Thursday, December 13, 2012

Farm Fresh

I have been getting a box of produce from Farm Fresh to You. I am really enjoying it but I keep getting fennel. They sent along recipes and this one is a hit! Its great with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Roasted Carrot, Fennel & Apple Soup


1 lb carrots (cleaned and cut into 1" pieces)
2 med. apples (peeled, cored and cut into 16 wedges)
1 sm/med fennel bulb (white part only, cut into wedges)
Olive oil
1 clove garlic (finely minced)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
kosher salt
3-1/2 cups chicken stock

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

2. Place carrots, apples and fennel onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Make sure to coat pieces evenly with oil. Bake in oven for 45 - 60 minutes. Carrots should be still somewhat firm, but apple and fennel will be soft.

3. Remove carrots, apple and fennel from oven and put into large saucepan (include the oil from the pan as well). Add garlic and ginger and large pinch of kosher salt to saucepan. Pour chicken stock over vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Transfer contents of saucepan to blender, in batches and puree until smooth. (Be careful blending hot liquids.) Add more chicken stock to thin out soup to desired consistency.
     (I just use an immersion blender and blend it all in the pot)

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with dried cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, walnuts, croutons or any combinations of these.

Serves 4

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

TWD: Gingerbread Baby Cakes

It looks like all started well. I haven't been able to join in TWD for a while because of weddings so I was looking forward to jumping back in. I had all the ingredients and had even read helpful hints.

The batter looked good and smelled great. I was looking forward to the smell filling the house while it baked. I knew I did not have a baby cakes pan but the recipe said you  could use a 10" cake pan. I thought I had one. I filled the pan with batter and even thought to myself "wow, that pan is full".
Here is the epic FAIL!! The pan was full - too full. Almost over half way through I noticed the smoke. I looked in the oven and it was lava streaming down the pan. I took a spatula and scrapped the bottom of the oven. Thinking it couldn't rise anymore.
Wrong!!! It kept growing and spilling over. The smoke was intense but the down draft and open windows were working or so I thought. My weary working housemates came home to the smell of burning molasses instead of Christmas cheer. I tried to scrape more off the bottom and get it totally baked but finally had to give up when Jamie felt that all our clothes would start smelling too.
It wasn't pretty but the flavor was good. It was gooey gingerbread with ice cream for me. Tom thought it had great flavor. I am not making this again until I get the baby cake pan or as one other baker suggested use a bundt pan.
I feel like a learned a good lesson on this one...3/4's full rule. Fill no pan more then 3/4's full. I am humbled. Oh yeah, its also important to know how big a 10 inch pan really is.

Thanks to our host  Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories. You can find the recipe on her blog.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pumpkin Chipper Muffins

Okay so I didn't make all the way through the Tuesday with Dorie book. I got derailed with two weddings in a short amount of time. Hopefully I will catch up but for now I wanted to add a favorite muffin recipe.

Pumpkin Chipper Muffins

1-3/4 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup butter
1 c.  sugar
2 eggs
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. In another bowl add cream the butter and sugar together. Blend in the eggs. Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased muffin tray ( I like them as mini muffins)
Bake at 325 - 350 degrees, 15 - 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

TWD:Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake

Life is getting really busy with the "final - final" wedding so labor day weekend we went labor-less. Our roommates were at their respective bachelorette & bachelor parties and we were home alone. A trip to the farmers market and I picked up some great nectarines. This TWD recipe was a nectarine upside down chiffon cake.
 I watched some of the Julia Child video which was really helpful. The nectarines were such a pretty color. The streusel was easy. Next was the chiffon cake which seemed daunting but went pretty easily. Whipping egg whites into white foam then folding in the cake batter creating a really light batter.
 The hardest part of this cake ended up being all the bowls. I was surprised how quickly it all went together. The nice part of baking along in a group is that so many of the experienced bakers leave helpful hints in the chatter section. I am sure many a mistake or blunder has been avoided by my reading all their tips.
 I also had to practice my cake pop making for the wedding. 210 cake pops is all I need to make and wrap. Just what we need around here more sweets to eat.
 The cake looked really good. It came out looking just like the picture until the middle sank down.
Monday night we all gathered back together for a barbecue which allowed me to get some help tasting and critiquing my cake. Cutting into the cake I could tell that I needed to do a better job of pouring equal amounts of batter around the streusal. The cake tasted delicious and was so tender. It will definitely be a keeper. In the Julia video they talked about it being a great breakfast treat. I thought it was a great dessert with a small scoop of ice cream. Everyone seemed to enjoy it also.
Thanks to our host Marlise ofThe Double Trouble Kitchen and Susan of The Little French Bakery for this Tuesday. The recipe can be found on their websites.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

TWD: Berry Galatte

It seems like recipes are coming at me fast and furious. Again I find myself getting it all together on posting day.
I don't know what I was expecting with a galatte but I was thinking much bigger! The dough was really sticky and I was glad I had read another TWD post where they rolled it out on parchment paper. I struggle rolling a circle?!! It was only 11" across and my cup and a half of fruit was more like 2 and half. I got it into the oven but it got a leak so it baked in a pool of berry juice (not really like that is a bad thing). It looked pretty. It just looks like its not big enough to share. :-)
I tried the cheese and tomato galatte with the other half of the dough. I had some of Jenn's Lemoore tomatoes that she brought down for the rehearsal dinner. I had fresh basil from the yard. I am hoping to pass it off as dinner. It is hot here. Not like valley hot or midwest hot but hot for the bay area. I am thinking this is all the cooking I am going to be doing for today.

I had to include a picture of my tomato. I think I planted roma but it looks like a banana tomato.  The basil went to flower but I love all the bees. It makes my little herb garden look so productive and we have a neighbor with beehives. I imagine his honey with a hint of basil.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

TWD: Blueberry Nectarine Pie

Rolling pie crust right before the deadline hits!! We had such a busy weekend. A rehearsal dinner on Friday and a wedding on Saturday. Congratulations Thomas & Molly. Squeezing in baking time just wasn't there so today was my last chance. Then again by baking today I can imagine myself baking with all the other members.  I kept putting it off until I started the pie crust at 5:00 p.m. Here it is at 9:00 and I am trying to get the post up.
 The crust went together easy enough but it sure seemed moist. The time was getting late so I only gave it maybe a half hour in the frig.  It was a little sticky.

 The color of the fruit was so pretty and smelled so good. I tried to thicken it up because so many fellow bakers sounded like there was a bit of a problem with them being juicy. It still ended up really juicy.

 Interesting using a cake pan. I didn't quite roll it out enough to drape over the edge.  I made rolls with the extra dough and tucked it around the edge.

It really doesn't matter what went into it, what really matters is that it tasted pretty darn good! A scoop of ice cream melting on top of the warm pie and I was happy.
Thanks to our hosts Hilary of Manchego’s Kitchen and Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany"s Bridal Shower

We had a really fun bridal shower this weekend.  Molly is officially joining our family July 28th so the to-be-sister-in-laws put together a great brunch.  I did a lot of the cooking - eggs benedict casserole, blueberry french toast casserole, homemade granola with yogurt, fruit salad, strawberry & spinach salad  and a selection of muffins. A chandelier hung over the gift table and a mimosa bar. Kim made a Tiffany Box cake - chocolate cake with chocolate ganache with raspberry filling, really delicious.
All that is left is the waiting till the big day!

This last picture is just me bragging. I was able to finish Molly & Thomas's wedding quilt. The quilt is made in her wedding colors.

Overnight Blueberry French Toast

Along with the eggs benedict I made an overnight French toast casserole also. I did not do a practice run on this casserole but from reading the reviews I just took a chance. I cut back on the cream cheese and just sort of made sure there was enough. It was another hit. I can see it being great on Christmas morning too!

12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1 inch
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, cut
into 1 inch cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
1.Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes.
2.In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
3.Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
4.Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned.
5.In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast

Eggs Benedict Casserole

This past saturday we had Molly's bridal shower. It was a success. We had a theme "Breakfast at Tiffany's". I found a great casserole for brunch it is a eggs benedict casserole. It is so easy, you can make the casserole the day before and whip up the sauce in the morning in 15 minutes.

12 ServingsPrep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 45 min.


  • 3/4 pound Canadian bacon, chopped
  • 6 English muffins, split and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • SAUCE:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  • Place half of the bacon in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish; top
  • with English muffins and remaining bacon. In a large bowl, whisk the
  • eggs, milk and onion powder; pour over the top. Cover and
  • refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle with
  • paprika. Cover and bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake
  • 10-15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes
  • out clean.
  • In a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, constantly
  • whisk the egg yolks, cream, lemon juice and mustard until mixture reaches 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low. Slowly drizzle in warm melted butter, whisking constantly. Serve immediately with casserole. Yield: 12 servings
  • (1-2/3 cups sauce).
    Nutrition Facts: 1 piece with about 2 tablespoons sauce equals 286 calories, 19 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 256 mg cholesterol, 535 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 14 g protein.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

TWD: Hazelnut Biscotti

July 3rd's task is making Hazelnut Biscotti which seems like a doable task. In my head I am thinking 30 for a wedding shower this weekend, 75 for a rehearsal dinner here in 20 days and I still need shoes for my dress maybe I should just put TWD on pause. I instead step right in to it thinking if I have to miss any (there are 3 Tuesday this month) I had better save the pass.

I love hazelnuts and really didn't read the tips on the TWD blog until after I had realized they were talking about the brown skins on the nuts and not some shell. After toasting the nuts and rolling them in a dish towel I learned that was one of the hints on the blog. The hazelnuts smelled great and so what if there are little hazelnut skins all over the place.

I added this picture of my vanilla so that my daughter that made it would see that I almost need more and she would lovingly make me more.

The recipe states that you should  use your hands to do the final mix because it is a stiff dough. Well it is a sticky dough also and I spent some time trying to get it all off before I gave in and licked it off my hands....washed and prepared for the next step. Here it states to flour your hands so you can shape it into a chubby log. Later I learned on the blog that if you wet your hands you might do better. I have got to remember to read the helps before the middle of it all.
There are so many options as to what you can add to the biscotti batter but when I saw chocolate chip I knew I found my match. I threw in some mini chocolate chips. They came out great - crisp, crunchy and delicious. Now for the cup of coffee!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Vietnamese Shaking Beef

So my new addiction is the website Skinnytaste. It is awesome for "lighter" versions of really great recipes and it has an amazing program linked to it called ziplist. It is an app and a website that creates shopping lists from recipes and then you and everyone in your house can add or subtract from it remotely and it syncs wirelessly!! 
Here is one of the recipes I made the other night and it was really really good. The pickled onions were great toppings too! Creed thought it was good, a bit vinegary, but I love vinegar so I enjoyed it immensely!


Monday, June 4, 2012

TWD: Oasis Naan

May had an extra tuesday and that was to be the makeup tuesday. Well some how in my head I got it confused and thought the extra tuesday was at the end of June so I never got to the Sticky Pecan Buns. I also have two  weddings in the next three months and I have to fit the dresses I bought so it is just as well considering all the butter involved.
 This tuesdays recipe was the Oasis Naan not to be confused with the Persian Naan.  The recipe is the same dough but the shaping is different and the water used on top.
I am getting more comfortable in making the yeast dough. I am just not getting any neater at it.
The dough was really smooth and doubled nicely. These are the eight balls that are made before rolling the dough out.

 I rolled the balls out to 5 or 6 inches in diameter and 1/4 " thick.  My circle does not look like a circle. Cumin, scallions and salt are then sprinkled on top.
I kept thinking pizza while making these and so for two of the rounds I added italian spices - yum.
It is challenging getting rolled dough from counter to  inverted cookie sheet.  I must of lost my pizza stone in the kitchen redo.

The bread was delicious. Jamie and I stood there and each ate one while warm. I had made baba ganoush but the tahini was bitter and it came out terrible. What a waste of time! Instead Jamie had some humus and some other spicy dip that we used as we each went through another round. We were thinking this would be great bread just for dipping in olive oil.
I was happy with the outcome.  I am so glad I put the time in in keeping up with TWD! Check out these blogs (our hosts - thanks) Always Add More Butter  &  Of Cabbages & King Cakes for the recipe.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chef Kim is sharing her cooking skills with the Down Syndrome Association of Central California and it started tonight with Gluten Free Pizza.  It was DELICIOUS! Thank you Mr. Tom Schneider for donating the funds for all of the ingredients! and thank you Young Chefs Academy of Fresno for donating the cooking space and utensils.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Homemade Sauerkraut

Quick Sauerkraut

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, sliced thin
2 (10 ounce) packages of shredded green cabbage or 1 medium green cabbage, shredded
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider
1/2 cup water, to taste (use less water if you like it more tangy)
1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon caraway seed (optional)

1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat and cook onion, stirring constantly, until it begins to soften and turn translucent. 
2. Add cabbage, cider, vinegar, water, salt and caraway seeds and bring to a boil.
3. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Add a little water if it gets too dry.
4. This can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks.

I didn't have all of or enough of the called for vinegars so I used 3/4c apple cider vinegar and 3/4c white vinegar and it turned out delicious (I also skipped caraway seeds)! Great with Fresno State made Polish dogs!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TWD: Hungarian Shortbread

 Again I waited until Tuesday to do the baking for TWD. I am actually proud of myself from the standpoint I have finished another recipe. From the start I wanted to quit. First, just from procrastination. Second, because when I whisked the flour with the baking powder I used baking soda. There is a difference! I headed back to the store because I also used up all my flour. I am proud that I did not let that deter me. We have two weddings this year and the rehearsal dinner for one is here so I had to go pick up plants for the back yard. This allow me to go to the store most likely to have rhubarb.
 Look at this beautiful color. I have had no experience with rhubarb but this is strawberry rhubarb from Washington (according to the sign at the store). The jam recipe was easy and it is delicious. Tart and sweet. The black spots on the spoon are from the vanilla bean that was scrapped into the rhubarb.
 Once I had the right ingredients the dough came together quickly. It has a pound of butter in it!!! The interesting part of the recipe is that you wrap it up and freeze it. After 30 minutes you grate the dough.  A very clever trick. No rolling just sprinkling and resisting the urge to smash it down. It looks like rice crispies treats. I read a lot of other participants and many baked the bottom half 15 minutes so I did too. It really worked well.

The end result is delicious!! A little ice tea and a plate of shortbread...way to ruin a trip to the gym. After another bite it is so worth it. This makes a lovely dessert. It looks so pretty. The tart jam really stands out from the sweet shortbread. I have to be careful not to eat more but send it to work!

Thanks to Lynette of 1smallkitchen and Cher of The not so exciting adventures of a dabbler… for hosting. The recipe can be found on their blogs.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

We got invited to a lovely evening at Shawn's Mom's place to meet family members.  Rozanne has a very warm and welcoming family. We can't wait for the rest of you to meet them. The dinner was delicious. Matt (Shawn's brother) made a Quinoa Salad from his girlfriend Christine's family recipes. They shared the recipe with us. Here it is. Enjoy!

Black Bean & Quinoa Salad
1 can black beans, drained
1 c. quinoa, rinsed (it tasted dirty not rinsed)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 chipotle in adobo, minced (or I hear some use chipotle salsa)
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 scallions, diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

In medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and 2 cups water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan and simmer the quinoa over low heat until the water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Spread the quinoa on a plate and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and chipotle. Add the olive oil in a thin stream, whisking until blended. Add the black beans, quinoa, scallions, red onion, yellow pepper and cilantro. Season with salt, toss to combine and serve.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD: Lemon Loaf

I love cookbooks. I buy cookbooks. I read cookbooks but this is the most I have made out of one cookbook. Here comes my post screaming in at the last minute. We are getting closer to wedding activities and spent the weekend visiting with new In-Laws. We have been eating so much it is kind of a joke that I am trying "NOT" to loose any weight before the wedding. My first thought was I would just skip it completely. It seemed like it was going to take too long and be a huge mess. In reality it just wasn't that hard. The lemon loaf from Baking with Julia comes together in no time at all.
 I was hoping it would be really, really lemony but since I read in some of the chatter that it just wasn't that lemony, I added the zest to the sugar. I let this sit together for a good hour. It smelled heavenly and tasted like lemon.
 I did not have cake flour. I couldn't even find it in the store. Again I headed back to the chatter where someone posted a little trick of adding cornstarch to the flour....ta da cake flour. The batter bowl and spoon were delicious. Someone had to test it!  Very lemony and creamy. I didn't even have to share.
 The final product came out looking just like it was suppose too (at least from the pictures). I thought it was very good tasting. I added a limocello glaze. I think this would be lovely as a base for a strawberry short cake. A couple slices with berries sauced over it would really set it off. Instead I opted for a cup of coffee and just enjoyed it. Head to Tuesdays With Dorie to read all the clever suggestions of things to add. I personally think next time I would throw in some blueberries.....delicious.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

TWD: Pizza Rustica

First I have to start with the obvious this is like no pizza I have ever eaten. Here in the bay area we do have Zachary's a deep dish pizza place that we love but no this is not that either. When Tom came home he said, "Great, I love quiche".
Now that we have covered that, lets start at the beginning. This recipe calls for use of my food processor. The food processor has seen little work other then pesto so it was fun to see that it could whip up crust easily.
This was amazingly quick. I did this the day before and refrigerated it till the next day.
The next day I made the filling. The filling sounded just like my lasagna filling and I saw in the chatter on TWD that many people added vegetables. I decided to add spinach...... but I think I got carried away. I added a lot of spinach and some red pepper flakes. It gave the filling this really pretty green color. I was thinking I should of made it for St. Patricks Day.

The other problem with adding spinach in the amount that I did is that you end up with a lot of filling. I had so much filling!! Rolling the dough went better then I expected but I didn't seem to have the same amount of dough as in the pictures of the finished pizza in the recipe book. I had no fancy cutters for the lattice. I felt like I needed a little more dough so the lattice would be a little more substantial. The cooking time kept having to be upped because the filling wasn't finished baking. The crust might of got over done but it didn't burn. :-)

All in all it went well. It wasn't my favorite but I gained a little confidence in doing crusts. At least I am keeping up with the group. The best part of doing it as a group is that these great cooks leave tips and ideas in the chatter. I want to thank them!

Getting fancy with the camilla - Happy Easter!