Monday, February 28, 2011

Baked Eggs with Potatoes and Bacon

I'm a sucker for packaging. 

If it's bright and shiny, colorful or has a cute handle more than likely I will purchase it at least once. Sometimes I also love to do this with my breakfasts. Sometimes you just want bacon, eggs and hash browns no matter how many time you've already had then. So instead I cook sliced fingerling potatoes along with chopped jalapeno bacon (it's all in the rub supposedly and it's at Whole Foods). I layer that in the bottom of a ramekin and then crack an egg on top (two if the ramekin is big enough)

Surprisingly enough I loved how the bacon and potatoes sort of melted together while they baked. When you take them out of the oven the egg yolk sort of oozes over them and its just heavenly. Seems so much more fancy then normal eggs, bacon and potatoes. I bet it's the packaging.

Baked Eggs with Potatoes and Bacon (yields 4 ramekins)

2 cups sliced fingerling potatoes
4 slices bacon (I used a new Jalapeno Bacon from Whole Foods)
8 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With 1 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, add the chopped bacon and fingerling potatoes and cook until the fingerling potatoes almost cooked through. (leave them slightly underdone because they will continue to cook in the oven.  Split the potato mixture in 4 large ramekins (8 smaller ramekins with only one egg in each) Crack two eggs per larger ramekin or one if using smaller ones. Put ramekins on a sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes until the egg whites set but the yolk is still slightly runny.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs

Cooking ribs is my father-in-law's specialty.

Therefore I've always enjoyed his amazing ribs when we went to visit them or when my husband brought some home from their house. I was pretty comfortable with this situation. Then I got a new southern inspired cookbook (Bon Appetit Ya'll) and I decided to take the plunge and try it myself.  If you've lived in the south for any amount of time you've either made Coca Cola Glazed Ham or Coca Cola Cake so why not ribs?

It's also one of my husband's favorite foods so I guess I should also know how to make them.

The interesting part is that you cook the ribs in the oven not on the grill. Towards the end of its time in the oven you turn on the broiler and cook them.  Such an easy way to cook ribs and the delicious Coca Cola glaze was perfect. Now I don't have to go to my in-laws every time I want great ribs.

Coca-Cola Glazed Baby Back Ribs (From the cookbook Bon Appetit Ya'll)

1 cup Coca-Cola Classic
1/4 apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Scotch bonnet chiles, chopped
2 racks baby back ribs (3 pounds total)
Course salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring the Coca-Cola, vinegar and brown sugar, and chiles to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Decrease the heat to low and keep the sauce warm while the ribs cook.  

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Liberally season both sides of the ribs with salt and pepper.  Place the ribs on a broiler pan and bake for 30 minutes, glazing the ribs occasionally with the Coca-Cola mixture.  Turn the ribs over and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes, glazing occasionally, or until the ribs are tender and the meat is starting to pull away from the bone.  

When the ribs are cooked through, set the oven to broil.  Liberally spoon half of the remaining glaze over the ribs and broil until glazed a deep mahogany brown, 5 to 7 minutes.  Turn over; repeat with the remaining glaze, and additional 5 to 7 minutes.  Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

French Onion Soup Bowls

It's amazing how a little thing like a soup bowl can bring back a flood of memories.

When I was a kid and we stayed home sick with a cold my mother always gave us soup. Nothing new about that right? But the best part about ingesting large quanities of soup was the bowls she gave us. It wasn't until years later that I realized that these special soup bowls were french onion soup bowls like the one about that I found on recently. Only hers had a little lid on it to keep it warm and rested on a a little wicker plate underneath.

There was always something special about getting my soup in this special contraption that made me feel better.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes

The one fact about working in an office comprised mainly of men is that they will not remember your birthday.

It's nothing personal because they won't remember each others birthdays either.  From day one I was always the birthday date keeper. The person before me that tracked the birthdays was a female as well.

Do you get my drift?

  I normally arrange all the cakes and I keep track of the birthdays. I went as far as to even celebrate the vice president's birthday a month early (darn that smudge over the date).  

