Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tart Cherry Galette

Ahhhhh tart cherry season..... one of my personal favorites. 

Living 45 minutes from Door County has many advantages and one of them is tons of fresh tart cherries in August.  I love a sweet cherries as much as the next person, but they do not hold a candle next to tart cherries. There is something about the flavors of a dessert made with tart cherries that are perfect for late summer- sweetness with a bit of tang. 

I recently made peach and plum galette and knew I wanted to give it a try with tart cherries. I kept the recipe very simple and added a small amount of sugar and cornstarch to the cherries so they would thicken and bubble while baking. 

This dessert was a big hit at our house. Kellen's preferred method is to eat all the cherries and they move to the crust. I think he wants to make sure he gets all the good stuff in first...smart boy. I like to serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while it is still warm. 

I have a few more bags of pitted cherries that I am saving in the freezer after the season is over and I can't get my mine of a tart cherry pie or galette. 

Tonight we are relaxing at home and starting up the grill for a new chicken recipe coming your way soon!


Ingredients

1 pie crust (I used a pre-made from our bakery, but you could make our own)
2 1/2 cups pitted tart cherries
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
2 tsp raw sugar, for sprinkling


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine cherries, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside. 

Stretch (or roll if you made your own) your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper.

Place cherries in the center of the crust. Make sure to leave about 2 inches boarder around the outside to fold over. 

Fold the crust edges up and over the cherries (I tucked as I circles the fruit). 

Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet.
Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Top with ice cream and serve. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 8/18 - 8/24

Happy Monday! 

This weekend was really fun and much needed after a week of craziness. 

On Friday, we grilled some chicken and were going to head to the Brown County Fair, but decided to hold off till Sunday and  go to the neighborhood park.  Kellen has really found a love of climbing lately and loved the steps and slides. He intently watched to big boys run up and down the equipment and, when they left, copy their methods. 
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On Saturday, we made our weekly trip to the farmer's market and loaded up on veggies for the week.  The market is full of delicious fruits and veggies in August and we took full advantage. I planned on making refrigerator pickles so I picked up a bunch of fresh dill and pickling cucumbers. I also grabbed a few quarts of fresh tart cherries from Door County for us and our friends.  After the market, Kellen and I headed to our friend's house for lunch and a little outdoor play for the kids. My good friend has a son the same age as Kellen and it is so fun to watch them play.  On Saturday evening we met our friend Amanda and her family for Mexican at our local favorite- El Serape. Kellen found a love for nachos and practically inhaled him plate (along with chips and salsa- little guy has a taste for spice!). 

On Sunday, we slept in and made a big breakfast before heading to the Brown County Fair. Kellen loved looking at the animals and watching the plug race.

Hello Mrs. Goat!


He also adored the freshly battered fried cheese curds. 

Finally, he got to sit on a real tractor (a current favorite) and he was thrilled, not that his face shows it, but we heard about it for the remainder of the evening. 


After we got home Ron and Kellen crashed and I watched Divergent. I read to book and enjoyed it as an easy read after finishing Game of Thrones. However, I was not very impressed with the movie. I liked the primary character casting, but some of the secondary was not great. Also, so many details were left out! This is usually the case of book to movie films, but I was a bit disappointed.  After naps we played outside and ended the evening with BLTs and a tart cherry galette. 

This week is a bit busy, but nothing like last week. We have volleyball on Wednesday and Ron's parents are coming to work on the deck and dinner on Thursday. On Friday I am heading out for sushi with a few girlfriends and am super excited. I love sushi and Ron is not a fan so it is a special treat for me. On Friday night, Kellen is heading up to Door County with my parents because we are going camping with our volleyball team. Sunday will be a recovery day since our little retreat tends to go into the late night. 

Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Grilled Burgundy Pepper Spoon Steaks, Creamy Roasted Garlic Pasta and Fresh Peas
Tuesday: Crockpot Saucy Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Wednesday:   BBQ Ranch Grilled Chicken, Zucchini Rice and Watermelon
Thursday:  Sundried Tomato Pesto Grilled Chicken, Grilled Corn and Green Beans
Friday: Out for Sushi!
Saturday: Camping with Friends!
Sunday: Pizza

Friday, August 15, 2014

Roasted Garlic, Sea Salt and Black Pepper Butter

I was at our local farmer's market last week and picked up a few heads of fresh garlic. I love when I can get it fresh because the smell is intoxicating and it is so tender compared to the more dry variety at the store.  I knew that I wanted a roast a bit to use in marinades and for a butter to use on our grilled corn. 

Roasting garlic is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen while having your friends still finding you mildly impressive with you mad skillz. To be honest, I was a bit intimidated by it until I actually tried it and realized what a giant wuss I was for not trying it earlier.

I decided to add coarse ground pepper and sea salt to my butter for a little additional spice.  I like to use unsalted butter when making my own flavors because I can determine the salt level and what type of salt I want to use. 

After the butter was finished and had set we spread it over fresh corn fresh off the grill. So how did roasted garlic match with fresh grilled corn (like I need to say it)? Delicious perfection!  The garlic flavor was not too strong and was perfectly salted and peppered. Ron liked to use the butter to cook his eggs for breakfast and tells me that it is a fantastic combo.

I am so happy to be home after three days of training for work! I love the knowledge gained, but it gets exhausting. I was lucky enough to be in Madison for two days and went to one of my favorite restaurants, Bluephies.  I had am amazing 5 spice pork tenderloin with a sweet potato and chorizo hash....it was incredible. Bluephies is also a vodkatorium and has a wonderful brunch. 

This weekend I put nothing on our agenda (besides a casual dinner with friends to our favorite Mexican restaurant) and it is glorious. I am thinking we might stop  at the fair to see the animals and get together with one of our friends to let the kids run. I love easy weekends....they always are extra sweet after a week of crazy work schedules! 


Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 medium garlic head (it should have about 8-10 good sized cloves)
 1/2 tsp Seat Salt
1 tsp Course Ground Pepper

Wax Paper


Instructions

roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. slice the garlic at the stem, and wrap it in aluminum foil with a drizzle of olive oil on  top of it. Wrap it up and roast for 30 minutes. Cool and squeeze out garlic cloves. 

Place butter and garlic into a food possessor (you could do this by hand as well).  Pulse till smooth.  Add sea salt and black pepper. Pulse and taste adding more sea salt and pepper if desired. 

Dollop the butter onto wax paper towards one end. Roll it up to create a log and secure the end by twisting or with small rubber bands. Place in fridge for a few hours and until set. When ready to serve  unwrap and slice.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grilled Spicy Chorizo Turkey Burgers

My husband loves chorizo with a passion. However, I do not cook with it very often and often wonder why when something delicious comes out of our kitchen. I originally saw a recipe for a chicken chorizo patty melt on Sarah's blog A Taste of Home Cooking.  I thought they sounded right up our ally, but wanted to make a few adjustments to suit our tastes. 

I opted to use ground turkey over chicken because I like how it does on a grill because chicken can be a bit sticky. The original recipe also used a grill pan, but we like to use an open flame in out house so we moved the party outside to the Weber.  I also used a pepper jack cheese over swiss, and doctored up the mayo to create a jalapeno cilantro mayo versus plan mayo for the buns. We also used buns for our sandwiches because that was what we had on hand over the flat bread. 

Ron and I both loved this sandwich! I really like that it incorporates some fresh garden herbs to go along with the spice. The chorizo with the pepper jack and jalapeno mayo provide a fantastic kick of flavor and spice. The smokiness from the grill worked perfectly. I think this burger is perfect next to  a freshly cracked ice cold beer on the patio on a Friday night. 

Today I am out of town in Madison for training for work. my boys are home alone and left to make their own rules..... I wonder what I will come home to??? Just kidding, they always have everything looking nice when I get home.  I imagine that it is an hour scramble right before I get home...hehe....gotta love 'em both!


Ingredients

Patties:
1 lb ground turkey
8 oz fresh chorizo
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbl chopped fresh oregano 
1 tsp salt

Onions:
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Jalapeno Mayo:
1/4 cup mayo
2-3 sliced pickled jalapenos
1 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro

4-5 slices of pepper jack cheese
4-5 burger buns


Ingredients

Place mayo, jalapenos and cilantro in the food processor and pulse till smooth. Cover and place in fridge till ready to use. If you do not have a food processor you can finely chop the jalapenos and cilantro. 

In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly combine the turkey, chorizo, garlic powder, oregano and salt. Form into equal-sized patties. Depending on how large you like your burger you will get 4-5 patties, but remember you will need to adjust your cooking time on a larger burger. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium saute pan on medium-low heat melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and lightly season salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are golden and caramelized and set aside.

Heat the grill to medium high heat. Cook the patties about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Add cheese to the burgers during the last minute of cooking and allow cheese to melt. To assemble sandwiches, spread jalapeno mayo on both buns. Place burgers on the bun and top with caramelized onions. 

Serve with an ice cold beer. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 8/11 - 8/17

Happy Monday! 

We had an amazing weekend that ended kinda crappy. 

We went of Thai with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. I love Thai curry.... I positively crave it from time to time, and was so happy to go! Of course time spent with our family is always awesome and full of tons of laughs and jokes. 

On Saturday, Kellen and I started our morning at the park with our friends. Later, we headed to Neshkoro, Wisconsin for a wedding on a farm. It was my childhood friend Loni's wedding to her husband Kjartan.  The farm was a a place e use to go when we were children and it was so fun to go back (and a bit emotional too). It was a place I never thought I would see again that held such sweet memories.  The decor was beautiful and perfect even down to the hand cut and hemmed napkins by the bride.  We sat on hay bales draped with different fabrics for the commitment ceremony (in English and Danish!). We feasted on traditional Wisconsin BBQ, homemade pie and cookies, freshly tapped beer and old fashions. We dances to  a fiddle under rows of small lights and twinkling of mason jars hung from trees. Perfect. 




On Sunday, my cousins were in Door County for my Mom's birthday. My cousin made porchetta and I made zucchini and mashed potatoes. I have had porchetta once before as a sandwich and it was wonderful so I was excited to try my cousins offerings. This porchetta was even more delicious than I remembered. I immediately requested it for Christmas dinner....amazing.  Unfortunately Ron and Kellen could not join because Kellen has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease! He had a touch of a fever starting on Friday, but it was a typical teething symptom and on Sunday he woke up with a few red dots.  Poor little dude!! 

This week I am out of town for work, but will be returning later on Wednesday  only to go off to another training on Thursday. A silver lining is that my friend Melissa is staying at my house before the training and I am super excited to see her!  I have nothing on my calendar this weekend and can't wait for a relaxing do nothing weekend!

Have a great week! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Out with my girlfriends for dinner. Ron and Kellen will have Grilled Kielbasa, Mac and Cheese and Green Beans
Tuesday: Out of Town for Work (Kellen and Ron will have pizza)
Wednesday: Out for volleyball
Thursday: Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken, Cilantro Lime Cous Cous and Black Beans
Friday: Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice and Grilled Green Beans
Saturday: BLTs and Watermelon
Sunday: Grilled Steaks w/ Cabernet Blue Cheese Butter, Grilled Veggies and Corn on the Cob

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peach Liqueur

Time for August Secret Recipe Club

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned Jane's Adventures in Dinner. Jane is a trained chef and teacher who takes beautiful photos of her delectable creations.  When I first received her blog I was hoping to find a recipe using peaches because Georgia peaches were ripe and coming to Wisconsin farmer's markets by the truck load. They were the perfect eat-it-over-the-sink-touch-it-and-it-bruises types of peaches.  Jane does something pretty awesome and celebrates a food each month. Much to my delight there was a month celebrating peaches! I was sooo torn between a few of her peach recipes because they sounded delicious.  I ultimately decided on peach liqueur. This recipe is perfect because it is simple and makes a nice amount of booze. I picked this because my friends that  Ron and I play volleyball with are going camping in mid-July and this will be a perfect companion for us to sip on while we sit by the lake in the sun or under a warm starry sky after dark.  Last year our starry sky went to almost daylight pretty quick if that tell you what type of party it is and why this liqueur will be perfect for the occasion.  This is a little strange to post because I have not sampled the finished product yet because it is getting ready for the party in my basement. However,I took an early taste before putting it downstairs and that was so tasty I can hardly wait to try it. I am thinking it will be perfect with fresh lemonade or with a bit of sparkling water.  I am also going to reserve a bit for a few cocktails at home around our fire pit in the backyard! 

Jane, I owe you an early thanks for making my party by the lake fun in a few weeks!! 


Ingredients

1 quart peaches (sliced and loosely packed into 3 mason jars)
Simple syrup:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1¼ cup brandy
1½ cup vodka


Instructions

Combine sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let cool. Stir in the brandy and vodka. Pour over fruit to cover and screw on the lids. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks before draining and drinking. 

Makes 3x750 ml jars

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bang Bang Chicken Skewers

Ron and I share a mutual love for all things Sriracha. I saw this recipe on Sarah and Caroline's respective blogs and it received rave reviews from both ladies. It has been on my list for awhile and I was waiting (odd as it sounds) for a nice fresh zucchini to throw on the grill along side my skewers. 

This recipe could not be easier to prepare and it was soooo yummy. I loved the flavors of the sweet and spicy paired with the smokey flavors from the grill. The addition of the fresh grilled veggies and warm cous cous are perfect alongside the chicken.  Ron, Kellen and I all enjoyed this recipe. The sauce it spicy, but we love a little kick (even little Kellen).  Kellen has been enjoying spice little by little. We never make him try anything, but his current favorites are a bit of spicy chili and spicy salsa. 

I can't wait to make this dish again while the zucchini and tomatoes are delicious and fresh from the garden. If you are looking for a delicious summer meal to enjoy on your deck give this meal a try because you will not be disappointed. 

Last night Ron and I went to celebrate our 3rd anniversary with dinner at Bleu and a volleyball game at the bar.  However, Bleu was closed for a private event- boo! We went to one of our favorite places, Plae Bistro.  We started with a few cocktails and bread with olive tapenade. I had a lavender lemonade and a glass of Chianti, and Ron had 2 glasses of Chianti. For an appetizer, we shared a delicious heirloom tomato and bacon flatbread,  I had red snapper with a blue crab beurre blanc with roasted potatoes and broccoli. Ron had a southwestern spice hanger steak with chimmichurri sauce and roasted potatoes.  Did didn't spring for dessert and opted for a beer at our volleyball game (which we won- wooo!). 


Ingredients

1- 1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
1 (or 2 small/medium) large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 pint grape tomatoes
Olive oil, a few tablespoons for drizzling 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup mayo 
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce 
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

Bamboo Skewers

Cous Cous to serve on the side


Instructions

Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes before using. 

Thread the chicken, zucchini and tomatoes onto separate skewers. Drizzle the chicken and veggies with oil, then season with salt and pepper. 

Whisk together the mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, and sriracha sauce, pour a small amount into a bowl to brush on the chicken and set aside the remainder.

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the skewers. Cook the veggies for 6-8 minutes, or until tender, and the chicken 10-12 minutes.  In the last 2 minutes of cooking, brush the chicken skewers with the sauce.  

Remove the skewers from the grill and let rest 1-2. Serve chicken and vegetables with cous cous and a side on the sauce.