June 29, 2012

Spanish Cod

I've been pretty busy lately; I was finishing up my last week at my job that I've been at for 5 years.  It was time for me to leave an spend some quality time with my little girl before she heads off to school next year.  So, I'm basically saying I'll have a lot more time to devote to cooking and baking.  Hopefully that benefits us all!

I have to tell ya, this is one of my favorite fish recipes so far.  I love how Mediterranean it is.  So many flavors that I love.  I read some of the reviews and some people replaced the marinated vegetables with artichoke hearts which also sounds delicious.  

In a constant search for low carb recipes this one fits the bill.  My husband really liked it; in fact he's just coming around to fish in general so I wasn't sure how he'd like all these flavors but he gobbled it up.  My daughter, not so much.  But she doesn't like anything so she doesn't count. 

This recipe is pretty simple.  You just sauté the onion in some oil and butter.  Then add garlic. Now start dumping in the rest of the ingredients (minus the fish) to make a sauce.

Add the fish - I cut mine smaller than the recipe asks for, I'm a rebel like that.

Cook for a short time, till the fish is flaky.

Eat.  Tis good. 

Spanish Cod
Found at allrecipes.com

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 1/4 cup deli marinated Italian vegetable salad, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash paprika
  • 6 (4 ounce) fillets cod fillets

In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly tender.  Add tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes and simmer.  Stir in the green olives and marinated vegetables and season with both peppers and the paprika. 

Add the fillets to the sauce and cook over medium heat for about 5-8 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. 

June 26, 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

Wow, what a busy week I had last week.  A big event at my job, some parties to attend, a Tim McGraw/Kenny Chesney concert on Sunday.  I'm beat!  Did I mention this is my last week at my job also?  Well it is.  I'm going to stay home with my little girl and be a mommy.  That's quite the change for me, I've worked since I was 14 so this new step is a little scary for me.  The plus side is that I'll get to keep up on this blog much better than I have lately.  I'll also get to start making a meal plan which has been on my to-do list for way too long.  I usually run home and just throw something together so we can eat at a reasonable hour before the night time rush of bath's and bedtime.  I'm really looking forward to this change.

Along those lines comes this ice cream.  My daughter basically likes all ice cream so if I could figure out how to make broccoli ice cream I might be onto something. Just kidding, that sounds gross.  She's been asking for strawberry ice cream lately because I've been bringing home all these wonderful strawberries for us to snack on.  I finally gave in (she really had to twist my arm)!  She loved helping me make the custard for this ice cream and she also loved giving it a taste test once it was in the ice cream maker and starting to freeze.  She's a great help.

First off, you need to wash your berries.

Hull them and put them into a food processor.

Process with several small pulses.  You want it to have some chunks but be mostly ground up. This looks perfect.

Now start making your custard.

Strain the custard to remove any cooked egg pieces.

Add in the strawberry mixture.

Stir and refrigerate overnight.

Process in your ice cream maker for about 20-25 minutes and then move to a container you can freeze it in.  Let harden before scooping, or eat it as soft serve out of the ice cream maker.

I love the flavor of this ice cream.  You can really taste the fresh strawberry taste and it's creaminess makes it unbeatable.  I recommend you let sit on your counter for a few minutes before scooping as it did get pretty hard in the refrigerator.


Strawberry Ice Cream
Found at Brown Eyed Baker

1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced.  (32 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup whole milk (I used 1%)
pinch of salt
1 whole vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Wash and hull your berries, then place in a food processor with 1/4 c of the sugar and the lemon juice and pulse several times until most of the berries are broken up but there are still chunks left.  Transfer to a dish and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Start the base by adding 1 cup of the cream to a medium saucepan, add the milk, the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and the salt.  Warm the cream mixture and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Once warm you can turn off the heat and add the vanilla bean.  Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.

Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream in a bowl and place a strainer on top of the bowl.  Set aside.  In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg yolks.  Add some of the hot cream mixture from the stove to the egg yolks a little at a time to temper the eggs.  When you've added about 1 cup of the warm cream mixture to the eggs and whisked thoroughly you can then pour the egg/cream mixture back into the rest of the warm cream that is still in the sauce pan.

Turn the heat back on under the saucepan and warm the egg/cream mixture using a spatula to stir and scrape the bottom. Cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of the spatula.  The temperature should be 170 degrees.  Pour the heated cream mixture through the mesh strainer into the remaining heavy cream.  Use your spatula to push the mixture through the strainer.  Pour in the chilled strawberry mixture and mix to combine.  Chill the mixture in an ice bath and then refrigerate overnight in a covered container.

When chilled, remove the vanilla bean and run the mixture through your ice cream maker for about 20-25 minutes. Freeze until hard.

June 20, 2012

Blueberry Scones

I've got a really big event on Thursday at my office and I've been pretty stressed out about it.  This doesn't have much to do with scones does it.  Well, two co-workers from other markets are coming to help me with this event.  So I made them breakfast.  I'm hoping that these scones will be so good that if the event is a total flop they'll really only remember the wonderful homemade scones with blueberries right out of my garden that they got.   Do you think my plan will work? I'm not sure either. The other reason I made scones is because baking is a stress relief for me.  So yeah, I have selfish reasons for making them too. Whatever. 

