Posts Tagged ‘homemade

28
Jan
11

Triple Chocolate Threats

Evil temptress chocolate treat

 

Sometimes I question which is it that I am most addicted to, the consumption of sugary

goodness or the creation of such treats?  I enjoy both, but if I had to choose but one, I’m

pretty sure that creation would win.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would have a really hard

time shaking the sugar monkey off my back.  He’s been with me for deep.  But, I know I could

do it.  I’m just not ready yet.

Now, the thought of never baking another cake, cookie or pie strikes fear into my very soul.

Severe depression would be inevitable if I could never bake again.  Ya’ know, let’s just

not go down that path.

Many posts ago I shared a recipe and pictures of Lemon Coconut Pixies.  The recipe came from

the Hershey Company.  I have a recipe tin that was given to me as a birthday gift in 2009

and it sat on our kitchen counter for 10 months  before I ever made anything from it.  That

post was 13 months ago, so it’s time for another recipe from the tin.

HERSHEY’S Triple Chocolate Cookies

48 Hershey’s Kisses Milk chocolate or Milk Chocolate with Almonds (that’s what I used)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter, of course)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa (I used cocoa powder form that bulk bins at WinCo)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips ( I used Safeway brand)

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

What else was I going to do with all this candy left over from Christmas? I did play poker with it the night before I baked the cookies!

 

Mmmmm.......chocolate!

Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium

speed in a large bowl until well blended.  Add eggs and milk; beat well.
3.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into butter mixture,

beating until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

Make all the comments you want, it still tastes good

 Shape dough into 1 inch balls. 

Oven bound

Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Fresh out of the oven and hot

4.  Bake 10 – 11 minutes or until set. 

Press kisses into the center of each cookie while still hot

 Gently press a chocolate into center of each cookie.  Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

VARIATION:  For vanilla cookies, omit cocoa powder and add an additional 1/3 cup all-purpose flour.

I made the recipe verbatim, but I wanted to see how they would look with a little added sparkle.  I rolled the dough balls in granulated sugar before I baked another round.  Here is what that looked like.

Roll in granulated sugar for added sparkle

Both versions taste great. 

So good when they're still warm. The chocolate kiss in the center and the chocolate chips are all soft and gooey.

I can clearly state, with authority, that these are delicious.   After all, chocolate, chocolate AND chocolate?  How could they not be tasty?  These beauties will be added to my chorus line of confection.

Oh, great!  One more sweet memory to send packing with that monkey.

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11
Jan
11

The world needs another Kale Salad recipe

The top selling salad at work is the Kale Carrot.  I made a batch of it yesterday.  It will all be sold out by the end of today.  How much kale is in a batch at a busy deli?  20 large bunches.  8 cups of toasted sunflower seeds and about 25 carrots. 

A few posts back I gave you the recipe for the kale salad we sell at work.  Kale is our new green at home.  I used to make dinner salad with romaine, but it has been replaced with kale.  I love it!  Plus, it has to be better for us than romaine or leafy green lettuce, right?

Lots of good nutrition in that bowl

According to Food Lover’s Companion, kale is a member of the cabbage family.  It is a cruciferous plant (having four-petaled flowers, suggestive of a cross) that provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.  I knew it was better for us than romaine!

So, last night our salad consisted of kale, shredded carrot, red onion, thinly sliced, a handful of chopped walnuts and satsuma wedges.  The satsumas are in season now and are oh, so sweet and juicy.  Be sure to remove the stems from the kale and wash the leaves.  Slice the leaves into thin strips.

Pretty little citrusy dressing

The dressing is what really made this salad outstanding.   Here goes:

1 large spoonful (2 tablespoons) of vegenaise

1 heaping tablespoon of frozen orange juice conentrate

1 tablespoon of orange muscat vinegar (Trader Joe’s)

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

zest of one orange

Whisk it all together in a small bowl and dress salad.  Salad is best if the dressing has a chance to soak into the kale for about 30 minutes or more before serving.  I usually make the salad first and then prepare the rest of our meal.

A microplane is a great tool for zesting

If you don’t have a microplane, you can use a cheese grater.  A microplane is just so much easier to use and you get a finer zest.

A lovely salad for any time of the year

I hope you give this one a try.  We really liked it.  What did I serve this with?  Butternut Squash Ravioli in a garlic veloute sauce topped with Parmesan cheese and sweet and spicy roasted Brussel sprouts.  But it would be good just on it’s own with perhaps a hunk of garlic bread.

03
Sep
09

Send me your Scones!

Hello all my faithful and new readers!  Since my “Everybody Must Get Sconed” post was featured on the Freshly Pressed page, I received many really nice comments from all over the world.  Many of you promised to try the recipe.  I just received my first photo from Kelly and Leigha!  Looks like they made blackberry scones using my Naked Baker recipe.  Great job, ladies!

Blackberry Scones baked by Kelly & Leigha

Blackberry Scones baked by Kelly & Leigha

 

Please, if any of you try my recipe, please send me a picture and a little about your experience.  This is great fun!  Happy baking everyone!

23
Aug
09

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

Beautiful colors from a summer garden, this salad is fast and simple to make

Beautiful colors from a summer garden, this salad is fast and simple to make

 

In 1970 I had the wonderful opportunity to live as an exchange student in Mexico.  Every Sunday, my host family and I would attend church services, which wasn’t much different from life in California with my folks.  The thing that set this Sunday morning ritual apart from my American life was the fruit vendor that waited outside the tiny church.  He was there, faithfully, every Sunday at 11:oo am.  We would line up to buy his sweet melons, pineapple and cactus fruit.  Paper cones were loaded with assorted fruit, lime juice was squeezed over the top and a dusting of chili powder finished it off.  The flavor was incredible!

I’ve been dealing with an abundance of cucumber from our garden this summer and wanted to make something other than the usual cucumber and red onion in sugar and vinegar.  This simple salad came together quickly and made me reminiscent of my 16th year and the simple life in Mexico.

Watermelon & Cucumber Salad

Seedless watermelon, removed from rind

Cucumber, peeled and seeded

Fresh lime

Salt

Chili powder

Cilantro

 

Cut watermelon and cucumber in bite size chunks and place in bowl.  Cut and squeeze lime juice over the fruit.  Season with salt and chili powder to taste.  Chop cilantro and add to salad.  Toss until the pieces are lightly coated.  Enjoy!

 

12
Aug
09

Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt

Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt

Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt

 

My previous post was about that huge, loaded plum tree.  I shared with you what I did with some of those tons of plums.  So, now that I made a lot of plum syrup/sauce what am I gonna do with it?  I came up with a cool summer (or anytime) treat – Spiced Plum Frozen Yogurt.

My friend Nathan (from the Better Late than Never post) told me about a great use for my new ice cream maker.  “Just dump a container of yogurt into the machine and make frozen yogurt” he told me.   Brilliant! 

Greek God’s Honey Yogurt is fantastic.  If you haven’t tried it, I recommend that you do.  It’s almost like eating ice cream but tangy.  Super rich, it was the perfect foil for my spiced plum sauce.

I merely turned my Kitchenaid ice cream attachment on, dumped in a quart of Greek God’s Honey Yogurt and  one cup of the spiced plum sauce.  It took about 30 minutes for it to turn into the best frozen yogurt I have ever eaten.  Creamy, spicy and tangy and oh, so good!

I used a number 867 pastry tip and a pastry bag  to pipe frozen dessert for the presentation.  Old school champaign glasses work great and look classy, but you can use any type of serving bowl you like.  Be creative and have fun!

19
May
09

Croutons 101

“You make your own croutons?!” our dinner guest exclaimed. “I didn’t know people made their own croutons.”  “I always buy mine in a bag,” our other guest interjected. 

“Well, you guys know me, always showing off” I joked.  Actually, it’s really easy to make croutons and so much tastier. 

 Home made croutons can be any size you want;  teeny tiny for little mouths or jumbo for those giant maws.  They can be plain, salty, hot and spicy, garlicky, herby, cheesy, even sweet. They can be any flavor you want them to be.  Croutons are a great way to use day old French or Italian bread left over from last night’s dinner or party.  They are especially good in Caesar Salad.  Croutons can be used as snacks and are a nice addition as a garnishment for soup.

 Here’s all you need:

 An loaf of unsliced bread, day old preferred

Olive oil

Herbs of your choice

 A baking sheet, a Silpat or aluminum foil

That’s it.  Now let’s get started!

Start with an unsliced loaf of bread

Start with an unsliced loaf of bread

Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the loaf

Using a serrated knife, remove the crust from the loaf

Crust removed and ready to cube

Crust removed and ready to cube

Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces

Slice the loaf lengthwise into three pieces

Make sure they are as even as you can make them

Make sure they are as even as you can make them

There, three fairly even slices

There, three fairly even slices

 

Now, slice each piece into 1/2 - 3/4 strips

Now, slice each piece into 1/2" - 3/4" strips

Cut the strips into cubes

Cut the strips into cubes

Cut them as large or as small as you prefer

Cut them as large or as small as you prefer

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 -2 tablespoons

Place in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil, about 1 -2 tablespoons

Add seasonings of your choice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons each, or to taste

Add seasonings of your choice, 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoons each, or to taste

Toss seasoned bread cubes until evenly coated

Toss seasoned bread cubes until evenly coated

Place cubes on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven

Place cubes on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet and place in a preheated 350 degree oven

This is what they look like after 20 minutes at 350 degrees

This is what they look like after 20 minutes at 350 degrees

And this is what they look like after 30 minutes.  Be sure to taste the croutons after about 20 minutes.  If they are still a bit soft on the inside, give them more time.  These are done to perfection!

And this is what they look like after 30 minutes. Be sure to taste the croutons after about 20 minutes. If they are still a bit soft on the inside, give them more time. These are done to perfection!

Now, taste that!  You now have your first batch of home made croutons.  After they are totally cool, keep your croutons in an air tight container.  They should stay fresh for about two weeks, if they last that long!

Now, taste that! You now have your first batch of home made croutons. After they are totally cool, keep your croutons in an air tight container. They should stay fresh for about two weeks, if they last that long!

 

Have fun and be creative with your seasonings!

VG

05
May
09

Homemade Salad Dressing

Do you remember that Good Seasons salad dressing commercial where the lady is making a salad and then someone tries to pour a bottled dressing on it and she screeches “Bottled Dressing on my fresh salad?”  And then she claims to make a fresh dressing for said salad, out of some oil and a packet of salad dressing mix.  What’s the difference here?

 I never use bottled dressing either.  I make it fresh every time we have salad, which is almost every evening with our meal.  Here is my fool proof homemade salad dressing recipe:

Fast, Easy Salad Dressing

1 TBSP olive oil

1 TBSP vinegar, your choice

1 TBSP mustard, your choice

1 TBSP honey

salt & pepper to taste

Place in bowl and whisk until emulsified.  That’s it!

My current favorite combinations are olive oil, Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar, Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce and Tupelo honey.

I like to find different varieties of each of these ingredients in my travels.  Wineries are great places to find all of these things.  Gourmet shops, road side produce vendors, and cheese shops are always ripe with these goodies as well.  Have fun with it.  Experiment, because that’s what cooking is all about.

Fast, simple dressing and salad

Fast, simple dressing and salad




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