10min Emergency Tortilla Chips

10min chipsThese chips are for emergencies only.

Just kidding. They’re for the times when it’s snowing and you don’t want to go to the store to get chips for that queso you just made. Or those times when you finish your second margarita and realize you don’t have chips for your salsa and there is no way you are driving to the store to get some. Or these are for those times when you think you have everything planned and perfect for your fiesta until you realize as the first guests arrive that there are no chips for the guacamole.

First, don’t panic, if you have tortillas in your pantry, I can help.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Tortillas (as many as you want, flour will be softer, corn with be crispier)

Olive oil (you’ll need just enough to cover all of your chips)

Salt (enough to sprinkle on your chips)

1 lime (this is not necessary but if you want chips with a hint of lime you might want some fresh lime juice)

A positive attitude (and possibly another margarita)

Preheat oven to 400F. Take your tortillas and cut them however you like: strips, triangles, letters, numbers, shapes. Place cut tortillas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Paint both sides with olive oil, spritz with a little lime juice, and sprinkle with salt. Place in oven for 10 mins. Remove and let cool for a couple of minutes then serve!!Ten minute chips

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Smoked Sausage Soup

Smoked Sausage Soup

We have lovely weather here in Charleston, it can be hot in the summer but the winter is usually pretty mild.

But then it gets cold for a day or two and we all wonder what in the world is going on.

Then we remember, January and February are actually supposed to be cold months. It’s times like these that call for a hearty soup like this Smoked Sausage Soup:

Smoked Sausage Soup

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 cups corn

2 cups edamame

6 oz mushrooms, chopped

1/2 a ridiculously large onion, chopped

1 1/2 lb. smoked sausage of your choice, cut however you please

3 Tablespoons Smoky Cajun blend

15 oz can tomato sauce

2 cups water

In a medium-large pot over medium heat cook corn, edamame, mushrooms, onion, sausage, and spices until browned and tender. Add tomato sauce and water and let simmer for at least an hour. Depending on how long you let your soup simmer you may need to add more water. And it’s that simple. Serve hot with cornbread or biscuits!

Cornbread&Soup

And because you’ll have an hour of simmer time, here’s a great cornbread recipe adapted from The Settlement Cook Book to keep you busy:

1 cup flour

1 cup corn meal

4 tablespoons sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400F. Sift dry ingredients. Add buttermilk, egg, and butter. Beat well and pour into a greased 8 inch pan. bake for 30 to 40 mins.

Cornbread

Stay warm!!

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Soft Pretzels

PretzelsI’m guilty.

I’ll admit it.

I don’t always follow recipes.

Sometimes I don’t even read them the whole way through, I just get so inspired and excited that I have to start making something and then I’m just flying by the seat of my pants.

To state the obvious, this method does not always result in success.

But this time, I took it slow, I read this recipe all the way through multiple times. There are plenty of recipes for soft pretzels out there but I chose this one because while the recipe looked like all the others, the pictures were lovely. I’m a sucker for pretty pictures, they don’t call it food porn for nothin’. Pretzel

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups warm water (110-115 F)

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons flake sea salt

1 package of active dry yeast

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Olive oil or vegetable oil

10 cups of water

2/3 cup baking soda

1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

Salt to sprinkle on top of the pretzels (I tried lots of different combinations of salt, Celery Salt, Black Truffle Sea Salt, and Flake Salt with Bali Pyramid)

In the bowl of your mixer combine water, sugar, and salt. Add the yeast and let it sit for five minutes or until it begins to foam.

Add the flour and butter. Using the hook attachment mix on low until everything is combined. Then kick it up a notch and knead the dough on medium until it is smooth and pulls away from the bowl, 4 to 5 mins.

Get yourself a clean bowl and grease it with oil, I used olive oil. Take the dough and plop it into your greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for an hour or until the dough doubles in size!

Preheat the oven to 450F and place the racks in the middle positions.

Line two baking sheets with lightly oiled parchment paper.

And this is the point when I really didn’t follow that recipe I told you about. I wanted to make heart shaped pretzels, tis the season for that sort of falderal. Roll that dough out however suits your fancy. Don’t flour your work surface, just use your palms to roll the dough from the center out into ropes.

