My Final Thoughts

Well, friends, it’s time to move on.  I have truly enjoyed posting my recipes online, and will continue to do so, but cooking, while still a great passion is no longer where my path is taking me.  My days are filled with light saber fights, movie nights, tiny tantrums, and potty training.  Elaborate recipes still happen, but not nearly as they once did.  But, I don’t want this to be goodbye, but just a change.  We’re moving on, but not away.  Please stop by my new blog, “One Boy Two Boy” .  If you’d like to stay, please feel free.  Put your feet up, grab a cup of coffee, and get comfy.  Because this shouldn’t be goodbye, just hello, again.

 

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Hello Friends!  I’ve missed you!  It’s been so long! 

So, things just got crazy with having a job, family, and all such things.  I couldn’t keep up with the blog and sadly missed it.  I don’t know how people who have real jobs can also maintain a blog.  It seems like a total impossibility.  I’ve since quit my job to stay at home with my boys and have been baking and cooking away with my oldest, and hope my youngest picks up a few things, too.

Anyway, I’m back, and can’t wait to share all the great new recipes that I’ve found along the way.  Thanks for hanging in there!  And, please stay tuned!

K

“Little Ear” Pasta with Broccoli

I watched Moneyball last night.  It was great and I don’t even like baseball!  I’m a disappointment to my dad, I’m sure.  

There are some actors that I will see any movie they make, just because they are in it, among these are Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Brad Pitt.  What if they made a movie together?  Oh my gosh!  When I was a teenager, Brad Pitt was filming the movie Twelve Monkeys in Philadelphia. I lived about 45 minutes away.  I remember being crazy with the fact that he “was so close to me”.  It was a pathetic crush.  His pictures were all over my walls.  I used to watch that scene in Legends of the Fall when he tipped his hat and the water dripped off, over and over and over and over.  So sad.  

Fortunately, he was a good actor, and has remained around for me to obsess over.  Unfortunately, he is with Angelina Jolie (who irritates me to no end) and not me.  

Maybe if I made this pasta for him, he’d change his mind.  Probably not, but just maybe…

Little Ear Pasta with Broccoli

from the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins

 

2 bunches of broccoli

sea salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tb extra virgin olive oil

6 oil-packed anchovies, or to taste

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lb orecchiette or other pasta

water

black pepper

 

Clean and coarsely chop the broccoli.  Bring about 1 inch of salted water to boil in a heavy sauvepan.  Add the broccoli and cook until it is tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Set the pan of broccoli aside, and keep warm.

In a separate skillet or saute pan, gently saute the garlic in the olive oil until it is soft, then melt in the anchovies by crushing them in the garlicky oil with a fork.  Add the red pepper and stir to mix well.  Turn the garlic-pepper oil into the broccoli and mix.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted boiling water until done.  Drain the pasta immediately combine with the broccoli.  Turn into a warm serving bowl, add pepper, and serve in a large bowl.

A Fiber Rich Lunch…or using up leftovers?

I was staring at my fridge and thought…hmm…what’s for lunch?  I threw my leftover chicken on top of some spinach, added my leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, and brown rice, sprinkled on some goat cheese, and here’s what I got.  It was pretty good, but I thought it made a pretty picture.

Here is the link to the Black Bean and Rice recipe.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Ina, Ina, Ina…how I love you so.  Anything with 4 eggs, a cup of heavy cream, and 3/4 lb of butter, has to be good, right?  Since the holidays are here, and no one is watching their calorie intake, why not try these scones?  And if you’re going to make scones, you should make this jam, too.  While you’re at it, you should try Milk Brewed coffee, from Yes, I want cake.  

 

After doing all three, slip in to a food coma, and sleep in heavenly peace.

Merry Christmas!! 

Cranberry Orange Scones

from Ina Garten

Ingredients

  • 4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes (Start watching at 15.  Mine were done before 20), until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones.

 

Just the healthiest muffin of all time…

Ok, so post-halloween binge has caught up with me. I think I’ve eaten an entire bag of Almond Joys by myself. And am wondering, why am I not sick of these? Why could I consume another bag?

Ben brought home some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that his students gave him, and I ate those too. I’m feeling bad about it, so don’t make me feel worse.

With all this junk eating the past few days, I decided its time for a cleanse. I’m on a total health food kick. I’m seeing how many vegetables and fruits I can put into my body in a 24 hour period. The problem with this theory is that I’m still a carb addict, and a muffin must enter my mouth every 24 hours, or else I think the world might end or something horrible like that. Now, I’m going to tell you, these are not delicious muffins. So, why make them? Because, they are just about the healthiest muffin on the block. And, I’m being a little harsh. They’re good, but like a 6 out of 10 good. I’m doing it for the cleanse. Because I must eat chocolate chip cookies at least once a month, and because its almost Thanksgiving, which means Christmas cookies are right around the corner. So, make healthy muffins, I must. Enjoy, I will. But claim them awesome, I won’t.

Oh, BTWs…this is my last pumpkin recipe for the year…maybe.

Pumpkin Morning Glory Muffins

Original recipe is here. Maybe they’re better? I don’t know. Try both and let me know. Mine’s healthier.

Makes 17 muffins

scant 1 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 C rolled oats

2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (use all cinnamon if you wish)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3/4 cup raisins
1 large apple, peeled and grated
8 ounces (1 cup) crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup canned (plain) pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Put your rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients (or 6 if you’re using only one flour), then add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts. Stir this all together. It will be messy looking and dry, but stay with me.

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, pumpkin, and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix to combine.

Grease your muffin tins, or use paper liners if you prefer. Fill each cup 3/4 filled.

Bake for 30-35 minutes and do the toothpick test. (should come out clean.) Cool muffin in the pan for 10 minutes and then cool completely on your rack.

Sweet Potato Pierogi with Rosemary Brown Butter

I love, love, love these pierogies!  They are beyond awesome.  I’ve made them a bunch of times, and they’ve been good every time.  They are a little time-consuming, as you have to make your own dough, but they are SO worth the effort.  The recipe also makes a ton of pierogies, and they freeze really well, so you can have them next week, the week after, AND the week after that!  Beautiful.  

If you have some time to kill, it should definitely be spent making these.

Ben (my husband) had eight of them.  I had to cut him off.  He claims at 30, he’s a growing boy, but I’m suspicious of that.

 In other news, I’m considering this as a Halloween costume for my two year old and husband.  What do you think? 

Sweet Potato Pierogies

Barely Adapted from Katherine Sacks

 

(makes about 3 dozen)

 

Pierogi Dough (adapted from Martha Stewart Living, April 2010)
1 egg
3 tablespoons sour cream

1 cup milk

1 cup water
3 cups all -purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

 

* Start with step one for the filling, then proceed with the dough. (1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet tray with parchment or a silpat. Place the sweet potatoes and yam on the tray and roast for one hour, or until soft.

 

1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg lightly. Add in the sour cream and combine until smooth. Whisk into this mixture the milk and water. Add the flour, one cup at a time, transferring to a wooden spoon when batter starts to get thick. Combine the salt with the last cup of flour, and add it to the dough (this will make sure that the salt is evenly distributed to the dough).

 

2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (the dough will be sticky). Knead gently, adding flour if needed, for five to 10 minutes. The dough will come together as you knead, so make sure not to add too much flour, as this will make the dough tough. Roll into a ball and cover with a clean, inverted bowl. Let sit for one hour.

 

3. While the dough is sitting, proceed with the filling, at step 2.

 

4. After one hour, line a baking sheet with a silpat or a clean towel, and generously dust with cornmeal. Divide the dough evenly into four pieces. Re-cover three pieces and place the fourth on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 1/8-inch round.

 

5. Using a 3-inch cutter or glass, cut circles out of the dough very close together so as to not waste any dough. Place a small spoonful of filling near the top of each circle, and fold the dough over in half to cover the filling. Gently pick up the crescent and pinch the edges closed. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

 

6. While you are shaping the pierogi, bring a medium-sized pot of salted water to a boil. When water is boiling, place five to eight pierogi in the water. The dumplings will sink to the bottom, so stir gently to avoid sticking. When the pierogi rise to the top of the water, cook for two more minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean tray lined with a silpat or parchment.

 

7. After all pierogi are boiled, heat a medium-sized skillet over medium high heat. Place one tablespoon of butter in the pan and allow to melt and get hot. Cook the pieorgi in batches, frying lightly for one to two minutes, on each side. Add more butter when necessary. Serve with fried onions and drizzle with rosemary butter. *If you do not want to cook all pierogi at once, place extra on a lined sheet tray that is dusted with cornmeal. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze. When you cook, boil pierogi straight from the freezer, do not thaw.

 

Sweet potato filling
2 sweet potatoes
1 large russet potato
3 tablespoons butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon salt

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet tray with parchment or a silpat. Place the sweet potatoes and yam on the tray and roast for one hour, or until soft.

 

2. When potatoes are cooked through, remove from the oven and take off skins. You should be able to just peel off the skins, but use a paring knife to help if necessary. Place the potatoes in a medium sized bowl. Using a potato masher or hand held blender, mash the potatoes until fairly smooth. Add the cream cheese, butter, salt and combine.

 

Rosemary butter

2 Shallots, sliced

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Stick of Butter

2 Sprigs of Fresh Rosemary

 

Heat one stick of butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Skim the white foam that rises to the top of the melted butter off, discarding. This is the process for clarifying butter. When all foam (the milk fats) have been skimmed, add shallots, garlic, and one or two sprigs of rosemary. Cook over medium low heat until the solids at the bottom of the pot begin to brown slightly.

 

 

Meatless Monday: The Ultimate Veggie Burger

 

Before I jump into the recipe, I was pondering Meatless Monday.  Why is it important? Well, we all have families, loved ones, and people who we care for deeply.  They are the reason for Meatless Monday.  

The goal of Meatless Monday is to encourage healthy eating through vegetables and whole grains, so that we can take care of our bodies, and in turn, hopefully live longer and healthier for the ones we love.  I am encouraged by the fact that my two-year old loves Tofu and Edamame.  I count that as a major success!

I have two reasons for making Meatless Mondays a priority.  Here they are:

My babies!  Now, if they’d only stop growing up, that would be wonderful.

So, Meatless Monday…do it for yourself and  your family.  Your body will thank you.

I have tried to make many a veggie burger.  They are usually mushy and bland.  This one was neither.  The use of cashews and mushrooms gives it a meaty flavor without trying to replicate a real hamburger.  Give yourself about an hour for prep, but it is an hour you won’t regret.  Plus, you can freeze the ones you don’t use!  See notes at the end of recipe.

The Ultimate Veggie Burger

From Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients:
3/4 cup dried brown lentils
3/4 cup bulgur
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp table salt
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1/2 cup leek or scallion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. cremini or white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup unsalted cashews
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I used light sour cream)
2 cups panko

Instructions: 
Bring lentils to boil in 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until falling apart. Drain in a mesh strainer, dry and set aside. While lentils are cooking, boil 2 cups of water for bulgur, add bulgur and turn off heat. Let it cook until water is absorbed. Put bulgur aside. In a large pan, heat oil. Add onions, celery, garlic and leek or scallion, and cook for about 8 minutes. Set aside, then add mushrooms to the pan and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. In a food processor, process cashews until fine. Combine cashews, lentils, and bulgur with cooled vegetables and cashews. Add mayonnaise. Food process (pulse) in batches until mixture is cohesive but roughly textured. Stir in panko, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into 12 patties. Cook on the grill or in a pan, about 5 minutes per side. 

**These freeze really well.  You can make them completely, but don’t cook.  If you’re going to freeze, add 1/2 tsp of panko bread crumbs for each patty you are planning on freezing.

 

Pumpkin Scones with a Maple Glaze

I’m trying to pace myself.  

It’s only October.

But it’s so hard.

As soon as Starbucks put up their Pumpkin Spice Latte signs, I fell hard.  I had Pumpkin Pie on Saturday, made Pumpkin scones yesterday, and am having Beef & Pumpkin stew tomorrow.  Pumpkin and I are like BFFs right now.  

Furthermore, Pinterest is not helping.  Do you know how many people are posting pumpkin recipes?  Um, like Everyone.  I just saw a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes.  CUPCAKES!!!  Um, yes please.  Don’t be surprised if you see those here tomorrow.

Here is my question, if Apples and Pumpkins rule September, October and November, and Gingerbread and Peppermint are the boss of December and January, and obviously Chocolate for February, who gets March, April, and May until Summer comes back around?

I’m very sorry if you get sick of Pumpkins before Thanksgiving, and if you’re from Canada, then I’m really sorry because you’re done with Thanksgiving, and I’m just getting started!  I can’t do things in small doses.  It’s all or nothing.  I seriously have five cans of Pumpkin in my cupboard.  

5.

Considering these Scones only used 1/2 C, I’d say I’m in trouble.

 Pumpkin Scones with a Maple Glaze

  • 1-½ cup Unbleached Flour
  • ½ cups Wheat Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1-½ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
  • ⅓ cups Chopped Dried Apples
  • ⅓ cups Dried Cranberries
  • ⅓ cups Raisins
  •  Large Egg
  • ¼ cups Buttermilk
  • ½ cups Canned Pumpkin Puree
  • ⅔ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

Mix the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add the apples, cranberries, and raisins. Set aside.

Mix the egg, buttermilk, and pumpkin in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture and stir to form a sticky dough.

Knead the dough 8 times or until the dough holds together on a lightly floured surface. Push dough into a circle 1 inch thick and about 8 inches in diameter. Using a round cookie cutter, cut 8 circles from the dough. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400ºF for 15 to 20 minutes or until crusty and golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar and syrup. Mix until smooth. Drizzle on cooled scones. Freeze without glaze for up to 1 month.

Homemade Oreos, a post for Jonah

I am on a homemade kick.  We had homemade Cheez-Its, homemade Pop Tarts, and now, homemade Oreos.

Part of this stems from the Holiday Baking Exchange I mentioned in a previous post.

This week’s challenge on MyBakingAddiction and Goodlife Eats is Chocolate, sponsored by Sharffen Berger. So what better excuse to fatten up and make these bad boys than a Holiday Exchange Challenge?

I had a theory that I was going to make these and give them all to my sister’s boyfriend.  There is a tiny problem with this theory….they are all gone.  

The beginning of something beautiful.

I had to try one, of course.  Then, my husband came home, he needed to try three.  I sent some to my neighbor.  I gave one to my son.  I had to try another one, just to make sure.  Then, my husband ate two more.  So, sorry Jonah, but there are no more.  I’ll make them again, just for you.  Really.  And better!

See, I have a theory on these.  The cookie, is not Oreo like.  It’s cakey; more like those Oreo Cakesters.  I have a thought that you have to make the cookie really, really flat.  I’ll experiment more and let you know. And when I perfect them, I will put a giant bow on them and claim them in the name of Jonah Delso.  

Oh, and I’ll buy him a gallon of milk…cause he’s gonna need it.

 

Homemade Oreos

From Smitten Kitchen

Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies (I only got 12…I guess mine were too big)

For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar **I used 1 C, to be less sweet, like the real deal.
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

***Update: I made another batch! I am in love!! Ok, so I used a much smaller amount of dough. The teaspoon that the recipe suggests is perfect, but I more than slightly flattened the dough. I flattened it like a pancake. They came out perfectly! Jonah, you are SO lucky!!