Sunday, July 29, 2007

preheat to 350°

Maybe I'm an idiot, but did you know that you can make the degree symbol (°) by holding down Alt and typing 0176? I've always wondered how they do that. Now I know! I found a site that tells you how to do that and also how to do other things. I guess it's all cooking related, but I still thought it was pretty cool.

biscuits 'n gravy

I'm not really a fan of biscuits and gravy, but my family makes a version of this recipe that I make every now and then. Maybe it's an acquired taste, but so far everyone who's had it likes it. It consists of baking powder biscuits, a white sauce and hard-cooked eggs. It is totally unlike the traditional recipe that has sausage in the gravy. My great grandparents that were from Arkansas were making this, so I guess it's southern in a sense. For the biscuits, you can use any kind; buttermilk, baking powder, store-bought. I like to keep things simple. There's a super easy recipe for basic biscuits at cooking for engineers. It uses butter instead of shortening. Before cutting the butter into the flour, a good trick is to freeze your butter then grate it into the flour muxture using a cheese grater. You can also do this when making pie crust. This recipe is also very good on toast.

biscuits 'n gravy

1. prepare and bake your favorite biscuit recipe
2. make hard-cooked eggs (from BH&G New Cookbook):
  • 4 eggs
  • cold water

Place eggs in a single layer in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to come 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat so water is just below simmering. Cover and cook for 15 minutes; drain.

Run cold water over the eggs or place them in ice water till cool enough to handle; drain.

To peel eggs, gently tap each egg on the countertop. Roll the egg between the palms of your hands. Peel off eggshell, starting at the large end.

3. Prepare white sauce (also from BH&G New Cookbook):

  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Dash pepper
  • ¾ cup milk

In a snall saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. (use a heavy saucepan and a wooden spoon. Cook and stir flour and seasonings into melted butter over low heat until evenly combined, making a roux). After the butter and four mixture are combined with no lumps, stir in milk all at once. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir one minute more. Makes ¾ cup. You may want to double this recipe.

4. To serve, slice hard-cooked eggs into white sauce and gently stir until eggs are covered/combined with white sauce. Cut biscuits open length-wise in half and place side by side on a plate. Pour egg and sauce mixture over biscuits halves. Serve immediately. Best while hot and fresh.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

cinnamon rolls

image taken from wikipedia
My mom has a really good cinnamon roll recipe, but it's such a pain to make. So, I've got Lea's fool-proof and easy cinnamon roll recipe right here. They are so easy and fantastic!

Lea's Cinnamon Rolls

mix and let sit for 10 minutes:
1 ¾ cup warm water
3/8 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons yeast

add to mixture in order given:
½ Tablespoon salt (I like Kosher)
2 beaten eggs
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup oil
2 ¾ cup more flour

You will also need:
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1-1 ½ sticks of softened butter
1 package white chocolate chips (optional)
1 package chocolate chips (optional)

* i'm just a sugar, cinnamon, and butter kind of gal. I've never done the chips.

Mix and knead dough for 5 minutes. Divide in half and roll out one of the halves using flour into a rectangle shape. Spread on softened butter, being somewhat generous. Sprinkle on cinnamon as desired. Add brown and white sugars mixed together over the entire surface. Spread out chocolate chips evenly over surface, if desired, as much as you want. Roll up tightly, making 1 roll and pinch dough together to close off top portion. Cut with sawing motion into pieces about 1½ - 2” wide. Place on cookie sheet. After 10-15 minutes place into oven preheated to 375°. Bake for 10-20 minutes or until light brown. Repeat process with other half of dough.

8 oz. softened cream cheese
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 Tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 ½ cups powdered sugar

Friday, July 13, 2007

friday food finds

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches from Milk and Cookies.

Also from Milk and Cookies, Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars.

I've never been able to make good chocolate chip cookies. I've tried so many recipes but have never found "the one". I have learned that I prefer them thick, soft, and more cake-like as opposed to flat and chewy. I was happy to find yesterday in the August issue of Martha Stewart Living, a recipe for Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies. This recipe calls for sour cream to make them soft. AND finally a recipe that doesn't call for walnuts! I can't stand walnuts or pecans in recipes. Not even pecan pie. Am I the only person that hates Pecan Pie?!


1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sour cream
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup milk-chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add four mixture in 2 batches, alternating with sour cream, and beat until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand. Cover, freeze for 10 minutes.
2. Using a 1 ½-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until centers are set and cookies are a pale golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.

Friday, July 6, 2007


Have you ever watched Dinner & a Movie on TBS? One time they showed Troop Beverly Hills and made 9021 Oatmeal Cookies. We are making these tonight, but we probably won't watch Troop Beverly Hills. I love the name of these cookies. And I love using steel-cut oats.

Heath Bar Cookies from Simply Recipes. Yum.

World Peace Cookies and Sables from cupcakes and carpools. These look really good.

Sugar Cookies from Tangled and True. I like soft sugar cookies with or without the frosting. The secret to soft sugar cookies is. . . sour cream.

Café Rio recipes

Sweet Pork
3 lb. picnic pork roast
1 cup Salsa (any kind you want)
1 ¼ cup brown sugar

Cook in crockpot on low for 8 hours then add another ½ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp chili powder to pork. Shred the pork and cook for another hour. The pulled pork will soak up a lot of the juice, but you still want some juice to keep the pork moist. You can turn the crock pot on high for the last hour and it will cook a little faster. You will probably only need to cook it for another 30- 45 mins if you turn it on high. I use less sugar than this.

Lime Cilantro Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
1 tsp butter or margarine
2 gloves of garlic
1 tsp lime zest
1 can chicken broth
¼ cup of water

Cook rice with above ingredients. You can add all these ingredients to a rice cooker and it will cook great. If you are cooking on the stove, boil and then cover and cook for 20 mins on medium heat. Once the rice is done, add the below ingredients:
2 TBS lime juice
2 TBS sugar
3 TBS chopped cilantro

Black Beans
2 cloves of garlic (you can use minced garlic as well)
1 tsp cumin
2 TBS olive oil
1 can of black beans
1/3 cup tomato juice
½ tsp salt
2 TBS chopped fresh cilantro (add this right before serving)

Cook all the above ingredients together until beans are warm. Add the cilantro right before serving.

Tomatillo Dressing
Juice from 2 limes
1 cup sour cream
½ envelope of fiesta ranch dressing mix
1 envelope regular ranch dressing mix
1 glove garlic (or minced garlic)
6 tomatillos, husked and cut in half
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Husk tomatillos and rinse in cold water cut in half. Put the first 6 ingredients in a blender, in order. Blend until smooth then add the cilantro and blend. If you would like the dressing thicker you can add some cream cheese. Here's another variation I found for the dressing: 1 1/3 cups sour cream, 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 bunch of cilantro, 1 package ranch dressing mix, 4 tbsp. salsa verde (green salsa), 2 cloves of garlic, 1/8 tsp. Tabasco sauce, juice of one lime. Mix together in the blender... and that's it!

Corn Tortilla Strips
Corn tortillas
Olive oil spray

Cut tortillas into thin strips, just like Café Rio. Lightly spray with olive oil and then place on an un-greased cookie sheet. Broil on Hi turning the tortillas strips every couple of minutes. Cook until golden brown. I think it takes about 10 minutes.

Fresh Tortillas
I buy the fresh tortillas at Costco and cook them. I sprinkle grated cheese on them while they are still hot. You can also roll this up in a burrito style. If Costco doesn’t have the tortillas you can buy fresh tortillas at most any Mexican restaurant. Or you could always make your own.

Serve this all together as a salad, or rolled up as a burrito, or in tacos. This feeds a large group, so you can adjust quantities, or freeze leftover meat.

peabody's culinary concoctions

A food blog that I check periodicaly is Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. And yes, her name is actually Peabody. I was happy to see today that she has a few things that I would love to try. #1 being her Real Honest Purist’s Bagels. I've never made my own bagels before, and these look just as good as Einsteins, don't you think? I also like that you can use malt syrup and honey in place of the sugar in the recipe. I'm all about finding natural substitutions whenever possible.

Flaky Apple Turnovers would've been a really cool Independence Day dessert, but since we were hanging out with a certain family that doesn't eat anything not derived straight from the earth, we were out of luck with having dessert during the festivities. I think Peabody went to French pastry school, so the stuff she makes is totally beautiful. What's so cool about this recipe is she gives you the recipe to make your own puff pastry.

Gateau Basque. I'm not one for fruit in my dessert other than apple pie, but this is something I would totally eat. For this recipe, you can leave the rum out, obviously, or the substitution for light rum is to use pineapple juice flavored with almond extract. Check out this list of alcohol substitutions.

I have been looking for years it seems for a good chicken salad recipe. I like the one at Costco that has celery in it. I don't mind grapes, but I don't like much of anything else in it like nuts (cashews are okay), or cranberries, or pineapple bits. Does anyone have a good recipe for that? All the ones I seem to make end up tasting like Dookie. I've also had a good one with rice and almonds in it before. Possible winners?: Chicken salad at Maybe this could be a basic salad that you can add all the other stuff to like grapes? green onions?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

fly-off-the-plate pancakes


You know what the secret ingredient is to great pancakes? It's sour cream. These pancakes are a family recipe that everyone loves.

Fly-Off-The-Plate Pancakes
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 1/2 Tbsp. sour cream (we like Daisy. It's close to natural)
2 Tbsp. butter, melted

Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Mix rest of ingredients with a wire whisk until frothy; add to dry mixture, stirring just until smooth. Lightly grease griddle. For each pancake, pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot (375 deg.) surface. Cook pancakes until tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked; turn. Serve with butter and syrup or honey, or your favorite jam if desired. Makes about 1 dozen.