Dutch Baby

IMG_6522Weekends are made for family time, lounging and Dutch baby pancakes. These pancakes are like a combination of pancakes, crepes and popovers, and they are as much fun to make as they are to eat!

A Dutch baby, sometimes known as a German pancake, a Bismarck, or a Dutch puff, are baked in a cast iron skillet and puff to great heights while cooking. There are a few tricks to making these puffy pancakes.

Start with a thin pancake batter consisting of eggs, milk, flour, sugar and butter that is combined in a blender to create the smoothest consistency. While you are making your batter, heat your cast iron skillet in the oven before buttering. A hot skillet and melted butter ensures you will have the puffiest and tastiest Dutch baby.

Once the Dutch baby is baked, you will have a crunchy edge and a thin, crepe-like middle that can be filled sweet or savory ingredients. A classic Dutch baby can be enjoyed just like a traditional pancake with a dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup or can be fancied up with your favorite garnish. To dig into your sweeter side, garnish with mixed berries, lemon curd, powdered sugar and a sprig of mint, or make a meal out of it with a twist on a Caprese salad drizzled with a balsamic reduction.IMG_6494 IMG_6489

Use small skillets to make personalized Dutch babies or one large skillet to make a Dutch baby to share.IMG_6496IMG_6529IMG_6547

Dutch Baby
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 3/4 cup whole milk
  3. 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  4. 2 Tbsp sugar
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 tsp salt
  7. pinch of nutmeg
  8. 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
  2. Place 2 8” cast iron skillets in the oven to warm up while you are making the batter
  3. In a blender or food processor combine eggs, milk, flour, sugar, vanilla, salt and nutmeg
  4. Blend until smooth
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven and melt 1Tbsp of butter on each skillet, tilting to coat the bottom and sides
  6. Divide the batter in half and pour into each cast iron skillet
  7. Bake until the dutch baby is puffed up and golden brown on the edges, approximately 12-14 minutes
  8. Remove from the oven and immediately garnish and serve
Berry Lemon Dutch Baby
  1. Once the Dutch baby is out of the oven, spread a thin layer of lemon curd in the center of the pancake. Top with fresh berries, dust with powdered sugar and garnish with fresh mint
Caprese Dutch Baby
  1. When making the Dutch baby, remove the 2 tablespoons sugar from the recipe. Once the pancake is out of the oven, top with pesto, sliced heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls or slices, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.
  2. Makes 2-8" Dutch Babies
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Back to School Lunch Box Must Haves

lunch boxSummers are made up of late nights, no routine and a lot of tiresome fun and it is not always easy getting back into the school routine.  For me early mornings are the hardest part.  Getting everyone up, dressed, fed a healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunches packed and out the door.  

As important as breakfast is for ourselves and our kids, so is the lunch we pack to fuel the rest of their day.  The lunch box routine does not have to be intimidating or stressful when you have an organized refrigerator of simple and healthy options.  In my family, we love a classic sandwich but I always like to change it up so everyday lunches don’t look the same.  

Lunch Box Menu Options:

Turkey & cheese skewers
Sweet potato chips
Grapes
Edamame

PBJ Roll Ups
Apple slices
Carrots and ranch
Pretzel sticks

Salami and crackers
Mozzarella balls
Cucumbers and tomatoes
Dried fruit mix

Pasta salad
Sugar snap peas
Strawberries with yogurt dip
Popcorn 

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Crawfish Boil….Ending with the best ever Bourbon Bread Pudding

crawfish boiCrawfish season is one of our favorite times of the year. It’s time to get our backyards set up to enjoy spring weather and family get-togethers.

April is a month full of birthdays in our family, and it has become a tradition to host a casual backyard crawfish boil to celebrate. It’s so relaxing to spend time with the people we love most, eating on paper-lined tables piled with spicy crawfish, shrimp, corn and potatoes and listening to music. There is nothing fancy about this, but it brings everyone around the table for the first time after a busy winter.

