Sunday, September 30, 2007

My First Daring Baker Challenge

~Cinnamon Rolls~

The kids and I had a good time with this one we measured and mixed and let it rise. Then we all took turns rolling out the dough and sprinkling on the toppings. The toppings, for the most part, were the ones suggested I just added a 1/2 a teaspoon cayenne and pecans.

They were tasty; however, the dough rose too fast so the flavor did not have time to develop and the bottom of the sticky buns were a little over done. That did not stop them from disappearing withing a few short hours.

Thank you Pip in the City for hosting this month's challenge.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Creamed Spinach

1 pound fresh spinach
3 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 T olive oil
1 T flour
1/3 cup cream or whole milk

Clean spinach in a large bowl of cold water. Remove the cleaned spinach, do not pour it out or you will our the sand back on the spinach but lift out the clean spinach with your sands.

Cook the spinach in a large pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until it is wilted down and dark green. Remove the spinach and submerse it in a large pot of ice water to spot the cooking and to set the color.

squeeze the water out of the spinach and chop it until it is finely chopped.

it a cold saute pan add the oil and the garlic, heating it up slowly. Add flour to garlic and oil and cook stirring for just a few seconds, when it starts to get bubbly and smell nutty add in the spinach and cream. Stir to mix and heat to thicken, just until it starts to bubble.

Menu for Week 9/28/07

*Gazpacho with seared scallops
*Turkey Burgers with cranberry relish & sweet potatoes
*Pasta with Eggplant Ragu
*Thai Fried Rice
*Serbian Meat Pies
*Bean Soup

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Stuffed Pork Roll

We eat a lot of pork and after a while it can get boring so I thought I would try something new. This could easily be done with chicken breast too. I enjoyed this as did my husband but the kids needed a little ketchup coaxing.

12 oz pork loin cut into 4 equal medallions
8-12 slices smoked turkey - divided by 4
4 ounces Cheese - I used mozzarella for the kids and habanero cheddar for Hubby and myself
16 asparagus stalks
Salt & pepper
oil for frying

Using a meat hammer, pound the pork medallions out until they are nice and thin but not to the point where holes are tearing. Season pork with salt and pepper, lay turkey evenly over the 4 pork medallions then the cheese and 4 asparagus stalks on each. roll the stuffing up inside the pork and pin roll with a toothpick.

Add some oil to a hot frying pan and fry the pork rolls on each side until they are golden brown and done through.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fried Polenta

I grew up eating what we called fried corn meal mush covered in maple syrup made from the maple trees that grew around our house. It was so so good and I can remember the excitement of my brothers and sister as we had our first breakfast after the first batch of syrup was done.

Now that I am an adult I still love fried corn meal mush with maple syrup but I have expanded my palate to include home made pesto, olive and tomato salsa and bruschetta topping. Oh yes and I suppose I should call it polenta now too.

3 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
2 or 3 Tbsp. Butter
3 or 4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

mix 1 cup water with the cornmeal, this helps it from clumping. Bring 2 cups water to boil, add the salt and then the wet cornmeal and cook 5 minutes stirring and then cover and turn heat to low and cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Butter a jellyroll pan and spread polenta evenly over the pan to about 1/4 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Cool completely

Cut Polenta into squares and fry in hot oil until golden crisp crust forms. Top with what ever sounds yummy or what is on hand or eat as is.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Apple Lavender Muffins

Rose from 64 Sq Ft kitchen made Apple Rosemary Muffins that I had to try. I didn't have all of the ingredients for her muffins (such as Rosemary) so I came as close as I could. My changes are in Red

- 1 cup white wheat flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup oat bran or wheat bran
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda

- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups plain yogurt or buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ¼ cups grated, peeled and grated apple (about 1 large)-see notes
- 1 tsp lavender leaves, chopped
- ½ cup Dried Cranberries

- 1 small apple, silvered
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400F

In a large bowl, stir together the flours, bran, baking powder, baking soda, slat, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Set aside.
Beat the eggs on low speed until blended, and then beat in the yogurt, vanilla and butter. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until half moistened. Add the apple, cranberries, and lavender and stir just until evenly distributed. Do not over mix.
Spoon the batter into buttered muffins cups. Put a thin slice of apple on each muffin and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes.
Let the muffins cool in the pan on
a wire rack for 2 minutes, and then turn out onto the rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or freeze for up to a month.

Notes: The muffin was a little too wet. My apples were very juicy so I think that if I squeeze the juice out or alot for it by using less yogurt. The flavor was very nice not too sweet with a lot of apple flavor. Very Nice!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Seeing Red

I did my shopping yesterday and when I got home this is what I was pulling out of my grocery bags...
I surly did not try to buy so many red things but this is what ended up happening and I have to say it tastes good.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I did it

I was under budget for the first time since I started a budget. I was $10 under budget; however, I still need to spend the $5.00 on the paneer for my matar peneer. I am so geeked.

I have a confession to make some of my menu is left over from before that for one reason or another I never made but had some of the ingredients for.

~Stuffed rolled pork or what ever I am going to call it
~Matar peneer
~Indian Spiced chicken patties in pita, cucumber yogurt salad, curried potatoes
~Home made thin crust pizza
~Tortellini soup
~Olive Tapenade pasta

I started looking at all the food in my fridge when I am done with my shopping and how much is not in my fridge before and all I can say is my kids may be small but they eat a LOT!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Quick Chicken Soup

My husband was not feeling well the other day so I whipped together a little feel good soup for him and it was great. Chicken Noodle soup is one of my all time favorites.

1 Medium Onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 chicken breast, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups homemade chicken broth (or a good quality, low sodium purchased stock)
soup seasoning mix (I get one from Serbia with dehydrated celery, parsnips, carrots, herbs and salt) or salt and pepper
1 cup cauliflower florets
4-6 oz pasta (I used Pappardelle in this one)
Fresh parsley, chopped

Saute the onion, carrots and celery until onions are translucent. Add the chicken and saute a few minutes longer until the chicken gets a little color. Add in the garlic, stock and seasoning mix and cook over medium low heat for 10 minutes then add cauliflower and pasta and cook until pasta is done (7-10 minutes), remove from heat and stir in parsley. Serve.

Oh and I forgot to add some sage. Sage if very good in chicken soup.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I have set a food budget for myself for the first time. My budget is not a strict one, I am giving myself $100 every week to spend on food. Even with such a liberal budget I am having a very difficult time staying within it. I have only been doing this for 2 weeks and I have gone over each week by about $25. Maybe I will do it next week.

In trying to stay within my budget I wanted to stretch the 2 chicken Andouille Sausage in the freezer that I had to use, so I decided to make Jambalaya.

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 links Chicken Andouille Sausage, Diced
1 medium Onion, Diced
1 red Hungarian sweet pepper
1 green Hungarian sweet pepper
2 stalks Celery, Diced
4-5 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 14 oz can whole tomatoes, with juice
1 1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup White Wine
3/4 Cup Enriched Long grain Rice
5 large (16 per pound) shrimp, quartered
2 T Cajun seasoning - I used my spice mixture for grilling
Bay Leaves
1 Lemon, quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
.Add trinity (onion/b.pepper/celery)in a large saute pan with the olive oil. saute until tender, add in the sausage and cook for a few minutes. Add tomato cook about a minute, Add the garlic, wine and rice, cook 1 minute. Add the stock, seasoning mix, bay leaves, Stir well and bake uncovered for about 25 minutes, add the shrimp and bake for another 10 -15 minutes or until the rice is cooked, but still has a little bite. Top with chopped parsley.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Potato Dill Soup with Sausage

This is the same soup as my Potato Dill Soup with Salmon only I add kielbasa, bratwurst, or a farmer's sausage

Serves 6-8

1 T. Olive Oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
3 largish (or 4 medium) potatoes, scrubbed
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
10 oz or 2 links of kielbasa
salt and pepper
sour cream to garnish

In the bottom of a soup pot, gently caramelize the onions in olive oil over a medium low heat, stirring occasionally for about 20 or 25 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the potatoes, half and slice larger potatoes. Add the garlic to the soup pot and cook and stir for 3 minutes more. Raise the heat to medium high and add the sausage and sliced potatoes and pour in chicken stock. Add enough water so that the potatoes are covered by a margin of about one inch. Add in one half of the chopped dill.
Place the lid on the pot and allow the soup to simmer over medium high heat for about 30 minutes. Taste the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and stir through the remaining dill. Serve with (or without) dollops of sour cream.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Raspberry Crème Brulee

I had a big container of cream for something that I was making; however, I did not use it all and had a lot of cream left over. I decided to look around in some of my food blog haunts and see what I could find to use up the cream.

I found crème berry brulée on What's for Lunch Honey?

My Creme Brulee is not as pretty as What's For Lunch Honey, but I also don't have the correct ramekins. All in all the brulee was flavorful with a nice sugar crust and the raspberries complemented the cream wonderfully.

I did make a few changes so I would  have to go to the store.


500g heavy cream
1 t. pure vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
60g sugar

1/3 cup raspberries
50g sugar for top sugar crust
Pour the cream in a pot and add vanilla. Gently bring the vanilla cream mixture to a boil over a low heat. Whisk frequently. When the cream starts to steam, remove from the heat.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until well blended.
Temper the eggs with the hot cream and then gently mix the eggs and cream together with a spatula or wooden spoon being careful not to incorporate too much air into the mixture which will cause the custard to be bubbly.

Equally divide the berries into the bottom of the ramekins and then add the cream mixture and then chill overnight.
This is an extra step, which you can skip if you are pressed for time. But Meeta recommends it as it gives best results.
Pour simmering water into the tall-sided oven-proof dish about halfway up the sides of the individual ramekins.
Bake the custard for about 35 to 45 minutes. Take out and allow to cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle the top of each serving with a thin, even layer of sugar and brown the sugar
I caramelized the sugar with my husband's propane torch. If you are using the torch, heat the sugar with the flame until it begins to brown. Stop when it reaches a golden color. It should not get too dark. (for those of you with food torches, you know what to do).

you would like more details on how to make this please visit Meeta's blog.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Menu for the week

* Potato Dill soup with kielbasa
* Jambalaya
* Roasted Chicken
*tomato Soup
* Crepes stuffed with Roasted Chicken - again Rose from 64 Sq Ft kitchen inspired
* Pork pockets or stuffed pork not sure what I want to call it
* Leftovers - I always cook way to much so 1 or 2 nights a week is leftovers to clear out the fridge.

I am also making a big batch of southwest eggroll filling to freeze.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pan Roasted Potatoes

6-8 medium potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

3-4 T. olive oil



toss the potatoes with oil, salt and pepper and place in a cast iron pan. cook over medium heat turning each once to brown and crisp on both cut sides and cooked through. Add more oil if needed.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Pork Medallions with Sage and Capers

4 to 6 pork medallions about 1/3 of an inch thick
20 – 30 Sage leaves
Course Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
3 or 4 Tablespoons of capers, rinsed
1 T. butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced
¼ cup white wine
¼ cup water

Rub olive oil on the pork and on the sage and stick the sage to the pork then season the pork with salt and pepper.

Heat frying pan (I use cast iron) to hot and add a little vegetable oil to the pan, when oil is hot and dancing in the pan add the pork. Be sure not to crowd the pan or the temperature will drop too much so you may have to cook pork in batches.

When the pork medallions are lightly browned on both sides remove from pan and set aside while making sauce in the same pan. Drain off any excess oil. Add to the hot pan the garlic, wine, and water. Stir to remove any bits there were stuck to the bottom of the pan and add the caper and any left over sage leaves. Let the liquid reduce to about half and then stir in 1 T. butter. Place the pork back in the sauce in the pan to be sure that they are hot and covered with sauce and the remove to serving platter.

Served with Creamed Spinach and stovetop roasted potato wedges.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Menu for the week

I have been putting this menu together for few days. I look at blogs and cook books and just think about food and while doing that things just jump out at me and that is what this weeks menu is meals that just jumped out at me.

*Pork medallions with sage and capers, stove top roasted red skin potatoes and creamed spinach. Creme Brulee for dessert. this is by far not a diet meal

*Seared salmon with pesto , steamed vegetables and couscous

*Fried Polenta Medallions topped with tomatoes and basil

*Lamb chops with Curried carrots (like the ones Rose made for me when we visited) and rice pilaf

*Matar Paneer

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

what do I do with this

I was out of town for a few days and when I am gone my DH does not do any shopping. Now that I am home I would like to get through that rest of the week with what is in the house. I have a chicken breast (it might be a thigh - it is frozen) and plums that really need to be eaten and cooked would be the best thing to do with them at this point.

I am going to try to find or create a plum chicken dish for dinner tonight. Wish me luck because I think I am going to need it.

ok after some surfin this is what I have come up with (Keep in mind that I should be doing homework)

Chicken breast salt and peppered
caramalize some onions in olive oil
add and cook the plums with some white wine
I will taste at this point and figure out what else to do.

Served with rice and a salad of radishes, peppers and tomatoes

Drum Roll Please...
when I tasted it I added salt pepper and fresh thyme in the end it was not bad and the kids loved the idea of eating pink chicken

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Tomato Tart

Tis the season for yummy tomatoes and my family loves tomatoes so I try to find new things to do with them. Naturally I thought that a tart would be a good start on my quest to create new and wondrous things with tomatoes. I really was not sure how I was going to go about it but the puff pastry in the freezer seemed to be a good place to start. This is what we did...

Defrosted 1 package of puff pastry

sliced up 3 large tomatoes

picked 4 or 5 bigger stems of basil from the basil pot on the porch (this year it did not do well so this really is not much basil)

small amount of mozzarella cheese.

We rolled out the pastry and cut one sheet into circles and the other one I left as a square (cooking is not just about food it is about learning and why not through some geometry in there too) next we put the tomatoes onto the pastry, seasoned with some salt, sprinkled on the basil leaves and put a little shredded mozzarella cheese on top and baked at 400F until the puff pastry is nice and golden (I think it took atout 15 minutes)

DS is putting fresh Basil on the tart and DD is pulling fresh Basil off the steam.

What I did wrong... I needed to roast the tomatoes first or seed and chop them up because the pastry was a little saggy under the tomatoes. The large square one was very soggy where the round tart were not bad at all, I think that was partly because I baked it on a pizza screen.