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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Chocolate Chip Candy Cups


The date is 12/13/14!!
Take your fave chocolate chip cookie recipe. Scoop dough into mini muffin pan. Bake. As soon as you remove from oven top with a chocolate: rolos, kisses, hugs or mini peanut butter cups. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Waffle Sunday


I don't think I will ever get tired of waffles, or of trying new waffle recipes. Today, I made a recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I did use buttermilk instead of milk, and unsalted butter, because that's what I stock in my fridge.  
2 cups All-purpose Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1-1/2 cup Milk
2 whole Egg Yolks
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 stick (1/2 Cup) unsalted butter, Melted
4 whole Egg Whites, whipped to stiff peaks.

It took my waffles about 4 minutes to cook up nice and crisp. I know why she said serve immediately. After a few minutes. They lost that initial crispness. 


Now, slather on some toppings. How about some leftover ganache? 

See entire original recipe here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2014/02/waffles/

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Crème Brûlée

Crème Brûlée

Ingredients:
1 qt. heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1 cup (~6.5 oz.) white sugar
1 vanilla bean*

Preheat oven to 325°F. 

Split and scrape vanilla bean. Place vanilla bean, vanilla bean seeds, 1/2 c. sugar, and heavy cream in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Stir to incorporate. Scald, but do not boil. 

Meanwhile, whisk together remaining sugar and egg yolks. When the heavy cream mixture is almost at a boil, remove from heat and temper the yolks (add and quickly stir in a little of the hot cream at a time. Otherwise, you get scrambled eggs!) Until all your mixture is whisked together. If it won't fit into your bowl, pour tempered yolks into the pan and whisk together. 
*If you do not have a vanilla bean, substitute with vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract, but add them now, after the mixture has been removed from the heat.

If you are cooking ahead, you can stop here, cool and refrigerate the mixture up to 3 days before baking. 

Now, you are ready to finish your crème brûlée off in the oven. Place a tea towel on the bottom of a roasting pan or a 9x13 cake pan. Place ramekins on top of the towel. Carefully fill the ramekins with the custard mixture. Place any remaining mixture into the refrigerator. You can keep it for about 3 days. 

Next, you need to fill the pan with HOT water about half way up the side of your ramekins. THIS IS IMPORTANT! DO NOT GET ANY WATER INTO YOUR RAMEKINS. If you do, your beautiful custard will NEVER SET and all your work was for naught. :( 

I usually place the pan in the oven, then carefully ever so slowly add hot water to the roasting pan. Then gently slide it into the oven. The more shallow ramekins make this harder. 

Bake until set, but still jiggly. This takes about 20 min, but can be more or less depending on the ramekin size.

Refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours. Nothing says nasty like a hot crème brûlée. Just before serving, dust the top with some sugar and "brûlée" with a torch. FOLLOW SAFETY PROCEDURES! If you don't know how to do this, Alton Brown has a video

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mashed Rutabaga with Potato

Ingredients:
2 pounds rutabaga, peeled and cubed (about 3 large)
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 medium)
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup milk, half and half, or cream (pick your fat level...) 
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste
2 teaspoons chopped parsley (optional)

Instructions:
Cook rutabaga and potatoes in salted water in separate saucepans with garlic cloves. When both are tender, remove from heat. Rutabaga will take longer than the potatoes. Drain; mash rutabaga well, then mash the potatoes. Combine mashed root vegetables; add butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Slowly add in milk until you reach desired consistency. Beat well. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Inspired by: http://southernfood.about.com/od/turnipandrutabagarecipes/r/bl81114i.htm

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Beautiful Brown Bread





1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup (6 ounces) honey
1 tablespoon molasses
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) Bread Flour
1 2/3 cups (6 3/4 ounces) Whole Wheat Flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee (not espresso powder)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

Pour all of the ingredients into the pan of the bread machine. Run the dough cycle. Check the dough about half way through the kneading cycle. If it is sticky add more bread flour until it looks like a smooth dough. *I added about 1 1/4 cup more white flour. When cycle is complete, divide dough in to pieces (4 loafs, 8 mini loaves, 12 rolls). Allow to rise about 1 hour or until puffy but not doubled. 

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes. The loaves will appear slightly darker on the top when they're done. 

All you need now is some nice spreadable butter!

Adapted from:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/honey-wheat-black-bread-recipe

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spiced Kettle Corn

I don't generally like kettle corn, but I must say I am in love with this version from Melissa d'Arabian.


Ingredients
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
4 tablespoons sugar
fine salt, to taste
ground cinnamon, to taste
cayenne, to taste

Get the oil hot over medium heat. (If you do high heat, you will burn the sugar!) Quickly stir in butter, then popcorn, then sugar. Put the lid on and shake it like you mean it!

See full instructions and original recipe here. She even has a video.

The changes I made: 1 added an additional tablespoon of sugar. (hey, I like it sweet!). I do not measure the salt, cinnamon, or cayenne. I spread my popped corn out on a sheet of wax paper and sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and cayenne to my liking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Couche Couche (Cush Cush)

Well this was a culinary FAIL! It's been a while since I had one, so I guess I needed to be humbled. I suppose I need someone to show me what I did wrong. 

It looked and sounded simple enough. There were many recipes out there, but basically couche couche is simply cornmeal, a pinch or salt, wet with milk or water and then fried up in an iron skillet. Fried cornbread! and you get to eat it for breakfast. 
























































See recipes here:
With Milk: http://www.realcajunrecipes.com/recipe/couche-couche/
 
With Water: http://www.realcajunrecipes.com/recipe/cosh-cosh-or-cush-cush-or-couche-couche/
With Milk and Water: http://www.gumbopages.com/food/breakfast/couche-couche.html


I saw a suggestion in one of the comments to use buttermilk. 

It seems the most important part is not to burn it, but I did. SAD FACE!! 




Stir it! 

oh crap! 


See that black? That's called burnt and it's NO GOOD! 
Maybe I will try again. Maybe not. Maybe I should wait to see 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alligator Étouffée

I had a package of gator in my freezer that I needed to use up: 

So... I searched the internet and settled on making Gator Étouffée. I got the original recipe from here. The main changes I made were using a bit of Chachere's and cutting back on the celery because I don't care for it. Also, I added a bay leaf, and cut the butter in half. The original calls for TWO STICKS of butter. I'm sure it's yummy, but it was great without it. In fact, I may cut the butter back more if I were to make it again.   

Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
2 medium onions, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1 (10 oz) Rotel Brand tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Chachere's or Salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste
1 lb alligator meat, cut in thin strips

1/2 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup parsley, fresh (or 2 tbsp. dried)

Directions:

In a large pot, sauté onions, garlic, celery  and bell pepper in the butter until soft.


Add the Rotel and bay leaf simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
Add the alligator meat and cook over a low heat until tender for about one hour. If it thickens too much while cooking, add chicken stock or water. 

Add the green onions and parsley and cook 10 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cherry Creme Fraiche Ice Cream


So, lucky for those of you who have an ice cream machine, I'm going to translate this recipe for you!

You need:
300 g Cherries (about 2/3 of a pound)
250 g Sugar (roughly 1.5 c.)*
25 cL (1 c.)water
25 cl (1 c.) whole milk
25 cL (1 c) Creme Fraiche*
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Wash and dry your cherries. Remove the pits. In a sauce pan, combine water and 1 c. sugar. Bring to a boil. Add cherries. simmer for 10 min. Allow to cool. Remove half (or more) of the juice, blend partially with blender or stick blender. Leave some chunks for texture.
Combine milk, creme fraiche, vanillla and the rest of the sugar. Put this mixture in your ice cream freezer. When it is almost all the way frozen add your cherry mixture.
If you are impatient like me, and dump it in too early you get pink ice cream. Still yummy....
Enjoy!



*notes:
Sugar: I found this a little sweet. You may want to cut back the sugar a bit depending on the sweetness of your cherries.


Creme Fraiche: You could buy it, but it's easy to make it yourself: 1 part buttermilk to 2 parts heavy cream. Let sit covered at room temp for 24 hrs. then refrigerate. :) There I saved you 5 bucks.
about 1 pint (2 c.) of pitted cherries
Simmer cherries in syrup about 10 min.
Drain off some of the syrup & blend cherries. Leave chunky. This time, I placed this in the fridge to chill. Then, I made the ice cream.  I thought this would help keep the ice cream white with a pink swirl. Now, I think the only way to keep it from going all pink would be to alternate layers of ice cream and cherry mixture into a freezer container.
It's almost ready! It took about 20 min. to get to this stage in my ice cream freezer.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


The name says it all.




I needed something to take to my friends for allowing me to stay the night in their home. So I made these: 



I substituted a bag of mixed dark & white chocolate chips. Honestly, I think everyone may enjoy these in a smaller version because they are very big. Remember to adjust cooking time to the size of your cookies. 
Another bit of food porn for you:




The original recipe is found here: Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Pupsicle! A frozen treat for dogs like Jack

Ok, this one can be filed under "super easy"! Just 3 ingredients: Apple sauce (natural of course. Jack is sweet enough; he doesn't need sugar), plain yogurt, and smooth peanut butter.

Whisk together: 
1 (4 oz/111 g.) container natural apple sauce
1 (6 oz/~150 g.) container plain yogurt
*about 3 tablespoons peanut butter

Pour into containers and freeze. I reused the applesauce cup and the yogurt cup. Then I had enough for 2 heart-shaped Reynolds foil cups. You can add a dog bone for the handle if you want. To get it out of the container, you may have to let it sit in a shallow pan of hot water for a few seconds. 

* I didn't really measure the peanut butter. I just put in a few spoonfuls until it was the right peanut butter color. You can taste if you want, but there's no sugar, so keep that in mind! 

                       
                       

Is this for me? 
Jack approves!


