Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guacamole Egg Rolls with Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce

Guacamole Egg Rolls with Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce
The Super Bowl is this weekend y'all!! Aren't y'all excited because we sure are :) This is one of my favorite holidays... well, maybe celebration. I just love love love to make a bunch of different dips, snacks, and appetizers for me and my friends to munch on while we play beer pong and yell at the T.V. I have made it no secret about my obsession for guacamole. Just last week I made the best guacamole I ever made... that was spiked with tequila (um yum). So, we happened to be cravin' another batch of it this last weekend. There was a little bit left over and I thought to myself, why not shove it into some egg roll wrappers and fry those babies up? I mean, it practically tastes like a crispy tortilla chip with some cool guacamole on top. We dipped them in some homemade cilantro ranch and it was the perfect combination. Now all you need along side it is some margarita's or my new favorite drink, the Paloma. I know we will be frying up some of these Mexican egg rolls this weekend. What will y'all be makin'? Enjoy :)

For the Homemade Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1C Buttermilk, Well-Shaken
½C Mayo
¼C Sour Cream
1t Lime Juice + Lime Zest
2T Buttermilk Powder
½t Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, & White Pepper
¼t Paprika
2T Fresh Cilantro, Minced
1t Fresh Dill & Fresh Chives, Minced
1 Small Garlic Clove, Minced into a Paste
1T Candied Jalapenos, Minced
Salt, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, & Sugar, To Taste

For the Guacamole Egg Rolls:
Homemade Chunky Guacamole (make it so there are big chunks of avocado)
Store Bought Egg Roll Wrappers
Water, For Brushing the Edges
½C Cornstarch
Canola Oil, For Frying
Prepared Cilantro Ranch, For Dipping

1. For the Homemade Cilantro Ranch Dipping Sauce: In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk powder until smooth. Add in the other ingredients until it is completely incorporated, adjusting for taste with the salt, pepper, and sugar. Once you have reached your desired ranch dressing, refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. For the Guacamole Egg Rolls: Lay out the wonton wrappers in a diamond facing you. With your finger brush the edges on the wrapper to make them seal. Put about 3 spoonfuls of guacamole in the middle of the wrapper. Fold over the south corner of the egg roll over the filling. Next, tuck in the edges and then continue to roll over until it is a tight roll. Seal the last corner with some water again. Put some cornstarch on a plate and roll the egg rolls in the cornstarch, then lightly dust off excess coating.
3. Frying the Egg Rolls: Heat your canola oil to 350 degrees in your deep fryer. Once the oil has heated, place the egg rolls seal down into the fryer and cook for roughly 3-5 minutes or until they are crunchy and golden brown.
4. For Serving: Cut the egg rolls in half and serve with the dipping sauce.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“Forrest Gump” Chocolate Tart on a Pretzel Cookie Crust, Salted Caramel, Chocolate Ganache, Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel, & Gourmet Chocolate Truffles

“Forrest Gump” Chocolate Tart on a Pretzel Cookie Crust, Salted Caramel, Chocolate 
Ganache, Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel, & Gourmet Chocolate Truffles
My momma always said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Don't y'all just love the movie, Forrest Gump? It's a Southern classic, and I don't know many people who didn't like it. It has everything that I love about the South... the charm, the scenery, the crazy people you can meet, and the home grown comfort feelin' you get when you watch it. If you haven't seen it, then you're crazy... and need to go and rent it right now!! I especially love that it is filmed partially in Savannah. I mean, the famous bench he sits on in the movie is just one block from my apartment. How cool is that? I think that's why I love Savannah so much, it's just a special city that will always hold a dear place in my heart. I could see myself living here forever, it's pretty much my soulmate. Anyway, on to the food. I have been wanting to make a salted caramel-chocolate ganache tart for a long time. It can honestly make any girl swoon. It's every thing we need to cheer us up or something decadent to enjoy with your loved ones. Well, when we were watching Forrest Gump the other week, I thought to myself, "Man, I wish I could turn a box of chocolates into a real dessert." So, why not combine the two for one monstrous, uber chocolate tart? And that's how the Forrest Gump Tart was born. I started off by making a sweet & salty pretzel cookie crust, and then topped it with a layer of salted caramel and chocolate ganache. After the tart has begin to set slightly, I pressed about 15-20 gourmet chocolate truffles into the ganache. We bought our truffles from our favorite chocolatier, Wright Square Cafe. We included a variety of different flavored chocolate truffles... dark, milk, caramel, coffee, white chocolate, espresso, etc. After the tart has been garnished with the chocolates, I also sprinkled some Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel on top for an even more salty kick. Because we all know about my obsession with salt on desserts. It's seriously becoming unhealthy at this point. Lemme tell you, every single one of my friends raved about this dessert. I had four people immediately requesting that the recipe be posted on my blog. So, ask and you shall receive!! This would be a great dessert for a small dinner party with your couples friends, a girls night, or a home-cooked dinner date with your man. But, I especially think this would be absolutely perfect for a romantic Valentine's Day dinner. It's not the easiest dessert to make because I know some people struggle with making caramel, but I'm confident y'all can pull it off as well! It's also something you can assemble the morning of, and then just slice after dinner. Ladies, make sure to remember this tart in a couple weeks for Valentine's Day coming up, your man would love it!! Enjoy :)
The Perfect Sweet + Salty Dessert
For the Pretzel Cookie Crust:
8T + 4T Unsalted Butter, 8T at Room Temperature & 4T Melted
1/3C + 1T Light Brown Sugar, Packed
3T Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
½C AP Flour
1½C Pretzels (crushed into the size of small peas or old-fashioned rolled oats)
1/8t Baking Powder
Pinch of Baking Soda
½t + ¼t Salt

For the Salted Caramel Layer:
1 ½C Sugar
3T Light Corn Syrup
¼t Salt
6T Unsalted Butter
6T Heavy Cream
1T Crème Fraiche 

For the Chocolate Ganache Layer:
½C Heavy Cream
4oz Bittersweet Chocolate, Finely Chopped

For the Tart:
Prepared Pretzel Cookie Crust
Prepared Salted Caramel Layer
Vanilla Bean Fleur de Sel, For Sprinkling
Gourmet Chocolate Truffles, For Topping (we went to our local bakery and bought them)

1. For the Pretzel Cookie Crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with Pam. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine 8T room temperature butter, 1/3C light brown sugar, and sugar in medium bowl. Beat the mixture until light and fluffy, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, about 2 minutes. Add egg yolk; beat until pale and fluffy. Add in the pretzel pieces, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Turn the pretzel cookie mixture out onto prepared baking sheet; press out evenly to almost the edges of pan. Bake until light golden on top, 15-18 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack and cool cookie completely. Using hands, crumble oat cookie into a food processor and process until it becomes wet sand, and then add melted butter, salt, and brown sugar. Pulse until mixture is moist enough to stick together. Transfer cookie crust mixture to two 9-inch-diameter glass pie dishes. Using fingers, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dishes. Place pie dishes with crust on rimmed baking sheet.
2. For the Salted Caramel Layer: In a deep saucepan, whisk together the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until the temperature reads 340 degrees. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter cream, and crème fraiche and whisk until smooth (the mixture will bubble up). Pour the tart into the prepared pretzel cooking crust. Let it cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes to an hour.
3. For the Ganache Layer: Bring the cream to a boil in a deep pot over medium eat. Put the chocolate into a mixing bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit 1-2 minutes, and then stir slowly with a rubber spatula or a whisk. Pour the ganache evenly over the chilled salted caramel layer and refrigerate for roughly 15-30 minutes or until the chocolate has cooled some, but has enough give to gently push the gourmet chocolate truffles, so that they will adhere to the tart itself, instead of falling off. Once the truffles have been added, and then return the tart to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until all of the layers have set.
4. For Serving: Sprinkle the top of the tart with some vanilla bean fleur de sel, cut into slices, and enjoy while it is still chilled.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spicy Fried Egg BLT’s with Tomato Confit, Sorghum Glazed Bacon, Butter Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo, Fried Egg, & Pepperjack Cheese on Bacon Fat Fried Bread

