Thursday, June 30, 2011

A few food rants and an update

I'll start with the update. As you've probably noticed my blogging has stalled. I'm currently working two jobs and trying to enjoy my summer. I haven't had much of an interest in blogging. Recently when I would bake or cook I would do it for the blog not for myself. I want to go back to cooking at my own speed and making food that I care about not food that I think will impress. So I'm not even going to call this a hiatus I'm just going to call it retirement. I might be back I might not. We'll see. I've decided to make my final entry a food rant. There are several things I've been meaning to get off my chest.

1. I think KitchenAids are over rated. My family owns one and it's great for making a batch of cookies but when it comes to making bread dough or whipping egg whites I tend to turn else where. I'm not going to fall down and worship at the alter of the Kitchenaid because I think any old stand mixer can do the exact same job.

2. I think that Momofuku milk bar is highly over rated. Any one that pays $40 for a pie should be slapped. I don't see why everyone flips out over chocolate chip cookies with coffee grounds and potato chip crumbs in them. It's not like you couldn't go into your kitchen and crank out a batch yourself.

3. Chocomize is also highly over rated. Why is it so amazing that they take a chocolate bar melt it pour it out and then put stuff on top of it. Any one can do that at home for cheaper. Again anyone that pays for something like that should be slapped.

4. There is no such thing a French vanilla. I don't know why this bothers me so much but I'm irritate whenever I see something that's "French vanilla" flavored. There's Madagascar vanilla, There's Tahitian vanilla and there's Mexican vanilla that is it. French vanilla is a myth.

5. Why does any one like cake pops? They're sickly sweet and have the texture of cake that some one has already chewed and then spit out. Sure they can be cute but who wants to eat ABC textured cake on a stick?

I feel a lot better now that I've ranted. Thank you to everyone who supported me and my blogging. I really appreciate it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

strawberry short cakes with lemon curd

I come from an area that was historically known for growing strawberries. Up until the time I was around 8 or so my great uncle even had a strawberry patch in his backyard. I would spend my Sunday afternoons picking strawberries with my mother. Those were the best dang berries ever, nothing like what comes from the grocery store. These were real strawberries with real flavor. They were just the right balance of sweet and tart. To tell you the truth I think that anything grown in the garden tastes better than store bought. Just like home cooked food will always taste better than anything that comes from the store. I wish more people would learn that. Any way here is my strawberry inspired dessert.

Strawberry short cakes with lemon curd

lemon curd
3 lemons
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
4 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup lemon juice (3 to 4 lemons)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Using a carrot peeler, remove the zest of 3 lemons, being careful to avoid the white pith. Put the zest in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the sugar and pulse until the zest is very finely minced into the sugar.

Cream the butter and beat in the sugar and lemon mixture. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then add the lemon juice and salt. Mix until combined.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. The lemon curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer. Remove from the heat and cool or refrigerate.

Short cakes

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup half and half
Melted butter to brush shortcakes
Ice cream or whipped cream
Heat oven 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter and shortening. Mix in half-and-half. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

To assemble the short cakes just hull and slice about one pound of strawberries and sprinkle them with some sugar. Cut each short cake in half and drizzle with lemon curd and then top with berries and whipped cream.

Friday, June 3, 2011

chai and a busy two weeks

Sorry about the lack of an up date. I've been working five days a week and running around like crazy. I'll try and get on top of things. In any case I made this for a group of friends last week and it went over really well. It was also super easy. I can see my self easily keeping a pitcher of this in the fridge at all times. I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

2 organic English Breakfast tea bags
3 cups milk
3 cups water
6 cardamom pods
6 whole cloves
4 whole star anise
4-6 small cinnamon sticks
4-6 slices fresh ginger about 1/4 inch each
*1/4 cup sugar

Heat water and milk to the point just before boiling.
Add the tea bags and all of the herbs/spices and turn off the heat.
Allow to infuse for 20-30 minutes, then add the sweetener. Either reheat before serving or chill until serving.
4. Pour chai through a fine mesh strainer into mugs or a pitcher.

Monday, May 23, 2011

banana Bread French Toast

I was driving home from work about a week ago when I suddenly had a food epiphany. Honestly I love it when that happens. I'll be milling ideas around in my head about what I might want to make when I get home and then suddenly something strikes me. That's how I came up with s'mores bark and I'm excited to say that I have a few more food epiphany recopies coming your way. In any case I think this one turned out great. The banana bread is made with healthy ingredients so when you slather it in butter and syrup you don't have to feel so bad. Enjoy!

Banan Bread French Toast

Banana Bread
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
In a large bowl, beat oil and honey together.
Add eggs, and mix well.
Stir in bananas and vanilla, then stir in flour, salt and cinnamon.
Add baking soda to hot water, stir to mix, and then add to batter. (Does anyone know why you add the baking soda to hot water? I’m curious.)
Spread batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan.
Sprinkle with cinnamon, and swirl with a toothpick for a pretty marbled effect.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes. Be sure to check that the bread is done baking by inserting a toothpick in the top. It should come out clean.
Cool on wire rack for 1/2 hour before slicing.

French Toast Batter

1 cup half-and-half
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a shallow casserole dish. Slice the banana bread into half inch slices and dredge in the batter. Melt a pat of butter in a frying pan and place the bread in the pan. Fry until golden brown on the outside and then flip and repeat. Top French toast with maple syrup, whipped cream, and sliced bananas.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Italian Sausage Ragu and I'm an Idiot

You'll notice that this post has not picture that is because I'm an idiot. I made Italian sausage ragu with penne pasta for my family last night. My mom cleaned up the kitchen and put away the left over last night. I came home after work today with a very grumbly tummy. I took out a container of my left over pasta and devoured it. I thought that there was a second container of pasta in the fridge but I was wrong. I ate all the evidence of the delicious meal so you have no picture but, this pasta was so delicious and easy that I have to share it any way. So, do me a favor and picture a big white china plate topped with a heaping serving of penna tossed with thick luscious tomato sauce with chunks of tomatoes and little bit of Italian sausage, sprinkled with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. After you're done picturing that please proceed to make this pasta.

Italian Sausage Ragu

1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
6 Italian-style pork sausages (about 500g), casings removed
1 tblsp rosemary leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup red wine
1 tblsp tomato paste
400g can chopped tomatoes
1lb. short pasta, such as fusilli or penne
Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until softened.
Add the sausage meat, rosemary and garlic, breaking up the sausage. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the meat is browned.
Add the wine to the pan and let it bubble for 2-3 minutes, until reduced slightly.
Stir in the tomato paste, then add the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, stir, then increase heat and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the mixture is reduced.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta.
Toss the drained pasta with the ragu and top with parmesan cheese.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Asparagus, pasta, and chicken bake

My mission to clean out our pantry though cooking continues with this recipe. Somehow my family managed to accumulate four boxes of spaghetti, that's a lot of pasta. Luckily the pioneer woman's community page, tasty kitchen, came to the rescue with this recipe. I love this recipe its quick, easy, and delicious plus it makes a good sized batch. I served it with garlic bread and a side of veg all casserole. This is one yummy week night meal.

Cheesy Asparagus, chicken, and pasta bake
½ cups Chopped Onion
3 cloves Garlic, Chopped Finely Or Pressed
½ cups Reduced-sodium, Fat-free Chicken Broth
1 can Healthy Request Cream Of Chicken Soup, 10 Ounce Can
¼ teaspoons Salt
⅛ teaspoons Black Pepper, Or More To Taste
1 cup Pre-cooked Chicken Breast, Chopped
12 spears Asparagus, Cut Into 2-3 Inch Pieces
4 ounces, weight Whole-wheat Spaghetti, Uncooked
½ cups Cheese, Your Favorite Kind

Preheat oven to 350F and coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Combine onion, garlic, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk until completely combined, then add chicken breast and asparagus spears.
Break uncooked spaghetti into 2-inch pieces and add to chicken mixture, mixing slowly to make sure all spaghetti pieces are covered so they absorb moisture.
Put mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese evenly over top. Cover with foil, and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes until bubbly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hello all

I hope your'e all having a lovely relaxing Sunday. I just wanted to let you all know that I'll probably be changing my name here in the next week or so. I'll probably be going with baking down by the bay. I just don't really feel like hippie hippie bakes suits me. I'm gonna give the name some more thought before I change it but I just figured I would let everyone know.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kahlua cheesecake

I have to admit I am a thrifter to the bone. I've gotten all kinds of great stuff at thrift stores for example a blue delphite Fire King chili bowl for 5o cents, a The Sak purse for $10, and 6 Glasbake milk glass mugs. I'm very proud of my thrifting finds. When ever I find something good I sort of feel like a treasure hunter. I got a spring form pan from the thrift store a few weeks ago and I've been dying to make a cheesecake ever since. I figured Easter was as good an excuse as any to whip one up. I'm glad I finally did it. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I'm really proud of the way that it turned out. My little $2.99 spring form pan also preformed beautifully.

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon liqueur (I used Kahlua)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.

Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too - baker's choice. Set crust aside.

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, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.

Bake 45 to 55 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 one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won't crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake 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.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pumpkin bread

I have a confession to make, my weakness in this world is anything pumpkin flavored. I've tried every thing from lattes, to granola, to cheesecake. I get so excited when fall rolls around every year and places start carrying pumpkin spice things but after the holidays it's back to the same old same old. A few weeks ago I was craving something pumpkin once again so I decided to roll up my sleeves and do it myself. I'm glad I did because anything home made is always better than something cranked out of a commercial oven. Not to mention this recipe is fast and simple. This delicious bread reignited my love of pumpkin, so I'll be here, pining away until September comes and I can once again fill my Styrofoam Royal Farms cup with creamy pumpkin latte.

Pumpkin Bread

4 egg yolks
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
2 t. baking soda
3 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix egg yolks, water, oil, and pumpkin puree.

Add sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and flour and mix until just combined.

Pour into three medium loaf pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Wrap in saran wrap while warm.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

White Chicken Enchilads

The weather here is currently amazing as in sun shining, flowers blooming, and perfect temperature. I love it, but it's making studying and all things school related look even less appealing than normal. It's also causing my allergies to go crazy. On the other hand it's making me look forward to the blue berry picking, fresh strawberries, and local lima beans that will no doubt lead to lots of good dishes this summer. In any case I'm glad it's getting warm and I hope the thermometer creeps up for you all too.
White chicken Enchiladas
adapted from The Pioneer Woman
2-½ cups Cooked, Shredded Chicken
2 cups chicken broth
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
12 whole Corn Tortillas
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
3 whole 4 Oz Cans Whole Green Chilies, Diced
1 whole Jalapeno, Seeded And Finely Diced
1 teaspoon Paprika
½ cups Heavy Cream
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Sour Cream
2-½ cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
Salt And Pepper, to taste

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Fry tortillas for no longer than 20 seconds, just to soften not to brown or crisp. Place the tortillas on a stack of paper towels to drain.
Heat oil in separate skillet over medium heat. Add onions and jalapenos and saute for,just to start the cooking process. Add chicken, half of the green chilies, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stir together. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and stir. Add cream and stir, allowing mixture to bubble and get hot. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a separate large skillet, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together and cook over medium heat for one minute. Pour in 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Whisk together and cook for another minute or two. Stir in the other half of the chilies. Reduce heat, then stir in sour cream. Add 1 1/2 cups grated cheese and stir to melt. Add 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.
To assemble, spoon chicken mixture on top of tortillas, one by one. Top with plenty of cheese and roll up. Place seam side down in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Pour cheese mixture all over the top of the tortillas. Top with extra cheese if you’d like, then bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Sprinkle generously with chopped cilantro.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Cheese Danishes

I woke up sometime last week and all of a sudden my brain was screaming "make cheese danishes." I seriously couldn't stop thinking about it all week so I decided that I would do it Saturday. I was really expecting it to be some big project but in truth it wasn't nearly has hard as I thought it would be. It was also a great way to get rid of the cream cheese that was in our fridge.

As soon as I pulled them out of the oven I couldn't wait to sit down with one, a cup of coffee, and a book. When I finally got to it was as rewarding as I thought it would be. The shortening folded between the layers makes the dough rich but tender and the filling is flavorful. It's sweet with out losing the edge from the cream cheese. These would be great for Sunday breakfast.

