Thursday, July 30, 2009
Bonjour! Can you hear it? My Julia Child impersonation? Use your imagination people!
I bet all you foodies out there are psyched about the upcoming movie Julie and Julia. Well I'm not going to brag but.....ISAWITALREADYOHMYGODITWASAWESOME!!!! Okay, Okay, I'll calm down. Well you all know about bakespace already, geez, I tell you about it all the time and if you're new here or if you don't remember, bakespace is a social networking site for foodies like you and me! Well thanks to Sony and our fearless leader, Babette (the founder of bakespace), I won tickets to see the premier of Julie and Julia! There was a contest and I posted about it on facebook and twitter so everyone could participate in the giveaway. So on Tuesday me and a couple of other bakespace members who won tickets headed over to Garden State Plaza in Paramus to watch the movie.
Here's the trailer if you haven't seen it yet.
If you don't have time to watch trailer I'll briefly tell you what the movie is about (without giving anything away of course!). Julie and Julia is a story about Julie Powell, a food blogger who spends a year making every single recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. To read Julie Powell's blog, the Julie/Julia Project click here. Intertwined with Julie's story is the story of Julia Child and how she came to live in France and how she became a chef. Obviously, you all know who Julia Child is (except my father who thought I was going to meet someone from the food network when I told him I won tickets to see Julie and Julia...that's a post for another day!) but the story of Julie Powell is real. She started off without any readers and before you know it she was contacted by publishers, magazine editors and television network producers. It's amazing how that happened. Being a food blogger myself I can certainly relate to everything (well, except the being published part!) and this movie just pulled at my heartstrings. It was fantastic!!!! I loved it!!! Merryl Streep and Amy Adams were fantastic! Have I convinced you yet that this movie was fabulous? Okay, so again, Thank YOU Babette for making this possible! I don't know how I would have held out for two more weeks!
I came out of the theater and I knew I just had to make a recipe from Julia Child's cookbook. I don't own her cookbook and I didn't grow up watching her on television. I've seen an episode here and there but never was interested in french cooking. Good thing because I would certainly be double my size if I was. Yesterday I did a search on the internet for a Julia Child recipe using chicken breasts and I found the following recipe on HGTV's website. Click here to see the article. The dish was delicious and decadent, I really enjoyed it (even though I overcooked the rice - oops) but unfortunately, this will not become part of my regular rotation. It's just way too fattening...almost one stick of butter. The sauce was amazing, I could eat it with a spoon! I used marsala because I forgot to buy madeira but I don't think it made much of a difference. I also forgot the mushrooms! Hopefully Julia Child isn't rolling around in her grave (yes Dad, Julia Child is no longer with us so I couldn't possibly meet her and get some advice like you suggested)! Okay, enough of my babbling...here's the recipe!
Supremes de Volaille a Blanc (Chicken breasts poached in butter)
From Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle. Knopf, 1961.
1/3 cup finely minced onions
2 tbsp. butter
1 cup raw, unwashed white rice
2 cups chicken stock or broth
salt and pepper
small herb bouquet: 2 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, and a sprig of thyme tied together with white string.
4 thin boneless, skinless chicken cutlets
salt, pepper and lemon juice
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced onions
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup white or brown stock
1/4 cup port, Madeira or dry white vermouth
1 cup heavy cream
salt, pepper, lemon juice
2 tbsp. minced parsley
For the rice, cook the onions slowly in the butter until soft. Add the rice and stir over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes until rice, which first turns translucent, becomes a milky white color. Then stir in the chicken stock, season lightly with salt and pepper, and add the herb bouquet. Stir briefly until simmer is reached, then cover closely and cook at a moderate simmer, about 18 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Do not stir rice at all until this has happened. Then fluff lightly with a fork, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. This can be cooked ahead of time and reheated.
For the chicken: Preheat oven to 400. Cook the vegetables in the butter in a fireproof casserole before adding the chicken. Season meat with salt, pepper and drops of lemon juice. Lay over vegetables in one layer in the casserole, making sure the chicken is coated in the butter. Cover the surface of the casserole with wax paper. Place in oven for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the meat feels springy when you push on it. Remove from oven and set casserole aside while you prepare the sauce.
For the sauce: Pour stock and wine into a saucepan and boil rapidly until liquid is syrupy. Then pour in the cream and boil rapidly until lightly thickened. Season with salt, pepper and drops of lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the casserole and serve with the warm rice.
For a web companion to Mastering the Art of French Cooking, check out Whisk: a food blog.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I know, a ham steak isn't the prettiest thing to take a picture of but you know how the saying goes! This was a very tasty and satisfying dinner. My fellow bakespacer Carolyn always talks about making these yummy ham steaks and I knew it was something Steve would like to try on the grill. There is no recipe. It's so simple. Make a mixture of brown sugar and pineapple and let the ham steaks marinate it. Throw them on the grill with some fresh slices of pineapple that have been brushed with the glaze. Allow them to get some nice grill marks on each side and your done. The ham steaks are already cooked so this just takes minutes to make! It actually took me longer to peel and slice the fresh pineapple than it did to cook the ham! I don't think canned pineapple would work because it may be too soft but if you give it a try, let me know! I'd like the glaze to be more noticeable. Anyone know how to do that? The flavor definitely penetrated the meat but didn't make it shiny like a glaze usually is. I will definitely experiment some more and let you know how it goes!
img style="border:0;" align="left" src="http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj227/ewhites/Michele.jpg"/>
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
My nagging has finally paid off! I finally have a post from a guest blogger! Check it out!
Hello everyone! I'm sure you're wondering who the other person is enjoying all these meals that you find here on Michele's blog. Well, that person is me...Steve. Michele asked me to write a guest post for her blog this week after a weekend of grilling. I guess you could say I am the resident wine connoisseur and grilling fanatic. It seems I am writing this to talk to you about both this week.
This is a recipe that we've come up with in the past and used a couple of times before. Since we first made pizza this way, it has been tough to top it! While it isn't an overly difficult way of making pizza, you do have to use the right ingredients and be vigilant while it's on the grill. Let's get down to it...
Pizza sauce (recipe below)
Pizza dough - 1 lb for each pizza you want to make
4 oz. (approximately) or ½ of a regular sized bag of shredded mozzarella cheese – we prefer part-skim
Olive oil – for coating the dough
Fresh basil leaves
Toppings – this time around we used black olives and mushrooms, just use as much as you like
Before you start prepping the dough and making the pizza, you'll want to make the sauce. We basically make just a marinara sauce with some garlic and herbs in it. Michele will write about that.
You'll need a pound of dough for each pizza that you want to make. We've tried using two pounds before, but it just doesn't come out the same. You certainly can try making your own dough for this recipe, but we're lazy and we've found that it's very easy for us to get a hold of dough from Brooklyn. In my personal opinion, for the amount of time and money you have to put in to make your own pizza dough, it's just more economical and less time consuming to just get it from somewhere else. Just make sure it's quality dough!
Place each pound of dough in a bowl that will easily fit all of it in there, drizzling a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the bowl first, so that the dough doesn't stick. Place plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and then cover with a dish towel. Let the dough rise for a couple of hours, until it rises to the top of the bowl or even above it.
Once the dough has risen, pound it down and then take the dough out of the bowl, placing it onto a cooking sheet or something equivalent. Begin flattening out the dough on the sheet, making sure to keep both sides of the dough moist with olive oil so that it does not stick. Once the dough has been flattened and spread out, it's ready to be grilled.
Make sure you have your mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce and toppings ready to go. Turn your grill on to high and let it sit for about 8 to 10 minutes. For this recipe, we used a gas grill. Once the grill is nice and hot, you can bring your dough and other ingredients outside to your grilling area. Turn the burners down to about medium-low heat. Make sure you use some sort of grilling spray (we used Pam for grilling) to spray down the grilling surface so that the dough does not stick to it. Take the dough off of the pan with your hands and place onto the grill, trying to keep something of an oval or even rectangular shape. Since most pizza you find is round, I like being different and creating all sorts of uneven shapes to make it look unique. Once the pizza dough is on the grill, close the lid and let it sit for about 4 – 5 minutes. You'll want to stay by the grill to check it every so often. The bottom of the dough should get nice and crispy, with some prominent grilling marks. Keep in mind that most gas grills have one side that is hotter and cooks faster than the others.
Once you can lift up the dough with ease, use a spatula and flip the whole pizza over in one shot – just like you would a pancake. Once the pizza has been flipped, you can then spread on the pizza sauce, followed by basil leaves (preferably torn into smaller pieces) and then the shredded mozzarella. You can then add on any toppings you may have. After everything has been added onto your pizza, close the cover of the grill again and let it sit for about 3 – 4 minutes. You'll want to check the pizza every so often to make sure that the cheese has melted on the top and that the bottom is nice and crispy, with those same grill marks.
As soon as all that has happened, the pizza is now ready to be taken off of the grill. Use a spatula or two to take it off of the grill and put it back onto the cooking sheet. Cut up the pizza in whatever fashion you like and serve!
For this pizza, I have found that a light white wine goes best. You will want something with a fruity undertone that will bring out the acidity of the pizza sauce and the flavors of the toppings you chose. I like to enjoy a nice Riesling with this pizza. My label of choice is Urban. It is an inexpensive Riesling that is light and fruity, as well as very refreshing. Feel free to experiment with your own palate and find a wine that suits you. Stick to the lighter, fruitier wines, either in the white or red varietals, such as a Pinot Grigio or a Pinot Noir.
I hope you all enjoy making this as I know we certainly have and will continue to do so all summer long!
Michele's Pizza Sauce
Enough for approx 4 pounds of dough.
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
2 8 oz cans of tomato sauce
4 cloves minced garlic
3 tsp chopped basil
1-2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
extra virgin olive oil
Feel free to use fresh or dried herbs. This time I used frozen dorat basil, fresh basil leaves and fresh oregano. It's up to you.
Saute garlic in oil, add frozen or dried herbs being careful not to burn them. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. If using fresh herbs add now. Let it come to a boil and then lower heat. Cook on medium for 30-40 minutes. Taste it and adjust seasoning.
Monday, July 20, 2009
A few weekends ago we went to my friend Jennifer's wedding, Congrats Jen and Brian! At the cocktail hour we had a yummy pasta salad that was dressed in a pesto sauce but had sundried tomatoes and olives in it. Steve and I couldn't remember what else was in it so I threw in some fresh mozzarella. This was a huge hit at our July 4th bbq. I had a feeling it would be because it was good enough to recreate! As usual when I'm making something for an event of some kind I forgot to take photos in a pretty dish so you guys will have to use your imaginations or just make the recipe and see it for yourself!
Pesto Pasta Salad
1 pound farfalle pasta
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and sliced
1 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 8oz. ball of fresh mozzarella, diced
Pesto sauce, see below for recipe (If you like, add some of the oil from the sundried tomatoes to the pesto in place of some of the extra virgin olive oil.)
Cook pasta in boiled salted water and drain. Toss with some oil from the sundried tomatoes. (You can stop here and do this the day before or a few hours before and let cool.)
Toss pasta with pesto, sundried tomatoes, olives and mozzarella. Refrigerate and Serve cold.
1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup parsley
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pinoli nuts
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese (I always use Locatelli Romano)
½ tsp. salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and whirl until a thick uniform paste is formed, add more oil if paste is too thick. This amount is enough for 1 lb pasta. Pesto may be stored in refrigerator for several weeks or in the freezer for several months. Place in a jar or container and coat with a thin layer of olive oil, cover tightly.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I have a lot of recipes everywhere. I have cookbooks, cooking magazines, recipes printed from the internet, recipes pulled out of magazines, I have a ton that are saved on my computer, given to me by friends, starred in my google reader, etc. It would take me two lifetimes to make each one. Every once and a while I like to make myself go through the folders and binders filled with recipes and actually make something. I guess this is how I justify keeping them. So that is how I came across the recipe that I'm going to share with you today. I pulled this recipe from the April 2008 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.
Overall this is a good, easy, go to chicken recipe. I only need to make one recommendation. The recipe calls to brown the chicken over medium high heat in butter. This is fine but please mix a little oil into the pan otherwise your butter will burn and your garlic probably will too. This recipe makes a very nice little sauce and the chicken is topped with a gremolata (minced garlic, lemon zest, garlic and in this case oregano).
1/3 cup chopped Italian (flat leaf )parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 Tbsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 Tbsp. finely chopped garlic (about 3 cloves)
3 Tbsp. butter
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup chicken broth
1. In small bowl stir together parsley, oregano, lemon peel, and garlic. Set aside. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
2. In 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat cook chicken in butter for 6 minutes or until browned, turning once. Transfer to plate. Remove skillet from heat; stir in half herb mixture. Return to heat. Add broth; bring to boiling, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Return chicken to skillet; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
3. Serve with pan sauce; sprinkle with remaining herb mixture. Makes 4 servings.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Ever get a craving for something and you can't get it out of your mind? Of course you do! If you're reading this then you're most likely a foodie and you are very familiar with that feeling. Well last week I was craving meatloaf. I know, it's summer, not really a summer food but that's what happens with a craving. It can be most inappropriate but that's okay. Just go with it.
