Just because I’m eating healthier doesn’t mean I’m not gonna cook like a southerner with a deep fryer on high 24×7. Back in college there was a little restaurant along the main street of Pullman named Basillio’s that, along with my standard order of Cranberry Chicken salad, served a mean batch of beer battered cheese curds. The curds balanced out any residual “health” factor that the chicken salad contained – which honestly, wasn’t much in the first place. But dang, it was good.
In Pullman, we Cougs are known for many things. Being out in the middle of BFE Eastern Washington, having a wicked no-holds-bard beef with out cross state rivals the Huskies, and our cheese. “Wazzu” cheese has a following like no other. We’re pretty proud of that. It’s made from the milk of our own cows, created by our own students, and aged for a minimum of 18 months – some for up to 3 years. It’s sharp, crumbly and makes a killer quesadilla and nachos. Since I didn’t want to break into my 30 ounce tin that Ben and I recieved from his dear sainted madre, I opted for turning the fresh cheese curds I had from Beecher’s into my beloved and longed for beer battered curds. A wonderful trip down memory lane and a jeans shrinking treat.
I only had two I swear, pawning the rest onto Ben. Hooray for self control and a willing fiance.
In a bowl whisk together all of your dry ingredients – flour, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, corn starch, baking powder, etc.
Source yourself some fresh cheese curds is you can. I heart me some Beecher’s when my stock of WSU cheese is in short supply.
Once you pour your refreshing hoppy beer into the flour mixture, take a pull yourself. It’s beer. It is good. Especially Red Hook. It is after all brewed right down the road from our apartment. Hallelujah!
As the pot of hot oil is heating to a scorching temperature, the pieces of squeeky cheese curds into the batter covering them completely.
Into the oil they go until they puff up and turn a deep golden brown.
Once they turn, scoop them out of the grease and allow to drain on paper towels. Serve with a side of marinara and the rest of your beer and you’re good to go. Perhaps, okay fine it’s NOT NOT NOT, the most healthy thing in the universe – but a couple bites every couple of years – is well worth the gut bomb and joy in your mouth.
1 pound Fresh Cheese Curds
2 cups Flour
8 oz. Beer of your choice
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cornstarch
1/8 Cayenne Pepper
Marinara Sauce for Dipping
In medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients - flour, pepper, garlic, cayenne pepper, baking powder, cornstarch.
Pour beer into flour, and whisk into a smooth batter. Set aside.
In deep pot, heat oil until shimmering. When throughly heated, drop cheese curds into batter coating thickly. Place each curd into the oil and allow to fry until golden brown - approximately 4 minutes. Pull out of oil and allow to drain on a plate with paper towels. Repeat process until all cheese has been battered and cooked.
Serve with a dish of marinara sauce to dip. Goes great with beer. Hooray, beer!
Nutrition info? It's deep fried cheese. Healthy outlook not so good.
No, I’m not going through the roller coaster side effects of a sugar high over the holidays, why do you ask? *twitches eye*
After scarfing a boat load of veggies after my sugar cookie filled Christmas, I’m starting to even out a bit and wanted to make something a little sinful without it actually being sinful – hence, baked doughnuts.
While drooling all over my keyboard at Lauren’s Latest delightful Red Velvet and Coconut and Cranberry Orange doughnuts I knew I had to resource a batch for well, myself. And others!! There is no way I can justifiably scarf a baker’s dozen of doughnuts, baked or not, and not feel overwhelming guilt and the need to do 300 situps in exercise penance.
So here’s the how-to on these delicious baked delights.
In a large bowl, whisk together cake flour, nutmeg, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Take 1 cup of apple pie filling, and chop up the large apple pieces into itty bitty ones. Make sure they’re still discernible.
Mix the buttermilk, eggs, butter and apple pie filling into the dry ingredients and you’re ready to go.
Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into your pre-sprayed doughnut pan, baking at 425 for 8 minutes.
Ka-Pow! Golden brown and perfectly puffy. Roll out onto a cooking rack and get to making your whiskey glaze.
Into one cup of powdered sugar, whisk in 3-4 tablespoons of whiskey and whisk! Easy peasy. If you like your glaze a little stiffer, add in less whiskey. If you enjoy a runnier glaze, add more. Bam.
Now, as for glazing there are two ways to go about it. The pour-it-all-over-and-let-it-fall-down-in-a-sugar-wave. Or there is the dunking method. Both are illustrated in the picture above. You can tell which is which. Now, go forth and bake. These would be a nice way to bring in the new year, or as a brunch side sans glaze. Just a thought.
~Apple Fritter Doughnuts
2 cups Cake Flour
3/4 cup Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon
3/4 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup Buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted
1 cup. canned Apple Pie Filling, apples diced
1 cup Powdered Sugar
3-4 Tbsp. Whiskey
Preheat your oven to 425F.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.
Beat in buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter until fully incorporated.
Dice apples from canned apple pie filling into small pieces. Add into doughnut batter and mix until evenly distributed.
Spray doughnut pan with non-stick spray, filling each cavity with 1/3-1/2 cup doughnut batter. Bake in oven for 8 minutes, or until light golden brown.
In small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and whiskey until sugar is dissolved and mixture is runny.
Pour over each doughnut, or dunk tops of doughnuts into glaze and turn right side up to set. Serve while still slightly warm.
Inspired by Lauren of Lauren's Latest and Wilton recipes
Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! I hope you’re all feeling fat and happy and positively filled with sugar and Christmas spirit. And maybe a little boozy egg nog, too. This is what Christmas is all about. That and the birth of Jesus Christ. Thank you sir, you really give us a reason to party hard every year and celebrate well, You! You rock, just so you know.
Well, I’m spending Christmas with the fiance and his family in his tiny no-stop light town of Fairfield, Washington. And oh holy goodness do I love it here. Not a stop light to be seen and the six cars that passed us on our walk this morning meant that it was absolute chaos and congestion. My type of town. Oh, and when I can actually see the stars at night without their beauty being drowned out by city street lamps – it’s a good day. Or night as it were.
This morning we decided to trapse off a few of the cookies we’ve stuffed our faces with, walking a good 5K around town (the entire town). Since it didn’t sound like too much fun to tote the big camera around, I opted for the iPhone. iPhone, what would I ever do without you? After taking about 10 different photos, I wanted to share with you my favorites, hoping they will illustrate the allure of this tiny town. It is small. It’s glory days may be behind it, but only time will tell. And hopefully someday, we’ll be back here and be able to see the transition day in and day out.
Happy Christmas again, everyone! Thank you for all the support and foodie love this year. I can’t wait to hear all about your holidays and what Santa (or your honeys) bought you for Christmas. Ben’s got an uphill battle trying to upstage last year’s gift! Sorry, babe!
The Christmas crazies have officially hit. There is wrapping paper everywhere, tape stuck to the bottom of my socks on a routine basis, baked good everywhere, my jeans are fitting a little tighter and then there is the laundry, packing, and schlepping of everything over to Eastern Washington to spend the holiday with my future in-laws. The traveling part I am not sad about in the least. I”ve only made three trips to E.Wa this year and as my “country girl” classification goes – this means it’s been severly lacking this year. *Bawr*. (It’s the onomatopoetic equivalent of a ‘sad face’). I need my rolling wheat fields. I need my open spaces. These things are a necessity to my survival sanity. Perhaps a bit of both…
The other fantastic thing about going back to my one-day-I-know-we’ll-move-back-to-the-land-of-Ben’s-youth-and-my-enlightenment is that I can get positively fat off of my future sister in law’s cooking. Homegirl is the next Martha Stewart in a 5′ 2″ frame, minus a criminal record.
But since I will most likely be gone for a few days and not tantalizing your tastebuds with diet-killers from my own kitchen, I wanted to do a quick look back at some of my favorite foods from the year and entice you to perhaps, enjoy a couple of these dishes at your holiday table.
So, just in case I don’t get to say it in the next few days – I hope you all have a deliriously happy holiday with lots of incredibly heart warming food and a couple of drinks just in case the in-laws or out-laws get a little out of control.
Thank goodness for modern day agriculture. What would I possibly do if I was forced to go without fresh basil in the winter months? Basil is the lifeblood of my summer cooking. Last year’s double crop of basil in the apartment garden just barely satisfied my appetite. Barely.
A couple weeks ago I went to Beecher’s, the promise land for any cheese devotee, where I picked up a large container of their fresh cheese curds, among other cheeses. Not wanting to just sit in front of the TV and devour them plain, which would not have been sad in the least, I opted for marinating them in some basil infused olive oil I received a few weeks ago from Star.
With a plethora of choices to choose from to marinate my cheese curds, I opted for the basil version to tastily whisk me away to the summer months, adding in a few leaves of store bough fresh basil and some cherry tomatoes.
With a steady supply of Mason jars stored in the nooks and crannies of drawers and cubbies in the apartment, I scavenged up on and go to work. With a handful of cheese curds tossed into the bottom, and enough oil drizzled over to cover the tops – seal the jar with plastic wrap or a proper canning lid and ring. Into the fridge it goes overnight, at least, and then you’re ready to serve!
Additional herbs or seasonings if desired:
In a quart size Mason Jar, or large bowl, place cheese curds.
Pour olive oil over the top, tossing to evenly coat.
Add in additional seasonings or herbs if desired.
Cover with plastic wrap or Mason jar lid, if using. Place in refrigerator overnight. Toss olive oil and cheese occasional to make sure each curd is covered and getting equal marinating time.
Serve as an appetizer with vegetables, or as a Caprese with fresh basil leaves and tomatoes.
Words “cheese” and “ball” usually conjure up images of 70′s entertaining where mini-gehrkins with toothpicks and cheese balls were the epitome of classy entertaining. Bridget Jone’s mother, anyone? All we need is an ugly Christmas jumper and we’re set.
This recipe – despite the “cheese ball” nature of it – is creamy, chocolately and a sure hit with a group with a serious case of the noms (just served this beauty at my Bestie’s Latkepalooza party – big hit). And the best part – a whopping 5 ingredients, quick turn around the mixer, a chill in the fridge and you’re done.
After beating the cream cheese into submission, the chocolate of the gods (ie: Nutella) was added in and beat until evenly mixed together. I have one of those scrapping mixer attachments for le Kitchen Aid, so it didn’t require me to scrape the bowl down too much, but if you don’t have one of these – make sure you scrape down your bowl a lot, just to ensure it’s all even.
One cup of powdered sugar was slowly added to give the mixture a bit more rigidity and touch of sweetness.
Once throughly mixed, I laid down a double layer of plastic wrap and plopped the whole kit and caboodle into the middle.
The edges of the plastic wrap were gathered together and twisted to give the wad a slight ball formation.
BTW, Sally Hansen Complete Manicure Commander in Chic is the nail polish of choice. We went to the Nutcracker this weekend and dang, let me tell you I love when I can get dressed up, do my nails and *bam* my nail polish matches my dress’s belt, EXACTLY. Accessory Victory!
I’ve got 5 colors from this Manicure line. To say I’m obsessed is a bit of an understatement.
Anyway, moving on.
Once the ball is wrapped and formed, place it into a small bowl and throw ‘er into the fridge or freezer for at least two hours.
While she sits and down her business, roughly chop 2/3-3/4 cup raw hazelnuts. Combine with an equal portion of chocolate chips and pour onto a plate.
Once the Nutella ball has been sufficiently chilled, unwrap and lay into the hazelnut/chocolate chip mix coating the outside of the ball. Press in any loose pieces.
Serve immediately or wrap up in a clean sheet of plastic wrap and chill for later.
This goes great with graham crackers or sliced fresh fruits.
1 brick Cream Cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup Nutella
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2/3 cup Chocolate Chips
2/3 cup Hazelnuts, roughly chopped
In a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Beat in Nutella until evenly distributed. Scrape down sides repeatedly to ensure both ingredients are mixed well. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.
Lay out a double layer of plastic wrap on flat surface, approximately 16" by 16" square. Pour all of Nutella/Cream cheese mixture into the middle of plastic wrap. Gather all edges of plastic wrap and gather at the top. Twist edges together, closing and tightening the mixture into a ball. Clip to secure, or hold together with a rubber band. Place sealed ball into a small bowl and refrigerate or free for at least two hours.
While chilling, roughly chop hazelnuts and toss with chocolate chips. Lay out on a plate. Once Nutella/Cream Cheese mixture has chilled, roll it in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts to coat.
Serve immediately or wrap again in clean plastic wrap and chill until read to serve.
Serve with graham crackers or fruit.
How does a parent not crumble to pieces when the words “your child” and “cancer” become so inexplicably intertwined? When you’re forced to bear the burden of staying strong when all forces are taking you out at the knees, be the comfort for your child when all you want to do is break down and crumple, and when you would do anything to leach that disease out of them and put it all on yourself because that’s what you were meant to do – take away your child’s pain.
I simply can’t imagine.
