What’s with all the exotic meats in my recipes lately? I know, I know. I’ve been feeling adventurous and curious about these healthier meat options. It’s been very fun so far and extremely successful. Just because it’s a meat most of us is unfamiliar with, doesn’t mean it has to be anymore complicated than working with something common like beef. It seems as though as long as you know the fat content, then you know when cooking it you may need more or less olive oil to prevent it from being dry. And of course, proper spices! If you’re all for trying new meats, you’ll likely love my Wild Boar Ragu which is to die for.
So with elk, I literally treated it like ground beef. And it was a huge success. It has a less greasy taste to it and more rich flavor. In a chili, it’s not so distinctive at all given all the spices involved. So, if you want to give elk a try this may be the best way to try it out! If you’re not about elk, feel free to use any kind of ground meat. There are no strict rules to this at all. Oh and last thing… you could throw all of this in a slow cooker on low for 8hrs if you’re strapped for time. Just leave the beans out of it until the last few minutes before serving and you’re good to go!
ELK BEAN CHILI
In a large pot over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes.
Add the green chilies and stewed tomatoes, stir for 2 minutes.
Then, add the ground elk, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper; breaking up the ground elk with a wooden spoon. Cook and stir until the meat is mostly cooked through.
Lastly, add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, and let everything come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low so it can simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally and add the kidney beans the last 5 minutes.
Here’s another peach recipe I recently went crazy over. Buying a half bushel of peaches from The Peach Truck over at the Nashville Farmers Market was one of the more fun things I’ve done this year. Shhh, don’t judge! I’m a simpleton. And I must say, cooking with bourbon is a new thing for me, which I’m loving! It must have something to do with living in Tennessee the last few years, hmm I dunno. I think it’s important to share that you don’t have to like bourbon to enjoy this dessert. The bourbon mixed with butter and sugar truly gives a very caramel-like flavor. And it just pairs so well with peaches. I wouldn’t want peaches any other way in a crumble!
You don’t have to be a baker to make a crumble. Trust me, I’m not a baker! You can easily put this together very quickly; in fact I think cutting the peaches is the longest part LOL. It’s so worth it though! So the fun part, you know… all the ways you can enjoy a crumble. Of course you can eat as is, piping hot. Yet it’s amazing straight out of the fridge too. Serve it over ice cream if you dare. I pretty much learned from my Father that you can put anything yummy on ice cream LOL. And I know this may sound strange but, this is good over toast or an English muffin. It’s not too far from a jam! All I’m saying is, this won’t last long when you make it. Prepare to have to make it again. Enjoy!
BOURBON PEACH CRUMBLE
Place the peaches in a 9” x 9” baking dish.
Put the bourbon, vanilla extract, butter, and arrowroot powder in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, stir until it comes to a boil. Add the brown sugar, lower temperature to low-medium, whisk while it simmers for about 3 minutes. Let cool.
In a food processor add the all purpose flour, sugar, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, chilled butter, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure the butter is cold and cut in small cubes. Pulse everything about a dozen times until everything resembles coarse meal.
Drizzle the bourbon butter mixture over the peaches and sprinkle the crumble on top evenly.
Bake at 375 F degrees for about 25 minutes or until everything is gold brown on top.
I think one of the most common vegetables I see people eating from a can is green beans and it just makes me wonder WHYYYY!!! When you can make some of the best tasting green beans FRESH and reap so much more nutritional benefits. There’s always the usual quick saute of green beans in a pan with olive, sea salt, pepper and maybe some garlic but this recipe is even better. Sure you’ll spend a few extra minutes assembling everything but it doesn’t take long and it’s so worth it. I wanted to take the idea of bacon wrapped veggies and go another step beyond that so I chose to use capocollo. Capocollo is an Italian dry-cured pork usually available spicy and found at the deli counter. It’s literally a must have on any Italian sandwich and now it’s a must have for roasted green beans.
You can always use regular green beans but keep in mind they’re a bit thicker so you may want to use fewer in a bunch for the recipe. Although haricot verts (also known as French green beans) are thinner, they have a better flavor and retain it’s crisp texture when you cook them. I recently made these to go with a grass-fed Bison filet that I found at Whole Foods; it was to DIE FOR. If you don’t have dark brown sugar, don’t worry light brown sugar will do just fine. You can also just use maple syrup alone instead. When baking at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, I still make sure the capocollo looks crispy like bacon to determine when it’s done. Some ovens may require longer time. But don’t worry, you won’t get sick, it’s cured meat so it doesn’t have to be cooked all the way through. Let me know how they taste for you. It’s definitely one of my favorites.
MAPLE CAPOCOLLO HARICOT VERTS
Gather 8-10 green beans in a bunch, making 4 bunches.
