Friday, October 15, 2010

german oven pancakes

These are a delicious alternative to regular pancakes and so much easier and less time consuming.  Some people call them Dutch Babies or other various names.

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
3 large eggs
dash of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
Preheat your oven to 425° F. I usually use two smaller pans and do one recipe in each or you can double the recipe and use a 9x13 pan.

Place the butter in the bottom of the pan and place it in the oven while it's preheating to melt it (Don't let it start to burn though).  Mix your milk, flour, eggs and salt in a bowl. Use a wire whisk to blend, but make sure all the lumps have disappeared before moving on. (Some people blend this in a food processor but I don't) When you've got your mix ready, pour it over the melted butter in your pan, and place it back in the oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Edges will be puffed up. I like to server with powdered sugar or Nutella or both (that's why I like to make two).

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Squares

These are ridiculously good. And they go great with beer. You should make some.

Makes 24

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
If you can't find pumpkin-pie spice, substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each allspice and cloves (all ground).

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on all sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in pumpkin puree (mixture may appear curdled). Reduce speed to low, and mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
  4. Lift cake from pan (using foil as an aid). Peel off foil, and use a serrated knife to cut into 24 squares.
From Everyday Food, November 2004

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Triple Summer Berry Pie

No summer is complete without this pie. And with an abundance of berries at Costco, it's an easy dessert in under an hour. BUT and this is the part that I am sure to forget the first 2 times I make a recipe like has to chill for 3 hours. I made it the night before a 4th of July party and the only problem was that there was not enough for second helpings. You could make it super-fast if you (ahem) buy a pre-made (eye roll) graham cracker crust. I mean pie crust is hard, but graham cracker crust is uber-easy, even my 7 year old can do it. Like 99.9% of my recipes, this is a tried and true favorite from the Cooks' Illustrated folks. I even took this picture myself. Of course, I had to brush away all of the crumbs, silly bandz, pixos, and old macaroni first.

Triple Summer Berry Pie

For the crust:
9 graham crackers
2 T sugar
5 T unsalted butter melted

For the filling:
2 cups raspberries
2 cups blackberries
2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1 T lemon juice
2 T red currant jelly which I never have, so I used Welch's grape jelly last time. I've also used strawberry, apple, etc. whatever I have.

For the topping:
To be honest, I've never made the topping. This pie is too damn good without it. Why ruin it? But here goes for the over-acheivers in the group...
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 T sugar
1 t vanilla

For crust:
Preheat oven to 325. Process graham crackers in a food processor. Add sugar and pulse. Add butter in a stream and pulse until it looks like wet sand. Put crumbs in a 9" glass pie plate, form the crust. Dang, that's the hard part. Use a flat bottom glass. Bake 15-18 min.

For the filling:
Rinse and dry berries. Mix 'em all together, then measure out 2 1/2 cups and put them in your food processor. Yes, you should wash the butter crumbs out first. Puree 2 1/2 cups of the berries for 1 minute. Strain the puree through a mesh sieve into a saucepan. You should have about 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups of thick seed-free juice. Whisk sugar and cornstarch into puree to combine. Bring puree to boil over medium heat stirring constantly. When it resembles dark purple pudding, remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Cool slightly while you heat jelly til melted (30 sec. in the microwave should do it). Toss remaining berries with jelly.
Pour puree into pie shell. Top with shiny, sticky berries and chill 3 hours.

My hand-written copy of this recipe stops here, but I'm guessing you would mix all of the topping ingredients in a pre-chilled stainless steel bowl with an electric mixer until it forms peaks. Soft or stiff...your guess is as good as mine. Enjoy!

Monday, June 7, 2010

nana's chicken and rice

If you just need some good comfort food try this recipe of Zach's Grandmother Weisse (aka Nana). She had 13 kids so she learned how to cook on a low budget and make easy dishes that would feed a lot of people. This is really simple, but you can do a few things to spice it up if you want.

Chicken (I use full Breasts)--use as much as you want
1 can Cream of Mushroom
2 can Cream of Celery
1 packet of dry Onion Soup Mix
1 can water (or 1 1/2 cans for larger meal)
1 cup rice (or 1 1/2 rice for larger meal)
Salt and Pepper to taste

1.) Mix all ingredients (except chicken)
2.) Place in a greased pan
3.) Place chicken on top and cover a little with the rest of the ingredients.
4.) Cover with Foil. Cook at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Notes: I didn't have the soup mix so I just put in about 3/4 a cup of chopped onions. I had a bunch of mushrooms that I needed to use up so I diced those and threw them in too. You can fuss with the recipe however you want and it will still turn out pretty good. I served this with asparagus, but green beans or another green veggie would be good too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

they draw and cook

i love this new food blog i just found and thought i would share.
allie, christine, john..?  which of you artistic chefs wants to join their efforts?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

following suit...

*photo from sunday suppers.

ok, so sara requested a menu call and no one answered.
come on, ladies, let's help each other out.
nothing like some simple suggestions to get you inspired...
i was hesitant to respond, as i knew this week would be a little lame for me (coming off of vacation and sickness), but i figured if i posted my "nothing special" menu, maybe others would follow suit...

monday night - we got back from california late friday night and i spent the rest of the weekend super sick and by monday i still couldn't pull it together to get to the store.  plus, pete teaches catechism on monday nights, so he is never home for dinner.  i made waffles.  needless to say, it was a big hit.  how's that to start off my menu call.

tuesday night - spaghetti (confession: i still hadn't gone to the store, so this was what we had on hand...)

wednesday night - cauliflower soup and cheese toasts with green beans on the side (random, i realize, but at the store today lucy was so excited to buy green beans and make them immediately...  i am surprised i talked her out of having them for lunch).  it is cloudy and possibly going to rain here tonight, so i couldn't help but jump on making soup, as it might be our last chilly evening for a very, very long time.

thursday night - gyros.  not sure what i am going to make with them yet.  any suggestions?

friday night - bbq pulled pork with baked potatoes.  also, lucy's request.  the second we hit the produce section at the grocery store, she is desperate for green beans, russet potatoes and blueberries.  this is a super easy meal, as i make the pork in the crock pot and baked potatoes are about as easy as they come.

so, there you have it.  nothing special.
now its your turn.
inspire me, please.  as you can see, i could definitely use it.
and, i think, pete would truly appreciate it.

and, thank you, thank you, sara.  your menu looks much more delicious than mine.
i will definitely be adding that pasta lagardo to my menu next week.  mmmm...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Menu Call

OK, I think we all need to get back to posting over here!! Here's my menu for the week, nothing fancy, but give me some new ideas!
Tues: Chicken and Dumplings

Wed: Pasta Lagardo (we named this after Tommy and Kathleen Lagarde made it for us in North Carolina 3 years ago) It's become a favorite.

Thurs: Greek Chicken Cutlets

Fri: a spring risotto, maybe with shrimp, asparagus...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Potatoes Supreme

Since I remembered to take pictures this time and they don't look too disgusting, I thought it was about time I shared something again. Zach's mom gets mad at me when I make them because she says they are too fattening, but I say that I a sure sign that they are delicious! Basically, it is just mashed potatoes that you throw lots of good stuff into and then bake.

Here are the basic instructions:
  • Peel and Cube about 6 medium potatoes. Boil them until tender and then mash.
  • Then add some variation of the following: 2 cups sour cream, as much butter as you like, tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 cups cheese, 1/2 to 1 cup of green onions, and sprinkle with Paprika
  • Put in a casserole dish and then top with 2 cups crushed corn flakes and drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over the top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
My little masher.
The final product pre-oven.

Monday, March 1, 2010

a new salad

i love finding new inspiration for salads and recently my mother-in-law made a delicious one.  it is nothing i would have ever thought to put in a salad, but it all tasted so good together.  she served it with grilled salmon and the whole meal was fabulous.

romaine hearts, chopped
baby arugula
corn (fresh, if you can get it, otherwise you can use what you have)
dried cranberries
parmesan, shredded
ranch dressing (she said it actually calls for trader joe's parmesan ranch, but she didn't have any on hand, so she just added parmesan and used regular ranch).
(bev also said the actual recipe calls for some baby pasta, but i didn't get the details on that.  and i kind of doubt i will be able to rope bev into posting anything... perhaps she will leave a comment?)

i definitely recommend it.  i think i just might be making it this week myself.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

pink meringue cupcakes with raspberry curd

for valentine's day we had the speiers over for dinner.  the menfolk grilled steak (which allie made a delicious italian peppercorn sauce for... perhaps she will share) and i made cauliflower soup and spinach salad.  it was all delicious.  and for dessert i made these tasty (and pretty... although not quite as pretty as martha's, i still thought they looked lovely) little cupcakes.  thank you again, martha stewart.


