Friday, February 27, 2009

Asparagus wrapped in Prosciutto


This is a very simple appetizer that tastes really good.

Prepare your asparagus by washing it and trimming it down to the best part of the stalk. Dry it and then wrap a thin piece of prosciutto around each stalk. I use bamboo skewers to make it easier to flip them once under the broiler. Stick them under the the broiler flame and watch them carefully. It won't take long for them to be ready to eat. I'm sorry I don't have a specific time to keep them under the flame. Just watch them and when the prosciutto gets a little crispy on the edge flip them and watch them again. Plate them and watch them disappear. These are good at room temperature, too.
Enjoy!

Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Chicken Burger Loaf Style

This is one hard to eat burger, but it is so tasty!
I like to keep the ingredients for this burger in my freezer and pantry as it really is so fast to prepare and it is always a pleaser.
MARINADE
1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 tsp green onions-chopped fine
2 tbsp honey
Mix together well and pour over 4 chicken breasts. Marinade for at least an hour.
**if you don't want to make the marinade from scratch use ready made (Costco has a fantastic one) or use your favorite BBQ sauce**
BBQ chicken, using the sauce as a baste and remove to a foil lined dish to keep warm while you assemble the rest of the burger.
MAYO SPREAD
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp teriyaki sauce
Stir together and set aside.
SAUTEED PINEAPPLE
6 pineapple rings
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
In a nonstick fry pan over medium heat saute pineapple in the teriyaki for about 10 minutes. They will get alittle bit stick as they almost caramelize.
THE BREAD
1 foil wrapped garlic bread
8 large slices Monterey Jack cheese
Open garlic bread and place on a large baking sheet.( I remove some of the garlic butter as I find it is way too much.)
Broil the bread until the butter just start to melt. Remove from oven and spread with mayo. Place 4 slices of cheese on each side of bread and broil until cheese is really bubbly and bread is toasted.
ASSEMBLE YOUR BURGER
Place paper thin slices of red onion on top of the cheese on the bottom part of the loaf and then add your chicken and pineapple. To serve put the top part of the loaf on and slice wide pieces.
Try to pick it up and eat it, but you may need a fork and knife.
I like to serve this with California Salad. I'll post that recipe soon.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Buttermilk Flaxseed Bread

It's always fun trying new dishes or baked goods at a friend's table...and coming home with the recipe. We enjoyed a lovely dinner out recently...which included hot-out-of-the-oven fresh bread. Darlene was so kind to share her recipe...and since we were back to winter weather today, it was the perfect day to bake bread.
 
This recipe is meant for a bread machine...and since so many of you have those sitting in the back of your cupboards, I thought it might be an inspiration to pull them out! The bread is mixed in the bread machine...allowed to rise for a short time...and then baked in the traditional way. Since I don't have a bread machine, I mixed the dough in my Bosch mixer...and did a double batch while I was at it. I will, however, give the instructions as specified for the bread machine.
 
Buttermilk Flaxseed Bread
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp honey (liquid)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
 Topping:
  • 1 tsp water
  • 1 egg
Lightly beat together the egg and water.
  
Method:
  1. Add dough ingredients according to instructions provided by your manufacturer.
  2. Select dough/ manual cycle.
  3. When the cycle is complete, transfer dough to lightly floured surface.
  4. If the dough is not easy to handle, knead is some extra flour.
  5. Cover the dough and let rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Using a little extra flour on the kneading surface, shape the dough into a ball.
  7. Lightly grease a baking sheet then place the ball of dough on the sheet.
  8. Flatten it somewhat.
  9. Cover and let rise for about half an hour...or until doubled in size.
  10. Brush top of loaf with egg mixture.
  11. Using a very sharp knife, score the top of the loaf three times.  
  12. Bake at 375°F for about 30 minutes. 

This excellent flax seed bread recipe has about 142 calories per slice, based on 16 slices per loaf.
Enjoy...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tropical Treat Cake


I found this recipe in the Robin Hood Baking Festival cookbook although I did change it up a bit. It is a moist and flavourful cake much the same texture as a carrot cake, that is great for lunches. It really doesn't need a frosting but you could dress it up for company with a cream cheese icing.


1 large orange
1 medium banana
1 cup sultana raisins washed
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp ground star anise (opt.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or soured milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Cut unpeeled orange into pieces, removing seeds. Combine orange, banana and raisins in food processor and chop fairly fine.
Combine flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening, sugar and eggs on high speed until light and creamy.
Add fruit mixture.
Add dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk and vanilla, mixing lightly after each addition.
Spread batter evenly in a greased 9 inch square pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
This cake freezes very well.

My Raisin-Craisin-Nut-Oatmeal Cookies - Gluten-free



I love a good cookie and this one has been declared (by a variety of 'experts' ) 'VERY good' - they disappeared in record time from the plateful served to non-Celiac as well as Celiac guests.
(I found some chestnut flour and was curious - It worked well in this recipe, but I'm sure you could sub. sorghum or brown rice flour)

Ingredients (this is a large recipe that is easily cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (I used Demara)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chestnut flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 cups Gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or almonds, or pecans)

Method

  1. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening, then add eggs, sugar, vanilla and beat well.
  2. Mix well together the flours, soda, cinnamon, salt xanthan gum and oats
  3. Add to the butter mixure and mix until well blended
  4. Drop by teaspoon onto lightly greased cookie sheets (you may flatten slightly with a fork if you want a little crisper cookie)
  5. Bake for 18 minutes at 350'. (Don't over bake or they will go crumbly dry - I learned the hard way ! grrrr - ... but adjust baking time to your favorite softer or crispier cookie)

These are so good out of the oven, but they also freeze well.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sausage and Pancake Strata

I found this recipe for a breakfast casserole in an old 'Woman's World' magazine. The recipe claims that it tastes like the McDonald's McGriddle sandwich.

I had planned to post a special cake for someone very special today but then decided I'd rather 'invite' her to brunch and make this strata. So Lovella this one's for you. You are celebrating your 50th today and I want to wish you a very happy birthday! You have been an inspiration to me, you set a good example to many. I love your enthusiasm for life and how you express love for God, your beloved, your children, your grandbabies and your friends! We have never met in person but I count you a true friend. Seems like a long time ago that I googled 'Paska' and found much more..I found the recipe and a friend! Wishing you God's blessings today and keep celebrating!
Back to the recipe..

Sausage and Pancake Strata
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg(14.5 oz) frozen mini pancakes(I made my own although from a mix) approx 18
1 pkg(7oz) maple flavoured brown and serve sausage patties,8 or 9 patties
Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 11"by 7" baking dish with cooking spray.
Beat eggs with milk and stir in cheese and salt and set aside.
Cook the sausages and the pancakes.
Arrange half of pancakes in bottom of dish. Top with sausage patties. pour egg mixture over the patties and top with the rest of the pancakes, gently pressing them into the egg mixture to partially coat.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 min. Uncover and drizzle maple syrup over the egg mixture which has started to set at this point. Continue baking uncovered for another 30 min until set.
Let stand 5 min before serving and drizzle with more maple syrup if you prefer.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crazy Cake

Are you having an unexpected house full of teenagers and there isn't much in the fridge to serve? Have no fear........CRAZY CAKE IS HERE! Serve it warm with ice cream or by itself. Dare I say it gets better the next day with the coconut frosting, that is if there are any leftovers.


This chocolate cake is as easy as cake mix and is made with out eggs or milk, still resulting in a very moist and tasty cake. Frost with your favorite frosting. My favorite frostings are just below the cake recipe.

Crazy Cake

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. heaping cocoa powder
1/2 c. oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vinegar
1 c. cold water

Dump all ingredients into a bowl, mix well. Pour into 8x8 greased pan and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Can be easily doubled for a 9x13 pan.

I have made the cake without cocoa, and used butterscotch pudding for the frosting, with good results as well.

Pudding Frosting

1 pkg any flavour pudding
(I used chocolate for chocolate cake)
1 pkg dream whip
1 1/2 c. cold milk

Beat together well until thick and creamy.

Burnt Coconut Frosting (my personal favorite)

1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. unsweetened coconut
3 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. corn syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Place in saucepan, bring to boil.
Boil for 3 minutes.
Pour over cake and brown under broiler.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Can't-Believe-Its-Gluten-Free Pizza !

Pizza is something I have missed eating since I have been gluten-free!
I finally have a recipe that is good enough to serve to guests -- Regular guests..not just Celiac ones ! It has a crisp outer crust and soft inside.
This dough smells soooo good baking !!!
I found the original recipe on line but didn't have the flours called for so I substituted and tweeked until I ended up with the following .....

Pizza Dough Ingredients
  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup white bean flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Olive oil
  • 2 eggs plus one egg white
  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast

METHOD

  • add sugar and honey to warm water... sprinkle yeast over top and let sit until foamy
  • beat eggs, oil, vinegar in heavy duty mixing bowl
  • add proofed yeast
  • mix all dry ingredients together well -- then add to liquid in mixing bowl.
  • mix until blended , then turn mixer on high and beat for 4 minutes - you will see the Constancy of the dough change.

  • The dough will be sticky, but using a spatula turn it out onto a clean surface sprinkled with sweet rice flour (or tapioca starch) Using as little flour as possible knead the dough gently until you can handle it . It will be a very soft dough.
  • Using your hands form it into a pizza shape, making the edges higher and thicker. I find it easier to make individual pizzas rather then one big one -- but there is no reason why you can't make your pizza any size you like.
  • place pizza crusts on pans and let rise in warm place for about 45 minutes.

When pizzas have risen, bake at 350' for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven... spread with pizza sauce and desired toppings and bake at 400' for another 20 minutes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oven baked BBQ Ribs

Ribs must be on the menu in a few of our kitchens this week. Judy posted a delicious looking rib recipe this past week as well. Here is another melt in your mouth rib recipe. I often add 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 2-3 pieces each to the pan during the last hour of cooking. This is so simple, but I guarantee they are so tender. You can easily half or double this recipe.
3-4 pounds pork back ribs (cut into 3-4 rib sections)
1 500ml bottle BBQ sauce (I like to use Bulls Eye regular)
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup minced onion (optional)
Place ribs in a 9x13 foil lined pan
Stir together remaining ingredients and pour over ribs.
Cover with foil and bake in 300 oven for 2 1/2 -3 hours. (baste once or twice)
Turn heat up to 350 and remove foil. If there is allot of grease at this point spoon some of it off, but don't take out any of the BBQ sauce.
**if you are adding chicken to the pan add it now and place the pieces around the outsides of the pan around the ribs***
Continue to bake for 1 hour. Baste half way through. If meat is getting too dark cover loosely with foil for last 20 minutes.
Some good sides: baked beans, coleslaw, fries, cornbread.

Decadent Chocolate Trifle

Have you ever caught yourself in a pinch?
I think we've all been there.
On Friday, recognizing that it was also my daughter's birthday,
I thought..Hm...what can I send along to the city?
How do I even have time to make something,
while my day was packed with a flurry of celebrations.
I knew she was having a party with friends.

I know she loves Skor Bars, and so I found this recipe in the
Greendale Mennonite Cookbook, pg.180
Well I began scrambling...cake was baking while I was out walking.
Cake and pudding cooled while lunching out.
Came home and quickly assembled the layers.
Ready for three o'clock pick-up.
Off to the game I went.
Surprising how we can work under pressure.

I'm always thankful when I have the right ingredients on hand.
I have a friend and she helps me along.
Yea! Betty Crocker.
I store her in my pantry.
She only comes out in a pinch.

Decadent Chocolate Trifle


1 chocolate cake
1 large Cool -Whip
6 Skor Bars, crushed
4 Chocolate Mousse mixes
2-3 cups peanuts
2 jars caramel topping

Cut cake into bite size pieces.
Make chocolate pudding according to directions on package.
Layer in the order listed.
I didn't have Mousse in the house, so I used chocolate cooked pudding.
Did you know that you can buy Skor Chipits?

I could already see quite quickly, that this was a large recipe.
So, I decided to half it and put it in s smaller bowl.

Cut cake into bite size pieces.
Layer with whipping cream or Cool-Whip.
Drizzle the crushed skor bits on top.

Yummy, can you see the chocolate pudding?
Throw the nuts on top!


Drizzle the caramel topping and you are set to go!
It's more advisable to chill for several hours.
They are still ramping and raving over it.

Now I have just enough left for a small dinner company!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

SICILIAN MEAT ROLL


2 eggs beaten
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup tomatoe juice (or ketchup)
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lb. extra lean ground beef (try bison)
8 thin slices of fat free or lean ham
1 1/2 cup low fat shredded mozarella



Combine first 8 ingredients. Roll out on waxed paper or foil. Place ham and cheese with in an inch of the border. Roll up from the long side and place edge down. and seal ends. Bake at 350 for 1 1/2 hours.

Very tasty and makes very good sandwiches the next day.



I made this for a family that had picky eaters and they all loved it.
(the meat around the ham does stay pink, don't worry it is cooked through)


Monday, February 16, 2009

Honey Garlic Ribs

Now that Valentine's Day is behind us...and we've all had our fill of sweets...I'll pass along our favorite recipe for ribs. I have no idea where the recipe originated...but have been using it for years. I normally serve it with 'golden mashed potatoes'...but never thought to take a photo until after the meal...and the potatoes did not show up for the photo shoot!

Honey Garlic Ribs

1 ½ to 2 kg pork side ribs (about 4 pounds)
½ cup honey
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. coarse black pepper
1 tsp. salt

Place ribs in large roasting pan with about ½ inch of water. Cover & bake at 350 degrees F. for 1 ½ hours. Drain water from roaster.

Combine remaining ingredients to make sauce. Pour over the ribs & bake for another ½ to 1 hour, basting ribs occasionally with the sauce.



Sunday, February 15, 2009

Apple Puff Pancake

Today after church we enjoyed a Sunday Brunch of an oven baked omelet and salad, that ended with a puffy apple pancake also baked in the oven. The origanal recipe that is posted is baked in a 9" pie pan, but I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9x13"pan.
Mix the follwing ingredients in a blender.
1/2 cups milk
3eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
2 tbsp brown sugar or
sprinkle with icing sugar after it is baked
1 apple peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 425
Place butter in pie pan and melt the butter in the oven.
Thinly slice apple and when butter is melted arrange apples in to the pan.
Mix the remaining ingredients in a blender (or by hand),
Carefully pour into the hot pan.
Sprinkle with brown sugar and extra cinnamon if you desire.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or till puffed and golden.
The pancake does fall after it is removed from the oven....no worries.
Serve with maple syrup, or a sqeeze of fresh lemon.
delish!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Chocolate Souffle's for Two


Chocolate Souffle's

A few years ago, I purchased some 6 ounce ramekins for individual desserts. They make the loveliest individual portions. . .all neat and tidy, no worry about "serving mess" catastrophe's.

I found this recipe in The Fine Cooking Magazine Special Annual Issue of holiday Baking. ..2003.
I was surprised to find the whole recipe on the link.
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces .. .and then some for buttering the ramekins
  • Granulated sugar for dusting over the buttered ramekins
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee granules. . . I keep instant coffee on hand for recipes
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate. I used leftover chocolate from Christmas and put it on a kitchen scale to weigh it. . .
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 farm fresh large eggs. . .room temperature .. .and separated
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar. . or confectioners sugar. . .same thing. . .different country
  1. Lightly butter 6 ramekins and then dust them with the sugar. . .pour the sugar into the first one. . and then dump the remainder to the next. . .and the next. . adding a bit more sugar if needed.
  2. Set the ramekins on a baking sheet.
  3. Stir together the water . . .and the instant coffee. Set aside.
  4. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave. . .ten seconds at a time until the chocolate is softened. . .stirring well in between.. . .or use a large bowl over a pot of boiling water.
  5. Whisk until glossy and smooth.
  6. Stir in the coffee mixture and the salt. . . and whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time.
  7. Add about 1/3 of the icing sugar and whisk until well blended. Set aside.
  8. Beat the egg whites in a freshly washed and dried glass or metal bowl.
  9. Add the remainder of the icing sugar just when the whites are foamy and then continue to beat until the peaks are firm and glossy.
  10. Spoon about 1/4 of the whites into the chocolate mixture. . .stirring well. . .this lightens the heaviness of the chocolate. . allowing the remainder of the whites to be mixed in without deflating them.
  11. Add the remaining whites. . .gently. . until just blended.
  12. Pour evenly into the ramekins .. .and chill uncovered about 30 minutes. Then. . cover with plastic wrap. The delay in wrapping helps the wrap not to stick to the chocolate, ensuring a nice smooth baked top.
  13. If you want to bake them within 24 hours. . .leave them in the refrigerator and bake them on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees .. .for 15 minutes.
  14. If you want to make them ahead. . .put them in the freezer. . .and remove them while you preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Bake them on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.
  15. Serve hot from the oven. . .immediately.
  16. A little garnish of berries and whipped cream or Ice Cream on the side. . .is a perfect addition. Though the recipe instructions seem long. . .it is truly a breeze to make.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes

This recipe takes me back to my school days, when my mom packed my lunches. I also made these for my kids’ lunches even though sometimes they used them as valuable trading food for fruit roll ups and snacks I deprived them of. The icing hardens enough so that you can wrap them with plastic wrap and it doesn’t stick to it. I like them because they don't fall apart like the chocolate cake mix cupcakes and the first ingredients is not sugar. . . well looking at it now, it's listed first on the recipe but . . . you know what I mean.

Ingredients:1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c oil
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3 heaping Tbsp cocoa
½ tsp salt

Mix sugar and eggs well, gradually beating in the oil, then the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full. Makes 12 large or 18 medium sized cupcakes. Bake at 350F for 20 min.
Ice with Choc Icing:
Mix 2 cups icing sugar (approx) with 2 Tbsp soft margarine, 1 Tbsp cocoa and enough milk to make a spread-able consistency. Sprinkle with chocolate or colored sprinkles. Freeze in air tight container once the icing has dried.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Years ago I saw this recipe in a magazine..it is the most simple recipe I have ever made. The magazine was called 'Home Sweet Home' from the publishers of Family Circle. These cookies are delicious and it's hard to believe how easy they are to make. A fun recipe that even smaller children can manage!
Yes only 3 ingredients!
I cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a baking sheet and press each cookie with a fork.
Bake in 350 oven for 10 to 11 min.
Yields: 16 cookies

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mulitgrain Kitchen Scissor Buns

You would think that just once. . .before eating these. ..I would remember to put them in a nice decorative basket for the picture op. . . I've been making these fairly regularly and really like the ease of pulling dough out of the refrigerator with an hour to spare before dinner. The dough will last up to 2 weeks well chilled. . .if you don't eat all the buns before that.


Multigrain Kitchen Scissor Buns
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons yeast. . .regular active dry is what I use
  • 2 tablespoons creamy honey
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 cups of multigrain bread flour
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons white all purpose flour
  • cornmeal or porridge oats or something like that to bake your buns on top of
  1. I am using my kitchen aid mixer. . .but you can use a big bowl and a sturdy wooden spoon.
  2. Put your water, salt, honey yeast in a large bowl and stir together.
  3. Add the multigrain flour. . stir it in.
  4. Add the white flour. . .stir hard. . or use your mixer.
  5. Plop it all into an ice cream pail with a few layers of plastic wrap on top.
  6. Put the lid on but leave a bit of airspace.
  7. Put the bowl in the fridge for a day at least or up to 2 weeks.
  8. When you want to bake buns, break off a piece the size of a large grapefruit.
  9. Roll it into a cylinder the length of a cookie sheet. . .making each end a bit pointed.
  10. Let rise for about 45 minutes.
  11. Take your clean kitchen scissors and at 1 1/2 to 2 inch intervals cut right down at an angle. ..through the cylinder, laying them down to the side.
  12. Continue down the row, laying the buns back and forth.
  13. Bake the buns at 450 for about 20 minutes.
  14. If you want crustier buns, pour 1 cup of hot water into a broiler tray below your bun sheet.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tomato Soup with Puff Pastry

With Valentines coming up, some of us may be looking for something special to cook. I got this recipe from Cori about 25 years ago when she and my brother had us over for a fancy New Year’s Eve Dinner. I must say I was very impressed . . . she had little menus on the table and gone all out in her preparations. This soup can be dressed up for an appetizer or served as a main meal with French Bread. Over the years this soup (minus the puff), with some home made bread, has somehow also become the first thing I think about taking to someone who needs a meal.

Soup Ingredients:
2 Tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped very fine
1/2 green pepper, chopped fine
1/2 cup celery, chopped fine
1 tsp basil
1 tsp dill weed
28 oz canned whole tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
pepper, to taste
2 cups chicken stock (1 Knorr chicken bouillon cube + 2 cups water)

White Sauce:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk

Blend tomatoes in blender until just blended. (Do not substitute whole tomatoes for pre-blended) Heat first 6 ingredients in large pot until onion softens. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper; simmer 10 minutes. Add chicken stock; simmer 20 min.
In a small pot, melt butter, using whisk, blend in flour and milk to make a white sauce. Stir sauce into tomato soup. Serves 4 – 6
To serve with puff pastry:
Cool soup slightly, refrigerate until ready to use.
Divide among 4 -6 onion soup bowls, leaving 1 inch from top.
Roll out 1 -2 pkgs (14 oz each - 397 g) thawed frozen puff pastry to 1/8" thick. (I used 1 pkg. for 6 bowls, but I had to combine the scraps and re-roll – it worked fine) Cut rounds out, about 6 inches in diameter – slightly larger than tops of bowls. Cut a few slits to allow steam to vent. Press to outside of bowl, but not to rim. Chill 1 hour. Brush with 1 whisked egg. (optional) Bake on lower 1/3 of oven, at 400 F, 15 – 20 min. Watch that the pastry doesn’t brown too quickly.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a Mug

This cake in a mug was fun to make! The cake is slightly dense but still quite delicious served warm with a scoop of ice cream. Sounds like an idea for Valentine's Day. I got this recipe from my long time friend, Em.

4 tbsp flour
4 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
1 egg
3 tbsp milk
3 tbsp oil
3 tbsp choc chips
small splash of vanilla
1 large mug

Put dry ingredients in mug and mix. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in milk and oil and mix well. Add choc chips and vanilla and mix again.
Place mug in microwave (1000 watts) and cook for 3 min. The cake will rise over the top of the mug but don't be alarmed. Allow to cool a bit and tip out on a plate if desired or eat right out of the mug.
Dessert for two.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Carrot Cake

I have baked this cake for at least 25 years and am not sure where I got the recipe from. During those years I exchanged recipes with my friend Karin, and it may come from her. It's been used for many a shower and birthday cake. The icing works great for spreading and decorating with. You can add food color to it and use the star tip or writing tip for easy decorating.


Ingredients:

3 eggs
1 c oil (or 3/4 c oil, 1/4 c pineapple juice)
1 1/2 c brown sugar
2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c coconut
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 c grated carrots

Prepare pans by greasing well and dusting with flour, tapping out any excess. If you plan to invert and decorate the whole cake (sides and top) and you don’t have a spring form pan, it’s a good idea to line your pan with parchment paper.
Beat eggs, oil and sugar well. Add combined dry ingredients, then coconut, pineapple and carrots. Spread into prepared 9x9 square pan or 9inch round spring form pan.
Bake at 350 F for 60 – 70 minutes. Test with toothpick.


Cream Cheese Frosting*

1/4 cup butter, room temp
4 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 - 1 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar (icing sugar)
Beat butter and cream cheese, gradually adding icing sugar until desired consistency for spreading. To use with a decorating tube, you may need a little extra icing sugar.

Icing options:
1) Cool completely in pan and ice. Sprinkle with chopped nuts.
2) Cool 10 min. Invert onto cooling rack, remove paper. Cool completely and freeze or frost and decorate. *To frost sides and top of cake, double the icing amount.
If you need to bake a larger cake, use 1 ½ times the recipe, for a 9X13 pan.

For my sister’s birthday last week, I used this recipe and decorated it with dried pineapple flowers. The instructions are with the hummingbird cake previously posted.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Banana Cake

I snipped this banana cake recipe from a farm publication called The Western Producer not too long ago. It is great served with warm caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

Banana Cake

1 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 mashed bananas
1 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

Mix butter and sugar.
Beat in eggs...and vanilla, bananas and buttermilk.
Stir in dry ingredients and mix until blended.
Pour into a greased nine by thirteen inch pan...or two nine inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes...or until set in centre.


Warm Caramel Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed sugar
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add sugar; cook until melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in sour cream and cook for 1 minute.

I have also used this cake as the base for my grandson's birthday cake...what could be more appropriate for a monkey cake than a moist banana cake recipe? I'll post instructions for the monkey cake below.


Monkey Banana Cake

For my grandson's first birthday I made him a monkey cake...complete with a tiny banana which was his 'smash cake'. He turned three not long ago...and requested a repeat of the monkey cake.

I found the banana cake recipe works perfectly for this cake. Mix as per instructions above...and then bake in a 10" inch springform pan and a small round Pyrex bowl (for monkey nose). I also made one mini loaf, that I carved into a banana shape.

Creamy Vanilla Frosting

This frosting spreads and pipes smoothly. Make sure the butter is really soft so the frosting won't split when tinted.
  • 1-1/4 cups (300 mL) butter, softened
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) icing sugar
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) whipping cream
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla
In large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Alternately beat in sugar and cream, making 3 additions of sugar and 2 of cream. Beat in vanilla.

To assemble:
  • Remove a small amount of icing to be tinted yellow...for small banana cake.
  • Divide remaining frosting into two bowls. Tint one portion a skin-tone.
  • Add 2 squares semi-sweet chocolate (melted) to remaining frosting.
  • Centre round cake on prepared base...allowing enough room for small banana cake below.
  • Position nose on monkey's face...and glue in place with frosting.
  • Put a skim coat of skin-toned icing over entire cake...with a somewhat thicker layer over face area.
  • Position vanilla wafer for ears. Using icing bags and decorating tips to apply chocolate icing. I used assorted chocolates for the mouth, nose and eyes...but use your imagination!
  • Frost tiny banana 'smash cake' with yellow icing...add a few green streaks with toothpick.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chicken Quesadilla with Carmelized Onion & Peppers


We had some left over barbecued chicken breast so I decided to make Quesadillas for dinner last night with a new twist. I carmelized the onion, bellpepper, Anaheim green chile and half a jalapeno in some olive oil. When they were soft I added the leftover chicken and let it heat through.

 My girlfriend Jody taught me this great trick to make your tortilla a little crunchy and with some added flavor. Put some cheese in your heated pan first. Then lay the first tortilla over the cheese and let the cheese crisp up and stick to the tortilla. Put some cheese on the exposed part of the tortilla, to taste. Put your filling on top of the of the cheese and then add the second tortilla on top. If you really like a cheesy quesadilla you could add more cheese on top of the filling too. The hardest part of this meal will be fipping the quesadilla without losing all the filling. Oh I almost forgot, I also toss in a good amount of cilantro.

We used white flour tortillas and Whole Wheat tortillas. We decided we'd just use the whole wheat in the future because of the added fiber. After you add all those fillings it's not the tortilla you taste anyway. Serve with a salad and guacamole, chips and salsa. We are fortunate to have a wonderful Mexican market close by that makes it's own salsa and guacamole daily. Enjoy!


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Farmer sausage meat buns

Try this recipe to make a little something for the family to take along for their work / school lunches.
I made the dough a little higher in fiber, used low fat cheese and low sodium farmer sausage.
Using turkey sausage is a better option but we didn't have any. You can use garlic sausage really anything you have on hand.

dough-
  • 1 1/2 c. oats
  • 3 c. whole wheat
  • 3 c. unbleached flour
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 pkg. instant yeast
  • 1/4 c. oil (can be left out)
  • 4 c. of really warm water
  1. mix all the dry ingredients including the dry yeast
  2. add water and incorporate well.
  3. add more unbleached flour as necessary to make a soft dough
  4. knead about 10 min.
  5. let dough rest about 20 min.
  6. divide dough in 64 equal pieces
filling-
  • farmer sausage, cut into 64 equal pieces
  • cheese cut in 64 sticks
  • mustard
  1. flatten out each piece of dough and put in a little mustard, a piece of sausage and cheese.
  2. fold up sides and pinch the seams together, place seam side down on a parchment lined baking pan.
  3. some cheese tends to melt out and it makes for easier clean up.
  4. let rise about 1/2 hour. bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.

64 sounds like a lot, but the kids have them polished up in no time!
ENJOY!


Monday, February 2, 2009

Hummingbird Cake

When I saw the picture of this cake, I had to try it and if you have any reason to make a cake for a special occasion in the near future, this is easier than it looks. I got the recipe from Danielle, a dear friend of my daughter, who made it for her little girl’s birthday. Danielle, whom I admire for her creativity and ability to make things beautiful, gives credit to Martha Stewart and sent me the link on that.
http://www.marthastewart.com/portal/site/mslo/menuitem.fc77a0dbc44dd1611e3bf410b5900aa0/?vgnextoid=162bf9e2ff5d3110VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default
I have changed the recipe up a bit, cutting down on sugar and oil, and less frosting. It’s still sweet enough to make you hum while you eat.

Cake Ingredients:
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ cup vegetable oil +1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups white or brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups mashed bananas
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
1 cup unsweetened coconut

Frosting:
12 oz cream cheese
2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup butter, room temp
4 cups confectioners sugar (approx)
Beat butter and cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add sugar , beating until right consistency for spreading. Can be refrigerated for several days. bring to room temp before using.

1. Preheat oven to 350F. (rack mid level) Grease two 9-by-2 inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Grease paper (if using wax paper) and sides of pan, then dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Set aside.
2. In med bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla well, stir in oil until combined. Beat until mixture is pale yellow and fluffy.
4. Add bananas, pineapple, coconut and nuts, stirring until combined. Add flour mixture, blending well.
5. Divide batter between two pans. Bake until golden brown and cake tests done, 30 - 40 minutes.
6. Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool 10-15 min. Run a knife along edge of cakes. Invert onto racks. Remove paper and cool completely. (Assemble cake or freeze for another day)
7. With serrated knife, trim and discard rounded top off one layer. Place layer on serving platter. Spread top with ¼ inch of frosting. Top with untrimmed layer. Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting. Decorate with pineapple flowers.

Dried Pineapple Flowers

Preheat oven to 225 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice off top and bottom of pineapple. While still standing it up, peel off sections, cutting in a downward motion. Using a small melon baler, remove eyes.
Slice pineapple into very thin slices and place on baking sheets. The thinner you cut the slices, the faster they will dry and the brighter the color will be. Bake until tops look dried, about 30-40 minutes. Flip slices (at this time I cut some indentations into the sides so that the petals would be more exaggerated) and bake until completely dried. I used convection bake which has a fan on it, and that worked well. Bake slices a bit longer if needed - - you want them dry. Cool on wire rack. You can make these ahead and store them in a muffin tray – slip into plastic bag and refrigerated up to three days.