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Roasted radishes

March 31, 2012

Roasted Radishes

We visited the farmers market last week and came home with a plethora (♥ that word!) of fresh veggies.  It had been a gorgeous day and we were all busy outside, so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time fussing over dinner.  Instead, I popped some baking potatoes in the oven, and decided to roast the radishes we’d picked up at the market.  Roasting definitely kicked up the sweetness of the radish and mellowed the peppery-ness a bit.  They turned out great and added such a bright pop of color to our meal.  Can’t wait to try them on the grill!

Recipe:  Roasted Radishes

(idea from New York Times and Shockingly Delicious)

1 bunch of radishes
olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Rinse the radishes and trim the ends.  Pat dry and lightly toss with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme leaves.  Transfer to a baking sheet.  Cook radishes for about 15 minutes, stirring them on the tray a few times.

 

Chocolate chip cookie dough chocolate chip cookies

March 24, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever been baking cookies while stealing spoonfuls of cookie dough from the bowl?  Happens here every time.  We always end up with far fewer cookies than we should, because we love the cookie dough so much.  Needless to say, when I saw this recipe at Big Red Kitchen, I knew they would make an appearance in my own kitchen sooner or later.  It is utterly brilliant, really.  The genius lady behind BRK, Robin Sue, is forever coming up with new ways to look at food.  (You really need to check out her mason jar meals!!)

These little beauties are one more of Robin Sue’s great ideas.  You get the best of both cookie worlds in every bite!  A little chocolate chip cookie and a little cookie dough.  Yum and yum!  These disappeared in record time, even for our house, and received rave reviews from everyone.

Recipe:   Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip Cookies

(many thanks to Robin Sue at Big Red Kitchen!)

“Raw” Cookie Dough:

4 T. butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 of a 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Cream butter and brown sugar; add vanilla, flour, and milk.  Mix until nice and smooth.  Stir in mini chocolate chips.  Tap your hands with a little powdered sugar, then spoon a small ball of dough into your hands.  Quickly roll it into a smooth ball and place on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.  (Robin Sue suggests using a small melon baller, if you have one.)  Freeze for at least one hour.

Chocolate Chip Cookie:

(my favorite – slightly adapted Tollhouse recipe)

1 cup Crisco vegetable shortening
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips  (I just used the remainder of the bag of mini chocolate chips.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until smooth.  Add vanilla, eggs, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until smooth.  Add flour a little at a time until mixture is fully blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Fill each well of a nonstick mini-muffin pan with a rounded tablespoon of cookie dough.  Do not fill more than 3/4 full.  Bake for 12-13 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow cookies to cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove them by running a butter knife between the pan and each cookie and gently lifting out. Place cookies on a wire rack and press a dough ball gently down in the center of each cookie.  Decorate with the Ganache Drizzle, if desired.

Ganache Drizzle:

2 T. heavy cream
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave cream for 15 seconds.  Add chips and let sit 2 minutes, then stir until smooth.  If necessary, microwave and stir in 5 second increments until chocolate is fully melted and ganache is smooth.  Spoon into a small baggie, cut a small snip off the corner of the baggie, and drizzle ganache over each cookie.  (I took the messier route and dipped a fork into the ganache and “waved” it over the cookies.)   Store cookies in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or freezer, removing about 30 minutes before serving.

Meyer lemon chess pie

March 18, 2012
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Meyer Lemon Chess Pie

Oh my gosh, I am so in love with this pie.  I can’t even begin to tell you how completely and wonderfully delicious it was.  I ate my first slice, glanced over at Jim still eating his first slice, and could not resist going back for slice #2.  It is seriously one of the best pies I’ve ever had.  So good, in fact, that after slice #2, I called my mom to tell her all about it.

I was lucky enough to have found Meyer lemons at my grocery store for the first time EVER, but average run-of-the-mill lemons would be just fine.  Personally, I think the amount of sugar in this recipe would suit regular lemons better than it did the Meyer lemons, since Meyer lemons aren’t as tart.  So my advice would be to try this pie with any lemons you can get your hands on.  The sooner the better.  You will be very, very glad you did.  Maybe you’ll even call your mom.

{one year ago:  sliders in under a minute}
{two years ago:  dessert tacos}
{three years ago:  lentil taco meat}

Recipe:  Meyer Lemon Chess Pie

(from Shockingly Delicious)

1 9-inch prepared (uncooked) pie shell
1 Tbsp. cornmeal
1 Tbsp. flour
Pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. grated zest (from 2 Meyer lemons)
4 eggs
1/4 c. half and half or whole milk
4 Tbsp. melted butter
1/4 c. Meyer lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar and grated zest.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg.  Add half and half, butter and lemon juice and stir well.  Mixture will appear to thicken slightly.  Pour into prepared pie shell.  Bake on bottom shelf of oven (so it is closer to the heating element) for 35-40 minutes.  Center will be slightly jiggly when it is done.  Remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Homemade peppermint patties

March 14, 2012

Homemade Peppermint Patties

The kids had a day off from school last week, so we browsed through my huge list of bookmarked recipes looking for something to keep us busy.  We all love peppermint patties so this seemed like a no-brainer.  The recipe couldn’t be any easier, but unfortunately, my guys weren’t very successful once the mixing was finished.  Have you ever made oobleck or goop — you know, with cornstarch and water?  It’s awesome stuff and a blast to play with, but really hard to hold in your hand.  The way my kids were trying to shape these peppermint patties, you would have thought I’d given them oobleck.  Claudia’s hands were literally covered in sticky mint candy, which she did her best to lick off.  (I’m really teaching her to be very ladylike, can you tell?)

After a couple failed attempts of my own, I got into a good rhythm.  The trick is speed.  You have to powder your hands with powdered sugar, then quickly roll the peppermint sugar mixture into a small ball, and just as quickly release it onto a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.  Give the peppermint ball a gentle pat to flatten it a bit, and grab another spoonful of candy.  Just keep moving, and you’ll have a sheet of naked peppermint patties in no time.

I highly recommend keeping these in the freezer for a good copycat of a peppermint patty.  The freezing helps the chocolate have that nice little snap when you bite into the candy, but it doesn’t freeze the center.  These homemade peppermint patties were delicious, but I must warn you that it is extremely tempting having a whole bag of them only a few steps away, no matter where you go in your house.  Especially when you consider how often you walk past your freezer!

Recipe:  Homemade Peppermint Patties

(found at Savory Sweet Life)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons shortening

Add condensed milk, 2 cups of powdered sugar, and peppermint extract to a large mixing bowl.  Mix everything on medium speed using the paddle attachment until all the ingredients are well incorporated.  Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is stiff but still pliable.

Cover a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the palms of your hands.  Roll 3/4″ balls of dough between the palms of the hands.  Set each ball on waxed paper-covered cookie sheet and flatten slightly.  Transfer peppermint disks to the freezer for no longer than 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, temper the chocolate coating.

Place chocolate chips in a microwavable bowl.  Melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, making sure to stir after each time until chocolate is smooth.  Stir in shortening to thin the chocolate.  Remove patties from the freezer.  Place a patty on the tines of the fork and dip in the chocolate until completely covered. Allow excess chocolate to drip off the patty before setting each one on top of wax or parchment paper.  Allow the chocolate coated peppermint patties to completely set up.  This can be done quicker by placing the patties in the refrigerator.  The peppermint patties are ready when they are dry to the touch.

 

Glow-in-the-dark bathtime

March 12, 2012
tags:

I pinned a great idea for a nighttime swim in a pool full of glow sticks.  Wouldn’t that be a blast?  For my kids, it would mean staying up really late, plus getting to swim in the dark.  They’d love it.  But that got me thinking that taking a bath with glow sticks would be a hoot too.  Glow sticks seem to be a staple in the dollar section of Target, so I picked some up and voila!  A glow-in-the-dark bath!  (And just to set the record straight, the glow-in-the-dark bath was for Claudia, not me!)

{one year ago:  cake batter rice krispie treats}
{three years ago:   chocolate mint brownies}

Parmesan garlic pull-apart bread

March 8, 2012

Parmesan Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

I have a love-hate relationship with yeast.  I don’t really blame the yeast, and truthfully, I don’t blame myself either.  I’m kind like that.  Instead, I blame the temperature in my kitchen.  It’s just never warm enough for the yeast dough to rise nicely.  I typically end up with breads that never reach the height intended for them.  At this point, I only attempt to make yeast breads on sunny days, when I know I can leave a bowl on a bench in our little sunroom and it will be warm enough to help the dough rise.

Last weekend, when it was unseasonably warm and beautiful outside, I made this Parmesan garlic pull-apart bread.  And joy of joys, the dog and the cats mercifully left the bowl of rising dough alone the whole time!  The resulting bread was fun to eat and tasted great, though I’m thinking that the next time I’m also going to add shredded mozzarella cheese.  Some of those cute mini pepperoni slices might be a good idea too.  Hmm.  Pizza pull-apart bread, here I come!

{two years ago:  malted milk bar brownies}
{three years ago:   the best garlic hummus ever!}

Recipe:  Parmesan Garlic Pull-Apart Bread

(slightly adapted from The Pastry Affair)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups barely warm water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups all purpose (or bread) flour
6 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast and water.  Let sit 5 minutes until yeast is foamy.  Mix in the olive oil, salt, and flour.  If you have a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, or until elastic.  If you are doing this by hand, knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is elastic, 7-10 minutes.  Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until dough is doubled in size.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, parsley flakes, and minced garlic.  Set aside.  Lightly spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Punch down the dough.  Tear off small pieces of dough (roughly the size of the bowl of a medium spoon), coat in the butter mixture, and place in the bottom of the bundt pan.  Repeat this process until you have one layer of dough balls.  Sprinkle on 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese.  Continue layering the dough balls and cheese until you have 3 layers.  Cover the pan with a clean towel and allow to sit until dough has doubled in size, 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until bread is golden brown.  Serve hot with a side of marinara or tomato sauce.

Quinoa breakfast porridge

March 6, 2012

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

When I get called to sub, I’m usually in a huge rush to get myself and the kids ready and out of the house early.  And since I know I’m going to be busy all day, I have to make sure to eat something good and filling for breakfast.  This porridge was born to help me out with that.  It’s kind of a twist on oatmeal, cream of wheat, and grits.  Something warm and filling to get my engine running.

I made a batch of quinoa following the package directions – 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa.  Once that was cooked, I added a cup of almond milk and simmered it until it thickened up a little.  Now comes the creative part.  Spoon one serving into a bowl and start adding in your favorite extras.  Since I used unsweetened almond milk, I drizzled the porridge with honey and tossed in some thawed frozen blueberries.  A little applesauce and cinnamon is a good combination too, but my favorite is to just quickly add some flavored coffee creamer and honey.  Yum.  Use whatever stir-ins you like and start your day on the right foot.

(Store the remaining quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge and you’ve got breakfast for the next couple days too.)

{one year ago:  Texas brittle}
{two years ago:  Jamaican coffee soda}

{three years ago:  zebra cake}

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