Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
While studying abroud in Austria, I discovered open-faced sandwiches. I was an amatuer cook and I was made to cook and shop for all of my meals. The thing about Austria is that the refrigerators are the size of a postage stamp so you are supposed to stop at the market daily--and cook fresh things. I shared our postage-stamp sized fridge with 2 others. Sandwiches were fast, easy, and I could try the fantastic cheeses and meats that could be found in the deli section (many of which I was unsure of the English translation).
Toasted sandwiches are fast, delicious and can be made in infinite combinations. Sometimes my sandwiches were fancy--bread rubbed with butter and garlic and then some delicious full-fat cheese and meat that you can only get abroad. And sometimes they were ridiculously simple.
This afternoon, I had a very Austria kind of day. I went hiking in the morning, had breakfast (pancakes are not as filling as I want them to be) and came home for a 2pm meeting. Around 4 I was starving. Knowing dinner wasn't going to be soon, I made myself a toasted sandwich. Last night I happened to buy a fresh loaf of Italian French Bread (this is the wider version of french bread, with a crispy crust and soft white inside). The sandwich was exactly what I needed to tie me over and it was delicious too!
Toasted Ham & Cheese
Fresh Italian or French bread (ok so you could use sandwich bread, but then you might want to reduce your cooking time)
Cheese of choice (I used colby jack)
Preheat Oven to 450
1. Slice bread to desired thickness (but thicker than sandwich bread)
2. Layer on ham and then cover the ham with slices of cheese
3. Bake on the top shelf in whatever pan you have on hand (that cake pan was out) for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted. The bread on the bottom will be slightly toasted. Eat warm.
Friday, November 5, 2010
I've been wanting to have vanilla ice cream around the house. You never know when you need a perfect garnish for a rich dessert or a miniature ice cream sundae for that sweet treat after dinner. So I turned to the versatile vanilla as a flavor need for my freezer.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Lasagna is the perfect meal to make ahead of time. You can pop it in the refrigerator overnight and then just throw it in the oven when the company comes over and sit down and talk with them instead of slaving over the stove. This time, I wanted to make a lasagna recipe that was filling with both meat and spinach that could take care of an entire meal. We whipped up a quick salad to go with it and added a loaf of warm bread and the meal was ready.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Strips of meat of your choice (I used leftover salty steak from the salt block cooking)
Handful of shredded cheese
Chopped heirloom tomato
White corn tortilla
1. Place the tortilla in a small dry skillet over high heat, cook 1 minute.
2. Add half the shredded cheese to one half of the tortilla and cook until the cheese starts to melt.
3. Add tomato and meat on the same side and top with cheese. Cook 1-2 minutes until warm.
4. Using tongs, carefully fold the other half of the tortilla over the filling, the tortilla should be slightly crispy. Hold the tortilla folded with tongs 1 minute or until top cheese is melted. Carefully transfer to plate and enjoy warm.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
We recently welcomed a Fresh & Easy Market to our town. I finally got a chance to go and see what the whole store was all about and ran into this little delicacy. Heinz Baked Beans--a variety of beans sold primarily across the ocean in England. The whole reasons the beans stood out to me in a store filled with all sorts of different products, was because I recently read an article about how Heinz had opened up a lounge in Gatwick airport where passengers waiting around can enjoy some beans on toast--the classic British comfort food. Not only did I think it was a spectacular marketing ploy for Heinz' "Welcome Home" campaign, but also I had a new craving for this beans and toast thing--nothing which I had ever even thought of before.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Last weekend, I was reading a food blog and saw a recipe for caprese panzanella and thought it would be a great use for the stale bread I accumulate every week. I decided to add a few things and a delicious salad and filling lunch was born!
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Last week I made a crisp. This week, I stumbled upon a recipe for ice cream--buttermilk peach ice cream. As luck would have it, I had some buttermilk in the fridge!
This recipe actually takes 2 days--but if you are a regular ice cream maker, you know that most ice cream takes time due to cooling the custard. But get this, this recipe doesn't even use a custard base! So all you have to do is let the peaches set for awhile to soak in the delicious sugary flavors, puree, and mix. The Homesick Texan lets the peaches sit overnight. I was going to just do all day but then decided I didn't want to make it until the next day.
This ice cream is good but not sweet as you would expect. It reminds me more of yogurt--not the frozen kind. However, it is pretty tasty the more and more I try it. The mixture was a little big for our ice cream maker and nearly overflowed since there is so much liquid involved in the original recipe, however, it froze more solid in the freezer after.
