Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Day menu - 2013

Hi Everyone,

I hope this post finds you all well.  I have been prepping for the Thanksgiving holiday since the weekend and here is what I have on the menu:

  • A southwestern flavored brined turkey
  • Pork loin roast that has also been brined
  • Roasted brussel sprouts
  • Green beans with shallots and toasted almonds
  • Roasted carrots with an espresso balsamic drizzle
  • Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes with butter and maple syrup
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Black walnut ice cream
The brine for the turkey and pork loin is posted in my blog, as is the roasted brussels sprouts recipe.  The sweet potatoes with butter and maple syrup is very simple and I'll post that over the weekend.

I think that is a very good menu for a small crowd with enough left-overs to feed us for another week.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday and a fabulous weekend.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Writing a Cook Book: And - she's back!!!

Writing a Cook Book: And - she's back!!!: Oh my goodness!!!  I can't believe that it has been 6 months since I posted on my blog. Lots has been going on that I will have to let y'all know about.  I finally finished my MBA in Strategic Leadership, so I can concentrate on blogging, cooking and communicating.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

And - she's back!!!

Oh my goodness!!!  I can't believe that it has been 6 months since I posted on my blog.

Lots has been going on that has had nothing to do with cooking.  I stepped away from my blog to complete my Master of Business Administration in Strategic Leadership degree.  And, I am happy to say that I graduated on November 15, 2013.  So, school is over and I can get back to cooking and blogging and focusing on my cookbook.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, I will be posting my menu and will be posting the menu for my husband's birthday party.

I also discovered a brand of peanut butter that includes cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes in it.  I'll be posting an updated version of peanut butter cookies - one with chocolate chips and one with grape jelly.

Jason and I were on vacation in Albuquerque not to long ago, where we discovered espresso infused balsamic vinegar.  I'll be doing something with that new ingredient.  I'll take caffeine where ever I can get it.

I need to post the recipe for Orange, almond and habanero cookies too.  I realized I was missing that post from last spring.

All in all, it is exciting to be moving on from working full time and taking 2 classes a semester for the past 3 semesters.

Thank you to all who have continued to visit over the past 6 months.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Long lost cook.....

Hi Everyone!!!

I just started my break from classes...I am FREE now through June 7, so be on the look-out for new postings and recipes to tempt your palate.

I'll be posting a new cookie or 2, fish tacos just in time for summer and a very cool southwestern inspired slaw recipe that will be amazing on my new buffalo burgers.

Also....venison with blackberry sage sauce will be coming your way along with a special surprise in time for 4th of July.

In the mean time....I appreciate each and every visit to my blog.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you...


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Hello Everyone!!!!

I'm just checking in and letting y'all know that I am still here, but VERY busy.  Dad has been in the hospital, but is home now and doing very well.  I'm still working full time and am still in school.  I'm taking 2 classes each semester for the next 3 semesters so I can finish my MBA this year.  I expect to be finished in November.

I am still cooking, but with my current schedule, certainly not like I was cooking before.  During the upcoming break from classes, In the next 6 weeks or so, I will have about 2 weeks off and am looking forward to posting some more recipes and pictures here.

In the mean time - I am working on a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches to submit to a contest.  As soon as I get the recipes ironed out, I will post them here too.

In the mean time.....please take care of yourselves and know that y'all are in my thoughts an prayers.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolate, Cherry and Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

I made chocolate, cherry and chipotle shortbread cookies with chocolate icing for a party I attended this past Saturday. They were delicious, but not for the inexperienced chili-head.  We managed to warn all the moms about the cookies for the little ones, but evidently missed one 10 year old.  Well, he got one and ate it, which I didn't know about, until afterwards.  Things were fine until the "after-burn" kicked in.  I was informed that his grandfather, a dear friend of ours, took good care of him following this "heated" event.  I did notice that he was back at the dessert bar a little later, but not going near the chocolate cookies.

I have to tell y'all......these cookies are not for the faint of tongue, but they are definitely delicious.

Prep time - 30 minutes
Cooking time - 10 minutes
Temperature - 350'
Difficulty - Easy

Ingredients for the Cookies
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon dried ground chipotle
          (I actually used 2 teaspoons for a very spicy cookie)
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a food processor, add the flour, dried cherries, cocoa powder, chipotle and salt.  Process until the cherries are finely chopped.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend together the butter, sugar and vanilla.  When well mixed, add the flour mixture, process on low until the dough comes together.

Form into 1 ounce balls, place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and flatten the tops.

Bake at 350' for 12 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool.

When the cookies are cool, make the icing.  

Ingredients for the Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
2 teaspoons meringue powder
1/4 tsp ground chipotle
          (for a very spicy icing, I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 tsp vanilla
Heavy Cream - start with 2 tablespoons and stir.  You will probably need more heavy cream and add only by the teaspoon until the icing is thick like pancake batter, but smooth.

I use a disposable plastic candy decorating bag and place the icing in that, cut off enough of the tip to leave a 1/8 inch opening and then add the icing to the cookies in a circular motion starting at the center until I am within 1/4 inch of the edge of the cookie.  

This icing dries very nicely, but does not become rock hard.  

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Brining a Pork Loin Roast

Over this past weekend, I cooked a pork loin roast that I had let sit in a brining solution for 5 days.  The best thing about this brine was that I cut way back on the amount of salt and bumped up the flavor profile of the dry mix that I used as a base.

Most brining solutions start with 1 to 1/2 cups of salt.  I only used 1/2 cup of salt along with several other ingredients.  Among them were brown sugar, cumin, chipotle, oregano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder and bay leaves.  I processed all the ingredients except for the bay leaves in a food processor to get to a consistent texture.  Then, I placed a 3 pound pork loin roast in a large plastic container, poured in 1 gallon of water, 2/3 cup of the dry mix and 4 bay leaves and stirred as best I could.  I placed it in the back of the fridge and let it sit for 5 days to absorb all the flavor it could.

I removed the roast from the liquid and wrapped it in paper towels for a few minutes to get it nice and dry.  I sliced it into 1 inch slices and dried them off as well.

I did not add any additional seasoning before I cooked the pork.  I wanted to test how well the brine worked and how much flavor the pork absorbed.

In a heavy skillet on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter, let it melt. When the butter is bubbly, add 4 pieces of the pork loin and cook until browned, approx. 12-15 minutes , then turn over and cook another 12-15 minutes.

The result was the most tender and flavorful pork loin I have ever eaten.  It was just as tender as a pork tenderloin and was quite moist.  No extra sauce was needed.

I served this with a classic caesar style salad with chipotle ranch dressing and home-made double garlic bread.

My husband took one bite of the pork and immediately one eyebrow got raised.  His only comment was, "Wow, this is really good!"

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas and a very happy and safe New Year's celebration.  2012 has been a whirlwind and I can honestly say that I am hoping to slow down a bit at my full time job.  I was able to hire a new staff member, so this will help tremendously over the upcoming months and beyond.

I will also be getting back to business over the next few days with this blog and with my cookbook now that the holidays are over.   I have several recipes to post, including my own recipes for some really great hand scrubs.....which I gave for gifts at the office.  Even my husband is using the hand scrub and LOVES it.  

I'll be typing with you very soon........please enjoy the rest of your week!

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you!!!