Spicy Cognac-Mushroom Rice

mushrice

I’m throwing caution to the wind this holiday season and tossing my tried and true recipes out the window.  Well, at least a few of them.  So, out goes the usual wild rice side dish and in it’s place I’m going to add a whole lot more flavor:

Spicy Cognac-Mushroom Rice

  • 4 Cups Cooked Brown Rice
  • 4 Cups Cooked White Rice
  • 1 – 26.5 oz Can Black Beans (drained)
  • 12 oz Sliced White Mushrooms
  • 12 oz Sliced Portobello Mushrooms
  • 8 TBLS (1 Stick) Butter
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion Chopped
  • 1 – 4oz Can Diced Jalapeno Peppers (drained)
  • 1/2 Cup Cognac
  • 3 TBLS Honey
  • 2 TBLS Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Freshly Ground Sea Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Prepare your rice using whatever method you prefer.  I prefer my pressure cooker so I can combine the white and brown rice and do it all at once, but you can do it on the stovetop, use your rice cooker or even do it in your microwave if you prefer.

  1. Using a large skillet, I use my cast iron skillet, melt your butter.
  2. Add in the sliced mushrooms and let brown, stirring, for 10 minutes.
  3. Next add the onion, jalapeño, salt and pepper and let cook for another two minutes.mush1
  4. Add the honey and stir until it’s well incorporated.
  5. Add the cognac and let reduce for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the soy sauce and stir, then add the drained black beans.
  7. Cook for another 5 minutes over low heat until the liquid thickens a bit.
  8. Pour over the rice in the large bowl.
  9. Stir together and then season with more salt and pepper to taste if needed
  10. Pour rice into a serving dish – I am using a disposable 9 x 13 covered cake pan with a lid for mess free transport.

I am using my unsuspecting friends at tomorrow’s USC homecoming tailgate as guinea pigs.  We are deep frying Duck and this seemed like a good way to do a test run.

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Apple Cider Sangria

Yesterday I made a batch of spicy apple cider that filled the house with a delicious early fall smell.  Tonight I think I’ll spice things up a bit more by sharing a recipe I have for a large batch cocktail featuring my sweet spicy apple cider.

Fall Apple Cider Sangriaapple-sangria

  • 1 Granny Smith Apple
  • 1 Fuji Apple
  • 1 Golden Delicious Apple
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Navel Orange
  • 2 Cups Spicy Pressure Cooker Apple Cider
  • 4 Cans Stoli Ginger Beer
  • 1 Bottle Sauvignon Blanc Wine – I prefer one that has peachy/apple/honeysuckle undertones when I am making this Sangria.  One that leans toward the citrus/grapefruit might throw the taste off.
  • 1/4 Cup Cinnamon and 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

cinnamonsugarrimPrepare Serving Glasses:  Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup cinnamon and pour onto a shallow rimmed plate (like a salad plate); Dip the rim of your serving glass into water and then touch edge of glass into the cinnamon/sugar mixture on the plate; Lightly tap the excess off of each glass and set them aside.

Prepare the Sangria:

  1. Using a Mandolin or other thin slicer (I prefer the OXO 6 Piece Grater Slicer) thinly slice the apples, orange and lemon.
  2. Fill a Large (At least 1 gallon) Pitcher, or Mason Jar with a dispenser with the fruit.
  3. Add apple cider, ginger beer, and Sauvignon Blanc wine.
  4. Stir mixture, pour into the prepared serving glasses and garnish with thin slices of apple on a small skewer if you desire.

TIP:  If you are not a White Wine person, a lot of people aren’t, here are some recommendations for the type of wine you are looking for in this recipe:

Angeline Sauvignon Blanc – About $13 “With graceful aromas of white peach and nectarine, green apple and lemon…”

Low Hanging Fruit Sauvignon Blanc – About $8  “Flavors of honeydew melon, lemon-lime and ripe apple, followed by a refreshing crisp finish.”

Cloud Break Sauvignon Blanc – About $8  “lively flavors of honeydew melon, juicy peach and pear.”

This would be a great light drink to serve while the family is gathering before Thanksgiving dinner is served, an easy picnic or tailgate treat, and would be a really fun poolside treat.

With a 7:30 PM Thursday night USC game two weeks away, I can’t think of a better time to break this recipe out alongside my cider as a bit of a treat on, what may very well be, our first chilly night of the season!

