MAKING LIFE TASTE BETTER

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Roll

I'm not a big fan of pumpkin pie for many reasons and 1 is "they" say this is how it's made....(LOL!)







Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel before rolling up cake so it will not stick.

Powdered sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
 
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
 
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
 
1/4 teaspoon salt
 
3 eggs

1 cup sugar
 
2/3 cup LIBBY'S 100% Pure Pumpkin
 

Filling

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
 
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
 
6 tablespoons butter softened
 
1 teaspoon vanilla
 
Powdered sugar, if desired

Directions

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease 15x10x1-inch jelly-roll pan; line with parchment or waxed paper. Grease and flour paper; set aside. Arrange clean thin, cotton kitchen towel on counter; sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Combine eggs and sugar in large bowl; beat until thickened. Add pumpkin; beat until well mixed. Stir in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with walnuts, if desired.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until center springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen cake from edges of pan; invert onto prepared towel. Remove pan; carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake in towel while hot, starting with 10-inch side. Cool completely on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in small bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic food wrap; refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired..

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN


HAPPY HALLOWEEN

I love claymonsters, they come in handy and love posing with cookies. My collection is growing with time. They love  "  Skittles"  and I'm told never to give them Egg Nog, but anybody that KNOWS me, I'm terrible with following rules.
Claymonster-Pottery

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mac and Cheese




Bechamel sauce
  • 5 c. milk
  • 3 T. flour
  • 3 T. butter
 Veggie mixture
  • 1 large red pepper (diced)
  • 1 small red onion (diced)
  • 2 t. garlic salt
  • 1 t. white pepper
  • 1 T. dried oregano
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
Cheese Mix
  • White cheddar (8oz) grated
  • Yellow cheddar (8oz) grated
  • Mozzarella (8oz) grated
  • Reserve 4 oz for topping.
1 # corkscrew pasta cooked to box directions and drained well.

In a small pot heat your milk to a simmer. In a medium pot melt the butter and add flour to make a roux.

Slowly add milk to roux and stir constantly. Cook and stir until thickened and smooth. Slowly whisk in cheese, little at a time so it melts and blends in. Stir and continue adding cheese until it's all added and melted.
Sauce should be slightly thick and smooth.


\Meanwhile melt 2 T. butter and saute your diced veggies until they are browned and caramelized, (med. heat). Add spices. Stir veggies in to cheese sauce.

Spray coat a 4 cup casserole, set aside.

In a large bowl mix pasta and sauce together. Stir gently to coat pasta  Place in casserole, top with remaining cheese and bake at 325* for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Let rest 5 minutes. Serve.

serves 6-8

Monday, October 25, 2010

PUMPKIN EGGNOG








Ingredients:

 
4 C. milk (I use 2%)

2 C. canned pumpkin puree
7 lg. eggs
1 C. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1 container pumpkin ice cream (Softened-32oz)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

15 shotsSpiced rum (such as Capitan Morgan), to taste
15 shots Southern comfort
10-12 cinnamon sticks (to garnish)
Pumpkin pie spice, as desired (to garnish)


Instructions: 

1. In a large, heavy saucepan, whisk together the pumpkin puree and the milk. Bring slowly to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.
2. Meanwhile, beat together your eggs and sugar in a heat-resistant bowl.
3. To temper your egg mixture, pour a small amount of your hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Add a bit more, whisking all the while, until your egg mixture is hot and close to the temperature of your milk mixture.
4. Slowly and gradually whisk your tempered egg mixture into your milk mixture. Return to a medium-low heat.
5. Add cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and stir in ice cream, vanilla, and rum to taste.
6. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. You'll want to let it chill for at least four hours to let the flavors combine. Garnish each serving with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Tip: If your eggs weren't tempered perfectly, you may end up with a few egg bits in your nog. If this happens, simply strain the pumpkin eggnog  before chilling.
Serve in a hollowed out pumpkin....for more fun