Spicy Fried Egg BLT’s with Tomato Confit, Sorghum Glazed Bacon, Butter Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo, 
Fried Egg, & Pepperjack Cheese on Bacon Fat Fried Bread
This is my hangover sandwich. Does it need any further explanation besides that it comforts me the day after I have drank too much. Okay, that might sound bad, but it is essential to life. Yesterday, the weather was just too gorgeous not to enjoy, so we decided to have some friends over and have a good ole Southern chicken fry. While the chicken was frying, we drank (heavily) and played beer pong in the garden. It was a great day and an even better night. Don't you just love those kind of weekends? I do... well, at least until Sunday. I woke up this morning with a gnarly headache, a grumbling stomach, and body aches. I mean, they don't call it the Margarita Flu for nothin'. Everyone has their own cure for a hangover... mine requires a lot of fluids, quality nap time, lifetime movies, and this sandwich. It has everything that you would want from a sandwich... a runny egg, crispy bacon, buttery bread, acidic tomatoes, spicy mayo, and creamy cheese. It doesn't get much better than that. Some people might recognize the idea behind this sandwich because it comes from the movie, Spanglish. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to watch it just so you can see him make and enjoy it. You'll want to run out immediately at the movie is done and get all the ingredients to make this BLT, I guarantee it. I put my little twist on it by glazing the bacon with sorghum molasses, making it spicy with some pepperjack cheese + chipotle mayo, and frying the bread in bacon fat. And hey, even if you aren't hungover, this sandwich still hits the spot!! Enjoy :)

For the Tomato Confit:
Barely Ripe Roma Tomatoes, Sliced ¼inch Thick
Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary Sprigs
Salt & Pepper, To Taste

For the Sorghum Glazed Bacon:
Slices of Thick Applewood Smoked Bacon
Sorghum Molasses, For Brushing (high quality maple syrup can be substituted as well)

For the Chipotle Mayo:
½C Mayo
1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce + 1t Adobo Sauce
Pinch of Chili Powder
Lime Zest + Fresh Garlic Paste, To Taste (just add a little bit at a time)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste (I also like a pinch of sugar)

For the Spicy Fried Egg BLT’s:
Homemade Rustic Bread Slices or Sourdough Slices, Fried in Bacon Fat until Golden Brown
Tomato Confit Rounds
Sorghum Glazed Bacon (we liked 4 slices per sandwich)
Prepared Chipotle Mayo
Slices of Pepperjack Cheese (two pieces of cheese per sandwich)
Butter Lettuce Leaves
Fried Eggs, Cooked to Your Preference (sprinkled with a touch of salt & pepper)

1. For the Tomato Confit: Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and lay the slices of tomato onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with the fresh rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt & pepper. Bake for 4 hours until shriveled around the edge, but still maintaining their juice. If you have leftover tomatoes, simply cover the leftovers with olive oil and place into the refrigerator.
2. For the Sorghum Glazed Bacon:Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lay the bacon slices on top of a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Bake the slices of bacon for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. Remove them from the oven and brush them heavily with the sorghum molasses (or maple syrup if you are substituting it), and then return them to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, or until the maple syrup is slightly sticky. Set aside until you are ready to layer them onto the sandwich.
3. For the Chipotle Mayo: Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and puree until a smooth mayo has formed. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and check for any other needed additions. Refrigerate until you are ready to use.
4. Assembling the Sandwiches: Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and fry the slices of bread in rendered bacon fat until they are lightly golden brown in color. Remove them from the oil and spread both slices of the bread with a generous amount of the chipotle mayo, and then lay on the two slices of pepperjack cheese on top of both pieces of bread. Toast the bread in an oven until the cheese has just melted. Remove them from the oven and begin layering. We did this by laying down the sorghum glazed bacon, tomato confit rounds, butter lettuce leaves, and then the fried egg. Top the assembled sandwich with the other slice of toasted bread. Cut the sandwich in half and enjoy the happiness of a runny yolk dripping down your sandwich. Eat immediately while it’s still warm.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Ricotta, Pancetta, Caramelized Shallots, Brussels Sprouts Leaves, Parmesan, & Fresh Herbs with Balsamic Reduction Drizzle

Crispy Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Ricotta, Pancetta, Caramelized Shallots, Brussels Sprouts Leaves, 
Parmesan, & Fresh Herbs with Balsamic Reduction Drizzle
I've discussed my obsession with brussels sprouts. They are amazing. Simple as that. And if you put them on a pizza, well... it's pure foodie bliss. I've been thinking about making a brussels sprouts pizza for a while now, but I hadn't had the opportunity to do so. But over Christmas, my Mountain Man & I went to one of our favorite pizza places in Atlanta, and I noticed that they had added a new appetizer of crispy brussels sprouts to their menu. I sat there debating on what to get... the sprouts or one of their signature pizzas. Well, why don't I just combine the two?! Yes, brilliant. I asked our waitress if we could do this and sure enough, we had a crispy brussels sprouts pizza at our table!! We took one bite into that pizza and I could've just died on the spot. And ever since then, I knew I had to recreate it the second I got back to Savannah. There are a lot of components to the pizza, but all of them are completely necessary because they all add so much flavor to it. Of course, I made homemade pizza dough, but you can easily grab some at the store. I prefer this extra-crusty dough though, it's top-knotch. Then, you have to spread the pizza with some garlic infused olive oil, creamy ricotta cheese, mozzarella, pancetta, caramelized shallots, and brussels sprouts leaves. Once the pizza has baked up and the sprouts are a bright green color and crisped up around their edges, you finish it by grating on a whole bunch of fresh Parmesan (I mean, the more the better here, people), sprinkling on the herbs and seasonings, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. This pizza will go down as one of my favorite pizza's I have ever made, and that's saying a lot. It literally is a little slice of Heaven... and I can honestly say that we'll be making this pizza a lot this year!! Enjoy :)
Look at how green those brussels sprouts are...
I love the contrast of color :)
Oh, and the balsamic reduction drizzle is crucial!!

Extra-Crispy Crust
For the Extra-Crusty Pizza Dough:
3 ¾C AP Flour (plus extra for shaping the dough)
2t Sea Salt + 1t Sugar
¼t Active Dry Yeast
1 ½C Water  

For the Crispy Brussels Sprouts Pizza:
Homemade Extra-Crusty Pizza Dough
2T Olive Oil + 2 Cloves of Fresh Minced Garlic (mixed together to form infused oil)
Fresh Ricotta Cheese
Crispy Pancetta Lardons (or thick cut cubes)
Caramelized Shallots
Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded
1-2C Brussels Sprouts Leaves (tossed in 1T olive oil & lemon juice with salt and pepper)
Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
Fresh Thyme, Fresh Basil, Lemon Zest, & Red Pepper Flakes, For Sprinkling
Balsamic Reduction, For Drizzling

1. For the Extra-Crusting Pizza Dough: Whisk flour, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooden spoon, gradually add 1.5 cups water; stir until well incorporated. Mix dough gently with your hands to bring it together and form into a rough ball. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature in a draft-free area until surface is covered with tiny bubbles and dough has more than doubled in size, preferably 18 hours (but anywhere between 12-18 hours would work as well). Transfer dough to a floured work surface. Gently shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 2 equal portions (depending on thin or thick you want your pizza dough). Working with 1 portion at a time, gather 4 corners to center to create 4 folds. Turn seam side down and mold gently into a ball. Dust dough with flour; set aside on work surface or a floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions. Let the dough balls rest, covered with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, until soft and pliable, about 1 hour.
2. Prepping the Dough: During the last hour of the dough’s resting, preheat the oven to its hottest setting, around 500-550 degrees, and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Working with the dough, dust it generously with flour and place onto a floured work surface. Gently shape the dough balls into a two 10-inch disks. Press or spread the dough dish on top of a baking sheet or pizza stone. Now it’s time to add on the toppings.
3. Assembling the Pizza: Spread the dough with some of the garlic infused olive oil, and then the fresh ricotta cheese in an even layer, and then top it with ¾ of the shredded mozzarella, crispy pancetta, and caramelized shallots (as well as a sprinkling of salt & pepper). Place the pizza into the hot oven and bake for roughly 10-12 minutes or until the cheese and crust are both beginning to brown. Bump the oven heat up to broil. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the remaining ¼C shredded mozzarella cheese and the dressed brussel sprouts leaves, making sure the leaves are evenly distributed across the pizza (this extra addition of shredded mozzarella will help the Brussels sprouts leaves to adhere or stick to the pizza). Return the pizza to the hot oven and continue cooking it until the brussel sprouts are beginning to brown and crisp up around the edges, yet still remain bright green in color and al dente in texture, about 2-3 minutes (but keep an eye on it so it won’t burn).
4. Serving the Pizza: Once it has baked and the crust is crispy, garnish with a bunch of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (the more the better) and a drizzle of the balsamic reduction all over the pizza (a drizzle of more garlic infused olive oil would be good too). Finish it by sprinkling on the fresh thyme, fresh basil, some lemon zest, and a little red pepper flakes. Cut into squares of slices, and enjoy immediately! There is still more pizza dough remaining, so you can either make two personal pizzas or save the other pizza dough for another night.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life As Of Lately...

