Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Scones

After being cooped up in the house all weekend I got to urge to bake some scones to go with my coffee. I didn't really have good scone-making fruit so I searched for a recipe for scones with brown sugar. I thought the warm, rich flavors would be perfect for a frigid winter morning. After doing some digging I found this recipe for Brown Sugar Cinnamon Scones from Kitchen Treaty. The changes I made to the recipe were to add chopped pecans at the end, vanilla bean bourbon paste instead of regular vanilla extract and substituted half of the AP flour with whole wheat flour. They could have stayed in the oven a bit longer but they were pretty tasty and I think it's a great go-to scone recipe when you don't have much in the pantry.[responsive]IMG_3113_2[/responsive]

The Gin & Tonic Gets an Upgrade

One of my favorite drinks is a gin and tonic. It's classic, simple and delicious. I decided to get a little creative for a more summery recipe and the result was DELICIOUS. 

Upgraded Gin & Tonic
- 1.5 oz gin- 1 oz St. Germaine- Juice of 1/2 a lemon- 3 or 4 mint leaves- tonic water Muddle a few mint leaves with juice of half a lemon in a cocktail shaker. Add 1.5 oz gin and 1 oz St. Germaine. Add ice and shake. Strain into lowball glass over ice and top with tonic water. Garnish with a lemon slice.I was given this adorable little bottle of St. Germaine for Christmas. Just enough to fall in love with the glorious elderflower liqueur. It's been described as tasting floral with flavors of lychee, grapefruit and orange. I went to the store to buy a full size bottle, but at $40 for 25.5 ounces I can't really justify it... I did a quick search on replicating the flavor and discovered that Ikea sells elderflower syrup! Good ol' Ikea. Looks like I'll be heading that way soon. G+T_1G+T_2G+T_3

Chili sin Carne

20120905-175149.jpg I know it's early for chili, but with the rain outside it looks so dark and gloomy and positively autumnal so I made my favorite Fall comfort food.

Baked Goat Cheese Salad

I know, I know, it's been a little while. But vacation really takes it out of you! (more on that later) Until I get around to posting vacation photos, here's a little something.Goat Cheese. One of my personal favorites. The only person I know who doesn't love goat cheese is my grandma. Her explanation is that it tastes like goat to her. I wonder how she knows what goat tastes like... We sometimes even try to sneak it into her food to see if she'll even notice that there's goat cheese in it and without fail, she makes her best "I just ate something and it did not taste good" face. Go figure.So anyway, goat cheese. We bought an 8 oz package of the creamy, delicious stuff and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Goat cheese salad! And with blueberries in season, they were the perfect complement. The salad I made had spinach, arugula, blueberries, apple, sliced almonds and baked goat cheese with a homemade blueberry dressing.I found a simple recipe for the goat cheese online...all it took was sautéing some garlic, adding panko and some butter and dipping goat cheese medallions in it so they were covered in crunchy bits. Then those went in the oven for about 10 minutes. I think the oven was set to 375 or something.The dressing consisted of blueberries (duh), red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, and a spoonful of plum jam for sweetness. It almost looked a smoothie after I mixed it, but it tasted pretty darn good.After that, I just put the components together. Ta-da! Beautiful, delicious and probably fairly good for you.

Plum Jam - Prosciutto Pizza

Dinner on Sunday night, based on a pizza from a nearby restaurant (A Tavola.) I got the pizza crust from this recipe. The dough was pretty easy and it turned out perfectly chewy and crispy. I didn't get any pictures leading up to the final product, but I can tell you how to make it!I rolled out the dough, spread a thin layer of olive oil on top, spread a generous layer of plum jam on top of that (A Tavola uses fig jam but I couldn't find any of that), shredded some asiago on top (they use manchego), and shredded some prosciutto and sprinkled that on top. Popped it in the over until it looked done. Maybe about 12 minutes at 500 degrees? Then I topped that with arugula that I had tossed with some more olive oil and s+p. I know what you may be thinking, salad on pizza is a little weird...but trust me, this pizza is. so. awesome. The combination of sweet jam, salty prosciutto and asiago, bitter greens and chewy crust makes this pizza on of the best things I've ever eaten.

