Monday, December 27, 2010

Meyer Lemon Bars

I was out shopping the other day and was surprised to find Meyer Lemons.  I kept seeing them on the cooking shows.  I wanted to know what the big deal was so I bought them.

 This is what they look like.  A bit smaller and more round than a regular lemon.  The skin is more on the orange side.  The peel is a lot thinner too.  They taste differently.  I don't care for the taste.  I needed to do something with them before they dried up!  Looked around and found a recipe for Lemon Bars.  I have never made lemon bars before.

Recipe:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar (10x or icing sugar)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 large eggs
Zest and juice of 4 lemons (should be about 1/2 cup of juice)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 1. Spray a baking dish approx 9x7 or so (whatever you have that's about that size) with a vegetable spray.
In a bowl, mix the first 3 ingredients until they look like this photo (above).  You can do it in a food processor, if you have one.   



2. Press the dough into a layer about a 1/4 inch thick.  Make sure you push it up the sides of the dish too.  Prick it with a fork.  This make it bake evenly and not puff up.  Refrigerate it for 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 F (after the crust has chilled).  Bake the crust for 15 minutes, until it's a bit tan in color.
Meanwhile,  start the filling.  In a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour.  Beat in the eggs, then the lemon zest, juice and vanilla. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15 minutes until set.

Before baking...


                                     Cool and sprinkle with more confectioner's sugar, if desired.


This recipe was very easy.  My husband really liked it!  Something I will make again.  Maybe I will try it with an orange!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cuties Citrus


Yesterday we went to Target to get a few things.  Of course the last stop was the produce section.  We saw these fruits.
So we got a box of clementines and a bag of mandarins.  I had cut coupons out of the paper a couple of weeks ago.
Let me tell you how good they are!!  Fan-fricking-tastic!!

Here's a photo I took.  The clementines are in front.  These are sooooo good.  If you see them buy them.  Make sure they are firm when you touch them.  There are a lot of clementines out in the stores right now but they are not fresh if they are squishy.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

 We awoke this morning to a gray day.  Not another...uggh.....yesterday it started out gray but by 2:30 pm it was warm and sunny.  It was gorgeous.  If I had an outside chair I would have sat out.  Now it's snowing like crazy.  Weird weather...
I was hungry this morning but I wasn't in the mood for eggs. Yesterday I was flipping through the channels and came across a show on the Cooking Channel where the ladies were making french toast with Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls.  It looked really good!  My last trip to BJ's I bought a box of Grands Cinnamon rolls.  So I thought I would try the recipe.

Here's the dish before I put it in the oven.

After it finished baking.....Yummy.



INGREDIENTS
French Toast Bake
1/4 cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, melted
2 cans (12.4 oz each) Pillsbury® refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing
6 Eggland's Best eggs
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup Fisher® Chef's Naturals® Chopped Pecans
1 cup maple syrup
Garnish
Icing from cinnamon rolls
Powdered sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup, if desired
 
DIRECTIONS
  • 1 Heat oven to 375°F. Pour melted butter into ungreased 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish. Separate both cans of dough into 16 rolls; set icing aside. Cut each roll into 8 pieces; place pieces over butter in dish.
  • 2 In medium bowl, beat eggs. Beat in cream, cinnamon and vanilla until well blended; gently pour over roll pieces. Sprinkle with pecans; drizzle with 1 cup syrup.
  • 3 Bake 20 to 28 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, remove covers from icing; microwave on Medium (50%) 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle.
  • 4 Drizzle icing over top; sprinkle with powdered sugar. If desired, spoon syrup from dish over individual servings. Serve with the additional 1/2 cup maple syrup.
I changed things up by using Grands Rolls instead of regular cinnamon rolls and some molasses and regular syrup instead of maple syrup (I didn't have any).
I only made half a recipe. I should have used a dish with a flat bottom because it was not baked all the way through.
I really liked this recipe and will make it again.

Friday, December 17, 2010

PIG by James Villas

I got this book at the library the other day and I LOVE it.  I am fascinated by the recipes.  I want to go to the butcher and buy some pork and cook!!  I maybe trying one of the recipes for dinner tonight.  I haven't decided which one yet, but it will be my next post!!

http://www.amazon.com/Pig-Southern-Table-James-Villas/dp/0470194014/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1/187-7432316-8905016#reader_0470194014  This is the table of contents.

Here are some names of the recipes: Bacon Waffles, Baked Pork Chops With Spiced Applesauce Glaze, Seared Pork Tenderlion With Bourbon-Molasses Glaze (I would make this one tonight if I had the tenderloin!!), Country Ham Potato Bread and many more.

Get this book you will love it, especially if you love pork!!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gingerbread Biscotti

I was hungry for a cookie.  Susan over at Sticky, Gooey mentioned on FB that she was going to make some biscotti.  I found this recipe over at Joy of Baking http://www.joyofbaking.com/biscotti/GingerbreadBiscotti.html but I modified it because I don't have a food processor to make the oatmeal flour and I was out of raisins.

So here's my recipe for Gingerbread Biscotti adapted from the one above:

Gingerbread Biscotti Recipe:

3/4 cup (100 grams) pecans , toasted and coarsely chopped (can also use hazelnuts or walnuts)
1/2 cup (50 grams) old fashioned rolled oats
2 1/4 cups  all purpose flour
3/4 cup (160 grams) dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (60 ml) unsulphured molasses (such as Grandma's Molasses)
2 tablespoons light olive oil (or corn oil)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 sections of roasted preserved oranges, finely diced http://isgrocooks.blogspot.com/2010/12/roasted-preserved-oranges.html

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Chop when cooled.
 
In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. 
 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, molasses, oil, and vanilla extract. 
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat until combined. 
Mix in the pecans and oranges and beat just until incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and divide the dough in half. Take each half of dough and form it into a log, about 12 inches (30 cm) long and 2 inches (5 cm) wide. Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches (7.5 cm) apart.
Bake for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). 
Transfer the logs to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch slices.
Place the cookies cut side down and bake for 6-8 minutes, then turn them over and bake again for 6-8 minutes or until dry and firm.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
Store in an airtight container for several weeks.



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Roasted Preserved Oranges

 I bought a huge bags of oranges the other week and they didn't get eaten.  OK< what am I going to do with them so they don't go to waste. Then I thought of a post that Julie did. She used lemons.
http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2010/01/23/sweet-preserved-roasted-lemons/  I did the same thing that she did.  Don't use too much sugar because it burnt on to my baking sheet.  This is what I ended up with.


I put some in a jar and have some left for my biscotti recipe that I plan to try.

Looking pretty good.  Hope the biscotti turns out.

Yesterday I had a horrible cooking day.  I made a pecan pie and it didn't work.  I messed up something. Then I made baked pasta.  I must have over cooked the pasta and it was ruined.  But that was yesterday.
Today's a new day and onto new things!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making Lasagna

Before we moved to Sicily, I used the lasagna noodles you had to boil first.  I always ended up scorching my fingers, then you has to cut the noodles to fit the pan.  Oh, it was just a pain in the butt.  I had tried the no boil noodles but they were yucky and very salty. Like this one http://pasta-products-sangiorgio.newworldpasta.com/Oven-Ready-Lasagna-ZX00334006018100CT00ZX28....not successful.



 This is what I use for lasagna.  My pasta sauce, bechamel sauce, Barilla Lasagna (no boil), Italian cheeses, and a pan.
First you put a small amount of olive oil and red sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Then put in a layer of noodles.  You may need to break the ends to get the pasta to fit into the pan you choose to use.  With this pasta you can have some space between the pasta because it will expand while baking.  Your sauce does not need to have a thick consistency.  The pasta needs to absorb liquid while baking.

 The first layer: pasta, sauce, cheese

 Next layer: pasta, bechamel, cheese

 Continue to layer pasta until the sauce is used up.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Baked Lasagna!  Enjoy!

Note: I let the pasta rest for at least 10 minutes before I cut it. 
 It's easier to get out of the pan, if you do and the pieces stay together.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Bechamel Sauce

Bechamel Sauce or white sauce is VERY easy to make.  My SIL in Sicily uses it in lasagna.  I never did until I had her lasagna.  Now I never make lasagna without it!  It can be used in a BUNCH of different recipes like starting a cream soup or making creamed spinach, a favorite of mine.

You need:
1 Tablespoon butter
a bit of olive oil to keep the butter from burning
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2-2 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk, warmed or let sit out of the fridge for awhile
salt and pepper
Optional: nutmeg, ground or freshly grated

1. Melt the butter and oil.
2. Add the onion and cook until translucent over medium heat.
3. Add the flour and cook for a few minutes. 
4. Turn the heat to high. Add the milk.  Stir. The mixture will thicken.  Remove from heat.

If you are using this for lasagna, add 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.

When onions are done.

 After flour has been added.


Finished with nutmeg grated into it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pasta Sauce

A new friend recently asked my husband if I would teach her to make sauce.  Of course I will but we don't seem to have time so here's a post.  This is the easiest thing. I used to do way too much to make sauce.  I didn't know.  This is what I learned from my SIL, Rosa, in Sicily.  She is the best cook!!!  I love to eat at her house.  There is always too much food though!  Anyone who has spent time in Italy can understand.

Anyway, the sauce which Rosa calls ragu when you use hamburger.

Recipe:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil OR 10 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
salt and pepper
1 can (14-15 oz) of tomato sauce
1/4 lb hamburger


1. Start with the chopped onion. Put into the pot with the oil which should be hot.


2. Add the garlic.  Watch the video on how to peel garlic.

video
Now just mince the garlic and add it to the pot.


 3. Add the basil when the onions and garlic look this way.  It should only be a few minutes.

 After you add the basil

 4. Add the hamburger and brown it.

5. Add the tomato sauce.  Rinse the can with a bit of water to get all the sauce from the can. Cook it gently and reduce a bit until it gets to the consistency you want. (I forgot to take a photo before i added my peas for lasagna).  Add to al dente pasta. and ENJOY!