Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Acorn Squash Stuffed Shells

These were yummy. I'm just going to put out there right off the bat. They weren't terribly difficult to make, though the process was kind of messy.
We are in the beautiful fall season now, and I wanted something..fall-y... because that makes sense to me. Stuffed shells are one of my very favorite kinds of food, probably because stuffed shells usually entails the combinations of pasta cheese, which means good things.
I have never really cooked with acorn squash, as I am more of a butternut squash fan. But since half the fun of cooking is branching out and trying new and exciting flavors I decided to give acorn squash a fair chance. Acorn squash is a little less sweet, with a more nutty flavor than butternut squash. I added a little bit more ricotta cheese than the recipe called for, just to add a tad bit extra sweetness.
This recipe is fairly self-explanatory, but one piece of advice for you guys would be to be very careful not to overcook your pasta shells. If the pasta is too soft, the shells will just fall apart, and you'll have an extremely unpleasant time trying to stuff them.
Another good idea, if you live alone, is to invite someone over to share this delicious meal with, so that way they can help you clean up your kitchen after. (Always plan ahead, people!)
The link below will take you to the recipe.

I got this recipe from Naturally Ella.

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm Back & Mini Peach Strudels

I's been awhile. I've been getting used to a new schedule of working more than twice as many hours as I used to. As you can imagine, that doesn't leave as much time for 6 hour forays into the world of culinary delights, but I promise that I am going give my utmost to keep this little blog alive. I may try posting once a week, and if that doesn't work, twice a month.... Or whenever I get time enough to make something blog-worthy. So, just keep your eye out and maybe I'll surprise you, for you know me, I can't go for too long without having some sort of adventure in the kitchen!

Today I that adventure was in the form of mini peach strudels. They weren't terribly hard to make, but of course, as with anything that requires dough to rise, they were time consuming.
You start off by making a simple dough starter, which you then mix up with flour, egg, etc to make a sweet dough.
I doubled the original recipe, which called for 3 large peaches. So I needed 6 'large' peaches...
On the right is a regular sized, store bought peach. On the left is a peach that I purchased from a local farm...I used 6 of the peaches the size of the one on the left....which resulted in my having a large container of peach filling leftover after I made all the strudels. So you should probably use peaches which fit the normal definition of 'large' size, not 'godzilla of peaches' size.

For these nummy strudels, you're going to have to peel the peaches. Here is an excellent tutorial on how to do that:
That way is pretty easy, but I will tell you that is one of the slimiest experiences I've ever had with fruit.

The only problem I had with this recipe was that my dough never really rose. But I used it anyway, and the result was still delicious, but a little heavier than if it had been cooperative. My kitchen might not have been warm enough, or the yeast might have died, or a myriad of others reasons could have been why it never rose. I hope you have more luck with it.

I got this recipe from the blog 'Jo Cooks' and here it is: Mini Peach Strudels  Enjoy!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Break

Unfortunately, this is an announcement that I am putting this blog on a hiatus for about 1 month. I've got a lot of crazy stuff going on at work, and I'm moving this month as well, which means my kitchen is going to be packed in boxes.

I MAY put one post up this month, on my birthday :D because I'm going to be making something super-delicious, but we'll see.

But for now, it's farewell for a couple weeks. But don't worry...I'll be back...

(yes, I intended you too read that with Arnold Schwarzenegger's voice in your head)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kirschstreuselkuchen (Cherry Streusel Cake)

It's been awhile since I posted a dessert, and I couldn't think of a better dessert to break that trend with. Kirschstreuselkuchen is a very traditional German dessert, made with sour cream and tart, sour cherries. The sweetness of the dough and streusel contrasts so beautifully with the tart cherries. You also get a hint of sourness with the sour cream.
I got this recipe off of a German website, which I had to translate to make. Some of the measurements were very different, for example: it called for 1 glass of tart cherries. What is a glass? I don't really know, so I just used 2 cans of cherries and called them "a glass". It worked, whatever.

 After baking this, I realized that I had forgotten the baking powder, but I test-tasted it, and they turned out great anyways, maybe just a bit denser than if the cook had not been absent-minded.
Which reminds me, this cake is very dense, almost like pound cake. If you want it lighter and airy-er, um, sorry, go find some other recipe. :D This kuchen is baked in a cookie sheet with high sides which is lined with parchment paper. Spreading the batter into the cookie sheet can be rather frustrating, simply because the batter is really sticky. Have fun :D
*sigh* This stuff makes me so nostalgic...

Here is the recipe. Enjoy! Auf Weidersehen!


4 eggs, separated
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups sour cream (16 oz)
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1 glass sour cherries (I used 2 cans)
For the streusel
6 Tbs. butter, softened
6 Tbs. sugar
12 Tbs. flour

Drain the cherries well.
Mix the egg yolks, sour cream, sugar, flour and baking powder until smooth. Beat the egg whites until they are stiff, then fold into the batter. Spread batter onto a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the cherries over the batter, but do not press them into the dough.
Mix the sugar and flour. Cut in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture forms medium crumbs. Spread over the cherries. Put in a cold oven and bake @ 400 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Haha, I just realized that I preheated my oven and didn't start baking with it cold. I guess I really need to wake up! But, like I said, it's still delicious, and hubby is still raving about it :D
Next time I make it, I'll actually get the directions right and see if it tastes even better.

**Update** This blog entry of mine got an invite to be linked up to Lisa's Sweet as Sugar Cookies sweets for Saturdays link-up! I was so excited I sent my link right away. There are a ton of amazing looking sweet things in the link up party so far, I highly encourage you to go take a look!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pork Ribs and Stir Fry

This really isn't so much a post for a stir-fry as it is for the marinade I used for the meat. The planning for this meal was a little weird, as I just went to the store and grabbed whatever I thought would be good in a stir fry. I came up with: Napa cabbage, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, red, yellow and orange bell peppers, green beans, snow peas, carrots and Udon noodles.

I couldn't decide what kind of meat I wanted to use, so I just browsed around trying to find something that wasn't astronomically expensive. I spied some pork boneless country style ribs and figured surely I could do something with them.

So I got home and thought that maybe I should marinate the meat for awhile with some Asian flavors, just to be fancy...or something. I made a simple mix of:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger

I wasn't able to marinate the meat as long as I wanted, and it still was amazing, so I can't imagine how good it would be if left soaking for a couple hours.
I was able to get exactly 1/4 cup of juice out of one orange, but if you don't want to completely annihilate the orange, you should use 2.

I made the ribs by heating up just the tiniest little amount of sesame oil in a skillet over medium high heat. I seared the pork on one side, then turned the heat down to medium, and seared the other side a little slower. Cook the pork all the way through, but barely. This will guarantee the pork stays juicy and tender. The brown sugar in the marinade made for a delicious caramelized coating on the ribs.

Stir-fries are pretty easy and customizable. Heat up your wok or large skillet over fairly high heat and get a mix of vegetable or olive and sesame oil very hot. Then add your vegetables in order by how long they take to cook. I added my green beans first and let them start to blister before I added the rest of the veggies.
For the noodles, I just boiled and drained them beforehand. When the veggies were done cooking, I removed them from the wok, then added the noodles to the wok for a few seconds, then returned the veggies to the wok. I also used some of the leftover marinade when I was cooking the veggies to add some nice flavor, as well as a little stir-fry sauce.

This was one of the yummiest Asian foods I've made in a while, and it's definitely staying on my 'eat more often' list!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Hot Wings: Anchor Bar Style

I'm not a huge fan of hot and spicy food. Actually, I'm pretty much a complete and total wimp when it comes to hot food. If I'm going to eat wings, I prefer them to be of the honey bbq variety.
My husband is the complete opposite. He likes his wings to be practically on fire. So when I make wings, I usually have to find some middle ground. This recipe is pretty much perfect. Not so hot that your going to cry, but not exactly sweet either.

The only thing I really changed in this recipe was that I baked the wings at 450 degree F for about 10-12 minutes...I didn't really set a timer or anything. Then I turned on the broiler and broiled the wings until they were crispy. You can also fry them, but baking/broiling is healthier and just as crispy if you do it right. I also omitted the Tabasco sauce.
This recipe also calls 1/2 stick of margarine, specifically saying to not using butter....

I used 5 Tbs. of full fat, delicious, unsalted butter. Just a tip for y'all: if you want to be at least a half-decent cook, don't ever, ever, ever use margarine. Ever. Don't even buy that crap.

Now, I've never been to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, birthplace of the hot wings, but I have to say that these were pretty darn yummy. DH voted them the best wings he'd ever had. I declare this one a winner.

Original Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings

26-30 chicken wingettes (it is usually cheaper to buy whole wings and just cut them up yourself)
6 Tbsp Louisiana Hot Sauce
5 Tbs. butter, NOT that fake stuff called margarine
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp. celery seed
1/8 tsp. cayenne
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
pepper to taste
1 to 2 tsp tabasco (optional)
Celery sticks
Blue cheese dressing

Mix all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat until the butter is melted.
Fry the wings in 375 degree F oil until crispy and golden brown, OR bake at 450degrees F for about 10ish minutes, then broil till crispy.
Place the wings and the sauce in a large bowl and toss to coat.
Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


What on earth are Arancini? They are amazing little bundles of rice and mozzarella cheese, coated in bread crumbs and fried. Yeah, that's right, maybe one of the best things ever.
Now, if you don't have any leftover rice in the fridge, these can take kind of a long time to make, but it's so worth it. Pretty simply to make, a little messy, and magnificently delicious. I served them with a simple caesar salad, and they complimented each other nicely.
I was also very excited because I was able to use my brand new wok to fry these babies up in. That's about as fusion as I get, frying Italian food in a Chinese wok. I'm just making leaps and bounds in my trendy-ness factor...
I liked using the wok, simply because they way they are shaped, you can use less oil to fry food in. And using my new spider skimmer I was able to drain a lot more oil of the arancini when they were done frying. Less oil means better for you, and these arancini need all the help they can get.
But we all know, really good cooks don't count the calories in their food. :D


3 eggs
2 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/3 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup grated parmesan or romano
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley (I used about 1 Tbsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2-4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 3/8 inch cubes
1 cup dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

In a bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Stir in rice, butter, parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll into 1 1/2 in balls. Press a mozzarella cube into each and reshape. In a small bowl, beat remaining egg. Dip each ball into egg, then roll in bread crumbs. In a deep fat fryer or electric skillet (or wok!), heat oil to 375 degrees F. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I love marshmallows. I love them on smores, I love them toasted, I love them plain, I like them in cereal, hot chocolate is not hot chocolate without them...I could go on.
I've always wanted to give making marshmallows at home a shot, and yesterday, I was rather bored, so I gave it a try. It was quite a bit a work, since I don't have a stand mixer, I had to use my electric hand mixer, but other than that it wasn't bad. You have to let them sit overnight, but it's worth the wait.
And also, this recipe will make a big mess in your kitchen because of having to use so much powdered sugar. But messes can be fun sometimes, so long as they eventually get cleaned up, right?
I used Alton Brown's recipe for my first attempt at marshmallows. I followed it word for word, so I shall post a link below this next picture of soft, pillow-y deliciousness:

Alton Brown's Marshmallows

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oven Fried Chicken and Succotash

This was one of my favorite meals that I have made in the past month. I love crispy chicken, and I love red pepper, corn and bacon. Well, who doesn't love bacon?
Now, lots of people say that chicken that is baked surely can't be as crispy or delicious as battered, deep-fried chicken. Well, they are mis-informed. Soaking the chicken for quite a few hours in buttermilk and then coating it in panko, combined with cooking it as a high temperature ensures that this chicken will be delightfully crispy.
And the succotash...oh my, yummy. Pretty darn easy and very darn delicious. I did use 1 extra strip of bacon and 1 extra ear of corn, because, well, I guess that doesn't really need an explanation, does it?

