Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie - Kids Thumbprint Cookies

I am a day late posting these.  Family just left yesterday from a fabulous holiday weekend.
This is the end to a wonderful journey through Dorie Greenspan's book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.   I started with the group three and a half years ago.  The first year I participated every week, but then had a few slack off periods.  I missed my first opportunity to host but was able to host later on.  Dorie has been very encouraging to our group along the way.   I have learned so much from all the other bakers, and wonderful friendships have grown along the way.  I'm not a fabulous baker by any stretch, and a worse photographer, but it has been a journey I am glad I took.
The kids thumprints were very easy.  I chose not to roll them in chopped peanuts and I added some chocolate morsels to the centers instead of jam.  I love peanut butter and chocolate so it was a no brainer for me to do that.  
Be sure to check out the other bakers at
We will be starting a new book and group in February.  I received the book for Christmas and am anxious to flip through and check out the recipes.
Thank you to Laura and Julie for managing the group for four years!!  They did an excellent job.  And thank you to all the bakers in the group that encouraged me along the way with your sweet comments, emails and tweets.  Love you all!!  Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesdays with Dorie - Visiting Swedish Cake

As our TWD group is ending, and we are finishing up Dorie Greenspan's Baking with Dorie cookbook, I wanted to bake a few of the recipes that I missed along the way. 

Tonight, I am taking dinner to a sick friend and I wanted some sort of dessert.   My twitter friend Nancy hosted this Swedish Visiting Cake when it was her turn and she has made it several times since.  I have made a recipe similar to this years ago that I loved, so I decided to try Dorie's version today.  It will be the perfect dessert for our dinner tonight.

I did not have a cast iron skillet as it called for in the recipe, so I used a heavy duty square cake pan and sat on top of a cookie sheet.  It was a really easy recipe to whip up.  No mixer required.  Easy ingredients. 

My square pan made it thinner than I would have liked, so next time I will use a smaller round cake pan.  This is going to be my "go-to" cake this year.  I'm going to make several to share with my neighbors.

If you love almond flavor, you will love this.  I also added a little vanilla flavoring per Dorie's side instructions.  Dorie says this cake can be cut into small pieces and eaten with your fingers.  That is what I have done.  Will be perfect for my Christmas Day night appetizer buffet meal.

1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
About 1/4 cup sliced almonds (blanched or not)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron skillet or other heavy ovenproof skillet, a 9-inch cake pan or even a pie pan.
Pour the sugar into a medium bowl. Add the zest and blend the zest and sugar together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic.  (I saw Dorie doing this on the Martha Stewart show yesterday and it tickled me because I learned this trick, among many others, from her.)
Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended. Whisk in the salt and the extracts.Switch to a rubber spatula and stir in the flour.
Finally, fold in the melted butter. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Scatter the sliced almonds over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar. If you're using a cake or pie pan, place the pan on a baking sheet.
Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it is golden and a little crisp on the outside; the inside will remain moist. Remove the pan from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides and bottom of the cake to loosen it. You can serve the cake warm or cooled, directly from the skillet or turned out onto a serving plate.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Words for Wednesdays - Holiday Thoughts

My son writes beautiful poetry.  Because of him, I became interested in the flow of words and decided to try and see if I could write a verse or two.  If you have been following my blog, you have seen on Wednesdays my attempts at poetry.  Not sure if I like this one, but the substance and feeling is there.


With great speed it comes,
then leaves with a haste
after a quick taste
only to be followed by a rush
of St. Nickolas.

Long wait and anticipation
long lines and frustration
decorations abound while
Cards and boxes are found,
Santa arrives, it's here they shout!
only to find the fire has already gone out.

New Year's Eve.
One night out of the year
streamers flying, horns blowing,
breath freezing in the air
can you make it til midnight
for one kiss - do you dare?
A new year begins.

Holidays come and holidays go,
but the warmth and love live on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I have no food posts this week to share, but I will be back next week.  I want to wish all of you out in bloggerdom a very happy, healthy, and blessed Thanksgiving.  I hope you have good friends and/or family to share with, good food, and a fun day!