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thai Pizza


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Whole wheat flat bread (Boboli)
  • 12 medium cooked shrimp (clean,no tail)
  • 1/4 cup  Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 bunch Chopped Scallions
  • 1/4 cup  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (we use Great Lakes 2% milk Jalapeno cheese ,Grated)
    (Sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes as desired)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Mix the peanut butter and soy sauce together in a bowl until blended.
  2. Spread peanut butter mixture on the flat bread.
  3. Add shrimp, scallions, & cheese.
  4. Bake in the oven for 15 mins at 450 degees. or on grill  (on pizza stone) for same amount of time (425*)

Wicked Apples







Ingredients:

  • 10 to 12 wooden popsicle sticks
  • 10 to 12 medium (fuji) apples, stems removed
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • Candy sprinkles, Jimmies or what you like best....
 

Directions:

1. Insert wooden stick into each washed and dried apple. Cover tray with wax paper.

2. Stir together peanut butter chips and oil in medium bowl, place over simmering pot of water. Stir constantly until chips are softened. Stir just until chips are melted when stirred.

3.Stir together powdered sugar and cocoa; gradually add to melted chip mixture, stirring until smooth. Stir 1 minute or until very warm.

4. Dip apples in mixture; twirl to remove excess coating. (If coating becomes too thick, return to (double boiler) for a few seconds or add additional oil 1 teaspoon at a time.) Roll lower half of coated apple in jimmies, if desired. Allow to cool on prepared tray. Let cool at room temperature (in a cool,dark area), if desired. 10 to 12 apples.

Friday, October 22, 2010

BAT COOKIES



Makes 6-8 cookies
For the Chocolate Sablé Dough
12 ounce butter
8.5 ounces sugar
13.4 ounces all purpose flour
Pinch baking soda
Pinch salt
4.5 ounces (Hershey's Special dark) cocoa powder
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together using a paddle on medium speed. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter and sugar mixture until combined. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch. Cut out cookies into desired shapes. Refrigerate the cut cookies for 20 minutes. Bake at 325°F for 12 minutes and let cool on a rack.

For the White Chocolate Ganache Filling
7 ounces heavy cream
7 ounces white chocolate
1 ounces butter
Chop the white chocolate and place in a bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chopped white chocolate and stir until smooth. Add the butter and stir until incorporated. Allow the cream mixture to cool. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip until light and the mixture holds its shape. Refrigerate until needed.
To Assemble:
Pipe the filling onto one cookie and top with another.
(I add 1T. Brandy to my Ganache)

Martini




4 shots Grey Goose vodka
2shots pomegranate juice
1 shot triple sec


Gently shake over ice (to chill) and pour in to martini glass. When Rick makes these for me he skips
the triple sec. Extremely dry and up! That's how I like it........

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Baked Jalapeno Peppers


  1. 1 (8oz) Package fat-free PHILADELPHIA cream cheese (softened)
  2. 1 (8oz) package of block cheese*
  3. 1/4 tsp. celery salt
  4. 1 clove garlic (minced)
  5. 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  6. 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs (white or wheat)
  7. 1# fresh jalapenos or banana peppers

  • Remember: when working with hot peppers, you should wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly,often and immediately after cleaning/touching.
  • Preheat oven 300* or Grill 375*
  • (20/25 minutes-oven or 25 minutes-grill)
  • Cut Jalapenos in half (lengthwise), not necessary to remove tops, remove seeds and any membrane if needed. Not cleaning peppers will result in hotter peppers.
  • *Shred cheese...(your choice, we use Great Lakes {2% milk} cheddar with habanero
  • Place softened cream cheese and shredded cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add spices and mix to incorporate. (mixer may be used if needed/cream cheese isn't soft enough)
  • Place Panko in a shallow bowl. Hand mix to crunch them finer if needed.
  • Fill peppers with 2 Tbsp. cheese mixture. Fill evenly and adjust to peppers size as needed.
  • Carefully dip top 1/2 (only) in the Panko, evenly coating the cheese mixture part.
  • Oven: bake on parchment lined cooking sheet
  • Grill: spray coat baking sheet (Pam) and place on grill
  • Peppers are done when soft and Panko is toasted golden brown (Note: Times given are accurate)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Concord Grape Pie


I'm not a big fan of pies, but this is (next to Key Lime Pie) a darn great pie........and worth the effort.

2 cups Concord grapes
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
3 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 c. water
1 T. butter
pastry for a 2-crust, 9" pie*


Remove the pulp from the grape skins by popping the grapes with your fingers. This can only be done with "slipskin" grapes such as Concords. Pop the pulp directly into a 1-quart saucepan. Reserve the grape skins. Add the sugar and water to the pulp. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Strain the sweetened pulp through a fine colander to remove the seeds. Put the skins, the strained pulp, and the lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch dissolved in water and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add the butter.
  Roll out enough of the pastry to line the bottom of a 9" pie pan. Pour the grape filling into the shell. Wet the edges of the dough and top with the remaining rolled-out pastry, placing it loosely over the top of the filling. Carefully crimp the edges of the pie. Prick the top crust with a fork or mark in a design with the point of a sharp knife.  Bake in a preheated 350° F. oven for 30-50 minutes.Makes 1 pie.

*simple crumb topping is what I prefer (enough for 1 pie)
  1. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  2. 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  3. 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
In a bowl, using your fingers, rub the brown sugar into the flour until blended. Work in the softened butter until the mixture is crumbly.

    Candy Corn Cookie Pic

    Candy corn cookies are fun and easy treat to make for Halloween (my favorite holiday!)...recipe can be found here...

    Fun with Dick and Jane

    Going back to school has been a BIG challenge, I am learning a lot and trying to keep up....It's been a real fun ride and I owe all my thanks to Rick for giving me this opportunity .......Made Pate a Choux for the first time....

    Friday, October 8, 2010






    Winter is on it's way and soon time for BEAR hibernation. It's a beautiful day outside and I'm glad I have the day to play outside.....

    Pizza with Curtis



    Homemade Pizza with Mozzarella, Cherry Tomatoes and Pesto

    Makes 2 pizzas

    Ingredients

    Roasted Tomatoes

    12 cherry tomatoes with stems
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Pesto

    2 garlic cloves
    1 1/2 bunches fresh basil leaves (about 1 1/2 cups lightly packed)
    1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
    1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Pizzas

    All purpose flour, for dusting
    2 8-ounce balls purchased pizza dough
    6 ounces buffalo mozzarella cheese
    4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
    4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    1. Place a large baking stone on the bottom shelf in the oven and position the second shelf in the upper third of the oven, then preheat the oven to 475°F.
    2. Heating the baking stone well in advance will allow enough time for it to become very hot before baking the pizzas on it.
    3. Baking on the very hot stone will create pizzas with crisp crusts.
    4. Lay the tomatoes on a nonreactive baking sheet and drizzle lightly with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
    5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    6. Set the baking sheet on the second shelf in the oven and roast the tomatoes in the oven until they are tender and begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
    7. Remove from the oven and set aside.
    8. To make the pesto: Using a Bump and Grind or another large mortar and pestle, smash the garlic into a coarse puree.
    9. Add 1 1/2 bunches of the basil and pound until it is coarsely chopped.
    10. Add the pine nuts and smash to break them up.
    11. Mix in 1/3 cup of the Parmesan cheese.
    12. Slowly mix in 1/3 cup of the olive oil. Season the pesto to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
    13. To prepare the pizzas: Lightly dust the work surface with flour and press 1 ball of dough on the work surface into a circle.
    14. Continue to press and pull the dough into a thin irregularly-shaped disk that is about 10 inches in diameter, being careful not to over work the gluten in the flour by over kneading it.
    15. Lay a silicone baking mat on a pizza paddle, then lay the pizza dough on the mat. Spread 1/4 cup of the pesto sauce in a thin layer over the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge.
    16. Arrange half of the roasted tomatoes over the pizza.
    17. Tear the mozzarella into long stringy pieces and scatter half of them over the pizza.
    18. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese over the pizza.
    19. Immediately slide the pizza (still on the baking mat) off of the paddle and onto the hot baking stone in the oven.
    20. Bake the pizza for about 12 minutes or until the bottom is crisp and deep golden brown and the cheese has melted and become pale golden on top.
    21. Using the pizza paddle, remove the pizza (still on the baking mat) from the stone then slide the pizza off of the mat and onto a cutting board.
    22. Scatter half of the basil leaves over the pizza.
    23. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    24. Using a pizza wheel or large sharp knife, cut the pizza into pieces and serve.
    25. Repeat to make a second pizza.
    26. After the second pizza has finished baking, turn the oven off, leaving the baking stone in the oven to cool slowly.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010

    Candy Corn Cookies

    1 cup butter, softened
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    2 T. orange juice
    2 T. freshly grated orange zest
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 (1-ounce) square melted semi-sweet baking chocolate
    •   Gel food colors*
    •  1/2c. sugar  
    (Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl; set aside.)

    Directions

    Line bottom and sides of 9x5-inch  loaf pan with plastic food wrap. Set aside.
     
    Combine butter, orange zest and 1 cup sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until (5- min.) creamy. Add egg, orange juice and salt. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.

    Divide dough into thirds. Place one-third of dough into mixing bowl. Add small amount of yellow food color; mix until color is well blended . Press yellow dough evenly in pan. Place another one-third of dough back into same bowl. Add small amount of orange food color; mix until color is well blended. Press orange dough evenly over yellow dough in pan. Place remaining one-third of dough into mixing bowl. Add cooled melted chocolate; mix until well blended. Press chocolate dough evenly over orange dough in pan. Press contents down gently, yet firmly. Cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).
     
    Heat oven to 350°F. Invert loaf pan to remove dough. Peel off plastic wrap. Place layered dough onto cutting surface. Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary. Cut each slice into 6 wedges. Place cookies in bowl with sugar; roll in sugar to coat. Place 1-inch apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Place cookies onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

    Store in loosely covered container.

    *Please note that I do not remix dough to add color. I simply put on gloves and work colors in by hand quickly. I do mix the chocolate in with the mixer. Also remember that the first color dough in pan will be the top color and so on.....Use your imagination with colors and as always HAVE FUN!

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    GRILLED CALAMARI

    • TOTAL TIME: 20 MIN
    • SERVINGS: 10
    • FAST, HEALTHY and TASTY

    Ingredients

    1. 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil*
    2. 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
    3. 3 garlic cloves, minced
    4. Salt and lemon pepper (to taste)
    5. 2 pounds cleaned small squid (see Note)

    Directions

    1.   Cut the squid into rings.
    2. Light a gas or charcoal grill. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the parsley, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. 
    3. In a large bowl, toss the squid with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Double-skewer the squid bodies and grill until cooked through and charred in spots, about 3 minutes. Baste the cooked squid with half of the parsley mixture, then grill the squid for 1 minute longer. Mound the squid on a platter, drizzle with the remaining parsley mixture and serve immediately.
    4.  * I use blood orange infused olive oil....if you can find it at your grocer.

    Notes

    Look for small squid—they're super-tender and cook very quickly. The bodies should be about 3 inches long.

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

       a sweet recipe from Maida Heatter...ENJOY!

    • SERVINGS: Makes about 4 dozen
    • MAKE-AHEAD

    Ingredients

    1. 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
    2. 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    3. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    4. 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
    6. 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
    7. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    8. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    9. 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    10. 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
    11. 1 large egg, lightly beaten

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Line several large cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates. Let cool slightly. 
    2.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the brown and granulated sugars and the vanilla and beat at medium speed until combined. Beat in the peanut butter, then the melted chocolate and the egg. At low speed, gradually beat the dry ingredients until incorporated into the cookie dough. 
    3. Using your hands, roll the dough into 48 one-inch balls and arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, flatten the balls to a 1/2-inch thickness. Bake 1 sheet of cookies at a time for about 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly golden.
    4. Rotate the cookie sheet halfway through baking for even browning. Slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto a wire rack to cool. 
    5. * I use scoops to do my cookies, using a #40 or #30

    Make Ahead

    The cookies can be stored between sheets of wax paper overnight in an airtight container

    Farina

    I collect Monsters from ClayMonster. They are all original, one of a kind. They love skittles. (they do open up)
    I'm told NEVER give them eggnog....This is Farina with a plate of peanut butter incredibles...yummy!






    The COOKIE MONSTER EFFECT

    I’ve worked in restaurants since the age of sixteen. At the age of forty a co-worker, and friend, coerced me into baking. In his words, he said “you have a passion for it”. Over time I found I truly did love to bake. The thought occurred to me that this love for baking could become the means of starting my own business. At that time I felt I needed to find one confection that I could “make my own”. I determined it would be the brownie.
        My experiments started with numerous batches and a wide variety of flavors. Unusual combinations and sinfully decadent would be my gimmick. I tested them on everybody and anybody who was willing to indulge. In my research of home based businesses, I found that my love for pets would be a problem. This was a sacrifice I was not willing to make. My home based brownie business was on hold, but my passion never died.
        In the summer of 2008, while enjoying a swim in a backyard pool, a friend of my partners suggested I might bake treats for his beauty shop. I was more than willing to give it a try. It’s a small hair salon with a varied clientele. Of course brownies were at the top of my list. Rick suggested cookies, being a self confessed cookie monster. That same evening I went to work on the list of treats which would become the public’s first exposure to the Bear Naked Baker.
    CMcupcake.jpg    Monday morning I began baking my sweet treats. By late afternoon my “goodies” were baked, bagged, labeled, and ready for a Tuesday morning delivery. When Rick arrived home from work that evening, the dining room table was overflowing with baked goods. He was sure I had been a bit too enthusiastic. None the less, Tuesday late morning, my delivery was made. We were both pleasantly surprised when we received a phone call Thursday to let us know everything had been sold.
      At that time we were both working full time jobs. I often spent twelve hours at my bakery manager position…plus travel time. I sensed that perhaps we had “bitten off more cookie than we could chew”. Our home kitchen is small and gallery style with a single, electric oven. However, it’s been two years to the month and all things have seemed to work out well. Cookies have become my new passion. Patrons of the salon also keep me busy with special requests for breads, cakes, and yes…sometimes brownies.
        Always adventurous, in 2010 I decided to try my luck at our local Lebanon County Fair. I entered four cookies and a whoopie pie. To my surprise, each cookie took first place in its’ category and the whoopie pie placed third. Earlier this year we decided that if self-employment was to be my goal, I would need to further my education.

      So, here I am today, enrolled in the Pastry Arts Program and learning more about the craft I love. I’m determined to do my best and become a top notch baker.

      One day soon, fingers crossed and cookie monster in tow, there will be a store front bakery with a sign over the door that reads…Chuck Deets the Bear Naked Baker.
    Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Clean Eating Magazine, March/April 2010
    (Makes 24 Cookies)

    1 cup unsalted almond butter, stirred well
    3/4 cup Sucanat
    1 large egg
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    3 oz dark chocolate (70% cocoa or greater), broken into small pieces or "chips"

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a medium bowl. stir together the first 5 ingredients until blended. Stir in chocolate. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (#40 scoop) onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack and let cool for 15 more minutes.Watch carefully, they burn easy. These cookies are as good as the chocolate you use. Ghiradelli.
    Brown sugar may be substituted for sucanat, but Nutrients will change.......

    Nutrients per cookie: Calories: 110, Total Fat: 8g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 10g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 3g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 55mg, Cholesterol: 10mg