Once you have your pretzel twists or twisted hearts or letters, combine the 10 cups of water and the baking soda in an 8 quart pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the pretzels in one at a time for 30 seconds, remove with a slotted spoon or spatula. Place on your baking sheets. Paint pretzels with the yolk and water combo and sprinkle with your choice of salt or spice blend!!

Bake the pretzels for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating pans and switching top and bottom pans. The pretzels should be a lovely golden brown color

The final step is to enjoy!!!!

Pretzel

Sugar Cookies

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

And I love Valentine’s day because I love hearts and red and pink and glitter and cheesy cards and chocolate and wine and food and love and kisses and I love having a reason to give and receive all of the aforementioned things.

So I made some sugar cookies in honor of this fabulous day. Skeleton Sugar Cookies. This is the cookie cutter I used, I found it at my local Artist and Craftsman Supply! BUT the dough recipe that came with the cutter is spot on and a great basic sugar cookie dough so I thought I’d share the love.Spell it outHere’s what you’ll need to make a great sugar cookie dough that you can do anything with, really, anything, go crazy:

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set to the side. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Slowly add in the flour mix. Mix until completely combined.

Split the dough in half and roll out to desired thickness. I placed both sheets of dough onto a baking sheet layered with parchment paper and then placed them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Take one sheet of dough out at a time and cut into desired shapes. When you only have awkward pieces left, don’t just eat it, roll that extra dough out again to desired thickness and rotate it out with the sheet waiting in the refrigerator. (I like to make a couple crazy cookies to be sacrificed to the icing process, to test the thickness and color of my icing… and also to eat…)

Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown slightly.

If you plan on decorating them, let them cool a bit while you make some Royal Icing:

2 egg whites

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)

(food coloring if you want a color other than white!)

Beat egg whites and lemon juice until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until combined and smooth. Take an ugly cookie and test it out, if it makes a break for the edge of your cookie and dribbles over the side, you might need to add a little more sugar, if it feels too thick add a little water.

Good luck, have fun, get crazy,

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

I want to hold your hand

Chocolate Chinese 5 Spice Sugar Cookies

Hi.

Hello.

(awkward silence accompanied by embarrassed blush)

How are you?! Are you all right? It’s been a while, it’s all my fault.

(nervous giggle followed by a hurried explanation and more blushing)

The holidays, you know, the family, the friends, the eating, the feasting, the socializing, the buying, the selling, the other friends, the other family…and then the birthdays, and the socializing, and the eating, do you know how many birthdays there are in January? A whole lot of ’em. It’s not a good excuse, I know, but are you a good blogger? Can you give me some tips? If not, can you just forgive me?

I promise, I’m back and I’m here to stay. It’s a new year and new recipes await!! Like this one:

Chocolate Chinese 5 Spice Sugar Cookies

Maybe these are a little wild to be the first recipe of 2015, and to be honest I thought perhaps they were my first kitchen catastrophe of 2015. But the day after I made them, I sat down with a warm cup of Earl Grey tea, a book, and one of these cookies just for the heck of it. The next thing you know, I had to put down my book and grab another cookie to contemplate the subtle loveliness of chocolate, sugar, and Chinese 5 Spice.

The moral of that anecdote is that these cookies will be great the day they are made but they will be even better the next day. So for the best results, exercise some restraint, make yourself a cup of tea and eat one of these (or two of these) the day after you bake them.

Here’s what you need:Chocolate Chinese 5 Spice Sugar Cookies

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

14 teaspoons butter

1 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 teaspoons double strength vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg and 1 egg yolk

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Chocolate Chinese 5 Spice Sugar Cookies

Combine sugar and 5 Spice on a plate and set aside for future cookie rolling!

In a medium to large bowl melt the butter. While you let it cool down a bit, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder.

Check the butter, if it’s still a little warm that’s fine, go ahead and whisk in the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth. Now add the egg, yolk, and the flour mixture. Stir until combined.

Place the dough in the refrigerator, you want it to cool down so you can easily roll it into balls. Take the balls and roll them through the sugar and 5 Spice mix you placed to the side.

Place the dough balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and flatten them with a glass, sprinkling the flattened tops with a little more sugar & 5 Spice (hint: too much is never enough when it comes to sugar cookies and sugar).

Bake for 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. My dough balls were about 2 Tablespoons worth of dough and this recipe made about 24 cookies.

It’s good to be back, hope you enjoy!

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Chocolate Chinese 5 Spice Sugar Cookies