Sunday, August 9, 2009

Applesauce Granita with Maple Yogurt

2 cups unsweetened applesauce
juice from 1/4 lemon

Mix together in a shallow pan and place in freezer for 1 hour.

Yogurt topping:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Remove granita from freezer and stir/scrape it apart with a spoon/fork to create a 'shaved ice' texture. Spoon into a dessert bowl and top with a spoonful of the yogurt topping.

Cafe Green Salad

Mustard Vinaigrette:

* 1 garlic clove, sliced in 1/2
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
* Small splash soy sauce
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 3 tablespoons olive oil


3 cups mixed greens, the darker the better (not iceberg)

Rub the inside of a large wooden bowl with the garlic clove and then either discard it or save it for another use. Put the mustard in the bowl and whisk in the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce (a French secret!) vigorously for about 10 seconds to get a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle in the olive oil as slowly as possible with 1 hand while whisking as quickly as possible with the other hand to emulsify. Lay the salad greens on top of the dressing and toss just before serving.

Potato-Bacon Torte

* 4 strips bacon
* 3 sprigs fresh thyme
* 2/3 cup heavy cream
* 2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows
* 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
* 1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plate and set aside. Crumble the bacon when cool to the touch.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the thyme and cream over low heat to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then finely slice the potatoes. Working in circles, arrange the potato slices in the pie crust, stopping to season each layer with salt, pepper, and about 1/4 of the crumbled bacon. Continue layering until the pie pan is nearly full. Top with an even layer of the cheese and gently pour cream around and over the entire pie, allowing it to seep down between the potato slices. (You may not use all the cream.)

Roll out the remaining disk of refrigerated dough. Cover the pie with the dough and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top and edges of the crust with egg wash. Make a few slits in the center of the top crust, for the steam to escape, and put the pie pan on a baking sheet. Bake the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes. If the crust edges get too brown, cover them with some strips of aluminum foil. Remove the pie from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before cutting into wedges and serving.

Pie Crust:

* 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water

Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients.

Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Baklava Bars

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 2 hours 50 min
Makes: 24 bars

Cookie Base
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 egg

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 frozen mini fillo shells (from 2.1-oz package)

1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

5 tablespoons honey

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with cooking spray.
2. In large bowl, stir cookie base ingredients until soft dough forms. Press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir walnuts, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and the salt with fork until mixture is well mixed and crumbly.
4. Sprinkle nut mixture evenly over partially baked base. With hands, crumble frozen fillo shells evenly over nut mixture. Bake 18 to 20 minutes longer or until golden brown.
5. Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons butter, the brown sugar, lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon uncovered on High 1 minute or until bubbly. Stir in vanilla.
6. Drizzle honey mixture evenly over fillo. Cool completely, about 2 hours.
7. For bars, cut into 6 rows by 4 rows. Before serving, drizzle 1/2 teaspoon honey over each bar. Store covered at room temperature.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): In step 2, bake crust 17 minutes.

Raspberry Lemonade Cake

Betty Crocker created the poke cake, a cake that's poked after baking so the topping forms pockets of wonderfulness. Try this delicious citrus-berry combo.

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 2 hours 0 min
Makes: 12 servings

1 cup very hot water
1 box (4-serving size) raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
1/2 cup frozen (thawed) lemonade concentrate
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 egg whites
1 container (12 oz) Betty CrockerWhipped vanilla frosting
1 cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries, if desired
Lemon peel strips, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with baking spray with flour. In small bowl, mix hot water and gelatin until gelatin is completely dissolved; cool slightly.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, 1/4 cup of the gelatin mixture, 1/4 cup of the lemonade concentrate, the water, oil, and egg whites with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Pour into pan. Reserve remaining gelatin mixture and lemonade concentrate.
3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Poke warm cake every inch with fork tines. Remove 1 tablespoon of the reserved gelatin mixture to microwavable custard cup or small bowl. In another small bowl, mix remaining gelatin mixture and remaining 1/4 cup lemonade concentrate; pour slowly over cake. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
4. In medium bowl, fold together frosting and whipped topping; frost cake. Microwave 1 tablespoon gelatin mixture uncovered on High 10 seconds to liquefy. Using 1/4 teaspoon measuring spoon, place small drops of gelatin mixture over frosting; with spoon or toothpick, swirl gelatin into frosting. Garnish each piece with raspberries and lemon peel strips. Store covered in refrigerator.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

