Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In honor of the new Mizzou SEC football schedule...

I bought this. I love it and I have eyed it for some time and so I purchased it, put it in my truck, took it home and put it behind my desk in my spare room. And I will love it every time I sit down to work from home.

Hobby Lobby!

Go Tigers!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Enchilada Cheese Dip

If you are looking for an alternative cheese dip for the holidays instead of the normal Velveeta Cheese and Rotel dip then whip this up...its just as simple and easy and you can make it as fattening or lower fat (because it won't be healthy regardless).

Enchilada Cheese Dip
1 pound browned hamburger (or sausage)
2 bricks of reduced fat cream cheese (or you can use full fat, just don't use no fat)
1/2 packet enchilada seasoning
1 can Rotel (optional, but I always like the kick)

Combine all into a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 2-3 minutes until all the cream cheese is melted or put into a crock pot on warm stirring occasionally.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy and Pretty

So I recently made up some spiced nuts to take to a family function and I didn't know how I was going to transport them in the cute little container I purchased and I decided that coffee filters would be the best. They are cheap, good sized and absorbent so if there is any oils off the nuts it wouldn't make a mess.

Take a look and when you are thinking of something to put your holiday treats in grab a coffee filter.

Isn't that pretty!

From top clockwise: Praline Pecans using Truvia; Chili-lime Mixed Nuts; Cinnamon Almonds and more Chili-Lime Mixed Nuts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


So I have been traveling non-stop for the past week and I have been to some pretty neat cities and been fortunate to have some pretty great food. If you are out and about during the holidays and in any of these cities...Chicago, Vegas or are some places to check out.

Topolobampo - by Rick Bayless
We had the tasting was a little eclectic but still pretty tasty. If you want to splurge then add the wine pairing with it as well.
A sample of the tasting menu...yes the green stuff was
described as Mexican Air...swear even though I think he was
joking with us!

Hash Hash a Go Go - Plaza Hotel Old Vegas Area
Great breakfast joint, they actually use the tag line "Twisted Farm Food" which I wouldn't disagree with. First of all the menu was giant and it is great for a hungry Vegas morning . Their bloody Mary's were also amazing they were supposed to come with jalapeno stuffed green olives, but since I'm not big on the jalapenos and he isn't big on olives we didn't try that part. But they did have pickled green beans in them that were tasty! I would say you should ask not to sit by the door. And if you are looking for a good casual sushi restaurant try Aloha Sushi which is just next door in the same hotel. We found the recommendation on Yelp.

Hash served in a cast iron skillet.

Yes that is mashed potatoes with breakfast. And a giant tree of rosemary
in the biscuit.

Big Bloody Mary, served with a big straw!

Old Ebbitt Grill
To round out my week long journey I was in DC and was recommended to eat at Old Ebbitt Grill by multiple people. It was a very cool DC establishment with some of the very best oysters I have ever eaten in my life. Eat here, get the oysters and order double what you think you will eat.

AND they have nutcrackers on the outside!!!

AND a wooden dog in the window where our booth was!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sopapilla Cheesecake

Last week I went with Grandma Warner to Texas to visit the Elifrits Family the reason for the trip was so Grandma could meet her great-grandson Case Garret, who might I say is quite the little peanut! While down there was plenty of discussion about food and they started raving about Carla's Sopapilla Cheesecake. Wait, Sopapillas and Cheesecake combined...sign me up please. So after much begging, and a trip to the grocery store, Carla made us her wonderful dessert.

So when you think you can have anything else that is rich and filling stop and try this, so simple, so yummy.

Sopapilla cheesecake

2 cans of crescent rolls
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
2-8 oz packages cream cheese
1 stick butter (I think you could get by with 1/2 stick but this is the exact recipe)

Preheat oven to 350. Put one can of crescent rolls in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
Smash the crescents into the bottom of the pan sealing up any cracks.
Mix one cup of sugar, vanilla and cream cheese until creamy. Spread over crescent rolls use other can to lay over the top of mixture.
Carla mixing up the yummy filling!
Melt butter and 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Stir well.

Oh my crescent rolls, butter and cinnamon.
Pour over the cheesecake, bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

We served it warm, or they suggested to throw it in the microwave for 10 seconds to warm up before you eat.

Friday, November 18, 2011

White Chicken Chili

This should technically be from a guest blogger because I've never made this myself, but it is a recipe of Janet's so we know it will be good! This is a great alternative to regular chili when chili is getting old later in the winter, but I encourage you to make it now and freeze it up for later.

White Chicken Chili
3 T olive oil
1 medium onion finely chopped
1 can chopped green chilies (she drains them)
3 T flour
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cans navy or great norther beans
1 can chicken broth
1 1/2 cup chopped or shredded chicken breast

Cook onions in oil, add chilies, flour and cumin. Stir and cook 2 minutes (you are basically creating a little roux to thicken the sauce up). Add beans and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until thick. Add chicken and cook until hot.

To make this over the top add some shredded cheddar cheese to the top of the bowl with the sliced green onions!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cream of Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Simple soup #2 in the soup extravaganza...this is hearty and warm and very filling...and pretty easy on the waste line. I made this last Saturday night when I was feeling under the weather. I also baked bread in my bread machine, the house smelled awesome but I proclaimed I had turned into an 80 year old woman (no offense Grammy) baking bread and making soup on a Saturday night.

Again I am making this with 1 cup of chicken which makes about 5 servings so you can expand as you need to.

Cream of Chicken, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
1 cup shredded chicken
1 cup wild rice (if your like my mom and don't like wild rice then any white or brown rice will do)
1 can 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1/2 small onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 cartons mushrooms rough chopped (you can use any kind you want I used 1 carton of button and 1 of baby bellas)
1 carton chicken stock
Rosemary to taste

Start by cooking your rice. I used chicken stock to cook my rice in because I think it brings out more flavor and if there is any left over in the cooking process it will blend right into the soup. Cook the rice based on package instructions. As the rice is cooking, heat olive oil and a little butter in a large stock pot...add the onions and cook until translucent; add the mushrooms with the thickest first so they can cook longer. For mine I added the baby bellas for about 2 minutes longer than the button mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms until still firm but tender then add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. Add the chicken, can of cream of mushroom soup and remainder of the chicken stock and let come to a low boil, reduce heat and add rice and rosemary and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until thickened. The cream of mushroom soup, chicken and rice will allow the soup to thicken up and be creamy without the addition of cream. You may not need to add much salt to this but you may want to add a generous handful of pepper if that is your thing.

If you want to be bad you could grate some fresh Parmesan on top of the soup or a little bit of cream to make it pretty sinful.

This soup also freezes up really well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mexican Chicken Soup

Here is recipe #1 in my chicken soup extravaganza...maybe we will call this one a fiesta. This is so simple ANYONE can throw this together. Because I don't plan in advance I just cook it on the stove top but you could also use a slow cooker if you wanted. I'll include both pieces of information below because you will need a little more liquid in a slow cooker. I am making the recipe based on one cup of chicken which will make about 4-5 generous servings; if you are feeding a larger crowd then double or triple it.

Mexican Chicken Soup
1 cup cooked shredded chicken
2 cups chicken broth (use 3 if you are going to use a slow cooker)
1 bag Boil-in-Bag Brown Rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-2 cloves of garlic diced
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 small can green chilis with juice
1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 package taco or enchilada seasoning

Start your water boiling and boil your rice using package instructions. In a separate stock pot while your rice is cooking, heat oil or butter and start to saute your onions until they are translucent, add garlic at the last minute to not burn and saute until golden. Add tomatoes, chilis, chicken, broth, beans and seasoning to the pot and turn onto medium heat until comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add cooked rice. Let simmer together for 20 minutes or until the consistence you are wanting. The liquid will reduce the longer you simmer but don't let it go too long or the rice will start to fall apart.

I ate mine just as it came out of the pot, but you could garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado, tortilla strips, etc.

Once I let the soup cool down I transferred to a bunch of freezer containers and stored away for a rainy day!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


For those who know me well know that this is an odd title for me...chicken? The girl who isn't a fan of bird? Well maybe I am overly medicated due to a wonderful cold or maybe I just love chicken in soup, but regardless the subject line isn't a joke.

So I want each of you to to this tonight on you way home. Go to the store and buy 2-4 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I buy mine from the meat counter because I feel it is a little fresher than what is in the meat case prepackaged and I also think that they do a better job of trimming it up in the meat counter.

Go home and get out a baking dish, turn your oven on 350 degrees and let it heat up. Put your chicken straight in the baking dish and salt and pepper. Then pour enough tequilla, rum or vodka (or you can use water if the alcohol thing isn't you) to cover the will probably have to pour in all the places between the chicken since raw chicken usually sticks pretty good to a dish creating its own little dam barrier. Cover in foil and bake one hour or until chicken is done. You need to make sure the chicken is done so whatever method you use to accomplish that use; I personally put a knife in the middle of the largest breast and make sure it is cooked all the way through.

Pull out the chicken, uncover and let cool for 15 minutes or longer. Then in your baking dish take two forks and shred the chicken up. Put the shredded chicken into freezer containers or freezer safe zip lock bags in 1 or 2 cup increments.

I'll post three awesome soup recipies in the next three days that can be thrown together on a had-a-bad-day-need-comfort-food-kind-of-night that I will post on here the next three days. All simple, homemade, satisfying and can be ready in 30-45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Cupcakes

So I love, love, love. Matter of fact I made the Pumpkin Risotto from last week's post last night again and even put some more puree pumpkin in it and fried some sage leaves to put on top...oh and I used the Basil Pesto I blogged about on Monday and put it on french bread and warmed it in the oven. Oh my gosh I am hungry again...but anyway this is about pumpkin and my other favorite treat cupcakes.

As I have mentioned time and time again you can take any basic cake mix and change the flavors by the liquid or oil that you add into it...I love pumpkin bars with cream cheese icing but don't want to put all that work into them. So I took a basic butter cake recipe, a can of pumpkin, some pumpkin pie spice, a couple eggs and water (but everyone should have that) and a can of cream cheese frosting and made my own version of pumpkin bars but in cupcake form.

All the ingredients.
To make the cupcakes you make them just as the package states except replace 1/2 of the oil with the canned pumpkin or all of it if you want. It will make the cupcakes a little more dense but they will be healthier and very tasty. I also added about 2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice. I fill the cupcake papers to 1/2 or 3/4 full so they poof out of the top of the paper for prettier icing and bake per package instructions. I keep the extra pumpkin in the refrigerator for a yummy pumpkin risotto or soup! You could also freeze it in ice cube trays for a great addition to any soup this winter.

Awesome StayBrite cupcake papers.
I then ran across these super cute but not too cutesy cupcake papers in Target that are guaranteed to keep their vibrant color. They are made by Reynolds, called StayBrite and they are awesome.  

Old sad, cupcake papers.

Comparison of old paper cupcake papers to StayBrite

My decorations...I used gel icing to make pumpkins with sparkly orange and green gel.

These would be perfect for a fall party or a tailgate!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homemade Basil Pesto

My basil plant is going a little crazy, partially because I have slightly neglected it over the last few weeks, um ok month or uh two. Anyway it was getting a little dead along the bottom with lots of leaves on the top. The only way I could think of getting it back on track is to chop off the long half dead stems and let the new undergrowth take over. With that much basil I wasn’t for sure what I was going to make and pesto always seems like the best way to get rid of large quantities of basil.

I rinsed and patted dry the basil with a paper towel.

Making your own basil pesto is pretty easy and the nice part is you can tailor it to your taste, if you like garlic you can add more garlic, more pine nuts, more basil, etc. There are also a variety of other flavors you can use instead of the basil: parsley, spinach, etc. I went online to see if there were any good recipes and they all seem the same and included garlic, pine nuts, basil, Parmesan and olive oil. I didn’t measure anything out just kind of added until it looked right and I think that is the best way to make it to your own taste.
Perfectly layered, the bottom is the pine nut and garlic mixture, then add basil then the Parmesan.