Makes 1 dozen
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray, for baking cups
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Gel-paste food coloring in Tulip Red (
  • 2 cups creme fraiche
  • 1 container (6 ounces) raspberries, halved if large
  • Raspberry Curd

  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Line every other cup of 2 nonstick 12-cup muffin tins with baking cups; coat with cooking spray. Whisk egg whites, vinegar, vanilla, and salt with a mixer on medium-high speed until frothy. Add 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, making sure the sugar dissolves. Beat until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in 6 drops food coloring.

  • Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a plain coupler (no tip), and pipe into prepared baking cups, about 2 inches above rims, finishing with a peak in the centers. Bake, rotating halfway through, 3 to 3 hours and 20 minutes. (Cupcakes should be completely dry on the outside but still soft in the middle. A toothpick inserted horizontally at base of top should have moist but cooked crumbs attached.) Transfer cupcakes in baking cups to wire racks; let cool completely.

  • Beat creme fraiche and remaining cup sugar in a clean mixer bowl on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Carefully slice off tops of cupcakes using a serrated knife. (Run the knife just above the liner and slowly work your way to the center.) Top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons raspberry curd, a few raspberries, and 2 tablespoons creme fraiche mixture. Replace tops, and serve immediately.

  • raspberry curd:

    Makes about 1 1/2 cups
    • 1 container (6 ounces) raspberries
    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • Pinch of salt
    Whisk all ingredients in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until slightly thick, 8 to 10 minutes. Strain; refrigerate until cold and thick.

    Thursday, February 25, 2010

    Chicken stew and Focaccia.

    I have been a total Pots and Peter Pans slacker lately, so I'm answering Emily's query. Here's what I made for dinner last night.
    Crock Pot chicken Stew:
    3-4 large yukon gold potatoes chopped
    2 cups of chopped carrots
    1 medium yellow onion, diced
    2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
    3 chicken breasts
    1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
    1 cup chicken broth
    salt and pepper (or Tony's) to taste
    4 cups fresh baby spinach
    1/2 cup torn basil
    1/2 cup shredded asiago
    Throw everything but the last three ingredients in the crock pot and let it do its magic all day. A few minutes before you are ready to eat, add the spinach. When it is nicely wilted, garnish with basil and asiago.
    I tried out the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough recipe for the focaccia (or pizza bianca: whatever you call it.) the recipe's lack of kneading struck me as odd, and I thought the flavor was great and the texture was fine for focaccia, but not chewy enough for pizza...maybe the dough would benefit from some kneading. If anyone has a good tried-and-true pizza dough recipe PLEASE post it...I have never found one I really love. Anyway, I just spread the dough out on a greased sheet pan, brushed it with olive oil and sprinkled it with chopped fresh rosemary from my backyard and sea salt. I'm passing it on...what's on your menu this week?

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    cauliflower soup

    so, this post is kind of a cheat, as i am stealing the pictures and recipe from another site (one of the prettiest recipe sites i have found), sunday suppers.  i could honestly stare at the pictures on this blog all day, they are so beautiful.  they also do reviews of little markets, delis and restaurants in NY, which is always fun to see as well.  i made this soup on valentine's day and it is delicious.  i am already dreaming of making it again.

    Cauliflower Soup
    Serves 4

    1 head cauliflower, separated in to medium size pieces
    1 onion, diced
    3 c chicken stock
    ¼ c heavy cream (allie speier told me she made it with milk and said it is still delicious)
    3 sage leaves
    salt and pepper

    Boil cauliflower florets in chicken stock until soft. Sautee onions separately and add to cauliflower mixture. Add cream, sage salt and pepper and reduce by half.
    Remove sage leaves and add cream mixture to blender. Puree on high until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chive oil and parmesan crisp.

    Parmesan Crisps
    Cover a baking sheet with parchment. Place tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese on parchment and spread each out with a spoon into small flat circles. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5-6 minutes.

    Chive Oil

    Blanch 2 bunches of chives, Dry on paper towels. Blend in a blender with 1 cup of good olive oil. Strain through a fine sieve.

    so, what is on everyone's menu for the week?  

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    flaky brown sugar (pop) tarts

    this recipe was born of christine's and my childhood love for brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts with NO frosting, my desire to bake something last thursday and my obsession with the book once upon a tart.  to top it all off, my sister had left vegetable shortening in my fridge (which i never buy... this was actually my first time ever using it), thus creating one of those "meant to be" kind of mornings.  if you do not own this book, i absolutely recommend it.  it is full of all sorts of buttery goodness (also, delicious soups, salads and sandwiches).
    *this is the flaky tart crust recipe from this book (these scones are also from there), but as far as the filling for these, you will just have to make up your own little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon combo because i have no recollection of how much we used of each.  i am sure you cannot go wrong with any combination of those three things, however.  now brace yourself for another recipe with massive amounts of butter (and shortening)...*

    Flaky Tart Crust (makes enough for two 9-inch tart crusts)
    - 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    - 1 teaspoon sugar
    - 1 teaspoon salt
    - 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
    - 5 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
    - small glass of ice water

    1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.  dump flour, sugar and salt into bowl of a food processor and pulse.
    2. add butter and shortening all at once and pulse 5 to 10 times until it resembles moist crumbs and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. (they are very strict about the fact that you "pulse" not "run" your food processor).
    3. dump crumbs into a big bowl.  sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the surface of the crumbs.
    4. use your hands to bring the dough together.  add more water if you have to, 1 tablespoon at a time.  the dough should be just past crumbly and just barely coming together.  you don't want it to be so wet that it sticks.
    5. cut the dough in half (if you are making a regular tart with this recipe, each half is enough for a 9 inch tart pan), press each into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap.  refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    6. on a floured surface, roll out disk of dough as thinly as you can.  cut same-size shapes out of dough.  we used a round tart cutter for some, but they looked so much like silly little raviolis, that we decided to just hand-cut our own little rectangles, to more resemble pop tarts.  they would also be very cute in heart shapes for valentine's day...
    7. place the first layer of each tart on a baking sheet (we lined ours with parchment paper) and plop a little of your filling (whatever it may be... it would probably also be really delicious with some sort of strawberry preserves to further the valentine's theme) in the middle of each.  then place the top layer of each tart on top of the filling and use a fork to press around all sides.   poke holes in the top of each with your fork.  at this point, you might want to brush the edges with an egg so as to keep them completely pressed, seeing as ours oozed a little, but either way they still come out delicious.  bake until brown around the edges (maybe 15 minutes?  i don't really remember...  just sit close by with your coffee and a good book, magazine, etc. and keep an eye on the first batch).

    Jessica's Pot Roast

    We call this "Jessica's" because she first made it for us after I had Sam, and it was one of those amazing dinners that tastes so good you almost die. Also, I have to distinguish it from my typical/ordinary pot roast that just involves a packet of onion soup mixed with a can of mushroom soup, slathered on the meat and roasted for several hours. But that one is also delicious. Anyway, it seems like pot roast time around here... so this is what we're having for dinner tonight. And I don't even have a slow cooker/crock pot. I just throw it all in a lidded pot and cook it in the oven for 6-7 hours at 250 or so. Mmmmm... its starting to smell good already. Try it with mashed potatoes or polenta on the side.

    Country-Style Pot Roast with Gravy

    Adapted from “Cook’s Country”

    Cook’s Country Note: If you can’t find a large 5 1/2- to 6-pound chuck roast, use two 3-pound roasts.

    * 1 large boneless beef chuck roast (5 1/2-6 pounds), tied
    * Salt and pepper
    * 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
    * 3 medium onions, chopped
    * 1 large celery rib, chopped
    * 4 medium carrots, chopped
    * 6 garlic cloves, minced
    * 1 cup red wine
    * 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    * 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    * 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
    * 3 bay leaves
    * 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    * 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    1. Liberally season roast with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to slow cooker.

    2. Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet, along with onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

    3. Increase heat to high. Add red wine to empty skillet, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and broth, and bring to a boil. Add pepper flakes, bay leaves and thyme. Transfer to slow cooker.

    4. Set slow cooker to high, cover, and cook until tender, 6 to 7 hours. Or, cook on low for 9 to 10 hours. (Check the temperature with a meat thermometer about 2 hours before the roast is supposed to be done to prevent overcooking. It will be well done at 160 degrees F.)

    5. Transfer roast to carving board; loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Discard bay leaves. Allow liquid in pot to settle, about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface. Puree liquids and solids in batches in blender or food processor. (Or, use an immersion blender.) Stir in parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

    6. Remove strings from roast and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer meat to serving platter. Pour about 1 cup gravy over meat. Serve, passing more gravy separately.

    NOTE ON REDUCING RECIPE: If you cut this recipe in half, be sure to reduce your slow-cooker time to about 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.