Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kettle corn :)

Quick delicious kettle corn:

2 Tblsp oil
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tsp salt

Heat oil & kernels with cinnamon in a covered pot on the stovetop. Add sugar once oil is heated through. Pop until 3-4 secs apart.

Put in bowl and add salt! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple balsamic vinagrette....

It has been quite a while since I last posted, but as I was cooking up some food to take to friends I made up a new salad dressing and it turned out quite tasty! It is based off of a Poppy Seed Dressing recipe I found recently.

• 1/4 cup sugar
• 3 cloves garlic
• 2 tsp kosher salt [less if you use fine salt]
• 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
• 1/4 cup sliced apple [I used a potato peeler for the slices]
• 1 cup olive oil

1. Place first 5 ingredients into a blender. Blend on high until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is more or less liquefied.
2. While blender is still running, slowly pour olive oil into blender until dressing emulsifies. It should become thicker and more opaque once it is ready.
3. Put into a jar or container and refrigerate until ready to use!

I am putting this over a salad that has goat cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, pecan chips, and mixed salad greens.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Chili

I promised to post the winning chili from today's chili cookoff!! Totally did not expect to win, but had so much fun! This chili definitely has some kick, and for those of you who really love spice - feel free to kick it up another couple notches :D I don't have any pictures for now since I expected to be taking some chili home with me but the crock pot was ladled clean :D

Buffalo Chicken Chili

This recipe fills a 7 qt. crock pot.

Prepare meat:
5 - 5.5 LBs Fresh Chicken Thighs - keep fat on & bones in for initial cooking
2 T Butter
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper

Rinse chicken thighs off with water then pat dry w/ paper towel. Take butter and grease crock pot. Place chicken thighs, skin facing up, in the crock pot. Then pour water over the top and season top with salt & pepper. Cook on high for 1 hour. Then cook for another 8-9 hours on low.

**Tip: don't peek in on the meat during the 7-9 hours - you lose 30 mins cook time each time you peek :P**

After cooking, take off all skin and fat and remove bones. Then pull the meat apart into bite sized pieces.

4 T extra virgin olive oil [EVOO]
Shredded chicken thigh meat
1 can pinto beans [15 oz], rinsed and drained
5 Large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
7-8 ribs celery with leafy tops, finely chopped
1 Large yellow onion, chopped [used about 3/4 of the onion]
8 cloves garlic
2 T smoked sweet paprika
3 T Southwest Chipotle seasoning [Mrs. Dash]
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
4 cups [32 oz] Chicken stock
1 1/2 cups Frank's Hot Sauce [or your fav hot sauce]
2 cans tomato sauce [15 oz]
2 cans stewed or fire-roasted tomatoes [15 oz]

Turn crock pot on high & let it get warm. Add EVOO & Garlic. Once you start smelling the garlic add meat and stir. Then add carrots, onion, celery, paprika, chipotle seasoning, bay leaves and salt & pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 7-8 mins.

Add chicken stock, hot sauce, tomato sauce and tomatoes. Put lid on crock pot and let the chili come to a bubble - continue to stir every so often. Let it simmer for 10-15 mins and let flavors come together. Once hot, serve w/ garnish below.

1 bag Tortilla chips
8 oz container blue cheese - crumbled
16 oz sour cream

Mix 8 oz blue cheese w/ sour cream. Put a spoonful of mixture on top of chili and serve w/ crumbled tortilla chips on top.

If you aren't a fan of blue cheese you can also take ranch seasoning and stir it into the sour cream. As a healthier substitute, you can use greek yogurt [plain yogurt] instead of sour cream.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blueberry Cobbler = Summer :)

It's been a while.. I have been cooking...just have been too busy to take some time out and create a post :D

Yesterday, I made a delicious blueberry cobbler for a BBQ I attended... admittedly I had never made the recipe and I realize it's a risk to do a recipe for the first time with a group of people. Though, this time at least, no one complained! I have to say I was happily surprised at how well it turned out!

I turned to the Joy of Cooking [which is slowly becoming my fav cookbook] and found the recipe for Blueberry Cobbler on page 896. One thing I found interesting is that the recipe did not use any lemon juice/zest/etc. Instead, it used lime zest - which really brings out the flavor of the blueberries. I also used JOC's recipe for Sour Cream Cobbler Biscuit Dough, but used plain yogurt instead of sour cream. Delicious!

With the leftover heavy whipping cream, I made some homemade whipped cream to put on top:

Lime Whipped Cream

• 1 c Heavy whipping cream
• 3 T Sugar
• 1 t Lime zest

A great tip I found in making homemade whipped cream is to put the beaters and metal bowl in the fridge beforehand. It helps keep the cream cold which helps it to whip. If you are using a hand mixer, beat the cream by itself on high until soft peaks start to form. Once you have soft peaks add the sugar and lime zest. Beat for a little longer until you have the desired thickness. Be careful though - if you over whip, your cream may taste more like butter :)

I would post the recipes I used, but feel I would infringe on copyright! The Joy of Cooking may not have many pictures, but it does have some incredible recipes!!



Monday, June 15, 2009

Cupcakes are the best!

I was recently watching Martha Stewart... can't say I do it all the time :P... and it happened to be the day of her cupcake show! I had been tempted to buy the magazine off the rack in stores when it had a heart made out of yummy cupcakes :D

For the show she tried a bunch of cupcakes from different cupcake shops in New York and picked out three that she liked best. All looked amazing and I madly scrambled to write down the ingredients only to remember that - oh yeah Martha is on the interwebs... Check out the recipes and video here --> Martha's Cupcake Show


The different people she had on the show had really great tips on how to make the batter exactly how you want it, fluffy or moist or spongy...etc.