Margarita Cake

Margarita cake offers the favorite sweet and salty combo with a crunchy pretzel crust.
Prep Time: 20 min
Total Time: 3 hours 0 min
Makes: 15 servings

1 1/2 cups coarsely crushed pretzels
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
1 1/4 cups bottled nonalcoholic margarita mix
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lime peel
3 egg whites
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Additional grated lime peel, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan with shortening and lightly flour (or spray bottom with baking spray with flour). In medium bowl, mix pretzels, sugar and butter. Sprinkle evenly on bottom of pan; press gently.
2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, margarita mix, oil, 1 tablespoon lime peel and the egg whites with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour batter over pretzel mixture.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until light golden brown and top springs back when touched lightly in center.
Cool completely, about 2 hours. Frost with whipped topping; sprinkle with additional lime peel.
Store covered in refrigerator.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): Heat oven to 375°F. Decrease oil to 1/4 cup; use 4 egg whites.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mimi's Cafe Carrot Raisin Bread √

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. In another bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, molasses, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Add shredded carrot and mix. Add raisins and walnuts and mix well by hand.

4. Pour flour mixture into the other ingredients and stir until combined.

5. Pour batter into two ungreased 8-inch loaf pans. Bake for 60 minutes, or until done.

Makes 2 loaves.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pumpkin Penne with Rosemary

Pumpkin Penne with Rosemary

Pumpkin Penne

This is a simple but yummy pasta dish for when you're just sick to death of tomato sauce or pesto. The sauce is mild and creamy, but has a slight kick in the back from the red pepper.

1 pound penne pasta

2 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary leaves (I use closer to 2 Tbsp)

1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree (fresh pumpkin or squah works too)

2 cups reserved pasta water (don't worry if you forget, just use regular water)

1/2 cup half & half (you can substitute heavy cream or evaporated milk)

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/3 cup grated Parmesan


Boil a pot of salted water and cook the penne until al dente. Drain pasta but reserve one cup of pasta water. Rinse pasta in cool water to stop the cooking and set aside.

In pasta pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add rosemary leaves and fry, stirring, until browned, 1-2 minutes. Remove from pot with slotted spoon and let the rosemary drain on a paper towel.

Now add the pumpkin puree to the pot. Careful, it will splatter. Add 1 cup of pasta water, half & half, garlic, Parmesan, vinegar & crushed red pepper. Stir sauce until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Add the drained pasta back to the pot and stir. You can add a bit more water to get the sauce to the consistency you want. Salt generously.

Garnish each serving with the fried rosemary or set it out in a small dish for people to garnish themselves. I also like to set out a small dish of more crushed red pepper flakes. Serve with a salad and some garlic bread.

Eat it up.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Pesto Butter

6 Deboned chicken breast halves

1/2 cup Fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

1/4 cup Grated parmesan cheese

1 clove Minced garlic

1/2 cup butter
1 eggs

3/4 cup breadcrumbs

Directions: In food processor combine basil, parmesan cheese, garlic and butter. Process until well combined. Cut a small slit in the side of the chicken breast with a boning knife, from that slit form a "pocket" in the chicken to stuff the butter into. (I just pound the chicken flat and roll the ingredients and use toothpicks to secure). Dip the chicken in the egg, dip them in the breadcrumbs. (I always need more egg and breadcrumbs). Place on pan to cook at 350F for about 35-45 minutes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Hot Fudge Sauce

hot fudge sauce

hot fudge sauce, bubbling gurgly, thick and shiny

hot fudge sauce

hot fudge sauce

Hot Fudge Sauce

This is a deep, dark fudgy bittersweet sauce that firms up on ice cream.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons corn syrup
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon rum (or other flavoring, such as a flavored liquer or vanilla extract)

Melt the chocolate and butter very slowly in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring frequently until combined. Meanwhile, heat the water to boiling in the small, heavy saucepan. When the butter and chocolate have melted, stir the mixture into the boiling water. Add the sugar, corn syrup and salt and mix until smooth. Turn the heat up and stir until mixture starts to boil; adjust heat so that sauce is just maintained at the boiling point, stirring occasionally. Allow sauce to boil for nine minutes.

Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in the rum and serve warm over ice cream.

Do ahead: Sauce can be easily and quickly reheated in the microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir and it will be shiny and even again.

Yields 2 1/2 cups


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bliss Layer Bars

Bliss Bars
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. granulated sugar
2 c. peanut butter
3 c. rice krispies
2-1/2 c. corn flakes
3/4 c. unsalted butter
4 c. powdered sugar
2 regular sized vanilla pudding mixes (instant)
milk (as needed)
1/2 c. butter
2-1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Over medium heat, heat the corn syrup and granulated sugar; bring to a soft boil, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately stir in the peanut butter . Stir until it is smooth and creamy:

Have both kinds of cereals mixed together in a large mixing bowl. Pour the warm peanut butter mixture over the cereal and mix it until it's well combined. All of the cereal should be coated. Press it into a cakepan, packing it down with the bottom of a spoon:

In a saucepan, melt 3/4 c. butter. Add to this the powdered sugar and vanilla pudding mixes. Stir well; it will be very thick. Slowly add bits of milk until the mixture is the consistency of frosting, mix well. Spread this over the cereal layer in the pan:

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the last portion of butter and chocolate chips. Heat for 1 minute. Stir well. Continue to heat in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until the mixture is smooth. Spread over the vanilla layer.

Cover tightly and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until chocolate is set. Cut into bars. These are extremely THICK bars.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pasta Carbonara con Pollo

Pasta Carbonara con Pollo - 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts - 4-6 oz. pancetta, chopped - 3/4 cup white onion, diced - 4 egg yolks - 1/2 cup heavy cream - 8 oz. grated parmesan cheese - 1 TBSP dried parsely - 3-5 TBSP olive oil, in all - fresh ground black pepper - large amount dried fettucine or linguine Heat a pot of water to boil the pasta. Cut the chicken into small chunks. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks, cream, 6 oz. of the parmesan, and the parsely. Set aside. Heat 3 TBSP of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the chicken, remove to a paper towel. In the same skillet brown the pancetta, remove to the paper towel. Add a little more olive oil to the skillet, then add the onion and cook for 3 minutes or until just starting to turn translucent. Return the chicken and the pancetta to the skillet and heat through. Add some cracked black pepper to the skillet. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain the pasta, return to the cooking pan, and then add the egg mixture. The residual heat from the pasta will cook the egg without scrambling it. Mix through then combine this pasta mixture to the chicken and pancetta mixture.



To hone your blade, rest the honing steel on a counter top, or better yet, your cutting board. Stand it straight up on its tip. Then rest the blade on one side of the steel at an angle of 23 degrees (see graphic). With a medium amount of pressure, arc your blade down and towards you 8 to 10 times. Now switch sides of the steel, and repeat the process. Each time you switch, cut the number of strokes in half until you reach one. Wipe the blade down with a cloth before using. No one likes metal shavings in their food.

Feta Cheese and Pine Nut Stuffed Pork Roast

  • 1 boneless pork loin (1.5-2 pounds)
  • Kosher Salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butterfly the roast by cutting down the center of the roast and stopping about a half-inch before you get all the way through. Spread the roast out flat on a plastic cutting board. Sprinkle the inside with salt. Make the stuffing by combining feta cheese, pine nuts, apples, and rosemary. Spread a thick layer of the stuffing on the "inside" of the pork roast. Press down to help it stick. Gently roll up the pork roast and tie off with butcher's twine. Using cooking spray, coat the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the roast in the pan and cook, uncovered, for about 1 hour 15 minutes. If the roast has a layer of fat, put the fat side up. It should crisp up golden brown when cooked. Start checking the internal temperature of the roast at about one hour. Pork must get to at least 140 degrees. Make sure thermometer goes into the pork and not into the stuffing. When finished remove from oven, and let sit for 10 minutes. Carefully cut away the twine and slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Cocoa Candied Pecans

Needing a quick dessert slash snack food this evening, I pulled this recipe out of my hat. It's way too easy to make, and it could be a great snack food for your super bowl party this weekend. The addition of cocoa powder gives this basic sugary pecan a heavenly twist.


  • 2 cups pecan halves and pieces
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 TBSP cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a long cookie sheet or baking pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl sift together the cocoa powder and sugar.

