Monday, January 31, 2011

Cream puffs with homemade dark chocolate pudding

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Choux Pastry: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Choux Pastry:

1 cup (70 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon  granulated white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup (120 ml) water

4 large eggs

Egg Wash Glaze:

1 large egg

1/8 teaspoon salt

Whipped Cream:

1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white sugar


Powdered (Confectioners or icing) sugar

In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside. 

Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about a minute or two). Transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, and beat on low speed a minute or two to release the steam from the dough. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the eggs one at a time and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart.  Beat together the egg and salt for the glaze. With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough. 

Bake 25 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside.  A few minutes before the cream puffs are finished baking, poke a small hole in each to let air escape. Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

For whipped cream:  In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and whisk in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, whip the mixture until soft peaks form. 

To Assemble:  Split the pastry shells in half and fill (or pipe) with whipped cream. Place the top half of the pastry shell on the whipped cream and dust with powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar.

Makes 12 cream puffs.

Dark chocolate pudding:

4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch Processed)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small bowl, blend 1/2 cup of milk with the cornstarch. Combine the cocoa and salt in a small heavy saucepan. And slowly whisk in the remaining 3-1/2 cups of milk, the chocolate and the sugar Heat over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted Whisk in the cornstarch mixture.3Cook, stirring frequently, over very low heat until very thick and just beginning to boil, about 10 minutes Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.4Let cool, stirring occasionally until the custard is just warm.5Pour the pudding into small 1/2 c bowls.6Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.7You can make this up to 3 days in advance.

Fun Sledding on the ice covered road

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Baking: giant donut cake

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It is a giant donut!    I saw this pan at Williams-Sonoma and Bought it about a year ago and just now got around to using it.
I made the recipe that came on the box and it turned out really good.  The cake was light and fluffy and the chocolate glaze on a top was very rich. This was a quick and easy decorated cake to make. The special occasion was Scot's birthday.  

Chocolate Glazed Giant Donut Cake

For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the chocolate glaze:
5 Tbs. unsalted butter
4 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup hot water

Colored sprinkles for decorating

Have all the ingredients (except the hot water) at room temperature.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease and flour both halves of a giant donut cake pan.

To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the milk and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the

flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and tap the pans on the countertop to eliminate any air bubbles. Spread the batter up the sides of each pan so the sides are higher than the center. Bake until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

Set the rack over the cakes, invert the pans onto the rack and lift off the pans. Let the cakes cool completely, at least 2 hours, before assembling and decorating.

To assemble, return both halves of the cooled cake to the pans. (This is easily done by placing the pans over the cake halves and inverting the rack onto the pans.) Level the cakes by using a serrated knife to gently saw off the part of each half that rose above the edge of the pan; discard the scraps. Remove the cakes from the pans. Place one cake half, cut side up, on a wire rack set over a baking sheet; place the other half, cut side down, on top.

To make the chocolate glaze, fill the bottom pan of a double boiler with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In the top pan of the double boiler, combine the butter and chocolate chips and heat until melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water until combined. Pour the glaze over the cake all at once in one layer and immediately decorate with colored sprinkles. Let the glaze set for 15 minutes before slicing and serving the cake. Serves 16.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alphabet vegetable soup

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Heallthy, fast and fun
I found the alphabet pasta in the ethnic foods section of the supermarket a product from Mexico
From the quick-fix vegetarian cookbook
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
5 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup frozen corn
1 (15 oz) can chick peas
1/2 cup vegetable shaped pasta
salt and pepper to taste

heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.
add garlic and onions and saute for 3-5 minutes
add celery and carrots and saute for another 3-5 minutes.
stir in broth, peas, corn, and chickpeas.
turn up heat to high and bring to a boil.
add pasta and reduce heat back to medium.
simmer until vegetables are tender and pasta is al dente, about 10-15 minutes.
salt and pepper to taste.
serve hot!

Basil sprouts

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sewing heated neck pillows

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Perfect for winter comfort. These herbal neck pillows smell great when heated and feel so nice and cozy. I saw some similar ones sold at whole foods this weekend for $40. These were easy and quick to make and can be made for a few dollars.

