Yeast Muffins

Yeast Muffins

When I was a kid on Thanksgiving, these were the rolls my mom always made. I remember makings this batter/dough for her countless times. I adapted the recipe a bit, but for the most part it’s just like it was back then. My only real change was switching from self-rising flour to plain since it had yeast in it to begin with. They are quick, easy and delicious when you really want a yeast bread and fast! There is no rising process…What’s not to like?

What You’ll Need:
2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast
2 cups of warm water
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
4 cups of flour
1 egg beaten

Mix yeast and sugar into water and let sit until foamy. (About 2 minutes.)

Melt butter in a large glass bowl and add yeast mixture and salt. Stir in salt and egg and then add flour. Dough will not form into a ball. It’s a very sticky type dough that resembles very thick pancake batter.

Let dough chill covered in the fridge for at least an hour.

Scoop into a muffin pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Fill each cup about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes about 24 muffins.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad

This is my take on a classic Southern potato salad. Growing up in Tennessee when you had a barbecue or a day at the lake, chances are there would be potato salad. My mom taught me how to make it way back when, in fact I don’t even remember how old I was, I just remember always knowing how to make potato salad. In the south there are potato salads with mustard, and potato salads without. Whichever way you had it as a kid, is the way you’re partial to, and people take their potato salad very, very seriously.

At some point when I was in high school when the occasion arose to make potato salad, the duty became mine. It’s one of those things that you just do by heart. It’s good cold or hot. It’s very versatile. In fact my mom and I often would have a little bowl when it was warm, while we let the rest of it chill. Try it, you’ll like it!

What You’ll Need:
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 eggs, boiled and chopped
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of celery seed
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/4 of a large red onion, chopped fine
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/3 cup of sweet pickle relish
2 heaping tablespoons of yellow mustard
1/4 cup of mayo

Boil potatoes until fork tender. (I usually boil the eggs in the same pot with the potatoes. It kills two birds with one stone!) Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. While the potatoes are still hot add cheese and seasonings and stir to mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. You can serve the salad warm or chilled. I like it either way, but some people prefer it chilled.

Vegetable Enchiladas

Enchiladas

My sister and Nelson came over to play in the dirt last Thursday (You’ve gotta love spring…It’s time to plant things again!) and we decided to whip up some dinner. My sister suggested enchiladas and I thought that sounded heavenly! We whipped up this dish and it’s not something you’d want to eat every night (lots of cheese, and thus calories), but it most definitely is worth making now and then! 😉

What You’ll Need For The Enchiladas:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 a large onion, chopped
4 large or 6 small mushrooms, chopped
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 – 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 – 8 ounce block of cheddar, shredded
1 – 8 ounce block of Colby cheese, shredded
1 cup of milk

What You’ll Need For Toppings:
Guacamole
Salsa
Sour Cream
Tomatoes
Green onions
Etc.

Enchiladas

Mix cheeses together and set aside.

In a large skillet saute bell pepper, onion and mushrooms until tender with a little salt and pepper. Stir in cream cheese and half of the cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray a 13 X 9 inch dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon cream cheese/veggie mixture into the middle of corn tortillas and fold over. Place seam side down in the baking dish and repeat until all the filling is gone. Top with remaining cheese and milk and bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and slightly browned.

Enchiladas

Top with toppings of your choice after serving.

Notes: You can add whatever you like in the filling. Next time I think I’m going to try some crayfish and shrimp! You could also add some green chilies, or jalapenos, or even a little salsa. Whatever strikes your fancy go for it! 😉

Vegetarian Red Beans and Wild Rice

Vegetarian Red Beans And Wild Rice

I LOVE red beans and rice! But even when I ate pork, I never cared for the sausage they put in the dish and I would always eat around it. This is the first time I’ve made it from scratch, though I have tried the Zatarian’s mix a few times over the years (usually with chicken or shrimp instead of sausage though). I started thinking about how easy it would be make my own version and I must say I was very pleased with the results! It’s hearty, delicious and it has just the right spicy kick!

What You’ll Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 a large yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs, chopped (leaves are fine)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons of Creole, Cajun or Soul Food seasoning (Any of the three will work. I used Soul Food seasoning)
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 can of red beans (Or you can soak some beans overnight and cook them instead)
1 cup of wild rice
2 1/3 cups of vegetable broth
Several generous shakes of hot sauce

Saute onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic until tender. Stir in a pinch of sea salt, cayenne pepper, Creole, Cajun or Soul Food seasoning and paprika. Add 1 cup of wild rice and let cook for about 2 minutes to bring out its nutty flavor. Add beans, broth and hot sauce and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. (Usually about 25-30 minutes. Check the directions for the wild rice you purchase to get an idea of how long your rice takes to cook.) Serve warm.

Vegetarian Red Beans And Wild Rice

Notes: Left overs with this dish are delicious! It also reheats very well. After sitting overnight the spicy flavors meld even more! It’s a win, win situation!

Crab Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Crab Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

This recipe is a cross between deviled crabs and crab cakes, nested on a portabella mushroom cap. I initially got the idea a few years ago when watching Rachel Ray (Note: This was a LONG time ago given now I can’t even see her without immediately flinching. Good God, that woman is annoying! How many freaking times does she have to explain what EVOO is? Every single time apparently!) and I tweaked majorly, because her recipes often don’t turn out the way they are supposed to. It’s hearty enough to easily be a main dish.

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of lump crabmeat (Note: NOT imitation crab.)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 a bell pepper, chopped
1/2 a red onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 slice of whole grain bread, toasted and crumbled into bread crumbs
1-2 teaspoons of Old Bay Seasoning (In my opinion the more the better, but it’s a little spicy so if you’re not into that then go with less)
A pinch of sea salt
2 large portabella mushroom caps
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a baking dish place two portabella mushroom caps gill side up and set aside.

In a bowl mix all ingredients except for olive oil and mushrooms. Stir to incorporate thoroughly and spoon mixture evenly between the two mushrooms to form a mound. Sprinkle with some extra virgin olive oil and bake for 15-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes two servings.

Irish Cheese

Irish Cheese

Yesterday we also sampled some Irish cheeses. I’ve used the Kerrygold Irish butter for several years now on special occasions and it truly is one of the best butters I have ever tasted, but this is the first time I had seen their cheese selection. It turns out their cheese is just as good! (But I figured it would be!)

We had the Aged Cheddar, the Blarney Castle (which is similar to gouda) and the Dubliner which reminded me of Parmesan, only softer. These cheeses (and the butter too!) are available at my local Giant and I know the butter (but I’m not sure about the cheeses) is also sold at Whole Foods and Safeway.

Vegetarian Dingle Pies

Vegetarian Dingle Pie

This is an adapted version of a Dingle Pie. Dingle Pies normally have mutton or lamb in them, I don’t eat baby anything, so it wouldn’t have worked for me even then. So I decided to play around with it a little and come up with a vegetarian version. This is what I came up with! They were delicious! My sister and her husband both liked them, and my nephew did too!

What You’ll Need For The Crust:
2 1/4 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
9 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of ice water

Process flour and salt in a food processor to mix. Add butter and process until butter is crumbly. Add water and let crumbly dough form. Pour out onto a floured surface and form into a dough ball. Place in the refrigerator wrapped until filling is ready.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor you can make the dough with a pastry cutter or fork. Simply mix flour and salt and then cut in butter until crumbly. Then stir in water until dough forms.

Vegetarian Dingle Pie: The Inside

What You’ll Need For The Filling:
1 small potato cut into small cubes
1 carrot grated
4 large or 6 small button mushrooms chopped
1/4 of an onion, chopped
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place cut veggies in a glass microwave safe bowl and microwave for 3-6 minutes or until tender. Remove from microwave and season with sea salt and pepper.

Cut pie dough into fourths and roll out flat. Cut circles with a biscuit cutter and place a spoonful of filling in the center of each circle. Top with another circle and crimp edges with a fork. Once you have used all of your dough and filling poke each pie a couple of times with a fork to vent. Brush the top of each pie with a beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Vegetarian Dingle Pie

Mini Caramel Irish Cream Cheesecakes

Caramel Irish Cream Mini Cheesecake

When I sent Jamison to get me a bottle of Irish Cream on Friday he called me with the wonderful news that there was a Bailey’s Irish Cream with a hint of caramel flavor. I hadn’t bought any Irish Cream in years and given I love both caramel and Irish Cream, I just had to try the new Bailey’s!

