Archive for June, 2009

A Break for a Little Bit

June 21, 2009

The weather gave us a little break last night and we had time for a cookout.  The gkids have been bugging me for one and I have been interested in trying out the new “weenie burning sticks”.  You know how you see something and buy it because you think its a neat idea??  Usually they don’t work the way you think they ought to….believe it or not these did.

IMG_1514With the “hooks” facing backwards, they hung on to hot dogs, so none lost in the fire or dropped on the way to the “bun handler”    They even hang onto burnt marshmallows

It was really nice to sit around the fire last night.

IMG_1512I kinda made today easier.  We have had Severe Thunderstorm Watch/Warning and have them till later this evening.  We have had rain, hail and very loud and close thunder boomers.  I have rescued Molly from under the bed twice now.  She seems to be really little to get under there, but must grow while she is there.  Don’t know if this pic shows or not….but the hail and rain where bouncing off the road and driveway.

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Today is suppose to be the last day of the rain for awhile.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Scones and Boredom

June 20, 2009

 I was really bored this morning.  My Honey is moving bases, so not IMing  this morning and the weather still stinks.  So I was poking through my favorite blogs and found myself with the Repressed Pastry Chef reading her post on the Ina Garten”s Orange Cranberry Scones.  They looked good and why not???  Here is the recipe.

From the Food Network site

Ingredients

nocoupons

  • 4 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 4 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix 4 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt and orange zest. Add the cold butter and mix at the lowest speed until the butter is the size of peas. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and, with the mixer on low speed, slowly pour into the flour and butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough will look lumpy! Combine the dried cranberries and 1/4 cup of flour, add to the dough, and mix on low speed until blended.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it into a ball. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see small bits of butter in the dough. Keep moving the dough on the floured board so it doesn’t stick. Flour a 3-inch round plain or fluted cutter and cut circles of dough. Place the scones on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Collect the scraps neatly, roll them out, and cut more circles.

Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are fully baked. The scones will be firm to the touch. Allow the scones to cool for 15 minutes and then whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice, and drizzle over the scones

Ok….I find my dried cranberries, but orange juice and an orange for zest…..Oh no.  With Gkids around orange juice doesn’t stay around long, to say nothing of real oranges.  Ok….so what else do I have.  MIL brought me a few limes.   Hhmmm.  OMG….I have a little bit of dried mango.  Ok…I will try that.  And I was pleasantly surprised.

IMG_1508I used my food processor to mix it all and it does make a ton.  I got 2 1/2 dozen scones and I agree with RPC….it is a great basic scones recipe to use with whatever you happen to have in the pantry.  Well I definitely know what I am going to have for breakfast.

My Newest Favorite Cookbook

June 20, 2009

Is the rain ever going to stop???  The storms move in…

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Then they move out just long enough for the kids to burn all that white skin.

IMG_1497And then in less than a day….they move back in.

IMG_1499Good thing I got most of the mowing done yesterday because as I type I hear raindrops on the chimney cap.  I guess it’s good for the grass and this is the first time in a very long time that we have been nomal on the US Drought Monitor.  I am just not looking forward to the time when it does dry out and summer gets here…hey, thats tomorrow…and fire season starts.  Well, guess we will cross that bridge when we get there.  But anyway…favorite cookbook…

IMG_1506Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois have done a wonderful job of coming up with a method and recipes for busy people.  You make a no knead dough, throw it in the refridgerator over night and then take what you need, make a loaf, let it sit for a few while the oven heats up, in the oven and then out comes the crunchiest crusted and softest inside bread I have ever had or made.  (And I made alot in my “ranch cook” days.)

IMG_1502I started with the basic recipe as instructed…so unlike me.  But instead of just making one loaf….I wanted taste tests….so I used all the dough.

