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New Year’s Eve 6 Course Meal at the Fawn House

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This New Year’s Eve Evan and I had a dinner party for 6 of our good friends.  We have never been really big on going out to bars/restaurants/ downtown  for NYE, so we decided that we would do a 6 course meal and invite everyone stay at the house.  It worked perfect we all chipped in $20 a person and had a meal that was AMAZING and no one had to drive home afterward :)

You may notice something trending in this menu… can you guess what I got for Christmas from my Fry Daddy???

Here’s how it went down…

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Name Tags I made

First Course: charcurterie sampler : chicken liver pâté, NY chorizo, sottocenere with truffles, cheddar farmstead block, olives, hot and sweet pickles and peppers, with a cracker and bread assortment

Charcuterie

Sampler

Second course: pizzette with fried brussel sprout leaves tossed with crispy bacon and golden raisins drizzled with a tarragon and meyer lemon cream sauce and parm shavings

Fried Sprouts

Third course: 20 hr sous vide spiced pork belly on top a collard and mash mound

Pork Belly

Fourth course: 5 wild mushroom risotto with 110 min egg

110 Min Egg

Fifth course: sous vide duck breast topped with  hibiscus flower and fried shallots on a bed of arugula

Sous Vide Duck

Sixth course: strawberry and champagne shortcake with dark chocolate snow and whipped cream sprinkled with pop rocks

Dessert

If you were wondering…I got a Sous Vide Supreme!

 

HAPPY 2013 EVERYONE! CHEERS!

I’m Baaaaack! Evan’s 10 Course Dinner Birthday Surprise – The Fawn House

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I’m done studying! My brain feels like mush but I’m finally finally done… From Sanskrit to anatomy to chakras… I know it all…well most of it anyways. It’s been 10 months of yoga yoga and more yoga and I will graduate (fingers crossed) next Tuesday! I have not however been slacking in the kitchen, in fact I have been going crazy in the kitchen.

I decided to make Evan a VERY special birthday surprise by creating my own restaurant at home (called The Fawn House, hence all the new fawn roaming in our yard) and cooking a 10 course meal! It was so awesome and I’ve never cooked so many awesome things all at once in my life EVER. I invited 3 of our closest friends and got to work on planning the menu a week in advance. I was so incredibly excited it wasn’t even funny! The few days before I mapped out my course of action and started collecting my goods. Last Friday I made it all come to a reality. I based the menu off “The odd parts/bits” of animals and used as much local and farm fresh ingredients as possible.  Here’s how it went down!

Each course was paired with a special libation. The food was wonderful and it definitely was a night to remember.  I can’t believe I pulled it off… I want give a big thanks to Liz for making the awesome dessert portion! It was amazing!

Well it’s good to be back on the blog-o-sphere!

For some final- VERY exciting news… Yesterday I received an email from the casting director of Chopped encouraging me to apply for the Amateur Special in Austin! I was recommended by the Food Experiments! I’m in the process of applying as we speak! Wish me luck everyone! Stay tuned for more on that.

I missed all of your blogs like crazy so I have a ton of catching up to do! Cheers to you all!

ZBD Style Osso Buco with Homemade Twisted Bread

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This is a very rich and comforting dish that is best enjoyed with friends and family. It takes a decent amount of time to prepare and cook but is worth the trouble and wait. Anything done with love is worth doing… and eating! :) I suggest drinking the remainder bottle of wine you didn’t use in the recipe while you are cooking for the best results ;) Please note there are several methods out there for Oso Buco, this is my own version, ZBD style ;) By no means am I claiming this to be traditional. My Blogger Friend Chica Andaluza inspired me to make this and I’m glad I did!

Prep Time: About an hour

Cook Time: 4 hours

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs Veal shank, about 4-5 shanks (Please find local or humanely raised veal or use beef).
  • 1/2 C. Carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C. Diced onions
  • 1/2 C. Diced celery
  • 1 Clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 C. Flour
  • 1 C. Red wine
  • 1 C. Chicken Stock
  • .5 C. Tomato puree
  • 3 TBS Tomato paste
  • 1/4 C. Olive oil
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 4 Thyme strands, fresh
  • 6 Green peppercorns, whole
  • 6 Pink peppercorns, whole
  • Cheese cloth
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Preheat large oven proof braising skillet on high on stove. Add oil until just about smoking.
  2. Toss washed and dried veal shanks in flour, dust with salt and pepper, and fry in 1/4 C. olive oil for 3 min on each side. Set shanks aside on a separate plate.
  3. Add veggies: Celery , onion, carrot, and garlic to pan and cook until onions are translucent and mixture is fragrant.
  4. While the veggies are cooking make your herb sachet: Cheesecloth, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme. Tie up in a nice little bundle and throw it in the skillet.
  5. Add wine and reduce to medium high, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pan for about 3 min.
  6. Add the stock and tomato puree and paste and mix well. Keep simmering for about 5 min. You will want to salt and pepper to taste on this dish since your stick may be more salty than mine. But go ahead and start with a 3/4 TBS of salt and pepper and stir. This is the point where I add another dash of wine from the bottle (for good measure). :) I probably use about a cup and a half all together…
  7. Cover brasier or dutch oven with it’s lid and pop in the oven for 3.5 hours.
  8. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed when done. It shouldn’t need it… but just in case. Remove sachet and serve it up with lots of the gravy/juice veggie mixture. 

Bread:

Prep Time: 1 hr and 10 min

Cook Time: 20-30 min

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 2.5-3.5 C. of Bread Flour
  • 1 PKG Rapid Rise Yeast
  • 1/4 C. Greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS Canola oil
  • 3/4 C. 160 degree water.
  • 1 Salt
  • 1 tsp. Canola oil for greasing bowl
  • Corn meal for dusting pan.
  • 1 Pad of butter

Instructions:

  1. In your mixer add 2.5 C of bread flour (save the rest for reserve). Add yeast to flour and mix while dry.
  2. Heat up yogurt, water, and 1 TBS of oil to 160. Mix well. Transfer to a pourable measuring cup or regular cup.
  3. Turn mixer onto speed 2 and slowly mix in liquid mixture. Mix for approx. 5 min. From here add flour if needed until doudh is cleaned off sides of mixer bowl. (Use that reserve flour for this).
  4. Let dough rise for about an hour in a greased bowl, cover bowl.
  5. Roll out dough into a large rectangle, and roll up long ways. Cut long roll in half and twist up the bread tapering at the ends.
  6. Rub butter on top of bread loaf and place the bread on a baking sheet dusted in cornmeal.
  7. Bake for 20-30 min or until done. 

Enjoy and Cheers! I highly suggest dipping that bread in the osso buco juice and slurping up that bone marrow or also putting it on the bread! Just a suggestion ;)

Team Zesty Bean Dog Takes FIRST PLACE Judges Pick in The Food Experiments Taco Experiment in Austin Texas!!!

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Wow! I’m still so freaking excited that Evan and I won first place in the professional judges panel! I’m even more excited to announce that my two best friends (Liz and Kyle of Sous Me Alchemy) placed first in the public vote AND they will be going to Brooklyn to compete in December (we may have to pack it up and be your food groupies Liz and Kyle)! We both competed last year in 2011- ZestyBeanDog winning 3rd in Judges Pick. Ever since that day I knew I wanted to win first place!!! Our friends the Holy Smokers took 2nd Judges and 2nd Public this year, last year they were the Public champions and went to Brooklyn! Way to go everyone!

ZestyBeanDog made taco that was the “buzz of the afternoon” according to the judges. We made a Pecan smoked duck taco, topped with a duck egg and Brooklyn Lager aioli, a Yuzu Serrano quick pickle slaw, and corn tortilla crispies fried in duck fat all on the bed of a warm homemade flour tortilla (made at 5am that morning). We used all local ingredients from Austin TX. We were even told that our taco was a “smokey, ducky, juicy, crispy BLT of a taco which made the judges swoon”.

