Thursday, October 1, 2009

No Bake Cookies

One of the easiest things to make is no bake cookies. They are a tasty treat that doesn't last very long in our house. There are tons of recipes online for these but I decided to use a recipe from the Ezra Pound Cake blog.
No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Submitted by Jenny White to

•1/2 cup butter
•2 cups sugar
•1/2 cup milk
•4 tablespoons cocoa
•1/2 cup peanut butter
•3 to 3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats
•2 teaspoons vanilla
Add the first four ingredi ents into a 4-quart saucepan.

Bring to a rolling boil and hold for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop by tablespoons onto wax paper. Let cool until set.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

One of my favorite things to order in a Thai restaurant is Pineapple Fried Rice. I have been looking for a recipe to try creating it at home. I came across this recipe on the blog Closet Cooking, written by Kevin in Toronto. Not only does he have some great recipes, but his photography is excellent as well. This was a great recipe - not as good as what you get in an authentic Thai restaurant - but still mighty good! I loved the addition of raisins and pineapple combined with the curry seasoning.

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
(makes 4 servings)

1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots (sliced) -- I used 1 regular onion
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 red chili (chopped)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3 tablespoons chicken stock (or vegetable broth) --I omitted
3 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce) -- I used soy sauce
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cashews (roasted)
3 cups cooked rice (preferably a day old)
1 cup pineapple (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cup shrimp (cooked, optional)
1/4 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup currants (or raisins)
2 green onions (sliced)
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)

1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the shallots, garlic, chillies and red pepper and stir-fry until fragrant, about a minute.
3. Add the egg and stir-fry for a minute.
4. Add the chicken stock, fish sauce, curry powder and sugar and stir-fry.
5. Add the cashews and stir-fry for 30 seconds.
6. Add the rice, break up any clumps and stir-fry for a few minutes.
7. Add the pineapple, shrimp, peas and raisins and stir-fry to mix them in.
8. Remove from heat and serve garnished with chopped green onions and cilantro.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

I found the recipe on a cool blog in my google reader called The Cookbook Junkie. I like reading The Cookbook Junkie because there are always recipes from cookbooks that I don't have that sound good. This was a very delicious recipe and despite the lengthy directions, it didn't take very long at all. It tasted like a combo of oatmeal cookies and brownies. Very rich!
Oatmeal Fudge Bars
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Crust and topping
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespooons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso or instant coffee (I omited)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg

For the crust and topping: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling: Fold two sheets of aluminum foil so they are as wide as the pan. Lay the sheets in the pan, perpendicular to each other, with the extra foil hanging over the edges. Push the foil into the corners, smoothing wrinkles. Grease the sides and bottom.

Whisk the oats, brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter until combined. Reserve 3/4 cup of the oat mixture for the topping.

Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake the crust until light-golden brown, about 8 minutes. Let the crust cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

For the filling: Whisk the flour, sugar, instant espresso and salt together in a medium bowl. Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Whisk in the egg until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the filling evenly over the cooled crust and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the reserved oat topping. Bake the bars until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached and the filling begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking.

Let the bars cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil, cut into squares and serve.

Easy Corn Bread

We were in the mood for chili so along with chili comes cornbread. I am not sure why, but I decided to stray from my normal recipe, Grandma's Corn Bread, from and try the recipe on the container of corn meal. All I had on hand was Quaker yellow corn meal, which is probably not very authentic or southern. I still like my favorite recipe better - probably because I like my corn bread sweet.

Easy Corn Bread
from Quaker

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt (optional)
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 egg whites or 1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 400 F. Grease an 8 or 9 inch pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil, egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until light golden brown.

Long Time No Blog...

