Biscuits Supreme

I love these little biscuits.  My mom would make these when we were little for dinner, so I very much associate them with my childhood.  They have a handful of wheat germ in them, which gives them a really interesting, kind of nutty flavor.  I haven’t tried toasting the wheat germ before I add it, but I think that it would be another way to bring out that flavor.  Make some today!  Then freeze the extras so you always have one on hand for dinner or breakfast.  Enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
handful of wheat germ

Directions
1. Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt.  Cut in the butter with your fingers until the mixture resembles lumpy crumbs.

2. Make a well in the center and add the milk all at once.

3. Stir, just til dough clings together.

4. Knead gently on a lightly floured surface for 10-12 stokes.  As you are kneading, add in the handful of wheat germ.

5. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a lined baking sheet.

6. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees till golden brown.

7. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: My mother.

at her favorite spot, the bathroom radiator, waiting for the shower to turn on.

Strawberry Bruschetta

Spring time is in full force and summer is coming soon.  And when I think of summer, I think of ripe, delicious strawberries.  I made this last summer for a potluck and I think it was enjoyed all around.  Looking forward to when it makes an appearance this year!  Enjoy.  And thanks for reading.

Directions
1. Cut up one cup of strawberries.  Mix in one tablespoon of sugar, cover, and let sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

2. In the meantime, slice a long baguette on an angle to get about 12 slices.

3. Spread goat cheese on the top and then top with the strawberries.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top with basil and pepper.

Source: The Curvy Carrot

Guess who loves springflowers?

An Attempt at Pierogi’s

I saw this recipe a while ago and bookmarked it, thinking that it would be fun to try for an anniversary dinner.  It seemed like too much work for just one night, so I made the dough and the stuffing the night before I wanted to serve the dish.  Overall, we enjoyed it.   I thought it was a fun new recipe to try.   Since a certain someone can’t eat cheese, I had to leave the cheese out, but I would definitely recommend that you include it.   The next time I made them, I would also fry them in the pan for a little longer to get more of a golden brown color.  I think I was a tad too impatient.  Enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients

Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4-6 tablespoons cold water
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, for frying the pierogi

Onions
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 large onion, sliced thinly

Stuffing
1 medium russet potato, peeled and sliced 3/4-inch thick
Salt
1/2 cup reserved caramelized onions, chopped
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Ground black pepper

1. To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a food processor.  While it is running, add the whole egg, egg yolk and vegetable oil.  Combine well.

2. Also with the machine running, add the water (only about a tablespoon at a time), until a dough ball is formed.

3. Put the dough ball on a lightly floured counter and knead for about 2 minutes.  Wrap very well in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use (I left mine overnight.  I let it come to room temperature before using it the next day).

4. I also made the stuffing and onions the day before I made the dish.  For the onions, start by melting the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  (You can also start step 7 at this time, as illustrated below).

5. Add the onions and salt and cook until the onions are brown and soft.  (About 15-20 minutes).  It will smell delicious.

6. When the onions are done, chop enough so that you have about 1/2 cup for the stuffing.

7. To make the rest of the stuffing, cover the chopped potato with salted water in a saucepan.

8. Boil the water and let simmer until the potato is tender.  (About 10-12 minutes).  Drain the water off in a colander and put the potato back in the pan.

9. With a potato masher, mash the potatoes until smooth.  Add the 1/2 cup of caramelized onions, cheese and butter and stir until well-combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  I refrigerated this stuffing overnight.

10.  When you are ready to make the dish, take the room-temperature dough and divide into two pieces.  Cover one piece with plastic wrap.

11. Roll the other piece out onto a lightly floured surface until it is very thin (about 1/16 an inch.  Although I never actually measure that.  Just make it thin).

12. With a round cutter, cut out 3 in. circles of dough and place onto a floured cookie sheet (or any large floured surface).  The dough was very springy and my circles were definitely not perfect circles.  Just do your best and stretch them out a little with your hands if needed.

13.  Repeat with the other piece of dough.

14.  When you have all your dough circles cut out, place about 1 tsp. of stuffing into the center of each circle.  With wet fingers (dip into a glass of water, you probably don’t want to lick them 😉 ), moisten the outer circle of the dough and fold over to make a half moon shape.  Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.

15.  Keep each filled piergoi most with a wet towel while you are filling the rest.  (If you want to freeze some, do so at this point).

16. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (like a large saucepan).  Add half of the filled pierogi and cook until al dente, about 5-6 minutes.

17. Remove with a slotted spoon to a colander.  Repeat with the other half of pierogi’s.

18. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan.  Add a small batch of the boiled pierogi.  Cook until golden brown on each side (about 1-2 minutes).  Repeat with entire batch.

19. To serve, sprinkle with the rest of the carmelized onions and sour cream (if wanted).

From the Curvy Carrot.  Originally slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated: The Best International Recipe.

