Monthly Archives: December 2012
This is a fun little recipe I came up with for Easter Brunch that was such a hit, I’m planning to bust it out again for New Year’s morning. I’m thinking they’ll go quite nicely with some fresh eggs from the Ladybirds, and something a little bubbly to drink (perhaps a pretty pink Kir Royale? My new favorite cocktail!)
To make 30 donut burgers, you’ll need:
-30 glazed donut holes
-2 lbs ground sausage meat
It’s overwhelming, I know.
Form the sausage into little balls (about the size of a ‘super ball’–you know, the kind you used to get out of the machine at the supermarket?) and then flatten it into little patties and cook them in a pan until they are done to your liking. Let them cool a bit on a paper towel to drain, and then gently slice your donut holes in half. Build your burgers, people! Of course, I recommend trimming them out in some festive ribbon-adorned toothpicks, but maybe that’s just me!
A few months back, we stumbled upon the brunch experience at Wistaria Restaurant, and noticed a cocktail on the menu that we were strangely unfamiliar with: the Kir Royale. Upon badgering our poor waiter, we discovered that it was a champagne cocktail made with Créme de Cassis (a currant liqueur). Sign us up.
To make one of these lovely, lovely cocktails, you will need:
-1 bit of orange peel, to rub the inside of the glass before pouring, and also to use as garnish
-1 blackberry, or other berry for floating prettiness
-1 oz Créme de Cassis liqueur (or some other sort of dark berry liqueur would do just fine)
-Extra-dry champagne/sparkling wine
According to the waiter, you’ve got to rub the inside and the rim of the glass with the orange peel, and then let the glass rest. Then you pour in your liqueur, top with champagne, and float your garnish. It’s as simple and brilliant as that.
Christmas came early for me this year with a sneak preview of the amazing Chris McLaughlin’s newest book: Vertical Vegetable Gardening (officially launching on New Year’s Eve). Let me tell you something here: I know some stuff when it comes to gardening–I’m no horticulturist, but I know stuff. This book? I learned me things. Things that have changed me forever (like the ‘Caveman Sun Blueprint’, but I’m getting ahead of myself). With a disarming mixture of practical knowledge and wit, Chris not only enlightens us on the space-saving fun and functionality of vertical gardening, but delves into the mechanics of healthy, organic gardening practices in a refreshingly approachable way.
The real guts of Vertical Vegetable Gardening, is, of course, vertical vegetable gardening. Chris sings the praises of growing things up instead of out, and for me, living and gardening in my snug 7500 sq foot lot, this is pure, unadulterated genius. She not only divulges what types of veggies and herbs are great for growing upwards, but how to also integrate those that are ‘vertically challenged’. The book is chock-full of plans and directions on how to build simple supports, containers, and displays, and for anyone who is not so handy, suggestions on which ready-made options to buy. My gardening-senses are tingling….I feel some projects coming on!
But Chris is so very much more than her space-saving vertical vegetables….I adore her take on composting. I am new to the practice (and, rather fixated on it, at the moment), and subsequently, I have done a lot of research on it as of late, trying to ascertain the composting ‘path of least resistance’. There’s a ton of information out there, and it is usually so overwhelmingly scientific that the cogs in my brain jam up and the little hamster abandons his wheel for a two week hiatus in Barbados. I digress. Chris humanizes composting so brilliantly that I seriously want to hug her. She doesn’t fuss over her compost, she doesn’t take its temperature daily like it may be ovulating–and with a couple of her easy-to-grasp guidelines, it turns out just fine. I can handle that! The hamster’s island vacation has been cut short. He’s not even tan.
I mentioned the ‘Caveman Sun Blueprint’. Yep, just another priceless nugget of brilliance I am taking away from this book! I have long-struggled with tracking the sun patterns in my yard, in fact, I have wasted many a day writing endless lists of which beds get what amount of sun/shade at what time of the day. No more. The blueprint is such a better way! How does it work, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book, now, won’t you? Muhahahaha!
Vertical Vegetable Gardening is available thru Amazon and all other major book sellers on December 31st (available now for pre-ordering)! Check out Chris McLaughlin on her website www.ASuburbanFarmer.com, on Farm Chick Chit Chat, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more on the life and times of this funny and brilliant suburban farmer-lady.
Is anyone beginning to see a pattern forming here? I may be in a rut. But I like my rut. It’s cozy in here. This recipe is basically a hybrid of the recent Bacon Bark and White Chocolate Jalapeno Cookies. Why not, I ask you?!
You will be needing:
2- 12oz bags of white chocolate chips (or 3 if you like a lot of white chocolate)
2- sticks unsalted butter
1- cup brown sugar
1/4-cup finely minced fresh jalapenos (about 1 large pepper)
1- fresh jalapeno finely sliced
sea salt to taste
festive sprinkles to pretti-fy
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.
Mince your first jalapeno in a food processor (or by hand if you are a patient person), reserve. Cut the second jalapeno in half lengthwise, then finely slice it up–make these slices as thin as is humanly possible, and reserve.
Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil, then scatter about half (or however you feel is enough heat) of your minced jalapenos. If you like your sweet salty, toss a little sea salt across the foil, too.
In a medium saucepan, over medium heat melt your butter fully. Once it is melted, add the brown sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved. Now let this mixture come to a boil, stirring all the while. Once it is boiling, keep stirring anywhere from 2.5 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to become fluffy, thick, slightly darker, and starts to get fragrant—don’t let it burn!
Pour the caramel across your prepared cookie sheet, letting it spread evenly over the entire thing as best as you can. Now pop the sheet in the oven for 5 minutes.
Pull it out, and spread your two bags of white chocolate chips evenly across the layer of caramel. Depending on how big the sheet is, or if you want an extra thick layer of white chocolate, spread more than two bags. Pop the sheet back in the oven for another 2-5 minutes.
When you pull it out, the chips should be good and soft. Smooth and even out the chips. Now sprinkle the remainder of your minced jalapeno across the white chocolate. For an added kick, sparingly add the fine slices of jalapenos. Crack a little more salt across it, if you’d like, and for some added flare, a few sparkly green sprinkles.
Put the whole thing in the freezer for several hours, or until good and set. When it is ready, peel the tinfoil off and break it into large pieces and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.