Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Morning Masterpiece

Let me know if you want this recipe. I haven't tasted this yet. It's for a party tonight, but I'll let you know. Yum! Ganache!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chicken Dinner

Dinner Tonight: (from ole martha again)

Chicken, Lemon and dill with Orzo

4 c chicken broth
1 T butter
1 1/4 t corse salt
1/4 t pepper
1 pound chicken tenderloins, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 pound orzo
2 c crumbled feta( 4 oz)
1/4 c chopped fresh dill
2 t finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 T fesh lemon juice
1 c parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. In a sauce pan bring broth, 3/4 c water, butter, salt and pepper to a boil. in a 3 quart baking dish, combine chicken, orzo, feta, dill, lemon zest, and juice. Pour broth mixture over orzo and stir once to incorporate. bake until orazo is tender and cooking liquid is creamy, 40 minutes. sprinkle parmesan on top and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

In other news....

We also made gingerbread men (eric's favorite christmas cookie, other than this super complicated one that uses anise oil and requires drying overnight and then baking. called springerle. they are german, maybe darin knows about them? anyway, i refuse to make them b/c they are roll-out, cut-out, dry-out and bake cookies. way too many steps for me) so we compromised on gingerbread men, eric iced every single one.
then i bit the bullet and made candy-canes b/c they are my favorite high-maintenance christmas cookie. i have pictures somewhere...

we made more peppermint fudge and last night wrapped them up and delivered a plate of fudge, cookies, and a 'merry christmas' to our friend's houses. it was fun. i think that's it for my holiday baking though. we are going to have christmas eve dinner with a couple friends who are in town since i work all that day and christmas day. i am making a dessert. i'm thinking the pecan pumpkin pie of aunt jan's you sent me a while ago. did you ever try that?

Balsamic Baked Potatoes

from everyday food:

1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved or quartered if large
3/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
8 garlic cloves, smashed
5 sprigs thyme
coarse salt/pepper

Preheat oven to 425. in an 8 inch square baking dish, combine potatoes, broth, vinegar, garlic and thyme; season with salt and pepper. bake until potatoes are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 1 1/4 hours, tossing twice.

mmmm soooo yummmmm. we had this last night with steak and a salad. it would be good with chicken too.

Double Chocolate Cranberry cookies

from Everyday Food

16 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c flour
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t coarse salt
1/2 c butter
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 c dried cranberries

1. preheat oven to 350. place 10 oz chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a sauce pan of simmering water. stir until melted, set aside. in a medium bowl whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt.

2. in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy (or until you don't want to beat it anymore, whichever happens first :) ) add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. beat in melted chocolate. with mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture. beat just until combined. fold in 6 oz chocolate and cranberries.

3. drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. in batches, bake cookies until edges are dry and tops are cracked, 15-17 minutes. cool on wire racks.

P.S. Have you found the joy of parchment paper yet? Oh man, how have i baked this long without it? TOTALLY changes my baking life :)

Peppermint Fudge

Peppermint Fudge
2 1/4 c chocolate chips
1 c round peppermint candies, plus 18 for garnish
3/4 c heavy cream
3 1/2 c mini marshmallows
5 T unsalted butter
1 1/4 c sugar
1 t coarse salt

1. lightly coat a 9 inch square baking pan with nonstick spray. line pan with 2 pieces parchment paper in both directions, leaving 2 inches of overhang on all sides; spray parchment. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. in a food processor, pulse candies until finely chopped. in a medium saucepan, combine candies, cream, marshmallows, butter, sugar and salt over medium-high heat. whisk until smooth, about 5 minutes

2. pour mixture through a strainer into bowl with chocolate. let stand 1 minute, then stir until smooth. pour into baking pan and refrigerate until set, 3 hours, cut fudge into squares. with a sharp knife, cut 18 candies in half; press a candy half into each square before serving.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

I just made this and haven't yet frosted it. Also, I didn't take pictures. I should have though, it's beautiful! and the house smells deeeee-licious!

from cooking light:

2 1/4 c flour
2 1/2 t baking powder
2 t cinnamon (i also added nutmeg, cloves, and allspice)
1/4 t salt
1 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)

2 T butter
1/2 t vanilla
1 package cream cheese
2 c sifted powdered sugar

1. preheat oven to 350

2. combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl, stir with whisk.

