Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flavor of the Month: Pie

Bake at 350

A few months back I came across a blog called Bake at 350. I really enjoy reading this blog and seeing all the awesome cookies Bridget makes. So the beginning of July she decided to start a monthly challenge. Nothing to crazy just a theme each month. This month's theme is Pie.

At first I was exciting about the theme but couldn't think about what to make. So I sent out a small survey to some family/friends. I found out that when asked what you think about when someone says pie, most people think of apple pie (only one person said that pie reminds her of math). Another question was what time of day do you like to eat pie? Most everyone's answer was after a meal. My mom was the only that said any time of the day!! I'm so my mother's child, cause that would have been my answer as well. So at this point I was still thinking about what to make. I figured I would think about if for a day or so and then decide.

A few days later I still was thinking about it and Mike asked if we had anything planned for the weekend of the 18th, I said no. He said that he wanted to go upstate to buy the quad he saw July 4th weekend. After debating back and forth we decided now was the time to buy it. You must be wondering how this plans into this months theme. Well, when we go upstate we stay at our friend's house and everyone brings something for a meal. Mike and I brought breakfast stuff and dessert. I was going to make a pie, but then I decided I wanted to do something different. The usual dessert for upstate are s'mores by the fire. So I went with the camping theme and started to look for campfire desserts. I found something that seem easy enough to do with limited access to equipment. Apple Pie on a stick!

Apple Pie on a Stick
Red or Green apple

Push a stick through a green apple and turn the stick over the coals of a campfire. (as you would when roasting a marshmallow).

When the apple peel starts to loosen carefully peel off skin.

In a bowl mix together cinnamon and sugar then roll your apple around the mixture until evenly coated on all sides. Roast over fire for a few more minutes and let cool.

I had only brought 3 apples with me and it turned out we were 9 people. I didn't think everyone would want one, but felt bad that I didn't bring enough. So after the apples were finished roasting we peeled off the skin and then cut them up before rolling them in the cinnamon sugar. This way everyone could get a taste. Wouldn't you know it did taste like apple pie filling. I would try this again.
Ok, after writing this post up...I feel like I slacked off for this challenge. Especially after my sister sent me a link to someone's blog that did apple pie on a stick. Check out Luxirare's verson of apple on a stick. I might have to try that one day.

Sloppy Joe

I am always looking for a fast and easy thing to make for dinner. Usually at the last minute because I totally forget to think ahead and make something. Also usually at the end of the week when I realize I need to go grocery shopping because I don't have that much left in the house.

I had a few big hero rolls leftover from the weekend and was thinking of a way to use them before the get moldy.

Sloppy Joes II

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
3/4 cup ketchup
3 teaspoons brown sugar
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste

In a medium skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids.

Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, and brown sugar; mix thoroughly. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Review: This one is a keeper and a great new addition to my usual meals. It was fast and easy to prepare. The first step is the same thing I do when I make my chili except you don't put garlic in this recipe. I didn't have enough ketchup at home to make this so I found a way to make a substitute using tomato sauce: 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 sugar, 2 tbsp vinegar and a pinch of cloves. It almost taste like ketchup but WAY too I did not add the brown sugar in the recipe which I think turned out to be the correct thing to do. Next time I make it I will try it with the ketchup and brown sugar but if it doesn't come out as good I know I can go back to the way I made it this time.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Anniversary Brownie Time....KAF Fudge Brownie

I can't believe it has been 9 years since Mike proposed to me. Time really does fly by when you are having fun. This year I decided to keep it simple and just make plain old fudge brownies. So Mike suggested I try the ones from King Arthur. He also thought it was funny that they KAF Guaranteed...he had some joke about it but I blocked it out .
Fudge Brownies
King Arthur Flour

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Review: I don't know what to say but these are really good fudge brownies. Now I know why they are guaranteed to come out great. I would make these again and I don't think anything needs to be changed. When i was reading the reviews on the KAF website it got 4 1/2 stars...and all the most recent have been 5 I wanted to see who gave it anything less. When there was one that was really funny and Mike has been quoting it to everyone. The one I liked was someone complained that it was almost like eating fudge...hello when the title of the recipe has the word fudge in it...i hope they are more like fudge then anything else.

Daring Baker's Challenge: Cookies

The July Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min

Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Review: I was very excited to make these cookies because I have always wanted to make my own marshmallow and finally had a reason to do it. I have to say my dough didn't come out that great and if I ever make these cookies again I would try a different cookie recipe. Maybe make my own graham crackers. Also I didn't do these at the right time of year...very humid and my chocolate never really set up right. I think the next time I would use dark chocolate and my use the candy melts my sister uses for her chocolate creations.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sweet & Sour Pork

The other day I had no idea what to make so of course I did what I used to do when I didn't know what to make...stir fry! I was looking for a recipe on sweet and sour sauce just in case I couldn't find a bottle of it in the store to make the Mama oven ribs. I found a few recipes on but the one I made was the only one I had all the ingredients for.

Sweet & Sour Pork Stir Fry

3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 a package of pepper strips
1/2 a package of frozen broccoli
1 lb of pork loin, cut into strips


  1. Place the sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, ketchup and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened.
  2. Cook the pork in a frying pan, remove and set aside. Put the veggies in the pan and cook until heated through. Add the meat back into the pan and then cover in as much sauce you like. (I used all the sauce because Mike likes things with a lot of sauce). Let it cook for a couple of minutes and serve.
Review: This is a keeper! I really like the flavor but it wasn't what I thought it would be. It sort of reminded me of the flavor Hot & Sour soup has but not spicy hot. Mike liked this better then the caramel pork I make sometimes. I agree with him and would make this recipe instead of that. I have a couple of other Sweet & Sour recipes to try out but this is a good one.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chinese Fried Rice...Mama style

This past weekend Mike and I had another cooking lesson with his Grandmother. It is one of our favorite thing she makes Chinese Fried Rice and of course we just had to get the recipe. Like all of her recipes there really isn't one. She just adds what she feels is the right amount of ingredients to the dish. So it was something worth watching her make to get everything correct.

Mama's Chinese Fried Rice


6 cups cooked rice

3/4 lb bacon, chopped in pieces

2 boneless pork chops, cut into tiny pieces

1 bunch scallions, all the white parts and 1/2 green chopped

5 eggs, beaten

2 cans (15 oz) bean sprouts, drained and rinsed

2 tsp vegetable oil
soy sauce

1) If you don't have leftover rice cook the rice and let cool. Cut up the pork, bacon and scallions and put in bowls.

2) In a large pot heat up a couple of teaspoons of oil. Add the pork chops to the pan and cook for a few minutes until no longer pink. Add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup water to the pot, lower heat and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes until the pork is completely cooked. Remove lid and cook until all the water has evaporated. Remove pork from pan and set aside.

3) Cook bacon in the pot until it is cook to your liking. Add the pork back to the pot and stir. Add the scallions to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the beaten eggs to the pot and stir to combine and cook. Once eggs are cook add the bean sprouts to the pan.

4) Add the cooked rice to the pot a couple of spoonfuls at a time and mix after each addition.

5) Once all the rice has been added, start to put in the soy sauce. Add some soy sauce an stir until the color of the rice is an even brown and the salt level is good.

6) Increase the heat and fry the rice. Stir to mix rice, sauce and ingredients evenly. Cover and lower heat to get it up to an eating temperature. It is now ready to eat.

Review: This is really one of my favorite things that Mama makes and I never realized how easy it was. She usually serves the rice with country style spareribs glazed in a sweet and sour sauce. I found out that she would just buy a sweet and sour sauce at the store, brush it on the ribs and bake them in the easy is that! I really can't wait to make this on my own very soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beef Fajitas

Mike loves everything associated with fire. From grilling to building camp fires. Everyone who knows Mike knows this little fact about him. So years ago for Christmas Mike's brother gave him a book called: How to Grill, The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques by Steven Raichlen. After a weekend of eating hamburgers and hot dogs we felt like something different for dinner, fish. So, we went to our local fish store and saw a nice piece of tuna that caught our eyes. I trying to figure out how to prepare it and then remember a recipe we've made a few times from that book, Basil-Grilled Tuna. If you like basil, garlic and tuna, you'll love this recipe.

