Sunday, January 31, 2010

Black and Whites

These dolls are one of my favorite things to come out of my kitchen...meaning...they are one of my favorite things to eat! It took me a few tries to get this recipe right. I had to combine two different recipes, one for the cookie and one for the frostings. Now I've got it right!

Some people like black and whites with a runny icing rather than a thick frosting. My favorite black and white cookie comes from Modern Pastry in the North End of Boston. Their cookies are vanilla, topped with thick frostings. I believe there is some controversy of where the black and white originated. Some say New York. Some say Boston. Some say New Jersey. I don't really care. I'm just glad someone started this.

The cookie part of this recipe comes from Gourmet magazine back in 2002. These cookies are light and fluffy.

The frosting recipes come from Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica, New York. They claim to be the first to make the black and white cookie. I don't like the cookie part of this because it is chocolate (did I really just type that?!?!). I prefer my black and white to have a vanilla cookie.

**Angels and Airwaves, Everything's Magic** "Just sit back and hold on but hold on tight. Prepare for the best and the fastest ride. "

Sweet Cheeks Revised Black and White Cookie
Source: Gourmet Magazine and Hemstought's Bakery
Yield: 8 cookies (although you will have frosting left over)

For cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (5 1/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

Chocolate Frosting:
1 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 oz. semisweet chocolate
1 tbsp. butter
2 heaping cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Buttercream Frosting:
3.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
8 tbsp. room temperature butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
4 tbsp. milk
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches at low speed (scraping down side of bowl occasionally), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix until smooth.

Spoon 1/4 cups of batter about 2 inches apart onto a buttered large baking sheet. Bake in middle of oven until tops are puffed and pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 15 to 17 minutes. Transfer with a metal spatula to a rack and chill (to cool quickly), about 5 minutes.

Melt bittersweet and semisweet chocolates and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water over medium heat. Add confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, salt, and 3 tbsp. boiling water and mix to a smooth, stiff paste with a rubber spatula. Thin icing with up to 4 tbsp. more boiling water. Icing should fall from a spoon in thick ribbons. Keep icing warm in a double boiler over low heat.

Put sugar, butter, shortening, milk, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on low speed to mix, then increase to medium and beat until light and fluffy.

Using a metal spatula, spread about 1 tbsp. of warm fudge icing on half of the flat side of each cookie. Spread the other half of each cookie with 1 heaping tbsp. buttercream icing.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hollandaise with a side of egg

I FINALLY saw Julie & Julia. I can't believe it took me so long to see the movie. I was a little surprised that I loved every minute of it. Normally the book is way better than the movie but I liked the movie more than the book in this situation. I thought Meryl Streep played a great Julia Childs. She totally cracked me up!

In the movie Julie makes hollandaise sauce and says something about egg yolks being whipped into submission. Then she and her husband eat artichokes dipped into a bowl of hollandaise. I knew, then, that I had to try making it.

Now is the part where you can give me a dirty look. I didn't use Julia Childs' recipe. I did a quick search and ended up with a Tyler Florence recipe. I kind of have a thing for him. And I trust him.

Hollandaise sauce is amazing...especially when you make it yourself. I poured mine over a poached egg served on asagio toast. Perfection.

Hollandaise Sauce
Source: Tyler Florence
Yield: 4 servings

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
Pinch cayenne
Pinch salt

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ladies Brunch 2009

Every year I cater a brunch for my MIL and her gal pals. For the most part I make the same things. You can read all about them and get the recipes here.

I am reposting this information because these photos are so much better than the ones I did in November 2008. I had a little point and shoot and lacked creativity. These, while not so creative, are much more enticing photos. They better represent the deliciousness that was going on at the ladies brunch.

Those little bubbles you see in the pan...butter and brown sugar having a little party.

This one is the egg bake I make every year. I actually made this on Christmas morning for me and Seth, substituting the sausage for vegan sausage that I made from tempeh.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Garlicky Roasties

Do you like french fries but not the "fry"? How about garlic?

I've made oven fries before but they always end up limp and lifeless. I happened upon this recipe and loved that she added so much garlic to the recipe. I was excited to try it and thought Seth might like it since the potatoes are baked...not fried.

I love these and have made them many times since this first try. They are easy to make (although I warped a plastic bowl in the microwave...use glass...but be careful because it gets hot!) and are wonderfully crispy and flavorful.

Seth wanted to change the name from Garlicky Oven Fries to Garlicky Roasties. He didn't even want FRY in the title. I think the name garlicky roasties is cute and it stuck. We love these!

Garlicky Roasties
Source: Purple Foodie
Yield: 3-4 servings

8 garlic cloves, minced
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 russet potatoes (about 8oz each), each cut into 12 wedges
3 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 225°C/440° F.

2. Combine the garlic and oil in a large bowl, warming it until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Transfer 5 tablespoons of the oil (leaving the garlic in the bowl) to the baking dish, coating it well.

4. Add the potatoes to the bowl with the garlic mixture and toss to coat. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and microwave on high power until the potatoes are translucent around the edges, 3 to 6 minutes, shaking the bowl to redistribute the potatoes halfway through cooking.

5. Combine the cornstarch, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the hot potatoes and toss well to coat.

6. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, until deep golden brown and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.

7. Serve with ketchup, mayo or sour cream.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tofu pudding

I am tsk tsking myself over this post. Do you want to know why?? I made this vegan pudding for Thanksgiving. That is how long it has taken me to upload this photo and write some text. Another reason?...this photo stinks! I'm so sorry readers. You can slap my hand if you think you need to. It wasn't that the pudding wasn't good enough to be here. I just got caught up in some of the other stuff...and I was so disappointed in this photo. This was pre-flash so the lighting really stinks.

I loved this pudding. I really did. I ate for days after it was made. One spoonful here and there. I actually wish I had some for my breakfast right now.

Don't be scared of the tofu, you can't even tell it is in there. It actually enhanced the pudding by making it extra thick and creamy. I love the little hint of spice with the chocolate. Extra yummy. I will definitely make this again!

Vegan Mexican Chocolate Pudding
Source: Stylish Cuisine
Yield: 4-6 servings

3/4 cup sugar
1 pound silken tofu
8 ounces high-quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or more to taste
Chocolate shavings (optional)
In a small pot, combine sugar with 3/4 cup water; bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Put all ingredients except for chocolate shavings in a blender and purée until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down its sides if necessary. Divide among 4 to 6 ramekins and chill for at least 30 minutes. If you like, garnish with chocolate shavings before serving.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Peter's Bagels

A few years ago I gave my sister Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which is quite popular among foodies and bakers lately. She made the bagels and raved about how good they were. I really wanted to try them but didn't have the book.

I finally took the jump and made them. I found a version of Peter's recipe on Smitten Kitchen with lots of notes. I suggest visiting her blog and reading the notes because they helped me a lot. A link to her blog is in the source of the recipe below.

These were awesome. The only thing I would do next time is add more salt to the dough. I added, as you can see, sesame seeds and poppy seeds to the top of my bagels. I loved that they sat overnight so I could bake them in the morning. I ate one straight from the oven and then made one into a breakfast sandwich. Store bought bagels don't even compare to a homemade one fresh from the oven.

**Fake Problems, 1234** "you're a thousand handshakes and hey good jobs"

Source: Smitten Kitchen (adapted from Bread Baker's Apprentice)
Yield: 12 extremely large, 16 regularly large or 24 miniature bagels

1 teaspoon instant yeast
4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour (see note below)
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
3 3/4 cups unbleached high-gluten or bread flour
2 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons malt powder or 1 tablespoon dark or light malt syrup, honey, or brown sugar (see note below)

To Finish
1 tablespoon baking soda

Cornmeal or semolina flour for dusting

Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, rehydrated dried minced garlic or onions (Deb note: this was what I chose, and found the taste very authentic), or chopped onions that have been tossed in oil (optional)

1. Day one: To make the sponge, stir the yeast into the flour in a 4-quart mixing bowl. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky batter (like pancake batter). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the mixture becomes very foamy and bubbly. It should swell to nearly double in size and collapse when the bowl is tapped on the countertop.

2. To make the dough, in the same mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer), add the additional yeast to the sponge and stir. Then add 3 cups of the flour and all of the salt and malt. Stir (or mix on low speed with the dough hook) until the ingredients for a ball, slowly working in the remaining 3/4 cup flour to stiffen the dough.

3. Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for at least 10 minutes (or for 6 minutes by machine). The dough should be firm, stiffer than French bread dough, but still pliable and smooth. There should be no raw flour – all ingredients should be hydrated. The dough should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 71 degrees F. If the dough seems to dry and rips, add a few drops of water and continue kneading. If the dough seems tacky or sticky, add more flour to achieve the stiffness required. The kneaded dough should feel satiny and pliable but not be tacky.

4. Immediately divide the dough into 4 1/2 ounce pieces for standard bagels, or smaller if desired (Deb note: I used 2.25 ounce pieces, and yes, I weighed them because I wanted them to bake evenly). Form the pieces into rolls.

5. Cover the rolls with a damp towel and allow them to rest for approximately 20 minutes.

6. Line 2 sheet pans with baking parchment and mist lightly with spray oil. Proceed with one of the following shaping methods:

Method 1: Poke a hole in a ball of bagel dough and gently rotate your thumb around the inside of the hole to widen it to approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter (half of this for a mini-bagel). The dough should be as evenly stretched as possible (try to avoid thick and thin spots.)

Method 2: Roll out the dough into an 8-inch long rope. (This may require rolling part of the way and resting if the pieces are too elastic and snap back, in which case, allow them to rest for 3 minutes and then extend them again to bring to full length. Wrap the dough around the palm and back of your hand, between the thumb and forefinger, overlapping the ends by several inches. Press the overlapping ends on the counter with the palm of your hand, rocking back and forth to seal.

7. Place each of the shaped pieces 2 inches apart on the pans (Deb note: I got away with 1-inch space for the minis). Mist the bagels very lightly with the spray oil and slip each pan into a food-grade plastic bag, or cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let the pans sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

8. Check to see if the bagels are ready to be retarded in the refrigerator by using the “float test”. Fill a small bowl with cool or room-temperature water. The bagels are ready to be retarded when they float within 10 seconds of being dropped into the water. Take one bagel and test it. If it floats, immediately return the tester bagel to the pan, pat it dry, cover the pan, and place it in the refrigerator overnight (it can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 days). If the bagel does not float. Return it to the pan and continue to proof the dough at room temperature, checking back every 10 to 20 minutes or so until a tester floats. The time needed to accomplish the float will vary, depending on the ambient temperature and the stiffness of the dough.

9. The following day (or when you are ready to bake the bagels), preheat the oven to 500 degrees F with the two racks set in the middle of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to a boil (the wider the pot the better), and add the baking soda (and optionally, a few tablespoons of barley syrup, see Note at the end). Have a slotted spoon or skimmer nearby.

10. Remove the bagels from the refrigerator and gently drop them into the water, boiling only as many as comfortably fit (they should float within 10 seconds). After 1 minutes flip them over rand boil for another minute. If you like very chewy bagels, you can extend the boiling to 2 minutes per side (Deb note: I used the 2 minute option). While the bagels are boiling, sprinkle the same parchment-lined sheet pans with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you decide to replace the paper, be sure to spray the new paper lightly with spray oil to prevent the bagels from sticking to the surface.) If you want to top (see note below) the bagels, do so as soon as they come out of the water. You can use any of the suggestions in the ingredients list or a combination.

11. When all the bagels have been boiled, place the pans on the 2 middle shelves in the oven. Bake for approximately 5 minutes, then rotate the pans, switching shelves and giving the pans a 180-degree rotation. (If you are baking only 1 pan, keep it on the center shelf but still rotate 180 degrees.) After the rotation, lower the oven setting to 450 degrees F and continue baking for about 5 minutes, or until the bagels turn light golden brown. You may bake them darker if you prefer. (Deb note: I actually baked them quite a bit longer, often almost five extra minutes. I judge by color, not internal temperature, in this case. I did not lower the oven temperature because I had multiple batches to bake.)

12. Remove the pans from the oven and let the bagels cool on a rack for 15 minutes or longer before serving.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just say no to boxed muffins

I have a confession to make. Sometimes, on a weekend morning, I feel lazy and I make muffins from a box. It is a terrible thing to do when you love to bake and are actually good at it! I haven't done it in over 6 months and am well on my way to quiting.

Last weekend I really wanted a tart lemon poppy seed muffin. I knew there was a box in the cupboard. I was tempted for a moment but knew that the results of a muffin from scratch would far out weight the energy saved making a batch from a box. To Dorie I went.

Dorie Greenspan always knows what to say to get me back in line. Just looking at her book inspires me and I usually end up making the recipe I went to her for, as well as another. And she didn't let me down with the muffins. They were very lemony which was just what I was looking for. These were a delight and so much better than anything from a box. And they took no time to whip together!

I'm going to introduce something new to the blog here. When I cook/bake I am almost always listening to my iPod or the radio, most of the time singing at the top of my lungs. From time to time I am going to include a note here saying what I was listening to while this recipe was being made. So here is the first:

**Lily Allen, The Fear** "cause I'm killing them all on my own little mission"

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 12 muffins

2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 T poppy seeds

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-3 T fresh lemon juice

To Make the Muffins:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and thefragrance of the lemon strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough-a few lumps are better than over mixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them.

To Make the Icing:
Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and add about 1 1/2 T of the lemon juice. Stir with a spoon to moisten the sugar, then add enough additional lemon juice, a dribble at a time, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizzle from the tip of the spoon. You can then drizzle lines of icing over the tops of the muffins or coat the tops entirely, the better to get an extra zap of lemon.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The New Look

I spent this snowy morning revamping Sweet Cheeks in the Kitchen. It took me quite a while to figure out how to create and change a background. While I'm not super technologically savvy I can get my way around a graphic design program and read HTML a bit. So now that I know how to do it I can change or edit it down the road.

Along the border of the blog you will notice a collage of recipes. These are all recipes handed down (or stolen from my father) from my mother, her mother, and my father's mother. I treasure these and refer to them often. I think this piece adds, for me, something so special to the blog.

You might have also noticed that the header is different. I wanted to come up with a tag line for the blog and mentioned it to Seth. He suggested I write down some lyrics from my favorite bands. I came up with a list and wasn't in love with any of them. A lot of them were about drinking and wasting life away...and you probably know that isn't my take on life. One of my favorites that I chose was from Against Me!, "We can eclipse all that came before us." But then I thought that might be a little deep for my light hearted baking blog. I liked the line from same band, "dance like no one was watching, with one fist in the air" and Seth suggested that I change bake. He is brilliant! I adore the new tag line.

I love my blog. I love the food I make and I love to share with everyone. I hope you enjoy the new look!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Don't know what SMBC is? It took me forever to figure out what that stood for! I was reading this girl's blog about flour frosting and she kept referencing SMBC. Huh? Then it all came together...Swiss Meringue Butter Cream. This is a cheaters way of making something similar to it.

My first attempt at SMBC was for my birthday when I made my own cake. I couldn't believe that I had never had frosting like was amazing. Very light, fluffy, but buttery and devilish. The down side to SMBC is that it is a lengthy and complicated (for some) process. If you want to whip up a batch of frosting for those cupcakes you just made then SMBC isn't the answer. Neither is this one either. It is easy to make but took a bit longer than my standard frostings. This one involves boiling milk and sugar and then letting it cool to room temp. Then whipping it.

Speaking of whipping it...don't be deterred by this frosting if it doesn't come together quickly. My Kitchen Aide was going to town and I checked on it after 2 minutes and all I had was this curdled mess. 2 more minutes...similar situation. At that point I was ready to throw it out and do something different. BUT it does come together after another couple minutes.

The cake part of these beauties is Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake. My prefered chocolate cake recipe.

Source: Obsessed with Baking Blog
Yield: frosts one cake or 24 cupcakes

1 cup milk, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter, cut into tablespoon sized chunks at room temperature, but not too soft

Heat 3/4 cup milk, 1 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a pot over medium heat until sugar is dissolved but do not let it come to a boil.

Make a slurry with the starch and remaining 1/4 cup milk. Stir to get rid of lumps

Pour starch slurry into milk and sugar mixture and continue heating over medium heat. Stir , but not vigorously or else the starch mixture might liquefy. After 1 minute, tiny bubbles will appear on the side and mixture should thicken. Continue heating for 1-2 minutes to get cook out the flour taste. Mixture should be thickened by now. Don't let mixture come to a rolling boil or else the starch granules might break.

Pour thickened mixture into a bowl of standing mixer and cool until room temperature by leaving it out on the counter or in the fridge for 1 hour. Don't let it get cold or else it will take forever for the butter to incorporate with the mixture.

Cut butter into tablespoon chunks. On medium low speed, add the butter by the tablespoon until it is all incorporated. Increase the speed to medium or medium high and beat until it comes together (approx 5 minutes). During these 5 minutes, the frosting is going to transform from a curdled mess into a fluffy and soft frosting. If it takes a longer time to come together, just be patient and continue whipping until it gets fluffy.

Add vanilla and continue mixing at low speed for 1 minute.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cod and Shrimp Stoup with Salt and Vinegar Mashed Potatoes

Sounds weird doesn't it? Lets discuss the oddities:

a. Stoup. WTF is that?! Some of you may know that this term comes from Rachael Ray. A combination of stew and soup. It has a brothiness to it but it has a lot of chunks of good stuff...white fish and shrimp.

b. Salt and vinegar mashed potatoes? Ew? Nope. Yum. I swear to you, this is good. My husband even liked them and he is the pickiest eater I've had to cook for. The vinegar gives the potatoes a nice kick.

Rachael are nutty but I do enjoy your recipes!

Cod-and-Shrimp Stoup with Salt-and-Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
Source: Rachael Ray
Yield: 4 servings

4 large baking potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 to 4 ribs celery from the heart, with leafy greens, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
One 14.5-ounce can diced or stewed tomatoes
1-1/2 pounds thick cod fillets, cut into chunks
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons butter

1.In a deep pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain.

2.In a Dutch oven or a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the EVOO, 3 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and lemon peel; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions are softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth and the tomatoes with their juice; bring to a simmer. Add the cod in a single layer, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Gently stir in the shrimp; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until the cod and shrimp are just opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice; discard the bay leaf.

3.Mash the potatoes with the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, the vinegar and butter; season with salt.

4.To serve, mound the potatoes into shallow bowls. Ladle the stoup around the potatoes.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

African Peanut Stew

Did you make the new year's resolution to eat more healthy? How about get fit? Or maybe just eat more vegetables. This dish will satisfy all of those in one. It is healthy, nearly fat free, full of veggies...hence full of vitamins.

Oh, and it is a cinch to make.

The first time I had this a coworker had made it in her crockpot. You could definitely do that. I chose to make mine in my cast iron pot which I use all.the.time. I served mine over rice but if you are cutting carbs for that resolution then you could just enjoy the stew itself.

And if you want to make your coworkers stomachs growl, bring the leftovers for lunch and heat it up in the community microwave. The smell of curry and ginger is really enticing!

African Peanut Stew

Source: Coworker
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion (about 2 medium)
1 1/4 cups finely chopped green bell pepper (about 1 large)
1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 medium)
1/2 cup chopped celery (about 2 medium stalks)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bay leaf
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 12 ounces)
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame
1/4 cup creamy or crunchy natural peanut butter or almond butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
Coarsely ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and next 3 ingredients (onion through celery); sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic, ginger and curry powder; sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute (do not brown garlic). Add tomatoes and bay leaf; cook, uncovered, until tomatoes are slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

3. Add broth and sweet potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 8 minutes. Add edamame and peanut butter; stir to combine. Add cilantro and spinach; cook until thoroughly heated and spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

To me, there is no bread greater for toast than homemade cinnamon raisin bread. I've tried buying packaged bread for a quick and easy breakfast. Nope. Some are sliced so thin that to get it toasty it ends up burning the edges. Others are bland. And not to mention, expensive!

Now this bread, this makes fabulous toast. (It's also wonderful fresh from the oven!) It has a great balance of cinnamon and raisins. The dough has eggs in it so the bread is more rich. The crust is great too, you brush it with egg white and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar prior to baking. Yum.

On the rare occasion that this bread lasts longer than a day or two I use it to make fresh toast. That, my friends, is a great breakfast.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Source: Old Fashioned Favorites
Yield: One loaf

1 package active yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 t. sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water
2 eggs, divided
3-3 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
2/3 cup warm milk
3 T butter, room temp
1 t vanilla
3/4 cup raisins
1 T cinnamon
1 T butter, melted
1 T water

Proof yeast by sprinkling dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over warm water. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes.

Separate one egg. Refrigerate white and set yolk aside.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar and salt in large bowl. Gradually beat yeast mixture, warm milk, and butter into flour mixture at low speed. Increase to medium and beat 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add whole egg, yolk and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes. Stir in raisins and about 1 1/2 cups flour with wooden spoon. Turn out dough and knead about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth. You may need to add more flour here.

Shape dough into ball and allow to rise, covered with towel, for 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and let rest 10 minutes. Grease bread pan. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Roll dough into 20x9 rectangle. Brush with 1 T melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Roll up dough, starting at shorter side. Pinch ends and seam to seal. Place in loaf pan and allow to rise about an hour.

Brush loaf with egg white mixed with 1 T water and sprinkle with a bit more cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Portabella Sandwich

Hi friends.

Do you like mushrooms? How about fresh, warm, crusty rolls? Yes? Herbed Boursin cheese? Now I have your attention?

I saw this recipe in Hannaford's Fresh Magazine which you can get for free at any Hannaford supermarket. For the most part I skim through their magazine. Not too much for a vegetarian in there. The recipe defintiely caught my attention and I am so glad it did!

Grilled ciabatta rolls with marinated and grilled portobello mushrooms, boursin cheese and baby arugula. Oh yes. I loved these as did my husband. I served ours with oven fries. A healthy vegetarian meal.

Grilled Portabella Sandwich with Arugula
Source: Hannaford FRESH Magazine
Yield: 4 sandwiches

2 T fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 large portabella mushrooms, stems removed
4 ciabatta rolls
1 package garlic and herb cheese (I used Boursin)
2 cups baby arugula or watercress

Combine oil, lemon, garlic and S&P in small bowl. Place mushrooms in large pan and pour marinade over them. Allow to stand at room temp for 10-15 minutes.

Grill mushrooms until charred and tender, 4-6 minutes per side. Grill rolls. Spread cheese on one half of rolls. Thinly slice mushrooms and top cheese with them followed by the greens.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Apple Crisp

This is an old post. I had been sitting on it since the fall waiting to transcribe the recipe from my cookbook. A snowy night in front of the fire is the perfect time to transcribe recipes.

I made this apple crisp in the fall after picking up some apples with my family. Normally I would pick the apples myself but it was a cold and windy fall day and we had Catie (age 3) with us and purchasing already picked apples was definitely the way to go. I certainly make apple crisp every fall and love this recipe. I love the spice and oats in the topping. Pure comfort.

Apple Crisp
Source: Adapted from Better Homes and Garden
Yield: 6 servings

5-6 cups peeled and sliced apples
3 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup butter

Toss together sugar and apples and place in baking dish. Combine oats, brown sugar, flour, and spices. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Blizzard like conditions

We are experiencing blizzard like conditions in Maine tonight. It has been snowing since Friday afternoon. Luckily Seth has a new job so he doesn't have to be out plowing, we have a warm home full of food and two lucky little animals. Boyd loves to lay in front of the fire.

Happy New Year friends!