Monday, August 30, 2010

A Little Late Plum Clafoutis

I am late with my posting for Sweet Melissa Sunday's. We went camping this weekend (more on that later). My intent was to bake this on Sunday after I got home. Seriously, I should know better. I don't know about you but baking when I am tired spells disaster.

Clafoutis...don't you just love the name? It's interesting you find this recipe in the breakfast section of Melissa's cookbook. When I made this clafoutis last year, I remember thinking it would make a wonderful addition to a brunch.

I baked one fourth of the recipe in two ramekins. Other than omitting the almonds (because there were none in the freezer), I prepared the recipe as written. The plums are cooked in a cinnamon sugar syrup. The syrup adds a wonderful sweetness to the egg base of the clafoutis. This recipe is a keeper!! I can see changing the fruits, using different nuts and even making this savory instead of sweet.

You can find the recipe over on Michelle of Flourchild's blog. Thanks Michelle for choosing such a fabulous recipe. If you want to see the other SMS baker's clafouti's, go here!

Since I am posting Sunday's recipe on Monday, I decided I might as well really mix it up and link to Tuesday's at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday's.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Penne with Sausage and Leek Sauce

Is One Perfect Bite one of the blogs you read? If not, you're missing one of the most amazing blogs on the blogsphere. Mary's photographs are beautiful and her recipes are delicious!! This is just one of many I have bookmarked to prepare.

I really enjoy the simple flavor and beautiful colors of leeks. My favorite leek recipe is this creamy risotto.

Bow Ties with Sausage and Leek Sauce...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, adapted from Lidias Italian Table

6 quarts salted water
2 large leeks (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages (about 6 ounces), casing removed
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
1 cup young peas, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, or defrosted and drained frozen baby peas
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper
12 ounces bow-tie pasta (farfalle)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigian-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving, if you like

1) Bring salted water to a boil. Cover pot to speed up the boiling time.
2) Meanwhile, prepare leeks: Cut off and discard top third of rough green portion and root ends. Remove any brown or wilted outer layers. Slice remaining green and white parts into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Rinse leek slices in several changes of cold water, swishing them around to remove all soil and grit.
3) In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Crumble sausage meat into skillet and cook, breaking up lumps, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add leeks to skillet and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in shallots and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, peas and stock. Heat to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover skillet, and set aside.
4) While sauce simmers, stir bow ties into boiling water. When water returns to a boil, uncover pot. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente (tender, but firm), about 12 minutes. Drain bow ties well and return them to pot over low heat.
5) Add sausage and leek sauce to the pasta and toss well until pasta is coated. Remove pot from heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and grated cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately, passing additional grated cheese if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Presto Pasta Nights hosted with week by Thyme For Cooking.

It's a So Long Summer Party!

It's way too early to say, "So Long Summer," but you're invited to one last holiday bash before we "Flutter Into Fall!"

Bring on summer ideas you'd like to re-share and ideas for your Labor Day BBQ.

(No Party Crashers: etsy stores, giveaways, or linky party advertising may be posted, it's a understand!)

The linky will be up Thursday, September 2nd at 12:00 AM and will close Monday, September 6th at 11:59 PM.

Please post our button on your blog and get the word out...
the more the merrier

Gnee of Singing With Birds and I look forward to partying with you for one last summer blast!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Corn Bread Tarts with Green Zebra Tomatoes

I really wanted to plant some heirloom tomatoes this season. I put off ordering the seeds and then it was too late to plant. I've been happy with the tomatoes I planted, especially my romas. You see so many varieties at the Farmer's Market. These caught my eye. I liked their unique and beautiful colors.

I found this recipe for Corn Bread Tarts on Epicurious. In my never ending quest to use it up, this recipe was perfect. There was leftover ricotta from these Roasted Romas in the fridge. Instead of mini corn muffins, I baked these in a smaller regular size muffin tin.

I liked the tartness of the tomatoes, the smooth richness of the ricotta and the slight sweetness of the corn muffins. These would make a great appetizer for a buffet. Easy to put together and so pretty.

Corn Bread Tarts with Green Zebra Tomatoes
Recipe from Epicurious
1/2 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 Green Zebra or other heirloom tomatoes (10 ounces)—halved, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped basil
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup ricotta cheese, preferably fresh

1.Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter three 12-cup mini-muffin pans. In a medium bowl, whisk the cornmeal with the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the milk with the egg. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients, add the melted butter and stir to combine; don't overmix. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them halfway. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden. Transfer the pans to a rack and let cool for about 10 minutes, then turn the muffins out to cool completely.
2.In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, Parmesan, basil and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, season the ricotta with salt and pepper and mix well.
3.Using a small knife, slice off the domed tops of the muffins. Top the muffins with the ricotta and the tomatoes and serve.

Make Ahead
The cooled corn-bread muffins can be stored in an airtight container overnight.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's and Tuesday's at the Table.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Blueberry Crunch

Blueberries are my favorite berry. Have you ever picked blueberries? When I lived in Kansas City, we would equate Fourth of July with blueberry season. We would go early on a Saturday morning, before the heat of the summer day, and pick buckets of blueberries. The berries were huge. The berries would be covered with the morning dew and taste amazing. Since I moved to Nebraska, I've been in search of a berry farm. There aren't any close by so I have to settle for the ones in the grocery store.

This recipe from Tomatoes on the Vine reminds me of my sister in law's cobbler recipe. You could substitute any fresh fruit for the blueberries. I decreased the sugar to 1/2 cup and just used a sprinkle in the topping.

Blueberry Crunch
Serves 8

1 can crushed pineapple, 20 ounces, do not drain
3 cups fresh blueberries, fresh or frozen
3/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 package yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Butter a 9X13-inch baking dish
Layer 1: Put crushed pineapple on the bottom of the pan
Layer 2: Pour blueberries over the pineapple
Layer 3: Pour dry cake mix over blueberries
Layer 4: Sprinkle 1/4 sugar and chopped pecans on top
Layer 5: Pour melted butter over top
Optional: Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar in between each layer ( if you like it really sweet!)

Bake at 350 degrees approximately 45 minutes
Top with vanilla ice cream or whipped topping

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hello Snickers!

No SMS for me this week. This weeks recipe, Sweet Almond Cake, is presented by the talented and creative Katiecakes.

Instead I am sharing a recipe I found on my blogging friend Gnee's site, Singing With Birds. If you haven't been to her site, check it out. She takes amazing photos and shares the best recipes.

What’s your favorite candy bar? Mine is Twix. My husband’s is Snicker’s. He loves to keep the mini ones in the freezer for a cool summer treat. These cookies had Tim's name written all over it.

This recipe is so fun and easy to put together. My only challenge was unwrapping all of the caramels, which took much longer than I anticipated. Tim said his mom used to put them in the freezer. They would unwrap easier when frozen. A concept I plan to try next time. I had a little trouble getting my caramels to melt smoothly. In turn, I had a few spots in the bars with a piece of hard caramel.

These are delicious! Almost too delicious, I had to put the last piece together like a puzzle in order to have a picture to post!!

Hello Snickers!
Recipe courtesy of Singing With Birds

1 stick butter
1 cup chocolate wafers, crushed
1 cup caramel, melted
1 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
1 cups chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened condensed milk

Melt 1 stick of butter in a square 8x8 pan. Layer over this chocolate wafer crumbs, caramel, peanuts, chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes, (350 for a glass pan). Cool and cut into 16 squares.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sour Cherry Soup

Do you like cold soups? My first experience with cold soup was at a tea room in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I loved the creamy texture. A bowl of cold soup is almost too much to serve with a meal. A small amount, however, is a refreshing treat on a hot summer day!

I had a few leftover cherries. When I told Tim I was making a cold soup, he gave me one of those looks. In the end, he liked it and said he would eat it again. If you're looking to try a cold summer soup, give this one a try. It has a nice, not too sweet flavor with a hint of cinnamon.

Sour Cherry Soup

4 cups sour cherries, with pits
1/4 honey
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 cups water
1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
Blueberries or peach slices for garnish (optional)

Place cherries, sugar, cinnamon and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cherries have softened and relinquished their juices, about 20 minutes.

