Bratwurst, Jalapeno, and Caramelized Onion Potstickers

I hate summer. There, I said it. I’m allergic to the beach and catch burns faster than Snooki catches STI’s. The only person more miserable on a boat is Tommy Lee Judd post-Double Jeopardy. The irony of spending over 75% of my childhood summers on boats and at beaches is not lost on me. But now I’m a grown-ass woman! I can fast-forward to any damned season that I want. And today, I decided that I wanted autumn to hurry up and get here already. So for lunch, I made Miss Love a boatload of homemade dumplings, filled with bratwurst, jalapenos, caramelized onions, and topped with a spicy mustard sauce. And they say July is a summer month.

If you haven’t made homemade potstickers before, take it from an authentic Jewish, American white woman whose only contact with Asian heritage involves casual hookups: these are easy and worth your time. I cheated a little and got premade dumpling wrappers from a local Asian grocery. They tasted fresh and were easy enough to make that in retrospect, it seemed silly to make the dough from scratch. If you have access to these wrappers, I highly suggest you pick some up. They’re hardy and thaw quickly for easy preparation.

To make the dumplings, we combined a few of our latest and greatest favorite ingredients- I’d had the good fortune to receive a selection of Gold’n Plump chicken sausages earlier this week, as well as a tangy, sticky mustard sauce simply named, “That Yellow Sauce.” I’m addicted with this. I’ve been slathering it on top of all of my favorite foods. Mixing those together with some of Gordy’s Thai basil jalapenos, picked up at the Fancy Food Show, and chopped caramelized onions yielded a sweet, savory filling with a wonderful lingering spice.
Bratwurst, Jalapeno, and Caramelized Onion Potstickers
Ingredients (makes 18-20 dumplings)
2 3oz. uncooked bratwurst sausages, taken out of casing
2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
2 tablespoons of spicy mustard
4 tablespoons of chopped caramelized onions
18-20 dumpling wrappers
1. Mix together ground bratwurst, jalapenos, mustard, and caramelized onions. If you’d like, you can do this the night before you make the potstickers so the flavors have more time to blend together.
2. When you’re ready to make the potstickers, place a teaspoon of the filling in the center of a dumpling. With your fingers, wet the edges of the wrapper and draw them together, pinching and sealing the edges so that the filling doesn’t leak out.
3. Place the filled dumplings in a greased pan on medium-high. Cook until the bottom is brown and crispy. Pour 1/3 cup of warm water in and steam on medium-high for five to six minutes, tossing the dumplings as needed. When the water is evaporated, lower the heat and simmer until fully cooked. Serve with a garnish of onions, mustard, and hot sauce.

These are easy to customize and create and can easily be frozen for later snacking. I’m planning on trying these with spicy brisket and shredded chicken next.

Chicken-Fried Turkey Burgers

I blame this bird-on-bird action on the cats.

Mainly because they have a tendency to zone in on soft, squishy rolls and systematically destroy them. And I couldn’t let this one go to waste, you know? Of course, there are a few factors at hand here that, when you think about it, offer limitless concepts and creatures to blame this godless creation on. You could blame Rachael Ray. After all, it was her recipe that lodged itself in my head, forcing me to make this two days later. You could even go as far as to blame the gym. I don’t buy Ray-ray’s magazine, but you know who does? My utterly sadistic athletic club, that’s who.

I’d even like to take a moment to blame the LSAT. With less than two weeks before my future is defined (no pressure) I bribed myself with homemade French fries while correcting some mistakes on my most recent test. One thing led to another.
As you can see, there are quite a few justifications for a deep-fried turkey burger. I think the strongest evidence in support of this burger’s creation and swift demise is that turkey is too healthy. It needs help. Deep-fried chicken is overdone, deep-fried burgers and steak have come and gone, but turkey is a poultry Pollyanna. It needs to be slutted up a little, and for me, that involves hot oil and pounding. We all have our quirks.

And this, my friend, is a grade-A kinky-assed burger with a T on top.

I’m sure this in no way aids nor behooves you, but these are deceptively easy to make and yield moist, flavorful results. They can be as gussied up or gussied down as you please- for this burger, I went for a distinctly (and indulgently) Southern flavor profile with hot sauce, mayonnaise, and a little citrus barbecue sauce for acidity. If burgers were big cats, these would be tigers because they’re bulky and ferocious. Just try them. And then maybe go to the gym after and pick up US Weekly or Newsweek instead of a food magazine. Woof.

Chicken-Fried Turkey Burgers
Ingredients (makes 4 burgers for four people, or 4 burgers for one person. Pro tip: these refrigerate really well)
4 long soft sub rolls
3 cups of corn oil
1 lb of turkey, divided into 4 1/4 lb pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/8 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 eggs
A dash of hot sauce
Mayo, hot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and barbecue sauce as toppings

1. Cut your sub rolls in half and start heating the corn oil in a pot, on medium-high heat until bubbling gently. Toss in the garlic clove for flavor. On a plate, mix flour, bread crumbs, cornmeal, salt, and pepper. On another plate, beat egg and add hot sauce.

2. Form turkey into patties and dip in breading and egg. At this point, adding some beer to the batter would be killer. Once the oil is bubbling, gently place the patties in, making sure none are touching and that they are all partially submerged in the oil. Pray. Let them cook on one side for about five minutes. When they are evenly golden brown and crispy, flip to the other side and let them cook another three minutes.

3. When they’re fully cooked, place them on a plate lined with paper towels or a brown grocery bag and let them drain. Place them on your sliced rolls, load with toppings, and inhale. These keep wonderfully (mine stayed crispy after I took a bite and immediately refrigerated it because it was too good to keep eating at 12:17 at night) The verdict? Best 3AM early breakfast I’ve ever had.

My world is straight up, downright gestalt right now. Come on over.

Brown Butter Cornmeal Cookies with Basil-Lime Glaze

We’re all friends, right? Good. Because I need some intimate advice from you. I know I’m a review site. I know that you come to me, like slightly tubby older men seeking discipline from a ravishing dominatrix or college students flocking to Jackass 3, for a little snark and a laugh at the expense of cookies or soda. Does my posting recipes make you want to punch me in the face? Do you die a little when I wax about my many forms of enchiladas or inwardly cry when you see another angled, bokeh-infused photo of a cake? Discuss, please.
Well, even if you do hate it, I sure don’t. And these cookies should win you over for sure. They’re crumbly, they’re soft, they’re chewy and salty and crispy from the cornmeal like the more sophisticated older sister of Momofuku’s corn cookie. If I loved you enough, I would send each and every one of you a batch of these. But even if I don’t, you can still make them at home! This is one of the first baking recipes I’ve just winged and made from scratch and I’m really pleased with the results.
Brown Butter Cornmeal Cookies with Basil Lime Glaze
Ingredients (makes about 24 cookies)
1 cup of unsalted butter
1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1 cup of flour
2 cups of coarse yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of whole milk plus two tablespoons
3 tablespoons of lime zest
2 tablespoons of lime juice
3 tablespoons of minced basil
1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large saucepan, melt and cook the butter on medium-high until the milk solids have cooked and browned at the bottom. When the butter is fragrant and an amber brown color, take it off the heat. Let it cool for about 30 minutes to a few hours or until it’s at room temperature and soft.
2. Cream with the sugars and add eggs and vanilla. Stir vigorously and add dry ingredients. Chill for 30 minutes or until solid to the touch and bake in oven for 12-15 minutes. When the cookies are puffy and slightly brown on top, they’re ready.
3. Combine glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and garnish with extra basil if desired.
Come on, you couldn’t hate these if you tried.

Nostalgia Week #7: Copycat McNuggets

Rolling out the big ones for our last day of Nostalgia Week. And if you’re lucky, I’ll do it again around Foodette’s birthday with a big, awesome lunchbox giveaway. The response we got to this was crazy! If we do decide to do a VH1 copycat of “We Love Nostalgia Week” was there anything we didn’t get to this time around that you’d like to see us scout out?
The quest for the perfect chicken nuggets has spanned far more than just this week’s set of postings. As nugget aficionados and six-year olds in disguise, we’ve been tinkering with the recipe for well over six months. Our conditions: the nuggets had to be baked, they couldn’t use more than two tablespoons of oil or any xanthan gum or strange ingredients, and they had to be really crispy and nearly identical to McNuggets from McDonald’s. With those rules in mind, we developed a Frankensteinian recipe with amazing results using a few different starches for batter and a guilt-free chicken goo to mimic the shapes of the noble nugget. Make them adult-friendly with an assortment of Robert Rothschild dipping sauces like we did!
Copycat McNuggets
Ingredients (makes 35-45 depending on size)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
1/3 cup of plain, unseasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
3 eggs
Hot sauce to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of corn oil
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, combine salt, pepper, chicken, and corn syrup. Blend until it resembles a thick, pink paste.
2. Place flour in one bowl, egg and hot sauce in another, and bread crumbs, cornmeal, flour, and seasonings in another to create your breading station. I like to mix up my bread crumb mixture first and put it in a bag, replenishing the bowl if I run out so that whatever I don’t use can be repurposed for the next batch and isn’t contaminated by the raw chicken. Scoop tablespoons of the chicken mixture out and coat them in flour, shaping them as you go along. Dip in the egg and coat in the bread crumb mixture and place on plate or cutting board.
3. Spread an even layer of oil on your baking sheet and place the nuggets on top. Cook in oven for 10-12 minutes per side and flip with two forks, working carefully so that the breading does not fall off. Serve with condiments and eat immediately. These also keep exceptionally well for a day or two in the refrigerator.

Tikka Masala Enchiladas with Cilantro Jalapeno Crema

I have a problem? An enchilada problem? No. No, no, no, no- you’re the one with a problem. I won’t hear anything else. The problem- your problem, mind you, is that you don’t have a forkful of these crammed in your mouth right now. That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.
These all started when Miss Love, weary of my enchilada fixation, casually suggested we eat something different for dinner outside of the six versions of faux-Mexican we’ve eaten in the last month. As if. Something with a little less corn tortilla and tomatillo. Something with curry, with grapes, with bread, with anything but chicken and hot sauce. Unfortunately, I’d just finished the last of our previous batch of enchiladas and really wanted more. She, in all her wily form, went straight for the heart and suggested chicken tikka masala, one of my favorite dishes.
What I countered with may have changed our eating patterns forever. “How about chicken tikka enchiladas?” And so it began. It wasn’t like we planned on layering charred pieces of chicken marinated in a revamped Russian dressing on corn tortillas with cheese, tikka masala sauce, and topping them with a cilantro jalapeno crema. It wasn’t like we anticipated nearly inhaling the whole pan all the while discussing how good tomorrow’s lunch would be. It wasn’t like we predicted that during all of this, the kitten would teach herself to adhere to the screen door, grapple her way up to the door frame, and balance atop it yelling until we took her down.
And yet, it all came together beautifully. Two stubborn women were momentarily quiet as they ate their dinner, two cats cried for chicken, and the lemony, spicy, sweet, meaty goodness of these enchiladas proved to me that arguing with your lady can sometimes bring wonderful things. Namely, more enchiladas.
Chicken Tikka Enchiladas with Cilantro Jalapeno Crema
Ingredients (serves 4)
3 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup of sour cream
1/3 cup of spicy ketchup
1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 teaspoons of hot sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
Dash of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1 jar of tikka masala sauce
12 corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese
Cilantro jalapeno crema on top
Cilantro Jalapeno Crema
Ingredients (makes about 1 cup)
1 cup of chopped cilantro
2 jalapenos, deseeded and cored
1/3 cup of sour cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste
1. Set your oven on broil and prepare your sour cream marinade. Salt and pepper your chicken breasts. Mix together sour cream, the garlic, the spices, and spicy ketchup. Taste and adjust as needed and spread over chicken breasts on a foil-lined baking sheet.
2. Depending on how thick the breasts are, they will need to broil for 12-14 minutes on each side or until cooked and crispy. While they are broiling, prepare the crema by placing all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blending until combined and chopped. Grate the cheddar cheese and set it aside.
3. When the chicken is cool and easy to handle, chop it into bite sized chunks. Heat half of the tikka sauce on the stovetop and dip the tortillas in, one at a time, letting them sit for a few seconds until they are soft. Place the chicken in a bowl and pour more sauce into the bottom of the saucepan, enough to cover the bottom.
4. To assemble the enchiladas, place a few tablespoons of chicken in the tortilla and top with cheese. Roll them up and set them in the pan, lined up until the pan is full.
5. Pour the remaining tikka masala sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Heat on low until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with crema and hot sauce to taste.
And we never argued again.

