Monday, May 31, 2010

Chocolate Blini's - CWF

In my quest to try and use the ingredients I have in the house, I wanted to figure out what to substitute for the hazelnut flour. I was searching the internet for substitutions when I had one of those aha moments. There were hazelnuts in with the mixed nuts we had in cabinet. After shelling the hazelnuts, you blanch them. To me blanching has always been in a pan of water. I read you could do it that way but it seemed the recommended way was to bake them in a 325 degree oven for up to 25 minutes. Keep an eye on them, so they don't burn. Remove them from the oven, wrap them in a towel for 5 minutes and then use the towel to rub off the skin. It was really easy and so much less expensive than buying shelled hazelnuts or hazelnut flour.

I was thinking blini's were like crepes or blinzes but they're more like pancakes, only a little smaller. I was excited about making this recipe. The topping possibilites are endless! Also, it looks easy enough maybe this one will be a success? I haven't had the best luck with some of Chef Payard's recipes.

I halved the recipe and ended up with at least 10 blini's. The recipe says you may need to flatten the batter with the back of a spoon after you put it in the pan. Not my batter. My blini's were flat on their own. Something about me and folding in egg whites, I can never seem to keep their height. The instructions were to cook these on low. I turned them up a little because I didn't feel like they were getting done. Other than not being as puffy as pancakes, this recipe turned out great. I topped mine with nutella and sliced strawberries. YUM!!

This delicious recipe was chosen by Linda at Diva Weigh. You can find the links to all of the other Chocolate With Francois bakers here! I can't wait to see what everyone did with their blini's.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No SMS - The Last Kid on the Block - Cake Pops

This week's SMS is Coconut Custard Pie chosen by Ruby of I Dream of Baking. Sorry Ruby, I am skipping this one. We're celebrating Memorial Day weekend at the lake with our friends Karen Larry. Instead am sharing my cake pops with you.

Okay I feel really old writing this and you’re going to think I am really old when you read this. I am not exactly sure how old I was but I remember all of my friends families were getting color television's for the first time. See I told you you’d think I am really old! I’d go to their houses and they’d have the new shiny, GIANT console color TV. I was so envious. I’d go home and say dad everyone’s getting a color tv but us. Funny, my father is conservative in spending money on some things, like color tv’s. Other things not so much, at 91 years old he still talks about wanting a new Buick. I was the last kid on block with a color tv but my dad always had that shiny new car.

About now you might be asking, what does this have to do with Cake Pops? I’ve had Cake Pops bookmarked since I started blogging and have never gotten around to making them. Thanks to Bakerella, cake pops are everywhere on the blogsphere. I feel like the last kid on the block or in the blogsphere to blog about cake pops.

If you’ve been following my blog the past few weeks, you know I am taking cake decorating classes. Three of the four weeks of class we baked and decorated a cake. Before decorating, you slice off the rounded top of the cake to make it flat and level. What to do with those cake tops? You can’t throw away the perfectly good cake top. It makes a cute cake top cake. I froze the tops from the other two weeks in anticipation of finally making cake pops.

I took the easy way out on this batch and used canned frosting. I think next time, I will make homemade for an even more delicious flavor. I am taking cake decorating classes at Michael’s. I took advantage of the coupon and bought Wilton chocolates for melting. Since this chocolate already had little colored sprinkles in it, I skipped the decorating.

Cake pop’s are easy and fun to put together. The only challenge is getting the cake to stay on the stick while dipping the chocolate. I ended up dipping my sticks in chocolate, putting them in the cake ball and refrigerating for an hour or so before dipping. It seemed to help, although I still had a few casualties. My family and coworkers loved these. I am looking forward to making them again. There's so many fun possibilities.

Cake Pops
Recipe adapted from Bakerlla
1 13X9 baked cake (box cake mix or from scratch … any flavor)
1 can cream cheese frosting
1 package dark chocolate melts
1 package colored or white melts
wax paper
lollipop sticks
sprinkles or something similar for top of cake pop
Styrofoam block (Very important!)

