Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gutsy Cooks - Vichyssoise

Raymond of Your Just Dessert has chosen Vichyssoise along with Coronation Chicken Rolls for the Gutsy Cook's Club.

I experimented a little and changed the recipe up, adding to the cream and deleting celery.

 My variation:

3 cups peeled, sliced potatoes
3 cups sliced white of leak
1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock
salt to taste

(simmer the vegetables and stock for 40 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Puree the soup in the blender and then pour through a fine sieve.)

3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and white pepper to taste
2 to 3 Tablespoons of chives

(Stir in the cream.  Season to taste and chill.  Serve in chilled soup cups and decorate with minced chives.)

Fun, easy, and delicious!  Thank you for the great choice Raymond! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CEiMB - Waldorf Chicken Wraps

CEiMB - Waldorf Chicken Wraps Out of Ellie's So Easy cookbook
This week's host is Peggy of Pantry Revisited!

I cooked up a couple of chicken breasts on the stove and whipped these fun little sandwiches together in no time.  What an amazing combination of flavors; so light, crisp, and fresh! 

The sandwiches wouldn't stay rolled together so I had to wrap in foil to get a closed sandwich picture.  Thank you Peggy for the wonderful choice this week.  Friday lunch is ready and waiting in the refrigerator!

You can also download Ellie's recipe from my Food Network site by clicking here.

Check out the rest of the CEiMB group's write-ups by clicking here for the blog roll.  Everyone in the group is so much fun and imaginative!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Heavenly Cake Bakers - Miette's Tomboy

Post for Miette's Tomboy recipe out of Rose Levy Beranbaum's "Heavenly Cakes"  cookbook.
HCB'ers Miette Tomboy

  • A fudgy chocolate cake, all of 6-inches around, is the perfect size dessert and one of the BEST chocolate cakes I have yet baked! 
  • Buttercream frosting whipped into a light, fluffy consistency with vanilla bean paste and a touch of marachino syrup added for a light cherry flavor.

I used (2) 6-inch pans because my pan with the 3-inch high sides mysterously went into hiding.  Rose put instructions for both single and 2-pan baking times so no worries.

What an amazing little cake.  Buttercream frosting is not a favorite for me but this recipe made piping so easy.  The vanilla bean seeds added to the visual seduction of the creamy, soft frosting and the first thought coming to mind is if I have any special occasions coming up to give me a reason to share this perfect miniature cake.

The rest of the Heavenly Cake Bakers are so imaginative, so go take a peek by clicking here for the blog roll.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Menu#28: Zucchini Sticks, Creamy Tarragon Chicken accompanied by Individual, Fresh Baked Rosemary Bread Rounds

The Gutsy Cook's Club Menu #28 chosen by Raymond of Just Desserts has all the elements for a dinner you could entertain with pride. My husband has been working all week and now on the weekend trying to get lighting to work in (5) high-rises . . . by Sunday night (tonight). The Friday was horrible. He and his crew worked from 5 in the morning until midnight Friday night so work didn't restart until Saturday at noon. Saturday, I had this dinner ready for him to eat when he got home at 1 am (actually that would be early Sunday morning, right?). We are both commercial electricians by trade but Larry, over the last 20+ years, has worked into Superintendent and General Foreman, meaning he leaves when the job is done, and working because finishing the job with why systems installed did or did not work falls at his feet. As tired as he is, the best support I can give is a hot meal when he gets home. Thank you Raymond for the wonderful choice, he loved every bite!

I am finding my eye for detail and clarity is lacking when I'm tired. The chicken basking in a creme fraiche sauce with sauteed shallots, garlic, and white wine was tender and delicious. The creamy sauce was a darker brown color, because of the reduction for thickness, and a Parmesan risotto was served along side.

Dinner was:

  • Baked Zucchini Sticks with panko flake coating
  • Individual Loaves of Rosemary Bread (use double-acting yeast for fast rising; these bake in 20 minutes)
  • Creamy Tarragon Chicken
  • Parmesan Risotto

Zucchini Sticks
2 large zucchini sticks
1 1/2 cups Italian Panko Flakes
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Black Rose Martini

Mixology has just as many avenues as a person saying he or she loves to cook . . . or . . . bake. Throw in types of ingredients, cultures, ideas, what is new and fresh, comfort, or maybe you are just trying to catch up to the "new tastes" of last year; okay, I am getting overwhelmed trying to prove to everyone else how diverse a word can be. Is there below amateur for mixology? That is where my name would sit. I am the person debating over the latest vodka on the market. Oh, I have my favorites, Grey Goose and Skky vodka. Then the eye wanders over to the flavored vodka sections and I want one of everything (I already have more then I care to admit too). Sigh, I want to try mixing herbs with berries to make a simple syrup and add this to a vodka, martini style. Why am I letting a simple thought get so complicated?

Here in Washington, blackberries are ripe around August and September. The thorny vines are known as a weed and evasive. The berry at peek ripeness is simply wonderful! I am also the person playing catch-up with flavor fusing. Tonight, rosemary and blackberry are being seeped in a sugar syrup before straining. The drink:

Black Rose Martini

Blackberry-Rosemary Simple Syrup:

3/4 cup blackberries (keep a couple of berries for floating in the martini glass)

1/4 cup rosemary

1 cup sugar

1 cup water


Bring the blackberries, rosemary, sugar and water to a boil. Mash the berries slightly, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids and keep the syrup in the refrigerator in a sealed container.

Completing Black Rose Martini

2 parts vodka

1 part blackberry-rosemary simple syrup

1/2 part soda water


Fill shaker half full of ice. Add vodka, simple syrup and soda water, shake for 5 seconds and strain into martini glass. Float a sprig of rosemary and (1) blackberry.

A perfect mix of sweet with rosemary and slight bite of vodka.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Who Doesn't Like a Twist to a Rice Krispie Treat?

I am running on the treadmill, chanting "I really do like running, I really do like running". Who am I fooling? A black, wide rubber band wrapped around two rollers with digital controls to "really" add to my other mantra: No Pain, No Gain. I am listening to good ol ROCK on my miniature IPOD in one of those stretchy arm wraps with earplugs attached to keep the beat going while imaging myself with muscles clearly visible and flexing in my legs. I deserve a sweet and gooey treat for going through all the mental dialog and personal conniving so I had better be planning something Damn well worth the sweat! (I don't care that I will be cutting myself a 3" x 3" piece and nibbling on little crumbs that fall off the knife, knowing the crumbs are so out of bounds.) Fresh, bright, sunshine yellow lemons are sitting on my counter next to perfectly ripe, reddish green mangoes. Homemade vanilla bean ice cream with Jack Daniels swirled in just after being churned to the right thickness is waiting in the freezer, all types and colors of chocolate are sitting patiently in a dark pantry and what am I craving? A sassed up rice krispie treat. We are talking loaded with crunchy peanut butter, semi-sweet chocolate, slightly crushed and salted peanuts, local clover honey, the BIG & Fluffy marshmallows, and a few rice krispies to make sure the gooey, chewy dessert fits in my rice krispie treat category. Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup honey

  • 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1 cup salted peanuts

  • 3 cups Rice Krispies

  • 12 large marshmallows


  • Melt honey and crunchy peanut butter on the stove or in the microwave. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add the chocolate chips and marshmallows, stirring until melted. Add the peanuts and rice krispies, stirring until combined.

  • Spoon into a 8" x 8" pan (I did not butter my mine and had no trouble getting the treats to pop out. You can if you choose to be on the safe side.) Cut into squares.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gutsy Cooks - Spanish Lentils and Rustic herb and cheese bread

Cynthia and Sam of Edible Adventures chose the month of April's menus for the Gutsy Cook's Club and what a great start! Spanish Lentils and a Sachertorte.

My first try at lentils and I could not believe how fast this dish can get put together, cooked, and be ready to serve. I did add a twist to mine because there was a ham bone in my freezer screaming to get used. The sachertorte was passed up for this week, sorry, but a homemade blueberry crisp needed to get finished off. I also baked a rustic Cheddar and Fontina cheese and herb bread to go with the lentil soup. Dinner was spectacular!

The recipe was changed up a bit:

3 ounces slab bacon, cubed

2 medium onions, sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 cup sliced celery

1 ham bone

1 16-ounce package of lentils

1/2 t. pepper

1 t. dried thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

8 cups of hot water

salt to taste

2 T. lemon juice


In a Dutch oven (pan I am addicted to for making soups) over medium-high heat, fry bacon until lightly browned, push to side of pan.

Add onions, carrots and celery and over medium heat, cook until onions are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add ham bone, lentils, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, hot water and 2 teaspoons salt.

Cover; simmer over low heat 1 hour or until lentils are tender. Discard bay leaves.

Remove ham bone to cutting board and cut off any meat; cut into small pieces.

Stir in meat, lemon juice and salt to taste into soup.

The blueberry crisp is partnered with homemade vanilla bean custard, bourbon, and spiced pecan ice cream. I can see the dessert should be a post all its' own =). Looking forward to next week's menu of zucchini sticks and Hungarian goulash!