The days leading up to the big event recap:

  • Friday, we started preparing things and collecting our last min needs like charcoal and wood chips, etc.
  • Saturday I made a final shopping round to the Cedar Park Farmer’s Market, prepped even more evan deboned the ducks, I popped a pork shoulder in the oven (because we all have to eat too and that was the dish we made last year). Yes I know that may be crazy to cook two major dishes at once but it was worth it and the pork shoulder cooks itself basically! ;) Smoked 4 ducks over the evening. Made the duck egg aioli and duck fat crispies! Even made a duck liver pate with all of the innards from the duck (thanks for that Lori)! Then sweet sweet SLEEP! (with a time change)….
  • Sunday 5am = tortilla making time (it took me 5 tries to get these little things down over the course of 2 months). Slice 4 ducks, chop slaw, make yuzu sauce, and pack it all up! I know I must be forgetting something oh yes my camera (Lori and Dave go get it). Set up table and food, crack open first Brooklyn Lager… and prepare for the calm before the storm! Over 300 people came, the event sold out and reached capacity! There was even a CELEBRITY there Matt Lillard, from Scream, Scooby Doo, Ect… apparently he’s now producing his first movie: Fat Kid Rules the World and he tried our smoked duck tacos AND said it was amazing, he tried to come back for seconds… but we were out, I hope he voted for ZBD! Keep in mind this is event is going on all at the same time as SXSW, Austin’s Biggest event each year!
  • When we got home we celebrated by opening a Brooklyn Black Ops (we won 3 last year at this event) and I made a pizza from scratch, sometime you just have to have pizza! Then we crashed hard! Competitive cooking takes it out of you! I’m still tired!

I put a lot of thought and effort into the vision of this dish as soon as I got that email from The Food Experiments telling me that Taco time was nearing! After several experimentations (some being slight failures and almost even changing our dish) we decided we had to do smoked whole ducks. My husband Evan was my biggest critic and that helped us win no doubt about it (even though I wanted to stab him with a fork a couple of times…). We work great as a team and when I want to give up or take an easy way out, he won’t let me no matter how much I fight it! Thanks for that E! Also thanks for rolling out of bed first thing in the morning and deboning 4 whole ducks :) I’d also like to thank our friends and family that came to support us and watch it all go down, we really couldn’t have done it without you and of course the Brooklyn Brewery Food Experiments team led by Theo Peck- you are all amazing!

We totally took this competition on at full force and it it paid off, big time. I couldn’t be more happy with our placing in this event, to me judges first place is what I wanted all a long, the top pick by well known food critics in Austin. They know food, they know what makes it balanced and successful, and they know how to talk about it! I truly feel ecstatic that they chose our dish because they thought it was the best of them all- and to me that’s worth more than any trip or prize. The judges panel consisted of Addie Broyles from the Austin-Statesman, Claudia Alarcon of The Chronicle and Zagat, Virginia Wood, Food Editor of The Austin Chronicle, and local Austin Food Blogger Stella Floyd of Stella Cooks . Thanks to all of them for their hard work!

We did win some pretty sweet prizes though from the oh so gracious sponsors: A 12″ Anolon Skillet, a 4.5 Quart Le Creuset French Oven, a WHOLE brisket from Franklin BBQ (the BEST BBQ in Austin), a Wusthof knife, the Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook, a Microplane, T-Shirts, some SWEET Chameleon Cold Brew, and BRAGGING RIGHTS!!!

I’d also like to give a shout out to Marx Foods for expediting me some Yuzu at a great price! Thanks guys!

We made it in the media:

Culture MAP

Food Experiments

MSNBC

Brooklyn Brewery

Austin American Statesman

AustinFoodBlogs.net

To All My Fellow Bloggers…. Thank YOU for giving me inspiration and supporting me through reading and commenting on my blog you are what fuels my fire! Sorry for neglecting my blog over the past month and not being as active as I’d like on your incredible blogs! Cheers and MUCH LOVE!

Polish Party Time!

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For my Mom’s 56th Birthday I wanted to do something really special. My Mom and I didn’t always get along wonderfully when I was younger and it seems like the older I get the more I really have started to connect with her. I’m sure many of you can relate… ;) So I had been thinking and thinking about what I could do and it hit me… Over the Christmas break my Mom mentioned to me how her Dad used to cook the best Polish sausage but no one could ever get the recipe right when they tried (he took the recipe to the grave).  So I decide I was going to make polish sausage from scratch, REAL polish sausage! I sought out relatives, Google, books, etc… and went with my gut instinct on the recipe from my research. So for my Mom’s birthday I surprised her with a full blown polish celebration: Sausage, Perogies, Polish Mistakes, and Polkas – the whole nine yards!  The day before the party my Mom and I made the sausage together and I got to hear stories about my Grandpa and her childhood (I never met him since he passed before I was born). It occurred to me at this point that there was a lot of this (stories and memories) missing from our relationship so it was really nice to experience this and hear her accounts. I think my Mom was a little emotional by realizing this as well.

For the festivities we had a handful of friends over and made the perogies, Polish Mistakes, and of course drank FAR TOO much wine and beer! I felt terrible the next morning but very proud that everything turned out amazingly good! There’s just something so gratifying about making/eating 100% homemade unprocessed food (minus those Polish Mistakes haha)!

I’d like to share the Perogie and Polish Mistake recipes with you all. However the sausage will indeed remain a secret between my Mom and I. :) Oh and if you’ve never made sausage from scratch it’s a huge PAIN IN THE ASS, but sooo very good and different from what you get in the stores.

Pierogies

Prep time: 1 hr

Cook Time: 20-45 min depending on fillings (potato takes longer).

Serves: 8

  • 5 C. All purpose Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3/4 tsp Kosher sea salt
  • 1 TBS Sour cream
  • 1 TBS Oil
  • 1 C. Water
  • 2 Onions, sliced.
  • 2-4 TBS Butter

Instructions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients in mixer on low, then add wet, mix on low until dough like consistency. Add more flour or water until it’s right.
  2. Divide dough into medium sized balls and roll out through a pasta roller. Cut flattened dough into circles with a cup or cookie cutter. Should be about 4″ in diameter.
  3. Fill with your choice of stuffing. We did potato and onion, potato onion and cheese, kraut and bacon, and Ricotta and parsley.
  4. Seal pierogies with an egg wash or water. Par boil for 2 min then pan cook in butter with onions until browned.

Polish Mistakes

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 25 min

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients:
  • 1lb Beef, 85/15
  • 1lb Country Pan Sausage
  • 1/2 Block of Velveeta Cheese (this is about the ONLY thing I would ever put Velveeta in).
  • 1 TBS Garlic powder
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Loaf of small Party Rye slices
Instructions:
  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Brown meats, add cheese and spices.
  3. Mix well and spoon mixture onto little rye slices.
  4. Bake for 10-15 min.
These look very strange but trust me they are good!
It was such a fun time with good friends and good food!!! Time consuming for sure but well worth it!

Hatch and Serrano Chili Panko Encrusted Tilapia with Smashed Potatoes and a Pistachio and Citrus Salad

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This is a great way to use the hatch chilies that you might be seeing all over town right now!  I chose tilapia for this dish but you could use catfish or cod.

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 Fish filets, your choice on how big (a little under 1/2 a pound each will do).
  • 1/2 Hatch chili, minced finely
  • 1 Serrano, (1/2 sliced very thin, 1/2 minced finely).
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 C. Panko bread crumb
  • Salt, pepper, and fine herb blend 1/2 tsp of each
  • 2 Potatoes, scrubbed, cut up to boil (leave skin on, that’s where all the nutrients are).
  • 1/4 C. Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 C. Light sour cream
  • 3 TBS Butter
  • 1 tsp. Black truffle salt
  • 2 TBS Shallot, minced (for whole recipe you will need one medium sized shallot, half for potatoes and half for dressing).
  • 2 Green onions, sliced
  • 1 Clove of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 Grapefruit, cut this way
  • 2 TBS Pistachios, shelled (Fresh)
  • 1/2 Orange, zest it
  • 1/2 Orange, juiced
  • 1/8 C. Red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBS Olive oil
  • 1 TBS Agave nectar
  • 1 tsp Fine herb blend
  • 1 TBS Shallots, minced
  • 3-4 TBS Olive oil or you can use Pam to cut calories