My only experience with pediatric cancer came from a boy named Andrew when I was in first grade. He was my first crush with a buzz cut and off center smile. When I met him in Mrs. Patterson’s class, his innumerable and extended absences were noticed. Small stacks of papers and homework assignments mounted, and in my first-grade mine I saw them go all the way to the ceiling. I wanted to help finished those assignments for him just to ease the burden of school while his blood was coursing leukemia through his system. It was the only way I knew how to help.
Five years, countless treatments, surgeries and scans later he went into remission. We continued on in school together and finished up high school, playing spring ball together and graduating in ’04. Occasionally I get updates on all of the friends from high school, finding out he married a girl from our graduating class and they have been blessed with adorable and healthy children. It’s amazing to think how different it all could have been.
There are so many stories like these, from our standard bearer Kirsten to that of our cause Gretchen Holt-Witt - you just never know when it could hit home. So, to hell if we’re going to sit idly by while all that is standing between is the funding and gumption for people to go out and raise awareness for a cause that could very well effect any one of us and our children.
Yes, I said “to hell with”. It’s cancer, and it deserves to be put in it’s place.
An eye opening 25% of children affected with cancer are unable to be treated due to the staggering costs and lack of effective treatments. Twenty five percent of children is twenty five percent too many in my book.
In honor of kicking pediatric cancer square in the junk and putting it in it’s rightful place, the wonderful women participating in Pie Week have teamed up for Be A Good Cookie Week.
Kirsten of Comfortably Domestic started us off with her story, her giveaway and her unstoppable cause.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup lightly toasted and cooled pecans, coarsely chopped
4 ounces German's sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and mix until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mix until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the coconut, pecans and chocolate and mix again.
Drop the dough by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Alternatively, you can roll the dough into a log (see boxed copy, page 00). Transfer to the oven and bake until the underside of the cookie begins to firm up, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet. Transfer to a wire rack and repeat with the remaining dough.
At some point in your life, when you are a couple progressing in a relationship, you have to do the unthinkable…
You have to be uncomfortable, vulnerable, be judged and stand there and take it.
You have to,
Have engagement photos taken!
*insert big ginormous smiley face here*
Ben and I got engaged on Christmas last year and slowly but surely we’re planning our wedding and striking things off of the dreaded and intimidating “To-Do” list. Geez, there is a lot of pomp and circumstance that goes into wedding planning. But having our photos done – has been the highlight of this adventure.
Let me rephrase that – getting engaged to the man of my dreams, who makes me laugh at the most inopportune of times, who I can’t stay mad at for any longer than ten minutes and who can drop one quote from The Office and I’m a rib-aching mess of giggles has been the highlight of this adventure – but the photos have been the funnest part of planning the wedding.
We savvy now? Good.
Last Friday we got our photos taken by the utterly adorable and creative Charis of Chalk Ballerina Photography. One look at her with her big doe-eyes and short shaggy pixie cut – I thought she was a Cupie Doll reincarnate. I feel in heart with her zest and sense of humor. And now I’m crushed I didn’t know her sooner and hire her for our wedding.
We (read: I) stumbled onto her through LivingSocial where I figured it was a good idea for Ben and I to take a trial engagment photo session since he has professed over and over again to HATING having his photo taken. I’ve seen his senior photos from high school – his message was well received. But for $80 it was worth a test run, just to see how bad it could really be…
These are the results.
Best. $80. EVER. Spent.
And my hunny looks mighty fine. Not that I’m not biased or anything…
There are flavor combinations that last the test of time. Inexplicable, sure. Utterly incredible and defying all rationale, yup.
For me that combination, held in time like Hans Solo frozen in a block of carbonite is butterscotch, chocolate chip, coconut and walnuts. Hello, sugar coma amazingness.
Wait a tick, let’s reflect on Megan (ie: me) making a Star Wars reference. Someone please hold me.
Around Christmas time every year since the dawn of my time, my mother has made the Eagle brand 7-Layer Magic Bars. They make an appearance on the snacking table of many warm holiday parties around the country, spreading their own brand of cheer and causing the consumer to lose grasp and all worldly sense of portion control. It happens.
But sadly, they don’t transport nearly well enough to ship cross country to those who’s supply of these bars is limited. This is where their transformation comes in. The morphing from bar to cookie causes one to raise an eyebrow, but solidifying their essence in the dough of an otherwise ordinary chocolate chip cookie made these perfect for transporting holiday cheer near and far.
Now, they’re just not sure if they’re a bar or cookie. Hence, Identity Crisis Cookie.
