Monday, September 17, 2018

Fall-Flecked Stuffed Grape Leaves #PumpkinWeek

This post written by me on behalf of the sponsors of #PumpkinWeek. 
Prizes were donated for the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

I know what you're thinking: This is a #PumpkinWeek recipe...where's the pumpkin? Well, I'll tell you. Instead of just plain ol' tomato sauce in these babies, I used homemade pumpkin purée. And I also added in another Fall favorite: roasted chestnuts. Please check out the other offerings from my fellow #PumpkinWeek bloggers...and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Tuesday's #PumpkinWeek Recipes
Savory
Baked Goods & Desserts

Ingredients

Stuffed Grape Leaves
  • 2 C cooked rice
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 C caramelized shallots
  • 1/4 C cooked chestnuts, peeled, roasted, and slightly smashed
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • handful of fresh parsley, roughly-chopped
  • 2 T fresh pumpkin purée*
  • 2 to 3 organic lemon, thinly sliced (I used Meyer lemons)
  • 2 T liquid (use wine, veggie broth, or water - I used ouzo, a Greek licorice liqueur)

*Pumpkin Purée (makes more than needed)
  • 1 to 2 small pumpkins
  • olive oil
  • water
 Procedure

Pumpkin Purée
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Slice the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. 

Brush the inside and the cut edge with olive oil and place the pumpkin cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until the pumpkin flesh is easily mashable and the skin is easily pierced with a fork, approximately 90 minutes.

Let cool slightly, until you can handle the pumpkin without burning your hand. Scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash until desire consistency.

Stuffed Grape Leaves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils, caramelized onions, olive and chestnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the pumpkin purée and fresh parsley.

 Place a tablespoon of your filling in the center of a grape leaf. Keeping constant pressure, roll the grape leaf into a packet. Because my grape leaves were so small, I used two for each roll.


Arrange the rolls in a baking dish. Lay slices of lemon over the top.
  
Fill your pan with water so that the water comes to the top of the rolls. Add a splash of olive oil and your wine or liqueur. Lay grape leaves over the top.
  
Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 90 minutes, until the liquid is completely absorbed and the rolls are soft.


Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Disclaimer: Thank you PumpkinWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, and Eggland’s Best for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for PumpkinWeek  recipes. All opinions are my own. The PumpkinWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Three (3) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The PumpkinWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the PumpkinWeek posts or entry.

Mimolette Burgers with Malbec Onions #KitchenMatrixCookingProject


This month Karen of Karen's Kitchen Stories is picking our #KitchenMatrixCookingProject recipes; this week she selected Burgers + 9 Ways. Read about our year-long project here. Well, we are huge burger fans in my house. Huge. So, the boys were thrilled!


This year, I've also joined a monthly burger challenge group, so we've played with lots of different flavor combinations recently, including a Curry Burger with Blueberry Chutney, Salmon Burger with Roasted Tomatillo Cream, and what I called a 'You Feta Be Kidding Me' Burger made with ground lamb. . Sticky Hoisin Duck Burgers were a favorite and I had a lot of fun making a Chile-Relleno Topped Chorizo Burger years ago.

Bittman suggests an enticing array of burger in the fish-seafood, pork, and lamb categories. No beef! Very interesting, indeed. But, when I went to make this week's selection, I already had ground beef in my fridge. And though my boys are usually very adventurous, they said that we'd already done a lot of Bittman's combinations - tuna burger, kofte style, Greek style, etc. So, they requested a 'plain ol' cheeseburger.'

If you've been following me for awhile, you'll know that 'plain ol'' isn't usually in my culinary wheelhouse. But I obliged as much as I could: mimolette cheese and a brioche bun...then I added in onions caramelized and simmered in Malbec. First, though, check out the other burger creations from the bloggers...



Mimolette Burgers with Malbec Onions

Mimolette is one of my favorite aged cheeses. If you're squeamish about bugs, mites in particular, you will want to steer clear. This hardy French cheese resembles a dusty, cratered cannonball when whole. And the look and floral smell of the rind is the work of tiny mites, specially evolved to cheese. Mimolette's electric-orange paste has a sweet depth and almost fudgy finish. I like it for burgers because it doesn't get too greasy when it melts!

Ingredients serves 6
  • 1 -1/2 pounds ground beef (prefer organic, grass-fed)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Malbec Onions
  • 2 large sweet organic onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T red wine (I used Malbec)
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

To Assemble
  • six brioche buns, split and lightly toasted 
  • mimolette cheese, thinly sliced
  • lettuce leaves
  • organic tomato slices
Procedure

For the Onions
Heat olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add onions and cook until they soften and turn translucent, approximately 20 to 25 minutes. Add wine and stir to coat. Cook until deeply caramelized, approximately 15 to 20 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Burger
In a large bowl, using your hands, mix together all of the ingredients until well-combined. Form six patties and grill or cook on the stove to your preferred doneness.


Toward the last few minutes of cooking, place cheese slices on top of the burger to melt.


To Assemble
Place the burger on the bun. Top with Malbec onions. On the other side, layer lettuce and tomatoes. Enjoy!


I also made oven-crisped fries with a recipe similar to this one.


Next week the #KitchenMatrixCookingProject crew will be wrapping up September with cookies. Stay tuned!

Laminated Bacon Biscuits


When I was brainstorming with the boys about our own little BaconFest, they decided that we should have a bacon biscuit bar. You know: bacon biscuits + bacon gravy, bacon biscuits + bacon jam, and bacon biscuits sliders. I could feel my cholesterol climbing while menu planning! But I also knew that the bar would be a hit with our guests.


Ingredients makes about fifteen 2" square biscuits
  • 1/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 3 T warm water
  • 2 t (1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 5 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 t salt
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 C butter, cold and cubed
  • 2 C whole plain buttermilk (you can use yogurt, instead)
  • 1/2 C butter, cold
  • light oil for greasing the bowl (I used canola)
  • candied bacon strips, coarsely chopped 

Procedure
In a small mixing bowl, stir together sugar, 3 T warm water, and yeast. Let stand until mixture is bloomed and foamy, approximately 5 minutes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Using your hands or a pastry blender, cut in cold, cubed butter until mixture is crumbly. Add yeast mixture and buttermilk, stirring until dry ingredients are just moistened.

Knead by hand a few times until dough comes together. Oil a large mixing bowl and place dough in bowl, turning so that it's completely covered in oil. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm spot until raised and puffy, approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours.

While the dough rises, pound the 1/2 C butter into a rectangle and wrap in parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured piece of parchment. Gently roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Unwrap butter and place in center of dough.  Add crumbled bacon. Fold dough into thirds, like a letter.


Roll dough to 1-1/2" thick. Rotate dough 90 degrees, and fold dough again into thirds, like a letter. 



Roll dough to a rectangle at 1-1/2" thickness, again. 


Cut dough into squares and gently separate the biscuits. Transfer to prepared sheet.
 

 Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes.


Serve warm with an array of toppings. As the boys wanted, we served these with bacon gravy, bacon jam, and even a beef slider topped with more crisped bacon. Here's the bacon trifecta - everything on one laminated bacon biscuit!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Great Pumpkin Cocktail #PumpkinWeek #Sponsored

This post written by me on behalf of the sponsors - Dixie Crystals and Eggland's Best - of #PumpkinWeek. 
Products for recipe development and review were provided; prizes were donated for the giveaway, 
and this page may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
This recipe is intended for readers 21 years and older. Please drink responsibly.

Here we are at the first day of #PumpkinWeek v. 2018. You can read about our hosts and our sponsors...and enter the giveaway here. You won't want to miss out. But, at the very least, if you follow along, you'll be inspired by dozens of recipes that use pumpkin...in everything from cocktails to desserts.

Monday's #PumpkinWeek recipes
Beverages
Savory
Baked Goods & Desserts

The Great Pumpkin Cocktail

I wanted to kick off this week with a cocktail...it's a party after all. And I wanted to create one with a frothy egg white cap. This is a pumpkin-kissed gin fizz. It just so happened that I received eggs from Eggland's Best* in advance of taking part in the 2018 PumpkinWeek event. Talk about serendipitous! So, I tested different recipes and came up with one that worked for me. My egg white cap still needs some work, but it's tasty. If anyone has any tips for me on making that foam better, I'm all ears.

First, a bit about Eggland's though...

Eggland’s Best are produced by hens fed an all-vegetarian diet and their feed is free of added hormones, antibiotics, steroids, animal by-products, and recycled or processed foods. They are produced locally throughout the United States - I see three producers in my state - and are typically delivered to stores within 72 hours of laying. If you want to learn more about the company, check out their sustainability, their certifications, and their awards.


Ingredients makes 1
  • 1 egg white (prefer Eggland's Best)
  • 1 T pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 ounce citrus juice (I used calamansi, but you can use lemon or lime)
  • 1/2 ounce cinnamon simple syrup*
  • 2 ounces gin
  • cinnamon stick for garnish
  • Also needed: cocktail shaker and ice

*Cinnamon Simple Syrup
  • 1 C sugar (prefer Dixie Crystals)
  • 1 C water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

 Procedure
Combine gin, citrus juice, pumpkin puree, egg white, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake for at least 30 seconds. Add ice and shake once more for about a minute. Strain into a glass. Add a cinnamon stick to garnish.
#PumpkinWeek Sponsor products 
included in this recipe...

You may find Dixie Crystals on the web
on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

You may find Eggland's Best on the web
on Twitter, on Pinterest, on Instagram, and on Facebook.

Disclaimer: Thank you PumpkinWeek Sponsors: Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, and Eggland’s Best for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for PumpkinWeek  recipes. All opinions are my own. The PumpkinWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Three (3) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The PumpkinWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the PumpkinWeek posts or entry.

Welcome to #PumpkinWeek + a Giveaway #Sponsored


Welcome to #PumpkinWeek 2018 hosted by Love and Confections and A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures! This year is even bigger and better than ever with a giveaway! Thirty nine bloggers from around the country are showcasing their best pumpkin dishes. Get ready for Fall with over 130 pumpkin recipes throughout the week including cocktails, main courses, pizzas, pastas, pastries, breads, muffins, and plenty of desserts! Our PumpkinWeek Sponsors are helping us give away some great prizes. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!

And I know the first picture isn't of edible pumpkins, but our local glass pumpkin patch is one of my favorite Fall events, so I thought I'd share. Here's the real deal...


Prize #1 Dixie Crystals is giving one winner a 6-Quart Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer.

Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South's choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. For generations, Dixie Crystals has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations. Our pure cane, non-GMO sugar products guarantee that treasured family recipes will turn out right every time. Bake with love and Dixie Crystals.



Prize #2 Cabot Creamery Co-operative is giving one winner a Cheese Gift Box, including a selection of Seriously Sharp, Pepper Jack, Sharp Light, Extra Sharp, Horseradish, Private Stock, Vintage Choice, and Sharp cheeses, VT Sharp Cracker Cuts, Burlap & Plaid Bag, Thick & Thin Slicer, and Wooden Cutting Board

Cabot Creamery Co-operative, makers of naturally aged, award-winning cheeses and dairy products is owned by 1,000 dairy farm families in New England and New York.


Prize #3 Eggland's Best is giving one winner an Eggland's Best Kitchen Essential Prize Package that includes a Freezer Bag, Whisk, Spatula, Plush Phone Holder and Cleaner, Plush Egg, Recipe Book, 3 Free Months of Eggland's Best Eggs and Cutting Board.

Eggland’s Best eggs have more of the delicious, farm fresh taste you and your family love – anyway you cook them. Plus, Eggland’s Best provides superior nutrition such as 6x more vitamin D, 10x more vitamin E, and double the omega 3s compared to ordinary eggs so why settle for less?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

We are heading into the 2018 #PumpkinWeek. Yes, think dozens of bloggers and lots and lots of tasty pumpkin recipes. And, as a teaser, I decided to share a Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. This is not for the event and it's not for any sponsor. it's just a tasty treat based on my sheer love of the pumpkin!

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Ingredients
  • 1/3 C organic granulated sugar
  •  6 egg yolks
  • 2 C organic heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 T zest from 1 organic orange
  • 1 t vanilla paste
  • 3/4 C pumpkin purée (here's one way to make purée)
  • 4 to 6 ramekins or small, oven-proof mugs
  • 3 T organic granulated sugar
  • Also needed: blender or food processor, culinary torch


Procedure
Cream the egg yolks and 1/3 C sugar until pale yellow and thickened. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine heavy whipping cream, orange zest and spices in a saucepan and heat on medium, until bubbles begin to form along the edge of the pan, just before it begins to simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla paste and pumpkin purée. Then whisk in the egg yolk mixture, whisking until smooth. 


Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, if desired. Portion evenly into ramekins.


Bake in a 350 degree F oven until no liquid appears when you jiggle the jars, approximately 40 minutes. 


Remove from oven and allow to cool.


When you're ready to torch them, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of sugar on top of each custard. 


Using a small butane torch, hover a flame over the sugar, moving it around until the sugar caramelizes.


My Precise Kitchen Elf is always the first to offer to help when the torch is involved!


As you can tell, we loved this dessert. Can't wait to try it again soon.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Grilled Lamb Sirloin with Cèdre Héritage 2015 #Winophiles


This month Jill of L'Occasion invited the French Winophiles to post about Cahors. Here's her invitation. If you are reading this early enough feel free to join the live Twitter chat on Saturday, September 15th at 8am (Pacific time). Search for us with the hashtag #Winophiles. Or you can peruse those tweets at your leisure any other time.


And an admission: I think I have too much wine! Or maybe I just have too many recipe posts hanging out in draft form. Both are a possibility. So funny story, I bought this bottle of wine earlier in the year, knowing that I wanted to pair it for this event, the September editon of #Winophiles. I cooked and paired the wine with my Comforting Beef Stroganoff. Then I couldn't find the photos or remember what I paired with the wine. So I bought a second bottle of the same wine and did a whole new pairing! I guess the good part of that is that Jake and I actually preferred the second pairing. Before I get to my post, please check out the rest of the #Winophiles' articles.

The Cahors Crew


Cahors in My Glass
The Cahors area produces some of the richest, darkest red wines in France, primarily using the Malbec grape variety, sometimes referred to as "black wine." Mine didn't seem that dark. I poured and paired a Cèdre Héritage 2015.


Two brothers - Pascal and Jean-Marc Verhaeghe - have banned all herbicides and chemicals from their estate and work to produce Cahors wines that are polished and balanced. Their 2015 Malbec is the perfect example. 95% Malbec with a smidge of Merlot, this wine has ample tannins and a big personality.

Though I typically think of Malbec in association with Argentinian wines, the grape was originally grown in France. In fact, as far back as the 1300s, the Brits praised the 'Black Wine of Cahors.' This wine was rich, but approachable. I got herbs on the nose and some hints of black tea on the tongue. And, at its price point, it's a great value!


On My Plate
I thought about what to pair with the wine and settled on lamb. After a friend mentioned a leg of lamb with a coffee-vanilla rub - for pairing with a different wine - and I thought I'd play with that flavor profile with this one. Yep. It was amazing!


Ingredients
  • 1 pound lamb sirloins, butterflied
  • 2 T pink peppercorn salt blend
  • 1 t vanilla bean powder
  • 1 organic onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper


Procedure
Blend the salt and vanilla bean powder together and rub the sirloins with the mixture. Let come to room temperature. And prepare your grill.

In the meantime, melt butter in olive oil. Stir in the onions and cook until they soften and start to turn translucent. Stir in the vanilla and cook until desired level of caramelization. Set aside.

Grill the lamb to your desired doneness. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve covered with caramelized onions.


I served these with sautéed kale, grilled bear's head mushrooms, and smashed red marble potatoes.

Next month, the French Winophiles will be heading back to the Rhône Valley with Michelle from Rockin Red Blog at the lead. Can't wait.

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