Recipe Swap: Pumpkin Biscuits

I can be kind of bossy.  Just ask my husband.

So when Mother Nature didn’t really cooperate with my request for fall weather, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I wore my skinny jeans and riding boots anyway.

I made my favorite acorn squash recipe.

I bought some gi-normous honey crisp apples.

Screw you Mother Nature, I’m making it fall anyway.

So when this round of the WC Recipe Swap gave me A Seasoned Greeting, I went straight for her pumpkin tag.

But, much to my dismay, there was only one pumpkin recipe!  Girl, we need to fix that!  What’s wrong with you?! (just kidding girl, luv ya.  But we need to work on this!)

Luckily, it looked like a killer pumpkin recipe.  I just kept coming back to it, unable to let it go for another recipe.  So I bought my first can of pumpkin for the season.  It was a beautiful moment, really.

So even though my weekend was nothing short of chaos, I made time for these beauties.  But as if it was meant to be, they came together in an instant – no mixer or food processor needed, took all of about 5 minutes to throw together and drop on the pan.  I had to wait for the oven to finish preheating!

So.  No excuses.  Find a reason to make these.

Recipe note – I did want them to be a little sweeter (yes, it’s a savory biscuit, but it needed to be a *little* sweeter), so next time I’ll double the honey in these.  The recipe below reflects this change.

Don’t forget to check out the links below to see the recipes that everyone else picked for the recipe swap!

One year ago: Tailgate favorites!! Game-Day Chili and Soft Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese Dip
Two years ago: Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars and Pasta with No-cook Tomato Sauce

Pumpkin Biscuits
adapted from Country Living, as seen on A Seasoned Greeting 

2 cups of AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1 stick of unsalted butter, cold and diced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add butter and toss to combine.  Add pumpkin and honey and mix to combine.  Add milk and stir until dough forms.  Drop biscuits onto prepared baking sheet, bake 20-25 minutes.

Enjoy!



Lemon Sugar Cookies

It’s recipe swap time again!

The theme of this swap was dessert.  How could I resist?  And lucky for me, I got something perfectly portable to take on our camping trip last weekend.  The problem was that not all of the made it TO the camping trip.  In a taste-test/quality assurance attempt, Scott and I might have eaten three.  Each.

These are so amazingly tasty.  Imagine a snickerdoodle.  Only sub the cinnamon for a very subtle lemon flavor.  AMAZING.  I normally love the pucker-up and punch you in the face lemon desserts.  But this is different.  This is a subtle, light lemon flavor that tastes only fresh and light and amazing.

I know it’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas cookies, but I will definitely be making these again at the holidays.  They would be a fantastic addition to any cookie tin.  I know I wouldn’t kick them out! Thank you to Life and Kitchen for the recipe!

One year ago: Chorizo and Rice Stuffed Zucchini and Summer Veggie Pasta
Two years ago: Sweet Potato and Poblano Salad

Lemon Sugar Cookies
courtesy of Life and Kitchen, originally from Two Peas and Their Pod

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
zest of 2 large lemons
1 1/2 cups gradulated sugar, plus another 1/2 cup for rolling
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until smooth.  Add lemon zest, egg, vanilla and lemon juice.  Mix until combined.  Reduce mixer to low and gradually add in dry ingredients.

Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour (this will keep your cookies from getting too flat and crispy).

Preheat oven to 350.  Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in sugar.  Place on baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges *just* start to turn light brown and cookies are set.  Cool for 2 minutes on baking sheets before removing to cooling racks to cool completely.

See the recipe swap round up below!

S’Mores Cupcakes with Homemade Marshmallow Fluff Frosting

I have a slight obsession with my kitchen torch.

So when my 12-year-old friend Caitlin came over to bake with me, I talked all through lunch how fun it was going to be to use the torch on these cupcakes.  She kept rolling her eyes at me and saying “you’re really excited about that, aren’t you?”  I told her just to wait, that she would understand once she got to use it.

And when the frosting was done and it was time to torch, I did the first 2.  Her eyes got kind of big, and she asked “can I try it?”

So I showed her how to use it.  And then I didn’t get it back. ;)

“Told ya it was fun!”

She grinned.  “Ok, you were right.  It’s pretty fun.”

