Red Roma Gazpacho

Why am I dumb? Fresh farm (and free) tomatoes at my taking any time and I’ve never done a gazpacho? Is this just a non-Nebraska thing? I’ve never seen it here, nor have I seen it on a menu for that matter. I found a pretty good basic recipe in the paper this week, and decide to do some digging around and make my own version. If you have a couple of lbs of tomatoes lying around, 10 minutes, and a blender…pretty sure you can make gazpacho. No joke. This is just stupid simple, not to mention…just a breath taking dish to look at.

Have problems lighting your kitchen on fire, burning all your dishes, no idea how or what spices to use in a dish,or can only make things out of can/box??? Have dying to try something legit to impress your friends and no skills??….HERE IT IS! I have no idea why I’ve been holding out on this for so long. I’m sure the fact that ‘Cakes’ doesn’t like tomatoes (but loves tomato soup….??) has something to do with it. I try to pick the evenings when he’s busy to play with things I know he doesn’t like so this was obviously one of those.

Jalapenos, olive oil, romas, and red onions steal the spotlight.

This is a great dish for a starter or even just a light summer afternoon dish. Best thing about this is how NOT-complicated it is. You can make this list of ingredients as long or as short as you want. You just have to taste as you go and let your palette guide you. Just a few minutes to blend it all together, and a couple of hours in the fridge, and you have the classic, Spanish dish.

Yep those are almonds. Delicious!

Tip: So…make it and it just wasn’t something you loved? Add more avocado and serve with tortilla chips or my new favorite multi-grain crackers from Special K! Set on the coffee table while your watching the football season get kicked off…they’ll disappear…promise.

Summer Red Gazpacho

  • 2 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • Couple splashes of balsamic vinegar
  • Couple splashes of red wine vinegar
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Put it all in the blender, and let it go! Make sure to taste as you go to figure what you need to add. Top it off with chopped cilantro and a slice of avocado. Let chill in the fridge at least a couple of hours, you want it cold.

Side Note:  Do your taste buds a favor…pair this with a bold red wine.

 

Blueberry Buckle Scones: Blueberry Season Bell

So…I’ve been disgustingly ill for the past 10 days now with some sort of string of the stomach flu apparently. Today was my first day of feeling semi-normal without too much Hitler-Stomach like action. Hitler literally was caving away in there like he was trying to invade Poland…except my belly, not Poland.

Hilter, Poland, Belly.
See the addition there? Yea, I went there. Oops.

So what does Claire do when she can’t eat??  Bake for others of course! 🙂 I was bored…and tired of sitting around, so why not fill the time testing blueberry scone recipes?! (I bet the receivers of my random baked goods wished I was sick all the time!)

I nabbed this recipe from an incredibly cute little blog Take A Megabite. Super glad I stumbled upon this one because it’s SO FAST (and because I adore scones). Perfect for bringing to work without having to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to make fresh ‘out of the oven’ breakfast.

10 minutes prep (15 if you’re less experienced) and 10 minutes to bake. BAM! This is a perfect starter recipe for anyone who isn’t familiar with baking, but wants to know how. There are so many different ways and variations you can play scone recipes without too much disruption in the final product. For instance, you need two bowls and a pan. No rolling pins, not a lot of measuring cups, and a little extra of this or that doesn’t hurt either!

Confession: How do you combine a cake-donut, a cinnamon roll, and blueberry bread into one bite? BINGO. You guessed it…this recipe. So we all know I’m a sucker for scones, I was so excited about this quick-make recipe that I made it twice right away just to play around with it to get my perfect breakfast combination. I took my favorite things listed above, threw them in the oven, and waited 10 minutes for results. Not a terrible way to spend the afternoon. I feel like this is less of a confession and more of an addiction class. Hi, I’m Claire, and I’m addicted to putting Greek yogurt in everything. Surprise, I put yogurt in another bread. C’est la vie.

Pre-Baked Buckle Top. Pressed into the dough.

Glaze Top… The Buckle Top was better, really locks in moisture.

Dropping Facts: So scones are really supposed to be comparable to a dry tea biscuit (served in Scotland). Eh. I hate dry. Yay. I love Greek yogurt. Raise your hand if you see the solution here. I realize that I overkill on yogurt for my baking solutions…but how can I not. In fact, if you follow me on Pinterest at all, I’ve pinned Chobani’s conversion chart for yogurt. And here I thought I came up with it…pssht. I feel like since I admitted to my addiction and confessed *cough* that this makes everything OK right? Well, if not, it at least makes it healthier, cuts out fat/sugar as a replacement, and adds moisture. Win, win, and win.

Ok, enough, here it is. My adaptation of Blueberry Buckle Scones

Blueberry Buckle Scones

buckle topping –

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp butter, room temperature

scones –

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 of a Blueberry Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus additional when forming dough I used about another 1/4 cup.
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 T Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cloves
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 stick (4 T), cubed and chilled
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 cup blueberries, frozen

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Make buckle topping by stirring together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Place in the fridge until time to top.
  3. Beat together the milk, egg and vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk flour baking powder, and salt. Rub butter into the flour mixture with your hands, working until you have no lumps bigger than a pea. Add the sugar and blueberries. Stir to mix.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Roughly bring the dough together with a wooden spoon until it comes together. I had to add more flour here because of the yogurt. Add a couple spoonfuls at a time until you get the consistency right. You want it to be moist, but not sticky.
  5. Pat dough into a round approximately 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle buckle topping over the dough and pat gently into the surface. Cut into 8 wedges. Place on an prepared baking sheet. (First time I did a traditional cirlce and the second I did a rectangle…just because)
  6. Bake for 10-minutes, or until golden. I always use parchment paper to bake on it’s much easier that way to lift a corner without it breaking to see if the bottom is starting to turn brown.

Scotcharoos: Chocolate Devil Fingers

So everyone loves scotcharoos. Even people who don’t like butterscotch like scotcharoos (me!). So simple, so not complicated, so…doable! Did these for some old work buddies and it went over like a dream! These are just one of those deals where you can’t eat one…or two. You eat four if they’re at home. One thing I love about these is that they put other bars to shame, and they’re easy to transport. Nuff said??? Deal. I’ll just post the recipe!

TIP: I used honey in this round, but you can also use karo syrup if you want (it’s cheaper).

6 cups rice krispies

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup karo/honey syrup

1 cup sugar

12oz bag chocolate chips

12oz bag butterscotch chips

In a large bowl add your rice krispies and your cup of peanut butter. DO NOT MIX.

In a sauce pan add your honey/karo and your sugar until it just starts to boil and pour over the peanut butter mix. With a wooden spoon or spatula combine well.

In a 9×13 pan lined high up the sides with parchment paper, dump in your mixture and press evenly in the pan.

Pour the chips in a heatproof bowl and set them over a pan of sizzling water on the stove. This will allow them to melt gently without burning. Watch it and stir it frequently and then constantly when it starts to melt. Pour over the krispie mix and spread evenly. I like to shake the pan a bit and slam the pan down on the counter a few times as well. Let harden in the fridge.

When it’s hardened, cut into bars. If you want super sleek cut lines, run your knife in hot water and you’ll get beautiful cuts.

Adult XXX Grilled Cheese

I’m often asked what my favorite dish is. I usually can’t come up with less than three answers. 1. Usually something seasonal 2. Something I recently tried and make once a week 3. Grilled Cheese

Let me tell you something… this is not lame. Cheese…awesome, whole wheat bread…awesome, anything spicy…super awesome. Grilled Cheese being making the top three is not something that has been long-standing on my list. It happened as a combination of a using my (at the time ‘new’) cast iron skillet, having nothing in the fridge, and not wanting to leave the house.  Just another episode of using random items in the fridge to make the BEST MEAL EVER (on accident). 

Confession: The is my GC (grilled cheese) confession…it’s terrible. In fact I bet many of you will scowl. I don’t use fancy cheese for my GC. I’m sure most people would assume the first rule of making a fancy GC would be buying exotic cheese… well news flash… I’m a cheap-ass. Baby girl here tries to keep things as economically savvy as I can. ‘Cakes’ doesn’t have a very exotic palette so buying a $10-15 block of cheese is risky if neither of us like it…b/c then it will get tossed. But let’s be real, there really isn’t anything I don’t like. I’m just cheap. 

OK this really isn’t dirty XXX grilled cheese. That’s just me being witty. First step in your mature cheese sammich is the XXX. You need at least three ingredients…besides cheese and bread. Get creative, have fun, and clean out that fridge. And no, tomato soup doesn’t count as an X…it’s a Y. A given in the equation, you can’t have a grilled cheese without the soup!

Let me give you the run down of my conglomeration this evening.

Honey Oat Whole Wheat
Pepper Jack Shredded Cheese
Cheddar Shredded Cheese
Mozzerella Shredded Cheese
Deli Turkey (or ham)
Thinly Sliced Tomato
Thinly Sliced Mushrooms
Thinly Sliced Jalepenos
Thinly Sliced Yellow Onion
Fire up your cast iron, butter your bread, assemble your ingredients, and throw it on! The least difficult meal…most disastorious kitchen as a result! 
Like I said, have fun with it… use what you have, or use things you think sound crazy. It will work. Or don’t be me…use expensive cheese! Make sure you use at least XXX three ingredients!
Here are a couple more ideas if you’re looking for some inspiration!
1. Tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, caramelized onions
2. Shredded Chicken, BBQ, jalapenos
3. Red pepper, green pepper, red onion, spinach
4. Pulled pork, djion mustard, onion, banana peppers

*Secret Ingredient* I love hot sauce, spicy sauce, sriracha…anything. I can’t even count the number of bottles and varieties I have in my kitchen. I recently ran out of the hottest number I always keep around. They don’t sell it at very many stores, and the ones that do have it…don’t always have it in stock. It’s called El Yucateco. Little bottle…come in red or green. Although not dramatic and served in most Mexican restaurants around here on the table…El Cholua is good…but they’ve recently started caring different varieties of it in the store down the street. Although the “Garlic Chili” had my attention… I caved for the Chili Lime. WIN!! It was a great choice. Best $2.35 I spent all day! 🙂 

I love dippin my sandwich in it! Do this!