Monday, October 5, 2015

Spiced Apple Butter


Apple, curry, coriander, cloves, maple syrup, cane sugar, apple cider vinegar

Autumn has arrived and with it ... apples.

I wasn't a big fan of apple butter until I started experimenting with my own combination of spices.
My recipe is not too sweet and has just the right amount of spice - not heat - to make it savory-sweet.
The texture is smooth, silky and the color -  a deep umber - whispers of the cooler temperatures of autumn. 

Depending on your love of curry you can add more or less, but don't skip it, I promise it will not overwhelm the flavors.  It simply adds that extra "little something" that enriches the overall taste.

I love to brush it on meats like chicken, pork chops, turkey and even salmon right before grilling.

And yes, I also love it on a lightly toasted english muffin with a big cup of dark roast coffee.
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon curry
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2-3 pounds gala or preferred apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

  1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker
  2. In a hurry? Set to high for 4 hours
  3. Taking it slow? Set to low for 6-8 hours
  4. Buzz through it with an immersion blender or in a food processor till smooth
This makes about 48 ounces (a quart and a half). No need to process for canning just put it in the fridge once it has cooled. Good for about 2 months but I doubt it will last that long!


Monday, August 24, 2015

Honey Chipotle Meatballs - Three Ways


Meatballs, Honey, Chipotle, Recipe, BBQ, Broilers, Skillet

I'm calling this recipe Honey Chipotle Meatballs - Three Ways because I'm showing you how you can make this recipe using three different cooking methods.

Why three methods?
1) Sometimes you might want to grill
2) Sometimes you might want to grill but it's raining or it's snowing or it's just to darn hot (especially if it is summer and you are in Florida) so you can't grill but you can use your broiler and kind of get the same effect
3) Sometimes you don't want to grill or broil but you crave the taste! So I am providing a stove top method.

None of the methods is any better than the other, it is quite subjective as to what you do or don't want to do ...  or rather what method you want to use to cook the meal.

Now, I will say the sauce is damn good on just about anything you want to put it on.  It has enough heat and sweet that even folks who usually don't tolerate heat will enjoy it.

The meatball recipe on its own is delicious and produces a tender, moist meatball.  The cream and grated onion add that extra moisture the meatball needs to keep it from becoming a golf ball. No one wants to eat a golf ball, at least not anyone I know does.

The bacon imparts a deep, rich smokiness and my secret ingredient not only provides warm color, it also adds depth to the overall flavor. The meatballs are comprised of beef, pork and chorizo (sausage) - yes, that is a lot of flavor going on and it works beautifully.

Give it a try all three ways and let me know which is your favorite.

Honey Chipotle Sauce
1/2 cup honey
1 - 2 tablespoons chipotle chilies in  adobo (or to taste)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened) - warning this is the secret ingredient
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor, process until smooth.  You can make this a few days ahead.

For the Meatballs
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup white bread cubed
4-6 slices applewood smoked bacon
1 cup grated onion
1 heaping tablespoon garlic
1/2 - 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo, finely chopped (remove seeds)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened) - warning this is the secret ingredient
1 teaspoon of oregano - preferably the Mexican variety
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup of beer (drink the rest!)
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 pound ground chorizo (I use Spanish chorizo but you can substitute with Mexican or regular sausage)
1/4 cup cilantro
1 egg, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Soak the bread in the cream in a large bowl
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet, Once crispy move to a rack with paper towel underneath to drain. Once cooled crumble and set aside.
  3. Leave about 1-2 tablespoons of bacon fat in skillet, cook onions, garlic, cocoa, oregano, cumin and chiptole over medium heat until onion is softened.  Add the beer to deglaze the pan, stirring until all liquid has evaporated.
  4. Stir  onion and spice mixture into bread and cream mixture, allow to cool to handle
  5. Add beef, pork and chorizo, cilantro, bacon, egg, salt and pepper to the bowl. 
  6. Mix all the ingredient by hand, Do not overwork the mixture.
You can prepare the meatballs a day ahead and keep in fridge to ready to cook in one of the three ways that follow below.

Now to Cook it Three Different Ways:

If you are using the first and second method -  first do this. Using a tablespoon to measure, roll  meatballs in the palm of your hand and thread  3-4 on to wooden* or metal skewers.

First Method:

Brush meatballs with Honey Chipotle Sauce and broil about 4 inches from heat until browned and well cooked about 8-10 minutes.
Grill, Grill topper, shop, utensils for grill,
You can find a grill topper like the
one above at Bed Bath & Beyond
Second Method:

You can grill them over medium heat on your gas or charcoal grill - just take care to not move them or they will fall apart. You can use one a rectangular grill topper  (like the one in the picture)
to keep them from falling through the grates. Don't forget to brush with the sauce as you grill.

