Monday, December 30, 2013

Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Roast

This roast was just something fun so we could have leftovers that weren't turkey. Turned out so great, my grandfather didn't have any turkey in the first place!

The would work just as well with a boneless roast, but I think the bones add a bit more flavor. And they fall right off anyway. If you can't find apple soda, go ahead with some apple juice. But I think the juice is a bit sweeter.

Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Roast

1 2lb bone-in pork roast
1/2 cup applesauce
1 can apple soda
1/4 cup Red Apple Balsamic
2 medium onions
1/4 cup brown sugar

Quarter the onions and toss them into the slow cooker. Put the roast on top, fatty side down. Pour the apple soda over the top.

Cook on medium heat for 6-8 hours.

Add the applesauce, balsamic and the brown sugar to a small saucepan and bring it to a medium low heat. Stir often until the sugar is dissolved. It should only take a couple minutes. The mixture should be thick and a bit sticky.

Remove the roast from the crock pot. Mine was falling apart, so I did it in sections. Peel out the bones if your roast has them. Spread with the balsamic sauce and serve with extra on the side. Tent with foil until you are ready to serve.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

The original recipe I adapted this from was my sister in law's signature thanksgiving cookie. She makes these with chocolate chips. Chocolate is nice....But I thought these would go better with butterscotch!

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Vanilla Olive Oil
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin
2 tbsp molasses
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, the sugar and the egg together until creamy. Gently stir in the pumpkin and molasses. Take all the rest of the dry ingredients and whisk them together in a medium sized bowl. Combine that with the wet ingredients slowly, mixing well in between each addition so that it is well combined.  Stir in the chips.

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets in rounded tablespoonfulls. Bake 12-13 minutes. Their color is already a bit darker because of the pumpkin, so don't wait too long for them to brown.

Apricot Sugar Drop Cookies

These sugar cookies were a last minute thing. I made an apricot paste for thumbprint cookies but found out that the intended recipient was allergic to apricots! In the interest of not killing them, I used some of our Fig Jam instead, but it did leave me with a bunch of apricot paste. I contemplated sandwich cookies, but I was out of time.

So this is another cookie made from a box. With Vanilla Olive Oil of course. But still from a box. I still have a bunch of apricot paste leftover from this. Look for some more recipes with it coming up. I'm thinking chicken! But then, I always think chicken.

Apricot Sugar Drop Cookies 

1 bag of sugar cookie mix
the eggs it calls for
instead of butter or vegetable oil, use Vanilla Olive Oil in the same amount
1/2 cup apricot paste

The apricot paste makes these too sticky to roll out into shapes. But a drop cookie is nothing to be sneezed at.

Bake for the recommended time. Checking at the minimum time to make sure the apricots aren't burning.

Apricot Paste

1 1/3 cup (8 ounces) dried apricots, finely diced
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup white sugar

Put the apricots and water in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan. Heat up to just under a boil and simmer until the water is mostly absorbed and the apricots are just about falling apart. Stir every few minutes so that it doesn't scorch. Should take about 20 minutes.

Add sugar and reduce the heat just a little bit. Stir constantly until it forms a thick paste. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Can be kept for a few weeks in the fridge or a week or so out of it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blood Orange Brownies

These are easy enough to make with a box of mix, some oil and a couple eggs. I'll give you the full from scratch recipe I was going to use though. If only I hadn't run out of cocoa powder!

Blood Orange Brownies
from scratch version

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 9x13 inch pan.

Cream the eggs, sugar and olive oil together in a large bowl. Gently add the dry ingredients one at a time, stirring until fully combined.

Pour into your greased pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

For the easy version, grab a box of brownie mix. Mix it all up according to the directions, except where it says to use vegetable oil. Use the olive oil instead. And you are done.

Oatmeal Cookies with Goji Berries and Pecans

You can make these cookies with any berry and any nut. I happened to have pecans and a whole bag of dried goji berries hanging around. And I love they way they taste together. Nutty and sweet, but in a more subtle way than a cranberry.

Oatmeal Cookies with Goji Berries and Pecans

3/4 cup Casa Ligaro VERDONE Olive Oil
1 cup, packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup goji berries
1/2 cup warm water or bourbon

In a small bowl, stir the goji berries and the water or bourbon together. By the time you need them, they should be ready.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a large bowl, combine the olive oil with the sugars, stirring until the oil is well incorporated. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla until smooth.

In a separate bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together, except the pecans. Slowly add them to the olive oil and sugar mixture. When combined, fold in the pecans. Drain the excess liquid from the goji berries and fold them in as well.

Drop in tablespoon sized rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart. They do not spread over-much, but it is always better to be safe than to have giant blob cookies.

Bake for about 11-13 minutes. They should be golden brown.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Cookies

The recipes are coming tomorrow. This is just the preview. A little torture for you.

I cheated with the brownies and used a box mix. I just subbed our Blood Orange Olive Oil for the vegetable oil that it called for. Cooks exactly the same. Smells amazing! Tastes even better.

For the oatmeal cookies, I did use some of our oils. One of our stronger varietals, but I love the way the olive oil tastes with the pecans and the nutty goji berries.

The apricot sugar cookies have some Vanilla Olive Oil inside, but I cheated and used a bag of mix with that one too. The secret is the apricot paste I made to fill other cookies. But it turned out the person those cookies were meant for was allergic to apricots!

The pumpkin butterscotch also have Vanilla Olive Oil. I just love vanilla with everything.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

No New Recipes

Sorry everyone!

I had all these great intentions to post a whole slew of Christmas recipes this week. Instead, the store is very very busy and I am hopping around like a hyperactive puppy.

I promise more recipes in a few days. I am making Christmas dinner again this year, so there will be a roasted squash coming at the very least. A few desserts as well and I have big plans for January.

I'm going to do a whole month of slow cooker recipes. Starting with an apple butter and some sausage bites. And it's all for my cousin Jen. She requested more slow cooker things, so she gets a whole month of them.

We will be open at 11am or a little before every day until the 25th. And open until 6ish every day as usual. Including the 24th.

We will be closed Christmas Day.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Basil Chicken Thighs with Pickled Garlic

I found this cute little jar of pickled garlic at one of the specialty grocery stores and figured, what the heck! I'll find something to do with it. I have been eating a couple cloves every time I open the fridge. Good thing garlic is good for you! And it's sweet so I don't have bad garlic breath all the time.

If you can't find pickled garlic, don't worry about it. Use 6-10 roasted garlic cloves and about 1 tbsp of regular or brown sugar tossed in. It will be a little smokier than my version, but that's not a bad thing.

Basil Chicken Thighs with Pickled Garlic

1 pkg Boneless chicken thighs 6-8
1/4 cup pickled garlic
1 tbsp yellow curry powder
1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly
10 leaves fresh basil
1 tbsp Basil Olive Oil
1 Tbsp White Kiwi Balsamic
Pinch of Jalapeno Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken in a casserole pan and spread the onions around the sides. Rub the chicken down with the olive oil. Drizzle the balsamic over it all and sprinkle the curry powder on top.

Tear the basil leaves in large bits and tuck around the chicken. Leave the garlic whole and nestle with the basil.

Loosely tent with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Take the foil off and stir around a bit. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes just to brown the tops a bit.

Put a pinch of the Jalapeno Sea Salt on top of each portion before you serve.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thank you very much!

I wanted to send a big thank you out to my Cookie Swap swappers!

Gina, Michelle, and Sarah, your cookies were all delicious! I didn't get any pictures, my coworkers descended on them like wolves. They were very appreciated.

According to the organizers, we raised $13778.40 for Cookies for Kids Cancer.

Thank you to our sponsors as well!

Gold Medal Flour
Dixie Crystals
Grandma's Molasses

12 Days Until Christmas

I almost forgot to put this up!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cookie Swap 2013!

Welcome to this year's Blogger Cookie Swap! I ended up with the vegan card again this year. But I always love a challenge!

Cranberry Lime Cookies with Caramel Chips

1 1/4 cup spelt flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup Persian Lime Olive Oil
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegan caramel chips*
1/2 cup cranberries
Zest of one lime, minced
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the olive oil and the lime juice. Stir until combined. Add in the chips, lime peel and cranberries. Stir well.

Reduce the temperature to 350degrees.

On a greased cookie sheet, drop the cookies by the tablespoonful about half an inch apart. They do not spread much. Bake 9-11 minutes or until golden. Wait for the cookies to cool well before attempting to remove them from the cookie sheets. They are a bit fragile until they cool.

