Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bacon Honey Mustard Biscuits #FoodieExtravaganza

Super full of bacon with a good hit of sweetness from the honey, these bacon honey mustard biscuits will be a favorite on your breakfast or brunch table. 

This month our host for Foodie Extravaganza is Kathleen at Fearlessly Creative Mammas and she has exhorted us to help her celebrate her southern roots by baking buttermilk biscuits. Apparently it's Buttermilk Biscuit Day on May 14th. Who knew? Being from the southern United States myself, I have several biscuit recipes already in my repertoire, like these make ahead biscuits that are frozen and can be baked as you need them which is very handy! I could also have shared my aunt’s made from scratch biscuits, the ones I make most often, but she got the recipe from her mother-in-law and it includes instructions that are hard to quantify, like “add just enough milk.” How much is just enough? Ah, therein lies the secret of Mrs. Davis’ fluffy biscuits.

I was trolling the internet and came across a recipe for maple syrup biscuits with bacon which sounded fabulous. The addition of bacon to any recipe is a good thing. All those from maple syrup producing regions, please cover your eyes for this next admission: At our house, Aunt Jemima Butter Lite syrup is our maple syrup substitute. We love that stuff. It's a bit thin though so I wasn't sure how it would behave in biscuit dough.

You know what also goes with bacon?  Honey and mustard – think Christmas ham. Mine always has a honey mustard glaze!

Serve these guys warm and they will be gone in no time.

Ingredients for 12 biscuits
1 pound or 450g streaky bacon, cut into 1/2-inch or 1cm pieces
1 3/4 cups or 220g flour, plus extra for the work surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 115g chilled butter
1/3 cup or 80ml honey
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
1/3-1/2 cup or 80-120ml cold buttermilk – just enough till it hangs together like a dough

Method
Fry your bacon pieces in a large pan until they are nicely browned but not too hard. Drain them on some paper towels. I use some newspaper from the recycling bin and put a piece of clean paper towel on top so the bacon isn’t touching the newsprint. Works like a charm and saves on paper towels.

Sift together your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Cut the chilled butter into 1/2 in or 1cm cubes. Use a pastry blender to cut them into the flour mixture, until the little butter pieces are tiny and covered in flour.



Add in the bacon and stir to coat the bacon with the flour mixture.

Add in your honey, mustard and about 1/3 cup or 80ml of the buttermilk. Start folding the ingredients together, adding the rest of the buttermilk if it seems too dry.



Flour your clean work surface and scrape the dough out onto it.

Flour your hands liberally and knead the dough two or three turns. Press the dough out till it’s about and 1 in or 2.5cm thick.

Flour your biscuit cutter or a large glass and cut the biscuits out and put them on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or a silicone liner.



Pop the whole pan into the freezer to chill while you preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.


When the oven is preheated, bake the biscuits for 18-22 minutes or until they are nicely browned.



Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving warm.

My original plan was to brush these with melted butter and honey when they came out of the oven but I can assure you that they don’t need it. They are chock full of bacon and just sweet enough from the honey already inside! They go ever so nicely with a sunny-side-up egg.


Enjoy!

How do you like your biscuits? We've really kicked them up a notch this month!



Foodie Extravaganza celebrates obscure food holidays or shares recipes with the same ingredient or theme every month.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook group Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you!

If you're a reader looking for delicious recipes, check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out here.

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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Jean's Best Vegetable Soup #SundaySupper

A rich beef broth is flavored with crushed tomatoes and a selection of vegetables. Jean’s Best Vegetable Soup will sustain you through good times and bad. It’s nutritious and filling in the best possible way. 

At the first sign of a cold front in the fall, my mom would say, “Ooooh, vegetable soup weather!” and the big soup pot would be extracted from its home right at the back of the cupboard. Some beefy bones would be put in, well covered with water, to simmer for several hours. Vegetables were chopped and diced, ready for adding in later. The steamy kitchen was a warm place to gather, waiting for that first bowl of savory, strengthening soup. I would have to put it up near the top of the list of my mom’s favorite things to eat, along with potatoes (which are in the soup too) and smothered pork chops.

While I looked forward to the vegetable soup too, I had reservations. If you’ve read my recipe post for browned butter braised baby turnips, you’ll understand. In a nutshell, it was hard to get too enthusiastic about soup that also had bitter turnips, which I detested, masquerading as innocent potatoes.

Since our Sunday Supper family is sharing Mom’s Favorite Recipes today, and I’m over my turnip phobia, I thought it was time to make the soup and make it right, turnips and all.

A while back, my mom sent me her recipe. Here is the ingredient list, in her own words. I’ve added the weights and measures as a guide. That said, know that you can vary the vegetables and amounts to your taste so don’t get too hung up on what each ingredient weighs.

Mom starts by saying, throw in some beef bones if you can find some and let them boil away before you add your ribs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on any beef bones so my method starts with browning the short ribs for more flavor.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil – my addition, for browning the short ribs
  • beef short ribs - 2 lbs 5 1/2 oz or 1.065kg
  • a little tomato sauce for color (not too much)
    (this is a vegetable soup, not an Italian soup, ha!) - 2 tablespoons
  • small can of crushed tomatoes - 14oz or 400g 
  • small onion – 3 oz or 85g
  • small bell pepper  - 4 oz or 115g
  • small stem of celery - 1 3/4 oz or 50g
  • potatoes – 5 medium or about 1+lbs or 500g
  • turnips (just enough to frighten the poor soul who doesn't like turnips) – 3 medium - I totally forgot to weigh these.
  • carrots  - 2 large - 9 1/2 oz or 270g
  • mixed frozen veggies - 1 3/4 cups or 225g
  • small amount of cabbage – 5 1/3 oz or 150g
  • SOMETIMES I will put in zucchini  -  6 small - 9 1/2 oz or 270g
  • SOMETIMES I will put in cauliflower if I have some on hand.        
  • SOMETIMES I will put in yellow squash - I didn't have either

Note: Fresh or frozen veggies are better than canned.



Method
Brown short ribs on all sides in a little olive oil over a high heat in your largest soup pot.



Remove the browned meat from the pot and set aside.



Finely chop your onion, bell pepper and celery.  Sauté them in the oil left behind from the fatty short ribs, till softened. Scrape up all the sticky goodness from the meat into the vegetables.



Add meat back in, along with the crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Add water to cover more than twice the depth of the beef.



Bring to the boil then put a tight fitting lid on the pot and simmer for three or four hours.

Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes. Peel turnips but leave them whole so you can find them again. It’s all very well to eat them, but I still don’t like to be surprised. If you love turnips, you can cut them, of course.

Add in the potatoes, carrots and turnips, along with the frozen vegetables.

Oddly, the turnips are the only things that float initially. They probably aren't witches though. Probably.


Bring to a slow boil, cover and simmer again for an hour or so.

If a lot of fat from the short ribs has risen to the top, you might want to skim some off with a spoon.

About half an hour before you are serving, thinly slice cabbage and cut zucchini into chunks. Add them to the soup.



When the zucchini is cooked to your liking, Jean's best vegetable soup is done. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.


Enjoy! In our family, we'd also add a shake or two of some Louisiana hot sauce to each bowl at the table.



Has your mother passed down a special recipe to you or is there something special you always make for her? These are Mom's Favorite Recipes from my Sunday Supper family.

Many thanks to Christie of A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures and Wendy of Wholistic Woman for hosting!

Starters (Appetizers, Beverages, Breakfast)
Salads, Side Dishes, and Sauces
Main Dishes
Desserts
Plus, if you are looking for hints about what to get Mom for Mother's Day, you'll want to read this: What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day and Mom’s Favorite Recipes  from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter every Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat.

To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


And it wasn't half bad. 
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Mushroom Feta Tart with Feta Thyme Crust #FridayPieDay


 This lovely mushroom feta tart is filled with mixed mushrooms, seasoned with thyme and white wine and sharp feta, baked in a yeast dough crust.  

Here’s a little news for those of you who think mushrooms can only grow in humid, dark places. The mushrooms I used in today’s tart were all grown here in the sunny United Arab Emirates.  Yeah, I know, I know, they are farmed and not wild, but still. The farms here are a testament to the persistence and dedication of many dreamers who have worked hard to see their dreams fulfilled. Emirates Mushrooms is fully organic and, according to their website, they have a growing capacity of 8000kg of mushrooms per week! Which I find incredible. And, no, this is not a sponsored post – I just thought I’d share a little of my world with you.

It’s Friday Pie Day again so let’s get on with the pie.

Ingredients
For the crust:
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup or 180ml warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
About 2 1/4 cups or 280g all-purpose flour
1 3/4 oz or 50g feta, crumbled
Thyme leaves off a few fresh sprigs, maybe two teaspoons
Olive oil for bowl

For the filling:
3-4 cloves garlic
1 medium onion (Mine was 90g.)2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves plus a sprig or two for garnish, if desired
2lbs + or 950g mixed mushrooms
1/2 cup or 120ml dry white wine
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 1/2 oz or 100g feta, crumbled

Method
First we’ll make the dough for the crust. Put the warm water in a bowl with the yeast and sugar and leave to prove. The yeast should turn foamy if it’s active. If not, go buy some more yeast and start again.

Assuming you’ve got foam in your bowl, add in 2 cups or 250g of the flour along with the thyme and salt. Mix well until you have a nice wet dough. You can knead by hand but this will be easier with a dough hook if you have a stand mixer.



Add in the crumbled feta and about one more tablespoon of flour and keep kneading with the dough hook until it’s incorporated.



Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for a few good turns by hand, adding just a little more of the flour if necessary. Form the dough into a ball.

Oil your mixing bowl and put the ball of dough in. Turn it over to coat with oil. Set aside in warm place until doubled in size.



To make the filling, clean your mushrooms, making sure to remove any dirt that clings to them.

Slice the garlic and onion finely and pull the thyme leaves off of the stems.



Melt the butter in a very large pan and sauté the garlic, onion and thyme over a low heat, until they are very soft. Stir occasionally.



Meanwhile, cut your mushrooms in two if they are small and in quarters if they are larger.



Add the mushrooms to the onion pan. Raise the flame under the pan and cook the mushrooms, stirring often, until the water comes out of them.



Continue cooking until the water all evaporates and they are dry. Cook over a high flame until the mushrooms start to brown. Keep stirring.

Add in the white wine and keep cooking until it has all evaporated and the mushrooms are almost completely dry again.



Remove the pan from the stove. Set aside a few crumbles of feta to add to the top before baking then add the rest to the pan.  Give it a few good grinds of black pepper and then stir.

Season to taste with salt. I added just a couple of pinches since the feta is quite salty. Leave the filling to cool.

Preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and line a baking pan with parchment or a silicone liner.

Punch down the dough and tip it out onto a lightly floured surface.

Roll it out into a circle about 13 1/2 in or 34cm wide.



Carefully transfer the circle to your prepared baking pan.

Heap the mushroom filling in the middle then spread it around until it’s about 2 in or 5cm from the edge.



Fold the sides in to contain the filling. Top the mushrooms with your few reserved feta crumbles and a couple of small thyme sprigs, if desired.





Bake in your preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack for about 15-20 minutes before cutting.



Enjoy!


My friend and creator of Friday Pie Day, Heather, over at All Roads Lead to the Kitchen was thinking outside the box this month. She's sharing a cherry pie milkshake today!


I am pleased to join her on the last Friday of each month for pie and crust recipes, techniques, tools of the trade, and other inspiration.

For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!

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