Friday, September 25, 2020

Pizza with Asparagus, Pesto & Chicken

401.  An experiment with pizza toppings was in play today.  I had chicken breast, pesto, Mozzarella cheese, and asparagus.  But, I was craving, this delicious combination was created. 

The dough was whole wheat crust layered first with pesto, next, chopped onion, Parmesan cheese, grilled chicken chopped in pieces.  Then topped with more Parmesan cheese, shredded Mozzarella cheese and finally asparagus spears cut in 4" pieces.
I baked the pizza at 425 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.
Amazing flavor, texture and the chicken was a hidden surprise with each bite.
"It's a lot harder to get people to 'ooh' and 'aah' over beets or carrots than it is to get them to 'ooh' and 'aah' over asparagus.  I enjoy being able to take these humble, 'low-brow' foodstuffs up a few notches and serve them with great exuberance."
~Charlie Trotter

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Vanilla Cake with Buttercream

400.  And for my next trick 🍰a soft, moist, deliciously amazing Vanilla Cake with Buttercream.  Over the years I have made many cakes, tried dozens of recipes and was never very happy with the way my vanilla cakes would turn out.  It seemed they would be too sweet, dry out too quickly, be too crumbly or just not be an A+.  In my endless search, I found this recipe.  I can not take credit but can direct you to the link.  I have to say...THIS IS a delicious vanilla cake.

I made this cake for my daughter's 22nd Birthday and it was a hit.

I baked the batter in a large sheet pan and then cut out 5 layer circles from the baked cake.  Doubling the buttercream recipe was important for the extra layers.  In the center layer, I placed boysenberry filling that I made from boysenberries picked this summer.  Then I boiled the berries in a small saucepan with 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar till berries fall apart.  Then strained them to remove the seeds and ultimately added back into the sauce a few spoonfuls of seeds but not every seed...because we like them.  Next I added a corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce.  I cooled it and then placed the sauce in the center on the third layer.
The process was perfection...the cake baked so well and the buttercream was the best I have ever worked with!
I decorated the sides roughly with strokes of butter cream and then added golden flakes to one side.
What a wonderful experience and so rewarding!  Not to mention the taste...So Good!
Here is the link to the recipe for this amazing Vanilla Cake with Buttercream!  
I believe you can make great food with everyday ingredients even if you're short on time and cost conscious.  You just need to cook clever and get creative!
~ Nagi of RecipeTin Eats

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Double Stuffed Baked Potatoes

399. A hot baked potato filled with oozing melted butter, sour cream and melted cheddar cheese is a very welcome favorite of mine.  Although, it seems everyone should know how to make a baked potato... I wonder, how many know how to double stuff a potato?  

I know every microwave has a "potato" setting.  You place the cleaned, skin-on potato in the microwave and just push the button.  When your potato is "baked", the beep is sounded.  Only takes about 5-8 minutes, depending on the size or amount of potatoes you are cooking.  A much better alternative is to actually "BAKE" the potato, you know, like our grandmothers did, before microwaves were around.  

Scrub your potatoes and poke them with a point of a knife about 3 times around each spud.  Place them in a hot 350 degree oven and bake about 1 hour.  You will know they are soft when you squeeze them to test.

Remove the potatoes and let them sit about 10 minutes to cool.  Cut each lengthwise carefully and open them up.  This also allows them to cool quicker.  Have a bowl prepared to mix the filling.  Scrape out of the skins the soft potato into the prepared bowl.  Continue with each potato till you have only potato skins left.

Mix the cheese, butter, sour cream and seasonings into the potato filling.  Blend well but not too smooth.  Chunks of potato are fine.  By the spoonful, transfer the filling back into the skin shells mounding up the filling.  

Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or till cheese is melted on top
I like to finish off the top with a dollop of sour cream and a healthy sprinkling of fresh garden chives.  Of course you can add bacon, fried sausage bits, pepperoni, parmesan cheese...and the list trails on.  Make it to your own taste and liking.
To save this recipe simply select, drag and drop onto your desktop.  Print as a picture.
This would be a great recipe to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  And, you can use sweet potatoes or yams as well to substitute.  Enjoy this simply wonderful recipe...a great recipe to make with a kitchen helper.

"I do not believe that you have to spend a lot of money to eat well:  it is hard to beat a plain old baked potato."
~ Laurie Colwin

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Sourdough Bread

398.  Sourdough Bread!  Crunchy crust, airy texture, tangy flavor and the perfect bread when toasted.  
Though I had never tried making sourdough bread, a new challenge presented itself with a sourdough starter.  Every day you must "feed" the starter to keep it alive as well as working more air in by stirring.  I was up for the challenge and am enjoying the outcome.  My starter is a small batch for one loaf of bread a week.

Here is a great link to watch another process of a starter how-to HERE.
When you are ready to bake a loaf of bread, here is my recipe:

Autolyse flour and water stage.  It is very good to have a digital scale for acuracy.
Adding the salt and starter.
The stretch and fold process adds air into the dough and develops the gluten in the dough.
 The final shaping and proofing in a floured proofing basket called a Banneton or in a heavily floured kitchen towel placed in a bowl.

It is a beautiful bread...and if you take the time, you will be so happy with the fulfilling process.
"The baker's skill in managing fermentation, not the type of oven used, is what makes good bread. "
~ Chad Robertson, Tartine Bread

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Chocolate Cheesecake Keto Style

397.  This is a dessert to savor and have a second piece.  Its chocolaty and not too sweet but very rich in flavor.  It is beautiful as well.  Here is my recipe:

 This cheesecake freezes very well and puts on quite a show for your guests.
"If there is a cheesecake in the house, I'll have some!"
~ Kelly Ripa

"When you've been on a low-carb diet for 5 years and you realize it has only been 5 minutes."
~  Hilarious Meme

Monday, June 22, 2020

Plum Sauce

396.  Summer bbq is a favorite for our family and ribs on the grill tops the list.  Last year I ventured into creating a blackberry bbq sauce for ribs and we loved it.  So, last week when plums began to come into harvest in California, I was fortunate to be the receiver of several pounds of fresh picked plums.  Several cups of small wild plums and several pounds of red plums.  Ribs were on the menu for Father's Day and a Plum BBQ Sauce was in the works.  Here is my process and recipe...
The consistency of the sauce will thicken the longer you simmer it.  You want it to be thick enough to stick to the ribs.  
The flavor was tangy, fruity and savory and complemented the ribs very well.  Serving this sauce with goat cheese or blue cheese on a salad or stuffed in a mushroom was perfect.  This experiment payed off so well.  Thanks Teri for the plums!!

"When the old plum tree blooms, the entire world blooms."
~ Ancient Proverb

"The rose is a rose, and was always a rose. But the theory now goes that the apple's a rose, and the pear is, and so's the plum, I suppose.  The dear only knows what will next prove a rose.  You, of course, are a rose - but were always a rose."
~ Robert Frost

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Strawberry Mascarpone Tart

395.  Prepare yourself for a mouthwatering treat with this strawberry tart.  With strawberries plentiful and picnics around the corner, you will love this recipe!  Feel free to add blueberries or blackberries as well.
"I think baking is rewarding.  If you follow a good recipe, you will get success."
~ Mary Berry


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