Friday, November 20, 2015

Hummus Experimenting

So, once upon a time, I used to make a lot of hummus with my picky younger guy. Then Bobbi's was created and came to our market and it was so so good we stopped bothering.

Now Bobbi's is unavailable. I could weep. And now I am stuck testing hummus recipes again.

I got some tahini but one of the awesome part of Bobbi's was that it was tahini free. I know that is sacrilege, but it allowed the garlic and lemon to shine. I tried this recipe from a mothering site that claimed to be like Bobbi's but it was so runny, it was soup, rather than hummus, and I cut back on the liquids! I ate it anyway but more as a sauce than a dip.

Next up: Ina Garten's hummus. She is usually reliable.

I am wishing I captured the hummus the little guy liked once upon a time! Oh well.

This is post 600, if you are counting. Blogger is, so I'm not. :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mistakes Were Made

Too strong a title for this post, but it was stuck in my head.

I made the Monster Dough Cookie Bites tonight, without the baking soda because I am one of those people who doesn't love cookie dough. Cookies, yes, but the dough I can take or leave.

Mistakes: thinking these could be an "energy bite." They are not. They are cookies.

Using the good Trader Joe's peanut butter for this. It was creamy, and chunky would help, and it is one of those almost-pourable peanut butters, which didn't help it set. But it helped me feel better about the huge amount of sugars in these.

Waiting so long to make them. These are yummy, though I might honestly be the only one in my house who thinks so.

Using my "little" scoop. I only got about 18 cookies, so they should be half this size. That would probably be an improvement.

This is a good basic recipe. I will tinker with it. Me being me, I think coconut would be an awesome addition but I could be wrong. For my purposes too I will probably use 1/4 c chocolate chips and M&Ms, but they are very decadent this way!

Monster Cookie Dough Bites {naturally gluten free recipe}
Yields: 30-36 cookie dough bites, depending on size
(printable recipe)

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (optional, but it adds a distinct "dough" flavor)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini m&m candies

Stir together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, baking soda, syrup and vanilla until creamy. Add the oats and stir again. Add the chocolate chips and m&m candies and stir once more. Scoop into 1" balls and smooth with your hands. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Bring to room temperature before serving, if desired. The cookie bites will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for 3-4 months. Enjoy!
- See more at:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Strawberry Agua Fresca

This was delicious. I liked it thicker, almost like a thin smoothie, rather than like a flavored water. The sugar helped.

I used my hand blender, which is my pet kitchen accessory of the summer.

I intend to make the Tipsy Baker's strawberry milk next but when I have almost-ready-to-go strawberries, this is my new go-to use for them.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Magic Raspberry Cookie Bars

I made these for a dinner with my mother in law--they are off the box for Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs. They were a gigantic hit and cemented my reputation as bar cookie queen of the family (as designated by my niece, who heard about them two states away).

Magic Raspberry Cookie Bars

2 cups Keebler Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/4 C sugar
1/2 C butter, melted
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 cups seedless red raspberry preserves (I think I used slightly more by just emptying a small jar)
1 1/3 C flaked coconut
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts (I skipped these on half because I ran out--both halves were good)

In a small bowl, combine crumbs and sugar. Add butter. Toss until combined. Press onto bottom of a 13x9x2 inch baking pan. (Note: I buttered the pan, and the crumb layer was pretty thin.)

Evenly drizzle sweetened condensed milk over crumbs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Spoon preserves over top.

Sprinkle with coconut and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until light brown.

Cool completely. Cut into bars. Store, loosely, covered, at room temperature.

Yield: 24 delicious, crave-worthy servings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

I have used this recipe for years and it rocks. For a while both boys were on strike with it but now one will eat it and a recipe 75% of us like is a winner.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Armagnac Chicken

I have no interest in violating any internet copyright laws but I don't have a NYT subscription and wanted to be able to access this. This is a genius recipe and all credit to Dorie Greenspan for it. I usually use more potatoes (though still small ones) and more baby carrots (because it's easier) and I rarely bother with the official gravy. But if you have the enameled cast iron pot, this is a great way to use it. I do not find that my chicken turns brown, though; it tends to stay an alarming shade of white. But none of us are skin eaters anyway, so as long as the meat is cooked (and it always is), it is awesome. The one thing to note: a 3.5 pound chicken is pretty darned small when you come down to it, so if you are feeding four or more, you will have very few leftovers, as indicated.
M. Jacques’s Armagnac Chicken
Serves 4.
From “Around My French Table,” by Dorie Greenspan.
This recipe, une petite merveille (a little marvel), as the French would say, was given to me years ago by Jacques Drouot, the maître d’hôtel at the famous Le Dôme brasserie in Paris and an inspired home cook. I’ve been making it regularly ever since. It’s one of those remarkable dishes that is comforting, yet more sophisticated than you’d expect (or really have any right to demand, given the basic ingredients and even more basic cooking method).
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
8 small thin-skinned potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
2 carrots, trimmed, peeled and thickly sliced on the diagonal
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 thyme sprig
1 rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 chicken, about 3½ pounds, preferably organic, trussed (or wings turned under and feet tied together with kitchen string), at room temperature
½ cup Armagnac (Cognac or other brandy)
1 cup water.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. You’ll need a heavy casserole with a tight-fitting cover, one large enough to hold the chicken snugly but still leave room for the vegetables. (I use an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven.)
Put the casserole over medium heat and pour in the oil. When it’s warm, toss in the vegetables and turn them around in the oil for a minute or two until they glisten; season with salt and white pepper. Stir in the herbs and push everything toward the sides of the pot to make way for the chicken. Rub the chicken all over with salt and white pepper, nestle it in the pot, and pour the Armagnac around it. Leave the pot on the heat for a minute to warm the Armagnac, then cover it tightly — if your lid is shaky, cover the pot with a piece of aluminum foil and then put the cover in place.
Slide the casserole into the oven and let the chicken roast undisturbed for 60 minutes.
Transfer the pot to the stove, and carefully remove the lid and the foil, if you used it — make sure to open the lid away from you, because there will be a lot of steam. After admiring the beautifully browned chicken, very carefully transfer it to a warm platter or, better yet, a bowl; cover loosely with a foil tent.
Using a spoon, skim off the fat that will have risen to the top of the cooking liquid and discard it; pick out the bay leaf and discard it too. Turn the heat to medium, stir the vegetables gently to dislodge any that might have stuck to the bottom of the pot, and add the water, stirring to blend it with the pan juices. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens ever so slightly, then taste for salt and pepper.
Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables and sauce.
You can bring the chicken to the table whole, surrounded by the vegetables, and carve it in public, or you can do what I do, which is to cut the chicken into quarters in the kitchen, then separate the wings from the breasts and the thighs from the legs. I arrange the pieces in a large shallow serving bowl, spoon the vegetables into the center, moisten everything with a little of the sauce and then pour the remainder of the elixir into a sauce boat to pass at the table.
I can’t imagine that you’ll have anything left over, but if you do, you can reheat the chicken and vegetables — make sure there’s some sauce, so nothing dries out — covered in a microwave oven.
Bonne idée
Armagnac and prunes are a classic combination in France. If you’d like, you can toss 8 to 12 prunes, pitted or not, into the pot along with the herbs. If your prunes are pitted and soft, they might pretty much melt during the cooking, but they’ll make a sweet, lovely addition to the mix.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Memere's Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Another lost and found recipe. I never tried this one before tonight--Mardi Gras, before my Lenten chocolate fast. It was amazing. So glad we tried this one before I lost it forever. It is from Guideposts from February 2008 by Aylmer Given of Jaffrey, New Hampshire.  All credit where it is due!

Memere's Chocolate Fudge Sauce

We began serving this over chocolate waffles when the restaurant opened. Now we serve it on profiteroles with fresh strawberries. My kids eat it the way I used to, by spoonfuls straight out of the fridge.

1/2 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 C sugar
1 can (13.5 oz) evaporated milk
1/4 pound cold butter, cut into pieces
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Start with a heavy-bottomed saucepan, at least 2 quarts because sauce doubles in size. Place sugar in pan with cocoa powder. Stir with wooden spoon until well-blended. Add evaporated milk. Continue to stir until blended well. Once it's mixed well, turn heat to medium. Stir constantly. Bring mixture to boil, about 5 minutes. Let it boil for another five minutes, stirring constantly. Make sure chocolate doesn't burn. Pull sauce off heat and add butter. Stir sauce until butter is completely melted. Add vanilla and serve over ice cream. Store sauce in refrigeration and reheat in microwave or water bath.

So really a total no brainer that we would all love this, but we all LOVED this. My son ate a half pound of strawberries one by one after dipping them in this. We had it hot on vanilla ice cream and it was perfection. Highly, highly recommend.