Oven-Fried Chicken (from Cook This Not That)

2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot pepper sauce
1 lb chicken drumsticks and thighs
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in a large bowl or a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 12.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the spices. Working one piece at a time, remove the chicken from the buttermilk marinade and dip into the bread crumbs to thoroughly coat.
Place the breaded chicken on a nonstick baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, until browned and crisp on the outside and cooked all the way through.
Makes 4 servings
310 calories
7 g fat (2.5 g saturated)
710 mg sodium


2 strips bacon, diced
4 scallions, chopped, greens and whites separated
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 ears corn, kernels removed from cob
2 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup half-and-half

Cook the bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat until brown and crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove and reserve.
Add the scallion whites and bell pepper and cook until the vegetables soften, about 3 minutes, then stir in the corn and lima beans. Cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, stirring, until the corn is lightly toasted. Turn the heat down to low, season the vegetables with salt and pepper, then add the half-and-half. Gently simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated and coasts the vegetables, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bacon and scallion greens.
Makes 4 servings
190 calories
5 g fat (2 g saturated)
270 mg sodium

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Coffee Rubbed Steak with Pico de Gallo

This recipe was pretty good. My brother was over for dinner and he and I both thought it was tasty, but the hubby didn't like the coffee flavor. He did like the pico though. But hey, 2 to 1 in favor is still a win, right?

Coffee-Rubbed Steak (from Cook This, Not That)

1/2 Tbsp very finely ground coffee or espresso
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb flank or skirt steak
Pico de Gallo
1 lime, quartered

Preheat a grill, grill pan, or cast-iron skillet. Combine the coffee grounds with the chili powder, plus a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the steak. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness, until slightly firm but still yielding. Let the steak rest for at least 5 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain of the meat. Serve with a big scoop of pico de gallo and a lime wedge.

4 servings
Per serving:
270 calories
15 g. fat (6 g sat)
600 mg sodium

Pico de Gallo (from Cook This, Not That)

4 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Keep covered in fridge for up to 1 week.
Makes about 3 cups.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fish Tacos

Now, this is kind of a recipe and kind of just instructions on how to put several recipes together :)
No picture today because I'm tired of putting low quality photos on here. But I'm thinking about doing something altogether different with my blog, but haven't decided yet. I will keep you updated.

Now, fish tacos. Here are the instructions for the different elements:
I use small flour tortillas, and put a little shredded cheddar down the center of each tortilla.
I then add some homemade coleslaw, you can find the recipe here.
Then comes some kernel corn that has been quickly sauteed in butter and paprika. (I used canned shoepeg corn this time around).
For the fish I just use tilapia that I into 3 x 2" pieces, dredged in flour that's been seasoned with salt and pepper, and pan-fried in olive oil. Place over the coleslaw, and squeeze a little lime juice over all of it, then fold up the tortilla to resemble a taco and secure with a toothpick.
My husband claims these are the best fish tacos he's ever had. They are nummy, and quite simple.
Sorry no picture today, but I'm am trying to come up with a solution for that :D

Monday, April 4, 2011

Three in One: Pulled Pork Sandwiches and Coleslaw

Okay, I've actually got three recipes for you today. One for Pulled Pork Sandwiches, one for homemade mayo (easier than you'd think) and one for coleslaw using said mayo.
Okay, first things first. Cue the easiest pulled pork recipe ever.

1 pork loin
1 can or small bottle Dr. Pepper
1 bottle your choice BBQ sauce

Stick the pork loin in a crockpot and pour the soda over it. Cook on high for 6 hours. Drain the juice, reserving one cup. Shred the pork and then pour the BBQ sauce over it, stirring well. Add the reserved juice as needed.

The end. Told you it was easy. And delicious.

Now for the mayonnaise. I was so amazed by how much better this stuff tastes as compared to the store bought stuff. And it is really, really easy if you follow the directions carefully and especially if you've got somebody to help you. As most of you probably know, mayo is simply an emulsion of egg yolks, oil, and (in my recipe anyway) vinegar. The recipe I have says that it can be made in the food processor, however, when I tried that today, the processor turned out to be too harsh of a way of mixing the yolks and oil (since a processor uses a high-speed blade instead of a whisk), and it ended up being a liquid-y, oily, frankly disgusting mess. So I had to admit defeat on the first try and start over. Hey, it's all part of cooking. It could probably been done in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on a medium to medium low speed. I don't have a stand mixer, however, so I did it the super old school way with a bowl and a whisk. And a helpful husband :)

2 egg yolks
2 tsps Dijon mustard
1 3/4 cups vegetable oil exactly, no more, no less
4 tsp white wine vinegar
Lemon juice to taste (I usually use about 1 Tbsp)
Salt and pepper to taste

First off, it's VERY important that all your ingredients are at room temperature. If your starting mix of yolks and mustard is cold, this just isn't going to work. So ingredients at room temperature. What I did was put the yolks and mustard in a bowl, mixed them up a tad, and then zapped them in the microwave at 4 seconds intervals just until they were at room temp, being very careful not to start cooking the egg. :D
Okay, so whisk the mustard and yolks until just frothy, and then (and this is easiest if you have a helping hand) pour the oil into the mixture in a slow, slow, steady stream, whilst whisking vigorously. This is best if you have one person whisking and one pouring. And yes, you will be getting a workout with this step. After all the oil is whisked in thoroughly, then whisk in the vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Voila. Mayonnaise. This recipe makes about 2 cups. Store it in the fridge in an airtight container. And it's very, very yummy, by the way.

