Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'll be back!!

I promise, I promise, I'll be back soon! It has been a crazy few weeks and all I kept thinking about was....I need to get back to my baking!! But with starting a new job about a month ago, late nights working to get up to speed, a car accident last week and Thanksgiving tomorrow, I've just been trying to keep my head above water lately and haven't had a chance to make too many of the recipes. I did make the Rugelach, but just haven't had time to post.

Today I will be a baking fool getting ready for tomorrow though. I'm making 3 pies (pumpkin, pecan and apple), the holiday bundt cake from Dorie's book (but in loaf form as I do not own a bundt pan) and probably the chocolate banana bread as well. And then cooking all day tomorrow with my mom.

But after Thanksgiving is over, I PROMISE I will be back to my Tuesdays with Dorie weekly posts! I love this group and don't want to risk getting the boot!! So please don't kick me out yet! :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

No TWD today...but...

I definitely plan to make this week's TWD recipe, it will just be a few days late. I usually do my baking on the weekends, but this past weekend my husband and I were out of town for a friend's wedding. So, I'm going to make both this week's recipe and next week's recipe this coming weekend. It will be a baking extravaganza in my kitchen come Saturday!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What the...

I have no idea why the pics on my last post are all messed up. I'll fix them later! Stupid photobucket!

TWD: Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes

The TWD recipe for this week was selected by Clara of I *heart* Food for Thought. I must first just say...Clara...Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! I LOVED this recipe! The cupcakes tasted amazing and this was an A+ recipe!

Many TWDers said they had a problem with the cupcakes being a bit too dry, so knowing that, I cut a few minutes off the baking time. The recipe (which you can find here on Clara's blog) says to bake the cupcakes for 22-25 minutes. I set the timer for 18 minutes and they were perfect.

One of my favorite things about Baking From my Home to Yours is the fact that several of Dorie's recipes include a "Playing Around" section which gives you ideas on fun ways to change up the recipes. For this recipe, Dorie suggested adding marshmellow fluff to the center of the cupcakes. I did this using a pastry bag and a large tip.

I decided to forego the glaze on top of the cupcakes as Dorie's recipe calls for, and instead attempted to make a whipped ganache which I saw on another of my favorite blogs, Tartelette. Unfortunately, the whipped ganache did not quite turn out as I expected. The recipe is simple enough, heavy cream and chocolate. How hard could it be, right? Well, it just never seemed to come together and all I ended up with was a chocolate whipped cream. It never seemed to thicken up or get stiff as I expected it to and was much too runny to use as a frosting. So I decided to add some powdered sugar to attempt to salvage this concoction. After about 6 CUPS of powdered sugar, I had something close to a frosting consistency, and it tasted pretty good, so I just went ahead and used it. It seemed to be a big hit, so I guess it was a success of sorts, but wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be.

These cupcakes were still delicious nonetheless and I think this will be my go-to recipe for the cupcake portion. I would like to make them again and try the glaze as Dorie suggests because I am sure it is a perfect combination.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Pumpkin Muffins, was selected by Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp! You can find the full recipe on Kelly's blog here.

I must say, I am not a pumpkin fan at.all. I never eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, much to the dimay of my mother in law who was rather disappointed last year when I didn't even touch the pie she made for dessert. But my husband really enjoys pumpkin, so this was again going to be a recipe that I made just to send to work with him. His co-workers are really starting to love me!

This recipe came together very nicely. I did try a bite of the muffins and thought that the pumpkin flavor was actually very subtle and the texture of the muffins was very moist. I omitted the raisins as my husband hates raisins and would never forgive me if I actually used them in this recipe. Several TWD's added chocolate chips of white chocolate chips to this recipe. If I were to make these muffins again, I think I would try adding the white chocolate chips to kick them up a notch.

Also, several TWD's noted that the baking time on these muffins was a few minutes less than actually listed in the book. I found that to be true as well. The book says to bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. I set the timer for 20 minutes and actually checked them after about 17 minutes and they were perfectly done.

I mistakenly thought that I had cupcake liners in the pantry, and when I couldn't find them I got a little worried. But I bought Baker's Joy spray recently and just used that instead. The muffins popped right out of the pan when they were done. If you haven't tried this stuff, give it a shot. My muffins didn't stick at all and it's much less messy than buttering the pan.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TWD: Lenox Almond Biscotti

This week's TWD, Lenox Almond Biscotti, was selected by Gretchen of Canela & Comino. I've made biscotti a few times in the past, and while it was ok, I've never been much of a fan of how hard and dry biscotti can be. I like moist and chewy cookies, so this was definitely going to be a recipe to take to work and share with others, unlike the Malted Chocolate Whopper Drops from a few weeks ago which I ate tons of while sitting on the couch watching tv! Don't judge, they were good and totally worth it!

But I did decide that these biscotti needed to be "jazzed" up a bit, so I added in white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and dried cherries. The addition of cornmeal to this recipe was a bit surprising, I was skeptical, but I used it anyway. Many TWDers said they didn't like the cormeal, that it made the biscotti kind of gritty, and I have to agree. If I were to make this recipe again, I would leave out the cornmeal.

The bake time seems very short for these biscotti, only 15 minutes each time you bake them (biscotti are basically twice baked cookies). Maybe I should have baked them longer, but I sort of liked that they were not rock hard as most biscotti I have tried before tend to be.

While this wasn't my most favorite TWD recipe, I did enjoy it. With the additional of the white chocolate chips, and dried cranberries and cherries, this reminded me of the perfect cookie for Christmas time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where have I been!?!

It seems like forever since I have updated this blog! And it has been, my last post was nearly a month ago. But I promise to be back at it soon. Especially with the TWD updates. I made the Chocolate Chunkers from a few weeks back and they were heavenly! I added dried cherries to some and cransins to the rest and they were delish.

The plums I bought to use for the Dimply Plum Cake are shriveled up and becoming pruney in my fridge...gross I know! And the new ramekins and kitchen torch I bought to make the Creme Brulee are still sitting in the box on top of my counter. I must make the Creme Brulee because it is my husband's favorite dessert and the last time I attempted it was years ago and it was quite the disaster so I know with Dorie's help it will be better this time around!

Life has just gotten in the way of my kitchen adventures during the past couple of weeks, but hopefully things are on the right track and I can get back to baking!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

TWD: Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Rachel of Confessions of a Tangerine Tart. You can find the full recipe for these delicious cookies on Rachel's blog here.

All I have to say about this recipe is mmmmmm mmmmm mmm mmmmmm mmm!!! These cookies were sooo good I made them twice in one week. My husband absolutely loved them and after the first batch was gone from both of us devouring several and taking some to work, he asked me if I would make a second batch a few days later. We both took more to work, but kept a nice little container full of cookies at home to enjoy this week as well.

Several TWD'ers said they used vanilla or plain malted milk powder for this recipe. When I was reading the recipe and it suggested using Ovaltine malted milk, I just assumed it meant the chocolate flavor as that is all I am familiar with anyway. These were super chocolately cookies, but that just made them better in my opinion.
And as many other TWD'ers reported, the Whoppers sort of melt and carmelize when baked if they are too small. I used a food processor to chop the Whoppers, which really just pulverized most of them, but I made sure during the second batch to leave some just chopped in half so there would be a little more of a crunch to the cookie. I also baked the second batch a little longer, about 14 minutes total, and it helped them to hold up better but remain moist and chewy.

I've been part of TWD for a few months now and have made several recipes. The chocolate pudding I think is still my favorite recipe to date, but these cookies are a very close second. They are super delicious and will definitely become one of my favorite go-to cookie recipes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

TWD: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

This week's TWD, Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters, was selected by Stefany of Proceed with Caution. You can find the full recipe by clicking the link to Stefany's blog.

This is the TWD recipe I have been waiting for! A chocolatey, yummy, mmm mmm good cookie!! I love oatmeal cookies. I love peanut butter cookies. I LOVE chocolate cookies. Combine them all together and you have the most.perfect.cookie.ever!

This recipe came together very easily and most of the ingredients are things that everyone has on hand in the pantry on a regular basis as is, so it's a great recipe to just throw together at the last minute. The recipe suggests to let the batter chill in the fridge for about 2 hours before baking, however, I found it easier to just make the cookies right after mixing the batter together. I always use a small ice cream scooper to form my cookies so that they are all uniform in size and bake evenly. I also always bake my cookies on parchment paper and they come out perfectly everytime.

This will definitely become one of my go to cookie recipes. The combination of flavors is wonderful. I thought the cinnamon would be weird with the peanut butter and chocolate, but it had a great flavor and was just enough to be noticable without overpowering.

Another winning Dorie recipe! I can't wait to make everything from Dorie's book. So far, everything has een great. Better than great really, absolutely devine!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TWD: Not pretty enough to photograph, good enough to eat

This week's TWD recipe, Chocolate Banded Ice Cream Torte, was selected by Amy of Food, Family and Fun. I was very excited when I was reading this recipe...until I got to the part where the chocolate ganache called for EIGHT eggs, and not just EIGHT eggs, EIGHT RAW eggs. I said ewww and thought about skipping this week. However, since I skipped last week's recipe, I didn't want to be a two-weeks-in-a-row skipper. So I checked out the TWD page and read some of the comments the other bloggers had posted about this recipe. One participant said she used brownies in place of the ganache, so I decided that was the way to go for me as well. (I can't remember who used brownies, but I'm checking for her blog and will post when I find it.)

So off I went searching for a brownie recipe and I decided to check the past recipes from TWD. One of the very first recipes made was the quintuple chocolate brownie (I'll post that later) which I have been drolling over ever since buying Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, the inspiration for Tuesdays with Dorie. My husband likes fudgy style brownies, and the quintuple chocolate brownie recipe said that it was a fudgy style brownie, so a win-win in my book...please the husband AND avoid making a ganache that has EIGHT RAW eggs in it. Score!

The problem was this...I have no patience. Zero, zilch, nada...especially when it comes to something chocolate and me wanting to eat said chocolate. So the brownies weren't as cool as they should have been when I attempted to assemble the Chocolate (brownie) Banded Ice Cream Torte. And my ice cream kinda melted. And I wanted to make mini tortes in a mini loaf pan lined with plastic wrap. And I thought it would be a good idea to take the mini tortes out of the mini loaf pan, wrap them tightly in the plastic wrap and put them in the freezer that way. With nothing to hold the melting ice cream in place. Do you see where I am going with this?

Yeah, the ice cream just oozed out, but eventually did harder up a bit, which is when I took a big bite and yum, yum, yum. I used Edy's Raspberry Chip Royale ice cream, which is vanilla ice cream swirled with raspberry ice cream and chocolate chips. Heaven on a spoon I tell ya!

I have brownies and ice cream left and am going to attempt to make another Chocolate (brownie) Banded Ice Cream Torte tonight. Hopefully the second time around will be pretty enough to photograph.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

My husband thinks that in a past life I was a Mexican Mamasita named Rosita since I could eat Mexican food every day of the week and be completely, blissfully happy. He often shouts...No More Cilantro!...everytime I say...Let's go to our favorite Mexican place for dinner, or I'm making tacos tonight! But he obliges because he loves me, and because if I didn't cook for him, he'd be eating Mac and Cheese or cereal for dinner
Although I am starting to open my culinary horizons a bit and am more willing to try new things, sometimes I still like to keep things very simple for a quick meal. And in my kitchen, it doesn't get any quicker than my lazy version of enchiladas that I don't even bother to roll up and instead layer and call it "Mexican Lasagna" just to make it seem fancy. I forgot the jalapenos when I made this last time and I definitely noticed the difference. That little kick of spice was surely missed.

Mexican Lasagna (or Enchiladas)


18 Corn Tortillas
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
1 can refried beans (I like to use the fat free version – they taste the same)
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can whole corn kernels, drained (which if you are like me you will forget to actually add in)
2 cans (or one large 28 ounce can) tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
¼ cup dried onion flakes (softened in water and drained – or you can use onion powder or fresh onion)
3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Heat oven to 400 degrees and have a lasagna dish on hand.

Rinse chicken and slice into small strips or chunks. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat in a sauté pan with a few tablespoons of EVOO. When the chicken is mostly done, drain any excess EVOO left in the pan, then add the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin and onions and stir. Let the sauce and chicken simmer on medium low heat while you prepare the other ingredients.

Mix the refried beans and pinto beans together in a bowl. Add a little water if the mixture is too thick. Spoon enough of the sauce (minus the chicken) into the bottom of the lasagna dish to coat it. Layer the bottom of the dish with the corn tortillas (my lasagna dish is large enough to fit 6 overlapping tortillas per layer). Spread 1/3 of the sauce and chicken over the tortillas, next spoon on and spread half of the bean mixture, then sprinkle on half of the corn and top with cheese. Repeat the layers: tortillas, sauce and chicken, beans, corn and cheese. Then top with one last layer of tortillas, the last of the sauce and cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on stove top, or if you are like me, serve right away without letting cool so it comes out as one big mess from the dish! Top with sour cream and salsa if you'd like and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

TWD: A Recipe Rewind

This week's TWD was selected by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity. Dolores chose the Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream recipe, but the ladies who run Tuesdays with Dorie decided to let those of us without an ice cream maker do a recipe rewind and make one of the past TWD recipes. I fall into the category of those without an ice cream maker, and I knew immediately what I would do.

My mom was visiting last week and since I have raved on and on about how wonderful the Perfect Party Cake is, I decided I would make that for us to enjoy. With a little twist!

Last year when my husband and I got married at Fabulous Caesars Palace in Fabulous Las Vegas, we had our cake made by the Fabulous catering department at Caesars. The cake guessed it...Fabulous! (Sorry, there's just something about Vegas that makes me over use the word Fabulous. :)

One of the layers of our cake was coconut cake with pineapple filling and buttercream frosting. But the cake didn't have shredded coconut in it or on it (which I can't stand), it was just flavored with this wonderful hint of coconut and the pineapple was so sweet and tart and well, if I hadn't just gotten married to my husband, I would have eloped at the Little White Wedding Chapel O'Love with that cake. Yes, it was THAT good!

So as soon as I saw the recipe for the Perfect Party Cake when I first bought Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and joined Tuesdays With Dorie, I knew that one day I would recreate that Fabulous cake using Dorie's recipe.

My husband however, hates pineapple, so he has never understood my love of that cake and why I have been obsessed with it for over a year. So keeping in mind my vow to love him in sickness (yes, it's a sickness to hate pineapple) and health, I decided to divide the batter in half and make one cake using Dorie's recipe of lemon flavored cake with raspberry filling for him, and one with coconut flavored cake with pineapple filling for me to love and cherish.

