Sunday, November 29, 2009

Safeway Holiday Recipes: Mushroom Sausage Strudel & Peanut Butter 'n Jelly Scones

I was awfully excited to learn I was going to get to be a part of Foodbuzz's Safeway Tastemaker Program and blog about one of Safeway's holiday recipes.
In fact I was so excited I couldn't pick just one!
My first choice was this mushroom sausage strudel. It incorporates several things I love (cresent rolls, sausage, shrooms) so I was sure I would love it. Plus it looked kinda easy which is always a bonus with me.
Look at me trying to be all fancy with my strudel on the right. I'd better stick with simple.
I think as well as being a great appetizer for any holiday gathering, it would also be super as a brunch item, maybe served with a side of hashbrowns.
I'll link up the recipe here for ya. I will say I would use about half the amount of dijon called for, but that's just me.
When I thought I had narrowed my choice down to one, this guy wouldn't quit calling my name.
I love scones and had never made a peanut butter one, so it seemed it was time.
I love how the jelly made a little heart shape in this one.
These were pretty easy to make too. I was a little concerned about the dough at first because it seemed awfully dry (in fact I did add a little more cream), but it turned out just fine.
And the addition of the chocolate chips in there was awesome!
I imagine a batch of these would keep the rugrats from nipping at your heels while you're trying to prepare your holiday dinner :)
This photo was taken while I had the other half of that scone shoved into my face!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Birthday Boy '09

Another attempt at decorating cupcakes. Not too bad, even if Patrick does look a little angry.
Eleven years! Where did they go? Seems just yesterday we brought home this little not even 5 pound bundle of sleepiness with a mop of hair bigger than he was. And now he's eleven!
"For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." .
Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nigella's Raspberry Cupcakes

I'm still looking for a special cupcake for a baby shower in a couple of weeks. These..aren't it.
They have a pretty good flavor but were a bit unpredictable. Below is a picture of my first batch.
Nigella told me to bake it at 180 degrees Celsius. Come on, lady, speak English!
These would probably be too raspberry-ish for some people, who may not enjoy crunching little seeds anyway. I'll probably just end up using a box mix, and maybe just decorating it with blue sprinkles like in the picture below.
Earlier in the week I received a sample of this nifty cupcake icing in a can by Betty Crocker. (she's one of my favorite people)
I was able to make this sunk in cupcake look all pretty by filling it in with icing...yum!
I'm loving this sparkle gel I found at Wal Mart.
Look how cute it looks on there. I think I'm going to use this for my son's Spongebob cupcakes next week. Or maybe as eye shadow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chicken Picatta

Okay, enough of the sad...on with the food!
I tried another incarnation of chicken picatta I found at The Novice Chef, and thought it was lovely. I added a little white wine to the sauce and served it over a bed of buttery linguine.
And what's this bacon covered monstrosity we have here?
It's a Mashed Potato Casserole with Smoked Gouda and Bacon. I found the recipe in a copy of "bon appetit" I lifted absconded borrowed from work.
I have to say I liked it so much I'm even thinking of making it for Christmas dinner.
6 slices thick cut smoked bacon (cooked and chopped)
3 large green onions, finely chopped
3 pounds russet potatoes (cut into cubes and boiled like you would for mashed potatoes)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 cups coarsely grated smoked Gouda, divided
Butter 13x9 inch baking dish.
Add green onions to chopped bacon and mix together.
Add sour cream, milk, and butter to potatoes (while they are still warm). Using potato masher, mash until almost smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups Gouda and 1 cup bacon mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Gouda over top.
Bake at 375 about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved bacon mixture and serve.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Early Christmas

Usually when I see stories like this I have to let my eyes and my brain gloss over them. Some sort of a weird protective mechanism. But I saw this story tonight about a family that is having an early Christmas and it grabbed my attention.
Diana Biorkman needs your help in making her son's wish come true. She has a 5 year old son, Noah, in the last stages of a 2.5 year battle with Neuroblastoma Cancer. The family is celebrating Christmas next week and Noahs request is to get lots of Christmas cards. Please consider sending cards to: Noah Biorkman 1141 Fountian Viewcircle South Lyon, MI 48178 Please let this precious child know he is DEEPLY Loved. Fill his mailbox with joy. It's his Only wish.
I found a link to a Michigan news site that seems to prove it's true.
So I thought the least I could do is spread the word and share it with all of you.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homemade Burger Buns

I had seen these around the interwebs and really wanted to give it a try. I decided to go with the recipe from Smitten Kitchen because the pictures were awesome. And pretty much everything on her blog makes me salivate.
Now I will extol the virtues of these buns till the cows come home.
These are so light and wonderful, yet sturdy enough to hold up to whatever you want it to hold up to (within reason). They smelled wonderful, and when they are fresh and warm from the oven they're everything home made bread is supposed to be.
The recipe is fool proof, considering I had an "oh crap" moment when adding the yeast. But the buns came out perfect in spite of my lack of careful measuring. (I occasionally mistake tablespoons for teaspoons).
I served 'em up with the Noble Pig's pulled chicken recipe (which is amazing, btw) and I think we were all happy campers.
Here is the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Please make and enjoy!
And for the love of all that is holy, ignore those dolphins. Thank you.

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar 2 large eggs 3 cups bread flour 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened Sesame seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Emeril's Black-Eyed Pea Salad

I've never been a huge black eyed pea fan. I don't hate them, but by themselves they just sort of taste like dirt. Although dirt would be horrible, but I'm just confusing myself.
But I learned at the Dixie Cafe that I really like them in a cold vinegar based salad.
I could go there and order their large marinated black eyed pea salad, eat half the basket of rolls, have some iced tea and be a happy girl.
So when I saw this recipe "Emeril's Potluck", I thought it would be something I would really like. I have to say I wasn't disappointed. The addition of bacon doesn't hurt matters at all. I think the addition of some green beans would be awesome, too, I may try that next time.
Here's Emeril's recipe:
5 cups cooked and drained black eyed peas ** (how to make those below)
4 sliced crisp bacon crumbled, reserve fat
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 cup evoo
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped green onion
2 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp essence of Emeril (I used seasoned salt)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1. combine peas, bacon, 3 tbsp fat, and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Toss and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally.
2. all to sit at room temp 30 mins before serving.
**soak 2 cup dried black eyed peas 4 hours. Drain and place in large saucepan. Add water to cover by 2 inches and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cool.