Sunday, 16 August 2015

Rainbow Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins

Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

2 1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Baking Power
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Soft Butter
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1 Orange

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease or line with paper 12-18 muffin cups.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer blend the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, poppy seeds, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a medium bowl whisk the soft butter until somewhat fluffy. Zest* the lemon, lime and orange into the butter, then add the juice from the lemon, lime and orange. Whisk to combine together. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until blended. Stir in the milk and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend just until everything comes together and no pockets of flour remains.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling until just below the top.

Bake in preheat oven for 5 minutes, then without opening the door of the oven reduce heat to 375°F and continue to bake for 10-18 minutes. Muffins are cooked though when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Enjoy!

Notes:

* When trying to zest the rind of a citrus fruit you only want to zest off the colorful part of the rind. The white part under the color is very bitter and does not taste very nice.

Other Places:

More Muffins

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Barbacoa Shredded Beef

Barbacoa Shredded Beef
Really spicy!!

Ingredients:

2-3 Pounds Beef Roast, cut into large cubes
4-6 cloves minced Garlic
1 small can chopped Green Chilies (Hot or Mild)
2-3 Chilies in Adobo Sauce, chopped
1 finely chopped Onion
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
2 Tablespoons Cider Vinegar
3 Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Oregano
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 Cup Water or Broth

Instructions:

To save time the onion, garlic, green chilies, Adobo Chilies can all be pulsed together in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment to create a spicy pulpy mix.

Add the mined onion, garlic, chopped chilies and can of green chilies to the insert of a slowcooker.  Add the broth/water, lime juice, vinegar, cumin, oregano, and cloves. Stir to blend everything together.  Add the cubed beef chunks and season well with salt and pepper. Stir to cover the beef in the sauce. Add the bay leaves.

Cook on low for 5-8 hours, until beef is tender and shreds with a fork. Once beef is cooked, use a large strainer to remove the beef to a large bowl, shred with two sturdy forks.  Ladle some of the cooking liquid back over the shredded beef to add flavor and keep it moist.

Use the shredded beef to make tacos with soft tortilla wraps, lettuce, cheese, veggies and sour cream. This is a really spicy recipe!!

Enjoy!

Other Places:

Goes pretty well with roasted Corn on the cob!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 Box Stove Top for Turkey
1 Cup water
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/2-3/4 Cup Chopped Bacon Bits

Parmesan Cheese, shredded to garnish tops

1 Pound button Mushrooms, washed and dried, stems popped out

Instructions:

In a large microwave save bowl heat the stove top and water together for 2 minutes, stirring part way through. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Stir in the mozzarella, cheddar and bacon bits. Blend evenly.

Press the stuffing mixture into the mushroom caps, and place in a large shallow baking dish, stuffing side up.

Mushrooms can be prepared up to a day ahead, and chilled in fridge until ready to serve.

To serve, preheat oven to 365°F. Bake mushrooms in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until mushrooms are browned, cheese is melted and everything looks toasty.

Enjoy!

Notes:

I know stove top is an odd ingredient for me to have on my blog, I typically avoid all pre-packaged ingredients, buuuuut this is a family favorite and it is pretty great. Rules are meant to be broken when its worth it so cheers!

Other Places:

Another Family Favorite

Cheese Ball

Spaetzle

Spaetzel

The German solution to pasta night

Ingredients:

1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Large Pot salted Boiling water
2 Tablespoons Butter

Lemon wedges and parsley to garnish

Instructions:

In a large bowl sift together the flour and nutmeg and season well with salt and pepper.

Whisk the eggs together.

Whisk the eggs and milk alternatively into the flour mixture until smooth and evenly blended.

Bring a skillet to heat over medium.

Force and push the "dough" through a sieve with large holes, at least 1/2 cm diameter into boiling water. Cook for 5-8 minutes, when the little bits are floating and feel like a cooked pasta. Strain Spaetzel from water

Melt butter in the heated skillet, add the drained spaetzel and saute for 3-5 minutes, until golden.

Transfer to a serving plate, with lemon wedges and fresh chopped parsley.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Never forget the nutmeg! It is a key flavor in so many things.

Seriously.



French Cottage Pie

French Cottage Pie

I am not usually a fan of meat pie dishes, but this one is different, and proof that the French are better at food.

Ingredients:

1 Pound boneless Beef Chuck, cubed
1 Onion, quartered
1-2 Carrots, trimmed, peeled
1-2 Celery Stalks, trimmed
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Cup Chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
1-2 Bay Leaves
6 Cups Water

2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 Pound Sausage, Removed from casing, scramble fried and cooked through
1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper

2 Pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled, quartered and cooked soft.
1/2 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Cream (or more milk)
3 Tablespoons soft Butter
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Cup Gruyere Cheese

2 Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese

Instructions:

In a large stock pot or dutch oven add the cubed beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves and water. Season well with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Skimming off any foam. Reduce heat and simmer on low for 1 1/2-2 hours.

Strain and reserve the stock. Transfer the cubed beef to a cutting board and roughly chop to add texture. Discard the vegetables.

(The recipe up to this point can be done a day ahead and kept in the fridge overnight)

To prepare the pie, butter a large deep casserole dish.

Prepare the filling heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet, add the sausage and either cook through if not already done, or just heat it up. Add the roughly chopped cooked beef, roughly 1 cup of the stock from the beef, the tomato paste and season with salt and pepper. Once everything has simmered for several minutes, taste and adjust any flavors as needed. If the mixture looks dry add a little bit of extra stock. Slightly too much stock is better than too little.

Pour the meat filling into the prepared casserole dish, cover with foil and set in fridge while preparing the potatoes.

Pass the potatoes though a potato ricer, or mash well. With a wooden spoon mix in the milk, cream, and 3 tablespoons of butter. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in the shredded Gruyere cheese.

Smooth the potato over top of the meat filling in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan Cheese over top of the potato layer.

When ready to heat and serve, preheat oven to 400°F and bake for roughly 30 minutes, or until top is golden and crunchy and some sauce is bubbling at the edges.

Serve with bread and a nice green salad for a great meal.

Enjoy!

Notes:

I made these in large tart shells (roughly 4 inches wide) and froze them to have quick little tasty meals on hand. They thaw and heat, or heat from frozen pretty well so I am calling this a success.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Spicy Coleslaw






Stir Fried Corn and Leek with Fresh Basil

Stir Fried Corn and Leek with Fresh Basil

The cumin really helps balance out the natural sweetness in the corn, without adding too much heat to the finished dish.

Ingredients:

2 Cups corn (4 Ears Shucked and cleaned)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1-2 Leek Stalks, white and soft green parts only
Salt and Pepper
2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Instructions:

Heat the butter (or vegetable oil) in a skillet over medium heat.

Slice the leek, and add to the skillet and cook down until tender and slightly wilted. 3-5 minutes. Season with cumin, salt and pepper.

Add the corn and stir fry until corn is heated through and tender, only about 5-10 minutes.

Stir in the fresh basil and drizzle the lemon juice over top.

Serves roughly 4.

Enjoy!

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Homemade Cheeseburger Helper

Easy Marinated Italian Chicken with Roasted Tomato Sauce

Marinated Italian Chicken and Roasted Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1-2 Tablespoons Poultry Seasoning*
1-2 Tablespoons Pizza Spice*
2-3 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into strips

Extra Olive Oil
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Cups Fresh Tomatoes (I used a blend of different colored grape tomatoes)
2 Tablespoons Pesto
2-4 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Oregano
1 Onion, diced
1 Red Pepper
Salt
Pepper
1 Can diced Tomatoes

*Don't feel like you need to use this exact spice blend, a really strong mix of your favorite Italian seasonings will also work.

Cooked Pasta, I used linguine, to serve.
Crumbled Feta
Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Special Tools:

Food processor with a blade, blender, hand blender, this will be used to pulverize the tomatoes and red pepper into a sauce.

Instructions:

At least 15 minutes before cooking, or up to as long as the day before combine the olive oil, pizza spice and poultry seasoning in a bowl. Stir well to blend.  Add the chicken strips and turn to coat. Allow to marinate for desired amount of time. I left mine for about 2 hours in the fridge then 30 minutes on the counter before cooking and thought the marinade flavor was really nice.

When ready to cook, heat a large grill pan, or skillet, or grill to medium heat. Heat up the oven broiler. Set a sauce pan to medium heat. Begin to heat  a large pot of salted water to cook pasta.

Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to heating sauce pot, add the diced onions and season with salt and pepper. Stir and sweat onions for about 10 minutes.

Using the tip of a knife gently poke a small hole in the skin of each tomato, this will help them  not explode while broiling. Slice the red pepper into quarters. Gently toss the tomatoes and the red pepper quarters in olive oil to coat and transfer to a heavy cooking sheet. Broil until blackened and blistered on top. 8-15 minutes. Watch carefully or your smoke detector will interrupt your cooking.

After broiling the tomatoes and red pepper, transfer to the bowl of a food processor, or blender, or into a sauce pot to blend with a hand blender and pulse several times until smooth. Transfer to pot with cooking onions. Add the minced garlic, pesto, oregano leaves. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium low and simmer.

Heat oven to 350°F.

Lightly oil the skillet, grill pan or grill. Remove chicken from marinade and grill on each side for about 5-7 minutes per side, until just barely cooked through. Transfer to oven while you finish the sauce and pasta.

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on package, and number of servings needed.

Taste the sauce and adjust any seasonings.

Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce, arrange a few chicken strips over top of pasta on a plate. Garnish everything with some crumbled feta and Parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Santa Fe Ranch Dip

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Babka Muffins

Chocolate Babka Muffins

These take some time to prepare but these lovely little layered cupcakes are well worth the time.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Milk, warmed
1/2 Cup + 2 Teaspoons Sugar
3 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast
3 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Large Eggs
2-3 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoons Salt
12 Tablespoons of Butter, softened

1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Milk

6 Tablespoons Softened Butter
8 Ounces Dark Chocolate*
4 Ounces Milk Chocolate*
3 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon

1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Raspberries ** Optional **

* Or you can use 12 ounces total of whatever chocolate you want.

Instructions:

In a large bowl whisk together the warmed milk, 2 teaspoons of sugar and the yeast.  Let stand for 10 minutes. This can also be done in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

Stir in 1 cup of the flour, the eggs, vanilla, salt, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Beat until well combined. Slowly add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and blend in until a soft sticky dough forms. Blend in the cubed butter a few pieces at a time and blend for 4-5 minutes until dough is shiny and soft.

Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Grease or use paper liners in 12 muffin cups.

In the bowl of a food processor add the chocolate, sugar and cinnamon, pulse several times to smash up the chocolate into small bits. If you are using raspberries, chop them slightly as well and set aside.

Prepare a large surface for rolling and flour the area fairly well, especially in the middle.

Roll the dough out into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.  Melt the butter and spread it evenly over the rectangle. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the entire rectangle of dough. If using raspberries scatter them over the top as well.

Starting on the long side of the rectangle roll the dough up tightly into a "log" as though you were making cinnamon rolls.

Cut the log into 24 equal slices and place each slice in a prepared muffin cup. Let the babka rise for 30 minutes in the muffin tins.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Prepare the egg wash by whisking the last egg with 1 tablespoon milk. Brush lightly over the tops of each babka.

Bake the risen babka in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown on top.

Transfer to a wire rack. I like them best warm.

Enjoy!

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Coconut Curried Chicken

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Slow Cooker Balsamic Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Slow Cooked Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

Spice Rub

2 Garlic Cloves
1 Teaspoon Sage
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Glaze

1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Cup Water or Vegetable Stock
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce

Other

Tin Foil
Water or extra Stock
Bay Leaves

Instructions:

Pour enough water or stock to have about 1/2 inch of water in the slow cooker insert.

In a small bowl mash together the minced garlic and spices for the spice rub. Add the olive oil and stir to create a paste.

Rub the spice blend all over the pork tenderloin, leaving a little bit of the rub to press into the top. Place the prepared tenderloin in the slow cooker. Add a few bay leaves.

Cook on low for about 5 hours.

In a small sauce pan whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze. Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce for about 5 minutes, until thickened and like a syrup.

Remove from slow cooker and transfer to a foil lined baking sheet and turn oven to broil setting.

Glaze the tenderloin generously with the prepared sauce. Place under broiler for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven, glaze again and broil for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from oven, glaze once more, and broil for 3 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Balsamic-Basil Jelly

Strawberry Balsamic-Basil Jelly

Ingredients:

1 Package Pectin
Roughly 1 Pound Strawberries. Fresh or Frozen*, hulled** and mashed.
1/4 Cup Good Balsamic Vinegar
6 Cups Granulated White Sugar
1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil

*If using frozen, let the berries thaw a bit before starting.

**Hulling is removing the white, tough middlely-topish inside bit from the berry. Makes a smoother, sweeter jam. Just cut the top off, and scoop out the white middle stem like part of the berry.

Instructions:

In a large sauce pan, add the mixed berries and balsamic vinegar. Heat to loosen some juice from the berries for about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the pectin.

Over high heat bring the berries to a full boil. Boil hard for one minute.

Add all of the sugar and stir well.

Bring everything back to a boil. Boil hard for one minute.

Remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes. Skim off any foam from the top.

Ladle the jam into sterilized jars, make sure lip is clean, place top, and screw band on. Repeat until all the jam is in cans.

In a large pot of boiling water, process the cans for roughly 10 minutes. Remove from water bath, loosen rings to allow water to evaporate and prevent rust.

Make sure lids are sealed.

Pectin usually comes with instructions on how to process jars, or there is always google to help you out.

Sealed and jarred jelly will stay good for up to 9 months if stored in a cool dark place.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Miss busy bee is in the process of moving this summer into our first real home. So The blog is still on the back burner for now.


Thursday, 28 May 2015

Easy Cheesy Breakfast Biscuits

Breakfast Biscuits with Cheese and Sausage

Ingredients:

3 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Pound Breakfast sausage meat, cooked and crumbled
8 Ounces Aged White Cheddar Cheese, shredded (or your favorite)
1 Cup Butter Milk
Cooking Spray

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425°F

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Blend in the vegetable shortening until the mixture looks sandy and the vegetable shortening is evenly blended into the flour mixture.

Fold in the crumbled sausage and shredded cheese.

Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the milk to the well and mix gently until dough just comes together.

Spray a 9X13X2 baking dish with cooking spray and press the dough into the pan into an even layer.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are browned and tops are golden. Allow to cool in pan at least 10 minutes before cutting.

I like to serve these slightly warm.

Enjoy!

Notes:

I think a little bit of green onion would be awesome in these. I know I love green onion too much, but it really does add a nice something-I-can't-put-my-finger-on to so many savory foods.

Or cut one of these in half and put a fried egg in the center, man that would be a great breakfast!!




Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Slow Cooker Queso

Slow Cooker Queso (Spicy Cheese Sauce/Dip)

Ingredients:

16 Ounces Velveeta Cheese
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (Or more for extra heat)
2 Teaspoons Paprika
1 Teaspoon Salt
15 Ounces Chili Salsa or your favorite Salsa
1 small can Chopped Jalapenos
2 Tablespoons Chili Blend Power (or more for extra "chili" taste)
2 Teaspoons Cumin (or more for extra spice)
Juice of one Lime

Instructions:

Measure or add everything listed into your crock pot/slow cooker.  Give it a stir. Turn on low for about 2 hours or up to four hours.

Stir to blend evenly.

Sauce is now ready. Use it to dip tortilla chips in, as a sauce on tacos, or cook some pasta and make a spicy mac and cheese with it!

Enjoy!

Notes:

Miss Busy Bee would like to apologize to anyone who had been checking in frequently, and noticed my lack of blogging.  I had a lot of things come up in my life like a flu, being ill with shingles, my father passed away, I was promoted at work, I had staff problems at work, I got married and now I am trying to buy my first home with my husband.

Sorry life got in the way. But I have been starting to cook more again, and things are getting settled once again, so hopefully I wont vanish from the internet again for a while. A new recipe should be coming soon!

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Lemon Chicken Sauce

Lemon Chicken Sauce

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
1 Cup Chicken Stock
2-3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
Salt as needed

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

Instructions:

In a small bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, chicken stock and lemon juice.

Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan or skillet until quite hot.

Pour the sauce into the heated pan, whisk occasionally while heating until sauce thickens and becomes less cloudy.

Heat until reduced to desired consistency. Season with salt as needed.

Goes great with chicken, duck, or most things.

Enjoy!

Breakfast Bars

Breakfast Bars

Ingredients:

3 Cups Breakfast Cereal (Honey Nut Cheerios (2 3/4 cups)  rolled oats (1/4))
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries (Optional)
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)
1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Chocolate
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

Instructions:

Measure your cereal or blend of cereals into a large bowl, stir in the nuts and dried cranberries if using.

In a small sauce pan melt the honey, chocolate and peanut butter together until melted smooth.

Grease a 9X9 sqaure pan with cooking spray.

Pour the melted honey, chocolate and peanut butter mixture over the cereal and stir everything well. Press into the prepared pan, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge until set, 2-3 hours.

Cut into squares, and keep covered.

Enjoy!


Monday, 16 March 2015

Fluffy Frosting

Fluffy Frosting

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Water
1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tarter
1 Cup White Sugar
2 Egg Whites
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

In a small sauce pan whisk together the water, sugar and cream of tarter. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture starts to bubble slightly.

While the sugar is dissolving, using electric beaters whisk the egg whites and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. First the egg whites will get light and fluffy with many small bubbles. Continue whisking until the egg whites are white, have thickened and when you lift the beaters small peaks form and stay standing.

While continuing to beat with the electric mixer, slowly add in the sugar syrup while it is still warm. Continue to beat until frosting is white and fluffy. About 7-10 minutes of extra beating.

Frost cake or cupcakes or brownies, or cookies as desired.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Also known as, Boiled Frosting!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Brownies

I know I don't usually do my recipes with the measurements in grams, but after trying an awful lot of different brownie recipes, it just works out better with everything measured this way.

Ingredients:

185 g Dark Chocolate, broken into small pieces
185 g Butter
85 g Flour
40 g Unsweetened Coco Powder
100 g Chocolate Chips (Optional)
100 g Walnuts/mixed nuts (Optional, I never use nuts)
3 Eggs
275 g Brown Sugar
3-4 g Baking Powder
2 g Salt

Cooking Spray

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly butter or grease a 8-9 inch square baking dish and set aside.

Set a small pan of water on the stove to boil. In a medium to large stainless steel or glass bowl, add the broken chocolate and butter.  Place the bowl with the chocolate and butter over the pot of simmering water and gently melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, coco power, salt, and baking powder. Add the chocolate chips and shake to blend in.

After 5 minutes, beat in the sugar until smooth and even.

Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is glossy.

Fold the sifted flour mixture into the chocolate, stirring until everything just comes together and there is no dry flour pockets left in the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and gently smooth into an even layer in the dish.

Bake in heated oven for 35-45 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the baking dish and the middle doesn't jiggle or feel squishy when VERY GENTLY touched. Should feel like a spongey cake with a nice crisp crust over top.

Allow to cool in baking dish for about 10 minutes before trying to cut.

Serve as is, or with chocolate sauce, or frosting.

Enjoy!




Thursday, 26 February 2015

Roasted Tomato Garlic and Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

4-6 Large Tomatoes
4-5 Cloves Fresh Garlic
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
About 2-3 Tablespoons shredded fresh basil leaves
1/2 Cup Stock or water

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Slice the tomatoes about 1 centimeter thick, and arrange on the baking sheet. Peel the garlic and place on the sheet with the tomatoes.

Lightly season with salt and drizzle with olive oil. If you want you can turn and toss the tomato slices and garlic on the pan a bit to coat them better in the olive oil.

Roast in heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until browned and slightly reduced in size.

Allow everything to cool for about 10 minutes.

Transfer everything to a blender, scraping everything off the pan.

Pour a couple tablespoons of the stock onto the pan, and scrape off any well browned bits, and "deglaze" the pan. Transfer everything possible to the blender.

Add the fresh basil, and season with salt and pepper. Pulse several times in the blender with the lid securely on until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, or if the consistency isn't right add more stock to thin it out and pulse again, or add a few breadcrumbs to thicken the soup if it gets too thin.

Serve hot or cold or freeze for later.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre

Ingredients:

4-6 Quality Beef fillet like Fillet Mignon or Tenderloin or your choice
Olive Oil
Butter
Pepper (Fresh Cracked if possible)
Salt
3/4 Cups minced Pearl Onions, Shallots, or Onions
1-2 Cups Beef Broth
1/2 Cup Brandy or Cognac

Instructions:

Twenty minutes before cooking remove the steak from the fridge and let it rest on the counter to warm up a bit.

While the steak is resting, heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.

To prepare the steak, pat each fillet dry with kitchen towels and season with salt.  Press the fresh cracked black pepper into all sides of each fillet.

Heat about 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and butter in the skillet until almost smoking.

Add the steaks to the pan and cook for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, turn steaks and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Remove steaks from pan and transfer to a platter. Cover tightly with tin foil. The steaks should be about medium rare when time to serve.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and add the minced onions. Saute until soft and lightly cooked.  Add the beef broth and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the brandy or cognac and cook for about 2-4 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and swirl in about 1 tablespoon butter.

Serve the steaks with the sauce poured lightly over the top and if desired, garnish with fresh chopped parsley for some color.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Seriously one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. Paying for really good quality steaks made all the difference.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Crepe Batter

Crepes

Ingredients:

2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Rum
1 Teaspoon Lemon or Orange Zest
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Water
1 Cup Flour
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Butter for frying

Instructions:

Heat a skillet to medium heat and add the two tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter and continue to cook until bubbly, and just turning brown. remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

In a blender combine the eggs, rum, lemon or orange zest, milk, water, flour and vanilla.

Add the slightly cooled browned butter to the blender and pulse for about 15 seconds until just combined.

Chill batter in fridge for at least one hour, or over night.

To cook, heat a skillet over medium heat.

Melt about 1/2 Teaspoon butter in the skillet and add about 1/4 Cup batter. Swirl the batter to thinly coat the entire bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, carefully turn over and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Fill or serve with bananas, chocolate, berry sauces, whipped cream, maple syrup, cream cheese, mascapone cheese or whatever you can dream of.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 + Cup flour (You might a few extra tablespoons depending on what peanut butter you use)
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Peanut Butter
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs, beaten
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup chocolate chips (I am very generous with this amount when I make them)

*sometimes I add a little bit less white sugar and make it up some with honey and cinnamon, yummy*

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

In a medium bowl cream together the Peanut butter, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs, set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar-egg mix stirring thoroughly with each new addition of flour. Stir in  the chocolate chips.

The dough should be pretty stiff now and not too sticky when you handle it. If it is still not malleable, stir in more flour. Once you are happy with the consistency of your dough, Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.

Spoon and drop it on to your un-greased cookie sheet, or roll it into balls that are about one inch in diameter and place either the spooned or rolled cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

Bake for roughly 12 minutes, and allow cookies to sit on the hot pan out of the oven for an additional two minutes before moving the cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. As I said above I do recommend putting the dough into the fridge in between baking rounds, if like myself you do not have a massive oven, because this recipe makes a good pile of cookies at the end.

Enjoy!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Sourdough Bread Recipe

Sourdough Bread

Ingredients:

5/8 Cup water
3/4 Teaspoon Dry Active Yeast (Unless you have a well aged starter mine is still very new)
1 Cup Sour Dough Starter
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
2 1/4 - 2 1/2 Cups Flour

Cooking Spray

Butter

Instructions:

Dissolve the yeast into the water in the mixing bowl of a stand-mixer.

Using the Dough Hook attachment stir in the sour dough starter.

