Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Bourbon Baked Beans #BloggerCLUE

Tangy, spicy, rich, and loaded with bacon, these bourbon spiked baked beans are the perfect side dish for a barbecue or even to serve as the main course with a loaf of crusty bread.

I must confess that here in Dubai, we don’t grill as often during the summer as we do the rest of the year because with temperatures that soar into the 120s°F (49-50°C) the last thing we want to do is light a fire and stand over it. But an assignment is an assignment and this month’s Blogger C.L.U.E. theme is “barbecue and grilling.” So I headed over to learn more about Lisa, the talented writer, photographer and cook behind Authentic Suburban Gourmet and poke around in her blog, as instructed, to hunt for dishes that fit our theme. A search for the word “grill” turned up eight pages of recipes! Clearly this bonafide Bay Area foodie, as Lisa refers to herself, is keen on grilling everything from peaches to cauliflower to flank steak. I was just about choose one of those lovely dishes and take one for the team when that same search for “grill” revealed this flavorful baked bean recipe with barbecue sauce. Sure, I'd have to turn the oven on, but that’s why, on the eighth day, God created air conditioning for the great indoors.

The only ingredient changes I made to Lisa’s recipe were to start with dried beans instead of canned (but I’ll leave both amounts in case canned is easier for you – just rinse them well) and I added a couple of hot peppers. Because we like that kind of heat all year long. She didn’t say what sort of vessel to bake them in so I took the liberty of inaugurating my brand new bean pot (Isn't it pretty?) and sealing the loose-fitting lid with a flour-water dough.

1 1/2 cups or 315g dried white beans = 4 1/2 cups cooked beans or 3 cans (15 oz 425g) white beans
8 slices smoked bacon
1 large onion
2 hot red chilies - optional
1 cup or 240ml ketchup
1 cup or 240ml traditional barbecue sauce (I used one labeled BOLD.)
1/4 cup or 60ml bourbon
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: dough seal for bean pot
1 cup or 125g flour
Lukewarm water to make soft dough (I used about 1/2 cup or 120ml.)

If you are going to cook your own beans, pick through them carefully and remove any stones or small clumps of dirt and any beans that have holes or discolorations. Even the best quality beans might have stones since they are usually sorted by machines and the occasional non-bean gets through. Either soak them overnight in cool water or cover them amply with boiling water in a heatproof bowl and leave to soak for one hour.

After an hour covered with boiling water: All plumped up.

If you are using canned beans, pour them into a colander and rinse well.

When soaking time is over, pour off the bean water and put the beans in a pot, covered with fresh cool water. Bring to the boil then lower the flame to simmer and cook the beans until they are tender. Depending on how old (and, therefore, dried) your beans are, this could take an hour or an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, you can get on with the rest of the dish. Chop your onion finely. Do the same with the hot peppers, if using. Cut the bacon into small strips.

Fry the bacon until crispy. Remove it from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and place on some paper towels to drain. I highly recommend hiding this bacon bounty or you might find it all gone before the beans are tender if you leave it irresistibly, invitingly exposed on the kitchen counter.

Spoon or pour out all but a couple of tablespoons of the bacon fat from the frying pan (I recommend saving the fat in a jar in the refrigerator for another use.) then use that same frying pan to sauté the chopped onions and peppers until they are softened.

When your beans are tender, drain them and preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.

Tender beans

Put your cooked or rinsed canned beans in your bean pot or another ovenproof dish. Measure out the rest of your ingredients and add them into the bean pot or dish.

Don’t forget to add in the bacon, onions and chilies.

Stir everything well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you are using a casserole dish, bake it in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes.

If you are using a bean pot, you might want to add a dough seal. Simply put your flour in a small bowl and add enough lukewarm water to form a soft dough. Knead it for a few short minutes.

Roll the dough into a long snake that will reach right the way around the circumference of your bean pot lid. Secure it by pressing it to the rim of the bean pot itself. Gently lay the lid on top and press ever so slightly down.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes and then loosen the dough seal with a pointy knife.

Remove the lid and serve up the bourbon baked beans!


Whether you are looking for great grilling recipes or dishes to make for a barbecue, our Blogger C.L.U.E. (Cook, Learn, Undertake, Eat) Society has got you covered this month.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Spicy Pimento Cheese

Food Lust People Love: Traditional southern pimento cheese, spiced up with the addition of Hatch chiles and cayenne pepper, is the perfect sandwich filling or spread to top crackers.
Despite its northern origins, pimento cheese is a staple of southern childhood. While researching its history, I discovered that many families bought it ready-made in stores, keeping a small tub ever present in their refrigerators. My grandmother always made it with homemade mayonnaise, as does my mother. If you are so inclined, here’s a link to their homemade mayo recipe with step-by-step instructions.

