Friday, May 27, 2011

Catching up....

On things that I should have posted last week or the week before!

A few Sunday's ago we had friends over for brunch, so this post will be a long one, but it is jam packed full of delicious things.  I thought I would start the post off with some beautiful flowers that I got for the occasion.  The Lilies aren't in full bloom in this shot, but a few days later they were.

Also I got a new flour sifter, and I was really excited about that, even though it's silly.

So I sifted my flour thoroughly.  Then added the yeast to make the dough for the bread.

I was making bread to make Creme Brûlée French Toast .  The recipe is of course from my favorite lady over at Smitten Kitchen.  However my bread recipe is from a cookbook I have here at my house so the recipe will be down at the end of the post.

I love the way the recipe tells you to soak the toast in the mixture, for thirty minutes before cooking them, because it makes it so much better.

After baking the bread with the mixture, you make a caramelized sugar top, just as with creme brûlée.

And now for the grits souffle!!  I will never eat grits again any other way.  This is seriously the best way that I have ever had grits, and I absolutely love it.  I found the recipe one day when I was at work flipping through a magazine.  They come out beautifully fluffy, and deliciously cheesy, with just the perfect amount of seasoning.  Then to top if off, you serve it with a little drizzle of honey on top.  I'm sold.  Like I said, I never want to eat grits again, any other way.

The recipe doesn't call for extra cheese on top, but like the good southern girl that I am, I love my cheese grits, and extra cheesy.

Also the extra cheese on top gives it a little more of a crust on top.

Next in the line up....BACON!  I love bacon.  It's so good.  This bacon made my house smell fantastic.  It was honey and maple soaked bacon.  Yum.

Now, when it comes to scrambled eggs, I am a little bit picky.  I don't like to mix milk into my eggs, and whisk them to oblivion and then scramble them.  I actually like to drop a egg into the skillet let it start to cook, and then start to scramble it.  It is more like a fried scrambled egg.  But since I was having guests, I did mix a splash of milk in, along with salt and pepper, and whisk for a little bit.  But then I cooked it in the skillet with a bit of butter, and made it sort of how I like it, and sort of how most other people eat them.  

I love fresh berries, and they went really well on top of the french toast.

It was so much food and so heavy, that we all go like 1/4th of the way into the meal and were so full we had to take a break.  But there was one thing that was for certain, we all had very happy bellies!

The recipe for the grits was pretty straight forward, 

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup quick cooking yellow stone ground grits
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
4 egg whites
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
butter for ramekins

(although the recipe didn't call for it, I also used sharp cheddar in the mixture for an extra kick.)

The grits should be real corn ground grits, they work better, instead of the quaker instant ones.  There should be a few different brands of the proper grits in the flour aisle of the grocery.

1.  Preheat oven to 350º , butter 6 1/2 cup ramekins and set aside.
2.  In a heavy bottom 2 qt saucepan, pour water and milk in pan and bring to simmer.  Slowly pour in grits, whisking briskly until well combined.  Add cayenne pepper and salt.  Cook for five minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in cheese (both cheeses if desired) until melted.  Cool.
3.  In large mixing bowl beat egg whites until stiff.
4.  Into cooled grits, add egg yolk and cream and stir until mixed.  Gently fold in whites until mixed.
5.  Using ladle, place grits in ramekins and fill 2/3rds.  (Here is where I would add a little extra cheese on top for an added crusty layer.)   
6.  Bake 10-15 minutes (but no more than 15) until puffy and slightly golden on top.
7.  Drizzle with honey and serve immediately.

Aaaaaannnnnnddddd now for the recipe for making your own bread for the Creme Brûlée French Toast...

1 Egg 
1 Egg yolk
1/4- 1 cup lukewarm water
4 1/2 cups white bread flour plus, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp superfine sugar
1 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp butter, diced
vegetable oil, for brushing

1.  Lightly beat together the egg and egg yolk in a measuring cup.  Stir in enough lukewarm water to make up to 1 1/4.  
2.  Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl and stir in the sugar and yeast.  Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the center, pour in the egg mixture, and stir well with a wooden spoon until the dough begins to come together, then kneed with your hands until it leaves the side of the bowl.  (if the dough still isn't sticking together, slowly and carefully stir in enough water to get the dough to stick, but not making it sticky.)  Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead well for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
3.  Brush a bowl with oil.  Shape the dough into a ball, put it into the bowl, and put the bowl into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel.  Let rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until the dough has doubled in volume.
4.  Brush a 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3 1/2 loaf pan with oil.  turn out the dough onto a lightly floured counter, punch down with your fist, and knead for 1 minute.  With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a rectangle the same length as the pan and flatten slightly.  Fold it lengthwise into 3 and place in the prepared pan, seam side down.  Put the pan into a plastic bag or cover with a damp dish towel and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, until the dough has reached the top of the pan.
5.  Preheat the oven to 425º.  Bake the loaf for 30 minutes, until it has shrunken from the sides of the pan, is golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom with your knuckles.  Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Finally some time to post...

