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Showing posts from August, 2008

Chocolate Mocha Eclairs - Pierre Herme

***Recipes like this are why I love being a part of the Daring Bakers. This month our big challenge was Chocolate Eclairs from Pierre Herme's fabulous cookbook - Chocolate Desserts . This month's hosts were: Tony Tahhan and Meeta K . Be sure to check out their blogs too! This is another recipe that I probably never would have tried if not for DB. I know that I say that every month, but hey...it's the truth! The recipe called for a classic chocolate pastry cream with a chocolate ganache on top. I decided to kick things up a notch and add a little instant coffee to the pastry cream. It was out-of-this-world delicious...definitely the best pastry cream I've ever tasted. So, I ended up with Mocha Eclairs...talk about good. I topped them off with pecan pieces. I was a little worried about the eclairs coming out right...from reading other DB's stories, I realized that I might have a problem getting the eclairs to be hollow on the inside. I anxiously waited while t

Crash Hot Potatoes

***Here's another great recipe from Pioneer Woman. You just have to check out her post about this recipe HERE . She's got some fabulously detailed photos. Next time I make this, I'm definitely going to use smaller potatoes. When I went grocery shopping, the only red potatoes available were really large. So, I had trouble mashing these down all the way. They still tasted great...just not quite as flat as they should be.*** Ingredients: New Potatoes (or other small, round potatoes) Olive Oil Kosher Salt Black Pepper Rosemary (or desired herbs)... I used freshly chopped parsley Directions: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you would like to make and cook them until they are fork-tender. On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room between each one. With a potato masher, gently press down on each potato until it slightly mashes. Rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash a

Steak & Onion Sandwich (a.k.a. Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich)

***I stumbled across Pioneer Woman's Blog the other day, and I loved it. She includes great photos for every single step of each recipe. I admire her for that...I would never have the time or patience to post a photo for every step. After browsing through her posts, I figured that this recipe would be the best place to start because it's her most requested one. I have to admit though, the amount of butter in this dish really scared me...lol. I used A LOT less! First of all, I sauteed both the onions and the meat in olive oil. I only added about 2 tbsp of butter to the sauce. I also added a minimal amount to the toasted buns. My arteries just couldn't handle 2 sticks of butter total. This sandwich was great though, and Brad really enjoyed it as well.*** Ingredients: 2 to 3 pounds cube steak (tenderized round steak that’s been extra-tenderized 1 large onion OR 2 small/medium onions 4 French/Deli rolls Butter (about 2 sticks)... I used MUCH less! Lawry’s Seasoned Salt 1/2 cu

Slashed Chicken with Herb Butter

***This is one of those recipes that every woman should have in her arsenal...a delicious, juicy, buttery, lemony roasted chicken. It's just a classic! I found this on Katie's food blog - Good Things Catered - and my stomach started growling just looking at her photo. The recipe sounded DELISH. Herb Butter...you can't go wrong with anything that has that in the title...hah. Our entire house smelled delicious while this was cooking. A Dutch Oven makes this chicken even better. I cooked it with the lid on for most of the time, but took it off for about 15 minutes at the end to make the skin a little crispier. You'll enjoy this one!*** Slashed Chicken with Herb Butter Williams-Sonoma Ingredients: 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 Tbsp chopped fresh chives 1 tsp chopped fresh chervil 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme 1 tsp lemon zest 1 tsp salt, plus more, to taste 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

Apple-Broccoli Salad

***In my opinion, you can't go wrong with Southern Living recipes. Time and time again, they get rave reviews...this one included. I imagine this dish is going to make an appearance at future family gatherings...it will make the perfect pot-luck dish. It's light, healthy and delicious, plus the preparation couldn't get any easier. I am extremely picky when it comes to mayo. I actually used Kraft's new Mayo w/Olive Oil for the dressing in this dish. It was perfect...not too heavy. I also made a few changes, which are noted in the ingredients list below.*** Ingredients: 4 cups small fresh broccoli florets 1/2 cup raisins 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (I used sliced almonds) 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (I cheated and used Bac-Os) 2 large Red Delicious apples, diced 1 small red onion, chopped (I left this out) 1 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup sugar (I only used about 1/4 cup) 2 tbsp. cider vinegar Directions: Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine ma

Pork Chops with Fig Sauce

***Okay...here it is! As promised, here's the savory fig recipe that I mentioned in the fresh fig bread post below. This was seriously good...not to mention the delicious aroma that wafted through the entire house while it was cooking. If you can get your hands on some fresh figs, you ought to give this one a try! When combined, the figs and pork make a scrumptious combination. There's also another huge pile of fresh figs sitting in my fridge right now....YUM! I have no idea what to cook with them yet. If anyone has any suggestions, PLEASE share them! I need to use them up in the next few days before they go bad. I think I might make some more fig bread...that stuff didn't last long!*** Ingredients: 4 (about 8 ounces each) boneless pork top loin chops, 1-1/2 inches thick Kosher salt Fresh ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle peppers, or to taste (see Notes) 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 Tablespoon butter 1/2 cup minced onion 2 large cloved garlic, finely minced

