Sunday, May 29, 2011

Barbecue Baked Beans

This is my favorite summer side dish. I originally posted it in January. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do

This is a recipe that I modified, the original came from Healthy Cooking Magazine. Annette and I love the tangy quality of these beans. They seem like they should have a lot more fat and bad stuff in them. I am making some Carolina Pulled Pork today and these would make a good side dish for that. I think I included this recipe in the notebook I made of healthy recipes and gave to some of you. This recipe uses barbecue sauce, I use KC Masterpiece original, I like the smokiness. If you don't have a smokey barbecue sauce you can skip it or add liquid smoke, just be careful not to add to much.

By the way this recipe is so easy Annette made the beans for a church pot luck, I just photographed them.

Barbecue Baked Beans

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Canadian Bacon, diced
¼ cup tomato paste
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup barbecue sauce
14 ½ ounces pinto beans, 3 cans rinsed & drained, I use white beans if that is what I have on hand
3/4 cup water
¼ cup cider vinegar, I like mine tangy so I add a little extra
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large pot, combine olive oil, onion, garlic and Canadian Bacon. Cook on medium-high for 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add brown sugar, barbecue sauce and beans, mix well. Cook for 4 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving, if desired.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast

Every Saturday morning my wife makes us waffles for breakfast, but don't tell my kids or they will whine about how they ever got was dry cereal. Then on Sunday morning I make some kind of egg dish for breakfast. This Sunday I decided to tempt fate and skip the eggs, well kind of since French Toast does involve eggs. Since strawberry season is going strong I decided to make strawberries the star of breakfast today. Strawberry season has been going on for awhile here in the south. In fact my wife has already canned her strawberry jam for the season. Now we can sit back and enjoy the berries until the season is over. The recipe below is for 1 serving (2 slices of bread with stuffing between them). If you make more you maybe able to cut back a little, for instance I used 2 eggs for 2 servings and had enough egg left over to make the dogs happy. I made the filling and mixed the eggs and vanilla the night before and refrigerated them. In the morning I only had to get out the filling and whisk the eggs a bit more.

Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
1 oz Neufchatel Cheese, this is like a cream cheese only low fat. use Cream cheese if you can't find it
1 tbs strawberry jam, I used my wife's homemade
2 strawberries but into little pieces

French Toast
2 slices of bread, stale if not let it sit out overnight
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla

Powdered Sugar for garnish
3 or 4 strawberries cut into pieces

Mix the Filling ingredients together. If it tastes a little to cheesy add more jam. The goal is to get a a texture thick enough to spread so it doesn't melt and come out of the toast. Take a slice of bread and spread with the filling. Put the second pice of bread on top of it.

Whisk the vanilla and egg together. Pour the egg mixture into a pie pan. Press the " strawberry sandwich" into the egg mixture, when the first side is coated flip it over and coat the second side. Place the coated "strawberry sandwich" in a frying pan that has been preheated to medium high. Cook until egg is cooked and Golden brown. Then flip over and cook second side until the
the second side is golden brown. Remove from heat and place on a plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and then place strawberries on top.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Seafood in Puff Pastry

Last week I posted on a Napoleon I made. I sheet of the puff pastry made 6 pastries, I only used 3. With just my wife and I at home I had to come up with another recipe for the other pastries. The following recipe is what I came up with. A word of caution, make sure to drain the seafood as puff pastry does not like liquid. I speak from experience.

Seafood in Puff Pastry
1 sheet puff pastry (this will make 6 servings)
2 scallops per person
6 shrimp per person
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes per person, cut in 1/2 if large
2 tsp celery, finely chopped per person
1 tsp onion, finely chopped per person
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup white wine, increase if making more than 2
Parsley for garnish.

Cut puff pastry into 6 pieces. The pastry is folded into thirds so after it thaws unfold it and cut on the fold lines and then cut each section in 1/2. Follow baking instructions on the puff pastry box for cooking. When pastry is done cut in 1/2 horizontally.

Preheat grill.

Take a 3 foot long piece of aluminum foil. Fold it in 1/2, so you have an 18 inch long piece with 2 layers. Fold one side over 1/2 inch and then fold a second time also 1/2 inch. Turn foil around and fold the other side 1/2 inch twice. Fold the bottom up 1/2 inch, this will strengthen the foil. You should now have a pouch with an open top and the other 3 sides folded over.

Place all of the ingredients except the parsley and pastry in the pouch. Fold the top down twice, each time folding about 1/2 inch. Place on grill and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip packet over and cook for 5 minutes. Be CAREFUL when flipping so the packet does not open and ingredients don't spill out or that you don't get burned. When the packet is ready remove from grill and dump contents into a bowl. Place the bottom 1/2 of the puff pastry on the plate. With a slotted spoon remove some of contents of bowl and drain. Then place the ingredients on the puff pastry. You can put the top on the pastry and place another scoop of seafood mixture on top or put another scoop on the puff pastry and set the top on side of plate as I did in picture. Sprinkle parsley over plate after all of the seafood mixture has been placed on plate. Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Dynamite Napoleon

Obviously, I love to cook or you wouldn't be reading this now. However, there is one part of cooking that I don't like...baking. I would just as soon eat fruit then to have a piece of cake. Unfortunately my wife is the opposite, she lives for desserts especially chocolate. This means that for my wife's birthday and Mother's Day I usually become the designated dessert maker. This year I made an old classic. I use real whipped cream, you can use the fake stuff if that is your thing.

Mixed Fruit Napoleon
1 sheet puff pastry
1/2 pint of whip cream, reserve 1 tsp of whip cream
mixed berries, I used fresh strawberries and some raspberries.
2 oz chocolate

Cut the puff pastry into 6 pieces. Puff pastry is conveniently folded into thirds so just cut on the folds and then cut it in half. You will only use 3 of the 6 pieces for 2 people. Save the extras for other treats. Bake the puff pastry according to package directions.

While the pastry is baking whip the cream.

To assemble. Cut 3 of the puff pastry pieces in 1/2 horizontally. Put a flat piece on the bottom, then layer whip cream, berries another piece of pastry, whip cream then berries. Top with third piece of pastry. On the top of the pastry put a scoop of whip cream. Melt chocolate with the reserved teaspoon of whip cream. Drizzle over the Napoleon.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chicken Tostada with Queso Fresco

Thursday my wife and I celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary. My wife had taken Thursday and Friday off, I surprised her and told her I took Friday off and told her we were heading for the beach. We live close enough to the beach where we can make it a day trip. The weather was perfect 80 degrees with a light breeze. We arrived just in time for lunch. We found a nice restaurant on the beach and Annette had crab cakes and I had Lobster Newburg served over linguine. After walking the beach and exploring downtown Wilmington, NC. We headed for the Airlie Gardens. The gardens definitely had and Italian influence but with a southern twist. Check out the gardens if you are ever in the area, definitely worth the trip. Then we swung by the beach for a short stroll, it seems our shell collection was a little short and my wife needed to add a few more to complete it. Then we had to grab a little more seafood before we headed home. I had a salad with shrimp and crab, completing the seafood trifecta (shrimp, crab and lobster) all in one day. My wife had shrimp and seared tuna served over Thai noodles. I think it was probably the best day off we have had in a long time.

Friday night is usually when we do our grocery shopping, but since the beach messed that up we went Saturday. Since Saturday we have a farmers market we decided to go there first. I am glad we went. The market is bigger this year with more vendors and a better variety of foods. I bought some Queso Fresco which inspired today recipe. We also bought mixed greens (in todays recipe), strawberries which are now jam thanks to Annette, radishes and cilantro (also in todays recipe).

Chicken Tostada with Queso Fresco

Tostada and Miscellaneous Ingredients
1 tortilla per person
no-stick cooking spray
2 oz Queso Fresco, crumbled

This makes enough for 2 people
1 cup mixed greens
1 radish, sliced thinly per person
1/2 lime, juiced
1 tbs canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

I chicken breast per person (I think we bought sparrow breasts as the one we got were so small)
1 tsp Southwestern seasoning per breast

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, quartered if large
1 tbs red onion, chopped
1/4 Jalapeno, finely chopped My wife likes very mild salsa add more if you like some spice
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat grill.
While grill is heating mix salsa ingredients together and let them sit to the flavors can mingle.
Sprinkle both sides of chicken breast with southwestern seasoning. Grill the breasts to desired doneness.
While breasts are grilling mix lime, oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss the greens in the bowl to coat and set aside.
Spray the tortillas with no-stick cooking spray and place on grill when you take the breasts off. Cook until they get brown spots and start to bubble.

To Assemble
Put the tortilla on the plate, top with greens. Put the radishes on the greens. Put the chicken breast on top of the greens. Top the breast with the salsa. Sprinkle the whole thing with Queso Fresco.

Airlie Gardens in Wilmington NC.