Food Friends

Greetings, All!  I am away in Idaho this week with my friends from Idaho Potato!  In lieu of posting a new recipe, I wanted to share some awesome recipes from my super talented friends.

I do hope you will check out their recipes, as I happen to think they are pretty great!  Besides being amazing in the kitchen, they are good humans and I am lucky to know them.  I can’t wait to tell you all about Idaho and the fun things happening there right now!  I’m updating and sharing pics on social media every day, so if you want to see what we’re up to, check out my Facebook page,  Instagram account or Twitter feed for the latest shenanigans.

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler - Pook's Pantry
I love tea.  Warm temperatures call for pitchers of iced tea or sun tea sitting on the porch letting Mother Nature do the work for you.  Cooler weather brings spicy teas infused with cinnamon and cardamom or my favorite English Breakfast.  Recently, I wrote a post for a new grocery store in town and I discovered they have a bulk tea section.  I zeroed in on this particular tea, full of dried citrus and hibiscus.  I brought it home and opened the bag.  The smell of that tea was absolutely intoxicating.  I knew it would be lovely as is, but that’s not really my style.  So I started poking around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had stashed away.

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Fig Puff Pastry Tarts

Fig Puff Pastry Tarts - Pook's Pantry

Labor Day weekend is behind us, and for me that marks the “unofficial” official end of summer. I’m not quite ready to “pumpkin spice all the things”, and I’m grasping onto the last ripe tomatoes, corn and veggies that summer has to offer, but fall is right around the corner.  This summer has brought sweltering temps with it and I for one, am ready for it to cool down just a bit.  

This recipe came to fruition based on 2 things:  I had puff pastry in the freezer and I had figs that were on the verge of being too soft.   Wasting food is a Cardinal Sin in my book, and I needed desserts for a client so it was a no-brainer.   I looked through the fridge to see what I had on hand to make this come together; it wasn’t much.  Luckily, I had cream cheese and I figured if I sweetened it up just a touch, the finished product would be almost Danish-like.

You want dessert, but you don’t want to spend hours making it…   However, if said dessert gave the appearance you had spent all day making it that would be a bonus.  Amiright?!

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Blueberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

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Blueberry Buttermilk Cake

I love my “swirly” bundt pan, but it’s a tad smaller than the average bundt and I always have leftover batter.  This may not seem like an issue, but sometimes I don’t want to make extra cupcakes or little cakes.  I just want One Big Bundt!  So, after dropping a few subtle hints and finally telling my Mom that I was planning a heist and the prize was her Classic Bundt pan… Voila!  She told me that one was on it’s way to me!  Thanks, Mom!  (sometimes, a girl needs to resort to extreme measures) Continue reading

Potato Dill Biscuits

Potato Dill Biscuits

Remember a few months ago when I went to a food conference and was assigned as brand ambassador for Idaho Potatoes?  They asked me to come up with a recipe using dehydrated potatoes and after bouncing around a few ideas, we settled on this biscuit.   Biscuits

When I was in the “testing phase” of this recipe, The Girl asked me why would I use dehydrated potato instead of leftover homemade mashed potato.  She had a good question and I figured if she was wondering that, someone else would be too.  Here’s the answer:
Other than Thanksgiving (when all of us make extra on purpose), when do you have extra mashed potato hanging around?  Not very often, I’m guessing.  Also, I don’t want to wait for the occasion to have them just to make these biscuits and furthermore, I don’t want to make them just to wait for them to get cold so I can make biscuits out of them.   All that being said, the biggest reason for using the dehydrated potato instead of leftover mashed:  THEY WORK BETTER!  I kid you not,  the biscuits are amazing.
If you’ve had potato bread or rolls, you know that sweet smell and soft, fluffy texture that can only be found by using potato. It works in breads, so it stands to reason that it would be great in a biscuit as well. And it is.

I wanted to flavor these biscuits with some kind of herb and dill was my first choice.  If you aren’t a fan of dill, swap it out for rosemary, thyme or whatever herbs you prefer.Potato Dill Drop Biscuits PP
The texture of the potato biscuit is fluffy and tender. The crust is beautifully golden and when you break them open, they smell of sweet, buttery mashed potato. You can’t beat that.

Potatoes do not have gluten (the protein that gives bread its chewy texture), so these biscuits remain tender and moist.  They are a smidge denser than regular biscuits, but are by no means heavy.  They are my new “go-to” biscuit.  They are easy as can be, because it is a simple drop biscuit, which means no rolling out and cutting dough.  I’ve made a rather big batch and froze about half of them to use in another recipe that will be coming soon!  I’ll give you a hint: breakfast.
I’m already planning ahead for the holiday season and these potato dill biscuits will be on our table this year. I can already imagine stuffing them with turkey for a little afternoon snack…
Potato Dill Biscuits PP
Thank you again, to Idaho Potato® for sponsoring this post! They are wonderful to work with and it allows me to share tasty recipes with you!

Potato Dill Biscuits
Yields 8
A simple and delicious drop biscuit.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1- 3.4 oz. package Honest Earth® buttery home-style dehydrated potatoes
  2. 7 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 ½ cups)
  3. 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder
  4. 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  5. ½ teaspoon white pepper
  6. 2 large eggs + 1 yolk
  7. ½ cup light cream + 2 tablespoons for brushing on top
  8. 1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
  9. 1 tablespoon dill
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl: combine cream, eggs and yolk. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment: Combine flour and diced butter and let mixer run until mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add dehydrated potatoes, baking powder, dill, salt and pepper.
  4. Mix for a few seconds until it is combined.
  5. Pour cream mixture into bowl of mixer and mix until just combined, do not overmix.
  6. Remove bowl from mixer and with a rubber spatula, fold dough from bottom of bowl to the top to make sure all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
  7. Using a 3-ounce scoop, portion 8 biscuits onto the sheet pan. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired.
  8. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, cool on pan for 10 minutes before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Here are a few affiliate links to items used (and loved!) in this recipe.   Your price doesn’t change, but I get a few pennies if you purchase through the links below.

Sheet Pans
Parchment Paper
Kitchen Scale

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Potato Dill Biscuits - Pook's Pantry

Can All The Things!

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I met Rebecca Lindamood a few years ago at a food blog conference in Orlando.  One day, we were talking about trading goods with each other (local food for local food).  A few weeks later, much to my delight, a quart of Grape Pie Filling (p.31) shows up on my doorstep.  I had never tasted grape pie filling before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.  I was in for gastronomic bliss of epic proportions. If you pay attention to things I swoon about, you know THIS is at the top of my list.  Think of the juiciest, “grapiest”,  most luscious grape you’ve ever had.  Now multiply that by 10.  That’s Rebecca’s grape pie filling.

When there was talk of this book happening, I was beyond thrilled for my friend.  Her food is amazing and creative.  It is beautiful and yet,  practical.  As a former cook and Mom of 5 boys, she knows a thing or two about feeding people.   I couldn’t wait to get this book and review it because I knew it was going to be one of my “go-to” guides for canning.   I’ve made chutneys and jams, pie fillings and pickles,  chow chow and pickled beans… and then they sit there. Sometimes I get around to actually using them and sometimes, I give it all away because I can only eat so much of it.  Here’s where Rebecca saves the day:  there is a corresponding recipe for all of the things you’ve just canned!!!  I can’t even begin to explain my excitement about that!  

After all, a beautiful jar of something sitting on the shelf doesn’t do anyone any good unless you know how to use it!   -Rebecca Lindamood

If you or someone you know enjoys canning, get this book! There is something for everyone. It would make a great present for any occasion.  Or just because it’s Tuesday. I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s written in a way that makes it accessible for beginners and at the same time, appeals to experienced canners as well.  The recipes are unique and so varied!  Everything from the aforementioned grape pie filling to cardamom extract.   Make the cherries in red wine syrup this weekend (while you can still get this little ruby fruit) and enjoy the fruits (see what I did there ;)) of your labor in the fall or winter when you use those cherries to make Filet Mignon with Red Cherry Wine Sauce!  Make a batch of Ginger Peach Butter now, enjoy Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal later!   The entire book is like this!!!  Can you tell how much I love that?  It’s brilliant!

My dream pantry is lined top to bottom with beautiful jars containing their jewel colored treasures.  This book has me on my way to achieving that dream.  Thank you Rebecca, for reintroducing me to my love of canning.

Here is an affiliate link to Amazon to make getting your book even easier!

Happy Canning!

Cherry Chutney

Cherry Chutney
I’m on a serious cherry kick lately.    I can’t get enough of them…  We have gone through almost 10 pounds in the last month because they always seem to find their way into my cart.  You know, just in case I need more.  I’ve been putting them in everything from cakes to oatmeal and this week, I decided to go a savory route.    If you are unfamiliar with chutney, let me give you a quick description.  It’s like a relish, it has sweet and sour ingredients, usually coming from sugar or fruits and vinegar.  It is a blend of sweet and savory.  It’s a great condiment to use with grilled meats or vegetables and this chutney went splendidly with a grilled flank steak.Cherry Chutney

This chutney was paired with grilled meat, but it can also be a great addition to a cheese board or a charcuterie platter or even as a tasty spread on a hearty sandwich.cherry chutney

Cherry season is nearly over, so don’t wait too long to grab a couple of pounds.   I’ll be making another big batch before the summer is over to put up on the shelves so I can enjoy them long after they disappear from the stores. 

Let’s Cook!

Cherry Chutney
Serves 8
A sweet & sour condiment made from fresh cherries, perfect on grilled meat.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 lb. fresh cherries, pitted and roughly chopped (approximately 3 cups)
  2. 1/2 small red onion, diced
  3. 1/3 cup dried currants
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1 1/2 tsp. grated ginger
  6. 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  7. 1 TB whole grain mustard
  8. 2 TB light brown sugar
  9. 1 tsp kosher salt
  10. 1 TB canola oil
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot, heat oil over medium low heat then add onions and garlic. Cook until softened, but not browned (5 minutes). Add red wine vinegar and cook a few minutes more.
  2. Add in cherries, currants, ginger, brown sugar, mustard and salt.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked down and thickened.
  4. Cool completely then pack in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Notes
  1. I served this with grilled flank steak, but it would be a great addition to a cheese or charcuterie board!
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Cherry Chutney

There’s a New Store in Town

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.

You may have noticed that there is a new store in town.  Safeway has recently opened and I was asked by the company to go check it out!  Safeway is excited to provide the local community an unmatched experience in their new stores including savings programs, grocery delivery and many other new offerings.  Collage 1 

We went in with our list, but we also had the app on my phone, which helped because I was able to see the items I had saved that were on sale.

Upon entering the store, there was a nice young lady at a table with store flyers and materials to sign up for their “Just for U” program.    You can download the Safeway app to your smart phone and start saving.   The offers are based on the app users’ purchase history and organized in a way that works for you, so you can save more on what you actually buy and use.   You don’t need to present a card or clip coupons, once you have the app on your IOS/Android device, the Just for U savings tool provides access to hundreds of offers.  Shoppers have the chance to find over $300 in weekly savings with digital coupons and personalized deals that are available through the just for U savings tool available through the Safeway app and Safeway.com.

We hit the produce section first (and we hit it HARD) because we eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies in this house.  I was quite pleased to see the amount of organics available!produce 

 

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Look at the size of that apple! (We bought two!)  

There were also fresh juices being made when we walked in. They looked fantastic. They were packaged nicely and there were many different options.#2

This morning, I had groceries delivered.  It was rather convenient, considering I was out of eggs and sugar. It’s also pretty easy to sign up and get it done. Click here to create a shopping cart for yourself.   New customers get FREE delivery on their first order and they may also qualify for free or discounted delivery fees on subsequent orders.   The delivery program offers one-hour delivery windows and a  “Shop By History” feature that saves all previously purchased items for easy repeat purchasing.  Their trucks are equipped with both refrigerated and frozen compartments, so frozen items stay frozen and refrigerated items are cool when delivered.  The only downside to this for me was having to allow someone else to choose my produce.  If you are picky about it, like I am, you might consider sticking to other items on your list and visiting the store in person to choose your fruits and vegetables.

tea

My favorite thing about the new Safeway store is the bulk tea section.  They have about a dozen different varieties of loose tea.  I was partial to the Citrus Sunburst tea…  When brewed, it is a beautifully deep shade of pink from the dried hibiscus.  I’m working on a new recipe using this tea, so stay tuned!IMG_0841
I would be remiss if I failed to show you the wine aisle… Hello, Gorgeous!

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There is also a beautiful flower section in the store.  I snapped a shot of this orchid as we were leaving.
 
Now We’re Cookin’ with Gas! 
Safeway has partnered up with Chevron to bring you even more savings!  Earn gas rewards every time you shop at your local Safeway store.  For every dollar spent,  you start earning rewards… you could save up to .20 a gallon on gas.  Enroll today at Safeway.com or download the Safeway app.  Using the rewards could not be easier!   I saved on gas yesterday, paying only $1.95/gal instead of $2.15/gal, thankyouverymuch…  You can either enter your card number, or as I did, phone number because I didn’t have that info with me.  The screen at the pump then asks if you would like to use your rewards & voila!  Easy Peasy.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand. #ad

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Cherry Coconut Rum Slushie

Cherry Rum Slushie
It’s summer, people and I am all about the stone fruit right now… particularly cherries. We’ve gone through 5 pounds in a week and a half. I’ve put them in baked goods, drinks, yogurt, etc.  I must admit, this super simple libation might be my VERY favorite way to enjoy this ruby red fruit.

Summer drinks, particularly slushies,  shouldn’t be overcomplicated.  No one wants to spend an hour prepping ingredients for a drink that is meant to be sipped poolside in the summer sun.  This little libation has 3 ingredients:  blackberry soda, cherries and coconut rum.  I feel compelled to warn you about one teensy thing…  it goes down very easily and for a lightweight like me that means I’m on the train to “Tipsy Town” with only two drinks.   

This cherry rum slushie has quickly become my favorite summer sip for a few reasons.  First and foremost, it is delicious!  The fact that it is only 3 ingredients and it comes together in roughly five minutes flat is a close second.  The best reason – you can make a big batch and serve everyone at once.  

Grab a bottle of coconut rum, some fresh cherries, call your friends and celebrate summer!
Cheers!

Cherry Rum Slushie

Fire up that blender!
Cherry Rum Slushie
Yields 2
A super simple summer drink with only 3 ingredients!
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Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 8.4 oz blackberry soda, frozen in ice cube trays
  2. 1/2 cup coconut rum
  3. 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
Instructions
  1. Combine all 3 ingredients in blender until smooth.
  2. (about 30 seconds)
Notes
  1. I used Izze blackberry soda. They did not sponsor this post, I wasn't compensated in any way... We just like it.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Link- I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.

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Blueberry Crumb Cake

blueberry cake PP
Did you know that July is National Blueberry Month?  Let’s make a cake and celebrate!
Last week, I was flipping through an old book and 2 things fell out onto my lap: this recipe and an old black & white photo from a birthday party.

That’s the story of my life.  I’m usually a fairly organized person,  but little scraps of paper plague my existence.  I find them everywhere.  I mean, literally everywhere.  I scribble down notes or ideas and shove them into a bag or toss them onto the dining room table or kitchen counter.   I’m staring at a handful of them as I type this…crumb cake
I’ve given this recipe a permanent home now, which makes me quite pleased because this cake happens to be one of my very favorite things in all the world.   In my humble opinion, crumb cakes are absolutely one of the recipes that should be in everyone’s back pocket.  A good crumb cake is a crowd pleaser. Have you ever met someone that didn’t like crumb cake?  Me either.  
It almost guarantees you’ll get another invite if you bring it to someone’s house.  Ask my friends, I’ve taken it a few times  😉Blueberry Cake
This cake has a Very Generous crumb topping, which is mandatory in my book.  The cake itself is surprisingly light, but sturdy enough to support a hefty amount of fresh blueberries.   Get them while they are in season, because those plump little blueberries are best in the summer months!

Blueberry Crumb Cake
Serves 9
A fruit-packed cake topped with a buttery, crunchy crumb
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
For the Cake
  1. 1 1/2 cups AP flour + 1 tsp for blueberries
  2. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp vanilla (preferably vanilla bean paste)
  6. 1/2 stick unsalted butter (4TB), softened
  7. 2/3 cup sugar
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/3 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
  10. 2 cups blueberries, washed and patted dry
For the Crumb Topping
  1. 1 cup AP flour
  2. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Make the Crumb Topping
  1. In a medium bowl- mix flour, sugar and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until you have large crumbs. Do not make them too small! Otherwise, the topping will not be crunchy, yummy chunks of buttery goodness on top of your cake... It will melt into the cake.
  2. Chill until you are ready to sprinkle on the cake.
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour a 9x9 baking dish.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined.
  4. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture, beat until just combined. Add 1/2 of the buttermilk, beat until combined. Repeat once more, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture.
  5. In a small bowl, toss blueberries with the teaspoon of flour and gently fold into the batter.
  6. Batter is thick, so being gentle is important! Spoon batter into the baking dish and use an offset spatula if necessary to level the top.
  7. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the entire cake and bake for 45 minutes or until tester comes out clean.
  8. Cool completely before slicing!
Notes
  1. This is a versatile cake, the blueberries can be swapped out for other berries (like blackberries!) or even stone fruits like cherries or peaches.
  2. It also freezes beautifully for those days when you need just a little something.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
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