Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Chocolate Canneles - Chocolate With Francois

I haven't been a very good Chocolate With Francois blogger. I've missed the past two months. My fellow bloggers have baked some beautiful dishes. I am sure this month will be no exception. Sarah at Teapots and Cakestands chose this month's recipe. When she first made her pick, she was quick to note if we didn't have cannele molds, this could be made in a muffin tin.

Canneles are a specialty of southwest France. I can't say that I've ever eaten one, so I was anxious to try these. I decided to make this in my mini bundt pan. We've had plenty of sweets at our house lately, so I chose to cut this recipe in half and in half again. My idea was to get two cannales. This batter looks devine, almost like creamy hot chocolate.

This recipe is quick and easy to put together. However, it does require a little planning because it has to chill overnight. The recipe calls for baking these 60 - 75 minutes. I checked them after about 50 minutes. They appeared to be done and as I looked closer, I was afraid they were overdone. As I removed them from the pan, my fear was confirmed, they're overdone!

Not sure if it was because these were overdone but they were terrible. They were very dry, which I know was because they were overdone. The flavor wasn't what I would have expected from the wonderful chocolate batter. I am anxious to see how my fellow CWF bloggers fared with this recipe.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Potato Leek Chowder Robusto

During a visit to Whole Foods, we tasted Robusto cheese. Robusto is a cousin to Parmesean with a deeper, smoky flavor. It was fairly expensive, so I wanted to make sure used every bit. My favorite source to find a recipe using a specific ingredient is google. I am not sure what I did before google! Potato Leek Soup is one of my favorites and adding this yummy cheese made it even better!

Potato Leek Chowder
Recipe courtesy of RecipeZaar

4 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium leek, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup robusto cheese, grated

For Garnish
sour cream
bacon bits

1 Heat butter and oil in large pot over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted. Whisk in flour.
2 Add potatoes, leeks, and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are clear and potatoes are slightly softened.
3 Add broth and cover tightly. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
4 At this point you can do one of two things. You can remove half of the soup to a blender and puree, or you can use a potato masher and just mash the potatoes in the pot to the consistency that you desire.
5 Stir in milk, bacon and cheese. Cover and simmer for 2-3 mintues or until cheese is melted. If you would like your chowder to be a little thicker, you can add a few teaspoons of corn starch or flour to thicken.
6 Garnish as desired and serve with a crusty bread

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

One Year Ago Snicker Salad.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

No SMS - Waffles with Lemon Curd and Berries

Pavlova Peach Melba is this week's Sweet Melissa Sunday's recipe. Patty of Birding Blossoms and Baking is the host. Patty and I joined Sweet Melissa Sunday's at the same time and became blogging friends. Check out her blog, she takes amazing photographs. Patty, so sorry to not be participating today, we have out of town company this weekend. Instead I chose to share a favorite breakfast restaurant and my own version of one of their recipes.

Hands down my favorite place to eat breakfast in Omaha is a locally owned restaurant, Wheatfields. Whenever we have company in town we'll take them there. The next time they're in town, they always ask to go back. One of the special breakfast treats on the Wheatfield's menu is their Creme Brulee waffle. It's a waffle with a layer of custard, berries and whipped cream. It's just decadent and I am sure about a zillion calories. No wonder, I love it so much.

I wanted to create a similar dish at home. I used a layer of leftover lemon curd, berries and powdered sugar. Yummy and maybe not quite as many calories as Wheatfields.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pink Saturday - Berry Sorbet & Flowers

Pink is my favorite color! Interesting how our taste in colors changes, as a kid yellow was my favorite color. Pink is fun, happy color and makes me smile.

I am linking this post to the group Pink Saturday's. Check it out, there's some fun posts there!!!

Recently, I found some great bargains on berries. How can you pass up a bargain on berries in winter. There's so many delicious things you can make with berries not to mention how wonderful they are delicious by themselves. I decided to make Berry Sorbet. What a fantastic late Winter treat.

Berry Sorbet
1 quart

4 cups strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, or a combination
(I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)
3/4 cup cranberry/raspberry juice
3/4 cup agave syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons vodka

Blend the berries with the juice in a blender or food processor. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed strainer into a bowl, to remove the seeds. Stir in the agave syrup, lemon juice, salt, lemon zest, and vodka. Chill several hours or overnight. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Let the sorbet sit in the freezer for a few hours before serving.

