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Showing posts from October, 2008

Basic Pizza Dough - Daring Bakers Challenge

***Well...it's that time again...Daring Bakers time, that is! This month we were challenged to make our very own pizza dough. But that was only half the challenge...we also had to transform into pizzaiolos for a day and actually toss the dough + take pictures of the tossing action! I was pumped...I had never attempted tossing pizza dough until tonight (yes, I waited until the very last minute to complete this challenge). The recipe was taken from "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart. Our lovely host this month was Rosa from Rosa's Yummy Yums . Thanks Rosa for the wonderful challenge!!! I chose to make a simple, Margherita pizza (mozzarella, roma tomatoes, basil & olive oil). I ended up with 2 large dough balls (instead of 6 smaller ones), so I've got another one sitting in the fridge waiting for its turn. I didn't want to do anything too complicated for the first go-around...just in case the dough didn't want to cooperate. However,

Red Velvet Cake - "Southern Living"

***I recently got the opportunity to make these cheesecake pops and a star-shaped Red Velvet Cake for a friend's baby shower. The theme was: "You're a Star Sebastian!" It was so much fun! I was worried about the star-shaped pan...I was nervous that the cake would stick to the sides & bottom, and I wouldn't be able to get it out all in one piece. However, if you know the correct way to grease and flour a cake pan, you'll never fail! The secret is using solid Crisco shortening to grease the pan...not butter...and not Pam! The shortening makes a big difference for some reason. I also always put a round (or in this case, a star!) of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, and add a dusting of flour. The results couldn't have been better. The cake slipped right out with no problems. This red velvet cake recipe was divine! It was moist and delicious, with just the right amount of yummy cocoa. I can't wait to make it again for Christmas. And as alway

Chocolatey Hazelnut Brownies ....Mmmmm.....

***The other night, I had a major craving for a brownie (or 2!)...nothing too fancy, just a chocolatey, nutty, delicious brownie. I hit the jackpot with this recipe. It calls for walnuts, but I used hazelnuts instead. I also sprinkled chocolate chips over the top of the batter before baking. The result: Chocolate Heaven! Consider this a warning though - they are seriously addicting. Do not make these if you're on a diet, LOL. I did double the recipe and then cooked them in a square baking dish instead of a loaf pan. Also, instead of regular shortening, I used margarine. After doubling the recipe, I started with 1 stick margarine, but the batter seemed to be too thick. I added another 1/2 stick melted butter and that brought the batter to the perfect consistency. I found this recipe in a great cookbook that Brad recently surprised me with. It's "The Taste of Home Cookbook." I highly recommend it! The recipes are all easy to make (there's over 1,200 recipes!), a

Shrimp in Ginger Butter Sauce

***This is SUCH an easy, fast, and delicious way to prepare shrimp. The ginger butter sauce was fabulous...I'm loving fresh ginger lately. You'll only need 5 ingredients and 15 minutes to complete this dish! The only thing that I changed were the amounts...the recipe says it serves one, so I just doubled everything to serve two. It was a hit in our house. I found this recipe in the Sept. 2008 issue of Gourmet magazine (my new favorite mag!).*** From Gourmet magazine: Shrimp in Ginger Butter Sauce Serves 1 "Ginger and cilantro add Southeast Asian oomph to this French-style butter sauce, which lightly coats big, meaty shrimp. For more recipes inspired by the City of Light, visit our Paris City Guide ." Ingredients: 6 oz large shrimp in shell, peeled 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger 2 tablespoons medium-dry Sherry 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro Directions: Pat shrimp dry and season with salt. Heat butter in a heavy medi

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cake

***When a friend, Peggy, recently asked me to make a double chocolate cake for a party, I had just the right recipe in mind. I had seen this recipe on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa canister, and I had also heard wonderful things about this particular cake over on Good Things Catered . So, I decided to give it a try. And let me just tell you...making a chocolate cake and not eating a slice was EXTREMELY hard for me...LOL....I am very much a chocolate addict. I was very pleased with the results, though. The cake was wonderfully moist (just look at the pics!) and the frosting was out-of-this-world delicious. Seriously...this cake is my new go-to chocolate cake. Peggy wanted a fall-themed cake, preferably with sunflowers. I had a lot of fun thinking of ideas for this cake!*** Cake Batter = Chocolately Goodness! Just look at those yummy layers... Ingredients: 2 c. sugar 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 c. Hershey's Cocoa 1-1/2 tsp baking powder 1-1/2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp sal

Sauteed Chicken in Riesling (Poulet au Riesling)

***I know, I know...you're probably wondering why in the world I haven't been posting as much lately. I apologize...things have been kind of busy. I did accomplish something pretty cool though. I ran my first 5K this weekend! It was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I had a blast! It's such an amazing thing to see SO many people unite for one cause. There was somewhere between 13,000 - 16,000 participants! But, don't fear...I have A LOT of posting to catch up with. I've been in the kitchen almost every night, and there are tons of photos on my camera right now...and they can't wait for their turn in the spotlight. :) Tonight's post is yet another wonderful dish from my new favorite cookbook, Williams-Sonoma: Paris. This dish was incredibly tasty...I can't imagine chicken sauteed in a fabulous wine not being good...can you? The meat was so tender, and we were all glad there were left-overs for the next night. You'll enjoy this one!*** Ingr

GrannyRene's Chicken & Dumplings / Steamed Cabbage

***My sweet grandmother, GrannyRene, recently came to stay with us, and we had so much fun! We got into the kitchen and cooked up a storm...Chicken & Dumplings, Steamed Cabbage, Collard Greens w/Ham...just to name a few of her specialties. Growing up, she made Chicken & Dumplings often. It has always been a favorite of mine...just the smell of it cooking brings back so many wonderful memories. I've made her Chicken & Dumplings before, but I really wanted GrannyRene to teach me how first-hand. She has several tricks that make them really special! She even wrote down all the recipes for me. I've included a scan of those too. In my opinion, you can't beat a hand-written recipe lovingly written by the cook! There are so many ways that you can make Chicken & Dumplings (with herbs, onions, etc.), however, GrannyRene's simple recipe is packed with flavor and will always be my favorite! The flavor in this dish will surprise you, considering the short ingredie