Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We used Adam's Dad's homemade venison sausage (about 2 pounds of it) and 2 pounds of jumbo shrimp. I was nervous there wasn't going to be enough of liquid/sauce but there was plenty. The recipe calls for 3 pounds of meat total but feel free to add more if you have it. This also reheats nicely the next day.
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1 inch cubes
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
2 (16 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
a few dashes hot sauce
3 minced garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound frozen peeled shrimp
cooked rice - Minute Rice does the trick!
In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, garlic & thyme.
Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low. Stir in the shrimp during the last 45 minutes of cook time. Stir in cooked rice before serving.
Photo from Adam's iPhone
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Our pans were bigger than the recipe calls for so we did 3 loaves instead of 4. I am just disappointed I did not double the recipe because the loaves were gone in no time!
Also I did not have a food processor to use. I used a mini chopper to pulse the oats into flour but the rest I mixed with a wooden spoon and it worked perfectly!
From the December 2009 Country Living Magazine....
Mini Country Loaves
1 package dry active yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
2/3 cup warm (110°F) milk
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats plus 2 T more for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup (up to 1/2) warm water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
In a medium bowl, combine yeast, sugar, 1 cup flour, and milk. Cover bowl with a towel; let yeast mixture rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Using a food processor, grind oats into a fine flour. Add sea salt and remaining 2 cups flour; pulse to combine. With motor running, add yeast mixture, egg yolks, and olive oil. Drizzle in water until dough forms.
Remove dough and knead on a lightly floured surface until supple, about four minutes. Place in a large, well-oiled bowl, turning dough to coat with oil. Cover bowl with a towel; let dough rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch down dough and knead for 1 minute. Divide into 4 equal portions; shape into loaves to fit into 5 3/4- by 3 1/4- by 2-inch pans. Cover pans with a towel for 20 minutes.
Place loaves on baking sheet, lightly brush tops with egg white, and sprinkle with remaining oats. Bake until golden, 25 minutes. Cool completely before bagging or wrapping if you're giving as a gift!
Adam kneads away!
Final products! I actually could have made only 2 as you can see they didn't fill up the pans. If once they're out of the pan, they look cute!
Monday, December 21, 2009
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 pound penne
1/4 pound butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the spears into 1-inch pieces. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet and toss w/ the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 10 mins.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Before baking. I used 3 toothpicks for each piece of chicken.
The finished product served with sauteed broccoli.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The shop is also full of seasonal produce and wonderful recipe cards - not to mention free samples (I tried a delicious miniature pear)!
I know for sure I want to go back here to sample a few more of their wines!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Cut pitas (regular or whole wheat) into 6 wedges. Arrange the pita wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with dried oregano, salt and pepper. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes until crisp and golden.
The dip and chips. A great party treat!
Pix from Adam's iPhone
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
3 shots orange juice
1/2 shots cranberry juice
1 shot vodka
1 shot peach schnapps
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add juices, then vodka and schnapps. Stir. Yum!
It's kind of a summery drink but I'm really enjoying even though the days are getting quite chilly!
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup real butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar (I used about 3 1/2 cups. You be the judge)
2 teaspoon vanilla
5-6 Tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda and salt and add to the dough. Mix to combine.
Roll into balls about the size of a quarter, roll in sugar, place on cookie sheet (I lined it with parchment) and make the fork criss-cross print. Remember to keep the cookies small because they will be sandwiched. They can be placed pretty closely together on the baking sheet.
Bake cookies for 6 to 7 minutes. I baked mine for 6 minutes and that seemed to be perfect. Remove from pan and place on cooling racks.
To make filling, whip the peanut butter and butter together until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Then add milk one tablespoon at a time. You may not need it all. You want the filling to be on the thick side; it should just have enough milk to make it spreadable.
Once cookies are cool, place a generous amount of filling on one cookie and sandwich it with another. Store in airtight containers.
Cookies ready for the oven.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The car ride home.
Adam introducing him to his new toys. He likes his new bed too!
Big brother Trapper
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I wasn't wrong.
