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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TWD - Summer Fruit Galette

I wanted to make a mini version of this, so I just gathered a few apricots, plums, one peach, and one nectarine. Once I had this all cut up, I realized it would not fit in as small of a galette as I had imagined. I made a... probably 7 inch galette with all of that. I am dying to see how the rest of you fit 8-9 of EACH FRUIT into a 9 inch galette!! **** I also didn't totally get on board with this custard thing. I added some to it, but I think I would have liked it better without. I found the fresh fruit to be a much better photographic subject than the cooked galette, so today you get more raw fruit than galette :-)

I enjoyed this galette much more than the cherry apple cobbler, and much more than I expected myself to. I honestly don't think I've ever had an apricot before, so this was a new flavor for me. Overall, I enjoyed it for what it was, but didn't love it.

Summer Fruit Galette
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Michelle from Michelle in Colorado Springs.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

****OK, I am an idiot and can't read... Bridget so kindly pointed out that Dorie says 8-9 pieces of fruit, total. oops!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BB: Smoked Salmon Spread

This was SUPER easy and delicious! I tried a bit before adding the salmon, as I don't like salmon. I thought it was great, even without, and my husband (who loves salmon) polished off the rest. I served it with sourdough bread (another favorite of his).
Smoked Salmon Spread
from Barefoot Contessa Family Style, page 35
Chosen by Ashley of The Spicy Skillet

~8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
~1/2 cup sour cream
~1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
~1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (I used dried)
~1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained (I used horseradish mustard)
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
~1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
~1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced

Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TWD - Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

I'm just going to come right out with it... I wasn't a fan. I'd take my Mixed Berry Cobbler back any day. I'm not sure if I'm just not a fan of cooked cherries, or the apple (oh, yeah, I subbed apple for rhubarb) and cherry combo wasn't doing it for me, or I obviously used too large a vessel for the amount of fruit, or what. I just wasn't diggin' it. So here is one picture of my ridiculous looking (can't wait to see the other cobblers and how bad I messed mine up!) mini Cherry Apple Cobbler.

Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Amanda from Like Sprinkles on a Cupcake.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Strawberry Mint Sangria

I was in the mood for a light, summer-y beverage that would use up some of the multitude of wine we have sitting around. I found this recipe in a sangria recipe book that I got as a gift, and thought it would be perfect since I also have an overbearingly large mint plant on my balcony. This summer drink definitely fit the bill for light, fruity, crisp with a little tang. Now, time to go relax!

Strawberry Mint Sangria
Adapted from Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes by Mittie Hellmich
Serves 4 to 6.

~2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced (I used some that I'd bought a while ago on sale, and frozen)
~1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, approximately 20 leaves.
~1 1/2 ounces brandy (I omitted)
~750 ml bottle dry white wine, chilled (I used Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc)
~12 ounces club soda, chilled (I used one can of Sprite Zero)
~About 3 cups ice cubes

In a large (at least 2-quart) glass pitcher, combine the strawberries, mint, and brandy. Slowly pour in the wine, stirring gently. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or as long as overnight. (Remove the mint leaves from the sangria after 2 hours.)

When ready to serve, add the club soda and stir gently with a long-handled wooden spoon. Fill highballs, wine glasses, or other decorative glasses with ice cubes and slowly pour the sangria over the ice, allowing strawberry slices to fall into the glasses. Garnish each glass with a mint sprig, if desired.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Corn on the Cob Cupcakes

These were too cute not to make! Typically, I am anti-making one type of food look like some other type of food, but this looked too fun. Someone on the What's Cooking board found them on the Martha Stewart website, and I decided I had to make them for a summer party.

