Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

After a bit of a hiatus from RITK we are back and I have some great recipes coming up for your reading pleasure in the next few weeks. It’s been a crazy last few months with lots of cake orders, some blog construction, and just general life business. Today’s recipe is one of my favorite snacks to make for parties, I hope you enjoy it!

I’ll have a new recipe next week on the blog so, be sure to subscribe to RITK so you never miss a delicious post!

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I started making stove top popcorn as a way to make popcorn a bit healthier (this is way better than those microwave packets full of salt and fake butter!)  I love stove top popcorn with just a bit of salt but after a while I thought of ways to make my snacks more savory and spicy. Today’s recipe is one of my concoctions to keep my snacks interesting. This recipe is also great to make in large batches, store in a airtight container and pack in lunches.

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So let’s talk about the method, below I will guide you through popping kernels on the stove, this is my favorite way to make popcorn at home and the method I use even if I’m not adding this sauce. I use olive oil although you can use sesame oil or coconut oil. After the popcorn is coated in spicy sauce, it goes into the oven to dry out. Before I added this last step I was eating soggy popcorn that required a few napkins, however drying the popcorn out in the oven cuts down on the messiness and also adds some more crunch.

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Sriracha-Sesame Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 c olive oil
  • 1 1/3 c unpopped corn kernels
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp Sriracha

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

To pop the popcorn; I find it’s easier to do this in two batches. Start with a large-sized pot and heat 6 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-low heat. Heat until the oil is shiny and easily coats the bottom of the pan. Add 2/3 c of corn kernels to the warm oil and stir with a wooden spoon so that the kernels are evenly coated and spread out over the base of the pot. Cover and let the kernels pop (approximately 10-12 minutes).

Stay close to the pot, if you don’t hear any popping within a 4-5 second interval it’s time to take the pot off the heat. Once the kernels are all popped remove from heat. VERY CAREFULLY, using hot-pot-holders, firmly hold the lid down on the pot while you flip it over 2-3 times. This releases the steam from the popcorn. Next pour the popcorn into 2 shallow baking pans and pick out any burned or unpopped kernels and throw away.

Next, in a small saucepan combine the hot sauce, butter, and sesame oil over low heat until well combined and makes a thin sauce.

Distribute the sauce as evenly as possible over the popped corn (I like to use a combination of a slotted spoon and my hands). Then bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Store the popcorn in airtight containers or plastic bags.

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Refridgorator Pickles

 

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Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for pickles, really anything pickled I will eat. I always have and I always will. I find the salty and tangy flavors satisfying and I personally believe they pair with just about any meal. But hey. that’s just me.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe and I have been making them every week ever since. What are refrigerator pickles you ask? Good question. Refrigerator pickles are pickles that are pickled and stored in the fridge. They are good for about 2 weeks. This is opposed to pickles that are canned and can be stored for the long term.

This recipe is for a sweet pickle yet, they are still quite tangy and they are super easy to make! I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

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Note on Ingredients: Think of the amounts listed with the ingredients above as ratio suggestions. This is what appeals to my taste buds but, if you prefer your pickles sweeter, then add some more sugar. Want them to taste more tangy? Add another splash of vinegar.

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Directions:

Let’s get this easy-peasy brine started; combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

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Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

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Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

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Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

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Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

Directions:

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

Flaky Flatbread and White Bean Hummus

I am in love with today’s recipes. A few weeks ago I read in Bon Appetit magazine the recipe for flaky flatbread I have shared below. I wanted to try it almost immediately. My husband and I made them together and devoured all of them that same day. The flavors may be simple, but it is still rich in flavor and texture. An absolute treat.

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Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well.

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Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

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Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

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Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

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Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

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Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope,

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then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil.

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Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

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Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

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Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

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Top these delicious flatbreads with a dip of your choice or try this easy and tasty white bean hummus. What I love about white beans is the buttery flavor they have, they make for delicious dips.

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Canellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving (trust me this tastes great when the flavors have had a chance to meld together first).

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Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well. Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope, then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil. Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

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White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Homemade Sour Gummies

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I’ve seen these all over Pinterest and I really wanted to make some homemade sour gummies (aka sour patch kids) that weren’t artificially flavored.

