Monday, May 2, 2016

#Brunchweek - Welcome to Brunchweek 2016 - Caramelized Onion Apple Galette

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Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Red Star Yeast, Dixie Crystals, Cabot Cheese, Vidalia Onion Committee, Sage Fruits, Nielsen-Massey, KitchenIQ, and Le Creuset for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own. The #BrunchWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up only. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Eight winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The #BrunchWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.





Welcome to the fourth annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections and Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures. We are so excited to have you join us this year as we celebrate Brunch and prepare for Mother's Day. 37 Bloggers from around the country will showcase their best brunch dishes, from cocktails to cakes, breakfast breads, tarts, and quiche - there is something for everyone! Our amazing Sponsors have donated some great prizes for the #BrunchWeek giveaway. Thank you so much, Sponsors, for your generosity. We have an incredible giveaway below and we’d love if you would take a moment to read about it and what you can win!

BRUNCH WEEK! This Brunch Week is special because it's my first on Forking Up. But really, it's always special, because Brunch is the tits.

Our sponsors this year are incredible, and my first recipe combines not one, not two, not even three or four, but FIVE of them: Cabot Cheese,  Nielsen-Massey, Dixie Crystals, Sage Fruits, and Vidalia Onions. I am a big fan of galettes, and this is definitely one of my favorites I've ever made.

Vidalia Onions challenged us for a sweet recipe. I met them halfway: this recipe is sweet, savory, and all over delicious. Plus, it was the standout star in my improv brunch I had recently. Serve with any of the great brunch recipes below! (and scroll down for the galette recipe)



BrunchWeek Beverages:
BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
BrunchWeek Desserts:
Caramelized Onion Apple Galette
  • 2 apples, cored and sliced (I used the New Zealand apples from Sage Fruits)
  • 1 Vidalia Onion, caramelized (1 tbsp butter + 1 sliced onion + hefty sprinkle of salt over medium heat, stirring occasionally until deep caramel color)
  • 1 cup Cabot Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Dixie Crystals white sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nielsen-Massey orange extract
  • Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cold butter 
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the apples with the cinnamon, orange extract, and sugar. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the cold butter with the salt and 1 1/2 cups flour until crumbly. Add the yolk and just enough water (just under 1/4 cup) for a dough to form. The dough should be moist but not sticky and just come together. Flatten into a disc and refrigerate for one hour.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the rest of the butter. Add the remaining 2 tbsp flour and whisk until a paste forms. Slowly add the milk and stir until thick. Add the shredded cheese and allow to melt completely.

Roll out the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick, about 16 inches across. Spread the cheese mixture onto the disc, leaving a few inches around the edge. 

Arrange the apple slices on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the caramelized onions over the top and fold in the edges of the dough. Sprinkle with any remaining cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. 


And check out the awesome prizes!

Prize #1 Red Star Yeast is giving one winner an amazing baking set, which includes a mixing bowl, dough whisk, bamboo spatula, rubber spatula, instant-read thermometer, measuring cup, pizza cutter, tea towel, oven mitt, bench scraper, ‘Knead to be Loaved’ apron, 6 strips of Red Star Yeast, National Festival of Breads cookbook, and The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day hardcover cookbook

For more than a century, home bakers have trusted the high quality and consist performance of RED STAR Yeast. Inspiring bakers from novice to professional, our goal is your baking success! Visit redstaryeast.com for hundreds of tried & true recipes, baking tips and how-to videos. Better yeast. Better bread. Every time.



Prize #2 Dixie Crystals is giving one winner 1 case of 2-lb Extra Fine Granulated Sugar, a silicone baking mat, Dixie Crystal’s My First Cookbook, and Dixie Crystals red ruffle apron.

About Dixie Crystals: Since 1917, Dixie Crystals® has been the South's choice for high-quality sugar and sweeteners. Our pure cane sugar products are all natural, non-GMO and provide consistently delicious results.



Prize #3 Cabot Cheese is giving one winner $50 assortment of Cabot Cheese, one Berghoff Cheese Knife and one Slate Cheese Board

Cabot Creamery Cooperative is a 1,200 farm family dairy cooperative with members in New England & upstate New York making all natural, award-winning cheeses & the "World's Best Cheddar.”



