Monday, April 27, 2015

Grilled Cheese with Bacon


Sometimes nothing is more comforting than a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Whether you had a hard day, it's raining outside, or you just aren't sure what to make for dinner. Grilled cheese pretty much cures all. Andrew recently decided to make grilled cheeses for dinner while I tied up some loose ends with the blog and schoolwork. After he finished toasting up these beauties, I just had to snap a few photos and share it with you all here. See, even the simplest of recipes, with only 2- or 3 ingredients, can be just as delicious as something that takes hours. It's all in the quality of your ingredients!


Grilled Cheese with Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices bread of your choice
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded smoked mozzarella
  • 3/4 cup freshly shredded smoked gouda
  • 3 slices applewood-smoked thick-cut bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. butter
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Place the first slice of bread down and top with 1/2 of the mozzarella, sprinkle with half of the chopped bacon, half of the gouda, and then the top piece of bread. Press down firmly with the back of a spatula. After the first side has turned golden brown, or closer to burnt if you are like me, flip it over to the second side and continue to cook until all of the cheese has melted and the bread is toasted, about 5-6 minutes in total. 

Repeat with the remaining bread, cheese, and bacon. Serve immediately. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Brown Sugar Pulled Pork


Isn't friendship amazing? I know, what you're thinking, what does a pulled pork recipe have to do with friendship, but seeing as this blog is also my diary, sometimes I just have to get a little personal with you guys. I'm going to take you on a long journey, in a short amount of time. I have talked about Andrew and I's wedding planners, from Konsider it Done, before. But they are anything but just wedding planners to us. I have known Kris since our wild and crazy college days, singing and dancing at a local piano bar. Kris, well she was a bit of a nomad, and moved plenty of times throughout the years, and when she made her trek back to AZ after a stint in LA and Texas, she was looking for a place to live. I just happened to be going back to school after college and living in my parent's basement (trust me, it was much cooler than it sounds). My parents gracefully let her move in with us, where we shared many laughs, and coincidentally enough, that is when I started this here blog. Fast forward a bit, and Kris and I moved out of the basement and into a townhouse with Kris' little sister that I bought in Phoenix. Us 3 girls, just living life, cooking together, watching The Bachelor marathons together, and living paycheck to paycheck. Life was good. Or so we thought. Fast forward a bit more, and now Kris is married to her husband and business partner, Tyler. Kris' little sister and I are both engaged and life is even better than any of us could have imagined. These days we are replacing our dinners in the basement with hosting dinners at each other's houses, sharing life and wedding tips, recipes, and a whole lot of laughs. Like I said. Isn't friendship amazing? And so it this pulled pork. But I don't need to tell you a long run on story about that, because it's just a fact. For an added kick, try serving this pork on a pretzel bun with some of this blackberry honey mustard.


Brown Sugar Pulled Pork

Ingredients:
  • 3 lb. pork shoulder 
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 6 oz. light beer
Mix together the sugar, mustard, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub all over the pork and then place it into a crockpot. Pour the liquid smoke, bbq sauce, and beer over the seasoned pork. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

The pork should easily shred with a fork, or take the easy way out and transfer the meat to a stand mixer on low. You can thank me later.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blackberry Honey Mustard


 Mustard has always held a special place in my heart as far as condiments go. Growing up I was an extremely picky eater (cue your freak out when I remind you that I did not eat cheese until the age of 25), but even though almost all of my food was ordered or made "plain", I slowly began putting mustard on things. It was just about the only thing my parents could get me not to scrape off of my hamburger. As I got older my taste changed, but yellow mustard was still the topping of choice, specifically on hot dogs. Then came dijon, whole grain, spicy, honey. Basically, give me all the mustard, is what I am trying to say. As I was flipping through yet another magazine, seeing as I am basically a hoarder, I came across a blackberry honey mustard and I knew I had to try it. It's tangy. It's sweet. And it paid great compliment to our brown sugar pulled pork sandwiches (recipe will be posted tomorrow). 


Blackberry Honey Mustard

Ingredients :
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 6-oz. package fresh blackberries 
  • 1/4 cup honey 
  • 3 tbsp. dijon mustard 
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice 
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
Place the sugar and blackberries in a small sauce pan and cook, mashing with a wooden spoon or potato masher,  for about 3 minutes.

Strain the blackberries through a fine mesh sieve, discarding the seeds and pour the juice into a blender or food processor.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil. Turn on the blender and puree, slowly drizzle the olive oil in a steady stream.

Once the olive oil has been combined, cover tightly and place the mustard in the fridge for at least an hour, or over night, until ready to serve.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Blueberry Banana Almond Loaf


Can I just gave whoever invented "breakfast bread" a high five? It's like they made it okay to have cake for breakfast, and just disguised it as healthy. But then my 28-year-old metabolism kicked in, and suddenly cake for breakfast wasn't really agreeing with me. So, this is my version of a healthy cake for breakfast. It's got fruit, it's got nuts, it's even got sugar. But it's healthy. Oats replace all-purpose flour that you would find in most bread loaves, making this a hearty breakfast for kids and adult alike. One thing that bread for breakfast must always have though, is a large slab of butter. There's no replacement there. 