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Before I jump into this recipe, I would like to talk about some of the ingredients listed below; I rarely name brands in my recipes, because while there are a few brands I always go to, in general I like to let readers choose which products to use, it’s your food after all! However, for this recipe I have noted the brands for two ingredients and here’s why;

I strongly recommend Simply Lemonade since the whole point of this recipe (for me) is to cut back on artificial flavors. If you look at their ingredients, it is just water, lemon, and sugar. So the way I see it, it’s just saving me the trouble of making lemonade from scratch. You can certainly use any kind of juice, freshly squeezed, or store bought that strikes your fancy.

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The other brand I mention is Knox for the gelatin. This is because not all gelatin is created equal, and I can’t with confidence say you will get the same results with other products. So, save yourself the trouble and use Knox gelatin, it can be found in most large grocery stores. I promise they are not paying me!

Homemade Sour Gummies
Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

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Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin.

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Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

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Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well.

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Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges.

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Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

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I then placed the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter.

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I used the smallest cookie cutter I own so they are little bite-sized adorable gummies, but they are just as good at any size.

Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

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Homemade Sour Gummies

Recipe Adapted from Knox Gelatine

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Simply Raspberry Lemonade*
  • 1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons depending on size)
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 2 packets of Knox Gelatin

*A note on ingredients; as noted above, you can use any kind of juice, lemonade, or flavoring you like but the trick is, that all of your liquid adds up to 1 1/4 c. The ratios in this recipe are really important to ensure the gummies hold their shape.

Directions:

In a small sauce pan over low heat, warm the lemonade, lemon juice and food coloring (if using). Once the mixture is warm (not even boiling or simmering), add the gelatin. Stir with a fork until completely dissolved (2-3 minutes).

Pour the mixture into a mold of your choice. I used a square brownie pan, but candy molds or a cake pan would work equally well. Place in freezer for 10-12 minutes. To de-mold the gelatin, run a butter knife around the edges. Then cut the gummie into 4 sections for easy removal from the pan.

Place the gelatin on a paper towel and cut out shapes with a cookie cutter. Store the gummies in a an airtight container and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

 

Vanilla Bavarian

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Today’s recipe comes from this big ol’ cookbook, I  Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot. It’s an English translation of what is basically the encyclopedia of French cooking. I both like and dislike this book. I like how much it includes and the different variations of recipes, what I dislike is how short the recipes are.

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Some of these recipes are rather technical, it being French cooking and all, and I find myself wishing for more instruction. I often jump into a recipe not entirely certain it will turn out or if I’m doing it right. Today’s recipe is no exception. However, my attempt was successful, and I have tried to fill in the gaps where I wish the original recipe had.

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Today’s recipe is Vanilla Bavarian (Creme Bavaroise A La Vinille), contrary to what the name says, this is not a recipe for Bavarian creme. This is essentially a creme anglaise (the custard used in creme brulee) that has been thickened. Trust me, you’re going to love it.  A decadent dessert, worth the effort, and perfect with fresh berries.

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Vanilla Bavarian

From I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c heavy cream

Directions:

First separate your eggs. Put the egg yolks in a bowl that can be used in a double boiler. What to do with all of those egg whites? I freeze mine individually in cupcake tins so that I can use them for other recipes in the future.

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Next get the gelatin set up; empty the three packets into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water. Give it a quick stir with a fork to combine and then set aside. Wash the fork immediately (trust me).

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Now it’s time to start making the creme anglaise. In a medium-sized pot whisk together the milk, sugar, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. While the milk heats up, whisk the mixture every once in a while to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Now, when I say bring to a simmer, I mean a simmer, not a boil, you do not want to get your milk too hot or it will curddle your egg yolk during the next step. You have been warned.

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Once the milk is simmering, pour it into a tall measuring cup with a spout. Start pouring the milk SLOWLY into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking the mixture constantly. Continue whisking until the milk and egg yolks are combined and slightly frothy.

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Put the mixture on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Keep that heat low-medium (this will depend on your stove, if you have gas keep it on low, I have gas so I had my temperature set at a medium heat).

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The idea is you want to gradually thicken your creme angliase and do NOT let it boil. Stir the mixture constantly. The creme anglaise is finished when it coats the back of a spoon. Be patient with this one, it can take several minutes depending on your stove.

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Pour the creme anglaise through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the gelatin to the mixture while it is still hot. If your gelatin is a solid disk like mine was, this is ok, the hot mixture will dissolve it.

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Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. While it is cooling whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

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Once the creme anglaise is cool, gently fold the whipped creme into the mixture. Do this slowly, working in batches of 1/3 of the whipped creme at a time.

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Once the mixture is completely combined pour it into a mold. Put into the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours. You could use small individual molds, or one large one like a round cake pan or a bunt pan. You could also put into fancy glasses.

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After 3 hours remove from the mold and serve with fresh berries.

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Vanilla Bavarian

From I Know How to Cook by Ginette Mathiot

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets of unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 c heavy cream

Directions:

First separate your eggs. Put the egg yolks in a bowl that can be used in a double boiler. Next get the gelatin set up; empty the three packets into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of hot water. Give it a quick stir with a fork to combine and then set aside. Wash the fork immediately (trust me).

In a medium-sized pot whisk together the milk, sugar, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer. While the milk heats up, whisk the mixture every once in a while to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Once the milk is simmering, pour it into a tall measuring cup with a spout. Start pouring the milk SLOWLY into the bowl with the egg yolks while whisking the mixture constantly. Continue whisking until the milk and egg yolks are combined and slightly frothy.

Put the mixture on top of a double boiler over simmering water. Keep that heat low-medium (this will depend on your stove, if you have gas keep it on low, I have gas so I had my temperature set at a medium heat). This will gradually thicken the creme anglaise and do NOT let it boil. Stir the mixture constantly. The creme anglaise is finished when it coats the back of a spoon.

Pour the creme anglaise through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl. Add the gelatin to the mixture while it is still hot.

Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. While it is cooling whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Once the creme anglaise is cool, gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture. Do this slowly, working in batches of 1/3 of the whipped cream at a time.

Once the mixture is completely combined pour it into a mold. Put into the refrigerator and chill for 3 hours. You could use small individual molds, or one large one like a round cake pan or a bundt pan. You could also put into fancy glasses.

After 3 hours remove from the mold and serve with fresh berries.

Irish Soda Bread

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! I have got a lovely recipe for you today. This is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread my Nana made when I was younger. I know, I know, my Nana wasn’t Irish, but she got this recipe from a friend of the family and this recipe is the bomb diggity. (I just wanted to say bomb diggity). BUT, in all seriousness, this recipe is great.  It’s a dense, flavorful bread and to me, the caraway seeds are what really gives this bread such a great flavor so don’t skimp on them.

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The absolute best part about this recipe? It’s super easy. So, open up a Guinness and give it a whirl.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

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Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk.

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Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

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Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

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Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

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This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Looking for more great St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out one of my favorites, Guinness Cupcakes.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

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This coffee cake rocks, and I am so pleased to be sharing it with you! It is moist, rich, and everything I have been looking for in a coffee cake. For this recipe I’ve selected peaches and raspberries, but feel free to sub in any frozen fruit combination you like.

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients for the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. I suggest leaving the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven. This is because thawed or slightly thawed fruit will add more moisture (more than desired) into the batter, whereas when the fruit is still frozen the moisture steams and cooks off.*

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture.

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Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a spring-form cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

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Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

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Slice the cake into wedges and enjoy!

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Peach Raspberry Coffee Cake

Adapted from Big Oven

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping:

  • 1 1/4 c unbleached all-purpose flour (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the cake:

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz  plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1/2 c raspberry, frozen*
  • 1/2 c peaches, frozen*

*A note on ingredients: the fruit must be frozen. leave the fruit in the freezer until you are ready to fold them into the batter, right before putting the coffee cake into the oven.

Directions:

First assemble the crumb topping; in a mixing bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla extract to the crumb mixture. Use a fork to combine (or your hands) until all of the butter has been absorbed and large crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8 or 9 inch round baking pan (I used a springform cheesecake pan) and set aside.

In a mixing bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer beat the softened butter for a minute or so until lightened in color. Slowly add the sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and yogurt (or sour cream) and beat until well combined. Stop mixer and scrape the edges and bottom of the bowl. Mix for another 30 seconds to combine the mixture.

