Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Carrots And Onions

This is a very simple and easy Side dish to put together on busy days. They are also elegant enough to  serve on Date Nights and Special occasions. They are Full of Flavor and yet they do not weigh you down after your meal. These Roasted Vegetables are light,healthy and Pair well with each other. So go ahead and have seconds.
 
1/2 lb Brussel Sprouts, (Fresh or Frozen) Cut in half
4 Carrots, Sliced on the Diagonal about 1/4 inch thick
1 Onion, Diced in 1/2 inch pieces
2 tbsp, Olive Oil
1 tbsp, Honey
Juice of Half a Lemon
1 tsp, Dijon Mustard
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
Salt and Pepper ( to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes ( more or less to taste)
 
 
(1.) Pre-heat the oven to 425*. Allow the oven to get hot about 20 minutes before roasting.
 
(2.) In a large bowl combine the Halved Brussel Sprouts, The Carrots and the Onions and toss to mix. Set aside until needed.
 
(3.) In a small bowl whisk together the Lemon Juice, Honey, Mustard, Garlic, Salt, pepper and Red Pepper Flakes until well combined. Slowly drizzle in the Olive Oil until thick and creamy. Adjust the seasonings and add more Salt and Pepper if needed. Pour over the Vegetables and toss to coat well.
 
(4.) Pour the Vegetables onto a Sheet Tray and spread out evenly in a single layer. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until Golden Brown and the edges are slightly charred.  Don’t Forget to toss the Vegetables half way through the roasting process and then continue to roast.
 
(5.) Remove from the oven and Drizzle some more Lemon Juice over the Vegetables along with Salt, Pepper and a little more Olive Oil. This is to just perk up the Flavor even more. Toss to coat and spoon on to a Serving Platter and Serve.
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Wild Rice With Bacon And Vegetables

This is one of my favorite rice dishes. I love the flavors in this recipe and they go so well together. The Wild Rice has its own unique flavor and texture, but when you add the saltiness of the bacon and the crunch of the pecans along with the vegetables….. You get something uniquely delicious. I hope that you enjoy this wonderful side dish.

1/4 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped

1 1/2 c. Wild Rice

4 pieces thick cut Bacon, diced ( bacon fat reserved)

1 Carrot, peeled and diced small

1/2 Onion, Diced small

Salt and Pepper ( to taste)

2 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 tsp. White Wine Vinegar

1 tsp. Honey

1/4 c. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Dijon Mustard

 

(1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. When The water starts boiling rapidly add 1 tbsp of salt. Stir to dissolve the salt in the water. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until the rice is tender. Drain.

(2.) While the rice is cooking and cooling, Toast the pecans in a 350* oven for 8 to 10 minutes until light golden brown. let cool. Cook the bacon over medium heat in a skillet until crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Reserve 2 tbsp of the bacon fat in a bowl. Set aside.

(3.) Add the Onion, carrots and garlic to the skillet and turn heat to medium low and cook them until tender crisp. about 10 to 12 minutes. You can cook them longer if you want them softer and more tender.

(4.) In a large serving bowl combine the rice, bacon and the cooked vegetables and toss to combine well. To the bowl with the reserved bacon fat (cooled) whisk in the white wine vinegar, salt, pepper, honey and Dijon mustard until thick and creamy. While whisking still, Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until combined and thickened. Check the dressing for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed. Add to the top of the rice and vegetable mixture and toss again to coat well. Taste the mixture to see if the seasonings are right for you and if needed add more salt and pepper. Toss again before serving to ensure the flavors are combined.

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Southern Style “Crackling” Cornbread

Every Southern Home has made some form of this delicious bread. We serve it with Beans or as a side for a whole meal. Most of the Older people love this either toasted in the morning with a little butter or with milk as a snack. I know that this does not sound to appealing to some but this is what ” As a Child” they grew up eating.  I ” being the younger generation” like this with beans or as a side.

I know that some of the older recipe’s call for a lot of cornmeal and little to no flour at all. This type of Southern traditional Cooking I am use to so just using the cornmeal does not really bother me. I do, However like the more Cake like texture of adding some flour to the mix. It makes the finished product have a more cake like texture. I like to make a more denser cornbread for beans and a more fluffy cornbread to place as a side for a meal.

There are so  many ways and so many things that you can put into a cornbread mix to make it suit your liking. I have quite a few and will also be sharing those as well in the coming posts. As I have already posted a simple cornbread already I thought that I would bump it up a little and make it a little bit more southern. I do hope that you enjoy this recipe as so many others do.  Now If you can not find “cracklings” in your local supermarket or grocer” then You can substitute 1/2 think cut diced bacon instead. The texture will be different but the flavor will be the same as they are both “Pork Products”.  Just use the same amount of bacon as you would for the “cracklings”.

So Lets get started on the Ingredients.

 

2 1/2 c. Yellow Cornmeal ( if you only have white cornmeal that is just fine)

1 c. Flour

2 tbsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Fine Black Pepper

1 1/2 c. Pork cracklings or ( 1/2 inch thick cut and diced bacon)

1 Egg Room Temperature

3 tbsp. Vegetable Oil

1/2 c. Buttermilk

1 c. Milk ( whole)

2 tbsp. Butter Room Temperature for greasing the pan

 

(1) In a bowl whisk together the Flour, Cornmeal, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Salt and Pepper until well combined.cooking blog pictures 019

(2) In a measuring cup beat together the Egg and the Vegetable Oil until well combined.cooking blog pictures 020 Add the Buttermilk and beat together until well combined as well.cooking blog pictures 021 Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients.cooking blog pictures 022 Add in the Milk and whisk together until almost combined.cooking blog pictures 023 Remove the whisk and use a rubber spatula to mix in the rest of the batter.cooking blog pictures 024

(3) Add in the ” Pork cracklings or Bacon” and mix gently with the rubber spatuala.cooking blog pictures 026 Let set at room temperature for at least 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the cornmeal to soften a bit so it will not be as gritty.

(4) Butter a 8×8 in square pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400* and allow the oven to get hot.

(5) When the oven is hot and ready Pour the Batter into the greased pan and level off the top.cooking blog pictures 027 Bake the Cornbread for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Allow the Cornbread to cool completely before removing from the pan.

(6) When the Cornbread is cooled, Run a knife along the edges and using an offset spatula run along the bottom of the bread to gently release from the bottom. Turn the Bread out on to a plate and on to a serving dish right side up. Cut into squares and serve or you can just cut out squares from the cooled pan and allow people to serve themselves. Either way is just fine. cooking blog pictures 029

If you have left over you can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Serve with Room Temperature Butter on the side.

I do hope that you enjoy this great Southern Recipe from my family. If you want a Denser Bread then cut the Flour down to 1/2 cup. Hope you enjoy!

 

Holiday Cornbread Dressing

There are many Dressings and Stuffings out there but I have to say this is our favorite. I grew up with this as a staple in our family and now it is a staple in my family now during the Holiday Season.  This is a prep ahead recipe but it is not hard to make. The only thing you have to remember is not to pour out the chicken broth ( which I have done before). You make your favorite cornbread and boil the chicken the night before and store in the fridge over night. Make sure to shred the chicken before storing. The flavor of this dish is more of a savory sage which you can add to your taste. It is moist, delicious and not your normal Cornbread Dressing. I make this dish every year. It is a dish that is demanded at our house that I make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner. There are a lot of memories that surround this Dressing that I think of when making it. It reminds me of childhood, cool winter days, warm fire places and Christmas Morning. I hope that this recipe becomes a part of your families Holiday Season this year.  Now here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:

 

1 Pre-Made Cornbread

1 lb Chicken Breasts, pre-cooked and shredded

1 Onion, diced medium fine dice

3 Celery Stalks, diced medium fine dice

2 Tbsp Rubbed Sage ( or to taste)

Salt and Pepper ( to taste)

2 Eggs,  room temperature and slightly beaten

1 Cup of Dried cranberries ( Optional)

 

(1) Make Your favorite Cornbread Recipe the night before and chill over night. Boil 1 lb Chicken Breasts in 8 to 10 cups of water for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Let cool and shred the meat off the bones and discard the bones. Store the meat in airtight container over night. Do not pour out the broth as you will need this later on in the recipe. Store in container with lid over night. Allow to set out at room temperature 1 hour or so before using.

(2) In a large bowl combine the shredded Chicken, Onion, Celery, Sage, Salt, pepper and crumble the Cornbread into the bowl as well. Add half of the Chicken broth and mix together until combined. Add more of the Broth to make the mixture a soupy Texture. Check for Seasoning and add more if needed. If the Seasoning is right then Add in the Beaten Eggs and mix well.  Add in the Dried Cranberries if using and mix well.

(3) Spray a large 10 x 16 inch pan with Vegetable Spray to coat pan. Pour in the Cornbread Mixture and level off. Cover with Foil and bake at 375* for 20 minutes. Remove the Foil and cook for an additional 45 to 50 minutes or until just set. The top will be moist and slightly soft and golden brown. Remove from oven and let set 20 minutes before serving.

French Fries

Here is a great recipe for fries. The way that I make them gets them soft and tender in the middle and a nice crispness on the outside. They are not as hard to make as some claim. This is the way that I like to make them. It takes a little extra time but it is worth it I think. I have to say that they are deep-fried and are not too healthy but it is nice to have every once in a while or when you really need them. Here is what you need:

6-8  Russet Potatoes, Washed , dried and cut into 1/4 inch slices and then into 1/4 in strips to make the fries

Oil ( for frying)

Salt

 

(1.) when you have all of the potatoes cut place them in a bowl filled half way with water. Let them soak while the oil is heating up.

(2.) In a large heavy bottom pot ( dutch oven) Add enough oil to fill the pot half way up. Heat the oil over medium heat until 350* on a thermometer.  When the oil is ready for frying take out 2-3 handfuls of the potatoes fries and lay them on some paper towel . Place some more paper towel on the top and pat them as dry as you can get them. Carefully place them in the hot oil and let them cook for 5 minutes.

(3.) Line a Sheet pan with paper towel and set aside. When the potatoes are done remove from pan carefully using a scoop and strain spoon (slotted spoon) and place on the paper towel lined sheet pan. Keep doing this until all are cooked.

(4.) Turn the heat up to medium high heat and let it come to 375* on the thermometer. Line another sheet pan with paper towel and set aside. Carefully place 2-3 handfuls of fries to the Hot oil. Let cook for 10 minutes or until Golden brown. Carefully remove the fries with the slotted spoon onto the paper towel lined sheet pan and quickly sprinkle with the salt while still hot. This allows the salt to stick to the fries. Keep doing this until all of the fries are cooked. Let them set a minute or two to cool off. Place into a serving dish and serve.

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