3. combine brown sugar, butter, and 1 t vanilla in alrge bowl. beat with mixer until combined. add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. add pumpkin, mix well. fold in flour mixture. spread batter into 13x9 inch baking pan coated with cooking spray (i used 2 9inch round cake pans b/c i want to stack them)
4. bake at 350 for 25 minutes until wooden pick comes out clean.

5. to prepare frosting: combine 2 T butter, 1/2 t vanilla, and cream cheese in bowl, beat with mixer at medium speed until combined. gradually add powdered sugar, beating well until combined. spread over cake.

Maple and Dried Cranberry Granola

this is the recipe from Thanksgiving and one of my favorites i've tried so far:

3 C old fashioned oats
1 C roasted sunflower seeds, hulled and salted
3 T flax seeds
3/4 c maple syrup
1/2 c olive oil
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1 t salt
1/2 t cinamon
1/2 t cardamom
3/4 c dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 300.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, except the cranberries. pour mixture onto baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. when well toasted and fragrant remove from oven. toss well. allow to cool. mix in cranberries and store in air tight container.

you could also add white chocolate chips.or any other thing y ou like in your granola.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Raspberry Crumble Coffee Cake

Printed from COOKS.COM


2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 c. water or raspberry juice
2 c. frozen or fresh raspberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice

For filling, combine sugar, cornstarch, water or juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened and clear. Add lemon juice and cool.


3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 c. milk
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla

In a bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter to form fine crumbs. Add milk, eggs, and vanilla. Spread half of batter in a 9x13 pan. Drop filling by spoonfuls over batter and spread over batter. Drop remainder of batter over filling and spread.


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Combine ingredients and drizzle over coffee cake.

Bake 35-45 minutes at 350°F.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones






  1. 1
  2. 2
    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
  3. 3
    Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
  4. 4
    In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half and half, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
  5. 5
    Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
  6. 6
    Bake for 14–16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  7. 7
  8. 8
    Mix the powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk together until smooth.
  9. 9
    When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone.
  10. 10
  11. 11
    Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least 1 hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Acclaimed, Sought-After, and Famous Tortilla Chicken Soup

in the crock pot combine:
1 15oz can diced tomatoes and juice
1 chopped onion
1 4 oz can green chilis
2 minced garlic cloves
3 14.5oz cans chicken broth
1 t cumin
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 c chopped cilantro
3 chicken breasts
1 can black beans, drained
3 chopped carrots ( i only added these b/c they were in the fridge and i wanted to boost the veggie content. you can add whatever you like)
1 can drained corn or 1 package frozen corn- if you use a can add it with everything else in the beginning. if you use frozen corn add it at the end before shredding the chicken. that way it will retain a little bite and not be so soggy.

*cook on low for 7 hours. then take out the chicken and shred it with two forks. replace the chicken into the soup.

*serve with garnishes such as:
sour cream
avocado or guacamole
shredded tortilla chips
green onions

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The-Feel-Good-Anytime Smoothie

This is the smoothie I turn to during night shifts and this week while i've been sick. I think it's your days worth of fresh fruit in one glass. it's delicious and way cheaper than going to a smoothie store- plus it's healthier too.

Ingredients: pretty much any fruit you have on hand, but i strongly recommend:

4-5 frozen strawberries (or fresh but the frozen kind make it thicker and better texture)
1/2 c frozen blueberries (or fresh, see above)
1 peeled kiwi
1 banana
1/2 c orange juice
3/4 c whole milk plain yogurt

Put it all in a blender and puree. mmmmm yum!
i've also been considering peeling a pear and adding it into the mix.

