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Beer Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut

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In the late 1600’s, my father’s family migrated to America from Germany.  (Apparently some of my ancestors beat William Penn to the punch.). My mother’s family also migrated to America from Germany and both sides of my husband’s family are also of German descent.  I mean, can you think of a more German last name than Ernst?  Maybe it’s my lineage that makes me feel German.  I don’t own a Dirndl, but I’m thinking about it…..but I do love German foods.  Sauerkraut, pretzels, bratwurst, Viener Schnitzel, strudels and streusels.  Or, maybe that’s the Americanized version of German foods? Either way, bring it on.  It’s on my bucket list to travel to Bavaria for Octoberfest someday.  But, for now, each October, I try to recreate the flavors of this German Holiday.

And obviously, no Octoberfest celebration could happen without sausages and/or bratwurst.

But what is the difference between sausage, kielbasa and bratwurst.  After all, aren’t they are all sausages?  The main differences lie in the herbs and seasonings used for flavoring.  Bratwurst is a specific type of German sausage, made with pork or veal or a combination of the two.  It can be subtly seasoned, most likely with caraway, coriander, ginger or nutmeg.  Kielbasa, or Polish Kielbasa, is usually made with pork or beef and is either smoked or only lightly smoked.  It will likely have a strong garlic flavor along with pimentos, cloves or marjoram.  Kielbasa is often paired with sauerkraut.  That’s probably more information than you needed or wanted, but maybe it helps to explain the differences.  I like all 3, and will probably continue to substitute either in most recipes and forget all of the details listed above.

And sauerkraut, it’s also a given.  This recipe slow roasts the kielbasa and the sauerkraut together.  The result is a sauerkraut that is browned, almost caramelized, and delicious.  It smells pretty heavenly too.

Beer Braised Bratwurst with Sauerkraut

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 bottle of bock style beer (or any kind of beer, I think I used a lager)
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa, Bratwurst or Italian Sausages 
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups Sauerkraut, drained on paper towels
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat a tall sided skillet or wide, shallow pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add onion, beer, and bratwurst. Simmer, turning sausages occasionally, until beer is reduced to a syrupy constancy and onions are caramelized-about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sausages and add beef broth to the pan, scraping the bottom until mixture is fully incorporated.
  4. Add sausages back to the pan and simmer until fully cooked, about 10 minutes more.
  5. Remove sausages and bring broth to a full boil until reduced to syrupy constancy, watch that it doesn’t reduce too much and burn off.
  6. Lower heat to medium low and melt the butter, scraping up the caramelized bits in the pan.
  7. Add sausages back to the pan.  Place sauerkraut around sausages and cook until heated and somewhat crisp.  Turn sausages and stir often to mix sauerkraut with caramelized onions so it doesn’t burn.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste-depending on the flavors of your sauerkraut and sausages you may not need extra seasoning.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.chaosinthekitchen.com

Crispy Hash Brown, Kale and Sausage Sheet Pan Bake

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There are a few things in life that I know for sure.

I do not like Goat Cheese…….

I do not like cilantro……..there is an ongoing debate about cilantro.  Apparently it’s genetic.  Tastes like soap to me.

I recently discovered homemade kale chips and they are life changing.

I hope you weren’t expecting something deep and revealing.  This is a food blog after all.  I can’t spill all of my secrets.

Kale chips have changed my life.  Rocked my world.  Put a spring in my step.  I’ve never been a kale fan.  I guess I’ve only tried to eat it in salads.  It’s tough.  It’s bitter.  When I worked for my mother in law’s catering business, we sprayed it with Pam cooking spray and used it as a garnish.  Always the garnish, never the dish.

But a few weeks ago, I was making some potato soup.  This particular recipe wanted me to make kale chips to use as a crunchy topping for the soup.

And so I did.

Kale chips are nothing new.  I know people who eat kale chips, they obviously think they are delicious.  But kale chips are not something people really talk about.

But they should be.  You should be.

When cooked this way, until nice and crispy, they are perfect on just about anything.  On soup, on a salad, squeezed in a sandwich or as a stand alone snack.  Which is how they came to be sprinkled on top of this breakfast sheet pan bake.  It’s a match made in heaven, well actually in my kitchen.  Which could be someone’s version of heaven.

