December 27, 2016

The Party Dip Your Guests will Flip For -- Warm Pimento Cheese Dip

This Christmas, we decided to change things
up in the dinner department with a completely 
Southern-inspired menu:

Warm Pimento Cheese Dip
Cheddar Biscuits
Jambalaya with Louisiana Hot Links
Macaroni and Cheese Casserole
Yukon Gold Whipped Pototaoes
Potlikker (Collard) Greens with Pork Jowl Bacon

It was marvelous!  I've hyperlinked the recipes we used in the menu above -- all very highly recommended.

Here is our recipe for Warm Pimento Cheese Dip  -- our riff on a Southern classic.  We warmed up this traditionally cold cheese dip and got it all gooey and melty.  Serve it like a fondue with chunks of  French bread, or with tortilla chips like Queso dip. 

Warm Pimento Cheese Dip

Prep Time:  8-10 minutes
Cooking Time:  8-10 minutes
Total Time:  15-20 minutes

  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • A pinch of paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely diced roasted red bell pepper

1 ounce sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (for topping)

Step 1:  In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine first 11 ingredients.  Microwave* in 30 second increments, stirring each time, till cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.

Step 2:  Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish or serving bowl.  Sprinkle with the reserved ounce of cheese.  Bake at 400 until golden brown and bubbling.  Serve with tortilla chips or chunks of French bread.

*The microwave method speeds up the process a bit, allowing you to get this delicious dip from kitchen to table more quickly.  However, the entire thing can simply be baked as well.

November 13, 2016

Recipe: Brown Buttery Buttermeal Cookies

The other day, my family was driving home on our long daily commute from school and work when we struck up a conversation about cookies.  One of my girls chimed in, "My favorite cookie is Buttermeal!"  We think that she meant to say chocolate chip oatmeal -- in particular the ones with macadamia nuts, coconut and semi-sweet chocolate chips made by her Uncle Deuce. And yet, we were all struck by how instantly appealing the idea of a "Buttermeal" cookie sounded.  So, we spent the rest of the car ride talking about what would go into a Buttermeal cookie if one were to actually exist.  We concluded that it would be buttery like shortbread and would have the subtle nutty flavor of oatmeal.

This weekend, I experimented by riffing on a few well vetted Irish Shortbread recipes and ultimately came up with what the family deemed the perfect Buttermeal Cookie.  They are simple to make and are addictively delicious.  If you like shortbread, buttery cookies, and are keen on the sweet/salty thing, these are a must try.

Buttermeal Shortbread Cookies

1 cup salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Rolled Oats (not instant or quick-cook)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons sanding sugar, raw sugar, or organic sugar (large crystals is what you're going for)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Butter a 10" springform pan and set aside.

Step 1:  In a large microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, melt butter.  Stir in vanilla extract and set aside to cool.

Step 2:  Spread oats out on a small baking sheet.  Bake at 300 for 8 minutes to lightly toast the oatmeal.

Step 3:  In the bowl of a food processor, combine toasted oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and corn starch.  Use 12 times for 3-second intervals.  

Step 4:  Pour in the butter/vanilla mixture.  Run food processor till mixture comes together into a cohesive dough (just about 5 seconds).  Transfer dough to the prepared springform pan and press evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Step 5:  Sprinkle the top of the dough with the 2 Tablespoons of coarse sugar.  Then, gently shake the pan side to side to evenly distribute the sugar.

Step 6:  Bake at 300 for 25 minutes.  Allow the cookie 10 minutes to cool on a wire rack before removing the outer ring from the springform.  Use an offset spatula or thin butter knife to make sure the cookie is not stuck to the pan.  Then, invert the cookie on a cutting board.  Flip back on to another flat surface so that the sugared top is facing up.  Cool for another 5 minutes before cutting into wedges.  Serve warm or cold.  

November 5, 2016

Recipe: Pork and Green Chile Street Tacos

This recipe is always a favorite with my culinary students.   It is easy to make and the results are exquisite.  The trio of green chiles strike the perfect balance of bright green pepperiness, smokiness, and mellow heat.  They cook down with onions, garlic and stock into a rich and flavorful sauce.   The tender pieces of pork practically melt in your mouth.  These tacos need no further embellishment -- just load up a warm tortilla and go!

Pork and Green Chile Street Tacos

Serves 4-6 (2 tacos each)

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

  • 1 pound trimmed boneless pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces Poblano Pepper (2-3 large), seeded and julienne cut
  • 4 ounces Anaheim Pepper (2-3 large), seeded and julienne cut
  • 1 Serrano Pepper (seeded, veined and minced)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

  1. Season the pork cubes with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

  1. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil until just smoking.  Add pork.  Cook on high heat, stirring only once or twice, until golden brown on all sides (about 5 minutes).

  1. Add the onion, chiles, and garlic.  Cover and cook over high heat, stirring once or twice until the vegetables are softened (about 5 minutes).

  1. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.  Cover partially and simmer over medium heat until the pork is tender and the broth is reduced to a thick sauce (about 20 minutes).

  1. Stir in the cilantro and season with salt and black pepper.  Serve with lime wedges and corn tortillas.
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