Because for whatever reason I have been really busy this week on my off days.  I'm three meals behind, and currently cooking a fourth, but something has to boil for a while so I had a moment to sit down to write before I need to attend to the cooking food, and before I have to leave to get a haircut (yaaaaayyyyyyyyy it's been since January and my hair just can't take it anymore) but we are here about food...not my hair.

The real title of this post should be...

"Getting creative when you are running out of food..."

Because while you are waiting for paychecks to roll in so that you can go grocery shopping, meals can get a little strange.  Good, but unexpected.

So what did I make with mushrooms, thyme, garlic and onions?

Well none other than pizza on a tortilla!  (Micah's had jalapeno's because he loves them so)

We always have a fair amount of cheddar, goat, havarti, fresh parm, or some other kind of cheese in the house, so that works out well for pizza making.

Mmmm, I topped mine with a lot of goat cheese.

The recipe for this is easy. 

Get some tortillas.  

See what you have in your fridge and pantry that you might like on a pizza.  I had mushrooms, garlic, onions, thyme, cheddar cheese, goat cheese, and fresh parmesan.

If you have butter or if you want to do this, coat the top of your tortilla, (the side that everything is going on) with a thin layer of butter, this helps the tortilla to cook nicely and not just burn.

Throw all your toppings on, plus your cheese, since this isn't like regular pizza where you have to let the dough cook for a while before you put everything else on, you can just pile it up and put it on a pizza pan or cookie sheet and put it in the oven for like 10 minutes.

I also added a little salt and pepper, and a bit of paprika to the top of the tortilla before I put the toppings on, but thats just a person preference.

So, quick, easy, and tasty.

Hopefully in the next few days I can get caught of on the rest of the things that I have made in the past week/week and a half.

I hope that everyone has a great weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Blog was down....

It wouldn't let me sign in for a few days, but I do have a meal to post, hopefully I can get to that sometime this weekend in between work, P&H prom (it's a prom at one of the local bars for all of us too old for high school prom, and so much fun), brunch with my crazy friends (which I shall document because it's bound to be good) and sleep.  But it might be Monday or Tuesday before I actually get it posted so if it is, don't be too upset with me.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

If you do all the dishes....

I'll make supper.  It's a common deal made in this house.  Last nights supper was one of those where you scratch your head, look in your pantry, open the fridge see what you have in there, and then pull out a bunch of stuff that you think will taste good together.

I pretty much always have the ingredients to make some kind of pasta, so that's what I did.  Miraculously I also had the ingredients to make a cream sauce.  At first I thought I would just use olive oil and saute some things, which I started doing when I lived in Italy one summer for school.  There's so many different kinds of pasta dishes out there, that you learn to adapt them from the restaurant version into simple ones that you can do in your home.  So when I was in Italy, I would saute tomatoes, garlic, onions, and sometimes green olives, in olive oil and serve it over pasta.  And since I was in Italy, we would of course already have some kind of delicious bread in the kitchen, so we would pour out some olive oil, crack a little pepper and add a dash of salt, and voila!  Quick easy and tasty!

But last night I decided instead of an olive oil saute I wanted a cream sauce.  I found one that I could make using condensed milk and fresh parmesan.  So I did.  Which you will see further down the line.

I had some chicken tenders in the freezer, so I boiled them to get them defrosted, and then cooked them in the skillet with some fresh thyme, and blackened chicken seasoning to seal in some flavor.

Then I added mushroom...

And I threw the tomatos into the skillet for about five seconds so that they could get some seasoning on them, then I plated it.  Since we didn't have a whole lot of one type of pasta, as you can see we used two.  I would have preferred just bow tie, or penne, but we didn't have penne, and only had a little bit of bow tie.  So I mixed my bow tie and some whole wheat spaghetti noodles together.  I shot the plated picture before I put the cream sauce on it, because it kind of "drowned" the pasta, and you couldn't really see much under the cream sauce, seeing as how it was thick.


But here's a nice picture of it in the pot!

And the recipe for it is..

1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 tablespoons butter 
garlic salt
(and because I wanted mine a little more creamy I added some ricotta cheese to it.  But be careful if you do this to not let it sit for too long, because the ricotta will stick back together if it isn't served piping hot)

Add butter and condensed milk to a saucepan and cook on high heat until the butter melts.  Be careful not to let it boil.  Once it is all combined, add the parmesan, stir until it is melted, then season with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic salt.  Do this to taste.  Everyone likes theirs different.  ( I accidentally opened the wrong side of the garlic salt and dumped a ton in there, but thankfully we like things very garlicy.  And it actually didn't turn out too strong.)  If you choose to put the ricotta cheese in, do so now, reduce heat to medium, and stir stir stir until it is all combined.  Reduce heat again to low while you plate pasta and toppings, then drizzle the cream sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm so tired I can't make words right now...

But here's some pretty pictures to look at until I can make some sense.

*Edited in information:
I literally passed out right after I posted these pictures last night.  Super tired.  Anyway....  Stuffed Poblano Peppers is what was on the menu the other night.  I originally had this when I was babysitting this little boy that I've been watching for a few years, and his mom always has the best food cooked!  Not only is he a great kid to babysit, I get to eat delicious food.  So the next time I was over there babysitting, I asked the mom for the recipe, which she so kindly gave to me.  It comes from one of Martha Stewart's cook books, but here's a link to it, seeing as how I don't actually have the cookbook.

The recipe doesn't call for rotel tomatos, but I added them in for a little extra kick.

For whatever reason, my store didn't have fresh jalapeno's so I just got some in a jar, and de-seeded them and took out the little ribs inside, they still work just as good, if not better than the fresh ones.

I picked some beautiful peppers!

The red of the sauce in this pictures is looking a little dull, but I'm at work so I can't fix it....


It ended up that I made this on Cinco de Mayo, and we had some friends over to eat with us.  This recipe is great.  If you are like me and enjoy a little extra kick of spicy, throw in the rotel with your tomatos when you are pureeing.  Otherwise just leave them out, because the jalapeno's and poblano's are spicy enough.  The way this is set up makes it perfectly seasoned, with only the addition of salt, pepper, and cumin from the spice department. 

The full recipe is this...

  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
  • 1 jalapeno chile (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat), minced
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves (2 whole, 1 minced)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 can (19 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 large poblano chiles, halved lengthwise (stems left intact), ribs and seeds removed

  1. Preheat oven to 425. In a blender, combine tomatoes in puree, jalapeno, half the onions, and 2 whole garlic cloves; puree. Season with salt. Pour sauce into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, remaining onions, minced garlic, cumin, and 3/4 cup water; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dividing evenly, stuff poblano halves with bean mixture; place on top of sauce in baking dish. Sprinkle poblanos with remaining 1/2 cup cheese; cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
4.  Bake until poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook until sauce is        thickened slightly and cheese is browned, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool 10 minutes.

A few other adjustments I made in the recipe were...

  • Instead of pouring all of the sauce into the baking dish, I reserved some to pour on top of the peppers and its stuffing before I topped them with cheese
  • I used three garlic cloves for the puree and 2 minced, and it didn't become too garlic-y 
  • Once plated, drizzle some white queso cheese on top, you don't have to, but our friends brought over some chips and dip, so we tried it, and it's good.
  • This has nothing to do with the recipe, but a good mexican beer is nice to drink with this, makes it seem like more of an authentic meal.

*side note...for some reason when I upload pictures the colors become very off....I'll also fix that later.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Great minds think about the same food....

Or so it seems to go in this household.  While I was trying to figure out supper tonight, I texted Micah to ask him what he wanted to eat tonight to go along with this recipe.  Well, he just said, "I'm bad at this game."  So I reverted back to my other resources.  The internet and my best friend.  The internet supplied me with this which is also from smitten kitchen where my first recipe came from.  I have to say, she knows what she is talking about, every single recipe I try from her turns out awesomely.  So I need a meat right?  That's where the best friend comes in, and she knew exactly what I was thinking as far as a meat went, so it helped me to make up my mind.  Flank steak with a dry rub that my stepmom told me ages ago.  Done.

So after successfully making the Asparagus Salad I moved on to the other stuff....

Which took a little bit longer....

You can see the recipe here.
This is totally a must try recipe, and just because it takes a while to cook, you shouldn't be put off because the results are SO worth the wait.  

Then just before Micah came home, I threw the steak into a skillet and cooked until medium rare.  I don't know about anyone else, but I was raised to love a good medium rare steak, and I don't ever want to eat steak of any kind any other way.  But for those of you who like it a little more cooked, and a little less bloody, just cook it until you feel it's perfect for you.

The recipe for the rub is super easy, and even though I didn't let this marinate over night, (it did marinate for about 2 hours though) it still turns out really delicious.

There aren't really any exact measurements for this, you just kind of have to do it by what feels right for you...

Rub for Steak:

Olive oil
Ground Red Pepper
Rosemary (thyme if you are out of rosemary like I am also works)
3 cloves fresh garlic chopped

Now you can put everything into a plastic bag, shake it all together and then put your meat in and shake it, but I just poured some olive oil into a pyrex dish, put the meat in, and proceeded to rub both sides thoroughly with all of the ingredients.  As I mentioned earlier, I let it rest for 2 hours in this rub, flipping it from time to time, to make sure that both sides had equal opportunity to soak up the ingredients in the bottom of the dish.  Then after everything else was done, and just before Micah came home, I threw it in the skillet and cooked it.  I love this rub because it also forms a little bit of a crispy texture on the outside of the steak.

As Micah and I were sitting there eating he kept saying, "I was going to suggest asparagus and some kind of steak for supper, but we just always do that, so I didn't know what to say.  But you took the same thing, and, and well you made it different.  This is awesome, I'm so glad you made it."

So great minds do think alike....and in our case it's about food.  

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