Wednesday, February 29, 2012

FOFF - Asian Salad

If you check out Joanne's version of this you will see two totally different versions.   I'd put my money that her version is the better one!

The recipe called for beef flavored Japanese noodles.  I assumed it was Ramen, but when I got to the store, there were all sorts of noodles in the asian section but they were out of ramen unless you wanted a 12 pack size.  So I thought, "hmm. . .salad. . these crunchy ones would be good!"  I added some thin spaghetti as well.



Check this one out.  Easy to make and healthy to boot!  Full of healthy stuff.  Zucchini, water chestnuts, a semi-hot dressing over the top. . . Chan is going to love this!

1 pkg steamed edamame
1 can of whole water chestnuts (I used sliced)
1 package beef flavored Japanese noodles
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small fresh zucchini chopped small
1/2 cup cashews (I left these off because I do not care for cashews)
1/2 package fresh broccoli slaw

Dressing:
1 T crushed red pepper
102 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 T. sesame oil
3 T rice vinegar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. soy sauce
small sprinkle of the beef seasoning from the noodles (obviously I left this out)
Cook noodles.  Let cool  Add other ingredients, then top with dressing.  Chill for 20-30 minutes and serve.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursdays with FOFF - Carla Vavalas = Portuguese Soup

I love soup.  Mostly I love vegetable soup or beef stew.  Or even a good chili or taco soup.

I'm not much on creamed soups like cream of potato, or pumpkin soup.  For those of you who are, this soup may be right up your alley!  And it is healthy to boot!

It was very simple to prepare.  Just cut up vegetables and cook in a chicken based broth for 1 1/2 hours, then use your immersion blender to mix together and serve.  Carla says you can add small pasta to this if you like.

Two T. olive oil
One onion chopped
4 cloves garlic
three potatoes cut in cubes
one sweet potato cut in cubes
two carrots cut up
2 celery stalks chopped
2 T. fresh parsley
1 chicken bouillon cube
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, add olive oil, onion and garlic.  Cook until translucent.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cover with water about one inch above vegetables..  Cook about 1 1/2 hours until vegetables are tender.  Using a hand held blender puree (after removing from burner of course).
You can eat the soup like this, or add small cooked pasta to it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

BWJ - Chocolate Truffles Tart

Sometimes our days just don't go as we plan.  Last week I took my car in to have new brakes and rotors installed, oil change, and tires rotated. The next day, I noticed my front tires looked a little low, but I drove on them anyway.

The next day, I headed out the door to leave for work and both my front tires appeared to be almost flat.  To top it off, it was raining cats and dogs and I was running late.

I stopped at a tire dealership to get them checked.  The nice guy checked and all four tires were nearly flat.  After paying him to put air in them, I was on the road again.  But not before calling my husband to ask him to call the dealership that rotated my tires and inform them that they should have checked the air in them before letting me drive off the lot!

Now remembering it was my boss's birthday, I made a stop to pick up Krispy Kreme doughnuts to take for him, making me later than ever.

Got to work with doughnuts and realized there were three more birthdays going on that day in my department.  So we had doughnuts, then chocolate cake, then later it was cake day for the entire firm and cake and ice cream were offered.  I was smart enough to decline on that one.  Needless to say, I was on a major sugar high by the time I got home that night and still had Valentine's candy left over that I really needed to dispose of so I had a few pieces of that.

The tarts were a bit time consuming, but they were worth it.  Ran to Bed, Bath & Beyond and bought some mini tart pans.  How have I managed this long without these?  I love them!!  Also, I was out of parchment paper so I used non-stick foil and it worked like a charm.  My dough seemed just a little dry and was hard to roll out, but the end result was perfect.



I added butterscotch and white chocolate to mine, along with purchased biscotti.


I halved the recipe since there are only two of us here and I was still suffering from the sugar high of the day before.  We ate one tart, then took the other two to our dance club that evening where I shared one with my table friends, and gave the other to a friend having a birthday.  They were a big hit.

Now I wish I had made the entire recipe.  Sometimes, things just don't go as you plan.

Thanks to our hosts this week Steph awhiskandaspoon.­com; Spike http://spikebakes.tumblr.com; Jaime http://www.goodeatsblog.com/; and Jessice http://www.goodeatsblog.com/.   Be sure to check out their version of the chocolate truffle tarts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day Dinner with my Sweetheart

He got an invitation to come to a candlelit dinner at his own home on Valentine's Day.  He was to be home at 5:30 sharp.  My husband, my lover, my best friend, and my sweetheart walked in the door and was escorted to the den on the arm of his wife where he found a warm fire blazing and a table set for two complete with red tablecloth, roses for the centerpiece, and a single candle burning.  Soft classical music played in the background.  A Valentine card was there at his place.