Just a Picture

Okay, so this soup wasn't so great, but the picture is so i decided to post just the picture. It was a broccoli soup with Lemon-chive cream. the lemon chive cream was great and would work well as a dip for veggies or chips, but the fact is, the left over soup is still sitting in the fridge from a week ago, and even though soup sounds good when you are sick, this soup doesn't sound appealing enough for me to warm up a bowl for lunch. also, the picture verifies the fact that i have, indeed, still been cooking. I just haven't posted the recipes. I also made a great tortilla soup in the crock pot last week, which i am going to make for everyone over thanksgiving. so you'll get to try it for yourself.

Friday, October 30, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

My friend posted these on her blog from Recipezaar a couple days ago. They are so good!

White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup butter, softened

1 large egg

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)

¾ cup dried cranberries

6 ounces white chocolate chips or swirled (semi-sweet/white) chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer combine the sugar, brown sugar and butter; mix well to cream together.

Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix until combined.

Add the cinnamon, baking soda, salt and flour and mix well.

Fold in the oatmeal, dried cranberries and white chocolate chips- making sure that all ingredients are uniformly distributed.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 3 inches apart onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 10-12 minutes, just until the edges are lightly golden.

Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer cookies to cooling rack.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

PUmpkin Muffins

Eek! October is almost over and I haven't even been publishing a smorgasborg of pumpkin recipes. I better get started!

Pumpkin Muffins
from somewhere on the Food Network

2 C flour ( i substitued 1/2 c whole wheat flour)
2 t cinnamon (i also added nutmeg and cloves- however much you want)
1 t b soda
1/4 t b powder
1/2 t salt
1.5 c sugar
3/4 c v oil
3 lg eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c pumpkin

Preheat oven to 325.

Line muffin tin.

Combine dry ingredients (flour, spices, b soda, b powder, salt) in a bowl.

Combine sugar, v oil, vanilla. stir with a whisk. add eggs one at a time whisking until combined. stir in pumpkin.

Add dry ingredients to wet.

Scoop into prepared muffin tins. I also placed a single pecan nut half on top of each one.

Bake for 30 minutes.

You can also do a loaf, but i think you need to bake it for 50-60 minutes.
I also still had left over ganache from the winning hearts and minds cake (i know i know, it's beena while since that cake) but i used up the last of it on top of the muffins and it was delicious!
Adding choco chips would be good too. or dried cranberries.

Happy Halloween!

I used a screw driver to make the swirly design. cool huh?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

italian sausage soup

Gonna try this one tonight. It has good reviews, so we'll see how it goes. PS. It was fabulous! Darin had 2 bowls! I added some bowtie pasta to it too and it just added the right touch. Gotta make it!

Italian Sausage Soup
recipe image
Submitted By: SALLYJUN
Photo By: Emily
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 6
"This soup is easy to put together, and the flavor of the spicy sausage is balanced nicely by Great Northern beans, zucchini, fresh spinach, and carrots. Makes a delicious winter supper."
1 pound Italian sausage
1 clove garlic, minced
2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style stewed
1 cup sliced carrots
1 (14.5 ounce) can great Northern beans,
2 small zucchini, cubed
2 cups spinach - packed, rinsed and torn
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.In a stockpot or Dutch oven, brown sausage with garlic. Stir in broth, tomatoes and carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
2.Stir in beans with liquid and zucchini. Cover, and simmer another 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender.
3.Remove from heat, and add spinach. Replace lid allowing the heat from the soup to cook the spinach leaves. Soup is ready to serve after 5 minutes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

cashew chicken

This comes from a cookbook put together by the church we went to in Lima. It was contributed by Dana Hays. I never have followed it completely with the vegetable ingredients, but just add whatever I have on hand or in the freezer. Tonight I made it with zucchini (which I substitute a lot for mushrooms since we don't like them), carrots, broccoli, onions, and green beans. It was a little salty, maybe because of the bouillon I used, but so far, it is my favorite recipe for the "brown sauce" on stir fry. Maybe since Eric is a stir fry connoisseur he has a better recipe?? Anyway, here it is:

3 chicken breasts sliced 1/8 inch thick
1/2 lb pea pods or 2 pkg of frozen peas partially thawed
1/2 lb mushrooms
4 stalks of green onions
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
1 Tbsp chicken bouillon granules, dissolved
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup cashews ( I added 1 cup because I LOVE toasted cashews)

Dissolve 1 Tbsp bouillon in 1 cup of water or broth. Stir 2 Tbsp cornstarch into 1/4 cup soy sauch. Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium high heat, and add nuts all at once, saute until toasted. Remove the nuts from the pan. Add chicken to pan, cook until it turns white. Add peas and mushrooms. Pour in broth, cover, and simmer 2 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add bamboo shoots, stir in the soy sauce mixture into the pan juices. Cook until the sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Add nuts and green onions cut into fan shaped pieces. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Macaroon

This recipe also comes from the HomeMade Life book i just read. I'd been thinking about them ever since i read the recipe, and had preemptively bought the coconut. We awoke this morning to temps in the 30s with sleet/snow/rain coming down. I think that weather recipe calls for a day full of baking warm deliciousness. After eating one macaroon, and only one- that was pretty hard-, I can't stop thinking about the delightful texture. They are like a shout-out to the Almond Joy but with homemade goodness baked right in. I'd call this a cross between candy and cookie. It's something I'd love to pass out at Halloween, except that there are too many parents out there like Dad who suspect a straight pin in every treat. ha. remember that?
Have a glass of water ready to drink after eating one of these. Yes, even Darin will need a full glass of water, not even milk, after this!

Cococut Macaroons with Chocolate Ganache

3 cups lightly packed sweetened shredded coconut
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c egg whites (from about 5 large eggs)
1 1/2 t vanilla
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (it's important to use a fine quality chocolate for ganache. i use ghiradelli. 4 oz = a generous 1/2 c)
1/2 c heavy cream

Place coconut, sugar, and egg whites in heavy 2-3 quart sauce pan and stir well. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently 10-15 minutes. the mixture will look very creamy as it heats and then it will slowly get a bit drier, with indvidual flakes of coconut becoming discernable. stop cooking with it no longer looks creamy but is still quite sticky and moist, not dry. remove from the heat, and stir in the vanilla.

scrape the mixture into a pie plate of small baking sheet, spread it out a bit to allow it to cool quickly and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.

preheat oven to 300. line baking sheet with parchment paper. i don't do this b/c i use stoneware.

using your hands or a small ice cream scoop (i use the scoop b/c it's my new found cookie-baking joy), scoop and firmly pack the coconut mixture into small domes. space them evenly on the baking sheet.

bake the macaroons until evenly golden, about 30 minutes. cool completely on the pan on a wire rack. then remove the macaroons from the baking sheet and set them on the rack. set the rack over the baking sheet.

Put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling the pan occasionally until it is hot and steaming. do not allow it to boil. remove the pan from the heat and pour the cream over the chocolate. let it sit for 1 minute then stir until smooth. spoon the warm ganache generously over the macaroons, shaking them gently if needed to coax the ganache down their sides.

refrigerate the macaroons on the rack until the ganache sets at least 2 hours. this is the hardest part b/c you just made these wonderful looking and smelling cookies and you don't get immediate gratification. letting them harden is worth it though! transfer them to airtight container, refrigerate or freeze.

Hmm, what to do with leftover ganache? Oh! I'll use it as a frosting for the "winning hearts and minds cake" i made last week. That was desert tonight! yum! Eric calls this kind of dessert "Death by Chocolate".

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

You know it wouldn't be summer if there wasn't a new zucchini bread recipe posted. this comes from closet cooking, another blog my friend jenn recommended.

