Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Muffins - SMS

I am creating a bit of a muffin mix up with my SMS post today. Today's SMS recipe is Goat Cheese, Olive and Thyme Muffins. You can find the recipe over at Hanna's Kitchen. Tim doesn't care for olives and a co-worker of mine gave me quite a few pears. I decided to bake the Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnut Muffins the SMS group baked a few weeks ago. I baked Carmelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins that week. Confused? It's a three for one muffin recipe post!

The muffin recipe in Sweet Melissa's cookbook is the same for savory or sweet muffins. Most of the SMS bakers would agree, this recipe tends to make a dry muffin. To create a more moist muffin, I've started adding a little more milk or cream and 1/2 cup of sour cream. Also, it's very important to watch the baking time.

These weren't as flavorful as the Onion, Sage and Cheddar muffins. They needed something, maybe a little more cayenne? As well, they didn't brown like I would have liked. I ended up turning the broiler on for just a bit to try and get the nice brown color. If you've never made savory muffins before, give them a try. They're perfect with soups or stews.

You can find the links to the creative savory muffins by the other SMS bakers here.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate Honey Madeleines - Chocolate With Francois

With all of the pumpkin, squash and apple recipes on blogsphere, I am ready for a chocolate recipe. How about you? We've been baking along with the book, Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard for a year. It was my turn to choose the recipe for October. Since many of the recipes have been more than a little challenging, I decided to choose one that was easier to put together. This is my second time baking madeleines. The first time was this Sweet Melissa Sunday's recipe. When I first read the SMS recipe, I wasn't sure what to do because I didn't have a madeleine pan. Naturally, I'd passed up at least one or two at Goodwill BEFORE I knew we were baking madeleines. Now I'd like to find one, there's none to be found. A mini muffin tin, although not as pretty, makes a good substitution.

This recipe goes together quickly and most likely uses ingredients you have on hand. This batter was much thicker than the Chestnut Honey Madeleine's. It reminded me of a sponge cake batter. Unfortunately, I overbaked them. Seems like I say that quite often? I was pretty sure I set the timer for 8 minutes, went to hang laundry and came back to the kitchen, time had expired. Did I forget to set the timer? Francois says these are best eaten the day they are made. Seriously, why are all of these recipes better eaten the day they are made? He's right. These have a much different texture, almost tough the next day. I was hoping these would have a nice deep honey flavor. The orange zest, while a delicious flavor, overpowered they honey. These are wonderful served with a cup of tea.

Chocolate-Honey Madeleines
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
Grated zest of 1 or 1 1/2 oranges, to taste
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
Softened butter and flour, for the molds
Combine the eggs, sugars and orange zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for 15 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
While the eggs are in the mixer, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt over a bowl of piece of wax paper.
Combine the butter and honey in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and let the butter melt. Stir so the honey is well combined. Remove the heat and once the egg mixture is ready, stir about one tenth of it into the butter, to lighten the butter.
With a silicone spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture in two or three increments. Fold the butter mixture into the batter until well combined. Cover and refrigerate the batter overnight or for up to 3 days.
Place a rack in the upper and bottom thids of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Brush the tins of two large madeleine molds (my note...or mini muffin tins) with butter and dust with flour. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
With a silicone spatula, gently stir the batter to remove the excess air. Spoon the batter into a pastry bag, or resealable plastic bag, and cut a 1/2 inch opening in the tip or corner of the bag. Pipe the batter almost to the top of each tin.
Bake for about 8 minutes, without opening the oven, and immediately unmold them by tapping the molds against the prepared baking sheet. The madeleines should fall from the tins onto the baking sheet. Serve immediately or cool to room temperature.

You can find the links to the other CWF baker's here! Next up for CWF is Chocolate Coconut Rochers chosen by Joanne at Apple Crumbles . We'd love to have a few more baker's join us for Chocolate With Francois. We bake once a month and post on the last day of the month. Interested? Send me an email!

Happy Halloween (Pink Saturday)!!!

Beverly of How Sweet the Sound, our wonderful host for Pink Saturday opened today's posts up include Halloween!!

Photo by Diann Stelzer.

As you know we live in Nebraska, aka The Good Life. I hope this post doesn't resort in my house being egged or tpeed or worse :). Today is the Missouri/Nebraska football game. Unlike most houses in Nebraska, our house will be cheering on the Missouri Tigers. Neither Tim or I are Nebraska natives and have yet to join the "Big Red" bandwagon. The game today is huge. It will pretty much decide the Big 12 North Champion and is the last time the two teams will meet in Lincoln. Nebraska joins the Big 10 in 2011. You might think since they'll no longer be playing Missouri, we'll become Husker fans? Not so much, Tim's from Minnesota. We'll be routing for those Golden Gopher's next year!

GO TIGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Sage Brown Butter Quick Bread

If you follow my blog you know I planted sage for the first time this year. I've been searching for new and interesting ways to use my sage. I've made this pasta and these muffins. Before this year, I am not sure I've used sage for much except dressing. Thinking of sage and dressing always brings a smile to my face. When I was about ten, I was helping my mom with Thanksgiving dinner. We were making dressing and pumpkin pie. We had the sage and probably the nutmeg out on the counter. Mom told me to put some of that in the pie. I thought that was the sage. I think we were able to scoop out the sage and save the pie.

One of my favorite pumpkin recipes is my mom's pumpkin bread. She used to make it every year about this time. When I saw this Martha Stewart recipe, I decided to break tradition and try it. I love browned butter. I think I am still trying to master the art of getting it just the right shade of brown. Sometimes, it's a little too brown and other times it's not brown enough. Do you have any tips to share with me?

I love this recipe. It reminds me a lot of my mom's recipe. The sage flavor isn't overwhelming. Actually, next time I will add a little more sage. I shared this with my co-workers. I was quick to point out the green flecks in the bread were sage!!

Pumpkin Sage Brown Butter Quick Bread
Recipe Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living

Makes eight 2 1/2-by-4-inch loaves
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
1/4 cup fresh sage, cut into thin strips, plus more, whole, for garnish
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup solid-pack pumpkin (from one 15-ounce can)
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour eight 2 1/2-by-4-inch loaf pans. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sage strips, and cook until butter turns golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and let cool slightly.
2.Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
3.Whisk together pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and browned butter with sage. Add flour mixture, and whisk until incorporated. Divide mixture evenly among 8 pans. Smooth tops gently using an offset spatula.
4.Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until a tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. Invert pans to remove breads, transfer to wire rack, top sides up, and let cool completely. (Breads can be stored, wrapped, at room temperature overnight or refrigerated for up to 5 days.) Garnish with whole sage leaves before serving.

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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

From The Good Life

Have you had your first hard frost this year? The average first frost in Omaha is 9/23. We've been so lucky this fall, we're having our first frost tonight.

The one armed scarecrow! The wind in Nebraska is hard on him!

My oregano and sage. I am hoping if I cover it with straw, it will come back next year.
What's still growing in your yard?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beer Can Chicken

How do you prepare a whole chicken? In the winter, there’s nothing better than the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven. In summer, I don’t want to have the oven on 400 for over an hour to roast a chicken. My kitchen is warm enough in the summer without turning on the oven. Our go to recipe for whole chicken in the summer is Beer Can Chicken. There are so many possibilities, different types of beer, spices or a rub can give the chicken it’s own flair. On this particular night, we used an IPA from a local brewery that we love, Lucky Bucket. We used the cajun rub our friends Rat and Julie from New Orleans sent us for Christmas last year. The flavors were delicious and the chicken was so moist. The secret to a moist chicken is to let it rest before carving!

Beer Can Chicken
1 (4-pound) whole chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons of your favorite dry spice rub
1 can beer
Remove neck and giblets from chicken and discard. Rinse chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and dry rub. Set aside.

Open beer can and take several gulps (make them big gulps so that the can is half full). Place beer can on a solid surface. Grabbing a chicken leg in each hand, plunk the bird cavity over the beer can. Transfer the bird-on-a-can to your grill and place in the center of the grate, balancing the bird on its 2 legs and the can like a tripod.

Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Peanut Brittle - SMS

Knowing we were going to be out of town this weekend, I made this recipe in advance. I always feel good when I have a SMS post ready to go before Sunday. Am I glad I made this in advance? Absolutely, this was one of those problem recipes.