Prize #4 Vidalia Onion Committee is giving one winner a Martha Stewart Knife Set, cast iron fry pan, cutting board, and fresh Vidalia Onions

About Vidalia Onions: Vidalia onions are unique to a very small region. In fact, they only grow within 20 counties in Georgia (which is also why they are the official state vegetable of Georgia)!
Vidalia onions were discovered back in 1930’s, and just like back then, they are still planted, transplanted and harvested entirely all by hand! Vidalia onions are grown during the winter months, and are only available in stores between April and September,  making them a true seasonal specialty. In order to grow great tasting Vidalias, and to give them their characteristic sweetness, they must be grown in a sandy soil mixture that is low in sulfur (sulfur in soil is what gives onions their hotness). Because of  this sweet flavor, Vidalia onions are incredibly versatile and can be used in any sort of dish; grilling, baking, appetizers, sandwiches, casseroles, and yes, even sweet desserts. Each year, approximately 5-million 40-pound boxes are shipped out around the  entire country - now that’s a lot of onions!



Prize #5 Sage Fruits is giving one winner a Ninja® Mega Kitchen System® with Slicing/Shredding

Sage Fruit Company is a premier grower/shipper of apples, pears and cherries. Not only are they focused on healthy products, but also on helping kids get excited about healthy eating through their free Kids in Force program that helps kids eat more nutrition and get more physical activity.



Prize #6 Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors is giving one winner a set of their pure flavors: 2-oz each of Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom Water.

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been crafting the world’s finest vanillas and flavors since 1907. Each of Nielsen-Massey’s all-nature pure flavors are crafted with premium ingredients, sourced from around the world and chosen to meet the utmost quality standards. From lemon to peppermint to coffee or chocolate, Nielsen-Massey’s pure flavors offer convenience, quality and consistency to ensure your favorite recipes taste delicious every single time. All products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free, all-natural and Kosher.



Prize #7 KitchenIQ is giving one winner a Lid & Mitt, Edge Grip Quick Prep Knife Sharpener & Pairing Knife Combo, IQ Smart Wireless Nutri Scale, Edge Bug Scissor Sharpener, and Prep & Measure Tool

KitchenIQ, the new houseware branch of Smith’s Consumer Products, Inc., embraces Smith’s long-standing reputation for innovation and quality. KitchenIQ is committed to producing smarter products for the kitchen.



Prize #8 Le Creuset is giving one winner one Egg Carton in Caribbean, a Heritage 4 Qt Rectangular Baking Dish in Caribbean and a Revolution Spatula Spoon in Caribbean.

Le Creuset is focused on inspiring and empowering people everywhere to make joy through cooking. From our original enameled cast iron cookware to stoneware, stainless, silicone and more, Le Creuset has grown to offer products across a range of materials and categories that guarantees the right tool for the right job.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Savory Stuff -- Basil Butter Chicken

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This is the point where I apologize for neglecting my blog. Oops. Sorry. (do I HAVE any readers yet who care? hah)


But I'm not TOO sorry, because I've been kicking depression's ass, finishing my book, doing improv shows, and hosting visitors. So yeah, sorry-not-sorry. And it hasn't even been that long.

Next week is #Brunchweek, so expect some yummy recipes from me then! This is a pretty basic, but delicious and simple recipe. The pictures aren't great, but the flavor is awesome.


So anyway, I realized my first post boasted my savory dishes and how I rarely bake, and then all my following recipes were desserts and drinks. Oops. So I figured it was time, even if I was taking photos of this thing at midnight with inadequate lighting, hah. Pickle juice brines are my jam. I will always, always cook with a pickle juice brine :)


Basil Butter Chicken

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup pickle juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions
  • 1 handful chopped spinach
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 handful fresh basil, sliced


-Pour the pickle juice over the chicken and let marinade for an hour or overnight. Remove and pat dry, sprinkle well with salt and pepper.

-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

-Heat a large iron skillet on medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of the butter and a teaspoon of the olive oil and heat until just melted. Add the chicken and brown on each side until crispy, about two minutes. Set aside.

-Add the rest of the butter and olive oil. Brown the garlic, then add the wine and reduce slightly.

-Add the tomatoes and simmer for ten minutes. Add the mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Return the chicken to the pan, cover slightly with some of the tomato mixture.

-Cook for 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165 degrees F. Top with the fresh sliced basil.

-Serve over wild rice or pasta.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Four Roses and Opening Day - Crackerjack Cocktail #sponsored

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Disclosure: I received free product for the purpose of this post from Four Roses. However, I love bourbon and all opinions are my own!

Baseball season is officially upon us! GO SOX!

Me, in college, with friends, showing our Red Sox pride!

To be honest, I've never been huge on baseball. Going to the games when I lived in Boston (and possibly sneaking tiny alcohol bottles into the stadium in my bra, hah) was a ton of fun, but I never really paid attention to the game otherwise.