So if you don’t have a little kitchen torch yet, you should get one.  They are wicked fun.  And you can get one for like $20 at Bed Bath and Beyond!  Totally worth it.

One year ago: BBQ chicken and Pineapple Pizza and Peach Blueberry Cobbler
Two years ago: Chai Tea Bread and Baked Jalapeno Poppers

S’mores Cupcakes with Marshmallow Fluff Frosting
cupcakes inspired by Annie’s Eats
Chocolate cupcake recipe courtesy of Hershey’s
Marshmallow Fluff recipe courtesy of Marshmallow Madness, as seen on Annie’s Eats

For the graham cracker crust:
1 sleeve graham crackers, ground into crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp butter, melted

for the cupcakes:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (high altitude, reduce to 1/2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (high altitude, reduce to 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

for the frosting:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
pinch of salt
2 large egg whites, at room temp
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

for the graham cracker crust:
Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter.  Mix thoroughly.  Drop a scant 1 tbsp of graham cracker mixture into each liner and press down to line the bottom (a small bottle works well for this).  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven the oven temperature.

for the cupcakes:
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in boiling water (batter will be very thin).  Scoop batter into cupcake liners.  Bake for 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Let cool completely.

for the frosting:
Combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan.  Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 240 degrees on the candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  As the temperature of the sugar mixture begins to approach its endpoint, begin whipping the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Once soft peaks have been reached, lower the mixer speed to low.

When sugar mixture reaches 240 degrees, remove from heat.  Pour the syrup in a very slow, steady stream down the side of the mixing bowl (while mixer on low) until it has all been incorporated (go very slowly so you don’t cook the eggs).

Once the syrup has been incorporated, increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form and the mixture has been cooled considerably, 6-7 minutes.  Blend in vanilla and beat 2 minutes more.  Scoop into frosting bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy!!

 

Recipe Swap: Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta

 

I’ve talked before about the awesome group of ladies on a cooking forum that I frequent.  Well they’ve been running recipe swaps for the past YEAR and I’ve finally managed to join in the fun.  I know, a day late and a dollar short, right?  I’m sticking with better late than never.

The theme of this swap was “bloggers choice” – meaning that we swap blogs, not just recipes.  I thought this would make it a little easier on my frantic schedule – a little more flexiblity in being able to choose the recipe I want to make.  Well.  That backfired a little.  I spent DAYS searching So Tasty, So Yummy trying to decide what recipe to make!  I initially went in thinking seafood, but then the desserts looked so good, but then I had chicken breast in the freezer…. and so it went.  For like a week.  I had to force myself into a decision just to make the posting deadline!

But let me tell you about this pasta dish.  Holy smokes was it good. Scott’s not really an artichoke fan, so he passed on this one.  Ok by me, that means more lunch leftovers for me!  This dish was rich from the cream, but lightened up a little with the lemon, nice and salty from the bacon, with just a touch of briny from the capers.  So fantastic.  I changed up the veggies a little because I’m not much a mushroom fan – I swapped in sun dried tomatoes and some spinach I  needed to get rid of.

One year ago: Plum Raspberry Sorbet
Two years ago: Zucchini Fritters and Shrimp Scampi

Creamy Artichoke Lemon Chicken Pasta
adapted from So Tasty, So Yummy

8oz angel hair pasta (I used ww spaghetti)
2 slices of bacon, diced
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into strips
1/4 cup all purpose flour
salt and pepper
15 oz can artichokes in water, drained and chopped
2 tsp capers, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp chopped sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 cups baby spinach

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Salt and cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, salt and pepper.  Lightly coat chicken strips in flour.  Carefully place in hot pan.  Cook until lightly brown and cooked through.  Remove and set aside.

Stir in artichokes, capers, and sun dried tomatoes.  Cook a 1-2 minutes.  Deglaze pan with white wine, cook for 2 minutes.  Add chicken broth and lemon juice, cook for another 2 minutes.  Stir in cream and spinach, cook until spinach is wilted.  Stir in chicken and bacon and season to taste.  Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango

I’ve been seriously obsessed with mangoes this year.

Nearly every week for the past couple months, I’ve been piling them into my cart at the store, pressing and prodding each one to find one perfectly soft.

Every week I’d cut up miscellaneous fruit and mix it together for breakfast – sometimes cantaloupe, strawberries, pineapple, all kinds of different things.  But one thing remained constant – the mango.

And then I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks – Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless.  It’s insanely easy and uses one of my favorite fruits – mango.

I truly apologize for not posting this sooner – now it’s nearly then end of mango season.   So hurry up and go find some good, ripe mangos.  And make this dish before time runs out.

I think I’m going to make a big batch of this sauce and freeze it to use it all winter long….

One year ago: Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Two years ago: Summer Bolognese and Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango
adapted from Rick Bayless and Mexican Everyday

1 tbsp vegetable oil
16 (1/4 oz total) dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded, or 2 (1/2 oz total) guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
salt
2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, fileted into cutlets
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 tbsp honey

To make the sauce: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the chiles to the hot oil.  Turn occasionally until they are aromatic and have changed color slightly, about 30 seconds.  Scoop the chiles into a food processor, leaving behind as much oil as possible.  Add garlic and tomatillos to the hot oil.  Cook until well browned, turning halfway through.  Scoop into food processor, add a pinch of salt and blend into smooth.

Lay chicken out in a glass baking dish and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and scatter the mango over the top.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove chicken to a platter.  Scoop sauce and mango into food processor with honey.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

Enjoy!

Smoked BBQ Ribs

I refuse to believe that summer is nearly over.

My garden is still spilling out tomatoes and zucchini.

The temps are still in the 80s and 90s.

To me?  That means summer is far from over.

So there’s still plenty more time to give your grill and smoker a workout!

Like I mentioned on Tuesday, there’s about eleventy million ways to BBQ and smoke ribs.  I’m hardly claiming that this is the best.  But this is how we do it, and how my dad has done it for as long as I can remember.  So I’m sticking with it.

One year ago: Iced Irish Cream Mocha Latte
Two years ago: Gooey Butter Cake and Mac ‘n’ Jack Pasta Salad

Smoked BBQ ribs
a PLFF original recipe (well, with contributions from my dad)

1.5-2 racks of baby back ribs
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, defrosted
water
1/3 batch dry rib rub
1 large sweet yellow onion, cut into large chunks
1 1/2 cups apple juice
wood chips of choice or hardwood charcoal
BBQ sauce of choice

Mix lemonade concentrate with one can of water in a large pan (I used a glass 9×13).  Add ribs and turn to coat.  Add more water if necessary to submerge ribs.  Refrigerate overnight.

The next day, drain marinate and pat ribs dry.  Coat ribs generously with rib rub.

Bring smoker or grill temp to 225-250.  If using a smoker, add onion, apple juice, and 1 1/2 cups of water to water pan.

Add ribs to grill grate.  Smoke/grill for 4-5 hours, maintaining temperature around 225.

Remove from smoker and cut ribs into 2-3 piece chunks.  Place in large aluminum pan.  Cover in BBQ sauce of choice.  Heat though in oven or on grill for an additional 20 minutes.

Then devour.  Make sure there’s lots of cold beer and napkins.

BBQ Rib Rub

I’m going to tease you mercilessly here.

Forgive me.

I’m going to drag out the full recipe for this recipe over two different posts.

I’m sorry!

But this is a two-part process, and I felt like it would be too much for one post.

So you get the rib rub today.

And the rest of the rib deliciousness on Friday.  Still, plenty of time for you to make these ribs this weekend.  And you really should.

I know BBQ is a very particular thing – everyone has their way to do it.

And I’m not attesting that this is the “right” way.  I’m sure there are people who have a better way.

But this is the best way I know.

And judging by the empty bone yard of rib bones in front of Scott and I – we did something right.

Feel free to rub this amazing concoction on any kind of BBQ – would be amazing on a pork shoulder, now that I’m thinking about it…..

One year ago: Cherry Limeade Cupcakes
Two years ago: Crock Pot Beef Dip Sandwiches

BBQ Dry Rub
adapted from Food Network

1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp granulated onion
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tbsp hickory salt (optional*)

Combine ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.  Store in airtight container.

* you can find hickory salt at many specialty spice shops.  I got mine from here.  It’s an awesome addition to any BBQ rub – makes it tastes smoky and delicious!

Yes, Chef Giveaway Winner!

Listen carefully.

Can you hear it?

It’s the sound of my friend Amelia FREAKING OUT right now.

Because she just won a signed copy of Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir – Yes, Chef!

I think Ames might be the only person I know who’s a bigger Marcus Samuelsson fan than I am – she’s the one who let me know when he was coming to Denver!  Well I guess some things are just meant to be!

I used a random number generator to determine the winner:

and #15-16 was Amelia’s entry:

Thanks to all who entered, and congrats Ames!  Your book will be in the mail later this week!

Have a great week everyone!

Sweet Pork and Pears

I’ve mentioned before, Pork chops aren’t exactly my favorite piece of meat.  I think I might have one or two pork chop recipes in the entire recipe history of PLFF.

But if I’m being honest?  We might start having pork a bit more regularly with this dish.

This pork was a little bit of everything – juicy, tart, sweet, salty and just seriously delish.  And EASY.  Less than 30 minutes from start to finish.  Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

And now when I see pork chops in the sale ads, I much more likely to pick up a package.

Don’t forget to enter the Yes, Chef giveaway by Friday!

One year ago: Porch Pounder Sangria
Two years ago: Triple Berry Cakes

Sweet Pork and Pears with Goat Cheese on Quinoa
adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
1 cup quinoa
olive oil
4 4oz boneless pork loin chops
1 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper
2 ripe Bartlett pears, cored and chopped
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
goat cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil.  Stir in quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for around 15 minutes, or until tender.  Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Season both sides of the pork with salt, pepper, and tarragon.  Add to skillet and brown on each sided (around 2 minutes each side).  Add pears, vinegar and honey, stirring to combine.  Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until pork is cooked through.

Divide quinoa among serving plates and top with pork, pear mixture, and sauce.  Top with goat cheese and serve.

Enjoy!

“Yes, Chef” Giveaway!

I stood in line.

I thought the entire time about what I wanted to say to him or ask him.

I got up there, and I was completely and totally star struck. I was standing next to Marcus Samuelsson.

I’m pretty sure I mumbled something about being a huge fan.

I handed him the two books I was going to get signed.

He looked at the sticky note on the first one – the stick note that one of his assistants came around and stuck on people’s books with their names so things would get spelled right.

“What’s a PLFF reader?”

I laughed, explained that it was my blog – Peace, Love and French Fries – and I was going to give away a copy of his book on my blog.

He laughed. “why french fries?”

“Because there is no greater thing than a perfect plate of french fries.  Well, to me at least.”

He laughed again. “No truer words have been spoken my dear.  I’m Marcus.” (like I didn’t know who he was!)

I introduced myself.  Then swooned, because Marcus Samuelsson likes french fries as much as I do (or pretended to, at least).

Since I was at the back of the line, I got a few extra minutes to talk to him while he signed a bunch of other books store employees.

I finally got my bearings, came back down to earth, and remember to ask him about the competitions he’s done – which was the hardest?

His answer was about what I expected – that Top Chef Masters and Next Iron Chef were like marathons – exhausting, never-ending, whoever can hold out the longest.  nonstop for three weeks.  Chopped was like the 100 meter dash, and “you had to be Usain Bolt to make it out alive.”  But what I really wanted to know – which was your favorite?

He grinned as wide as he could and said “oh, Chopped.  Definitely Chopped.”

And then I started swooning again.

He was everything I wanted him to be – kind, down-to-earth, and laid back.  It wouldn’t have mattered if 200 people or 20 people showed up to the book signing, he would have eagerly signed everyone’s books and humored their star-struck silly questions.  I’m totally envious of those who got to go to his demo/tasting up in Boulder.

But I had skipped my lunch to go to the signing, there was no way I could get out of work early enough to make it up to Boulder.

And now that I’ve finished the 3 books I had on request from the library (and couldn’t renew!), I’m finally digging into Yes, Chef.  And once again, it’s everything I hoped it would be.  Every page makes me like Marcus Samuelsson more and more.

 

And here’s your chance to have your own (SIGNED!) copy of Yes, Chef – a memoir by Marcus Samuelsson.

Each person can have up to 2 chances to win:
1. Leave a comment with the question that YOU would ask Marcus Samuelsson (if you weren’t too star-struck).
2. Go like PLFF on Facebook and leave a 2nd comment letting me know you did.

All entries must be received by 11pm MST on Friday, August 10th.  I will use a random number generator to decide the winner.  Winner to be announced Monday, August 13th.  Good luck!