Thursday, April 29, 2010

Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake

Adapted from: Cutting Edge of Ordinary and Recipe Girl

I used whole wheat penne, which comes in a smaller box, but it didn't matter. Also, I used a variety of cheeses to use up odds and ends. The recipe below is what the original recipes called for - provolone, parmesan and cheddar. The originals said that the provolone was key, but I didn't have any, and I thought it still tasted good, but who knows - maybe it would be better with provolone.

1 pound of penne (or other pasta of your choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, thinly chopped
1 cup frozen peas OR 2 ½ cups broccoli florets
2 cups diced ham
8oz provolone cheese, sliced/diced
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (plus a little more for topping)

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heaping flour
3 cups milk
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
cayenne pepper

Oven to 350. Grease a shallow baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. While the pasta is cooking heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and cook the onions until they become tender. Add in the peas or broccoli florets, cover and let steam until slightly tender.

In a saucepan melt the butter and then add the flour. Cook for a minute and then pour in 2 cups of milk whisking out any lumps. Bring to a boil and add the remaining cup of milk. Whisk in the mustard and salt and simmer for a few more minutes. Finish the sauce with cayenne pepper (if using) and the grated cheese. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Stir in the onions, peas or broccoli, ham, and cheeses. Pour into the baking dish and sprinkle with a little more cheddar (if you want). Cover with aluminum foil. Bake 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges and the center is hot (about 10 minutes more). Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Compost Cookie Bars

Adapted from Momofuku's Milk Bar.

I first made these about a month ago and they were so good I made them again. And again and shipped them to my in-laws. And again at my friend's house. Honestly, I don't even remember where I came across them but the idea of a compost cookie just seemed too cool to pass by. The best part is that you can use whatever is on hand in your baking cabinet and you are guaranteed to have an excellent cookie bar. I am listing the ingredients that I think are best but the main thing is to use 1 1/2 cups sweet stuff and 1 1/2 cups salty stuff. Personally, I favor a mix of coconut, butterscotch chips, semi-sweet choc chips, Kashi Go Lean, honey roasted peanuts, pretzels, corn flake crumbs (or chips--something rippled not flat) and almonds.

1 C brown sugar, packed
2/3 C sugar
1 Tbs light corn syrup
1 C butter, unsalted, at room temp (2 sticks)
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 Tbs used coffee grounds, dried (can use unbrewed grounds as well) *can use instant coffee granules or espresso granules
1 ½ C sweet mix ins
Recommended: semi-sweet choc chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, peanut butter chips, chopped up candy bar bits, choc-covered raisins, unsalted nuts (slivered almonds are good), cereal (I used some Kashi), left over holiday candy is great!

1 ½ C salty mix ins
Recommended: pretzels, potato chips, salted nuts (honey roasted peanuts are especially good), saltines, Ritz crackers. Avoid strongly flavored items such as Doritos or flavored potato chips as they may lend an off flavor to the cookies. Note: you want to smash up the salty goodies but not to the point where it becomes dust. Avoid using a food processor for this reason.

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream together sugars, butter and syrup until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended (mixture will look curdled in the beginning). In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined—do not overmix. Scrape down bowl to make sure everything is well combined.

Add sweet mix ins of your choice and stir to incorporate. Add in salty mix ins and stir to incorporate. Set aside. Butter a 9x13 baking pan or dish and line with parchment. Leave enough parchment to hang over the sides such that you create a sling for the bars. It will help later when you want to pull them out to cool on a cooling rack. Scoop out cookie mixture and spread in an even layer in the pan. Using your hand is the best way to do this. I spray my fingers with a bit of cooking spray to keep everything from sticking. Immediately put pan in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow bars to cool for 15 minutes in the pan and then pull sling out and place on a cooling rack until fully cooled. Return bars to baking pan and refrigerate until well chilled. Once chilled, cut bars into desired size. Store in an air-tight container. No need to refrigerate besides, they won't last that long.

*if you want to make these as cookies, you MUST refrigerate the dough for at least 5 hours before baking! Method is the same but cook time will be 9-11 minutes and a 400 degree oven. Exact time will depend on the size of cookies.

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Mom's Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I called my mom to get this recipe last Tuesday night at 9:30pm. I wanted to make it for a party at work the next day but couldn't find her recipe in any of my books or binders. For me, there is no other carrot cake recipe. I'm leaving my mom's commentary in because, as it turns out, it is critical to the outcome...especially draining the pineapple. Last week's cake was the first time I thought my cake finally came out like hers. Drain the pineapple, people.

• 2 C flour
• 2 tsp BP
• 1 ½ tsp soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 tsp cinnamon
• 2 C sugar
• 1 ½ C oil
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten
• 2 C grated carrots (“I always overfill that by a bit”)
• 1 8.5 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, drained (“Make sure you completely drain it…and save the juice; you can use it to make salad dressing.” I used a mesh strainer over a bowl and left it for about 30 minutes and still needed to push on it a bit with the back of a spoon.)
• ½ C walnuts, chopped ("I go a little heavy on that too.")

Sift flour.
Add BP, soda, salt & cinnamon.
Blend in sugar, oil and beaten eggs. (I did this in a separate bowl and then poured the dry ingredients back in. Now that I look at the recipe again, I wonder why I thought that was what she said. Whatever. I'm sticking to it, and from now on, I'm swearing that's how my mom said to do it.)
Mix well. (dry into wet)
Fold in pineapple carrots & nuts.
Pour into Pam-ed tube or bundt pan.
Bake at 350 for 1 hr or until cake tests done.
Cool completely before frosting.

• 1 8oz pkg cream cheese
• 1 tsp vanilla
• ¼ C butter, softened
• 2 C confectioners sugar

Cream together cc, butter & vanilla.
Add sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.

Arugula Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower

I think pesto is magically delicious. I posted a marjoram-parsley pesto recipe here not long ago and now I'm posting an arugula pesto recipe inspired by Of course, basil pesto is where the obsession started back in my 120 South Park kitchen in 2000.
For the pesto recipe, I took the fat down a notch this time and let the leaves and water do a lot of the work. The roasted cauliflower just sounded like a nice way to make it a more hearty dinner than a bowl of pasta. They worked well together.

Roasted Cauliflower

Preheat oven to 400


One head of cauliflower
olive oil

Wash head of cauliflower and pull apart lovingly into florets of varying sizes. (Cutting makes too much of a mess, pulling apart leaves you with nice big pieces)
Arrange on a baking sheet
Brush each floret with olive oil and sprinkle with S&P
Roast for about 25 minutes (I turned it up to 425 for the last 5 or so minutes)

Arugula Pesto Recipe


4 cups of packed arugula leaves, (I used baby arugula that was on sale. I washed the leaves and left them pretty wet.)
1/2 cup of walnuts
4 Tablespoon fresh Parmesan cheese
scant 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of chopped garlic

1 lb pasta shapes that have lots of grooves


Food processor method (the fast way): Combine the arugula, walnuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese and olive oil into a food processor. Pulse until texture is what you want.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.

Combine in a cool bowl or pot.

Makes enough pesto sauce for an ample serving of pasta for four people.

Sourdough No Knead Bread

This is a bit of a cheater post since I'm really just going to post the links, but I highly recommend that 1.) you visit the Breadtopia website and 2.) you make this bread.

But first, you need to make a starter if you don't already have one. Fool-proof directions can be found here. Pineapple juice seems unorthodox but if you read the instructions and watch the videos he provides, it makes it very easy to do. I didn't buy juice, I just opened a couple of 8oz cans of cut pineapple, put the juice in the starter and ate the fruit later.

Once your starter is mature, you are ready to make no knead bread. I adapted slightly and used 2.5 cups WW flour and just 1 cup bread flour. Plus vital wheat gluten. More on that below.

I made a whole wheat starter and my bread was also WW. I think if you are going to do a lot of WW baking, you need to get yourself some vital wheat gluten to help things along. I use Bob's Redmill and use about a Tbs per cup of WW flour. It works great. The other thing is that WW often needs just a smidge more liquid (I do mean smidge) when baking bread so be sure to watch your hydration.

Anyway, I think this is a great way to make homemade bread, especially sourdough. It requires little intervention until the last few hours before you bake it. Gwen, this is where a dutch oven really comes in handy. And for very little work, you get tangy flavor, a crisp exterior and a chewy, holey interior that is just downright tasty.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fragrant thai chicken and noodles

I thought this recipe was missing something, but I will go ahead and write it as I made it, because it was still good. Next time, however, I'd add some fish sauce (for salt) and some lime juice for a little bit of sour.
And, I left out all the chiles to accomodate Gaby and Katie, but added siracha (sp?) to my bowl. You could add some chiles while cooking or on top.

adapted from Jamie Oliver (have you guys been reading/watching about his Food Revolution? Interesting stuff, definitely fits in with my goal of wanting Gaby to eat better)

4 c. chicken stock (homemade if you've got it)
2 chicken breasts, sliced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 large piece of galangal (Thai ginger) or ginger -- julienned
rice vermicelli noodles (a handful, I didn't measure)
spinach (again, didn't measure)
snow peas (again with the not measuring)
Thai basil, chiles, cilantro to serve on top

Put the stock, shallots and ginger or galangal in the pot, bring to boil. Add chicken, cook for 8 minutes or until chicken is almost cooked through.
Add noodles, cook another two or three minutes (according to package). Add spinach and snow peas and cook until spinach wilts.

Mushroom bhaji

Oh you guys, this is so good. And really quick to throw together.

adapted from Serious Eats

Mushroom Bhaji (Mushrooms in Tomato-Onion Sauce)

16 white button mushrooms, stems remove and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon minced green onions or chives
Cooked basmati rice

Pour the oil into a pot set over medium heat. Toss in the onion and cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, stir well, and cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, coriander, and chile powder, stir well, and cook for 1 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, tomato paste, and the water. Stir until the paste is evenly distributed, then cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir halfway through. The dish should be stew-like. If it is not thick enough, or the mushrooms aren't yet tender, remove the lid and cook for a few more minutes.
Serve with white rice and sprinkling of the green onions.

Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew

Adapted from the latest issue of Cooking Light.

Note: this recipe calls for Berbere spice mix. This is the recipe I used. I used all dried spices and had everything on hand except fenugreek seeds. I don't even know what those are. Also, if you are using whole spices, i.e. cumin seed, toast first, then grind. I don't have a dedicated spice grinder and use a marble mortar and pestle instead.

1 T canola oil
2 C red onion, medium dice
2 medium-ish squashes (I used yellow summer squash and a zuke), medium dice
1 T ginger, minced or grated (fresh, please)
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 T tomato paste
1 1/2 - 2 T Berbere spice mix
4 C veg broth (usually one whole container)
1 1/4 C red lentils, rinsed and drained
1/2 t salt
1/4 cilantro (I omitted since I was out)
4 C hot cooked rice of your choice (I recommend this method for brown rice)

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and squash and cook until tender, about 15 min. Add ginger and garlic and cook 5 min, stirring constantly. Add tomato paste and spice mix, whisking until blended. Cook one minute then slowly add broth, whisking constantly. Increase heat to med-high and bring to a simmer

Add lentils and simmer partially covered for about 25 min or until lentils are tender. Red lentils cook faster than brown lentils so keep an eye out. And you can cook them until they are just a bit underdone if you prefer them that way. Stir occasionally until done. Stir in salt and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over rice. Yields about 5-6 servings. Makes tasty leftovers.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Ina's Outrageous Brownies

OMG. Seriously, these are some outrageous brownies. They are delicious. For the nut hater/allergy people, you can omit the walnuts but otherwise keep them in because they are great here. The brownies are a little bit fudgy and a little bit cake-y and a whole lot of fantastic. I made these to send as thank you gifts to some people who have been helping me with my job search and I have no doubt they will love them as much as I did. The original recipe make a ton of brownies so I halved it and still made a 9x13 pan. I used a pyrex dish with a curved bottom so that meant that the sides I trimmed off were chef's treat. For the record, I did share with Michael. Mmmmm....

Keep in mind that this recipe is from Ina so you already know that it is neither low in fat, nor low in sugar. Sometimes with her recipes I cut back on the sugar but here I wouldn't change a thing. They are perfect as is.

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 extra-large eggs or 4 large eggs
1.5 Tbs instant coffee granules (or use leftover coffee grounds but only if your grounds are pretty fine--I wouldn't recommend doing this with F0lgers)
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1 heaping cup sugar
1 heaping cup AP flour
1/2 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups chopped walnuts (toasted in a 350 oven for 5-8 minutes. Don't skip this step. Really.)

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking pan and lay a sheet of parchment inside. Spray any exposed parts of the baking pan (parchment doesn't need the spray). Using clothes pins to hold the parchment in place is really helpful. Set aside.

Melt together the butter, 8 oz of chocolate chips (about 1 C) and the unsweetened chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high in 60 second intervals until butter is melted. Stir together until chocolate is melted and the contents are smooth; set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and remaining 4 oz of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Do not skip this step or your chips and walnuts will sink to the bottom. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, check using a toothpick and return to oven if need be until toothpick comes out clean. Time depends on your oven and the pan you use. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Mustard-Tarragon Sauce

This is super easy and tasty. The first night we made this, we followed the recipe. The second night, we added some tomatoes and crumbled gorgonzola to the salad. Even better.

Source: Cooking Light

A tangy sauce enlivens simple grilled chicken breasts; a hint of sugar balances the flavors.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 breast half, 1 cup greens, and about 2 tablespoons sauce)

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (we used 1 lb. chicken tenderloins)
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons minced shallots
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 cups gourmet salad greens (we used baby romaine)

1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place chicken in pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done.

2. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, shallots, and next 6 ingredients (through sugar) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Serve chicken over greens with sauce.

crockpot beans of consummate laziness

Lots of bits of random food in the house, such as one ancient tomato and 42 limes, but no time to cook? You're in luck!

2 cans of beans (I used pinto and black; anything would work)
random chopped stuff (I used 2 onions, some small bell peppers, the sad tomato, leftover garlic, leftover jalepeno, a handful of parsley)
some kind of liquid, such as water

Throw random chopped stuff into the bottom of the slow cooker, without sauteing first. (I believe most slow-cooker recipes want you to do this to take away the "bite" of the onion and peppers and garlic, but this tastes exactly the same to me.)

Pour beans on top, without draining. (I know it is healthier to rinse the extra salt and whatever off first; however, this would have taken an extra 4 seconds and dirtied another kitchen implement. If you want to do it, fine, but I will question your commitment to true sloth.)

Pour a little bit of liquid over the top, probably about 1/4 c -- just enough that you're pretty sure nothing will burn. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and/or lime juice, if you have it.

Set crockpot on low and walk away for the rest of the day, or a couple hours, or whatever.