Cheers!

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cookies

turkeygfcookiesAs I was reviewing the recipes I’d be making for Thanksgiving weekend gatherings this year, I realized that someone likely to eat at least one meal at my house is gluten intolerant and wouldn’t be able to share the best part of dinner: dessert!  Luckily I had a recipe that was easily converted to gluten free, whew, crisis averted!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Mix together in a bowl and set aside:

  • 3 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I use Krusteaz)
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

In stand mixer cream until light and fluffy:

  • 2 Sticks (1 Cup) softened butter
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup  Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)  then add
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On low speed slowly add the dry ingredients until well incorporated and dough forms a ball.

Divide the dough in half and put into 2 large Ziplock bags.  Flatten to a large disk and put both into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Once dough has chilled place first disk on a lightly floured surface (MAKE SURE YOU USE THE GLUTEN FREE FLOUR), roll out to about 1/4″ and cut into Turkeys, Leaves, Footballs or any other fall shape.  Place on a cookie sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper and then throw the pan in the freezer for a couple of minutes to help cookies keep their shape when you bake them.  Repeat process with what is left of first disk then the second disk until you have used all of the dough.

Bake for 9-12 minutes (until lightly browned on the bottoms and starting to brown on the tops) depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies.  Remove cookies from the oven.  Allow to cool on pan about 1 minute then remove to wire racks to completely cool.  Do not leave on the pan too long or the cookies might start to lose their shape.

When completely cool ice with Royal Icing or pre-made cookie icing and enjoy.

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Indulge Without Feeling Too Guilty This Weekend

Clean-Eating-CupcakesI try to stick to a mostly clean diet of lean meats, fish, fruit and vegetables during the week, but come the weekend all bets are off.  I am an admitted carb fiend and the weekend gives me just the excuse I need to indulge in as many “bad for me” foods as I can get my hands on.  I justify it by swearing that my weekday workouts will offset the weekend damage, although it never quite works out that way.

For once, I’d like to wake up the morning after a game without seeing a puffy face in the mirror, regretting a night spent drinking like we’re still in college, and trying to force my rings over chubby salt swelled fingers.

With USC playing an away game in Tempe, Arizona this weekend, I won’t be cooking for our usual tailgate crowd of 15-20 pre-game partiers.  It’ll just be two or three of us in front of the TV watching the game Saturday night, so, if I work it right, sneaking a healthier choice or two into the mix may not result in a game time mutiny (and call to have pizza delivered) at my house.  Fingers are crossed I can get away with it.

I’ll give into the boys’ need for “football food” by getting them all-beef hot dogs (Yuck!) to grill and devour with baked beans and whatever chips and dip they insist on eating.  After I’ve satisfied their need for game day stadium food, I’ll clean all of that crap food up and ease them into the experiment by baking up a gluten free cheesy bacon jalapeno bread (aka Cheesy BJ Bread) to snack on while we are watching the game.  If there is any left over, it will be great toasted and served with scrambled eggs Sunday morning.

jalapenoGluten Free Cheddar Bacon Jalapeno Bread

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 9″ x 5″ Loaf Pan.

Whisk together 2 Large Eggs, 1/4 Cup Melted & Cooled Unsalted Butter and 1 1/2 Cups Room Temperature Buttermilk and set aside.  In a hot frying pan, cook 6-8 Slices Thick Cut Bacon until Crisp.  Drain and cool then roughly chop the bacon and add to the buttermilk mixture.

In a large bowl combine 3 Cups Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, 2 TBLS Sugar, 1 1/2 TBLS Baking Powder, 1 1/4 tsp Salt, and 1/2 tsp Ground White Pepper.  Add 3 Jalapeno Peppers (seeded and diced) and an 8 oz pkg of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (2 Cups) to the flour mixture.  Add the buttermilk mixture and stir until well combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.  Bake 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with just a few dry crumbs.  Cool in pan 5 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.

I don’t think I’ll get a lot of grief for the bread.  It’ll smell great and they’ll never notice it’s Gluten Free if I have enough cream cheese, sliced jalapenos and maybe even some guacamole for them to slather on it.  Maybe they’ll be so happy eating the spicy, cheesy bread that they’ll start mindlessly nibbling without complaint on the vegetable tray that’ll be sitting beside it.

A girl can hope.

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood