Posted at 8:01 am , on June 27, 2014
I know that candied nuts are usually thought of as a winter treat but they can be a great snack anytime. I was looking for something crunchy and sweet to put in a salad when I remembered an old recipe for candied pecans. The recipe called for sugar, cinnamon and a splash of vanilla but an inspiration hit me when I started gathering the ingredients and found my jar of Vanilla Sugar in the pantry. Vanilla sugar would pack a lot more flavor than a splash of vanilla and I could only imagine how it would smell and taste. If you’ve ever made vanilla sugar with split and scraped vanilla beans then you know how aromatic it can be. And as the walnuts begin to roast in the oven you might be reminded of the cinnamon roasted nuts you’d find at a farmer’s market or a fall festival. These turned out to be an irresistible treat. They provided a sweet crunch to our salad as well as a dessert topper for a scoop of ice cream. Next time I will have to hide any leftovers as no one could resist grabbing a couple every time they walked by.
Posted at 7:29 am , on June 13, 2014
I’ve been wanting to roast a chicken on the grill for the longest time but was skeptical of the outcome. I had visions of chicken burned to a crisp or maybe a perfectly golden browned outer skin but under cooked on the inside. One of the best things I remember from our days in Albuquerque was going to this little chain called “El Pollo Asado” for the tastiest roasted chicken anywhere. Joe and I used to go after work and order a plate with dark meat (thigh and leg pieces) or white meat (breast and wing pieces) served with tortillas, salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream on the side. It was so messy, we picked apart the chicken right at our table. Actually it was so tender it often fell off the bone. We filled the tortillas with juicy chicken and all the flavorful sides. They had little towelettes at the table to clean up with just like you find at the BBQ joints here in KC. It’s one of those things I’ve often wondered if I could make myself. I wish I would have tried this years ago, the chicken was tender and juicy just like I remembered with the flavors of citrusy orange and lime throughout. I made all the fixings to fill our tortillas and it was so so good. Cooking a whole chicken made for some tasty leftovers. I had enough to add to a pot of green chile and corn chowder as well as a pot of creamy chicken and rice soup. Yummy week!
Posted at 8:33 am , on June 10, 2014
As promised I’m testing out some new recipes for granola bars. This granola bar is baked and has a cranberry jam filling that really puts it over the top. I really love this bar for the flavors that come through and the surprisingly chewy texture. I was almost certain that baking it for such a lengthy period would produce a hard crunchy exterior but it turns out not to be the case. They are time consuming, mostly the prep time making the jam and the time it took to bake the granola but it’s time well spent when you take that first bite. I can’t wait to try out some other dried fruits but cranberry is definitely one I want to make again.
Posted at 9:12 am , on June 6, 2014
Cameron is a kid of few words and rarely makes any requests for dinner. Recently he was out to eat and ordered a chicken salad wrap that he described as having big chunks of apples with dried cranberries, kind of sweet with lots of dressing. He asked if I could make it sometime and I told him I’d give it a try. Not having tasted it myself, I was left to translate his description into a recipe that would live up to his expectations. I searched several blogs to find a dressing that would go with what I had planned. The one that stood out was a slightly sweet dressing with a hint of citrus from “Cookbook Junkies“. My contribution was adding some sweet and spicy pecans to tempt the taste buds and give a little added crunch. I had a crusty artisan sourdough loaf that I sliced and toasted for sandwiches and also picked up some spring greens for a salad. We all thought it tasted pretty amazing and was a success according to Cam which I guess is really all that matters!