Thursday, June 30, 2011

Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

I am headed out on a road trip, to the prairies, to visit family for a couple of weeks! I will keep blogging from the road as long as I have Internet access, just might not be daily. So have a great Canada Day long weekend or July 4th long weekend for my American readers! I hope your weekend is filled with lots of sunshine, barbecue and summer cocktails!
I am going to leave you with this amazing cookie recipe.

As soon as I saw this recipe on the fabulous Brown Eyed Baker Site I knew I had to try them. If you have never visited her site do it NOW! She has a ton of drool worthy recipes!!
Everything I love all in 1 tasty cookie!

They taste like a chocolate fudge brownie but have the texture of a peanut butter cookie. They are supposed to have whole peanuts in them but I forgot to buy them at the store… duh! I think they were great without but I am sure it would be even better with them. So don’t forget to buy the peanuts! I did manage to scrounge a few peanuts out of a jar of mixed nuts for the photos!

What you need,

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanuts, for heaven’s sake don’t forget the peanuts!!!
Coarse salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with silpat mats, or parchment paper.

In a medium bow whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together. Add in both sugars and mix until light and fluffy. Scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating after each. Add the vanilla. Scrape the bowl again and slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and those ever important peanuts!!
Drop by the tablespoon full onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with a little of the course salt or fleur de sel.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the outside of the cookie is set and slightly browned but the middles are still soft.
Cool on a wire rack.

These are so good. I am a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate. The added sprinkle of salt on top is just heavenly.
Super good cookie! Remember the peanuts please!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Linguine Carbonara

I have been wanting to make Carbonara for awhile now. I had to sift through a bazillion recipes before I found one that felt basic and authentic. Some of the recipes I found had a lot of ingredients and my understanding of Carbonara is that simple and only has a few things in it.

This recipe turned out amazing! It is simple but the flavour is complex and rich. It was exactly what I was hoping for.

Here is what you need,

1 lb of linguine noodles, or spaghetti
8 slices of thick cut bacon, sliced crosswise into 2 inch thick strips
3 large eggs
¾ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
½ cup half and half
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8-12 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.

Meanwhile in a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half and Parmesan cheese, set aside.

When the pasta is done cooking drain, leaving some water clinging to it, working quickly, add hot pasta to egg mixture and toss well until a thick sauce covers all the noodles. Add in the bacon and toss gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the fresh chopped parsley.
Serve immediately with additional Parmesan cheese.

I am so happy I finally made this pasta. It was perfectly creamy! The crisp bacon pieces were delish! You just can’t go wrong with bacon!
All you need are a few simple ingredients and 15 minutes and you have a wonderful dinner!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberries

I am in BIG trouble… Look what I got from my BFF for my birthday! 

Yep, that is an ice cream maker.  I was SO excited. I have been wishing for one for awhile now.
I brought it home and promptly tossed some stuff out of my freezer and onto the floor so I would have room for the bowl.

I decided to make a batch of vanilla to test it out. I used the recipe that came with the machine. It was amazing!

Here is what you need, I was so excited I forgot to take a pic of the ingredients, OOPS!

2 ½ cups of half and half
8 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 ½ cups whipping cream
4 tsp. Vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the half and half until very hot but not boiling, stirring often. Remove from heat and set aside

Place egg yolks and sugar in mixer bowl of your stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment. Turn the speed to 2 and mix for about 30 seconds or until well blended and slightly thickened.  Continue on speed 2 very gradually add the hot half and half, mix well. Return half and half mixture to the medium saucepan, cook over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge and mixture is steamy, stirring constantly. Do not boil! Transfer the half and half mixture to a large bowl, stir in the whipping cream, vanilla and salt.
Cover and chill thoroughly in the fridge, at least 8 hours.

Once the mixture is fully chilled pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, and process according to manufactures instructions.

I had 2 pints of fresh strawberries in the fridge so I chopped them up finely and sprinkled on 3 tsp. of sugar and let it sit while the ice cream maker did its magic. Then I added them during the last few minutes of churning. It gave a nice strawberry flavour. The problem was bits of strawberry froze very hard in the ice cream so next time I think I would puree the berries and pour in the puree at the end instead. 

It was super tasty. My in house taste tester said it was the best ice cream he has ever had! 

I have already bookmarked about 10 ice cream recipes I want to try. Like I said earlier, I am in big trouble!

