Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quick & Easy Apple Tart

1 sheet puffed pastry, cut into half OR thirds
3 to 4 apples, cored, halved, and sliced (but not peeled)
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 415 degrees.
Place puffed pastry rectangles onto a baking pan that’s been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Add sugar and salt to apples. Stir to combine. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
Arrange apple slices on the pastry rectangles in a straight line, overlapping as you go.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.
Remove from pan immediately and place on a serving platter. Serve plain, with caramel topping, whipped cream, or a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Feel like a pastry chef.
Repeat as needed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pita Chip Crunch, by Pioneer Woman

Chocolate Pecan:

6 ounces Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (can also use Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips)
6 ounces milk chocolate bark
1/2 cup fine chopped pecans

Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
In a small skillet, lightly toast pecans over medium low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until flavor deepens. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
To assemble, spread pita chips in a single layer on top of waxed paper.
Pour half the melted chocolate over the top, distributing as evenly as possible. Sprinkle half the toasted pecans over the top.Repeat with the rest of the chocolate an the rest of the pecans. Allow to sit at room temperature to harden, or place in the freezer for ten minutes to speed the process along.
Crack apart with a fork and place on a serving platter.

Chocolate/Peanut Butter:

6 ounces Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips (can also use Stacy’s Cinnamn Sugar Pita Chips)
6 ounces white chocolate bark
2 ounces peanut butter chips (can also use milk chocolate for contrasting color)

Line baking sheet with waxed paper.
Melt white chocolate and peanut butter chips in separate bowls. Place melted peanut butter candy in a squeeze bottle or Ziploc bag (with tiny hole cut in corner.)
Spread pita chips in a single layer on top of waxed paper.
Pour melted white chocolate all over the top of the chips, spreading lightly if necessary to cover evenly. Place into the freezer for ten minutes to harden. Immediately drizzle melted peanut butter candy over the top in a pretty design. (Make sure it isn’t too hot or it will melt the white chocolate.)
Place back into the freezer once more, to harden again.
Crack apart with a fork and serve. Yummy!


White chocolate - crushed M & M’s
White chocolate - blue, green, pink melting chocolate
White chocolate - dark chocolate
Dark chocolate - white chocolate
Milk Chocolate - crushed toffee candy

Shout out your own ideas! I’d love to hear them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ryan’s Bolognese

1 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 large red onion, diced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 pounds ground beef
2 tablespoons dried oregano flakes
2 tablespoons dried basil flakes
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 cups red wine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes
1 cup milk
Fresh Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium heat. Add grated carrots and onions and cook for a few minutes.
Make a well in the center of the mixture, then add in the ground beef. Cook for a few minutes until brown, gradually stirring it into the carrot mixture.
Throw in oregano and basil. Use fresh if you have it; if you don’t, it’s fine.
When the meat is browned and combined with other ingredients, make another well. Add tomato paste and let it heat.
Add garlic and stir to combine.
Make a well in the center of the mixture and add red wine. Stir together.
Add Worcestershire and stir.
Add canned tomatoes.
Finally, pour in milk, stir, and let simmer for 30 minutes to 2 hours—however long you need.

Serve with pasta and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Baked Lemon Pasta

1 pound thin spaghetti
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cups sour cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste if desired
Plenty of grated Parmesan cheese
Flat leaf parsley, chopped
Extra lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente.
In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT.
When butter is melted, add minced garlic.
Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.
Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary.
Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.
Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)
When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top.
Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley.
Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Serve with crusty French bread and a simple green salad.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 pound cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 pound strawberries

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and corn starch.
Cream 9 tablespoons butter with the sugar until flight and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well each time. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just barely combined.
Pour into greased and floured 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes, or until no longer jiggly like my bottom. Remove from cake pan as soon as you pull it out of the oven, and place on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely.

Stem strawberries and slice them in half from bottom to top. Place into a bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, mash the strawberries in two batches. Sprinkle each half with 1 tablespoons sugar and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.

Make icing: combine cream cheese, 2 sticks butter, sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and dash of salt in a mixing bowl. Mix until very light and fluffy.

Slice cake in half through the middle. Spread strawberries evenly over each half (cut side up), pouring on all the juices. Place cake halves into the freezer for five minutes, just to make icing easier.

Remove from freezer. Use a little less than 1/3 of the icing to spread over the top of the strawberries on the bottom layer. Place the second layer on top. Add half of the remaining icing to the top spreading evenly, then spread the remaining 1/3 cup around the sides.

Leave plain OR garnish with strawberry halves.

IMPORTANT: Cake is best when served slightly cool. The butter content in the icing will cause it to soften at room temperature. For best results, store in the fridge!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pioneer Woman’s Classic Hummus

3 14.5-ounce cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon tahini
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
3 to 5 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste
Fresh basil or Italian parsley

Combine chickpeas with all ingredients, except water and olive oil, in a blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture becomes somewhat smooth and combined, but do not overmix. Add water as necessary to facilitate blending. At the end, add olive oil and pulse no more than three time, just to incorporate.

Pour mixture into a bowl and stir to ensure mixture is combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days in the fridge.

Monday, May 4, 2009

PW’s Perfect Pancakes

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups milk
2 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons butter

Extra butter
Maple or Pancake syrup

Mix together dry ingredients in large bowl. Mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring very gently until just combined.
Melt butter and add it to the batter, stirring gently to combine.
Cook on a greased skillet over medium-low heat until golden brown. Serve with an obscene amount of butter and warm syrup.