These were pretty easy to throw together, you could probably use any vanilla cupcake recipe you like (but I don't have a favorite so I made the one from the website). Just get some frosting, yellow and white jelly beans, a few yellow starburst, and you are on your way! They are fun to decorate and super cute.
Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
From Hello, Cupcake!, by Karen Tack
Yield: 24 Cupcakes (I only got 19)

For the Cupcakes:
~2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
~2 teaspoons baking powder
~2 teaspoons baking soda (I used 1.5 tsp)
~1/2 teaspoon salt
~1/2 cup milk
~1/2 cup vegetable oil
~1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 2 tsp)
~1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
~1 cup sugar
~3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Combine milk, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture; beat until well combined, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
Fill muffin cups two-thirds full with batter. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack; let cool completely before decorating.

For Decorating:
~Vanilla Frosting
~yellow food coloring
~3 1/2 cups small yellow, cream, or white jelly beans, such as Jelly Belly
~4 pieces yellow fruit chews, such as Laffy Taffys or Starbursts
~1 tablespoon black decorating sugar (I skipped)
~1 tablespoon white decorating sugar (I skipped)
~8 sets of corn holders (optional)

Color the frosting pale yellow with food coloring.

Working with 3 cupcakes at a time, frost cupcakes with yellow frosting. Arrange 5 rows of jelly beans, close together, on each cupcake. Place the 3 cupcakes side by side on a corn dish or serving platter to resemble an ear of corn. Repeat process with remaining cupcakes, frosting, and jelly beans.

Cut the fruit chews into eight 1-inch squares. Soften the edges slightly by hand so that they look like melted butter. Place 1 square on top of each ear of corn. Sprinkle with sugars. Insert a corn holder in the end of each ear of corn, if using. Serve.

TWD - Chocolate Pudding

There isn't much to say about this. If you can access this recipe, MAKE IT. I don't even like chocolate and it was GONE in about 2.2 seconds. So, if you are a chocolate lover, make it, be the most patient you have ever been for 4 hours while it sets, then grab a spoon, sit back and go to heaven. It is velvety smooth and such a rich chocolate flavor. See? I can't even think straight long enough to come up with a real description. Just go ahead and make it, please, so you'll understand where I am coming from. :-)

Chocolate Pudding
From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Melissa from Its Melissa's Kitchen.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

*Please don't remind me how horrific these pictures are... I was gone all weekend and only had Monday night to make this. **Wishes for better lighting and a new lens**

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!

My brother sent me a Williams Sonoma gift card for my birthday a few weeks ago. I tucked it away and figured some day I'd have something I wanted to buy from there. That day came a little sooner than expected when I saw THIS baby, ON SALE. Here is my new beautiful blue Emile Henry faitout. I heart her! I was so excited to come home and introduce my husband to the newest member of our family, and have my very first Emile Henry piece. (Now, if they'd only put those pie plates on sale!) If you feel so inclined, help me name her!

*Just don't ask me what you are supposed to do with it. =D

BB: Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

This week for Barefoot Bloggers, Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking with the Kids chose JalapeƱo Cheddar Cornbread. I was so excited to make this because I LOVE cornbread, and my husband loves jalapenos! I found this to be the perfect occasion to make our favorite chili :-)

I really really enjoyed this cornbread. It was not only great when warm, with the cheddar nicely melted, but also at room temp. You have to love versatility! Since we finally had some cayenne peppers coming off our little pepper plant, I decided to use those instead of jalapeno. I can't wait to make this again!

Southwestern Chili

I got this recipe from a Word document compilation of crockpot recipes. We absolutely fell in love with the Southwestern Chili recipe! We made a few changes to suit our taste, as indicated. (I have also decided that the pictures I took border on less than appetizing, so I am only subjecting you to one) :-)

Southwestern Chicken Chili

~1 medium green bell pepper – chopped (we omit)
~1 cup chopped onions
~3 garlic cloves – minced
~3 tablespoons cornmeal
~2 tablespoons chili powder
~3 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
~1 teaspoon cumin (we use coriander)
~1 teaspoon salt
~1 1/4 Pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs -- cut in 1" pieces (we use ground chicken, browned in a pan first)
~1 Jar 16 Oz. medium picante sauce
~1 15 Oz Can pinto beans – undrained
~1 14.5 Oz Can Diced Tomatoes – undrained

In 3½ to 4 quart slow cooker, combine bell pepper, onion and garlic. In medium bowl, combine corn meal, chili powder, oregano, cumin and salt; mix well. Add chicken; toss to coat. Add chicken and any remaining seasoning mixture to vegetables in slow cooker. Add picante sauce, beans and tomatoes; stir gently to mix. Cook on low setting for 6-8 hrs. For a spicier chili, use 3 tablespoons of chili powder. For a less spicy recipe, use mild picante sauce or salsa.

Yield: "1 1/3 Cups" Per Serving (NOTES : 280 cal., 8 g. fat, 60 mg chol., 1330 mg. sod., 29 g. carb, 7 g.fiber, 5 g. sugars= 1 1/2 starch, 1 veg., 2 lean meat, 1/2 fat=5.5 WW points)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Chicken Burgers with Peanut Sauce

We are a No-Beef household, so burgers come one of three ways: chicken, turkey, or black bean. I have to admit, chicken burgers are my least favorite of the three. My husband has always made them in the past, and maybe he just made them too big or something, but I couldn't really get into them. We had some ground chicken to use (since he just bought 4 more packs at the store), so I went off in search of a recipe that would change my mind about them. I certainly found it! The peanut sauce on this is *great*, and the burgers themselves were really good. Chicken burgers had definitely pushed themselves back up in the burger ranking. ;-)

Chicken Burgers with Peanut Sauce
Source: My Recipes
Yield 4 servings.

For the sauce:
~2 tablespoons peanut butter
~2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
~1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
~1 teaspoon water
~1 teaspoon rice vinegar
~1 garlic clove, minced

For the burgers:
~1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
~1 tablespoon chile paste with garlic
~2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
~2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
~1/4 teaspoon salt 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, chopped
~Cooking spray
~4 (2-ounce) sandwich rolls with sesame seeds
~1 cup onion sprouts or alfalfa sprouts

To prepare sauce, combine first 6 ingredients, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Prepare grill.

To prepare burgers, place onions and next 5 ingredients (onions through chicken) in a food processor; process until coarsely ground. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty.

Place patties on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 4 minutes on each side or until done. Place rolls, cut sides down, on grill rack; grill 1 minute or until toasted. Place 1 patty on bottom half of each roll; top each serving with 1/4 cup sprouts, about 1 tablespoon sauce, and top half of roll.

Nutritional Information:
Calories - 341(28% from fat)
Fat - 10.6g (sat 3.2g,mono 3.5g,poly 3.3g)
Iron - 2.7mg
Cholesterol - 49mg
Calcium - 67mg
Carbohydrate - 32.8g
Sodium - 769mg
Protein - 28.5g
Fiber - 2.5g

TWD: Blueberry Pie

I don't think I've ever had blueberry pie before. I'm kinda of an Apple Pie girl, and to be honest, I wasn't even really interested in trying this. Oddly enough, my "I don't really like sweets" husband seemed VERY interested in it. So, I made a big pie to take to work, and a little mini pie just for him. :-) This pie definitely got rave reviews, so I snuck a small piece for myself. It certainly won't replace apple pie at the top of my list, but it sure was some great pie!

Once again I faced the no-food-processor challenge. My itty bitty processor stand-in was even too small for half the crust recipe, so I had to do it in quarters. I was quite happy with how it all came together... I consider my first blueberry pie adventure a success! I even made homemade vanilla ice cream to serve with the pie to friends. :-)

Double Crusted Blueberry Pie, From Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Amy of South in Your Mouth.
Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Blog-iversary to me!

