Monday, June 30, 2008

Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans

Scroll down for a complete Fourth of July Menu and shopping list...I had a hilarious friend growing up. (Actually, I've had several. I must be the laughing listener for hilarious people.) Not the hee-hee-giggle kind of funny. The HOO-HA-deep belly laugh-please stop kind of funny. Everything she did made me and everyone around her laugh. Tricia Shaw had athsma and had to breathe into a machine every morning, noon and night, and she could even make me chortle when she was plugged into her Darth Vader machine. When we were in kindergarten, Tricia fell out of the back of a camper on the highway because she wanted to catch hold of a dead bug on the bumper. A random driver picked her up and brought her back to her family, and she was fine other than a comical bandage wrapped around her head. She never paid attention in Sunday school because all she could think about was how much she wanted a monkey for a pet or how much she loved Ben Robinson, the cutest boy in class. The girl was hilarious.
Like many childhood friends, we've lost contact, but I did run into her a few years ago when we were both attending church in our home town. I spotted her during a hymn and immediately began laughing-hard laughing...couldn't finish singing. I was relieved to know that she is still hilarious. If personal tragedy ever strikes, I'm going to seek her out for humor therapy.

Tricia's contribution to my life is not limited to comedy. Her lasting legacy is actually this favorite baked bean recipe. It's so fantastically good that you just might not ever make another recipe for baked beans again. Ever. This is the one. It makes a big batch, but I promise it'll be the first thing gone at any of your summer parties.

And Tricia, if you're out there, send me some more recipes. And make me laugh.
Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans from Tricia Shaw
Estimated Cost: $5.50 for 10-12 servings
Notes: A half batch can be baked in a loaf pan.

1/2 to 1 lb bacon, chopped

1 large onion, minced

3 (15 ounce cans) pinto beans, drained

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons mustard (I've used yellow or dijon with good results)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, fry bacon until almost crisp. Pour off most of the fat. Add onion in with the bacon and continue to fry for five minutes. Add in all ingredients and mix well. Pour into 2 quart casserole or 9 by 13. Bake, covered with lid or foil for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 30 minutes longer.

Coming Tomorrow:

Tomato Cucumber Slaw with Lemon Dressing

Plus a Breakfast Bonus:

Cran Blue-Berry Scones for Fourth of July Breakfast

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fourth of July Menu and Shopping List

Scroll down to the earlier post for homemade Danish pastry....
The quintessential summer holiday is just days away. Grocers will be trying to lure you in with reduced prices for all your BBQ needs. Take advantage and stock up for future backyard bashes.

Fourth Of July is one of those all day holidays, from breakfast before the parade, to lunch by the pool, BBQ dinner at sunset, and treats by the light of firecrackers. Your best bet for a smashing party is preparedness. Don't worry. I've got you covered with a fantastic, unbelievably delicious make ahead menu featuring a quick homemade peach barbecue sauce to coat your grilled chicken, a cool and creamy blue cheese potato salad, and smoky brown sugar baked beans with loads of bacon. For dessert, I've got berry cobbler and patriotic M and M cookies, with vanilla ice cream (homemade? still deciding...). Time to get shopping! Stop by everyday this week for recipes and tips to make your Independence Day a scrumptious success.

I'm including my dinner menu, but I'm also serving hot dogs and chips for lunch, then popcorn and lemonade during fireworks. For breakfast, I'll be making cran-blue berry scones with lemon glaze, and I'll share that recipe on Tuesday.

Menu for 8

Grilled Chicken with Easy Tangy Peach Barbecue Sauce

Blue Cheese Red Potato Salad

Tomato and Cucumber Slaw with Lemon Dressing

Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles (from previous post)

Corn on the Cob



Triple Berry Cobbler (from previous post)

Red, White, and Blue M and M Cookies

Vanilla Ice Cream (hopefully homemade)
Shopping List for Dinner items:
1 (1o ounce) bag angel hair cabbage
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
3 lbs. red potatoes
3 stalks celery
1 bunch green onions
flat leaf parsley, if desired
cilantro, if desired
2 lemons
1 yellow onion
blue cheese, any variety
peach preserves
dried cranberries and blueberries (for scones)
1 lb. bacon
3 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans
peach or apricot preserves
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
dijon mustard
yellow mustard
red wine or cider vinegar
BBQ sauce
worcestershire sauce
If you choose to make the cobbler, you'll need fresh or frozen berries and cream in addition to the staple items. For the M and M cookies, you'll need staples plus the obvious M and Ms. We're trying to squeeze in some homemade ice cream, so I'm adding whipping cream and whole milk to my grocery list.
Coming Tomorrow:
Brown Sugar and Bacon Baked Beans

Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish Braid and Blackberry Danish Pinwheels

I'm just putting the finishing touches on my 4th of July Menu.... I'll post it by 8 EST tonight. It's going to be good.... As a Daring Young Baker, I've risen to the challenge of preparing Sherry Yard's fresh danish dough. From scratch. That's right. From scratch. The mountain was there, and now I have climbed it.

I saw Martha Stewart make puff pastry years ago, and I've since then had a lingering desire to make a folded butter dough. But apparently, it takes a baking assignment to get me crackin'. I loved working with the beautiful dough, but be forewarned: It's quite a bit of work and you'd better be sitting home with a stopwatch for a necklace. Let me show you what I'm talking about.

First you make a beautiful yeast and egg dough.

Next you knead together lots of butter with a bit of flour.Roll out the dough and spread 2/3s with the butter mixture.Fold over both sides, like an envelope. Chill for 30 minutes. Repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat. Four times, so don't paint your nails or try to wash your car. Roll the dough into a rectangle and cut the edges into even strips.Add a filling to the center and tuck the strips over the top, interlocking to form a braid. (My filling is 8 ounces cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoons flour, with 1/3 cup homemade strawberry freezer jam on top.)Bake.Cut into small delectable sections and eat. Oozing filling is considered a huge plus around here.Since you've only used half your dough, cut the rest into little 3 inch squares.Place a teaspoon of jam in the center, cut diagonal slats from each corner and fold up.Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake.

Now get crackin' on those dishes. For a full and complete recipe, check out Sass and Veracity. Best of luck and I'll see you again tonight.

Coming tonight by 8PM EST

Fourth of July Menu and Shopping List

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Food and Furthermore VIII

I'm postponing my 4th of July menu till tomorrow, so come on back.
An Edible Souvenir from the French Quarter.... I love the excitement of travel, the rush of finding yourself in a new city full of new possibilities, new architecture, new art, new restaurants, new people... But I also love to come to familiar home and share what I've found and what I've learned with my family. A lot of what I learned will not interest them, like the better governance policies for charter schools and guidelines for teacher merit pay. But other things, like how to make sweet and powdery beignets , how to lose yourself in the quest for the perfect balcony in the French Quarter, and how to dress yourself up for Mardi Gras are vastly interesting to my children. My mother used to make a list of everything she ate during her travels and then come home and recreate it for the family. Like minded, after a visit to the famous Cafe Du Monde, I bought a beignet mix. I'm almost exclusively a from scratch kind of girl, but I thought it might be fun to let my kids have a crack at the mix version of a New Orleans classic. You can buy it here. So now it is Saturday morning and we've had a lovely sleep in, late exercise, and hot french donut kind of morning. The kids were able to manage everything but the frying.
And while not perfect, they were pretty darn good, hot and fresh and covered with powdered sugar.Quiet Man is notably absent, catching up on his doctorate work that he missed while he did the stay at home routine this week. We meant to save him a beignet, but we'll just have to make another batch.

Coming Tomorrow:

Strawberry Cream Cheese Danish Braid, Blackberry Danish Pinwheels

Fourth of July Menu

Friday, June 27, 2008

Lime and Soy Grilled Tri Tip

Anticipating a visit from my sister and her family, my dad (who is also my neighbor) came home from Costco bearing three pounds of tri-tip. I wanted it for myself. Not just to eat, but to marinate, grill, carve, devour.... I can share when it comes to the eating part, but the preparation is MINE.
When you have a beautiful cut of meat, it requires very little fuss- a bit of marinade and just a few minutes on a very hot grill. Use my grilling method below to get perfectly seared meat with a medium interior. This method works well with any good quality steak that is about one inch thick. You'll also love the flavor the savory lime marinade imparts to the meat juices.
Whenever you can get a good deal on tri-tip, try this easy recipe. Dad got this tri-tip for $5.99/lb, so check your local Costco for a similar deal. It was my intention to also share a left-over recipe, but I'm telling you, not only was the tri-tip gone, but the meaty juices were also licked clean.
Lime and Soy Grilled Tri-Tip
Estimated Cost: $7.00 for four servings

1 lb tri tip

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

juice of one lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon pepper

In a zip top bag, combine all ingredients, massaging through closed bag to blend. Let marinate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Preheat grill for hot cooking. Discard marinade. Place steaks on grill, close lid and cook for three minutes. Flip and repeat for three minutes. Reduce heat on grill to medium and cook for three minutes more on each side. Total cooking time should be 12 minutes. Let rest for five minutes. Carve on the bias. Drizzle cut meat with any accumulated juices. Coming Tomorrow:

Food and Furthermore and a Fourth of July Menu

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barefoot Thursdays: Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Sweet and Spicy Ketchup

It's Barefoot Thursday, so get ready for a recipe from the Queen of Deliciousness, the Grande Dame of Good Living, the Barefoot Contessa, the inimitable Ina Garten.....
Good-bye New Orleans and hello humble home. At 1 AM I finally walked through my own door. My Quiet Man husband had the presence of mind to pick up every toy and vacuum and dust. I think I'm really truly deeply madly in love. A man looks his best when he's holding a squirt bottle of formula 409. Just my opinion.
So at 1 AM, I briefly considered getting my post ready, but instead made a beeline for my clean fluffy pillow. (Quiet Man washed the sheets too.) Seven hours later, I'm up and ready to share Parmesan Chicken Tenders with Sweet and Spicy Ketchup. Estimated Cost: $5.00

You've got to have a good breaded chicken recipe in your cooking arsenal. It's fast, easy, cheap and everyone of every age on planet earth will love them. Except your vegetarian friends, but you just make them a piece of breaded zucchini instead. Ina made an elegant salad with lemon vinaigrette on which she served her chicken. But its your world, so serve it the way you like. You could smother it with red sauce and cheese for classic chicken Parmesan, or you could serve it plain with a fun dipping sauce, like I did. It's kid friendly that way, and since I had about 856 kids at my house last week, the choice was easy.
Here's the skinny on breaded chicken. Although it doesn't photograph well, please save yourself some clean up work by using paper plates for prep. First, dip your chicken (I'm using tenders but any boneless cut will do) in a flour mixture. This will give the bread coating something to adhere to later. Next, dip your floured chicken in a beaten egg and water mixture. Finally, coat your chicken in a mixture of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. I like to let my chicken dry out on a rack for about ten minutes, just to help that coating stay put during the light frying process. Not necessary when in a rush, but helpful otherwise.Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a fry pan-just enough to coat the bottom generously. Make sure your oil is good and hot before you toss in your chicken. Resist the temptation to move your chicken around; just leave it alone and let it get good and brown on one side. Flip and repeat.
Here's a Food Network link to the complete recipe for Ina's Parmesan Chicken.
For my Sweet and Spicy Ketchup, simply combine 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and a generous pinch of cayenne or a couple glugs of Tabasco. Coming Tomorrow:Soy and Lime Grilled Tri-tip
It's so good to be home....

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Broccoli Salad with Roasted Cashews and Sunflower Seeds

I'm hopping on a plane from New Orleans and heading back home to the southwest tonight. Back home to my husband, my two little charges, my bed, my bathtub, my kitchen, my wireless Internet.... There's no place like home.

In the meantime, here's a crunchy and delicious way to get more broccoli. Eat your veggies, just like mom told you. This will make it really easy, especially with the sweet and savory dressing, and the roasted salty nuts. I wish I had some to take with me on the plane, but I'll have to content myself with pretzels and ice water. Don't feel too sorry for me; last night I ate at Emeril's flagship restaurant. Think barbecue shrimp, rosemary foccacia, sweet corn cakes, wild mushroom pasta with tasso ham, breaded red fish, sweet potatoes with green chile mole, banana mascarpone tart.... Thank goodness my hotel had two rooms of treadmills. Exercise is imperative for the New Orleans diet. More to come on that later this week. See you tomorrow!

