Zuppa Salsiccia, Italian Sausage Soup

February 16, 2011 at 6:42 am | Posted in Italian, Soup | 39 Comments
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Zuppa Salsiccia simply translates to Sausage Soup, which seems like such a modest description for this incredibly flavorful dish. 

This soup, hands down, is our favorite in my database. I’ve had this recipe for many years and every time we make it we comment about why we don’t have it more often.  Alongside a beautiful green salad dressed with your favorite vinaigrette and a chunk of crusty bread, this is elegant enough to serve as a main course at a dinner party. 

An easy fix, the hardest part is giving up a cup and a half of good drinking red wine to simmer in the broth. The combination of both sweet and hot Italian sausage which has  long simmered in beef stock, red wine and tomatoes, seasoned with green bell pepper, garlic, onion and basil makes for an incredibly flavorful treat. Ladling it over some al dente large shell pasta and topping with it with some shredded Parmesan cheese finishes this delicious soup.  You really must give this one a try. 

Zuppa Salsiccia:

  • 3 links hot Italian Sausage
    3 links sweet Italian Sausage
    1 1/2 cups good quality red wine
    3 cups beef broth
    2 cans stewed tomatoes
    1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
    1 whole green pepper, chopped
    2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped, plus some for garnish
    2 Tbs dried basil
    3 whole garlic cloves,  minced
    2 Tbs olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
    Large shell pasta, cooked al-la-dente

1. In a deep pan brown sausage thoroughly, remove from pan and drain well. In same pan saute onions, green peppers and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add sausage and red wine and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least one hour.

About 15 minutes before soup is done, cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain and keep warm. In a soup bowl spoon a few pasta shells, pour a generous helping of soup over top.  Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and some parsley for garnish.

Servings: 8

Zuppa Salsiccia…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Zuppa Salsiccia is heading over to paradise for Deb’s Souper Sunday.

And also entering this in: “Come join Soup-a-Palooza at TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers


Larry’s Home-made Smoked Salmon Spread

February 10, 2011 at 7:53 am | Posted in Appetizers | 50 Comments
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I’m taking a big risk by publishing this photo. You see, my friend Vickie in Montana is as much of a dishaholic as me and as soon as she lays eyes on this little bowl with that adorable kitten peering over the side she’s going to flat-out sneak into my home and steal it. Well Vickie, be warned, we have a complex security system and two yappy little dogs that can bloody your ankles in a heartbeat. OK good…now that we’ve got that out of the way.

I’ll never purchase commercial smoked salmon spread again…ever. In the past, whenever I was feeling wealthy, I’d pick up a small tub of  Whole Foods Smoked Salmon Spread. Always a treat and an indulgence. But thanks to Larry over at Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings, I can have my cake and eat it too with this delicious home-made salmon spread.  It yielded twice the amount for less than half the cost. 

I served this at our Super Bowl Party and upon first bite my friend Cauleen exclaimed, “This is delicious…is it Ina’s recipe?”  I simply replied, “Actually no, it’s Larry’s“.  In a blink of an eye, and no questions asked, Larry became one of those famous chef’s that are referred to on first name basis.  Well, at least famous in our house…and on that day…and for probably 8 seconds.  Let’s take a look.

With softened cream cheese, this comes together in a jif. And everyone who tried it at our party, took the time to comment on how good it was. Although Larry smoked his own salmon for this recipe, I just picked up a package of smoked salmon at the grocery store. Can you imagine how good it would be if you took the time to smoke your own?

Larry’s Smoked Salmon Spread:

8 oz smoked salmon
8 oz softened cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
2 tbsp finely diced onion
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
4 tbsp roughly chopped capers, drained but unrinsed
1 1/2 – 2 tsp dried dill weed

Mix all together, let set over night and adjust for flavor 

I didn’t adjust much at all. Thanks to Larry for this great recipe.

Larry’s Home-made Smoked Salmon Spread…It’s What’s For A Party!

Linda’s Moist and Delicious Corn Bread

February 8, 2011 at 8:08 am | Posted in Bread | 45 Comments
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When I was growing up, my father’s signature dish was his Chili Soup. On cold dark windy evenings in the middle of Kansas he would combine fried hamburger meat and chopped onion, pinto beans, tomatoes and seasonings of cumin, chili powder and oregano into a delicious bowl of soup. Simply topped with hand-crushed saltine crackers, it was certainly a treat.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed it with flour tortillas, corn tortilla chips, topped with cheese, sour cream or chopped green onions, even chocolate shavings and more recently served with corn bread. Chili seems to be a welcome canvas for so many toppings but to this day my favorite way to eat it is with crushed saltines or corn tortilla chips. How do you take your Chili Soup?

My love affair with corn bread got off to a very long, dry, grainy, stick in the throat start. Jiffy, Marie Calendar’s, and even homemade found me wondering what the attraction was. I’m very well aware that any of my friends that are from Texas, live in Texas, or even are married to a Texan wouldn’t hear of having a bowl of  chili soup without it, so started my search for a good corn bread recipe.

One day, out of the blue,  my good friend Linda, who is married to David from Texas, unwittingly brought over a pan of the most delicious and moist cornbread that I have ever tasted. I was an instant fan and finally understood what all the fuss was about. I’ve made her recipe several times and served it this past Sunday with my big pot of chili for our Superbowl Party. Let’s take a look.

Linda and Z

Linda’s Corn Bread

1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs — beaten
1 cup buttermilk
3 Tbs canola oil
1 can corn — drained
1 cup shredded cheese — mexican mix
3 Tbs pickled jalapenos — diced

1. Preheat oven to 375. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and oil. Gently fold the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until a batter is formed. Fold in the corn, cheese, and pickled jalapenos.

2. Pour batter into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is light-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the heat and let cool a few minutes.

Servings: 12

I’ve had several of you ask me what the “Z” stands for in the title of my blog. Zia is our little Yorkie, whose name, soon after joining our family, was abbreviated to simply Z.  Zia hails from New Mexico, and as her sun symbol name implies, is a ray of sunshine in our life. This photo is Linda holding puppy Zia the day LeRoy delivered all 2 pounds of her to Colorado.

Linda’s Corn Bread…It’s What to Serve with Chili.

Delicious and Easy; Chipotle Chicken Soup

February 3, 2011 at 8:40 am | Posted in Soup | 55 Comments
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Chipotle Chicken Soup.  It’s one of our favorite easy weeknight fixes. It comes together in about 30 minutes and brings a wonderful combination of textures and flavors with it. 

But before we get to the soup I want you to take a look at those little tubes of crispy sour cream filled tortilla rounds resting on the rim of the soup plate. Well, one.  The other decided to slide down into the soup for a swim before I could get a photo…there’s always one in every crowd.  

This recipe comes from a Better Homes and Gardens Easy Soups and Stews cookbook that I’ve had for umpteen years. 

I’ve made this Chipotle Chicken Soup a million times and never paid much attention to the little side addition of these tortilla tubes. If you look closely you can see one sitting unassumably in the bottom right corner of their photo. And before we go any further, no, I would never write in the autographed copy of my Rick Bayless cookbook.  Let’s take a look at these little rollups.

Just take  flour tortillas and cut them in 4ths. I used a sun-dried tomato flavored tortillas.  Place them on a paper towel and microwave for 15 – 20 seconds to soften.

Brush each side with olive oil.

Roll them up and secure with a toothpick to hold them open. Bake at 350 degrees for about eight minutes. 

Cool slightly and fill with sour cream. I filled these with sour cream to which I had added some drained Rotel tomatoes and chopped cilantro. Warm, chewy and a wonderfully unique compliment to the Mexican-style soup.

OK…are you thinkin’ the same thing I’m thinkin’? The filling possibilities seem endless. These little baked tubes would be a welcoming vessel for so many cheese appetizer ideas. 

Chipotle Chicken Soup

  • 3 14-ounce cans chicken broth (I used Better Than Boullion)
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce cut into slivers (I removed seeds and veins)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of the adobo sauce
  • 1 spinach, tomato or plain flour tortilla, quartered
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces total)
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1 small avocado, halved, peeled and sliced
  • 1 14-ounce can white or yellow hominy drained
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro for sprinkling

In a saucepan, combine chicken broth and chipotle pepper and sauce. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for ten minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the tortilla tubes as shown above.

Rub both sides of chicken breasts with cumin. In a large skillet cook chicken in 2 t. hot olive oil over medium high for 10 – 12 minutes, or until chicken breast is no longer pink. 

To serve, place one cooked chicken breast half in each of four warmed soup bowls. Add avocado and hominy to each bowl. Pour simmering broth into each bowl.  Sprinkle with cilantro.

Note:  I’ve served the chicken breast whole, but prefer to cube or shred the chicken. Either way, this soup is delicious.

Chipotle Chicken Soup…It’s What’s For Dinner.

Cooking For A Crowd; Sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday

January 30, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Posted in Sandwiches | 36 Comments
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I had really big cooking plans for this weekend…and I mean really big. (You’ve got to fold your arms high across your chest and say that last “really big” in your best Ed Sullivan voice.)

My post for the Chef Paul Sliders had me in the mood for more Cajun. I bookmarked a Red Beans and Rice recipe which was to slow cook for hours with ham hocks and andouille sausage in an array of brightly seasoned Cajun spices. Spooned over some hot steaming white rice the whole thing was then to be slathered in some Brown Cajun Gravy. Oh but wait…there’s more. Sunday morning leftovers were to be used for Eggs Basin Street. Milk and flour were to be added to the leftover rice and molded into cakes and fried. The rice cakes were to be topped with a scoop of the leftover red beans and a poached egg and the whole thing drizzled with a Cajun béarnaise sauce. Now doesn’t that sound wonderful?

My plans were foiled Friday evening when I ended up with a stomach bug. Even the sound of Hubs clanging dishes around in the kitchen sent me grabbing for pillows to cover my ears. I even ordered all cooking magazines, gleaming with their beautiful glossy food photos, out of my sight. Saturday night a bowl of clear beef broth tasted wonderful and I could have cared less about Chef Paul and his “feast”.

So, with all that said, let’s take a look at a platter of sandwiches I made a couple of months back for a potluck event. Easy and so packed with flavor you might want to consider them for next weekend’s food event. Not really a recipe, let’s take a look:

Pita Roll-Ups:

  • 1 package of pocketless pitas
  • 1 package Boursin Cheese
  • 1 pound Mortadella
  • 1 pound Pastrami or any of your favorite deli meat
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Pepperoncini

Lay out your pita rounds and spread on a good layer of the Boursin cheese. Top with a few nice layers of the deli meats. Sprinkle on some basil, tarragon and chives. Add a layer of thin-sliced radishes and slivered sun-dried tomatoes. Roll them up. Slice them in half on the diagonal. Secure each half with a toothpick which has been speared with a small pepporncini. Tasty.

As you can see, it’s not really a recipe. It is flexible enough to be easy to match your own tastes. By using a different brand of flavored spreadable cheese, different sandwich meat and spices and you can make this your own.

Pita Roll-Ups…It’s What Could be for Super Bowl.

Sean’s Chocolate Chile Cupcakes

January 24, 2011 at 6:43 am | Posted in dessert | 48 Comments
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Last weekend we were invited over to son Sean and daughter-in-law Stacey’s house for lunch.

For Christmas we gave them a bright red KitchenAid stand mixer so after a tasty lunch of Pepita Spinach Salad…

and a bowl of Rick Bayless Tortilla Soup…

Sean whipped up a great little cupcake creation.  Let’s take a look.

What makes these cupcakes special is that Sean dry pan roasted a dried New Mexico chile pod, then crushed it into flakes. He sprinkled flakes into the chocolate batter before baking and then also sprinkled the flakes over the cream cheese frosting before serving. Topped with a slice of pickled jalapeno and you’ve got a flirtatious combination of chocolate and heat. We loved it! 

Moist, spicy and delicious, these cupcakes were a hit with us. He followed a cupcake recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and a cream cheese frosting recipe from Ina’s new cookbook. And believe me, that New Mexico chile pod packed a wallop of heat that made that creamy chocolate flavor stand up and salute! As far as I’m concerned this officially earns Sean the designation of an original recipe creation and its own name. 

Sean’s Chile Chocolate Cupcakes…It’s What’s For Dessert.

Feeding A Crowd; Cajun Meatloaf Sliders for the Super Bowl

January 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Posted in Sandwiches | 43 Comments
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Whether you’re traveling or hosting a party at home, here are some more food ideas for the upcoming event. Throw in your rowdy friends, lots of cold beer, a good football game, funny commercials and a halftime extravaganza show and you’ve got a good Super Bowl Party. 

Speaking of halftime extravaganzas, remember when Diana Ross entered the stadium dangling from the bottom rung of a helicopter ladder? I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

On a more positive note..remember when Paul McCartney performed the year following the Janet Jackson fiasco with the memorable “Hey Jude” sing along? Remember when Prince performed Purple Rain in the rain and the guitar shadow was noticably on the phallic side? The Rolling Stones performed for the first time in television delay mode because the network feared “you never know what they might pull“.  ??? 

What’s your favorite halftime extravaganza memorable moment?

Super Bowl is always a great excuse for a food event. Too bad the Saints aren’t in this year, but we can still serve up some Cajun just in case the Black Eyed Peas offer up a halftime moment.

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Meatloaf recipe. I’ve been making it and savoring it for years. It’s a wonderful combination of bold spices that come together in a tasty treat for the palate. For a real thrill, you might even try Chef Paul’s Cajun sauce that he recommends you serve over the meatloaf. I’ve prepared the sauce once and I must say it was memorable…in a fire extinguisher sort of way.  But for now, let’s take a look at my cold meatloaf sandwich version.

Last fall, when asked to provide food for a Realtor open house, I put on my thinking cap and since that cap is always preloaded with a slider recipe, decided to make some changes and create a Paul Prudhomme meatloaf slider. 

Following the recipe, I simply baked the meatloaf mixture pressed flat in 9 x 11 casserole pan instead of the meatloaf shape. As you can see, the loaf was about two inches thick. After baking, I let cool to room temperature and went to work to build my little sliders. Cutting the meat into squares that would fit on my favorite Sara Lee Original Rolls, I simply slathered some mayo on the bottom half of the bun and some Cajun mustard on the top. 

The sandwich dressed with a slice of  sweet and spicy flavored Dave’s Famous Signature Spicy Pickle Chips  disappeared quicker than the shot of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. Oh c’mon admit it, how many times did you have to rewind to actually see something?

Served with a big bowl of beautiful Louisiana Sunburst Salad

My standby Best Pasta Salad Ever

A big relish tray complete with pickled asparagus…

Finish with a tray of my mom’s Orange Slice Bars   

Recipes are below or linked.

A Cajun Theme, minus the Saints…It’s What’s For Superbowl.

Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Meat Loaf, Louisiana Kitchen Cookbook:

Seasoning Mix:

2 Whole bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons Unsalted butter
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup catsup
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup very fine dry bread crumbs

Very Hot Cajun Sauce for Beef (see below)

Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a one quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, tabasco, Worcestershire and seasoning mix. Saute until mixture starts sticking excessively, about six minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in the milk and catsup. Continue cooking for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Place the ground beef and pork in an ungreased 13×9-inch baking pan. Add the eggs, the cooked vegetable mixture and the bread crumbs, remove the bay leaves. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. In the center of the pan, shape the mixture into a loaf that is about 1-1/2 inches high, 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. Bake uncovered at 350°F for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400°F and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer.

Serve immediately as is or with Very Hot Cajun Sauce for Beef.

Very Hot Cajun Sauce For Beef

This sauce is excellent with Cajun Meat Loaf, roast beef, sandwiches hamburgers, post roast and Cajun Shepard’s Pie.

3/4 cup chopped onions

  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1/4 chop chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (preferably cayenne)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves 1/4 cup minced jalapeno peppers
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 cups Basic Beef Stock

NOTE: Fresh Jalapenos are preferred; if you have to use pickled ones, rinse
as much vinegar from them as possible.

Combine the onions, bell peppers and celery in a small bowl and set aside while you start the roux. Unlike the roux in most other recipes in this book, the roux we use here is light brown. Therefore, instead of heating the oil to the smoking stage, we heat it to only 250°F; this prevents the roux from getting too brown.

In a heavy two-quart saucepan heat the oil over medium-low heat to about 250°F. With a metal whisk, whisk in the flour a little at a time until smooth. Continue cooking, whisking constantly until roux is light brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to let the roux scorch or splash on your skin. Remove from heat and with a spoon immediately stir in the vegetable mixture and the red, white and black peppers; return pan to high heat and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the bay leave, jalapeno peppers and garlic, stirring well. Continue cooking about 2
minutes, stirring constantly. (We’re cooking the seasonings and vegetables in the light roux and the mixture should, therefore, be pasty). Remove from heat.

In a separate two-quart saucepan, bring the stock to a boil. Add the roux mixture by spoonfuls to the boiling stock, stirring until dissolved between each addition. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce reduces to 3 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Skim any oil from the top and serve immediately.

Feeding A Crowd: Paris Hotel, Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant Cheese And Marinara Appetizer…and a Winner

January 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Posted in Appetizers | 32 Comments
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First the recipe. I got this from a coworker, Beth, who dined at the bistro-style restaurant, Mon Ami Gabi, at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. She ordered this appetizer off the menu, loved it so much that she begged, pleaded and threatened the server until he gave up the recipe. And speaking of Beth and before we get to this recipe, Beth Avedis is also an extremely talented singer and artist.  Take a look at her website http://www.bethavedis.com/biography.html

I’ve served this twice now. Once on New Year’s Day over at Greg and Cauleen’s house, and the other night for our monthly gathering which we’ve named Wine Time. Both offerings turned out to be wildly popular.  This photo was taken before it was baked and staged with a couple of Carr Water Crackers. I transported this dish to Cauleen’s and baked it there, then served with crackers lining the rim of the pasta bowl.

This photo is from the second time I prepared it. It’s been baked and as you can see, I’ve added a few sprinkles of crushed red pepper and served it with sliced french bread. I don’t know what kind of crackers the restaurant used, but I have to admit, I liked the offering of French bread better than the water crackers.

Beth’s Mon Ami Gabi Cheese and Marinara Appetizer

  • 1 package herbed Boursin Cheese
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces peppered goat cheese
  • Marinara sauce

Let the cheeses come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, mix all cheeses together and form into a ball. Slather the marinara sauce in an ovenproof shallow pasta bowl. Place the ball of cheese in the middle. Bake until bubbly.  About twenty minutes.  Serve hot with crackers or bread.

AND THE WINNER of my Sticky Brand Sauce give away is Chris over at Nibble Me This

“Well you just KNOW my choice would be the Ghost Pepper BBQ sauce, right? I can imagine how scorching hot that is, I remember watching Adam Richman sweating bullets after eating something with Jolokia Bhuta in it.”

Congratulations Chris and I’ll get those sauces into your sticky hands as soon as I have your mailing address.  Thanks to all who participated.

Beth’s Cheese And Marinara Appetizer…It’s What’s For Superbowl.

The Fort Restaurant’s Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed with Peanut Butter

January 15, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Appetizers | 38 Comments
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I pickled my own jalapenos…..

So I could make The Fort Restaurant’s Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed with Peanut Butter appetizer recipe.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk a little about the restaurant. The Fort Restaurant is a Denver landmark full of western culture, history, charm and western food. Do Rattlesnake, Quail Eggs Wrapped in Buffalo Sausage, Rocky Mountain Oysters and Bone Marrow get your attention?

For as long as I’ve lived here, (30 years) it’s been “the place” to take out-of-town guests for a taste of the Wild West. With its unique menu items and servers dressed like Kit Carson, The Fort reflects the years when trappers, settlers and Army explorers first traveled the Santa Fe Trail to our region.

It all began in 1961 when amateur historians Bay and Sam Arnold set out to build an adobe style home in the country west of Denver. They modeled the home after  Bent’s Fort which is  located in southeast Colorado which was built in 1833 and was famous as a fur trade destination.

Hiring a top Santa Fe architect and a contractor from Taos 22 men puddled over 80,000 mud and straw bricks, weighing 40 pounds each, to construct the main building. When the costs of construction exceeded the budget, the bank suggested a business be placed in the “fort”.  Sam turned to Bay and said, “You can cook!” and then she said to Sam, “Well, you can cook!” and The Fort Restaurant was born. Throw in the adoption of a Canadian black bear cub named “Sissy” who became a family pet and who was taught to belly up to the bar and drink with patrons, and the rest is history. The Fort has had its share of famous visitors, President Clinton hosted a G8 Summit Dinner there and Julia Child’s favorite dish was the Buffalo Tongue.

Both the Arnold’s have now passed on and their daughter Holly runs the restaurant. She has recently published a cookbook “Shinin’ Times at The Fort”. It’s a beautiful book full of house recipes, stories, celebrations and history about the restaurant. 

Sam Arnold got this appetizer recipe from Lucy Delgado who was a well-known New Mexican cook in the 1960’s. Sam thought they sounded “stranger than five-legged buffalo”, but gave them a try. He served them to Bryant Gumbel on NBC’s  Today Show. Gumbel couldn’t stop eating them. Arnold added them to the The Fort menu where they have been a mainstay appetizer since.

Let’s take a look.

Following the recipe from the cookbook, pickling jalapenos was an extremely easy task:

Fort-style Pickled Jalapenos:

  • 1 pound medium size fresh jalapenos (12 – 16)
  • 3 1/2 C. cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 C. water
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 1/2 t. sesame oil
  • 1 t. pickling spice
  • 3/4 C. coarsely chopped yellow onion
  • 3/4 c. coarsely chopped carrot
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, whole

Rinse the jalapenos and trim off the woody end from the stems. In a 4 – 6 quart stainless steel or enameled pot, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, sesame oil and pickling spice. Add the jalapenos, onion, carrot, and garlic. Cover and bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat.

While still hot, transfer the jalapenos and pickling juice to a sterilized 2 – 3 quart canning  jar or other glass container. Cover tightly with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one week before using.

Making the Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed With Peanut Butter was even easier:

  • 1/4 C. peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 2 T. Mango Chutney

Slice the pickled jalapenos in half lengthwise not quite all the way through, leaving the two halves attached at the stem end. Using a knife or spoon, remove and discard the seeds and ribs. In a small mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter chutney. Stuff the chiles with the peanut butter mixture and press the halves back together. Arrange on a platter and serve.

Now, there are rules to eating this appetizer.  Be sure to warn guests to put the whole chili (except the stem) in the mouth before chewing, to get 70 percent  peanut butter and 30 percent jalapeno.  A nibbler squeezes out the peanut butter which changes the percentages and makes it very hot indeed.

I served this at a happy hour gathering and we decided to go the civilized route and slice them.

The jalapenos stuffed with peanut butter were served alongside the snack-sized bag of Cheetos that Dan brought, which were quickly transferred to a cut glass serving bowl to avoid a party foul, the delicious hummus and vegetables that Teri brought and my cheese marinara dish.  I thought they made an excellent, tasty and conversation piece appetizer. Throw in a couple bottles of wonderful wine and a lively arguement discussion on our favorite fast food joints and fare; tacos, fries and Bic Macs… and you’ve got a great little party.  Be brave and consider bringing these to your upcoming Super Bowl gathering.

Pickled Jalapenos Stuffed With Peanut Butter….It’s What’s For An Appetizer!

Holy Jolokia! This Is a Great Shrimp Appetizer Recipe…..And a Give-Away

January 7, 2011 at 7:37 am | Posted in Appetizers, Seafood | 42 Comments
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No…no…no…Hub’s camera, I said I wanted the background blurred, not the foreground. I swear, these cameras have a mind of their own!

This is a delicious appetizer, a riff on a Buffalo Chicken Wing recipe. It comes together in a snap and I could have eaten about two dozen.

The shrimp are breaded in a cayenne and  flour breading, sautéed in a Buffalo-style butter and hot wing sauce combo, then stand tall in blue cheese dressing. Served alongside a battalion of cool crunchy celery… this dish equals a delicious bite after bite of hot..crunch..cool..blue cheesy delight. But first let’s talk about the Hot Wing Sauce I used in this recipe. A sauce that’s made from the Hottest Pepper In The World!

Sticky Brand Sauces is a local Colorado company that makes some very tasty Chicken Wing and BBQ Sauces.  And I mean TASTY. Curiosity got the best of me when, at a product demonstration at Tony’s Market, a company representative told me about their highly flavorful hot wing sauce made from the mysterious Jolokia pepper (also called the Ghost Pepper). From India, he added, “It’s the hottest pepper in the world”.

Of course I bought some. How could I resist the triple-dog-dare nuance. It’s interesting to taste this sauce straight from the bottle. When it first hit my tongue I went into survival mode. With watering eyes, short of breath and the kitchen sink in sight, I ran for the phone in case I needed to call 911,  but almost immediately, and to my pleasant surprise, the heat faded into a warm peppery tingle. A pleasant flavorful pepper flavor followed. I wanted to do it all over again. Like a fine wine, it had a long long finish…in a barbed-wire sort of way.

Am I glad I bought it? Yes! And going forward I knew I would use this sauce with delightful caution and would no longer be afraid of well-crafted hot pepper sauces.

So here’s the fun part. Rob over at Sticky Brand Sauces has agreed to give one lucky winner a bottle of this very special Ghost Pepper Sauce along with a bottle of the sauce of your choice. Simple rules. Just head over to the Sticky Brand Sauce website and take a look around. Choose  one other sauce besides the Jolokia Sauce that you’d like to receive.  Leave that selection in the comment section of my blog.  That’s right the winner will get two bottles…a bottle of  Holy Jolokia and the bottle of your choice.  Sticky Brand Sauces.  So head on over and Pick Your Sticky.

Winner will be selected randomly and deadline for this contest is January 16

Easy Enough?  Fair enough?  Any questions?  Thanks Rob over at Sticky Brand Sauces.  Now let’s take a look at this great recipe.

Holy Jolokia Buffalo Shrimp (adapted from Food.com)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 4 ounces Maytag blue cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 dozen large shrimp shelled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-2 teaspoons Sticky Brand Sauce Holy Jolokia Wing Sauce (or your favorite wing sauce) 

In a bowl, combine first six ingredients to make blue cheese dip. Cover and refrigerate. 

In a shallow bowl, combine flour salt and cayenne pepper. Pat shrimp dry and toss in the flour mixture, coating well. In a large skillet heat oil, butter and 1 – 2 teaspoons hot sauce. Amount depends on how much heat and flavor you want. Add shrimp and cook about 4-5 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Pour a little of the sauce over the shrimp while browning.

Place dollops of the blue cheese dressing on a platter. Stand a piece of shrimp in each dollop and serve with celery sticks.

Adding a little bit at a time and tasting as I went, I used probably just over one teaspoon of this very hot sauce and it seemed to deliver the perfect flavor and heat. Showy and delicious with great flavors, I will make this appetizer over and over. 

Holy Jolokia! Buffalo Shrimp…It’s What’s for a Delicious Appetizer.

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