Friday, May 30, 2014

Banana coconut upside down cake

I kind of tweaked the recipe a bit... Lol

Copied & Tweaked This Recipe from a Facebook post:

Banana Coconut Upside Down Cake


Ingredients
·        1 yellow cake mix
·        3 whole eggs
·        1/4 cup oil
·        1/2 cup sour cream
·        1/2 cup water
·        4-6 bananas sliced 1/4 inch thick
·        1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
·        1 cup packed brown sugar
·        1/2 cup butter
·        2 Tablespoons lemon juice
·        2 Tbsp. EACH Malibu (coconut rum), Rum, and Banana Liqueur


Directions
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 (8 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray.
2.    With an electric mixer, beat cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and sour cream on low until combined. Beat on high for 2 minutes.
3.    Place banana slices evenly on the bottom of the two cake pans.
4.    In a small saucepan melt butter. Add brown sugar and lemon juice and heat until dissolved. Pour half of the brown sugar mixture into each of the 2 round cake pans over the bananas. Sprinkle coconut over brown sugar sauce.
5.    Pour cake batter on top of the coconut into the two pans, dividing equally.
6.    Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. 
7.    Sprinkle or brush on 1 tbsp each Malibu, Rum, Banana Liqueur. Allow to soak in.
8.    Invert onto serving dishes. Slice to serve. Sprinkle on 1 tbsp. each liqueur. Allow to soak in. Serve. 

Banana coconut upside down cake

I kind of tweaked the recipe a bit... Lol 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Apples to Oranges

I got two large bags of apples and oranges today. What can I do with those? Apples are easy! Pie, apple sauce, baked apples, apple tart, tart tatin, dried apples. Those are just from the top of my head, but THE ORANGES?!?

After searching the internet, I decided Des Oranges Givrées, Orange Marmalade, and Candied Orange Zest were good places to start. 

Des Oranges Givrées (Frozen Oranges)




I used the recipe from this YouTube video bycommentfais ton







I doubled the recipe to make 4. Well, because I told you I had an entire sack of oranges to use up! I recommend you watch the video even if you don't understand French to see the technique.

This is an easy, light and refreshing dessert, but it takes time. It's also budget friendly and is guaranteed to impress! 

Des Oranges Givrées
Makes 4 servings

You will need: 
5 oranges, 4 need to be pretty! 
200 mL water (a little more than 3/4 c.)
130 g sugar(a little more than 1/2 c.)
2 egg whites**

Step one: Wash all your oranges. Cut the tops off of the 4 best looking oranges with a serrated knife. Save those tops! With a small spoon remove the pulp and juice from the oranges and place into a bowl. (I used a serrated grapefruit spoon to make it easier.) Be careful not to damage the exterior. A little pulp may remain inside the skin, but that's OK. If your oranges do not sit properly, you can carefully cut off part of the bottom. Be careful not to make a hole or your filling will leak out later. Place your oranges and tops in fridge for later. 














Step TwoRemove the zest from the 5th orange with a vegetable peeler if you want big pieces that can easily be removed, or use a zester if you want to leave it in the final product. Basically, the zest is only being used to give your syrup a more pronounced flavor. 

Place the water, orange zest, and sugar in sauce pan on medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely. About 15 to 20 minutes. 







Step Three: Meanwhile, we need to strain the orange pulp/juice. Using a sieve or a chinois, strain the mixture into a bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to press all of the juice out of the pulp. Let the pulp continue to drain while you wait for the syrup to cool. The pulp you discard should be rather dry.
After the sugar syrup
 has cooled, remove the zest, and whisk in your orange juice. Place this mixture in a flat container and place in your freezer for 30 minutes to an hour and a half.  You don't want it completely frozen into a block, but icy like a slushy.

Step Four: When your orange mixture is ready. Whip your egg whites to stiff peaks. Careful! Don't over whip it. Gently fold egg whites into orange mixture. Start with a little to lighten up the mixture. (Think of it as the sacrifice... lol.) Do not over mix. Work QUICKLY.

In the video, he suggests wetting the outside of the orange (with a little water) to give it a more frosty appearance. Fill the oranges with the mixture, and return immediately to the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours. Before serving. Place the orange tops on little mountain of filling you've created.

You will have some left over filling. This can be served on the side. 

Bon Appetit! 
This one looks a little sad and deflated doesn't it? 

I also made apple sauce and orange marmalade! I will post those recipes later.
*I found this a little sweet. I think next time I will back off on the sugar a bit. You might taste your oranges to see how sweet they are first.

**These egg whites are not cooked. Do not consume if you are pregnant, have a compromised immune system, are very young or old. blah, blah, blah you know the risks I hope. If not read this: http://empoweredsustenance.com/raw-eggs-safe/ or this http://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellaeggs/ or look up information for yourself. :) 
If you are really too scared to try it, I've seen recipes that substitute whipped cream or whipped creme fraiche. I've never tried those recipes, but with all that fat how can it be bad? 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Goodies

For my brother and sister-in-law's graduation party tonight!
Caramel delite bars, brownies and lemon bars 

Best Brownies....No recipe!



There's no recipe here. Just a cool trick I learned from a lady at church. 

Make a brownie batter, even one from a box if you must. Place half of your batter in your pan. Top the batter with a chocolate bar. Here I've used Hershey's with almond because I got a great deal on them. Symphony bars are even better. 


Top off with your remaining brownie batter. Make sure to cover all the chocolate. Bake as usual. BEST BROWNIES EVER!