Fruited Nut Paste with Pan Roasted Pears

Balsamic Pear w Blue Cheese~A Stack of Dishes.comThis recipe is what I refer to as a “tumble along”. It all started with a unexptected bag of pears from our friend Gail Cox, which she harvested off of her tree in Arkansas. In the bag that she handed me were a half-dozen hard green pears with gorgeous obtuse shapes and the sweetest flesh. Then a day later came fragrant snips of rosemary from Susan Pierce’s garden, my neighbor across the street (I’m trying to root it now so I can grow my own crop- any advice?). Then finally a hunk of blue cheese I had just purchased on our last trip to Dallas begged to get in on the act.

The fun part is the mental matrix of how to play with these foods. I rolled around the flavors in my mind, pulling them this way and that, into a cold dish, then over to a warm…. Eventually I came around to a version of a savory tart, which lead to how to include dried fruits and nuts- and then how to enhance that gorgeous blue cheese…. and then I thought about shape…. [Read more…]

Summer Rolls with Four Dipping Sauces

Summer Rolls ~ A Stack of Dishes.comDue to the fact that summer is winding down one would think that it might reveal itself with an ebb of the blistering heat. Of course this will come, but not before a FOUR day streak of 100˚ temperatures. Man! Now mind you, I don’t really complain about the weather. It’s weather- as in- it happens whether or not you pay any mind to it. However, last week we were given a little taste of what Fall promises, and what can I say- It was mighty lovely.

But enough of that- What’s really important is though the calendar might be ticking along, we are still enjoying easy days and a desire for a light hearted kitchen.A Stack of Dishes.comWith all the celebrating around here I also seemed to have forgotten to get going on my summer “diet”. Trust me, it was an easy thing to forget with the beautiful food and wines that have been set before me lately. I do not regret a single  bite, not a one! but now, the piper is to be paid. The fridge is filling with vegetables, and the cracker/chip shelf is leaner. More time is being spent on the tennis court and at the gym, and more eating at the kitchen table, rather than at restaurant tables. My best solution though is removing the obstacles to healthier eating.

Pre slicing and dicing veggies for quick salad making is a great start. Half the drag of making a redeeming salad is dragging out the cutting board and knife. The other half is cleaning up all scraps and peels. Often (not always I’ll admit) I will make up a day or three’s worth of sliced vegetables in containers and put them together in the fridge. It’s a quick grab and dump into a bowl- simply add a protein and a dressing.

A Stack of Dishes.comAfter awhile I start to get a little weary of my massive salad “feeding bowl”. With a little more effort  you can pull together these babies. So much more fun and interesting- which is exactly what every head of lettuce is looking to be. While you’re at it you can make a few extra, and perhaps your kids or significant other might up their veggie intake too!

Rice paper is pretty much available in most stores these days. You can find it in the Asian aisle, usual down low.  It keeps indefinitely on your shelf. The best thing about them is that they are ready to use in (count them) 30 seconds.  My advice: 1. Don’t be afraid to try these and 2. Have your fixin’s at the ready before you start. Getting extra hands to get in the act is a blast too- make it a party!

Another bonus to these beauties is you can use up the quarters and halves of this and that you have about- only a quarter of an avocado? Just a few pieces of shrimp leftover? Half a zucchini? Go ahead and get creative and put them in there.

As for the sauces, you don’t need to make all four, but one or two will keep for awhile- whether you use them to dip or pour over your traditional salad.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
Great on noodles or cold meats.
Print
897 calories
98 g
5 g
49 g
27 g
8 g
392 g
3784 g
55 g
0 g
37 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
392g
Yields
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 897
Calories from Fat 412
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 49g
75%
Saturated Fat 8g
38%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 15g
Monounsaturated Fat 22g
Cholesterol 5mg
2%
Sodium 3784mg
158%
Total Carbohydrates 98g
33%
Dietary Fiber 12g
48%
Sugars 55g
Protein 27g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
10%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2/3 cup hoisin sauce
  2. 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  3. 1/3 cup warm water
  4. 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  5. 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients and stir until smooth.
  2. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.
Notes
  1. Keeps for 1 week in the fridge.
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calories
897
fat
49g
protein
27g
carbs
98g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/
Miso Sauce
Great on salads or cold meats.
Print
809 calories
37 g
0 g
72 g
9 g
10 g
241 g
2582 g
19 g
0 g
60 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
241g
Yields
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 809
Calories from Fat 634
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 72g
111%
Saturated Fat 10g
51%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 14g
Monounsaturated Fat 46g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 2582mg
108%
Total Carbohydrates 37g
12%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 19g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
7%
Vitamin C
25%
Calcium
8%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup white miso
  2. 2 scallions, chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  4. 1 tablespoon lime juice
  5. 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  6. 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  7. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  8. 1/8 teaspoon minced chili pepper
  9. 1/4 cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. combine the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
  2. Add water to adjust consistency, and adjust salt and sugar to taste.
Notes
  1. Keeps for 1 week in the fridge.
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calories
809
fat
72g
protein
9g
carbs
37g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/
Soy Ginger Dipping Sauce
Also great on grilled fish.
Print
184 calories
38 g
0 g
0 g
7 g
0 g
235 g
6427 g
30 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
235g
Yields
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 184
Calories from Fat 3
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 0g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 6427mg
268%
Total Carbohydrates 38g
13%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 30g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
11%
Vitamin C
109%
Calcium
4%
Iron
15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  2. 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  3. 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
  6. 1 small chili pepper minced
  7. 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
Instructions
  1. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, fish sauce, sugar and ginger in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the chili and cilantro and serve.
Notes
  1. May be made without the cilantro for up to 3 days in advance.
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calories
184
fat
0g
protein
7g
carbs
38g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/
Tahini Dipping Sauce
Great for summer rolls, but also great on a salad or crudites
Print
661 calories
42 g
0 g
46 g
23 g
6 g
491 g
7295 g
15 g
0 g
37 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
491g
Yields
1
Amount Per Serving
Calories 661
Calories from Fat 383
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 46g
70%
Saturated Fat 6g
32%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 20g
Monounsaturated Fat 17g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 7295mg
304%
Total Carbohydrates 42g
14%
Dietary Fiber 9g
36%
Sugars 15g
Protein 23g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
40%
Iron
56%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 3 ounces of tahini
  2. 1/2 cup light soy sauce
  3. 2 tablespoons mirin
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar
  5. water to adjust consistency
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine ingredients and stir until smooth.
Notes
  1. Keeps for several weeks in the fridge.
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calories
661
fat
46g
protein
23g
carbs
42g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/
Summer Rolls
These rolls can be filled with any combination of vegetables and protein. It's a great way to use up leftovers.
Print
105 calories
15 g
61 g
1 g
9 g
0 g
236 g
382 g
2 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
236g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 61mg
20%
Sodium 382mg
16%
Total Carbohydrates 15g
5%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 2g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
71%
Vitamin C
24%
Calcium
9%
Iron
9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 8 rice paper wrappers
  2. 1/4 pound of steamed shrimp, sliced in half the long way
  3. 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced into 3" long thin slices
  4. 1 large carrot, shredded
  5. 2 cups napa cabbage, shredded (or any variety of lettuces)
  6. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  7. 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  8. 1 shallow bowl with cool water to dip the papers
Instructions
  1. Arrange the prepared vegetables and shrimp before getting started. Start with a clean cutting board.
  2. Quickly dip the rice paper into the cool water and lay down on the cutting board. It will be stiff at first, but within a minute it will be soft and pliable. You may start filling your paper right away.
  3. To make a pretty roll, on the bottom half of the paper first lay down the herbs or shrimps, then layer the vegetables on top.
  4. Then gently but firmly pull the bottom edge up and over the filling and tuck in snugly. Fold in one or both sides and roll up, egg roll style.
  5. The stickiness of the paper will create a natural seal.
  6. Place onto a plate until ready to serve and cover with plastic film.
Notes
  1. Rolls are best eaten fresh, but may be made in advance up to a day. If the paper gets too tough, you may try to revive them with a misting of water.
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calories
105
fat
1g
protein
9g
carbs
15g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/
 

Boozy Fig Onion Jam with Bacon

blended

Figgy Bourban JamOh my dear ones, forgive me, forgive me. I’ve been out of pocket for the last couple of weeks, but for a very good reason. Last week my love and I eloped to Napa Valley and got ourselves hitched!  The whole experience has been magical and so full of love and happiness that I am bubbling over with exuberance. I promise that as the pictures come back I will be posting all about it. There are many beautiful, and sometimes zany, stories that I cannot wait to share- and of course some amazing food.

Until then, first onto this delectable condiment and the story behind the many hands that brought it together.

figsIt starts with a bountiful fig season, which thrilled me to no end. I love the warm stickiness of fresh figs, but I’ve never had them so close to the tree that produced them. I am also so fortunate to have not one, but TWO wonderful friends who were willing to share their bounty.

The first is my ’round the corner neighbor, Cindy Gleason Johnson.  I felt like a thief at first sneaking into her backyard- but when I saw that the birds were boldly helping themselves I jumped right in. Her golden figs were so delicious that they did not stand much of a chance.  They barely made it home where upon I instantly gobbled them up in a snap.

The black figs above came from another friend in the opposite direction, Candy Peavy. Her beautiful fig tree is espallied against the side of her house into a towering glory in such a royal and commanding manner it took my breath away. Having been satiated with the first batch of fresh beauties, I had the presence of mind to think of how I might create something with this second batch.

bacon

Another dear friend Caroline Manning recently opened an amazing restaurant called Blue Southern Comfort Food.  Caroline’s got heart and soul as big as the south, and the flavors and finger lickin’ good food to match. She’s famous for clean plates and her Blue Burger, which is topped with her special Bacon Jam. It’s a sweet, oniony, syrupy topping that seeps right down into the sourdough bun and sidles up real nicely to the layer of cheese that is melted over some of the best burger beef I’ve ever tasted.

I have made NO attempt to replicate her specialty sauce, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t an inspiration. My onion jam is thicker and less sweet. The bacon adds a heft and a chew and there is the added crunchy texture from the fig seeds.  Mine also has a secret ingredient: Camellia Coffee– which adds a round dark bitter base note.camellia

Camellia Coffee is from right here in Caddo Parrish and another project of our beloved Cindy Gleason Johnson. She has created a couple of blends, but I went right for this Dark Roast. We have some amazing things being produced right in our backyards and kudos to Cindy for bringing this gorgeous coffee together for us to enjoy.

So you see, it’s all the goodness of the land and good people who can come together and create something magically delicious.

onionsintopan

The jam takes a while to reduce and meld, the whole time filling the kitchen with sweet fragrance. I have yet to try my jam on a burger, (I’ll be getting mine at Blue) I prefer it on a grilled gruyere cheese sandwich, or any other stinky pungent cheese. A Goat Brie would be awesome too.

gruyerefig

With a jar of this in your fridge, anyone could stop by at a moment’s notice and even served on toast and cream cheese, or some hot buscuits- you be having some good southern community cooking.

Boozy Fig Onion Jam with Bacon
Smoky, sweet with a hint of bourbon for lip smackin' southern goodness
Print
1145 calories
157 g
83 g
31 g
31 g
10 g
728 g
2412 g
140 g
0 g
17 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
728g
Yields
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1145
Calories from Fat 277
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 31g
47%
Saturated Fat 10g
50%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 83mg
28%
Sodium 2412mg
100%
Total Carbohydrates 157g
52%
Dietary Fiber 9g
37%
Sugars 140g
Protein 31g
Vitamin A
10%
Vitamin C
20%
Calcium
22%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound smoked bacon
  2. 1 very large yellow onion, sliced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 cups halved fresh figs
  5. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 2/3 cup maple syrup
  7. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  8. 2 tablespoon ground dark roast Camillia Coffee
  9. 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  10. 1/2 cup bourbon
  11. 1 teaspoon black pepper
  12. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  13. water if needed to thin during pureeing process
Instructions
  1. In a large cast iron skillet, brown the bacon and then remove.
  2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of grease. Over medium/low heat gently sauté the onions and garlic for one minute, then add the fresh figs. Gently cook for 4 minutes until the onions are wilted and the figs soften.
  3. Add the cayenne, maple and brown sugar, coffee grounds and vinegar and slowly simmer until thick and a dark amber color. Add the bourbon and cook for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add pepper and salt- adjust to taste.
  5. Add back the bacon and continue to cook for a total of one hour. Remove from the heat and cool.
  6. In a food processor or with a hand blender, puree the mixture in batches to a rough grind. There should be some texture to the bacon.
  7. Store in a sterile jar in the fridge and consume within 2 weeks.
Notes
  1. Any type of fig may be used, including reconstituted dried figs if that's all you have.
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calories
1145
fat
31g
protein
31g
carbs
157g
more
A Stack of Dishes http://www.astackofdishes.com/