Monday, November 9, 2015

Donut Holes with Jam & Creme

A few weekends ago, we went to the apple orchard with some friends. After filling a sac with juicy Winesaps (and taking more photos than we could count), we stopped at the orchard shop and picked up a few extra goodies.  Per our tradition, we chose a couple jams from the monumental display.  This year, we settled on strawberry rhubarb, among others.  For the last few weeks, the jar of SR jam had been staring me down from the kitchen counter, so I finally opened it up.  Instead of smearing it on a slice of trust toast, I wanted something different, something satiating and sweet.  I landed on donuts.

Reminiscent of jelly-stuffed donuts, these simple donut holes are light as air and when swooped through a trail of strawberry rhubarb jam and vanilla creme, they're to-die-for.

Donut Holes with Jam & Creme

1 Tube Unbaked Biscuits
2 C. Vegetable Oil
1/4 C. Strawberry & Rhubarb Jam
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Vanilla Creme (recipe follows)
Powdered Sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium low heat.

Open the tube of unbaked biscuits and using scissors, cut each biscuit into quarters.  Roll the dough quarters into balls and set aside.  When your  vegetable oil reaches 350 degrees, lower the heat and carefully drop a couple dough balls into the oil.  They will cook very quickly, so be prepared to scoop them out as soon as they turn a golden brown.

Place each golden ball onto a baking sheet.  Once you've fried all the balls, place them in the oven for 4-5 minutes.  Remove the balls when they have cooked all the way through.  (You can test this by cutting one of them open.  You want the dough to be fully cooked).

Dust the balls with powdered sugar.

Squeeze some lemon juice into the jam and stir to thin it out.  This makes dipping easier.  Arrange your plate with smears of jam and vanilla creme.   Place donuts on top of the sauces.  Enjoy.

Vanilla Creme

1 Packet of Vanilla Pudding
2 C. Milk
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1 T. Bourbon

Add the vanilla pudding packet to the milk and whisk for 2 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract and the bourbon and whisk until fully combined.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap so that it touches the surface of the pudding* and refrigerate for 2 hours, or until thick.  Thin with milk as needed.

*This prevents a skin from forming on your pudding.

Christian and me at the orchard.  Does anyone send out Fall cards?  We may have to now...

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer Corn Salad

This weekend, I ventured to a wondrous farmer's market in Clintonville.  Carts upon stalls upon tents of plump, fresh produce glistened in the morning sun.  Large slabs of local meats and bratwurst contrasted against colorful, country bouquets of wildflowers, sunflowers and poppies, all of which were proudly presented by friendly farmers, eager to share their wares.  I sampled my way through in the true O'Gara way, trying cheeses and dips and even a raspberry dragonfruit soda (a must at my next dinner party).  Christian and I allotted ourselves a whopping $20 and filled our sack with all kinds of goodies, including cherry tomatoes, heirlooms, blackberries and whiskey peppercorn sausages.  With our last $1.50, we even bought a few flowers that are sitting happily on our bar.  We've already decided we're going back again on Saturday.

With our finds at the market, a few stragglers in the fridge and some herbs from our balcony, I made a simple summer salad of corn, tomato, onion, mint & feta.  This summer salad is fresh and bright, healthy and local.  Make this your side dish the next time your grill this season for a delicious, seasonal treat.

Summer Corn Salad

2 Ears of Corn, shucked
1/2 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes, preferably the multicolored kind
1/4 of a Red Onion
1/3 C. Feta Cheese, crumbled
10 Mint Leaves
Olive Oil
Apple Cider Vinegar

Turn on the grill to medium high heat.  

Generously drizzle the corn with olive oil, salt & pepper.  Grill over medium high heat until many of the kernels have turned golden.  Carefully slice the kernels off the cob and into a large bowl, making sure to collect any milk from the cob.  *SEE TIP BELOW.

Halve your cherry tomatoes and toss them in with the corn.  Thinly slice the red onion and add to the tomatoes and corn.  

Add the feta, a drizzle of olive oil and a tiny splash of vinegar.  Quickly toss the veggies and feta in the oil and vinegar, so they are evenly coated.  

Holding the mint leaves in the palm of your hand, clap your other hand on top, smashing the mint leaves between your palms.  This will release their oils and add fragrance to your salad.  Sprinkle the leaves on top of the salad.  


To slice the kernels off the corn cob, place a small bowl upside down in a large bowl.  Stand the corn vertically on the base of the small bowl.  Carefully, slice down the side of the cob, letting the kernels cascade into the bowl.  Then, take the back of your knife and scrape the cob in a downward motion, to collect all of the milk left in the cob.  Remove the small bowl and voila!  You've got a bunch of fresh corn in your bowl and a clean station.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Breakfast Tacos

Despite it being the most important meal of the day, I rarely get hungry early enough to enjoy breakfast.  Except, that is, on the weekends.  I love waking up lazily, when my body has rested of its own accord.  I'll boil some water on the stove (we don't have a microwave in the new apartment), grind some coffee beans and brew a cup of joe before heading out to our balcony.  It's truly the perfect way to greet the day.

In contrast to my tardy appetite, moments after Christian wakes up, he's ready for breakfast.  So, once that coffee has trickled through my veins, we pillage the fridge for eggs, breakfast meat and whatever else we can whip into a worthy meal.  Breakfast tacos have been a recent favorite.  Quick, versatile and flavorful, these breakfast tacos are a great way to transform those last bits of ingredients in the fridge into a simple, delicious meal.

Breakfast Tacos

The Tacos:
4 Small, White Corn Tortillas
1/4 lb. Spicy Breakfast Sausage
4 Eggs
1/4 C. Chihuahua or Feta Cheese
Crema (Recipe Follows)
The Green (Parsley or Cilantro)

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Cook the breakfast sausage, breaking it into small crumbles until it's brown and crispy and cooked through.  Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.

Over an open flame, carefully heat your tortillas to give them that authentic char.  Flip with tongs so both sides brown.  If you don't have a gas range, just warm them up so they're pliable and don't crack when you fold them.

Cook your eggs any way you like.  I like mine over-medium.

To assemble your tacos, place an egg on each tortilla.  Sprinkle with the crumbled sausage.  Spoon the crema over each taco.  Top with cheese and the green.  Serve with rice.

The Crema:
1/4 C. Sour Cream
1/4 C. Tomatillo Salsa
The Green (Parsley or Cilantro)

For the crema, blend together the sour cream, salsa and the green.