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Archive for June, 2010

I honestly didn’t know what I was making for dinner the other night.  I was drawing a total blank. Mark (my husband) is hungry and is looking at me with those eyes that say are we gonna eat tonight or is it a fend for yourself night!?  I went into automatic mode and this is what I came up with. I was quite pleased with how it turned out! It’s just like Chicken Cordon Bleu, (not the same cheese, but close enough) but wrapped with bacon. So, that’s what I’m calling it!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Cordon Bleu

Cheese Mixture:

6 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature

1/4 Cup Onions, diced

1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper, diced

1/2 tsp. Garlic, diced

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Freshly Chopped Chives (I used 4 pieces, from the Garden)

Meat:

4-6 Chicken Breasts, skinless, boneless

4-6 Pieces of Ham

8-12 Slices Bacon

Frying Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, diced onion, diced red pepper, garlic, salt, pepper and chopped chives. Mix well. Set aside.  Rinse Chicken and pat dry with paper towels. With a paring knife, cut a pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast, about 3 to 4 inches long, being careful not to go all the way through. Cut Ham piece in half.  Place one on top of the other. Take a knife and spread cream cheese mixture across the ham, and carefully roll up.  Make ready remaining ham slices.   Stuff the ham roll-ups into the pocket of the chicken. You can add more cream cheese at this point if desired.  Carefully wrap the bacon around the chicken, (you’ll need 2 pieces for each one) sealing the pockets up. Secure with toothpicks if needed.

In a skillet, melt the butter and olive oil. When the pan is hot, set the chicken pieces into the skillet, lightly browning them on both sides and then transfer to a baking dish. I used a rack underneath my chicken to keep them off of the bottom of the baking dish. Cook chicken in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is done and registers 165 on an instant thermometer. (Do not over cook.)

Meanwhile, make these potatoes to go with it.

Potato Planks

Potatoes, (However many you would like to serve.) I used 4

Zesty Italian Dressing

In the same skillet you cooked the chicken in, drain grease except for 2-3 Tablespoons. Peel and cut potatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Cook potatoes in boiling, salted (make your potato cooking water taste like the sea) water, cooking just til tender. Drain water. Lay potatoes out onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with zesty Italian dressing, using the back of a spoon to insure the dressing is completely covering the potatoes and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to absorb the dressing. The potatoes should not be swimming in the dressing. Add the potato slices to the skillet you cooked the chicken in. Fry for about 8 minutes on one side, and then flip and cook on the other side. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken.  Make a salad to round out the meal.  The Rave’s of this meal were many!!

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Recently I was sent and asked to review:  United Cakes of America by Warren Brown.  A Collection of Recipes Celebrating Every State! How Unique! What fun!  I couldn’t wait to dive in and see what cakes went with what states.  Almost all recipes have big beautiful pictures, and some history to the origins, or an explanation as to why the cake fits the state it was cataloged under.  I  liked that the dedicated cakes weren’t just cake, but also included cheesecakes, whoopie Pies, Pancakes, Johnny Cakes, cobbler,  rice crispy treats, (not cake, but can’t be passed up) and even a Cherry Trifle!  Making a selection was once again hard to do. What to make out of so many eye candy, taste tempting recipes. I went through the book over and over finally settling on one recipe, making 2 different desserts. I opted for the Bundt cake,  following the variation to make his version of The Tunnel of Fudge Cake. (Minnesota – The pan itself was created in the 1950′s by David Dalquist of Nordic Products, based in Minneapolis. It rocked to fame when Pillsbury (another Minneapolis-based company) promoted it nationally along with the Tunnel of Fudge recipe by Ella Rita Helfrich of Houston, Texas, winner of the 1966 Pillsbury Bake-Off contest.)

Bundt Cake

Dry Ingredients:

15 oz. (3 Cups) All Purpose Flour

1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

Wet Ingredients:

1 Cup Milk

2 tsp. Vanilla

Creaming Ingredients:

8 oz. (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter

21 oz. (2 1/2 Cups+2 Tablespoons) Superfine Granulated Sugar (Blitz in a food processor if you don’t have superfine sugar)

6 Eggs

For the Glaze:

1/2 Cup Milk or Water

8 1/2 oz. (2 Cups) Confectioner’s Sugar, plus more if needed

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees F and place the rack in the middle position. Spray a 12 Cup Bundt pan with non stick oil and starch spray.   Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Set aside.

Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl all the way to the bottom using a flexible spatula and mix until everything is thoroughly combined. Alternately add the dry and wet mixtures about a quarter at a time without pausing between additions. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and mix on low another 20 seconds.  Gently scoop the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed and a wooden skewer inserted in the deepest part comes out clean.   Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert it onto a rack so it’s resting right side up. Let it cool completely.

Combine the ingredients for the glaze and whisk. Drizzle the mixture over the cooled pound cake and let gravity push the glaze down the sides of the cake. If it wont’ pour well, add a little more liquid, as needed.

Note: To make it the Tunnel of Fudge Cake, you add 1 oz. of Cocoa to the dry ingredients, 1 ounce of  melted unsweetened chocolate and 3 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate to the wet ingredients.  Replace the white sugar glaze with a chocolate glaze.

