Super Bowl Eats II: Seasoned Pretzels

Honestly, these are addictive! They will become a family favorite for certain. Just wait 'til you taste 'em...you'll be making these not only for your Super Bowl party, but just for snacking. Love the flavors and so easy to make.

Seasoned Pretzels

From Sally's Baking Addiction

1 bag of those big hard pretzels (anywhere from a 12 - 16 oz bag is fine)
3/4 cup oil (I used vegetable oil))
1 generous teaspoon lemon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 packet Hidden Valley dry ranch seasoning
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon cayenne if you want some heat

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Break the pretzels into pieces. Place them in a large zipped-top bag. Add the oil and the spices. Shake it all together very well. You want every piece coated very well, so shake, let sit, then shake again. If you find there aren't enough spices coating the pretzels, add more spices to your taste. 

Spread the pretzels onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 50 minutes, making sure to stir the pretzels around two or three times during baking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Pretzels stay fresh covered tightly at room temperature for 3 weeks.

PS: I'm in the middle of a move, so you may not be hearing from me on your blogs for a week or so,


Super Bowl Eats: Croissant Pizzas

It's always fun to post something not usually on our menu and definitely off any diet plan, but when the Super Bowl is on, calorie-watching goes out the window. Pizza lovers will love these and you can throw them together in no time at all.
One day can't hurt, right? Hello out there? RIGHT?

Croissant Pizza

From Thrillist

1 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (you'll use both slabs)
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 ounces sliced pepperoni
1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano


Thaw the frozen puff pastry overnight in the fridge. 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Unwrap and lay the dough out on parchment paper. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut one panel off each slab (they are folded in thirds, so just cut along one fold). Stick those two loose panels side by side and pinch them together. You should now have three slabs of dough. 
Slice each slab of dough in half crosswise so you have 6 squares. Spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce in a diagonal line across each square. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese  Top with three slices of pepperoni, and a bit more cheese for good measure. Fold the un-sauced corners in over the filling. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan and oregano.
Makes 6. 
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until croissants are puffed and golden brown.


Scallops and Leeks in Filo Cups

The little frozen filo cups are a terrific and easy way to make a speedy dessert (I made Cathy's Lazy Baklava a while back with another package, also fruit tarts and a lemon mousse.), or an appetizer.
This time I went for savory and used leeks and scallops, but the fillings and toppings you can use are endless. Difficult to write down directions with something you whip up like this, but this will give you the general idea. I'm sure most of you have already made some fabulous appetizers with these. If you have any winners, share them!

Scallops and Leeks in Filo Cups

Bay scallops, enough for two to each filo cup
Frozen individual filo cups
1-2 leeks
1/4 cup heavy cream
dash freshly grated nutmeg
grated fresh Parmesan
Chives for presentation

Thaw the filo cups and preheat oven to 350.
Clean and thinly slice the leeks, white and light green only. Melt some butter and add the leeks, with some salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until golden, soft and cooked through. Add some heavy cream and some Parmesan cheese.
(You'll have to do this by eye as everyone will be making different amounts. I used 1 leek, 10 filo cups, 2 tablespoons cream, 2 tablespoons Parmesan and a grating of fresh nutmeg.) 

Set aside, but keep warm.
Put the filo cups in the oven to crisp them up and get them a bit more golden. Not more than 6 or 7 minutes, follow directions on the box.
In another pan, melt butter with a dash of olive oil and when very hot, add the bay scallops with some salt and pepper. Sear quickly, squeeze some lime juice over them and remove from heat.
Fill the crisp filo cups with the leeks, top with two scallops and garnish with chives. Serve immediately.


Jam Bars

I've been watching the Great British Baking Show on Netflix and it's put me in the mood to make some jam bars. I always think of them as being a British invention, but mainly, a treat for kids and an easy carry-along to a picnic. Simple to make and in no time at all you have a lovely little bar everyone will love. Use your homemade or a good quality jam (I used raspberry here), as it makes or breaks these bars. You'll probably have every ingredient needed in your pantry; they'll be done in 40 minutes.  
I really can't credit anyone with this recipe as it's pretty basic and you can find some version of this easily online, from Martha Stewart to various blogs.

Jam Bars

1 cup flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup oats (don't use instant)
1/2 cup sliced almonds
4 or 5 large spoonfuls of your favorite jam


Preheat over to 350. Line your 8 inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang for easy removal.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir in the almond extract.
In another bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture. By hand, stir in the oats and almonds.

Save about half a cup or so of this mixture for the topping and set aside. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. (I used my hands) Spread the jam over the top, leaving 1/2 an inch or so on all sides. Sprinkle the reserved mixture on top of the jam.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and the jam is bubbly. Cool completely in the pan and then remove and cut into squares.


Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk

Have you tried this yet? Everyone claims this is the best (and simplest) roast chicken recipe ever. So OK, I grant you, it couldn't be easier to put together, but I had no idea what to expect with this combination of ingredients. Milk, cinnamon and chicken? How weird is that? But I forged ahead and made it for my daughter when she was home.

Must admit the fragrance wafting from the kitchen was mouth watering, but when I pulled it out of the oven, it was sitting in some curdled looking milk, which was a tad off-putting. Turns out that curdled milk is the raison d'etre. 

So, we pulled the meat off the chicken, ladled on the curdled sauce as directed and yum! Marvelous. The flavors all come together in the most heavenly way. And the garlic cloves can be pulled out and the insides squeezed onto the chicken or even on some French bread. Drool.

So yes, I'm recommending you try this. Jamie has a winner here. 

Cooks note: I did some investigating and it appears baking it covered for the first 3/4 of an hour and uncovered for the second results in a nicely browned chicken.

Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk
From Jamie Oliver

1.5 kg chicken  (3 to 4 lbs,  mine was slightly bigger)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
½ stick cinnamon
1 good handful fresh sage, leaves picked
2 lemons, zested
10 cloves garlic, skin left on
565 ml milk   (I used nearly 3 cups)


Preheat the oven to 375° and find a snug-fitting pot for the chicken. Season it generously all over, and fry it in a little olive oil and butter, turning the chicken to get an even color all over, until golden. Remove from the heat, put the chicken on a plate, and throw away the oil left in the pot. This will leave you with tasty sticky goodness at the bottom of the pan which will give you a lovely caramel flavor later on.

Put your chicken back in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, and cook covered in the preheated oven for 3/4 hour. Remove cover and bake another 3/4 hour. Baste with the cooking juice when you remember. ( I forgot!) The lemon zest will sort of split the milk, making a sauce which is absolutely fantastic.

To serve, pull the meat off the bones and divide it onto your plates. Spoon over plenty of juice and the little curds. Serve with wilted spinach or greens and some mashed potato.


Smoked Salmon, Kale and Dill Quiche with Sour Cream Shortcrust

We started the New Year off right with this salmon-kale quiche. Or I thought we did. Then, I read this morning that kale, along with coconut oil, are among the 2015 has-beens! Seaweed, teff, maca powder and black pudding will soon replace coconut oil and kale as 2016's trendiest ingredients. Merely giving you a head's up here....because there's not anything even resembling these four ingredients in my kitchen and I gravely doubt they'll be there anytime soon. Take heart though, as they also listed about 6 other 2016 "in" ingredients and I already eat those regularly.
Nevertheless, outdated or not, we thoroughly enjoyed this quiche. But we thought it was a tad too much kale (perhaps our U.S. bunches are larger than Australian bunches.), so please take a close look when it's cooked and wilted; then add the kale to your own taste; you'll be able to tell. We also added more Parmesan. My daughter thought it wasn't eggy enough and I agreed, but I still think it was the result of too much kale. I am posting the original recipe here...make your own adjustments.

Smoked Salmon, Kale and Dill Quiche with Sour Cream Shortcrust

From Cakelets and Doilies

For Sour Cream Shortcrust
2 cups plain flour
200 grams (7/8 of a cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup sour cream

For Filling
1 bunch of kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 ounces smoked salmon, flaked into small pieces using a fork
1 bunch fresh dill, roughly chopped
3 eggs
1/3 cup coffee cream 
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

For sour cream shortcrust:
Place butter and flour in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper big enough to line your pie pan.. Lift pastry into tin, crimp as you please. I froze the pastry for an hour or so.

Preheat the oven to 400 F . Place pie pan on a cookie sheet. Blind bake by lining the pastry and then pour in dried beans or rice. Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove paper and beans/rice. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes to crisp. Allow to cool.

For the filling:
Reduce the oven to 350 F .

Remove and discard stem from kale. Tear or roughly chop kale leaves into small bite-size pieces. Heat oil in a frying pan, add garlic and stir over medium heat until fragrant. Add kale leaves and saute until the kale has wilted. Remove from heat. 

Place eggs, cream, milk, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Scatter the kale, smoked salmon and dill in your pastry shell and pour the egg mixture over everything. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden. (Took my oven longer.) Rest for 10 minutes before serving. 


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