On a large working surface, lay four slices of capocollo overlapping each other vertically. Lay the first bunch of green beans on top of the capocollo, starting at the bottom. Slowly roll up wrapping the capocollo snug around the green beans. Place on a baking dish. Repeat for the last three bunches.
In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup and brown sugar together. Brush the tops of the capocollo wrapped green beans generously. Crack fresh black pepper on top.
Lightly drizzle the tops with olive oil and bake for about 12 minutes at 400 F degrees.
Celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day, I decided to go a bit different from the traditional chocolate cake by complimenting chocolate with the worlds most loved stout, Guinness. If you’re a chocolate lover, and I don’t just mean milk chocolate… you will love this recipe! You don’t have to like Guinness to enjoy this recipe BUT these cupcakes are meant for taste buds that can appreciate a deep, dark chocolate flavor. So, if you’re ready for decadence, brace yourselves and go all out. I decided to pair it with a salted caramel frosting instead of the popular Bailey’s and/or Jameson frosting that a lot of people are doing. Personally, I find the salted caramel does an equal justice to the Guinness and chocolate.
The recipe typically calls for two sticks of butter but if you happen to find yourself making dry cakes; what I do is use half butter and half grapeseed oil. You can use any oil that you prefer but grapeseed oil yields the least flavor so the Guinness and chocolate aren’t competing with the flavor of the oil. When decorating the cupcakes feel free to be creative. I like keeping things simple and so all I did was sprinkle a little cocoa powder and edible gold dust on top. You can find edible gold or silver dust in the baking isle of an arts ‘n crafts store like JOANN’s, Michaels or Hobby Lobby, even Amazon.com. Have fun and HAPPY NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY!
GUINNESS CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
In a saucepan, melt the butter, add the Guinness, cocoa powder, and brown sugar. Whisk everything until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Add the flour, sea salt, granulated sugar, and baking soda into a bowl of a standing mixer on low.
Pour the Guinness mixture in three parts beating everything until everything is just combined. Increase speed without getting flour to fly out of the bowl.
Add the eggs and plain Greek yogurt with the last part of the Guinness mixture, beat on medium until smooth.
Pour the batter into the cupcake pan ¾ of the way.
Bake at 350 F Degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes. Poke the center with a toothpick. If it comes out mostly clean then your cupcakes are done.
SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING
In a small saucepan melt the butter, dark brown sugar with the heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract until the brown sugar dissolves. Let it come to a light boil for only a minute and then remove from heat to cool.
Pour the salted caramel into a mixing bowl and pour a little bit of powdered sugar at a time. Start the mixer on low speed at first and bring it up to medium speed.
Mix approximately 2 cups of powdered sugar until you get a nice thick fluffy consistency. Add a little more powdered sugar if needed.
Use a heaping teaspoon to place a dollop of the frosting on top of the cupcake and use the back of the spoon to swirl around in circles until you have it spread out evenly.
Garnish the top with cocoa powder and/or edible gold dust, sprinkles, whatever you prefer to decorate with.
Soooo… I feel guilty coming up with this batch of gluttony, kinda. Thing is, as I always say, I’m all about moderation. I will choose to eat a small portion of pure guilty pleasurable goodness over a lot of some health-ified OOOOKAY tasting recipe. Yes, this is my excuse. This is me justifying that it’s okay to make this. Make it once a year and share it with EVERYONE and then you won’t eat it all to yourself.
The brownie recipe alone is fantastic if you’re all about a chewy, fudgy brownie with a perfect crust and edges. And feel free to add any of your favorite chopped nuts after you’ve combined everything together. Or chocolate chunks if you’re a chocoholic. Mix in some ground Mexican cinnamon for an Aztec flare, along with other spices like chili powder. There’s so many things you can do with a brownie recipe but most importantly, today it’s all about the bacon. CRISPY SALTY BACON! Wrapped around a pool of maple caramel. For goodness sakes!
Hopefully you’re reading this blog entry because I didn’t include this in the recipe… but I did sprinkle a little bit of pink Himalayan salt on top of everything to really make the bacon pop through all the sugary components. It works amazing. It’s worth at least sprinkling a little on one square first to try if you like it. Anyways, make this at least once… like now!
MAPLE CARAMEL BACON BROWNIES
Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl use a rubber spatula to mix the melted butter, sugar, and cocoa powder together. Then, add the eggs and vanilla extract.
Lastly, fold in the flour and baking powder until the flour is completely blended into the cocoa mixture. Pour into the baking pan and spread out evenly.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the salted butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
Increase the heat to a low boil for about two minutes. Stir in the maple syrup and continue to boil for another 2 minutes until thickened. The syrup is ready once it coats the back of a spoon.
Generously pour the syrup over the brownies and sprinkle the chopped bacon on top.