#FantasticalFoodFight: Slow Cooker Soups

unnamed

I’m happy with this first food fight theme of 2017 – slow cooker soups.

While participating in the Countdown to 2017 blogging event (also hosted by Sarah of Fantastical Sharing of Recipes) I discovered that I hadn’t blogged a single slow cooker recipe in 2016. Good news, I’ll have at least one slow cooker recipe to share at the end of this year.

My slow cooker will be earning its keep in my cupboard this year. I’m happy to finally report that we’ve worked out a way to add Pure Barre back into my schedule.

I gave Pure Barre a try in January of last year in Ohio and loved it! I became hooked and attended class as often as possible. While my husband was getting his masters it was easier as his schedule was more flexible.

When we moved to California I immediately searched for the nearest studio and found it less than a mile from our place. It’s conveniently located next to Whole Foods, an easy 20 minute walk (sans stroller) or 4 minute drive. I was excited! But then I saw their class schedule times and my heart sank. It simply wasn’t going to work with my husband’s schedule/traffic.

After coming back from our Christmas vacation we reassessed and figured we at least had to try. I’m nearing the end of my 1st month unlimited membership and I’ve been able to go 3-4 times a week! Those days that I’m only able to go around dinner time, the slow cooker is going to be my best friend. I’ll be able to feed the kids before heading to the studio and my husband will have warm food whenever he wants it and I can have a warm dinner when I return home, too.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else has brought to this food fight!

I’m sharing a Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms. It’s a simple soup that makes for a perfect appetizer or light lunch. I served the soup alongside homemade teriyaki.

Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms for #FantasticalFoodFight from Sew You Think You Can Cook (1)

As I was editing my photographs, I realized I forgot to garnish with scallions! Oops. I’m happy to say I still like the pictures! I decided to set aside enough soup to save for a photo shoot the next day at lunch to take advantage of natural lighting. Evidently, I forgot about slicing some fresh scallions.

Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 scallions, roughly chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 6 C chicken stock
  • 1 container (8 oz) sliced mushrooms

Steps:

  1. Place carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and scallion in a slow cooker. Top with the chicken stock. Cook on LOW 4-5 hours.
  2. Remove veggies from the broth.  (I added the onions to my teriyaki!) Season to taste with S+P. Add the mushrooms and cook on LOW one more hour.
  3. Serve warm. Option to garnish with fresh scallions.

*This recipe is adapted from Amanda at http://theskinnyfork.com/blog/2013/3/8/crock-pot-japanese-onion-soup*

Japanese Onion Soup with Mushrooms for #FantasticalFoodFight from Sew You Think You Can Cook (2)

To check out the other Fantastical Slow Cooker Soups click here:  

If you would like to join our Fantastical Food Fight, you can learn more on our informational page.

Bangers and Mash

When I think about British cuisine the first thing that comes to my mind is Bangers and Mash. Don’t ask me why!

6 years ago I tried starting a Harry Potter book club with my friends and I remember making Bangers and Mash to serve everybody.

I was given The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook a while ago and I’ve enjoyed reading through it to discover more traditional British cuisine, but the first thing I made was the Bangers and Mash. I didn’t remember the onion gravy from my first experience with the meal, but it was probably my favorite part of our dinner!

The boys loved the sausages. Firecracker wouldn’t touch the mashed potatoes, though. If it’s not in French fry form – he won’t eat a potato… I served our bangers and mash with Brussels sprouts. We found a caterpillar on one of the sprouts and attempted to keep it as a pet. Yea, that lasted about a day – whether it died from lack of oxygen or being shaken by the toddler (picture Darla from Finding Nemo) I don’t know.

Bangers and Mash

Ingredients for bangers:

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 C panko
  • 1 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • butter for frying

Ingredients for mash:

  • 3 russet potatoes, cubed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 C milk

Ingredients for gravy:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 C vegetable broth

Steps:

  1. Make the onion gravy: Cook the onions in butter over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes until the onions are golden. Stir in the flour until combined. Add the broth and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring often. Season to taste with S+P.
  2. Make the mash: Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain. Mash with butter and milk until creamy. Season to taste with S+P.
  3. Make the bangers: Combine meat, egg yolks, panko, seasonings, and zest. Form into sausages. Fry bangers in the butter over medium-high heat, searing on all sides, and cooking until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached.
  4. Serve the sausages atop the potatoes, finishing with the gravy.

*This recipe is adapted from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook*

Bangers and Mash | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

 

Pork with Caraway and Onion

Here I am, hurriedly trying to take advantage of Treat’s nap and edit and upload photos for today’s post. As I open up my WordPress there isn’t a single draft to be found. I’m a compulsive “saver,” too, so I’m not quite sure how that happened – other than my computer died before I could plug it back in. But even still! Truth be told, I’m surprisingly taking this better than I could be. Here’s to hoping I can recreate my thoughts. Ready. Set. Go!