Thanks B.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Baked Coconut Shrimp

When my in house taste tester and I were in Maui a few years back we ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise. They had the best coconut shrimp! I think we had it like 3 times while we were there.

Now whenever I ask my sweet what he wants for dinner he always says “those coconut shrimp from Cheeseburger in paradise”. Right ok no problem!! Maui is only a 6 hour plane ride away!!
I have been searching for a recipe to try so he can stop asking. This one is pretty great.
Plus it is baked not fried which is a nice healthier option. The dipping sauce is to die for! I think I would even like to dip homemade chicken fingers in it! YUM!

What you need,

1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 egg whites
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

for the dipping sauce,

1 tbsp lime juice
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
½ cup of pineapple preserves, or jam is what I could find

Combine lime juice, jalapeno pepper, and pineapple preserves in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
Cover and stash in the fridge until it is time to eat!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl beat egg whites with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.
Place cornstarch on a plate and the coconut on a separate plate. Hold the shrimp by the tail and dredge in the cornstarch, tap off any excess. Now dip it in the egg white and coat thoroughly. Then press into the coconut to fully coat. Place on the baking sheet.

Once all the shrimp are coated bake for 15-17 minutes until the coconut is nicely browned. Flip the shrimp over halfway through, about the 8 minute mark.
Serve with the pineapple dipping sauce.

This was very easy! I don’t deal with shrimp at home very often but it really wasn’t a big deal at all.
I got 2 thumbs up from my in house taste tester, so I will be making it again for sure!!


Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sautéed Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

I am growing some herbs on my balcony. I wish I had a yard so I could have a full garden, but for now a few pots with fresh herbs will have to do.

This side dish is summer in a bowl. Fresh corn cut off the cob, garden zucchini and a variety of herbs, fresh from my planter box! It was easy, quick and super tasty.

Here is what you need,

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 small zucchini, diced
4 medium ears of corn, kernels cut off
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil

1 tbsp fresh chives

1 tbsp fresh parsley

1 ½ tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini and cook until softened and browned at the edges, this should take about 4 minutes. Add the corn and sauté until softened and a deep yellow color, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Off heat add in the herbs and lemon juice. Finally season with salt and pepper to taste.

This would make a great side dish for just about any meal. I loved it! It is just so fresh and light. I love how the corn kernels stay a bit snappy! Yum!
It always tastes better when you grow it yourself, well some of it... you know!



Adapted from Cook’s Country

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Frozen Bananas

Well it is finally summer. Or that is what the calender says anyway. Still haven't seen a whole lot of sun around here, but here's hoping. 
I finally decided to start making some summer treats in hopes that the warm sun will show up eventually.

These chocolate dipped frozen bananas are so easy and sooooooo good!
They take no time at all to make, they look cute and taste great!
Plus you don't have to feel too guilty about eating a lot of them cause it is a banana, what is bad about a banana!

Here is how you do it,
Take some bananas, peel them and stick a Popsicle stick or wooden skewer in them.
Put them in the freezer until they are firm. This should only take a couple hours.

Melt some chocolate. You can use milk or semisweet or dark, whatever you like best!

Get a few toppings ready, I used crushed peanuts, sprinkles and some toffee candy coating stuff! yum! 

Take the frozen banana and dip it in the melted chocolate, tap off any excess, then roll in the toppings. You will have to work pretty fast the chocolate will start to set up once it touches the cold banana.

Fun hey!
My favorite is the crushed peanuts! 

I hope it gets warmer soon cause I am tired of eating these huddled under a blanket with my heating pad on! 

You will love them! Make some today!! 
Happy Summer Everybody!



Monday, June 20, 2011

Chilli Cheese Mac

When I make homemade Mac and Cheese I seem to always make a batch of Chilli in the same week. That way I can toss some left over Chili on some left over Mac and Cheese, makes a lovely Chilli Cheese Mac. 

Sadly you don’t always have time to make 2 big meals in a week. This recipe solves that problem!
It is super quick and super easy and all in one skillet! Loved it!

What you need,

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 tbsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cups water
1 15oz can tomato sauce
8 oz elbow macaroni (2 cups)
2 cups shredded Italian style cheese (I just used a blend of cheddar and mozza)

Heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion, chilli powder, cumin and salt. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and brown sugar and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and cook, breaking it apart until no longer pink and lightly browned. 
Stir in the water and tomato sauce, and then add the pasta. Cover, and increase heat to medium high. Stir often and adjust heat to maintain a vigorous simmer until pasta is al dente.
Off heat, stir in 1 cup of the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and cover, let stand until cheese has melted, about 3 minutes. 

Easy, tasty and 1 pan. My kind of dinner!


Source: America’s Test Kitchen, Skillet Dinners Magazine

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Italian Sausage and Peppers for Father’s Day

Italian Sausage and peppers on a bun always reminds me of my Dad.

When we were kids he would take us to the fair in the summer time. We would ride the Ferris wheel and the bumper cars and tilt a whirl. Then we would eat mini doughnuts, candy apples and Italian sausage with peppers on a bun! YUM!
It feels like summer to me.

My Dad makes his own Italian sausage, but I ate all the stuff he gave me so I had to buy some… it was pretty good but not as good as his! It will do in a pinch!

Here is what you need,

1 pkg of hot Italian sausage
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 medium peppers, sliced thinly (any color will do I used red and yellow)
1 can or jar of your favourite Italian style sauce, pizza sauce would do too
Fresh grated Parmesan chees2
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
Hot dog buns

In a medium skillet saute the sliced onion and peppers in the olive oil until soft. Season with salt and pepper.
Grill up your sausages until browned and cooked through.
Warm up your tomato sauce in a bowl in the microwave and grate yourself some Parmesan cheese.

OK now you are ready…
Cut a good old hot dog bun and cut it in half,

Slather on some of the warmed sauce, top with a grilled sausage and some of the sauteed peppers and onions. Top with some fresh grated Parmesan.

So so good.

Thank you Dad, for taking us to the fair and buying us overpriced food and riding rides that made you feel sick! You are the best! Love you!
Happy Father’s Day!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

America’s Test Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe for a long time. I have narrowed it down to 3… this is one of them!

I plan to make the other 2 in the near future as well and do a comparison. I had a few people taste these and I will get them to taste the others as well and see if I can get a clear winner.

These are super tasty, HUGE cookies, with a nutty buttery flavor. Crisp on the outside and super soft and chewy on the inside. YUM!

 Here is what you need,
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
14 tbsp of butter (1 ¾ sticks)
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cup semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks
¾ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) I didn’t use them!

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 cookies sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper.
Whisk baking soda and soda together in a medium bowl, set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Do not use a non-stick pan!! Cook until butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has a nutty aroma, 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and using a heat proof spatula transfer brown butter to a large heatproof bowl. Stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into the hot butter until completely melted.
Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using a rubber spatula stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using, giving dough a final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tbsp. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. 8 balls per sheet. If your oven is tiny like mine and you have small sheet pans you might need to use 3 pans!
Bake cookies 1 time at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centres are soft, 10 to 14 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

These are so good! I can’t imagine the other recipes being any better than this but I guess I will find out!


Recipe from America's Test Kitchen

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mushroom Roll Ups

Wednesday night is game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Vancouver vs. Boston. It is has been a nail biter of a series, let me tell you. Whew! I am glad it is down to the last game and I am glad it’s a home game!! This city has been just buzzing for weeks. I made these tasty little bites to enjoy during the game.
This recipe is an oldie but a goodie! The filling is creamy and full of mushrooms. All wrapped up in good old white bread, brushed with butter and baked until toasty and melty. Oh man, these are to die for!

Here is what you need,
1/4 cup butter
1/2 lb. White mushrooms, chopped finely
1/2 cup white onion, minced finely
1-8oz block of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. Pepper
1/8 tsp. Garlic powder
1 loaf white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1/2 cup butter, melted
Melt the first amount of butter in a frying pan on medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms. Saute for 5-10minutes until veggies are softened.
Add in the cream cheese, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Stir around until cream cheese is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

**At this stage you will need all of your will power not to eat all the filling with a big old spoon!**

Roll the bread slices with a rolling pin to flatten.
Sorry about the pictures, the light in my kitchen is BAD!

Spread mixture on each bread slice, about 1 tbsp per slice.

Roll up the bread and slice each roll into 3.

Put the rolls on a sheet pan in a single layer. 

Brush the rolls with the second amount of melted butter. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until toasted.
Makes about 48 rolls.

I think I could eat a whole batch by myself. This is not something I am proud of, but I just thought you should know.