Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pumpkin Soup (soupe au potiron)

I had a left over pumpkin from Halloween that I wanted to cook up. I remembered eating a delicious pumpkin soup while in France over 12 years ago. A quick internet search lead me to this recipe which sounded a lot like what I remembered. I was able to translate the recipe (it's in French) and modify it to what I had on hand.

This soup recipe is absolutely wonderful. I was totally surprised how well it turned out. The nutmeg adds a nice touch. Since I was just experimenting, I'm not sure about the quantities I used. I'll probably make some modifications the next few times I make this.

I didn't get a picture because it was eaten too quickly. Most of us ended up having seconds.

Servings: 6
Cook Time: 30 min

Ingredients:
1 small pumpkin
5 potatoes, peeled
1/2 qt half and half
salt
pepper
nutmeg, ground
2 tsp chicken bouillon
2 cups water

Directions:
1) Remove the skin and pumpkin 'guts' leaving the pulp. Cut the pumpkin pulp in 1 inch cubes. Peel the potato and cut in 1 inch cubes.
2) Boil the potato and pumpkin until soft. Approximately 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat 2 cups of water and the chicken bouillon.
3) In a mixer or food processor, blend the drained pumpkin and potato pieces until smooth. Add the puree to the hot chicken broth.
4) Mix in the half and half and spices. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce temperature to keep warm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Costa Vida Chicken (copy cat)

I needed a chicken taco recipe for an office potluck the other day. After some searching on the Internet, I came across this copy cat recipe for Costa Vida Chicken. The chicken was a hit at the office and will be on our family menu in the near future.

Ingredients:
1 bottle (16 oz) Zesty Italian Dressing
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 skinless, boneless chicken breast

Directions:
1) Mix dressing, spices, and garlic together.
2) Place chicken breasts in crock pot, cover with dressing mixture
3) Cook on low for 4 hours
4) Shred chicken and cook for an additional hour

* This makes a lot of food. You can freeze or refrigerate any leftovers.
** I found the flavor to be a little strong. Next time I'm going to try a light dressing to see if that helps.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gingerbread Ornaments

This is a great holiday activity. The kids love cutting out the cookies and decorating them. I got the recipie from our friend Mindy. She used it to make gingerbread houses with her girls. Check them out here.



Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups molasses
4 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
8 cups flour

Directions:
1) Blend butter and brown sugar together in a mixer.
2) Add molasses, eggs, baking soda, and spices.
3) Mix until well blended.
4) Stir in flour.
5) Refrigerate at least 3 hours or over night.
6) Preheat over to 350 F
7) Roll out cookie dough on floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes and place on cookie sheet.
8) Back for 10 - 12 minutes

Tips:
Use a straw to cut out a small hole in the cookie shape before cooking. This will make it easier to thread the ribbon to hang the ornament.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Candied Yams

Candied Yams have been a Thanksgiving tradition for my family for as long as I can remember. The combination of yams, peaches, and nutmeg is just incredible. I add a little cinnamon in my version.




Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp butter
2 cans yams (17oz)
1 can peaches (16oz)
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmellow

Directions:



  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Drain yams and peaches and place in baking dish.

  3. In a separate bowl, mixtogether the sugar, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

  4. Add the spice mixture to the yams and peaches and carefully stir.

  5. Add the butter, cut in small pieces, on top .

  6. Place in preheated oven and cook for 35 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and top with marshmellows. Return to oven and set the temperature to broil. Watch carefully to prevent the marshmellows from burning.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Snickerdoodle

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies. Over the years I have attempted to make them, but have never been satisfied with the results. Finally I found a snickerdoodle recipe I like. This one is from the allrecipes.com website.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened and room temp
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar ( or 2 tsp lemon juice)
1 teaspoon baking soda - fresh
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Mix the 3 tablespoons sugar and 3 teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside
  3. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla. Mix the flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture. Do not over mix.
  4. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls. Roll balls of dough in cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  5. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets a few minutes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Scones

I grew up eating 'scones' made by my father. As today is Fathers' Day, it is only appropriate that I share a recipe that I learned from him. My dad is a wonderful baker/cook and I am grateful for his example which has inspired me towards my love of cooking.

This is not the traditional scone from Europe. According to wikipedia:
"In Utah, the bread products locally called 'scones' are similar to Indian Frybread and are made from a sweet yeast dough, with buttermilk and baking powder and/or soda added, and they are fried rather than baked. They are customarily served with butter and honey."

This recipe is probably closer to sopapillas or Indian Frybread and I use them in a similar fashion. Usually I fry up some dough to make some 'Navajo' Tacos, and then follow up with some cinnamon sugar desert ones. They are also wonderful with butter and honey.

Caution!
This recipe makes a lot! Either cut in half or else form extra into rolls and let rise. Bake in 350F oven.





3 cups warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast

Mix the water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes to let the yeast start.

1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
7 - 8 cups flour

Add the oil and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix in flour until desired consistency. The dough should be slightly sticky.

Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes.

Roll out dough and cut into rectangles.

Fry in hot oil and drain on paper towels.

For 'Navajo' Tacos, I poke holes with a fork in the dough rectangles before frying. This helps keep the bread flat instead of puffing up like a balloon. For desert, I sprinkle the fried bread with a cinnamon sugar mixture as soon as I pull it out of the hot oil. Delicious!

Navajo Taco

ground beef
kidney beans
taco seasoning

Toppings
cheese, shredded
refried beans
tomato, diced
olives, sliced
avocado


Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain excess fat.

Add kidney beans to meat. Mix in taco seasoning to taste. Add water and let simmer.

Serve on fried bread along with refried beans, cheese, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa, etc.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Auntie Anne's Pretzels - Copycat

This is another family favorite. The kids absolutely love the cinnamon sugar while Sarah enjoys the salt pretzels. Even plain ones are great. Check out this video link for instructions on rolling out the dough. There are other videos on how to twist, etc.


Picture is from a double batch I made to share with friends.

From Copykat.com

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 cup bread flour
3 cups flour

2 cups water
2 tbsp baking soda
2-4 tablespoons butter (melted)
coarse salt
cinnamon sugar

Procedure:
1. Sprinkle yeast on lukewarm water in mixing bowl; stir to dissolve.

2. Add sugar, salt, and stir to dissolve; add flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic.

3. Let rise at least 1/2 hour.

4. While dough is rising, prepare a baking soda water bath with 2 cups warm water and 2 tbsp baking soda.

5. Be certain to stir often

6. After dough has risen, pinch off bits of dough and roll into a long rope (about 1/2 inch or less thick) and shape.

7. Dip pretzel in soda solution and place on greased baking sheet.

8. Allow pretzels to rise again.

9. Bake in oven at 450 for about 10 minutes or until golden.

10. Brush with melted butter.

11. Toppings: After you brush with butter try sprinkling with coarse salt.

12. Or for Auntie Anne's famous Cinnamon Sugar, try melting a stick of butter in a shallow bowl (big enough to fit the entire pretzel) and in another shallow bowl make a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

13. Dip the pretzel into the butter, coating both sides generously.

14. Then dip again into the cinnamon mixture.

15. Notes: the longer and thinner you can make the dough rope, the more like Auntie Anne's they will be.