Sift together the flour and salt.

Add about 1 1/2 Cups of the sifted salt and flour blend to the bowl and beat with the dough hook on stir for a few minutes. Add the remaining flour blend in small amounts until a the dough pulls into the center and looks pretty smooth and is tacky, but not too sticky.

Lightly oil a bowl with the cooking spray and turn the dough into the greased ball. Cover with a warm damp clean kitchen towel and set to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2-2 hours, until about double in size.

Turn out risen dough on lightly floured work surface and knead gently for about a minute. Shape into a sandwich loaf or round ball.

Butter the loaf pan of your choice, either a traditional loaf or a round pyrex or other small round bake-ware also makes nice loaves.

Set the shaped dough into the prepared pans and let rise about 1 1/2 hours, or in the fridge over night.

Heat the oven to 450 °F . Once the oven is heated place the loaf in, or take the loaf out of the fridge for 1 hour, before heating the oven and then baking it.

Bake the loaf at for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 400 °F and bake for an additional 20-35 minutes, until golden toasted on the top.

Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before trying to slice it.

Enjoy!

Notes:

This was a dream come true! Ever since I read The Little House on the Prairie Books and how they made a sourdough starter to make bread before there was a town around them to buy things at. Sorry but I just don't know enough about trying to maintain my starter yet to try and share how to do it, but google is a very helpful place to get started.

Also worth noting, I tried the sourdough bread recipe from Emeril Lagasse and had terrible results. . . Maybe it might work better for you but I pretty much got a brick instead of bread after trying that recipe.

Side note I am unwell, and typing is and working with pictures is pretty unpleasant right now, so sloppy blogging for a few days until I till feel better, then I will fix and touch things up a bit. This bread recipe was just too yummy to lose before I saved it.


Saturday, 31 January 2015

Slow Cooker Ginger Beef and Vegetables

Ginger Beef and Vegetables

Ingredients:

1/2-3/4 Pounds Beef Steak (Cheap Cut)
1 Onion
3-5 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 Cups Beef or vegetable stock
3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Inches Ginger Root
Pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
1-2 Tablespoons Honey
1-2 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
1-2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1 Cup Mixed diced Veggies*

3 Tablespoons Water
3 Tablespoons Corn Starch

Sliced Green Onions, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

*Try a mix of diced bell peppers, broccoli, edamame, corn, peas, mushrooms, celery, carrots, etc or just pick your favorite veggie.

Instructions:

Lightly mist the insert of the slow cooker with cooking spray.

Finely dice or mince the onion, ginger root and garlic, add to the slow cooker and turn to high while we prep everything else. Season well with pepper.

In a small bowl whisk together the broth, with the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, honey, sesame oil, and rice vinegar.

Slice the steak into 1 inch cubes or the size of your choice. Arrange the sliced beef over the onions, ginger root, and garlic in the slow cooker. Season with pepper.

Pour the sauce into the slow cooker. Place the lid on, and cook on low for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-3 hours.

Add the diced mixed veggies and cook for about an additional hour, until veggies are tender.

In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch and water. Stir into the slow cooker and cover and cook for an additional 10-20 minutes.

Serve over cooked rice or noodles with sliced green onion and sesame seeds sprinkled over top as garnish.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Baked Italian Salmon



Home-made Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie Filling

Ingredients:

4-6 Good sized Apples
1/4 Cup Honey or Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Ginger powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Instructions:

Peel and roughly dice the apples, I like small cubes but some people prefer slices or larger chunks. The cut is up to you

Add the chopped and peeled apples to a large pot and gently splash the lemon juice over the top to prevent excess browning. Turn the heat up to medium and add the honey or brown sugar and the spices.  Cover the pot and allow the apples to gently cook, stirring occasionally for 20-40 minutes. Depending on how large you cut the apples, less time for small bits, more for larger obviously.

Once the apples are just becoming tender, turn off the heat.  Set up a strainer with a large bowl under neath it. Strain the cooked apples into the strainer and reserve the pot drippings that collect in the bowl.

The apples are now ready to be used as pie filling.

For an extra kick of flavor, you can pour the pan drippings back into a pot and reduce until it becomes a syrup. This syrup can then be poured over the apples before placing on the top layer of the pie, or if you are doing a lattice crust you can pour the syrup over the lattice right before baking to infuse the lattice crust with more flavor.

Enjoy!

Notes:

You might be needing a recipe for a Pie Crust as well.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Spicy Taco Mac n' Cheese

Friday, 23 January 2015

Pantry Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

(Listed per serving, so multiply everything by the number of people you are serving)

1 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Milk

2-3 Tablespoons Sweetened Condensed Milk
Pinch Salt
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coco Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions:

In a sauce pan large enough, combine the 2 tablespoons milk with the 2 tablespoons unsweetened coco powder, and a pinch of salt. Heat over a medium low temperature until the coco completely dissolves into the milk and everything looks smooth and wonderful.