I mixed the batter together leaving out the lemon zest and lemon extract. Then I divided the batter in half and added 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract to one, and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract to the other. I also left out the lemon juice from the buttercream frosting. In hindsight, it would have been great to add a little of the coconut extract to part of the buttercream as well, but that error in judgement can be corrected the next time I make this cake, which will probably be entirely too soon!

From there, I just made two 2 layer cakes. I did run a little short on the buttercream, but it wasn't a huge problem., both cakes still came out great.

Above is a pic of the coconut cake with pineapple filling. It was very light and fresh and had a great subtle coconut flavor to the cake. Not quite as good as the Fabulous cake from Caesars, but I mean come kitchen doesn't house an award winning pastry team for crying out loud! It was definitely a winner in my book though.

I love this cake so much I am already thinking of other combos to try with it. Next...strawberry and lime? Orange and lemon? Oh so many possibilities!!

TWD: Black and more black Banana Loaf

It's been a busy couple of weeks and I'm just now getting around to posting my last 2 TWD's. Please forgive me, I'm a slacker and my mom was visiting, and well, I was lazy too.

I made the Black and White Banana Loaf (selected by Ashley of A Year in the Kitchen, one of my favorite food blogs) a couple weekends ago and as you can see from the pic, it wasn't so much Black AND White, as it was Black and then a little more Black! Apparently I got a little over zealous with the swirling part and I mixed the two batters a little too much. I intended to make this again and not swirl it so much, but time got away from me and all I have is this one sad little picture of a black banana loaf.

Many TWD's reported problems of the batter being very runny and thin, and I have to agree, the batter was extremely runny and when I was attempting to create the swirl, it just sort of mixed all together. Despite not looking very pretty, it tasted great and the chocolate and banana combo was really nice. I do want to make this again, 1. so I can redeem myself and prove that I can marble without overmixing, and 2. so I can eat more of it since it was so tasty.

Even with runny batter and not so great marbling, this was still a great recipe. I have yet to make anything from Dorie's book that wasn't great!! Buy the book if you haven't already, trust me, it's spectacular.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

TWD: Summer Fruit Galette

This week's TWD recipe was selected by Michelle in Colorado Springs.

I must admit, when I saw that this week's recipe was yet another fruit dessert, I wasn't very excited. I'm more of a cookie, cake, chocolate chocolate chocolate kind of girl. But then I remembered how amazing the Double Crusted Blueberry Pie was, and how delicious Dorie's pie crust is, and my mouth started watering a bit.

For this dessert, I ended up using peaches, apricots and plums as part of Dorie's recipe called for; I skipped the nectarines and rhubarb. My original idea for this recipe was to make it tropical and use pineapple, mango, papaya and kiwi. I wasn't sure how kiwi would bake though and my husband said he doesn't like tropical fruits, so that plan got tossed out the window. I might try it sometime though because it sounds really good in theory, so if you've ever baked with kiwi before and it worked out well, please leave me a comment and let me know.

I used peach preserves on the bottom of the crust before adding the fruit. Dorie suggests ginger preserves, but I already had peach on hand and just used that. I also completely forgot to add the graham cracker crumbs on the bottom, which I think definitely would have helped since my fruit did seem particularly juicy. Dorie says that adding graham cracker crumbs helps to soak up some of the juice, and that's a tip that I am going to try to remember next time.

But I was so happy with how the Galette turned out, it was lip-smacking good with a dollop of whipped cream on top. We had dinner with some friends on Saturday night and I took this over for dessert and everyone raved about it. I will definitely make this recipe again.

My husband continually called my beautiful Galette a "Fruit Pizza" so I had to pinch him a few times and correct his error. Then he decided to call it a "gillette" as in the razor blades. Men!

Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest

Each year at the end of July, Columbus holds it's annual Jazz & Rib Fest along the downtown riverfront. My husband, Patrick, and I always enjoy going down to the Fest and eating lots of ribs, chicken and funnel cakes. Listening to the cool Jazz music is fun as well, and the hearing the musicians refer to each other as "cats" always makes me smile with glee. A smile that is usually covered in BBQ sauce, but whatever, everyone else there is covered in sauce as well so no one judges!

This year we not only skipped away from work on Friday to have lunch at the Fest, but headed downtown on Saturday for lunch again. You can never have too much BBQ Rib Fest food!
Patrick had a Pulled Pork sandwich from Famous Dave's which he covered in "Devil's Spit" sauce, and ribs from a local place, Lawshea's Southern Fish and Ribs.
I had a BBQ chicken sandwich from Famous Dave's with Sweet and Zesty sauce and double the Wilbur Beans. I love baked beans and these were absolutely delicious.
And we split a big ole plate full of fresh cut chips, half with cheese sauce and bacon bits. I was fasinated watching the people make these chips because they had a stand slicer on one end, then stuck the potato onto what looked like some sort of metal rod, and had a cordless power drill on the other end of the metal rod which spun the potato around and sliced it into this almost one entire piece, perfectly thin, spiral chip! It was amazing and I watched in excitement thinking...hummm...I wonder I could fashion one of these contraptions at home?!
A few pics from the Fest. Look at all that smoke! It smelled fantastic out there.
A couple of pics looking across the river at part of downtown Columbus.
We love going to the Jazz and Rib Fest each year. It has gotten better and better over the last few years as well, so I hope next year is just as fun and finger licking good.

Cheddar Studded Tex-Mex Meatloaf Patties

I'm not afraid to admit that I love Rachel Ray. I know a lot of people find her annoying, there are even several "I hate Rachel Ray" websites out there, but I have always enjoyed watching her shows and her cookbooks and magazine have some great and flavorful recipes. Can I get a YUMMO!?!?

This recipe for Cheddar Studded Tex-Mex Meatloaf Patties is my absolute favorite from Rachel's cookbook 365: No Repeats A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners. These are simply the best burgers I have ever eaten. My husband and I make these for dinner at least once every couple of weeks. With Rachel’s Smashed Potatoes, this is an excellent and quick week night meal after a long day at work.

The Smashed Potatoes are super simple and I don’t even look at the recipe anymore, I just throw them together with the add ins we have come to like best.

As you can see, this is my favorite RR cookbook and it has taken quite a beating. The binding of the book actually broke right on this recipe because I use it that often. I told you these are good burgers!

Cheddar Studded Tex-Mex Meatloaf Patties (Rachel Ray 362: No Repeats)


1 lb ground sirloin
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/8 cup milk
1 egg
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon tomato paste (or ketchup)
1/2 green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese


Mix all ingredients together (I like to season the meat first with the S&P and Worcestershire sauce and then throw everything else in). Form into 4-5 burger patties and cook on medium heat in a skillet or on the grill to desired “doneness”. Is “doneness” a word?? Yeah, I didn’t think so, but you know what I mean! ;)

Smashed Potatoes (modified from Rachel Ray 362: No Repeats)


4-5 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
S&P to taste
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Handful of bacon bits


Boil the potatoes until soft, drain and put back in the pot. Add remaining ingredients and use a potato masher to mash and mix. If you like the potatoes smoother, use a hand mixer to mash and mix together. If you don’t mind the potatoes lumpy, then just use the masher and stir.

I like to serve these like burgers, on a toasted bun with some extra cheese (like the first pic). My husband likes his more like meatloaf with brown gravy and no bun. Either way they are DELISH!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

NFR: Not Food Related

Giving my waistline a break for one post (yeah right!), I've been tagged by my friend and fellow Vegas bride, Annitra. I have to answer the following questions with just one word. Are you kidding me? That is going to be near impossible...I'm wordy! I'll give it a try though.

One Word MeMe

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse

2. Your significant other? Funny

3. Your hair? Messy

4. Your mother? Hero

5. Your father? Loud

6. Your favorite thing? Shopping

7. Your dream last night? None

8. Your favorite drink? Dew

9. Your dream/goal? Baby

10. The room you’re in? Office

11. Your hobby? Cooking

12. Your fear? Death

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Chicago

14. What you’re not? Quiet

15. Muffins? Blueberry

16. One of your wish list items? Louis (as in Louis Vuitton)

17. Where you grew up? Michigan

18. The last thing you did? Lunch

19. What are you wearing? Cothes

20. Favorite gadget? KitchenAid

21. Your pets? None

22. Your computer? Slow

23. Your mood? Blah

24. Missing someone? Yes

25. Your car? Grey

26. Something you’re not wearing? Socks

27. Favorite store? Target

28. Like someone? Yes

29. Your favorite color? Pink

30. When is the last time you laughed? Today

31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

TWD: Cherry Rhubarb Cobbler

This week's TWD recipe was selected by Amanda from Like Spinkles on a Cupcake. You can find the recipe here on her blog.

I'm not going to lie...I hate rhubarb. My grandmother always used to make strawberry rhubarb pies and when we were kids she would tell us it was just strawberry pie. Then you'd bite into a big chunk of rhubarb and...blech!! Thanks Grannie!

So there I stood in the grocery store with rhubarb in hand ready to face my fears and just make this cobbler, rhubarb and all. I had secretly hoped that the grocery store wouldn't even have rhubarb in stock because it's close to being out of season in this area...but darn them, there it was! So step by step through the produce section I kept saying to can do it, you can do it...but that little girl inside who always spit out the rhubarb chunks from Grannie's "Strawberry Pie" said...hold up! There's no way I'm eating rhubarb!

So I put the rhubarb back and grabbed some granny smith apples. And the little girl inside smiled and said...suck it, rhubarb! :)

This cobbler recipe was very good. I thought the addition of the ground ginger gave it a very fresh taste and the topping was very tender and soft inside and crumbly and crunchy on the outside. My husband even enjoyed it quite a bit, and he's not much of a fruit fan. With a couple scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, this was a perfect hot summer evening dessert.

TWD: Chocolate Pudding

This post is a week late for personal reasons, but I LOVE chocolate pudding so there was no way I was letting this recipe pass me by. Chocolate pudding with whipped cream is my absolute favorite dessert...I'm just a simple girl! ;)

This TWD recipe was selected by Melissa from Its Melissas Kitchen for last week, July 15th. You can find the recipe here on Melissa's blog.

The pudding came together quickly, however, I think perhaps I needed to cook it just a bit longer for it to thicken up a little more, I found that it was just slightly thin after being in the fridge for 4 hours or so. Despite this one small problem, the pudding was absolutely DELICIOUS! It was the best chocolate pudding I have ever tasted and will certainly become a staple recipe in my kitchen.

Instead of using the chocolate bar I purchased at the grocery store for this recipe, I decided to use these chocolate granules that some friends gave to my husband and I. Our friends went on a trip to Paris several months ago and brought us back some treats. These chocolate granules (they look like sprinkles or ice cream jimmies) are used to make hot chocolate, so I just melted them down (with a little bit of the milk from the recipe) and the flavor was fantastic. The sad thing is, I used all of the granules I had left for this recipe, so I think my husband and I will have to take a little trip to Paris to buy some more! Yeah, I don't think he is going to fall for that either.

Aside from the Perfect Party Cake which is just in a league of its own, I think this is my favorite Dorie recipe so far. Yes, it's THAT good!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

TWD: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

This week's TWD recipe was chosen by Amy of South in Your Mouth. You can find the full recipe on Amy's blog here.

One word for this Double Crusted Blueberry Pie.....YUM! It is absolutely delicious. I was a little worried because other than the occasional blueberry muffin, I'm not much of a blueberry fan, so making and eating a pie made entirely of blueberries had me a little scared. But the filling for this pie had just the right amount of sweetness and tartness. The crust came together easily, despite the fact that I apparently do not own a rolling pin, pastry cutter or food processor large enough to accomodate this much dough. I improvised and used a large whisk to cut the butter and shortening into the flour, and a drinking glass to roll out the dough. Even these kitchen conundrums couldn't keep me from making this pie.

The crust was very flaky on top and soft throughout. I will definite use this crust recipe for other pies, however, I did think it was just a tad salty, so I will cut the amount of salt a little next time. I'm already thinking of other fruits I could use to make another pie, but blueberry was a nice treat.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

TWD: Apple Cheddar Scones

Two days late, two dollars short! Sorry this post is so late. Typically TWD posts are done on Tuesdays (hence the T part of TWD), but it's been a busy week of traveling, cleaning and getting ready for house guests this weekend. Anyway, here are the Apple Cheddar Scones, which were chosen by Karina of The Floured Apron. You can find the rull recipe on Karina's blog here.

I thought these scones were very good. I used fresh apples instead of dried and didn't have a problem at all with the scones being too moist or mushy because of the fresh apples. The flavor was very mild in my opinion and if I were to make them again, I would maybe add a little more cheese, or some extra salt to bring out the flavors. I actually think these would be really great with a little garlic salt thrown in so you have a sweet and savory combination (and because garlic makes everything better in my world).

The only problem I had with this recipe is that when Dorie says it's a sticky dough, she means it's a STICKY dough. I ended up adding a little extra flour when trying to shape the dough in order to cut it into equal pieces and it was still so sticky I just grabbed a spoon and plopped it by the spoonful onto the baking sheet. I also sprinkled a little extra cheese on top of the scones just before baking.

I served these with a little apple jelly and my husband gobbled them up. This is a great base recipe however, and I think I will experiment with some different flavor combinations and add ins to create some more yummy scones.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The scones are coming, the scones are coming!

As soon as I can find the damn camera cord so I can download my pics, I will post my TWD recipe for yesterday, Apple Cheddar Scones. I swear, I think that stupid cord has sprouted legs and runs away from me everytime I need it!

Stay tuned for scones. They were delish!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TWD: Mixed Berry Cobbler

This week's TWD, Mixed Berry Cobbler, was chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life. Beth has the recipe posted here on her blog.

The recipe looked great as is with the mixed berries, but when I went to the store for the ingredients, they had Bing Cherries on sale and they looked so wonderful, I just had to buy them. I thought a great combo would be peaches and cherries, so that's what I put in the cobbler and the flavors were very nice and summery.
Several TWD'ers posted about the dough topping being a little bland, so I decided to add about a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mix and sprinkled a little extra sugar on top right before baking. I thought the dough was fantastic this way. It was a cross between a pie crust and a crumbly crisp sort of topping I thought. I really liked it and will probably use it for other recipes as well.
I cut the recipe in half (if you look at my post below, Peanut Butter Torte, you'll know why! I had way too many sweet things in the house this past weekend!!) But even cutting the recipe in half, I still used an approximately 7 inch pie baker and it was a nice size.
My only real problem with this recipe was that the peaches were a little under ripe, so even though my crust was getting way too dark and done in the oven, the peaches still needed a little more time to cook. And I should have added a little more cornstarch to the fruit, the juices were just a little runny when it was done and didn't thicken up much even after sitting for a bit.
Nonetheless, served with vanilla bean ice cream and a big giant spoon, this was a hit in my house!

Peanut Butter Torte, a TWD rewind

This recipe from Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking From My Home to Yours, has been calling my name everytime I walk past the kitchen for weeks now. It looked so delish I just had to find a reason to make it. I think a boring Saturday afternoon home alone while my husband played golf was the perfect reason! :)

And anyone reading this from the state of Ohio where I live....this tastes like a giant buckeye (except for the crust of course) so it would make for a great dessert at your next OSU football party.

The consistency is like a very light cheesecake. The actual recipe called for adding peanuts to the mix and sprinkling some on top. I decided to leave out the peanuts, and instead I added mini chocolate chips to the mix.
This is a great recipe, and actually a pretty simple one too. The crust is just oreos and butter and only needed to bake for 10 minutes. All the rest was just whipped, mixed and tossed into the crust. It was soooo good straight out of the fridge nice and cold with a tall glass of milk. mmmm.

Garlic Noodles

My husband and I both love the Garlic Noodles at P.F. Chang's. So I decided to search the web and try to find a copy cat recipe for these noodles. My search turned up this recipe from, which was similar to the P.F. Chang's version, but not quite as good. My husband loved them though, I thought they were ok.

Garlic Noodles (from

3 teaspoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound fresh Chinese noodle or vermicelli
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
4 ounces Cantonese stir fry sauce (see recipe below)
1 Japanese cucumber or English cucumber (I omitted the cucumber)
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro

Cantonese Stir Fry Sauce
3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chicken base powder (no MSG)
1 teaspoon sugar2 teaspoons shaohsing wine or sherry
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Cook pasta. Rinse and cool down. Set aside. Toss in red chile flakes and cilantro. Wash cucumber. Slice diagonally into 1/4" thick slices. Slice into strips. Set aside. Heat wok thoroughly, add oil, then minced garlic. Stir fry briefly. Do not burn garlic or it will take on an acrid smell and taste. (If this happens, throw it out and start over.) Add sugar and vinegar. Add noodle to wok, stirring and tossing to mix until noodle is heated through. Place on plates and surround with cucumber strips.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Another great recipe from Jaime at Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats. I love her blog and all the wonderful recipes she has posted, not to mention that her pictures always make everything look so yummy! Here's a link to the recipe on Jaime's blog, but I have also included it below. It's a must try, the flavors are great and it saved me a trip to P.F. Chang's.

Chicken Satay (from Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats, original recipe from

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons curry powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed

In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, curry powder, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Place the chicken breasts in the marinade and refrigerate. Let the chicken marinate at least 2 hours, overnight is best.Preheat a grill to high heat. Weave the chicken onto skewers, then grill for 5 minutes per side.

Jaime mentioned on her blog that she used the George Foreman Grill to cook the chicken. I decided to use my panini maker and it worked out great.

Peanut Sauce (from Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats, original recipe from Tyler Florence)

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal (I omitted this)
1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red chili paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons hot water

In a small saucepan, heat the peanut oil over medium-low flame. Add the green onions, ginger, garlic, and chili paste. Cook and stir for a minute until soft and fragrant. Mix in the brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the peanut butter has smoothed out.

I forgot to take a pic of the peanut sauce, so you'll just have to visit Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats to see how delicious it looks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TWD: Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, minus the Peppermint

My first official TWD creation and post! This week's recipe, the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, was chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion.

I was very excited to make this recipe, as it is something I have never done before. This type of pastry dough, called pate a choux, sounded simple enough, but I'm not going to lie...I was a bit intimidated. The recipe and Dorie's instructions were fool-proof though, and the dough came together very nicely. The only problem that I had was that I did not have quite a large enough pastry bag tip to pipe out the dough, so rather than doing 2 rings on the bottom and one on top connecting them as the recipe instructed, I made several rings on the bottom and several on top connecting to get the entire ring to the thickness I thought it needed to be. When baking, this made for quite an uneven rise, but in the end I "made it work" as Tim Gunn would say, and I was happy with the result.

I decided to skip the peppermint flavor in the cream filling because I wasn't feeling in a very pepperminty mood, but I would like to try it sometime. The cream was amazingly good. I think I will make homemade whipped cream like this for many other desserts from now certainly beats the stuff in the spray can and tub! I would also like to try this recipe again with a pastry cream filling, I think it would be very good.

When making the chocolate glaze for the top of the ring, I needed to use a little more heavy cream than the recipe called for. Following the recipe, I thought that the glaze was a little too thick and syrupy, so I added in a dash more heavy cream at a time until I thought it was a nice consistency. One other small change I would make next time is to use semisweet or milk chocolate instead of bittersweet chocolate. I'm not much of a bittersweet chocolate fan, but I wanted to stick as close to the original recipe as possible, and since I had already eliminated the peppermint from the cream, I didn't want to go making any more changes to Dorie's amazing recipe.

Just another note: It was recently decided that TWD members will not be posting the full recipe each week, and only the person who chose the recipe will post the entire recipe on their blog. You can find the full recipe on Caroline's blog here.

I plan on making a few of the past TWD recipes in the coming weeks, so when you see those posts, if you would like the recipe or more information, you can email me at

Garlic and Cheddar and Chicken, Oh My!

Three of my favorite things. This recipe was very simple to make and had a lot of flavor. I've made a similar style chicken before, adding crushed pretzels to the bread crumb mixture, but this was a nice light breading and the chicken came out very moist and flavorful. I served it with some steamed veggies and Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes (this is the only way I make mashed potatoes now, the cream cheese makes them so creamy and yummy and mmmmm.)

The recipe is from Jaime at Good Eats 'N Sweet Treats and can be found here. My modifications are below because I made a little more so we would have some leftovers to bring to work for lunch today.

Garlic Cheddar Chicken (modified from Good Eats 'N Sweet Treats)


1 stick butter
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's Garlic Salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (pulsed in food processor until small pebbles)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced or pounded thin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat with garlic for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix bread crumbs, garlic salt, pepper, parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese. Dip chicken in garlic butter to coat, them press into bread crumb mixture. Place in a large baking dish and drizzle with a little more butter. (Use all the butter if you like, or save a little and drizzle it over the mashed potatoes.)

Bake for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink.

My husband declared this meal "amazing" and declared me the "best wife he has ever had." Being the only wife he has ever had, I'm not sure if that is a compliment or not, but I'll take it nonetheless. ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I joined TWD!

I'm very excited to start baking along with all the great people of Tuesdays with Dorie. Check back next Tuesday for pics of the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring. And in the meantime, go buy the book that inspired this group... Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. It's a fabulous collection of every fantastic dessert and treat you will ever want to make. Yum!

I don't always eat dessert first

From the looks of my blog posts so far, you would think all I ever eat is dessert. That's not entirely true, although I never pass up a sweet treat before, during or after a meal. I do enjoy savory dishes as well though.

A few weekends ago, I spent an entire Sunday afternoon in the kitchen making fresh pasta dough and homemade ravioli. The recipe made enough for 2 meals for my husband and I, so I decided to freeze some so we could enjoy them again. I was very pleased with how they turned out and plan to make several more batches of various fillings to freeze. This made for a quick and delicious week night meal after a hectic day at work.

For this batch, I decided to make a spinach and artichoke filling. I basically adjusted a recipe that I use for spinach and artichoke dip and instead of cream cheese, I used ricotta. There was quite a bit of filling left over which I just baked in a small dish and used as a dip, but next time I will cut the recipe down a little for the filling, or make more pasta dough to fill.

Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli

For the dough:
2 and a 1/4 cups flour
3 eggs

Pour the flour out on a piece of parchment paper and make a well in the middle. Lightly beat the eggs and then pour them into the well in the flour. Slowly mix together and once the dough forms, knead it for about 5 minutes. Wrap in saran and put in the fridge to rest for 45 minutes. I used the pasta maker attachment on my Kitchen Aid to roll it out into sheets, but you could also just use a rolling pin. I made long sheets of pasta about the thickness of linguine noodles and about 4-5 inches wide. Fold the sheet in half lengthwise so you have a mark down the center and unfold again.

Put a tablespoon of the filling along one side of the pasta about 2 inches apart from each other. Fold the other side over the top and press together between the mounds of the filling. I used a pastry cutter to cut the ravioli out around the filling. Press the sides together just so they are firmly stuck and wouldn't pop open when boiled.

For the filling:
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, drained of water
4-5 artichoke pieces (I used the jarred kind that is in olive oil)
1 small tub of ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 large clove of garlic

Put the garlic, spinach and artichoke in a food processor and chop to a fine mince. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and mix in all other ingredients. Fill the ravioli dough with the mixture.

To freeze, place ravioli flat one by one in a ziplock bag and put a piece of parchment in between the layers (I put two layers in each bag) so they won’t stick together. Place the bags flat in the freezer. Not sure how long they will keep, but I used a bag 2 weeks after freezing and they were perfectly fine.

If cooking fresh, boil in lightly salted water for 7-9 minutes until al dente. If cooking after freezing, thaw for about 20 minutes before boiling as above. Top with your favorite marinara sauce.

From the freezer.

Garlic Bread with cheese

5 large slices of crusty bread
4 tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature (or softened in the microwave in a bowl for 20 seconds)
½ teaspoon garlic salt (I like Lawry’s Garlic Salt)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Mix garlic salt with butter and spread evenly on bread slices. Top with cheeses and sprinkle with parsley, and bake on 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.