Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Bacon and Cheddar Biscuits

Yum

As a northern gal, now living in the south, I didn't grow up with a mother or grandmother who made biscuits for me to learn from. Oh they cooked and baked, but made many different things from cakes, cookies and pies, to bread and more. In fact, I was well into my adulthood before I even attempted to make them, and even then my first biscuits were "hockey pucks" as my husband called them. Wasn't funny to me then, but it is now after all these years.

Today I'm happy to say I've successfully made biscuits for many years, but it wasn't until just a couple of years ago, when I was reviewing a cookbook my friend, Jackie Garvin, of  Syrup and Biscuits, I learned the secret of folding the dough over on itself and rolling it out again lightly that gives you those great buttery flaky layers.

Buttery flaky biscuits, with cooked and crumbled crispy smoked bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. It's a match made in heaven and oh so good, I promise you can't eat just one!



Recipe
Ingredients
2 cups self-rising flour (make your own with all-purpose flour + 3 tsp. baking powder and 1 tsp salt)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
4 strips bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup buttermilk (make your own with regular milk + 1 tsp lemon juice)



Method
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and butter. Using your hands gently mix and crumble the butter with your fingers and thumb into the flour until it resembles course meal. With a wooden spoon, stir in the crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese. Mix in the buttermilk; the dough will be wet and sticky.

Lay out a dish cloth on your counter-top and scoop out the biscuit dough. Dust top of dough with more flour and gently knead until the dough holds together, adding a bit more flour if necessary.


Roll or pat dough out until 1/4" thick. Now fold the dough over from the right third of the dough toward the center, repeat with the left overlapping in the middle, then fold over the top and bottom. You should end up with a nice little envelope of layered goodness (see above photo).

Pat dough out to 1"-inch thick and cut out as many biscuits as you can. Gather up the scraps, stack them and gently push together and finish cutting the biscuits.

Brush tops with melted butter and bake 15 minutes or until tops are golden brown.



Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fresh Salad with Homemade Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing

Yum


Ingredients
1 small bunch Red Oakleaf lettuce, torn into pieces ( I used lettuce from Freshly Grown Farms)
5 fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small red onion, sliced
2-3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Croutons of your choice


Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. dried minced garlic
1 tsp. dried minced onion
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. course ground black pepper
(original recipe adapted from ChinDeep)


Method
Place lettuce in a large bowl and top with remaining ingredients. Mix all dressing ingredients in a blender using the pulse button (don't over mix because you want some blue cheese chunks). Add more blue cheese crumbles after blending if desired, or crumble on salad. 


Top salad with dressing when serving.

Refrigerate any unused dressing.

Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Zucchini Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping

Yum

When zucchini is in abundance during the summer time, you must make this coffee cake! Moist, tender, and delicious full of brown sugar and cinnamony goodness.

Of course you can also shred some zucchini in the summer, then freeze it in food saver bags, or other system allowing the air to be removed to prevent freezer burn. Then in the middle of winter, you could still enjoy this delicious coffee cake. Sounds like a plan to me!



Recipe
Ingredients
2 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium zucchinis)
3 large farm fresh eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar - packed
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup pecans or walnuts - chopped

For The Topping:
1/2 cup additional all-purpose flour
1/2 cup additional brown sugar - packed
1/4 cup additional pecans or walnuts - chopped
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 2-inch round baking dish by coating generously with cooking spray. In a small bowl, prepare the topping by simply combining the topping ingredients together. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the oil and 1 cup brown sugar and mix well. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just mixed and moistened. Fold in the grated zucchini and nuts.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool.



Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Freshly Grown Farms and Motor Supply Company Bistro

Yum

On one of the hottest days of the summer ... well maybe not the hottest, but it was HOT, we were off again to visit another small local family farm, Freshly Grown Farms, Columbia's Premier Hydroponic Farm, and enjoy lunch at Motor Supply Company Bistro, one of the most popular local innovative restaurants, who source their food from local farms and markets.

A quick drive across Hwy 378 to meet up with another friend, and then play "follow the leader" on some back roads, we suddenly found ourselves in downtown Columbia, in one of the most popular little areas called The Congaree Vista. Here local restaurants, shops and nightclubs abound, with something for everyone.