Add the sweetened condensed milk, cup of normal milk and whisk everything well to blend.

Heat to desired temperature and serve, or. . .

Use an immersion blender to make it more frothy.

Also ,mini marshmallows are optional.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Winter on an island in the North Atlantic is less fun in winter. . .  lots of snow and ice and cold. . . Thank goodness for hot food and drinks.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

Roughly 3 Pounds diced Chicken (Raw, Breast or thigh work well)
4-6 Cloves Garlic
1-2 Onions
1 Inch Ginger Root
2-3 Tablespoons Garam Masala
2-6 Tablespoons Curry Powder*
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Paprika
2 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper
Roughly 6 ounces Tomato Paste
Roughly 14 ounces Light Coconut Milk
Butter (2-4 Tablespoons)

Sesame seeds
Green onions, sliced

Cooked Rice to serve

*The amount you need of curry powder varies a lot from blend to blend. So I would suggest starting with about 2 tablespoons of curry powder and then tasting at the end of cooking to see if you need more.  More heat can also be added with extra Cumin or Cayenne Pepper, and more complexity with paprika and maybe some extra curry blend or a mustard powder. Tasting and adjusting is very important especially with a slow cooked meal.

Instructions:

Set the slow cooker to high and begin to prep the ingredients.

Grease/Butter the inside of the slow cooker insert with butter, focusing on the bottom and the first 2-3 inches up in the slow cooker.

Finely dice the onion, I used one fist sized onion, but you might want to use two small ones, or if you really like onion two fairly good sized ones.  Add the diced onion to the warming slow cooker.

Finely mince the garlic and ginger root and add to the slow cooker. Season with about 2 tablespoons garam marsama, 2-3 tablespoons curry blend powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper. Season everything well with salt and pepper. Cover and let it be for a few minutes.

Dice the chicken into small cubes about 2cmX2cm, or just cut into small chunks. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Stir the coconut milk and tomato paste into the slow cooker. Add the chicken and stir so all the chicken is coated or covered in the sauce.

Cook for 3-5 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low.

Stir the Butter chicken and serve over cooked rice and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion.

Also goes pretty great with Naan Bread on the side.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Wont lie, did not have much hope for this recipe, It was supposed to be a healthy butter chicken, and this still sort of is but the recipe I got the inspiration from literally only had 2 teaspoons (!) of curry powder to season this whole recipe. That is just not enough! So I greatly increased the spice content, and the number of spiced involved, and the inspiration recipe also called for almost a half cup of flour to be added. . .  and my sauce turned out nice and thick without the addition of the un-needed flour. So I think I managed to improve on this idea of a recipe. Plus this version tastes just about as good as the Indian restaurant I go to in town and even better than the pre-made butter chicken spice pack I had been using until tonight. This is my dinner and my lunch tomorrow. It is deadly. Man friend also agrees with deadly classification.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Cookie Crust Cheese Cakes! (YUMMY)



Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Steamed Pork Buns

Steamed Pork Buns


Wont lie, these were a fair bit of work, but it was totally worth it in the end!


Ingredients:

Bun Dough

1 Tablespoon Dry Active Yeast
1 Teaspoon Sugar
1/4 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Warm Water

1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Warm Water
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil Plus Extra to coat dough

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Filling

1/2 Pound Pork loin, ground or you can fry a whole cutlet and chop it after

Marinade

2-4 Cloves Garlic
2-3 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
2-3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
2-3 Tablespoons Ketchup
2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1-2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Mirin
2-3 Tablespoons Chinese Five Spice Powder

Other:

Large Lettuce or cabbage leaves to create a nice base to steam the buns upon.

Special Tools:

Bamboo steamer, or another steamer large enough to give the buns about an inch of space apart and about 2 inches of rise room above.

Optional: 

Red Food Coloring*

*To make it look more like the take out buns. I do not bother adding fake color to my food ever. This is also why I have no recipe for anything "red velvet" flavor, because the plain chocolate version is always better. Boooooo to extra food coloring. But if you want it, feel free to do what you like in your own kitchen

Instructions:

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Finely mince or grate the garlic and stir in the rice vinegar, Hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, honey, mirin(Or white sugar), and the Chinese Five Spice. Stir well to mix evenly. Stir in the food coloring if you want to.

Reserve about 1/4 Cup of the marinade sauce and set in the fridge for the time being.

Marinade the pork in the remaining marinade mixture for at least 3 hours, or overnight.

In a large bowl stir together the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1/4 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of warm water. Set aside and allow the yeast to activate for 30 minutes.

Sift together the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour with the salt, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

After the yeast has activated for 30 minutes stir in the sifted flour mixture along with the 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth, elastic and evenly blended together. This takes at least 5 minutes but usually closer to 10 minutes.