Put the pecans in a large colander or strainer and run it under cold water. Stir the pieces around to coat them well. Turn off water and shake off any excess. Transfer the pecans to a large bowl.

Slowly mix the sugar mixture into the pecans, turning them over constantly until the pecans are sticky or all the sugar mixture is gone. Transfer the pecans to the baking pan, using a spatula to spread them out.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring them about ever 3 minutes. Be careful not to let them get too dark as that will turn them bitter.

Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy.


Chocolate Chip Pecan Scones

Chocolate Chip Pecan Scone

I'm a sucker for scones. Based on the number of scones I've made and posted here, I'd say it is an unhealthy obsession. Well, I do have a passion for pastries and most things that are sweet and for breakfast. Here's my recipe for a decadent chocolate chip and pecan scone with a maple flavored icing.

The Scone:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 1/4 Tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 Tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

The Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-3 TBSP water
  • 1 Tsp. vanilla
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the butter and mash together with your finger tips until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Add the pecans and chocolate chips and stir through.

Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix until a soft dough forms. Dust a pastry board or your counter top with some flour and turn out the dough. Knead the dough about 10 times. Roll the dough out into a circle about 1/2 to 1/4 inch high. Using a pastry cutter or a knife, cut the dough into about 8-10 pieces. Place the pieces on the prepared cookie sheet and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl, add the powdered sugar. Slowly add the water while whisking until a smooth icing forms. Whisk in the syrup and vanilla.

After the scones have cooled, brush the icing over the top and sides of each scone.


Steak Au Poivre

It's a conundrum. A mystery. An enigma. This awesomely delicious and totally easy dish has a French name and French roots. Then again, so does Texas. Nonetheless, Steak au poivre is one of the most delicious ways to eat steak, and the methodology is simple.

Steak au poivre (pronounced [OH-PWAHHV]) is translated as Pepper Steak. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It is. The name comes from the use of cracked peppercorns directly on the underside of the steak as it cooks. Typically, the dish is accompanied by a pan sauce, which is made with the drippings, or fond, from cooking the steak.

Yes, I know that you probably think that steaks should only be cooked over a grill, but here's a big secret. Many steak restaurants do their steaks in pan, just like this.

I played a hunch when cooking this dish and added little bit of dried thyme to the pan sauce. It added a wonderfully bright flavor that complimented the cognac well.


  • 2 strip steaks about 1-inch thick
  • 3 TBSP Butter
  • salt & pepper (for seasoning the steak)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1 TBSP cracked black pepper
  • Pinch of thyme

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season your steaks with salt and cracked pepper. Be generous with the pepper. Add the butter to the skillet and wait for it to melt. Now sear the steaks on each side about 3-4 minutes, depending on how done you like your steak. Remove the steaks from the pan and tent with foil while you make the sauce.

Add the broth to the pan right away and begin stirring with a whisk to scrape off the fond stuck to the pan. Continue cooking until it reduces slightly. Now add the cognac and ignite with a lighter or match. Be careful not to burn yourself. You just want to burn off the alcohol fumes. After the flames extinguish, continue whisking and stirring until the sauce reduces by half. Add the cracked pepper, thyme, and half and half. Give it a quick whisk then sit back and let it reduce to a nice medium-thick sauce while stirring occasionally.

Taste before serving and adjust the flavor with salt. Serve over the steak.


Grilled Pineapple Spears with Brown Sugar Glaze

What a great way to cook pineapple and in such a simple recipe, too. Good desserts do not have to be complex cakes cookies or candies. Some are just simple fruit with a sweet glaze. The particular pineapple was peeled and cored right in front of us in the grocery store, so we knew it would have the ultimate in fresh flavor. The addition of lemon juice to the glaze adds a bright flavor.


  • One half pineapple, cut into long spears
  • 1 TBPS butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp. cinnamon, in all
  • lemon juice

Fire up the grill to medium heat. Before putting the pinapple down, sprinkle the spears with half of the cinnamon and a little bit of brown sugar. This will facilitate a sweetness and instant carmelization when they hit the grill.

In a small saucepan, heat the butter, brown sugar and the rest of the cinnamon. Heat until bubbly and the sugar is properly melted.

Grill the pineapple spears over direct heat about 2-3 minutes per side, turning occaisionally. Each time it turns, baste with a brush of glaze. When finished, plate up and drizzle a final amount of glaze on top.


