Recipe of the Month:
Cranberry & Sweet Potato Bread

berry-bread-ck-222580-xThis month’s recipe is a healthy and delicious quick bread that will help you get a headstart on your New Year’s resolutions. Perfect for baking in either a traditional or brick oven, this dish works well as either a breakfast item or an after-dinner treat both before and after the holidays. Wrapped in cellophane with a twine bow, it also makes an excellent homemade gift for the neighbors.

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup no-sugar-added canned mashed sweet potato
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped cranberries
Cooking spray
2 tablespoons sliced almonds

.  .  .

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine sweet potato, egg substitute, orange juice, and margarine in a bowl; add to dry ingredients. Stir just until moist. Fold in cranberries.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle almonds over batter. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Let cool completely on wire rack.

Image and recipe courtesy of cooking light. photo by howard l. puckett.

 

Recipe of the Month:
Peppermint Stick Cocoa

cocoa-su-1011199-x

If you’re looking for a festive way to kick off the holiday season, we have the perfect cocoa recipe that is a delicious fireside treat and makes a stylish holiday gift. Prepare multiple containers at once, and you’ll never show up to a party empty-handed. Curl up with a hot mug and a blanket for a quiet night escaping the holiday rush, or enjoy with friends around the fire pit.

Ingredients

1 cup powdered milk
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy

 

preparation

In a clear mason or decorative jar, layer powdered milk, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, chocolate chips, and peppermint candy.

notes

  • This mix will fill a 1-quart jar (12 servings), but if your containers are different sizes, just keep the ratio of ingredients constant.
  • On the back of the tag, write: “Mix contents in a large bowl. For each serving, place 1/3 cup cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup boiling water. Store remaining mix in airtight container.”

Image and recipe courtesy of Sunset Magazine. Photo by David Prince.

Fall Recipe: Pumpkin Cake Roll

PumpkinRoll

This sweet spiced confection offers a festive twist on a seasonal favorite and can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until ready to serve. Rolling the cake is easy with these step-by-step instructions. The end-result will look and taste so professional, your guests will want to know where you bought it!

Ingredients

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Garnishes: powdered sugar, chocolate-coated pecan halves

Preparation

  1. Coat bottom and sides of a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray and line with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored; gradually add granulated sugar, beating until well combined. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients. Gradually add to egg mixture, beating well. Combine pumpkin, pecans, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and gradually add to mixture, beating well. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  4. Sift 1/2 cup powdered sugar in a 15- x 10-inch rectangle on a clean, dry dish towel. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen cake, and turn cake out onto prepared towel. Peel wax paper off cake. Starting at narrow end, roll up cake and towel together; place, seam side down, on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Stir in vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  6. Unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture on cake, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Re-roll cake without towel, and place, seam side down, on a serving platter. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Image and recipe courtesy of Southern Living.

Ultimate Tailgate Recipes

To complement the $6000 Bordeaux Grill Station grand prize of our Backyard Tailgate Sweepstakes, we’ve compiled a mouthwatering array of backyard tailgating recipes. Whether you’re a classic, gourmet or creative tailgater, these recipes will tantalize your taste buds and leave you wanting seconds. Whether your team wins or loses, everyone will walk away from your tailgate party with smiles on their faces. Click each photo below to view each recipe.

Classic Recipes

Smokey Chicken Barbecue Kabobs: A special dry rub and unique white barbecue sauce make these a crowd-pleaser.

Smokey Chicken Barbecue Kabobs: A special dry rub and unique white barbecue sauce make these a crowd-pleaser.

Sweet and Savory Burgers: This Asian twist on a backyard classic will inspire cheers for "more burgers".

Sweet and Savory Burgers: This Asian twist on a backyard classic will inspire cheers for “more burgers”.

Smoked Brisket: Feed the team in style with this savory tailgating favorite.

Smoked Brisket: Feed your team in style with this savory tailgating favorite.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken: Talk about melt-in-your mouth goodness.

Grilled Buttermilk Chicken: Talk about melt-in-your-mouth goodness!

•  •  •

Gourmet Recipes

Grilled Shrimp with Asian Barbecue Sauce:  This sweet and spicy treat will disappear quickly.

Grilled Shrimp with Asian Barbecue Sauce: This sweet and spicy treat will disappear quickly.

Coppa, Ricotta, and Arugula Pizza: An amazing combination of flavors, this is gourmet pizza at its best.

Coppa, Ricotta, and Arugula Pizza: An amazing combination of flavors, this is gourmet pizza at its best.

Thai-Seasoned Turkey Thigh Roast with Frest Herbs: Forget everything you thought you knew about turkey.

Thai-Seasoned Turkey Thigh Roast with Frest Herbs: Forget everything you thought you knew about turkey.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Tomato-Green Onion Relish: Healthy and delicious, a killer combination.

Grilled Fish Tacos with Tomato-Green Onion Relish: Healthy and delicious, a killer combination.

• • •

Creative Recipes

Mojito Shrimp: Minty, tangy, and the perfect complement for a refreshing beverage.

Mojito Shrimp: Minty, tangy, and the perfect companion for a refreshing beverage.

Seasoned Lamb Kebabs: Mediterranean flavors that will knock your socks off.

Seasoned Lamb Kebabs: Mediterranean flavors that will knock your socks off.

Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon: Sweet, smokey, flaky deliciousness.

Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon: Sweet, smoky, flaky deliciousness.

Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers: An amazing new twist on a backyard classic.

Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers: You won’t believe how amazing this combination of flavors will be.

