It's all about the recipe. Really, it is! I have amassed quite a collection of recipes from my favorite cookbooks and food magazines, and now, because of all the foodie blogs out there, I am adding more every day! I test every recipe I post. Some I've been cooking for years, decades even, others I have cooked just once or twice. I don't post mediocre recipes. I don't post good recipes. I post GREAT recipes, recipes that I LOVE. When I find a recipe like that, I can't wait to share it! And the only thing better than sharing a recipe is hearing that someone else tried it and is as excited about it as I am :) Please, try something! Then let me know if you love it as much as I do! Or even why you don't... Either way, I'd love to hear from you!
I’ve been glued to MSNBC since January 21. It hasn’t been good for me. I need a break. It’s time for me to post more recipes!
I’m starting with this BBQ sauce because I bought some country ribs on sale this morning, and oven BBQ’d ribs for dinner sound like a great idea on this rainy February day.
Homemade BBQ sauce is easy to make and it tastes so much better that the squeeze bottle of chemicals with a 2 year shelf life! Use it on anything. Chicken, Ribs, Burgers, Steak…
The original recipe for this BBQ sauce was from a newspaper column in the San Jose Mercury News in 2013, I modified it just a bit (bourbon!) and four years later it’s still my go-to BBQ sauce. You can dress this recipe up to suit yourself. You’ll probably want more hot sauce, maybe some liquid smoke…you might even want to use beer or red wine in place of some of the coffee–but make the original first, then decide how you want to make it yours.
If it’s a rainy day where you are, and you are lucky enough to get country ribs on sale too, soak the ribs in BBQ sauce, and place the ribs in a large shallow pan. Cover with BBQ sauce. Cover the pan with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for approx. 1 1/2 hours.
My BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup bourbon (or additional coffee)
2 cups ketchup (yessss, I use ketchup…)
1/4 cup favorite mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar (or honey)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons cider or balsamic vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to a week. Makes 4 cups BBQ sauce.
It’s summer. It’s time for ice cream, and the easiest recipe ever posted on this site! Magic Shell! You know the stuff, right? You squeeze the chocolate-y liquid onto ice cream and it hardens up almost immediately. Then you can use your spoon and shatter the thin chocolate all over the ice cream. Then you can stir the chocolate pieces into your ice cream, and when you have a spoonful of the concoction the magic shell shatters again in your mouth. It’s lovely. It’s chocolate-y. It’s fun. It’s magic. It’s easy.
The recipe only calls for two ingredients. And once you make it, you can keep it on the kitchen counter in a squeeze bottle for up to a month.
You need good chocolate, and coconut oil. Coconut oil? Yep. It’s not as hard to find as it used to be. I even saw jars of coconut oil at Walmart, and Costco is selling huge bottles of it now. It should be on the shelf of your grocery store, next to all the other oils. If not there, and you don’t shop at either Walmart or Costco, try Trader Joe’s.
5 ½ oz. good quality chocolate, milk or dark, whatever is your personal preference (don’t use chocolate chips, use some good quality bar chocolate)
½ cup coconut oil
Ice cream, for serving
Makes 1 cup
Chop your chocolate and add it to a microwave-safe container along with coconut oil.
Zap at 30-second intervals until chocolate melts into the coconut oil. Stir well. At this point I like to pour my Magic Shell into a squeeze bottle, but this is not absolutely necessary.
Pour mixture over ice cream, watch it harden, crack it open! Magic! Fun! Delicious!
Because of the melting point of the coconut oil, the magic shell will stay liquid in a hot kitchen and solidify after sitting in a cold kitchen or the fridge. If your leftover shell hardens, just re-melt in the microwave. Stored at room temperature Magic Shell should keep for at least a month
Keep some of homemade “Magic Shell” and a carton of your favorite ice cream on-hand for quick, no cook, sort of special dessert. Psssst…! Kids like to pour some rainbow sprinkles onto the chocolate sauce just before it hardens!
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. See you again soon!
Traditional Arabic hummus. How do I know its traditional? Because I learned how to make it from my Saudi and Kuwaiti students in 1981 and 1982. I watched how they made it, wrote everything down, and have followed the recipe ever since. Well, once I tinkered with it and added a bit of cumin and coriander. My kids reacted most negatively. I remember their scorn quite clearly, “What did you do to the hummus? It tastes FOUL!” Lesson learned. No tinkering with the authentic 🙂
This was the first recipe my son learned how to follow and for a long time was the only thing he knew how to make. Truth be told, his hummus is better than mine! Why? He follows the recipe! He shells the garbanzo beans, just like my students used to do. (Before 1981 I didn’t even know the garbanzos had shells, but they do. Pop one out of its clear little membrane, and you’ll see!) Over the years I have gotten lazy, and I now no longer shell the garbanzos. As a result, my hummus isn’t as smooth as my son’s or as my students’ used to be.
