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Jalapeno Bacon Dip

This is a Game Day win.

Maybe it’s cliche but my favorite part of game day parties is the food. And the socialization.

I understand football, don’t get me wrong. I played powder puff in college at the Free Safety position, I even made a girl cry once. But that’s on her, if you can’t handle the heat, stay out of the end zone.

It’s just that my attention span is pretty short when it comes to things I have no emotional investment in the outcome.

But I do love being at the house of true fans, which give me some emotional investment in their team winning. I’ll root for your team, and bring you some bacon dip, as long as your team isn’t playing The Seahawks. Because if I root against The Seahawks, I might wake up a single woman the next day.

Jalapeno Bacon Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 fresh jalapenos
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup divided
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cut the stems off the jalapenos.
  3. Since the seeds of the jalapenos contain most of the heat, you can adjust the heat level of your dip depending on how many seeds you leave in. For a mild dip, remove them all, for an extra spicy dip, leave them all in. I removed the seeds from one pepper and left the seeds from the other. The dip was perfect heat level for some, but too spicy for others. I would recommend removing at least half of the seeds to serve to a large group.
  4. Chop the peppers.
  5. In a food processor add the chopped jalapenos (with the amount of seeds you want), cream cheese, 1 cup parmesan, sour cream, bacon (reserve a few tbs for a garnish on top), smoked paprika, and garlic powder and process until well combined.
  6. Pour into a baking dish. Garnish with remaining cheese and bacon.
  7. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Cheesy Potato Pancakes with Jalapeno Sour Cream

I like to throw parties, invite people over and make them feel at home. I like to make more than enough food, and for everyone to leave very full and with a take away bag of goodies. But the last time I had a little gathering at Casa De Dodd, I had overlooked my Gluten Free friends. I had remembered the vegetarians, and the vegans, the people who don’t drink beer, but for the ones who are allergic to gluten there wasn’t much. I felt terrible.

Gluten Free isn’t a fad diet. It isn’t Paleo or Raw or Weight Watchers. It isn’t a choice. It’s a medical condition and a food allergy  that is one of the fasted growing diagnosed food allergies in the United States.

Gluten Free (Celiac’s Disease) people don’t want to give up bread. And regular pizza, or hamburger buns and flour tortillas, they don’t have much of a choice. Eat gluten free or become debilitatingly ill. Have you ever had food poisoning? In away, it’s like that.

And with over 3 million American’s allergic to gluten, chances are your next party may have one. It might even be you, Celiacs is most often diagnosed in adulthood. Because we want everyone who walks into our parties to feel at home, we all need to have a stock pile of appetizers to accommodate. Because unlike other diets, this isn’t a choice.

Because gluten is used as a thickener in tons of processed foods, it can easily hid in obscure places like canned soup, pre-made salad dressing, imitation crab, cheese spread and some brands of soy sauce.

At each party I need to have a few Celiac Friendly dishes that I made from scratch so that I can be sure there isn’t any rogue gluten waiting like a digestive ninja to attach my friends insides. Potatoes are a great place to start. Because who doesn’t love potatoes? It’s like not liking puppies or The Beatles.

So when you come across Gluten Free appetizers and dishes that you love, bookmark for them for gatherings. Because your friends would do it for you.

Cheesy Potato Pancakes with Jalapeno Sour Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red potatoes, grated with a cheese grater
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs masa (corn flour used to make corn tortillas)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (if using pre shredded, check to make sure it does not contain gluten)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 jalapeno, diced, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Place grated potatoes between several sheets of paper towels, press to remove some of the moisture. In a bowl, combine the grated potato, egg, masa, salt, pepper, cayenne and onion powder, mix until combined.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Form potatoes into silver dollar sized pancakes about 1/4 inch thick. Add to the pan and cook until browned, about 2 minutes, then flip pancake. Top the pancakes with a small amount of cheddar cheese, cook until cheese is melted and underside of the pancake is browned, about an additional 3 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to drain on a paper towel.
  3. In a bowl, combine the sour cream, jalapenos and smoked paprika, mix. Top the potato pancakes with sour cream. Serve warm.

 

Cucumber Cups Stuffed With Goat Cheese Caprese

 

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

On Friday I fought a culinary chicken battle that ended with a giant foam core check with my name on it. This was my second attempt to win the Semi-Finals of the Foster Farms Chicken Cook Off, last year wasn’t my year. But this year, I won a giant check, a trip to Napa, the opportunity to cook at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (my favorite prize so far) and the chance to grab another Giant Check worth ten grand.

I’m so excited. Not just because the other dishes I was competing against were incredible and each worthy of their own Big Check, but because, in a way, this Big Check (that currently sits on my bar, in all it’s 4 foot long splendor) serves as a validation for what I do. I’m good at this! See, look, other people picked my recipe out of thousands of other ones!

Maybe that seems silly, I create 3 to 5 recipes a week, post them for you and you seem to like them. You send me emails and post comments telling me that you liked my little creations. That should be enough, right?

But for some reason, that Big Check gave me tangible evidence that my recipes are good. Other people, who don’t even know who wrote that recipe, liked it.

Maybe I have a future here.

;

For this, I’m resurrecting and re-creating one of my most popular posts.

I love these little cucumber cups, so easy, so versatile, the perfect thing to throw together for a party. They take about 5 minutes, and they look so fancy. I used persian cucumber for these, smaller than your standard English cucumbers and the skin is so thin, there is no need to peel them.

Just use a small melon baller to scoop out a good portion of the middle, or use a paring knife to cut a wedge out of the middle and you can fill them with just about anything.

Cucumber Cups Stuffed With Goat Cheese Caprese

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup balsamic
  • 4 Persian Cucubers
  • 2 oz goat cheese
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, chopped
  • 3 large basil leaves, chopped
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Place balsamic in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Cook until reduced by half (you can also by pre-reduced balsamic, called balsamic glaze, in the market near the balsamic vinegar).
  2. Cut the cucubmbers into 1 1/2 inch slices. Use a melon baller to scoop out the middle, leaving the walls and bottom in tact.
  3. In a bowl, add the goat cheese, tomatoes, basil and stir until combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Fill cups with goat cheese mixture, drizzle with balsamic reduction.

 

 

Beer & Bacon Pecan Bars

 

 

Clearly, I’m ready for fall. And in Los Angeles, that just means that Dodgers games are starting to end and I get to wear a light sweater. If I feel like it. Oh, and fall produce. If I haven’t mentioned to you before my favorite part of living in Southern California, its this: Farmers Markets.

This Golden State that I live in grows half of all the produce grown in the United States (that’s a lot) and we get to have Farmers Markets nearly every day of the year. And although mid-rant I realize that this post doesn’t even contain any produce, it does contain those fabulous flavors of fall. With bacon. And beer. And fall farmers markets are my favorite. No matter what day of the week, somewhere in Los Angeles there is a Farmers Market in which I can unnecessarily bundle up and walk from stall to stall with a cup of coffee buying local vegetables in the "chilly" mid 60 degree weather.

Pecan pie will always remind me of fall and for nearly a year I’ve wondered what it would be like to add bacon. And of course, beer.

Turns out, these are the best damn pecan pie bars I’ve ever had.

 

Beer & Bacon Pecan Bars

Ingredients
  

For The Crust:

  • 1 stick plus 2 tbs 10 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs water

For the Filling

  • 1 cup stout
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups chopped pecan
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 strips of bacon cooked and chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • In a food processor add the flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt, pulse to combine. Cut the butter into cubes and add to the food processor. Process until butter is incorporated into the flour mixture. Add the water and process to combine. Add additional water, 1 tsp at a time if there is flour that still hasn't been dampened.
  • line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with parchment paper (this will make it easier to remove from the pan) and dump the shortbread into the pan. Press into the bottom of the baking pan in one even layer.
  • Bake at 350 for 12 minutes of until a light golden brown. Allow to cool before adding the filling or the crust and filling will mesh together.
  • In a pot over medium high heat, add the stout, cook until reduced by half. Add the butter and stir until melted, remove from heat. Add the sugar, pecans, cream, corn syrup and stir until melted. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, add the eggs and stir until combined.
  • Pour the filling over the crust, sprinkle with cooked bacon and bake at 350 until the filling no longer jiggles when you gently shake the pan, about 25-30 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Compost Toffee

There is this bakery in New York called Momofuku Milk Bar that sells baked goods so perfect, they defies the laws of baking. They have this incredibly popular Compost Cookie recipe that people line up to buy fresh out of the oven.

And I’ve been missing New York a lot lately, and the time I used to spend there, before I was a mom. I miss the roof top parties, the back stage passes, the music festivals, the rock shows, chatting with celebrities, chefs tastings, my single friends with fascinating careers, and epic dinners that lasted all night.

Which might be why I wanted to a little piece of the NYC I miss, turned into a toffee.

But then last night I got to do something even better than all those night in New York during my 20-something life. I ran around the back yard playing "I’m gonna get you" with my little girl, while my husband volunteered to do the dishes, and then my daughter curled up in my lap to eat rasins and watch Sesame Street.