But as I was searching for that recipe I was reading other recipes on my way and I came across the recipe for Beef Fajitas. I thought to myself, I'll have to make that recipe one day. I guess since the recipe was fresh on my mind when I went food shopping yesterday I subconsciously went to the meat section looking for the cut of meat I would need to make it. Long story short I made it tonight for dinner and it was really good. Sorry I forgot to take a picture, but take my word for it, they were really good.

Beef Fajitas

1 1/2lbs shirt steaks
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon course salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 limes

Peppers and Onions
Fajita shells

Place steaks in a nonreactive baking dish in a single layer. Combine the chili powder, coriander, salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and black pepper in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle the mixture over the meat, patting it on with your fingertips, on both sides. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze the limes over the meat. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour covered.

My Review: I thought this recipe was really good and easy to make. The recipe also had direction on how to grill veggies to go with the beef. Since I knew I wasn't going to have enough time to make the veggies on the grill, I just cut up some peppers and onions and sauteed them while the beef was marinating. We were hungry so I only marinated the meat for 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes. It still turned out great!! Next time I'm going to try this recipe with chicken.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Anniversary Brownie Time....

Well it is almost that time of year again when I make brownies for our engagement anniversary. I actually almost forgot about it for some odd reason. Then the other day I was thinking about what I wanted to make next and thought about trying out a new brownie recipe...then it hit me. It is that time of year and it is time to think about what to make for the anniversary. I asked Mike want he wanted and he a good help.

A couple of years ago I made a brownie ice cream cake and last year I made a brownie with frosting that I just realized I didn't post about. I think mainly because I didn't enjoy them very much since I suffering from morning sickness.

So any suggestions on what kind of brownie I should make this year? Right now on the list is the recipe I think Jenn and Heidi both made from King Arthur Flour for their Fudge Brownies. I think has around 250 brownie recipes alone...time to start looking.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden Update

We are doing a garden again this year but so far I am a little worried about it. With all the rain we have been having this year it is amazing things aren't water logged. Also we planted later this year then last year and bought our plants instead of starting from seeds. That we due to the arrival of our little sweet William. Next year I think we will go back to starting the plants from seeds.

Bell Pepper

Jalapeno Peppers

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

English Muffin Bread

I can't remember how long ago I received a free 2lb bag of King Arthur Flour which was part of the bake2share program. (Well that flour is long gone and at the rate I have been using flour lately I just got a 10lb bag from my local wholesale club). It came with a print out of three recipes to try out with your flour...English Muffin Toasting Bread, Blueberry Muffins, and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I have been wanting to try making the English Muffin Toasting Bread recipe since I got it and finally got around to doing it this past week. It seemed really straight forward and not too complicated to make. I was even able to do it from being to end during my son's nap time which is usually around 1.5 to 2 hours.

My bread rising in the pan (a shower cap is being used to cover it)
Bread hot out of the oven
Glamour shot outside in the natural light.
English Muffin Toasting Bread
King Arthur Flour


1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.

2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. The liquid will feel very hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would scald you. As a reference point, the hottest water from your kitchen tap is probably around 120°F (unless your tap water is so hot that it burns you).

3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.

4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.

5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.

6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.

7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn't be more than, say, 1/4" over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 20 to 22 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.

Review: This was a very easy bread to make and since there really is no kneading to be done...anyone could make this. I was also super excited when it came clean out of the pan because honestly I never have any luck with that step. I waited for it to completely cool before I took a slice to see what it looked like and to have a little taste of it. I thought it had a really nice and different taste then I thought it would have. It was really delicious lightly toasted with a little bit of butter on it. When it was served with dinner thicker pieces were cut and warmed up. I honestly think this bread is a perfect breakfast bread and would go well with any breakfast meal. I would make it again just because it was super easy and it came out great.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Confetti Corn

I am always looking for a simple and quick side dish to make with dinner. I always feel like it is an after thought and I usually just heat up whatever frozen/canned veggies I have on hand. The other day I was looking in one of my cookbooks and came across a recipe that I thought fit the bill.

Confetti Corn
Barefoot Contessa: back to basics.

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 small orange bell pepper, 1/2" dice
2 tablepoons butter
Kernals from 5 ears of corn (4 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil, minced fresh chives, and/or minced fresh parsley

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Stir in the bell pepper and saute for 2 more minutes.
Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Over medium heat, add the corn, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes, until the corn just loses its starchiness. Season to taste, gently stir in the basil or other green herbs, and serve hot.

Review: Wow is this recipe a keeper...easy, fast and tasted amazing. I didn't do exactly as the recipe is written above but I didn't really change much. I used a yellow onion instead of a red one, and I used a red bell pepper instead of the orange one it calls for. I also didn't add the butter to the pan because I ended up using more oil then I should of. I also am so mad at myself because I have fresh basil and parsley in my garden and I totally forgot to use it. Well this dish was so yummy that I am going to make it again and use the herbs. It could only make it better.

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Quest for BBQ Sauce...

Since the warmer weather has been here we have grilled more often these days. Who doesn't love the taste of something hot off the grill. It just has such a great taste and really feels healthier for you then it should be.

Mike's obsession with the grill is to create his own spice rub to go on our chicken mostly. With the ones that he had made we have had some tasty chicken. I will have to ask where he got the recipe and edit this post with it. At the beginning of this season we ran out of the Brook's House of BBQ Grilling Rub which started this rub quest. You can of course order it online but I think we might need to take a trip to the restaurant soon.

In the recent EveryDay Food magazine I got it had a recipe for Classic Barbeque Sauce which I made. I wasn't completely happy with it because to me it tasted to much like tomato/ketchup like. We ended up adding more vinegar to it but to me it still tasted ok. Mike liked it and I think he would like me to make it again.

I found another recipe for barbecue sauce in the Everyday Food cookbook I have and tried that out last week. I thought it was super yummy and came out great. The only thing that would prevent me from saying this would be my standard bbq sauce is that it is on the sweet side.

Barbecued Chicken
Great Food Fast

1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 cut up chicken (3 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for grill
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper

1) Heat a grill to medium. Simmer the hot sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, garlic, and ketchup in a small saucepan over medium heat until reduced to about 1 1/3 cups, 5 to 7 minutes.

2) In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the vegetable oil season with salt and pepper.

3) Lightly oil the grates ; place the chicken on the grill. Cover the grill, cook turning frequently until the chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. 10 to 15 minutes. Uncover the grill; continue cooking, basting frequently with the sauce, until the chicken is glazed thoroughly, 3 to 4 minutes more. Serve with the remaining sauce.

Next sauce I am going to try is from America's Test kitchen cookbook The Best Recipes. I think I will try it next week so we don't get sick of eating bbq chicken.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Best Cuban Food!!!

You know when people ask you the question what is your favorite food or what could you eat for the rest of your life? I used to always have to think about it for a little bit because I like variety sometimes and sometimes I don't. I usually say whatever my mom/grandmother would make but now I add to that mix what my husband's mom/grandmother make.

My husbands' family is from Cuba and his grandmother makes some of the best Cuban food (well to me THE best) out there. I am a very happy camper whenever we get to have something she makes. I think the one that is on the top of every one's list (after her black beans of course) are her croquettes. Oh do we all get excited when we hear that is what we are having for dinner. It is not something you get every day and we even once went a couple of years without them.

This month Mike's grandmother happens to be visiting my in-laws and I am determined to get her to teach me all the recipes we love. I just thought it was important to learn a little more of my husband's culture and to preserve the recipes we love. So of course I started with the most important of them all...the croquettes!!!

I think it was last Monday my husband was talking to his mom and she asked if I wanted to come over this week to learn the croquettes. Well let me think a I have to wait until tomorrow to come. Needless to say I was super excited to go over there this week for my first Cuban cooking lesson from the master

I am not authorized to give out any details of what goes into the recipe because it is a family secret. Believe me if I was allowed to give it out I would because I took pictures of the whole process from beginning to end. Mostly for myself because Mama doesn't cook using is a little bit of this and what you need to around out that...mixed with years and years of experience. I figured if I took pictures of what we did I would have a reference point to go back too.

The finished croquette mixture before shaping.
We made them on Tuesday and Mama was going to shape them on Wednesday. Tomorrow we are going to go back to cook and eat them. I always knew the reason we don't get this too often is because it is a long processes. After making them with her and I only did one part you realize how much time goes into them. I think this is like one of the traditional some families have where everyone gathers around to make Chinese dumplings or raviolis or something like that.

Croquettes shaped and fried

I wanted to bring something back with us tomorrow to go with our meal so I decided to try my hand at making Cuban Bread. I did some looking around online and found a bunch of recipes. I decided to start with the one that is on the King Arthur Flour website first. Mostly because I have baked a lot of their recipes before and never have problems.

Finished bread cooling off.
Pan Cubano
King Arthur Flour

4 cups (17 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) butter; or 3 tablespoons fresh lard, cut into small pieces
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water

Manual Method: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 hour, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Gently fold the dough in upon itself and turn it upside-down after 30 minutes; this "turn" helps eliminate some of the excess carbon dioxide and redistributes the yeast's food, both imperative for optimum yeast growth.

Mixer Method: Combine the ingredients as directed at left, using a flat beater paddle or beaters, then switch to the dough hook(s) and knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl or dough-rising bucket, cover the bowl or bucket, and allow the dough to rise, with a turn, as directed above.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your machine, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. Examine the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, and adjust its consistency with additional water or flour as needed, to produce a smooth, supple dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Divide the dough into six pieces, and shape each piece into a rough log. Let the logs rest for 15 minutes, covered, then shape each piece into a smooth batard shape (a log about 8 inches long, slightly tapered at each end). Place the loaves on a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet.

Let the loaves rise, covered, for 1 hour. Brush or spray them with water, and slash one long lengthwise slit down the middle of each loaf. Preheat the oven to 375°F while the loaves are rising. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool it on a rack. The loaves may be made one day in advance and stored at room temperature, or several weeks in advance and frozen. Yield: 6 sandwich loaves.

Review: I have to say that this is very good bread and sort of reminds me a little bit of french bread. I made it the way it said to in the recipe to make 6 sandwich loaves but next time I might try to make 3 bigger ones or maybe smaller round ones. This would make excellent bread for Cuban sandwiches which if you click on the link above to King Arthur's website for the recipe has how to make the sandwich there. I can't wait until tomorrow to get the real vote if this is a keeper or not...but for me it is!

Update: Everyone LOVED the bread it came out really yummy. It is definitely a keeper and I just need to perfect the shape of it. The best compliment that I got from Papa was that it would go perfect with his Cafe con Leche.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Recipes on My Refrigerator

For some time now my printer has been out of ink/toner and I have been writing recipes down on paper. I started to use the note pads you can get at the dollar store for this...I also use them for shopping list. I usually would write down the recipe make it and then just stick it on my refrigerator for later use or just to keep out of the way. Well one day I looked at my refrigerator and realized that they were every where. Here is a picture of just one little part of it but it was like this on all side (well except the back).

I also noticed that at first I didn't write the recipe name on the top of the paper. I think I did this mostly because I just thought let me write the recipe down to make now. I find it easier and cleaner (for my computer) if I have a hard copy to look at while I am cooking. I also usually save a link on my computer to the recipe if it is a keeper for future use. Usually when I want to make it I search the refrigerator for that paper again. I now write the recipe names on the top to make this a little bit easier instead of giving up so fast and writing it down again.

So the other day i decided to take them all off the frig and organize them a little bit. There are some that are just not worth keeping around because I won't make again. I am also thinking of just typing them up and putting them into a little cookbook for myself. I have so many recipes I use a lot that would make my life so much more pleasant if they were all in one spot.

The huge pile of my recipes
My pile on the left are the keepers.
New storage area for my recipes.

Until I have the time to sit down and type all these recipes up I am going to keep them next to my toaster oven. The other reason for this is my 3 year old has been stealing them off the refrigerator and trying to color on them. Not that the extra little color would be a problem

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sangria What a Wonderful Drink

One day I was looking at some other food blogs out there and came across a posting on Sangria. With the 4th of July coming it was the perfect time to try and make a new drink instead of the standard stuff. I was also able to get a recipe off of Amazon from one of the Sangria cookbooks out there.

One of the books had three or four recipes but I picked the one that seemed like a simple not fancy recipe. I had this HUGE bottle of wine leftover for some time now and was trying to figure out what to do with it. It actually ended up being more then 1 standard bottle but I just increased everything else accordingly.


1 bottle red wine
1/4 cup Cognac
1/4 cup Cointreau
1/4 cup simple syrup
2 oranges, cut into half wheels
2 lemons, cut into half wheels
2 peaches, cut into chunks

Place all into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but more is best. Serve over ice and enjoy!

Review: OH YUMMMY!!! I put this together the night before and had it in the frig for I would say about 18 hours before I served it. I have one of those big containers with the spout on the front and a freeze thing in the middle of it. I didn't fill it all up but it was enough for the three of us that drank it. I sort of felt like I had to much fruit in there but that is something that is easy to adjust the next time...and yes there will be a next time. I actually forgot to take a picture of it in the thing but I took a picture this morning of what was leftover. Which I will enjoy as a little after dinner snack. I might top it with some lemon/lime type soda to dilute it a little bit and it give it some fizz.

I remember when I was young my mom would make it for the summer parties. I remember because Heidi and I always wanted to eat the fruit that was in the jug. Never realized
why we weren't allowed until I got older of course. Also now that I have a little one who wanted to drink this juice and eat the fruit it has come full circle.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

So, I am a super slacker in the blog department. I guess I can "blame" it on being pregnant, but just haven't had time or energy. At any rate, when I first saw this recipe, I first thought it was going to be like a pecan ring that you buy at a bakery and then realized this was definitely more cake and less pastry. But I wanted to give it a whirl anyhow, as it's nice to have a good coffee cake recipe.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Topping & Middle Layer

1 cup pecans, toasted
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cocoa powder


9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream


1. For the Topping/Middle Layer: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop 1/3 cup pecans; toast in oven on baking sheet for 2 minutes (shake pecans after 1st minute). Process remaining 2/3 cup pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder in food processor until pecans are finely ground, about ten 1-second pulses; set aside.

2. For the Cake: Spray Baker's Joy (with flour) on 10-inch tube (Angel Food) pan. Using a sifter, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl. In standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl twice with rubber spatula. Reduce to medium-low speed and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down beater and sides of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Reduce low speed; add one-third flour mixture, followed by half of sour cream, mixing until just incorporated after each addition, about 10 seconds. Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining sour cream. Scrape bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Remove bowl from mixer and fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.

3. Transfer 1/2 of batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Sprinkle evenly with half of streusel mixture. Spread remaining batter over streusel; sprinkle top of batter with coarsely chopped pecans, pressing gently into batter to adhere. Sprinkle remaining streusel over coarsely chopped pecans.

4. Bake until top is golden and just firm, and long skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert cake onto rimmed baking sheet (cake will be streusel-side down); remove tube pan, place wire rack on top of cake, and reinvert cake streusel-side up. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Cut into pieces and serve.

Review: Hubby and I tried this about an hour after we took it out of the pan. It was just slightly warm and really moist. I was very happy with the way it came out and would definitely make it again. I made a couple of minor adjustments based on what I had in the house. I freeze butter so that I always have it when I'm going to bake (and usually buy it on sale), so I used Land O'Lakes Light Butter and melted it when defrosting in the micro. I also used Breakstone's Light Sour Cream. There was supposed to be 2 extra Tablespoons of sugar, which I missed and think it tasted fine without it, so left it out of the recipe. I had leftover brown sugar with cinnamon and cocoa powder from a KAF recipe I did, so used that and added additional dark brown sugar. I recommend this cake and think there is more you can do with it - like add frozen blueberries in the middle and maybe make more of a crumb topping. Enjoy!


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