Peppermint Bark

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It’s time to deck the halls… And our food blogs with holiday treats! This one came as a request from my parents, it is their absolute favorite candy to eat during Christmas time. Good thing is, it is super easy to make and also quite fun!

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Ingredients:

16 oz semi-sweet milk chocolate (four 4oz bars)
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
16 oz white chocolate (four 4oz bars)
Candy canes, crushed

Tip: good quality ingredients will leave you with better tasting candy

Start by melting the milk chocolate in a glass bowl sitting over a pot of gently boiling water. Once melted, add the peppermint extract and stir. Take off heat and pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread evenly to desired thickness and let sit in fridge until hardened.

In the meantime, melt the white chocolate in the same manner. Once the milk chocolate has hardened, pour the white chocolate over and spread evenly over top the milk chocolate.

Crush candy canes and sprinkle over white chocolate while it is still melted. The chocolate should be pretty well covered with the candy. I like to break the candy into fine pieces.

Put the baking sheet back in fridge until the chocolate has hardened completely. Once this is done, remove from fridge and break the candy into pieces sized to your preference. They should not be perfect cuts.

Then serve! 🙂

Merry Christmas everyone!

Creamy Mushroom Soup (made with pork bone stock)

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I have a recent obsession, (not soup, that’s a life long love of mine) it’s Shabu Shabu. For anyone who is unfamiliar, Shabu Shabu is served at Japanese restaurants, and it consists of thinly sliced meat and fresh vegetables that is cooked in boiling broth and served with different sauces; at restaurants it is do it yourself. Fortunately for me, there is a fantastic restaurant for Shabu Shabu, Itchikawa, near my home that has the most amazing broth I have ever had! Pork bone. Its so rich and meaty (also a little fatty 😉 )… Oh so good! So I started taking the left over broth home to cook with, and just as I expected, it makes for an amazing additive.

Today, I made my Creamy Mushroom Soup with pork bone broth in place of chicken stock. Of course, any stock will do just fine, chicken or vegetable for a vegetarian version. I paired it with a seared pork chop. And well, I live in Southern California, so it’s not exactly cold yet… But nonetheless, it made a pretty darn good fall dinner!

Ingredients:

2 leeks, chopped, white and light green parts
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 lbs mushrooms, sliced (button, baby Bella)
3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 cups stock of choice (pork bone, chicken, vegetable)
1-2 cups heavy cream (add to your preference)
Salt and pepper
Fresh finely chopped parsley for Garnish (optional)

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Simple really… In a big pot or dutch oven: saute onions and leeks for a few minutes before adding mushrooms and thyme and sauteing for about 7 more minutes. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper during this. Add garlic, cook for about two more minutes. Then add stock or broth and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. At this point, check seasoning. Transfer about 3/4 of the veges to a blender and puree until smooth, add back to pot . Add heavy cream and heat through. Serve and garnish with parsley and cheese if desired.

Enjoy!

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chicken Piccata and Orzo

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One of the things I love about cooking is we’re able to make a dish our own by having it fit our taste. Like taking a classic and whipping it up the way we want. Add one ingredient or nix another, we play by our own rules in the kitchen! There is usually some trial and error involved…  Sometimes we score and other times perhaps it would have been best to leave it well alone. But either way, it is fun right?!

This is one of my versions of a familiar dish, Chicken Piccata, which basically translates to breaded sauteed chicken in a sauce. I kept mainly to the tradition but did leave out the white wine, simply because I had none; and, to my preference, used an abundance of regular yellow onions instead of shallots. However, on other occasions I do use the ingredients I just mentioned, so don’t think I’m ruling them out!

Here’s how I did it:

Serves 2-4 people

Ingredients:

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded out to about 3/4 inch thickness

Flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

For sauce:

1 small yellow onion, sliced thinly in quarter moons

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 – 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serve with Orzo (1/2 cup per person)

Start out by seasoning the chicken well with salt and black pepper. Then dip into flour to lightly coat, shake excess flour off. Add to a skillet with oil heated to medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes on both sides or until golden brown on both sides and cooked through. Juices will run clear when done. Remove chicken from skillet and set in warm place.

Add onions to skillet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow to cook for about 7 min, or until soft. Then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more being careful not to burn. Add chicken stock and simmer for about ten minutes until the liquid has reduced by more than half. Once reduced add lemon juice and turn heat to low. Allow sauce to cool down and then add heavy cream. If stock is too hot, when added, the cream will separate. Season sauce to taste.

Plate chicken and cooked Orzo and top with sauce. Enjoy!

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mushroom Onion Swiss Burger

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My husband ate a burger while in Las Vegas some time ago and came home to tell me how amazing it was and that he must take me there to try it. So yesterday, remembering some of the ingredients he mentioned, I decided to make a similar burger and see if he would connect the dots. I did not, however, try to replicate it.

I was sneaky and never mentioned the burger he loved from Vegas, but after he took the first bite and immediately said “heey!” I knew I did good!! He was very pleased… it was pretty awesome.

Ingredients:

Ground Angus beef patties
Sliced Swiss cheese
Caramelized onions
Sauteed mushrooms
Sliced tomatoes
Worsheshire mayo, recipe follows
Kaiser rolls
Salt and ground black pepper

Caramelized onions:
Large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Salt and pepper

Heat oil and butter on med low heat. Add onions and cook for 30 min until caramelized, season with salt and pepper.

Sauteed mushrooms:
Sliced baby bella mushrooms
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Saute in skillet for about 7-9 min on medium heat.

Cut kaiser rolls and butter insides of both pieces, grill until golden brown.

Season with salt and pepper then fry burgers in skillet on med high heat on both sides until barely pink in middle. After the first flip, add 2 slices of swiss cheese to each patty and allow to melt completely.

Worsheshire mayo:
Mayo
Worsheshire sauce
Fresh cracked black pepper
Salt

Mix all ingredients to taste.

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Pile all ingredients on bun, including sliced tomato, and dig in!

I served burger with oven roasted potatoes. Toss cut potatoes in olive oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning salt. Roast at 400° for about 30 min, or until golden and crispy. Serve with ketchup.

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

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In the short time I’ve been blogging, already I have learned, and I may be quoting Guy Fieri here, people go nuts for “cheesy meaty goodness!” Well I’ve got the meatballs to live up to that phrase!

Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Basil Sauce

Ingredients

For meatballs: makes about 7 meatballs

1 piece bread, crust removed

1/4 cup milk

2 Cloves garlic

3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 lbs ground turkey

Fresh mozzarella, 1 oz cubed (approx 7)

For sauce: Recipe follows

I am a fanatic for cooking TV, and I’ve watched a lot of meatballs being made. From personal experience, I know making a good meatball can be a bit challenging. Trial and error is to be expected. They have to be well seasoned and moist! The type of meat used is important too. A beef and veil combination seems to be most authentic, but there are no limitations to what can be used to crank out a delicious meatball.

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I decided to stuff my meatballs with Mozzarella after realizing I ran out of Parmesan, and it turned out to be a good thing.

First I take the bread, put it in a bowl and soak it in milk, squeeze out the milk into the sink, break up the moist bread into crumbs. First time seeing this technique, I found it a bit strange, but this is traditional Italian. Then I mix all the remaining ingredients, except for turkey and cheese, in the same bowl until well blended. Once mixed, I add ground turkey and blend, being careful not to overwork the meat mixture.

At this point I want to make sure the seasoning is right, so I take a mini meatball and fry it in a skillet. This is a tester to determine if any adjustments need to be made. Once satisfied with the meat, its time to add the cheese. I take golf ball sized portions of the meat, flatten, add cube of cheese in center, and bring together to form a ball.  It’s important the ball is properly sealed so that no cheese seeps out during the cooking process.

In to the oven they on a greased baking pan in a 375° oven for 25-28 minutes, or until cooked through. After the meatballs are done baking I add them to my tomato basil sauce (recipe follows)  and cook in sauce for a minute or so. Then I serve , plated and smothered in sauce. Yum!

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I think my favorite part of this dish, besides the gooey cheese, is the basic tomato basil sauce. It is so simple and so simply tomato, which is what makes it so delicious.

Tomato Basil Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, grated or minced

One 29 oz can tomato puree

Splash beef stock (optional)

4-5 basil leaves, chopped finely

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil on low-med heat, add garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes, being careful not to burn. I used grated garlic to heighten the garlic flavor, but it’s not necessary. Then add tomato puree and beef broth, sprinkle salt and pepper being careful not to add too much because seasonings should be adjusted at the end, heat to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add in basil. Continue to simmer for 20 minutes. Adjust salt and pepper during the last few minutes.

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blue Cheese Portobello Burger with Worsheshire Mayo on a Multi-grain Ciabatta Bun

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One thing I enjoy eating perhaps more than anything else is a good ol’ American burger. In my opinion, they are diffecult to beat! Also, one thing’s for sure, I am a total carnivore! I love just about anything made with beef. However, it’s not necessarily best for the waist line, and I intended to eat light for dinner.

I wasn’t in the mood for a turkey burger so I decided to try something I never have before: a vegetarian burger. The meat-less burger I planned to construct: Blue cheese portobello burger with a worsheshire mayo on a multi-grain ciabatta bun.

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Ingredients:

This is for one burger, adjust according to the amount of burgers you make

For marinade: (mix to taste)
Olive oil
Seasoning salt
Worsheshire sauce

1 portobello mushroom

For worsheshire mayo: (eyeball it)
Mayonnaise (light or regular)
Worsheshire sauce
Salt to taste
Black pepper (generous amount)

Slice of red onion
Oil
Salt and pepper
1-2 slices of red tomato
Green leaf lettuce
Ciabatta
Butter or margarine for spreading

For blue cheese sauce:
1 part butter, about 1 tablespoon
2 parts blue cheese crumbles, about 2 tablespoons

First, I dressed the portobello with a mixture of olive oil, worsheshire sauce, and seasoning salt that I whisked together and brushed on both sides of the mushroom. I let this sit for a quick marinade while I prepared my other toppings. For even more flavor, I prepared a worsheshire pepper mayo, simple, mix mayo; worsheshire sauce to taste, being careful not to add too much (should achieve a light brown color); a generous amount of black pepper; and a little salt. Then set aside until ready to use

Next, I tore a piece of green leaf lettuce, cut slices of red tomato (that i seasoned lightly). Then i sliced a red onion down the center, brushed it with oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, then grilled it over medium heat until soft and browned,  (leaving the slice intact) about 2-3 min each side.

One of my cardinal rules to building an all-star burger is grilling the buns, this gives much more richness and flavor. To do so, spread a light layer of softened butter on the insides of each bun and grill on low heat until golden brown. You can use a butter substitute to cut fat and calories if you wish. I used margarine because I planned on using the good stuff, real butter, in my blue cheese sauce; yes I just can’t resist some indulgence. Grilling buns should be done fairly slow to achieve evenness and avoid burning the edges.

A flavorful mushroom is key here in order for it to stand up to the other ingredients without getting drowned out. Add a little oil to the grill pan, lightly sprinkle salt and pepper on the mushroom, and grill on both sides for about 3 minutes on each side. When done, the portobello should soften and flatten slightly, ending with a nice deep color.

Portobellos and blue cheese pair nicely, but blue cheese has a very strong flavor. Therefore I like to make a blue cheese sauce to mellow the taste.

To do so, as the mushroom is grilling, melt one part butter to two parts blue cheese crumbles in a small sauce pan on low heat being careful not to burn. I allow the butter to melt first, then whisk in the cheese until melted.

Now, it’s time to build that burger! Here are the steps: spread the prepared mayo on each of the buns, layer lettuce, then the portobello, next blue cheese sauce, tomatoes, grilled onions, and top with bun. And there you have it, a vegetatian style burger that is rich and satisfying much like it’s beefy counterpart. Honestly, I could not put this burger down! So many flavors come together in harmony and no one ingredient overpowers another, and that is key. The portobello tastes rich and meaty, the blue cheese has a salty tang, the mayo is peppery with a kick from the worsheshire; all enhanced by fresh produce, grilled onions, and the soft ciabatta bun.

Enjoy!

© Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.WordPress.com, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Priscilla Sutton and HotBites.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.