Thursday, December 31, 2009

RECIPE: onion dip on steroids!

Recently, my friend Marsha turned me onto this recipe: Pan-fried onion dip. Thank you, Barefoot Contessa... this dip is sooooooooooooo stinking good. You didn't have to share this recipe with the world... but you did! Thank you for that!

And I've made it a few times and it's a great hit... from a house-warming party to the office to a Creative Getaway... the dip is a hit! Again, Barefoot... thanks for helping me look so good. But I have decided to raise the bar... just a couple extra steps. Take a stroll through my kitchen and see for yourself. Here's how I do it:

First, I fry some bacon in my All-Clad... I love the way that pan crisps up the bacon!

While the bacon is frying, I slice up two medium-sized yellow onions.

And like the recipe calls, I add some butter and oil to the pan WITHOUT removing any of the bacon grease. (I just reduce the oil by the approximate amount of bacon grease left in the pan...)

The heat is set to medium heat, and I'm stirring those onions around like there's no tomorrow... ok, but only because I'm scraping off all the bacon goodness from the bottom and sides of that All-Clad pan. Go ahead, I dare you... oh, and don't forget to add those spices. The cayenne pepper is a perfect fit!

And while Barefoot Contessa's recipe says to brown and caramelize the onions for about 20 more minutes... I let mine hang out on low for almost an hour. Just makes them a little darker... and a little more fantastic!

Next? Well, let's back up for a second... before I started slicing the onions I took out some cream cheese to come to room temperature. To that I added some sour cream and mayonnaise... yes, it's that creamy!

And then it's time to bring it all together. First we add caramelized onions to the creamy goodness...

And then we crumble about 4 slices of bacon in there... and keep stirring...

And that's it... it takes some time... but it's oh-so-worth-it!!!

So, can you blame me?! I crust up some bread under the broiler (drizzled with a little bit of olive oil)... and start dipping...

Pan Fried Onion Dip
Source: Barefoot Contessa

2 large yellow onions,
4 tablespoon butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
½ cup good mayonnaise

Cut the onions in half, and then slice them into 1/8 inch thick half rounds. (You will have about 3 cups of onions.) Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onions, cayenne, salt and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 more minutes, until the onions are browned and caramelized. Allow the onions to cool.

Place the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until smooth. Add the onions and mix well. Taste for seasonings.

Serve at room temperature.

enjoy your time in the kitcen...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Oh my OLIVE!!!

I love afternoons in the kitchen... and being able to make things like this:

What is it you ask? It's this... Olive Cheese Bread.

And it was difficult to find ways to waste the time away... while the bread was in the oven!

Oh wait... it's done already... plate please! Cut into it and watch out... that gooey stuff is sure hot! (and oh so good! in fact, almost a little too rich... what's IN THIS?!)

Well, check out the Pioneer Woman's site for the recipe... I love to share her ideas... but I won't post too many of her recipes here (wouldn't want to look like I'm taking credit for any of her recipes, now)... but I will share the beautiful pictures...

Personal note: And next time I make it, I would cut back on the mayonnaise a little. It was a little too rich... is that even possible?!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

RECIPE: My favorite pot roast

Confession, right off the bat: (Nah, I'm not shy...) This post will be considered "incomplete" until I make it again... because once dinner was ready to be served - I forgot to take a final picture of the end product! So, you'll just have to dream about it...

And on we go with the rest of the story...

I was feeling a bit under-the-weather on Sunday... and knew it would probably get worse before it got better. So, I prepared ahead of time. Since I had to go to the grocery anyway (sick or not, a girl still needs to do her weekly grocery run... ) I figured I'd pick up something that was great for leftovers, hubby could eat off of while I was out for a meeting last night and that would be good in case I just couldn't stand up anymore (yes, I'm getting dramatic, I know...)

And the chuck roast just happened to be on sale... $1.50 a pound! You can't beat that! So, I had the butcher grab me a big roast... and I headed over to the vegetable stand to get some carrots, potatoes, celery, thyme, etc...

Perfect sick-day dinner... I could let the dutch oven do most of the work (with minimal effort on my part) and it would be ready in just a few hours.

So, this is what I did... I started by heating up some oil in the dutch oven and browning the roast on both sides. Just a little salt and pepper is all the flavor it needs (actually, a good layer does it best).

Then I got to cutting up the veggies...

Don't you just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE crimini mushrooms?! They have so much more flavor than their sisters, the button mushrooms. (Sorry lil' button mushroom - but know that I still love you!)

And I decided to mix it up a little this time (which I later regretted, but only slightly) and added some stewed tomatoes to the pot along with the beef stock.

And now it's time for everyone else to jump in the pot...

And this is where I fall short... imagine {here} a beautiful plate of roast and gravy and potatoes and green beans and biscuits. Oh yummm... (stay tuned... I'll post that picture at some point)... just not this week...

So, here's the recipe... and I have to admit, next time I make this I'm going to omit the stewed tomatoes. It wasn't "bad" - and I'm sure some prefer the taste WITH the tomatoes, but next time, I'd leave them out. And now I know...

My Favorite Pot Roast
Recipe by Lori Tisdale

2-3 pound chuck roast
Kosher salt/pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 can stewed tomatoes, Italian flavors
1 cup beef stock
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 3” pieces
1 cup crimini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

Start with cutting all vegetables and setting aside. Liberally season both sides of roast with salt/pepper.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high heat. Brown the meat completely. Add the tomatoes and beef stock. Position vegetables next to and top of the roast. Top the roast with herbs and salt/pepper. Cover the pot, and reduce the heat to low. Braise for 3-4 hours; until the roast comes apart easily with a fork. Baste every now and then… do not let the top of the roast become too dry.

Making a quick gravy: Start with 1/2 cup of roasting liquid and 1 tablespoon of flour - mix in small bowl with whisk until all is combined. In a small sauce pan, add 2 more cups of the broth and gravy "rue" you've just created in the small bowl. Stir constantly until sauce thickens, over medium low heat.

Before serving pot roast, either tear apart with forks or slice thin and serve with cooked vegetables.

For leftovers: we're making tacos... yum!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Friday, December 25, 2009

can you say "sugar-high" ?!

My co-workers and I thought it would be a great idea to share holiday goodies this past week... and nothing says MERRY CHRISTMAS more than a sugar-high! Right?!

Along with my goodies, I brought in: my Christmas playlist, candles, some decorations for the table and a cheerful holiday spirit... we found a crock pot and a boat-load of chocolate to melt (to enjoy a fruit/chocolate fondue)... and our co-workers pitched in with some amazing sugary goodness...

take a gander...

... my friend Scott brought his homemade streudel and peanut brittle... OH YUM! (neither of which lasted very long...)

We were buzzing and didn't get much work done for the rest of the day... but we were enjoying the time together. Usually work is so hectic this time of year that we don't have the time to celebrate together... we changed that this year...

Merry Christmas to one and all...

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

RECIPE: Butternut Squash Soup...

So, as soon as you put the cookie sheet in the hot oven... and I mean IMMEDIATELY... you can smell the leeks. And I just love that smell...

Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe by Lori Tisdale, inspired by flavors from Pastini Pastaria

1 butternut squash, cut into 1” cubes
3 large leeks, rinsed and cut into small rings
1 medium head garlic
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
¾ cup plain yogurt
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Place cubed squash and leek rings on baking sheet. Wrap garlic in foil and add to baking sheet.

Roast vegetables in the center of the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Warm broth and add seasonings. Stir to dissolve seasonings. Add roasted vegetables and 1 cup of broth to food processor. Puree until smooth. Transfer pureed mixture to a stockpot and stir with broth. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and stir in yogurt.

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Espresso Martinis

My bestest girlfriend Debbie came over last week for us to test out a new drink. We had been wanting to try the recipe for a while now... a great time was had by all!