No passes, no list, no plane tickets.

As much as those pre-mom nights had a higher marquee  value, this is the good stuff. This is what I’ll miss when I’m old, and even my grandkids have babies.

I loved my 20’s, and I’m glad I was able to run around the world with my husband, but now I’m glad to run around the back yard with my daughter.

And if all I have left of New York is memories and cookies I turn into toffee, I’m ok with that. Because it all comes down to my life’s motto: Figure out what is great about the situation you are in and enjoy the crap out of it. 

Compost Toffee

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 tbs corn syrup
  • 2 tbs water
  • 2 cup 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup pretzels, smashed
  • 1/4 cup potato chips, smashed
  • 2 tbs butterscotch chips
  • 2 standard sized graham crackers, smashed

Instructions

  1. In a large pot over high heat add the butter (make sure to use a large pot) and stir until melted. Clip a candy thermometer onto the edge of the pot, add both types of sugars, corn syrup and water. Stir continuously until it turns an amber color and hits 300 degrees. This process will take between 15 and 20 minutes from start to finish. pour onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat. Allow to cool.
  2. Add the chocolate to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until chocolate is melted. Pour over the toffee and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly over the warm chocolate. Allow to cool until set.
  3. Cut into pieces.

 

Beer Soaked Apple Pie With Cheddar Beer Crust

When it comes to baking, I’m always intrigued by a new spin on an old favorite. Not to say that I don’t fully appreciate the simplicity and beauty of a perfect and well done classic recipe.  I’ll never tire of a traditional, straight forward apple pie with a huge scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

But I was introduced to the pure magic of a cheddar pie crust as an encasement for a traditional apple pie, by Kelly of Evil Shenanigans. I couldn’t stop thinking about how much I want to beer-ify (it’s a word) that perfect pie. Kelly’s cookbook, Not So Humble Pies is all about how to take that sweet little pie you’ve always loved and turn it into something they’ll never forget.

She even agreed to let me post my modified and beer-ified version of the crust that’s in her book. Maybe because she watched me greedily inhale two pieces of her pie in record time and was afraid of my possible reaction to not having said pie in my life any longer.

Here is my beer version of an apple pie with a cheddar crust. Which served as dessert, then breakfast the following day, then dinner.

It’s pretty versatile.

 

 

Beer Soaked Apple Pie With Cheddar Beer Crust

Ingredients
  

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6-8 tbs beer pale ale, or wheat beer work best
  • 2 tbs melted butter to brush on prior to baking

Filling:

  • 7 cups Granny Smith apples peeled, cored and sliced (Granny Smith are the only apples that will not turn mushy during this process)
  • 16 oz pale ale or wheat beer
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp corn starch

Instructions
 

  • Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor, pulse a few times until its combined. Add the butter and process until well combined, about 2 minutes.Add the remaining flour and process until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  • Move to a bowl and add the cheese and 6 tbs beer, mix until just incorporated. Don't over mix. If the dough is too dry, add more beer until the right consistency is reached.
  • Split into two equal sized portions and form into disks. Wrap the disks in plastic wrap and chill until very firm, about two hours. Because this dough is so soft, it is very important for the pie dough to be very cold and very firm.
  • Place the apples, lemon juice and 16 ounces of beer in a bowl and allow to soak at room temperature for 2 hours. If the apples are not fully submerged, toss every half hour to redistribute. Remove the apples from the beer and allow to drain and dry for about 30 minutes, or until fully dry.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Add the apples and the remaining filling ingredients to a bowl and toss to coat.
  • On a well floured surface, place one of the disks, add flour to the top of the disk as well.
  • Roll out into an even thickness. Marble rolling pins are very cold and don’t disrupt the fat inside the dough, making them an excellent choice for rolling pie dough. When you place your dough in the fridge to chill, add your marble rolling pin as well, allowing it to chill.
  • Add you pie dough to a pie pan and press into shape, removing any excess. Add the filling.
  • Roll out the second disk of pie dough and add to the top of your pie. Press the top crust and the bottom crust together at the edges, cut holes to vent steam.
  • Brush with 2 tbs melted butter.
  • Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cover the edges with foil of the edge starts to brown too quickly.

Crust adapted from Not So Humble Pies, Kelly Jaggers

Brownie Waffles

I can’t decide if I’ve been obsessed with Dessert for Breakfast or if it’s really an obsession with Breakfast for Dessert.

 

Well, you say, it depends on what time of day said meal is being consumed. Although if this dessert/breakfast hybrid is eating all day long, the lines get a little blurred.

Now that I’ve shared with you my Pecan Pie French Toast, and Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes now I throw these Brownie Waffles at you.

I figured out that although I eat pretty well most of the week, I let myself eat whatever I want at my Saturday morning breakfast, making me want to get the most bang for my bite. Hence, breakfast and dessert crammed into one plate. I hope you don’t mind too much.

And if you want to get craaaazy, go ahead and top this with vanilla ice cream. And sprinkle it with bacon. But make sure and invite me over.

Brownie Waffles

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk (divided in half)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturers specifications.
  2. Get out three bowls.
  3. In the largest bowl, add the flour, baking powder,cocoa powder, and salt, stir.
  4. In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup milk. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted. Add the remaining milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and only the yolks of the two eggs.
  5. Add the whites to the third bowl, along with the sugar. Whip with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.
  6. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the chocolate milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold into the egg whites until just incorporated.
  7. Cook in waffle iron according to manufacturers specifications, using butter flavored cooking spray if indicated.
  8. And I recommend topping with whipped cream, or ice cream, or frosting, or chocolate chips, or all of it.

Chocolate Chip, Stout & Beer Nut Cookies

 

If you live in the Los Angeles area, I’m going to need you to do me a favor. I’ve somehow been booked on CBS, Los Angeles mid-day news with a cooking segment this Friday, August 31st. They want me to do a quick Cooking With Beer segment on the news at noon. People will be hungry, naturally, it is lunch time, and my hope is that this will persuade them to ignore any brief moments of nervousness that I have.

But If you could tune in, and support me, that would be great. I’m not really nervous, I keep waiting for that to set in, but it hasn’t yet. When it does, I would love to know that people who have been visiting me here on this little blog for the past year are out there cheering me on.

That would be great.

In the meantime we’re going to make some cookies. These call for the classic Beer Nuts, which I found myself in possession of after a particularly round night of cards at my house. Several bags of Beer Nuts left by an anonymous donor.  And I can’t just leave them in my pantry, I need to find a use for them.

We are also going to revisit that crazy idea I have of making beer extract. Because vanilla is just too…well, vanilla.

 

Chocolate Chip, Stout & Beer Nut Cookies

Ingredients
  

  • 3/4 cup stout beer
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips 60%
  • 3 oz bag Beer Nuts

(Makes 10-12 cookies)

    Instructions
     

    • In a pot over medium high heat add the beer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 tbs.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and both types of sugar, beat until well creamed. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add the 1 tbs of beer extract and beat until well combined, scraping the bottom to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.
    • In a sperate bowl, add both types of flour (these two types of flour are very important to the end result of your cookies, regular all purpose flour will not give you the same results), cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Add dry ingredients to the stand mixer and mix on medium/low speed until just barely combined, don't over mix. Add the chocolate chips and Beer Nuts, and stir until incorporated.
    • Resting the dough is an important step in this recipe. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, scoop golfball sized scoops of dough, roll them into round balls and place on the baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
    • Preheat oven to 350.
    • Bake for 20-22 minutes or until light golden brown, don't over bake. (If you don't chill the dough, or if you make smaller sized cookies, the cooking time will be much shorter. Start to keep an eye on your cookies after about 14 minutes).

     

    Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

    I’ve spent all day with an internal struggle about the limits of my acceptance of other people. Probably a much too serious intro for a post about pancakes, but bear with me, you might have some insight I could really use.

    I’ve always prided myself on being a person who is able to see people for who they are, in the context of their own culture and life experiences and find beauty, talent and value without the qualification and framework of my own situation.

    Whether it be a trailer park in South Central Los Angeles, a cave in Morocco, or a bus bench in Greece I’ve always been able to do that. Easily.

    But today I was challenge with a though: what about hateful, small-minded, bigoted people?

    What about racists?

    The homophobic?

    Are those people I should love and keep in my life?

    I had an interaction with someone who left me wondering about my assertion that I have the anthropological capacity to care about other people regardless of who they are, what their beliefs or culture dictates, without judgement.

    Can I judge someone merely for judging others? Isn’t that the epitome of hypocritical?

    Isn’t the greater definition of open-minded and open-hearted to love those who are a challenge to love? I do believe that there is good in everyone. But is it worth it to try to dig past the hate and anger of a racist or homophobic friend or family member, or is that level of toxicity a fundamental deal breaker?

    If you have some insight, let me know. For now I will proceed with caution, because the bottom line is I want to love everyone. I don’t want anyone, or any group of people, to be designated as a group I should hate. Because hate just breeds more hate.

    Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup flour
    • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 3 tbs brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/4 cup milk (use coconut milk for dairy free, this is what I used)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup raisins (plus more for garnish)

    Instructions

    1. In a bowl add the flour, oats, salt, brown sugar, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mix until well combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the milk, egg and vanilla, stir until just combined. Add the raisins and stir.
    2. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat, coat with cooking spray.
    3. Drop about 1/4 cup of batter on the hot griddle. Cook until dry on the edges and bubbles start to form in the center. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes.

    (Yield: 6-8 pancakes)

    Cherry Peach Tart With Coconut Cointreau Whipped Cream (Vegan)

    Julia Child would have turned 100 today. She’s an inspiration, not just for those of us who cook, but for anyone who is sitting in an unfulfilling life wondering how then ended up where they did. Anyone who thinks they are "too old" to start a new path.

    Julia didn’t start cooking until she was 32 and she didn’t enter culinary school until she was 37. And just look at how that turned out for her, I’d say pretty well. What if she had felt "too old" to start learning how to cook? Would we still be putting canned pineapple slices on ham and eating Sarah Lee on special occasions?

    Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t start writing until she was in her 40’s and her Little House books weren’t written untill she was in her 60’s.

    Martha Stewart was a stock broker until she started working on renovating a farm house at the age of 32.

    Andrea Bocelli didn’t start singing opera until he was 34.

    Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 70.

    Makes me feel like I have an early start on this career change I want to make. Instead of thinking "Who am I to do that?" Start thinking, "Why not me?" If they can do it, why not you?

     

    Reminder: If you are in San Diego and want tickets to the Foster Farms Cook Off on September 7th, check this out.

    Cherry Peach Tart With Coconut Cointreau Whipped Cream (Vegan)

    Ingredients

    Crust:

    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 3/4 cup of vegetable shortening (can sub butter for non vegan)
    • 2 to 4 tbs ice cold water

    For the filling:

    • 3 cups cherries, halved and pitted
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tbs flour
    • 2 yellow peaches, sliced

    For the whipped cream:

    • 1 can full fat coconut milk, chilled in the fridge overnight (important) (can sub 1 cup whipping cream for non vegan)
    • Chilled bowl (like the bowl of a stand mixer, just place it in the fridge for a few hours)
    • 3 tbs powdered sugar
    • 1 tbs Cointreau

    Instructions

    1. In a food processor, combine 1 1/3 cup flour, salt, sugar and shortening, process until well combined. Add the remaining flour and process again until combined. Transfer to a bowl and add the water with a wooden spoon (don’t add the water while the dough is in the food processor or your dough will be brittle and cracker-like). If the dough isn’t moist enough, you can add more water, a tsp at a time until the consistency is right. Dump the dough into the bottom of a 9 inch tart pan with 1 1/2 inch high sides, sprayed with cooking spray. Starting with the sides first then the bottom, form the crust into the pan. Chill the crust for 2 hours in the fridge. (If you haven’t yet, put a bowl in the fridge to chill to make the whipped cream)
      (*Note: if you have a smaller tart pan, mine seems to be quite large, you will need less tart dough, pull out any excess and make a mini tart in a muffin tin. You can also double the recipe, form the excess into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, place in a Ziplock freezer bag and freeze. should keep up to two months)
    2. Preheat oven to 350.
    3. Add the cherries, sugar, and flour to a bowl and toss to coat. Add the cherries to the tart crust. Top with sliced peaches. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until tart crust is a light golden brown. Allow to cool before removing from tart pan.
    4. Make the whipped cream.
    5. Open the can without shaking. Scrap only the fat layer at the top and into the chilled bowl, do not include any of the water in the bottom of the can, just the fat layer. Using a hand mixer, on high, whip until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and whip until combined. While the mixer is running, slowly add the Cointreau until combined.
    6. Serve the tart topped with whipped cream.

    Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter French Toast

    It seems so wrong.

    This urge I have to continually make breakfast with beer.

    Probably reinforcement of the personality test I took in college in which I scored "surprisingly high" on the Inherent rebellion scale, as noted by the test administrator.

    Because we, as a society, have decided that we shouldn’t mix alcohol with pre-noon hours. Along with a Sunday brunch mimosa or, well… Vegas in general, this should be your exception.

    And while I’m ordering you around, I have to mention how much I adore this beer and demand that you seek it out:

     Stone smoked porter with vanilla bean. It’s a porter with the perfect infusion of the flavors of smoke and vanilla bean.  And even though it’s summer and I’ve been told by Beer Store Beer Guy that porters and stouts aren’t "in season," I’ve driven all over town to stock up on this very porter, twice. More evidence of my inherent rebellion.