I can’t believe it’s taken me a good 7 months to finally crack into Rose Petal Jam: Recipes and Stories from a Summer in Poland. When Tara did a review of this spectacular cookbook, I knew I had to have it. Seriously, go read her post and you’ll be scrambling to order yourself a copy, too.

When my parents were here last month I had my mom look through the cookbook. My mom doesn’t mind cooking, but she says she hates deciding on what to cook. In fact, my blog has helped her find some new favorite dinners, and she is my biggest fan. Granted, she’s kind of obligated. Whenever she comes to visit I’ll ask what she wants for dinner and I’m always met with the same “I don’t decide” answer. Even tasked with making a decision from this Polish cookbook she wouldn’t commit to a recipe! She narrowed it down to 2 or 3 and I made the final verdict.

This Pork with Caraway and Onion (Pieczen Wieprzowa z Kminkiem) is the ultimate comfort food. Deliciously tender pork is flavored simply with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds seared and roasted underneath a pile of sweet onions.

IMG_9629

Before I get on to the recipe I have a few notes to make:

  • Pork neck is also called pork collar. I found my roast at a local Korean meat market.
  • I only used about half of the rub.
  • My onions didn’t get as golden as Beata’s, so I decided to caramelize them on the stove top while the meat rested. (Yum!)
  • We served this roast with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

Pork with Caraway and Onion (1)  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Pork with Caraway and Onions

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb pork neck or pork collar
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 C water

Steps:

  1. Using a paring knife, cut shallow diagonals on the surface of the pork.
  2. In a small bowl, combine caraway seeds, salt, and pepper. Rub on the pork. Let rest 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Sear the pork on all sides. Top with the onions and add the water. Place in the oven and roast 40-50 minutes, or until a minimum internal temperature of 150 degrees F is reached. Allow pork to rest 5-10 minutes before slicing.

Pork with Caraway and Onions  Sew You Think You Can Cook

Phew! Post scheduled as Treat’s cries come out over the monitor. Perfect timing!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

#SundaySupper: Copy Cat Recipes

This week Sunday Supper is taking those restaurant favorites and making them at home. To answer the call of copy cat recipes I had quite the plethora of favorites I’d like to try, but thanks to Pinterest my desire to make a Bloomin’ Onion was too strong to pass up. Thanks to Coleen of The Redhead Baker for hosting this fun event. Be sure to scroll past my recipe to see a menu of Copy Cat recipes.

As is true with most Pinterest finds, this endeavor was much harder than it looked. I gave the Bloomin’ Onion two attempts before succumbing to onion petals. The Copy Cat Bloomin’ Sauce though, was spot on!

I contemplated baking the Bloomin’ Onion, but I figured, if we’re going Copy Cat we’re going to fry it! The amount of clean up required reminded me why I don’t fry foods! The amount of deliciousness made me want a deep fryer.

I’ve at least figured out a way to dispose of the oil. I keep the empty oil bottle and once the oil is cool, return it to the bottle. It is then contained and easily disposed. I do this with all cooking fat, I keep a bottle in the freezer and add to it until I buy a new bottle of oil. I then toss and repeat.

Attempt 1: The beer batter didn’t get in between the petals, resulting in an onion softball – the center of which still contained raw batter and an onion that wasn’t cooked quite enough. (no photo taken)

IMG_5200Attempt 2: Opened the petals up a little more, but that caused the onion to fall apart. Fried the onion upside down, which did help, and flipped halfway through. Onion was smaller and not large enough to go all the way around the sauce. Cooked the onion a touch longer, however it got too crispy and the photos turned out terribly – I think it looks like the underside of ribs! (embarrassing photo to the right)

Attempt 3: To cut the petals, I followed the same steps for cutting the Bloomin’ Onion and then chopped off the bottom portion so the petals would be on their own. I still tossed them in the flour mixture, then the batter, followed by another dip in the flour, before frying in batches for 3 minutes.

Ultimately, I think the beer batter was just too thick. I used a local Pale Ale. I don’t claim to be a beer expert but maybe a lite beer would be better? Or maybe add more than 1 bottle? If you’ve tackled the Bloomin’ Onion, please let me know if you had a Pinterest success or a Pinterest fail!