Bring 1/2 cup of half and half to a simmer in a small saucepan and pour it over 4 ounces of bittersweet chocolate chunks or pistoles. Let the chocolate cool slightly, then drizzle it over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides.  (I made this exactly as written, but the glaze was way too runny.  I checked the recipe several times to make sure I had the correct amount the recipe specified.  Maybe a typo? I would suggest 1/4 cup of half and half and 4 oz. chocolate, adding more or less liquid or chocolate if needed.)

VERDICT:  I baked my cakes in mini bundts,  saving enough to make one 8 inch round cake for another recipe.  I wouldn’t classify this as a tunnel of fudge cake, as I found no tunnel of fudge in the center of the bundts. I remember my mom making the tunnel of fudge cake and tasting that definite chocolate-y fudge-y center.  This didn’t have that, but it made a Great tasting chocolate cake (and tasted even better the second day) and the kids loved the mini’s. Some I drizzled with the glaze, and some I sprinkled with powdered sugar.


My second choice and the reason I baked an 8 inch round with the mini bundt’s recipe was so that I could serve something that just spells summer! The Baked Alaska!  (Alaska – Baked Alaska  bears the name of the state, but it didn’t begin in Alaska. As with many other after-dinner delights, the origins of the first dessert to include ice cream and sponge cake encased in pasty dough or meringue are disputed. It’s believed that Thomas Jefferson indulged his guests at the White House with the version encased in pastry. The reigning story credits Charles Ranhofer – a famous French-born chef at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York – with creating the dessert, which he included in his 1893 cookbook and dubbed “Alaska, Florida”.) Who can resist cake and ice cream!? Certainly not I. Baked Alaska is one of my favorite desserts.

Baked Alaska

1/2 Recipe of  Amazing Vanilla Cake (recipe follows)

2 Pints Ice Cream (Any flavor)

For the Meringue:

1/4 Cup Water

10 oz. (1 1/4 Cups) Superfine Sugar (use your food processor it you don’t have superfine sugar)

5 Egg Whites

Once you’ve made the Amazing Vanilla Cake, line a 9 inch cake ring with plastic wrap and place it on a heat proof platter. Slice the cake twice horizontally to make 3 layers about 1/4 inch thick.  Stir or whip the ice cream until it’s spreadable.  Place one thin layer of cake inside the ring and smear about 1 1/2 cups of ice cream on it. Repeat for the remaining cake layers, ending with ice cream on top.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 24 hours.  Preheat the oven to the highest setting – 550 degrees F, if possible. While the oven heats, prepare the meringue.

Combine the water and 8 ounces of the sugar in a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Insert a candy thermometer.  Whip the egg whites on low speed  in bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment.  When the  sugar syrup measures 200 degrees F on the thermometer, tun the mixer on high speed. Beat until the whites are a stiff peak, then slowly pour in the remaining 2 ounces of sugar.  When the syrup reaches 245 degrees F, slowly pour it into the meringue, as you continue to whip at  high-speed. After adding the syrup, whip for 2 minutes longer, then reduce to medium speed and whip the meringue for another minute or two. Use immediately.  Remove the cake from the mold, using a dish towel soaked in warm water against the ring to help release it. Remove any plastic wrap. Working fairly quickly, apply the meringue. Use a pastry bag fitted with  a star tip or just spread with an offset spatula. Cover the cake completely.  Place the  cake in the oven and set the timer for 3 minutes. Check often to monitor progress. As soon as the meringue peaks are browning, remove the cake from the oven. Alternatively, use a chef’s blowtorch to brown the meringue.  Immediately cut the dessert tableside with a knife dipped in warm water, and serve.

Amazing Vanilla Cake

Dry Ingredients:

8 oz. (1 1/2 Cups) All Purpose Flour

1 oz. Potato Starch

2 Pinches Salt

1 Tbsp. Vanilla Powder

Wet Ingredients:

4 oz. (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter

2 Tbsp. Rum

6 Eggs, separated

12 oz. (1 1/2 Cups) Superfine Granulated Sugar

1/2 Vanilla Bean, seeds only

Directions for Vanilla Cake:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and place the rack in the middle position. Line two 9X2 inch round cake pans with parchment.  Measure dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it is browned, then remove from the heat. Stir in the rum and vanilla and set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the wire attachment, beat the egg whites on high-speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.  Slowly  pour 2 ounces of the sugar into the whites and whip for another 20 seconds.  Transfer the whites to a clean bowl and set aside.

In the mixer bowl, beat the egg yolks, vanilla seeds, and remaining 10 ounces of sugar until the mixture is pale yellow.  Reduce the speed of the wire whip to slow, and add the dry ingredients to the mixer in three portions.  Stop the mixer and fold in the meringue with a flexible spatula, followed by the browned butter mixture.  Divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown  and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool the cakes in the pans. Use an offset spatula to release the cakes if they stick to the sides when you invert the pans.

Verdict:

Absolutely Delicious!!  I’ve never seen a recipe for Baked Alaska that divides the cake with layers of ice cream, but I sure like the idea! If you don’t want to split the layers and want a more traditional Baked Alaska, follow these easy directions.  Do not cut the cake layers. Find a bowl (upside down)  that will sit over the 9 inch cake all the way to the edges.   Spray the bowl with nonstick spray, and then line with plastic wrap. Make 2 pieces of plastic wrap the same length that fits all the way into the bowl with leftover hanging over the edges. Put one sheet of plastic one way, and place the second piece the other way. Spray the plastic wrap with non stick spray.  Fill the bowl with ice cream of your choice of ice cream(s). I usually use two different flavors, freezing the ice cream for a couple of hours in between adding the layers. After you have your bowl filled with ice cream, freeze ice cream in bowl for at least 4 to 8 hours, preferably overnight.  Invert the bowl onto the layer cake. (You should be able to remove the ice cream from the bowl without too much difficulty. The hang over plastic wrap should aid in the removal. If you have difficulty, sit the bowl in warm water for a couple of seconds. You should have a nice dome of ice cream sitting on the layer cake. Peel the plastic wrap from the ice cream and continue with the recipes directions.) I cut my cake into 2 layers. I had to stop for a minute, mid meringue making and my meringue paid the price. It did not come out as it should have. But you know what, it still tasted great!

This book earns a place on my cook book shelf and comes highly recommended. It’s one of those books that you will reach for time, after time when wanting to make a cake. The quality of the book is first rate. United Cakes of America, will round out my collection of Cook books for years to come.


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American Sandwich Bread

Admittedly, I love eating bread. And baking it too! But, my Grand kids have me beat in the bread eating hands down. They love it toasted, spread with Goober Grape (Peanut butter & Jelly mixed), or buttered.  (Just don’t expect them to eat the crust, I have to cut that off for them. I wonder if they will ever discover the best part is sometimes that crust they have me take off!) When we go over to my in-laws, they buy them a large loaf of bread, give them their own tub of butter and let them have at it.  Recently I made American Sandwich Bread. I Love this loaf of bread. It baked up nice and high and had great taste. The kids devoured it!   Go fire up your oven, roll up your sleeves and get the flour out! You won’t be disappointed!

This recipe uses a standing electric mixer. You can hand-knead the dough, but we found it’s easy to add too much flour during this stage, resulting in a somewhat tougher loaf. To promote a crisp crust,we found it best to place a loaf pan filled with boiling water in the oven as the bread bakes.

American Sandwich Bread

Source: Baking Illustrated

3 3/4 Cups (18 3/4 oz.) Unbleached All Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting

2 tsp. Salt

1 Cup Warm Whole Milk (110 degrees F)

1/3 Cup Warm Water (110 degrees F)

2 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, Melted

3 Tbsp. Honey

1 Envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) Yeast

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Once the oven temperature reaches 200 degrees, maintain the heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven.

Mix 3½ cups of the flour and the salt in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix the milk, water, butter, honey, and yeast in a 4-cup liquid measuring cup. Turn the machine to low and slowly add the liquid. When the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and satiny, stopping the machine two or three times to scrape dough from hook, if necessary, about 10 minutes. (After 5 minutes of kneading, if the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and up to ¼ cup total, until the dough is no longer sticky.) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead to form a smooth, round ball, about 15 seconds.

Place the dough in a very lightly oiled large bowl, rubbing the dough around the bowl to coat lightly. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmed oven until the dough doubles in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

Gently press the dough into a rectangle 1 inch thick and no longer than 9 inches. With a long side facing you, roll the dough firmly into a cylinder, pressing with your fingers to make sure the dough sticks to itself. Turn the dough seam-side up and pinch it closed. Place the dough seam-side down in a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and press it gently so it touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm spot until the dough almost doubles in size, 20 to 30 minutes.

Keep one oven rack at the lowest position and place the other at the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty baking pan on the bottom rack. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling water into the empty pan on the bottom rack and set the loaf onto the middle rack. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted at an angle from the short end just above the pan rim into the center of the loaf read 195 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan, transfer to a wire rack, and cool to room temperature. Slice and serve.

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These French Dip Sandwiches, are the quick easy way. Made with Lunch meat. If you’ve never tried the Dietz & Watson London Broil Beef, you haven’t lived!  This is the only brand of roast beef I will buy, and it must be on sale too! So, I recently caught it on sale and decided to make French Dip Sandwiches. Dietz & Watson also have a horseradish cheddar and Roast Garlic Cheese and usually when the roast beef is on sale, they usually have the cheeses on sale at the same time. Either one, goes great on the sandwich. Pick up some sub buns and dinner’s on the table in no time.

Now I wouldn’t really call this a recipe but here’s how I make my Quick & Easy French Dip Sandwiches. I took my sandwich Rolls and put 2 pieces of the London broil on the bun, and set the cheese on it. Put it under the broiler until the cheese has melted. Add Fried onions to the sandwich and serve at once with Au Jus!

Quick & Easy Au Ju

1 Cup Hot Water

2 tsp. Minor’s Demi-glace or Beef Base (If you can’t find minor’s try the better than Bouillon (Beef flavored in the jar) OR

1 can Beef Broth

Stir the ingredients together, taste, correct seasonings if needed  and serve in small dipping bowls.

If you’d like a little crunch to your sandwich, add some Durkee Fried Onions. They’re great on this sandwich too!   Yum!

NOTE: Dietz & Watson also has a London Broil Turkey that’s out of this world too, give it a try if you like turkey.

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This recipe comes from Chef David Lawrence’s Blog.  I am not really into par-boiling my ribs, I like to put them on the grill and give them a nice slow long roasting period! However, I decided to give this recipe a go.  The entire family loved it. I only had a couple of ribs left. These had Great taste and were falling off the bone tender. Would I make them again? Yep, you bet!

Cocoa Cola BBQ Ribs

From: Forking Delicious (Chef David Lawrence)

This is the ONLY rib recipe you will ever need. Sticky and sweet. Absolute perfection!

Serves 6
FOR THE RIBS
1 (1.5 liter) bottle of Coca-Cola (not diet!)
1 large onion, quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 pounds)

FOR THE SAUCE
2/3 stick unsalted butter
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup ketchup
1½ tablespoons yellow mustard
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 (12 ounce) can Coca-Cola (not diet!)
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large pot, add the (1.5 liter) bottle of Coca-Cola, onion, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add the ribs and, if necessary a bit of water just to ensure the ribs are submerged completely. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, turning the ribs occasionally, until the meat pulls away from the bone, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce combine the butter, onion, garlic, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and (12 ounces) Coca-Cola in large heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 25 minutes stirring often until sauce is thickened and reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool slightly. Using a blender, puree the sauce.

Note: Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead and stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Preheat the grill to high.

Remove the ribs from the pot, pat dry, season with salt and pepper and brush liberally with the sauce. Grill, turning often, until charred on the outside, about 8 minutes. Loosely tent the ribs with foil and let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve extra sauce on the side for dipping.

Garlic Roasted BBQ Potatoes
8 Large Potatoes, peeled, cut into desired sizes
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Chardonnay Wine
3-5 Heads of Garlic, tops cut off to expose garlic
1/2 tsp. Rosemary
1/2 tsp. thyme
Seasoned Salt
Black Pepper
Peel potatoes. Cut into desired bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Combine Olive oil, chardonnay,  rosemary, salt and pepper.  Stir to coat well. Spread contents out onto a cookie sheet, add garlic heads, drizzle with olive oil than cover with foil, and throw them in the BBQ Grill (350 degrees) while your ribs are simmering. Stir, every so often, or let them be, and they will have a nice, crispy crust on the bottom of them. Check potatoes at about 50-60 minutes. When they’re fork tender they’re ready to serve. Remove from grill, squeeze garlic cloves out and serve at once.  (If you’re not serving them right away, tent with foil and put into a 200 degree oven to stay warm, while you finish up the ribs. Serve as soon as possible).

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I saw this recipe over at Our Best Bites Blog, and HAD to try them!  They were SOOOO Good, that we had to try the same recipe using Asparagus! Oh my!!  Both are so good, they will be made often in our house!  Stop on over at Our Best Bites  Blog and check out the website, if you haven’t already because you’re in for a treat!

Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles

From: Our Best Bites Blog

1 lb. green beans with the ends snapped off (buy or pick about 1 1/2 pounds so you’ll have 1 lb. after the beans’ ends have been snapped)
8 slices lean, regularly sliced bacon
3 Tbsp. real butter (no substitutions!)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
If you’re using fresh green beans, wash and snap the ends off.  Discard any overly skinny, limp, or yucky-looking beans.  When the water is boiling, briefly boil (blanch) the beans for 2-3 minutes or until you start hearing a popping noise and the beans have turned bright green.  Quickly drain and rinse in cold water until the beans have cooled.
If you’re planning on completing the beans immediately, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F on broiler setting.
On a cookie sheet, divide the green beans evenly into 8 piles.  Carefully bundle each pile of beans with one slice of bacon and return to the baking sheet.  This step can be done up to a day ahead of time.
When the oven is ready, place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and sizzling.  While the bundles are in the oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan.  When the butter is bubbly, add in the onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are softened and fragrant.  Reduce heat to low and add in vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Remove from heat and set aside.
When ready to serve, place bean bundles on a serving platter and drizzle with sauce.  Serve immediately.
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles

1 Bunch Asparagus, ends snapped off
5 slices lean, regularly sliced bacon
3 Tbsp. real butter (no substitutions!)
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. white sugar
1 Tbsp. minced red onion
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
Wash and snap the ends off of asparagus.
If you’re planning on completing the asparagus immediately, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F on Broiler Setting.
On a cookie sheet, divide the green beans evenly into 5 piles.  Carefully bundle each pile of Asparagus with one slice of bacon and return to the baking sheet.  This step can be done up to a day ahead of time.
When the oven is ready, place the pan in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and sizzling.  While the bundles are in the oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a small saucepan.  When the butter is bubbly, add in the onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are softened and fragrant.  Reduce heat to low and add in vinegar, sugar, and salt.  Remove from heat and set aside.
When ready to serve, place asparagus bundles on a serving platter and drizzle with sauce.  Serve immediately.

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Attention Michigan Readers! An Act of Tenderness!!

Rewarding tenderhearted helpers.

Do you know a Michigan resident in the habit of helping others?

Tender Ridge Angus is hoping to recognize those people who usually go unnoticed. They don’t have to be the leaders of charities, they can be:
•    The man who coaches a little league baseball team, and dedicates his weekend to their competition and to being a positive role model

•    The woman who watches out for an elderly neighbor – bringing over meals, offering rides and always a listening ear.

•    The high school student who started a service project as a requirement, but became inspired and continued giving.

Someone who tutors children after school, volunteers rides for the elderly, feeds the homeless or does other nice things for people in their community? Nominate them. You’ll both receive a Tender Ridge® Angus $5 coupon.

Now through August 2010, Michigan readers can submit nominations of a few short sentences online at www.TenderRidgeAngus.com/Tenderness. They simply share a description of how the person they’re nominating gives back to the community and if they work with an official charity. Anyone who lives in and gives back to Michigan is eligible to be nominated.
Tender Ridge Angus beef, the beef known for tenderness, will honor Michigan residents who do nice things for others. Nine Michigan residents will be chosen to be recognized on WOOD-TV’s “eightWest” May 17 through Sept. 6.We will also recognize the local charities that benefit from their acts of tenderness by donating $1,000 to these charities in the name of each tenderhearted honoree.

Our Tender Ridge Facebook page has a video with some easy instructions on how to nominate:
We very much want this to be a true community effort. So the more people who are aware, the more opportunities we have to recognize Michigan citizens.
So Easy!  So rewarding to the soul to be involved and able to pass this message on. Feel free to copy this information and share it with your Michigan Readers, neighbors, friends, co-workers, and anybody else you come in contact with!!

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Our hostesses this month, Evelyne of Cheap Ethnic Eatz, and Valerie of a The Chocolate Bunny, chose delicious pate with freshly baked bread as their June Daring Cook’s challenge! They’ve provided us with 4 different pate recipes to choose from and are allowing us to go wild with our homemade bread choice.

I chose the Chicken Liver Pate and French Bread as my challenge recipes. I baked mine in a larger pyrex, and spooned the pate into a serving container for my husband & I to share.

Posting Date: June 14, 2010

Notes:
- For all pâtés: We have each worked with various sizes and shapes of baking pans. We have indicated the size of the pans we used, but feel free to adapt the quantities to the bake ware you have on hand.
- After baking the Three Spice Liver Pâté, Chicken Liver Pâté and the Trout and Shrimp Pâté, when taken out of the oven they had all shrunk slightly, and they were swimming in liquid fat. The longer you allow the pâtés to cool, the more the juices will get soaked in the pâté. When removing from the mold, drain the excess fat. You can also drain some of the fat before unmolding, but keeping mind your pâté may be a littler drier.
- Chicken Liver Pâté and Trout Pâté: These recipes involve flambéing ingredients with alcohol. This actually adds a lot of flavor to the dish. However, if you do not wish to consume alcohol, or if you are uncomfortable with flambéing, you can omit this step. IMPORTANT PRECAUTION: When flambéing, make sure to always keep an airtight lid within your reach, in case you need to put out the flames quickly.
- Tricolor Vegetable Pâté: Refrigerate as long as possible, min 8 hours. Freeze it 30 min before unmolding.
- French Baguette: Use the lesser amount of water in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.
- Sandwich Loaf: We only made the whole wheat version of this bread, and the little rolls where tested, rather than two large loaves. However, they were perhaps a little heavy. If you want to make the whole wheat version, but prefer soft, light bread, you may want to use half white flour and half whole wheat (or use a two-to-one ratio, it’s really your choice). You can also halve the recipe and just make one loaf.
- What to serve your pâtés with, besides the bread? How about some pickles, cheeses, grapes, or an onion confit. Let your imaginations go wild!

Variations allowed: You may choose from any of the recipes below for the pâtés. We have included a chicken liver, fish/seafood, pork and vegetarian recipe. I believe they are all gluten free (correct me if I am wrong). The pork one is dairy-free. Vegans and those with food restrictions can find a substitute recipe as the vegetarian one has cheese. For the bread, you can choose any recipe you like if you do not want to make the French Baguette or the Sandwich Loaf.

Mandatory:
-You must prepare one pâté recipe listed below (exceptions are allowed for participants with food restrictions, and vegans may choose their own substitutions) and one bread recipe of your choice.
- Your pâté has to 1) be baked or refrigerated (or both) for a significant amount of time, so that 2) you have to be able to unmold it onto a serving dish. This is to avoid the possibility of someone puréeing a bunch of vegetables, putting the mixture in a jar, and calling it “vegetable pâté”: that is not a pâté, that is a spread.

Preparation time:
Tricolor Vegetable Pâté: 35 minutes preparation, 8+ hours refrigerating
Three Spice Liver Pâté: 40 minutes preparation, 1 to 1.5 hours cooking
Trout and Shrimp Pâté: 20 minutes preparation, 35 minutes cooking, 30-60 minutes cooling
Chicken Liver Pâté: 40 minutes preparation, 2.5 hours cooking, at least 1 hour of refrigeration
French Baguette: 40 minutes preparation, 19 hours resting, 30 minutes cooking
Sandwich Loaf: 30 minutes preparation, 3 hours resting, 40 minutes cooking (25 if making rolls)

Equipment required:
Food processor or hand blender
Mixing bowls
Small Baking pan or terrine dish or loaf pan
Large Baking pan
Baking sheet
Kitchen knife
Frying pan (with a lid, if flambéing)
Wooden spoon
Masher
Plastic wrap
Parchment paper
Whisk
Bread machine, optional

Recipes:

Three Spice Liver Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

1 lb / 454 grams pork liver (or beef or combination)
1/2 lb / 227 grams ground pork
1/2 lb / 227 grams pork fat (or pork belly)
2 cloves garlic
2 shallots
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cinnamon
1/2 tsp / 2 ml coriander (ground or crushed)
1/2 tsp / 2 ml cumin
3/4 tsp / 3 ml salt
1 tbps / 15 ml coarse freshly cracked peppercorns
2 tbps / 30 ml cognac
2 bay leaves
1 package of bacon

Preheat oven to to 350ºF (180ºC).

Cut liver and pork fat into small pieces and add to food processor. Add ground pork, garlic, shallots, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Grind until smooth.

In mixing bowl, incorporate the meat and liver mixture with the cognac and eggs.

Line bottom of baking or ceramic pan with overlapping pieces of bacon. Place a bay leaf on the bottom and then fill with meat/liver mixture. Cover top with another bay leaf and then overlapping pieces of bacon.

Place in oven in the larger baking pan and add enough water to cover 2/3rds of the pan containing the meat/liver mixture. Bake for about 1-1.5 hrs.

The pâté will contract and the juices will be on the bottom. Allow to cool and soak up the juices. Remove any excess bacon and discard the bay leaves.

Chicken Liver Terrine
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

1 tbsp duck fat, or butter
2 onions, coarsely chopped
300g (11 oz) chicken livers, trimmed
3 tbsp brandy, or any other liqueur (optional)
100g (3 1/2 oz, 1/2 cup) smoked bacon, diced
300g (11 oz) boneless pork belly, coarsely ground
200g (7 oz) boneless pork blade (shoulder), coarsely ground (or ground pork see note below)
2 shallots, chopped
1 tsp quatre-épices (or 1/4tsp each of ground pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger is close enough)
2 eggs
200 ml (7 fl oz, 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) heavy cream
2 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
Salt and pepper

NOTE: If you cannot find ground pork belly or blade, buy it whole, cut it into chunks, and pulse in the food processor. You can also replace the pork blade with regular ground pork.

Preheat oven to 200ºC (400ºF, Gas Mark 6).

Melt the fat or butter in a heavy frying pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the chicken livers and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until browned but still slightly pink on the inside.

Remove the pan from heat. Pour in the brandy, light a match and carefully ignite the alcohol to flambé. Wait for the flames to go out on their own, carefully tilting the pan to ensure even flavoring. Set aside.

Put the minced pork belly and blade in a food processor, then add the onion-liver mixture and the chopped shallots, and pulse until you obtain a homogenous mixture – make sure not to reduce it to a slurry.

Transfer to a bowl, and gradually stir in the chopped bacon, quatre-épices, cream, eggs, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a terrine or loaf pan, and cover with the terrine lid or with aluminum foil.

Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep ovenproof dish (such as a brownie pan or a baking dish). Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan.

Put the water bath and the loaf pan in the oven, and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes. The terrine should be cooked through, and you should be able to slice into it with a knife and leave a mark, but it shouldn’t be too dry. Refrigerate, as this pâté needs to be served cold. Unmold onto a serving platter, cut into slices, and serve with bread.

NOTE: This pâté freezes well. Divide it into manageable portions, wrap tightly in plastic film, put in a freezer Ziploc bag, and freeze. Defrost overnight in the fridge before eating.

Tricolor Vegetable Pâté
Yields one 25 by 12,5 cm (10 by 5 inch) terrine or loaf pan

Line your pan with plastic wrap, overlapping sides.

White Bean Layer

2 x 15-ounce / 900 ml cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained thoroughly
1 tbsp / 15 ml fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp / 15 ml olive oil
1 tbsp / 15 ml minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
2 garlic cloves, pressed

Mash beans in large bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread bean mixture evenly on bottom of prepared pan.

Red Pepper Layer
7-ounce / 210 ml jar roasted red bell peppers, drained, chopped
3/4 cup / 180 ml crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)

Combine peppers and feta in processor and blend until smooth. Spread pepper mixture evenly over bean layer in prepared dish.

Pesto Layer
2 garlic cloves
1 cup / 240 ml fresh basil leaves
1 cup / 240 ml fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/4 cup / 60 ml toasted pine nuts
3 tbsp / 45 ml olive oil
1/2 cup / 120 ml low-fat ricotta cheese

Mince garlic in processor. Add basil, parsley and pine nuts and mince. With machine running, gradually add oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in ricotta. Spread pesto evenly over red pepper layer.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, invert pâté onto serving platter. Peel off plastic wrap from pâté. Garnish with herb sprigs and serve with sourdough bread slices.

Trout and Shrimp Pâté
Yields one 6×3 inch (15×7,5 cm) terrine or loaf pan

1 tbsp / 15 ml butter
1/4 lb / 4 oz / 120g medium raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tailed (about 12 medium shrimp)
1/8 cup / 30ml Grand Marnier (or cognac, or another strong liqueur of your choice) (optional)
1/2 lb / 8 oz / 240g trout filet, skinned and cut into thick chunks
1/4 lb / 4 oz / 110g raw shrimp, deveined, shelled and tailed (any size)
3/4 cup / 180ml heavy cream
Salt, to taste
Green peppercorn, coarsely ground, to taste
Chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

In a heavy, flameproof frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the 1/4 pound of medium shrimp, stirring often, until pink and cooked through. Remove the pan from heat. (NOTE: These shrimp will be used to form layers within your pâté. If you feel they are too thick – like the ones in the photograph, you might want to slice them in half lengthwise.)

Pour the Grand Marnier over the cooked shrimp. Light a match and carefully ignite the alcohol, to flambé the shrimp. Wait for the flames to go out on their own, carefully tilting the pan to ensure even flavoring. Set aside.

Put the trout and the remaining raw shrimp in a food processor and pulse. Gradually pour in the cream and keep pulsing until you obtain a smooth mixture that is easy to spread, but not too liquid (you may not need to use all the cream). Season with salt and green pepper.

Butter a 6×3 inch (15×7,5 cm) loaf pan or terrine, then line it with parchment paper. Spoon in half the trout mixture, and spread it evenly. Place the flambéed shrimp on top, in an even layer, reserving 3 or 4 shrimp for decorating. Top with the remaining trout mixture.

Prepare a water bath: place the loaf pan in a larger, deep ovenproof dish (such as a brownie pan or a baking dish). Bring some water to a simmer and carefully pour it in the larger dish. The water should reach approximately halfway up the loaf pan.

Put the water bath and terrine in the oven, and bake for 35 minutes. The pâté should be cooked through and firm in the center.

Remove the pan from the water bath and let cool. Carefully unmold onto a serving platter. Decorate with the reserved shrimp, and sprinkle with chopped chives. Cut into thick slices and serve at room temperature, with crusty bread.

French Baguette
yield: Three 16″ baguettes

Starter
1/2 cup / 120 ml cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup / 240 ml flour

Dough
1 tsp / 5 ml active dry yeast
1 cup to 1 1/4 cups / 240 ml to 300 ml lukewarm water*
all of the starter
3 1/2 cups / 840 ml flour
1 1/2 tsp / 7 ml salt

*Use the lesser amount in summer (or in a humid environment), the greater amount in winter (or in a dry climate), and somewhere in between the rest of the year, or if your house is climate controlled.

Make the starter by mixing the yeast with the water, then mixing in the flour to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 14 hours; overnight works well. The starter should have risen and become bubbly.

Mix active dry yeast with the water and then combine with the starter, flour, and salt. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, somewhat smooth dough; it should be cohesive, but the surface may still be a bit rough. Knead for about 5 minutes on speed 2 of a stand mixer.

Place the dough in a lightly greased medium-size bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 3 hours, gently deflating it and turning it over after 1 hour, and then again after 2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased work surface. Divide it into three equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough, slightly flattened oval, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let them rest for 15 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, fold the dough in half lengthwise, and seal the edges with the heel of your hand. Flatten it slightly, and fold and seal again. With the seam-side down, cup your fingers and gently roll the dough into a 15″ log. Place the logs seam-side down onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined sheet pan or pans.

Cover them with a cover or lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the loaves to rise till they’ve become very puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat your oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

Using a very sharp knife held at about a 45° angle, make three 8″ vertical slashes in each baguette. Spritz the baguettes heavily with warm water; this will help them develop a crackly-crisp crust.

Bake the baguettes until they’re a very deep golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack. Or, for the very crispiest baguettes, turn off the oven, crack it open about 2″, and allow the baguettes to cool in the oven.

Sandwich Loaf
Yields two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 inch (21 x 12 x 6 cm) loaves, or 18 individual rolls

For the white version
3 tsp (15 ml) active dry yeast
2 2/3 cups (600 ml) whole milk (3.25 per cent fat), warmed to a temperature of 97ºF (36ºF)
2 1/2 tsp (12.5 ml) salt
2 tsp (10 ml) butter, melted
5 1/3 cups (750g) unbleached white bread flour, + 1/2 cup (75g), for working the dough
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter, for the loaf pan

For the whole wheat version
Use the same amount of whole wheat flour, and add 1/3 cup (80 ml) of milk

To make loaves
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast and warm milk, and whisk to dissolve. Whisk in the salt and the melted butter.

Gradually sprinkle in the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the dough becomes too thick to stir, knead it with your hands, for about 5 minutes, until you obtain a smooth, homogenous dough that is soft and a little sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.

Knead the dough 20 strokes (still in the bowl), cover again, and let rest for 1.5 hour.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and divide in two. Form each half into a slightly oval ball. Butter your two loaf pans and transfer the dough to the pans. Cover lightly and let rise in a draft-free area for 60 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Fill a large baking pan with hot water (simmering is fine) and place in the oven. Preheat oven to 450ºF (240ºC).

Put the loaves in then oven and bake for 10 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time. After 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 400ºF (200ºC) and continue baking for about 25 minutes, or until the loaves are nicely golden. Unmold and let cool on a rack.

To make individual rolls

Go through the same process as for making the loaves, up until it is time to shape the loaves. Divide the dough into 18 sections, shape each section into a ball, and dust with flour. Butter part of two muffin tins (only butter 18 cavities), and transfer the balls of dough into the cavities.

Cover loosely and let rise in a draft-free area for 45 minutes.

Fill a large baking pan with hot water (simmering is fine) and place in the oven. Preheat oven to 425ºF (225ºC).

Put the loaves in then oven and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the rolls are nicely golden. Let cool on a rack.

Verdict:

This was a delicious combination. I had my doubts, as I started out on this. This got even better the second day,  I would/Will  make this again. This would especially go well for Holiday Entertaining. A Big Thank you goes to the hosts for a great challenge for June.  I can’t wait for the next one!

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Baked Spaghetti Royale

In my blogger land travels, I picked up a recipe from a beautiful, informative top rated blog.  The dish looked too delicious to pass up without trying my hand at it. Couple of things. I baked mine on the BBQ Grill as I didn’t want to heat the house up, so it did not brown the way it would have if I would have put it in the oven. But the results, this was as good tasting as the picture over at Trissalicious!  I also added a little bit of velvetta to the sauce, because I wanted to use it up. It was delicious. This is worth all efforts to make it, and really is pretty easy to make. I’m posting how I made it for my records to come back to all the time. Go on over to Trissalicious, and take a look at her blog, if you’ve never been there, you are in for a real treat.

Baked Spaghetti Royale

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced ( I used an Orange Pepper, it was all I had)
  • 3 pieces chorizo, diced (I used Smoked Sausage, it was what I had on hand)
  • 500 grams ground beef (optional)
  • 1/2 bunch coriander leaves, chopped
  • 550 grams tomato sauce (for example, barilla)
  • salt, pepper and sugar to taste
  • Velvetta Cheese, to taste ( I added this for extra flavor, plus I needed to use it up)
  • 500 grams spaghetti noodles, cooked as per instructions on the box
  • grated parmesan cheese
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy based pan and add the onion and garlic.  Saute for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the peppers and saute until soft over medium heat until soft.
  3. Next, add the 3 pieces of chorizo and cook until browned, five or so minutes.
  4. If using ground beef, add it now – cook until browned and the liquid from the beef has evaporated.
  5. Add the cilantro and the tomato sauce and simmer for around 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar
  7. Add Velvetta Cheese, if using.

Bechamel Sauce

  • 70 grams butter
  • 40 grams flour
  • 2 cans evaporated milk (375 ml each)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt the butter in a heavy based sauce pan and add the flour.  Cook out the flour for a few minutes over low heat, to remove the “floury” taste.
  2. Slowly add the evaporated milk, whisking it in, a little at a time.
  3. Continue to whisk the mixture until thick, around 10 minutes.
  4. Add the nutmeg and season to taste.

To Assemble:

Place the spaghetti noodles in a casserole dish and mix in the tomato sauce mixture and a quarter of the bechamel sauce.  Mix well and top with the rest of the bechamel and some grated parmesan cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 180c (fan forced) for 2o to 25 minutes until the cheese has melted.

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My husband and I were on the way out the door the other day to a dinner/investment outing. At the last-minute it got canceled due to the wrong date. (Right day, wrong date) Well…. it happens sometimes. But there we were, my husband is absolutely starving!! I need dinner QUICK!!  This is my go to, I am hungry, gotta eat right now dish.

Quick Cook Cube Steaks with Onion & Mushrooms

Cube Steaks

Onions, sliced

Mushrooms (sliced already is a big help in this situation)

Garlic Powder, Seasoning Salt, Pepper and Salad Supreme Seasoning, to taste.

Olive Oil

Butter

In a large saucepan, Heat the olive oil and butter. Add the cube steaks and cook on each side, season with spices, and cook on the other side until completely cooked the way you like it.  Remove Cube steaks and keep warm in a 250 degree oven.  Add more olive oil and butter (1 Tbsp. each) and when the pan is nice and heated add the onions and mushroom and cook until the water from the vegetables have been absorbed. Add cube steaks back into the pan, pile onions and mushrooms on top of them and serve. I made a salad to go with mine. Quick, dinner in 15 minutes, so tasty!!

I use Salad Supreme Seasoning quite often in seasoning things I cook. You can make your own mixture and save yourself a lot as I find the seasoning expensive. (Or buy it at Gordon Foods, it’s a reasonable price for a large container).

Salad Supreme Seasoning

1 1/2 tsp. Sesame Seeds

1 1/2 tsp. Paprika

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Poppy Seeds

1/2 tsp. Celery Seeds

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/4 tsp. Ground Pepper

1 Dash Cayenne Pepper

2 Tbsp. Romano Cheese

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

yield: 1/4 cup

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