I gathered all of the ingredients in advance, read the recipe a couple of times and began cooking the caramel. I've read about how challenging caramel can be. I was a little nevous about this recipe. I think that was my problem! The recipe is like an animal, it smells my fear. I've made caramel before without any problems. Not so lucky this time. This recipe calls for cooking the sugar and corn syrup on medium high. I wondered if that was too hot but did it anyway. The caramel mixture hadn't been on the stove very long and I noticed it was starting to smoke. Panic! Our smoke detector is wired into our alarm and I didn't want it to go off. I opened the kitchen windows and the backdoor. It started smoking even more. I grabbed the pan and wanted to run to take it outside to the deck. Knowing how my luck was going that particular day, I decided running wasn't a good plan. I walked as quickly as I could and let it smoke away outside. Time to start over but I used all of the corn syrup, so I will be starting over another night.

Never having made peanut brittle before, I didn't really know what to expect. I went to the internet and began reading recipes for peanut brittle. After reading a number of recipes, I decided two things. One, this recipe uses way too high of a temperature to cook the caramel. Second, most of the other recipes used a little water along with the sugar and corn syrup. When I made the second batch, I followed Melissa's recipe except I added 1/4 cup of water and cooked the caramel on medium. This time went much more smoothly, until the final step. One stick of butter is way too much butter. I couldn't get it to incorporate smoothly. As a result, my peanut brittle is a big greasy.

I've never been a big peanut brittle fan. Give me chocolate anything instead. :) I thought this tasted just okay. Tim said it was pretty good. I am anxious to read what the other SMS bakers thought of this recipe.

This week's recipe was chosen by JoVonn of the Givens Chronicles, you can find the recipe on her blog. If you'd like to check out the other SMS baker's peanut brittle, you can find them here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pink Saturday

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! Please be sure to have your annual mammogram!

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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pasta With Ham and Peas

Do you cook with ham? I hardly ever do! I will cook a whole ham, heat up a thick slice for breakfast or make ham and beans from the leftovers from the whole ham. When I received this recipe on the Martha Stewart Everyday Food app on my IPhone, I saved it. There's another place I save my recipes and that’s not the only IPhone food app I have. It’s endless, I’ll never find all my recipes, let alone make them all. It’s different than any other pasta recipe I’ve ever tried but I liked it. I love the flavor the peas give the dish. It's a simple, yet delicious dish!

Pasta With Ham and Peas
1 pound bow-tie pasta (farfalle) (I used penne)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
10 ounces (2 cups) frozen peas
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 pound cooked ham
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
1.Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta; return to pot.
2.Meanwhile, heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add peas and half-and-half; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
3.Cut ham into strips. Add to sauce; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss sauce with pasta. Serve with grated Parmesan.

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From The Good Life

I've lived in the midwest all of my life. I can't remember a fall as beautiful as this one. We've had sunny, temperate weekends. I just want to savor every moment of the amazing weather!! Knowing this past weekend could be one of our last really nice weekends, we tried to be outside as much as possible. Saturday we visited Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha's botanical garden.

Many of the flowers were past their prime but the roses were still beautiful.

"The Garden in the Glen", an area featuring shade plants.

What was your favorite outing this fall?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Butternut Squash and Sausage Bake

Winter squash is so versatile. A couple of weeks ago while camping, we roasted acorn squash in the campfire. So easy, I sliced it in half, added a pat of butter, salt, pepper and a big drizzle of honey to the middle. I wrapped them in three layers of foil and roasted them in the campfire for about an hour. They were so delicious. No pictures, we were eating by the light of a camping lantern.

I've never made a casserole with squash but when I saw this recipe on Serious Eats, I thought it sounded interesting. It takes a while to prepare but is so worth it.

Since it's just the two of us, I decided to make a half recipe. As with many recipes, this one didn't come out quite right cut in half. I made some adjustments along the way. I used 1 large onion. When I make it again, I will use two. I used more Italian Sausage than the recipe called for, about 3/4 pound. My butternut squash wasn't huge, so I ended up using all of it.

The recipe called for a step I've never seen before, simmering the broth with the pulp and seeds from the squash. Interesting? I am sure it's to infuse the flavor of the squash into the broth. Make sure to give this recipe the full baking time. I pulled it out a little early and a few pieces of squash weren't quite done.

One word for this recipe, FANTASTIC!! This would also make a great stuffing.

Butternut Squash and Sausage Casserole
Recipe Courtesy of Serious Eats
1/4 pound Italian sausage
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3 onions, quartered and sliced
5 thyme sprigs
2 teaspoons dried sage
salt and pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2 cubes, (about 6 cups) seeds and scrapings reserved
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup shredded smoked mozzarella
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 slices white sandwich bread, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons melted butter, optional, plus a little extra to prepare baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 9-by-12 inch baking dish.
Remove sausage from its casing and cook in a large skillet over medium heat until just browning, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Remove cooked sausage and refrigerate until ready to use.
Add enough olive oil to the rendered fat in the skillet to equal two tablespoons, and then add the onions, thyme and sage. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen brown bits. When onions are thoroughly soft, remove and set aside.
While the onions cook, simmer the squash seeds and scrapings in the chicken stock for 10 minutes, strain and keep the stock warm over low heat.
Add the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Toss the squash with the flour and arrange in a single layer in the skillet. (If the skillet isn't big enough, you'll need to do this in two batches.) Let the squash brown, undisturbed, for 4 minutes then stir the squash as it cooks for the next 4 minutes. Season liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
To assemble the casserole, layer the onions in the buttered baking dish. Dot the onions with the sausage bits evenly, and then top with the squash. Sprinkle the smoked mozzarella over the top, and the pour the stock into the baking dish. Press the top of the casserole with a spatula to evenly distribute the liquid. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
While the casserole bakes, pulse the bread crumbs with the melted butter (if using) in a food processor until you have coarse bread crumbs.
After 30 minutes, pull the baking dish out of the oven, remove the foil, top casserole evenly with breadcrumbs and bake uncovered an additional 20 to 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the top is nicely browned.

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

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pink Saturday!

October 16th and I still have roses blooming in my garden
Happy Pink Saturday!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Honey Cinnamon Icing - MSC

Do you like snickerdoodles? Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. I was so excited when I saw the September recipe for MSC was Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. YUM!!!!!

I've been baking with the MSC cupcake group for about a year. Many of the cupcakes have been too dry for my tastes. I think at first I was leaving them in the oven too long. Even after I corrected that, I still felt like they were too dry. Sue Woodhouse of Cupcakes Actually was on Living Today on Martha radio a couple of weeks ago. She addressed the subject of cupcakes being too dry. She suggests adding canola oil and buttermilk. I must admit, I adapted this recipe to include those two ingredients. I still think I left them in the oven too long, when will I learn? They're not as dry but still not as moist as I would like.

The Martha recipe calls for the cupcakes to be frosted with Seven Minute Frosting. I wanted to continue with the cinnamon theme. I made Martha's Honey Cinnamon Frosting. It was the perfect compliment to the cinnamon flavor of these cupcakes.

This month's recipe was chosen by the talented Katie of Katiecakes. You can find links to the other MSC bakers here.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From The Good Life

Last weekend, we were blessed with the most amazing weather. It was sunny and in the 80's, unbelievable considering it is mid October. We wanted to soak up every minute of it because just around the corner is winter.

Tim and I packed the Escape and headed to Lake of the Three Fires, just north of Bedford, Iowa. Lake of the Three Fires is a beautiful lake with two nice campgrounds. We're tenters, yes I know hard to believe I sleep in a tent! We found a nice flat spot just up from the shore of the lake. The campground was almost empty, only one other campsite was occupied. Friday night as Tim was photographing the sunset, I spotted three deer just about 50 yards away. We saw them again a couple of times over the weekend. We had a wonderful relaxing weekend and will be looking forward to weekends at Lake of the Three Fires in the Spring!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pasta with Bacon, Brussels Sprouts

I love pasta! I could eat it every night. There are so many combinations and possibilities; I think you could go years without ever preparing the same recipe. I’ve been trying to use more whole grain pasta and make recipes that have vegetables. At least that way it’s sort of good for you. If you’re a brussels sprouts fan, you know they are so good prepared with bacon. I had brussels sprouts that needed to be used up and a couple of slices of leftover bacon, so I decided to see if I could find a recipe to use them up. I wish I was better at just creating a recipe myself!! The flavors in this recipe are so clean and crisp. The sage and the brussels sprouts are delicious together!

Pasta With Brussels Sprouts and Bacon
Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living
6 ounces bacon (about 7 slices), cut into 3/4-inch pieces
Up to 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 large shallots, cut into thin rounds
1 1/4 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (quartered if large)
1 1/4 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
12 ounces rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves, about 20 leaves
1.Heat a dry large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Add enough oil to bacon fat in skillet to total 2 tablespoons. Add garlic, shallots, and sprouts; cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 3 minutes. Add stock; season with salt and pepper. Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed and sprouts are tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid; return pasta to pot.
3.Stir in sprouts mixture, reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid, and cheese. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil; add sage and bacon. Toss until combined. Serve with more cheese.

I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday's and Tuesday's at the Table.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Pink Saturday!

Isn't this a beautiful picture? I wish I could take credit but I was out of pink's in the picture file. I found this one on Wikimedia. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Pink Satuday!
We're camping this weekend. Savoring every moment of this beautiful fall weather! What's your favorite thing about fall?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sesame Honey Grilled Chicken

Finding a way to get a beautifully grilled, yet not too browned chicken can be challenging. Too often the marinade or grilling sauce has an ingredient in it that will burn easily. If you have trouble with this too, give this recipe a try. Not only are the ingredients delicious, it’s a beautiful color when finished grilling.

Recipe courtesy of Red Couch Recipes

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon Asian chili paste
1 to 1-1/2 pounds chicken breasts -- I used chicken thighs
1/2 cup honey
1 -1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1 green onion, trimmed and chopped

In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chili paste. Add chicken and let marinate for 15 minutes stirring often.

Set up a gas or charcoal grill for medium heat (350 to 400; you can hold your hand 5 inch above the cooking grate only 5 to 7 seconds). Put chicken on grill and cover with lid. Cook, turning often, until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine honey and hoisin sauce. Using a pastry brush, generously baste chicken with honey glaze. Cover grill with lid and cook till honey glaze starts to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Turn chicken wings over and baste again, using the remaining honey glaze. Cook 3 minutes more, being careful not to let the glaze burn, removing pieces from the grill as they're done.

Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve any remaining honey glaze on the side.

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

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From The Good Life

When you live in the midwest, you savor every moment of fall and spring. Fall is a welcome break from the hot and humid summers. After our long, cold winters, Spring never comes quick enough.

This past weekend we were blessed with beautiful, sunny 60 degree days. Tim and I took advantage of the weather and went to the zoo. If you've ever been in Omaha, chances are you've been to our zoo. The Henry Doorly Zoo is one of Omaha's most famous attractions.

New to the zoo this year is Expedition Madagascar. The exhibit houses a number of critically endangered species, due to habitat loss and hunting.

Next to the zoo is another famous Omaha attraction, Rosenblatt Stadium. The stadium is scheduled to be demolished this year. Rosenblatt has been an Omaha icon since the 50's. Although I didn't grow up in Omaha, I have fond memories of Rosenblatt. My son Justin and I made a summer trip to Omaha when he was little. Rosenblatt has been the home of the Omaha Royals and The College World Series. The CWS will have a new stadium in 2011, TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha. The Omaha Royals will have a new stadium in the southern part of Omaha in 2011. The team and stadium name are yet to be determined. I know Rosenblatt is old and the NCAA requested a new stadium for the CWS but it will be a sad day in Omaha when the wrecking ball flattens Rosenblatt.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beef Burgundy

When you find a recipe you like, what do you do with it? Do you bookmark it, print it or use some sort of recipe software to file it? When I first started blogging, I printed the recipes. I’d file them in my accordion files of recipes. That’s really not a good solution. I end up riffling through the folder to find the recipes plus I don’t like printing anymore than I absolutely have to. So I started bookmarking them. The problem with this was, I couldn’t find a anything. Where were the desserts, the main dishes, the salads? They were all mixed together. After feeling so overwhelmed with all of the recipes, I created folders for each category. I bookmark them and file them by category. It’s a pretty good solution. My accordion file is still filled with all of those recipes I printed before I started this process, not to mention the years of clipped and saved recipes. A few months ago I bought a scanner that will scan larger pages, up to 8 ½". My plan is to scan and file the recipes in my computer. My husband just reminded me, I’ve scanned nothing so far. I keep telling him it’s my winter project. Will you guys remind me in December? Thanks!

This recipe is one of the oldest from my bookmarked file. Not sure where I found it or when I saved it. I think it was before I started blogging. This recipe is perfect for fall or better yet a cold winter day. I asked Tim how this recipe compares with my other stew recipes. This recipe is his second favorite. His favorite is this one and his least favorite is this one. I like them all. The Beef Burgundy is a richer, fancier stew. The other two are more traditional, like those mom made.

Beef Burgundy
Cooks Country

Make sure to use the low setting on your slow cooker; the stew will burn on the high setting. Serve with boiled potatoes (the traditional accompaniment), mashed potatoes, or buttered egg noodles.

Serves 6 to 8 8 ounces bacon , chopped
4 pounds beef stew meat (preferably chuck)
1 large onion , chopped fine
2 carrots , peeled and chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 1/2 cups Pinot Noir
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Minute Tapioca
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

1. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and refrigerate. Pour half of bacon fat into small bowl; set skillet with remaining bacon fat aside.

2. Dry beef thoroughly with paper towels. Season beef with salt and pepper; place half of beef in slow cooker insert. Heat skillet containing remaining bacon fat over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook remaining beef in single layer until deep brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer browned beef to slow cooker insert.

3. Add reserved bacon fat to now-empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and stir until beginning to brown, about 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to slow cooker insert.

4. Return now-empty skillet to high heat and add 1 1/2 cups wine, chicken broth, and soy sauce. Simmer, scraping up brown bits, until pan bottom is clean, about 1 minute. Transfer wine mixture to slow cooker insert.

5. Stir bay leaves and tapioca into slow cooker insert. Set slow cooker on low, cover, and cook until meat is fork-tender, about 9 hours.

6. When ready to serve, discard bay leaves and stir in reserved bacon. Bring remaining 1 cup wine to boil in large skillet over high heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir reduced wine and parsley into stew and adjust seasonings. Serve.

The final touch, in addition to the rich flavor of the wine, many people consider a garnish of sautéed onions and mushrooms one of the hallmarks of a great beef Burgundy. We think this little bit of last-minute kitchen work is worth the effort.

Instructions for the Garnish: Before reducing wine in step 6, bring 2 cups frozen pearl onions, 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 cup water to boil in large skillet over high heat. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to high, and cook until liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Add 10 ounces white mushrooms, quartered, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are browned and glazed, about 5 minutes. Stir onions and mushrooms into stew and proceed to reduce wine in now-empty skillet as directed in step 6.

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

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars

This week's SMS recipe is Coconut Pecan Frosting on the cake of your choice. We're not big on coconut, so I am posting this delicious recipe instead. SMS is being hosted by one of my blogging friends, Eliana of A Chica Bakes. Stop by her blog, I am sure her creation is amazing.

Have you met my blogging pal, Gnee of Singing With Birds? If you haven't, stop by her place and introduce yourself. Gnee shares the best recipes and takes amazing photographs.

What are your favorite desserts? For me it's anything chocolate, cheesecake and creme brulee. I am not a fan of fruit desserts. Why is that? I think it's because as my father said last weekend, I was raised on donuts and ice cream. When I saw Gnee's Creme Brulee Cheesecake bars, I knew I would be making them soon!

If you're watching what you eat, close this post now!! I can't even imagine the number of calories and fat grams in these bars. I'm sure that's why they are so decadent. It's a good thing I shared these with friends and co workers. Otherwise, I'd have eaten way too many.

Crème Brûlée Cheesecake Bars from Betty Crocker
Recipe Courtesy of Singing With Birds

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) French vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup toffee bits, finely crushed

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, melted butter, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 whole egg until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of pan.
2. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining whole egg, 3 egg yolks and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla; beat until smooth. Spread over crust in pan.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set in center. Immediately sprinkle top with crushed toffee bits. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 3 hours or until chilled. For bars, cut into 9 rows by 4 rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Makes 36 bars

Saturday, October 2, 2010