 

Someone else was being very helpful during this process…..

Sally Lunn Bread

I have had this recipe saved for the longest time, but just hadn’t had the time to properly try it.  A few weeks ago, I found myself with a whole free Saturday morning, and I decided to give it a try.  The dough was not hard to put together, and it seemed to rise every time it was supposed to.  It was kind of an eggy bread, especially with the addition of an extra egg yolk.  I used it as an accompaniment to the asparagus soup, but I think it might also make a great french toast.  Enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. table salt
1 1/8 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk (I used 2%, but it probably doesn’t matter much)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (save the white for an egg white omelet!)

Directions
1. Mix 3/4 cup of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl.  At first I used an electric mixer, but it wasn’t necessary.  Mixing it all by hand is very easy enough.

2. In a saucepan, heat the milk and butter (about 105 degree, not quite to a boil).  The butter might not melt all the way.  Gradually pour it into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes, until well-combined.

3.  Add the whole egg and egg yolk and stir briefly.  Add another 1/2 cup of flour and stir again for a few minutes.

4. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir the whole mixture until smooth.

5. Make sure that the dough is in a little ball at the bottom of the bowl (scrape down the sides).  Cover the top with plastic wrap.  Let it rise for 1 hour.

6. Prepare a 9X5X3 inch loaf pan by buttering and flouring it.  When the dough has risen for 1 hour, scape it into the loaf pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30 minutes.  After the first 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap.

7.  While it is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for a few minutes, then cool on a rack.

Source: Smitten Kitchen (check out her recipe for salted and honeyed brown butter spread…looks amazing, but I haven’t had the chance to try it yet)

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Some tasty cookies that were easy to make.  I brought them to a few meetings that I had in one week, and they seemed to go over well.  I even brought all my leftovers to work, and found the empty container in the copy room, so I would call that a success!  Enjoy.  And thanks for reading!

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking power
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light-brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Whisk together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until they become light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the vanilla and egg and mix to combine.

4. With the mixer slowly going, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, add in the chocolate chips.

5. Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake cookies until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Halfway through, rotate the cookie sheets so that they bake evenly.  (funny story–my oven is too small to shut all the way when I have a cookie sheet in it.  I have to rotate the sheets several times.  Someday I will have a real oven!)

6. Transfer to wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Martha Stewart Magazine (I had the recipe torn out, so I’m not sure what issue it is from).

Cheddar Cheese Crackers

You know those diet articles that pop up on yahoo news?  The ones that offer the top 10 tips to eating healthy?  One of the pieces of advice they always give is to not to go to the grocery store hungry.  That is very true, because every time I am hungry and in the grocery store, I manage to buy multiple boxes of crackers.  And then I manage to eat half the box on the drive home.  Not good!

I had cut out this recipe from the New York Times a while back to make little cheddar cheese crackers.  They are a little less addictive than the ones in the box, but still delicious and I eat less in one sitting.  Also, they are a handy little snack to bring to work.  Hope you enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in. pieces
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a food processor, combine the whole wheat flour, regular flour, salt and sugar.  Add the diced butter and pulse until crumbly.

3. Add the cheese and pulse it a few times to distribute it.  While the food processor is running, add the olive oil and eggs, until it becomes a dough.  Stop when the dough comes together, it will be soft and a little sticky.

4. Lightly flour the counter top and put the dough on it.  Knead it a little bit to bring it all together.  Divide into two round pieces, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Roll out each piece of dough, thinly.  Cut into rectangles, squares or circles and place on lined baking sheets.

6. Bakes for 15-20 minutes.  Make sure to rotate the cookie sheet during the baking process so that the cookies bake evenly.  The crackers will foam in the oven because of the cheese, but they will end up being crispy and lightly browned.  When they are done baking, cool on baking racks and then store in a airtight container.

Source: New York Times

Spring Asparagus Soup

Spring is upon us in Baltimore!  I know that this is the season when I should be roasting asparagus for every meal, but, my confession is that I don’t love asparagus.  I decided to try this asparagus soup to see if I would like it in a new way.  Even though it looks like pea soup, I enjoyed it!  Very light and tasty.  It was one of the first times I’ve made soup, and this recipe was a manageable one.  If you are looking for a way to embrace spring, here’s one idea.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 lb. asparagus
salt and pepper
1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs. butter
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, washed and sliced into 1 inch chunks
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, sliced (I omitted, couldn’t find one at the farmer’s market)
1 garlic clove, sliced

Directions:
1. With a vegetable peeler, peel the outer layer of the asparagus, starting about an inch from the top.  Keep all of the peelings.

2. When all the asparagus are peeled, cut off the ends of each stalk.  Add those ends to your collection of peelings.  Wrap the peelings and the ends in a piece of cheesecloth.  Tie it up into a little bundle with some string or ribbon.

(note: cheesecloth is pretty cheap from the supermarket)

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.   When it’s boiling, put in the asparagus and your cheesecloth bundle.  Let cook for 4 minutes before removing the asparagus to a colander.  Rise with cold water and add several ice cubes to it.  Toss the cheesecloth bundle, but reserve 3-4 cups of the cooking liquid.

4. Dry the pot and add the olive oil and butter.  Under low heat, add the leeks, onion, shallot and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper and toss around until everything is covered with the butter and oil.

5. Cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes, until everything is softened.

6. Add the 3-4 cups of reserved cooking liquid.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

7. Add the asparagus and simmer for 5 more minutes, uncovered.

8. In batches, puree with soup in a blender or food processor.  (Or use an immersion blender, if you have one).  Season for taste with salt and pepper.

Even the cat was curious.  Also, I discovered that picassa can add fun features to pictures, I’ll try not to get too crazy with it……….

Source: Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.  (a beautiful cookbook, fyi).

Scones: Cinnamon Roll Style

I’ve been trying to rotate the posts I put up.  Healthier food one week….not as healthy, but still delicious the next week.  For this week, it’s time to share a wonderful breakfast treat!  I saw this recipe on Annie’s Eats, one of my favorite food blogs, and I knew I would really enjoy it.  The steps are a little more complicated than scones usually are, but it’s definitely worth it.  These scones come out moist and fluffy and delicious.  I also froze half of what I made, and they are just as good baked straight from the freezer.

I adapted Annie’s recipie slightly.  I didn’t include pecans or cinnamon chips in the filling (because I didn’t have any) and I omitted the glaze.  I like them more plain.  I’ll post directions for the glaze below.

Enjoy!  And thanks for reading.

Dough
1 stick unsalted butter, frozen whole
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Filling
Little bit of milk or cream, for brushing
3 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/4 cup cinnamon chips (optional)

Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk

1) Preheat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) Grate the frozen butter.  I use my food processor, but you could also use a grater.

3) Whisk together the milk and yogurt, keep in the fridge until you need it.  Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Add the grated butter to the flour and use your hands to cover all the pieces of butter with flour.

4) Using a spatula to combine, add the milk/yogurt to the dry ingredients.  Place the dough on a floured surface.  Knead a few times, until all the dry ingredients have been worked in.

5) With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12 inch square.  Fold the dough into thirds, like you would fold a letter. Then told the short ends of the dough into thirds, until you have a little square.  Put it on a floured plate and let chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.

6) While the dough is chilling, combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl (don’t combine the milk/cream).

6) After the dough is chilled, roll it out into a 10 inch square.  Brush the milk/cream on a dough.  Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough.  Roll the dough up into a tight log and place the log, seam side down.  Cut the log into 8 rough discs.

7) Place the discs on the baking sheet and brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake until golden brown, about 16-20 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

8) If you want to glaze them, combine the glaze ingredients with a whisk.  Drizzle over the cooled scones.

Adapted from Annie’s Eats

Work in progress!

Avocado, Tomato and Pepper Salad

As part of my attempts to mix up the lunches that I bring to work, I’ve learned to like avocados.  I previously never understood why people would get so excited about them, but I’ve become a convert.  I like their creamy texture.  I saw this recipe in a friend’s cookbook, so decided to try and improvise with the ripe avocado I had in the fridge.  I put the salad over spinach and I think it’ll make enough for about 4 lunches this week.  I also kept the dressing in a separate container and added it to my lunch container the day before I bring it to work.  Hope you enjoy!

1. Combine:

  • 1 pepper, diced
  • A container of grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 avocado, diced

I think you can also also add whatever other veggies you had on hand or thought would taste good.  I didn’t have red onion, but that also might be tasty.  The original recipe also called for black beans, but I didn’t happen to have any.

2. For the dressing, whisk together:

  • Zest of one lime
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • A few tablespoons of olive oil (I added a little bit at a time to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home

Delicious Little Bread

This bread is very easy to make and I’m pretty sure that it’s on the healthy side.  Oats and whole wheat flour–it’s got to be, right?  Either way, it’s quick to make and delicious.  I have found myself making it on a regular basis because I like to have it around.  I think it’s got a little bit of a sweet flavor to it and it’s great toasted for breakfast.  Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups warm water (105-115F)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet)
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted, for brushing

1. Sprinkle yeast onto the warm water and stir until it dissolves.  Stir in the honey and set aside (about 5-10 minutes).  It should start foaming.

2. Mix dry ingredients (flours, oats and salt).

3. Add the yeast mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon.

4. Place the dough into a greased loaf pan and set in front of a warm spot (I use my space heater) for 30 minutes as it rises.

5. Bakes at 350F for 35-40 minutes until golden brown.  Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

 

From 101 Cookbooks.  Originally adapted from Gran’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Notebooks of Dulcie May Booker.

Time for a picture of the cat helping with the dishes??