I encourage you to go out in the world this week and talk about kale.  (Forget politics and that fact that it’s constantly raining in Pennsylvania.)  I think it’s been overlooked, shadowed by spinach and arugula perhaps.  Coming from a former picky eater, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Maybe it’s just this one thing we can all agree on.

Crispy Hash Brown, Kale and Sausage Sheet Pan Bake

Ingredients:

2 large potatoes, peeled and shredded (you can also use sweet potatoes if you prefer) or a bag of Frozen Hash Browns
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. Breakfast Sausage

4-6 eggs

Shredded Cheddar Cheese

fresh chopped chives

Homemade kale chips (recipe below)

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees. If using fresh potatoes, shred the potatoes in a food processor or by hand.  Toss shredded potatoes or shredded hash browns with diced onion and bell pepper.  Add in olive oil.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the shredded potatoe mixture evenly on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.  Trust me and use the parchment paper, crispy hash browns like to stick to baking sheets.
Cook for about 30 minutes.  I like my potatoes crispy, so keep an eye on them.
Meanwhile, pre-cook the sausage in a skillet for about 5-10 minutes. The sausage does not have to be entirely cooked through because you will be returning it to the oven.
Once the 30 minutes is up on the potatoes, pull the baking sheet out.  Broil potatoes on high for a few minutes until they are really crispy.  Then add in the sausage, chopped chives and kale chips.

Turn off the broiler and turn the oven back on to 425 degrees.  Crack the eggs and nestle them on top of the potatoes/kale/sausage.  Pop the baking sheet back in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the eggs are cooked.  (I also liked my eggs cooked pretty well.). Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese and cook until the cheese is melted.

Serve immediately.

“Ignore my blue fingernails. These are the best Kale Chips.”

Homemade Kale Chips

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and leaves coarsely torn

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the kale, olive oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.  Using your hands, massage the kale for about 1 minute to soften.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing once or twice during cooking, until crispy.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Loaded Crab Nachos

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If you look closely….fall is in the air.  I saw a few colored leaves on the sidewalk.  Pumpkins and mums are for sale everywhere.  And the hurricanes are lined up in the southern Atlantic.  Of course, I fully expect to suffer through a few more hot and humid days and I will try to resist the urge to pull out my wool sweaters and flannel shirts.

A few weeks ago, we had a bumper crop of crabs at the beach.  We caught over 7 dozen in our crab traps.  Maybe the crabs know winter is coming?  So why not celebrate the flavors of summer just a bit longer.  Although, I guarantee that these crab nachos would be a hit at upcoming football parties and tailgates.  So maybe it’s a perfect blend of summer and fall.

Start with a base of chips and crab, then you can add anything and everything on top.

Loaded Crab Nachos

  • Tortilla Chips
  • 16 oz. Canned Crab Meat, I went with the super lump
  • 2 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons minced Chives
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed Corn, optional
  • 1  1/4 cups Shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salsa
  • chopped Green Onions
  • Grape Tomatoes or Diced Tomatoes
  • Avocado slices
  • Shredded lettuce
  • chopped Jalapeños
  • Sour Cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon each of Cumin, Chili Powder and Paprika
  • Limes
  • Guacamole
  • Old Bay

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayo, the mustard, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and chives.  Add the crabmeat and gently fold, trying not to break up the crab.  Place the tortilla chips on an oven proof platter or baking sheet. Spread the crab evenly over the chips. Next, sprinkle some of the toppings over the pita chips. (corn onions, tomatoes, salsa, jalapeños and the seasoning mix.).  I would save the lettuce, sour cream, etc. until later.

Place the serving platter in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the crab meat is hot.  Then top with the shredded cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Remove the serving platter from the oven. Garnish the crab nachos with the remaining ingredients.  (avocado. shredded lettuce, fresh guacamole, limes, sour cream and a sprinkle of Old Bay).

Serve while hot and enjoy!

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Asian Blackened Salmon

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I don’t consider myself a salmon person.  I never order it when I’m eating out.  I never buy it to make for dinner.  And obviously we don’t catch it when we’re fishing in Delaware.  (We usually don’t catch much of anything.)  I am trying to cook fish once a week.  I can’t recommend my Cajun Blackened Fish Taco Bowls recipe enough.  https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2017/07/cajun-blackened-fish-taco-bowls/. It’s knee buckling and I could easily eat it once a week.  But for the sake of variety, and since Johnnies stocks several varieties of frozen Salmon, I thought it was time to experiment.

