September 26, 2012

Seared Cod with Chive Butter Sauce

We've had a pretty uneventful week here so far, not much to report I'm sorry to say.  October is always one of our busiest month however so I'm just soaking up the free time I have right now. 

Is that true for everyone? Does your fall seem to be super busy? 

Gearing up for this busy time means my meal planning has sort of kicked in.  I hate not knowing what we're having for dinner and then just winging it but that seems to be the way we've been surviving lately.  Well, today is the day I plan out my meals for the next two weeks and I think I'll keep this Cod recipe in the rotation.  

First thing you need to do is get the fish to release some of it's moisture.  Season and then put through the assembly line of egg and panko bread crumbs - but only on one side. 

In a saucepan you will start to infuse some wine with onion, garlic and thyme.

Sear the breaded side of the fish before moving it to the oven.

While the fish is cooking your sauce should be coming along also.  Hopefully they are finished at the same time, but my sauce took a little longer then my fish did.

If you have any great fish recipes, please share. :)

Seared Cod
Recipe found at Food Network by Aaron McCargo Jr.

  • 4 (6 oz) cod fillets
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs for egg wash
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the fish fillets on a cookie sheet or a cooling rack so they can release some of their juices.
  3. Use two shallow dishes, one for two beaten eggs and one for Panko bread crumbs. Salt and Pepper both sides of the fish and then brush the egg mixture over the belly side of the fish. One side only. Then place the egg brushed side into the Panko bread crumbs. Heat a large oven proof pan over high heat with the grapeseed oil. When the pan is very hot, add the fish Panko side down. Sear the fish, when all the fish is nicely seared transfer the pan to the hot oven to finish cooking (about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Remove the fish from the oven and flip it over. Add the lemon juice, butter and thyme and baste the fish. Top with the chive butter sauce and serve.

Chive Butter Sauce

  • 2 cups white wine (Chardonnay)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 shallot sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp cold butter
  • 3 Tbsp chives, chopped
  • freshly cracked black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. In saucepan, add wine, sprigs of thyme, shallot and garlic. Set on back burner to allow the wine to reduce. Once the sauce is reduced to a syrup, strain and add the heavy cream, and lemon juice and bring to a slight simmer.
  2. Whisk in cold butter and once melted add the fresh chives and season with black pepper.

September 21, 2012

Fig, Applesauce and Almond Bread

This is now the third time I've made this bread.  I love it.   I even managed to screw up the recipe the first time I made it and I still loved it.  If you like figs and almonds you gotta try this bread.  

There seem to be a lot of ingredients but they are totally worth it.  I'm always astonished when I make this because it never seems like there is enough flour.  I guess that's a good thing.  I love how moist and flavorful this is.  The figs are a must in here because they add sweetness, texture and appearance. 

 This recipe makes two loaves.  You should freeze one for later.

When you're chopping the figs before adding them to the recipe make sure to keep them sort of large.  They are so pretty when you cut into them inside the bread.

I just mean no finely diced figs.

You know what I mean. :)

If you've got an hour today you should totally make this.  You'll be so glad you did when you wake up and have breakfast already made and ready for you.  It is also wonderful to take on trips and snack on because it it's really good all on it's own.


Fig, Applesauce and Almond Bread
Recipe found at My Recipes

  • 1 cup dried figs
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup plain, fat free yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the figs and boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Coat two 8 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and dust with 1 Tbsp flour.
  4. In a small bowl add the egg and egg whites and whisk. Add the applesauce, oil, yogurt and almond extract and stir well. Add the sugar and stir well.
  5. Weigh or measure out both flours and place in a large bowl. Whisk in the remaining ingredients.
  6. Drain the figs and chop them coarsely.
  7. Add the figs and applesauce mixture into the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Sprinkle the tops with the streusel mixture and bake for 55 minutes. Let cool on wire racks for 15 minutes before removing the loafs from the pan. Let the loafs cool completely on wire racks before cutting.

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped almonds
  • 1 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Cooking Directions
  1. in a small bowl, mix all the ingredients together using a pastry cutter or a fork. Mix until the ingredients are crumbly. Set aside.