Next, with the mixer on a low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed slightly and once the mixture has just come together turn off the mixer.

Take the frozen fruit out of the freezer. Quickly chop the peach slices if needed. Then toss the frozen fruit in a small amount of flour to lightly (this is important!) coat the fruit. Fold the fruit into the batter by hand (do not use mixer), and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Top the batter with the crumb mixture.

Bake the coffee cake for 60-70 minutes.  If the topping is getting too dark or is about to burn cover the pan with foil after 45 minutes of baking. The cake is finished when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan. The edges and bottom of the cake will be a little dark (but not burned).

 

Poached Pears in Red Wine

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A few years ago when I was living and working in Boston I noticed a small free magazine called Lola Magazine. It was with all the other free publications near the T stops. It turned out to be a just adorable magazine geared towards the women of Boston.  I liked this magazine because it reminded me of a smaller version of Real Simple Magazine. It had some interesting articles in it that featured local business women, there was always a piece on a local charity, and my favorite part; 2-3 recipes.

I have no idea how long the magazine had been around, but I found myself starting to look forward to the beginning of each month when I new magazine would be out there waiting for me on my way to work. Then one day, at the beginning of the month I went to grab a new issue, and there was none to be had. Last months issues still sat there in the dispenser untouched. I checked again the next day and the day after that. Lola magazine disappeared almost as quickly as I had found it. Unfortunately, I’m sure this is a very common story for free print publications. I don’t have any copies of Lola Magazine saved (I’m not one to hang on to magazines for long), however I’m glad I did tear a few recipes from the magazine and save them in my enormous binder full of stray recipes I’ve collected over the years.

Today’s recipe, Poached Pears for Two is one of those recipes I saved from Lola Magazine. The last time I made these my parents were visiting me for Easter and I was looking to make them a unique dessert. I had never heard of poaching fruit and I remember being so impressed how we transformed the flavor of a cheap red wine into this delicious cooking sauce. I like this dessert a lot, and I have a sneaking suspicion you will too. So take a look, and give a try, you won’t be sorry!

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Poached Pears in Red Wine

Recipe originally appeared in Lola Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2-6 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears (one pear per person)
  • 1 bottle of red wine (no need to get anything fancy, just a cheapo bottle will do)
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • the peel of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • whipped cream or mascarpone (to top the finished pears, vanilla ice cream works too)

Directions:

In a medium-sized saucepan (large enough to hold the cooking liquid and pears) combine the wine, sugar, orange peel, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. This will honestly, make your kitchen smell just heavenly.

While the wine sauce is coming up to a simmer, peel the pears. I recommend cutting off the bottom of the pear to create a flat surface. This way, the pears can stand up in the pan if needed, and also this will make for a dramatic presentation when the dessert I finished.

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Once the sugar is dissolved and the wine is simmering, gently place the pears into the mixture. The pears should be mostly submerged in the mixture. If the pears are mostly sticking out add some water to the mixture so that they are mostly covered in liquid. Simmer the pears over medium heat for 25 minutes. The pears should be tender when pierced with a knife (the pears might take 10-15 minutes longer if they are not very ripe).

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool in the poaching liquid. Once they are room temperature, store the pears (in the poaching liquid) in the refrigerator, and let them sit for at least several hours and as long as three days (I like to let mine sit for 24 hours).

When you are ready to serve the pears, take them out of the liquid and allow them to come up to room temperature. While they are warming up, strain about 1/2 of the poaching liquid into a pot and bring up to a boil over high heat. Boil the liquid for 15-25 minutes until the wine sauce cooks down a bit and thickens. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Allow the wine sauce to cool slightly.

When you are ready to plate the pears, you can leave them whole for a dramatic presentation, or if you have a misshapen pear you can cut it up (although mine kind of looks more like sushi in this picture than a pear).

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Drizzle the pears with some of  the cooked pan sauce.

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And lastly, top with a healthy dollop of whipped cream (or whatever you have decided to top the pears with).

