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Archive for January, 2010

Jan
30

Cinnamon Biscuit Ring

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Hello and welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  A place to find and share some great food ideas with loads of great flavor to be shared with family and friends.  Fridays are all about drinks and desserts.  This one is actually a breakfast coffee cake or cinnamon bun kind of a thing.  Very tasty!  Enjoy!

Cinnamon Biscuit Ring

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cans refrigerator biscuits (not flaky)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375*

Combine sugar and cinnamon.  Melt butter.  Dip each biscuit in butter, then roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture, covering all sides.  Put raisins and nuts between each biscuit as you place them in a 8 or 9 inch pie pan, overlap biscuits, standing on end in a ring pattern.  Sprinkle and remaining sugar and cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top and lay on any remaining butter.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  Slide out of pan while warm.  Biscuits will seperate easily for serving

Categories : Drinks and Desserts
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Jan
30

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

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Hello to all!  Welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  I’ve traveled this week for my work so I have to once again catch up on my blog posts.  Thursdays are all about main courses. Today I’d like to share a casserole thats easy to make and has just the right amount of kick to it to make it very tasty.  This one is my wife’s recipe.  She gets the credit!  Enjoy!

CHICKEN ENCHILADAS CASSEROLE

 Ingredients:

  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 bag Taco flavor Doritos
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 lb shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
  • 1 med. Onion, diced
  • 1 small can pet milk
  • 1 med green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 chickens (cooked and de-boned)

Preheat oven to 350*

 Mix all ingredients together.  Butter large casserole dish.  Line casserole dish with Doritos, then spoon layer of mixture on top, then a layer of cheese, repeat. 

 Refrigerate covered with foil for 24 hours.

Bake for 30-40 mins.

Categories : Main Courses
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Jan
27

Pistachio Salad

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Hello and welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  A place to find and share some great food ideas and pick up recipes that will be fun to make and share with family and friends.

Wednesdays are all about soups and salads.  Tonight is one that is a cross over from desserts.  It’s sweet and colorful and definitely full of flavor.  Simple to make, not a lot of prep time…a treat for both cook and crowd.  Short post tonight but give it a try.  Enjoy!

PISTACHIO SALAD

 Ingredients:

  • 1 large container Cool Whip
  • 1 small pistachio pudding
  • 1 can mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 1 can crushed pineapple

 Directions don’t get much easier….Fold together.

Can add:  chopped nuts; coconut; mini marshmallows.  I do the nuts and marshmallows…..I’m not a personal fan of coconut…..but some are.

Categories : Soups and Salads
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Jan
26

Braising Technique

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Hello all and welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  I put this energy out there to share some great food ideas that have great flavor and will bring fun and enjoyment to you gathering of family and friends. 

Tuesdays are about Tools and Techniques.  Tonight I decided to write about a technique called Braising.  Many of you have done this and maybe you didn’t know it had a name.  Thats where I was for a long time.  Braising is a way to add flavor and tenderness to some tougher cuts of meats, fish and even vegetables.  It takes time….sometimes hours, but you can take what would otherwise have been boot leather and turn it into a feast.  Enjoy!

Braising

  1. Make sure that whatever cuts of meat or vegetables you’re using are roughly the same size so they cook evenly.
  2. Heat a heavy frying pan or dutch oven, then add a little oil and heat that, too.
  3. Season the meat or vegetables on both sides with salt and pepper, or whatever seasonings your specific recipe requires.  I often use seasoned flour to enhance the ability to make gravy later.
  4. When the pan is nice and hot, add the meat or vegetables and sauté at high heat to quickly brown the outside. This adds color and flavor. Without browning, meat would look gray and lifeless, and vegetables limp, at the end of the cooking time.
  5. When nicely browned, add enough liquid to the pan to come about halfway up the sides of the meat or vegetables. Liquid used for braising is usually water, stock, wine or a combination.
  6. At this point you have two options; you can lower the heat and simmer the recipe slowly until everything is tender, or you can place the whole pan (provided it’s ovenproof) in the oven and bake it. That’s up to you; what’s more important is that the meat or vegetables cook slowly in the liquid (usually covered) and that the liquid never evaporates.
  7. Check for doneness according to what you’re cooking. Be aware that braising is a slow-cooking method. Most braised dishes take from 45 minutes (for smaller cuts of meat and poultry) to 6 hours for really tough shanks and ribs.
Categories : Tools & Techniques
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Jan
26

Antipasto Platter

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Hello to all and welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  A place to find and share great food recipes with incredible flavor and bring that in to increase our own enjoyment and that of our families and friends. 