This recipe was easy and came together very quickly.  I think start to finish I was done in 30 minutes.

Form the dough into a 6 inch square and then cut in quarters and then cut those quarters into halves.

Coat the tops with heavy cream and then sprinkle with sugar and bake.

When golden brown they are done.  These scones made my whole house smell like blueberries.  Yum, I can't wait to see if my co-workers like them!

Blueberry Scones
Recipe from Martha Stewart

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing tops
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add the cold butter cut into cubes and then use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until pea sized pieces form.  Pour in the blueberries and lemon zest. 

In a separate cup combine the cream and eggs and beat slightly to break up the eggs.  

Pour the cream/egg mixture into the flour mixture and use a fork to blend until it just comes together and is moist. 

Dump the dough onto a floured surface and using your hands, shape into a 6 inch square.  Cut the square in quarters using a floured knife.  Cut each 1/4 in half diagonally and place on the prepared cookie sheet. 

Coat the tops of the scones with some cream and then sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. 

Transfer to wire wracks to cool. 

June 18, 2012

My backyard

Lots of things happening in our backyard this time of year.  We've already gotten several plum tomatoes and I'm dying for the heirloom's to be ready.

Three caterpillars made their homes on my dill plant. My dill will never be the same.

Flowers of all kinds bursting open.

I'm glad this year hasn't been as hot as last year.  I haven't had to barricade myself in my house with the A/C cranked up yet, but I know it's imminent.

What interesting things do you have in your backyard?

June 13, 2012

Pepperoncini Shrimp

Lookie what we had for dinner last night! I have to say that I'm a big fan of this recipe. I love pepperoncini's so when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. My husband has recently started a pretty strict diet and can't eat very many carbohydrates so this recipe was perfect. 

I didn't have 48 large shrimp like this recipe calls for but I didn't change anything and it still turned out fantastic.  The recipe below is just as it's written.

Start by making the pepperoncini oil.  Lot's of flavor in this oil.  You could use the leftover oil in a dressing if you wanted to.

Coat the shrimp in the oil before cooking. Add the coated shrimp to a skillet and cook on each side (for about 2 minutes on each side) until they turn pink.  Don't overcook, you don't want rubbery shrimp.

After cooking; add the cooked shrimp back in the bowl with the leftover pepperoncini oil to coat again.

I thought the flavor was perfect, it didn't overpower the taste of the shrimp but still have it a nice little tang. This would even be good served over a salad.  Try it and let me know what you think!

Pepperoncini Shrimp
Found in Giada De Laurentiis Cookbook "Giada's Family Dinners"

48 large shrimp
4 tsp pepperoncini oil (recipe below)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix 4 tsp of pepperoncini oil with the uncooked shrimp in a medium sized bowl.  When covered with oil, place the shrimp in a skillet over high heat.  Cook for about 2 minutes on each side.  When pink, remove the shrimp from the pan and place back in the bowl with the leftover oil and coat again before serving. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pepperoncini Oil
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped pepperoncini
1 Tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium skillet over medium heat add the oil, pepperoncini and garlic.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the oil is aromatic.  Season with salt and pepper and let cool to room temperature.

June 11, 2012

Sour Cream Turkey Turnovers

I made these quite a while ago and absolutely loved it, but it got buried in my draft folder and never made it to my blog...until now. 

I love bite sized food, I'm a huge appetizer fan and these fall into that category for me.  The bite that the sour cream brings to the crust and the filling is delicious. The possibilities to change this up to your liking are limitless. 

Start by making the dough ahead of time, it takes time for it to chill before you use it.

Brown the turkey, onion and carrot.

Prepare the dough by rolling it out onto a floured surface and use a biscuit cutter to make the circles.

Add the sour cream and spices.

Use a teaspoon to place a small amount of filling on one half of the circle.

Fold over the edges and crimp shut with a fork.  Use the egg wash to coat the top for a nice golden brown finish.

Bake until golden brown.

These little turnovers were good straight from the refrigerator.  I'm pretty sure I polished off most of the leftovers this way.

Sour Cream and Turkey Turnovers
Modified slightly from Elva Kelly's recipe found in "The Best of Country Cooking 2011" by Taste of Home page 6

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sour cream
1 egg yolk

1 pound ground Turkey (original recipe calls for 3/4 lb. ground beef)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1 egg
2 tsp water
In a bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Cut in the shortening until it's crumbly.  Add the sour cream and egg yolk and stir until just moistened.  Shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. 

In a large skillet, combine the turkey, onion and carrots and cook over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink.  Drain if there is any liquid. Stir in the sour cream, salt, oregano and pepper. 

Roll the dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut the dough with a floured 3 inch round cutter.  Place a rounded tsp of meat mixture on one side of the circle and then fold the edges of dough over the filling.  Press the edges shut with a fork to seal.  Prick the tops of the dough pouch so the steam can escape.  Re-roll the dough scraps and repeat. 

Put the dough pockets on a greased baking sheet.  Beat the egg with water and brush over the turnovers.  Bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. 

June 7, 2012

Lemon Meringue Cookies

Our most recent dinner club on our street was Puerto Rican and boy was it good.  I'm not sure I've ever had an entire Puerto Rican dinner before but I will again for sure.  In my feeble attempts to find something to make I stumbled on this recipe and it looked like a fun one to try.  I know that there isn't usually a lot involved when making meringue cookies so this seemed like a good option; that and I was limited on time. 

Meringue is basically egg whites and sugar whipped up with a couple other ingredients until they it turns glossy and beautiful.  Then you dollop some onto a cookie sheet and bake them low and slow until they dry out on the outside and stay chewy on the inside. 

These cookies have the nice little addition of lemon zest which I thought would pair nicely with the main courses that were being offered.

There are some nice benefits to Meringue's.  I've listed them here for your convenience.

1. There are only 5 ingredients
2. They are gluten free
3. As cookies go, they are lower in fat then most.
4. Versatile, you can add chocolate chips or other yummies instead of lemon zest if you want.
5. Easy
6. If left plain they follow almost any meal.
Found at "allrecipes.com" from Puerto Rico

4 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of your stand mixer using the whisk attachment; whip the egg whites, salt and cream of tarter until have become white and fluffy with stiff peaks.  Slowly add the sugar while whisking and watch the mixture turn nice and glossy.  Turn off the mixer and carefully fold in the lemon zest. 

Take a medium cookie scoop or a tablespoon and dollop the mixture on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.  These cookies won't expand at all so you can get them fairly close to one another, like an inch apart.

Cook for 35 minutes, let cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.

June 5, 2012

Mallow Cookie Sandwiches

Smores actually.  Yes, I know they look delicious.  They were.  They aren't called that on the Martha Stewart website but that's what they are.  Martha did them slightly differently so you should check out her link below.  You don't toast the marshmallows but you could. I did mine slightly differently then Martha Stewart but I think they were delicious and so did everyone else.  

If you're intimidated by making your own marshmallows then this is a great time to overcome that fear. The fact is, making marshmallows is pretty simple.  I do recommend getting a candy thermometer if you don't have one already. I'll walk you through it. 

Put 1/3 cup of cold water in the bowl of your stand mixer.  pour two pouches of unflavored powdered gelatin on top.  Knox is the brand that I used.

On the stove you're going to heat up the sugar, Karo Syrup and water.  Cook to the correct temperature. Now slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl that the gelatin is in, with the mixer on low using the whisk attachment.

Slowly increase speed until it's on high. Whisk until tripled in size.

Pour into the prepared dish.  I used a 9x13 inch dish but you could also use a 9x9 if you want thicker marshmallows. Let sit for 2 or 3 hours.  Lift the marshmallows out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment paper.  Sprinkle the tops with confectioners sugar and spread around. Then using a knife dipped in confectioners sugar cut the marshmallows in equal sized squares. Roll each square around in more confectioners sugar so they are not sticky anymore.

Melt some chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet) in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Place a dollop of chocolate on the bottom graham cracker.

Then the marshmallow.

Then the top graham cracker that also has a dollop of chocolate.

I drizzled the remaining chocolate over the tops.

Refrigerate so the chocolate hardens.

Mallow Sandwich Cookies
Martha Stewart Recipe found here

2/3 cups water, divided
2 packages gelatin, unflavored
1/8 tsp course salt
1 1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Powdered sugar for coating
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
1 box store bought graham crackers

Spray a 9x13 or a 9x9 inch dish with cooking spray.  Place parchment paper on the cooking spray so that the dish is completely lined.  Set aside.

To prepare the marshmallows, begin by placing 1/3 cup of water in the bowl of  your stand mixer. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top and let sit for about 5 minutes.

In a medium or large saucepan add the sugar, corn syrup and the remaining water and bring up to 238 degrees on your candy thermometer.  Using he whisk attachment and with the mixer on low begin mixing the gelatin and then slowly pour the syrup down the sides of the bowl with the gelatin.  After all the syrup has been added, slowly turn of the speed of the mixer until it's on high.  Whisk until the mixture has tripled in volume and then add the vanilla.  Mix well and then pour into the prepared dish and let set for at least 2 hours.

After the marshmallows have set for at least 2 hours, coat the top with confectioners sugar.  Using a knife dipped in confectioners sugar, cut into squares. Roll each square in more confectioners sugar so all sides are covered and the marshmallows are no longer tacky.

Use a double boiler to melt a bag of chocolate chips.  Take a teaspoon and dollop on the bottom of a graham cracker square.  Top the chocolate with a marshmallow and use another chocolate dolloped graham cracker to sandwich the marshmallow. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.  This will keep the chocolate from being too messy.