Monday, June 18, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Spag bol and salad

Tuesday:  Eggs benedict, hash browns and fruit salad

Wednesday:  Blackberry ribs, mac and cheese, salad

Thursday:  BLT with roasted red pepper and tomato soup

Friday:  Going to Austin for the weekend, so eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pain Au Chocolat

I made these for Randal to take to his office back when I made the fruit danish pastries. This is another recipe from SaraBeth's bakery. I love making dough like this, I love all the steps, the rolling and folding and seeing all the layers develop.  I was very happy with the final result as these pastries were tender and flaky and everything a good pain au chocolat should be.

2 3/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
2/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg plus 4 large egg yolks
Seeds from 1 plumped vanilla bean
2 2/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour

1. To make the detrempe, sprinkle the yeast over 1/3 cup warm milk and leave for 5 minutes. Whisk well and add to the mixer bowl, add the sugar and the remaining 1/3 cup of cold milk.

2. Add the egg, yolks and vanilla seeds to the yeast mixture, mix with the paddle attachment on low speed, add 2 cups of flour and salt to the bowl. Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, sticky dough. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, knead for a minute to smooth out the surface and shape into a ball.

3. Dust a half sheet pan with flour, place the dough onto the pan and cut an X about 1 inch deep in the top of the ball. Sprinkle with flour and refrigerate.

4. Immediately make the beurrage. Clean the mixer bowl and paddle attachment. Add the butter to the bowl and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the flour and continue beating for another 30 seconds. Transfer to the work surface, and shape into a 4 inch square. Place on the sheet pan along with the detrempe and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

5. Flour the work surface, place the dough on the work surface with the ends of the X at 2, 4, 7 and 10 o'clock. Dust the top of the dough with flour and using the heel of your hand, flatten and stretch each quadrant to make a cloverleaf shape. Using a rolling pin roll each leaf into a flap about 6 inches long and 5 inches wide, leaving a raised square in the middle.

6. Place the butter square in the center. Gently stretch and pull the north facing flap of dough down to cover the top and sides of the butter square. Then stretch the south facing flap of dough up to cover the top and sides of the butter square. Turn the dough so that the open ends of the square face north and south, repeat folding the flaps of dough over the butter square, making a butter filled packet of dough about 6 inches square.

7. Turn the dough over so that the folded flaps are face down with the open seam facing you. Using a rolling pin lightly pound the top of the dough to widen it slightly and help distribute the butter. Roll the dough into a 17 by 9 inch rectangle, fold into thirds and transfer to a sheet pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

8. Place the dough back on the work surface with the long open seam of dough facing you. Roll out the dough into a 17 by 9 inch rectangle, fold the right side over 2 inches to the left and fold the left side over to meet the right side. Fold the dough in half vertically from left to right, return to the sheet pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

9. Repeat rolling the dough into a 17 by 9 inch rectangle, folding into thirds and cut the dough in half. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and freeze for 2-4 days.

10. The night before using the dough, transfer to the refrigerator and let thaw overnight.

To make the pain au chocolat
½ recipe dough
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for rolling the dough
One 3½-ounce semisweet or bittersweet chocolate bar, cut crosswise into 12 strips
1 large egg, well beaten

Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper.  Dust the work surface well with flour.  Place the dough on the work surface with the open seam of dough facing you.  Dust the top of the dough with flour.  Using a large, heavy rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 16-by-12-inch rectangle.  Using a yardstick and a pizza wheel, neatly trim the rough edges of the rectangle.  Fold the dough into thirds, place on the half-sheet pan, and refrigerate uncovered for 15 minutes.

Unfold the dough onto the work surface.  Cut the dough horizontally into thirds and vertically into quarters to make 12 squares.  Place a chocolate strip about ¼ inch up from the bottom of a dough square.  Roll from the bottom up and place, seam side down, on the pan.  Repeat with the remaining dough and chocolate, placing the pains 1½ inches apart.  Using a very sharp thin knife, make a 1-inch slit in the center of the pains, cutting just down to the chocolate.  Make two more 1-inch slits, ¾ inch on either side of the center slit.

Choose a warm place in the kitchen for proofing.  Slip the pan into a tall plastic bag.  Place a tall glass of very hot water near the center of the pan.  Wave the opening of the bag to trap air and inflate it like a balloon being sure that the plastic does not touch the dough.  Twist the bag closed.  Let stand until the pains au chocolat look puffy but not doubled, 1½ to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375.  Remove the glass from the bag, then the pan.  Lightly brush the pains with the beaten egg.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350° and continue baking until the pains are crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes longer.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Randal has been asking me to make carbonara for a long time, I'm not sure why I resisted for such a long time because it's actually very quick and easy to make. This is a Pioneer Woman recipe and it's really good, just like most of her recipes are! Randal added grilled chicken to his, but we both agreed we would make this again.

12 ounces linguini
8 slices bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs
3/4 cup parmesan
3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup Peas
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water for 10 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, fry the bacon until crisp, remove from the pan and add the onions and garlic, cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together eggs, Parmesan, cream, and salt and pepper.

Add the cooked linguine to the pan with the onions and garlic, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Add the peas and bacon and serve immediately.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Indian Summer Stew

I bought some butternut squash last week without anything in mind to make with it, so I went looking through my pinned recipes and found this summer stew recipe from the food network. I made a few changes, I added some carrots and potatoes because I had a few needing to be used up, and I cooked it for quite a while longer than the original recipe as it took about an hour for the split peas to soften.

1 cup yellow split peas
2 cups butternut squash, diced
1 tomato, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp honey
1 lime, juiced
Rinse the split peas and place in a large soup pot with the squash, tomato, carrots, potatoes, coconut, tumeric, cumin, and the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and then simmer, covered for an hour.

In a small skillet, heat the oil Add the mustard seeds and when they stop popping, add the red pepper flakes, garlic, and salt, cook for 10 seconds. Add the spices to the soup pot along with the salt, lime and honey.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Minted Quinoa and Cucumber Salad

I made this to go with dinner tomorrow night, but it's so good that I can't stay out of it, so I'm not sure it will make it to the dinner table tomorrow!

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sliced english cucumber
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 jalepeno
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Put the water, quinoa, bay leafand salt in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, leave to cool.

In a food processor pulse together the mint, jalapeno, salt, olive oil and vinegar.

In a medium bowl mix together the cooled quinoa, sliced cucumber and the mint sauce.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
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Venezuelan Empanadas

Randal's dad used to own an Argentine steak house in Tulsa, and for as long as I have known Randal I have heard about the amazing empanadas they served there. We have tried to recreate them but were never able to get the dough right, until we found this recipe from the food network.  It is made with a very specific cornmeal that I was worried we wouldn't be able to find, as I have never looked for precooked cornmeal before, but we found it at our local HEB grocery store.  Randal changed the filling to ground beef as that is what his dad's empanadas had and for our first attempt at these they worked out really well.  We are planning on making these again soon, this time rolling the dough out a little thinner and I also want to try making banana empanadas, filling them with banana, brown sugar and cinnamon.

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 packet taco seasoning
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup water

For the dough:
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp salt
3 1/2 cups precooked cornmeal (such as P.A.N. brand)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
3 1/2 cups hot water

To make the filling, brown the ground beef in a large skillet, drain.  Add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeno, cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the water, taco seasoning and all the spices and cook for 10 minutes, leave to cool.

To make the dough mix the hot water, sugar, vegetable oil, butter and salt in a medium bowl until the butter melts. Stir in the cornmeal and flour until a soft dough forms, then knead until the dough comes together.

To form the empanadas, take 1/2 cup of dough and place between 2 pieces of cling film. Roll into a 7 inch circle and remove the top sheet of plastic and place 2 to 3 tablespoons filling in the center of the dough.  Fold the dough in half over the filling and press to seal. Trim into a half-moon shape and deep fry at 365 for 4 minutes, until golden brown.

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Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Chili lime pork chops, mashed potatoes and peas

Tuesday:  Hamburgers with minted quinoa salad

Wednesday:  Chicken carbonara, salad

Thursday:  Chicken tikka, jasmine rice

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Cupcakes

I am still trying to find the best vanilla cupcake recipe, so in my search I have made quite a few recipes over the past few weeks. Recipes made with buttermilk seem to be my favourites and these cupcakes with buttermilk and vanilla beans form The Sisters Cafe are top of the list.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 plumped vanilla beans scraped (vanilla beans plumped in rum for at least 2 weeks)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs and egg yolk one at a time, add the vanilla, half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Add in the buttermilk and mix, then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients.

Fill lined muffin pans 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes.

Vanilla buttercream frosting:
3 cups icing sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter for about 3 minutes.  Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute.

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Potato Salad

This is the potato salad recipe that my mum always made when I was a kid, it's our go to potato salad recipe and Randal loves it as much as I do. I had to adapt the recipe a little bit from my mum's to make it something that Randal would love, as my mum definitely did not use yellow american mustard, but I think she would approve of the final result.

I had to include this picture to show how my husband eats his potato salad.  Covered in bbq sauce.  I'm pretty sure my mum wouldn't approve of that!

3 pounds potatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
4 chopped hardboiled eggs
1/4 cup chopped sweet gherkins
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
Salt and pepper

Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water, cook potatoes until fork tender. Leave to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, relish and salt and pepper. 

When the potatoes are cool place them into a large bowl, add the celery, red onion, hardboiled eggs, gherkins, and the mayonnaise mixture. Stir together and season with salt pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these a few weeks ago, back when I was testing out different red velvet cake recipes.  This was definitely my favourite red velvet cupcake recipe.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cocoa powder (I used valrhona cocoa)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp red food colouring
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream cheese frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients and mix together until combined.

Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 22 minutes.

To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together, add the icing sugar and beat until light and fluffy.

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Curried Orzo Salad

I have had this recipe from The Perfect Pantry saved for a long time, I don't know why I have not made this before because I love all things curry flavoured and this was no exception.  Randal also really liked this salad, and we will definitely be making this again.

8 oz orzo
2 tsp curry powder (I like Penzey's sweet curry)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup diced english cucumber

Cook the orzo according to package directions.

In a large bowl mix the mayonnaise, curry powder and lemon juice together.  Add in the orzo, bell pepper, cucumber and raisins and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Linked to: Mom On Timeout, Michelle's Tasty Creations, Frugal Follies, A Little Nosh, Momnivores-Dilemma, Miz Helens Country Cottage, Two Yellow Birds, Simple Living

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sticky Coconut Chicken

This sticky chicken  is so good, very sticky, but good. Randal loved this as well, although he was definitely unsure of the chili glaze when I was making that, but he ended up pouring the rest of it over his rice so I think he liked it. 

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup coconut milk 
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes

Chili glaze

3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large bowl, mix coconut milk, ginger, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add chicken to the marinade, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400.

Remove chicken from marinade and place in a baking dish, cook for 30 minutes.

To make the chili glaze combine rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and chili flakes in a medium pan.  Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until mixture has thickened, about 8 minutes, just be sure to remove from heat as soon as it thickens, because this glaze gets very thick and sticky very quickly.

Brush the cooked chicken with the marinade.  We served this chicken with rice and I put the rest of the can of coconut milk into the rice when cooking it, and it made for a slightly sweet coconut rice that went so well with the chicken.

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Linked to: Newlyweds, Its Just Called Spicy, Its a Blog Party, Creations By Kara, Jaq's Studio, Eat At Home

Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Sticky coconut chicken, jasmine rice, green beans

Tuesday:  Hamburgers, curried orzo salad

Wednesday:  Homemade pizza with salad

Thursday:  Chicken cacciatore

Friday:  Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Boston Market Cornbread

We have never tried Boston Market cornbread so I don't know why I really wanted to try this, especially considering that I don't really like cornbread much at all anyway.  I know that Randal loves cornbread though, so I thought this would be an interesting recipe, and it really doesn't get much easier than mixing a corbread mix and a cake mix together. As cornbread goes this is actually quite good and I was just flipping through the june Rachael Ray magazine and saw a recipe for blackberry cornbread and now I really want to make this again with blackberries.

1 box jiffy cornbread mix
1 box jiffy yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix the cornbread mix with 1 egg and the third cup of milk.  In a seperate bowl combine the cake mix, egg and milk.  Combine both mixes together and spray an 8x8 baking pan with non stick spray, pour batter into dish and bake for 30 minutes.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Spicy Chicken Legs

I have been making this Pioneer Woman recipe for a long time, although it's been a while since I last made it. As soon as I decided to make the lemon pepper fettucini I knew I had to make these lemony and spicy chicken legs to go with it, we both love these!

12 chicken legs
1 stick unalted butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp Morton's hot salt

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a saucepan melt butter along with the lemon juice and hot salt.  Dip the chicken legs into the butter mixture and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle more of the hot salt over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes.

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Linked to: Eat At Home

Lemon Pepper Fettucini

Randal loves fettucini alfredo, I'm not really a fan of it though, so he never really gets to eat it because I  won't make it.  So when I said I was making a lemon pepper version he was all for it even if it had lemon in it.  Turns out that we both really enjoyed this and we both said we would make this again.

12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until tender. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Whisk the cream, egg yolk and lemon zest in a bowl. Reduce the heat to low and add the cream mixture and cheese to the skillet. Cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and 2 to 3 teaspoons pepper.
Add the pasta to the skillet and toss, adding enough of the reserved cooking water to loosen the sauce and garnish with more pecorino.
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