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Showing posts from June, 2009

Ina Garten's Lemon Chicken with Croutons...This is Amazing!

***Every once in a while, a recipe comes along that you just can't forget. I came across this dish in Ina Gartens' Barefoot in Paris cookbook. I knew immediately that I wanted to give it a try. First of all, I LOVE the combination of chicken and lemons. There's something so delicious and comforting about a gorgeously roasted chicken infused with whole lemons. Secondly, I love bread...in fact, carbs of any kind will do...lol. The homemade croutons in this recipe were simply divine. They had the best toasted flavor, and I found myself eating them right out of the saute pan...haha. I never would have thought to put an entire roasted chicken on a bed of freshly toasted croutons, but it works so wonderfully! The croutons are made from a French baguette...They soak up the lemony goodness from the chicken, and it makes for an amazing culinary experience! Also, this recipe looks absolutely scrumptious when it's plated and presented on a platter. In fact, Brad said "Wow

Marshmallow Fondant Cake + Fun at the Lake!

***This weekend, eight dear friends from high school had the chance to get together at the lake...for a weekend of reminiscing and LOTS of fun. We were all cheerleaders together in high school, and it was so great to catch up with everyone. We're so blessed to have had the opportunity to do this...especially since most of us live in different cities and states. Hopefully, we'll get to do it more often. Before the big weekend arrived, I made a yummy fondant cake...I used THIS Strawberry Cake recipe from Paula Deen (still my favorite!). I also made homemade Marshmallow Fondant for the very first time! I wish I had photos of the fondant-making...it was pretty hilarious. A sticky mess....that's probably the best way to describe it...Haha. Once you start kneading the mixture together, you're pretty committed...there's no going back. I can't stress enough the importance of greasing both your hands and your countertop with plenty of shortening...this tip is vital! O

A Fresh Strawberry Tart from Julia Child!

***I've become such a big fan of Julia Child. I'm currently reading her memoir, "My Life in France," and I'm in love! Brad recently gave me a beautiful set of her "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Volumes I & II. This is the very first recipe that I've tried out from Volume I. This recipe stood out to me because #1: I LOVE strawberries! and #2: Fresh fruit tarts just scream "summer!" to me. The recipe itself is pretty simple. Don't let the length scare you away...it's broken down into 3 parts, and if you tackle each one separately you'll be done in a breeze! The tarts that line the bake case shelves in Paris all displayed gorgeously divine fruit tarts. I noticed they all had a beautifully shiny glaze over the top. This recipe definitely yields the same thing. I was so happy with the finished tart! It was almost too pretty to eat...I've never let that stop me in the past, though...hah.*** Tarte Aux Fraises (Fresh S

Ina Garten's Coconut Madeleines!

Lately, I adore any recipe that reminds me of our trip to the blissfully sublime city of Paris. The foods...the markets...the sights...the smells...the history...it was all so inspiring! Recently, I purchased a copy of Ina Garten's cookbook, "Barefoot in Paris," and I knew that I had to try her recipe for Coconut Madeleines as soon as possible. These little cookie 'cakes' are so easy and SO scrumptious...and one bite transports me back to the sidewalks of the Saint Germain des Pres area where we sipped espresso and people-watched from a cozy bistro table at the famous Les Deux Magots. I was able to find a wonderful Madeleine pan at Williams-Sonoma. It worked beautifully and the cookies popped out perfectly. They kind of taste like little pound cakes! The addition of coconut is so yummy. If you're not a coconut fan, you can easily substitute anything from orange or lemon zest to chocolate chips...you can even dip half of each cookie in ganache. I definitel

A Tiered Baby Shower Cake!!!

I was SO excited to cater my sister-in-law's recent baby shower. I was thrilled to have another chance to make a tiered cake. She's having a little girl, so there was no question what kind of cake it would be...a pretty-in-pink strawberry cake! I used my very favorite cake recipe - Paula Deen's " Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake ." This recipe is SO amazing....it's super easy and always comes out moist and perfect. The real strawberries and cream cheese frosting really make this a stellar cake! I was also excited to use fondant again...this was only my second time using it. I still haven't perfected the technique, but I was still very happy with the finished cake. It got a lot of "Ooohs" and "Ahhhs" when I took it out of the box! :) You may remember my very first tiered cake, which was THIS WEDDING CAKE . I had a lot of fun decorating this one...especially since I used a combination of stripes and circles. I wanted it to be cute and c

Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad with Strawberries

***My favorite salads always include nuts (preferably pecans or walnuts), chicken, bleu cheese, balsamic dressing, and either strawberries or cranberries. I was recently flipping through the pages of the new May/June 2009 issue of Cooking with Paula Deen magazine when I stumbled across this recipe. It looked and sounded perfect to me, so I gave it a try. Brad and I both LOVED this one. It's light and delicious...perfect for the hot summer months! The chicken has a wonderful taste, with the addition of the pecans. The tangy bleu cheese is a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the strawberries, and the dressing finishes it off flawlessly!This dish is very easy and you won't have a mountain of dishes and pans to clean up afterwards. *** Ingredients: 3 egg whites 1 cup finely chopped pecans 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) 1 tsp. dried parsley 1 tsp. dried thyme 3/4 tsp. salt 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness and cut in half crosswise 1/4

Mounds Bar Cake - Heaven on a Plate!!!

***This, my lovely readers is one decadent cake !!! Recently, we celebrated Brad's mom's birthday. She gave me a birthday cake challenge, and I was so excited to try something new. She requested a chocolate and coconut cake....something inspired by a delicious Mounds Bar. Well, below you'll see my final creation. I used this Coconut Cream Cake as the basic cake recipe, which is simply divine. The texture is wonderfully scrumptious and it has just the right amount of coconut flavoring. Instead of the usual coconut icing in between the layers, I did something extra special. Over a double boiler, I melted chopped Mounds Bars, added some marshmallows and heavy cream...and Voila! The chocolate filling turned out A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! I was so thrilled with the results. This cake didn't last long! I love the coconut icing on this cake because it isn't very heavy. It's made with freshly whipped cream. I do have to add a disclaimer, though...if you're on a diet, sta

My Favorite Kitchen Toys!

Recently, I got a wonderful post idea/request from a reader, but no matter how hard I've looked, I can't seem to find the original e-mail from the reader. So, I must apologize in advance...Hopefully, this person will read this post and be able to let me know it was from them. ;) UPDATE: The awesome reader that requested this post was Blondie42107 from the blog Somewhere Over the Rainbow . THANKS AGAIN! :) Anyways, my wonderful reader suggested that I do a post about my favorite kitchen tools. I thought it was a great idea, so I tucked the idea away in my head for a post. I thought it would be fun to talk about kitchen "toys"...hehe. So...drumroll please...here are the things that I could not live (or bake/cook) without! PS - These are all stock photos...not ones that I've taken. #1: Le Creuset Dutch Oven ***I love my Dutch Oven! It's so versatile and never, ever disappoints!*** #2: Silpat Baking Mats ***These baking mats will change your life! Nothin

It's Time for Some Blog Awards!!!

I was thrilled when a fellow food blooger, Gypsy Mommy's Kitchen , awarded me not 1...not 2...but 3 blog awards!!! Thank you so very much , Gypsy Mommy! Be sure to check out her blog...she has some seriously delicious-looking recipes, including her Hoisin Marinated Chicken with Garlic Sauteed Green Beans . The awards included: "E for Excellence" Award "Lemonade and Friends" Award The "Friends" Award Along with this Friends award comes this message: "These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated." Also - "Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award." So, I am going to follow Gypsy Mommy's example and award the