Fallon in da House!!!

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This week’s Friday Feature comes from the girl who loves and appreciates food as much as I do, who I can always count on for an “I’m in,” and who’s always down for dessert….coming in hot…..Miss Fallon Marie Sposatooooooooo!

Sposato Family Braciole

“Crockheads…I hope you’re ready to be schooled in some authentic Italian eats because this is the real deal…. a Sposato family favorite I’ve been eating since I was a kid. BUT. Full disclosure: it appears as though no one in my family writes things down or keeps recipes. This is a very loose recipe…I tried to keep up with my dad as best I could.

Anyhow…Christmas time in the Sposato household means one thing: Italian food traditions. Every year we bake Italian pastries by the plenty (biscotti, pizzelles, totos, etc.) and we celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fish on Christmas Eve. Occasionally, we have lasagna on Christmas day.

On the 26th when I was “working remotely” aka on house arrest with my computer but doing nothing productive, I decided to cook with my dad and document an Italian dish we eat all throughout the year. This dish isn’t complicated but does require many hours simmered in sauce – perfect to be adapted for the crockpot.IMG_0001

Braciole, pronounced bra’zhul, can be cooked with meatballs or in place of them with pasta. Known as braciole in the United States, in Italy they’re called involtini, which means “little bundles”. The little bundles we put together are thin slices of beef with a savory filling, rolled and held together by a toothpick. Interestingly in our variation we use raisins, which are surprisingly good in savory dishes.

Ingredients:IMG_0003
-Approx. 2.5 lbs top round steak thin sliced or flank steak thin sliced
-4-5 cloves of minced garlic, more or less to taste
-2 small boxes of raisins
-Large bunch of fresh parsley
-Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
-Italian seasoning
-Garlic salt
-Pepper
-Toothpicks
-Jar of store bought marinara sauce
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Pasta – penne or other small type

  1. Cut beef into strips. This depends on personal preference but I suggest 1-2 inches wide. The beef is easier to work with if its really cold so keep it refrigerated until the last moment.
  2. Layer on each beef strip garlic salt, pepper, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, raisins and Parmesan cheese.IMG_0004
  3. Roll strip up into a little bundle and secure with one toothpick per bundle.IMG_0002
  4. Once you have seasoned and rolled all strips, put them in olive oil over medium high heat. Brown the bundles, remove from heat and add to the crockpot.IMG_0008IMG_0006
  5. Add store bought marinara to crockpot and let simmer for 3-4 hours over low setting.

Optional:

After we browned the braciole, we deglazed the pot with good red wine for the base of our sauce. Then we put our sauce in the pot and added peppers, whole canned tomatoes and crushed red pepper. Once this was all stirred together, we added to the crock pot over the meat. Again, it depends on personal preference with the sauce.IMG_0007

To serve:

We served this with penne pasta. Remember to remove the toothpicks prior to serving or remind your diners to do so on their plates and please don’t sue me if you forget. Buon appetito!”IMG_0005

Fal, this looks amaaaazing and I would like for you to cook this for the crew sooner than later please 🙂 Thanks for your Friday Feature!!!10698590_10102538326664937_5254771097725680975_n

ShuLaur in the house!

Crockpottuesday has a special guest in the house this week for Friday Feature. This person is probably one of my sweetest friends and nicest of my group of high school friends. Girls…the one that always said, “well you can if you want to…” Miss Lauren Shuler in da kitchen!!!!!

“About a month ago I was tailgating with Susu at a South Carolina home game (side note: go Tigers and go Gators!!) when I expressed to her my wish to use my crockpot more, which, by the way, I received as a Christmas gift but had never used it. She encouraged me to just research recipes and go for it. Crockpotting and cooking is easy and about experimenting. So my first crockpot experience which was 10 months after I received it began like this….picture of us

October. The best month of the year: cooler weather, college football, Oktoberfest beers, the return of The Walking Dead and post season baseball (the last two mainly because my boyfriend, Stephen, enjoys them). *Editor’s note: also the month Lauren and Stephen were born!!!* Alongside cooler weather comes warm comfort food, my personal favorite being CHILI! There are so many ways to make chili. We’ve already made this recipe twice this fall. One of the great things about this recipe is that it lends itself well to variations depending on personal preference and what you have in your cupboard. It’s easy to make and you have leftovers for days which certainly is a plus.chilliIngredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cans of kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cans of pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 tablespoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon of cumin Red pepper flakes
Sriracha

Dircetions:
1. Brown ground beef in skillet with garlic.

