Monday, March 18, 2019

Herb Salts

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Making your own herb salts couldn't be easier. First you need to choose your salt. Here are just a few types:

Himalayan Pink
The color hues of this sea salt range from light pink to dusky rose to deep red. Formed about 600 million years ago when a great inland sea evaporated, Himalayan Pink salt’s gorgeous palette comes from a variety of trace minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, and potassium, among others, which have been trapped in the salt crystal matrix (Bitterman, 2013).

Celtic Gray
Celtic gray sea salt is blue-gray in color and carries a distinctly mineral-rich flavor. Derived from Brittany, France, this salt gets its distinct color from the earthen clay from which it is harvested. Its traditional uses in cooking range from finishing on savory dishes to being finely ground and added to baked treats to create a “richness” in other flavors (Bitterman, 2010).

Black Hawaiian
Jet black in color, black Hawaiian sea salt actually gets its unique hue from activated charcoal added during or after the drying process is complete. Although it is traditionally derived through evaporation over volcanic soils (hence its other common names, “volcanic” or “lava” salt), this aspect does not impact the color of the sea salt (Bitterman, 2010). The flavor is earthy and slightly tannic.

Fleur de sel
Translated as “flower of the salt,” this unique sea salt is made by evaporating saline water in the open air with energy from the wind and sun (Bitterman, 2010). Since these salts already have a high about of moisture in them, the crystals are able to resist instantly dissolving when sprinkled over a plate of steaming food. This means that the flavor profile will be more pronounced and the salt will maintain a slight crunchiness.

Red Hawaiian
There are several different types of red Hawaiian sea salt ranging from brick red to pale or dark salmon in color. As the red color implies, red Hawaiian sea salts are rich in iron. Like black Hawaiian sea salt, the color is not derived from the salt itself but from the red volcanic clay, called Alaea, that is mixed with the salt during natural evaporation in tidal pools. The flavor of these salts is oceanic with a mineral undertone (Bitterman, 2010). 

Persian Blue
The pale sky blue color of Persian blue sea salt alludes to its mild, silky, and slightly sweet flavors. Although it is rich in trace minerals, its distinctly blue color is derived from the natural compression of the salt over long periods of time. Considered one of the more rare sea salts available on the market, Persian blue sea salt also carries a high price tag (Bitterman, 2010).

Smoked
While smoked sea salt does not lend any additional nutritional content, the smoky flavor is rich, distinct, and favored by chefs all over the world. The process of smoking sea salt is typically done over hot coals at a low temperature. Through this process, the salt takes on a slightly tan or gray color (Bitterman, 2010). (Reference: The Herbal Academy)

Now Choose Your Herbs!

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
I was looking for a blend we could use to rub on thick cut pork chops, steaks or chicken when we were grilling.

Curly Parsley
Recently we cut some Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, Curly Parsley, Oregano and Thyme, so I went after something a bit Tuscan in flavor. I also chose to use a Garlic French Sea Salt from a purveyor in Maryland who makes small batch flavored sea salts.


For longer shelf life, I first dried the herbs and then blended a bit of everything together with some of the salt. It was literally a taste experiment, adding a bit more of this or that, until the flavor was where I wanted it. You don't want the salt to overpower the herbs, so starting with a little and adding more is the way to go.


RECIPE
Ingredients
1 tbls. dried Flat Italian Parsley
1 tbls. dried Curly Parsley
1 tbls. dried Oregano
1/2 tbls. dried Sage
1/2 tbls. dried Thyme
1-2 tbls. sea salt of your choosing, to taste (I used *Garlic French Sea Salt)
*If not using Garlic French Sea Salt, add 1-2 tsp garlic powder, to taste

Method
Combine all ingredients together in a food processor and process until it's the consistency you want. Store in air-tight mason jar. Use as a rub on pork, beef or poultry. Especially good on grilled meats.

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.ix all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir to combine and bring to a low boil over medium heat. 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Southern Praline Bread Pudding

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This is not your mother's or grandmother's bread pudding. Even picky "I hate bread pudding" people will like this one. How do I know? My husband was one of those people.


Determined to make him a convert, I made this and had him try a piece without telling him what it was. After a few minutes of listening to him say "mmmmm" and "oh ya" I asked, what do you think? He replied "absolutely freaking delicious!" Boom!!! Non-bread pudding person was now a believer.


This is rich, decadent and unbelievably delicious. The pecan topping and the sauce just put it over the top. A small piece is all you need.



You may also like:

Deep Dish Pecan Pie

















Butter Pecan Cheesecake

















Butterscotch Pecan Cheesecake














RECIPE
Ingredients
1 cups granulated sugar
5 large beaten eggs
1 cups milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups cubed bread (honey buttermilk works really well, but Challah, Italian or other hefty bread works)
Topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans
Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup brandy (optional)

Method
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish.

