Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hello Everyone!

Hello fellow bakers and foodie pals! After what has seemed like a million years I am finally back! And I'm more than ready to start cookin' and postin' all the yummy stuff I want to make. All I can say is "WooHoo!" I hope you'll all come and take a looksy when you can :) I missed you all so much!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Hi everyone! I'm sorry I haven't posted anything in awhile but another move has made my life incredibly busy and quite hectic. I promise to start with OBG, Barefoot Bloggers and my pie gals over at You Want Pies With That? real soon! Thanks for checking on me!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

BB Bonus Recipe: Easy Cheese Danish

This month's bonus recipe, Easy Cheese Danish, was selected by Val at More Than Burnt Toast. I made just a few changes based on using what I had on hand rather than making a special trip to the store. I used part-skim ricotta instead of cream cheese and orange zest instead of lemon. I cut the recipe in half and made four danish ( just the right number for two us...) and left two plain and placed some fig jam in the other two. They tasted pretty good. The plain ones had a definite orange flavor that kind of reminded me of...don't laugh...but they tasted like Trix cereal to me :) And that's a good thing! The ones with fig were quite figgy and yummy too.

There were just a couple of issues I had. By using the ricotta, the filling was pretty runny. I think had I used a little flour in the filling it would have stabilized the ricotta a bit more. Also, because of the filling being runny, I hesitated in using a lot of it in the danish and this was a mistake! I would have rather have dealt with overflowing danish and all that yummy filling rather than playing it safe and having more pastry than yummy goodness! Other than that, they were simple and easy and quite tasty. Oh, and I think in the future I will not glaze the entire danish with the egg wash because they always come out looking slightly burned on the edges even though they're not.

I can't wait to make these in different variations and see some of the delicious ones my fellow
Barefoot Bloggers have created! If you'd like to try them too, here's the recipe:

Barefoot Contessa's Easy Cheese Danish

Copyright Ina Garten - All Rights Reserved

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar

2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature

2 T ricotta cheese

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/2 - 1 T grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the cream cheese & sugar in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and cream together on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until just combined. Don’t whip!
  3. Unfold one sheet of pastry onto a lightly floured board and roll it slightly with a floured rolling pin until it’s a 10×10 inch square. Cut the sheet into quarters. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares. Brush the border of each pastry with egg wash and fold two opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so they firmly stick together. Brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the filled Danish for 15 minutes.
  4. Bake the puff pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and brown. Serve warm.
Makes 8 Danish

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You Want Pies With That? Theme One: "I Love That Movie" Pie Challenge

“You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life…

See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen!”

I love ABBA and that means that my Fav Movie Pick is…

yep, you guessed it –

This funkadelic "Dancing Queen Pie" is dedicated to Donna and the Dynamos! I wanted to honor the Greek isles, where the movie takes place, so I went with a traditional custard pie that my Mom has made for years. I liked the idea of using coconut because, well, I like it and it made me think of these Greek Honey Coconut Turnovers a friend of mine makes called Skaltsounes me Karytha.

So I tried to make something similar in flavor just in a pie form. I wanted to add a layer of Swedish lingonberry jam as a nod to ABBA, but IKEA was completely out and I could not find the stuff anywhere else so I opted for marionberry instead. In retrospect I should have just left it out but was trying to be creative. I then topped the pie with sweetened whipped cream, a dusting of sprinkles and some dancing queen crowns. Finally, I added a sparkly green "M" for Mama Mia on the very top. So, how did it turn out? Pretty over the top I would say!

Please go to the You Want Pies With That? blog to check out all of the fabulous pies these creative bakers have made! And be sure to rent this movie (once it comes out on Cable/DVD) wont regret it!

Banana Cream Custard Pie

(w/Coconut Changes in Pink)

Source: My Mom

1 baked pie crust

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/3 cups water

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 egg yolks, beaten

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 medium bananas (I used 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut here instead)

lemon juice (omit if using the coconut)

whipping cream, whipped

In heavy saucepan, dissolve cornstarch in water; stir in milk and egg yolks.

Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla.

Cool slightly.

(Fold in coconut, if using, and skip next step.)

Slice bananas; dip in lemon juice & pat dry.Place on bottom of pie crust.

Pour filling into crust; chill 4 hours or until set.

Top with whipped cream.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Operation Baking GALS - Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies, Choco Chip with Pecans and Choco Chip with Toffee Bits


to all of our service men and women and to their families who sacrifice so much for our freedom.

I love you all!

And a special thank you to Lauren who headed up team "We'll Eat Everything!" for doing such a fantastic job! Please check out her blog at I'll Eat You and see all of the delicious cookies that were made for this round by our team. Also, please check out the other teams and their delicious cookies at Operation Baking GALS. You can also find out how to join OBG if you want to be a part of the next round!

Here are the recipes I used this time:

Joy of Baking Oatmeal Cookies (with Butterscotch Chips)

Copyright: Stephanie Jaworski (All Rights Reserved)

3/4 cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (215 grams) light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (105 grams) all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups (260 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries, cherries, or raisins or 1 cup white or dark chocolate chips, optional

(or butterscotch chips)

To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and toast nuts for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop into pieces. Set aside.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in the nuts, oats, and dried cranberries or chocolate chips (or butterscotch chips.)

*For large cookies, use 1/4 cup of batter (I like to use an ice cream scoop) and space the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the baking sheet. Then wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so they are about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Bake the cookies for about 12 - 15 minutes at 350 degrees F (177 degrees C), or until light golden brown around the edges but still soft and a little wet in the centers. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

*Makes about 20 large cookies. (I made mine much smaller and was able to get 3 dozen 2" cookies.)

Joy of Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies

Copyright: Stephanie Jaworski (All Rights Reserved)

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

3/4 cup (160 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups (315 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (270 grams) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (100 grams) walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)

(or with 1 cup Heath toffee pieces)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) with rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until incorporated, adding the chocolate chips about half way through mixing. If you find the dough very soft, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 30 minutes).

For large cookies, use about a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop or with two spoons, drop about 2 tablespoons of dough (35 grams) onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake about 12 - 14 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen - 3 inch round cookies

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

An Addicition...or a Passion?

I have something to admit...I have an cookbooks. Yes, it's true. I love them! I must have hundreds, plus more stashed away in boxes in the basement, and then there's the ones hanging out in my parents garage still...sorry Ma and Pa :P Whenever there is a yard sale, I zone in on the cookbooks, delighting over my finds like treasure: new hip favorites as well as the classics. While people are bartering over furniture, TV's and used skis, I'm drooling over the cookbook selections! They are all so cool to me!

I have such a eclectic assortment of titles sitting next to each other on the bookshelf - and that's not even including all of the magazine and little cookbooks like the ones you find by the checkout. And
then there's the recipes I've started to transfer to the computer or have downloaded. And last but certainly not least are all of the recipes that I have written down in little journals (at last count I had 20 of these precious books filled with handwritten recipes from all different sources but most are ones that were given to me by friends or family.)'s an addiction! But I call it love :) It's my's an all consuming kind of love, the kind that is a part of making up who I am. I'm happiest when I am thinking about food, looking at pictures of it (or even better, the real thing!), making/baking it, reading about it, discussing's the switch for my soul, what put's that sparkle in my eye and spring in my step!

So, I ask you, is it an addiction or a passion, or can it be both? Not sure but I do know that it makes me happy :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

orry everyone! I am a few days behind in posting about this yummy soup. I am in the process of moving and underestimated how long it would actually be before being connected to the internet once again (LOL!) Better late than never anyway, right? :-)

I must say that this soup was quite delish - very rich and creamy and the mushroom flavor really came through. I thought it a little bland at first taste so I added a bit of curry powder and it made all the difference in the world! I know, I know...kinda weird spice to add but it my secret weapon - in my opinion it can make pretty much anything taste better! I also chose thyme to top the soup instead of parsley (what's with all the parsley Ina???) - much better!

Thanks go to Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker for selecting this Ina Garten recipe. Be sure to check out her blog as well as all of the other Barefoot Bloggers versions of Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup - I'm sure they are fabulous!

Here's the recipe:

Barefoot Contessa's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
Copyright Ina Garten and Food Network

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

*Note: This recipe makes A LOT of soup so be prepared to freeze some, or share it with friends and family. We ate it two nights in a row plus had two large containers leftover. It's a good soup, but I really didn't feel like eating it for a week ;-)