Fried Brussel Sprouts & Piperade sauce

I wanted to give you all an update on my quest to like brussel sprouts! OK so that might not be the most exciting statement of the year, week or even day but I did come across another way that my husband will eat them.  My daughter and I actually do like them and would probably add them to my grocery shopping list a little more often if the faces and comments I get from my husband were a little less ummmm painful to see/hear.
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The other day my husband was at the grocery store with me; I’m not a fan of him going to the store with me; don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t end up spending me more money than I was thinking of spending. He’s like a little kid ooohh that looks yummy; and puts it in the cart. So I was grabbing the things that were on my list and yes there were brussel sprouts on it; he made a comment and a face and said several times that we really didn’t need them; such a child!
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My daughter had tried some fried brussel sprouts with a some red pepper sauce that she absolutely loved. Trying to recreate something we’ve had at a restaurant is kind of our thing. Sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. After making the sauce my first comment was; “where has this been all my life?” We all know the true test would be my husband. All I can say is my daughter and I both witnessed him finishing his plate AND reaching into the sprout bowl and grabbing a large one with his fingers and eating it.  YUP I win!!!!
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Piperade Sauce – definition below

Ingredients
3 plum tomatoes or use whatever you have on hand
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 red or green bell peppers (we used red because that is how Abbi had it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon hot Paprika or Espelette

Brussel Sprouts
Oil for frying
Balsamic vinegar
salt

Directions
using a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat, add the oil until hot but before it starts to smoke. add onions, peppers and the salt. saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and pepper start to lighten in spots; about 10 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.
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Add the tomatoes and the paprika, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook till the tomatoes are starting to breakdown and the peppers are soft; about 15  minutes.
removing the cover and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, you want to let it thicken a bit. It should be the consistency of a slightly runny relish.  Adjust the salt and enjoy!
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Brussel Sprouts
prepare your sprouts by trimming off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice lengthwise. Fry them in batches in about and inch or so of oil. Drain, salt and place them in a bowl with the piperade sauce, drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar, stir and serve.
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Not my favorite picture to share but it tasted delicious!

wikipedia definition of Piperade
Piperade
(Gascon and French) or Piperrada (Basque and Spanish), from piper (pepper in Gascon and in Basque) is a typical Basque dish prepared with onion, green peppers, and tomatoes sautéd and flavoured with red Espelette pepper.

 

 

Crispy Risotto Cakes

I am SO excited to have another trick up my sleeve for leftover risotto. I only have leftovers because I double or so the batch every time I make it 🙂  My daughter works at my favorite local restaurant and she has a tendency to text me when she knows that her dad and I would love their special for the night. This is both awesome and terrible. Awesome because we have an amazing dinner, terrible because it gets mighty costly since they make such amazing food we can’t seem to resist.
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One such dish is dayboat scallops over a crispy risotto cake with some greens and a light sauce. Let me just say that seared scallops are just plain heavenly; all they need is a little salt and pepper and I am one happy camper. Throw in a crispy risotto cake and ahhhhhhhh!
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I am in the habit of making a double batch of risotto. While it is not difficult to make it is a little time consuming as you can’t or at least shouldn’t leave the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong you can still multitask but it’s best to hang around the stove so you can be sure to add more liquid to the rice before it dries out completely.
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I have shared with all of you how I make Arancini see link for the post/recipe https://cookingatclarktowers.com/2016/03/20/arancini/

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I started out using the wrong pan

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had to switch to a nonsitck

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I made a mess of the first pan!

The guys at the restaurant shared with Abbi how they make the crispy risotto cake. She came home and declared we can totally make them; So we did!

Directions:
Spread out the risotto on a nonstick sprayed rimmed sheet pan, using a cookie cutter that I would also spray with nonstick spray.  Cut out your rounds, on tray that will fit into your freezer, cover it with wax paper and freeze your rounds for an hour or so.  Transfer to a freezer bag for use anytime you want to make them. Great for a quick side during the week.

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It is a messy job but my rice was super wet, I might dry it out a little more next time.


Apple Cider Doughnuts

Tis the season for fresh apple cider! I am not a huge fan of drinking cold apple cider, I do like warm cider and cooking with cider is delicious. My guys were working a few towns away and went by a cafe in the middle of nowhere that made cider doughnuts that they raved about. Of course it took them a few months to actually bring me one home. Honestly they were just OK – I was told by the guys that “they needed to be eaten first thing in the morning when they were fresh”  Well that wasn’t going to happen for me.

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This was a couple of years ago. A week or so ago my daughter brought home some store made cider doughnuts that were just plain terrible; there was an after taste. I figured maybe I just plain ole didn’t like cider doughnuts. On Halloween my company put out some hot and cold cider and again some cider doughnuts. Third times a charm – NOPE it was not. You would think I would just give up – not me; I had some cider in the fridge that wasn’t going to last too much longer. I decided to make my own cider doughnuts. Voila’ success – finally a cider doughnut that has great flavor, fairly easy and I finally get to taste a cider doughnut that I got to finish.
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mine was very wet – I had to use more flour on my hands and board

The only problem I had was I don’t own a doughnut cutter nor a fryer. I looked a few places for a cutter, no luck. I try not to fry too much but when I do I always use my dutch oven; it can handle the high heat. I have a ridiculous amount of cookie cutters. I riffled through them and for a 3” round cutter; now I needed a small round cutter for the hole in the center. For the people reading this that know me really well; they are going to LOVE this. The smallest and closest thing I had to a small circle was a tiny frog cutter. Since I was little I have always collected frogs; I have moved away from the mass produced ones to ones that are unique funky and pretty cool. Making in happen here in NH – just saying.
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Apple Cider Doughnuts

Ingredients:
2 cups cider
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
⅔ cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp of each cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ground cardamom
2 large eggs
6 Tbs butter, melted and cooled
Oil for deep frying

img_4668Directions:
In a small saucepan, bring cider to a rapid boil and cook over high heat until reduced by half – cool completely

In a large bowl, whisk flours, brown sugar, salt, soda, powder and spices. In a small bowl whisk eggs, melted butter and cooled cider. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened (dough is pretty sticky). Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour, you want the dough firm enough so you can shape the doughnuts.


Divide dough in half, on a floured surface pat each portion to ½ inch thickness; make sure to flour your hands and cutter(s) cut out about a dozen doughnuts.


Heat oil to 365’ and fry a few at a time. 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Fry holes a few at a time approx. 1 minute on each side. Drain and cool slightly. Using a paper lunch bag; if you have one on hand; add some cinnamon and sugar and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe adapted – Taste of Home

 

Oven Fried Chicken – must try

Both of my freezers are just ridiculously full; it could have something to do with zucchini bread but there is just no more room; so it’s time to do one of my; OK probably not my favorite; but I don’t mind cooking with what’s on hand versus doing a full grocery shopping every week. It not only saves me a boatload of money; It makes me be a little more creative and also helps use up things before they go bad. It does take me about a month or so to get both freezers a little less crowded or at least enough that I can tell what the heck is in there.

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Here in marks another quandary; I do try to make an effort to mark the containers but sometimes I’m like oh I will know exactly what that is, I’m sure I’ll remember the color of the cover for the marinara sauce is 3 months or even 3 weeks later and I am just so wrong but I still do it; I have issues. The other day I saw a tub of a red sauce I opened it, smelled it and I am not sure what kind of marinara it is or what it was for or from. I do know that I will take it out of the freezer put it in the fridge and in a couple of days I will be making something with it. I mean why would I have saved it if I didn’t have a plan. Yeah pretty thin huh; I think so too.

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I took out some chicken thighs and saw a recipe for fried chicken so of course I wanted fried chicken. But I wasn’t up to getting out the oil heating it up and start frying it was getting late it was a weeknight and I just didn’t want to clean up that much of a mess. If you have never tried oven fried chicken, it is a thing and it is pretty damn good. Also if you have never tried Franks Hot Sauce you need to pick up a bottle and put it in your fridge. I use it all the time, it’s not too hot and adds a little heat right when/where you need it.

Oven Fried Chicken

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2 large eggs
1 TBS Dijon mustard
1 TBS honey
1 TBS hot sauce – Franks
Kosher salt and Freshly cracked black pepper
2 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
2 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ smoked paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
8 chicken thighs

2 pie plates or shallow dish – 1 for the liquid the other for the dry ingredients
In 1 whisk eggs, mustard, honey, hot sauce and salt and pepper
In the other add the panko, paprika, cayenne, garlic and salt and pepper whisk to combine

img_4542Dredge the chicken in the wet ingredients and then into the dry ingredients pressing the breadcrumbs as needed.

img_4539img_4543Place chicken on a wire rack over a sheet tray. You can line the tray with tinfoil to help with cleanup and spray the wire rack with nonstick spray. Make sure the chicken are not touching and lightly spray with the nonstick spray, they do make an olive oil one that is quite nice. It helps brown and crisp up the chicken in the oven.
In the upper rack of the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until chicken is about 140 degrees; browned and crispy. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

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Foil packet of summer squash salt pepper & a tbs of butter Yum!

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Oven roasted sweet potato fries with olive oil rosemary salt and pepper Delish!!!

 


Recipe adapted from the Neelys