Real Food for Real Life

Monday, February 7, 2011

A wonderful gift...

You may have noticed (or not) that I have blogs listed in my sidebar.  These are blogs that have resonated with me for some reason or another (when I used to have more time I would visit five random new blogs a day), and I enjoy returning to them to read the latest adventure.  Rosemary, the fine food writer behind Sprigs of Rosemary, is one of my readers as well, and after exchanging a few emails about blogging she sent me a most kind gift, a box of Penzeys Spices.  I am not familiar with this company, but Rosemary has mentioned them on her blog and I can't wait to try these out.  In the meantime, I encourage you all to go visit Rosemary at her beautiful blog.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A local goody...

Not too long before Christmas, Ben brought home some jelly and hot sauce made by a fellow he knows at the university.  Vic grows his own hot peppers and uses these to make jellies and hot sauces that he sells locally.  The hot sauce was a standout for the clear, fruity habañero flavor, but it is definitely a scorcher, so not one to be used as generously as Tabasco.  The jelly was the real winner, however, the sweet blackberries the perfect sweet counterpoint for the very pleasant back heat of the habañero...we ordered a box to give as Christmas gifts, we liked it that much, and yes, we will be buying more for our own use as well.  If you are interested in giving either, or both, of these a try, you can contact Vic at:

Vicious Vic's
P.O. Box 71
Bath, IN 47010

Our favorite use for Vic's jelly is on toasty English muffins, but yesterday we found a new and tasty use for this wonderful treat.  I was making a baked brie to take to a neighborhood party and was pondering whether to go savory with pesto, or sweet with apricot preserves.  Ben suggested using the jelly instead.  I did, and am I ever so glad, as were the neighbors who raved over the gooey goodness.  I told Ben to make sure he passed it on to Vic that he had a winner here.

Habañero Blackberry Baked Brie

1 8oz. wheel of Brie (Camembert works too)
1 prepared pie crust (purchased or home made)
 Habañero Blackberry Jelly
slivered almonds, toasted
1 egg, beaten (you won't use it all)

Consider this recipe as a "Master recipe," one that you take the technique and change up the toppings to whatever suits you, sweet or savory.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Open the pie crust on your counter and lay the brie wheel in the center.  Top the Brie with a few tablespoons jelly and some toasted slivered almonds.  Lift one edge of the pie crust to the center of the wheel and then start lifting and folding, completely encasing the Brie.

  Brush the surface with the egg, brushing a little under the folds to help seal them.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

  Remove and let cool slightly before serving.

Oozey, gooey goodness after the first cut

Kitchen Tip -Toasting Nuts

Toasting any kind of nut before using in your recipe will bring out a fuller flavor, and could not be any easier.  If using a small amount, just put in a small dry skillet and toast over med-high heat for a few minutes until golden, stirring often as to not burn the nuts.  If needing a larger quantity, just spread on a dry baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for a few minutes, or until golden, again stirring frequently to avoid burning.
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