Friday, April 30, 2010

Avocado + Bananas = Avocanana Bread

Avocados were on sale this week and I picked up a few to make Guacamole for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo. Unfortunately, 1 of them was a bit too ripe and didn't seem like it would make it until next week. So I started searching for a way to use it up and found a really cool website dedicated to California Avocados. They've got history, fun facts, lots of recipes and even a guide on how to grow your own avocado tree! Did you know that California produces 90% of the avocados in the US? There's a whole section dedicated to different variations of Guacamole and of course, some baked goods recipes. I chose to make Avocanana Bread cuz I had some very ripe bananas laying around and I just love the name! I can't believe I never thought of putting avocados and bananas together cuz their creamy textures worked so well together. I also liked the addition of nutty oats and tangy buttermilk. And of course, no bread would be complete without some nuts! (At least not for me, anyway!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Found My Muffin Book and Baked Bread!

I've been looking for my William-Sonoma Muffin Book for a while now and finally found it under a stack of papers while I was cleaning. Yea! It's one of my favorite cookbooks cuz it doesn't just have muffin recipes, it's got some other great quick bread recipes as well. I chose to make the Orange Nut Bread cuz I already had all the ingredients and it turned out great! The recipe says to use basically any type of nuts and I chose Hazelnuts cuz I've never baked with them before. They worked really well with the orange flavor. Now I can't wait to make some of the other recipes from my new-found book!




Ingredients:


2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Zest of 1 orange
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c orange juice
3/4 c Hazelnuts


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.


2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest.


3. In another bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, vanilla and orange juice. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Stir in Hazelnuts.


4. Scrape dough into prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Crackers Crackers Everywhere!

I came across Martha Stewart's recipe for Blue Cheese Pecan Crackers and they looked delicious! (Doesn't Martha just make EVERYTHING look so easy?) I had some Feta in the fridge so I thought I'd use that instead. It worked really well and using the food processor definitely did the trick! The dough was much easier to handle and my log actually looked round instead of the weird oblong shape. I kept it in the fridge for a day (just like Martha said to do) and they were really easy to slice and bake. Now that I've got the technique down, I'm totally gonna experiment with different cheese and herb combos!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cheesy Carrot Scones

I do a lotta baking with carrots but have yet to try them in something savory. I've seen a few recipes for Zucchini Cheese Scones that looked yummy and pretty healthy. So after some research, I put together my own version using carrots. This time, I worked the dough mostly with my hands and the scones turned out really tender. The carrots also kept them really moist. I just love baking with veggies cuz they make me feel a lil less guilty about the butter and cheese!




Ingredients: (8 scones)


2 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c buttermilk
1 c shredded carrots
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese


Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 Tbsp buttermilk


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking power and salt. Add the butter. Using your fingertips, or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.


3. Add the eggs, buttermilk, carrots, and cheese. Mix with a wooden spoon just until everything is blended. Then knead the dough a few times with your hands until it is smooth enough to handle.


4. Beat the egg with the buttermilk. Pat the dough into a circle about 10 inches across onto lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Score into 8 parts but don't cut all the way.


5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until tops are golden.

Oreo + Cheesecake = Match Made in Heaven!

I had a few more Oreo Cookies left and searched for a good recipe to use them. I found this one for Mini Oreo Cheesecakes and knew it was THE ONE. I mean, Oreos and Cream Cheese? How good does that sound? They were INCREDIBLE! Sweet and creamy with just a bit of crunch left from the cookies. I never thought I'd say this, but these might actually be BETTER than my Oreo Brownies! *GASP!

BFF's!

Last weekend Kat visited from San Diego and we had a really nice brunch at Delancey Street Restaurant. It was a beautiful day so we got to sit outside and enjoy some sun. Good food with my BFF's...I don't think it gets better than that! Oh wait...it does cuz there was also a LOT of Chamgpagne!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Pizza Muffin - Hawaiian Style!

I loved my last batch of Pizza Muffins so much that I decided to make some more. This time I made up my own recipe for savory muffins and added ham and pineapple chunks. They taste EXACTLY like a Hawaiian Pizza but in muffin form! Cheesy and yummy and perfect portable treats!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


1/2 all-purpose flour
1/2 yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 c pizza sauce
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg
1/2 c chopped ham
1/2 c pineapple chunks
1/2 c shredded Mozzarella cheese


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease or line 6 muffin cups.


2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, Italian seasoning and baking soda.


3. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, pizza sauce, melted butter and egg until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients. Gently stir to blend. Stir in ham, pineapple and cheese. Batter will be lumpy.


4. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Loving the new Spice & Easy Show!

I saw a commercial for a new show on The Food Network called Spice & Easy and was excited to watch it. I have so many spices in my cabinet and would love some new recipes to use them. I watched the premier yesterday morning and already knew I wanted to make these Five Spice Pineapple Carrot Cupcakes. I skipped the frosting and added some walnuts and raisins to mine. I even made an extra mini carrot cake for Greg and he loved it! The Five Spice gave these muffins that extra kick without being overly spicy at all. I can't wait till the next episode to see what else Janet comes up with! I mean, she's got over 150 spices at her shop so I'm sure she has TONS of recipes up her sleeve!

Watching Cooking Podcasts on my iPhone

I discovered yet another reason why I love my iPhone. You can download FREE cooking Podcasts on it! There were tons of different ones ranging from recipes using Cuisinart gadgets to cooking with Martha Stewart. One of my favorites right now is called Nothin but Muffins and it's basically a collection of LOTS of muffins, which of course, is right up my alley! All the recipes looked great but when I saw Pecan Streusel Muffins, I KNEW I had to make them ASAP. These muffins tasted just like mini Pecan Pies! The streusel topping was sweet and crunchy while the muffins themselves were really moist. SO SO good!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tandoori Chicken but a Lil on the Burnt Side

Greg LOVES Tandoori Chicken so I tried to recreate it at home in the oven. I did some research and pretty much put together a bunch of recipes and made my own. I did a pretty good job except for the fact that I put the chicken under the broiler for WAY longer than I should've. (Apparently I'd never used the broiler before and had no idea how HOT it gets!) So after a small cry for help when I saw smoke coming out of the oven and then peeling the blackened outer layers of the chicken off, they weren't so bad. I'm definitely making these again and cutting down on the broiling time cuz I think I got the Tandoori flavor down pretty nicely. The recipe (and cooking time) below has been adjusted to what I should've done so enjoy!




Ingredients:


4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
1 c plain yogurt
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper


Prep:


1. In a bowl, mix together the yogurt, shallot and garlic. Add the lemon juice, stir to combine, and then add the paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, salt, pepper and cayenne. Stir everything together and pour into a large resealable bag. Add the chicken thighs and turn a few times to make sure all of the chicken is covered in the marinade. Close the bag and place on a plate (in case it leaks) in the fridge. Let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.


2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the chicken on a broiling pan* and in the oven so that it's 6 inches from the heat source. Bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180°F. Turn the oven to the Broil setting and broil the chicken for an additional 5 minutes.


*Note: To make cleaning easier, you should line both the rack and the bottom pan with foil before placing it into the oven.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Biscuits and Gravy and Chicken Too!

I saw this recipe for Chicken in Mushroom Gravy on the Pillsbury website and knew it would make the perfect Friday dinner. I already had some chicken thighs in the fridge and I always have mushrooms so this was an easy meal to put together. There was no way I'd subject Greg to eating mashed potatoes made with instant flakes though (as Pillsbury suggested on the side) so I made some Buttermilk Herb Biscuits instead. Biscuits and Gravy, a perfect match in heaven right? Comforting and easy and a perfect way to kick off the weekend!

Daisy-Shaped Sunflower Muffins!

I ordered a Daisy-Shaped Muffin Pan and couldn't wait to test it out! I thought it would be very fitting to make these Three Grain Sunflower Muffins to keep with the "flower" theme. Aren't they cute? I love the crunch of the sunflower seeds on top and I added some dried cranberries for some sweetness. Pretty, yummy and healthy! What more could you ask for?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Quick and Yummy Baking Night Dinner

Thursday nights are my "baking nights" so I like making easy dinners that don't require the oven. Tonight, TJ's Jumbo Cheese Ravioli came to the rescue! All I had to do was boil some water and they cook in no time at all. Then I made a simple sauce of sautéd mushrooms, Imitation Crab, Italian seasoning and a jar of cheesy Ragu Alfredo. Oh and of course, topped with some fresh Parsley from my AeroGarden for that extra gourmet factor! Quick and easy and perfect for my "baking night"!

Happy Birthday Will!

It was 1 of my coworkers' bday this week and he told me that carrot cakes are his favorite. So for my Friday treat, I made my infamous (well, almost!) Mini Inside-Out Carrot Cakes! I also made extra batter to make some normal-size muffins cuz Greg is also a huge fan of carrot cake. Cute and yummy and full of carroty goodness!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yummy Pizza in Muffin Form!

I stumbled upon a Canadian website that had some very different recipes. I saw one called Wicked Good Pizza Muffins and just knew I had to make them! I mean, pizza flavor in a muffin? How yummy does that sound? I substituted some chopped pepperoni for the peppers to make them taste like my favorite kinda pizza and used fresh basil from my AeroGarden instead of the dried. These muffins are definitely hearty and you could make a meal outta them with a salad or soup. Savory and cheesy and OH SO GOOD!

Granola Sample Muffins

This Sunday's newpaper included a sample packet of Quaker's Granola and, since I'm not much of a cereal person, I decided to bake with it. I made these Apple Granola Muffins cuz they sounded healthy and yummy! I used some Cinnamon-flavored Applesauce so I omitted the extra cinnamon and cut down on the brown sugar cuz the granola was pretty sweet already. I also added some sunflower seeds for that extra crunch. Granola might make a good breakfast but THESE muffins are WAY better!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Easy Blackberry Pie Bars

I saw that blackberries were on sale (buy 1 get 1 free!) so I picked up a couple of packages and searched for a recipe. I found this one for some yummy-looking Blackberry Pie Bars and immediately knew I had to make them! I cut the ingredients in half and used an 8x8-in pan so I ended up with 16 square bars. I love the fact that they taste like a homemade pie without the fuss of having to make pie crust! I'm sure this recipe would work great with raspberries too.

Another Batch of Barefoot Contessa Crackers

My mom seems to love my homemade crackers (who wouldn't right?) so when I noticed she was running low on my last batch of Parmesan Almond Crackers, I knew it was time to make some more. I've made a recipe from Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) before and they turned out really well so I thought I'd try another one. These are her Parmesan Thyme Crackers and I cannot even explain how YUMMY they turned out! My only advice is to add some water toward the end of mixing cuz my dough didn't come together without it. I would add 1 tsp at a time until you see a mixture that you can handle or else you'll just end up with a crumbly mess that won't shape into anything. (I ended up needing 6 tsp total.) I also omitted the salt cuz the Parmesan is already pretty salty and I definitely didn't miss it. Now I just have to keep myself from eating all of these crackers before they get to my mom!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mashed Potato Flakes Make Yummy Salmon Cakes!

I remember seeing recipes for Fish and Crab Cakes using Mashed Potato Flakes in place of some of the breadcrumbs so I thought I'd give it a shot. I decided on Salmon Cakes since I'd just recently made Crab Cakes and put a lil Asian spin on them. The potatoes added a nice creamy texture and I tasted a bit of butter too, which is always a nice addition!




Ingredients: (4 cakes)


2 (6 oz) cans salmon, drained and flaked
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c dry breadcrumbs
1/2 c mashed potato flakes
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Teriyaki sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp grated ginger
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp vegetable oil


Prep:


1. In a bowl, mix salmon, egg, breadcrumbs, potato flakes, soy sauce, Teriyaki sauce, sesame oil, ginger and onions. Form the mixture into 4 patties.


2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook patties for about 5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

More Mini Bundt Baking

Ever since I saw how cute my first batch of Mini Bundt Cakes turned out, I couldn't wait to make some more! I had some Pomegranate Raspberry Yogurt from Safeway in the fridge so I decided to use that in my cakes. Aren't they cute? Moist and yummy and pretty healthy too!




Ingredients: (6 Mini Bundt Cakes)


6 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c (6 oz) yogurt
1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c chopped walnuts


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray of a 6-cup mini Bundt pan with cooking spray.


2. Beat together butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt in a small bowl. Mix flour, baking powder, and soda in large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and walnuts, and stir until just blended.


3. Divide batter between molds, filling 3/4 way up.


4. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until cakes are firm to the touch and edges are brown and pull away from sides of pan.

An Open Can of Coconut Milk

I used half a can of coconut milk for my Duck Curry and didn't wanna waste the other half. I searched for a good recipe to use it in and found this one for Coconut Banana Bread from one of my favorite blogs, Baking Bites. I added some Tropical Trio and Macadamia Nuts cuz I thought they'd go well with the coconut flavor. It was such an easy recipe and I'm so glad I didn't have to waste my coconut milk!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Best Duck EVER?

My mom bought me some duck legs from the Asian market and I was SO grateful! Greg LOVES duck but I've only been able to find duck breasts and he likes dark meat a lot more so I was really excited to try these! I was watching Simply Ming over the weekend and his Coconut Cranberry Chicken was the inpiration for my dish. I served the legs over some boxed Curry-flavored Couscous and it couldn't be easier. Greg took 1 bite and said it was the BEST duck he'd ever had and that's saying a lot coming from someone who orders duck whenever it's on the menu!




Ingredients: (2 servings)


2 duck legs with thighs attached, skin-on, bone-in
1 small onion, sliced
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp curry powder
1 c unsweetened coconut milk
1 c water
2 Tbsp oil


Prep:


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Sear the duck, skin-side down, until browned, about 10 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for about 5 minutes. Remove duck.


2. Add the onions, ginger and curry powder. Sauté until onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, water and duck. Bring to a simmer and cook duckthrough, about 45 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Cucumber Bread

Everyone always rave about zucchini bread but why not cucumber bread? To me, those 2 veggies are very similar so I thought I'd experiment. Cucumbers have more water content than zucchini and made this bread more moist, which is always a good thing! The chocolate chips and cocoa added a lotta flavor and made this healthy bread taste a bit more decadent. Did you know that cucumbers are great for your skin? They also contain a good amount of vitamin C, which can boost your immune system. I just love it when I can actually feel good about eating a chocolatey baked treat!




Ingredients:


2 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 c coarsely grated cucumber
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c chocolate chips


Prep:


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9x5-in loaf pan.


2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the eggs and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cucumber, pecans and chocolate chips.


3. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, until the loaf is risen and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the loaf cool on a rack for 30 minutes before unmolding and serving.

Breakfast of Champions

Pizza is actually pretty good at 9am on a Sunday morning! I mean, it's got Canadian Ham on it right? I had some pineapple chunks left over from making my Tropical Paradise Muffins, so when Greg wanted pizza for breakfast, Hawaiian Pizza was made! Those lil bits of green are fresh oregano from my Aero Garden. What a wonderful Sunday treat huh?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What To Do with a Zested Orange

Make Muffins, of course! I used up all the zest from my orange when I made my White Chip Orange Cookies but kept it in my fridge cuz I didn't wanna waste it. I searched around for a recipe and decided on this one for Orange Pecan Muffins. I loved the fact that this recipe calls for Raisin Bran, which I just happened to have. I used my mini food processor to puree the orange and these muffins were really easy to make. The flavors worked really well together and the raisins gave these muffins a wonderful sweetness while the pecans added the perfect crunch! Great for a healthy quick breakfast!

Brunching @ Home with Crab Cakes

We had planned to go out for brunch but I ran some errands and by the time I got home, it was already 1. So I decided it would be nice to just have something quick at home and turned to crab cakes since I had some Imitation Crab in the fridge. I remembered how awesome my last crab cakes turned out and knew we would be having a yummy brunch in no time! I wanted to make these "Deviled Crab Cakes" so I added some dry mustard and sour cream to the crab mixture. I also added some Marie's Honey Mustard Dressing and topped the cakes with Mustard Aioli. Easy and perfect for brunch!




Ingredients: (4 cakes)


1 large egg
1 Tbsp sour cream
2 Tbsp Honey Mustard Dressing
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp garlic salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 c fresh breadcrumbs (4 slices bread)
1/2 lb Imitation crab, flaked
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Mustard Aioli


Prep:


1. Whisk together egg, sour cream, dressing, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl, then stir in bread crumbs. Gently stir in crabmeat, then form into 4 cakes.


2. Heat oil and butter in skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook crab cakes, turning once, until golden brown, 8 minutes total.


3. Serve warm topped with Mustard Aioli.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Sammi Inspired by Sunny!

I was watching Cooking for Real this morning (as usual) and Sunny Anderson made the most AMAZING sammies, which she called her Monte Cristo. They were basically some French Toasts stuffed with ham and cheese and I immediately KNEW I had to make them! I made a few adjustments and used sourdough bread instead of Challah and Provolone cheese instead of Gruyere, only cuz those were what I had on hand. I also slathered my sammies with some Marie's Honey Mustard Dressing that I'd just picked up and wanted to try. OMG they were SO good! I believe "decadent" was what Greg called them and he was SO right! Thanks for another awesome recipe, Sunny!

You'll Never Guess What's in these Cornbread Loaves!

First of all, aren't these mini loaves so cute? I bought a Petite Loaf Pan from Amazon and couldn't wait to try it out! They make the perfect single serving loaves and bake in a lot less time than a full-size loaf. Ok now back to the secret ingredient in these...(drumroll please)...BBQ Beef and Beans! I had some left-over filling from my Impossibly Easy Beef Pie and decided to get creative. I know it sounds strange but imagine when you have a bowl of BBQ beans and cornbread on the side. Well, these loaves are basically just putting the 2 together in a perfect portable snack!




Ingredients: (8 mini loaves)


2 eggs
1/4 c vegetable oil
1-1/2 c buttermilk
1 c left over beef and baked beans
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 c yellow cornmeal
1/2 c all-purpose flour


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray mini loaf pan with cooking spray.


2. Whisk eggs with oil and buttermilk until smooth. Stir in leftovers, baking powder, salt, flour and cornmeal.


3. Divide evenly among mini loaves. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Impossibly Easy and Impossibly Good!

I've seen these Impossibly Easy Pie recipes on the Betty Crocker website for some time now and finally decided to make my own. I followed this recipe for BBQ Beef Pie and added some left over baked beans and fresh herbs (from my Aero Garden!) to it. I also left out the cheese cuz my pie was already overflowing with the Bisquick batter. (I guess my pie plate must've been smaller than the one called for in the recipe.) I couldn't believe how quick and easy it was! It tasted like a marriage between Pork 'n Beans and Pot Pie, which was awesome! This was my first experience with fresh Marjoram and Savory and I thought they went really well with the beef and beans. I just love how fresh herbs can make a simple dish so much more elegant!

Orange Springtime Cookies

We're finally getting some nice weather here in SF so I wanted to bake something that represents spring. Oranges seemed like the perfect choice with its citrucy and refreshing flavor. I picked these White Chip Orange Cookies from Nestle's website and they were such a wonderful treat! I loved how the orange zest perfumed my kitchen and even Greg liked the smell! The combination of orange and white chocolate just worked so well together. Perfect springtime cookies!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bacon and Cheese Scones

If that Title didn't make you drool, there's something wrong with you! Bacon and cheese all baked into a scone. Now how good does that sound? The dough was pretty sticky and not so easy to work with but the result was SO worth it! You can definitely make a meal out of these with a side salad or soup but they're perfect for snacking or breakfast too. So good and so versatile!




Ingredients: (8 scones)


Scones:
3 c all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1-1/2 c grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, thinly sliced
10 slices of bacon, diced and cooked; then drained of fat
1 c buttermilk


Egg Wash:
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons water


Prep:


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Combine on low speed. Gradually add the butter cubes as the mixer is still running, until the mixture is crumbly and studded with butter-flour bits (about the size of small peas). Add the grated cheese and mix until just blended.


2. Add the bacon, green onions, and 3/4 cup of the butter milk. Mix by hand until all the ingredients are incorporated. If the dough will not hold together and is too dry, add buttermilk 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring lightly with each addition, until the dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball. Do not overwork the dough, or the scones will not be light and tender.


3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Pat into a ball, and roll into an 8-inch circle that is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges.


4. Combine the egg and water in a small bowl. Place scones on an ungreased baking sheet, and brush each scone with the egg wash. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle.

Cooking with Food Network Magazine

I've been getting the Food Network Magazine for some time now but this is the first recipe that I've actually tried. I saw this recipe for Skillet Rosemary Chicken and, since I already had all the ingredients, decided to give it a try. Greg likes dark meat so I substituted thighs for the breasts and I also used dried rosemary and thyme. I didn't have a cast-iron skillet so I just cooked everything in a pot and then transferred them to a baking dish to put in the oven. The chicken came out so juicy and flavorful from the lemon and herbs! One pot meals are just perfect for a weeknight!

My Little Corner of Happiness

This is a random post but I wanted to share the little corner in our apartment that makes me very happy! For some reason looking at organized canisters of pastas is calming to me. I'm also totally in love with my pink food processor and blender! Oh and don't forget my Aero Garden that produces all of my fresh herbs. Hanging on the side is where I keep my onions, garlic, potatoes and shallots, pantry staples in my house. I don't own an extravagant house with a huge kitchen but it's the lil things in life that make me happy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tropical Paradise Muffins

It may not be summer yet (and FAR from warm weather here is SF!) but I can still take a lil tropical vacation with my baking. I found some Yoplait Yogurt in Piña Colada flavor and immediately knew I had to make some muffins that would remind me of vacation! I call these Tropical Paradise Muffins cuz they're made of everything that makes me think of a day on the beaches somewhere in paradise. They're full of pineapples, coconut, Macadamia nuts and of course, Piña Colada flavor! I also added some Sun-Made Tropical Trio, which are dried bits of pineapple, mango and papaya. I may not be anywhere close to a beach but these muffins definitely help me daydream!




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Chai spice (or Cinnamon)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 c yogurt (Piña Colada flavor)
1/2 c pineapple chunks, drained
1/4 c shredded coconut
1/4 c chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 c Tropical Trio


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 6 muffins cups. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon.


2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, egg and yogurt until smooth.


3. Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir well until just combined. Add pineapples, coconut, nuts and dried fruit.


4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yummy Savory Biscotti!

Who says Biscotti has to be sweet? Just like my Savory Scones, Feta and Tomatoes made another perfect match! I bought a box of Athenos Feta Crumbles (Basil and Tomato flavor, my favorite!) and decided to make these Savory Biscotti. I substituted half of the Feta for some shredded Mexican Cheese cuz I was afraid they would turn out too salty otherwise. They came out great! Savory and yummy with LOTS of cheesy tomato flavor!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Night Braising

We love chicken thighs at our house and my favorite way of cooking them used to be in a slow cooker. Now it's a tie between that and braising, especially since braising is so much faster! This meal was a lot like my last batch of Wine-Braised Chicken except that I lightened it up by taking out the bacon. For some extra burst of flavor, I added some lemon zest and juice at the very end. What a wonderful and comforting meal on a rainy Sunday night!

Greg Wanted More Crêpes!

It's been a while since I made my first batch of Crêpes so I happily obliged when Greg asked for them. It was a rainy Sunday, which was perfect for staying in and making a yummy brunch! I used the same blender method to mix the batter and then let it sit in the fridge for about an hour. Then I cookied the Crêpes and stuffed them with some Swiss Cheese and Honey Ham. This time, instead of adding the mushrooms inside the filling, I made a gravy with it instead. Savory Crêpes definitely make the perfect brunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Baking Books Make Me Happy!

I picked up a new book called Perfect Muffins and Bakes today and couldn't wait to try out a recipe! I marked a bunch that sounded good and decided on the Potato Raisin Muffins. I've just recently made a batch of Savory Potato Muffins so I thought a sweet version would be an interesting contrast. They were definitely different but I'm not sure which I like better. They tasted a lot like the Sweet Potato muffins I made cuz of the texture and addition of dried fruit. I can't wait to try out some more recipes!


Ingredients: (12 muffins)

6 oz mealy potatoes, diced
1 c self-rising flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 c raisins
4 large eggs, separates

Prep:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 12 muffins cups.

2. Cook te potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 10 min, until tender. Drain well and mash until smooth.

3. Transfer the potatoes to a mixing bowl and add the flour, sugar, baking powder, raisins and egg yolks. Stir well and mix thoroughly.

4. Whisk the egg whites until they are standing peaks and fold into potatl mixture until fully incorporated.

5. Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 10 min, reduce to 325°F and bake for another 7-10 minutes, until gold brown.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Crabby Mac and Cheese

I like simple and quick dinners on Friday nights so Greg and I can spend more time hanging out. (The last thing I wanna do is slave over the stove and then be too tired to stay up and watch TV!) One of my go-to meals is Mac and Cheese, comforting and easy. Tonight, I added some Imitation Crabmeat to the mix, along with some fresh parsley. Gourmet and comforting! A perfect start to the weekend!

I Got a Mini Bundt Cakes Pan!

I ordered a Mini Bundt Pan from Amazon and couldn't wait to test it out! I decided on this recipe for Cranbery Orange Mini Bundt Cakes since I had all the ingredients on hand. They came out yummy and SO cute! I can't wait to try some more recipes!

Can You Guess What's in This Chili?

It's Meatloaf! We had about a cup of it left in the fridge and also a couple of tomatoes so chili was for dinner. I just sautéd up an onion along with the tomatoes. Then added Chili seasoning, Bush's Grilln' Beans (Greg's favorite), chicken broth and the crumbled meatloaf. Everything simmered for about 20 minutes, while I made some yummy Buttermilk Cornbread. (I mean, you just CAN'T have chili without cornbread!) It was total comfort food and perfectly portioned for 2. I just love it when I can use up my left-overs and still have a yummy meal!

What's Better than a Brownie?

An OREO Brownie! Yea, I know, totally over the top! I just used a box of Betty Crocker Brownie Mix and added 10 crushed Oreo Cookies in them. Simple but AMAZING! Talk about a sugar rush huh? :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easiest Scallops EVER!

I bought these HUGE scallops over the weekend and randomly picked up a recipe card from the store. There were only 5 ingredients listed on it and the directions were really simple so it was perfect for a weeknight. I always think of scallops as such a gourmet dish so it was a wonderful treat in the middle of the week! I just served them over some boxed couscous mix that I added sautéd mushrooms and onions too. I also brightened up the final dish with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and chopped parsley. So elegant yet so simple!




Ingredients:


6 Bay Scallops
1/2 c Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c dry white wine
1/4 c heavy cream


Prep:


1. Coat scallops lighlty with breadcrumbs. Heat a skillet to medium heat and add oil. Lightly brown scallops for about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside.


2. Remove pan from heat and add wine. Return pan to burner and turn up to high heat. Reduce wine by 3/4 and add heavy cream.


3. Return scallops to pan and reduce cream until it coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Muffins with Mushrooms?

We love mushrooms in our house so I always have some in the fridge. I literally put them in everything from pasta to pizza and now even baking! I was sautéing up some onions and mushrooms for dinner anyway, so I just made extra and put them in some muffins. I wasn't sure how they would taste but they came out surprisingly good! The caramelized onions had a wonderful rich flavor and of course, the cheese helped too! Not quite a "Meal in a Muffins" but definitely good as a side dish or quick breakfast. Hum...now what else could I put in a muffin?




Ingredients: (6 muffins)


2 Tbsp butter
1 c sliced mushrooms
1/4 c chopped onions
1 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 shredded cheese (I used Mexican Blend)
1/2 c milk
1 egg


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 6 muffin cups.


2. Sauté onions and mushrooms in butter until caramelized.


3. Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add cheese and toss to coat.


4. Beat egg and milk together. Add to dry ingredients with mushrooms. Mix until well blended.


5. Divide mixture among muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the middle come out clean.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sunny's Pistachio Poppy Bread

Sunny Anderson's Cooking for Real is one of my favorite new shows on The Food Network. I love the vibrant energy this girl has and all her food look so easy and delicious! The other day she made some brunch recipes and one of them was a Pistachio Poppy Bread. I LOVE Pistachios so I knew I wanted to give it a try! I bought the already-toasted nuts from Trader Joe's so that saved me an extra step. I also substituted some lemon zest for the orange cuz I always have fresh lemons on hand. I didn't have any creamed honey for serving but this bread was seriously good enough on its own!

Happy Easter!

I usually have Brunch with my mom on Easter but this year Greg wanted to spend the holiday together. The weather wasn't as great as we hoped but we still had a great time! Just by chance, we went to the same restaurant that I went to with my mom last year. We chose Palomino cuz it's really close to where we live and the food hasn't failed us yet! How can you go wrong with Crabmeat Benedict and LOTS of Champagne right?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Squash and Zucchini Bread

I've made plenty of Zucchini Bread but never thought of combining it with Yellow Squash. I saw that both veggies were on sale this week so decided to give it a shot. This bread tasted very similar to regular Zucchini Bread but I love the pretty yellow specks from the squash!




Ingredients:


12 Tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 medium yellow squashes, diced
1 medium green zucchini, diced
1/2 chopped pecans
1 c sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract


Prep:


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.


2. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.


3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined.


4. Stir in the squash, zucchini and pecans. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.


5. Bake until loaf is golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes before unmolding onto rack to cool completely.
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