Fresh Fig & Walnut Bread

***Don't you just love figs? Some friends of ours have several fig trees, and they were gracious enough to give us 2 big bundles of them. The challenge was...what to make with all those figs??? I came across this recipe for fig bread. Honestly, I had no idea that fig bread even existed until recently. It sounded like it would be a little like banana nut bread...and I love banana nut bread! The original recipe called for pecans instead of walnuts. In my opinion, the walnuts turned out even better. I use pecans frequently, so this was a nice change. The bread was incredibly moist and delicious...this is definitely a must-try!!! The figs lend a wonderful, mild taste to the bread (which isn't particularly figgy...is that a word? lol), and the buttermilk adds a nice richness. It makes a perfect breakfast when paired with a steaming cup of coffee. Stay tuned to see what else I created with these figs...it will be a savory dish!*** Ingredients: 3 eggs 2 ½ cups sugar 2 cups ripe fi

The Best Carrot Cake You've Ever Had!

***I guess that you could say this is the cake that started it all!! I made this cake for Brad's birthday...the very first year we were together. It was such a hit, that I've made it countless times for many birthdays over the last few years. My cake baking skills have definitely gotten much better...especially the last few times I've made cakes. This is because of a few new purchases: 1) An icing spatula and 2) A piping bag w/assorted decorating tips. Who would have thought such simple things would make such a big difference! I had a ton of fun making this cake. I was especially proud of the carrot ribbons on top. I originally posted this recipe HERE , but I wanted to re-post so that I could add a few tips/tricks to the recipe (and show off this pretty creation!).*** Ingredients: 2 c. sugar 2 c. plain flour 1 1/2 c. cooking oil 4 eggs 2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. soda 2 tsp. cinnamon 3 c. grated carrots 1/2 c. or more chopped pecans Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix

Almond-Apricot Chicken with Mint Pesto

***Have you ever been so wrapped up in a recipe and cooking it so fast that you leave something out? That's exactly what happened to me the other night...hah. We had just sat down to eat and after a few bites of this almond-apricot chicken, I was thinking "This is SO good, but isn't it missing something??" That's when I realized...the MINT PESTO! Somehow, I had completely forgotten to make it. Oh well...that just gives me an excuse to make it again...and I certainly will. This is another combination (almonds + apricots + chicken) that I likely would have never thought to make if not for my good ol' friend Martha Stewart. It was even tasty without the pesto! This season I've realized more than ever how wonderful fruits can be incorporated into savory dishes...so don't limit yourself to only using fruits in desserts! They certainly work well in main courses too.*** Almond-Apricot Chicken Ingredients: 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (6 ounces ea

Very Berry Smoothie

***What's the perfect light lunch on a hot summer day? You guessed it...a cold, delicious mixed berry smoothie. The honey, vanilla and cinnamon in this recipe really adds that something special. I love a nice mix of different berries, so I just used mixed frozen berries. However, please feel free to substitute a mixture of your favorite frozen fruit. I added a sprig of fresh mint for garnish.*** Ingredients: 2 cups mixed, frozen berries (strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, & blackberry) 1 (8 ounce) container vanilla yogurt 1 cup 2% low-fat milk 3 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 pinch cinnamon Fresh mint, for garnish Directions: * Combine all ingredients in blender. * Blend until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. * Pour into 2 large glasses. Garnish with fresh mint, if desired. * Serve immediately.

German Chocolate Cake

***I was so excited last week when I was asked to bake a cake for a fellow co-worker...and her favorite kind of cake? - German Chocolate! I had never baked one, so I was a little nervous that it wouldn't come out as good as other cakes that I've made. I found what sounded like a fabulous recipe on David Lebovitz's blog ....the recipe is by a pastry chef, nonetheless. So, I put my apron on and armed myself with my KitchenAid stand mixer...ready to take on this recipe. It came out wonderfully! One co-worker even said it was the best German Chocolate Cake she's ever had...you can't beat that! The filling on the top is flat-out decadent...it has toasted coconut and pecans....yum! It may seem like a long recipe, but every step is worth it! This was also my very first attempt at piping...I think it turned out pretty good. My piping skills will only get better! Here's the recipe: German Chocolate Cake Makes one big, tall 9-inch cake; about 16 servings For the cak

Zucchini and Chicken Salad

***Brad and I love salads...especially this time of year. The following recipe is for a salad that easily makes my "top 5 salads...ever!" list. This one is seriously tasty. The light, lemony dressing makes all the flavors pop. On first seeing this recipe, you might be thinking that it's a strange mix of ingredients. I never in a million years would have thought to combine zucchini, chicken, pecans, and mint...but it definitely works. It's the perfect summer salad, combining fresh veggies of the season with a light, yummy taste. This is yet another recipe from my new favorite cookbook by Martha Stewart: Everyday Food: Great Food Fast . If you haven't gotten this cookbook yet, I highly recommend it!*** Ingredients: 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice Coarse salt and ground pepper 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 bunch (about 8 ounces) spinach, chopped 1/2 red onion, thinly slice