New England Patriots Chili with Cornbread

Nothing is better than a big bowl of chili, some cornbread and an ice-cold beer when you sit down to watch the season opener of the New England Patriots! Maybe you open a can, make some in a crock-pot, or have a friend bring some. My recipe is one of the best I have ever had made with all local ingredients making it the perfect New England Patriots Chili!

New England Patriots Chili

2 tbsp. canola oil
1 lb. ground turkey (locally raised)
1/4 lb. chourico, linguica, or anduille sausage, cut in half moons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 large red pepper, diced
1/4 lb white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 jalapenos, finely diced, with or without seeds
1 cherry pepper, finely diced, with or without seeds
1 large tomato, diced
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (14oz) can kidney beans
1 tbsp. cumin, ground
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tbsp. salt
1 (12oz) bottle lager*
2 tbsp. chili powder blend
1 tbsp. red chili pepper flakes

In a large stock pot brown turkey and sausage with oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, red pepper and mushrooms. Continue to cook until onions are translucent. Add chilis, beans, and fresh tomato. Add all spices. Mix well. De-glaze the pot with the lager, scrapping the fond as you pour. Add canned tomatoes. Bring to boil then simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. The longer it cooks the more the flavors develop. Serve with shredded cheddar and cornbread.

Cornbread with Scallions and Vermont Cheddar

1 1/4 cp. flour
3/4 cp. corn meal
1/4 cp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cp. milk
1/4 cp. canola oil
1 egg
1/4 cp. shredded Vermont Cheddar
2 scallions
1 tbsp. butter

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add all wet ingredients stir until just moistened. Fold in cheddar and scallions. I like to use scissors to chop my scallions directly into the batter. Bake until toothpick comes out dry, about 30 minutes. Let the butter melt on top of the bread before serving.

*Note: All these ingredients were locally sourced from New England. Locally raised turkey, sausage from Gaspar’s of MA, Vermont cheddar, produce from farmers’ market, Magic Hat Ourtoberfest beer of Vermont. I chose to eat responsibly. Please support our local farms!

I scream! You scream! We all scream for ice cream!

This is my personal in-no-particular-order tippity top ice cream list.

Top Ice Cream

    Kahlua Crunch -Kimball Farms
    Three Geeks and a Redhead -Bart’s
    Salted Caramel with Chocolate Covered Pretzels -Bliss Dairy @ Frates
    Peanut Brittle -Ben and Jerry’s
    Strawberry with chocolate chips, brownie, and strawberries -Coldstone

Top Ice Cream Parlors

    Kimball Farms -locations in MA and NH
    Bart’s -locations in MA
    Frates -Taunton, MA
    Coldstone -everywhere

Top Ice Cream Toppings

    Jimmies
    Whipped Cream
    Hot Fudge
    Marshmallow sauce

I’m always looking for great places to eat delicious ice cream! What’s your favorite?

I’m Back… and the belated cherry pie recipe

Months after my last post, which also had an outrageous number of comments looking for the cherry pie recipe (to follow), I am finally writing again! I will briefly take this time to acknowledge the fact that you my readers are amazing and I’m so glad you guys were coming and reading. I understand this hiatus certainly will make several readers leave but I’m sure all my classmates following me understand!

The spring semester turned into a whirlwind of exams, homework packets, review sessions, tutoring sessions, AIChE meetings, and numerous doctors appointments. But I am pleased to announce its summer, I am healthy and have enough time to supply you with some great recipes! I will try to commit to a minimum of 1 post a week for this coming fall but it is senior year and I have several exceptionally difficult classes on my plate! (Any ChemE Alum with great advice let me hear it!) Also I’m on twitter! @spolgareats

Without further adieu the cherry pie recipe. AND a ton of photos eek!

Americana Cherry Pie

 1-2 lbs. Rainier cherries (these cherries are absolutely sweet and delicious they are used to make Maraschinos!)
1 lb. Bing cherries (any dark red cherry is good here)
1/4 cp. flour
1+ cp. sugar (Note: more sugar may be necessary taste your cherries before prepping if tart add a little more sugar)
1 tsp. ginger, dried
1 tbsp. cinnamon, ground
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 pinch pepper (yes black pepper! it gives it amazing spice)
pie crust enough for 2 9″ pies (I used this recipe from Epicurious it was amazing flaky and super easy)
 

Pit the cherries! You can use a fancy olive/cherry pitter you spend $20 on or you can use a paring knife.

Add all ingredients except of course the pie crust! Toss. The mixture should be very dry. This is so the fruit juices will form a thick sauce as it bakes!

 

Roll out half of the pie crust. Place into pie dish. (The pictures come in hand here!) I chose not to trim now because I like the bottom crust to be folded onto the top crust but do what ever you are used to.

Pour the cherry mixture into the pie crust.

Roll out the second pie crust and cut into 1 inch thick strips.

Lattice the top crust. Then pinch or twist the crusts together.

Lattice-ing a top crust is relatively easy. I start with three strips across the pie. These strips are taken from the middle of the cut strips. I then fold back the outer two and place a strip horizontally across the pie. Fold down the two outer pieces. Fold up the middle piece and put a second piece across horizontally. Continue until the pie is basket-weaved.
 
 

I finish the pie off with an egg wash and a little cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350°F for about an hour or until the crust is fully cooked and the filling bubbly. If the crust begins to burn cover with aluminum foil. Serve with vanilla ice cream and friends 🙂

 

Sausage, Peppers and Onions Revisited

How many people can raise there hand and say “I love sausage and peppers!” I’m pretty sure that’s everyone! Especially if you live in Massachusetts! “Fenway sausages anyone?”

BUT after a week of cookouts and leftover sandwiches you are likely to yearn for something different.

Taking an idyllic classic to a new level is a great way to create a new dish with classic flavors you already know you love! Having a giant wheel of sweet Italian sausage from a local Bridgewater butcher shop leftover from a family cookout was the perfectly inspirational start to the following recipe! Even my insanely difficult sister, who even told my mother I wasn’t making dinner just so she can get take out, loved it! With any luck your picky eater will too.

Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage and Pepper Marinara

1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes
1 tomato (I used a vine ripe but Roma would work as well), chopped
1 red pepper
2 onions, diced small
3 springs thyme
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine (I used an open bottle of Pinot Noir I had around)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 tsp. pesto
1/4 cup chopped basil
Pinch of sugar

In a heavy bottom pan sauté onions with 2 tbsp olive oil. Once the onions are translucent add the garlic, salt and pepper, thyme and oregano. Continue to cook until onions are browned and the herbs are fragrant.

Meanwhile, roast the pepper over a gas burner. (you can also use a grill) once the pepper is blackened on all sides and the skin is pulling away remove from fire. Cut off the top of the pepper open the pepper so it lays flat scrap seeds and ribs out. Flip over the “filet” and scrap off the skin. Then dice.

Deglaze the sauce with the red wine, scrapping with a wooden spoon. Let the wine reduce by half. Add the fresh tomato and the canned tomatoes, smooshing the tomatoes as you add them. Add the roasted pepper. Add a pinch of sugar and pesto and stir. Let simmer about 20 minutes tasting and seasoning as you go. Add basil simmer 5 more minutes.

Serve sauce with favorite pasta, I used penne, and grilled sausage. Top with Parmesan.

I hope you all enjoy this fresh take on sausage and peppers! Perfectly light for summer yet hearty enough for fall when you are craving that grilled deliciousness!

National Cherry Pie Day!

First off, I must start by saying how ignorant I was to the fact that today is National Cherry Pie Day. I happen to be a huge fan of cherry pie and I’m not talking about the done in two seconds cherry pie that is made with phyllo dough and a can of cherry pie filling or the kind that comes from the freezer isle by Sara Lee. I’m talking about the delicious and labor intensive homemade version that is made with Bing and Rainier cherries that are hand pitted mixed with spices and baked in a delicious homemade flaky pie crust with lattice top!

I was first introduced to this amazing pie by an optician at the local eye doctor’s where I worked in high school. I had never had homemade cherry pie but as soon as she described it to me I immediately grabbed a pen and wrote down her recipe! Then on my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and purchase the cherries and of course…whipped cream.

The recipe was super easy to follow. One teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon and a quarter cup each sugar and flour to thicken. The most difficult part was pitting the cherries. It was a kind of meditative experience. I stood at my parents’ kitchen sink splitting the cherries and removing the pits while I stared out the window at the blueberry bushes in our backyard. Soon my hands were stained bright red by the cherry juices but I didn’t care I just thought of it as a badge of pride from putting all that time into a delicious dessert for my family.

The first time I made this pie I must admit I did not use a homemade crust because I was just too excited to try it. I poured the very dry mixture of cherries and spices and flour into the crust and then proceeded to weave strips of crust on top to form a lattice pattern. Once the top was completed I crinkled the edges and brushed the crust with an egg wash and sprinkled on some sugar before baking the pie.

Before long the whole house smelt incredible! I couldn’t wait to dig into the pie! I took my chances and cut a slice of pie for myself while it was still piping hot, topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and then of course whipped cream! The first bite was heaven! I love the juxtaposition of ice-cold ice cream with super hot fruit. To me that is the greatest taste in the world!

The Sunday Review

Today’s Review is of Antonio’s Pizza in downtown Amherst, MA.

Their special pizza was Chicken Cordon Bleu pizza. This pizza was topped with bread chicken, sliced ham, and shredded bleu cheese ontop of a creme fraiche sauce.

This pizza was overall absolute creative. The breaded chicken was delicious but also unfortunately dry. The flavors all paired wonderfully together considering its a classic. As I bit down into the slice of pizza the ham, which was cut in 3 inch circles, immediately started following my teeth  and along with it came all the cheese and toppings. This left me with a piece of crust and creme fraiche sauce without toppings :(. The ham really needed to be much thinner so the customer could easily bite down without stripping the pizza of its toppings. This slice is definitely worth the money at only $3.40 its delicious, just eat it with a fork and knife!

