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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cooking Show: Sandwiches!

We filmed another cooking show last week.  It wasn't hard to come up with a theme.

Sandwiches! We made lots of fabulous sandwiches.

We also added roasted red peppers, pesto, tomatoes...fill your panini with whatever makes you swoon.
Here's the printable recipe.

These are my favorite.  Layered with pear slices, prosciutto and arugula with a lemon-parmesan dressing, these are the sandwiches that disappeared after we finished taping the show.  The plate was emptied of sandwiches, the extra slices of chicken along with the fixings were demolished, the extra rolls "just in case" were put to use...if you only make one sandwich from this list, let this one be the one.  Here's the printable recipe.

So. Easy. Really!  Soooooo easy.  

I wish we had set a timer when we made these, just to show how quick they came together.  Chop up the meat from a rotisserie chicken.  Make a dressing out of apricot jam, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper & chives.  Open up a bag of broccoli slaw.  Toss it all together, toast some rolls and then load 'em up.
Here's the printable recipe.

 And finally, Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Satay Sauce.

Grill up some chicken cutlets, layer them with lettuce and crunchy shredded veggies and then douse them with a sweet/soy/peanut sauce.  So many different flavors competing for attention, but they all blend together perfectly.  Here's the printable recipe.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Strawberry Bread with Almond Glaze

I wasn't planning on making strawberry bread.

My plan was to bake banana bread.

I needed three over-ripe bananas.  I always buy more bananas than I think we could possibly eat, hoping that there will be three left by the time they get soft and turn so brown that no one would possibly want to eat them. Three is the magic number for banana bread.

At 7:30 a.m. there were three brown bananas.  A half-hour later:

Ahem.  I should have known better than to count my brown bananas before my husband packed his lunch. 

I'm sure that he thought he was doing me a favor by taking a banana that he thought nobody else would want to eat, leaving better ones behind.

Yes, he left behind eight primo bananas.  And so the cycle begins again--once more, I think I bought more bananas than we can eat, I hope there will be three left by the time they turn brown and mushy.

Not enough bananas. I was forced to change my plans.  Fortunately, I had all the ingredients for strawberry bread on hand!

Today's Playlist
  • "Welcome To Paradise"...Green Day
  • "Lucky"...Jason Mraz
  • "Someday"...The Strokes
  • "Sick Boys"...Social Distortion
  • "Steady, As She Goes"...The Raconteurs
  • "Joker & The Thief"...Wolfmother

Strawberry Bread with Almond Glaze

Bread Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 12 strawberries, chopped (average-size strawberries, you should have about 1 cup chopped)
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Gather your ingredients.  Chop the strawberries.  Butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan (or use nonstick cooking spray). 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter, sugar and cream cheese until fluffy.

With the mixer on a medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl in between additions.  Mix in the vanilla.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a medium bowl.

Add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.  Mix on a low speed just until incorporated.

Add buttermilk and mix on a low speed just until combined--do not over mix!

 Gently fold in the strawberries with a rubber spatula.

 Spread into your prepared loaf pan.  Bake in your preheated 350-degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes, testing with a toothpick to ensure it is fully baked.  (Insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf; if it is dry when you remove it, the bread is done.  If there is still gooey batter, it needs to be baked a bit longer.)

Allow the bread to cool slightly before drizzling with the glaze.  It's okay if the bread is warm (in fact, I highly recommend it!), but if it's really piping hot the glaze will not set up.
While the bread is baking, prepare your almond glaze.

 Put the confectioners sugar into a small bowl.  Whisk in the almond extract and light cream.

 The glaze should be thick enough to drizzle, but not so thin that it is watery.  (If necessary, add more cream--a teaspoon at a time--or more confectioners sugar to get the right consistency.)

Pour the glaze onto your bread.

If you're a klutz like me, and you crack the bread as you remove it from the pan, the glaze will do a wonderful job hiding the cracks and imperfections!


I frosted the bread while it was still slightly warm, so that the glaze would melt a bit and drizzle down the sides.

And if you happen to glaze your bread while it's still warm, it would be a shame if you didn't allow yourself to eat it while it's warm.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Chocolate Mini Muffins with Sugar Glaze

I made these mini muffins last week and I have been having an argument with myself ever since. 

To blog or not to blog?  That was the question.  

I was hoping to come up with a recipe that resembled the chocolate-glazed donut holes at our local donut shop.  The flavor that is my kids' favorite.  My husband's favorite.  I'm more of a butter crunch fan, but I digress.

I was hoping that I could come up with a mini-muffin that tasted like chocolate donuts, without all of the deep-fried calories.  Just like these Cinnamon/Sugar Mini Muffins remind me of the frozen Morton donuts I used to like in the '70's.  

I wasn't really sure that the chocolate mini-muffins duplicated the donut taste as I had hoped they would, however, so I decided not to blog about them.

That is, until Caitie said that she liked them, and then said something like, "They're a perfect little chocolate cake."

And then Mr. Terrific ate several of them, telling me between bites how much he liked them. 

That settled it.  Who am I, a butter crunch fan, to conclude that these little muffins aren't good enough to satisfy my chocolate donut-loving family?  I decided to listen to my family and blog about them, if only to have written testimony that this is a recipe that they like.

