Friday, September 25, 2015

Blueberry Nectarine Crisp

This recipe is adapted from one the Pioneer woman did. I love watching Saturday morning Cooking shows. I also love Fruit Crisps warm from the oven with a healthy scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top...what's better than that? You could use Peaches in this rather than nectarines if you want. Enjoy!

Blueberry Nectarine Crisp

5 or 6 nectarines, sliced, no need to peel ( or peaches, but peel those)
1 quart blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 orange, zested and juiced (reserve the zest for the topping) Or you could use lemon if you don't like orange (Like my husband)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup oats (you can use quick or Old-Fashioned..Old Fashioned will be a bit chewier)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1-1/2 cubes cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans ( OR more)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
Gently toss the sliced nectarines and blueberries with the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt and about 1 Tablespoon of the orange juice in a large bowl until combined. Gently dump the fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish.
For the topping:

Combine the flour, oats, both sugars and salt in another medium to large mixing bowl. Slice 1- 1/2 cubes of the butter into pea sized cubes, then cut the butter cubes into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or your fingers. Next add the pecans and orange zest and stir to combine.
Sprinkle the topping over the fruit.  Cover with crisp with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving.
Serve while still slightly warm and top with a generous scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing and a Salad to go with it!

I LOVE salads... and when I ran across this recipe (there are a lot of different versions on the internet, but this is what I liked) I had to give it try. LOVE that's it's made with avocado rather than mayonnaise  or sour cream. You can tweak to your taste. Enjoy on a chopped salad with sliced grilled steak... that's my fav thing to do.

Creamy Cilantro-Lime Dressing
1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 avocado
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1-2 garlic cloves (or heaping teaspoon of minced garlic)
1/ 4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Honey to taste
1/8 teaspoon Salt

Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree, adding 1/4 cup or more of water to thin out just a bit.
Remember this is to taste, add the smaller amount of cumin and maybe a teaspoon of honey at first and taste, you can add more cumin, honey or salt to taste BUT remember you can't take it out. Also add as much water as needed to pourable (but not runny) consistency.

Here's an idea for a salad:
1 large head of romaine lettuce
1 large orange bell pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 cup corn (canned, frozen or off the cob)
1-15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 green onions if desired
thinly sliced grilled steak

Chopped romaine and bell pepper into desired bitesize pieces. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half. Dice the green onion.
Place All ingredients in a large bowl (except the steak) and toss to combine. Serve in large salad bowls and place slices of steak on the top.
Drizzle with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.
If desired you can crush a few Corn Tortilla chips over the top.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

I LOVE corn on the cob... it's the season for grilling and corn on the cob. We had this  for dinner the other night. I know there are a lot of Mexican corn recipes out there but this was a different recipe, not Mexican, just a yummy grilling recipe. LOVED it and I love Feta cheese. Give it a try.

Grilled Corn on the Cob
4 ear fresh corn on the cob, in the husk but remove most of the silk from the top
1 stick butter, softened
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and pepper
 1 cup crumbled Feta cheese, (I like to run mine through my food processor for finer crumb)

Place corn in a sink full of cold water and soak for 30 minutes. I like to do this because the water soaks into the corn. It will steam your corn as it cooks--YUM! I also sprinkle in some sea salt or kosher salt to help season the corn just a bit.

After your corn is done soaking, preheat your grill for 5 minutes. While grill is heating remove the corn from the water and shake off just a bit.
When grill is hot, place corn on the grill, turning occasionally. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes. Corn should be cooked and husks should have grill marks on all sides.

While corn is cooking mix the Butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika and a pinch or two of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix until all combined.

Remove the corn from the husks and spread the butter mixture generously all over the corn. Sprinkle with Feta cheese and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Trisha Yearwood

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Peach Almond Crisp

I love fruit crisp.... especially with extra 'crisp' on it and vanilla ice cream. I loved this recipe, I saw it on one of the cooking channels and had to give it a shot. But I doubled my Crisp recipe... you can never have enough of the stuff. Perfect with peaches and this time of the year when peaches are in season. Enjoy!

Peach Almond Crisp
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups sliced peaches (about 4 to 6 peaches)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

For the topping: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. 

In a small bowl, combine the oats, sugar, almonds, butter, cinnamon and salt and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. 

For the filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the peaches sugar, cornstarch, almond extract and nutmeg and transfer to an 8- or 9-inch shallow baking dish. Crumble the topping over the peach mixture. Bake until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. 

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs

I had a wild hair to try my hand at Cream puffs the other day. They weren't as hard as people make them sound! I decided to dip the top of mine in ganache like a Boston cream pie... so yummy! I found the recipe for the Cream puff shells and pudding here and followed it pretty much to a tee.... She suggested baking the cream puffs in a muffin tin, which I did. Next time I think I will try just on a cookie sheet on parchment paper... just to see which method I like best. I loved the custard recipe for these.... YUMMO!

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs
  • Cream Puff Shells
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Custard Cream Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, heated to warm
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Ganache
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp corn syrup (optional)
For the cream puff shells:
Place oven rack one place below middle. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Set aside a large (12 or more) muffin tin, very lightly buttered. Note: If you can, use a regular aluminum muffin pan, NOT a dark non-stick pan. The puffs will be much bigger with the regular "silver" colored pan. It's worth investing in one of these pans, as you'll be making these again and again.
In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour, stirring well until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating with spoon or large fork until dough is smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.
Using a tablespoon, drop dough into deep muffin tins. This doesn't have to be an exact measurement, but depending on how big you want your shells to be. Divide all the batter between 12 tins.
Bake shells in 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Remove from oven and cool completely.
(The shells can be prepared the day before. Just lightly cover with foil when completely cooled and let sit at room temperature.)
Cook's note: Ingrid just baked the shells on a baking sheet about three inches apart, but my smart aunt decided the muffin tins make a nice shape to hold the cream. Either method works, but Ingrid's way will produce a little flatter shaped shell.
For the custard cream filling:
Place the 4 egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them together and set aside.
Mix sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in warm milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken and bubble. Once it starts to bubble, cook one minute more while still stirring.
Remove from heat. Stir about half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks.
Blend this back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly just until mixture begins to bubble again.
Add vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
For the Ganache:
Combine chocolate, cream and corn syrup (if using) in a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl and cook on high just until the cream starts to simmer. Whisk or stir thoroughly until all chocolate has melted and ganache is smooth. Let this set for a few minutes, thickens as it cools.
If you add the corn syrup, your ganache will be slightly glossier when it sets, but it is optional and you don’t need to add it to have a good result.
Assembling the cream puffs:
Cut off shell tops.
Dip the top of puff into prepared ganache. Set back on parchment paper lined cookie sheet to set.
Fill bottom of puff with Custard Cream Filling. 
Replace top of puff. Place puffs in refrigerator, uncovered, chilling for 4 hours (at least one hour).  Puffs can remain in fridge overnight this way.
More notes for preparing ahead of time: 
You may completely assemble cream puffs the night before serving, but do not cover them.
For transporting, place completed cream puffs back into muffin tins, cover lightly with foil and they're ready to go!
Makes between 12 cream puffs if made in muffin tin.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cooies

I revamped my No bake cookie recipe a little... Made my normal recipe with my Young Women the other day and they turned out crumbly so I decided to tweak the recipe a little. I figured using 1/2 corn syrup would make them end up a little like the Peanut Butter rice crispy treats I make, plus omitted the milk as you don't need the liquid when adding corn syrup! YUM!!! You can add some chopped dry roasted peanuts if desired as well.
Warning ... these are gooey! isn't everything better a little on the gooey side?

Gooey Chocolate Peanut Butter No-bake Cookies
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2- 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter or creamy is fine too
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups oatmeal (I used the quick oats, but old fashioned would work too)
pinch of salt

Combine the sugar, corn syrup and butter  together in a medium size saucepan. Cook over medium/high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil, turn heat down a little (you want it to keep boiling but not to burn) and STOP stirring, let this boil on it's own for 1 minute. (Be sure it boils for 1 whole minute and don't stir even though you will be tempted to... it goes grainy and sugary if you do.)
Remove from heat and add the chocolate and the peanut butter, let sit in the hot mixture for a minute to get melty then stir to help melt and combine. Then stir in the vanilla. Next add the oats and stir to combine.
Drop by Tablespoons onto waxed paper. Let cool and enjoy!! or if you are like me, let cool till you candle handle them and eat two before anyone notices!!
Makes about 16 cookies

Monday, May 25, 2015

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I love pineapple upside down cake--especially warm from the oven with a scoop of french vanilla ice-cream. I started baking when I was 8 years old. I would make cookies most of the time but once in a while I made cakes, I remember making pineapple upside down cake a lot. I also liked to experiment with candies and other recipes, but cakes and cookies were what I baked most. My family loved my desserts--but unfortunately my mother did not like the mess I would make in the kitchen. At that young age I would cook but not clean up after myself. I guess I wanted to go back to my child hood with this recipe.... Loved it! This recipe is easy to make a 1/2 recipe of. I like to measure out cake mixes and then just use half. I pour the rest back in the bag and put in the box to store. I baked in a 8 inch round. Just right for me and my hubby with enough to share with my parents. Enjoy!

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can (20 ounces) pineapple slices, in natural juice
Maraschino cherries, halved and drained or frozen raspberries (I don't like cherries)

1 package Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Yellow cake mix
1 package (4- serving size) vanilla instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup water or drained pineapple juice
1/2 cup oil

Baking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For cake: 
Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, and oil in large mixing bowl.
Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
Then, for topping: melt butter in 13"x9"x2" pan in oven. Remove from oven.
Stir in brown sugar. Spread to cover bottom of pan.
Arrange pineapple slices, maraschino cherries-or raspberries (place upside down in center of pineapple slices)  in pan.
Pour batter evenly over fruit in pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Invert onto serving platter.
Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream YUM!

The sooner you invert the cake onto a serving plate, the less the pineapple slices will stick to the bottom of the pan.