January 30, 2011

Horseradish and Beets over Goat Cheese Appetizer

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So it's a Sunday night and even though its the bi-week for football and there are no NFL games on its still nice to have Sunday as that "cheat" day and have fun with what you can eat. Sunday's after 2pm are days for relaxing with movies and sweatpants in our house. There is no high class, high adventure times to be had but instead its the time to just lay back and take in the relaxing day which in turn always means that it's perfect snack time (aka my creativity time) where calories don't matter and I can really have fun with what we want to eat.

One of the simplist yet delicious appetizers I've ever made was found on a visit to my local farmers market. Farmers markets not only have the best fresh grown food available but they offer special "grandmother" advise that you could never get at any other local grocery store. There is something called Horseradish Beets that you can find at most of your farmers markets or even at your local grocery store. Try and buy a jar with the simplest ingredients ( less than 5 ingredients and ones that you would actually know what they are) therefore you are eating as close to natural foods as possible.
Horseradish and Beets over Goat Cheese
Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeño

Goat Cheese
Horseradish and Beets
Crackers for spreading

The simplicity of this recipe is taking a log of goat cheese and spreading 3-5 lg spoonfuls of beets & horseradish over the top. Serve with specialty crackers or wheat thins. The flavor of the sweet-tart horseradish beets over that creamy delicious goat cheese is just a taste you will love.
This is such a quick and simple recipe that you can pull together in second and create such a tasteful snack that you friends and guests will hover over and even though I have my 'Sunday' rule of unhealthy food, this appetizer barely falls into that category. Its the snack that keeps you coming back to the table I promise. Hope you and your friends love it.

Enjoy :)

January 27, 2011

Homemade Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup

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So far for anyone that lives in Connecticut, or New England for that matter has been experiencing one of the worst winters we have ever seen... and its only January. The snow hasn't let up since the holidays with anywhere from a few flurries to off shore storms coming every week. Last nights storm was another big one dropping over 18in of snow throughout the night. We even drove by a house that had 7ft snow piles with a small sign reading "free snow"... too funny. At least with all this snowy cold weather there is still fun being had. And this is just such a beautiful picture.
So when your stuck in the house on a crazy snow storm such as this what else is there to do but bundle up in heavy sweats, find a good movie and cook some delicious comfort food. I decided that French Onion soup would be so delicious and really warm the soul so I got to it. I've been experimenting more with a simple crock pot we bought a few months ago so I really wanted to try a French Onion Soup in my slow cooker and have the aromas of the soup fill the house. Cooking in a slow cooker is actually one of the simplest cooking techniques I have ever encountered. Throw in a few ingredients, set and eat. So simple.

French Onion soup is always delicious but to get the same taste at home is the best, and this recipe was just perfect.
Homemade Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup

Recipe and photos by A Healthy Jalapeno

3 medium onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup butter
4 cups  beef broth
1 teaspoon Worchester sauce

2 cups toasted  croutons
(or crusted french bread)
4 slices swiss cheese
Add first four ingredients to your crock pot, cover and cook on High for 6-8 hours.Once the soup is done, separate into individual bowls, add croutons and place a slice of cheese on the top of your bowl. Put each individual bowl in the oven or toaster oven for about 5 min on 300 degrees to melt the cheese.
Done and done... enjoy!

January 26, 2011

The start to a 20 something epicurean!

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I am 27 years old and I have a huge passion for good food and good wine. The problem lies, as I am sure you will find out, I was never the best cook growing up. I come from a family of Irish and German descent and when you’re talking about our families cooking… that meant non-seasoned chicken, jar'ed spaghetti sauce and beer, beer, beer. Both families stuck pretty close to the basics when it came to dinner time. My mother and grandmother, although excellent teachers, were never really “master chefs” when it came to the kitchen so my curiosity came sometime after college when I would have a homemade meal visiting a friends house or going out to a restaurant and pondering who it was that thought goat cheese, beats and arugula would be a perfect taste pairing....cause they were right on. My family is my life, however, cooking is a family tradition I wish to embrace gently and adjoin my own added flair, spice and enthusiasm to create great dishes to share with my loved ones.
Since graduating college to now settling into my mid to late 20′s have I realized my true love of food, and even more recently my love for cooking. Yay ya there are a million cooking website and over two million blogs out there about cooking but I have yet to come across something that spoke just to me, and I really mean me. The 20-something year old that wants to make more of her cooking skills with simple easy recipes without a list of high priced ingredients, the inaccessibility of owning everything in the pampered chef catalog, and not having 100 people to cook for seeing as how I am not at the age of hosting holidays, dinner parties and fancy get together's. I am merely a passionate epicurean determined to share what I already know as well as what I am going to learn along the way about all different styles and flavors of exquisite dishes.
I have just recently moved in with my boyfriend and been cooking much more to feed my growing passion and of course his growing appetite. Paul comes from an Italian family so you know what that means… meatballs and gravy are in his blood. He learned to cook at a very young age and is actually very good at throwing together a few things here and there and suddenly he's created a very tasty dish. His mother lives down south so when I moved in, I came across tons of her southern recipes, although not always light in the waist-line, they were full in delicious comforty goodness. Paul is also a lover of sweets and spices, as I believe every man is. He will take my old style plain broiled chicken, add some zing, zang and before you knew it you were eating a delicious wrap.  Cooking with spices for Paul has made me venture out into different flavors so much so that I was able to start a small garden on our deck. I love having fresh spices, tomatoes and jalapenos on hand for adding to dishes and, of course, making our newly famous homemade salsa. yumm!
What I want to contribute to us everyday cooks is that it doesn’t take much but a love for food, flavors and fun to make great dishes that you can feel good about and brag to your friends that you brought something outstanding to the table. This is what I have been aspiring to do every day, and believe me, i have messed up and ruined more dishes that i can imagine… but that’s how you learn and get better. More importantly, I want people of my age to hear about what you can do in a simple kitchen with just a few ingredients while still making an impression with your serving and have people begging for the recipe. At 27 years old you do not have many large events that you are hosting or attending to be able to venture out and make huge gourmet meals but what I was always taught, you have to start somewhere.
So for you twenty something’s that want to wow your friends and family at a bridal/ baby shower, 4th of July picnic’s, Sunday football games at the house, and all places that you are most likely going to bring a dish or treat to add to the party fun, read along. These dishes don’t require anything but a passion for spicy sweet fun!
I will be sharing the simplistic, fun and tasty way to whip up new recipes that people will enjoy and something you can be proud of serving to even your most prestigious guest.