We entered through the kitchen and were greated by the owners and their wonderful staff. As we talked through the door we smelled the spiced cider warming on the stove in a beautiful copper pot. We continued through the kitchen - Adam had to mind his head quite often because a house built in during the turn of the 19th century did not accomodate 6'4" tall gentleman! We then entered the foyer and to the right was a sitting room and the dining room. In the dining room, we were welcomed by not only a warm fireplace and unique wall art, but a beautiful spread of hor d'oeuvres. The owners of Pretty Meadows raise beef cattle and garden so nearly all of the appetizers were grown/raised locally.
The spread was wonderful and very inspiring for my own holiday entertaining - endive leaves stuffed with bleu cheese & topped with pear curd, brie topped with quince jelly, various spiced & sugared nuts, sweet mini cupcakes, mac 'n cheese, & spinich and leek quiche. All so delectable!
The owner's farm raised beef brisket baked with chiles and cocoa. Wonderful!
After enjoying the company of other guests, we wondered upstairs to see the four guest rooms. The walls of the rooms are painted in vibrant colors which made them feel warm and welcoming! The windows are original - I love the wide sills! The exposed beam ceiling give an extra rustic feeling. Here are three of the rooms:
If you're like me, you're wondering when you and/or your friends can stay here for a night and enjoy some the local, delicious food. Well they are hoping to be open for business in the spring. I will be anxiously awaiting and sure to let you all know about the grand opening!
A special thank you to Pretty Meadow for their hospitality and to Rick at the Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau for telling me about this hidden treasure!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I found this recipe on myrecipes.com but it was originally printed in Cooking Light, November 2006. Below is the recipe according to how I made, which includes modifications from the original recipe.
5 shallots, peeled and quartered
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 venison tenderloins, trimmed (about 9 ounces each)
5 sprigs fresh rosemary, leave chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
3/4 cup dried cherries
1 1/2 cups less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine shallots and 2 teaspoons oil; toss well. Arrange shallots in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan.
Rub venison evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt, half of the chopped rosemary and some pepper. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add venison; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove venison from pan; arrange on top of shallots in roasting pan. Bake at 400° for 17 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare, but I cooked it closer to well done and it still tasted good!). Remove venison and shallots from pan. Keep venison warm. Chop shallots.
Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots, wine, and cherries; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes), scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining chopped rosemary; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to 2 cups (about 5 minutes). Combine 1 tablespoon water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter and juice. Cut venison across grain into thin slices; serve venison with sauce.
Adam took this candid of me while slicing the venison. Notice the lovely peony demi apron - a birthday gift from Rebecca!
I am a huge fan of sweet potatoes and this time of the year I have even more cravings for them. Candied sweet potatoes with lots of brown sugar and butter are my favorite but a close second are sweet potato fries. Thanks to Adam's patience and precise chopping skills, we made these delicious. While these oven fries didn't turn out as crispy as we had hoped, they were still tasty!
Sweet Potato Fries from Our Best Bites
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes*
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t cumin (We did not use)
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t coriander (We did not use)
1 t kosher salt
1 t parsley
fresh ground pepper (about 10 turns of a pepper mill)
*you want 1lb sweet potatoes after they are peeled, sliced, etc. If you weigh them at the store make sure you have a little more than a pound to allow for the peeling, and tossing of small pieces.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray (don't use foil on the cookie sheet).
Slice your sweet potatoes into french fry shape and size - about 1/4 inch thick. Cutting them larger, like steak fries, will sometimes result in a big soggy mess, so stay small to get the best results.
Put the sweet potatoes in a bowl and drizzle the olive oil over them. Use your hands to make sure each one is coated. If you've got more than a pound of sweet potatoes, add a little extra olive oil. Then sprinkle on all of the herbs and spices and continue to toss until well coated.Place the fries on the baking sheet. It's very important that they are not touching.
Place cookie sheet in pre-heated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes take pan of oven and flip the fries with a big spatula. Make sure they're spaced out again.
Bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown
Take them out of the oven and serve immediately. They cool off very quickly so they're best eaten right away. Serves about 4.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Unfortunately I left my camera at my parents' house so I wasn't able to take a photo of my Autumn Potato Salad (I also made pumpkin roll on Sunday and I had my camera but my memory card was back at Adam's in his computer, but it's ok because the pumpkin roll was kind of a flop...).
