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Monthly Archives: April 2011

the rogue egg…

Does anyone else think it odd that we eat “deviled eggs” during religious holiday get-togethers?

Don’t get me wrong, I love them. But as I sat at the Easter lunch table yesterday, I had to refrain from asking why on such a profound holy day, are we making and eating (by the dozens), eggs that are named after the Prince of Darkness. (although I just discovered that in the Midwest and the South people sometimes refer to them as “dressed eggs”, or “salad eggs” ~ to avoid scrutiny I suppose)  This thought process lead to my wondering why they always seem to taste the same. Punishment perhaps for thinking it ok to celebrate with something so devilish? Maybe, or perhaps people are afraid to think outside the box when it comes to a party food that dates back to the 18th century. (you would think we might have come up with something more creative in the last 250 years or so).

This is my attempt at something a little different then the standard.

Sinful. I know.

Deviled Eggs with Dill and Mushrooms

6 Hard boiled eggs

5-6 white mushrooms – chopped very fine

2 Tablespoons mayo

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp salt and pepper

2 teaspoons dried dill

Saute mushrooms in 1 tsp butter until golden, remove from heat and allow to cool while prepairing remaining ingredients. Slice eggs in half lengthwise; remove yolks and set whites aside. In a small bowl, mash yolks with a fork. Add all the ingredients, except for mushrooms to yolk, mix well. Once mushrooms are cool, mix into yolk mixture. Stuff or pipe into egg whites. Refrigerate until serving.

Note: You might just find me,alone in the corner, devouring my sinful creation with reckless abandon, at the next  eating frenzy religious celebration.

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Posted by on pmpMon, 25 Apr 2011 13:35:21 +000035Monday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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simple satisfaction…

Sometimes good food does not have to be made 100% from scratch.

I usually like to make everything from scratch. But when I am crunched for time, I want something simple and quick.
Yesterday while cleaning out the fridge I noticed that I had a stock pile of bananas in my freezer. I was tempted to just throw them all away, but that seemed like such a waste. After a quick scan of the cupboards I realized I did not have enough flour to do anything with, but did have a box of cake mix. Simple enough. I grabbed my Cake Mix Doctor (Anne Bryn) cookbook and found a recipe for Banana Bread. Anne Bryn takes plain cake mixes and transforms them into unique desserts.

I decided to make muffins (since I had been craving them all week) instead of bread and to add chocolate chips to the recipe. Other then that I kept everything the same.

The best part aside from the taste? No one will ever know they were not from scratch!

Banana Muffins (or bread) – makes about 2 dozen standard muffins or 2

 9 inch loaves

1 Package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

3/4 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, you can mix 3/4 cup milk with 3/4 Tablespoon lemon juice – let sit for 5 minutes and then add to recipe)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 or (325 for dark or nonstick pans). Spray muffin pans with nonstick spray and line with papers or spray 2   9 inch loaf pans if making bread.

Place the cake mix, brown sugar, mashed bananas, buttermilk, oil, eggs and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low-speed for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl, increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes.  The batter should look well blended. If using chocolate chips, fold into batter. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, fill each paper 2/3 way full. If using loaf pans, divide batter evenly.

Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For muffins about 18-20 mins for loaves 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks for at least 20 minutes.

Craving satisfied!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on ampThu, 21 Apr 2011 11:56:36 +000056Thursday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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the good, the bad and the eggy…

It’s that time of year. The grass is finally green again, trees are budding, flowers are starting to bloom. Spring is in the air. But what is that smell?

Ah yes, boiled eggs.

It is said that in medieval Europe, beautifully decorated eggs were given as gifts. I am guessing that back then, the smell blended in and no one took offense. Why this tradition started, I have no idea, but its something few of us can avoid during this vibrantly fragrant time of year.

(Yes this is all going somewhere).

Today we dyed eggs. I like to think that I have done my part to carry on the Easter funk tradition.

For most people, this may not seem like a big deal. And really it’s not. But in my house most projects turn into major events.

As a mother I have learned to take art projects of any kind done with my children, in stride. I am a bit of an control freak idealist when it comes to crafty undertakings. Countless times I have taken over one of my children’s projects. But as I have fine tuned my parenting skills, I have learned to let go of my ideals and what I think the outcome should be. Who cares if craft eyes are glued on where the mouth should be,  if they mix all the finger paints and make brown soup over the beautiful flower they just painted or that a “portrait” they are so proud of looks more like Sigmund the Sea Monster then me.

I have learned that the less I fret over them, the more fun we all have. And the outcome? Beautiful works of art that I will treasure forever.

So when my 4-year-old Picasso wanted to dye eggs today, I knew I needed to step back and let him do it HIS way.

The results:

Beautiful aren’t they? And all I did was boil the eggs and open the packets of dye.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on pmpWed, 20 Apr 2011 13:10:13 +000010Wednesday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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takes the cake…

This week was an extremely busy one. I had several cakes to make, as well as a million and two errands to run. The result: a messy house, and absolutely no creative blogging.

But I don’t feel that bad. It is staying successfully busy that makes me feel like I have accomplished something. So even though I did not get EVERYTHING done that I wanted and needed to, I can sit back on this gorgeous Sunday, and sip iced coffee and feel at peace with myself.

