Monday, March 30, 2009

An April Fool's party...

We're having an April Fool's Party and you're all invited to have some Fushi...fake Sushi, Candy Sushi, call it whatever you want, it's a lot of fun to make, actually it's a pain, and kind of sticky, but the kids liked it! I made this recipe in a summer day camp I work at with tons of kids a few summers back. Fun project. Thought it would be a fun April Fool's so I made it again! My other choice was a birthday cake made from meat and potatoes over at!

Of course I went with the candy!

From Family Fun online, Crispy Candy Sushi, but we just called it Fushi, or fake sushi :)

Instead of gummy candies, I used Twizzler peel n pull! and a microwave instead of the stove. The marshmallows puff up HUGE, so watch it. Usually done in three or four minutes and you have to stir it really well. I garnished the plate with chopped dried apricots.

Crispy Candy Sushi Snacks
FamilyFun Magazine

1/4 cup butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups crisped rice cereal
20 to 25 gummy worms
1 to 2 boxes fruit leather

Grease a 12- by 17-inch baking sheet. Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until smooth.

Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the rice cereal until it's evenly coated. Turn the baking sheet so that the shorter ends are at the top and bottom. Then press the marshmallow mixture onto the sheet, distributing it evenly.

Starting at one side an inch up from the lower edge, place gummy worms atop the mixture end to end in a hortizontal line. Gently roll the lower edge of the marshmallow mixture over the gummy worms.

Then stop and cut the log away from the rest of the mixture. Use the same method to form 4 more logs. Slice each log into 1-inch-thick "sushi" rolls and wrap them individually with a strip of fruit leather.

Makes 4 to 5 dozen.

Join the party and give us the link to your April Fool's post! Here's our list of April Fool's blogger's so far, you can check out their blogs for their food pranks on or before April 1st! If you want to join in, add a comment with your url and I'll add your blog to the list!

Happy April Fool's Day to everyone from...

Kathleen at Cuisine Kathleen
Jayne at A Grain of Salt
Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen
Barb at Foley's Follies
Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet
Debbie at Mountain Breaths
Marsha at Marsha's Kitchen
and Cynthia, who is a great sport and follows our blogs, I'd call her an honorary Fool, LOL, but it just doesn't come across well! Cynthia, you know what I mean!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Busy day in the kitchen!

Getting ready for the holidays, it was a busy day in the kitchen today. Had to make something for lunch and Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet was having a Cooking Magazine challenge. Had to wait for hours for the briskets and the chicken soup to cook, so I figured why not? Here we go...

From Eat Smart with Ellie Krieger from Fine Cooking magazine, Tomato Stuffed Peppers. These were delicious! I sprinkled some extra kalamata olives on top, but they got a little burned. Otherwise, came out perfect. I used yellow and red tomatoes, orange and red peppers! These are definitely going to be made again! Really good. The magazine was a gift from a friend. Good friend :) The recipe is also on the Food Network site.

Tomato Stuffed Peppers
recipe by Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
4 large red peppers
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
4 medium tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large, shallow baking dish with cooking spray.

Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds but leaving the stem. Although the stem is not edible it looks good in this dish and helps the pepper retain its shape. Place the peppers cut side up in the baking dish.

Divide the sliced garlic and the olives evenly among the peppers. Cut each tomato into 8 wedges and put 4 wedges into each pepper. Drizzle each stuffed pepper with a little oil and season with a few grinds of pepper.

Roast the peppers for about 50 minutes or until they are tender and beginning to brown around the edges.

A Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Muffin Loaf?

So what's a muffin loaf? 12 little muffins baked in a loaf. I am muffin and cupcake challenged. They burn, they overflow, they just don't work out. My kids always got store bought cupcakes. At one point when I was forced to bake cupcake cones for the very first time, I went up and down the aisles and kept looking for cupcake mix. I had no clue you got cupcakes from a cake mix. Baking challenged. and at that point I had never heard of baking from scratch in my house! That was something only my grandmother did. I learned my lesson. or I should say I burned my lesson. I went through a lot of cake mix for that first try at cupcake cones.

So now all my muffins end up as a loaf, my cupcakes come from a bakery and everybody here is happy.

I used a Banana Nut Muffin recipe from Elise at Simply Recipes. Hers looked fantastic. I was hooked. I wanted to add chocolate chips but I didn't have any, so I added in chocolate disks. That just doesn't have the same ring to it. Banana Nut Chocolate Disk Muffins? If you have muffin problems like me, then just bake in a loaf pan for about an hour until the toothpick comes out clean!

Ready to bake...

Fresh from the oven!

Still warm, oozing with melted, gooey chocolate! Perfection. This is a great recipe, full of flavor and a little less dense than the one I usually use. This one was raved about. It's a keeper. Goodbye old recipe! I may even get the courage up to make them into muffins next time. They'd have to be fantastic. If I don't burn them.

Grab an ice cold glass of milk and dig in...

Banana Nut Muffins
from Elise at Simply Recipes

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp espresso or strong coffee (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted or raw)

No need for a mixer with this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.

Mix in the sugar, egg, espresso and vanilla.

Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.

Add the flour, mix until it is just incorporated. Fold in the chopped walnuts.

Pour mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it's done. Cool on a rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Flahsback Fridays!

It's a lot of fun joining Suzy from the Kitchen Bouquet blog every week on her Flashback Fridays! I love going through my old recipes, ones that bring back lots of great memories! This one in particular. Noodle Kugel. This one is sweet. and has absolutely no raisins. but feel free to adapt it any way you want, chopped apricots are nice, too, if you like them. I like my kugel plain. Although my grandma always made it with raisins. Plump, golden ones, even worse than the dried out brown ones :)

I really don't like raisins. but I totally adored my grandma. This is how she made it for me. No raisins. Probably the same recipe as everyone else's grandma, give or take a raisin :)

Noodle Kugel

1 pound wide noodles
1 lb cottage cheese
1 pint sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz whipped cream cheese
1/4 pound melted butter

1/2 box cornflakes
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar

Boil noodles in a big pot of water until tender and drain (don't over cook them!) Rinse the noodles in cold water. Butter a large baking pan and pour in the egg noddles.
Beat eggs and sugar, and then add the cream cheese and everything else. Pour the mixture over the noodles and stir it in.

Crumble the topping together, and sprinkle it over the noodle kugel. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My other favorite Lemon Chicken...


I love lemon anything. Mostly anyway! and Woodie's World Famous Chicken Piccata is tops, but has to be tied with Rao's Famous Lemon Chicken. It doesn't get any easier or tastier than this chicken dish. If you like lemon and you like chicken, give this a try. It really is nice enough for company and easy enough when you have a house full of big obnoxious hungry kids. They didn't get the pretty plate either, you can bet on that! Those kids do not appreciate garnish, let alone plating :) Just feed them! A lot. Larry and I, we got the civilized plates!

Rao's Famous Lemon Chicken
From Rao's Restaurant, Frank Pelligrino
6 servings

2 (2 1/2 to 3 pound) broiling chickens, halved (I use chicken parts instead of whole chickens. My family likes the thighs and the legs. and I take the skin off and you can see in the picture it still crisps up really nicely without the skin.)
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 cups fresh lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together juice, oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk or shake vigorously before using.

(I add two chopped shallots to the lemon sauce!)

CHICKEN: To attain maximum heat, preheat broiler for at least 15 minutes before using.

Broil chicken halves, turning once, for about 30 minutes or until skin is golden-brown and juices run clear when bird is pierced with a fork.

Remove chicken from broiler, leaving broiler on. Using a very sharp knife, cut each half into about 6 pieces (leg, thigh, wing, 3 small breast pieces).

Place chicken on a baking sheet with sides, of a size that can fit into the broiler. Pour Lemon Sauce over the chicken and toss to coat well. If necessary, divide sauce in half and do this in two batches.

Return to broiler and broil for 3 minutes. Turn each piece and broil for an additional minute.

Remove from broiler and portion each chicken onto each of 6 warm serving plates.

Pour sauce into a heavy saucepan. Stir in parsley and place over high heat for 1 minute. Pour an equal amount of sauce over each chicken and serve with lots of crusty bread to absorb the sauce.

I found this recipe for Lemon Orzo at the Food Network. I forgot the parsley in both the pasta and the Rao's recipes. Like that's a surprise. I usually forget something, this wasn't too bad, I guess forgetting lemon in this case would be worse!

and a spoonful or two of the Rao's Lemon Sauce on the Orzo makes it that much better!

Orzo with Parsley and Lemon Zest
recipe by Rachael Ray, Food Network 30-minute Meals

1/2 pound orzo
Coarse salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large lemons, zested
Black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls

Cook orzo in salted water about 12 minutes, to al dente. Drain orzo well. Do not run under cold water. You want the cooked pasta to remain hot. Transfer pasta to a serving bowl. Drizzle orzo with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and parsley and toss to combine the flavors with the pasta.

The String Beans were also, can you guess? Lemon! Steamed the beans, then tossed with a teeny bit of olive oil, little bit of grated garlic, salt and pepper, a little lemon zest, and sprinkled a little fresh parmigiano-reggiano on top.

That about covers everything. A total lemon dinner! Dessert...

Ralph's Italian Ice. Mine was lemon, there was also a mango, a rainbow and a chocolate!

Tomorrow we have takeout! Back to normal.

Happy Birthday wishes...

to Susan at Savoring Time in the Kitchen blog!

Cupcake cones for everyone!

The recipe and directions for Cupcake cones are here at Wiki...

Hope you have the best day today, Susan, and best wishes for always!
Happy Birthday!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grilled Tuna and Steak

Still not spring here yet, but you can tell it's coming. The nurseries are starting to fill up with color and it was a little warmer out today, although by the time we cranked up the grill, it got chilly out! We even went for somewhat healthy. Grilled Tuna. but we also grilled a prime Sirloin Steak, hey, can't be all good all the time! A sort of surf and turf. I guess we're so used to ordered in takeout, we need a choice for dinner even when I cook :)

and I made one of those vegetable pasta dishes that is just thrown together with whatever is left in the frig. I found some Anelletti pasta at Trader Joe's. Little rings, looks like cheerio's. Some places have it and it called Annellini. Whatever you call it, they were really good, a fun shape, I'll definitely get more. I sauteed up some onions, and a whole lot of button mushrooms, quartered. Lots of salt and pepper and olive oil, and towards to end of sauteeing, I threw in some orange and red tiny tomatoes along with a bag of fresh baby spinach. Tossed it all with the Anelletti. Went well with the steak and the tuna. The tuna recipe called for cubes, I left it whole, marinated for a few hours. Great recipe from Ilisa at The Ramen Chronicles blog. I've made it before for my friends when they've come for lunch. Very big hit. This time I left the steaks whole and didn't serve it with dipping sauce.

Tuna Sates with Wasabi Mayo
posted by Ilisa at The Ramen Chronicles blog
Printable Recipe

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
juice of one lemon
5 tablespoons wasabi paste, or to taste
4 12-ounce tuna steak, cut into 1-inch cubes

Stir all ingredients together. Put tuna cubes in a bowl and cover with 1 cup (or more, if needed) of the wasabi mixture. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. Put remaining wasabi mixture in a bowl for dipping and refrigerate overnight.

Either sear tuna in a very hot pan with olive oil, just a minute each side, or stick it on a prepared skewer and grill over very hot coals for a few minutes each side. Serve tuna sat├ęs with chilled wasabi mayo for dipping.

You can cut this recipe in half for a smaller group.

Anelletti Pasta with Sauteed Vegetables

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Flashback Friday!

Suzy at Kitchen Bouquet does a Flashback Friday which is a lot of fun, and forces me to remember some oldies but goodies! and so for this week's flashback, I'm turning to Chocolate and Breakfast. You just can't go wrong with a Chocolate Breakfast! I've kind of slacked off when it comes to Sunday breakfast lately but I always have a Challah or a Brioche in the freezer for just in case and I think this Sunday is a "just in case" and a Chocolate Breakfast may be in our future! I got the recipe from Fine Cooking magazine a while back.

Chocolate French Toast

by Abigail Johnson Dodge (Fine Cooking Magazine, December 2005)
Printable Recipe

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ounce (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup whole milk
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6-8 1-inch-thick slices of challah bread (stale is fine)
2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Confectioners' sugar, for garnish (optional)
Fresh raspberries, strawberries, or sliced bananas, for garnish (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended and no cocoa lumps remain. Pour in about half of the milk and whisk until the mixture is a lump-free paste. Add the remaining milk, the eggs, and the vanilla. Whisk until well blended.

Arrange the bread in a single layer in a 9x13-inch baking dish (or similar vessel) and pour the cocoa mixture over the bread. Turn the bread once to get both sides nicely coated. Poke each bread slice repeatedly with the tines of a fork to encourage the bread to absorb the batter. Let soak, turning every 10 minutes, until the bread is well saturated, 20 to 30 minutes.

Set a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the butter and spread to cover the pan. (If using a skillet, you'll need to cook the French toast in two batches, using 2 tablespoons butter for each batch.) Using your fingers and a large rubber spatula, carefully transfer the bread slices, one at a time, from the batter to the griddle. Cook until the underside looks browned and lightly crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. (Reduce the temperature if the slices are browning too fast) Flip and continue cooking until the slices are slightly puffed in the
center and are bouncy to the touch, another 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the French toast to plates and serve immediately, dusted with confectioners' sugar and fruit, if you like.

Joining in on the fun at Sweet as Sugar Cookies for Sweets for a Saturday!

and joining Sweet Tooth Friday hosted by Alli n Son!

And joining

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Dinner

The party at Kathleen's continues with dinner...

Corned Beef and Cabbage. The recipe for this one comes from Kevin at Closet Cooking. One of my favorite blogs. Another great recipe! Definitely a keeper! I used a flat-cut corned beef brisket and small potatoes, cut in half. There were no leftovers for Reuben sandwich's tomorrow. but the corned beef was on sale so I boguht two. The recipe was so good, there won't be leftovers next time either!

Corned Beef Glazed in Honey and Mustard Dinner with Cabbage
from Kevin at Closet Cooking blog
serves 4
1 2 pound corned beef brisket
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cabbage (cut into wedges)
2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
2 potatoes (peeled and cut in half)

Place the corned beef along with the spices into a large pan and cover with water.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until fork tender, about 1 hour per pound.

Remove the beef from the water and pat dry, leaving the water in the pan.

Mix the honey and mustard and brush onto the top of the beef.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the beef.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 20-30 minutes bringing it to broil for the last few minutes to caramelize the glaze.

Meanwhile, place the vegetables in the pan with water and simmer until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Slice the the beef again the grain and serve with the vegetables.

Happy St. Patrick's Day and thanks for a great party, Kathleen!
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