Tuesday, February 23, 2010
i buy it all the time. i love to sprinkle it on my oatmeal and add it to my protein shakes. the funny thing about me always having this on hand... is
i grew up in a house with a LOT of wheat germ. my mom was always making crazy shakes and sneaking it into lots of goods. in fact, once i got to college i started buying it for no reason other than i thought you had to have wheat germ in your fridge. :) so now, always have a ton and it was nice to use a full cup of it in a recipe!
this week for my Tuesdays with Dorie baking group, we made Honey-wheat Cookies. The recipe was hosted by Michelle at Flourchild. (you can snag the recipe from her blog.)
but before you head over there. let me tell you how awesome these cookies tasted.
the combination of honey and lemon with the wheat germ was a real winner. they were wholesome, chewy and addictive. the batter was delicious too! i let mine refrigerate overnight and think it really helped the flavors marry.
They were fun to make. I loved rolling them in the wheat germ and then pressing them down with the bottom of a cup. They were so soft! and...aren't they just cute?
based on my pictures, you should gather that they didn't last long. i didn't have time to set up a descent shot because we scarfed 'em down!
I loved these cookies. When I have kids I think these will be the perfect after school snack!
Next week: Toasted Coconut Custard Tart (already made it and it was delightful!)
Monday, February 22, 2010
But, as a kid I didn't always appreciate it. I always wanted to go to the local Mexican restaurant or (gasp) McDonalds. I can still see and hear it now. On the way home from an event or something we'd be in our blue station wagon and would always ask my parents if we could go out to eat. And my dad would respond. "Sure, we'll go out to this great restaurant." Then we'd get excited and no sooner would he proclaim "We're going to McMamma's!"
I'm sure you can guess where McMamma's was...home. :)
This recipe is one of my most favorite comfort food dishes. It's Chicken Pie or Potato la Creme. It originates from the Crisco American Pie cookbook that my mother bought at a grocery store in 1989. I guess a woman from Blackfoot, Idaho entered the recipe in a competition and made it all the way to the national competition to make it into the book. Cute.
I'm sure each of you have some sort of version for a chicken pie. This is the version I grew up with. I love this version and have made it exactly like my mom. I know in the future I'll make variations (cause I'm curious and like to mix things up) like making my own pie crust that uses butter, maybe subbing the cream of chicken soup for Shirley J. But I also know I'll continue to make it my mom's way because I just love how it tastes when my mom makes it! And nothing beats recreating all the smells and memories a mother makes for her children in the kitchen! Love you, Mom!
Here's the recipe:
Chicken Pot Pie
1-2 chicken breasts
4-5 Russet potatoes
2 green onions
1 cup sharp cheese
3 TB butter
1 ½ cups sour cream
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1. Put chicken in the crock pot (enough to make about 1 cup chopped chicken)
2. Boil potatoes in skin; peel, cool and grate.
3. Dice small onion, and sauté (or put in microwave for a minute).
4. Dice carrots and cook in a saucepan until tender, add butter after draining water. (I omit butter)
5. Dice green onion tops
6. Shred cheese
7. In a large bowl combine sour cream, Cream of Chicken soup, salt, and pepper.
8. Add potatoes, onions (both), carrots, cheese, and chicken. Spoon into unbaked pie shell. Crimp edges, put slits on top, sprinkle with salt, and put foil around edges.
9. Cook for 20-40 minutes @ 400 degrees or until crust is golden brown. Half-way through cooking time put foil on top of pie.
10. Set 15 minutes before eating.
Bevie’s All-purpose Pie Crust
3 C. Flour
1 ½ C. Shortening
½ C. Water
1 tsp. Salt
1. Combine contents and knead until dough forms. Use for dessert pies and savory pies.
**Bev’s Notes** for larger pies, multiply ingredients by 1.5
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
But now, after making them myself I think I rather like them. I guess it's good to give things (specifically sweet treats) another chance.
You see, I learned that I can still have my preferred style of chocolate chip cookies (which happens to be a thick, heavy, cakey cookie with semi, milk and bittersweet chocolate in it) and still make and appreciate a different version of this classic after school treat.