1 c zucchini grated
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c oil
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
1 egg
1 c flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 c walnuts (optional)
1/2 c chocolate chips

1. mix zucchini, sugar, oil, yogurt and egg in bowl
2. mix the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and cinnamon togethe
3. mix the wet and dry ingredients
4. mix in nuts and chocolate chips
5. pour batter into greasted 5x9 loaf pan
6. bake in oven at 350 until tester comes out clean, 50-70 minutes (kinda broad range there! i think mine took about 60 minutes to be done)

More than just Chocolate Cake

I've just finished reading a book by the author of the orangette blog Molly Wizenberg titled A HomeMade Life. It was great. She wrote about stories from her life and a recipe that went along with the story.but some of the recipes weren't so practical for say, a family or were a bit out-there (cabbage salad served with pistachios and chocolate???) i filtered through a few of them though, and the first one i tried was of course, the chocolate cake. She calls it the "winning hearts and minds cake" b/c it is so good and she's always made it for someone she wanted to impress. it's basically a flourless chocolate cake, so you know it's dense, creamy, and rich.

7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 oz butter, cut into cubes
1 c plus 2 T granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 T flour
lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving

preheat oven to 375 and butter an 8 inch round cake pan. line bottom of pan with parchment paper and butter this too.

put chocolate and butter into microwave safe bowl. microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time, stirring often, until just smooth. when the mixture is smooth add the sugar, stirring well to combine. set batter aside for 5 minutes to cool.

add the eggs to the chocolate mixture, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. add the flour and stir to mix well. batter should be dark and silky.

pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until the top is lightly cracked, the edges are puffed and the center of the cake looks set. the center should only jiggle slightyly, if at all, when done.

to remove the cake from the pan, let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes. then do a little dance with a couple of plates and dump the cake onto one plate, transferring back to another plate to get it right side up. or you can just serve it from the pan you baked it in.

**this cake gets better the next day if you put it, covered, in the fridge over night. or she says it also freezes well. it was good the first night, a little warm (bc i couldn't wait to let it cool completely) but it has been even better the next day and the next day b/c i wrapped it well and put it in the fridge. the texture improves with time!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pain Perdu. Or Just French Toast

This was my dinner before night shift so i was not inspired to take any pictures (night shift is oh so uninspiring) However, it was phenominal and i highly recommend it for breakfast or dinner. from cooking light.

3/4 c milk
2 T sugar, divided
1/2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/4 t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 (1 oz) sliced diagonally cut day old french bread (about an inch thick)
2 c sliced strawberries (i used peaches b/c i still have lots of them!)
2 t grated orange rind
4 t butter, divided
2 T powdered sugar

1. combine milk, 1 T sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, salt and eggs in a large bowl. stir with a whisk. place bread slices in 13x9 inch baking dish; pour egg mixture over bread, turn to coat. let stand at room temp for 20 minutes, turning occasionally until eggs is absorbed.

2. combine strawberries, orange rind, and remaining 1 T sugar in small bowl. let stand 20 minutes.

3. melt 2 t butter in large non stick skillet over medium heat. add 4 bread slices to pan. cook 3 1/2 minutes on each side until golden. repeat procedure with remaining slices.

4. place 2 bread slices on each of 4 plates. sprinkle with 1 1/2 t powdered sugar and top each with 1/2 c strawberry mixture.

* wish i had pictures b/c it was so yummy looking and tasting.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

These Pork Chops Rocked My Face Off

as soon as you are finished reading this post, go to the grocery store and buy these ingredients and make this ASAP! this has to be one of my new favorite meals of all time! and this is saying a lot b/c Bolivia nearly killed pork for me forever. having it every day for 3 years straight pretty much garanteed i'd never eat pork again. tonight was the first time i've made pork since eric and i have been married (that's 4 years!) we bought a nice center cut boneless pork chop and i'm sure that only helped the recipe.

Grilled Pork Chops with Shallot Butter
8 (7 oz) center cut pork chops ( i bought 4)
1 tsp salt, divided
3/4 t ground black pepper
2 T olive oil
2 t finely chopped fresh chives
1 t finely chopped fresh thyme
1 t finely copped fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves minced
2 T butter, softened
2 1/2 t minced shallots
1/4 t grated lemon rind

1. prepare grill

2. sprinkle both sides of pork chops evenly with 1/2 t salt and pepper. combine oil, chives, thyme, rosemary and garlic, stirring well. rub oil mixture evenly over both sides of pork. place pork on grill rack and grill 6 minutes each side until done. remove pork from grill and let stand 5 minutes. sprinkle with remaining 1/2 t salt.

3. combine butter, shallots, and lemon rind stirring well. spread about 1 t butter mixture over each pork chop. let pork stand an additional 5 minutes.

we had this with Quinoa with Herbs and Mixed Olives. which also rocked my face off.
both recipes are from cooking light

Quinoa Recipe

2 T olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 c quinoa, well rinsed (at least 3 times)
1/2 c pitted and thinly sliced black and green olives
1/2 c pine nuts, toasted
1/3 c fresh bail leaves, finely chopped
1/3 c cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1/3 c parsley finely chopped

1. in large saucepan or deep skilet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook stirring often until softened about 3 minues. add the garlic and cook just until fragrant about 30 seconds. add quinoa and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.

2. stir in 2 1/4 c water, season with salt and bring to ab oil over high heat. lower heat, cover and simmer unilt the water is absorbed about 15 minutes. let stand for 5 minutes. add the olives, pine nuts, basil, cilantro, and parsley and toss with a frok to combine. season with salt.

just for the pictures

this recipe is good, probably great in fact, but it's nothing too incredibly special. so i wasn't going to post it but the pictures were just so good, and in the end, the final product tasted so good i had to put it up. it's a great standby, something to throw together when you didn't have time to shop that day and aren't sure what to have for dinner. i suggest Bacon Avocado griddle pizzas. loosely based on a rachel ray recipe.

1 c lukewarm water
2 1/4 c flour
One 1/4 oz package active dry yeast
1 t sugar
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, thinly sliced crosswise (i used a small onion)
1/4 c olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 avocados (i only had 1 avocado. oh well)
one 12 oz package bacon (i used however much i felt like. and it wasn't a whole pkg)
1 bunch watercress (i just used some greens i had in the fridge)

1. in large class whisk together the water, 1 T flour, yeast and sugar. let stand 5 minutes until foamy. meanwhile combine flour and 1 tsp salt in mixer bowl. using the dough hook pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix until dough forms a ball. transfer to large greased bowl and cover. let rise until doubled in size about 1hour.

2. in large bowl toss together tomatoes, shallot, olive oil and vinegar. season with s/p. let stand at room temp. in medium bowl mash avocados.

3. preheat large skillet and add bacon, cook until crispy. drain on paper towels.

4. preheat griddle over high heat or 400 degrees. on a lightly floured work surface divide dough into 4 pieces then flatten each one into a disk. stretch each disk into 10 inch round. brush one side of each round with olive oil and working in batches transfer to griddle oiled sides down. ( here i chopped up some garlic and put it in a small bowl with the olive oil. when i brushed the garlic infused olive oil over the dough little pieces of garlic went along and created a mouthwatering smell and taste!)

cook the dough lightly brushing the tops with more garlic oil and flipping once, until browned, about 6 minutes on each side.

5. spread the avocado evenly on a crust, toss the greens with the tomato mixture and scatter over the pizzas. crumble the bacon on top. i also crumbed some goat cheese i had in the fridge on the very top, but i think feta cheese would also taste great.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

the kitchen smells like peaches

that's because i Have 5 pounds of them on the counter waiting to be made into this tomorrow!

Oatmeal Cookie-Peach Cobbler

you can make this in idividual ramekins with one dollop of dough on top of each. baking time remains the same.

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
2 t vanilla
1 large egg
1 c flour
1 c old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

11 c sliced peeled peaches (about 5 lbs)
1/3 c sugar
2 T flour
2 T lemon juice
cooking spray

1. preheat oven to 350

2. to prepare topping place first 3 ingredients in large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. add vanilla and egg. beat well. combine 1 c flour, oats, baking powder and salt. stir with whisk. add flour mixture to sugar mixture beat at low speed until blended. cover and chill 30 minutes.

3. filling: combine sliced peaches, 1/3 c sugar, 2 T flour, and fresh lemon juice in bowl. toss to coat. spoon mixture into 13x9 baking dish coated with cooking spray. dollop 12 mounds of chilled dough over peach mixture at even intervals. bake at 350 for 40 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly.

Toffee Squares

ohhh i can't wait to make these. actually i can wait b/c i'm tired today, but i am looking forward to making them. it's from sweetamandine blog. i'll post pictures when i make them.

2 sticks butter
1 c brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1/4 t salt
3-4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/5 c pecans, toasted and chopped

preheat oven to 350

cream together butter and brown sugar. mix in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt, and then the flour. press dough evenly into an ungreased 9x13 pan. bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

remove the baked crust from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the chopped chocolate. using a rubber spatula, spread the melting chocolate in a thin layer over the entire crust. sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top and allow to cool slightly.

cut into squares while still warm (using a pizza cutter) remove squares to rack to cool. allow to cool completely until the chocolate has set.

makes 30-40 squares.

** made these yesterday 9-7-09. and... i was disappointed. they smelled so good and looked so good but the flavor was just not enough toffee for me. but i'm a toffee fiend so maybe 'normal' toffee lovers will like this well enough. and despite the recipe suggesting that you remove them from the pan while warm i was unsuccessful at that. they kept falling apart, falling through the cooling rack wires... i let them cool completely and then removed them and put them in the fridge. today the consistency is much better but still, not enough toffee and too much butter!

Garden Harvest Cake

from cooking light. this isn't a cake. it's a morning bread. and it's dense, moist, and delicious! the first time i made the loaf and the second i made the cupcakes so i could freeze them more easily.

1 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 c grated peeled granny smith apple (about 1 medium)
1/2 c grated carrot (about 1 medium)
1/2 c shredded zucchini
1/4 chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c buttermilk
2 large eggs
cooking spray

1. preheat oven to 350

2. combine flour and the next 4 ingredientws (through salt) in a loarge bowl. add grated apple, grated carrot, shredded zucchini, and walnuts to flour mixture. toss well. combine canola oil, buttermilk, and eggs in a small bowl wtirring with a whisk. add egg mixture to flour mixture stirring just until combined. spoon batter into 8x4 loaf pan coated with cooking spray. bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. remove cake from pan. cool completely before slicing.

Lemon Bars

I found this on a blog called sweetamandine. It makes a 9x13 pan, which is a lot of lemon bars, if you ask me. but still, they are delicious!

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1/2 c sugar
2 c flour
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla

7 large eggs
2 1/2 c sugar
2 heaping T grated lemon zest (about 6 lemons)
1 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6)
1 c flour
powdered sugar for dusting

preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan

make the crust: cream together the butter and sugar in the an electric mixer. mix in the vanilla. combine the flour and salt and with the mixer on low add to the butter until the dough just comes together. using floured hands, gather the dough into a ball and scoop it into the center of the greased baking pan. press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan, chill.

bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until very lightly browned. let cool on a wire rack. leave the oven on.

make the filling: whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice. slowly add the flour, whisking all the time. pour the filling over the cooled crust. the crust does not need to be room temperature but warm, not hot.

bake for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set. let cool and cut into bars or triangles and dust with powdered sugar.

i dusted the whole pan with sugar and now, a few days later, all the pretty white stuff has absorbed into the lemon bars so it's not nearly as pretty as it was the day i made it. so maybe dust just before serving.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Cake I Almost Made You for Your Birthday

This is a Praline Bundt Cake. The pecans are TASTY!! I had all the ingredients to make this for you when we came to City of Rocks, but it seemed like a lot of steps, and I didn't make it. But, it's good:) I am enjoying it now and thinking happy birthday thoughts for you!

1 c chopped pecans
1 c. butter, softened
1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 (16 oz) bag dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 (80z) sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
Praline icing
Sugared pecans

toast 1 c pecans . There are 2 ways to do this...the way the book tells you and the way I do it! 350 for 5-7 min in a single layer in the oven, or my way, single layer in the micro for 5-6 min, stirring every 2 min.

preheat oven to 325

beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

sift flour and next 3 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in toasted pecans and vanilla. spoon into a greased and floured 12 c. bundt pan.

bake at 325 for 1 hour 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove from pan and cool for another 3o min.

prepare praline icing, spoon immediately over cake, sprinkle top with sugared pecans.

Praline Icing
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c butter
1/4 c milk
1 c powdered sugar, sifted (this gets out the lumps. I didn't do it and it looked lumpy)
1 tsp vanilla

bring first 3 ingredients to a boil over medium heat. boil, whisking constantly for 1 minute. remove from heat, whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir gently 3-5 minutes until it starts to thicken.

Sugared Pecans
1 egg white
4 c pecans
1/3 c granulated sugar
1/3 c light brown sugar

whisk egg white until foamy; add pecans and stir until evenly coated. (I only did 1 c pecans. you don't need 4 cups unless you want to eat them as snacks later. I cut down on the sugars) Stir together the sugars and sprinkle over the pecans. stir gently until they are evenly coated. Spread pecans in a single layer on a lightly greased foil lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 for 18-20 min or until the pecans are dried. stir once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes. store pecans in a ziploc for 3 days room temp or 3 weeks in the freezer.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Brief Digression

I wrote a while ago about this blog also being about the home and garden as well as food. As for the garden part I don't have a lot to say b/c my garden is partially pathetic this year. Your bird net saved the lettuce and the 10 sugar snap peas I got this year. My string beans are simply pathetic- tough, stringy, weirdly large.... sigh. i miss fresh green beans. Anyway, the cucumbers are about to be fruitful and the tomatoes are still completely green and just hanging out. i have gotten a few black plum tomatoes- an heirloom variety i highly recommend. anyway, i wasn't going to talk about the garden.

Home: I just got home from Costco where I purchased a memory foam mattress topper. what do you think? I wasn't ready to spend the full amount on a whole mattress yet, but my body has been pretty achey during the nights since my surgery. i also bought memory foam pillows to see if i can ease the tightness in my neck at all. tonight will be the first night sleeping with both, and i'm so excited to go to bed!

Fresh Mozzerella is the key

this is another recipe from Orangette. It sounds like just a baked pasta recipe, but i think the fresh basil and mozzerella really make it something special.

2 (28 oz) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes
5 T unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion,peeled and halved
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1-2 pinches red pepper flakes
red wine vinegar
1 1/2 lb small ish pasta, such as orecchiette, chiocciole, rigatoni or ziti
1/4 to 1/3 lb parmesan cheese, grated
3 (4 oz) balls fresh mozzerella
fresh basil leaves

dump tomatoes and juices into large saucepan. add butter, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and couple pinches of salt. place over medium heat and cook stirring occasionally for 45 minutes (i fudged it to 30 minutes b/c otherwise dinner was going to be really late). remove and discard the onion halves. using an immersion blender-i want one of these!-(or a food processor) blend the sauce until mostly smooth. return it to saucepan and continue to simmer it over medium heat for another 45 (or 30 if you are me) minutes until it has thickened to the consistency of a usual tomato sauce. it's alright if it's a bit loose but you want it to have a least a little body. taste it for salt and acidity and if needed add a small splash of vinegar.

preheat oven to 400.

when sauce is almost ready cook pasta to al dente. drain well and toss with with half the tomato sauce and a handful of the parmesan. take out a large (at least 9x13 or 10x15) baking pan. put a layer of pasta in the pan, followed by some of the sauce, handful of parmesan, chunks of mozzerella, and a few torn basil leaves. repeat layers until all ingredients are gone, ending with a layer of cheese on top. bake for 15 minutes until warm and bubbling. then, broil the top for a minute or two until golden.