Monday, August 30, 2010

Corn with Lime-Sage Butter

We are so excited that our corn is now ready! We have been enjoying eating it off the cob seasoned a variety of different ways. Following are some of our favorites so far.

Corn with Lime-Sage Butter

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine


Mix 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped sage and 1 tablespoon each lime zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Boil 4 ears of corn, about 5 minutes; drain and spread with the butter.

Lemon-Basil Corn

I'm so glad that we planted lots of herbs in our garden!

Lemon-Basil Corn

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Bring 4 cups water, 1/2 cup basil leaves, 1/2 lemon, 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt to a boil. Add 4 ears of corn; cook about 5 minutes. Mix 1/2 cup torn basil, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Drain the corn and toss with the flavored oil and a splash of the cooking water.

Mexican Broiled Corn

I know I posted a similar recipe a year or so ago, but this version is fabulous, too!

Mexican Broiled Corn

6 ears fresh sweet corn, husks and silk removed
2 limes, halved
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
½ cup shredded queso fresco or Parmesan cheese

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the corn and 2 lime halves into the boiling water and boil for 6 to 8 minutes, until the corn is tender. Use tongs to remove the corn from the water and place on a clean, dry kitchen towel to remove excess water.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the sour cream and milk and set aside.

Place the corn on a small baking sheet and brush with melted butter.

Arrange the oven rack 8 inches from the broiler unit and adjust the oven settings to broil.

Using oven mitts or pot holders, place the baking sheet in the oven and broil for 8 to 10 minutes, taking the corn out and using a pastry brush to baste with melted butter every 2 to 3 minutes. Watch the corn carefully while it is in the oven to prevent excessive browning. The corn should be golden brown when ready.

Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baking sheet from the oven and squeeze the remaining lime halves over the warm corn.

Generously brush the corn with the sour cream mixture and sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and shredded cheese. Serve warm.

Recipe Source: There's a Chef in My World (by Emeril Lagasse)

P.J.’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Bart made this bread this morning--he had it ready for me as I walked in the door from work. It was incredible! He added some raisins in the filling since we all LOVE raisins.

P.J.’s Cinnamon Swirl Bread
(From King Arthur Flour)

(Rolling the dough and sprinkling with just cinnamon and a touch of sugar will make your loaf hold together much better when slicing.)

2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cups Baker’s Special Dry Milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon cinnamon mixed with1 tablespoon sugar

Combine all the ingredients (except cinnamon and sugar), mix until they form a shaggy mass that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Let rest, covered, for 20 minutes. Knead the dough for about 6 minutes until fairly smooth. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and allow to rise until it’s noticeably puffy, about 1 hour.

Transfer to a lightly floured work surface, and let it rest for 5 minutes. Pat or roll it into a 8x15” rectangle, and sprinkle it evenly with the cinnamon-sugar. Starting with short end, roll the dough into a tight log. Tuck the ends under, and place the loaf, seam side down, in a lightly greased 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch bread pan. Drape with greased plastic wrap, and let dough rise for 1 to 1 ½ hours, or till it’s risen about 1 inch above the top of the pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Tent with aluminum foil the final 10 minutes of baking, if it’s getting too brown. Remove from the pan and cool it completely on a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

This might not be anything ground-breaking, but it is a really easy and yummy way to prepare shredded pork!

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
2 cups barbecue sauce

Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry. Rub salt and pepper over the pork and place in a slow cooker. Add water and liquid smoke. Cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is very tender.

Remove the pork from the slow cooker and discard the remaining liquid. Shred the pork using a couple of forks. Place the meat back in the slow cooker along with the barbecue sauce and continue to cook for another 20-30 minutes until the pork is hot again. Serve on buns with extra barbecue sauce.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

The Best Barbecue Sauce

This makes a yummy, thick, sweet barbecue sauce.

The Best Barbecue Sauce

*Makes about 7 cups of barbecue sauce

2 cups ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cups unsulphured molasses
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
4 teaspoons hickory flavored liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, mix together all the wet ingredients and then add the seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken as it simmers (and then as it cools). I try to plan ahead and simmer for at least an hour. Use the sauce to brush onto meats the last ten minutes of grilling or for any other recipe where barbecue sauce is used.

Once cooled, the sauce can be frozen. Thaw in the refrigerator and use as needed.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Shredded Pork Nachos

Here's a fun way to serve leftover shredded pork. We loved it with the slow-cooker pork and homemade barbecue sauce!

Shredded Pork Nachos

1 12-ounce bag tortilla chips
1 tablespoon barbecue grilling spice (if desired)
8 ounces cooked shredded pork
½ cup nacho cheese sauce
½ cup barbecue sauce
1 4-ounce can sliced jalapenos, drained

Toss tortilla chips with barbecue spice if desired.

Spread the chips on a serving plate. Top with pork, cheese sauce, barbecue sauce and sliced jalapenos.