I owe this creation to 101 Cookbooks. Here is the wonderful recipe.
Some things I did differently:
- Because it was late in the evening, I didn't make rice to go with the salad but I was planning on making brown minute rice for time saving purposes.
- I couldn't find parsnips so I used turnips.
- The green onions didn't roast well so I didn't end up putting them in the salad.
- I didn't add cream to the vinaigrette. I didn't have any and was going to use milk but I forgot!
This is a delicious salad! The vinaigrette made the dish! Thank you, 101 Cookbooks!
Monday, November 9, 2009
Here is a Sior Family Favorite -
4 cups (8 oz pkg) rigatoni, cooked according to package instructions
1 lb. bulk Italian sausage
1 medium red onion, sliced
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette Dressing
Fresh parsley, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated
Brown sausage in a large skillet. Drain and return meat to skillet. Add onion and tomato paste. Cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions.
Add dressing to meat mixture then toss with pasta. Top with parsley and cheese.
Pasta, salad and bread. Carbs are the best!
My mom's dessert tray. Recipes to follow!
Sunday, November 8, 2009
20 large mushrooms (white or baby bella)
1/2 cup brocolli, finely chopped
1/4 c carrot, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon onion, finely chopped (I sliced up 2 green onions)
1 cup seasoned croutons, crushed to 1/2 cup
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
... golden brown.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Here is the long neck outside of my parents house, enjoying the simple life of being a fall decoration.
But then I snatched it up, took it inside and began cutting it up. I had the strength to chop through the tough skin knowing that in just a few days, I'll be enjoying some delicious pumpkin roll!
Here are all the peeled pumpkin chunks. I put them in a large pot with a cup of water and let them simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the pumpkin was soft, I took it off the heat, drained it and mushed the pumpkin with the back of the spoon.
The next step is to put it in a food processor to make the pumpkin into a smooth puree. But because it was already past my bedtime, I just put it in the refrigerator as is and I'll puree it right before I make the pumpkin roll.
I only cooked half of the long neck so I am guessing my mom will prepare the other half and save it for pumpkin pie and other pumpkin-related treats.
Cooking down pumpkin is sooo easy and much more cost effective than buying canned puree. I know I'll resort back to canned simply for convenience purposes, I hope to use fresh pumpkin as much as I can.
I hope to make the pumpkin rolls on Sunday. Stay tuned for photos!
So this long neck pumpkin has seen many places - and will see more before his life is over. He was a good pumpkin and has so far, served me well.
Monday, November 2, 2009
BBQ Jalapeno Poppers from the Pioneer Woman
18 fresh jalapenos, sliced lenghwise, cleaned of membranes and seeds - OR, bell peppers work too!
1 8oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 grated (I used shredded) cheddar cheese
1 (I used 2) green onion, sliced
18 slices thin bacon
Favorite BBQ sauce
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, cheddar cheese and onions until well incorporated. Fill each pepper half with the cheese mixture and place on baking sheet. Cut bacon to fit around each pepper half. Wrap each pepper with a piece of bacon - but not too tight because bacon shrinks as it cooks - and secure with a tooth pick. Brush the bacon wrapped peppers with BBQ sauce. Bake for one hour until bacon is cooked.
The baked peppers. Anything with cheese and bacon turns out good!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Arielle also got me the Tea forté Cocktail Mixology set. I can't wait to try some of the tea cocktails - I am especially looking forward to the Lavendar Vodka Martini! I'll be sure to post a comment when I finally make it!
Arielle bought these at a kitchen shop in Lancaster, PA called Apron Strings. Adam and I are taking her back to school (she just started her first year at Franklin & Marshall College and will be home this weekend) on Sunday and we'll see downtown Lancaster. I believe this shop is closed Sundays but I'm sure we'll get down to visit her again soon.
I've also seen Tea forté products at TJ Maxx. You just have to look at the "Best Before" date on the bottom of the box. These teas are typically good for two years after they're produced.
While Tea forté produces gourmet teas and not something I'd buy to drink everyday, they make great gifts! I loved it!
Monday, October 26, 2009
Natalie's lamb chops and baked potato
My filet and sweet potato