Saucy Mama Recipe Contest

Stir Fried Pork Grilled Cheese featuring  Saucy Mama

Stir Fried Pork Grilled Cheese featuring Saucy Mama

I am delighted to announce that I am one of the 25 food bloggers chosen by Saucy Mama to compete in their 2015 recipe contest. This year Saucy Mama will be awarding the winner of this challenge a golden ticket and registration fee to The World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida along with a $1,000.00 travel stipend and $500.00 in cash. It would be an incredible honor to represent Saucy Mama at the WFC.

25 bloggers take the challenge

25 bloggers take the challenge

To top it off, Saucy Mama also gave bloggers the opportunity to choose 6 products from their delicious array of 29 mustards, sauces, dressing and marinades. AND the chance for you, my readers, to feel like a winner, too, with a generous give away (but more about that later). I could not fill out the application fast enough. It was a tough decision, but here are the products I chose: Apricot Ginger Mustard, Hatch Chili Mustard, Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing, Lime Chipotle Marinade, Sweet Heat Marinade and Miso Orange Sesame Dressing & Marinade.

the chosen 6

I was excited to receive the package from Barhyte Specialty Foods. Upon its arrival I immediately opened it and started tasting.

Now the challenge. To pick at least one of my favorite products and create an inventive recipe that will fit into at least one of the following WFC categories: Sandwich, Burger, Bacon, Pasta, Seafood or Fresh. The Fresh and Sandwich categories appeal to me the most. Sandwiches are easy to make and fresh and seasonal is the way I like to cook. Right now I have the most gorgeous cilantro and scallions in my garden ready to harvest and I knew I wanted to incorporate them into my original recipe.

Miso, Orange  & Sesame Napa cabbage slaw

Miso, Orange & Sesame Napa Cabbage Slaw

Do you love Asian food? Do you love grilled cheese sandwiches? Well, I sure do. Inspired by Saucy Mama’s Sweet Heat Marinade and the Miso Orange Sesame Dressing & Marinade I aimed for a very fresh tasting grilled sandwich reminiscent of my favorite Asian take-out. Tangy glazed stir-fried pork with a sweet heat, topped with a crunchy Asian miso, orange & sesame slaw, surrounded by melted pepper Jack cheese all toasted up in just minutes. It is extraordinary if I do say so myself.

extraordinary, family friendly and oh so easy

Saucy Mama and a few fresh ingredients make a fantastic sandwich

This is a most family friendly recipe. I do hope you will give it and all the other Saucy Mama products a try. Check out their web site to see all the fabulous blogger entries and other creative recipes. And don’t forget to leave a comment here letting me know how saucy your are, so you can be entered into the Saucy Mama Give Away. Barhyte Specialty Foods is providing one (1) package featuring three Saucy Mama products (except olives) as an audience prize. I will randomly pick a winner and announce on Sunday, May 24th. Best of luck to all of us.

Stir-Fried Pork Grill Cheese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-pound fresh ground pork

½ cup Saucy Mama Sweet Heat Marinade

¼ cup chopped scallions

2 cups sliced (1/2-inch thick) napa cabbage

¼ cup fresh shredded carrots

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons Saucy Mama Miso Orange Sesame Dressing & Marinade

4 tablespoons soft butter

8 slices Italian bread with sesame seeds

16 deli slices pepper Jack cheese

In skillet, over medium-high heat, brown pork, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until fully cooked. Drain off all drippings in pan (I like to pour the meat into a fine mesh sieve over a heat-proof bowl.) Return pork to skillet. Add Sweet Heat Marinade, stirring until pork is fully glazed and sauce has reduced. Remove from heat. Stir in scallions; set aside and keep warm. In medium bowl, toss cabbage, carrots, cilantro and Miso Orange Sesame Dressing; set aside. Butter one side of each bread slice. Place bread, butter side down on griddle type skillet. Top each bread slice with 2 slices of cheese. Layer only 4 bread slices with an even amount of pork mixture on top of the cheese. Turn heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and cook until cheese begins to melt, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove cover. Top pork mixture with an even amount of cabbage mixture. Using a spatula, flip 1 bread slice, with just the cheese, over the top of each pork-slaw sandwich, placing it cheese side down. Gently press sandwich together and continue cooking until cheese is melted and sandwich is toasted.

fresh from the garden ingredients

fresh from the garden ingredients and Saucy Mama are a perfect combination

Two Roads & A Recipe

Ricotta chive gnocchi with brown butter, lemon and chive sauce

Ricotta chive gnocchi with brown butter, lemon and chive sauce

Moving forward on this grief journey I am taking a bend in the road and celebrating my William and his favorite Robert Frost poem……..

Two by William Keys

Two roads…photo by William Keys

…..with the concept of “two roads and a recipe”. If ever there was a book title that is it. I will be twisting up one recipe and featuring it in two ways. In addition, I hope to highlight what is growing in my garden path. While the poem may highlight looking back with regret these recipes will only have you sighing with satisfaction. Which sauce do you choose?

gnocchi with meat sauce

gnocchi with meat sauce

And while we are out in the garden lets pick some joyful moments to add to the menu. The more joy you add the better life tastes.

beautiful, fresh from the garden, chives

beautiful, fresh from the garden, chives

Caitlin and Sam are celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary next week. I wish them a long life of commitment to each other and no regrets. May they make each other better people every single day. Thanks for bringing such joy to our families. They love gnocchi and I love them, so from my heart to yours enjoy.

Happy Anniversary ~photo by Campli

Happy Anniversary ~photo by Campli

Ricotta Chive Gnocchi with Two Sauces

1 (15 oz) container part-skim ricotta

3 egg yolks

1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons finely snipped chives

few grinds grated nutmeg

pinch white pepper

1¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting board

the dough

the dough

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and sprinkle with semolina flour. In a bowl, combine all ingredients adding just enough flour for dough to hold together. It will be a bit sticky. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Cut dough into 6 portions. With floured hands and using just enough flour to prevent the dough from sticking, roll each dough piece into a rope about ½-inch thick. Cut the rope into ½-inch pieces. Roll each cut piece on the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board. Place on prepared baking sheet making sure gnocchi don’t touch each other. Cover and chill until ready to cook. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen up to a month. Cook gnocchi in boiling salted water for about 1 minute or until they are floating. Serve with lemon brown butter or bolognase sauce.

gnocchi board is made in Philadelphia by

gnocchi board is made in Philadelphia by

To make Lemon-Chive Brown Butter: melt 1 stick of unsalted butter over medium-low heat until it turns a toasty brown color, about 6 minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, a tablespoon of snipped chives and a pinch of salt and ground pepper. Add cooked gnocchi, tossing to coat. Serve immediately.

To make Bolognese Sauce: In stock pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add ½ cup each diced onion, small dice carrot and chopped celery; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until softened. Add 1 pound ground beef, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon and cooking until no longer pink. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt and few grind of pepper. Add 1-cup dry white wine. Increase heat to high and continue cooking until wine has evaporated. Add ½ cup of milk; cook until mixture again appears dry. Add 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes. Cook, uncovered, on very low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Spoon over cooked gnocchi. Sprinkle with shards of parmesan cheese.

the ridges create places for the sauce to cling onto the dumplings

the ridges create places for the sauce to cling onto the dumplings

What Every Mom Knows….About Pie

just bake it

just bake it

Every mother knows that at some point they’ve got to set their kids free. Untying the apron strings is never easy and letting them fly is even harder, but that is what moms do. It starts with the first day of school. A series of good-byes and long days hoping for the best. Suddenly, those long days have turned into years. The kids are ready to fly solo. Gently nudged from the nest we proudly watch them soar. It’s the beginning of a new relationship, but one thing has not changed. No one will ever love you like your mom.

my favorite sandwich

my favorite sandwich

There comes a point in the grief process that one realizes it is time to let go, too. It is the beginning of a new relationship with the one you have loved and lost. This is about the griever who can finally think about their loved one and not feel pain. This is about the griever who can talk about their loved one and not burst into tears. This is about the griever who is ready to take that emotional attachment and invest it in the living. If you are new to your grief this is not about you. In time you will get here because every day is a series of long good-byes.

A visit to Chicago's Navy Pier

A visit to Chicago’s Navy Pier

My William is gone. I recognize that. He can’t hug me or flash me a smile. He can’t call me on the phone at 9 pm or pay me a surprise visit. I can’t yell at him for doing something stupid (isn’t that what moms do) and I can no longer protect him or offer him advice. I can’t cook him his favorite meal or watch him enjoy Sunday morning crepes filled with his favorite strawberry jam. I will never forget him and I will always love him, but I have to let go of all this emotional energy and direct it towards living. Still safe in my heart this letting go of his hand is not a betrayal, but a healthy step forward. It is a Mother’s Day gift.

cutting the first slice is always the hardest

cutting the first slice is always the hardest

Another gift I have is a rolling pin from my mom. I have used a variety of rolling pins over the years, but hers is my favorite. It has comfortable handles and a weight that is perfect for rolling out her buttery pie dough recipe. I love to bake and as the days are getting longer and warmer, baking time is getting shorter. Don’t you just hate when it is too hot to turn the oven on? Yeah, me too. Baking has gotten me through some of my sadder moments. It’s great therapy plus in this case you get to eat pie.

mom's buttery crust

mom’s buttery crust plus her old rolling pin

Strawberry Rhubarb Lattice Pie


3 cups all purpose flour

1-tablespoon sugar

1-teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter (my mom only bought Land O Lakes)

6 tablespoons vegetable shortening

8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Whisk flour, sugar and salt; cut in butter and shortening forming coarse crumbs with butter bits about the size of small peas. Using a fork, toss in just enough ice water until the dough sticks together forming a ball. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic and chill at least 30 minutes.

see the bits of butter

see the bits of butter


3 1/2 cups diced rhubarb (1/2-inch thick slices) reddest stalks are best

1-(16 oz.) container strawberries, hulled, halved (about 3 1/2 cups)

½ cup sugar

1/3-cup (packed) golden brown sugar

¼-cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

½-teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼-teaspoon salt

that's my mom's old pasta bowl

that’s my mom’s old pasta bowl

Prepare pie dough. Toss all filling ingredients together; let stand 30 minutes. Heat oven 400F. Roll out half of pie dough and fit into 9-inch pie plate. Roll out remaining pie dough into 13-inch circle; cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Drain juices from filling into a microwave safe 2-cup measure. (you should have about 1/3rd cup of cloudy pink juice). Microwave the juices on high for 1 minute; it should come to a rolling boil and thicken. Spoon filling into crust. Pour juice over filling. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges. Transfer pie to foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling is bubbly and thickens, about 65 to 75 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

from Penzey's

Finally, thanks to every one who commented on last weeks blog post. Happy thoughts are always good.  Congratulations to “Tracy” the winner. Your gift is on the way. Happy Mother’s Day.