Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Post Coming Soon!

Happy New Year!

Don't worry, I'm still here, I haven't fallen out of the blogging universe again. With the holiday bustle and some computer issues, I haven't been able to post, but there'll be more soon! Promise! I hope you're still with me!


Monday, December 23, 2013

Melted Snowmen (Chocolate Chip Meringues)

One more quickie cookie recipe before Santa arrives ;)

Forgive me the hyperbole, but these are just about the easiest and fastest cookie you are going to find. Their actual name is *Forgotten Cookies*, because you leave them in the oven overnight, but the snowy-white egg whites with a random peeks of chocolate chip made me think of melted snowmen, and so, a new holiday-appropriate name was born. These are light, airy, and crisply sweet. And! Added bonus, they are gluten-free, so they can be enjoyed by those who may have to abstain from flour-based cookies. Yay! Cookies for everyone!

Melted Snowmen (Chocolate Chip Meringues)

-2 egg whites
-3/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 cup chocolate chips

-Preheat oven to 350F
-Beat egg whites until stiff, adding sugar a little at a time and beating constantly
-Fold in chocolate chips
-Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet (you could also pipe them through a pastry bag or a plastic sandwich bag with one of the bottom corners cut off)
-Place cookies in oven and TURN OVEN OFF. Leave in oven for 6 hours or overnight. DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR.
-Makes approximately 16 cookies

Note: Because these are meringues, they do not take humidity well, make them on a dry day and store them in a cool place in an airtight container)

(These cookies really are appropriate for any time of year, I've never tried this personally, but I'm sure you could switch out the chocolate chips for M&M's in any color of the rainbow :)

Serve these piled on a plate with a steaming mug of hot cocoa and Santa (or anyone else who tastes them!) will love you :)

Happy Christmas, My Dears!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Flavored Butter 2.0 (Chili Garlic Lime Butter and Maple Brown Sugar Sea Salt Butter)

Happy Holidays, Friends!

   I had the best of intentions of getting this post up last weekend, but the holidays are in full force with cooking and baking and wrapping and events to attend, and when I do get a few free minutes, I spend them on the couch in front of my Christmas Tree with my husband and my kittens, not in front of a computer, and that is as it should be :) But! At long last, here I am, and here you are, and I'm thinking a food-gift post might be in order :)

    Those of you that have been with me for the long haul may remember a flavored butter post from the Holiday Season of 2011 :) That was my first adventure into the world of homemade butters, and the recipes featured there were Orange Marmalade Butter and Cinnamon Honey Butter. I'm happy to say that both of those recipes have withstood the test of time and I've returned to them several times since :) This time we're back with two new flavors that I'm really pleased with, Chili Garlic Lime Butter and Maple Brown Sugar Sea Salt Butter :)

   A few reminders on technique:

   -this could not be simpler, just combine ingredients with softened butter in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl.

    -This can be packaged multiple ways, the first time I did this I packed the butter in small canning jars. This time I wrapped the butter in a layer of parchement paper and then a layer of colored plastic wrap and tied the ends with ribbon.

   -The flavoring quantities listed here are only guidelines. Add as much ot as little as you like :)

   -TASTE!!! The only way to know if your porportions are right!!!

   -These will keep for weeks in the fridge and for months in the freezer.

  -These recipes are scaled to 10 sticks of butter, assuming you'll be making large batches to give as gifts :)

Chili Garlic Lime Butter

-10 sticks butter, softened (it works with salted and unsalted, I used salted, use what you prefer)
-10 cloves garlic, finely minced
-3 tbsp chili powder or to taste (go very slowly with this, I added about a tablespoon at a time, you can always add, but you can't take away!)
-Zest and Juice of 3 Limes
-Pinch of Sea Salt

-Combine all ingredients in stand mixer or in large bowl with hand mixer. Adjust seasonings. Package as desired and chill until needed.

Maple Brown Sugar Sea Salt Butter

-10 sticks butter, softened
-1 cup maple syrup
-1 cup brown sugar
-Sea Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in stand mixer or in large bowl with hand mixer. Adjust seasonings. Package as desired and chill until needed.