Do as you wish, shell the garbanzos or not, just don’t even think of tinkering with the other simple ingredients.
Traditional Arabic Hummus
1 can Garbanzo beans
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sesame paste (available at most larger supermarkets now, in the middle eastern foods section)
approx. 1/2 cup reserved garbanzo liquid
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the liquid.
Shell the garbanzo beans if desired (shelling the garbanzos results in a much smoother dip).
Place drained garbanzos, approx. 1/2 cup reserved liquid, lemon juice and olive oil in a blender and process until smooth.
That’s IT! Isn’t that easy?
Add more garbanzo liquid if needed to make a softer dip. Remove dip to a serving bowl. My students used to spread the hummus onto a dinner plate and drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika. Americans usually serve it out of a bowl. My students served hummus only with triangles of warm pita bread. American often serve with pita bread plus carrot and celery sticks, cucumber rounds, red pepper strips, and cherry tomatoes.
From following my students around I also have recipes for Sambusas and Kapsa, and so many warm and fond memories of teaching English as a Second Language to some wonderful pre-literate Arabic and Saudi women.
Thanks for stopping by my middle eastern kitchen today. Enjoy the hummus. It’s better than that stuff you can buy in tubs, and much cheaper!
Here is my Top Ten List of Superbowl Snacks… Enjoy!
Crockpot Bean Dip: A must! Serve with tortilla chips (my kids prefer “Scoops” ). Mix up the dip the night before. Put in crockpot two or three hours before the party starts and leave it on low/warm for the entire length of the party.
Meatballs on Toast: Men and teenage boys can’t get enough of these. Mix up the meat mixture in advance (the night before is fine), then broil as needed. The recipe is delicious “as is”, but you can certainly put your signature on it. A friend of mine adds some curry powder and ground lamb to make Curried Meatballs on Toast. Add some cilantro and cumin and red pepper, Mexican Meatballs on Toast. Oregano, basil, garlic, lemon pepper, Greek meatballs on Toast?
Bacon Asparagus Rolls: All veggies can be forgiven when rolled in bacon. Delicious, “two more-ish” as my English Aunties say (as in, “I’d like two more of those, please) and different. These will make you a legend in your own time.
Baked Chicken Taquitos: A bit more substantial, but can be cut in half for finger food. Don’t forget to sprinkle with salt before baking. Serve with a salsa for dipping.
Mozzarella Sticks: Fried Cheese. Fabulous. My 2011 addition to my Superbowl snack line up, I know it will be invited back every year. Make the night ahead and freeze, then fry as needed. Can be reheated in the oven as needed.
Baked Spinach-Artichoke Dip: Might be a bit girlie for a Superbowl spread. But let’s get with the times. Girls like football, too. Some men eat quiche, but even more men will eat Spinach Artichoke Dip. This one is really for the girls though.
Blue Cheese Dip with Veggies: Come on, you have to have some raw veggies set out. What better to dip them in than a strong, assertive blue cheese dip? Dip must be make two hours ahead, but making it the night before is fine. Veggies can also be made ahead and stored overnight in refrigerator in air-tight bags. You just need three veggies, really, in order of importance: celery sticks, carrot sticks, and cucumber slices.
Gringo Grandma’s Chili: One always needs a pot of chili for Superbowl Sunday, especially if the game is in Texas! Set up a chili bar. Small bowls with spoons, chili in the crockpot, mini corn muffins or cornbread, hot dogs, buns, fries, grated cheese, onion, Tabasco… This recipe makes a lot of chili, leftovers will freeze well, but also make a fine dinner for Monday.
Oven Baked Chicken Nuggets: Make ahead and freeze. Use any boneless chicken. Most like cubed chicken bread. I prefer chicken tenders. Make ahead, and just pull out of the freezer and bake. Set chicken nuggets out next to a bottle of ketchup and a bottle of Ranch dressing.
Oven Baked Fries: You can’t get a more economical Superbowl snack. Make two pans of these. These should be a staple.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. Have a great Superbowl Sunday (even if you don’t like football)!! I always enjoy myself and I know next-to-nothing about the game 🙂
I think I’ll start with an appetizer. I haven’t posted many appetizers in the past. I’ve always been a bit appetizer challenged. My Hot Bean Dip is good, but new Year’s Eve, champagne, and Hot Bean Dip? I don’t think so.
