Monday, June 28, 2010

Bourbon Kahlua Peach Cobbler

I recently checked out Tyler Florence's "Dinner At My Place", which is chock full o' yumminess, and really wanted to try his bourbon peach cobbler.  Alas, no bourbon in the house so I decided to substitute Kahlua.  I got no complaints.  Topped with ice cream, it's the perfect summer treat.

This is a really yummy and fairly easy dessert.  I think it would be awesome enough for guests.  I loved baking it right in the iron skillet, saving one more dish I didn't have to wash.  

Here's Tyler's recipe...

 8 peaches peeled and sliced
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted cold butter
3/4 cup heavy cream

 Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl add the peaches, bourbon, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon and mix well to coat the peaches evenly; set aside.

Prepare the dumplings: Into a bowl sift together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter into small pieces. Add it to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don't overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add the peaches and cook gently until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches. There can be gaps, the dough will puff up and spread out as it bakes. Brush the top with some heavy cream and sprinkle with some sugar; put it into the oven on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dutch Funnel Cake

I was invited to a virtual picnic, and as it has hit the 110's, and I'm not a fan of ants, virtual seems the way to go.  You're invited too, just check in with Louise of Months of Edible Celebrations.  She'll hook you up!

I guess I never played the picnic game growing up, but it seems it's an alphabetic memory game, and my letter is D.  So goes:

I'm going on a picnic and I'm bringing:  (I will link the first 3 as I get the entries from Louise)

*Dutch Funnel Cake

I've been craving funnel cake since we came back from Knott's Berry Farm so decided to make some myself.

Click here for the recipe at Recipezaar.

Mine is not as pretty as KBF's, but it was yummy just the same.  Not as greasy either (I suppose that's a personal decision whether that's a good thing or not).
 I think these got a thumbs up from the whole family.  Speaking of digits, I burned the ever-loving snot out of 2 fingers on my right hand while making this!  In fact, the pain was so mind numbing for a few minutes I considered an ER trip.  But all the skin was intact and I figured all the ER would do would be charge me a co pay and make fun of me for being a klutz/whiny baby.  I had to keep my fingers dunked in ice water on and off for about 5 hours until it finally settled down.  It's too bad I like to cook because for the most part I really should stay away from hot oil and sharp objects! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pink Lemonade Pie

Just a quick post tonight.  I'm all drained from my two whole days back to work after vacation...phew!  But I wanted to share this yummy pie that we had on Father's Day.  It got great reviews from the whole family.

sorry about the junk in the background

This pie is just about as easy as it gets.  Just need to give it plenty of time to firm up in the freezer before you serve it.  Even when I left it overnight, it still never froze completely solid.  

Here's the recipe: (from Recipezaar)
1 16 oz can frozen pink lemonade, thawed
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 oz cool whip, thawed
1 graham cracker crust

Mix together first 3 ingredients until creamy.  Pour into crust and freeze until set.

Also, I've neglected to mention I was winner once again! I just love blog giveaways :)  My latest winning is a Sam's Club gift card I won from  Chris of Nibble Me This.  

I can't decide what I want to do with it, might just save it for the daughter's birthday in a couple of months.  Thanks, Chris! 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Getting Out of Bed Is About to Get More Difficult

I know you all are aware that I like to eat, and I like to cook.  I like to eat what other people cook too.  But also high on the list of activities I enjoy is sleeping. 
In fact getting out of bed early on mornings that I have to work generally causes me a great deal of displeasure.  

Thanks to CSN Stores my sleeping experience is about to be kicked up a notch.  
If you haven't heard of CSN  they are an awesome company that has over 200 online stores.  Perfect for the person who prefers shopping from the comfort of their own couch!  CSN contacted me with the opportunity to review a product from one of their stores, and boy was it hard to pick.  But I finally decided on this Foreverloft 3 in 1 Memory Foam pillow.  

It's got two removable memory foam inserts so you can adjust it to your liking.  I can't wait to get this pillow so I can review the heck out of it.  Possibly even drool a little on it too.  So check back in and I'll be sure to let you know about my slumbering experience with my new pillow.  We'll skip any video footage of the drooling though. 

Next recipe up: Pink Lemonade Pie

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stuffed Peppers Wrapped in BACON

Did I mention there would be bacon?  Just making sure.

My husband requested cream cheese stuffed bacon wrapped chili peppers for his birthday, and I aim to please.  I suppose you could use any type pepper you wanted, but these were really yummy.  I love the parts of the pepper that get all charred and crispy, yum!

We were cooking something else out on the grill, so placed these to one side, cheese side up, until the bacon was done on the bottom.  Then I finished the tops under the broiler.  A smart person would put them on a baking sheet with edges, FYI.  Here's how we put them together:

Split peppers in half and remove the seeds.
Mix 8 oz cream cheese without about 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice.
Stuff the peppers then wrap with bacon and secure with toothpicks.  Cook as described above.

These were so good...definitely worth repeating!

Now is the part where I force you to look at my vacation pictures.  We spent this past week in Southern California and had a really nifty time.  (yes, I said nifty).  The place we stayed at had oodles of flowers.

The kids would have been more than happy to stay in the pool the whole time.                                                     
We visited the beach at Crystal Cove State Park.  It was so nice there and not crowded at all.  Maybe because there is a ridiculous parking fee, but in this case it was worth it.  

(we are the little dots in the picture)

We got to take a boat tour of the harbor and saw hundreds of dolphins.  One of the high points for me.  Unfortunately the girl has inherited my motion sickness gene and was ready for terra firma.

We attended Medieval Times Dinner Theater and got to eat yummy food and wear cool crowns while we watched people joust. 

The pictures are horrid, but this was my favorite meal of the trip!  The fun part is they make you eat with your hands.  Guess they didn't have silverware in those days.

Last but not least was Knott's Berry Farm.    

Mara couldn't get enough spinning and twirling.....

I couldn't get enough funnel cake.....

This is one of the few rides I got on (see aforementioned motion sickness reference).

And of course a hug from Snoopy made it all worthwhile!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Roca Cookies

Ah, summer...the time when most people are thinking of eating more salads so they can be "swimsuit ready".  But not this girl.  I find a way to incorporate two sticks of butter into a baked good and shmear it all with eight hershey bars.  Oh yeah!

I saw this recipe at Cookies and Cups, and thought it sounded scrumptious!  And sure enough, it was.  Very rich and very sweet.  And it takes a lot for me to say that.  Because I am quite tolerant of the very rich and sweet, but even I could just a eat a little at a time.

It was kinda fun letting the Hershey bar pieces melt on there and spreading them around.  Mine never really firmed back up to candy bar consistency, but I suppose if they were refrigerated it would.

In the recipe she used chopped nuts for the topping but says she would have preferred toffee bits, so that's what I did.   


1 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 beaten egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
8 Hershey's bars, broken into pieces
1/3 cup chopped nuts or toffee bits

Preheat to 350
In mixing bowl cream together butter and both sugars.  When combined add the egg yolk and vanilla, mixing on medium until combined and smooth.
Add flour, 1 cup at a time mixing  on low in between each cup to combine. 
Dough will almost form a stiff ball.
Press dough onto ungreased cookie sheet about 1/4" thick 
Bake 15-20 minutes until edges are golden and center is almost set, but not quite.

As soon as you remove from the oven spread the broken Hershey pieces and the heat of the cookie will melt them.  Spread to cover the entire top of cookie.
Top with chopped nuts or toffee bits.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Beef Bourguignon

I finally went and did it, made some beef bourguignon.  
But before I go any further I need to ask, nay...implore you to read to the last part of this post.  I've got a very important thing to share with you.

For some reason, which escapes me now, I decided to go with Ina Garten's recipe.  I think it was a tad easier to follow, although very similar to Julia Child's.  And because I had read repeatedly about how much better it is left over, after I finished it, I put the lid on and saved it for the next day.  Such restraint I have!

This was the fun part....

I don't think I've ever deliberately set a kitchen fire before, then emptied an entire bottle of red wine into whatever I was cooking.  Good times!

Here is the finished product, before it's day long camp out in my fridge.  
Just fyi...I made this in my new Ikea dutch oven my family bought me I bought for myself for Mother's day.  Just in case you're in the market for a dutch oven, I'll just say that I fully recommend it.  It did a fabulous job conducting heat, and was way easier to clean up than I thought it would be.  Also the inside of the lid has little points all over it that I have since learned are basting spikes.

And my review of the stew?  Just amazing.  What else can I say?  I can't think of a single thing I would change about this recipe, (except that I served mine on buttered noodles instead of bread)
 so here it is for you...


  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • 8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
  • 2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup Cognac
  • 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
  • 1 can (2 cups) beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound frozen whole onions
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving:

  • Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Okay, now the really important thing...
If you've never in your life listened to one thing I've said, for the love of all that is holy, please listen now.  
If you've never made the infamous no knead bread, go forth and do so now.  If you have to hire a baby sitter, call in sick, or rent a sled dog team, just get it done!  

Seriously, this is some good stuff.  And just about the easiest thing you'll ever do.

Need more convincing?  

That should do it, so here's the recipe:

Crusty Bread Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran (optional)


1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6 to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack. Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

6/20/10 Update:  I tried making this bread again today and it was a total flop! I have no idea what I did wrong, maybe too much water.  Try, try again!

Monday, June 7, 2010

English Muffin Bread

It was late at night when I took these pics so the lighting was sub par to say the least, but I wanted to share my first endeavor I made with the assistance of my new baby.  

I found this recipe at Cooking During Stolen Moments.  This is just about the easiest bread to make, and is just delicious toasted and smothered in butter and your topping of choice.
Of course, I enjoyed the heck out of using my new mixer and plan to use it as often as possible!

English Muffin Bread
  • 3 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 t. yeast (or 1 packet)
  • 2 t. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. baking powder
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. water
  • Corn meal, for dusting the pan
1. In a mixing bowl, combine 2 c. flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking powder. Mix for 1 minute.
2. While flour is mixing, pour milk and water into a small saucepan. Heat over low heat until warm, about 2 minutes. Pour into mixing bowl and beat for 2 minutes.
3. Add remaining cup of flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, and mix for 3-5 minutes (or knead by hand for 5-7 minutes). Dough will be somewhat sticky.
4. Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Spread dough into pan, cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a lovely hibiscus my hubby is growing by the front door. I think it's such a beautiful color.  I'm so proud of all his growing efforts.  Keeping things alive in this desert heat is not any easy task!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Seven Sporadic Questions: Stirring the Pot

Happy June everyone.  This month's featured blogger is Kim of Stirring the Pot.  
I've enjoyed Kim's blog quite some time. I love her adventurous cooking spirit, and frequent use of fresh ingredients.  She's also a very kind person and always quick to give an encouraging word.

1.  What inspired you to start blogging? 
 I didn't know about food blogging until one of my friends sent me a link to the Pioneer Woman's site.  PW's site opened up the doors of food blogging for me.  I quickly discovered other food blogs, which in turn inspired me to create my own blog.  At the time, I had just received my copy of Tyler Florence's Stirring the Pot, so I decided that I would try to cook my way through Tyler's cookbook and blog about it.

2.  What's your favorite thing to make for a crowd? 
 I like to make spaghetti and meatballs at all our family functions.  Everyone likes it and it is really easy.  I make about 100 meatballs and prebake them.  The next day all I have to do is boil some pasta and throw the meatballs in the crockpot with the sauce until it heats up.   

3.  What's your favorite thing to make for just you? 
 Buttered noodles. 

4.  If you could invite 3 famous people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be?  Any particular reason?
 Bobby Flay, Jamie Oliver, and Tyler Florence.  I have major foodie crushes on all of them ;-)

5.  When you think of your childhood, do any favorite dishes come to mind?  
My mom was a great cook and made a terrific chicken dish with homemade noodles.  But, in the end, I'm going to have to go with buttered noodles again.  Not only were they the first thing I learned how to cook, but my friends and I loved them and we had them at every sleepover as kids.  We even had a special buttered noodle pan!

6.  What do you have in your kitchen that you just couldn't do without? (besides your stove/oven of course)
 I couldn't live without my chef's knife or my cutting board, but my favorite kitchen pieces are my Mom's old mixing bowls.  I love knowing that she used them and now I am using them. I'm hoping to keep them for my daughter.

7.  What's your favorite part of blogging?
  Do you think you'll keep doing it for a while?  My favorite part of blogging is getting to know other bloggers who share my passion for food.  I love that I have made so many great friends who offer so much encouragement and support.  I have absolutely no plans to quit blogging, ever.  So many recipes, so little time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Together At Last...

....and it feels so right!  Y'all may know how long I've drooled over a Kitchen Aid and I finally own one...hooray!

sorry about the glare

I'd like to thank the birthday bunny, Foodbuzz's featured publisher program (I paid for it in part with the money earned through them), and Hank Williams Jr. I'm not really sure why on that last one.
Either way, I'm tickled pink, or in this case empire red, to have one!)

Here I am with the family post birthday pig out at the Cracker Barrel.  Say what you will about chain restaurants, they got some good eats there!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Apple Bran Peanut Butter Muffins (& Pancakes)

So it all started when I wanted to make some muffins that were kinda on the healthful side, and found a recipe for just such a muffin.  I already owned pretty much everything I needed to make them, except the raisins which I was happy enough to leave out.  

After I mixed it all together and put the batter into the muffin tins to bake, I had quite a bit left over.  Which led me to wonder how this recipe would translate into pancakes.  I'm happy to report, it translated pretty darn well.  The pancakes were just a little "stick-ish" when you go to flip them, maybe due to the peanut butter chips, but it ultimately worked out just fine.

Smothered with peanut butter, and topped with strawberries and whipped cream, me and the kiddo's thought it was more than fine.  (who knew strawberries and peanut butter was such a great combo!)

And the muffins weren't too shabby either.

This was all made possible by the letter "B".  Just kidding, it was all made possible by the box of Kellogg's All-Bran Wheat Flakes I received as a part of Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program.  Yep, having my fiber and loving it too!

Here's the muffin recipe.  For pancakes, just cook them on the griddle like you would any pancake.
Apple-Bran Muffins
2 cups Kellogg's Bran Flakes
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 Tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup raisins (left these out)
1 1/4 cups skim milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup egg substitute (equal to 2 eggs) (I didn't have any so I used 6 egg whites)
About 1/3 cup peanut butter chips, tossed in flour.

Combine cereal and milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to soften. Meanwhile, combine flour, cinnamon, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add raisins and set aside. Combine applesauce and egg substitute and stir into the cereal mixture. Stir in dry ingredients just until moistened. Divide into 12 muffin cups which have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 400* about 25 minutes, till lightly browned.
Makes 12 muffins.