7/31/14

Caprese Panini

Caprese Panini





This is my favorite summer lunch/dinner that really doesn't involve much cooking. Slice, drizzle and grill. You can make this on a Panini Press, on the stove top, grill, or even  simply broiled.
The other morning, I was at Harmons picking up some groceries. Racks of just baked Artisan breads were sitting on cooling racks.  I took a loaf, along withe some fresh mozzarella (do you know Harmons makes their own fresh mozzarella every day?)  to make my favorite summer lunch.  A few snips off of my basil plant, a couple of fresh tomatoes and I was in business.
Even Jake declared this "legit", and wanted one more instead of a grilled ham and cheese.
There's hope.
He may end up having good taste in food, after all.

















Caprese Panini
A Bountiful Kitchen

Artisan Bread, sliced, or Ciabatta bread
olive oil
sliced tomatoes
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil
fresh ground pepper
coarse salt


Brush one side of two slices of bread with olive oil.
top with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves and sliced fresh mozzarella. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Sprinkle with a little fresh ground pepper, and salt.
Place on grill, gently close pan, and grill just until cheese begins to melt.
enjoy immediately or at room temperature.

Tips:
-If you don't have a Panini press, heat up a pan over medium to medium high heat. Grill the sandwich, just as you would a grilled cheese. then turn gently to the other side. You may press down the pan with another heavy pan to make a more compact sandwich. Lots of people like to use a cast iron pan to grill or weigh down the sandwich. You may also toast the bread and broil the sandwich lightly.
-Sometimes, I like to drizzle a little balsamic just before grilling.






7/29/14

Knife Sale at Williams Sonoma!


Hey friends. I want to tell you about an amazing sale at Williams-Sonoma going on right now. 
But you'll have to act fast. Oh, and for a limited time, WS has free shipping. Wait, is it Christmas?
I'm going to make it really simple for you, or your husband, or your mom :)
Click on the links and you'll go straight to Williams-Sonoma to get the sale price on your knife. 
This is your chance to purchase a quality knife, at an affordable price, from a store that stands behind their products. 
PS Use the code SUMMER when checking out for an ADDITIONAL 20% off!


williams sonoma logo


There's no time limit posted on the deal, so once they're sold out, the sale will probably be over. 
Here's the deal- There are several knives on sale. I've focused on two of the best deals and knives I own and can tell you will stand the test of time.
The first is the German made Wusthof Precision 6-inch Chef's Knife on sale for  $39.99. That's 78% off regular retail price. Seventy eight percent off. I've never seen this knife,  priced this low. It cuts like a dream and will be the knife you reach for time and time again. I love mine to cut up tomatoes, and other smallish type veggies and fruits. 

williams sonoma wusthof 6 inch chef's knife






































The second knife is the Wusthof Precision 7-inch Santoku Knife. 
This is my (multiple times a day) 365 days of the year knife. If I had to take one knife with me to a deserted island, this is it. 



If you've been looking for a way to afford a good quality knife (or two), this is it. 
I promise you will never, ever, regret the purchase of a good quality knife. 
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas


7/22/14

Dutch Oven Molasses Baked Beans

molasses dutch oven baked beans


Summer is the best time to break out the Dutch oven and make a pot of Molasses Baked Beans. I've been making variations of this recipe for years. It's always a crowd favorite and a perfect accompaniment to any barbecue meal. You can make these while out camping or even in your backyard.
I've included a little step by step photo tutorial, because I know how much you love a good picture story. Have a Happy 24th of July (Pioneer Day in Utah) !


things are heating up. bacon and onions cooking...
molasses, yellow mustard, brown sugar, ketchup. measure them out. get ready to dump.

add the beans. 
molasses...


mustard 

brown sugar and ketchup. are you bored yet? my friend Melinda tells me she likes the step by step.  

don't forget the hot sauce.

stir. with a wood spoon, to get that pioneer spirit. 
Place the lid on the pan.  you don't need one of these fancy tools, but we bought one after many years of having dutch ovens and we think it's pretty useful. large pliers also work. gloves are good too. 

cook for about 40 minutes or until bubbly. this is how they'll look when done. Nice toes, Brookie.