On my first attempt, I might have gone a bit overboard on the spices.  This is actually “an asian seasoned and blackened salmon” recipe.  I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be too fishy tasting.  I succeeded.  And, if heat isn’t your thing, skip the blackening process.  The asian-style marinade would probably be fantastic on it’s own.  Even to a non-salmon eater such as myself.

But, if you choose to double season, you’ll be in for a treat.  It is quite an explosion of flavor for your taste buds.

Asian Grilled Salmon 

Blackened Spice Mix

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

Combine all spice ingredients in a small bowl.  Pat fillets dry with paper towels. Season the fish generously with the  spice mix on both sides, pressing the seasoning into the fish with your hands.

Marinade Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. of Salmon fillets or loins
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 6 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic, minced

Combine the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, and garlic in a small bowl.  Whisk until combined.  Pour half of the marinade onto the salmon, allow it to sit/marinate for about 10 minutes.  (Discard the marinade the raw salmon was marinating in.)

Place a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add butter or oil. When the oil/butter is hot, Place the salmon skin side down in skillet and cook it for 5 minutes. . Turn carefully and cook the other side for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Quickly transfer the fish to a plate, skin side down, and add the remining marinade on top. The fish might seem like it’s not entirely cooked, but that’s fine. It’ll continue cooking while it rests.

Allow the fish to rest for 10 minutes before removing the skin.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.barefootcontessa.com

Slow Cooked Taco Stuffed Peppers

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Tacos are one of my favorites, and one of my family’s most requested dinner suggestions.  I think everyone would be happy if we had a weekly taco night.  I am partial to my taco recipe, I’ve been using it for probably 8 years consistently.  In an effort to “spice things up”, this time I swapped the taco shells for peppers. After all, my garden is still bursting at the seams with peppers of all shapes, colors and sizes.

I am also proud to say it’s a simplified recipe.  Once you mix together the meat and the seasonings/spices, the slow cooker does the rest of the work.  (Well, you do have to stuff the peppers.  The crockpot can’t do that part.)  Leaving you time to perfect your guacamole or margarita recipe.

This tasty dish will make your kitchen smell delicious.  The only problem will be how impatient your family is to eat them.

3 Little Peppers Cooking in a Crock Pot…….

Slow Cooked Taco Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 6 small red or green bell peppers
  • 1 cup prepared rice 
  • 1 lb. of ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup water

Directions:

  1. Cut off the stems on your peppers and scoop out the seeds on the inside, leaving a hollow shell.
  2. In a bowl, mix together your ground beef, salsa, beef broth, minced garlic, brown sugar and soy sauce.
  3. Stir in the rice.
  4. Mix in the shredded cheese.
  5. Pack each pepper shell with the beef mixture, maybe 1 cup of the mix.
  6. Place the stuffed peppers into a crockpot and pour a cup of water into the bottom.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Top with a little extra cheese 10 minutes before they are done. (I couldn’t fit all of the peppers in my crockpot.  I actually filled a deep oven safe pot with a cup of water, set the oven to 250 degrees, put the peppers in the pot and the cover on top.  Cooked just like the crockpot peppers). You could also top with crushed tortilla chips, bacon or diced jalapeños.

 

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

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What to do with all of those tomatoes…..Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Dip

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It’s that time of year again.  Tomato time.  Two or three times weekly, my husband hand delivers a full basket of tomatoes.  (Just once it would be nice to receive a bouquet of flowers instead!) And once again, I’m floundering to come up with ways to use them.  I have already made 4 batches of salsa.  (You can find my updated recipe in the blog archives. https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2013/08/canning-salsa-pickles-and-green-beans/). I am going to try to make some Bloody Mary mix this weekend.  And still, my basket is half full…..or half empty depending on your point of view.  As I write this, I am enjoying a BLT.  I have tomatoes on the brain.

Our garden is also overflowing with bell peppers, hot peppers and basil.  So, for me, this recipe hits a home run.  It was a “3 for one” to help use up the garden haul.

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Dip

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces feta cheese
  • 1 cup sliced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¾ cup roasted red peppers, drained (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Optional: 
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, chopped or a teaspoon of dried basil
  • diced fresh chives or a teaspoon of dried chives

DIRECTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Grease a 9×9 baking dish with olive oil, add the tomatoes to the dish and also coat them in olive oil, place feta cheese in the middle of the dish and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Fit an electric mixer with the wire attachment and beat cream cheese for 1-2 minutes on medium high speed. Beat until the cream cheese is smooth and “lump free.”
  • Transfer the cream cheese, feta, roasted peppers and the roasted tomatoes to a blender or food processor and blend until ingredients are incorporated and dip is smooth.
  • Garnish with fresh basil and fresh chives and serve warm with tortilla chips, crackers, toasted bread or cut veggies.
Roasted Red Peppers
Place the washed peppers cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Roast the peppers in the pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes; or until the skins are completely wrinkled and the peppers are charred.  Remove from the oven and place in a bowl and seal tightly with plastic wrap.  The steam from the peppers will soften the skin and make them easier to peel.  After the peppers have cooled considerably, remove plastic wrap and peel the skin off of the peppers.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.sweetandsavorymeals.com.

 

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Baked Breakfast Sandwiches

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We had a full house at the beach this year for the Fourth of July.  We got to spend some time on the boat in the sunshine and we got to see some fireworks on the water later that night.  After a long day of celebrating, I knew I wanted something easy to make and hearty enough to feed the hungry crowd the next morning.

These breakfast sandwiches were the perfect solution and my mom helped me whip up a batch the next morning.  We prepared each of the ingredients first and finished up “assembly line style.”  We used eggs, cheese, sausage and ham, but you could change it up and add whatever you want.  Bacon would be great.  Or avocados and tomatoes…….

I think the secret ingredient that takes these sandwiches from good to great is the garlic-mustard-poppyseed- butter mixture.  It adds a little bit of tang that you didn’t even know you wanted.

You can also make the sandwiches the day before and reheat.  Then maybe you’ll get a chance to sleep in!



Baked Breakfast Sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 Slider Rolls, cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 eggs, cooked your way (I fried my eggs)
  • 16 slices Swiss cheese
  • 8 sausage patties, cooked
  • 8 slices ham
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons poppyseeds


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

Place the bottom half of each roll in the bottom of the baking dish.

To assemble the sandwiches, start with a slice of cheese, then eggs (I used 1 per roll.)  Then ham, sausage and more cheese. Replace the tops to each roll.

In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, mustard, poppy seeds, and garlic powder. Brush the top of each roll generously with the butter mixture.

Bake covered for 12 minutes and then remove cover. Continue cooking for another 4-6 minutes or until the bread is toasted and and the cheese fully melted.

Remove and serve!

You can make these ahead. Just refrigerate overnight and bake when ready.

These sandwiches are so customizable, that is a word, right? If you don’t like any of the ingredients, leave them out!  Add bacon, take out the ham.  Add in some veggies.  The options are endless.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com

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Hot Diggity Dog

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We used to host an annual Food Contest sometime during the Fourth of July weekend (or week.)  As the hosts and creators of the contest, we would pick a food theme and lay down the rules.  We’ve had pizza parties, burger parties, crab parties and bacon parties.   Just to name a few.  For some reason, we got out of the habit of hosting.  Maybe it’s because it had gotten too big or maybe it’s because as a family we couldn’t agree on a theme.

Hypothetically speaking, if I were in charge, I would love to host a Dog (hot dog, kielbasa, or sausage) Party and let our guests create some award winning dishes.  Do a quick search on Pinterest and you will find lots of inspiration.  You will find thousands upon thousands (or at the very least, hundreds upon hundreds) of creative “hot dog” pictures.  Some topped with macaroni and cheese, some topped with peaches and burrata.

Johnnies carries a few items that would be acceptable for such a party.  My favorite being their Black Angus dogs.  But they also carry an assortment of “regular” hot dogs and a variety of Kunzler sausages.

They also stock my favorite type of roll, Martin’s Potato Dog Rolls.

For my “food party for one”, I presented 3 masterpieces.   Without further ado, I present my creations.

One of the rules for our annual contest was that you also had to name your creation.

