Strawberries!

Ah, summer. Does it get prettier than this?

I picked these up over the weekend and just could not decide what to do with them. Strawberry scones? Strawberry shortcake? What about strawberry shortcake cookies?

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, I cut them up like this: And I ate them.

Every single one.

Just like that.

So now I clearly need to go buy more strawberries, and maybe actually make something with them this time.

What will you be doing with strawberries this summer?

Strawberries!

Ah, summer. Does it get prettier than this?

I picked these up over the weekend and just could not decide what to do with them. Strawberry scones? Strawberry shortcake? What about strawberry shortcake cookies?

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, I cut them up like this: And I ate them.

Every single one.

Just like that.

So now I clearly need to go buy more strawberries, and maybe actually make something with them this time.

What will you be doing with strawberries this summer?

Salsa roja (roasted red salsa)

I eat a lot of salsa. A LOT. I am rather notorious for this, in fact. My friend’s boyfriend once innocently asked if I had anything he could snack on — maybe some chips and salsa? My friend nearly fell on the floor laughing at the thought of me not having chips and salsa in the house. There is no risk of that. Ever.

So when my awesome world-traveling chef cousin came to town for a few days, she offered to teach me how to make roasted red salsa and tamales (more on that later). Can you imagine how much I hesitated? Not. At. All.

And people, this salsa. PEOPLE. With a lifetime of tasting, sampling, and gorging research on salsa, I have never in my life had salsa this good.

Note that this makes a lot — a big mixing bowl full. I’m too embarrassed to tell you how quickly it went here. :D Without further ado, I give you: The Best Salsa Ever:

  • 16 full size tomatoes, or nearly a produce bag full of roma tomatoes (we used roma)
  • 2-3 yellow onions
  • 20-25 Serrano peppers (remove caps) Note: this many peppers makes it hot. Feel free to reduce # of peppers, or scrape the seeds out of them
  • 8-10 cloves of garlic
  • 1-2 Tbsp salt
  • 1-2 bunches cilantro
  1. Halve the tomatoes and onions and lay cut-side up on a cookie sheet along with the peppers and garlic
  2. Roast at 375 till the onions look nice and translucent (see bottom left of the next picture), tomatoes look soft, and peppers are getting a nice char on them
  3. Let it all cool a bit, then run through the food processor with salt and cilantro (we had to do this in two batches)
  4. Stir it all together and eat with abandon. Trust me.

Update 6/24/09:

Got questions? Be sure to see the comments below from The Cousin — lots of great info from the salsa expert!

Krispy Kreme bread pudding

With bathing suit season upon us, you may be thinking it’s time to lighten things up a bit. Try some grilled fish, some raw veggies, some fresh fruit.

Or you may be thinking that life is short, and you really should eat a big ol’ mess of Krispy Kreme bread pudding.

It’s always good to start with this:

If things go horribly wrong and you never even get a chance to cook, you still have two dozen donuts. And not just donuts — Krispy Kreme donuts. A gift from heaven.

The Kiddo’s Aunt Burgle was in town, and we have a tradition: our weekends together always include shopping (probably shoes), Cracker Barrel, Krispy Kremes and wine. Our days after our weekends together are spent wondering why our jeans are suddenly tight. But I digress.

So this weekend we thought we’d branch out and try something new with our KK donuts. We bought two dozen, leaving one to eat plain, just in case the pudding wasn’t great.

Our fears were unwarranted.

I looked at this recipe at Recipezaar, and this recipe from Paula Deen. The first one looked a little more involved, and we had to keep an eye on our assorted children, so we were hoping for super easy. The second recipe was easier, but Aunt Burgle’s sprouts weren’t fans of fruit cocktail or raisins, and we didn’t really think it appropriate to dish up rum butter sauce for a bunch of kids (we had grand delusions of sharing at the time). So in the end we winged it and went with:

  • 1 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, cut into chunks
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 7 oz (1/2 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

To assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut donuts into chunks and put in a large bowl
  3. Beat the eggs and add condensed milk, salt and cinnamon
  4. Pour egg mixture over donuts and let it sit about 30 minutes, stirring every so often
  5. Butter a small casserole dish and put donut mix in dish, uncovered
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or so until custard is mostly set

We wanted more donut than custard, and this was just that. Enough custard to hold the donuts together, but not so much that it overwhelmed the yummy KK flavor and texture.  This would be awesome served warm with vanilla ice cream!

