I can’t believe I’ve reached the last few weeks of summer and posted only posted TWO recipes to this blog. Bad food blogger, bad!
Perhaps I should give myself a bit of lee-way; it’s been a busy and at times difficult summer. Between a stressful job, a house full of much-loved guests, and a spouse with multiple broken bones from a sports injury, there hasn’t been much time to sit down and breathe, let alone focus on blogging (or much of anything else). Only after quitting my job, bidding fond farewell to our wonderful guests, and putting my hubs on the road to recovery has life finally slowed down to an easier pace. Halle-freaking-lujah!
Of course, I’m one of those people that – despite wanting a break for months – has to fill their first waking moment of free time with activity. In this case, I was only 10 minutes into relaxing on the couch with some Investigation Discovery (it’saddictiveAF) before deciding to have a casual peek at my recipe collection. Casual peek quickly transformed into detailed research, which then morphed into a cooking and baking agenda for the next four months (and a shopping list as long as a novel). And so went my rest time; I was on my way to the market before the murder had even been solved. It was nice knowing you, R & R!
All credit for this beautiful salad recipe goes to Cafe Delites, one of my favorite blogs of all time. The garlicky honey mustard dressing is the BOMB.COM – I’m not a mustard fan by any means, yet I devoured this salad in under 5 minutes! It also makes an unbelievably delicious marinade for the chicken – my husband already requested that I make this again soon. It’s a definite keeper – enjoy!
HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN, BACON + AVOCADO SALAD
Yields: 4 servings
For the marinade/dressing:
⅓ cup clear honey
3 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp smooth + mild Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp finely minced garlic
Salt, to season
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the salad:
¼ cup diced bacon, trimmed of rind and fat
4 cups Romaine lettuce leaves, washed
1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
¼ cup corn kernels
Whisk marinade / dressing ingredients (through salt) together to combine. Pour half into a shallow dish, submerge chicken and marinade for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Refrigerate the reserved marinade to use as a dressing.
Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan (or grill pan or skillet) over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing. (Grill in batches to prevent excess water being released. Dispose of used marinade.)
Wipe pan over with paper towel; drizzle with another teaspoon of oil and fry the bacon until crispy.
Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with leaves, tomatoes, avocado slices, corn and chicken.
Whisk 2 tablespoons of water into the remaining dressing and drizzle over the salad. Sprinkle the bacon over the top and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper, if desired.
We’ve been experiencing uncomfortably high temperatures (and insanely high humidity) for the last several weeks in central Europe, meaning I’ve had no desire whatsoever to turn on my oven and get baking. That doesn’t mean, of course, that my notorious appetite for all things chocolate diminished in the slightest. Far from it! I was into my collection of no-bake dessert recipes within minutes of temps topping 90 degrees last week.
This pie has a very special place in my heart, as it’s been my dad’s favorite for as long as I can remember. In fact, I can scarcely remember a birthday or Father’s Day celebration in my childhood in which it didn’t make a welcome appearance. The filling is rich and creamy, cradled in a delicate chocolate cookie crust and topped with drizzled chocolate sauce and grated dark chocolate. I took it a step further (maybe too far?) on this occasion with the addition of chopped miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. A word of warning: this pie is not for the faint of heart … or dieters … or diabetics … but is definitely worth a try if you’ve got a peanut butter lover in your midst!
Note: If you’d like to craft a lower-fat version of this pie, use 1/3-fat cream cheese, reduced or low-fat sweetened condensed milk, reduced fat peanut butter and fat-free Cool Whip. I’ve made both versions and the flavor variations are minimal.
PEANUT BUTTER PIE WITH CHOCOLATE COOKIE CRUST
Yield | 8 to 10 servings
1 1/3 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (approximately 30 crushed cookies)
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tbsp finely granulated sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly whipped cream
1 to 2 tsp chocolate syrup, to serve
1 ounce grated dark chocolate, to serve
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir together cookie crumbs, melted chocolate and sugar. Press firmly and evenly into a 9-inch pie plate. Chill crust for 30 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter, blending for 1 minute. On low speed, add lemon juice and vanilla extract, blending until just combined.
Remove bowl from electric mixer and gentle fold in freshly whipped cream. Pour pie filling into the chilled chocolate cookie crust and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. To serve, drizzle with chocolate syrup and sprinkle with grated dark chocolate, if desired.
It’s been a long, lonnnng time since I’ve posted to this blog, but I’m happy to be back with new recipes (the result of lots of summer cooking and baking!) this week. Hopefully this post kick starts my lazy blogging bum into gear, and I’ll be back with more recipes in the weeks and months to come!
This spicy homemade chili has been a family favorite for years. Adapted from the recipe for Boilermaker Tailgate Chili on AllRecipes.com, it’s also been my go-to meal for the happy occasions this summer that we’ve welcomed family and friends to our home in southern Germany. Despite the rather intimidating number of ingredients listed, this chili couldn’t be easier to prepare for a large group of weary, jet-lagged world travelers desperately in need of a protein boost. And if the protein doesn’t wake them up, the flavor surely will – this chili is spicy with a capital S. I personally like to take my spice level to the brink of hospitalization, but feel free to tinker with the amount of chili powder added if pepper-induced sobbing just isn’t your jam. (I recommend 2 tablespoons instead of 1/4 cup for those with less heat tolerance.)
And finally, let’s talk about cornbread. I LOVE cornbread. I’ve tried every conceivable type of cornbread known to man or woman, and this recipe is HANDS DOWN the best. It has the rare combination of perfect flavor (not too sweet, not too bland) and perfect consistency (not too cake-like, not too dry). I can’t imagine a better accompaniment to this spicy chili. Enjoy!
HABANERO TURKEY CHILI WITH HONEY BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD
Yield | 12 servings
For the chili:
2 pounds ground turkey
1 pound hot Italian sausage
4 (15 ounce) cans chili beans in sauce
2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1-2 habanero peppers, seeded + minced
4 cubes beef (or chicken) bouillon
1/2 cup beer
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2-1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white sugar
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, to serve
For the cornbread:
½ cup butter
1 tbsp clear honey
2/3 cup white sugar
2 fresh eggs
1 cup buttermilk
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
To make the chili:
Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground turkey and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
Pour in the chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, habanero peppers, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder and remaining ingredients (through sugar). Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, topped with shredded cheddar cheese (or refrigerate and serve the next day).
To make the cornbread:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
Melt butter and honey in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Blackberry cobbler is – HANDS DOWN – my favourite summer dessert. As soon as I spotted the world’s largest blackberries for sale at my local farmer’s market this week, I knew cobbler was in my near future. I used a recipe that – while in my family for decades – differs from others floating around the Internet these days. It’s actually a recipe for ‘cottage pudding’, featured in the 1918 edition of the AMAZING Fannie Farmer cookbook (if you don’t have one, visit your local bookstore ASAP!!). With the addition of fresh berries, the original Fannie Farmer recipe becomes the BEST cobbler you will ever taste! And by ‘taste’, I mean DEVOUR.
While I divided the recipe into individual serving-size portions, it can just as easily be made in a shallow baking dish. Enjoy!
INDIVIDUAL BLACKBERRY COBBLERS
Makes: 4 servings
2 cups fresh blackberries
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup butter + extra for greasing
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Grease four 6-ounce ramekins with butter.
Rinse blackberries and pat dry. Set aside.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, milk and melted butter. Stir gently into the flour mixture to combine.
Place a layer of blackberries in the bottom of each ramekin. Spoon a layer of batter over the berries, repeating this process until the ramekin is full (I like to add several berries to the top of the final batter layer). Transfer ramekins to a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes (cobbler topping should begin to brown lightly at the edges). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.