IMG_1501The instructions call for making the loaf and then placing it on a pizza peel to rise and then sliding it onto a baking stone.  Well, had the pizza peel but stone???  Did have a stone cookie sheet in the back of the cupboard from a long ago Pampered Chef party.  I ended up transferring the dough with my size large by huge spatula for two reasons.  The high sides on the cookie sheet didn’t make for a smooth transfer and the cookie sheet didn’t have enough room for all four of the loaves.  But do yourself a favor if you decide to get the book.  Pick up a baking stone if you don’t already have one.  Of course I may try baking a loaf without one and left you know how it works.

IMG_1504Well, we have a Flood Warning and a Flash Flood Watch issued by the Weather Service.  Most of it is for the Snake River north of us.  We will be fine here, unless an overactive gopher digs through and we have a ditch breech.  We have had 3.5 inches of rain since the 1st of June, so not unexpected.

Ina….I owe ya one

June 16, 2009

Decided I wanted to make chocolate ice cream.  About that time the Barefoot Contessa came on TV with her Deeply Chocolate Gelato recipe.  Holy cow.  It is to die for.  My Honey will think he died and went to heaven.  I sure did.  Here is her recipe…word for word.  I did make a couple of changes.

DEEPLY CHOCOLATE GELATO

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (recommended: Pernigotti)
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican coffee flavor liqueur (recommended: Kahlua)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Large pinch kosher salt
  • 8 chocolates, roughly chopped, optional (recommended: Baci)

Directions

Heat the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.

Place the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. A candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees F. Don’t allow the mixture to boil!

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the coffee liqueur, vanilla, and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.

Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Stir in the roughly chopped chocolate, if using, and freeze in covered containers. Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving.

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I used Penzey’s high fat cocoa along with homemade Kahlua.  I omitted the candy, but next time there are soooo many choices of what to add.  Anything from the candy to brownies to red raspberries. 

IMG_1496Today was the first day in forever that we didn’t get any rain.  Girlie and I worked outside most of the afternoon and did a bunch of odds and ends.  And look what we found.

IMG_1493What a beautiful day.  And hoping for many more.

Apple Cake and More Rain

June 15, 2009

Gee…imagine that.  Rain off and on yesterday and its getting cloudy here already this morning.  But I did finally hear from BrazenBites and her computer is fixed.  So she  is taking it back to Portland with her and should be back on line shortly.  I am looking forward to that.  I have missed her.

The race was ok yesterday.  Tony finished in the top ten, but really didn’t get to watch it like I wanted.  My brother-in-law showed up and needed a free shrink.  I guess cake makes life better.

APPLE CAKE WITH CARAMEL SAUCE

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the dish
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the dish
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans
2 1/4  teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325° F.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the butter and the granulated and brown sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. The batter should be very thick. Stir in the apples, pecans, and vanilla. Scrape the batter into a buttered and floured 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes while you make the Caramel Glaze, if using.

With a spatula, loosen the sides of the cake. If you want to remove it from the pan, invert it onto a baking sheet, then invert it again, right-side up, onto a platter. With a toothpick or fork, poke holes all over the surface. Pour on the warm sauce. Serve warm or at room temperature, with ice cream, if desired.

Caramel Glaze

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the granulated and brown sugars and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

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I have seen this recipe all over the Internet, so don’t really know where to give kudos.  This is a great moist cake.  It is a wonderful option for people who would like a change from chocolate.  Whoever they may be. 

Made wonderful chocolate ice cream too.  More on that later.

And More of the Same

June 13, 2009

IMG_1487Okay….Uncle.  I had made up my mind to go to the Farmers Market in town today.  After all…no grandkids…they were at a wedding.  I had no sooner logged out of instant messaging with my Honey and BAM.  It looked like this in less than an hour.  Granted the ground is soaked, but I didn’t have any puddles.

IMG_1488Ok…tomorrow I promise to get out of this rain soaked funk and get to baking tomorrow.  It’s NASCAR Sunday so why not stay in and bake.  Can watch the TV from the kitchen.

Still Raining

June 13, 2009

The grandkids wanted a cookout last night, but…….  Rain…its been the story of our lives for forever seems like.  Ok…..maybe a sunny summer dessert will help.  Hey….can’t hurt.