Throwing a crawfish boil is easier than you might think. Here are answers to typical questions:
When is crawfish in season?
March-May.
What equipment do I need?
The first step to hosting a crawfish boil for a large group is investing in a large stockpot with lid, basket and burner. If you plan to host a crawfish boil every year or several times in a year, it is worth the purchase. (These stockpots can also be used to fry a turkey.) An 80-quart pot will boil 30 pounds of crawfish.
How many crawfish do I need?
Although there are social crawfish eaters and veteran crawfish eaters, a good rule of thumb is around 2 to 3 pounds of mudbugs per person. Don’t worry about leftovers — there are many wonderful recipes you can make with them.
Where do I get crawfish?
Crawfish has to be cooked alive, so ordering from your local seafood market will be your best bet. (We went to Rex’s Seafood, rexsseafood.com.) You will typically need to order early in the week and pick them up the morning of your boil. While you are at the seafood market be sure to pick up your crawfish seasoning and liquid crab boil. Don’t be afraid to add fresh shrimp and crab legs to the mix.
How much time does it take?
Hosting a crawfish boil is a very social event — lots of talking, cooking and drinking beer. While you are waiting on the crawfish to boil you should enjoy the weather and your friends. It takes about an hour total.
How should I serve it?
This is the fun part! Cover a large table in paper, dump the hot crawfish boil on it, and start eating. Make sure to have the music on, beer on hand and empty bowls for the shells. If anyone is new to a crawfish boil, be sure to teach them the tricks. To finish off the night, serve Bourbon Bread Pudding for dessert. (see recipe below)bread pudding

What do I do with leftovers?
If all the crawfish is not consumed, do not throw them away. It will take you a little bit of extra time, but you must clean and remove all the shells in order to save the meat. Refrigerate or freeze the leftover crawfish meat to enjoy later. Some of my favorite crawfish dishes are crawfish mac and cheese, crawfish fritters, crawfish cakes or traditional crawfish étouffée. You will not regret having leftovers

Crawfish Boil
Serves 15
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Ingredients
  1. 1(16-ounce) package powdered shrimp and crab boil seasoning
  2. 1(8-ounce) bottle liquid shrimp and crab boil
  3. 3(4-pound) boxes of salt
  4. 1(30-40 pound) sack of live crawfish
  5. 8 large lemons, halved
  6. 4 large oranges, halved
  7. 1 bag small red potatoes
  8. 8 large heads garlic, not peeled, tops cut off
  9. 6 to 8 onions, cut in half
  10. 1 large pack of mushrooms (optional)
  11. 1 pack of smoked sausage (optional)
  12. 8 ears of corn (frozen)
Instructions
  1. Fill crawfish pot about half full of water and bring to a boil. Add powdered seasoning, liquid shrimp and crab boil, and two boxes of salt to the pot.
  2. In a large washtub, add crawfish, water and half a box of salt to purge the crawfish. After 5 to 10 minutes, empty water, add remaining salt and wash them a second time. Make sure to remove any dead fish, grass or trash from the crawfish at this time. Making sure the crawfish are purged and very clean is essential to ending up with a tasty product in the end.
  3. Once water has come to a rolling boil in the pot, squeeze the juice from the lemons and oranges into the pot and toss in the rind. Add potatoes, garlic, onions, mushrooms and sausage to the pot, and boil for 10 minutes.
  4. Add crawfish to boiling water, cover the pot and bring back to a rolling boil. From the point that the water comes to a rolling boil, boil for no more than about 3 to 5 minutes depending on size of crawfish.
  5. After the crawfish have boiled, turn off burner and add the frozen ears of corn.
  6. Let crawfish soak for about 20 minutes or desired seasoning level. The longer they soak, the more seasoning they absorb. Never do less than 15 minutes or more than 30 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Serves 10
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Ingredients
  1. 5 cups French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  2. 4 cups whole milk
  3. 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1/2 cup raisins
  8. 1 cup pineapple, crushed
  9. Bourbon Caramel Sauce (see recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place cubed French bread into a large bowl. Pour milk onto the bread and allow the bread to soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon together in a separate bowl and pour over milk and bread mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Fold in raisins and crushed pineapple until fully combined.
  5. Pour mixture into a 9x13 glass dish and bake for 35-45 minutes or until custard is set.
  6. While the bread pudding is baking, make the Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
  7. Serve bread pudding in a bowl with sauce poured on top.
Notes
  1. Bourbon Caramel Sauce: Combine 1 cup unsalted butter and 2 cups sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir consistently until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and slowly stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons bourbon.
Adapted from Fishmongers Seafood Market
Adapted from Fishmongers Seafood Market
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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Waffles…Morning, Noon or Night!

waffles 1As young as I can remember and now raising my own family, I find it very important that we all sit down to eat, rather than grabbing and going. As our lives are getting busier and busier with early morning school routine and all the extracurricular activities it is becoming harder to insure that all our meals are enjoyed at the table. Menu planning, prepping and stocking the fridge and freezer is the best way I know how to to quickly get everyone fed with whole, natural and nutritious ingredients.

Although I would love to have a three course meal ready on all occasions, that is not likely at this stage in our life and I am totally fine with that. Breakfast for dinner, dinner for lunch, or an array of appetizers for any meal is what you might find in my kitchen, but the girls are happy and we are fed!

Breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, waffles are a favorite in my family. There is something so comforting about a homemade waffles, whether you are enjoying them alone or garnishing them with eggs, bacon, prosciutto, roasted bananas, chocolate or anything other toppings of your choice. The crisp outside and soft doughy center makes for a perfect meal. Two of my go to waffle combinations is thinly sliced prosciutto and shaved gruyere cheese for a savory twist and on the sweeter side, roasted bananas topped with a butterscotch syrup.waffles 2

The beauty of waffles is that they can be found all over the world. These perfectly shaped treats are on restaurant menus of all cuisines. From steakhouses, southern to American fine dining, waffles are sure to make you feel like a kid again.waffles 3

Classic Waffle
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  3. 1/2 tsp Salt
  4. 4 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  5. 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
  6. 2 Eggs, Separated
  7. 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the waffle iron
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl
  3. In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks and milk and whisk into dry ingredients
  4. Pour the melted butter into flour mixture and mix until fully combined
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks and slowly add in granulated sugar
  6. Gently fold egg whites into batter just until combined, do not over mix or the batter will deflate
  7. Scoop the desired amount of batter onto a greased and warmed waffle iron and cook until golden brown (use according to the manufacture of your iron)
  8. Remove waffle when ready and serve immediately or freeze the extra waffles!
Notes
  1. Prosciutto & Gruyere Waffle
  2. Make the classic waffle recipe
  3. Whisk in 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese into the waffle batter
  4. Scoop the batter into waffle iron until golden brown
  5. Remove waffle from the iron and garnish with thinly sliced prosciutto, shredded gruyere and chopped chives
  6. Serve immediately!
  7. Roasted Banana & Caramel Waffles
  8. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  9. Slice bananas into 1/2” thick banana rounds and place on a foil lined sheet pan
  10. Sprinkle the bananas with granulated sugar and roast for 10-15 minutes or until bananas are soft and sugar is bubbling.
  11. While the bananas are roasting, make the classic waffle recipe
  12. Whisk in 1/2 cup chopped pecans into waffle batter
  13. Scoop batter into waffle iron until golden brown
  14. Remove waffle from the iron and garnish with roasted bananas, toasted pecan pieces and caramel sauce of your choice
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
Some of my favorite waffles around Dallas:

Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse
Brioche Waffle on Fois Gras
Jalapeño Cheddar Waffle on a Southern Fried Quail Egg with Molasses Syrup

Hatties
Buttermilk Fried Chicken over a Belgium Waffle with Red Pepper Flake Syrup

Del Frisco’s Grill
Red Velvet Belgium Waffle with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese

Double Dose Bakery
www.doubledosebakery.com
100% Grain Free and Gluten Free Frozen Waffles shipped to your door!

Favorite Waffle Irons
Breville No Mess Classic Round Waffle Maker

All Clad Belgian Waffle Maker

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The Feast of the Seven Fishes

tableGrowing up in a large family, we celebrated every holiday to the fullest and had many traditions.  Christmas Eve was and still is one of my favorite family traditions and one that I want to share with all of you. There is something very special about this day and has left me with vivid memories as a child and I still look forward to Christmas Eve every year. It is not about the gifts and getting to bed early waiting for Santa, it is actually the total opposite.  As a family Christmas Eve has always focused on cooking and enjoying a long evening of feasting.  

The feast of the seven fishes is a tradition that I thought everyone celebrated on Christmas Eve until I got older and realized this was an Italian tradition and a very special one! The origin of The Seven Fishes comes from the Roman Catholic Church to fast during Holy Week.  This fasting later turned into feasting with an abundance of food and celebration.  No one knows the exact meaning behind the specific number seven, but it is thought to come from the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church .

Leading up to Christmas Eve, the menu preparation of this Southern Italian tradition is quite elaborate.  Every family has a variety of seafood dishes but there are some that are more common and other that are family favorites. The dishes that sit at our table have been with us for many years: stuffed lobster tails, whole red snapper, clams and pasta, seafood salad, baccala in red sauce, garlic shrimp and mussels in a white wine sauce. It is very important to choose seafood that is fresh and can be purchased at your local gourmet grocer. Most of the seafood I found this year was purchased from Central Market, but can also be found at any local seafood market. Baccala is one of the more uncommon seafood dishes, it is also known as salted cod and sold in a slab form. The history of Baccala shows the importance of the preserved fish for an inexpensive meal when fresh fish could not be found. Because the fish is preserved it must be soaked for at least 3 days before cooking and can be found is very specialty shops or can even be found and shipped through amazon.com. Although it is a long process and more difficult to find, it is absolutely worth making!

As I had the opportunity to prepare every dish with my uncle, Mario Sorrentino, I felt the love for this holiday more than ever. Mario moved to Dallas 12 years ago from New York but was born and raised in Naples, Italy. He has shared so many wonderful and authentic recipes from his home town and we love having them at our table every year. I look forward to continuing this Christmas Eve tradition for my family and I hope you will share it with yours.lobster

Baked Lobster Tails
(serves 6 people)
Ingredients:
6 4-5 ounce Lobster Tails
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
12 Tbsp Butter, divided for each lobster

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Cut the top of the shell along the whole lobster tail with scissor and then using a knife make the cut deeper into the flesh and remove the vein
Combine bread crumbs, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a large bowl and mix to combine
Fill the lobster tail cavity with the breadcrumb mixture
Place 2 tbsp of butter on top of each lobster tail
Wrap each tail in aluminum foil and place a sheet pan
Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes
Once lobster is cooked through remove from the foil and serve immediately

seafood salad

Seafood Salad
(serves 6 people)
Ingredients:
8 Cups Water
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 1/2 lb. Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. Sea Scallops, cut in half
1 1/4 lb. Mussels, cleaned
2 lbs Squid Tubes
1 lb. Crab Meat, cooked

Sauce:
1 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
1 tsp Garlic, minced
Zest of 2 Lemons
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
1/4 Cup Celery, chopped
1/4 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin

Instructions:
In a large sauce pan, combine 8 cups water, vinegar and salt and bring to a boil
Rinse and cut squid tubes into 2” pieces and place in boiling water for 2 minutes
Remove squid from boiling water and place in a large bowl (save water)
Bring water back to a boil and add shrimp and boil for 2 minutes or until cooked through
Remove shrimp and add to bowl with squid (save water)
Bring water back to a boil and add scallops and cook for 4 minutes or until cooked through
Remove scallops from water and add to bowl with squid and shrimp
You may discard water at this point
In a sauté pan, steam the mussels until they open and remove the mussel from the shell and place in the bowl with all other seafood
Make sure to drain seafood again to remove any additional water
Add crab meat to bowl with seafood and gently stir to combine

Prepare the Sauce:
In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm olive oil
Add thyme, garlic and lemon zest to the olive oil and cook over low heat for 1 minute
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and champagne vinegar
Pour the hot vinaigrette over the seafood and add in the chopped celery and parsley
Gently toss the seafood salad and garnish with fresh parsley and slice bell peppers

red snapper

Baked Whole Red Snapper
(serves 4 people)
Ingredients:
1 3 lb. Whole Red Snapper
1 Lemon, Sliced
2 sprigs of Thyme

Sauce
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Capers
1 Large Shallot, Chopped
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper
Scale and gut the whole fish
Place the fish on a lined sheet pan and season the cavity of the fish with sliced lemons and thyme sprigs
Score the top of the fish and season with salt and pepper, olive oil and arrange lemon slices around the fish; bake for 30-40 minutes
Prepare the sauce: heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add the chopped shallots, capers and thyme. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper
Once fish is fully baked, remove the skin from the fish and place on a serving dish with sauce covering the top

mussels

Mussels in White Wine Sauce
(serves 4 people)
Ingredients:
2 lbs Mussels
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
6 Tbsp Butter, Unsalted
1/2 Cup Shallots, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 Cup White Wine
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper

Instructions:
Clean mussels: place in a large bowl and soak for 30 minutes; Remove any mussels that are already open.
In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil and butter. Add shallots and thyme leaves and cook for 5 minutes.
Add the white wine and reduce the liquid to half.
Once the wine is reduced add the mussels into the wine reduction and season with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan and simmer over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until mussels open completely (discard any that do not open).
Pour the mussels and sauce into a large serving dish and enjoy with toasted baguette.

garlic shrimp

Garlic Shrimp
(serves 4 people)
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, sliced thin
1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 lb. Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
1 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
Salt and pepper

Instructions:
In a large skillet, heat olive oil
Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until garlic is fragrant and golden
Add shrimp to olive oil and cook until shrimp are opaque
Add butter and stir until shrimp are fully coated
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley
Serve immediately

clams and pasta

Spaghetti with Clams
(serves 4 people)
Ingredients:
2 lbs Littleneck Clams
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
4 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 Cups White Wine
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 lb Spaghetti, Cooked

Instructions:
1. Soak and scrub the clams in water for 30 minutes to remove the sand
2. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil
3. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to oil until garlic is soft and fragrant
4. Add white wine to garlic and simmer until half of the liquid is evaporated
5. Add clams to the white wine mixture and steam until clams have opened completely
6. Sprinkle the clams with fresh parsley and toss over cooked spaghetti
7. Serve immediately

baccala

Baccala Stew
(serves 4 people)
Ingredients:
1 lb Salted Cod (Baccala), soaked
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, sliced
1 Celery Stalk
2 Large Carrots
4 Yukon Gold Potatoes 1 Can (15 oz) Crushed Tomatoes
1/4 tsp Oregano, dried
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Water

Instructions:
Soak Salted Cod in water for a minimum of 5 days, changing the water 3 times per day before using
Cut salted cod into 2” pieces
Chop the onions, celery, and carrots into 2” pieces and peel and slice potatoes in half
In a large sauté pan heat olive oil and add onions and garlic until soft and fragrant
Add crushed tomatoes, carrots, celery, potatoes, oregano and 1 1/2 cups of water to onions and garlic; simmer for 15 minutes
Add the salted cod to tomato mixture and simmer until cod is tender, approximately 15 minutes
Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh parsley
Serve immediately

All recipes have been featured in The Dallas Morning News!  

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Finger Food that Pops-Herb Goat Cheese Poppers

SONY DSCHappy March!!  It’s hard to believe that Spring is quickly approaching but I have to say, I am looking forward to a little sunshine around here!  We have had such a mild winter in Texas, but the past few weeks have made me want spring more than ever…now lets start planning our warm weather parties!

 A table covered in gourmet appetizers provides the perfect setting for a spring gathering. At the beginning of this new season, freshen up your menus with bite-size finger food, ideal for sharing or passing. With only five ingredients, herb goat cheese poppers keep it simple and small but full of flavor.

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Herb Goat Cheese Poppers
Yields 24
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Ingredients
  1. 1 (8 ounce) log soft herb goat cheese
  2. 1 large egg
  3. ½ cup flour
  4. ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  5. 2 cups canola oil
Instructions
  1. 1. Place flour, whisked egg and panko breadcrumbs each in individual bowls (do not mix together). Roll goat cheese into 24 balls (1 heaping teaspoon each).
  2. 2. Dip each goat cheese ball in flour, dip in egg and roll in panko; place each ball on a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
  3. 3. Heat oil in a small deep saucepan until it reaches 350 degrees F. Drop goat cheese balls into oil in batches of 4-6 at a time until golden and crisp on the outside. Remove balls with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.
  4. 4. Serve goat cheese poppers immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.
Notes
  1. Dipping Sauce (optional)
  2. Blackberry honey (pictured)
  3. Marinara sauce
  4. Balsamic reduction
  5. Sweet chili sauce
INK foods : In Nanny's Kitchen http://inkfoods.com/
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