We ate it warm that night. And then room temp later that night. And then cold for breakfast the next morning. Purely for research, of course, and I’m happy to report it was fabulous at all temperatures. I do hope you understand the sacrifices our hips we made for this research.

Cheeseburger pie

We were drowning (drowning I say!) in frozen hamburger patties. And there are only so many burgers a girl can eat (no, really), so I decided to re-purpose some of the beef. And there was my big ol’ cast iron skillet, lying in neglect, not having been used since… um….  last night. For pizza. Um, anyway.

This is, obviously, an adaptation of the classic Bisquick recipe. :)

You will need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 onion — less or more, depending on the likelihood of smooching someone later; I used about 1/4 of an onion, maybe less
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp dry milk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  1. Brown up the meat and onion, preferably in a cast iron skillet, and drain the grease out — I tilt the pan till any grease is on one side, then use a paper towel to blot it out
  2. Spread the meat and onion evenly in the bottom of your skillet (if you’re not using an oven-safe skillet, then spray a pie plate with non-stick spray and spread the meat in there)
  3. Sprinkle meat with cheese
  4. Using a fork, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, dry milk
  5. Drizzle in canola oil, then work it in with your fork till it looks crumbly
  6. To the flour mix, add milk and eggs and whisk together, then pour over meat/onion/cheese mix — since this was use-what-we’ve-got supper night, you’ll see some shredded mozzarella, some shredded colby jack and a few Kraft singles. It’s what we had! :)
  7. Bake pie at 400F for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean

This was really yummy. Comfort food! If you don’t do it in a cast iron, this could easily be assembled and put in the fridge beforehand, too.

Carrot Goodness Muffins

This is another one of my sneak-good-food-into-The-Kiddo recipes. It turns out, however, that my friend The Healthy Eater loves them too! They’re great for a quick, out-the-door breakfast on the go that doesn’t involve waiting in a fast food line, and keep you filled up till lunch. Yay for that! Adapted from here.

You will need:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup wheat germ
  • ½ bran
  • ¾ cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound grated carrots
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup apple butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Optional:

  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners, or use non-stick spray
  2. Whisk together eggs, apple butter, oil and vanilla in a small bowl
  3. In a larger bowl stir together flour, wheat germ, bran, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  4. Stir in carrots (and apples and raisins if used), then stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened
  5. Scoop muffin batter into muffin cups — about 3/4 full
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are just turning golden and spring back when lightly pressed

These freeze wonderfully! I make a huge batch of them every couple weeks and freeze them in giant ziploc bags, then take out a couple every night — by morning they’re ready to eat!

Roasted broccoli

I am reformed!

I have hated broccoli all my life. Hated it. Now I love it! But only if I cook it. And only like this. Hmm. Does this count as a reformation?

You will need:

  • Broccoli — preferably fresh, but frozen is fine if you set it out to thaw first
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Parmesan cheese

Ready? This is quick and easy.

  1. Preheat your oven to 450. It takes my oven about two and a half weeks to accomplish that, FYI
  2. In the bottom of a heavy skillet or saucepan, put a single layer of broccoli and toss it with just enough olive oil to coat all the pieces, and throw in a pat or two of butter
  3. Salt and pepper with abandon
  4. Put in the oven uncovered for about 20-30 minutes or longer, depending on how Southern-style soft you like your veggies (one of The Yankee’s favorite stories is the look on my face when I saw “cooked” green beans in northern Michigan)
  5. When they’re as done as you like, pull them out of the oven; they’ll likely be stuck to the bottom of the pan, which is totally fine
  6. Now, quickly before it cools down at all, splash some lemon juice in the pan to deglaze it and un-stick the broccoli. It’s like magic, I’m telling you!
  7. Sprinkle on a little parmesan cheese and chow down while it’s still hot

Yummy add-ins:

  • Fresh garlic roasted with it
  • Sprinkled-in crushed red pepper
  • Grated lemon zest
  • Lawry’s salt
  • Anything else? What do you use?