Shallot Butter Bacon Sauce

I do believe this could be the most well-named and delicious sounding sauce ever contrived. The only way it could have been better and more appropriate is if it were called the Porky Pork Fat Fatty Porky Pork Pork Butter Cholesterol Sauce. But that might not sell as many copies.


  • 1/4 lb. peppered bacon
  • 1/4 cup shallots, diced
  • 1 Tbsp. chives, chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    In a heavy skillet, cook bacon until crisp. Remove from pan, reserving 1 Tbsp. of bacon grease; drain any remaining grease from the pan. Coarsely chop bacon; set aside.

    Return 1 Tbsp. bacon fat to skillet. Add shallots, chives, white wine, and white wine vinegar; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce liquid to 2 Tbsp. Add cream and bring to a boil. Whisk in butter until melted, add in chopped bacon and continue stirring until sauce is hot. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    Store sauce in refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat to serve. (

  • Bread Pudding Flan

    I really did not know how else to describe this other than "flan." They are cooked similarly to flan or custard, in small ramekin cups. But they require far less work in preparation than flan.


    • 6 slices white bread, staled
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 1/3 cup milk
    • 2TBSP strong coffee or espresso
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 Tsp. vanilla
    • 1 Tsp. cinnamon
    • 4 TBSP Butter in all
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 TBSP Brandy or Cognac

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a kettle of water to boiling. Slice up the stale bread into small cubes, about 3/4-inch thick. Set aside. Grease 4-6 ramekin dishes with some butter or shortening.

    In a medium sauce pan, heat the milk, coffee, and 2 tablespoons of the butter just to a simmer. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, white sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Add the bread cubes and toss to combine. Now add the milk mixture and turn gently to combine. Let the mixture set in this bowl for about 5 minutes for the bread to absorb the liquid.

    Ladle the mixture into small ramekins and place in a deep casserole or pan. Before putting the pan into the oven, pour in the hot water into the pan around the ramekins to go about 1/2 the way up the sides. Cook in the oven for about 40 minutes.

    Remove from oven, and remove ramekins from water bath. Let cool 15-20 minutes to set up completely.

    Make the brown sugar sauce by whisking the brown sugar, butter, and brandy over medium heat until the mixture simmers.

    Invert the ramekins over individual plates and let the flan fall away. Spoon the sauce over the top and serve.


    Hot Chops

    Since we've been spending a bit more time being choosy at the store, I have made it a mission to grab some less expensive cuts of meat from the store and try to make something great from them. These were four pork chops, bone-in, and there about $2.75 altogether. They were slightly thin, and a little bit fatty, but I had a idea that turned out great. HOT CHOP!


    • 3-4 thin cut pork chops
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP chili powder
    • 3-5 TBSP thai chili sauce
    • Drizzle of olive oil

    Mix together the brown sugar and chili powder in a bowl then liberally rub all over the chops. After that, rub on the chili sauce and olive oil to coat them well.

    Grill the chops over medium-high direct heat for about 2-3 minutes per side (depending on the thickness). And watch out ... they are spicy! :)


    Dr Pepper Sauced Boneless Wings

    Boneless buffalo wings are pretty much just chicken nuggets covered in sauce. But I don't care about that. The taste good anyway! I was inspired to make this recipe after eating at a local chicken wing joint the wife last weekend. It turned out very nice and I highly recommend it. :)


    • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into nugget sized pieces
    • 3/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 Tsp salt
    • 1/2 Tsp. pepper
    • 1/4 Tsp. garlic powder
    • 1 can Dr. pepper
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 1/2 Tsp. Tabasco sauce
    • 2 TBSP butter
    • Oil for frying

    Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss the chicken in the flour mixture, coating completely. Put the coated chicken in the fridge for at least 1 hour. This will help the coating adhere to the chicken during frying.

    Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the can of Dr. Pepper to a boil, reduce heat and simmer briskly until reduced to about 1/8th the amount. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, Tabasco and butter and simmer until a nice thick sauce. Set aside.

    Heat the oil to 350 degrees. Remove the chicken from the fridge and fry in the oil until golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. when all chicken is cooked, toss in the sauce until completely coated.

    Serve and enjoy.


    Saturday, January 31, 2009

    Butterfinger Brownies

    Melted butterfingers within...

    2¼ cups


    1 tsp

    baking powder

    ¼ tsp


    ¾ cup

    butter, softened

    2¼ cups

    brown sugar

    3 large


    1½ tsp

    vanilla extract

    4 regular-sized

    butterfinger candy bars, crushed


    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan.


    In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.


    In a medium bowl, with electric mixer at medium speed, combine butter and brown sugar.


    Beat in eggs and vanilla until smooth.


    Stir in flour mixture and 1 cup of crushed butterfingers.


    Spread in prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining crushed butterfinger bars over top of batter.


    Bake 30- 35 minutes, or until the bars are a bit firm to the touch. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

    Servings: 12

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    Coffee House Scones

    2 cups (280 grams) all purpose flour

    1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon baking soda

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup (113 grams) (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces ***I used marg***

    2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk *** I used milk w/ vinegar added***

    Egg mixture for brushing tops of scones:

    1 large egg, lightly beaten

    1 tablespoon milk

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and place rack in middle of oven. Stack two baking sheets together and line the top baking sheet with parchment paper. (This prevents the bottoms of the scones from over browning during baking.)

    In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.

    Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches (18 cm) round and about 11/2 inches (3.75 cm) thick. Cut this circle in half, then cut each half into 3 pie-shaped wedges (triangles). Place the scones on the baking sheet. Make an egg wash of one well-beaten egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk and brush the tops of the scones with this mixture.

    Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and then turn your broiler on high. Sift confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar heavily over the tops of the scones and place them under the broiler. Broil for just a few seconds, turning the pan as necessary, until the sugar has melted and turns golden brown.

    Make sure to watch the scones carefully as the sugar will burn very quickly.

    Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

    Makes 6 scones.

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Hot Spinach Dip

    Makes 3 cups

    • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 pounds spinach, cleaned, trimmed, and coarsely chopped
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 6 ounces reduced-fat bar cream cheese
    • 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
    • 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco
    • 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • Baguette slices, breadsticks, or crackers, for serving


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes.
    2. Add spinach in two additions, letting the first batch wilt before adding the next; cook until completely wilted, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a colander; drain, pressing to release all excess liquid.
    3. In the same pot, warm milk over high heat. Whisk in cream cheese until melted, about 3 minutes. Add spinach, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1/4 cup mozzarella; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a lightly oiled 1 1/2-quart shallow baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
    4. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with accompaniments, as desired.

    Cheesecake Brownies

    Cheesecake Brownies

    Cream cheese may be substituted for mascarpone; the topping will be dense and tangy, instead of mellow and creamy. If using cream cheese, reduce baking time by 10 minutes.


    Makes about 5 dozen

    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
    • 5 large eggs
    • 2 large egg yolks
    • 1 1/3 cups sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    • 1 pound mascarpone cheese


    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, and line with parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In the top of a barely simmering double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter. Remove from heat.
    2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together 3 eggs and 1 cup sugar on high speed until thick and fluffy, about 5 minutes. On low speed, add reserved chocolate mixture and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. When combined, add flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. Set aside.
    3. In the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together mascarpone cheese, remaining eggs and yolks, remaining sugar, and remaining vanilla on medium speed, until smooth. Pour over chocolate mixture. Bake until cheese mixture is golden and set, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into about sixty 1-by-1 1/2-inch pieces.

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    Moon Cake

    Moon Cake

    1/2 c. butter
    1 c. flour
    1 c. water
    4 eggs, lightly beaten
    1/4 t. salt


    3-3 oz. pkgs. instant French vanilla pudding
    8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    3 c. cold milk
    cool whip or whipping cream
    chocolate syrup (I use Hershey's)

    In a medium saucepan, melt the butter; add the water, salt and flour. Mix well and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. This takes a few minutes. Remove from heat and mix in the eggs until well incorporated. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

    Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until slightly golden brown. When it's done, it will look like the surface of the moon, hence the name:

    Let this cool completely before making the filling.

    For the filling
    , mix together the pudding and cream cheese in an electric mixer until creamy. Add the cold milk (make sure you don't add the milk until after the cream cheese is creamy or it will form lumps!) and beat well. Pour this over the cool cake crust.

    Refrigerate for a few hours for best results.

    Top with a carton of Cool Whip or hand beaten whipped cream. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.