Archive for March, 2010

Made something for Mom.

My mother has been annoying me forEVER trying to find this mysterious recipe from her childhood. She knew the name, but we can’t figure out how to spell it, and that’s just what this person who made them called them, not necessarily the actual name for them. I’m not even going to attempt to spell it. Either way, it was pretty much some kinda of pastry dough, with an apricot filling. She was cheap and opted for apricot preserves, but if I was to make this for her again, I would buy dried apricots and rehydrate them with sugar water.

1 8-oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
1 ¼ cups of flour
2 tablespoons of sugar

Apricot preserves (teaspoon on each pastry)

Coarse granulated sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 350°F.
In my mixer, I mixed together the cream cheese, butter, and flour. Once combined, I laid out a piece of parchment paper, and floured it. Then I rolled out the dough to a ½ inch thickness. You cut them into 3in by 3in squares. Then you cut each corner diagonally about a half an inch long.

Put in about a teaspoon of the filling. Then fold every other corner piece so it forms a “pinwheel” like shape.

They will not spread out at all, so you can put them fairly close together. This only makes about a dozen or so pastries.
Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 25 minutes. You don’t want them brown at all, maybe a bit at the edges. As soon as I took them out of the oven, I sprinkled them with “Sugar in the Raw”.


Beef Bourguignon…uhm, Christi and wine?

My friend Becky texted me in the middle of the week last week and asked me if I wanted to come over and cook with her on Friday. Uhm, me turn down an opportunity to cook? That pretty much never happens…except maybe in my own house, after class, when I’m starving and its 9pm. But that’s just because it’s me…LAZY!

It was fun because not only did we make something that I’ve never made before, but we also made homemade pasta. With a roller. Not me using a rolling pin like a crazy person and stretching the dough as thin as I can with my hands. haha. A real life pasta roller. 🙂
Also, we made bacon to top it off, and to use the fat to cook the beef and veggies. I’m pretty sure the fact that we used a pack and a half of bacon (you know, whatever size bacon comes in. The standard “pack”…) Why so much? Uhm because both LOVE bacon. Words cannot express how much I love bacon. I’m pretty sure that I could eat bacon with every meal. Maybe AS every meal. Pathetic? Maybe. Delicious? DEFINITELY.

First we started off using a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking”…but then modified it a bit, and used a lot from Tyler Florence. So the recipe I put on here isn’t going to be exactly what we made, but close enough.


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 bacon slices, cut into 3-inch strips (obviously we used WAY more than this…) 
  • 4 pounds beef chuck or round, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 small can of crushed tomatoes (I don’t remember the oz. sorry!) 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour  
  • About a half of a bottle of red wine 
  • 6 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • Bouquet garni (2 fresh rosemary sprigs, 8 fresh thyme sprigs, 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine or tied in cheesecloth [we used dry rosemary and thyme which we just threw into the pot. Also used two bay leaves but remember you must remove them!!]) 
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped

    First, we chopped all the meat and veggies and set them aside.

    In a pan, we slowly rendered down the bazillion pounds of bacon until it was crispy. I picked pieces out of the pot, I love it that much, I risk third-degree burns…

    Then we fried the beef cubes in the bacon fat until brown on all sides (but not thoroughly cooked), then set them aside. In the pot we added the tomato paste and flour, whisking the two together as we added the red wine and beef stock, over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and the herbs to the pot, bring to a boil, then put the heat on low and let it simmer for about an hour.

  • During this hour was when Becky and I started to make the pasta. I had some semolina flour at home, and we just used the recipe on the back of the bag. Sorry I don’t have it here! Let me tell you, this was a process…but it was totally worth it. The pasta looked amazing, and tasted amazing too.

    In a small skillet, over medium-low, heat a little olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms start to brown, about, about 4 to 5 minutes.
    Add the onions and cook until onions are heated through. Uncover the pot and add the mushroom mixture along with a pinch of sugar to balance out the acid from the red wine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Turn the heat up slightly and simmer for 45 minutes longer, until the vegetables and meat are tender. Remove the bouquet garni, or just the bay leaves, depending on how you herb-ed it. haha.

    So I know I could have done a wayyyy better job with pictures, considering you see none of the actual stew. But I honestly just got caught up in the pasta. I was all about making the pasta, ya know cranking the…. crank…and cutting it, and such. I took a ton of pictures of the pasta, if you’d like to see more haha. Just none of the Beef Bourguignon. I promise, I’ll cook something delicious this week, and take magnificent photos!

    And I’m pretty sure this is the last post from the weekend. I think. If not, well you’ll just get another one. That makes up for the lack of posting for over a week, right?

    Just a quick question….

    I know not many people read this quite yet, but I was wondering, is there anything, anyone wants me to cook/bake? I’m totally open to suggestions. I know that there are a few things I make A LOT, that somehow I haven’t made recently (alfredo of all sorts, chicken and dumplings…), but I will!

    My nephews first birthday is coming up soon (Yay Austin!!) and I’m “Catering” that. So I’m going to hope that I can get tons of pictures and show everyone how cooking for 20+ worked out for me. Shouldn’t be too hard. The menu will be chicken and dumplings, meatballs, gravy, and mashed potatoes, baked ziti (or what most people called Mostaccoli), and a baked Chicken Alfredo. With obviously, some homemade garlic bread. My mom and my sister will be taking care of the cake, though I did beg to make his personal cake that he gets to destroy.

    And while typing this, I think I gave myself a ton to do. But its all for my nephew, and well, I can deal with it for one weekend, right? I’ll just wait until they go to bed or something to start prepping. Who cares if I get like, no sleep….

    oh yea. COMMENT! Let me know what you’d like to see!!!

    Blueberry Corn Muffins

    Well this weekend was a flurry of cooking/baking. And I know I said I would post earlier than now, but, let’s face it, I was Lazy. With a capital “L”. I apologize. And I still swear sooner or later this week, I’m going to make those Bailey’s Brownies if I ever make it over to my cousins to pick up the Irish cream!

    So let’s see, we’ll start with something easy. These were my favorite. Blueberry Corn Muffins. I pretty much mixed two recipes together. Because I love the sweetness of blueberry muffins, and I just love corn muffins.

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup cornmeal (blue or yellow works fine)
    1 tablespoon of double-acting baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (or ½ cup) unsalted butter, melted
    1 large egg
    2/3 cup sugar
    ¾ cup milk
    2 cups blueberries

    Preheat the oven to 425F.
    In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together butter, egg, sugar and milk. Stir the butter mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until the batter is combined, and fold in the blueberries.

    Fill ½ cup muffin tins 2/3 of the way up (either grease or use muffin cups). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool.

    Vernor’s Cake

    I made my Grandma Lori a Vernor’s Spice Cake. She had seen something about it on the news when they were talking about a bake sale in Downtown Detroit. So I scoured the internet until I found a recipe I thought would work best.

    1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
    1 ½ cup light brown sugar
    1 cup granulated sugar
    4 eggs
    2 teaspoons of vanilla
    1 tablespoon of rum extract
    1 ¼ cup Vernor’s Ginger Ale
    ½ teaspoon of salt
    2 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
    ½ teaspoon of baking soda
    1 tablespoon of cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon of ginger
    ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
    ½ teaspoon of cloves
    3 cups of flour

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 09×13 inch pan or a 10 inch Bundt pan.

    In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars together. Blend in the eggs one at a time. Then blend in the vanilla and rum extracts. Add the Vernor’s. In another large bowl, toss together the dry ingredients. Add a cup at a time to the creamed mixture and mix well.

    Spoon into the desired pan. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed (45 minutes for sheet pan and an hour for the Bundt pan). Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan.  
    Dust with powdered sugar.

    I’m back! And with PLENTY of posts!

    Sorry I took so long. I was just lazy all weekend, besides the cooking/baking I did. Right now I’m making Puppy Chow, so I’ll post that, but I’ll also post something else, and then throughout the week, I’ll post the other recipes I made this weekend. I think there’s five….?

    Puppy chow is one of those snacks that remind you of your childhood. It’s something I’ve made for as long as I can remember. I’ve even made it for my two-year old nephew, MattMatt. Which is a story that cracks me up. I’ll tell you, just because this recipe is very easy, and this post will be short.

    He REALLY wants his puppy chow!

    It was June 2009, right before my sister, MattMatt and I made the trek to Washington, D.C. for the day. I was totally craving some Puppy Chow, so I decided to make some. I ended up making a huge batch because everyone in the house would be eating it. It was late; we left the bowl on the table, uncovered 😦 and went to bed. MattMatt woke up EXTRA early the next morning, and, since he was sleeping with me, I was the one who was supposed to take care of him. So we go in the living room and watch cartoons. I fall asleep while he plays with toys in front of the TV. Bad babysitter, I know. Every once and awhile, I’m conscious of the fact that he keeps coming over to me on the couch, and I remember him looking dusty. (hint hint, everyone knows what happens!)  I finally wake up, and go into the kitchen to get a glass of water and see what MattMatt is up to. And guess what?

    Oh yea, you guessed it. The huge bowl is on the floor, and MattMatt is just going to town eating it. Covered in powdered sugar. To me, it was hilarious, my sister and her floor? Maybe not so much…Too bad I never got a picture.

    Anyways, here’s the recipe.

    5 cups of crispy rice cereal squares
    ¼ cup of peanut butter
    ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1 cup powdered sugar

    Over low heat, melt the chocolate and peanut butter together, stirring constantly.

     Remove from heat, add to cereal, and stir until coated. For this part, I use this huge mixing bowl my mom has, and continually toss the bowl as someone else drizzled in the chocolate/peanut butter mixture.

    Then I throw the powdered sugar in a big ziplock bag, toss in the chocolate covered cereal, close the bag, and shake until coated well.

    Then pig out!

    Filet Mignon and Chicken Fried Rice

    Like I said before, my cousin and I try to cook up a delicious meal every other Saturday. And this past Saturday was definitely no exception. For awhile, we had been obsessed with going to Benihana. We both love their fried rice, and always get the Filet Mignon, so we decided to do a poor man’s version. I do use “poor man’s” loosely, because Rachel still went and got Filet Mignon. But compared to what you would pay actually going to Benihana, we definitely saved. I’m pretty sure that if you added in the Patron Strawberry Margaritas we had two batches of, it would still be cheaper than if we had gone to Benihana.

    Anyways. Let’s get going.

    Serves two.
    two steaks of your choice (we had some amazing filet mignon)

    Chicken Fried Rice
    2 ounces cooked chicken
    8 ounces steamed rice
    2 eggs
    1 tablespoon onion, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon carrot, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon green onion, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon sesame seed
    4 tablespoons butter (we used garlic butter) 
    1 teaspoon oil
    2 teaspoons soy sauce
    6 pinches pepper
    6 pinches salt (optional; I think the soy sauce adds enough saltiness, but its personal taste)

    First, we made some garlic butter. We use this in the fried rice, and when the steaks are almost done. Its just a few garlic cloves (really depends on how much garlic your taste buds desire) and a stick of butter.

    For the steaks, we only massaged them with olive oil and then seasoned them with salt and pepper.

    We put some olive oil in the pan, and turned up the heat, our aim was to do it similarly to how they do at Benihana, get a nice crust on the steak, and then cut it up and finish cooking it. While its finishing we throw a couple tablespoons of the garlic butter on top to let it melt. We both love our medium-rare, so this took no time at all.

    For the fried rice, we used a wok. In a pot, we made the rice according to the directions.

    Put some oil in the wok, and seared the chicken breast. Once that was seared, I took it out and cut it into very small pieces for the rice. I cracked open two eggs into the wok and whisked them until they were cooked. I don’t like huge egg pieces in my fried rice, then I tossed in the chicken and finished cooking it. Once the chicken and egg was finished, I tossed in the finely minced onion and carrots. When this mixture was done, I tossed in the rice. I let the rice cook, stirring intermittently. Poured in some soy sauce to taste. Which means I got to try this numerous times, my favorite part. I love this recipe for fried rice.

    Alright, sorry!

    Honestly, I haven’t cooked or baked a single thing all week. So sad. I had tons of pesto since I made a normal sized batch and yet I’m the only one that eats it. But, alas, I will be making something tonight. Every other Saturday I go over my cousin’s, we have strawberry maragitas, and I make dinner and dessert. This Saturday is the day. Some kind of filet mignon, (haven’t decided how I’m seasoning it yet, or with a sauce or what) and some delicious fried rice. Mmmmm. Makes me hungry now!

    For dessert I think we’re just making a milk chocolate fondue with irish cream. Let me tell you, we had this delicious concoction at The Melting Pot, and I’ve been craving it ever since. I love dipping fresh strawberries and bananas in it.

    I was going to make Irish Cream Brownies, but those might have to wait til Sunday. Maybe, maybe not. I did kind of promise my little cousins I would make corn muffins. And blueberry muffins (or blueberry corn muffins?). Hell, maybe I’ll just make it all and try and make up for my lack of posting this week.

    Also, I was watching my daily afternoon Food Network and on Tyler’s Ultimate he made Beef Wellington. I’m assuming that this mushroom purée he put in between the puff pastry and the beef tenderloin is kind of what makes it “Beef Wellington”, but I’m not a mushroom girl, so I was trying to come up with a variation. Because I love beef and I love puff pastry. And damn it, I’m gonna make it work.

    And a little side note, that has nothing to do with cooking or baking but it’s got me excited nonetheless… HANDI-DIP IS OPEN!!! yay! This place has pretty much the only ice cream I’ll eat, and it’s seasonally open.

    MMMMmmm Basil Pesto!

    I have been craving this for about a week now. I’ve only had it a handful of times, but I wanted it!
    So today I finally made it. It being pesto. I ♥ pesto.

    Here’s the recipe:
    2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
    2 cloves garlic
    2 tablespoons pine nuts
    2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, of course!
    1/2 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese

    Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

    Toss with any kind of pasta. I always do mine per serving because, oddly enough, I’m the only one who likes pesto in my family.

    Homemade Oreo Sandwich Cookies

    So a year or so ago, my dad tried making these. The filling was more like icing than the thick creme. And he dipped them in chocolate. I don’t remember them, so I found a new recipe on Smitten Kitchen and decided to try it out. Besides a little different texture of the cookie, they taste exactly like Oreos! 🙂

    For the chocolate wafers:
    1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons room-temperature, butter
    1 large egg

    For the filling:
    1/4 cup room-temperature, butter
    1/4 cup shortening
    2 cups sifted powdered sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2.In a stand mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together and forms a ball.

    3.Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Use a moistened small glass to flatten the dough.

    4. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
    5.To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

    6.To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.

    I already feel the need to make more, because this only made about 25 sandwiches, and I know a bunch of people that I’m going to “force” to taste test them to decide if I should add them to my list of cookies that I sell.

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