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July 23, 2014 / sweetsavant

Recalled fruit+Fruit Wash #Recipe

Always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating. DIY fruit and vegetable wash recipe below

Always wash your fruits and vegetables before eating. DIY fruit and vegetable wash recipe below

Check your fruit bowl, folks-there has been a HUGE RECALL of fruits  including peaches, plums, nectarines and pluots — apricot-plum hybrids — packaged between June 1 through July 12 by Wawona Packing Co. due to potential contamination with LISTERIA MONOCYTOGENES (view the actual recall notice here).  This is a voluntary recall, so far there have been no reported illnesses.  Some of the stores that received recalled fruit were Costco, BJ’s, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and possibly others.  If you have any of the recalled fruit throw it out or contact the store of purchase, you may be entitled to a refund.

I heard about the recall on the news and was also alerted to the recall on my receipt from my last trip to Kroger (a very useful by-product of having the Kroger Plus Card tracking program)

Warning on my receipt about recalled fruit

Warning on my receipt about recalled fruit, notice that even ORGANIC fruit is included in this recall .  I had ALL of these in the fruit bowl on my counter.

Even if there is no recall its always a good idea to wash your fruit.

Simple fruit and vegetable wash recipe;

3 parts water to 1 part distilled vinegar

So 3 cups of water to 1 cup of vinegar or 6 cups of water to 2 cups of vinegar.  I suggest using a large bowl to wash your fruit instead of your sink so you can use the proper measurement of water to vinegar.  A sink is so large that you may not get the proper water to vinegar ratio to be effective.

Agitate the fruit  in the vinegar and water solution (a little friction helps get the fruit clean) rinse and dry the fruit.  Even fruit that gets peeled or cut should be washed before eating.  If you cut an unwashed cantaloupe, for example, your knife can drag bacteria from the skin to the interior of the fruit.  For large fruit you may want to put the vegetable wash in a spray bottle.

 

 

July 21, 2014 / sweetsavant

Parmesan Crisps Recipe-What I’m Snacking On

The finished Parmesan cheese crisps with salami and olives, a perfect low carb snack

The finished Parmesan cheese crisps with salami and olives, a perfect low carb snack

These Parmesan crisps are so easy to make but they are DELICIOUS!!  I had some at a wine tasting party a few weeks ago and thought they were the perfect replacement for crackers

Parmesan crisps, before baking, sprinkled with rosemary, black pepper and garlic powder

Parmesan crisps, before baking, sprinkled with rosemary, black pepper and garlic powder

PARMESAN CRISPS makes 8 crisps

1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the Parmesan cheese in 8 mounds on the parchment paper, about 2 tablespoons each.  Pat down lightly.

Sprinkle each mound of Parmesan with rosemary, pepper and garlic powder.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely and gently remove to a paper towel to absorb excess oil.  Serve at room temperature or store in an airtight container for a week.

 

July 16, 2014 / sweetsavant

Soy Cucumbers-Healthy Snack or Side

Soy Marinated Cucumbers

Soy Marinated Cucumbers

Cucumbers are a low carb  (sliced cucumbers have about 4 grams of carbs per cup) low calorie (about 16 calories per cup) vegetable that makes it the perfect filling snack or side dish.

Yes folks, I’m at it again. Cutting carbs that is.  I started off strong last year but fell off the wagon after a few months (a story that’s familiar to many of you, I”m sure).  Weight loss has been an ongoing struggle of mine but I’m not giving up.   I tend to like a low carb diet because, for me, it’s the least painful way to drop pounds.  A low fat diet makes me cranky….you wouldn’t like me when I’m cranky.

This is all you need for the soy marinated cucumber recipe.  Simple and delicious.

This is all you need for the soy marinated cucumber recipe. Simple and delicious.

This is an easy recipe that I like to have as an afternoon snack or a side dish with fish in a lettuce wrap (the rest of the family gets steamed rice with this)

Pour the simple dressing over the cucumbers

Pour the simple dressing over the cucumbers

 

SOY CUCUMBERS

2 Cucumbers, sliced

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup red wine vinegar

Red pepper flakes (to taste)

Put cucumber slices in a bowl. Mix soy sauce and red wine vinegar, pour over cucumbers.  Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.

 

July 7, 2014 / sweetsavant

Apple Pie- Whole Wheat Pie Crust and Oat Crunch Topping

A slice of homemade apple pie with whole wheat pastry crust and oatmeal crunch topping

A slice of homemade apple pie with whole wheat pastry crust and oatmeal crunch topping.

A slice of homemade apple pie is a delicious treat that I like to make for my family once in a while.  After receiving some Whole Wheat Pastry flour  from Hodgson Mill  I decided to make this delicious treat into a not too guilty pleasure.  My husband loves all apple desserts so I made this with him in mind.  Oatmeal and whole wheat flour combine to make a tasty, crunchy crumb topping.

The whole wheat pastry flour doesn’t behave the same way that white flour does, it crumbled apart when I tried to roll it.  I added an egg to the pie dough and that seemed to give the dough a smooth and cohesive the texture.  I LOVE the way this pie crust tastes.  The rich, nutty-ness of the whole wheat pastry flour is delicious with the apple pie but I think it would be fantastic with a peach or plum filling.

A food processor takes most of the hard work out of a homemade pie crust.  Pulse some salt, butter and shortening with the whole wheat pastry flour. Add and egg and water and you're done

A food processor takes most of the hard work out of a homemade pie crust. Pulse some salt, butter and shortening with the whole wheat pastry flour. Add and egg and water and you’re done. It’s just that easy.

The finished whole wheat pie dough

The finished whole wheat pie dough was a bit hard to roll (no matter how I tweaked the recipe it crumbled) Rolling between two sheets of plastic wrap or pressing the dough into the pie plate makes things easier.

The finished apple pie, whole wheat crust and oatmeal crunch topping.

The finished apple pie, whole wheat crust and oatmeal crunch topping.

apple pie

More apple pie porn. You’re welcome.

Whole Wheat Pie dough makes 2 deep dish pie crusts (freeze one if you’re only making 1 pie)

7 tablespoons vegetable shortening

10 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 ½ Whole wheat pastry flour, plus more for rolling

3 tablespoons white granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

5-7 tablespoons iced water

1 egg

Measure out the butter and shortening and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.

In a food processor add pastry flour, sugar and salt and process for 10 seconds to mix.

Add butter and shortening to the pastry flour and pulse for 15 one second intervals. There should be pieces of butter and shortening about ¼ in size visible in the flour. Add the egg and pulse 10 more times

Add water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse the food processor until the mixture sticks together.

Divide the dough into two equal parts, pat each into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for half an hour until ready to use or freeze for 2 months.

Press one disk into pie plate or roll between two sheets of plastic wrap, then transfer to a pie plate.  Refrigerate again for another half an hour then, for extra flaky texture freeze the dough for an hour before filling.

Apple Pie with Oatmeal Crunch Topping

1 whole wheat pie crust

5 apples  (I like Fuji for crispness or golden delicious for creamy texture)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Oatmeal Crunch Topping

½ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup old fashioned oatmeal

Deep dish pie pan

Press the pie dough into the pie pan or roll the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap and transfer to the pie pan.  Refrigerate for half an hour (for extra flaky texture freeze the dough for an additional hour before filling.)

Peel and slice the apples ¼ inch thick and toss with lemon juice.  Add brown sugar, corn starch and cinnamon to the apples and toss to combine.  Put the apple mixture into the pie crust.

Make the oatmeal crunch topping:

Melt the butter

Combine whole wheat pastry flour, brown sugar and salt in a bowl and stir in melted butter.  Add the old fashioned oatmeal.  Squeeze the topping together to form clumps of the mixture about 1/4-1/2 inch in size.

Sprinkle the oatmeal crunch topping over the pie and bake at 400° for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

June 15, 2014 / sweetsavant

Black Eyed Peas Sweet Potato Salad

Black eyed peas and sweet potato salad

Black eyed peas and sweet potato salad

You need this black eyed peas and sweet potato salad recipe in your life. It’s Southern inspired, mildly sweet and loaded with fiber, this delicious dish is perfect to make for your next barbecue.

black eyed peas salad

black eyed peas salad

BLACK EYED PEAS/SWEET POTATO SALAD

Serves 10

1 pound of black eyed peas

1/2 an onion (not chopped)

1 tablespoon of salt

1 1/2  pounds of sweet potato

3 tablespoons of vegetable oil

3 Scallions, chopped

1/4 cup fresh chopped chives and parsley

Dressing

1/2 teaspoon of salt (adjust the salt to your taste)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons of honey

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 

To cook the black eyed peas~ Use a deep pot and make sure the Black Eyed peas are covered with about 4 inches of water. Add half an onion and salt.  Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes until the peas are tender. Drain the beans, discard the onion and let cool.

Cut the sweet potatoes into 1/4 inch dice. Toss with vegetable oil and bake at 350 Degrees for about 15 minutes until they are tender. Set aside to cool

Toss the sweet potatoes, black eyed peas, scallions and herbs together

For the dressing put salt, honey and rice vinegar in a bowl and whisk to combine. drizzle in canola oil wile beating with a whisk.  You can also shake it all up in a jar to blend the dressing.

Pour the Dressing over the salad and stir gently. Refrigerate overnight.  Stir gently again before serving. Serve cold or at room temperature.

 

 

June 11, 2014 / sweetsavant

Sugar Shack in the Back-Roswell, GA

Tender and delicious cinnamon buns at Sugar Shack in the Back

Tender and delicious cinnamon buns at Sugar Shack in the Back.

Roswell restaurant The Fickle Pickle has a new baby sister and she’s so sweet.  Sugar Shack in the Back opens on Wednesday June 11th at 1085 Canton Street.