As for us, we will be enjoying a quiet Thanksgiving with friends this year.  And a quiet birthday the next day for me!! 

God's blessings be upon all of you during the holiday!  See you next week!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thirty Minute Thursdays with Guiliano Hazan

This is only my second time making something from Thirty Minute Pastas and I chose Penne with Asparagus and Proscuitto.   I do not have my usual Fusion +Friends post this week, hopefully will be back with a new one for next Thursday!

This took very little time to prepare and was truly one of the best pasta dishes I have made in a while.  When I went to the grocery store, for some reason I had pancetta on my brain instead of proscuitto so there was a tiny substitution made.

This was fabulous and I cannot wait until tonight to eat the leftovers!  May have to nibble a bit during the day on them.  It will definitely be on my rewind list to make again and again.  If you want the recipe, please email me.

My twitter friends, Kayte and Margaret, also cook from this book on Thursdays so you should see what they have cooked up this week.  Join us!  There is no scheduled recipe each week and no rules other than just to post on Thursdays.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Words for Wednesdays - Smiles

A Smile

It costs nothing
yet brings warmth to coldness,
hope to despair, and light to darkness.

An effortless expression
that releases its power
to the universe and becomes infectious.

Pass the message of love
without words to a stranger
then pass one back to yourself.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TWD - Alsatian Apple Tart

Hostess:  Jessica of Cookbook Habit  Check out her blog and get the recipe!

Our Tuesdays with Dorie group is finishing up Baking With Dorie after almost four years.  It is hard to believe there are only a few recipes left.  I have learned so much from this group in the three years I have been a member and I hate to see it end.  I'm still not a great baker by any stretch.  I still make so many mistakes in the kitchen.  But I have learned a great deal and made a lot of baking friends.  It makes me a wee bit sad of course, but I hope we all stay in touch with our other groups.  I do want to go back and make some of the great recipes that were made before I joined.  When I first joined in July 2008, I figured I would last maybe six months.  Because of all the encouragement, I'm still here three years later.  Thank you all.  It is a great group of bakers!
This week we had two choices, Bittersweet Brownes or Alsatian Apple Tart, in our TWD group.  I wanted to make both, but I chose the apple tart.

Nothing went right for me that day.  First off, my tart pan was eleven inches instead of the required nine inches.  So I decided in the interest of time, I would just use a nine inch cake pan with removeable bottom.  So that is what I did and I tried to make it look like a tart.  I hope you got a little chuckle from that statement.  As you can see, it does not look like it was cooked in a tart pan.  I think I am making it my priority today to go find a nine inch tart pan!!  Most recipes call for that rather than the eleven inch that I have.

Then, do you see something missing?  It's apples!  I apparently was short an apple or two to make the required pound so I used what I had.  I used Golden Delicious as Dorie suggested.

I baked the piecrust for only about 15 minutes and then froze it.  However, when it was finished, the outside edges were a bit hard so I'm wondering if I overcooked it.

The tart was easily whipped up. It reminded me of another dish I prepare called Peach Kugen.  I have made that for years and it is always a hit.  Sort of custard around the apples.  We really enjoyed this tart.  We served with a little whipped cream on top for our nightly snack for a few nights.  Wish you could join me for a slice. .. . or two!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Spankin Spinach Roll and Sausage, Zucchini Pasta

This will be a double post.  First, my twitter friends, Kayte and Margaret, post the most delicious pastas on Thursdays.  Margaret and I also enjoy a game or two of Words with Friends occasionally.  She usually beats me. 

I was intrigued with the pastas so I ordered the book from Amazon.  Guiliano Hazan's Thirty Minute Pastas.  This is my first attempt at a recipe from the book and I will say it was easy to prepare, quick, very good directions in the book, and the result - fantastic.  We really enjoyed this pasta!  It is basically fusilli with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, and sausage.  If you want the recipe, just grab the book off or email me and I'll send to you!  My photo does not do this pasta justice. 

