31 December 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!

I've got a special present for the few of you that don't have a party to go to either. I made Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting...YUMMY!!!

For Christmas this past year, my wonderful godmother got me the most awesome present ever: a cookbook from TasteBook. The site offers pre-made books that can be added to or completely personalized. Imagine my surprise when my book included 53 recipes and had the option of adding an additional 47 reccipes that I could get off of the site (sweet Erin, the fairy godmother, paid a bit extra just so I could add to the amazing recipes she already picked out for me).

It took me a couple of nights to pick out the recipes I wanted to add on to my existing book, but when I came across this cupcake recipe, I knew it was love at first sight. I wasn't wrong either. Two picky teenagers and two grown men devoured them and begged for more. The lemon buttercream frosting could have been a bit better if I had had fresh lemons to use the zest and juice. Next time I'll use the fresh lemons and loose-leaf tea leaves. Enjoy my lovely readers!

Earl Grey Cupcakes w/ Lemon Buttercream Frosting
Recipe from TasteBook

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-rising flour
1 cup milk
2 bags or 2 tablespoons earl grey tea

Lemon Buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
For the Cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350, fill 2 cupcake pans with paper liners or grease well. In a bowl , beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and cream the butter with the sugar until it is light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating each egg very well so that it is thoroughly combined before adding the next. Add the flour and milk in three parts, alternating between the two. Cut open the tea bags and stir in until just combined.
  3. Fill the cupcake pans ⅔ full. Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating the plans halfway through to ensure even baking. Cool thoroughly before frosting

For the Frosting:
  1. Cream the butter until smooth, gradually beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture is very fuluffy. Zest the lemon over the bowl into the fronsting, add the lemoln juice, stir until smooth. Spread or pipe the frosting on cooled cupcakes.

30 December 2009

Prepare to be...Amazed!

I'm baaaaccckkk! Ok, not really since I don't have a recipe for you today. As I told one lovely reader who took the time to email me, I've been spending the last few months trying to gather some new and tasty recipes to start posting in the new year (can you guess what one of my resolutions for 2010 is going to be?). I really want to thank those of you that have stuck around patiently waiting for me to come back (Bill, Sabine, Anne...I'm looking at you!). I'm also really sorry for disappointing you. No more excuses from me though.

On 1 January, expect to see a brand spanking new recipe right here! Hopefully it will live up the standards that you all have come to expect from me (as humble as those might be). I've missed you all and am so glad to be back. I'm excited for the new year and what that will mean for my eating adventures. If anyone has any special requests that they'd like to see me tackle, shoot me an email or leave me a comment. I'll do my best to try the recipe out.

I love you guys (and gals)!!!

08 October 2009

Back in the Swing of Things

To make my way back to the blogosphere, I decided to make an Irish feast. I had every intention of posting this last night, but I underestimated how long it would take to cook everything I had planned. Since I didn't post last night as promised, I've decided to give you all three recipes that I used for my dinner last night.

During my lunch break yesterday, I was trying to decide what I wanted to make for dinner. Irish stout stew popped into my head, and I lamented the fact that it wasn't a very blustery day (in my world, stew equates with cold, wet weather). Much to my delight, as the afternoon wore on, a cold storm was making its way into Tulsa. I still had a few bottles of Guinness from when I made my birthday cheesecake and knew that it would finally have another use (slowly but surely, I have been drinking it, but it just isn't as good if it's not in draft form).

To keep it more traditional, I decided to make some champ and serve the stew on top of it. Instead of putting potatoes in my stew, I followed an old recipe in a tiny cookbook that is basically mashed potatoes with green onions. It really was the perfect accompaniment for the stew. I also baked my very first soda bread. It was scone like in texture but was so good with the homemade buttermilk and butter that I had made (yeah, I went a little cooking crazy in my kitchen last night, but it was worth it).