Makes 8 servings.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

This was my birthday cake this year. It was so rich and satisfying! I loved it!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
24 ounces cream cheese
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (9 ½ ounces) creamy standard peanut butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan tightly in aluminum foil (this will keep the water in the water bath from seeping into the batter as the cake bakes); set aside.

Stir the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until the graham cracker crumbs are thoroughly moistened. Pour a little more than half of this mixture into the bottom of the prepared springform pan and press it all the way to the edges so that it coats the bottom of the pan. Pour the rest of the mixture around the inner seam of the pan, where the rim meets the bottom, and press the crust halfway up the sides of the pan, filling in along the bottom where necessary. Set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. If you rub a small bit between your fingers, you should feel only a few sugar granules. Beat in the peanut butter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. Finally, beat in the sour cream and vanilla.

Taking care not to disturb the crust, pour this mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth its top with a rubber spatula. Place the springform pan in a high-sided roasting pan that’s large enough to accommodate it comfortably. Fill the pan with hot water until it comes about halfway up the outside of the springform pan.

Bake until the top is lightly browned and the custard jiggles slightly (the center should not yet be set)—about 50 – 60 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath and cool it completely to room temperature on a wire rack.

Remove the foil and cover the pan with plastic wrap, taking care not to press the wrap onto the surface of the cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight.

Unlatch the sides and transfer to a serving platter. If desired, run a long knife between the bottom of the pan and the cake, then gently slide the cake onto the serving platter.

(Note: I put a layer of chocolate ganache on top after the cake had refrigerated. I made the ganache with about 9 ounces of chopped dark chocolate, 6 ounces heavy cream (heated), and a little vanilla. After letting the ganache set until slightly thickened, I poured it onto cheesecake and sprinkled it with chopped peanuts.)

Recipe Source: The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book

Lemon Spaghetti

Alyssa helped me make Lemon Pasta (AKA Lemon Spaghetti) for lunch the other day. Since she has braces, she prefers using non-spaghetti shaped pasta (the spaghetti shape gets stuck in her braces). She also added some pine nuts sprinnkled on top. The recipe is already posted, but here's a picture of her latest creation.

Joshua's Rock Soup

Recently Joshua asked if he could make "Rock Soup" for dinner. Normally I shy away from this type of thing--I feel more comfortable cooking from a recipe. However, we had lots of garden produce that needed used, so I thought he had a great idea. He had tons of fun making it! He chopped all sorts of vegetables and came up with lots of ideas of yummy things to add to the soup. Even though we don't have a recipe (you just add what you want), I wanted to share the picture of his yummy creation. He started by sauteeing onions, carrots, and garlic. Then he added chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. He added lots of different vegetables, fresh herbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, pasta, and a Parmesan cheese rind for flavor. He tasted as he went along and adjusted the seasonings as necessary. It was delicious!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Apple Slab Pie

I made apple-themed refreshments for a recent Cub Scout leader and parent meeting: Chicken-Apple Waldorf Sandwiches on croissants, apple slices with festive apple dip, apple orchard punch, and this pie for dessert. (I used the theme of "Let's Get to the Core of Scouting" with an apple core on the invitation.) We love this pie--it really tastes just like a regular apple pie, but it makes a bunch. We especially enjoy the leftovers cold from the fridge.

Apple Slab Pie
Serves 18 to 20

3 ½ pounds firm tart apples (about 7-10), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
3 ½ pounds firm sweet apples (about 7 – 10), peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided)
1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) animal crackers
2 Recipes of Double-Crust Pie Dough
6 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

3/4 cup reserved apple juice (from filling)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter , softened
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) confectioners' sugar

1. For the pie: Combine apples and 1 cup sugar in large bowl. Let sit, tossing occasionally, until apples release their juices, about 30 minutes. Put apples in colander and press gently on apples to extract liquid and reserve 3/4 cup juice.

2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Pulse crackers and remaining sugar (1/2 cup) in food processor until finely ground. Dust work surface with cracker mixture. Roll out half of dough (one double-crust recipe) to 19 by 14 inches and transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

3. Dissolve cornstarch in cold lemon juice. Add cinnamon and salt. Toss drained apples with cornstarch mixture. Spread the apples evenly into the dough-lined baking sheet, pressing lightly to flatten. Roll remaining dough in remaining 2/3 cup crumbs to a 19 x 14-inch rectangle. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it over the pie. Trim, fold, and crimp the edges using the tines of a fork. Poke vent holes in the top crust at 2-inch intervals using a fork. Bake until pie is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 1 hour.

4. For the glaze: While pie is cooling, simmer reserved apple juice in saucepan over medium heat until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and butter and let cool to room temperature. Whisk in confectioners' sugar and brush glaze evenly over warm pie. Let pie cool completely, at least 1 hour longer. Serve.

