Monday, July 27, 2015

Red Potato Salad


3 pounds red bliss or other bite size potatoes
1 teaspoon mesquite liquid smoke
4 cloves garlic, smashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 jar of roasted red peppers
16 strips bacon, chopped
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 teaspoon of hot Hungarian paprika
1 cup gently chopped fresh parsley
8 scallions, chopped


In a large pot, add the potatoes, liquid smoke, garlic, a nice pinch of salt, a few grinds of pepper and water to just cover. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork-tender all the way through, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and rest the colander over the top of the empty pot to allow the heat to dry the potatoes. Once cool enough to handle but still warm, cut the larger potatoes in quarters and the others in half to make all the same general bite size. Some may not need to be cut at all. Add to a large mixing bowl.

In a large pan on medium heat, add the bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp, about 8 minutes. (Or cook bacon in the oven or microwave but keep the fat.) Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, paprika, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper to the still-hot pan. Cook at a rolling simmer until the sugar and salt dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and toss until they soak up the vinegar mixture.

Transfer the potatoes back to the large bowl. Add the red peppers, bacon, parsley and scallions and toss. Pour into a serving bowl and serve warm or cold.

Deep Dish Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 boxes instant vanilla pudding according to box directions.
  • 8 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Beat eggs and sugar until combined.
  2. Add flour, milk. oil,baking powder and vanilla.
  3. Mix just until combined.
  4. Pour into 9x13 pan that is greased!
  5. Bake at 350 for 40-50 mins until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Once out of the oven, use a wooden spoon handle to poke holes throughout the cake.
  7. Prepare pudding according to box directions and pour over the cake.
  8. Let cool.
  9. For ganache, heat heavy cream just to a boil.
  10. Pour over the chips and let sit 2 mins.
  11. Whisk smooth.
  12. Pour through sieve to strain.
  13. Let cool a few mins and pour over pudding layer.
  14. Chill until cold and then cut!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cocoa powder
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. red food coloring 
1 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the Oreo Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
12 Oreo's, coarsely crushed

Additional Oreo cookies, for garnish (if desired)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 regular-size muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry cupcake ingredients. Stir with a whisk to combine. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the wet cupcake ingredients with an electric mixer. Stop the mixer and add half of the dry ingredients into the wet. Mix to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly into the cupcake papers, filling each about two-thirds full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until cupcakes test done when a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

To prepare the frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the Oreo's and mix well. The frosting should be light and fluffy. 

Top the cupcakes with the frosting. If desired, cut additional Oreo cookies in half and garnish cupcakes.

**Note: I found this to be enough frosting for my family and our tastes .... if you like a lot of frosting, you may want to double the frosting  

Mediterranean White Bean Salad

2 cans drained navy white beans or equivalent cooked navy beans (if you cook them, leave them al dente)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 small jar of sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 package of frozen yellow corn
½ cup of good feta cheese, crumbled (I prefer Greek)
½ cup of chopped green, yellow & red pepper (make life easier and get the tri-color pack
that’s already chopped up)
½ cup of Marie’s Italian vinaigrette (or other good Italian dressing)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper

Toss and chill for flavors to meld.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Red, White and Blue Sangria

1 pint of hulled fresh strawberries
½ pint of fresh or frozen blueberries
Fresh pineapple cut into stars with Christmas cookie cutter (prepare ahead and freeze so these become your ice cubes
2 bottles of dry white wine
1 cup of triple sec or other orange liqeuer
½ cup of blueberry infused vodka
¾ cup of fresh lemon juice
½ cup of simple syrup (you can add cinnamon or fresh ginger to syrup if you want)

Combine chilled liquid ingredients in a large pitcher and stir.  Put stars in the bottom of a clear glass pitcher, then add strawberries, then add blueberries.

Honey Lime Vinaigrette

¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons of honey
2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro
1 minced garlic clove
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh jalapeno

Mix all ingredients in small jar.  Shake and then dress salad immediately.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Party Punch

  • 1 gallon Fruit Punch
  • 2 liters 7-Up
  • ½ gallon raspberry sherbet

    1. In a large punch bowl, pour the fruit punch and 7-up.
    2. Using ice cream scoop, scoop out balls of raspberry sherbet and place into punch bowl until none remains.                            ***Recipe and photo from Chef In Training