Blueberry Banana Almond Loaf

Ingredients:
  • 2 overripe bananas
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (optional, will be less sweet without it)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup whole blueberries (fresh or frozen will do)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds or chia seeds (whatever you have on hand, or prefer)
  • sliced almonds for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a bread pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the ripened bananas with a fork. Once they are creamy, mix in all of the ingredients except for the blueberries and sliced almonds. The batter will be thick and creamy. Fold in the blueberries and then pour the mixture into the prepared bread pan.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes, rotating halfway through. Once a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean, the bread is done.


Allow the bread to cool before slicing and serving. This will allow it so set a bit. Will store, covered, for up to 4 days. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thai Pesto


I believe that a sauce can make or break a dish. Even the most simple plate of pasta noodles can be saved by a good tomato sauce. Dry meat can be transformed with a good gravy. The same can be said about a bad sauce. Don't ruin your eggs benedict with a poorly made hollandaise sauce. I have been perfecting my sauce game as of late, and Andrew keeps telling me to bottle them up and start my own HDFB sauce line. But for now, I just enjoy creating them and sharing with you. This thai pesto is a simple twist on the classic, using a few more ingredients, and really bringing the classic thai flavors to life. It's every bit sweet, strong, and just a hint of spice. It could honestly be put on anything. Dip your bread in it. Drizzle it over salad. Or even marinate your meat in it before grilling. It's a do-it-all recipe that will be making regular rounds in our house.


Thai Pesto

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/2 large jalapeno, seeded and minced (leave seeds for more heat)
  • 1-inch piece ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
Throw everything into a food processor and whirl until smooth. Keep in the fridge for up to one week.

Serve over your favorite pasta by thinning out the pesto with a bit of the pasta water, or over shrimp, chicken, or beef.

Monday, April 20, 2015

HDFB Weekend Recap: Uptown Farmer's Market

Early last week, I stumbled upon an instagram account for a local farmer's market, Uptown Farmer's Market, that is open every Wednesday and Saturday morning. Since I had the weekend off, I talked Andrew into getting up on Saturday morning and heading out in search for some local goods. When we arrived, we were blown away by how many different vendors there were. From local honeys, produce, milk, eggs, flours, kitchen ware, breads, clothing, and even a tamale stand. We may or may not have eaten a red chile pork and green chile chicken tamale for breakfast. The market even has live music by local artists, covered seating with games for the kids, and a bouncy house! We saw plenty of people walking their dogs, where you can even visit a local dog treat maker. Each week they have different vendors, so there is always something new to try. We got plenty of samples from vendors, and left with full bellies and bags full of goodies. My favorite find was a tie between a local hot sauce from Homeboy's Hot Sauce and a bunch of kale, larger than my head, for only 50 cents!! Andrew would argue that the best find of the day was a caramel pecan sticky bun, which we quickly devoured outside of the car on our way out of the market. Hunger knows no limits. So if you are an Arizona local, I definitely recommend that you head on down to the Uptown Farmer's Market on Bethany Home Road and Central Avenue to support local business. Also, don't blame us if you get Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" song stuck in your head like we did. Andrew's version went a little something like "Uptown Farm you up, I said Uptown Farm you up!". I'm marrying a winner.







*This post was not sponsored by any of the above mentioned vendors. I just love spreading the word about great products!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spicy Chicken Avocado Enchiladas: Take 2


I love his blog for so many different reasons. It motivates me to cook and try new things on a constant basis. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone. It allows me to go back and see what my life was like at different times. Like my own very-public online diary. It feeds my soul. Andrew consistently tells me that one of my favorite dishes I ever made him was my Spicy Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas. To put this in perspective, I originally posted about this dish in July of 2012. Almost 3 years later and he is still talking about them. I pulled up the recipe recently and took a look at my original post. Awful grainy photos filled the page, and I just knew I had to re-make these. Both to please Andrew and his cravings for these enchiladas, and to do the recipe some justice with some updated photography. Not that I am a professional in any means. But anything better than a 2011 cell phone picture at night will do. So without further ado, I present to you the new and improved Spicy Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas: Take 2.


Spicy Chicken Avocado Enchiladas

White Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped green chiles
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
Enchilada Filling:
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped or shredded
  • 1 cup shredded white or mexican cheese, separated
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large avocado, seeded and chopped
  • 8 flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
Melt butter in a medium pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, saute the jalapeno and garlic for about 1 minute. Whisk in flour and continue to stir for 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the broth in a steady stream. Add in the cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer and add in the cilantro, green chiles, and sour cream or yogurt. Remove the sauce from the heat.

Add 1/2 cup opf the enchilada sauce to the bottom of the prepared casserole dish. In a large bowl, mix together the chicken, onion, avocado, and 1/2 of the cheese. Place about 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortillas. Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side down in the casserole dish.

Top with the remaining sauce and the rest of the cheese. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through and the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot with cilantro as garnish.

 

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