Next, my friend Joanne of Applecrumbles and I are working our way through Carla Vavala's Fusion Food + Friends (FFF) cookbook.  This week we made the Spankin Spinach Roll!  It is basically a pizza rolled up in a roll, and then sliced.  It would be fantastic for an appetizer for a football game or just a dinner.  It is filled with fresh mushrooms, fresh spinach, and cheese.  Easy to make, easy to slice, easy to serve.  We loved it.  Come join us as we make our way through this book!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Words for Wednesdays - Respect


Is respect something the modern
world has obliterated and its people
no longer cherish?
Dare we hope it may
resurface and not with
contempt but pride.

Shall we not confuse it with
tolerance and its negativity
but rather embrace it with
dignity and deference.

Define it with positive
feelings for traditions and
people of authority,
remember it as showing honor where honor
is due.

Respect, worthy of a second chance?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Virtual Thanksgiving Party!

Our Twitter friend, Phyl, decided to organize a Thanksgiving roundup and I was lucky enough to be included.  Phyl is making the turkey while the rest of us are preparing the side dishes and dessert.  I had an idea that I wanted to do green beans with a twist.  I decided on Gingered Green Beans.  These were very easy to put together and we found them to be delicious.  This is a good trial run for a few Thanksgiving recipes and I am pretty sure already that I will be including these at my Thanksgiving table this year.

Phyl will be doing a roundup later this week so check out his webpage to see how the virtual "dinner" turned out.  Thank you Phyl for organizing and to all the other cooks who participated.  I cannot wait to get some new ideas and see what they made.

Here is my recipe for the beans:

One pack frozen whole green beans

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 small sweet onion, diced
1/2 tsp. garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. seasoned pepper
1/4 cup toasted pecans
Three slices cooked bacon crumbled

Cook green beans as package directs. 

Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger; sauté 2 minutes. Add beans, salt, and pepper; sauté 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle with crumbled bacon and pecans.

Happy Thanksgiving early to everyone!  Thanks for stopping by. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Words for Wednesday - A Ghostly Tale!

A Halloween Tale

Louisa and Jacob lived in a small town where everyone knew everyone. They lived in a large house in the city, white with a picket fence surrounding it. They thought they had everlasting love, but their love ended too quickly and tragically.

One Halloween night, Louisa awoke to a noise and found Jacob missing from their bed.  She jumped up, lit a candle, and tiptoed to the parlor.  A tiny flicker of fire gave the room a hazy glow.  Her eyes caught a glimpse of a shadow in the corner, and as she looked around she realized with horror that it was her beloved Jacob slumped on the floor, a pool of blood surrounding him. Louisa ran to him and removed the large knife that was embedded in his chest, but death had already taken her love. Suddenly, she was startled by a noise in the front yard.  Quickly making her way to the front door, she found it standing open.  In the dark distance, she saw shadows of two riders galloping away on horses.

Louise never found out who murdered Jacob or why.  She grieved herself to death just months later, but her spirit never left that house.  Every Halloween, people report seeing
a lady in a white nightgown coming down the stairs and moving toward the parlor with
a flickering candle to the spot where Jacob was brutally slain.  Her ghostly body would appear to fall to its knees and begin to scrub the floor with an urgency, then it would drift away not to be seen again until the following year. 

Although the house had many owners, none stayed very long.  No one could remove the blood stains from the floor.  The flooring was replaced several times and covered with carpet, but each time the blood stain returned on Halloween.  To this day, in the wee morning hours of all hallow's eve, neighbors are awakened by a blood curdling scream coming from within the house and the front door is always standing open.  Louise will find no rest until her soul reunites with Jacob.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TWD - Far Breton

This week we had two selections for TWD.  I had every intention of making the scones yesterday, but the festivities of Halloween only allowed time for one so I made the Far Breton.  I had to google to see what Far Breton meant.  This dessert comes from Brittany, France area and Far means Flour.  It is like a flan of custard with fruit.  The recipe called for prunes and raisens, but I only used raisens.

My Far Breton had a mishap.  It rose beautifully but when I took it out of the pan, it fell.  I also noticed some of the pudding had run under the parchment in my cake pan.  So I have what I am renaming as Flat Far Breton.  The taste was like a rich cakey egg custard.  Chandler loved it, I was okay with it. 

Check out Tuesdays with Dorie to see how the other bakers did with this recipe and also check out Nicole (who chose this) of Cookies On Friday and to get the recipe if you are interested in trying it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Chocolate with Francois - Ginger Angel Food Cake

In my Chocolate with Francois baking group, we cook from Charles Payard's Chocolate Epiphany cookbook.  This month, our group made the Ginger Angel Food Cake chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious. . .chocolate of course.  Everything in his book is chocolate.  Some of the recipes are complicated, but this one was very easy.  I used Ghiradelli chocolate - my personal favorite.  I did not have any candied ginger to put on top for decoration, but I did add ginger to the mix.

I scrimped a bit on the cocoa because I thought it might be too chocolatey (if there is such a thing) but once it baked I realized I should have gone with Charles' version.  The ginger in it complimented the chocolate very well.  Also, he suggested a cake pan, but I used a bundt cake pan and I am not sure that was the wisest choice.  I had a bit of a struggle getting the cake out of the pan!

The chocolate glaze is to die for.  I was practically eating it by the spoonfuls.  I actually took a piece of the cake and just as we Southerners used to say, "sopped" the glaze up like gravy.  Chandler loved it too.   I made two of these and took one to my next door neighbors who are always helping us move a piece of furniture or some other favor.

Check out Leslie's blog later in the week for the recipe, or you can email me for it.  Also check our webpage Chocolate with Francois to see how the others did with this recipe.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

KOREA - My Kitchen My World

In our group My Kitchen My World, we "pretend" travel to a different place each month making recipes from that area.  This month was Korea.

I am not familiar with Korean food so I had to go to my "google" help and see what I could find.  I ended up making Korean Roasted Chicken (served it with rice) and steamed cabbage.

This recipe is delicious.  I made two changes to the recipe.  One, I used regular onions instead of green onions.  Two, I used chicken breasts cut into pieces rather than larger pieces of chicken.  I will definitely be making this again and again.


1 chicken, cut up
1/2 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. minced onions
3 tbsp. oil
3 tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. minced fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp. dry ginger)
1/2 tsp. pepper

Place chicken in large baking dish. Combine soy sauce and remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Turn each piece and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes until done.  
You can also make this in a skillet in a stir-fry fashion.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Carla Vavala's Potato Pea Soup

A few of us are working our way through Carla Vavala's book, Fusion + Friends.  It is a healthy choice of recipes.  This week I chose the Potato and Pea soup since it is getting chilly here in Alabama.  I also like to try and do a meatless meal on Mondays. 

It was easy to put together and then you simmer for two hours.  Basically you cook the onions, celery and garlic in a little olive oil, then add potatoes, peas, tomato sauce and at the end I added some small penne pasta to finish it off.

Chandler is suffering from a cold this week so he was delighted that I made soup.  And he ate two bowls of it and took one for his lunch today.  He said "it is delicious."  I think soup just hits the spot when you are congested, but it was a very good soup.  I halved the recipe and it still made a good sized pot of soup.

Check out Joanne's webpage at Applecrumbles for the recipe.

My Words for Wednesdays


He sends a look across
the room that makes
her very soul shiver.
Bones shake beneath
her skin, a momentary quiver.

Eyes close and
eyelashes flutter in
anticipation as
she patiently waits for a tender caress
that will burn the skin with
a needed heat.

Sweet air crosses paths
as his breath comes so close
and she trembles when their bodies meet.

Does the word soulmate
adequately portray the
depth of this love?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

TWD - A Fig Cake for Fall

Hostess this week:  Ursula of The Cookie Rookie.  You can get the recipe at her webpage or in Dorie Greenspan's Baking with Dorie cookbook.    Also, check out our group TWD, to see what the other bakers did with this recipe.

I used to pick figs off my ex-mother-in-law's tree and eat them back in my 20's.  Loved them.  Other than that and fig newtons, I know nothing about figs.  It seemed lots of the group were having trouble finding fresh figs, but I went to Publix and they had them in their fruit section.  When I began to cut them in half, some were really mushy, while others were not.  So not being a fig "expert," I was not sure which ones were good to use.  I decided not to use the really mushy ones.

As a result, I did not have enough figs to cover the top of my cake. 

I did not have "port" as the recipe called for, and I hesitated to buy it because we would not drink the leftover, so I just used a rich red wine and added a little sugar, along with the honey.

The DH and I enjoyed a piece while we watched tv last night drizzled with the port/cabernet sauce.  I did not love the texture of this cake. The cornmeal in it made it more like cornbread to me and cornbread and sweet figs just did not seem to go together.  But it was interesting.   Check it out and try it for yourself.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

TWD - Jazzed Up Ginger Brownies

Bubie's Little Baker chose jazzed up ginger brownies this week in Tuesdays with Dorie.
Check out her webpage to get the recipe and check out TWD to see how the other bakers fared with these brownies.

I love me some brownies.  I'm just not convinced I love me some brownies with ginger in them!  However, on the plus side, they did smell fabulous while baking.  Having your house filled with the fragrance of ginger is never a bad thing!  I only used milk chocolate in mine as I am not a fan of dark chocolate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Loaf Roundup!

My blog and twitter friend Di at Di's Kitchen Notebook asked several of us to join her in a "loaf" roundup!  It could be any loaf, bread, meat, etc.  Since it is fall and Halloween is just around the corner, of course I had to do something with pumpkin. 

As I looked for my loaf pan, I found this little pan that made four mini loaves so I decided to use that.  I used a good basic recipe for these.  They turned out delicious and oh so cute! 

Be sure to go over to Di's webpage (link above) and see what the other bakers have come up with for this roundup!  Have a happy Sunday.

1 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 1/2 c. self-rising flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl beat together eggs, oil and pumpkin until well mixed.
Fold dry ingredients into pumpkin mixture. Mix just enough to combine. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
Bake 40 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. (My mini loaves took about 25 minutes).
Let bread cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Serve. Makes 1 loaf.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicken, Potatoes, and Carla Vavala's "Italian Butter" for Bread

Guess I was in an olive oil mood today.  In French Fridays with Dorie last week, the group cooked olive olive cornish hens.  I didn't get around to making those, but I did take a whole chicken today and adapt part of Dorie's recipe to make it work for me.  This was my first time to remove a chicken breast bone in order to lay the chicken flat.  I was amazed how easy the process was.  Deboning the breast makes your chicken cook a lot faster in the oven or on the grill than it would if you left it whole.  He looks a bit like he's had a train wreck, but he was delicious.  It also makes it easier to cut into serving pieces.  Basically my version is just chicken drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs.

To go along side the chicken, I made my own version of a potato dish that I had tasted at an event last weekend.  Peel and slice two large baking potatoes, top with thinly sliced onions, more potatoes, provolone cheese, bake for about an hour at 350, then add a topping of mushroom soup mixed with 8 oz. sour cream, about a cup of grated mexican cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Put crushed ritz crackers and almonds on top and bake again until all is hot.

I didn't have any ritz crackers or sliced almonds on hand, so I just sprinkled with bread crumbs.  Delicious.

As Joanne of Applecrumbles and I cook together through Carla Vavala's new Fusion + Friends recipe book, this week we made "Italian Butter" for Bread.  Joanne does fabulous photos of her food so be sure to check out her webpage.  Just click on the link.  The bread and dip was a nice start to my chicken and potato dinner.  Joanne will have the recipe posted, but you need to buy this book! has it.  You just mix together a few herbs, add olive oil, and dip your bread!

Have a wonderful weekend.  See you next week for more good eats!

Words for Wednesday - a bit about whining

I've decided to share random thoughts with you on Wednesdays.  I hope you like them.  Each week will be a different subject matter of course.   Comments are welcomed.

She Whines

The world cannot escape
The masses of whiners
That work their way through our lives
each day.

Dare we judge whether
whiners are selfish or
Just helpless creatures trapped
By a mind that creates a deep dark
Loneliness they are unable to escape
On their own.

Is it selfish to look
For tiny droplets of approval
If that gets one out of the
Darkness for even a fleeting moment
Or is their energy simply

But must we walk a mile in
Their shoes or simply
choose to be more caring
whilst all the while not forgetting
to look into the mirror
at our own fears.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TWD - Basic Biscuits

Jennifer of Cooking With Comfort chose basic biscuits for us to make this week in our Tuesdays with Dorie group. 

Biscuits always remind me of my sweet mother who passed away three years ago.  Mama made homemade biscuits almost every day of her life.  I did not appreciate them as much as a child as I did an adult.  She had it down to such an art.  She rolled them out and then gently flipped the dough over, then cut with the biscuit cutter so that after they cooked, they would open up easily for your jelly or jam.  I have never been able to make biscuits like my mama made.  Instead of jelly, I now eat my biscuits with cheddar cheese or maybe bacon and cheese.  Love them!

Dorie's had quite a bit of butter in them and I cut back on that a little just to save a few calories.  I'm sure the butter would make them even more delicious though.  I also halved the recipe.  You can get the recipe at Jennifer's webpage if you click above on her link.  Also go to Tuesdays with Dorie and see how the other bakers fared with their biscuits this week!  Thanks Jennifer for a fun and easy pick.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stuffed Pumpkin and Chicken Pot Pie

I have been dying to try the stuffed pumpkin in Dorie Greenspan's book Around My French Table ever since I got the book.  This week I jumped in and did it.  I bought a small pumpkin, scooped out the insides, inserted the stuffing, and baked for a little over an hour.  We loved it.  I am going to make another one though and this time I am going to put in some brown sugar, cranraisens, and nuts.  I think it needed the sweetness those items can provide. 

This one just had bread chunks, cream, fresh rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper.  I think you could put just about anything in there you wanted.  I quickly took photos, but you can put the entire pumpkin on a round platter and serve it right at the table.  It slices nicely and is just such a cute way to serve fresh pumpkin!  These photos do not look very appetizing, but I promise you it was delicious!

My neighbor just had pancreatic cancer surgery so I thought I would whip her up a casserole of some kind. I have been making this chicken pot pie for 30 years. It is the easiest thing to make and so delicious.  She is doing really well from her surgery.

First, I cooked some chicken breasts and chopped that up.  Then I used a store bought piecrust (I like Pet Ritz) found in the dairy section.  I put one of the crusts on the bottom of my pan and save the other to top it off.  Put the chopped chicken down in the bottom.  Top that with a can of drained Vegall, then a can of cream of celery soup, a touch of sour cream (optional) and top with the other pie crust.  Dollop butter on top and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until crust is lightly brown.  Even children love this dish.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 3, 2011

TWD - Apple Muffin Cake means Fall is in the Air!

I was excited to see our Tuesday with Dorie's pick this week.  Apple Muffin Cake.  With fall in the air, it was a perfect choice.  Thank you to our host this week Katrina of Baking with the Boys.  As proof of fall coming, it has been in the 40's here at night.  Brrr.  After a very hot summer, I'm not quite ready for the cold nights.
I used Granny Smith apples.  They are not good for snacking, but great for baking.

I made a couple of changes to Dorie's recipe.  First, I left out the raisens.  I like raisens but I am just raisened out lately.  My cereal in the morning is full of raisens and that is enough for me each day.  Secondly, while the cake was still warm from the oven, I poured a mixture of brown sugar, milk and butter that I had heated up over the top of the cake.  Made it super moist and gave it a little brown sugar taste.

We loved it!  Get the recipe at Katrina's webpage. Just click on the link above.

You can never go wrong with a Dorie Greenspan recipe!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Carla Vavala - Babbaganoush and Biscuits

Check out Joanne's version of these on Wednesday at Applecrumbles.  She and I are trying some healthy foods from Carla Vavala's book Fusion + Friends.  This book is only $10 on so it would be a great gift for someone with the holidays coming up!