A side note to my story.
Some of you are very observant. You email or leave a comments about details in photos. Such as- why do there appear to be SO MANY COALS under the Dutch oven????   Because friends, this is why. My husband thinks that whenever we pull out the Dutch ovens, the cooking expertise shifts from me, to him. He insists on placing half of the bag of briquettes into the chimney we use to heat up the coals. Even if it's a 50 lb bag. Not really, but it seems that way.
You know how men are. Fire is good. More fire is twice as good!
Anyway. He is an out of doors expert, and I am not, that is a fact.
But I'm a cooking type of person, and he is not. Also a fact.
So we always have "words"  when we attempt Dutch Oven cooking.
The convo usually goes like this.
G: I am doing this.
Me: okay. (as I watch him heat about 50 coals)
G: I've got this.
Me: You're using too many coals.
G: No I'm not.
Me: yes you are.
G: Who is doing this me, or you?
Me: I'm going inside.
So, yes. in the photos, you will see lots of coals. More than I tell you to use in the recipe. More than the Scouting Magazine article titled "Dutch Oven Cooking 101" advises you use.
But hey.
What do the Scouts know?
I've got to hand it to him.
That's one good looking pan of beans.







Dutch Oven Molasses Baked Beans
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1-12 or 14 inch dutch oven ( I believe we used a 14 for this recipe)
about 26-30 briquettes

1 lb bacon, chopped
1 large onion, chopped about 2 cups
1- #10 can pork and beans ( about 7 lbs 10 oz)
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 cup packed brown sugar light or dark
1/2 cup mustard
3/4 cup molasses
hot pepper sauce, to taste

Light briquettes, follow package directions.
Place about 10 hot briquettes in a circular pattern on the ground. We like to use an old metal pan under our dutch oven. Place the dutch oven on top of the briquettes.
Place the chopped bacon and onion into the dutch oven. Cook until the bacon is slightly crisp and onions are softened. Drain any excess grease. Don't worry about removing every bit of bacon grease.
Add the remaining ingredients,  stir.
Place the lid on the beans and using a pair of tongs, place about 16 briquettes on top of the lid and leave 10-14 under the dutch oven.
Let the beans cook for about 40 minutes or until bubbly and hot. This will vary in cooking time depending on how much wind there is, the amount of coals you use, the temperature of the coals, etc.
If you feel the beans are cooking too fast, remove some of the coals.
When ready to serve, carefully remove lid, so the ashes do not get into the beans. Sometimes, if our beans are cooked and very hot, we dump the ashes, and simply leave the lid on till ready to serve.
Serves about 20-25 as a side dish

Tips:
-There are many sources for Dutch Oven cooking online. Here are a couple :
Scouting Magazine (Dutch Oven Cooking 101)
Camp Cooking Outdoors
-You may use any brand of beans, Van De Camps is a brand found in most grocery stores. I used a brand I purchased from a wholesale food distributor.
-This recipe may also be made in the oven. Cook the bacon and onions, drain the grease and add the remaining ingredients. Bake at 375 for one hour.




7/15/14

Tacos Al Pastor with Guacamole Taquero






Don't you love it when you get the scoop on an  off the beaten path not in the guide book  type of restaurant?  Last year, my friend Janis (who lived in Mexico for three years)  told me about her favorite go-to, casual Mexican restaurant.
Chunga's in SLC.





















WHAT?
Could it be the same place my teenage son had told me about a couple of years earlier? Saying they had "the best food, EVER!"  Any restaurant that makes burritos the size of your head is a winner in Jake's book. My tendency is to not believe Jake when he gives his stamp of approval on any restaurant, since McDonald's often falls into that category.




I was skeptical, but Janis seemed to be a person with good taste, so I decided to go against my initial impression and give it a try.
Oh.
My.
Here's my Insta of that day.
Loved it.


The Tacos Al Pastor were my favorite. I remembered my son Stephen talking about Tacos Al Pastor being one of his favorite meals when he lived in Puebla, Mexico.  I'm a sucker for anything savory and sweet, so this dish is right up my alley. It's the only thing I order at Chunga's and one of my favorite go-to places now.



You're going to love this make at home version. I found the recipe on Epicurious.com and made a few changes to make the process a bit more simple. We love the combination of flavors in this recipe. Perfect summer dish, no need to heat up the oven, just fire up the grill.
Speaking of summer, it's almost halfway over!
Yikes.






































Tacos Al Pastor with Guacamole Taquero (Taco Shop Guac)
Adapted from Epicurious
print recipe

1 large white onion
1  fresh ripe pineapple

marinade and meat:
1/2 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed is best
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup guajillo chile powder (or any type of chili powder will work)
3 garlic cloves, halved
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large or 2 small chipotle chiles
2 1/2-to 3-pound boneless pork loin, cut into 1/2-inch slices

Corn tortillas

toppings:
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup chopped cabbage, optional
remaining chopped onion
Guacamole Taquero  (Taco shop guac- optional) for topping tacos
lime wedges