- Fabric (12" x 34" piece for each pillow)
- Rice (approx. 48 oz.)
- flax seed
- dried chamomile flowers
- dried mint leaves
- Lavender
- a few drops essential oil
- Coordinating thread for sewing

Mix rice and desired herbs together and sprinkle with essential oil. I used approximately 8 cups of this mixture to fill one neck pillow
Place fabric right sides together, pin, and sew along edges.  Leave an 2" opening on one end. Turn pillow right side out. Fill pillow with 2 1/2 cups of the rice mixture. I made compartments to hold the rice mixture in place so that it will not fall to one end of the pillow. To do this, measure 11 inches from the filled end and sew a straight seam across pillow. Fill again with 3 cups of the rice mixture. Sew another seam 11 inches past the last seam sewn. Fill the rest of the pillow with 2 1/2 cups more of the rice mixture.
Sew the open end shut. I added extra seams for reinforcement to prevent the rice mixture from escaping.

To use the pillow, heat for 2 minutes in the microwave. Enjoy!

Snowy evening at Home

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Oatmeal pancakes

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This recipe makes about 24 very Healthy and hearty pancakes. They are very filling with oat flour and the whole oats. A great recipe from penzeys

3/4 cup oat flour. I ground 1 cup old-fashioned oats in the food processor
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt kosher
3 T butter melted
11/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup cooked oatmeal
2 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 T honey
butter, for the skillet
In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.with the milk and let soak for 10 minutes. In a smaller bowl, stir the melted butter, buttermilk, cooked oatmeal, honey and eggs together until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients only until combined. Fold in the pecans. Do not over mix; the batter will not have a uniform appearance.

Heat a griddle over medium high heat until water sizzles when dripped onto the pan. Lightly coat the pan with a tsp of butter. Drop the batter into trepan in 1/4 cup mounds. Flip the pancakes when bubbles begin to form around the edges and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Repeat with additional batches of pancakes until all are cooked. Place cooked pancakes on a warm plate and tent with foil to keep warm until all pancakes are made.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baking: Apricot Chews

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Apricot Chews

p. 56, The Gourmet Cookie Book

**Makes three dozen squares


Melt 3/4 cup butter, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups each of flour and oatmeal, and 1 teaspoon baking soda.  Mix the ingredients thoroughly and press half the mixture into a greased baking pan about nine inches square. 

In a saucepan, simmer 3/4 pound dried apricots with 1 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar for 30 minutes, or until the apricots are soft.  Add 1 tablespoon apricot liqueur after the mixture has been cooking for 20 minutes.  Puree this all in a food processor until smooth. Spoon the apricots over the crumb mixture in the baking pan, sprinkle them with 1/4 cup grated coconut, if desired, and cover them with the rest of the crumbs.  Bake the mixture in a moderate oven (350°F) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden.  Cut the mixture into squares while it is still warm and turn out the chews from the pan when they are cold and set.

Recipe notes:

I used pear brandy

Grease the baking pan with butter, line it with two crisscrossed sheets of foil, and the butter the foil.
Makes 36 squares

Monday, January 17, 2011

La Plaza Salad

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1 bunch spinach, torn into bite size pieces
1/2 head of romaine, torn into bite size pieces
Tomato wedges
Cucumber slices
Mushroom slices
Bacon, crumbled
Hard boiled eggs, cut into wedges
Lemon slices for garnish

La Plaza dressing

1 T prepared horseradish
1/2cup mayo
1tsp lemon juice
2 drops tobacco sauce
3 drops worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients, refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Mix spinach and romaine in a stainless bowl; toss lightly with the dressing. Divide into four servings and garnish with cucumber and tomato. Sprinkle salad with egg, bacon and mushrooms. Add a slice of lemon for garnish.

enjoying the snow

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Banana chocolate chip cookies

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Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
very Cake like cookies loaded with Chocolate chips
From Gooseberry Patch

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sweet butter, soften to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup mashed, over-ripe bananas
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 400
Grease a couple of cookie sheets with butter