The Joy of Cooking (among other things)

First off: Dinner last night. I had a couple of southwestern-mexican-ish vegetables, so I threw them together and served them with chicken and sour cream on little flour tortillas. The guaca-salsa that I made had 2 avocados, 2 tomatoes, 1 lime, 2 tbsp of cilantro, about 3/4 cup of frozen corn (dethawed) and 1/2 a can of black beans (drained and rinsed.) It was delicious!

Oh, and I made some homemade taco seasoning for the chicken. You can find the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-i/

And this weekend we're going camping at the Red River Gorge so I made some food for us to take down there. Pasta salad works really well for camping because it doesn't have to stay super cold, is fairly light to pack and requires no effort to eat. Mine has a dressing of 1/4 c. olive oil, 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper and basil. I mixed that up with the immersion blender while 12 oz of Farfalle pasta was cooking. I also diced up 1/2 a green pepper, 1/4 of a sweet onion, about 8 grape tomatoes (quartered), some asiago cheese and some prosciutto. I mixed it all up and basically all I have to do now is let it sit in the fridge tonight.

Lastly, I made some stuffing for some beautiful red peppers I found at the store tonight. The stuffing has 2 Italian sausages (I just peeled them out of the casing) sauteed with 1/4 sweet onion and some dried oregano and rosemary. This is combined with 1/2 c. cooked white rice, 1 seeded and diced tomato, 1 egg (beaten) and some shredded asiago. The peppers will have to be steamed, then we'll cook the peppers with the stuffing in them (wrapped in foil in the coals.) I'm excited to eat them!

Oh, and the pasta salad recipe and the stuffing recipe were both based on the Joy of Cooking cookbook (my cooking Bible.) I added a few things here and there, but it's pretty similar. Looking forward to a great weekend! I will be sure to put pictures up next week. Here's a picture of Q to sign off!

Peach Cobbler

Peaches are finally in season, and that's great because I love to make peach cobbler! It's really easy to make and tastes so comforting and delicious (especially when served with some vanilla ice cream!)I got the recipe here: www.myrecipes.com.Picture time:Image4 c. sliced peaches, 1 stick butter, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 c. sugar, 1 c. flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, pinch of salt, cinnamon to top.ImageImageImageImageIt was delicious! Chewy and crispy on the outside edges, warm and gooey on the inside.

Who knew Ceviche was so easy?

Ceviche! The wonderful, delicious thing that happens when you mix lime juice with fish. Apparently the citrus juice changes the proteins of the fish, effectively cooking it with little more effort than chopping things up, throwing it together and letting it do its thang (that's "thing" for those of you who don't live in OTR).Here's the recipe I used from www.simplyrecipes.com:

Ceviche Recipe

Preparation time: 15 minutes to prepare, 3-4 hours to let sit. Always use the freshest fish possible. Make the same day you purchase fresh fish.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of firm, fresh red snapper fillets (or other firm-fleshed fish), cut into 1/2 inch pieces, completely deboned
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh seeded tomatoes
  • 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Dash of ground oregano
  • Dash of Tabasco or a light pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Tortillas or tortilla chips

Method

In a non-reactive casserole dish, either Pyrex or ceramic, place the fish, onion, tomatoes, chili, salt, Tabasco, and oregano. Cover with lime and lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure more of the fish gets exposed to the acidic lime and lemon juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend. During the marinating process the fish will change from pinkish grey and translucent, to whiter in color and opaque. Serve with chopped cilantro and slices of avocado with heated tortillas for ceviche tacos or with tortilla chips.Serves 4-8.And here's what it looked like when I made it:Now I just have to be patient and wait two hours...