Eat on tortillas or rice and revel in the fruits of your laziness.

the Food Goodness-est meal

I would like the world to know that I cooked dinner for eight the other night using only recipes that we've posted on Food Goodness -- jiaozi, soba noodle salad, cream cheese pound cake with strawberries -- and it made me (and, I daresay, the people who inhaled all the food) very pleased. It made me feel safer taking a risk to cook a big meal like that with two new-to-me recipes when I knew they'd been pre-approved by two of you. Woo!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Yellow rice

Again with the trying to get away from pre-packaged products.
Cobbled together from a bunch of different recipes.

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 small white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste
1tsp. saffron threads
½ tsp. turmeric
1 cup extra-long-grain white rice

In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, and long grain rice. Stir the rice mixture about 2-3 minutes
After toasting the rice mixture, add the chicken broth, salt, saffron and turmeric to the pan. Bring the temperature to medium high heat to bring it to a boil.
Once the mixture is to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce to a medium simmer and let cook for about 20 minutes. Do not stir.
During the last couple of minutes of cooking, take off the lid and let the additional liquid evaporate from the rice. Remove from the heat and set aside for a couple of minutes and then serve.

Cioppino, sort of

I wanted fish stew last weekend, so I could play with a lot of the different seafoods I see at our Asian market.
Unfortunately, this is the East Coast, and it's sometimes hard to get the ingredients that go into traditional cioppino. So, I improvised.

If you want the original/traditional recipe, go to Simply Recipes.


3 pounds firm white fish -- I used rockfish, which was caught wild -- cut into inch-long cubes
1 package imitation crab meat (this was for Gaby, and also because they didn't have a Dungeness crab in the store)
1 pound (or more) of large shrimp
2 pounds (or more) little neck clams and mussels

1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (1 large onion)
1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 large green bell pepper)
3 coves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can tomatoes
Broth from the mollusks
2 cups red wine
2 cups V-8 (the original recipe calls for tomato juice)
2 cups fish or shellfish stock (You can buy this in the store. Or make your own. I've got a bunch in the freezer)
An herb bouquet of bay leaf, parsley, and basil secured with kitchen string

Steam mollusks in a small amount of water (about a cup) until they just open. Set aside. Strain and reserve the cooking broth.
Shell the shrimps and devein them.
In a deep 8-quart covered pot, sauté onions and green pepper on medium heat in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic, sauté 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, broth from the mollusks, red wine, tomato juice, fish or shellfish stock, the herb bouquet, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Remove herb bouquet. Taste and correct seasoning.
Add the fish and cook, covered, until the fish is just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the steamed mollusks, crabmeat, and shrimp. Heat just until shrimp are cooked (just 2-3 minutes, until they are bright pink). Do not overcook.
Serve with crusty bread.

Taco seasoning

In my ever-growing quest to use as few processed ingredients as possible, I set out to look for a taco seasoning mix.
This one is really good, and I'm using it today in the Mexican chicken in my slow cooker.

adapted from Annie's Eats

4 tbsp. chili powder
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. paprika
3 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. chipotle chili powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well to blend. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
To prepare taco meat, use 2 heaping tablespoons in place of a package of taco seasoning (cook approximately 1 lb. of beef or chicken, add 1 cup of water with the seasoning, and simmer until the liquid is almost completely gone.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cottage Cheese Cornbread

From: Closet Cooking

Ok, I have some comments/suggestions for this recipe. I will definitely make this recipe again, which is why I am posting it here, but I would make some adjustments to improve the flavor. The texture was great - very moist and fluffy, but the flavor was a little bland. I think you could adjust this by increasing the salt a bit, maybe adding some black pepper or jalapeno, try honey instead of sugar, maybe stirring some cheddar cheese into the batter or sprinkling on top, try using full-fat ingredients instead of the FF cottage cheese I used, etc, etc. I used canola oil in the batter, but perhaps melted butter would help improve the flavor instead of the neutral taste of the canola. Overall, not a bad recipe, but you'll want to tweak the flavor a bit. I have included the recipe below as it was written, without the tweaks, because this is the way I tried it and this way you can make the adaptations you want.

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cottage cheese (I used fat free and it was fine)
1/4 cup oil (or butter or bacon grease, etc.)
1 cup corn (optional)

1. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
2. Mix the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, cottage cheese and oil in another bowl.
3. Mix the dry ingredients in to the wet ingredients.
4. Stir in the corn.
5. Pour into a greased 8 inch square baking pan.
6. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until a toothpick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Honey Roasted Peanut Cookie Brittle

Adapted slightly from Piece of Cake. Yes, Gwen, you can probably substitute margarine for the butter but why? If you must, might I recommend Earth Balance? Love that stuff. I use it on the table instead of butter but I cook and bake with butter. Anyway, you came here for the recipe and not the product plug, right?

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (TJs sells bourbon vanilla extract that is great here)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 C honey roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter for about 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. You can use a hand mixer for this. Honestly, I don't even bother to get out my kitchen aid for something this easy. Add salt and vanilla and mix until combined. On low speed, mix batter while you incrementally add flour. Watch out for a flour snow storm; keeping your mixer on low will help. Once flour is thoroughly incorporated, add one half of the peanuts and stir until just mixed.

Shauna recommends a 15.5 x 10.5 pan but I don't have one so I just used my largest sheet pan and didn't spread the dough to all 4 corners. Press dough into an even layer and then sprinkle on remaining peanuts. Press in with your hands or a measuring cup. Bake for 20-25 min and rotate pan halfway through baking. Really watch the cookies after you rotate b/c my oven seems to be running hot these days and burnt the edges (oops). You want these cookies to be lightly browned but even medium brown still tastes mighty good. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting into squares with a knife or pizza cutter. Or you can allow to cool completely and then break them up by hand like you would with peanut brittle. When cool these will have a brittle-y consistency and they taste so good. You could sub regular peanuts or another kind of nut if you wish. I think peanuts are perfect, tho. Store in an airtight container if they last that long.

Pioneer Woman's best ever chocolate sheet cake

I have a bunch of buttermilk leftover from the cake I made last weekend (which is gone, sigh) and I hate to waste buttermilk. I threw out the question to my Facebook friends, and two of them recommended this cake.
So I gave it a shot. It really is a very good chocolate sheet cake, and so, so easy to make. Yum. Also, not low-cal by any means. Almost 4 sticks of butter in this cake. I'm trying not to think about that.
(I've still got buttermilk left. I'm currently weighing my options on what to do with the rest of it.)

adapted slightly from Pioneer Woman (obviously)

2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
¼ teaspoons Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Unsalted Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
½ cups Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

1 stick Butter, plus 6 Tbsp.
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
6 Tablespoons Milk (3 oz, if you don't want to measure out each tablespoon)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
About 3 cups Powdered Sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. (Note here: I don't have a sheet pan. I intended to use a 9x13 pan, but then found a baking pan that was larger than that. I don't know how big, but I used it and it came out fine. If you use a 9x13 pan, you'll have to increase baking time.)
While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Pour over warm cake.
Cut into squares and eat.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asian Rice Salad

From: my mom's friend Diane

Diane always brings this rice dish to pot-luck events, and now people request it every time so she couldn't do something different if she wanted to.

1 can chicken broth
1 cup rice
1/2 c. vegetable oil (I would try a little less)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 c. chicken, pork or tuna, cooked and chopped or shredded
1/4 lb bean sprouts (or 1 can)
1/4 lb mushrooms (or 1 can)
1 jar pimientos, optional

Add enough water to chicken broth to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Cook rice in broth according to directions. Combine oil, soy sauce, salt and mix together well. Stir into hot rice. Cover and chill. Stir in remaining ingredients before serving.

(I think if you're using fresh mushrooms you would probably want to saute them quickly before adding.)

Black Eyed Pea Dip

From: my former supervisor Claire

Claire brought this to an office pot-luck event, and it was gobbled up. It's super quick to throw together and a crowd-pleaser.

1 can black eyed peas, drained
1 can shoepeg corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 large can diced tomatoes, drained
2 bunches scallions, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped
1 bottle Garlic Expressions (you won't use the whole bottle)

Mix all ingredients well. Add as much Garlic Expressions as you want. You can remove the garlic cloves from the bottle, chop, and add to the mix. Serve with tortilla chips (the Scoops type works well).

* Look for Garlic Expressions in the produce, bakery or dressing sections. It can be used as a bread dipping sauce, salad dressing, or marinade.

Picante chicken

Another recipe without measurements. Consider it more of a suggestion, if you will.
My dad made this for dinner one night when we were in Florida, and both the girls inhaled it. Anything that gets that sort of response is worth a repeat in my opinion. Especially when it's this easy.

One large jar picante sauce (I suppose you could make your own. Pioneer Woman has a recipe I haven't had a chance to try yet)
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (you could use breasts, if you prefer)

Marinate the chicken in the picante sauce overnight. (I used about half a jar for the marinade)
When it's time to cook, pour the marinade and chicken into a skillet over medium heat. Add more picante if desired.
Cook until chicken is done.

We'll be having this tonight with homemade yellow rice (recipe will be posted if it's any good) and some leftover asparagus from earlier this week. You could also cut it into pieces and eat on tortillas.

Greek Lamb Kofta

This is part of my ongoing plan to repurpose leftovers into a different meal, so as not to throw anything away.
Better on the food budget, better on the environment (or so I tell myself) to not be throwing food away. And a good lesson to the kids on being resourceful, and not wasteful.
Anyway. We had a roasted leg of lamb on Sunday for our belated Easter dinner. Not my first pick, but my Gran insists. And I had all this leftover lamb. I wasn't in the mood for lamb stew or lamb shepherd's pie, so I went looking.
We had this with some hummus, tzatziki, pita (store-bought), and a tomato/cucumber salad.

This recipe doesn't use measurements, because I didn't use them. But if you like, the original recipe does use measurements.

Some leftover lamb. I cut up all the lamb off the bones and threw it in the food processor. I pulsed the lamb, to get it to a ground meat consistency. And then I added one egg (to bind it) and some ground coriander until it smelled good. And a little sea salt. I pulsed it again, to get it all mixed up.
(Note here: depending on how much lamb you've got, you may need more than one egg. One was plenty for me.)
After it was all mixed, I divided the lamb mixture into 8 portions and made little patties.
Heat some oil (veg, sunflower, peanut, etc) in a skillet and fry on both sides, until it's browned.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Whole Wheat Naan

You guys, this is so easy to make and so delicious. I know how much Shannon loves her bread machine but you can make this with a bowl and a spoon and be just fine. A word of caution: I highly recommend using a pizza stone to make this. I can't guarantee the outcome if you use a baking sheet. If you don't have one, T@rget sells them for $20. It's a purchase you won't regret.

Adapted from Show Me the Curry. By the way, if you haven't visited this site, you really need to. Not only do they provide recipes for all your favorite Indian recipes, they provide how-to videos on most recipes and it has been super helpful.

Note: WW naan isn't going to be soft and squishy like white flour naan. If you prefer to use white flour, exchange an equal amount of AP flour, reduce the yeast to 1 tsp and omit the vital wheat gluten.

2 C WW flour (KAF is best)
1 tsp salt
4 tsp canola oil
1/2 C warm water (about 110 degrees)
1.5 tsp Rapid Rise Yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 heaping tsp vital wheat gluten
1 medium egg, well beaten (or 1 Tbsp Flaxseed powder mixed with 3 Tbsp of water can be used as a substitute for egg)
2 T yogurt (I used FF greek from TJs)
additional flour for rolling and dusting

Preheat oven at 350 degrees for about 4-5 minutes or until oven is warm but not hot. Turn off heat. Mix yeast, sugar and water in an oven-proof bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix flour, salt and vital wheat gluten. To yeast mixture, add egg, oil and yogurt and mix well to combine. Add in flour mixture and stir until dough is formed. Knead on a floured surface for a few minutes until dough becomes soft and pliable. Spray your bowl with cooking spray and drop dough into the bottom. Spray dough to keep it moist and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. Place in warmed oven for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in size. Remove dough and place pizza stone inside and set oven for 550 degrees. For best outcome, the stone should preheat for at least 30 min (same goes for pizza crust). In the meantime, punch down dough and cut into 8 equal pieces. Cover to prevent drying out.

When stone is ready, remove one ball of dough at a time and sprinkle surface with flour. Roll out dough with a rolling pin until thin and naan-shaped (only one of mine looked like it came from a restaurant but who cares? It was delicious!). Roll out about 3 naans and then carefully place on pizza stone. It's helpful to have a partner open the oven door for you and even help with sliding out the rack the stone sits on. Once the dough hits the stone you can't adjust it so laying the dough out carefully is paramount. I goofed up a few of mine and made them all wrinkly. It'll be okay but they just don't look as nice. Close door and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on your oven. Mine took 3 min. Actually, I recommend cooking one test naan much like you would a pancake. Once they are done, remove to a cookie sheet and brush tops with ghee or oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder or chopped cilantro if desired. Place naans in a warm place while you bake the rest. While naans are in the oven, roll out the next batch of naans. Serve warm. Makes 8.

Vegetable Moroccan Tagine

Adapted from Vegetarian Times (exact recipe from latest issue is not yet online).

I'm including the original spice amounts but I thought it could use more so adapt according to your preference. I'm thinking you'll want to double the cumin at the very least. As for the veg, use what you have on hand, that's what I did.

2 tsp ground cumin
1.5 tsp paprika (either type is fine)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the tagine:
2 T olive oil
1 large sweet potato
1 medium red pepper
1 medium onion, chopped (red or white is fine)
1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 can chick peas, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic
8 dried apricots, chopped
1/2 C dried and cured black olives, optional (I will omit next time--it just didn't taste right with them)
1/4 C chopped cilantro (I didn't have any)
1/2 C feta, optional (what I should have added instead of the olives)
S&P to taste

Combine spice blend in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium-hi heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute 3 min. Add potatoes, chick peas, garlic and spice blend and saute 30 seconds. Stir in apricots and olives (if using) and 2 C water. Season with S&P. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and feta. Serve over brown rice, millet or couscous. We ate this with warmed lavash from TJs or you can serve with naan.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Broiled asparagus with buttery bread crumbs

I wanted something different than roasted asparagus with olive oil and garlic. This was good for a change.

adapted from Serious Eats

1.5 pounds asparagus
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, crushed with a chef's knife

Wash, dry and trim off the woody bottom portion of the asparagus.
In a long, shallow dish, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest and juice, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper, and crushed clove of garlic. Add the asparagus and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or in the fridge for as long as you like. (I marinated mine for several hours in the fridge)
Heat the broiler, arrange asparagus in a single layer on a broiler pan. Broil for 5-8 minutes (but watch closely, because you don't want them to burn).
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the crumbs take on an amber color and smell like you couldn't possibly resist eating them by the spoonful. Serve the asparagus with crumbs sprinkled overtop.

Mascarpone-filled cake with berries

I made this for our belated Easter dinner last night. Really simple, and light -- which is good after eating a big dinner.

adapted from Epicurious

For cake:

2 cups sifted cake flour (you know if you don't have cake flour, you can add 2 Tbsp. cornstarch to every cup of all-purpose flour, right?)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For berries:
1/2 cup Grand Marnier
1/2 cup sugar (I used slightly less than this)
4 cups mixed berries, cut if large

For cream:
8 ounces mascarpone (1 cup)
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (2 inches deep). Line bottom with a round of parchment paper, then butter parchment.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer at low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined.
Spread batter in cake pan, smoothing top. Rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Discard paper and reinvert cake onto rack to cool completely.
Macerate berries:
Bring Grand Marnier and sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Put berries in a bowl and pour hot syrup over them, gently tossing to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.
Make cream and assemble cake:
Beat mascarpone and cream with sugar in a large bowl using cleaned beaters until mixture just holds stiff peaks.
Halve cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Carefully remove top half and reserve. Put bottom half on a plate, then spread evenly with all of cream and replace top half. Serve with berries.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Monster Cookies (Heath bar, chocolate chip and pecans)

I don't know how I managed to not post these pre-wedding, but I can't find them on the food blog already, so I guess I didn't. Anyway, I LOVE Heath bars in cookies! I made these today to take to a housewarming party for a former coworker, because I remember that he really liked these when I was testing out cookies for the cookie bar at the wedding. Mine always sink after I pull them out of the oven, so they end up like a thin buttery cookie, but they're really, really good. When Hef-K made them, hers came out thicker and didn't spread as much. (The photo over at Simply Recipes looks about midway between mine and Hef-K's - thicker than mine, not as puffed up as Hef-K's.) I don't understand enough of the science behind baking to know what contributes to that difference, so I don't know how these will turn out when you make them. Either way, both were good, but definitely a different texture in each.

Check out the original recipe here to see a different version using peanut butter, or a different set of add-ins for kid-friendly cookies.

1 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1 cup of chocolate chips (dark chocolate preferable)
1 cup of chopped Heath bar bits (buy pre-chopped in the baking section, or chop your own bars)

1 Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed until well incorporated and fluffy.

2 Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes on medium speed.

3 Add the baking soda and beat for 30 seconds. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom to ensure all the butter is well incorporated.

4 Add the flour and salt, a bit at a time until incorporated but do not overmix.

5 Fold in the pecans, chocolate chips and heath bar bits.

6 Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop on rounded spoonfuls of dough and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Be sure to let them cool on the baking sheet before you move them.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Bacon

This was another delicious thing Geoff and I had this week.

Source: Cooking Light

When you're short on time and the ingredient list is short, make every ingredient the freshest and best you can find. A real wood-smoked bacon imparts lots of flavor: Applewood is mild and slightly sweet, while hardwood, such as hickory, is more assertive.

Total: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh fettuccine
2 slices applewood-smoked bacon, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
2/3 cup (about 2 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. (We forgot to reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Oh, well.)

2. While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Sprinkle flour over garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly; cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thick, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in salt and reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta to pan; toss well to combine. Sprinkle with bacon, parsley, and pepper.

A Twist on Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Geoff and I had these earlier this week, and they were delicious.

Source: Cooking Light

A new take on a familiar favorite pairs grilled cheese with a BLT for a luscious veggie-packed sandwich that feels like an indulgence. Serve with zesty dill pickle spears. If you have extra room in your budget, pair with a sweet-tart hard cider.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich)

Cooking spray
1 cup vertically sliced red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp white cheddar cheese (such as Cracker Barrel) (we used a reduced-fat Kerrygold)
8 (1 1/2-ounce) slices hearty white bread (such as Pepperidge Farm) (we used our usual Oatnut)
2 cups fresh spinach leaves
8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices tomato
6 slices center-cut bacon, cooked (we used applewood-smoked bacon)

1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 cup onion and garlic; cook for 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally.

2. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each of 4 bread slices. Top each slice with 1/2 cup spinach, 2 tomato slices, 2 tablespoons onion mixture, and 1 1/2 bacon slices. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese; top with the remaining 4 bread slices.

3. Heat skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Place sandwiches in pan, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cheese melts.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Shrimp in brown sauce

I bookmarked this recipe a while ago for a night when I wanted Chinese food but didn't have the energy to go to the takeout place and get sweet and sour pork and crab rangoon.
I'm glad I did, because with garlic scallion noodles, this was totally better than mediocre Chinese takeout.

Original recipe here

1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled, cleaned and deveined
3 Tbsp. cornstarch, divided
3 Tbsp. veg oil (maybe a little more, I eyeballed it)
1 package (16 0z. Package) frozen whole green beans
1 can (3 Oz. Can) water chestnuts
¼ c. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. Sherry (optional)
¼ cups chicken stock
5 cloves garlic, minced (or through the garlic press)
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (or grated on the box cutter, which is what I did)

Coat shrimp in 1 Tbsp. cornstarch. Set aside.
If you forgot to defrost your green beans (which I often do), fill a bowl with lukewarm water and soak them to defrost. Drain.
Stir together soy sauce, sherry, stock, and the remaining cornstarch in a small bowl.
Place a wok or large pan over highest heat for at least 20 seconds. Add a small amount of oil into the wok and heat. Toss in shrimp and cook for about 30 seconds, or until no longer pink. Remove the shrimp from the wok, and set aside. Add a little more oil if needed.
Add garlic and ginger to the wok. Stir-fry quickly for 10 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture in the bowl to the wok, and cook until thickened.
Add the green beans and water chestnuts to the wok and stir fry for 30 seconds, or until heated through.
Add the shrimp to the wok and mix until they are coated evenly with the sauce.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Daffodil Cake (Lemon Cake)

From: Mary Warren (Todd's grandmother)

Todd often requests that his grandmother make this cake for his birthday. She gave me the recipe, but I have not yet made it myself. It seems complicated, with the two different frostings, but really it's just half white and half yellow. She sometimes just makes a double batch of the white frosting and skips the yellow altogether. This seems like a ridiculous amount of powdered sugar, but I guess that's what frosting is. :)

2 1/4 C. sifted cake flour
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 C. oil
6 eggs, separated
3/4 C. cold water
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp cream of tarter

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well and add, in order, oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice, lemon zest. Beat with a spoon until smooth. Add cream of tarter to egg whites; beat until very, very stiff. Pour egg yolk mixture gradually over the whipped whites, carefully folding with a rubber spatula until just blended. Do not stir.

Pour into 3 ungreased 9-inch round layer pans. Bake in 325 degree oven for 25-30 min Frost and decorate with Luscious Daffodil Frosting.

Luscious Daffodil Frosting (White)

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 C. sifted confectioners sugar

Blend cream cheese and lemon juice. Blend in sugar gradually. Spread between cake layers, reserving 1/3 for decoration.

Luscious Daffodil Frosting (Yellow)

1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
4 C. sifted confectioners sugar
8 drops yellow food coloring

Blend cream cheese and lemon juice. Blend in sugar gradually. Add lemon rind, food coloring; mix. Spread on cake. Let stand a few minutes. Decorate with remaining white frosting. (you can use remaining white frosting to make a five-petal flower shape on top of the cake, or any other decoration you want to try).

Hamburger buns or hot dog rolls -- in the breadmaker

Yesterday it was nice and warm and I wanted Ernie to grill some hamburgers outside for dinner. I didn't have any hamburger buns, and I was not inclined to go to the store and get some. So I pulled out the cookbook, and made some of my own. I will never buy store-made hamburger buns again.

from "The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook"

2-pound loaf (makes 12 rolls)

1 1/4 c. water
1 large egg
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 Tbsp. sugar
4 c. bread flour
1/3 c. nonfat dry milk
3 Tbsp. instant potato flakes (for those of you, like me, who have never used instant potatoes -- buy instant mashed potatoes. i had to ask someone)
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. gluten
2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. bread machine yeast

Place all ingredients in the pan according to order in manufacturer's instructions. Program for Dough cycle, press start.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper, when the machine is done, immediately turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 12 portions. For hamburger buns, form each portion into tight rounds. For long rolls, flatten each portion into an oval about 6 inches long and form a cylinder.
Place the rolls on the lined baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Press with your palm to flatten each roll. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 min-1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375. Brush rolls with an egg glaze (1 eg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp. water) and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional). Bake for 15-22 minutes until lightly browned.

Raspberry Trifle

1 (16 oz) pound cake, cut into 18 slices, or 2 pkgs (3 oz) ladyfingers
2 pkgs (3.4 oz each) instant vanilla pudding mix, prepared according to directions
1 jar (18 oz) raspberry jam
1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries or raspberries
whipped cream and fresh raspberries for garnish

Arrange one-third of the sliced cake or ladyfingers in the bottom of a trifle dish or large decorative bowl (glass is best so you can see the layers). Place another third of the cake pieces around the inside of the bowl, using half the pudding to hold it in place. Gently stir together jam and berries. Spoon half over the pudding in the dish. Cover with remaining cake pieces. Layer remaining pudding and jam mixture. Chill. Garnish with whipped cream and berries.

Serves 8-10

Curried chicken salad

It occurred to me yesterday as I was making this chicken salad that I'd probably never posted the recipe, and a quick search of the archives showed I was right.
This doesn't have any measurements, primarily because I never use them. You sort of have to eyeball it, based on how you would like it to be when you're done. A good use for leftover roasted chicken.

cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
water chestnuts, cut in half
green (or red) grapes, cut in half
slivered almonds
curry powder
mayo (or plain yogurt, now that I think about it)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl in the order listed above, mix until combined. Eat on croissants, lettuce and tomato, or out of the bowl.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Good for a laugh

I thought I would share this awesome post from the King Arthur Flour test kitchen. I need to remind myself that we all make mistakes in the kitchen from time to time and that includes professional bakers. After last night's bread fail, this is just the thing. Enjoy!