Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Buttermilk Blueberry Scones

These scones were pretty good, but I'd recommend eating them right away. They didn't taste as great later in the day. I also think that I should have cooked them a bit longer to get a more golden glow.

Buttermilk BlueBerry Scones (Average Betty)

2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp salted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)

For the tops:
2-3 tbsp buttermilk
1 tsp sugar

Preheat oven 400(F).
In a bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together.

Cut stick of butter into pieces. Add butter pieces to dry mixture.Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, incorporate butter pieces until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl combine egg, 2/3 cup buttermilk and vanilla.

Carefully coat blueberries with dry mixture. This will also prevent blue “bleed.”

Create a well in the center of mixture. Add buttermilk mixture all at once to the well. Carefully combine, just until moistened.

Pour onto lightly floured countertop and shape into a circle. Cut into 8 pieces.

Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in a preheated 400(F) oven for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Spicy Shrimp & Bell Pepper Pasta

This pasta is delicious and very easy to make on a weeknight. You can control the level of heat by adjusted the amount of cayenne pepper you add.

Spicy Shrimp & Bell Pepper Pasta (Joelen's Culinary Adventures)

1 cup syrah wine
1 1/2 lbs frozen raw shrimp, de-shelled with tails on
2-3 cloves minced garlic
dried rosemary, oregano, thyme to taste
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used 1.5 teaspoons to give it more of a kick)
2 cups homemade or prepared tomato sauce
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, green)
1-2 tablespoons butter
1/2 box dried bow tie pasta, cooked

In a saute pan, pour in wine and allow it to reduce by half over medium heat.
Once reduced, add your tomato sauce and garlic and stir to combine.
Season with dried rosemary, oregano, thyme to taste.
Add 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper and stir.
Add the shrimp and bell peppers and cook until shrimp turns pink and absorbs the wine sauce.
Add the cream and butter; stir.
Add the pasta, toss to combine and serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mascarpone Brownies

Wow.. these brownies are amazing. They are super rich though, so be prepared to get some help to eat them all. I've made lots of brownies from scratch and have always preferred the box kind. Not anymore. These are the best brownies I have ever had.

Mascarpone Brownies (Kerri's Recipe Blog)

- 1/2 cup quality unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's)
- 3 oz finest dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used Trader Joes brand)
- 2 sticks (1 cup, 1/2 lb) butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- 4 oz mascarpone (softened to room temp)

Ganache Ingredients
- 6 oz finely chopped finest dark chocolate
- 3 T butter
- 6 T heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325. Butter 8 inch square glass baking pan. Put 3 oz chocolate in large glass mixing bowl. Melt butter in saucepan, bring to boil (I used the microwave to melt the butter). Immediately pour butter over chocolate, allow to stand for 30 seconds before mixing to combine melted chocolate and butter. Add mascarpone, sift in sugar and cocoa, combine thoroughly. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Carefully fold in salt and flour until completely incorporated. Pour mix into prepared pan, bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until inserted knife comes out clean. Allow to cool 10 minutes.

Then make ganache. Put 6 oz chocolate into a medium glass mixing bowl. In a saucepan, bring 3T butter and 6T cream barely to a boil (heated in the micro too). Pour immediately over chocolate. Allow to sit 30 seconds, then mix well to combine. Spread ganache on top of brownies, allow another 15 min to set before eating.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

I love quiche. Its really easy to make and you can put pretty much anything into it and it tastes good. One of my favorites is a simple spinach and mushroom quiche.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (Adapted from Paula Deen's Spinach and Bacon Quiche)

6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
2 packages chopped frozen spinach, defrosted and press the water out
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (I used Gruyere)
1 8oz package mushrooms
1 small onion chopped
dash red pepper flakes
1 9inch pie crust (see below)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Mix the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add spinach, mushrooms, red pepper flakes, and onion. Mix until combined. Pour into pie shell. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set (My oven took 65 minutes). Cut into 8 wedges.

Pie Crust (Martha Stewart)

Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Spicy Tofu

This was simple and delicious. Tofu is pretty easy to work with, just make sure that you drain/press it well.

Spicy Tofu with Peppers (Mary Ellen's Cooking Creations)


1 block tofu, pressed (to get the extra liquid out) and cut into bite-sized pieces
Thinly sliced onion - about 3 slices off 1 small onion.
Sliced peppers - I used about 2 red and yellow peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp chili-garlic paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 c chicken broth
Optional: chopped green onions

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat
Add tofu and cook about 5 minutes until starting to lightly brown
Add onions, garlic, and peppers. Saute 2-3 minutes.
Add chili-garlic paste, soy sauce, and chicken broth. Stir everything together and bring to a simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes - sauce will slightly thicken
Serve over rice or noodles and top with green onions

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Couscous Salad

I get sick of sandwiches for lunch, so this salad was a welcome treat for lunch. Its very filling and quite healthy. I just save the dressing until just before I'm going to eat it.

Couscous Salad (Recipe based off a suggestion from Cocina de Doyle)

Salad Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat couscous (cooked according to box directions)
1 cup fresh spinach (or as much as you like)
1/3 cup garbanzo beans
1 tea garlic
1/4 cup feta cheese w/ mediterraean herbs

1.5 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Layer salad ingredients into a container. Mix dressing in a separate container. Right before eating, toss the salad with the dressing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

French Toast

French toast is really easy to make and a great way to use up leftover french bread. This recipe is pretty much foolproof.

French Toast (allrecipes.com)

6 thick slices bread (I used french bread)
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
salt to taste

Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla.
Heat a lightly oiled griddle of skillet over medium-high flame.
Dunk each slice of bread in egg mixture, soaking both sides. Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden. Serve hot.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sun-dried Tomato and Fontina Risotto

Have you ever tried to photograph risotto? Yeah, not so easy. This is the best I could do. This risotto was not very amazing in my opinion. Not every recipe I try turns out as I would hope, so I think its important to post those as well. Maybe it was because I used vegetable broth instead?

Sun-dried Tomato and Fontina Risotto (http://willisgraves.blogspot.com)

4 cups (1 box) chicken broth (I used vegetable broth for both to make this vegetarian)
1 cup beef broth (used vegetable broth)
1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry (used white wine)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oil from sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup finely minced onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (that were packed in oil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 ounces Fontina cheese, rind removed, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Bring the broth to a steady simmer in a saucepan on top of the stove.

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy 4-quart casserole over moderate heat. Add the onion and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, until it begins to soften, being careful not to brown it.

Next add rice and stir for 1 minute using a wooden spoon, making sure all the grains are well coated. Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed. Begin to add the simmering broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently. Wait until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and tomato paste after the rice has been cooking for 10 minutes. Continue to add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time stirring frequently, reserving about 1/4 cup to add at the end. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

After approximately 18 minutes, when the rice is tender but still firm, add the reserved 1/4 cup broth, Fontina, parsley, and Parmesan and stir vigorously until the cheeses are melted and combined with the rice. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grilled Cumin Chicken with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce

I have never cooked with fresh tomatillos before, so this was fun. I loved this chicken and the sauce was very flavorful (with a touch of spice). I served it over Chipotle rice.

Grilled Cumin Chicken with Fresh Tomatillo Sauce (Cooking Light)

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 pound tomatillos
1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine the first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal and let stand for 15 minutes.

3. Discard husks and stems from tomatillos. Combine tomatillos and broth in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cover and cook 8 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Combine tomatillos, cilantro, and next 6 ingredients (through jalapeño) in a food processor; process until smooth.

4. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Serve with tomatillo sauce.

Chipotle rice: Combine 1 cup long-grain rice and 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions and 1/2 teaspoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

These were very tasty and a great morning treat!

Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins (Noodle Nights and Muffin Mornings)

For the muffins:
7 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease muffin tin and fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until pale and smooth. In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. (Note: the batter will be slightly lumpy.)

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, in a small, shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Brush the top of a muffins with melted butter; coating evenly. Immediately dip the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it evenly, then tap it to remove excess sugar. Transfer the muffin, right side up, to the rack. Repeat with the remaining muffins.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Well, one could have hoped for a better picture, but I swear it was delicious!

I love to make pizza at home but I rarely make my own pizza dough. However, this time, I decided to give it a shot and I was really impressed with the results. It was even better than my Trader Joes pizza dough, but it did take a couple hours to make, so while it tasted better, time is not always on my side.

Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (MRS SAC'S PURPLE KITCHEN)

1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
I added 1/2 tbsp of dried Italian herbs & 1 tsp garlic powder


In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes (I just kneaded it with the dough hook in my stand mixer). Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. (I'm sorry, but this is next to impossible for me to do, so I just roll it out with a rolling pin and transfer to the baking stone).

Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables. (I used mushroom, red peppers, onions, and salami).

Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top.