From left to right……

  1. The Sloppy Dog (Hot Dog or Sausage topped with Sloppy Joe)
  2. The Safe Bet (Hot Dog or Sausage with Mustard….boring)
  3. The Peppered Dog (Hot Dog or Sausage with Sautéed Peppers)

Sausage, Hot Dogs, Black Angus Dogs or Kielbasa

Sauteed Bell Peppers for the Peppered Dog

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers; sauté 3 minutes or until the peppers start to become tender.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve bell pepper mixture over Sausage.  These peppers are equally delightful on chicken or turkey sandwiches.

*Johnnies carries frozen roasted peppers and onions.  If you want to skip this step, buy the frozen, already roasted bag.

Sloppy Joe Mix for the Sloppy Sausage

  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar

Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add the ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar.  Allow to simmer for 30 minutes and adjust the seasonings (add more ketchup, vinegar or brown sugar) if necessary.  Serve the sloppy Joe mix on top of your sausage or dog.  Obviously it’s just as good served on a roll.

Gather your dogs (or sausages).  Gather your toppings.  (You can get really creative with the toppings.  Add in something you love, like bacon or jalapeños.). Gather your rolls, Martins for me every time.

If you’re making it a competition, have your guests vote for their favorites.  It’s always interesting to see what people create.  Sometimes it’s terrible, but most of the time it’s surprisingly good.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

 

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Italian Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

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It’s picnic season.  The temperatures are soaring, the rain has stopped.  It’s time to get your coolers and picnic baskets prepped.  What are your go to’s to bring to a picnic or tailgate?  The most popular choices seem to be potato salads, fried chicken, baked beans (of course) and watermelon.  Pasta salads are new to the scene, but a great option because they hold up in the heat better than a mayo based salad.

Everyone has a favorite recipe (or a favorite boxed brand that they like).  I’m not sure what prompted me to stray from my faithful recipe.  It was probably a picture, I’m a sucker for food pictures.  The secret to the success of this dish is the roasted tomatoes.  Promise me you will take the time to roast them.  The end result, after 90 minutes, is worthy of your time.  The roasting process turns those dull, often tasteless tomatoes, into something tart and marvelous.

I do suggest that you undercook your pasta just a bit, by a minute or two.  The pasta will hold up better if it is slightly undercooked.  It won’t get soggy when it sits and soaks up that dressing.

As always, this recipe is customizable.  You like olives, you keep them in.  You don’t like olives, you take them out.  But not the roasted tomatoes, you keep them in.  You won’t regret it!

 

Italian Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes
4 cups grape tomatoes
olive oil
salt

Oregano dressing
1 big clove or 2 small cloves garlic
1  1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
1  1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
ground black pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil

Assembly
1 pound dried pasta, a bite-sized shape of your choosing (I used farfelle or bowtie pasta), cooked until 1 to 2 minutes before doneness and drained
6 ounces crumbled salty cheese, such as feta or queso fresco (I used cojita because that is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup pitted and rough-chopped olives of your choice (I opted to sub the olives for chopped pepperoni, I thought the crowd would be happier)
Salt and pepper

Roast tomatoes: Heat oven to 300°F. Cover 1 to 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Cut each small tomato in half lengthwise and arrange cut side up in a single layer on prepared sheets. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake in oven for approximately 90 minutes, until somewhat shriveled and dry to the touch, but not fully dehydrated. Set aside until needed, letting them cool.

Make dressing: Roughly chop the garlic on a cutting board, then add oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Mince the mixture with your knife until it’s a grainy paste. Transfer to a small bowl, whisk in lemon juice and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in oil, whisking the whole time. Taste and adjust as needed; you might need more salt or vinegar. I refrigerated the dressing before adjusting.  Sometimes the flavors blend well together after refrigerating.

Assemble salad: In a large bowl, place drained pasta, roasted tomatoes, cheese and olives (or pepperoni) and toss gently to combine. Add dressing to taste, along with any extra salt and pepper needed. Salad can be eaten right away, but will keep in the fridge up to 3 days. This is also perfect for picnics and potlucks.

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com

 

 

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Glazed Doughnuts

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This recipe may be late by a few days.  I realize that National Donut Day was on Friday.  But, my love for doughnuts should not be dismissed.  I have been known to coerce my friends into walking miles for doughnuts, 2.6 miles each way to be exact one time in Brooklyn.  (yes, it was worth it….).

