Autumn Biscuits: Candied Sweet Potatoes Biscuits

Candied sweet potato biscuits might be my best biscuit creation to date. When Retro Rose made these candied sweet potatoes the other day, I kept thinking they would be great in a biscuit. I know I’ve already made sweet potato biscuits in the past, but these are candied sweet potato biscuits, using left over candied sweet potatoes, that are soaking in brown sugar, buttery syrup. So good, you might just eat them for dessert.

This is the story of practice makes perfect and taking on something in the kitchen that I used to be terrible at. Now I can make a biscuit blind folded and without a recipe. But fret not, I have a recipe and I know it works. My readers tell me that my biscuit recipe makes them look like a genius. This is what I like to hear, because there are some bad biscuit recipes out there and what I call the biscuit scare.

My own mother in law has stayed scared because the reputation of her mother’s biscuits was too hard to compete with. Her mother never taught her what to do, probably to save time, but how sad is that? Had she started at a young enough age where mistakes are expected, she would have been able to make biscuits long after she left her mother’s home to live her own life. As my husband remembers the biscuits made on the wood burning stove, the memory probably embellishes that biscuit a bit. After all, they have to taste amazing just because they woke up in a cold house and couldn’t wait to get to that kitchen and warm up with a hot breakfast.  It probably doesn’t get much better than waking up to  hot biscuits, homemade jam and honey. Oh I’m sure the biscuits were all that and more, but good memories tend to increase in speed as the years go by for fear of losing them.

Autumn Biscuits: Candied Sweet Potato Biscuits

This was the very reason I asked my mom to show me how to make her candied sweet potatoes. They are a memory to hold onto, and she is just as well known for her candied sweet potatoes in her circle, as my husband’s grandmother was known for her biscuits.

As I listened to his description of the biscuit, I set out to find my own way to bring that memory back, while creating something of my very own. The biscuit has to be fluffy, yet golden, and I’ve been successful with this recipe, even though I improved the technique here.

The best way to make candied sweet potato biscuits is with left over candied sweet potatoes, which have been made cold. When added to my basic recipe, they need nothing more than a bit of butter, but honey is always a good idea. I make these quite small because the recipe will yield more and on a holiday, such as Thanksgiving, small is the perfect size. You can make the sweet potatoes in advance using my recipe or use your own. Avoid using any marshmallow in the biscuit if you can, though, as it might cause the biscuits to burn.

sweetpotatobiscuits

Do you have something you remember that you wish you could make? Let me encourage you to do it. It only takes practice. Perfection never happens at the first take. Be patient with your cooking skills and believe in yourself. I took a chance making candied sweet potato biscuits and they turned out wonderfully, so take some kitchen chances. I’d love to hear about them.

Autumn Biscuits with Candied Sweet Potatoes for a Thanksgiving Dinner
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Candied sweet potato biscuits have become a new tradition for Fall and Holiday time, fluffy and sweet.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold candied sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups soft wheat flour (all purpose Lilly White)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • ¾ cups full fat buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Put flour in bowl. I make my biscuits in a wide bottomed wooden bowl.
  2. Add baking powder, salt, sugar.
  3. Add in butter, mixing with hands or cut in with a pastry cutter.
  4. Mash sweet potatoes.
  5. Add in sweet potatoes, mix with a wooden spoon or your hands.
  6. Add buttermilk. Dough will appear too wet at first, but you will be able to pat down to approximately an 8 inch disc.
  7. Using a biscuit cutter, cut biscuits. Put into cast iron griddle or frying pan, touching. You can also use a baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Notes
You can use my candied sweet potato recipe or just use your own left over candied sweet potatoes.

 

Posted in Biscuits, Bread Recipes, Holiday Recipes, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Cork & Cow: Fine Dining in Franklin, Tennessee

Cork & Cow by Angela Roberts

Great food is what Jason McConnell is known for. He has etched out culinary fame in downtown Franklin with three restaurants a stone’s throw from each other, and they are all good. The Red Pony is upscale casual with a great bar that you can eat. 55 South is super casual with Cajun bent and great oysters. The Cork and Cow is probably a little more special occasion, although if I could I’d eat there all the time.

Cork & Cow stands out not just from the other venues, but from all Williamson County restaurants. While most of our restaurants give homage to the South and lean heavily in Southern themed food, the Cork and Cow takes us closer to Napa Valley in food and wine.

As of this writing, the Cork and Cow tops my list for fine dining in Williamson County.

It’s beautiful, cozy, intimate, has amazing steak, salads, greens, oysters, wine, service, and a few surprises. I never thought I would see bracciole on a menu in downtown Franklin, prepared better than I’ve ever had it.

