Wiener piglets

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Another guest post by Sander.

(btw, Sander’s opinion on ketchup is not mine!!!)

Wieners – or hot dogs, as they are known in the United States – are nice-tasting fully cooked sausages. You can do about ten thousand foods with them – use as a meat in salads, boil, fry with eggs, make sandwiches… sky is the limit!

But since childhood, my favorite way of making wieners is wiener piglets – incredibly easy to make, great-tasting and great-looking food. I think half of my relatives come to the parties held at my parents just to get cheese’n’mayo sandwiches and wiener piglets…

Wiener piglets are especially popular with kids – they look good (click on the picture to see larger version), have a funny name and taste great. And – kids can actually help to make them.

But how?

You take the sausage, cut a small cross in the end – about an inch deep – and put to hot oven (around 200..250 degrees Celsius). Depending on the type of sausages, they will take 10 to 20 minutes until ready – when the puffy ends start to get brown, they are done.

And that is it, all ready to eat. You can have them separately or as a side dish for salad/rice/potatoes. If you have crappy sausages or dead taste buds, you can use ketchup or mayo on them.

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Monkey Bread, aka Pull Aparts, Pully Bread, Picky Bread and Pinch Me Bread

There are some things that I make that are almost painfully simple.  And after reading some of the blogs this past week with all the complicated recipes — from liver pate to potato confiet, I really am almost embarrased to post this recipe.  But.. I’m a simple cook, for the most part, and sometimes the simple things are just fantastically yummy.  This is one of those recipes.

We (and by “We”, I mean my son and I), are trying to create some new traditions, and make new memories.  It’s been hard after the divorce to not be saddened by what /was/, and instead, be happy with with /is/.  And so I decided to do some new things this year, one of which is to make some different foods.  This recipe, though I have made it in the past on occasion,  is not something I would normally make.  First, I don’t often use refrigerator rolls, and second, it’s rather too much for the two of us.  But it is Christmas, and I did want new/different foods.

This version of Monkey Bread, aka Pully Bread, Pull Apart Bread, Picky Bread, Pinch Me Cake – whatever you may know it by, (and in the end, whatever it is you choose to call it), is ridiculously silly easy.  With the plethora of names this recipe is known by, there are 1000x that many versions of this recipe.  I bring nothing new to the recipe whatsoever.  It just happens to be what I decided to make, and to share here. Listed below the recipe are a few other versions.

With supervision (the caramel/syrup is just  too hot for little ones), this version of the recipe can be made by kids, and takes only about 10 minutes..maybe 15 minutes from start of prep to entry into the oven.

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Quick and Easy Monkey Bread with Pecans

3 12-ounce tubes refrigerator biscuits, or rolls (like the Pillsbury type) (or a double recipe of your favorite yeast bread)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans (up to 1 cup, if you like, and I do!!)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, dried currants, or dried cranberries (or similar)

Open the tubes and remove the ready-to-bake rolls or biscuits.  The object is to cut each piece into 4 pieces.  I try and remove the rolls from the package all in one full roll, slice longways in half twice, making 4 long pieces, and then pull them apart into the quarter section.

The traditional pan to use is a “bundt pan”.  I don’t happen to have one, so I used a disposable aluminum pan – a double long bread pan

Extra long, wide disposable pan

Extra long, wide disposable pan

size. (as shown here). Spray well with ‘Pam’, or oil well with vegetable oil and set aside.  You don’t want to use a regular bread pan size as it is too small for this recipe – it needs to be double long.

In a ziplock bag, pour in the 1 cup of sugar, and the 3 tablespoons cinnamon.  Zip it closed and shake it to mix.  Put 1/2 of the cut up biscuits/rolls into the bag, zip to close, and shake until all the pieces are well covered. Put these pieces into the pan.  Get the remaining pieces ready to go, by putting them into the ziplock bag.  Shake them, and leave them in the bag for now.

Meanwhile, put the butter and brown sugar into a saucepan.  Stir often, and then, once the butter and sugar start to melt, stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Boil for about 1 minute.

Once this has boiled, pour 1/2 over the pieces in the pan.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the pecans, and half of the remaining cinnamon.  Cover this with the remaining pieces from the ziplock bag, and pour the remaining half of the butter/brownsugar syrup overtop.  Cover with the rest of the nuts and cinnamon.

Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes.  Once this is done, remove from the oven and allow to set at least 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a serving dish or platter.  This will be VERY hot, so be careful.

Notes:

  • Use walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts — whatever suits your fancy
  • I like this with a lot of cinnamon — it just makes it taste so nice — I sprinkle a bit extra over everything ;)
  • I’ve doubled this fine, but used a large, deep double cake pan.
  • This is good leftover, heated in the oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes.

Other Monkey Bread recipes of interest:

Simply Roasted Vegetables

One simple and easy dish to make for Thanksgiving Day is just roasted vegetables.  I say this with a bit of surprise, because, when talking to people about this recipe, it took me aback at how many people don’t know how to roast vegetables.

Roasted vegetables are almost always on my Thanksgiving table.  First off, because they are so quick and simple to do.  Second, because they taste great, and third, because they make a really nice presentation.

Any vegetable can be roasted — peppers, parsnips, carrots, asparagus, tomatoes – it all depends on timing them right, and consistency of the size.

 

Simply Roasted Vegetables

Heat the oven to 400F

Choose the vegetables — Any dense vegetable can be roasted — squash, zucchini, onions, potatoes, asparagus, peppers.  I always like to have interesting colors, so for Thanksgiving, I’ll choose Yellow  and Red Peppers, Carrots, and Zucchini.

Once you’ve selected what you’d like, prep the vegetables — wash and cut them into pieces.  The best is to cut them into uniform sizes, which works best for roasting.

Use a baking sheet, or roasting pan – as long as it is shallow.  Drizzle oil over the bottom of the pan, and add in the vegetables.  Mix them around to coat the vegetables. Sprinkle with kosher salt.  Spread the vegetables out so they are in an even layer, and not too close together — they need room to roast, rather than steam.

Place the vegetables in the oven. Stir every 10 minutes.  These should take about 30 minutes.  However, the size matters here — if the pieces are small, the roasting time will be less, if the pieces are larger, the roasting time will be more.  Just keep your eye on them once the time has reached 25 minutes, checking for doneness.

Serve immediately.  Roasted vegetables look great on the table, especially when they are mixed colors, and always taste yummy.