Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bacon and Cream Cheese Deviled Eggs



It is a glorious day today.  The sun is out, the temperature is agreeable, and nary a cloud in the sky. It's been years since we've had a noteable Easter as lovely as this one here in the Seattle area.  I have the windows open and I've been enjoying a burst of spring cleaning energy.  My husband is outside mowing the lawn.  The only thing that is missing are the kids as I dropped them off yesterday at Grandma's house for spring break.  It seems just a titch lonely without them.  The husband and I will be just fine, don't you worry, and the kids are having a good time.

I wish I could share with you something beautiful for Easter this year but I haven't been to the grocery store in two weeks and there aren't a lot of recipes that I can muster up with what is left in the pantry.  What I do have is eggs and bacon and cream cheese.  I even have ranch dressing.  The result is one of my favorite deviled egg recips that has been in my file for many years now.  They aren't pretty (mostly because I'm not a pretty kind of cook) but that's just how it has to be.  They are absolutely delicious, looks not withstanding.  These babies are dense and rich, not light and fluffy, like a traditional recipe.  I'm sure you could manage a dollop of mayo or sour cream, or even some additional ranch dressing if you don't like the texture. 

Oh, did I mention that the kids are at my mom's for spring break?  Whatever shall my husband and I do?  It's the best kind of vacation there is, just the two of us in our own home.  I'm very excited!





Bacon and Cream Cheese Deviled Eggs
1 dozen egg
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tsp mustard powder
1/4 cup ranch dressing
3 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
salt and pepper
paprika

Hard boil eggs, then place in ice water to cool, at least 10-15 minutes. Peel, cut in half and scrape yolks into a large mixing bowl.

Cut cream cheese into bite-size pieces, and add to yolks. Begin to beat with a hand mixer on low. Add mustard powder and then begin to pour ranch into bowl in a thin stream.

The desired texture is a thick filling, just wet enough to form a paste and be blended by the hand mixer. Turn mixer up to medium-high and whip until slightly fluffy and able to form stiff peaks (doesn't take very long).

Add crumbled bacon pieces and mix just until blended through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill whites with filling and sprinkle with paprika.  Refrigerate until serving.

Servings: 24
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

 
 
 
 
 
 


Baseball season got underway in my house this past weekend.  We stood in the rain for three hours while seven innings of America's game was played.  Domo smiled and his eyes were bright and this in and of itself was something I would have stood outside all night to see.  It was a beautiful sight.  The score was brutal and not in our favor, but our players walked off the field happy to have the opportunity to play the game they love.

To start off the weekend I made my adapted recipe for cinnamon rolls in my bread machine.  They can be made the morning of but one really does need to get up early to do this.  I've done it before and it is definitely doable if you are an early riser and your family is not.  This time I decided to make the rolls on Friday night so that they were fresh and waiting for me on the weekend mornings for my enjoyment with my first cup of coffee.  It made the standing out in the rain part much more bearable to have a cinnmon roll and three (3!?!?) cups of coffee in my tummy.

I find that frosting for cinnamon rolls is such a personal preference so I serve mine nekkid and let the consumer slather on the white yummy cream cheese frosting on their own.  That way they can pop a roll in the microwave (which I do) then let the gooey goodness slide into the nooks and crannies if they choose.  Or, if you are my husband, he likes his at room temperature.  I like a lot of frosting but Domo does not.  See?  Very personal. 

 

 
 
 

Cinnamon Rolls
Dough:
1 cup warm milk (115 degrees F)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs cinnamon
1/3 cup butter melted
Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon  milk or half and half

In the bowl of your bread machine add the following ingredients in the order listed:  milk, egg, melted butter, vegetable oil, sugar, salt, flour, and active dry yeast.  Using dough cycle start your bread machine.

Once the dough is finished, combine sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, melt butter.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle slightly larger than a 9×13 pan.(I turn my 13x9 pan upside down close to the dough to eyeball the measurement.)

Brush dough evenly with melted butter. and sprinkle sugar mixture on top. Use your hands to make the entire surface is evenly coated. Beginning with the long side, roll dough pinching the seam to seal.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using dental floss, cut dough into 12 equal slices and place them in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. Allow dough to rise for 30 minutes.  (I cover mine with a towel and sit the pan on a very hot oven @500 degrees, turning down to baking temp when I put the dough in the oven.)

To make the frosting, beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, and half and half on medium-high speed for three minutes. Set aside.

Bake cinnamon rolls for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Frost now or later, depending on preference.

Servings: 12
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours
Oven Temperature: 375°F

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Orzo Salad With Goat Cheese

 

My world has been turned upside down since Thanksgiving and I am now just seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  So many things have happened and what once was isn't anymore and things are starting to come full circle.  I'm thankful I'm still standing! To that end I am looking forward to spring which I view as a new begining even much more than I do the New Year.  Which I must say gave me false hope for the future this year.
 
As a small tribute I share this salad which I mostly prepare in spring and summer.  It's a quick and creamy pasta salad that I have chosen to make with orzo but I suspect that you could substitute other types of pasta easily here.  I love the creaminess of the goat cheese and the bright pop of color that the cherry tomatoes add to the dish.  I could eat a pint of cherry tomatoes in on sitting.  So good.  Enjoy!

 
 





 
 
 
Chicken Orzo Salad with Goat Cheese
1 1/4 cup uncooked orzo
3 cups chopped grilled chicken breasts
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped red  onion
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon parsley
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
 
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well.
 
Combine pasta, chicken, and next 6 ingredients in a bowl; toss well.
 
In a small bowl whisk together red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Toss over salad.  Sprinkle with cheese. Mix together gently and serve.
 
Servings: 8
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Limoncello



It seems that the second the New Year rolls around I am thinking about spring.  I have a long stretch of rainy weather before anything in my life resembles spring but that isn't going to stop me from eating my way through some spring and summer flavors.  I have been on a wee bit of a lemon kick the last few days and while it isn't exactly winter comfort food I thought I'd share a little bit of sunshine with you.

This isn't a wam bam thank you ma'am recipe.  Start now and you'll be drinking sunshine before the calendar says March.  I know, I know, I'm sorry! 

 
 
 


Limonello
750 ml vodka
10 lemons, zest only
3 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups water

Place the lemon zest into a large glass container with an wide mouth & an airtight lid. Pour the alcohol on top & seal with lid. Keep the container in a cool dry dark place for at least ten days.

Boil the water and sugar, stirring often until reduced by one-third, until the mixture is thick as syrup.

Strain alcohol into the simple syrup.  Discard zest. Whisk together the alcohol and simple syrup together until combined.  Pour into desired bottles and refrigerate for at least two weeks before enjoying responsibly.

Servings: 10
Yield: 1 litre
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 10 days plus 2 weeks

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

 
 
Happy Holidays from me to you.  I hope you had a fabulous holiday season or a simply peaceful December if you do not celebrate. Christmas this year was everything I love about the day and more.  Time with my family and a happy household.  I could not ask for anything more.
 
Now, I am looking forward to ringing in the new year and saying goodbye to 2012, which like the few years preceeding it, has been a trying time for my family in many ways.  I'm looking forward to a fresh start that brings hope for a better future. I am not a resolution girl but this year several have simply appeared before me and I am saying yes to the challenge.  The idea of accomplishing these items makes me quite happy. One that will have a direct impact on this blog is learning Adobe Elements. I've had the program for over a year now and I have done nothing beyond the basics but I am itching to dig in. I want to make it a priority. Another is being able to photograph and introduce to you more of the savory dishes that I enjoy throughout the year.  This one will be a bit more tricky for me as I have found sweet items to be easier to photgraph a day later than consumed.  We'll see how this one goes. 
 
 I made and photographed this beautiful and delicious cake on Christmas Eve and was really quite pleased with myself.  The plan was to enjoy it after stockings and presents on Christmas morn but my clan declared themselves hungry with a disclaimer that they did not want anything sweet.  This is weird, I say to myself, but I don't let on that I'm a little bit put off by the desctruction of my well crafted Christmas breakfast.  Instead, I make egg and bacon fritatta and ate my savory with the family.  Don't worry they cake was consumed too.  It just wasn't when I planned. 
 
My son and I originally spotted this cake on a Thanksgiving show of Paula Deen's.  As always, I used it as a starting point and changed a few minor things in the ingredients and preperations, and did a complete overhaul on the instructions.  I'm pretty particular with how recipes are presented.  It may or may not be one of my better qualities. The topping of this cake is really sweet and feel free to reduce the sugar content, if you wish.  The cake itself is a perfect for this topping, not sweet at all, and with a touch of buttermilk to add that yummy tang.  I do hope you like it as much as I did.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cranberry Upside Down Cake
3/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, at room temperature and divided
2 cups cranberries, fresh (frozen would work)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper and spray again.
 
Combine the brown sugar and 1 stick of butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Place the cranberries in a single layer of the brown sugar mixture.
 
Beat the granulated sugar and remaining 1 stick butter in a large bowl at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and eggs.
 
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
 
Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan, about 10 minutes. Immediately invert the cake onto a serving platter. Cool before serving, about 15 minutes.
 
Servings: 10
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Oven Temperature: 350°F

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Pale Tiger Butter



Usually, the kitchen is my sanctuary, but there seems to be a line that I rarely cross which prevents me from doing things that will bring me happiness.  Lately, I have been living life on the other side of that line. My life has been chaotic and stressful for the last little while and it finally caught up with me. 

What has brought me back to a place where I smile more is that Christmas is right around the corner.  I pushed myself to get back into the kitchen and bake.  It has tipped the scale a little bit in my favor. Spending time with my kids has added weight to the happy scale.  There is nothing like the sweet comments about Christmas from the mouths of babes that reminds me how magical this time of year is for them which in turn makes it magical for me. I am blessed to have been reminded.

Okay, the mouths of babes is a bit dramatic.  My boys are 18 and 12 and they are hardly babies anymore.  Plus, they eat my cookies and candy more like little piglets and less like babes.  This treat has become a favorite of theirs over the last few years and even the one that doesn't enjoy peanut butter seems to not mind it here.  I have no idea why it is called pale tiger butter because it is peanut butter and chocolate candy swirled together.  A fancy peanut butter cup, if you will. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pale Tigers Butter
2 cups white chocolate, melted
1 1/3 cups peanut butter, crunchy
1 cup semisweet chocolate, melted
 
Line a 10x15 inch pan with parchment and set aside.
 
Melt both white and bittersweet chocolate seperately, using your favorite method.  When melting the white chocolate add the peanut butter, stirring constantly until well blended. Spread the peanut butter and chocolate onto the prepared pan.
 
Next pour the melted bittersweet chocolate over top, using a knife, swirl to create a marble pattern. Put in fridge and chill until firm, then cut into two inch pieces.
 
Servings: 60
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Time: 4 hours


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Apple Galette

 

For over a week I watched the Granny Smith apples in my fruit bowl.  They weren't going anywhere and they were kind of taunting me.  My kids enjoy eating the apples as a snack (too tart for me, does anybody else snack on these?) but the last few fruit weren't moving and I didn't want them to go to waste.  It's fall and we love pie but I wasn't in the mood for such a labor intensive project, nor did I have quite enough apples to make that happen to my satisfaction.  I did have a pie crust in the freezer and apples in the basket, so I did the next best thing and modified my pie recipe to make a quicker version. This is no frills and so quick to make.
 
Feel free to skip the pie crust portion of the recipe if you already have one in the freezer or if you so choose, buy one from the store.  I do challenge you though, that if you have never attempted a pie crust before, please try this one before telling yourself that you just don't do pie crusts.  It is so very simple, and with a food processor, even easier. I double the recipe and make two crusts at once, freezing one disk for use at a later time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apple Galette
Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into cubes
1/2  tsp salt
1/2  tsp sugar
3 to 4 Tbs ice water
Filling:
3 granny smith apples, cored, and thinly sliced
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 dash salt
 
Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.
 
Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape the dough mixture into a disk. Wrap disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
 
Remove disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick.
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
 
Place apples in a bowl, along with sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt; stir. Pile apples in the middle of the pie crust, leaving an 1 ½ inches around the edges.  Fold outer crust toward the center , like a wrapping a package.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until apples are soft, and crust is flaky.
 
Servings: 6
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes