Bacon and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprouts

Bacon and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprouts is a kicked-up version of one of Ample Bites’ favorite vegetables. In our household, we love the tiny cabbages known as Brussels sprouts. This recipe uses the richness of blue cheese and the salty bacon to enhance the wholesome little sprouts.

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Bacon and Blue Cheese Brussels Sprouts
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of foodandwine.com, 2013)

Makes about 6 Servings

10 slices thick-cut bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1 tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup light beer
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

In a large pan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; drain bacon on paper towels, and pour off rendered fat from pan.

In the same pan, melt the butter. Add the Brussels sprouts, cut side down, and cook with out moving for 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and beer, stirring to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beer is nearly evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to broil.

Place sprouts in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with reserved bacon and blue cheese. Broil for 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbly.

Serve immediately.

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A Better Burger

Ample Bites has found that a 50/50 mixture of ground lamb and lean (95/5) ground beef makes the most flavorful burger. Top that burger with some blue cheese, a grilled onion and some crumbles of bacon and you’ve got burger nirvana.

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Better Burger
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Serves 4

1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound lean ground beef (95/5)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns

Preheat grill to high.

Mix beef and lamb and form 4 patties. Drizzle the patties with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Bring the patties to room temperature while the grill preheats.

Grill the burgers for 3 to 4 minutes until they release from the grates. Turn burners to low. Flip the burgers and grill for another 3 minutes for medium-rare. While the burgers are finishing, toast the buns.

Let burgers stand for 5 minutes before serving.

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Egg and Prosciutto Panini

The classic egg sandwich has long been a favorite. The egg breakfast sandwich is an American fast food institution. Ample Bites tried the Egg and Prosciutto Panini and found it to be a great lunch or dinner sandwich.

The creamy Havarti cheese, the salty prosciutto and the hearty omelet of an egg are accented with whole grain mustard resulting in a savory sandwich.

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Egg and Prosciutto Panini
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of CuisineAtHome.com, 2013)

Makes 2 Servings

4 slices sourdough or whole grain bread, ½-inch thick
softened unsalted butter
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
2 ounces Havarti cheese, thinly sliced
2 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
2 eggs
2 tsp grated Parmesan
1 tsp fat-free milk
1 tsp minced fresh chives
1 tsp unsalted butter

Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread; spread mustard on the other side of two slices. Arrange Havarti and prosciutto on top of the mustard sides.

Beat eggs, Parmesan, milk and chives in a small bowl.

Melt butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; when the foam subsides, add egg mixture. Cook until just set, pulling the eggs to the center of the pan with a rubber spatula, and tilting pan to fill in holes with liquid. Slide omelet onto a plate, cut in half, and place halves on the prosciutto. Top with remaining bread slices, buttered sides up.

Toast sandwiches on both sides or press in Panini-maker. Serve immediately.

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Cheese-Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Ample Bites used ancient sweet peppers, chive cream cheese, bacon and blue cheese to create Cheese-Stuffed Sweet Peppers. The sweet, creamy beauties are make a nice appetizer or side dish. A vegetarian version can be made by simply omitting the bacon.

The ancient sweet peppers are a red, sweet version of the Anaheim pepper. They are about 7 to 10-inches long and perfect for stuffing.

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Cheese-Stuffed Sweet Peppers
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

3 Ancient sweet peppers
6 slices bacon, fried and chopped
6 ounces low-fat chive flavored cream cheese,
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 350F.

Slice a slit in the peppers lengthwise from about 1-inch from the stem and tip. Remove seeds and dice the pieces of pepper you have removed.

In a small bowl, combine the diced peppers, cream cheese, bacon and blue cheese. Fold together until completely combined. Spoon equal portions of the cheese mixture into the cavities in the peppers. Place the peppers on a rimmed, foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes and then finish under the broiler for another 2 to 3 minutes taking care not to burn them.

Serve immediately.

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Baked Baby Broccoli

Baby broccoli, also known as rapini, is a little known delicacy. Ample Bites likes to serve Baked Rapini in which the rapini is seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon and bread crumbs.

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Baked Rapini
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Makes 4 Servings

2 pounds rapini (baby broccoli), trimmed
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Zest and juice of ½ lemon
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Boil 2 quarts of water. Blanch rapini for 1 to 2 minutes and immediately immerse the blanched rapini in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Arrange rapini on a foil-lined, rimmed baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake the rapini for 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven. Top with Panko and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for an additional 3 minutes.

Before serving squeeze the ½ lemon over the rapini, drizzle with good quality olive oil, and sprinkle with Parmesan.

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Fish in Crazy Water

Fish in Crazy Water is a soupy, stewy technique for preparing fish. It is also very easy to make. After chopping some Roma tomatoes, garlic and parsley you simple simmer the sauce, reduce it to intensify the flavors and then poach the fish fillets in the reduced sauce.

Ample Bites used some Shrimp Stock in lieu of the water to give the sauce a bit more depth and reconstituted dried Guajillo pepper in place of the fresh red chile. To serve this dish, place a toasted piece of bread or crostini in a shallow bowl, top the bread with a piece of the poached fish, and then ladle the Crazy Water over top.

