Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Roasted Potatoes with Creamed Peas

Moving along to another recipe from a Cuisine at Home magazine. I just got the new issue - April 2012 - and couldn't wait to try something.

Last night we had baked haddock and these Roasted Potatoes with Creamed Peas - very yummy!

The recipe calls for mace, which I do not have, so as recommended, I subsituted it with nutmeg. (Mace is the ground waxy red covering of the nutmeg).

Serves 4

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
2 cups milk
2 cups frozen petit peas
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Toss potatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet; roast until golden, about 20-25 minutes, stirring midway through.

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is translucent, 5-7 minutes. Whisk in flour and mace or nutmeg; cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly.

Whisk in milk and increase heat to medium. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add peas; cook 1-2 minutes more. Stir in dill, zest and lemon juice. Season peas with salt and cayenne and serve over roasted potatoes.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Spanish Tomato Soup

We have been loving the soup and sandwich combo at our house since my mom got us a Breville panini press - which I highly recommend - for Christmas. Grilled cheese is a go-to and this time we stuck to the classic partner -tomato soup. I found this Spanish tomato soup from my Cuisine at Home magazine from October 2011.

As you read the recipe, it calls for olives and parsley to be stirred in before serving, which we did not do because I didn't have olives, plus Adam doesn't like them.

Adam was expecting a traditional tomato soup but I wanted to mix things up a bit. I really enjoyed the spices in the soup and the roasted potatoes on top.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
pinch red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup manzanilla olives, sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For the potatoes, combine 1 Tablespoon oil and 2 teaspoons paprika in a large bowl, then toss with potatoes. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until golden, 30-40 minutes, stirring midway through cooking.

For the soup, in a dutch oven, sweat onion and garlic in 2 Tablespoons oil over medium-low heat until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 Tablespoon paprika, oregano, cumin and pepper flakes. Deglaze pot with sherry and cook until nearly evaporated.

Add tomato juice, vegetable broth, and tomatoes. Increase heat to high and bring soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in orange juice. Puree soup with a hand blender until smooth.

Stir in olives and parsley; season with salt and pepper.

Serve topped with the roasted potatoes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Treats for the Dogs

This morning I woke up to this lovely Valentines Day card sent to the Pankakes from the McDonalds. It's just too cute! Thank you, Bec!

This greeting fits perfectly with my post theme today - Valentine cookies for the dogs!

On Sunday, Auntie Arielle made heart shaped doggie treats for Baxter, Trapper and Chester. And the canines LOVE them! They gobble them down so fast.

Here's the recipe she used created by a woman named Ann (it came with a bone shaped cookie cutter my mom bought years ago):

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon wheat germ
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
6 Tablespoons bacon grease or meat drippings
1 egg
1/2 cup ice water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients. Cut in drippings. Mix in egg. Add enough ice water for mixture to form a ball. Using a floured work surface and rolling pin, roll to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter - Arielle used a heart shaped cutter for Valentines Day. Bake on a parchment paper cover cookie sheet for 25 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Baxter and Trapper enjoyed their cookies this morning!

Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Energy Bites

I'm always looking for easy breakfast and snack items that we can grab and go. I found a recipe for engery bites from Gimme Some Oven and I made them last week. I really enjoy the taste and they are full of tasty goodness. The addition of flaxseed gives extra fiber and protects against all kinds of disease. I got my flaxseed at the Newport Health Food Store and used a coffee grinder to grind the seeds for this recipe because I don't have a spice grinder.

1 cup old fashioned oats

1 cup toasted coconut flakes (bake shredded coconut on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for a few minutes. Keep an eye on it - burns fast!)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until well combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then roll into 1 inch balls. Store in an air tight container between layers of wax paper. Keep refrigerated when you can.

I have kept them on my desk during the day and they are fine - just a little soft.

You can add other ingredients too like dried cranberries or use other nut butters.

Again, thank you Gimme Some Oven! Love your blog!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chocolate Cheese and a Pickle

Last week we were pleasantly surprised with a package from my brother who is living in Michigan. Earlier, he texted us to say he was in a Bavarian town in Michigan called Frankenmuth and told us about the great beer halls and the cheese haus there. And you all know Germany is special to us!

Bro was such a sweetheart and mailed us some cheese from Frankenmuth!

A delicious sharp cheddar and chocolate cheese!

The chocolate cheese tasted like a mixture of fudge and cheddar. It's still a toss up about how I feel about it... but it was fun to try it!

In Frankenmuth there is a huge Christmas store and my brother bought us a pickle for our Christmas tree! A pickle ornament is a German tradition. It is hidden on the tree and on Christmas morning the children of the house are to look for the ornament and whoever finds it first gets an extra gift! It's meant to be a way for children to admire and appreciate the tree and its decor instead of immediately opening presents on Christmas morning. Can't wait to put it on our tree!

Thank you, brother, for our special treats!

And in December, friends of ours sent us a pancake ornament from this exact same store too!

We hope to someday make it to Frankenmuth... maybe for the Oktoberfest??!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend in D.C.

