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Showing posts from January, 2010

Nanaimo Bars + Homemade Graham Crackers!

The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen . Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and http://www.nanaimo.ca/ . There hasn't been a month yet, where I wasn't excited about the Daring Bakers' Challenge. This month was no exception. This Canadian treat...the Nanaimo Bar...was much easier to make than previous challenges, and they taste amazing. I especially LOVED the bottom layer, with the coconut, homemade graham crackers, and almonds....So good! The hardest part of this recipe was making the graham crackers from scratch. Yes, the dough is a little fussy and not the easiest to work with (because it's a very wet dough), but they are totally doable. I did not make the gluten free version, so I used regular ole' all purpose flour instead. Once the graham crackers are finished, this recipe is easy peasy! However, if you wanted to m

Broiled Salmon with Spinach & Feta Saute

***If you're a fan of salmon and are in need of a quick and delicious weeknight meal, may I suggest this amazing recipe? Dinner doesn't get much easier than this. This entire meal can be ready in less than 20 minutes...or certainly 30. The salmon broils for about 7 minutes, and the sauteed spinach is prepared while the salmon is in the oven....Easy Peasy! The taste is wonderful. In fact, Brad made the comment that this dish was one of his favorite things that I've made recently. I have to agree...So, it's earned a spot in the Top-Rated Recipes category! Plus, it makes a beautiful presentation. Because of that, this dish would certainly make a great meal for dinner guests. One that will make everyone think you've slaved away in the kitchen all afternoon...Hehe. If they only knew... I love the combination of spinach and feta here...that's one of my favorite combos in anything. The pine nuts add just the right texture, and it all goes perfectly with the salmon.

Chicken Potpie - Ad Hoc at Home

***There are certain dishes that conjure up memories from childhood. I can remember eating the Swanson's chicken potpies as a child, just as Mr. Keller mentions in his cookbook. We'd pop those into the oven, and dinner would soon be ready. Those are really the only chicken potpies that I've ever really eaten...until now. I couldn't pass up the recipe for Chicken Potpie in Ad Hoc at Home . It sounded like the perfect, comforting dish for a cold winter night. This potpie certainly takes more effort than popping a frozen pie in the oven, but I can promise you that it's worth the effort! There are several things that I did to simplify Mr. Keller's recipe. The directions say to cook the potatoes, carrots, and onions in separate saucepans. I cooked them all together in one pot, and I even added the celery during the last few minutes of cooking. I also did not strain the bechamel sauce. This saved many dirty pots at the end of the night! I did cook an entire roasti

Sugar & Spice Got a Makeover!

Welcome to the new face of "Sugar & Spice by Celeste"! I am so excited to launch this new design. My wonderfully talented husband designed the header for me, and I found the background over at BackgroundFairy.com . What do you think? Stay tuned for Thomas Keller's recipe for homemade Chicken Pot Pie...Coming soon! I hope you like it! I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section! :-)

Thomas Keller's Brownies - Ad Hoc at Home

***Okay, folks...There is a special place in my heart for all things chocolate. And now, these brownies have taken up a large part of that special place. Close your eyes and imagine chocolately goodness...warm out of the oven. The first bite is heaven, and the second bite is even better. Halfway through your first bite, you hit a pocket of gooey goodness (a.k.a.: a warm chocolate chip). You can open your eyes now... Thomas Keller has done it again with his simple recipe for brownies. The best part about these insanely fantastic brownies are the bits of chocolate that are stirred into the batter before baking. They explode in your mouth as you take that first bite. But...please prepare yourself...This recipe calls for THREE sticks of butter....Yes, I said THREE. I had to pick my chin up off the floor too after reading that. I think that I even heard my arteries let out a faint yell "NO! Don't do it!" It seemed like such a large amount for only 12 brownies. When it came

Tomato & Mozzarella Salad - Ad Hoc at Home

*** So, if you haven't noticed lately, I am seriously in love with Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook. I hope you're not getting tired of the Ad Hoc postings...there are certainly a few more recipes that I can't wait to share with you! This Tomato & Mozzarella Salad caught my eye because it looked so fresh and delicious...Plus, I love, love, love caprese salad. We ate a caprese salad in Rome, Italy that was especially wonderful. The flavors were vibrant...the tomatoes were fresh...and the mozzarella was perfectly soft. This particular recipe makes a gorgeous presentation, and it just gets better after the first day...once the flavors really have time to meld together. Mr. Keller recommends serving the mozzarella on the side of this salad, but I mixed mine right in. Thomas also includes instructions for making your own mozzarella. While this is something that I definitely plan to tackle one day, I did go ahead and use store-bought mozzarella this time around

Pizza w/Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions, Wilted Spinach and Feta

***The other night, we were craving pizza...not delivery, but homemade. I LOVE Frank Stitt's recipe for Basic Pizza Dough. I've made it over and over again, and it has never failed to impress. It comes together fast, rises for only 30 - 45 minutes, and then bakes up into the perfect crusty goodness...with an amazing texture! You can find the recipe HERE. I didn't want to go to the store for any special ingredients, so I looked for a recipe that would incorporate ingredients that I already had on-hand. I hit the jackpot with Frank Stitt's recipe for "Pizza with Mushrooms, Butternut Squash, and Wilted Greens". I had never had butternut squash on a pizza, but I love trying new food combinations, so I decided to give it a go. I added a little Feta cheese to Chef Stitt's original recipe, which Brad and I both love on pizza. I ended up really liking this pizza! No doubt, one of the reasons is because it IS so different. I also made a Barbeque Chicken P

Olive Cheese Bread & ROLL TIDE!

***First of all, I just have to send a big "ROLL TIDE!!!" to all of my fellow University of Alabama Crimson Tide Fans! We won the National Championship last night, and it was awesome! I was so proud of our guys...they played hard in what turned out to be a fantastic game...they definitely deserved this historic win!! :-) Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming: I was so excited to receive Ree Drummond's new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks , on Christmas day. If you're looking for a hearty, delicious, mouth-watering dish, I'm sure that Ree has just the recipe for you. After reading through the cookbook, this Olive Cheese Bread both sounded and looked divine. We love, love, love olives around this house, so I couldn't wait to give this a try. It tasted scrumptious...cheesy, olive-y, goodness! I couldn't find straight monterey jack cheese at the store, so I had to use a cheddar/monterey jack mix. A great tip that Ree suggests in her cookbook i

Ad Hoc's Buttermilk Biscuits

As a Southern girl born and raised in Alabama, I naturally gravitated straight to the Buttermilk Biscuit recipe in Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home . Actually, it was the first recipe I tried out of this awesome cookbook. Everyone...I repeat, Everyone...needs a great Buttermilk Biscuit recipe in their arsenal...whether you are Southern, or not! These particular biscuits are perfectly buttery, comforting, and scrumptious! They go wonderfully with jam, of course. Thomas Keller also recommends serving them with a sprinkling of fleur de sel or as a strawberry shortcake biscuit for dessert. I have to warn you, though...These are NOT in any form or fashion diet biscuits...Hah. After all, what great biscuits are, right? These do have a lot of butter in them, but they wouldn't be the same without it. Be careful not to overwork your dough. That will make your biscuits tough. Also, be sure to press the dough cutter straight down, without turning the cutter. If you turn it while cutting

Ad Hoc's Fig and Balsamic Jam

***Alright, here's the recipe for the Fig and Balsamic Jam that I promised in my last post. This jam is used in the delicious Fig-Stuffed Roast Pork Loin from Ad Hoc at Home . I'm so happy that it makes 2 1/2 cups of jam. I used 1 cup in the pork loin, and had plenty left over for later use. It's sitting pretty in the fridge right now. This jam is wonderful...seriously. I had to make a few modifications, since fresh figs are not available right now. I had to use dried figs, but they worked fine. I simmered them in the saucepan in a little water for about 5 - 10 minutes to help soften them. I used a potato masher to help mash and smooth out the figs. I also don't have a candy thermometer, so I had to guess at the correct temperature. I simply stopped when the jam seemed to be the correct consistency. The results were fantastic...I'll definitely be making this again. If you're like me, you love fig jam! In my opinion, it's always good to have a stash in the