I mean, who wouldn't when you're sipping on one of these?!

Recipe: Espresso Martinis
(recipe makes two drinks)

2 shots of espresso, cooled
3 shots of Kahlua
2 shots of vodka

Add to shaker with ice, shake vigorously.
Pour into martini glasses and enjoy!

But these things sneak up on you... so be careful out there!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

RECIPE: Monkey Muffins... aka mini-monkeys...

Approximately two weeks, 3 days, 1 hour and 37 minutes ago I found a recipe here: Pioneer Woman's blog. It changed my life... and I'd like to share it with you now.

I remember early mornings in my Gramma's kitchen... we would sit around the kitchen table, cut apart biscuits, drown in them in sugary-goodness and toss them into a bundt pan. Fast forward to 2009 and me sitting at my desk, reading the Pioneer Woman's blog and drooling on the keyboard... I-must-make-these-muffins! I just know it will take me back to Gramma's kitchen table... in a weird 21st century sort of way.

So, let's try out her reccipe... here goes nothing...

First we start with some butter, sugar and cinnamon...

Next we add some dough (you can use prepared dough, leftover dough, etc)... I cut up canned biscuit dough...

And then you just keep going...

Then you add more butter, sugar and cinnamon... too much is not a bad thing at this point of the process...

They bake in a nice warm oven for only 15 minutes... and as soon as you take it out of the oven, you pour some yummy icing on top! Do you hear the sizzle from the hot pan?!

And again, keep going...

Beautiful, eh?! I don't know how it happens, but the sugar and butter and cinnamon creates this crispy crust around the bottom of the muffin... and oh, I'm speechless.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee and enjoy your Saturday morning...

RECIPE: Monkey Muffins
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

1 – 2 cans of refrigerated/canned biscuit dough, cut into thirds
Butter, softened
Sugar (or you can substitute light brown sugar as well)
Ground Cinnamon
Sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add ½ teaspoon butter to muffin tins. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls (or cut refrigerated biscuit dough into thirds). Place three to four dough balls into each muffin tin. Top with 1/2 teaspoon butter. Sprinkle on more sugar and cinnamon.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until caramelly brown and bubbling. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with plenty of sweetened condensed milk over the top of each one – about half a can per biscuit tray. Be generous!

Allow muffins to cool slightly – but they are best enjoyed warm…

enjoy your time in the kitchen...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RECIPE: Buckeyes (or Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls)

When it comes to this time of year, I cannot get enough chocolate. And baking it and giving it out is just an excuse for us to have chocolate in the house. So, today I take a large batch of these to the office...

Editorial note - I had posted this earlier but have removed that so I could add pics and some notes and repost. Yes - you get to enjoy it all over again...

We start by mixing the first 4 ingredients together... and rolling the peanut butter mixture into balls. Then we pop them in the freezer for at least an hour (but I would suggest overnight).

The next day: we melt chocolate. And let the joy begin... party!

It's ok - they can fight over the chocolate... ahem, roll them around in the chocolate with a fork or spoon (until well covered) and remove to cookie sheet to allow to cool again.

Isn't THAT just gorgeous?! Enjoy...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls - or "Buckeyes"
Recipe from Janie Haraldsen

12 ounces peanut butter, crunchy or smooth
1 cup butter, softened
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, or dark chocolate

In large bowl mix together peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar & vanilla.
Roll into small balls in palm of your hand. (It may be helpful to use a melon baller for making the balls similar size.)
Put on cookie sheet & in freezer for at least an hour, or overnight

When ready to roll peanut butter balls in chocolate, carefully melt chocolate chips (in double broiler or in microwave - stirring frequently, and watching not to burn). Roll pb balls in chocolate and remove with fork or skewer... or fingers. It's chocolate... enjoy!!!

Allow to cool on parchment paper.

Note from Mom: I've seen some recipes that add rice krispies for crunch - that'd be good too!

enjoy your time in the kitchen...


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