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Summer Recipe: Salted Caramel Ice Cream

The salted caramel flavor train is sweeping the nation and its next stop is right in your kitchen! Last month we gave you a skinny margarita recipe, and now that summer’s here it’s time to indulge. You’ll need an ice cream maker, so if you don’t have one, see if you can borrow one from a neighbor or friend! Here’s our recipe for homemade salted caramel ice cream:

caramel

(source)

Equipment

  • Ice cream maker
  • 10-inch heavy skillet
  • 2 medium-sized bowls
  • Small, heavy saucepan
  • Whisk
  • Wooden spoon
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Fine-mesh sieve
  • Large bowl
  • Airtight container

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups sugar, divided
  • 2 ¼ cups heavy cream, divided
  • ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs

Step One: Heat 1 cup of the sugar in a dry, 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir it with a fork so that the heat distributes evenly. When it begins to melt, stop stirring and cook it by picking up the skillet and swirling it around so that it melts evenly. When the sugar takes on a dark amber color, it’s time for Step Two!

Step Two: Add 1 and ¼ cups of heavy cream to the sugar (this might spatter, so be careful!) and cook until all of the caramel (AKA dark, melted sugar) has dissolved. Move this mixture to a bowl and then stir in the ½ teaspoon of sea salt and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Pro tip: if you don’t have two ½ teaspoon measuring spoons, use the same spoon for dry ingredient first, then the wet ingredient last. That way you’ll end up with the right amounts of both.

Step Three: Bring milk, the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream and the remaining ¼ cup of sugar to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan. Stir occasionally.

Step Four: Lightly whisk eggs in a medium-size bowl, then add half of the hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour it back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until a custard-like consistency appears and coats the back of the spoon, registering 170 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer. Do NOT let the custardy mixture boil!

Step Five: Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and then stir in the cooled caramel. Chill the custard, stirring occasionally, until it’s very cold – this will take between 3 to 6 hours. Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker (it’ll be soft), then transfer it to an airtight container and put it in the freezer to firm up.

This recipe will last you a whole week, so once you’re done be sure to save some to show off what a cooking maestro you have become!

Need more inspiration? Check out our Idea Book and learn more about how to take your hardscape to the next level.

 

Memorial Day Grilling Tips & Ideas

The first thing that comes to mind when planning a Memorial Day get-together is the age-old query, “what are we going to eat?” Typical Memorial Day fare includes hamburgers and hot dogs fresh off the grill. This year, feel free to break tradition and grill up something new with some of these ideas:

Kebabs

Kebabs are a staple of grilling events, but have you tried any unconventional combinations of foods on your skewers? Here are some that are sure to deliver on flavor:

  • Peaches, pork, pineapple and sweet Vidalia onion
  • Pineapple, red bell pepper, chicken, and shredded coconut
  • Curry-marinated beef, zucchini, cherry tomato and potato
  • Eggplant, lemongrass tofu, yellow squash and cherry tomato

To make the most of your meats and vegetarian equivalents, you’ll need a good seasoning or rub to anchor the flavor so you don’t end up with a bunch of tasteless food sticks. For a good chicken and pork rub, try Rufus Teague’s Meat Rub. For any and everything, try Konriko’s Greek seasoning. There’s a world of flavor out there and there’s likely to be someone local with an online spice apothecary – and being able to buy local is always a plus.

kebabs

(image source)

Burgers

There’s a world of possibility out there when it comes to burgers. Entire restaurants have been dedicated to serving up dozens of types of burgers with a wide array of flavor infusions. To create something memorable this year, fold in a little bit of brown sugar to create a sweet and rich flavor. For a richer flavor, fold in minced garlic. Don’t go buck wild loading your burger with a lot of junk unless you want meatloaf.

Whatever you do, season your burger liberally and don’t add salt until the patties are formed. And once they’re on the grill, flip them as often as you’d like. It helps them cook faster and distribute flavor evenly. And once they’re done, be sure to have plenty of toppings set out so everyone can deck out their burger.

burgers

(image source)

Grilling Tips

You can use gas or charcoal to grill. Gas burns cleaner, but some people prefer the smoky flavor you get from grilling with charcoal. If you’re trying to stay environmentally friendly while entertaining, go with gas. If you want to be kind to the earth and still get that smoky flavor, you can just use additive-free lump charcoal (AKA charred wood), and don’t use lighter fluid.

Preheat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature (and to kill any lingering bacteria). If your grill is heated properly, it will sear foods on contact without drying it up or causing it to stick to the grill. Searing may not seal in the juices of whatever you put on the grill, but it causes them to caramelize, making the flavor rich and decadent. To reduce sticking, oil the grill rack when it’s hot with a vegetable oil-soaked paper towel.

Now for the fun part: cooking the marinated the meat. Marinades will drop some serious flavor bombs into your food. You need to make sure that the marinades are soaked in before you toss the meat on the grill or else you’ll get some fiery Pompeii-esque backsplash. Once they start to look done, use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature to make sure the meat is ready. If you are making kebabs and are worried about some of the pieces falling off the skewers and into the grill, put a grill basket below the grill rack to catch any runaway foods.

sauces

(image source)

For safety, keep a squirt bottle of water nearby to douse the flames of any flare-ups, since flare-ups resulting from dripping fats can compromise the flavor of the meats and also be a general nuisance.

When the meat is ready, let it sit on a platter for about ten minutes so the juice can distribute evenly and so you don’t burn your palette!

Party Time!

Now you’re ready to grill. Be sure to share some of your favorite foods to grill and let us know how your grilling adventures turn out!