Irish Stout Stew
Recipe from All Recipes, adapted by me

2 pounds lean beef stew meat
4 slices bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 large onion, sliced into quarters
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bottle Irish stout beer (e.g., Guinness)
1 cup beef broth (enough to cover)
2 cups chopped carrot
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 TBL Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves
  1. Toss the beef cubes in a large Ziploc bag with the flour and cayenne and shake until all pieces are evenly coated. In a large pot, saute the bacon and then set aside. Saute the stew meat, onion, and garlic until all of the sides have been browned and set aside as well.
  2. Pour the Guinness, beef broth, and tomato paste into the pot and deglaze. Add the bacon and stew meat mixture as well as an juice on the plate back into the pot. Add the carrots, celery, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve over champ.

Irish Champ
Recipe from The Little Book of Irish Family Cooking

1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped (you know I didn't peel mine)
6 spring onions
1 1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
  1. Boil the potatoes and drain.
  2. Heat the milk and onions until hot
  3. In a large bowl add all ingredients together and mash. You may or may not need all of the milk. Be sure to add enough to make the potatoes nice and creamy.

Irish White Soda Bread

Recipe from Irish Food and Cooking

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
2 Tbl butter, at room temperature
1 egg, whisked with 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 425F and grease a baking sheet. Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Cut in the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the egg and buttermilk mixture. Mix thoroughly to make a soft dough.
  3. Turn out onto a floured board and knead lightly for a minute or two. Shape into a round and flatten slightly. Place the loaf on the baking sheet and mark with a deep cross to help it to cook evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until well risen and lightly browned. When cooked, it will sound hollow when tapped on the base.
  4. Cool on a wire rack. If a soft crust if preferred, wrap the loaf in a clean dish towel while it's cooling. Serve as soon as possible.

07 October 2009

Italy Meets the South

One night while trying to figure out what to have for dinner, I remembered seeing a new twist on an old classic. Allow me to introduce to you chicken fried steak parmesan.
If you head on over to this page on my blog, you'll find the recipe for the chicken fried steak. After you've made the steaks, you just do like you would for chicken parmesan. I'll be honest, when I made this meal, I had completely forgotten about already giving you the recipe for chicken fried steak. Since I won't be giving you a recipe for this one, I'm going to super nice and give you a second post this evening with an actual recipe (how's that for coming back to the blogging world?).
This meal was pretty good and definitely different. I'll certainly make it again, but next time I'll use a different sauce. The marinara that we usually buy is no longer being sold at any grocery stores near me, and the one I bought in place of it just wasn't as good as I had hoped. To mix things up just a little, I also covered two of the steaks with alfredo instead of marinara (my sister doesn't care for red sauce so I tried to make some special just for her). Those ones were really fantastic! Who would have guessed that chicken fried steak and alfredo would go so well together?

20 September 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my quarter century birthday! Before you ask any questions let me answer them. No, I don't feel any older. Yes, I made my own birthday cake. No, it wasn't a layer cake. And yes, it had alcohol in it. Did I cover everything? Great!

I started my hatch day by participating in a 5k that just happened to go past my apartment (I was sorely tempted to just head back to bed when I ran by, but that was because I was just sore). I then purchased a fun purse from Target, visited my favorite used book store, and accompanied my sister to her hair appointment. My mom grilled some BBQ chicken and made baked potatoes, corn, and broccoli with cheese sauce. But none of that is why you're here. You're here for this killer recipe for the cheesecake I made. What do you get when you add chocolate and my favorite stout beer? Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake!!! I also served mine some Irish cream whipped cream (I was a little too liberal with the Bailey's so mine didn't get as stiff as I would have liked, but it still tasted good).

I know what you must be thinking. "Beer? In cheesecake? Are you crazy?!?" Only slightly mad, but that's neither here nor there. I was sitting at my desk at work on Friday thinking that my mom probably wouldn't think about making a cake since she was still trying to figure out what to make for dinner. So I sat wondering what I'd really want for my cake when I remembered this cheesecake that I had made with less than satisfactory results. "I bet I could make it better this time," I thought to myself. S-U-C-C-E-S-S!!! I was so right. There wasn't a crack on that bad boy, and it tasted so decadent and luscious. You don't really taste the beer, it's just there to add another level to the flavor. I definitely suggest using the best chocolate that you can find (unfortunately, I bought mine at Wal Mart, but Ghiradelli is a tasty alternative to some of the cheaper varieties around). Here's my gift to you. Enjoy!

Guinness Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe from All Recipes, adapted by me

1 cup crushed chocolate cookies (I used chocolate Teddy Grahams)
1/4 cup butter, softened (I melted mine instead of just using softened)
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 pound semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup sour cream
1 pinch salt
3/4 cup Irish stout beer (e.g. Guinness®)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used homemade vanilla from the stash I made over the summer)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine the crushed cookies, butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl; mix; press into the bottom of a 9-in springform pan.
  2. Place the cream cheese in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to low speed until smooth. While beating, slowly add 1 cup sugar and then the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating until smooth.
  3. Combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the chocolate is completely melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Beat the chocolate into the cream cheese mixture. Add the sour cream, salt, beer, and vanilla; blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over the crust. Place the pan into a large, deep baking dish. Fill the dish with water to cover the bottom half of the springform pan (be sure to cover the bottom and sides of the springform with tinfoil to keep the water out).
  4. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath in the preheated oven for 45 minutes; turn oven off; leave the cheesecake in the oven with oven door slightly ajar another 45 minutes; remove from oven. Run a knife along the edge of the cheesecake to loosen from pan. Chill in refrigerator at least 4 hours.

18 September 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts again guys. My laptop is still out of commission which makes it difficult to post and impossible to get pictures put up. I have been documenting and taking pictures of the recipes I've been trying out so that once the laptop is running again I can start posting again. Tomorrow is my birthday so I hope to borrow my sister's laptop or maybe even my dad's desktop so I can post a special recipe. No promises though (I gave up on those after my last post). Anyway, have a happy weekend if I can't convince my family to take pity on me.

28 August 2009

Heavy Heart and a Promise

I seem to need to make apologies often on here for my lack of posting. Last weekend when I was sick, my laptop decided it was no longer going to do as I wished and decided to take a long holiday. This had made it nigh on impossible to post any photos (I know other people know of sneaky ways to get around this, but sadly I just haven't had the energy).

Add on top of that the phone call I received last night followed by the text message I got this morning. My great-uncle passed away. I can't say that I'm not deeply affected by this, but I also can't lie that it's a big relief. Uncle Bobby has been living with cancer and congestive heart failure for the past few years. Recently, he had been a great amounts of pain that left him with little no energy. A few days ago, he was given a couple of days to a couple of weeks. My grandparents (Nana and Papa) were going to fly from California to New York to be with him until his time was up. All of this was given to me second-hand by my mother so forgive me if the details are a bit off. My mom's cousin told my uncle that he needed to hold on for just a couple more days, that his brother was coming to see him. "Joey's coming?" he asked. When my mom's cousin answered in the affirmative and that he would be there Saturday, he simply responded, "Then I can go home on Sunday."

I think that him knowing that his brother was coming was enough comfort for him that he was able to slip softly away without having to deal with anymore pain. Not only am I grieving for him now that he's gone, but I'm also grieving for Papa who didn't get the chance to say his final farewell. I've kicking myself all day for not getting the chance to know him better like I should have. That's where my promise comes in. I never want to spend another moment regretting something that I could have changed just by being a bit more proactive. I want to be able to look back on my life and say that I lived and loved with as much passion and as little regret as I could. I'll be back with a recipe this weekend even if it means that I have to drag my fanny to the local library with my memory card to get it to you. With that, I leave you with a tribute to Uncle Bobby. Semper fidelis!!!

Amazing Grace

24 August 2009

Jam Exchange: What I Received

About a month ago I told you guys about the jam exchange Stephchows so graciously hosted. I shared what I sent and sat in eager anticipation wanting to know who had gotten my name and needing to know what kind of jam would be gracing my fridge (for however brief a time it would last).

Imagine my delight when I received my package at work a week ago, and tucked inside was two very unique flavors. Courtesy of Beantown Baker, I am now the proud owner of a jar of Vanilla Peach Bourbon jam and a jar of Rhubarb-Raspberry jam. My coworker and I opened them immediately and each had a spoonful of the two. I must say, both are absolutely splendid! When i got home, I pulled out a piece of wheat bread and cut it in half them smeared a good deal of each jam, one on either side. The rhubarb-raspberry tasted like a slice of pink lemonade, if pink lemonade was solid. The vanilla peach was a bit overwhelmed by the whole grains in the bread, but I know exactly which jam I'll be reaching for this weekend when I make scones...

Thanks again, Steph, for hosting, and Beantown Baker for some truly remarkable jam (her recipe for the vanilla peach bourbon can be found here).

18 August 2009

Pineapple Chicken

Apologies are in order. I have been ill again and unable to bring myself to cook dinner in the past week. It has also been so sickeningly hot around here that the thought of turning on the oven (or even the stove) has made me want to jump into winter with reckless abandon.

For my penance, I bring you Pineapple Chicken, another recipe from my trusty fallback: All Recipes. A bit different, I found it to be quite tasty. There was definitely something missing that I couldn't put my finger on, but I plan to make this again and hopefully figure it out along the way.

More good news, I received my jam today. I plan on devoting an entire post to it later this week, but just know that it was super delicious and I can't wait to put it on some scones (I actually have a few ideas in mind for the jam, but right now I just want to eat it off a spoon).

Pineapple Chicken
Recipe from All Recipes

5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 (1 ounce) packages dry onion soup mix
2 cups water
1 (15 ounce) can pineapple, drained
1 large orange, sliced in rounds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  1. Spray large frying pan or electric skillet with vegetable spray. Brown chicken breasts in pan, meat side down.
  2. Turn chicken over; add pineapple chunks, onion soup, and water.
  3. Cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes. Garnish with cooked pineapple chunks and fresh orange slices.

14 August 2009

Macaron FAIL

So here is the FAIL I talked about last time I posted: macarons. Ever since the first time I checked out Tartelette's blog, I have been intrigued with the cookie. Two crispy shelled cookies encasing a creamy sweet center, sounds like a perfect cookie to me (especially if you make a chocolate version).

Mrs. Tartelette, being a sweet French lady, has several recipes posted on her blog, each with beautiful pictures of the delectable cookies that I so desperately had my heart set on. The recipe I used is here. I followed all of her directions to a, except one. I did not pass the powdered sugar and pulverized almonds through a sieve (I had been in the kitchen literally all weekend making yummy snacks for the party and making meals for my sister and friend so we wouldn't have to lose precious time by going to get food).

Needless to say, I set the timer for recommended time and let the cookies do their magic. When the timer went off, I went to check. Seemed pretty wet to me still, so I added a couple of minutes and went about cleaning the kitchen. Ding! Checked again, still not done, two more minutes. The first batch cooked for almost 20 minutes before I finally pulled them out of the oven. As they sat cooling on my counter, they began to deflate. By the time the tray was completely cool, I took a spatula to the first cookie only to find that it still wasn't done. Where did I go wrong? Was it the one simple step I didn't follow out of lazi...uh...tiredness? Could it be the excessive humidity messing with the airiness of the egg whites? Was there something else I missed? I'm still intrigued by these yummy cookies, but I'll be waiting until the temperatures cool down again before attempting another go round. Maybe one of you might have a suggestion in the meantime???

11 August 2009

Bridal Shower Snacks

First, I'd like to apologize for not posting in a while. I was super busy over the weekend and then was sick. I'm better now though and a lot less stressed out. The reason I was so busy was because I was a co-hostess for my best friend's bridal shower and had offered to make all of the snacks. Being the genius that I am (did I just hear somebody snort?), I thought it would be cute to have a "candy bar" with some homemade sweets thrown in.

Since the bride's wedding colors are black, white, and red, we decided that we wanted to stick with her color scheme and carry it throughout the whole party. We used red and black streamers, bought candy in all three colors, and even decorated some sugar cookies with red and white. I also had a failure that I'll post about later this week (but that's mostly because I'm not sure where I went wrong and would like some advice).

Today I'm going to share my aunt's recipe for Italian Buttercream. My mom's oldest sister makes the wedding cakes for pretty much everyone in our family, and she always uses this recipe. It's so rich and decadent that you really only need a tiny slice of cake to feel like you've gained 20 pounds. I'm not exactly sure where the recipe came from since I copied it down from an email she sent to my sister when we made our parents' anniversary cake. Enjoy!

Italian Buttercream
Recipe from my aunt

11/4 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
11/2 pounds ( 6 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp., cut into small pieces
  1. Place the 11/4 cups of sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to wet all of the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally to help dissolve sugar. Dip a pastry brush in cold water and wash down sugar crystals from the sides of the pot once or twice. Turn down the heat so the mixture simmers gently. You want to be able to bring the syrup to a rapid boil when needed.
  2. Meanwhile, place the whites in your clean, grease-free mixing bow land whip until frothy on low speed using the wire whip attachment. Add the cream of tartar and turn the speed up to medium-high. When soft peaks form, add the 1/3 cup sugar gradually. Continue whipping until stiff, glossy peaks form.
  3. Return the sugar/water mixture to a rapid boil and cook until it reaches 248 to 250 degrees (I used my candy thermometer, but I had to cook it to a much higher temp before it was the right stage). The trick is to have the syrup ready at the same time as the meringue. If the meringue is done before the syrup,turn the mixer speed down to the lowest setting so that the whites are continuously moving, but not highly agitated. If the syrup is done first, add a bit of hot water to lower the temperature and continue to cook until the meringue is ready.
  4. While the syrup is cooking at a rapid boil, there are many visual clues to use to see how it is progressing. It starts thin with many small bubbles over the entire surface. As it cooks, the water evaporates and the mixture will become thicker. The bubbles get larger and do not rise to the surface so rapidly. The bubbles will become thick and sticky and pop open more slowly as well. At this point, the syrup definitely looks thickened, but it has not begun to color, which would mean it is about to turn into caramel. The stage you want-called the firm ball stage-is right before the sugar starts to color. If you drop a bit of the syrup into a glass of cold water it will harden into a ball. When you squeeze the ball between your fingertips, it will feel firm.
  5. When the syrup is ready, with the mixer running on medium-high speed, pour the syrup in a steady stream, without getting any on the rotating whip or the sides of the bowl. If it does, the syrup will harden and cling and not make it down into the meringue mixture. Turnoff the machine to add the syrup if you find it easier. You just don't want to let the meringue sit still for longer than a few seconds.
  6. The meringue must be whipped until it cools., which may take as long as 15 minutes (this took much longer for me), depending on the ambient temperature. At this point,beat the meringue on high speed. Occasionally touch the outside bottom of the bowl, you should be able to feel it cooling down. When the bowl is no longer warm, stop the machine and touch the surface of the meringue with your finger to double-check that it is indeed cooled. If you add the butter while the meringue is warm, the butter will melt and ruin the texture of the buttercream by turning it liquidy. It will also decrease the volume of the final product.
  7. When the meringue is cooled, turn the machine down to a medium speed and begin to add the butter, a couple tablespoons at a time. The meringue will change the moment the butter becomes incorporated: the texture becomes thicker, creamy, and smooth as it turns into buttercream. Continue to whip the buttercream, adding the remaining butter. Keep beating until the buttercream is completely smooth. If at any time the mixture looks lumpy or separated, just continue to beat; it will come together.This makes 7 cups and you will need to make it in a 5-quart mixer.

04 August 2009

Welcome to India!

I recently replaced my cell phone with the iPhone (my spacebar quit working when I was texting, and it just got to be too big of a hassle). I immediately started adding aps so that it wouldn't be a waste of money to own. Most of the ones I loaded were free and are well worth the cost of my new phone. One of these aps is the All Recipes Recipe Spinner (it's actually one of the first ones I added to my phone). This thing is amazing! There are three "wheels": meal type, ingredient, amount of time it takes to cook. Just shake the phone, and the spinners do their magic and randomly select one from each wheel.

One of the times I used the spinner, I got the main dish option with grains as my main ingredient and less than a 40 minute cook time. Several recipes came up with those specifications, and I thought I might have made a bad decision by loading this onto my phone. Two recipes in and up came what I knew I had to make for dinner: Chicken Curry! Thank you All Recipes!

Lucky for you, this recipe can be found on the original website too. I have to admit, I've never had curry before this meal, and I was very happy with the outcome (my sister, who has had curry, liked it too so I have to assume that I came out well). For my tastes, it was the right amount of heat. For the sis, I'm sure she would have liked more. Others might want less. Served over a bed of steamed rice, this really was a great meal. Enjoy!

Chicken Curry
Recipe from All Recipes

1 (3 pound) whole chicken, skin removed and cut into pieces (I used a package of chicken tenders and cut them into bite-sized pieces before cooking them)
3 onions, chopped (I only used 1 since my sister doesn't like them; oh, and it was yellow)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pinch salt
1/4 cup olive oil
water to cover
  1. Fry the onions in olive oil until browned. Add the cinnamon and the bay leaf. Continue stirring and add the ginger, paprika, curry powder, sugar, salt, and garlic. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Mixture will become much like a paste.
  2. Add chicken pieces and tomato. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. Simmer until chicken is done, about 20 minutes.
  3. Just before serving, add the lemon juice and the cayenne pepper. Simmer for 5 more minutes.

02 August 2009

Happy Birthday, Tammy!

In honor of one of my co-worker's "29th" birthday, I made a peach cobbler. This was the first time I've ever attempted this kind of dessert and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I used peaches from Porter, OK.

Every summer, around mid-July, Porter hosts the Porter Peach Festival. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get over there, but I was lucky enough to come across some of the peaches at the Wal Mart around the corner from me. These truly are some of the best peaches I've ever had. We ate ours with some slow-churned, low fat vanilla ice cream (best low fat ice cream I've ever had too).

Peach Cobbler
Recipe from All Recipes

9 fresh peaches
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, chilled
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F ( 205 degrees C).
  2. Submerge peaches in boiling later for about 1 minute. The amount of time required to make the skin easy to peel varies with the degree of ripeness: if really ripe, it may take less time. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon, and run cold water on them. Slip off the skin (I'll be honest, I cheated and just peeled them with a potato peeler). Cut peaches into wedges, and place in either a deep 10 inch pie plate or a 2 inch deep 2 quart baking dish. Toss peaches with lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar. Cover with foil.
  3. Bake 15 minutes, or until the peaches are hot and bubbly.
  4. Whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Pour buttermilk over top, and toss with a fork until the mixture clumps together. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough over the peaches. In a small cup, mix 2 teaspoons sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle over biscuits.
  5. Bake until biscuits are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set dish on wire rack to cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

28 July 2009

I'm Back!!!

I just got home from the left coast and am worn out. I got the worst sunburn of my life after having spent all day Sunday at Poway Park and then all day Monday at Torrey Pines beach. I promise that I will never forget my sunblock again. With that being said, here are some pictures to tide you over until I get unpacked and am able to be in the kitchen with the stove on without my body feeling like it's on fire (not kidding, I feel like a bag of poo that was lit on fire and then stomped out).

This is my cousin Vanessa and her new husband, Will.

Me and my cousin Celissa. I love this little girl!

I made cake balls for my Uncle Robert at my Aunt Bea's house. When I came across her stash of 70s bowls, I was giddily happy. They are way too awesome!

This is my Nana and Papa (my mom's parents). They will be married for 57 years in August.

My Auntie Ellen made this cake for Vanessa's wedding (she also made mine as well as several other family members' wedding cakes). In November, she'll get to make her son's cake (he'll be the first of her four boys to get married).

This is the family (minus about 60, about half hadn't made it into the room yet and the other half wasn't able to come to the reunion). This is just my mom's family.

This is the family again, milling about after having a family photo taken (I didn't get one on my camera, but I'll get a copy from someone else later).

This is Torrey Pines beach. I've never seen the ocean this blue.

This is the top of my shoulder. It's not great quality, but it shows just how burned I got (it doesn't look as bad as it feels).

22 July 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Tonight you get a two-fer. Hopefully this will make up for my absence over the last week and, hopefully again, hold you over until next week (I leave on Friday and will be spending tomorrow evening finishing packing and cleaning).

For the past few days I have been craving scones. I think this has to do with what I made over the weekend: lavender jam. It's more like a thick syrup than a true jam, but it's earthy and a bit sweet. I found the recipe via Brownie Points who linked to another blog. The scone recipe comes from one of my Irish cookbooks.

The scones are simple, and you should have most if not all of the ingredients on hand. What's really nice about the recipe is that it can be adapted (I love adaptable recipes). Sometimes, I stick with the plain scones, as the recipe is written, but other times I like to throw in some chocolate chips. It would also be good with some cinnamon and nutmeg or cardamom. Sprinkled with some brown sugar instead of white, I think it would taste like Christmas.

The jam was fairly straight forward as well. It calls for some alcohol, but it can be made fairly cheaply if you grow your own lavender (I'm looking at you, Sabine). I got my lavender from one of our local farmers' markets from a stall owned by The Spice Market. I'm thinking that when I get home from the reunion, I'll make some more and include it in my jam exchange (depending on how far my package will have to travel, I may even throw in some homemade scones). Just a word to the wise, be sure you really like lavender or are feeling adventurous. It's a different taste than let's say a lavender ice cream. Enjoy!

Recipe from Irish Cooking

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
5 Tbl sugar, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cold butter, cut into 8 pieces (one stick)
1.3 cup cold milk
2 eggs, beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place flour, 4 Tbl sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix together.
  2. Using a pastry blender (or your hands, that's what I do), add butter and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs (the actual recipe calls for using a food processor, but I prefer to use my hands for the whole recipe).
  3. Reserving 1 Tbl of the milk and egg mixture, add the milk mixture and mix until the flour is blended in and dough is soft.
  4. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface. Shape into a ball and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Roll or pat into 8-inch circle. Cut dough into wedges using long sharp knife. Leave wedges in place, keeping circle in tact.
  5. Brush reserved milk mixture over dough. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tbl sugar over dough. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack. Pull wedges apart to serve.

Lavender Jam
Recipe from JoAnna’s Food

10g dried lavender
50g caster sugar
2tablespoons of honey
150ml Marsala
100ml crème de cassis
120ml water

  1. Put all the ingredients into a heavy saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until you have a syrup. Pour into a sterilised jar.

21 July 2009

Simple Meal Monday

So I just spent half an hour on this post and Blogger deleted it. I'll try again later.

Here we go again, round two. I had every intention of posting this yesterday but got distracted by other things (namely a hot bath because I smelled from running). Then I planned to post it this morning, but we all know how that turned out. Anyway, I title this post Simple Meal Monday because it truly is one of the easiest meals you can make.

In my family, we call them taco pockets (it's exactly what it sounds like). It's based off a recipe for Taco Ring from Pampered Chef that I had tried at one my mom's PC parties that she hosted years ago. We've been hooked ever since, but it's a bit time consuming to do the ring. That's how the pockets came around (I'm sure others have done this too). It only requires four ingredients, one of which isn't necessary. It can also be altered and suited to your own family's tastes. Enjoy!

Taco Pockets

Recipe adapted from Pampered Chef

1 lb ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
2 tubes crescent rolls
Shredded cheese (amount depends on how much you like; we love a lot but others could do without).
  1. Preheat oven according to crescent roll package. In a medium-sized pan, brown the ground beef. Drain and add taco seasoning and any other ingredients the package calls for (mine called for 3/4 cup water). Bring to a boil and simmer until the juice has been soaked up by the meat.
  2. Open crescent roll packages and place crescents on a baking sheet. Do not separate (you want a package of 8 crescents to make 4 rectangles). Place about 3 Tbl of the meat on one side of the rectangle. Top with cheese. Fold the rectangle over and pinch the sides closed.
  3. Place in the preheated oven and cook according to the crescent roll package.

Thanks to PB Swirl and Meg for your words of encouragement. I really appreciate it.