Third Method:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • Honey Chipotle Sauce
Using a tablespoon to measure, roll  meatballs in the palm of your hand, set each one on a sheet of wax paper until all the meat is used up.  Heat a skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and brown meatballs.  Lower heat to keep from over browning, if needed. Deglaze the pan by adding in the wine, stir to scrape up the brown bits from pan then add in the honey Chipotle Sauce, Stir well, let it come up to a low boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes.
Serve with  my Sweet and Savory Roasted and Grilled Corn on the Cob, hot corn tortillas, Nicaraguan Cabbage Slaw (or Ensalada de Repollo Nica) and beer! Cheers!

* If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use to keep them from burning on the grill.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon is now on Yummly


Hi Folks!

I wanted to let you know that The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon is now on Yummly. You can use the YUM button to save your recipes to your personal recipe box. You can go to The Fork Ran Away with the Spoon's Yummly page to easily find and YUM our recipes.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Cheesy Mashed Veggie Bake


Do you tend to end up with random pieces of veggies in the bin? I know I do and my Cheesy Mashed Veggie Bake is how I use them up.

It's effortless and it makes for a yummy side dish that can be paired with just about anything. Certainly beats the ho-hum of the usual potato or rice sides. 

This is a great way to get the family to look at the cauliflower in a new light.  What I personally like about using cauliflower is how light and airy it makes the veggie bake. I love the creaminess the egg and cream mixtures provides and the nuttiness of the Parmesan.

Serve with meat, poultry, pork, seafood, soup ... okay serve it with just about anything.  Even on its own with a light salad its fantastic!  My favorite is with meatloaf with a ladle of gravy over the top.

It's a big hit with the Hub, who went in for seconds and thirds the last time I made this recipe.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
  • 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, rough chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato, rough chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, rough chopped
  • 2 large carrots, rough chopped
  • 1 large sweet onion (vidalia is best), rough chopped
  • Cold water or Chicken stock (enough to cover veggies)
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 egg whites + 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup cream or half & half (yes, you can use fat free half&half)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • More Parmesan to sprinkle over top - as much or as little as you'd like
  1. Place the first five ingredients in a pot with deep sides, cover with cold water or stock, add  2 teaspoons of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. 
  2. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until a a knife goes through the potatoes with ease.
  3. Strain well in colander, return veggies to the hot pan, turn off heat and allow excess water to evaporate from veggies in pan. Using a masher begin mashing to preferred consistency. (I like texture in my mash so I do not over mash).
  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Add the remaining six ingredients to a bowl. Adjust seasonings as needed. Mix well to incorporate.
  6. Slowly add and stir the egg mixture to the mashed vegetables taking care to not scramble the eggs.
  7. Spoon into a lightly greased 11"x 7" baking dish.
  8. Top with additional Parmesan, if desired.
  9. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until top is golden.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Saffron & Cognac Shrimp Bisque

Shrimp, Soup, Bisque, Saffron, Cognac Creamy

My family knows by now that when they travel abroad the only thing I want is a spice, their choice, from where ever they went.

My daughter Eryka went on a European cruise several years ago and she brought me a beautiful assortment of spices from Tunis. A truffle and olive oil from Italy. Saffron from Spain. To say I was is heaven is an understatement.

Recently, my brother Eddie, who I affectionately call Mr. Ed, traveled to Spain.  Of course, he knew exactly what I wanted ... saffron. And that is what he got me. Thank you Mr. Ed!

Those beautiful, fiery, orange-red threads inspired this recipe.  The intensely flavored stock is made from the shells of the shrimp. The bisque gets its rich velvety texture from cream. And the warm deep flavor of the cognac adds that extra depth of flavor to the bisque. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
  • 1 lb. of shrimp, peeled and deveined.  Set peel and tails aside. Discard veins.
  • 1 quart seafood stock
  • 2 shallots, cut in half, leave skin on
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 shallots finely diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Shrimp
  • 1/4 cognac
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 flour (all-purpose)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • Salt and pepper, taste
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, palm full, chopped
  1. To a 5 quart stock pot add shrimp peel, tails, shallots and the stock. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. 
  2. Strain thru a fine colander and discard shallots, peel and tails. Set aside stock.
  3. Heat olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add diced shallots, cook 10 - 12 minutes, stir often. Do not brown, you just want them very soft. 
  4. Add garlic and 1 minute, stirring during cooking time
  5. Add cayenne and shrimp, cook for 3 minutes. Stir often
  6. Pour in cognac and sherry, stir to incorporate and cook 3-4 minutes over medium-low heat
  7. Remove shrimp and shallots from pan. Rough chop the shrimp, reserve about 1/3 cup of the chopped shrimp.
  8. Using the same pot, add butter allow to melt over medium low heat then add flour, stir 2 minutes. 
  9. Stir in cream, half and half nutmeg and saffron. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly till  almost thickened.
  10. Add shallots, shrimp and stock, stir through and cook until thickened.  
  11. Using either an immersion blender stick or a regular blender, blend through until smooth and creamy.

To serve ladle each bowl with soup,  and then equally divide the reserved 1/3 cup shrimp and spoon over top of each bowl, sprinkle with parsley.

Serve with warm bread of choice, a light salad and your favorite wine. Cheers!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Lemon-Garlic Bucatini and Panchetta

Pasta PArmesan lemon garlic panchetta Bucatini

Pasta ... who doesn't love it?

You know what my favorite pasta is? Bucatini!
If you've never had it, it looks like spaghetti, except it's thicker and has a hole running right through it from end to end.

And you know what that means right? Sauce gets in there, so there's sauce a inside and out. Now tell me that doesn't sound divinely delicious.

Now add panchetta (Italian "bacon" - unsmoked pork belly), garlic, cream, lemon and cheese. Lots of yummy, salty, nutty Parmesan cheese. Oh goodness, I want to get into the kitchen and make this again, it's so good!

So easy to make and the entire meal comes together in under 30 minutes. Thirty minutes to the tang of lemon, the nuttiness of Parm and the slurp of the bucatini.

If you want to jazz it up a little, add a pound of shrimp when you get to step 4. Shrimp and panchetta really play nicely together. I think you'll like it.

Round the meal out with a salad, garlic bread and your favorite wine and you are set.

Leftovers, yeah, even better the next day.  Add a splash of cream when you heat it up to loosen it up, and sprinkle with Parm. Lunch anyone?

Serves 2 - 4

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8oz panchetta - diced
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic (or more to taste)
  • zest of one lemon, thinly sliced (set aside a few strands
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg -  beaten
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh, grated Parmesan cheese (no canned cheese - please) reserve 1/2 cup for sprinkling over each serving
  • 1 pound cooked bucatini
  • Palm full of Italian parsley, chopped 
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and panchetta.
  2. Saute panchetta until crispy, stirring often
  3. Lower heat to medium-low
  4. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil followed by the garlic and lemon zest - stirring continuously to avoid burning. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in cream and egg, stirring continuously cook till almost bubbling
  6. Briskly stir in wine to incorporate into cream mixture
  7. Add 1 cup of Parmesan, the bucatini and parsley, stir well to distribute throughout.
  8. Top with chopped parsley, stir well.
Serve into deep bowl, top each with additional Parmesan and enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Maple-Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Cake Pineapple Upside Down Rum Maples Dessert

I'm not big on sweets but this kicked up version of a classic is one of my favorites to make and eat.

The Hub, well, he does have a sweet tooth and whenever he sees a pineapple ripening in the kitchen - he knows what is coming. He even does his own version of a happy dance.

What's kicked up in my version of this classic is the addition of maple and rum in both the topping and the batter. I'm not adding these ingredients for the sole purpose of making the recipe different - but to enhance and add layers of flavors.  And they do!

Don't be put off by the steps, this cake comes together fast. Not only is it a crowd pleaser it looks quite impressive.  I have taken this to many dinners and BBQs and I have yet to see anyone turn down a piece. Even folks who aren't into sweets chow down on this without reserve.

I leave you with a bit of friendly advise ... make two -  if you are taking one to a party.  Your family may not be talking to you if you don't!

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • Marachino cherries
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Heat a heavy bottomed or cast iron skillet* over medium heat, adding butter to melt. 
  2. Add the brown sugar and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  3. Add maple syrup, rum and vanilla, stir to incorporate simmer an additional 30 seconds.
  4. If you are using a cast iron skillet you can cook the whole cake in it. Pour 
  5. butter-sugar mixture into a 13"x 9" baking dish that has been generously greased.
  6. Then arrange 8 pineapple rings along the bottom of the dish, 4 on each side and place a cherry in the center of each ring.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons dark rum - Divided into 2  and 4 tablespoons
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice, no sugar added
  1. Sift the first three ingredients together.
  2. Cream butter with and electric mixer until its light and fluffy, medium speed
  3. Slowly incorporate sugar
  4. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to incorporate each egg fully before adding the next egg
  5. Beat in vanilla and rum
  6. Lower mixer speed and add 1/2 of the flour until blended and add the juice
  7. Then add the remaining half of the flour until blended.  Do not over beat.  The batter may look lumpy or look like it is curdled.
  8. Carefully spoon batter over topping,  Take care to spread batter out evenly. 
  9. Bake until golden and toothpick or other tester comes out clean - about 45 minutes. If tester does not come out clean continue baking in 5 minute intervals until it does come out clean. Take care to not over bake.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining 4 tablespoons of rum over cake - immediately after taking out of oven.
  11. Cool on wire rack, Flip over once cooled.

*If you are using a cast iron skillet you can cook the whole cake in it. Arrange the pineapple rings along the bottom and use half rings along the sides of the skillet. Continue recipe as above.