Cayenne Caramel Popcorn

amazing cayenne caramel popcorn

Not at all a healthy way to start the day, but I like looking at this cheerful clump of popcorn while eating my breakfast oatmeal.  This popcorn is way too addictive to keep in the house so I brought a bag in to the office yesterday and it is ALL GONE.  The recipe is easy, made with ingredients you may have around the kitchen and makes a ton of caramel corn.

I followed this recipe to the letter and thought that the amount of caramel produced was way too much for the popcorn.  If you like popcorn completely slathered with caramel, feel free to use all of the caramel.  I ended up using half the caramel and stuck the (ovensafe) pot in a 200F oven to keep it warm and quickly popped another batch of popcorn on the stove and poured the rest of the caramel on top.

Sweet and salty with a subtle spice coming in at the end.  Dangerous snacking food.

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True Grit Cornbread Muffins

We’ve been invited to an Oscar party where the hostess wanted folks to bring food or beverages inspired by the Best Picture nominees this year.  I decided to make “True Grit” Cornbread Muffins and they are spicy, moist and delicious.

I used a basic cornbread recipe and added jalapenos, some grated pepperjack and cheddar cheese we had in the freezer, nutritional yeast flakes (found in the cupboard while cleaning) and chopped sundried tomatoes.

True Grit Cornbread Muffins
(makes about22 muffins)

  • 3 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk, soured milk or a mix of milk and yogurt
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

To Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Mix together all of the dried ingredients from the top of the list  in a large bowl.
  3. Mix up the wet ingredients in another or use a blender.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in the liquid with a few quick strokes.  Don’t over beat!
  5. Add in the jalapenos, cheese and sundried tomatoes and mix.
  6. Pour into greased or lined muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  7. Serve as an appetizer, eat for breakfast with some eggs, crumble over chili or soup or just munch on one as a snack.

Noodles for Chinese New Year

Hello Year of the Rabbit!  Instead of ordering takeout on Saturday, we made our own whole wheat noodles and made a stir fry with tofu, carrots, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.  Delicious, nutritious and relatively easy.


Whole Wheat Tortillas

Wanting to have some Mexican food the other night, we realized we were just about out of the huge bag of masa harina we bought a long time ago.  What a great buy.  Instead, we attempted whole wheat tortillas that came out great!  Definitely an easy recipe to pull together and try out and better (again) than store bought.

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups  whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons (1-1/4 ounces) canola oil
  • 2/3 – 1/2 cup warm water

To Do:

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl and mix together.  Add the oil and 2/3 cup of warm water. and mix well, using your hands if you want.  Add more water if the mixture is too dry – whole wheat flour has a different moisture content than regular flour.  You want the dough to knead into a ball that is slightly sticky to touch.
  2. Put a bit of oil in a bowl, put the ball of dough in the bowl and cover.  Let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times and then take off golf ball sized pieces and roll each into a ball.  Place on a baking sheet, cover and let them rest for 20 minutes.
  4. Roll out each ball into a thin circle (use a floured rolling pin) or use a tortilla press.  Either roll them out in advance and keep them covered or roll each one out as another cooks in the skillet.
  5. Heat an ungreased cast iron or other heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook the tortilla on one side for about a minute and flip, cooking the other side for another minute.  Wrap tortilla in a cotton dish towel.  Repeat until you have no more tortillas.
  6. Eat immediately or store in an airtight ziplock bag.  They freeze well too!

Maple Glazed Carrots and Currants

Wanting to make something beyond a another carrot slaw (which we both love), I decided to try my hand at some glazed carrots and they came out great!  Very simple and you only need a few ingredients – this is a lovely side dish for cold nights.

Maple Glazed Carrots and Currants

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (use as much or as little as you like)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut on the diagnal
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • bit of wine, stock or water
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • handful of currants
  • salt to taste

To Do:

  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and add the carrots when hot.  Stir briskly, lower heat and cover for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the shallots and the other liquid (wine or what have you) and cover for a few more minutes.  I just poured a bit of wine (maybe 1/4 cup) and gave it all a good stir.  I wanted the carrots crisp, not mush.
  3. Add the maple syrup (honey would probably make a good substitute) and the currants.  Stir again until liquid is almost dissolved and carrots have a shiny, bright orange color.
  4. Serve!

Buttery Egg Noodles w/Parsley and Veggie Sausage

The sausage goes in a spending update (soon to come)!  Since we had a bunch of egg noodles leftover from making soup, I thought to use them a bit differently.  This dish is very easy, quick and tasty – all good things for a weeknight meal.

Buttery Egg Noodles w/Parsley & Veggie Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dried egg noodles
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter (depends on how much butter you feel like)
  • 2 veggie sausages, sliced

To Do:

  1. Liberally salt and pour olive oil into a large pot full of water and set it to boil.  Add egg noodles.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat some olive oil in a small pan over medium heat and saute the garlic for two minutes.  Add sausage slices and cook until evenly browned.
  3. Egg noodles should be done in about 7-8 minutes (al dente).  Drain and reserve a bit of the cooking liquid.  Put pasta back in the pot and add butter, parsley, the garlic and sausage and mix well.  Add a bit of the pasta water if it looks too dry or add more butter!
  4. If you’ve got some breadcrumbs or Parmesan or Pecorino, liberally sprinkle on top.  A spritz of lemon juice isn’t a bad idea either.  Serve!