Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini with Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese, Bourbon Caramelized Shallots, a Drizzle of Winter White Honey, + Fresh Basil on Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds

Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini with Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese, Bourbon Caramelized Shallots, a Drizzle
of Savannah Bee Company's Winter White Honey, + Fresh Basil on Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds
This recipe has quickly become my most requested appetizer by my friends + family. Every time I pull these out for a party, it literally turns into a party because everyone is so psyched that I had made them. In fact, they are so fabulous that I couldn't wait one more day to share this recipe with you. I had every intention of waiting until October/November because I actually named them "Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini". But it's just so damn good that you don't even care... you know when you sneak downstairs to eat ice cream for breakfast? Oh, y'all don't do that. Scratch that... me either (okay, I totally do). Anyway, funnily enough, this apple crostini was inspired by one of my favorite sandwiches, called "The Green Goat", from Starland Cafe in Savannah, Georgia. If you ever get to visit SAV (the city of my soul), you must go and eat there. All of their food is amazing, so there isn't really a bad choice on the menu. It is in the most adorable, painted bright blue, townhouse and it just makes you feel like you're at home and your mom is making the best panini in the world. So this "Great Goat Sandwich" starts off with grilled ciabatta bread, and then is smothered in whipped, herbed goat cheese, and layered with slices of a tart granny smith apple and caramelized onions before gets a drizzle of honey, and makes its way into the panini press to get all crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey in the middle. If you are adventurous like me, ask them to throw some bacon on the sandwich. Trust me, you'll thank me later! So after we tried the life-changing, mind-boggling, smack-yo-mama panini, I just knew I had to use those same flavors in one of my new recipes-- and boy did it work! Instead of a big, messy sandwich, I flipped the game up and made them into crostini. And they have been a hit ever since, not messing with y'all, my friends have an apple crostini radar or something because they show up the second that are assembled. So here's the game plan for y'all...

1. Start off by caramelizing your bourbon shallots (you can use onions, but shallots bring me life)
2. Make the herbed, whipped goat cheese until it is nice and fluffy
3. Slice up the baguette into rounds and fry them in bacon fat until they are lightly golden brown, but still have a little chewiness to it. You don't want a crumbly mess on your hands (And I know some of you aren't southerners and don't have 10 mason jars of bacon fat in your fridge, but we do, so if you don't, just use another oil)
4. Get all the side work done... thinly shave the Fuji apple, mince up the fresh mixed herbs, and get your honey ready
5. Assemble.... and demolish till you can't nom no'mo




Don't they already look so pretty?? I mean that's just bread, cheese, and onions, y'all! But I'm going to lay a truth bomb on you, you need a very specific kind of honey to make these crostini really go above and beyond. And apparently I'm only celebrating Savannah businesses today, so shout out to all of the lovely people there. You have probably have heard of Savannah Bee Company because it's at most grocery stores in the Southeastern region. Hopefully, your local store will carry the honey of all HONEYS, it's called Winter White Honey . Essentially what happens is a Savannah Bee spins together honey from the wildflower fields of the Rocky Mountains, forming it into a crystallized honey that is creamy, smooth, spreadable, and absolutely delicious. If you can't find it at the store, you can order it online some Savannah Bee Company or Amazon, and I promise it is worth buying!!
two large, glorious jars of winter white honey 
Anyway, once all of tasks are finished and your mis-en-place is all set up, it's time to start assembling them. Grab one of you bacon fat fried crostini, spread on a thick layer of the whipped, herbed goat cheese, followed by a lovin' spoonful of those bourbon caramelized shallots, and a couple thinly sliced shavings of Fuji apples. Now, gather up all of those semi-assembled bread rounds and place them onto a serving dish, grab a small spoon and just start drizzling that whipped, caramel-y honey all over the tops of the crostini. If you love honey (and this is pretty concentrated honey I must say), then go all out... if you're not into the sweet-salty-savory combination, then just do a tad. It's honestly up to y'all!! All that's left to do is to garnish with some minced up fresh basil (and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes if you want a little bit of a kick). And they're done... that's it! I hope that y'all will get around to trying this recipe because it is quickly climbing to the top of our list as one of our favorite things to me!! Enjoy y'all :)



For the Whipped Herb Goat Cheese:
4oz Softened Cream Cheese (room temperature)
½C Heavy Cream (chilled)
10oz of Goat Cheese
¼C Mixed Fresh Herbs (we used basil, rosemary, chives, thyme, + parsley), Finely Minced
Salt + Pepper, To Taste 

For the Caramelized Shallots:
6 Shallots, Thinly Sliced
4T Unsalted Butter
1T Bourbon
Salt, Pepper, + Heavy Pinch of Sugar

For the Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini:
1 Skinny French Baguette, Sliced into Rounds
Rendered Bacon Fat, For Frying the Bread (olive oil is a good substitute)
Prepared Whipped Herb Goat Cheese, (room temperature)
1-2 Fuji Apples, Thinly Sliced (any apple will do though, but Fuji has been the best flavor)
Savannah Bee Company’s Winter White Honey, For Drizzling on top of the Crostini
Fresh Mixed + Minced Herbs, For Garnishing


Directions:
1. For the Whipped Herb Goat Cheese: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the softened cream cheese, roasted garlic cloves, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Scrape down the sides and turn the mixer to medium-high speed and add in ¼C heavy cream. Continue whipping, while continuously adding a little bit of crumbled goat cheese at a time, until the goat cheese is combined throughout. Add in the remaining ¼C heavy cream and beat on high until it is light & fluffy. Next, season with salt, pepper, + fresh mixed herbs to season it to taste for the goat cheese. And then, spoon this mixture onto the prepared crostini.
2. For the Caramelized Shallots: Remove the ends from one shallot and peel the outside "paper" layer. There will be onion layer of onion that needs to be removed. Once that layer is removed, the shallot will naturally split into to sections. Repeat with the other shallots. Heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat, and melt butter in the skillet. Thinly slice each shallot section creating rings. Add shallots to melted butter, and stir to coat shallots in the butter. Cook until shallots start to become translucent, stirring often, about 4 to 5 minutes. The shallot rings will begin to break into individual rings, which is a good thing. Add whiskey, and stir. Once whiskey is absorbed into the shallots, reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring often, until shallots are soft and caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Once they have been caramelized, remove them from hot pan to a bowl (this is an important because they need to cool, so it will not melt the whipped goat cheese).
3. For the Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds: In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, and put in the rendered bacon fat. You will want about 1-2 inches of melted bacon fat. Next, begin to fry the baguette rounds for a couple minutes until they are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Repeat the bacon fat process as well as frying the baguette rounds until all of the bread has been fried/toasted. Let these cool for a few minutes.
4. Assembling the Fuji Apple Crostini: Spread a generous layer of your herbed whipped goat cheese on top of the cooled fried bread slices. Next, spoon on a dollop of the caramelized shallots and spread them out over the whipped goat cheese, making sure not to mix them up too much with all of the cheese. Now, thinly slice the Fuji apples and into the shape of a moon. Drizzle on some of Savannah Bee Company’s Winter White Honey all over the crostini. This honey is what dreams are made of… this white honey feels somewhat crystallized and packs double the amount of intense honey flavor anytime you use it. Finish it all off with a sprinkling of fresh mixed herbs. Place all of the crostini onto a big serving platter and enjoy every last bit, and I’m going to put it out there, these are the best crostini I’ve ever had!!

Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini with Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese, Bourbon Caramelized Shallots, a Drizzle of Winter White Honey, + Fresh Basil on Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds

Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini with Whipped Herbed Goat Cheese, Bourbon Caramelized Shallots, a Drizzle
of Savannah Bee Company's Winter White Honey, + Fresh Basil on Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds
This recipe has quickly become my most requested appetizer by my friends + family. Every time I pull these out for a party, it literally turns into a party because everyone is so psyched that I had made them. In fact, they are so fabulous that I couldn't wait one more day to share this recipe with you. I had every intention of waiting until October/November because I actually named them "Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini". But it's just so damn good that you don't even care... you know when you sneak downstairs to eat ice cream for breakfast? Oh, y'all don't do that. Scratch that... me either (okay, I totally do). Anyway, funnily enough, this apple crostini was inspired by one of my favorite sandwiches, called "The Green Goat", from Starland Cafe in Savannah, Georgia. If you ever get to visit SAV (the city of my soul), you must go and eat there. All of their food is amazing, so there isn't really a bad choice on the menu. It is in the most adorable, painted bright blue, townhouse and it just makes you feel like you're at home and your mom is making the best panini in the world. So this "Great Goat Sandwich" starts off with grilled ciabatta bread, and then is smothered in whipped, herbed goat cheese, and layered with slices of a tart granny smith apple and caramelized onions before gets a drizzle of honey, and makes its way into the panini press to get all crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey in the middle. If you are adventurous like me, ask them to throw some bacon on the sandwich. Trust me, you'll thank me later! So after we tried the life-changing, mind-boggling, smack-yo-mama panini, I just knew I had to use those same flavors in one of my new recipes-- and boy did it work! Instead of a big, messy sandwich, I flipped the game up and made them into crostini. And they have been a hit ever since, not messing with y'all, my friends have an apple crostini radar or something because they show up the second that are assembled. So here's the game plan for y'all...

1. Start off by caramelizing your bourbon shallots (you can use onions, but shallots bring me life)
2. Make the herbed, whipped goat cheese until it is nice and fluffy
3. Slice up the baguette into rounds and fry them in bacon fat until they are lightly golden brown, but still have a little chewiness to it. You don't want a crumbly mess on your hands (And I know some of you aren't southerners and don't have 10 mason jars of bacon fat in your fridge, but we do, so if you don't, just use another oil)
4. Get all the side work done... thinly shave the Fuji apple, mince up the fresh mixed herbs, and get your honey ready
5. Assemble.... and demolish till you can't nom no'mo




Don't they already look so pretty?? I mean that's just bread, cheese, and onions, y'all! But I'm going to lay a truth bomb on you, you need a very specific kind of honey to make these crostini really go above and beyond. And apparently I'm only celebrating Savannah businesses today, so shout out to all of the lovely people there. You have probably have heard of Savannah Bee Company because it's at most grocery stores in the Southeastern region. Hopefully, your local store will carry the honey of all HONEYS, it's called Winter White Honey . Essentially what happens is a Savannah Bee spins together honey from the wildflower fields of the Rocky Mountains, forming it into a crystallized honey that is creamy, smooth, spreadable, and absolutely delicious. If you can't find it at the store, you can order it online some Savannah Bee Company or Amazon, and I promise it is worth buying!!
two large, glorious jars of winter white honey 
Anyway, once all of tasks are finished and your mis-en-place is all set up, it's time to start assembling them. Grab one of you bacon fat fried crostini, spread on a thick layer of the whipped, herbed goat cheese, followed by a lovin' spoonful of those bourbon caramelized shallots, and a couple thinly sliced shavings of Fuji apples. Now, gather up all of those semi-assembled bread rounds and place them onto a serving dish, grab a small spoon and just start drizzling that whipped, caramel-y honey all over the tops of the crostini. If you love honey (and this is pretty concentrated honey I must say), then go all out... if you're not into the sweet-salty-savory combination, then just do a tad. It's honestly up to y'all!! All that's left to do is to garnish with some minced up fresh basil (and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes if you want a little bit of a kick). And they're done... that's it! I hope that y'all will get around to trying this recipe because it is quickly climbing to the top of our list as one of our favorite things to me!! Enjoy y'all :)



For the Whipped Herb Goat Cheese:
4oz Softened Cream Cheese (room temperature)
½C Heavy Cream (chilled)
10oz of Goat Cheese
¼C Mixed Fresh Herbs (we used basil, rosemary, chives, thyme, + parsley), Finely Minced
Salt + Pepper, To Taste 

For the Caramelized Shallots:
6 Shallots, Thinly Sliced
4T Unsalted Butter
1T Bourbon
Salt, Pepper, + Heavy Pinch of Sugar

For the Autumn Fuji Apple Crostini:
1 Skinny French Baguette, Sliced into Rounds
Rendered Bacon Fat, For Frying the Bread (olive oil is a good substitute)
Prepared Whipped Herb Goat Cheese, (room temperature)
1-2 Fuji Apples, Thinly Sliced (any apple will do though, but Fuji has been the best flavor)
Savannah Bee Company’s Winter White Honey, For Drizzling on top of the Crostini
Fresh Mixed + Minced Herbs, For Garnishing


Directions:
1. For the Whipped Herb Goat Cheese: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the softened cream cheese, roasted garlic cloves, and salt until thoroughly mixed. Scrape down the sides and turn the mixer to medium-high speed and add in ¼C heavy cream. Continue whipping, while continuously adding a little bit of crumbled goat cheese at a time, until the goat cheese is combined throughout. Add in the remaining ¼C heavy cream and beat on high until it is light & fluffy. Next, season with salt, pepper, + fresh mixed herbs to season it to taste for the goat cheese. And then, spoon this mixture onto the prepared crostini.
2. For the Caramelized Shallots: Remove the ends from one shallot and peel the outside "paper" layer. There will be onion layer of onion that needs to be removed. Once that layer is removed, the shallot will naturally split into to sections. Repeat with the other shallots. Heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat, and melt butter in the skillet. Thinly slice each shallot section creating rings. Add shallots to melted butter, and stir to coat shallots in the butter. Cook until shallots start to become translucent, stirring often, about 4 to 5 minutes. The shallot rings will begin to break into individual rings, which is a good thing. Add whiskey, and stir. Once whiskey is absorbed into the shallots, reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking, stirring often, until shallots are soft and caramelized, about 10 to 15 minutes. Once they have been caramelized, remove them from hot pan to a bowl (this is an important because they need to cool, so it will not melt the whipped goat cheese).
3. For the Bacon Fat Fried Baguette Rounds: In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, and put in the rendered bacon fat. You will want about 1-2 inches of melted bacon fat. Next, begin to fry the baguette rounds for a couple minutes until they are golden brown and slightly crunchy. Repeat the bacon fat process as well as frying the baguette rounds until all of the bread has been fried/toasted. Let these cool for a few minutes.
4. Assembling the Fuji Apple Crostini: Spread a generous layer of your herbed whipped goat cheese on top of the cooled fried bread slices. Next, spoon on a dollop of the caramelized shallots and spread them out over the whipped goat cheese, making sure not to mix them up too much with all of the cheese. Now, thinly slice the Fuji apples and into the shape of a moon. Drizzle on some of Savannah Bee Company’s Winter White Honey all over the crostini. This honey is what dreams are made of… this white honey feels somewhat crystallized and packs double the amount of intense honey flavor anytime you use it. Finish it all off with a sprinkling of fresh mixed herbs. Place all of the crostini onto a big serving platter and enjoy every last bit, and I’m going to put it out there, these are the best crostini I’ve ever had!!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka with Habanero Cheddar Cheese, Cilantro Whipped Feta, + Garlic Rubbed Grilled Bread

I've been bad again, I promised I would do a better job blogging, but I have miserably failed. This portion on my life has been complete rock bottom, and I just can't seem to wrap my head around all of the issues. Bur what I do know, is that when I'm down in the dumps or sad, cooking and baking is my go-to stress reliever. And now that it is pretty much springtime, that means it's time to celebrate my favorite day (and meal) of the week... BRUNCH!! We were feeling extra adventurous and decided to make the new foodie-media darling, Shakshuka. Essentially, it is a dish with you stew tomatoes, spices, herbs, and peppers to create an extra potent sauce. I decided it would be cool to do it with a Mexican twist to it by using mainly bell peppers + onion with just a bit of my homemade brown butter tomato sauce. Besides the whole pure gold of runny yolk braised in a spicy bell pepper sauce, there are two different types of cheese... shredded habanero cheddar + cilantro whipped feta. The cheese serve as a vessel to hold the eggs in their "craters", so that the egg white doesn't run everywhere. But with my Shakshuka being influence by Mexican flavors, I kicked up the bell pepper sauce with some cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, and cilantro. Between the char on the veggies and the smokey spices, you really get that authentic Spanish style flavor. And y'know that lovable characteristic of sopping up the broth at the bottom of a bowl of mussels... well this has that too! You have to get some good, hearty, thick-cut bread, which you then fry or grill and rub-a-dub-dub a garlic clove all over the sides of the slices (just for that little bite on your tastebuds). I mean honestly, there is literally nothing more satisfying than a crunchy piece of bread dipped into a luscious, runny egg yolk, and then scooped up with some melty cheese and charred peppers. And can you believe it... THIS DISH IS VEGETARIAN, that never happens here on H+H. Trust me on this though, you won't miss the meat one bit because it is that satisfying and fulfilling. So, give this recipe a whirl, whether it's for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and/or dinner. You seriously won't regret it!! Enjoy :)
beautiful peppers + onions
bell pepper shakshuka with wells filled with habanero cheddar
next up... cilantro whipped feta
crack dem eggz in the cheesy craters
season with salt + peppa, y'all
bake it + enjoy the heck outta it



oh snap, bread sopping is my favorite pastime
it's like brunch bruschetta. 
drip. drip. drop.
that's one sunny yolk.
what dreams are made of.
For the Bell Pepper Shakshuka:
¼C Canola Oil
4 Bell Peppers (we used one red, orange, yellow, and green), Cut into Strips
2 Jalapenos, Seeded + Cut into Strips
2 Red Onions, Sliced
4T Dark Brown Sugar
4 Large Cloves of Garlic, Sliced
½C Homemade Brown Butter Heirloom Tomato Sauce
4T Unsalted Butter
1t Cumin, Coriander, Paprika, + Red Pepper Flakes
¼t Cayenne
1T Dried Oregano
3 Bay Leaves
3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Sea Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Cilantro Whipped Feta:
8oz Feta Cheese, Crumbled + Room Temperature
4oz Whipped Cream Cheese
3-4T Fresh Cilantro, Minced
Sea Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka:
Hot Sautéed Bell Pepper Shakshuka Mixture
1C Habanero Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
Prepared Cilantro Whipped Feta
6 Medium Eggs
1T Fresh Cilantro + 1T Fresh Parsley, Minced
Verde Hot Sauce, For Topping
Grilled Sourdough Bread (that has been rubbed with a clove of garlic while it’s still hot)

Directions:
1. For the Cilantro Whipped Feta: Add crumbled feta to a food processor and pulse until small crumbs remain. Add in whipped cream cheese and puree for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the feta is super creamy. Remove from the food processor and place into a bowl and fold in the minced cilantro and a pinch of salt + pepper. Set aside until you are ready to use.
2. For the Mexican Bell Pepper Shakshuka: Heat a wok over high heat until it is just about to start smoking. Add in the canola oil and throw in the sliced bell peppers, jalapeno, red onions, and brown sugar. Cook the peppers until slightly soft while having a good char on them. This will take about 10 minutes or so. Toss in the garlic and sautéed for 2-3 minutes. Next, get out your cast iron skillet and bring it up to medium-low heat, adding in the butter until it is completely melted. Move the charred peppers and onions to the warmed cast iron. Stir in some of my homemade brown butter heirloom cherry tomato sauce, all of the spices, and herbs. Season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Simmer this Shakshuka mixture for about 10 minutes, or until everything has started to thicken. Taste and adjust the seasoning as this dish is meant to be potent and flavorful. Remove the bay leaves after the cooking time has elapsed.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. Assembling the Shakshuka: Using a spoon, create 6 wells in the Shakshuka bell pepper mixture. Next, sprinkle in a small handful of the shredded habanero cheddar, followed by a spoonful of the cilantro whipped feta on top of the shredded cheese. These two components will help “cradle” the eggs, so that they will not spread out and cover all of the Shakshuka sauce. Crack one egg into each of one of the holes, and finally sprinkle with kosher and fresh cracked pepper on top of each egg.
5. Baking the Shakshuka: Place the Shakshuka into your preheated oven. Bake the Shakshuka until the egg whites have solidified, but the yolk remains runny. This should take about 10-15 minutes, depending on the heat of your oven and how big the eggs are. But, just keep an eye on them if it has passed the 10 minutes because this is all about the runny yolks, folks.
6. Finishing the Bell Pepper Shakshuka: Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven and garnish with a sprinkle of fresh minced cilantro and parsley. Drizzle on some of the Verde hot sauce.
7. Serve the Bell Pepper Shakshuka with garlic rubbed, grilled bread for mopping!