Monday, December 6, 2010

Savory Christmas Bread

As a senior, these past few months have been stressful and quite busy, but today I caught a break with our first snow day.

After doing a little Christmas shopping and a lot of grocery shopping, my mom and I enjoyed Peppermint Mocha Lattes from Starbucks. When I got home, I decided it was finally time to bake after minimal oven usage for the last several months.

King Arthur Flour has been my go to cookbook lately, and today seemed like a perfect day to whip up some homemade bread. I selected this Savory Christmas Bread, and holy cow is it good -- so good that I had to post it immediately (it's still warm now). The provolone cheese adds a little something special to this comforting, savory bread.

Savory Christmas Bread

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
8 ounces provolone cheese, grated (approximately 2 cups)
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cheese. Add the beaten eggs, reserving 2 tablespoons for glazing the bread before baking. Mix in evaporated milk, garlic, and vegetables, stirring to make a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and form it into a smooth ball. Roll the ball into a log shape about 10 inches long. Place it on a greased cookie sheet. Brush with the reserved beaten egg.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Johnny Appleseed Cake with Caramel Sauce

My collection of Junior League cookbooks has grown over the years. It began with Applehood & Motherpie - a bright green 3-ring binder from the Rochester, NY chapter. Purchased over 20 years ago, it offered simple, elegant dishes that weren't too difficult for an advanced beginner like me. Some of those recipes are now old family favorites.

I'll often purchase a Junior League cookbook when we're on vacation. The recipes really seem to capture local flavors.... plus, cookbooks make great souvenirs!

The Junior League at Home: Meals and Menus for Every Day and Special Occasions was complied by The Association of Junior Leagues International and includes favorite recipes from groups far and wide. I purchased it at my local Barnes & Noble, and finally got around to trying a cake recipe I bookmarked several years ago.

Johnny Appleseed Cake with Caramel Sauce

2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large, tart cooking apples, cored and cut into 1/2" pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
whipped topping for garnish (optional)

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large mixing bowl; beat at low speed for 1 to 2 minutes until well mixed. Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla; beat at medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth. Stir in the apples and walnuts by hand. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 13 x 9 inch cake pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly toughed in the center. Cool on a wire rack.

For the sauce: Combine the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a 1 quart saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until the brown sugar dissolves. Stir in the vanilla. Drizzle the sauce over cake slices to serve. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

I brought this cake to a Sunday dinner at my sister's. It was delicious - no leftovers!

Are you a fan of Junior League cookbooks?

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Three-Bean Turkey Chili

Are you looking for a quick, great-tasting fall meal? It doesn't get much easier than this crock-pot chili recipe adapted from Kraft's Food & Family magazine. Perfect for game day or a busy weekday, it even combines my three favorite beans!

King Arthur Flour's Maple Cornbread is the perfect accompaniment. My family loves this variation on a traditional recipe.

Three-Bean Turkey Chili

1/2 lb. ground turkey
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
16 ounce jar salsa (I used Tostito's chunky salsa - mild)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin

Cook the turkey until no longer pink, stirring occasionally - about 10 minutes.
Add to slow cooker, along with all remaining ingredients.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
Top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

These quick and yummy granola bars are from the Taste of Home: Cookies cookbook. They are great for snack, and pair nicely a warm beverage. (Hot Chocolate, Lattes . . . take your pick!) Plus, it's a nice change to make your own granola bars instead of buying them. Include the kids, and you'll have a fun fall weekend activity!

White Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons reduced-fat peanut butter (I used regular peanut butter)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon fat-free evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teasp
oon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/2 cups crisp rice cereal
1/3 cup vanilla or white chips
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice; stir into sugar mixture. Stir in oats, cereal, chips, cranberries and walnuts.

Press into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° F for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in a pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Coconut and Beef Curry with Noodles

It had to happen sooner or later. Every recipe from Martha Stewart's Everyday FOOD cookbook and magazine has been a success. Our experience last week, while not exactly a failure, yielded a dinner receiving less than stellar reviews.