Well, on this day, one year ago, I started this blog with my first post. I had jumped on the bandwagon of a new blogging event, Platinum Chef Challenge, and I got such encouragement from Cara after Round 1, that I decided to start a blog with my entry for Round 2. Also around that time, wedding planning (long distance, might I add) kicked into high gear, so I wasn't posting as often as I would have liked. The new year brought new blogging events, new ideas, and more free time to do it all in. I've been learning a lot about cooking and baking through this crazy world of blogging, and I look forward to what the future holds. I have even contemplated changing the name of my blog, because I no longer thing people have to tread lightly when trying something from here. :-)

In the next year, I hope to be more creative and present more original dishes (outside of the aforementioned Platinum Chef Challenge, which seems to be the only thing to get my wheels turning!). I also plan to work a lot more on cake decorating techniques, so watch for that! Of course, there will still be plenty of my favorites: Tuesdays with Dorie, Barefoot Bloggers, and Platinum Chef Challenge!

So, for my blog-iversay, I thought I'd go back and highlight some of my favorite recipes from the last year (that I actually blogged about)(purely chronological order):
1. Sweet Mexican Wontons. I made these for Platinum Chef 2, and was darn impressed with myself. I have been searching for a reason to make them again... and I think I have found it, so I can't wait!

2. Banana Roll with Blueberry Lemon Cream Cheese Filling. This recipe came courtesy of Amber's Kitchen, and was the first one that I brought to work that got a recipe request. SO tasty and great for summer!

3. Spicy Garlicky Limey Chicken. This has been an absolute favorite in our house, another one courtesy of Amber's Kitchen.

4. Black Bean Burgers. Another product of the Platinum Chef Challenge was these burgers. We LOVE them and have them whenever we need a change from chicken. My husband loves the cheesy center!

5. Baked Chicken Parm. This recipe, from Katie at Good Things Catered, holds a special place in my heart because I had been in an awful cooking rut where nothing was coming out right and things were just wrong. This recipe pulled me right up and was fabulous all on it's own. (Thanks, Katie!)

6. Old Time Vanilla Ice Cream. I live for ice cream. (really). I had been trying a few hit or miss recipes, but when I stumbled on this gem, I never looked back. It was SO creamy and delicious, I almost couldn't believe it! Over time, I have tweaked the recipe to contain less heavy cream (trust me, my hips don't need it!) and it has held up beautifully. It's a very versatile recipe that is used as a base for many variations, which can be found on Doc's website (yes, the yellow hurts my eyes, too!).

7. Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto Balls. *Love*! These were soooo good. Definitely a rare treat, for me. The warm risotto, creamy goat cheese, and cool mascarpone sauce worked together to make a beautiful dish. This is another recipe that I can't wait for another reason to make!

8. Warm Asian Noodle Salad. This was a dish that came highly recommended and seemed like something we'd like, so I gave it a shot. We love it SO much that I immediately made plans to make it again the following weekend. Great combination of flavors and I loved the fresh vegetables. Great dish!

9. Caramel Butterscotch Brownies. On the quest to perfect my husband's favorite dessert, I flipped through my new copy of Baking Illustrated and settled on a brownie recipe. Boy, was I glad I did! This took the brownies to a whole new level, and has floored everyone that has tried them. They are amazing!

10. Island Shrimp and Tofu Pizza. This was something that came out of another Platinum Chef Challenge, but I thought it would be better suited for the Beautiful Bones event. It's something I never would have come up with, otherwise, but I was SO glad I did. It was an amazing combination of flavors that I am extremely proud of, even if it sounds really whacked out. :-)

TWD: Apple Cheddar Scones

Since I seem to be the Queen of destroying all things biscuits and scones, I didn't have high hopes for this week's recipe, Apple Cheddar Scones (chosen by Karina of The Floured Apron). I am fairly certain I over mix/beat the batter, and end up with something resembling a hockey puck, only moderately better tasting. But, I am in this group to bake, so bake I did!

I know better than to plan on being able to bring edible scones to work, so I cut the recipe down to make 3 scones. When I was getting ready to form them, I caught my mini muffin tin out of the corner of my eye... and voila! Mini muffin scones were born. These came out a little dry for me, probably over baked and without enough liquid in the batter. I didn't get much apple flavor from them, and think they'd be great taken in a different direction... jalapenos, perhaps? All considered, they were my best biscuit/scone attempt, yet... so maybe there is hope for the QODATBAS?

Check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers here.