I started with garlic and pine nuts in my mini food processor and pulsed together until it was in a mealy paste consistency. Then I added the basil and Parmesan and pulsed together, then added the olive oil until you get a consistency that you want.
A beautiful green substance. I stored in in a cute little mason jar which I didn't get a picture of, but it will store nicely in the fridge for some time.
There are oodles and oodles of things that you can do with basil pesto…one of which I will post tomorrow night, but you can add it to French bread, use it in a pasta sauce, smother chicken breasts in it before baking, etc.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Risotto

So I love, love, love, love. And I love a lot of things about fall...the weather, apples, apple cider, carmel apples, apple butter, harvest, combines, color full leaves, falling leaves, pumpkin, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pie latte, pumpkin dip...ok you get the idea.

Today I went to an apple orchard to buy apples, and I had an apple with carmel while I was there and picked up a great little jar of heaven which prompted my continued pumpkin obsession. It was a Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Pesto made by Bella Cucina. The bottom of the pesto jar had a recipe for risotto using the jar and since I love both pesto and risotto and it was a perfect fall day (well perfect if I wouldn't have had to clean my house and do laundry for most of the day), I made it.

Now for the recipe...I had to modify the recipe a bit because I don't have marscapone cheese in the house, maybe have never had it in the house, but I did have ricotta from some ravioli I made earlier in the week so I used that instead. I also didn't have fresh sage so I used dried.

Cast of characters
Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Risotto
2 tbs butter

2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 clove garlic rough chopped
2 tbs chopped sage
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups warmed chicken stock
1 cup Cucina Bella Sweet and Savory Pumpkin Pesto
2 tbs marscapone cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Start by heating your oil and melting the butter in a large sauce pan. Add onion and saute for a couple minutes, add garlic and sage and saute for another minute or so. Add rice and let cook and start to slightly brown. Add white wine and stir letting the rice absorb the wine. As the liquid is absorbed, slowly add more chicken stock at approximately 1/2 cup increments. Stir occasionally.

There is something about risotto cooking that makes me very, very happy!
You need to monitor the risotto to make sure all liquid doesn't evaporate and the rice burns. As the rice absorbs the liquid it will start to appear creamy and delicious. Once the liquid has all been added and absorbed, gently fold in the pesto and marscapone and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!!!!

This is so flipping good!!!!
You can purchase the pesto from the website or check out a local orchard or pumpkin patch that might carry it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I haven't forgotten how to blog...

...just busy travel with work and for anyone who has worked a farm show knows the hours suck and well I just haven't been able to get anything posted...or had the brain capacity to come up with anything clever or otherwise to write.

But just a few updates from some past posts and other random comment:
  1. For anyone who was thinking about trying the Maker's Mark Chocolate Cheesecake dear friend Sara that joined me the night that I made it recently made it for a celebration for her boyfriend and left off the brownie, I hear it was a huge hit! We just adjusted the cooking time, keep an eye on it when it starts to pull away from the sides of your springform pan then your safe to take it out.
  2. The corn head reel that dad purchased has been helpful in picking up the laid down corn, now if we can just get some nice days to get it done. But harvest is underway at the Acklin homestead and that is a good thing.
  3. And last but not least a friend of mine has recently started a blog that if you are a sports fan you will enjoy. The Jaded Sports Fan talks about a passion that he has for his sports teams that, well lets just say may not be the most successful sporting teams. Check it out.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ninja Rodeo Clown

I wanted to share this video I took (sorry with my IPhone, so it isn't 1080) last weekend while at a rodeo with my brother and sister-in-law. So there are multiple reasons to have a rodeo clown(s) at a rodeo...first and foremost their job is to protect the cowboy in the bull riding. They are willing to throw themselves in front of a 2,000 pound bull to help free a cowboy that has his hand stuck in his riding riggin or who has fallen under the bull on his dismount. That is their job and that is what they do, but it is dangerous and many of them do get injured sometimes badly.

But then their is the lighter side of rodeo clowns and they are known more as the funny men...funny men do the acts in between rodeo events to entertain the crowd while they are getting the calves loaded into the chute for the calf roping or horses ready for the saddle bronc riding. The funny men are known to harass the crowd, blow up things (that make loud noises and scare the horses, and a lot of the people in the stands), but are very good to entertain the crowd especially the youngsters.

Anyway here is a video of the funny man from the rodeo last weekend doing a ninja routine that was pretty darn impressive. If you are looking for another example of a great funny man look up Flint Rasmussen, last time I saw him was in Cheyenne a few years back...VERY FUNNY! The Pioneer Woman blogged about him just a couple weeks ago when she saw him at a PBR in OKC.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mother Nature is Mad

Th above downed corn can be picked up by
a corn reel...there have been a lot of these sold in the
past few years and I am sure more this year.
So there are a lot of things that you can't prevent and the weather is one of them...Mother Nature is just plumb pissed off now...nothing we can do about it, just happens. For those of you not in NWMO, particularly Atchison, Holt and Nodaway counties you may not be aware of a couple of storms that came through last Thursday (80-100 MPH straight line winds with hail) and pre-dawn Monday morning (flash-flood induced rain and lots of hail).

My family was lucky to not get hit as bad as some did on either storm. Thursday we had some corn laid down and my dad at that point ordered a reel similar to this one because it will help pick up the downed corn and feed it into the the feeder house of the combine corn head (the front part of the combine with the pointy things sticking out). Here is where I got the picture and a good description of what a corn reel can help a farmer with.

Monday morning however we had some fields that did not fare so well near my brother's house. The corn field, hopefully we can harvest in a week or so after it has had a chance to dry down a little. The soybeans are most likely a total loss. There are a few things to be thankful, just like people have their cars or homes insured farmers have their crops insured. Since it is so hard to determine what the value of the crop would have been we won't get all the money we probably would have gotten, but it is better than a complete loss which would be completely devastating to a farmer. We are also thankful that we only had a small portion of our crops affected compared to other family friends who are looking at up to 95% of their acres affected. And most important we are thankful everyone is safe.

The photos below were taken by me (the good crop photos) and dad took the others today with his cell phone. The good crop vs. damaged crops are in different fields but they are all less than two miles apart so both affected similarly
Corn field in south west Nodaway County, 8/22/11

Corn field 7/28/11, different field but they all
looked the same up here before the storms

Soybean field 8/22/ loss

Different soybean field 8/16/11

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook

The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook is my inspiration this week…I purchased this cookbook from the Maker’s Mark distillery back in January. I was driving from Cincinnati to Nashville and decided I needed a relaxing pit stop so wound my way through the backcountry of Kentucky and found the distillery. If you are ever in Kentucky and you enjoy bourbon I suggest you take time for the Bourbon Trail distillery stops, you can get a passport and get a stamp at each of the six distilleries. Unfortunately I was in a rush that day, and didn’t get to complete the tour but have friends who have and really enjoyed it so I plan to complete it someday.

Now a lot of people might confuse whiskey and bourbon or put them in the same category because I did before I went on this tour. The Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide defines the differences as Whiskeys are distilled from a fermented mash of grain (usually corn, rye, barley or wheat) and then aged in oak barrels; Bourbon Whiskey is distilled from a mash of grain containing not less than 51% corn and is normally aged for four years in new charcoal oak barrels. The folks at Whiskey Chat state that the differences in taste are slight but it is a pride thing that bourbon drinkers like bourbon because it is bourbon, same for whiskey. My theory is whatever, drink what you like and if you don’t like it don’t drink it, but that may not be so easy if you are from Bourbon County, KY. In honor of where I purchased the book from I'm using Maker's Mark throughout all these recipes.

This cookbook that I am cooking from today has soooooo many recipes I want to try and probably will but for this particular meal the menu is as follows (sorry for the long titles, I obviously did not name t
he recipes or edit the book):
    The inspiration book with a rack of ribs, salad and biscuit!
  • Chef Virginia Willis’s Baby Back Ribs with Kentucky Bourbon Mustard Sauce
  • Kentucky Bibb Salad with a Sweet Kentucky Bourbon Vinaigrette, Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecans
  • Angel’s Share Biscuits
  • Kentucky Bourbon Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Chef Virginia Willis’s Baby Back Ribs with Kentucky Bourbon Mustard Sauce – This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so if you like it bottle it up, another suggestion is if you don’t like chunks of onion in your sauce to throw all of it in the blender after it simmers for an hour and pulse it down and reheat and simmer a little longer.

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
8 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups Dijon mustard
1 cup water
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 1/2 cups bourbon
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 racks baby back pork ribs
When I was cooking the BBQ sauce a C
appeared maybe it is a sign?

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, and when shimmery, add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, another minute or so. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, apple juice and bourbon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium, or heat oven to 325 degrees. Season ribs well on both sides with salt and pepper, place on a broiler pan and cook in oven, or directly on the grill, until meat is tender, 1 hour or more, turning occasionally. When meat is fork tender, remove from oven or grill. Heat broiler to high, or turn grill to high.

Ribs on the grill...

Measure out about 1 cup of the sauce. Brush liberally on the ribs, and broil or grill on high until surface is crisped and brown, brushing on more sauce each time you turn the ribs. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side. Serves 6.

Kentucky Bibb Salad with a Sweet Kentucky Bourbon Vinaigrette, Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecans – This vinaigrette is awesome, I will be putting it on other salads for sure but the goat cheese really helps cut the sweetness of the dressing. I suggest you don’t use a spicy BBQ sauce if you don’t want extra kick from the sauce and the brown mustard.

1 cup pecan halves
3 heads Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
2 large tomatoes, sliced in half-moons
12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 pound fresh goat cheese, sliced into 4 disks
1 red onion, peeled and diced

Sweet bourbon vinaigrette
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, I used Gates Original BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce (available in Asian food departments of groceries), I used chili sauce and added a clove of crushed garlic

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast in the hot oven about 5 minutes, shaking once or twice during the toasting. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove and cool. Compose the salad on four salad plates, arranging the Bibb lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, goat cheese, onion and pecans attractively. In a bowl, whisk together vigorously the vinegar, bourbon, mustard, honey, barbecue sauce, pepper and chili sauce. Dress the salad lightly with vinaigrette.

Angel’s Share Biscuits – While bourbon is aging some of the alcohol is evaporated through the barrels, this is what distillers call the ‘angel’s’ share. These are great and you can really catch the alcohol in the biscuits but I would suggest adding butter…maybe even a honey butter…sheesh why didn’t I think of that before we ate them? Good thing there are left overs!

1/2 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup bourbon

Cooking the biscuits on my stone...

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the warm water and honey together and dissolve the yeast in the water-honey mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and shortening and mix with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Mix the buttermilk and bourbon with the yeast mixture; add these ingredients to the flour mixture. Combine lightly until the ingredients are just mixed together. Grease a baking pan and drop mounds of dough onto it. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 dozen.

Kentucky Bourbon Double Chocolate Cheesecake – OHMYGOODNESS…this was absolutely amazing. Honestly though I don’t think that the brownie layer was needed. Mine fell in the middle, I guess I put too much batter on the outside, but it just was pretty dense and good, but I could have done with just the cheesecake part and the ganache.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS KY bourbon
¼ tsp Grand Marnier
4 eggs
1 pinch salt

Fudge Brownie Mixture:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Grand Marnier
½ cup flour
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional, I didn’t use these because I don’t like nuts in desserts)
1 pinch salt

Chocolate Ganache:
1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBS Kentucky Bourbon
1 TBS light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Apply nonstick spray to a 9-inch springform pan.

At this point we were so excited to eat the cheesecake, I
just slapped the chocolate ganache on slice...sorry it isn't

To make the cheesecake: In a double broiler, melt the chocolate chips with the cream; mix until smooth and reserve. Whip the cream cheese, sugar, bourbon and Grand Marnier in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and salt and blend well. Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.

To make the fudge brownie mixture: While the cheesecake is baking, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, sugar, and the Grand Marnier, and blend thoroughly. Add the flour, pecans and salt and blend well. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and carefully spoon on the brownie mixture (start at the edges and work toward the center). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove cheesecake from the oven and cool completely. Then refrigerate until it is completely cold.