Have a beautiful holiday filled with Light and Love :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Placeholder: Don't Worry, I'm Still Here!

Hey Ho,

 Don't worry, I haven't dropped off the face of the blogging planet again, I just encountered some minor snags last week. Technical difficulties with the home computer and wee bit of an accident. I fell down the front stairs of our apartment :( No broken bones, no concussion, thank goodness, just pretty bruised and sore, but I am on the mend! I will get a blog up this week, though it will probably be late in the week or over the weekend, but it will happen! I've really loved getting back into blogging, I won't let it go indefinitely dark again :) Don't have much else to day other than that, I probably won't bother cross-posting this entry on Facebook, because it's just a check-in, but there's lots of great stuff coming up! Biscuits! Cookies! Flavored Butters! Yay Holidays!

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

    I am as good as my word :) A seasonally appropriate breakfast/simple dessert item featuring both pumpkin and chocolate that is NOT pie. Not that there is anything wrong with pie, or eating pie for breakfast, which is what I assume many of us will be doing on Friday morning ;), but the Internet is swimming in awesome pie recipes right about now, and I wanted to feature something just a little different.

    This is a treasured recipe from some very dear friends of mine, and it's definitely one my favorite quick breads. From October to December, this bread is just perfect. Breakfast, snack, dessert, whatever, it is a divine Autumnal or Holiday nibble. This bread has a really nice balance of flavors, the pumpkin and chocolate are both very present, but you don't get bashed over the head with either one of them.  I love that this bread is made basically entirely of pantry staples, and couldn't be simpler in terms of prep. Monkey stir, monkey pour, monkey put in oven. I can handle that :)

   Oh! And for those interested, the pumpkin puree I used in this recipe was that homemade pumpkin puree I talked about in one of my most recent posts :) As you may recall, you are technically supposed to use the smaller sugar pumpkins for homemade pumpkin puree, but all I had on hand was a large, jack o' lantern type pumpkin. I'm happy to report that the puree worked beautifully, to no ill-effect in texture or taste. That, of course, doesn't necessarily mean that it would be a perfect sub in all cases, but there is cause for optimism :)



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
    -from the recipe files of Cheryl Lieberman

-3 cups flour
-2 cups sugar
-2 tsp. baking powder
-2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2-3 tsp. cinnamon
-3 cups pumpkin puree (NOT Pumpkin Pie Filling!!!)
-1 cup oil
-4 eggs
-1 bag chocolate chips (I used Toll House semi-sweet morsels, but use what you like)

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
-Grease and flour (or spray with nonstick cooking spray) two loaf pans or one bundt pan.
-Combine dry ingredients (except for chocolate chips) in medium bowl and whisk briefly to aerate.
-Add wet ingredients to bowl and stir to combine (you could certainly use a mixer if you wanted to, I usually just use a big spoon).
-Once mixture is combined, stir in chocolate chips.
-Pour batter into prepared pan(s) and bake at 350F for approximately 1 hour or until inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean of batter (a few smears of melted chocolate are okay)
-let cool briefly in pan(s), then remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
-Eat for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning with softened butter while you watch the Macy's Parade and putting the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving Feast :)

*Bread will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days, and (again, well wrapped) in the freezer for several months*

Printable? Here ya go :)

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving :) I'm so grateful for you all!!!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Great Stuffing Debate (Thanksgiving Countdown, Week #3)

    One week out from Thanksgivng and I'm probably gonna set off some heated conversations with this one, but it's one of the great Thanskgiving Debates, so here we go:

    What do you put in your stuffing? Do you stuff it in the bird or bake it in a separate dish? If you bake it in a separate dish, do you still call it stuffing, or do you call it by it's technically correct name of dressing?

   Sandwich bread? Crusty Bread? Cornbread?

   Sausage? Apples? Celery? Sage? Mushrooms? Onions?

   Confession: One of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving spread is the stuffing ;)

   For the record, in my family, we use crusty bread or good quality sandwich bread, the seasonings are simple: celery, onion, occasionally mushrooms, salt, pepper, and a little stock from the bird and an egg for binders. We bake it in a separate pan and do not stuff it inside the turkey.

