Bacon Cheddar Dip

We were looking for quick, no cook dip to serve before dinner and someone mentioned the Neiman Marcus dip. That recipe made a good stepping off point but we decided it needed a little mixing up for our tastes. I’m not a fan of almonds, especially when there are pecans available and see no reason why actual bacon couldn’t be used in place of bacon bits. Finally, we felt that the taste of Sriracha would be an awesome addition.

Bacon Cheddar Dip

5 slices of bacon, cooked and cut into  1/2 inch pieces
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup mayonaise
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
2 teaspoons Sriracha

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Serve with tortilla chips or corn chips or Ritz crackers.

Shrimp Quesadillas

I was craving drunken shrimp and decided to put them on flour tortillas to make quesadillas for a quick dinner.

Oh, and feel free to use the remainder of the limeade concentrate to make margaritas. I used drained Ro-Tel juice as part of the liquid for Spanish rice.

Shrimp Quesadillas

1 lb medium shrimp – peeled, deveined and butterflied
1 tablespoon paprika
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup limeade concentrate
1/2 cup tequila
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups Monterey pepper jack or cheddar cheese, grated
1 10 ounce can of Ro-tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained
8 flour tortillas

Combine paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, limeade and tequila and mix well. Place shrimp in marinade and refrigerate for no more than one hour.

Heat a large skillet with the oil and sauté shrimp and the marinade until shrimp are cooked through. Remove from heat.

Place 4 tortillas on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese. Arrange shrimp on tortillas and sprinkle on Ro-Tel. Top with more cheese. Place remaining tortillas on top.

Bake until the tortilla is crisp and golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes at 450 degrees F. Let sit for 2 minutes and then cut into slices. Serve with guacamole, salsa and sour cream and a side of Spanish rice.

I basically do a cheat for the Spanish rice. This is enough for two people. Bring 1/3 cup of drained Ro-Tel juices and 1/3 cup water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes and green chilies, 1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder and ground cumin to 1/3 cup rice. Stir well, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed and serve.

Chocolate Fondue

choc fondue set upMy family gathered to enjoy an evening of fondue yesterday. We started with cheese fondue, served with Granny Smith Apples and a crusty baguette. Then the meat course where we set forks of venison roast into boiling oil and served the meat with a variety of sauces, including Kräuterbutter (a German herby compound butter – we use a mix to make it from Herrmann called Kräuterbutter-Gewürz).

We ended the meal with my favorite part – chocolate fondue. Our dippers for that included strawberries, pound cake, marshmallows and bananas. Yummerific!

Oh, and that Better Homes and Gardens Fondue book has been in continuous use in our family since the 1970’s!

Chocolate Fondue

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons creme de cacao

In a saucepan melt chocolate over low heat. Add the sugar, cream, butter and salt. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in liqueur.

Pour into fondue pot and serve with a choice of dippers.

supping with long forks

Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread

Yet more fun from the world of sourdough bread making. This is another one from King Arthur Flour and makes a delightful cinnamon, raisin sourdough bread.

I plumped the raisins by putting them in a bowl with 1 tablespoon Fireball whiskey plus 1/2 cup water and letting sit for about thirty minutes.

Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread

DOUGH
1/2 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 large egg
5 tablespoons soft butter
2/3 cup lukewarm water
FILLING
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup raisins or craisins

Combine all of the dough ingredients, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased container, and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.

While the dough is rising, make the filling by stirring together the sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Plump the raisins. Drain well before using.

Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Roll and pat the dough into a rough rectangle approximately 6″ x 20″. Brush the dough with the egg/water mixture, and sprinkle it evenly with the filling and raisins. Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log. Pinch the ends to seal, and pinch the long seam closed.

Transfer the log, seam-side down, to a lightly buttered 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Cover and allow the bread to rise until it’s crested about 1″ over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes. The bread’s crust will be golden brown, and the interior of the finished loaf should measure 190°F on a digital thermometer.

Remove the bread from the oven, and gently loosen the edges. Turn it out of the pan, and brush the top surface with butter, if desired; this will give it a soft, satiny crust. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.

Dreamland Bar-B-Que

When coming through Mobile, Alabama, it is worth the while to pull off I-65 and get yourself to Dreamland Bar-B-Que.  We could smell the woodsmoke as soon as we got on the service road and, no wonder, their pit is big and beautiful:

I had the pulled pork sandwich with house made BBQ chips. The sauce is tangy and, as they say, “Ain’t nothing like it nowhere!”

Michelle had the rib tip wrap with jalapeño slaw. Very good combination of tender meat and spicy slaw.

We ended the meal with banana pudding but it was so good we inhaled it without waiting to take a picture. Lots of big pieces of banana in every bite

The prices are very reasonable and the staff is super friendly and very fast. Give it a try next time you’re nearby or call for them to ship you some directly.

 

Simple Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of those comfort meals. It comes together pretty quickly, so is perfect for a weeknight meal and has just enough good stuff in it to make your body happy as well as your soul.

1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
8 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup bread crumbs or crushed saltines

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix all meatloaf ingredients well. Shape into a loaf and place on rimmed baking sheet. Bake one hour.

Some people like a glaze on top of their meatloaf (I use the leftovers to make sandwiches and cover those with ketchup so I generally don’t glaze it). Here is a basic recipe for a glaze:

1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Dash hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon honey

Combine the ketchup, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and honey. Brush the glaze onto the meatloaf after it has been cooking for about 10 minutes.

Sourdough Focaccia

Focaccia is one of my favorite breads to make and eat. I love it best with black, Kalamata olives and rosemary and this recipe even lets me use some of my sourdough starter as a base. To speed things up, instead of making a sponge, take your fed starter and add a little bit of active dry yeast for an extra boost. The result is focaccia in less than 4 hours.

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Sourdough Focaccia

1 cup fed sourdough starter
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon flake salt like Maldon
1/2 cup pitted black olives, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

Combine the starter, yeast, water and flours in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium low for 10 minutes. Dough will be very sticky. Add the salt and beat another five minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about two hours.

Move rack to lower third of the oven. If you have a pizza stone, place it on the rack. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Pour half the oil into a large cast iron skillet, at least 12 inches. If you don’t have such a large one, use a baking sheet at least 9×12 (I use the rectangle pan when I’m making focaccia for sandwiches). Plop dough in center of pan and pour remaining oil on top. Using your fingers, spread the dough to the edges of the pan. Let the dough rise again for an hour.

Dimple the top with your finger tips. Sprinkle on the flake salt and other toppings and press them in with your fingertips, leaving the top dimpled.

Bake for 15 minutes. Drop oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Rotate the pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Try not to scarf it down before it cools completely.

It makes great sandwich bread!

focaccia

Pork Rib Sandwich