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Archive for the ‘Sauce’ Category


Caramel Apple Cider - Meatballs&MilkshakesNothing says fall like apple cider. I love curling up with a book in my favorite chair with a hot, steamy mug apple cider spiked with homemade caramel and cinnamon. It also makes a great warm drink for holiday parties.

Caramel Apple Cider

1 cup apple cider

1 teaspoon caramel sauce

1 cinnamon stick

Warm the cider with the cinnamon stick to steep. Add the caramel sauce and stir.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 cup cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the sugar in a saucepan with the water until it starts to turn light brown. Carefully pour in the cream, it will bubble a lot. Add the vanilla and carefully stir. Allow to cool a little before pouring off into a container. It will last for a couple weeks in the fridge.

Caramel Apple Cider - Meatballs&Milkshakes

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I made so much barbeque chicken, that I inevitably had a little leftover and decided that I wanted to make some pulled chicken with it. I had some tasty little brioche sliders leftover from burgers, and I added on some homemade pickles for a little crunch. I used some more of the homemade BBQ sauce and it was a perfect Sunday lunch.

Pulled Chicken Sandwich

1 leftover barbequed chicken breast

3 tablespoons additional BBQ sauce

Juice of half a lime

2 slider buns, preferably brioche

pickles or any other favorite topping

Shred the chicken with two forks into pieces and combine with the extra sauce and lime juice. Heat in a pan until warm and then spoon onto bun. Add pickles and enjoy!

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I found it surprisingly hard to take pictures of BBQ chicken. For some reason, chicken just doesn’t seem that photogenic. Plus, it took a lot of willpower to keep myself from eating it immediately. If you’ve never made your own BBQ sauce, you should try it next weekend. It’s so much better than bottled, and pretty satisfying to know you made it yourself. I did make a large batch, and I’m hoping between the sugar and vinegar, it will keep in the fridge for a bit.

BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 plum tomatoes, seeded

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 cup ketchup

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 tablespoon aleppo pepper powder

1 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1  tablespoon paprika

Saute the onion and garlic in the vegetable oil until softened. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes longer. Let cool a bit and then puree in a food processor.

BBQ Chicken

1 chicken, cut into parts or use your favorite cuts

1 cup BBQ sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

salt and pepper

Make sure your chicken is dry when you start. You don’t need to wash chicken, it just spreads any potential bacteria around your sink. Dry off your chicken with a paper towel and rub all sides with olive oil or vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and place onto a hot grill or grill pan. (I now use a cast iron grill pan and it’s fantastic.) Let it develop nice color before you flip.

Brush with some BBQ sauce on both sides after you have grill marks. Continue brushing with sauce until the chicken is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook, use a meat thermometer if you’re not sure. Serve with some extra sauce on the side (not from the same container you were basting your chicken with…you don’t want to contaminate it.)

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I have a lot of meatballs on here by now: classic spaghetti and meatballs, tuna meatballs, and chicken meatballs, and I thought it was time for vegetarian meatballs. These were inspired by a couple different recipes I saw across the blogosphere and they disappeared so quickly that I will have to make them again. They’re perfect for a party where meat-eaters and veggies alike will love them.

Lentil Meatballs

2 cups cooked lentils

1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas

2 eggs

1/2 cup ricotta or goat cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Juice of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove

1 tablespoon aleppo pepper

2 tablespoons chopped basil

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it creates a paste. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until they start to brown on top.  Squeeze a whole lemon over them before serving.

Lemon Pesto

3 cups basil

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1/2 cup grated parmesan

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Spoon over the meatballs or use as a dip on the side.

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I’m not a big fan of going out for Valentine’s Day because restaurants typically overcharge and it feels a little forced. Plus, my favorite evenings are ones spent at home over a delicious meal– why do something different? I see Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to be reminded how good we have it every other day of the year. And when I think about what my favorite meal is, and what I would like to share, it always comes back to pasta. Of course.

I love a simple bolognese, and some fresh spinach linguine makes it even better. We had this with a 17-year old brunello that my parents gave us, and it was a perfect evening.  Full disclosure: I decided to take the evening off from blogging, and I took these pictures the next day with leftovers. No distractions. But it’s just as good the next day, even more reason to make some tonight.

Linguine Bolognese 

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 pound ground pork

2 carrots

2 celery stalks

2 garlic cloves

1/2 onion

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons chopped oregano or marjoram

1 tablespoon sugar

Combine the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in a food processor and grind into a chunky paste. Brown the meat in a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Make sure to really brown the meat well and don’t move it until it starts browning. This is the best opportunity to develop flavor.

Once the meat is browned, move it to the side of the pan to add the vegetable paste and allow it to start browning as well. Season everything with salt and pepper and the oregano. Once the vegetables have softened and browned a bit, add the tomato paste and let it rust for a few minutes. Add the milk and wine and stir through. Add the sugar. Let the whole thing simmer for an hour until it thickens and the flavor deepens. Toss with pasta in a saute pan with a little of the pasta water and some parmesan and enjoy!

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I won a box of avocados from Serious Eats a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been working on some recipes with them. This avocado pesto worked well with this whole wheat fresh pasta, and also as a topping for some deliciously sweet scallops from the farmers market. The avocado gives it a creaminess and richness that you don’t expect, and the lime juice gives it a little tart bite. I still love pesto genovese, but this was a nice change.

Avocado Pesto

1 avocado

2 limes zested and juiced

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 cup arugula

1 cup basil

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 garlic clove

Combine all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor and blend. I like to put the cheese and nuts in first to make sure they get ground up before you introduce the other ingredients, otherwise you might get pieces of cheese or nuts that stay whole in the final sauce. Spoon onto scallops, toss with pasta, or use in any way you might use regular pesto!

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If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting as much this week, it’s because I’m trying out the Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse. It seemed like a good idea to try eating healthy for a couple weeks, as we tend to do this time of year. I’ve had a lot of oatmeal, muesli, and pumpkin smoothies. And don’t get me started on lentils. I’m really craving a slice of pizza or a cupcake or something with some white sugar….one more week to go.

Anyway, while the meals I’ve been eating are healthy, I haven’t really felt the urge to blog any of them because, well, I really wouldn’t choose to eat them on a normal day. Until this salmon. Granted, I switched up their recipe a little to use up some cleanse leftovers in the fridge, but the nutritional content I think is basically the same. And somehow, I wasn’t missing the cheese in this pesto. That in itself is rather amazing…

Salmon with Pepita and Kale Pesto

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (Pepitas)

1/2 cup kale

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 garlic clove

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon aleppo pepper

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons vegetable stock

4 6-ounce salmon fillets

Toast the pepitas in half the olive oil until they start to brown. Reserve a couple tablespoons to garnish the salmon with at the end. Combine the majority of the pepitas in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and blend. Saute the salmon in the remaining olive oil on low heat until it starts to get opaque. I like to leave it medium rare in the center. Top the salmon with some of the pesto and garnish with the whole pepitas.

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