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Monthly Archives: September 2008

Lots of Food!

So, I have been home for a long time. This whole month actually. I didn’t take pictures of everything I made but anything new, I got pics of. I had a bunch of bell peppers in my garden this year so I decided to pick them and make some stuffed bell peppers. I chose to make cheese scalloped potatoes along with it. They were really really good. I followed both recipes pretty much exactly. They were both recipes from Emeril Lagasse.

Mr. John’s Meat-Stuffed Bell Peppers

* 6 green bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
* 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 1/2 pound ground pork
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
* Pinch red pepper flakes
* 2 cups cooked long or medium-grain white rice
* 8 ounces tomato sauce
* Water

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell peppers and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, pork, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced, not rinsed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook onion in butter until soft, add flour and cook for 2 minutes, whisking. Whisk in milk and cook until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and add 3/4 cup of cheese, stirring until melted; season with salt and pepper. Layer half of potatoes in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with half of sauce. Layer remaining potato slices on top of sauce and season. Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.


Next, I made some carrot cupcakes from scratch along with cream cheese frosting. I didn’t really like the way they came out but I took pictures of them anyways so I will post the recipe here as well. For me, the cupcakes were too oily. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I changed the recipe into cupcakes… I am not sure. The frosting was mighty good tho!

Carrot Cake

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

Show: Good Eats Episode: Carrots: A Taproot Orange

  • Unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
  • 12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
  • 2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 ounces plain yogurt
  • 6 ounces vegetable oil
  • Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.

With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese

2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Yield: approximately 2 cups

Today I made Alton Brown’s 40 Cloves and a Chicken Recipe. Carter helped me smash the garlic cloves to take off the paper on the outside. I butchered a whole chicken, (thanks to Bean for the video for that!) and roasted it for a good hour and 15 minutes with the garlic and thyme according to the recipe. Then Ashlee and I took the chicken apart for the pot pie casserole.

40 Cloves and a Chicken

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Show: Good Eats Episode: In The Bulb of the Night (Garlic)

  • 1 whole chicken (broiler/fryer) cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 40 peeled cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss with a 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown on both sides in a wide fry pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add oil, thyme, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove chicken from the oven, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, carve, and serve.

Curry Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown

Show: Good EatsEpisode: Casserole Over

  • 4 cups frozen vegetable mix, peas, carrots
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 package puff pastry

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss frozen vegetables with canola oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place into oven and cook until golden brown.

In a saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. In another saucepan, heat the broth and milk. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and curry and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk mixture and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Toss the browned vegetables and the chicken. Pour into a shallow baking pan, or a large terra cotta pot base, lined with foil, and top with 6 to 8 circles of puff pastry. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

This is the leftover garlic from the roasting. I am not sure what I am going to do with it yet but Bean gave me some good ideas!

This is all that is left of the casserole. Everyone seemed to like it alot! I am very happy about that for sure. I also made some chocolate chip oatmeal raisin cookies from a recipe out of my Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies.

Favorite Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate covered raisins

For oat flour, place 1/2 cup of the rolled oats into a blender or 1 whole cup into a food processor. Cover and blend or process til the oats turn into a powder. Transfer to a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium high for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in the oat flour and AP flour. Stir in the remaining cup of rolled oats and the walnuts and raisins with a wooden spoon.

Drop the dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Makes about 36 cookies.


Bean brought up a good point. If the cookies are warm when you put them in the oven, they will spread. I have had this problem with doughs before at other times. I think if the dough is refrigerated for a couple of hours at least before you bake them off, they will not spread so much. I noted it in my cookbook so I wanted to note it here as well. With the chicken pie, I used Pillsbury Grands flaky biscuits on the top instead of puff pastry. They were yummy. I didn’t use the curry in the recipe either… instead, I added some of the roasted garlic cloves to the celery and onion mixture before I put in the milk mixture.
We are going apple picking tomorrow so I will probably be making some fun things with apples next week! 😀

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Posted by on September 28, 2008 in General Food, Meals!, The Bakery!

 

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Good Eats.

So, after destroying our External Hard Drive tonight I figured I should just update my blog and go to bed.

Last week, Ashlee and I baked cupcakes for no reason at all. I did chocolate with peanut butter chips and some with M&Ms . I iced them white and called it a day.

My mother in law called me the next day and told me that she couldn’t get a ladybug cake for my sister in law’s birthday. I told her I had the cupcakes and I would make them into ladybugs if she wanted me to. She called me back a bit later and said that if I wanted to make the ladybugs I could but she found a cake! So, I decided making ladybugs would be fun. Ashlee and I went to Michaels and we got some spray on red food coloring and some more icing for them. We also picked up some black edible glitter that was pretty cool. We sprayed all the white cupcakes and then added black frosting for the dots and the eyes. The antennae are made of purple melting chocolate we piped onto some wax paper and let set.

They came out really cute but I feel like I can do better so I will try again another time.

Yesterday Ashlee and I decided that since Carter was coming home soon, we should make some good food for him. We made some Chili (which is not done yet so there will be no pics of that right now) and some chicken parmesan meatball subs. Both are Rachael Ray recipes and both are delicious. I changed a few things about both recipes as well.

Chicken Parm Meatball Subs
Adapted from Rachael Ray’s cookbook “2,4,6,8 Great Meals for Couples or Crowds”

1 1/2 pounds ground chicken
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup italian-style bread crumbs
a handful of chopped parsley leaves
3 Tbsp EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil – (for liberal drizzling)
4 6-8 inch crusty sub rolls
1 1/2 cups provolone cheese, shredded

(I used mozzarella cheese. I am also not going to put in her recipe for tomato sauce. I suggest you use a can of tomato sauce (plain) seasoned to your preferences. It will be much better than the sauce she wants you to use.)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Place the chicken in a bowl and season it with the grill seasoning. Add the egg, half the parmesan cheese, the bread crumbs, parsley, and a serious drizzle of EVOO. Combine the mixture and form 12 large meatballs ( We did ours about the size of golf balls and did NOT flatten them. they cooked pretty fast and we got about 16 meatballs out of it). Place them on a baking sheet (use foil on the baking sheet to make cleanup easy!) Squish the balls into mini oval meat loaf shapes. Be careful not to form the balls wider than your bread. The flattened balls will stay put on your sub, no roll-aways! Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes, or until just golden and firm. Switch the broiler on.

To build your sub, first toast the rolls in the broiler til they are golden. Then add the meatballs to the sauce and stir it around. Place the sauce covered meatballs onto the bread and add the rest of the parmesan and some provolone or mozzarella on top of the meatballs. Stick them back into the broiler until the cheese is melted. Pour the leftover sauce into a bowl and serve for dipping at the table.

Finished product!

Chili pics and recipe to be posted tomorrow! Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2008 in General Food, Meals!, The Bakery!

 

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Cuppycakes!

So for the last thing I made while Alegni was here, I decided to go easy. I made some Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes from my A Bakers Field Guide to Cupcakes book. I did it the easy way however and used a nice Betty Crocker yellow cake mix. Do yourself a favor and just follow the directions on the back of the box. I will post the recipe for the pineapple topping and if anyone is interested in the cupcake batter recipe the book gives, I can type that up for you if you message me!

Pineapple topping:
6 Tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups canned pineapple chunks packed in juice, drained
9 maraschino cherries, halved

Heavily coat the insides of one 12 cup and one 6 cup cupcake tin with nonstick cooking spray.
Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar bubbles. Divide the sugar amongst the cupcake wells.
Slice each fan shaped chunk of pineapple in half so that you end up with thinner fan shaped chunks. Place 4 of these pieces evenly over the butter sugar mixture with the broader rounded part of the fan along the rounded edge of the well. Press half a cherry, rounded side down, into the center.
Divide the cupcake batter evenly over the pineapple topping. Bake for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on pans on top of racks for 5 minutes. (I did this with the first pan and some of the sugar and pineapple stayed in the pans… I would wait 8 minutes or so before trying to take them out. ) Run a small icing spatula or thin bladed knife around cupcakes and invert over a jelly roll type pan. If any of the topping sticks to the tins, simply remove with a spoon and place on top of cupcakes. Cupcakes are now ready to serve.

I love these cupcakes. They are the most delicious ones that I have made lately for sure. I love how different they are and how pretty they come out, even when the topping sticks to the bottom of the pan and I have to spoon it out!

From Food!
From Food!

I forgot to say that I added a 1/2 cup of coconut to the cake mix!! If you use a boxed cake mix, you will have 6 more cupcakes as well. I just put liners in the 2nd 6 wells on the 2nd pan and bake off the cupcakes that way. They are pretty good, even without icing. If you want to, you can try to do the math and make more of the pineapple topping than the recipe calls for. The coconut goes really well with the pineapple topping tho!

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2008 in General Food, The Bakery!

 

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