Here's a little slideshow of my life in the past month :)

Our Date Night Dinner on Saturday: Spicy Spanish Mussels with Fried Herbed Butter Bread 

Heirloom Tomato Caprese Salad with Burrata Cheese, Fresh Basil, Balsamic Reduction, & Homemade Pesto

Our Amazing Cheese Plate + Herbed Nuts + Candied Bacon Wrapped Sausages

Me + My Mountain Man on NYE in Downtown Savannah

Deep Fried Mac n' Cheese (definitely will be making this soon)

Our Lunch Today: Fried Egg BLT's with Tomato Confit, Sorghum Molasses Glazed Bacon,  & Chipotle Mayo
(also known as "The Spanglish Sandwich" with a Southern Twist)

Kisses from My Baby Weezy... I love her soooooo :)

Yummy Tequila Spiked Guacamole + Vanilla Bean Paloma's 

The Whole Damn Fam (a little bit too close for comfort here people)

My New Hobby: Pickling, Preserving, + Canning

XOXO, Juliana 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vanilla Bean Paloma’s with Grapefruit Soda & Mixed Citrus Sea Salt

Vanilla Bean Paloma’s with Grapefruit Soda & Mixed Citrus Sea Salt
Vanilla Bean Paloma's... they don't even need an introduction because the picture speaks for itself. I had never heard of this tasty cocktail until I came across it in 25 Food Trends for 2013 by Bon Appetit, and I was immediately intrigued. A drink that is better than a margarita? I don't know if that's even possible. But, I had to make it. I absolutely adore grapefruit, maybe because they are sweet & acidic... maybe because their juice is pink (who will ever know). I wanted to put my own little twist on it, and eventually decided that it would pair amazingly with a homemade vanilla bean simple syrup. I just love the pairing of grapefruit + vanilla bean together, they are pretty much culinary soul mates in my book. Pair this drink with a Homemade Mixed Citrus Sea Salt to garnish the rim, a big 'ole glug of delicious grapefruit soda, and some zesty lime... and my friends, my new favorite cocktail. All I can think about is how I have literally tricked my body into thinking it's actually summertime. Too bad I'm still having to wear jackets outside. Who cares though, let's pretend that the sun is hot and beach is ready for me because I'll be drinking these all year long!! Enjoy :)
I love the yellow flecks of citrus in the Mixed Citrus Sea Salt. 
For the Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup:
2C Sugar
2C Water
2-3 Vanilla Beans, Split & Scraped for Seeds

For the Mixed Citrus Sea Salt:
1C Sea Salt
1T Each of Grapefruit Zest, Lemon Zest, & Orange Zest

For the Vanilla Bean Paloma’s:
Prepared Mixed Citrus Sea Salt, For Rimming
½ Lime, Zested & Juiced
3oz Fresh Squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice, Chilled
2oz Tequila Blanco, Chilled (preferably Reposado or Agave flavored)
1oz Prepared Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup, Chilled
Grapefruit Soda, For Garnishing (we used Izze Grapefruit Flavored Soda)
Crushed Ice

1. For the Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup: Heat the sugar, water, and vanilla bean in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil. Next, pour the mixture into a bottle. Let the syrup cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate the syrup until chilled. Keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
2. For the Mixed Citrus Sea Salt: Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Combine the salt and citrus in a medium bowl and mix well. Really work the zest into the salt, making sure there aren't any clumps of zest. Spread across a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 60-75 minutes or until the citrus is completely dried out. Flecks of zest should crumble when pinched between your fingers. Remove from oven and allow it to cool a bit. At this point you can pulse each salt a few times in a food processor if you like, which is what I do. Or, you can enjoy it as is. It will keep in an airtight jar for a couple of months. When ready to salt your rim, rub a spent lime around the rim and dip in the homemade citrus salt.
3. For the Vanilla Bean Paloma’s: Zest and juice half of a lime into in the bottom of a cocktail shaker, add in some crushed ice. Next, pour in the grapefruit juice, tequila, and simple syrup, and shake to combine (we used our large jigger at home to make our drinks, so we followed a ratio of 3 shots of juice to 2 shots of tequila to 1 shot of simple syrup… not exactly specific ounces, so keep that in mind). Fill a tall cup or glass with a little bit of crushed ice. Pour the strained liquid over the ice and fill the glass up to the rim with grapefruit soda for finishing. Stir until a frost forms on the outside of the cup. Enjoy in the sun with some guacamole.
The Perfect Summer Cocktail, Y'all 

"It's Five O'clock Somewhere" Guacamole Spiked with Tequila, Charred Corn, & Candied Jalapenos

"It's Five O'clock Somewhere" Guacamole Spiked with Tequila, Charred Corn, & Candied Jalapenos
Booze belongs in everything in my world... and it should for y'all too, at the very least. Every time I cook, I almost always find an excuse to add a splash, or a whole cup full, of bourbon, vanilla bean rum,  or any other flavorful liquor. Well, I had the most gorgeous avocados and I knew I had to make guacamole. We could live off of guacamole for the rest of our lives, just as long as a margarita or any specialty cocktail is served along with it. So, as a treat, I decided that today I'm going to post TWO recipes. One for this guacamole and another with my Vanilla Bean Paloma's with Mixed Citrus Sea Salt. Y'all make sure to check back for that recipe too!! But what I love about guacamole, is that it is infinitely adaptable. I mean, who just makes plain 'ole guac anymore? I'm pretty sure that I have a nervous habit of adding extra ingredients to everything, but this certainly applies to some dip. Bacon + Goat Cheese have been mixed in before, and well this time, I was just itchin' to throw in a big bowl of charred corn. Along with the corn, I added the classic ingredients like tomato, onion, garlic, jalapenos, lime, and a pinch of this + that. You really can't mess this up, y'all. I also like to use my favorite technique for making guacamole, I do this by first making a chunky pico de gallo salsa, that incorporates all of the ingredients and giving it a good mix. After I have got it tastin' just perfect, I add in big chunks of avocado and mash until it just comes together. That way, the guacamole doesn't get all soupy and blended. So, I'm guessing you wanna know where the secret ingredients are... well, this dip ain't no baby because it is fully loaded with charred corn + candied jalapenos, and then, spiked with TEQUILA. Yeap, tequila in guacamole. It's a match made in heaven, trust me on this one. This one addition gives the dip such a great acidity, and matter of fact, a little sweetness. And hey, who doesn't want a buzz from an appetizer? Ha, okay... you might not get drunk off this, but we can pretend it's going to happen anyway. Get off the couch, go in the kitchen, and whip up this guac, along with some ice cold Vanilla Bean Paloma's, and head outside to enjoy some rays, food, + booze. You'll be so happy you did, trust me!! Enjoy :)
Lots of Corn + Tequila
Tequila Spiked Guacamole + Vanilla Bean Paloma's :)
For the Spiked Guacamole:
1 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes, Seeded & Roughly Chopped
1 Medium Vidalia Onion, Finely Chopped
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
4 Jalapeno Peppers, Finely Minced (Serranos can be substituted to make it more spicy)
1T Candied Jalapenos, Finely Minced
1C Charred Corn
1 Large Handful or Bunch of Fresh Cilantro, Finely Chopped
1 Lime, Zested & Juiced
1T Sugar, Vegetable Oil, & Red Wine Vinegar
5 Dashes of Hot Sauce
½t Ground Cumin, Garlic Powder, & Onion Powder
3 Ripe Avocados, Pit Removed & Cut into Large Chunks
2-3T Tequila (make sure it is extremely cold, we keep ours in the freezer)
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
Chips, For Serving

1. In a large mixing bowl, toss together all of the ingredients except for the avocados and tequila. This mixture will look like a very chunky Pico de Gallo salsa and will help distribute all the flavors and ingredients equally throughout the guacamole without mashing up the avocados too much (we want a very chunky texture). Taste the salsa mixture, making sure to adjust with seasonings to taste. Next, add in the large chunks of avocado and gently mash the break of the big pieces, yet leaving some small pieces of avocado. Pour 1T of tequila at a time over the guacamole and taste after each addition. This will make sure that your guacamole won’t be too strong with tequila flavor, so just do it until you have reached your desired taste. Season the dish with salt and pepper if needed, and then garnish the guacamole with a little extra fresh cilantro and some charred corn.
2. Serve with chips for dippin' and a drink for sippin'.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fried Sriracha-Bread n’ Butter Pickles with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Ice Cream & Sriracha-Cajun Seasoning

Fried Sriracha-Bread n’ Butter Pickles with Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
 Ice Cream & Sriracha-Cajun Seasoning 
I think I may be pregnant... Nahhhhhh, just kidding. Always kidding about that. But, I really start to question my cravings because this is just not normal. I mean, fried pickles + ice cream, those are go-to's for me when I get that itch to eat something unhealthy. The list usually goes chocolate, ice cream, fried pickles, french fries, teriyaki sauce... yeah, I would like that all on one plate, for delivery, to be eaten in my pajamas, while watching lifetime movies. But that's besides that point. Why not put two of my favorite junk foods into one dish and call it dinner? I think it's necessary, and for those of you who don't, move along and stop judging us please (thankyouverymuch). So let's get down to the nitty-gritty, I made some bomb-ass pickles two weeks ago. They are my official addiction because they are a sweet bread n' butter pickle spiced up with a'whole'lotta Sriracha and yummy pickling spices. We had gone through majority of the jars, but I just knew I had to save them for some fried pickles, and I'm so glad we did. I dunked them in an egg batter and coated them in my "demon flour", which is just code for really spicy flour, and then fried them up until they were golden brown + gorgeously crispy. We played around with it a little bit and this dredging method was the best combination of all of them. When they are hot out of the fryer, you've got to sprinkle them with some homemade Sriracha Cajun Seasoning, just for a little extra kick (and let me tell you, this cajun seasoning will be on many more recipes this year). But with all this spice, you hav'ta have somethin' to cool it down y'all!! And that's where the Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Ice Cream comes into play. Yeap, I made ice cream... outta ranch. I get that it sounds absolutely disgusting, but it isn't. The ice cream is perfectly dreamy & creamy, melting just perfectly on top of a fried pickle chip. So, in essence, savory ice creams are the new jam, my people. Get on my level, okay? Because you and I both know that I will be making some buffalo wings, burgers, and chili-cheese fries with a big 'ole scoop of this bad stuff on top, just sayin'. Give a shot, it's totally worth every jean-huggin' calorie, y'all!! Enjoy :)
A big 'ole plate of fried pickles... and ice cream.
Oh hey, that's ranch dressing ice cream!
Fried Pickles + Ice Cream can be fancy too, y'all :) 
Fry... Scoop... Nosh...

For the Homemade Sriracha-Bread n’ Butter Pickles:
5C Sliced Cucumbers, Sliced to ¼-½inch Thick Slices (depending on your preference)
1 Large Sweet Onion, Thinly Sliced
¼C Kosher Salt
2C Sugar
2C White Vinegar + 1C Apple Cider Vinegar
½C Light Brown Sugar, Packed
½C Sriracha
2T Pickling Spices
2t Mustard Seeds & Coriander Seeds
5 Black Peppercorns & 5 Pink Peppercorns
¼t Ground Turmeric
1 Cinnamon Stick (per pickle jar)
5-10 Garlic Cloves (per pickle jar… depending on how garlicky you want them)
1T Chili-Garlic Sauce (per pickle jar)

For the Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Ice Cream:
1C Buttermilk, Well-Shaken
2T Heavy Cream
½C Mayo
¼C Sour Cream
1t Lemon Juice
2T Buttermilk Powder
½t Ground Mustard, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, & White Pepper
¼t Paprika
1T Fresh Parsley, Minced
1t Fresh Dill & Fresh Chives, Minced
1 Small Garlic Clove, Minced into a Paste
Salt, Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, & Sugar, To Taste

For the “Demon Flour” Fried Pickles:
Prepared Sriracha-Bread n’ Butter Pickles
1C AP Flour
2T Cornstarch
½t Each of Ground Mustard, White Pepper, Paprika, Cayenne, Chile Powder,
Onion Powder, & Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper, To Taste (I roughly did 1T salt and 1t Black Pepper)
2T Buttermilk, Well-Shaken
Vegetable Oil, For Frying

For the Wet Batter:
2 Eggs
1C Buttermilk, Well-Shaken
2T Sriracha

For the Sriracha Cajun Seasoning:
2T Sea Salt
1T Homemade Sriracha Powder
1t Garlic Powder & Onion Powder
1t Black Pepper
½t Ground Mustard
Pinch of Ground Chinese Five Spices

1. For the Homemade Sriracha-Bread n’ Butter Pickles: In a medium bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion and salt. Mix well. Cover the mixture with ice. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. In a pot, bring sugar, vinegars, Sriracha, and spices to a boil. Drain cucumbers and onions in a colander and place into a large bowl. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the cucumbers and onions, and then let it cool completely to room temperature. This recipe made roughly 3-4 jars of pickles, so make sure to boil the jars in hot water to sanitize them before filling them. In the bottoms of the clean jars, pour in 1T of the Asian Chili-Garlic Sauce, and then drop in some cloves of garlic, and a cinnamon stick. Ladle in the room temperature pickle slices and Sriracha pickling liquid to fill the jar. Process them in a hot bath and make sure the top has sealed before storing them. I like to let my pickles marinate for 1-2 weeks before enjoying them, but they will begin to taste pickled after about 4 hours.
2. For the Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Ice Cream: In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, heavy cream, mayo, sour cream, and buttermilk powder until smooth. Add in the other ingredients until it is completely incorporated, adjusting for taste with the salt, pepper, and sugar. Once you have reached your desired ranch dressing, cool the custard base until completely chilled. Once the mixture is chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As soon as the mixture is done churning, transfer to a bowl or airtight container. Store in the freezer until firm.
3. For the Fried Pickles: Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a pot to 350 degrees. Next, you have to set up a battering station. I use two pie tins. For the first station, I mix the flour and cornstarch with seasonings to make “demon flour” or really spicy flour mix. . Drizzle the 2T of buttermilk into this last pie tin, and using a fork, and mix until little shaggy pieces form (these will help build a nice crunch to the pickles). For the second station, I whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and Sriracha. Now, place the Sriracha Pickles into the egg batter, then into the demon flour, making sure to completely coat and press the pickles into the flour. Fry the breaded pickles for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Once cooked, remove from the oil to drain and sprinkle with some Sriracha Cajun Seasoning. Keep warm until ready to serve.
4. For the Sriracha Cajun Seasoning: Combine all of the seasonings together in a bowl and mix until completely incorporated. You can also pulse with a food processor to make a finer texture for sprinkling. Store in an airtight container.
5. For Serving: Serve the hot fried pickles with a scoop of the homemade ranch dressing ice cream. You can either dip the pickle chips into it or scoop ice cream on top of an individual pickle.