My husband surprised me with these beautiful flowers. Just because!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Foodie Friday - Chicken Enchiladas Suiza

Do you sometimes feel like you're in a rut when it comes to dinner? I know I do. I have those old stand by recipes that we have a lot. We love Mexican food but don't make it very often at home. When I saw this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Suiza at Always Eat On The Good China, I decided to give it a try.

An easy way to have chicken ready to use when you get home is to cook the chicken in the crock pot while you are at work. I used chicken thighs and they worked great.

Chicken Enchilda Suiza

•2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (or bone in if your prefer)
•1 teaspoon garlic salt
•1 teaspoon white pepper
•1/2 cup sour cream +
•1 4 oz. can chopped green chiles, drained
•1 bunch green onions, chopped
•1 can Rotel mild original tomatoes with green chiles, drained
•1 14 oz. can mild enchilada sauce, green
•2 cups finely shredded jack and cheddar cheese

Place chicken in stock pot with enough water to cover, salt and pepper. Bring to a low rolling boil until chicken is cooked through. Cool, de-bone if necessary and cut into bite sized pieces, preferably shredded.

In a large bowl mix together the chicken pieces, Rotel tomatoes, green chiles, 1 cup of the cheese and 1/4 cup of the sour cream. Mix well.

I like to slice off the major portion of the arc of the tortilla so I have a large rectangle to work with. Lightly spread a thin layer of sour cream on each tortilla. Divide the chicken mixture amongst all the tortillas and roll them securely. Place each one seam side down, side by side in a lightly sprayed rectangular baking dish. Pour the sauce evenly over enchiladas and top with remaining cheese.

Bake foil covered for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes until cheese is melted and crisp.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday. If you haven't been to Michael's blog, Designs by Gollum, take time to visit. Her blog is amazing.

Oven Roasted Broccoli

Do you like broccoli? It's one of those veggies that sometimes gets a bad wrap. Which president was it that went public about his dislike of broccoli? I think it was Bush. I love roasted vegetables! When I saw this recipe at Savoring Time in the Kitchen, I knew I had to make it. This recipe uses bread crumbs, a key ingredient in my favorite brussels sprouts recipe. Even my husband, who's not a big broccoli fan liked this recipe.

Oven-Roasted Broccoli
Recipe adapted from Alton Brown, 2007, Food Network
4 servings

1 pound broccoli, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425F.

Cut the broccoli into bite size pieces. Trim the dark green from the stalk and cut into 1/8-inch thick, round slices. Place the broccoli into a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper and set aside.

Spread the panko into a 13 by 9-inch metal sheet pan and place into the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the panko from the oven and add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Toss to combine. Return the mixture to the cake pan, place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Grilled Pineapple

Finally the snow is gone and we can grill!! We love to grill veggies and fruits. Grilled pineapple is so pretty and tasty. It's simple to make and yummy to eat.

Grilled Pineapple

Slice the top and sides off of a whole pineapple. Slice the pineapple into 1 1/2 inch slices. You dont' want to slice it too thin or it will be hard to turn on the grill. Remove the core from the slices. If you have a small biscuit cutter, it works great for this.

Mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup honey. Combine to make a paste. Oil the grill. Grill pineapple, over medium heat, 2 minutes on both sides. Using a BBQ brush, spread the brown sugar mixture on the pineapple. Grill 2 additional minutes on each side.


I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam! If you haven't been to Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, it's worth your time to check it out!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caramel Apple Crisp - SMS

This week's Sweet Melissa Sunday's is hosted by my blogging pal, Susan at Baking With Susan. Susan and I joined Sweet Melissa Sunday's about the same time and became blogging friends. It is because of Susan I became involved in Operation Baking Gals. If you haven't been to Susan's blog, stop by and check it out. She's creative, funny and shares great recipes.

Things have been a bit hectic this weekend at our house. We spent all day yesterday looking for a new car. It's painful and exhausting. I compared it to trying on swimsuits. Ugh! After a long day of shopping and negotiating, we're the proud owners of an Escape Hybrid.

I am not good at making pie crusts. I've never made many and when I have they've always been a disaster. Of course, as is pretty normal for me, I am baking Sweet Melissa Sunday's on Sunday. I decided to try and make a double pie crust and get everything else done I needed to do today would be mistake. I would be frustrated and cussing like a sailor, not a good way to spend Sunday afternoon. Since it's Susan's week for hosting, I really wanted to participate, so I decided to make a Caramel Apple Crisp instead.

I made the filling pretty much as the recipe called for, with a couple of exceptions. I used Fuji apples and I couldn't resist, I added a little cinnamon. Since I didn't have any heavy cream. I decided to give the caramel sauce a try using evaporated milk. It worked pretty well, although I think I heated it too early and it developed a skin on the top. I made the standard crisp topping using oatmeal, brown sugar, flour and melted butter.

I baked the crisps at 350 for about 30 minutes. I took them out of the oven and they were beautiful, puffy and nicely browned. I guess I never realized crisps fall as they cool.

I love the addition of the caramel sauce to the apples. The cinnamon adds just the extra flavor needed to make this a great pie (crisp).

Check out the other Sweet Melissa Sunday's bakers here. I know you'll find some beautiful apple pies.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baking Gals

This is my second month baking with Operation Baking Gals. I baked along with Team Sweet Treats. We shipped cookies to Tim, who's in the Air Force in Afghanistan.

I did some searching for recipes that travel and keep well when shipping overseas. I found a couple of great sites with recipes. This month's recipe came from Laura's Best Recipes. In keeping with my "Use It Up" theme, I chose this recipe because I had several bags of dried cranberries in the pantry.

These cookies were delicious! The cranberries make a nice addition to oatmeal cookies.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
Recipe courtesy of Chef Amanda Kerfoot-Guess
Makes approximately 6 dozen cookies


3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 tsp. Baking Soda
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 tsp. Salt
4 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Allspice

Set aside

In mixer with paddle attachment blend:
1 1/2 Cup Shortening
1 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar

At medium speed until light and creamy, about three

Add, one at a time, mixing well after each

4 large eggs

Scrape down bowl after each addition

Beat in
2 tsp. Pure Vanilla

Dump in entire flour mixture at once, blend until just combined.

3 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
3 Cups dried cranberries (or anything that amuses: dried cherries, raisins, nuts)
It's a good idea to let the dough sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before baking. This lets the oats puff up a bit.

Scoop on to baking sheets in 1/4 cup heaps.
Shape with hands to rounds.

Bake at 325 for 14-17 minutes.
Cool on rack.
After they come out of the oven, they may need a bit of reshaping. Use your spatula to gently adjust the cookies into rounds

I am linking this to Foodie Friday's at Designs by Gollum.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

Isn't everyone Irish today? Even if you're not Irish, most people celebrate in some way. Remember when you were a kid you had to wear green or you were pinched? I am originally from Kansas City where they celebrate with one of the largest St. Patricks Day parades in the country. What a party that is!! I've celebrated at more than one parade over the years but never could bring myself to drink green beer! My favorite St. Patrick's Day tradition is Corned Beef and Cabbage. Tim doesn't care for it, so it won't be served at our house tonight. Our St. Patrick's Day treat is Irish Soda Bread with Lime Honey Butter.

I've never made or eaten Irish Soda Bread before. There's tons of recipes out there, ones with raisins, currants, nuts and wheat germ just to name a few. I chose this recipe based on the ingredients we had on hand. While this bread isn't terribly sweet, it is sweeter than I expected. It has a nice taste and texture and would be great with an Irish Stew.

Irish Soda Bread
Recipe Courtesy of All Recipes

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted

1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
2.Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and baking soda. Blend egg and buttermilk together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix just until moistened. Stir in butter. Pour into prepared pan.
3.Bake for 65 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Wrap in foil for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor.

I wanted to add a touch of St. Patty's Day green to this recipe, so I made a Lime Honey Butter to go with it. This butter would be great on chicken or fish.

Honey Lime Butter

1/2 cup soft butter
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon honey

Mix butter, zest and honey together until combined.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Baked Pasta Casserole

I feel like I've gotten pretty good at my "Use It Up" game the past few weeks. Costco, my favorite place to buy veggies, has a large bag of brussels sprouts for the price you would pay for a smaller bag at a grocery store. We had these brussles spouts recently. I wanted to find something a little less traditional with the remaining sprouts. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks. If you haven't been to Heidi's blog, you should check it out. She takes amazing pictures and posts wonderful recipes.

I made some changes to Heidi's recipe, based on what I had on hand. Her recipe called for spinach, I substituted the brussels sprouts. I omitted the lemon zest called for in the recipe and used a shallot instead of an onion.

I served this as a side dish but it could easily be a meatless main dish. I loved this recipe. I wish the cheese was just a little more melty, something I will work on for next time. I didn't really expect my husband to like this pasta but he did.

Baked Pasta Casserole Recipe
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound pasta shells
sea salt
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced brussels sprouts
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
8 ounces mozzerella, shredded or torn into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter/oil a large casserole dish or baking pan - something roughly equivalent to 13x9-inch pan.
Boil the pasta in salted water per package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with a glug of olive oil. Set aside.
In the meantime, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high. Saute the shallots with a couple pinches of salt for a few minutes (or if you want a bit more depth of flavor until caramelized). Stir in garlic. Stir in brussels sprouts. You may need to add a little more oil. Cook until sprouts are softened, about 5- 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the almonds. Add to pasta and stir and stir - mixing extremely well, a minute or so. Add a layer of the pasta to the bottom of the baking pan, now sprinkle with some of the cheese, add more pasta, then more cheese. Finish with a layer of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and melty. Top with remaining almonds.

I am linking this post to Tasty Tuesday's at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sad Sally's Cupcakes - MSC

Shortly after we were married my husband began calling me Sally. Where it came from, I am not sure but it stuck and it's become my nickname. Seemed only fitting to title this post, Sad Sally's Cupcakes.

Megan from My Baking Adventures chose this month's Martha Stewart Cupcake Club recipe, Lemon Meringue Cupcakes. The cupcakes were easy to put together and turned out beautifully. They have a beautiful lemony flavor and fragrance. It's the steps after this where Sally's cupcakes went south. I frosted 5 cupcakes with the Seven Minute Frosting. The two in the photo are the best of the bunch. You should see some of the others but I am not posting those.

The cupcakes are topped with Lemon Curd and Seven Minute Frosting. Lemon Curd is on my list of Top 50 recipes. I can cross that one off the list. I love the flavor of this lemon curd. Since I only used a little bit of it, I am looking forward to finding other recipes to use the remainder.

If you follow my blog, you know taking a cake decorating class is one of my 2010 blogging goals. Recently I purchased a cheap piping bag. It came with 5 tips. Of course they weren't marked as to which tip was which. There was a star tip but I think it was too small for this frosting. As I was struggling to get the frosting in the bag and then struggling even more to pipe it on the cupcakes, I was thinking how much I wish I knew how to pipe frosting. This is another one of those recipes where my mother would have said, "You get an A for effort".

I really liked the flavor of these cupcakes. I would make them again with a lemon frosting or possibly the Seven Minute Frosting AFTER I learn to pipe.

Check out the posts of the other Martha Stewart Cupcake bakers, I know you'll find lots of cupcakes that aren't sad!

One Year Ago - Nana's Quick Chocolate Cake

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carrot Cake - SMS

Thanks for stopping by Little Bit of Everything. I am so excited!! This is my week to host Sweet Melissa Sunday's. As I flipped through the cookbook a few weeks ago, it was hard to decide which recipe to choose. I wanted a recipe I could make without a big FAIL and something I knew I would like. I love carrot cake. The best carrot cake I've ever eaten was at an Omaha restaurant, The Flatiron . The chef, Jennifer Coco, is nominated for a James Beard award for the second year in a row. The Flatiron's carrot cake was to die for yummy!! I am in search of that carrot cake recipe. Would this one be the one?

I admit I haven't baked a lot of layer cakes. For sure, I haven't baked many from scratch. One of the first was this one. The results were great and left me feeling encouraged to bake more layer cakes. One of my 2010 cooking resolutions is to attend cake decorating classes. I wish I had done that before this week, so my cake would be even a fraction as beautiful as some of the other SMS bakers.

Baking a layer cake always takes me back to my childhood. My mother made a lot of layer cakes. Although no one recipe sticks in my mind. Do you think that's because the mind isn't what it used to be? I remember when she was baking a cake and I would come stomping into the kitchen, she'd say walk softly or you'll make the cake fall. We had to tiptoe through the kitchen. We didn't dare think about opening the door. I opened the door at one point on this cake and could hear my mother scolding me!

The only carrot cake I've ever made uses baby food carrots. It's a delicious moist cake and so easy to put together. This cake was relatively easy to put together. The most time consuming part is grating the carrots. If you have a food processor, it makes it easier.

I've read some of the other Sweet Melissa bloggers comments about the 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon in this recipe being a typo. I thought it seemed liked a lot but I love cinnamon, so I didn't hesitate to go ahead with tablespoons instead of teaspoons.

When I tested the cake at 40 minutes, it was done. I was concerned that it might be overdone but it was perfect.

I'm sad to say this wasn't the to die for carrot cake recipe. I thought this cake was good but not great. The texture is the moist texture you expect in a carrot cake but the cake is lacking in flavor. I liked the bites with frosting much better than the ones without. I am glad I used the cinnamon as tablespoons and not teaspoons or it would have really been lacking in flavor. I am anxious to see what the other Sweet Melissa Sunday's bakers thought of this recipe.

Along with each recipe in the book, Melissa shares a story or some other tidbit about the recipe you are making. Melissa made this cake for her sisters wedding.

Carrot Cake with Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- makes one 8-inch cake -
From...The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, by Melissa Murphy.

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated medium fine
3/4 cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped

For the fresh orange cream cheese frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softene
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Before you start
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour two 8x2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with an 8-inch round of parchment paper.

To make the cake

1. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs at high speed until light and frothy, about 1 minute. Decrease the speed to medium and add the oil, sugar, and salt, and mix until just combined. Decrease the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and walnuts.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Spin the pans to level the batter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool for 20 minutes before turning the layers out onto the rack. Cool completely before filling or frosting.

To make the frosting
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and zest. Start on low speed and then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until just fluffy and smooth, about 45 seconds more. Add the vanilla and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat.

To complete the cake

1. Cut 4 strips of wax or parchment paper about 12 inches long by 3 inches wide. Place the bottom cake layer trimmed side up on your serving plate. Tuck the wax paper under the edges of your cake on all sides. Later, after frosting the cake, you can pull away the stripes to reveal a nice clean serving plate.

2. Using a metal offset spatula, spread the filling across the top of the layer, but leave about 1/2 inch uncovered around the outside edges. (This leaves room for the filling to be squished down but to stay inside the cake.)

3. Place the second layer trimmed side down on top of the filling and press down gently with your hands.

4. Apply a light, even layer of frosting on all sides of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for a good 30 minutes.

5. After the crumb coat has chilled, smooth on your final layer of frosting.
The cake keeps in a cake saver in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It tastes great eaten at room temperature or chilled.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Roast Chicken

I've made Roast Chicken several times recently but I've forgotton to photograph until after we'd carved it. Roast Chicken is a wonderful Sunday dinner.

As with all roasting, this chicken is cooked at a high temperature. The last couple of times I've made this, we've had to turn off the smoke detector, open the doors and windows because of all the smoke it created. I did some reading and discovered there are a couple of things you can do to prevent this. One, which I used this time, is to line the bottom with vegetables. The other way is to put water or chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. This worked perfectly, no smoke at all and the oven is so much cleaner.

Roast Chicken is a perfect Sunday dinner. The great thing about Roast Chicken is you can cook once and have at least two more meals from one chicken. I use the leftover chicken for chicken salad or chicken quesadillas and I make chicken broth from the bones.

Do you have a favorite roast chicken recipe?

Roast Chicken
Adapted from Ina Garten

1 (5 to 6 pound) roasting chicken
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
4 - 5 potatoes cut into chunks
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken. Place the onions, carrots, and potatoes. Toss with salt, pepper, thyme, and olive oil. Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh or a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Childhood Memories of Jello Salad

How many of you remember those jello salads at family dinners or holidays? I know I do!!! In recent years, I've come to associate jello with being sick or having a medical procedure. Not a good association. While cleaning the basement, I ran across my jello molds. I am not sure if these came from my mom or Tim's mom. Finding these brought a smile to my face and memories of those jello salads from childhood.

I am not sure I have ever made a molded jello salad.

Julie's Jello Salad

1 box of Tropical Jello
2 cups boiling water
1 can of crushed pineapple
2 bananas
1 carton of Strawberry Greek yogurt

Add the boiling water to the jello, stir well. Chill until partially set. Whip until fluffy, gradually add yogurt, whipping until smooth. Add crushed pineapple.

Grease jello mold with cooking spray. Pour jello into mold. Add sliced bananas. Chill until set.
When ready to serve, dip the jello mold into a sink of hot water. Don't leave it in the hot water too long. Place a plate on top of the mold. Flip over to invert.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

No SMS Today - No Knead Bread

After being on the scales at the doctor's office recently, I was reminded to cut back on baking sweets. I don't know about you but if they're in the house, I have NO willpower. I eat them!!

This week's Sweet Melissa Sunday's recipe, Roasted Pecan Cake, was chosen by the creative and talented Leslie at Lethaly Delicious. Sorry, Leslie but I had to pass one this one! You can also find the links to the other SMS bakers here!

Instead I am posting about another food I love, bread. Okay I think I see why those scales are going the wrong way, desserts and bread!! But what's better than the warm, wonderful smell that fills the kitchen while bread is baking? Maybe eating it while it is warm?

Last week while browsing the blogsphere, I found this recipe for No Knead Bread. No Knead Bread seems to be all the buzz these days. Sounds easy enough, why not give it a try?

The recipe calls for cracked peppercorns. Not easy to do. I ended up using my wooden meat mallet. Even with that, I ended up with some uncracked ones! Next time, I think I will use my coffee grinder. The dough is very, very sticky. Basically it's the type of dough you would expect with out kneading.

No Knead Bread is known for it's beautifully browned, crisp crust. None of my dutch ovens are safe in a 450 degree oven, so I used a glass casserole pan. My crust was browned but not as crisp as I would have liked. I am browsing the aisles at Goodwill in hopes of finding an old cast iron dutch oven.

We enjoyed the peppery flavor of this bread. We used the leftovers for grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum! I want to try making this bread with rosemary and garlic. I love the smell of rosemary while something is baking!

What ingredients would you like to use in this recipe?

Peppercorn, Potato, and Parmesan No-Knead Bread
- makes one 1 1/2-pound loaf -

Adapted from The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway.

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
About 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked (I placed mine in a Ziploc bag and rolled over it with a rolling pin several times)
1 5/8 cups water that was used to boil a potato, slightly cooled

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, salt, and pepper. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for at least 12 hours, preferably about 18 (or two days), at warm room temperature, about 70°F.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball, tucking folded parts underneath. Sprinkle and gently pat grated Parmesan across the top of the loaf. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, semolina, or cornmeal, and place the loaf seam-side down in it. Coat another towel with flour and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, the dough will me more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least half an hour before dough is ready, preheat oven to 450°F. Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex, or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slid your hand under the towel and place dough Parmesan side up in the pot. Cover with lid and bake 20 minutes; then remove lid and bake another 15 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

One Year Ago Champagne Asparagus Risotto.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts

While shopping at Costco recently, my husband suggested we purchase brussels sprouts! Amazing! This is a guy who a year or so ago refused to even think about eating brussels sprouts.

I have a couple of brussels sprouts recipes that we love. There's this one, given to me by son and this one I found on the internet! I wanted to make something different this time. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks, Heidi Swanson's wonderful blog!

These are delicious and so easy to make!

I am sharing this with all of the other Foodie Friday participants over at Designs by Gollum. Check them out, there's a ton of great posts.

Golden Crusted Brussels Sprouts
24 small brussels sprouts
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for rubbing
fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice - I used Robusto

Wash the brussels sprouts well. Trim the stem ends and remove any raggy outer leaves. Cut in half from stem to top and gently rub each half with olive oil, keeping it intact (or if you are lazy just toss them in a bowl with a glug of olive oil).

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Don't overheat the skillet, or the outsides of the brussels sprouts will cook too quickly. Place the brussels sprouts in the pan flat side down (single-layer), sprinkle with a couple pinches of salt, cover, and cook for roughly 5 minutes; the bottoms of the sprouts should only show a hint of browning. Cut into or taste one of the sprouts to gauge whether they're tender throughout. If not, cover and cook for a few more minutes.

Once just tender, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook until the flat sides are deep brown and caramelized. Use a metal spatula to toss them once or twice to get some browning on the rounded side. Season with more salt, a few grinds of pepper, and a dusting of grated cheese.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Western Iowa Wine Trail - Outdoor Wednesday's

Last Saturday was a beautiful sunny day. We spent the day along the Western Iowa Wine Trail. It was their Mardi Gras celebration. There are 7 wineries on the trail. We went to 5 of the 7. Each winery had a Mardi Gras food dish and wine tasting! While Iowa wines aren't the traditional wines, each has their own characteristics and made for a fun day of wine tasting.

The day ended with this beautiful Western Iowa sunset. Stop by Outdoor Wednesday's to find links to all of the other beautiful Outdoor Wednesday pictures!

Buttermilk Cornbread

Have you ever made cornbread from scratch? I must admit those little blue Jiffy Mix boxes have been in my cabinets for years. Not the same boxes :)

In my never ending quest to "Use It Up", this weeks leftover ingredient was buttermilk. I found this recipe on All Recipes.

This recipe makes a delicious, moist cornbread. It's easy to put together and I think if you didn't have buttermilk, regular milk could be substituted. Of course, we'd have to change the recipe title!

Buttermilk Cornbread
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
2.Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
3.Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

One Year Ago - Mint Brownie Pie