I personally think everybody should try making homemade mayonnaise at least once. After that first time, they will probably get addicted to it like I did.

Okay, last part of this dinner: making the coleslaw. A lot of this recipe is up to personal taste. Some people like their coleslaw drippy and runny, some like it creamy and chunky, etc. I made this recipe easily customizable.


1 head green cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
1-2 carrots, finely chopped or shredded
A little or much mayo as you like
A little or much apple cider vinegar as you like
Salt and pepper to taste
Whatever else strikes your fancy

Stir it all up and serve.

Enjoy your almost completely homemade meal!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Homemade Buttermilk Ranch and Confetti Salad

I love ranch dressing. And I love salads with random chopped veggies in them. And there really is nothing better than when all the elements are homemade. This kind of meal is perfect for hot, humid days.. like today was here in KS.

If you've never had homemade ranch salad dressing I highly encourage you to try this. I got the recipe from the original Tightwad Gazette book. It's nummy-licious. I made the salad up. :D

Confetti Salad

1/2 half medium head cabbage, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
2 carrots, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
A handful of shredded cheddar cheese
Sliced mushrooms, optional


Homemade Buttermilk Ranch

1 cup mayo
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onions, tops only
1/4 tsp onion powder
2 tsp minced parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder or 1/2 to 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Either whisk ingredients in a bowl or combine in a small food processor. Refrigerate in an air tight container. Makes 2 cups.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Apple Dumplings!

Apple dumplings. So amazingly awesome. Before today I had never, ever made homemade apple dumplings all by my little lonesome. So this was kind of like a challenge for me. No, really, these things were a challenge and a pain in the ass. But, oh gosh, were they ever worth it. There really isn't any other dessert that is quite as homey-licious as the apple dumpling. And you can not, I repeat, can not, consume this dessert without copious amounts of vanilla ice cream. (Yes, I added quite a little bit more ice cream after I was done taking pictures...) Yummy.

As I said before, this is a difficult dessert to master. I used the recipe from the Fannie Farmer cookbook, and they were very nummy, but whew! The pastry was rather hard to work with, since dumpling dough is right smack in the middle of just wet enough and way too freaking wet. Which means if you're not God and super-careful it's going to tear on you. That should explain to you why my dumplings kind of look like they've been mauled by a bear. The recipe says to roll the dough into a square that is 13" x 13" and then cut 4 6 1/2" squares. I did. To the exact centimeter, actually. Before you go off and make these, let me tell you that 13 x 13 is way to small. I ended up having to trim my apples down rather a lot to make the pastry fit all the way around them. But they turned out delicious in the end anyway, and that's what counts, right?

Also, I added a little touch of Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey to the sauce for the dumplings. Why? Because I felt like it, that's why. And it was Everything else I followed to the letter.

Oh, and just so I don't feel like I led you into this without fair warning, this is what my kitchen looked like after my epic struggle:

Yeah.... but hey, it only took 15 minutes to clean it all up and make everything right as rain :D

Apple Dumplings adapted from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook

3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 Tbs. butter
A sploosh of Bourbon, or more if you're an alcoholic. (And yes sploosh is a precise measurement) optional

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tsp. salt
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup cold milk

4 whole apples (I used Golden Delicious, not too tart, not too sweet), peeled and cored
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan. Combine the apple juice, water, bourbon (if using), cinnamon, nutmeg and butter in a small saucepan and heat, stirring several times, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl, and stir them together. Drop in the shortening and work it into the flour using a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, mixing until the fat is reduced to tiny uneven particles and mixture resembles fresh bread crumbs. Pour in the milk and stir with a fork just until the dough holds together. Form the dough into a square cake about 1 inch thick and place it on a lightly floured, smooth surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough lightly in all directions, lifting it frequently to sure the dough isn't sticking to the surface, and keeping it as square as possible. Roll until the dough is about 13 inches square and 1/8 inch thick. (I would recommend trying to make the square just a tad larger than 13 inches square). Cut the dough into four equal squares. Place an apple in the center of each square and bring the four corners of the dough together at the top, enclosing the apple completely. Give the four attached corners a clockwise twist, which seals the dumpling and adds a decorative topknot. (Or if you're careless like me, you can just mush is all closed, so that yes, it's ugly, but definitely sealed.)

Put the dumplings in the baking dish about 1 inch apart. Pour the sauce you made early over the dumplings and sprinkle each with 1/2 Tbs sugar. Bake for about 25 minutes, basting the dumplings with the sauce several times. Pour the cream into the sauce and bake for about 15 minutes more. The dumplings are done when the pastry is golden and the apples are tender when pierced with a skewer. Remove from the oven and serve warm with the sauce from the pan and vanilla ice cream. (Don't you dare forget the ice cream).

Caprese Sandwich

Can I just say how much I love fresh chunk mozzarella cheese? I can? Okay, I LOVE mozzarella chunk cheese!! And this sandwich was perfect for indulging in that love.

This recipe was super duper easy and very quick to put together. I got the recipe from the Cook This, Not That recipe book. I will probably being blogging quite a few recipes from that book this month, actually, so be prepared. The recipe says to cut the baguette into quarters, which results in 4 lunch-portion sized sandwiches. This sandwich was nice because while filling, it tasted deliciously light.
It would make a great sandwich for an afternoon picnic in the sunshine!

And since the cookbook I got this from included the nutrition facts, so shall I. Enjoy!

Caprese Sandwich

1 baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
15-20 fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic  vinegar

Preheat the broiler. Broil the baguette, cut sides up, 6" from heat, for about 2 minutes, until the inside is lightly toasted. Rub each half with a half clove of garlic; the crusty bread will release the garlic's essential oils, giving you instant garlic bread.
Layer the bottom half of the baguette, alternating with slices of tomato, mozzarella, and basil leaves. Season evenly with salt and lots of fresh black pepper. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, then top with the other baguette half. Cut the whole package into four pieces.