*I used these: Vegan Caramel Chips

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Soup

So this is what I have been eating all week. The risotto on it's own was very nice. This soup is even better. Could be because I have a cold. Maybe not. Maybe it's the Porcini mushrooms. Either way. This is so good.

If you don't have a couple cups of risotto leftover to make this with, feel free to use a couple cups of rice. Just be sure to up your mushrooms by about a pint. I think carrots would be nice with this as well, or chunks of squash...Hm, I may have another soup idea on my hands.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

2-3 cups Wheat-berry Risotto
1 jar Porcini Cream*
2 quarts vegetable stock
Salt and Pepper
1 tbsp Vanilla Olive Oil
1 tbsp fresh minced garlic
1 pinch nutmeg
6 or 7 dried porcini mushrooms
1 or 2 pints more mushrooms, diced

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil to medium heat and add in the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

Add the stock to the pan and raise the heat to medium high. Break up the dried porcini mushrooms and put them in the broth. Cook, at just below a simmer until the mushrooms soften, 5 minutes.

Add the leftover risotto, the garlic, the rest of the mushrooms and the pinch of nutmeg. Let this simmer away for about 10 minutes.

Now it is time for the porcini cream. Add in the whole jar. You will not be sorry. (If you don't have any, a can of cream of mushroom will do, but not be near as tasty) Stir around to incorporate.

Simmer for 10-20 minutes. It's hard to overcook soup. Taste for salt. Sprinkle some of that in. Add in a big pinch of black pepper, because it's good for you.

Eat the soup and feel better.

*Porcini mushroom cream available in the store.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Wheatberry Risotto

Sorry for my absence this week. I got more than leftovers from our little family on Thanksgiving. ::Sniff Sniff::

But the upshot is that even though this recipe is late, I took all the leftovers of it from last week and turned it into something I really needed this week. Soup. That will come tomorrow.

Risotto is typically made with rice. But you can use pretty much any kind of grain you want to. Wheat-berries take a little bit longer to cook than regular rice and they retain this kind of al dente bite even after they are done that I really love. They also have this great nutty flavor that I have amped up with some walnuts. But you could leave those out if you want. Feel free to change up the herbs. If you only have dried, use only a teaspoon at most of each.

As this was part of my vegan offerings for Thanksgiving, it is lacking the cheese that is so customary for risotto. I didn't miss it. But go ahead and add it in if the mood takes you. It ususally uses a half cup of Parmesan cheese.

Wheat-berry Risotto with Mushrooms

1/4 cup Garlic Olive Oil
1 cup hard wheat-berries
1/2 onion, diced
2 pints mushrooms, rough chopped
1 1/2 boxes of low-sodium vegetable stock (quart size)
3/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)
pinch of salt
sprinkle of Porcini Sea Salt, to finish each plate

The stock should be warm when you add it. Either warm it in a pan on the stove or microwave it a little bit before you need it.

In a large pan with high sides, add the olive oil and turn the heat to medium. Put in all the onions and saute for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Add in the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook about 2-3 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to release some of their juices.

Stir in the wheat-berries and about 1/2 cup of the stock. Stir and cook until the pan is almost dry. Then work in 1 cup increments until the wheat-berries soften up. It should take about an hour, but you don't have to stir this constantly like a regular rice risotto. Walking away from it for a few minutes is okay.

It is ready when the wheat-berries are soft, but still a little al dente. Add in all the herbs and the walnuts and cook for another 5 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of Porcini Sea Salt on top.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Pomegranate Turkey Legs

I didn't want to make a whole turkey just for the leftovers. I did consider it, but thought that would just be silly. So I made just a little bit. A few drumsticks just because we need a little turkey now and then.

Pomegranate Turkey Legs

2 turkey legs
2 tbsp Citrus Habanero Olive Oil
1/4 cup Pomegranate Balsamic
2 tbsp pomegranate juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
pinch of ground sage
1/2 cup pomegranate arils, for garnish

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients and place in a large plastic bag. Add the turkey legs and zipper closed. Make sure they get a good coating of sauce and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a smaller roasting pan, place the turkey and the sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 350 and take the foil off. Add in 1/4 cup pomegranate arils. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve with more pomegranate arils and some parsley.