Broccoli Salad with Roasted Cashews and Sunflower Seeds
Estimated Cost: $4.50
Notes: I also love to add snipped dried apricots of mango for a touch of sweet and chewy.
1/4 cup mayonnaise (low fat is good here) or whole milk yogurt 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
4 cups chopped broccoli florettes with some stems
1/2 cup chopped roasted salted cashews
1/2 cup roasted salted sunflower seeds

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Whisk until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust sugar and vinegar according to your taste. Mix in remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with additional nuts and seeds.
Coming Tomorrow:
Barefoot Thursdays
Parmesan Chicken Tenders and Sweet and Spicy Ketchup

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Raspberry, Cherry, and Blueberry Cobbler

It's Tuesday. Oh, yum....Even though I'm perspiring in New Orleans, I'm all set to share my Tuesdays with Dorie Treat. I planned ahead by baking last week to bring you this perfect summer fruit cobbler. I'm committed to bringing you bakery style treats each week on the cheap-this one will only cost you about $5.00 for six servings. So join in and bake along.
If you want the perfect post barbecue sweet, choose this cobbler. Hint, hint, think dessert for Fourth of July. Dream of warm juicy summer fruit and berries, tender sweet pastry, and a melting scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Now quit dreaming and get to work. Be creative with your fruit base. I used frozen raspberries with fresh cherries and blueberries.
Use fresh and/or frozen, depending on what's in season. Think apples and raspberries, nectarines and cranberries, blackberries and plums, peaches and blueberries- you just can't go wrong. Start by making a buttery pastry. It'll take you five minutes, tops. Roll or pat it out and cut out some fun shapes, like patriotic stars. Next mix your fruit with some sugar and flour for thickening. Taste the fruit juices and adjust sugar as needed. Cover with the cobbler dough. Toss it in the oven and bake till browned and bubbly, and if a little juice drips over the side, it's a visual bonus.
Head on over to Our Sweet Life for the complete recipe. You're going to love her header. It'll make you want to kiss your husband. Or wife. Or grandpa. Or baby. Oh, for heaven's sake, just kiss anybody. Then go make some cobbler.
Coming Tomorrow:
Roasted Cashews and Sunflower Seed Broccoli Salad

Monday, June 23, 2008

Food and Furthermore VII

We're getting to be a hefty group of penny pinchers. Last week we had about 3,000 readers. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your dog walkers, hair dressers, and aroma therapists. Scroll down for the Family Reunion Report and this yummy dip recipe.....Greetings from New Orleans! I had every intention of continuing with daily posts. I cooked through our family reunion, I posted through out Salt Lake City vacation, and I planned to forge ahead through my current business trip. Alas, the hotel offered wireless Internet at a whopping $15 a day. To be worthy of the appelation "Prudence Pennywise," I felt I should decline, and I missed you deeply and terribly. But now, with the conference beginning, I've got free wireless at the conference center. I'm back, and I'm cheaper than ever, dear readers....
Furthermore....last week was the gimungous, hugantic family reunion for my side of the family. 40 plus cousins, 10 siblings and spouses, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews all converged in my town for a whopping good time. Let me give you a couple of snippets of our activities. We saw the Sound of Music at an outdoor theatre....
We had daily family breakfasts and devotionals. My sisters have a flair for food presentation. I could learn alot.

My clever sister Laurie posted the day's activities on her handy bulletin board.
We had a Western Party, complete with a square dance caller. Yee Haw! It's funner than you think, this square dancing stuff. I could have do si doed all night. And then promenaded some more.
Big Stuff likes watching better than dancing, but we let him be since he pays for all the parties. Thanks, Dad!

We rented out a burger joint and had a 50's party. Think hula hoops, burgers, fries, shakes, and
dancing! I won't mention the sleepless night making that pink poodle skirt. But my little girl is smiling and happy and so am I. Yawn.
Now for the food....We can't have a family party without our slightly odd but very famous "R" family dip. It might sound strange, but don't be put off. It's easy, fast, and totally addictive-so be warned. You can use veggies, or baked chips but the best dipper is a Ruffles potato chip, hands down. Put some out for your 4th of July BBQ.
R Family Cottage Cheese Dip
Estimated Cost: $4.00
16 ounces small curd cottage cheese, preferrably Knudson
1/2 cup mayonnaise (double this amount if you are making it for my dad)
3/4 cup chopped green onions, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Combine all ingredients. Garnish with extra green onions and black pepper. Serve with Ruffles. Eat at every family party.

Coming Tomorrow:
Tuesdays with Dorie
Cherry, Raspberry and Blueberry Cobbler