Sunday, January 18, 2015

Smoke House Cheesy Garlic Bread #SundaySupper

How do you define "hometown food"? Is it food from the town you grew up in? From the town you currently live in? Maybe it's from the town that has your know that saying..'home is where your heart it'.

I had a difficult time deciding what to make for today's Sunday Supper theme. The town where I grew up is out of the way, hidden between a few mountains and from what I remember, wasn't known much for their food. I do remember a great burger joint or two. I also considered where my heart is, and most of my family but I think I've posted several southern dishes which actually represent a culture more than the town in Alabama where my folks live.

So that left me with my current location of nearly 30 yrs....beautiful downtown Burbank. We have an awful lot of restaurants in town. Mostly chains. Some new, some old. Some great and some not so much. But there's one restaurant down by the studios that has been around for decades. Owners have changed a few times as has the menu a bit but the one thing that the Smoke House is famous for is their Cheesy Garlic Bread.

The Smoke House is a great steak house with wonderful prime rib, a fabulous Sunday brunch and a real old time classic feel to it, complete with a bar, lounge and live music. It's been around since the end of WWII and used to be frequented by Hollywood legends such as Bob Hope and Bing Cosby. Dinning there has always been a great way to celebrate a special occasion. Regardless of what you order, several orders of cheesy garlic bread are a must. Plus one to go. The locals even make special trips just to pick up a few orders to take out. Nothing else....just cheesy garlic bread.

One of my dearest friends shared a recipe for their cheesy garlic bread. Funny thing is that the recipe calls for shredded American cheese, but there's a note at the bottom that says: 'or use powdered cheese (ie: the cheese packet from boxed macaroni and cheese)'.

Really?!...hmmm. That little note sure got my attention. Mostly because the cheesy garlic bread from the Smoke House doesn't have melty cheese all over it yet has that cheesy flavor. This must be the "trick".

I decided to try it both ways. One with the shredded American cheese and the other with powdered cheese. I knew in my heart which one was going to be closest to the real thing, but I had to do it anyway.

Btw...if you're looking at this from a "healthy" perspective, I don't feel that one is better than the other since American cheese is processed anyway so it's not like the powdered cheese is replacing the "real thing".

One more thing, you need to plan ahead as the garlic butter needs 3 days to do it's thing.

Smoke House Cheesy Garlic Bread

Printable Version
makes 2 loaves

1/2 cup melted butter
4 teaspoons dried garlic granules*  or 4 cloves of fresh garlic, smashed and diced **
1 loaf of Italian bread
1/4 lb of American cheese, shredded (not sliced) OR 4 tablespoons of powdered cheese (or to taste)

(you can find American cheese in block form at the deli counter of most grocery stores)

*If using the dried garlic granules: In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the smashed and diced garlic. Cover and let sit on the counter for 3 days.

**If using fresh garlic: In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the smashed and diced garlic. Cover and let sit in the fridge for 3 days. (fresh garlic in any kind of oil that is not refrigerated can become the perfect host for botulism) 

Once the 3 days are up, strain out the garlic (the butter might need to be heated up a tad first so the garlic can be removed easily). The garlic aroma and flavor is intense! Suweeeet!!!

Liberally brush the garlic butter over the bread. Sprinkle either the shredded American cheese or the powdered cheese all over. I actually found powdered cheese in a jar in the spice section of my grocery store.

Btw, grating American cheese is kinda weird. It mostly felt like I was just pushing the cheese through the grater. But man, it really does melt nicely. 

The cheese sprinkles where a lot let messy but not as pretty. 

Place the loaves in a hot broiler for a minute or two. Keep a close eye on it at all times as once it gets going it goes from done to burnt in a matter of seconds. 

Then let it cool for a second. Slice and serve.

When all is said and done, the powdered cheese version is spot on...Smoke House Cheesy Garlic Bread! If you've moved from the area and miss this local Burbank treat, here's your fix.

Me? I have a thing for melty. I think the real star in this recipe actually, is the method used to make the garlic butter. It's a lot easier and better than the methods I've been using or trying over the years. How you choose to cheese your garlic bread is totally up to you.

Don't forget to check out the other Sunday Supper Hometown Foods recipes!

Appetizers and Snacks
Main Dishes
Side Dishes
Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sour Cream Biscuits

These are the most simple and delicious little nuggets of biscuits around. Three ingredients mixed today and....booyah! Buttery, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Great with breakfast, lunch, dinner, soup, salad, or just little snacks.

Cuz you can't help snacking on one each time you walk through the kitchen. They just pop into your mouth so easily you could almost swear they jumped in on their own.

So why haven't I told you about them before? Well, I dunno. I mean, I didn't realize until recently that I hadn't.

You see, it all started with my recent trip to Bama where I spent the holidays with my family. We celebrated my birthday, the new year, and had just good family fun.

Of course we ate tons of great food. What would New Years Day be without some good traditional southern grub.

Even though we had some really cold winter nights, we fired up the grill and made some amazing 1/2 lb stuffed burgers! Wrap your teeth around that beauty!

Btw, do you know how cold it gets there?! I know, I know...compared to most other regions of the country, it's not that bad. But this SoCal gal's blood is used to warmer climes. I mean....winter here means that it's below 75' most of the time. Or just some of time. And it rarely get's below 40, let alone freezing. My family was amazed that if the temps are going to be below freezing, we actually get a frost warning.

For the first time in my life, I experienced single digit temps. Crazy stuff I tell ya!

Anyway, it was while I was in Bama that I realized I had never shared  these yummy little crunchy-and-soft at the same time biscuits with you. My sister made them to go with dinner one night and that's when it hit me.

Even my daughter was surprised. When I told her I was making them today, she asked why. I had to confess my wrong doing out loud and this was her response:

"You've never put them on your blog?! Oh wow!! You need to do that...They're sooooo good!! People need to know about them"

Now that I'm back home, experiencing a much warmer type of winter, I can make a wrong right and let the whole world know what they've been missing.

Sour Cream Biscuits

Makes 24 mini biscuits
Printable Version

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375' F

Spray the mini muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients until well combined.

Divide the dough into the muffin pans.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

And that's it. They're ready to be consumed. They slip out of those little tins so easily and right into your mouth.

I hope you give them a try and enjoy them as much as we do. And please try to forgive me for not giving you the opportunity to try them sooner.

One last thing...Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Butternut and Leek Soup with Red Lentils

Sometimes, when you can't decided between two options, combining them is the best idea ever.

I really love Julia Child's Leek and Potato soup. I really love Butternut Squash Soup. I was in the mood for both and just couldn't decide what to do. Although I was leaning a bit more towards the leek soup, the butternut squash really needed to be used soon.

Using Julia's recipe as a guide, and her often simple, basic seasoning technique that allows the main ingredient's flavor to shine like a star rather than the supporting spices and herbs, It's surprising how a bit salt and pepper is the only seasoning this recipe needs. Trust me, hold back on the urge to add the garlic or cumin, or whatever your go-to favorites are. Try it in it's true form first and remember that you can add other seasonings later if you choose.

Butternut and Leek Soup with Red Lentils

Printable Version

1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
2 leeks, including tender greens, sliced and rinsed
1 carrot, peeled and sliced
1 celery stalk, sliced
1 cup diced butternut squash
2 quarts of water plus more as needed
1/4 cup red lentils, uncooked
1 tablespoon salt
White pepper to taste
3 tablespoons of butter
Chives or parsley

In a large put simmer the vegetables, water and salt, partially covered with a lid for about 30 minutes. Add the lentils and continue simmering, partially covered for another 20 - 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add warm water as needed to keep the vegetables under water.

Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender) puree until smooth and creamy. Adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper if needed.

Off heat and just before serving, stir in the butter, a spoonful at a time until melted and garnish with croutons and chives or parsley

The lentils were added to thicken the soup (instead of rice) and also for their nutritional value. The butter is added at the end to add a bit of depth and richness. It is of course optional. You can add cream instead if you'd like. Croutons are just so much fun in creamy soups.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chamomile and Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies #Drop

Chamomile and pink peppercorn is quite the herbie combo for a dessert. And it totally works. These slightly sweet shortbread cookies have a sophisticated flair to them. They almost demand that you sit back with a cup of hot tea and enjoy a few moments of leisure.

Why does pink peppercorn work so well here? It' because it's not a true peppercorn (it's a berry). Although it does contain a bit of pepper flavor, it also has a citrus note to it. Pink peppercorn is actually related to cashews (if you have a nut allergy, you may want to proceed with caution).

I found out about these delightful cookies on a new app called Drop which is extremely fun and quite honestly, rather ingenious. In a nutshell, it's an interactive kitchen scale that uses an app which is downloaded onto your iPad .

I recently had the opportunity to give this little gem a try and see what it's all about. After a quick company background and overview by the CEO, a group of us gathered around the kitchen and started playing. Cookies, muffins, both savory and sweet were made that evening. All were easy. All were tasty and all were deliciously fun!