Grilled Queso Blanco and Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos

It’s Thursday. I’m at the tail end of Spring Break. And the only better thing I have to do tonight is watch Kramer vs. Kramer and write part of a term paper. Huzzuh! So, let’s be honest. Regular readers must be kind of annoyed that I’ve been lax on the reviews. New readers are all, “I’m looking for MiO and what is this” but I just can’t afford to give a damn or even half a damn. Not when there’s homemade salsa verde and 84 degree afternoons on the horizon.
So, once again, another faux-Mexican’t recipe from a girl who eats a lot of hot sauce. This time I’m hawking salsa verde that’s almost, kind of like the one your favorite- er, my favorite restaurant has in abundance and refuses to share the recipe for. It’s delicious. And I made tacos and topped them with grilled triangles of queso blanco and the tinny quintessential flavor of Texas Pete. Unofficially and illegally endorsed by Foodette Reviews!
Grilled Queso Blanco and Salsa Verde Chicken Tacos
Ingredients (serves 2, three tacos apiece)
1/2 cup of salsa verde (recipe below)
2 large boneless and skinless chicken breasts
6 slices of queso fresco, cut into triangles
6 corn tortillas
Hot sauce to taste
1. Cut the chicken into small one-inch cubes and marinate in the salsa for thirty to sixty minutes.
2. Heat a medium grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high heat. Place the corn tortillas and cheese wedges on them for two minutes on each side, enough to get char marks on each side.

3. Grill the chicken until cooked and blackened slightly on each side and serve atop the tortillas, garnished with a little fresh salsa and hot sauce.
Salsa Verde
Ingredients (makes 4 cups)
1 avocado
1/2 large yellow onion
1 cup cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1 lb of husked and quartered tomatillos
3 jalapeno peppers
1 squeezed lime’s worth of juice
1. Chop the onion and tomatillos and deseed the pepper.

2. Throw everything in a blender, pulse until smooth. Season to taste.
Try these and then you’ll believe me when I tell you that none of the three iterations of fresh salsa, chicken, and tortillas I’ve made in the last week along have had photo documentation due to gorging. You’ll see. You’ll all see.

Pinot Noir Enchiladas Rojo

I know you’ve enjoyed staring at my pudding review for the last five days. See, I love you, I do these things for you. I know you. I watch you while you sleep, etc. Lately I’ve been on an easy food kick because I’m lazy, yo. But Foodette, you might complain, I’m not lazy and I want to cook something that will impress my bill collector/DH/sullen teenager/collection of cats/infant. While I still don’t know why I’m coming to a fey lesbian student for recipes versus a wholesome and tasteful blog, I am here and I need to eat. Well, well, well, have I got a treat for you, dear conflicted reader.
I made this last week. We ate the whole pan in less than 24 hours and I’m okay with that because I need to get ripped for BlogHer and this is crammed full of protein and real live vegetables that have had the ever-loving life blended out of them. Hot sauce and plenty of wine, too. Gotta look ‘n’ cook fly for the mommy bloggers if you catch my drift.
The next day I made another version with homemade salsa verde. That went pretty fast, too. I’m slowly eliminating the need for us to get Mexican take-out. If I could just figure out how to make perfectly smooth salsa we’d be all set to open up a cantina. So, pinot noir enchiladas rojo. It’s not conventional, but screw that because neither am I. You like it.
Pinot Noir Enchiladas Rojo
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 large yellow onion
1 cup of water
2 chopped jalapenos
2 cans of diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 cup of Pinot Noir
1/4 cup of chopped cooked bacon
1/4 chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
6 tablespoons of hot sauce
1 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of oil
12 yellow corn tortillas
1 cup of shredded pepper jack, cotija, or cheddar cheese (I topped mine with Merlot cheese and subbed cab sauvignon for the wine, so I guess this makes these Meritagenchiladas?)
1. Start by preparing your chicken and onions- boil water in a large pot on the stove with salt and pepper and place the chicken in, skimming the fat on top and lowering to a simmer after three minutes.

2.In a stainless steel pan, chop your onion into thin slices and cook over medium-high heat. As the onions stick and caramelize, they will leave a sticky glaze on the pan. Deglaze with water and repeat until the onions are soft and sweet. Shred the chicken once it has cooled and mix with the onions. You can make this mixture up to a day in advance and chill in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

3. Combine jalapenos, tomatoes, wine, bacon, onion, tomato paste, and spices in a blender and blend until smooth. You will use half of this to cook with the enchiladas and the other half to top them as a cold salsa. Reserve half in the fridge.

4. In a shallow frying pan, heat your oil until bubbling and lightly fry the corn tortillas to make them soft and pliable, for no longer than seven to ten seconds per tortilla. Drain them on paper towels. In a casserole pan, pour half a cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom and dip the tortillas in before filling, saturating them with the sauce and letting them dry for a few minutes after they soak.
5. Fill with chicken mixture and cheese and roll tightly. After all the tortillas are stuffed and rolled, pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes and serve with cold enchilada sauce spooned over the top.

And yeah, I’m kind of into pan photos right now. Next time we might even include photos of the cooking process.

Salted Scotch Pretzel Bread Pudding

While I’m not really a bar person, I have a mighty, abiding appreciation for bar food. I’ve been known to enthusiastically down a handful of sweaty almonds and ignore the beer in front of me. I have no qualms ordering a burger at midnight to go with a gin and tonic nightcap. I’ll eat it all from the dingy leftovers in a bowl of salted peanuts to the etheral french fries served at my local gastropub.
Above all, though, nothing stokes my fire like a soft pretzel. Rare is the bar that makes them and makes them well, so I decided to take matters into my own hands this rainy afternoon and make a dessert that combined my love of old-school bars, with sweet, boozy flavors, minus the increasing tab and obnoxious barflies. Lo and behold, Salted Scotch Pretzel Bread Pudding.
The pretzel bread was supplied by Pretzilla (more on them later) the consequence of issuing a challenge for me to try out their line of pretzel rolls. Challenge accepted, so off they went into the pudding, along with a layer of scotch-infused goat’s milk caramel on the bottom like flan, and a healthy slug of Glenlivet 12.
I considered busting out the Laphroaig for a smokier flavor but decided that that would be better for round two if the recipe worked out. And work out it did…it’s abundant with a lingering peatiness from the scotch, whose rough edges are softened from the sweet caramel sauce and spiced custard. We used a lot of scotch- you may want to use less for a slightly less aggressive flavor. Make it in the winter, make it in the spring. Make it when it snows. Make it for your grandfather’s birthday. Who cares? Just please, please try this out. And remember, the scotch is not optional.
Salted Scotch Pretzel Bread Pudding
Ingredients (makes 4 ramekins)
2 1/2 cups of pretzel bread cubes, cut into 1 inch squares
2 whole eggs plus one egg yolk
1/8th cup of sugar, plus two tablespoons
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 ounces of good, older scotch (we used Glenlivet 12 as a tester, but a stronger or older scotch may work better. Pro tip: leave the Cutty Sark behind)
3 tablespoons of butter
1/8th teaspoon of cinnamon
Caramel sauce
1. Slice and cube your pretzel rolls into one inch squares until you have roughly 2 1/2 cups. They should be big enough to soak up the liquid but small enough to eat in one bite.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat your eggs and sugar together until they are pale yellow and smooth. While they are beating, heat up the milk, butter, vanilla bean paste, and cinnamon up on the stove until simmering.
3. Turn the heat off and add the scotch to the milk mixture, whisking gently to combine. Add a small ladle-full of the milk mixture to the eggs while stirring to temper. Add a little more at a time until fully combined. You do not want to add it all at once or the eggs will scramble.
4. Once the eggs and milk are incorporated, dump in your pretzel bread cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill from 2 hours to overnight.
5. An hour before baking, prepare your ramekins by pouring a spoonful of the caramel sauce into each one, swirling gently to cover the bottom. Sprinkle with a little pretzel salt (I used the packet that came with the rolls. Kosher salt will do fine.) and set aside.
6. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spoon your chilled bread mixture into the ramekins until they are filled to the lip, roughly an inch from the top. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until the ramekins can be gently shaken and not jiggle inside the container.7. Take out when crisp and firm, and let cool for 15 minutes. Top with additional caramel sauce and pretzel salt and serve with vanilla gelato.
Really, why would you ever want to go to a bar again? A shot of scotch with one of these and you’ll be set for the evening. I’m crazy about this. I’m already planning another version with candied peanuts, bacon, and IPA. Stay tuned!

Saffron, Yuzu, and Pepper Crème Brûlée Shooters

I don’t want this blog to veer too far into the direction of cooking blogs. God knows the world needs another cooking blogger, but I need to tell you that I am smugger than a dog with a raw steak right now. And not because I’ve learned how to use the manual setting on my camera. Yes, triggered by the birthday of my sweet partner in crime, I have successfully wrestled crème brûlée to the ground, tackled it into submission and crowned myself the ultimate victor of the eternal battle of man versus flame.
I love my new toy.
As a result of a few rather irrelevant things, I had an awful evening last night. Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: nothing solves problems like a butane torch. Simply figuring out how the torch worked and experimenting with it worked wonders on my mood. I’m not saying you have to do something bad with it, but just having the ability to turn on a bright blue flame and torch the heck out of a jiggling, creamy dessert brings a little peace of mind in itself.
For Miss Love’s birthday dinner tomorrow, we decided to keep the menu simple: pasta carbonara (topped with lox, thank ya) and salted rose crème brûlée. As I’d never made it before, it was a daunting, yet fun project for me to tackle. Never one to stumble blindly into pyrotechnics, I decided to start practicing (as one girlfriend can never enjoy too many imperfect tester desserts) a few days early and fooled around with the flavors and the recipe. Without further ado, I must confess to you that I have decided that crème brûlée is totally my new thing. I’m utterly obsessed.
With such a versatile and pleasant base, one can almost put anything into crème brûlée. Had I more time and weren’t planning for a special event, I would have been jazzed to try upping the salt in this recipe, decreasing the sugar, and plopping a few pieces of lobster tail into the mix for a savory treat. I experimented with a few flavors and receptacles, settling on the crème you’ll see in a few days, but wanted to showcase these adorable saffron, yuzu, and pepper shooters I tinkered with in the process. The yuzu was a gift from Miss Love that I thought would be a blast to incorporate into the dessert.
Saffron, Yuzu, and Pepper Crème Brûlée Shooters (loosely adapted from here)
Ingredients (makes six shooters)
1 cup of heavy cream
1 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste/extract or 1 vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup of sugar
A few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper (I used the flower pepper from Trader Joe’s…amazing!)
2 tablespoons of honey
A few strands of saffron- enough to color the mix, but not too many
4 pieces of chopped candied yuzu
Superfine sugar for the top

