Friday, October 31, 2008

Alchemy

In celebration of Halloween, I'm going to share with you a very secret and very complex recipe. Here is my son, cradling the precious ingredients in the palm of his hand.

This pairing takes the unique and distinctive flavors of two very rare ingredients and upon combining them into one, creates a taste explosion in your mouth and (get this) makes you imagine the presence of another totally absent ingredient – Chocolate! {{Spooky!}}


Here’s the recipe:

1 handful of candy corn

1 handful of salted peanuts

Directions: Combine in the palm of your hand and eat, just like that.


Now tell me if this doesn’t taste EXACTLY like a Baby Ruth bar. Yes, I know you're jumping up from your computer right now to go and check this out. Go ahead, I’ll wait. (insert humming of Jepoardy theme song here)

SEE??? Or am I just crazy, wanting to create chocolate out of thin air? Is this modern day alchemy? Oh ho ho yeah. Merlin had it all wrong: who wants to convert lead into gold when you can create CHOCOLATE! ........ Mwahh ha ha ha ha!

Happy Halloween!



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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Baker's October Challenge: Pizza Dough!

This month's Challenge was “Pizza Napoletana” from Peter Reinhart's “The Bread Baker's Apprentice”. You had to film or photograph your tossing attempt and you needed to use both a “sauce” (or something otherwise spreadable) and “toppings”.

I would NEVER have made this without the DBers, much less video taped myself doing it! Please excuse my disaster of a kitchen and remember that the camera makes you look at least 10 20 pounds heavier than you actually are.

video

What a riot!

My variations were

Pizza 1: Apple with Caramelized Onion, Walnuts and Cheddar on a dough primed with Basil Flavored Olive Oil. (In hindsight, I should have sauteed/swished the onions in balsamic vinegar before putting them on the pizza. One bite without and I knew something was missing. I spritzed it on afterwards and it made it so much better.).

Pizza 2: Blue Cheese with Toasted Pine Nuts and Caramelized Onions on a spread of Mashed Roasted Garlic. Oh my. Sooooo good!

Cook’s Notes:
-I made the “regular” dough, aka: not the gluten-free one
-I used my stand mixer to combine the ingredients and knead the dough.
-I froze 4 of the 6 balls of dough for a later date
-I used an offset spatula to get the pizza off the cookie sheet and onto the pizza stone and then again to shimmy it off the stone and onto the cutting board
-I will use flour next time as the ballbearing / dough movement vehicle – no question. I forgot how I don’t really care for the gritty feeling of the cornmeal.

These pizzas were so wonderfully good - I can't wait to make good use of the stash of dough in my freezer and maybe get the kids into the act!

Thanks to Rosa from Rosa's Yummy Yums for selecting this month’s Daring Baker Challenge. You can find the complete recipe for the pizza dough on her site.

To see what all the other DBer’s did, you can find the blogroll here and if you’d like to join the monthly party, info about that can be found on that page as well.



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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TWD: (Shama Lama Ding Dong) Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

If I searched,
This whole wide world,
I'd never never never, find me a girl,
Who'd love me, The way that you do.
Cause You're my Shama Lama, Rama Rama Rama Ding Dong

Baby, you put the ooh mou mou oh oh oh oh,
back into my smile, child
That is why,
That is why,
You are my sugar dee doo doo, yeah.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(Can't name that tune? It's from "Animal House". Click here to sing along :D )

So Hit It: Here are Dorie's Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes but twisted up a bit. I used a rounded 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, added a teaspoon of instant coffee and changed out the buttermilk for sour cream. And The Filling. Oh the filling! The filling is the Hostess Ding Dong pure sugary bliss filling found here. I also used Nutella in some of them (Nutella! Where have you been all my life??? But that's another post.)

Thanks to Clara of I Heart Food4Thought for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with this recipe, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making Dorie’s Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcakes for yourself, you can find the recipe on our hostesses blog, or in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On another note, Tayna from Sunday Baker is celebrating her one year blogaversary this week with all kinds of fun things, including some giveaways, fun discussions, lots of recipes and more. Please check out her blog and if you want to be entered in her drawing, just leave her a comment. It's that simple. Be sure to mention me in the comment so I can get an extra entry in the drawing! ;) (You never know, if I win the cookbook (Taste of Home's Best Loved Cookies and Bars), you just might get a little something from me in return!) Check out this blog, you won't be sorry!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Guess Whooooo We Saw Tonight???

Wooo HOOOOOOO!
Tulip is back!

Thanks for all your wishes!



