It’s All Golden

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Golden Milk Bread

Following my emotional visit to CT two weeks ago I went into full on kitchen therapy Inspired by what was in the garden I made jams, pickles, everything tomato, everything zucchini, breads and cakes. It was all golden.

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Golden Tomato Jam and Dill Pickles

As it often does, grief relief finally came in a vivid dream.  In my slumber I am walking up the driveway to retrieve the morning mail. Waiting at the box, in the golden sun-light, is William. I say, “What are you doing here?” He replies, “I just want to make sure you know I am still here.” Whoosh! I am sure a psychiatrist would have a fun-filled day with my brain, but these dreams are so much better than any happy pills one could prescribe.

Me &bWill

Golden Dreams

I will be missing in action from time to time over the next few months. First and foremost I am super busy having too much fun with these two. Oh, the miracle of life! I did not know my heart could get any bigger, but there certainly is a new chamber filled with love and awe. Besides, Annabelle loves hanging out in my kitchen. Imagine that! I am pretty sure she loves the smell of fresh baked cookies and garlic.

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Golden Days

Second, the test kitchen has officially opened for preparation for the World Food Championships which takes place in November. Once again I am competing in the sandwich category and being sponsored by the fabulous Saucy Mama. Suzy Barhyte is the creative mind behind the delicious sauces, dressings and mustards that I will be incorporating into my sandwiches. Like Suzy’s my recipes must be family approved. I am especially grateful to have Caitlin assist me in sandwich development. She has an incredible palate. The Cubano has been built and now on to my signature dish. Hopefully I do myself, my family and Saucy Mama proud in the competition.

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Golden Mustards

With my game face on I won’t be blogging as much. To keep you occupied I challenge your creativity in the kitchen with this fantastic baking opportunity. The National Festival of Breads is one of the best bake-offs I have ever been privileged to win. Not only will you bake with the best products on the market, but you will learn so much about the wheat industry and the farmers who feed us and the world. Support them. Be inspired by those you love and bake some bread.

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Golden Wheat

The National Festival of Breads is included in the list of best cooking competitions by Delish! Online entries accepted Oct. 1, 2016 – Jan.16, 2017. National competition in Manhattan, Kansas, on June 17, 2017. Amazing recipes, finalists and baking contest for youth and adults! Go to www.nationalfestivalofbreads.com for rules and prizes. Sponsored by King Arthur Flour Red Star Yeast & Kansas Wheat.

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Golden Milk Bread

4¼ cups (18 oz./510 gm) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

1 (1/4 oz/21 gm) package Red Star Platinum Yeast

1¼-cups milk

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

4 (25 cent size) pieces of fresh peeled ginger

1-teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup golden raisins

In stand mixer bowl, fitted with paddle, combine 4 cups of flour and yeast. In small saucepan, over medium low heat, combine milk, butter, maple syrup, salt, fresh ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and pepper; bring just to a simmer, stirring. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes or until milk mixture registers 120F on an instant read thermometer. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture; mix on low speed until flour is fully incorporated. Remove paddle and replace with dough hook. Knead dough on low speed for 5 to 6 minutes adding additional ¼ cup flour if it seems too sticky. Add raisins to dough during last 2 minutes of kneading time. Transfer dough to a buttered bowl, cover and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size. Press down dough, divide in half and shape each piece to fit a lightly greased 9-inch loaf pan. Place dough in pans; cover and let rise for 1 hour. Heat oven 400F. Make 3 slash marks diagonally across each loaf. Bake loaves for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and internal temperature registers 200F on an instant read thermometer. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

 

Turning the Tables

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Team Saucy Mama

You all know how much I enjoy a good recipe competition. Well, recently the tables turned and I became a judge instead of a competitor. My favorite ladies at Saucy Mama sponsored a recipe contest looking for a third competitor to join us at the World Food Championships 2016. I was so very honored when they asked me to do some preliminary blind judging of the recipes they received in the categories of Bacon, Seafood, Steak and Burger.

2016-recipe-logo

 

So what was it like reading through many recipes, preparing them as written and then judging them? It was a real learning experience and it was fun, but I won’t lie I was harsh. As my kitchen got a work-out I was looking for the best of the best to represent this company that I love so much. I wanted the Saucy Mama flavors to shine without over powering the star of the dish. I wanted innovation and I wanted beauty. No doubt the flavors had to be balanced, but dance on my tongue. It was no easy task, but a few recipes did all those things and easily rose to the top of the list.

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Once the judging was complete it was great fun to learn whose recipe belonged to whom as the owners posted their recipes to their blogs and social media. Today, I want to share a few dishes that really highlighted Saucy Mama in a most innovative way. First up is Paula Todora’s Saucy Shrimp Pad Thai in Roasted Spaghetti Squash Boats with Candied Pecans. I love a good Pad Thai and Paula’s clever twist of using strands of spaghetti squash in place of noodles was not only delicious, but a refreshing healthy spin as well. Topped with some very flavorful candied pecans this recipe was one of my husband’s favorite recipes and I will be making it again. Maybe next time I will top it off with some fresh herbs. Well done, Paula. You can find her recipe here: twistedhomecooking.com

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Next up is Debbie Reid’s Grilled Steak Slices with Apricot Ginger Cream Sauce and Pacific Rim Ginger Fried Rice. Debbie’s quick and easy and super flavorful fried rice is out of this world delicious. Her innovative cooking method of adding one of my favorite Saucy Mama dressings to the rice cooking water completely eliminates the need to cook and cool the rice ahead of time. I prefer frozen peas to canned so that is the only change I will make going forward with this recipe. Check it out at debbiescookingaddiction.com

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Finally, and just to further illustrate how versatile Saucy Mama products are I just loved the pickled onions created by Areli Valles Biggers with her recipe Orange Habanero Tacos Al Pastor. I love topping a taco or a sandwich with pickled vegetables and Areli’s red onions are crisp tender and fully flavored with Saucy Mama’s Red Raspberry Vinaigrette, clove and Mexican oregano. The red onion color and flavor really pops from the red raspberry dressing. Areli does not have a blog, so here is her recipe.

Pickled Onions

2 cups water

½ cup Saucy Mama Raspberry Vinaigrette

3 whole cloves

1 tsp. Mexican Oregano

1 Pinch of salt

1 red onion (sliced)

In a small pan, combine water, Saucy Mama Raspberry Vinaigrette, cloves, oregano and salt. Mix well. Add red onion and let the mixture come to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn it off and remove from heat. Let onions cool, drain and refrigerate until ready to use.

Saucy Mama Products

you can buy on-line at www.barhyte.com

Back to judging as a learning experience. I have always appreciated a judge’s feedback following a contest. It has made me a better competitor. I think it is very important to share constructive criticism with contestants. So here is what I recommend when it comes to putting your best recipe down on paper or in this age the computer.

  • Please consider putting your ingredients in a list in order of use.
  • Check your ingredient list against your instructions and vice versa to insure all the ingredients are accounted for. Proofread!
  • Be detailed about the ingredient measurements. For example: an “8 ounce steak, cut 1-inch thick” tells exactly what a tester needs. Just an “8 ounce steak” comes in many shapes and thicknesses and leaves too much open to interpretation. Same thing when it comes to vegetables. Your idea of a large onion may be different than the tester, so be more specific and add a weight or measurement like this: “1 large onion, chopped (1 cup)”
  • Be detailed in your cooking times and temperatures. Give precise times and a visual for what “done” looks like and use an instant read thermometer, if you want your dish perfectly cooked by a recipe tester.
  • Take a critical look at your final presentation. Those small points for appearance can make all the difference in the world. Don’t forget a fitting and fresh garnish.

For the grand prize winning recipe check out Kim Banick’s  Orange Habanero Coconut Shrimp Po Boy Lettuce Cups with Spicy Orange Slaw and for the runner-up Veronica Callaghan’s Mini Chipotle-Lime Steak Tostadas with Pomegranate-Avocado Salsa and Poblano Ranch Sauce Try these stunning and prize worthy recipes to better understand why it was so deliciously awesome to be a judge. Welcome to Team Saucy Mama.

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Then this happened and the tables sure turned for me. Best prize ever!? You be the judge.

Two Roads, a Recipe & a Re-Blog

I published this blog one year ago today. While I prefer to bring you new content I think this is worth repeating.

Memorial Day

As always this page is dedicated to my son, but today my father, too. The two best heroes any girl could ask for.

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Before we get to the food let’s just take a moment to reflect on what the weekend is really about. God bless America, our fallen Veterans and their families. I hope you are gathering with your dearest friends and family this Memorial Day weekend.

Jezebel Salsa

Jezebel Salsa

Let’s continue on this path of Two Roads and A Recipe. This week we are making salsa. Not just any old tired tomato salsa, but Jezebel salsa. Jezebel??? Yes, Jezebel. You may have heard of the old southern Jezebel sauce typically served over cream cheese and crackers. It is a combination of pineapple preserves, apple jelly, dry mustard and horseradish; a favorite at church suppers and Jr. League cookbooks. My salsa is a fresh pineapple version of that sauce made easy and delicious with the addition of Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard. It packs a sweet heat that really compliments the pineapple and other fresh ingredients. This salsa is perfect served with grilled pork tenderloin marinated overnight in Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing or if you want to travel a different road and just hungry for a snack….go ahead and try it over cream cheese and crackers.

spread a cracker with your favorite soft cheese and top with some fresh Jezebel Salsa

spread a cracker with your favorite soft cheese and top with some fresh Jezebel Salsa

And/Or

Have a great cook-out this weekend

Have a great cook-out this weekend

Jezebel Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1-cup small dice fresh pineapple

1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Apricot Ginger Mustard

2 scallions, chopped

1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon, seeded, minced red serrano or jalapeno pepper*

4 fresh mint leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

In small bowl, combine pineapple and mustard stirring to coat pineapple with the mustard. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Serves 4.

*for those who don’t like heat use red bell pepper

Saucy Mama and fresh ingredients are a perfect combination

Saucy Mama and fresh ingredients are a perfect combination