Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pineapple Basil Sorbet Recipe

It got into the 70's today. So that warrants a post about Sorbet...

The best investment I ever made was in an ice cream maker.  Because if you do your research (look no further than this blog - especially this summer) you can find some EASY recipes that get great results.

Enter in the Pineapple Basil Sorbet recipe.

I'm not going to lie. I got this idea from skulking around the Gelato department at Greenlife. And while I love gelato, I like these flavors more in a sorbet form.

This sorbet is less creamy and more icy which is so refreshing in the summer and spring if its warm enough. In fact after I made it I went and planted my basil seeds....We're going to need a lot of it this summer.

Pineapple Basil Sorbet
1 whole medium sized pineapple ripe
1 cup packed genovese basil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Cut up the pineapple and put in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth and then put in your ice cream maker. It makes roughly 2 -3 pints of sorbet...

Bonus round: Take the top of the pineapple and place in a vase so its top resting in the water. After a couple weeks it will develop roots and you can plant it in the ground for your own pineapple harvest.

Its called added value, people....

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Artisan Bread in 5 - Challah Recipe

I was never good at braiding hair...

I couldn't get the hang of braiding hair I couldn't see with my arms twisted in the back of my head. It was just ridiculous. I don't even know if I can braid other people's hair well because my sister had a scalp as sensitive as a man's ego... (ha ha - sorry boys I couldn't resist)

I loved when my Grandmother who had been a former hairstylist came to visit because she would always french braid my hair and it was perfect. I would try to keep it perfect for as long as possible so I could reuse it... I was desperate...

So enter in Challah...A bread I've always wanted to attempt to make for Easter. And wouldn't you know it was in my Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes book that I'm still baking my way through (seriously I bought this book with my own money - Having said that, you need to get this book) 

So I made the Challah, bad braiding skills and all. They tell you to start braiding from the middle and to the end. My brain shut down for about 5 minutes until I figured that out. (Don't judge I was tired ok?!)
The only other thing I would do is not make the ropes so long so I could have a stubbier, puffier Challah loaf. Besides that - its an amazing loaf of bread. Or if you make the whole recipe at once - 4 loaves...

Here is the recipe from "The Kitchn's" review of it a while back. I got it from my book and seriously you should too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Popovers - A great alternative to rolls

I needed some baking retail therapy on Friday and I knew just where to get it...

I had been compiling a list of specific things I needed for a while. And then I just went for it, after work and went to the speciality store in Chattanooga, called Mia Cucina.

It didn't disappoint and I got some supplies I had sorely needed and a couple that, let's face it, I just wanted. One of them was a popover pan. Now I've seen popovers before but they have always had the allusion to me as being hard to make. They puff up so beautifully you assume there is some egg separation going on with egg whites being whipped up and so on...This is not something a working girl would do on a normal occasion.

I was wrong.

I researched some recipes and had to read over them twice...One thing I'm adamant on is that most recipes don't have to have a million ingredients. And for us working girls a few ingredients can go a long way without us vapor locking on a list of ingredients as long as my to do list. This recipe had 5 ingredients. Well see for yourself but these popovers are a great kept secret - or maybe I wasn't listening.

This is a recipe you'll want to make again and again instead of bread or rolls. And I can't wait to add cheese, thyme and a whole number of different versions. This one - is a keeper.

Basic Popover Recipe (From Barefoot Contessa)


1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus softened butter for greasing pans
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.Generously grease aluminum popover pans or Pyrex custard cups with softened butter. You’ll need enough pans to make 12 popovers. Place the pans in the oven for exactly 2 minutes to preheat. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, salt, eggs, milk, and melted butter until smooth. The batter will be thin. Fill the popover pans less than half full and bake for exactly 30 minutes. Do not peek.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bloomspotting - New signs of life from my garden

I've been cooking & baking a lot since I started the Nesting Project....

But then again most of this blog has taken place in the winter. But that's all about to change....For this Spring and Summer I'll be blogging about my trials and tribulations in the garden, as well as, my antics in the kitchen. So stay with me and let me know what you're doing in your green adventures.

I've been gardening for 6 years - since we moved into our house. There's been a lot of trial and error, sucesses and failures. I love gardening because its Darwinian theory at its best. Survival of the fittest. Every spring you wait to see which plants have the moxy to come back and make a stand and which ones decided to throw in the towel. And then there is the battles with the beetles and other pests that threaten your prized flowers.

Its all very dramatic.

And at the end of the day you have a couple of blooms you can call your own. Worth it!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pecan Waffles - Weekend Breakfast Series

Sometimes you feel like going all out on the weekends. And other times you just want to look like you went all out. And instead of the former we decided to pay homage to more sleep. And I've got a list of to do's as long as the grass in my front yard.


But that doesn't mean you can't make a great breakfast. And the interesting part of this recipe is there are no eggs. Weird right? But it works...So if you're allergic to eggs you should definitely try this out.

Pecan Waffles
2 cups self rising flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tsp almond flavoring (if you're not a fan use vanilla)

Whisk flour and sugar together in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, almond flavoring and melted butter. Add pecans. Add batter to a warm waffle iron that's bean brushed with oil. Top with Maple Butter.

I know shut-up I'm going...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chocolate Friday's - Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake Recipe

Its Friday Again!

Let's celebrate and have some cake and ice cream because its that exciting.

Well some of you may be aware of the Nutella Ice Cream from a former Chocolate Friday post and now I've paired it with a Chocolate Chip bundt cake. I love bundt cakes and they're easy to make However, in my experience, they always need something on the side to compliment them. Ice cream is the perfect addition to this cake. And Nutella Ice Cream just well, let's just say if I was into puns, I would say Nutella Ice Cream takes the cake...

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
1 cup milk
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously brush 12-to 15-cup nonstick Bundt pan with oil. Cream butter and sugar together then add eggs and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add alternately dry mixture and then milk until incorporated. Fold in 1 cup chocolate chips. Transfer batter to prepared Bundt pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool the cake 10 minutes. Invert cake onto rack; cool 15 minutes longer.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Capicola Ham for Your Pizza

I've learned that you can pretty much put anything on a pizza and it will be good.

And on this specific occassion I had no sausage or "meat properties" to add. This is a problem. Mostly because hubby doesn't recognize a dinner without a meat property. It is without a country as they say.

But I did have Capicola Ham. A salami type meat that I remember most specifically because of my grandfather's love of it. Even though he wasn't allowed to have it (due to by-pass surgery, angioplasty and diabetes) he would still sneak it into his condo and squirrel it away in the refrigerator...

But I would always find it.

And then we would go through the whole conversation that he shouldn't be eating this and I know all he was hearing was "blah, blah blah blah blah, blah blah"

He would pause and then he would ask "what's for dinner?"


I'm not even going to go into the conversation about the Entenmanns issue he had either...

Anyways, back to my pizza story - I found the Capicola to be a great addition and change to this pizza. So get out of your comfort zone and experiment with some different toppings on your pizza.

Pizza Dough
3 cups flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
1 package of highly active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt

Combine the water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. After it gets a little foamy add the olive oil, flour and salt and mix with a dough hook until combined. Flour your work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Divide between two 9 inch cake pans (its called a personal pan pizza) and then add your sauce and choice of toppings. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Key Lime Meringue Pie Recipe

My husband could be known as a traveling cookbook collector...

Whenever he travels for work he always comes back with another cookbook from a favorite restaurant he had the fortune to eat at, as if to say, "Dance monkey dance" And that's after all the pictures of the food he's taken and bragged about...

Like the time he went to Les Halles, knowing I love Tony Bourdain and his books. He bragged about it a full day before he even went...

Its like bragging about being thin.

His favorite restaurant is probably Joe's Stone Crabs. I have yet to eat there. Know why?
Because every time we visit its closed.  That's what you call good timing.

However, I've had the cookbook for a while and the thing he loves just as much as the Stone Crabs themselves is the Key Lime Pie. I've made it quite a few times but with it being Spring and all I decided to make it in lieu of a Lemon Meringue Pie and add the meringue to it. I also wanted to compensate for the extra egg whites. I have about 20 in my freezer already and I can't bring myself to throw them away...

Its sacriledge.

Key Lime Meringue Pie
Graham Cracker Pie Crust
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons grated key lime or lime zest
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed key lime or lime juice
3 egg white
1/4 cup sugar

In a mixer mix the yolks & zest on high speed until light and fluffy (around 5 minutes) add the condensed milk and beat for another 3-4 minutes. Lower the speed and add the juice until just combined. Pour into the pie shell and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and then freeze for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile put egg whites in mixer on high speed and mix until frothy. Add sugar until you get stiff peaks. Add to the top of the pie after its been in the freezer and put under the broiler until its golden brown.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Muesli Recipe For Your Monday

Just like chocolate always seems to go with Fridays, fiber and Mondays are just a match made in heaven.

When I worked at a Bed and Breakfast we served a three course breakfast:

1. Beverage/Breads (Juices, Coffee, Tea, muffins, scones etc)
2. Fruit Salad, Oatmeal
3. Main Course

After a while you can only serve so many fruit salads and oatmeal variations. And in the summer its just too hot for oatmeal - Enter the Muesli recipe. Ever since I discovered it, I've been in love with it. And when you combine it with fresh apples, apple juice and vanilla yogurt its just the perfect breakfast to get you through the summer.
You can also vary it in the following ways:
Flavored yogurts
Different fruits
Different fruit juices

Make a large batch and you have breakfast for a week. If only figuring out lunch were that easy...

2 cups Regular Oats (not instant)
1 cup apple juice
1 cup vanilla yogurt
2 small apples diced

In a large mixing bowl combine apple juice and yogurt. Add oats and mix until incorporated. Add Diced apples and refrigerate overnight..

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Apple Pancakes Recipe - The aftermath of Spring Cleaning

It all started Friday evening.

I got out of work and it was warm and Springlike and I was ready to make the changeover to spring. I started to make plans to throw open the windows and clean from top to bottom. And then go out to the garden and get everything ready for the new season...

I may have overdone it...

And while I nurse my sore arms, I leave you with this recipe for apple pancakes that can restore your strength the day after you've cleaned all your dust bunnies and done quite a bit of yardwork. The greatest part of this recipe? The maple butter...

Maple Syrup need not apply.

Now its about making my list of chores for next week...Sigh.

Apple Pancakes with Maple Syrup Butter
1 1/2 cups Self rising flour
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 cup milk or buttermilk
2 apples diced small

Maple Syrup butter
3 oz butter softened
3 tbsp maple syrup

Mix dry ingredient and create a well. Beat the egg and milk together and add to the dry ingredients along with the diced apple. In skillet (use 2 tbsp olive oil on medium meat) Add a ladle of the mixture (or less for smaller pancakes) and cook until the it starts to bubble slightly. Then flip over.

For the maple butter combine the softened butter with the maple syrup. Spread the maple butter over the pancakes after the come out of the skillet and serve warm.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Weekend Breakfast Series: A Manly Breakfast Casserole

Weekend Chores need to be inspired...
Its Spring and that means a good deal of outside chores to catch up on. And if you want your husband or boyfriend to fall in line it might be good to incentivize them with a good breakfast.

So for this breakfast casserole I added a lot of meat (aka Andouille Turkey Sausage), hashbrowns, mushrooms and cheese. Its pretty manly...

Here's hoping it gets the job done..

Spicy Sausage Breakfast Casserole
3 links Andouille Turkey Sausage Diced
8 eggs
1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 pint sliced mushrooms
2 cups frozen hashbrowns (Tip: I froze extra that I julienned with my mandoline for last weeks casserole)

Preheat oven to 375. In your 8x8 glass baking dish layer hashbrowns, sausage, mushrooms. Then add the beaten 8 eggs (season with salt and pepper) and top with the mozzarella. Bake for 35 minutes or until cooked through.

Enjoy your raked lawn, pressure washed house and clean gutters...
You're welcome.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Chocolate Fridays - Rice Pudding Recipe

Chocolate Friday is back again - Why you say? Because we're celebrating the end of another crazy week.

Rice Pudding is extremely comforting. And you know what else is comforting to me? Stirring risotto over and over with nothing but complete silence... After a fast paced week I just want to decompress with a mindless action like stirring.

And the rice doesn't talk back.

The addition of chocolate? Well that's just an extra special YAHOO! that the weekend is here.

Chocolate Rice Pudding
1 cup Arborio Rice
1 14 oz can of Light Coconut Milk
1 cup whole milk
2 bars (8 oz) Ghiradeli Bittersweet Chocolate chopped

In a saucepan melt 2 tbsp of butter on medium. Add rice and stir for a few minutes before you add the milk. Meanwhile combine the milks together and ladle into the rice. Stir until the rice absorbs the milk and then ladle more. Do this until you are done with the milk and the arborio rice is completely cooked.

Add the chopped bittersweet chocolate and incorporate.
Note* This is a rich dessert so you may only want 1 bar of chocolate. The choice is yours. For reheating in a microwave add a little milk or cream to it before you warm up. It will come back to its creamy consistency again..

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Pot Roast Makes Life Easy

Things a working girl should always do to set herself up for successful for weekly meals: Roasts

I've posted about Boston Butt Roasts and even my Marinara Recipe as some of the recipes you make that will allow you to make other easy recipes during the week. The fact of the matter is this: If you work you have limited time (or patience/strength for that matter) during the week to make meals. Which then prompts take-out or fast food and it becomes a vicious cycle.

I should know...I'm still working off that vicious cycle at the gym...And hoisting extra weight in step class is no fun...Take it from me.

Anyways, I found that if you make one big thing like a Roast or if you have Marinara on hand not only do you reap the financial benefits in leftovers or remixes but it makes life easy.

For instance if you have Marinara on hand all you have do to is boil pasta add some chicken sausage or regular sausage, meat, etc.

If you make a Pot Roast you can use it as leftovers for sandwiches (lunches), chop up the meat with pasta and sauce, put it in a stir fry, etc...

It set's you up for success. Now my husband not liking Pot Roast was another thing (that was too easy right? Heaven forbid we save the world with one recipe)...He had had the dried out Pot Roast as a child and as such did  not want it again.


So I thought about it and tried to find a recipe that incorporated my husbands favorite flavor: Teriyaki Sauce. Interestingly enough I found one on Add 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper to it and your golden...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Banana Nutella Gelato

Bananas are always giving me the stink eye...

They look at me in the grocery store with my promises of healthy snacks and smoothies and scoff.
"We've heard about you, we know we will just end up in the trash like the rest of your victims"

So lately I've been trying to reform my banana wasting ways...

But yet again last week I saw two bananas on my counter and their spots were giving me the stink eye...I could feel the glare...

So I searched for a banana gelato recipe which I reformed a little. Its another super easy recipe. And while it was freezing in the ice cream maker at the end i dripped nutella into it.

Surely this qualifies me for sainthood in the banana kingdom

Banana Nutella Gelato
2 medium bananas super ripe
2/3 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of whole milk
2 tbsp rum
1/4 cup Nutella

Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Then put directly into your ice cream maker to freeze. Once its almost ready to be taken out get a tbsp and start dripping nutella into the churning mixture. You can add more nutella depending on your love of it, but that was my last bit...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Crab Cakes with a Kick

This is the reason I got into cooking....

Because even though a can of Jumbo Lump Crab can cost $20 (in which I almost dropped the can on my foot) you would never be able to get really good crab cakes for that cost.

And there aren't usually leftovers either...

This was the first time I have experimented with making crab cakes. Warned by others about making them too dry with too much breadcrumb or overseasoning them, I had just written them off.

But I was grocery shopping and bored...So I decided to dive head first into crab infested waters.

When researching recipes I noticed that alot always included dijion mustard to go along with the mayonnaise mixture. I added Sriracha  instead...It had a tiny kick that didn't overpower but added some interest..

I really loved them and when we were eating them hubby didn't say a word. Confused I asked him what he thought..."These are great, right?" All I got was a nodded head. Sometimes non-verbal comments are the best compliments.

Crab Cakes with a kick
1 lbs Jumbo Lump Crabmeat
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp Sriracha
1 tsp Salt

Pick through your crab meat to make sure there are no shells. Then in a bowl mix egg, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Sriracha, and salt. Add crab meat and combine. Then add the bread crumb. Mixture should just come together and may seem a little wet.

Fry crab cakes in 2 tbsp olive oil on med high heat cooked through. Serve with wilted greens on the side or with slaw.

Enjoy the quiet of a non-speaking spouse and take note of the head bobs.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another Artisan Bread in 5 minutes Experience - Vermont Cheddar Bread

Rainy days were made for bread baking...And sleep but I wanted to be productive.

I've been baking my way through Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day and I have to admit - this is the best cookbook ever...And no they didn't give me a free copy.

Everyone was on this bandwagon before me and I was skeptical. Then I tried the Spinach Feta bread recipe and I was hooked. I got the book the next week...There is a reason why people rave about this book. It goes against so many bread myths that it boogles the mind...

To have so many triumph in a realm that has caused home cooks so much frustration is big news indeed.

So once I saw the Vermont Cheddar Bread recipe I new that was my next adventure.
Because cheese plus carbs on a rainy day = perfection.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ode to Pi Day!

Even though I've posted today, I'd be remiss in not posting my ode to Pi Day!

Happy 3.14!

In honor of this day I made a collage of my past pie explorations... Enjoy.

Spring Foward Breakfast

There are two things that make today special:  Today is my nephew, Xander's birthday and its the beginning of longer daylight. These two things have a lot in common: I'm in love with both of them.

Let's start with Xander. I still remember when I took a week off to visit him after my sister gave birth. He was so little, but when fussy he packed a punch. One night when I was having trouble getting him to sleep I texted my husband this picture:

This is how my night is going how about yours?

But I got to spend a lot of time with him during Christmas and he is genuinely the most good natured baby I've ever seen:

Happy Birthday Xander!!!!

Now my second love today: Daylight Savings Time
I love that I'll leave work when its still light and that I can even have a chance to take pictures of dinner in natural light...I love the fact that after dinner during the week we can sit out front on our porch and relax before we start another work week.

So due to lack of an hour, I needed a fast breakfast to make. And I found it on the back of my Jiffy Corn muffin mix box.

Corn Waffles & Scrambled Eggs with Chorizo & Manchego

Corn Waffles
1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter

Mix ingredients together and put in a preheated waffle iron.

Scrambled Eggs with Chorizo & Manchego
4 eggs
1-2 links of diced Turkey Chorizo
Wedge of Manchego (or cheese of choice) grated

Cook diced Chorizo and add eggs. When the scrambled mixture is ready sprinkle grated cheese over and plate.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Casserole Recipe for Two

Its rare you find a breakfast casserole for two that feeds four...

However, as if baking my bacon wasn't easy enough I also decided to do a breakfast casserole this morning as well. Because I really, really wanted to enjoy my coffee with no interruptions...

And all you have to do is build a casserole the night before or even the morning of (its that easy) and then put it in the oven....with the bacon.

Its sad I keep making this easier and easier...And I feel really bad about it. Let me have another cup of coffee while I reflect...

Cheesy Breakfast Hashbrown Casserrole
1 large Yukon Potato
6 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp Herbs de Provence
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
8x8 square class baking dish - buttered

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the bacon on a baking sheet and put in the oven. (follow the instructions via the link)

With a mandoline  (you really need this as a part of your kitchen tools) take the potato and slice them into matchsticks. In a glass bowl beat the eggs until fluffy and then add  the hashbrowns, herbs & seasonings, eggs, heavy cream and cheese until incorporated.

Put mixture into the baking dish and put into the oven for 35-40 minutes.

This is the closest casserole for two without putting into individual ramekins. But it does serve 4 comfortably.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chocolate Fridays - Tiramisu Recipe

It never hurts to add chocolate to a recipe...

When I was first married every Saturday & Sunday morning I would watch the Food Network from the time we woke up until 2 p.m. I was obsessed with learning new recipes, new cooking methods. My husband bought me ton's of cookbooks as my present for birthdays and anniversaries...

And while I'm definitely not to that level I fondly remember the recipes I learned during that period. This one from Giada DeLaurentis is one of them:

Chocolate Tiramisu

Because Tiramisu isn't rich enough until you add chocolate to it. The other reason I love this recipe is that you build it in a bread pan giving it shape and a great presentation when your finished and need to serve to guests... Just slice it like bread...  I love that you can see the pattern it makes when the slice lays flat. A little added decoration.

In fact I favor this over the traditional Tiramisu recipe - the horror....


6 ounces container mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
Chocolate Zabaglione, recipe follows
2 1/2 cups espresso coffee, warmed
24 crisp ladyfinger cookies (recommended: Savoiardi)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for garnish
Dark chocolate shavings, for garnish

Place the mascarpone cheese in a large bowl and set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone. Then fold in the chilled Chocolate Zabaglione. Cover and refrigerate.
Whisk the warmed espresso and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in another medium bowl until blended. Line a 9 1/4 by 5 by 2 3/4-inch metal loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic to extend over the sides. Working with 1 cookie at a time, dip 8 cookies into the espresso, and arrange in a single layer side by side over the bottom of the prepared pan.

Spoon 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture over the cookies to cover. Repeat dipping 8 of the cookies in the espresso and layering the cookies and remaining mascarpone mixture 2 more times. Dip the remaining 8 cookies in the espresso and arrange side by side atop the tiramisu. Press lightly to compact slightly (the last layer will extend above the pan sides). Cover the tiramisu with plastic and refrigerate at least 6 hours.

Unwrap the plastic from atop the tiramisu. Invert the tiramisu onto a platter. Remove the plastic. Sift the cocoa over the tiramisu, and with a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, make dark chocolate shavings and sprinkle over top.

Chocolate Zabaglione:

2 tablespoons whipping cream, or heavy cream
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup dry Marsala
Pinch salt

Add cream and chocolate to a heavy small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the chocolate chips are melted and smooth. Set aside and keep warm.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, Marsala, and salt in a large glass bowl until blended. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, but do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk the egg mixture over the simmering water until it is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Using a large rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate to chill completely.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Green Tea Creme Brulee

I love Creme Brulee....Like take a bath in it - love it...I'm not playing around.

So if I can create some different versions of it I will do it just for the chance to "test" my recipes...
I'm also a big fan of Green Tea ice cream. So I put the two together for my Oscar party last Sunday and found a recipe I would really try again...

And hey, if I can get some anti-oxidants in there with a little caffeine as well, its all gravy in my book.

Green Tea Creme Brulee

1 extra-large egg
4 extra-large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for each serving
3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (recommended: Cointreau)
2-3 tea bags of Green Tea

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Whisk the egg, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup of the sugar together until just combined. While, you scald the cream in a small saucepan make sure you have the green tea bags in the cream and keep there until it's very hot to the touch but not boiled. Remove the green tea bags and make sure to squeeze any excess liquid into the cream. Slowly add the cream to the eggs as you whisk them together. Add the vanilla and orange liqueur and pour into 6 to 8-ounce ramekins (or use oven appropriate teacups!) until almost full.

Place the ramekins/teacups in a baking pan and carefully pour boiling water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins/teacups. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custards are set when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, spread 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on the top of each ramekin and put under the broiler for a minute until the caramelized sugar hardens.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Butternut Chewies - A recipe from my childhood

I've never understood why they called them Butternut Chewies...

The original recipe was a Loretta Lynn sponsored recipe from Crisco...

Ummm where's the buttter peeps?

Anyways my mom always made them with butter and they are just wonderful. They live up to their name because once you let them cool out of the pan they are really really chewy.

They are probably my favorite bar cookie ever. My mom would make them for us and have them waiting for us when we got home from school. They really did make everything better.

So the other day I remembered this recipe and decided to make it. But I wanted to add one thing that I thought would make it even more comforting: cinnamon. It worked. And it made the house smell wonderful...

That's killing two birds with one stone.

Cinna-Butter Nut Chewies
2 Cups light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I like pecans but walnuts work too)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 13x9x2 pan. In a mixer combine the butter and sugar together until creamed. Add the eggs and vanilla. In another bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients into the wet until incorporated. Fold in the nuts.

Spread mixture evenly in pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes.

Warm up your jaws for some well deserved chewing and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Easy Pork Lo Mein Recipe

In the food realm I'm a big fan of reruns...Or should I say re-mixes?

Let me clarify that...I'm always looking for ways to make one dish into another....

I can take this Roast and make it into:

A side dish at breakfast with eggs (or Green eggs and Ham for all of you Dr. Seuss Fans)
Sliced with Potatoes Au Gratin
Barbecue Chopped Pork Sandwich
Pork Lo Mein

You get the gist....That way I'm not just serving Pork Roast for leftovers....AGAIN.

And when you are cooking for two and wanting to stretch your dollar this approach makes a lot of sense. And it cuts down on a lot of the thinking you have to do for dinner...

Which is the best part....

Pork Lo Mein
2 cups chopped pork from Boston Butt Roast
1/2 cup Teriyaki Sauce
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 shallot
1 bag frozen Stir Fry Mix
1 box spaghetti
Fancify: Add a scrambled egg to final mixture or use rice instead of noodles.

Combine oils in skillet and add shallots. Cook on med high heat until translucent and add pork and teriyaki sauce. Start boiling the spaghetti. Cook for about 10 minutes to reheat the pork and crisp outside. Add the Stir Fry mix and cook until heated through.Strain the spaghetti and combine with pork stir fry mixture...

Throw away Chinese take-out menus cluttering your fridge. There now you've also done some spring cleaning. This is what we call "added value".

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar Party on a French Theme

No one knows how to party like the French, no?

So in honor of Meryl Streep being nominated for her role as Julia Child in "Julie and Julia" we decided to take our knitting circle to the streets (in the style of the Doobie Brothers) and have a French themed Oscar party...

Minus the knitting...I know I know...but stick with me

It was low key by all French standards but fun nonetheless... We had some great french style dishes...

Gruyere Puff Pastry Twirls

What's a French Party without Cheese???

Rosemary & Cayenne Cashews with a little kick....

And the highlight - a take on Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic using on Chicken Breast. A much easier recipe that takes way less time than the original and still as flavorful...

Along with that we had wonderful Kir Royales and Bellini's made by our resident knitting workhorse Alex Sedlander (aka. Lil Sed)

Of course we ended it all with Green Tea infused Creme Brulees. But we ate them so fast I didn't get any pictures...

That's how you know they were good...But here are a few recipes until I can make more.

Gruyere Puff Pastry Twirls
1 sheet puff pastry
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated Gruyere Cheese

Unfold and roll out the puff pastry. Brush Olive oil over the entire sheet. Sprinkle cheese and then salt and pepper. With a pizza cutter cut 1/4 inch strips. Transport to baking sheet and twist each strip making sure you press ends to the baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Chicken Breasts with 40 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of butter
4 tbsp olive oil
6 chicken breasts
cloves of three heads of garlic peeled
1 1/2 cup white wine
2 tbsp cream
2 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste

Dry chicken breasts and then salt and pepper each one. Put in frying pan on medium high heat and brown on both sides. Remove the breasts to a separate plate. Add the garlic and brown evenly on all sides. Add wine and then bring up to a boil. Add chicken breasts back in and cover for about 10 minutes. Remove breasts and take 1/4 cup of juices from pan and add flour and combine to form a slurry. Add back into the pan and combine. Add the heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste.

Slice chicken breasts on platter and pour sauce over.

 Cashews with a kick
1 lbs of cashews unsalted
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
3 tbsp of rosemary
1 tbsp salt

Roast Cashews in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Add butter and seasonings and combine.
Serve warm.

After the eating we all filled out our ballots and critiqued the red carpet fashions (we were not impressed) and overall had a great time.

Here's to finding excuses for knitting circle soirees!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

How To Cook Bacon

Sometimes I'm not in the mood for a mess.

And let's face it....To enjoy bacon for breakfast on the weekends usually there is a lot of mess and work to go along with it...

I mean how exactly are you supposed to fry bacon, and cook pancakes at the same time without one of them getting cold?


The BEST way to cook bacon is is this:

Easy-to-Make Working Girl Bacon
1 sheet parchment paper
Cookie sheet
Thick cut bacon (you will thank me for this)
Fancify:  brush maple syrup on it after its done...

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lay bacon on top of parchment paper and put in the oven for about 20 minutes or till crisp/reached desired doneness. That's it. Nothin to see here...Continue with flapjack flipping please.

Unfortunately you are now going to eat more bacon than you even did before minus the mess and the extra juggling in the kitchen.

You're welcome.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Strawberry-Banana Pancakes Recipe

Weekend Breakfast Series is back...

For a working girl the weekends are really the only time to make a big breakfast but its also the only time we have to relax...

This is what you call a no win situation...

And while I'm a big fan of making pancakes from scratch I've learned to create some that are super easy. Take self-rising flour. It cuts down the need for about 4 ingredients. So if pancakes for breakfast are your thing use this recipe or look for pancakes that have self rising flour in the ingredients list.

All you need is to enlist a willing dishwasher and you've got it made...

Strawberry-Banana Pancakes
1 large ripe banana
2 cups self rising flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 pint of strawberries

Mash banana and then combine it with buttermilk, eggs, and butter. In separate bowl whisk flour and sugar together. Combine them together.   

Heat skillet on medium. Slice strawberries and have them ready. Pour batter into skillet and sprinkle strawberries on top. Push down into the batter and flip the pancakes...

Use the rest of the morning to relax with that extra cup of coffee...
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