Thursday, April 22, 2010

Carrot soup

This week has been pretty crazy. Half of my family is on a diet thingy. So the only people eating is myself, dad, and Grandma. And out of those people I am the only one that can cook, but I am also sick. So last night, after dragging myself out of bed, I made a homemade soup that is really easy and good.

6 c. of peeled and sliced Carrots
4 c. of Chicken broth
4 TBSP of butter
4 TBSPof flour
1 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp heaping of Cayenne
2 c. of Half and half

1. Cook carrots in Chicken broth. When broth begins to boil, set timer for 25 minutes. While waiting start step two.
2. Melt butter over medium heat. Then stir in flour. Cook flour and butter together for a couple of minutes. Then add salt and cayenne.
3. When carrots are done cooking, use a food processer or a blender to mix them. Be sure that the carrots and broth are smooth, with no chunks.
4. Add carrots and broth to the the flour mixture and add half and half. For a more liquidy soup add 1/2 cup more chicken broth.

This is such a great soup, especially when you are sick. :) My family doesn't really like Carrot soup, but they all love this one. It has a great chicken, creamy flavor to it, and the Cayenne adds just a little kick to it. This is definitely one of my favorite soups.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Artichoke Garlic Pasta

I made this for lunch today. It took about 30 min. from start to finish. This recipe is for two, so be sure and multiply it by the amount of people. I served garlic bread and veggies along side of it. I added Parmesan on top, Sun-dried tomatoes, cooking wine, and salt to taste.

4 ounces small uncooked seashell pasta
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
1 sprig fresh basil, chopped (I used dried about 1 Tablespoon)
1 (8 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered (If I made this again, I would add more)

1. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add seashell pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft, and drain. Start step two while waiting for water to boil.
2. Heat the olive oil and melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Mix in the garlic, basil, and artichoke hearts, and cook 5 minutes, until heated through. Toss with the cooked pasta to serve.

My family loved this recipe. We will be having this one again, for sure.

P.S. Sorry about us not posting for a while... we were at a debate/speech tournament. We didn't have internet at all last week.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

French Cooking Flop

A short while ago I had my first real flop since we started this blog. I tried to make a souffle. Because of this experience I decided that there are to many steps in French cooking for which I do not have the patience.

First off it was a layered souffle and therefore had many parts to assemble before placing it in the oven. I thought I could prepare the layers simultaneously. That didn't work so well. I couldn't get my egg whites to stiffen up and burnt the mix slowly cooking on the stove. Finally it was all assembled. It looked kinda sad going in and, as it cooked, didn't improve in appearance. The oven door was opened for a peek (letting out hot air and deflating the already flat souffle) and yet nothing seemed to get better.

Needless to say it came out looking rather sad and flat :(

Lol, reminded me of the Audry Hepburn movie Sabrina. "To flat" "To high" "Much to low"

It will be a while till I try souffle again.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Garlic-Herb Pasta

Tonight I made a meal from the April 2007 issue of Southern Cooking. It has a really fancy title, ready for this? Garlic-Herb Pasta. I know sounds complicated and fancy right? It was a wonderful light Spring pasta. I would be delighted to serve this to company and even more delighted to make some for myself.

The wonderful thing about this pasta was the fact that it is a quick meal. On the table in less than 30 minutes and with a definite plate appeal! This recipe could be made even heartier (and more restaurant like) with chopped chicken, or shrimp on top

8 oz. spaghetti

6 garlic cloves

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 lb. tomatoes, diced

3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. butter

Sauté garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and next 4 ingredients. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes our until thoroughly heated and tomatoes release juices.

While the garlic mixture is cooking drop your pasta into boiling water and cook for the recommended time on the package. Drain pasta and return to pot. Melt butter and pour over the pasta to keep it from sticking to itself and coat with parmesan (I didn't use freshly grated for convenience). Add the sauce and toss.

Serve sprinkled with parmesan and a sprig of parsley.



Sunday's brunch

This last Sunday, before service we had a church breakfast. I made a fruit pizza, that everybody loved. :) So I thought I would share the recipe with you all. We normally eat it for breakfast; although it can be eaten as a dessert. It is very healthy for you.
This makes a very small batch. For my family of six, I would triple it, unless served with other side dishes.

2 Tablespoon butter
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/4 sesame seeds or flax seeds
1/2 whole wheat flour or red wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup finely minced walnuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small saucepan melt butter and honey, set aside.

In a bowl combine oats, sesame, flour, salt, cinnamon, walnuts and vanilla. Add in butter-honey mixture, stirring until well mixed.

Press crust firmly and evenly into the bottom and around the sides of a 9 inch pie pan.

Cream layer:
8oz of cream cheese
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup

Mix these together till very creamy. The amounts is just a guess. Taste it before you spread it on the crust. Feel free to add more maple or cream cheese, do it till it taste right. Spread an even layer on the oatmeal crust.

Fruit Layer:
This is the fruit we like to have on ours, but feel free to experiment with your favorite fruit.
Strawberries thinly sliced long ways
grapes thinly sliced long ways
Kiwi thinly sliced long ways

This is a fun treat in the summer, especially to take to parties. There is such a variety in color in this plate that makes it truly beautiful. The great thing about this plate is it is so good for you. This is one of our families favorite recipe.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Iced Coffee Mousse in a Chocolate Case

Last night I made the most decadent mousse. I made it twice in fact. This dessert has to be timed just right or you don't end up with a pretty dessert. The first time I made it the coffee set up way to fast (the book said to do the coffee part first and then the egg part, not enough time) and so the final product looked like brown spots in a very soft tan pudding. I made it again... Changing the recipe the way I wanted.

We ate it today with my brother's new family (in-laws) and had a wonderful and relaxing day. I'm sharing the recipe as I changed it and also warning you in advance that this needs to be babysat in order to come out right ;).

2 Sachet powdered gelatin
8 Tbsp. very strong brewed coffee (I used coffee granules and reconstituted them with half as much water as called for, a) because we had instant coffee granules and b) because it was quicker than brewing strong coffee)
1 Tbsp. Coffee liqueur such as Kahlua or Troussaint (I used creme de Cocoa; again because we had it on hand and I wasn't buying another liqueur that we weren't going to use but once or twice a year...)
6 eggs, separated
1 C. minus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 1/3 Cup whipping cream

Plain (fair trade) semisweet chocolate chips (For the chocolate bowl)

Grease and line a deep (7 in.) cake tin with baking parchment. I used a large cooking pot. In a double boiler melt the chocolate. Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of chocolate over the base of the tin and about 3 inches up on the sides, finishing with a ragged edge. Leave the chocolate to set before repeating. Put in the freezer to harden.

Now for the mousse!

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until thick enough to leave a trail. I stirred this for a very long time and never came to that point. I decided when it was semi thick that I had stirred enough and should call it good. When your egg mixture is thick remove from heat and whisk occasionally till cool.

Sprinkle gelatin over the coffee in a bowl/ small saucepan and leave it to soften for 5 minutes. Then place the bowl over the boiling water. Stirring until dissolved. Add the liqueur.

pour the gelatin mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream, stirring gently. Chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until just beginning to set. When I did this the first time it set up really fast but didn't quite get cooled off. The second time I tried this I stirred the mixture every 5 minutes or so and that worked quite well.

Meanwhile, lightly whip the whipping cream so that it is just about doubled in volume but not fully whipped. Then whip the egg whites until stiff.

Remove the chocolate shell from the freezer and peel it out of the tin (slowly so you don't break it) remove the lining and place shell back in pan.

Fold the cream into the egg mixture followed by the egg whites. Then pour into the shell. Return to freezer for at least 3 hours. To serve, remove from tin and place on a plate. allow to soften in the refrigerator for 40 minutes before serving. use a knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry to cut into slices to serve.

Next time I make this some things I might try....

I would like to try making mini cups for individual servings. I was thinking of using muffin cups to create the chocolate shell. This may add to the time but then you wouldn't have to cut it. The hotter the knife the better it worked.

Someday I would like to try it with the Kahlua for an even stronger coffee taste. Maybe I will see if the liqueur store has a small bottle of it.

Overall it was a very time consuming but beautiful dessert. I would make it again tomorrow if it wouldn't make me feel sick to eat so much dessert


Saturday, April 3, 2010

cake contest

My sister and I entered in a cake decorating contest a couple of months ago. The theme was "Valentines"
So the one on the bottom is mine. (Amie)
It is a very rich tasting brownie type cake, with a very creamy chocolate/whip cream frosting, with raspberry sauce in between the cakes, and topped with raspberries. Sarah's cake is on the top. It's your basic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and a marshmallow fondant on top for design. Her title was "puppy love"

Friday, April 2, 2010

Salmon tips

This is our first meal to blog about. It was nothing fancy just your usual hashbrown and salmon dinner. (Well salmon is out of the ordinary for us, but we didn't do anything to special to it.) We would however, like to share some of the tips and favorites for our kitchen.

Tonight Sarah learned, when cooking a full salmon, you cut it down the back so you can lay it flat on your baking dish.

Also tonight, Amie tried to spice up our normal plain hashbrowns. So I added red onions, parsley, basil, and speper (salt and peper mixed, 2-1 ratio). It turned out delicious, for an out of the ordinary hashbrowns.

~Amie & Sarah

The Journey Begins

It all started when we took a trip to Borders. On the way in my sister's comment was "Don't let me buy any cookbooks." My sister has problem. She loves cookbooks and cooking. (well, I do too.) But recently, when she was doing her "Spring Cleaning", she found she had two boxes of just cookbooks!! So I left her for a few seconds at Borders.... bad idea, she found the discount table, but not just any discount table, the cookbook discount table. When I join her again she had two books in her hand and was drooling over the table. I grabed her hand and began to pull. Needless to say, the draw the books had on us was stronger then our will to leave. By the time we got out of there, our shopping bag held three books each containing no less then 300 recipes. This is the confession of a cookaholic.

Because of our passion for cooking and the friends and family that are interested in our recipes we deceided to start this blog. We would like to share with you our hilarious moments, best recipies, and ultimate failures. So here is to cooking beautiful and flavorful food!!