Monday, December 14, 2009

"Simple & Delicious"

I was just looking for something in my purse when I came across a couple of recipes that I had copied by hand on a piece of paper during Thanksgiving weekend and, obviously, had totally forgotten about them!  Bobby and I were up-north Michigan during the long Thanksgiving weekend, visiting his dad.  One morning I found this pile of magazines and, among them, found some cooking magazines (Simple & Delicious, from Taste of Home).  I was leafing through them and found two recipes that caught my attention because they truly looked "simple and delicious"!  :)

Creamy Cauliflower and Bacon Soup

1 medium head cauliflower (2 pounds), cut into florets
2 cups half-and-half cream, divided
1/2 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 to 1 cup water
4 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled


Place cauliflower in a steamer basket; place in a large saucepan over 1 in. of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly. Place cauliflower and 1/2 cup cream in a food processor; cover and process until pureed. Transfer to a large saucepan. Stir in the cheese, salt, nutmeg, pepper and remaining cream. Add enough water to reach desired consistency; heat through. Sprinkle each serving with bacon.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 15 min. Cook: 30 min.
Sept.-Oct. 2009 edition

Savory Onion Chicken

1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 to 4 pounds), skin removed and cut up
2 tablespoons Crisco® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 bottle (12 ounces) beer or nonalcoholic beer

Place 2 tablespoons flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a large skillet, brown chicken in oil on all sides. Remove and keep warm. Add soup mix and remaining flour, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Gradually whisk in beer. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Return chicken to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Yield: 6 servings
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
Sept.-Oct. 2009 edition

"Cheesy" Christmas Package

I'm suscribed to several cooking lists, and one of those is Yanuq from Lima, Peru.  It's one of my favorite and most trusted sites for Peruvian cuisine, but it also has international recipes.  Some are really simple and very appropriate for the holidays, like this one:

Cream Cheese Christmas Package


8 oz (225 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon dill, chopped
¼ teaspoon garlic, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 – 3 green onion, green part only, to wrap the package
1 red pepper, seeded and deveined, cut into small dices

Combine dill with cream cheese and season with salt and pepper. Line a rectangular small pan (the size of the cheese box) with plastic wrap. Use the cream cheese box if the pan is not available.

Transfer cheese mixture to the plastic lined container and refrigerate for 3 hours. Before serving, invert into a serving platter and remove plastic wrap. Blanch green onions until it gets soft. Drain and dry green onion and use it as a ribbon to tie the package. Make a bow in the center of the package. Press red pepper all over the package.

Serve with toasts or crackers.
4 – 6 servings

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cute little (edible) penguins . . .

I was browsing a blog I like a lot (Once Upon a Plate) because of the colorful photos it has, when I stumbled across the most adorable hors d'oeuvres!  Olive penguins!  I had to "Google search" for photos and the recipe though, because Once Upon a Plate won't let you copy from its site.  While I respect that, I also like the idea of sharing nice stuff, provided you give everybody the appropriate credits, right?  So, back to the penguins . . . found the recipe and one of the photos on Taste of Home (Perky Olive Penguins).  The other photo came from Photobucket.

1 can (5-3/4 ounces) jumbo pitted ripe olives, drained
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish

1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
Dash garlic powder
1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4-inch slices
12 small pitted ripe olives
12 toothpicks with cellophane frilled tops
1 jar (2 ounces) sliced pimientos


Cut a slit from the top to bottom of 12 jumbo olives; set aside. In a bowl, combine the next six ingredients; mix well. Fill a small heavy-duty plastic bag with cream cheese mixture. Cut a small hole in the corner of the bag; carefully pipe mixture into jumbo olives. Set aside. Cut a small triangle out of each carrot slice; press triangles into small olives for a beak. On a each notched carrot slice, position a jumbo olive so the white chest is lined up with the notch. Place the small olive, hole side down, over the jumbo olive so the beak, chest and feet are aligned. Carefully insert a toothpick through the top of head into body and carrot base. Wrap a pimiento around neck for a scarf. Yield: 1 dozen.




The Changing Face of Onions

"Onions are schizophrenic. When raw, they are biting and harsh. In the company of fat, gentle heat, and time, they become sweet and yielding. While raw onions keep returning long after you've had enough, their caramelized counterparts leave you wanting more."
(extracted from Saveur magazine)


Easy & Elegant Dinner

There's always something luring about meat and potatoes.  Well . . . how does "Steak with Wine Sauce and Potatoes au Gratin" sound to you?  I was just watching one of my favorite channels, Create, and this recipe looked really easy and yummy!  I have made potatoes au gratin many times, but never with goat cheese, so I will probably try this version . . . wonder if Bobby--my boyfriend--will let me use him as a "guinea pig" . . . :P

Steak with Wine Sauce and Potatos au Gratin

Serves 4
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

  • Butter, for baking dish
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1½ pounds baking potatoes, (about 3)
  • 4 flatiron or top blade steaks
    (6 to 8 ounces each and 1 inch thick)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square (2-quart) baking dish; set aside. In a large saucepan, combine cream, goat cheese, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
  2. Peel potatoes and slice crosswise 1/8 inch thick; add to cream mixture as you work. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until potatoes are crisp-tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish; using a spatula, press potatoes into cream to cover. Place dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden and potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Fifteen minutes before potatoes are finished baking, heat a large skillet over medium-high. Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper; cook, 6 to 7 minutes per side for medium-rare (if browning too quickly, reduce heat when cooking second side). Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside. Keep skillet with any browned bits for wine sauce.
  5. Make wine sauce: Add wine to skillet; boil over medium-high heat until syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in mustard. (For a smoother sauce, pour mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, discard any browned bits, and return liquid to skillet.) Stir in capers and any juices from resting steaks; season with salt and pepper. Serve steaks with wine sauce and potato gratin.
From “Every Day Food”
5 May 2005