Bake your cake and let it cool completely. Take your cake and place it in a large bowl and crumble into the finest pieces possible (This is very, very important).
Mix in the frosting. Put in the refrigerator for about an hour or the freezer for about 20 minutes. (This helps a lot with the consistency) Roll into balls of your desired size - usually about 1" balls work best. Melt your chocolate and stir it well. I added a little parfin. I always add this to my Peanut Butter Balls. It gives them a nice sheen and the chocolate dries nicely. Add your decorations to the cake pop while the chocolate is still wet. Place into a styrofoam block to let dry. Enjoy!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Pink Saturday!

Pink Saturday is celebrating it's second year today!! Pink Saturday is a wonderful group of bloggers who every Saturday celebrate all things PINK!!

In honor of it's second birthday, Pink Saturday is featured in the current issue of Artful Blogging. There have been as many as 800 different bloggers participating in Pink Saturday! Amazing!!!

Thanks to Beverly of How Sweet the Sound, the founder and talented hostess of Pink Saturday.

This is the cake from my last class of Wilton Cake Decorating Course 2. Happy Birthday Pink Saturday!

One Year Ago Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring Vegetables Stir Fry

I wish I lived somewhere we could enjoy the flavors of garden fresh vegetables all year long. Of course you can get some of these all year in the grocery store but sometimes they're so expensive and not so tasty. I'd picked up bok choy and asparagus at the farmer's market and was searching for bok choy and asaparagus recipes. I found Emeril's recipe for Aspargus and Bok Choy Stir Fry. His recipe is a full meal, I adapted it to be a side and added onions and peas. This recipe is fabulous. The mirin adds a nice slightly sweet flavor to the sauce.

Spring Vegetable Stir Fry

Loosely adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/4 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 pound baby bok choy, trimmed and julienned
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 small Spring onions, sliced
1/4 pound of snow peas

In a small bowl, combine the chicken stock, mirin, honey, cornstarch and salt, and stir until smooth. Set aside. Place a wok over medium heat. Add the sesame oil and when hot, add the vegetables and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 - 3 minutes. Add the stock mixture to the vegetables and stir to coat.

Cook, stirring, until the vegetables have absorbed most of the sauce and are moist and tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In My Garden

I love this time of year. Everything is starting to bloom. Last Spring while staying at the Sonoma Mission Inn, both Tim and I fell in love with their snake grass around the pool. We asked our landscaper friend Lynn where to find it. He suggested the Elkhorn River bottoms. One Sunday, Tim and Mike went in search of snake grass. We'd heard it was notorious for spreading, so we decided against planting it in the ground. During the wet periods of the summer, it grew well. As the summer grew hotter and dryer, it began to dry up and wilt. At the end of the summer, Tim put the pot in our outside storage area. The snake grass spent our long, cold winter outside. This Spring, as the plants began to sprout, so did our snake grass.

More pictures from our garden...

One Year Ago Sunday Morning Frittata.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chocolate Spice Bread - Modern Baker Challenge

How many blogs do you follow? Not sure the number I follow but it’s quite a few. There’s so many great bloggers out there, it's so hard to choose. One blog I particularly enjoy is Sweet and Savory. Chaya is amazing. She blogs almost every day, sometimes more than once a day and belongs to an endless number of groups. A few weeks ago, Chaya’s post was about The Modern Baker Challenge, a new group she’d joined. She and I exchanged emails about the group and the cookbook. She suggested this group would help me with My 50. I emailed Phyl, the organizer of the group, who was so welcoming and excited to have me join. It’s a small group and there aren’t a lot of rules. The group is baking through the cookbook, one section at a time. Each section will be available for baking for 90 days. You can bake as much or as little as you want. I did some reading about the author, Nick Malgieri . I really like his style of writing and baking. What's one more group? I ordered the book.

This cookbook could easily be one of those coffee table books we all love. It’s a large, beautiful hardback. The recipes are concise and easy to follow. Nick gives some hints and extra tips for each recipe. I can read a cookbook like a novel. I sat down one night, thumbed through the first section and used those great little post it note tabs to mark the recipes I wanted to try. Being the total chocolate lover, the first recipe had to be the Chocolate Spice Bread.

I am not sure why but I don’t own any metal bread pans. I think they were old and didn’t make the move from KC to Omaha. I used a glass baking pan of approximately the same size. Because I was baking in glass, I set the oven at 325. Nick cautions in this recipe not to bake it too long or it will be dry. I checked the bread at 25 minutes and it was still very wet. I checked it every five minutes and at 45 minutes it was done. Unfortunately, I think it was overdone. Maybe I need to start pulling my breads out when they’re ALMOST done? The flavor of this bread is delicious. My concern was the spice flavor would be too heavy but it’s not. The chocolate blends nicely with the spices. This bread, like a lot of quick breads, is best eaten on the day it is made. It dries out quickly. Since mine was a little too dry to begin with, it was really dry on day three. I froze the leftovers, thinking maybe I will add it to the next batch of cake pops? I hate to throw things away!!! This bread has lots of possibilities. You could add nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, sunflower seeds. I will be making this one again!

Stop by The Modern Baker Challenge to see the other bakers thoughts on this bread.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Butterscotch Pralines - SMS

I've never made pralines before, probably because I've always found them too sweet. Making these was one of those frustrating kitchen experiences. I didn't feel great to begin with, either the 24 hour bug or a touch of food poisining. Then as I was gathering all of the ingredients, my candy thermometer rolls on to the floor. It didn't really break but it chipped on the bottom, so I was pretty sure I shouldn't use it. Off to the store to get another one.

Once I got back with the thermometer and gathered the ingredients, the recipe went together easily. I think my mixture was too thick. I went ahead and spooned them out onto the parchment paper. I don't really think they look like pralines. Tim said they're good but needed a few more nuts.

This week's SMS was chosen by Tess of Cooking Chemist. Check out her blog, she has some great recipe ideas. You can find the links to the other SMS gals here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday!!

This is one of the beautiful pink lilies my son sent me for Mother's Day. Happy Pink Saturday!

I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cedric's Ranch Wings - Foodie Friday

I love to thumb though magazines for recipes, hints, ideas and stories. I have file folders and accordian folders of those clippings. Those folders inspired me to begin blogging. Not sure I've shared as many of these as I'd planned. I keep buying cookbooks and subscribing to new magazines. Have you seen all of the magazine deals lately? Tim was thumbing through my Food Network Magazine and found this recipe. We always have wings in the freezer, so we decided to give these a try. These are a nice change from traditional spicy chicken wings.

Cedric's Ranch Wings
Recipe Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

2 pounds chicken Wings
3 1 ounce packets ranch dressing mix
1 1/3 cup flour
Freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs
Vegetable Oil for frying
1/4 cup hot sauce (Frank's is my favorite)
1/4 cup honey

Toss the wings with 1 packet dressing mix in a large bowl and refrigerate at least one hour or up to four hours.

Whisk the flour, 1 teaspoon pepper and 1 packet dressing mix in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons water and the remaining packet dressing mix. Dredge the wings a few at a time in the seasoned flour, then dip into the egg mixture and return to the flour mixture, turning to coat. Transfer to a rack.

Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until a deep fry thermometer registers 350. (I used a deep fryer.)Fry the wings in batches until crisp and golden brown 5 -6minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Whisk the hot sauce and honey in a bowl. Serve with the wings.

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

In My Garden

This is the second year for my Ville de Lyon Clematis. I love their beautiful vibrant color!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sesame Grilled Asparagus

You've probably noticed we eat a lot of asparagus at our house. Besides the warmer weather, it's one of my favorite things about Spring. My go to recipe for asparagus is either grilled or roasted in the oven. Either way it's so simple to prepare, just olive oil, salt and pepper. This Sesame Grilled Asparagus takes my go to recipe to the next level. The sesame oil and soy sauce are a wonderful compliment to an already delicious vegetable.

Sesame Grilled Asparagus

Recipe Courtesy of Steven Raichlen

Wooden toothpicks or bamboo skewers
1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Salt and black pepper
In a shallow pan, soak skewers in cold water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside.