The dough was absolutely unbelievable. I wanted to stuff my face with a big ball and never look back...but I held back (a little). I give credit to Dorie (obviously), the chocolate I used and Blue Cattle Truck Mexican Vanilla! Oh man...it was amazing.
So, you must know more about this recipe.
The flour and butter ratio: it calls for only 2 cups of flour and 2 sticks of butter. This tells us it's going to be a THIN cookie. Some argue it leads it to be greasy, but I didn't really find it to be.
Size: Dorie suggests the size to be a rounded tablespoon. I did this on the first half of the batch. Then when I did the second batch I tried out different sizes of 2 TB and 3TB...it was cool and I found that the ideal size for me was 1 1/2 - 2TB (rounded) of dough.
Chilling the dough: this was crucial to the success of the cookie for me. It allowed the cookie to maintain the shape and not spread to much. And I feel like the flavors developed. My first half of the batch chilled for at least 3 hours and the second half was chilled for 24+ hours.
Chocolate: I wish I would have had some Amano still...but I didn't Instead I used my Guittard 70% and um...some semi-sweet Nestle Tollhouse chips that my husband requested.
Baking, Cooling and Resting time: This for me is crucial. I found I could take most of these cookies in all sizes out at 1o minutes. Maybe 11 for the larger sizes. Okay, so after you take the cookies out of the oven, you HAVE to let the cookies REST on the baking sheet for ONLY 1 minute. Then you MUST take them OFF the sheet and onto the rack. I found that doing this (like Dorie suggested) ensures that you don't over-bake the cookie.
I had fun with this recipe. I feel like I want to go on a search for "my" best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I want to try every one's recipe and see what I like best. I also made this recipe part of my Valentine's Day celebration. I paired the cookies with homemade vanilla ice cream (recipe via The Perfect Scoop). Can you see the sweet little heart that was naturally made by the pecan in the cookie? I think I was meant to make these for my valentine's dessert!
You can grab the recipe for My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies off of Kait's blog, Kait’s Plate. Be sure to check out all the Tuesday with Dorie baker's blogs to see how they liked this recipe!
Here's some chocolate chip cookie recipes I'd love to try!
Cook's Illustrated Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies on The Way The Cookie Crumbles (I've had my eye on this issue since I read it in the summer issue)
New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
The Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie by Alton Brown
The Puffy Chocolate Chip Cookie by Alton Brown
The Thin Chocolate Chip Cookie by Alton Brown
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies by Giada De Laurentis
Soft-baked Chocolate Chip Cookies by Martha Stewart
Any one of these wanna-be recipes to make the BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie I have ever eaten from Levain Bakery in NYC!
Next week: Honey-Wheat Cookies (already made...and I loved them! honey, lemon and wheat germ...oh yeah!)
Monday, February 15, 2010
The only problem? I haven't made anything from it. I swear I browse it several times a week, I just haven't buckled down to making an actual recipe. I guess the closest I've come to making one was this morning. I was inspired by the PW's eggs in the hole recipe for breakfast.
I made several alterations, the most noticeable being the heart-shaped hole. Other changes included, not frying the bread...I toasted mine, zero butter...I used olive oil and red pepper and the addition of cheese. Next time I'm totally doing PW style...after all...butter makes everything better right?
PS: Remember when I met the Pioneer Woman and gave her some Utah Cupcakes?
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I leave you with a pretty sight I saw today: the centerpiece on my parent's dinner table! My parents were my first valentines and always made that day so special for me.
I could always count on a house decked out in pinks, reds and whites with the smell of warm sugar cookies that I would soon decorate with my mom. (It's no wonder I love decorations and baked goods!) I was always the recipient of a sweet note and pretty flowers from my Dad. My favorite arrangement included a carnation arrangement that looked like a an ice cream sundae. (similar but prettier than this one.)
So many wonderful memories...and so much love was shared. And I'm so lucky to still be so close to them! I have taken bits and pieces of my parent's traditions into my current adult life and hope to build more memories. I had such a wonderful weekend and can't wait to share it with you.
Hope you had a wonderful day!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
You see, I am the sixth of seven children. Most my siblings are married and live near and have kids. Yes, I've got loads of adorable nieces and nephews.
Each month a different couple is in charge of the meal. Adam and I had the month of January and we decided to go for some bbq. We always try to go with a theme and have a lot of fun. In the past we've done "A Taste of Italy", "Stir Fry Night" and some other fun theme names my brothers tease me about. Seeing how my pantry is loaded with Shirley J and the fact that we wanted to save some money...we opted to use some Shirley J products. (Yes, we were feeding more than 30 people...it can get expensive.)
We made BBQ Brisket and had a buffet of bbq sauces everyone could pick from! One of my favorite (probably in the top 3) Shirley J products is our BBQ Sauce Mix. This just-add-water mix is perfect for making any type of sauce and makes an awesome rub. I love it cause you just keep it in your cupboard and make any flavor of bbq sauce. (beats buying a gazillion flavors of bbq sauce and crowding your fridge...)
Adam took care of the brisket and I let my imagination go wild with the bbq sauces. My parents and siblings took care of sides and dessert.
Here's the menu:
Shirley J BBQ Brisket
*Shirley J BBQ Sauce (Shirley J Mix and water)
*Cranberry Jalapeno BBQ Sauce (Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix, jalapeno cranberry sauce I made up)
*Pero [faux-coffee] BBQ Sauce (Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix, Pero with water)
*Tomato BBQ Sauce (Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix, water, ketchup)
*Rootbeer BBQ Sauce (Shirley J BBQ Sauce, rootbeer extract and water)
*Chocolate BBQ Sauce (Choffy with water, Melted Bittersweet Amano Chocolate)
Cranberry & Cream Cheese Dip with Crackers
Mom's Texas Sheet Cake (which I swear I'll post soon!)
I wish I could say I had exact recipes for all the sauces, but I don't, I really was just messing around with what I had in my fridge and pantry. That's what's cool about this mix. You can just play around. Crazy enough... like days later, our corporate chef, Brian came out with 11 new bbq sauce recipes. You can grab those bbq sauce recipes here! (My faves are the Asian and molasses ones)
The favorite of the night was the cranberry jalapeno and regular. Most my siblings and their kids had fun with the chocolate bbq sauce, but felt they couldn't just have it by itself...so they would put the tomato or regular with it. Oh and I should mention the brisket was awesome...tender and juicy and so easy!
Thankfully I do have a recipe for the BBQ Brisket. Enjoy!
Shirley J BBQ Brisket
via Shirley J Web site and October 2009 Catalog
1/2 c. Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix
4-5 lbs beef brisket
5 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 1/2 c. Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix
3 cups water
Brown the brisket in a heavy skillet until the meat has been seared on all sides. Next rub the brisket with BBQ Sauce Mix, making sure to cover the entire surface of the meat. In a roasting pan, put the tomatoes on the bottom and place the brisket on top with the fat side up.
Cover with foil and bake a 300*F for 6 hours or until tender. Remove foil for the last hour of cooking. Remove the brisket and cut against the grain of the meat into 1/4 inch slices or may be shredded. Serve with BBQ sauce on the side.
Sauce: Mix the water and Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix together and bring to a simmer.
***Note if you've purchased Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix it is different than Shirley J Slow Cooker and Dutch Oven BBQ***
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I was all over the idea of these brownies for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie.
And...I was even more excited that these were Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia. As in Julia Child. As in Julia Child the French Chef. As in "I just read 'My Life in France' by Julia Child. As in "My name is Becky and I'm currently smitten with the lovely Julia Child."
So you can see that I was really excited to try this recipe.
Well, the recipe was good. I adore the method that Rick Katz used to treat the eggs in the recipe. He separates the yolk from the whites, and beats the whites then folds them in. (you know, like you do in pancakes sometimes...) Anyway, the recipe was delicious. And I even used more Amano Chocolate.
The only problem was that the baking time for me. I was so confused because the recipe said that it would be "jiggly" and well, the middle of my brownies never set up. But...we managed to get some good pieces and even took care of that jiggly middle!
In an attempt to not waste the brownies I made a cool dessert with these brownies that consisted of raspberries (frozen from the in-law's garden), white chocolate ice cream (that I made with Amano Chocolate's white chocolate/cocoa butter) and these brownies! It was divine!
You can snatch the recipe off of Tany's blog, Chocolatechic. Be sure to check over the other Tuesdays with Dorie baker's blogs. I for one am very interested to see how theirs turned out!
Next week: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Other brownie-loving posts you might like:
Brownie Buttons by Project Domestication
Chipster-Topped Brownies by Project Domestication
Tribute to Katherine Hepburn Brownies by Project Domestication
Caramel-Peanut-Topped Brownie Cake by Project Domestication
Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte by Project Domestication (just realized I NEVER posted this!)
Peppermint Bark Brownies by Project Domestication
Oreo Brownies with White Chocolate by Two Peas and Their Pod
Mini Chocolate Cakes with Nutella, Marcarpone and Fresh Fruit by Passionate about Baking
Strawberry Shake it up Brownies by The Cooking Photographer
Stolen from a Housemate Brownies by Breads and Roses
Monday, February 8, 2010
here they are:
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyers - Completed (early January)
My Life in France by Julia Child - Completed (2.7.2010)
Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright - Completed (early January)
An Inconvenient Book by Glenn Beck - Completed Audio Book (2.2.2010)
and...on your right: there i am.
this is a very common sight. I've got my feet kicked up by the fire and i'm a-readin' my book.
I don't really feel like going into a whole lot about these books. but i will give each three sentences.
Eclipse: i am a freakin 16-year old when i read these. i can't get enough. i am purposefully drawing the series out because i don't want it to end.
Christmas Jars: way over-hyped here in utah. good message. un-inventive writing.
An Inconvenient Book: i had no clue how kooky glenn beck was. it was entertaining to listen to on my way to work. pedophiles scare me...it's a freaky chapter.
My Life in France: by far the winner of the month. i am smitten with Julia. she deserves more than three sentences in this post so i'll give her them. she and her husband had a wonderful relationship. she taught me to never give up. to live life. and that there is always time for new beginnings. she taught me to love friends. to eat well. and to explore and to move forward.
Check out my living post about my personal book list called 2010 and beyond, here. You'll see what I'm working for February.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I always buy it on a whim, without even knowing what I will make.
I usually just search the blogosphere or my cookbooks for a recipe.
This time around I didn't have to look too far. Chef Brian, corporate chef for Shirley J (my day job), came up with this recipe recently.
It's butternut squash and apple soup, using our flag ship product: Shirley J Universal Sauce. It was seriously so quick and easy and tasted so yummy. If you're wondering what this Universal Sauce stuff is...it's basically a just-add-water substitute for a cream sauce. So basically you are just eliminating butter, flour and cream or milk in the soup recipe. It is super convenient and actually 1/4 the calories of making it from scratch.
I think one of the best parts about the soup was the fact that we had some of it leftover. And instead of eating it as soup again, we just thickened it up and poured it over some four cheese ravioli! So amazing!
Here's the recipe:
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
using Shirley J Universal Sauce via Shirley J site
1 c. Shirley J Universal Sauce
4 c. water
1/2 t. Shirley J Chicken Bouillon
4 c. cooked butternut squash (blended smooth) *i actually roasted mine with maple syrup!*
1 c. apple sauce (blended smooth)
¼ c. brown sugar
¼ t. nutmeg
¼ t. cinnamon
In a saucepan on medium heat, add water, Shirley J Universal Sauce, and Shirley J Chicken Bouillon. Allow it to simmer and thicken. Next add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The recipe: Mini Chocolate Bundt Cakes.
I was more excited about using a mini bundt pan than I was about trying the recipe.
I borrowed the pan from my mom, and loved it. It had three different patterns, so cute right?
Okay, so the recipe was good. Nothing great, for me. I think I liked the "swirl" of nuts, sugar and cocoa. I'm not quite sure why it didn't totally do it for me...but my family liked them so that was good! As everyone said in the P&Q, the glaze recipe was messed up. I just added lots of heavy cream to mine. It didn't turn out perfect, but it worked.
Can you tell I'm lukewarm about this recipe?
Be sure to check in with the rest of the TWD Bakers to see how they made these mini bundts and how they liked them. You can get the recipe on Kristin's blog.
Next week: Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia