Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yummm...

I see Peach Crisp in my near future!!

Yesterday we went to a local orchard after hubs got an email saying they had way too many peaches and were selling 'as is' (aka...not sorted, just put in a box when picked) and at a very good price.  So...for now...we brought home a 1/2 bushel.  Some for instant gratification (my breakfast smoothie was wonderful), some to give to my daughter and some to be diced, flash frozen then vacuumed packed.

Oh.  I'm also making vanilla bean ice cream today to go with the Crisp.


Hopefully, I'll not be so excited about making the Peach Crisp that I'll forget to take photos!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Cookies...

If there's one thing you can't have too many of...it's a great cookie recipe, especially if it includes chocolate chips!  I McGyver'd these over the weekend.  I took some to my daughter's yesterday when I went to watch the little granddude for a few hours.  She text'd me later telling me 'those cookies are a keeper'.

Then made another batch today to give to Marshall (my oldest) since he was coming over for dinner. I mentioned cookies and fresh walleye from Lake Erie and he was all about joining us!!

Duh...I did not take any photos when I made them.  I thought about it with the first batch, but since it was my 'test' batch, I didn't.  Then today...just forgot.

I did not put in any raisins in either batch.  I knew Marshall didn't want any, so just left them out. Next time I'll make them with maybe 3/4 cup of both chocolate chips and raisins.


Here's the finished product!!  Yep...it was quite tasty.  It's resting on a plate that was my husband's paternal grandmother's.  I love to use our family treasure.  I use the same grandmother's silverware every day.  Why keep those lovelies packed away.

Here you go:

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 2
    c. all-purpose flour
  • ½
    tsp. baking soda
  • ½
    tsp. salt
  • 1
    Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¾
    c. butter, melted (1½ sticks) OR softened butter *
  • 1
    c. packed brown sugar
  • ½
    c. white sugar
  • 1
    Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1
    egg
  • 1
    egg yolk
  • c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1-½
    c. chocolate chips
  • 1
    heaping cup raisins (optional)

    Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
    Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Your cookies turn out so much better with parchment paper. OR use a silpat.

    Melt butter and let cool slightly.

    Mix flour, baking soda, salt & cornstarch; set aside.

    In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in vanilla, egg, and egg yolk for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy.

    Mix in the flour mixture until just blended.
    Add the oats and any chocolate chips, nuts,or raisins. Mix until just blended.

    Place 1/4 cup balls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes. Do not over bake. The edges should look brown and the centers still slightly soft. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

    These were PERFECT at 14 min. on convection bake in my oven.

    * I made these with melted butter and softened butter.  There was no difference in the taste but the melted butter did bake up to be a prettier cookie.  That said, I don't know that I'd take the time in the future to melt the butter.  But...if I've got Ghee sitting on my counter, I'll try that next time.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Pies...Pies...and MORE Pies

A lot of pies came out of  my kitchen this July 4th holiday.  First there was the 'trial' (blueberry) I did since I was using a new dough recipe (see below).  Hubs won out there!


Then we went to a 4th of July party at a friend's house.  I was given desserts!!  Woohoo!!
There's a Blueberry/red raspberry pie, Blueberry pie and a Brie/black & red raspberry pizza.  I will be posting the Brie pizza recipe soon.


My older son wanted to learn how to make pies so we had a Pie Making 101 class in my kitchen!! Apple is one of his favorites, so that's what he made.  Except for the arrangement of the stars/stripes, he did everything!



Then...we had all the kiddos and the granddude over for a cookout on the 4th.  This one is blueberry and I made homemade vanilla bean ice cream to go with it.  Duh...this is pre-baked since I forgot to snap a photo when I took it out of the oven.



The new pie crust recipe I tried is from THIS class on Craftsy.  You'll have to go there for the recipe (don't want to infringe on Gesine Bullock-Prado's or Craftsy's copyrights).  All I'll say is the recipe is an all butter with a bit of lemon juice mixed with the water.  I got her Craftsy class FREE from a link I found online right before the July 4th weekend. But...if you can get her class on one of their 'sales'...go for it...it's worth it!!  I consider myself an 'advanced' pie maker and I learned some great tips from Gesine.  Just like anything else...whether baking, cooking, knitting, sewing or quilting...you can't have too much knowledge.

In all the pies, I used CLEAR JEL.  It's an amazing product and I purchase it directly from King Arthur Flour.  I also use only King Arthur flours in my kitchen.  I can't say enough about the great quality of their product, whether an ingredient, tool or gadget like a digital scale.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Roasted Veggies

I had a friend over for dinner last night and I roasted a chicken breast (wrapped in a pineapple peel, which of course I forgot to photograph) and a bunch of veggies.  That was a perfect meal for the two of us.  Floated in the pool, talked, had a great meal.  It was a wonderful evening...one that doesn't happen often enough.

So...this morning when I opened my fridge, I saw all the rest of the veggies.  Since we're having pizza for dinner, I decided to roast some more veggies...some for lunch and some for the pizza (well, at least mine).

Here's my cast of characters:
cabbage - carrots - onion wedges - brussel sprouts - mini peppers

...and added tomatoes about half way through.

Out of the oven:

My lunch drizzled with a little balsamic:

Packaged for the fridge...some of which goes on pizza for dinner tonight:

There really isn't a recipe, but here's what I did...

Roasted Veggies
Preheat oven to 400 F (convection if you have it)

Place all veggies desired on to a baking sheet.  
Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt & pepper.
Roast (approx) 30-40 minutes, checking frequently after about 20 minutes to get the doneness desired.

Personal preference - add tomatoes after 15 minutes of roasting.

TIP: I line my baking sheet with heavy duty foil, then put a pre-cut piece of parchment on top of foil. I think it cooks better, without sticking/burning on the baking sheet.  Plus clean up is a breeze!  I know some of you out there would rather just wash the sheet pan, and that's okay.  I'm just lazy.



Saturday, June 17, 2017

Pizza Resurrected

I feel like I need to re-do a post on pizza.  My pizza making has evolved over the last few years with the purchase of my first baking steel.  Oh.My.Goodness. is all I'll say!!   Worth every penny!!  I now have 2 baking steels...one stays in my oven and the other is a steel griddle that stays on my stove top.

HERE is the pizza dough I've been using.  Since it's a '72 hour' dough (which takes no time at all to throw together)...remember to make the dough a few days ahead of when you'll need it.  OR...just keep dough in your fridge at.all.times! Just remember to take it out an hour or so before you want to make your pizza.  I preheat my oven/baking steel to 550 for at least 30-40 minutes.
This is what you'll need
YES, I weigh everything.  For any type of bread baking, my digital scale is my best friend.

 Throw all the dry ingredients in a big bowl; whisk together

Add water. Mix it all together...I use a plastic bowl scraper

Cover with plastic wrap and leave in on the counter for 24 hours

This is what it looks like after only 7 minutes in a 550 F (convection) oven on a baking steel.
Mine's on the top...pepperoni, mushrooms & onions
Hubs in on the bottom...same as mine except he adds (gag) green olives

So here you go:
72 Hour Pizza Dough
3-3/4 c. (500 grams) flour (I usually use bread flour but was out...all-purpose is fine)
2 tsp. (16 grams) salt
1/4 tsp. (1 gram) yeast
1-1/2 c. (350 grams) water

Whisk together dry ingredients; add water.
Mix together until it comes together and forms a ball (it will appear dry).
Cover with plastic; leave on counter for 24 hours.

Next day:
Sprinkle flour on your work surface and gently bring the dough together...at this point it will appear wet.  
Divide dough into 4.  
Gently work the dough, adding flour as  needed so it doesn't stick to your hands, until it turns into a smooth little ball (here's where you might want to watch the video from the link listed above).  
Place in plastic containers that have been sprayed with cooking spray (or drizzled with a bit of olive oil).  I use 16 oz. round deli containers I purchase at my local Gordon Food Service.
Put in fridge for 2 days.

When it's Pizza Day, take dough out of the fridge at least an hour before you need it.  I find, for hubs and me, one dough ball per person makes a great personal pizza (when we're hungry)

Preheat oven to 550 F convection bake (if you have it)...for at least 30-40 minutes...with the pizza steel inside preheating, too. 

Pat your dough into whatever shape you want.  If you use round containers, it's easy to make a round pizza!!  After I get the size I want, I put it on parchment paper...and bake it on the paper, too.   Don't get me wrong, you can use a pizza paddle and 'launch' your pizza on to your steel.  I use parchment because I'm basically lazy and it makes cleanup a breeze.

I'm not even going to tell you about sauce, toppings or cheese...everybody likes their own personal preferences.  But...don't overload it, this is a case where less-is-more.  I will say I put over 1/2 of the cheese on first right after the sauce.  If I'm using pepperoni, I put that on last after the last sprinkling of cheese.  But...that's hub's and my preference.

In my oven:
550F + 7 minutes = a perfect pizza

ENJOY!!



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Eating...

Eating out is a common occurrence in my life.  Yes, I know I should cook/eat at home more than I do. But...

Today, my friend Olga, from over at Okay Let's Go Quilting was in town.  After perusing a few quilt shops, lunch was in order.  We always have an adventure in our dining!!  Today was no different.  We went HERE for lunch.  Our cute waiter talked us into an adult beverage...but it had tea in it so it must be healthy, right?!  Delish is all I'll say!  We each had soup and shared a blackened chicken wrap.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

For my son...


I made this tray of goodies.  Last night was my older son's last meeting as being Worshipful Master of his Masonic Lodge...following in his dad and grandfather's footsteps.  I volunteered to make the desserts for after their lasagna dinner.

LEFT to RIGHT:
Pastry Roll-ups (recipe to follow)
Chocolate Chip cookies (will post this at a later date)
Shortbread cookies (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
Countdown Brownies (family trade-secret)

Pastry Roll-ups

As you can see...a very simple cast of characters.  Believe me when I tell you this, when people taste these for the first time, they'll think you are a baking genius and think you've spent hours in the kitchen!  Trust me. This really isn't even a recipe!!

Sprinkle a bit of flour on your working surface. 

Unroll one of the pastry crusts, sprinkling the top with a bit of flour.  Gently roll the crust to for just a wee bit larger circle.

Slather on some softened butter...I was quite generous and used about 1/2 a stick of REAL butter.

Sprinkle on some brown sugar.

...and cinnamon

...and pat it all down with a rolling pin.

Here's where a pizza cutter comes in handy.  Cut it into wedges.  I do 16...I'm going for a smallish, one or two bite treat here.


Add just a little bit of mini chocolate chips and finely chopped pecans (walnuts would be good, too).


After they're all lined up on a baking sheet, brush them with a bit of milk (any kind will do).   

I've lined my baking sheet with a silpat.  If you don't have one, that's okay...just make sure you line your pan with foil that's been sprayed with cooking spray (yes, you will thank me) so they don't stick to the bottom.


Sprinkle with sugar.  You can see here I only brushed a few rows at a time with milk before topping with sugar...just makes it stick better  I go a little crazy here because I really like the crusty, sugary top.  (don't look at my tarnished silver sugar spoon handle [was hubby's grandmother's]...but I use those treasures!)


You can see here they are quite close together on the tray...that's fine because they do NO puff up and become one big glob.  Bake in a preheated 425 oven for about 10-12 minutes...or until just starting to get a bit browned on the top.  DO NOT bake until they're all golden brown.

Wait only a minute, then gently remove them from baking sheet on to a foil lined cooling rack or another baking tray.  Cool completely.

SAVE all that brown sugar/buttery goodness that has come out during baking.  Just gently scrape it together and let cool.

THEN...because I'm a dork and didn't take photos of the rest because I was multi-tasking by also watching a movie...make your burned butter frosting. (you'll have to rely on the recipe listed below for this...sorry).

I put the frosting in a zip-bag, snip a very tiny tip off one corner and drizzle over the roll-ups.  Now, if you want to add even MORE goodness...take some of that brown sugary/butter goodness and sprinkle it over the frosting.  If you do, make sure you only drizzle a few at a time with frosting, then sprinkle those few. This frosting get hard very quickly...if you wait toooooo long...it won't stick if already dry.

SAVE any remaining sugary bits and use them as ice cream topping.  Oh.My.Goodness.

I hope your family and friends love these as much as mine do.  When my daughter saw the picture of the tray on FB, she immediately posted she got 'dibs' on any leftover roll-ups'.  I had to inform her, according to her dad, those were the first to go!!  Guess I'll be making some for her and her hubs.

Enjoy!!

PASTRY ROLL-UPS

Roll-ups
1 box (2) Pillsbury pie crusts (refrigerated section)
1 stick (8 Tbps.) REAL butter, softened
brown sugar
cinnamon
mini chocolate chips 
pecans, finely chopped

Frosting
1 stick butter
4-5 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2-3 Tbps. milk

Preheat oven to 425
Place a silpat on baking sheet...or line completely with foil, spraying with cooking spray.

Roll-ups:
Unroll one of the pie crusts onto a lightly floured surface.  Sprinkle top with a bit of flour before gently rolling crust to form a little bit larger circle.

Using 1/2 the butter (4 Tbsp.), spread on crust, leaving about 1/4" edge unbuttered.
Cover with brown sugar.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Using your rolling pin, gently press the sugar/cinnamon into the crust.

Cut into 16 wedges...a pizza cutter is perfect for this.

Removing one little wedge at a time, sprinkle with a few mini chocolate chips and chopped pecans. 
Roll up like a crescent roll.  Place on lined baking sheet.  They can be place close together since they will NOT puff up/spread out and bake together.

Repeat with 2nd crust.

Brush tops with milk.  Sprinkle with sugar...the more you use, the crunchier the tops will be.

Bake 10-12 minutes until just barely turning brown on the tops.
Remove from oven.  Let rest 1 minute before gently moving them to a foil lined cooling rack...or another baking sheet.  Let cool completely.

SAVE those yummy buttery/brown sugar bits that have oozed out during baking.  Scrape them into a pile on the baking sheet.  (I usually place it in a little bowl for cooling)

Frosting:
Melt butter in saucepan.
Add powdered sugar and salt.  Stir gently.
Add milk.  Stir until smooth.  You're going for a thick, pourable frosting so adjust with more powdered sugar or milk as needed.

Let cool a little; pour into a small zip bag.  Snip a very small tip off one corner.  Drizzle frosting on roll-ups.  Here come the quite tasty part.  Sprinkle some of that sugary bits over the frosting.  If you do (and I sometimes do not) just make sure you only drizzle frosting on a few, then sprinkle those bits.  This frosting hardens quite rapidly and if you wait too long, they won't 'stick' to the frosting.

SAVE any of the sugary bits to use as a topping on ice cream.  You'll thank me for this...

ENJOY!!