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy
Add the egg and beat until just incorporated
Sift together the dry ingredients and add half of that mixture in gently.
Add the mashed bananas.
Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
Stir in the chocolate chips
Drop the batter by heaping spoonsful onto the prepared cookie sheets.
Bake 12 minutes.
Remove from the oven and using a spatula place the cookies on racks to cool
These freeze well

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill

10 Ways You CAN Exercise At Home without Any Equipment

10 Ways You CAN Exercise At Home without Any Equipment

Here are some no excuse workout ideas to do at home. Can even do while watching TV.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow day treats: Popcorn Cake

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I found this fun no-bake recipe in an old cookbook. We are stuck at home on this snow day, so I could not add m&ms or peanuts as called for in the original recipe. I just dug around in the pantry and used up bags of chocolate chips, mini chips, white chips, butterscotch chips and pecans to mix in the cake instead.

Popcorn cake

20 to 30 cups of popped corn
1/2 cup butter
21 ounces mini marshmallows
4 tsp vanilla
2 cups chocolate chips, Or a mixture of white, semisweet, butterscotch, mini or m&ms
1 cup chopped nuts or salted peanuts

Remove any unpopped kernels of corn from measured popped corn. Make a syrup from the butter, marshmallows and vanilla and pour over the popped corn. Melt the butter in the microwave for 45 seconds add marshmallows and microwave for 45 seconds, stir and then microwave again for 45 seconds and stir until smooth and add the vanilla. Stir in the candy and nuts.

With well greased hands, firmly press mixture into a well-greased large tube pan. An angel food cake pan works great. Allow to stand 10 minutes; then loosen and turn out onto a cake plate. If not using immediately, cool throughly and wrap in plastic to store or freeze.

Chicken Sauterne

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Chicken sauterne

3 pounds chicken, cut into serving pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp fresh or dried oregano
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tomato, thinly sliced

Wine sauce
2 T butter.
2 T flour
2 T water
1 cube or tsp chicken bouillon
1 cup sauterne wine or dry white wine

To make the wine sauce, melt butter add the flour and cook 2 minutes. Add water, wine and bouillon cube and cook until thickened.

Combine flour, salt, paprika and oregano in a bag.
Add chicken and shake to coat.
Melt butter in large, flat baking pan. Arrange chicken skin side down, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and turn the chicken skin side up. Pour wine sauce over chicken and let stand several hours or overnight, refrigerated.

Sprinkle green onions and mushrooms on top of chicken and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Arrange sliced tomato down center of dish as garnish and serve.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Aunt Arlene's Casserole Bread

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Another recipe from an old spiral bound cookbook. Easy and it is made with half wheat flour.

2 cups warm water
2pkgs active dry yeast
2T sugar
2 tsp salt
2T soft butter
4 1/4 cups sifted flour (combine 2 1/4 cups white flour with 2cups whole wheat flour)

Sprinkle yeast over water in a large bowl of an electric mixer.
Let stand a few minutes, then stir to dissolve yeast.
Add sugar, salt, butter, and 3 cups flour. Beat at low speed until blended.
At medium speed, beat until smooth, 2 minutes. Scrape bowl and beaters.
With a wooden spoon, gradually beat in the rest of the flour. Cover bowl with a sheet of waxed paper and a towel.
Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes, or until light and bubbly and doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease and flour a 2 qt casserole dish.
With a wooden spoon, stir down the batter. Beat vigorously about 25 strokes. Turn into greased casserole. Bake for 55 minutes, or until nicely browned. Turn out onto a wire rack. Makes 1 loaf

Cappuccino marshmallows

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Next time I would make the marshmallows in a smaller glass baking like an 11x 7-inch pan, instead of having to support the parchment as in the recipe.
I would also stir in the cappuccino mixture at the end of the recipe.


(Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 404-405)

About 1 cup potato starch or cornstarch

¾ cup cold water

1 ¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 ¼-ounce packets unflavored gelatin

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Line a rimmed baking sheet – choose one with a rim that is 1 inch high – with parchment paper and dust the paper generously with potato starch or cornstarch. Have a candy thermometer at hand.

Put 1/3 cup of the water, 1 ¼ cups sugar and the corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is dissolved, continue to cook the syrup – without stirring – until it reaches 265 degrees F on the candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.

While the syrup is cooking, work on the gelatin and egg whites. In a microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining cold water (a scant 7 tablespoons) and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it is spongy, then heat the gelatin in a microwave oven for 20 to 30 seconds to liquify it. (Alternatively, you can dissolve the gelatin in a saucepan over low heat.)

Working in the clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in another large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until firm but still glossy – don’t overbeat the and have them go dull.

As soon as the syrup reaches 265 degrees F, remove the pan from the heat and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the syrup, pouring it between the spinning beater(s) and the sides of the bowl. Add the gelatin and continue to beat for another 3 minutes, so that the syrup and the gelatin are fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla.

Using a large rubber spatula, scrape the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, laying it down close to a short end of the sheet. Then spread it into the corners and continue to spread it out, taking care to keep the height of the batter at 1 inch; you won’t fill the pan. Lift the excess parchment paper up to meet the edge of the batter, then rest something against the paper so that it stays in place (I use custard cups).

Dust the top of the marshmallows with potato starch or cornstarch and let the marshmallows set in a cool, dry place. They’ll need about 3 hours, but they can rest for 12 hours or more.

Once they are cool and set, cut the marshmallows with a pair of scissors or a long thin knife. Whatever you use, you’ll have to rinse and dry it frequently. Have a big bowl with the remaining potato starch or cornstarch at hand and cut the marshmallows as you’d like – into squares, rectangles or even strips (as they’re cut in France). As each piece is cut, drop it into the bowl. When you’ve got 4 or 5 marshmallows in the bowl, reach in with your fingers and turn the marshmallows to coat them with starch, then, one by one, toss the marshmallows from one hand to the other to shake off the excess starch; transfer them to a serving bowl. Cut and coat the rest of the batch.

Raspberry Marshmallows: Fruit purees are excellent for flavoring these candies. For raspberry marshmallows, you’ll need a generous 1/3 cup of puree; reduce the vanilla extract to ¼ teaspoon. After the batter is mixed, gently fold in the puree with a rubber spatula. You can use the same measurements and technique for other purees, such as strawberry, mango, and passion fruit.

Cappuccino Marshmallows: Sift ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder, and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon together into a small bowl. Stir in 1/3 cup boiling water and mix until smooth. Reduce the vanilla extract to ½ teaspoon, and add it to the espresso mix. After you add the sugar syrup and gelatin to the meringue, beat in the espresso mixture and continue.

Light Chocolate Marshmallows: Melt 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate and stir in 2 ½ tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder. Reduce the vanilla extract to ¼ teaspoon, and after the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the chocolate mixture with a large rubber spatula.

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows: Whisk together ½ cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of ground allspice. After the marshmallow batter is mixed, fold in the spiced pumpkin with a large rubber spatula.

Snow day

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Country pear muffins

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I picked up a couple old recipe books at a thrift store on Friday. I have been having fun looking through them. Here is a recipe we tried out this morning from one of the books.

3 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp grated lemon peel
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled and cored pears

Sesame Seed Topping:

2 T sesame seeds
2 T sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

Mix ingredients together

Blend in a large bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and lemon peel.
In a smaller bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk and oil. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients and blend just to moisten. Fold in pears.

Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and sprinkle with sesame seed topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Spicy Asian chicken with Brussels sprouts

We enjoyed this for dinner tonight. Great recipe from Real Simple magazine
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 large egg
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced (2 large)
3 tablespooons canola oil, plus more, if necessary
1/2 pound Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts

1. Cook the rice according to the package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg. Place the cornstarch in another large bowl. Add the chicken to the egg and toss to coat. A few pieces at a time, lift the chicken out of the egg and coat in the cornstarch, tapping off the excess; transfer to a plate.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, cook the chicken, turning occasionally, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes (add more oil for the second batch, if necessary); transfer to a plate.

5. Return the chicken to the skillet, along with the chili, and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add the sesame oil and scallions. Serve over the rice and sprinkle with the peanuts.


Make quick work of preparing the Brussels sprouts by slicing them in a food processor.

Smoky cheese enchiladas

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Crushed chipotle chili adds an enticing smoky flavor and gentle layer of heat to these enchiladas, which are enriched with two kinds of cheeses.

* 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, heated to boiling
* 6 New Mexico chilies, seeded and torn into small pieces
* 2 Tbs. corn or canola oil, plus more for frying
* 1/2 white onion, chopped
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes with juices
* 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
* 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
* Sea salt, to taste
* 3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
* 1 bunch green onions, white and light green portions, minced
* 1 tsp. crushed chipotle chili, or to taste
* 12 corn tortillas, each 8 inches in diameter
* 8 oz. queso fresco cheese, crumbled


In a heatproof bowl, combine the hot broth and chilies and let stand until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the broth.

In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the chilies, oregano and cumin and process until smooth. Return the mixture to the fry pan, set over medium heat and cook, stirring, until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved broth and season with salt. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened but still pourable, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a large bowl, combine the cheddar cheese, green onions and crushed chipotle chili and stir well. Pour a thin layer of the sauce into an 8-by-12-inch baking dish.

Set another fry pan over medium heat and pour in a thin film of oil. Add a tortilla and heat for a few seconds until softened. Using tongs, transfer the tortilla to a work surface. Sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of the cheese mixture down the center of the tortilla, roll it up and place, seam side down, at one end of the dish. Repeat to fill the remaining tortillas. Pour the remaining sauce over them, covering completely. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese mixture.

Bake until the cheese melts and the tortillas have absorbed the sauce, about 25 minutes. Top with the queso fresco and bake until slightly melted, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from a recipe by Williams-Sonoma.

Dinner: saucy mushroom meatloaf

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I have been enjoying Gooseberry Patch recipes that I downloaded free on my kindle.

Saucy Mushroom Meatloaf

10 ounce bottle of red steak sauce, divided
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup warm water, divided
2 T onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
1 T parsley dried
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 T oil
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup sauce, 1/3 cup water, onion, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix in beef and bread crumbs. Pat into an ungreased 9x5 loaf pan. Set loaf pan in a 13x9 baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours.

At serving time, heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until tender, about 3 minutes, drain. Stir in remaining sauce and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Spoon mushroom sauce over meatloaf. makes 6 to 8 servings.

Salsa was also great with the meatloaf.

Baking: fig bars

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One of my Favorites:


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
I large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 cups dried Black Mission figs, stems removed
1 cup water
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

1 large egg
1 teaspoon milk
2 tablespoons crystal sugar*

1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. With the mixer at low speed, gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape into a rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the figs and water; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the figs are soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the figs and the cooking liquid to a food processor; add the preserves and lemon juice and zest. Process until smooth.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or use nonstick baking sheets.

4, Pour the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch round tip. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 24” x 6” rectangle. Pipe a ½ inch wide strip of filling down the center of the rectangle. Fold each long side of the rectangle toward the center of the strip of filling, so that the sides overlap slightly. Cut the dough crosswise into two 12” logs; refrigerate 15 minutes or overnight.

5. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the milk. Transfer each log, seam-side down, to a cutting board. Brush with the egg glaze, then sprinkle with the crystal sugar. Cut each log into twelve 1 inch-thick slices; place, 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets between the upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking, until golden brown. Transfer the bars to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 24 bars.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Coconut chicken with Garlic and Ginger Sauce

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2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
8 chicken pieces
2 shallots
1 garlic clove- I used more
1 inch piece of fresh ginger minced
2 Tablespoons orange marmalade
salt and pepper
2/3 cup shredded coconut, toasted, to serve

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet add the chicken and cook for about 3 to 4 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside in a warm place. Add the shallot, garlic, and ginger to the skillet and saute for 2 minutes, until softened and transparent. Return the browned chicken to the skillet and stir in the coconut milk, marmalade and seasoning. Simmer, uncovered for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and serve with fragrant Thai rice.
From a cookbook called SPICES

I have been enjoying the rice dish recipes that came with the rice cooker.

Thai-style Rice.

1 cup uncooked rice
2 cups canned coconut milk- (I used the rest of the coconut milk left over from above recipe and water to make 2 cups)
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp salt
ribbons of fresh basil or cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Add all ingredients to the inner pot except basil or cilantro.
Close the lid, press the "white Rice" button and cook until the rice cooker switches to warm mode, about 20 minutes. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 3 to 4.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Baking: Scripture cake

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Here is a fun Cake to make. "It's believed that Scripture cake recipes first appeared in the early nineteenth century; however, they might have originated at an earlier time.

This type of novelty cake recipe was very much in fashion at women's sewing bees and home Bible study groups in the 1830s to 1850s.

They were presented as a fun cake recipe or fun guessing game which tested the participants' knowledge of the Bible and their cooking abilities and prevented the gathering from indulging in idle tittle-tattle, though it's doubtful they were always successful in preventing the latter.

Scripture Cake required that the cook use the Bible to discover what ingredients were needed in the recipe. And since some of the Biblical passages were vague about the exact sweetening, spices, fruits and nuts that were to be used, several varieties of Scripture Cakes can be found in the older cookbooks. This one is a spice cake; others resemble fruitcakes."

Scripture Cake -

1/2 cup judges 5:25, last clause
2 cups Jeremiah 6:20
2 tablespoons 1 Samuel 14:25
6 Jeremiah 17:11
1-1/2 cup 1 Kings 4:22
2 teaspoons Amos 4:5
II Chronicles 9:9, to taste
Pinch of Leviticus 2:13
1/2 cup Judges 4:19, last clause
2 cups Nahum 3:12
2 cups Numbers 17:8
2 cups I Samuel 30:12

Whip the Judges, Jeremiah and I Samuel until light. Beat the 6 Jeremiah yolks and add to mixture. Add Kings, Amos, Chronicles and Leviticus, alternately with Judges. Fold in Nahum, Numbers and Samuel, then also the Jeremiah whites, beaten stiff. Bake 2 hours in a greased 10"tube pan at 300 degrees.
Interpretation of Scripture Cake

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons honey
6 egg yolks
1-1/2 cup flour , sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Pinch salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups figs, chopped
2. cups raisins
2 cups almonds
6 egg whites, beaten stiff

Beat together the butter, sugar, and honey. Beat in the egg yolks and add sifted flour, baking powder, spices and salt, alternately with milk. Stir in the figs, raisins and almonds. Fold in the 6 egg whites which have been beaten stiff. Bake the cake in a well greased 10-inch tube pan. Lining the pan with greased brown paper may provide added protection. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours.

Remove cake from pan and cool. After cake has cooled, drizzle with this glaze.

Burnt Jeremiah Syrup:

1 1/2 cups Jeremiah 6:20 (sugar)1/2 cup Genesis 24:45 (water)1/4 cup Genesis 18:8 (butter)

In a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, melt sugar, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. After sugar melts, continue cooking, stirring continuously, until it is a deep golden brown. Add water and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from the heat, add butter and stir till until it melts; allow to cool.

Drizzle over cooled scripture cake and garnish with slivered almonds.


Hearty Vegetable Soup

I have been busy cleaning out my stashes of old magazines and books - We tried this great soup recipe from the Feb 2010 issue of Midwest living.

Prep: 35 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes


* 2 Tbsp. butter
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 2 large onions, chopped (2 cups)
* 2 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)
* 2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 4 14-oz. cans beef broth
* 2 large red potatoes, peeled and cubed (2-1/4 cups)
* 1 10-oz. can tomato purée
* Basil Meatballs (recipe follows)
* Salt (optional)
* Red bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)
* 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil


1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often.

2. Stir in the broth and potatoes. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add tomato puree and Basil Meatballs* to the soup, a few at a time and cook, covered, 10 to 15 minutes more or until no pink remains in meatballs. Season to taste with salt and hot pepper sauce, if you like. Skim fat and garnish each serving with some of the fresh basil. Makes 8 servings.

3. Basil Meatballs: In a large bowl, combine 1 lightly beaten egg, 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons shredded fresh basil, 2 tablespoons snipped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add 1 pound lean ground beef. Using two forks, lightly toss together all ingredients. Shape into tiny meatballs. (If you like, use a melon baller or small cookie scoop to shape the meatballs.) Makes 42, 3/4-inch meatballs.

4. *Baking Meatballs: For a browner meatball, arrange meatballs in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F. oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until no pink remains. Add to soup along with tomato puree and heat through.


We have enjoyed these twice during our Christmas Break- Great combination of sweet potatoes and russet potatoes- great recipe from food network


* 4 large russet potatoes
* 1 large sweet potato
* 1/4 cup sour cream
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
* 2 scallions, thinly sliced
* 3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
* Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the russet and sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack and bake 30 minutes. Pierce each potato a few times with a fork and continue to bake until tender, 15 to 20 more minutes for the sweet potato and 20 to 25 more minutes for the russet potatoes. Let cool slightly.

Peel the sweet potato. Transfer to a bowl and mash lightly with a fork until almost smooth. Trim a thin slice off the top of each russet potato, cutting lengthwise. Scoop most of the flesh into another bowl, leaving the shells intact. Add the sour cream and butter to the bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in the scallions, 1/2 cup cheese, the nutmeg, 1 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Gently fold in the sweet potato.

Brush the potato skins with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Generously fill with the marbled potato mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Place the stuffed potatoes on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese melts, 25 to 30 minutes.

Photograph by Tina Rupp

Caribean pork rib roast

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Ca-Rib-Bean Roast

Caribean Flavors, including a little rum, provide a lively accent for a pork roast

Caribbean Rub
o 1 tablespoon brown sugar
o 2 teaspoons ground allspice
o 2 teaspoons onion powder
o 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
o 1 teaspoon salt
o 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Caribbean Mop (Optional)
o 1 cup chicken stock or 1 cup beef stock
o 1 cup water
o 1/2 cup cider vinegar
o 1/4 cup rum, preferably dark
o 2 tablespoons oil, preferably canola or 2 tablespoons corn oil
Mango Sauce
o 1 mangoes, chopped
o 1/2 onions, chopped ( medium sized)
o 2 tablespoons mango chutney
o 1/2 cup chicken stock
o 2 -3 tablespoons dark rum
o 2 tablespoons cream of coconut
o Pickapeppa Sauce (optional)

Page 2 of 3Ca-Rib-Bean Roast (cont.)
Ingredients (cont.)

* salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons butter


1. The night before you plan to barbecue, combine the rub ingredients in a small bowl. Massage the pork well with the rum and then with about half of the rub. Transfer the pork to a plastic bag and refrigerate it overnight.
2. Prepare the smoker for barbecuing, bringing the temperature to 200 degrees to 220 degrees F.
3. Remove the pork from the refrigerator. Pat down the pork lightly with another coating of rub. Let the meat sit at room temperature for 30 to 40 minutes.
4. If you plan to baste the pork, stir any remaining rub together with the other mop ingredients in a saucepan and warm the mixture over low heat.
5. Transfer the pork to the smoker, fattier side up, and cook for 4-3/4 to 5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. Mop the meat every 40 to 45 minutes in a wood-burning pit, or as appropriate for your type of smoker.
6. While the roast cooks, prepare the sauce. In a food processor or blender, puree together the mango, onion and chutney, pouring in a bit of the stock if necessary. Spoon the mixture into a heavy saucepan and add the remaining stock, rum, cream of coconut and dry rub. Warm the mixture over medium heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and add as much Pickapeppa and salt as necessary to balance the savory and sweet flavors. The sauce can be kept warm or refrigerated until the roast is ready and then reheated. Add the butter to the warm sauce just before serving.
7. Remove the pork from the smoker and let it sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Carve the roast and serve, accompanied by the warm sauce.

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