Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brownie Buttons - Baking With Dorie - BWD

Baking With DorieThis week is a special week for the ladies of Baking With Dorie.  Many of us have been together for one full year.  We have shared the joys and challenges of baking old and new recipes.  We have bonded and made new friends.  We found success and possibly a little failure.  All of it helped us grow in our baking.

Together, we chose Brownie Buttons for the big occasion.  These cute little brownies adorned with frosting are simply adorable.  I had some chocolate ganache left over so I did not make the frosting, Dorie specified.  Hopefully, the other gals made it so you can see what it is like.
The more I bake from Baking From My Home to Yours, the more I understand why Dorie is my "go to" baker and her books sits, worn in my kitchen.  I can always find something, I want to make, and I can't say this about some other baking books.
Buy the book:
Chocolate ganache with Marshmallow Creme


Linked to Tasty Tuesdays at Beauty and Bedlam  What's On the Menu Wednesday?
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NY Crumb Cake - Martha Mondays

mondays

This is my first week as a member of Martha Mondays and what are we making?  It is delicious and I love it and that means, we are baking.  We are not only baking but we are baking a coffee cake which is a favorite in our family.  One with a thick topping, fruit filling and delicious cake.


It is NY Crumb Cake from March Living.  For my first recipe in the group, I am sure, I did the unthinkable.  I took one look at the amount of butter used in the recipe and cut it in half in the topping and used oil instead of butter.  I also cut a little from the cake.  It used several sticks of butter and for a moment, I though this was Paula Deen.

In my most humble opinion, my cake tasted wonderful and we did not miss the fat.  The thick topping was crumbly and I had such fun, picking up those crumbs and eating them.

The recipe has an option to add blueberry jam on the cake layer under the crumbs and I did that for half the cake and I used orange marmalade for the other half.  It turned out to be delicious and I am not sure which side was better.

If you want a good cake, try this one.




Peanut Buttery Noodles with Sesame Seeds

Bon Appetit is a wonderful and stunning blog.  Go take a look and see for yourself.  I found this amazing recipe there and knew it would be a hit, even though, I was missing some of the ingredients.  I was so right.  This is delicious and one tends to crave more after just tasting it.

The recipe originally came from our gal, Nigella Lawson who has many amazing dishes for us to enjoy.  This was easy to make and simply the yummiest to eat.    For the original recipe, go to the source and get all the details.

Peanut Butter Noodle Salad   adapted from Nigella Lawson

Ingredients:

 Dressing 

  •  2 tablespoons Canola Oil
  •  1 tablespoon Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic flavored rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Tomato Sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons Peanut Butter 
Salad
Add dressing to noodles and cabbage.
  • 12 ounces thin white rice noodles
  • 2  cups shredded cabbage
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Sesame Seeds - a generous sprinkling
  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper, thin sliced
  • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, thin sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, thin sliced
 Cook noodles according to package instructions.  Drain and put aside.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing.  Mix until it is well blended.  If necessary, heat peanut butter in microwave for a 10 seconds so that it is easier to incorporate. 
Slice all the vegetables, slicing as thin as possible with a sharp knife. Cut the green pepper strips in half.  
Place half the noodles in a serving dish.  Cover with vegetables and mix.  Add the remaining noodles and mix, once again.  Pour dressing over and mix well enough to coat the noodles and vegetables.

Sit down and feast on the flavors and the crispy vegetables.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Save Time Tip of the Week # 2 - STT



For many years, I have organized before, I cook and bake, particularly, when I bake.  This may mean that as early, as the night before, I take out my ingredients and line them up, in the order, I plan to use them.   This can be time consuming or a no big deal task but for me, walking over to the counter with everything ready to go, including having the written recipe, sitting there, puts me in a frame of mind for successful cooking.

Of course, this takes time but it does diminish the actual recipe time and for me, that is huge.  It means, that I can enter my kitchen and mix my ingredients and put it, in the oven, while I am eating breakfast, getting ready for work or doing the wash.  This is particularly good with baked goods and I end up with a treat, on the spot.  A great way to start the day.

I guess this is more division of time than cutting minutes but it works well from the psychological aspect.  When I start to bake, as an example, I am ready to go when the oven heats up.  While it is heating up, I mix the ingredients.  I usually will chop chocolate the night before or freeze the margarine cubes and mix the dry ingredients in one bowl.  I must say, it is wonderful.





Friday, February 25, 2011

Potato Cabbage Squares

In my attempt to use up food in my storage areas, I goofed and made a recipe that used up nothing but a little spray oil.  Of course, it was delicious and who really cares, when the food is so good.


I have been making a different dish for years, noodles and cabbage, sometime sweet and sometimes savory.  This is a favorite of ours and originally, I thought, I would use my cabbage in that dish but I was overcome with a yearning for potatoes so I changed my menu and made this yummy potato, onion and cabbage dish.


The shape and consistency of  this dish changed as I worked on it.  What started as the size of my fry pan, ended in Squares.



Potatoes and Cabbage Squares  (adapted)
Gourmet  | March 2005
.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1 lb Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Description: http://www.epicurious.com/rd_images/primaryContent/recipe_detail/rd_buckets_divider.gif
Method:

Cover potatoes with cold salted water by 1 inch and bring to a boil, then boil, uncovered, until tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 18 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Heat butter in a 10-inch heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté cabbage with salt and pepper, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add potatoes, mashing and stirring them into cabbage while leaving some lumps and pressing to form a cake. Cook, without stirring, until underside is crusty and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

I had difficulty getting mine out of the pan as a whole so I made squares and browned, each side. 












Thursday, February 24, 2011

Asian Glazed Chicken

I, thankfully, don't usually feel under the weather but tonight, I do.  I came home, checked my mail and climbed into my cozy bed.  I had stopped at the store to pick up chicken cutlets for dinner but did not feel like making them.

After a while of feeling sorry for myself, I dragged myself (Am I doing a good job of sounding like I was miserable?  I am but not that miserable.) into the kitchen and stood there looking at the counter.  Not terribly productive, I admit.  Hubby came home, took one look at me and asked what he could do.  Yeah hubby!

I left him cutting potatoes while I mixed an easy glaze together, one which was not going to sit with the chicken for 24 hours.  I can imagine how much tastier, this would have been, if it had sat for the time.


Asian Glazed Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1/3  cup  rice vinegar
  • 1/4  cup  lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 3  tablespoons  honey
  • 2  tablespoons  dark sesame oil
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  chili  sauce (I used sweet.)
  • 1 frozen garlic cube
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into about 8 pieces

Directions:

1. Combine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, chili sauce, and garlic, stirring until honey dissolves. Pour vinegar mixture into a zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal.
2. In large skillet, place chicken in marinade.
3.Cook over medium low heat for five minutes on each side or until chicken is done. 

This was made in the oven, which normally, I prefer but I wanted to keep coating the chicken as it cooked, so I made it on the stove.  Since the only oil was the sesame oil, it did not fry.  It cooked nicely in the sauce.  The sauce thickened up and I let it get black in a few spots because I like that.


Crispy Sliced Potatoes

3 medium potatoes
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Slow cooked this in a large skillet on the stove.  It was a thick slice for sliced potatoes cooked this way.  I kept turning them throughout the cooking process to get each of them, at least tinged with color.  This with the chicken and a salad made for a pleasant meal.

 Ultimate REcipe Swap

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quick and Easy (QED) Guest Blogger - April - Chicken and Almond Stir Fry


I am really excited about this post.  This is the first Guest Blogger Recipe for Quick and Easy.  April, the 21st Century Housewife is one of my favorite bloggers.   She has shared her recipes on the linkys on My Sweet and 
Savory for quite a while and as a result, 
we got to know each other.  She and 
I are now working on another 
enterprise with a few other bloggers. 
You will have to wait and see what we 
have up our communal sleeve. 


If you have a "quick and easy" recipe, you would like to 
share with us, please let me know.  Now, let's see what April
brings to the table.


"This dish is really quick and easy to make, and you probably 
already have most of the ingredients on hand. You can buy 
almonds already toasted, but if you can’t find them in your 
local store, simply heat some flaked almonds over medium 
heat in a non-stick pan and keep them moving using a heat 
safe spatula until they are all lightly toasted. (Don’t look away 
even for a second or they will burn!) Remove from the pan as soon 
as they are toasted."

Using brown rice makes this recipe even healthier, as does choosing
a low sodium soy sauce.  One piece of advice, be sure you make
lots of this - everyone I serve it to wants seconds!

(The recipe below serves about four adults, but it is easily doubled.)

Chicken and Almond Stir Fry

Ingredients:

1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
1 tablespoon sesame oil
(You can use any light vegetable oil, but sesame oil does give a 
lovely flavour.)
2 cups green beans or asparagus (or a combination of the two),
prepared and cut in pieces about two to three inches long
2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I like to use chicken breast for 
this, but you can use dark meat if you prefer)
1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups rice
½ cup toasted flaked almonds plus more for garnish

Method:

Cook the rice according to package directions. Drain and set 
aside, keeping warm.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok and add 
the onion. Stir fry for two to three minutes until it begins to 
soften.  Add the red peppers and green beans or asparagus, 
continuing to stir fry until they become tender-crisp 
(about 2 to 3 minutes). Stir in the rice, cooked chicken 
and soy sauce and stir fry just until heated through.

Add the almonds and stir through.  Serve in warmed 
bowls or on warmed plates, with a few extra almonds 
sprinkled on top if you like. 

**I am hoping April will enlighten me as to what flaked 
almonds are.**  I plan to make this dish, hopefully, 
next week and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.
If you choose to make this, please share a photo and a link
to your recipe on your blog, if you have shared it.  It
would be fun to have a group of us comparing the look 
and of our dishes.

I can see why everyone wants seconds of this recipe.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Penne with Peppers, Fresh Tomato and Parsley


My goal is to cook one recipe a week from my new pasta book, Thirty Minute Pasta by Giuliano Hazan.  Having cooked only two dishes, I am far from an expert on these recipes but one attribute of Hazan's dishes appears to me, little in the butter/oils department.  They are utilized  in small doses.  Most of the recipes, I have looked at, are mostly vegetables and pasta.  He also does not list much in the way of seasoning, except salt.  Everything is fresh including the herbs.

There is a lot of chopping which is time consuming but certainly tonight, I did not find it kept me over the thirty minutes.  Tonight's recipe, he gave directions as to what to do when another ingredient is cooking.  When the onions cooked, the peppers were prepared.  When the peppers cooked, the tomatoes were prepared.  It went smoothly.

Since, I cook gluten free, my selection of pasta shapes is limited which ruins some of the fun but the bottom line is that the taste is still there.  We are also "low salt" folks so we are eating pretty natural flavors and they are delicious.  I have a feeling, we are  going to enjoy the cooking that comes from the time saving Thirty Minute Pasta.



Penne with Peppers, Fresh Tomato and Parsley 
From Giuliano Hazan’s Thirty Minute Pasta by Giuliano Hazan - adapted

Ingredients:
1/2 medium yellow onion
3 tablespoons butter
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
Salt
1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe tomatoes
1 pound penne
8-10 fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Directions:
  1. Fill a saucepan for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water and place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put it with the butter in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Sauté until the onion turns to a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the onion is sautéing, peel the peppers, core, and seed them.  Cut into 1” squares. When the onion is ready, add the peppers and season lightly with salt. Raise the heat to medium high and sauté until they are mostly tender and begin to brown lightly, about 10 minutes.
  4. While the peppers are cooking, peel the tomatoes and coarsely chop them. When the peppers are ready, add the tomatoes and season lightly with salt. Cook until the tomatoes have reduced and the liquid they release has evaporated, about 10 more minutes.
  5. After the tomatoes have cooked for about 5 minutes, coarsely chop the parsley and add it to the pan. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, put in the penne, and stir well. Cook until al dente.
  6. When the pasta is done, drain it well, toss it with the sauce and the freshly grated Parmesan.
This is from Hazan's blog.

Dining With Debbie
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Creation of Mark and Nigella (and Bizzy)

  

As comfort foods stand, my guess is that mac and cheese are on the top of the list.  One of the best macaroni and cheese recipes, I have had, was one from Paula Deen (I am sure I cut back on the butter.).  She has a mac and cheese with sliced tomatoes on top which was creamy and benefited from the tomato taste.

Bittman comes through with flying colors and I topped this with a Nigella Lawson recipe which could only bring it over the top.  The curried tomatoes even beats Paula's sliced tomatoes and we also have peas.  You never knew these vegetables could taste so good until the three of us, Mark, Nigella and Bizzy got cyber together and made this fantastic recipe.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese  (adapted from Mark Bittman)

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Salt
21/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)
1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or other cut pasta
3 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons rice flour
11/2 cups grated cheese, like sharp cheddar
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup or more tortilla chip crumbs

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.
2. Cook the pasta to the point where it is almost done but you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.
3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the margarine; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes.  Add about 1/4 cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar and stir.
5. Pour the sauce over the noodles, toss in the Parmesan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Grease a 9 x 13-inch or similar-size baking pan and turn the pasta mixture into it. Top liberally with crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, about 15 minutes. Serve piping hot.

Comfort food at its finest.  


Now for the topping, Nigella's Tomato Curry

Tomato Curry   (adapted)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 ½ cups frozen peas
Heat the oil in a saucepan that comes with a lid, and add the chopped onions, sprinkling with salt, and stirring frequently as you cook them over a low to medium heat for about 7 minutes.
Stir in the halved tomatoes, before stirring in the spices, and cook for 20 minutes with the lid on over a low heat.
Cook the peas in a small saucepan (in boiling salted water as usual), drain, and add to the tomato curry for the last 5 minutes’ cooking time. 
Top the mac and cheese with the tomato curry and your should have pleasant dreams, that night.
 

  
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Monday, February 21, 2011

Menu Plan Mondays - February 21 2011

For those of you, who do not know, about the holiday of Passover, I want to explain why I am starting to use every single bit of food, in the house, from today on.  For Orthodox Jews, Passover is a complete change of eating styles although eating tons of veggies make it less so.

We do not eat any food from the five grains, wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye.  We also do not eat rice and beans unless one is Sefardic.  I think you can imagine how limiting this is.  No corn either.... I am happy, I love potatoes because we eat grandiose portions of potatoes and eggs and some eat meat to the same degree. 

We may not own the food besides not eating it.  As a result, we clear everything out of the house the days, weeks and months before.  I am starting the process now and as I go around and see a particular foodstuff, I mentally add it to the list of ingredients for recipes, in the next month or two.  Passover starts around April 20th.  My goal is to use this all up by two weeks before Passover (Pesach).

The recipes, I am planning to make may change if I end up using something needed for it.  I hope to buy minimally eggs, fruits and vegetables, from now on.  Meat, which we do not eat more than once or twice a week, is pretty much in the freezer except for chicken.  I have 1 package beef stew, 1 package pepper steak, 1/2 pound chopped beef and 2 pounds (2 packages) of chopped turkey.  Then I have one large roast to deal with.  In the next month, you should see these being used up.

I am big on storing frozen vegetables especially when they are out of season.  Most of these can be stored in the freezer but not the corn, peas or beans.  They will also be in recipes.

I will attempt to keep you up to date, as the time progresses.  I am feeling confident that I can make this goal, but only if I don't buy anything new other than fruit and vegetables.  It means control when shopping.  Wait till I get to the canned goods.  I keep a back up for everything and I have several cans of diced tomatoes.  Oh dear.  Just remembered, one package of chicken cutlets.  What else will I remember?

This week, my plans include the following:

Sunday -Thai Turkey Basil over Curried Rice (Used rice and chopped turkey)

Monday - Vegetable Curry Biryani  (this will use rice and some frozen vegetables)

Tuesday - Pasta night - Penne with Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes and Basil (will use penne)

Wednesday -Ellie night - Wrap sandwiches

Thursday - Breakfast night - Sweet Potato Hash with Red Peppers


Friday -Creamy Peanut Pad Thai (I have three containers of peanut butter - peanut butter cookies, anyone?)

Saturday -Cholent (uses up beans and rice)