Mix together granulated sugar, eggs, and milk in a bowl; add vanilla. Pour over cubed bread and let sit for 30 minutes.

In another bowl, mix and crumble together brown sugar, butter, and pecans.

Pour bread mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over the top and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven.

For the sauce:
Mix together the granulated sugar, butter, egg, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir together until the sugar is melted on a low simmer, whisking often. Mixture will darken and thicken some while cooking. Do not overcook. Add the brandy (if using) stirring well. Pour over bread pudding, if desired, or serve separately with each slice. Serve warm.

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.ix all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir to combine and bring to a low boil over medium heat. 


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Dark Chocolate Strawberry Jam

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A bag of fresh frozen strawberries in my freezer I purchased from a local farm, got me thinking how to use them. I really wanted to create a dessert jam, something that would really zing and be a bit different from the ordinary.


Having read several recipes for chocolate cherry jam, I thought, why couldn't that be strawberries? Of course, there was no reason why it couldn't. Then I wanted to "boost" the flavor a bit more so I added some dark chocolate balsamic vinegar.


Wow doesn't begin to describe this jam. It's sweet, savory, sultry and darn delicious. It pairs equally well as a jam between cake layers, or topped on your favorite cheese on crackers. The strawberries are the star, with a nice taste of chocolate coming though, and just a hint of the tang from the dark chocolate balsamic vinegar.




RECIPE
Ingredients
6 cups chopped strawberries
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup dark chocolate balsamic vinegar
1 package Sure-Jell pectin
1 tsp butter to reduce foaming
7 cups sugar

Method
Place strawberries, dark chocolate balsamic vinegar, Sure-Jell and butter in a large stock pot. Heat over high heat stirring to combine ingredients. Continue stirring occasionally until mixture starts to bubble.

Stir in sugar and cocoa powder all at once and bring to a rolling boil over high heat stirring often. Boil hard one (1) minute, remove from heat.

Ladle jam into prepared canning jars leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Top jars with lids and rings, and process 10 minutes in boiling water bath or steam canner.

Remove jars and place on a kitchen towel on your counter-top. Let sit 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button on top of lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Serve with a sharp cheese over crackers, or top on a pound cake with whipped cream. This jam is extremely versatile and can be used in savory or sweet applications.

Store on pantry shelf up to one year. Open jars must be refrigerated.

Yield: 8 - 8 oz jelly jars

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.ix all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir to combine and bring to a low boil over medium heat. 

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Cinnamon Whiskey Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce

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When my blogging friend, Brenda, from What's Cooking America shared her recipe with me for this crazy good barbecue sauce, I knew I was going to make it.

What's Cooking America was the very first website I followed long before I was a blogger myself. Their recipes are tried and true, so please do yourself a favor and check them out. You won't be disappointed.


When making this Cinnamon Whiskey Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce, I had a few things I wanted to tweak and add to make it more my own. I used homemade Apple Butter and Spicy Brown Mustard, and I also opted out of using Worcestershire sauce (because I was out of it) and instead added a tiny bit of soy sauce, lemon juice and hot sauce.


Oh my word! This Cinnamon Whiskey Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce is amazing. Hints of Fireball and apple butter hit first, then a bit of tang from the apple cider vinegar and spicy brown mustard comes in. It's a delicious blend of sweet and tart. I can't wait to slather it on some ribs, or grilled poultry.


RECIPE
Ingredients
1/2 onion, diced
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic (I used minced garlic in a jar)
1/2 cup Cinnamon Whiskey (I used Fireball)
2 cups apple butter
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp hot sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 heaping tsp spicy brown mustard (or grainy mustard)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Method
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Bring to a low, steady boil over medium heat stirring often. Reduce heat and allow barbecue sauce to simmer 30 minutes to one hour depending on desired thickness (I simmered mine for one hour).

Remove from heat and adjust seasonings as needed; carefully blend until smooth if you want a smoother consistency.

Baste or slather on grilled pork or poultry and enjoy!

For Canning: 

Add Cinnamon Whiskey Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce to 8 oz mason jars leaving 1/2-inch head-space. Cover jars with lids and rings and process 20 minutes in a water bath or steam canner. 

Remove jars and allow them to sit 24 hours undisturbed on your kitchen counter-top. Jars are sealed when button on top of lid is fully depressed and won't flex up and down.

Store in pantry up to one year. Open jars must be refrigerated.

Yield: 3 - 8 oz jars

Recipe adapted from What's Cooking America

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.ix all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir to combine and bring to a low boil over medium heat. 


