Mardi Gras recipes that I tried out tonight for dinner, so there is still lots of good stuff to come. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!




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Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Appetizers, Cooking, Side Dishes


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Simple Sides for Burgers and Sandwiches, Part 1 – Coleslaw with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing

Since I had made burgers and sandwiches a few times last week as items for dinner, I also wanted to come up with some new side dish options to go along with them. in my house, french fries are pretty much a must when we have burgers in the house so I either go with store bough fries or I make my own oven fries, which are also great. I do like to try different coleslaw recipes as well to give us something new. There are many variations on coleslaw recipes, and some use mayonnaise while others do not. I have tried each and some with mayo tend to be a bit too much, so lately I have been leaning more towards other options, such as this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for a coleslaw with bacon and buttermilk dressing. It is really more like a cabbage salad than a coleslaw and this one strives to be a little less watery than some other options by salting the vegetables first.

Coleslaw with Bacon and Buttermilk Dressing

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 a head), shredded fine

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1/2 medium onion, sliced thin

Salt and ground black pepper

Toss the shredded cabbage, the grated carrot and the sliced onion and 1 teaspoon of salt together in a colander or fine mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Let the vegetables stand until the cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. Rinse the vegetables under cold running water or in a large bowl of ice water. Press, but do not squeeze, to drain the vegetables. Pat the vegetables dry with paper towels. you can store the vegetables in a zipper-lock plastic bag at this point and refrigerate them overnight if you wish.

Fry the bacon pieces in a medium skillet set over medium heat until it is crisp and brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard the fat from the skillet.

Stir together the buttermilk, cider vinegar, vegetable oil, caraway seeds, dry mustard and sugar in a medium bowl until blended. Toss in the cabbage, carrots, onion and bacon in the dressing to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then cover and refrigerate the bowl until you are ready to serve.

It is a pretty simple recipe that imparts great flavor. I actually used two different cabbages, green and purple, and I used a red onion as well for some different flavor. Salting here certainly draws a lot of the water out of the vegetables so they will not be as crisp and crunchy as you may like. It ends up with a softer, more pickle-like texture instead which was good, but I have to admit I missed some of the crunch. However, the flavor from the buttermilk dressing and the bacon was really good and a nice change for the coleslaw. You could certainly use a bag of coleslaw mix if you did not want to shred the vegetables on your own and I think it would work just as well here.

That’s all I have for today. Check back tomorrow for another side dish recipe. This time it will be some easy cornmeal crusted onion rings. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!



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Posted by on March 3, 2014 in Cooking, Dressings, Salad, Side Dishes


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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

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