Tomato Salad

With tomatoes in season at the farmer’s market, and my garden over growing with basil, it was time to make some tomato salad! This recipe is inspired by bruschetta, but with my own twist on it.

RECIPE: Tomato Salad
Makes 6-8 Servings 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4747
Bowl
Knife
Cutting Board
Spoon or Spatula

INGREDIENTS:
Three Tomatoes
Basil
Onion
Onion Greens
Mozzarella
Balsamic Vinegar

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Chop up lots of basil fresh from the garden or where ever you can find fresh basil. Put it in the bowl. DSCF4749
2) Chop up half an onion and add it to the bowl.
3) Core and deseed the tomatoes before chopping them into pieces. Lay these on top of the onion in the bowl.
4) Chop up some onion greens or late summer scallions.
5) Chop up about 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese into skinny little pieces.
6) Drizzle the bowl with balsamic vinegar.
7) Stir the mixture until all the layers are equally distributed throughout the salad.
8) Serve it as a side, as a light meal, or as an appetizer.

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Fruit Leather!

So my wonderful parents got me an early birthday gift…a dehydrator! I am looking forward to all the things I will be dehydrating this summer. Drying herbs, making my own chili powder, maybe even some zucchini chips! I decided the first recipe I would try out in my new kitchen gadget would be fruit leathers.

Now since this was my first attempt, I will tell you to make the liquid thicker on each plate then I did. The flavor though came out great!

RECIPE: Fruit Leather
Makes Many Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4704
Bowl
Scale
Knife or strawberry corer
Food Processor
Spatula
Dehydrator Trays
Dehydrator

INGREDIENTS:
Strawberries
Blueberries
Banana
Vanilla
Honey

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Wash the strawberries and blue berries thoroughly.
2) Hull the strawberries.
3) In a bowl, measure out about 700 grams of blue berries and strawberries. I only did 400, but a thicker leather would have been better which is why I am recommending almost doubling the amount.
4) Dump the fruit into the food processor and add a splash of vanilla and a teaspoon of honey.

5) Process until it is a smooth puree.
6) Use a spatula to spread it over a tray.
7) Measure out another 700 grams of bananas, blue berries, and strawberries. I did closer to 470 over two trays, and the leather was almost paper thin! So do 700 grams on a single tray.


8) Add the fruit to the processor and process until a smooth puree. With how sweet the bananas are there is no need to add the vanilla or honey to this batch.
9) Spread the mixture over a tray.
10) Place both trays in your dehydrator and follow its specific directions to dehydrate the mixture.
11) When done, let cool and then peal it right up and off. I decided to roll some into little fruit leather cigars, while the rest I did as irregular strips, similar to a fruit leather jerky or bark in look.
12) Be sure to seal in an airtight container or in the fridge, and consume it within a week. DSCF4711

Consumption of these fruit leathers was no problem! My husband all but devoured the strawberry blue berry batch in two days, and I wasn’t too far behind with the banana berry ones!

Pizza Sausage

With how good the breakfast sausage turned out, how could I not also make pizza sausage? This sausage really lives up to its name and is amazing on pizza. It also tastes like it would do well with most Italian flavored dishes. Plus it definitely tastes better than the sausage at the store! And its cheaper too!

RECIPE: Pizza Sausage 
Makes 2 Pounds

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4635
Knife
Cutting Board
Grinder
Bowls
Freezer Bags
Wax Papper

INGREDIENTS:
1 Lb Pork Shoulder
1 Lb Ground Turkey
2 teaspoons fennel seed
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons red pepper
Fresh Basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Parsley
Black Pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons Parmesan
1/2 cup Red Wine

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Remove the skins from the garlic.
2) Cut the pork shoulder into cubes and then freeze.
3) Set up the grinder and grind the pork shoulder and ground turkey.
4) In between the meats, put the basil and garlic through the grinder with them.
5) In the bowl of ground meat, season with the rest of the spices, sprinkle in the cheese, and pour over the 1/2 cup of red wine.


6) Use your hands to mix the meat mixture before putting it all through the grinder a second time.
7) Separate the sausage into 1/2 lb servings and wrap in wax paper before putting in freezer bags if storing for later. It should stay fresh in the freezer for 3 months. DSCF4643
8) Put any sausage you want to use soon in a bag in the fridge. I used mine to top a sausage and cheese pizza! DSCF4656
Best sausage pizza I have ever consumed! Not sure if it was the sausage, the sour dough crust, or a combination of both, but it was an incredible pizza.

Squash Curry

Cooking from the garden is a great feeling. The squash in this recipe, as well as the carrot tops, were picked right from our yard. Sadly, my tomatoes are all still green so had to used canned tomatoes from the store. I am sure this is in no way a traditional or proper curry, but it was delicious and helped us reach our daily servings of vegetables!

RECIPE: Squash Curry
Makes 4 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4682
Knife
Cutting Board
Cast iron pan
Pot
Spoon
Can Opener

INGREDIENTS:
Squash
Onion
Garlic Scape
Carrot Greens
Diced Tomatoes
Curry Powder
1/2 Cup Rice
1 Cup Water

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Chop up the squash and begin cooking it first. The squash will take the longest to cook through, so its important to get it into the pan before you prepare the other ingredients.
2) Start the rice cooking in the other pot with water. For white rice, I like to do a 2:1 water to rice ratio over a gentle simmer stirring occasionally.

3) Chop up the onion and stir it into the squash.
4) Dice up the garlic scape and add it to the vegetables.
5) Cut up the carrot greens and stir those in when the squash is beginning to soften.
6) Open the can of diced tomatoes and pour it over the mixture. Season with curry powder (I’m going to find a new mix, because I’ve had better then the penzy one we have.)

7) Stir and let the vegetables simmer.
8) To serve the rice a bit fancier, I scooped and compressed it into the 1/2 cup measuring cup before plating. It was like making a sand castle, and the result was a structurally sound rice mound.
9) Serve the squash curry next to the rice right before consuming. DSCF4689

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Zucchini Carrot Cake

With a thunderstorm finally cooling down the area a bit, I figured now was the perfect time to do a little baking. My husband loves carrot cake, and it also happens to be one of my least favorites. I don’t know why, but a cake full of carrots and walnuts never seemed all that delicious to me, and cream cheese frosting is usually at the bottom of my list for frostings I will eat even without a cake. This cake was an attempt to make a version of the cake he loves, that I could enjoy with him!

RECIPE: Zucchini Carrots Cake
Makes 3 Single layer cakes 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4668
Cutting Board
Grater
Mixer
Two Round Cake Pans
One square pan
Spatula
Oven heated to 325 degrees
Cooling Racks

INGREDIENTS:
4 Eggs
10 ounces White Sugar
6 ounces  Brown Sugar
1/2 ounce Baking SodaDSCF4676
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ginger
Freshly Grated Nutmeg
Bourbon Vanilla
1 Lb All Purpose Flour
6 ounces Oil
Carrot
Zucchini
Frosting: 
Cream Cheese
10x Sugar
Margarine
Bourbon Vanilla

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF46691) 
In a mixer, beat together the eggs, brown sugar, and white sugar.
2) Mix in the cinnamon, ginger, lots of freshly grated nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3) Add a splash of vanilla to the mixture.
4) Alternate on adding the flour and oil until a batter is formed.
5) Grate up one carrots, and half an average sized zucchini (maybe 3 cups, I’m terrible at estimating.)
6) Stir the vegetables into the batter.
7) Oil and flour the baking pans before pouring the batter evenly into the three dishes.
8) Bake at 325 until a tooth pick comes out clean from the center of the cake. DSCF4670
9) Let the cakes cool completely on a cooling rack before removing from the round cake pans. I left the square cake in its pan in order to make it easier to bring to work.
10) Using the mixer, beat together one stick of margarine, one block of cream cheese, and enough powdered sugar and vanilla to make a light and fluffy cream cheese frosting. I found that a bit extra vanilla and a fluffy texture is more appetizing than the usual denser cream cheese frostings I have had.
11) Frost the cakes and then slice and serve! Between servings, I refrigerated the cake.IMG_3232 A moist and flavorful cake that will have your friends begging you for the recipe!

Spicy Beef Bowl

One pot meals are all the rage on many cooking and magazine websites. I like one pot meals because they require little cleaning, and its less sources of heat when its hot outside. Seriously, I cannot wait for this heat warning/advisory to go away!

RECIPE: Spicy Beef Bowl
Makes 3 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
DSCF4574Knife
Cutting Board
Pan
Spatula

INGREDIENTS:
Ground Beef
Tomato Paste
Hot Peppers
Cayenne
Paprika
Chili Powder
Beer
Pepper Jack Cheese
Garlic Scape
Carrot Greens
Scallion Greens

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
Begin cooking the ground beef in a hot cast iron pan. DSCF4575
2) Chop up the garlic scapes.
3) Pour the beer over the cooking meat, and then add garlic scapes, hot peppers, and tomato paste.
4) Stir and continue cooking while seasoning with spices.
5) Chop up the carrot greens and add them to the mixture right before servings.
6) Slice up the pepper jack cheese and serve it over the bowls of beef mixture if desired.

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I have really found a love for carrot greens in my cooking. They have a unique, bold flavor that brings a freshness to dishes.

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Easy French Toast

My husband pointed out to me the other morning that it has been a long long time since we had french toast for breakfast. So I figured why not whip up a batch of my super quick and easy french toast. This recipe is not the paradigm of french toast, for that I would need a good loaf of challah, but it is easy to make with whatever is lying around the house.

RECIPE: Easy French Toast
Makes 2 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4657
Pan
Spatula
Baking Dish or Bowl
Fork

INGREDIENTS:
Bread
Milk
Eggs
All Spice
Cinnamon
Syrup
Powdered Sugar
Strawberries

DIRECTIONS:
1) 
In a baking dish or bowl, beat together the two eggs with a heavy splash of milk.
2) Season the mixture with lots of cinnamon and allspice.
3) Begin heating a cast iron pan on the stove.
4) Drop a slice of bread into the mixture letting it soak up all the goodness, and then flip and let it soak a bit more.


5) Move the slice to the hot pan.
6) When it begins to brown on one side, flip it with the spatula and cook on the other.
7) Cut up the strawberries into some nice pretty attempted roses after coring them. Then give up and just do fanned slices.
8) My husband is a fan of french toast with syrup, while I much prefer it with powdered sugar. I am not saying he’s wrong, but syrup should be reserved for pancakes and waffles! DSCF4664
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Bacon Jalapenos

There are some recipes I recommend you not make just because they are addictive levels of unhealthy. This is one of those recipes. I had leftover cheese from my jalapeno bites, so this recipe was born.

RECIPE: Bacon Jalapenos

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4672
Cutting Board
Knife
Pan
Oven set to 375

INGREDIENTS:
Jalapenos
Banana Peppers
Bacon
Cheese Mixture 


DIRECTIONS:

1) 
Cut the tops off the jalapenos and core them to remove the seeds. DSCF4675
2) Stuff them with some of the cheese filling.
3) Take a slice of bacon and wrap it around the jalapeno before laying it down in the pan.
4) Repeat until you have two concentric circles of bacon wrapped jalapenos.
5) If you still have more cheese mixture left, slice open the banana peppers and fill them with cheese.
6) Place the banana peppers in between the rings of bacon jalapenos.
7) Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the bacon crisps. DSCF4679

I would say serve and enjoy, but honestly just grab a fork and pig out!

Brownie Cupcakes

We had a working lunch at work, and one of my coworkers requested that I bring in the dessert. So I made something with chocolate and peanut butter to make the endless meeting not seem so bad. They were much appreciated, and despite there being 12 cupcakes and only 5 people at the meeting, they all disappeared during lunch!

RECIPE: Brownie Cupcakes
Makes 12 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4695
Mixer
Bowl
Spoon
Measuring tools
Knife
Cupcake Tin
Cupcake Liners
Oven heated to 350
Cooling Rack

INGREDIENTS:
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Stick Margarine
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
3/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Milk
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
Crisco
Vanilla
Peanut Butter
Powdered Sugar

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF46971)
In a bowl, cream together the margarine, sugar, egg, and vanilla.
2) Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the mixture.
3) Mix in the milk until a thick batter is formed.
4) Scoop the batter into the lined tins and bake in the oven for 15 to 25 minutes or until done.
5) Let the cupcakes cool on a cooling rack.
6) In a mixer, combine a scoop of crisco, a scoop of powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla, and a small amount of powdered sugar.

7) Beat the frosting until fluffy. Taste and adjust ingredients until nice and peanut buttery and smooth.
8) Frost the cooled peanut butter cupcakes with a thin smear. DSCF4701

Not the fanciest frosting job, but when you bike to work, fancy frosting just end up looking terrible!

Good Morning Sausage

I enjoy having a meal where everything is from scratch. Since I’m not quite to the point of making my own bacon, I thought I would start with some homemade sausage. This recipe was so much better than my last attempt. I froze it in rolls so I can slice it into patties, or thaw it and hand form patties.

RECIPE: Good Morning Sausage
Makes over 3 Lbs

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4648
Bowl
Cutting Board
Knife
Grinder
Wax Paper

INGREDIENTS:
3 Lbs Pork Butt
1 Small Onion
3/4 Tablespoon Salt
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoons Spicy Mustard
Black Pepper
1/4 Maple Syrup
2 Tablespoons Milk

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF46491) 
Chop the 3 lbs pork butt up into cubes, and freeze for a bit to firm it up.
2) Roughly chop the onion.
3) Alternate the onion and pork butt in the grinder until you have a mixture of both.
4) Add the milk, syrup, and seasoning over the meat.
5) Use your hands to mix everything.
6) Put all the mixture through the grinder again so that the spices mix equally throughout.
7) Dived the sausage into four parts, wrapping each part in wax paper so that its a log.
8) Freeze the logs in the freezer.
9) Or grab some meat and form patties and drop it in the pan.
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The patties were delicious and will go great with pretty much anything.