Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Chicken Tinga + Grilled Corn Enchiladas with Candied Jalapeno-Sour Cream Sauce + Homemade Avocado Salsa Verde

I'll go ahead and admit it... I'm not a fan of classic Mexican food. Don't get me wrong, I could drink a bowl of queso and I quite fancy a gourmet taco. But, I am by no means a burrito, enchilada, or nacho kinda gal. However, I came across a recipe for an avocado salsa verde on Diners, Drive In's, + Dives, and I know I just had to recreate it and use it for a meal. I loved this verde salsa... it's refreshing, a little bit spicy, + has hunks of diced avocado in it. Although, this wasn't the best part of the meal; it was most certainly the chicken tinga! Most traditional recipes call for using this tinga sauce with chorizo, but I absolutely adored this sweet + spicy sauce on chicken. It is a quick and easy recipe that still packs a punch, without the hassle of finding a bunch of hard-to-find ingredients in order for it to taste delicious. Typically, chicken breasts are poached in the sauce, so it is infused with all the wonderful Mexican flavors. My solution to avoiding the poaching process... just buy a ro-to chick and pull the meat into bite-size shreds. Oh and P.S., a "ro-to chick" is just a store bought rotisserie chicken, and trust me, it cuts out a bunch of steps and it tastes just as good! This pureed sauce combines onions, garlic, oregano, cumin, fire roasted crushed tomatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, sorghum molasses (honey or maple syrup will be a perfectly fine substitute), chicken stock, and grated bittersweet chocolate. Most tinga recipes don't call for grated chocolate, but I loved the idea of making this a little bit sweet and a'whole'lotta heat. And by adding this element to the sauce, it gives you that Mexican mole feeling to it. Once that has been assembled and simmered, throw in your shredded ro-to chick and toss it until the chicken is extra juicy and coated in the unbelievable yumminess. As for the rest of the recipe, place a couple spoonfuls of the chicken tinga, a handful of grilled corn, and a sprinkling of Monterey Jack cheese into flour tortillas... making sure to roll them tightly and place them seam-side down in a baking dish. After the tortillas have been stuffed and place into the prepared baking dish, spread some of the avocado salsa verde and red tinga sauce over the top. The last component you have to complete is the creamy, velvety candied jalapeno sour cream sauce. This sour cream is tangy and quickly take away the burn from all of the spicy flavors. Though, I decided to add candied jalapenos for an extra kick and a wee bit of sweetness. Finish the dish by pouring the sour cream sauce over the enchilada, scattering a bunch of Monterey Jack cheese on top, and a heavy sprinkle of crumbled feta. Bake these chicken tinga + grilled corn enchiladas in the oven until the cheese has melted and the edges have begun to brown + bubble. Garnish with some leftover grilled corn and minced cilantro. Enjoy this dish while it is still hot!! Enjoy :)









For the Avocado Salsa Verde:
½lb Tomatillos
2 Bunches of Green Onion
1 Poblano 
1 Avocado
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Jalapeno, Roughly Chopped
½C Fresh Cilantro
1 Lime, Zested
Juice from Half a Lime
1T Apple Cider Vinegar
¼C Water
2-3T Hot Sauce
½t Cumin + Dried Oregano  
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste
Pinch of Sugar, To Taste
1 Avocado, Finely Diced
½C Sweet Vidalia Onion, Finely Diced

For the Candied Jalapeno-Sour Cream Sauce:
4T Unsalted Butter
¼C AP Flour
15oz Chicken Stock
1C Sour Cream
4oz Candied Jalapeno, Finely Minced

For the Chicken Tinga:
1 Rotisserie Chicken, Pulled into Pieces
2T EVOO
2C Sweet Vidalia Onion, Diced
4 Medium Cloves of Garlic, Minced
½t Oregano
½t Cumin
2 14.5oz Can of Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
2 Chipotle Pepper + 4T Adobo Sauce
½C Sorghum Molasses
1C Chicken Stock
2 Bay Leaves
2T Finely Grated Baker’s Chocolate (bittersweet or unsweetened)

For the Chicken Tinga + Grilled Corn Enchiladas:
8 Flour Tortillas
Prepared Chicken Tinga (with some leftover sauce to top the enchiladas with)
Grilled Corn
2C Monterey Jack Cheese, Shredded
4oz Crumbled Feta
Prepared Avocado Salsa Verde
Prepared Candied Jalapeno-Sour Cream Sauce
Fresh Cilantro, Minced


Directions:
1. For the Avocado Salsa Verde: Char the tomatillos, green onion, and poblano on the grill until they are black and blistered. Cut off the ends of the green onion and place them into a food processor, along with the tomatillos. Put the blackened poblano into a plastic bag and let the pepper steam for 10 minutes. Peel the skin off of the poblano and toss it into the food processor as well. Add in the avocado, garlic, chopped jalapeno, cilantro, zest of a lime, juice from half of a lime, apple cider, water, hot sauce, cumin, and oregano. Pulse until blended and smooth. Pour the salsa into a medium mixing bowl and stir in salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Finish the salsa verde by folding in the diced avocado and minced onion. Keep it cold in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve. 
2. For the Chicken Tinga: Add EVOO, onions, and garlic to a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have browned around the edges, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat tow low and simmer for another 4 minutes. Add in the oregano and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss in the tomatoes, chipotle, adobo sauce, sorghum molasses, and grated chocolate. Remove from heat. Transfer the sauce to the jar of a blended and puree until smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pan, stir in the chicken stock, and bay leaf, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Pull the rotisserie chicken into shreds, discarding the skin, fat, and bones. Stir the chicken into the sauce and cook over medium heat until warmed through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. For the Candied Jalapeno-Sour Cream Sauce: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan; stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook until bubbly, and then gradually in the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in sour cream and minced candied jalapenos.
4. For the Chicken Tinga + Grilled Corn Enchiladas: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking dish with Pam. Spread ¼C of the Avocado Salsa Verde in the bottom of the dish. Divide the warm chicken tinga evenly between 8 flour tortillas. Sprinkle some of the shredded cheese and grilled corn on top of the chicken. Roll the enchiladas and place seam-side down. Spoon on some of the Avocado Salsa Verde and leftover Tinga sauce on top of the enchiladas, followed by an even layer of the Candied Jalapeno-Sour Cream Sauce. Top with 1C of shredded Monterey Jack cheese and some crumbled feta. Place the assembled enchiladas in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese has melted and the edges of the sauce have begun to brown and bubble.
5. Garnish the hot enchiladas with some leftover grilled corn, and minced cilantro, and serve with a side of rice.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Saturday Down South: In 'n Out Animal Style Double Bacon Cheeseburger Dip with Mustard Grilled Burger Crumbles, Pan Fried Caramelized Onions, Cubed Dill Pickles, Diced Tomatoes, Crispy Bacon Lardons, + Secret Sauce Drizzle

It's officially the most wonderful time of the year... football season!! I swear my Mountain Man has been counting down the days since we won the national championship last season. Now comes the time of friends, tailgating, fatty food, bonfires, and plenty of booze. 

One of the mainstays of our menu is hearty dip, and this recipe that I am featuring today is just that! The inspiration came from a burger joint that is extremely popular in California... In n' Out Burger. Since Alabama is playing USC tomorrow, I thought this would be the perfect time to feature my first (of many) tailgate recipes this year. When you order a burger or fries "animal style", this usually means that it comes with extra secret sauce, caramelized onions, mustard grilled patties, and pickles. So, I started off with a creamy dip base and added mustard grilled burger crumbles, crispy bacon lardons, pan fried caramelized onions, cubed bread n' butter pickles, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese. After it is baked in the oven until golden brown + delicious, you whip a batch of my not-so-secret secret sauce and drizzle it over the top. At this point, everyone will be salivating, so all that is left to do is serve with some some chips or crackers. I also like to put out some different bowls with burger toppings for extra garnishing... pickles, tomatoes, shredded lettuce, + more sauce. That way, when a friend grabs a chip and some dip, they can sprinkle a little bit of this and a little bit of that on top for the perfect bite! This recipe is super easy, so almost anyone can whip it up, don't y'all worry. I hope y'all love this first recipe of the season!! Enjoy :)







For the Mustard Grilled Burger Crumbles:
1lb 75-25 Ground Chuck
¼C Yellow Mustard
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste
4T Unsalted Butter

For the Pan Fried Caramelized Onions:
2 Large Vidalia Onions, Sliced
4T Unsalted Butter + 2T Vegetable Oil
Kosher Salt, To Taste
¼C Sugar

For the Dip:
8oz Herbed Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
1C Sour Cream
½C Mayo
2C Shredded Cheddar, Split
2C Mozzarella Cheese, Split
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1-2T Worcestershire Sauce
½t Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, & Onion Powder
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste
Prepared Mustard Grilled Burger Crumbles
Prepared Pan Fried Caramelized Onions
1 Medium Tomato, Diced
½C Bread n’ Butter Pickles, Diced
Shredded Romaine Lettuce

For the Secret Sauce:
1/3C Mayo
3T Ketchup
1-2T Sweet Pickle Relish
1t Sugar + 1 White Vinegar
¼t Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, + Paprika
Kosher Salt + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the open to 350 degrees and spray a pan with Pam.
2. For the Mustard Grilled Burger Crumbles: In a large skillet, over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Pour off any extra fat and stir in the mustard. Season with salt and pepper, and then set it aside.
3. For the Pan Fried Caramelized Onions: Heat the butter and onion in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, salt, and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.
4. For the Secret Sauce: Mix together all of the ingredients until everything is incorporated. Taste the sauce and adjust to your taste preferences. Set this sauce aside until you want to top the dip with it.
5. For the Dip: Place the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, and bet until smooth. Add in 1C each of the shredded cheddar and mozzarella (saving the rest to put on top), followed by the mustard grilled burger crumbles, cooled caramelized onions, minced garlic, Worcestershire, spices, diced tomato, and diced pickles. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the left over cheese on top and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until the cheese has melted and begun to brown on top. Remove the dip from the oven and drizzle the secret sauce over the top. Serve with Ritz crackers or potatoes chips, and have a bowl of shredded lettuce on the side to garnish the dip.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Smoked Avocado Toast with Herbed Crab Salad, Bacon Fat Fried Sourdough, + Citrus Caviar

Okay, I've finally jumped on the avocado toast bandwagon (#avotoast). I will be the first to admit that I'm not the biggest fan of avocado to begin with. I always found their mushy texture and lack of flavor to be less than appealing... even though I do love me some guacamole. So, when I saw recipe after recipe of pieces of bread topped with nothing besides avocado, I normally just skipped over them and didn't think anything else about it. But my Mountain Man is a lover of avocado and begged me to make them for him. As with most of my recipes that involve bread, I always have to fry them in some kind of fat or oil, this time I chose bacon fat... because we all know I keep a jar handy in the fridge. I love the smokey flavor and the richness that the bacon fat lends. But, if you aren't a crazy person like me (who keeps bacon fat in a jar), then any oil will be fine here. The toast should be beautifully golden brown, saturated in yummy fat, and perfectly crisp. After you have fried the slices of bread, make sure to give them a rub-a-dub-dub with a big ole' clove of garlic while they are still warm. Now here is the fun part... the smoking of the avocado (and y'all it's so damn easy)! Essentially, all you have to do is get a large dutch oven and place a small bowl upside down in the center. Scatter your choice of flavored wood chips around the bowl, no need for soaking them in water, and turn up the heat to high. While you wait for the chips to start smoking, scoop out your avocado into another small bowl and dress them with fresh lime juice and zest, as well as some fleur de sel. If you want more smokiness to your avocado, then I suggest you slightly smash them, if you want a tame smoke flavor, just leave them in halves. Next, all you have to do is put the bowl of avocado on top of the overturned bowl in the dutch oven (with the chips smoking away), and cover the pot. Smoke the avocado for 5 minutes... any more and it might be overkill. While the avocado is smoking, it's time to quickly whip up your herbed crab salad. This is easy-peasy. In a medium mixing bowl, add the in the jumbo lump crab meat, homemade aioli, dijon mustard, fish sauce caramel, lemon juice + zest, red pepper flakes, minced garlic + shallots, and fresh herbs. If you can't find/make fish sauce caramel, a white balsamic reduction or honey would be a good substitute. As gently as possible, fold together the lump crab meat with the herbed aioli until the crab is completely coated, but still has a few big pieces of meat. Now your bacon fat fried toast, herbed crab salad, + smoked avocado are all ready to be assembled into amazing avotoast. I'm a little coo-coo, in that I had Finger Limes shipped to me from California... specifically for this recipe. Finger limes are so interesting because we you slice them open, a citrus caviar comes out, as opposed to pulp and seeds. If you can, order some, they are so fun, and can be used in a million different ways. But, the toast is just as good with some lime zest + freshly squeezed lime juice on top, so don't worry about it if you can't wait to make this. This smoked avocado toast is so good that we've made it for the past three weeks. I believe I'm now an avocado toast lover... who would've ever thought? Enjoy :)
smoking the avocado
bacon fat fried toast
bacon fat fried toast + smoked avocado slices
all of the components for the herbed crab salad
it's hard to resist it, but save it for the toast


see the citrus caviar from the finger limes on top?

citrus. caviar.
For the Herbed Crab Salad:
8oz Jumbo Lump Crab Meat
3-4T Homemade Aioli
1t Dijon Mustard
1T Fish Sauce Caramel
1 Lemon, Zested (plus the juice from half of that lemon)
1-2t Red Pepper Flakes (or depending on how spicy you want it)
1 Small Shallot, Finely Minced
1 Clove of Garlic, Finely Minced (into a paste)
½t Fresh Cracked Pepper + ¼t Kosher Salt
1T Fresh Snipped Chives (plus a little extra for garnishing)
1t Fresh Tarragon, Basil, + Parsley, Finely Minced (plus a little extra for garnishing)


For the Smoked Avocado: 

2-3 Avocados
1 Lime, Zested + Juiced
Pinch of Kosher Salt


For the Smoked Avocado-Crab Toast:
Prepared Herbed Crab Salad, Chilled
Smoked Avocado, Lightly Mashed or Gently Sliced
4 Slices of Sourdough, Fried in Bacon Fat (or any other oil can be substituted)
1 Large Clove of Garlic
Citrus Caviar (finger limes) or Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
Mixed Herbs, For Garnishing


Directions:
1. For the Herbed Crab Salad: In a mixing bowl, put in all of the ingredients of the herbed crab salad. Gently fold these together until the crab is coated in the herb-aioli mixture. Do not mix too hard because you want to maintain as much of the “lump crab” pieces as possible. Now, taste and season with salt and pepper, if it is needed. Refrigerate this crab salad until you are ready to assemble the toasts.
2. For the Smoked Avocado: Line a Dutch oven (or any heavy bottomed pot with a lid) with foil to keep your pot from burning. Place a small metal bowl upside down in the middle of the Dutch oven. This will help prop everything up. Then, scatter about 2C of wood chips around the small metal bowl. We used mesquite wood chips, but any kind will work (hickory, apple, etc.), and there’s no need to soak these either! Turn up the heat to medium-high and wait for the chips to start smoking, it can take anywhere from 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, while you’re waiting for the wood chips to smoke, it’s time to get to avocados ready to be smoked by halving, pitting, and peeling them. Put the avocado halves into another small bowl and zest + juice a lime over the top. If you want sliced avocado for your toast, leave the halves untouched. These will be slightly less smoky. If you love a smoky flavor, lightly smash the avocado, which gives more surface area for the smoke to infuse into. Once the chips are smoking, place the bowl of avocados on top of the upside down bowl in the pot. Top the Dutch oven with a lid and set your timer for 5 minutes (any more time than that, it’ll be way too smoky). After the time is up, remove the smoked avocado, season with some fleur de sel, and place in the fridge to chill.
3. Assembling the Toast: Grab your perfectly browned bacon fat fried toasts and rub the surface with the clove of garlic. Top each of the slices with some of your chilled smoked avocado and season with a pinch of salt. Spoon a mound of the herbed crab salad on top of the creamy avocado. Scatter the citrus caviar evenly over the crab mixture. If you can’t find finger limes, some lime zest and lime juice will do just fine! Garnish with the leftover mixed herbs for presentation.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Farmer's Market Finds: The Best Damn Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich with Crispy Prosciutto, Peppery Arugula, Soft Herbs, + Sriracha Powder on Buttered White Bread

As long as I can remember, I have never liked deviled eggs or egg salad sandwiches. However, that was all changed when we went to our favorite restaurant, JCT Kitchen, and we ordered some of their famous deviled eggs with country ham. I've made and posted their recipe here (with my own little twist) and they were fab. So I thought, why not turn them into a deviled egg sandwich? Now to make this sandwich even better, I used my favorite items that I found at our local farmer's market. This baby arugula is to die for... if you're in the local Atlanta area, stop by the Peachtree Road Farmer's Market and buy some of this arugula from Abundant Harvest Gardens. We normally have to buy two bags every Saturday, one to cook with and one to snack on during the ride home. I don't think I can adequately describe the flavor of these greens. It is nothing like the arugula you buy at the grocery store that is sorta peppery... this shit is straight up wasabi. I literally can't rave about it enough. I'm also in love with this bread. It's from another vendor at the farmer's market, TGM Bread. But anyway, back to this sandwich... you start by boiling a dozen of eggs until they are just cooked through. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together the yellow egg yolks, homemade mayo or aioli, softened goat cheese, minced cornichons + shallots, dijon mustard, white balsamic reduction, and a whole mess of fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, basil, and parsley to be exact). Then all you have to do is fold in the diced up egg whites and season with salt + pepper. The one component left, that really takes this recipe over the top, is the crispy prosciutto. I've had all different kinds of egg salad sandwiches, most of them had bacon them, and it just didn't taste quite right. I love the flavor of the country ham/prosciutto on JCT's deviled eggs, so I thought that would be perfect on a sandwich. But, one thing that had to be changed was the texture. This was easily solved by baking some prosciutto until the fat rendered and began to crisp up. Essentially, because it is so thinly sliced, the meat practically melts on your tongue, so that you have delicious-porky-goodness with each bite. All that you have to do is assemble the sandwiches. Get your gorgeous loaf of white bread and fry it in some butter until golden brown + toasted. Next, you slather on a thick heap of that herbed egg salad, followed by a sprinkling of homemade sriracha powder. Finally, you just lay on some slices of that crispy prosciutto and a mound of those spicy arugula greens. The only thing left to do is to devour it. And trust me, that is the easiest and yummiest part of the recipe! Enjoy :)








For the Crispy Prosciutto:
6oz Thinly Sliced Prosciutto
EVOO, For Brushing
3-4 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Cracked Pepper

For the Herbed Egg Salad:
12 Extra Large Eggs
¼C + 1T Homemade Aioli
3 Cornichons, Finely Minced
1 Small Shallot, Minced
2T Goat Cheese, Room Temperature
2t Dijon Mustard
1T White Balsamic Reduction (honey may be substituted if needed)
2T Fresh Chives, Snipped
1T Fresh Tarragon, Minced
2t Fresh Basil, Minced
1t Fresh Parsley, Minced
Kosher + Fresh Cracked Pepper, To Taste

For the Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches:
Prepared Crispy Prosciutto Slices
Prepared Herbed Egg Salad
Fresh Baby Arugula
Homemade Sriracha Powder, For Sprinkling
Buttered, Toasted Slices of White Bread


Directions:
1. For the Crispy Prosciutto: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the prosciutto evenly between both baking sheets, making sure to lay them flat. Brush the tops of the prosciutto with some EVOO and scatter the fresh sprigs of rosemary on top. Bake the prosciutto until the fat turns golden and the meat is darker in color. This will take about 15 minutes (making sure to rotate baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through the baking time). Using tongs, carefully transfer the prosciutto to paper towels to drain (it will continue tot crisp as it cools). Set them aside until you are ready to assemble the sandwich. 
2. For the Herbed Egg Salad: In a large pot, cover the eggs with cold water and bring them to a boil over high heat. Remove from the heat and let the eggs stand in the hot water for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the eggs to an ice water bath until chilled, about 5-10 minutes. In the bowl of a standing mixer that is fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the aioli, minced cornichons, goat cheese, Dijon mustard, white balsamic reduction, and minced shallots. Peel the eggs and slice them in half, and then scoop out the yellow egg yolk. On a cutting board, dice up the egg whites into bite size pieces and set them aside. Add the yolks to the bowl of aioli; beat this mixture until it is light and fluffy. Gently fold in the diced egg whites and herbs into the whipped egg yolk-aioli mixture. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the egg salad in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your sandwich.
3. Assembling the Sandwiches: In a small sauté pan, toast your bread in a little bit of butter until it is golden brown. Remove the bread from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Top one slice of the bread with the herbed egg salad, a sprinkle of Sriracha powder, a few strips of crispy prosciutto, and a pile of fresh baby arugula, followed by the other slice of bread. Enjoy while the arugula is still crisp!

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!!