Archive | April, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie!

29 Apr

Yes, I have finally succummed to peer pressure and joined the fabulous group of people called Tuesdays with Dorie.  If you haven’t heard of TWD, you must be living under a rock (just kidding).  TWD is a group of people who once a week bake a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book:  Baking, From my home to yours.

Cookbook

I found the book for an amazing price of less than $12 (including shipping) on ebay.  So, if you want to join TWD and get the cookbook, make sure you look there first.

So, onto this week’s TWD recipe.  Caitlin of Engineer Baker chose Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake.  When I first saw the recipe, I will admit, I was extremely disappointed.  The name did not sound good at all too me.  I was semi-upset that the first recipe was not to my liking and that maybe I should skip this week.  But since we were watching John’s sisters this weekend, I thought it would be fun to try it. 

Pouring the ingredients into the mixer. 

The Girls

Intense concentration…

H&A

The finished product.

Finished Cake

Hannah loved the dessert!

Hannah eating

As did I.

Last bite

Since I wasn’t sure what this was going to taste like, I just made 1/2 a recipe of this.  I think that’s why my “cake” is so short.  Hannah has been learning about fractions in school, so this was the perfect opportunity to practice her fractions.  I think it was neat to show her a “real life” application of what she is learning in school.

I am so glad that Caitin chose this recipe, I never would have made it on my own, but it was simply delicious.  It was the perfect afternoon snack.  I couldn’t find figs in my town so I used some frozen strawberries.  They were excellent!  They melted while baking and turned into almost a jam-like consistency.  Hannah thought it would also be good, to leave the strawberries out of the cake and just smear a layer of them on top.

Also, those of you that have been reading my blog for awhile, may have noticed something “new” in my pictures… I finally got “my” KA mixer back!  I bought this mixer on Amazon 3 years ago for a steal of a price, but it was too tall to fit under my cabinet.  So, my mother so graciously offered to let me borrow her KA (a much smaller = shorter model) until I moved and I had a space for it.  Well, I have been cooking/baking so much lately I have really been thinking how nice it would be to have my bigger KA mixer.  So, this weekend, I went to my mom’s house and stole asked nicely for an old desk that she wasn’t really using.  At the same time, we switched KA’s back.  I put the desk under the big window in my kitchen, I think it looks pretty good?  The desk is the perfect size for mixer, cookbook, and whatever I am measuring.  I love it!

New Desk Area

Recipe after the break.

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Daring Bakers #5 – Cheesecake Pops

28 Apr

DB Logo

I was very excited when I saw this month’s Daring Bakers recipe – Cheesecakes Pops.  I have been wanting to try them for sometime.  This is the perfect opportunity!

John had my camera while I was making these so I apologize for the lack of pictures. 😦

The cheesecake portion of these was divine.  It was so creamy and delicious.

DB Pops

Scooping the pops was a fairly messy task, but it all worked out in the end.

Please visit the other DB’s for their take on this wonderful recipe.

Recipe after the break. Continue reading

Avocado Chicken Salad

26 Apr

 

VTV

This week’s VTV veggie is Avocado!  Avocado’s are one of my favorite veggie, but odly enough, I didn’t know I liked them until this past Christmas.  The color of avocado’s has kinda scared me and my dad never liked guacomole, so I didn’t think I would, thus I never tried it.  At my work’s Christmas party, I finally tasted guacomole, and what do ya know, I liked it!

 Avocado Chicken Salad

I loosely used this recipe as a guideline.

Cake Class 2, Week 2

25 Apr

Class was sooo much fun tonight!  We made fondant/gumpaste roses, we learned how to cover a cake in fondant, how to make a fondant bow, and how to make edible pearls.  I wish my two pink colors were closer to matching, but we didn’t know what color of the glitter powder we had last week, so we just had to kinda guess. 

I looove my pearls though.  I think the glitter really adds alot to the look of the cake.

Cake!

Sadly, I don’t have any pictures of my rose.  It is still hanging upside down… in class.  I can’t believe I forgot it there, but oh well, I guess I’ll just have to get the cutters to make one at home. 🙂

Very Vanilla-y Cupcakes

24 Apr

MB Logo

Early this month when I was reading the new Master Baker ingredient, I was pleased to see it was vanilla!  Earlier this month I bought a bunch of organic vanilla beans and they have been “burning a hole in my pocket cabinet”.  When I was grocery shopping this weekend I noticed how yummy the strawberries looked, and they were on sale, so I had to get a carton.  After much looking online, I think I have found the perfect recipes.

Coconut & Lime’s husband made her the most delicious looking cupcakes for her birthday 2 years ago.   She said they were very vanilla-y so I knew I need to try them.

In this recipe the vanilla beans had to sit in the warmed milk for an hour.  Since I didn’t want to be making these cupcakes at 8:00 p.m., I decided to start the warm milk mixture at lunch and I just put it in the fridge to futher saturate the milk with vanilla flavor.  (Here’s the milk mixture as I added the last piece of vanilla)

Vanilla Milk...almost

I looove cooking with whole vanilla beans now.  The little specks in the batter are so fun!

Vanilla Batter

I asked my jknottie friends if they knew of a good vanilla frosting recipe and all hands pointed to Alanna’s vanilla frosting.  It didn’t call for much butter so my Paula Dean side came out, and I doubled the butter. 🙂

I also cut up the fresh strawberries mentioned earlier and folded them into the frosting.  These aren’t necessarily the prettiest cupcakes, but everything they lack in looks they make up for in flavor.

Cupcakes!

I looooved these cupcakes.  The strawberry flavor really balanced well with the vanilla flavor.  My friend Katy came over to get a few and she raved about them too.  She gave them an A.  She said she thought about giving me an A+, but I needed something to strive for next time. 🙂  I also brought the remaining ones up to work and it’s 10:00 a.m and there is only 1 left, I think that means they like them!

 Recipes after the break.

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Bison Tacos!

22 Apr

This weekend John and I decided to go to the local Farmer’s Market. I live in a fairly small town, so the farmers market is pretty small, but something is better than nothing right?

We looked at all the booths (all 12-14 of them 🙂 ) and one lady selling bison caught our eye. So, John went to talk to her about bison meat. She was saying that it’s much healthier than beef (fewer calories, lower in fat, more nutrients, etc.). So, she sold John 2 lbs of ground bison. I cooked 1 lb last night for tacos. I just browned the meat in the skillet (like hamburger meat) and used some taco seasonings.

The bison was really good! There wasn’t much of a flavor distinction between the bison and beef. I think the bison has a richer taste, but that’s about it. I also like buying local, fresh products. All of the things sold at our farmers market has to be sold either in the county I live in, or a county that touches it. I like buying something that came from a couple towns over, instead of half-way across the country.

Bison Tacos

I found this chart at Bison Central about the the nutrient information in Bison meat.

VTV – Week 2 – Artichoke

21 Apr

VTV

I have never eaten fresh artichoke.  I have had a few recipes that called for canned artichoke hearts, but none that used fresh artichoke.  When my husband and I were shopping last weekend we decided we would try fresh artichoke.

While looking for recipes, I wanted to find something that was somewhat healthy.  Much to my dismay though all the recipes were soaking in butter and cheeses.  I decided to just so simple and steam the artichokes then make some garlic butter to dip the leaves in.

Artichoke prep

I suggest having a man handy for this step.  I did it myself, but it would have been much easier if I would’ve asked for John’s help.  First, trim the tip of each leaf.  Then cut off the top 1/2 (that’s the hard part).  Lastly, cut off the stem. 

I just placed my steamer basket into a pot that had 1/2-1 inch of water in it.  Then I cooked over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

Steaming Artichokes

Overall, these are not my favorite veggie.  I’m glad that I tried them, however I do think I’ll be sticking to the canned variety. 🙂

Artichoke

Check out the VTV roundup that will be posted on April 21.