It’s delicious to drink (every good cook worth their salt knows that tasting is essential to the final product! 😉 ) and it made a scrumptious cheesecake to boot! That’s win win as far as I’m concerned!

Irish Spirits

What You’ll Need For The Crust:
3/4 of a sleeve of chocolate graham crackers
1/2 a stick of butter melted
1/4 a cup of sugar

Crush graham crackers. (I use my food processor.)

Stir in butter and sugar.

Line a muffin pan with muffin liners (14-15) and place crust in the bottom of each liner and press firmly into place. Set aside.

What You’ll Need For The Cheesecake:
2 – 8 ounce packages of light cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream with a hint of caramel (or just plain Bailey’s…It’s completely up to you)
1/2 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
Shaved chocolate (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Cream together cream cheese, eggs, ricotta, sugar and Bailey’s.

Add flour and mix until just blended.

Fill each muffin liner 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cheesecake are set.

Once cooled top with shaved chocolate and homemade whipped cream if desired. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 14-15 mini cheesecakes.

Kerry Apple Cake With Caramel Irish Cream Sauce And Whipped Cream

Kerry Apple Cake With Caramel Irish Cream Sauce And Whipped Cream

Here is another one of the Irish recipes I made to try yesterday. The cake itself is an Irish recipe I found a while back (with a few tweaks as always! ;o)) and I came up with the sauce myself. The cake is good warm or cooled and it has a wonderful cinnamon kick!

What You’ll Need For The Cake:
1 and 3/4 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of organic cane sugar
4 eggs
The zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 apples, chopped into small cubes

Kerry Apple Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest until creamy. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add flour and stir until just mixed. Stir in apples and mix until incorporated throughout the batter.

Pour into a Bundt pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until cake is golden brown and sticks clean with a toothpick.

Turn cake out onto a plate as soon as you bring it out of the oven.

Let cool or eat warm, it’s good either way!

Kerry Apple Cake

What You’ll Need For The Sauce:
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
2 tablespoons of natural brown sugar
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream with a hint of caramel (or regular Bailey’s is fine too!)

In a medium sauce pan add ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and let cool before serving.

Drizzle over each slice of cake and top with whipped cream.

Irish Apple Duff

Irish Apple Duff

This was a recipe I found 10+ years ago. I was either living in Huntsville, Alabama or Knoxville, Tennessee at the time. I had never tried it, though it sat in my recipe box all that time and I came across it from time to time when I was searching for other recipes and I would look at it fondly. When I decided to do the Saint Patrick’s Day feast I decided it was time to pull it out of the box! I don’t remember were it originated, but the end product was delicious, tweaks and all! It’s very reminiscent of an American apple dumpling in ways, but different too, and most importantly, oh so delicious!

What You’ll Need:
1 package of puff pastry, thawed
4 Golden Delicious apples (or apples of your choice)
Natural brown sugar
Raisins
1 egg, beaten
Organic cane sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Take both puff pastry sheets and cut them in half across the middle giving you 4 pieces of puff pastry.

Core apples and place an apple in the middle of each piece of puff pastry. Push puff pastry up around the edges of the apple about halfway up each apple.

Place about 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in the bottom of each apple core hole. Top with raisins leaving about a cm opening at the top of the core hole.

Top with more brown sugar and pack tight. (It’s probably about 1 tablespoon total for each apple bottom and top. It isn’t much in the grand scheme of things. The apple does most of the sweetening.)

Brush the outside of the puff pastry with an egg wash and dust with sugar. The pastry will slide down as it bakes, so don’t be alarmed.

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until apple is soft and pastry is golden brown.

Serve plain or with whipped cream.

Note: If you wanted to use 2 packages of puff pastry, you could completely cover each apple in a bundle. It would take roughly one sheet to entirely enclose an apple and it would be good that way too!