Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

Tea time will be back soon.  I am sconed out at the moment and needed a breather from all that scone baking, In the mean time, I bring you this lovely cheesecake.  Swoon.

Some time ago it was my husbands birthday.  We celebrated with some delicious chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. I made a few mistakes but in the end it was okay.

One of the mistakes I made was that I overfilled the water.  When I make cheesecake, at least in recent times, I put it in a water bath.  I find the cheesecake to be more moist and it bakes better.  You will see this idea in a lot of recipes. It helps with not getting that infamous crack on top.
You need to have a piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom of your cheesecake.  I find that the standard foil here in the US is narrow, not wide enough to get a nice seal on the bottom of a 9" round. Most times I do not have the wider heavy duty foil.  If you want to do the water bath I recommend getting the wider foil.

The other mistake I made was not putting enough of the batter mixed with the peanut butter.  It got too thick and dint go on the cheesecake evenly.  Also the chocolate portion was dulled by too much batter.  Next time, half and half.  This will make the chocolate portion of the cheesecake more chocolatey and the peanut putter portion more pourable and spreadable.

Yes, there will be a next time because it still was good.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

crust
1 cup finely ground chocolate wafer cookies (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar

filling
4 ounces semisweet chocolate (55 to 61 percent cacao), finely chopped
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch of coarse salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grind chocolate wafer cookies into crumbs, mix with melted butter and sugar. Line bottom and a little up the sides of a 9 inch round cheesecake pan, Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.

In a mixing bowl place cream cheese and sugar and salt.  Blend together for about 3 minutes.  Add in vanilla.  Add in eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Scrape down sides. Mix just until blended. Divide batter in two.

In the same mixer with half the batter, add peanut butter and blend until combined.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.  Melt chocolate in bain marie or microwave, making sure just to heat it until it melts. In that same mixer combine the reserved half of batter and add in the chocolate.

Pour the chocolate batter into the prepared crust cheesecake pan.  Spoon peanut butter batter over the top. Smooth.  Place in oven on center rack.  Bake for approx. one hour and 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  You want it to be slightly jiggly in center before you take it out.

This following alternate way of baking is not necessary but it will yield a very moist cheese cake.

If you would like to bake it the way I did (ensuring that you cover the bottom better than I did), cover the bottom of cheesecake pan in foil, making sure it is tight around.  Place in in a larger baking pan. Pour in some water to the larger baking pan (under the cheesecake pan) about an inch.  It should not be anywhere near the top of the foil on the cheesecake pan.  Once the cooking time is complete, open the oven door a crack and let the oven cool to room temperature before removing the cheesecake.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tea Time Tuesday: Blueberries






































This week Sandy from Quilting From The Rest Of Us chose blueberries as our theme.  Head on over to her blog and you can learn about some awesome blueberry tea.  I personally love blueberry tea. Pour me a up Sandy!

I feel like I should write an ode to blueberries because they are so much a part of my life.  Every year we cant wait to go picking blueberries.  We have made a picnic out of blueberry picking for at least 11 years.   This weeks "flavor" is extra special to me.

I did not make any scones this week out of blueberries. I just plain ran out of time but I am going to show you three of my favorite blueberry recipes that are from the past.  They have been made more than once in this house.

The first is blueberry tart.  This tart is slammin' jammin' blueberry rich.  It has kind of a blueberry jam beneath and then fresh blueberries on top.  It's SOOOOO good.


Blueberry Tart 
Longbotham, Lori. 'Luscious Berry Desserts'. Chronicle Books. San Francisco: 2006.
Recipe found here at Joy of Baking
Pastry:
1 1/2 cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
2 tablespoon (25 grams) granulated white sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 - 2 tablespoons ice water
Filling:
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) all purpose flour
Garnish:
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar

Pastry: In your food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). In a small bowl, whisk the egg and vanilla. Then gradually pour in a steady stream, with the motor running, through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add water, if necessary. Do not process more than about 30 seconds.

Transfer the pastry to an 11 inch (28 cm) fluted tart pan, and press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cover and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the blueberry topping.

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F (220 degree C).

