Morning shows are not generally my thing…unless we are talking Sportscenter – then I am totally game. As a female, I feel the need to explain this habit. You see, I grew up with brothers…therefore, mornings were comprised of Frosted Flakes and SportsCenter and after 18+ years of this ‘torture’, don’t ya know I found myself actually enjoying the darn show. To the point that I continued to watch it throughout college (where I then insisted that my roommates watch – a childhood without control of the remote makes you quite the dictator later in life). During my pre-cable-lessness days (aka Amish living) – I have begun dating my life pre and post cable... ESPN/SportsCenter is what you would find on my TV, all morning long – because as you know (or maybe you don’t), SportsCenter will replay, hour after hour, until about noon. It restarts without much warning and before you know it – you have watched the Top Ten Plays 3 times and the morning is gone. It happens to the best of us. But post cable world…I am SportsCenter-less. Whomp, whomp! And honestly, it was the hardest part to the whole no cable thing…ESPN. But I have survived and while my mornings aren’t the same (besides being a tad bit more productive) I have found a replacement of sorts, NBC. It isn’t a fair trade or even remotely a good substitution…but it is what it is and I am too damn stubborn to return to cable because of the remarks from the peanut galleries of the world. And in all reality, I don’t miss paying the cable bill. So NBC it is.
What does ESPN have to do with a stir-fry? Well hold your panties…I will tell you… had I been watching SportsCenter I would not have seen this dish being prepared on Hoda and Kathy Lee – ya know, the 20th hour of the Today Show. In the 20th hour, there is a lot of wine and mishaps and bad jokes – my kind of morning entertainment. Cooking on morning shows generally drives me up-the-wall- bonkers…you can not properly show how to roast a chicken (with 3 sides) in a 10 minute time slot. You are not serving any purpose and confusing/intimidating instead of encouraging folks to don an apron and get cookin. But a stir fry…these are meant for 10 minute time slots…and perhaps that is why this recipe caught my eye.
Asparagus season is upon us and I am jumping whole heartedly into this shindig. I have eaten it nightly for the past week or so -which also means that my pee has smelled gawd-awful for the past week or so – but you probably didn’t need to know that, but whenever someone brings up asparagus, talk of pee is sure to follow. But let’s get back to the tender skinny stalks of green with the spiky spear heads that just asked to be sauted or roasted. Or made into soups or dipped into a creamy hollandaise sauce.
Asparagus is what dreams are made of. At least until I eat so much that I can’t stand to look at another spear…but that takes a bit of time. And when it is mixed with the fresh bite of ginger and toasted sesame seeds and tossed with briny sweet shrimp and nutty farro…I may never tire.
I recommend this served hot for a quick and healthy week night meal and then eaten cold the next day as a cold farro salad in the lunchroom – surrounded by drooling co workers who wish you had made extra.
And I was just thinking…red bell peppers would be a great addition to this. Toss it in if ya got one hanging about.
- 1 cup Farro, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon Toasted sesame seeds (you can toast them or buy already toasted)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound large shrimp, cleaned and pre-cooked (found in the frozen section of grocery)
- 1 teaspoon Asian (toasted) sesame oil
- In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar and grated ginger. Set aside.
- In a medium sized skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add asparagus and cook until tender, but still crisp (taste one to test) – about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir frequently.
- Add cherry tomatoes (keep whole, I cut mine in half and it produced too much liquid.). Cook mixture for another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir in the soy sauce mixture and add shrimp to skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes to heat through.
- Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil.
- Toss with cooked farro and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve immediately (also, very good cold!)
Ever feel like you are just one step behind, just a little late. I think I am perpetually meant to be one step behind, I mean, I am kind of good at it. Getting to the party just a little past fashionably late. Where you sneak in and close the door quietly behind you so that the party in the next room isn’t disrupted and so that you can sneak in without being truly noticed, because you don’t enjoying being the center of anything. You slip your shoes off and place them next to a pair of wedges that you take notice of and quickly snag a glance at the designer/brand and make a quick mental note to add those to your wish list and wonder/hope if they are still available in your size. You take quick inventory of your socks, praying there are no holes and that they are matching. You toss your jacket and scarf over an empty chair and slip ever so quietly into the background of the party, scanning and searching for a friendly familiar face.
This one step behind phenomenon is kind of ironic, seeing how I am one of the most punctual people I know. I learned early on that to be early is on time, on time is to be late, and to be late is to be left behind. This may have pertained to team sports and practice and bus schedules and wasn’t meant to be a life lesson, but it has stuck with me.