But now that I'm far from home, seeing my "home team" on tv is kind of fun. I wear my sox shirt with pride while I sip a cocktail (sans bra bottles) and munch on traditional game day foods, like Crackerjacks.

Four Roses was kind enough to send me a bottle to celebrate Opening Day, and I was inspired to make this cocktail. It has all of the flavors of the baseball snack, with the rich bourbon taste of Four Roses.

Crackerjack Cocktail

  • 2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
  • 1 oz armaretto
  • 1 oz butterscotch schnapps
  • 1 tsp peanutbutter
  • 2 tsp caramel + more for garnish
  • Crackerjacks, for garnish


-Prepare the glass: pour in a bit of caramel.

-Put the rest of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously--you want the peanutbutter and caramel to fully blend into the liquid.

-Strain well into the glass. Float Crackerjacks on top.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Danger Scones - Archer Premiere Virtual Party!

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GUESS WHAT COMES BACK TODAY. GUESS. GUESS.

Yep, Archer.



Archer is one of those shows that never fails to make me laugh. I have a secret list of "TV Shows I Wish I Could Write For" and while I know animation is a pain in the ass to work for, Archer probably makes the list on sheer awesomeness alone.

Some bloggers and I decided to make some treats to celebrate! And by some I mean two other bloggers because apparently the rest of the people in our blogger group have no taste (jk I'm sure y'all have taste... if you're reading this...). But we have some kick ass recipes sooo whatevs. Take a Look!



Pimm's Cup in a Pimp Cup by Nomageddon


Spicy Bloody Mary infused Fried Chicken and Waffles from The Flavor Bender

My plan was to make something from the show. I googled my options and, they're all booze. Every one of them. Donuts and Chinese food were mentioned in an episode or two. So I had to be creative.



Enter: Danger Scones. A silly pun. 20 year old pretentious writer Ashley would be pissed at 28 year old blogger Ashley for making a pun. 28 year old Ashley does not have time for that nonsense.

Anyway. Black chocolate scones with a spicy strawberry filling seemed dangerous enough for me. Black cocoa is what Oreos are made of, and can typically be found in specialty cake shops. If you don't have a two year old bag hiding in your pantry from the one time you went to a specialty cake shop, Hershey's Special Dark cocoa will suffice.

LANAAAAAAAA!!!!
WHAT.
...Danger scones.




DANGER SCONES

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup black cocoa (can sub for dark cocoa)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter, cut into cubes (cold)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup jalapeno strawberry jam (or strawberry jam with 1 diced jalapeno mixed in)
  • 1/3 cup white chocolate chips


-Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

-Mix together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

-In a food processor, pulse together the flour mixture with the butter until it forms coarse crumbs.

-Transfer to a stand mixer and pour in the vanilla and cream until the dough just comes together. It should be soft, but not too sticky.

-Pat into a large disc on the baking sheet and cut into 8 wedges.

-Carefully slice the wedges in half and spoon a bit of the jam into the center. Shape back together into a wedge (it may become kind of... deformed?)

-Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool, then drizzle with melted white chocolate.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Killer Cookie Dough Dip

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Last night, my two passions came together in a spectacular melding of improv and cooking. I was asked to be a part of my friend's comedy night at ColdTowne theater, titled "Let's Cook: Improvised Cooking Show, Easter Edition."


That name really does not do it justice.


In the show, Jesus and the Easter Bunny has a smackdown, Dr. Lundqvist did a presentation on wrestling in America, I created a recipe live on stage, multiple people were murdered, Emeril's lesser-known cousin Emerald made an appearance, a 6ft tall child covered in chocolate made jokes, Detective Etouffe from New Orleans investigated the murders, two attorneys who didn't quite know the name of their practice offered legal advice, all while Christian tried to keep the show together.


It was the best kind of insane and actually a pretty solid crowd for a Sunday night. I hope we get to do it again!


The recipe I made live on stage was this one: cookie dough you can eat right out of the bowl without fear of salmonella. And while the cookie dough I made in the show may or may not have been the cause of the murders (I plead the fifth!) this one is all good.

We put the leftovers out in the lobby and they didn't even make it to the next show a half hour later, if that's any indication of how good it was.


It's technically a cookie dough dip--use pretzels or vanilla cookies as dipping aparatuses--but if you just scoop it out with a spoon, nobody will judge you.

Killer Cookie Dough Dip

  • 1 package neufchantel cheese (or cream cheese), softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips


-Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy.

