Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

I've been enjoying making this easy pasta sauce. It's more like a pesto, without the basil. Roast 2 heads of garlic in the oven with some olive oil. When done, pop the cloves out of the skins into a food processor with about 1 1/2 cups sun dried tomatoes (without oil), 3/4 cups parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup olive oil and blitz. (Note, I don't really measure this, I just dump.)

Cook your pasta. This time it was a whole wheat linguini. SAVE about a cup of the pasta water before draining. I always forget to do this, and I recently heard the suggestion to put your measuring cup in/near the strainer so you don't forget.

Toss the sauce with the warm pasta and add the pasta water as needed to get it the consistency that you desire. It will be more chunky than creamy smooth, but it coats the pasta into a nice orange with lovely flavorful bits. I add a few pine nuts and top with a bit more cheese before serving.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cookie Dough Brownies

Two doughs converged in a yellow kitchen.......

This is the brownie recipe that I made last week for Carrie's shower. I came across it at Bakerella and made a few slight changes. It consists of 2 mixes and a bit of chocolate ganache. Easiest! Recipe! Ever!

You need a Betty Crocker Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix and a brownie mix that is for a 13 x 9 pan. I like the Betty Crocker Triple Chunk mix.

Make the batter for both mixes according to package directions in separate bowls. Use the 2 egg version for the brownies.

Grease the 13 x 9 pan. Spread the brownie mix into the pan. Then dab the cookie dough over top in big spoonfuls. Bake at 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for about an hour.

To make the ganache: Heat 3/4 cup of heavy cream and 4 Tablespoons butter until the butter melts and the cream just starts to have bubbles on the edge. Do not boil. Put one package of semi sweet chocolate chips into a bowl and pour the hot cream over it. Let it set for several minutes until the chocolate melts. Stir together until smooth.

Pour the ganache over the brownies and spread evenly. Put into the refrigerator until the ganache is firm before cutting.

These brownies taste so yummy no one will look down on you for using a mix to make them! Beyond yummy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lemon Fennel Chicken Tortellini Soup

If I have a roast chicken, I usually make soup with the bones. No special recipe, just throw in whatever is leftover in the fridge.

I pick off any larger bits of chicken off the bones and set them aside for later to add to the soup. Then I throw the bones into a large pan with water and salt. This time I added large chunks of onion and some leftover fennel tops. (If I have carrots and celery, I'd throw that as well.) I also added chunks of lemon - I like how it brightens up the flavor!

Simmer until it tastes "brothy" - this time I simmered for 2 hours. I strain out all the bones and vegetables and toss them - most of the flavor has been boiled away. Add more salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. If I don't want to eat immediately, I might refrigerate and then skim some of the fat off of the top.

This time I cooked some dried tortellini in boiling water until al dente. Drain and set aside. (Don't put these into the soup until you are ready to serve. They tend to grow like sponges and soak up all the broth! Trust me on this one!) I added the chicken pieces, green onion, the tortellini to the heated broth, and added some bits of fennel top to soup before serving. Also, add a squeeze of lemon juice if you want a more distinct lemon flavor.

This is the first time I made chicken soup with the tortellini and it definitely was a winner!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Springtime in a Jar

Two bunches of daffs from Trader Joes
for $3 total
3 days of springtime
in a jar

About my vintage sheet quilt here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shopathon at Twelve Oaks Mall

Haven't been shopping at Twelve Oak in Novi in ages. Nice way to spend a vacation day.

Lunch stop at Cafe Bistro in Nordstroms. Wonderful turkey, Brie, bacon, and pear panini. Don't often get fries - these were wonderful. The pink sauce was some Kalamata olive sauce that was "different."

Cupcakes for dessert from Just Baked. Opted for coconut - yum. Heard they have a place at the food court at Somerset, which is more temptation than I need. (Ooh, and just checked their map, they have a location on Woodward, in Royal Oak. How did I miss that one??)

And the highlight - playing with an iPad! Looking forward to getting one of my own! -- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

No Knead Orange Cranberry Bread

Easiest. Bread. Ever. It takes less than 5 minutes to throw the flour, yeast, water, and goodies into a bowl. Let it sit overnight. Shape into a ball for a second rise. Throw it into a Dutch oven and bake. The end result is a rustic bread with a crusty outside and a tender interior. Too yummy!

I've seen this recipe pop up on different sites, but it was the Raisin Walnut recipe on Shutterbean that I was following for inspiration. I used dried cranberries instead and some small diced candied orange peel. I would think adding some microplaned fresh orange peel might work, too, but I haven't tried it. Amounts I listed are approximate - I just kinds threw in the cranberries, nuts, and orange peel.

No Knead Orange Cranberry Bread

3 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, broken into large pieces
1/4 cup dried candied orange peel, diced in small squares
1/2 teaspoon instant or dry active yeast
1 and 1/2 cups water

1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon, cranberries, walnuts, orange peel, and yeast. Add the water and stir with a large spoon until blended into a sticky dough. Add a bit more water if dry. Cover the bowl with a towel and let sit overnight (12 - 16 hours). The dough will rise and be bubbly.

2. Scrape the dough together into a ball. Take a tea towel and dust it generously with corn meal. Drop the dough into the towel and gently fold the tea towel around the dough so it is coated (so it won't stick to the towel). Roll the dough loosely in the towel and let it rise another couple hours. If you make an indentation with your finger and it stays indented, it has risen enough.

3. About a half hour before baking, preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Place a covered 4 to 5 quart dutch oven or similar pot in the oven to preheat.

4. Remove the pot from the oven. Carefully invert the dough into the pot. (I haven't found the secret for doing this yet and keeping the round shape - my bread just goes somewhat flat.) Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for a few more minutes until the bread is brown. Remove the bread from the pot and cool on a baking rack.

And here is the book that features no knead recipes:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Maggiano's $40 Meal for Two

Lovely Easter meal with my friend Andrea at Maggiano's. Appetizer, 2 main courses, and 4 mini desserts.

These zucchini fries crusted with Parmesan were mighty good.

Cedar planked salmon with orzo with pine nuts.

Chicken and mushroom lasagna.

And 4 mini desserts. All delicious!!

-- Post From My iPhone


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