Monday, November 11, 2013

Spinach and Artichoke Breakfast Bake

This would be great to serve for Christmas Breakfast.

Vegetable Mixture

Brush the Baking Dish with Vegetable Oil.
Add Croutons.

Spread Vegetables evenly over the Breadcrumbs.
Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan Cheese.

Mix the Wet Ingredients and Spices.

Pour Liquid Mixture over the Vegetables and Parmesan Cheese.

Sprinkle again with additional Parmesan Cheese.
Cover with Foil and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or overnight.

Spinach and Artichoke Breakfast Bake.
Here's what you'll need:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 - 9" X 13" Baking Pan sprayed with a Vegetable Cooking Spray.
Foil to cover the Pan.

2 tsp Vegetable Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
1 1/2 C chopped Artichoke Hearts. (1- 14oz. can)
1 Box of frozen Spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and drained.
8 C Croutons ( flavored if you like)
2 C shredded Swiss Cheese
6 Eggs, beaten
2 1/2 C Whole Milk
1/2 tsp Adobo Seasoning or Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chile Pepper Flakes
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 C grated Parmesan Cheese, divided.

In a Skillet on Medium High Heat:
Oil, until Hot.

Bell Pepper
Cook 5 minutes, until tender.

Blend well and set aside.

Pour croutons into the dish
Spread Vegetables evenly over Croutons.
Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese.

In a Medium Mixing Bowl:
Adobo Seasoning
Red Chile Pepper Flakes
Swiss Cheese
Whisk well
Pour evenly into the Dish
Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/2 C Parmesan Cheese.

Cover with Foil
Refrigerate for 3 Hours

Bake Covered for 30 Minutes
Uncover and Bake an Additional 25-30 minutes.
Serve Warm

Peace in the Kitchen!

Tex - Mex Baked Eggplant

Eggplant, Vegetarian and Texan..... here's my recipe for Tex - Mex Eggplant.

I was just asked by a fellow foodie if I had a recipe for Eggplant that doesn't have a Marinara Sauce.
Although I love most Vegetarian Eggplant Recipes, I like this version as an alternative  to an Eggplant Parmesan or Eggplant Rollatini, two of my favorites.

I grow Parsley and Mint in my garden and always have it on hand.
Typically I would make this with Cilantro instead of Mint but it's a flavor that is not familiar to everyone and I don't always have it in my garden.

1/3 C vegetable oil
3 - 4 eggplants, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp red chile pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
1/4 C chopped fresh mint (or Cilantro)
juice and zest of 1 lime

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat.
Cook eggplant in oil for 2-3 minutes on each side, in batches, just until browned
Place eggplant in a 9"X13" baking dish
Sprinkle with garlic and chile pepper flakes
Season to taste with salt and pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes

In a small bowl:
lime juice and zest
Combine well

Serve eggplant topped with the lime and herbs

Thanks to my friend and cookbook author, Ellise Pierce ( Cowgirl Chef, Texas Cooking with a French Accent) my recipe for Tex - Mex Eggplant is part of her story about Eggplant in the Dallas Morning News today, 1/8/2014. I highly recommend her book. I took a class from her at Central Market in Southlake and she is so much fun to be around! We have a kindred spirit about France and Texas and the cuisine from both places. Thank you Ellise for including me in the article.

Peace in the Kitchen!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dallas Morning News / Central Market Holiday Cookie Contest

Yesterday was the 18th annual contest. I've only been involved for 6 years. I've had the pleasure of being accepted as a finalist 3 years. I felt honored to have  2 recipes accepted in the competition this year. It's difficult to get 1 recipe in the finals.
The contest involves hundreds of entries. Here are some of the guidelines: You can enter a total of 3 recipes, each one has to be in a different category. There's a nominal entry fee and all of the money raised goes to charity.
Here are the categories:

Cookie Man

Each contestant brings 1 dozen cookies for the judges and a minimum of 1 dozen for sharing. The Cookie Man contestants bring 7 cookies.  We are asked to bring 50 copies of our recipe.There is one finalist chosen in the Cookie Man Category and the cookies entered are amazing.
The Cookie Man Cookie is photographed and featured on the cover of the Taste Section of The Dallas Morning News when the story is published in the paper in December. All of the top three winners in each categories have there recipes and stories published in the paper.

The cookies for sharing are placed on tables in a conference room away from the judges. They are organized by category on the tables.
During the judging the staff from the Dallas Morning News and Central Market entertain the contestants. There are sponsors at the event that give away prizes and there's a drawing with many door prizes.
At check in, each contestant receives a bag of goodies.

After the winning recipes are announced we all rush to the table with our empty containers and a free for all begins as we have the opportunity to get as many cookies as we can. It's truly a friendly frenzy and we all walk away with a ton of cookies!

I photographed the event and you can get an idea of how competitive the contest is when you see the amazing cookies entered.
I was interviewed by the newspaper and when I was asked if I felt that the competition was tough, I told them that the competition is very friendly, everyone involved is so nice that it's not about the win, it's about the fun that we all have and the stories and recipes that we share.

I did win a door prize and I seem to be lucky enough to have won a door prize every year I've been in the contest.
I'll begin working on new recipes for next year and look forward to , hopefully, getting in again next year.

Here are photographs of the event:

These adorable Armadillos were a winner in the Decorated Category.

The contest is covered by the Dallas Morning News.

The tables are emptied when we all take cookies at the end
of the contest.

Another photo of the table after we all fill our containers.

These are my Maple Maple Pecan cookies in the Decadent Category.

This was in the Cookie Man category.

These are my Peppernuts in the Family Category.

This was the winner of the Cookie Man category.

This is what the tables look like after the frenzy of
all of us filling our containers with cookies.

These are filled with Jalapeno Jelly

This is the photograph from the Dallas Morning News on December 11th.
This is when they publish all of the winning recipes.
It's the first time they have published a picture of this part of the event
when we all get to take samples of everyone's cookies.
You may think that's Santa in the picture, but I can guarantee you, it's not!
That's the Hippy in the Kitchen!
I was looking at this post the morning of the 19 Annual contest. November 6, 2014.
I have 2 recipes accepted in this year's contest: Texas Brittle Bars
and Tex - Mex Sugar and Spice.
There's also another major difference to point out as I head out the door
to the contest in 2014, The Hippy in the Kitchen is 70 pounds lighter.
What an amazing year it's been.
I started my quest in March and it took 5 months and a lot of
hard work and discipline to accomplish it.
I won't be eating quite as many cookies this year but Anne and I look forward to
the event today.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas Peppernuts

This is the other one of my recipes that was accepted in the Dallas Morning News / Central Market's Annual Holiday Cookie Baking Contest this year. (2013).  Tomorrow is the judging. I'll have pictures and stories from the competition.

Peppernuts with their unique flavor are a Mennonite family tradition dating back more than two centuries. Original recipes were copied as Mennonite families moved about Europe. The idea came from the fact that they couldn't afford nuts during the holidays. These tiny nut like shapes were baked to represent a Peanut. Some were baked in larger sizes representing walnuts.

This is my mother- in- law's family recipe. My wife was raised on a Mennonite Farm in Kansas and Peppernuts were made every year at Christmas. We have them at our house every Christmas and our daughter has continued the tradition and makes them for her family. We can't remember a Christmas in our family without Peppernuts.

1C granulated sugar
1/2 C molasses
1/2 C corn syrup
1 C shortening
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp Anise Oil or 1 tsp crushed Anise Seeds
2 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 C flour

Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate the dough overnight.

On a floured surface: Roll the dough into long thin logs and cut them into small pieces. ( The roll should be the diameter of a pencil and the pieces 1/2") This can be done in several rolls.

I purchased a Peppernut Dough extruder at the Market, in town where my wife grew up, in Kansas. It was created especially to make Peppernuts.

Place the small Peppernuts on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Traditionally a handful of Peppernuts are placed in bags tied with a ribbon and given out to friends during the holidays.

Peace in the Kitchen!