I am linking this to Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound and Souper Sunday's.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Overnight Baked Oatmeal

Did you like oatmeal as a kid? I didn't but my mother made me eat it. The worst thing was I had to sit there till I ate it. As much as I didn't like it hot, it was really bad when it got cold. Now as a grown up, I like oatmeal. My morning schedule doesn't give me time to make anything but instant oatmeal. When I saw this recipe for Baked Oatmeal over at Finding Joy in My Kitchen, I couldn't wait to give it a try. The best thing is you make it the night before, put it in the fridge and bake in the morning!

Tim and I both loved this oatmeal. I made it on a Monday morning and we enjoyed it for breakfast several days during the week. It kept well in the refrigerator and can also be cut into squares and frozen. If you're a mom on the run or just a two person working family, this recipe is for you. This would also be great made with peaches, raisins or even dried cranberries.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal - Adapted from the Benhase Home
Courtesy of SnoWhite of Finding Joy in My Kitchen

3 C Old Fashioned Oats
1/2 C honey
1 T cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C milk
1 egg
1/2 C applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2 apples, chopped

Start by mixing together the dry ingredients. Then, add in the wet ones.
Lastly, fold in the apples {I used up some frozen apples for this}.
Spread into a 9 x 9 glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, uncover the baking dish. Then, place the cold dish into the oven. After the dish is in the oven, turn the oven on to 350 and bake for 40ish minutes, until the baked oatmeal is no longer runny and it is set and lightly browned.

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

In My Garden

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Roasted Roma Tomatoes

Did you plant tomatoes this summer? We planted a chocolate cherry, a roma and a slicing tomato. All three plants have done well but the roma produced like crazy.

Roma’s make wonderful tomato sauce but aren’t the best slicing tomato. I plan to make sauce and sun dried tomatoes . How could I use them for a side dish? I found this recipe on the ever popular Pioneer Woman Cooks. I may have cooked mine a little long, a couple of them kind of exploded on the baking sheet. Although we love Caprese Salad, these were a nice change.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's and Tuesday's at the Table.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Addition - Mosaic Monday

Today I am sharing the newest addition to our family! My son Justin and his girlfriend Lily, just got a new puppy. Meet Ducky!

I am submitting this to Mosaic Monday at Little Red House.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

No Cream Creamy Broccoli Soup

Summertime isn't really soup time but I had some broccoli that needed to be used before it went bad. Cream based soups are the best but they're also not the best for you. How about a recipe for a creamy broccoli soup that doesn't use cream? This recipe is courtesy of our friends at Kraft. The only change I made to this recipe was to use brown rice instead of white.

I loved this soup. It has a wonderful texture just like a cream based soup. The flavors are delicious and would make a great base for other soups.

No Cream Creamy Broccoli Soup
Adapted from Kraft
1 cup chopped carrots (about 2 medium)
1 cup chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
3/4 cup chopped onions (about 1 medium)
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
3 Tbsp. Oil
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Pepper
4-1/2 cups Broccoli florets (about 2 small bunches)
1/2 cup Instant brown rice, uncooked
3/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook and stir carrots, celery and onions in hot oil in large saucepan on medium-high heat 5 min. Add broth and pepper; stir. Bring to boil.

STIR in broccoli and rice. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 to 15 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.

ADD soup, in batches, to blender or food processor; cover. Blend until pureed. Return soup puree to saucepan. Add milk and cheese; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

This is my entry for today's Souper Sunday's at Kahakai Kitchen!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pink Saturday

Happy Pink Saturday! I am so proud of this plant. You see before, I met Tim I never had much of a green thumb. This is a bougainvillea we bought about four years ago. We kept it outside the first summer and it thrived. Since we live in the cold, snowy midwest and bougainvilleas don't like temperatures below 50, we brought it inside. My living room has a wonderful west facing window. My plant survived the winter and continued to grow. I am not sure why when Spring came around we didn't move the plant outside but we didn't. The rest is history, this became a beautiful houseplant.

What do you use for fertilizer for your house plants? I've been using Epsom Salt. You mix 2 tablespoons with a gallon of water. My plants seem to love it. Especially my bougainvillea, it has more blooms than ever!

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

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Corn and Basil Pesto

What's your favorite way to enjoy fresh corn? I grew up only eating corn ON the cob. As a child, I can't ever remember a dish where the fresh corn was taken off the cob. With corn so plentiful right now, I wanted to try at least a couple of dishes using corn off the cob.

This pasta with corn pesto recipe from Epicurious seemed like a perfect choice. It’s a homemade pasta sauce recipe using fresh corn and basil . The recipe called for bacon, I didn’t have any so I omitted it. Don’t tell Tim!!! The original recipe used tagliatelle, I used penne. In an effort to eat more healthy, I used whole wheat pasta.

I think I liked this better than Tim did. He thought it had too much basil. Now that may have been because he ate the dish we photographed, so it had extra sprinkled on the top.
I also think the whole wheat pasta takes some getting used to and it may not have cooked quite long enough. I loved the sweet flavor of the fresh corn and the creamy consistency it adds to the sauce. If you didn’t know better you would think cream was used in the dish.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday . This is also my entry for this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Siri of Siri's Corner.

One Year Ago...Rosemary Scones.

In My Garden

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Caesar Salad

If Caesar Salad is one of the salad offerings at a restaurant, Tim orders one. Me, I've never been a big fan. A few months ago when I compiled my Top 50, I included Caesar Salad. Since it's Tim's favorite salad, I wanted to know how to make one. Trying to make use of my huge library of cookbooks, I searched them for a recipe. I just didn't find one that seemed like THE one. I found this recipe on Simply Recipes. If you're familiar with Elise's site, you know her recipes are awesome. This is the ONE!! I think maybe the reason I've never been a big fan of Caesar Salad's is because I haven't tried a really good one! If you like Caesar Salad, give this recipe a try, you won't be dissapointed.

Caesar Salad Recipe
Courtesy of Simply Recipes

If you have a concern about the raw eggs called for in this recipe, you can use pasteurized eggs, or you can coddle the eggs first by immersing them in boiling water for 1 minute, before cracking them open. If you don't have anchovies available, add a teaspoon of worcestershire sauce to the dressing.

1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, smashed, then minced
1 baguette, preferably a day old, sliced thin
1/4 cup freshly juiced lemon juice (plus more to taste)
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon anchovy paste, or 1-2 anchovies, smashed and minced
2 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-6 small heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed, patted dry, wilted outer leaves discarded

1 In a very large bowl, whisk together the olive oil and garlic. Let sit for half an hour.
2 While the oil is sitting, make the croutons. Spread the baguette slices out over a baking sheet (may need to do in batches), lined with parchment paper or Silpat. Brush or spray with olive oil (or melted butter, or if you want garlicky croutons, dip pastry brush in the garlic infused oil you have sitting in step 1). Broil for a couple of minutes until the tops are lightly browned. (Note: do not walk away, these can easily go from browned to burnt.) Remove and let cool.
The steps up until this point can be made ahead.
3 Add anchovies and eggs to the oil garlic mixture. Whisk until creamy. Add salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk in half of the Parmesan cheese. Taste, add more lemon juice to taste. The lemon should give an edge to the dressing, but not overwhelm it.
4 Using your hands, tear off chunks of lettuce from the heads of lettuce (do not use a knife to cut). Add to the oil mixture and toss until coated. Add the rest of the Parmesan cheese, toss.
5 Coarsely chop the toasted bread and add (with the crumbs from the chopping) to the salad. Toss. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6 for a main course or up to 8-12 for a side.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bacon, Onion Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Okay because I consider you guys close friends, I will admit it. I don't normally make my own burgers. We buy the frozen already made ground chuck patties at Costco. They're easy and they're delicious. Nothing says summertime like hamburgers on grill, corn on the cob and baked beans. On this particular night, I did make my own burgers. These were delicious. The only thing I will do differently next time is add more stuffing.

Bacon, Onion and Cheese Stuffed Burgers
Adapted from Food Network

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce (recommended: Frank's Red Hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 piece of canadian bacon, diced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
4 burger buns
Lettuce, tomato, pickles for garnish
Preheat grill to medium.

In a bowl combine beef, garlic, hot sauce, salt and pepper, to taste, being careful not to over mix. Form 8 even thin patties, about 1/2-inch thick and set aside. Saute onions in olive oil in skillet until tender, 5 minutes. Place onions and bacon in a bowl with cheese. Form a spoonful of bacon-cheese mixture into a ball, then place in the center of 4 patties. Top each with another patty and seal the edges. Grill burgers over medium-high heat, flipping once until desired doneness is reached, approximately 4 minutes each side for medium. Serve in buns with garnishes. Alternative: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, sear the burgers 4 minutes on each side.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's, Tuesday's at the Table and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's.

One Year Ago...Basil Mojitos.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Torte - SMS

Our friends Karen and Larry are visiting this weekend. When I read this week's SMS recipe, I knew it would be the perfect dessert for Saturday night's dinner. Chocolate and Raspberries...YUM!!

This recipe is fairly simple to prepare. It doesn't have a lot of ingredients or a long preparation time. I had a hard time deciding when my eggs had reached soft peaks. I think I stopped before they had reached that point. As I folded in the first half, they seemed really runny. At that point, I decided to continue. As I combined the eggs with the chocolate mixture, the texture was strange. Almost lumpy but not actually lumps. Did some of my eggs cook when combining with the chocolate? I had one of those "Oh No" momemts where I thought this was going to be a flop. I used a 9" pan, which was too big. My torte was thin with raspberries poking throught. As well I think I should have cooked it for a shorter time. The texture was almost crumbly. Despite the texture and how thin it was, the dessert was delicious. I would have liked it with a small scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Thanks to Jennifer of The Rookie Baker for choosing this week's recipe. You can find the links to take a look at all of the other SMS baker's torte's here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weird Spaghetti

Have you ever had Cincinnati style chili? I first experienced it years ago at Skyline Chili. I loved the flavor. It's a combination of chili and spaghetti with a unique, cinnamon flavor. I've made Cincinnati chili before but it's been years. Recently, while browsing The Food Network site, I found Guy Fieri's recipe for Weird Spaghetti! Weird Spaghetti is Cincinnati style chili.

I am always looking for ways to adapt a recipe for the crock pot. Since I am lucky enough to work close to my house, most days I come home for lunch. I made this sauce at lunch and cooked it on low in the crock pot for the rest of the afternoon. Then all we had to do when we got home was boil the noodles. The night we had this I had yoga class after work and Tim and Michael were going to the baseball game . They boiled the noodles and ate before I got home. I forgot to ask how they liked it until the next morning. They both really liked it but couldn't figure out the spices. If you're looking for a fun and easy meal, give this one a try. Stop back and let me know if your family liked it as much as mine did.

I am linking this to Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum and Presto Pasta Nights.

In My Garden

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rhubarb Cake

I am not a rhubarb fan, so my recipe files don’t contain rhubarb recipes. Tim loves rhubarb, especially rhubarb desserts. On an envelope in his scribbles is his mother’s rhubarb dessert recipe.

I didn’t have cream so I substituted evaporated milk. I remember Tim’s daughter making this a few years ago and thinking it was a little runny, so I didn’t put in two full cups of milk.

Tim says this dessert is a yummy combination of cake and rhubarb. Even with the decreased amount of milk, it was still a little runny. Maybe it’s just supposed to be that way? Since this recipe was scribbled on an envelope, it didn’t have any instructions for storage. I think it keeps longer if you store it in the fridge.

Rhubarb Cake

Yellow Cake Mix
4 cups rhubarb, sliced
1 cup sugar
1 pint of cream or half and half

Mix cake mix as directed on the box. Pour in the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan. Put rhubarb on top of cake mix. Sprinkle sugar over rhubarb. Pour cream over the top. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday's and Tuesday's at the Table.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

And The Winner Is!

As chosen by, the winner of the CSN stores gift certificate is the talented blogger, Chaya of Sweet and Savory!

Thanks to everyone who entered!!