What a find - recipes from Family & Friends

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I've been making the same few dishes over and over again.

Skillet Penne & Sausage
Homemade Pizza
Chicken Enchiladas (using canned sauce)

We love these meals - but I'm itching to make something new!

This past month, I came across a box of recipes from my bridal shower. It was stashed in my "wedding" closet - with my still muddy wedding dress, dried flowers, saved invitations, programs, & other misc wedding stuff you don't look at after the day is done. My Maid of Honor made sure that I had this library of recipes from family & friends, and I have yet to use it!

So, in June, I am going to do my best to use recipes provided to me by family and friends.

Did you send me a recipe? What was it?

White Chocolate Strawberry Tart of Awesomeness

Friday, May 27, 2011

*Note my editor is my wonderful husband, and he simply hasn't had the time to look these over lately, so if you are interested in editing my work let me know. Otherwise enjoy my unedited work until he has time, and keep your editorial comments to yourself.

I stumbled upon this site, which I hope won't get my blog blocked from your work browsers.

They have the most heavenly photos of food, and each image links back to a food blog. The Galley Gourmet was home to this decadent dessert - a White chocolate Strawberry Tart.

Just in time for Mother's Day I had found the perfect recipe for my FIL (who is allergic to chocolate). You see, white chocolate is not really chocolate - check out Winkipedia if you'd like to know more.

I thought my MIL wouldn't mind terribly much if I made a non-chocolate dessert so I got to work.

And, to top it off my mother would just LOVE this desert, since she is not only a strawberry fan but also dessert fan.

The dough recipe made quite a bit extra so I found my mini tart set and filled three mini tart pans. Unfortunately only 2 turned out - I think the third had the last bit of dough and it burnt fairly quickly.

Note: the dough will pull away from the pan a bit as it cooks - and then again when it cools. No worries, the pretty shape seems to hold.

The mousse was fairly straight forward and the filled tarts set beautifully in the fridge.

I had found 2lbs of strawberries on sale at the International Grocery (seriously the best place to shop once you find the things you need) So I had more than enough - but I was puzzled. How in the world do you get them to look THAT good? I used a small knife and started chopping - I didn't use the rounded "first" cuts - but saved those for my favorite on the go dessert. Then, I began to place them tip-out from the outside circle in - and guess what?

It didn't look too shabby!

Notice that as you lay the strawberries on-top of each other they tend to tilt upward ... I guess this is normal.

The final touch was a raspberry-lemon, glaze. which is super easy.. simply warm and then brush on.

The only thing I would change is the size of the tart. The tart crust is pretty difficult to cut but easy to chew. This recipe is probably better suited for mini deserts made in a tiny bite-sized tartlet pan. (which I don't have)

Leftovers: Chicken Salad Sandwich

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Step 1: Make a Passover dinner with homemade chicken broth for grandma's matzo ball soup. Reserve the chicken in a container (with bones and skin removed)

Step 2: 1/2 an hour before you need to leave for work in-between blow-drying and straightening your hair, start boiling eggs (bring to a boil, set aside for 10 min, ice bath for 5 min)
-finish you hair

Step 3: take container of leftover chicken out of the fridge and cube about a cup and half.

Step 4: add the things you love ... in this case 1/3 yellow onion, chives, flat leaf parsley, radishes sliced thinly, and 1/4 -1/2 cup mayo. Close container and shake to mix.

Step 5: pack the now chilled boiled egg, 1/4 loaf of bread, and finished salad and walk out of the door with 5 mins to spare.

Step 6: Enjoy.

Blueberry Muffins & Boyscout Camp

I haven't made blueberry muffins in years, but they are my favorite. This past week I made a batch for Jordan and I to take to work for snacks. To make them accessible, I used an empty cake stand with cover.

When I make them, I am reminded of Ransburg Boy Scout Camp. Yes, I (Jennifer) worked at a boyscout camp during the summer of '01 & '02. It was a wonderful retreat from life here in Indy.

When I make blueberry muffins I am reminded of walking down to the waterfront to use the kitchen in Enlow Hall. Sometimes after a staff meeting, and sometimes early in the morning so I could share them with friends for breakfast.

I think I tried every blueberry muffin mix that summer. Here are two I remember ---

Jiffy was by far the easiest mix - you see, I didn't have a measuring cup, or a mixing bowl. I had a large cereal bowl, a muffin pan, plastic silverware, and plastic cups. Anything that required straining or calculations wasn't going to work... at least not well. I made this mix so often I could eyeball the ingredients until the consistency "looked right"

This mix was a bit more difficult; first the whole box wouldn't fit in the bowl, and secondly the blueberries needed to be opened and then were supposed to be strained. But, it has streusel topping - so you bet if I had the time, this was the mix I picked up on my Thursday night out.

I have some fantastic memories of Ransburg, and maybe during one of my long weekends this summer I'll be able to head down and visit.

Beware of flying bad words!!!
- Kitchen Nightmares

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My inspiration for this post comes from our cousin, Kim.. her post this afternoon really just spoke to me.

Kim is going through a bit of a kitchen nightmare today. From her FB posts I can tell the day started out quite well with a visit to Kitchen Art to pick up newly sharpened knives. But, then it was all down hill her mandolin slicer broke, a light burnt out, and her chef'n spatula snapped. (I'm sure she'd be happy to accept donations of new items - including a new fridge)

I too have had these nightmare-ish kitchen days. So I thought I'd share in some of my (least)favorite kitchen stories.

Red Velvet Chocolate Cake - this cake still escapes me. I have tried two recipes and both have failed. The first, a Red Velvet Chiffon that looked like a baby hot pink nightmare (complete with a gooey edge). The second batch, a cupcake version caved in. I may or may not have had quite a few beverages before attempting this and I might have left out a key ingredient.

Gingerbread Cookie Dough - My food processor motor died while making this holiday staple. It came to a screeching halt while I was carefully adding molasses. I held onto it for another couple months hoping it would magically work. And, it did -- if you twisted it backwards a few times, it could process air like a champ for about 5 seconds. (Recently replaced with the KFP750 in White thanks to a gift card I won at work)

Stove top of melt-y-ness  - it is a REALLY good thing my husband has some experience fighting fires. Our flat-top stove top sits between the wall mounted oven and fridge. There isn't much counter space.....

We have melted the following items (there are probably more - don't judge)

Food packages - The Blue Box & Brats? It began with a hot mess of melted plastic (the brats were in a plastic bag), a trip to the store, scraping off the stove top, and an awful stench.

Plastic Containers - I had purchased this fantastic set of plastic storage containers to house delicious leftovers. And, well they melt really quickly on a warm burner. We have since switched to glass containers, but the lids are plastic.... and yes I'm pretty sure I've spent the night before Thanksgiving frantically scraping off a plastic lid from my poor stove-top :(

Rubber Spatulas - I have murdered two spatulas, once by placing it on a warm (but not on) burner, and the other time while cooking with a roommate. We both noticed the spatula kept getting smaller and smaller as we cooked. It seemed so odd, sure enough the darn thing had melted into the sauce.

I've learned that the key to removing the melted plastic goo is speed, water, a metal tool, and prayer. And, that value priced plastic melts REALLY fast.

The best solution however is to just make sure plastic NEVER touches the stove top.

So, please join me in telling Kim that she is not alone, and it will get better by sharing your kitchen nightmare(s).

Passover, Seder, and Jesus

My mom is Jewish, which makes me Jewish. I was raised Baptist. (Single mom working nights + great babysitters)

That said, I have fond memories of the Efromson family Seder here in Indianapolis and that one Passover at my Grandparents where some punk kid cut me in line as we searched for the hidden matza. I think I was 3 or 4 years old, and if I remember correctly earlier that evening I switched places with my uncle and took a HUGE gulp of wine, promptly spitting it out all over my grandmother’s good white linens.... everyone got a good laugh, but me.

This year we celebrated Easter with a Friday night Seder. It was a last minute brainstorm, complete with my mom franticly searching for my grandfather’s Haggadah (Reformed Judaism, sort of the non-denominational liberal-ish arm of Judaism from what I understand ... remember I was raised Baptist) She couldn't find the book, which was most likely subject to one of her "donation" sprees where big black trash bags full of "donations" end up in the garbage cans of local apartment complexes.

Luckily, I had saved a silver-covered traditional Haggadah complete with photos of odd looking little chubby men.

Now, back to the cooking. I had seen an article on Bon Appetite’s email newsletter "An Elegant Passover Menu for 6" which included an interesting recipe for Matzo Ball Soup. The fish and fancy salad they had listed didn’t really fit my... style. So, I searched a bit further on Bon Appetite’s site and found a REALLY awesome Gillette Fish recipe using Halibut (ps Halibut is NOT cheap). Armed with printouts of the recipes I headed to Meijer.

I found everything but lemon grass and a food processor (for the Torte, so I swapped it out for a NOT kosher leavened 4 layer lemon curd cake).

That night I made the fish… it was an interesting experience. Hobo Packets + expensive ingredients. This fish needed to be cooked the night before, cooled, and then refrigerated until served. I looked really good, and it smelled even better (everyone said they would have preferred it warm). Halibut with Carrots, Fennel, Lemon, and Garlic

The next day I headed to the International grocery to fetch lemon grass. I had a BIG day ahead of me, homemade chicken broth, a 4-tiered cake, finding the Haggadah (which I didn’t think of until 30 minutes before people were to arrive).

Somehow I pulled it off… but next year we are going to need a new Haggadah with post-its on the questions (our family’s favorite part).

Luckily, Uncle Dave has already ordered a Children’s Haggadah which is perfect, and doubles as a coloring book. I think we will order enough for everyone to have their own.

The Blue Box & Brats

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wow time goes by so quickly. And, today I was reminded that I am not always a wannabe gourmet cook. Dinner was Mac n' Cheese & Cheesy Brats.

The "real" blue box complete with powdered stuff. (We had a REALLY terrible incident last week with some fermented/expired Velveeta goo ... never again)

I was also reminded that Jordan doesn't really know how to make Mac n' Cheese and I have little clue when it comes to brats.

So here are the recipes from tonight.

The blue box (follow directions on the side, be sure not to pour the packet of "cheese" into the boiling water when adding the noodles)

Add 3 Brats + Can of Cheap Beer + Can (the beer can when empty) filled with water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to boil, simmer for about .... until Jordan thinks they are done (should be firm). Then broil on low until they are crispy brownish. (Turning as necessary)

Our Table for Two Copyright © 2009 Designed by Ipietoon Blogger Template for Bie Blogger Template Vector by DaPino