Dinner, Field Notes, and a Smoothie

We had some steak to eat two nights ago so Brad wanted to do steak, potatoes and slaw (one of his favorite combos). We just seasoned the steak with some Montreal steak seasoning we picked up from the market, pan fried it in our cast iron skillet, and quartered and boiled some potatoes for mashing. Now, I have never actually owned Kosher salt, but I picked some up at the store a couple days ago. I'm telling you, those mashed potatoes we SO GOOD. I think the salt was a deciding factor. (The butter, milk, a touch of half and half and sour cream weren't factors at all. No way). We had some leftover shredded cabbage from the Asian Chicken Salad so I mixed up some dressing and made coleslaw. The dressing I use is: 1 cup mayo, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and some celery salt and black pepper. I just refrigerate the excess dressing and use it as needed. Here are the results:(Note the red neck drinking jar and homemade pickles)Last night we were walking home from Bakersfield and we passed by a little store on the corner called Smartfish Studios. This girl is pretty amazing: she opened a little store with sustainable art supplies and she also makes shoes out of the storefront. They're great! Anyway, she had Field Notes books prominently displayed in the front window. My Dad has been using the Field Notes books for years and Brad just got some too so I was feeling a little left out. Also, I've recently had all sorts of new ideas for dresses and such, but nowhere appropriate to write them down. So I got some too!Aren't they pretty? Lastly, I decided I was going to the gym this morning. It takes a lot for me to move my butt to get there, but once I'm done I feel so good. So why does it feel like a chore? Anyway, I made myself a big old smoothie this morning to help myself get ready. Also, I decided I would treat myself to a trip to Hancock Fabrics (which is right around the corner from the gym) after I went. Remember all those dresses I've been dreaming up? They won't be anything but ideas until I get some fabric... Anyway, here's my delicious and nutritious smoothie. It contains: Greek Gods Yogurt (plain), raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, frozen bananas, milk to make it drinkable and a touch of honey for sweetness.

Ok now I'm really going, for real. Just think of the fabric....

In the past few days...

  1. One of the best combinations I've found for our leftover Caribbean Rum is Jones Root Beer. I know, it sounds a little weird, but the vanilla flavor in the root beer goes really well with the rum and a little slice of lime gives it a nice bite. So tasty!2. A new version of the banana ice cream. This one has raspberries, blueberries and honey in it. I think it would have been  a little better if I had frozen the berries with the bananas... the texture was a little too much like a smoothie. The flavor was still good though!3. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. I had a couple roasted red peppers left in a jar, so I used those, the garlic with it, lemon juice, chickpeas, tahini (homemade!) Served it with some pita bread and it made a great after work snack. My little food processor was getting a workout!4. A picture of Q for the road!

Dinner 6/11/12: Asian Chicken Slaw and Banana "Ice Cream"

Although Brad thinks "No one cares what we have for dinner," I'm going to post these pictures anyway because it was very tasty and easy. First off, we had Asian Chicken Slaw. Our apartment doesn't have AC, so in the summer time it takes a lot for me to even want to get near the stove. In this case, all I had to do was poach the chicken with some salted water until it smelled done, take it out, shred it and let it cool. While the chicken was cooking Brad shredded red and green cabbage on our awesome mandolin slicer. I threw together a quick dressing with my ever-useful immersion blender: sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, some brown sugar, pinch of honey, tbsp of crunchy peanut butter and a little water to thin it out. Then we mixed together the chicken, cabbage, dressing, some sliced almonds and topped with crunchy chow mein noodles. Delicious! Would have been great with some ginger and cilantro too. We just used what was on hand.Now for the best part of the meal: Banana/Nutella/Peanut Butter/Cocoa/Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream." I use quotation marks because unlike regular ice cream, the base for this one is frozen bananas. Yup, that's it. You slice up some ripe bananas, free them for a few hours, puree them in the food processor with whatever else you want and voila! you have instant soft serve. I love ice cream. But my hips tend to not love it so much....so this summer I plan on eating loads of banana-based ice cream! Last time I made it with some raspberries and a bit of honey for a sorbet-ish treat. But on this occasion I was looking for something a little more decadent...Nutella and crunchy peanut butter:A little bit of cocoa powder and some chocolate chips:Mix it all up:YUM:My favorite version so far! The chocolate chips gave it a really nice texture. I plan on making more versions!