Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sushi Donuts

I usually make deep fried donuts and not baked so haven't had much use for my donut pan. Sue found a photo on Pinterest of sushi donuts so we thought that would be a fun way to get some use out of the pan. Sushi donuts are the perfect appie to bring to your next family get together or party. (Also, they happen to be gluten free too!) They may be a little fussy to prepare but they can be made a day ahead so the clean up can be out of the way too. The topping possibilities are endless - if you can slice it super thin you can use it - and the filling ideas are pretty open too! 

Sushi Donuts

Sushi Rice
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
scant 1 Tbsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp sugar
3 cups uncooked sushi rice
water (to cook according to package directions)

mashed avocado

Topping Ideas
toasted seaweed
toasted sesame seeds / black sesame seeds
imitation crab
smoked salmon

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, and sugar. Set aside. 
Cook the 3 cups of rice according to the package directions. Remove from heat when cooked and transfer rice to a large bowl. Stirring constantly, slowly add the vinegar mixture until fully incorporated. Let cool for at least 20 minutes. 
Line a donut pan with saran wrap and place a small bowl of water on your work space. Place a scoop of the rice into one of the donut pan holes and use your fingers to very firmly press the rice into the pan. (Dip your fingers into the bowl of water to prevent the rice from sticking to your fingers)

Repeat until the pan is full. 
Carefully spoon the mashed avocado into the pan on top of the rice. Be careful not to fill too full! You can put it in a Ziplock bag and snip the corner off to pipe it in for a less messy way to fill them. 

Place another scoop of rice on top and very firmly press it down on top of the avocado to fill the pan. Repeat with the entire pan. Chill the pan in the fridge for about half an hour - to make sure the rice is firmly chilled and will stick together. (Longer may be necessary.) 
When sushi donuts are chilled, gently flip them onto a serving tray and remove the plastic wrap. 

Top with your favorite toppings. The secret is to slice your topping very, very thin so they will mold to the shape of the donut. 

I believe we got 12 donuts from the amounts listed above but I'm not totally sure! Sorry about that. I am posting this quite a while after we actually made them so I can't remember. (Oops)

Have fun decorating with your favorite toppings. I found the toasted seaweed was the easiest to work with as it stuck really well to the rice and was easy to cut into shapes with scissors. 
You could do a wasabi or sriracha mayo for the filling if you want something a bit spicier, or some finally diced crab in mayo. Anything creamy would work.  

A great opportunity to let out your inner artist. 
Have fun with textures and colors and feel free to put on as much or as little topping as you like! Completely up to you! Serve with soy sauce/gluten free soy sauce, wasabi, ginger... all the usual sushi accompaniments. 
As mentioned above, you can make these a day ahead of time but be sure to keep them covered so the rice doesn't dry out. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Moist Jumbo Pumpkin Muffins

I may have gone a little crazy with the size of these muffins. Thing is... when you want a delicious, moist, crumbly pumpkin muffin you want a big one. I'm not wrong about that. 
This recipe is very basic and has very little in the way of bells and whistles. You probably have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now. (The only thing I had to pick up was a can of pumpkin but, as it's now cooler weather time, pumpkin becomes a staple at my house too.) 
I made these, perhaps a little too big - if that's even a thing... you could make 7 jumbo muffins if you don't fill your pans quite so full. You could make 12 regular sized muffins if you don't have the jumbo tins. 

Moist Jumbo Pumpkin Muffins

1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) (2 cups)
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 6 cup jumbo muffin tin with butter and set aside. 
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a bigger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. 
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed. A few streaks of flour is okay - you don't want to over mix or your muffins won't be as fluffy. 
Scoop the batter evenly into the 6 cups.

As you can see... I filled mine very full... you could fill 7 cups instead of the 6 if you are worried about it being too full. (12 regular size)
Bake at 375 until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean and tops are a light golden color, about 25 - 35 minutes (Depending on your oven. I rotate my muffins in the oven at the ten minute mark and then start checking at 20 minutes. Tops should appear dry.)

