Saturday, September 17, 2011
PEPPERS AND PIZZA
Last weekend was just too busy to cook. I had to cut the grass, and had a birthday party to attend. Although I did make some more of my Pickled Sweet Banana Peppers! I had two jars of the brine left so they were easy to make. The recipe for the peppers is at the bottom of this post.
I took a jar of them to a Pizza Party last Friday night. A friend was having a party and wanted to have a pizza buffet. I made small individual pizza crusts made with dough I purchased from a local pizza shop. Mione's is, in my opinion, the best pizza in this town. She had all the toppings on the counter when I arrived. I also brought a jar of the pickled sweet banana peppers, not even knowing how they would taste. I made them the week before the party and hadn't tasted them. They were wonderful! So I may make more if the garden will yield a nice batch of fresh peppers.
Everyone made their own pizza choosing from all the goodies on the table: sauce, basil pesto, cheese, hot and mild Italian sausage, fresh sliced green peppers, onion, mushrooms, jalapenos, pepperoni. It's so much fun to make your own pizza. You get exactly what you want and you can have all the pepperoni you want! Four pizzas went in the oven at a time, baked for about 7 minutes and came out hot and bubbly! The trick was remembering which pizza was the one you built! They were delicious and the Mione's crust did not disappoint ... crunchy and chewy at the same time. The kids adored making their own mini pizzas and at every last bite of their own creations.
One of the other guests made a dessert pizza: Brownie Pizza with all kinds of wonderful toppings. I'm not even sure what was on it but I do know it had chopped candy bars (maybe they were Snickers), m&m's, crushed pretzels, chopped pecans, mini marshmallows, and then it was drizzled with melted chocolate! Absolutely sinful, but delicious and a fabulous party dessert!
And of course, that wasn't enough so she also made Sweet Kabobs! Skewers threaded with strawberries, caramels, Oreo cookies, pretzels and marshmallows, also drizzled with melted chocolate. They were absolutely decadent and beautiful and made a very impressive presentation! I would recommend them for any party and the kids will love them! However, I will add that the gal who made them said she would leave the Oreos out next time. These would be wonderful using anything you like that would taste good with chocolate drizzle: fresh pineapple chunks, or banana chunks.
I made myself and extra pizza to go and just had it for breakfast while writing this blog. Yum! I love pizza for breakfast sometimes!
Here is the recipe for the Pickled Sweet Banana Peppers: Some of my peppers had ripened to a pretty red color and they look so pretty in the jar.
1/2 lb. of sweet banana peppers, seeded, sliced (enough to stuff 2 pint jars)
1 med sweet onion (like Vidalia), sliced thin
2 c. white vinegar
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. of pickling spice instead of the mustard and celery seed (you can buy a little bottle almost anywhere)
The pickling spice has more spices and will give you the flavor of bread and butter pickles. That's what I use.
You'll need 2 canning jars that have been washed thoroughly in hot soapy water and rinsed well.
Fill the jars with the sliced peppers and onions. Go ahead and pack them in tightly if you have to, but leave about 3/4" from the top.
Bring all the other ingredients to a rolling boil in a medium pot. When the liquid has boiled, ladle it over the peppers and leave about 1/2" of space in the jar. Be sure to clean off the rim of the jar so there is NO pickling liquid on it. Use a damp paper towel. Put on the lid and ring and tighten the ring so it won't leak. Now turn the jars upside down on a board, cover with a dark towel and let them sit for at least 24 hours. Done!
Hope you enjoy these! They will be wonderful on a pizza, on a sandwich, in salads or on hot dogs or burgers.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Sounds like a kids game or a problem with your tummy! But Bubble and Squeak is a traditional dish from the United Kingdom and was originally a concoction made to use up leftover potatoes during food rationing times. But it's become a favorite, still using leftovers if you have them, and it's a wonderful dish for a brunch. Of course the dish can be made from fresh food too. You don't have to have leftovers to enjoy this hearty dish.
As a matter of fact, I made it because I has these beautiful little jewels of cabbages in my garden. The heads were small, but fully mature so I picked them and Bubble and Squeak came to mind immediately. You might wonder why that came to mind first. I first saw Bubble and Squeak on the Food Network when there was a show called Two Fat Ladies. They made this on their show and I've been making it now and then ever since.
It's a very inexpensive way to feed a lot of people, too.
Here are the ingredients:
2 T. Canola oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 medium head of cabbage, trimmed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 - 5 sausages, casings removed and browned in a skillet
4 - 5 medium potatoes, cubed and boiled until just done.
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Eggs - optional
So in summary, before I even give you the whole recipe, here's how it's done, just so you see how easy it really is.
Add and cook cabbage and carrots
Mix it all together in a big pot
In a very large skillet, add the canola oil and saute the onions until they are softened, but not browned.
Add the chopped cabbage and the sliced carrots, stir, and keep covered over med-low heat, stirring frequently until the cabbage cooks down and is soft and sweet. If you like, you can leave the cabbage a little less cooked if you like a bit of crunch left in it. This should take about 15 minutes to get all that cabbage cooked.
In the meantime, while the cabbage is cooking, remove the casings from your sausages and cook in a large skillet, breaking it up until it's all browned. When it's finished, add about 3 T. of water to this skillet and scrape up all the browning in the bottom of the pan. This will add a ton of flavor. Just set this aside until the cabbage is done. I used sweet Italian sausages. You can use any kind you like. Bob Evans breakfast sausage would work - use one or two of those 12 oz. packages, depending how meaty you would like your Bubble and Squeak. I used 4 sausages because that's what I had in the freezer.
Also in the meantime, wash and cut up the potatoes and get them boiling - just like you would for mashed potatoes. No need to peel the potatoes - I never do. Cook until they are just tender. Drain into a colander.
OK, now the cabbage is cooked, the sausage is browned, and the potatoes are done. If your cabbage skillet is large enough, put everything into it and mix well. If not, then get yourself a larger pot, like a soup pot, and put it all in there.
Serve this on a buffet for brunch or on the side like you would corned beef hash. This morning I chose to spoon some into a skillet, turned on med-low heat to let it brown slowly, and broke an egg over the top. Put a lid on it and let it cook until the egg was done. This took about 5 minutes.
Get Bubbling! This dish is so good it'll make you Squeak!