To make the chocolate ganache: While the cheesecake is cooling, combine the chocolate chips and cream in a double boiler and melt them, stirring to mix. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it rest for a couple of minutes to all for slight cooling. When the mixture I blended, smooth, and slightly cool, add the bourbon and corn syrup, stirring constantly. Then let it stand at room temperature for a couple of minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and place it on a wire rack. Pour the ganache over the cheesecake and allow it to set. Serve it after the ganache dries.

Our dinner table set...we paired the meal with a Monkey Bay Sauvigonon Blanc from the Marlbrough region of New Zealand.
Here are the quotes from the dinner tonight, my dear friend Sara was in town…she has some work meetings in KC this week so she came in early to go to the FarmAid concert with us Saturday night and today we turned a lazy Sunday into a day of enjoying the weather and catching up on some retail therapy...for the two of us a Sunday without somewhere to go or be or work to do, especially in August, is a rare occasion so we took advantage of it!

Sara: Oh, the salad was excellent, tangy and refreshing, the pecans and the goat cheese along with the vinaigrette was such an excellent combo. The little biscuits were really good too and could easily be altered with a cheese or drizzled with honey on top. [The ribs] were cooked to perfection, I preferred them without the sauce. The cheesecake was awesome, but brownie was not needed, highly recommend with a dark chocolate ganache and paired well with our wine, but would be great with a red wine too. The Grand Mariner in the cheesecake was slightly detectable and was great with the chocolate. I would say make the salad and cheesecake again!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BL Fried Green T

As I was in the store this week, I ran across a beautiful display of tomatoes. Now to me the sole purpose of a tomato is for salsa/guacamole, but on occasion, especially in the summer I just want to eat them on everything. The tomato display had a variety of locally grown produce from Schweizer's Orchard whom I blogged about earlier this week. In the display they had green tomatoes, which you can't find very often and I jumped on the chance to make fried green tomatoes and add it to a BLT.

I learned from a Food Network program (not that I remember the show, but I know it was on there) that when selecting tomatoes for fried green tomatoes you need to make sure they have a slight amount of pink to them. They will cook up a little quicker and since they have started to slightly ripen they are less acidic.

I have made fried green tomatoes a variety of ways and learned the best way is the simple way. I like to start my dredging with bisquick because it has a little more flavoring to it than flour. I also used a cast iron skillet because well it is awesome, and I asked for it for Christmas one year, and my mom got it for me...I use it a lot!

Fried Green Tomatoes

tomatoes (use as many or few as you like)
bisquick or flour
buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk then you could use milk or a milk/egg combo, your choice, but I recommend buttermilk)
Panko (the Japanese breadcrumbs make it crispy...I don't recommend a substitute)
Oil, salt, pepper

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet enough to cover the bottom. Set up your dredging station a plate with bisquick, with a bowl of buttermilk followed by a plate of Panko. Generously season your tomatoes before starting the dredging station. Season buttermilk and Panko. Dip both sides of the tomatoes in bisquick, then in buttermilk then in Panko...use your hands and press Panko into the tomatoes to ensure they are covered. Turn heat on pan down to medium low and add tomatoes to the pan...cook 2-3 minutes on each side watching closely to make sure they don't burn. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.

You can eat them straight with a nice grilled pork chop, add them to a burger or do what I did and build a BL fried T sandwich. It was filling and summery and awesome.
Cast iron skillet time! I used Instagram to edit this...follow me at travelingcowgirl.
Doesn't this look like heaven? Fresh baked bread (from HyVee), low sodium bacon, butter lettuce and fried green tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Grilled Peaches

When I think summer I think ice cream...but knowing that I cannot have ice cream all the time I opt for fat-free sherbet, but tonight was a special night...I ate pretty healthy today, plus worked out so thought I deserved a treat for dinner. I had some peaches that needed to be eaten so I decided to make a grilled peach and top it with some low fat ice cream. Since I had never grilled a peach before I did google some recipes, but they all varied so I did a combination of the ones I liked the best. Some people put more savory items with them like basil, but I kept mine very true to the peach...and since I'm in a new obsession with honey, I had to add some of that along with some brown sugar that gave the peach a very caramelized look and taste.

Grilled Peaches
1 peach per two servings
brown sugar
honey (preferably local...that will come up in another post soon)
ice cream or whipped cream (I used 1/2 fat vanilla but you could use whatever you wanted)

Wash the peach, cut in half and remove the pit. Sprinkle a small amount of brown sugar on the peach halves and then drizzle the honey over the top. Let the peach halves sit for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the brown sugar and honey to soak into the peach. Lightly oil a hot grill (or grill pan if you don't want to fire up the grill) and put the peaches cut side down...grill for 2-3 minutes or until caramelized and flip, grill another 2-3 minutes until warm and soft through. Add to a bowl then top with ice cream or whipped cream and serve immediately.

It was perfect for a nice summer night and great to share with friends!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Do you know where your food comes from?

Poster in the HyVee off Barry Road in KC.
Today I was shopping at my local HyVee (sorry for those of you who don't have one of these, they are awesome and I missed them dearly when I lived in Chicago) and something in the produce section caught my eye…it was a poster that had a name I was familiar with from home…Schweizers Orchards. There is a great photo of the family with some of their equipment in the background and a little explanation about family farms providing food for store. [complete with a QR code for instant learning about them]

I think that this is a great tool for HyVee to implement because they are creating a connection between a family farming operation raising the food that customers are buying for their families. If you are in the NWMO area, or in north KC even…you should check out Schweizers Orchards and all they have to offer.

Grilled cured pork chops, grilled corn, smoked paprika/dill butter and green tomato caprese salad.
Here is a shot of the yummy dinner I made with the great fresh produce that I picked up today. A fresh heirloom tomato and mozzarella caprese salad with basil from my own herb garden, grilled corn on the cob with smoked paprika and dill butter and grilled cured pork chops. The pork chops are from Kurzweils Country Meats, check out this post I did back in 2009 about their operation.

Here is how I grill my corn…
  1. Pull back the husks (but don’t remove) and remove the silks, then replace the husks back over the ear. 
  2. Soak the ears in water for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place the ears on a hot grill, grilling for 5-10 minutes (depending on the temperature of the grill) per side. Keep an eye on them, if the husks get dry they can catch on fire.
  4. While they are cooking soften some butter and season with dill and smoked paprika.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bacon Explosion ala Angie

So have all heard of the Bacon Explosion...aka grilled heart attack? I remember seeing it on the talk shows a few years back and thinking that is interesting but just never made one. Well that has been changed. For a surprise 30th birthday party this past weekend, Angie and I whipped one up...well to be honest, Angie did the work and I chronicled it with my IPhone. Then when we got to the lake, because Angie and I were enjoying the water Jason grilled it for us. Let's say that it was amazing and everyone is waiting for us to make another...

A little history on the Bacon Explosion. It was created by a group called the BBQ Addicts and they are out of none other than Kansas City. Because where else would people think to combine bacon, sausage, bbq spice, sauce and a grill? There is a tutorial on their website linked above on how to make the Bacon Explosion or you can also order one directly from them. Here is step-by-step what we did, now we modified the recipe a little and I think it is one you can make it your own...if you don't like Italian Sausage you could use a mixture of breakfast sausage and ground pork or even hamburger and ground pork.

Introducing Angie, the true maker, I'm just the photo lady...weaving bacon!

Bacon weave covered in Gates Grill Seasoning...
Spreading the sausage/ground pork mixture

We added cheese, because that is what we do...Angie decided a tomahawk chop was the appropriate way to incorporate.

Adding crumbled bacon on top

Smothering with seasoning and Oklahoma Joe's BBQ sauce, we are supporting multiple KC BBQ shops

More seasoning

Time to roll...starting at one end she just rolled the ground mixture and cooked bacon up leaving the weave down.

More rollin...

Using the plastic wrap, putting the bacon weave around the mixture


We can't take grilling credit...but it was grilled for about 2.5 hours on 200 or so degrees and it was delish! Sorry about the lighting, I wasn't worried about it after being on the lake all day and hungry!!!
The tutorial online is very descriptive. We plan on making another one, probably for Homecoming...good news to everyone who tailgates with us, stop on by in October if you are interested in trying it...