Archive for January, 2014

Fancify Friday: Easy Chocolate Almond Footballs

Chocolate almond footballs

Admission: I’m a Broncos fan and fully expect them to win the Super Bowl this Sunday (even though Peyton Manning has a 0-4 playoff game record when it comes to temps under 40 degrees).

 

These easy chocolate almond footballs are a fun way to dress up your Super Bowl party table or top game-day cupcakes.

 

Here’s how to make them.

  1. Melt a few wafers of white almond bark in the microwave.
  2. Use a toothpick to draw the threads on chocolate almonds (tasty football stand-ins).
  3. Place the almonds on waxed paper to set. That’s it!

 

Football cupcake

 

 

 

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Why aren’t you eating Mahi-Mahi?

Mahi-mahi bag pic

I’ve found when I prepare tilapia my kids are hungry again about an hour after dinner–they’re tasty, but not particularly hearty. Our new favorite fish is mahi-mahi. The meaty fish is mild, flaky and filling. I buy mine frozen in individually wrapped packets in a three-pound bag from Costco for around $20.

 

Here’s a simple way to prepare mahi-mahi:

  1. Thaw the individual fish pieces.
  2. Pat the fish dry before sauting.
  3. Generously sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper, paprika, and rosemary.
  4. Add 1/2 tbsp. olive oil to a heavy-bottomed skillet and bring to medium-high heat. Don’t move the fish! Let them keep cooking until you see the fish begin to change color on the edges and just up the sides–about 3 minutes.
  5. Time for flipping! Turn the fish over and reduce the heat to medium and cook about 3 more minutes.

To serve: Mahi-mahi loves sweetness. I made a simple topping of chopped tomatoes, onions, lemon juice, fresh chopped cilantro and basil and a few other things I had on hand. If you have mangoes, toss those in, too. I drizzled the fish with a balsamic glaze. Pair with rice, pasta, or salad.

sauteed mahi mahi pic

 

 

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French ranchero black-eyed peas

Black-eyed peas picEvery year my mom would have each of my brothers and sisters eat at least one black-eyed pea on New Year’s Day. She said it was supposed to bring you good luck for the coming year. Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s is a tradition I’m now passing along to my kids.

 

I’m not sure exactly where my mom picked up this tradition, but many different cultures hail this humble bean (quizically called a “pea”) as a bringer of prosperity. During Rosh Hashanah, black-eyed peas are thought to bear good fortune, the idea dating back to mentions in ancient text.

 

In the South, the story goes that black-eyed peas became a symbol of survival and good luck because of their Civil War connection. Union troops took everything they could from the land as they left the South, leaving behind what they thought was a somewhat inedible field green, black-eyed peas.

 

Today a favorite Southern dish, especially for New Year’s, is Hoppin’ John, which includes pork, rice, and of course, black-eyed peas. I like to think that the unusual appearance of black-eyed peas–with one black “eye” nestled in the middle of each one–may also be a reason it’s become associated with good fortune. Eyes equal wisdom, something like that…

 

We infused flavor into the mild beans by using a Mexican cooking style for frijoles rancheros, then used French seasonings. I wasn’t quite sure what to call our concoction that blended a world of cuisines into one cast iron, the best I could come up with was French Ranchero Black-Eyed Peas.

French ranchero black-eyed peas

Recipe

 

Ingredients

1 large shallot, diced (about 1/2 cup)

4 cups cooked, drained black-eyed peas (I used dried ones that I’d cooked in the crockpot during the day)

1/2 cup chicken broth

5 slices bacon, cut into small slivers (the kitchen scissors are perfect for this!)

Handful of parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/4 tsp. white pepper

Salt to taste

Olive oil

 

Directions

  1. Bring 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  2. Cook the bacon in the olive oil until just barely beginning to crisp. Add in the shallots and the garlic and cook until the shallots become translucent and the bacon crisped.
  3. Add the beans to the pan all at once along with the chicken broth.
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in thyme, white pepper, and parsley. Season with salt. (If you’re feeling crazy add in a little smoked paprika and rosemary, too.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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