This was my first experience cooking rice noodles 'pasta style'. The directions directed me to run them under cold water to stop the cooking. Unfortunately, the noodles then became a little too cool. Strike one.

The recipe called for one tablespoon of Thai red curry paste, but the dish seemed very bland to all of us (and we're not generally fans of spicy food). Maybe curry pastes come in different strengths? Next time I'll add more. Strike two.

Since there wasn't a third strike, and the dish was attractive and easy to prepare, we'll make a few adjustments and give this another shot.

I found and almost identical recipe on TasteBook. Martha's recipe from Everyday FOOD: Fresh Flavor Fast called for lime juice instead of lemon and specifies that the coconut milk be unsweetened. Have you tried recipes similar to this one?

Coconut Beef Curry with Noodles

Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. beef sirloin, cut into thin 2-inch strips
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste
1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk
1 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
8 oz. angel-hair pasta

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high. Season beef with salt and pepper; add half the beef to the skillet. Cook, without stirring, until browned on one side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate (meat will cook more later), and repeat with remaining beef. Set beef aside, reserving skillet.

Add onion, bell peppers, and ¼ c. water to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add curry paste; cook, scraping bottom of skillet, 1 minute.

Return beef to skillet, with any accumulated juices, and add coconut milk. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in basil and lemon juice, and season curry with salt and pepper.

Add pasta to boiling water, and cook until al dente, according to package instructions; drain. Serve beef curry over pasta.

Weekend Cooking is hosted at Beth Fish Reads. Find more posts here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weekend Cooking: The Amish Cook

Cookbooks are to be bought and used... or so I thought before blogging and Weekend Cooking became part of my routine. Now, several new ones tempt me each week. Thank goodness for the public library, and inter-library loan in particular. I've gotten into the habit of taking some cookbooks for a 'test drive' before buying. Others are meant to be borrowed and read.

The Amish Cook: Recollections and Recipes from an Old Order Amish Family by Elizabeth Coblentz with Kevin Williams falls into that last category. Staci featured it on Six Sentence Saturday a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to take a closer look. The Amish Cook showcases many of Elizabeth's weekly newspaper columns on Amish life but, in addition, you'll find stunning photography and reflections on Amish traditions. Of course, there are also plenty of recipes organized into chapters titled: Breakfast, Dinner, Supper, Desserts, and Sundays and Special Occasions.

Margaret and I made Elizabeth's Applesauce Cookies. The recipe for these cake-like treats originally appeared in The Amish Cook column in September 1993.

Applesauce Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup applesauce
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together the butter, sugars, and egg. Add the applesauce, oatmeal, raisins, nuts, and chocolate chips. Add the sifted ingredients and mix real well, until the batter is smooth. Drop by teaspoonfuls, spaced apart, onto cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes, until the top and edges are slightly brown. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Notes: We included walnuts, but omitted the raisins. Daughter #1 was home from college... and she hates raisins!
Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Doron's Meatballs With Pine Nuts, Cilantro, and Golden Raisins

My mom's book club read A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. For their meeting, everyone made one of the forty-five recipes in the book. In my opinion, these were by far the best, so I decided to make them myself.

These meatballs are delicious -- perfect for an appetizer! I brought these to my aunt's house for h'orderves and everyone loved them.

For the Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt (not low fat or nonfat)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt

For the Meatballs:
1/2 cup minced yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup chopped pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins, halved or coarsely chopped if large
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground turkey
About 4 tbsp. olive oil

1) For the yogurt sauce, put all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside at room temperature.

2) For the meatballs, mix all of the ingredients together expect the turkey. When they are all well mixed, add in the turkey. Be sure not to overwork the meat.

3) Next, roll into 1-1/2 inch balls and set aside on a large plate. (Makes about 30 meatballs)

4) Warm 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add about half of the meatballs, taking care not to crowd them. As they begin to color, turn gently and roll them around in the pan until they are evenly browned. The meatballs should be firm but not rock-hard.

5) Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Then repeat step 4.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature with the yogurt sauce.

Also, I hate the smell of cumin . . . is it just me?!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Baking With Company

My sister and I made all of this last Sunday. Chunky Mocha Cookies, Fudgy Saucepan Brownies, and Hummingbird Cupcakes. (I bet the last one looks familiar, huh?) We wanted to continue baking, but we ran out of flour and sugar. So sad.

My friend and I made this cake on Friday. We named it the "Chocolate Avalanche Cake" because it turned out to be a bit messier than we had planned. The first of our troubles began when the cakes cracked into three pieces as a result of the doming. But, nevertheless, the cake was SO good! The recipes for the cake, caramel pastry cream, and the white chocolate glaze are in the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion Cookbook. Now, I love this cookbook; it is amazing. Some teenage girls are on Team Edward. I am a proud member of Team King Arthur.

The final results of our baking day. Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies and the Chocolate Avalanche Cake, which was quite difficult to cut. The cookies were good, too!

I wonder how much flour we used this week . . .

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hummingbird Cupcakes with Marmalade Frosting

My older sister and I decided to bake these cupcakes one morning for a family dinner. They are fruity and the frosting is sweet, but not overly so. My cousin walked in and exclaimed, "Margaret, did you make these? They look wicked good!" And wicked good they were.

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup safflower oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup (2 medium) mashed bananas
1-1/2 tbsp. grated orange zest
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup (2 oz.) flaked coconut

Ingredients for the Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. orange marmalade

Preheat the oven to 350 degress F. Place 12 baking cups in a muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, cream the sugar and oil with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs slowly, then stir in the dry ingredients in 3 batches. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir until combined.

Spoon the batter into the cups. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack.

To make the frosting, beat the butter in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Smear the frosting onto the cupcakes. Store unfrosted in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

This recipe is from the 500 Cupcakes cookbook. So far, I have tried three of the recipes and all of them were great. Only 497 left!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

German Food

I'm back from Germany!

For a little summer fun, I went to visit my friend in the Ruhr area. I had such a great time; the sights, the company, and the food were amazing. So, I thought it would be fun to compose a list of my favorite German foods.

1) The bread . . . any bread. It was so fresh! I think I consumed more bread in a week there than I had in two months here.

2) Milka Chocolate, Kinder Chocolate, Merci Chocolate . . . absolutely delicious. All chocolate, really. Seriously, you'll never be able to eat Hershey's again. (I happened to find Milka and Kinder in the European section at Wegmans a few days ago. Sweet.)

3) We had a traditional German meal of rinderrouladen meat and red cabbage for my first European lunch ever. Yum!

4) Belgium waffles with confectionary sugar from the train station. Sixty cents, perfection.

5) Currywurst. I know, I know -- I had my doubts, too. Give it a try! And remember to pronounce the "w" as a "v."

6) And finally, the goodness that is Yogurette. Strawberry flavored yogurt surrounded by milk chocolate. I had at least one every day (and I couldn't stop myself from bringing a box home).

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Appliance Aggravation

Yes, it's been quiet here in our kitchen. The oven broke over the 4th of July weekend, and has been a source of ongoing frustration ever since.
After waiting nearly a week for the repairman, a part needed to be ordered. Two weeks later, the part finally arrived... then it took several more days to get a service appointment.

Our Big Day was set for Tuesday. At 7:30 AM "John", bearing said part, knocked on the door. Scheduling this early appointment would allow me to try a recipe from United Cakes of America before temperatures climbed into that uncomfortable range.  Margot reviewed the cookbook last month, my library hold had been in over a week, and I was anxious to get started.

Well, "John" fiddled around in the oven for over 30 minutes before announcing that he had the wrong part. He informed me that one of "the girls" would call when the correct part arrives... and, incidentally, it cost $100 more than the first part. What??? Another two weeks without my oven? I calmly told "John" he was a very lucky man. If this had been November, there would surely be bloodshed!

So, no picture of a beautiful cake today. We'll see what next week brings...

