Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Elizabeth Stelling a/k/a Chef E

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fresh Whiskey Sours

Sunday posts I usually feel compelled to share a meal with you and save the cocktail posts closer to the weekend. Today I changed my mind. It's been a busy week for many of us, traveling, cooking, eating, eating some more, and eating again.  If your cooking groove has been spent for the week, kick-back, eat left-overs (if you have any left), leave the dishes for another day and enjoy a cocktail.

This recipe lacks the traditional sweet and sour mix.  Instead, the sweet and sour is a blend of fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, with simple syrup.

Fresh Whiskey Sours
Makes 4
Recipe from Ina Garten

3/4 cup Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
2/3 cup sugar syrup (see below)
Maraschino cherries

Sugar Syrup
Put 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Chill throughly before using.

Combine the whiskey, lemon juice, lime juice and syrup.  Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice and fill two-thirds full with the cocktail mixture.  Shake for 30 seconds and pour into glasses.  Add a maraschino cherry and serve ice cold.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday. 
I will be spending time with family and friends and will be back next week.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Craving Comfort Food? Meatloaf with Barbecue Glaze

Yesterday was one those very enjoyable days.  We spent time running errands at leisure, and playing in the dirt.  Our garden is rocking and we are excited.  I have eaten more fresh vegetables in the last week, than probably in three months.  Its proof that if you buy or grow fresh vegetables, you are going to eat more healthy.

By the evening, we were craving comfort and what better dish to prepare than a classic American comfort food-Meatloaf.  It can feed a crowd or just the two of you.   Last night it fed the two of us with plenty left over for next week's meatloaf sandwiches.

This meatloaf can be made ahead, shaped, wrapped in foil, and frozen for up to a month.  When ready, just thaw it out and bake as directed.

Meatloaf with Barbecue Glaze
Makes 2 mini loaves or 1 loaf pan
Recipe from Cuisine at Home

For the Meatloaf, Whisk:
2 Tbsp. milk
1 egg
1/3 cup crushed purchase, seasoned croutons

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. each diced carrot and celery, and chopped fresh parsley

5 oz. each ground chuck and ground pork (note * I used a total 1-1/2-lbs. and adjusted seasonings)
2 Tbsp. purchased barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. each kosher salt and black pepper

For the Glaze, Whisk
2 Tbsp. purchased barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil; top with a wire rack.

For the meatloaf, whisk together milk and egg in a small bowl; add croutons and set aside.

Mince onion, garlic, carrot, celery, and 2 Tbsp. parsley in a food processor.

Combine crouton mixture, onion mixture, chuck, pork, 2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce, 1 Tbsp. Dijon, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  Form mixture into two loaves; place on prepared rack and bake 15 minutes.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photos submitted by Anncoo's Journal 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread

Baking challenges me. There I said it!  I enjoy using a recipe as a foundation and tinkering with ingredients and measurements, which is why I enjoy cooking more than baking.   Baking requires that I tinker less, and pay attention more, two things that are not my strong suit in cooking or otherwise.

This recipe provides a healthier version of a traditional pumpkin bread that is simple to prepare.

Baking with olive oil is a good alternative to baking with butter or other vegetable oils.   As an extra benefit extra-virgin olive oil has a high level of antioxidants, as well as vitamin E. The use of honey and brown sugar as opposed to granulated white sugar, is a nice alternative too.

This pumpkin bread is utterly delicious,

Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread
Serves 8
Recipe from Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
2 Tablespoons unsalted pumpkin seeds (optional)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350degrees F.  Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk both flours, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder,nutmeg, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, oil, and honey until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a large spoon just until evenly incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan smooth the top.  Tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.  Sprinkle the top with the pumpkin seeds (if using), pressing them down lightly.

Bake until the top is browned  and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (if the bread begins to brown too much before it is fully baked, lay a piece of aluminum foil on top.) 

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then transfer the bread to a rack to cool completely before slicing.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Leland Palmer Cocktail

Looks like autumn, tastes like summer.

The Leland Palmer Cocktail
Makes 6
Recipe from Bon Appetit

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup hot water
3 cups freshly brewed jasmine tea, cooled
3/4 cup gin
3/4 cup *limoncello
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 cup chilled club soda
Ice cubes
6 lemon slices (for garnish)

Stir honey and 1/2 cup hot water in a small bowl until honey dissolves.  Cool completely.

Combine honey water; jasmine tea, gin, limoncello, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice in large pitcher.  Add club soda and stir to blend.

Full six 1-pint mason jars or 6 tall glasses with ice cubes.  Divide tea mixture among jars; top each with lemon slice.

Note *Limoncello, a lemon flavored liqueur, can be found at many supermarkets, Trader Joe's markets, and at liquor stores.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted Mr. Meatball

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lemon Chicken Breasts and Gifts from the Garden

Our first salad greens were taken from our garden this week. The greens required nothing more than a toss in a simple vinaigrette. I had forgotten how amazing fresh greens from your garden directly to your table can taste. 

We needed only a simple entree that would compliment our salad greens and decided baked lemon chicken breasts would be perfect.

Chicken breasts, baked in lemon, wine, oregano and garlic give chicken a great flavor.  We served it along side with cous-cous with pine nuts to help soak up the flavorful lemon juices.

Lemon Chicken Breasts
Serves 4
Recipe from Ina Garten

1/4 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest ( 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6-8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to turn brown.  Off the heat, add the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt pour into a 9x12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place skin side up over the sauce.  Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper.  Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned.  If the chicken is not browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bananas for Banana Bread

Too many overripe bananas, equals time for making banana bread.  Thought I was still on my banana baking game, until I managed to leave out by accident the sugar in the recipe.  I improvised and sliced it up to enjoy with a drizzle of honey.

Its probably a good thing that I don't have any more overripe bananas to fret over in my fruit basket.

This banana bread loaf takes just a few minutes to put together.  It's worth it.

Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf
Recipe adapted from The Andrews Inn and Garden Cottages

2 cups pre-sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 large or 4 small mashed bananas
3/4 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a 9x5x2-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray.  You may also use a muffin tin to make muffins.

In a medium-size bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt.  In a larger bowl, mix eggs, oil, buttermilk, and bananas.  Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients by hand until well mixed.  Fold in walnuts (optional).  Pour batter into loaf pan.  

Bake for about 50 minutes (25 minutes for muffins).  Place on rack to cool for 10 minutes before 
removing from pan.

Don't forget the sugar!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Photo submitted by Ken Bowie- A Cook's Life