Kentucky Bibb Lettuce Salad with Bourbon Vinaigrette

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Bibb lettuce is named for its original cultivator, John Bibb. In 1865 he grew his special Bibb lettuce in Kentucky’s alkaline soil. This variety, also called limestone, would become the first American gourmet lettuce. Bibb lettuce varieties are known for tolerating varied soils and heat and resisting blight during summer months, making them a choice lettuce for home gardeners. Not only does tender Bibb lettuce comes from Kentucky,  but  so does the best Bourbon whisky, both coming together in a perfect combination of Southern flavors that is fits nicely on the menu for a Kentucky Derby brunch.

 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
8 chicken breast skins
1 1/2 cups pecan halves and pieces
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8 cups torn Bibb lettuce (2 to 3 medium heads)
4 cups trimmed watercress
4 large peaches, pitted and sliced
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

For the Bourbon Vinaigrette:
Makes 1 1/4 cups
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons Woodford Reserve Bourbon
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup canola oil

Directions:
For the Chicken Skins:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pat chicken skins dry.Bake skins on parchment paper-lined sheet pan for 15 minutes.Remove from the oven to cool.Crumble the skins into medium -sized bits and set aside.

For the Pecans:
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Toss pecans in butter. Stir together brown sugar and red pepper in a bowl; add pecans, tossing to coat. Spread pecans in a single layer in a lightly greased aluminum foil-lined shallow pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned, toasted, and fragrant. Remove from oven.Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; separate pecans with a fork and set aside.

For the Bourbon Vinaigrette:
Whisk together vinegar, brown sugar, bourbon, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add canola oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth.Set aside.

For the Salad:
Gently combine the watercress, peaches,red onion slices and pecans in a large bowl.

To serve, place several Bibb leaves on a salad plate. Place the peach mixture on top of leaves. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese and chicken skins bits on top of the peach mixture and lightly drizzle with the vinaigrette.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Hot Honey Apple Tartlets

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For years hot honey has been used as a condiment on pizza in Brazil.    Introduced to the States by Michael Kurtz , he discovered the spicy honey while on a hike in Brazil in 2003. In a small mountain town there, he found a pizzeria that had the concoction on every table. When he got home to Brooklyn, he set about duplicating it. Years down the road, in 2010 Kurtz gets a job at a Brooklyn pizzeria Paulie Gee’s a approached the owner about his sweet concoction, with “Hey, I’ve got something you should try on your pizza.” And so, Mike’s Hot Honey was born and  the rest, as the say, was history.

Drizzled on a pizza, hot honey is especially good with salty meats like soppressata or pepperoni, the heat of hot honey isn’t as pronounced and the sweetness of the honey shines through even more.

Today, Mike’s Hot Honey serves retailers and restaurants in the borough of Brooklyn, New York and beyond with Mike’s original recipe, chili pepper-infused hot honey.

For this recipe, I used a dark  honey forest honey, which is available at specialty foods stores and from kalustyans.com. I was also able to get my hands on some malagueta peppers from Brazil, but  you can also use Fresno, Holland, Vietnamese or Thai chiles to get the same heat effect of  Brazillian chile infused honey. Another alternative is to substitute a mix of  2 green thai chiles  and 1 habanero  to every 3 malaguetas.

And I have discovered that you can also use hot honey as a sauce for fruit desserts. Cooked fruit has a robust flavor that can stand up to hot honey. Just squirting sriracha on everything doesn’t work on all  things eaten, but hot honey sure does. Try it on fried chicken, it is to die for!

 

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Hot Honey:
Makes About 1 Cup
2–4 hot chiles , thinly sliced
1 cup Langnese Forest Honey

Directions:
Bring 2 chiles and honey to a bare simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Reduce heat to low and let the chiles simmer in the honey for 1 hour to 185°F . to infuse. Taste honey and adjust heat with another chile or 2. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Strain  into s sterilized jar while still warm and cap with a sterilized lid. Store honey chilled  in a refrigerator to slow oxidation.

Make  Ahead:  The hot honey can be made up to 3 months ahead of time. Keep chilled.

 

For the Tartlets:
Two  17.3-ounce packages frozen puff pastry (4 sheets), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
6 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (about 3/4 cup packed)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
3 medium Gala apples,peeled,quartered,cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup hot honey, divided
1/2 teaspoon  ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Directions:
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out each puff pastry sheet on lightly floured surface to 11-inch square. Using 5-inch-diameter cookie cutter or bowl, cut out 4 rounds from each pastry sheet, forming 16 rounds total. Divide 8 pastry rounds between prepared baking sheets; pierce rounds all over with fork. Using 3 1/2-inch-diameter cookie cutter or bowl, cut out smaller rounds from center of remaining 8 rounds (reserve 3 1/2-inch rounds for another use), forming eight 5-inch-diameter rings. Brush outer 1-inch edges of 5-inch rounds on baking sheets with beaten egg; top each with 1 pastry ring. Freeze at least 30 minutes.

MAKE AHEAD:  Pastry shells can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and keep frozen. Do not thaw before continuing. 

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a small bowl mix the ground allspice and cinnamon. Set aside.

Mix cheese, lemon juice, and salt in bowl; spread mixture inside rings on frozen pastry rounds. Overlap apple slices atop cheese. Mix butter and 1/4 cup honey in small bowl; brush over apples. Sprinkle with the allspice and cinnamon mixture. Bake until apples are tender and pastry is golden, about 35 minutes. Place tartlets on plates. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the hot honey over each tartlet and serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook’s Notes:
Bake the tartlets four to six hours ahead, then store them uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm in a 350°F oven for five to ten minutes. Drizzle tartlets with honey just before serving.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Mini Crescent Roll Cheese Danishes

Great taste comes in small  packages, just like these miniature danishes that make a great addition to a brunch buffet. Using commercially prepared dough allows you to make them in a snap! You can also make fruit and cream cheese danishes by adding a spoonful of your favorite pie filling, like cherries, peaches or lemon, prior to baking.

In this recipe, I swapped the cream cheese for Neufchâtel cheese which contains about 1/3 less milk fat than regular cream cheese. I also added a bit of left over cherry filling to the cheese center, creating a Cherry and Cheese Danish. The variations are endless!

Enjoy!

 

Makes 20 to 24 Mini Danishes

Ingredients:
For the Pastry:
Two 10 -ounce cans of Pillsbury® Original Crescents Rolls

For the Filling:
1⁄2 cup white sugar
One 8-ounce package of Neufchâtel cheese, softened
3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
⅔ cup whole cherry pie filling (optional)

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 teaspoons of milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the Filling:
In a large bowl, cream the  cheese, sugar,  vanilla extract and sour cream together. Set aside.

For the Glaze:
In a small bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Set aside.

For the Danishes:
Slice  the unrolled crescent roll dough into 1/4 inch slices, as if making slice-and-bake cookie dough. Place slices of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and make slight indention in the center of each slice. Add about 1/4 of teaspoon of the cheese filling to each roll. If you are using the cherry filling, spoon one cherry and a small amount of the cherry filling on top of the cheese. Brush each danish with melted butter.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the danishes and place on a wire rack to cool. After the danishes have cooled, drizzle with the glaze and place on a platter and serve.