Preheat grill to high. Snap off the woody bases of the asparagus and discard. Skewer 4 or 5 asparagus spears together, using the toothpicks or 2 bamboo skewers, forming a raft shape.

In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus rafts on both sides. Season the asparagus with a little salt and lots of pepper.

When ready to cook, place the asparagus rafts on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds as they grill. You can serve the asparagus as rafts or unskewered.

I am linking this to I am linking this to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace, Tuesday's at the Table at All the Small Stuff and Tasty Tuesday's at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

My good friend, Larry loves bread pudding. Whenever we get together, I don't need to ask what dessert he would like. I know his answer will be bread pudding. He's pretty much a bread pudding purist. I think it goes back to his childhood. His mom always made bread pudding with the leftover homemade bread. One time years ago, when I first decided to make bread pudding I asked Larry's mom for her recipe. She was such an old fashioned cook, no recipes for her. She said I just take some bread, eggs, milk and cinnamon and mix it all up and bake it. Maybe she said raisins, too. There's a few things I can make without a recipe but baking, I always have to follow a recipe.

I don't know if Larry would like the Pumpkin Bread pudding but we sure did. I made quite a few changes to the recipe. Mostly because of what I did or didn't have on hand. I cut the recipe in half and it worked nicely to fill three ramekins. I had leftover sweetened condensed and evaporated milk from this month's Martha Stewart recipe, Tres Leches Cupcakes. I was wondering what I was going to do with it when I had one of those aha moments. I can use it in the Pumpkin Bread Pudding. When we made the Pumpkin No vanilla beans for me, they're just too expensive. I do want to try vanilla bean paste. I didn't have any whole cloves or fresh ginger. My spice mixture consisted of vanilla extract, a pinch of ground cloves, a pinch of ground ginger and two cinnamon sticks. I felt like the pudding was plenty moist by itself, so I decided to forgo the sauce. We certainly don't need anything else made with cream.

This is a delicious dessert. Kind of fun to have a pumpkin dessert in Springtime. I am going to file this one in my holiday file. This would make a great addition to the Thanksgiving Day table.

Thanks to Carmen of Baking Is My Zen for choosing a great recipe. You can find the links to check out the other SMS bakers here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tres Leches Cupcackes - Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club

Never having made or eaten tres leches cake, I wasn't sure what to expect. Tres leches means three milks and is a Latin American dessert.

These cupcakes were easy to put together. The only thing that takes any time is brushing on the milk mixture after they're done baking. I made 1/4 of the recipe and ended up with 6 cupcakes. The instructions call for using foil cupcake liners. I didn't have foil liners. I decided to take my chances and use two regular liners. It worked fine!

Tres Leches is on My 50 list. Cross another one off the list, 6 down 44 to go. I loved the texture and moistness of these cupcakes. The recipe says to let these sit at least 30 minutes before eating. We ate one the first night and I found the flavor to kind of blah. I ate one the next day and LOVED it. Waiting 24 hours is the key to these cupcakes. I will be making these again. I am already trying to decide how to tweak the recipe with other flavors.

Thanks to Lisa of Smiley's Sweets and Creations for choosing such a great recipe. You can find links to all other other MSC bakers here!

Honey Rhubarb Betty - Pink Saturday

Happy Pink Saturday!!!

Did you know rhubarb is really a vegetable? I always thought it was a fruit!! Rhubarb is one of those foods I've always said I don't love. Maybe it's because of how I ate it as a kid. My mom always stewed it for my dad. She just cut it up, added a little water and sugar and cooked it until it was mushy. YUCK! As an adult, I've discovered lots of the other delicious ways to use rhubarb. Last Spring I made this Rhubarb Crisp. I talked about the yucky stewed rhubarb in that post, too. I've always heard talk of a betty but I hadn't ever made one. I wasn't even sure I knew what it was. A betty is similar to a cobbler but reminded me more of a bread pudding.

Honey Rhubarb Betty
Adapted from Southern Food
1 pound rhubarb, cut in 1/2-inch slices (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash salt
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup honey
4 cups bread cubes (about 5 slices)
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Combine sliced rhubarb, sugar, nutmeg, salt, and water. In a small bowl, blend butter and honey; stir in bread cubes. Spoon bread cubes in the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking dish. Pour rhubarb mixture evenly over the top of the bread crumbs. Spoon the remaining bread crumbs over the top of the rhubarb. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bread topping is lightly browned. Cover with foil and bake an additional 10minutes. Makes 6 servings.

I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet The Sound.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Penne With Vodka Sauce - Foodie Friday

Vodka Sauce is on My 50. When I saw this recipe at There's Always Thyme to Cook, I couldn't wait to give it a try. Even better this recipe is from Lidia Bastianich, one of my favorite chefs.

I've mentioned before, I sometimes open a jar before I make homemade sauce. No reason to do that when you can make this sauce. It's easy to put together and well worth the time. Next time I want to try adding shrimp and maybe some asparagus?

Penne With Vodka Sauce
Recipe courtesty of Lidia's Italian American Kitchen via There's Always Thyme to Cook

One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
1 pound penne
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled
crushed hot red pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot over high heat.

Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)

Stir the penne into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until done, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully (they'll splatter) slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season with salt and with crushed red pepper to taste (you can always add more it needed!) and boil about 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Just before the pasta is done, take the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and carefully swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. If the skillet is large enough to accommodate the sauce and pasta, take the pasta out of the boiling water with a large wire skimmer or a small strainer and drop it carefully into the sauce in the skillet. If not, drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce and pasta to a boil, stirring to coat the pasta with sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Sprinkle the parsley over the pasta and boil until the sauce is reduced enough to cling to the pasta.

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle the cheese over the pasta, and toss to mix. Serve immediately, serve with additional cheese if you like.

In My Garden

Despite our cool temperatures and lack of sunshine, the flowers in my yard a blooming beautifully. This is the first year my iris have bloomed. I love their vibrant purple color.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Roasted Pepper Pasta Sauce

I wanted to make something different with a couple of peppers that were getting close to being past their prime. Normally we would slice these peppers, toss with a little olive oil, kosher salt, pepper and toss them in the grilling pan to grill. I wanted to do something different with these peppers. I hate to admit this but I don't make a lot of my pasta sauces from scratch. After working all day, it's just too easy to open a jar. I love roasted pepper pasta sauces, so I decided to give it a try.

No photos of the finished dish, didn't like the way they turned out. . The recipe that was my inspiration used cream. I made a lighter version of the recipe, using milk and cornstarch. We loved the taste and creamy texture of this sauce. Looking forward to summertime peppers and more roasted pepper sauce.

Roasted Pepper Sauce
2 large peppers
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh basil
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1.Preheat grill. Lightly coat the peppers with olive oil. Grill peppers over a medium flame broiler until the skin is blackened, and the flesh has softened slightly. Place peppers in a paper bag to cool for approximately 45 minutes.
2.Remove the seeds and skin from the peppers (the skin should come off the peppers easily now). Cut peppers into small pieces.
3.In a skillet, cook and stir the garlic, basil, and peppers in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes.
4.Place mixture in blender (careful it is hot), and puree to desired consistency. Return puree to skillet, and reheat to a boil. Mix 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon cornstach with a whisk. Pout milk, cornstarch mixture into the skillet. Whisk until smooth. Add the Parmesean cheese; cook and stir until the cheese melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

One Year Ago Beer Marinated Pork Chops.

I am linking this to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace, Tuesday's at the Table at All the Small Stuff and Tasty Tuesday's at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day - Orange Blueberry Muffins - SMS

Happy Mother's Day to everyone! I am always a little sad on Mother's Day. I lost my mother to cancer when I was 16. I wish I could have gotten to know my mother better. There's so many things I've missed sharing with her. There's nothing more rewarding than being a mother. I have the best son. Okay I know all mom's say that but mine really is!!

I was surprised on Friday at work with these beautiful flowers. Thanks Justin for being such a great son!!

This week's SMS recipe would be a perfect addition to a Mother's Day brunch. We've made the muffin batter for these before here and here. I remembered this being a thick, dense muffin. I halved the recipe and still ended up with 10 muffins. After putting the batter together, I felt like it was really thick and dense. I wanted to see if I could lighten it up a bit so I added about 2 tablespoons of sour cream and a little more (1 tablespoon?) of cream. I think it helped, the muffins don't seem as dense as the past recipes. I added a few more blueberries, next time I would add even more. I decided to skip the topping. They didn't brown as much as I would have liked, so I sprinkled them with a little cinnamon and sugar. These made a delicious, traditional texture muffin.

Chaya of Sweet and Savory chose this week's recipe. If you haven't visited Chaya's blog, stop by. She's amazing, she posts every day and has some of the best recipes. You can find the links to all of the other SMS bakers here!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Pink Saturday -

Four years ago today Tim and I were married on the beach in Destin, Florida. Tim is my soul mate and the love of my life. I only wish we'd met years ago.

We exchanged our vows just prior to the PINK sunset. Joining us for our wedding were my son Justin, Tim's son Michael, daughter Chelsea and my friends of 30 years Karen and Larry. It was a beautiful day.

Happy Pink Saturday and Happy Mother's to everyone!! I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Roasted Radishes - Foodie Friday

After a long, cold winter everyone seemed ready for the opening weekend of the Omaha Farmer's Market. The market begins at 8:00. We arrived around 8:15 and made several trips around the block before we found a parking spot. The stands were filled with lettuce, asparagus, rhubarb, radishes, bedding plants and herbs. I was happy to see all of my favorite vendors with stands at the market again this year.

Aren't these radishes beautiful? Traditionally I use radishes in salads. What else can I do with these radishes? Of course, I googled and found this recipe on Kalyn's Kitchen for Roasted Radishes. Radishes can be strong and even a little bitter. Wonder if roasting them will make them milder and sweeter like it does with other veggies? Yep, it did!!! Even my husband who's not always a fan of unusual vegetable cooking techniques loved these. He had seconds! If you're looking for something different to do with radishes, give this recipe a try!

Roasted Radishes with Soy Sauce and Toasted Sesame Seed
Makes 3-4 servings
Recipe courtesy of Kalyn's Kitchen
Only slightly adapted from Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop

20 medium radishes, trimmed and cut into fourths (use all red, or a mixture of red and white)
1 1/2 T roasted peanut oil
1-2 T soy sauce (I used about 1 1/2 T)
2 green onions (scallions) sliced thin
1 T sesame seeds, toasted in a dry pan

Preheat oven to 425 F. Wash radishes, trim ends, peel if needed, and cut into same size pieces. Cut the white icicle radishes into diagonal pieces, and the red ones into half or fourths, depending on how big they were. Cut green onions into thin slices.

Toss radishes with peanut oil, then roast about 20 minutes, stirring one or two times. When radishes are tender and starting to brown, remove from oven, toss with soy sauce to coat and mix in green onion slices. Put back in oven and roast about 5 minutes more.

During final five minutes roasting time, put the sesame seed in a dry pan and toast over hot stove for about 2 minutes, or until starting to brown. Remove radishes from oven, place in serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.

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

In My Garden

This weekend we (or should I say Tim) finished my raised garden bed. Thank You, Tim!

We planted (and yes I really did ) tomatoes, basil, oregano, rosemary and sage. We started lettuce, peas and brussels sprouts from seed. I hope you'll follow along with me to see the results.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tabasco Quinoa with Asparagus

I am trying to incorporate quinoa into our diet whenever possible. I am thrilled when I see a quinoa recipe. Although, you're starting to see more and more quinoa recipes, there's still not nearly as many as other side dishes like rice or potatoes. I found this recipe on 101 Cookbooks. Thanks Heidi, I love your blog!!

I read some staggering statistics the other day about how much food we throw away. While I've never felt like I am a wasteful person, I am trying harder to not throw away food. Asparagus is a great example. When I make roasted asparagus, I use only the top 1/2 or so of the aspargus. Except for the very end of the asapargus, the rest of it can be used in recipes such as this one. It works great if you chop it in 1/4" pieces.

Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa
Recipe courtesy of 101 Cookboks

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
25 drops Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch segments
4 cups cooked quinoa*
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
more Tabasco sauce to taste

Start by making the Tabasco butter. In a food processor, or with a hand blender, whip the butter until it is light and airy. Add the mustard, Tabasco sauce, lemon juice and salt. As I mention above, you can make it stronger if you like, adding more hot sauce to taste.
Boil the asparagus in a large pot of well salted water, for just for a minute or so -depending on the thickness of your asparagus. Drain. If you are serving this immediately you can leave the asparagus hot, but if you are going to wait to serve this, or think you'll have leftovers I recommend you stop the cooking with cold water or a dunk in an ice bath, then drain well before using.
Take the 4 cups of hot cooked quinoa and toss with 3 tablespoons of the tabasco butter. You'll have leftover butter - you can serve that on the side or use it for other purposes. Stir in the asparagus, pine nuts, and dollop with creme fraiche. Serve with more Tabasco sauce on the side.
Serves 4 - 6.
*To cook quinoa: Combine 2 cups of well-rinsed dried quinoa with 3 cups water and 1/2teaspoon fine grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 - 30 minutes or until quinoa is tender and you can see the little quinoa curliques.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Tuesday's at the Table at All the Small Stuff , Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed With Grace .

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Peanut Butter Truffles

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how happy I was that I'd been able to get SMS completed and set up to post PRIOR to Sunday. Not this week! It's been a busy week! Yesterday was a beautiful Spring day and the opening of the Farmer's Market. After the long, cold winter we had, everyone seemed as thrilled as we were to enjoy the market. We picked up radishes, herb plants, tomato plants and asparagus. Last night for dinner, I tried a recipe for roasted radishes. Yum! I will share the recipe sometime in the near future.

Okay back to this week's SMS! One advantage to making the recipe on Sunday is you can read a few posts before making the recipe. I found a couple of great tips over at Karen's Cookies Cakes & More. She quartered the recipe which was my plan as well. Everyone had been commenting they thought the recipe needed more peanut butter. Karen used the amount of peanut butter for a full recipe. Also, she used her melon baller to scoop out the balls. Thanks, Karen!!!

I am trying to use ingredients I have on hand. I didn't have bittersweet chocolate but did have semi sweet. No peanuts either, so I rolled these in toffee bits.

The recipe is quick and easy to make! I had no issues putting it together or making the balls. These are delicious! I love chocolate and peanut butter together. I thought they had a nice peanut butter flavor. Maybe the semi sweet chocolate does not overpower the peanut butter as much as the bittersweet chocolate?

Thanks to Mara of Love Your Mother Earth for choosing this recipe. You can find the links to all of the other SMS gals here!

One Year Ago...Mrs. Flint's Banana Bread!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday!

I love Pink Saturday. This is my sixth week participating. It's the most wonderful group of women. Everyone is fun and interesting. What a great way to begin the weekend! It doesn't get any better than pouring myself a cup of coffee and visiting with friends. I guess it's the cyber way of coffee with your friends. Thanks to Beverly of How Sweet The Sound for hosting this fabulous weekly event!!

This week I am sharing with you the cake I decorated for the final class in Wilton Course 1 of Cake Decorating. I really enjoyed these classes, so much so I signed up for Course 2 starting next Monday night. If I had a criticism of the classes it would be the amount of techniques they try to teach in a night. Last week after we finished learning the techniques, we had about 20 minutes to finish decorating our cakes. I really wanted to put roses on top of my cake. These roses are HARD! I think they'll get easier with practice but they're hard. I didn't have time to finish the cake in class. I ended up with two good or should I say acceptable roses. My plan was to make a few more at home. This has been a crazy, busy week. Finally a couple of nights ago, I tried to make a few more roses. I couldn't get the frosting the proper consistency. I had frosting everywhere. The kitchen was one big icing disaster. I made a couple of leaves and called it a cake!

I didn't like the way the cake looked. I thought if we ate a couple of pieces it would distract you from my not so beautiful decorating job. Did it work?

This week I'd like to introduce you to another one of my Pink Saturday friends, Debbie of Debbie Dabbles. Stop by her blog, you'll enjoy your time there!