Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ina Garten's Flag Cake

This is a very special and very favorite recipe of mine. I made this for the first time right around the same time I discovered how amazing Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) is. It was Spring 2007, and my husband was preparing for a 15 month deployment to Iraq. It wasn't our first deployment together, but it certainly was the first deployment during our whole 18 months of marriage. See, I met my husband online while he was deployed in the Summer of 2004. So while we had experienced a deployment together, it was a long distance relationship anyway, so we didn't know any different at the time. Anyway, while I was planning a goodbye party for my love I saw Ina make this recipe on her show. It couldn't have been more perfect! It looked like a flag, and it had fresh berries, which my husband loves. 

There are so many things I love about this recipe, but the thing I love the most is the frosting. It's a cross between a butter cream and cream cheese frosting. The cake is a dense but soft and lovely white cake and the combination of that with the frosting goes perfectly with the fresh blueberries and raspberries. It's divine.

Ina makes this cake in a large sheet pan but I've adapted it nowadays as a two layer cake. Baking instructions are the same, I just start checking for done-ness around 25 minutes. The cake is delicious either way you make it, but will definitely serve more people if you go with the sheet cake option. This cake is perfect for any occasion, it's always a crowd pleaser and will get you lots of "oohs and ahhs".

18 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
To assemble:
2 half-pints blueberries, 1 pint if you're making a two layer cake
3 half-pints raspberries, 1 pint if you're making a two layer cake
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour an 18 by 13 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.

Spread three-fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

I serve this cake right in the pan. If you want to turn it out onto a board before frosting, use parchment paper when you grease and flour the pan.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

Cole slaw is another one of those things I was late in the game to liking. I still don't like the super creamy/sweet KFC type. Once, when I was four or five, my cousin took me to a burger restaurant and my meal came with cole slaw. She didn't believe me when I told her I didn't like slaw, and she made me eat it. I threw up. Sorry for that, just trying to get you to see the severity of the situation. Anyway, nowadays I do enjoy certain types of slaw. I do prefer a more savory slaw, as mentioned earlier, and this recipe is my current favorite. 

It hails from Ree the Pioneer Woman, she's absolutely fabulous. Her recipes range from country down home cooking, to fancy shmancy deliciousness. This recipe is no exception. It's actually a lighter slaw because the sauce is made with equal parts milk and mayo. It gets a nice kick from fresh jalapenos, but the cilantro and the cabbage cool it down. It's perfect symmetry, really. It's great piled on top of the Crock Pot Pulled Pork I posted yesterday. I say you give this recipe a try, because it's definitely different than anything you've tried before!

1/2 head Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1/2 head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
1 whole Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced
1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 teaspoon White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
2 cups Cilantro Leaves, Barely Chopped
Preparation Instructions

Combine shredded cabbage and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours.
Before serving, toss in cilantro leaves.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork

There aren't many things that can top a pulled pork sandwich. Of all the pulled pork recipes I've made at home, this is my favorite. We don't have a smoker, but I like making our pulled pork in a crock pot. For my daughter's first birthday, we were expecting close to 40 people. I knew pulled pork would be a great option for dinner because pork shoulder/butt is one of the cheaper cuts of pork. I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course! 

This was delicious! I loved the vinegar-y bite, a little sweetness from the brown sugar, and all of the flavors coming from the menagerie of seasonings. I like to serve pulled pork with a cole slaw ON the sandwich. My newest favorite hails from the Pioneer Woman, it's got cilantro and jalapeno in it. Yummmm. I'll give you the recipe for that tomorrow, so you'll have a complete and perfect sandwich. 

This recipe make a good amount of pork, so I like to freeze half for a rainy day. It freezes perfectly! This is great served with some sweet potato fries or corn on the cob. You can't really go wrong here. But a word of warning, try and eat just one.

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork, from My Baking Addiction
YIELD: 6-8 servings

1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4-6 lb) boneless pork butt or shoulder
¾ cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoons dry mustard
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Rinse pork roast under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place onions in crock-pot. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, kosher salt and pepper; mix thoroughly. Rub mixture all over roast and place the roast on top of the onions.

3. In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, sugar, mustard, garlic salt and cayenne pepper; whisk to combine. Drizzle about 1/3 of vinegar mixture over roast. Cover and refrigerate remaining vinegar mixture.

4. Cover crockpot; cook on low for 10-12 hours. Drizzle about 1/3 of reserved vinegar mixture over roast during last ½ hour of cooking.

5. Remove meat and onions; drain. Chop or shred meat and onions. Serve with remaining vinegar mixture or your favorite barbeque sauce. I like to drain the residual cooking juice into a sauce pan, reduce the remaining vinegar mixture and pour it back over the pulled pork.

Meatless Monday: Portobello Mushroom Bake

My husband and I have a few friends who used to be vegan, and one thing all of those people have in common was that they couldn't say enough good things about the 'Garden of Vegan' cookbook by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. I've perused the cookbook myself, and have tried 6 or 7 recipes from it. The recipes I've tried don't make you feel like you're missing the meat and they do not lack in the flavor department. 

The Portobello Mushroom Bake happens to be one of my favorites from the book. The sauce is comprised of balsamic vinegar, garlic, Braggs or soy sauce, some herbs and almonds. This recipe is also super easy! You whir all of the sauce ingredients together in the blender, the pour it over your mushrooms and bake for 30ish minutes.

My good friend Dixie highly recommends doubling the sauce recipe because it's that good. You can also used baby portobello/baby bella mushrooms if you want to. I've had it both ways, and it's wonderful either way. I suggest serving this with something to sop up the sauce like: rice, mashed potatoes, couscous, quinoa, etc. This is a great main dish for your meatless Monday, but you can also serve as a side dish to a protein. Either way you wanna make it, just make it, you won't be sorry!

Portobello Mushroom Bake, from The Garden of Vegan

1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Bragg ‘s Liquid Aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried (or fresh) rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
6 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
1 medium onion sliced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In blender or food processor, grind almonds, oil, Bragg sauce, water, vinegar, garlic, rosemary and oregano.  Blend well.

Place sliced onions under each mushroom on a baking dish and cover with sauce, tightly in one layer.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Serve hot.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal

As soon as I saw this recipe, I was intrigued. It sounded so good, and with a dollop of cream cheese frosting on top, how could you go wrong? It came together very quickly, and didn't take too long to bake. I used my Anchor custard cups that come with plastic lids, so I had breakfast made for the week! They re-heat perfectly in about 90 seconds in the microwave. Oatmeal and some fruit, or a smoothie, makes for a wonderful breakfast!
This oatmeal is made with natural sweeteners, oats, applesauce, milk and cinnamon. The frosting is a lighter version of cream cheese frosting.

Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal Cups – Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Ingredients - makes 2, 1 C servings, or 4 1/2 C servings

Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 cup oats (50g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3T maple syrup or agave
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (60g) (You can sub pumpkin or mashed banana)
  • 1/2 cup milk, creamer, juice, or water 
  • pinch salt
  • Optional, for a more-buttery flavor: 1 T oil or nut butter (if oil, scale the other liquid back)
  • Optional: handful of raisins, chopped walnuts, brown sugar for the top

Frosting, optional but wonderful!
  • 1-2 T cream cheese
  • 4 T powdered sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional: milk, added until desired creaminess is reached


Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 375. 

Mix together the 1 C oats, 1/2 C applesauce, 1/2 C milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 3 T maple syrup, 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/8 tsp. salt in a large bowl. 

Lightly grease 4 – 1/2 C ramekins or small bowls.  Alternatively, lightly grease 2 – 1 C small bowls. 

Pour the oat mixture into each small dish. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend together 2 T cream cheese, 4 T powdered sugar, and 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. 

Serve the baked oatmeal topped with cream cheese frosting & cinnamon. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tzatziki aka Cucumber Yogurt Sauce/Dip

I fell in love with tzatziki the first time I had it. It's cool, tangy, refreshing and garlicky. What else could you want? It's good as a sauce over fish or chicken, as a dip with fresh veggies, over fried/roasted potatoes and it belongs on a Gyro. The options are endless. I don't know if it's that I'm pregnant, or what but I literally ate half of a cucumber with this tzatziki last week. With NO guilt either! :)

I've been making this specific recipe from the get-go. Ten years ago Emeril Lagasse was my idol and he was my go-to for recipes, this recipe is his. It's perfect. It's not overly watery from the cucumber because instead of shredding the cucumber on a grater, he has you peel and de-seed the cucumber before finely mincing it.

If you want to make the Gyros I posted the other day, if you love tzatziki or if you want to try a refreshing new sauce or dip then you should make this immediately. Enjoy!

Kicked Up Tzatziki Sauce from Emeril Lagasse

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 medium cucumber, peeled, sliced in half, seeded and finely chopped
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar (I've also used apple cider vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dill
1 clove garlic, minced

In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to marry.

Serve as a dip.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Meatless Monday: Hand Made Chiles Rellenos and Brown Rice with Green Pepper and Jalapeno

About six years ago my husband and I discovered an award winning Mexican restaurant in Gig Harbor, Washington called Moctezuma's. They have great food, great service and we love to go there on a night out. The first time we went there, I noticed they had hand made Chiles Rellenos. I'd never had them before, but I knew that with them being hand made, it would be the perfect first time :)

That's the day I fell in love with Chiles Rellenos. If you've never had them, you're missing out. It's a roasted poblano pepper, filled with cheese, breaded in a very lite batter, fried and smothered in a special seasoned tomato sauce. Basically, it's nothing short of amazing and I order it every time we're at Moctezuma's.

I saw this recipe on Food Network's $10 Dinners, and I've had it in my "to-make" file for a few months now. I finally got around to making it tonight, as it's been sounding amazing to this pregnant woman :) The sauce came together in no time. The peppers although not complicated, had a few more steps to them. Overall, this recipe was easy to put together and it was beyond delicious! It was just as good as the handmade ones I had at Moctezuma's.

A few notes based on my experience, when you're removing the seeds try to make the slit as small as possible to avoid splitting the pepper entirely. If your peppers are too warm and are falling apart, you can pop them in the freezer for 10-20 minutes before battering them. Also I would only fry two at a time, otherwise your oil cools down too fast, making your peppers oily and soggy and not as delicious as they're supposed to be.

I served these with Melissa's Rice with Green Pepper and Jalapeno, subbing brown rice for the white. You can find that recipe with my adjustments at the bottom of this post. I hope you'll try these Chiles, it's a fun to give tacos and enchiladas a break every once in awhile and try something new.

Chiles Rellenos, Recipe by Melissa d'Arabian
4 servings

4 large poblano peppers
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded jack cheese
1/2 cup fresh corn (or frozen if unavailable)
Vegetable oil, for frying
Chile Relleno Tomato Sauce, for serving, recipe follows

Preheat the broiler.

Place the peppers on a baking sheet and broil until the skin is blistered and charred, turning to cook on all sides, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to cool for at least 10 minutes. Once cool, remove the skin easily with your hands.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. In a small bowl, mix 2 egg yolks with 1 tablespoon flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. (Reserve 2 remaining yolks for another use.). Place the remaining flour on a small plate. Mix one-third of the egg whites into the egg yolks, and then gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the remaining egg whites just until incorporated. In a third bowl, mix together the cheese and corn.

Remove the seeds from the peppers by slicing them open along one side. Slice about two-thirds the length of the pepper, just long enough to remove the seeds with a small spoon. Stuff the peppers with the cheese mixture, squeezing the cheese gently so that it stays together.

Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gently roll the peppers in the flour. (If the cheese and peppers are too warm and are falling apart, place in the freezer for 10 minutes). Coat the peppers in the egg batter by dunking and spooning the batter all around. Lift the pepper, and gently spoon off any excess batter hanging from the bottom. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Serve with Chile Relleno Tomato Sauce.

Chile Relleno Tomato Sauce:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
One 14-ounce can whole tomatoes, roughly chopped (juice included)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Add the olive oil to a medium saute pan over medium heat. Then add the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin, cayenne and garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer. Add the chicken stock and the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a boil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool a few minutes. Mix in the blender for 10 seconds (the sauce will not be smooth). Add the cilantro, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and pulse just to blend. Yield: 2 cups.

Brown Rice with Green Pepper and Jalapeno, Adapted from Melissa D'Arabian

2 tablespoons butter
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups brown rice, uncooked
1 cup chicken stock
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Then add the jalapeno, onions and green peppers, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the rice and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the rice is golden, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add 2 cups water and the stock. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to a simmer for 45-50 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest, still covered, 3 minutes longer. Sprinkle with the lime zest and juice before serving.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Beef Gyros

I love Gyros, so so much. Whenever I go to a fair, instead of the BBQ or the famous "Earthquake Burgers" I always fall for a Gyro. A Gyro is a Greek flatbread sandwich, and it's normally topped with tzatziki (a yogurt cucumber sauce, recipe to come later), feta cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion. I just love the combination of flavors. It's fresh from the veggies, tart from the feta and tzatziki and full of flavorful herbs from the beef. It's perfect :)

Normally Gyros are made with lamb, but I don't typically buy lamb and already had ground beef on hand, so I just subbed it. Had no issues whatsoever, the flavors and texture were still spot on. I saw this recipe on Food Network (surprise, surprise) a few years ago. It's from Alton Brown, and lemme tell you, he knows his stuff! I did add a few extra seasonings to this meat mixture though. You can make this recipe on a rotisserie or in the oven like a meatloaf. I've not had success with the rotisserie method, so I went with the meatloaf method.

A few things I'll mention, just as personal preferences. I like flat bread over pita bread because it's softer and bends more like you need a sandwich like this to do. Also, be sure to slice your gyro meat as thinly as you can, you don't want huge hunks of meat. You want lots of nice thin slices. They are also great served with Greek salad or some baked Greek fries.

This is such a fun meal to make for your family, you'll feel like you're officially a Greek goddess. Ok, well maybe not, but you'll feel pretty proud of yourself for making something so authentic at home!

Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce, adapted from Alton Brown, 2005
6 to 8 servings

1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
2 pounds ground lamb
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.

Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.

To cook in the oven as a meatloaf, proceed as follows:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Place the mixture into a loaf pan, making sure to press into the sides of the pan. Place the loaf pan into a water bath and bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 to 170 degrees F. Remove from the oven and drain off any fat. Place the loaf pan on a cooling rack and place a brick wrapped in aluminum foil directly on the surface of the meat and allow to sit for 15 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F. Slice and serve on flat-bread or pita bread with tzatziki sauce, lettuce, chopped onion, tomatoes and feta cheese.

To cook on a rotisserie, proceed as follows:

Form the meat mixture into a loaf shape and place on top of 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long. Roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, twist the ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up.

Preheat the grill to high.

Place the meat onto the rotisserie skewer. Place a double-thick piece of aluminum foil folded into a tray directly under the meat to catch any drippings. Cook on high for 15 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium and continue to cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 165 degrees F. Turn off the heat and allow to continue to spin for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees. Slice and serve on pita bread with tzatziki sauce, lettuce, chopped onion, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

Meatless Monday: Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Phyllo Tart

Welcome back to Meatless Monday! I have a super fun and delicious recipe for you today. I made this over the weekend as a side dish to homemade Gyros (I'll be posting that recipe this week) and my family as well as our guests loved it. It was crunchy from the phyllo and toasted pine nuts, but gooey from the melted feta. For anyone who doesn't love spinach, this doesn't have an overwhelming spinach taste to it. There's enough other flavors going on that makes the spinach meld beautifully with everything.

It's basically a phyllo crusted pie, so if you don't have a tart pan, don't fret! I made mine free-formed on a baking sheet with great success. I also wasn't able to find the size of phyllo the recipe specified, I could only find smaller ones. So I made two smaller tarts instead of one big tart, and it worked perfectly.

This tart/pie would be great as a main dish, alongside some veggies and a salad. Give this a try, you'll love it!

Spinach, Feta and Pine Nut Phyllo Tart, from

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 45 min Cook Time: 35 min

1/2 cup pine nuts (about 3 ounces)
1 medium onion
1/3 cup olive oil
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup crumbled feta (about 3 ounces)
1 Tablespoon fine dry bread crumbs

7 (17 x 12-inch) phyllo sheets
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons + 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Make filling:
In a shallow baking pan toast pine nuts in middle of oven until golden, about 4 minutes, and cool. Finely chop onion and in a large heavy skillet cook in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Squeeze spinach to remove as much liquid as possible and stir with salt into onion. Cook spinach mixture over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until any liquid is evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes, and cool slightly. In a large bowl whisk eggs until combined and stir in spinach mixture, pine nuts, feta, and bread crumbs until combined well. Filling may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring filling to room temperature before proceeding.

3. Stack phyllo sheets and cover with 2 overlapping sheets plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel. In a small saucepan melt butter and cool slightly. Lightly brush a 10 1/2- by 7 1/2- by 1-inch rectangular tart pan with a removable fluted rim with butter.

4. On a work surface lightly brush 1 phyllo sheet with butter. Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon Parmesan evenly over buttered phyllo and repeat layering with 5 more phyllo sheets, butter, and 5 Tablespoons Parmesan. Arrange last phyllo sheet on stack and lightly brush with butter. Transfer phyllo to tart pan, letting excess hang over edge, and spoon filling onto phyllo, spreading evenly. Fold edges of pastry over filling, leaving center uncovered , and lightly brush top of phyllo with butter. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over exposed filling and bake tart in middle of oven until golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

*The recipe calls for a 10 1/2- by 7 1/2- by 1-inch rectangular tart pan. The tart could also be made using a baking sheet or a jelly-roll pan, as the filling is dense enough to hold its shape on its own.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Baked Buffalo Drumsticks

I know I've mentioned (on occasion) that I love watching The Food Network. One of the shows I'm quite fond of is Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa D'arabian. I've saved quite a few of her recipes, and we made one of hers for dinner last night, Baked Buffalo Drumsticks. We love wings at our house (although I prefer the boneless), and we love buffalo sauce at our house so this seemed like a winner.

The prep work was less than three minutes to get these little guys into the oven. They bake for 50 minutes, then you toss them in a buffalo-butter-BBQ sauce and bake for 10-15 more minutes. It doesn't get much easier than that! They came out crispy and super flavorful. My husband is not a picky eater but he said that was the best "wing" I've ever made. Quite the compliment from a wing lover like my husband. I loved Melissa's addition of a splash of BBQ sauce to her wing sauce, it gave the sauce a little bit of smokiness that just seemed perfect.

Also, the entire recipe cost me less than $5 to make. Drumsticks are a cheaper piece of chicken, but I got mine on sale too! The one downside to wings is the work it takes to get the meat off of a piece of chicken that's so small. With drumsticks = Problem solved! I saw in the recipe reviews that some people used a whole cut up chicken or thighs in place of the drumsticks, so I'm sure you could experiment with that if you wanted to. Either way, you'll want to give this recipe a try, it's sure to be a family fave!

Buffalo Drumsticks from Melissa D'arabian


8 drumsticks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Spicy Sauce:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce

For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Rinse and pat dry the drumsticks. Mix the oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl or resealable plastic bag. Toss the drumsticks in the seasoned oil to coat well. Bake the drumsticks on a wire rack placed on a baking sheet (so air circulates around chicken) until very tender and the skin is crisp, 50 minutes.

For the spicy sauce: Mix together the butter, hot sauce and BBQ sauce in a large bowl.

Toss the drumsticks in the spicy sauce until well coated. Place the drumsticks back on the rack and continue baking an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Grilled Marinated Veggies

One of the things I love most about Summer is being able to use the grill more often. An all time favorite side dish of ours are simple grilled veggies. Normally I just drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper or a grill seasoning. But the other day when I was making my Shistawook, I wanted something a little more special. Off to Pinterest I flew, and after some searching I came across a recipe for marinated and grilled veggies! Even better, I could utilize the fresh herbs I've been growing.

This recipe takes minutes to throw together, and as if summer veggies aren't delicious enough, these are even more flavorful than you can imagine! You can really use any veg your family likes here, I picked out a few locally grown organic favorites at a co-op near my house. I have to say, pattypan squash is my new favorite squash, even more than zucchini! It's a firmer squash, and it's sweeter. Give it a try if you see it in the store or at the farmer's market. This makes a great side dish to any grill menu, plus it's easy and so good for you!

Grilled Marinated Veggies, adapted from Cooking with Corey

1/2c extra virgin olive oil
1/4c lemon juice
1/4c fresh basil
1/4c fresh oregano
2T fresh rosemary
1 1/2t salt
1 1/2t paprika
1t garlic powder
1t ground black pepper

2 zucchini
2 pattypan squash
1 sweet onion
1 bell pepper
1 large fennel bulb

Wash and dry all of your veggies. Then slice into about 1/4" slices.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large serving bowl, stirring thoroughly to ensure uniformity of flavor. Add all vegetables to the serving bowl and coat them with the marinade. You can let the veggies sit for a few minutes or a few hours. I let mine marinate for a few hours, and it didn't hurt the texture of the veggies at all.

When your grill is hot (anywhere from medium to med/high), carefully place the marinated vegetables onto the grill. If you're using small pieces of veg that might fall through the grill grates, you may want to use a  metal/disposable aluminium slotted grill pan. Make sure to watch carefully for flame "flareups" due to dripping marinade. Harder veg like fennel, onions and even bell peppers will take longer to cook than say, squash or mushrooms, so grill accordingly. Cook vegetables until they are crisp and slightly charred on the outside and soft on the inside. Once cooked, serve immediately.