Monday, March 16, 2015

Irish Colcannon & Apple Cupcakes with Whiskey Glaze

This weekend, we celebrated St. Patty's Day with a number of close friends. It started as a casual afternoon get-together and somewhere throughout the course of the evening, the living room exploded into a raging dance floor. Leave it to us to help the Irish celebrate with some damn good song and dance. Luckily, we had filled up on Irish favorites earlier in the day, including bangers and Colcannon, and apple cupcakes with whiskey frosting. Give these recipes a try for an easy jump start to your St. Patty's Day! 

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of mashed potatoes stuffed with cabbage. My version uses kale and green onions along with thyme butter. It's hearty and comforting and a perfect way to kick off St. Patty's day. 

8 Russet Potatoes, skin on
1.5 C. Kale, stems removed
1 T. Olive oil
6 green onions, diced
3/4 C. Sour cream
1 stick of Butter, at room temp
1/4 C. Milk
2 T. Thyme

Place the potatoes in a large pot filled with enough water to cover the potatoes. Place the pot over high heat and bring to a rapid boil. When a fork can easily be inserted into the potatoes, carefully remove them and transfer them to a large boil. 

Bring the pot of water back to a boil and add the kale. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the kale is a bright green. Remove from the heat and drain. 

In a small boil, combine the butter and thyme. Set aside until ready to serve. 

Using a potato masher, crush the potatoes until they are a smooth consistency. (Don't use a hand mixer or you'll end up with gummy potatoes). 

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Drizzle with olive oil and when it glistens, add 3/4 of the green onion. Sauté until lightly browned. Add to the potatoes, along with the sour cream and kale. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. 

To serve, form a nest with the colcannon with a well in the center. Add a tablespoon of thyme butter into the well and allow it to melt. Garnish with the remaining green onion. Serve with bangers. 

Apple Cupcakes with Whiskey Glaze

Your favorite white or yellow cake batter (shh...I used a box)
1.5 apples, cored and diced
1 T. Cinnamon
1 pinch of nutmeg
2 C. Powdered sugar
3 T whiskey

Preheat the oven to 350.
Add the apples, cinnamon and nutmeg to the cake batter. Toss to combine.
Fill the cupcake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing the cupcakes from the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and whiskey. Stir with a fork until smooth. You may need to adjust the amount of sugar or whiskey. Just remember, a little bit of liquid goes a looong way!
Drizzle the cooled cupcakes with the glaze. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ohio Nachos with Blue Alfredo

One of the first foods I tried after moving to Columbus, Ohio, was "Ohio Nachos."  Unlike typical nachos, the Ohio version uses potato chips and a creamy blue cheese sauce. My version includes colorful vegetable chips and smoked blue cheese. Crunchy, smokey and bright, this dish is a unique, easy, scrumptious, happy hour snack. 

Vegetable chips
8 oz. of your favorite Alfredo sauce
6 oz. smoked blue cheese (creamy is best), divided
2 T. Fresh Parsley
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350.  Place the chips on a cookie sheet, place in the oven and warm briefly.
Add 4 oz. of the blue cheese to the Alfredo sauce.  Stir to combine.   Warm the sauce over low heat on the stove or in increments of 30 seconds in the microwave until the sauce is bubbly and the blue cheese has been incorporated.  Add the parsley and nutmeg.  (The nutmeg helps cut the richness).

Plate up your chips and carefully pour the blue alfredo on top.  Sprinkle with the remaining blue cheese.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Roasted Corn Pancakes with Bourbon Pulled Pork & Slaw

Dear fellow foodies, please help me in celebrating Natural Sugar's 100th post!  On such a special occasion, I thought I'd share a recipe with you that brings back one of my best memories from 2014.  Back in September, Christian and I threw a little dinner party.  It was meant to be a quiet dinner for 6 of our close friends.  It bloomed into a dinner extravaganza of 14 to celebrate the end of summer.  It.  was.  fantastic.  Great company combined with delicious food and wine plus wonderful conversation made it a total success.  

Today's recipe is the entree we served at our party:  Roasted Corn Pancakes with Bourbon Pulled Pork, Fresh Veggie Slaw and Spiced Popcorn.  It's a mouthful, literally.  It has several components and takes some time, but I promise you it's worth it!  This dish is whimsical, satiating and full of robust, fresh flavors.  The Roasted Corn Pancakes are soft and savory, the perfect pillow to catch the drippings of the sweet and smokey Bourbon Pulled Pork.  The Fresh Veggie Slaw adds bright flavors and the Spiced Popcorn finishes the dish off with a fun crunch.  Give it a try on a day when you've got time to spend in the kitchen.  You won't be disappointed.  

Roasted Corn Pancakes

1 C. Fresh corn, off the cobb (or frozen)
Olive Oil
Your favorite pancake batter

Preheat the oven to broil.  Spread out the corn onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with S&P.  Toss to coat.  Broil until corn is golden brown.  

Fold the roasted corn and S&P into the pancake batter.  

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Ladle a spoonful of the pancake batter into the skillet.  Cook the pancake until bubbles form or until the bottom turns golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook until the other side is golden, about 1 more minute.  Remove from heat.  Repeat with all pancakes.  

Bourbon Pulled Pork

1 lb. Pork Tenderloin (flavored is fine - go for teriyaki or garlic)
Olive Oil
1/2 Red Onion, sliced
1/2 C. Bourbon, divided (I like Bulleit)
Scant 1/4 C. Brown Sugar

Heat a medium skillet over high heat.  Drizzle olive oil.  When it glistens and the pan is very hot, add the pork tenderloin.  Sear on all sides.  Transfer to a slow cooker.  Add onions to the skillet with about 1/8 C. of the bourbon.  Cook for 3 minutes.  Transfer the onions and bourbon juice into the slow cooker.  Add the remaining bourbon, brown sugar and S&P.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the pork is cooked through and pulls apart easily with a fork.  Do not overcook.

Fresh Veggie Slaw

1/2 Yellow Pepper
1/2 Red Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
1 C. Fresh Corn
Cilantro, chopped
1 T. Vinegar (optional)

Thinly slice the peppers and onion and transfer to a medium bowl.  Add the corn and cilantro, S&P and vinegar.  Toss to combine.  

Spiced Popcorn

1 C. Popped Popcorn
Sprinkle of paprika
Sprinkle of cinnamon

To serve, top the roasted corn pancakes with bourbon pulled pork, fresh slaw and popcorn.  

Corn Three Ways:  Roasted, Fresh & Popped

Deepest apologies for such a long delay since my last post.  Since August, my life has completely filled up!  Huge back-to-back work projects + wonderful boyfriend + weekends chock full of fun = no time to talk about and take good pictures of food.  These great pieces of life continue still, but it's about time I jumped back into talking about, eating and photographing one of my favorite things:  FOOD!