Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple Fennel Salad

I love the colors in this salad.

We are wrapping up our garden, there is not too much left in there at this point of the season. Although yesterday I went and pulled some of my fennel out, so I could make a salad with it. This is the first year that we have grown the stuff.

Actually when I think about it I really had not heard of fennel before I started this blog. Well maybe I had heard of fennel, because I know that Italian sausage has fennel seeds in it. But I don't think I knew that there was a part of the fennel plant that you could eat.

Well back to the fennel in my garden. The bulbs did not get as big as they should have, but I know that was partially my fault. I had too many plants growing in a too small of an area, so the bulbs could not develop correctly.

So when I decided that I was going to try it I had to use a few bulbs instead of just one like the recipe suggested.

I decided to make a salad for my first time using fennel. I have read on a few blogs that fennel makes a tasty salad. And since I had other things in the oven I decided that roasting was not the way to go with it for the day.

To my surprise we enjoyed this salad. I was not sure about my guys, because they are quite fussy when it comes to their vegetable and greens. But they ate it and they did not complain, so that is a good thing.

I loved the apple in the recipe. Although the recipe called for a tart apple (Granny Smith) I decided to go with red delicious, since that is what I had at home. I like the sweetness of the apple in this salad, so when I make it again I think I will stick with the sweet apples instead of the tart ones.

The recipe called for the salad to be seasoned with salt and pepper, which I forgot to do. When I mentioned this to my guys they told me that they did not want to add any. I agreed with them, after tasting the salad I too thought it did not need the salt and pepper.

Apple Fennel Salad (Source: Slightly adapted from Purple Foodie)
1 fennel bulb
1 red delicious apple
1 handful of greens
2 to 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons roasted walnuts
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Cut the fennel bulb in half (vertically) Once you have it cut in half remove the hard core and throw it away.
2. After the core is removed place the cut bulb on a cutting board the cut side down. Slice the bulb into thin slices (as thin as possible) starting at the base.
3. Next cut the apple in half and remove the core. Slice the apple into thin slices.
4. Add the fennel, apples, the handful of greens, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese to a bowl, toss together.
5. In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Pour over the salad and toss.
6. You can garnish with additional walnuts and Parmesan cheese if desired.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pretzel Crusted Fourless Brownies

Sweet and salty!

I remember watching one of Dr. Oz's shows some time ago. He was talking about people's cravings. He talked about people that crave salty foods, people that crave sweet foods, and then people that crave salty and sweet foods.

I fall in the last category. For as long as I can remember I have loved eating salty and sweet foods. The combination of salty and sweet is wonderful... love the combination of chocolate and potato chips or in this case pretzels and chocolate.

I was craving chocolate last weekend and something salty to go along with the chocolate. Well I knew that I had some pretzels in the pantry and brownies were calling my name. I love making flourless chocolate cakes so I decided to make the brownie part of this recipe flourless.

It's amazing how dense and fudgy these flourless brownies are. The pretzel crust gave a nice crunch and a bit of that salty flavor to go along with the chocolate. This certainly took care of my cravings. Oh, yeah I topped the whole thing with a bit of caramel sauce.

Pretzel Crusted Flourless Brownies
Pretzel crust-
1 1/4 cup crushed pretzels
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for the top
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
2. Combine the crushed pretzel with the 1/4 cup sugar and mix well. Add the 6 tablespoons of melted butter and mix until all combined.
3. Press into an 8 x 8 pan. Place in the preheat oven and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and set on cooling rack.
4. While the crust is baking to a small sauce pan add a stick of butter (1/2 cup) along with the cup of chocolate chips, stirring occasionally.
5. In a small bowl add the 4 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, baking soda, and salt, whisk all together.
6. Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate and butter. Mix together until well blended.
7. Pour over the pretzel crust and place back into the oven. Continue to bake for another 45 to 50 minutes or until the edges are firm and the center is set.
8. Remove from oven and top with additional chocolate chips. They will melt onto the brownies. Let the brownies cool on a cooling rack
9. To make the caramel add the 2 12 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup, 2 tablespoons cream to a small sauce and heat over medium heat to it starts to boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for about another 10 minutes.
es, the caramel with start to thicken. Remove from the heat and blend in the vanilla.
10. Once the brownies are cooled, drizzle the caramel sauce over the brownies.
11. You can serve with a bit of vanilla ice cream. Oh, yum!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Green Peppers

Stuffed green pepper... a perfect way to use your extra peppers from the garden.

In my last post I had mentioned that my garden did not do well this summer. I usually do some canning; I love making homemade spaghetti sauce and salsa. My sister's tomatoes produced a lot so she was kind enough to give me tomatoes so that I could can spaghetti sauce and salsa.

Since we didn't have enough green peppers either, we picked some up at a local garden center. They are family owned and sell plants in the springtime and vegetables and fruits that are locally grown in the fall. They had a great price on their green peppers.

So naturally we bought too many. So what do you do when you have too many green peppers? You make stuffed green peppers, of course.

I decided to go with a chicken filling instead of the one that I would normally make with ground beef. We loved it. It is a great way to use up extra green pepper, from the garden or if you bought too many.

Cheesy Chicken Stuffed Green Peppers
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of cooked chicken diced or shredded
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more to top the peppers with
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
4 large green peppers, washed, the tops cut of and the seeds and
1. In a large skillet melt the butter and add the flour. Stir until the flour is mixed in with the butter and is thick. Stir in the broth and the milk bring to a boil and reduce heat, cook until becomes thickened. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Add the sour cream and blend in. Add the chicken, rice, salsa, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, and onion powder. Mix until well blended. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
3. Take your pepper after they have been washed and insides cleaned out; fill them until they are full with the chicken mixture.
4. Place them in a baking dish that has been sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Top with additional cheese.
5. Place in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degree F. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned and the center is heated through.