March 12, 2016

Recipe: Easy Peaches & Cream Baked Oatmeal Casserole


This recipe is a great alternative to a bowl of mushy old oatmeal. The oats on the top retain their chewy, nutty consistency, and the fruit makes the flavors bright and fresh.  

The casserole can be prepared the day before (my kids love to do this), so all you have to do is stick it in the oven in the morning.  It also reheats beautifully as leftovers.  I enjoyed the last square this morning, heated up for a minute in the microwave, drizzled with a little milk and sprinkled with just a touch of brown sugar.

Peaches & Cream Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cups diced peaches or nectarines 
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Lightly grease a 9x13 glass casserole dish. 

Step 1:  In a medium bowl, mix the oats, half of the pecans, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine.

Step 2:  In a liquid measuring cup, combine the honey, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.

Step 3:  Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the casserole dish. Top with half of the peaches. 

Step 4:  Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts and peaches over the top. 

At this point, you can cover the pan and refrigerate until ready to bake, or bake right away.

Step 5:  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Credit where credit is due: I adapted this recipe from the Baked Blueberry Oatmeal recipe found at http://pattylkinsella.com/blueberry-baked-oatmeal/

March 5, 2016

Recipe ~ Easy Oven Roasted Pork Carnitas for a Crowd


Tender
Juicy
Flavorful
Crispy
Caramelized
Pork Love

CARNITAS!

Carnitas are the stuff of Mexican food magic. I've been experimenting for ages, trying dozens of recipes, techniques and tips from online, friends, cookbooks, and through shady back-alley dealings to find a way to make knock-your-socks-off restaurant quality pork carnitas at home.  I have a big, hungry family, and  I like to be able to make big batches of food that will last beyond a single evening's meal.


With the glee of a taco lover on Tuesdays, I'm pleased to share that I've perfected my own recipe for family-style carnitas that come out beautifully every time and taste just as good as the ones I've had at my favorite Mexican restaurants.  So, without further ado, here's my recipe for carnitas for your tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, breakfast scrambles, and more.  Enjoy!


California-Style Pork Carnitas
(yield:  3 pounds)

6-7 pound boneless pork butt/shoulder
kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder
vegetable oil
Fresh orange wedges
Fresh lime wedges

Step 1:  Season pork liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder on all sides.  Over high-heat in a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil.  Sear pork on all sides  (look for a golden brown crust).  Remove from heat and wrap in a double layer of foil.  Set on a wire rack placed on a foil wrapped baking sheet (for easy cleanup later).

Step 2:  Bake in a 265° F oven for 8 hours.

Step 3:  Remove from oven.  Remove foil.  Place cooked pork in a large bowl.  Use two forks to shred.

At this point, if you don't plan on serving all the pork at once, you can set some aside to save in the refrigerator, while you pan-fry the amount you're going to use.  The pulled pork will keep for a week in the refrigerator and can be pan fried on demand. 

Step 4:  To get the crispy, caramelized exterior on your pork that makes carnitas so incredible, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet.  When oil is nearly smoking hot, add a single layer of shredded pork.  Squeeze an orange wedge over the pork and toss the depleted wedge of orange into the pan as well.  Let pork sit over high heat until golden brown on one side.  Use a spatula to flip over, and brown other side.  Once your carnitas are nice and golden and crispy, give them a taste.  Season with a little salt or pepper if needed.  Discard the piece of orange.  Serve carnitas with wedges of fresh lime.

I like to serve my carnitas with fresh ancho peppers, seeded, sliced, and sautéed till soft and blistered in a bit of olive oil.







February 18, 2016

Recipe: Banana Bread Waffles with Bourbon Pecan Maple Syrup


When I go grocery shopping, I always buy two bunches of bananas -- one for the kids to snack on and one to just sit and go nearly black with brown-sugary overripeness.  That way, we're always ready to make our favorite banana bread on demand (recipe HERE).  


A few weeks ago, the family was in a waffle mood, so I grabbed one of my on-the-verge-of-decay bananas and set to work on creating a banana bread inspired waffle.  A few Sunday breakfast's worth of tinkering proved a success.  Here is my recipe for light, crispy, banana-bready waffles with a delicious pecan syrup to gild the lily.  Enjoy!



Banana Bread Waffles

(makes approximately 12 individual Belgians)

  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 overripe banana
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk

Step 1:  Whip egg white to medium peak and set aside.

Step 2:  With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar.  Add egg yolk and banana and beat until light and smooth.

Step 3:  Place a sifter with the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and brown sugar over the banana mixture.  Sift directly into the banana mixture.  Beat on low speed to incorporate. 

Step 4:  Add vanilla a buttermilk and beat on medium until just blended.

Step 5:  Fold in the whipped egg whites.

Step 6:  Preheat waffle maker.  Grease with nonstick spray, then portion batter into waffle cavities.  Cook until golden brown. 

Bourbon Pecan Maple Syrup

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup pecans (chopped or whole)
  • 1 fresh banana, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Kentucky bourbon (or more to taste)

In a small saucepan, add butter, syrup, pecans and banana.  Bring to a gentle boil, then immediately remove from heat.  Add bourbon, stir.  Return to heat and cook off alcohol for 1 minute more.








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