I love doughnuts, specifically yeast doughnuts.  In case you didn’t know, there are 2 types of doughnuts, cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts.  Yeast doughnuts are fluffy, light and and just a little bit chewy.  Think Dunkin’ Donuts or Krumpe’s.  Cake doughnuts are moist and crumbly and dense like a muffin or cake.  Think The Doh-Nuh T Co. or Fractured Prune.

You can debate the qualities of each, but it comes down to personal preference.

So put me on Team Yeast.

Making doughnuts takes time.  There’s a lot of waiting for the dough to rise, then a long period of refrigeration before the doughnuts must rise again.  The process is not complicated, but it does take patience.  But I promise you it is worth the wait to make homemade doughnuts.

Glazed Doughnuts

  • 1-1/8 cup milk, warmed (around 100 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-1/4 stick butter, melted (or 10 Tablespoons)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil

GLAZE

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cold milk

To Make the Dough:

1. Make sure milk is nice and warm, but not overly hot. (around 100 degrees)
2. Add sugar to milk. Stir to dissolve.
3. Add yeast into a small bowl.
4. Pour milk/sugar mixture over yeast. Stir gently, then let sit for 10 minutes.
5. Melt butter in separate bowl until butter is almost melted. Stir to finish melting so butter won’t be overly hot.
6. Add beaten eggs to melted butter, stirring constantly to make sure the butter’s not too hot for the eggs.
7. Add the egg/butter mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.
8. With the mixer on 3 or medium-low speed, pour in the yeast mixture.
9. Allow the dough hook to stir this mixture for a couple of minutes, making sure it’s thoroughly combined.
10. With the mixer still going, add the flour mixture in 1/4 to 1/2 cup increments until all the flour is gone.
11. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, then turn the mixer on the same speed for five whole minutes.
12. After five minutes, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl.
13. Turn on the mixer for 30 seconds.
14. Turn off the mixer and allow the dough to sit in the bowl undisturbed for 10 minutes.
15. After 10 minutes, transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Toss the dough to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place straight in the fridge.
16. Refrigerate dough for at least 8 hours, or overnight.  I refrigerated it overnight.

To Make the Doughnuts:

1. Remove bowl from fridge and turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.
2. Roll out to 1/4 to 1/3-inch thickness.
3. Using a 3-inch cutter, cut as many rounds as you can, then roll out remaining dough and cut as much as you can, etc.
4. Cut holes out of each round using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.
5. Place both doughnuts and holes on a floured baking sheet.
6. Cover with large towel and place in a warm place in your kitchen.  Allow doughnuts to rise undisturbed for at least 1 hour; 1 hour 15 minutes if necessary. Doughuts should be visibly puffier and appear to be airy.

To Fry the Dougnuts:

1. Heat plenty of vegetable shortening in a large pot until the temperature reaches 375 to 380 degrees—375 is ideal; keep the thermometer in the pan to continually monitor.  For the first few doughnuts that I made, the oil was too hot.  The quality of the doughnut was not compromised, they were still tasty, but you can see from the photos that some of them were really dark in color.  I cooled down the oil just a little bit and the later batches were better.
2. One to two at a time, gently grab doughnuts and ease them into the hot oil. Allow them to cook 1 minute on each side; they will brown very quickly.
3. Remove doughnuts from the oil with a slotted spoon, allowing all oil to drip off.
4. Place doughnut immediately on several layers of paper towels, draining as much grease as possible before it soaks into the doughnut.
5. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and holes. The holes will cook more quickly than the doughnuts; about 30 seconds per side.  (I actually forgot to save and cook the doughnut holes!)
6. Allow doughnuts to slightly cool.

To Glaze

1. Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl until completely smooth.
2. One by one, dip doughnuts into the glaze until halfway submerged. (Note: completely submerge doughnut holes, then remove with slotted spoon.)
4. Remove from glaze, then turn right side up on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (to catch dripping glaze.)
5. Serve warm if possible, or room temperature.

Next time I make a batch of homemade donuts, it would be fine to try adding flavors to the glaze.  But for now, this simple glaze was perfect.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  
Recipe found and adapted from www.thepioneerwoman.com

 

 

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