I have gotten used to showing up to the party a bit late….I am just glad I get to the party, safe and sound.
So when I discovered the glories of grits, I just assumed I was probably the last to figure this out. And I think I am. The grit party started hours ago and here I am, sneaking in…trying to pretend that I have been here from the start. But I haven’t and that is OK…it doesn’t matter when you show up, just that you do. So here I am…tying on my party hat, grabbing a cocktail, and joining in on the party.
- 4 Cups Water
- 1 Cup Stone Ground Grits (or polenta)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- ⅓ Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Pound Shrimp, peeled,deveined, tails removed
- 6 Strips Thick Cut Bacon, chopped
- 2 Bunches of green onions, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 4 teaspoons Lemon Juice (from a lemon shaped bottle is fine)
- In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in grits and whisk to combine. Reduce temperature to low. Cook for about 20 minutes (or according to package directions) until water is absorbed and the grits have thickened. Remove from heat and stir in butter, milk, and cheese.
- Meanwhile, rinse shrimp and pat dry.
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a plate lined with paper towel. Set aside.
- Discard all but 3 to 4 tablespoons of bacon grease. Add shrimp to bacon grease and cook until shrimp turn pink (just a few minutes).
- Add bacon, green onions, parsley, garlic, and lemon juice. Cook for about 3 more minutes.
- Serve the shrimp over a healthy helping of grits. Serve immediately.
adapted slightly from Bobby Flay
Sooooo…. how do you get wax off carpet? Red, cinnamon scented wax. A spot the size of a large pickle. That is all I can come up with.
Stan is none too pleased with me. His place in front of the fire has been disturbed. I am none too pleased with me, because there is red wax on my white carpet. Awesome.Read More
Apple butter is probably one of my favorite foods this side of the Mississippi. Now if you go west of the Mississippi, all bets are off. I mean, who knows what I will encounter. Wisconsin and a whole state of cheese are west of the Mississippi…While apple butter would surely hold a spot in the top 5, cheese surely may knock it down a few notches. However, cheese and apple butter in combination, as in sliced and slathered on a cracker…now we are getting some where. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Apple butter. Wanna know my favorite way to eat it? No? To bad, this is my blog. My favorite way to enjoy this scrumptious spread is by the spoonful. That is right, straight from the jar, by the spoonful. Or fork. Or knife. The utensil doesn’t really matter…I would use my finger, but that would be uncouth, and couth, well couth I have . Sometimes.
Apple butter, if you are new to the world of fruit butters, actually contains no real butter. Sorry butter lovers. No butter has ever been harmed in the making of a fruit butter. Apple butter is simply a concentrated version of apple sauce. Apples and cider (or water) are cooked long and slow together, concentrating the flavor and caramelizing the sugars, giving it that deep brown color. Oh apple butter, how I love thee. While apple butter is great simply by the spoonful, slathered on saltines (my second favorite way to enjoy), biscuits, or toast…or another favorite, substituted for jam or jelly on a peanut/almond butter sandwich (so good!)…it is suberb in baked goods and savory dishes. I have used it here, and here, and you can find a ton of recipes here. As you can see, I am not a newbee to the world of apple butter. I am an apple butter conisieur if you may.
Being a coniseiur, one would assume I have narrowed down the best brand…and you would be correct. My go to for apple butter is Musselman’s. Hands down, the best out there. I am always stocked with a jar in the pantry and an open one in the fridge. So you can imagine my thrill, when Musselman’s contacted me to devlope a recipe for them, using their apple butter. A chance to eat more apple butter? Where do I sign up?
Apple butter bacon pizza is where my brain went. I am sucker for anything salty and sweet. Sweet and Salty. Sugar. Salt. I am a goner. Once my brain went there…there was no turning back. And this time around, pizza was my vessel for the salty sweet combination. If you are wondering if apple butter would make a perfect pizza sauce, then you would be correct and do you wanna be my friend? Never mind. Any way… apple butter slathered on a homemade or store bought crust and then topped with layers of toasted pecans, crispy bacon, caramelized onions, and lots of shredded gouda cheese is the perfect pizza for a chilly friday night. Watch out though…with the salty sweet combination…you may not be able to stop at just one slice or one pizza!
- 1 (15-inch) unbaked pizza crust (from scratch recipe follows, or use store-bought refrigerated pizza dough)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
- 6 strips cooked bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 ½ – 2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
- ⅓ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- About 2 cups baby arugula to finish
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- In a medium skillet or cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Toss onions to coat.
- Let onions cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, give the onions a stir and add a pinch of salt. Let onions cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, without stirring.
- At this point, remove skillet from heat momentarily, and add balsamic vinegar. Stir to incorporate. Place skillet back onto heat and continue cooking until onions are caramelized and broken down, about another 10 minutes or so. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to build pizza.
- Place unbaked pizza crust on a cookie sheet or pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Evenly spread apple butter over crust and sprinkle a pinch of red pepper flakes over the apple butter. Spread caramelized onions over apple butter, and then sprinkle chopped bacon and pecans evenly over the onions. Top with shredded Gouda. Place in oven (still at 450 F) and bake for an additional 8 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and browning.
- Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before slicing.
- Slice pizza and top each slice with fresh baby arugula to finish.
- Note, cooking times may vary if using store-bought refrigerated pizza dough.
1 (15-inch) crust
3/4 cup warm water (about 110°F)
1 package active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 ¾ cup flour, divided
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1. In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, yeast, 1 tablespoon flour and sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. It should form a foamy like layer. If it doesn’t, your yeast is dead, and you need to start over with new yeast and make sure your water isn’t too warm.
2. In a mixing bowl, with dough hook attached, mix to combine 1 ¼ cup flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add yeasty mixture and olive oil. Continue to mix until flour is all incorporated, and then slowly add remaining flour (tablespoon by tablespoon) until the dough forms a soft ball that is no longer sticky. This mixing should take about 8-10 minutes. Turn dough out into a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about 60-90 minutes, until doubled in size.
3. Once the dough is doubled in size, punch down dough and let rest for an additional 5 minutes. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll or stretch dough into a 15-inch circle. Place dough onto a cookie sheet or pizza stone.
**This blog post was sponsored by Musselmans and while they offered to provide me with apple butter to create this recipe, I declined seeing how I already had 2 jars in my pantry, ready and waiting.**Read More
I had this for dinner and seriously contemplating eating the leftovers for breakfast.
And by seriously contemplating…I mean I am dead set on it. It’ll be good at 5am, right? No? Maybe?
Wait, what?!? Gorgonzola cheese is not your cup of tea before noon? Hmm….Fine.
I understand. My stomach is weird. I can eat anything without any regard to the time of day. Breakfast for dinner is a no-brainer ( … and those of you who don’t like pancakes for dinner…I am looking at you with a sideways glance, because I don’t trust you…) But what about dinner for breakfast?
Pizza…cold. No brainer right? What is better on Saturday mornings?
Leftover pasta? Yep, this girl. Any day of the week.
Ice cream….there is a 12 year old living inside of me. And this 12 year old doesn’t have a mom hollering about how no ice cream is to be eaten before noon.
Diet Coke. Probably my favorite thing to drink when I awake. Weird I know. I have a weakness for carbonation.
Cottage cheese. With grapes. I will eat while my oatmeal is warming up. Straight from the carton. I am a monster.
Chili. Yep. I have done it and will do it again. Protein, right?
Carrots and hummus and pita. All day long. Morning to midnight, this is happening in my house.
Leftovers from any random restaurant from the night before. Pasta? Chicken sandwich? Mexican? Wings?
I don’t really have a stopping point…I had a loaded baked potato and salad at work just last week, it was 10am.
After that list…polenta with gorgonzola, walnuts, and honey actually sounds more breakfasty than say…lasagna and a diet coke. Right? But in all reality, this dish is to be enjoyed on a cool crisp fall evening. While you are wrapped in your favorite oversized sweater, yoga pants, and thick socks. With a small fire roaring and a side of red wine. A dish to be enjoyed as you recoup from the first half of the week or as you catch up on your fall TV shows and try to wrap your mind around how they killed off McSteamy from Grey’s Anatomy. Really? Seriously? McSteamy is dead? Huh…
- 2 Cups Water
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Ground Cornmeal
- ¼ Cup Half and Half
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ Cup Walnuts
- ¼ Cup Gorgonzola Cheese, broken into chunks
- About 4 Tablespoons Honey
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Place water in medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add salt.
- Slowly, whisk in cornmeal and reduce heat to low. Cook until mixture is thick and polenta is tender (about 20 minutes), stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick/burn on to the bottom of pan.
- Once, thickened, remove from heat and whisk in butter, half and half, and pepper.
- Divide polenta into two dishes and top with gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, and a good drizzle of honey.
- Serve with a slice of crusty bread, lightly toasted and a glass of red wine.
Adapted from Joy the Baker.