Category Archives: Holidays

Spinach, Bacon, Mushroom, and Artichoke Pie / Quiche

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This is SO delicious! This is a great brunch meal for the holidays!

Quiche

Prep: 60 min

Cook: 1 hr

PREHEAT: 400 F

Serves: 8 slices

Pie Dough: Use your favorite recipe or if you must do a pre-made one.

Pie / Quiche Ingredients: 

  • 5 Slices of bacon
  • 7 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Cup of  Artichokes in Brine, drained
  • 1 Cup of Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Cups of Spinach
  • 1 Cup of Onions, sliced

Instructions :

  1. Take pie crust and press into pie pan, set in fridge while you prepare the rest. You will want to use a deep dish pie pan thats greased.
  2. In a large skillet cook bacon until browned. Reserve 1/2 of the grease and removed bacon from pan.
  3. Then cook onions, spinach, and mushrooms until soft. Then add artichokes.  Reserve.
  4. In a large mixing bowl crack 7 eggs and beat, then add cream, mix well. Add a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Then carefully add the cooked mixture of spinach, onions, bacon, and artichokes to the egg mixture. Stir and then gently pour into pie pan.
  6. Bake for 1 hr covered with a foil tent for about 40-45 min and then uncover for the remaining time until cooked through. Bake at 400F.

ENJOY! Quiche

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Heart Shaped Ravioli with a Simply Delicious Sauce

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I made this for Evan and I’s 2nd Anniversary in December! It’s a great special occasion dinner recipe and is sure to please! Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

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Prep: 1 hr

Cook: 30 min

Makes: 12 Ravioli

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Ingredients:

Meat or cheese mixture of your choice, meat should be pre-cooked. I used bison.

Dough:

  • 1.5 C. All purpose Flour
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 TBS Olive Oil

Sauce:

  • 2 Cups Chopped tomatoes with juice.
  • 1 TBS Olive oil
  • 1 TBS Garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 2 TBS Shallots, minced
  • Mushrooms, 1/2 Cup, sliced

Directions:

Dough

In an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour and salt. Add eggs 1 at a time and continue to mix. Drizzle in oil and continue to incorporate all the flour until it forms a ball. Sprinkle some flour on work surface, knead the dough until elastic and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.

Cut the ball of dough in half, cover and reserve the dough you are not immediately using to prevent it from drying out. Dust the counter and dough with flour. Form the dough into a rectangle and roll it through the pasta machine, 2 or 3 times, at its widest setting. Guide the sheet of dough with the palm of your hand as it emerges from the rollers. *Reduce the setting and crank the dough through again, 2 or 3 times. Continue until the machine is at its narrowest setting. The dough should be paper-thin, about 1/8-inch thick.

Dust the counter and dough with flour, lay out the long sheet of pasta. Use a heart cookie cutter (small) to cut the hearts.

Place a tsp of your meat/cheese mixture of choice on one heart and seal with another heart on top. Seal edges with fork or pastry sealer. Use

Boil in large pot of salted water for about 7 min. Strain.

Sauce:

  • In a large braiser or skillet, heat oil, add shallots and garlic, cook for 1 min until fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes and mushrooms, simmer for 20 min.
  • Garnish with basil

Enjoy!

Sous Vide Herbed Lamb Loins

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If you haven’t noticed…I’m absolutely loving my Sous Vide Supreme. The lamb loins were on sale at my local grocer so I bought 3 instead of 2. Normally one is enough for me (they are about 5 oz each with the bone). The sous vide ensures that these little lamb loins will be cooked to a perfect 134 degrees.

Lamb Loin

Prep: 5 min
Cook: 2-4 hrs
Serves: 2

Ingredients.

  • 2-3 lamb loins
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 TBS fresh parsley, chopped
  • .5 TBS fresh thyme, remove from stem
  • .5 tsp sea salt
  • .5 tsp pepper
  • Butter

Instructions

  1. Heat sous vide to 134 F.
  2. Chop garlic and herbs and blend together with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat loins with herb and garlic mixture on both sides.
  4. Cut 3 slices if butter and place on top of loin
  5. Vacuum seal loins separately in bags
  6. Submerge in water bath for a minimum of 2 hrs and max of 4 hrs.
  7. Once done seat on hot oiled grill for 1 min on each side.

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Pizzettes with Fried Brussel Sprout Leaves Tossed with Crispy Bacon and Golden Raisins

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Mini pizzettes for everyone! These are cute and delicious little pizzas that are sure to please any party guests. I have been on a pizza kick for my just about my whole life… I LOVE pizza! Ever since I learned to make my own dough- we no longer eat “delivery” pizza because it’s ALWAYS a disappointment for many reasons, it’s $$ for what it is, it makes you feel like crap, and it’s just simply not. that. good. We still enjoy going to local pizza places like Salvations and Rounders but that requires driving all the way into town which is not close.

Next time you need an appetizer plan for guest, try these babies out! You will not regret it!

Fried Sprouts

Prep: 1hr

Cook Time: 10-15 min

Serves: 8 tapas sized pizzas

Crust/Dough

  • 1 (1/4 ounce) Package active dry yeast
  • 1 C. Warm water
  • 1 TBS. Sea salt
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • 2 1/2-3 1/2 cups Bread flour
  • 2 TBS Lemon thyme, fresh
  • 1 TBS Chopped rosemary, fresh

Pizza Toppings

  • Olive oil
  • Fresh whole milk mozzarella slices, small ones (1-2 per pizza)
  • Crispy cooked bacon
  • Parmesan shavings
  • Salt/pepper
  • Golden raisins

Meyer Lemon and Sage Dressing

  • 1 C. Sour cream
  • 4 Sage leaves, chopped rough
  • 1/8 C. Milk
  • 1/2 tsp. Garlic, granulated
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh pepper
  • 1 TBS Meyer lemon juice
  • Blend above ingredients with a stick blender or regular blender. Place into ziplock bag and reserve in fridge.

Brussel Sprouts

  • 2.5 C. Whole brussel sprouts,
  • 2 C. Peanut oil
  • Cut bottoms off sprouts and begin to peel the leaves apart, this may take a while, get a helper… place sprouts in a salad spinner or strainer to get water off the leaves.
  • Heat fryer to 350 F
  • Fry sprouts for 30 seconds, do in batches until done. Season lightly with salt add rasins to the batch after frying and toss.
  • Don’t fry in advance do these while pizzas are cooking so they remain crispy 🙂

Instructions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed bowl.
  2. Add sea salt, olive oil, herbs, and 2 1/2 cup flour.
  3. Attach bowl and dough hook, turn to speed 2 and mix 1 minute.
  4. Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough clings to dough hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 for 5 minutes. If making 2 pies split dough into 2 balls.
  5. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  6. Cover, let rise in warmest place in house away from draft until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour).
  7. Punch dough down each ball.
  8. Divide into 8 balls and roll out 8 little pies.
    * I like to par bake crust for 5-8 min to make it CRISPYYYYYY
  9. Once par baked top with olive oil, mozzarella, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 min until cheese is melted.
  10. Top with fried sprouts, bacon, parm shavings, and dressing!

yum

Enjoy and Cheers!

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!

ZBD is Back : A Whirlwind Post of Denver

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3 Girls from Texas went to Denver on a mission and that mission was accomplished!

We went, we saw, we drank, we ate, we conquered. It was one of the most fun trips I’d ever taken, all that was missing was Evan (he would have been in heaven)!  We made loose plans on where were wanted to go and what we wanted to see and did pretty damn good at getting a lot of it done. We didn’t see everything (we would have need a week for that at least)! It was a whirlwind of fun, beer, food, and I even got to reunite with my God Father Kent and his wife Lisa!

DAY 1:

When we first arrived to Denver before we could even leave the airport we had to stop in the lounge for a local beer. A Singletrack Ale by Boulder Beer.

Our friend Hannah (the redhead) and her friend picked Lori and I up from the airport (in a convertible I might add) Yes we dropped the top! Who cares about hair and the fact that it was 57 F. outside, we were on vacation! We got dropped off at our humble abode, which was pretty sweet: an older 3 bedroom home decorated in retro modern furniture and art posters. It also has a great backyard patio! It was perfect! After settling in a getting ready for our first adventure we made our way to the bike rental place The Bike Doctor they were nice over there and hooked us up with some bikes for our downtown excursion. We all managed to stay on our bikes and not have any malfunctions so that was a plus!

Beer time: We biked all over downtown hitting up these places…

Flying Dog was the first stop (they were closed) 😦 We never made it back… I was sad…

Breckenridge Brewery: We tried a sampler of 6 beers. I’m a bit biased because on of my favorite beers is the 471 Small Batch IPA, they had this beer on cask aged in Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrels…. MY NEW FAV!  It was wonderful so complex, delicious, and I shouldn’t forget HOPPY, I love hops!!!  I have to say that Breckenridge was my favorite spot for a beer in downtown, Stuart (the GM) was serving our beer and he was so friendly and personable. He let us walk in the back and check out the beer set up. We liked him a lot! We felt at home here! I definitely recommend going here the beers are well rounded and there’s something for everyone here, including some BBQ.

Stranahan’s Whiskey  : I know this isn’t beer… but I love whiskey too… A LOT. The whiskey was good, it was no Jameson’s but it was good. They use Rock Mountain Water to make their whiskey so I thought that was really cool! I also was very curious to try the whiskey that the barrels were used for in the 471 Small Batch Cask! While we were there I had a Deviant Dales IPA which was pretty damn good (note if it’s an IPA chances are good I’ll stay it was damn good, I’m a biased IPA snob remember).  We decided to have a bite to eat while we were there and after a suggestion from one of the locals named we ordered the Chefs Plate, which consisted of American style cheeses • cured meats • appropriate condiments • all for $ 17 it was delish! The table next to us had burgers that were ginormous and looked phenomenal.

Great Divide Brewing We got here just as a Baseball game let out… it was packed and this apparently was the place to go after games. I finagled  my way to the front of the bar and ordered 3 beers 2 double IPA’s and one regular… I don’t remember which I had but I did remember the Titan IPA was the non double. We were approached by several dudes with half of their beers split down their white Denver Rockies Baseball Jersey’s, none of which had mustard stains which was quit surprising. 🙂  We left after the first beer to grab a bite.

We moseyed our way down to have some dinner at Biker Jim’s Dogs for a little Denver wiener and beer. We all had Dale’s Pale Ale and I had the Pheasant Dog it was really incredible! Had I not been so full of beer I could have eaten 2 or 3!

After cruising around town for a bit more we called it a night and biked home!

DAY 2: 

We rented a car for this day to make our ways to Fort Collins- but before a day of beer we needed brunch!

The Kitchen:  To be honest I don’t even know what I ate…  It was a scramble egg kind of dish on toast…I forgot to get a photo of this one… I do however remember my beer because I wrote it down!  I had the Strange Pale Ale and it was pretty good. We also had a side of garlic fries that were amazing!

First Stop New Belgium Brewery: This place was INCREDIBLE and it completely blew our minds! This was the only “official tour” we did and with good reason… their set up is amazing! To be honest I was not a huge fan of NBB until I came here. I absolutely LOVE how everything was so well thought out, everything had meaning, purpose, and a great story behind it. It just felt good being here. We learned so much in the 1.5 hr tour from the origins of the brewery to how they decide on beers to release. Many of you may have tried the Ranger IPA (you know I have) and may be thinking… “well that’s not a “Belgium Style Ale”… it’s not but the beer rangers told NB that they needed an IPA so they made one and I’m glad they did!

*Beer Rangers are their beloved folks out in the field. Spanning all 29 of our states from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the Beer Rangers do their best to protect, to pour and to partake. And explore many a beer from many a brewery, they do.

We tried so many different beers on the tour and each one was so awesomely explained! We of course started off with a Fat Tire, then onto Biere de Mars, then a Ranger IPA, then a Shift, and lastly and my FAVORITE of them all the La Folie a sour brown ale that I thought I’d hate but in all actuality loved and found my self craving once I got back to Texas (yes I had one last night).

This place was just incredible all around, a great company, great people, and really great beers! Everyone was so friendly here. One interesting tid bit… upon signing our tabs there was no tip option…they don’t accept tips because it’s an employee owned company!  I think that’s so awesome!  Please go check this place out asap!

Odell’s Brewery  This place it a hop away from New Belgium Brewery. It’s a sweet little spot and very lively. We supposedly met Willie Nelsons Cousin at the New Belgium Brewery and he followed us over to Odell’s… Not sure if we buy that dudirino, although he did look reminiscent of him… Needless to say he bought us our first and only beers here, thanks… *(It apparently is very common to get followed to beer places in Denver, I’m not sure if it was our good looks 😉 , the fact that we love beer, just random, or all three)hahaha!  I had a an IPA of course. From here we made the executive decision to have our Fancy dinner on this evening. I perused our map and Open Table and we decided on a 8:45 reservation at Mizuna…

Mizuna: Before I start let me just say I’m so glad we decided on a “fancy” dinner! It would have been incomplete without it! This place was hands down probably one of the top places to eat in Denver, Anthony Bourdain ate here, it’s gotta be good! We started off with some cocktails and appetizers I had the Basil Cucumber Fizz (I know it’s not beer… GASP) and we shared the Burgundian Escargot: Gruyère Crouton, Hon Shimeji Mushrooms, Parsley Aigo Bouido and the Rabbit Confit Ravioletta: Chanterelle Mushrooms, Tomme Rabelais Fondue, Grain Mustard Beurre Blanc. Oh my GOD it was so wonderful! The escargot was so wonderful and nutty the mushrooms were such a great compliment to the snails and the rabbit confit, mind blowing!

Main Courses: 

I had the Seared Veal Tenderloin Oyster Mushroom Leek Bread Pudding, Chestnut Soubise, Wilted Spinach, Hannah had the Sautéed Red Snapper Braised Endive, Sunchoke Mousseline, Truffle Vinaigrette, Garlic Nage and Lori had the Dry Aged NY Strip Au Poivre Black Truffle Porcini Gratin, Grilled Ramps. They were impeccable and well worth the money! We drank a bottle of LUCIEN ALBRECHT , CREMANT, BRUT ROSÉ – ALSACE with dinner, some of the best bubbly I’ve ever had!

Great meal with great ladies!

After a long day we had to head home to rest and prepare for day 3.

Sorry for the poor pictures it was very dark in Mizuna!

Day 3:

Time to brunch it up again and drop of the rental car. Today is the day we will meet my God Father Kent and his wife Lisa so I’m very excited!

Brunch: The Lobby I had a bloody mary WITH House bacon infused vodka, killer! I had the blue lump crap spinach and cream over poached eggs on an English muffin and we all split green chili pork tater tots… prob not the best choice since we couldn’t eat our meals after that!

Now it’s time for hiking and fun with my God Father Kent and Lisa! I hadn’t seen them since I was 2 so naturally I don’t remember that… at all! We got picked up by Kent and made our way out to Evergreen, a lovely little town about 25 min from Denver proper. We saw tons of snow capped mountains and wildlife like Elk, black squirrels, and black tailed deer. We went out and walked around Echo Lake and made our way to hike about a 4 mile trail. It was pretty cold at the time about mid 30’s-40’s but when the wind wasn’t blowing we were fine. We collected rocks and specimens along the way (that reminds I need to check my pockets for those things) 🙂 It was a blast, us Texan girls even made us some snowballs! Haha! It snowed a bit while we were out and about which was neat!

After hiking we made our way back to Kent and Lisa’s home in Evergreen for some great BBQ: burgers, brats, bean salad, and a spinach salad! It was so nice catching up and seeing them it was the highlight of my trip! After dinner we looked through some old photographs and talked about the old days. Kent told me my Dad’s old nickname “Bird” minus the definition… I had to get it from my Dad when I got home… hahah good times for sure! Shortly after dinner Kent drove us back to Denver taking us on the scenic route! We wen’t through Red Rocks amphitheater and some small towns. Red Rocks is amazing! Once we arrived home he patiently waited for the girls to get ready for our last night out on the town (thanks Kent).  It’s amazing that 26 years of not seeing someone and reuniting with them felt so natural, like we’d been friends and in contact forever! Lisa is probably one of the sweetest ladies I know, she was so nice! I now know why my parent’s picked Kent to be my God Father… they picked a great down to earth man!

Next Stop: Falling Rock Tap House  This place was a popular hangout, it was packed and nearly impossible to get a seat, we finally did and we had…. a beer! I had the Sierra Nevada Hoptimum. It was a cool spot, def the younger crowd hangout. We had one beer and made our way on to get a snack.

Marcos Coal Fired Pizza We spilt a pizza here the Del Re: Truffle and Porcini Mushroom Pecorino Sardo Spread, Fresh Mozzarella, Topped with Mushrooms, Proscuitto di Parma, Fresh Basil it was good but I wasn’t completely blown away… I gues I’m kind of a pizza snob… go figure! The crust was off in my opinion… Oh well. Next stop Star Bar right next door.

Star Bar:  I loved this place! It totally reminded me of being in Texas 🙂 They had a nice live band that did mainly covers and people were letting loose in this place, I’m talking dancing like there would be no tomorrow! The served GIANT beers here after the first I felt so full but after the second and third we were good to go! We danced, laughed, and closed this bar down, we had to it was our last night! 😉 After this we ventured back cab style (prob the worst cabby ever), but we made it back to that humble abode.

Day 4:

The last day in Denver, luckily our flight wasn’t until 3:45 (it was actually much later because we were delayed due to slide malfunctioning). We took our time getting up, cleaned the place a bit, and packed…then got ready for one final brunch.

Strings: We walked about 2 miles to get here, it was SO windy but we made it.  We of course ordered the $12 bottomless mimosa’s I think we had like 6 each (we got our monies worth)! And we ALL ordered the crab cake eggs benny’s! It was so delish! At the end of brunch we felt we had to order dessert since we hadn’t done it all trip… crème brûlée it was and it was phenomenal! I was a bit worried upon going on this trip that I’d gain like 10lbs… surprisingly with all the walking, biking, and hiking I lost .5 a lb! That NEVER happens EVER!  Glad we got that dessert!

From here we take off to the airport and say goodbye to Denver. It was a wonderful trip with 2 of my best friends I couldn’t imagine anyone I’d rather take a beer trip with (other than Evan of course). We definitely did this trip up right!  Until next time Denver! Cheers!

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 😉

Roasted Stuffed Rabbit with Mashed Rutabaga and Roasted Romanesco and Cornbread

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s been awhile since my last post… but with good reason (some good and some bad)… Let’s start with bad: We’ve had a sick kitty and injured dog over the last week. Skiddy our cat must have gotten some bad cat food we are guessing, he was really not doing well up until 2 days ago (I wont go into the details of all that but he had some tummy troubles). Our dog Ginger was playing fetch and scraped her throat… she’s the world biggest wuss (a cute wuss) so she wasn’t handling it too well but was really fine after some new wet food and some doggy pain meds (she made it out to be much worse than it was, think man cold).

The good news: It’s that time of year again and I’ve been EXPERIMENTING for the upcoming Food Experiment’s: Taco Experiment! My recipe is top secret right now…. so I can go into detail what I’ve been experimenting with but I can guarantee you it will be bad ass! Last year I won third place in judges pick so I’m hoping to beat that status this year! I love events like this and cannot wait to compete! If you live in or around Austin, please come out and show Zestybeandog some love – tickets are cheap and well worth it, you get 20 delicious creations to sample, a free beer, and live music. I need you!!!

This is a Farmer’s Market Feast to say the least… If you have never had rabbit, I suggest you try it at least once in your life. It’s really good! It has a very light mouth feel and the way I prepared mine made them not gamey at all. Rabbit meat is a source of high quality protein.[20] It can be used in most ways chicken meat is used. In fact, well-known chef Mark Bittman says that domesticated rabbit tastes like chicken because both are blank palettes upon which any desired flavors can be layered.[21] Rabbit meat is leaner than beef, pork, and chicken meat (via Wiki). I roasted 2, 2-3 lb rabbits for 5 people it could have served about 8.

Prep: 45 min

Cook Time: 1.5 hrs (or until done).

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

Rabbit:

  • 5-6 lbs of fresh rabbit.
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 pads of butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • fresh thyme, 1 TBS

Stuffing:

  • 3 Cornbread muffins, broken up
  • 2 C. French bread broken up
  • 4 Stalks Celery, diced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C. Chicken stock
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 green onion, chopped
  • 1 TBs olive oil

Mashed Rutabaga: (Has half the calories of  potato version).

  • 2 large Rutabagas chopped into 1″x1″ cubes
  • 2 TBS. Butter
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. parm reggiano cheese
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 TBS, Green onion

Roasted Romanesco:

  • 1 large bunch of romanesco, cut up into smaller stalks
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • parm reggiano cheese 1/4 cup

Instructions:

Rabbit:

  1. Preheat Oven to 325 F.
  2. Clean rabbit and pat dry, remove inner organs in any and save for a pate possibly.
  3. Stuff with stuffing and place in roasting pan.
  4. Melt butter, add lemon juice and thyme and baste onto rabbit, then season with salt and pepper,  there will be plenty left to “re-baste” a second time.
  5. Cover with foil and cook for 1 hour and 15 min.
  6. Uncover, re-baste, and cook uncovered until internal temp is 160 F.

Stuffing:

  1. Heat a large skillet and cook garlic, carrots, shallots, and celery for 5-8 min on medium high in 1 TBS of olive oil.
  2. Transfer to large mixing bowl with breads, butter, stock, and seasonings, mix well.
  3. Stuff rabbits evenly.

Mashed Rutabaga:

  1. Bring lightly salted water to boil in a large pot, add rutabaga chunks and boil until tender, about 30-45 min.
  2. Drain water and mash adding spice, milk, butter, and cheese. Add green onion last and mix.
  3. Cover until ready to serve.

Roasted Romanesco:

  1.  Place cut up romanesco onto a large foil lined cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and seasoning, bake for 2–25 min at 325 F.
  2. Top with parm reggiano cheese.

Enjoy this farmers market feast with good friends, family, and lot’s of wine! Cheers!

Bacon Wrapped Quail Stuffed with La Marechal Emmi Cheese and Jalapeno : Pan Seared in Duck Fat Served with Grilled Brussel Sprouts

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This is one of my FAVORITE dishes to make for dinner guests. It’s so incredibly good and is sure to please!  La Marechal Emmi Cheese is so amazing with this dish, it really ties it all together. I served this with grilled brussel sprouts, a potato gratin, and homemade bread. The plates were cleaned (except for the bones of course). This is a great special occasion dinner as well. The quail can be hard to find and are a bit on the pricey side, I pay about $ 3-4 per quail and like to serve 2-3 per person. You can always ask your hunter friends 🙂

Prep: 30 min

Cook Time: 20-30 min

Serves: 4 with 2 quail per person

Ingredients:

  • 8 semi-boneless quail, washed and pat dry.
  • 8 slices of bacon, nitrate free please 🙂
  • 1 block of  La Marechal Emmi Cheese, about 8 oz or so.
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced into 8 long slices
  • 2 TBS rendered duck fat, you can buy it here via Marx Foods
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1lb of brussel sprouts, halved
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced for brussel sprouts
  • 1 TBS butter for brussel sprouts
  • 1 lemon, zest on top of sprouts

Instructions:

  1. Clean quail and stuff with one piece of jalapeno, one chunk of cheese, and wrap with bacon. Repeat until done with all 8.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Gather 2 large skillets. One for quail and one for sprouts, use a griddle if you have one for the sprouts to “grill” them. Bring skillets to medium high then add 2 TBS of duck fat to the quail skillet and 1 TBS of butter and garlic to the sprouts skillet.
  4. Add quail and sprouts to respective skillets: Cook quail for about 3-4 min on each side and season with salt and pepper lightly. Then transfer to the oven in a shallow baking pan for 5 more min. Do not over cook. Cook sprouts until nice and browned (tossing occasionally), season lightly with salt and pepper. Keep warm in a covered dish.
  5. Once quail are done in the oven plate your food and serve with a big red like Chocolate Block

Enjoy! Cheers!

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!