Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños with Crabmeat

Bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapenos with crab meatThese are very messy to eat, even though considered finger-food, your hands will be filled with cheese!

A “re-invention” from a recipe I had tried at a friend’s house, these stuffed jalapeños are a huge hit. Make sure to use high quality ingredients especially for the blue cheese, crab meat and bacon. Try to get smoked bacon. Here in Wisconsin I buy Nueske Bacon.

INGREDIENTS

8 jalapeños
6oz crab meat
1/2 cup blue cheese
8oz salmon cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8 slices of smoked bacon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Make a longitudinal cut only on one side of each jalapeño.
  2. Remove all seeds from the jalapeños.
  3. In a bowl mix crab meat, blue cheese, cream cheese and shredded mozzarella.
  4. Stuff each jalapeño with the mixture.
  5. Wrap each stuffed jalapeño with a slice of bacon and put them in a oven safe deep dish.
  6. Put them in the oven at low broil for about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve while hot.

Frittata

FrittataA perfect brunch idea for a cold day.

I came up with this recipe on a cold weekend where I decided to make a brunch with whatever I had at home. Think of this recipe more as an idea and go through your fridge and see what you come up with. Of course you can also follow it word by word. Everyone loved it but I learned a lesson. DO NOT put too much blue cheese next time. Kids did not care as much for that strong taste. So the recipe below is already with that change made in mind!

INGREDIENTS

9 eggs
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of heavy cream
16 breakfast sausages
1/2 cup of blue cheese – or less if you do not want a strong taste
1 cup of shredded cheese
1.5 cups of cooked asparagus
1 cup of chopped onions
a few leaves of Tarragon, Sage and Thyme

IMG_2308DIRECTIONS

  1. In a cast iron skillet at medium low sautée the breakfast sausages.
  2. In a bowl beat the eggs, sour cream and heavy cream.
  3. Add all other ingredients apart from the onions.
  4. Once the sausages are cooked, cut them in small pieces and add them to the eggs.
  5. In the sausages fat lightly brown the onions then add them to the eggs.
  6. Pour the whole thing into the same cast iron skillet and put it in the oven at 400 for about 35 mins.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve while hot.

Stuffed Celery with Cream Cheese and Green Olives

Celery stuffed with cream cheese and olivesMy husband grew up with this recipe and it is a staple at any party–especially the holidays–of his family’s households. From the very first time I tried it, I knew I would be making it often too, yet.. as usual adding a touch of myself (the smoked paprika).

INGREDIENTS

1 celery stalk / bunch
1 8oz. soften cream cheese
1 cup of green olives stuffed with red pimentos
cut up celery1 tsp of smoked paprika
salt / pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a bowl mix the cream cheese with paprika, salt and pepper.
  2. Chop the olives real small then add to the cream cheese.
  3. Use a potato peeler to  softly peel the outsides of the celery sticks (this way you will not feel the strings when biting on it).
  4. Cut the celery stick to about 2 inches in length.
  5. Fill each stick with the cream cheese mixture and they are ready to serve.

celerycreamcheeseolives1 celerycreamcheeseolives2

Brigadeiros – Brazilian Chocolate Truffles

Brazilian Chocolate TruffleThis recipe is LOVED by all. I must say though my dancer’s teacher may be the biggest fan. They have a similar consistency to fudge as they are pretty strong in cocoa taste yet melt in your mouth.

They are very easy to make yet time consuming, so go ahead and double the recipe as they will disappear so fast!

INGREDIENTS

1 can of sweet condensed milk
6 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp of unsalted butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a pot melt the butter on low heat.
  2. Add the can of sweet condensed milk and stir.
  3. Add the cocoa powder.
  4. Keep on stirring with a wooden spoon until it becomes a paste and stops sticking to the pot.
  5. Prior to turning off the heat, make sure the paste you created is tight together and very firm.
  6. Let it cool off then put it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
  7. Remove from the fridge and start creating nicely formed round balls.
  8. Pass them through sugar, cocoa powder, coconut flakes or whatever else you would like.

Spicy Garlicky gizzards

Spicy gizzardsDid I say gizzards?

Yes I did and all I can say is that if you actually try them, you may be surprised that you will like them. This is a traditional Portuguese recipe that I grew up with and totally different from any gizzards I have had here in the States.

The trick is to let them boil in low temperature forever, this way they will be nice and tender. The first time I introduced this here in the States, we were living in Iowa. People’s first reaction was: what is this? Of course typical me I would say just try it. Some shun away from them, but most did try it. Surprisingly enough even though spicy, the children were the ones that liked the most (perhaps because they have no pre-conception of what gizzards actually were) and would end up fighting for the hearts!

If this is the first time ever trying them, try one along with some bread and make sure to add some of the juices/stock with it.

INGREDIENTS

1 package of gizzards (chicken or turkey)
water
coarse sea salt

1tbsp olive oil
5 cloves of garlic finely minced
crushed chili peppers

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash the gizzards in cold water and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Place them in a pot filled with water and season with salt.
  3. Let them cook in low for about 2 hours or until very soft to the fork.
  4. Warm the olive oil in a skillet and sautee the garlic and chili peppers.
  5. Strain the gizzards (but keep the broth).
  6. Sautee the gizzards in the skillet at medium to high.
  7. Once they start browning add a little of the broth and serve with toothpicks.

Spicy Wings

spicy wings

Photo taken by Benny Sieu from the Milwaukee Sentinel

Another spicy wing recipe?

Indeed but I must say this is different than the most traditional ones here in the States. This is a recipe everyone usually loves and I guess… I am well known for! You can do this two ways. IF you have some of the Lemon Chutney you can use it for it, or follow the recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds of wings
2 sticks of melted butter
6 cloves of minced garlic
a hand full of minced dried red chilly peppers
3 soup spoons of lemon juice
1 soup spoon of kosher sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Wash the wings and dry them.
  • In a bowl mix all other ingredients.
  • Spread the wings in an oven-safe dish and brush the sauce over them.
  • Put the tray inside the oven at 375° for about 15 minutes (or you can simply grill them for about 20 minutes while continuously basting them).
  • Put the oven at low broil until wings are nice and golden – this can take 20 to 30 minutes, depending on each person’s oven.

If you are using the Lemon Chutney, you will only need 1 stick of butter and the garlic. Process as per directions

Portuguese style Pig’s Feet

Pig's feet stewla dee la dee la…. I know what some of you are already saying…. gross… But again, try it, you MAY like it. And hate to say it but to all my friends who actually ate at my house, you’ve had it! My trick? Cutting the meats so small you had no idea what part of the piggy you were eating. And you liked it! See?

Now next question is where the heck can I find pig’s feet (as so many of you are eager to try this recipe!). Well, I have lived now in 5 states and have been lucky to find pig’s feet in every state. Often you can find it at your local supermarket, if not try Asian or Hispanic ones.

Believe it or not my daughters LOVE this recipe. My oldest, the Dancer will leave the beans to the side, but will NOT miss a piece of meat though. She will clean the little bones better than any dog would (well the dog would actually eat the bone, right?). The Princess is finally getting the hang of cleaning all those small bones and she devours it all. Next day if there are any leftovers she takes them to daycare (hmmm… I wonder if anyone there ever noticed it was pig’s feet she was eating!)

INGREDIENTS

3 lbs fresh or frozen pig’s feet – not the smoked or jarred type please!
1 lb of bacon cut into pieces
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 diced onions
4 cloves of garlic chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cans of beans (I prefer black or red beans, but you can use whatever ones you want)
1 to 2 liters beef stock
salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. If you are using dry beans, soak them overnight.
  2. Clean well the pigs feet, I usually rinse them through vinegar and leave them for a few hours with water and salt.
  3. In a large pot add the olive oil and lightly sauté the onions, garlic and bacon.
  4. Add the feet and brown them lightly from all sides.
  5. Add some of the stock and all other ingredients. Stock should cover everything, but if need be add a bit more from time to time.
  6. Cover and let it all simmer for at least 2 hours.
  7. Serve with some white rice and do not forget a nice bottle of red wine or beer!

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

Cream of Cauliflower SoupMy grandmother was the very best at making soups. She could make delicious soups out of anything. I am fortunate to have her cooking books which slowly but surely I want to try to make every recipe she wrote throughout her live. Some are her own creations, others are family recipes and lastly others are traditional recipes she adjusted to her taste.

As I am going through them all, I am also creating a document so that all of her great-grandchildren and cousins will be able to cherish for years to come. This one is a favorite of mine, it has a velvety taste and oddly enough it barely tastes like cauliflower.

My daughter’s reactions? The little Princess ONLY had 3 cups of it!! OHHH and as I was preparing the soup, she kept on wanting “little bites” of the soup. So I guess this was a winner for her. My Dancer? Well I first did not tell her it was cauliflower as for whatever reason she says she does not care for it, but ended up eating a FULL bowl of it and this morning asked if she could have some cold for breakfast.

Indeed, this cream is also very good cold. Finally I asked her. By the way… do you like cauliflower? And her nose frowned right away and said noo. Hmmm well you LIKED the soup. As usual I got that look I usually get as if saying… I hate it when you trick me!

INGREDIENTS

1 cauliflower
2 cups of beef stock or vegetable stock
1 cup of whole milk or heavy cream

1 tbsp butter

parsley leaves
salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil the cauliflower in water and a pinch of salt until well cooked
  2. Remove the water and pass the cauliflower through a food mill
  3. Place it back in the pot and add the stock and milk
  4. Bring it to a boil for about 6 minutes
  5. Prior to serving add the butter
  6. Serve it garnished with a few parsley leaves

Goat cheese with olives, lemon zest and thyme

Goat cheese with olives, lemon zest and thymeHave you ever learned a new recipe and you like it so very much that you will find every excuse to repeat it over and over again? Meanwhile your family is getting real tired of it, yet you keep on doing it. Well this is it.

This recipe was actually one I decided to test mostly because goat cheese is not my favorite (unless mixed in salad or disguised some other way). Lo and behold… I got hooked, right from the very first bite and could not stope eating it. And since my lack of choice with crackers, the rice ones actually are perfect for such delicacy.

 

Portuguese Meat Croquettes

Portuguese meat croquetsSo you’ve just finished dinner and have some steak leftover, or that huge amount of turkey after the holidays, well… you get the idea. Re-use it! Freeze the leftover meats until you have enough. And make sure to keep all of its juices, gravy or whatever else that was with the meat.

Once you have enough different types of leftover meats, you can finally put them to good use by making these croquettes. As you will see the measurements were from the meats I had in the freezer. The main idea to to create a similar ratio of beef/poultry/pork.

And a big thank you to my Dancer who decorated the plates so beautifully!

INGREDIENTS

3 cups of ground presunto / prosciutto or some type of salt cured meat
4 cups beef leftovers
5 cups of smoked turkey leftovers
4 cups of chicken leftovers
6 cups of pork leftovers
2 large onions
8 cloves garlic
For the Béchamel
2 bars of salted butter
4 cups of all-purpose gluten-free flour
10 cups of milk
For frying
3 to 5 eggs
fine gluten-free breadcrumbs
oil to fry

DIRECTIONS

  1. Thaw all of the meats them grind them.
  2. Make the Béchamel sauce by first melting the butter in a large pot, then adding the flour and mixing well until attaining a smooth paste. Add the milk a cup at the time so to blend it all nicely, and stir constantly until you create a nice smooth cream.
  3. Add the meats and adjust with seasonings to taste.
  4. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove it from heat, let it cool then place it in the fridge overnight.
  6. Next day in the first bowl beat the eggs, in the second add the breadcrumbs.
  7. Create “tubes” with the meat paste, then pass them through eggs then the breadcrumbs and place them neatly in a tray to freeze them for an hour or so.
  8. Once frozen, you can immediately fry them, or put them in freezer bags to be fried at a later date.