Monday, September 28, 2009

I want bacon! (Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin)

I've wrapped just about everything in bacon one time or another. Bacon is good. Plain and simple, GOOD! I, just like every other woman on Earth, try to keep my fat and calories down, but there is no turning down this fantastic strip of pig. One of my best sellers is my Spiced Pork Loin wrapped in Bacon. Its pork wrapped in pork. How sweet it is!

I brine the pork overnight and then marinate it with olive oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, ginger and salt and pepper. After marinating for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight is best), I wrap the loin in bacon and sear it in a blazing hot skillet with butter.

After searing, I put the skillet in the oven until the pork loin reaches 140 degrees. Its important to let it rest for about 10 minutes before you slice it. Note the above picture is missing the bacon. Where the heck did it go?

There it is! It might not be the same bacon that I started out with, but that is beside the point. I sliced the pork and served it on a fresh loaf of toasted sour dough bread. I spread some avocado on the bread and added grilled tomatoes, crisp bacon, romaine, grilled onions and Havarti cheese.

It was good to the last crunch!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Happy Saturday morning to you. Its raining and nasty here in Birmingham so I am spending some time with two of my favorite morning indulgences...

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

La La Bamba Salsa

Not only is homemade salsa better tasting than store bought, but its healthy and fun to make. You can add whatever you'd like to this recipe, like grilled corn, black beans or fruit. I stuck with the basics last night for the Barnes weekly meal. I kept it Gluten-Free for Elijah.

I diced 2 big Alabama tomatoes, 1 large red onion, 2 tomatillos, squeezed 2 limes, roughly chopped a head of cilantro, added 2 teaspoons of salt and threw in 2 diced jalapenos from the garden. I sprinkled about a teaspoon of cumin and a dash of cayenne pepper, and thats it folks!

This will keep in the fridge for 2 weeks! Try in with corn chips, or top grilled chicken or fish with it. It gets better and better day after day.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Laissez les bons temps rouler...Red Beans and Rice

I was born with a pretty wild palate. Spicy foods aren't really spicy, unless my mouth goes numb and my eyes and skin burn. For most people, that sounds like death, but I love it. I think everything is better with hot sauce...including my recipe for Red Beans and Rice.

This dish was so easy, so tasty and believe it or not, SO HEALTHY! I used turkey smoked sausage (When I say Hillshire you say farm), kidney beans, black beans and a ton of veggies from the farmers market. I added some chicken stock, hot sauce (oh yeah), thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, bay, garlic and salt and pepper. Served it over rice and french bread. It is a perfect meal for a Cajun food lover!

Try this recipe out. I didn't add measurements because this is one of those meals that doesn't require measuring. Channel your inner dumping ability. Add the spices you like, leave out what you don't. Have some fun with it. If you aren't the spice lover like me, just have a cold beer or two to wash it down with.


Monday, September 21, 2009

When I bake, you bake, we bake...Take 2 (Gaaaahlic Loaf Bread)

I think I love baking. I never thought that phrase would come out of my mouth, but I do! I'm not a big bread or dessert eater, but my friends are really lucking out, thanks to my new hobby. I have a lot to learn when it comes to cakes and pies, however, I've got this garlic loaf down to a perfection!

My entire house smells like a bakery when I pop this in the oven. Garlic and Butter...nuff said!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Keep it Hot, Hot, Hot

We went shopping today and I found a buffet warmer that I fell in love with! Several of my orders come from businesses who are ordering large amounts of food for luncheons and dinners. I've run into several occasions where there isn't an oven or stove, so my new toy is going to come in handy! You can only fill up so many crock pots!

When I bake, you bake, we bake...Take 1 (Apple Crisp)

I am jealous of the Barefoot Contessa and all those other perfect chefs (cooks) out there that bake these gorgeous desserts and pastries. I think I am intimidated by the whole measuring concept. I, the dump truck, love being able to spice any soup, casserole or veggie by just tasting it. You can't do that with baking. You have to measure, BORING...I know. Having said that, I have decided to step up and get my bake on. Here goes my first ever Apple Crisp.
I started with apples. Lots of apples...

I do not own an apple slicer. I also don't own a mink coat, whats your point?
I will be buying an apple slicer asap. I wonder if there is a such thing as an electric apple slicer and peeler??? I added flour, sugar, cinnamon, a little butter ( I mean A LOT of butter) and brown sugar. I was serving this at a luncheon for 15-20, so I used a crock pot instead of a casserole dish.
The crust on top seemed a little gooey while baking, so I added some brown sugar and cranked the heat to 375.
I am pleased to say it turned out fantastic! The luncheon was a huge hit and several people really complimented the dessert. I am now a baker!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Pasta Pasta (Gluten Free Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna)

One of my favorite clients is the Barnes family. They have 4 boys and the youngest has Celiac disease, which is an allergy to wheat. I have really enjoyed researching gluten free recipes and its been fun coming up with my own dishes that are wheat free. I cook dinner for this family once a week and the boys always request my lasagna. Its easy to keep it healthy for the whole family by using rice noodles rather than the standard pasta.

I really need to start writing down my recipes. Its hard remembering what all I put into each creation, especially when its midnight and I'm having some vino. This recipe however, is an easy one for me. Its a bunch of dumping. My mom calls me a dump truck. I'm known for dumping a little this and a little that into my Italian dishes, and in my purses. The sauce isn't complete without spinach, mushrooms and a glass of wine (any good red wine...I just dump my glass in and crank up the heat.) This veggie pic almost looks like a face. Interesting.

A few of the boys do not share my love for ricotta, so I heated some cream cheese and used it as my glue at the bottom of the dish.
I made Joey and I a mini pasta dish and at his request, full of gluten. Instead of lasagna, we used Penne pasta.
I added a salad...
and Voila!!!! The first is with gluten, the second without.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photo Cover

I am so proud of my bridal magazine cover! Hank is like his mom, loves some camera time! Thank you Genya (Vue Photography) for capturing my wedding with your amazing photo skills!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Spicy Sausage Meatloaf with Carrots, Peppers and Onions

I came up with this recipe one night after Joey asked me to make him meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I have never liked meatloaf, basically because a loaf of meat doesn't sound that fabulous to me, especially after seeing it made with oats and raw egg. So, I played around with sausage and instead of mushing up oats with my fingers, I used bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese to bind it together. Now Joey gets meatloaf. His own loaf of meat!


It rained all weekend so I spent Sunday in the kitchen rather than outside on my patio. I had to cook my ribs low and slow in the oven, along with cream cheese stuffed jalapenos wrapped in bacon and sugar beans. Cooking ribs inside proved to be VERY tasty!

5 Layer Dip

I know there is supposed to be 7 layers, but it was Labor Day and since I was laboring, I decided to leave off 2 of the layers. You can't go wrong with this dip as long as you make the salsa yourself and don't even think about using store bought guacamole!

Homemade Mac and Cheese

I really love making sweet southern comfort food! Being raised in Mississippi and then moving all the way to Alabama, I guess "Sunday" food is one of my specialties. I don't think there is anything wrong with mac and cheese from a box, and to be honest, the powdery, neon orange cheese doesn't scare me one bit. HOWEVER, I make the best, homemade mac and cheese that I've ever eaten. Order some and see for yourself!