In a large bowl combine the sugar and flour. Add 2 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries and toss to coat. Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and evenly pour in the blueberries and sugar/flour mixture. Place the tart pan on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and continue to bake until the pastry is golden brown (about 30 - 35 minutes). (Halfway through the baking time, stir the berries if there is any flour on them.) Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Top with the remaining 2 1/2 cups of blueberries (crown side up), pressing them gently into the hot blueberry jam. I like to make concentric circles with the blueberries, starting at the outside edge. Let the tart cool to room temperature before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with softly whipped cream or ice cream. Cover and store leftovers in the refrigerator.


Makes one - 11 inch (28 cm) tart.

This one is a huge pain to make but well worth it.

Fruit Squares
My Great Aunt was apparently a caterer. This recipe comes from her.  This recipe is one of the things she use to serve.

3/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening
4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

filling of our choice (you can make your won or buy the canned pie filling)

In a large bowl beat shortening/lard with sugar.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla.  In another bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder.  Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

After dough chills, roll out half of dough and lay in an ungreased 15-x10-inch baking sheet. Spread pie filling over it.  Roll out remaining half and place over filling or you can make a lattice top by cutting in strips and laying over top of filling, pinching the edges as you go.
Roll out dough between wax paper.  It is very sticky. If you want to make your life a little easier, chill the dough for 20 minutes before pulling the wax paper off.  Place dough on jelly roll pan about 10 x 15. Bake at 350F until golden and pulling away from the sides a little, about 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool. Cut into bars or squares.

And finally this one. Can if in the summer and enjoy it all winter long.  We did!  Pour this all over your crumpets...


Blueberry Syrup
Ball Canning Recipe here.

8 cups blueberries, crushed (about 3-1/2 lb)
6 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Place blueberries, 2 cups of the water and lemon zest in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and boil gently for 5 minutes.

Pour into a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth set over a deep bowl. Let drip, undisturbed, for at least 2 hours.

When ready, heat water canner to boiling. Heat jars in warm water until ready for use. Do not boil. Wash lids in warm soapy water and set bands aside.

Mix sugar and remaining 4 cups water in a clean large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, and cook until temperature reaches 230°F, adjusting for altitude. Add blueberry juice. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

Using a large measuring cup pour hot blueberry syrup into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band until fit is fingertip tight.

Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes*, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.


*Please remember to not time your canner until it is boiling.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tea Time Tuesday: Crumpets


I have always wanted to have tea and crumpets.  It just sounds so... English.  So proper. So dainty.  I am none of these things.  But a girl can pretend, right.  Tea time is about pretend sometimes.  Like when I was a little girl.  Or the tea parties you see on television.  Like the popular commercial of the rough and tumble guy having tea with his sweet little daughter.  I would love to share the video of that one with you but can not find it on the internet. This one is kind of cute though...


The crumpets were pretty easy.  The hardest part was standing at the skillet cooking them up.  I sprayed wide mouth jar rings with cooking spray and used those as my molds.  You could use empty clean tuna cans, with bottom cut out as well.

Crumpets are a lot like an English muffin.  Taste is kind of plain.  Its all about what you put on them. They are a vehicle to flavor.  Some butter and jam- perfect.  All those nooks and crannies soaking in the yum.

This week my book to tell you about is Dark Witch, by Nora Roberts.  It's one of three, Shadow Spell and finally, Blood Magick.  Maybe I should wait to tell you about it when I read all three.  Nah...  I will forget by then.  Book one.  I love a tale of Witches.  Maybe its the feminine power thing.  Maybe it's the magic that captivates me.  This book has it all.  It is set in County Mayo, Ireland.  Romance and mystery is woven in the story leading you on through the book.  At times it can be a bit kitschy, but I don't mind.
Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1)
If you are drinking your tea alone then, pick up a book and have a relaxing moment with your tea and crumpets.  Or if you are lucky enough to have a friend like Sandy, sit down and join that person for tea.  Head on over to Quilting For The Rest Of Us to see what Sandy is pouring this week in "our tea cups" this week.

CRUMPETS
Mostly from this recipe at Serious Eats.

2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 3/4 cups,water
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons powdered milk
1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the water, mixing until well incorporated.  It will be a lot like pancake batter but it holds together.  Let it rest for an hour.

Coat griddle with nonstick cooking spray or oil.  Spray rings and place on griddle.  Pour batter into the ring, not filling it up- about a 1/4 cup.  Cook about 5-7 minutes on one side before turning.  It should be golden.  Push down on the crumpet to release it from the ring and flip.  Cook just long enough to make the raw go- not golden*. When pushed it should spring back.  Let cool and, of course, serve with tea, butter and jam.

*Packaged crumpets are white on one side.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tea Time Tuesday: Blackberry Lime Scones

It's Tea Time Tuesday again.  This week I am putting Blackberry Lime scones on the virtual table with my dear friend Sandy.  Pour me a cup my friend!  What are you brewing this week Sandy? I think it is blackberry tea.  hmmmm.

I have no book review this week because I was all last minute with this post.  Nice weather kept me from doing stuff inside yesterday. Except for cooking and, ah hem, baking ... blackberry lime scones.

No words this evening as my bed is beckoning.  Night night!


BLACKBERRY LIME SCONES
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces or 1 stick cold butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 cup blackberries

glaze
2 tablespoons lime juice 
1/2 cup to 1 cup confectioners sugar

Blend together the dry ingredients, including the lime zest.  I like to use my processor for this but its not necessary.  You can use a bowl and a pastry blender or a fork.  Blend in the cold butter until it turns the flour kind of mealy. In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients.  Stir the wet into the dry just until combined.  Spoon into a scone maker or even ramekins.  You can also pat into a round and cut into 8 pieces.  Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes.

Remove from pan after cooling for 5 minutes.  Drizzle glaze over top.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kale and Cannelini Bean Soup with a Ham Hock


I got into making soup with ham hocks when I lived in AZ in the mid 90's.  It all started with a recipe for posole.  I couldn't find oxtails at the time so it could have been oxtails that I got into.  I did find ham hocks and it was a great discovery for me.  I have been using them ever since.  Recently, my friend Sandy (from Quilting For The Rest Of Us), turned me on to the ham hocks at an Amish (or should I say, Mennonite) store near where we live.  Great discovery!  Best ham hocks ever!
Soup Tip:  If you make soup a lot you probably already know this.  Most soups are way better the next day when the flavors have had a chance to marry. This comes in handy when you are having a large gathering.  Its something you can do ahead of time.

KALE, CANNELINI AND HAM HOCK SOUP

1 large ham hock
2 large bay leaves
1 large onion (about a cup and a half), chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large potatoes (about 2 cups), peeled and chopped
1/2 to 1 pound of kale, cleaned and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound cannelini beans
2-3 quarts chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

In a soup pot, soak beans overnight.  Drain in the morning and add a ham hock and chicken stock to the beans, cover and cook on low heat (just barely simmering) until beans are nearly tender.  Add in carrots, potatoes, garlic, kale, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook until carrots and potatoes are tender.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's Tea Time Tuesday: Double Chocolate Scones


It's tea time again with my good friend Sandy of Quilting For The Rest Of Us. This week we decided to get all dessert on you.  Chocolate!  Click on over to Quilting For The Rest Of Us to check out some amazing teas from Sandy.  

My book this week is The Dog Who Saved Me by Susan Wilson.  It's a heart warming story of a wounded policeman who is in the throws of a trauma from the beginning of the book.  The dog's story is interwoven with the man.  The author takes you into the man's despair and the dogs struggle. Together they learn to trust, to the greatest extent possible.  
The Dog Who Saved Me

Double Chocolate Scones
No glaze needed on these.  Dunked in some tea... heavenly


2/3 cup half and half cream 
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a food processor or bowl, combine dry ingredients, mix well.  Add in the butter pieces. Blend until the mixture looks like sand or as they say, mealy.  In a separate bow mix in the vanilla, half and half and egg.   Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix only until it comes together.  Even if there are dry clumps in spots, better to pull it out of the processor and knead it together.  Again working it only as much as needed to get together.  Pat into a big round disc and then cut into 8 segments.  I placed them in my scone pan but certainly you can place them on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Test with a toothpick if you are uncertain.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

TEA TIME AND MATCHA COCONUT AND LIME SCONES

It's tea time again with my good friend Sandy of Quilting For The Rest Of Us!  Yeah.  I wish I could have real tea time with her weekly.  But alas, busy schedules prevent such luxuries.  In honor of it being tea time, of course I made scones.




I loved this book!  If I could judge a book by its cover, this was totally right on for me.  The apple and all the tiny lights, magical.  It's a beautiful story of a family of women who all have something very unique about them.  This story is fun and captivating.  The characters are rich.  I love Sarah Addison Allen's characters. (I just finished another one of her books).  She weaves beautiful stories. Very talented.  I am quite sure I will read all of her books.  Here is a link to a blog post that someone wrote about her with a little interview.
MATCHA COCONUT AND LIME SCONES

1/2 cup butter, cold, cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons matcha powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
zest of one lime

Lime Glaze:
juice of one or two limes
1 to 2 cups confectioners sugar
lime zest for garnish

Blend together the dry ingredients, including the lime zest.  I like to use my processor for this but its no necessary.  You can use a bowl and a pastry blender or a fork.  Blend in the cold butter until it turns the flour kind of mealy. In a separate bowl stir together the wet ingredients.  Stir the wet into the dry just until combined.  Spoon into a scone maker or even ramekins.  You can also pat into a round and cut into 8 pieces.  Bake at 350° for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's Tea Time With Pumpkin Chai Scones

Me and my friend Sandy of Quilting For The Rest Of Us have teamed up together to do a Tea Time Tuesday Event.  Each Tuesday, Sandy will review a tea from Plum Deluxe Teas and will pair it with one of my scone recipes.  I am crazy over scones!

Check out Sandy's picks for tea this week and check out her BEAUTiful header!
Ladies' Night
I am going to do a book review with mine.  Well, I am going to try and do a book review every time. Today, I want to tell you about Ladies Night , by Mary Kay Andrews.  First, let me tell you what kind of reader I am.  Since I have had children I can't sit still to read a book.  It just isn't happening.  So, if I "read" a book, it's more like I listened to a book on tape riding back and forth to work.  The kind of books I read are light.  Not too heavy.  No serious issues.  The rest of my life is filled with enough serious issues.  Being a social worker does that.  But personally too, I have enough going on.  So when I read... or listen, as the case may be, I like it light.

Ladies Night was right up my alley.  There was a lot going on in the story but the overall flavor of the book was pretty light.  The Ladies Night group, is a group of divorced women who are thrown together in a support group type of setting.  The story is woven together pretty well with a few twists and turns leading you through the tangled mess of divorce/break up.

This is the second Mary Kay Andrews book I have enjoyed.  I am looking forward to listening to the rest of her books.  They are a pleasure to listen to.  I am always so sad when the book ends.  I miss the characters.  They keep me company on my commute to and from work.


Pumpkin Chai Scones

2 cups flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon ginger
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
3 tablespoons cream

Glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons cream or milk
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, ginger.

Add in butter in small pieces, blend with pastry blender or in a food processor. Flour should become kinda mealy.

In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients, add to dry all at once. Mix just until blended.  Remove from bowl onto a floured surface and pat into a round.  Divide into 8 "pie" wedges.  Place on baking sheet and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.  They should be just lightly golden around the edges.


Disclaimer:  I received no compensation from Plum Deluxe.  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

BLACK MISSION FIG AND CRACKED BLACK PEPPER BREAD



I have been listening to A LOT of books on tape.  First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is one of my recent favorites.  The story is sweet and light and everything I needed for a quick escape.  It has a touch of magic. I cant wait to listen to another of her books.

In the book she wrote about fig and pepper bread. I had to make it, I was totally intrigued.  I made it twice now, the first recipe I did was a little dense but that probably was my starters fault, might have been a little depleted and in need of a feeding.  Today I made it again and used my own ideas about it and was happy with the way it came out.   I will definitely make it again.  Today I found a recipe for it from the author.  That was not on my cd , though I heard it was in the book.  I am totally going to try that one next.

BLACK MISSION FIG AND CRACKED BLACK PEPPER BREAD

3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
10 dried mission figs, chopped into pieces*
1 1/2 cups water

Mix flour, salt, pepper and yeast until blended, by hand or with whisk attachment of mixer.
Add the warm water. Then the figs. Knead for 10 minutes, or use dough hook attachment of mixer for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and springy. Add in a little flour or water by the tablespoon to get it just right.

Oil a large bowl, place dough inside, and cover bowl with a damp hand towel.  Let sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.


Turn into a Dutch Oven and cover, let rise for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450°F.  Bake covered for 30 minutes.  Remove top and finish baking for another 15 minutes or so.  Check with temperature gage for 190- 200
° F.  Remove from oven, turn out on wire rack. Let sit for one hour.


*My figs were a bit old.  I chopped them up into smaller pieces and poured boiling water over them and let them soak.  I used the soaking water in my recipe, combined with some cool water to bring the temp down.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Stuffed Cabbage, also known as, Galumpki's



Galumpki's  (phonically spelled go-wump-keys, with the emphasis on wump). Says an English speaking Polish person.  This is how it is pronounced, in our family anyhow,

It's crazy how cabbage can be so different.  I need to talk to a farmer about this.  If you know, please tell me.  Sometimes cabbage comes off in thin leaves all the way down to the core.  Other times, as you get closer to the center, the leaves start to get very thick and curly.  It must be two different kinds of cabbage but honestly I need to know so I don't run into this problem again. I think it might be Spring and Winter cabbage????  Anyone know the answer to this conundrum?

If you make stuffed cabbage make sure you get the thin leaves all the way down to the core kind of cabbage.  The thick leaves are very hard to work with and just don't deliver the end product I like.  I really must try this again when I find the perfect cabbage.

I grew up on this dish.  My Mother is Polish and she also grew up on this.  I remember she always made it with mashed potatoes.  We would pour the juice over our mashed potatoes.  I would swirl it around together on my plate, playing with it.  Truth be told though, I didn't care much for cabbage when I was young.  I never ate the 'wrapper'.  Now, its a different story. As I really do like cabbage but in the Autumn I end up getting sick of it. Then it reestablishes itself in the kitchen in later winter as the source of an inexpensive vegetable for a meal.  Then there is Spring Cabbage- best cole slaw! But I digress.

When I went to Poland with my friend, like, a thousand years ago, her cousin made hers almost the size of cigars.  I really liked that... a lot.  Definitely need thin cabbage for that!

Stuffed Cabbage/Galumbki
You can use all beef if you like.  You can use cooked rice instead. Your preference.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked
1 cup onions, diced
1 can tomato paste
1/4 cup minced parsley
2 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 head cabbage

Sauce
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar

Saute onions in butter until golden.  Set aside to cool.

Place a large pot of water on to boil.  Add salt to the water.

In a large bowl combine: beef, pork, rice, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper. Add in cooled onions.

Core cabbage head.  Place whole head of cabbage into water.  Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Take cabbage head out.  Carefully remove leaves one at a time.  Any broken leaves can be used at the end to cover the whole casserole.  Alternately you can soften leaves one at a time.

Place about 1/3 of a cup of filling into a leave and roll up tucking in ends.

Mix ingredients for sauce.  Spoon some sauce into the bottom of  the casserole dish.
Line bottom of casserole dish with some broken leaves, this will help keep your rolls from burning.
Place your rolled cabbage, tucked neatly in rows.  Remember they will swell a little as they have uncooked rice in them.  So don't pack too tightly.




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cinnamon Apple Scones



I love King Arthur.  Great site, great recipes, great products.  These scones were inspired by this recipe from King Arthur Flour.  Even though they are brown in appearance they are super moist.  All that applesauce and apples help with that.

I think when you are making scones or baking in general, technique is as key to the success as the the recipe itself.  A few things to remember when making scones.
1. Do not over mix (and this is really true with any flour recipe when baked- except for bread).
2. Butter should be cold.
3. Take the time to cut them into triangles or rounds, separated. If you bake as a big round (as some recipes actually suggest), they run the risk of being goey in the center or over done around the edges and perfect in the middle. Its just too thick.
4. Er on the underdone side.  Its better to have the scones a little underdone then overdone and dry. 

CINNAMON APPLE SCONES


2 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
3/4 cup chopped fresh apple, in 1/2" pieces (about half a medium apple); leave the skin on, if you like
1 cup cinnamon chips
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup applesauce, unsweetened preferred

In a food processor or large bowl, blend together dry ingredients. Add butter in pieces until mostly blended.  In a separate bowl combine, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Turn out onto flat surface and gently knead in cinnamon chips and cut apples.

Divide dough into 10 or 12 equal pieces.  I used my scone baking pan which is very handy and worth it if you make a lot of scones. Bake at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Jalapeño Cheddar Bread

How about a nice crusty loaf of spicy, warming jalapeno bread and a big bowl of soup while the snow is flying outside.  We are getting socked with snow today, tonight and tomorrow.  Settle in and bake some bread.  Warm the belly!


Jalapeño Cheddar Bread


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cheddar cheese, finely cubed.
1 large jalapeño, chopped
1 ½ cups warm water

To add in the last 10-15 minutes of baking:
3 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
3 to 5 thin slices of jalapeño


In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast. Fold in the cheese and jalapeño until well coated. Add the water and stir until a wet mixture forms, it will be super sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 - 18 hours (up to 24).

Preheat oven to 450F. Place a cast iron dutch oven with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the risen dough onto a heavily floured surface (mixture will be sticky; do not knead) and lightly, gently shape into a round loaf.

Remove the hot pot from the oven, remove the lid, and carefully set the dough inside. Cover the Dutch oven and return it to oven for 30 minutes. Then, remove the lid, sprinkle the top of the loaf with grated cheddar and jalapeño slices, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and crisp. Carefully remove the pot from the oven and place the loaf on a cooling rack to cool. Best enjoyed warm, fresh from the oven.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Blueberry Cornbread




I was listening to a book on tape and heard about blueberry cornbread.  It totally piqued my curiosity. What a great breakfast treat idea.

Do you listen to books on tape? I love it.  Every day my commute to work, that 80 minutes round trip is made better by listening to some book teaching me something or a story that I can escape into.  So precious!

I am struggling to figure out a rhythm of being a working Mom.  Maybe its futile.  So many things I still want to do and am trying to cram it into small spaces.  Sounds familiar, right?  I guess we all are in that same boat no matter what's on your plate.

Thankfully I have been able to make dinner every night.  I did not want to give that up.  My husband said he would pitch in.  I considered it.  Nahhhhh.  Me!  I want to continue cooking because I do enjoy it.  The other day though, I came in to find him making pancakes and eggs for dinner.  That was a nice surprise and I was very grateful.


BLUEBERRY CORNBREAD

2 cups (10 oz) all purpose flour
1 cup (5 oz) yellow cornmeal
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup white sugar
½ cup whole milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 (11 oz) can whole corn kernels, drained
1 cup blueberries

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 10” cast iron skillet or a 9" square baking pan.
Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the greek yogurt, sugar, milk, melted butter, and eggs together until smooth. Gently fold the sour cream mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the corn kernels and blueberries.
Pour the batter into the skillet and smooth the top. Bake until cornbread is golden yellow, about 17-20 minutes. Don’t over bake - you don’t want your cornbread to be dry! Remove from the oven and cool completely.
For the cinnamon honey butter, stir together all of the ingredients until fully combined. Serve with cornbread.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Cranberry Orange Scones

These scones are amazing.  A great use for fresh cranberries if you have them stored in your freezer like I do. If you don't you can use dried cranberries but you may have to adjust baking times as there will be less moisture in them.

I have made these scones twice this winter so I think that says something.  Next time I think I will add some walnuts or pecans.


CRANBERRY ORANGE SCONES

3⁄4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 3⁄4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup butter
1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 rind grated from one orange

3 tablespoon butter, melted
3⁄4 to 1 cup confectioners sugar
little orange juice as needed

Preheat oven to 375F.
Beat buttermilk and egg with a whisk in small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas.
Mix in cranberries, sugar and orange rind.
Add buttermilk mixture and stir until soft dough forms.
Using your hands, form dough into a large ball and place on floured surface.
Knead just until it comes together.
Form into scones as desired. Should be 1 inch thick. Makes about 16.
Bake scones for 15-20 minutes. Maybe longer depending on how you shape them.
Mix butter, orange juice and confectioners sugar together to create glaze. Drizzle on scones while they are still warm.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Calabacita Soup


One of my favorite Mexican dishes to make in the summer is calabacitas when the vegetables are fresh.  This soup works great in the winter with my frozen vegetables and still packs a powerful flavor punch.

Epazote will give your dish a very authentic taste, but you dont have to have it.  Epazote is actually stink weed.  It has a lot of flavor, but you cant add too much.  You can find it in any Mexican Market or order is online.

Calabacita Soup

2 quarts chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 medium zucchinis
1 teaspoon epazote
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup roasted pablano peppers (canned chilis work too)
2 cups corn
s and p

Saute onions and zucchini in oilve oil and butter and cook until onions are transluscent.  Add garlic, cook one minute more.  Add remainder of ingredients except corn. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add corn, cook a few minutes more.  Serve.  Add a dollop of sour cream if you like.  I was going light here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Teriyaki Meatballs


Didnt forget about you all, just adjusting to changes here at our house.  I am back to work full time.  I have to get into the rhythm of my new schedule.  I could wax on poetic about change but I will spare you what you already heard a million times.  It just is what it is!

These are delicious!  Next time I will try pork mixed in with the beef.


TERIYAKI MEATBALLS

2 lb ground beef
2 large egg, well beaten
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 t ginger, minced
1 T soy sauce
2 t sriracha sauce, or hot sauce, optional
1 cup plus panko breadcrumbs

Sauce
2/3 cup soy sauce,reduced-sodium
1 1/4 cups water
1 tsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water, cold
1 Tbsp sesame seeds

Mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs, saving the panko crumbs as the last addition.  Form into small balls.  Bake in the oven in a single layer on a cookie sheet.

In a saucepan, combine soy sauce,  1 1/4 cups water, ginger, garlic, brown sugar, honey.  Heat until it comes to a boil.  In a small cup ix together cold water and cornstarch.  Pour into saucepan,  Keep stirring and bring to a boil.  Once thickened, turn off heat.  Add meatballs to sauce.

Garnish with sesame seeds.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Healthy 2017: Water



Here is another key for me.  Getting enough water in.  I find I eat when I am actually thirsty. I find that I specifically crave carbs and sweets when I am thirsty.  l find that drinking enough water nips this in the bud.  I really need to be more consistent with this.  What I like about MyFitnessPal is that I can count my water too. I just have to make a commitment to do it every day.

Here are some articles about the benefits of water.

Webmd on water
Health on water
Greatist on water


Here is to a renewed commitment to getting my water quota in!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Banana Bread



I know this is like my millionth banana bread recipe.  I dont know what it is, chocolate cakes, brownies, banana bread and zucchini bread, I keep trying new recipes.

I will tell you that I have never met a banana bread I didnt like.  There was one recipe I tried that was hard to bake, the top kept browning while the inside was still raw.  I never made that recipe again.  I suspect though if I had baked it in a bigger loaf pan of muffin cups it would have been better. Probably the only fault with that recipe was the size of the pan or the amount of pans.

What I like about this particular recipe is that there is a higher banana to flour ratio.  That really works for me because usually if I am making banana bread it is because there is a large amount of bananas wanting to be used up.

This recipe is SUPER moist.  I made some with walnuts and some without.  My one daughter is not interested in walnuts by any means.  I tasted one with and one without, definitely I prefer the ones with walnuts.
Banana Bread
Adapted slightly from this recipe at Epicurious.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
4 medium very ripe bananas (about 13 ounces), peeled and mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan or one of these above) fancy, shmancy loaf pans.

Cream butter and brown sugar together for about four minutes.  Add in eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl combine sour cream, vanilla and mashed bananas.  

In another bowl combine dry ingredients.

Add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture.  Then all the liquid ingredients.  Then the rest of the dry.

Fold in walnuts.

Bake for about an hour.  If using said, fancy shmancy loaf pan, about 45 minutes.  But please check on whatever receptacle you are using because baking times vary.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Magic Chocolate Cake


I made this cake for my Mom's birthday.  We really loved this cake! Of course, it magically disappeared.

After 13 years this month of being a stay at home mom, I am returning to work.  What?  Yes, its true. Things change.  It's been a difficult shift for me but I am looking forward to getting back in the groove.  More things to learn.  Always a good thing.  One of the cool things that will happen is that my girls will see their Mamma in a new role.  The working Mom.  A breadwinner.  Instead of making the bread I will be earning the money to buy the bread.  Ha! But I will still be making bread. It will just be relegated to Sundays.  Hopefully I will get my girls making bread too.

In the coming weeks, besides Healthy 2017, I will be doing quick and easy meals, hopefully healthy too.  I hope to set it up as a linky so you can all share your recipes too!

BLACK MAGIC CAKE
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat sugar and oil for 4 minutes.

Add in vanilla extract and then eggs one at a time.

In a bowl combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl.  Cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.

In a large measuring cup combine buttermilk and coffee.

Add dry ingredients and wet ingredients alternately two times, ending with the dry ingredients.

Pour into two 9" greased and lined baking rounds or all of it in a 9 x 13.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Healthy 2017: Meditation


This probably is one of the most important changes I want to make this year.  This one is one that can help me the most.  Being quiet.  Meditating.

I am sure you seen countless articles about the importance of meditation.  I don't need to add to the list.

OMG I Can Meditate
Weight Watchers

You Tube.  So many. Here's one.




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