Sugar Shack in the Back Roswell GA

Sugar Shack in the Back is literally in the back of The Fickle Pickle restaurant. It’s the former special event space for the Pickle. Lots of outdoor seating. 

Sugar Shack in the Back will open early  (check their Facebook page for hours) for breakfast and will be serving Counter Culture Coffee.

you can have lunch under this gorgeous tree

Outdoor seating under this big, beautiful tree

Sugar Shack in the Back

The happy owner of Sugar Shack in the Back, Andy Badgett, in the bright open kitchen.  Carmen Brady, baker for Sugar Shack in the Back and The Fickle Pickle, is on the left, she’s going to be REALLY busy.

ice cream case Sugar Shack in the Back

The ice cream case is loaded with flavors like brown butter praline, red velvet cake, coconut almond joy and salted caramel as well as familiar favorites like cookies and cream, vanilla bean and lots more

cookie case

And then there are the cookies. They’ll make a custom ice cream sandwich for you if you want, even a cupcake or brownie sundae.

quiche and cream pie

Savory baked goods like this cheesy quiche will be available as well as sweets like this cream pie

bagel bombs and beignets

Freshly baked round bagel bombs (bagel dough stuffed with all kinds of goodness) on the left, glazed Beignets on the left and muffins in the middle

 

June 7, 2014 / sweetsavant

How To Make Cream Puffs

Mini cream puffs

Mini cream puffs

If you want to knock your guests socks off then you need to make these cream puffs for your next party.  I hope their socks don’t literally get knocked off, that could cause some problems.

Pate a choux, cream puffs

Simmer milk, salt and butter then dump flour into the pot all at once. Stir over very low heat to remove any lumps. It will form a thick dough. Put dough in your mixer and beat on low for 3 minutes then add eggs one at a time.

Its not difficult to make, it just takes a little time.  Start by making the shells with pate a choux dough.

forming pate a choux into shapes, cream puffs, eclairs

Form pate a choux into shapes like cream puffs or eclairs using a pastry bag with a piping tip. In a pinch you can use a small cookie scoop.

Pate a choux (cream puff) dough can be made into  savory gougeres  by adding grated Gruyère   or other cheese to the batter

I piped the pate a choux with a star tip, making little rosettes.  With a damp finger tap down any sharp peak made during piping.  When you bake it the pate a choux will puff up and hollow out.

I piped the pate a choux with a star tip, making little rosettes. With a damp finger tap down any sharp peak made during piping. When you bake it the pate a choux will puff up and hollow out.

The cream puff shells freeze well unfilled so you can make them in advance of your party.  Just take them out of the freezer and let them reach room temperature, you can even toast them in a warm oven if you want to make them extra crispy.  I simply thaw them, cut a bit of the top off, fill with pastry cream and replace the top.  Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate and be happy.

Cream Puff Shells/ Pate a Choux - makes about 3 dozen mini cream puffs

1 cup of milk (Whole or 2%)

1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 ¼ all purpose flour

4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 425°

In a 2 or 3 quart sauce pan bring milk to a simmer with salt and butter.  When the butter has melted reduce the heat to low and dump the flour into the milk mixture all at once.  Stir until a thick paste forms, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Put the dough into the bowl of a mixer and beat on low speed for about 3 minutes to let the dough cool a bit.  Add eggs one at a time on low speed.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Pipe the mixture in desired shapes (about the size of a quarter for mini cream puffs or 2 inches long for mini eclairs) see the pictures above, and bake for about 15- 20 minutes, until deep golden brown.  Let cool completely then fill with pastry cream, ice cream or sorbet.  You can also freeze them for future use.

PASTRY CREAM 

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 scraped vanilla bean

4 egg yolks

1/4 cup corn starch

1 tablespoon gelatin

1 tablespoon cold water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

 

Simmer milk, 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan

In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of sugar to egg yolks and corn starch, immediately beat the mixture vigorously until smooth.  If you let the sugar sit on the egg yolks without beating right away the egg yolks will crystallize.

Slowly add the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture starting with about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating the yolks as you add the milk.  Begin to add the hot milk a bit more quickly until it is all incorporated.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat, constantly stirring the mixture with a whisk until the milk has become a thick custard.  Remove from heat but continue to stir for another 2 minutes.  Pour the mixture into a Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap directly on the cream (if you’re nervous about plastic wrap touching the cream just rub a little butter over the warm cream, cover it with the plastic not touching the cream or use the lid to the Pyrex container. A skin will may but you can peel it off.) The pastry cream is finished at this point but I like to add the gelatin and whipped cream to make a stiffer mixture that will hold its shape after piping.

Pour water onto gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes.  Warm the gelatin in the microwave of 30-45 seconds.  Add the gelatin to the cold cream.  Beat the cream to stiff peaks and fold into the cold pastry cream.  Pipe this mixture into the cream puff shells.

Serve immediately or chill for up to 6 hours.

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