Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I am not even sure if I will return to the farmer's market come Spring. Don't get me wrong.... I loved being there. I loved making people happy with my baked goods. Seeing customers that I didn't know before come back each week to buy my brownies or my cupcakes. I couldn't believe that people actually enjoyed my food that much. It really spurred me on the whole season to keep baking, keep creating. I enjoy serving people and giving them something comforting to lift up their day and bring a smile to their face.
On the flip side, it wasn't always easy. All of my Thursday and Friday evenings were completely taken over. And it didn't just effect me; my hubs was usually always there beside me, helping me. He always came with me on Saturdays, too. The time commitment is just huge. And, ultimately, there are just bigger priorities in my life than just baking. Like my relationship with Jesus. And my marriage. I could go on and on.
Ultimately, this had an effect on the blog. I had no time to take pictures, and if you're trying to start a business, you're not going to share your recipes. At least, not until you've actually made money.
All of this rambling and almost stream-of-consciousness chatter is to say that I'm at a crossroads in my life. I'm still figuring out "what I want to be when I grow up" and taking time for that has affected the blog (that and my laptop dying, etc).
I guess what I am wondering is.... if I stopped writing Biscuits & Honey, and blogging about food, would anyone miss this? Would I miss it? I know I have these last few months... I just have to find the time.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I don't know who Mrs. Salter is, but this pie is fabulous, too, in its own way. It's definitely creamy (thanks to lots of whipped heavy cream and cream cheese). But the true reason for its fabulousness is that it is so, so easy and so versatile. See my notes after the recipe for some ideas on ways you can adapt this pie, but the sky's the limit. It's delicious enough for your holiday table and you can make it in advance. It comes together so quickly and the ingredients are so few and simple it's a great dessert to prepare for unexpected company or to take to a dinner party. I doubled the recipe and was able to get enough filling for three store bought pie crusts. Also, I only chilled the pie for about 2 hours instead of 4 before we ate it, and it was still very good. However, I do recommend chilling it for at least 4 hours for best flavor and slicing.
recipe adapted from Paula Deen
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy works fine here, use your favorite)
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 9" pie crust
1. Pour the heavy cream and granulated sugar into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or you can also use a large bowl and a hand-held mixer). Whisk on high speed until stiff, heavy peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat or you will end up with butter! When you lift the beater, a peak of whipped cream should stay standing.
2. Transfer the whipped cream to another large bowl and wipe out the bowl and return it to the mixer. (If using a handheld mixer, you will need another medium bowl for the cream cheese mixture).
3. Add the cream cheese and confectioners sugar to the mixer. Cream them together first on low speed, then on high speed until all of the sugar is incorporated.
4. Add the peanut butter and vanilla and beat on medium speed to combine.
5. Fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture gently until the two mixtures are completely combined.
6. Transfer the pie filling into the pie crust and chill for at least 4 hours.
Some ways to adapt and dress up this pie:
- Top with more freshly whipped cream and chopped, toasted peanuts.
- Use a chocolate cookie crust and top with cooled chocolate ganache before chilling (To make chocolate ganache, put 1/2 cup of semisweet or milk chocolate chips in a bowl. Heat 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a simmer, but not boiling, in the microwave or on the stove top. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and whisk until combined. Let come to room temperature and pour over pie). You can also cheat and use those chocolate hard shell ice cream toppings.
- Garnish with peanut butter cups.
- To make a lower fat, lower sugar version, you can use a sugar free graham cracker crust, fat free Cool Whip in place of the heavy cream, Neufchatel cheese in place of the cream cheese, reduced fat peanut butter, and Splenda or another sugar substitute in place of sugar.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Chicken Corn Chowder
makes 6 servings
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
- 2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (about 3 ears)
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 2 cups small diced potatoes
1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and jalapeño; cook for 3 minutes or until tender and onions are translucent, stirring frequently.
2. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and remaining ingredients.
3. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 5 minutes). Taste the soup, and tweak seasonings if desired. Enjoy!
Recipe Tips & Serving Suggestions:
- I used shredded rotesserie chicken from my grocery store's deli to cut down on time.
- I also used rosemary instead of the thyme, since I don't care for the taste of thyme. You can use whatever herb you like. If you enjoy cilantro, I am sure it would be great in this soup.
- If your soup is not as thick as you would like, thicken it quickly with a cornstarch slurry by adding a few tablespoons of the soup's liquid to a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch (it doesn't have to be exact). Add the slurry to the soup and stir, and it should thicken in a couple of minutes.
- I served this with sour cream and shredded cheddar, but if you want to really take it over the top, I bet some crumbled bacon would be amazing!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Okay, so, I wish I could say it was true! Or at least that it has actually happened more than once or twice in our nearly year and a half of marriage. Since we started waking up at 5am every Saturday to sell my baked goods at the Farmers Market, and also because a lot of the time my hubby wakes up before I do, all of the surprise Saturday morning breakfasts I've planned in my head have yet to happen. But my heart is in the right place! And, since the Farmers Market is over for the season, I am sure he now has at least a few secret breakfasts ahead of him.
These Pumpkin Sweet Rolls would be the perfect recipe to surprise your sweetie with on a chilly fall morning. They're super quick and easy, so you could have them all done and frosted before the delicious scent of cinnamon and nutmeg wakes up the whole house. Not only are these rolls easy, but they're delicious. Buttery cresent rolls are filled with a brown sugar, cream cheese, and pumpkin filling and sliced into sweet rolls and topped with yummy pumpkin cream cheese frosting. You could even freeze the unfrosted sweet rolls to save for later to make for an even easier breakfast treat. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture, but you can take a look at the original blog post where I got this recipe from at Picky Palate, here.
Try these this weekend for someone you love!
Pumpkin Spice Sweet Rolls
- 2 packages/cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 Libby's canned pumpkin puree
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll crescent rolls to form 4 rectangles placed side by side. Pinch seams together to form one long rectangle.
2. Place cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixer; beat until well combined.
3. Spread mixture over crescents leaving a 1/2 inch border around edges. Starting at long end, roll up then cut into 1 inch pieces.
4. Place around 2 9 inch cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
2. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Frost warm rolls with pumpkin cream cheese frosting recipe below.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Mix all ingredients into a large bowl until smooth. Spread over warm rolls.Hint: Make sure that your Cresent Roll dough is very cold before you start. When I made these rolls, I had just arrived home from the grocery store and my dough had gotten a little warm. They were very doughy and hard to cut. I would recommend chilling the rolled "log" of dough for at least 30 minutes before slicing. You can also use unflavored, plain dental floss to help you get nice, uniform slices.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
As I mentioned before, I recently began selling baked goods at our local farmer's market and trying to being starting up my very own home delivery baked goods business (with hopes of one day opening a real bakery). The farmers market just ended this past Saturday, and I have enjoyed it immensely. Seeing people enjoy my baked goods was worth all of the late nights and dirty dishes.
I have really missed blogging and sharing my recipes and food with you. I thought of the blog often, but became discouraged because I felt like I had nothing post-worthy. It wasn't that I hadn't been cooking; it's just often I don't have the time to snap a picture, much less a truly good picture. And I would think, who wants to read a pictureless food blog? And another week or so would pass by with no posts. I had to come to the realization that this is MY blog. Sure, its not the best or most read, but it's mostly for me, and if people enjoy reading it, all the better. So, I'm going to continue posting. My posts may not always have a picture, but one thing you can count on: tried and true recipes with helpful instruction.
So, away we go! This recipe is a wonderful go-to dessert when you don't have a lot of time. I've made it on several occasions and it is always a crowd pleaser. Who doesn't love warm, gooey chocolate? This is reminiscent of those chocolate lava cakes you get at restaurants, just not with all the fuss. It's also a comforting, warm dessert for those cold winter nights. This is a place to use a good quality cocoa, since it's the star ingredient. I use Hershey's Special Dark, which is a high quality, yet economical choice. Try it - you won't regret it!
- 1 cup self rising flour*
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons cocoa, divided
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups hot water
- Vanilla Ice Cream, for serving (optional)
- cooking spray
- 8x8 baking pan
- 2 medium sized bowls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare your baking pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
3. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and 2 tablespoons cocoa. Stir in milk and oil until smooth. 4. Pour into prepared baking pan.
5. Combine the brown sugar and remaining cocoa; sprinkle over batter.
6. Pour hot water over top (do not stir).
7. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until top of cake springs back when lightly touched. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Makes 6-8 servings.
*You can make your own self-rising flour by combining 1 cup all purpose flour with 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 267 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 198 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
If you live in the Madison/Huntsville area, I just wanted to let you know that I will be at the Madison Farmer's Market this weekend selling a few of my baked goods (giant red velvet cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and double chocolate fudge brownies), as well as giving away free samples! My friend Shelly will also be there with me selling her amazing homemade cinnamon rolls, breads, and muffins.
We'd love to see you there! If you have any questions, please email me at biscuitsandhoney [at] gmail [dot] com.
Friday, July 3, 2009
- cooking spray
- 1 10 oz prepared thin pizza crust (I used Boboli brand)
- 8oz sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 ounces prosciutto, sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese blend
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add mushrooms and shallots and saute 7 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and italian seasoning, saute 1 minute. Add vinegar and remove from heat. Set aside.
If you want a crispy crust, place it on the bottom rack of your oven and heat for 4 minutes. If you want a softer crust, skip this step.
Spread mushroom mixture onto crust. Top with prosciutto and cheese. Return to oven for 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
adapted from All Recipes
- 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks
- 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
- 2 cups fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries, thawed
- 3 medium or 4 small ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1 cup seedless green grapes
- 1 cup seedless red grapes
- fresh mint
1. Drain pineapple chunks, reserving juice; refrigerate pineapple. add water to juice if necessary to measure 3/4 cup. In a bowl, combine the juice, crushed pineapple, sour cream and pudding mix until blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
2. In a large bowl, combine the bananas, blueberries, peaches, strawberries, grapes and pineapple chunks. Spread pudding mixture over the top. Garnish with mint if desired.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
These cookies were made by accident. They were part of the food I made for my friends' shower, and were not planned. But I accidentally messed up the caramel brownie bites I had planned. I know, I know.... who messes up brownies? Well, me, apparently. However, I did have everything on hand to make these delicious cookies.
They are very light and moist, and very muffin like. A not too sweet, biscuit like dough is studded with pieces of fresh strawberry and topped with sanding sugar, or in my case, a sprinkling of turbinado sugar. A very unique cookie, they were a hit at the shower. They did turn out a little bit overly soft, but I think that had to do with the humidity outside. I think these would be even better drizzled with a glaze. A perfect summer cookie!
adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 3 dozen
- 12 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Sanding sugar (or turbinado sugar), for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.
Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I made this version for a cookout / picnic / shower that I helped throw for 2 friends of ours who are getting married next month (congratulations Matt and Sarah!). The recipe was originally given to me by my friend Samantha. I have to say, so far, this is the best potato salad I have ever had. It's not like the typical plain Jane southern versions of my youth that were laden with mayonnaise. It does have mayo, but it also is very creamy and has tons of flavor from the dill and all of the seasonings. I think everyone at the cookout liked it, too.
Try this recipe out for your next cookout or barbecue. I promise you won't be disappointed!
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, original recipe here
- 3 pounds tiny new potatoes
- 1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill or 2 to 3 teaspoons dried dillweed, crushed
- 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
- 2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
- 3/4 cup chopped green onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill pickles (if you love dill pickles like I do, I would double this)
1. Scrub potatoes with a vegetable brush under running water. In a Dutch oven cook unpeeled potatoes, covered, in boiling lightly salted water about 20 minutes or just until tender. Drain. Cool potatoes; cut into bite-size pieces.
2. In a very large bowl stir together mayonnaise or salad dressing, vinegar, mustard, lemon-pepper seasoning, and dill. Gently fold in cooked potatoes, eggs, artichoke hearts, onion, and pickle. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours. Stir gently before serving. Makes 16 side-dish servings.
Make-Ahead Tip: Cover and chill salad up to 24 hours before serving.
- Calories 224,
- Total Fat (g) 14,
- Cholesterol (mg) 61,
- Sodium (mg) 572,
- Carbohydrate (g) 22,
- Fiber (g) 1,
- Vitamin C (DV%) 27,
- Iron (DV%) 13,
- Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
This seafood meal is by no means 5 star restaurant worthy, but it is definitely a wonderful meal for a busy weeknight, and I think it is even special and delicious enough to entertain with. It's a good one to keep on file because it uses simple ingredients that can easily be found in your pantry. You could even substitute the salmon for tuna if you do not have canned salmon on hand. I served these alongside roasted brussels sprouts, but any fresh vegetable side would be wonderful.
recipe adapted from Robyn Webb, Cooking Light, APRIL 2001
*I did not have capers on hand, so I left them out. I also added a few dashes of Texas Pete in lieu of the cayenne pepper, and it turned out great.
- 6 tablespoons fat-free mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup finely chopped celery (I subbed carrots)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup crushed fat free saltine crackers, divided (I subbed these with panko breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 (7.5-ounce) cans salmon, drained, flaked, and bone pieces removed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
To prepare flavored mayonnaise, combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl; cover and chill.
To prepare salmon cakes, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Combine onion mixture, 1/2 cup crackers, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, salmon, and egg in a medium bowl. Divide salmon mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Coat each patty with 1 tablespoon crackers. Cover and chill 20 minutes.
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add patties; cook for 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Serve the salmon cakes with flavored mayonnaise.
- Calories: 306 (32% from fat)
- Fat: 11g (sat 2.6g,mono 3.4g,poly 3.9g)
- Protein: 22.8g
- Carbohydrate: 27.3g
- Fiber: 1.1g
- Cholesterol: 55mg
- Iron: 3mg
- Sodium: 1214mg
- Calcium: 215mg
Saturday, May 16, 2009
A couple of Saturdays ago, I had a really strong urge to go back to the farmer's market. The one I went to as a kid. And even though it was late in the afternoon, my husband and I got in the car and drove out there. It was just as I remembered it. And I came out with a huge bag full of farm fresh produce for around $10.00, handed to me by a lady with a smile and a "there you go, darlin'". You just can't beat that.
This recipe is a perfect application for spring / summer produce. You can really use any veggies you have on hand. I used zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, asparagus, red pepper, yellow pepper, and onion. It's simple, quick, and easy to customize to your tastes. The flavors are fresh and perfectly vibrant, bursting with summer. High quality olive oil and Parmesan cheese are a must.
After a long day of yard work or at the pool, nothing beats a plate of this served with some crusty bread. Make it tonight! You can find the recipe here.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
recipe adapted from Ina Garten
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems
- turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed.
In a small bowl, dust the blueberries with a little extra flour and toss gently to coat. Coating the blueberries in a little flour will help them not sink to the bottom of the muffin tins. Fold about half of the blueberries into the batter with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed. Reserve half of the blueberries (or a little less) to top the muffins with.
Top each muffin with three or four blueberries by pressing them into the top of the batter; this will give you a uniform, professional look, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar if desired.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Coconut Bread Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, toasted (see Note)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1(8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5-inch loaf pan with butter. In a large bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In another large bowl, whisk together the melted butter with the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Pour in the coconut milk and whisk together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold everything together with a spatula until you have a smooth batter. Gently fold in the shredded coconut until evenly distributed. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and set it on a cookie sheet, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (if desired). Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the bread. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning. Cool the bread in the pan for 20 minutes or so; then when cool enough to handle, remove the coconut bread to a cutting board and let it cool completely before slicing.
Press the liquid out of the crushed pineapple using the back of a spoon. (If there is too much juice, the fruit will separate from the butter.) In a small bowl, mash the pineapple with the softened butter until well blended. A food processor is a quick alternative to making the compound butter, so use it if you have one, Mound the butter in a small serving bowl. Toast the slices of coconut bread. Dust with confectioners' sugar and serve with the creamy pineapple butter.
Note: To toast the coconut: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, stirring it periodically Toasting will fluff up the coconut and increase its volume (as well as make it taste better).
Friday, May 1, 2009
1. Tastespotting. A lot of you probably already know about this website, but I know some of my readers are brand new to the food blogging world. Amazing food photography and incredible food. I've gotten some excellent recipes through this site, and it's just a pleasure to look at. Check it out; you won't be sorry.
2. Organic cooking is something I've been researching a lot lately, and my friend Tara over at Woman Does Not Live on Bread Alone posted a wonderful, informative article on a more practical approach to buying organic produce. I've printed her list and I keep it in my purse to take with my to the grocery store. Really valuable information. Make sure you check out the rest of her blog - you are sure to find something delicious.
See you soon with that coconut bread recipe!
Sunday, April 26, 2009
As much as I love to bake, I have never, ever made cheesecake, which is why I was so excited about this month's Daring Bakers Challenge. Jenny provided us with an excellent recipe as a base and told us to "get creative". Since it was my first time making it, I chose to play it safe and make mini cheesecakes using a muffin tin of two basic flavors. You can pretty much bet, however, that I will be returning to this recipe again and again now that I've tried it. I can't wait until peaches are in season around here... peaches and cream cheesecake, here I come!
As with most DB recipes, this one was excellent. I made a dark chocolate cheesecake which turned out rich, dense, and decadent....pretty much sinful. I also made a strawberry swirl cheesecake, which was light, creamy, and refreshing. It was actually my favorite. I think the farm fresh strawberries I bought that morning at our local farmer's market made a big difference.
- 1 cup Lorna Doone cookies, crushed (for strawberry cheesecakes)
- 1 cup Oreo Fudgee chocolate cookies, crushed (for chocolate cheesecakes)
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
- 1 cup / 210 g sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
- 1 tbsp strong brewed coffee, cooled
- 1 cup Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
- 1 cup strawberries, chopped and pureed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tbsp sugar to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath. Line 2 12 cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Prepare both crusts by mixing the Lorna Doone cookies with 1/2 of the melted butter in one bowl, and then mix the Oreo cookie crumbs with the other half of the melted butter. Place a heaping tablespoon of crumb mixture in each muffin tin, and press down gently.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, 1 tbsp vanilla, and lemon juice, and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Divide the batter evenly between 2 bowls. Add remaining 1 tbsp of vanilla to one bowl of batter. To the other, add melted cooled chocolate and coffee. Spoon batter into the muffin tins - vanilla batter on top of the Lorna Doone cookie crusts, and chocolate batter on top of the chocolate cookie crusts. Place a tablespoon of strawberry puree on each of the vanilla cheesecakes, and use a toothpick to swirl the puree into the batter.Tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place muffin pan onto a jelly roll pan and pour boiling water into the jelly roll pan until halfway up the sides of the muffin pan.
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until it is almost done - this can be hard to judge, but you're looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don't want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for 30 minutes. This lets the cakes finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one half hour, remove cheesecakes from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
6. Top the strawberry cheesecakes with any additional strawberry puree and top the chocolate cheesecakes with Nutella. Serve and enjoy!
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This recipe is from Pioneer Woman. If you haven't checked out her website/blog, you need to. Like, right now. Seriously. It's wonderful. I read it just about every day.
And this recipe was pretty great, too. It uses an entire pound of cheese... and as Ina says, How bad can that be? I actually made this for Easter dinner for my family. I tasted it right out of the oven, and it was delicious... creamy, cheesy.... everything you'd want in a perfect mac and cheese. I made it the night before and stashed it in the fridge to bring to Easter dinner the next evening. However, something curious happened. The next day, after reheating, it was like the flavor of the dry mustard in the recipe was heightened, and to me, it was all I could taste. I am not sure where I went wrong here, but I think next time I will omit the dry mustard completely or just use half of the quantity listed.
At any rate, this is definitely a recipe I will be trying again. Try it for yourself, and you will not be disappointed.
You can find Pioneer Woman's recipe and picture tutorial (full of incredible photos) here.
Monday, April 20, 2009
recipe adapted from The Crepes of Wrath
- 1 to 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons green onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts (I actually used honey roasted peanuts and it turned out just fine)
- 2-3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1. Combine the chicken and cornstarch in a small bowl and toss to coat.
2. Heat the sesame oil in a deep, medium sized pan or wok over medium heat, add the chicken, and stir fry for 5-7 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Remove the chicken from the pan, place in a bowl or on a dish, and set aside.
3. Add the green onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, and ground ginger to the wok and stir fry for 15 seconds.
4. Combine the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Whisk well and add the sauce to the wok.
5. Return the chicken to the pan and coat thoroughly with the sauce. Stir in the roasted peanuts and heat thoroughly. Top with additional green onions (if desired) and toasted sesame seeds. Serve over rice and/or vegetables. Serves 4.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best. And, this dish is definitely simple, delicious, and economical. Spaghetti alla Carbonara: bacon and egg pasta. It comes together very quickly, too. Perfect for a busy night where you just need to grab some things out of the pantry and fridge and throw them together. I actually used linguine for mine, which is what I had on hand. But any long pasta will work. This is a perfect Spring dish - try it tonight!
Recipe adapted from Tyler Florence, www.foodnetwork.com
- 1 pound dry spaghetti (or any long noodle, such as angel hair or linguine)
- 4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, cubed or sliced into small strips
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the spaghetti will be hot and ready when the sauce is finished; it is very important that the pasta is hot when adding the egg mixture, so that the heat of the pasta cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender yet firm (as they say in Italian "al dente.") Drain the pasta well, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water to use in the sauce if you wish.
Meanwhile, add the pancetta and saute for about 3 minutes, until the bacon is crisp and the fat is rendered. Toss the garlic into the fat and saute for less than 1 minute to soften.
Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pan and toss for 2 minutes to coat the strands in the bacon fat. Beat the eggs and Parmesan together in a mixing bowl, stirring well to prevent lumps. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the egg/cheese mixture into the pasta, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble (this is done off the heat to ensure this does not happen.) Thin out the sauce with a bit of the reserved pasta water, until it reaches desired consistency. Season the carbonara with several turns of freshly ground black pepper and taste for salt. Mound the spaghetti carbonara into warm serving bowls and garnish with chopped parsley. Pass more cheese around the table.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I can't wait to go pick my hubby up from the airport tonight... I am very excited and have a special meal and planned for him (and breakfast tomorrow morning, too!). Yesterday I even got a surprise from him in the mail - a beautiful Japanese tea set! He's the best!
I'll see you soon with lots of delicious recipes! Thanks for hangin' in there with me!
Monday, March 16, 2009
This soup is pretty much effortless and it's a definite crowd pleaser. I hardly know anyone who doesn't like a steaming bowl of taco soup. Serve it up with tortilla chips and your favorite toppings, and you're good to go! I made this for the worship team at my church and served it with mini corn muffins with finely chopped pickled jalapeno, bacon, and cheddar. No recipe for that as I just used my favorite Jiffy Corn Muffin mix (why mess with a good thing?) and added the "mix ins". It was a big hit!
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
- 2 pounds ground beef or turkey
- 2 cups diced onions
- 2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
- 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
- 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
- 2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
- 1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
- 1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
- 1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
- 1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
- Corn chips, for serving
- Sour cream, for garnish
- Grated cheese, for garnish
- Chopped green onions, for garnish
- Pickled jalapenos, for garnish
Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
What glorious event could have possibly happened to warrant such a photo-less post and such a joyful reaction?
Well, ladies and gentlemen here it is. A miracle.
I made my husband brussels sprouts for dinner, and I will never forget the next seven words that came out of his mouth.
"I would rather eat these than fries."
I couldn't believe my ears! This coming from my husband, who like many people, despises brussels sprouts, actually said he would rather eat this as a side dish than a delicious golden fried potato! I almost fainted right then and there. It is one of the biggest compliments I had ever received about my cooking.
How did I cook these infamous brussels sprouts, you ask. The amazing thing is, they were not my Brussels Sprouts Gratin, all drowned in heavy cream and dotted with proscuitto (as delicious as it is). They were just plain ole Roasted Brussels Sprouts. So simple and so delicious. I had to agree with him. They were so yummy I took what little leftovers we had to work for lunch today. I can honestly say these will probably make an appearance on my dinner table very, very often from now on.
Now, I understand why the Brussels Sprout has gotten a bad reputation. People have been preparing them wrong! Make them tonight following this very simple method, and I promise you will change your mind. There is a reason there is no photo.... they were gone way too fast.
- 1 lb fresh brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 4oo degrees and prepare your brussels sprouts by cutting off the knobby, white end and slicing them in half.
2. Put the sprouts into a bowl, and toss them with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour them onto a sheet pan.
3. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 15-30 minutes (depending on the size of your sprouts; mine were quite small so they roasted quickly). Shake the pan every 5 minutes or so, and keep an eye on them. You want them dark and carmelized, but not burnt.
4. Take them out of the oven, taste, and salt them again lightly if necessary. You want them salty, like french fries. Enjoy!
Friday, March 6, 2009
I love to cook, but I also work full time, so a lot of week nights when I come home, I don't really feel like spending hours in the kitchen. Crazy, I know. This is the perfect weeknight meal. Easy, quick to prepare, delicious, and healthy. Well, sort of. I did saute the green beans in the bacon fat after I cooked the bacon......but you could drain the pan and just use a teaspoon or two of olive oil if you are watching your diet. This meal also uses relatively few ingredients. You might already have these in your kitchen now!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 4 wedges of Laughing Cow Garlic and Herbs cheese
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 1/8 cup slivered almonds
- salt and pepper
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the filling by combining the cheese, parsley, and almonds in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. Next, prepare your chicken. If your chicken breasts are thick, you can butterfly them (cut them in half horizontally, but not all the way through) and stuff them that way. If they are thin cut like mine, you can make roll ups by spreading the filling on top of the chicken breast and fold it over. Either way, lay each chicken breast out on a cutting board.
3. Stuff the chicken by spreading it over the top of the chicken (if using thin chicken breasts) or stuffing it in the middle (if using butterflied chicken breasts). Fold the chicken over and secure with toothpicks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Cover the chicken with foil (to prevent the toothpicks from burning) and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
- 1 lb fresh or frozen steam in the bag green beans
- 2 slices center cut bacon
- 1/8 cup slivered almonds
2. Next, cook the bacon in a large pan until crispy. Remove to a plate covered in paper towels to cool and drain. Do not drain the pan. If there is a lot of fat in your pan, remove some but leave a tablespoon or two for sauteeing the green beans.
3. Lower the heat to medium low and add the almonds, and toast them for a couple of minutes. Once they are toasted, add in the green beans and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
As for the couscous, just use your favorite brand and prepare according to package directions. I used Marrakesh Express chicken and vegetable flavor.