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I just love the color of the pears after they have been sitting in the wine sauce. Yum! I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

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Poached Pears in Red Wine

Recipe originally appeared in Lola Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2-6 firm but ripe Bosc or Bartlett pears (one pear per person)
  • 1 bottle of red wine (no need to get anything fancy, just a cheapo bottle will do)
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • the peel of 1 orange
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • whipped cream or mascarpone (to top the finished pears, vanilla ice cream works too)

Directions:

In a medium-sized saucepan (large enough to hold the cooking liquid and pears) combine the wine, sugar, orange peel, vanilla bean, and cinnamon stick. Over medium heat bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

While the wine sauce is coming up to a simmer, peel the pears. I recommend cutting off the bottom of the pear to create a flat surface. This way, the pears can stand up in the pan if needed, and also this will make for a dramatic presentation when the dessert I finished.

Once the sugar is dissolved and the wine is simmering, gently place the pears into the mixture. The pears should be mostly submerged in the mixture. If the pears are mostly sticking out add some water to the mixture so that they are mostly covered in liquid. Simmer the pears over medium heat for 25 minutes. The pears should be tender when pierced with a knife (the pears might take 10-15 minutes longer if they are not very ripe).

Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool in the poaching liquid. Once they are room temperature, store the pears (in the poaching liquid) in the refrigerator, and let them sit for at least several hours and as long as three days (I like to let mine sit for 24 hours).

When you are ready to serve the pears, take them out of the liquid and allow them to come up to room temperature. While they are warming up, strain about 1/2 of the poaching liquid into a pot and bring up to a boil over high heat. Boil the liquid for 15-25 minutes until the wine sauce cooks down a bit and thickens. It should be the consistency of warm honey. Allow the wine sauce to cool slightly.

Drizzle the pears with some of  the cooked pan sauce before serving and top with a healthy dollop of whipped cream or mascarpone.

Irish Soda Bread

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everybody! I have got a lovely recipe for you today. This is the recipe for the Irish Soda Bread my Nana made when I was younger. I know, I know, my Nana wasn’t Irish, but she got this recipe from a friend of the family and this recipe is the bomb diggity. (I just wanted to say bomb diggity). BUT, in all seriousness, this recipe is great.  It’s a dense, flavorful bread and to me, the caraway seeds are what really gives this bread such a great flavor so don’t skimp on them.

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The absolute best part about this recipe? It’s super easy. So, open up a Guinness and give it a whirl.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

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Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk.

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Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

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Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

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Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

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This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Looking for more great St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Check out one of my favorites, Guinness Cupcakes.

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Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

  • 4 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 c raisins
  • 2 c buttermilk

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease an 8 inch round cake pan. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients (including the raisins) in a bowl with a whisk.

Create a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk. Use a spatula or a spoon to start mixing the ingredients together.

Once it forms into a sticky dough use your hands to finish the mixing. Be gentle with the dough and do not over mix. It’s a bit messy but a quick process.

Shape the dough into a round loaf and put into the prepared round pan.

Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 60 minutes. The bread is finished when it is lightly browned on top and pulling away from the edge of the pan.

This bread is excellent toasted and then generously slathered with butter or jam. Store the loaf wrapped tightly in plastic wrap.

Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms

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First things first, I love toasted pecans. I love their nutty sweet flavor. Un-toasted, I don’t give a fig about pecans, but toast those babies up and the flavor and crunch factor gets intensified and I love it.

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Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this recipe; Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms. This is from a cookbook from my Mom’s (sizable) cookbook collection. This is kind of a neat book because it was put together by a rotary club in the late 70’s in Upstate New York (where I grew up). It’s a collection of recipes that really capture the times (according to my Mom) and it includes recipes such as Hot Sherry Crab Dip, Chocolate Crepes, and cocktails such as Sunshine Slush. Apparently it’s all very “70’s” as my Mom says. I’m a product of the 80’s so I’ll have to take her word for it.

Anyway, these tasty little mushrooms are an awesome appetizer or side dish. They have a nice crunch to them thanks to those toasted pecans, and a pleasant tangyness to due to the Greek Yogurt.

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Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

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Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

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Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

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If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

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Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown.

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The cook time might vary slightly depending on the size of the mushrooms, so keep an eye on ’em.  Serve warm.

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Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown. Serve warm.