Early in the morning, or preferably the day before serving:
Coarsely chop 1 onion, divide into two even portions.
Place pineapple on cutting board. Slice the top off and discard. Slice about 1/2 inch off bottom of pineapple as well. Cut off the remaining peel or skin and discard, making sure to remove all bits of outer covering of pineapple. Slice in half, long way. Slice into half again. You should have four, long wedges of pineapple. Remove the core by slicing each wedge length wise down the middle. Remove all of the hard core and discard. Place one of the four wedges on cutting board and chop coarsely. Set other four wedges aside.
Place chopped onion and chopped pineapple in blender. Add orange juice and next 7 ingredients; puree marinade until smooth. Place pork in large resealable plastic bag. Add marinade and seal bag, releasing excess air. Turn to coat. Chill at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.
The following day, or later in the day:
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).
Grill remaining  wedges of pineapple until warm and slightly charred,  6-8 minutes per side. Remove from heat, set aside.
Grill pork with some marinade still clinging until slightly charred and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes per side. Do not over cook.
Transfer pineapple and pork to work surface; chop pineapple into 1/2-inch cubes. Chop pork. Set aside.
Chop remaining onion half and place in medium bowl. Add cilantro; toss to combine. Grill tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 10 seconds per side.
Serve pork-pineapple mixture with onion-cilantro relish, cabbage (if desired)  Guacamole Taquero, and lime wedges.

Tips:
-How to make your own guajillo chile powder: finely grind about 6 large dried seeded guajillo chiles in a spice mill to yield about 1/4 cup powder.
-You may serve this dish with a variety of toppings and or salsas. I love grated cabbage on tacos, even when they aren't fish tacos. Sliced cucumbers are a perfect addition, and always served at Chunga's.
-All of the prep- marinating the meat, grilling the pineapple, chopping the onions and cilantro and preparing any sauces served with the tacos may be done ahead. On the day of serving, simply cook the meat and chop. Grill the tortillas and serve.
-Pork loin is easily overcooked. I tried two methods, grilling and cooking in the oven. I preferred the taste of cooking over the grill. A Pork Butt will also work. Since about 1/2 of the butt meat is lost in fat removal, use a 5 lb Boston or Pork Butt. Marinate overnight. Cook on low for about 6 hours, remove fat and serve. Or, cook in 275 oven for about 6 hours. Shred and remove fat.


7/10/14

Fruit-Filled Virgin Sangria




A few months ago, I attended a food blogger event at the City Creek Harmons. They served a delicious non-alcoholic basil sangria. I loved the drink and thought it would be fun to recreate my own version at home when fresh fruits were in season!

Sangria is traditionally served in Spain and Portugal and made with wine, sweetener, fruit and a bit of brandy. I'm not a drinker, but love drinks made with fresh fruit.






Last week, we watched the fireworks, soaked up the sunset and enjoyed a pitcher of this colorful drink from our patio. The kids and adults loved the fruit-filled pitcher. When it was empty, we just added more of the liquid base, mixed and enjoyed. This is a perfect addition to any summer party. It travels well- just take the cut up fruits, canned juice, soda and ice in a cooler and mix when the party starts.
Hope you're keeping cool this summer!




Fruit Filled Virgin Sangria
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 frozen can of Welch's (or other brand) White Grape and Peach concentrate (not mixed up), thawed a bit*
one 2 liter bottle Ginger Ale or Sprite, sugarless is fine as well
ice, about 2-3 cups
a cup of water, if desired
Approximate fruit (for one pitcher)
2 limes, washed, sliced
1 orange, washed, peel on, sliced
1-2 cups strawberries, washed, a few sliced, a few left whole
handful of cherries
1 peach, peeled and sliced
mint leaves

Using a large glass pitcher, pour in half of the can of concentrate. Add half of a 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale or Sprite. Add ice, about 2-3 cups. Mix a bit. Add chopped fruits and mint and stir lightly with large wood spoon.  If needed add a bit of water. You may leave the spoon in the pitcher if you wish to help scoop out the fruit while serving.
When the liquid is empty from the pitcher, simply add the remaining juice concentrate, ginger ale and more ice to the remaining fruit in pitcher. Stir and enjoy. You may also add more fruit if needed.
Serves 8

Tips:
-I used a white grape and peach blend but you can use any type of juice. I suggest white grape, pineapple, apple, grape, cranberry, peach, mango. The possibilities are endless.
-Most instructions for Sangria will advise to let the mixture to sit in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Since I was using a carbonated liquid (and I was short on time), I made it right before serving. Either way works fine.
-If you would like the fruit to sit at the bottom of the pitcher, place the fruit in first, then the ice and the juice and carbonated beverage last. The weight of the ice will help the fruit to sit at the bottom instead of float on the top.
-You may use any combo of fresh fruit in season. I liked the look of the orange and green and red together with a splash of dark green.
-This recipe would also work well in a punch bowl.