Shrimp and Cashew Stir-Fry

Quick and easy is the best thing for a Chemical Engineering major! Anything that takes less than 20 minutes and tastes fantastic is a winner! This recipe is a twist on the Food Network’s Spicy Shrimp, Celery and Cashew Stir-Fry. Which is delicious unto itself and highly recommended. I made this dish for my friend Oksana and she was thoroughly impressed that I made something so good in like no time at all.

Shrimp and Cashew Stir-Fry

1 inch fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic grated
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. dark sesame oil
1 tbsp. dry sherry
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 pound raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined
1 cup roasted cashews
2 cups favorite oriental vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, celery, peppers, sugar snap peas)*
Jasmine rice, cooked

Heat large non-stick skillet to hot, hot. Add 1 tbsp. oil. Add vegetables and cashews (if using frozen let vegetables defrost slightly in pan before adding cashews). Cook 2 minutes or until vegetables are just cooked. Remove vegetables and  cashews. Get the pan up to temperature again. Add last tbsp. of oil. Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper heat until fragrant. Add shrimp. Cook until pink and curled. Add soy sauce, sherry, and sesame oil and vegetables and cashews. Toss together until heated through. Serve over Jasmine rice.

Note: use frozen premixed for even faster results.

Turkey Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce

Living by myself I very rarely make a big meal. But when my boyfriend comes over I like to make a super yummy comforting meal that’s also a bit healthy. The secret to my turkey meatballs is to make a taster patty. Dry spices may not have the right potency so you may need to add some more. The taster patty allows you to determine how delicious you meatballs will be.

Turkey Meatballs

1 lb. ground turkey
1 large egg
1/2 cup+ Italian seasoned breadcrumbs, more if necessary
3 garlic cloves minced
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 onion, finely chopped, sauteed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. basil, dried
1 tbsp. oregano, dried
1 tsp. poultry seasoning

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Form a one-inch bowl with your hands and then squish it down to form a patty. Cook over medium heat in a skillet with a little olive oil. One brown on all sides and cooked through, cool and taste. Use the taster patty to determine if more spice is needed and adjust. Once the seasoning is adjust to your liking make one-inch balls. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add the meatballs trying not to over crowd the pan. Cook until brown all over. Add to homemade tomato sauce or your favorite jar and heat through serve with pasta.

Homemade Tomato Sauce

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic smashed
2 tbsp. basil, chiffonade cut
3 sprigs oregano
1 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes, chopped reserve juices
1/4 cp. red wine

Saute the onion in a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp. olive oil and garlic. Once the onions are translucent add the red wine and scrap up the onion bits. Add tomatoes, oregano and sugar.  Cook low about 10 minutes. Add basil and cook 5 minutes longer. Serve with meatballs and pasta.

In A Pinch BBQ Chicken Nachos

In the last post, I made a super time consuming delicious batch of BBQ nachos. This recipe is just as tasty but so much quicker to make! It starts with a rotisserie chicken; perfect for when you need a last minute appetizer and the rotisserie is marked down. Using a disposable sheet pan makes for quick clean-up too! This recipe was a heat with all the college guys at my Super Bowl Party!

In A Pinch BBQ Chicken Nachos

1 Rotisserie Chicken (if they have the organic and natural great, if they have the bourbon flavor even better!), shredded
1 cp. favorite BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Rays® Honey Chipotle)
1 shot bourbon whiskey
1 bag tortilla chips
1 cup cheddar, shredded
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
1/4 cp. pickled jalapeno slices
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into half moons

Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, combine whiskey, chicken, and BBQ sauce. Lay tortilla chips out on sheet tray in a single layer. Top with BBQ Chicken mixture. Top with thinly sliced onions and jalapenos. Top with both cheeses. Place on top shelf in oven until cheese is bubbly and melted.

Pulled Pork Nachos

With the Super Bowl coming up, I decided to test out a twist on one of my favorite snacks: BBQ Nachos! I normally make them with rotisserie chicken that I shred and stir with barbecue sauce. This time I decided to mix it up a bit and make some pulled pork. The result was a delicious and perfect snack for my crowd of college friends during last night’s Patriots game!

Pulled Pork Nachos

2 lb. pork shoulder, boneless
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. oregano (preferably Mexican)
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. hot paprika
2 tsp. hot chili powder
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. grated ginger
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 bottle beer
1/2 cp. grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cp. brown sugar
1/2 cp. favorite barbecue sauce
6 cps. tortilla chips
4 scallions, chopped
2 cps. cheddar cheese, shredded
2 jalepeños, sliced into rings, with or without seeds

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Score the skin and fat of the pork shoulder about every inch. Mix cumin, cinnamon, oregano, salt, paprika and chili powder together. Rub the seasoning all over the pork should getting into every slice of skin.

In a dutch oven, heat the oil with garlic, ginger and red chili flakes over medium high heat. Sear the pork shoulder on all sides. Add beer and grapefruit juice, scraping up all the brown bits. Sprinkle the brown sugar ontop and cover the dutch oven and place in oven. Braise the pork shoulder for 4 hours or until the pork is falling apart. Let cool 15-20 mins. Shred pork and stir in barbecue sauce.

Spread tortilla chips on a baking sheet. Top with pulled pork, shredded cheese, and jalapeños. Bake in 400°F oven until cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Top with scallions. Enjoy!