We pulled into the Motor Supply Company Bistro parking lot and were met with complimentary valet parking! Wow, how nice. We gathered our things and left our cars, handed over the keys and headed inside. Since we had reservations, we were greeted and quickly lead to the table all set up for our group on the large enclosed patio! Completely weatherized and climate controlled, it has a brick floor, high open-beamed ceilings and large ceiling fans softly twirling.

Chef Wesley Fulmer is the creative talent behind the scenes at this great restaurant, and the culinary delights he turns out are delicious. Just take a look:

Seared Bavetta Steak over Yukon mash and short beans
with a Crimi
ni Mushroom Bordelaise 
Oven Roasted Creamy Chicken Salad, Applewood Smoked
 Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato on Ciabatta Bread
 
Carolina Heritage Farms pastured raised pork with Blackberry Barbecue,
over Sweet Potato Puree and Short Beans
 
Pound Cake topped with fresh Whipped Cream and drizzled with Blueberry Sauce
What a treat and a few of us even enjoyed a cold local brew from River Rat Brewery, the Twisted Lemon Wheat Ale!

From the moment we were greeted and seated, and served by our great server, Kyle, it was outstanding and we will definitely be back. Thank you Motor Supply Company Bistro!

Now we were off to visit Paul and see his hydroponic farm, Freshly Grown Farms. As their lettuce products are sold to many local area restaurants, and featured at Soda City farmers market, we couldn't wait to check it all out.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Roasted Corn Salad

Yum


When fresh corn on the cob is in season and abundant, try this Roasted Corn Salad! It goes great with a variety of grilled meats and is the perfect summertime side dish. Sweet and tangy with just a hint of heat and the Dijon Lemon Vinaigrette is light and refreshing, adding the perfect zing.



RECIPE
Ingredients:
8 Ears of Corn Husks on
⅓ cup diced jalapeño (no seeds)
⅓ cup finely chopped chives or parsley flakes
4 strips cooked bacon, chopped

Vinaigrette:
1 tbs Dijon mustard
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
¾ tsp ground pepper
½ cup olive oil

Method
Grill corn or roast in the oven. If grilling, turn gas grill to medium high and place corn with the husk onto the grill. Cook for approximately 10 minutes and then turn. Grill for long enough so the corn kernels get some nice roasted color. For roasting in the oven, place in a preheated 350 oven and roast 15 minutes turning from time to time. Corn will not get any roasted color, but will still taste great.

In the meantime mix together the vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Cut corn off the cob and place in a large mixing bowl. Add jalapeños, chives or parsley and bacon. Drizzle vinaigrette on top and mix thoroughly. Serve!

Cooks note - the seeded and diced jalapenos are very mild, and not spicy. If you want more "kick" from the jalapenos, leave the seeds in.


Enjoy,
Mary

© Cooking with Mary and Friends. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Cooking with Mary and Friends with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pickled Russian Heirloom Tomatoes {солёные помидоры}

Yum
I originally found this recipe via Peters Food Adventures and it looked so good to me I knew I wanted to try it, but adapt it to USDA canning standards.  These Pickled Tomatoes originated in Russia and are a staple in every Russian home, traditionally served with a cheeseboard or with *Plov or Palava!


"Palava, or Plov is traditionally cooked by the man of the house, and is popular for weddings. But we eat it all the time for dinner, usually with dill pickles or with my Salted Pickled Tomatoes which go perfectly with Plov. Cumin, coriander and spices are quite common, but my mum never liked heavy spices and stuck to basics. We grew up calling this dish Palava, which comes from the word Palav (Палав), a Tajikistan word and alternative to Plov – which is the Russian name. It is all just a version of Pilaf, but also known as pilav, pilau, pelau, pulao, pulaav, palaw, palace, palava, plov, palov, polov, polo, polu, kurysh. No one culture really owns this word as there are many names and subcultures to the recipe. My parents were born in North West China, right beside Tajikistan, which is where the influence of the word Palava came from. Plov is the common Russian way to call this dish." (source: Peter's Food Adventures)


I just love these colorful little pickled tomatoes! They are so different from anything I've pickled before and the flavor is amazing. The next time you have some farm fresh heirloom cherry and pear, or yellow tomatoes, do yourself a favor and pickle some. They are delicious.