TRIPLE LAYER LEMON PIE

2 cups cold milk

2 pkgs (4-serving size) lemon flavored INSTANT pudding

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 pre-made graham cracker crust

1 8 oz container of whipped topping

2 cups minature marshmallows

2 tbsp milk

Pour 2 cups milk into bowl, add dry mixes and juice.  Beat until well blended and thick.  Spread 1 1/2 cups pudding into bottom of crust.  Add half of the topping to remaining pudding and stir until blended.  Spread over pudding in bottom of crust.  Place marshmallows and remaining milk in microwave bowl and microwave on high until melted.  Let cool and combine with remaining whipped topping.  Spread over pudding mixture and refrigerate until set.

That’s more or less the original recipe from the Jello&Cool Whip Summer Desserts.  Of course I had to change things a bit.  Daughter #2 brought me cook and serve pudding.  So….cooked pudding and used it more or less the same way, but only used one box.  I added lemon zest to the mix before cooking too.

IMG_1486Of course it didn’t come out as pretty as the picture in the magazine, but sure tasted good.  I’m not much of a pudding/jello user, but the marshmallows seemed to have made this very interesting.

Well, heres hoping for better weather.  Not looking so good for today.

Mozzarella Balls

June 11, 2009

Nothing like moth balls.   Got fresh mozzarella pearls and covered them with Italian sausage and baked at 350 for about 30 min.  Made a simple tomato sauce and poured over angel hair pasta….YUM

IMG_1480I used about 1.5 lbs of bulk Italian sausage.  Just the regular…not the hot.  That may be next time.  It made 2 dozen little balls.  The “pearls” are 2 1/2 grams according to the packaging.

I sauteed onions, minced garlic and some yellow pepper, then added a can of diced tomatoes and sliced mushrooms.  Salt and Italian seasoning to taste and let it simmer most of the moisture out.  If you get side tracked and it gets a little dry….add some of the pasta water.  Add the mozzarella balls and pour over pasta.  Just the thing for a rainy gray day.

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They would also be great for a snack without the sauce.

My Favorite Brownie Recipe…For Now

June 8, 2009

I am slowly getting back to normal and have seen this recipe in some of my favorite blogs.  They are doing the TWD thing and this is the recipe from a couple of weeks ago.  Holy cow is it ever good.

CHIPSTER TOPPED BROWNIES

Brownie layer:

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

3 oz unsweetened chocolate

2 sticks butter

1 2/3 c sugar

4 eggs

1/2 t salt

1/2 t vanilla

1 cup flour

1 cup chopped pecans

Melt chocolates and butter together in double boiler until shiny.  Beat eggs and sugar until pale and creamy.  Beat in salt and vanilla.  Slowly add chocolate mixture.  Then add flour just until mixed.  Fold in nuts my hand.  Put batter in 9 X 13 butter and paper-lined pan.

Cookie Dough Layer:

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 sticks softened butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips

Whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.  Cream together sugars and butter until smooth and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time until combined.  Beat in vanilla.  Add dry ingredients until just mixed and then add chips.  Drop dough by spoonfuls on top of brownie dough and then spread with spatula.  Bake 50-55 min at 350.  Let cool and then cut into bars.IMG_1473These are to die for.  My favorite….for now anyway.

And Sunday my driver got his first win as a driver/owner. 

cup_poc_high_winner_145x93Congrats Tony Stewart and everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing.  Ain’t nobody deserved this win anymore than y’all.

Neither Rain nor……

June 6, 2009

Oh yeah.   The swingset is a big hit.  It’s rained most of the day here and they haven’t been off of it for very long.

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Decided to make cupcakes today.  Good kid food.  Settled on chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting.  Everyone has their very own favorite chocolate cake recipe, even if it is from a box and the frosting recipe is courtesy of Ina Garten.

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

5 Tbsp softened butter

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup heavy cream

Combine together all ingredients but cream.  Add cream and whip until light and fluffy. 

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Easy enough and very good.  Well, here’s hoping the sun shines tomorrow.  If it doesn’t pretty soon all the seeds are going to rot.