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Mix the cream and the vanilla bean paste/extract together in a small saucepan, simmering over a low heat until warm.
2. While the cream mixture is heating, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until frothy and smooth.
3. Turn off the burner and drizzle a small amount of cream into the egg mixture to temper. Don’t use too much or your mixture will seize up and scramble, but add a little at a time while stirring until it is fully incorporated.
4. Once the mixture is smooth, add your pepper, saffron, honey, and yuzu. Mix thoroughly and pour into shot glasses. The yuzu generally sinks to the bottom. I advise mixing it in and putting a few pieces into the shot glasses or sticking it in after you’ve mixed.
5. Place the shot glasses in a shallow pan filled with water and bake for 25-30 minutes. Make sure the tops don’t get brown. When they don’t quiver when shaken and are slightly porous on top, you’re good to go. Take them out and chill them for 1-2 hours.
6. Take the shooters out of the fridge and lightly sprinkly with superfine sugar. When the time comes to give them their crispy tops, don’t fear the butane. Holding the torch at an angle, lightly torch the sugar, moving from side to side so that you are not focusing the flame in one place. When the granules are gone and the sugar has bubbled and hardened, they’re done.
Would you not want to hoard these at a party? Or just eat one for breakfast? I did- twice.

Blue Corn and Pistachio Chicken Tenders

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a chicken tender wizard. I have literally perfected my recipe for creating amazing, crispy nuggets and tenders to a science. While I could eat plain nuggets and sauces for the rest of my days and die happy, I decided to fool around with some of the ingredients Target sent over as part of our giveaway (details here) and review.
Although we don’t have a television at home, I love turning on the TV at the gym or at my dorm to watch Chopped. It’s my equivalent of Sunday night football or watching a particularly rousing game of Wheel of Fortune. Once I see a contestant fumbling around with a Buddha’s hand or staring blankly at a langoustine, my triggers are set off and I’m screaming at the television- “Are you freaking nuts?! Use the cumin! How effing hard is it to make a hibiscus foam? Jesus!” So I thought it would be fun to see how many components from the Target selection I could use in my nuggets.
Granted, it wasn’t too difficult- let’s be honest, I wasn’t working with whole branzino or gummy bears, but I still had a ton of fun with it. Taking a leaf from the pages of Dude Foods, who also received a similar selection of products and made cheese ball chicken tenders with it, I also went for a funky approach and ground up the blue corn and flax seed tortilla chips along with some pistachio nuts as a crust. I marinated the chicken in a mixture of the salsa as well as some orange zest and harissa for a little zing.
The verdict? Freaking awesome. Served with some of the orange harissa salsa, they made a great and easy meal. Using nuts in chicken feels like an underrated technique that I’ll definitely try again. It’s a healthy and unique twist on traditional football food and gave the tenders a tremendous burst of protein. Thanks again to Archer Farms and Target for providing the goods, and don’t forget to enter our contest so you can make these, too!
Blue Corn and Pistachio Chicken Tenders
Ingredients (makes twelve tenders)
2 large chicken breasts, pounded to roughly 3/4 inches thick
Orange zest
1/2 teaspoon of Moroccan harissa
1/4 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup pistachios
1 cups blue corn chips
Oil or cooking spray
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cut your chicken breasts up into twelve strips, roughly the same size. Toss with salsa, orange zest, orange juice, and harissa and marinate for fifteen minutes.
2. Grind your tortilla chips and pistachios (shelled, of course) in a food processor until finely ground. Pour into a bowl and coat chicken strips in the crumbs.
3. Bake in the oven for ten minutes on 425 degrees, and then turn up the oven and let them crisp at 475 degrees for five more minutes. Let cool briefly and eat with salsa or dip of your choice!
Superbowl Sunday has never been so…fab!