recipes

Holiday 13 December 2016

Wrap Up the Season With Buttery, Homemade Candy

(Family Features) Homemade candy is a year-round treat, but it’s especially delicious during the holidays. Stir up sweet family traditions in the kitchen this season with a few simple tools and the perfect candy ingredients. Gather a heavy saucepan and wooden spoon, along with plenty of real butter, pure sugar and high-quality chocolate.
These recipes are easy to make, from melt-in-your-mouth caramels to crunchy, nutty toffee. If your candy-making technique could use a refresher course, visit butterisbest.com for a short video demonstration of the Pistachio Toffee recipe, along with helpful hints for using a candy thermometer and testing candy temperatures.

Sweet Tips for Candy Success

  • No substitutions — real butter, not margarine or spreads, gives candy the best flavor and texture.
  • Don’t double up — make only a single batch of candy at a time. Extra ingredients may prevent the mixture from cooking properly.
  • Temps on target — the bulb of the candy thermometer should be completely covered by liquid, but don’t rest the thermometer on the bottom of the pan.
  • Be patient — candy takes a long time to cook — don’t rush it by turning up the heat.
  • Measure up — measure all ingredients before beginning a recipe.
  • Keep it fresh — store finished confections in an airtight container in a dry location. Use wax paper to separate layers of candy.

For more holiday recipes and tips for cooking and baking with butter visit butterisbest.com.

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Chocolate Cherry Fudge

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, cream and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
  2. Remove from heat; add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until smooth.
  3. Add, almonds, cherries and almond extract; mix until well blended.
  4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Refrigerate until cool; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

 

Eggnog Fudge

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup eggnog
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 10 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme
  • 1 cup chopped pecans,
  • 1 teaspoon rum or rum extract
  1. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, eggnog and sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches 234°F (soft ball stage).
  3. Remove from heat; add chocolate and nutmeg; stir until smooth. Add marshmallow creme, pecans and rum; mix well.
  4. Pour mixture into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool completely; cut into 1 1/2-inch squares. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Sea-Salted Caramels

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  1. Butter sides and bottom of heavy 3-quart saucepan. Add butter and melt over low heat. Add sugars, corn syrups and cream; mix well. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil until mixture reaches 248°F (firm ball stage).
  2. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour caramel immediately into 9-inch square pan lined with buttered foil. Cool at room temperature until caramel begins to set, sprinkle with sea salt; cool completely.
  3. Use foil to lift caramel out of pan. Butter a large chef’s knife and cut caramel into 1-inch squares. Wrap caramels individually in plastic wrap or store in airtight container in refrigerator.

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Pistachio Toffee

Makes 3 dozen pieces

  • 1 1/4 cups shelled pistachios, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Place pistachios in single layer in pan; toast 3 minutes. Remove from oven, cool and coarsely chop; set aside.
  2. In heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugars, water and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium, and continue to boil until mixture reaches 300°F (hard crack stage), stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup pistachios; mix well and pour into jellyroll pan lined with buttered foil. Spread mixture into large rectangle. Cool completely.
  4. In microwave-safe container, microwave chocolate 30 seconds; stir. Continue microwaving in 10-second intervals, stirring after each, until chocolate is melted and smooth, but not hot. Using spatula, spread over toffee, covering it completely. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and gently pat into chocolate.
  5. Place pan in refrigerator for 5 minutes, or until chocolate has set. Break into pieces and store in airtight container.

Source: America's Dairy Farmers

Main Dishes 27 March 2017

Modern Spins on Spring Traditions

(Family Features) From Easter to Passover to the Kentucky Derby and beyond, there is a lamb dish for nearly every spring occasion.

While many traditions rely on lamb as a centerpiece, it doesn’t have to be prepared like grandma’s overcooked, tough and often tasteless roast. Today’s home cooks are forgoing the jar of mint jelly and using fresh mint in pesto and salsas, while serving their lamb medium-rare to preserve its tender juiciness.

If a rack of lamb is your preferred cut for spring celebrations, the American Lamb Board offers six simple steps for the perfect entree. For those who opt for roasting a boneless leg of lamb that is tender and full of flavor, try using these step-by-step instructions for a succulent lamb roast. For a real showstopper, turn off the oven, fire up the grill, butterfly a leg of lamb, season well and grill to desired doneness.

Toss grandma’s jar of mint jelly and brighten up your feasts with fresh condiments like this Mint-Pistachio Pesto or a Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt. For more tips and spring celebration-worthy recipes, visit americanlamb.com/spring/.

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Mint-Pistachio Pesto

Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board

  • 1 cup shelled, toasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • sea salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  1. In food processor, pulse all ingredients until mixed but still somewhat chunky.

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Grilled Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Rosemary Sea Salt

Recipe courtesy of the American Lamb Board

  • 1/2 cup coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 1/2-3 pounds boneless leg of American lamb, trimmed and butterflied
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  1. In food processor, grind salt and rosemary leaves together until mixture is texture of coarse sand.
  2. Season lamb generously with rosemary salt, working it into all crevasses; it should take about 2 tablespoons. Set lamb aside at room temperature at least 30 minutes before grilling, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.
  3. Heat charcoal or gas grill. Pat lamb dry, if needed, and rub lightly with olive oil to coat.
  4. Grease grill grates with oil and place lamb on hottest part of grill. Cook with grill covered, turning once, until brown and crusty.
  5. Move lamb to cooler part of grill and continue cooking until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 130° F for medium-rare, 15-25 minutes total. Transfer lamb to platter, cover with foil and let rest at least 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices against the grain.
  6. Halve lemons and brush cut sides lightly with oil. Place cut-side down on grill until deeply charred, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Arrange lamb slices on large platter or directly over salad. Serve with charred lemon halves for squeezing and additional rosemary salt.

Source: American Lamb Board

Holiday 09 December 2016

Make the Holidays Better with Bacon

Add a delicious twist to entertaining

(Family Features) The holidays are the ultimate time for connecting with friends and family, so treat them to something special this year with your own mouthwatering take on a holiday feast. Add a new and delicious twist to entertaining this season with a festive bacon bar.

Mix things up with simple decorating tips and these easy-to-make – and even easier to eat – bacon recipes from Smithfield that can help create the perfect setting for your next holiday gathering. Whether drizzled with caramel and sea salt, twisted with puff pastry or baked with bourbon and maple syrup, your guests can enjoy bacon in a variety of ways. The classic cut and versatility of Smithfield Hometown Original Bacon is ideal for dishes you can include in your bacon bar like bacon cheddar biscuits, savory bacon jam and flavorful bacon salt. You can also incorporate different bacon flavors; with more than 10 different Smithfield varieties to choose from, there truly is something for everyone.

Complete your holiday spread with printed labels that festively identify the variety of bacon flavors, unique recipes and side dishes on display. Simply print templates onto thick card stock and cut to your desired shape. Use twine or holiday ribbon to tie the labels onto mason jars, bowls or baskets, or use a small clothespin to clip the labels onto your bacon creations. Garnish your display with garland, red berries and pine cones for added holiday cheer.

Visit Smithfield.com/BaconBar for printable labels, more decor ideas and recipe inspiration to give your own bacon bar a personal touch.

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Crispy Bacon Twists with Gouda and Apricot Preserves

Cook time: 45 minutes
Serves: 15

  • Nonstick spray
  • flour, for dusting
  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup (12 ounces) apricot preserves
  • 2 cups (about 7 ounces) Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 pounds (about 25-30 slices) Smithfield Hometown Original Bacon
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Line two rimmed baking pans with foil, set baking racks in pans and lightly spray racks with nonstick spray.
  2. On lightly floured surface, roll out one puff pastry sheet to roughly 8-by-12 inches. Brush top with egg and thinly spread 1/2 cup preserves over dough. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese and 1 tablespoon rosemary, lightly pressing cheese mixture into dough. Fold short end of dough over to enclose cheese mixture and lightly roll to seal. Cut into 15 1/2-inch strips. Repeat with remaining puff pastry and ingredients.
  3. Lay one slice bacon diagonally. Grab one strip of prepared dough by ends and place one end of dough strip horizontally at top end of bacon and roll bacon with dough downward, stretching dough strip while rolling. Place spiral-wrapped bacon twist on prepared rack and repeat.
  4. Bake twists 35-45 minutes, or until pastry is browned and bacon crisp, rotating pans as needed for even cooking.
  5. Let cool 5 minutes and gently use spatula to remove twists from racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tip: For a different flavor, try smoked or aged Gouda or fresh thyme instead of rosemary.

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Caramelized Bourbon Bacon

Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 12

  • 2 packages (16 ounces each) Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. Remove bacon from package and space evenly on pans without overlapping slices.
    Place pans in oven and bake 15 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through baking time. Meanwhile, combine honey, bourbon and syrup.
  3. Remove bacon from oven. Carefully drain grease from pans. Brush bacon with bourbon mixture. Return to oven and bake 3-5 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve.

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Sea Salt Caramel Bacon

Cook time: 40 minutes
Serves: 12

  • 2 packages (12 ounces each) Smithfield Thick Cut Bacon
  • 4 tablespoons caramel topping
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Line two baking pans with nonstick foil.
  2. Remove bacon from package and space evenly on pans without overlapping slices.
  3. Place pans in oven and bake 10 minutes. Rotate pans and continue baking until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Using tongs, place bacon slices on clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let cool slightly.
  4. Heat caramel in microwave 10 seconds. Drizzle bacon with caramel. Sprinkle with sea salt. Return to oven and bake 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

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Bacon Cheddar Biscuits

Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 12

  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup cooked Smithfield Hometown Original Bacon, diced
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon and extra for rolling, divided
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  1. Heat oven to 450° F.
  2. In small bowl, toss together cheese, green onions and bacon with 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside. In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Use pastry cutter or two forks to cut in butter.
  3. Add milk and stir just enough to bring ingredients together. Gently fold in cheese mixture.
  4. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead about 1 minute. Pat or roll out dough to 1/2- or 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into rounds with 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter.
  5. Place biscuits on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Source: Smithfield

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