The dinner started with a cherry tomato salad, made with soft green lettuce, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  A bottle of non-alcoholic grape juice was the drink of the evening.  And yes, even without alcohol, it was intoxicating.

The main course consisted of brown and wild rice and creole chicken patties with creole sauce.

Dessert was chocolate bread pudding baked in separate ramekins and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.  It was without a doubt the best bread pudding he and I have ever shared and the perfect ending to a perfect meal.  And a perfect Valentine evening.

If you would like the recipes for any of these delicious dishes, please email me.  It was the perfect romantic dinner for two people and easy on the budget too!

This is how the table looked when we were finished!  Yes, the tablecloth is wrinkled, there was no time for ironing!!


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Twitter Group - Delia Smith for February

I believe Nancy chose Delia Smith for our chef for the month of February.  I was unfamiliar with Delia's recipes but the internet was helpful in choosing something to make.  We choose a different chef each month and then use the photo from our completed dish as our avatar on twitter.  It's a lot of fun.

I chose Delia's Oriental Chicken.  I left off the hot pepper on top because my stomach doesn't like hot peppers!  You can find the recipe here:
http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/main-ingredient/poultry-and-game/chicken/oriental-chicken.html

The chicken was delicious.

Tonight, I have invited my husband to a candlelit dinner at my house for just the two of us.  He was very excited to get the invitation and he says he cannot wait to come home and see what I have cooked for him.  I will blog about it later in the week!  Happy Valentine's Day to all of you lovers and friends out there!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baking with Julia - White Loaves - First Post!




And so it begins. . . a new year. . .  a new book ..  . a new group of friends interested in baking together!

This week's challenge from the Baking with Julia group was white loaves hosted by our fearless leaders, Jules and Laurie.  I have not made bread in about twenty years, so the task seemed a bit daunting at first.  But once my loaves started to rise, I got very excited.   And my house smelled delicious all day!!

My camera is not working right and therefore the photos are a bit yellow.  My autofocus is messed up so I will have to send my camera to Nikon to get it fixed I am told.

The bread had to rise twice.  Once in a bowl, then once in the loaf pans.  Did I mention how wonderful they smelled while they were rising and baking?  Nothing like fresh bread baking.

I had a great time making this and the results were fantastic.  I definitely have renewed interest in bread baking now!  My loaves were perfect and so tasty!  I froze one loaf so I am excited that another meal of good bread is coming soon!  Did I mention how wonderful your house smells while this is baking?  :)

Check out the website to see how the other bakers fared.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Strawberry Salad with Pretzel Crust

Last weekend our supper club met and the hostess asked that I bring a red salad to match her Valentine inspired table.  I decided on this strawberry congealed salad.  Not only is it pretty, but it has a pretzel crust which gives it a little salty and crunchy pop.  The middle layer is cream cheese and cool whip.  I made a 9 x 13 size and the eight at dinner devoured it!  It is very important to let each layer cool completely before adding the next one.  Maybe try it for your upcoming "Valentine."

Also, for those of you who knew we were building out our attic, we finally finished it right before the holidays.  Here is a photo of our "work" in progress.  It took us almost a year of hard labor, but we are very happy with the finished product.
Here is the recipe for the strawberry salad:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
  • 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin dessert mix
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries
  • Whipped topping for garnish (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Press this mixture into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake for 7 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar. Fold in the whipped topping, and spread over the cooled crust. Refrigerate until well chilled.
In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, and allow to cool slightly. Add the strawberries, and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate until serving time.
To serve, cut slices and serve with a dollop of whipped topping.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ready for Superbowl? Carla Vavalas Hot Wings

This week my friend Joanne of Applecrumbles and I made Carla Vavalas' hot wings.  This recipe is perfect this week since Superbowl Sunday is coming up!!  I will definitely be making these again!  They are very easy, inexpensive, and quick.  Not to mention delicious!

Joanne had warned me that they were a bit on the hot side, so I knew to cut back on the hot sauce.  My only problem was the recipe made 48 hot wings which were way too many for the two of us.  So I tried to accurately measure how much sauce I would need for the 12 wings I made for us, but I did not make quite enough sauce.  And the sauce was GREAT so I was a tad disappointed that all my wings were not completely covered in it.  I think I might have even liked to have had some extra to dip something in - bread, whatever!!

If you want the recipe, just email me!   Try these!!