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My Fall Sport: Eating on LaughingLemonPie.com

November 17, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

My Fall Sport: Eating

Well thank God the snow has finally fallen and we can get on with winter. My pants aren’t fitting right, and it’s fall’s fault.

Fall is without question my favorite season of the year, and we’ve had a GORGEOUS and very prolonged one here on the Front Range. While it has been wonderful, me and my waistline are grateful to see it come to a close.My Fall Sport: Eating on LaughingLemonPie.com

I used to think of fall as my “off” season – but now I realize I do have a fall sport. Eating. Once bathing suit season ends and the weather chills out, I fire up the oven and things pour out on a semi-daily basis. Fall also means we have time to eat at the restaurants I’ve been saving up on my mental go-to list. All summer long it builds: “once we get out of the obligation of summer, we’ll eat at X. and Y. and Z. Oh, and A-W too.”

For better or for worse, my fall sport is eating. Summer in Colorado means you’re kinda required to enjoy every.single.minute, accept every invitation that comes your way, go on as many hikes as you possibly can, and in every possible way just live it up. The specter of winter is not so ghastly here, but the culture of outdoors and the obligation to enjoy it is strong. So summer is parties, hikes, travel, absorbing UV rays, camping up a storm, and 40 other activities. Winter (for us) means snowboarding. That leaves fall and spring – we usually use those months to recover from the previous season, do all the house projects neglected while we were out playing hard, and prep for the next season’s harried pace.My Fall Sport: Eating on LaughingLemonPie.comThis fall has been rich! You may recall such adventures as the Overachiever’s Bake Sale, guest-judging the Holy Smokes Cook-Off, and our 2014 Chocolate Cake-Off. Not to mention Pumpkin Bread French Toast making me weak in the knees and expanding in circumference.

Piece, Love & Chocolate by LaughingLemonPie.comIn Boulder this fall I was pleased as punch by our beer, wine, and chocolate pairing and tasting event at Piece, Love & Chocolate and my many many subsequent visits, moms night out at The Kitchen Upstairs, brunch at Pizzeria Locale, and a wonderful warm meal at Zeal.

And Denver, my love – let us not forget you! How lucky I am to live between these two towns ever vying to be best of the best. In Denver this fall I sated myself at Masterpiece Delicatessen where it is severely impossible to choose which sandwich to order, the good news being that it is equally impossible to go wrong. Same could be said of the flavors at Little Man Ice Cream. Then there was The Big Wonderful – the old-made-new-again idea of getting a bunch of fab people to commune around a lot of good food. Or, in this case, around a lot of good food trucks. Check it out when it returns next summer, as it is sure to do.Denver's The Big Wonderful on LaughingLemonPie.comLet’s not even mention fall’s HUGE publishing boon – every cookbook they’ve been waiting to release, every best of 2014 list coming out, and every magazine’s Thanksgiving and Christmas issues on the coffee table.

I won’t go so far as to say I regret the excesses I’ve enjoyed this fall, just that I’m definitely looking forward to the change of pace and focus. It’s fall fatigue – the giddy anticipation of August has given way to the belt-loosening of November. As fall transitions into winter in this, the month of Thanksgiving, I often reflect on what a true luxury and privilege it is to eat the way I do. To eat so often and to eat so well is to be so grateful – emphasis on full ;).

Book Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.com

November 10, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
3 Comments

Book Review: Good Cheap Eats

I’ve been following Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats for a while now and was really excited to see she had a new cookbook coming out: Good Cheap Eats: Everyday Dinners and Fantastic Feasts for $10 or Less. It was FishMama’s chronicles of her 2014 Pantry Challenge that lead me to question oh…only everything I own and commit to depleting my stores in an effort to (re)attain balance.

Since Fisher has been blogging so long, some of her recipes are on her websites but many are exclusive to this book including the I’m-dying-to-try Lemon Pie with Honey-Ginger Cream and Simplest Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup.

So far I’ve made the Poblano Enchiladas – the recipe pictured on the book cover. For the sauce, I used Herdez salsa verde, added some roasted Book Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.comGod-knows-what kind of peppers from our own garden, put in half a bag of spinach, and blended it all with an immersion blender. The result?: Let’s just say it is a good thing we don’t stock straws in our house – I would have sucked it right up/down. SO good.

