Monday, March 30, 2009

TWD - Coconut Butter Thins

Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch chose Coconut Butter Thins for our Tuesdays With Dorie group this week. Check out Jayne's blog for the recipe and her great photos (especially of mudpies and pink caviar!).

I was very hesitant to make these cookies since coconut cookies sounded about as fun as a sharp stick in my eye. Coconut cookies? Yikes. Give me a good ole Almond Joy however and I am in heaven! Cathy and Amanda talked me into trying them.

I still remember tasting my first macadamia nut. It was in Hawaii and I was in my 20's. Everything seemed better in our 20's didn't it? But even then I thought, I'm not going to waste my life worrying about the foods I eat, high cholestrol, etc. I mean why forego any pleasure just to spend an extra three years in the geriatric ward? And people who eat all natural stuff? Craaazy I say. Personally I stay away from natural foods. At my age I need all the preservatives I can get!

The entire time I was zesting my lime I kept thinking of that Nilson song:

Brother bought a coconut, he bought it for a dime
His sister had another one, she paid it for the lime
She put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both together
She put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both up
She put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both together
Put the lime in the coconut,
call the doctor, woke him up, sayDoctor!
Ain't there nothin' I can take, I sayDoctor!
To relieve this bellyache, I sayDoctor!
Ain't there nothin' I can take, I sayDoctor!
To relieve my bellyache
I put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both together
Put the lime in the coconut, I drink 'em both down
I put the lime in the coconut, drink 'em both together
Put the lime in the coconut, call de Doctor, woke him up, say

When I was measuring the cookies with an actual ruler I felt as though I was making saltines for some reason. Don't even try to tell me you don't see the similarity here. They are sisters for sure in appearance. But not in taste. Now, I pride myself on thinking I can measure things with my eyes. I can tell if a picture on a wall is a half an inch off center. But I did as Dorie suggested and I measured these cookies. And they still weren't perfectly square!! Nor were they all the same size which I didn't get at all. Pricking them with a fork was a twist for sure too.


I made these while trying to watch Dancing with the Stars and Heroes. Yes, I am a television addict. Is there an AA program for that? If so, I probably need to join up. I mean I find it hard to be away from a television for any length of time, I use Tivo like a drug, and I sometimes plan my life around certain shows. Wow, in print that sure sounds like an addict doesn't it? You can tell me I need to get a life, but you have to give me an A+ for multi-tasking! But when summer comes, I am glad the tv shows are on summer break as well, because I have to be outside as much as possible!

Rating: These were some of the best cookies I have ever tasted. I couldn't stop eating them. I could have eaten the entire tray of them! Thanks Jayne for a great selection this week!

Since I had "McDreamy" last week, I felt it only right to have "McSteamy" come by for a visit this week. I didn't like McSteamy at first. After all, he was a "cheater." But I have come to appreciate his good looks and cute charm these days. So much so that he has become my very favorite character on Grey's Anatomy! Enjoy girls.
Check back Thursday for Buffalo Chicken Salad.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers - Tomato and Goat Cheese Tarts

One of my favorite bloggers, Anne of Anne Strawberry, chose the Barefoot Bloggers recipe this week. I'm not a fan of goat cheese so I knew I would have to make a substitution on that. Of course, everything Ina Garten makes is delicious! This was pretty easy to put together. I substituted a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan for the goat cheese. I love anything with puff pastry. We served this with spaghetti on the side and avocado slices. It was very tasty!! Thanks Anne for choosing this. It is something I probably would not have tried on my own. The DH really liked it even though he hates onions! My tomatoes were small so I added more slices!

BAREFOOT CONTESSA'S TOMATO & GOAT CHEESE TARTS
MAKES 4 TARTS
3 tablespoons good olive oil,plus more for brushing
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme plus sprigs for garnish
1 package (17.3 ounces) puff pastry sheets, thawed overnight in the refrigerator.
Use cold.
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces garlic & herb Montrachet goat cheese
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly
3. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11-by-11-inch square. Using a six-inch-wide saucer or other circular object as a guide, cut 2 (six-inch) circles from each sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second sheet of pastry.
4. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, score a circle 1/2 inch inside the edge of each pastry. Prick the pastries all over with the tines of a fork and place them on the sheet pan. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
5. Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edges. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart. If the pastry is warm, chill for 15 minutes.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Garnish each with a sprig of thyme and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve warm.

CEiMB - Chicken with Mango Barbecue Sauce

Aggie at Aggie's Kitchen hosted our Craving Ellie group this week and chose Chicken with Mango Barbecue Sauce. I love Aggie's blog. Check it out and see what she did with this recipe.

I was very excited about making this recipe. Always makes a recipe more a favorite of mine if it is a quicky and this one was.

I thought my mango was not ripe enough because it was a bit hard to peel. But it tasted delicious. You all know about mangoes right? The fruit is known for its aphrodisiac qualities. I don't know about that, but I know I love the taste.
Once you blend up the sauce, you marinate your chicken in it. Then grill it.
I pounded my chicken breasts flat so they cooked up in no time. Maybe about five minutes on each side. I have to say I may have gone a bit overboard with the jalapenos. The sauce was hot. As you can see below, I had to have reinforcement. A drink to follow the hot.

And someone burned the edges of the chicken just a bit, but it was oh so tasty anyway!

This is one of my favorite recipes in Ellie's book so far. Thank you Aggie for choosing it! I give it five stars out of five!!
Recipe:

Ingredients
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 red pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
1 mango, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 to 3 jalapenos, minced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound each)
Directions
Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium-high. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the red peppers, garlic, salt and pepper, and allspice and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice and tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute more. Transfer the mixture into a bender and add the mango and jalapeno. Blend until smooth.
Put 1 cup of the barbeque sauce into a sealable plastic bag with the chicken and marinate for 1 hour.
Preheat the broiler. Put the chicken on a broiler pan and discard the marinade. Broil the chicken on high for about 12 minutes, turning once. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Spoon about 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce over the meat slices and serve.

Monday, March 23, 2009

TWD - Blueberry Crumb Cake

I really wanted to make this cake. And I will. Just not this week. But go to Sihan's blog at Fundamentally-flawed and check out the cake and recipe for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie. Sihan I apologize for not cooking with you this week. I love going to Sihan's blog each week. She has the most beautiful photos and is so creative with everything she bakes!

I'm not going to make a hundred excuses. Let's blame it on the weather. When it is warm and nice outside, I cannot be inside. I worked hard this weekend raking leaves, cutting bushes, washing the patio. Found a blue snake at the lake. Does anyone know what a blue snake might be? It was almost a neon color.

We got new patio furniture also. We wanted pretty but comfortable. And we got it! I'm very excited by it. I'll share this picture with you. Note the plastic wrap is still on it. We're thinking of leaving it that way. Some people leave the plastic on their lampshades to protect them from the dust, so I figured, why not on the cushions for my patio set as well? I'm joking of course. Don't you love a comfy wicker set? I wanted to lounge in it all weekend!!

And for all you who have come to expect a little something something with my post in the way of eye candy, I chose one of my favorites this week from Grey's Anatomy. Patrick Dempsey. Need I say more? Yum. Check back on Thursday for Mango Chicken.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

CEiMB - Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers

Lately I have been obsessed with vampires. I keep thinking back to my first experience with them and it was a show called Dark Shadows. I was really too young to understand all about it so my memories are fuzzy. I just remember Barnabas and I remember how the vampire would summon a woman to him and she would walk willingly to wherever he was and give freely of her neck. Didn't they know they would die if they did that?

My next obsession with vampires became the Ann Rice novels. I remember reading her books and then seeing the movie Interview with a Vampire. I was distraught for days over that sweet child (Kirsten Dunst) being a vampire and seductress in that movie!! Then there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I first saw the movie and loved Peewee Herman's death scene. He should have received an oscar for that one I tell ya. Then there was years of the tv show after that. Spike was my favorite character on that show. I really loved a show called Blood Ties a year or so ago, but it went off the air. That vampire was hot. I guess now that I have read the Twilight series my obsession has returned because I am counting the days, hours, and minutes until the second movie comes to the theaters. Aren't you glad I shared my "dark side" with you before we talk about food?

The Healthy Hostess from our Craving Ellie in My Belly group chose Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers for our challenge this week. It is a lot of fun to cook with everyone in the group. If you would be interested in joining our group, jump over to the website and check it out. We cook something from Ellie's cookbook once a week and post about it on Thursdays!

I love stuffed peppers so I was very excited about making these. The DH does not like them, even a little bit. Even if they are diced as small as a pencil eraser. I told him when I made these that he could just eat the stuffing and call it good. He was okay with that.
I changed them up a bit from Ellie's recipe just because I was short on ingredients this week. I left out the bulgar and substituted cooked rice. My frozen spinach had an expiration date of March 2007 so I tossed it in the garbage and used some fresh spinach that I had on hand. I did not have stewed tomatoes so I used tomato sauce. And I used green peppers instead of red because the red ones were just so much more expensive! Left off the feta because I just don't care for that taste with cooked foods. Other than that, pretty much followed Ellie's recipe!!

These were easy to make and really delicious. I've been happy with most of Ellie's recipes so far. I just love trying new foods and this gives me that opportunity to step out of my box and be different.
Greek-Style Stuffed Peppers
1 pound lean ground beef
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup bulghur
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, cores and ribs removed
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium stewed tomatoes, finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl combine the beef, spinach, zucchini, onion, bulghur, egg, oregano, salt and a few grinds of pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Arrange the pepper halves cut side up in a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and fill each pepper half with the meat mixture. Pour the tomatoes over the peppers and sprinkle with the feta cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the meat mixture is completely cooked and the peppers are tender, about 25 minutes longer.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD - French Yogurt Cake without marmalade glaze

Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction chose French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze for our TWD challenge this week. I enjoy going over to Liliana's blog to check out her mouthwatering cakes.

I hurried home from work to make this cake. But first, I had to practice the violin. I am now playing as my song of the week the "May Song." A song probably any six year old could master, but I am so proud of myself. Okay, its no Beethoven's Fifth or Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, but we have to start somewhere, right? If my stocks keeps falling, I might need a second income!
Got all my ingredients together. I was really excited about this cake because I love lemon stuff. I love what lemon zest does to foods.
I decided to make it in a nine inch cake pan as Dorie suggested on the side.

It was a really easy cake to mix up and bake. It came out of the pan with ease. I let it cool, cut the layer in half and filled it with Dickinson's Lemon Curd.

I was going to take it to a friend on Friday night, but I got so greedy. The lemon smell made it too tempting. I left off the marmalade glaze and just topped it with canned whipped cream. When you are in a hurry, canned whipped cream is the best! The DH and I sat down and enjoyed ourselves some cake. Just call me the cake hog. I wanted two pieces or even three, and my heart said yes, but my hips said no. Why do hips talk? Have you noticed how sometimes they can mess up even the best day you are having by their almost constant chatter.

Loved loved loved this cake. However, next time I make it and you can bet your booty there will be a next time, I will probably leave the almonds out.

Liliana thank you so much for choosing this cake this week! It was just what I needed. Check out the recipe at Liliana's blog here.

I can't leave you this week without sharing a photo of another friend with you. Have any of you heard Taylor Hicks' new cd The Distance? I think it is pretty awesome. Try it!! I'm guessing Taylor loves french yogurt cake. :) Enjoy and have a great week!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

CEiMB - Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Fish tales. I'm not a huge fish fan. My idea of fish is good fried catfish, really crispy and brown with some hushpuppies on the side. First, I can't buy tilapia. I just can't do it for reasons I will not go into here on this food post. If you want gory details, you'll have to email me. Second, I could not find halibut at our local Publix where I shop. Third, the mahi mahi was $16.99 a pound. I was not going to pay that much to try a dish I might not like. So I scooted over to the frozen fish aisle and bought some just plain ole whitefish.

Publix was out of corn tortillas. This is the second or third time I have tried to find those and they are always out. So I bought some corn hard shells and some flour tortillas.

I had a bit of trouble finding the chipotle in adobo sauce, but finally succeeded with that.

Because I spent all my time at Publix trying to find the necessary ingredients, I was starving and in a hurry so I did not use a grill. I just panfried the fish in a bit of olive oil. I used coleslaw instead of lettuce. I cut a big fresh avocado for our side dish. The chipotle cream was delicious. I've been trying to think of other things I could eat with the sauce. It was that good! My DH and I each tried one with the flour tortilla and one with the hard shell corn. We both decided we liked the corn taste, but wanted to be able to roll it up. Why oh why were you out of those dear Publix?

This recipe was very easy to prepare. The chipotles could get a bit hot at times. But all in all we really liked this and thought it was a nice change from the heavy meals we usually eat.

Can you tell by my photos I was hungry and ready to eat? The avocado got sliced in chunks and my PHOTOS OF THIS TACO ARE HORRID. I'm sure there is a way in this world to make a beautiful photo of a taco, but I couldn't not find it tonight. And oops, I forgot the lime wedges.

Ingredients
Fish:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound white flaky fish fillet, like tilapia or halibut
Directions
Chipotle cream:
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper, in adobo sauce
8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage or lettuce
1/2 cup corn kernels (thawed if frozen)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour over the fish fillets and let marinate for 20 minutes. Put the yogurt into a strainer lined with apaper towel and place over a bowl to drain and thicken for 20 minutes.
Remove the fish from the marinade and grill on a preheated grill or nonstick grill pan over a medium-high heat until cooked thorough, about 3 minutes per side. Set the fish aside on a plate for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl combine the thickened yogurt, mayonnaise, and chipotle pepper.
Heat the tortillas on the grill or grill pan for 30 seconds on each side.
Flake the fish with a fork. Top each tortilla with 1 tablespoon of the chipotle cream. Top with fish, cabbage, corn and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sorry, no TWD this week

I love lemon. I really really love lemons. But after reading all the reviews of this week's challenge, I opted not to make it. Everyone said it was eggy and Leggy Peggy doesn't love eggy. I'll be back on Thursday with some good fish tales, and next week will be French Yogurt Cake. Check back in if either of those interest you! Meanwhile, go over to Tuesdays with Dorie and check out what all the other fabulous bakers made this week!

I did make a chocolate cake this weekend with ganache on top and some toffee bits thrown on there. Shared with a few friends of mine, I did. Sometimes the simplest things can taste heavenly.

Have a great week!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

CEiMB - Sesame Stir-Fried Chinese Greens

One of my favorite bloggers, Apple Crumbles, chose these Stir fried bokchoy for this week's Craving Ellie group. I didn't even know what a bok choy was, much less how to cook it.

So I googled bok choy and how to prepare it. I found this video of a man on YouTube showing you three different ways to chop bok choy. Very interesting. You have the domino cut, the sliced cut, and the smaller domino cut. I went for the sliced version. I left out the greens because I just wasn't sure what they would taste like.

This was very easy to prepare. I love Chinese food and I thought I would really love this. However, I found it a bit bland. I served it with salmon patties and rice. I think it would have been better with maybe some sesame chicken. I also think it would have been better if it had water chestnuts, onions, and maybe some green pea pods in it. But by itself as a side dish, it wasn't my favorite.

Check out the recipe at Apple Crumbles blog.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

TWD - Chocolate Armagnac Cake - The Cake That Got Me Fired

Lyb of And then I do the dishes chose Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Armagnac Cake this week for our Tuesdays with Dorie group. Go to Lyb's blog to get the recipe and browse around her wonderful blog. I was really hesitant to make this cake. But then it started snowing. It's March 1st, and it is snowing in Alabama. Out my front door:
So I was sort of stuck in the house and I thought why NOT try the cake. I've never flamed anything so I thought the extra heat in the house might be nice as well (ya know, since it's snowing). I have no clue what Armagnac is, but Dorie said I could use scotch. I do have that handy.

I couldn't imagine putting prunes into this cake. But I trust Dorie. But the yankee said, "if it's a prune cake in disguise, and you eat it, you'll become a 'regular' girl." Sounds like it could be a nice replacement for bran muffins.

I followed Dorie's instructions but when I tried to light the prunes with my bic lighter, they just would not light. I had imagined huge roaring flames in my kitchen. I kept sticking the lighter in and jumping back, but nothing. Then I got braver and just stuck my hand down in there and all I ever got was a sizzle. Finally, Chandler said he would go upstairs and get the Bernz-O-Matic torch for me. Can you keep a secret? Thinking to myself that the scotch might simply be old and unflameable (is there such a thing?), plus as it smelled like motor oil to me, I drained the prunes of all that (whilst he was getting the torch) and replaced it with some good ole B & B brandy mix. He never knew and I'll never tell. This time I stood back while he torched the prunes. They flamed and I clapped. You can't see the flames in this photo, but believe me they are there!

I'm not good with "gently folding in" any ingredients. But I tried my best.

Played some solitaire on the computer (I'm addicted) while the cake baked. My cakes never rise and puff the way Dorie describes, but I thought it looked pretty darn good.

Love this icing. Yum. Chandler and I sat down to a piece after it cooled and we both loved it. Definitely something I would make again and even serve to guests or take to a dinner party. I think it would probably be good with the raisens too if you did not want to use prunes.

I don't get why women go crazy over George. I mean, he's okay I guess. I just don't see him as a hunk. But I think he would have liked the cake this week, don't you? I notice in the photo, however, while I was trying my best to FLAME the cognac, he was pouring himself one to drink. How rude. Whoa, George, don't waste that stuff!! It does make him look so elegant and "James Bondish" though, don't you think?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday morning banana pancakes

This morning I thought I would treat the yankee to a little something special. I think I make great pancakes from an old tried and true recipe. I changed them up just a little this morning however by using whole wheat flour and adding some smashed banana. They were excellent with our favorite maple syrup. I did not eat pancakes as a child because mom made them really thick and big. I like light and fluffy so I have perfected a recipe just for my tastes. They are the lightest pancakes ever. Try them! They are great without the added cinnamon and banana so you might like them better that way.

Ingredients:

4 egg yolks
1 cup sifted whole wheat flour
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons melted margarine or butter
2 cups milk
4 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
one smashed banana

Place all ingredients except egg whites and banana in a bowl. Beat with mixer until blended. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold beaten egg whites into batter, along with cinnamon and banana.
Cook on hot griddle (400).