     

    Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter French Toast

    Ingredients
      

    • 1 cup milk
    • 2/3 cup smoked porter recommended: Stone Smoked Porter w/ Vanilla Bean
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 tbs butter plus additional as needed
    • 1 large loaf of crusty italian bread cut into 1 inch thick slices

    Instructions
     

    • In a bowl, add milk, beer, sugar, eggs and vanilla, whisk until well combined. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the butter.
    • One at a time, dip the bread into the milk mixture until well coated. Add to pan and cook until browned on one side, flip and brown on the opposite side (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Repeat for all slices. Add butter to the pan as needed.

    Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream (Vegan)

     

    ( chocolate coconut ice cream vegan ) 

    I’m still in shock about this ice cream.

    First, I am still wrestling with this realization that I actually DO like coconut after years of testifying to my hatred for it. But it turns out that I love it, and my favorite of all the coconut products is coconut milk. And although I still loath "coconut" candy and all the oddly texture invasive disgust that it has assaulted my mouth with over the years, but I can’t hold that against the amazing substance that is coconut milk.

    I can’t stop putting it in things and my fervent adoration has only grown once I have discovered what it does once it hits my KitchenAid Ice Cream maker (affiliate link).

    A creamy texture that is much better than any cow’s milk product I have ever made. You’ve seen a can of full fat coconut milk, and that creamy layer on the top, it’s beautiful. And it’s incredible in ice cream, with a smooth and rich flavor that reminds me of the gelato I had in Italy.

    You will love this and everyone will be shocked that it’s vegan. I can’t even believe it.

    Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream

    Ingredients

    • 2 (13.5 oz) cans of full fat coconut milk
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup good quality unsweetened cocoa powder

    Yield: About 2 1/2 cups

    Instructions

    1. In a pot over medium heat, add all the ingredients and stir. Allow to simmer until thickened slightly, about 8 minutes.
    2. Place in a container and refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours.
    3. Add to an ice cream maker and churn until set, about 15 to 20 minutes. Freeze until desired consistency is reached

    *Note: I use a Kitchen Aid Ice Cream maker: churn time was 15 minutes for a "soft serve" consistency and another 2 hours of freeze time for a harder scoop style ice cream.

     

     

    Strawberry Sriracha Margarita

    I’m not much of a hard liquor drinker. That was something I inadvertently gave up when I became a mom, along with sleeping past 7am, peeing alone, and buying anything for myself without feeling selfish. It’s worth the price of admission, this tequila free/up at dawn/spectated toilet runs/"why am I buying this for myself when I could be buying something for my kid," life that I live as a person who grew another human in her guts.

    Because she’s really amazing.

    (Me & Tater in the healing waters of Santa Barbara a few days ago)

    So I drink beer (the good stuff) or wine (the cheap stuff) unless you tell me that there is a cocktail on the menu that’s spicy. I love a nice hot cocktail. Lately, jalapenos have been popping into drinks all over the country and I couldn’t be happier about it.

    My undying love for the Rooster Sauce put the idea for a red hot cocktail in my head a few months ago. And adding strawberries gave the perfect balance. Be careful, alcohol intensifies heat so start with a small amount (this recipe calls for only 1/2 tsp) and then decide if you want to add a bit more.

    If you love Sriracha as much as I do, I would suggest you add The Sriracha Cookbook to your culinary library, or follow Randy Clemens blog, The Sriracha Cookbook Blog.

     

    Strawberry Sriracha Margarita

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
    • 1/2 cup tequilla
    • 1/4 cup Cointreau (or other orange flavored liquor)
    • 1 tbs agave nectar
    • 1/2 tsp Sriracha
    • 2 cups ice

    (yield: 32oz, about 2 generous servings)

    Instructions

    1. Add all ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth. Pour into a sugar rimmed margarita glass.

    Chocolate Stout S’Mores Bars

    I have some s’mores trivia for you. I have a fascination with useless mundane trivia, and tend to  collect and expel said facts without provocation. So, here is the s’mores trivia I promised that you are undoubtably eager to get to:

    • The recipe for s’mores was first published by the Girl Scouts in 1927. Further proof that those smug little culinary crack dealers have a long history with the creation of addicting sweet treats. (* this last sentence is not actual fact, just observation)
    • National S’Mores day is August 10th. More than enough time for you to whip up a batch of beer soaked s’more bars (*Actual fact).
    • The recipe’s original credit is given to Loretta Scott. But let’s be honest, stolen content predates blogs, no one really knows where the recipe came from. At least she didn’t steal their photo and submit it to Foodgawker. (*combination of fact, conjecture and emotional trauma resulting from web thievery)
    If you have any random, little known or otherwise useless s’mores facts, I’d love to hear them.

     

     


    Chocolate Stout S’Mores Bars

    Ingredients
      

    • 10 graham crackers
    • 3 tbs butter melted
    • 2 tbs brown sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 cup white sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
    • 1 stick butter
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 2/3 cup chocolate stout
    • 3 cups standard size marshmallows

    Instructions
     

    • Preheat oven to 350.
    • In a food processor, add the graham crackers and the brown sugar. Process until nothing is left but crumbs. Remove the stopper from the food processor lid. While the food processor is on, slowly add the 3 tbs melted butter and process until it resembles wet sand.
    • Add to a 9 x 13 pan. Distribute evenly along the bottom, pressing firmly into place.
    • In a bowl, beat the eggs and both sugars on high until well combined, about 3 minutes.
    • In a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and the butter. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until melted and well combined. Add the chocolate to the egg/sugar mixture and beat until well combined.
    • In a separate bowl, mix the cocoa powder, salt and the flour until well combined. Add to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add the beer and stir until just combined.
    • Pour the batter over the crust.
    • Place marshmallows in even rows across the top, leaving a 1/2 inch boarder along the edge.
    • Bake at 350 for 22 minutes or until the marshmallows are golden brown.
    • You still want the bars to be soft, don't over bake, they will continue to set as they cool.

    Pig Newton Jam (Bacon & Fig Jam) With Puff Pastry Biscuits

    I love forming culinary obsessions. Foods that I can’t stop thinking about, that work their way into my kitchen via said obsession on a regular basis. Maybe you have tired of my bacon jam post, and if that is the case than I can pretty safely assume that you have never made it. It is completely worthy of prolonged obsessions. I promise.

    This jam, this lovely spreadably pig and fig hybrid is so good that I beg you to make it. And then you’ll get it.

    If I hadn’t already scoured my kitchen and spread this on everything from Trader Joe’s Crisp Chocolate Chip Cookies to stale graham crackers, these are the things that I would have made with this Pig Newton Jam:

    Bake shortbread bar cookies + spread jam on top + chill for a few hours + cut into squares = Pig Newton Cookie Bars

    Tortilla + Gouda + Bree + PN Jam = Pig Newton Quesadillas

    Bake a tart crust in a tart pan (let cool)+ PN Jam + fresh arugula + goat cheese + Fresh tomatoes = Best tart ever

    Above ingredients Tart crust + crusty bread = Pig Newton Crostini’s

    PN Jam + Puff Pastry + Wheel of Bree cheese = Baked Pig Newton Bree

    Crepes + PN Jam + Mascarpone = Breakfast Hog Heaven

     

    I know that I have friends and readers who don’t dig the pig, so I’ve added a How To Veg It Up alterations to this post.

     

     

    Pig Newton Jam (Bacon & Fig Jam)

    Ingredients

    • 12 Black Mission figs
    • 5 strips of bacon
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tbs honey
    • 2 tbs red wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
    • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp salt

    Instructions

    1. In a pot with a lid, like an enamel dutch oven, cook the bacon until browned. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain off all of the bacon fat except about 1 tbs. Return pot to the heat and add remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer. Chop bacon and add to the pot.
    2. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Place the lid at an angle to vent and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy.
    3. Add to a food processor and process until smooth.

    *To make vegan, replace the bacon with 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 5 additional fig and 1 tsp olive oil.

     

    Puff Pastry Biscuits

    1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

    2 tbs butter, melted

    1 tsp salt

    Roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface several times in each direction. Cut out 20 to 24 circles with a 3 inch biscuit cutter (note that circles will shrink as they cook). Place circles on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Brush the circles with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.

    Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until light golden brown. Split across the middle, fill with jam.

     

     

    Brewed Mary: Beer Bloody Mary

     

    No offense to vodka, but a Bloody Mary just tastes better with beer. And an IPA is the inarguable choice for a Brewed Mary. I am, for the most part, a live and let live person.

    Happy to let your differing opinions thrive right alongside mine. There are recipe choices that I would love to debate with you. I’ll take your suggestions of a pilsner over a Saison for a beer cheese dip. And I would love to debate with you Brown Ale versus a Hefeweizen for a chicken pot pie.

    But with this, we have no choice, an IPA is just the best way to go. The hops blend so well with the heat and the tomato juice.

    If you disagree with me, I just hope you keep it to yourself. After all, I still want to like you, and we can always spar over porter versus stouts for brownies.

    For this recipe, I used Stone Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA. At the moment, it is one of my favorite beers, and quite possibly my favorite IPA.

    Note: Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. For vegetarian, use a vegan Worcestershire sauce like Annie’s Organic Worcestershire Sauce. 