Let cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then carefully run a butter knife around the edge of the muffin and remove it from the pan. 

I like to cut mine in half for serving...

And, of course, a healthy dose of butter makes things even better...

These freeze very well so they work as a make-ahead, travels-well breakfast or snack. After school the kids can pop one in the microwave for a minute and have a delicious treat. 
You can, of course, add in chocolate chips or butterscotch chips, or nuts, or raisins but it is totally not necessary. Simplicity is the key for these bad boys. 
So moist. So tender. Basically the best muffin ever. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Spicy Tornado Pickles

I'm not a huge fan of spicy things. Quite the opposite... Sue, on the other hand, enjoys some heat in her food, and her daughter and our nephews LOVE spicy. These pickles are definitely for people who like hot BUT can very easily be modified for wimps like myself. :)
These look so impressive on the table (something about spiralized food just looks so cool) and, other than the deep frying, are quick and easy. (Not that deep frying is complicated, it just makes me nervous!) I imagine you could bake these but they just wouldn't be the same. 
Have pickle fans in your house? Give these a go! You'll be everyone's favorite. 

Spicy Tornado Pickles

12 pickles
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 - 2 cups crushed spicy Dorito tortilla chips (such as the flaming hot)

ranch dressing

Oil for deep frying

Place pickles on wooden skewers that have been soaked in water for a few hours. Take a knife and carefully cut around the pickles on a slight angle from top to bottom - the skewer will prevent the knife from going all the way through the pickles. Carefully (and very gently) slightly pull the pickles apart so they spread down the skewer. Don't pull too hard or you will break the pickle apart. 

Place on paper towel to slightly dry the pickles.
Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl and set aside. Place flour in another shallow bowl and set aside. Lastly, placed crushed tortilla crumbs in another shallow bowl and set aside. 
Take one pickle skewer at a time - first dip it in the beaten egg being sure to get the egg in all the crevices. Then dip it in the flour being sure to thoroughly coat. Dip it back in the egg again and then roll in the tortilla crumbs. Use your hands to make sure the crumbs get into all the cracks. FYI - the smaller the crumbs the better they will coat the pickle. 
Repeat until all the pickles are coated. 

Heat your oil in a large pot to 350 degrees (I find a thermometer works best for this). 
Carefully place one or two pickles (depending on the size of your pot) into the oil and cook for 1 minute. turn pickle over and cook another minute. Coating should be golden and crispy. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain for a minute. 

When all of your pickles are cooked, place them on a serving platter.

You can serve them just like this with dipping sauce on the side or....

You can drizzle them with the ranch and sriracha and make them look all purdy.

If you are a fan of crunchy and spicy then *voila* here is your new favorite appy/snack. 
Myself, a not-so-spicy kinda gal, I use regular or cheesy Doritos crumbs to coat mine and don't drizzle any sriracha on top. Same delicious crunch without the heat. :)

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fruit Pizza

Sue and I have been a little sporadic with our posts this summer because things have been crazy around here. Sue has been working all summer and I recently went back to work after having several months off. Hopefully things will be getting back to some sort of a routine and we can get back to posting a little more regularly!
I wanted to share this pizza before summer was completely gone as summer fruit is perfect for decorating it with. Any kind of fruit will work - just be sure to use fresh and not frozen. Frozen tends to bleed into the crust and make it not as pretty. 

Fruit Pizza

1 batch Sugar cookie dough (homemade or store bought)

1 8 oz brick cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup butter, room temp
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla

your choice of fruit 

1/3 cup apricot or crab apple jelly (or any very light/clear jelly)

Press your sugar cookie dough onto a parchment paper lined pizza pan. Bake at 350 until cookie is lightly browned on top - about 12 - 15 minutes. (You don't want to over bake it or your crust will be crunchy.) When done, remove from heat and let cool completely. 