I have been trying to devise a way to make this ice cream be better-- a sweet topping perhaps? However, I found a way by turning it into an ice cream float. I highly recommend this use of the ice cream--or you could eat on it's own...or with cake...or pie or something of that sort.
3-4 scoops Buttermilk Peach Ice Cream
1/2 can lemon-lime soda
straw (I didn't have a straw and really missed it)
1. Fill tall glass with scoops of ice cream, push down on the ice cream to make sure you leave no holes.
2. Pour lemon-lime soda into the spaces left by the ice cream scoops until it fizzes all the way to the top.
3. Top with thin curls of ice cream (if your ice cream is really hard, you can do this by scooping a very thin layer of ice cream and setting it carefully atop the bubbles.
4. Add spoon and straw and enjoy on the veranda for a cool & refreshing snack
Friday, August 27, 2010
Slightly disappointing, but it made the house smell great!
But here's the kicker, I go to the Farmer's market every Saturday only to find a ridiculously disappointing selection of berries that appear to be purchased from Ralph's on the way to the market.
Have you ever had a raspberry or blackberry right off the vine? A blueberry fresh picked from Maine or Michigan? Once you do, you'll never settle for berries from the grocery store again--you will spend your summer searching for fresh picked berries with flavor that shoots into your mouth and gets all over your hands and stains your t-shirt with purply goodness.
However, two weeks ago my friend and I decided to check out the Santa Monica Farmer's Market at lunch. This market is catered toward our rich city neighbors with higher prices and fancier products--but it is so convenient and open during lunch! As we walked the lanes searching for the perfect tomatoes, I spotted a stall selling fresh berries--real berries. I rushed over and had a taste. The golden raspberries were divine! They tasted like honey. I immediately bought 2 pints of golden raspberries and one of blackberries. I remembered the cobbler and decided to make it that night. Unfortunately, that didn't work out, because I was so berry deprived I ate 2/3 pints before I even got home that night (really before I got to the office but nobody's counting).
So Wednesday rolled around again and I was determined to go back to the market and get more berries--and have some left when I got home. And I did it! These golden raspberries weren't as good as the red raspberries this time--which is probably why there are only 3-4 red raspberries remaining for the cobbler. I added some blueberries I had around to the cobbler as well. Golden deliciousness ensued. I would make this again if I could get the berries to make it home guaranteed.
Mine didn't turn out as golden as hers and I'm sure it's the pan I used. I was going to use a tart pan but was worried it would get all over the place. I think I needed something bigger and thinner--that pan she has would be great--but I didn't have anything like it. Wish I did! Go check out the recipe on the Pioneer Woman's site (linked above) for picture tutorial!
* 1 stick Butter
* 1-¼ cup Sugar
* 1 cup Self-Rising Flour (instead of 1 cup self rising flour, I used 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/4t baking powder + 1/8t salt)
* 1 cup Milk
* 2 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh)
Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.
Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.
Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire, sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I totally made up this recipe and I didn't really measure either. I found that when you don't really measure you are a very messy cook--I don't know how I got flour on my foot...but the final product sometimes turns out to be amazing. That was the case here. If you don't happen to have any leftover shortbread dough you could just make a regular crisp...but since I know you probably DO have leftover shortbread dough then you should know this recipe takes no time at all.
Leftover Shortbread dough - about 1/2 Cup crumbled
2 ripe nectarines or peaches or you could throw in whatever fruit you want, diced (I left the peel on)
1 T butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 T brown sugar
Baking spice to taste
1 t Tapioca
1 T flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325
2. Put butter bits on the bottom of an individual size casserole dish or oven-proof bowl
3. Toss fruit, brown sugar, tapioca, baking spice and flour in a small bowl
4. Pour fruit mixture over butter, top with crumbled shortbread
5. Bake at 325 for about 20-25 minutes until bubbly and shortbread starts to turn golden
6. Cool briefly before eating. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream for a real treat!
Monday, August 16, 2010
Hungry for gooey cheese and bubbly red sauce, I turned this recipe around in just 2 days from receiving the magazine! And let me tell you, it was well worth it. This dish was satisfying and delicious and both Joey and I loved it! Plus, it only uses a few ingredients, mostly staples!