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Words of Wisdom

"The bigger the mess, the better the meal."

- Aunt Julie

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Heather's Blueberry Scones

Last night's wind and rain brought an end to the summer's first real heat wave, so this morning Margaret and I celebrated by heating up the kitchen. It's blueberry season and I've been craving scones ever since Heather posted this recipe at Books and Quilts last week. She says it came from an ancient copy of Five Roses Flour Cookbook. A quick search of amazon tells me the title is from the Classic Canadian Cookbook Series, circa 1962. I'm not surprised the recipe is still being used today - it's definitely a keeper!

Heather's Blueberry Scones

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1/2 milk or light cream (I used milk)

1 cup blueberries
grate rind of a lemon

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon rind and salt. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Set aside. Reserve a little of the egg whites, beat remaining eggs until light; stir in milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add liquid all at once, stirring with a fork vigorously until it comes freely from the side of the bowl. Gently stir in blueberries. Pat dough into a circle 3/4 inch thick on an ungreased baking pan. Cut into 8 triangular wedges, but leave in place. Brush top with egg white and sprinkle liberally with sugar.

Bake in hot oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool a bit and eat while warm. Wonderful spread with butter.
It's a good thing this picture was taken as the scones came out of the oven. They disappeared very quickly. Thanks for the recipe, Heather!

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Raisin-Bran Muffins

These muffins from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food: Fresh Flavor Fast cookbook are great for breakfast or for a satisfying snack anytime during the day. The cinnamon adds a lot to these muffins and the oil keeps them moist. I think kids would enjoy these for breakfast as well, especially if you're trying to get them away from sugary pastries.

1-1/2 cups raisin-bran cereal
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 6 cups of a standard muffin tin with paper liners. In a bowl, combine cereal with milk; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. In another bowl, whisk both flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir oil, egg, and brown sugar into cereal mixture, then fold in flour mixture.

2. Divide batter evenly among lined cups. Bake, rotating tin halfway through, until golden brown and cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Cool in tin 5 minutes, then turn out muffins onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature. Muffins can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature, or frozen up to 3 months, in a large re-sealable plastic bag; thaw at room temperature and warm in the oven before serving.

To make these low-fat muffins healthier, use regular bran flake cereal instead of raisin-bran cereal, which contains a surprising amount of sugar. Take 1-1/4 cups of bran flakes and 1/4 cup raisins and you're all set!

I liked this recipe because the muffins were delicious and I didn't have to use an electric mixer, which saved me the hassle of hauling it out of the cupboard and the potential disaster of dropping the stainless steal bowl on my toes again.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quote of the Week: A Homemade Life

"When I walk into my kitchen today, I am not alone. Whether we know it or not, none of us is. We bring fathers and mothers and kitchen tables, and every meal we have ever eaten. Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be." (page 2)

by Molly Wizenberg

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Summer Shortcuts

Summer is finally here! We get up early, go to bed late, spend lots of time outdoors, and less time in the kitchen. Still, I want to serve quick, healthy, and delicious summer meals. That's where Wegman's is a life-saver. If you're lucky enough to have this supermarket in your area, you know exactly what I mean.

Their Menu magazine is published quarterly. Although on sale in the stores, it magically appears in my mailbox. They know what a good customer I am! It features wonderful seasonal recipes (often using their own convenience or specialty items), suggested wine pairings, farm features, and cooking techniques.

This week I tried Grilled Jamaican-Style Jerk Chicken Breasts served with Mango & Cashew Salad. The chicken is packaged in the marinade and grill ready. The salad is simple to prepare, and delicious. Both will make future appearances on our summer table.

Mango & Cashew Salad

1 1/2 Tbsp and 1/3 cup Wegmans Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, divided
1/2 lb whole, unsalted cashews (Bulk Foods) (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp Wegmans Clover Honey
juice from 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
3 bags (5 oz each) Food You Feel Good About Arugula Blend Salad
3 mangos, peeled, seeded, 1-inch dice (about 3 1/2 cups)

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp oil in skillet on MEDIUM. Add cashews, cayenne pepper and salt; stir in honey.
Remove from heat; toss, set aside to cool.
Whisk lime juice and remaining 1/3 cup olive oil in small bowl.
Combine arugula, mango and cashew mixture in large bowl; drizzle with dressing.