Last weekend Adam, Nick and I ventured to Washington, D.C. for a weekend of food, fun and basketball. We got Nick tickets to the Georgetown basketball game for his birthday so we made a weekend out of it. We explored new parts of the city and ate and drank along the way.

< 1 > Bloody marys to start the journey at 7:30 am
< 2 > French press coffee at Chinatown Coffee
< 3 > the boys with the Georgetown basketball program at the bus stop.

While the boys were at the Georgetown Basketball game, I enjoyed some tapas at Jaleo.
< 1 >Serrano ham, manchengo cheese and tomato on a crusty little roll < flautas >
< 2 >Ham & cheese fritters
< 3 >Patatas bravos

Next we ventured to Georgetown on the bus. The bus left us off right in front of Sprinkles Cupcakes. As avid Cupcake Wars watchers (the founder of the bakery, Candice, is a judge), we had to stop in to try one. We had the vanilla cake with chocolate frosting & sprinkles, of course. And it was "the thing" to eat your cupcake with a fork & knife. With much jesting from my travelling buddies, I used the fork for one bite and continued with my hands, as it should be done!

We enjoyed even more cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake. Salted caramel, red velvet, chocolate, vanilla, coconut and peanut butter fudge! All were delicious except for the coconut. The salted caramel was the best by far! If you ever go, make sure to place your order online ahead of time. Then you can just go right into the store, give them your name and you'll have your cupcakes in a few minutes. Otherwise, you have to wait outside in a line of 50+ people.

Then we went to dinner at The Caucus Room. Steak, sorbet and wine. Yum!

After dinner we took a cab to The Gibson - a speakeasy. When you arrive, there are no signs or windows on the exterior - only a number on the door. We entered, gave the name the reservation was under, and then we were whisked into a dark, very seductive atmospheric bar that has a sweet and fruity smell. The bar was packed - it only holds 48 people and reservations are highly recommended. We were given a very exotic drink menu. I ordered a drink with Edelweiss liqueur and lavender bitters. It was strong and floral - very good. Kind of reminded me of Switzerland for some reason. I highly recommend The Gibson and we will definitely be going back!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Curried Carrot Soup

Carrot soup is one of those things that when I have it on a rare occasion, I wonder why I don't make it more. It is beyond simple to make.

I was even able to make it last night after I locked my keys in my car with the car running. Lucky for me, I was at home and the local AAA guy was only 2 houses down and I was back in business in no time.

Carrot soup and a roll was a perfect dinner after a trying day!

I'd like to thank 3 people for this recipe. First, Rebecca for sending me the link to it because it reminded her of me, the horses I rode at Hollins who love carrots, and dinner at the French House. << On a side note, Adam and I are going to Hollins in June for my 5 year reunion! I can hardly wait! It's been too long since I've visited beautiful Roanoke!>>

Second, I'd like to thank Miriam for making this soup for Rebecca.

Third, I'd like to thank Martha Stewart and company for creating the recipe!

The recipe below was inspired by Martha Stewart and tweaked by me with inspiration from the first time I had carrot soup at The Kitchen Shoppe during a high school French Club French cooking class.

If you don't have curry powder or don't want to use it, it can easily be eliminated. The half and half is optional too but I like the hint of richness.

I would say this serves about 4-6 people.

2 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
1 1/2 lbs carrots - I used 1 1/2 bags baby carrots or you can peel and cut large carrots into 1 inch pieces
2 cups water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup half and half

In a medium pot or dutch oven (with a lid), melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion, curry powder, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft for about 5 minutes.

Add broth, carrots and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce head; cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.

In a blender, puree soup in batches until smooth. Only fill the blender up half way and remove the cap from the blender top and place a towel on top as you blend (to help the steam escape). After each batch is done, pour into a clean sauce pan. You should only need to do 2 batches.

Stir in the lemon juice and half & half. Add more salt if needed.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shrimp Alfredo with Pasta

Look at this treat!!

I was going to make pasta with the Bolognese sauce I had in the freezer but I had a little free time after work so I went to the store for the ingredients (turns out I only needed the shrimp!).

For some reason, white creamy sauce was very appealing to me last night over tomato sauce. Maybe because it's so much more caloric?!

The recipe for this sauce came from Tasty Kitchen via The Pioneer Woman. The recipe was created by A Sweet Pea Chef. (See how a recipe can really get around quickly?!)

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. shrimp, deveined, peeled & tails removed
4 Tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, pressed
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup milk
3 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1/2 teaspoon pepper
a pinch of salt if needed
your favorite pasta, I used bucatini

Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Once a rolling boil is reached, add a few pinches of salt and the pasta. Cook according to package directions.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook about 2-3 minutes on each side or until nice and pink. It does not take long at all. Remove shrimp from the pan to a plate.

In another large non stick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. As you continue to whisk, slowly add the milk. Finally, whisk in the cheese and pepper. Taste to see if it needs salt.

Add the shrimp and pasta to the sauce and toss.