Monday, October 31, 2011

Bloomin' Onion Bread

Bloomin' Onion Bread

1 loaf sour dough bread (best if round)
1 lb jack cheese sliced
1/2 C sliced green onions
1/4 C melted butter

Slice bread in a crisscross pattern leaving about and inch to an inch and a half between slices.  Place bread on tin foil on cookie sheet.  Stuff slices of cheese between every bread slice, getting it in deep. Topping it with the onions and stuffing them down deep also.  Drizzle the melted butter over top of the cheese and onions.  Wrap in tin foil and bake at 400 until cheese is melted and bread is warm through. Approximately 15-20 minutes.

**My friend Suzette made this for me and I was in love. Thanks Suz!
**This pic is obviously before it was baked.  I couldn't stop eating it long enough to get a picture after the cheese was melted.
**Great to accompany any meal, especially soups!



1 1/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
2 C chocolate chips

Cream together sugars, butter, and shortening.  Add eggs one at a time and beat until fluffy.  Add baking soda, salt, and vanilla.  Add flour and mix until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips. Make golf ball size balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and freeze solid. Once solid, they can be stored in a zip lock baggie.

When ready to bake, line a muffin tin with paper liners. Place frozen cookie balls in muffin tin and bake at 350 for 15 min or so until golden on the outside and ooey gooey in the middle. Immediately take paper liner off and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

**This is Breanna's famous chocolate chip/m&m cookie recipe! When Josie requested a cookie pie for her birthday dinner, I recalled Breanna telling me about her Cazookie.  I was doing it for Josie and wasn't at all excited about the dessert. HOLY COW! So dang good!  Now I have 20 frozen cookie balls in my freezer, ready for when I need a Cazookie!
**Also, to make serving quick and easy, I pre-froze scoops of ice cream in a muffin tin and then we just popped them out.  It was awesome!
**The picture doesn't do it justice at all, next time I'll cut into it so you can see. Mmm!

**New Huge Version:
4 inch ramekins
1/2 C cookie dough balls frozen
Bake at 350 for 27 minutes
Serve with ice cream on the side.

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Sandwiches

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Sandwiches


1 cup butter, softened 
1 and 1/2 c sugar 
2 eggs 
1 t vanilla (I use Mexican vanilla but any kind will work) 
2 and 3/4 c flour 
2 t cream of tartar 
1 t baking soda 
1/2 tsp salt 
t cinnamon and 3 T sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Stir dry ingredients together in separate bowl and add to creamed mixture. Chill for 20-30 min. Roll into Tablespoon size balls and then toss in the cinnamon/sugar mixture, coating the dough evenly. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned but soft.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin  
1/4 c brown sugar 
1/2 c powdered sugar 
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth. Adjust powdered sugar to taste and texture. (It is kind of nice when it isn't too sweet, so you can taste the pumpkin better!)  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Remove from fridge, spoon about 1 T of cream cheese onto the flat side of the cookie. Press another cookie onto the cream cheese to make a sandwich.  Put in a container to store in the refrigerator.  For some reason they are better a bit chilled!

** This is the same as my other Snickerdoodle recipe, but when I do the sandwiches I cut back on the flour a bit so they are chewier, but not as pretty!
**We also like making really small sandwiches, about a teaspoon of dough per cookie. Super cute and tiny!
**Adapted from The Stirring Place

Corn Muffins

Corn Muffins 
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces) 
1 cup fine-ground, whole-grain yellow cornmeal (4 1/2 ounces) 
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder  
1 teaspoon baking soda  
1/2 teaspoon table salt  
2 large eggs  
3/4 cup granulated sugar (5 1/4 ounces) 
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted 
3/4 cup sour cream  
1/2 cup milk
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine; set aside. Whisk eggs in second medium bowl until well combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar to eggs; whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition. Add half the sour cream and half the milk and whisk to combine; whisk in remaining sour cream and milk until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; mix gently with rubber spatula until batter is just combined and evenly moistened. Do not over-mix. Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide batter evenly among muffin cups, dropping it to form mound. Do not level or flatten surface of mounds.  Sprinkle with sugar for a crunchy top. About a Tablespoon per muffin!

Bake until muffins are light golden brown and skewer inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in tin 5 minutes; invert muffins onto wire rack, stand muffins upright, cool 5 minutes longer, and serve warm. With Honey Butter!

**Adapted from America's Test Kitchen
** I feel like 18 minutes is too long and dries them out.  15-16 minutes in my oven is just perfect!
**Perfect combo with any chili or fall soup!

Pea Pot Pie

Pea Pot Pie

Monette's Pie Crust
1 C diced, sauteed onions
1 C diced, cooked carrots
1 C frozen peas, thawed
1 C frozen corn (petite, white), thawed
2 C diced, cooked potatoes
3 C cooked, diced chicken
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 t chicken bouillon granules
2 C milk

Prepare vegetables and place in a large bowl or pot.  Melt butter in saucepan and whisk in flour.  Cook for 1 minutes.  Add bouillon granules and milk (or half and half if you like it really creamy), cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  Pour over vegetables and stir to mix sauce in.  Place in a 9 x 13 pan or other casserole dish that can fit all the vegetables.  Roll out pie crust recipe and top pan. Cutting vents for steam.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until crust is golden.

**My kids love this, and it's called Pea Pot Pie because that is what Grayson called it when he was 2 and it stuck.  They always wish there was more crust, but I'm trying to keep it a bit healthy and the crust is the unhealthy part.  You can take out or add any vegetables you like, keeping the quantity around 8-9 C before the sauce goes in.
**I have only made it when the filling is warm, so there isn't much cooking or warming up of the inside, just the crust.  So if you prepare it before hand, take that into consideration when calculating your bake time.
**When I cook the vegetables, I use one pot.  I saute the onions and take them out.  Fill it with hot water and add the potatoes and carrots (that are cut to similar size), when they are close to done, I throw in the peas and corn.  After a minute I pour the whole pot into a strainer, then return the vegetables to the pot and add the chicken.
**I've never decorate it the same, I used a heart cookie cutter around valentines and layered the hearts, I've cut out an "M" for Magleby and a lot of other fun things.  Be creative for your family!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Dinner 2011

Each year I do a fun Halloween dinner.  A great tradition that my Mom started and it is constantly changing and morphing to accommodate my fam, but it happens! It always happens!  I pin some sheets up in the kitchen so they can't see what I'm making and then I deliver it to them while speaking in a british witchy voice...kind of lame and kind of funny all at the same time.
"Now eat this up you little twit!"

I come up with a menu, it started out as completely normal food with funny names (like spaghetti was worms with bloody mummy grime) and then they got to order and they never knew what was coming first....maybe dessert or maybe a salad.  Soon my kids were guessing what dinner was and so I decided to switch it up each year.  They put what order they want the items in...1-5.  I've only documented the last two.  So here's this years and I'll get last years up soon.
 Mini Pumpkin Vomit
(Chili with corn for added affect!)
 Spider in a Web
(Corn muffin with honey butter spider web.)
 Pumpkin Guts
 Bathroom Garbage
(Q-tips - marshmallows in melted butterscotch chips.)
(Band aids - graham crackers with white frosting and red gel frosting.)
 Goblin Grins
(Snow pea pods with slivered almonds and a pepperoni.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Greek Style Yogurt

Greek Style Yogurt

1 gallon skim milk,  plus 1 cup (less or more)
1/3 C plain greek yogurt
1 t vanilla

Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pot (that has a lid), slowly to 180 degrees to prevent scorching. Use a candy thermometer.  Once at 180, turn off the heat and let milk cool to 110 degrees.  Stir in the yogurt. Put lid on pot and place somewhere a temp of 100 degrees can be maintained. (I have an oven that if I heat for a minute or so and then put on the oven light, my temp stays between 100 and 110... I used a meat thermometer to keep it in check.)  Let sit for 6-8 hours or until yogurt is set and yellowish liquid is on top.  Remove yogurt, scooping with a large spoon and place in a cheese cloth (4 layers) lined strainer sitting in a bowl.  The bowl should be pretty big, a lot of liquid comes off. Wrap up cheesecloth on top, spinning together.  Place in the refrigerator overnight.  The next morning, remove yogurt from cheese cloth and place in a bowl, using a hand mixer, mix in enough milk to reach desired consistency.  Mix in vanilla. If you want it sweetened, add agave to taste.  Place in tupperwares in the fridge.  My batch makes between 6 and 9 cups of yogurt. 

