February 28, 2011

No. 9 - Baileys Irish Cream Mousse Pie

Baileys Irish Cream Mousse Pie

My husband, senior taste tester in our house, asked me if there was some sort of pie theme going on (other than a whole year of pies).  A few pies have had some sort of liquor such as brandy, amaretto and now Baileys Irish Cream.   I don't think there will be many more pies like this one so enjoy!  This is for St. Patrick's Day after all!!  You can't (well I guess you can) celebrate St. Patrick's day without some sort of spirits.  Baileys is more like dessert anyway.  If you're looking for something sweet for the St. Patty's day holiday - give this easy pie a try!  It's smooth, creamy, sweet and magically delicious!

February 25, 2011

Spinach & Mushroom Quesadillas

I guess you know I have a problem.  I've become obsessed with finding a fantastic quesadilla recipe.  This one is good, really good, and my husband said "yes, you can make this one again!"  High praises from the man who has never met a leftover he didn't like.  I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman's site.  I have come to trust Ree's recipes.  The ingredients are not weird and hard to find, and I figure if her cowboy husband will eat it, it must be OK.

The only thing that might make this one better is grilled chicken.  Oh I remember the days, grilling chicken on the back deck, listening to the lawnmowers, smelling the fresh cut grass, watching the neighborhood kids ride by on their bicycles, laughing and soaking up the sunshine.  Maybe grilled chicken makes everything better.  Maybe sunshine makes things better.  Either way, it's Friday and it's almost March!  Summer is close behind.

Spinach and mushroom Quesadillas with Fontina and goat cheese

February 24, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

When you make homemade English Muffins, you're going to need something to go on top!  I've been very interested in Black Bean Burgers (BBBs) and read every recipe I come across.  Finally, I decided to take the 'best' from each of my favorite blogger recipes and create a recipe of my own.  I love vege burgers and have tried many over the years.  But I haven't ever ordered Black Bean Burgers in a restaurant.  To be completely honest, I don't know that I've ever seen a BBB on a menu.  Maybe I just wasn't looking?  Well I am now!

Black Bean Burger

February 23, 2011

English Muffins

You know, there are times when I read a recipe and think, I didn't know you could do that.  Or, I never thought about making that!  I recently found this recipe for English Muffins on Tasty Kitchen and figured why not?  I LOVE English Muffins!  This recipe was posted by Sarah Fowler last summer on her blog.  The reason I believed this recipe was going to work, was that it had 5 ratings with an average of 4.8 out of 5.0.  Sometimes you just like to know the recipe will be worth the effort and expense.

I've never made a lot of bread but I'm starting to get the hang of this.  I really love the smell of yeast and flour and baking bread.  Oh yum - I'll just show you!

English Muffins

Pull out the basics!  Milk, butter, honey, water, yeast, cornmeal, flour, salt and not pictured, I decided to add part whole wheat flour.

Moooo.  Pour the milk into a small saucepan.

Add 2 tablespoons honey.

Add the butter and heat over medium.

Warm pan until butter starts to melt, then whisk briefly. 
Remove pan from heat and allow milk mixture to cool to lukewarm.

Line two baking sheets with waxed paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. 

Pour warm (110 degrees) water into large mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast. 
Stir gently with a fork.  Set aside for 10 minutes, or until yeast has dissolved.

Pour cooled milk into yeast mixture and gently stir until well blended. 

Add 3 cups flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. 
Beat in remaining flour and salt until the dough is no longer sticky. 
Scrape the dough onto a floured surface and dust with flour.  Knead dough for 3-4 minutes. 

Let dough rest 5 minutes.

We're resting, we're resting. 
I think waiting 5 minutes is harder than waiting 30 minutes!

Roll out dough with a rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick. 
Cut the dough into circles and transfer muffins to prepared baking sheets.

Sprinkle muffins with cornmeal and cover with a dry, lightweight towel.  
Let muffins  rise until doubled in height, about 35-45 minutes.

All puffed up!  This makes me happy - wooo-hooo!

Heat an iron cast skillet over medium heat. 
Carefully place muffins in the ungreased skillet. 
Cook until lightly browned and set.   

Using a spatula, flip the muffins and cook the other side. 
I found that in between batches, it was best to scrape the browned cornmeal into the sink and start with a basically clean skillet.  The loose cornmeal was browning too much when left in the pan.
Transfer cooked muffins to a wire rack to cool before splitting and toasting!

I was so excited to try one I even forgot to toast it!  I spooned on some apple butter and enjoyed!

I think these are kinda cool.  They were fun to make too.  Not hard, and not really messy either.

Yup - they are yummy!  Baked bread on top of the stove - how cool is that!?

English Muffins
For a printable copy of this recipe click HERE

1 cup Milk
3 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Honey
1 cup Warm Water
¼ ounces, weight Yeast
¼ cups Cornmeal
5-½ cups Flour (I used 4 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon Salt

1.  Combine milk, butter, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Warm until butter starts to melt, then whisk briefly. Remove pan from heat and allow liquid to cool to lukewarm.

2.  Pour water into a mixing bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Stir gently with a fork. Set bowl aside for 10 minutes, or until yeast has dissolved.

3.  Line baking sheets with waxed paper and sprinkle with a generous amount of cornmeal.

4.  Pour cooled milk mixture into yeast mixture and gently stir until well blended. Add 3 cups flour and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in remaining flour and salt until the dough is no longer sticky. Scrape the dough onto a floured surface and dust with flour. Flour hands and knead dough for 3-4 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes.

5.  Roll out dough with rolling pin to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the dough into circles (a tumbler or mason jar does well). Transfer muffins to prepared baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover with a dry, lightweight towel and let rise until doubled in height, 35-45 minutes.

6.  When muffins have risen, heat a skillet over medium heat. Carefully lift muffins from the pan and place on the ungreased skillet. Cook about 10 minutes on each side, using a spatula to flip them. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before splitting (with a fork) and toasting them.  Makes 20 muffins.


I froze half of the muffins and am sharing the rest!  Enjoy and thanks so much for stopping by!


February 22, 2011

Minestrone Soup

Winter's not done with us yet - so soup's still on the menu.  I really could eat soup all year as long as the air conditioning works in the summer.  I love a good vegetable soup with or without beef.  This is a vege only soup made with vegetable stock and pasta, and it really hits the spot!

Minestrone Soup

When I start looking for a recipe to make, I often read several cookbook selections, check on-line and also look on Tasty Kitchen.  I knew I wanted to make Minestrone Soup so I gathered several recipes that appealed to me, and sort-of meshed them all together.  I think this turned out flavorful, healthy, hearty and filling. 

It looks like a pretty big cast of characters for this production, but it's just all those behind the scene spices!

Dice a small onion.

Slice a small zucchini too.

Might as well chop a stalk of celery.

Drain and rinse a can of Italian Cut Green Beans (frozen is OK if you can find them.)  Also rinse and drain 1 can each red kidney beans, garbanzo beans and cannellini beans. 

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the diced onion, celery, zucchini and about 4 cloves of garlic, minced.

Saute the vegetables until the onion is starting to become translucent.

Peel and cut 1 whole carrot into matchstick sized pieces.

Start with about 6 cups vegetable stock and add more at the end if needed to make a brothy soup.

Pour the stock into the pot.

Add the carrots and the drained beans. 

Also add 1 cup hot water.

Add all the spices and 2 cans of diced tomatoes, undrained, juice and all.
Simmer broth and vegetables uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Then add 4 cups fresh baby spinach.

Add 1 cup small shell pasta and simmer for an addition 20-30 minutes until pasta is desired consistency.  I used unsalted canned tomatoes and low salt vegetable stock.  You may want to check the seasonings before serving if you prefer a saltier flavor.

Serve with crusty bread or crackers.

Oh so yummy!

Minestrone Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole onion, diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 can Italian cut green beans, drained
1 stalk celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable broth or stock
1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 whole carrot, julienned or shredded
2 tablespoons parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup hot water
4 cups baby spinach
1 cup small shell pasta

Heat three tablespoons olive oil in a large pot on medium heat.
Saute onion, celery, garlic and zucchini until onion turns translucent.  Add vegetable broth, canned tomatoes, beans, carrot, hot water, green beans and spices.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered.  Add spinach and pasta and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes or until desired consistency. 
Serve with crusty bread or crackers.

(Adapted from "Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup by Todd Wilbur" on www.food.com")


Thanks so much for stopping by! 


February 21, 2011

No. 8 - Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
(Adapted from a recipe in Biltmore, Our Table To Yours, Chef's Selection Cookbook)

Happy President's Day!  I think they're going to change the name to "National - go buy a mattress Monday."  Or at least that's what one would think with all the commercials and discounts. 

In honor of President's Day we'll have a little history "did you know" lesson:

Did you know there were eight United States Presidents born in Virginia?  The big No. 1 George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.  Also six Presidents' wives were born in Virginia.  Mrs. Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, Rachel Jackson, Letitia Tyler, Ellen Arthur, Edith Wilson. And last but not least, seven Presidents are buried in Virginia: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Tyler, Taft and Kennedy.   Kennedy is buried at Arlington which most people think is in Washington, D.C. but it is just across the Potomac in Virginia. 
Now that the day has not been totally wasted, let's make a rich, decadent, creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie! 

After spending last weekend in Asheville, I knew I would have to make a pie that could come close to the one I tasted at The Grove Park Inn for Sunday Brunch.  This pie may not be as pretty, but the taste is pretty darn close!

First we'll make the graham cracker crust.  All you need is graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter.

Measure 1 1/3 cups, graham cracker crumbs.

Pour in 1/3 cup sugar.

Stir all together with 1 stick melted, unsalted butter.

Pour the crumbs into a 9" deep dish pie plate.

Press the mixture into the sides and bottom of the pie plate.

Bake the crust for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool completely before adding the filling.

For the filling you'll need sugar, peanut butter, cream cheese, heavy chipping cream, vanilla, and unsalted butter.  For the chocolate ganache (topping) you'll need heavy whipping cream and good quality semi-sweet chocolate.

Blend the cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl until smooth. 

Add the vanilla and peanut butter.

Blend well with a mixer.

Scrape sides of bowl as needed until mixture is smooth.

Gradually beat in the melted butter until smooth.  Set peanut butter mixture aside.

Beat 1 cup heavy cream until soft peaks form.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture with a spatula.  Do not use an electric mixer.

Pour the peanut butter cream cheese mixture into the cooled pie crust.

Refrigerate until set, at least two hours.

To prepare the ganache, unwrap the chocolate. 
I felt like the little boy in Willie Wonka and wondered it I'd find a golden ticket!

Chop the chocolate in small pieces and put in a small bowl.
Put 3/4 cup heavy cream in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
Remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.

Stir gently until all the chocolate is melted.  Cool slightly before spreading on top of the pie.
Spread evenly over the pie starting in the middle and working your way to the edge.

Chill until time to serve. 
Cut with a knife that has been heated under hot water and wiped dry between slices.

Garnish with chopped peanuts, sweetened whipped cream or peanut butter cups.

This is a very rich pie, but oh-so wonderful.  If you like chocolate and peanut butter, you'll like this!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

For the crust:
1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick), unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until well blended.   Press the mixture into the sides and bottom of a nine-inch deep dish pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Cool completely.

For the filling:
14 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat cream cheese and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Add the peanut butter and vanilla and mix well.  Beat in the melted butter gradually. 
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form.  Gently fold the cream into the peanut butter mixture using a spatula.  Do not over beat.  Pour into the prepared, cool crust and refrigerate for several hours until set. 

For the Ganache:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate finely chopped (high-quality such as Ghiradelli - not chocolate chips)

Bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan.  Pour over the chocolate in a bowl.  Stir gently to melt the chocolate and mix well.  Cool slightly and spread evenly over the pie.  Chill until served.  Cut with a knife that has been heated under hot water and wiped dry between each slice.


Have a great week and thanks so much for stopping by!


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