Cinnamon Elephant Ears

 

I had a special pajama clad helper in the kitchen one Sunday morning recently. No makeup, hair unbrushed…but it was magically delicious! I always thought these “elephant ears” were a short cut from a French pastry. Contrarily, my research revealed that it’s adapted from the Native Americans’ “sweet fry bread”…Either way, it’s quick, delicious, and this little three year old did most of it on his own!
A job opportunity awaits!

1 cup sugar, divided
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 t cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and salt.
Pour it over a flat surface such as a wooden board.
Unfold the sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar mixture.

 

Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon.
Spread it evenly on the puff pastry.
(This is not about sprinkling, it’s about an even covering of sugar.)
With a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it’s a 13-inch square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom.
Fold the sides of the square toward the center so they go halfway to the middle.
Fold them again so the two folds meet in the middle.
Then fold one half over the other half as though closing a book.
You will have 6 layers.
Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices.
Place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes, or until caramelized and brown on the bottom.
Then turn over with a spatula and bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side.
Transfer to a baking rack to cool.
Brunch Elephant Ears VI

Chicken Tenders, the Homemade Way!

I scream. You scream. Children scream for chicken tenders. Homemade that is. My three grands and another darling two year old all enjoyed these for Sunday brunch at Rock Dam (affectionate name of a fun filled home and kitchen)! Yep three generations gathered strongly; the grandparents of these lucky grands have been friends since ’round about the sixth grade. Nurturing relationships of long standing and building new ones, baby. That’s what we’re doing! Good food, good fun. (I’ll have to feature Gray’s veggie/egg strata soon!) But back to the chicken tenders…Yummy. Let’s just say that I bet you will never rarely serve your child or loved one a processed chicken product again.

Entree Chicken Gurmet Chicken Tenders I

Sautéing in light olive oil. You don’t even want to see an image of my very messy breading station!

1 cup flour
3 eggs
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/2 cup fine dried breadcrumbs
Handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 t granulated garlic
1 t dried oregano
Olive oil or vegetable oil, for shallow frying
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks (nice culinary term)

Place flour in a shallow dish; season with salt and pepper.
In another shallow dish, whisk eggs.
In a third shallow dish, mix panko, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, granulated garlic and oregano.
In a large, shallow skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil over medium-high.
Coat the chicken in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumb mixture.
When oil begins to ripple, add half the chicken.
Cook until deep golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer to paper towels or wire rack to drain.
Repeat with remaining chicken.

Serve with condiments of choice. I personally like mine dripping with honey!

Entree Chicken Gurmet Chicken Tenders II

Saturday is Game Day!

Son and Father, Justin and Wayne Hardee (L to R), Short Stop and Manager of the 1998 LLWS! (Pictured last week in Williamsport to cheer on the 2017 Greenville team.)

It’s Game Day Saturday, 3pm ESPN. Greenville North State will play for the United States Championship, and attempt to take their talents to the Little League World Series FINALS on Sunday. Yep. That’s what I said…a shot at THE title. That’s a lot for these young boys, their coaches, and families to take in. Well hello world…here comes Greenville, NC. So wake up early, break a few eggs in the skillet, lace up your shoes, jump in, and take heart. Our Hardee Family will be gathering in Raleigh at Gray and Marc’s home to watch together. There will be memories shared of the 1998 series when my brother-in-law Wayne and my nephew Justin (happily pictured above) were on the first ever Greenville team to play in the LL World Series.

Perfect Game Day Snack!

So grab a snack or three, and a beverage of choice, and give an illegally loud Whoop Whoop for the Greenville team!

 

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

the don…It’s supposed to get cold and maybe even snow this weekend. I’ll go to the grocery if you’ll whip up a pot of that yummy chicken rice soup for the grands and me! My happy reply…dealeo! I’m here as the CFO (Chief Female Officer) of Forest Hills just helping to Empower Your Culinary Dreams, while offering a little nod to International Women’s Day.

soup-cream-of-chicken-and-wild-rice

Here’s What You’ll Need:
1 Tbs olive oil
4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
5 stalks celery, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
2 bay leaves
1 t chopped dill
1 t celery seed
8 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup quick cooking wild rice
Breast meat of rotisserie chicken, chopped
Cup fat free sour cream
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

And Here’s How You Do It:
Heat oil in soup pot.
Add mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onion.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add flour, and all other seasonings and stir until incorporated, about a minute.
Add broth, and bring to a boil.
Add rice, and reduce to simmer.
Cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in chicken, sour cream, and parsley.
Cook on medium 5 minutes, stirring half way through time.
Turn heat off, leaving pot on hot eye.
Stir again, and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adapted from Cooking Light.
Serves 6.
380 calories for 2 cup serving.

Vegetarian Mini Enchilada

Stomp.jpg

I “Stomp”ed around Chicago with td (my husband of 41+ years!) and some friends for a few days just before the 2017 New Year. We happily played the usual suspects tourists…

beanposed with The Bean (formal name “Cloud Gate”) created and installed in 2006 by the amazing Anish Kapoor,

peg-heather-buddy

hung out with blues great, Buddy Guy, 2012 Kennedy Center Honor Recipient (please watch this video with Morgan Freeman presenting Mr. Guy with the Honor), seized this magical photo op with him at his club, Buddy Guy’s Legends), bavettesand hopped from one fantastic restaurant and hotel bar to the next. No lack there, my friends! BONUS, we enjoyed dinner one night with James Beard Award winning chef Rick Bayless at Frontera Grill. I mean, we just couldn’t even decide what to order; it all was so tempting…so we began with hand crafted margaritas. I was so inspired with our dinner, that I flew home and waked up my own kitchen, and prepared this concoction. So…take this little jewel to the bank and thank Rick B. and Peg all the way! And PtotheS…

Be Sociable, Share This! Everyone has been sharing a LOT lately, so let’s unite and share something yummy, just a nice little recipe-no politics ever on this blog-just joy and fun!

southwestern-mini-black-bean-enchiladas10 miniature 4” flour tortillas
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz can refried beans
8 oz can red enchilada sauce
4 oz can chopped green chiles
4 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
1/2 cup sour cream
3 Tbs thinly sliced green onions
4 Tbs chopped avocado
4 Tbs chopped cilantro
1 fresh lime, cut into wedges

Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease 12 cup muffin pan with olive oil or melted butter.
Tuck tortillas gently into cups.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes until crisp and browned.
Stir together black beans, refried beans, enchilada sauce, and green chiles in medium bowl.
Divide mixture evenly among baked tortilla cups.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Back at 350° until cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
Transfer enchiladas to serving platter.
Top evenly with lettuce.
Drizzle with sour cream.
Sprinkle with green onions, avocado, and cilantro.
Squeeze fresh lime juice over top.
Garnish with fresh lime.

The Kentucky 95

Happy Sunday! We rolled with a Kentucky 95 and Animal Crackers over this icy weekend. This just seems right for brunch, lunch, or five o’clock anywhere, or any time, really! We first tried this last summer with Bobby Flay at Bar Amercain. But in this cold and flu season, we felt a wee bit healthy drinking the oj! These ingredients are in most fridges, so no need to risk the icy driving if you’re still inside like we.

adult-beverage-kentucky-95

3/4 oz Makers Mark or other good quality bourbon
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz fresh orange juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Ice cubes
Champagne, chilled
Lemon or orange twist for serving

Combine bourbon, lemon juice, orange juice, and simple syrup in tall glass over ice.
Stir well.
Strain into wine glass filled with crushed ice.
Top up with champagne.
Garnish with a twist.

Love Your Melon Beanies

Love Your Melon was founded in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota by two friends, Zach and Brian. On a mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer since October 22nd, 2012, Love Your Melon began with the simple idea of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America.

peg-love-your-melonFifty percent (50%) of the profit from sales of Love Your Melon products is given to Love Your Melon’s nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer. Their nonprofit partners work in the field of pediatric oncology, fund cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families of children battling cancer.

To date, over 1.5 million dollars and over 80,000 hats have been donated. (Excerpted from the Love Your Melon website.) Read the entire story here! And go shop here and keep raising monies for childhood cancer. Kudos to these fine gentlemen. Pass on some good karma people. That’s all.

Yep, that’s me sporting one of my Melons last week in Chicago. Race to order yours!