Black Beans ~ Homemade With Love

Hello lovelies,

Beans, Beans, They’re good for your heart, The more you eat them – the more you…..

Cooked-Beans-In-Collander

That’s pretty much all I knew about beans. Which is not really saying much!

I believe the song to be very accurate because beans are said to be good for your heart as well as leaving you the urge to….

I am cracking myself up here, people.

Trying to stay focused…and moving back to the topic at hand. I had NEVER eaten beans, there was just something about the texture that grossed me out. With that said, a couple of months ago I put on my big girl pants and made myself try them. What I found out was that I really loved beans – imagine that! Who would have thunk??

One of the reasons I believe I am enjoying these beans is because of the way they have been prepared. They are packed with flavor and cooked to just the right consistency for my family and I.

You should know I prefer to use a pressure cooker to prepare my beans. You can of course use a traditional sauce pan, however you would have to adjust the cook time. No biggie – they will work either way.

Ingredients

This is what you will need:

  • Black Beans (Soaked)
  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Cubanelle Pepper (If you can’t find cubanelle substitute with red or green bell peppers)
  • Garlic
  • Dried Oregano
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Water
  • Mushroom Broth

IMPORTANT: You will want to soak your beans for 4-8 hours before you cook them. As seen in the photo above.

ALSO IMPORTANT: The ingredients go into the cooker pretty quickly so it would be wise to prep all the ingredients prior to turning on the stove.

Butter

Turn your stove to medium hight heat – #8 on my stove.

Add butter to your cooker and melt.

Chopping-Onions

Now this is a handy-dandy device I have fallen in love with! It makes quick work out of onions and all my other vegetables.

For a while I was a knife snob. I thought by chopping everything by hand it was somehow better – because so many people refuse a tasty dish based on the chopping technique of the chef….so after I got over my Julia Child complex I moved onto this little masterpiece of a time saver.  The only thing I regret is not finding it sooner!!

Back to the recipe – Chop 1/2 an onion, please.

Chopped-Onions

Here is an extra photo just so you can see how perty my onion looks…You’re welcome.

Onions

Place 1/2 cup of chopped onions into your cooker.

Garlic

Followed by 3 diced garlic cloves.

Cubanelles

Followed by 1/4 cup cubanelle peppers diced.

Let these ingredients sauté until you can really smell them. About 2-3 minutes. We are not caramelizing them we just want to release their flavors.

Pepper

Add 1 tsp dried oregano.

Vinegar-into-Pressure-Cooker

Followed by 3 tbsp of white wine vinegar.

Let this cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Water-into-Pressure-Cooker

Add the water.

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Followed by the mushroom broth.

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Drain the beans. You do not need to keep the water the beans soaked in.

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Add the beans to the cooker.

Crank the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Pressure-Cooker-Photo

Above is a photo of a pressure cooker. Which I assume you figured out already, but just in case – that’s what it is.

I use a stove top version. There are also electric versions, however I find you really don’t save that much time with them since it takes quite a while for them to come to temperature.

Again, what ever you are more comfortable with is what you should use!! I want you to be happy!!

This is important:

  • Once the liquid is boiling place the lid on your pressure cooker.
  • Drop the temp to medium high.
  • Once the pressure indicator pops up that means you are at the right pressure for cooking.
  • This is when you start your timer.
  • Set your timer for 10 minutes.
  • Once the timer rings pull your cooker off the stove and empty the steam.
  • Be very careful when releasing the steam from your cooker. If you touch the steam it WILL burn you severely.
  • I wear oven mitts just to be extra cautious when handling the cooker and order everyone, and I mean everyone – even the dogs, out of my kitchen – better to be safe than sorry!!

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This is what it will look like when you open the pot.

Always take a test of your beans just in case you want them cooked more.

Once you are satisfied you can pour your beans into a container or separate the beans from the liquid.

DO NOT throw away the liquid – This liquid is like GOLD!!  Black bean juice is great to use in lieu of stock or water in all sorts of recipes!!

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And there you have it – The best black beans…If I do say so myself, which I actually did say ~ so, you get it right? – Anyway they’re goooood.

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Until next time…A word of advice – Don’t eat beans on your first date or you might really “toot” your own horn!!

Still cracking myself up – Good grief ~ someone stop me!!

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!!

Love, L.

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Vegetarian – Black Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans, soaked for 4-8 hours
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup onions
  • ¼ cup cubanelle pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 3 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2 ½ cups mushroom broth

Method

MAKE SURE TO SOAK YOUR BEANS FOR 4-8 HOURS PRIOR TO COOKING.

  1. Place pressure cooker on stove and turn heat to medium high.
  2. Melt butter.
  3. Add diced – onion, cubanelle pepper and garlic.
  4. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add dried oregano and white wine vinegar.
  6. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add water and broth.
  8. Drain beans and add to broth.
  9. Turn heat to high.
  10. Once liquid is boiling place lid on cooker – secure properly.
  11. Once pressure indicator is ready – drop temp to medium high.
  12. Set timer for 10 minutes.
  13. Pull cooker off stove and depressurize.
  14. Separate liquid from beans if desired or store together.
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#1 Best Frittata You’ll Ever Eat!!

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Hello Lovelies,

Every Sunday I make my family brunch. We are more or less creatures of habit in our household so we generally rotate through a handful of these Sunday recipes. One of our favorites being the frittata – Not to be confused with a quiche.

To help explain a frittata – I went to one of my favorite sources for info – Wikipedia…

Frittata is an egg-based dish similar to an omelette or quiche, enriched with additional ingredients such as meats, cheeses,vegetables or pasta. It may be flavored with herbs.

History:

The Italian word frittata derives from fritto, the past participle of “to fry” (friggere), and was originally a general term for cooking eggs in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried egg, through conventional omelette, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potato. Outside Italy, frittata was seen as equivalent to “omelette” until at least the mid-1950s.

Thank you Wikipedia for once again bestowing your knowledge upon me…

This dish is a no fail, go crazy, add anything, can’t go wrong rock star.

What I am trying to say is – it is virtually impossible to mess this dish up.

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Today’s starting line up: Eggs, Bacon, Half and Half, Potatoes, Butter, Onions, Shallots, Kosher Salt, Black Pepper, Johnny’s Garlic, Sugar, Smoked Gouda Cheese and Havarti Cheese. Really…can it get much better?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

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This is one stop shopping when it comes to your frying pan. The pan you start with is the pan you will end with so make sure it can go into the oven.

I use an 8″ All Clad sauté/simmer pan. The edges are higher than your typical frying pan. This allows me to really fill this bad boy up.

To start add the bacon to your frying pan, then turn the heat to medium high. There is no need to add butter or olive oil.

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Stir occasionally – Fry until golden brown.

Drain the bacon. I use a mesh colander, then I blot the bacon with a paper towel.

Set the bacon aside.

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Give your frying pan a soft wipe with a paper towel. Just enough to sop up the excess grease.

Caution – HOT, which should be obvious at this point, but you just never know, so there’s your warning. You’re welcome.

Return your pan to the stove, add the butter and set to a smidge over medium heat. A smidge is just a bit more than a little. Capiche?

You can also add a splash of extra virgin olive oil if you desire.

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Chop your potatoes into bite size portions.

Add enough potatoes to your frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer.

Leave your potatoes alone once they are situated in your frying pan.

I know you will be tempted to toss them but please do not – just trust me!

Providing the potatoes with an uninterrupted opportunity to fry is what is going to give them their golden brown color.

They will fry undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.

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In the mean time add the onions…still do not stir the potatoes. Let the onions rest on top.

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Add the shallots…

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Add the Johnny’s Garlic…

If you do not have Johnny’s Garlic substitute with 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp onion powder.