Tagline: They think they’re 7-layer bars…
A batch of these beauties was shipped to three wonderful bloggers as part of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and I’m happy to hear they were a hit with them as much as they were a hit in my house, with me, Ben and Huck. Yes, even Huck got a little piece of cookie. It’s Christmas time, the pup gets spoiled.
650+ bloggers volunteered to spread holiday cheer with other bloggers around the country and holy crap was it a massive success. In the process of giving and recieving I met six wonderful women and ate three dozen wonderful cookies. Of this my jeans do not approve.
With the cookie base that goes into my chocolate chip cookies, I knew these would be a snap. One the oven was preheated to 300, yes only 300 – all of the dry ingredients were combined seperately into three bowls, flour, baking soda and salt in one. Sugars into another and chips, coconut and nuts into a third – they were all then added into the mixer for a final combine.
Will someone please tell me that I”m not the only one who lives to see their brown sugar come out of a measuring cup intact? I love it!
In goes the fixins. Dang I wanted to just devour this as-is. But I showed great restraint. Mostly.
And who doesn’t love dough out of the bowl? C’mon, you’ve got to be fibbing if you don’t take a spoonful out now and again.
And one by one each pan was baked low and slow, packaged and shipped to three deservings chicks. And with a few extra left over, Ben was able to swipe one or two. He didn’t think I’d notice. But I did. It’s butterscotch, chocolate and coconut after all!
So, here’s to one year down and looking ahead to next year’s cookie swap!
~ 2 ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
~ ½ tsp Baking Soda
~ ¼ tsp Salt
~ 1 cup Butter
~ 1 cup Brown Sugar
~ ½ cup White Sugar
~ 2 eggs
~ 2 tsp Vanilla
~ 1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
~ 1 cup Butterscotch Chips
~ ¾ cup Flaked Coconut
~ ¾ cup Chopped Walnuts
Preheat oven to 300F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, mix together butter and sugars on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla extract. Add in flour mixture ½ cup at a time. Beat until just incorporated. Lastly, beat in chips, coconut and walnuts.
Once combined, let refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Dollop onto un-greased cookie sheets baking low and slow for 18-21 minutes, depending on your oven.
Welcome everyone to the new and improved Country Cleaver! I hope you enjoy the new digs and more user friendly site.
The last year and a half of writing Wanna Be A Country Cleaver has been completely transformative. Not only have I expanded my horizons in the kitchen and beyond, but it has opened the doors to a welcoming community with absolutely wonderful people.
So, hopefully you will enjoy this transformation and continue on this little cooking adventure with me. Every burnt pastry and undercooked chicken mishap along the way.
To start this new site of right, I wanted to whip up a new appetizer just in time for the holidays featuring a quintessentially Northwest product – Beecher’s Cheese. If you haven’t ever heard of Beecher’s, that’s okay I won’t totally judge you. Maybe just a tad. But if you have heard of them you can appreciate the artistry of their product line and revel in all of the aged cheesy glory. Beecher’s has been featured in several publications, won armfuls of notable awards and was even featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things. Oprah. If Oprah likes it, you know it has to be good. And it is.
Lately, I have been seeing asparagus and pear pairing in salads. There has to be some merit to this flavor combo and I wanted to investigate it myself. So what could be better than tossing a few bites of pear and asparagus with Beecher’s Flagship cheese and wrapping it in puff pastry? Nothing.
Below is the printable recipe with your long list of seven whole ingredients. Seven. Not so intimidating now is it?
Now, get crackin’ and whip out a batch of these for your holiday festivities. They’re sure to be a hit.
Bites of Beecher's Cheese, asparagus and pear wrapped in puff pastry.
1 sheet Puff Pastry
8 stalks Asparagus, trimmed and halved
3 oz. Beecher's Flagship Cheese
1/2 Bartlett Pear, thinly sliced
1 egg, for wash
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Layer non-stick pan with parchment paper.
Roll out puff pastry on a floured surface. Using knife, slice into elongated diamond shapes.
Lay 2-3 pieces of asparagus onto puff pastry "hamburger-style" so the longer edges of the puff pastry can be folded over later.
Top asparagus with crumbles of Beecher's cheese and 1 slice of pear. Season with a dash of ground pepper.
Fold elongated corners of puff pastry over the cheese, pear and asparagus. It's okay if the asparagus and pear are sticking out.
Using a pastry brush, brush on some egg that has been beaten with a fork. Bake bites for 15 minutes. Serve while still warm.