Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Green Chile Cheddar Skillet Cornbread

I have a kitchen crush on cast iron. All of it. Small skillets, large pots, Dutch ovens, corn bread molds. Oh, the corn bread molds!! Knowing my love for all things cast iron related, the guy bought me a beautiful Cuisenart cast iron skillet for Christmas. I love it! I dream about the dishes that I'll create in it. I dream about food a lot in general. 

I'm not sure that I've ever come across a person who hated corn bread. I think that would be unnatural. It might be just cause to vote that person off the planet. Hmmm.... Corn bread is just so--so...well, comforting. It pairs with so many different things, chili, chicken, beans, barbecue, almost any soup. I am reaaaaalllllly making myself hungry now. Like, really. 

Is anyone else starting to hit the winter funk other than me? The holidays are over (depressing). The weather is getting colder (even more depressing). And the sun is averaging 1 appearance per week (the most depressing). I need some vitamin D. In my youth, this is about the time I'd start hitting the tanning bed. Not anymore though. What are some of your solutions for surviving the "beginning of the year blues"? I'd love to hear them! So far, the clementine body butter from The Body Shop is the ONLY thing helping me. The smell of oranges always perks me up. It also makes me nostalgic for any Florida memory that I have. Shout out to my sis over at Designed to Dwell for saving my skin. Also, go check out her year in review for 2014. The DIY mirrored Console is to die for! 

I should probably get back to my blog post. That's why we're here, after all. So, without delay, here's the recipe. 

Green Chile Cheddar Skillet Cornbread

1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted plus 1 tablespoon for skillet 
1 tablespoon sorghum 
1 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs beaten
1 can chopped green chiles
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. 

Mix in oil, 3 tablespoons melted butter, sorghum, milk, eggs, green chiles and the cheese. Stir until well combined. 

Over medium low heat, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Pour in the cornbread batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sriracha White Bean Dip

Yesterday my blender passed on.  It sacrificed it's last  moments to make this delicious dip though, so consider it a martyr.  We spent several good years together, making smoothies, soups and yes, many, many dips.  Not bad for a $10 special from Walmart.  If anyone would like to buy me an industrial blender to help me through this difficult time, it would not go unnoticed.  Ahh, the life of a food blogger.  Not so glamourous.

I love hummus.  I don't like paying through the nose for it though.  I think I know why it's so pricey.  It's that darn tahini, which I don't particularly care for anyway.  Hence, this Sriracha White Bean Dip.  It's the essence of hummus minus one ingredient.  I don't miss it and you really won't either.

Believe it or not, I don't eat fattening foods laced with sugar ALL the time.  On occasion I like a meatless form of protein that contains no sugar in any form.  I dip carrots in it.  Or cucumber if I'm feeling particularly saucy.  Sometimes red pepper strips.  I actually love raw vegetables.  It's cooking them that I have issues with.  I get stuck in ruts.  But this isn't about vegetables, really.  We all know how capable I am of going off on a tangent, so I'll stop there.

It's been cold here.  Like really cold.  Is mother nature forgetting that this is Kentucky and not Minnesota?  It's to the point where I question putting on makeup in any form because it will be running down my face after I step into the windy, frigid weather and my eyes start watering.  My new gloves I got from my guys mother for Christmas are literally saving my sanity.  They're so thick and warm.  Now if someone could just make something that warm for my face, that would be great!  Needless to say, I need some sand, sun and salty air.  Oh, air!  That's another thing.  It's painfully dry.  I mean painfully.  I've been researching some ways to combat that without spending money on a humidifier because I am not made of money.  In a perfect world, I would just run out and buy one.

This dip is a multifunctional dip. You could use it as a spread on a sandwich or wrap or use it for it's intended purpose of dipping veggies, pita chips or crackers. Either way, it's delicious.  Garlicky, spicy, creamy goodness with a hint of tang from the lemon juice. To top it off, it's super easy! 

Sriracha White Bean Dip

1 can garbanzo beans, drained
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon sriracha
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a blender it food processor, pulse beans, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, water and sriracha. Drizzle in olive oil slowly, to taste.  Add salt and pepper to taste also. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve with raw vegetables, crackers or pita chips. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Loaded Potato Egg Rolls

What's a girl to do when she has copious amounts of potato caviar leftover from potato skins on New Years Eve?  Well, she should make egg rolls of course!  Loaded Potato Egg Rolls, because bacon and cheese really do make life worth living.

I really wish I could take credit for this because to me, it's ingenious.  Egg rolls are like little gifts all wrapped up in a convenient, delicious package.  Sadly though, while sitting at work slaving away, my parents sent me a picture of their lunch at the Grand Lux while they were visiting Chicago.  What was in that picture, you ask?  Cheesy, bacon-y, green onion-y bundles of goodness.  Yes, Double Stuffed Potato Spring Rolls.  I mean, that almost sounds like some sort of sin against humanity.  That was December 5, 2014.  For almost a month, I haven't stopped obsessing over these things.  This is how my brain works people.  I think about food constantly.  It's a love affair that no one will ever come between.

My roommate, Rachel, decided to make Buffalo Potato Skins for a New Years Eve party (you caught me.  I wasn't really the one with the leftover potato caviar.  You know.  The goodness from the middle of the potato that you scrape out so you can stuff it with even more delicious things?).   She sent me a text, again, while I was slaving away at work, asking if I would use the leftover potatoes.  Since nothing goes to waste in this house, I gave a resounding sure!  At that exact moment I knew I would be making these.

Don't worry if you don't have leftover potatoes, these little creatures are easy enough to make from just a couple of baking potatoes.  It's just a matter of boiling them.  Leftover mashed potatoes obviously would make this super duper easy.  Now you're probably saying, Aimee, seriously, egg rolls?  How can I make egg rolls?  Never fear.  I was thinking the same thing.  It must be really, really hard to fold those delicate pieces of egg pastry, right?  Absolutely not.  The back of the package shows exactly how to do it!  If you're still unsure, Wiki How has you covered.  Just ignore all the nonsense about cabbage and stuff.  By the time you finish stuffing about 20 of these babes, you'll be an egg roll expert like me and will then be consumed by all the other egg roll creations you throw together.

**Veering off course a little here….  I've mentioned how Lexington is brimming with fantastic restaurants.  Friday night I was extremely fortunate enough to try another one.  National Provision.  If you haven't been there, go.  Now.  I mean it.  If you're within an hour drive of Lexington, come here.  I recommend reservations, especially on the weekends.  I am still dreaming of the Filet Oscar.  If you're lucky enough to go there with someone you love, it can be super romantic.  The ambiance is… well, I can't even describe it.  It's just so charming and overloaded with character.  Sorry, there is no website but you can search for the menu on Facebook, Yelp or Urban Spoon.  They have specials every night which are commonly part of their 2 or 3 course prix fixed menu.  Honestly, best date of my life.

We now return you to your current blog post…..  So, egg rolls.  Don't be intimidated.  You can do this. As long as you can follow instructions.  Please, follow instructions.

A little word on how I prepare bacon.  Pay close attention.  Pull out a baking sheet.  Line with aluminum foil.  Lay strips of bacon on top of aluminum foil.  Place baking sheet full of bacon into a COLD oven (yes, cold).  Turn oven to 375 degrees.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes.  Sometimes this takes a little longer. Just keep an eye on it.  Many of you already do this but if you don't, it is life changing.  I promise.  Thank you Pinterest for making everyone's life a little easier.  There's no greasy pan to clean up.  Just crumple up the foil and throw in the trash.  I recommend waiting until the grease has congealed a little bit.  Me being a quasi southern cook though, I save that grease.

Now, let's (finally) get down to bizness…..

Loaded Potato Egg Rolls                                                        Printer Friendly

Makes about 20

3 cups cooked potato
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup green onion, sliced
5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Egg roll wrapper

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

Pre heat a large sauce pan over medium heat.  Add potatoes and cook until warm, about 3-5 minutes.
Add butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Stir.  Add in milk and mash with a potato masher. Turn off heat.  Mix in green onion, bacon and cheese.  Stir until well incorporated.

Transfer to a smaller bowl to make the assembly of the egg roll easier.

In another small bowl, whisk olive oil, onion powder and garlic powder.  Set Aside.

Add a couple of tablespoons of water into yet another small bowl.

Lay one egg roll wrapper in front of you with one point towards you.  It should be diagonal.  Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mashed potato in the center of the wrapper.  Fold the end closest to you over the potatoes. With your finger, dab water along the corner of the remaining, exposed wrapper. Tuck the ends of the wrapper securely and continue rolling the wrapper.

Once the egg roll is completely wrapped, brush both sides with the olive oil mixture.

Bake in a pre heated, 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

To brown the top, broil on low for 2-3 minutes or until egg roll has reached desired color.

Serve with sour cream or ranch dressing.  Garnish with additional green onions.  Enjoy!