Perfect Scones

March10

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup heavy cream

1.) Turn the oven to 425 and move a rack to the center position.

2.) Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a food processor and pulse until combined 6-10 pulses. Place the butter on top of the mixture and pulse several more times until the mixture looks like cornmeal with some butter bits in it.

3.) Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and mix in the cream, stirring until the dough is mixed together (there will be little floury bits still). Do not stir too long, just until dough comes together and is manageable.

4.) Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until it had come together fully come together and is a rough, sticky ball.

5.) Flour a pastry board and put the dough out on it. Roll it into a 12 inch square. Sprinkle the frozen blueberries on top of the bowl and then fold into thirds. You will have a 12 by 4 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 8 triangular pieces.

6.) Make a wash of 1 tbsp of heavy crem and 1 tbsp of sugar. Brush it on top of the scones.

7.) Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

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Coconut Munchies

March10

I go to the health food store with the kids, and I am ALWAYS hungry. At some point, I got addicted to these simple coconut bars that they have. I looked at the ingredients one day and realized that they are very simple to make. I tried making some for myself, and they were a big success.

2 cups dried, shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 cup brown rice syrup

Preheat the oven to 350.

Pour the coconut into a bowl that has been lined with spray oil. Add 2 tbsp of the rice syrup and mix until combined. Add the remaining 2 tbsp of rice syrup and mix well. The mixture should start to stick together. When it holds together, you have succeeded! It might take more or less syrup depending on the day, humidity, etc.

Press the mixture into a loaf pan (I prefer my cast iron one). Place in the oven until it starts to become golden on top. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into bars and enjoy when you get the munchies!

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Week 4 Souffle (Chocolate)

February24

Chocolate souffle is surprisingly easy to make. It is very worth the trouble because it is incredibly delicious.

7 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
8 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

Brush 6 (6-ounce) ramekins with soft butter, then coat with sugar. Put the prepared ramekins in the freezer. (This can be done a day ahead.)

Set an oven rack in lower third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Put the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Combine the egg yolks and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat until frothy. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue beating until ribbons form, about 5 minutes. Very lightly fold the yolks into the chocolate mixture. (Rinse the bowl well, if using for beating the egg whites.)

Remove prepared ramekins from freezer. Put the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer, or large non-reactive bowl, add the lemon juice. Beat on medium until frothy; then gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and increase speed to high. Beat until the whites hold a stiff but not dry peak.

Working quickly, fold about a third of the egg whites into the chocolate to lighten; then fold in remaining whites until blended. Gently ladle or spoon the souffle mixture into the ramekins, and place on a baking sheet. (Level off the surface with a straight edge, scraping any excess mixture back into the bowl.)

Immediately bake until the souffle rises about 1 1/2 inches from the ramekins, and the tops are touched with brown, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

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Week 4 Souffle (Cheese)

February24

I had never made souffle before in my life.  It turns out to be an incredibly easy thing to make, and it is one of my very favorite foods now.  I will be definitely making more in the future.

Here is how I did my cheese souffle.

4 tbsp butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk, warmed

6 eggs separated

dash cayenne

1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup grated cheddar, jack, swiss or guyere cheese

1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degress.  this recipe makes 2 quarts of souffle. Use butter to grease one, 2 quart souffle or two 2 quart souffle dishes or eight 1 cup souffles or any combination of the above.  Sprinkle a little bit of cheese on the inside of each souffle on top of the butter.

2.) Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining butter.  When it foams, add the flour and turn the heat to medium-low.  Cook stirring the mixture until it darkens a bit, about 3 minutes.  Wisk in the milk slowly and cook until it is think, 2 mintues longer.

3.) turn off the heat and stir in the egg yolks, cayenne, mustard, cheeses and salt and pepper to taste.

4.) Beat the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks.  Stir a couple of spoonfuls of egg whites into the batter.  Very gently pour the rest in and use your hand (or a spatula if you must) to fold in the remaining whites to the batter.  Be as gentle as you can–don’t over mix.

5.) Pour the batter into the prepared dishes and bake until the souffle has risen and is brown on top.  This will take about 15 minutes with smaller souffles and up to 40 mintues with a larger souffle.

6.) Use a knife or a skewer to check to see if it is done in the middle.  If it is still very wet, bake for 5 minutes longer and check again.  It will still be a bit moist when it is done.

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Week 3 Beef Stroganouff

February23

Growing up around a cattle ranch helped me develop a lifelong love of beef.  Everyone needs a good Beef Stroganouff recipe, myself included.  This week was about creating the most delectable stroganouff I could come up with.  This recipe is again from America’s Test Kitchen with some changes made.

1.5 pounds round steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1 pound hedgehog mushrooms, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons flour

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup brandy

2/3 cup sour cream

Juice of 1 lemon

1.) Dry the beef off and season with salt and pepper.  Lay the beef out on a cutting board and pound flat on eat side.  Cut into 1/2 inc cubes.  Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat until smoking.  Cook ha;f of the beef until well browned, 3-4 minutes per side.  Transfer meat to a bowl and add another 1 tbsp of oil. Brown the remaining meat.  Transfer meat to bowl with other meat when done.

2.) Heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil in the skillet until shimmering.  Cook the mushrooms, onion and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, about 8 minutes.  If the pan becomes to browned, deglaze with beef juices as necessary.  Stir in the flour and cook for 30 seconds.  Gradually stir in the broths, then the brandy and return the beef and accumulated juices into the skillet.  Bring to a simmer, cover and cook over low heat until the beef is tender, 30 minutes.

3.) Stir the noodles into the beef mixture, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the noodles are tender, 5 minutes with fresh noodles, 12 with dry noodles.

4.) Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sour cream and the lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

__Recipe Note:

If you are going to go to the trouble to make this recipe, you might as well also make the noodles as well.  I made it with fresh, home made noodles, and I found it to be incredibly delicious.  Do yourself a favor and try it with home made linguine, you will never go back.

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Week 2 Orange Chicken

January25
Week 2 takes us to the Orient for some tasty Orange chicken.
Orange Chicken:
2 oranges
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water
1 pound chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces
Vegetable oil for frying
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
Hot cooked rice (to serve the chicken over)
1. Zest both oranges and set zest aside.
2. Juice oranges to measure 1/2 cup juice. Combine juice, sugar, soy sauce and cornstarch in small bowl; set aside.
3. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in medium bowl. Whisk in water to form smooth batter. Add chicken; mix well.
4. Heat about 3 cups vegetable oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until oil registers 375°F on deep-fry thermometer. Shake off excess batter from 1/3 of chicken; carefully add chicken.
5. Cook about 4 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink in center, stirring occasionally to break up pieces with spoon. Remove chicken with slotted spoon to tray lined with paper towels; drain. Repeat 2 more times with remaining chicken, reheating oil between batches.
6. Heat wok over medium-high heat until hot; add chili oil. Add orange peel, garlic and ginger; stir-fry about 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant.
7. Stir cornstarch mixture; add to wok. Cook and stir until sauce boils and thickens. Return chicken to wok; mix well. Transfer to serving platter; garnish, if desired. Serve over rice.
Recipe adapted from:
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Week 1 Lasagna

January25

I am going to post a photo as well as the recipe each week for the 52 weeks of new food.

Week 1 started with lasagna. I had never made a successful lasagna before, so I decided that I was going to give it my all and really learn how to make a good lasagna.  Luckily I nailed this one on the head.

I have adapted this recipe from the America’s Test Kitchen Recipe. I have made some changes that I really liked in my own lasagna.

Meat Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, minced
1 head garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pint roasted tomato sauce

Cheese Filling:
1 1/2 cups ricotta
1 cup cottage cheese
2 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated

Noodles:
2 cups semolina flour
2 cups white flour
6 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil

1. For the meat sauce. Heat the oil in a large Duct oven over medium heat until hot and shimmering. Ad the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef, ground pork, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking the meat until small pieces with a wooden spoon until the meat loses it raw color, but is not browned, about 4 minutes. Add the cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and only rendered fat remains, about 4 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and bring the sauce to a simmer. Cook until all liquid has evaporated and the sauce is VERY thick, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

2. Combine the ricotta, cottage cheese, egg , Parmesan, egg, basil, salt and pepper. Mix until combined

3. Mix the semolina, the white flour and the eggs together in a food processor or in a stand mixer. It will create a very dry dough. Add the olive oil in and mix until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and work until the dough comes together and becomes smooth. Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes has passed, cut the dough into sections and roll it out using a pasta roller until it has reached the 6 or 7 thickness. These are the noodles for the lasagna.

4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

5. Spread the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with 1/4 cup of meat sauce. Place 1 layer of noodles on top of the meat sauce. Put 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles. Sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella cheese followed by 1/3 of the meat sauce. Repeat layering until you are out of noodles, sauce and cheese filling. Sprinkle mozzarella on the top. Spray a sheet of aluminium foil with oil and cover the lasagna.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil. Continue to bake until the cheese is spotty brown and the sauce is bubbling, about 25 minutes more. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

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Tasty Protein Snack

November21

I am always looking for a nice tasty snack for the family.  I saw some snack bars at a health food store that inspired me to make these.  This snack is high in protein, low in sugar and it tastes amazing.

1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds

2 tbsp wheat germ

1/2 cup  + 2 tbsp flax seeds

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 cup hemp seeds

3 tbsp honey

1/2 cup peanut butter

Heat the peanut butter together with the honey until loose.  Mix other ingredients together and stir in the warm peanut butter and honey.  Form into canals and put into the refrigerator.   These are the most simple and tasty snack ever.  Enjoy

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Herbed Chick Peas

November2

When I was in Greece, we were on a bit of a limited budget.  I came up with this recipe to make use of chick peas.  They are a tasty, healthy and cheap food.  These make perfect finger food for a toddler or a perfect side dish for a meal.  They are gobbled up in our house whenever they get made, and we rarely have leftovers.

Chick Peas with Herbs

3 cups cooked and drained chick peas (or from a can)

2 tbsp olive oil

2tbsp dried basil

2 tbsp dried onion granules

1/2 teaspoon dried garlic

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Combine all ingredients into a saucepan or a skillet.  Cook stirring until the chick peas start to take on some color and some crispness.

Can be served warm or cold.  It is just that easy.

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Ranch Dressing Mix

October12

We get a lot of veggies every week that can be  eaten raw.  I have always been a fan of ranch dip for this purpose, but I don’t like that every brand in stores is loaded with MSG.

The solution of course is to make your own!  I decided to put together a mix that I can then turn into ranch dip/dressing in a snap.

This mix is incredibly versatile.  You can make both dip and dressing out of it.  You can also sprinkle it on homemade potato chips for some extra special flavor.

Ranch Mix

1/2 cup buttermilk powder

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

2 teaspoons granulated onion

1 teaspoon dried chives

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

*Note: Buttermilk powder is easy to come by.  It can be found in the baking section of your grocery store by the powdered milk.

Ranch Dip

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Ranch Mix

1/2 cup Mayo

1/2 cup Sour Cream

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

Ranch Dressing

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Ranch mix

1/2 cup Mayo

1/2 cup Milk

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

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