Jargaritas

Jargarita

These Jargaritas would have been perfect for Cinquo de Mayo.  But since that ship has sailed for another year, you’re just going to have to find another excuse to make them.  Like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or the random weekend cookout.

But they come with a warning…these adult slushees have a way of sneaking up on you and knocking you on your arse.  So proceed with caution.

Jargaritas

Adapted from Bluebonnets and Brownies and Souffle Bombay

  • 12 ounces frozen limeade, thawed
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cups tequila (I prefer patron silver)
  • 3/4 cup triple sec
  • 1 cup chambord
  • 4 cups cold water

If you plan to freeze these in individual portions, go ahead and get your jars and lids ready.  Otherwise find yourself a nice big pitcher or jug and combine all your ingredients.  Stir well.  Give it a taste and add more lime juice or tequila as desired.

Drinks can be portioned into jars, sealed tightly, and stashed in the freezer for about 4 or 5 hours or until they reach your desired level of frozen.  Or they can be enjoyed in a completely unfrozen state.

{printable recipe}

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Weeknight Chicken and Mushroom Sauce

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I mentioned how my friend Amber is responsible for my rather manic fascination with making strawberry shortcake crumb topping to recreate a childhood food memory.  I briefly mentioned how she readily shares the arsenal of tools that she has, sometimes having Amazon dropping an unexpected box of exactly what you need on your door step.  That’s how I came to have Weeknight Chicken and Mushroom Sauce.

No, Amber didn’t have dinner delivered to my house.  What she did was hear me say that I was overwhelmed by the struggle to be back at work (even if it was just one or two days a week at that time), take care of the Tater Tot, and cook dinner on a regular basis.  She heard me and she took action.  Thanks to Amazon’s freakishly quick ability to get product delivered, a day later there was a smiling Amazon.com box sitting on my doorstep.  Inside was a survival guide with recipes and strategies for how to keep The Mistah and I fed in spite of the crazy new demands on our time and attention.

A. Freaking. Men.

Better than a casserole that freezes beautifully (but that won’t fit in my poorly chosen side by side), Amber gave me the tools to fit cooking back into my routine.  I still have days where I struggle with it.  But I also have days where I thaw some chicken breasts, chop some mushrooms, and call it dinner.  Amber, I hope I can return this act of kindness to you because it’s made a world of difference to me.

Weeknight Chicken and Mushroom Sauce

Adapted from Parents Need to Eat Too

BAH Note:  This is what I scribbled on a piece of paper and tucked into the book at this recipe’s page – “easy weeknight supper  can cook chicken 3 minutes / side then cook 5-10 min @ 350 degrees”  In my scribbles, capitalization and punctuation seem to be optional.

If the idea of having to wash two frying pans makes you want to cry, once you remove the cooked chicken breasts from the oven (carefully, that handle is going to be HOT), wrap the chicken in a bit of foil to keep it warm and use that pan to make the sauce, omitting 3rd tablespoon of oil.  You’ll get to the same place, it will just take a little longer.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 2 teaspoons agave or honey
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels and season with a pinch of kosher salt and some black pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in an oven safe frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil shimmers, add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for three minutes on each side.  Transfer the pan to the oven and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the chicken is done.

While the chicken finishes cooking in the oven, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to another skillet and heat until it shimmers.  Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook until the liquid released by the mushrooms is mostly evaporated.  Add the sherry, agave (or honey), and vinegar to the pan and raise the heat to high.  Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and add the butter to the sauce, whisking to combine.  Taste for seasoning and add kosher salt to taste.

Add the cooked chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan and serve the chicken topped with mushrooms and sauce.

{printable recipe}

Strawberry Shortcake Crumb Topping

Strawberry Shortcake Crumb Topping

I often find the words “back in my day” tumbling out of my mouth.  As enjoyable as I find these trips down memory lane, I’m not sure the person I’m forcing the reminiscence upon would say the same.  Unless we happen to have a shared or similar point of reference…and then I need to watch out.  Because this leisurely stroll can quickly become an all out sprint that leads to things I never expected.  Case in point?  Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars.