Instructions:

  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a medium pot, add cut up potatoes and cook until tender/done. While potatoes are cooking…
  2. Prepare fish, wash, gather two bowls and a plate. Crack egg in first bowl, whisk. Add panko, hatch and serrano peppers, and salt, pepper, and fine herb blend 1/2 tsp of each to crumbs and mix with hand.  Take fish filets and dip into egg mixture then into panko and coat whole filet throughly on both sides. Repeat. Place breaded fish on plate and place in fridge.
  3. Drain potatoes and place back in pot, add sour cream, cheese, butter, garlic, 1/2 of the shallots, truffle salt, and green onion and mash roughly. Cover to keep warm.
  4. Heat large skillet on medium high with olive oil or pam, add filets, and cook for 4 min without turning!!! After 4 min turn and cook for an additional 4 min without turning, after you have browned both sides cook until done (about 2 min on each side more).
  5. While fish is cooking make up your salad and dressing add spinach to bowl, add grapefruit and nuts.  For the dressing, get a plastic container with a tight sealing lid and add:
    • 1/2 Orange, zest it
    • 1/2 Orange, juiced
    • 1/8 C. Red wine vinegar
    • 2 TBS Olive oil
    • 1 TBS Agave nectar
    • 1 tsp Fine herb blend
    • 1 TBS Shallots, minced
And shake to mix well.  Dress salad and check on fish.  Once fish is done plate up your meal, garnishing with a few serranos that you sliced thinly earlier.  Enjoy!
Cheers!

Wondering where ZestyBeanDog has been??? I was too… so here’s the answer!

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From Ovaries, Ostrich Eggs, and Pickled Quail Eggs to

Absinthe, Oysters, and … Working out A LOT

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been a huge slacker when it comes to the ZBD Blog… I can honestly say this is the only place I have been slacking! I’ve been busy, really busy in fact… Eating, drinking (not just fancy martini’s and beer but also a ton of hibiscus tea and H2O), cooking, butchering, cleaning, playing, working out/yoga and oh yeah… working a $!#@ LOAD! I also had surgery to remove and ovarian cyst (all is well now)! I decided that I wanted to take a break from recipes since I’ve been religiously blogging for a year on recipes and the occasional restaurant review and show you a quick snippet of me and what my life consists of before I get back into the recipe writing… Some days are more interesting than others but over all Evan and I like to keep things pretty fun! Cheers!

In no real particular order here are some snippets of what I’ve been up to!

Evan’s 27th Birthday we had a surprise party for him, one of his gifts was an ostrich egg… Thanks Kyle Bass :)

Snagged these pickled quail eggs on the way back from the beach… they are good, great in salads, on crackers, even in tuna salad… in case you were ever wondering.

SOME FOOD WE’VE EATEN…

Halibut: Perla’s

Shell’s and Cheese : Perla’s
Oysters from 6 different regions: Perla’s

Mussels and Sausage : Perla’s

A Fried Egg Sandwich : Bigger than your head (Evan and Dave ordered this…) : Max’s Wine Dive

I have no idea where we had this??? Or what it was… :)

SOME DRINKS WE HAD…

My FAVORITE drink, the LDM: Legendary Driskill Martini : The Driskill

Absinthe : Peche

Evan and Hannah: After Absinthe @ Peche

Evan the Wino : Max’s Wine Dive (Remind me NEVER drink/try this much wine again, or at least not for a while!)

SOME FOOD WE’VE MADE….