-Add in the vanilla and salt, stir well.

-Fold in the chocolate chips.

-Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled with pretzels, cookies, or fruit for dipping.



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dieter's Dream - Low Carb/Vegan/Natural Sugar/Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse

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Once upon a March, Ashley had the brilliant idea to challenge herself to a month of no sugar and no booze.

She lasted two weeks, and then the opportunity to bop around SXSW came up, and with it free booze. So she made a deal with herself--if it's free, it doesn't count.

Then her friend had a birthday in a cabin in the woods and glamping + birthdays = boozing so...


Then I had to get blood drawn and I hate that experience so much I bought myself a cinnamon roll the size of my face. So sue me.

However, it's the 22nd day of March and while this would TYPICALLY be the 22nd day of the month in which Ashley has a dessert and an alcoholic drink per day, in reality more than half of that time frame has been sugar and booze free.


So, it's kind of a win? Note to self: plan spur-of-the-moment diets on more boring months. Also, it made my failed New Years Resolution of "no weeknight boozing" feel way more achievable. I think that one may stick now if I give it a reboot.

Also, I discovered that I can make a pretty killer dessert substitute for when the going gets tough. I planned on making a basic chia seed pudding, but ended up with a velvety vegan mousse that tastes even better than I could possibly have dreamed. Now when I have a chocolate craving, I can make these nearly-guilt-free little beauties and even the health-food-hating fiance will steal a bowl.


Dieter's Dream Chocolate Mousse
  • 1 can coconut cream* plus more for topping
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup cashew butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1+ tbsp maple syrup, or natural sugar of choice
  • Optional: 1/4 cup chia seeds

In a stand mixer, whip the coconut cream and cashew butter together until fluffy.

Fold in the rest of the ingredients, and chill until ready to serve.

If using chia seeds, let the pudding chill overnight. This will give the pudding a more tapioca-like consistency.

*Or, two cans turned upside down in the fridge over night, and separated from the liquid in the morning

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Make Room For Bacon at Central Market! - Bacon and Beer Pairing Class

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Full Disclosure: I received free entry to the Bacon and Beer Tasting Class in exchange for letting my readers know about Central Market's Baconfest. Opinions are my own.

Bacon.

I don't know if I need to say more than that, but I will.


Central Market, the organic/health food sister to my beloved HEB, is having the most wonderful of events: Make Room for Bacon Fest. From now until March 15th, Central Market is offering classes--like this Bacon and Beer pairing class I attended--special products, demonstrations, samples, and more!

I was invited to check out the Bacon and Beer Pairing class. Right at the beginning of me swearing off alcohol for the month--oops! So I'm adding an extra day to my challenge, and I took only the tiniest of sips to get the flavor of the beer paired with the recipe.


This was actually my first cooking class ever! And I was seriously impressed with the class. We got full plates of everything, and while we chowed down we were shown how to make the meal ourselves. I would have liked to actually attempt cooking along rather than just watching, but the space wasn't really set up for that. But with the mirror over the stove, and the tv screen, it was easy to see the step by step methods used.


We began with an overview of the beers with Central Market's resident beer expert. I would have preferred he explained the beers as we got them, so we could taste as we learned and really explore the flavors, since by the time we got the beer I'd forgotten what we were supposed to be noticing. But, dude had to go run his department, so I understand!


Cindy was an amazing instructor. She has over 20 years of experience in the kitchen and was extremely knowledgeable about bacon, and pretty much everything having to do with cooking. I'll definitely be looking for her in future classes! She was charismatic and funny, and was easy to listen to.

Each course came paired with a glass of beer. Here's what we ate...


Charcuterie plate of bacon, including a habanero bacon I absolutely LOVED.


Bacon chicken quesadillas, using tortillas with bacon bits baked in.


Bacon chowder with cajun spice. This was my FAVORITE course. It was perfectly spicy, not too creamy, full of great bits of bacon and potato. I am going to be recreating this tonight.


Beer-braised pork belly. There was some confusion as to whether or not to eat the fat--I definitely ate the fat. The beer worked perfectly with the pork belly, and I loved the accompanying root veggies.


Avocado bacon ice cream. This was interesting. Not something I'd personally order again, but a refreshing end to the meal!

I'd highly suggest one of these dine-and-learn type classes. I actually texted Cory halfway through saying "next date night, we're doing this."


Overall, if you have a Central Market in your area, definitely take a class! And until March 15th, take advantage of all the bacony goodness you'll find throughout the store.