The scale connects to your iPad via wifi. You select one of the many recipes from the app and do as it tells you. For example, "place a large bowl on the scale", which it then promptly adjusts back to zero. "Add a cup of flour". Rather than having to measure the flour, you pour it in and the app tells you when you've reached 1 cup (based on weight rather than volume). Brilliant!

Drop will basically hold your hand as it walks you through the recipe, step by step. It includes videos and photos of what your progress should look like. It goes as far as including a timer, which you can program to alert your cellphone when your dish is done baking!

I love it! There's something a bit liberating about baking without doing the measuring. The only thing that really needs to be measured are small quantities such as teaspoons. I mean, the weight of a teaspoon of baking soda is almost non-existent, right? Totally understandable.

Oh, I almost forgot another fun little "plus". Baking can be messy. (no, it doesn't clean up after you) and who wants to touch their iPad screen with gooey fingers? No need with Drop! As you're going through the recipe steps, if you need to hit next....just press the front of the scale itself. Bingo! Much easier to clean the scale than the screen.

If you want to use the scale on it's own (without one of the recipes on the app), you can do so, but it will need to be communicating with your iPad.

So, I brought my cute little smart kitchen scale home, borrowed my friends iPad ( I need an iPad. Seriously!) and started playing. And that's where these Chamomile and Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies came in....

Chamomile and Pink Peppercorn Shortbread Cookies

Recipe from Drop

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon chamomile tea (dry, from the tea bag)
1 teaspoon ground pink peppercorn
Sugar to sprinkle on cookies

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Set aside

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, chamomile and pink peppercorn.

Add to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until dough forms. In this case, it's a dry dough....not like...say, your typical sugar cookie dough by any means. I tested the readiness by placing it in my hand and squeezing it to see if it would hold together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 340' F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out to about 1/8th inch. If the edges split, just press them back together.

Cut into desired shape (I used a knife and made simple rectangles).

Using a spatula, carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet.

Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the edges are a light golden color.

So light and delicate in both flavor and form. Fun to make and a delight to eat.

With the holidays coming up, Drop would make the perfect gift for the new baker or even the experienced baker who has everything!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Turkey and Stuffing Crepes #SundaySupper

We all look forward to Thanksgiving. It is the biggest foodie holiday of the year after all. I think most of us look forward to the leftovers almost as much as the big day itself. Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Soup, Turkey Broth, and of course just reheating the goods and gobbling it down again.

But what about taking it a step or two further and making a whole new, different meal? The possibility list just expanded quite a bit didn't it?

Today's Sunday Supper is all about doing just that. Re-inventing your Thanksgiving leftovers.

One of my favorite things to do, and I've been doing this in various forms for years, is to use the turkey to fill crepes. It's such a simple, no fuss dinner that your family is sure to enjoy.

A quick note about the crepes: If you want to make them from scratch, go for it. Did I? Nooooo. Not that I haven't but to be honest, after spending the whole day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, I don't usually have the drive to actually make crepes. I buy them from the market. Pre-made. They're found in the produce section of all places. I guess cuz they're known mostly for being filled with fruit. I happen to love them filled with yummy savory turkey and stuffing.

Turkey and Stuffing Crepes

Printable Version

2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup craisins
2 cups gravy, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 cups stuffing
10 crepes
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 tablespoon cranberry juice
chopped chives to garnish

Preheat the oven to 350'F. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Heat the oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey, craisins, and 3/4 cup of the gravy. Heat through, stirring occasionally for about 3 - 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if needed.

Scoop 1/4 cup of the turkey mixture along the center of the crepe and top with 1/4 cup of the stuffing.

Very gently roll up the crepe, folding in the sides as you go and place into your prepared casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining crepes until you have prepared all 10.

Pour the remaining gravy over the top.

Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, heat up the cranberry sauce, adding the cranberry juice (or water) to thin out just a bit.

When the crepes are done baking, remove from oven. Gently remove the crepes from the pan with a long spatula to serve (if you're not careful, they will fall apart a bit). Pour the heated cranberry sauce over the top and garnish with chopped chives.

Doesn't get much easier than that, does it? It just a fancified turkey sandwich but it's elegant enough to serve for dinner.

I know there are more leftovers than just turkey and stuffing, so I think you need to check out what the rest of the Sunday Supper team has in store for you:


Main Dish:

Side Dishes:


Condiments & Sauces:


Cocktails & Drinks:

SSbadge-150x150 Join the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday!We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtagand remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wild Boar Pacific Rim Sliders #SundaySupper

There are different kinds of 'food' hunters. Wild game, forager, and shopper. What you're into, where you live and possibly how you live might help define which kind of  hunter you are. Or maybe you fall under more than one category.

Sir Sportsalot doesn't hunt wild game. He just get's wild watching a game (hence the name "Sir Sportsalot"). I've never gone foraging, although I'd love to. It does intimidate me a little though.... being able to identify what you're picking...knowing the difference between what you can and can not eat...that sort of thing. So that puts me in the category of a shopping hunter. Hunting for that one, hard to find, ingredient. Driving to specialty stores, exploring markets in ethnic neighborhoods, just to try something new, exciting and authentic.

Well, I didn't really have to go far for this wild boar. I just happened to stumble upon it locally and it sorta ended up in my cart with very little struggle. Easy prey if you ask me. Much easier (and safer) than actually hunting a wild boar. And it comes so nicely packaged, too.

Wild Boar Pacific Rim Sliders

Printable Version

4 oz mushrooms, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger
1 lb ground wild boar
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
12 slider buns

2 teaspoons oil
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
4 green onions, sliced diagonally
2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce

Wasabi Aoli
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon wasabi sauce
1/2 teaspoon teriyaki sauce

Preheat the oven to 400'F

In a food processor, combine the mushrooms, onions and ginger and process until finely chopped

In a medium sized bowl, combine the wild boar, chopped mushroom mixture, teriyaki sauce and bread crumbs. Mix until just combined.

Press the mixture evenly into an ungreased 11 x 7 rectangle baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.

While the meat is baking, let's get everything else ready:

Heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the bean spouts and green onions. Allow to cook until just beginning to wilt and the bean sprouts are barely opaque. Stir frequently. Add a tablespoon or 2 of water if needed to prevent sticking. Add 2 tablespoons of teriyaki sauce and continue heating until the sauce is slightly reduced, about a minute or two, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, wasabi sauce and teriyaki sauce. Mix until thoroughly combined and chill until everything else is ready to serve.

Once the meat is cooked and slightly cooled, carefully drain off the excess grease and gently remove onto a cutting board. Slice into 12 even squares

Spread the Wasabi Aoli onto your slider buns, place a patty on there and then top with your sauteed bean sprouts.

The wild boar flavor is wonderful. Slightly sweeter than your typical pork. I love each component from this slider separately, but when they're!! So fun, so delicious and simple to make. And now I can say I've eaten wild boar!

Now tell me....what's your favorite food to 'hunt' for?

Here are some recipes for ingredients that are hunter or foraged for...enjoy :)

Spread it on Thick

Nibbles and Sides

The Main Event

Sweet Treats

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 p.m. ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Almond Mocha Pudding Cookies

Let's make this short and sweet. Just like the recipe for these delicious cookies. I will however give you a quick background.

During my recent visit in Alabama, my sister and I were craving something sweet. Or maybe it was just me and she politely went along with it (how southern of her). Either way, we quickly discovered the limitations of our resources. But I was determined. I mean...I was in a gorgeously huge kitchen after all....and I needed to bake!

A quick inventory found us with flour, sugar, butter, and eggs....thats good. We have the basics. What else....a box of chocolate pudding? Hmmm....this could be interesting. Oh, and a handful of sliced almonds..

Well...this is a job for Google! A quick search for 'pudding in cookies' came up a surprisingly long list of results. I had never heard of using pudding in cookies (apparently I'm in the minority where that's concerned. Oh well, so much for thinking we were on the cutting edge of a new method). What we ended up with were amazing, delicious, soft, melt in your mouth cookies!

Almond Mocha Pudding Cookies

Inspired by Kraft Easy Pudding Cookies
makes about 4 dozen 2" cookies

1 cup butter or margarine, softened (read the tip below regarding the end result based on which one is used)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3.9 oz packet of instant pudding
1 tsp instant coffee
2 eggs
2 cups self rising flour
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat your oven to 350'

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy,

Add the pudding and instant coffee and beat until combined.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Mix in the flour until well combined.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon of cookie dough, form into a ball and place onto a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Place a few almond slices on top of the dough ball and gently press to secure.

Bake 11 - 13 minutes. Allow to cool 1 minute before placing onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely. (HA!! Ya right! Who are we trying to kid here? Grab one...for each hand.)

Margarine will result in a fluffy almost cake like cookie
Butter will result in a flatter, not as fluffy cookie

Both are soft, chewy and amazingly delicious! Don't be surprised if they don't last more than 24 hrs.