Wasting away again in Margaritaville...

January 30, 2010 21:30 by Suzy
God bless that long ago Mexican who discovered the agave and the wonderful elixer that could be made from such an unassuming plant!  Is there a better combination of tastes than tequila, limes, and salt?  I think not!
 
I am famous among friends and family for these margaritas.  Or should I say, infamous?  The common name for them is Deatharitas.  I have been both celebrated and cursed for this fabulous cocktail.  So delicious, but you have to be careful, as they will sneak up on you!  (If you know our good friend BP, be sure to ask him about the night of the Margaritas and Brownies.)
 
Quick tequila lesson:  First, always use tequila that is 100% agave.  Look for it on the label.  "Mixto" tequila is not pure agave and you don't want it.  Second, there are three different grades of tequila:  Blanco, which is unaged and has the strongest agave taste; Reposado, which is aged at least two months in oak and has a smoother taste; and Anejo, which is aged in oak for at least a year and is incredibly smooth.  I prefer reposado tequila, as it is smooth but still has a distinct agave taste.  Anejo is delicious, but sort of wasted on a margarita.  Save the anejo for sipping.
 
Classic Margarita
from a recipe developed by JD
Margarita ingredients
1 1/2 ounce reposado tequila (my favorites are Sauza Hornitos, Cazadores, and Corazon)
1 ounce Cointreau or other high quality orange liqueur (I found some Patron orange liqueur and thought I would give it a try here...good stuff!)
3 ounces margarita mix (Jose Cuervo works fine; Trader Joe's is good if you can find it)
Splash of Grand Marnier
 

Salt rim of glass 

Run lime wedge around the rim of a cocktail glass or margarita glass.  Dip rim in coarse salt to coat.  Fill glass with ice.
 
Pour tequila, Cointreau, and margarita mix into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously.
 

Strain into prepared glass

Strain into prepared glass. 

Top with Grand Marnier

"Float" a small amount of Grand Marnier at the top of the drink.

Perfect Margarita

 
Prepare to be amazed.  Don't say I didn't warn you.
January's Flavor of the Month is Boozy!  Check out all the other Boozy recipes at Bake at 350!



Guilty Pleasures

January 28, 2010 09:12 by Suzy

I’m sure everyone has one or more of these...foods that you are embarrassed to admit that you love.  I say, this is America!  You can eat what you want!  People are starving elsewhere in the world...you shouldn’t be embarrassed to enjoy some white-trash (or otherwise unpopular) food!

 

Here are a few of my not-so-guilty pleasures:

 

Oscar Meyer Bologna

Oscar Mayer Beef Bologna
No bread, cheese, or condiments needed.  I roll bologna slices up like a fancy hors d'oeuvres and call it dinner.  So sue me.

 

String Cheese

String Cheese

We didn’t get these when I was a kid so I must be making up for lost time.

 

Red Vines

Red Vines

Twizzlers are nasty and the devil’s work.  Red Vines are delicious and the perfect road trip food.  I buy them by the bucket.

 

Taco Bell taco

Taco Bell regular crunchy tacos

Another perfect road trip food.  You can get your fill just from the change you find in the ashtray.

 

White Castle

White Castle sliders

Harold and Kumar (and Neil Patrick Harris!) got it right.  These are awesome.  It’s probably a good thing I only get these once a year.

 

Whew!  I feel better now that I got that off my chest.  What are some of your guilty pleasures?



Spider-Pig, Spider-Pig...

January 27, 2010 20:15 by Suzy

I had meant to post this earlier this week, but I ran into a few roadblocks.  First, I have no good photos of this dish, but it was so good I had to post it regardless.  Guests from my football party this past Sunday will back me up, trust me.  Second, I couldn't find the source for this recipe.  It was one of those that I found online, copied, and emailed to myself, but I missed the header and/or footer that indicated where I found it.  So, if you recognize this recipe, please let me know where it is so I can properly attribute this Crock-Pot full of wonderfulness!

Spider-Pig
At least the photo is somewhat topic related.  Homer would definitely approve.

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork
adapted from a Mystery Recipe

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/4 teaspoons black pepper
4 pound pork shoulder roast (fresh pork butt) (hee hee)

In slow cooker, add all ingredients except the roast and stir to combine.

Add pork roast and turn to fully coat with sauce.  Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until pork is very tender.

Remove pork with tongs and shred with two forks.  Dump back into the sauce and mix.

Serve with sandwich rolls, dill pickles, coleslaw...whatever.  It is so good!



How'd You Like Dem Apple Bites?

January 17, 2010 11:20 by Suzy

JD and I are supremely lucky to live in the coolest neighborhood on the planet. Who would have thought that a townhouse cul-de-sac could contain such fun people? We get together all the time...to watch Survivor/football/movies, and to celebrate birthdays, babies, Arbor Day, you name it. One constant with our group is food.  And lots of it. A recent trend at our gatherings is a focus on appetizers, so I've been trying some new recipes. I made these yesterday and they were a hit. Super simple and delish.

Caramelized onion-apple bites

Caramelized Onion-Apple Bites
adapted from a recipe in Sunset magazine

3 tablespoons butter
1 pound onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
3 ounces gruyere cheese, grated
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves

Melt butter

Add onions

Melt butter in a skillet, add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the apples, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 minutes, or until onions a golden brown. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt to taste. Set aside and cool for at least 10 minutes.

Top each with cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll puff pastry and cut into 16 squares, then cut the squares into 32 triangles. Place triangles on parchment lined baking sheet, not touching. Top each triangle with a spoonful of the onion-apple mixture, a sprinkle of cheese, and a bit of minced thyme.

Bake 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.



Overnight Waffles

January 10, 2010 10:21 by Suzy

Waffles

These are the most magical waffles...one of those things that are so good you can't believe you made them yourself. Crisp on the outside and light and tender inside, with a wonderful flavor. Sooo much better than anything you can make from a mix. I usually make them when we have overnight guests, or they are perfect to serve at a brunch.

Overnight Waffles
adapted from Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything"

1/2 teaspoon yeast
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

Dry ingredients

The night before, combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Waffle batter, before

Stir in the milk, then add the melted butter and vanilla. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave out overnight at room temperature.

Waffle batter, after

See how bubbly the batter gets by morning?

Fold in egg whites

In the morning, separate the eggs. Stir the yolks into the batter. Beat the whites until they hold soft peaks, then fold into the batter.

Waffle iron at the ready

Preheat the waffle iron and spray with PAM. (Like my crazy-fancy waffle iron? It's the only clunky impractical appliance I own, but it's totally worth it!) Cook according to your waffle iron's instructions. Serve immediately with soft butter and heated maple syrup.

 Waffles



Buckeyes

January 3, 2010 21:05 by Suzy

Buckeyes

These are soooooo good. I blame my good friend Amy for these. She made them over the holidays and I have been obsessing ever since. Eating them feels as indulgent as eating raw cookie dough, plus they are so cute!

Buckeyes

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
24 oz (2 regular packages) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat well. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until combined. Dough will be stiff.

Refrigerate until firm, then roll into 3/4" balls (any larger and they will be WAY too much for one bite!). Place on parchment paper on cookie sheets. Insert toothpicks into the top of each ball. Freeze approx 2 hours.

Melt chocolate chips over double boiler or in microwave. Dip each ball into chocolate, covering 3/4 of the ball. Return to wax paper on cookie sheets and chill until chocolate is firm. Store in refrigerator in covered container.

Try not to make yourself sick eating these. Or at least, hide the discarded toothpicks so no one knows how many you have eaten.



Go Ravens!!!

January 3, 2010 10:03 by Suzy

Ray Lewis



French Onion Soup

January 2, 2010 17:15 by Suzy

This is one of those times where I wish my photography skills were remotely close to my cooking skills. This photo does not give this soup justice. I am slurping at the bowl right now, almost spilling on my laptop in my haste to eat it. It's good, OK?

French Onion Soup
Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
4 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
salt and pepper
1 cup red wine
3 heaping tablespoons flour
2 quarts beef broth (I made HOMEMADE stock using the bones from my Christmas roast...wow, I feel so professional!)
1 baguette, sliced
1/2 pound grated Gruyere (I used Swiss)

Sauteed onions before

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions are very soft and caramelized. Tyler said this should take 25 minutes, but it took closer to 45 minutes for me.

Sauteed onions, after

Red wine

Wine makes everything better, don't you think?

Add red wine

Add the wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until the wine has evaporated. This took about 10 minutes.  Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Sprinkle with the flour, mix, and reduce the heat to medium-low.  Cook 10 minutes.

Add the beef broth, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Just before serving, line a baking sheet with foil and arrange baguette slices. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Ladle soup in bowls and top with a few slices of the Gruyere bread.

French Onion Soup

Enjoy, and try not to make a pig of yourself. I was not successful.



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