Showing posts from 2008

Soup and good company

I have been very excited to try the Barefoot Bloggers recipe this week. This soup is something both myself and husband love. It brings back memories of the food we ate in Tuscany last year. It is a very satisfying, thick soup called Pappa Al Pomidoro. Natalie of Burned Bits chose this recipe and it can be found in the new Back to Basics cookbook on page 68. My in-laws came for a week long visit and this is what I made for them. They really enjoyed it as well. We finished off most of the pot at one meal : ) I made chicken Parmesan meatballs to go along with the soup and added a crisp salad. I also wanted a little more garlic and roasted a head of garlic to add to the soup if people chose too. The topping was a mixture of croutons, basil, bacon (pancetta)and Parmesan cheese. It was perfection the way that Ina added the topping to this soup. It makes all the diffence to me! This is one of my new favorites and will be made again and again in our house! Thanks Natalie!

Warm Corn Chowder on a rainy day

Crab and Corn Chowder

This month's Barefoot Blogger's Bonus Recipe was selected by Becky of Random Musings of a Deco Lady, Ina's Savory Palmiers. This recipe appears in the Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, Ina's Gartens newest Cookbook. These were so good and addicting. I love Puff Pastry. It is so easy to work with. I loved the flaky pastry and layers of cheese, sun dried tomatoes and pesto. I can see why people chose to half the recipe. This made allot of appetizers.

For my Tyler Florence Fridays I decided to make chowder. Its been really rainy today and chowder sounded so good. I made his recipe for Corn Chowder and modified it by adding 8 oz crab at the end. This was a great all in 1 dinner. I made Grandma's Buns (courtesy of my friend Krista)to serve alongside it. My husband esp. loved it and ate 3 huge bowls. This is definitely a keeper. I bought aged White Cheddar cheese and grated on the top of each bowl. I loved the creamy texture from the potatoes (you b…

Coq Au Vin with Barefoot Bloggers

This weekend I decided to try to make the Barefoot Contessa recipe for Coq Au Vin. This dish is a cross between a rich stew and thicker soup. I have made this once before years ago and remember enjoying it. This time was a different experience for me. I made it for our neighborhood progressive dinner. I thought it would be a great cold winters night dish and would stay warm until dinner time. My problem was with the color of the chicken. I took the skin off the chicken in the end and all of my chicken turned deep purple. I don't remember that happening last time. I was really embarrassed with the color of the meat. We kept the lights dim for our dinner on Saturday night. I made the roasted pear and blue cheese salad (also from the new cookbook) to go along with it. I loved the salad but the soup was just ok. My husband was the only one that really enjoyed this dish and had seconds. I won't be trying my hand at this again. Coq Au Vin was chosen by Bethany of this little piggy …

Muffins Muffins and more Muffins

This week I had to make a couple dozen muffins for my sons Holiday party in the morning. I found a recipe from Tyler Florence for Banana Nut Muffins. I chose recipe for my Fridays with Tyler Florence cooking group. My daughter and I had so much fun making these together. She is quite the helper and wanted to do allot of it herself this time. These are super easy and tasted great. The only change I did was to omit nuts because of food allergies. I also made a batch of pumpkin and cranberry muffins with caramel frosting. These were also good.
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence
Show: How To Boil WaterEpisode: The Family That Cooks Together
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly butter 2 muffin tins.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, b…

Christmas Candy

I love making candy and baking during the Holidays. I guess I love to do that all year long but during the Holidays I have a reason too. I am always on the look out for new candy recipes that are simple and turn out! You don't want to know how many batches of toffee I have thrown away in my life, because of it crystallizing on me... My sister shared this recipe with me today. She found it on a blog that she reads. After I saw the few ingredients I made it. I can see why she loved it. It has such a great flavour and is so good. It takes 3 minutes to make! What a great teachers gift this will be. I made just a few changes. I added some butterscotch chips in with the chocolate and used smooth Peanut butter instead of chunky. Rocky Road 8x8 pan line with wax paper 3 cups semi-sweet chips 3 T butter 3/4 cup chunky peanut butter 1 package marshmallows Melt together chocolate, butter, peanut butter. Add small amount to pan. Fill pan with marshmallows and pour remaining melted chocolate over the…

Weekend Trip to Chicago

An indoor Christmas festival at Navy Pier!
They had tons of trees decorated in themes and Santa's from all over the world dressed in there traditional costumes. It was very interesting reading about the Christmas traditions of other Countries.