Recently, I created what was supposed to be a pound cake from a recipe on the back of a Duncan Hines box but instead ended up with an amazingly fluffy cake-like brownie. The only thing I changed was beating the eggs by themselves on high for a few minutes. Then I added the rest of the ingredients. [ The box wanted me to unceremoniously dump all of the ingredients together at the same time ... ugh] From the show I learned a lot about how to mix a great from-scratch batter.

Happy Baking :)

This recipe from Paula Deen has been my go-to cake recipe for all of the recent functions I have been attending - AHHH mazingly delicious!! The only thing I have edited is the amount of confectioner's sugar she puts in the icing - I use only 3-4 cups vs. her 7 cups. It tastes just right and isn't too sweet. I am sure substituting peach for all of the strawberry items would be just as tasty... I am hoping to try some other ones soon :D

Its most recent incarnation was cupcakes for my husband's students' piano/guitar recital... :) I used the leftover strawberry puree from the icing in some lemonade we were serving - voila! Yummy strawberry lemonade :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goofed up Snickerdoodles....

One thing I brought with us camping was a batch of Snickerdoodles to share. I love Sunset magazine and purchased their special "best ever cookies" edition when it came out this last holiday season. This is the first recipe I've tried from it and I was not disappointed... and it went over well with our camping group :)

[disappointing picture...ugh... but I think you get the jest :)]

I also goofed up on this recipe, and I don't know if it made a significant difference in the density or moisture of the cookies or not. Most of the ladies that tried them remarked that they tasted a LOT better than your traditional type of snickerdoodles, so I am guessing it was a good thing :)

Goofed-up Snickerdoodles :D
makes about 60 cookies
• 1 cup [1/2 lb] butter @ room temperature
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 1.5 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 4 1/4 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

• In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, oil, 1 cup granulated sugar [save the extra 1/2 cup for later] and the powdered sugar until very smooth. Beat in eggs until well blended, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
• In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon with a fork until well blended.
• Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir or beat until blended.
• Put remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into a small bowl. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, then roll in sugar. Place balls 3 to 4 inches apart on buttered or cooking parchment- lined baking sheets.
• Bake in a 375º F oven until edges of cookies are lightly browned, 12 - 15 minutes.
• Using a spatula, transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.


Cream Cheese Poundcake!!! mmmmmm...

so... I have a bit of catching up to do :)

two weeks ago, I went over to Borders and caught up on a lot of reading material... using it as a more up-to-date library with a cafe inside - what could be better??

I found some excellent books on a lot of things, but stumbled across Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor.... wow.. the pictures alone made me drool :d I accidentally altered her recipe for pound cake, but it still came out delicious! The original recipe calls for 3 sticks of butter, and I only used one. I imagine the tops of my loaves would have been more cracked and beautiful like hers if I had used 3 sticks... I would highly recommend checking this book out - great tips and amazing desserts!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake
• 1 stick of unsalted butter
@ room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese @ room temperature
3 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 6 large eggs
• 3 cups flour,
sifted & then measured [it does make a difference... sifted flour is fluffier than flour just out of the bag, so if you don't sift, you will add more flour than the recipe calls for - which is never a good thing... I measured and sifted it into a separate bowl with a pouring spout- which makes it easier when you are ready for it in the recipe]
1 teaspoon baking powder

• Preheat oven to 325º F. Spray two 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
• Beat butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. With mixer running [in my left hand], gradually add pre-measured*
sugar beating until pale and fluffy.[*kind of hard to measure and keep a hand-mixer running at the same time... if you can recruit help... AKA a roommate or husband :)... even better!] Beat in salt and vanilla.
• Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one until it is fully incorporated into the mix. This is the last step you will need your mixer for...
• Sift flour again along with baking powder into batter. I used a colander/strainer to sift my flour since I do not own a sifter. This video on YouTube shows you how to do this. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the flour and baking powder into the batter until no traces of flour remain and batter is smooth.
• Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Bake until tops are golden and slightly cracked and when a skewer inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 60 - 75 mins.
• Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Then turn cakes out of pans and let cool to room temperature on wire racks before serving

Cakes can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for one month.

I apologize for the lack of photos... but between not being able to control the focus, not being able to control exposure, using up entire batteries while taking only 40-60 photos [and not rechargeable ones, mind you]... and maybe a hint of laziness :)... I have decided to stop taking pictures of each step. For now at least.

While I was waiting for the pound cakes to bake, I realized that I had some frozen strawberries and cherries in my freezer. So I decided to make up a recipe for some fruit sauce to go with - unfortunately I didn't document it very precisely, so the following recipe is my best guess...

Cherry Strawberry sauce
• 1 Tablespoon butter
• 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
• 3/4 cup frozen cherries
• 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 Tablespoon water
• 1.5 teaspoons cornstarch

• Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add cherries and strawberries. [If you would prefer to use other berries, just make sure that you substitute using the same amount]
• Add balsamic vinegar. It sounds weird, but the vinegar really brings out the flavor of berries. Add the sugar and stir.
• Allow the mixture to come to a boil, stirring occasionally. I was hoping that the sugar alone would thicken the sauce, but it was taking it a while. So I went to my trusty friend - the Joy of Cooking - and found a recipe for a fruit sauce that added water and cornstarch at the end to thicken it.
• When your sauce has been boiling for about 3 or 4 minutes, mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until combined. Add the cornstarch mixture to your fruit sauce and stir until it starts to thicken... about one minute.
• Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place into an open container until cooled completely.
• It is almost like a jam, so I served it over the pound cake cool or at room temperature and stored it in the refrigerator when not in use.