Makes 4 sandwiches / Cost per serving: $2.96

300 calories
17 g fat (4.5 g saturated)
410 mg sodium

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jalapeno Cheddar Pretzels

Before you ask: Yes, these are better than Auntie Anne's pretzels. Of course, in my opinion making home-made pretzels that are better than mall pretzels is rather fantastically simple.

Ever since I had the great fortune to live in Germany and partake of a delicious hot pretzel from a street vendor on the Trier Walkplatz, I have been spoiled to American versions of the heavenly pretzel.
And unfortunately, I have yet to find a recipe that even comes close to the amazing-ness of the Trier street pretzel, but this recipe by Alton Brown is very delicious. His recipe, of course, is for plain pretzels with salt, but I decided to make them a little more... snazzy, if you will. So I used some shredded cheddar cheese, and I chopped up some pickled jalapeno slices and added them to the dough before setting it to rise. You can use as little or as much as you like, but I kept it in the moderate amount so that there would still be plenty of bites that were just plain, amazing, delicious, soft, chewy pretzelness.

These pretzels require a decent amount of time and effort, so be prepared for that. But also be prepared to greatly savor your time and labor!

Here be the link to the deliciousness:

Alton Brown's Soft Pretzels

Friday, March 11, 2011

Chicken Mediterranean

I've got another quick and simple recipe for you. Well, relatively quick anyway. It does require marinating the meat for 2 hours, but that is not a hassle if you actually remember to read the recipe in the morning, unlike me, who read it 5 minutes before I needed to make it. We had something else for dinner that day, needless to say. 
Other than the marinating this recipe takes 2 blinks of the eye. Cook the pasta. Cook the chicken. Warm the tomatoes and spices. Top with feta. Eat.
Even though the recipe calls for kalamata olives, I always leave them out because one, I hate olives, and two, they are exactly cheap. But please feel free to add as many olives as you see fit.
I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the tomatoes for a little extra kick.

Chicken Mediterranean
1/2 lb. boneless, skinnless chicken breast, cit into cubes (I used 1 chicken breast)
4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
1/2 tsp. each dried parsley, basil and oregano
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tsp. or so of balsamic vinegar

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a heavy duty plastic bag. Seal and chill for 2 hours.
Cook chicken in  a hot skillet for about 5 minutes, or until done. Remove from skillet and add the tomatoes, olives, herbs and vinegar. Simmer for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add the chicken back to the skillet. Sprinkle with feta. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the feta to melt a little. Serve over hot pasta.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Aloha Chicken

I love this recipe. Simple, filling, quick, and delicious. The original version called for 4 chicken breast halves, but I prefer to cut 2 chicken breasts into strips, because though you're using the same amount of chicken, you can get more servings out of the strips as opposed to the 4 halves.

Now, a lot of people view cooking rice as a scary prospect. Not sure why, it really is quite simple. Just use a 2:1 water to rice ratio. I usually use 4 cups of water and 2 cups of white long grain rice. Just barely bring the water to a boil in a large pot that has a tight lid. Pour in the rice and immediately reduce the heat to low. Secure the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes. Don't lift the lid or stir the rice. After twenty minutes, take it off the heat and let it sit with the lid on for 10 minutes. The end. Now you have delicious yummy rice. Not that difficult, right?

Aloha Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (more if needed)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil (divided)
1 16 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 Tbs. honey
1 Tbs. soy sauce
dash pepper
Hot rice

Heat 1 Tbs oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Coat the chicken strips in flour and brown the oil in two batches. Remove the first batch from the skillet and add the remaining oil. Brown the rest of the strips. Remove from the skillet. Drain the pineapple, reserving 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the juice, depending on how much pineapple flavor you want. Combine the juice and cornstarch. Add to skillet. Add remaining ingredients (except rice). Boil for 30 seconds. Add the pineapple and chicken to the skillet; heat through. Serve over hot rice.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Candied Orange Peel

    Candied orange peel. I had never tried candied citrus peel of any kind before, so of course I had to make this when I came across the recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, Closet Cooking. I took some to work to share with some co-workers before I had dunked them in chocolate, and they were met with great approval. The next day after they received their chocolate bath, my brother was visiting and he could barely stop eating them. So be warned, these could be habit forming....

     The whole process is quite lengthy and kind of a lot of work, but I think overall it's worth the work.
First you peel the oranges, then cut the peel into thin slices. Then boil them in plain water for 15 minutes. I chose to boil them twice to take out some more of the bitterness of the peel. Just change the water and boil for another 15 minutes. Then bring sugar water to a boil, and simmer the peels in that for 40 to 45 minutes, just until the peels are nice and tender. Drain the peels well (save the leftover syrup, it's great in tea and whatnot) and then toss the peels in sugar. Then let them sit on cooling racks for 2 days. Then you can either eat them plain or go extra addictive-ridiculous and melt some dark sweet baking chocolate (I used 2 1/2 dark chocolate baking bars) and dip the peels halfway in the chocolate and then let that dry on wax paper. Then try not to eat them all at once, which might prove to be difficult.

Also bonus to these things: you can build mini-forts with them. They are like food lincoln logs!

Candied Orange Peel (from Closet Cooking)
3 oranges
2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup sugar

1. Cut the top and bottom from the orange.
2. Cut the peel each orange into 4 vertical pieces and remove from orange in one piece.
3. Cut the peel into thin strips.
4. Cook the peels in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain and rinse.
5. Bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat in a sauce pan.
6. Add the peel, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the peels are tender, about 45 minutes.
7. Drain and toss the peels in the sugar. Note: You want to drain the orange peels well. If you just throw them straight from the syrup into the sugar, the sugar will clump up. (Tip: Save the syrup and use it in ice tea.)
8. Place the peels on a cooling rack and let them sit until the coating is dry, anywhere from 24-48 hours.
If you want to dip them in chocolate, just melt 2 chocolate bars of your choice in a double boiler or the microwave, dunk the peels, and let them dry on wax paper.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Borscht. Quick, easy and healthy. What's not to like? I love beets and cabbage, and this is the perfect combination of those two foods. I got this recipe from "The Year in Food" blog. I cut the recipe in half, though, since I'm just cooking for two people.

Making is pretty much as simple as chop, simmer, eat. A word of caution, though. Beets have the ability to stain like you wouldn't believe. But don't worry, if you end up with pink hands after dicing the beets, you can use a raw potato to get the color off your skin. Raw potato also works well to get the stain out of a cutting board. The more you know....

Sorry about the awful picture. I'm getting quite sick of my deplorable camera, however I haven't been able to talk myself into spending $300+ for nice SLR camera. And I probably never will... I'm too much of a 'make do with what you have' sort of person!

And be sure to come back for my next post, cause I'm going to share another dessert recipe with you! This one is going to be slightly healthier than those brownies....


(I cut this recipe in half to make about 3 servings)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
4 medium red beets, peeled and diced
1 large potato, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced, plus extra for garnish (I substituted in between 1/2 and 1 Tbs. dried dill)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
salt + pepper to taste
yogurt or sour cream for garnish (sour cream is my favorite)

In a large pot, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and saute until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the broth, water, beets, potato, carrots and bay leaf and cover. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked. Add the cabbage and the fresh dill and simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Turn off heat and add the vinegar. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Remove the bay leaf, ladle into bowls and finish with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream, and a sprinkling of dill.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Maple Bacon Nutella Brownies

 No, my friends, you have not died and transcended to the plane of heavenly immortality. You have instead found a recipe for the brownies to end all brownies, the one and only Maple Bacon Nutella Brownies!

Now, I saw an entry on for these brownies, but after following the link, discovered that it wasn't actually a link to a recipe, but rather an entry about this food truck that drives around some city, and they sell these brownies. I was rather disheartened, but not one to have such an idea as bacon nutella brownies slip from my grasp so easily, I decided to come up with my own version. So I pulled out my ever trustworthy Fannie Farmer cookbook and chose the 'Best Ever Brownie' recipe.

I whipped up a batch of these death by chocolate and butter brownies, let them cool just ever so slightly, spread an entire jar of Nutella over top as frosting, then fried up 7 slices of maple bacon, crumbled them, and sprinkled the bacon bits all over the top. I don't think there are any words that can truly describe what these brownies are. Magic is the only word I can think of that comes even close. These brownies will transport you to a world where there is no pain, no illness, hunger or hate, a utopia of chocolate delight. Screw milk and honey, just give me nutella and bacon!

*I am not liable for any dying and going to heaven that may result in the consumption of these brownies. Not recommended for children within 5 hours of their bedtime.

Maple Bacon Nutella Brownies

6 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
2 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 jar Nutella
6-7 slices maple flavored bacon

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally. Let cool. Meanwhile, mix together the eggs, vanilla, salt and sugar for about 8 minutes. Gently stir in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Add the flour. Butter and flour a 9x13 pan (if using a glass pan, place the pan on a cookie sheet during baking). Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
Let cool for about 15 minutes, then spread the jar of Nutella over the brownies like frosting.
In a large skillet or on a griddle, fry 6-7 slices of bacon until crispy. Let cool, the crumble and sprinkle the  bits over the brownies.

Now, offer up a prayer to the gods of bacon, chocolate and butter for what you are about to consume, and take a humble bite. Oh, and try not to cry.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Shared Favorite: Spinach Cheese Cannelloni

    I have a wonderful pen pal in Germany who I have been writing back and forth with for well over a year now, and she has a love for food and cooking just like me, so sometimes we share favorite recipes back and forth. In her last letter she sent me the recipe for her favorite food to make, Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni.
   When I first scanned the recipe I noticed there were some ingredients that one does not normally find in a cannelloni or manicotti recipe. Mint leaves, pine nuts and feta cheese are all in this recipe, as well as a homemade tomato sauce.
   The quantities in this recipe are metric, but I shall convert them as best I can. If you have a kitchen scale that measures in both metric and American system like I do, then no conversion is necessary. Which is awesome, of course.
   I ended up only using 1/2 as much spinach as was called for, and a little extra ricotta....simply because I love ricotta just a little too much. Using half spinach was not what I originally intended to do, I just didn't get enough at the store, and was too lazy to go get more.
   This recipe does require some time and effort, but oh my goodness gracious was it ever worth it. Let's just say my friend certainly knows how to pick a favorite food! Personally I think the mint really makes this dish, combined with the homemade sauce. Erich thought the pine nuts were the best thing about it. The other unexpected ingredient, feta cheese, really added a nice tangy zing to the filling, a nice contrast to mild ricotta.
   So, to my dear pen-pal: Your recipe was a great and delicious success, thank you for sharing it with me!!

Spinach and Cheese Cannelloni

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1.2 kg (about 2-2.5 lbs) tomatoes, diced (I only used about 1 3/4 lbs, and it made just enough sauce)
2 fresh rosemary twigs
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper

500 g. (1 lb) spinach
150 g. (about 6 oz) crumbled feta cheese
150 g. ricotta cheese (I used about 10-12 ounces)
50 g. (3 1/2 Tbs) grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. mint leaves, chopped (I used about 1 1/2 tsp. dried chopped leaves)
2 eggs
2 Tbs. pine nuts
16 cannelloni or manicotti shells (I only managed to fit 12 manicotti shells in my Pyrex 9x13 pan)
200 g. (7 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded or chunk

For the sauce, heat olive oil, and saute onion and garlic. Then add the tomatoes, herbs and tomato paste. Bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste and remove the rosemary twigs and bay leaves.
Boil and drain the noodles. Blanch the spinach, squeezing out the excess water, and roughly chop. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the chopped spinach with the feta and ricotta cheese, mint, eggs, pine nuts and salt and pepper. Fill the shells with the mixture. Put some of the prepared sauce in a large casserole dish and place the noodles into it, and then pour the remaining sauce over the top. Slice the mozzarella cheese (if using chunk) into thin slices and layer over the top of noodles; or top with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I like pizza. Okay, I love pizza, but I hate how expensive delivery pizza is. So I thought I should try and see how much better homemade pizza would be. Obviously it's much cheaper to make, but some people do like convenience enough to pay extra for it. I'm not one of those people. I'm a huge advocate for making convenience items at home as a way to save money, especially since you can also learn a lot of useful skills by making things at home, and have a lot of fun at the same time.

The dough recipe I used was out of the Fannie Farmer cookbook. Best cookbook investment I've ever made. I've yet to try a recipe from this book that wasn't wonderful. Anyway, back to the dough. This dough takes about 3 hours to make, including the rising time. It makes yields enough dough to make 3 14-in. pizzas. I just made one pizza, and put the rest of the dough in the freezer for another time. See? That's convenient, right?

This dough was very good; not very light, though. I may try out some other doughs in the future to see what I like best, but this was a good, simple dough, excellent for first-timers as well.

For the sauce, I just used canned plain spaghetti sauce and added some traditional Italian herbs to it, which you can do to your own taste. I then added some mozzarella, Parmesan, and turkey pepperoni. I know, boring... but it was very, very tasty!

Cost-wise, the ingredients used for the batch of dough which yields three pizzas would cost me under $1.00.
The toppings I used for one pizza was about $2.50. (I used 1/4 can spaghetti sauce, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, about 2 teaspoons Parmesan, and about 1/5 package sliced turkey pepperoni).
So total I spent about $3.00 for one "medium" pizza. And making it was rather fun to do, so I saved a lot of money and had a fun project! Not bad, if I do say so myself!

Fannie Farmer Cookbook Pizza Dough

1 1/3 cups warm water (divided)
1 package dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
3-4 cups flour
Olive oil
2 tsps. salt
3 cups pizza sauce
3 cups grated mozzarella cheese
24 slices pepperoni

Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add about 2 cups of the flour, 2 Tbs oil, 1 cup warm water and the salt, and beat. Add more flour, mixing well, until the dough holds together in a rough mass. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Put the dough in an oiled bowl to rise, covered with plastic wrap. When the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, punch it down and divide dough into thirds. Let rest for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Roll the dough with a rolling pin or stretch it over your fists until you have 3 14-inch circles. Place on pizza pans or cookie sheets and pick all over with a fork. On each circle, spoon 1 cup pizza sauce; sprinkle 1 cup mozzarella and place 8 pepperoni slices on each pizza. Drizzle each pizza with about 2 teaspoons olive oil. Let rest another 10 minutes and then bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. To test for doneness, lift an edge - if the bottom has turned golden, it is probably done.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


  Hutspot? What is that, you say? Deliciousness would be the answer to that question. I found this recipe while I was browsing Kayotic Kitchen, which is a fantastical blog, by the way, and this caught my attention, for I had never really heard or seen any recipe like it. So of course I had to try it.

 This recipe I actually stuck to the original ingredients and instructions, if you can possibly believe that. Hutspot is basically a potato/carrot/onion mash, which you serve with sausage and gravy. While this recipe wasn't really difficult, it was kind of time consuming with all the chopping/boiling and created quite a few dirty pots. But all in all I'd say it's quite worth it. It's a fairly healthy recipe, and it's definitely budget friendly.

  I'll give you the steps briefly, then I shall link you to the original recipe, where she has a lot of pretty pictures to go with the instructions, because she is not as lazy as I am.

  First off peel and chop the potatoes into quarters. Peel and chop the onions and carrots into large pieces. Put the potatoes in a pot, and cover with lightly salted water.
  Saute the onions in a large pot in 1 Tbs. butter, then add 1 tsp. curry powder and cook for no more than 60 seconds, then add the carrots and stir well. Then add about 3-4 cups of water (enough to cover the veggies) and add two chicken, vegetable or beef bouillon cubes (I used chicken).
  Start the heat on the potatoes and bring both pots to a boil. Boil the carrots/onions and the potatoes for about 20 minutes each until the potatoes and carrots are tender.
   Drain the carrots (reserve about 1 cup of the liquid) and drain the potatoes. Combine them and add a pat of batter, a little salt and lots of black pepper. Mash, using the reserved liquid if the mash seems dry.
   Whip up some gravy, cook your sausage and eat up!

Original recipe for Hutspot:

Bonus for the people who actually scroll to the bottom of my boring posts:

My little helper Lulu, who is always has to be where she can get some attention, or as I am sure she thinks: to make sure I'm doing what I'm supposed to, which is taking pictures of her, obviously!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


  I'd never made jambalaya; in fact I'd never even tasted it. The reason for this being that I've always heard that it is spicy, and as anyone who knows me will attest to, I do not like spicy food. But I do like foods that have rice mixed up with a bunch of other stuff, and hubby loves spicy food, so I figured jambalaya could be a spicy food I could at least give a try.
  I will say that is a good food for cold weather; it's one of those cozy foods I guess.
  I got the original recipe from a blog called 'Friday Delights', but of course I changed a couple things. I used white rice instead of brown, Andouille sausage instead of plain smoked sausage, I used only 1 jalapeno instead of 2 to cool it down a touch, and I substituted ground red pepper for the cayenne powder (simply because I didn't have any cayenne on hand).
  This is another recipe with A LOT of ingredients, but I wouldn't leave anything out, for the end result was quite delightful and complex. It wasn't a terribly arduous task to make it either (it only takes one pot, one cutting board and a good chef's knife), so this one might become a regular go-to recipe for us.

So...what are you still here for? Go start making some yummy jambalaya!

Louisiana Jambalaya

Smoked Sausage (I used ground Andouille tore up in little bite-size chunks)
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup green onions
2 jalapeno, chopped (I used one)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sweet basil
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, more if desire (I substituted ground red pepper)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cloves (I used 1/4 tsp)
1/8 tsp. allspice (used 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 cups of water
2 cups brown rice (I used white)

Slice the sausage and saute in oil and butter over low heat . Add the onions, green peppers, parsley, garlic, jalapeno, and green onions and saute slowly until vegetables are tender. Stir in the tomato sauce, honey, seasonings, rice, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until rice is fluffy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

White Bread

 I had a sudden urge to make bread yesterday, and I guess it was a good thing, since we had just run out of our store-bought bread. So I set to scouring the internet for a new bread recipe to try and I happened upon a recipe for Julia Child's White Bread at It sounded quite delicious, so I got out my yeast and bread flour and set to work.

Of course, a lot of the instructions in this recipe were, 'put such and such in your electric mixer with the dough hook...'  which in my kitchen translates into, 'put the such and such in your large bowl and get out your elbow grease, cause you're going to need it!'.

Without a electric mixer, this whole process took me about 3 1/2ish hours. But boy, oh boy was it worth it. There really is nothing like hot, fresh bread right out of the oven, spread with sweet cream butter. I had a very hard time being patient enough to take pictures of the loaves before I started devouring them.

After having two sandwiches using the bread, the hubby declared that I did indeed do a 'very good job' baking it!

The most interesting part of the making of this bread was kneading the butter in a tablespoon at a time. Again, if you have an electric mixer, it won't be nearly so fun, for while it was a very greasy process, the smell was..what's the word....rapturous.

So all in all, I am most definitely keeping this recipe, for it one of those recipes that is a lot of work, but is also a very delicious reward for said work. Bon Appetit!

 Julia Child's White Bread (makes 2 loaves)

2 1/2 cups water (105-115 F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
7 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter softened, plus more for greasing the loaf pans

Pour 1/2 cup of the water into a bowl and mix with yeast and sugar til foamy. Let it sit for 5 minutes until creamy. Put the yeast mixture, rest of the water and 3 1/2 cups of the flour into the mixer with the dough hook. Mix slowly until blended then add the rest of the flour.
Increase speed and scrape down the sides til the dough comes together. (If it doesn't add a tbsp of flour at a time til it does.) Add salt and mix at medium speed for 10 minutes (or do half in mixer and half kneading) til dough is smooth and elastic.
Back in mixer add butter 1 tbsp at a time (dough may come apart, but mixing will pull it back together). Turn dough out on lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball then place in a large buttered or oiled bowl. Turn dough so it is completely coated in the fat, then cover in plastic for 45 minutes to an hour, til it has doubled in size at room temperature.
Butter 2 loaf pans. Deflate the dough, cut in half and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.
With the short end facing you, fold the dough into thirds like a sheet of paper to go into an envelope, creating a roll. Pinch the seam closed, and pinch the ends enough so it will fit in the loaf pan. Drop in the loaf pan seem side down, and repeat.
Cover the loaves with buttered plastic wrap and allow to rise again in a warm place (80°F) for 45 minutes, until they double in size.
Preheat the oven to 375°F and put the rack in the center of the oven. Bake for 35-45 minutes til they are honey brown.
Immediately turn out of pans onto a rack to cool.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beef Rice Bowls (I'm Finally Back!)

   Okay, so I'm finally back! Some of the madness of working for the USPS during the holidays has slowed down, so now I actually have time to cook again, which has improved my mood greatly.
   Today I wanted to keep it fairly simple, though, since I did have errands to run and I had to take down the holiday decorations down and what not. So I made a beef/rice/cabbage bowl thingy, inspired by a recipe I found on 'A Box of Kitchen' blog. I basically took her recipe and screwed it all up and made it my own, you know, like I usually do.

   It's a pretty simple concept, caramelize some beef cubes, saute some cabbage, steam some rice and fry, or poach (what the original recipe called for) some eggs. I fried the eggs for my version, since neither I or my hubby find runny egg yolk very appealing.

    This combination is pretty awesome, since you can use the same pan for the beef, cabbage and eggs. So just heat your skillet pretty hot, cook the beef. Remove. I added some sesame oil and a little water to the skillet and then sauteed the cabbage. Remove from the pan. Then fry up your eggs and your all ready. This can all be done in the time it takes to steam the rice.

   Then you layer the ingredients in a bowl, adding rice, and topping with the cabbage and beef, and then setting the egg right on top. Yum. The end.

   It's good to be back on here, and I hopefully will be updating much more often now that the holidays are over (thank the heavens!).

   Beef and Rice Bowls (Serves 3-4)

1/2 pound beef of your choice, cut into bite-sized cubes (I just used Round London Broil)
1/2 head green cabbage, roughly chopped
Sesame oil
Soy sauce
Powdered Ginger
Steamed rice

In a hot skillet, caramelize the beef cubes until fully cooked. Remove from pan. Add about 1 Tbs of sesame oil (more if desired) and about 3 Tbs. water to the hot skillet and add the cabbage. Season with salt, pepper and ginger to your taste. Cook this until the cabbage has wilted some, but still has some crunch to it. Remove from the pan. Fry the eggs.
Put the steamed white rice into bowls and top with the beef, cabbage and a fried egg. Serve with soy sauce.