h1

Finally, another recipe to share

June 6, 2014

artichoke pasta iiiI’ve been neglectful.  I apologize.  Sometimes life gets in the way of other things.  Sometimes it’s so bad that you realize you have a wonderful story or recipe to share, but you haven’t.  I planned to share this recipe a year ago, or close to it.  My girlfriend Cathy makes this dish.  She made it last year for her middle son’s eighth grade graduation party.  In two weeks she’s having her oldest son’s high school graduation party.  Like I said, I’ve been meaning to share this for a while.

This is a great recipe for a large group.  I made it and brought it to a good friend’s house for a cook out.  So it’s a perfect pasta salad too.  It tastes like stuffed artichokes.  Yummy, right?

I used jar artichokes.  I buy them from Costco.  I used about 1 1/2 C of artichokes, and added enough of the liquid to prevent the pasta from being dry.  Also, if you don’t plan to serve the dish right after tossing, hold off on adding the breadcrumbs.

I’m hoping that with the start of my new job I can get back on track with sharing.  The last two years were a blur.  Mostly because my job, which was great, prevented me from spending as much time as I could with my family.

artichoke pasta ivPenne with Artichokes

  • 1-10 oz can Artichokes, reserve liquid
  • 2 T Lemon Juice
  • 5 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 T Olive Oil, divided
  • 6 oz Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil
  • 1/2 T Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 T Parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 C Bread Crumbs
  • 12 oz Penne Pasta
  • 1 T Parmesan
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as suggested on package.

In a medium saute pan, heat 1 1/2 T of olive oil and add garlic.  Reduce heat and add artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes.  Stir in artichoke liquid, lemon, pepper flakes, parsley, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 5 minutes.

In a separate saute pen, stir the breadcrumbs in remaining olive oil until brown.

Before ready to serve, toss pasta, artichoke mixture, breadcrumbs and Parmesan together.

 

h1

Marshmallow Heaven

February 23, 2014

 marshmallows

This past Christmas, I wanted to try I new treat. I do this every year, adding a new cookie to the growing list. This year I did something slightly different. I made peppermint marshmallows. I’ve always wanted to try making homemade marshmallows and thought Christmas was the perfect excuse to do so. I made peppermint marshmallows and put them on sticks, put them little bags and decorated them with a ribbon. Putting them on sticks made them easier to add to hot chocolate.

Since then, I’ve made them again for our girl scout fondue night. This time I used a different recipe which has become my go to one. Once you make marshmallows, the options are endless. There is a peanut butter and jelly marshmallow that I really want to try.

Oh, and if you are like me, not much of a marshmallow fan, then you truly must try these.  There is nothing like freshly made marshmallow.  The flavor and texture are out of this world.

You really need you need to have to make these is a standing mixer.  That’s key.  The mixing of the gelatin with the syrup takes time and a very high-speed.

I line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper for easy removal from the pan and cut it with a bread knife.

vanilla marshmallowVanilla Marshmallows

  • 4 1/2 t Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1/2 C Cold Water
  • 3/4 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Light Corn Syrup, divided
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1/8 t Salt
  • 2 t Vanilla

Prepare a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together gelatin and cold water and set aside.

Stir together the sugar, 1/4 C corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240F.  Meanwhile pour the remaining 1/4 C corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Once the syrup gets close to the 240F temperature (about 230F), microwave the gelatin on high until melted, about 30 seconds.  Pour the melted gelatin mixture into the mixing bowl.  Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.  Once the syrup reaches 240F, remove from heat and slowly pour into the running mixing bowl.

Once the syrup is incorporated with the gelatin, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.  Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes.  Beat on the highest speed for an additional 1 to 4 minutes.  How do you know how long?   The bowl will be cool to the touch.  Also the marshmallow will hold a soft shape for several seconds before going back into itself when you pull up the whisk attachment. In other words, not stringy and sticky, the batter flows.  The marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy and tripled in volume.  Beat in the vanilla.

Pour into prepared pan, use an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners.  Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

Flip marshmallow onto a cutting board.  Cut into 1/2 inch squares and roll in a mixture of equal parts corn starch and powdered sugar.

peppermint marshmallowPeppermint Marshmallows

  • 4 1/2 t Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1/2 C Cold Water
  • 3/4 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Light Corn Syrup, divided
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1/8 t Salt
  • 3/4 t Peppermint Extract
  • 3-4 Drops of Red Food Coloring

Prepare a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together gelatin and cold water and set aside.

Stir together the sugar, 1/4 C corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240F.  Meanwhile pour the remaining 1/4 C corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Once the syrup gets close to the 240F temperature (about 230F), microwave the gelatin on high until melted, about 30 seconds.  Pour the melted gelatin mixture into the mixing bowl.  Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.  Once the syrup reaches 240F, remove from heat and slowly pour into the running mixing bowl.

Once the syrup is incorporated with the gelatin, increase the speed to medium and beat for 5 minutes.  Increase to medium-high and beat for 5 more minutes.  Beat on the highest speed for an additional 1 to 4 minutes.  How do you know how long?   The bowl will be cool to the touch.  Also the marshmallow will hold a soft shape for several seconds before going back into itself when you pull up the whisk attachment. In other words, not stringy and sticky, the batter flows.  The marshmallow will be opaque white, fluffy and tripled in volume.  Beat in the peppermint and food coloring.

Pour into prepared pan, use an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners.  Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

Flip marshmallow onto a cutting board.  Cut into 1/2 inch squares and roll in a mixture of equal parts corn starch and powdered sugar.

chocolate marshmallow iiChocolate Marshmallows

  • 2 T Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1/3 C Cold Water
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1/2 C Light Corn Syrup, divided
  • 1/4 C Water
  • 1/8 t Salt
  • 1/4 C Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 C Malted Milk Powder
  • 6 T Boiling Water
  • 1 t Vanilla

Prepare a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together gelatin and cold water and set aside.

Stir together the sugar, 1/4 C corn syrup, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Boil, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 240F.  Meanwhile pour the remaining 1/4 C corn syrup into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

Once the syrup gets close to the 240F temperature (about 230F), microwave the gelatin on high until melted, about 30 seconds.  Pour the melted gelatin mixture into the mixing bowl.  Set the mixer speed to low and keep it running.  Once the syrup reaches 240F, remove from heat and slowly pour into the running mixing bowl.

Whisk the cocoa, malted milk and boiling water in a small bowl until smooth.  When the syrup reaches 240F, whisk the cocoa mixture into it, followed by the vanilla.  Turn the mixer up to medium speed and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin mixture.

Once the syrup is incorporated with the gelatin, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 10 minutes.  Beat on the highest speed for an additional 1 to 4 minutes.  How do you know how long?   The bowl will be cool to the touch.  Also the marshmallow will hold a soft shape for several seconds before going back into itself when you pull up the whisk attachment. In other words, not stringy and sticky, the batter flows.  The marshmallow will be fluffy and color of chocolate malt and tripled in volume.

Pour into prepared pan, use an offset spatula to smooth it into the corners.  Let set for at least 6 hours in a cool, dry place.

Flip marshmallow onto a cutting board.  Cut into 1/2 inch squares and roll in a mixture of equal parts powdered sugar and cocoa.

All can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week, or can be frozen for longer.

Here is the marshmallow expert.

 

h1

Winter Doldrums

February 5, 2014

 caramel iii

Winter is really getting me down this year.  I’m not one to complain about the weather.  I mean what’s the point?  I can’t control it, so I usually roll with it.  But not this year.  This year the snow, and boy have we had it in spades, and the cold have gotten to me.  I know this isn’t my favorite season, but still, I’m so over the polar vortex and all it entails.

To help me with deal with winter, I bought a cookbook.  I don’t usually buy cookbooks, I find that there is only one or two recipes I use out each one.  Then they just take up space in my cupboard.  That’s not to say that I don’t have any cookbooks, just that I’ve scaled back quite a bit on them.  But, I bought The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen.  She’s awesome.  There are quite a few gems in this book and I hope to work my way through a few during these cold months.

I made her caramel recipe, which is very similar to a recipe that I’ve made for years.  I think the only difference is my original recipe had a time measurement for cooking the candy, which got me in trouble the first time I made it.  I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I made a lot of caramel sauce.  Her recipe also helped me figure out how to cut the candy.  I stopped making caramel for that reason alone.

So, obviously, you’ll need a candy thermometer to make these awesome treats.  And you can add nuts.  I sprinkled some crushed cashews to the top half of my last batch.  I also added an additional sprinkle of salt to the top before it set.  Yum!

 

caramel iiCaramel

  • 2 C Heavy Cream
  • 2 C Sugar
  • 1 C Butter
  • 2 C Light Corn Syrup
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 2 t Vanilla

Line a quarter sheet baking pan with parchment paper.

In a heavy wide-bottomed stock pot combine 1 C cream, sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt.  Bring to a simmer, then a boil.  Once the mixture has boiled for a few minutes, add the remaining cream.  Cook steadily over medium heat, to a steady low boil, stirring intermittently with a wooden spoon.  Cook the caramel until 238 degrees , soft candy stage.  You will know you are close when the mixture thickens and turns an amber color .  Once it is 238 degrees, add the vanilla, stirring to combine and pour in prepared pan.  Let the caramel cool at room temperature overnight.

Cut a large stack of waxed paper into 2 or 3 inch squares, and set aside.

When ready to slice, remove from pan and place face down on a cutting board to remove the paper.  Use a serrated knife and cut the caramel into 1/2 or 1 inch pieces, place on the waxed paper pieces, roll and twist the ends.

These can last for months at room temperature.

Makes 100-150 pieces of candy.

h1

Pumpkin? Yes Please.

October 10, 2013

pumpkin pull apart bread iiIs it me, or do you think of pumpkin in the fall?  It’s like I can’t get enough of that squash.  When Meeshie was small we would always visit a pumpkin patch.  We carve pumpkins just to enjoy the pumpkin seeds.  Pumpkin flavored coffee is available at Dunkin Donuts.  I’m partial to Culver’s pumpkin pie shake.  As far as I know, the flavor is on their menu all year long, but I only want it now, when the weather is warm during the day.

I’ve made my share of pumpkin treats, but this next one is in my top five.  I made this along with the pumpkin donut muffins last weekend.  Oh, the aroma of pumpkin wafting through my kitchen….

Pull apart bread is quickly becoming my favorite treat.  I think it’s easier and less messy than a sweet roll.  It’s easier to roll out the dough, add the filling and cut it to set inside the bread pan.  Serving it is easier too; you can control the serving size when cutting the loaf.

I made this bread twice but did not double the glaze.  The glaze was the perfect amount for two loaves of bread.  Notice I didn’t say I doubled the recipe.  I’m not sure it can be doubled easily.  Try it and let me know.  In case you’re not aware, I bake a lot, but I don’t have luck with doubling a recipe unless it is stated.  So, I made the dough twice, which wasn’t that difficult.  I set up my mis en place and ran with it.

If you are still afraid to use yeast, try this.  Truly it’s pretty fool proof.  How do you know your yeast is working?  By the happy bubbles in the bowl, plus it will smell, for lack of a better term, yeasty.  No bubbles, then your yeast is probably bad and you can start again.  Don’t continue on, hoping the yeast will start to work.  It won’t.  Just get yourself some fresh yeast and soldier on.

What we loved about this bread was the fact that it wasn’t overly sweet.  That’s the problem sometimes with cinnamon rolls, too sweet.  Not this, the glaze is perfect and the rum just mellows the glaze.  It’s not something that is very prominent.  The nuts inside the layers are divine, but for those with the dreaded allergy, substitute the nuts with raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds.   And please, please, brown the butter.  I love the nuttiness of browned butter and it really does complement the pumpkin.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat?

pumpkin pull apart bread viiPumpkin Pull Apart Bread

Bread:

  • 2 T Butter
  • 1/2 C Milk
  • 2 1/4 t (1 envelope) Active Dry Yeast
  • 3/4 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1 t Salt
  • 2 1/2 Bread Flour

Filling:

  • 3/4 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/2 C Chopped Pecans
  • 1 T Candied Ginger
  • 3 T Butter

Buttered Rum Glaze:

  • 2 T Butter
  • 2 T Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 T Milk
  • 3/4 C Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T Rum

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof (this can take up to 8 minutes, the top will look foamy and the liquid cloudy). Then add the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, pumpkin pie spice, pecans and ginger and mix well. Set aside. Next, line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle.  Spoon the  melted butter/sugar mixture generously over the dough. Cut the dough crosswise into 5 strips, each about 12 by 4 inches. (A pizza cutter is helpful here.)   Stack each strip on top of one another.  Cut the strip into six equal slices again.  You’ll have six stacks of six squares.  Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan.  While there is plenty of space on either side of the strips widthwise in the pan, fitting the strips lengthwise is tight. But that’s fine because the spaces between the dough and the sides of the pan fill in during baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, brown the butter, add the milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum and powdered sugar.

Here’s the original post.

h1

Fall Treat!

September 30, 2013

caramel corn

Fall

I know I’ve established my family’s love of Garrett’s popcorn.  It’s that love of caramel corn that caused me to dig up an old recipe.  I remember making caramel corn with my mom.  I also remember how quickly my brothers would swoop in and eat all that confectionary goodness.

For some reason I associate caramel corn with the fall.  Maybe it’s the warm color of the caramel.  Nothing says fall more than that golden brown color.  Plus the smell of it roasting in the oven is heavenly.  Just the memory of that wonderful smell brings a smile to my face as I type.

 This is a perfect after school snack.  Again, hello fall!  Make it fun and put it in a little brown bag and tuck it into a lunch box.  This fresh and simple recipe won’t last long.  A perfect treat to enjoy that can be tailored to you.

I pop my corn on the stove.  It’s just as easy as the microwave kind, without that after taste.  But you use whatever popcorn you prefer.

Mix it up and add sea salt before the last toss.  Or spice it up with nutmeg and cinnamon.  And, of course, you can also add some nuts like almonds or cashews.

 caramel corn viCaramel Popcorn

  • 4 quarts popped popcorn (1/2 C unpopped)
  • 2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 C Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 C Butter
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Vanilla

 Add popcorn to large shallow roasting pan and place in preheated 250°F oven while preparing caramel.  Mix brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil 5 minutes WITHOUT STIRRING. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour syrup mixture over warm popcorn, stirring to coat evenly. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store inn tightly covered container.

h1

Zucchini!

August 18, 2013

chocolate zucchini bread ii

I’m still enjoying zucchini. In the past, my zucchini has fizzled out by now. But not this year. Maybe it’s because of the newspaper I put down in the garden? I really don’t know. And what do you do with those jumbo zucchinis? Why bake with them.

I’ve shared my blueberry zucchini recipe before. This time I found a wonderful chocolate zucchini bread that is out of this world. Meeshie loves it, and she knows there’s zucchini in it. She saw the shredded zucchini in the colander in the sink and asked what I was doing with it. I told her about this wonderful bread, and although she was skeptical, she has managed to each an entire loaf.

It’s not overly sweet, but the cocoa and extra chocolate chips give it a perfect balance.  What I mean is that it tastes like chocolate.  Sometimes chocolate things are just sweet without the flavor of chocolate.  That’s not the case here.  I say that because, although I like chocolate, I don’t LOVE it.  I would not consider myself a chocoholic.  I would consider myself a very particular chocolate eater, though.

And once baked, you don’t see the shredded zucchini at all.

I wish I had a picture of the bread sliced, but I made three loaves with my jumbo zucchini, and once it was sliced it was gone.  I had this one loaf left only because it is a gift for one of my girlfriends.

chocolate zucchini bread

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 C Honey
  • 1/3 C Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 C Brown Sugar
  • 1 t Vanilla
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Baking Soda
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder
  • 1/3 C Dutch Process Cocoa
  • 1 2/3 C Flour
  • 2 C Zucchini, shredded
  • 2/3 C Bittersweet Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1/2 C Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1/3 C Chopped Nuts, optional ( I used cashews)

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, honey, oil, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour.  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, mixing until well combined.  Stir in the zucchini and 1/3 C of the bittersweet chocolate chips and all of the milk chocolate chips.  Add the nuts, if using.

Pour into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 C bittersweet chocolate chips.  You can also sprinkle a small amount of nuts on top, if desired.

Bake for 65-75 minutes until done.  A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when done.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes before turning out of pan to continue cooling.

Here’s the original recipe.  Thank you King Arthur Flour!

h1

Blueberries for Karen

July 28, 2013

blueberry cobler

It’s blueberry season.

The last two years, I haven’t been able to enjoy blueberry season.  This year we found a new place.  It was a short drive to Michigan, and 15 pounds later here we are.

Now I can make jam, muffins, pie, pancakes, blueberry buckle, blueberry zucchini bread  and cobbler.

Cobbler is one of those great desserts that brings oohs and ahs without much fuss.  Not to mention, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.  Cobbler is easily adaptable to most fruit.  I actually love a peach cobbler, but my husband is not a fan of peaches.  So I used the blueberries instead.

This recipe makes quite a bit, so it’s perfect for company.  But if you don’t want to share, I’m not going to judge.

blueberry cobbler iiiBlueberry Cobbler

  • 1/4 C Butter
  • 1 C Flour
  • 2/3 C Sugar, divided
  • 2/3 C Brown Sugar, divided
  • 1 T Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 t Vanilla
  • 2/3 C Milk
  • 4 C Blueberries, fresh
  • 1 T Lemon Juice
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1/2 t Nutmeg
  • 1/2 t Ginger

Melt the butter in a 13×9 baking dish.

Combine the flour, 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger together.  Add the milk, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter over the melted butter, do not stir.

Bring the 1/3 C sugar, 1/3 C brown sugar, lemon juice and blueberries to a boil in a medium sauce pan, stirring constantly.  Poor fruit mixture over batter, do not stir.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 176 other followers

%d bloggers like this: