Thursday, February 24, 2011

Butternut Squash Cake with Butter Rum Frosting & Skirt Steak with Radishes

Hubby got to pick last night's meal...this is what he chose.  

This cake is delicious.  Moist and flavorful, full of hazelnuts and dried cranberries.

We both thought the rum flavoring in the frosting was a bit much.  Next time would probably just add a little vanilla.  BTW, I ended up overbaking it just a bit, so if you make it, better check it 5-10 minutes before the end of cooking time according to the recipe. The recipe is from Pillsbury.  

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded peeled butternut squash
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts
cup butter or margarine, softened
oz (half of 8-oz package) cream cheese, softened
tablespoons rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract plus 4 teaspoons milk
cups powdered sugar
cup chopped toasted hazelnuts (filberts)
  • 1Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13x9-inch pan with baking spray with flour.
  • 2In large bowl, beat brown sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt until mixed. Add buttermilk; beat on low speed until mixed. Beat on medium speed 1 minute longer. Stir in squash, cranberries and hazelnuts. Pour into pan.
  • 3Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • 4In medium bowl, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy. Add rum and powdered sugar; beat on low speed until mixed. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Frost cake. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup hazelnuts. Store covered in refrigerator.


This dish was a bit different....skirt steak over braised radishes with a mustard sauce. 

 I don't normally think of radishes as something to cook; more of a salad veggie.  They're kind of interesting, they get a lot more mellow when cooked.  Kinda like a potato with a bit of a kick. Is it something I want to eat again...well, maybe.  It was definitely fun to try.  Here's the recipe from Epicurious.  

  • 1/2 pound radishes with leaves (about 7 or 8), leaves reserved and radishes halved if large
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon, divided
  • 6 ounces skirt steak
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • Preheat broiler.
    Bring radishes, water, butter, and 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper to a boil in a 10-inch skillet. Cover, then reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until radishes are tender and most of liquid has evaporated, 10 to 12 minutes. Whisk in mustard. Add radish leaves and cook, tossing, just until wilted. Remove from heat and stir in half of tarragon.
    Meanwhile, coat steak with oil, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Broil on a broiler pan 4 to 5 inches from heat, turning once, 5 to 6 minutes for medium-rare. Let rest on a cutting board 2 to 3 minutes, then slice across the grain.
    Serve steak over radishes and greens and sprinkle with remaining tarragon.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pimento Cheese....Again

I'm still kicking myself in the rear for snubbing pimento cheese all my life. (I have really flexible knees or that wouldn't be possible)  But I'm doing my best to make up for it.  What's not to love about pimento (or pimiento, if you prefer) cheese?   

It was love at first chomp.

For the life of me I'm not really sure what recipe I used but it was very similar to this one at AllRecipes


  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained


Beat the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add Cheddar cheese and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in mayonnaise and garlic powder; stir in pimento. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour. (Well, I didn't use a blender, and didn't add the garlic powder, but otherwise it's pretty close)  


And now for your viewing pleasure, a few pics of our trip to northern Arizona to find some snow.   





Mara and her giant icicle. 

 Don't eat the yellow snow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two-Faced Pizza (& Burger Winners)

This double duty pizza was inspired by a recipe from Cooking Light's Quick Pizza Margherita.  

But I didn't really think the shorter members of the family would like the tomato covered pizza, I had some leftover taco meat, so the other half became taco pizza.  Anyway, I loved the flavors, and I loved how simple it was.  And it's really not too naughty in the calorie department. 

Here's the recipe, for the margherita half anyway.


  • 1  (10-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  teaspoon  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1  garlic clove, halved
  • 5  plum tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 1  teaspoon  balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2  cup  thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/8  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon  black pepper


Preheat oven to 400°.
Unroll crust dough onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; pat into a 13 x 11-inch rectangle. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes. Remove crust from oven, and brush with 1/2 teaspoon oil. Rub crust with cut sides of garlic.
Arrange tomato slices on crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden.
Combine 1/2 teaspoon oil and vinegar, stirring with a whisk.
Sprinkle pizza evenly with sliced basil, salt, and pepper. Drizzle the vinegar mixture evenly over the pizza. Cut pizza into 8 pieces.  (I left the vinegar stuff off)

Now, about that burger giveaway....I only had 3 entries that said they lived in the area of the country that they could get to a Jake's Wayback burger.  And that worked out perfectly since that's how many coupons I had!  So Kris, Rita, and Teresa...I'll be contacting you to get your burgers to you....enjoy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Burger Today

*giveaway over*
 How would you like for me to send you a fresh and fabulous burger right to your inbox?  Well, I can't do that, don't be silly.  But what I can do (if you live in CT, DE, FL, MA, MD, NC, NY, or PA) is send you a gift card for a meal at Jake's Wayback Burgers.  

