Growing up Italian, homemade meatballs were a dinner staple enjoyed over pasta, in a sub roll or as savory appetizers before the main meal. But last week, while teaching a cooking class on Greek foods, I had to set my Italian roots aside and absolutely drool over Greek Meatballs known as Soutzoukakia. These morsels of magic have a wonderful combination of spices like cumin, cinnamon and oregano with a red sauce that completely enrobes them with even more flavor! Greek Meatballs are delicious with seasoned Orzo, rice or, dare I say, on a bed of Italian pasta?
Ice Cream Churro Cones
It’s always on the list of favorite treats for summer; Ice cream in any shape, flavor or form. And if you want to create a cone with a real Southwest twist, how about a home-made, hand-crafted ice cream cone that tastes just like a Mexican churro, and it holds as much ice cream as the cone you are willing to create! While homemade churros are pretty tough to tackle (churro dough is very dense and sticky), this cone is made with store-bough biscuit dough, making the process a whole lot easier. The dough is wrapped around a homemade paper mold. It is then baked, rolled in cinnamon and sugar, baked again and then coated on the inside with dipping chocolate which seals it, preventing a soggy cone. Load it up with scoops of your favorite ice cream for a cool and festive way to celebrate summer, Southwest style!
Whipped Coffee and Coffee Cake
As TIKTOK goes, so does the youth of the world. The short, often dazzling video clips have hooked us on everything from dare-devil stunts to over the top recipes. As a recipe creator, I’ll admit I’ve been hooked and reeled in a number of times, and I’ve learned the hard way that many TIKTOK food videos are fabulous eye-candy, but lacking in accurate ingredients or technique. Not so with DALGONA, the newest TIKTOK trend. It’s whipped coffee that, with only 3 ingredients, makes the most delightfully luxurious, frothy caffeinated foam! The word Dalgona comes from the Korean candy made with melted sugar and baking soda. Whipped Coffee has the same caramel color with a powerful hit of coffee flavor. It’s so fun and easy to blend up, and my advice is to start with a delicious instant coffee or espresso. The better the coffee, the better the Dalgona. Also, this method works beautifully with sugar substitutes like Monkfruit and Allulose. It’s delicious over iced coffee, milk or a hot cup of Joe. I was thinking that you’ve gotta have a great coffee cake recipe to go with your Dalgona. Enjoy both!
White and Dark Chocolate Cigars
Celebrations like Cinco de Mayo come and go, but certain specialties that make up a delicious fiesta could…and should be enjoyed all year long. A perfect example; chocolate pecan “cigars.” They are so simple to make and just the right little “something something” when you’re having a chocolate craving or you want to surprise you dinner guests with a unique twist on dessert! With southwestern grocery stores so plentiful in Arizona, it’s easy to pick up the most important ingredient, corn husks. The next things you’ll need are delicious, decadent white and dark chocolate and some pecans. You’ll caramelize the pecans, chop them up, stir them into the melted chocolates and then spoon the chocolate into the corn husks. Then you wrap them up like little edible gifts and tie a corn husk bow around them. I originally made these for special occasions, but now I keep a container of them in my frig to satisfy my sweet tooth. Some southwestern traditions are just too good to make only once a year!
Black Pepper Cookies
They’re too good. Too good for my own good! If you can imagine the perfect ginger snap or molasses cookie—only soft and chewy—these would come as close to the top of the list as you can get! Just my opinion, of course. But I can’t quit making them and I can’t quit eating them! The black pepper in this recipe threw me off just a bit, even though it’s just a half a teaspoon. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but when I sunk my teeth into this moist, full-of-flavor cookie, I realized exactly what the pepper contributed to the recipe—a cookie with a spicy kick and the perfect chew. In doing a little research about the Black Pepper Cookie, I discovered that just about every nationality has its own version on this scrumptious munchy. Now you have a recipe with the description that that is spoken is every language and culture on earth- “Mmmm!”
Pan-Seared Pork Chop Casserole
It’s the universal law of food. Everything always tastes better at someone else’s house. I don’t know why that is. It just is. So when we were visiting long-time family friends in
Nayarit, Mexico a few years ago, we spent the first part of the meal gobbling up a scrumptious Pan-Seared Pork Chop Casserole and the remainder of the time sitting at a tiny wooden table writing down every detail of every delicious morsel. The pork chop casserole has been a regular weeknight meal in the Montez Family for decades and makes for a deliciously flavorful fall dish. Unfortunately, it went the way of many recipes scribbled down in the “gotta-have-this-recipe-right-now” moment. It got forgotten about and lost in life’s shuffle. That is, until this weekend when un-cluttering and re-organizing the kitchen cabinets were on the agenda. Wahoo! Long lost and now loved again. You’ll be lickin’ your chops over this one!