The one catch is that I can only track the birth dates that are provided to me. Unfortunately, the one birthday they forgot to give me was one of the other female's that I have the pleasure to work with. Sherri and I put up with a lot, working with that much testosterone. So these cupcakes are a birthday make-up for her. 

In my last post I said I would be posting recipes this week from my favorite new cookbook "Bon Appetit Ya'll". It's filled with Southern inspired classic recipes with a culinary twist. So I decided to make "Aunt Louise's Red Velvet Cake" and just make them into cupcakes to celebrate at the office. Since I'm new to the cake decorating arena, I decided to pick up some super cute sugar Wilton flowers from the cake decorating section at Walmart.  A cute and easier way to bring cupcakes for a belated birthday. This southern style recipe yields a moist cake/cupcake that isn't too sweet.

I'm definitely a fan.

Aunt Louise's Red Velvet Cake (Bon Appetit Ya'll)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1ounce bottle red food coloring

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounce cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 tsp whole milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either butter and flour 3 9 inch round cake pans an line the bottoms with waxed or parchment paper and butter and flour the paper or line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. (will yield 24 cupcakes) 

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside. In a measure cup, combine the buttter, milk, vanilla extract, and vinegar. Set aside. 

To prepare the batter, in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the oil and the sugar on medium speed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition.  With the mixer on low speed, add the food coloring.  Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Mix until just combined.

To bake the layers (for the cake) divide the batter among the prepared pans.  Bake until firm and a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean, 25 - 30 minutes (20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes until a toothpick comes out clean).  Meanwhile to prepare the frosting in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the cream cheese and butter on the medium speed until smooth.  Sift over the confectioners' sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla.  If too stiff, add the milk, 1 tsp at a time, to achieve the correct consistency.

To assemble cake, place one layer on a cardboard cake round.  Spread with frosting.  Repeat with the remaining 2 layers, placing the final layer bottom side up.  Finish with the remaining frosting.  Sprinkle over the pecans.  Serve the cake immediately or store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mayonnaise Biscuits

Sometimes you come across a cookbook in which you want to make every single recipe. I found "Bon Appetit Ya'll recently for inspiration on a project at work.  I bought it on a Monday. It sat on my desk for a couple of days and then I started flipping through it. By Saturday I started making recipes from it. 

This biscuit recipe caught my eye especially. There are many things about it that appeal to me.  The first is that you don't have to cut cold butter into it and work it in. The fat in this recipe is the mayonnaise. The second is the use for self rising flour which cut's out a few ingredients and makes a simplified drop biscuit recipe.  It was light and flaky and made me feel like a true southern baker.

In the next few posts you'll see a few of these recipes that are a perfect cross between southern and classic french recipes. A highbrow take on down home recipes. 

Mayonnaise Biscuits (From Bon Appetit Ya'll Cookbook)
1 tbsp canola oil for the tin
2 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp mayonnaise
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 12 cup muffin tin with oil. Combine the flour, mayonnaise, milk, and sugar in a bowl.  Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, spoon dough into each muffin cup, filling about half full.  Alternatively, drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, then invert the biscuits onto the rack to cool until warm. Serve warm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My First Marmalade Experience

My mother was a great "Domestic Engineer" when I was growing up. She was at great cooking, baking, decorating, housekeeping and all of the other tiring aspects of choosing to stay at home. But when I told my mother that I was starting to join the canning revolution - she snorted in disbelief. Or at least that's is what I imagined what she did when she saw that post and questioned me on it in an email.

Why would a working girl have time to make jam?

This is a good point. I guess eventually you are going to make a choice of what you want to make from scratch with the limited time that is available on the weekends. Sometimes I'll make a loaf of bread (Thank you Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes Cookbook), Sometimes I'll make a roast and sometimes I'll experiment with jams and marmalade. Last year I started make quick skillet type jams with the fruit I had leftover from the farmer's market. They were so delicious. This year I knew I wanted a pantry full of homemade jams, jellies, curds and marmalade. I also want to find a way to can my tomato sauce so I could have hostess gifts and little thoughtful gifts for those who needed meals or just needed cheering up.

Then my husband got me this for Christmas (yes mother it's ANOTHER cookbook - ok so I've gone a little overboard)

The Blue Chair Cookbook is an amazing cookbook that feels like it's around 10 lbs of recipes for jams, jellies and marmalade recipes - BY SEASON...

So I pushed away my urge to use some of my frozen strawberries in order to skip to the spring recipes and decided that I would make the Pink Grapefruit Marmalade as my first step. I also wanted to give it away for Valentine's presents to my friends. Get it? Pink... (crickets, crickets....)

Let me just cut to the chase. It turned out wonderful and I loved the process of waiting until the marmalade jelled. Now I know what it looks like when it almost reaches that point. But the best part of the process what the idea that they author had about sterilizing jars in the oven. Love this idea because the whole reason I had never canned yet was the whole mess of boiling the jars. In the process she outlines in the book you do the following:

Put clean jars and tops in a 250 degree oven on a jelly roll pan for 30 minutes. Remove them and add the jelly, jam or marmalade. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth (I used a clean paper towel). Put the lids on and put the jars back in the oven for another 15 minutes. When you remove them from the oven and as they start to cool all the tops will pop and seal. If it doesn't then put it in the refrigerator and use within a week. Seems pretty easy to me.

The moral of this tale is if you have any interest in some wonderful jam, jelly or marmalade recipes you can't go wrong by getting this book. It's inspirational and oh so helpful.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 14, 2011

Doggie Treats for Valentine's Day

It's very easy to forget that your pets need a little love on Valentine's Day. 

A while ago my sister, knowing my domestic tendencies, gave me a doggie treat cookbook as a joke. The gist of it was if I went as far to make doggie treats then I was a die hard. 

I fought the urge to make the dog treats.  I mean everyone has limits right? When you work a full time job and try to bake and cook and keep your house straight there are only so many things you can fit into a 48 hour on the weekends.

Then I caved...

I was in the kitchen waiting on my Pink Grapefruit Marmalade to reach it's setting point and I saw the cookbook. I thought dog treats for Valentine's day would be the perfect little gift for my dogs and my friends and their dogs.

The recipe makes about two jelly roll baking sheets of dog treats. Quantities will vary on the cookie cutters or feel free to roll the dough into a log and cut into circles. The recipe is an Italian themed recipe with tomato paste, cheese and Italian seasoning...The dogs loved them and their friends did too.

Mambo Italiano Dog Treats
1 1/2 cups Oat Flour
1 1/2 cups Brown Rice flour
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 cup grated mozzarella (I use get the finely grated kind in the cheese aisle)
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1 large egg
3/4 cup water

Mix the ingredients together in a large both and knead with your hands to make sure it incorporates together into a dough. Roll out will a little of the flour (to prevent from sticking) and use dog themed (or any theme) cookie cutters to cut out shapes. If you don't have cookie cutters just roll into a log and cut circles out. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Let cook on a wire rack.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Easy Donuts for Breakfast

In the weeks leading up to  Valentine's weekend I've posted and planned different ideas for Valentine's breakfast. From heart shaped biscuits and bacon, egg and cheese heart shaped sandwiches to chocolate cardamom pancakes - I've kicked my ideas into overdrive. 

Then I went and made something really easy instead.

One of the best email's I've gotten lately was an issue of Serious Eats in which they offered a super easy way to make donuts. In fact the main ingredients is Pillsbury biscuits. 

Why didn't I think of that???
So I got up this morning with the idea in mind to make these super easy donuts. I got out the Valentine's sprinkles, powdered sugar and made chocolate ganache and by the time my husband was out of the shower, they were all done. I cannot tell you how easy these were. I highly recommend this recipe. 

We paired it with some Cafe DuMonde coffee and a side of bacon and eggs. It was a great start to this sweet weekend.  Get the recipe here and have a great Valentines.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Romantic Valentine's Dinner Or Breakfast

Today I read that over 70 million people will go to a restaurant for Valentine's Day.

I'm not going to be one of those people. You may think me a cynic for it or an old married woman but I'm just tired and being on the go so much I really crave the comfort of my home. In fact the notion of being tired is actually what brought me to the idea of having a romantic dinner at home but in actuality it's breakfast. I love having breakfast for dinner. I love the idea of chocolate pancakes and scones along with thick-cut bacon and scrambled eggs. I also love the idea of getting dressed in my PJ's to go along with the kitchy theme and have a fun time of it. But hey, if you don't like the idea of doing it for dinner, it becomes a great Valentine's Brunch idea.

You decide

Orange Creamsicle

2 oz vanilla vodka
8 oz orange juice

Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker and serve...

Chocolate Scones
2 cups self rising flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter cut into cubes
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients together and and incorporate butter with a biscuit cutter or your hands into the dry ingredients so it resembles coarse sand.  Add buttermilk until mixture comes together into a moist dough. On a cocoa floured surface (I learned this the hard way) roll out the biscuits and cut little heart shapes. Put them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Serve with strawberry jam.

Chocolate Cardamom Pancakes with Orange Glaze
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cardamom
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk

Orange Glaze
1 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar  and cardamom in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and milk and whisk. Take a large cookie scoop (or just a ladle if you don't care about how uniform they are) and pour batter in a preheated pan/skillet on medium to medium high heat. Garnish pancakes with fresh mandarin orange slices and orange glaze.

For the orange glaze combine the sugar and the orange juice in a sauce pan on medium high heat. Reduce down until the sugar is dissolved and the consistency is syrup-like. Let cool slightly before pouring over the pancakes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Hot Dogs with Cheddar and Sauteed Apples

I've been exploring the realm of the gourmet hot dog recipe

It all started with my New Year's resolution to start cooking my way through any cooking magazine I have in my possession. So as I was cleaning the house and throwing away magazines, I remembered to tear out all the recipes that looked interesting to me. I've been cooking my through them lately.

Gourmet hot dogs have been important in my life. They are the "fun family dinner night" in which we have something to look forward to - Junk food. It's not just any junk food but a high brow type so we can feel better about ourselves. 

Either way it's a coping mechanism for getting through the week - And it works...

Hot Dogs with Cheddar and Sauteed Apples (Food and Wine September 2010)


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large Granny Smith apples—peeled, halved, cored and cut into scant 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
Pinch of cinnamon
6 hot dogs
6  hot dog buns, split
3 ounces thinly sliced sharp cheddar cheese (I used Pepperjack and enjoyed the spiciness to go with the sweet)

Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the apples and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until barely softened and just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes longer. Stir in the cinnamon and keep warm.
Heat a grill pan. Grill the hot dogs over high heat until lightly charred all over, about 5 minutes. On a baking sheet, set the dogs in the rolls and top with the cheddar cheese. Bake for about 3 minutes, just until the cheese is melted. Top with the apples and serve at once.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Denver French Toast

I'm always up for a good breakfast recipe. So when I scouted out my Epicurious App on my IPhone a couple of days ago and found a section called "Winter Breakfasts". So I went through the recipes and found a unlikely combination between a Denver Omelette and French toast. I can't believe I had never seen this recipe or even thought to make it. Although, the recipe was posted in 1998 a good deal before my nesting adventures. I haven't had a savory french toast that wasn't in bread pudding form so it was worth a try. 

The melted swiss cheese with the green, red and yellow peppers and onions were delicious. It was actually nice to have a savory french toast. For some reason it felt more substantial.  Either way it's another great breakfast recipe that I had to share.  

Denver French Toast (Bon Appetit 1998)

3 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
4 3/4-inch-thick slices sourdough bread (each about 4x3 inches)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large red, green or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup matchstick-size strips Black Forest ham (about 4 ounces)
4 large thin slices Swiss cheese, folded to match bread size
Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons water in pie dish to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Add bread; let stand 1 minute. Turn bread over; let stand until egg mixture is absorbed, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add ham; sauté until vegetables and ham are golden, about 3 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to bowl; cover with foil to keep warm. 

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add bread and cook until brown and crusty on bottom, about 5 minutes. Using spatula, turn bread over. Top each bread slice with 1 cheese slice. Cook until bread is crusty on bottom and cheese melts, covering skillet briefly if necessary to melt cheese, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer toast to plates. Top with vegetable mixture and serve.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Made for You Monday: Easy Knitted Blanket

After an extremely cold December, I promised myself that I would definitely knit my first blanket. I've always been discouraged from knitting blankets. Even my knitting instructor made it sound extremely tedious. When your cold it doesn't matter how tedious something is, as long as it will promise warmth and give my cold fingers something to do when I'm on the couch watching a movie.

So I set about a plan to make my blanket. I had size 20 knitting needles but I didn't have circular needles which is the way most blankets are knitted. Instead of getting large circular needles I decided to attack this project in two stages. I would knit two separate panels of 20 stitches across and 4 skeins long of yarn each and then I figure out how to attach them. 

I originally was going to stitch the two panels together and then I found some lovely leftover ribbon from a pottery barn gift that someone had given me that matched the lovely Ivory color of the blanket. I cut the ribbon into 2-3 inch strips and tied them about every few inches to create one large blanket.

I loved the outcome. I have a very warm blanket that will help me fight the cold and wish for Spring.

Houston Cream - Lion Bran Extra Bulky Yarn (8 skeins)
Size 20 knitting needles
Ribbon (Any width you like roughly 12-24 inches)
Directions: Cast on 20 stitches across and knit through 4 skeins of yarn using the garter stitch. Repeat with second panel. Attach both panels with ribbon cut to 2 to 3 inches each (depending on how big you want your bows and how many to secure the panels together)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Party for Two

Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn
You might think that I would be hosting a Superbowl Party. 

I'm always down for a reason to have friends over whether it's for the premiere of Mad Men or the start of spring. This year my husband and I decided to make it a party of two so I got creative with the menu and tried to keep it fun.  The great part for me was not having to come up with a lot of single serving appetizers. 

I did want to get creative though.

The Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn was the best snack food. Then again anything with bacon, cashews and caramel would be something I would be in love with. If I ever recreated it for guests I would form them into mini popcorn balls because they were amazing.  

Nutella Rice Krispies

The Chicken and Andouille Etoufee was a delicious recipe from Food & Wine that is full of flavor and easy to make. You might even think it's a goodbye to the reigning champs, New Orleans Saints. The Nutella Rice Krispies are in honor of World Nutella Day yesterday. So as we settle down to watch the big game we hope it's a hard fought win for whoever comes out on top.

Chicken and Andouille Etouffee

So here goes:

Superbowl Party for Two Menu:

Snack Course:  Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn
Dinner:  Chicken and Andouille Etoufee
Dessert:  Nutella Rice Krispie Treats

Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn

Chicken and Andouille Etouffee
(Food and Wine September 2010)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 onion, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 andouille sausage (about 3 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
Steamed rice and hot sauce, for serving


In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic. Season the vegetables with salt and black pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the sausage and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken and simmer until cooked through, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and serve over rice, with hot sauce. 

Bacon and Cashew Caramel Corn (Bon Appetit September 2010)
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 ounces bacon, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews (one 2.5-ounce package)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat popcorn and oil in covered heavy large pot over medium-high heat until kernels begin to pop. Using oven mitts, hold lid on pot and shake pot until popping stops. Pour popcorn into very large bowl. Cook bacon in heavy large skillet over medium heat until almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain; cool. Add bacon and cashews to bowl with popcorn. Sprinkle with coarse salt and cayenne; toss to coat.  

Place caramel corn in oven and bake until caramel is shiny and coats popcorn, tossing mixture occasionally, about 20 minutes. Cool completely on sheet on rack, tossing occasionally to break up large clumps. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight in refrigerator.

Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; coat with nonstick spray. Coat 2 wooden spoons or heat-resistant spatulas with nonstick spray; set aside. Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water, and corn syrup in large saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high; boil without stirring until syrup turns deep amber, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides with wet pastry brush, about 13 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately add cream (mixture will bubble up). Stir until blended. Immediately drizzle caramel over popcorn mixture; toss with sprayed spoons until evenly coated. Transfer to sheet.

Bring cream to boil over medium heat. Remove from heat.
Nutella Rice Krispie Treats
3 tablespoons   butter or margarine
1 package (10 oz., about 40)   regular marshmallows
- OR -
4 cups   miniature marshmallows
6 cups   Rice Krispies®
1/3 cup nutella
Directions:  In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.  Add Nutella and RICE KRISPIES cereal. Stir until well coated. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Fridays: My Favorite Nutella Recipes

Tomorrow is World Nutella Day.

This is definitely my type of food holiday. From my previous posts you can see I'm a fan of Nutella.  In fact last year I did a number of Nutella posts to pay homage to one of my favorite types of chocolate.  So I thought I would show a quick round up of my favorite Nutella recipes before tomorrow and in case my husband is reading - yes "Chocolate Fridays" are back...

Happy Friday!

 1.  Nutella Gelato
2.  Banana Nutella Gelato
3.  Pistachio & Cherry Banana Split with Nutella Sauce

4.  Nutella Banana Sandwich
5.  (Below) Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Favorite Carrot Cake Recipes

It's hard baking in the winter months. 

There aren't a lot of fruit choices and only the hope of them to come. You empty the freezer of the fruit you saved and now what?  The great part about carrot cake is that carrots are in season and while they aren't a fruit they can be baked into a variety of different forms of carrot cake. You can go the traditional route, you can add maple or you can even do the tropical vibe.  

There are so many choices that I'm not going to even give you a recipe. I'm going to give you a variety of my favorites. I'm sure you could take a personality test based on your choice of carrot cake recipe but you are going to have to decide what that says about you. 

What's your favorite Carrot Cake Recipe?

  1. Tropical Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (Bon Appetit April 2003)
  2. Joy of Baking:  Carrot Cake Recipe
  3. Alton Brown: Carrot Cake Recipe
  4. Carrot Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Filling (Food and Wine)
  5. Carrot Raisin Cake with Irish Cream Frosting

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Give A Rose Bush for Valentine's Day

This all started when I decided that I would much rather get a floral wreath then a dozen roses for Valentine's Day. I was admiring the beautiful Lavender heart wreaths and Rose wreaths in the Williams Sonoma catalog. Then some of you weighed in on the whole obligatory red roses for Valentine's Day vs. something different like floral wreaths. Other ideas like potted roses were offered and I have to say I completely agree with these ideas. I'm sort of a closet rose bush collector. 

For our first anniversary my husband bought me four bare root David Austen roses.  They were doing great until someone mowed over one of them. I was devastated and a meltdown of epic proportion ensued.  Then I waited and waited to see if it would live. There were all the reassuring comments about how it would come back in the spring....And last spring it did. Seeing those roses bloom in the spring and summer are a present that continues to give me presents.  

With a little help from my readers and the February issue of Southern Living, I made my way to  Here are four of my favorite potted roses that they offer for Valentine's Day.  It's not just one gift, it's many gifts you'll have forever.

  1. Princess Alexandra of Kent 
  2. Lady Emma Hamilton 
  3. William Shakespeare 2000 
  4. Molineux

Heart Biscuits

I love the month of February. We've finally come out from hibernation and the low that always seems to follow the holidays. We have Valentine's Day to look forward to and by the end of the month my trusty Farmer's Almanac says that I can plant bare root trees and roses.  Hopefully our Groundhog General Lee will give us the good news tomorrow that Spring is about to hit our doorstep.  

Until then I'm a little obsessed with hearts. I used to think that you had to come up with some grand plan for a romantic breakfast for Valentine's Day/Weekend. You can but you can also make some simple modifications like a cookie cutter to shape heart biscuits or a heart shaped pancakes mold. Heck you could even cut out little hearts from your sausage patties. So many cute ideas that warm my heart and get me excited for the future. 

And if you decide to make little heart shaped biscuit sandwiches try this easy version from White Lily:

2 cups sifted self-rising flour
1tsp salt
1/4 cup very cold unsalted butter
2/3 cups cold buttermilk

Heat oven to 500°F.
Sift flour and measure into large bowl. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until crumbs are the size of peas. Blend in just enough milk with fork until dough leaves sides of bowl.
Knead gently 2 to 3 times on lightly floured surface. Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut using floured 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter.
Place on baking sheet 1 inch apart for crisp sides or almost touching for soft sides.
Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.

*Mix 1/4 cup cream of tartar and 2 tbsp baking soda and save in a glass jar for up to three months.

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