At first, it didn’t make sense to me to have a more rustic Italian dish in a fine dining restaurant as the special, as it’s a rolled steak with breadcrumbs, parmesan and they added in a red pepper sauce that was surprisingly good, adding complexity to a simple dish. You can also find gnocchi, caprese salad, and wagyu meatball appetizer. The Cork and Cow may be known for steak and wine, but its Italian dishes are superb.

Our table was peppered with surf and turf  (lobster and filet) and dry aged New York Strip steak, all perfectly done, yet I kept taking bites of that bracciole.

We started with drinks before we moved to wine. The drinks are interesting and balanced and the wine list makes the “cork” of cork and cow proud.

Cork and Cow by Angela Roberts

Cork and Cow in Franklin by Angela Roberts

Grand Sapphire -House infused rosemary gin, Grand Marnier, fresh lemon, vanilla bean, agave nectar

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The starters were memorable. I’ve had red beet salad many places over the last few years, and this was the best one to date, and I was sorry we were sharing because I wanted it all to myself.

_Cork and Cow Restaurant in Franklin by Angela Roberts

The side of green beans (a modern take on green bean casserole) made with fried shallots and crispy beans is a must order.

Cork & Cow

Surf and turf was another special of the night. It takes me back to a time when men wore suit jackets out at restaurants, and people ordered food with gusto.

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This is the restaurant elegant enough for a woman, yet the menu is man food with finesse.

I like things that are retro and mad man like (big hair and dresses).  Thus, it’s fitting that I ordered an old fashioned and an aged New York strip steak.The steaks are oak and hickory grilled and there is quite a variety, including their signature tomahawk, a little too big for me. Each steak can be accompanied by tempura lobster, Maine lobster, scallops, traditional Oscar, or grilled shrimp. There are also flavor options such as gorgonzola horseradish or black truffle butter. I opted for the default lemon butter and sea salt. Honestly, I though the steak was so good, it didn’t need butter.

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Reservations are required, but I also observed some more casual diners eating at the bar.

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The most striking part of the decor is this tufted green booth. The interior designer of Cork and Cow deserves a toast for their whimsy, drama and comfort, rolled into one.

Cork and Cow by Angela Roberts

The Cork & Cow is located in downtown Franklin, that small, quaint (rich) little town just south of Nashville and still considered kinda sorta part of the greater Nashville experience. If you live in Nashville, you’ll come visit a few times a year just to walk around during the various festivals. If you’re a tourist, you have to put downtown Franklin on your list of things to see and do. I live six miles from downtown and feel blessed to live so close to such a charming town. 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, a pinnacle Civil War batter. You can visit three historic and remarkable places which will bring that battle to life.  The Lotz House, the Carter House and the Carnton Plantation. You will get to visit a real mansion of a man who built his home without slaves, (Lotz House), the Carter House, who’s backyard hosted the battle, and the Carnton Plantation, that was turned into a hospital and sits adjacent to a civil war ceremony.

You could spend the day touring one or all three of these, walk around the town, and have a wonderful, elegant, hardy steak dinner at the Cork and Cow.

The Cork and Cow is located at 403 Main Street, Franklin, TN.

Cork & Cow on Urbanspoon

Posted in All Things Nashville and Franklin, Nashville Restaurants, Restaurants - Food Events | 4 Comments

Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe by Angela Roberts

September is birthday month, and it starts with my friend’s birthday that unfortunately falls on 9-11. For the past 13 years, she can count on memorial services and newscasts that will remind us of a day that forever changed the way we view the day she was born. I like to think of this day more as the day we change over to Fall flavors and dinners.

We started the meal with this homemade beef pie, her favorite. Retro Rose made the beef stew and I made the pie crust. Everyone had at least two helpings, and we all stopped ourselves because the cake was waiting for us.

Such a day deserves a special cake and it’s been a tradition to have a special dinner and cake at my house, with party hats, balloons and festivity, even as she’s crossed the 40 mark. One year we had this Southern Coconut Cake that keeps showing up everywhere on Pinterest. Last year, we rang in her 40th with this maple cake with maple bacon frosting, another good choice for Fall. This year, I felt a bit baked out and wanted to order a cake, but at the last minute I discovered this Pumpkin cake just as the weather took a nice cool turn.

Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Maple Frositng by Angela Roberts

If you’re thinking about cake for your Fall Holiday, this Pumpkin cake with pumpkin maple cream cheese frosting is the only recipe you will need.

I found the cake part of the recipe over at Spicy Perspective and I knew immediately I had found the one I was looking for. Her version is triple layer and uses nuts and different frosting recipe. I created the pumpkin maple frosting, but either cake would be fantastic, depending on your mood.