Cakes I made this week:

Baby Announcement Cake

 
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Posted by on pmpSun, 17 Apr 2011 15:04:14 +000004Sunday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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hint o’ (pepper)mint…

Once again the recipe I was going to make got thwarted by lack of ingredients. I wanted to make the “Bomb” cupcakes today, but was lacking both the Guinness and Bailey’s needed to make them. (gosh I should really start drinking more)

I searched my baking cupboard for something different, and saw a bottle of peppermint extract.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream!!!

The cake is not overly sweet and makes for the perfect companion to the sweet minty frosting.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients- makes 12 standard

1 1/2 cups   flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice

Preheat oven 350 degrees or 325 degrees for dark or nonstick pans

Mix all ingredients together in medium bowl until well blended. (yes they are that easy and quick!)

Bake for 20 – 25 mins, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool on wire rack. Frost with peppermint buttercream.

Peppermint Buttercream

Ingredients

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

5 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

With electric mixer (use paddle attachment), whip butter until creamy, add 2 cups powdered sugar and mix until smooth then add the rest of the powdered sugar, and 1 TBS of milk, mix until smooth, add extract and remaining TBS of milk (if needed) continue to mix until desired consistency.



 
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Posted by on pmpMon, 11 Apr 2011 15:04:27 +000004Monday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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sunday, sunday…

I was going to make Irish Car Bomb cupcakes this weekend, but its already Sunday night (what? how did that happen) and I have produced nothing. I did not even cook dinner, AND the other half of “WE” even made brunch today! ( he did not leave anything behind in the oven, I checked)

So yes, I have been one lazy uncreative lady this weekend.

But the weekend was not a complete loss. While I did not make any treats, I did treat myself. I have been wanting new cake pans for about 80 years. So I bought some today. And the best part is, I found a 40% off coupon for them. Here is a link where you can find daily deals at Micheal’s : (they come in very handy if you find yourself at Michael’s as often as I do)

http://www.dealigg.com/story-Michaels-Coupons-Michaels-Coupon-Code

(If you bake, I highly recommend Wilton cake pans, as well as their other products.)

I will be making those cupcakes this week (I promise)

 
4 Comments

Posted by on pmpSun, 10 Apr 2011 20:56:30 +000056Sunday 4 , 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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let’s bake something…

…..(my baking adventure with a 4 year old foodie)

This afternoon my little chef in the making wanted to bake “something”. I asked him what he wanted to make.

“Brownies”.

Isaac loves to bake and cook. And at 4 years old knows more culinary terms than some adults I know. He is not just satisfied with stirring when he is assisting me, he has to be an active participant in all aspects of whatever it is that we are creating.  I knew a boxed mix  would just not cut it. The last time we made those, he deemed them “boring” because there was “not enough stuff to add”.  Hmmm….an easy recipe that wont take forever and not make a giant mess. (I have things to do today) I knew just what to do. I searched the shelf of my  beloved Bon Appetit magazines.

I found a recipe I had not tried yet. It seemed easy enough and would not take THAT long. (and it didn’t, after I rescued the magazine from behind the couch, it slipped off the top. I almost had a panic attack. My couch weighs a million and three pounds. I may be many things, but super woman is not one of them. Thankfully the ends of the couch recline, and I was able to shimmy my arm just far enough to reach the mag. Crisis diverted)

I had my assistant go wash his hands, while I preheated the oven and gathered our ingredients. While he was washing up, he “accidentally” spilled all the hand soap down the drain and all over the counter. (at this point we are already running about 30 mins behind MY schedule).  I head to the bathroom to clean up soap (I know seems redundant doesn’t it) and then I smell something burning. Hmmm that is weird, I have not even put anything in there yet. I open the oven to investigate said smell. And what do I find? A sheet pan with remnants of chicken from last night. (ugh I should have known) You see, my husband has a horrible habit of leaving things in the oven when he is done with them. (does anyone else have this problem) I often turn on the oven only to be met with a awful charred smell moments later. SO ANNOYING.(but to give him credit, he usually cleans the kitchen every night after dinner, even though he almost always forgets that small detail).

Ok…back to the recipe.

We finally got our brownies underway.

COCOA BROWNIES with BROWNED BUTTER

This recipe is from the February 2011 issue.  Alice Medrich who is a chocolate expert (what a wonderful thing to be an expert at!) created this recipe. I left out the nuts called for in this recipe. If you prefer nuts the original recipe calls for 1 cup of walnut pieces.

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces (I actually did not do this, I put them in the pan as is, minus wrapper of course)

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons water

2 large eggs

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (make sure there is nothing in the oven). Line 8×8 baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2 inch overhang. (give or take. I think i had way more then 2 inches of overhang). Coat foil with nonstick spray.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 mins.

waiting patiently for butter to brown

FINALLY

browned butter

Remove from heat, pour into medium bowl. Immediately add sugar, cocoa, water, vanilla and salt. Stir to blend.

Let cool 5 minutes. Add eggs to mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny:

add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes (honestly we did not count how many strokes we made)

Transfer to prepared pan. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean. (a few moist crumbs attached) about 20-25 minutes. Cool in pan. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut and devour!

These are amazing. My new favorite brownie.  Even though it took longer then I wanted, so worth it! I got to spend quality time with one of my guys, and he had a blast. Nothing boring about these brownies!!!

And there is definitely NOTHING boring about this guy!!!

 
8 Comments

Posted by on pmpFri, 08 Apr 2011 15:33:53 +000033Friday 4 , 2011 in Recipes

 

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