Any Kitchen Will Do

Give me a kitchen and I will cook.

Kelley’s Killer Stuffed Mushrooms

image
Have you ever felt like you are being watched? I did just the other day. I was sitting on my mom’s patio and suddenly felt like I was being observed, with the strong need to figure out what was doing it. No people. No pets. A few birds were out there, but they were busy with the feeders. In the end I decided it was the basil. Tall, healthy stalks rising out of a huge pot, with big, bright green leaves soaking up the morning sun. They were leaning slightly in my direction, so the little leaves at the very tips of the stalks worked like cyclop eyes…I decided the only way to rid myself of the paranoia was to use some basil. It wants me to, right? A functional plant that just happens to be pretty, too? I was sure mom’s well stocked fridge would reveal a wealth of ingredients to go with the stalking stalks. As you can see from the list of ingredients I was right. I called them Kelley’s Stuffed Mushrooms because Kelley likes all things Greek, and these have a leaning in the Greek direction, and they would be consumed at her house. Besides all that, she is one of the most awesome people on the planet. This is not my first Greek themed dish, but it is the first time I remember splitting kitchens when making a dish – prepared in one kitchen and cooked in another. These lovely ‘shrooms went stuffed but uncooked with us to a dinner party, and were baked in S&K’s kitchen right before serving. I do think transporting the broth separate from the dish was a good idea, though. Adding the little lime wedges helped add a bit of color, and squeezing a bit on right before enjoying them brought out the lovely flavors of the cheese and olives.
Kelley’s Killer Stuffed Mushrooms

12 baby Portabello mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/4 medium white onion, finely diced
12 kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
3 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
4 quarters marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 tsp ground oregano
1/2 lime, juiced
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt to taste
Lime, thinly cut into small slices (garnish)
Remove stems from mushrooms. With a small spoon scrape out brown gills from each mushroom cap, making more room for the stuffing. Finely chop the stems and scrapings. In a large skillet over medium high heat add the oil. When oil is hot add onion and garlic. Cook until soft. Before onions and garlic begins to brown add the chopped stems, olives, bacon, artichoke hearts, basil and oregano. Stir occasionally until stems are soft and combined with the other ingredients. Add feta to the pan and stir until it is melted and combined. Remove pan from heat, add juice from the half lime and stir. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide stuffing among the mushroom caps, placing them, spaced evenly, in a 9×12 inch baking dish. Slowly pour the broth in the pan, making a shallow pool under the caps. Place pan in oven and bake for 30 minutes, until mushrooms sweat and shrink. Remove from oven and let sit for about five minutes. Garnish with small lime slices and serve.

Apple Strawberry Crisp

20141113-204155.jpg

Unlike the other German themed dish I made recently and broke our typical non-starchy rule (shame), this crisp is intended to follow the theme of German sweets, but not so much to the letter. It is why I include berries, apples and cinnamon. According to the numerous people if know who have visited the lovely country it was accurate to think of apple cakes, berry strudels and lederhosen when I concocted it. The ‘crumble’ top could be thinner, but  why reduce yumminess?! 

Apple Strawberry Crisp

Filling
2 green apples, peeled and sliced
2 cups strawberries, stems removed and sliced
3 Tbsp Stevita
2 Tbsp lemon juice 
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Topping
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup golden flaxseed meal
2 cups finely ground raw pecans
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp stevita
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place apple and strawberry slices in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with sweetener, lemon juice and cinnamon. Toss fruit until it is all coated. Let sit while preparing topping. In a small bowl add the almond meal and ground pecans. Pour in butter and stir to combine. Add stevita and salt. Stir to combine. Divide fruit mixture among four or five single serve ramekins, or place it all in a 9″x9″ baking dish. Spread topping on top, completely covering fruit. Bake for about 30 minutes, until fruit is bubbly. Cooking time for using a larger baking dish may need to be 45-50 minutes. Serve plain, with whipped cream or ice cream. 

German Potato Salad

20141108-103935.jpg

I am a bit evil on this one. The good thing is, I can blame Little B. We were doing a multi-day lesson with her about Germany, leading up to local Wurstfest celebrations. Believe me, she was absolutely adorable in her uncle’s old lederhosen! As always, if there is a slim chance that food can be included in a learning experience I will find it. There was cabbage at bratwurst and apples flying all over the kitchen. For this salad I was sorely tempted to find a substitute for the starchy new potatoes, but in the end went with the real thing. My big excuse was that I was trying to make as authentic a German dinner as I could, with guests coming over for it to boot. I had already tweaked a dessert to be less than authentic, and got store bought saurkraut, so I caved and went pure with the salad. This by no means prevents me from making a less starchy, lower carb version in the future, but I can definitely say that I know how to make an absolutely delicious German potato salad now! I really don’t see why turnips or parsnips (and maybe a little cauliflour) can’t be substituted for the taters. If you try a version of this recipe with them let me know how it goes! Back to behaving now…

German Potato Salad

2 pounds small new potatoes
4 quarts water
1 Tbsp sea salt
8 thick cut slices of bacon
1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives 
Salt to taste 

Place the water and salt in a large stock pot. Add potatoes. Bring water to a boil and continue cooking for about twenty minutes, until potatoes are tender. Drain water and set aside potatoes to cool. While potatoes boil prepare the bacon. In a large skillet over medium high heat cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon and crumble, then set it aside, retaining the bacon grease in the pan. Lower heat under the grease to medium and add onions. Cook onions until soft. While onions cook slice the potatoes into halves or quarters so they are bite-sized. Return crumbled bacon to the pan with onions, along with the stock and vinegar. Continue cooking until mixture is hot. Add potatoes to onion mixture, tossing gently until they are coated and hot. Sprinkle with salt if needed to enhance flavors. Add chives and toss again. Serve immediately or reheat to serve warm.

Adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/german-potato-salad-recipe.html#!

More One Minute Muffins

one minute muffins

We ran out of homemade bread! Big D is out if town! What are we to do?! I can make bread, yes. I can follow recipes and such, but it feels wrong in this instance. Here is why. Big D and I spend a lot of evenings watching each other cook and talking about things. All kinds of things. Not necessarily about what is being cooked, but other stuff. Our kitchen has a bar that opens into it, so one of us can sit out of the way and still have full access to the kitchen goings on. Little B is always nearby, but our talking is usually about something other than dinosaurs and fairies, so is often boring to her. By all means there are plenty of Little B-centric chats, but less likely during these casual cooking tete-a-tetes. Since it felt so wrong bread baking in Big D absentia, I decided to take a stab at one minute muffins again. I did so previously, with results being a little more labor intensive and very specific to accomplishing hamburger buns. Those buns were not going to hit the spot for, say, a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg and cheese. I wanted something a bit smoother and softer. These are definitely smoother, softer, shorter and sweeter. I also give two different flour/meal choices, but share them together in spite of the very different results. Flaxseed gives a more ‘grainy’ texture, while the almond meal is smooth and spongier. Pick what pleases you. In trying to include the variations that impact results, I hope I do not confuse. Try a muffin and see what you like!
More One Minute Muffins
1-2 Tbsp butter
1/2 to 1/3 cup golden flaxseed meal or almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp stevita
1 egg
In large microwaveable mug melt butter (less butter makes for a dryer muffin). Add dry ingredients and stir (a larger quantity of meal makes for a shorter, denser muffin). Add egg and mix until fully incorporated. Place mug in microwave. Cook on high one minute – use of almond meal often needs an additional 30 seconds if the middle is still sunken after one minute. When cooked through remove from microwave and immediately flip muffin out of mug. Serve.

Cheesy Burger Bombs

burger bombs

Hamburgers are heavily relied on in this household. And I use the word household loosely, for reliance includes those times when we eat in restaurants. At most places a hamburger can be ordered without a bun and with a salad instead of fries. It makes for a satisfying meal and keeps us safe from wheaty pasta and breaded concoctions on menus. Recently on a weekday evening I was standing in the kitchen, staring at a bag of ground beef, ready to be made into our dinner. Regular burgers with cheese melted on top was about to be made. As I reached into the fridge for cheese, I spotted little ever-present cheese wheel snacks in the cheese drawer. Little B loves to unwrap them, peel off the wax and throw the whole wheel into her mouth. She then slowly chews it up while looking like a chipmunk. The leftover wax serves as a mommy-eating monster lots of times, reminding me of the Pac Man games of my youth. I figured, why put the cheese on top of the burgers when it can be inside?! I have put filling inside of burgers in the past, but never such big cheese bombs! I am up for trying, are you?

Cheesy Burger Bombs

1 – 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
4 – 6 Baby Bel cheese snack wheels
1/4 cup bacon grease or other high heat fat

Sauce

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp dried oregano leaves
1 Tbsp dried basil leaves
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

First make the sauce. In medium pot combine tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Stir and cook over medium heat until steam rises. Cover and turn heat down to simmer until ready to serve. While sauce is cooking prepare the burgers. Remove plastic and wax wrapping from cheese wheels, then set cheese aside. In large bowl combine the ground beef, egg and spices. The best way to combine it all is using your hands, but because of the turmeric they may turn yellow. Divide the beef mixture into 1/4 pound piles. Take a pile in your hand and flatten it into a patty. Place a cheese wheel in the middle of the patty and wrap the edges of the patty over the cheese. Close up the edges to completely cover the cheese. Repeat making patties until all the beef is used up. In a frying pan heat the bacon grease over medium high heat. Place burgers in pan and cook on one side for about five minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Flip burgers, turn heat down to medium and cover. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until burgers are done to your liking. Serve immediately over a bed of the sauce spread on a serving plate.

Banana Bread

banana bread_edited-1

Little B has been requesting banana bread for over a month. We don’t usually buy bananas because Little B is the only one who eats them, and often loses interest before the bunch is gone. The same was true this week. Two bananas were left to get dark brown and look pathetic. I remembered all the breads we have made over the past year and did a crap shoot. The ratio between almond and coconut flour definitely needs to be considered to ensure a moist result, but not overly so. The bananas would provide a natural sweetness, but no need to do much sweetening otherwise. Cinnamon always tastes yummy when sprinkled on a banana, so why not drop in a bit? The bread did not rise very much, but it was still light and fluffy. Little Be loved it, but picked out the walnuts, so the next batch we will do without. A lot of buts that turned into a lovely bread. And the darned bananas are finally gone.

Banana Bread

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp Stevita (can be excluded, if you find the mild sweetness of banana sufficient)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 ripe bananas
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 eggs
1 cup finely chopped raw walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line rectangular bread pan with parchment paper or grease muffin pan. In a large bowl combine the almond and coconut flours, baking soda, sea salt, sweetener and cinnamon. In a separate bowl place the bananas. Puree the bananas with a stick blender (or mush with hands like Little B prefers) until smooth. Add butter and eggs, whisking together until smooth. Pour liquid mixture, and nuts (optional) to dry mixture. Whisk together until combined. Batter will be thick. Pour batter in bread pan, or divide batter equally among muffin pan divets. Bake in oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Muffins take about 20 minutes, loaf about 30. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about ten minutes. Serve or store in refrigerator.

 

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

bacon wrapped scallops

Big D is going to be so pissed that I did this while he was out of town. I just could not wait! There is a local restaurant that makes something similar, and I had a serious craving. The restaurant appears to wrap the scallops with bacon and pierce with toothpicks, then deep fry them and serve with hollandaise sauce. Their sauce is a bit subtle – it may be the version of sauce they make, but I have longed for something tangier when we have ordered and inhaled them as an appetizer. Not one to deep fry things, I decided to broil, since scallops are easy to overcook and quick cooking works well with the broiler. I was tempted to do more seasoning, but decided to keep it simple. I was not disappointed. These were so easy to make at home and delicious! I promise I will make them again sweetie and after you get home!

Bacon Wrapped Scallops

8 large scallops (about 1″ diameter raw)
4 slices bacon, cut in half
8 round toothpicks
Salt and pepper to taste

Spicy Cocktail Sauce

1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp raw horseradish, grated
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven on low broil. Lightly sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Wrap a piece of bacon around a scallop, overlapping the edges. Secure the bacon with a toothpick, pushing it through both sides of the scallop. Repeat with all scallops. Place scallops on a shallow baking pan. Position oven rack about 8 inches below broiler. Place scallops in oven. Broil for about ten minutes, making sure not to overcook the scallops. If you only have one broiler setting assume it is high and reduce cooking time to 5-7 minutes, watching carefully – a few more minutes may be needed, depending on broiler heat. The bacon may smoke a bit. While the scallops cook make the spicy cocktail sauce: whisk together the paste, horseradish and juice until well blended. Sprinkle sauce on serving dish. Place scallops on plate and serve immediately after removing from the oven.

Chocolate Cheesecake

chocolate cheesecakeSo the cheesecake saga continues. Our young friend Skinny D has been visiting with us on his first trip to Alaska. When I was making the limey cheesecake for Big D he got a similar ‘happy face like a kid with a new bike’ look as he requested a chocolate cheesecake. Of course I could not say no, and was curious how it would turn out, considering the smooth success from the first cheesecake attempt. I do wish to provide full disclosure here – I have made cheesecake before – it was a pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. It was lovely and carby and wheaty. A healthier version may be in my future this fall, for I really liked the pumkiny goodness. Back to the here and now. This cheesecake was smooth like the last one, and Skinny D was very happy. So was Big D and Little B (although for some reason Little B did not like the crust). One piece of advice on cheesecake making – this cheesecake was smooth, but as you can see in the picture, there are little speckles. It is my fault. I did not ensure that the cream cheese was soft enough, nor did I take the time to do extra mixing, so little bitty pieces of cream cheese did not get thoroughly combined. Did not seem to have a negative impact on texture or flavor though. I bet I will take the time to do it right next time!

Crust
2 cups finely ground almond flour
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp Stevita granulated sweetener
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg white, lightly whisked

Filling
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk (retained from crust ingredients)
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/3 cup Stevita, granular sweetener
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In 9″ pie dish cut a round of parchment paper that fits the bottom of the dish. In medium bowl stir together all dry crust ingredients. Add the butter and stir until the ingredients clump. Add the egg white, mix until well combined. Crust will still be crumbly. Press crust into dish until bottom and sides are covered. Filling: in large bowl combine cream cheese and sour cream. Melt chocolate in the microwave proof bowl – heat and stir in 10 second increments until chocolate is melted and smooth. Add chocolate to cream cheese and sour cream mixture. Whisk together until completely smooth. Add butter and stir again until smooth. Add eggs and yolk, stir to incorporate and until smooth. Add sweetener and vanilla. Beat until well combined and smooth. Pour filling into crust and gently smooth surface. Place in oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until filling sets. Turn off heat without opening oven door. Leave cake in oven until oven and cake are completely cooled, about two hours. Remove from oven  and chill for at least an hour. Serve plain or with fresh berries.

Limey Cheesecake

limey cheesecake

Of all the desserts in all the homes and restaurants and coffee shops I have visited, I am likely to pick cheesecake last. I actually like smooth, flavorful cheesecake, but I have found over time that I am picky and end up finding them icky. I tend not to pick it as my treat of choice because it is easy to make icky cheesecake. For me icky has a specific definition when it comes to cheesecake – that slightly rough, bumpy texture that tastes like something vague, usually plastic or paper, and is far from convincing me to think, ‘hmm, I like this’. Enter Big D. He loooooves cheesecake. I actually have not discussed the ‘icky’ version I tend to experience, but he got a sad little look the other day when we saw some cheesecake in the dessert display of a restaurant. ‘Can you make some?’ he asks hopefully. I say ‘yes, of course’, and his face lights up like a kid with a new bike. Don’t even ask me how many bikes he owns; needless to say, I have seen the look on him plenty of times before. Here is my attempt at cheesecake, with no wheat or sugar. I think it turned out pretty smooth and flavorful. No ‘icky’ factor for me this time! I would really disappoint myself if I contributed an icky cheesecake. There is enough of it in the world. And based on Big D’s reaction to eating it, I scored big on getting a repeat of the new bike face.

Limey Cheesecake

Crust
2 cups finely ground almond flour
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp Stevita granulated sweetener
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 ground ginger
1 egg white, whisked (save yolk for filling)

Filling
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream
2 large eggs and 1 egg yolk, room temperature
3 Tbsp butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1/3 cup Stevita, granular sweetener
2 large limes, zested and juice separated from meat (use less for milder lime tang)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fresh berries (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In 9″ pie dish cut a round of parchment paper that fits the bottom of the dish. In medium bowl stir together all dry crust ingredients. Add the butter and stir until the ingredients clump. Add the egg white mix until well combined. Crust will still be crumbly. Press crust into dish until bottom and sides are covered. Filling: in large bowl combine cream cheese and sour cream. Whisk together until completely smooth. Add butter and stir again until smooth. Add eggs and yolk, stir to incorporate and until smooth. Add sweetener, lime zest, lime juice and vanilla. Beat until well combined and smooth (see a pattern?). Pour filling into crust and gently smooth surface. Place in oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until filling sets. Turn off heat without opening oven door. Leave cake in oven until oven and cake are completely cooled, about two hours. Remove from oven  and chill for at least an hour. Serve plain or with fresh berries.

 

Baked Crispy Chicken

oven fried chicken

I have seen the use of crushed pork rinds as a ‘breading’ in a lot of different places lately. I was originally going to use our approach to breading we rely on for Scotch Eggs, using golden flaxseed meal, but wanted to try the pork rind approach first. We are usually dark chicken meat people, but our young house guest Skinny D likes white meat, so we caved in and made it too. Adding the variety gave us an opportunity to try three different chicken conditions – dark meat, white meat and skinless ‘tenders’. oven fried chicken panThe results were awesome – the pork rind breading worked on everything! Leftovers were a little soggy when microwaved instead of toasted/baked, but straight out of the oven worked for me as a fried chicken replacement. Big D found it to be a bit lacking in his pursuit of more crunch, but we have ideas to change that. Stay tuned!

Baked Crispy Chicken

8 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
2 chicken breasts, with bone and skin
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large bags pork rinds
1 cup grated parmesean cheese
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line shallow baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a blender or food processor cut the pork rinds into small crumbs. Place crumbs in large mixing bowl. Add cheese and spices to the crumbs and stir until combined. Remove bones from chicken breasts while leaving the skin attached, removing separately the long tenderloin pieces along the bone for ‘chicken strips’. Slice chicken breasts in half, making four evenly sized pieces. Season all pieces of chicken with sea salt. One at a time coat each piece of chicken with butter, then thoroughly coat all surfaces of each one wit the crumb mixture. Place each piece, skin side up, on the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space around each piece. Bake for about one hour, until juices run clear. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Oven Fried Chicken at Buttoni’s Low Carb Recipes.

Post Navigation