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Sunday, October 26, 2008

New Apron and a Question for You

I've got a new apron! I love it! It's so girly and cute. I love the scalloped edges and that it's made of oil cloth. I can wipe up the inevitable splatters really easily and it has a really nice feeling about it. I got it on Ebay so there was no touchy-feely before I bought it, but I was surprised that it was much higher quality than I expected. Happy girl, happy dance!

Question: Do you wear one, and if so what does YOUR apron look like? Do tell!



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Friday, October 24, 2008

Cheater’s Apple Cake

Yes, I admit it. I take shortcuts. I do. I melt chocolate in the microwave, I've used store-bought pre-chopped mirepoix (carrots, onions and celery) and (gasp!) I occasionally use boxed cake mix in lieu of scratch cakes.

Before we left for New York, I had a ton of apples to use up. (I was afraid to come home to this if I didn’t). I’d recently seen a whole crop of apple cake recipes (tee hee – crop, apples) pop up on the blogosphere in recent weeks and knew that this was the final destination for mine.

Culling thru all the different recipes, nothing jumped out at me saying:

I AM EASY. MAKE ME AND USE UP ALL YOUR APPLES TONIGHT, DO NOT WASTE FOOD, AND BY THE WAY YOU STILL HAVE A LOT OF LAUNDRY AND PACKING TO DO AND WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE ALL YOUR TRAVEL SIZE LOTIONS AND POTIONS SO THAT AIRPORT SECURITY DOESN’T LOSE THEIR MINDS AND HAVE TO DO A FULL PAT DOWN ON YOU, EVEN THOUGH YOUR UNDERWIRE THAT LIFTS AND SEPARATES WILL STILL MAKE YOU RING LIKE A 5 ALARM FIRE, SLOW DOWN THE LINE AND THEN YOU’LL GET HATEFUL LOOKS FROM THE GRAND POOBAH LA DE DAH MEDALLION MEMBERS WHO HAVE NOW MISSED THEIR FLIGHT SITTING IN FIRST CLASS WITH FREE PEANUTS AND HEADPHONES BECAUSE OF YOU AND THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT APPLE CAKE AND IF YOU MAKE IT CAN YOU SEND IT INTO WORK WITH DH SO THAT IT DOESN’T GO BAD AND THAT THEY WILL THEY EAT IT AND LIKE IT AND NOT MOCK YOU IN FRONT OF THEIR INFLUENTIAL FRIENDS.

Nope, hard to believe but I didn’t see anything like that.

So, what I did was… I cheated. and kept my fingers crossed. I used a yellow cake mix and then added yummy things to it.

Put me on double secret probation if you need to, but I refuse a foodie pat down. It goes without saying that the underwire is non-negotiable - I’ll nip you with my baby nail clippers if you try anything funny.

Cheater’s Apple Cake

Tube cake pan or bundt pan
Baker’s Joy spray (yes, another vice) or Pam cooking spray

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
Eggs, oil and water per box directions
6 apples, peeled, seeded/cored and chopped
Zest and juice of one orange (yes, it was languishing on the counter)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch cardamom (optional)
1/4" cup brown sugar, packed

Pre heat oven as described on cake mix.

In a large bowl, combine the apples with the orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, sugar and cardamom (if using). Leave it to macerate (ohh, big word) while you start on the cake.

Open the box of cake mix. Clip off any
Box Tops for Education and throw in your junk drawer so that when your kid comes home telling you about the school contest du jour, that you can toss a couple his way and not be wracked with guilt.

Prepare the cake mix per box directions.

Pour ½ of the cake batter into a greased tube pan or bundt pan. Take the apple mixture and gently spoon it over the batter. Pour the remainder of the batter over the apples. Gently thump the pan on the counter a few times to get out any air bubbles.

Bake as directed on package or until center is set. Be sure to test after required time as this may take longer to finish due to the apple content. I like to use a bamboo skewer to test for doneness.

Cool for 15 minute before removing from pan. Finish cooling on wire rack.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

White Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats

I was in the mood for a Halloweenie, fallish treat. What says that better than Rice Krispie Treats? Here's a grown up version that is sure to get you in the mood.

White Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats
Makes 20-50 treats

Adapted from David Lebovitz and Kellogg's original recipe

3 tablespoons (45g) salted butter
3 1/2 ounces (100g) white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (100g) candied peanuts (I used salted, honey roast peanuts)
10 ounce (300gr) bag marshmallows, snipped in half
6 cups (200g) Rice Krispies

1. Spray or lightly-oil a 13 x 9-inch (approx 30 x 22cm) rectangular pan.
2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the white chocolate and stir until melted.
3. Add the marshmallows and stir constantly over the heat until completely melted. (If they start to scorch on the bottom, remove from heat and continue to stir, placing the pan back on the heat occasionally, and stirring until smooth.
4. Remove from heat and add the candied peanuts and Rick Krispies until well combined. A rubber spatula or flexible pastry scraper works best. I used salad tongs and did the fluffing method to stop the rice krispies for getting smashed and the hot marshmallow from burning my fingers.
5. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Let cool.
Serving and storage: Cut into neat bars or squares with a sharp knife. These are best enjoyed the day they're made, although they can be covered snugly with a sheet of aluminum foil and stored at room temperature for 2 to 3 days longer.


Cooks Note:
DO NOT top with milk chocolate drizzle like I did on these in the pictures. Totally changes the flavor and the white chocolate part is shunted to the background :(


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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TWD: Pumpkin Muffins

For your consideration: Pumpkin Muffins from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 13, featured this week on Tuesdays with Dorrie.

I made 2 variations of the recipe - the basic batter was the same for each, I just changed up the mix-ins. I used chopped pecans in the batter and smushed a few walnut halves on the top for both. The things I changed were that I substituted cranberry "raisins" (aka: craisins) for the regular raisins the recipe called for and for the other variation, I swapped in chopped dates. The craisin muffins were much better recieved than the date ones.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this recipe - I guess I was thinking this would be more pumpkin bread-ish and just manifesting itself in muffin form. These had a much different texture than the pumpkin bread I'm familiar with: this was much denser and not as sweet. I was looking for a bolder pumpkin flavor, this one was rather subtle. If that's the way you like yours, then this recipe is right up your alley.

Thanks to Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with this recipe, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making Dorie’s Pumpkin Muffins for yourself, you can find the recipe on our hostesses blog, or in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.


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Monday, October 20, 2008

La La La-sagna

EDIT: Woooh! This recipe has been featured on Key Ingredient!

I've been seriously craving lasagna. Rich ooey gooey layers of cheese, pasta and meat sauce, nice and bubbly hot with the cheese strands stretching tenaciously from plate to fork. So I wanted lasagna, but without the extra step of boiling the noodles first and then layering the hot, eel-like strips in the pan. My kitcken was over 80 degrees(!) and I wasn't in the mood to deal with another hot pot - I get cranky when I'm hot and that's definitely not a good thing. I'd bought some of the Ronzoni Oven-Ready Lasagna noodles as test to see if they made life any easier or if they were destined to become one of those things that sounds better than it is.

I made up some really quick sauce, morphed several recipes and took a little creative license to come up with the one below. The end result? Pretty darn good! I was surprised to see that the noodles did expand as advertised and that they "cooked" up nicely - not mushy and not hard. I'll use these again since dinner time around here always seems to sneak up on me AND the kids all ate it. Winner.

Lasagna

Ingredients:
12 pieces oven ready lasagna noodles, uncooked and unsoaked (I used Ronzoni)
1 ½ lb. ground beef
1 large onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
3 cups (about 28-oz. jar) spaghetti sauce
4 medium diced tomatoes (or 1 can diced)
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups (2 lb.) ricotta cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. In large skillet, cook meat and onions until meat is browned and onions are soft. Add garlic. Stir in spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, salt and sugar (to taste); simmer 20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.

3. In large bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, eggs, 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley and pepper.

4. Spread about 1/3 cup meat sauce on bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 3 pasta pieces widthwise over sauce. Pieces should not overlap or touch side of pan since they will expand when baked. Spread one-third cheese mixture over pasta; spread with about 3/4 cup meat sauce, covering pasta completely.

5. Repeat layers TWICE more, beginning and ending with pasta. Top with remaining meat sauce, covering pasta completely; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Cover with foil.

6. Bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove foil; bake about 10-15 minutes longer, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. 10 to 12 servings.

La-la-lasagna

I've been seriously craving lasagna. Rich ooey gooey layers ...

See La-la-lasagna on Key Ingredient.



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Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Little Town

Recipes and food to come tomorrow. We were away at a swim meet all weekend, so in the interim, I thought you'd enjoy savoring a couple of quick snaps of my little hometown in upstate New York. We visited last weeked during our whirlwind tour, and yes, the sky and trees really were that brilliantly colored.
Enjoy the eye candy~






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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tulip Anderson

We have an owl. It’s name is Tulip Anderson. Why? Well, when we went to name it, both Big Kids (age 5 at the time) blurted out their choice simultaneously. Anderson! Tulip! One kid said it's name should be "tulip" because it has a tulip-like marking on it's face. Ok, I'll buy that. As for Anderson - I have no idea why. When questioned, the kid doesn't know why either, he says it just popped out of his mouth. So, there you go - spontaneous thought and compromise at it's finest.

World, meet Tulip Anderson.

Tulip is a red phase Eastern Screech Owl that came with the house. We bought our house with a number of fine amenities, including but not limited to a resident owl. I can watch Tulip's box from the window in the study while I work on the computer.

We're not 100% sure of his/her gender. I'm personally convinced that she's a girl due to the fact that baby owlet faces peep out of the little hole in the springtime. We all refer to her as a "him" for some odd reason though.

He (see?) usually disappears in the spring after the owlets are hatched and ready for takeoff, and he comes back when the weather gets cool again. Last year, Tulip didn't show up until Christmas. We were scared because this past spring we found a large, dead bird of prey in the bushes near his tree. It was face down and partially covered with leaves so we couldn't tell if it was Tulip or not. DH says never touch a dead bird, so we scooped it up with a shovel and buried it in the woods. We were all a little sad in case our friend was gone for good.

I was so surprised and HAPPY when I saw Tulip's little face peeking out at me a few weeks ago! We saw him on and off for about a week... and then... The Squatter moved in. My first clue was when I noticed something odd - there was a little green leaf poking out of the owl box hole. Hmm, curious. Then more greenery. Double hmm. Then one day the Messy One shouts "Hey, look! There's a squirrel going into in Tulip's nest!" Hmmh. How did he get past the metal shields? Time to clean house.

DH is in charge of all that natureish wildlife type of stuff, so it's his job to de-squirrel the owl box. He's an animal husbandry kind of guy anyway, in fact he was in 4-H with Holly Hunter (yes, that Holly Hunter) way back when and they were in a chicken judging contest together. What's involved in a chicken judging contest you might ask? Among other things, feeling it's butt bones to see if it has good egg laying potential. Predictably we have a joke around here about chicken butts. Yes, I know it's lame, but it's a location joke: you have to be there to think it's funny. OK, getting back on track (did I mention I think I'm ADD?).

My Dear Husband(ry guy) and the kids get ready to clean out the owl box and jettison the squirrel nest. DH gets on a ladder with a hoe and starts opening the box.

I'm in the house standing at the study window, camera in one hand and phone in the other, ready to call 911 if DH falls off the ladder. Now I know you're thinking "Oh ye of little faith". Yep, that's me, but I made it to all the way up to Senior Girl Scout and my motto is Be Prepared (and document it on film.) No chicken ifs ands or butts here.

Turns out I should have been more worried about a crazed squirrel attack. Indubitably.

Mr. Squirrel came home to find an eviction notice and his naugahyde loveseat and black & white TV on the curb. What a racket he made! All I could picture was those old cartoons where the squirrel is so pissed off at someone that he starts going "aiaiaiaia aiaiaiai" and starts shaking its fist at the offending person. The squirrel wasn’t happy about being ousted, but he was trespassing. I guess he didn't read the sign. There are plenty of trees and several bazillion acorns around here so I'm pretty confident that he's now shacked up with some little hottie squirrel and is getting ready to chill out for the winter in his new digs.

We haven't seen Tulip since we first became aware of the problem and spotted the suspicious greenery. I hope he comes back to his nice clean house soon.

Keep your talons crossed.



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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mmmmmm. Garlic.

I love garlic. I don’t think I could ever be a vampire or hang out with one, unless someone like Edward actually came along and if he had an aversion to garlic, then maybe, just maybe, I’d consider it.

We went to Harry’s/Whole Foods to get some items and I was absolutely transfixed with the garlic there – a mountain of pearly lumps covered with lovely white papery skin, just lying there, glowing with that oh so subtle luster, showing no hint of the exquisite deliciousness inside waiting to be coaxed out. (That sounds almost wicked, doesn’t it? Indeed. :>)

Here’s how to roast and toast your way to your own small mound of lusciousness.

Roasted Garlic

        1. Peel off the outermost layers of the garlic head skin, but leave the paper on the individual cloves. You just want to peel off all the excess, but leave the head itself intact.
        2. Carefully cut the tops off each of the individual cloves of garlic, just enough to let the olive oil soak in (coming next step) and to be able to squeeze the roasty toasty clove out after cooking. You might want to use a pot holder to hold the garlic while cutting to reduce the need for a trip to the ER if the knife slips. Some of these little guys can be slightly challenging to behead.
        3. After the tops have been trimmed, place the garlic heads in a cupcake/muffin pan. This keeps them upright and the oil in one place.
        4. Pour about 1 teaspoon of olive oil into the palm of your hand and rub the garlic head around in it until it’s well coated, working the oil down into the little creases and crevices.
        5. After the initial oil application put the head back into the muffin tin and pour another teaspoon of oil on top, letting it soak into the cut off tops and down into the clove.
        6. Cover each one individually with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. The cloves should be browned and soft when done.
        7. Cool to touch and then gently squeeze the clove until the meat pops up out of the outside shell. You may need to use a small knife or scissor to free any reluctant cloves.
        8. Spread these golden jewels on crusty bread, mash slightly and serve over pasta, or {evil grin} eat them plain, warm from the oven. Mmwwaahahaha!


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      Tuesday, October 14, 2008

      TWD: Lenox Almond Biscotti

      For your consideration: Lenox Almond Biscotti from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 141-143, featured this week on Tuesdays with Dorrie.

      This was supposed to have been almond biscotti, but while I was in NY I had a monstrously large almond biscotti purchased from a cute little roadside farm stand, and I didn’t have the taste for more. I decided to take advantage of the fall flavors and do a Pumpkin Spice Biscotti instead. I changed the recipe thusly: instead of 1 cup sugar, I did ½ sugar and ½ brown sugar, added 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, ½ tsp. ground ginger and ½ tsp. cloves. I did leave the actual almonds in since I wasn’t in the mood to chop up any pecans, which would probably have been better.

      I think that substituting the sugar and the fact that I got distracted (again) and walked away from the mixer (oooh, look! shiny metallic object!) and accidentally let the butter beat itself into soup, that this made my “dough” more of a “batter”. There was no “stick-to-your-fingers dough” anywhere near here last night. I had more of a thickish batterish thing going on that I stuck in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up. I think this helped somewhat - I shudder to think of what this might have looked like without time in the chiller. As it was, it was rather uni-biscotti/uni-brow looking, sort of like a prom date I once had. (Loooooong story)

      The rest of the recipe was swell, although for the second baking, I couldn’t figure out what the heck “stand them up like a marching band” was supposed to mean. A diagram or small photo would have been most helpful. Since our high school didn’t have a marching band (or maybe it did, but I most certainly wasn't in it and that whole time period is a nasty blur anyway: uni-brow, remember?) and since the Tournament of Roses Parade isn't for another 2½ months or so (OMG! WHAT?! ONLY 2½ MONTHS UNTIL NEW YEARS DAY?!) (see, there I go, hyperventilating and getting distracted again - serenity now! serenity now!), I kept them on the baking sheet in the same orientation as they originally baked, but skootched the pieces apart by about an inch so the cut edges would have a chance to get all crispy.

      I was surprised that these turned out as well as they did since I’ve never made biscotti before. If I had, maybe I’d know what that whole marching band thing was about and not have to dredge up unpleasant visions of an excessively Neanderthal forehead and an equally ugly tuxedo. (Picture if you will: a black tuxedo with extra wide lapels and a baby blue shirt with massive quantities of ruffles down the front with a dinky bow tie perched delicately at the neck with a uni-brow on top. And no, I am not making this up.) These were great plain (the biscotti, not ape-boy, thank you very much) and I also dunked some in chocolate for a different change of pace (again, definitely NOT Cro-Magnon man, although a dunk in hot wax might have helped him somewhat. Actually, in hindsight, no, it wouldn't have, although he did try. My corsage was bigger than a dinner plate. It was one of those wristlet ones, so my knuckles dragged the ground on that side. I'll bet he felt a special kinship with me at that point) and packaged the rest up to send in to school.

      Thanks to Gretchen from Canela & Comino for choosing this recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with this recipe, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making Lenox Almond Biscotti for yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.

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      Monday, October 13, 2008

      The Big Apple and an Award!

      Hi! I'm back! The big secret was that we flew up to New York for a surprise party for my dad's 70th Birthday. I have no idea who in my family actually reads this thing, but didn't want to take any chances on blowing the surprise so I needed to keep it hush-hush. All in all we were there for about 5 days - we decided to add a couple of days to the trip, pull the kids out of school and see some of the fantastic sights that the city has to offer.

      This is me and my sister in Battery Park getting ready to take the ferry out to see the Lady herself. I had hoped we'd both get to wear crowns, but since that wasn't an option, I took the torch and here I am lifting my lamp beside the golden door.

      The NYC Wine and Food Festival was going on while we were there but everything was sold out and I don't think I could have convinced the kids that seeing Alton Brown, Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay would be more exciting than visiting The Whale at the Museum of Natural History (more about the whale later - I'm personally rather disappointed about the whale). I've got to download all the rest of the pics we took and sort thru them, but I'll share soon.

      While I was gone, the lovely and talented Barbara of Barbara Bakes gave me the "E for Excellent" Award! Thanks so much! What a nice surprise for ME to come home to. I in turn, would like to share this Most Excellent Award with some bloggers who I think are pretty neat: Nancy at A Recipe a Day always has recipes that I think my kids will eat; April Marie of Girl Japan offers up a unique perspective on life abroad with social commentary (and food) in the mix; and finally Lisa who lives on The Cutting Edge of Ordinary who generously shares her family and food with all of us.


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      Chicken Cacciatore “Pronto”

      I went to the library the other day and was relatively surprised to realize that they have a large selection of cookbooks available for checkout. DUH! Cook. Book. Library. Ok, so maybe sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake folks.

      I sat on the floor, happy as a clam perusing the shelves, completely unaffected by the reproachful looks shot at me between the stacks by the librarians. :) One of the books I ended up checking out was The Best of Cooking Light. No Thank You Boy helped me choose Chicken Cacciatore “Pronto” for dinner, sans mushrooms (of course). I traded the thighs for chicken breasts, added some chiffonaded basil and served with store bought gnocchi. For some reason the CL picture is much “browner” than mine, probably because of the mushrooms.

      High marks all the way around!


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      Saturday, October 11, 2008

      Cornflake Chicken

      So I have this big box of cornflakes left over from the holycraptheseareamazing cookies burning a hole in my pantry (metaphorically speaking, of course). What to do? Cornflake chicken, of course.

      Cornflake Chicken

      4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
      2 cups Cornflakes, crushed. (I start with about 2 cups and add more as needed. I hate to waste perfectly good flakes.)
      1 egg,
      Flour for dredging
      Vegetable oil for frying

      1. Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts.
      2. Set up a little 3 part breading station for yourself:
      a. Flour. (depending on the meat involved I either use a shallow pie pan or the ol’plastic bag method wherein you coat it shake n’ bake style)
      b. Egg wash. Beat one egg with about 3 tablespoons of water in a separate shallow dish.
      c. The breading – cornflakes in this case, also in a shallow dish.
      3. Go thru the breading process – coat the chicken with flour, dip into the egg wash and then roll it around in the cornflakes, pressing down so that they stick well.
      4. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet.
      5. When the oil is hot, carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan.
      6. Allow the chicken to cook at least 4 minutes on each side or until the flakes are golden brown, the chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.


      Serve with greenish looking mashed potatoes :)


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      Thursday, October 9, 2008

      Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

      I’ve been visiting a lot of blogs lately and have been inspired. Here’s the latest baking inspiration from Nicole of Baking Bites: Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread.

      These morsels of delight were oh so good and easier than I thought. Next time I won’t use ALL the icing – it was a little too sweet for me (yeah, it can happen occasionally) but they got rave reviews from the kids, DH and the neighbors. And me too of course. You can find the original recipe on Nicole’s fabulous site here.


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      Tuesday, October 7, 2008

      No TWD this week and then I'm outta sight

      I would have attempted to make the great looking Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake that all the TWDer are making this week, if not for two things: one I'm going out of town tomorrow and am trying to get everything organized and packed all while keeping the house clean (although it does still smell like smoke), and two, which may be more important, my DH discovered my secret stash of peanuts and snarfed them. All. I've been told that football will do that to a man.

      Tammy of Wee Treats by Tammy chose this weeks' TWD recipe. To see what all the other TWDers did with this recipe, check out the blogroll here. If you'd like to try making the Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake for yourself, you can find the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours.


      Outta sight:

      I'll be out of the blogosphere until Monday at which time I'll regale you with fascinating tales from our trip. I don't have any experience with pre-dating blog posts, but I'll try and see if they come thru. If not, I'll see you Monday!


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      Monday, October 6, 2008

      stupid stupid stupid

      A man walks down the street,

      He says why am I short of attention ... Got a short little span of attention And wo my nights are so long ...


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