**So Breanna makes incredible whole milk yogurt that is to die for HERE, but I am in love with non fat Greek yogurt and didn't have great success with it the couple times I followed recipes.  That was until....I saw Bre's mom Lisa at a fruit stand and she told me a couple secrets....First,  after straining, most recipes say to stir in some of the strained off liquid to soften the consistency.  That left me with an incredibly sour yogurt.  Lisa told me to stir in more skim milk.  Wow, did that ever change it.  It was creamier with a way better flavor!  Second, other recipes use a cup of yogurt, but the 1/3 cup does what it needs to and doesn't overwhelm with a strong flavor.
**I know my picture looks like there are chunks, but I have never noticed anything but creamy, tart goodness.  However, I usually am eating this with fruit and granola.
** I did a little calculation, my last batch had 21 grams of protein per cup. Booya!
**No one eats this but me. Oh well.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

 Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs

For the sugar coating:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups (I use Pam Baking Spray). Make batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture, and beat to combine.
Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

**These are so yummy.  Big muffins or small mini muffins, a true fall treat.
**  recipe

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Nutella Crepe Cake

Nutella Crepe Cake

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus melted for pan
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Ghirardelli semisweet baking bars)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Bring 1/4 cup water to a rolling boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking to combine after each addition. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate until completely melted. Set aside.

Whisk together flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla in another medium bowl. Gradually add milk mixture to flour mixture, whisking until smooth. Add chocolate-butter mixture, whisking until smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into an airtight container; discard lumps. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Lightly coat an 8-inch crepe pan or nonstick skillet with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until just starting to smoke. Remove pan from heat; pour about 2 tablespoons batter into pan, swirling to cover bottom. Reduce heat to medium-low; return pan to heat. Cook, flipping once, until edges are golden and center is dry, about 30 seconds per side.

Slide crepe onto a plate. Repeat process with remaining batter, coating pan with butter as needed. Crepes can be refrigerated, covered, up to 1 day. (It is nice during assembly if the crepes are cold.)

Place a crepe on desired cake plate. Spread with about 3 tablespoons hazelnut filling. Top with another crepe. Continue layering with hazelnut filling and crepes, using about 32 crepes and ending with a crepe on top. (I ended up only using 22, the filling ran out...but still was beautiful and delish.) Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Spoon 1/2 cup glaze on top of the cake, spreading to edges. Spread remaining glaze around sides of cake, coating completely. Refrigerate until glaze is firm and set, about 60 minutes, or overnight was better!  Cake can be refrigerated up to 3 days.

Hazelnut Cream

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 large egg whites
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup hazelnut cream
Pinch of salt (I used a bit more, maybe 1/4 t)
Put cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Whisk egg whites and sugar in the clean bowl of mixer set over a pan of simmering water until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 160 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes. (I didn't measure temp, I just slowly heated until the sugar was dissolved. My egg whites didn't beat up to stiff peaks, but the cake went together flawlessly.)

Attach bowl to mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment; beat on high speed until slightly cooled and stiff (but not dry) peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Fit mixer with paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter, several pieces at a time, mixing well after each addition (meringue will deflate slightly as butter is added). Add vanilla, hazelnut cream, and salt; mix until mixture comes together, 3 to 5 minutes. Fold in whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Use immediately.

Chocolate Glaze

1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Ghirardelli semisweet baking bars)

Bring cream, corn syrup, and salt to a boil in a medium-heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate; swirl pan to cover completely with cream. Let stand about 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let cool completely.
**Adapted ever so slightly from Martha Stewart
**This cake was a definite time commitment and labor of love, but so worth it! It was delicious and super fun! Fancy, tasty, fun to talk about and was better on the 2nd and third days! When it was well refrigerated, the slices came out perfect, even if it was only 1/2 inch thick. I will make this again if anyone requests it, otherwise it might be what I make myself for my 40th next year! :)
**I made this again and made 1/2 of the batter for crepes and it worked out perfect. Keep the cream and the glaze the same.  About 20 crepes and still just as beautiful, just a lot less time over the stove making crepes!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Egg McMuffins

Egg McMuffins
english muffins (or thin bagels work well too)
Tillamook medium cheddar slices
Hillshire Farm honey ham

Cook eggs in either a bowl (size of the muffin) in the microwave, or on the stove in a skillet (use a wide mouth jar ring to keep egg contained).  Break the yoke while it's cooking and swirl into the white.
Assemble with one slice of cheese and two slices of ham.  Microwave for 20 seconds or so to melt cheese.  Or, make them the night before, wrap in tin foil, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

**You can use any cheese and any ham, but these are yummy and fit perfectly to make assembly fast and easy!  And please don't use that fake cheese that McDonalds uses....those kraft single things...that is the beauty of making them yourself, they're WAY better!
**Awesome to make before a camping trip or an early road trip.  Place wrapped sandwiches in oven and warm at 300 degrees until warmed through and eat them in the car!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homemade Almond Joy

Homemade Almond Joy

10 ounces shredded sweetened coconut (about 3 1/4 C)
6 T light corn syrup
54 whole roasted and salted almonds (about 2 ounces)
1 1/2 lb dipping chocolate (I used Guittard milk chocolate melting disks)

Combine coconut and corn syrup in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade.  Pulse until coconut is finely ground and mixture holds shape when squeezed into a ball. (About 30 pulses.)  Divide coconut mixture into 25 (2 t) portions.  Work each portion between hands until it is compact and smooth.  Shape into a 2 1/2 inch long, 1 inch wide oval.  Rinse hands with water often to help in forming the shape.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Place in refrigerator to chill. 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds.  While coconut shapes are chilling, dip almonds in chocolate, using a fork, tapping fork on side of bowl to allow excess to drip and place on parchment.   Remove coconut shapes from refrigerator and place one or two chocolate dipped almonds on top of coconut (2 is almond per bite). Use forks or dipping tools to dip each almond joy in the chocolate until completely covered, then tap the fork against the lip of the bowl so excess chocolate drips off. Set the dipped bars on a sheet of parchment to cool and harden completely. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut off excess chocolate around bottom edge.

**Adapted from

Homemade Reese's

Homemade Reese's

1/3 C graham cracker crumbs
3/4 C powdered sugar
3/4 C smooth peanut butter
1 lb dipping milk chocolate (I used Guittard milk chocolate melting disks)

In mixer, using paddle attachment, mix graham crumbs, powdered sugar and peanut butter.  Mix on medium speed until combined and resembles cookie dough.  Make dough into balls (approx 2 teaspoons each) and then flatten into disks a little smaller than the width of the mini muffin pan you are using. Place disks on a parchment lined cookie sheet and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray. Place a tablespoon (or so) of the melted chocolate in the bottom of each muffin cup, working quickly, place peanut butter disk in each cup and press down lightly.  Top with just enough chocolate to cover.  Shake pan to smooth top.  Place in refrigerator to cool and harden.  To remove cups, place a towel on the counter and hit the edge of the muffin pan against the counter.  (Or come borrow my silicone mini muffin pan and they pop out easy as pie.)

**Adapted from

Homemade Twix

Homemade Twix

1 C salted butter (room temp)
1 C powdered sugar
2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
2 C flour
2 C caramel, cut into small chunks
3 T heavy cream
3 C milk chocolate (I used Guittard melting chocolate disks)

Preheat oven to 300. Line 9x13 pan with foil, spray with cooking spray and line with parchment.  In mixer, beat together butter, sugar and vanilla.  Add flour and continue to beat at medium speed until dough comes together.  Press dough evenly into pan.  Prick crust with fork to allow steam to escape and to have fewer bubbles.  Bake crust until it's lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown, about 35-45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Melt the caramel and cream in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until fluid and smooth.  Pour the caramel over the cooled cookie crust and set int he refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.

Remove from pan by lifting with foil.  Cut into "twix" size bars (approximately 1/2 inch by 4 inches). Melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds.  Use forks or dipping tools to dip each candy bar in the chocolate until completely covered, then tap the fork against the lip of the bowl so excess chocolate drips off. Set the dipped bars on a sheet of parchment to cool and harden completely. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut off excess chocolate around bottom edge.

**Adapted from King Arthur Flour (Thousand Dollar Bars)

Homemade Snickers

Homemade Snickers

24 ounces chocolate candy coating (I used Guittard milk chocolate melting chocolate)
4 T butter
1 C sugar
1/4 C evaporated milk
1 (7 oz) jar of marshmallow fluff
1 t vanilla
1/3 C chunky peanut butter
14 oz caramels, unwrapped
2 T cream
1 1/2 C roasted, salted peanuts

Line a 9x13 pan with foil.  Melt 1/2 C of chocolate (in Pyrex in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until melted) and spread on bottom of pan, on foil.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar and evaporated milk.  Place pan over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Bring mixture to a boil, and boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Immediately remove from heat and add peanut butter, marshmallow fluff and vanilla all at once and stir in.  Pour nougat onto the top of the chocolate layer in pan. Refrigerate. 