Pimento cheese spread on white bread is the sanguine stuff of childhood summers, best eaten high in the nearest climbable tree, favorite book in the other hand, scuffed bare feet swinging in the breeze, amongst the flutter of the pink and white fluffs of mimosa flowers or wisps of Spanish moss draped from ancient oaks. Pimento cheese was once considered fancy food – think teatime sandwiches cut in triangles with crusts removed. It evolved into everyday fare as red peppers, initially imported from Spain, were cultivated in the south and prices fell. There are almost as many recipes and combinations for delicious pimento cheese as there are cooks. It fits our Sunday Supper theme today – Foods That Travel – not just historically with its popularity spreading from north to south but also with the ease it can be served, between slices of bread or on crackers for tasty sandwiches and appetizers on the go.

I’ve made this many times over the years to take along to potlucks or teas, just recently, in fact, piping the pimento cheese onto crackers and sharing it with a close group of friends I’ve treasured for more than 40 years. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

My humble pimento cheese joined a table laden with delicious teatime fare.

Many thanks to our host for this week’s Sunday Supper, Marion of Life Tastes Good, who is ably assisted by Coleen at The Redhead Baker.

1 (4 oz or 113g)) jar pimentos, drained
1-2 teaspoons finely grated onion
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus a little extra for dusting, if desired
16oz or 454g extra sharp cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (4 oz or 113g) can Hatch chilies (or mild green chilies if you prefer), drained
1 cup or 240ml mayonnaise

In a large bowl with plenty of room for mixing, use a fork to combine the first five ingredients thoroughly.

Add in the mayonnaise and mix well.

Spread on bread for sandwiches or put the spicy pimento cheese in a sealed plastic bag, cut off one corner and pipe it onto crackers. For the tea, I snipped my bag and closed it with a secure clip so I was ready to lay out crackers and pipe on pimento cheese immediately. Food That Travels!

Food Lust People Love: Traditional southern pimento cheese, spiced up with the addition of Hatch chiles and cayenne pepper, is the perfect sandwich filling or spread to top crackers.

Sprinkle with a light dusting of more cayenne, if desired.

Food Lust People Love: Traditional southern pimento cheese, spiced up with the addition of Hatch chiles and cayenne pepper, is the perfect sandwich filling or spread to top crackers.


Looking for recipes to pack for lunch and head outdoors? Need inspiration for upcoming National Night Out get-togethers or family reunion potluck picnics?  Sunday Supper is here to help!

Adventurous Appetizers

Destination Desserts

Mains in Motion

Sightseeing Sides

Traveling Treats
More Tips

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Crushed Pineapple Ice Cream #FoodieExtravaganza

Old-fashion ice cream made with a sweet egg custard and crushed pineapple is simplicity itself because sometimes one shouldn’t mess with a good thing.

Not too long back, we were cleaning out the storage space in my laundry room and came across a brand new ice cream maker that had been a gift from my older sister when we were living in Brazil. We never did use it because cream was so dang expensive there, so it got moved to Houston in 1999 and was never really unpacked. It was time to make ice cream! Suggestions were solicited and I expected Mom to ask for peach, her favorite fruit, but she surprised me with the request for pineapple ice cream.

When my mom was growing up in southern Louisiana, family picnics always included hand-cranked ice cream makers filled with the ingredients for pineapple ice cream in the middle, surrounded by rock salt and ice. She says sometimes as many as six were lined up under the shade of the old pecan trees. The menfolk chatted and cranked until the ice cream started freezing and the handles became harder and harder to turn. Then the ice cream machines would be covered with old burlap sacks until the ice cream was hard enough and ready to serve, several hours later. What a great finish to a family picnic!

This crushed pineapple ice cream brought back good childhood memories for her and I am delighted to share it today for our Foodie Extravaganza creative ice cream event, hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.

Recipe adapted from the pineapple ice cream in Quick Cooking May/June 2002 issue. (No longer published, more’s the pity.)

N.B.: You need a thermometer to accurately prepare this recipe, as written.

2 cups or 480ml milk
1 cup or 200g sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1-3/4 cups or 414ml heavy whipping cream
1 small can (8 oz or 227g) crushed pineapple in 100% juice - Do not drain!

In a bowl large enough to hold the pot you plan to make your ice cream base or custard in, cover the bottom with ice cubes two layers deep. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat your milk to 175°F or 80°C. Add in the sugar and stir till it is dissolved.

Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs.

Return all to the pot, whisking constantly.

Cook and stir over low heat until the mixture reaches at least 160°F or 72°C and coats the back of a metal spoon.

Remove from the heat. Add some water to the ice bowl and place the pot in the ice water to cool quickly. Stir constantly for two minutes.

Now stir in the whipping cream and the can of crushed pineapple.

Pour the mixture into a Ziploc bag and press the air completely out of it. Pop it in your freezer until chilled through, about one hour.

Pour into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. Depending on your ice cream maker, you may have to transfer the ice cream into an airtight container to freeze completely before serving.

After about 30 minutes of churning in an electric ice cream freezer.


Check out all the great frozen treats we have for you this month! Thanks for hosting, Camilla! 

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month - Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting - she invited bloggers to come up with creative ice cream creations.

So during this first full month of summer, it's all about ice cream. But that can include gelato, semi-freddo, and even popsicles! We hope you all enjoy our delicious frozen creations this month and come back to see what we bring for you next 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 page 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.