27 February 2013

Fruit Filled Coffee Cake


Coffee Cakes are defined as "A class of cakes intended to be eaten alongside coffee (for example, as part of a breakfast meal) or that may be eaten during a "coffee break" or offered to guests as a gesture of hospitality on or around a coffee table."  At least that's the definition according to Wikipedia.  This definitely meets that definition since it is sublime eaten with a nice hot, strong cup of coffee.  It's also tasty all by it self.  As you can see you put a big melty scoop of ice cream on top of our slices.  Just the icing on the cake so to speak.  When I think of coffee cake, first I think of cinnamon and then I think of streusel or crumb topping.  This fills the first bill, as it has cinnamon in the filling and sprinkled on top of the batter.  It does not, however, have the streusel topping.  If you read my post on Lemon Cobbler, then you know I grew up eating a cobbler that is not what most folks think of.  This cake is a lot like a the cobbler I grew up with, but a little more dense and with a lot more cinnamon.

I feel a little redundant when I write how easy this is, since I say that on just about every post, but it really is super simple to throw together and super tasty to boot.


25 February 2013

Lemon Meringue Smore Bars


So, part of my my whole blog posting procedure is that every now and again I just go to the grocery store and walk around looking for some inspiration.  I was not doing that yesterday, however, I was just at the store buying regular old groceries when I found these marshmallows.  It's like they were calling my name.  Flavored marshmallows are nothing new -- chocolate, peppermint, and strawberry are in a pretty regular rotation at my local store.  These were in a whole other league altogether, though.  Lemon Meringue marshmallows.  Yum!  They also had Key Lime flavored ones, which my mom bought.  She went home, built a fire, and made smores.  I do not have a place to build a fire, though, so I had to come up with a city-living girl way to make some smores.  I made these bars and boy are they tasty.  They are really simple and taste like lemon pie and smores had yummy, yummy babies.


20 February 2013

My 100th Post!!! Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies!


Yea!!!!  This is officially my 100th post.  I'm honestly not sure if I really expected to keep up the blogging for this long.  This blog is a first for me in so many ways -- the writing, the photography, the recipe sharing.  Up until I started writing this blog, I was notoriously stingy with my recipe sharing.  I have given people recipes as birthday gifts, only to swear them to secrecy upon recipt of said gifts.  So, writing this blog has turned my world upside down in so many ways.  It has turned my kitchen into an almost perpetual pile of dirty bowls, spoons, and spatulas.  It's also given me so much sanity.  My kitchen is my little retreat from the stress and pressure of kids, work, family, bills, etc....  So, if you have given your time to reading (or maybe even making a recipe), I thank you.  Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

I decided that my 100th post needed to be something really ooey, gooey, and over-the-top decadent.  Not that I don't make a lot of really decadent things, but these brownies may just take the cake.  One of my friends actually said they look more like fudge than a brownie, which may just be true since I like my brownies pretty significantly underbaked.  I think you need to differentiate them from their chocolate cake cousins.  They are very different critters.  The key difference between brownies and cake is the amount of flour.  Your brownies should have as little flour as is possible for them to hold together.  The lack of flour also means that you don't have to fret too much about over-stirring your batter.  There's not really enough gluten to toughen things up.  So, if you're making homemade brownies -- stir to your heart's content.

I am a little bit hooked on the new-ish cinnamon chips on the baking aisle.  They are made by Hershey's and for some reason I can't get enough of 'em.  Cinnamon and chocolate are really good friends and like to hang out together, so these brownies have lots of both.  Oh, and marshmallows...I can't forget the marshmallows.  I know that Mexican hot chocolate doesn't have marshmallows in it, but the kid in me automatically associates marshmallows with hot chocolate.  The cinnamon adds such a wonderful depth of flavor to these brownies.  They really are delightfully different.  I hope you make some, too, and enjoy them as much as I have.

18 February 2013

One Step Eggs Benedict Casserole


I love Eggs Benedict, but I never get to eat it.  I can make it from scratch quite easily, given that I have the ingredients on hand (which I never do).  I can go out and get it for Sunday brunch, but I very rarely do.  Wanna know why?  I'm not a morning person.  Not at all.  I get up and go to work and get the kids off to school, but only because I have to.  I'm not really a late sleeper, but given the choice I would stay in my pajamas until at least noon.  That's when my brain finally starts kicking into gear.  I sort of wish I were a morning person because breakfast foods are my favorites.  I love pancakes, eggs, bacon, yogurt, sausage, waffles, etc....  I love them enough that we have them for dinner every so often just to get my fix. 

I got the idea for this casserole as a way to fill my breakfast craving with as little effort as possible.  I started doing some research and there were quite a few recipes for Eggs Benedict casserole online already, but all of them required the extra step of making Hollandaise Sauce.  I can understand having the sauce separate, but I just can't get that productive right after I wake up. 

So, this casserole is my own concoction, combining the muffin, Canadian bacon, eggs, and flavors of the hollandaise sauce into one dish and one mixture.  I did add some extras that are not in the original dish, but I think they are for good reason.  My favorite part of Eggs Benedict is the egg yolk running all over the place.  That is missing from this dish, so I added some cheese to the egg mixture and dotted some butter over the top before baking.  The extra little bit of fat helps to psych your tongue out a little bit.  I used cheddar, but you could use any kind of shredded cheese you have on hand, just make sure it isn't too strongly flavored or sharp.

Also, if you don't want to make this the night before you intend to eat it, you can make it, but just let it sit for at least 30 minutes before baking to give the custard time to soak into the muffin pieces.

13 February 2013

Romantic Soup...? Easy Mushroom Bisque



I'm not quite sure if soup can be romantic for everybody, but I personally think it's pretty stinkin' sexy.  All the slurping involved with a really passionate soup eater always makes me smile.  I think it's pretty hot, too.  It's the embodiment of truly enjoying a food.  Don't even get me started on the sharing of soup and the sopping up of the last bits in the bowl with bread.  You have to have bread with your soup.  That is totally required.  At least it is in my world.


This soup is some truly sexy stuff.  It's rich, creamy, full of flavor, and absolutely worthy of some world class slurping and bread-sopping.  It was everything I could do to not lick my bowl clean.  My husband doesn't like mushrooms, and even he loved it.  This stuff is even easy enough to bust out on a work night.  That's what I did.  You can also make this as you like.  I used a half a pound of regular white mushrooms and half a pound of baby portobellos.  You can go fancy and use expensive mushrooms, too.  This tasted plenty fine with my budget ones, though.  You can also use thyme instead of the Herbes de Provence  I know it's not the easiest spice blend to get your hands on, especially if you're in middle America.

Maybe you could whip some of this up for someone you love.  Like I said, I don't know if soup is romantic for everyone, but if any soup could be, this is the one.

11 February 2013

Smoky Peas


My momma did something right because I love my veggies.  Always have, always will.  I love pretty much every vegetable in every permutation and preparation.  The only exception I can think of is canned spinach, like Popeye spinach.  I'm pretty sure it's the texture.  I only refused to eat my food at daycare or school twice when I was a kid.  Once was when they tried to give me a bologna sandwich on white bread.  It was the white bread I refused to eat, because I thought it was too mushy.  The other time was when they gave me straight canned spinach in kindergarten.  I didn't get a star for good behavior that day.

My husband on the other hand doesn't like lots of vegetables.  Like I have told you before, he's a really picky eater.  All my favorites like broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes, asparagus -- he won't touch 'em.  We do have some strong shared vegetable ground when it comes to green peas, though.  Fortunately, same as me, he likes them just barely cooked, bright green and with just a little salt.  One thing I like about green peas, too, is the fact that frozen ones are just as good as fresh.  Usually the frozen ones are better, actually.  They're a great green veggie I can get all year long thanks to that fact. 

These are super simple to whip up and make for a mighty fine side dish that does our standard green peas one better.  I might make these my go-to pea dish from now on.  At least, when I have some cream in the fridge. 

08 February 2013

Blackberry Cake with Caramel Frosting without a Recipe


This cake was my husband's request for his birthday cake.  I have to admit, it wasn't perfect.  I had never made a Blackberry Cake before.  I still had some blackberries in the freezer from the blackberry farm this summer, so I was able to overcome the lack of fresh berries this time of year.   I forget about how persistent those blackberry seeds are.  Most other seeds become nearly nonexistent in the cooking process, but not blackberry seeds.  You really need those mushy frozen ones so that you can strain out the seeds.   Really.  You have to do it.  I couldn't get past 'em. 

I also messed up the frosting on this by cooking it a little too long, so it was chewy.  It was basically like a caramel candy coating rather than frosting.  I know what I did wrong, so I'll fix it the next time I make it.  I'm going to give you the recipe for these once they're fixed.  I promise.  I guess the cooking mojo just wasn't with me today.  We all have good days and bad days, etc. , etc. , etc....

So, no recipe from me today.  I will have one for you on Monday.  I wasn't really sure whether I should post today or not, but I guess I just wanted to let everyone know that I am definitely not perfect, even in the kitchen.  I am going to work on these, though because they definitely have potential.  They really missed the mark this time around, though.  One thing that you might find amusing is the color of the batter for this cake.  It's purple.  Not just a little purple, but almost day-glo.  It was disturbing enough that I called my husband into the kitchen so he could see it, too.  Here's the picture for you.  Hopefully it'll make you smile.



06 February 2013

Brown Butter Pineapple Cornbread -- the First of Many


That title refers to what this post is about, of course.  This post is about cornbread.  If you are a Southerner, cornbread is just part of your DNA.  At my house we ate cornbread like some people probably ate rolls or bread.  It was the side with just about everything.  We ate it with soup, chili, chicken and dumplings, etc.  We also made a meal of pinto beans and cornbread  really often.  That's the quintessential poor folk meal, but, man is it tasty.  I can't complain at all about that being a meal in regular rotation in my life.

I gave this post that title because I am sure that this will not be the last time I feel the necessity to post a cornbread recipe of some fashion.  I am going to use this post to give you the two keys that are essential to the best cornbread.  The first key is to barely stir you batter once you have added the flour and cornmeal.  Too much stirring and you will end up with a barely edible brick.  Overstirred cornbread is the main culprit that gives cornbread a bad name.  The second key is to preheat your pan.  Pouring your batter into a smoking hot baking pan or dish creates a yummy crust on the bottom and sides.  That crust is the very best part.

No one in my family ever made any fancy cornbread like this.  There was nothing additional every added except for a little butter every now and again.  I acutally put a little butter on top as soon as the cornbread comes out of the oven and spread it around on top.  No need to butter the cornbread.  It makes it neater for the kids to eat that way and also makes for really lovely bread.  This cornbread also has pineapple and brown butter in it.  Two of my favorite things in the whole world.  I might have been a little more disappoited with all the cornbread I had growing up if I knew you could do this with it....

04 February 2013

Teeny Tiny Sandwiches and a Recipe, Too



I have been more than a little obsessed with sandwiches lately.  Maybe it's the sheer quantity of Nutella sandwiches my oldest son asks for on a daily basis or maybe it's just that sandwiches are pretty much the perfect food.  They're a super compact, portable, and delicious way to have a balanced meal.  One of my favorite blogs, A Cozy Kitchen, had a post a few days ago titled "Stuff on Toast".  To see her post click here.  It's a good read and has really pretty photographs.  Her post upped my obsession into more than just something I was thinking about and into something I just had to do something about.

the teeny tiny ice cream sandwiches
As you know if you have read my blog regularly, I am a Green Bay Packers fan.  Since they aren't playing in the Super Bowl this year, I have been transformed into just a regular schmo that doesn't really care all that much about the game, but will still watch it for the commercials.  I'll watch the game, too, but I really could care less who wins.  It also gives me a really good excuse to whip up some food.  Because of my recent sandwich fixation, I decided to make the Super Bowl spread this year a Build Your Own Teeny Tiny Sandwich Buffet.  It's a really simple idea and I figured it would be fun for us and the kids, too.  Oh, and the teeny tiny gelato sandiwiches may have been the bigget hit of all.

So, here's the breakdown of what was on the Teeny Tiny Sandwich Buffet.  Maybe you could have your own.  If you do, let me know what you include!

Sliced Baguette
Sliced Tiny Rye Bread
the homemade salami.  yum.
Salted Butter
Sliced Radishes
Kosher Salt
Pastrami
Sauerkraut
Swiss Cheese
Mustard
Peppered Goat Cheese
Sliced Pears
Baby Mixed Greens
Marinated Baby Mozzarella Balls
Homemade Salami (click here for the recipe)
Proscuitto
Mortodella
Sliced Baby Kosher Dills
Mini Caramel Waffle Cookies
Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato


01 February 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bread


Being the mother of two boys and the wife of a third, you can imagine what the peanut butter consumption is like at my house.  We would go through it by the gallon if we had room in the cabinets for the container.  My boys will take their peanut butter anyway they can get it.  I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Bread in my grandmother's collection and it immediately caught my eye.  The original recipe didn't call for chocolate chips, but I was having a little peanut butter cup moment, so I figured they couldn't hurt.

This can't really decide if it's bread or cake.  It's sort of a cross between the two/  It's heavier and more dense than a standard cake.  The peanut butter flavor (and, well, the chocolate chips) tip this to the dessert, or cake, side of the scales.  I though we might make a real treat of it and smear some Nutella between two slices.  A peanut butter chocolate chip Nutella sandwich, anyone?



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