This last week we celebrated our 11Th Anniversary. Nothing could beat our 10 year Anniversary trip to Paris (did I mention our friends kept our kids) so we decided to take a family trip to Chicago. The last time we got to see Chicago was when we drove through on our way to Germany over 3 years ago. It was so much fun to spend the weekend in the "Windy City". We stayed downtown and enjoyed a beautiful view of the city. We had a list of places to visit on our short trip. We did make it to the American Girl Store for Anna. She loved seeing it all. We strolled Michigan Avenue along with hundreds of other shoppers. What a fun place to window shop! We also got to see Navy Pier all decorated for Christmas. On our walk to the Pier we found …

Chocolate and more

It is now Winter in Ohio! Our kids were so excited to shovel the side walk in front of our house.
I received a special package in the mail yesterday from my Mom. Among the many goodies she sent, there was also enclosed a huge bar of melting chocolate. I guess she knows how much I love baking. I needed to make a dessert for our Home Group tonight. I chose Ina Gartens Outrageous Brownies. I halved the recipe since it makes so many brownies. This is one of the fastest recipes to make and you don't even need the Kitchen Aide! I did add the nuts to half the pan of brownies. I hope I can remember which side they are on.... I also chopped up some Chocolate covered Espresso beans and added them to the batter. I find they are best served cold with a tall glass of milk or 3 if you are my kids. I hope you enjoy these like we do : -) OUTRAGEOUS BROWNIES
1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 t…

Sugar Cookies

Tuesdays come around so fast! Ulrike of K├╝chenlatein is hosting this weeks and she chose Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies . The recipe looked easy and I was excited to try this cookie but after hosting a cookie exchange on Sunday I was a little burnt out from making cookies. I made and sampled way too many. I decided to do them for my BS class on Tuesday morning. I loved this recipe. I had the same problem with the dough being too soft but I kept freezing it. These were easy to work with and tasted great, I thought they had the perfect balance between buttery and crisp. I made an almond butter cream and used lots of sprinkles. I hope everyone else had fun with these too!

Fridays with Florence

Chicken salad with chunks of celery, apples, and finely diced onion.
I decided to join yet another cooking group called Tyler Florence Fridays! I get to choose the recipe each week and post about it. I have lots of his cookbooks and need to start using them. I thought this would be a good way for me to try new recipes from his books. I am hosting a cookie exchange on Sunday and was looking for a good recipe for the chicken salad. I found this and couldn't wait to try it. I didn't poach the chicken with his recipe but used my own recipe. I made the cranberry sauce and chicken salad (am adding nuts on Sunday) but will finish these before my party.
Poached Chicken:
3 chicken breast 1 quart water Bring to boil and then put lid on pan and turn off burner and let sit for 30 minutes.
For the Chicken Salad:
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
Kosher salt
About 1 cup mayonnaise
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 celery stalks, small diced
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leav…

Mexican Soup

The Mexican Soup from Barefoot Bloggers was a keeper. Our family enjoyed the flavours of this soup. Judy of Judy’s Gross Eats chose Mexican Chicken Soup for this weeks recipe. I am so glad it was a soup after all the heavy foods that I have eaten over the last week. The only major change that I made to the soup was to leave out the jalapenos and the cilantro. We had it on the side. My brother-in-law doesn't like spicy foods. Thanks Judy for the great recipe. We loved it! Mexican Chicken Soup (serves 6 to 8)
4 split (2 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on Good olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 cups chopped onions (2 onions) 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks) 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots) 4 large garlic cloves, chopped 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock, preferably homemade 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in puree, crushed 2 to 4 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 6 (…

Thanksgiving is over?

We have been very busy in our house. I am behind on everything including blogging my recipes this month. I can't believe that December is in a couple of days. We have had company since last Monday. It is great having my sister and her family staying with us. I did make the Tuesday with Dori Twofer pie this month for our Thanksgiving dinner. I did not like the texture at all. I cheated and used a store bought crust. There is a big difference in homemade crust versus storebought! It didn't turn out like I had pictured. I thought it would have the texture of pumpkin pie on the bottom and pecan pie on the top. It mixed together and was too sweet for us. I guess I prefer warm Apple Pie with ice-cream instead. Vibi from La casserole caree chose this week's recipe. You can find the recipe on her blog. And please check out what the other TWD bakers thought as well. We had a lovely Thanksgiving with family and friends! Our neighbor made the most amazing Pumpkin Cheesecake…

Barefoot Bloggers Roasted Onions

cornbread, soup and roasted onions for dinner

We added some parmesan cheese to the onions at the end.

My friend Jeni sent me this for Thanksgiving. I love it so much I wanted to share a picture of it!
Kelly from Baking with the Boys has chosen Herb Roasted Onions which can be found in Barefoot Contessa at Home on page 156. This recipe looked so amazing to me. I love roasted/caramelized onions and one of my favorite soups is French Onion Soup. I kind of lost track of time while cooking the onions. They got a little overdone but we added them to the soup that I had made. It all turned out in the end. These would be great with a pork loin or pot roast. This is definitely on my to make again list. Thanks Kelly!

Chicken Corn Chowder

All cozy by the fire!

We are a soup family! As soon as the weather turns the slightest chilly I am ready with the soup pot and grabbing all my soup books to see what I want to make. We had some flurries last night and that got us in the mood. I love Cuisine at Home magazine. I have had a subscription since 2001. They come out with cookbooks every few months and one of the books that I bought was called "Splendid Soups and Spectacular Sides." There are so many soups in this book that I want to try. I couldn't decide between Corn Chowder, Roasted Tomato or Tortilla Soup. I ended up combing a couple recipes to make Chicken Corn Chowder. It was so good! Saute in 2 T butter 1 cup onions. 2 cloves garlic, 2 skinless boneless breast cut into chunks add 2 cups corn 4 cups chicken broth cook about 10 minutes then add 4 corn tortillas cut into cubes. cook these another 5 minutes until absorbed into soup. It gives the soup a great texture. add 1/2 cup cream 1 ts cayenne pepper salt and pepper t…

Rice Pudding or Rice Soup?

Is it ever going to thicken?
This week I had the chance to make Arborio Rice Pudding with my Tuesdays with Dorie group. This recipe didn't look all that great to me. I don't really like the texture of rice pudding to start with but this is about trying new things so I went ahead with it. It always sounds better then it tastes. Maybe that is because I enjoy pudding and custards so much? I decided to make the vanilla version and added cinnamon, nutmeg and raisins. After parboiling the rice I added the other ingrediants and stirred and stirred some more. 45 minutes later it was still runny. I gave up and stuck it in the fridge to cool. The next morning I checked on the rice pudding and it was still very wet. It never absorbed all of the milk/sugar mixture. My daughter enjoyed hers but I don't think I will make this again. I am sure that others had better experiences then I did. Thanks Isabelle of Les gourmandises d'lsa for the interesting Arborio rice pudding.

Mini Orange Cakes

This weekend we had guests over for dinner. I couldn't decide what to make for dessert and then remembered the chocolate orange mini cakes from Barefoot Contessa Parties. I watched an episode of Ina make these and they looked amazing. I have mini bundt pans and this was the perfect opportunity to use them. Lisa from Lime in the Coconut won the challenge for choosing our new BRC Avatar. I still can't figure out how to add it to my blog.... These turned out so moist and delicious. My favorite part was the orange syrup that you pour over the warm cakes and gets absorbed into the cake. It added just the right amount of moist texture without getting soggy. I will be making these again. I like the idea of making them into muffins for breakfast. I can see eating these warm out of the oven with my coffee.

Cookies with Tuesdays with Dorie

Grace of Piggy’s Cooking Journal chose the Rugelach this week! I have been wanting to try this type of recipe forever. I had a friend give me plate of them last year for Christmas. They always seemed too complicated or hard to make. The dough was lovely to work with. I made the filling ahead of time and let it all sit until I had time today to roll them out. I love this cookie. I am hoping to make some for a cookie exchange this year. It will be my first time hosting. My friend Ellyn started it in Mt many years ago! I am looking forward to trying lots of great Thanksgiving and Holiday Recipes in the next couple of months. I am going to continue to run and hope that helps balance the holidays out. I have been working on Thanksgiving cards all morning. We are having warm weather for November it really doesn't feel like winter is anywhere close.

Leftover Halloween Candy

My kids had such a great time trick or treating. They ended up with 3 gallon bags of candy. I let them sort through it then we donated over 2 gallons. I did end up making Butterfingers Chunkies with the Butterfingers. We have a Veterans Day Celebration Dinner at the school tonight. I volunteered to make cookies and thought this would be a good way to use up my favorite candy bar. Here is the recipe below! I am so excited about Thanksgiving. We are having our first family members come and stay at our new house : )
Butter finger Cookies 1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cups chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 Butterfinger candy bars (2.1 ounces each), chopped
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add egg whites; beat well. Blend in peanut butter and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in candy bar…

Barefoot Contessa Vegetable Pot Pie

My cute skeleton!

The kids and there dog!

I am glad I cooked this on a baking sheet or I would be cleaning
my oven right now!

My potpies were so good! If only the photography had turned out better....
I am very late in posting this recipe. I have had the best of intentions to make it over a week ago but my husband went on a couple work trips. I thought it would be too much for just the kids and I. Deb of Kahakai Kitchen chose the recipe for Vegetable Pot Pie. I made this last night for dinner. I loved the pastry crust in this recipe. It was very easy to work with and rolled our so nicely. I did allot of substituting in the mixture of vegetables. I also had to make chicken stock so I ended up adding some chicken breast as well. It was very tasty but will not be a weekly stable since it has so much butter and crisco in the crust. 3 out of 4 of us ate it. I still have 2 of my pies left for my husbands lunches this week.
Vegetable Pot Pie - Barefoot Contessa Parties 12 tablespoons unsalted butter…

Caramel Caramel Corn

I decorated 1 of my Chocolate Chocolate cupcakes. I figured it could be the teachers cupcake at the party.
It has been a busy morning in my kitchen. I got the kids off on the bus and then got busy. I needed to make a double batch of Caramel Popcorn and 2 dozen cupcakes this morning. I also need to get to the gym and to the school to help with the book Fair by 11:00. This is my favorite recipe for Caramel Corn. It is simple and and always turns out great. Caramel Peanut Popcorn 1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bags butter flavoured popcorn
Place popcorn in a very large bowl.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirrin…