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Blogs, Recipes

Grouper Piccata

Living in Florida has many benefits, sunny days, beautiful beaches, and it also comes with the benefits of AMAZING fresh fish. 

I was lucky enough to grab some grouper fillets from my local fish market but you can also score some at your store’s frozen section. If you are unable to find grouper fillets, you can use snapper, cod, catfish or even chicken. 

This sauce highlights the fish without taking over. In this recipe, I use a simple piccata sauce with lemon and capers to create an easy meal that everyone will love! Oh, and this is a one pan dish! Hello easy clean up! 🙂

I’m not usually a Chardonnay fan but since I received a bottle of Scout & Cellar Fiddleneck Chardonnay I thought I’d give it a try. I am now a Chardonnay fan! The Fiddleneck Chardonnay is the perfect pairing to this recipe! It’s not oaky like most Chardonnays I have tried in the past. It’s light and refreshing with notes of yellow apple, candied lemon peel, and ripe pineapple. It truly is delicious with the buttery lemon flavor of the grouper piccata! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 6-ounce grouper fillets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

Sprinkle grouper fillets with salt and pepper. 

Dredge fillets on all sides in flour. 

Melt 2 tablespoons butter and olive oil in a large skillet. 

Add fillets to skillet; cook until browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove fish from skillet.

Add garlic, lemon juice and wine to the skillet, scraping browned bits from the pan. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. 

Cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. 

Tip: if the sauce is too bitter, just add ¼ cup of chicken broth at a time. 

Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, capers and parsley.

Serve sauce over fish.

I served mine with a side of angel hair pasta and baby broccoli.

Blogs, Recipes

French Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

If you love French Onion soup, you will LOVE this French Onion Stuffed Pork tenderloin! This smothered pork tenderloin has all the great flavors of a French onion soup, plus juicy pork, and it’s made in one pan! 

Seriously! Brian, my boyfriend said this meal made the Top Ten! It’s savory, it’s gooey, it’s rich, it’s easy, and it’s all done in one pan, which makes for easy clean up! I personally love cast iron so my 10 inch cast iron skillet is my go-to for one pan meals! 

Grab your favorite oven-safe skillet, and let’s get started! 

Preheat the oven to 350°F while you brown the onions and garlic. This will take about 20 minutes. You will use two onions, which may seem like a lot but trust me the onions will reduce as they cook. Cook the onions and garlic in an oven-safe, large skillet. The pork tenderloin will be going back in there. Be sure to keep the cooked onions warm by putting an aluminum tent over them while you prepare the pork loin.

Before butterflying the tenderloin, mix the oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in a bowl. You will rub this oil mixture on both sides of the tenderloin. To butterfly the pork tenderloin, use a sharp knife to make a horizontal cut about one-third of the way up from the bottom of the tenderloin. Flip open the thicker, top flap (like opening a book). Then, take the knife and cut another horizontal line through the thicker part of the tenderloin to open it up even more (like a trifold). You should now have a flat surface of meat that will hold the flavor of the French Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin. Put a piece of plastic wrap over the laid out pork and pound it out to about a 1/3 inch thickness, be careful not to tear it. Once the pork has been butterflied, rub both sides with the oil mixture.

Top the pork tenderloin with half of the cooked onions and half of the shredded cheese. Roll up the pork tenderloin, making sure you wrap up all that goodness inside! Then, using cooking twine, tie the rolled pork tenderloin up to hold in all the ingredients. Heat the same skillet that you used for the onions, melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Next, sear the pork tenderloin on all sides, rotate it about four times to get as much of the pork seared as possible.

Next, cook the pork tenderloin for about 15-20 minutes, making sure the internal temperature is at 145°F. Take the tenderloin out of the oven. Don’t worry, I did not forget about the rest of the onions and cheese. Top the tenderloin with both and broil for about 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and Enjoy!

This recipe pairs great with my french onion risotto and a glass of Scout & Cellar’s 2018 LITTLE JANE PINOT NOIR. Little Jane Pinot Noir is elegant and complex with red plum, black cherry and fresh raspberry balanced by garrigue, Asian spice, and a hint of coffee bean with soft tannins and a lingering finish.

Risotto recipe is at the bottom of this post. 

Ingredients

ONIONS

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
  • ½ cup beef broth

PORK TENDERLOIN

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese, divided
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Chopped Parsley 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

ONIONS

In a large oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter.

Add onions, drizzle EVOO over top, stir and saute for 5 minutes.

Add garlic, stir to combine and saute for 2-5 minutes

Add beef broth, stir and cook until the onions are browned and tender (approximately 15-20 minutes). 

Transfer cooked onions to a bowl and tent to keep warm.

PORK LOIN

Butterfly the pork tenderloin. 

Cover the entire cut of meat with plastic wrap and pound to an even 1/3 inch thickness.

In a small bowl, combine oil, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Rub over both sides of pork tenderloin.

Top the pork tenderloin with half of the cooked onions and half of the shredded cheese.

Tightly roll the pork tenderloin to completely enclose all of the fillings.

Using cooking twine, tightly secure the roll.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the pork tenderloin to the pan and sear on all sides (about 3-5 minutes on each side). Turning the pork tenderloin a total of 4 times.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the pork tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 145 °F. 

Remove pork tenderloin from the oven. 

Increase oven temperature to broil. 

Top pork tenderloin with remaining cheese and onions and cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden brown.

Slice and serve warm.

Sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Risotto Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5½ cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups Aborio rice
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch black pepper

Instructions

First, heat your stock in a pot until warm, and keep over low heat to make sure it is warm while you work – this helps the rice to better absorb the liquid.

Heat your butter in a large pot  over medium heat. Add in your onions and cook for 15-20 minutes or so, stirring often, until they are golden brown and caramelized. Add in your rice and garlic, stir to combine, and then add in your ½ cup of stock. Stir often, you want to make sure that the rice doesn’t burn, stir until the liquid has been absorbed, then add in another ½ cup, stir, and when that liquid has also been absorbed, add in another ½ cup of stock. Continue to do this for another 18-20 minutes, until the rice is tender.

When your rice is ready, stir in the Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve hot.

Blogs, Recipes

Roasted Garlic & Lemon Butter Risotto

I love risotto! I much rather have a bowl of risotto than Mac and Cheese any day of the week. 

I’m not going to lie to you. This creamy risotto is hands on. You do have to stand there and stir, and add liquid, and stir, and monitor. But I promise it is worth every minute! My friend Amy says risotto is a labor of love. 

I have several risotto recipes, that’s how much I love it!

This recipe is  buttery with hints of lemon! And the roasted garlic takes it up a notch! 

Roast Garlic is absolutely delicious! It will fill your house with the most irresistible, and mouth-watering aromas imaginable. I’m talking about the whole head of garlic roasted with olive oil until each individual clove is completely golden and butter-soft. It will just squeeze out! Roasted garlic is perfect for spreading a piece of bread or mashing into dishes like this risotto. 

This risotto recipe is a perfect side with baked cod or breaded chicken!

Looking for wine to compliment this dish?

Try the Scout & Cellar 2019 ADELANTE SAUVIGNON BLANC, bright and clean with lemongrass, lime zest and green apple balanced by a subtle minerality on a zesty, light-bodied frame with a refreshing finish.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 small shallots, chopped
  • ½ white onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic, roasted- see instructions below
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 3 tablespoon. Brandy, optional
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon. chopped fresh chives

Roasted Garlic 

  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Roast Garlic 

Heat the oven to 400°F: Set a rack in the middle position.

Peel (most of) the paper off the garlic

Leave the head itself intact with all the cloves connected.

Trim about 1/4 inch off the top of the head of garlic to expose the tops of the garlic cloves.

Drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves.

Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.

Risotto

In a medium saucepan, heat chicken broth stock to boiling; keep hot over low heat.

In a 2-1/2-quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Cook until butter begins to foam and turns brown, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Add shallots, onions  and cook, stirring until tender, 2 to 3 minutes. 

Stir in rice until coated with butter. Make a well in the middle of the coated risotto and squeeze the roasted garlic into the pot. Stir until combined. 

Add brandy and simmer, stirring, until almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of broth and lemon juice and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Add lemon zest and stir until combined. 

Continue adding broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each batch to absorb before pouring in the next. Cook until rice is tender but still firm to the bite, 15 to 20 minutes total. 

Remove from heat; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon of the chives; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer risotto to two serving plates and garnish with remaining chives.

Blogs, Recipes

Honey Garlic Salmon

I love salmon! This is one of my go to salmon recipes.  It’s garlic, sweet and sticky with simple ingredients. 

This salmon recipe pairs great with Scout & Cellar’s 2018 LITTLE JANE PINOT NOIR. Little Jane Pinot Noir is elegant and complex with red plum, black cherry and fresh raspberry balanced by garrigue, Asian spice, and a hint of coffee bean with soft tannins and a lingering finish.

Ingredients:

Sauce: 

  • 4 tbsp honey 
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar, distilled 
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Salmon

  • 2 salmon filets 
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper 

Instructions 

Take salmon out of the fridge, 20 minutes before cooking. 

Pat dry with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

In a bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients. 

In a skillet, drizzle olive oil and gear over medium high heat. 

Place salmon in a hot pan and cook the first side for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side for 2-3 minutes. 

Pour sauce over salmon. Cook for 1 minute until the sauce starts to thicken. If the sauce thickens too much before the salmon has cooked to your temperature then just add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan and stir. 

Remove to plates & drizzle with sauce and serve. 

Tip: 

To determine the wellness of the salmon, check the side of the salmon to tell how cooked the salmon is- I like my salmon medium rare inside, if it’s coral inside (rare to medium rare). You can use a thermometer too. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon- 120 F for medium rare and 130 degrees for medium

Remember the salmon will continue cooking for a minute after removing it from the skillet

https://scoutandcellar.com/?u=whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Three Fresh Salsa Recipes

There’s nothing better than a Taco party! Not only does everyone love tacos, but you can make it all ahead of time and be able to sit down with your guests and eat. You can’t have a Taco party without SALSA! And your chips, tacos and meats deserve the best! 

These fresh salsa recipes are super simple and crowd favorites! 

Let’s get the Fiesta preparation started!

Pico De Gallo is a classic Mexican recipe made from fresh tomato, cilantro, red onion, and lime juice..

Fresh Pico de Gallo Salsa

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • I clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 

Stir all together in a bowl.

Serve. 

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is really easy to make from scratch, all you need are tomatillos, onion, jalapeño, lime, and cilantro. This salsa Verde is fresh, bright, and not too salty like store-bought versions.

  • 4-6 tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  • Salt to taste

Preheat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches below the heat source. Place the tomatillos and jalapeño on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until they’re blackened in spots, about 5 minutes.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully flip over the tomatillos and  jalapeño with tongs and broil for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the tomatillos are splotchy-black and blistered.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the chopped onion, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt. 

Once the tomatillos are out of the oven, carefully transfer the hot tomatillos, jalapeño and all of their juices into the food processor or blender.

Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth and no big chunks of tomatillo remain, scraping down the sides as necessary. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt. 

The salsa will be thinner at first, but will thicken up after a few hours in the refrigerator. 

Cilantro Lime Sauce

This Cilantro Lime sauce has incredible flavor and only requires a handful of ingredients. It’s a fresh, creamy!

  • 1 small bunch cilantro 
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1  medium avocado 
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. 

Refrigerate and Serve. 

DIY Projects

Schnitzel

In the summer of 2013, I traveled to Europe with the best group of friends anyone could ask for and met new lifelong friends. It was an EPIC trip! 

We started off in Germany, working at Girls Scout camp in Frankenkaserne. The first day of the trip I was introduced to Schnitzel, the inspiration of this dish! 

A schnitzel is a thin slice of meat fried. Schnitzel can be made with pork, veal, chicken, beef or turkey. So use whatever meat you want. If you’re looking for a traditional German schnitzel, use pork. 

The key to achieving the perfect Schnitzel is to pound the pork very thin, no more than 1/4 inch thick.  The reason this is important is because you’ll need to fry it in butter at high heat for a short period of time to get that perfect crispy crust. Yes, I said “fry it on butter”. Trust me this is what gives it a rich crispy crust and juicy center.

First, marinate your pork chops for 30 minutes. Then place cutlets in a single layer on the cutting board and cover with plastic wrap (this prevents splatter). Pound cutlets with a meat mallet or the back of a heavy saucepan, until 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick.

Set out three separate shallow bowls. In the first combine 1/3 cup flour. In the second, use a fork to beat 3 eggs. In the third bowl, add 2 cups of bread crumbs.

Dip the pork into the flour, coating all sides.

Next dip the pork into the egg mixture, coating all sides.

Then coat the pork with the breadcrumbs. Tip: Do not press the breadcrumbs into the meat. Just softly coat the pork on both sides and all edges, and then gently shake off any excess.

Once all cutlets are breaded, heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted and bubbling, add breaded cutlets a few at a time and sauté 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. You may need to add more butter to the pan for each cutlet, keep an eye on the pan. I used a whole stick. Reduce heat if cutlets are browning too quickly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and squeeze a lemon wedge over each cutlet. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. 

Serve with Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted™️ 2018 The Resident Pinot Gris.
https://scoutandcellar.com/consultants?u=whiskawaykitchen

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 4 lemon wedges
  • Chopped Parsley for serving

Marinate:

  • ½ Lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cup vinegar

Marinate Instructions:

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl.

Marinate pork chops for at least 30 minutes. 

Instructions

Place cutlets in a single layer on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound cutlets with a meat mallet or the back of a heavy saucepan, until 1/4″ to 1/8″ thick.

Set up three bowls. In the first flour. In the second, use a fork to beat 3 eggs. In the third bowl, add 2 cups of bread crumbs.


Dredge both sides of each pounded cutlet in flour then dip in beaten egg letting excess egg drip back into the bowl before breading in bread crumbs. It helps to use a fork for the dipping process to keep your hands clean. Repeat with remaining cutlets.

Once all cutlets are breaded, heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is melted and bubbling, add breaded cutlets a few at a time and sauté 3-4 min per side or until cooked through. Reduce heat if browning too quickly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and squeeze a lemon wedge over each cutlet. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. 

Serve. 

https://scoutandcellar.com/consultants?u=whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Creamy Spaghetti Squash Boats

Spaghetti squash is such a fun, underrated vegetable! 

Spaghetti squash is so healthy and versatile. You can simply enjoy it with some salt and pepper as a side dish, or drizzle it with melted butter or your favorite sauce.

Squash has little to no taste so it’s amazing the different flavor combinations you can come up with!  I wanted to do something a little different than just marinara so I thought it’d be fun to make individual squash boats tossed with a creamy sauce, broccoli and sausage. Chicken sausage that is.  Publix Greenwise Italian chicken sausage is DELICIOUS, but really you could use any type of sausage you’d like!  

Creating the “noodles” from this squash is so incredibly easy.  All you have to do is cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, bake them (cut side down) for about 30-40 minutes in the oven then start scraping with a fork!

The cream sauce is so flavorful and seriously so simple to make. To bring the sauce up a notch, I added a drizzle of truffle oil  but you can skip it, if you are not a truffle fan. 

Toss the spaghetti squash in with the broccoli and sausage and transfer everything into the squash boats.  Top with cheese, broil in the oven and enjoy!

This recipe pairs beautifully with Scout & Cellar Chardonnay!

Click the link to purchase a Clean-Crafted™️ bottle from Scout & Cellar!
https://scoutandcellar.com/?u=whiskawaykitchen

Spaghetti Squash Ingredients

  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning 
  • Salt & Pepper 

Stuffing Ingredients

  • 4 Italian chicken sausage, removed from casings
  • Head of Broccoli, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons of White wine

Cream Sauce Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup White Wine
  • 3 ounces truffle oil (black or white), optional
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper

Spaghetti Squash Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and ribbing. Drizzle the inside of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Place the spaghetti squash cut side down on the baking sheet and use a fork to poke holes. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on the outside, fork tender, but still a little bit firm. The time will vary depending on the size of your squash. 

Remove from the oven and flip the squash so that it’s cut side up. When cool enough  to the touch, use a fork to scrape out the strands from the sides of the squash. Do not toss the empty squash halves. 

Stuffing Instructions

While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing. 

In a skillet, brown the sausage crumbles. Once browned transfer to a plate and deglaze the pan. 

Pour in 3 tablespoons or so (enough to cover the bottom of the pan 1/4″ or less) of white wine, with the heat still on, and scrape the bottom of the skillet with a wooden spatula vigorously as the liquid comes to a boil. 

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the same skillet, once the butter has melted saute the broccoli for 3-5 minutes. 

Move the broccoli to the sides of the skillet, creating a well to add the garlic and shallot. Saute for one minute and then combine broccoli, garlic and shallots- sauteing for an additional 3-5 minutes. 

Once the squash is done, scoop the strands into the skillet with the broccoli mixture. 

Add the cooked sausage to the skillet and stir to combine. 

Cream Sauce Instructions

Add butter to a sauce pot. Turn the heat on medium. 

Once the butter has melted, add 4 tablespoons of flour, whisk until combined.

Pour heavy creamy, wine and truffle oil into the pot, whisk to combine. 

Once the mixture is hot, slowly whisk in the cheeses. 

Let the mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until it’s thickened, stir occasionally. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper and reduce the heat to low.

Assembling Instructions

Drizzle cream sauce into the bottom of the squash halves.

Divide sausage and broccoli mixture among the halves.

Drizzle Cream sauce over top.

Sprinkle it with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. 

Broil until cheese is browned and squash warmed through, 4 to 5 minutes. 

Serve hot with a glass of Scout & Cellar Chardonnay!

Shop for the perfect Chardonnay on my Scout & Cellar page

https://scoutandcellar.com/wine?u=whiskawaykitchen

Recipes

Grandma’s Rum Cake

I’ll never forget the day I stopped by grandmother’s house to ask her to share the family recipes. I pulled up a chair at her kitchen counter, pen in hand and she asked “Where do you want to start?”

I remember being a little girl having family picnics at the lake down the street from her house and for dessert she always would make her famous rum cake. My cousins and I would always feel so grown up because we were eating rum cake. LOL

So I asked for her rum cake recipe. She laughed, opened her recipe box and handed me a recipe card. It was the Bacardi Rum Cake recipe card. “It’s that easy”, she laughed. We spent the rest of the afternoon laughing and writing down her recipes. 

This recipe makes the moistest cake you’ll ever eat. And it’s been popular since the 1970s, it’s soft, fluffy and super moist, bursting with rum and yellow cake flavor. Not to mention it’s easy to prepare, and perfect for any occasion.

You can use any rum. I use my favorite rum, 82°West 1911 Special Dark Rum. 82 West Distilling is a craft rum distillery in Tampa, right in Seminole Heights! 

It all starts with a cup of pecans sprinkled over the bottom of a bundt pan. Then you mix a package of yellow cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and half a cup of rum until smooth. I did make one adjustment and added a tablespoon of Vanilla and mixed until combined. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for one hour.

Once the cake is done, you prepare a simple butter-rum glaze made of butter, sugar, water and rum. Spoon the sauce all over the warm cake. Let it sit to soak in all the delicious butter-rum glaze and serve.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup chopped pecans 
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (You just use the cake mix as is, do not add other ingredients listed on the cake box.)
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix (92 g)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup cold water
  • 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⁄2 cup dark rum 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla 

GLAZE INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄2 cup butter
  • 1⁄4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup dark rum or rum

CAKE DIRECTIONS

Sprinkle nuts over the bottom of a greased bundt pan.

Stir together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vanilla, water, oil and rum.

Pour batter over nuts.

Bake at 325 in the oven for 1 hour.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan.

Transfer onto a serving plate and poke top with a toothpick.

GLAZE DIRECTIONS

Melt butter in a saucepan.

Stir in water and sugar.

Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat.

Stir in rum.

Drizzle ½ of the glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake.

Allow cake to absorb glaze.

Drizzle the remaining glaze over the top of each slice right before serving.

Recipes

Citrus Sazon Beer Can Chicken

Beer can chicken is the best, easiest way to cook a whole chicken on the grill without any special equipment. The beer from the can steams the chicken, resulting in a perfectly-cooked and moist whole chicken. The chicken literally sits on the can and as the beer heats up, it streams and flavours the inside of the chicken. 

I start with marinating the chicken with  Sazon seasoning, vinegar, and stuffing lemon, lime and orange wedges inside the chicken overnight. 

Sazon is like the magic spice blend in many Latin dishes. It’s commonly found in the supermarket in small envelopes that you add to stews, beans, rice, etc. It gives yellow rice that yellow color and basically makes anything taste good! Goya is the most popular brand. If you can not find Sazon you can make your own, the recipe is at the bottom of this blog page. 

Next comes choosing the beer! 

Beer can chicken requires beer in a can. However, that doesn’t mean you have to buy canned beer. All you need is a can. I personally prefer to use an old soup can that I have cleaned and saved. Which opens up your beer possibilities immensely because many of the best beers are only sold in bottles. So it comes down to what type of flavor you want to add to your chicken. Does a sweeter bird sound good? How about something a little spicy, wheaty, or fruity? 

The most popular choice is lager, but I also like to use sour beer. I love citrus flavors, and the sour citrus seems to make the flavors come alive. It’s all a matter of personal preference. Get creative! 

Once you have marinated your chicken and chose the beer, you’re get the bird on the can and to get grilling! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (12-ounce) can lager beer, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoon Sazon Seasoning
  • 1 cup White distilled vinegar
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 lime,  cut into wedges
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 (4 to 4 1/2) pound whole chicken

Basting Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup beer, reserved from above
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Sazon seasoning
  • 1 Garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

Marinate:

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. 

Place lemon, lime and orange wedges into the center of the chicken. 

Stir the Sazon seasoning, garlic powder and red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. 

Pour the seasoning mixture into a large Ziploc bag, slowly pour vinegar, and EVOO into the same bag. Combine. 

Drop the chicken into the bag, zip the bag and shake until the chicken is well coated.

Marinate overnight. 

Basting Sauce:

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. 

Grilling:

Heat grill by heating 2 out of 3 (or 3 out of 4) of the burners to high heat. Keep the remaining burners off. 

Pour out or drink about half of the beer, reserving 1/4 cup for the basting sauce. 

Place the beer can inside a metal 9×13-inch aluminum pan. Lower the chicken leg-side down onto the beer until it is securely propped upright. Be careful when picking the pan up, have a firm grip on the chicken with one hand while holding the foil pan with the other. Trust me, I’ve totally lost my chicken by not doing that. 

Place the pan over indirect heat (over the turned-off burners) and grill for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with the basting sauce. At this point, it will start to brown and look almost cooked through, even though it is not.

Baste the chicken with the sauce and continue to cook, covered, basting every 10 minutes, until the skin is deeply colored, crisp, and a probe thermometer in the deepest part of the thigh registers 165°F, about 25 to 35 minutes more depending the size of the chicken. 

Rotate the pan as needed so that the chicken browns evenly.

Remove the chicken and the pan with its drippings from the grill. (If you use a foil pan, slide the pan onto a baking sheet before moving it around)

Discard the beer can. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sazon Substitute Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder 
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano 

Instructions

Combine all ingredients and mix well

Recipes

Zeppole

In 2007, my family and I took a Carnival cruise around the Mediterranean coast. My Papa, grandfather had the biggest sweet tooth and loved to try all the Italian desserts. While we were in Naples, we stopped at a cafe for Limoncello. In the bakery case, they were selling fried dough dusted with powdered sugar, Zeppole. Naturally, my Papa ordered us some to go along with our Limoncello. We were handed a brown paper bag filled with Zeppoles.

We explored Naples, carrying that beautiful greasy bag, pulling Zeppole out one at a time, getting the sugar all over ourselves. We were two very happy people! 

Zeppole are tiny Italian doughnuts – crisp, light and incredibly fluffy, usually served in a brown paper bag or wrapped in parchment paper.

Zeppole make the perfect Hostess gift. Brian and I made them for our Friends Thanksgiving at our friend’s Jason and Paul’s house.

As it turns out, Zeppole are really easy to make at home and take almost no time at all — about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of unsifted flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Confectioners Sugar for Dusting or maybe Cinnamon Sugar
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Directions

Crack your two eggs into the mixing bowl and beat until foamy.  

Add all of your dry ingredients into the eggs in the mixing bowl while on slow speed and then add  your ricotta and vanilla right away.  

Continue to mix on a slow speed till it is all combined.  The batter will be thick…creamy and sticky.  It is not a cookie dough consistency…it is a rich thick waffle type batter. Do not over mix.

Have your oil ready in your favorite pot.  I use a cast iron  dutch oven.  Your oil should be approximately 375 degrees.

I use a small cookie dough scoop …first I spray it with oil so that batter doesn’t stick …then scoop up the batter (no exact measurement here : ) and carefully drop it into the oil…repeat with consecutive scoops but don’t let them touch…

Zeppoles will turn themselves over. Fry them for about about 3 minutes…if they are a little bigger…a little longer.

Once you get to that nice deep golden brown it is time to scoop them up and place them on brown paper or paper towels to drain. Continue with another batch. 

Sprinkle them with Confectioners sugar or some Cinnamon Sugar.