The recipe says it serves 4 but I made enough for at least 6--maybe even 8. Serve this with garlic bread and if you want to round it out a nice salad.
salt & pepper
2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 T oregano
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (I am bad at smashing, so I peeled them and then used a meat tenderizer to smash)
3/4 pound spaghetti (I eyeballed it and clearly made more pasta than they called for)
2 C packed basil leaves
3/4 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of salted water over high heat to boil
2. Prepare basil, garlic, and mozzarella & open tomatoes
3. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
4. Add tomatoes, oregano & salt & pepper to taste, bring to a rolling boil. Simmer on a high simmer 12 minutes until sauce thickens slightly.
5. Cook pasta 5 minutes (it will still be hard), drain, return to pot
6. Stir sauce, pasta, basil & half the cheese with the noodles. Pour into a 3-qt oven-safe dish
7. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is slightly golden
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Herbed Potato Salad
1/2 bunch mixed herbs (I used basil, parsley & dill)
2 lbs baby potatoes of any color
1 small lemon
1 bunch green onions
3 T olive oil
2 T white vinegar (I used 1 rice and 1 distilled white, wine might have been better, I didn't have any)
2 T chicken broth (or veg)
1/2 T dijon mustard
1. Halve tiny potatoes (no need to peel) and boil 8-10 minutes in lightly salted water until fork tender
2. Meanwhile, whisk together oil, vinegar, broth, mustard & juice of one lemon. Add salt to taste.
3. Mince the fresh herbs and green onions.
4. Drain potatoes and toss with vinaigrette.
5. Tip: If you are serving this potato salad later, set aside your herbs and onions until less than an hour before serving--this way they will look green and crisp and not like bits of overcooked spinach.
6. Toss potatoes with herbs and onions & vinaigrette again. Add salt to taste and serve immediately.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
So I baked it, using all the box mixes expecting the worst. Since it was round I couldn't taste it ahead of time. I brought it to work, I waited patiently until 3pm, and sung the awkward office rendition of Happy Birthday and watched as the cake advertised as my baked good was sliced and served. And it was a hit! You only need a tiny piece, but this cake...or perhaps you'd call it a Pacakie is over the top perfection for a birthday celebration.
What is this ooey gooey goodness you ask? The Pacakie is pie crust, filled with a layer of chocolate chip cookie, a layer of cake, and then frosted. It doesn't matter the quality of the ingredients, it is a quick creation that yields utmost deliciousness. I followed this recipe. I used frozen pie crust, Krusteaz Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix and canned Whipped frosting (and a few sprinkles for decoration). Seriously, try this.
There's a lot of extra cake mix left and I also had some cookie dough left. So, I made cupcakes with chocolate chip cookie bottoms. You couldn't even tell from looking there were cookie bottoms, but there was a little crunch, those too were delicious. So even if you fear the Pacakie, try your hand at the cookie cupcake, your friends will love it!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Easy Spinach DipMix to your delight taste wise
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 0 minutes
Yield 1 cup
1 container Greek Yogurt (plain)
1/3 cup Frozen Spinach
1 oz Shredded Carrots
3/8 cup Artichoke Hearts Quartered
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
2 tbsp Parmesan Grated Cheese
Mix together. I like to let flavors sit overnight. Can add other seasonings to taste as well I usually throw it all in a tupperware, mix up with a spatula, seal it up and it's ready to go for work the next day. Dip whatever you like into it, fresh veggies are probably healthiest option. I like to use Reduced Fat Triscuits as well. Enjoy!
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Easiest Directions Ever to boot!
1. Preheat gas grill to medium (around 400) or set charcoal grill to indirect grilling over medium heat.
2. Prepare s'mores in sandwich form
3. Place on preheated grill on the cool side (I have this little top rack that I used, but you could always put them over the burner that isn't on).
4. Grill for 3-5 minutes (3 for me) until marshmallows are soft and chocolate is melty. Carefully remove from grill (two people would be helpful here).
5. Eat immediately!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Do yourself a favor...and make these cookies. I know what you are thinking, I have pushed these cookies time and time again. And it is true, I have. But I cannot tell you how perfect they are for a summer treat or a surprise guest or for something small when you are really craving an entire pan of brownies.
And the very best part about these cookies is that you can keep them in the freezer indefinitely and they don't need to be thawed before you eat them!
So anyway, listen to me, you need to make these cookies! And then keep some ice cream in the house and you're set. Your friends will love you!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
This recipe only made two huge bowls for us and about 1/4 cup of lost recipe to the floor. Probably it serves four normally but it is so refreshing its hard to share! You could double the recipe and still have room in your ice cream maker. OR if you have extra time or no ice cream maker (I can't believe there are people who don't have one!) you can just put this in an 8x8 pan and freeze it for 2-3 hours and then slush it up with a fork. OR you can use your slushi maker...I remember that Katie had this cup that turned stuff into slushies and she wouldn't let me use it.
I followed the directions exactly from Pinch My Salt and it worked like a charm. So delicious!
scant 1 cup sugar
1 1/2 C water
fresh squeezed juice of 2 1/2 lemons
1. Heat water and sugar in a pan over medium heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
2. Juice lemons over a juicer thing to strain out seeds.
3. When sugar syrup is cooled, add lemon juice and chill in the fridge until cold.
4. Pour lemon mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze 20 minutes or until appropriately slushed. Serve immediately in a tall glass.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
If you already like brussel sprouts, this recipe is for you. It is flavorful and would be great with any vegetable, particularly anything that doesn't start with brussel and end with sprouts.
It turns out that even with bacon and garlic, I do not like brussel sprouts. But who knows, maybe you love them!
Some brussel sprouts (sorry I don't know how many I had but it seemed like wayyy too many), cut in half
1 shallot, diced
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
3 slices bacon
I T olive oil
1. Boil water, add sprouts and cook one minute. Remove, drain and place in ice water for another minute.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon, drain on paper towels and cut into bits, set aside.
3. In the same frying pan, add shallot and garlic and cook 30 seconds in bacon grease. Add sprouts and bacon and oil if you didn't have enough bacon grease.
4. Add water and sprinkle some vinegar on top. Cook until liquid is reduced and sprouts are fork tender. Serve warm
Monday, June 14, 2010
We had some friends over this weekend and decided to make this dessert, Kona Coffee Ice Cream Pie. We've made it before but now with pictures! This is a simple dessert we make complicated by making all the layers ourselves. The easy way is to buy a chocolate cookie crust, 1 quart of ice cream (any flavor), some hot fudge and some whipped cream and layer it all together. What we did was make our own cookie crust, hot fudge and ice cream and then layer it all together and it tastes fantastic--maybe a little too coffee flavored for some but hey, you don't have to use coffee ice cream. Try it with peanut butter ice cream or mint or a dulce de leche instead of hot fudge...the possibilities are endless, the flavors are amazing and your guests will be thrilled.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I searched the web for another lemon sugar cookie recipe and used that for the cookie base and then also made lavender sugar for the topping. Also unfamiliar with the properties of lavender, I made the sugar topping two ways. First, I contacted my sister about getting some lavender direct from her garden so that I could bake with it. Nobody knew if this was the right kind of lavender for baking but I thought I'd give it a try anyway, I didn't know where else to get it.
Next I took 3-4 lavender flowers and put them in a container with about 1 cup of white sugar. I sealed the container and let it sit for about 4 days. When I removed the flowers the sugar was clumpy but a good shake and some fork raking took care of that. This sugar lasted in the container a couple of weeks until I needed it.
The other lavender sugar I made the day of baking. I took 4 lavender flowers and ground them with 1/2 cup of sugar in the mini chopper. This made the sugar superfine and also gave the cookies a nice design with the little pieces of flowers inside. I think this looks best but both cookies have the same light lavender flavors on top of the tangy lemon. This is a perfect spring into summer dessert!
Lavender sugar of your choice
1 1/2 C sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
1 C. butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 t. vanilla
1 T. lemon juice
2 3/4 C flour
1/4 t. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. baking soda
1. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, eggs, lemon juice and zest
2. In a separate bowl mix the salt, cream of tartar, baking soda and flour
3. Add the flour mixture into the butter mixture slowly, mixing in between
4. Refrigerate the dough covered for at least an hour
5. Preheat the oven to 350
6. Roll dough between your palms (I was going for small cookies, you choose your size). Then roll dough balls into the lavender sugar
7. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and bake 7-10 minutes or until lightly browned and puffy. The cookies will flatten when they are cooled, cool fully on wire racks.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
These bars are actually called Blackberry Jamble Shortbread Bars--but I switched it up and used Boysenberry jam filling because I really enjoy the stuff. It is slightly sweeter than blackberry and equally delicious. I think it is a great fit to these bars. This recipe is from the Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey cookbook I have been using recently.
This recipe was easy to make with minimal dishes (a big plus!). The only thing I did wrong was that instead of making a crumble on the top, I just made a second crust. This stemmed from the dough being too soft (I was impatient) and it didn't crumble. I also had a bunch of left over dough which is just weird...I don't know how that happened because my bottom crust seems thicker than it should've been. So, whoops. Now I'll have to make some shortbread cookies, darn. ;)
1 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 C firmly packed brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 t vanilla
1 t salt
3 3/4 C unbleached flour
1 C almond flour or very finely ground almonds*
1 1/2 C boysenberry preserves (or flavor of your choice)
1/2 C chopped almonds
confectioners sugar for dusting
*Use a spice grinder or mini chopper to grind sliced raw almonds smaller. Add 1-2 t flour so that they don't grind into butter
1. Combine butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat until creamy on med-low. Add vanilla and salt and beat until combined
2. Beat in flour and almond flour at low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
3. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and press 1/3 of the dough evenly into the pan. Wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold and firm--this takes more than 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 325. Bake the bottom crust until firm and just beginning to turn pale brown around the edges, about 20 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the oven and spread with preserves, it may help to stir the preserves before spreading. Crumble the rest of the shortbread dough over the jam to form a pebbly topping. Sprinkle the chopped almonds over the top.
6. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or until topping is firm and crisp and lightly golden in color. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
7. Cut bars into squares and then halve them diagonally for triangles. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar if you are serving them immediately. If not, freeze and sprinkle right before serving.
Friday, May 28, 2010
So I got home and happened to have a few minutes before dinner to whip up the custard. I scrounged the kitchen and found Baker's Semisweet Chocolate, a hazelnut IKEA chocolate bar, 5 eggs and the cream and half & half.
This ice cream is super creamy and very delicious and honestly I think you could do any variation on this and still make it great. I have to admit, I wasn't sure what would happen when I cut up the hazelnut bar and realized it had nuts in it and then used the bakers chocolate...but it all worked out! (you strain the custard so the nuts drop right out before you cool it.)
Chocolate Ice cream
1 C heavy whipping cream
2 C half & half
1 C sugar
1 t vanilla
pinch of salt
3 oz Semi Sweet Bakers Chocolate
3.5 oz IKEA hazelnut bar
5 egg yolks
1. Heat cream and half & half in the top of a double boiler until bubbly on the sides or steaming. Meanwhile, chop chocolates into small pieces.
2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar and salt in a separate bowl.
3. When the cream is hot, remove from heat and stir in chocolate until it melts, make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom.
4. Pour part of the hot chocolate cream liquid into the eggs and whisk. Then pour the whole thing back into the top of the double boiler and whisk, stir in vanilla.
5. Heat over simmering water 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally until you can scrape a finger across the spoon and liquid is thicker.
6. Meanwhile, make an ice bath. Strain the hot custard through a sieve into the bowl over the ice bath. Cool and stir for 30 minutes. Then, cover the custard and place in the fridge for 4 hours or until completely cool.
7. Later, freeze in an ice cream maker 20 minutes (or whatever it says for that machine). Transfer ice cream to a covered container and freeze until ready to serve.*
*This ice cream was ROCK HARD when I took it out 8 hours later, it could be that our freezer is ice cold--but just microwave it on the defrost setting for 30-60 seconds until scoopable.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I purchased the vanilla pudding in the box and made it with skim milk. I read that if you place the plastic wrap right on the surface of the pudding as you let it set in the fridge it is creamier, so I went with that method.
I modified this recipe for Lemon Cream from the food network. With their directions, the cream was far too tart and more breakfasty than desserty. I really wanted desserty. On a side note, people in the reviews of this recipe go on and on about how it's healthy. Don't be fooled, despite using low fat ingredients, its still cream cheese.
Once you have all the creams made and set, layer them alternating with strawberries and graham cracker crumbs until you fill up the containers. I think they look best in the glass jars but everyone was thrilled by the bigger size of the custard cups and devoured every last bite.
Modified Lemon Cream
4 oz Neufchatel cream cheese
3/4 cup Plain Greek yogurt
1 t vanilla extract
2-3 t honey
zest of one lemon
1. Beat together all ingredients except the zest with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Taste, and add more honey until sufficiently sweet enough, beat after each addition. Stir in zest. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (I did 24 hours). Whisk briskly before using, the mixture will be like the consistency of thin yogurt.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Don't get excited yet, they were good, but they had a texture that just wasn't right. It was like a super thick pudding--much like tapioca except vanilla flavored. I will be revising my recipe and remembering that pastry cream belongs with pastries, not alone. Too thick in a parfait.
I have never successfully made thick custards before (you may recall the chocolate cream pie), this was an exception!! I had no trouble pulling this custard together despite my nerves. I used a recipe from Epicurious for the pastry cream. Note that the cream has to cool for at least 3 hours, so start early.
1 recipe pastry cream
4 smallish glass dishes or parfait glasses (these are candle holders that hold a single tea-light)
4 graham crackers, crushed
1. Make pastry cream, let cool for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
2. Later, prepare glass dishes.
3. layer first graham crackers, then pastry cream, then berries, then pastry cream, berries, and finally top with a few graham cracker crumbs and berries. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I chose to make one-bowl chocolate chunk pecan cookies the key being that they use only ONE BOWL and no mixer PLUS they use melted butter, so you don't have to worry about leaving it out for hours.
Get this book! If this recipe was this delicious I bet the rest of it is outstanding!
A few notes about these cookies:
1. Refrigerate the dough for an hour like it calls for, do not be tempted to bake them before refrigerating.
2. Try to let the pecans cool before adding them to the dough--but add them before refrigeration, if you add them when they are hot the dough gets extra runny
3. Make small cookies, about the size of one scoop from a regular spoon. Small cookies mean big huge chunks of deliciousness
4. One of my friends gave me some extra concentrated vanilla from Penzey's, they say to use half of what the recipe calls for but I always forget so these cookies could be awesomer because I used twice the vanilla the recipe called for. You may want to do that.
My mom has baked the same chocolate chip walnut cookie for years and she volunteered that this cookie is superior and her new go-to favorite.
2 C pecan halves
1 C unsalted butter
3/4 C packed brown sugar
3/4 C granulated sugar
1 t salt
2 t vanilla extract (technically I used 4t see above)
2 1/4 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 baking powder
2 C semisweet chocolate chunks
1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast pecan halves 6-8 minutes until fragrant.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir with a wooden spoon until fully melted.
3. Stir in sugars until smooth. Add salt, vanilla and eggs, stir until smooth.
4. Add flour, baking soda and baking powder and stir until a soft dough forms.
5. Fold in toasted pecans and chocolate chunks. Cover and refrigerate the bowl for at least an hour (especially if you didn't find time to cool pecans). Preheat the oven again to 350 if you turned it off.
6. Scoop small regular spoon sized scoops onto cookie trays. Bake 10-12 minutes until they look slightly golden brown.
7. Cool slightly before moving to a rack. Enjoy warm, or cold, or anytime at all, but be sure to make and try these cookies!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I altered the recipe a bit in the final 15 minutes of cooking by adding an additional 12oz of beer to help submerge the potatoes and chicken fully. If I were to do it again, I would double all the sauce ingredients so that the flavors are still all there but there is extra sauce.
From the Food Network Magazine
* 1/4 pound bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (honestly I don't think this was necessary
* 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* All-purpose flour, for dredging
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 (12-ounce) bottle beer (preferably brown ale) - I used No. 21 Brand Amber Ale
* 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
* 1/2 pound small red-skinned new potatoes, halved - I used 2 pounds because I love potatoes and didn't want to serve anything else
* 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard or dijon
* 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
* 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Add the olive oil to the drippings in the pot. Add the chicken in batches and cook over medium-high heat until golden on the bottom, 6 to 7 minutes, then flip and sear the other side, about 1 minute.
Add the beer, onions, potatoes, mustard, sugar, thyme and 1 cup water to the pot and stir, making sure the chicken is fully submerged. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Discard the thyme and stir in the bacon and parsley.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
This dish had a rich wine broth like a soup (but someone told me I could've thickened it by cooking it a few minutes with the crock pot lid off at the end) and was delicious served over egg noodles. The meat pulled apart by itself. I served this meal with a simple salad and a loaf of the freshest grocery store purchased french bread. Dipping the bread in the broth was a real treat. I highly recommend this dish, and for those of you who, for some reason don't have a crock pot, you can make it in the oven too! Oh, and did I mention it is a cooking light recipe so it's sort of good for you too?
Beef Daube Provencal
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 12 garlic cloves, crushed (this is one small head)
- 1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cups chopped carrot in coins
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 1/2 cup less-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3-4 Sprigs fresh rosemary
- 3-4 Sprigs fresh thyme
- Dash of ground cloves
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cups cooked medium egg noodles (about 4 cups uncooked noodles)
Preheat oven to 300°. Or if you are using the crockpot, do nothing
-Heat oil in a small Dutch oven over low heat. Add garlic; cook 5 minutes or until garlic is fragrant, stirring occasionally. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon, and set aside.
-Increase heat to medium-high. Add beef to pan; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes, browning on all sides (don't worry if every piece didn't brown). Remove beef from pan.
-Add wine to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add garlic, beef, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, carrot, and next 8 ingredients (through bay leaf), and bring to a boil.
Cover and bake at 300° for 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender. Discard bay leaf. Serve over noodles.
Or, if using a crockpot, transfer the whole dish to your crockpot insert, cook on high for 5 hours. I actually cooked it on low for 3 hours and high for 2 hours, but I don't think it matters--that was an accident and it still worked! I bet you could do about 7 hours on low too!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
A few weeks back, we received a coupon for Bertolli Oven Baked meals. I thought we'd try it out for sometime when we can't think of what to have. However, when we got to the store it was clear everyone else had already used their coupons. I noticed the skillet meals were the same price and snagged one hoping the coupon would work. It didn't--but the Target employee entered it in anyway, backwards, and we ended up getting a superb deal.
I'm not sure I would pay $7 for this, but then again for that price it does serve two. However, Bertolli has taught me I could do this myself too. Straight out of the bag and into the skillet the freeze dried penne, four chicken tenders, and chunks of frozen sauce looked unappealing. Ten minutes later it was on the table along with some asparagus and frozen baked rolls. And for ten minutes and $2, it was actually pretty delicious. Joey raved how surprisingly good it was. There was the flavor of real chicken Parmesan, the cheesiness and the bite of the sauce. Sure, I could do the same thing myself probably in 20 minutes--but then again, they already have it pre-made.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This salad was delicious, full of flavors and not to dry, it was the perfect lunch and I will make it again.
Curried Chicken Salad
adapted from Epicurious
3/4 lb shredded chicken, cooked
1/4 c mayo
3 heaping T plain yogurt
2 1/2 t curry powder
1/2 t honey
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1 shallot (I used a shallot but was planning to use green onions, which I even bought, and then forgot)
1 mango, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 c red grapes, halved
1/4 c salted cashews, coarsely chopped
1. Whisk together all ingredients except for the chicken. Add chicken and coat with dressing. Serve with cucumbers. (I also put mine in a pita because I had one)
Sunday, April 11, 2010
The best part is the smell of herb roasted chicken, the amazing flavor, and of course, the presentation. I mean this chicken is pretty much the only one you'll have to make again. The flavors were there, the skin was crispy and it could feed your family with a few hand-picked sides.
I sort of crammed the oven with other dishes, but if you're good at using the stove to make great sides, more power to you!
I roasted carrots, potatoes, and asparagus to go along with the chicken and finished it off with those delicious molten chocolate cakes I've been raving about. And this, is a dinner to remember. Something to impress that doesn't really consume your day but looks like it did.
I made Martha's Perfect Roasted Chicken and pretty much followed it to the T except that I didn't make the gravy, instead I served the onions alongside the chicken and they added a delicious layer and flavor.
Since I didn't do anything special with the rest of the dishes, or change the chicken recipe at all...I'll just give you a timeline of how to pull this off yourself. Dinner's at 7:30.
5:00 PM - Take the chicken out of the fridge and set it on a plate
Meanwhile cut up potatoes (bite sized pieces), carrots (sticks), asparagus (break off thick stems), onions
5:30 PM - Wash chicken and pat dry, set in roasting pan on onions, start roasting! (5:45)
6:30 PM - Put potatoes in the oven (use a small casserole so that you can fit the carrots and asparagus in later)
7:00 PM - Put the carrots in the oven
7:10 PM - Put the asparagus in the oven
7:15 PM - Take the chicken out of the oven and check the temperature--I threw my chicken back in for 10 minutes, but yours may be ready!
7:30 PM - Take out all the vegetables
7:35 PM - Serve, family style!