Monday, October 31, 2011

Award Winning Apricot Habanero Salsa

I've never made salsa before.  Ever.  So when I heard we were having a salsa contest at work, I started frantically experimenting!  Went through about 6 different kinds.  But as soon as I tasted this one, I knew it was the one.  And indeed it was!  First place winner at the contest!  It has a fruity sweetness, and you can add more or less Habanero sauce depending on degree of heat desired.  Just keep in mind the heat will intensify over time!  I found the original recipe as a barbecue sauce on, but then added tomatoes to thicken it up and give it more of a salsa taste and consistency.  The chips are just flour tortilla cut up and pan fried.  So good.  Without the tomatoes you could use this as a basting sauce on fish, chicken, or pork.

Apricot-Habanero Salsa

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • corn or canola oil
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, roasted, peeled, and seeded
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) dried apricots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vineger
  • 3 tablespoons (1/2 dl) brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (3 dl) water
  • 1 tablespoon Colmans powdered mustard
  • 4 tablespoon habanero hot sauce
  • salt
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and diced
In a pan, sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the remaining ingredients, except the mustard powder, habanero, and tomatoes. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until the apricots are soft. Pour into a food processor.  Add tomatoes (1 at a time) and season with mustard powder, habanero, and salt while processing to a smooth sauce. 

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Oh my goodness.  These were to die for.  About 3 minutes out of the oven perfect.  Otherwise, just like the website said, rest the cookie atop a steamy cup of tea for 15 or so seconds and the caramel just softens up beautifully.  Recipe off

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)
  • In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)
  • When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels. 
  • Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)
  • Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
  • Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
  • Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies (or how many caramels have been snitched out of your bag before you begin.) Store in an airtight container.

Maple Glazed Pumpkin Muffins

These were sooooo yummy!  Found this recipe on  The cake is moist and sweet and the maple glaze compliments them perfectly.  I will definitely turn to this again and again.  Fantastic fall treat!

Pumpkin Muffins

  • 3 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups solid pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  1. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.
  2. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Glaze and enjoy!
Maple Glaze
  • 1/3 stick of butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-3 tbs. water
  • 1 tbs. maple syrup
  1. Melt butter in saucepan.
  2. Add sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add water until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Stir in maple syrup.

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks by Bobby Flay

Since finding this recipe on, I've made it three times!  And that was only about a month ago.  These drumsticks turned out so good!  Even after glazing them on the grill I like to pour some of the glaze on my plate and mop it up!  I couldn't find the orange-tangerine juice so used an orange-peach-mango juice, about half the carton, but it'll boil down.  Highly recommended!!!

Tangerine-Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks 
Bobby Flay


5 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
1 quart tangerine juice or orange-tangerine juice, not from concentrate
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tangerine or orange zested
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
8 chicken drumsticks (I only cooked drumsticks)
8 chicken thighs
2 green onions, sliced for garnish
Grilled oranges or tangerinces, for garnish


Heat the grill to medium high.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat, add the onion and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the juice and thyme, bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced to approximately 1/2 cup, 25 to 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the syrup, soy sauce, and black pepper and let cool to room temperature. Can be made 2 days in advance and brought to room temperature before using.

Brush chicken on both sides with remaining oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through. Begin brushing with the glaze during the last 5 minutes of grilling. Remove to a platter and sprinkle with the green onion. Garnish with the grilled citrus.