Monday, December 21, 2009

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy!!!

I love... ABSOLUTELY LOVE holiday baking!!! I don't think there is anything better than a full day of baking and candy making!!!

SO.... yesterday i had a wonderful time :) i made CARAMEL for the very first time! :) and it turned out amazing!

I also made Chocolate Mint Crinkles:

Would you like the recipe????
well... Okay...this recipe is found in Better Homes and Gardens Dec. 2009 edition: Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Mint Crinkles

3/4 cup finely chopped layered chocolate-mint candies (a bag of Andes works)
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flower
mint candies for topping

-In a heavy saucepan heat and stir 3/4 cup mint candies until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and cool for about 15 minutes.
-In large bowl beat shortening with electric mixer on high for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt, beat until well mixed. Beat in cooled chocolate, eggs, and vanilla. Beat or stir in flour.
-Cover and chill 3 hours, or until dough is easy to handle.
-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
-shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls
-Bake 10 minutes or until edges are set and tops should crackle. Sprinkle a few candies on top and bake 1 minute more.
Recipe makes about 36. You can store these cookies in freezer for up to 3 months.

I also made Fudge :)

and then tons and tons of sugar cookies!!! (you can't bake for christmas without sugar cookies!) My husband and i had so much fun cutting the shapes out and then icing them :)

I had such a fun time making all these yummies!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Country Style Pancakes

Pg. 206 is PANCAKES!!!

Oh, how i love pancakes! My husband loves to make them, and he does the best! and since i am cooking through the cookbook... he helped instead of making them... and we even had a spatula sword fight! (we rinsed them off afterwards)... lol.. i love saturday mornings! and there is no better way to enjoy them than with pancakes! My husband added chopped bananas and pecans to his and i left my plain and drizzled with blueberries :) We could not eat them all! lol... so we have some for later in the fridge.. You know i think pancakes are an interesting form of breakfast... i wonder where they originated...hmmm...

According to my findings, pancakes are apart of years and years of history... Foods similar to pancakes can be dated back to the ancient Romans. Then, this sweet flat bread was called: Alita Dolcia (Latin for: "another sweet") However, the pancakes we know today are different from the basic griddle cake, the pancakes we know to day originated in Medieval Europe. Here is an interesting quote from Alan Davidson concerning his research on this wonderful breakfast:

"The griddle method of cooking is older than oven baking, and pancakes are an ancient form. The first pancakes clearly distinguishable from plain griddle breads are sweet ones mentioned by Apicius; these were made from a batter of egg, mixed milk and water, and a little flour, fried and served with pepper and honey. An English culinary manuscript of about 1430 refers to pancakes in a way which implies that the term was already familiar, but it does not occur often in the early printed cookery books...Throughout Europe pancakes had a place among Easter foods, especially on Shrove Tuesday (or Mardi Gras), the last day before Lent."
-Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 571)

I have always loved pancakes and i think its really interesting to find out where they came from... and i definitely think they are more fun if you make them from scratch rather than bisquick... and they don't take that much longer! Anyways i hope you enjoyed!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pg. 20... Lentil and Vegetable Soup...
Since I am pretty familiar with Lentils, this was not difficult at all... The only difference: since i was in a hurry, I put everything into the crockpot on low all day...and i did not add the wine (since i am still underage and cannot buy wine... nor do i have any handy around the house)... Served hot with warm corn bread: Delish!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Onions Anyone?

I would never have imagined that Onions could be so delicious! But this dish proved me oh so wrong! Stuffed Parsleyed Onions (Pg. 42)... Yummy!!!

Originally made as a vegetarian dish, this is marvelous as a side dish, or an appetizer... if it doesn't fill you up first :)

The directions were to cut the top of each onion off and discard... then the part I was curious about: scooping out the insides... I was sure this was going to be interesting... I never thought of doing this... and yes, it was harder than I thought, but let me give you a word of advice if you dare to try this... DON'T FOCUS SO HARD THAT YOU FORGET HOW CLOSE YOUR FACE IS TO THE ONION! Onions actually have an enormous amount of juices... and they do tend to get in your eyes if you stand to close... All I can say is... beware! ;)

The insides of the onions, once scooped, were then chopped and mixed with parsley, Shredded cheddar, Olive Oil, Rice, Salt & Pepper to taste. Then stuffed into the onion shells the mixture went. Olive Oil was rubbed on the outside shells of the onion then into a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes... then garnished with more shredded cheese and parsley.

They were so incredibly delightful! And I am not exaggerating! I will most definitely be making these Stuffed Parsleyed Onions once more!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Eggplant Confessions

I don't remember ever eating an eggplant, although I'm sure I have before...So I was a little nervous about dinner: Roasted eggplants with a tomato garlic glaze (Pg. 62).

I sliced the eggplant slightly thin, set the slices out on wax paper and salted them, then let them sit for 30 minutes. After which I rinsed them off and dried them on a paper towel. The glaze is made with tomato paste, sugar, olive oil, garlic finely chopped, and I added onion powder, salt & pepper. Then into the oven at 375 degrees F. for 30 minutes, or until crispy.

I'm not sure why, but they didn't turn out crispy except around the edges. They were still slightly mushy...but you know...since the flavor was didn't really matter....they were still amazing! I love the way they taste, you wouldn't think eggplant would sound good...but it is actually incredibly delicious and flavor filled! I will definitely be using them again! I think next time i will bake them first and then on the stovetop...maybe then they will get crispy and still have that roasted flavor. Anyways..we both liked them!

I also made Cheese scones, from the baking section of the book (Pg. 204). They took about 15 minutes to prepare, roll out, and cut into shape. They had to rest for 15 minutes before putting them into the oven and then baked for 15 minutes at a 450 degree F. oven. They were wonderful! They weren't hard like scones often turn out, and I learned something new:
The secret of making scones is not to overwork the dough. If you overwork the dough, they often turn out hard and not delightfully fluffy. Cheese scones are best served if warm. According to my husband: they were wonderful :)

You would think that that was enough food right? lol...well as a main course we ate pasta with a sun dried tomato alfredo sauce. That was not made from scratch...just pasta...and pre-made sauce :) was still good though.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Teriyaki Pork Loin over a fresh salad.
Pecans, strawberries & pork loin, what
a joy!!! it is amazingly refreshing!

This was meat I got on sale, no it wasn't from the
cookbook, but it was so good!

I think i am having more fun each time i cook
something new! is that normal i wonder? Well for me i guess
it is. about to watch "Rudolf" (a timeless classic),
with my husband and relax... no dessert tonight for me :)
the strawberries touched my sweet tooth.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pie + accomplishment = Happy

Today serves for celebration! All my hard work in my class Educational Psychology has paid off! I made A's on all my papers & on the Mid- term... thus my reward is being exempt from the final exam!!! :) Today will be filled with relief and smiles because I do not have to worry about studying. My husband left for work, and what better way to welcome him home than to the smell of baking. The house is now spotless, I also finished sewing the torn couch pillow, so I figured I would make a pie.

When my husband and I went to visit his family for thanksgiving, they sent us home with a bag full of oranges and lemons, along with a bag of pecans and almost endless amounts of goodies, (I had to send them with my husband to work, for fear I would eat them all!) His parents have huge fruit bearing trees in their back yard, (my dreams for the future), and they were eager to share them with us. I was extremely excited, because the price of fruits & veggies are pretty high. We have been using them constantly with chicken and fish, and even just eating the oranges sliced with a dash of cinnamon like my mom used to serve them. But there are so many lemons, I don't think it would hurt to make a lemon meringue pie :) I know this is normally considered a summer dish, but my husband loves lemon pies and so there is not a single sound of objection from his mouth I'm sure :)

So, beginning on this journey with a pie. Pg. 216. Crust, Filling, and meringue all made from scratch. This better be good :)

Note: I am not going in order through this cook book... I will most likely jump around untill all have been made. This will help with menu, and with expenses. I have noticed if you follow the harvests in season, everything is much cheaper and you are able to eat really good food that is homemade.

Well, here goes!
I decided to pat the crust in the pan instead of rolling out the dough. and it looks like it turned out pretty good. The filling thickened a lot faster than i thought it would and yet it tastes wonderful! And the meringue...well.... i think i added the sugar before i was supposed to because it is not that fluffy...but it still tastes good and it is a little fluffy :) maybe i didn't beat it long enough...but my arms were dying :) lol....

I am now about to take it out of the oven, so hold :) it is beautiful don't you think? Country style Lemon Meringue Pie :) Yummy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

stew, biscuits, & blueberry bread pudding

Because I only started this challenge today, I had already decided to make stew for dinner. So I did not use the cook book... And oh how good it was! Cold days like today deserve good hot food like this! I put everything for the stew on at around nine and we left for the day. Around four thirty my husband and i came back home and it was ready to serve. We made bisquick biscuits and I made blueberry bread pudding. The bread pudding was actually amazing and I kinda just played it by ear... Didn't have a cookbook, but went by generality... I find that you really can't mess up bread pudding... :)

I love how bread pudding just warms you up and brings smiles to faces. It feels like Christmas season is really here! We put up our very first Christmas tree, lights, decorations & all :)
All we need now is a fire in the fire place :)

Beginning dreams, promising challenges

Inspired by my husband and the movie Julie & Julia, I am also entering a challenge. Call me cheesy, but I am having fun! My goal? To work through: Farmhouse Cooking, Edited by: Liz Trigg. Two hundred recipes, three hundred & Sixty-five days. Can I do it? Well, my best effort will be put forward and i shall accomplish my goal.

I love food and I especially love cooking that food, what better way to start than by country style cooking? I am by no means a great cook...I am mediocre at best, BUT I LOVE IT! And I don't think my husband minds :)

well...wish me luck :)