Prepare sauce - beat together the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread evenly onto the cookie crust. 

Now comes the fun part! Decorate with your fruit. I used strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, green grapes, and mandarin oranges. When you have it decorated how you want it heat up the jelly in the microwave for about 20 seconds - just enough to have it liquefy. Using a pastry or basting brush, brush the jelly over the top of the fruit, letting the extra drip down on to the pizza. (You may or may not need all of the jelly. Once all the fruit is covered you can stop.)

Chill until ready to serve. 
This is such a pretty dessert and a great recipe to get the kids involved. They love putting the fruit on top. Use your favorite fruits to change it up... you could even add a few little extras like chocolate chips or nuts or coconut if you wanted to. 
A simple treat that is still impressive enough to bring to your next family gathering! 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Jarlsberg Lamb Burger (with KETO alternative)

You may have seen our last post (click HERE) where we shared Sue's entry into "The Jarlsberg Burger Recipe Contest" (link HERE). Well, now it's my turn to share my entry. Granted Sue's Jarlsberg Spicy Chicken Bacon Burger will be pretty hard to beat. 
I decided to go with lamb as I figured it would go really well with the nuttiness of the Jarlsberg. I also decided to add some deep fried daikon, use a grainy, seedy bun, and turn the Jarlsberg into a cheese sauce because #textures that's why. 
Yup. It's got a lot going on. It's the perfect burger for those times you want something a little fancier than the usual. Also.... it's keto friendly believe it or not. Be sure to read through to the end of this post for how to make it keto and to get the nutritional counts!

Jarlsberg Lamb Burger (with KETO alternative)

Lamb Patties
1 lb ground lamb
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper
4 lettuce leaves
4 whole grain buns

Cheese Sauce
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter
8 oz shredded Jarlsberg
1/8 tsp black pepper

Deep Fried Daikon
half a daikon radish, peeled and sliced thin
1 egg
1/2 cup crushed pork rinds
oil for deep frying

Prepare the lamb patties - mix the ground lamb, rosemary, garlic, and salt & pepper together well. Form into 4 equal sized patties. Cover and place in fridge until ready to cook.
Prepare the cheese sauce - in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk the cream, cream cheese, and butter until smooth. Add in the shredded Jarlsberg and pepper. 

 Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm until needed. (NOTE - can be made ahead and refrigerated until needed: simply microwave to reheat.)
Prepare the Daikon - Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Place the crushed pork rind crumbs in another bowl. Dip each slice of the Daikon radish into the egg and then coat in the pork rinds. Set aside on a plate until all are done. 

Heat your oil in a medium sized pot to 350 degrees (use a thermometer for best results). Fry the Daikon slices a few at a time until golden - about 1 minute on each side. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towel to drain. 

Repeat until all the slices are cooked. 
Just before you are ready to assemble your burger you will want to cook up your lamb burger patties. Use your favorite method: oven, BBQ, or stove top (I pan fry mine).

Assemble the Jarlsberg Lamb Burger: Place the bottom of the bun on your plate. Top with a lettuce leaf, a lamb patty, and a generous scoop of the Jarlsberg cheese sauce. 

Then add a slice of the crispy fried Daikon...

Top with the other half of the bun and you are good to go! I don't add anything to my top bun but feel free to add a little butter or mayo.... nothing too strong through, you want to experience all the flavors in the burger! 
NOTE - I prepped my Daikon to be fried and then set it aside. As soon as the oil was heated for frying the Daikon,  I also put the burgers on to cook. Doing it this way they were both done about the same time. You don't want to make the Daikon ahead of time as they will lose their crispiness and do not reheat well. 

BUT WAIT.... how do you make it KETO, you wonder?
So easy....

Did you see what I did there? Maybe you need a closer view.

Yep. Simply wrap it in some lettuce instead of a bun and *voila*...

A delicious KETO Jarlsberg Lamb Burger. 
According to MyFitnessPal the nutritional counts are (for no bun served on half a cup of lettuce): 727 calories, 33 protein, 3 carbs, 0 fiber, 65 fat, and 0 sugar. Nice - 3 net carbs. 
So, what do you think? Would you choose my tasty lamb burger or Sue's crispy chicken burger?
Two wildly different burger experiences that are both sure to make your taste buds explode. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Jarlsberg Spicy Chicken Bacon Burger

Thank goodness for Jarlsberg cheese. They quite often run recipe contests and I am so happy they do. It inspires Sue and I to think outside the box for ways to use their delicious cheese. This year they ran "The Jarlsberg Burger Recipe Contest" (Link HERE) and Sue and I both came up with our own creations. I'm sharing Sue's today - everyone went completely crazy for hers. I'll share mine next time - it wasn't quite the hit hers was but it's still pretty fancy schmancy (if I do say so myself!). (UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO SEE MINE)
Sue used Jarlsberg cheese twice in her recipe and.... I will give her credit.... she knocked it out of the park with this one: soft brioche bun, a layer of spicy apple chutney, lettuce, a Jarlsberg cheese crisp, crunchy fried chicken, more Jarlsberg cheese (melty this time), crispy bacon, and a bit more spicy apple chutney. 
Drooling yet? 
This is one burger you are going to want to try.... more than once...

Jarlsberg Chicken Burger

Spicy Apple Chutney
3 medium onions
2 Tbsp oil
3 medium apples, peeled and cored
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
pinch cinnamon
1 tsp mustard
2 - 3 Tbsp Sriracha (or to taste)

Jarslberg Cheese, shredded

Fried boneless chicken pieces, cooked
Jarlsberg cheese, sliced
bacon, cooked
brioche buns

Prepare the chutney - Caramelize the onions in the oil. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of the cider vinegar and pour the onions and the deglazing liquid into a large pot.
Add the apples, and sugar, and the rest of the cider vinegar. Bring them to a rolling boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer the mixture, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
Add the lemon juice, curry powder, salt, cinnamon, mustard, and Sriracha. Raise the heat slightly and continue cooking and stirring at a high simmer for another 5 minutes.
Let the mixture cool before putting in an airtight container. The mixture should be kept refrigerated and is best eaten cold. Will last for a couple of weeks refrigerated.
Prepare the Jarlsberg crisps - Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (NOT foil!). Place little mounds (about 2 - 3 Tbsp) of shredded Jarlsberg several inches apart on the parchment paper. they will spread so don't place them to close together. Cook in preheated 350 oven until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool before removing. Set aside. (Can be made ahead and stored in fridge until needed.)
Just before assembling your burger - place fried chicken pieces into a hot oven and top with slices of Jarlsberg cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. 
Assemble burger: Place the bottom of your brioche bun on a serving plate. Top with a generous amount of the spicy apple chutney.

Top with a a piece of lettuce and a Jarlsberg cheese crisp.

Top with the fried chicken and melty cheese.

Now add the crispy, cooked bacon.
Spread a little more of the spicy apple chutney onto the inside of the top bun...

Admire your handiwork...

And then jump right in there.

So good!
The Jarlsberg cheese adds a wonderful nuttiness to the flavor... and the spicy apple chutney pairs so well with the chicken and bacon. All those flavors! All those textures! 
A burger lovers dream come true. For real though.
We haven't heard you won the contest yet but will be sure to update when we do. Sue definitely deserves to be in the running with this recipe. 

Don't tell Sue but I think she may have beat me out in the creativity dept. When I post my recipe I will add a link (update: LINK HERE) so you can click over and check out mine. I went a completely different way. 
Her addition of a Jarlsberg crisp AND the melted Jarlsberg was genius.... not to mention the spicy apple chutney. Maybe a bit of a pain to get everything ready but you can make most of it up ahead of time and TOTALLY worth the effort. 
NOTE - when adding the Sriracha use as much as you like. Less if you are a bit of a wimp (like me), more if you want to bring the heat.