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Fish in Crazy Water
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of foodandwine.com, March 2013)

Makes 4 Servings

1 ½ pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juices reserved
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1/8 tsp chopped fresh red chile, or more to taste
Kosher salt
4 cups water (or Shrimp Stock, if available)
4 6-ounce fillets, firm white fish such as snapper or tilapia
4 slices of grilled sourdough bread

In a deep skillet that is large enough for the fish fillets to lie flat without overlapping, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, chile, a large pinch of salt, and the water. Cover the skillet and bring the water to a steady simmer over moderate heat; simmer for about 45 minutes.

Uncover the skillet and boil the liquid until it has reduced by about half. Add the fish, skin side up and cook for 2 minutes. Using two spatulas gently turn the fish. Season the fish with salt and simmer until cooked just through.

Put the grilled bread in shallow bowls and arrange the fish fillets on top. Spoon the broth all around and serve immediately.

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Parmesan-Dusted Smashed New Potatoes

Parmesan-Dusted Smashed New Potatoes may not be the most beautiful side dish but the salty, creamy, crunchy potatoes are delicious. Ample Bites likes to serve Parmesan-Dusted Smashed New Potatoes with grilled pork chops or chicken.

The key technique in making this dish is to par-boil the potatoes until they are just cooked through. Ample Bites tests for doneness using a metal skewer. When the skewer can be pulled out of the largest potato with no resistance the potatoes are done. This step can be done hours ahead of time with the potatoes allowed to cool in the refrigerator.

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Parmesan-Dusted Smashed New Potatoes
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 pounds of new (red) potatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and continue boiling until potatoes are just cooked through. Allow the potatoes to cool until they can be picked up with a bare hand.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Using a small heavy skillet. Smash the potatoes in batches of 3 to 4 using the back of the skillet. Smash until the potato skins break and the potatoes are flattened to between 1/4 and 1/2-inch thickness.

Transfer the potatoes to a lightly oiled, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the potatoes on both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the smashed potatoes for 20 minutes. Flip the potatoes and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Dust the potatoes with the grated Parmesan and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes.

Re-season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

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Sweet Potato – Poblano Soup

Sweet Potato – Poblano Soup is hearty enough to be served as a meal or as a starter. The Southwestern spices do not overpower the sweetness of the vegetables and the coconut milk gives the soup a nice Asian flair.

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Sweet Potato – Poblano Soup
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of True Food, Andrew Weil, 2012)

Makes 12 Cups, 6 Servings

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
½ cup corn kernels, shaved from one ear of corn
1 small carrot, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
4 garlic cloves, mashed
1 poblano chile, seeded and diced
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to broil. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Toss the sweet potato, onion, corn, carrot, fennel, garlic and poblano together in a large bowl. Add olive oil and toss to coat. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on the prepared pan and broil for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan and toss the vegetables. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, or until browned on top. Take care not to burn the vegetables.

Transfer the vegetables to a large Dutch oven. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, turmeric, salt, pepper, wine and 3 quarts of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high het. Reduce the heat and simmer the soup for 45 minutes. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until almost smooth and strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the solids, mostly pepper skins.

Remove the soup from the heat and whisk in the coconut milk. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the cilantro and scallions before serving.

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Smoked Peppers with Red Onion Relish

Smoked Peppers with Red Onion Relish is a great garnish for a salad or it can be served as a light entree when topped with grilled shrimp or scallops.

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Smoked Peppers with Red Onion Relish
(Adapted from recipe courtesy of True Food, Andrew Weil, 2012)

Makes 4 to 6 Servings

3 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
½ cup mesquite chips
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 ½ tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat grill to medium heat.

Roast the bell peppers under a broiler until they char, turning them occasionally to blacken all sides. Place in a ziptop plastic bag and refrigerate. Let skins cool so that the skins loosen. While they are cooling, place the mesquite chips in a bowl of water to soak.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel and seed them. Slice them into ¼-inch strips. Place the peppers in a disposable aluminum pan. Drain the water from the mesquite chips. Place the chips in another foil pan and place it on the flames. Cover the grill. Once you see smoke, uncover the grill and place the pan with the peppers on the grill. Cover and let the peppers smoke for about 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the smoked peppers, oregano, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook until there is very little liquid in the pan, 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust the seasonings and serve hot or at room temperature.

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Mushroom Pizza Deluxe

Ample Bites loves mushrooms on a pizza but this recipe kicks the idea up to Deluxe! Mushroom and Madeira Pizza brings a mushroom saute that Ample Bites uses with pork chops or sauteed chicken breasts to the world of pizza. With no tomato sauce the mushrooms and the Madeira wine create the flavor.

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Mushroom and Madeira Pizza
(Mark Kelly, 2013)

Serves 4

1 pizza dough, divided into equal crusts
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 shallots, minced
3 ½ cups shitake and baby bella mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup Madeira wine
¼ tsp sage
¼ tsp black pepper
3 Tbsp chives, minced
6 ounces Fontina cheese

Prepare pasta dough and divide the dough into four equal crusts. Preheat oven to 550F. Preheat pizza stone for about 20 minutes.

Saute shallots in butter until tender. Mix in mushrooms and cook about 1 minute. Stir in Madeira and continue cooking until mushrooms are tender. Season with sage and pepper. Drain and reserve the vegetables.

Cover each crust with the vegetables, chives and cheese leaving a ½” rim. Brush the rim of each pizza with olive oil.

Bake each pizza for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and crust is golden. Before serving, drizzle with oil and cut into wedges.

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