Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fried Sweet Potato Cakes (or latkes, or hash browns, or potato scallops, or whatever you like to call it) Topped with a Fried Egg and Pepper Bacon

While this recipe is my brainchild, my husband is the one who physically made this delightful brenner (breakfast for dinner). I was going for a late afternoon run, which became an evening run, so our hungry tummies could not wait for me to shower, dress, and then start cooking. You'll notice in the picture that I topped mine with fresh chives and blue cheese. My husband contends that the blue cheese in this dish creates too generic a flavor and overpowers the flavor pairing of the egg and sweet potato cake. I see his point, but I really, really liked the blue cheese.

Note: These are only approximations for the ingredients -- Zach doesn't measure; he just cooks.

1 medium sweet potato, shredded (makes about three cakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon dried Cajun seasonings: thyme, mustard, paprika, oregano, rosemary
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs (for the cakes)
1/2 package thick peppered bacon
2 to 4 eggs (for frying -- depends on how many you want to eat)

In a medium bowl, combine shredded potato, seasonings, 2 eggs, sugar. Strain this mixture to get out the excess moisture/liquid.
In a large pan, fry bacon. Set aside bacon, reserve drippings. In a medium pan, heat two to three tablespoons of bacon drippings. Make about three pancake style patties out of the sweet potato mixture. Fry each side until brown. In large pan, fry eggs until desired texture. We prefer ours runny in the middle. Now, plate it, top it with chives and blue cheese, and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sweet and Simple: A Cinnamon and Sugar Irish Soda Bread Toast Breakfast

For St. Patrick's Day, my lovely friend Anne made me a loaf of her oh-so-splendid Irish Soda Bread. She suggested that I eat it toasted with ample butter. So, I decided to take something that was good to begin with and dress it up a bit for an extra-special breakfast that was not too time consuming. All I had to do was cut a slice from the loaf, smear a large pat of butter over it, sprinkle on some cinnamon and sugar, and pop it in the toaster oven. Meanwhile, I whipped up some fresh cream to jazz up my morning coffee, which always has a tablespoon of sugar and some creamer in it (I like my coffee sweet).

The Irish Soda Bread, being more of a cake-like pastry was able to stand the heat of the toaster oven longer than a piece of bread, so I was able to accomplish a nice creme-brulee effect with the sugar . When I saw the sugar bubbling, I knew it was ready. The warmed bread soaked up the butter, making it perfectly moist. This tenderness was delightfully contrasted by the slightly crisped and crystallized topping -- creating a nice complexity of textures. So, if you were lucky enough to have a friend make you a loaf of Irish soda bread, I suggest making some extra-special cinnamon and sugar toast.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quadruple-Chocolate Guinness Brownies with Minty Green Icing, as promised...

Previously, I promised to post this recipe, so I am. But I've also decided that it would be prudent to blog about it because I'm likely to lose the recipe in one of my many notebooks that seem to float about my house only to be scribbled in and repossessed by my youngest son.

This recipe is very similar (almost identical) to the caramel Guinness brownies on this blog, which I wrote about approximately a year ago. So, I would call this recipe the perfected version. The minty icing is really the perfect compliment to the rich, dark-chocolate flavor of these brownies, which is enhanced by the coffee flavors of the Guinness.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 stick butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
2 oz milk chocolate
2 oz white chocolate
4 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
12 oz Guinness Extra Stout

5 tablespoons butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 or so drops green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a double boiler combine and melt butter and chocolate. In a mixing bowl beat sugar and eggs until fluffy. In a large mixing bowl combine cocoa powders and flour; whisk in Guinness. Add melted butter and chocolate to flour mixture; add the fluffed eggs and sugar, as well. When all ingredients have been well mixed, pour into baking dish; bake 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine and mix icing ingredients, alternating between additions of sugar and milk/cream.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

New Edible Etsy Item: Guinness Brownies

Just in time for St. Patty's Day, I've posted a new dark-chocolate lover's dream of a brownie at my etsy shop.

The recipe will be soon to follow!

Happy Mardi Gras!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I've opened and etsy shop and I'm listing edibles!

Hooray! I'm taking my baking to the inevitable next level by putting it for sale on the internet! I'll continue to post more items, but here's a link to my first:

My shop name is SassySouthernChic.

Take a look and pass it on!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cheesy Bacon and Mushroom Baked Macaroni

Last night's dinner was the essence of comfort. I confess, growing up I always enjoyed the blue-box variety of mac & cheese, but this grownup-foodie version is vastly superior in every way imaginable. Even my children thought so, which is not too difficult to imagine because there is something about the aroma of bacon that lets us know... this is gonna be good.

1/2 lb elbow macaroni
8 slices bacon
1 medium/small onion, diced
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups cheese, I used a Mexican taco variety containing cheddar and asadero -- very yum!
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
black pepper
crust: 1/2 bread crumbs and 2 tablespoons butter

In a pot of salted boiling water cook macaroni. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees; and in a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Once bacon is cooked, remove from pan and set aside. Saute onions in bacon fat, once they begin to tenderize add mushrooms; cook until tender and brown. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cheese, milk, melted butter, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons flour; stir until well mixed. Once macaroni is cooked drain and toss in pan with bacon fat and sauteed onion and mushrooms. Turn heat to low and pour in cheese mixture. Stir to combine and bring heat back to medium. Stir in bacon. Bring mixture to a boil for a few minutes, stirring moderately. After the sauce has thickened, pour the macaroni into a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Top with bread crumbs and break up remaining two tablespoons of butter on top. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the crust is browned. Let stand five minutes, then serve.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blackberry, Cranberry (and Vodka for Mom) Cream Soda

In college, I used to love getting Italian cream sodas at the cappuccino bar we had on campus. And my boys don't drink soda, so I thought it would be a nice afternoon treat for them to try a cream soda. And since I did so many chores around the house today and got in a nice 3 mile run pushing the boys in the stroller this morning, I thought it would be prudent to spike my soda with some vodka. Despite living in New Orleans, I don't usually day drink (especially on a week day), but today I made an exception.

1 cup of frozen blackberries, thawed and squeezed
cranberry juice
ice cubes
tonic water
heavy cream
whipped cream

In an 8 oz glass, I combined 1 oz blackberry juice, 1 oz cranberry juice, 1 oz vodka, three cubes of ice. I filled the glass about an inch from the top with tonic water, then I added the cream and about a tablespoon of sugar. I topped it with some freshly-whipped cream and a sprig of mint. I made the boys' drinks the same way sans the vodka.

Balsamic-Laced Butternut Squash Soup

I realize that I'm posting this recipe out of season, but since I've been so negligent of this blog, I thought I ought to resume posting with something that I just love, love, love. So, for the few people who follow this blog, please file this recipe away and try it next fall.

1 butternut squash (I didn't weigh mine, but they looked average in size)
For the squash preparation: salt, pepper, olive oil
1 15oz. can petite diced tomatoes
2 to 4 sliced of bacon (preferably peppered bacon)
1 yellow onion, diced
1/2 head garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Quarter butternut squash; remove seeds; brush meat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash skin side down in a baking pan large enough to accommodate squash; add enough water to the pan so that it is 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch high. Roast squash until fork tender, which will take approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours (it could even take a little longer with a larger squash). Remove tender meat from skin and puree in a food processor or bowl with an immersion blender.

In a stock pot, cook bacon and remove to a plate once crisp. The cooked bacon will be used to crumble on top of the soup. Saute onions on medium heat in grease rendered from the bacon. Once the onion is tender, add the canned tomatoes and garlic. Allow the tomatoes to cook for a few minutes before adding the balsamic vinegar. Once the tomatoes have started to break down a bit, add the pureed squash and chicken stock; stir to combine. Stir in heavy cream. Salt to taste. Serve topped with Italian cheeses, crumbled bacon, and chives.