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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Orange Cardamom Jam

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A leftover bag of Halo's from an event my husband hosted prompted me to make this jam. I didn't want marmalade, I wanted a sweet orange jam that would be equally tasty on an English muffin as it would be in a cake filling.


I also knew I wanted to add cardamom, one of my favorite unique spices. Cardamom has a complex flavor; it's citrusy, minty, spicy, and herbal all at the same time, and it's highly fragrant, too. It added just the right flavor compliment to this Orange Cardamom Jam.


Since cardamom is used in a variety of savory and sweet dishes, definitely try this jam basted on grilled chicken, pork, shrimp, or topped on a baked ham.


RECIPE
Ingredients
1 - 3 lb bag Halo's (mandarin oranges = approx. 6 cups sections)
1/2 cup orange juice
3 1/2 tbls pectin ( I used Hoosier's powdered pectin, but one box of Sure-Jell would work)
2 tbls lemon juice
2 tsp cardamom
2 tsp butter to reduce foaming
7 cups sugar

Method
Peel and section oranges, removing white pith. Process orange sections in a food processor using the pulse setting; spoon into large sauce pan.

Add orange juice, pectin, lemon juice, cardamom and butter. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring often.

Once mixture is boiling, add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil (one that doesn't stop while stirring). Boil hard 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat.

Ladle hot jam into prepared jars leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Cover jars with lids and rings. Process jam 10 minutes in boiling water bath or steam canner.

Remove jars and place on a kitchen towel on your counter-top. Allow jars to cool 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button in middle of lid is completely depressed and won't flex up or down.

Store in pantry up to one year.

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.

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Dijon Mustard

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I just love Dijon Mustard and have wanted to make my own for a long time. Finally I had the time and ingredients and couldn't wait to get started.


Loaded with great garlic flavor this classic white wine Dijon mustard will be your go-to for sandwiches and roasts. Trust me, it's damn delicious and has become a new favorite at our house.


RECIPE
Ingredients
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
1 cup white wine vinegar (5% acidity)
1 tsp. salt
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
4 black peppercorns
1 rosemary sprig (1/3 tsp dry)
1 cup yellow mustard seeds
1⁄3 cup dry mustard
Water to thin, about 1 1/2 cups or slightly more

Method
Combine first 7 ingredients in a large stainless steel or enameled saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until onion is very soft, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat; pour onion mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a glass or stainless steel bowl. Discard solids.

Stir mustard seeds and dry mustard into wine mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature at least 24 hours, but no longer than 48 hours.

Process mustard mixture in a food processor then transfer to a blender adding water, a little at a time (I used about 1 1/2 cups) until consistency of cooked oatmeal. Mixture should be thick but smooth.

Transfer mustard to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring often; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered 5 minutes.

Ladle hot mustard into a hot jar, leaving 1⁄4-inch head-space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rim, top with lids and apply band to fingertip-tight. Place jars in boiling water bath or steam canner.

Process jars 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off heat; remove lid, and let jars stand 5 minutes. Remove jars and let cool 24 hours undisturbed on your kitchen counter-top. Store in pantry up to one year.

Cook's note - for best results, let mustard sit 2-4 weeks before trying for flavors to blend and mellow

Yield: 6 or 7 - 4 oz jars

Recipe excerpted from The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving, 2016.

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.

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Caramelized Candied Peanuts

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Who doesn't like candied peanuts? They're sweet, crunchy and a great snack anytime. Of course, if you can't have peanuts, you can do this recipe with any tree nut. Hazelnuts or whole almonds would be wonderful substitutes.


These are so easy to make and require just 3 simple ingredients; peanuts, sugar and water! You can add a bit of salt if desired, but it's not required.


The only thing you have to do is be patient, and work over a low heat to avoid burning the sugar as it caramelizes.



RECIPE
Ingredients
2 cups peanuts (raw with skin)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 to 2 pinches coarse salt (optional)

Method
Line a large baking sheet or pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper; set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, combine the peanuts, sugar, and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens into a syrup.

Continue cooking and stirring for about 10 minutes, or until the liquids evaporate and a sandy-textured sugar mixture coats the peanuts.

Lower the heat a bit and continue stirring as the excess sugar in the pan begins to melt. This will take several minutes. Once the syrup begins to form, it will change in color from clear to golden to amber. Stir constantly, and be careful that the heat is not so high as to burn or darken the syrup too much.

When the syrup is a light-to-medium-amber color and the sugary coating on the peanuts has glazed, remove the sauce pan from the heat.

Sprinkle the salt (if using) over the peanuts and stir.

Turn the peanuts out onto your prepared pan and quickly spread them in a single layer. Allow them to cool and harden. Once the peanuts have cooled completely, store in an airtight container.

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.

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