I used my friend Gina's recipe and I'm sorry but I can't link you to her because she doesn't post recipe on bakespace (but she is a member!) and she doesn't have a blog! I know, it's very rare for one of my friends! :-) Anyway, I've made this recipe many times. In fact, we may have even come up with it together one day but she put it together and made it so she totally gets the credit. I've done it with the peas but this time I did it without. No reason. Just too lazy to go in the freezer and open up a new bag of frozen peas. Ha! At least I admit it! I also added some fresh parsley because I had it on hand. Recently, I've been reading on blogs about air baking where you put your food on a cooling rack and then bake it so the bottom gets crispy and the fat drips away. That would have been great for this. Too bad I didn't think about it until it was too late. I had a lot of fat accumulated around the meatloaf which I removed for the photo.
The mashed potato recipe I used for the first time but OMG! It's a keeper! I've made garlic mashed potatoes before but this was certainly the best. It had a subtle taste of garlic, not overwhelming and I never used yukon golds for mashed potatoes before. What a difference! I didn't use cream but used the skim plus milk I had on hand and I used a potato masher instead of a ricer. I'm sure mine were a little chunkier than intended but Steve and I both thought they were great. I forgot to take a picture of the potatoes on their own. Sorry!
These dishes went very well together and I think from now on they'll be paired together.
1½ lbs ground beef (I used about 2 lbs this time)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup grated cheese
I used 4 slices of panella bread (or any bread you have on hand)soaked in milk and then squeezed of the liquid
3 handfuls of frozen peas (defrost before you add to mixture)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in pan. Sauté onions and garlic until onions become translucent. Remove from pan and cool.
Mix all ingredients together.(I added some of the milk from the bread like I do my meatballs.) Transfer mixture to a baking dish and form a loaf.
Bake @ 350° for 1 hour. Let cool for 10 minutes and then slice.
Tyler Florence's Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes
6 to 8 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon salt
4 bay leaves
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Put the cut potatoes into a large pot, cover them with cold water, and add salt and 2bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Drain well and remove the bay leaves.
Meanwhile, in a small pot heat the cream, butter, garlic, thyme, and remaining bay leaves. While the potatoes are still warm, press them through a potato ricer or food mill into a mixing bowl. Add the warm cream, straining out the solids, a bit at a time until the potatoes are fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir in the chives. Serve immediately.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I know, I know, it's a little late for the 4th of July but that's okay because you can use this idea anytime this summer. Change the fruit on top to whatever you like. I even saw someone put roasted banana chips on top of their cupcakes recently. It looked fabulous!
This is really simple because I used a boxed cake mix. It's just safer that way for me but if you have a great white cake recipe definitely use it. The directions actually called for egg whites and the result was a a very light fluffy cupcake. Didn't taste like it was missing anything at all. The real kicker here is the cream cheese frosting. Who doesn't like that, right? It also is great for holding toppings. My friend DD from DDPie's Slice helped me out with the frosting but I did add a little extra cream cheese and therefore doubled the extracts. This is basically her recipe but she gave me the option of using shortening mixed with butter and told me to use water to thin it out. I just used a splash of milk....well, just because I never follow a recipe completely! haha Oh and sorry about the crappy picture. It was a long day and I was tired and was too rushed to take a picture in the morning.
1 Betty Crocker White Cake mix - made into cupcakes according to box directions.
1 8oz bar of cream cheese - cold
1/2 stick of butter - room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract - I used DD's homemade!
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
splash of milk to thin it out
Cream the butter and cream cheese. Add in the extracts and salt and mix. Then begin adding the powdered sugar, half at a time, mixing in between additions. (You may need a little more or a little less sugar, depends on the humidity) You can also add just a few tablespoons of milk if you need to get it to spreading consistency.
Ice the cupcakes and then add whatever fruit you like on top. I slice the strawberries and put a strawberry slice and some blueberries on each one. I wanted all three colors, red, white and blue. You can do all blueberries or raspberries or anything else you want. You can even top them with nuts. Go to town!
