Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tofu Parm Two Ways

I love when things do double duty. You know, kill two birds with one stone. Initially I hadn't planned this to serve us twice but it did!

The first night we had tofu parmesan sandwiches. I found this recipe from Hannaford Fresh Magazine (which I adore). It's rare that you find tofu recipes in the magazine but when you do, they are good! These were messy but oh so delicious and satisfying. And best of all, healthy!

The next night I made myself tofu parmesan with penne and fresh tomatoes drizzled with some olive oil. This worked out so well. I just baked the tofu to get it crisp again and then added the sauce and mozzarella towards the end. Perfect.

Tofu Parmesan Sandwiches
Source: Hannaford Fresh Magazine
Yield: Two sandwiches and leftovers

1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed
8 fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 large egg
1 package firm tofu, drained and sliced into 8 pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Ciabatta bread
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 pound baby spinach (about 8 cups)
Preheat the broiler. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, basil and 1 cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.

Toss the breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan and the Italian seasoning on a plate; season with salt and pepper. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl. Dip the tofu in the egg, then in the crumbs, turning to coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook until crisp, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place the bread cut-side up on a broiler pan; spread the bottom halves with sauce, then top with tofu, more sauce, the mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Broil until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted, about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in the empty skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and let wilt, about 1 minute. Place on top of the cheese and cover with the bread tops.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Baked Stuffed Apples

This is a dessert that I was able to get my skinny mini husband to eat!!

These baked apples where a wonderful way to finish off a meal in the fall. They aren't heavy or too filling. I drizzled mine with a bit of caramel but the filling is sweet enough that you don't need to. Adding a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream would be yummy too.

Oh, and I added raisins to ours. Yum.

Baked Stuffed Apples
Source: The Family Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings

4 apples (recommended: Fuji or McIntosh)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup chopped pecans or almonds (I used walnuts)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup maple syrup

Slice the top of each apple off, then hollow the center of the apples out with a paring knife. Brush lemon juice across the top of the apples to keep them from turning brown. Place the apples in a baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine flour, butter, sugar, oats, pecans, and cinnamon. Use a fork to combine until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Spoon the mixture generously into each apple. Drizzle each with maple syrup.

Place about 1/4 inch of water into the bottom of the baking dish. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until the crumble on top of the apples is golden brown, and the apples are soft.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pretzel M&M Cookies

Pretzel M&Ms. Add a little peanut butter and we are talking! I thought the M&Ms were pretty good. I wouldn't sit down and eat a whole bunch but in these cookies I thought they were great. The cookies were chewy and had a nice crunch of pretzel. The girls at book club thought they were great! I love sharing my treats with them.

Pretzel M&M Cookies
Source: Bakegirl
Yield: 24 cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pretzel M&Ms
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture and mix together well.

Stir in chocolate chunks and M&Ms, adding more of each if desired.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies

Pumpkin everywhere! I can't get enough of it. This kid is going to come out orange! Or maybe chocolate colored.

This is another treat that I brought into the office to share. I wasn't sure how the butterscotch chips would go with the pumpkin but it was fabulous. This cookie is nice and soft and fresh out of the oven the chips are so smooth and melty. Mmhmm.

Pumpkin Butterscoth Cookies
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 2 dozen or so

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola or corn oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper.

Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. Mix in the chips.

Using an ice cream scoop with a 1/4-cup capacity, scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 2 1/2-inches apart. You could also simply use a 1/4-cup measuring cup if you don’t have a scoop. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool cimpletely.

Dust the cooled cookies lightly with powdered sugar. The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these awesome cookies last year and can't believe I never told you about them! They are soft and pumpkiny but the best part is the melty chocolate chips that pair so well with the pumpkin flavor. Oh. And they come together really quick and easy...which is nice when you are 38 weeks pregnant!

These are one of my most favorite pumpkin treats to make. Thanks to Lori G. for the recipe!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Source: Lori G.
Yield: 2 dozen

2 1/2 cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350*. Grease or line two baking sheets.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat together the sugar and butter until well blended. Add in pumpkin, egg and vinilla, beat until smooth. Gradually add in the dry mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop onto prepared baking sheets. I used the cookie scoop and it was perfect. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until edges are firm.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chocolate Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Last weekend I had two girlfriends over for lunch. I made a fabulous spicy sweet potato soup and served it with a sesame bread. Then for dessert I was so excited to make pumpkin whoopie pies. I was going to try a new recipe that I found in Bon Appetit last year. What a flop. The cake part of the whoopie was flat as a pancake and the filling was boring. I was so disappointment. But I'm glad I tried it out so now I won't wonder about that recipe.

Anyway, we are here to talk about these chocolate whoopie pies. These were wonderful. The cake part is perfection. The middle was pretty good. I did add more powdered sugar to sweeten it and thicken the filling. Other than that...perfect.

I brought these into the office and they were gone in a flash.

Chocolate Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Source: Burn Me Not
Yield: 12 decent sized whoopie pies

For the cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the filling
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar (I added another 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup canned solid pumpkin
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with non-stick baking mat or parchment paper; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine butter, shortening, and both sugars. Using the paddle attachment, mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then milk and vanilla, and finish with the remaining flour mixture.

Drop about a tablespoon of dough onto prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes or until cookies spring back when lightly touched. Place baking sheet on wire rack and let cool 5-10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheet and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth, scraping down bowl as necessary.

Pipe or spoon filling on the flat sides of half the cookies then sandwich with remaining cookies.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Scoop

This is my new favorite baking tool. The cookie scoop. I've been eyeing them for years and finally I drove my butt down to South Portland to Wililams Sonoma and bought two. One medium sized and one larger. These have simplified my life so much. The larger scoop fills a cupcake liner perfectly. The smaller one makes perfect sized whoopie pie cakes. No more mismatched sizes! I've also used both sizes for cookies, like chocolate chip.

I don't know how I survived without one of these!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Love My Runner

For the entire spring and summer my husband as been getting up at the crack of dawn to run. He ran his first marathon last November in Philly. Loved it and ran the marathon at Sugarloaf. Then signed up to run the Maine Marathon with the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon in April. To do so, at his age, he must run 26.2 miles in 3 hours and 10 minutes. He trained so hard all summer. On days when it was 80 degrees at 6:00AM he was on the rail trail putting in his miles. "Do work, get fast." is what he says. And it all paid off. We will be going to Boston in April.

Momma and Abe were waiting at the finishline!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs

Need a dessert in a pinch? This is perfect. These are super dreamy and they come together so quickly. Just pick up some puff pastry and by the time you are home it might be thawed enough for use. Or just put it in the fridge in the morning and make these at night.

Make sure to serve these warm. The peanut butter and chocolate are all gooey and delicious.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: A dozen or so?

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and rolled out just slightly
1/3 to 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup chocolate chunks or chips
water for brushing the edges of the pastry
cream or half and half for brushing the tops of the pastry
granulated sugar for sprinkling on top of the pastry

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thaw frozen puff pastry in the the fridge. When no longer frozen gently roll out puff pastry on a well floured surface, extending the puff pastry about an inch on all sides.

Fold the puff pastry in half like a book to create a crease. Cut along the crease with a pizza slicer to divide the puff pastry in half. Stack the two halves, then slice the pastry into two sheets of 18 even squares. Remove the top squares from the bottom squares and set them aside for later.

Using a small spoon, dollop a small amount (about a heaping 1/2 teaspoon) of peanut butter into the center of 18 of the puff pastry squares. Top each mound of peanut butter with about 5 chocolate chips.

Using a pastry brush (or your finger if you don’t have a brush) dampen the edges of each square with a bit of water. Top each square with another pastry square and use a fork to crimp and seal the edges of the pastry. Make sure the edges are well sealed or all the filling goodness will pop out during baking.

Place filled and sealed pastry squares on a foil lined and lightly greased baking sheet. Brush each square with cream and sprinkle generously with granulated sugar.

Bake the squares for 8 to 12 minutes or until they are perfectly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving warm.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mocha Brownies

Another brownie post? Yep. I do love my brownies. Frosted or not.

Now these, with this wonderful mocha frosting, are wonderful. You've got to have a sweet tooth for these. Luckily. I have a sweet tooth. Actually, I have a whole mouth full of them! (my dentist and I don't get along well)

Mocha Frosted Brownies
Source: Blog Chef
Yield: 24ish

½ cup shortening
½ cup butter
1 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
4 teaspoons instant coffee
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons instant coffee

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13” baking dish with tin foil and lightly grease It lightly. Melt butter and shortening in the microwave or on the stove top.

Pour melted butter and shortening into a large mixing bowl. Add cocoa and blend in well. Add sugar and mix well. Dissolve instant coffee in tablespoon of hot water and mix into the cocoa mixture. Add eggs one at a time and beat in well by hand. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt. Pour mixture into the baking dish and spread out evenly.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool.

While brownies are cooling make the frosting. In a bowl cream butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium speed. Dissolve instant coffee in milk and add to the mixture. Beat until lightly and fluffy. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Chocolate Walnut Fudge

I wanted to make chocolate fudge. Really, I wanted to eat chocolate fudge. I looked around and found a few recipes to try and chose this one first.

Then, I felt like a cheater. Sure, this fudge was creamy and delicious and I definitely ate my fair share. Yeah, people at my office thought it was tasty. But this isn't REAL fudge. This isn't the fudge that you cook the sugar to a certain temperature and you slave over it. It was actually really easy to make. Which is good. But I wanted to really accomplish know?? Do you think I'm crazy? I just might be. My quest for fudge continues.

Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts and Marshmallows
Source: Food Network
Yield: 2 dozen pieces

1 (7-ounce) jar marshmallow cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 8 by 8-inch pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine marshmallow cream, sugar, evaporated milk, butter, and salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until thick.

Remove from heat and pour in the milk chocolate chips. Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in nuts and vanilla. Pour into prepared pan. Top with marshmallows. Chill in refrigerator for 2 hours or until firm. Cut to small squares and wrap parchment paper.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Broccoli Soup

This is a repost. But it is worth it because this soup is the bomb. The broccoli bomb.

I've been making things to freeze for after the baby arrives. I made a batch of this and I had forgot how good it is. I've eaten half of the pot so I need to be sure to freeze some! I like that it doesn't have cheese in it so you can control some of the fat that way. As you can see, I'm not too concerned at this point. But after Babe is cheese.

Here is the post with recipe from last November.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Peach and Raspberry Jam Muffins

This is one of my best kept secrets. isn't really a secret since I got the recipe from Joy the Baker...and it definitely isn't a secret now because I'm telling you about it.

Yes. Telling you about the most versitile muffin recipe around. These have come out perfect every time I have made them. I've used strawberry jam, raspberry and blueberry jam. Along with blackberries, raspberries, and now peaches. You can mix and match flavors. And these come together so quickly. I usually whip up a batch on a weekend morning.

Life doesn't get much better than a warm muffin on a Sunday morning.

Fruit and Jam Muffins
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 8 muffins

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk (I use is all we've got)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2- 1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries or whatever berry or fruit you've got
3 Tablespoons strawberry jam or whatever fruit jam you've got

For the topping:
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Put a rack in the upper third of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Generously butter muffin cups or line with cupcake papers.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over moderately low heat; remove from heat. Whisk in milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until well combined.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Gently but thoroughly fold in the berries and the jam.

Divide batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.

For the topping:

Combine all the topping ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over batter in cups.

Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then run a knife around edges of muffin tops and carefully remove from cups. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Really I should have posted this earlier when zucchini was in abundance. I feel like the crop is dwindling at this point.

If you do have a massive zucchini kicking around and you aren't sure what to do with it, make this. Make this for your friends. Make this for your coworkers. People love this cake.

I brought this over to another couple's house for a dinner. I should have just said it was a chocolate bundt cake because the husband wasn't so sure about eating a cake with zucchini in it. He ate it. He enjoyed it. But I think he was a little freaked that it had a vegetable in it. That is what makes it healthy! DUH!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Source: The Food Librarian
Yield: 12 servings

2 1/2 cups regular all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/2 cup cocoa
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Glaze (directions follow)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

With a mixer, beat together the butter and the sugar until they are smoothly blended. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. With a spoon, stir in the vanilla, orange peel, and zucchini.

Alternately stir the dry ingredients and the milk into the zucchini mixture, including the nuts with the last addition.

Pour the batter into a greased and flour-dusted 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes (test at 45 minutes!) or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes; turn out on wire rack to cool thoroughly.

Drizzle glaze over cake.

Glaze: Mix together 2 cups powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Cut in thin slices to serve.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Starbucks Mocha Frappe

Being pregnant really wears you out!! I find that I can do housework for about an hour and then I need to take a break. The other night I didn't take a break and by the time my husband got home at 8:00 my vision was blurry and I was sure I was about to pass out!

A good excuse to take a break? A good book and a coffee drink. I found the recipe for these frappes in the Food Network Magazine which I adore. I enjoyed this drink while reading "The Help" for book club. Both lovely.

(This chocolate sauce is amazing and I used the extra to put on my ice cream.)

Starbucks Mocha Frappe
Source: Food Network Magazine
Yield: 4 drinks

For the coffee ice:
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups warm strong coffee

For the chocolate syrup:
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ounce milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frappes:
1 cup reduced-fat milk
Whipped cream, for topping

Make the coffee ice: Stir the sugar into the coffee until dissolved, then let cool. Pour into a 16-cube ice-cube tray and freeze until solid, about 3 hours.

Make the chocolate syrup: Combine the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan and slowly whisk in 2/3 cup hot water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking, until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 5 minutes; do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate, honey and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Make the frappes: Puree 8 coffee ice cubes, 1/2 cup milk, 1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate syrup and 1 cup plain ice in a blender until smooth. Pour into 2 glasses, then repeat to make 2 more drinks. Top with whipped cream and more chocolate syrup.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Baked Maple Cinnamon Donuts

If you love donuts but try to be must own a donut pan. I got mine on Amazon. I saw one at Stonewall Kitchen over the weekend. You can find them. It is worth it to have warm donuts without all the fat.

I've tried a few recipes and have a few more to try. These were decent, not fantastic. Of course, I thought the best part was the cinnamon sugar on the outside. Or maybe the fact that they are lower fat so I could eat two and not feel guilty.

Anyway, go out and buy yourself a donut pan and give these a whirl. Or you could search Food Gawker and find another pumpkin donuts. Or chocolate. Mmhmm.

Baked Maple Cinnamon Donut Recipe
Source: Cooking with my Kid
Yield: 8-10 donuts

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 6 oz container of non fat vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the cinnamon and sugar together and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients. In another bowl stir together oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, egg and yogurt. Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the hole. Gently fold everything together until combined. Divide batter evenly into a greased donut pan. (I put the batter in a Ziploc bag and cut the tip off to get it into the pan) The batter will be pretty thick and airy.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few moments and then flip over onto a cooling rack while still warm. Use a pastry brush to butter your donuts and then dip each donut in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat. Makes 6 donuts.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zucchini Whoopie Pies

I did it! I found a fabulous zucchini whoopie pie recipe. I tried to make up my own recipe by altering a muffin recipe. Nope. That didn't work very well. Then I found this old recipe in my binder, and by old I mean over 10 years old. I didn't realize my recipe binders were that old!!

Seth and I were invited to his coworkers party a month or so ago. I offered to bring a treat and one of the girls wanted something with pumpkin. I said it wasn't quite pumpkin season so I decided on zucchini. Now, Seth is a retail manager so he tends to work with younger people. We went to the party and boy did I feel old. Seth was the only male and the girls were around 20-24. There was a lot of giggling and lot of shots. I remember those days.

God I'm old.

Anyway. These whoopie pies were a hit. I filled them with my own filling but if you wanted to do a cream cheese filling you could do that too. Yum!

Zucchini Whoopie Pies
Source: I dunno...the binder?
Yield: A dozen or so

1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup white sugar
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg
2 cups plus 2 T flour
1 t vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t cloves
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix zucchini, sugar, shortening and egg. Sift all the dry ingredients and add to the zucchini mixture alternating with the milk. Mix until smooth. Bake 8-10 minutes. Fill with your favorite whoopie pie filling.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Shaker Fish Pie

Pair this with some mashed potatoes and some peas and you have one of my favorite meals. This recipe comes from my mother in law and she makes this often. It is delicious. Make sure to flake the fish a bit when you add it at the end. You do want chunks of fish but you want them to be distributed evenly.

I know fish pie sounds REALLY odd but I swear to you...this is awesome.

Shaker Fish Pie
Source: MIL!
Yield: About 6 servings

1 9in. baked pie shell
1 lb haddock
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/2 c. chopped celery
1 T parsley (I don't always have this on hand so I don't always add it)
1/2 t thyme (I usually add a little more because I love thyme)
2 T flour
3 T butter
1 c. light cream
1/3 c. bread crumbs
2 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 325. Steam the fish. In a saute pan cook onions and celery in the butter until tender. Stir in parsley and thyme. Blend in the flour, salt and pepper to make a nice roux. Cook for a few seconds. Add the cream and stir until bubbly. Add the fish and pour into the pie crust. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and drizzle with butter. Bake for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Maple Oat Scones

I thought I would whip up a batch of these one morning. I took out two sticks of butter to thaw. Then I got making the dough, holy crap! A pound of butter?!?! Are you kidding me?? I had already started so I kept going and finished the recipe but dang. That is a lot of butter! I only keep a pound in stock!

I ended up with massive sized scones. I brought a bunch to my father's house to share with them and I froze some too.

The next time I make these I would definitely halve the recipe. IF I decide to make them again. They are very yummy and they don't taste overly rich and buttery but I do have a limit! (hard to believe...I know)

Maple Oat Scones
Source: Food Network Magazine
Yield: 12ish HUGE scones

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup cold buttermilk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk or water, for egg wash

For the Glaze
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Blend the cold butter in at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-size pieces. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup and eggs and add quickly to the flour-and-butter mixture. Mix until just blended. The dough may be sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4 to 1 inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into 3-inch rounds with a plain or fluted cutter and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are crisp and the insides are done.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. When the scones are done, cool for 5 minutes and drizzle each scone with 1 tablespoon of the glaze. I like to sprinkle some uncooked oats on the top, for garnish. The warmer the scones are when you glaze them, the thinner the glaze will be.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vegetable Tian

This is a fantastic way to use up your summer veggies.

I noticed that some bloggers used potatoes, some just squash, zukes, and tomatoes. I used what I had; zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, and tomatoes.

This is such a light, fresh, beautiful dish. I served with baked haddock and couscous. Perfection.

Vegetable Tian
Source: Linden Tea
Yield: 4 servings

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more to drizzle over the vegetables
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Whatever veggies you have (zukes, summer squash, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant)
Herbes de Provence
2-3 thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375F. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, add the onion, sauté for a few minutes, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes, add half a teaspoon of herbes de Provence, and season with salt, layer the onion mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Slice the veggies. Arrange the vegetables tightly over the onion mixture, sprinkle with thyme, herbes de Provence and kosher salt. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables and bake until the vegetables are cooked and tender.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

M&M Ice Cream

In Maine, we had a heat wave at the end of August. Being 32 weeks pregnant...that wasn't fun. Not at all. I had really been hoping that fall was around then corner and then we had 5 days of 95 degree weather. Ick.

My hopes of making soups and pumpkin whoopie pies turned into thoughts of ice cream. I wanted something creamy and dreamy so I chose this vanilla ice cream and added M&Ms. Yes. This helps.

M&M Ice Cream
Source: Adapted from David Lebovitz
Yield: 8 or so servings

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup frozen M&Ms

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of cream and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warmed milk, and then add the bean itself. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl, and set a mesh strainer over the top. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly add the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, and then scrape back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula or wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (don’t boil!). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the vanilla bean to the custard, stir in the vanilla extract, and then stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture in your refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is nearly done add frozen M&Ms.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tomato Overload

Last year my tomato crop was a bust. I ended up getting horned tomato worms and it was a very very wet season. I think I got just a handful of tomatoes and a big bowl of cherry tomatoes. So this year I bought 16 tomatoes plants. I am absolutely drowning in tomatoes. I have big beefy ones, small juicy ones, heirlooms, and cherry tomatoes. I'm not tired of them yet though!

This actually worked out really well because I figure that after the babe is born I'm not going to feel like cooking all the time. I've used my bounty to make various tomato dishes and freeze them. Then in November when I want to have a nice meal all I have to do is thaw something.

I've made 8 meals so far. I have no more room in my freezer!

This little tutorial is on making crushed and diced tomatoes to use for soups, chili, or pasta sauce. I hope you find it helpful.

What a silly little tomato this is.

To peel the tomatoes, score an X in the bottom.

Then put them in boiling water for one minute. Take them out and submerge them in an ice bath. This will peel back the skins for easy peeling.

We're in good shape!

If your recipe calls for crushed tomatoes, just crush them up in your hands. I really liked doing this.

You can also dice them.

From there you could can them, freeze them, or use them right away. I chose to use them to make pasta sauce and tomato soup.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dark Chocolate Brownies

First of all I want to apologize for the photo of these brownies. I could have done better. I should have done better. I was in a hurry. It was raining outside so I couldn't bring them out. I just snapped a quick shot so I could post them. So, Readers, I'm sorry.

I like brownies. We've talked about it. I've made my fair share of brownies.
The Ultimate Brownie (I'm so over this.)
On the Fence Brownies (I still like these a lot)
Brownies with Peppermint Frosting

I expected a little more from these brownies. Joy says they are moist but I found them a wee bit dry. It could have been me. Maybe I over cooked them. Maybe I measured wrong. Maybe it was because I halved the recipe. I did like them. And I did share them with my lovely friends in book club. And I did freeze one and top it with homemade chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream.

I'll have to try again.

Dark Chocolate Brownies
Source: Joy the Baker
Yield: 12 big or 24 small

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with foil and butter the foil. This will make brownie removal much easier.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

Place butter and chopped chocolate in a medium sized heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of barely simmering water, being sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the boiling water. Stir until chocolate and butter are completely melted. Use pot holders to remove the bowl from over the boiling water. Lets mixture sit for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and espresso powder. Whisk until pale and thick. Pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk until completely incorporated. Add the flour mixture all at once and whisk to incorporate. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip

I served this at a party and it was a huge hit. It was so simple to put together, it made enough to serve about 12 people and you could dip just about anything into it! Pretzels, carrots and other veggies, smear it on bread, or it would be great in a sandwich too.

Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip
Source: New York Times
Yield: 1 1/2 cups

1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt, more to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling.

In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.

With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.

Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Making Baked or Grilled Tofu

I have had a ton of questions about this process. I make this at least once a month and I can't believe it has taken me so long to do a post on this.

It took me quite a bit of time to get pretty good at cooking tofu. At first it was terrible. The taste was bland. It was a bad texture, or it would just fall apart in the pan. Now I feel like I'm fairly good at it. And I get better each time.

My biggest tip for cooking with tofu is to press it which will release all of the water (or tofu blood as Seth would say). When you release that water you allow for your marinade or whatnot to come in and flavor it.

I'm going to take you through, step by step, the making of grilled Asian tofu. One of my favorites.

First off, when grilling always use extra firm tofu.

This is the pressing process. Take the block of tofu out of the package and dump the water that it was in. Wrap the block in a clean kitchen towel, put it on a plate, and put something heavy on top of it. I always use the top to my panini pan. You could use another pan, a plate with something on it, etc. The kitchen towel will absorb all of the water in the tofu. Let this sit in the fridge for a half a day or so. (if I'm making it during the week I will put in the fridge just like this and then marinate it when I get home from work...8 hours later)

Here is the marinade for the tofu. I have adapted this from Veganomicon. 3 T soy sauce, 1 T sesame oil (god that is good stuff), 1 T rice vinegar, 2 t "cock sauce"...that red hot chili sauce that is in Thai restaurants, 1 T grated ginger, 2-3 smashed garlic cloves.

I always slice my tofu in the same way. I don't know why. I just like it this way.

First down the middle.

Then into four.

Then into triangles. This will give you 8 pieces. This is enough for just me and Seth but it might feed three in your family.

Let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour if not more. Flip or shake half way through marinating.

Grill on medium high heat (or you can bake it in the oven) for 5 or so minutes on each side.

Damn. That is goooooood.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Bakes

No bake cookies. So simple but not really. It took me a long time to make a batch of these and have them come out right. I learned that you must use real butter. Not margarine. And here is the trickiest part; if you boil the mixture too long they become crumbly and dry. If you don't allow it to boil long enough they will not set up. I've learned that 2 minutes is about right. NOT under 2. Another tip; a boil means a full boil. Not a few bubbles. Start counting when it is really going.

No Bake Cookies
Source: I think Grammy Bossche
Yield: 2 dozen or so

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 stick butter
3 T peanut butter
3 cups quick oats
1 t vanilla

Combine the sugar, milk, cocoa, and butter in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes.

Remove from the stove and stir in the rest of the ingredients. Drop by spoonful onto parchment or silpat and allow to set.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

This is a dessert that my husband will eat!! My father used to make this hot milk cake when we were kids and it is the perfect base for a shortcake. It is low fat, sweet, and luscious. Oh, and really easy to whip up. I top it with strawberries and fat free cool whip for Seth. I like mine with fresh whipped cream of course!

Top yours with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or just eat it plain!

Hot Milk Cake
Source: Better Homes and Garden
Yield: about 16 servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Grease a 9x9x2-inch baking pan; set pan aside. Stir together flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes or until thick. Gradually add sugar, beating on medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the dry mixture; beat on low to medium speed just until combined.

In a small saucepan heat and stir milk and butter until butter melts; add to batter, beating until combined. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack. Makes 9 servings.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vegan Banana Bread

I've shared with you my banana bread recipe. I do love that recipe but I've found another that I will be making for my family. I found this recipe in Veganomicon and it is a much less guilt banana bread. Still very tasty. Very moist. Great with a smear of peanut butter.

Vegan Banana Bread
Source: Veganomicon
Yield: One Loaf

2-3 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas really well. Add the sugar, applesauce, oil, and molasses, and whisk briskly to incorporate.

Sift in the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Use a wooden spoon to mix until the wet and dry ingredients are just combined. If you're using chocolate chips or nuts, fold them in here.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (it took 50 for me). The top should be lightly browned and a knife inserted through the center should come out clean.

Remove from the oven and let cool!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream

Long name. Amazing results. Whose commercial is that?? I can't remember but as I was typing the title for this post I thought of that commercial.

This is chocolate ice cream. Plus peanut butter. Plus peanut butter cups. You heard me. This was amazing.

I find no reason to buy ice cream when you can make it at home. Some of the stuff in the store is cheaper but the quality of homemade ice cream is supreme. Plus you know what is in there!

I wish I had a big bowl of this right now.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
Source: Adapted from Joelens Blog
Yield: 8 or so servings? but I'm pregnant so it served me like twice. Ha!

2 cups half & half
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup peanut butter cups, frozen and chopped

In a large pan, whisk to combine the half and half, cocoa powder, sugar and salt. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it comes to a full, rolling boil and begins to foam up. Remove the pan from the heat and add the peanut butter, whisking to blend thoroughly.

Refrigerate the mixture to chill thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After churning, fold in the candies into the ice cream and transfer mixture into a freezer safe container. Freeze overnight to ripen before serving.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lemon Pull Apart Coffee Cake

I knew when I saw this coffee cake that I had to make it. The idea of the yeasty pull apart goodness had me hooked and I'm so glad I made it.

I brought this in to share with my coworkers because if left at home I would have eaten the entire thing. Everyone really enjoyed it but my father, who is a bit old school, was confused why it was called a coffee cake. I think he was expecting something more cakey, less bread like. This is almost like a cinnamon roll made into a loaf...minus lemon.

Now, I know that the recipe look daunting. It really isn't that bad. Like any yeast bread you have to let it rise so plan ahead. I promise it is worth it!

Lemon Pull Apart Coffee Cake
Source: 17 and baking
Yield: 10ish servings

Sweet Yeast Dough
About 2 3/4 cups (12 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) whole milk
2 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) water
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

Lemon Sugar Filling
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (3 lemons)
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

Tangy Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (1 1/4 ounces) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Make the Sweet Yeast Dough
Mix two cups flour, the sugar, yeast, and salt in a medium bowl with a rubber spatula. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan or in the microwave, combine the milk and the butter and heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, add the water, and let rest a minute until just warm (120 to 130°F) Stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Attach the bowl to the mixer, and fit the mixer with the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add 2 more tablespoons flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.

Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about one minute. Add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of flour only if the dough is too sticky to work with. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place (about 70°F) for 45-60 minutes or until doubled in size. An indentation made with your finger should keep its shape.

Meanwhile, make the lemon sugar filling. Mix the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest. It’ll draw out the citrus oils and make the sugar sandy and fragrant.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x5″ loaf pan.

Gently deflate the dough with your hand. Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a 20″ by 12″ rectangle. [She suggests using a ruler and getting this as accurate as possible, for a prettier loaf that will fit better in the pan. I also suggest making sure both sides are floured, so that the dough will be easy to lift up later.] Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly and liberally over the dough.

Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough crosswise in five strips, each about 12″ by 4″. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the lemon sugar over the first buttered rectangle. Top it with a second rectangle, sprinkling that one with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon sugar as well. Continue to top with rectangles and sprinkle, so you have a stack of five 12″ by 4″ rectangles, all buttered and topped with lemon sugar. [She suggests carefully sprinkling the sugar and pressing it in lightly to keep it from falling off.]

Slice this new stack crosswise, through all five layers, into 6 equal rectangles (each should be 4″ by 2″.) Carefully transfer these strips of dough into the loaf pan, cut edges up, side by side. it might be a little roomy, but the bread will rise and expand after baking. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place (70 °F [21°C]) until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. When you gently press the dough with your finger, the indentation should stay.

Bake the loaf until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. (I baked mine for another 10 or so minutes. It started to brown on the top so I covered it with foil). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth, then add the milk and lemon juice. Stir until creamy and smooth.

The recipe recommends you tilt and rotate the pan while tapping on a table to release the loaf. I just carefully ran a knife around it. Flip the loaf over onto a cooling rack, then flip onto another rack so that it’s right side up. Spread the top of the warm cake with the cream cheese icing, using a pastry brush to fill in all the cracks. [You might want to put a pan or piece of wax paper under to catch any drips.]

Eat warm or at room temperature. You can also cut the cake with a knife, but wait for it to cool if you plan to do so. The cake tastes better on the first day.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fresh Tomatoes!

My weekly grocery bill this week was $36. This is one of the many reasons I love this time of year. When it is suppertime I just walk out back, pick a couple tomatoes, a cucumber, a pepper and make a nice little salad.

This is the first tomato from the garden. I know it is an heirloom and I believe it is called Brandywine. Beautiful.

This variety of tomato is really meaty which means it makes a great sandwich!

My lunch staple in the summer, cucumber and tomato sandwich. Easy, cheap, and fresh!

Happy harvesting!