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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

This week I visited family in Massachusetts. I've been having a wonderful time seeing friends, enjoying the cool mornings and evenings and sunny days, and spending time with family. I have bounced back and forth from my parents' house to my sister's.

This evening, my brother-in-law was delighted to make smoked bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers. Sounds intense, right? A whole jalapeno. Smoking the jalapeno mellows the spiciness and allows a nice flavor to shine through. A creamy sweet Italian sausage filling helps to cut the heat as well, and the bacon wrapped around the outside adds savory depth. These appetizers are not for the diet crowd, but they are flavorful and satisfying. Don't eat too many, though, or you won't have room for dinner! Make them for your next cookout and they are sure to satisfy.

Don't they look like little vegetable critters wearing bandannas? They were a bit addictive.

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Crispy Oven Chips

Cranberry Sage Cornbread

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins

I think it is time for another muffin recipe, wouldn't you say? By now, you probably know I am a big fan of muffins. Scones and pastries are nice, but there is nothing like a good, hearty muffin. This seasonal muffin celebrates rhubarb. One of my favorite combinations is strawberry rhubarb, whether it be pie, crisp, or muffin. So I was excited to pick up some strawberries and rhubarb at the farmers market last weekend.

I planted rhubarb in my yard, and it is already poking its leafy greens through the soil, with a bit of red stalk starting to appear. If you ever grow rhubarb, beware of the leaves, which are mildly poisonous.

The recipe comes from Simply in Season, a Mennonite cookbook that groups its recipes according to the seasons. The original recipe is for just rhubarb muffins, which I would like to try someday, but this time I cut down on the rhubarb and added strawberries. I also used a blend of spelt and white whole wheat flours. I like my muffins less sweet, so I cut back on the sugar. With the crumble topping, there is just enough sweetness to balance out the less sugary muffin.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Beet Pasta

Ok, I know beets are sooo last winter, along with other root vegetables, but I had to share this recipe with you. Besides, beets are growing now. They are winter vegetables because they can be stored for long periods of time. But you can get them fresh this time of year as well.

Just look at the fuschia pasta! I love it. My taste buds love it too. The sauce is a pesto made from roasted beets, toasted walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, and olive oil. It is so easy to make and it tastes really nice. A welcome change from traditional spaghetti and red sauce.

The first time I made this, I used homemade ricotta to top the pasta. The second time, I used store bought, and I could definitely tell a difference. The homemade ricotta was smooth and creamy. The store bought was a little gritty. If you don't want to go to all the trouble of making your own ricotta, then I recommend using store bought creme fraiche. However, if you do want to take the time to make your own ricotta, I recommend this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.