Place caramels in microwave safe bowl with 2 T cream (more or less depending on how hard your caramels are), microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until liquid and smooth. Add the salted peanuts, stirring until completely coated. Spread caramel and peanuts over cooled nougat layer, trying to be as even as you can.  Refrigerate for about 45 minutes. 

Once set, remove from pan by lifting out with foil.  Use a large knife to cut into small bars. (Approximately 1 inch by 4 inches.)  Melt the remainder of the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds.  Use forks or dipping tools to dip each candy bar in the chocolate until completely covered, then tap the fork against the lip of the bowl so excess chocolate drips off. Set the dipped bars on a sheet of parchment to cool and harden completely. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to cut off excess chocolate around bottom edge.

**Adapted from Oh

Saturday, October 8, 2011


2 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to yield 4 cups)
¾ cup Newman’s Own Balsamic Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, medium diced
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup roughly chopped golden raisins
1 teaspoon hot chili flakes (or more if you want more heat)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup water
1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
1 baguette sliced slightly on the bias (looks prettier that way)

In a large bowl add the eggplant and ½ cup of dressing. Stir to coat and let marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile in a large saute pan caramelize the onion with 2 tbl olive oil until deep golden, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the pine nuts, chopped raisins, and chili flakes. Saute and stir to combine. The gentle heat of the chili flakes should release possibly causing a sneeze, or two. Cook that for about 3 minutes then add the eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to saute until the eggplant starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the thyme, tomato paste, water, and remaining ¼ cup dressing. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook, covered, for 15 minutes. The eggplant should give up some of it’s moisture so that it just starts to loose it’s shape. Add the salt and carefully taste for flavor.

**Once again, Hans is out of town, Gray had his wisdom teeth out, Chloe fell asleep at 5:30, Rock and Tru are at friends and Josie is happy with a slice of baguette with it's another meal on my own (MOMO) and I'm thrilled!  I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while and knew I would receive resistance.  I adore eggplant. Adore.  And this made a delightfully, sweet, spicy, creamy, nutty meal for me and I'd make it again in a heartbeat (but maybe add a few more pine nuts). I made half the recipe and had left overs. Even if I took it as an appetizer, I'd probably half it.  Would be delightful served along side some hummus, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella and anything else served on sliced baguette.
**From Not Without Salt.
**Mitzi...this is what you missed out on when you said you didn't like eggplant ;)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snickerdoodle Cake

Snickerdoodle Cake
    For the Cake:
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups cake flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
    1 3/4 cups fine or superfine sugar
    4 large eggs, room temperature
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed to room temperature 
    Preheat oven to 325°F.  Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.  In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.  Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in color.  Beat the eggs in one at a time, fully incorporating each egg and scraping down the bowl between each addition.  Add about 1/3 of the milk, beat to incorporate, then 1/3 of the flour, again beating to incorporate.  Repeat this process, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until all of the milk and flour are added and mixed in evenly.
    Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake, rotating midway through, for about 30-35 minutes or until the cake tests done.
    For the Buttercream:
    4 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
    1 cup light brown sugar, packed
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    8-9 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/2 cup of half and half, plus more if needed
    Whole cinnamon sticks for garnish
    Beat together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until fluffy and pale in color.  Add 6 cups of the confectioner's sugar and the vanilla extract and beat, starting on low and moving up to high, until it is fully incorporated.  Scrape down the bowl and add the half and half. Beat to incorporate again.  Add another 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar and beat, starting on low and moving up to high, until fully incorporated. Check the consistency of the buttercream. If it needs to be thicker, add the remaining confectioner's sugar. If it is too thick, add more half and half a teaspoon at a time, beating after each addition, until it reaches the consistency you like.
    To Assemble and Frost the Cake:
    Level out your cooled cakes and cut each into two even layers.  Place one layer on a cake plate then add a layer of buttercream, spreading to the edges and evening out as you go. Repeat with the remaining layers.  Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream.  If desired, garnish the top of the cake with whole cinnamon sticks.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before slicing.  Store leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator. 
    **I am a lover of the snickerdoodle, and when I saw this cake, I had to give it a shot.  Everyone liked it, but I have to say (because of my snickerdoodle love) it is quite honestly one of the yummiest cakes I've ever made. Ever.
    **Recipe from

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lemon Sour Cream Sauce

Lemon Sour Cream Sauce

1 C sour cream
1 1/4 C water

Mix and warm in a double boiler.