2. Once meat is browned, add celery, carrots, onion, red pepper flakes (to taste, depending on your desire for spicy, we used about a teaspoon). Keep cooking in skillet on medium for about 6 minutes.

3. Transfer contents of skillet into crockpot and add beans, tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin. Add Sriracha. The amount of Sriracha will vary depending on your preference. We used about 2 tablespoons.

4. Set on low for 6.5 hours

It’s that simple! Add sour cream, cheese, green onion, cornbread, or whatever your stomach desires!

And, of course, a good fall beer, as pictured by our puppy Bailey below.bailey

Thanks Lauren- will definitely be copying this recipe in the near future!! Happy fall y’all…and get yo chilli on dawg!

Katie in the House!

There’s not a lot of people in this world that I greet with a large hug, a lot of clapping, a lick, and a 10 second sniff session. All this excitement happens though every time I see one of my best friends and, as of recent, my soon- to- be- again- ROOMMATE! Crockheads, for this week’s Friday Feature, my number one dawg, Katie Nichols, has the kitchen.

katie

When I think Summer, I think BARBEQUE!

“Okay people, that was one heck of a winter. Now I’m no beach babe (unless Casper could pass as a beach babe, that is) and most of my friends would tell you I love a good winter, but as a bona fide southerner (aka pansy when it comes to truly cold weather) I’m peelin’ off my last layer of long undies (yep, I wear those) and shoutin’ BRING ON SUMMER! And when I think Summer, I think BARBEQUE!bbq

One of my favorite things about barbeque is the various forms it can take—both linguistically and physically. Take, for starters, that the word “barbeque” is one of the few words in the English language that can function as a noun or verb. Most of us Southerners think of it as a noun—usually the likes of a mouth-watering pile of pulled pork (more on this later). However, the term can also be used as a verb…to barbeque some ribs or to barbeque chicken for dinner. You get the picture. Let’s move on to more concrete examples.

By birth I’m no big city gal (shout out to Murrells Inlet), but my curiosity has led me in the way of some amazing travels. For example, in Australia (shout out to my Aussies), the term “barbeque” refers exclusively either to 1) an actual gathering of friends and family, usually in a backyard and/or 2) the actual device in which one would use to cook such outdoor meals. “Barbie”—short for barbeque of course—is the Australian synonym for what we call a “grill.” barbie

Now, moving on to more domestic discrepancies—I’m talking right here in the good ole U.S. of A. I debated mentioning the following story, as it is still a subject of an uneasy “agree to disagree” with my wonderful (cough cough, Yankee) boyfriend, Jay. It involves the day it really hit me that I was dating a northerner. During our first year of dating we ventured into Jim-N-Nick’s one day on King Street for lunch. As I scurried off to the ladies I quickly told Jay what I wanted. I said, “a barbeque sandwich, please.”

I’m quite the omnivore, so what follows didn’t really affect my appetite (I still ate every bite) as much as it got my pensive wheels a turnin.’

Drumroll. He ordered me a barbeque chicken sandwich.

From my southern born and bred vantage point, obviously, because I did not specify a different kind of meat I, by default, (say it with me Southerners) meant pork.

I’ll never forget the bewildered expression on his face as he drank his unsweetened tea and tried to make sense of my explanation that in the South we consider barbeque to be pulled pork, unless otherwise specified.jay

Now, all that being said, I made a BBQ Beer CHICKEN crockpot recipe—and it is GOOD people! I asked my friends Lee and Logan to share the meal with me. Since I moved to Greenville a few months ago, they have been so gracious; they’ve fed me A LOT (I’m that guest that takes seconds every time). I figured it was my turn. When I ran the idea by Lee she immediately offered to make blue cheese cole slaw to go with our BBQ beer chicken….dynamite.lee

Before I leave you with what I used and what I did, let me just say…

Wherever you’re from and whatever “barbeque” means to you—I hope you’ll CELEBRATE IT THIS SUMMER!

Ingredients (makes about 8 servings and stellar leftovers)

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)

  • 1 tbsp onion powder

  • 1 tbsp paprika

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1tsp salt
/1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 cup beer (any kind you like; I used Stella)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) of barbecue sauce (any kind you like—I used a combination of Trader Joes Carolina Gold and Weber Real Molasses)
  • hamburger buns
 (we didn’t use—but of course its an option)
  • coleslaw (preferably blue cheese coleslaw if you have a friend that makes it 🙂 )

Directions
Put all ingredients in crockpot except chicken. Stir to combine.
Add the chicken to the mixture and spoon the sauce on top of the chicken.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours.
Shred the chicken and let sit for a few minutes before serving so it can fully absorb the sauce.
I served with blue cheese coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

platesauce Recipe adapted from http://www.fatgirltrappedinaskinnybody.com “

Katie, my dawg, well done I will certainly look forward to making your BBQ Chicken. Actually, can you just do it when you move in? Thanks for your Friday Feature!

 

Odom in the House!

Crockheads,

You’ve seen him around town, you’ve heard of him on the blog, and you know the name, now coming to you live from Charleston for Friday Feature……. ALEX ODOM!!!!!!!!!! snaps snaps snaps.

“Having never blogged before I hope you all can hear my writer’s voice.  It’s more of a yell so be glad this isn’t a podcast. What a true honor to have Susu relinquish control of CPT and author a Friday Feature! Big shoes to follow in with Richard (literally, he’s huge) and Mr. Kassel… but I’m no slouch so here we go. Having read CPT since the Manhattan days and helped Su work her way through Charleston’s finest restaurants (Zaxby’s anyone? Kidding, Charleston Grill is where it’s at) this is a true honor. I have been in Charleston for the last 2 years working on a Master’s degree at MUSC, but have been cooking since childhood. Coming from a family of well-fed individuals if you wanted to eat, you had to cook. Or at least contribute. And in honor of the upcoming Gamecock football season—139 days y’all—I decided on Cajun Boiled Peanuts. The original Redneck Candy and perfect for tailgate.  Beautiful in its simplicity, all you need are a few ingredients and a little patience and you will wow even the snootiest of Clemson fans.
 
Ingredients:
1 bag or RAW peanuts… do not get green, they are terrible
3/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons red pepper flakes
Hot sauce
Enough water to cover the peanuts, adding as needed
Heavy plates
*All ingredients are to taste, so this is just a guideline
 
Wash peanuts in a colander and place in crockpot with plain water covering the nuts. Place heavy plates over the top and let soak for at least 6 hours. Leave crockpot OFF.

plates
Remove plates and add all seasonings. Replace plates and set crockpot to LOW.
Let peanuts cook for 15-18 hours. The plates need to stay on for a while to cook evenly. But when the color darkens you can remove the plates and just stir occasionally. in pot

Remember this is an all day affair and peanuts are extremely hard to mess up.
Approximate cook time for this batch was 18 hours, and they were perfect I must say. The longer they cook the stronger the flavor.
Serve with a fine craft beer such as Bud Light.

beer 
A bike delivery for Su and Kendall at the Charleston Place makes for very jealous co-workers.Su See you all in August, Go Cocks!

These boiled peanuts were cooked perfectly! Kendall and I destroyed them at work…and I could handle the heat! Odom, thanks for the Friday Feature…what’s next on our bucket list? I’m not canoeing to Edisto…1546364_10201851009865506_1373382752_n

Mooka in the house!

I need to brag on my friend and co-worker Larry Crosby real quick. Last week I asked him how his Valentine’s Day was. His easy-going reply, “It was good, how was yours?” I told him nice, but unfortunately had to work and then we ventured into crazy hotel talk. Later, I asked him where he went to dinner and it wasn’t until then that he unleashed on me his unbelievable Valentine’s Day. Larry cooked up a 4-course meal from scratch for his fiance AND paired each course with his homemade beer (Check out Mooka Brewery)! I was over the top impressed and I admired so much his modesty that I begged him to do a Friday Feature. So! Coming to you now….MOOKA’S VALENTINE’S DAY!

“Valentine’s. An epic day of love (or lack of) for many people. It’s probably my least favorite holiday for all the obvious reasons, but I am in a quite awesome relationship myself so I try to embrace the day as much as the next man – Just get through it.

But seriously, I thought to myself, my fiancée and I are tying the knot soon and I’m over the elaborate, pre-fixe, $125 per person affair that seems to encompass the 14th of February. One thing that separates the men from the boys, isn’t some notion that you can throw chocolate and a few flowers at your sweetie in hopes of making your Valentine’s Day special. Nope, it’s the guys that approach the day with a uniqueness of style that makes her say, “Oh shit!”

So, since I consider myself a decent cook (and I was on a budget :)), I decided to up the ante and whip up a nice 4-course meal of my own. One thing I know is, the key to someone’s heart is FOOD.

I head to Harris Teeter and to no one surprise, the place is flooded. Not your usual, after-work, Friday crowd. Instead, guys are running around everywhere buying wine, last-minute roses, chocolates, you name it. I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear when I entered the store gazing at the amount of guys that may not be all about Valentine’s Day but knew they couldn’t go home empty-handed. Let’s just say, they better have brought something, or else.  Anyways, I pondered over the week what I would make so, I was plenty prepared.

The menu:

1st Course – Rice Noodle Soup with mustard greens, red pepper, garlic, soy ginger broth

soup

2nd Course – Lump Crab Cakes with tomato, okra, dill

crab

3rd Course – Grilled Prime Rib with garlic potatoes

prime rib

4lh Course- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Oops! No pics of the cheesecake, but it came out very well. I don’t bake so I considered it quite the accomplishment!

I paired everything with beers (Yes, Beers!) instead of wine. The pairings go amazingly well and it’s definitely a different touch.

I did a Ranger IPA for the first course to match with the ginger and cut through the spice.

A Belgian Blonde (Leffe) was for the crab cakes to complement the citrus in the dish but also provide sweetness to accompany the crab.

The steak was paired with Bell’s Amber ale. The caramel sweetness goes perfectly with the charred and caramelized sear on the steak. But also, the carbonation cleans the fat from the palette to get you ready for the next bite!

Finally, the cheesecake was paired with Duck Rabbit Milk Stout. It’s a sweet stout that goes great with dessert. Chocolate and Chocolate. Not much better than that!

couple pic

WOW! Thank you so much Larry for sharing!! All I gotta say is ….Gentlemen…hope you took notes 😉

Rich$ in the House!

Happy Friday Y’all! This week’s FRIDAY FEATURE is from one my best friends Richard Jordan. Enjoy below one of his recent recipes!

“What’s up Crockheads?! Rich$ here and I am honored to be a contributing writer for Crockpottuesday’s “Featured Friday”!

If ya didn’t know, ya should, that Susu and I have a lot in common. The main things we like are good friends, good times, and of course good food. Recently, the majority of our communication has been based on different bites we’ve cooked. To sum it up, Susu is my baby girl and best friend.

So, it’s a new year and with the New Year comes resolutions and with resolutions comes the ridiculous struggle with will power to follow through. For example, I said I wanted to make my bed every day for 2014 and that lasted 2 days. 2 days ya’ll, that’s awful. But, I do have one resolution and that is to eat better; not just eat better as a whole, but to remove gluten from my diet as a whole to see if I can get rid of my chronic stomach pains! Yes, it is hard, but as I’ve been going down this path, I’ve realized how many creative alternatives there are for gluten free diets.

Enough about me, let’s get to the good good and talk about a meal I think will satisfy multiple pallets. I’ve taken two of my loves, tacos and BBQ and made what I like to call “Southern Citrus Pork Tacos”. I hear you saying, “What’s in that bad boy?” Well it’s easy!

The Meat:
Medium Boston Butt
2 ½ cups white vinegar
3 oz Dole’s Orange, Pineapple and Banana Juice
Juice of 2 limes
4 cloves of garlic – minced
Salt and Pepper
EVOO

Get a medium sized Boston Butt (Susu stop giggling) and make your marinade with the above ingredients. Let that marinate overnight with the butt so it sucks up all that good citrus juice. The day of, put the booty in the Crockpot and make sure you allot 7-8 hours to cook! When the time has come, the meat literally falls off the bone and shreds with a small turn of a fork.

Next, let’s talk toppings…yeahhh folks, it’d be easy go with your regular sour cream lettuce and tomatoes, but why? Here are the toppings I suggest:

Black Bean Mash
2 cans of black beans
Half of a large white onion
EVOO

Sauté onion with evoo until brown and add 2 cans of un-drained black beans. Simmer for about 15 minutes and then use a spatula to smush the beans into a paste. This should be the first ingredient to touch your corn tortilla. Think of it as the foundation to the masterpiece you’re about to create and devour!

Marinated Red Onions (make the day before)
Half of a large red onion
3 oz. White Vinegar
2 cloves garlic,minced

Mix all above ingredients like a Polaroid picture.This purple relish makes a sweet crunch on top of your taco..freak.yes.

Tomato and Corn Salsa
Handful of cherry tomatoes – halved
Can of white corn
EVOO
Salt and Pepper

Make a little bar for your guest to pick and choose their toppings. I also put out some avocado, (wouldn’t be a susu party without some –cados) cheese, and gluten free corn tortillas.

Ya’ll…this meal was so good. I had my grandmother and mother over to be my guinea pigs and the three of us had no trouble putting these suckers away. This recipe almost made too much, but as a stag, it’s perfect for leftovers. The ONLY setback for me was the pork held a lot more moisture than I expected and made the tortillas a little soggy, but that didn’t stop me from eating three! So out of five pickle spears, I give it a solid four! Easy, delicious, different, and GLUTEN FREE- helping me stick with my resolution. I hope you enjoy my “Southern Citrus Pork Tacos”.”

Thanks Rich$!

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Zmudas in the House!

I was so thrilled to receive the sweetest email from Mary Zmuda last night. Please read below 🙂

“I moved to MD a few weeks ago and my new roommates (AKA my parents…) have been cooking dinner for me every night which, don’t get me wrong, has been great!  But being 25, I felt like it was about time I chipped in and offered to cook for them.  They, of course, jumped on my offer and decided to invite two of their friends over to “enjoy” the dinner I was going to cook.  Yikes – the pressure was on to actually make something edible.

I turned to Crockpottuesday to find a delicious recipe that I could make for a group of people with minimal effort – alas Chicken Tortilla Soup, the resident recipe featured in the January edition of South of Broad Living magazine.  This move was also strategic in the sense that if it didn’t turn out good I could always blame the recipe on someone else…

The main reason as to why I picked this recipe was because all of the ingredients were simple – they either were already in my (AKA my parents…) pantry or they were inexpensive and easy to find at the grocery store.  I literally followed the recipe exactly with the addition of a green pepper since I had one on hand, put everything into the crockpot on high, and VOILA! 3.5 hours later we all enjoyed delicious soup!

Here is some feedback about the recipe I either noticed while cooking or received from my dinner guests:
-If you have a small crockpot, half or 3/4 the recipe.  I made the full recipe but the crockpot was so full I had to transfer it to a large pot when it came time to shred the chicken and stir it.
-When the recipe calls for Lots.Of.Cumin this is not a lie.  Lots of cumin needs to be used and it really does make all the difference!
-I topped my soup with cheddar cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro which was perfect!  Some of my dinner guests put sour cream and guacamole on theirs too which came highly recommended.
-Dinner guest Lisa said, “the amazing thing about this soup is that you can actually taste all the ingredients in it – there isn’t one that overpowers the others!  I will definitely be making this in the future.”
-Dinner guest Kim noted that, “it looked like a very healthy and light dish, but it was surprisingly filling!”
-All that dinner guest Richard could comment was, “Mmmmmmm” as he got up for seconds.

soup

crew

As you can see from the last picture, since we all felt like we ate a nutritious dinner we had to finish the evening with chocolate cheesecake and dessert wine.  Thanks Crockpottuesday!”

cakeThanks Mary for the Friday Feature! If anyone else has any recipes that they would like to share for a Friday Feature on Crockpottuesday that would make me so happy!

Have a great weekend Crockheads 🙂