No worries. I won’t tell if you don’t.

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Add the kosher salt, the black pepper and the sugar.

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Check to make sure your potatoes have a golden brown color. Use a fork to conduct a potato quality control check. If it is golden brown then it is time to stir all the ingredients together.

Continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

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In a separate bowl add the eggs…

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Add the half and half.

If you don’t have half and half, milk will do just fine.

Again, I won’t tell.

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Remember the bacon from earlier? Give it a fine chop.

Once you have done that – add it to your bowl.

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You will want 4 ounces of smoked gruyere (or smoked gouda) cheese. Either use a scale or have the deli weigh it for you.

You can substitute cheeses if you desire. You will want 6 oz of cheese in total. However, I encourage you to try it my way first.

If you have never tried a smoked cheese now is the time. It will change your life, rock your world and give you a more pleasant world view – Scouts honor.

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2 ounces of Creamy Havarti Cheese.

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Combine both cheeses in a food processor and chop them up.

This is my little trick for chopping cheese instead of killing myself with the hand grater.

I’m all about shortcuts, man.

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Get ready, get set, go…Whisk it all up until…

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It looks like this. Simply marvelous.

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Pull the pan off the heat, make sure your potatoes are arranged in a single layer.

Pour your egg mixture over the potatoes.

Use a spatula and gently slice through the mixture a few times to seat the egg mixture.

Lookin’ good!!

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If it looks like this you done good…

Place it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Then broil for 2-3 minutes. This is not the time to engage in conversation or walk away.

I have a bad habit of getting distracted at this very moment…Geez, you would think by now I would know better.

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If it looks like this you done great!!!

I am so proud of you.

You will want to let it cool.

A frittata tastes better when it has cooled down a bit – For my family I find a 1/2 hour cool down to be ideal.

You can pull it out of the frying pan and serve on a platter if you want to be fancy – or you can serve it directly out of the pan.

I like the feel of putting the whole pan on the table. Seems more authentic – whatever that means…

After brunch I leave the frittata out with a fork in the pan and we continue to pick at it all day long.

Ahh – Sunday and family – does it get much better than that? I think not.

Frittata-Blog-2014---Ty-

Ty wanted to say “hewo”.

Hewo Ty…Mommy wuvs you!!

My job is done here. I hope you enjoy your frittata and all the different ways you can make it “yours”.

Until-Next-Time

I’m off to pet Ty and sneak him some frittata (sssshhh don’t tell hubby).

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

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Frittata

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 or 2 large russet potatoes
  • ½ small sweet onion
  • 1 large shallots
  • 1 tsp. johnny’s garlic
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 5 egg
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces smoked gouda cheese
  • 2 ounces creamy havarti cheese

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut the bacon into 1/2 inch slices.
  3. Cook the bacon in an 8 inch ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown.
  4. Drain the bacon with a mesh colander then pat with a paper towel.
  5. Discard the fat from the pan. Then give a gentle wipe to the pan with a paper towel to remove excess grease.
  6. Return the pan to the stove. Over medium heat add the butter and the extra virgin olive oil to the pan.
  7. Chop the potatoes into bite size portions and add to the pan. Fry undisturbed for approximately 5 minutes.
  8. Add the chopped onions, the chopped shallots, kosher salt, black pepper, johnny’s garlic and sugar.
  9. Cook over medium heat for 5 additional minutes, tossing occasionally until the onions start to brown and the potatoes are tender.
  10. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs, half and half, chopped bacon and grated cheese.
  11. Place the pan in the oven for 30 minutes, until the omelet rises and the eggs are cooked in the center.
  12. Broil for 2-3 minutes – watch carefully, this happens fast.
  13. Serve hot directly from the pan – Cut into 8 pieces.