Later, I made the Broccoli Slaw with Pecans and Cranberries – amazing how different mine looked! Book Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.comThere is no photo in the cookbook and the broccoli instructions just say “finely chopped” – so much is up to interpretation, huh? I didn’t grow up in the Broccoli Salad tradition (wish I had! Where is that region?) but have taken a guilty liking to it. I’m going to give up the guilty part since everyone at the potluck I took this to raved about it. And – if it’s good enough for Smitten Kitchen and The Kitchn, then it’s good enough for me. I was very liberal with the fresh ground black pepper, used fresh-squeezed orange juice instead of the lime juice she recommends, and threw in a handful of sunflower seeds as well.

Book Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.comThe Spiced Carrot Quick Bread was EPIC – just like Grandma used to make! It has that really nice old-fashioned spice bread flavor and excellent texture. Since I cannot seem to leave well-enough alone I used butternut squash instead of carrots, and reduced the sugar to just shy of 2 cups. I used fresh-squeezed OJ in the glaze rather than milk, plus a pinch of cinnamon. Note that the recipe on the website is for a quadruple batch – 4 loaves! The recipe in the book makes just 2 loaves. Either way you want to do the math, this bread = yum. Well worth your while (and well worth the calories).

Cheesy Jalapeno CornbreadBook Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.com Holy Moley! This is my new favorite cornbread recipe (and that is saying a lot – cornbread is one of my more major obsessions). With a garden full of peppers I just used what we had on hand, so ours was pasilla & habanero cornbread. Crazy yum. Even better the next day for breakfast (warm and slathered with honey, of course).

Book Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.comOaty Maple Cake This was a little on the ‘meh’ side, I added some cinnamon and would consider adding a bump of ginger next time too to add some flavor. A very nice texture to the cake though. Definitely a recipe to try again. I might add currants or dried blueberries next time, just like I like in my oatmeal.

Yogurt Cornmeal PancakesBook Review: Good Cheap Eats on LaughingLemonPie.com Given my cornbread obsession I am always game for a cornmeal pancake. If you keep plain yogurt stocked this is a great weekend recipe to try. My husband liked them the most of us all – maybe because his sweet tooth is so underdeveloped and these are not aggressively sweet. Such a treat to sit around the table together enjoying something yummy!

For the truly cheap among us, your local public library will have multiple copies of this book. Or it is of course available from your favorite bookseller.

So – what new favorite best cookbook have you discovered and been cooking out of lately? Share share!

 

Overachiever's Bakesale on LaughingLemonPie.com

November 3, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
2 Comments

Overachiever’s Bake Sale

Overachiever's Bakesale on LaughingLemonPie.com

My darling-est taste tester.

Ah bake sale, 2 powerful words. Bake sale + overachiever + Pinterest + a great new book full of crafty treat ideas…clear the counters and get a babysitter – it’s ON!

Let it be known that overachiever does not equal perfect! And we all know by now that simply getting an idea from Pinterest certainly does in itself result in perfection either. Of the 6 treats I attempted, only 4 actually made it to the bakesale. That’s 2 fails. But! 1 last-minute bonus item got wrapped and sent instead. Here are the goods:

Caramel Apple Cupcakes These were very very tasty, but also very very sweet – and then with the caramel? Lookout! I was scant on the sugar but still I’d go down to 1/3 cup of granulated and brown if I were to make them again. This recipe doesn’t really rise or dome, so you’ll want to be careful about how full you fill the paper liners or muffin tins.

MS Brownie Bites cloaked to look like mummies (they look like mummies, right? RIGHT??). These were so forgiving, a good warm up truffle. Since you’re drizzling them later, you don’t need to be very careful about the initial roll in candy coating.Overachiever's Bakesale on LaughingLemonPie.com Now, don’t tell anyone, but you could totally use a box brownie mix here. Who would know? Especially if you’re making a whole lot of treats, it might be an easy out. With a box mix I’d add mini chocolate chips, just to up their usually less-than-stellar “chocolate” flavor.

From the far too clever new book Custom Confections: Delicious Desserts You Can Create and Enjoy I made the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles and Mini Apple Pies-on-a-Stick. This book is chock-a-block full of creative and tasty challenges like checkerboard cake(!); cupcakes you cut in half to reveal a heart inside (made by baking a heart of a different colored cake inside the cupcake batter); cake batter truffles; edible flower lollipops; and fondant how-tos as well.

