Monday, August 25, 2014

Kahlua Baked Beans

Labor Day's coming.
Whatcha gonna make?
I'm sure someone is expecting you to waltz in with some sort of side dish for the end of Summer BBQ.  Here's an easy one to make ahead.

As you can see from my photo of the ingredients, I own an overly large bottle of Kahlua. 
Now, I like Kahlua as much as the next person, but frankly, I needed to find something else to make with it besides cocktails. 

This recipe from the Seattle Times site last year was the perfect one to try. Of course, I changed it up and frankly, simplified it a bit.

We served our beans with pulled pork sandwiches on pretzel slider rolls, spicy cole slaw and a fair amount of watermelon.  Enjoy yourselves.

 (Pyrex measuring cup shows coffee, but not pictured are the beans, onions and bacon...)

Makes 10-12 servings

1 pound dried beans (navy or pinto), rinsed and picked over
1/2 pound sliced bacon, cut into pieces with scissors
     OR, use 1/2 lb bacon "ends and pieces" for more chunks
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 cup ketchup, or chili sauce
1/2 cup tomato-based barbecue sauce, preferably smoked
1/2 cup Kahlua liqueur
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup molasses
1-2 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
Salt, as needed

Soak the beans overnight in lots of water to cover. Drain.
In a large pot, cover beans generously with fresh cold water. Set the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring once or twice, for 1 hour or more, until the beans are very soft but still holding their shape. (The beans should not be salted at the initial cooking stage, as salt will toughen the beans.) Drain, reserving 1 1/2 cups of the bean cooking liquid. 

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
Combine the beans with 1/2 cup cooking liquid (keep the other cup for later, if needed), bacon, onions, ketchup, barbecue sauce, Kahlua, coffee, mustard, molasses, steak sauce, hot pepper sauce. Transfer to a heavy 4 1/2-5-quart nonreactive casserole or Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Bake in a preheated 250-degree oven for about 4 hours, stirring every hour. If beans seem dry, add another 1/2 cup of the bean cooking liquid.

Remove the lid, stir the beans and continue baking, uncovered, 30 minutes. Stir and continue baking another 30 minutes, until beans are very thick. Stir occasionally. 
(The beans can be cooled, covered and refrigerated; reheat the next day on a medium-low burner.)

Here's a photo after it cooked about 2 hours.

Here's my awesome new Lodge cast iron 5 qt. dutch oven!  Only $40 on Amazon!  The lid doubles as a fry pan, and it also fits my 10" cast iron fry pan.  Very cool.

Here's what I've been making:
One year ago: Almond Poppyseed Bread
Two years ago:  BLT Salad Sliders
Three years ago: Coconut Flan

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blackberry Lime Bars

I have a love/hate relationship with blackberries.
You too?
I believe it if you live in the Northwest.
They grow like weeds here.

Now's the season to go blackberry picking if you live around the Northwest of the US.
I have LOTS of good blackberry recipes....
Okay... maybe TWO.
Blackberry Raindrop Martini and this one. 

This recipe inspired by this one from the Improv Kitchen., originally from Sophistomom

Makes about 30-36 bars

9 Tbsp (1 stick + 1 T.) salted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (heaping) fresh blackberries becomes 1 cup of pulp/juice
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup lime juice (about 4-5 juicy limes)
2 Tbsp lime zest (3-4 limes worth)
3 eggs
2/3 cup flour
Pinch of salt

powdered sugar for dusting on top

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the bars out once they've cooled. You could do this in a round tart pan, or pie dish too and serve it in wedges for dessert.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add the vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Dump dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden brown. 

Put fresh berries in a fine mesh sieve and press the berries through (this removes the seeds) into a large bowl.
NOTE-  If you're using frozen, thaw them, retaining all the juice, then smashing them through the sieve.

Here is the juice/pulp with lime

Add sugar, eggs, lime juice + zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust (don't worry, it's a very loose mixture, it will thicken) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes depending on your oven and the sized baking dish you use. 
Mine was firm and cooked through at 25 minutes.

Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or until they've cooled completely). You can place them in the freezer if you need them sooner but refrigerator is best. If you can wait overnight, that's even better! 

I chilled them overnight, then made vertical cuts, dissected with diagonal cuts to make nice diamond cut treats.

Here's what I've been making:
One year ago: Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti
Two years ago: Basil Sea Salt
Three years ago: Rocky Road Cheesecake Dessert Ball