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White Pineapple Sangria

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First published in the Westender Magazine

It is officially summertime- if you aren’t bikini body ready, then you’re a bit stuck, but never fear! Liberty is here! Let’s do the whole two birds, one stone thing and make our booze and dessert count as one. That means you can have a double…

 

This is a killer recipe for BBQ hostesses or potluck bringers. I add outrageous amounts of fresh fruit so you are basically eating your boozy dessert. I like to serve this in a huge pot so that everyone can ladle out their own booze to fruit ratio.

 

Ingredients:

1 bottle cheap white wine (or sparkly moscato)*

500mL san pellegrino

100g caster sugar

240mL water

1 large pineapple

400g blueberries

3 oranges

2 lemons

1 lime

200g raspberries

20 fresh mint leaves

10 fresh basil leaves

 

DSC_5712-678x1024To prepare

  1. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Lightly boil for 5-10 minutes. let cool.
  2. Muddle (i.e. crush up with a spoon) together 50g raspberries, 100g blueberries, juice of 1 orange, juice of 1 lemon, 5 mint leaves and 3 basil leaves
  3. Mix into the sugar syrup mixture.
  4. Pour the wine and sugar/fruit into a large serving bowl.
  5. Mix well and add the rest of the fruit
  6. Serve over ice with a (healthy) splash of San Pellegrino.

 

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New York Buffalo Wings

IMG_8064In 2008, at the Wing Bowl, Joey Chestnut ate 241 wings in two, 14 minute periods. If the wings were made using this recipe, I think I could beat him. It is just plainly and simply, the best recipe I have ever tried (not to toot my own horn). A bit of heat, a lot of juiciness, and just the right crispiness along with the blue cheese sauce that is in no way overpowering, but let’s you feel like its got a bit of a bite, this recipe is the bee’s knees.

Every American knows that a sports bar is made great by 3 things: simple beer on tap, a massive TV on the wall, and buffalo wings on the menu. They can be a little intimidating to make at first, but I promise they are as easy as the pie. IMG_8066

Ingredients

for the chicken:

10 chicken drumsticks

10 chicken wings

150 g all purpose flour

½ tsp cayenne pepper

240mL hot sauce (pick your poison)

150 g melted butter

2 T garlic powder

1 T salt

carrot and celery batons

vegetable oil, for frying

 

for the sauce:

80mL mayonnaise

120mL stilton cheese

120mL sour cream

1 T milk

1 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

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To prepare:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C

Mix flour and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

Dredge the wings, drumsticks and fry for 10 minutes until golden brown.

Mix hot sauce, melted butter, garlic powder, and salt together. Roll fried drumsticks and wings in the sauce.

Lay drumsticks/wings on a rack above a roasting pan covered in aluminum foil. Bake for 35 minutes, turning halfway through.

For the sauce, blend all ingredients.

Serve with carrot and celery batons.

 

Grill Method:

Salt and pepper wings.

Place on the cool side of the grill (can stack) and cover grill. Let the fat render for about 15 minutes.

Slather with sauce and grill on the hot side about 10 minutes, turning a couple of times- careful not to crowd them.

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Crispy Duck and Goat Cheese Crostini with a Raspberry Mustard Sauce

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The gentleman of the house had a couple of dudes over before they headed out to dinner last weekend. I was not invited, which I thought was pretty crummy. But then I realized that I got to hang out with the dog, Henry, eat as much Haagen Daz as I want and run around naked dancing to Taylor Swift and DMX. Any ill will went out the window pretty quick after that realization. But before they went, I figured they would want a little appetizer, so Henry and I hopped in my little (yes way to little for the 80kg (180 lb) Henry) car and headed to the store to pick up some basic appetizer supplies. When in doubt, pop some meat on top of some bread, spruce it up with some cheese etc., and pretty much, you will have a winner. And this was certainly that. The guys ate so much that they decided they didn’t want to even go to dinner. While that certainly cramped my ice cream eating style, it definitely propped up my food ego. The sweetness from the raspberry paired with the deep rustic flavor of the duck breast and the bite of the mustard is really just to die for. Just make sure you don’t spend a long time making a main course because no one will want to eat it!

Ingredients:

  • 2 breasts of duck
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 baguette
  • 6 T raspberry preservesDSC_6328
  • 6 T honey mustard (I prefer Brownwood Farms Kream Mustard)
  • 1 wheel of goat cheese
  • salt, pepper
  • 5 Tbs olive oilDSC_6314

To Prepare:

  1. Score the fat side of the duck breast (criss cross cuts into the fat being careful not to cut the meat) and season with salt and pepperduck1
  2. Over medium-high heat put the 1 Tbs of olive oil in a saute pan and when hot, add the duck breasts. Cook for about 8 minutes, turning halfway in between and spooning out and discarding the excess fat along the way.
  3. Preheat the oven to grill (broil). Lightly olive oil the sliced baguette and put on a baking sheet. Put in the oven about 1 minute each side until just crisp. DSC_6331
  4. Mix the raspberry preserves and mustard, and slice the goat cheese and avocado. DSC_6319
  5. Assemble! Spread the raspberry mustard on each slice of baguette. Add the goat cheese, duck breast, and avocado on top!

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Home Grown n’ Made Garlic Scape Pesto

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Ready. Made. Presents. People go crazy for homemade deliciousness. Plus, they will think you are really “Locally Conscious”.

I feel like my repertoire is expanding nicely. See folks, I like to cook, a lot, but when something a bit out of my range comes along I tend to get a lot bit nervous, run to the grocery store, buy that said “out of my range” item, plop it in a bowl, and hide the wrapper evidence like a pro. Pesto ­used to be one of those, but no longer.

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Ellen.

Let me start from the beginning, there is a farm about a mile from my parent’s house in Northern Michigan owned by some of our best friends. This isn’t a normal farm, this is a real farm; friendly red chickens (see above), grumpy ducks, two adorable golden labs, a zillion cats that I don’t speak to, white ponies, bay horses, a chestnut gelding named Atticus (Finch), pigeons galore, bright red dirt bikes, and gardens to rival Kensington palace. Dave, the proprietor of this establishment, is a master gardener and grows the most delicious, vibrant produce I have ever seen. When he is feeling generous (constantly), he gives me some of this produce, but last week, he gave me a bag of what resembled really really long green beans with a sprout on top. What do you do in that situation? Accept graciously, and then google!DSC_6080These turned out to be garlic scapes. What does google tell you to do with those? Not much. So I started thinking about that pesto I had bought a month or so ago that still had that raw grocery store taste. Being in an investigative mood, I made a quick trip to the grocery to buy some parmesan cheese, and not one but FOUR types of nuts, and I set out to make the best pesto money can buy (Dave can grow). 

DSC_6101While this doesn’t taste like traditional pesto, I served it to Dave and his wife Nancy on grilled chicken and I must say, I sure do think they liked it. Or at least were polite enough to pretend to! But, really, this stuff is divine and goes perfectly with chicken, fish, or a little bruschetta/crostini dish. This can keep up to a week in the fridge, or in the freezer for 4 months. So, pick an adventurous day, hop over to your local farmer’s market or a smaller grocery store and whip up some of this for dinner. (If you end up skipping this recipe and going to the store to buy pesto, I promise I won’t tell anyone.)DSC_6030

Ingredients: Makes 500mL (2 cups)DSC_6046

  • 10 scapes
  • 50g pistachios, peanuts, cashews, or pine nuts (1/3cup)
    • If using peanuts, omit the parsley and lemon and add 2 Tbs peanut butter
  • 35g  grated parmesan cheese (1/3 cup)
  • 160mL olive oil (2/3 cup)
  • 1 Tbs lemon zest + 1Tbs lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs parsley
  • 10 basil leaves
  • kosher salt, pepper to taste

DSC_6034To prepare:

  1. Roughly chop scapes.
  2. Toast nut very lightly.
  3. All ingredients into a food processor. Easy as pie (except that pie is really not that easy)

Pine Nut Garlic Scape Pesto:DSC_6072 DSC_6062

Pistachio Garlic Scape Pesto:DSC_6058DSC_6069

Cashew Garlic Scape Pesto:DSC_6056DSC_6071

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Corn Soufflé

DSC_6195My Aunt Carol is a goddess. A literal goddess. Gorgeous blonde hair, a perpetual tan, the body of aphrodite (but tall), and she is from Kansas (cue every movie ever made about the girl next door). What more could you ask for? Well, I’ll tell ya. She is a spectacular cook. That’s what’s more. DSC_6192How is this woman among women created? No clue, but I can tell you what she eats. Give me some of that. So I give to you Aunt Carol’s Corn Soufflé, a fabulous main dish if you’re a veggie or the perfect accompaniment to a stunning main dish if you’re not (woo hoo). Also anytime anyone mentions Soufflé, I think they are fancy. You can be too!

DSC_6132Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs bread crumbs
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 240mL whole milk ( 1 cup)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, minced
  • 1 1/2c fresh blanched corn
  • 1 c shredded mild cheddar
  • 1 Tbs salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 5 egg whites, room temp
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

DSC_6188To prepare:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Coat bottom and sides of 1.5 quart soufflé pan (or many little ramekins) with 1 Tbs butter and the bread crumbs. Place in fridgeDSC_6141
  • In a large saute pan, heat the remaining (3 Tbs) butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.DSC_6149
  • Add flour and cook for 3 minutes, whisking.
  • Add the milk slowly while whisking and bring to a boil.
  • Lower the heat to low and beat in the egg yolks. Cook 1 minute.
  • Stir in the peppers, corn, cheese, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.DSC_6147DSC_6146DSC_6148
  • Beat the egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. hello electric mixer. Beat until holds stiff peaks
  • Stir 1/4 egg whites into the corn mixture. Then fold the corn mixture GENTLY into the rest of the egg whites. Spoon mixture into the prepared soufflé dish. The mixture should be lightly incorporated but still have whites running through.
  • Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown. Serve immediately.

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