I wasn't sure but I kept these refrigerated just in case. What do I know about baking? ;-)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I had some leftover blueberries from when I made cupcakes so when I heard my friend Joy mention that she had blueberry muffins in the oven on facebook, I knew I had to make some. I headed over to bakespace and did a search for blueberry muffins. I found one from my friend Danielle of Cooking for my Peace of Mind. I swear, I have friends that aren't from bakespace but these are my cooking buddies! I chose this recipe because it seemed easy, called for the amount of blueberries I have and I had all the ingredients. That was it, I was sold.
I experimented and sprinkled some sugar on top of some of the cupcakes before they went in the oven and I really liked the way they came out. They looked so pretty. Next time I make them, I'm going to use DD's vanilla sugar and put a nice coating on top.
Blueberry Muffins from Spokane (Um...Dani..where is that????)
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup oil or melted shortening
1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line or grease 12 muffin cups.
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup.
In bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Stir in egg, milk, and oil just until moistened (will be lumpy).
Gently fold in berries.
Spoon into muffin cups (2/3 full)
Bake for 20 - 25 minutes. Loosen, remove immediately.
Friday, July 10, 2009
I've heard many times from friends and family members that they always make the same things because they don't have the right items in their pantry. If you know what to buy it's easy to keep a well stocked pantry. The first trip to the supermarket may be a little expensive but once you're stocked you will only need to fill in as you use the items. As I use things I add them to a list that I keep on my refrigerator. When I go to the store I'm usually just puying produce and meat and a few pantry items.
Once you have purchased all your items you will need to organize your pantry. We all have to work with the space we have so do what works best for you. I like to keep all my canned items together, baking items on another shelf, and pastas on another shelf. In my ideal world we would all have huge walk in pantries but that's not always possible and I certainly do not have one. Here are some pictures showing how I've organized my small pantry. The bottom shelf is a mess because it's my baking/miscellaneous shelf.
In the pantry:
Canned Tomatoes - Crushed, Diced, Whole Peeled, Paste, 8 oz cans Sauce
Peas - Leseur baby peas
Stock - Chicken, Beef, Veggie and/or
Boillion Cubes or Granules - Chicken, Beef, Veggie
Canned Beans - Chick Peas, Pinto, Kidney, Black, Roman
Dried Legumes - Lentils, Split Peas, barley
Roasted Peppers, Chiles in adobo sauce
Artichoke hearts - in water and marinated
Breadcrumbs - Plain, Seasoned, Panko,
Starches - long grain rice, basmati rice, arborio rice, couscous, polenta,
Pasta - Penne, Rigatoni, Rotini, ziti, farfalle, Cavatappi/Celentani, gemelli, mini penne, elbows, shells -medium and small, ditalini, pastina, farfalline, orzo, orrechiette, tubettini, ancini di pepe, linguine, spaghetti, fettucine, angel hair, bucatini
Flour - all purpose flour, wondra flour, cornstarch, bisquick
Sugar - White, brown (dark and light), powdered sugar
Misc. - Raisins, Sprinkles, etc.
Oils/Vinegars - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Canola, Sesame Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, White Balsamic, Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar & Marsala Wine (not cooking wine)
Bread - Whole Wheat sliced
Red Onions, White Onions, Garlic, Potatoes
Carrots, Celery, lettuce/salad mix, lemons (Other produce varies)
fresh parsley, fresh basil
Kalamata Olives (from salad bar)
Ketchup, Yellow Mustard, Dijon Mustard, Light Mayo, Soy Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Tamari Sauce, Horseradish, worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, minced garlic, jelly
American Cheese, Unsalted butter Sticks, tub butter
Chardonnay, beer, water, tonic water, club soda
In the Freezer:
Individually Frozen Chicken Breasts, Chicken Cutlets
Ground Turkey, Ground Chicken, Ground Beef (other meats vary)
Tortellini - meat and cheese
Peas, chopped spinach, chopped broccoli
Cheeses - Shredded mozzarella, Shredded Cheddar, Shredded Mexican Blend/Taco Blend
Walnuts, Pecans, pine nuts, Chocolate Chips
Frozen basil - dorot cubes, fresh basil that I freeze in ziplock bags
garlic powder, onion powder, italian seasoning, oregano, bay leaves, thyme, dried basil, herbs de provence, kosher salt, peppercorns for the pepper mill, Mrs. Dash Table Blend, Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Sweet Paprika, poultry seasoning, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds, adobo, chili powder, cajun seasoning, bbq spice
If you cook Indian Food a lot you'll want to add curry and cardommom.
If you love Chinese food you may want to have chinese 5 spice powder on hand.
That about wraps it up. I'm sure there are things I forgot and there are of course items I buy for certain recipes and don't always keep them on hand. Hope this helps give you a start to your own pantry. Of course you don't have to have every item on this list but having all these items makes me very happy!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
About a month ago I was the lucky recipient of a half pound of pecan halves from "The Pecan Store", a division of The Green Valley Pecan Company. When I was asked to review the pecans I was excited but also a little confused. Pecans are pecans, right? I couldn't imagine what I could have to say about them. Well let me just say that pecans are one of my favorite nuts. This actually is a recent discovery because my whole life I thought I didn't like pecans. About a year ago I purchased a big container of mixed nuts from costco for a party we were hosting and there was basically the entire jar leftover. I found myself sitting in front of the television with the jar on my lap reaching into the depths of the jar to pick out....walnuts. Walnuts? When I realized I was favoring one nut over the other I searched around and held a walnut next to a pecan. This is not the same nut, I told myself. That's when I realized the nuts I've been searching for in the jar were not walnuts but pecans. I like walnuts too but pecans are so much more flavorful.
Being inexperienced about nuts and not being much of a baker I wasn't sure what I'd notice when I tasted these pecans. Boy was I wrong. I'm not getting paid for this review and if I hated them I would not lie and say I like them. I just don't believe in that. Okay, so the pecans. They were soft, I've never tasted pecans that were soft like this. I'm guessing that it means that they are fresher than the ones I usually buy in the supermarket. They were very flavorful and I had to force myself to stop eating them because I knew I wanted to bake something with them. This happened to be during the 1 week of healthy eating I managed to do so I searched for a healthy muffin recipe. This is what I found on www.dietandfitnesstoday.com. The muffins are low fat so they had that weird texture that most low fat muffins have. I can't even explain it, they were like elastic and stretchy when I pulled them apart. Definitely not something I'd want to eat all the time but hey they were supposed to be healthy. In the future I will use the flavoring in a full fat muffin recipe because I really liked the cinnamon with the pecans. The pecans held their texture. They didn't become hard at all. I really liked cooking with them and it's likely that I would use them in the future.
Thank you to The Pecan Store for letting me taste your pecans!
Light Applesauce Muffins
Recipe from Diet and Fitness today.
2 cups All-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Skim milk
1 cup applesauce
I added 1 cup pecans to this recipe.
Prepare the muffin pan using lowfat cooking spray and preheat oven to
Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and
salt in a bowl.
Mix well. Lightly beat the egg and mix in the milk.Add the applesauce and egg/milk to the flour mixture and mix until just moistened. Mix in Pecans. Try to avoid overstirring, as this may create "tunneling" in the finished muffin.
Spoon the mixture into the muffin pans and bake for about 17 minutes.
Test for doneness with a toothpick: if the toothpick comes out moist,then let cook for another minute or so. If dry, then muffins are done.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
I'm not a huge fan of potato salad or pasta salad with a lot of mayonaise. I usually make my potato salad with oil and vinegar which you can see here but this time I wanted to try something different. Everything seems to make it's way onto the grill these days and I wanted to see what the hype was about. I found this recipe in Bobby Flay's grilling cookbook but you can also find it here on the food network. I made some changes to suit our tastes and the end result was a huge hit. I hope you give this one a try and feel free to change things up if you like and don't be afraid if you don't have every ingredient a recipe calls for. Often enough there are great substitutions sitting in your pantry or fridge. Here's what I did or I should say what WE did. Steve did the grilling! Thanks honey!
French Style Grilled Potato Salad
Adapted from Bobby Flay
2 1/2 pounds small new potatoes (red and yellow), scrubbed
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain potatoes and let cool and slice into 1/4 inch slices.
Heat the grill to medium.
Brush the potatoes with 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on the grill, cut-side down and grill until lightly golden brown, about 4 minutes. Turn the potatoes over and continue grilling until just cooked through, about 4 minutes longer.
While the potatoes are grilling, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 cup oil in a large bowl, add the red onion and parsley and stir to combine.
Remove the potatoes from the grill and immediately add to the bowl with the other ingredients and gently stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before serving. If it seems a little dry add a little more oil.