It's certainly been a long time since my last blog post. I have the best of intentions, even photographing things I've made, but somehow I never get around to posting. I am going to try to do better. I even wonder how many people are reading this thing anyway? I mainly started it as a place to keep track of recipes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chapchae (Noodles with Beef and Mixed Veggies)

I had beef in the fridge and wanted to make a stir fry. I came across this recipe on the Cooking Light website. I had all the ingredients at home so I thought I'd give it a try. According to Cooking Light, Chapchae is the most popular noodle dish in Korea. I am not sure how authentic this recipe really is, but it tasted pretty delicious! I took some liberties with the vegetables and used fresh mushrooms, onions, baby corn, bamboo shoots and water chesnuts. But I am sure the original recipe with spinach added would have been just as good.

from Cooking Light

1 teaspoon cornstarch
8 ounces eye of round steak, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sambal oelek or Thai chile paste
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray

1 (3.75-ounce) package uncooked bean threads (cellophane noodles)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 6 ounces mushrooms)
1 cup (2-inch) diagonally sliced green onions
1 cup (2-inch) julienne-cut carrot
1 (10-ounce) bag fresh spinach

Remaining ingredients:
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
To prepare beef, sprinkle cornstarch over beef; toss to combine. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and next 4 ingredients (1 tablespoon soy sauce through 3 garlic cloves); toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; stir-fry 3 minutes or until done. Remove mixture from pan. Cover and keep warm.
To prepare noodles, pour boiling water over noodles; let stand 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain. Snip noodles several times with kitchen shears.
To prepare vegetables, wipe skillet or wok clean with paper towels. Heat 1 teaspoon sesame oil and vegetable oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and 5 garlic cloves; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, onions, and carrot; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add half of spinach; stir-fry 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Add remaining spinach; stir-fry 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add beef mixture and noodles to pan, stirring well to combine. Combine 1/3 cup soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over noodle mixture; stir well to combine. Cook over medium-low heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Garlicky Black-Pepper Shrimp and Black-Eyed Peas

My mother-in-law recently gave me a subscription to Gourmet magazine. The March issue had this wonderful recipe for shrimp. It is different than my go-to shrimp recipes so I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did! It would make a great meal on a chilly fall day. I served it with biscuits which was good since there was a lot of broth.

from Gourmet Magazine March 2009

4 bacon slices
4 scallions, chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 Turkish bay leaves or 1 California
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
2 (15-oz) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

For Shrimp:

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine

Cook bacon in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat until browned but not crisp. Transfer bacon to a plate, then tear into small pieces.

Cook scallions, carrot, celery, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, red-pepper flakes, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in fat in skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are pale golden, about 10 minutes. Add black-eyed peas and broth and simmer 5 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl.

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Cook shrimp with garlic, stirring occasionally, until just opaque (shrimp will not be fully cooked), about 3 minutes. Add wine and bring to a boil, then briskly simmer 2 minutes. Add bacon and black-eyed-pea mixture and simmer until just heated through (mixture will be juicy). Discard bay leaves.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Turkey Meatball Pasta Bake

I was looking through the starred posts on my Google reader when I came across this recipe from Reservations Not Required. I didn't realize quite how long this would take. I even used my Kitchen Aid mini chopper to chop the veggies and parsley. It was a good recipe - I wasn't sure how I would like the combo of sour cream and cream cheese, but it wound up tasting like a ricotta mixture. I would make this one again. Oh and the hubs took this picture with our new camera - it should be better than the pictures I've been posting :)

Turkey Meatball Pasta Bake
from Cooking with Paula Deen, September/October 2008
Makes about 8-10 servings

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup minced green onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper (I omitted)
1 large egg
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 16 0z box rigatoni noodles, cooked and kept warm (I used rotini)
1 8 0z package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
Zesty Tomato Sauce, recipe follows
1 8 0z package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 5 oz package grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over pan. Spray rack with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, green onion, bell pepper, egg, garlic, parsley, Italian seasoning, and salt. Shape mixture into golf ball-size balls; place on prepared cooling rack. Bake 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside.

Lightly grease 13x9 inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine hot cooked pasta, cream cheese and sour cream, stirring to combine. Spoon half of mixture into prepared baking dish. Top evenly with half of meatballs. Spoon half of Zesty Tomato Sauce over meatballs. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella cheese. Repeat procedure with remaining noodle, meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve immediately.

Note: This dish can be made a day ahead of baking. It can also be prepared and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator before baking.

Zesty Tomato Sauce
Makes about 6 1/2 cups

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 tablespoon minced freshly parsley
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Trader Joe's Prize from Joelen

I am always amazed at the generosity of food bloggers. Recently I won an awesome contest sponsored by one of the nicest people I have met online, Joelen, from Joelen's Culinary Adventures. She has recently started a weekly contest called Foodie Freebie Friday. I won a few weeks ago, okay maybe a few months ago, and am just now getting around to blogging about it. The theme of my prize was a box of goodies from Trader Joe's. It was fun to receive this box and try out some new foods and snacks that I have never tried before!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Garlic Beef Enchiladas

I decided to make homemade enchiladas a few weeks ago. I used a recipe from the Taste of Home website. It came out very delicious. I especially liked the sauce. I served it with Spanish rice.

from Taste of Home

1 pound ground beef (I used a 1.3 lb package of ground turkey)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage (I omitted since I don't have it on-hand)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes (I used 1 can fire roasted tomatoes)
4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons rubbed sage (I omitted since I don't have it on-hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 flour tortillas (7 inches)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

In a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the flour and seasonings until blended. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings; heat through.

Pour about 1-1/2 cups sauce into an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla; top with 1-2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up tightly; place seam side down over sauce. Top with the remaining sauce.

Cover and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 10-15 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Last weekend, we had a nice breakfast for Easter morning. I made Paula Deen's recipe for Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup. I have made this recipe before and have always been pleased. It is very tasty, especially the topping. It is easy to make since you prepare it the night before and just bake it the next morning. It even reheats well in the microwave.
Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
from Paula Deen

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup
Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ina's Baked Shrimp Scampi

I received Ina Garten's Back to the Basics for Christmas. I just now made my first recipe from the book. Usually Ina's recipes are dead on, but I was a bit lukewarm on this one. I think it had to do with the fact that it was highly salty. I even used unsalted butter, but adding the extra salt called for in the recipe ruined it for me. Since I was in a rush after going to the gym, I didn't bother arranging the shrimp artfully in the pan - I just dumped them in and put the topping over the shrimp.

from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
2 pounds (12 to 15 per pound) shrimp in the shell
3 tablespoons good olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1/4 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 extra-large egg yolk
2/3 cup panko (Japanese dried bread flakes)
Lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Peel, devein, and butterfly the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture. 

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.
Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chicken with Mustard Mascarpone Marsala Sauce

I wanted to make chicken marsala as I had some thin chicken breasts. I debated on whether to make the Cooks Illustrated recipe, which I heard raves about or whether to try something different. That's when I came upon this recipe from A Toast to Tiffany. I am glad that I tried this one, it was excellent. I even had leftovers for lunch the next day.

from Giada De Laurentiis

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each breast cut crosswise into 3 pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 tablespoons butter, divided
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 cup dry Marsala wine
1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves, plus whole sprigs, for garnish
12 ounces dried fettuccine

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and cook just until brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cool slightly.

While the chicken cools, melt 2 tablespoons of butter to the same skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onion and saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 12 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.

Stir in the mascarpone and mustard. Cut the chicken breasts crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Return the chicken and any accumulated juices to the skillet. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss the fettuccine with 3 tablespoons of butter and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Swirl the fettuccine onto serving plates. Spoon the chicken mixture over top. Garnish with parsley sprigs and serve.

Shrimp Creole for Mardi Gras

I love Shrimp Creole. I like trying new recipes so I googled until I found this one from Bakespace. It was very good and something I will make again. I used 1.25 lbs of 24/30 shrimp and cut the recipe in half. It worked out perfect. Shrimp Creole
from patentman on

3 pounds of cleaned, deveined 36/40 shrimp
1 lb cleaned, deveined 70/90 shrimp
2 cups diced bell pepper
1 cup chopped celery
3 tbs of oil
3 cups chopped onion
3 tbs butter
4 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs chopped garlic
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp thyme leaves
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp salt
2 bay leaves
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) of diced tomatoes with liquid
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tbs dried parsley
2 tsp sugar
2 tbs butter
1 1/2 tbs all purpose flour
1/2 tbs salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbs thyme leaves
2 tbs fresh lemon juice

Saute 2 cups diced bell pepper and 1 cup chopped celery in 3 tbs of oil in a 6 quart heavy bottomed pot over medium heat until they just get tender. About 8-10 minutes. Add 3 cups chopped onion and 3 tbs butter and saute for another 5 minutes until the onions get tender but not brown. Scrape the vegetables from the center of the pan, add 1 more tbs butter to the pan in the empty spot and put in 4 tbs tomato paste. Fry the tomato paste until it darkens.

After the tomato paste darkens, add 2 tbs chopped garlic and then mix the tomato paste, garlic and the vegetables together and saute for another minute until you can smell the garlic. Stir in 2 tsp paprika, 2 tsp thyme leaves, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp salt, 2 bay leaves and saute for another minute. Add 2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) of diced tomatoes with liquid, 4 cups low sodium chicken broth, 2 tbs dried parsley, 2 tsp sugar and 1 lb cleaned, deveined 70/90 shrimp. Stir thoroughly and simmer for 1 hr.

Melt 2 tbs butter over medium heat in a nonstick pan. After the butter melts and starts to bubble, add 1 1/2 tbs all purpose flour and stir continuously until flour browns to a beige french vanilla colored roux. Immediately mix the roux into the simmering tomatoes, shrimp and vegetables along with 1/2 tbs salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1 tbs thyme leaves. Simmer for another five minutes. Add 3 pounds of cleaned, deveined 36/40 shrimp. I cook mine for another 45 minutes to an hour. You can just simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the shrimp are just pink if you want. After the simmering period you select is over, add 3 cups of chopped green onions and turn off the burner.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes then add 2 tbs fresh lemon juice and stir well.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's A Bundt -- Pear Spice Cake

I love a bundt. Every time I make a bundt cake, I think of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, where the fiance's parents bring over the bundt cake to the Greek parents. They had never seen one before and didn't know what to make of it.
I had this recipe starred in my Google reader from 2 sources, Dinner and Dessert and Joy the Baker. I just happened to have some leftover pears and whipped cream from Valentine's Day weekend and some leftover buttermilk from making cornbread, so this seemed to be the perfect thing to bake today. It is a very yummy recipe!

Pear Spice Cake with Walnut Praline Topping
from Joy the Baker, who adapted it from Gourmet magazine

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs, separated (I just used the whole eggs in the batter & didn't make the egg whites)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cups buttermilk
3 pears, peeled, cored and diced into roughly 1/2-inch pieces (I used 2 pears)
1 cup walnuts (3 ounces), toasted , cooled, and finely chopped (I used 1/2 cup pecans)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour bundt pan.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat together butter, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg in another bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 4 with a handheld. Add yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches, mixing well after each addition. Fold in pear pieces and chopped walnuts.

Beat egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until they just hold stiff peaks, then fold whites into batter gently but thoroughly.

Spoon batter into pan, smoothing top, and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool completely.

Walnut Praline Topping
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cups walnuts, roughly chopped, toasted (I used about 1/2 cup pecans)

Stir golden brown sugar, whipping cream and 1/2 cup butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until smooth. Boil 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in walnut pieces. Spoon warm topping over warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Salted Pecan Carmel Blondie Cake

Valentine's Day dessert was a delicious new recipe that I found while looking through The Washington Post Food section. It was a yummy combination of blondie + homemade caramel sauce + toasted pecans. I give this a thumbs up!

from The Washington Post

For the blondie base
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the foil
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (I used pecan pieces instead of halves)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
For the blondie base: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the sides and bottom of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with a piece of aluminum foil that is long enough to extend over two ends of the pan. Use butter to grease the foil.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt on a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on low speed for about 1 minute, until smoothly blended.

Add the eggs and vanilla extract, beating to incorporate, then add the flour mixture; beat just until the mixture is smooth.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Cool the bars in the baking pan on a wire rack, about 1 hour.

For the topping: Heat the cream in a small saucepan. Do not let it boil; adjust the heat to keep it warm while you cook the sugar.

Combine the water and sugar in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Uncover, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Cook for about 6 minutes without stirring until the sugar turns a dark golden color. Watch it carefully so it does not begin to burn. Remove from the heat.

Slowly add the hot cream. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful. Slowly stir until smoothly combined. Add the salt and vanilla extract, stirring to incorporate. Let cool for about 1 1/2 hours, until the caramel is thick enough to cling to the cake. The cooled sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the pecans and melted butter in a medium bowl, stirring to coat the nuts evenly. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly. Scrape the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer. Bake for a total of 15 minutes, stirring once after 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

To assemble: Use the foil to lift the cooled blondie slab from the pan. Cut the slab in half crosswise, creating 2 pieces that each measure 9 by 6 1/2 inches. Trim off the edges evenly. Slide one half-slab onto a serving plate. Tuck wax paper strips just an inch or so under the bottom of the cake all the way around to keep the plate clean. Spread about 1/2 cup of caramel sauce over the top of the cake and place about 1/2 cup of pecans over the sauce. 

Transfer the remaining cake, bottom side up, over the filling, centering it carefully. Spread about 3/4 cup of caramel sauce over the cake, letting some drip down the sides. Spoon the 
remaining pecans over the top and drizzle 1/4 cup caramel sauce over the nuts. There will be about 1/2 cup of sauce remaining.

Use a large, sharp knife to cut the cake. Serve with additional caramel sauce, if desired.

Recipe Source: From cookbook author Elinor Klivans.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day Recipes

Happy Valentine's Day! I am back finally with new updates for 2009. Yes, it's been a long time. Our camera died and we finally got a new one (Cannon Powershot A1000IS), which I am trying to learn how to use. Hopefully I will be able to keep up and start posting new & exciting recipes. For valentine's this year, we decided to stay in and I made a homecooked meal.

Against my better judgement, I used a steak marinade from I am usually underwhelmed by some of the recipes on there-even the ones with good ratings. It was called the Best Steak Marinade in Existence. was okay. Maybe it needed to marinate for the full day instead of just a few hours.

The sweet potato casserole, a request from my husband was delicious! I usually don't go by a recipe, but this time I followed one from the food network and then threw in some canned pineapple like usual and topped it with roasted marshmallows! Yum!
For the Appetizer, I decided to go with one that I made in the past. It was very good! The pears complemented the prosciutto in a good way, along with the cream sauce.
Roasted Prosciutto-Wrapped Pear With Blue Cheese Cream
from The Washington Post
The pear wedges may be wrapped up to 2 hours before serving.

6 very thin slices prosciutto, trimmed of excess fat (used one 3 oz package)
1/2 medium Bartlett or Anjou pear, cored and cut into 6 wedges (used 2 Anjou pears)
3 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons light cream (used heavy whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped thyme (used dried)
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Lay the prosciutto slices side by side on a work surface. Place a pear wedge near the end of each one and roll up. Transfer the wrapped pear wedges to the baking sheet and roast about 6 minutes, until the prosciutto is lightly browned and the pear has softened.

Meanwhile, combine the blue cheese, cream and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts. Season with pepper to taste. Arrange the roasted wrapped pears on a plate around a small bowl containing the blue cheese cream. Serve immediately.

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons dried basil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (optional)

Place the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and pepper in a blender. Add hot pepper sauce and garlic, if desired. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds until thoroughly mixed.

Pour marinade over desired type of meat. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Cook meat as desired.
Sweet Potato Casserole
from Food Network Kitchens

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large), scrubbed (I used 4 potatoes)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for the preparing the pan
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper (I omitted)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans (I topped with marshmallows)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and pierce each one 2 or 3 times with a fork. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F. Scoop the sweet potato out of their skins and into a medium bowl. Discard the skins. Mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the eggs, butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pan and sprinkle the top with the pecans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a bit puffy. Serve immediately.