This holiday season I tried three of Ina Garten’s appetizer recipes from her most recent cookbook, How Easy is That?: Savory Coeur a la Creme, Stilton and Walnut Crackers, and Chunky Blue Cheese & Yogurt Dip. One was OK, one was good, and one was very, very good. The Savory Coeur a la Creme was a bit of a bust. I took it to my Cookbook Club, and everyone liked the topping, which was purchased Major Grey Chutney, but they weren’t nearly as enthusiastic about the recipe-made Savory Coeur a la Creme under the chutney. The Stilton and Walnut Crackers were good, and perhaps post-worthy, but I will have to give them another try first. I think they might be better if I cut them a bit thinner, I’ll let you know. I fell hard for the Blue Cheese Dip though. Delicious!! It is made with Greek yogurt so it is lighter than many blue cheese dips (most of which are made with a few cups of sour cream). I don’t know why I photographed the dip next to a sliced baguette. I didn’t put the dip on bread. That would have been weird. I dipped celery sticks into it. When they were gone, I dipped cucumber slices. I finished up with the carrot sticks. I think I had a month’s worth of veggies in the three hours leading up to New Year’s Eve 2011 🙂
I could see thinning out leftover dip and using it as a salad dressing, IF I had any leftovers…
Blue Cheese Dip
¼ cup finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
7 ounces Greek-style yogurt (I used non-fat because I couldn’t find a whole milk version)
½ cup mayonnaise
4 ounces sharp blue cheese, crumbled
5 dashes Tabasco sauce (more or less to taste, but I found 5 to be just perfect)
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of minced chives
Start at two hours in advance (making the night before is also acceptable).
Place the shallot, garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, mayonnaise, blue cheese, Tabasco, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the processor twelve times, until the mixture is almost smooth but still a bit chunky.
Add the chives and pulse two or three more times.
Transfer to a serving bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least two hours to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve with raw veggies for dipping.
Thank you, Ina! And thank YOU for stopping by my kitchen today! Come by again tomorrow, I have another appetizer recipe to share!
Remember the first time you went to Costco? Did you come home with the gallon of mustard for $3.75? A year later you were irritated by that l-a-r-g-e jar of mustard taking up valuable space in your refrigerator, right? AND you were tired of the mini tizzy fits you kept having because you kept having to move that dang-blasted jar of mustard around to make room for other stuff, right? AND, and you were laying awake at night wondering how in the world you were going to use up that much mustard before the expiration date, right? A rookie Costco mistake; and one I made, yet again, last year. I bought a 65 oz. jar of Marinated Artichoke hearts. I don’t even especially like Marinated Artichoke Hearts. Fortunately the expiration date was not until December 2012, BUT, I’d had enough of storing it, moving it around, and wondering what to do with it. The jar HAD TO GO.
Thank goodness for a Dining For Women dinner, a Thanksgiving food fest and a Christmas Party, all of which required an appetizer! I decided to hit the net and look for appetizers using marinated artichoke hearts. I remembered my friend Candace had swooned over a Warm Spinach and Artichoke dip she had ordered at Applebee’s recently and I stumbled upon a recipe that I thought might be similar, and it was on one of my favorite recipe websites, Brown Eyed Baker! BINGO!
I made and baked one-half batch for the Dining For Women dinner. I made and refrigerated another half-batch for three days and then baked for it for Thanksgiving appetizers. So there is no problem making this up and refrigerating a few days before baking. I made another batch and froze it to defrost and then bake for the Christmas party. One effort, three parties covered with about 15 minutes of prep time and about the same in clean up time. I love the efficiency of batch cooking. Unfortunately, I only used half a jar of the Marinated Artichoke Hearts and the jar has moved from my cupboard to the refrigerator, not entirely solving my Large-Jar-of-Marinated-Artichoke-Hearts problem. I’ll just have to get myself invited to more parties and offer to bring a hot appetizer!
I just wish I had a picture that turned out as well as the dip did 🙂
14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (s-q-u-e-e-e-z-e the liquid from the spinach)
1½ cups (6 ounces) finely shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
Paprika, to taste (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. S-q-u-e-e-e-z-e the liquid from the spinach. Combine chopped artichokes, dry spinach, all but 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, all but ¼ cup of Monterey Jack cheese, room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, and garlic in a bowl and mix well.
3. Spoon the artichoke mixture into a 1½-quart baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved Parmesan and Monterey Jack cheeses on top, and then sprinkle with paprika.
4. Bake in preheated 350º oven for 30 minutes. Edges should be brown. Dip should be cooked through.
5. Serve warm with desired dippers. I served with a sliced sourdough baguette, but tortilla or pita chips, crackers or vegetables would all work. Make it yours!
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! If you have any more dynamite recipes using Marinated Artichoke hearts, PLEASE let me know! Now I have an open jar in the refrigerator, and I am going to have to use them up pretty quickly. They won’t last until December 2012 now. OR…, you could just invited me to your next party! Have dip will travel!!!