Friday, December 18, 2009

Streusel Coffee Cake

The holidays with my family often brings this streusel coffee cake. Direct from my Minneapolis great-grandparents Lutheran church cookbook, this is basically the perfect coffee cake recipe. We always double it, but I'll include the single and double measurements.



Streusel Coffee Cake

Single
1 1/2 C flour
3 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C butter
1 egg
1/2 C milk
1 t vanilla

filling
1/2 C brown sugar
2 T powdered sugar
1 T flour
1 t cinnamon
2 T soft of melted butter
nuts if you wish, I omit

Cream sugar, butter, egg, milk and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix dry mixture into creamed mixture.

In separate bowl, combine ingredients for filling.

In greased 8 x 8 pan, layer a little less than half the batter. Top with 3/4ths of the filling. Layer remaining batter (this is the hardest step because the batter is so thick, I try to drop and spread the batter without picking up the filling). Sprinkle remaining filling on top and bake 25 minutes in a 350 oven.

Double
3 C flour
6 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C butter
2 eggs
1 C milk
2 t vanilla

filling
1 C brown sugar
4 T powdered sugar
2 T flour
2 T cinnamon (Allspice is a good substitution, in addition to a pinch of nutmeg)
4 T soft butter

Double baking time is between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on your oven. Photo from Krusteaz.com

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas cookies - one to remind us of summer!

I don't know about everyone else but I for one love the taste of lemon in just about anything but especially desserts! So come time for Christmas cookies I always appreciate something lemon on the cookie tray- its a nice light addition plus the taste of lemon reminds me of summer which is nice when the Christmas snow is blowing outside. So for this year I found the following recipe I'm going to try...I hope they're as good as they sound!

Lemon Pistachio Cookies
4 dozen
1 stick butter (or half butter/ half crisco)
1 1/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 c chopped pistachios or macadamias
1 c white chocolate chunks or chips
2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
grated rind of one lemon
1/4 c lemon juice

Cream butter, sugar, and egg until smooth..add lemon juice and mix well.stir dry ingredients together with lemon rind and add thoroughly to butter mixture. Fold in white chocolate and pistachios. Chill for 15-20 minutes.Drop heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on a silpat or parchment covered baking sheet. bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until just done and just turning color. Cool before storing.These will fall apart when they are warm..They firm on setting. Melt 1/4 c butter, and add 2 TBS lemon juice. Add enough confectioners sugar to make a thick frosting and spread on warm cookies.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Recipes in the New Year

Yo! What's up? So not that its a big deal, but one of my intentions for 2010 is to bake AND make something new each week. I have plenty of recipes to try but I'm always looking for more inspiration. If you have any recipes you've seen/flagged/noted but haven't tried yet, let me know and I'll give 'em a whirl.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peppermint Fudge

I got not one, but two requests for this recipe. The mint fudge recipe I’ve used before calls for cooking the chocolate, which I think leads to a harder, more bitter fudge. This is smooth and has a much lighter consistency.

Here’s the funny thing. The recipe calls for round peppermint candies (Everyday Foods always goes the anonymous route on naming candies), so I picked up York Peppermint Patties because that’s where my mind went automatically. It wasn’t until I turned the page over to make a copy that I realized they meant Starlight mints. You can decide (heck, you can even use Junior Mints), but I’m sticking with Yorks.

Peppermint Fudge
Nonstick spray
2 ¼ C (16 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
1 C round peppermint candies, plus more for garnish
¾ C heavy cream
3 ½ C mini marshmallows
5 T unsalted butter
1 ¼ C sugar
1 t coarse salt

Lightly coat 8 or 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with two pieces parchment paper in both directions, leaving a 2 inch overhang on all sides.

Place chocolate chips in a bowl. In food processor, pulse candies until finely chopped. In medium saucepan, combine candies, cream, marshmallows, butter, sugar and salt over medium high. Whisk until smooth, 5-8 minutes.

Pour mixture through strainer (not necessary with Yorks) into bowl with chocolates. Let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth. Pour into baking pan and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours. I place my garnish Yorks on about halfway through. Cut into squares.

Stores covered and refrigerated for 1 week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Green Green Spring Vegetables

I made this last night, intending to use the haricots verts I'd picked up at Sam's Club which turned out to be moldy. Instead I improvised with just broccoli and asparagus. It is a simple dish, but big on flavor. The shallots really make this shine. Ideal for entertaining since you can do the vegetables earlier in the day and then heat them up right before serving.

Green Green Spring Vegetables from Barefoot Contessa
1/4 pound French string beans (haricots verts), ends removed
Kosher salt
1/4 pound sugar snap peas, ends and strings removed
1/4 pound asparagus, ends removed
1/2 pound broccolini, ends removed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute only. Lift the beans from the water with a slotted spoon or sieve and immerse them in a bowl of ice water. Add the snap peas to the same boiling water and cook for 1 minute, until al dente, adding them to the ice water and the beans. Cut the asparagus into 2-inch lengths diagonally and cook in the boiling water for 2 minutes, and add to the ice water. Cut the broccolini in half, boil for 1 minute, and add to the ice water. When all the vegetables in the water are cold, drain well.

When ready to serve, heat the butter and oil in a very large saute pan or large pot. Saute the shallots over medium heat for 5 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the drained vegetables to the shallots with 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper and toss. Cook just until the vegetables are heated through. Serve hot.

Photo from FoodNetwork.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

I made this healthier version of Cream of Turkey & Wild Rice Soup from EatingWell last night with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. It was really good.

I didn't have mushrooms or shallots so I just used some onion. As it says in the recipe, you could always substitute chicken.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Saffron Orzo with Asparagus and Prosciutto

When my sister-in-law Colleen hosts a holiday (typically Thanksgiving and Easter), she always makes this delicious side dish from Bon Appetit. Definitely my favorite--so elegant and tasty. It is great reheated as well.

Saffron Orzo with Asparagus and Prosciutto

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1 1/4 cups orzo (about 8 ounces)
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon (loosely packed) saffron threads, crushed
1 pound slender asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese shavings

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto and sauté until almost crisp, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over high heat. Add orzo; stir 1 minute. Add broth and saffron; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until orzo begins to soften, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add asparagus; cover and simmer until tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Mix in prosciutto and 1/2 cup grated cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Garnish with Parmesan shavings

Monday, November 23, 2009

Spiced Cranberry Sangría

Makes 2 1/2 quarts-

By dressing up classic Spanish sangría with Spiced Simple Syrup and tart cranberries, Chef Jose Garces has created an ideal cocktail for a winter holiday celebration. Chef Garces serves this with an apple chip garnish for a more elegant finish, but even without it it’s delightful.
What to buy: If you can’t find a Tempranillo rosé, a less earthy Grenache rosé is a suitable substitute.

For the fruit:
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, large dice
1 cup Spiced Simple Syrup (sugar & water -2 c each, cinnamon sticks & cloves- or other spices you desire)
3/4 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup ruby port wine

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart container with a tightfitting lid.
Cover and refrigerate at least four hours or preferably overnight.

For the sangría:
"1 750-milliliter bottle Tempranillo rosé"
1/2 cup ruby port wine
1/2 cup Cointreau
1/2 cup cranberry juice

Add all ingredients to the fruit mixture and stir to combine.
Refrigerate until chilled, and serve over ice.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mike's Spiced Cider


Picked up some of this Mike's Spiced Cider last night. Tasty. I had it warm, but I'm sure its good cold.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

The better-for-you chocolate chip cookies! I made these last night using a recipe from Slice of Feist via the Crepes of Wrath, which had been adapted from the Chicago Sun Times. You follow?

Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 1/4 cup flour (I used about 2 cups white flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • A dash of milk, approximately 1 tablespoon

Instructions

Combine sugars and oil. Add eggs. Add vanilla and remaining dry ingredients. Add milk. Stir in chocolate chips. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 375 degrees.

Notes: I was afraid these would taste like olive oil, but they didn't! The cookies were chewy and tasty and heart healthy (well, at least a little healthier than the butter/margarine/shortening variety). This will probably become my go-to option for chocolate chip cookies because now I can eat more with less guilt.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stuffing 101

With turkey day just around the corner, I'm wondering if anyone has any good home-made stuffing tricks, ideas, suggestions...? How do you make yours? I've made it in the past with basic herbs and am trying to think of something new. I'm actually probably skipping the traditional turkey this year and making lamb chops with a pomegranate reduction but still want the stuffing! So something that would work with that..

Then again I'm also considering making duck- I've never cooked it though so am a bit intimidated...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Easy Pumpkin Cookies

I haven't made, or eaten these yet but my sister has and said they're delish so thought I'd post based on her recommendation! They sound really easy too and I have all the ingredients at home right now so I'll try them soon.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 can pumpkin
2 cups flour (put in last)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teas. cinnamon
1 teas. soda
1 teas. vanilla
beat until mixed

Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes 350 degrees - enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Balsalmic Glazed Pearl Onions

Looking at my calendar this week, I realized we were in Italy a year ago. Besides the coffee and amazing little sandwiches, my favorite thing was marinated onions. We had them in Florence as a part of the cheese tray.

When I got home I immediately set about trying to figure them out. I tried combinations of shallots and pearl onions with red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and a dash of white wine vinegar. I cooked nearly all of the onions/shallots, but I did do one test batch that was raw. They burned like the fire of a thousand somethings.

Research aside, I think I found a better and more specific recipe from Everyday Food. I'm going to try them out soon, maybe Thanksgiving with these, some brie and toasted pecans.

Balsamic-glazed Pearl Onions
2 bags (10 oz) red or white pearl onions, trimmed and peeled
1/2 C dry white wine
3 T butter
coarse salt and pepper
1/4 C balsamic vinegar

In large skillet, combine onions, wine, butter and 1 C water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until onions are tender and liquid has evaporated; about 15 minutes (if onions are large, increase cooking time and add more water)

Add vinegar and cook until sauce thickens and onions are glazed, about 3 minutes. To store, refrigerate for 1 day.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

I know not everyone is a fan of brussel sprouts and we don't have them that often, but this recipe is soooo good.

Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts Recipe

This is the only way to eat brussels sprouts: cut in half and cooked until deliciously tender inside and perfectly brown and crusted on the outside.

Use brussels sprouts that are on the small size and tightly closed. You can finish these with many different types of cheese but I tend to go for Parmesan when the weather is good. I trade that in for heavier cheeses like gruyere or Gouda in colder weather. I finished them off with some toasted hazelnuts the other night - delicious!

24 small brussels sprouts

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing

fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice

Wash the brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil).

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don't overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they're tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese.

While you might be able to get away with keeping a platter of these warm in the oven for a few minutes, they are exponentially tastier if popped in your mouth immediately.

Serves 4.
Recipe and Photo from here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spice-Rubbed Pork (Tender)loin and Acorn Squash

I should just go-ahead and admit that I get a lot of new recipes from Everyday Food. The recipes are so easy to adapt and I appreciate how each issue is based on what's in season. We liked this recipe quite a bit, and I especially liked cooking two parts of the meal on one baking sheet (one less dish to wash).

Since it was just the two of us, I used a 1 lb tenderloin, halved the basting mixture and did one squash. Next time I think I'll do two squashes and I may not slice them so thin. It was kind of a pain to remove the flesh from the skin. I think it would be great for entertaining!

Spice-Rubbed Pork and Squash
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder or other single chile powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 pounds acorn squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
1 boneless pork loin (3 pounds), tied
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425. In a large bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons oil, sugar, chile powder, cinnamon, cumin, and 2 tablespoons water. Add squash and toss to coat. Set aside.

Generously season pork with salt and pepper. Heat a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan over high. Add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Cook pork on all sides until deep golden brown, about 10 minutes total. Place pork on a rimmed baking sheet; pour oil from skillet onto sheet and spread evenly.

Arrange squash around pork. Brush pork with sugar mixture from bowl. Bake until pork is cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in center should register 135 degrees), 40 to 45 minutes, brushing meat with sugar mixture and turning squash every 15 minutes. Tent pork with foil and let rest 10 minutes before slicing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Holiday Blondies

I made these Holiday (Halloween) blondies over the weekend and they were a big hit. What I liked most was a) the recipe called for melted butter b) it called for an 8 x 8 pan, which was the right amount for the gathering since we had other treats. I got asked if there was peanut butter in them because they were very creamy and slightly nutty.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan
1 cup packed light-brown sugar (I used dark brown because that's what I had)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 cup each orange, yellow, and brown candy-coated chocolates (from a 12.6-ounce bag)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper. (I skipped the parchment and sprayed with cooking spray)

In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; stir just until moistened. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Arrange candies in 12 rows (2 rows per color, repeating once) on top of dough. (I used the monster mix and did a circular pattern)

Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. (Mine was done in 30 minutes) Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely.

Photo and recipe from Martha Stewart.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spinach and Prosciutto Lasagna

My co-worker and I have been talking about making food for the freezer lately so I've been searching for a new lasagna to try and found this. Thank you Martha! I will probably adjust a bit but I like the thought of adding proscuitto and such an easy recipe too.

This weeknight lasagna is fast, thanks to no-boil noodles, frozen spinach, and jarred sauce; chopped prosciutto elevates the dish.
· 2 package(s) (10 ounces each) frozen chopped spinach , thawed and squeezed dry
· 1 1/2 cup(s) part-skim ricotta
· 1 clove(s) garlic , minced
· Coarse salt and ground pepper
· 2 1/2 cup(s) jarred tomato sauce
· 4 ounce(s) thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
· 6 no-boil lasagna noodles
· 1 cup(s) (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make filling: In a medium bowl, stir together spinach, ricotta, garlic, teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside. In another medium bowl, stir together tomato sauce and prosciutto.

2. In an 8-inch square baking dish, spread cup tomato sauce. Layer 2 noodles, 1/3 filling, and 1/3 remaining tomato sauce; repeat twice. Top with mozzarella. Bake until browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Cake

I feel like I've been wanting to make this cake for a month (sure enough, I flagged it back on September 17). Finally got around to making it this weekend. What I liked most is the strong ginger flavor, backed by the richness of the pumpkin.

Also, the cream cheese frosting is more sweet than cream cheese, which is good in my opinion. I think there's nothing worse than biting into a pumpkin bar with frosting that tastes too much like cream cheese and not frosting.

Sometimes there's a fine line between quick breads and cakes. This is definitely a cake.

Pumpkin Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups pumpkin puree or cooked mashed pumpkin (15 oz can)
cream cheese frosting, below
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl; mix well. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl; stir into oil mixture, beating well. Stir in pumpkin puree.

Pour batter into two greased and floured 9-inch round layer cake pans. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out onto racks to cool. Frost pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/4 cup butter
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl; beat well until smooth. Makes enough for 2-layer pumpkin cake.

I omitted the nuts and baked it in a bundt pan because I am lazy and wasn't presenting it to guests.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Easy Thai Chicken Curry

I have heard good things about the curry sauces sold at Trader Joe's so I found this easy recipe to test out TJ's Green Thai Curry Sauce. I added light coconut milk to taste for each of us (a little for me, more for Joe and a lot more for the kids) to cut the heat and servied it with TJ's brown Jasmine rice. We all liked it a lot. Next up to try is TJ's yellow curry sauce.

Thai Chicken Curry

Ingredients:
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

3/4 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch slices
1 red or other bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) package curry sauce

Instructions:
In a well-oiled skillet, saute onions until slightly softened. Add green beans and stir-fry until bright green (add a tablespoon or 2 of water if needed to keep from sticking). Add red pepper and chicken and stir-fry until just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Add curry sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked through, stirring frequently.


Notes:
Chose your favorite veggies, just make sure to add them in the order needed to cook, or parboil them before adding. Substitute broccoli or snow peas for green beans, or choose other colored bell peppers. The same goes with the protein; substitute beef, pork, shrimp or tofu. For a massaman curry, add cooked potatoes and top with avocado.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic & Garlic

I've had the Food Network Kitchen Making it Easy cookbook for awhile, but I didn't get around to this recipe until last week. Hello keeper.

Chicken Breasts with Balsamic and Garlic

2 T vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 T flour
2 T unsalted butter, softened
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1 sprig rosemary, plus 4 for garnish
1/3 C balsamic vinegar
1 2/3 C chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Heat large skillet over medium-high heat; add oil. Dry chicken, season with salt and pepper. Lay smooth side down and cook, turning over once, for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to dish and cook for 10 to 12 minutes while you make the sauce.

While chicken cooks, use a fork to work flour and butter into a paste.

Add garlic and 1 sprig rosemary to skillet over medium-high heat and toss to toast slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in vinegar, scraping browned bits and simmer until vinegar begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Whisk in flour mixture a bit at a time and bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Put chicken on platter, pour sauce over and garnish with rosemary sprigs.

My notes: this made a lot of sauce for my three breasts. So I could see making half the sauce. Also, I omitted the rosemary and it turned out great. The chicken was so tender and flavorful, and the sauce was like a balsamic gravy. I served with acorn squash and salad.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Roasted Tomato Soup

I made this delicious soup a few weeks ago. It is the kind of recipe that is totally open to interpretation-take a look at the reviews, there are all kinds of ways you could go with this. Fresh Romas or canned San Marzano tomatoes. Strain the mixture or not. Thyme or oregano. Like a choose your own adventure soup.

Roasted Tomato Soup from Gourmet
4 lb tomatoes, halved lengthwise
6 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream

Accompaniment: Parmesan wafers
Garnish: fresh oregano sprigs

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F.

Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in 1 layer in a large shallow baking pan and add garlic to pan. Drizzle tomatoes with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast tomatoes and garlic 1 hour, then cool in pan on a rack. Peel garlic.

Cook onion, oregano, and sugar in butter in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring frequently, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, and stock and simmer, covered, 20 minutes.

Purée soup in batches in a blender (use caution when blending hot liquids), then force through a sieve into cleaned pot, discarding solids. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste and simmer 2 minutes.

Divide soup among 8 bowls and float 1 wafer in center of each.

Soup can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat just before serving.

Here's what I learned: My supa-powerful food processor is no match for fresh tomatoes. Next time I'll use my blender.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Far Too Easy Treasure Brownie Cakes

This is no earth shattering recipe by any means, but they were tasty.

Treasure Brownie Cakes
  1. Mix up brownies. I used the Betty Crocker mix, you could make your own
  2. Butter muffin tin, including around the edges
  3. Scoop in 1/4 cup or less of brownie mix, place candy on top, then cover with more brownie batter
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven and the candy

I used York peppermint patties (which explode) and Rolos (which sink to the bottom). Both were good and made for completely different tastes. Others to try: Hershey kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups, caramels, chocolate chips or Andes mints.

What I liked best (besides the taste) was ease of transport. These would be good for camping or tailgating (why I made them).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cheddar Broccoli Soup



Amanda requested soups...I have made this one before and just made it again this past Monday. It's easy to make. It's also something that I usually have the ingredients on hand for and can add other things like the carrots that I added this week.

CHEDDAR BROCCOLI SOUP

INGREDIENTS
2 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 cups fresh broccoli
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I often use more)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS
Bring broth to a boil. Add broccoli and onion. Cook for five minutes, or until broccoli is tender.
In a separate bowl, slowly add milk to flour, and mix until well blended.
Stir flour mixture into broth mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup is thick and bubbly. Add cheese; stir until melted. Add seasonings and serve.


NOTE
The broccoli is pretty easy to break down in the soup but if I'm adding something like carrots, I will usually puree the soup for a creamy texture.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Soups?

I was talking to my sister-in-law Rachel last night about soup (she made a yummy spicy, cheesy potato soup for dinner). Anyone have any awesome soup recipes you haven't shared yet? Its so chilly and cold, just the thought of soup warms my heart and tummy.

Buttermilk Substitutes

In a pinch and you’ve run out of buttermilk? Check out these substitutions from Joy the Baker.