Lightly oil the surface of the dough ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel that has been soaked in water and wrung out. Set to rise for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

While the dough is rising, cook the pork loin. I used pork chops, and quick fried them in my cast iron skillet on the stove, and then chopped the cooked pork chops into small bits. But if you used ground pork, you can drain off the excess marinade and scramble fry the pork in a skillet. Either way you want to end up with marinaded meat that is fully cooked at the end!

After the dough has risen, uncover and gently punch down the center of the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and flatten gently. Sprinkle the baking powder over top of the dough and knead for 5 minutes.

Set up your steamer and bring it to a rolling boil. Ensure that about 1-2 inches of water remain in the water pot at all times while steaming.

Divide the dough in half. Cover the half that is not being worked with with the damp kitchen towel.

Divide the dough half into 8-10 ping-pong ball sized sections. Flatten each section in your hand into a small disk, add about 1/2-1 tablespoon of filling to center of the dough, and fold the edges up. So you have a smooth bottom and then on top arrange the edges into a star or flower kind of pattern and pinch well to seal.

Finish filling the remaining divided sections.

Line the bottom of the steamer basket with lettuce or cabbage leaves. Arrange the buns on top of the leaves leaving 1-2 inches between each bun. Steam with the lid on for 15 minutes.

Repeat dividing, filling and steaming procedure with the second half of the dough.

Prepared buns can be kept warm in a barely heated oven until all the buns are cooked.

Enjoy!

Notes:

There is something that just feels right about a home made Chinese feast in January. I know it is a weird kind of tradition to have but it is one that works well for me. Plus my friends who were invited to join me also weren't complaining.

Other Places:

Goes well with

Fried Rice

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Chicken Schnitzel

Chicken Schnitzel

Simple, traditional and so yummy.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Prepared Dijon Mustard
2 Eggs
3-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Cup Flour
1-2 Cups Panko Crumbs
Salt
Pepper
Vegetable Oil
Butter
Parsley
Lemon wedges

Instructions:

Pound the chicken breasts until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl whisk together egg and Dijon mustard. On a plate spread out the flour, and on another plate spread out the panko crumbs.

Line a large platter with parchment paper.

Dredge the chicken in the flour, then the egg mixture and then press into panko crumbs to evenly coat. Place prepared breasts on the tray lined with parchment paper until all the breasts are prepared. Seasoning everything once more with salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add some vegetable oil and allow the oil to heat as well. Swirl about 1 tablespoon of butter into the pan until melted.

Fry two breasts at a time in the prepared skillet for about 5-7 minutes a side, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a platter and keep warm in the oven until all the breasts are cooked.

Serve hot, with parsley as a garnish and a fresh lemon wedge.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Also makes a great alternative to a chicken burger for a sandwich for lunch the next day.

Other Places:

What was cooking one year ago?

Chicken Pomodoro Casserole

No Knead Peasant Bread

Peasant Bread

Been seeing this recipe kicking around on Buzzfeed and some other cooking blogs, people do seem to swear by their simple no knead bread recipes, so thought I would also give one a try.

Original Recipe:

http://www.alexandracooks.com/2012/11/07/my-mothers-peasant-bread-the-best-easiest-bread-you-will-ever-make/

Followed the recipe to the letter, except I only made a half loaf this time because I am a little short on flour at the moment.

Ingredients: (Small 6 inch loaf)

2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Teaspoons Dry Active Yeast
2 Teaspoons Sugar
1 Cup Warm Water

Butter

Instructions:

Dissolve the sugar into the warm water and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Allow the yeast to proof for 10 minutes until foamy and bubbly, if the yeast doesn't foam then it is dead, try again or else you wont get any rise in the bread.

Sift together the flour and the salt, once the yeast has proofed add the flour to the yeast and stir with a fork until the dough pulls into a small ball and away from the edges of the bowl. Cover wth a clean, damp tea towel and allow to rise for about 1 hour.

After one hour, preheat oven to 425°F.

Stab the center of the dough ball with a fork, and then turn and lift all around the dough, trying to basically turn it over on itself. 

Butter a six inch round bake-able bowl or casserole dish, or line a pizza stone with parchment paper to make a real peasant loaf. Peasant didn't have spare bowls or baking dishes so bread was baked on flat stones or in a wood oven. Baking the bread on a pizza stone makes it very similar to the bread I had when I went to visit a "Living" Historical fort back in Cape Breaton. 

Turn the risen dough into the baking dish or transfer it onto the pizza stone. Cover with the damp tea towel and allow to rise another 20-30 minutes.

Bake the twice risen dough in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 375°F. Continue baking for an additional 15-20 minutes, until top of dough is golden-toasted and the dough sounds hollow when tapped.

Turn the bread out onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve warm with butter for best results.

Enjoy!

Notes:

Made this last night for dinner with my friends and they literally ate the entire loaf in one sitting. I would say that makes this a keeper.

Other Places:

Other bread recipes:

White Bread

Grandma's Bread