2 T butter
2 T flour

Brown butter and whisk in flour to make a roux.  Add to sour cream mixture and whisk until smooth. Add:

1 t lemon zext
1/2 t True Lemon powder (found by the Splenda)

Continue to heat until thickened.  

**A few weeks ago, Hans and I were in Austin and had one of the best omelets of our lives. Magnolia Cafe....recommended by Triple D (That's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives on Food Network).  I can't remember what was inside, for sure avocado and cheese, but other than that, it was the 3 sauces on top that stole the show.  A red salsa, a salsa verde and the lemon sour cream sauce. We didn't go back for lunch or dinner, (just breakfast again the next day) but apparently it is on their famous enchiladas as well.  So in true Hans and Traci style, we created our own.  Hans googled and researched and I think he got it pretty darn close.  So now, make an omelet and top it with Ranchero Sauce, Costco's Kicking Lizard's Tomatilla Salsa and this Lemon Sour Cream....heaven! I'll let you know how it is on the enchiladas one of these days!

Ranchero Sauce

Ranchero Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional...I went more 1/16 t so the kids wouldn't complain)
1 T minced jalepeno  seeded if you want less heat (or I used roasted N.M. chilies)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped tomatoes and their juices
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons cilantro

To make the Ranchero Sauce:  In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and bell peppers, cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Add the cumin, salt, cayenne, jalapeno, and garlic, cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat, stir in cilantro and puree in a blender until smooth.  Adjust the seasonings to taste. 

**Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse
**Breanna turned me onto this liquid gold a few weeks ago and I can't get enough....seriously!  I made 2 gallons of it this weekend with my garden tomatoes and now it's just waiting for me in my freezer.
**It was obviously created for Huevos Rancheros, but we have used it with so much more....omelets, burritos, eat it with chips like salsa.... and I can't wait to try it on enchiladas.  Oh the goodness.  Thanks Breanna!  Check out the Huevos link, her picture is stunning!
**Huevos Rancheros is one of our favorite after church breakfasts!

Marinara #2

Marinara #2

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion, minced (about 1 cup)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (or 2 t chopped)
1/2 t dried oregano
1/3 C red wine
salt and ground black pepper
1-2 t sugar
3 T chopped fresh basil
1 T extra-virgin olive oil

Pour tomatoes and juice into strainer set over large bowl. Crush tomatoes with hands and remove and discard fibrous cores; let tomatoes drain excess liquid, about 5 minutes. Remove 3/4 cup tomatoes from strainer and set aside. Reserve 2 1/2 cups tomato juice and discard remainder.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden around edges, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add tomatoes from strainer and increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring every minute, until liquid has evaporated and tomatoes begin to stick to bottom of pan and brown fond forms around pan edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add wine and cook until thick and syrupy, about 1 minute. Add reserved tomato juice and bring to simmer; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally and loosening browned bits, until sauce is thick, 8 to 10 minutes.

Transfer sauce to food processor (or transfer to saucepan and insert immersion blender; see the related article "Do You Really Need a Hand Blender?") and add reserved tomatoes; process until slightly chunky, about eight 2-second pulses. Return sauce to skillet and add basil and extra-virgin olive oil and salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.

**It is, of course, FALL! And in the fall, I always (ok for at least 9 years now) make marinara from my garden tomatoes, which I freeze and we enjoy all year long! I usually make Giada's Marinara, but I still have a bunch in my freezer, and have been dying to try some of these recipes from Cook's Illustrated All Time Best Recipes.  So I adapted this recipe from "America's Test Kitchen," to use my tomatoes.  Which I am convinced made this marinara so yummy!  I wash my tomatoes, make a small X in the skin and drop them in boiling water until the skin starts to split.  I remove them and let them cool.  I peel them and try to remove most the seeds without getting rid of all the liquid.  I put them in my large pyrex measuring bowl and measured about 7 cups before I started crushing the tomatoes, then I followed the recipe exactly.

**Had it tonight for dinner and there wasn't a whole wheat noodle left, yes you read right, whole wheat noodle....the sauce is that good! ;)