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Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Ingredient Staples

Today I want to share with you some ingredients I like to always have on hand in my kitchen.  These are my favorite items to include in various recipes.  There are many, so I will probably have to do multiple blog posts to cover them all.

First up...

Lemons and Limes

I basically use one or the other every time I cook!  The juice and the zest add so much flavor to savory recipes and sweet recipes.  Also, the bright yellows and greens add a fresh and vibrant color to my kitchen counter.  They work as decor and as ingredients for cooking!  Can't beat that!  I can't list every recipe I enjoy making, that calls for lemon or lime juice and/or zest.  But I will include a few...

Giada's Mascarpone Cheesecake (i add the zest of the lemon too)

Fresh Cilantro, Basil and Mint
These beautiful and tasty herbs add a lot to simple and more complicated recipes.   Recipes that can be thrown together in two seconds, like Caprese Salad, become just a bit more pleasing to the eye and the mouth when you add fresh basil.  Fresh herbs are approachable and can easily be added into your cooking  repertoire.  Here are a few recipes that call for one or all of these spectacular leaves:

 Puff Pastry
 Lately, I've come to realize the beauty of Puff Pastry and have decided to always keep a box in my freezer.  It's great for breakfast, dessert, or picnic recipes.  I've recently been introduced to Australian cooking and a famous chef over there, Donna Hay.  An Aussie thing is Sausage Rolls.  They are divine!!...and a bit of an indulgence.  The first time I made them, I went by a recipe.  However, I just kind of make them out of my head now, roughly based on that recipe.

 Aussie Sausage Rolls
1 package Sausage
1 box Puff Pastry (2 rolls per box)
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard (i always use coarse grain)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
1/4 cup plain Breadcrumbs
1 Egg
Salt and Pepper
Sesame Seeds for topping
1. Thaw out the Puff Pastry.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3.  In a large bowl, mix the Sausage, Mustard, 1/4 cup Cream, Garlic Powder, Pepper and Bread Crumbs.  I just knead it together with my hand.
4.  Spread out the Pastries on a greased cookie sheet.
5.  Lay out half of the Sausage mixture on the bottom edge of the Pastry and form into a log shape and roll it up.
6.  Using a serrated knife, slice into smallish pieces.
7.  In a small bowl, mix the egg and the teaspoon of Cream and brush onto the top of the sausage rolls.
8.  Sprinkle with the Sesame Seeds.
9.  Bake for 35 minutes.

One of my toughest critics is pleased!  Whew!

Salami Pesto Picnic Roll
1 Puff Pastry 
5 slices Hard Salami
4-5 slices Mozzarella Cheese
Handful of shredded Parmesan Cheese
Handful of Fresh Basil
1 Egg
1. Thaw out Puff Pastry.
2.  Preheat oven to whatever degree it says on the box.
3.  Slice the Salami into small pieces so that when you take a bite, it doesn't pull out a big hunk of it (don't you hate it when that happens??)
4.  Line the bottom edge with the Mozzarella, Salami pieces, Basil leaves, and Parmesan.
5.  Roll it up.
6.  Beat the Egg in a Small bowl and Brush onto the top of the Pastry. 
7.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake whatever amount of time is on the Pastry box.
8.  Pack it up as is for your picnic and slice as you serve! Yum!

Chocolate and Vanilla Protein Powder
I very recently did a blog post about my love for Protein smoothies and Protein Coffee drinks.  I like to keep Greenwise Whey Protein Powder on hand for a variety of yummy smoothies.  Here is the link to several of my recipes:

As I'm writing this, I'm already thinking of more ingredient staples to talk about.  So consider this Part 1. be continued....