Bimimbap with Bulgogi : The Makings

The End Result: YUM

KimChi Fries : Inspiration= Recent trip to Korea and recent trip to a bar down town that happen’s to be by Chilantro

Veal Marsala:Humanely Raised Of Course

Shrimp and Squash with Purple Potatoes

Because I’m Sure You Don’t Want to See the Real

Thing…

The size of the ovarian cyst I had removed July 8th

BEWARE GRAPHIC ANIMAL PICTURE : Thanks Kyle

for a WHOLE BOAR!

My friend Kyle loves to bring us random animals and foods as you can see… Kyle owed me a rental deposit from our old apartment we used to live in… He raised 2 boars on the farm this summer and showed up at my door with this in exchange, now it’s in the freezer. Who’s in the mood for some pork, I got a ton!?

When I’m not doing all of these other things sometime’s

I organize my life, or spices!

My Spice Cabinet Remodel : Thank You Target and Label Maker

What Do You Do When You are Down Town and Early

for Your Brunch Reservation… Go to the Capitol

Our old friend Dave in town from Cali.

For the end of this post, I’ll share my

nightly entertainment (yes, every night) from my

husband and dog… :)

When it’s too hot for Ginger to go play at the park with the other doggies, Evan becomes that dog :) Ginger waits for this all day…

This is what I’ve been up to, it’s random… I know!  I look forward to posting recipes for your viewing and hopefully cooking pleasure now! In a month a start yoga teacher training for the next 9 months, so you may be in for some random yoga posts :) Cheers to YOU, my followers, if I didn’t have you all well… I probably wouldn’t be sitting here typing on the ZestyBeanDog Blog! I’ve had almost 10,000 visits in a year and have almost 50 subscribers, thanks for all the love!

-ZBD

Mesquite Smoked Yard Birds with a Honey Jalapeno Citrus Glaze

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This recipe will make a wonderfully tender and juicy pair of birds that everyone will enjoy!  

Serves: 10-15 with sides

Prep: 30-45 min

Cook Time: 5 hours or until done

Ingredients:

  • 2 4.5- 5lb free range chickens, fresh is preferred

Glaze

  • 1/2 C Local honey
  • 1 Jalapeno, grated (use gloves if you are a contact wearer or just love to touch your eyeballs).
  • 2 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/4 C. Sea salt
  • 2 TBS freshly ground pepper (I use pink, white, and black).
  • 1 pinch red pepper
  • 2 Lemons, juiced

Fire

  • 100-150 charcoal briquets, NOT easy light
  • 4-6 Mesquite chunks, dunked in water
  • Duraflame fire starters, about 6 pieces
  • 1/2 gallon of water
Instructions:
  1. Prep chicken, by  taking out innards (I feed them to Ginger, our dog) and wash the chickens and pat dry.  Place in a large pan and put back in the fridge while you prep your smoker.
  2. To prep the smoker:  I used a Weber Smoker that works perfectly.  This is the method of instructions I will give according to this kind of smoker.  In the bottom of the smoker light 6 starters on the very bottom, let completely catch on fire and add the briquets to the top of the fire starters.  Make sure ring is enclosing your briquets.  Let briquets heat for 20 min and add wood chunks evenly around fire.  Place water bowl in specified area of smoker with 1/2 a gallon of water.  Then add top grate and place your chickens on the very top.  *** DON NOT USE LIGHTER FLUID EVER WHEN SMOKING MEAT.
  3. Season chicken generously with salt.
  4. Mix all of the glaze ingredients together and use a silicone brush to apply to chicken every 30 min.
  5. Cook for 5 hours or until done, keeping the temp at a constant 195-205 degrees.
Serve with your choice of sides and enjoy!

Whole Chicken on FoodistaWhole Chicken

The Food Experiments Pork Experiment Was a Huge Success: Team Zestybeandog Won 3rd Place Judges Pick!

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TEAM ZESTYBEANDOG 3rd PLACE WINNERS: JUDGES VOTE

POCO CUBANO SLIDERS


Evan and I served these little bites of goodness to the public.  What went into the dish:

Homemade mustard, made with yellow and black mustard seeds, Brooklyn Lager, tarragon vinegar, white vinegar, shallot salt and spices smeared on sliced baguettes layered with a slice of black forest ham, Jarlsberg  baby swiss, slow roasted pork shoulder raised right outside of Austin Texas at Peach Creek Farms that was marinated in hand juiced citrus, herbs, jalapeno, and spices, topped with homemade pickles, and a pork fat infused mojo sauce to die for!

It was a great competition and I was thrilled to have great friends splurge on a ticket to come out and support me and the event!  I’d like to mention some thank you’s since my speech on stage was short and sweet: “Winning” -Charlie Sheen


A special thanks to: Danny and Lori for saving my butt and bringing the box of bread I forgot, cant make sliders without the bread (also, Lori sewed the ZBD felt letters on my tablecloth I made)!!!  Thanks to Hannah for volunteering at the event and taking pics!  Thanks to Liz for entering into the competition, her tamales were AMAZING!  Thanks to Kyle for taking my camera and getting some good shots.  Thanks to all that came over Saturday night and entertained me in the kitchen (probably stayed up a little too late and had a few to many beers) :)  AND finally a huge thanks to my husband, Evan- I couldn’t have done it without him, he helped me tremendously: trying all of my concoctions for the last month, designing my cuban cigar themed menu sign, a little constructive criticism, helping me serve the hungry guests, helping me get inspired when I had “foodie block”, and lastly believing in me even when I didn’t at times…


There were so many great dishes, I’m more than happy with winning 3rd from the professional judges out of 22 chef-testants!  This was my first real cooking competition (not counting the ZBD chili cook-off) and I can’t wait to enter into many more!  The first place winners were the Holy Smokers Team, they did a great job and are awesome personable people!

The Goodies Team Zestybeandog Won:


Venison Sausage Stuffed Empanadas

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These are a little time intensive but worth it!  I like that they are baked and not fried and that I used butter rather than lard.  Butter makes a dense dough, lard creates a flaky dough.  There’s just something about lard that makes me uneasy.  I’ll eat it (tortillas) but if I’m cooking… I’d rather cook with butter personally :)

Prep: 2 hrs

Cook: 1 hr

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 2 1/4 C. flour
  • 1 very cold stick of butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TBS white vinegar
  • 3/4 C. of ice cld water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, finely ground
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh finely ground pepper

Venison Sausage Mixture:

  • 1lb Venison pan sausage (from a hunter friend)
  • 1/2 Large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1TBS parsley, dried
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Dough Instructions:

  1. Sift flour with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder into a large bowl and blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with some (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
  2. Beat together egg, water, and vinegar in a small bowl with a fork. Add to flour mixture, stirring with fork until just incorporated. (Mixture will look shaggy.)
  3. Turn out mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gather together, then knead gently with heel of your hand, just enough to bring dough together. Roll dough out into a large rectangle on a floured space and cut out 10-15 circles with a large cup or cookie cutter.  (I use a cup that’s about 4″ diameter).
  4. Refrigerate floured dough circles for about 30-45 min before filling.

Sausage Instructions:

  1. Use fresh pan sausage:  Heat large skillet on medium high and add meat, onions, shallots, and garlic.  Cook thoroughly, 15-20 min.
  2. Drain fat/juices
  3. Add spice and then salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Set aside in bowl

Additional/Optional Ingredients

  • Cheese
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 Egg, beaten for wash

To make the empanadas:

  1. Take a circle of dough and add a mound of meat mixture to center (add a pinch of cheese if desired) and fold circle in half and seal with a dull fork (pressing down all the way around the dough to make a half circle).
  2. Continue until meat or dough is gone.
  3. Brush empanadas with egg wash. (Beaten egg)
  4. Bake for 25-35 min @ 350 degrees

Serve with Sriracha

I filled some of the empanadas with mashed sweet potatoes, they were good too!

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