September 20, 2012

Dinner Club - Theme: Drinks for Dinner

July's dinner club was hosted by Wendy, one of our newest neighbors.  This was the first time she's hosted a party and she was a little bit nervous.  She had no room to be nervous especially when she chose "drinks for dinner" as her theme.  Everyone had such a good time and she was a great host.

We all had fun trying different drinks and shots.  Wendy had some great recipes and I hope I can get them posted here just in case you decide to have drinks for dinner one night too. :)

Lisa F made this yummy smoothie.  I'm a fan of any blended fruit drink so this was right up my ally.

Vodka Smoothie

6 oz vodka
18 oz orange juice
1 cup frozen strawberries
4 scoops orange sorbet
1 cup crushed ice

Blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Brie Dip brought by Shannon.  I am totally in love with this dip, in fact I woke up wishing I had some for breakfast.  Sad but true.  Three magical ingredients.  Highly recommended for any gathering (or sitting by yourself with a good movie).  Must try.  Please.  Seriously.

Brie Dip

8 oz cream cheese
8 oz Brie
8 oz butter

Microwave in intervals until smooth and keep warm in a fondue pot or over a flame.

 Spinach Artichoke Dip

Posted about here and brought by yours truly

I have never made a spinach artichoke dip before but I love artichokes and have eaten many different varieties of this dip.  I thought this one was good but I'm still on a mission to find the perfect one for me.  I had a delicious one several years ago while I was visiting my family in Montana and I've never been able to find another one like it.  I won't give up until I do.

 Frozen Vodka Slushy

I posted about this drink here

I drank this all night after sampling all the other drinks.  This has everything I look for in a good drink.  You cannot taste the alcohol at all which is key for me. It tasted like tropical fruit punch with a slight fizz from the sprite.  I love this drink.  Oh, and as a bonus this recipe makes a large amount so I've got lots in the freezer that I'm sure will last me all summer long. I just need to stock up on Spite or 7up for emergencies. Oh, and I also tried this recipe using a lime flavored sparkling water instead of Spite or 7up and loved it just as much.  For days when you want something a little less sweet. :)

Sliders brought by Heather.  I love how she brought them pre-made with condiments on the side and surrounded by yellow grape tomatoes.  The condiments she included were ketchup, mayo, mustard and pickles.  Yum, they were delish!  I'm not including a recipe here because there wasn't any unusual ingredients.  Simply patty up some ground beef and cook to your liking.  They even sell little slider rolls now, isn't that convenient?

TiNeill brought these cookies and they were a hit.  Everyone kept asking her for the recipe.  They were soft yet plump and full of flavor.  TiNeill is a great cook and we love it when she can attend our dinners, she always has great contributions.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 Cup salted butter, softened
3/4 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup white sugar
1 (3.5 oz) package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 (12 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Add pudding mix, eggs, and vanilla. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda; add to creamed mixture and mix well.
 Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 min.

*the key is to cook them until they are barley brown, take them out and let them sit on the baking sheet for a few min, then remove to completely cool. 

3/1/2013 - I just made these cookies and decided to put a little better picture.  They were awesome!  Highly recommend these cookies.

Jennifer brought two yummy items.  One was her delicious Onion Tartlets and the other was Maggiano's Signature Apertif.

Thanks Jennifer for coming to dinner club, your contributions were wonderful!

Spicy Onion Tartlets

2 medium-large sweet onions, like Vidalia, cut into very thin wedges (about 1 3/4 lbs )
2 tbsp low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/2 -3/4 tsp hot paprika (preferably Hungarian)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coarsely grated reduced fat Gruyère or Jarlsburg cheese
2 (2.1ounce) packages frozen mini phyllo pastry shells.

To prepare the filling, spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat. Add the onions, cover, and cook until they are tender and have released their liquid, 10-12 minutes. Uncover and cook until onions are golden, 30 minutes. Stir in the broth, paprika, and salt; cook until the broth has evaporated and the onions are very tender, 3-4 minutes more. (You should have approximately 2 3/4 cups.) Cool 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Stir the Gruyère into the cooled filling. Place the pastry shells on a baking sheet; spoon a level 1 1/2 tsp of filling into each shell. Bake until the pastry is lightly crisped and the filling is hot, 6-8 minutes. Serve at once.

Maggiano's Signature Apirtif

1 ounce gin
1 ounce X-Rated Passion Fruit Liqueur
1/2 ounce Campari
Sour mix

Shake the gin, liqueur, and Capari. Pour into an ice filled low-ball glass. Fill with sour mix to taste.

September 18, 2012

Lemon Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Summer is on it's way out (finally). We got home from our vacation in Massachusetts yesterday and now it's laundry, cleaning house and all that other fun stuff.  We had such a great time visiting my husbands side of the family.  It's just beginning to turn fall up there, the leaves are just beginning to change and there is a crispness to the air.  We made our way up to Maine for a day trip and we went to see my brother in-law on the Cape where we watched a Patriot's game (which we won't talk about).  It's such a relief that I get along so well with my husbands family especially when I hear such awful stories about some people's in-laws.  I'm a lucky girl!

I wanted to get this recipe posted before summer was completely gone.  I really enjoyed this cake, it wasn't too lemony, just the perfect amount of flavor. It's hard to tell from the horrible picture above but it was a beautiful yellow color.

I wasn't sure how lemony the cake was going to be so I didn't want to make a lemon frosting for fear that it would be too much. I think this combination was perfect for what I was looking for.  I can always count on Martha Stewart to come through for me!

Lemon Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unsalted at room temperature plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9" round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients. This includes the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer add the butter and the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk but just mix until it comes together. Do not over mix.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and level the tops.
  5. Bake for 32-35 minutes. The edges of the cakes should be pulling away from the sides. Let cool for 10 minutes and then run a knife around the edges and let the cakes cool on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp table salt (I omitted this)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp milk or heavy cream - you might not need all this
Cooking Directions
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and then slowly add the confectioners sugar on low speed. Add the vanilla and milk and mix until smooth. I didn't use the salt and it tasted great.
  2. **I also doubled the recipe because it wasn't enough to frost the entire cake. I had some leftover however.**

September 12, 2012

Hershey's Brickle Drop Cookies


My husband and I are sitting here at my sister-law's house in Massachusetts this morning.  My daughter is running around here making a mess of her house and avoiding eating her breakfast.  Pretty typical morning.  I asked my hubby to write this post for me just to shake things up a little.  Everyone, meet Dave.  Dave, this is everyone:

Hi Everyone.  I have been recruited to write a post about the Brickle Cookies.  They taste great, are soft and are a great change-up from the chocolate chip cookies that are typically my favorite.  Great with a nice big glass of colllldddd Milk. 

Thanks Dave.  I can say that he did seem to enjoy them while he was watching some football.  The thing I loved most about this cookie was the texture.  As you know, I'm a chewy cookie kind of girl and these cookies are just that.  They also stay chewy for several days which makes me very happy.
Dave is right, it was a great change of from some of the chocolate varieties we love so much. 

If any of you are familiar with McAlister Deli's like we have down South you might have tried a cookies like this at their locations. 

Totally yummy, great for picnic's since there isn't anything that will melt in the heat.

You can find this recipe on the back of the Hershey's Heath Toffee Bit's bag.

Hershey's Brickle Drop Cookies

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 1/3 cups (1 bag) Heath Bits 'O Brickle Toffee Bits
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the remaining wet ingredients. In a separate bowl add the dry ingredients and whisk. Slowly add the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients until combined. Add the Toffee Bits and stir to combine.
  3. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 8-10 minutes. Mine only took 9 minutes.
  4. Cool slightly and move to a wire rack. Cool completely.

September 10, 2012

Honey Molasses Wheat Bread

Fall always makes me think of homemade bread.  Probably because it's actually starting to get bearable to turn on the oven again. Yay for Fall!

I'm on a quest to find the perfect wheat sandwich bread recipe so occasionally I attempt a new recipe.  I was looking for a recipe that incorporated molasses this time because I thought that it would really enhance the wheat flavor.  This bread recipe has a lot of unexpected additions like wheat cereal and oats and it wasn't difficult to make.  Well it is time intensive as are all yeast bread recipes but if you have some time to kill why not make homemade bread?

Yeast mixture

The addition of oats

Wheat Germ

Wheat flour

Bran cereal - I was using what I had on hand...

Before the first rise cycle

After the first rise cycle

Cut in half and let rest for 10 minutes.

Form into loaves and let rise again.


Butter or jam and eat - while warm if possible. I would go ahead and freeze the other loaf right away unless you feel you can eat through both fairly quickly.

Honey Molasses Wheat Bread

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup whole bran cereal
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 1/2 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small bowl, mix the water, honey, molasses and yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes while it becomes foamy.
  2. Transfer the yeast mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and add the milk powder, eggs, oil and salt. Mix together. Next add the oats, wheat germ and bran cereal. When combined, add the wheat flour and as much AP flour that forms a stiff dough.
  3. On a well floured surface knead the dough for about 8 minutes adding more AP flour as needed.
  4. Place the dough in a bowl and cover, let rise until doubled in size.
  5. Once doubled in size, cut the dough in half and let rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Shape the dough into two loaves and place them in well greased 8x4x2 loaf pans. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size.
  7. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

September 6, 2012


It's almost the weekend.  Yippee!  Well does anyone have any big plans?  These gas prices are crazy aren't they? Hopefully you're not driving anywhere too far.

We have a pretty busy week coming up so I'll try to keep up on posts but don't yell at me too much if I slack a little OK?

One of the things I've been meaning to make for quite a while is hummus.  I know it's totally easy to make but for some reason I just never get around to actually doing it.  Until now.  I knew the chef who would give me a winner recipe and I was right.  Ina Garten, she's a genius you know.

I wasn't under the illusion that my daughter was going to eat this because it's got raw garlic and hot sauce in the recipe but I knew that is exactly what would appeal to my husband and I.  Now that I know how easy this is to make I can branch out and experiment with other flavors too.  Maybe one of them will get my daughter interested.

This recipe came together in like 5 minutes.  Seriously.  It's so quick and full of flavor.  There are about a million different ways to make it but this one is a nice simple one that appeals to a lot of people.  The hot sauce it's so prominent that someone who doesn't like spicy food shouldn't try it.  You can't really taste the "heat" at all.  You do get this wonderful red color from it however.

I would say the flavor is garlic with some vinegar tones (from the hot sauce) with the wonderful texture from the chickpeas.  You've got to give this a try for your next party!

From Ina Garten

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained with the liquid reserved
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 6 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp water or liquid reserved from the cans of chickpeas
  • 8 dashes hot sauce
Cooking Directions
  1. Turn on your food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube. Add the remaining ingredients and process until coarsely pureed. Season to taste and serve chilled or room temperature.

September 4, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert

OK last week I distinctly remember saying I felt Fall in the air, this week not so much.  We've been dealing with the effects of a hurricane gone tropical storm which turned into just rain.  With it has come some serious humidity.  I'm so looking forward to some cool crisp air.  Oh well I guess I'll just keep dreaming about it for another month or so.

I made this quite a while ago and was surprised when I found it still in my draft folder.  This dessert is way too good not to share.

Classic peanut butter and chocolate flavors and the added creaminess of both layers makes it that much more irresistible.  I ended up freezing mine but it was just as delicious when it thawed.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and this might make a perfect addition to the dessert table. Just sayin.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Dessert
From 2008 Taste of Home Prize Winning Recipes page 136 by Debbie Price

  • 20 cream filled chocolate sandwich cookies, divided
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 pkg (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar, divided
  • 1 carton (16 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided
  • 15 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 pkg (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
Cooking Directions
  1. Crush 16 cookies and toss with butter. Spread evenly into an ungreased 9 inch square dish.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and 1 cup of confectioners sugar until smooth. Fold in half of the whipped topping and then spread over the crust. Top with the chopped peanut butter cups.
  3. In another bowl, mix the milk, pudding mix and remaining confectioners sugar for 2 minutes on low speed. Fold in the remaining whipped topping and then spread it over the chopped peanut butter cups. Crush the remaining cookies over the top, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.