I'd never heard of Jakes, since I'm pretty far away from all those places, but apparently it was started in Deleware in 1991, and grew from there. (I read on their site Bob Marley even worked at Jakes for a while!)  Since it's a little too far for me, I'd love for one of you who's a bit closer to get to try one for me.  Oh heck! Let's just say three of you (since the company kindly provided three gift cards for me).  And maybe while you're there you can try their "Shake of the Month" as well....Black Raspberry.  Oh my.  I was happy to read one is opening in Colorado soon, that's getting closer! (road trip!)

So what's up for grabs is 3 coupons for the Jake Burger Combo: Jake Burger, Regular Fry and 22oz. soda, for 3 separate readers.  

Just leave a comment below telling me what your favorite burger topping is, and you're in!  I'll leave this open until Thursday morning at 9 a.m., and announce the winner later that day.  Good luck. Oh, and happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Winner and a Lost Recipe

Thanks to everyone for playing along for the CSN  giveaway.  
As chosen by the random number generator the winner is...

That would be Faith J.  I'll contact you soon, so I can get your gift code to you.  Congrats!

I spent the better part of this afternoon deleting millions of pictures (all of the same cupcake) off my computer, and came across this gumbo I made last fall from "Screen Doors and Sweet Tea".  

The author calls it "I got work to do gumbo", cause there's not a lot of standing around fussing with it.  Once you get it all in the pot, you're pretty much home free.  As I recall, I liked it, but most of the family didn't really go for it.  Probably the okra.  But if you're one of those people still stuck in freezing temps, this would be a great soup to warm the bones with.  

2 pounds okra, sliced into ¼ in rounds
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5oz) can peeled whole tomatoes
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
3 cups diced cooked chicken
6 oz. tasso or smoked ham, diced (I think I used ham)
1 quart chicken stock
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 cups cooked white rice

Preheat the oven to 250.  Combine the okra, onion, celery, bell pepper, garlic, tomatoes and tomato paste in a large roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake for one hour or until tender.
Remove the foil and add the chicken, tasso, and broth.  Return to the oven uncovered and bake for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until desired thickness.  Season with Salt & Pepper .
Ladle the gumbo into bowls and spoon a little rice into the center of each bowl.

Be on the lookout for another giveaway early next week, that will mostly be of interest to people in the eastern part of the country.  

Monday, February 7, 2011

CSN Giveaway

Hello good people, how's it going?  
Still in a cooking/blogging slump here, but CSN Stores has provided a good reason for me to pop my head back into the blog-o-sphere for a bit.  How about a $75 gift code to spend in any one of their stores?  You have a lot to choose from there, as they have so many things to offer from swing sets to pet supplies.

If you're interested just leave a comment here below and let me know something you might like to put your gift code toward.  
Want a second entry?  Visit my Facebook page and click that "like" button, then leave another comment here letting me know that you did.  (The link is in the sidebar to the left).  If you're already a liker let me know that in a seperate comment too.  

I'll leave this giveaway open all week until Midnight February 11, Friday.  I will announce the winner sometime on Saturday the 12th.

Must live US & Canada. (CSN ships to those countries.)
Does not cover any shipping costs but you can use it on ANY product from ANY one of their sites.

Good luck!
Now, because I hate posts without pictures, here's a little Calvin and Hobbes for you.  I'm sure many of you dealing with the freezing temps can relate.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pan Grilled Tilapia with Chimichurri

I made this several weeks ago, and just rediscovered the picture today.  As I remember it was quite yummy and not too difficult.

The recipe came from Cooking Light, and they used halibut. But tilapia is so cheap and we all like it (well,except the girl), so I just went with that.  They served theirs with a rice and charred vegetable mixture, so I did too. Here are the recipes:


  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh basil
  • 1  tablespoon  finely chopped shallots
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 4  (6-ounce) halibut fillets (or tilapia)


1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper over fish. Add fish to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with sauce.
Rice with Charred Veggies:

Cook 1 cup long-grain white rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup thawed frozen whole-kernel corn and ½ cup chopped zucchini to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until vegetables are charred. Stir in ½ cup halved grape tomatoes and 1⁄3 cup chopped green onions; sauté 1 minute or ­until tomatoes almost wilt. Combine vegetable mixture, rice, and ¾ teaspoon salt.

I'm still in a bit of a cooking slump, as I'm trying not to consume so many calorie/fat/butter laden things. Although half the time, I'm failing dismally.  But hey, that's half better than I was doing before. I tried a "light" creme brulee recipe that was an epic fail. Not even worth a picture.  I do think I'll be indulging on Superbowl day, I've got a cheese ball in mind and maybe some rotel dip. And something sweet of course.  
A couple of days ago I tried a bit of an odd crockpot chicken recipe I had seen on some message boards.  I just threw 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot with a cup of ketchup, some garlic powder, chopped onion, and a can of diet coke.  Turned out surprisingly tasty,and very tender.  Was really good made into sandwiches.