Recipe Source: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Double Crust Pie Dough

I just discovered this pie dough recipe. The egg helps with browning while the vinegar helps with tenderness. This pie dough is very easy to work with and is flaky, tender, and delicious! (You can see a picture of it with my posting of Apple Slab Pie.)

Double Crust Pie Dough

2 ½ cups (11 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1 extra-large egg PLUS
1 extra-large egg yolk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
3 tablespoons very cold water

Combine dry ingredients in food processor. Pulse to sift and blend. Add cold shortening and butter and pulse briefly just until mixture is crumbly and most of the pieces of fat are about pea-size. Move flour mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Place the whole egg, egg yolk, vinegar, and cold water in a glass measuring cup and mix with a fork to break up the eggs and combine the ingredients well. Dribble the liquid mixture into the flour mixture, stirring gently with a fork until a crumbly ball starts to form. Mix only until the dry ingredients hold together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead dough together very briefly, then use a dough scraper to cut it into two pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a flattened ball (about a 6-inch disk) and wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour before using.

Recipe Source: Basic Baking by Lora Brody

Potato, Cheese, and Onion Tart

We used some of the frozen hash browns we bought from the Swim Team fundraiser for this dish. This is very simple to put together and would be good for dinner with a salad or for brunch.

Potato, Cheese, and Onion Tart

2 (9 ½ x 9-inch) sheets puff pastry, thawed overnight in refrigerator
1 ½ cups shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
4 cups frozen shredded (or cubed) hash brown potatoes, thawed
6 slices bacon, chopped
3 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place puff pastry on prepared baking sheet and press sheets together at short ends. Brush perimeter with water and fold over to create ¾-inch border. Poke interior with fork and make shallow horizontal cuts around outer perimeter. Top with1 cup cheese and bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pat potatoes dry with paper towels. Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Stir in potatoes, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in bacon.

Combine sour cream and tarragon in small bowl. Top parbaked pastry with potato mixture. Cover with remaining cheese and dollops of sour cream mixture. Bake until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Recipe Source: Cook’s Country

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Breakfast Cookies

Alyssa was the first one to wake up today, so she made us these yummy breakfast cookies. We served them with fruit for a hearty and fun breakfast. The slightly crisp exterior of the cookies encases a soft, tender interior. These are delicious warm as well as at room temperature.

Breakfast Cookies

1/2 cup (4 ounces or 1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup (9 1/2 ounces) peanut butter
1 1/4 cups (9 1/4 ounces) brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/3 cup (3 ounces)milk
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour OR King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1/3 cup (1 ounce) dried milk--whole or non-fat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups total add ins of your choice: raisins, coconut, barley flakes, oat flakes, granola, chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts etc. (Alyssa used 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup mixed nuts, and 1 cup raisins)


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) In the bowl of your mixer combine the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium high speed until lightened and fluffy.

3) Add in the eggs and liquid milk, mix until well combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice.

4) On low speed mix in the flour, dried milk, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until the dough is cohesive. Add 4 1/2 cups total of your favorite add ins and mix until all are incorporated.

5) Scoop generous 1/4 cup mounds of batter 2 inches apart on the parchment lines sheets. Slightly flatten each mound. This recipe contains no leaveners, so the cookies will only spread and rise slightly.

6) Bake the cookies for 11-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Do not over-bake or the cookies will be dry and crumbly. Cool on cookie sheets for 5-8 minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: 18-20 cookies depending on size.

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

We finally tried making homemade microwave popcorn today. It's so delicious, easy and fun that I can't believe we haven't tried it before. We make our own popcorn salt by putting Kosher salt in the food processor and running it until the salt is very finely ground. The fine salt distributes evenly over the popped corn. Following are pictures of Alyssa and Joshua making the popcorn.

1/4 cup popcorn kernels
1 teaspoon oil (vegetable oil, olive oil, or butter-flavored popcorn oil--your choice)
Salt (we used 1/4 teaspoon popcorn salt per bag)

Put popcorn kernels in brown paper lunch bag. Drizzle oil over. Fold top of bag over twice (with a narrow fold) and tape shut--one piece of tape down the middle works great. Shake bag to coat the kernels with the oil. Place in microwave and microwave on high until popping slows down to about 4 seconds between pops. Remove from microwave, open bag, sprinkle with salt, shake, and serve.

Note: You can use flavored oils (such as rosemary-infused olive oil) or sprinkle finished popcorn with flavored popcorn sprinkles (Cheddar, salt-and-vinegar, etc.).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sausage-and-Zucchini Rice

Here's another way to use up some zucchini from your garden. We all loved this! It tastes like stuffed zucchini, but even better!

Sausage-and-Zucchini Rice


4 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups rice
One 32-ounce container (4 cups) chicken broth
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, casings discarded
2 zucchini, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted


1.In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and 3 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.

2.Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage, breaking it up, over medium heat until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate. Add the zucchini to the skillet and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet, add the remaining 1 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

3.Stir in the rice along with 1/2 cup Parmesan, the parsley and the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and the pine nuts.