    Brewed Mary: Beer Bloody Mary

    Servings 2 cocktails

    Ingredients
      

    • 1 cup tomato juice
    • 1/2 tsp celery salt plus additional for glass rims
    • 1/2 tsp Chipotle Tabasco sauce
    • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tsp brine for a jar of spanish olive
    • 1/4 tsp cream style horseradish
    • 1 tbs lime juice about 1 medium lime
    • 1 tsp lemon juice about 1/2 medium lemon
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • Ice
    • 1 cup IPA beer
    • Optional garnish:
    • celery stalk olives

    Instructions
     

    • Rim glasses with celery salt.
    • Add all ingredients (except the beer) to a shaker half full of ice, shake to combine.
    • Strain into prepared glasses, stir in the beer, garnish if desired.

     

     

    Bacon, Blue Cheese & Duck Fat Roasted Potato Salad

    I’m torn. On one hand, I’ve never been the sort of person to trash a company in public, but on the other hand I want others to be aware of companies that form borderline abusive relationships with clients whose livelihoods they hold in their digital hands.

    I will tell you this:

    I am so glad to have broken free of blog.com and I am appalled by they way they treat their customers. I didn’t want to leave, but I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to protect my content and my ability to continue to do what I love. I would strongly recommend NOT using them as a host, and instead using wordpress.com or even better, using wordpress.org as a self hosted site. If none of that made sense to you, Julie at Burnt Carrots has a great How To Start A Blog post that can clear some of that up. If you need more evidence, other than my desperate pleas, that blog.com is horrific you can ask this guy or this girl.

    I feel better. And I will be eternally grateful to my friend Andrew of Eating Rules who helped me switch both of my blogs to self hosted wordpress sites. He has a company called Blog Tutor who does that sort of thing. A tech guy who is also a food blogger, who else would I have used?

    On a lighter note, I booked my first TV gig!

    I was contacted through my other blog, The Beeroness to do a live Cooking With Beer demo on TV in Los Angeles on August 31t! I’ll update you will more information once that date gets closer.

    I’m so glad you all let me get that off my chest and now we can truly appreciate the magic of roasted potato salad.

    It is very possible that I am one of the only people in this world that has issues with boiled potatoes. Most of the time I seem to over boil them into a near mushy state with my lack of long term attention abilities. And the water washes away a lot of that great starch that we love so much about potates. Roasting helps me to fix both of those issues, it’s more forgiving with the time and it expands the flavors instead of removing them.

    And I added duck fat. I bough it at Sur La Table and a little goes a long way.

    I made this twice in one week, it’s really great. By far the best potato salad I have ever made.


    Bacon, Blue Cheese & Duck Fat Roasted Potato Salad

    Ingredients

    • 2 lbs red potatoes, diced
    • 3 tbs duck fat, warmed
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup pepper
    • 1/3 cup green onions
    • 6 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
    • 2/3 cup blue cheese dressing (some dressings contain gluten, check package if needed)
    • 1/2 cup sour cream

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 425.
    2. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, toss with duck fat. Roast in the oven at 425 for 10 minutes, toss/stir potatoes and roast for an additional 8-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, remove from the oven.
    3. In a bowl add the remaining ingredients, add the potatoes and toss to coat. Serve warm.

    Jalapeno IPA Hummus

     

    This recipe has been in my brain for a while.

    For weeks it’s been taunting me, begging to be flushed out, poured into my food processor and immortalized in internet print.

    And this weekend three failed attempts to make IPA lemon bars that never really gave me the results I was hoping for coupled with this tweet:

    gave this hummus it’s shot.

    And I’m so glad that the stars didn’t align and the beer cooking God’s didn’t smile upon the IPA lemon bars (which have become my culinary nemesis, mocking me with vague imperfections) because this hummus was exactly what I wanted on a hot day. It didn’t last long.

    For this recipe, I used one of my favorite IPA’s, Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA. A beautiful example of an IPA, even if this one was sans Habaneros.

     

    Jalapeno IPA Hummus

    Ingredients
      

    • 2 fresh jalapenos stemmed, seeded and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
    • 3 tbs tahini
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans drained
    • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
    • 1 tbs olive oil
    • 1 lime juiced (about 1 tbs)
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup IPA Beer plus additional if needed

    Instructions
     

    • Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Add additional IPA for a thinner dip. Serve with pita or chips.
    • *Note: most of the heat from Jalapenos are in the seeds. If you want a hotter hummus, you can leave the seeds in. If the finished dip is too mild, add 1/4 tsp chili powder for a spicier dip

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