I grew up in Southeast Texas.  My brother and sister reminded me of one of my parents favorite places to go out to eat.  The name of it was Leo and Willies.  Great atmosphere and great food….loads of fun.  The discussion brought back a memory from my childhood, going to this restaurant and what I always wanted for my meal was the antipasto platter.  All the great cheese and meats, olives and peppers and these little pieces of fresh made toast that was to die for.  As Mondays are all about starters or appetizers, I thought I’d share this with you tonight.  Put it out on a dinner table with some little pieces of toast for talk and fun before the main course comes out.  Great for fun and sharing….Enjoy!

Antipasto Platter

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound prosciutto, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound Genoa salami, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni slices or cappicola, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pound Provolone cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into chunks
  • 1 can marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 can green olives
  • 1 cup pepperoncini peppers, halved
  • 2 cups button mushrooms
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bottle good-quality oil and vinegar based Italian salad dressing or good olive oil and balsamic vinegar with fresh ground black pepper.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or zippered plastic bag. Stir well to incorporate dressing and coat all ingredients.  Cover or close and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.   Serve cold.  Place lettuce leaves on a platter for a base and arrange the food items and pour any dressing over the top.  Serve with toasted bread pieces and toothpicks for the chunks.

Categories : Starters
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Jan
23

Creme Brulee

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Hi there and welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  A place to find flavorful recipes that can be made at home by real people to be shared and enjoyed with family and friends.  After this post, I’ll finally be caught up from last week.  This is a Friday post and that means dessert.

Nothing says dessert more for me than Creme Brulee.  Its something that I had always enjoyed when I went out to restaurants.  I figured it had to be very difficult to make.  Hmmm, not really.  Plus, I get to use a propane torch in the kitchen.  It just doesn’t get much more fun than that!  It does require the use of ramekins, custard cups or other oven-safe dishes.  We had ramekins for years and I finally started putting them to good use.  If you need another dish to use the ramekins, check the French Omion Soup post.  Definitely give this one a try when you want to impress your guests with a very classy dessert.  Enjoy!

CRÈME BRULEE

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup white granulated or light brown sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

In a heavy-bottomed medium non-reactive saucepan, heat cream with vanilla bean over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring to ensure it does not burn; do not let boil. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Strain cream through a fine mesh sieve.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high-speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar. Add about half the cream mixture, a little at a time, to the egg mixture, whisking until well blended. Then pour the egg mixture into the remaining cream mixture. Stir until completely blended.

Pour the custard into 4 (9-ounce) ramekins or custard cups. Place the dishes in large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the mixture is set in the center (it should still wiggle when shaken). Carefully remove the dishes from the baking pan. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Let creme brulee stand at room temperature 20 minutes before serving.

Divide 1/3 to 1/2 cup white or light brown sugar in a thin, even layer over each custard, covering it completely. To caramelize the sugar, light a propane torch* and hold it so the flame just touches the surface. Start at the center and spiral out toward the edges of the ramekins. If the sugar begins to burn, pull the torch away and blow on the sugar to extinguish the flame. Serve immediately.

VARIATIONS: Finely grate orange zest or bittersweet chocolate over the creme brulee before adding the sugar for caramelizing.

Note: A propane torch can be bought at your local hardware store. If you don’t have one, caramelize the topping under the broiler, watching carefully so as not to burn it.

Categories : Drinks and Desserts
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Jan
23

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalya

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Hello all and welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  A place to find great recipes for food with lots of flavor.  Real food for real people to share with family, friends in order share, have fun and enjoy life.  Why?  Because eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

This is a catch-up post that should have come out on Thursday.  It was just one of those weeks.  I actually made this dish Thursday night.  It turned out great and the family loved it.  They all said this one was a keeper.  Give it a try at your house some time.  And guys, impress that girlfriend or shock you wife by fixing this for them.  Loads of flavor.   You can make spicy or not.  Just adjust the cayenne pepper to control the heat.  If you really want to bump it up a little, toss in several drops of Tabasco.

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

 
Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. smoked sausage, cut in cross sections about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 lb. chorizo or andouille sausage
  • 3/4 cup diced bell pepper
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • salt and cayenne to taste
  • 1 cup long grain white rice
  • 1 (14 1/2 oz.) can chopped tomatoes with juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
Directions:
 
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat.  Add all the sausage and cook 2 minutes.  Add onions, bell pepper and celery.  Season with salt and cayenne to taste and saute for 6 to 8 minutes until veggies are wilted and soft.  Add the rice and stir to coat evenly.  Add the tomatoes with the juice, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, water and wine.  Cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.  Season the shrimp with salt and cayenne in a bowl stirring to coat evenly.  Add the shrimp and cook another 10 minutes.  Turn the heat down and continue to simmer until rice is tender, liquid is absorbed and the shrimp are pink.  Remove from heat ans let stand covered for 5 minutes.  Remove the bay leaves.  Stir in the green onions and serve.  Enjoy!
Categories : Main Courses
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Jan
22

French Onion Soup

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Welcome back to Food~Flavor~Fun.  A place to find and share some favorite recipes of mine that are tried and true.  Yep I really fix these at my house for my family.  I’m not a professional chef.  Just a guy that loves good tasting food of all kinds.  I’ve cooked on my own for many years.  My wife is a flight attendant and is out-of-town several days a week.  So I was a Mr. Mom before the movie. 

This is one of my favorite soup recipes.  I use shallots instead of onions.  I think the flavor is richer and more delicate that using the larger onions.  The cheese on top makes it special so don’t go cheap there.  I grew up a block away from a great french bakery.  Grab some french bread to toast into the croutons for the body of the soup.  Great stuff!  First we start out with roasting about a dozen or so shallots.

Roasted Shallots

Take 12-14 peeled shallots put them on a sheet of foil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Wrap up to a good seal and put in a 400 degree oven.  Roast for about 40 minutes.  Take them out and allow to cool.

French Bread Croutons

Cut several 1 inch slices from a loaf of french bread.  Cut these slices into about 1 inch square pieces.  In a bowl, sprinkle the bread pieces with your favorite spicy seasoning mix.  If you don’t have one yet, look up Emeril’s BAM recipe.  I started there and made my own adjustments.  Then add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mix to coat.  Place on a cookie sheet and place into a 350 degree oven until toasted and crisp.  About 10-15 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • roasted shallots from above
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh black pepper (a couple of good turns on the pepper mill)
  • 2 quarts beef stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • french bread croutons
  • 2 cups grated gruyere cheese

Directions:

Quarter the roasted shallots.  Add the olive oil to a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  Bring up to medium heat.  Add the quartered shallots and lower the heat to medium low.  Add the Sage and Thyme.  Saute about 25 minutes stirring often until golden brown and beginning to carmelize.  Add the stock and the wine and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the overn to 450 degrees.

Put 4-6 of the french bread croutons into 4 oven-proof bowls.  Laddle the soup over the croutons and cover with graded cheese.  Place the bowls on a cookie sheet and place into the oven until the cheese is melted and the top has browned.  About 10 minutes.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Categories : Soups and Salads
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I am so far behind on my posts this week.  Work and life getting in the way of my fun.  I’m sure you can feel my pain.  This is my belated Tuesday post.  Tuesdays are set aside for tools and techniques.  I had a previous post about knives.   This one is about how to use that great instruments. 

The rule is that you should hone a knife each time before you use it.  I say that leaves a lot of metal on the sharpener.  I sharpen my knives when they are not as sharp as I would like.  I have used the old standard steel handheld sharpener and it works pretty well.  This year I had an electric sharpener on my Christmas list.  And wow, I have to watch my fingers now.  I got mine from Chefscatalog.com.  It has 3 stages to sharpen knives to a near razors edge.  If you get your knives this sharp, be sure that you form the “C” with your fingers when chopping.  That will keep them out from under a very sharp blade.  Leave the knife tip on the cutting board and move the handle only up and down moving the items your chopping with your other hand.  Take it slowly at first for safety sake.  As you get more experience the speed will come.  It’s amazing how many fewer tears you get from chopping onions with a sharp knife.  Give it a try, be safe, and have some fun.  Enjoy!

Categories : Tools & Techniques
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Jan
18

Picante and Cream Cheese Dip

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Hello Everyone and welcome back to Food Flavor Fun.  A place to find some great ideas and recipes that a full of flavor for you to bring to your table to share with your friends and family to bring that fun and happiness that we are all after.

Monday’s are about starters or appetizers.  This really simple dip is a huge hit in our family.  It’s so easy and so full of flavor, you just have to give this one a try.  We can always tell when this dip comes out.  There’s always a shortage of chips in a very short period of time.  And a crowd forms around the container that holds this dip.  I like this with Ruffles or Tostitos.  Give it a try to see what chips you like to go along with the dip.  You won’t believe how easy this is.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 jar of Picante, I use a small jar of Pace Picante Sauce, medium heat

In a mixing bowl, cube the cream cheese to help speed up the mixing and add the jar of Picante sauce.  Using a had mixer, start on low-medium and slowly speed up the beaters until the dip becomes smooth.  Either serve immediately or refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the tastes really blend through the dip.  Serve with your choice of chips.  Enjoy!

Categories : Starters
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