  And you? Let's hear it!


DISCLAIMER: This is a judgement-free zone, but the food police will come after me if I don't say that if you do choose to cook your stuffing inside your turkey, please make sure that the stuffing, as well as the turkey, have reached the food safety temperature of 165 degrees F. Because salmonella sucks and should not be part of any holiday celebration.

Next up? A pumpkin and chocolate dessert/breakfast item that is NOT pie. Yup. I said it.

Love ya!


Friday, November 15, 2013

How-To: Pumpkin and Squash Puree

   A definite plus of getting back into food blogging is that it has inspired me to dust off my Culinary *To-Do* List. A big one on that list has been making my own Squash and Pumpkin puree to freeze and use for cooking and baking during the winter holidays. This past weekend, finding myself with a rare free-morning, I did just that.

   Was this time-consuming? Yes, but it was not difficult at all, a perfect low-stress, lazy Sunday kind of thing. It probably would have gone a lot faster if I wasn't also making a big batch of applesauce, but on this particular occasion, I was not in any hurry. Also, the hands-on part is fairly minimal, the longest bit is when the veggies are roasting in the oven. These process shots (again, had to use my iPhone, as my USB adapter for my camera hasn't turned up yet) are a mix of acorn squash and pumpkin. As you'll see in some of these photos, I used a regular-sized, jack o'lantern type pumpkin. Technically speaking the smaller *sugar pumpkins* are probably better for this, as apparently the larger pumpkins produce a more watery puree, but I haven't attempted to cook or bake with my pumpkin puree yet, so I will report back and let you know how it went. You won't have long to wait, as I plan to use said pumpkin in my next recipe post. In case it is not clear, I roasted the acorn squash first and the pumpkin second, in other words, I made the two purees separately, I did not mix them together.

   Question: is a pumpkin a squash? Are squash and pumpkins both considered gourds? Are pumpkins, squash and gourds all different things? The interwebs are hazy on this point, help a girl out?

   Unsurprisingly, I am not the first food blogger to tackle a how-to of this type. Ree over at Pioneer Woman has a lovely tutorial (with much better pictures!) here if you want to check it out!

 Pumpkin and/or Squash Puree
 adapted from various Internet sources, but most prominently Ree Drummond at Pioneer Woman

-winter vegetables of choice (I used 3 acorn squash and 1 medium sized pumpkin)
(longest. ingredient. list. EVER.)

A WORD ON YIELDS: Every veggie will probably be a little different, so I don't know how accurately I can tell you about yields. For whatever it is worth, a medium sized pumpkin got me about 7.5 cups of pumpkin puree and three acorn squash got me about 3 cups of squash puree.

-Preheat oven to 350F.

-Give outer shell of squash or pumpkins a quick rinse or wipe with a damp cloth in case there is any lingering dirt.

-Cut squash or pumpkins in half or in quarters and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp.

-Arrange pieces cut-side up on an ungreased baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes or until flesh is soft and easily pierced with a fork (it took about 45 minutes for my acorn squash and about an hour for my pumpkin, start the *fork test* around 45 minutes and go from there)

-When flesh is soft, remove squash/pumpkin from oven and let cool until it can be handled safely.

-When pumpkin/squash is cool enough to handle safely, scoop flesh into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Sometimes the flesh will peel away from the shell in large chunks, other times you will have to scoop it out of the shell with a spoon

-Pulse pumpkin/squash in food processor or blender until smooth. If puree looks dry, add a little water to the mixture. If using a blender, you may need to add a little water at the outset just to help the blender along)

-Place puree in airtight containers and freeze until needed.

   I'm assuming you gathered this, but this treatment would work with pretty much any winter veggies. I used pumpkin and acorn squash, but you could really do any kind of winter squash, or sweet potatoes, or whatever tickles your fancy. Be advised there is no oil and there are no seasonings in this formula, I wanted to leave it plain so the puree could swing sweet or savory as needed in whatever recipe you will be using.


After some advice from the Internet wizard, I believe I have found a way to incorporate a print function!!! Click here and it should give you the option to view and save or print a PDF of this recipe :) Let me know if it works!!!