Cheese Danishes
1 package instant dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
4 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
3/4 cup shortening, divided
1 cup warm milk
3 eggs
2 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

in a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. add the milk, 1/4 cup shortening, sugar, 2 eggs, salt, lemon peel, vanilla and 2 cups flour. beat until smooth. stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.

turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth an elastic. place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat. cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

punch dough down and turn onto a lightly floured surface. roll into a 24×16 inch rectangle. dot half of the dough with 1/4 cup shortening; fold dough in half lengthwise. dot with shortening and fold lengthwise into thirds. dot with remaining shortening and fold widthwise into thirds.

roll dough into a 16×15 inch rectangle. cut into 8×3/4 inch strips, coil into spiral shapes, tucking end underneath the coil to form a bottom. place on a greased baking sheet and cover and let rise until doubled (about an hour).

in a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. beat remaining egg, make a depression in the center of each roll and brush with egg. fill each with the cheese filling.

bake at 375 F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. remove from pans to wire racks to cool. while baking, combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla to form the glaze. drizzle over the danishes while they are still warm.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flour-less Almond Cake

I've been thinking lately about changing the name of my blog. I sort of jumped on my current name because I just wanted to get the ball rolling and now I'm wishing I had given it more thought.
In other news I've been on spring break this week and I've spent most of it in the kitchen. The first day that I got here mom hinted that we needed to clean out the pantry, a few hours and two filled trash bags latter our pantry was still a lot more cluttered than I wanted it to be, so I decided that my cooking for the week would focus on ingredients from the pantry.
This almond cake was one of those recipes. We had three half empty bags of almonds. This recipe quickly took care of that problem because it uses ground almonds instead of flour. This cake has great almond flavor and a nice light texture thanks to the whipped egg whites.
That's one of the other great things about this recipe it helped me break my bad egg white streak. I have had the worst luck making meringue. I could never get the nice stiff peaks that I was supposed to. Sadly I have decided that my problem was my kitchen aid. Four egg whites doesn't take up very much space in a big old kitchen aid work bowl, so only the tip of the whisk is really in the whites. Instead of using my Kitchenaid this time I used a hand mixer and a 2 quart glass bowl and it worked PERFECTLY. I couldn't have hoped for better. I'm glad that streak is over. So any way here's the cake recipe.

Flour-less Almond Cake

3 cups Almonds (I used slivered but you can use whatever kind you like)
1-¼ cup Sugar, Divided
12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, At Room Temperature
4 whole Large Egg Yolks
4 teaspoons Grated Lemon Zest
¼ teaspoons Salt
½ teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Almond Extract
4 whole Large Egg Whites

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9in. spring form pan.
place the almonds and 1/4 cup of the sugar in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until it has the consistency of fine cornmeal. Add the butter and pulse until it begins to come together in a ball. Set aside.
In a stand mixer beat 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the remaining sugar and the yolks on medium-high until very light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. Add in the almond mixture and almond extract.
in a very clean bowl, I suggest washing it just before you use it, whisk the egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy then slowly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar until the whites form soft peaks. Stir a spatula-ful into the almond mixture to lighten. Carefully fold in the remainder of the whites until completely incorporated. Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let rest for 5 minutes before releasing the cake from the pan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Gram's Chocolate Pie

It has been one week since my gram died. I still can't really believe she's gone. I came home a day early for her funeral and when I walked through my front door both of my parents were busting about the kitchen preparing foods that my gram was known for: chopped liver, and fudge. I decided to contribute my favorite dish that my gram made, her chocolate pie. It was one of my favorite dishes at thanksgiving and I will always associate it with her. I asked for the recipe a few years ago and expected her to head for the kitchen and shuffle around in her recipe box for the card. Instead she instructed me to get a pen and paper and proceeded to dictate the recipe to me from memory. She was the smartest person I'll ever know and she loved her family more than anything. I hope my pie made her proud.

Gram's chocolate pie

2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
a pinch of salt
1/2 stick butter
a pre baked pie shell

Mix cornstarch, cocoa, and sugar. Scald milk and add dry ingredients. Cook on medium heat until it forms bubbles and the bubbles are popping. Add the vanilla, salt, and butter. Pour into the prepared crust and cool. It's really important that the crust be completely cooled before you add the filling.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm really sorry I haven't been updating lately. I promise you I haven't given up blogging. I've just been spending my weekends here at college instead of going home so I've sadly been with out a kitchen for a few weeks. I do however promise that there will be an update this weekend. Thank you all for hanging in there.

Monday, February 21, 2011

S'mores pie

I find it kind of funny that this is my second S'mores creation because I never really loved S'mores all that much as a kid. I always burned my marshmallow and I hated it that it was so messy. I guess its just a classic combination that is easy to reinvent. This idea came to me as I was drifting off to sleep a couple of weeks ago and ever since then I've been itching to make it. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. This recipe is quick, easy, and you probably have all of the ingredients you need in your pantry.

S'mores pie

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar

4 ounces, weight Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1 cup Salted Butter, Softened
1-½ cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
4 whole Eggs

2 7oz. tubs of marshmallow fluff

Melt the butter and then pour it over the graham crackers and sugar. Stir to combine and then scrape the mixture into a pie plate. Using a flat bottomed glass or your hand press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Place it in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile in microwave safe bowl melt the unsweetened baking chocolate until stirrable. Set it aside to cool for just a few minutes.
In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the butter the sugar until fluffy. When the chocolate is cooled, drizzle it over the butter/sugar mixture. Add the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat the mixture thoroughly until combined.
Turn the mixer to a medium speed and over a period of 15 to 20 minutes add in the four eggs, one at a time, leaving about 5 minutes between each egg addition. Once the pie filling is well mixed, pour it into the prepared pie shell.
Using a spatula scoop the marshmallow fluff onto the pie and gently spread it. Don't worry about it being rough looking it smooths at it settles. Don't push the fluff all the way to the edge of the pie or when it settles it will run over the crust. After you've topped the pie with the fluff leave it in the fridge for two hours before slicing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Savory Corn Pudding

I got this recipe out of an Ina Garten cookbook a couple of thanksgivings ago. My family loved it. The next year I suggested that I might make something else instead and they all threw a fit. I've been making it every year since. It really is delicious but its quite a departure for the typical sweet fluffy corn pudding of the south that I grew up with. It's chessey and savory and the fresh basil rounds out the flavors. This dish is the perfect accompaniment to a roast chicken dinner or a big family feast.

Savory corn pudding

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
5 cups fresh yellow corn kernels cut off the cob (6 to 8 ears)
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 extra-large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (6 ounces) grated extra-sharp cheddar, plus extra to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the inside of a 2 quart casserole dish.

Melt the butter in a large saute pan and saute the corn and onion over medium-high heat until tender. Cool slightly.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, and half-and-half. gradually whisk in the cornmeal and then the ricotta. Add the basil, sugar, salt, and pepper then the cooked corn mixture and 1/4 of the grated cheddar, and then pour into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the rest of the grated cheddar.

Place the dish in a larger pan and fill the pan 1/2 way up the sides of the dish with hot tap water. Bake the pudding for 40 to 45 minutes until the top begins to brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

pudgy husband bark

I call this pudgy husband bark because it's reminiscent of a certain Ben and Jerry's flavor. It's super easy to make and quite satisfying.

Pudgy Husband Bark
2 1LB. bags of chocolate chips
8 tablespoons peanut butter
1 cup crushed pretzel rods

Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Fill a large pot with water and set it over medium high heat. Dump the chocolate chips into a lager glass bowl and set it over the pot. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. Using a rubber spatula scrape the chocolate on to the prepared cookie sheet. Spread the chocolate out into one even layer and Then plop the peanut butter tablespoon by tablespoon onto the chocolate. Use a fork to swirl into dollops of peanut butter and then sprinkle the crushed pretzels over top, pushing them lightly into the chocolate. Refrigerate for 20 minutes and then break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Combine in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes:
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm (105° to 115° F) water
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tbsp melted vegetable shortening
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 cup bread flour
3 1/2 cups bread flour
Combine the water, yeast,and 2 1/2 tsp sugar in a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and let stand until the yeast dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shortening, the 1 1/2 tsp. sugar, salt, and cup of bread flour. If using a stand mixer attach the bowl at this time as well as the dough hook with the mixer on low gradually add the rest of the bread flour.
Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or with the dough hook on low to medium speed until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let rest, covered, 15 to 20 minutes.
Punch down the dough (it won't have risen very much) and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 10 inch rope tapering the ends. Wet the ends to help seal and form into rings, stretching the top end over and around the bottom end and pinching them together underneath. (like a snake eating its own tail) Or alternately, roll each piece of dough into a ball. Stick your thumb through the ball to make a hole. Stretch the hole out about 2 inches. Let rise, covered, on a floured board about 15 minutes, until puffy.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bring to a boil in a large pot:
4 quarts water
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Drop the rings 4 at a time into the boiling water. As the bagels surface, turn them over and cook about 45 seconds longer. Skim out and place on an ungreased baking sheet coated with cornmeal.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

hot cocoa mix

As soon as the weather turns cold I like to have a warm drink in my hand as often as possible. I don't really drink hot chocolate much because the commercial stuff is so nasty. Its so overly sweet and gets all clumpy when you try and stir it. I was really excited when my mom suggested that we should make our own hot cocoa mix and give it to people for Christmas. Mostly cause I knew I would get to drink the left overs. This stuff is great. It's not to sweet, its got lots of chocolate flavor, its smooth and creamy and there's nothing weird or scary in it. It's the perfect treat for a chilly day. It's best mixed with a fuzzy sweater and a roaring fire if you can get it.

Best-Ever Hot Cocoa Mix
(adapted form cooks country)
3 cups nonfat dry milk
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon Salt
MIx ingredients in large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until the white chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container such as a ball jar for up to 3 months. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup of hot milk or my personal favorite, coffee.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lemon Madeleines

I have good news for you all. I got photoshop and a new camera lens. So the quality of my pictures should improve a lot. I also got a madeleine pan for Christmas so of course that was one of the first things I got around to making. To be honest I was a little afraid of making these little cakes. They're French so I instantly assumed they would be hard, but I'm happy to report that they aren't hard at all. There's hardly any measuring, No elaborate techniques, but you will need a little patience because you do need to chill the dough for three hours. I have to bad habit of not reading recipes all the way through before I start them which is why I was baking off these cookies at 10PM. They were well worth it but don't be like me always look ahead.

Lemon Madeleines
(adapted from Savory Sweet Life)

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 lemon, zested
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Combine flour and baking powder. Attach the whisk attachment to your stand mixer put it on medium high speed and beat eggs and sugar until thickened and lightened in color, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Add in lemon zest and vanilla. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold-in dry ingredients, and then melted butter. Cover batter with plastic wrap and Chill for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spoon batter into the molds, filling them almost to the top.

Bake on the center rack for 8 to 11 minutes. Remove the madeleines by gently running a paring knife around the edges of the cookies and then invert the pan over a cooling rack. Makes about two dozen.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

French Bread

I love making bread probably because I love eating bread but also because once you learn to work with yeast its fairly easy, especially this recipe. I think my love of bread making also comes from the women in my life. My grandmother was famous for her dinner rolls. When I was little she would make parker house style rolls but she would put cinnamon sugar mixed with butter into the fold before she baked them. My gram (aka. my paternal grandmother) is famous for her Christmas breakfast it's always a huge spread of sweet rolls. There's everything from orange rolls, to a cream cheese coffee cake. My mother is famous for her dinner rolls like her mother before her but everyone loves her cinnamon rolls and loaf bread as well. With roots like that how could I not love making bread. This recipe is one of my favorites its easy to put together, delicious with a crusty outside and a fluffy inside, and best of all it makes two loaves so there's one for the dinner table and one for the freezer. This is the prefect recipe for a lazy Saturday, throw it together in the morning, let it rise while you relax and have it ready for the table in time for dinner. What could be better than that?

French Bread
4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
1 1/2 cups room temperature water

In the work bowl of your electric mixer combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the water and place the work bowl on the stand, attach the dough hook and beat the dough for a bout 12 minutes until it is soft and stretchy with out being sticky. Place the ball of dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm spot. Leave the dough to rise until doubled in size, about two hours. Punch down the dough and then divide it into two smaller balls. Take each ball and form it into a long thin loaf by rolling it back and forth under you palms. Place the two loaves on an oiled baking sheet and cover back up with the towel and leave to rise for about 30 minutes. After they rise slash the loaves with a chefs knife or a bread lame. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a cake pan filled with 1 cup of hot water steaming water on the bottom rack of the oven and then place the pan with the loaves on the center rack and bake them for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 30 more minutes. You can tell the loaves are done when you tap the bottom and it sounds hollow. Place on a wire rack to cool. Wrap in tinfoil to store. If you're going to freeze the bread freeze it after its baked and then just place it in a 350 degree oven until its thawed and crispy, about 15 minutes.