Copy Cat Bloomin' Onion for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Copy Cat: Outback Bloomin’ Sauce with Onion Petals

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 1/2 C mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp horseradish (creamy recommended)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp ketchup
  • 1/3 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch black pepper

Ingredients for onion:

  • up to 4 sweet onions
  • 3 1/2 C flour, divided use
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) beer
  • 1/3 C cornstarch
  • 6 tsp paprika, divided use
  • 4 tsp garlic powder, divided use
  • 2 1/2 tsp black pepper, divided use
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Steps:

  1. To make the sauce, whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Make the seasoned flour: Whisk together 2 C flour, 4 tsp paprika, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1/2 tsp cayenne in a shallow bowl.
  3. Make the beer batter: Whisk together 1 1/2 C flour, 1/3 C cornstarch, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp salt in a shallow bowl. Stir in the beer until combined.
  4. Cut about 1/2″ off of the top of the onion. Peel the outer layer. Very carefully cut the root hairs off the onion, but leave the root in tact. Cut 12-16 vertical wedges into the onion, being sure not to cut down through the onion. If you’re attempting the Bloomin’ Onion carefully and gently separate the layers. If you’re making petals, cut the bottom of the onion off and separate the petals.
  5. Place onion in seasoned flour, making sure to coat all layers. Place onion in beer batter, making sure to get the batter all around the onion. Return onion to the flour. [Photos above]
  6. Fry at 375 degrees F for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. If you’re attempting the Bloomin’ Onion, place onion cut-side down to start. Remove onion to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain.

*The sauce recipe is adapted from Allyson at http://domesticsuperhero.com/2013/10/23/copycat-outback-bloom-sauce/ and the onion recipe is adapted from Stephanie at http://www.copykat.com/2009/02/02/outback-steakhouse-bloomin-onion/*

Copy Cat Outback Bloomin' Sauce for #SundaySupper from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Drinks

Appetizers

Condiments

Main Courses

Side Dishes

Desserts

8387592742_f6164fd5a8_oJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Brussels Sprout Salad with Caramelized Onions

Over Memorial Weekend we went to D.C. to go visit Tara (of Tara’s Multicultural Table) and her family. There will be more on that trip tomorrow, so stay tuned! On Sunday, we went to a Farmer’s Market. We were so happy to have decided to drive so we could actually buy produce to take home with us the next day!

Dale City Farmer's Market

We took home two cartons of big, beautiful Brussels sprouts, a bunch of red beets, cinnamon peanut butter from Sprelly, sweet potato pasta from Gypsy Hill, and some local honey.

I’ve used the peanut butter in a popcorn recipe that you’ll see in July. I’ve used one beet to make some sweet potato beet baby food and another for a beet potato salad, I’m not sure yet when I’ll share that latter recipe with you. The honey is about to be opened (I just emptied what we had already) and I’m still deciding what to do to highlight the fresh pasta. The Brussels sprouts are showcased in today’s recipe.

I had planned on making this Brussels sprout salad a few days after we got back from our trip but a night of feeling ill postponed the dinner plans for when our family was here for the little man’s baptism. With 5 extra people who also enjoy Brussels sprouts I had to expand my supply with a bag from the grocery store. Separating the leaves of the sprouts to create the “lettuce” for the salad is tedious work, the large Brussels sprouts from the Farmer’s Market were very much appreciated! As was the help I recruited from the moms.

This salad does take some time to make, but it can easily be done in stages. And it is absolutely worth it! We’ve never had Brussels sprouts raw before and tossed in a salad with warm caramelized onions and tart dried cherries is a fresh way to enjoy this vegetable in the spring and summer.

This salad makes 8 servings. I paired it with grilled pork chops and mashed potatoes.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Caramelized Onions

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2/3 C plus 4 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 4 Vidalia onions, sliced
  • 4 tsp brown sugar, divided use
  • 2 lb Brussels sprouts, leaves removed
  • 2 tbsp dried cherries (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 C apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard

Steps:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat melt butter and 4 tbsp olive oil. Add sliced onions and caramelize for 1 hr. In last few minutes stir in 2 tsp brown sugar and a little bit of salt. (You could also do this in the slow cooker.) Set aside.
  2. Make dressing: Whisk together vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, agave, mustard, and 2/3 C olive oil. Season to taste with S+P.
  3. Place Brussels sprout leaves in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave about 1 minute. Note: This will not cook the sprouts but will warm them slightly. 
  4. Toss warmed Brussels sprouts with dried cherries, caramelized onions, and dressing.

*This recipe is modified from Susan at http://thewimpyvegetarian.com/2014/11/warm-brussels-sprouts-salad-with-caramelized-onions/*

Brussels Sprout Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook

#BrunchWeek: Bacon and Egg Sandwiches on Cheddar Biscuits

We’re continuing with the third annual #BrunchWeek hosted by Terri of Love and Confections and Shaina of Take a Bite out of Boca. I’ve been told you can’t have a brunch event without an egg dish. While I could easily disagree, I can see my mom’s point. Most people love eggs and eat them daily for breakfast. I have never been in that camp.

So what to do?

The only egg dish I’ve ever liked (and have even ordered at a brunch place!) is Eggs Benedict. I tried my hand at making Eggs Benedict at home before, and we loved them! But poaching the eggs and making the hollandaise sauce requires too much active attention; I won’t be attempting it again until the little man can play on his own (or takes longer naps…) safely.

Instead I decided on a breakfast sandwich, one I could make each element of separately.

I caramelized some onions and wilted in some kale. I used my mandolin to slice some Easter egg radishes provided by Cal-Organic. I fried up some bacon and some eggs.

To make my sandwiches a step above the rest, I assembled them on top of homemade cheddar biscuits – using Cabot Cheese Seriously Sharp Cheddar.

cheddar biscuits from sew you think you can cook for #brunchweek

Using a 3″ biscuit cutter, this recipe yields 18-20 biscuits.

Cheddar Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 9 tbsp butter
  • 2 1/2 C flour
  • 1 C white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 C shredded Seriously Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten for egg wash

Steps:

  1. Cut butter into cubes and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. With the paddle attachment mix in the butter and shredded cheese. Mix until combined and texture is crumbly.
  5. Pour in buttermilk and mix until dough comes together.
  6. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until combined. Pat to 3/4″ thick. Use a 3″ biscuit cutter to cut biscuits and place on prepared baking sheets. (Note: Do not twist the cutter, doing so will pinch the edges and you won’t have that flaky biscuit.)
  7. Brush biscuits with egg wash. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  8. To make sandwiches: Cut biscuit in half. Top one half with caramelized onions, wilted kale, and a fried egg. Top the other half with a drizzle of honey, bacon, and thinly sliced radishes. Reassemble and enjoy.

*The biscuit recipe is adapted from Donya at http://asouthern-soul.blogspot.com/2013/04/cheddar-cheese-biscuits.html?*

Bacon and Egg Sandwiches on Cheddar Biscuits for #BrunchWeek from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more brunch recipes today:

BrunchWeek 2015 Logo
BrunchWeek Beverages:
Mango Swirled Coconut Margarita from The Little Ferraro Kitchen.
Bruleed Grapefruit Mojito from Healthy Delicious.
Strawberry Orange Blossom Sparkler from Baking a Moment.

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Bacon and Egg Sandwiches on Cheddar Biscuits from Sew You Think You Can Cook.

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Lemon Blueberry Crepes from Love and Confections.
Java Jolt Overnight Oats from Take A Bite Out Of Boca.
Hagelslag-Covered Bread from Culinary Adventures with Camilla.
Nutella Stuffed Aebleskiver from greens & chocolate.
Baked French Toast Boats from The Spiffy Cookie.
Skinny Banana Oat Flaxseed Cookies from Hip Foodie Mom.
Cinnamon Sugar French Toast Sticks from Making Miracles.
Cheddar Pear Proscuitto Pull-Apart Bread from It Bakes Me Happy.
Alpine Cheese Grisini from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner.

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Bacon Cheddar Hashbrown Pancake from Pink Cake Plate.
Huevos Rancheros Burgers from The Redhead Baker.

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Fresh Mint and Orange Blossom Fruit Salad from Sarcastic Cooking.
Citrus and Cilantro Carrot Slaw from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Desserts:
Mini Apple Pear Pies from Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine.
Strawberry Cake from Chelsea’s Messy Apron.
Chocolate Chip Walnut Coffee Cake from girlichef.
Raspberry Oatmeal Bars from My Catholic Kitchen.

Disclaimer: Thank you to #BrunchWeek Sponsors: Bob’s Red Mill, Cabot Creamery Cooperative, California Walnuts, Dixie Crystals, Grimmway Farms/Cal-Organic/True Juice, KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Pacari Chocolate, Stonyfield Organic, Vidalia Onions, and Woot Froot for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #BrunchWeek. All opinions are my own.

French Onion Soup

While in Hawaii Stuart had the idea for me to recreate the foods we ate for my blog. Our favorite meal of the trip was at a little French restaurant in downtown Hilo. I haven’t attempted making crepes yet, but I do know how to make French Onion Soup.

I made this recipe back in 2011 after finding it on Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel. I altered the recipe slightly this go-around to utilize Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions, adjusted the liquid amounts for a desired consistency, and added more cheese.

French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb onions, sliced and caramelized – less 1 C
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 C white wine
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 4 C beef broth
  • 2 1/2 C chicken broth
  • 4 rolls bakery bread, cubed
  • 1/2 lb swiss cheese, shredded

Steps:

  1. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large pot. Add the caramelized onions, season with thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
  2. Stir in the flour, mixing well. Pour in white wine and bring to a boil for five minutes. Season again with S+P.
  3. Add in both broths and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Ladle soup into individual ramekins. Top each ramekin with cubed bread and cover with shredded cheese. Broil for about 4 minutes until cheese begins to brown.

French Onion Soup