Lemon and Milk
In a 1-cup measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Top the lemon juice with with skim, low fat or whole milk. Stir and let sit for two minutes. After two minutes, your milk is both acidic and curdled. Perfect!

Yogurt and Milk
Mix 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of milk. Stir and make it a quick substitution for buttermilk.

Milk and Cream of Tartar
Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 Tablespoons of milk. Once mixed add the rest of the cup of milk. Cream of tartar is an acid and will simulate the acidic environment of buttermilk in a pinch.

I keep this in the fridge, but these are good to know.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert Cake

I made this cake for the first time yesterday and while mine came out just slightly undercooked, it was still delicious, easy and I would make again any time! It tasted like fall to me :) Also, per some other recommendations, I added 1 cup of mini chocolate chips to the recipe as well - fold in at the end. Enjoy!

"This fabulous pumpkin cake is so moist you may weep, and the creamy frosting will satisfy anyone's sweet tooth!"

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

Frosting:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9 inch Bundt pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, beat together 3/4 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, applesauce, and eggs. Mix in 1/2 cup heavy cream and pumpkin. Stir into the flour mixture just until blended. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
3. Bake 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan over a wire rack. Invert cake onto a serving plate.
4. Place the brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/3 cup heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil while stirring to blend until smooth. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the confectioner's sugar, and drizzle over the cake immediately.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oh Wow! Gooey Cookie Pie Bites

I just came across this recipe for Gooey Cookie Pie Bites. The pictures make it look delicious and there are a lot of good Fall Recipes shown on side of the page as well. I would cook each and every one of those foods! Check out the Single Serving Pie in a Jar and the Pumpkin Pie Milkshakes. Oh My!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Key Lime Pie

I grabbed this off our cooking message board at work because I just realized I have some leftover and slightly burnt sugar and spice cookies in my freezer. I'm in a cleaning out the freezer kind of mood, plus a cleaning out my e-mail folders kind of mood. This recipe is from someone who grew up in Key West, so seems promising.

Key Lime Pie
1 can condensed milk
4 egg yolks (beat until yellow), save the whites
½ cup lime juice fresh or bottled
Graham cracker crust

Beat 1 egg white stiff, fold into the condensed milk, yolks and lime juice. Bake in oven at 350 until set; about 10-15 minutes. While cooling, beat the remaining egg whites and gradually add 6 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon tartar to make a meringue. Top pie with meringue and place in oven until golden brown.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Turkey Chili Con Refried Beans

I’m not sure there is any recipe more subjective than chili. Do you honestly know any two people who make it the same? I love how creative chili can be, and how it can be tweaked with an ingredient or two and become something completely different. Here’s my take.

Turkey Chili Con Refried Beans

I add or subtract amounts depending on how many I’m feeding. Just don’t skimp on the seasonings.

Several garlic cloves, minced
Red and green peppers, minced
jalapeno, minced
Onion, minced
1 lb turkey burger (not the super lean kind)
1 package of chili mix
Garlic powder
Chili powder
Paprika
Pepper
3-5 cans of Mexican style or chili ready tomatoes
2 can fat free refried beans

Saute peppers, onions and garlic until soft. I used to have some chili flavored olive oil and would use that for a kickin' chili. Now I use water or chicken broth so the chili doesn’t get too oily. Once soft, add burger and chili package. Season liberally with seasonings. Then more garlic powder for good measure.

Add meat mixture to crock pot, add tomatoes and refried beans. I prefer to cook on low for 8 hours rather than high for 4. I was always check for flavor an hour in or so, then season as needed. Here’s where I differ from most. Ala Cincinnati chili, I serve mine over rice. Then top with cheese, sour cream and saltines.

Next time I make it, I’m also going to make these cheese muffins.

My new favorite frittata

I've made many a frittata but this is my new fav...such an easy and delicious way to make eggs for a crowd.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata

1. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2. 6 thin slices of pancetta (3 ounces) – or cubed (available at T-Joe’s)
3. 1 leek, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
4. 1 cup baby spinach – I used a bit more
5. 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes roughly chopped
6. 8 large eggs, beaten w/ splash of milk
7. Salt and freshly ground pepper
8. 3 ounces fresh goat cheese (approx. 1/2 cup)

Preheat the broiler. Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add the pancetta and brown over moderately high heat, about 3 minutes. If you’re using slices, transfer the pancetta to a plate and let cool, then crumble it and add back to skillet.

Add the leek to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and sauté until spinach is nearly wilted, about 1 minute.

Season the eggs with salt and pepper and whisk in splash of milk and the goat cheese. Pour egg-mixture over the veggies in the skillet and use spatula to combine all ingredients. Bake on medium to low heat for about 15 minutes ( *While cooking run spatula around the edges of the pan to assure frittata isn’t sticking), until the frittata is nearly set. Place on middle rack under broiler just for a few minutes to complete cooking process and brown the top.

Slide the spinach and goat cheese frittata onto a cutting board or serving tray, cut it into wedges and serve at once. Serves about 4.

Tater-tot Casserole

Ok this sounds soooo bad but yet I really want to try it..perhaps tonight! Going to make a few minor adjustments to class it up a bit starting with fresh green-beans I just got at the market....also going to definitely use turkey and low sodium soup to keep it healthier...going to put meat and beans both down then cover with soup and tots and lastly I'm going to put under the broiler the last few minutes to really get those tots crispy! Mmmmmm, we'll see how it goes!


TATOR TOT CASSEROLE

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
1 (16 oz.) pkg. French style green beans
1 can mushrooms (or fresh) - optional
1 pkg. tater tots
1 can cream of mushroom soup - or any other cream variety you like
1/2 C milk
1/4 C water


Brown ground meat. Put in a 9 x 13 inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cover meat with cream of mushroom soup mixed with milk and water. Top with green beans and tator tots and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Slow-Cooker Chili Chicken Tacos

I looked back through the archives and I can't believe I never posted this recipe from Everyday Food. Talk about easy.

Slow-Cooker Chili Chicken Tacos

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 C prepared tomato salsa, plus more for serving (optional)
1 to 2 T chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 T chili powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 hard corn taco shells
Cilantro, shredded cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream, for serving (optional)

In slow cooker, combine chicken, garlic, salsa, chiles, chili powder, 1 t salt pepper. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 8 hours).

Oven method: preheat oven to 350 degrees. In step 1, use a 5-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid; add 2 C water. Cover; bake until chicken is fork-tender, about 2 hours.

Transfer chicken to a serving bowl, and shred, using two forks; moisten with cooking juices.
Serve in taco shells, with toppings, if desired.

Suggestions: chicken can also be used for burritos, quesadillas and other dishes calling for cooked chicken.

Margaret's Confetti Egg Strata

This breakfast casserole is my sister-in-law Margaret's recipe. Very adaptable and hard to keep from hungry people.

Confetti Egg Strata

1/2 loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubs
8 oz ham, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red or green pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup green onions with tops, sliced
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
10 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

In a greased baking dish, layer half of bread, cheese and veggies. Repeat. Whisk milk and seasonings into eggs until well blended. Slowly pour evenly over layered ingredients. Cover with foil and refrigerate several hours overnight.

Bake uncovered at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes or until strata is set and top is golden brown.

As far as substitutions, you can do all kinds of things. I skip the mushrooms. Bacon or sausage both work great. I like a lot of green onions, so I load up on those. We eat a lot of sourdough bread and don't always make it through a loaf before it starts to go bad, so I freeze it. This last time I made it with all my leftover bread, including sourdough, boule, two croissants and some country Italian bread. You could make it Mexican with chorizo, salsa and Mexican cheese.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Corn Dip!

At a March Madness party I had an awesome, amazing corn dip. I've been meaning to get the recipe for tailgating. Besides asking the person whose house I had it at, I also polled the cooking discussion board at work. This is the one I'm making:

Corn Dip
2 10 oz. cans of Mexicorn
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
2 jalapenos - chopped
1 10 oz. grated cheddar cheese (I like the larger shreds)
2-3 green onions - chopped
1 small can chopped green chilies
pinch of sugar

Mix all together. Chill and serve with Fritos scoops.

But I'm also including the ones I got from fellow cooking enthusiasts at work.

Spicy Corn Dip
2 pkgs. 8 oz cream cheese
1 can white shoepeg corn-drained
1 can yellow corn-drained
1 can diced green chilies
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Cube cream cheese and add all other ingredients into microwavable bowl. High for 5 minutes...stir...high for another 3-5 minutes.

Serve with large Frito scoops or tortilla chips.

Corn dip
2 things of cream cheese
1 pkg Ranch Dry Mix
1 can of corn
1 can of crushed black olives
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
Frito Scoops

I sometimes add in jalapeños and shredded cheese

Mexican Corn Dip
1/2 cup of mayo
8 oz. sour cream
6 green onions
1.5 cups of Mexican shredded cheese
2 cans of Green Giant Mexican corn (drained)

Optional
Jalapenos to taste (canned is fine)
Splash of jalapeno juice
Splash of milk to thin out if necessary

I use more green onions than what I've noted below, but you can certainly adjust to your preferences. Chill for several hours before serving. It sets up pretty firmly so I typically add a splash of milk or jalapeno juice to get it back to the consistency that I prefer. Serve with Fritos or tortilla chips.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thanks, Amanda!

I have been wanting to make ice cream all summer and finally made this Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato recipe found by Amanda. It was heavenly!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sautéed Baby Squash with Basil and Feta


I have squash and leeks from the crop share and we grow basil and ALWAYS have a lot of feta on hand so I am going to try this tonight as a side with our grilled salmon.

Photo and recipe courtesy of Cooking Light.

Crockpot Recipe for Vegetarian Black Bean and Tomatillo Soup with Lime and Cilantro

We had tomatillos from our crop share last week and I wanted to do more of a main dish with them rather than making salsa verde which is what 99% of the recipes I found were. We all liked the soup. I'd always thought that you couldn't put rice in the crockpot though so I was curious to see how that went. Sure enough, it gets way overcooked but it's almost like having soft lentils in the soup.

Here's the recipe and here's where I found it. She has good pictures.

Crockpot Recipe for Vegetarian Black Bean and Tomatillo Soup with Lime and Cilantro
(Makes about 6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 tomatillos, chopped in 1/4 inch pieces (about 2 cups chopped tomatillo)
1 T finely minced garlic
1 T dried cilantro (optional, but recommended)
2 tsp. dried Mexican Oregano
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cans black beans, rinsed well
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
1 cup water
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice (or a bit less if you don't love lime like I do)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish if desired

Chop onions and tomatillos into pieces about 1/4 inch. Heat olive oil in large frying pan, then saute onions and tomatillos about 5 minutes, then add garlic, dried cilantro, Mexican Oregano, and cumin and saute 1-2 minutes more. While vegetables saute, dump beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse until no more foam appears.

Put tomatillo-onion mixture into large 4-5 quart crockpot. Add beans, tomatoes with juice, chicken stock, water, and brown rice. Cook on high for 4 hours (This could also be cooked on low for 8 hours.) Slow cookers can vary, so check and adjust the cooking time according to how hot your crockpot gets. After 4 hours (or 8 hours if using low) turn the crockpot to low setting, and let it cook 15 minutes to lower the temperature, then add the fresh lime juice and cilantro and cook 10 minutes on low. Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro for garnish if desired.This recipe could be cooked on the stove. Follow directions above, but put ingredients into medium sized soup pot and add one cup more water. Cook at very low simmer for about one hour, then reduce heat for five minutes, then add lime juice and cilantro and simmer five minutes more. Serve hot, with additional chopped cilantro if desired.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Untested Breakfast Recipes



Mmm, these are some of the recipes I've flagged, but not yet tried.

Carrot Muffins
Strawberry Coffee Cake
Apple Tart
Homemade Bagels
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
Brown Sugar Bacon Waffles (which I've both had and made a variation of after being introduced to them by Joe)

Some of my favorite breakfast foods to eat or bring when staying at someones house are banana bread and strawberry bread. At home we usually do waffles or buttermilk pancakes (recipes from Joy of Cooking) or Anthony makes really tasty egg sandwiches.

I'll post a few other favorites like danish puff and my sister-in-law Margaret's confetti egg casserole. Photo from here.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Breakfast Foods and Recipes

I've been thinking about breakfast foods, in part because of tailgating, but also because cold mornings make me want toasty good things to start the day off right.

Should we do some breakfast related posts this month?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tomatoes!


It has only taken all summer to finally get some good tomatoes, right? Fresh tomatoes has to be one of the best things ever invented. Last week we had BLTs and the #44 salad from Mark Bittman's 101 Simple Salads.

44. Make a crisp grilled cheese sandwich, with good bread and not too much good cheese. Let it cool, then cut into croutons. Put them on anything, but especially tomato and basil salad. This you will do forever.

Here's what I did. Made four grilled cheese sandwiches in the George Foreman (we have a panini attachment). Tossed basil leaves and tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette, let it sit for 20 minutes or so. Sliced up the crispy grilled cheese and added to the salad. Yum. As Anthony said, its like bruschetta salad. My changes in the future: mozzarella cheese (I only had cheddar) and a lighter vinaigrette.

I'm planning on making Chicken Scampi this week, plus more BLTs. I can't refuse a BLT. Sometime soon I'd like to make this soup, but in the meantime, here are all of our food blog posts with tomatoes.

Bistro Sun-dried Tomato Pasta
BLT salad
Pork Chops and Rice
Mmmmm, Caprese!
Pastor Ryan's Mexican Lasagna
Spinach and Brie Chicken with Tomato Orzo
Favorite Pasta: Bucatini All'amatriciana
Roasted shrimp and orzo
Favorite Pasta - Salad Part 2
Lemon Fusilli pasta
Mother-in-law-to-be's Best Pasta!
Chicken-Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
Salmon with Lemon, Spinach, and Tomatoes
Lica's Corn Salsa

Anyone have any other great tomato recipes? Photo from here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

I initially wanted to make Camby's chocolate zucchini bread, but didn't have unsweetened chocolate bars on hand. Unsure how to work around that essential ingredient, I turned to Google for similar recipes...and I found this from Penzeys Spices. Very, very delicious.


Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 Cups white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup milk mixed with 1/4 tsp. white vinegar (i.e., sour milk)
  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 TB. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Cups peeled and finely grated zucchini - 3 small zucchini
  • 1 Cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 Cup chopped nuts (optional)
Instructions
Preheat oven to 325°. Line 2 standard muffin pans with papers. In a large bowl, mix butter, oil and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and sour milk. Blend well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture and stir by hand to combine. Add grated zucchini and half the chocolate chips and stir well. Spoon the batter evenly into the pans, filling each paper 2/3 full. Sprinkle the other half of the chocolate chips and nuts on top and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


NOTES: I don't use cupcake papers; I just grease and flour the muffin wells. Extra chocolate chips makes these extra delicious.

Enjoy!

Greek salad dressing and the salad, too

This salad dressing is the root cause of why practically half of the meals I consumed in August either involved Greek salads or had me wishing I had a Greek salad in front of me.

I found it at a random TV station's Web site that popped up during a Google search for "Panera greek salad dressing recipe." Their recipe makes two cups, but since I half it and only make one cup at a time, I'm posting my halfsies recipe along with my modifications and secret ingredient. The original recipe is available at the link above.

Jennifer's WBIR Panera Greek Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced green onion
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil (I used dried, but you could do fresh, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice (Secret ingredient that MAKES this dressing. Not sure how much I actually squeeze in here. Maybe about a small wedge's worth)
  • 1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Whisk together all ingredients except olive oil in a mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking.

For the salad itself, I go with romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, red onions, grape or cherry tomatoes and feta. If you like cucumbers, those would fit in nicely as well. The salad is best tossed with the dressing so everything is coated. Drizzling the dressing on top just doesn't cut it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prosciutto and Brie Sandwiches

This is an easy yet delicious recipe for the busy fall time that will take a few minutes to prepare!

We have a new cheese shop in our neighborhood and the one time I've been there, I had a great sandwich that I knew I had to duplicate at home since it was $8 at the cheese shop!

We've now done it a couple of times and it's super simple. Just get some good bread, (I've used both a sourdough baguette and fresh sourdough bread but whatever you choose is fine) put a some proscuttio and brie on it (no need to take the rind off) and put it under the broiler until it toasts up. No need for anything else because those three ingredients are so flavorful.

Mmmmm, it's good! Try it with some fresh fruit on the side since it's sort of a salty/creamy combination. Also, a neighbor friend used the same idea and made an appetizer using crackers rather than bread and she said they were a hit.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Inspired?

I need some inspiration to get through the next few weeks of busy nights, weekends, traveling and the beginning of football season. What have you ladies been making lately?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Home-made puppy treats!

Ok so this recipe submission is selfish- and for Amanda & Micky too :) Since McKenzie loves being in the kitchen with me I thought perhaps I should reward her by whipping up a little something special just for her! Plus her first birthday is coming up in a couple weeks so good timing to spoil her a bit more ;)

Frozen Strawberry Pupsicles
3 dozen Pupsicles
These Pupsicles are a great, refreshing way to give your dog that extra burst of energy!
• 4 cups yogurt, low-fat plain vanilla flavor
• 1 jar organic baby food, strawberry flavor
• 2 tablespoons of your favorite honey
• 2 tablespoons of organic peanut butter

Take all ingredients and mix thoroughly in a blender or food processor.
Pour into ice cube trays or paper cups and freeze for about an hour. It’s that easy!


Cheesy Bark’n Biscuits
4 dozen
• 2 cups whole-wheat flour
• 1 cup unbleached flour
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Cheddar cheese
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 4-5 slices fully cooked and crisp bacon (crumbled)
• 1 to 1 1/4 cup water (add more if needed)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix flour and cheese in a large bowl; add crumbled bacon, oil and water, mix well with hands. Form the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
Using half of the dough at a time, place on a floured surface and roll to ¼" thick.
Cut into desired shapes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes on middle rack or until lightly brown.

Turn oven off when done and leave biscuits in the oven to cool (about 20 minutes).
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Slab Pie

Why I have never, in all my life, heard of a slab pie until I saw this Sour Cherry Slab Pie recipe on Smitten Kitchen. I'm not a huge cherry fan (though I love the artificial flavor), but I'm quite interested in the idea of a slab pie.

A slab pie has double the crust and filling as a regular pie. Rectangular since it is baked in jelly roll or high sided baking sheet, they are easier to transport and hold onto. Now we are onto something.

For the last few weeks I've been thinking about doubling this recipe with the frozen rhubarb and strawberries I have in my freezer.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe
3 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces (Trim outside stringy layer of large rhubarb stalks; make sure to trim away any and discard of the leaves which are poisonous; trim ends.)
1 cup strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of quick cooking tapioca
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of grated orange peel
Unbaked pastry for two-crust 9 inch pie(If making a 10 inch pie, or just want more filling, use 4.5 cups of rhubarb, 1.5 cups strawberries, and 1 1/4 cup of sugar)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, tapioca, salt, and orange rind. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Turn into a pastry lined pan. Top with the pastry, trim the edge, and crimp the top and bottom edges together. Cut slits in the top for the steam to escape.

Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350°F, and bake an additional 30-40 minutes longer (40 to 50 minutes longer if doing a 10-inch pie). Cool on a rack. Serve warm or cold. If you do cool to room temperature, the juices will have more time to thicken.

Photos from Smitten Kitchen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Baby fennel

Does anyone know of any good recipes for baby fennel? I love fennel and have used it in salads alot but I was just at the farmers market and found baby fennel so I bought it. Doesn't have much of a root though so not sure how to use it- was thinking of baking it with some fish, lemon and capers?? Any ideas?!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread and Rhubarb Bread

I've been on a baking spree today baking breads for our camping trip next week. I made my mom's Chocolate Zucchini Bread for the first time. It's one of my childhood staples.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
2 sq. unsweetened chocolate 1 oz. each
1 tsp. vanilla
3 c. sifted flour
½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. each of baking soda, salt and cinnamon
2 c. grated zucchini

Beat the eggs until lemon colored. Beat in sugar and oil. Melt chocolate and stir into egg mixture along with vanilla and zucchini. Whisk flour with salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. With large spoon, stir in zucchini mixture. Mix and bake in two well greased loaf pans at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until done in center.

I also made Rhubarb Buttermilk Bread. The kids and I had to try them after lunch and I'm happy to say they are both fantastic!

Note: I didn't make the topping for the Rhubarb Buttermilk Bread and I followed the suggestion of adding a bit more flour to the batter.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Double Decker Brownies

These were brought in to work for the (Jennifer and myself) head of our team's birthday. His daughter made them, and I think I snuck at least 3 of them throughout the day. I loved the butterscotch layer best.

Double Decker Brownies

CHOCOLATE LAYER
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Pinch salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup baking cocoa

BUTTERSCOTCH LAYER
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

FROSTING
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butterscotch chips
1 tbsp. shortening

CHOCOLATE LAYER
In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, flour, walnuts, and salt. In another bowl, stir butter and cocoa until smooth; add to egg mixture and blend well with a wooden spoon.

Pour into a greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.

BUTTERSCOTCH LAYER
Cream butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt, and walnuts. Spoon over the chocolate layer.

Bake at 350˚ for 30-35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan; cool.

FROSTING
Combine brown sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan; bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Quickly spread over brownies. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and shortening, stirring frequently. Drizzle over frosting.

Makes 3 dozen brownies

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Inside-out Chocolate Bundt Cake

This recipe will never, ever fail you. It is from my mom, don't know where she got it, but if you bring it somewhere people will think you are a genius. It is incredible moist and flavorful. You could vary the some of the ingredients-I personally like chocolate mint combinations, so I often use mint chips and/or chocolate mint pudding. If you likes cherry and chocolate, you could add cherry chips, etc.



Inside-out Chocolate Bundt Cake

1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 chocolate cake mix (Devil's Food works well for this)
1 package chocolate chips
1 3/4 c milk
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients by hand (did you know mixes cakes by hand makes them fluffier?). Pour into greased and floured bundt pan (or angel food pan). Bake @ 350 for 55-60 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove.

Photo from here, which is a recipe for a most amazing looking Chocolate Whiskey Bundt Cake. Must bookmark now...

Sugar and Spice Cookies

Making Snickerdoodles made me realize this recipe would freeze well too. These cookies have never failed. So buttery and flavorful.

They also make an EXCELLENT graham cracker style pie crust. Last time I made them, one of the batches was overcooked so I froze them, then made a pie crust for a key lime pie. Yum.



Sugar and Spice Cookies

3/4 C butter
1 C sugar
1 egg
1/4 C molasses
2 C flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger

cinnamon sugar (I often end up doubling)
1 T sugar
1 t cinnamon

Cream butter and sugar. Cream in egg and molasses. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, add to creamed mixture. Roll into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake on ungreased pan, 7-10 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Picture from Simply Recipes.

Snickerdoodles

I have been looking for a cookie recipe that will freeze well and I've also been looking for a good snickerdoodle recipe. Somehow, I didn't trust the recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. I made these yesterday and they are amazing. The 2 t.s of cream of tartar really give them a kick, in a good way.

In terms of freezing, I wanted a recipe that I could freeze in balls and pull out when people are coming over or we just wanted a sweet treat. I haven't cooked the ones I froze, but I think they will work. Couldn't find my paddle attachment, so I just mixed with my handmixer.



Snickerdoodles

In mixer, with paddle attachment beat:
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. shortening

Meanwhile, in another bowl whisk together:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 t. salt

Once butter and shortening are mixed and fluffy, slowly add:
1 1/2 c. sugar

Mix until fluffy. Add:
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract

With mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Refrigerate dough at least 1 hour. Roll into small balls, coat in cinnamon sugar and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (I cooked for about 8 since I like soft cookies, could have cooked another minute or so).

Thursday, July 30, 2009

101 Simple Salads

Saw this great article yesterday about 101 simple salads. I think pairing simple ingredients together is something that comes with time spent in the kitchen experimenting.



My favorite non-lettuce salad is a take on Noodles & Company's Tomato Cucumber Salad:

ripe tomatoes, quartered
cucumber, sliced and halved
red onion or green onion, chopped
rice wine vinegar
salt, pepper and Jane's crazy salt

Yum!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Frozen Herbs and Vegetables

This past weekend I did my grocery shopping at SuperTarget, and while not a weekly occurrence, I always find fun things when I shop there. I haven't used them yet, but I bought some of these wee little frozen herbs and aromatic vegetables from White Toque. For me, parsley and shallots are two that many recipes call for, but I rarely remember to buy (shallots) or know what to do with all the extra (parsley). The boxes are so cute, maybe 3 or 4 inches x 3 or 4 inches. My only wish is that they had frozen dill, and I think you ladies know why....photos from White Toque.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

I've now learned the key to any good salad is vinegar. So good. I ate this on thin slices of sourdough bread. Yum, yum.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

4 cups cubed (1/2 inch) cooked chicken (I used a lemon rotisserie chicken)
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used a mixed nuts combo since my store was out of walnuts)
1 celery rib, diced into small bits (1 cup)
2 or more tablespoons finely chopped shallot (I used green onions since I forgot to buy shallots)
1 cup dried cranberries
2/3 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons tarragon, champagne or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or herb or your choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Toss together all ingredients in a large bowl until combined well.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Laura's Sausage Bake

The basic recipe, can be adapted as needed:

Cut up bread - enough to fill the bottom of the greased pan (I typically use leftover hamburger/hot dog buns)

Then mix:
6 to 8 eight eggs
Can of mushroom soup
Sausage (this time I used a 1 lb of plain sausage and 1/2 lb of sage sausage)
Cheese (this time I used 3/4 block of cream cheese & some leftover cottage cheese in the mixture)
Sautéed onions, garlic and peppers (typically I use a yellow onion, but this time I used red onion. I also don't always add pepper, but did this time)
Pepper & salt to taste

Then bake covered -- typically an hour or so (more if it's frozen). But, I don't think you can actually over bake this thing - it's amazing. I also tend to add shredded cheese to the top about 15 minutes before it's done.

This recipe is relatively easy, uses a bunch of leftover stuff and freezes well.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What to Do With Fresh Mint

The bunches of fresh mint I'd intended for mojitos last Friday night turned into an adventure in finding fresh mint recipes. Last night I mixed together

10 or 12 strawberries, cut up
cantaloupe
handful chopped fresh mint
juice from two limes

YUM! so tasty and fresh. Here are the others I may try some day.

Chocolate Mint Torte
Fresh Mint Truffles (totally going to make this at the holidays!)
Fresh Mint Poundcake

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fatigue Fighting Foods

The addition of our new pup has me getting up quite a bit earlier in the morning. While I know after three weeks it will become routine, I'm barely into the second week and my eyelids, attention span and spirit start to flag around noon.

I found these two Web MD articles to hopefully get some help:
Fight Fatigue with Energy Foods
Smart Way to Snack

I drink plenty of water and start my day with coffee and a granola bar. I should probably add some more fruits, veggies and nuts to what I eat during the day. Do you ladies have an ideas, recipes or tips?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Prosciutto Dijon and Gruyere Puffs

Updated 7/6: yum to the yum yum. These were so very tasty. I will for sure make again, though I may seek out an alternative to the $13.99 Dufour pastry puff. It was excellent, but spendy. Updated-just found out Trader Joe's sells a good alternative. A few notes:

I rolled my dough to closer to 14 x 18. Not on purpose, but because I wasn't really paying attention and the dough was very easy to roll. I'm glad I did, because I was able to serve more people. You don't have to cook as long if you make it larger.

I forgot parchment paper, so I just buttered the pan.

I'm looking forward to trying other things like olive tapenade or other cheeses.

Full disclosure: I have not eaten these yet. We have family picnic on the 4th, and I wanted something I could make ahead of time and transport easily. I made this last night, then wrapped in plastic wrap and foil. I'm going to slice and bake them just before the cookout.

I will say this: so...stinkin...easy. And I really want to eat one now. I'll update next week with the details.

Prosciutto Dijon and Gruyere Puffs
1 package Dufour Puff Pastry
8 slices Prosciutto di Parma
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
flour for dusting
fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours. Once thawed, carefully unfold and lay on a floured work surface. If the pastry tears at the seam in the unfolding process, it’s not the end of the world, but try to keep it in one un-torn piece. Dust flour on top of the pastry as well.

Puff pastry will already be very flat, but with a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 11×9-inches. Layer the eight slices of prosciutto on top of the puff pastry. Using a butter knife, layer the mustard on top of the prosciutto slices. Top with grated cheese, and as much fresh ground black pepper as you like.

Begin to roll the right side of the pastry in towards the center. Next roll the left side of the pastry in towards the center. Press together. Dough will not stick together, but if you brush away some of the excess flour on the center dough pieces, they will stay together better during baking.

With a sharp knife, slice the dough into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place on a baking sheet lines with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes, until a deep golden brown.

Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from baking sheet and serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wheat Thins Toasted Chips


I have been slighly obsessed with these lately. So good with a thin slice of colby jack or laughing cow cheese. Photo from here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rhubarb Custard Pie

This recipe is from my mother-in-law and much loved by my beloved.Rhubarb Custard Pie
3 C cut up rhubarb
2 eggs, beaten
2 T milk
1 1/2 C sugar
3 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
1 pie shell

Combine eggs, milk, sugar, flour, salt and nutmeg. Mix with rhubarb and put in pie shell.

Topping
1/2 C butter
1/2 C brown sugar
1 C flour

Cream together and top pie shell with mixture. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 400, then for an hour back at 300 or 350. Serve with warm with vanilla ice cream and/or whip cream.

Photo from here.

How Low Can You Go Rules

Okay, I did some sleuthing and came up with some rules based on other folks who have taken on this challenge:
  • The meal must cost $10 or less
  • Freebies are salt and pepper
  • Price fats (butter, margarine, oil) at 10 cents a tablespoon
  • Recipe can be something you make currently or a newly created recipe
  • Extra points for making a meal that looks more expensive than it is

Anything else we should add? Lets shoot for posting them the week of July 6. Sound good? And if you know anyone else who'd like to participate, send them the challenge and we'll just have all the more recipes to enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

How Low Can You Go Challenge

Did you ladies hear All Things Considered How Low Can You Go family dinner challenge? I happened to be listening the day one of the winners of the challenge was on, talking about her Dal, Chilean style recipe. In addition to NPR listeners, chefs also submitted recipes like $9 Mac-n-cheese.

Here was the challenge: Feed a group of four for under $10. Bonus points for dishes that seem more expensive.

So I was thinking...what if we did our own $10 meal challenge? Could be very interesting to see what we come up with, especially those of us who feed hungry menfolk who need meat with their meals. Let me know what you think and we'll go from there.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recipes I Can't Wait to Try

I flag a lot of recipes in google reader, which means I always have a virtual recipe file. The only bad things is I often I have more recipes flagged than I've made. Here are some of the ones I've been wanting to make:

Cuban sandwich
bean and bacon soup
orzo pasta salad
cranberry walnut salad
roast chicken and bread salad
mustard roasted chicken and veggies
raspberry lemonade
healthy lasagna
baked lemon pasta
Pastor Ryan's bread

baked goods
peanut butter layer cake
sour cream lemon cake
creme fraiche quiche
lemon drenched lemon cake
double chocolate peppermint cookies
snickerdoodles
lemon blueberry tart
perfect panna cotta
strawberry sour cream scones
rhubarb cobbler
peanut butter chocolate fudge
strawberry rhubarb crumble
caramel pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake
mint brownies
chocoholic torte
blood orange tart
pita bread
prosciutto Gruyere Dijon puffs
s'mores brownies
strawberry country cake
pretzels
vanilla vanilla cupcakes
peach brulee

The sick part is I have at least 20 more recipes I didn't post here. Oy, I better get cooking and baking!

Grilled Teriyaki Pork and Dip

I posted this marinade on my other blog, but thought I'd repost with an awesome pork dip. We had friends over last night for a cookout and this was perfect.

Teriyaki [insert meat or veggie]
1/4 C oil
1/4 C soy sauce
2T ketchup
1 T vinegar (cider, white or last time I used rice wine)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 t pepper

Mix together and marinate for at least 2 hours. I usually add some water to mellow it out or make it go further depending on how much I'm marinating. Last night I marinated three pork tenderloins (make sure you get tenderloins, not center loins!) and just doubled the marinade.

Yummy Pork Dip
1 T dry mustard
1 1/2 t vinegar
1/3 C mayo
1/3 c sour cream
chopped green onions

Mix together and serve.

Last night I served it with this salad and this salad. It ended up being an unplanned homage to pork, which was fitting for a going away gathering from this pork-producing state.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler


Rhubarb and Strawberry is one of my favorite fruity dessert combinations.


I made this Rhubarb Strawberry Cobbler over the weekend. It was very good but the cobbler part was definitely more like a biscuit (maybe that's what a cobbler is??) so be warned if you are going to try it and are looking for something different. It would have been even better with vanilla ice cream but alas, we're trying to be healthier....