Notes: Mangos aren't popular with my family, so we used apples instead. We also made only 1/3 of the recipe.

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lemon-Glazed Pound Cake

In a family of chocolate lovers, this simple lemon cake was still very appreciated.

After eating our first family dinner outside this summer, a lemon-glazed pound cake was a perfect dessert. Everyone enjoyed it and only two pieces of the second cake were left over!

Ingredients for the Cake:
14 tablespoons butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon oil, or 1 tablespoon lemon zest
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
5 large eggs

Ingredients for the Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 loaf pans or a 9 to 10 cup tube or bundt-style pan.

In medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add the salt, baking powder, vanilla, lemon, and flour and beat for 5 minutes; the batter will be stiff.

Add 1 egg, beating until well combined. Continue to add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. When done, the batter will be very fluffy. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes for the tube or bundt-style pans, or 35 to 40 minutes for the two loaf pans, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Just before the cake is done, combine the lemon juice and sugar and heat over low heat (or in the microwave) until the sugar has dissolved; don't let the mixture boil.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Turn it out onto a wire rake or a serving platter. Poke the top all over with a toothpick and gradually drizzle the glaze over it, pausing occasionally to let it sink in. Let the cake cool for several hours before slicing.

We used lemon zest instead of lemon oil. (I zested my thumb by accident -- ouch!)
We sprinkled confectioners' sugar over the cake just before serving.
Chilled blueberries were served on the side.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Morning Fun

Today is supposed to be warm and sunny (at least until this evening . . . and I'm getting sick of thunderstorms). I have my day all planned out: reading Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss outside, writing in my brand new notebook on the porch, possibly cleaning out the old canoe with a friend, and watching a movie with my twin sister.

To start off such a promising day, I decided to browse through Martha Stewart's website. I'm finding all these recipes I want to print off; it's so hard to select just a few!

One of the recipes I'm especially excited about is one for Mini Almond Bunt Cakes. I'm thinking I will make these for a Sunday family dinner soon. For this Sunday's dinner, I'm making a Charlotte Russe!

Enjoy your Saturday!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Walnut-Pesto Crusted Turkey

Let me start off by saying this is one of my favorite dinners.

Now that that's said.

My mom found this recipe in the Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine, and I was pretty excited to try this one. I have been a fan of Rachael Ray ever since we bought the Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats cookbook a while back. I find her recipes easy to follow and "yummo!" For those of you who aren't familiar with Rachael Ray, that's her catch phrase. Rachael Ray is to "yummo!" as Emerald is to "BAM!"

(If you so please, I would urge you to say "yummo!" after the first bite. But please, only around your closest friends or family. We don't want to embarrass ourselves.)


2 large eggs
1/2 cup store-bought pesto
1 cup walnuts, finely ground
3/4 cup bread crumbs
4 turkey breast cutlets
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving


1.) In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the pesto to a second bowl. In a third bowl, mix the walnuts and breadcrumbs. Add the turkey cutlets to the pesto, turning to coat. Working with one at a time, dip the cutlets into the walnut mixture, then the eggs, then the walnut mixture again to coat.

2.) In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cutlets, lower the heat to low and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes on each side; serve with the lemon wedges.

We use pie plates to dip the cutlets in.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Panda Cupcakes

During AP testing, my group of friends was a stressed out bunch. We would refer to fun and sleeping in the past tense, like it was something done and over with, never to be seen again."Before APs, I was able to sleep." Now, this got me thinking. What did I do before APs? Ah-hah, I thought, I baked!

One day in AP Lang, one of my friends was really stressed out. What could I do about it? I couldn't magically wish the tests away, but I could bake (which, in my opinion, is still pretty magical). I knew she loved pandas, so I decided to make her these panda cupcakes. What could be better than combining cute bears and fluffy cake?

So after APs, I made these cupcakes -- on a school night! (How scandalous!) They took a long time to make, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I did, however, take a break for dinner. And for dessert, I had a few extra mini chocolate chips . . . and some Oreos, and maybe a few mini marshmallows.

Transporting these bad boys to school was no easy task. I live 30 minutes away from school, so I take the bus. I put 13 cupcakes in a large wicker basket and 3 cupcakes in a small container for my panda-loving friend. I almost hit my poor bus driver in the head.

I gave the cupcakes to my friends once I got to school. They were a huge hit; everyone who got one had a smile on their face. A successful experiment, I would say!

Pandamonium: From the Hello, Cupcake! cookbook

16 standard vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
16 mini vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
32 Oreos
1 can plus 1 cup vanilla frosting
Black food coloring
16 mini marshmallows
32 mini chocolate chips
16 brown chocolate-covered sunflower seeds
32 pieces chocolate cereal O's
16 green paper liners

1. To make the arms and legs, cut 32 of the cookies in half using a serrated knife and set aside. Place the remaining 8 cookies in a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer the cookie crumbs to a small bowl.

2. Place 2 tbsp. of the vanilla frosting in a small ziplock bag. Tint 1/4 cup of the vanilla frosting black with the food coloring and spoon it into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air in each bag, seal, and set aside.

3. Using a dot of the remaining vanilla frosting, attach the flat side of 1 marshmallow to the top of each mini cupcake, positioning it on the lower third of the cupcake. Spread the vanilla frosting on top of the mini cupcake, covering the marshmallow to make the muzzle. Smooth the frosting. Snip a 1/16-inch corner from the bag with the black frosting and pipe a mouth just below the muzzle with a small vertical line up to the top of the muzzle. Pipe eye patches above and to either side of the muzzle. Add 2 chocolate chips, pointed sides in, for the eyes and a sunflower seed for the nose. Press 2 chocolate cereal pieces into the frosting on either side of the to edge of the cupcake to make the ears.

4. Spread the tops of the standard cupcakes with the remaining vanilla frosting mounding it with you spatula. Roll one half of the frosted cupcake into the cookie crumbs to make the black belly fur. Place the mini cupcake heads on their sides on top of the standard cupcakes, lining the faces up with the fur bodies. Snip a 1/8-inch corner from the bag with the vanilla frosting. Add a dot of frosting where the arms will go and press 2 of the cookie halves, cut side in, on either side of the mini cupcakes to make the arms. Pipe 3 small white lines of the frosting on the arms to make the claws. Pipe a small white highlight on each eye.

5. Cut jagged edges on the green paper liners with scissors, and arrange on a serving platter. Set each panda on a green liner.

I couldn't find chocolate covered sunflower seeds, so I used the black frosting.
I also didn't find the Oero cereal, so I died regular Cheerios with black food coloring.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The kitchen table....

Perhaps the World Ends Here
by Joy Harjo

The world begins at a kitchen table. No matter what, we
must eat to live.

The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table.
So it has been since creation, and it will go on.

We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the
corners. They scrape their knees under it.

It is here that children are given instructions on what it
means to be human. We make men at it, we make women.

At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.

Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms
around our children. They laugh with us at our poor falling-
down selves and as we put ourselves back together once
again at the table.

This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella
in the sun.

Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a
place to hide in the shadow of terror. A place to
celebrate the terrible victory.

We have given birth on this table, and have prepared
our parents for burial here.

At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow. We
pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks.

Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table,
while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last
sweet bite.

This poem appears in poetry speaks who i am, a collection of 100 poems aimed at teens, edited by Elise Paschen. It "spoke" to me. My thoughts on the collection may be found at Lakeside Musing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Tortilla Pie

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Just a few years ago, menu planning amounted to little more than a rotation of fairly standard, boring recipes all three girls liked and my husband tolerated. Nothing too spicy, too colorful (green was to be especially avoided), or too saucy... and forget about seafood! As the girls have gotten older, the stringent "food rules" have relaxed, and I can happily indulge in a little culinary experimentation again.

My goal is to try at least one new recipe each week. A folder of possibilities gathered from magazines, newspapers, blogs and websites can be found alongside my cookbooks. Multi-colored post-it flags, marking recipes that have caught my attention, adorn the edges of most cookbooks, too!

Martha Stewart's recipes have been a huge success lately, and this week had us adding her Tortilla Pie recipe to the "keeper" file. The tortillas are trimmed to fit a springform pan and layered with a mixture of beef, corn, spinach, and cheese. This was delicious served with salsa and sour cream on the side! As you can see, my pie didn't look much like Martha's (shown below). Next time I'll layer the mixture more evenly, and really pack it down before baking. Thanks again, Martha!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lemon Butterfly Cupcakes

Like I said in a previous post, the Easter Bunny brought me the cookbook in which I found this recipe (500 Cupcakes). It's nice to know that he knows me so well. Anyway, these are called Lemon Butterfly Cupcakes because one is supposed to cut a thin slice from the top of each cupcake, cut the slice in half, and then position the halves on the frosting so that they look like wings. I was short on time so I skipped this step. Needless to say, they tasted just the same and still looked wonderful. And they were perfect -- very delicate and very yummy. The frosting, which calls for lemon zest, was amazing!

Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Ingredients for the Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. lemon zest


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 18 paper baking cups in muffins pans. Combine all ingredients for the cupcakes in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and pale (about 2 to 3 minutes). Spoon the batter into the cups.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pans from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Then remove the cupcakes and cool on a rack. Prepare the frosting by beating the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth. Wait until the cupcakes have cooled completely, then frost.

Sweet butter is just unsalted butter.
Fill the baking cups 2/3 of the way full.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weekend Cooking: Exploring in New York

Lakeside posts have been few and far between the last couple of weeks. Around the Kitchen, Margaret has finally finished her AP exams, but is gearing up for finals in a couple of weeks. Over at Lakeside Musing, my reading has taken a hit from recent trips to New York City (one more coming up tomorrow) and preparing for the arrival of our new greyhound, Zelda.

Last weekend we were in New York City for Daughter #1's summer internship orientation at ESPN. She will be living in the New York University dorms, but cannot move in until tomorrow (we'll leave early and drive down for the day). In our spare time, we explored the area around the dorm looking for the basics (ATM, grocery, pharmacy), but found so much more...

First, the Strand Bookstore is literally two blocks away. I'm so envious...

A few blocks beyond that we found both Trader Joe's and Whole Foods! I may have mentioned how much I love Wegman's (my husband says Danny sends out a search party if three days elapse without a visit!), but it sure would be nice to have either of those in our area.

In another direction, there were restaurants galore. Whatever cuisine you are craving can be found along this block! We chose Saigon Grill the first evening (there aren't many good Vietnamese restaurants in my area).
From the shared spring roll appetizers, to our entrees of chicken (prepared various ways - mine was lemongrass), seafood, and Margaret's bamboo steamed vegetables - we were in heaven! Even the rice (brown, white, or sticky) was a treat.

The following evening, we were attracted by the outdoor seating at Jack restaurant. Al fresco dining in New York City is a whole different experience from eating a meal overlooking our little lake! Jack offers American cuisine and comfort food. I had a wonderful salad topped with chicken, apples, brie, and walnuts. According to Daughter #1, the mashed potatoes the accompanied her chicken topped with a pineapple salsa were to die for.

We also made a stop or two at a nearby Starbucks and had breakfast at a neighborhood diner. I'm already thinking about the luncheon possibilities for after we unload the car tomorrow...

Weekend Cooking, hosted at Beth Fish Reads, is open to anyone with a food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button, head over to Beth Fish Reads, and link up anytime over the weekend.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Mini Muffin Tin!

After the Easter Bunny brought me the 500 Cupcakes cookbook and a friend gave me the Hello, Cupcake! cookbook for my birthday, I got pretty excited about all of the new cupcake and muffin recipes.

So while shopping in Target with my mom, I saw this mini muffin tin and felt compelled to buy it.

I'm planning on spending a good amount of time in the kitchen this weekend. I can't wait to use this tin and try some new recipes.

Is it just me, or are mini muffins simply more fun than regular sized muffins?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Three Cheers for Martha!

Martha Stewart's Everyday FOOD is a great magazine. The recipes are straight-forward, the ingredients are readily available, and the results are almost always satisfying. Her new cookbook Everyday FOOD: Fresh Flavor Fast is a collection featuring 250 "easy, delicious recipes for any time of day".

Since space for our ever-expanding cookbook collection is at a premium, I've begun using my library to screen possible additions. It took a couple months to reach the top of the hold list, but it was worth the wait. Over the past couple weeks, I've tried three recipes: a chicken entrée, a vegetarian pasta dish, and a dessert. All were very well-received.

First we tried Peanut-Crusted Chicken Breasts. The recipe called for unsalted peanuts, but I couldn't find them and used unsalted cashews instead. Delicious! This will become one of my 'go to' dishes. The recipe can be found here.

Next up was Farfalle with Arugula and White Beans. Again, I substituted a couple of ingredients - spinach for arugula and pine nuts for walnuts. This dish was very good, but a little bland. The recipe called for a "generous amount" of salt in the pasta cooking water (some reserved water is used in the sauce), but I probably wasn't generous enough. Walnuts may have been a little more flavorful than the pine nuts, too. This recipe is also available online.

Finally, our Mother's Day Dessert...The Lemon-Ricotta Tart was rich, but not too sweet or lemony. You'd never guess such an elegant dessert was so simple to prepare. Margaret plans to make it again for her AP Lang class. This recipe is also available on Martha Stewart's website.

Everyday FOOD: Fresh Flavor Fast is very well done. There is a wide variety of recipes, the directions are clear and concise, and there is a picture of each dish - a big plus in my book! However, since so many of the recipes available online, I doubt I will purchase the book. Instead, I will spend more time browsing Martha Stewart's website.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Oat-rageous Chocolate Chip Pancakes

One Saturday afternoon, my mom and I decided to take a trip to Barnes & Noble, a.k.a. the best store ever. After grabbing a couple of lattes from the in-store Starbucks, we started browsing. As my mom was trying to choose which Edith Wharton book to read next, I started to walk toward the cookbooks. Halfway there, I stopped at a display of Hungry Girl cookbooks. Catchy,I thought, so I picked up Hungry Girl: 200 under 200. Flipping through, I found quick, easy, and low-cal recipes. I thought it would be fun, so I bought it. I never actually made it to the cookbook section.

Of all of the recipes I've tried in this cookbook, this one is my favorite. (I'm planning on doing a review of the cookbook in the future.) I couldn't tell you how many times I've made these for an after-school snack.

After a long day, my mom and I were driving home in the car. I was exhausted. "I just want to be in my chair with my pancakes," I said. And these are those pancakes.


3 tablespoons regular oats (not instant)
3 tablespoons fat-free liquid egg substitutes
2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon light vanilla soy milk
1/2 tablespoon mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Dash of cinnamon


Place all ingredients in a small bowl, except for chocolate chips. Mix well, and then fold in the chocolate chips.

Bring a large pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Pour batter in the pan, forming two pancakes. Once pancakes begin to bubble on the top, gently flip. Cook until both sides are lightly browned and the insides are cooked through.

This recipe makes two pancakes for 210 calories. Now, I know this is from the 200 under 200 cookbook, but I substitute 2 teaspoons of sugar (30 calories) for one packet of Splenda (0 calories). I like to put Fat Free Reddi Wip on top (5 calories a serving), but you could also use maple syrup or whatever else you please!

When I make this, I always double the recipe. That way I can have my favorite pancakes that day and the next!