Recipe Source: Every Day with Rachael Ray

Spiced Banana-Nut Muffins

These muffins have a very cake-like texture.

Spiced Banana-Nut Muffins
Yield: 12 regular muffins or 6 jumbo muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
About 3 large ripe bananas (1 ½ cups mashed)
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 extra-large egg
¼ cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Prepare muffin tin (line with paper liners or spray with Baker’s Joy).

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Toss in toasted walnuts and stir with mixing spoon to coat nuts with flour. Set aside.

Mash bananas in medium mixing bowl by beating them with a hand mixer. Add light brown sugar and beat on medium speed for about 1 minute. Beat in the egg and oil.

Use a rubber spatula to fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture, mixing just until the ingredients are incorporated. Fill prepared muffin tin. Bake regular muffins for 15-18 minutes and jumbo muffins 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean and the muffins are a light golden brown on top. Remove the tin from the oven and let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to the wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: Basic Baking by Lora Brody

Camp Cookies

These cookies are called “camp cookies” because they ship well so you can send them to kids at camp. I think you could also call them breakfast cookies. The texture is reminiscent of muffins and the cookies include lots of hearty ingredients. I've discovered my favorite way to eat these is straight from the freezer.

Camp Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup peanut butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 extra-large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups oats, old-fashioned or quick-cooking
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup dark raisins
1 cup dry-roasted salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Line the baking sheets with silicone pan liners or parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

Place the butter, peanut butter, and dark brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Use the mixer on high speed to cream the mixture until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until the first is incorporated before adding the second. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the milk and vanilla. Continue to beat on medium speed while you gradually add the oats and then the flour mixture. Mix until all traces of flour disappear. With a rubber spatula fold in the coconut, raisins, and peanuts.

Use an ice cream/cookie scoop to drop dough onto prepared baking sheets. (I found it necessary to flatten each mound before baking as the cookies didn’t spread much when baking.) Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown and firm to the touch (if making regular-size cookies, check them at 10 minutes). Rotate each baking sheet 180° halfway through the baking time. Remove cookies from the oven and transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe Source: Basic Baking by Lora Brody

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Bart has already requested that we serve these for breakfast on his birthday!

Peanut Butter Pancakes

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ¾ cups milk
Nonstick spray

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until the baking powder is evenly distributed; set aside.

Whisk the egg, peanut butter, and melted butter in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in the milk.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon, just until the flour is moistened. The batter should still be a little lumpy.

Spoon batter by ¼ cupfuls onto preheated skillet or griddle. Cook just until the cakes have permanent bubble holes dotted across their surfaces. Flip with a nonstick-safe spatula; continue cooking until browned on the bottom, about 1 minute.

Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad

Alyssa made this incredible macaroni salad for us recently. It's refreshing and has a perfect consistency.

Cool and Creamy Macaroni Salad
Serves 8 to 10

Salt and pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 celery rib, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

1. COOK PASTA Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain again briefly and transfer to large bowl.

2. MAKE DRESSING Stir in onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne and let sit until flavors are absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add mayonnaise and let sit until salad is no longer watery, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days.)

Recipe source: Cook's Country

Peanut Butter Biscuits

These are delicious served with berry jam!

Peanut Butter Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt, optional
½ cup creamy peanut butter
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
1 1/3 cups (12 oz) plain yogurt

Adjust the baking rack so it’s in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.

Use a fork to mix the flour, baking soda, and salt, if using, in a large bowl until the baking soda is evenly distributed. Add the peanut butter and shortening; press through the tines of the fork or through those of a pastry cutter, pushing against the sides and bottom of the bowl to break up the peanut butter and shortening and mix it with the flour until the whole thing looks like coarse meal. Stir in the yogurt with a fork until a soft dough forms (you may need to add a little extra yogurt).

Dust a clean work surface with flour and turn the dough out onto it. Lightly flour the dough, then pat it with your hands until it’s a circle about 12 inches round and ½ inch thick. Don’t compress the dough; just press lightly with your fingers. Cut the circle into biscuits using a 2-inch round or square cutter.

Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. You can gather the dough scraps together and press it again to make more biscuits, but the extra pressure and the extra flour on your work surface and in the dough will make the biscuits tougher. Bake until firm and golden, about 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then serve at once.

Recipe Source: The Ultimate Peanut Butter Book

North Jersey Texas Wiener Sauce

This sauce perks up hot dogs perfectly. I don't think I'll ever be able to go back to canned chili on hot dogs after trying this!

North Jersey Texas Wiener Sauce
Makes about 3 cups, enough for 12 hot dogs

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
1 onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups chili sauce (you'll need to buy 2 regular size bottles to have enough)
1 cup water
1/4 cup hot sauce (use Frank's hot sauce--if you use Tabasco start with just 1 Tb or less and adjust from there)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon yellow mustard

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shim- mering. Add beef and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, brown sugar, and allspice and cook until paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add chili sauce and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until mixture is thickened, about 7 minutes.

2. Transfer half of mixture to food processor and process until coarsely ground; return to skillet. Stir in hot sauce, Worcestershire, and mustard. Serve. (Sauce can be refrigerated in airtight container for 3 days.)

Recipe Source: Cook's Country

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ratatouille Pasta Toss

This pasta dish is perfect to make this time of year when the produce is deliciously in season. You can make a themed night of it by watching the movie "Ratatouille" the night you serve this!

Ratatouille Pasta Toss
(Recipe from Every Day with Rachael Ray November/December 2005)

Yield: 4 Servings (at least)

1 pound rigatoni
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), 4 turns of the pan
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 pound zucchini, diced
1 pound eggplant, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
Freshly ground pepper
3 whole roasted red peppers, fresh, or canned, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine, chicken stock or vegetable stock (a couple of glugs)
One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
10 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Crusty bread, to pass around at the table

1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and then cook the pasta until al dente.

2.While the pasta is working, heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the EVOO (4 turns of the pan), garlic, zucchini, eggplant and onion. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, giving the skillet a good shake, often.

3.Coarsely chop the roasted red peppers and add them to a food processor. Puree the peppers until almost smooth.

4.Deglaze the veggies with the chicken or vegetable stock, then stir in the roasted red pepper puree and tomatoes. Heat the sauce through and adjust the salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, then drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Toss the sauce and pasta together with the chopped parsley and basil. Serve with grated cheese and crusty bread.

Pepper Steak Noodle Soup

This soup is so flavorful! It's also hearty enough to stand on it's own for a meal.

Pepper Steak Noodle Soup
(Recipe from Every Day with Rachael Ray August 2010)

Yield: 4 Servings (at least)

Salt and pepper
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
3/4 pound thin-cut beef sirloin steak, very thinly sliced and patted dry
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander (about 1/2 palmful)
2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 large green bell pepper—seeded quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper—seeded, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
3 to 4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 teaspoon five-spice powder (about 1/3 palmful)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar or dry sherry
6 cups vegetable or beef stock
1/4 cup tamari or low-sodium tamari (eyeball the amount)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 large bunch scallions, thinly sliced on an angle
A couple of handfuls crisp bean sprouts
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

1.Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente.

Meanwhile, season the steak with salt, pepper and the coriander. In a large, deep skillet or wok, heat about 1 tablespoon oil, 1 turn of the pan, over high heat. Add the steak and cook for about 2 minutes on each side; transfer to a cutting board.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 turn of the pan, to the skillet and add the bell peppers; cook for a couple of minutes. Stir in the ginger, garlic and five-spice powder and toss for a minute or two. Stir in the vinegar (or sherry), then add the stock and tamari and bring to a boil. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water and stir into the broth to thicken for a minute more. Add the steak, scallions and bean sprouts to the soup and turn off the heat.

To serve, twist bundles of the whole wheat noodles around a fork and place in bowls. Pour in the soup and top with the cilantro.

Bratwurst Pretzel Pizza

You really should try this recipe! We absolutely loved it! It is very easy to make. The pizza dough makes more than you'll need--I made a few breadsticks with the extra.

Bratwurst Pretzel Pizza
(From Every Day with Rachael Ray February 2009)
6 Servings

1/2 pound Skillet Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
One 12-ounce package cooked bratwurst
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
Salt and pepper
One 16-ounce bag coleslaw mix
Caraway seeds, for sprinkling
Yellow mustard, for serving

1.Press the pizza dough into a greased 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet and let rise until doubled in size, 20 to 30 minutes. (Note: I used about 12 ounces of pizza dough in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.)

2.Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°. In a large skillet, cook the bratwurst over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Let cool before slicing into 3/4-inch-thick rounds. (I purchased uncooked bratwursts, so I just cooked them like the package directs.)

3.In a large bowl, whisk the sugar into 1 tablespoon hot water. Whisk in the vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, the celery seeds and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the coleslaw mix and toss.

4.Press the bratwurst into the risen dough. Brush with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil; sprinkle the crust with the caraway seeds. Bake until puffed and browned, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Slice, then drizzle with the mustard and serve with the slaw.

Skillet Pizza Dough

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1.In a small bowl, stir together the lukewarm water, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, 3 to 5 minutes.

2.Using a standing mixer, mix the flour and salt at low speed. Mix in the yeast mixture and olive oil until a shaggy dough forms. Change to the dough hook attachment and mix at medium speed until smooth, about 6 minutes.

3.Transfer the dough to a greased, large mixing bowl, turning to coat; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch down the dough before using. NOTE: For whole wheat dough, use 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour. I used a food processor to make the dough.

To prepare ahead:
Prepare Skillet Pizza Dough up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate the covered bowl of dough and let rise overnight for up to 24 hours. When ready to use, punch down the dough and allow an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour for the second rise in the skillet.

Ramen-Broccoli Slaw

Here's another recipe from Cook's Country. This is a simple to make salad that is refreshing for summer meals.

Ramen-Broccoli Slaw
Serves 6 to 8

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 bag broccoli slaw mix (12 ounces)
2 packages instant ramen noodles (3 ounces each), crushed, flavor packets reserved
4 scallions , sliced thin
1 cup sunflower seeds , shelled, roasted
1 cup slivered almonds , toasted

1. For the dressing: Whisk sugar and vinegar in medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk in oil.

2. For the salad: Combine broccoli slaw, ramen and flavor packets, scallions, sunflower seeds, and almonds in large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss until well coated. Refrigerate salad, covered, for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Toss salad again before serving.

Steak Quesadillas with Roasted Peppers and Boursin

Bart made these delicious quesadillas for us for lunch the other day. The recipe is from Cook's Country. It makes a quick meal that is very satisfying and filling--and super cheesy.

Steak Quesadillas with Roasted Peppers and Boursin
Serves 4

Note: Boursin cheese has a creamy, spreadable texture reminiscent of goat cheese. Though it comes in a variety of flavors, we prefer the Garlic and Fine Herbs flavor in this recipe.

2 strip steaks, about 1 inch thick
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (5.2-ounce) package Boursin cheese , crumbled (see note)
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 (12-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper , drained, patted dry with paper towels, and sliced thin
4 scallions, sliced thin

1. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook steaks until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and let rest 5 minutes, then slice thin against grain. Wipe out skillet.

2. While steaks rest, combine Boursin, cheddar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in bowl. Divide cheese mixture evenly over one half of each tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border around edge. Top with peppers, scallions, and sliced steak. Fold tortillas over filling and press down firmly.

3. Add 2 quesadillas to empty skillet and cook over medium-high heat until golden and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Using spatula, flip quesadillas and cook until golden brown and cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and repeat with remaining quesadillas. Cut into wedges and serve.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fruit Swirl Coffee Cake

Today, August 11, 2010, we decided to do some Dutch oven cooking. I found this recipe and we had all the ingredients, except our cake mix was a yellow cake mix and we eliminated the frosting. We mixed it up, then put it in a well- greased aluminum foil covered Dutch Oven (we like easy clean up). We put 8 coals on the bottom and 12 coals on top and baked for about 45 minutes. I think you could drizzle just a simple powdered sugar glaze over it. We served it with ice cream. Dad said this was really delicious!

1 package Betty Crocker SuperMoist Sour Cream White cake mix
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 can (21 ounces) cherry, apricot, blueberry, or raspberry pie filling
½ cup Better Crocker Rich & Creamy Sour Cream White ready-to-spread frosting
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 15 ½ x 10 ½ x 1-inch jelly roll pan. Stir the dry cake mix, sour cream, margarine, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl, using a large spoon, until a dough forms. Reserve 1 cup dough; spread remaining dough in pan. Spread pie filling over dough in pan. Drop remaining dough by scant tablespoonfuls onto pie filling. Bake about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Microwave frosting in microwavable bowl uncovered on Medium (50%) 15 seconds. Drizzle over warm coffee cake. Serve warm or cool. 18 servings.

Sour Cream Cornbread Muffins

This recipe is from Land O’ I don’t know if this recipe has been published in the Yummy YooHoo blog, but I thought I would add it. I baked it in our 8-inch round cast iron skillet. It baked for 24 minutes. It was perfectly browned on the bottom and the texture of the muffin was fine and really tasty! We think all of you will like these either as muffins or as “bread” as we had it!

¼ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
Heat oven to 425°F. Combine butter and sugar in small bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in sour cream and milk. Reduce speed to low; add all remaining ingredients. Beat just until mixed.
Spoon batter into 12 greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.
TIP: You can bake it in a greased 8-inch square baking pan for 18 to 22 minutes. 9 servings.
TIP: You can bake it in a greased 8-inch cast iron skillet for 22 to 26 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 8 servings.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rasberry Oatmeal Bars

1 package (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 jar (12 ounces) seedless raspberry preserves
1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, oats and butter until crumbly. Press 3 cups of the crumb mixture into a greased 13x9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir the preserves and water until blended. Spread over the crust. Sprinkle with the remaining crumb mixture. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. But into bars.

Gooey Butterscotch Bars

1 package (17.5 ounces) sugar cookie mix
1 package (3.4 ounces) instant butterscotch pudding mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 package (14 ounces) caramels
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 cups mixed nuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

In a large bowl, combine the sugar cookie mix, pudding mix, butter and egg. Press into an ungreased 13x9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until set.

In a large saucepan, combine the caramels and milk. cook and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in nuts and vanilla.

Pour over crust. Sprinkle with butterscotch chips. cool completely. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

S'more Bars

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 milk chocolate candy bars (1.55 ounces each)
1 cup marshmallow creme

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat well. Combine the flour, cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Set aside 1/2 cup for topping.

Press remaining mixture into a greased 9-in square baking pan. Place candy bars over crust; spread with marshmallow creme. Crumble reamining graham cracker mixture over top.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Banana Chip Pancakes

These next few recipes are ones I've tried during our camping trips this summer, but I'm finally getting around to post. They are all out of 2010 Quick Cooking. This one we tried three different ways: 1-exactly as it is, 2-with milk chocolate and white chocolate swirl chips, and 3- no chips at all. Everone had a different flavor, so you'll have to decide what your family likes.

2 cups biscuit/baking mix
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup swirtled milk chocolate and peanut butter chips
Maple syrup and additional swirled chips, optional

Place biscuit mix in a large bowl. Combine the egg, milk and bananas; stir into biscuit mix just until moistened. Stir in swirled chocolate and peanut butter chips.

Pour pancake batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle; turn when bubbles form on top. Cook until the second side is golden brown. Serve with maple syrup and addiional swirled chocolate and peanut butter chips if desired.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Oatmeal –Molasses Bread

Mom and Dad invited us to dinner the other night while Marcia was there visiting. Although the entire meal was delicious, my favorite part was the incredible 9-grain bread Mom served. Hopefully, Mom will post that recipe! In the meantime, however, she inspired me to try a new, flavorful whole-grain bread recipe. I doubled this recipe to make 4 loaves--and I'm glad I did! We've enjoyed it with soup, for breakfast as egg-in-a-hole, with jam, and just by itself. It's delicious!

4 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
½ cup (4 fl oz) warm water (105°F - 115°F)
2 cups (16 fl oz) tepid buttermilk (90°F)
4 Tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (5 ½ oz) light or dark molasses
1 cup (5 oz) whole-wheat flour or graham flour
¾ cup (2 oz) old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats
½ cup (2 ½ oz) fine yellow cornmeal
¼ cup (1/2 oz) instant mashed potato flakes
¼ cup (3/4 oz) toasted wheat germ
2 ½ tsp salt
3 – 3 ¼ cups (15 – 16 ½ oz) bread flour, plus extra as needed

In a bowl, sprinkle yeast and sugar over the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, butter, molasses, and whole-wheat flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture, oats, cornmeal, potato flakes, wheat germ and salt, and beat for 1 minute. Beat in the bread flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl sides. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed, adding bread flour 1 Tbsp at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then knead for 1 minute longer. The dough should be smooth but slightly tacky and nubby when pressed.

Transfer the dough to an oiled deep bowl and turn the dough once to coat it with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Lightly grease two 8 ½ x 4 ½-inch loaf pans. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Pat each half into an 8 x 12-inch rectangle. Beginning at a narrow end, roll up each rectangle to make a loaf the length of the pan. Pinch the ends and long seam to seal. Place the loaves, seam side down, in the prepared pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the pan sides, 30 - 40 minutes. Turn out onto racks and let cool completely.

Recipe Source: The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Creamy Summer Squash Soup

We have been loving our garden produce! We made this soup yesterday and were able to enjoy it for supper last night during a thunder storm--a perfect time for soup.

1/3 cup butter
2 cups chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup flour
4 cup chicken broth
6 cups sliced zucchini and/or yellow summer squash (I used half of each)
½ cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup heavy cream
Grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Bacon, cooked until crisp then crumbled

In a large saucepan, cook onions in melted butter until tender. Add garlic cloves and cook until fragrant—about 30 seconds. Add flour and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add chicken broth, stirring continuously. Bring to a boil. Add zucchini and summer squash. Simmer until squash is tender (about 15 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste (start with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper—then add more as needed). Cool slightly. Pour mixture into blender in batches and puree it. Stir in whipping cream. Return to saucepan and reheat, but do not boil. Garnish with grated cheese, sour cream, and bacon bits.

Recipe Source: based on recipe for Zucchini Soup in The Essential Mormon Cookbook

Friday, August 6, 2010

Macadamia Nut Coffee Cake

Shortly after Christmas I bought a lot of macadamia nuts for baking from Costco when they were clearing them out. I was excited to try this recipe to find a use for some of my macadamia nuts. We all really enjoyed this special breakfast treat!

2/3 cup (4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (3 oz) granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
6 tbsp (3 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour
½ cup (2 oz) cake flour
½ cup (4 oz) granulated sugar
½ cup (4 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
2 large eggs
½ cup (4 fl oz) macadamia nut oil OR canola oil
1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup (5 oz) unsalted macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round springform pan. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and grease the paper.

To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Set aside. (I used the food processor for this step.)

To make the cake, in a bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour and cake flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (Once again, I used a food processor to “sift” the ingredients together.)

In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well blended. Stir the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wire whisk, beat until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Sprinkle evenly with half of the topping. Cover evenly with the remaining batter. Sprinkle evenly with the nuts, gently pressing them into the batter, then cover with the remaining topping.

Bake until the topping is golden brown, 40 – 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

Recipe Source: The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book

Carrot Cake

This is yet another recipe for carrot cake. This version makes a nice, light cake. As with most carrot cakes, it is best made a day ahead.

3 cups (12 ounces) cake flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
5 eggs
3 cups (21 ounces) granulated sugar
2 cups (16 ounces) vegetable oil
2 ¼ cups (15 ounces) finely shredded carrots
1 ½ cups (6 ounces) chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the bottoms & sides of the pans with melted butter and line the bottoms with parchment paper (or use Baker’s Joy like I did). [Note: Use three 9-inch rounds, 1 half-sheet (13 x 18 inches), or 24 cupcakes. I make a three-tier 6-inch cake plus 12 cupcakes.]

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whip attachment, combine the eggs and sugar and beat them on medium speed for 1 minute, then on high speed until they are 3 times their original volume, about 4 minutes longer.

Set the mixer to low speed and add the oil slowly, and beat until combined.

With the mixer still set to low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

Gently stir in carrots and walnuts.

Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans or muffin tins. For 9-inch cake pans and half-sheet pans, bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean; for cupcakes bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until they spring back after being touched.

Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes. Once the cake is cool, release it from its pan by running a metal spatula or knife along the sides of the pan. Flip the cake over onto another pan or cake board and peel away the layer of parchment.

Recipe source: Confetti Cakes for Kids by Elisa Strauss

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grilled Southwestern Chicken

I found this recipe in my Land O'Lakes cookbook. Since I had all the ingredients on hand, it was very quick to put together. I really liked the lime juice as part of the marinade. I didn't take a picture of our chicken, so this picture is from Land O'Lakes.

Marinade Ingredients:
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped green chiles (or you can use cilantro or parsley)
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
4 (5- to 6-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Toppings Ingredients:

4 ounces cheddar or Chedarella cheese, cut into 8 (2x1/2x1/2-inch) slices
1 cup thick and chunky salsa, heated
8 avocado slices

Combine all marinade ingredients in large resealable plastic food bag; add chicken. Tightly seal bag; turn bag several times to coat chicken well. Place bag in 13x9-inch pan. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes (or overnight), turning occasionally.

Heat gas grill on medium or charcoal grill until coals are ash white. Remove chicken from marinade; drain. Discard marinade. Place chicken onto grill. Grill chicken 7 minutes; turn. Continue grilling until chicken is no longer pink (6 - 8 minutes). (Time for grilling depends on heat of grill and thickness of chicken.) Top each chicken breast with 2 slices cheese. Continue grilling until cheese begins to melt (1 to 2 minutes). Serve with warm salsa and avocado slices.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble

Alyssa made this for dessert tonight. The fruit filling thickened perfectly, and we all loved the tart flavor the rhubarb contributed.

6 cups sliced fresh strawberries
4 cups diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cold butter

In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, 1 cup brown sugar and ½ cup flour. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

For topping, in a large bowl, combine the oats, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup flour, nutmeg and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit mixture.

Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm; dollop with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

Yield: 12 servings.

Parsley Pesto

Bart found this recipe to help us use up some of the parsley we have growing in our garden. It makes an easy, delicious dinner!

3 ounces walnuts (a handful)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, popped from skin
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, tops ripped away from stems
¼ pound grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Toast walnuts until golden brown, let cool.

Heat oil and garlic in small pan on low heat or in microwave, 20 seconds on high. Set aside; let cool to room temperature.

Add parsley, cheese, garlic and nuts to a food processor with the metal chopping blade inserted. Pulse to chop. While food processor is running, add olive oil in a stream until paste forms. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over hot pasta, but don’t heat the pesto itself. The pesto should be used at room temperature. (Note: Save some of the water the pasta cooked in. Add the water to the pasta with the pesto to loosen up the sauce as needed. I usually save about 1 cup of liquid when cooking 1 pound of pasta.)

Recipe Source: Adapted from Rachael Ray

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Zuccchini Pancake

¾ cup shredded zucchini
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon garlic salt
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup milk
½ cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup shredded carrot
½ cup finely chopped red or green sweet pepper
¼ cup finely chopped onion
4 egg whites
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional—for garnish)

Pat zucchini dry between paper towels; set aside. Spray a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick coating; set dish aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, and garlic salt. Beat in egg yolks and milk until smooth. Stir in zucchini, Parmesan cheese, carrot, sweet pepper, and onion.

In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Gently fold beaten egg whites into batter, leaving in a few puffs of egg white. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, spreading to edges.

Bake in a 400°F oven about 15 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. To serve, cut into squares. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Make ahead directions: Prepare as above. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours before baking. Continue as directed.