This week we made Carla's babbaganoush and sour cream biscuits.  I've never eaten babbaganoush much less made it, but it was so easy and delicious.  Really, I could have just made my meal off of it.  You are supposed to serve it with pita bread, but we used italian bread instead that I had toasted in the oven with a little olive oil drizzled on top.

First, you bake the eggplant.  I halved the recipe.  And yes, I know this photo is not flattering.

Then you just peel the eggplant and put in a food processor with the other ingredients, whirl away for a few seconds and voila - you have a fabulous appetizer to enjoy!  I had no idea what tahini paste was and I could not find it at Publix, so I substituted peanut butter and it worked really well with this.  This photo does not do it justice.  It really is so tasty.

The sour cream biscuits had a secret ingredient in them.  Club Soda.  I did not have any on hand so I substituted milk.  Have you ever tried this milk?  I just bought some this week and it is delicious and it has a 70 day shelf life!  Not that it will last that long around here, but it is really good milk.

These biscuits are easy and fabulous.  As a matter of fact, I plan to make them again this weekend for some guests we have coming over.  They have very simple ingredients, just boxed biscuit mix, grated cheddar, fresh rosemary, garlic, sour cream, and a little bit of club soda.  You just drop them out, bake and they are soft and so delicious!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Carla Vavala - Richie A to Zucchini Pie

I was supposed to make Potstickers today but that did not happen.  Something more important came up - trust me.
But I did, however, make Carla's Zucchini Pie on Tuesday and guess what?  It was so good we ate it all up before I remembered to take a photo of it.  That is the honest truth.  I halved the recipe for Chan and me and we scarfed it down like there was no tomorrow.  I know, you are all disappointed that there is no photo.  I'll make this again though and I will photo it because it is just that good!  I am not best friends with zucchini, but I like it on occasion and in special ways.  This was the easiest recipe.  I guarantee you it will be on my rotation every month.

Check out the potstickers at Applecrumbles and see what you think.  If you want to cook along with Joanne and me on Thursdays, I think we are just going to work our way through Carla's Fusion Food + Friends book.  The next recipe is Really Good Babbaganoush and I am excited about that one.  But Joanne may have something else in mind to make next week so please check her blog to see.

Try this.  I promise it is just so easy and so delicious!!  And healthy too!

4 medium zucchini, peeled and sliced
1 cup biscuit mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Mix all together and back in ungreased pie plate for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Serve warm.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New group forming! Healthy foods.

My friend,  Joanne, at Applecrumbles wants to start a new weekly cooking group using Carla Vavala's new book called Fusion Food + Friends.  The book is only $10 on   The group will post on Thursdays I think.  If you are interested in joining in, this Thursday Joanne is making the first recipe in the book which is  Caponata.  You make it in the crock pot so easy breezy.  If you make it, just send Joanne your photo and your link to your post and she will post on her website.  We are trying to see how many have an interest in doing this before we launch a website. 

Here is the recipe for the Caponata:

Mix all in crockpot and cook for 7-8 hours
1 med. eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 (15 oz) can diced seasoned italian tomatoes undrained
1 med. onion chopped
green olives sliced (optional)
1 red bell pepper cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup medium jarred salsa
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T. capers drained
3 T. balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 T crushed red pepper

Enjoy with sliced baquette bread, or put on your favorite pasta!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate with Francois - Chocolate Rice Puddings with Cherries

Francois Payard is the author of the cookbook Chocolate Epiphany that our group uses each month.  This month was my pick and I thought this pudding with cherries looked delicious and interesting.

I halved the recipe since there are only two of us here eating and we already had been chowing down on Big Bill's Carrot cake for the first part of the week.  Not to mention I bought a few doughnuts yesterday at the store.  Walmart is now selling Tastycakes here in the south, something I have really missed since we left Ohio.  I could get addicted to those!

This is not a difficult recipe, but as many of Payard's are, it is a bit time consuming.  Risotto is not a quick rice to prepare first of all.  But the smell coming from your oven as this is baking is worth the effort.  My kitchen smelled of chocolate and oranges!

The pudding is lighter than most chocolate pudding recipes because whipped cream is added into it after baking.  And you could substitute another fruit for the cherries, but we do like cherries.  It is a wonderful ending to a meal, not too sweet.  The cherries are delicious with the browned sugar on them.  Check out CWF and see if any of the other ladies in the group made this month's recipe.

First you make the rice pudding:
Cook the rice in water for five minutes, drain, set aside.

Combine the milk, sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Whisk in cocoa powder.  Romove from heat and stir in rice.  Pour into 9x13 baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for about an hour stirring every 20 minutes or so until the rice is tender.  Immediately whisk in the egg yolks, cover with saran wrap and press down on top of the pudding, then chill for an hour or a day.

Make the cherries:  Melt the butter over medium heat until it begins to brown.  Add the brown sugar stirring until melted.  Add the cherries and cook for 6-8 min.  Add the lemon juice and let cool.

Cream:  Whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla extract.  Fold half the whipped cream into the pudding and spoon into ramekins.  Add whipped cream and cherries on top to serve.
1 cup risotto rice
1 quart whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean or 2 T pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of one orange
1/3 cup cocoa powder
6 large egg  yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups plus 1 T heavy whipping cream
2 T unsalted butter
2 T light brown sugar
1 pound cherries, pitted and kept whole
Juice of one lemon

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blogging Break

I am taking a cooking/blogging break.  I will be back later in the month.  Hope you are all having a wonderful summer!!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chocolate with Francois - Flourless Chocolate Cake

In our Chocolate with Francois group, the recipe for this month was Francois Payard's Flourless Cake.  Apparently these cakes are popular in France.  They are easy to make, but oh so rich.  If you do not like chocolate, and I am serious here, you would not like this cake.  I'm sure my friend Kayte would not even look once at this recipe!

My friend Joanne, of Applecrumbles, was the host this month.  Joanne makes the most fabulous foods, a lot of them are vegetarian dishes but she also prepares meat dishes for her husband.  And her photos are amazing!

Okay back to this cake.  It was easy.  You mix it up, cook in a water bath, then freeze.

I probably kept it frozen for a couple of weeks.  Francois said if you cook in a regular cake pan it might be difficult to unpan it and he was right.  I ended up using my hairdryer to blow across the bottom of the pan and then it came right out.  It was not a pretty cake.  And my photos of the cake as a whole cake turned out unfocused.

Chandler put whipped cream on his.  I think the whipped cream might cut a little of the chocolate flavor off.  This is one very rich cake.  I could not eat a very large piece.  But it was delicious.

You can get the recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany or Joanne probably will have it posted on her webpage.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Kitchen, My World - Great Britain

This month in our group MKMW we virtually went to Great Britain to find a recipe to share.  My friend Sarah lives in London so naturally I went straight to her for an opinion.  She sent me the recipe for Toad in the Hole.  Now I've made Toad in the Hole before where you just cut a hole in a slice of bread, drop an egg in, and bake.  This is not the same thing.

The only change I made was you were supposed to wrap the sausages in proscuitto and instead I had some ham I needed to use so I just put some chopped up ham in mine.  We loved this dish and I hope you will if you make it.  Check out MKMW and see what everyone else came up with for Great Britain.  I cannot wait to check it all out.

Go here for the Toad in the Hole recipe.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I'm in afternoon LOVE - Pecan Pie Mini-muffins!

Last Saturday night in our dance club, my friend Pam brought the most delicious pecan pie muffins.  I had eaten them once in a restaurant near my house called The Three Eared Rabbit but I had never made them.  I asked her for the recipe, but today, I couldn't wait any longer so I made up what I thought the recipe would be.  They did not taste "exactly" like hers, but these are to die for if you love pecans.

1/2 cup softened butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup broken pecan pieces
I sprayed my mini muffin pan with olive oil spray and this made ten muffins.
350 degree oven.  Cook for 15 minutes or so.  Remove immediately from muffin pan.

You will be in afternoon love too!