I added a sprinkle of sea salt to the cookie dough truffles – their sweetness really benefited from that counterbalance, plus it is just so du jour (and for good reason). I put some of these truffles on a stick – that was crazy yummy. A bake sale table generally has a mostly horizontal display, so the things-on-sticks stick up and stand out.

The mini pies-on-a-stick are something I have wanted to make for years. It was a great experience – they came out super tasty and cute. They weren’t too much extra effort really, and a great way to use those mini-cookie cutters that never seem to see the light of day. I wasn’t sure I had a 2″ biscuit cutter, so as you can see in the photo below I used the lid from a canning jar. I used store-bought pie crust (hello convenience!) but made my own filling (have you seen how much those canned pie fillings cost?!). We have an over-abundance of apples around here (thank you apple tree!), so making my own was no biggie – I made a big batch and froze some for future pie-making.

In the FAIL category: Pumpkin Bread Truffles and Mini Caramel Apples. These were such. great. ideas. Sigh & alas.

The Pumpkin Bread Truffles really would have worked. And they would have been way too cute – I bought food-safe decorating pens and was going to draw little jack-o-lantern faces on them! Aaaahhh! However – plan ahead if you’re doing this around Halloween time. You do need orange candy melts. And they will be all sold out.Overachiever's Bakesale on LaughingLemonPie.com

I mistakenly thought I could add food coloring to white candy melts – Yeeeah no. So I tried a hail mary white chocolate ganache type thing…womp womp. It kind of worked. It actually worked pretty well, and tasted great – but it was really difficult/impossible to get on the pumpkin bread balls in a uniform, smooth fashion. So I quit after a few. In the foreground at right is my best one, but you can see in the background what the majority looked like. Lucky for me, my daughter thinks the pumpkin bread + frosting balls are dee-lish and now I have a whole bag full of them in the freezer for her breakfasts.

Overachiever's Bakesale on LaughingLemonPie.com

The mini-caramel apples were going to be epic I tell you, EPIC. I can’t be the only one who thinks that a whole caramel apple is just too much. But a lovely morsel bit of caramel apple? Yes, please! And I was going to do 3-4 of them on a skewer ala kabob. I was pretty excited about this. But as you can see from the link…there are no real directions, just photos. I figured it must be pretty easy. Maybe it is – but I mistakenly used the leftover caramel from frosting the caramel apple cupcakes. That recipe adds a touch of cream to the melted caramel so that it will dip and swirl nicely on the cupcakes. Unfortunately the moisture of the peeled apple spheres plus the additional cream was just too much for the poor caramel to overcome – it all just got runny and wouldn’t adhere to the apple balls. :( Of course it was my bright idea to dump them all in at once…not the best call. Maybe it could have worked if I had dipped them one by one.

The good news was that I went into it knowing it was experimental, and all the supplies were “free” – apples from our tree and leftover caramel from the cupcakes. So it wasn’t a major loss, just a disappointment – I SO wanted that to work. For future reference I’d note that you need pretty big apples in order to get a nice ball and avoid digging into the core.

In the BONUS! category: It’s always good to have pretzel rods on hand when you have a bunch of leftover melted chocolate…instant bakesale treat!Overachiever's Bakesale on LaughingLemonPie.com

Just so you don’t think I’m crazy (oh wait…too late for that?) – I’ll note that any/all of the “truffle” items can be made well in advance and frozen. I wasn’t doing this all in one day, or even in 2-3 days. I made the pumpkin bread, chocolate chip cookie dough, and brownies over the course of the past few weeks, balled them up, and froze them to decorate later.

FYI — I was provided with a free review copy of Custom Confections. However, that in no way has colored my opinions.

So – What’s your greatest/worst Pinterest fail? Greatest bakesale success? Go-to bakesale item? Please share!

Pumpkin Bread French Toast on LaughingLemonPie.com

October 27, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

Pumpkin Bread French Toast

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an almost total lack of long-term memory.Pumpkin Bread French Toast on LaughingLemonPie.com

Get it? Bwahaha. :D

The great thing about having no long-term memory is that you can surprise yourself with things you technically already know: “Who made this gumbo in the freezer? I guess it was me. Score!”…and…hmmm…I can’t really recall any other examples right now…badum bum!*

So last week, while contemplating a slice of pumpkin bread, I wanted it warmed but not microwaved (yes, I am that particular). So I put it in the toaster. That alone was pretty genius, I thought. But better still, chomping on it helped me remember the time I had banana bread french toast at WaterCourse Foods in Denver. Let’s say that again, together: banana bread french toast. Unbelievable, right?! Who on earth could forget something like that!? Oh…me.

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34 ° Pan "Fried" Chicken from LaughingLemonPie.com

October 23, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
2 Comments

34° Rosemary Crisp Pan-”Fried” Chicken

34° Rosemary Crisp Pan-"Fried" Chicken from LaughingLemonPie.comDid you ever drop a box of 34° Crisps? Mega mega bummer, right? Yes, but! It could also be the start of something very very tasty…34° Crisp Pan-”Fried” Chicken!

If you haven’t (yet) dropped a box of crisps then you are either a) lucky, b) graceful, or c) haven’t been eating enough boxes of crisps!

Coordinated people can enlist the help of any child running around, or use this recipe as an opportunity to make some noise and get some aggression out – put a bunch of crisps in a plastic baggie and pound away! Alternately, you can whiz them briefly in a food processor until they are as coarse or fine as you like your fried chicken exterior to be. The end-goal here is like a wonderfully refined version of cornflake fried chicken.

I enjoy 34° Rosemary Crisps in this recipe, but Cracked Pepper or the new Limited Edition Toasted Onion would also be fantastic.

To make 34° Rosemary Crisp-crusted pan-”fried” chicken – “fry” chicken in non-stick pan, with little to no oil. Use chicken strips, tenders, skinless breasts, or skinless boneless thighs – your call! I’d go with whatever you already have in the fridge/freezer, or what’s on sale this week. Rest your freshly pan-”fried” chicken pieces atop a salad of spinach, Colorado peach slices, spiced walnuts, garden-grown tomatoes, feta, and drizzle the works with honey mustard dressing. You’ll be so glad you did!

34° Rosemary Crisp Pan-”Fried” Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast cut into tender-sized strips/pieces
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup 34° Rosemary Crisp crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Bash 34° Crisps in a plastic baggie, or using a food processor until they break down to the size of large crumbs.
  2. Cut chicken into tender-sized pieces (we used just 1 chicken breast - even though it was organic/natural it still amounted to 5 tenders - enough for 2 people).
  3. Place chicken strips in a bowl with 1/3 cup buttermilk, a good grinding of fresh black pepper, and a squirt of dijon mustard.
  4. Soak for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours).
  5. Remove chicken strips from buttermilk and dredge them in the 34° Rosemary Crisp crumbs to which 1/2 tsp salt has been added.
  6. Place in a preheated non-stick pan (with a bit of oil if you choose).
  7. Pan-"fry" the pieces over med/med-high for about 5 minutes, until brown on bottom.
  8. Turn/flip and cook another 5 minutes over medium until cooked through and golden brown on all sides.
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Looking for more fried chicken inspiration? If this whets your appetite and you want to go for the real thing, I HIGHLY recommend Fried & True: More Than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides. A great look at one of my favorite topics – available via Powell’s or of course at your local public library.

FYI: 34° provided LaughingLemonPie with crackers to sample, but we were not compensated otherwise for this post, and all opinions are (as always) our own.

DIY Cream Cheese from LaughingLemonPie.com

October 20, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
1 Comment

DIY Cream Cheese – It Couldn’t be Easier!

DIY Cream Cheese from LaughingLemonPie.comSo I made my own cream cheese. And let me be the first to say: I understand it is totally uncalled for to be making your own cream cheese. I a) do not neeeeeed cream cheese, and b) even if I did, it is so readily available why make your own?

Because it can be done. And easily. What can I say?: when I found out, I was intrigued.  I’d never thought of it before, didn’t know it could be done! Yes, I made my own yogurt and even my own cheese once, but somehow cream cheese never occurred to me – how do “they” make cream cheese? What is cream cheese anyway? Certainly not something an average person could concoct, right? I think it was the obviously man-made brick shape of a certain famous brand that was a household staple in my childhood fridge that imparted a factory-feel to the product and removed it from my ‘you-can-make-that’ radar.

So, when I ran across a mini-recipe for cream cheese in Radically Simple that listed just one ingredient(!), well I nearly immediately had to try for myself.

Turns out, making cream cheese is super fab & easy. And not air-quotes easy like making your own yogurt, or grilling pizza (As Jim Shahin of the Washington Post says of grilling pizza” It’s like learning a new computer program. Those who know how to do it always say it’s easy. But it’s only easy if you know how to do it.”) – making your own cream cheese is straight-up really and truly simple. 1 step, 1 ingredient. You don’t even need a recipe really.

Are you ready?….the ingredient is SOUR CREAM! You basically let sour cream drain a bit overnight. As much or as little sour cream as you like. Here I put about 8oz in a coffee filter rubber banded around the mouth of a big Ball jar. The Ball jar was good because I could then screw on the cap – but I suppose you could cover the exposed sour cream with plastic wrap if using a vessel without a lid. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight, plunk it out of the coffee filter, stir in some salt, and voila!: Cream Cheese, ready to spread and enjoy.

It came out soft and fluffy – like the whipped cream cheeses you can buy in a tub. Very nice and spreadable. Surprisingly little liquid had drained out to transform it from sour cream to cream cheese. Mine didn’t have quite the tang I expected, but after adding a good dash of salt it got there…yum! Results should vary from time to time, and between different sour creams and their different fat-levels, liquidity, consistency, flavors, etc. As with any DIY, you know exactly what is in yours and you can add in whatever flavors and etc that you like, and to your taste.

Now, no one neeeeeds cream cheese, obviously, but I think we can all agree that it can be kind of nice to have sometimes. Lately I’ve got all these jars of apple butter staring me down. DIY Cream Cheese from LaughingLemonPie.comAnd…I’m one of those wacky people who likes the combination of jam & cheese. But committing to a tub or brick of cream cheese? I have a hard time buying the stuff. So this method is ideal for singles, people who are the only cream cheese eater in their household, and the brick-o-phobic.

It’s not an exact match, but if you are an only-occasional cream cheese eater – well this might be a good trick to keep in mind. You can make as much or as little as you like or need, you’ll not feel obligated to eat a whole tub or brick, and you know exactly what’s in your DIY cream cheese.

Are you brick-o-phobic? What’s your favorite cream cheese pairing? Jam & cream cheese – gross or great? Share your thoughts below!

Holy Smokes Cook Off on LaughingLemonPie.com

October 13, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
2 Comments

Front Range Flavor: Holy Smokes Cook-Off!

How excited was I to be invited to guest-judge a fantastic local food event this past weekend? Enormously.Holy Smokes Cook Off on LaughingLemonPie.com

Tasting 12 different home-cooked dishes? For a good cause? Yes, please – anytime! I’ve never felt so fortunate to be a) opinionated, b) decisive, and c) have no food allergies, dietary restrictions, or food prejudices!

The Holy Smokes Cook-Off on LaughingLemonPie.comHoly Smokes Cook-Off is organized by Catherine Ballance and Executive Director Susan Lythgoe in addition to multiple volunteers, campus chapters, churches, and teams as a benefit for Flatirons Habitat for Humanity and families across the Front Range in need of affordable quality housing.

The Broomfield Enterprise was on hand to chronicle the event, taking lots of photos including an epic one of yours truly trying to wrap my head around the task at hand.

Holy Smokes Cook Off on LaughingLemonPie.com

Best presentation goes to Lutheran Church of Hope’s team.

As we learned at the 1st Annual Laughing Lemon Pie Chocolate Cake-off, perspective is everything – what tastes “good” or you think you “like” can change a lot when put head to head against something else or against several others of its kind. When you make one cake, pie, or dish it’s pretty great and you’re usually pretty pleased with the result. But stacking them against anything else? Well…then you have a cook-off!

Holy Smokes featured 12 teams vying for 3 honors – the award for Top Chef/Team based on best tasting dish, the Healthy & Delicious category, and People’s Choice based on dollar votes and most dollars collected. There was a range of items for the crowd (and myself) to taste – a couple different mac & cheese interpretations, a healthy sloppy-joe, pumpkin bread and pie, a Holy Roller (scrambled eggs stuffed into a sausage football and then woven with bacon slices – what?!), a muy muy interesante Cuban Beef Picadillo, vegan Sofritas Taco Bites, Holy Holy Smokes Cook Off on LaughingLemonPie.comMole Chili, a Mexican chicken soup, and a Chile Verde and a Green Chili neck and neck for the top spot.

Holy Smokes Cook Off on LaughingLemonPie.com

The two top tasting dishes! Atonement Lutheran’s Chile Verde on the left, and United Church of Broomfield’s Green Chili on the right (recipe below).

Coloradans can appreciate that on the face of it Chile Verde might seem synonymous with Green Chili, but oh the luscious differences. It took many many bites to parse out which tasted best – in the end it was “The Incredible Hulk” Green Chile made by Pasha Ripley for United Church of Broomfield that won the Top Chef/Team honor. We are lucky enough to reprint the recipe here, it has a lengthy list of ingredients – but that really showed in the depth of flavor. “The Incredible Hulk” was a standout combination of sweet and heat – the flavor held up over time, complex enough to be interesting all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. It is something you could eat a lot of, and be very glad you did.

Pasha Ripley for UCB's "The Incredible Hulk" Green Chili

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 jalapenos, seeded and finely minced (remove seeds for milder flavor)
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely minced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped (use the other half as a garnishing option)
  • Rendered fat/drippings from 8 oz bacon (use the bacon for some other purpose - BLTs anyone?)
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2-4 T olive oil (divided)
  • 2.5 lb pork loin, slivered and diced (partially freezing the loin makes it much easier to handle, sliver, and dice)
  • 1 lb roasted Hatch green chiles - freshly roasted, frozen, or (in a pinch) canned
  • 10oz can green enchilada sauce
  • 16oz jar tomatillo-based salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or equivalent of water or soup base)
  • 1.5-2 cups water
  • 1 T chicken Better than Bullion soup base
  • 1/4 cup New Mexican green chili powder
  • 2 T ground cumin
  • 1 T ground white pepper
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • salt to taste
  • green (jalapeno) Tabasco sauce to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop the veg, garlic, onions, and cilantro - set aside.
  2. Fry off the bacon, leaving fat and drippings in pan.
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, mix flour into the bacon fat until it's blended and starts to bubble.
  4. Take off heat, scrape into a bowl, and set aside in refrigerator.
  5. In a large stock pot heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, then add and sweat the veg, garlic, onion, and cilantro.
  6. Meanwhile, back in the skillet, over high heat, drizzle the remaining olive oil.
  7. Sear pork briefly in skillet - this step will probably have to be done in batches to ensure that pork pieces make contact with the skillet.
  8. Add seared pork to the veg in stock pot.
  9. Raise heat under stock pot to medium-high, stir in flour/bacon fat mix.
  10. Then add wet ingredients (chiles, enchilada sauce, salsa, wine, water, soup base).
  11. Add remaining ingredients (dry spices, agave).
  12. Let simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes.
  13. Taste and season with salt and green Tabasco sauce.
  14. Simmer another 30 minutes or so - if you think it is too thin, simmer uncovered to reduce. If you feel it's too thick add a bit of water and cover for remaining 30 minutes.
  15. Garnish with leftover cilantro, monterey jack cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, tortilla chips, and/or whatever else you'd like. Eat it in bowls, or use it to smother burritos - YUM.
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Holy Smokes Cook Off on LaughingLemonPie.com

Nachitos Rojos with 34 Degree Crisps from LaughingLemonPie.com

October 10, 2014
by Emily Klopstein
0 comments

34° Nachitos Rojos

Leftovers got you down? Not once you discover 34° Crisps! (Is that just the cheesiest thing you’ve ever read!? HA, I know – But it’s true). Nachitos on LaughingLemonPie.com

We could talk all day about how well 34° Crisps pair with all kinds of cheeses – but for me their real magic is in lunchtime leftover transformation. Leftovers have never had it so good. 34° Crisps transform an ugh-leftovers-again? lunch into a whole new experience.

Nachitos Rojas are a lovely little take on nachos using 34° Whole Grain Savory Crisps and leftover red chile beef with the addition of avocado slices, sour cream dollop, and honey chipotle drizzle. Using the Whole Grain Crisps saved me 135 calories and 8 grams of fat – gracias 34°!  Fat/cal savings are for 9 34° Crisps vs using 9 regular tortilla chips. All the crunch of nachos, but way less cal. As they say: Mucho Sabor!

I made a big batch of this Cooks Illustrated Recipe for Carne Deshebrada but used guajillo peppers rather than the anchos they recommend. I made it on a Sunday in the oven, but for weekday dinner I would totally modify this recipe for the slow cooker.

Honey Chipotle Sauce from LaughingLemonPie.comHold up a minute – Honey Chipotle Drizzle? Yes, you read that right. And it is basically the greatest thing ever. It’s such a staple in our household it gets its own squeeze bottle. And the “recipe” couldn’t be simpler – Empty one 5.8 oz bottle of Bufalo Chipotle Hot Sauce into a 10 ounce squeeze bottle (I got a bunch at a restaurant supply store once, but you can (of course) find them online). Fill the rest of the way with honey and shake vigorously. In other words, Honey Chipotle Sauce is about a 60/40 ratio of store-bought chipotle sauce to honey.

FYI: 34° provided LaughingLemonPie with crackers to sample, but we were not compensated otherwise for this post, and all opinions are (as always) our own.

What’s your best leftover coup? Or 34° creation? Share below!

fry bread taco Tocabe

October 6, 2014
by Lacy
1 Comment

Restaurant Report: Tocabe

My first semester at The College of Santa Fe (now the Santa Fe University of Art and Design), the school offered day trips you could sign up for that cost nothing or just a few bucks, and as a lonely freshman with few friends and no car, I was one of the first to put my name on the list.

(What can I say? Once a dweeb, always a dweeb…)

The first trip saw us all loaded into a big white van and driving to the famous Santa Fe Plaza for Indian Market. It’s an annual festival in town that showcases some of the finest native American art and craftsmanship you’ll ever see all in one place.  After wandering around looking at the artist stalls, I was hungry, and got in line at one of the few food stalls for a “Navajo taco.”

And my life has never been the same.

If you’ve never had fry bread, it’s pretty much a life changing experience.  The closest thing I can compare it to is sopapillas, but bigger, rounder, and usually topped or filled with a variety of yummy taco fillings. Ah-mazing.

Only problem is that I’ve never seen real fry bread outside those road-side or festival stands in New Mexico.

UNTIL NOW!

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Tips for Eating Locally - even in the Winter! from LaughingLemonPie.com via SALT Bistro, Boulder

September 29, 2014
by Lacy
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Tips for Eating Locally — Even in the Winter!

Tips for Eating Locally - even in the Winter! from LaughingLemonPie.com via SALT Bistro, BoulderYou’ve been to SALT the Bistro, right? In Boulder? Super yummy? Where Tom’s Tavern used to be, at the west end of the Pearl Street Mall?

SALT has long been a remarkable place for its very Boulder farm-to-table focus, but now Chef Bradford Heap is pushing further forward – pioneering a GMO-free restaurant. The Daily Camera gives a peek into how challenging that can be. At a recent event, Chef Heap shared some tips for eating locally even in the winter – I’ve gone ahead and added some of my own as well.

Tips for Eating Locally – Even in the Winter

  1. Squash, apples, pears, kale and chard are just a few things that will be ready to harvest during the fall. Buy in bulk and store in a cool, dark place for future use.  You can even DIY your own root cellar (which can be as easy as a box in your garage).
  2. Raspberries and strawberries are still flourishing this time of year. Fresh berries are perfect for preserving into jams and jellies, or you can freeze them for fresh-fruit taste all winter long.
  3. Think outside of the can. In addition to canning your freshly harvested finds, consider pickling and curing. Pickled watermelon rind and cured meats make a nice addition a charcuterie board.  Pickles aren’t as hard or as scary as you think — give it a try!
  4. You can also freeze lots of fresh produce. Just Google “How to freeze…” and the produce you’ve got for your best chance at success.
  5. Eating locally is more than just vegetables and fruit. Keep it local by looking for locally-made products available year round at your local market: local meats, cheese, dairy, etc.

Pork Flatbread from Salt Bistro on LaughingLemonPie.comChef Heap also shared his recipe for Fall Flatbread features pulled pork, apples, arugula and gorgonzola (which sounds AMAZING, right???).

Fall Flatbread photo courtesy of SALT the Bistro.
Apples & tree photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via Compfight cc