Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Morning Mix recipe: Cuban Hash

Morning Mix recipe: Cuban Hash

Cuban Hash (Photo courtesy PorkBeInspired.com and the Hispanic Food Network)

Cuban Hash (Photo courtesy PorkBeInspired.com and the Hispanic Food Network)

Cuban Hash is my Morning Mix recipe of the week. This one pan recipe from PorkBeInspired.com is great for late suppers on New Year’s Eve or breakfast or brunch on New Year’s Day. Pair the hash with poached eggs and whole grain bread or rolls. Look for more recipes curated exclusively for WOMX Mix 105.1 at the station’s website.

Cuban Hash
Yield: 4 servings

1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground pork
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups new potatoes, cooked, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups tomatillo salsa
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled (see note)

1. Heat the olive oil over medium in a large skillet; add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the ground pork, breaking into crumbles with the back of a spoon and turning frequently until browned on all sides.
3. Add potatoes, salsa and corn; stir and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Fold in the cilantro and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.
Recipe note: Feta cheese can substitute for queso fresco.
SOURCE: Adapted from PorkBeInspired.com and the Hispanic Food Network

Apricot Curry Cheese Dip

Apricot Curry Cheese Dip

Apricot Curry Cheese Dip

Apricot Curry Cheese Dip

Apricot Curry Cheese Dip is a spin on a Layered Chutney Cheese Spread, an appetizer you will find in community cookbooks from coast to coast. The layered version has long been a go-to potluck starter. But mashing up the elements intrigued me. Instead of chutney, I used apricot preserves. The result was a rich dip with just the right notes of salty and sweet for a festive party.

Apricot Curry Cheese Dip
Yield: 16-20 servings

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus additional for garnish
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, or more to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste
1 cup apricot preserves, or more to taste
6 bacon strips, cooked until crisp, drained and crumbled
6 green onions, chopped (including green tops), plus additional for garnish
Sturdy wheat crackers for serving

1. With an electric mixer on medium, combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, curry powder and pepper sauce.
2. With the mixer on low or using a sturdy spatula, blend in the apricot preserves, bacon, and green onions.
3. Spoon mixture into serving bowls and garnish with chopped green onions. Serve with crackers.

Morning Mix recipe: Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary-Pepper Butter

Morning Mix recipe: Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary-Pepper Butter

Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary-Pepper Butter (Photo courtesy Taste of the South magazine and tasteofthesouth.com)

Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary-Pepper Butter (Photo courtesy Taste of the South magazine and tasteofthesouth.com)

Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary-Pepper Butter is my Morning Mix recipe of the week. I found it at tasteofthesouthmagazine.com. The recipe creates an impressive holiday entrée. Look for more recipes curated exclusively for WOMX Mix 105.1 at the station’s website.

Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary-Pepper Butter
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

1 (5-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed and trussed
5 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Rosemary-Black Pepper Butter:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1. For the seasoned butter, stir together 1 cup unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons freshly chopped rosemary, freshly ground black pepper to taste, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Spread the butter mixture onto the center of a piece of parchment paper, and roll into a log, twisting ends to secure. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. (Store in a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag in the freezer up to 1 month.)
2. Let the beef stand at room temperature 1 hour before roasting.
3. Preheat oven to 475F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil. Place whole rosemary sprigs on pan; place a roasting rack on prepared pan.
4. Drizzle beef with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place beef on roasting rack.
5. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion reads 130F (medium-rare), approximately 30 minutes, or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from oven. Loosely cover beef with nonstick foil, and let stand 20 minutes before slicing. (Beef will continue to cook as it stands.) Serve with slices of rosemary-black pepper butter.

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars

Apricot Walnut Bars have a wonderful, light crackle on the top and the insides are soft and sweet. These are my favorite non-chocolate dessert ever and a must for the holidays. I think I have saved the best for last in this holiday series of 12 great bars that go great with tall glass of cold milk. I first made these in Mrs. Pert’s Home Economics class in grade school in Indianapolis.  You can dust them with powdered sugar if desired, but it’s really not needed.

Apricot Walnut Bars
Yield: About 48 servings

1 1/3 cups (6-ounce package) dried apricots
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 cup baking mix, such a Bisquick or Jiffy
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2/3 cup baking mix, such a Bisquick or Jiffy
1 teaspoon spiced rum
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Place the apricots in a 2-quart saucepan. Add enough water to cover. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered. Drain. Cool completely. Chop and reserve. (Using kitchen shears makes this step a breeze.)
2. Heat oven to 350F.  Line a 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-by 1-inch baking pan lengthwise with nonstick aluminum foil, letting just a bit hang over the edges.
3. Mix the butter and granulated sugar and 2 1/2 cups of the baking mix until crumbly. A pastry blender or two knives are tried and true tools for this, but I have found careful pulses in the work bowl of a food processor work just as well. Pour into the foil-lined baking pan, patting down evenly over the bottom. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Beat brown sugar and eggs. Stir in apricots, 2/3 cup baking mix, rum, and nuts. Spread over the baked layer. Bake 30 minutes. Remove pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
5. Using the foil “handles,” lift the bars from the baking pan and place on a cutting board. Remove foil and cut into bars.

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars are thin treats bursting with flavor. You can substitute pecans for walnuts if desired. Be sure to use a good-quality cocoa powder for best flavor. I used Ghirardelli for this recipe. For the frosting, add the milk a tablespoon at a time. I like the consistency that the entire amount gave the mixture, but you might prefer a thicker frosting.

Cocoa Wheat Germ and Walnut Bars
Yield: About 4 dozen bars

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup regular flavored wheat germ
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts, divided
Cocoa cream frosting:
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons whole milk

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan lengthwise with nonstick aluminum foil, letting a little bit hang over the edges.
2. Combine the flour, wheat germ, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine.
3. In a mixing bowl, blend the sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Stir in 1 cup of the nuts. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and use an offset spatula to spread evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes. Remove pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. For the cocoa cream frosting, with an electric mixer blend the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the cocoa, vanilla, and milk.
5. Lift the bars from the baking pan with the foil “handles” and place on a cutting board. Peel away the foil. Spread the cocoa cream frosting over the top and scatter the remaining walnuts over the top. Cut into bars and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peanut Butter Fudge was my mother’s signature treat and she always made it for special occasions. And peanut butter fudge is still is my sister’s favorite family recipe. It is such an easy go-to for gifts from the kitchen, treats for Santa, or just a sweet indulgence you give yourself. Store the fudge in the refrigerator or the freezer until ready to serve.

Peanut Butter Fudge
Yield: 3 pounds

3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup evaporated milk (see Recipe Note)
1 2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow creme
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Festive colored sugar for garnish (optional)

1. Line a 13-by-9-inch pan lengthwise with nonstick aluminum foil, letting a bit hang over the edges.
2. Combine sugar, butter and milk in large saucepan, stirring constantly on medium heat, until mixture comes to a soft boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. Add the peanut butter. Stir until well blended. Add the marshmallow creme and pure vanilla extract. Beat until well blended. Spread in baking pan. Cool completely in the refrigerator overnight.
4. Lift the fudge from the pan using the foil “handles.” Place on a cutting board and carefully peel away the foil. Cut into small squares or bars. Top with colored sugar if desired.
Recipe Note: Evaporated milk is regular unsweetened milk with approximately 60 percent of the water content removed. Be sure to check the label of the can. Sweetened condensed milk looks very similar.

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars are a great way to take advantage of Florida’s strawberry season. It’s our winter gift to the world.

Fresh Strawberries and Cream Cheese Bars

1 (16.5-ounce) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats, divided
2 (8-ounce) packages low-fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 cups chopped fresh Florida strawberries
Crumble topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks chilled salted butter, cut into pieces

1. Heat oven to 350F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick foil, letting 1 inch of the lining hang over the sides.
2. Press the cookie dough into the bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just golden brown. Do not overbake. Place pan on a wire rack to cool completely. While still warm, press 1 cup of the oats into the bottom of the cookie crust.
3. With a mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and eggs. Spread over the bottom of the cooled cookie crust. Top with chopped strawberries (see Recipe Notes).
4. For the crumble topping, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup light-brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and cinnamon. Cut 1 1/2 sticks chilled butter into pieces. With your hands (see Recipe Notes), work in the butter pieces, until loose clumps form. Scatter the mixture over the top of the berries. You do not have to completely cover the fruit (see Recipe Notes). Bake 30-35 minutes or until filling is set. Cool completely on a wire rack.
5. Refrigerate, covered, overnight. Using the foil or parchment “handles,” lift bars from pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into bars.
Recipe notes:

  • The oats on top of the baked cookie crust help form a barrier to any liquid that exudes from the berries. Also, it’s best to let the chopped berries rest in a strainer or on paper towels for at least 15 minutes before adding in Step 3.
  • I keep plastic food service gloves in the kitchen at all times for mixing foods by hand. Your hands are one of your best tools in the kitchen. And the gloves help make sure you work with food safety in mind. You can buy the gloves in supermarkets and restaurant supply stores.
  • Any extra crumble mixture can be toasted separately at 350F for 15 minutes. Store in a freezer quality plastic bag and use as a topping for ice cream.
  • Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon  Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze will fill your kitchen with the scents of the season while they bake. You can cut them into short strips, squares, diamond or triangles. The topping is a cross between a frosting and a glaze. It melts into the warm-from-the oven bars giving them a nice sheen. Poking the baked gingerbread with the tines of a fork or picks to let some of the topping seep into the bars.

    Gingerbread Pecan Bars with Lemon Buttercream Glaze
    Yield: About 48 squares

    10 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature, plus more for the sides of the pan
    2 cups all-purpose flour, divided, plus a bit more for dusting pan
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 large eggs
    1/4 cup molasses
    1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
    Lemon buttercream glaze:
    1/3 cup salted butter
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1/4 cup milk, or more to achieve a thin, pourable consistency
    Garnish:
    2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan lengthwise with nonstick foil or parchment paper, letting foil or paper hang about an inch over the ends. Butter the exposed sides of the pan and lightly dust with flour.
    2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to blend.
    3. In another bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until creamy and smooth. With the mixer running, add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in the molasses. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the the bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and pecans, beating until just incorporated. Spread evenly in the baking pan. Bake until golden brown and a pick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
    4. For the glaze, beat butter and lemon juice until completely incorporated. Gradually beat in powdered sugar a cup at a time. With mixer on low, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. The glaze should be pourable. Poke the baked gingerbread with the tines of a fork or picks. Drizzle the lemon buttercream mixture generously over the top of the warm gingerbread bars. (Reserve any extra lemon buttercream mixture for another use.)
    5. Let glazed gingerbread cool completely in pan on a rack. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
    6. Using the foil or parchment paper “handles,” lift the gingerbread out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Peel away the foil or paper. Top with fresh lemon zest, cut into bars and serve.

    Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

    Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

    Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

    Cranberry Jalapeno Dip

    Cranberry Jalapeno Dip has a lovely jewel-toned appearance for holiday tables. The sweet-tart flavor of the dried cranberries and heat from the jalapeno balance out nicely. Fresh parsley has a natural slight peppery flavor, so the herb enhances the jalapeno. For more heat, add another jalapeno. Chopped walnuts would work well with this recipe.

    Cranberry Jalapeno Dip
    Yield: 2 1/2 cups

    2 (8-ounce) packages lower fat cream cheese, at room temperature
    1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
    3/4 cup freshly chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
    1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
    1 to 2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half, or more to taste
    Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Sturdy wheat crackers, such as Triscuits, and celery sticks for serving

    1. In the work bowl of a food processor, combine the cream cheese, craisins, parsley, and jalapeno. Pulse several times until ingredients are thoroughly combined.
    2. With machine running, drizzle in milk until the desired consistency is reached. I like about 2 tablespoons for a mixture that can be dipped or spread.
    3. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve with crackers and celery sticks.

    Morning Mix Recipe: Roast Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Gravy

    Morning Mix Recipe: Roast Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Gravy

    Roast Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Gravy

    Roast Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Gravy (Photo courtesy ChickenRoost.com and the National Chicken Council)

    Roast Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Gravy is my Morning Mix recipe of the week. Developed for ChickenRoost.com and the National Chicken Council, the recipe creates an impressive holiday entrée. Look for more recipes curated exclusively for WOMX Mix 105.1 at the station’s website.

    Roast Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Gravy
    Yield: 6 servings

    Chicken:
    1 (5-to 6-pound) whole chicken
    1 sprig fresh marjoram
    4 fresh sage leaves
    6 sprigs thyme
    1/2 apple, cored and cut into pieces
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 cups chicken stock, divided
    1/2 cup apple cider
    Roasted vegetables:
    1 medium celery root
    1 sweet apple, such as Fuji
    1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme
    1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage
    1 teaspoon freshly chopped marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    8 jarred chestnuts, halved
    Pan gravy:
    1/2 cup chicken stock
    1 cup apple cider
    1 tablespoon soft butter
    1 tablespoon flour

    1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place herbs and apple into cavity of chicken, tie legs together and place in roasting pan. Pour 1 cup stock and cider around chicken. Roast chicken for 18-20 minutes for each pound (about 2 hours for a six pound bird).
    2. Peel celery root and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Cut apple into thirds lengthwise, and then cut each third in half crosswise. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Add the second cup of stock to the roasting pan about one hour into roasting time. Ten minutes later, scatter vegetables around chicken. Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper onto chicken. Add chestnuts. With a large spoon, turn vegetables to coat in pan juices. Baste chicken.
    4. In a small bowl, place softened butter and add flour. With the back of a spoon, press butter against the side of the bowl to combine well. All flour should be incorporated into butter to form a paste; set aside.
    5. Chicken is done roasting when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh registers 180F. Remove chicken from oven and place on a carving board. Cover with foil. Remove vegetables from pan and reserve. Vegetables should be tender. Place back in oven if not soft when pierced with a fork.
    6. For the pan gravy, place roasting pan on stovetop, add 1/2 cup stock and 1 cup apple cider and bring to a boil. Adding a little at a time, whisk butter/flour mixture into liquid. Whisk or stir until sauce is smooth and slightly thickened.
    7. Carve chicken, serving vegetables alongside. Spoon pan gravy over chicken.
    SOURCE: ChickenRoost.com and the National Chicken Council