This is the kind of cake that as soon as the you get near the last piece, you want to make it all over again.  The original recipe makes enough for three full layers. I made two layers, but in looking back, I should have made three. All you will need to do to alter the recipe is add 1/3 more ingredients and that’s easy enough to do.  The thing you will love most about this cake is how moist it is and how balanced the flavors are.

So tell me, are you more likely to eat pumpkin pie or pumpkin cake?

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Pumpkin Cake with Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A moist pumpkin cake with a spiced pumpkin maple frosting adapted from A Spicy Perspective Recipe.
Ingredients
Pumpkin Spice Cake (2 Layer) Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice (optional)
  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups of pumpkin puree
Pumpkin Maple Frosting Ingredients
  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon maple extract or 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (skip vanilla)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice or Pumpkin Pie Mix
  • 1 pure maple syrup or ¼ teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅓ cup pumpkin
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
Pumpkin Spice Cake Instructions
  1. Mix first six ingredients together with a whisk. Sift. Set aside.
  2. Mix sugars together. Add melted butter.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add vanilla.
  5. Alternately, add flour mixture and pumpkin mixture, finishing with flour.
  6. Prepare two 9 inch baking pans with butter and flour.
  7. Pour evenly into pans (I use a scale).
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
Pumpkin Maple Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions
  1. Whip together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add pumpkin and maple extract.
  3. Add in vanilla.
  4. Add spice to the pumpkin puree.
  5. Add confectioner's sugar a cup at a time.
  6. Whip until thoroughly mixed together.
Assemble
  1. Cool Cake completely. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  2. Frost with crumb frosting, barely skimming the cake.
  3. Freeze each cake again for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Frost cake. Put one inch high of frosting on first layer. Place second layer on top. Frost cake.
  5. Refrigerate.
  6. Take out 30 minutes prior to serving.

 

Posted in Cake Recipes, Dessert Recipes, Holiday Recipes, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe

Healthy Zucchini Bread by Angela Roberts

This healthy zucchini bread recipe takes us right from summer to the Fall baking season, as smell of cinnamon and nutmeg take over. Pies go bye bye (for a while) and the oven gets ready for cake and those good smells wafting through the house.

Quick breads are always tricky for me, because they can get a bit dense. It took me a while to find this amazing banana nut bread recipe and a few tries to get this healthier version of zucchini bread where I wanted it.

In my last post, I talked about taking kitchen risks and being willing to fail. Let me tell you, I failed the first few times I attempted to develop this, and I’m a good baker. The problem I faced was getting it sweet enough to taste like that sweet, moist zucchini bread you can get at the Farmer’s market. I’m convinced those quick breads have way more sugar than I want to know about.

Healthy Zucchini Bread2 by Angela Roberts

I ended up using spelt flour, which I believe bakes up beautifully, adding carrots in for sweetness, adding much more zucchini than most recipes and limiting the pure cane sugar. While there are lots of sweetening alternatives out there, I haven’t found one I’m in love with. I think the better solution is training the taste buds to desire a less sweet taste, more like the European cakes. I’m not into splenda or those types of alternatives, and agave is no better than regular sugar. I did add in some honey, which I’ll always be a fan of.

So tell me, are you looking for healthy ways to bake? If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Healthy version of zucchini bread with honey, carrots, zucchini, whole wheat flour
Ingredients
  • 2¼ spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pure cane sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅔ cups olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 zucchini (between 12-16 ounces), grated
  • 2 small carrots, grated
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together well with a whisk. Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  2. Beat eggs.
  3. Add sugar to eggs.
  4. Add oil to sugar egg mixture.
  5. Add vanilla to same mixture.
  6. Mix dry and wet ingredients together, gently.
  7. Add in zucchini and carrots.
  8. Chop and toast walnuts either in oven for 3 minutes or on top of stove.
  9. Mix in walnuts. As an option, mix walnuts with a little brown sugar and add to the top of the bread before baking.
  10. Grease the baking pan and sprinkle sugar or flour. Another option is to put parchment paper on bottom of the dish.
  11. Bake at 350 for 45 -55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

Posted in Bread Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe

Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe by Angela Roberts

I was talking to a friend who interviews people on video for a local on-line media publication. She had no experience when she started, but she accepted the challenge and went ahead and said yes.

She could have failed. Most people aren’t that great behind the camera, and even if they are, they don’t have the finesse it takes to interview people. She discovered she had a talent for this, a real talent she never knew she had.

I liken her style to that of Johnny Carson. A genius at not making the interview about him, Johnny knew how to keep the spotlight on the star. Some of the best known interviewers of the last few decades have not been able to master that, and they have had training and experience. My friend possesses this quality naturally. Over the last year, her natural skill has been polished. No one is perfectly perfect at first, but that learning curve often stops people and they never discover who they are or what they are capable of.

The secret in unleashing secret talents, skills, gems, surprises is to venture forth and try new things without concern of the outcome. Most of us are afraid to fiddle with recipes or break new ground, for fear of failure. Be sure of this. Success only comes from embracing failure, even if it’s the failure in your head.  There is a tipping point where failure fades and success increases. Most people can’t handle failure and they stop before the tipping point. Even in cooking simple food, people become afraid.

Not afraid to put a spin on a classic, I developed a Ground Beef Stroganoff recipe with a twist for saving time and pots. I used no boil lasagna noodles. Of course, you can use buttered noodles, (recipe coming), but we loved the way the noodles got crunchy on top.

Ground beef is quite a departure in this dish, but an easy and delicious one. The fat from the ground beef will bring great flavor, as well as the Worcestershire, onions, garlic and mushrooms, thyme and parsley.  The best part, the sour cream, brings the comfort factor.

While this almost seems like one of those hamburger helper recipes, it’s not. It’s much better, but it’s just as quick. This is not processed food. It’s whole food, made fresh. You can, of course, sub any noodle (even gluten free) or go completely grain free. It’s all still good food.

I’ve made Ground Beef Stroganoff two ways, because I think of you.  Easy and Easier.

Beef Stroganoff Recipe2 by Angela Roberts

1. Easy. Serve over store bought egg noodles (or make your own if you desire).

Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe with Lasagna Noodles by Angela Roberts

2. Easier. Break up the no boil lasagna noodles and turn this dish into an outstanding baked Ground Beef Stroganoff skillet bake. We loved the crunch of the noodles. This dish was so good, it was all gone in minutes.

So tell me, have you ever discovered something cool about yourself that totally surprised you?

Ground Beef Stroganoff Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Two ways to make ground beef stroganoff. Stove top and oven, both easy and delicious.
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces mushrooms
  • 4 teaspoons butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 4 -6 sprigs of fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (less if you desire)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sour cream (can use low fat or full fat)
  • ½ pound egg noodles
No Boil Lasagna Noodles Option
  • ½ box no boil noodles
Instructions
  1. Scrub mushrooms off with a paper towel or brush. Slice, and saute in a tablespoon butter.
  2. Set mushrooms aside.
  3. Saute onions in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and cook a few minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms back in.
  5. Season ground beef with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper.
  6. Add ground beef to the skillet and cook until the beef is well done.
  7. Add fresh thyme.
  8. If using noodles, boil ½ pound noodles according to package instructions.
  9. Add sour cream to the ground beef.
  10. Butter noodles with remaining teaspoon butter.
  11. Serve immediately over buttered noodles with a heaping of chopped parsley.
No Boil Lasagna Noodles
  1. Break noodles up and toss with ground beef. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 or until noodles are softened.
Notes
This recipe will serve 2 to 4 depending on portion size. You may want to double it for 4 people.

 

Posted in Meat Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

It’s nearing the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t enjoying summer food like grilled corn and tomato salad, especially when the corn comes from a friend’s farm and the tomatoes from my backyard.

Garden Tomatoes for Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad from Angela Roberts

I added in an avocado and fresh squeezed lime, a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper. I added in basil and thyme from my garden, but you could use cilantro. Seriously, that’s it. The corn and the tomatoes are so sweet and I just can’t take away from what nature does best.

As far as grilling the corn, this corn was so sweet, that I put nothing on it. Sometimes, as a food blogger, I feel the pressure to be clever, creative and find unique ways to make food. This is one of those times where the ingredients are already their own masterpiece. I can’t improve upon the corn and tomatoes; I can only arrange them together to do their own dance.Grilled Corn and Tomatoes by Angela Roberts

A few words as to how to bring these ingredients together. Cut your tomatoes right before serving, as your corn is grilling. This is one of those salads that you should serve immediately. You don’t actually need to grill the corn, but it does add a depth of flavor. Basil loves tomatoes, but thyme loves this combination. Use both. You do not need a lot of salt. Usually, I’m heavy on the salt, but I went much lighter for this salad.

Some Cool Options for Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad

  • Add bacon. No explaining why.
  • Add sliced peaches. I did this earlier in the summer.
  • Switch out basil for cilantro.
  • Add feta cheese or queso blanco.
  • Add pasta for pasta salad.
  • Add boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed. Serve at room temperature.
  • Add black beans or black eyed peas
  • Add hard boiled egg for protein and make a lunch.
  • Add mixed greens.

My tomatoes were not ripe until August this year and everyday, I’m out in the garden picking them. So far this summer, I’ve made fresh tomato sauce, fresh tomato soup, tomato quiche and now this salad. Let me know if you have any great tomato recipes I should try or any ways you make your own grilled corn and tomato salad.

Grilled Corn and Tomato Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
 
Grilled corn and tomato salad shine at the end of summer with a bounty right from the garden.
Ingredients
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 4 tomatoes (fresh, ripe)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped basil
  • 4-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice from ½ lime
Instructions
  1. Remove the hairs from the corn, keeping the corn in the husk. Grill for ten minutes at medium high. Cut the tomatoes into a large dice.
  2. Toss corn and tomatoes with olive oil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut avocado into small dice. Arrange on top. Squeeze lime on avocado.
  5. Salt avocado.
  6. Garnish with basil and lime.
  7. Toss again, right before serving.
Notes
Make sure to look at the options in the post. You can play around and add new ingredients such as bacon or peaches.

 

Posted in Salad Recipes, Spinach Tiger Fit, Vegetable Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Ground Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers

Our table has been host to ground beef stuffed bell peppers three times this summer, and there will most likely be a fourth time soon as bell peppers are awaiting me in the garden. I made a fresh tomato sauce from garden tomatoes for this dish, but you can use canned tomatoes to make this homemade tomato sauce.

I have never been a green bell pepper fan, always choosing the red or yellow peppers, but when baked slowly in tomato, and filled with a meat filling, they are a summer food with winter comfort. Ground beef stuffed bell peppers take a little more prep than many of my dishes, because I take the time to blanch the peppers.  I use a dutch oven with the lid to bake them for about an hour, and then I take the lid off to brown them a little bit.

I season the meat the same way I make meatballs, using bread, Italian cheese, fresh parsley and basil. I do make a paleo option for myself, skipping the bread. The peppers continue to cook in the tomato sauce and the beef takes on the flavor of both. This is so good that even people I know who don’t like bell pepper (me included) love this dish.

Ground Beef Stuffed Bell Peppers by Angela Roberts

This is a basic stuffed peppers recipe that offers you many options using one technique.

Choose your grain or no grain.  While many stuffed peppers recipes add rice to the beef, I have never like that combination, as I don’t like rice with tomato sauce. You can replace the bread with rice, but I find the bread gives a much more satisfying texture. You can use bread crumbs instead of bread pieces if that’s what you have.

Paleo Option: I made some of the peppers (for me) with a paleo option, just skipping the bread altogether.

Sausage or Ground Pork Option: On of the three times I added in some ground sausage to the ground beef for extra flavor, or you could add in ground pork. The ratio is up to you. I recommend 1/4 pound sausage to 3/4 pound beef.

Ground Turkey Option: You can substitute ground turkey for the beef. In that case, add in some olive oil, as ground turkey does not have the flavor of ground beef or the fat. You can pump up the flavor by doubling the cheese, and adding in more aromatic herbs such as sage and rosemary.

Ground Beef option: You might be wondering what kind of ground beef to use for the ground beef stuffed bell peppers. I used grass fed beef, which is on the lean side.

Stuffed Peppers with Ground Beef, Tomato Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An Italian version of Ground Beef Stuffed Peppers with Paleo Option.
Ingredients
  • 6 large Bell Peppers
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 slices bread torn, or 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs(optional)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ onion, diced, sauteed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • generous helping black pepper
  • 4 to 6 cups tomato sauce (recipe using canned tomatoes here or fresh tomatoes here)
Instructions
  1. Cut tops off bell pepper. Save to use later if you want to, cut out seeds.
  2. Blanch peppers in boiling water for five minutes to soften.
  3. Remove, put in ice bath, cool.
  4. Mix ground beef with eggs, bread or breadcrumbs, parsley, cheese, salt and pepper.
  5. Stuff peppers.
  6. Put tomato sauce into baking dish. I used a dutch oven. You can use either a baking dish or dutch oven. The sauce should come about half way up the peppers.
  7. Put in oven at 400 degrees uncovered for twenty minutes. Reduce heat to 325. Cover and bake for at least one more hour, or until peppers are softened.

 

 

Posted in Gluten Free, Italian Recipes, Meat Recipes, Paleo Primal, Spinach Tiger Fit | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

My Great Restaurant Experience in Asheville

A few weeks ago I attended the Asheville Wine and Food Festival, which was one of the best food events I have ever experienced, as far as a “taste” of a city, but I’ll tell you all about that in another post.

Today, I want to tell you about some of the food we experienced on our own. We didn’t necessarily have full dinners at all of the places, but they were noteworthy enough to share with you.

Not only is the food wildly creative, eclectic, slow, and locally sourced, if you are eating downtown, you can eat outside, which makes all food taste better. There are probably more outdoor cafes per capital in Asheville than anywhere in the United States, because the population is only 80,000 people.

On Friday nights, the downtown buzz begins with a drum circle, which is amazing in itself, but on nearly every corner, there is someone playing some great music. In other words, there is a special ambiance to the downtown scene.

It’s quaint, yet grown up, not small town, not big city, yet it’s has amazing chef driven restaurants. It was explained to me by one of the chefs that the competition is tight because the food is so good and plentiful. Mediocre can’t survive and the standards are high. The vibe is bohemian with super tastebuds. I’ve also heard the food scene is growing so fast that they need kitchen staff to keep up, so you might consider a move to Asheville to start your culinary career.

Chorizo, Latin American with Outdoor Dining

The first restaurant we ate at was Chorizo, located downtown at the Grove, and headed up by Chef Hector Diaz. We had the tostada because we had already had heavy appetizers earlier at the cocktail event, Elixir. We wanted everything on the menu, and we drooled watching the plates arrive at other tables. The wait staff is super nice, and while the dinners looked colorful, healthy, vibrant in flavor, they also have quite a reputation for breakfast and brunch. Chorizo is on our short list for our return trip.

Great Restaurants I Ate at In Asheville by Angela Roberts

Tostada at Chorizo

King James Public House

We were invited to a Bloody Mary Brunch as part of the media team. Not knowing what to expect, I was blown away to eat such surprisingly good and different dishes at King James Public House. Chef Steven Goff, served us a blini with trout roe caviar, scotch eggs, menudo and fried chicken. The most impressive thing was that he got me to like a dish that has two ingredients I hate. The medudo was flavorful, balanced and refined and now I can no longer say that I don’t eat tripe or that I hate cumin. The Scotch eggs were just right and that takes true culinary skill.

King James Public House by Angela Roberts

Chef Steven Goff, King James Public House by Angela Roberts

Chef Steven Goff presenting scotch egg

Fried Chicken at King James Public House by Angela Roberts

Fried Chicken

King James Public House by Angela Roberts

Covington Vodka, Blini with Trout Roe Caviar

 

Bloody Mary at King James Public House by Angela Roberts

Bloody Mary with Pickled Beans, Jerky

King James Public House by Angela Roberts

Menudo at King James Public House

Urban Orchard Cider Co.

One of the food writers (Kathleen McReynolds) recommended a trip over to West Asheville (which is much like our East Nashville area) and a stop in at the Urban Orchard Cider Co. Family owned, and locally sourced, it’s one of the coolest hard cider bars we’ve been to. Fermented on site, they offer a flight of ciders which is a great way to sample something I wasn’t so familiar with.

Urban Orchard by Angela Roberts

This was my first hard cider tasting experience. We ordered a flight, which was super fun. The sweet English is the most apple forward of the flight, unfiltered, and was a favorite until we were unexpectedly treated to some strawberry rhubarb cider. That was incredible and not something that is always available. The Jamu is the most interesting, which has ginger, tumeric and lime more exotic flavor. Small plates, appetizers, sandwiches are also available.

Hard Cider Flight at Urban Orchard by Angela Roberts

Hard Cider Flight

Urban Orchard by Angela Roberts

Cucina 24  (Elegant Italian)

My Great Asheville Restaurant Experience by Angela Roberts

Cucina 24 gets 4 stars because, while they don’t have outdoor dining, they have romantic wonderful indoor dining with attention paid to acoustics. The wood burning oven delivered the most perfect pizza this side of Italy and they were nice enough to give us half orders of pastas. They have a wood burning oven, which puts out an amazing thin, crispy, chewy crust. We chose speck, peach and goat cheese, a well balanced trio of flavors and texture. They have acoustic panels in the ceiling (for sound) creating a very pleasant environment and something that would be a welcome addition to many of the restaurants we visit. This would be one of those places we would return to very frequently. They are open to folks ordering shared plates, etc. No pretension, great wait staff, but all the preparation of a authentic classical Italian food. The Charcuterie had rabbit mortadella, chicken liver pate, country pate (our favorite), and bacon jam.

World Coffee Cafe

The weekend is for walking downtown, and we stumbled into the World Coffee Cafe, debating back and forth about getting a cappuccino. I chose the happy belly tea, which is one of the best tea blends I’ve had, and it promised to help an overworked stomach. Having just come from the Wine and Food Festival, I adored this tea and felt its soothing effects right away. I wanted to buy some to take home, but they aren’t set up for that yet, but they said they are working on that. Our luck with food kept coming, as a man approached us saying he had to leave and had paid for a tiramisu he just had ordered and we could have it.
Now just so you know, we were not prepared to eat one more bite of food, but it was our good fortune. Doug is a big tiramisu fan and he claims it was better than what he had in Italy. The secret is that they first pour a shot of espresso before place the tiramisu in. What a way to turn a 90’s dessert more current.

Tiramisu at World Coffee Cafe by Angela Roberts

Tiramisu at World Coffee Cafe

This was originally an old store, and they kept the funky storefront, so you sit in the window on a raised platform and become the window dressing.

World Coffee Cafe by Angela Roberts

Rhubarb (American Eclectic)

Every time I go to a new city, I turn to one of my favorite podcasts, Taste Trekkers and see if Seth Resling interviewed anyone from that city. I found Asheville, and listened as the person being interviewed gushed over a fairly new restaurant, Rhubarb.

After a long Sunday morning spent touring the grounds of the Biltmore, we were ready to eat one last meal before going back to Nashville. We remembered Rhubarb and headed back downtown for one last meal in Asheville.

I almost feel like we saved the best for last. We ate outside on the patio. After a weekend of too much of a good thing, I was craving something green. The

Local Lyonnaise, Seared Romaine, 
Sunny Farm Egg, Benton’s Bacon,Wood Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

My Great Restaurant Expereince in Asheville by Angela Roberts

This was exactly the right brunch to make my body happy. I asked chef’/owner,  John FLeer, s to how he came about this dish, and he said it’s the way he likes to eat when he goes home. I loved that sentiment because I understand it. Doug chose the Monte Christo, because he saw it had proscuitto. We particularly liked the very crispy fries that accompanied the dish.

Rhubarb Monte Christo in Asheville by Angela Roberts

The patio is great, but the interior is beautiful, modern, urban, rustic. Ladies, you have to check out the faucet in the Ladies room. It seems every detail is accounted for, including a fabulous farm mural with rhubarb in the bar area, which will captivate you. They shout out their sources in the dining room on a chalk wall, an example of how they feel about food, family, and the joy of it.

My Great Restaurant Experience in Asheville by Angela Roberts

We were intrigued by the blackboard in front of the restaurant, counting down how many “cruffins” are left. What’s a c ruffin? It’s not a cronut; it’s a croissant crossed with muffin. Amazing, and yes we had to get one. We took it in the car and it remains our last and sweetest bite from our Asheville trip.

My Great Restaurant Experience in Asheville by Angela Roberts

The Cruffin, at Rhubarb in Asheville by Angela Roberts

The Brown Sugar Cruffin, a cross between a Croissant and a Muffin

Ice Cream in Asheville

I have to mention here that my favorite dessert of the weekend was goat cheese ice cream with bing cherries from Ultimate Ice Cream. Brown Sugar, Maple and bacon was like eating breakfast dessert.

Ultimate Ice Cream by Angela Roberts

My second favorite was blueberry kale from the Hop. You can’t go wrong with either of these places.

The Hop in Asheville by Angela Roberts

Nutz about Fudge

If you happen to be in the Arcade, the  Nutz About Fudge shop has a new flavor , Cabernet Chocolate made specifically for the Wine and Food Festival’s Sweet Event.  This will make anyone close their eyes with delight. Rich, and fruity with deep, intense flavor.  Doug loved the peanut butter fudge, but it’s all creamy and mouth watering. The people that own it are really nice too!

There were many more places we wanted to try, but we only had a long weekend. I did get to sample some great restaurants at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival, which I’ll tell you about later. In the meantime, if you head to Asheville, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

King James Public House on Urbanspoon

Cucina24 on Urbanspoon

Rhubarb on Urbanspoon

Chorizo on Urbanspoon

Urban Orchard Cider Co. and Bar on Urbanspoon

Ultimate Ice Cream Co. on Urbanspoon

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe on Urbanspoon

World Coffee Cafe on Urbanspoon

Posted in Asheville, Restaurants - Food Events | 6 Comments

Tortilla Crusted Tomato Bacon Cheddar Quiche

If you fear making pie crust, but love quiche, you’re in luck. These delightful tomato bacon mini quiches are made with flour tortillas.

On a whim I lightly cooked raw tortillas from TortillaLand and placed each in a tart pan for quiche. I was quite surprised at how great it baked in the oven and. Easy, and tasty, I had quiche in twenty minutes. You can used other tortillas for this recipe, but I haven’t tested those.

The Creative Cooking Crew challenged us this month with the tomato. This tomato bacon quiche will serve as my second entry, as I already submitted a fresh tomato bisque soup. This is truly a creative recipe, because it’s taking a very common ingredient (the tortilla) and using it an unconventional way. It puffed up during baking, and it saves quite a few calories in the process, not using typical pie crust. Even using heavy cream, bacon and cheese, each individual quiche comes in at around 300 calories.

Tortilla Crusted Tomato Bacon Cheddar Quiche by Angela Roberts

This is a keeper recipe for the holidays. If you use small tart pans, you can vary your ingredients to your guests taste or just get wildly creative with leftovers.

I used two types of tomatoes from my garden (red and yellow), but you can use anything. Feel free to add in your own take on herbs and spices.

Creative Cooking Group

Visit the Creative Cooking Crew Pinterest Page. Thank you Lazaro Cooks and Foodalogue for this month’s fun challenge.  Click the link logo to see 200 plus recipes the Creative Cooking Crew has created.

Tomato Bacon Cheddar Quiche with Tortilla Crust
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
An Easy homemade bacon tomato quiche using tortillas to make pie crust.
Ingredients
  • 4 four-inch tart pans
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked, cut into pieces
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • baking spray or oil for tart pans
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon chopped chives
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
Instructions
  1. Spray pans or use oil for tart pan. If using raw tortilla as I have, cook first 15 seconds on each side, not browned. Place tortilla in tart pan, Cut off what is left over.
  2. Mix together eggs, cheese, cream, bacon, chives. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into quiche pans.
  4. Place chopped tomatoes in pan.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 or until quiche no longer jiggles.

 

 

 

Posted in Breakfast and Brunch Recipes, Egg Recipes, Savory Pies, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Tomato Bisque Soup Recipe with Fresh Tomatoes

Tomato bisque soup recipes often are made with chicken broth and canned tomatoes. I understand using canned tomatoes when fresh are not available, but chicken broth is a no go for me. I want to taste nothing but creamy tomato soup, flavored with the herbs of my choice. Typical recipes will have bouillon cubes or chicken broth and flour. I decided against those ingredients, using heavy cream and white wine.

The result is a healthier, cleaner taste of pure tomato. I picked the tomatoes and herbs out of my garden, and I wanted to share a soup that you could easily make without a lot of fuss, yet still have those sophisticated flavors.

Of course, you can pair this with a grilled cheese sandwich and make that classic American meal.

Tomato Bisque Recipe by Angela Roberts

I’m submitting this to the Creative Cooking Crew for this month’s challenge.  The theme is tomato. I intend on submitting a few creations for the challenge, and this is the first.

IMG_7135

Here some some ways to put a creative spin on tomato bisque soup recipe:

  • Add fresh sweet corn, cut from from the cob, for texture.
  • Add in homemade croutons, or crunchy bacon.
  • Add hot sauce and chopped avocado.
  • Add a some chile oil and replace cream with coconut milk.  So this at the end before stirring. Skip the wine.
  • Add a drizzle of honey. Honey does something to tomatoes that I just adore.
  • Skip the cream and simply have a great tomato basil soup.

Fresh Garden Tomato Soup by Angela Roberts

Visit the Creative Cooking Crew Pinterest Page. Thank you Lazaro Cooks and Foodalogue for this month’s fun challenge.  Click the link logo to see 200 plus recipes the Creative Cooking Crew has created.

Creative Cooking Crew
Fresh garden tomato bisque soup is just one of many great tomato recipes made with food from my garden. You might also be interested in the fresh garden tomato sauce. Some time next week I’ll be bringing you green tomato pie, something most folks have never heard of.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Fresh Garden Tomato Basil Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Homemade Garden Fresh Tomato basil soup with tomatoes from the garden, blended until smooth.
Ingredients
  • 10 tomatoes (see note)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled, cut in chunks
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut in big chunks
  • 1 piece of celery (or a dash celery seed)
  • small handful fresh parsely
  • small handful fresh basil
  • 6 sprigs of thyme or ½ teaspoon dry thyme
  • ½ cup white wine or dry sherry (optional)
  • ¼ to ½ heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Instructions
  1. Cut an x in the bottom of each tomato. Submerge tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds. You may do this 4 tomatoes at a time.
  2. Cool. Peel.
  3. Cut in half, squeeze some of the water and seeds out.
  4. Put in crock pot with onion, carrot, celery olive oil, thyme, basil. Add white wine.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for six hours. (this part is very flexible. Just make sure there enough liquid in slow cooker).
  6. Put into Vitamix or similar type blender with butter and blend until smooth.
  7. Add back in soup plan. Turn burner on low. Add in heavy cream. Cook just until warm and blended.
  8. Top with freshly cut parsley and basil, sprig of thyme or any herbs you like.
Notes
You may want to make more than 10 tomatoes, just follow the ratios. 20 tomatoes will easily fit in most slow cookers.

 

Posted in Paleo Primal, Soup Recipes, Spinach Tiger Fit, Vegetarian Recipes | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments