Monthly Archives: November 2008


So, since bfzzzzz asked me to put less recipes per post, I decided to make this one separate from the baked one. I made a simple dinner tonight but the recipe for the potatoes was good so I figured I would post it here. I made broccoli, roasted in a foil pouch with a little butter and salt and pepper. Also, a ribeye steak, mushrooms with onions and garlic, baked mashed potatoes, and garlic butter crescent rolls.
Most of these things are simple. I have posted my mushroom recipe before so I wont bother writing all that out and the steak just had some olive oil and salt and pepper on it when I cooked it. The crescent rolls were courtesy of the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

The real star here was supposed to be the potatoes. Giada DiLaurentiis made this on the food network Thanksgiving special I was watching yesterday and they looked yummy. Mine came out delicious but they needed more of something. Something spicy or salty – maybe crumbled bacon. It is a good base recipe for mashed potatoes tho!

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs

Recipe courtesy: Giada De Laurentiis
Show: Everyday Italian Episode: Just for Two


* 1 tablespoon butter
* 4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
* 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.

Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

This was a simple recipe and it makes a BUNCH of potatoes! Enjoy!!

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Posted by on November 22, 2008 in General Food, Meals!


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Baked goods

I made two different baked items in the past week or so. The first was a crumb cake cupcake with a strawberry filling called “Breakfast in Bed” cupcakes. The second I made just today: Alton Brown’s recipe for graham crackers.

The “Breakfast in Bed” cupcakes are from theA Bakers Field Guide to Cupcakes book.

The Crumb Cake Cupcakes

Ingredients for Streusel:
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (a stick)
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Pinch of salt
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Ingredients for Cupcakes:
* 18 paper liners
* 2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* Pinch of Salt
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
* 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup sour cream
* 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries or nuts finely chopped

To make the streusel, in a large bowl, stir together melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until well combined. Stir in flour until smooth. Mixture should clump and form crumbs when squeezed between the fingertips. Set aside.

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in all wells of one 12-cup and one 6-cup cupcake tin.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in extracts. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with the sour cream. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Stop when there are streaks of flour still in the bowl. At this point, you can add any fruit or nuts you wish. If you are making the Breakfast in Bed version, do not add fruit to the mixture.

To make them Breakfast in Bed cupcakes, fill the cupcake wells a 1/4 of the way with batter and then place a teaspoon of your favorite jelly in the center. Cover with the remaining batter and then top with the streusel. Bake for about 22 minutes. When you test it, make sure you do not test it where the jelly is, you won’t get an accurate reading! When finished and completely cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

These photos were taken of the very last cupcake last night. It had been a few days since I made them but they were still the best cupcakes I have ever made probably.

The second thing I made today actually. I had to look all over town to find the graham flour for this recipe. Laurgasms found it at pretty fast but I didn’t want to pay the shipping unless it was absolutely necessary! I finally found it at a natural food store here in town.

Graham Crackers
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008
Show: Good Eats Episode: Flat is Beautiful: Going Crackers

* 8 3/8 ounces graham flour
* 1 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour
* 3 ounces dark brown sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
* 2 1/4 ounces molasses
* 1 1/2 ounces whole milk
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place both flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the molasses, milk and vanilla extract and process until the dough forms a ball, approximately 1 minute. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Slide the rolled dough and parchment paper onto a half sheet pan. Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and cut the dough, using a rolling pizza cutter into 2-inch square pieces, by making vertical and then horizontal cuts all the way across the dough. Trim off any excess. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the dough. Leave the crackers on the pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 minutes or until the edges just start to darken. Remove from the oven, set the sheet pan with the crackers on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once completely cool, break into individual crackers and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Yeah, its blurry.

So Yummy!

OMG Flash!

No flash is worse!

That’s a keeper!

I do not own a food processor large enough for this recipe. I only have a small prep one that I got at the grocery store. Needless to say, I had to do all the mixing and stuff by hand but it was not that bad. I used my fingers to break up the butter and mix it til it looked like cornmeal. I whisked the dry ingredients together with a whisk. Carter helped me out by mixing with his hands as well. It was pretty simple to do and they totally taste so much better than the graham crackers from a box. I was surprised at how similar they tasted although these were much fresher and more flavorful. I totally recommend them to anyone that likes to bake or even to a beginner. They are awesome and easy.

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Posted by on November 22, 2008 in The Bakery!


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Mushies and Asparagus

So today, on the advice of Thorn, I attempted my first ever risotto. I was a little intimidated because while the food I make looks awesome and is delicious, most of the recipes are really simple. I chose this recipe because Thorn said it was super awesome and easy. It is a recipe from Alton Brown (who I love, if you couldn’t already tell). I took a lot of pictures of this one because I thought they would look different between the additions of liquid. You can tell me if it does or not 😛

Wild Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005
Show: Good Eats Episode: Do The Rice Thing


* 6 cups chicken broth
* 1 cup dry white wine
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 cup finely chopped onion
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 2 cups Arborio rice
* 5 ounces wild mushrooms, cooked and coarsely chopped, approximately 3/4 cup
* 7 ounces asparagus, cooked and cut into 1-inch pieces, approximately 1 1/2 cups
* 2 ounces grated Parmesan, approximately 1/2 cup
* 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


In an electric kettle or medium saucepan with a lid, combine chicken broth and white wine and heat just to simmering. Keep warm.

In a large 3 to 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and sweat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the grains are translucent around the edges. Be careful not to allow the grains or the onions to brown.

Reduce the heat to low. Add enough of the wine and chicken stock just to cover the top of the rice. Stir or move the pan often, until the liquid is completely absorbed into rice. Once absorbed, add another amount of liquid just to cover the rice and continue stirring or moving as before. There should be just enough liquid left to repeat 1 more time. It should take approximately 35 to 40 minutes for all of the liquid to be absorbed. After the last addition of liquid has been mostly absorbed, add the mushrooms and asparagus and stir until risotto is creamy and asparagus is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Taste and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

*Cook’s Note: If fresh wild mushrooms are not available, reconstituted dried mushrooms can be used instead. Place 2 ounces of dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow to sit for about 30 minutes or until all the mushrooms are soft and pliable.

*After the first addition of liquid*

*The extras waiting to get mixed in*

*The Chicken Stock/Wine mixture*

*After the 2nd addition of liquid*

*3rd addition of liquid*


*Carter’s plate*

*My Plate*

I loved the way this tasted. It took about an hour for all the liquid to be absorbed properly. While I waited for that to happen, I roasted the asparagus and the mushrooms (I used baby portobello’s because they were on sale at the store) in the oven on 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Then I put a chicken breast on that same pan when the veggies were done and cooked that for 20-25 minutes with some olive oil and Montreal Chicken Seasoning on it. The chicken was delicious and I mixed mine into my risotto so that made it even better. I didn’t add the nutmeg to the dish because I really just don’t like nutmeg. I put half as much lemon zest in because the lemon I had only gave me that much. The recipe says to not let the onions or rice to brown at all but my stove is touchy and I ended up browning both just a little bit. It still turned out ok, it just was a little brownish in color and had bits of brown in it. I don’t think it affected the taste of the risotto too much though. It took a long time to make and I think it was worth it. I will probably make this again at some point!

Happy Eating!

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Posted by on November 16, 2008 in General Food, Meals!



Alright. I tried a bunch of recipes since the last time I posted. Sangria Shrimp, Chicken Cacciatore Subs, Roasted Tomato and Spinach Salad, Roasted Mushroom Pasta with Prosciutto. I liked all of the dishes except the Sangria Shrimp. I think that if you really like to drink Sangria, you will love this meal. I do not like Sangria all that much so the flavors were lost on me. I tried it basically because it looked different and the recipe was from Guy Fieri. I have been meaning to try more of his dishes. I think I just chose poorly that time. OK! On to the recipes!

Sangria Shrimp
Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri
Show: Guy’s Big Bite Episode: Sangria Shrimp

* 3/4 cup red wine
* 1/4 cup apple juice
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 1/4 cup sherry
* 2 tablespoons brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons honey
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 3 tablespoons cold water

For the Prawns:
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1/2 cup diced red onion
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1 apple, cored, diced
* 1 pound shrimp (21 to 25 count), cleaned and deveined
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* Sprigs fresh mint

For the glaze: In a small sauce pot add all ingredients except cornstarch and water. On medium-low heat, simmer and reduce mixture by 1/3. In small sauce bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Then whisk this into the hot mixture. Turn heat to low and simmer until reduced by half.

For the prawns: In medium saute pan add butter and oil. When butter is melted add onions and peppers. Cook until translucent but not to achieve color. Add apples and prawns, and cook until prawns turn pink. Toss with paprika and glaze. (I added half a bag of frozen broccoli to this as well. It was a yummy addition.)

Garnish with fresh mint.

I did everything pretty much exactly as the instructions called to. I did not add the paprika because I forgot about it and I didn’t put the mint on top. It was just too sweet for me. My husband really liked it but agreed that it wasn’t something he wanted me to make for him again.

Pics of the food!!

Served Over Rice:

The Completed Dish:

On to the next dish. I made Rachael Ray’s Chicken Cacciatore from her Chicken Cacciatore Subs recipe. I LOVED this so very much that I want everyone to go out and try it. I put it on top of some Angel Hair pasta instead of putting it in a sub roll. The only thing I would change about it is that I would have cut the veggies and chicken into pieces that were bite sized instead of long strips. This would have made them easier to eat and cook!

Chicken Cacciatore Subs
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Show: 30 Minute Meals Episode: Dinner Theater

* 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ounces each
* Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
* Grill seasoning blend, or salt and pepper
* 4 sub rolls, split
* 2 cloves garlic, cracked away from skins
* 1 teaspoon red crushed pepper flakes
* 2 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced
* 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
* 1 large onion, white or brown skinned, sliced
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/3 palm full
* 1/2 cup dry red wine or stock — chicken or beef flavor (I used the chicken stock leftover from
something else and added a splash of red wine to that.)
* 1 (14-ounce) can, crushed tomatoes
* 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
* 1/3 pound deli sliced provolone (I used Mozzarella because that is what I had!)

Heat a grill pan or large skillet. Drizzle chicken with oil, to cover,and season with grill seasoning blend or salt and pepper. Grill or pan-fry 6 minutes on each side.

Heat broiler, lightly toast rolls on cookie sheet and remove.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, mushrooms, peppers, onions and oregano. Saute veggies and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then deglaze the pan with wine or stock. Pick up tasty bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or heat safe spatula. Add tomatoes and parsley to the sauce. Slice chicken breasts on an angle and set into sauce. Pile chicken and veggies into sub rolls and cover with sliced provolone. Melt cheese under hot broiler. Serve.

Obviously, instead of the rolls, I did the pasta while the chicken was sauteeing. It wasn’t a big deal and it had plenty of sauciness for pasta. I cannot stop talking about how much I loved this dish. I cooked this one with a few friends watching me on Skype while I was doing it. I always like to have someone in the kitchen to talk to me while I am cooking! 😀
My Pics of this dish:

Ok, the final dish was the Roasted Mushroom Pasta with Prosciutto and Roasted Tomato and Spinach Salad. I have to type this recipe by hand so I hope I can do the formatting the same way the Food Network does theirs!

Roasted Mushroom Pasta with Prosciutto
Courtesy of Rachael Ray’s cookbook
2,4,6,8 Great Meals for Couples or Crowds

* Salt
* 1 1/2 pounds bowtie pasta (farfalle) – (I used one pound and I fed 3 people with enough for a
lunch the next day leftover)
* 6 large portobello mushrooms (I used 3, I would say go for the 6 if you like mushies)
* 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
* Black Pepper
* 5 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 3 tablespoons cold butter
* 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped (I used one bunch and it was PLENTY)
* 12 slices prosciutto di Parma, cut into strips
* 1 cup Parmegiano-Reggiano, plus more to pass at the table (I just used Kraft Parmesan :P)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Bring a large covered pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. Once it is boiling, salt the water, add the pasta, and cook the pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
While the water is heating, place the portobello mushrooms on a cookie sheet and drizzle both sides with extra virgin olive oil. Roast the mushrooms until they are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven, season with salt and pepper and slice them. Set the mushrooms aside.
Drain the pasta and return the pot to the stove over medium high heat. Add the 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil and the garlic and cook until the garlic is golden. Add the white wine and the reserved pasta cooking liquid, a little salt, and a lot of freshly ground pepper. Return the pasta to the pot along with the slices of mushrooms and stir to combine them. Turn the heat off, add the butter, parsley and prosciutto and grated cheese and stir til the butter is melted and everything is mixed thoroughly. Serve immediately with more cheese to pass at the table.

I really liked this recipe as well. One warning tho. If there is ANY water in the pasta pot when you return it to the stove, wait a couple of seconds for it to dry up because if you add the oil to the pot with any water in it, it splatters hot oil all over the stove. Learned that one the hard way.

Roasted Tomato and Spinach Salad
(from the same section of the Rachael Ray cookbook)

* 2 pints red or yellow cherry tomatoes
* 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil plus some for drizzling
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* Leaves from 6 fresh Thyme sprigs, coarsely chopped (I didn’t add this because the market didn’t
have any that day)
* 1 shallot, finely chopped
* 2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
* 2 pounds prewashed spinach leaves (I used baby spinach to avoid having to take the stems off)
* 2 Belgian Endives, leaves separated from the core then thickly sliced
* 3/4 of a pound of Gorgonzola Cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Spread the tomatoes evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle them with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil and season them with salt and pepper and the thyme. Toss them around to make sure all the tomatoes get coated. (I used the same pan I had the mushrooms on to roast the tomatoes. They took about the same amount of time to roast) Roast the tomatoes until they start to flirt with bursting. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for a bit.
While the tomatoes are roasting, combine the shallots, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl and add a little salt and pepper. Whisk in the 1/3 cup of oil in a slow steady stream.
Combine the spinach and endive in a salad bowl with the roasted tomatoes. Crumble the cheese over the salad then add the mustard-lemon dressing. Toss the salad again, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

While I was typing up this recipe, I realized that the reason I thought there was too much dressing on the salad when I ate it was because I left out the endive. I don’t care for the bitterness of endive leaves and there were no good ones at the store that day anyway. I also totally did not add any cheese. If I had, the dressing probably would have been perfect. It was a delicious salad anyway, just had a bit too much dressing.

My Pics of both:

That’s all for now. I am about to go make myself a box of mac and cheese for dinner tonight because Carter isn’t home. I plan to make some wild mushroom risotto using Alton Brown’s recipe in the near future. Also, I plan to try to make some graham crackers with a recipe he posted as well. It is damn near impossible to find graham flour in Bakersfield tho. FTW!

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Posted by on November 15, 2008 in General Food, Meals!


Solstice Burgers

I made solstice’s stuffed BBQ burgers again tonight. Only one of them split this time! WOO! The recipe can be found here:

I love these burgers. I didn’t mix anything with the meat this time, just formed the patties and filled them. They were super delicious and I totally used ground sirloin instead of 80/20 because I wanted it to be a little bit healthier. I also made roasted broccoli and ABC tater tots! Enjoy!!

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Posted by on November 4, 2008 in General Food, Meals!