 

Gorgeous Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Gorgeous-Caramelized-Onions-and-Mushrooms

 

So, it’s the end of the week and you have a fridge full of leftovers…Sometimes all those leftovers need is a quick pick me up – like mushrooms and onions.

They are great with leftover mashed potatoes, perfect on all kinds of meats and my personal favorite – mixed with green beans or broccoli.

Clever…right? You’re welcome.

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Preheat the frying pan to medium high.

Add a couple turns around the pan of extra virgin olive oil. Probably one-ish tablespoons. Very technical I know…

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Drop in 1 carton of sliced baby belle mushrooms.

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Add one sliced onion.

Try and get all the onions in the pan – unlike me. I missed…

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Add 1 tsp of sugar.

I always add sugar anytime I make onions. It’s just one of those thangs man.

What can I say…I’m crazy like that.

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Add 2 tbsp of butter. Butter just makes life so much better.

FYI – My butter is always salted – always!!

So get this – All the hard work is finished.

I know…You have to love a recipe that is this easy and makes your home smell this good!!

Saute for 10 minutes on medium high – stirring only occasionally.

Drop the heat to medium low and cook for 20 more minutes.

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During the last 10 minutes of cooking add 1/2 tsp of pepper and 1/2 tsp of salt. You can add more or less depending on taste.

But seriously don’t add too much salt…you’ll get all bloated then blame me and frankly I just can’t take that much pressure. So just don’t do it alright! Geez…

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Then you’ll get this!!

Time for a happy dance…

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That’s what Oso thinks of my happy dance…you can see it in his eyes, he thinks I’m nuts…

He’s probably onto something.

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This is optional – but highly recommended.

Turn the heat up to medium high.

Add about a splash or two of your favorite red wine to deglaze the pan.

Cook until the wine has incorporated into the onions.

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I mean…come on!!

Seriously, do you see the color of this dish – the caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Life is looking pretty good right about now.

So there you have it. Over and out!

Until next time…I’m off to dance with my kids.

Be Blessed, Stay Blessed and remember don’t forget to laugh at yourself or someone will do it for you.

Love, L.

Perfect Rice…Every-time!!

Perfect-Rice

 

Hello Lovelies,

Rice…Such an amazing food. It is inexpensive to purchase, full of flavor and easy to prepare.

However, is it really easy to prepare? For a lot of people rice preparation is their achilles heel. Sometimes the rice is too hard, sometimes it’s too soggy and sometimes it just doesn’t taste very good.

All that is about to change because I am about to show you how to make perfect rice every time.

Follow along as I walk you through my no fail recipe that will even make “Uncle Ben” jealous…

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Here’s who’s playing the game today: Basmati Rice, Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Water, Onion, Cubanelle Pepper, Johnny’s Garlic Seasoning, Kosher Salt and Pepper. (Fresh Cilantro is optional)

Beep, Beep, Beep…Personal Preference Alert: There are many varieties of rice to choose from. In this recipe I use Basmati Rice. I suggest you do the same so your ingredients and technique are the same as this recipe. You can branch out later with other rice varieties once you have mastered the basics.

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To start, prep your veggies. Dice 1/2 an onion and 1 medium cubanelle pepper. Put aside.

A long time ago I discovered the cubanelle pepper and my life was forever changed. I have never been a big fan of red and green peppers, I think they’re flavor hogs. But not my darling cubanelle; he’s subtle with a slight sweetness, the perfect pepper. Just like my Papi’s the perfect husband…Aww – how sweet am I?

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Next, pour 2 cups of rice into a measuring cup.

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Now, drown the rice in water…

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Allow the measuring cup to overflow.

Reach into the measuring cup with your clean hand or a spoon, as you continue to run the water.

Move the rice around so the starch is released from the rice and the water begins to run clear.

What’s up with my sink in this picture? It looks so dirty. I promise it’s just the way the water streaks reacted with the flash on my camera. I know you’ve heard that excuse a million times. But it’s true…really!

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Once the water runs clear, it is time to empty the rice into a mesh colander to drain. Set aside.

Check out those bananas in the background, maybe I should make banana bread next?

Why am I distracted so easily? I have the attention span of a monkey…wait are those bananas? What am I saying?

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Now that your prep work is finished, it’s time to have some super rice making fun!!

Set a saucepan on medium high, on my stove I turn the knob to #8. Your stove may be different – it’s just a reference.

Add 1 tbsp of butter and 1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to the saucepan.

I always use salted butter in all my recipes just in case you couldn’t sleep wondering about that.

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Immediately add the onions.

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Then the cubanelle pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Side note: You can add your veggies immediately to your saucepan, in fact the sooner the better. You don’t have to wait for your butter to brown or bubble or sing or dance. Just turn on your stove and start tossing the veggies in the pan while yelling, “OPA”. It works – scientifically proven, somewhere I think…?? Why are you listening to me?

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This is what you want your onions and peppers to look like. I can’t explain how good this smells!!

Well, actually you know I could but I’ve rambled enough, so I’ll keep this train a movin’ instead.

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Add the kosher salt.

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Add the pepper.

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Add the Johnny’s Garlic.

Johnny’s Garlic is a mixture of herbs and garlic. I buy mine at Costco. If you don’t have any, you can use garlic powder. It won’t be exactly the same, but good enough for government work.

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There they are; all the spices getting to know each other. I love when my spices make friends.

Now mix them up and let them cook for another 2 minutes.

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It is time to add the rice.

Here is where the ancient family secrets come into play.

These next couple of steps are critical in separating rice from RICE!!

Prior to adding the water, you are going to fry your rice just a smidge. Please, listen carefully as these instructions are important!

Once the rice is in the pan, start stirring it around.

Turn the heat down a notch to medium and most importantly keep the rice moving so it does not burn.

Continue this for 2-3 minutes.

If prior to the 2 to 3 minute period the rice starts to stick to the pan or starts turning brown, then it is time to move onto the next step.

With this in mind, it is your judgement call. Watch your rice carefully because all stoves heat differently and all pans transfer heat differently. What works on my stove may be too much or too little on yours.

BE ATTENTIVE WHEN YOU COOK!!

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Time to add the three cups of water to the rice.

Typically, the water to rice ratio is 2:1. I don’t use this formula, I use 1 1/2 : 1 as my ratio.

Aren’t I quite the rice rebel? This is as good as my rebellion gets…

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Turn the heat to high and let the rice boil (uncovered) for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

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Give your rice one last stir and immediately place the lid on the rice – TURN THE HEAT TO LOW!!!

Do not forget to turn the heat to low or you’ll have a bubbling mess all over your kitchen!! I speak from experience here, lots and lots of experience…Ugh – I’m having flashbacks!

Set a timer for 20 minutes and do not peak!!

Did you hear me? Resist the urge to peak!! Do not peak, Nada on the peakage, Nope to the looking, Nix on the gawking, No can do on the observing. I could go on…but why, there’s just no need for that! Capiche?

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Hence, the reason you don’t peak, observe above.

Once your timer goes off … do NOT remove the lid just yet. Patience young grasshopper…

Pull the rice off the stove and set aside for 5-10 minutes.

Then, finally you can pull the lid off the pan and there you have it – perfect rice.

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With a fork fluff the rice. The veggies will have congregated around the edges so you’ll want to incorporate them back into the rice.

Serve immediately.

If you would like, you could mix some cilantro into your rice for added flavor. Please note though, cilantro is an herb that people either love or hate. If they love it they REALLY love it, but if they don’t, it grosses them out. Check first – you’ve officially been warned; which is much more official than unofficial, so officially you been schooled and officially warned – unofficially – Thank you for your cooperation and understanding…

Until next time…I’m officially off the air.

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

Rice

Ingredients

2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of water
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion – sweet
1 medium cubanella pepper
1 bunch cilantro – fresh (optional)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp johnny’s garlic
Method

Dice onion and cubanelle pepper. Set aside.
Rinse rice thoroughly, drain. Set aside.
Heat a saucepan on medium high heat.
Add the oil and butter.
Immediately add the onions and peppers and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the kosher salt, pepper and johnny’s garlic (which can be substituted with garlic powder); cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice – stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes.
Add the water – boil for 2 minutes.
Cover and reduce the heat to LOW!
Set timer for 20 minutes and DO NOT PEAK!
Remove the rice from the stove.
Keep the lid on and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Remove lid and fluff rice with fork.
Add cilantro to rice if desired.

Sweet Salami

Hello lovelies,

Get ready for a lip lickin’, gum smackin’, knick-knack, paddywack, give the dog a bone –  melt in your mouth delight!!

Sweet Salami in Pan

Howdy, Howdy, Hiddy, Ho – Happy “I can’t wait to share on of my favorite recipes with you” day!!

This recipe is for sure one of my very favorites!!

Perfect for a light dinner paired with a crunchy baguette and a glass of wine.  Ohlala!

It’s also my “go to” appetizer for entertaining.  Everybody goes bananas for it!!!

The best part is that it is quick, simple and always delicious!!

So without further ado I present my recipe for Sweet Salami…

Sweet Salami Ingredients

To Make The Magic Happen, This is What You’ll Need:  Hebrew National Salami, Mango Jam, Brown Sugar and Honey Mustard.

Four ingredients – You’re welcome.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cutting Salami

Slice your salami into thin strips, stopping just before you cut all the way through.  Por favor.

Salami Cut

Your salami should look like this when you are finished slicing.

Again, do not cut all the way through.

Set salami aside and let him know you’ll be right back.

Adding Brown Sugar

In a mixing bowl add the brown sugar…

Adding Mustard

Add the honey mustard.

I always use Boar’s Head Honey Mustard.  Just a suggestion (that you should take).

Mixed Ingredients

Add the mango jam…

Whisk it all together so everyone gets to know each other really, really well.

Cut salami in pan

Place your salami into a small baking dish.

Adding glaze to salami

Go and wash your hands – not that anyone would know, but if you don’t that’s gross so please wash your hands!!

Pour entire mango mixture onto the salami with complete abandon.

Glazing Salami 1

This is where the clean hands are important.

Dig right into the ooey, gooey mixture and pack it into all the nooks and crannies.

This mixture is so good you could lick your fingers, just wait until you are finished – thank you.

Glazing Salami 2

This is what it looks like – it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it.

Sweet Salami in Pan

There you have it.  All ready to pop into the oven.  One hour at 375 degrees will bring this recipe to perfection every time.

You will notice that the ends of the salami will darken quite a bit.  Don’t panic.  It is supposed to do that.  That’s the best part.  🙂

Toothpicks

If you are serving this as an appetizer cut the salami slices into quarters, put on a serving plate, drizzle the sauce lightly over the salami and serve with toothpicks.  I like the toothpicks with the colorful fuzzy’s on the end.  It just makes it fun to eat and who doesn’t love fun to eat food???

One a side note…You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it off.  The bake time stays the same.

Until next time…A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.  ~Humphrey Bogart

Be blessed, stay blessed and remember if you don’t laugh at yourself someone will do it for you!

Love, L.

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Sweet Salami

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. Hebrew National Salami
  • ¾ cup Mango Jam (Preference Alert: Peach Jam also works)
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. honey mustard

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Score into Salami, cut into Salami in narrow slices (3/16″) but not completely through to the bottom.
  3. Place into baking dish.
  4. Mix Mango Jam, Honey Mustard and Brown Sugar together.
  5. Spread on Salami – make sure to get into all the crevices.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from oven.  Let cool.
  8. Serve loaf whole or cut into bite size piece and serve with toothpicks.