My pal Amber spoils me.  Seriously.  For as long as I have had the good fortune to know her, she has been a cool breeze on a warm summer day.  In the midst of pain she is ready with a comforting embrace.  When the Universe smiles on you, she celebrates your good news with joy and enthusiasm.  When you say that you don’t know how you’re going to get through this, she reaches into her bag of tricks and gives you the tool you need [or has Amazon deliver it to your door ; ) ].  And when you randomly start talking about the Good Humor truck from back in the day, she not only skips down memory lane with you, she plants the seed in your head to recreate your favorite offering from the ice cream man.  This is how her visit through town resulted in me reuniting with my old friend Strawberry Shortcake.

For me, Strawberry Shortcake was all about the outer crumb coating.  The rest of the ice cream was merely the vehicle to get the crumbs in my mouth.  So I got excited when Amber alerted me to the fact that there was a recipe for Strawberry Shortcake AND the Crumb Topping in a new cookbook, Classic Snacks Made From Scratch.  It pretty much sparked an obsession to drown out the voice in my head screaming “I WANT IT.  MAKE IT NOW!”

There’s no clever or interesting side story here.  I bought the cookbook.  I bought freeze dried strawberries.  I bought a pint of Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream.  I had the rest of the ingredients so I got down to business.

Eventually, the crumbs were just as good in my kitchen as they were in my memory.  I say eventually because Strawberry Shortcake Crumb Topping is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  I dipped a damp finger into the crumb to give them a taste and thought they were good…but something was missing.  Turns out that something was the ice cream.  There is a dynamic between the crumb and the ice cream that brings the crumb topping to life.  Just add ice cream and it goes from being “eh” to being “hell yeah”.

By the time I had worked my way through that pint of ice cream I wasn’t just topping my Breyer’s with the crumbs.  I was mixing them in like my own private Ben and Jerry’s flavor.

Strawberry Shortcake Crumb Topping

Adapted from Classic Snacks Made From Scratch

BAH Note:  You’ll have to search around for freeze dried strawberries.  I found mine at Wegmans.  If you have a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods nearby, I’d start there.  Or you can save yourself some searching and just hit the online bazaar that is Amazon and have them delivered to your door.

To make the strawberry powder, pulverize the freeze dried strawberries using your method of choice – food processor, mortar and pestle, or plastic bag and rolling pin.  You want the powder to be fine.  Approximately 3/4 of an ounce of freeze dried strawberries will net the 3 tablespoons you need for the recipe.

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 3 tablespoons freeze dried strawberry powder (see note above)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

In a small bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Add the melted butter and use a fork to stir until you get clumps of crumb.

Serve on the ice cream flavor of your choice.

{printable recipe}

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

Bacon Cheddar Waffle

Back in the day….and by that I mean 2012…I was on Twitter.  All.  The.  Time.  Why?  Because I could.  And because I wanted to.  In the virtual world I don’t need to worry about being socially awkward.  It’s hard to stumble over your words with only 140 characters.  But it’s easy to join in a conversation, or better yet, to spark one.

Most of the time in real life I stand back and listen to conversations go on around me.  But on Twitter I can be witty and lively in the conversation.  And I can sound as though I know what the hell I am talking about….in real life, that’s not the case much of the time.

For example, let’s consider a recent tweet…”All waffles should have bacon and cheese in them.”  That statement is A) clever; B) authoritative; C) truth; D) common sense.

Actually it is all of those things, but it’s not the kind of statement that I would make in the course of casual conversation.  Unless our conversation was about waffles, bacon, or cheese.  Or you had previously resided in a dorm, house, or apartment with me.  But the odds of that happening are pretty low so I’m confident in saying that it’s unlikely I would say that to you in an ordinary conversation.

And yet it led to a conversation on Twitter where RunningOnButter believed that I spoke as a waffle authority.  RunningOnButter doesn’t know me outside of Twitter.  ROB doesn’t know if I have any credentials to present myself as a waffle authority.  But ROB took my pronouncement that bacon and cheese are integral waffle components as the truth.

Twitter Grab

So now, thanks to Twitter, I am a waffle authority.  I don’t think I will add that to my resume.  But it’s the kind of thing I would use as small talk…if I were inclined to make small talk.

As it is, most of my free time and conversations are with a pre-verbal toddler.  And until she realizes otherwise, I am an authority on everything!

Bacon Cheddar Waffles

Adapted from Shutterbean

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped cooked bacon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Set a wire rack inside a sheet pan and heat your oven to 200 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until blended.  Add the cheese and bacon to the flour mixture and stir to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil.  Add the flour mixture to the milk and egg mixture and stir to combine, being careful not to over mix.

Grease your waffle iron and get it heating.  When ready, pour 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup batter into your iron and cook until done.  Transfer the waffles to the prepared sheet pan and give them a 10 minute rest in the warmed oven.

Slather with butter and syrup.

{printable recipe}

Clodagh’s Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip

Disclaimer:  The good folks at Kerrygold provided me with a copy of Coldagh’s Kitchen Diaries and coupons for their fantabulous butter.  I highly recommend both.

I have found a new outlet to get baked goods out of my house….it’s called daycare.  Not that my coworkers have tired of being on the receiving end of what comes out of my kitchen.  It’s just that it’s good to have options. And now that my daily activities include daycare drop-off and pick-up, I can spread the love (and the calories) around a little further.

When The Mistah and I became parents, it was with less than 48 hours notice.  So where most parents have nine months to plan, prepare, and make arrangement for life after a baby arrives, we were winging it.  Our heads were still  spinning at the idea of a baby as we swept through the aisles at Target and Babies R Us to get the stuff that we thought we might need.  And even though the list of what you really need to bring a baby home can be rather short, those carts filled up pretty damn quickly.

So the buying tons of stuff part of becoming parents got taken care of.  And then we brought Lib home.  And the taking care of a little person got underway.  Which led to buying more stuff to take care of our little person.  It went on like this for a while.  And then one day, two and a half months had gone by and I needed to go back to work.

It was only after we became parents that I had any understanding about how hard it is to get an infant into daycare.  When you are able to estimate your child’s arrival in the world, you’ve got the luxury of time on your side.  You can go to a daycare and get a spot in their infant program.  When your family grows by +1 overnight, the stars need to align, the Universe needs to smile on you, and you need to make a wish upon a falling star to find a daycare center that has openings for an infant.

And as if I needed further proof that the Universe was smiling on our adoption, we managed to do just that. Now our child is charming her way into the hearts of the folks at daycare, one day at a time.  Seriously, she has her own fanclub at daycare…teachers from other classrooms come by to see her and say hello.

As her parent, I want to make sure I acknowledge the people who spend their day caring for my child so that I can spend my day at work.  And it never hurts to build a little goodwill for those days when my normally charming child chooses to be a devilish handful.

If you find yourself hankering for a little mint chocolate fix, wanting to say say thank you, or maybe even apologizing in advance for something that your child may or may not do in the days to come, these cupcakes have your back.

Clodagh’s Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries

BAH Note:  If you don’t have self rising flour in your pantry, you can substitute 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt.  My cupcakes sank in the middle as they cooled….that could have been my doing or not….I just used the frosting to camouflage that and nobody was the wiser.

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 ounces mini chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 9 or 10 baking cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next one.  Add the mint extract and then use a spatula to fold in the flour mixture until combined.

Divide the batter among the baking cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before turning the cupcakes out and cooling completely on a rack.

{printable recipe}

Mint Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Abby Dodge

BAH Note:  If you want a richer frosting, add up to an additional 1/2 stick butter.  Taste the frosting and if you want a mintier flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon extract.

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 7 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 3/4 powdered sugar
  • 1  teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • green food coloring (optional)

Combine butter and marshmallow in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium until completely smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar, mint extract, and salt.  Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.  If using food color, add it a few drops at a time and mix until the color is distributed.  Add more food color to get your desired shade of green.

Frost your cupcakes, garnish with mini chocolate chips, and enjoy.

{printable recipe}