Maybe I'm just in a good mood because the snow is almost gone, tomorrow is going to be in the 60's and I feel like spring has finally arrived!

Will Clyde abandon his favorite niche by the back door to bask in the sun instead?

He doesn't quite fit there as well as he did when he was a puppy, but that doesn't stop him from trying!

Today's Playlist
  • "Come Out and Play"...The Offspring
  • "Poprocks & Coke"...Green Day
  • "Can't Stop"...Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • "No Rain"...Blind Melon
  • "Love and Affection"...Neon Trees
  • "Here Comes the Sun"...The Beatles

Sugar-Glazed Chocolate Mini-Muffins (yield: approximately 15 muffins)          

Muffin Ingredients:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze Ingredients:
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

We're going to start like we always do, by gathering the muffin ingredients.  It makes things so much easier to have everything ready to go!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a mini-muffin pan (or use nonstick cooking spray).

Measure the dry ingredients--the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda--into a medium bowl.

Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg, sour cream, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.  You can do this by hand or take the lazy way out as I did and use a mixer.  Your choice!

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

Stir the ingredients together until just combined.

Spoon the batter (or use a cookie scoop) to evenly distribute it into the cups of your muffin pan.

Bake in your preheated 375-degree oven for 11 to 13 minutes.  You may need to adjust the time up or down by a minute or two, depending upon the heat of your oven and/or the size of your muffins.  

For the record, my batch yielded 14 fairly large mini muffins which took 12 minutes to bake in my oven.

You'll know they are done when the tops have started to crack and they spring back when touched lightly.  Or you could do the toothpick test--stick 'em with a toothpick and if the toothpick comes out dry or with moist crumbs, they're done.

While the muffins cool, prepare the glaze.

Gather your glaze ingredients:  confectioners sugar, light cream and vanilla extract.

Put the confectioners sugar into a small bowl, and whisk in the light cream and vanilla extract. 

The consistency of the glaze should be runny, but not watery.  If you feel that it is too watery, add a bit more confectioners sugar; if you feel that it is too thick, add more light cream (no more than a teaspoon at a time).

Dip the tops of the muffins into the glaze.

Place the muffins on a wire rack until the glaze is set.

I had a bit of glaze left over so I drizzled it on top of the muffins with a spoon.  

You may notice that suddenly there are only 13 muffins left.  I know nothing about that.

That's not entirely true, I do know something.  I know that warm baked goods taste fabulous.  Enough said.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cooking Show--Baking Pies!

 We filmed another episode of the cooking show last week.

My friend, Trish, joined me and we baked up a bunch of pies.

If you've never been a fan of traditional pie crust and prefer a shortbread crust, this is the pie for you.

Here is the printable recipe.

 Apple-Raspberry Pie with Almond Crumb Topping.

I admit it, this is my favorite pie ever.  Here is the printable recipe.

And finally, Whipped Strawberry Pie with a pretzel crust.  Here's the Recipe!

Whipped Strawberry Pie with pretzel crust adapted from Betty Crocker

Pretzel Crust Ingredients:
  • 4 cups pretzels ( crushed to approximately 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Pie Filling Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 pkg. (4-serving size) strawberry-flavored gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 cups strawberries, slightly crushed
additional strawberry slices for garnish, if desired

Gather your ingredients.

The gelatin needs to be prepped in advance, and then chilled until thickened.  

Zest the lime until you have about 1 teaspoon of zest.

Juice the lime.  You want to have somewhere between 2 tablespoons and 1/4 cup of juice.

Zap the water in your microwave for 2 minutes, until it's boiling.  Put the gelatin into a bowl, and pour the boiling water over the gelatin.  Stir until the gelatin dissolves.

Stir in the lime zest.

Pour in the lime juice.  Stir to combine, and then refrigerate until it thickens.  You want it to be thick, but not jelled and set.  This will take at least a half hour.  While you're waiting, prepare your pretzel crust.

I like to pulverize the pretzels in my mini-prep food processor, but if you prefer you can place them into a large ziploc bag and crush them with mallet or rolling pin.

You want them to be crushed into small crumbs, with the largest pieces no bigger than about 1/4-inch.

Place the butter into a large bowl and microwave on HIGH for one minute, until melted.

Add the pretzel crumbs to the melted butter.

And the sugar.

Stir to combine.  You can't imagine how good this smells!!

After you've mixed the crust ingredients, put them into your pie plate.

Use the back of a large spoon to evenly pat them onto the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides.

Lightly crush your strawberries.

At this point, check your gelatin in the fridge.  I'm guessing that it's still a bit warm and hasn't begun to thicken yet.  Take a little break and do something nice for yourself!  Don't forget to set a timer (about 1/2 hour should do it) to remind yourself to check on the gelatin.  When the gelatin has thickened, continue:

Beat the whipping cream on a high speed, slowly adding in the confectioners' sugar.

You're done when stiff peaks form.

Beat the thickened gelatin with your mixer on a high speed, about 4 to 5 minutes until it loses its transparency and is thick and fluffy.

Add the whipped cream and the crushed strawberries into the bowl with the gelatin.

Gently fold the whipped cream and strawberries into the gelatin until combined.

Pour on top of the crust.

Spread the whipped mixture evenly over the crust.  Refrigerate the pie for at least 6 hours, until it's set.

Before serving, garnish with strawberry slices, if desired.