31 May 2009

praline french toast

this is another one of those super easy, but very yummy breakfast casseroles!

8 eggs
1 1/2 cups half-n-half

1/3 cup maple syrup

10 to 12 slices soft bread, 1 inch thick

for topping:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup maple syrup

2 cups chopped pecans
  1. generously butter a 13-by- 9 in casserole dish
  2. mix together the eggs, half-n-half, maple syrup, and sugar in a large bowl. place the bread slices in the prepared casserole dish and cover with the egg mixture. cover and let soak overnight in the refrigerator
  3. preheat the oven to 350. remove the casserole from the refrigerator
  4. make the topping: melt the butter in a saucepan. add the sugar and maple syrup and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. stir in the pecans. pour the mixture over the bread and bake for 45 to 55 minutes. allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving

30 May 2009

girls gone chocolate III

so, we took another girls day trip today to calvert and had brunch at cocoamoda and it was great, if you want to live vicariously though us, here you go:

dee got the best dish in my view, with the croque-monsieur - classic french toasted gruyere cheese and ham sandwich with sauce mornay and garnish of fresh fruit

simone got the omelette aux herb - omelette with cheddar cheese, sauteed onion, potato, and a medley of herbs

I got the blackberry crepes and they were amazing

alicia got the praline crepes and said they were just as incredible as she thought they would be

sarah-jane went for the saumon fume - smoked salmon with chopped onion, capers, cream cheese, fresh lemon,and toasted brioche and it looked delicious and interesting

and of course, we had truffles!

29 May 2009

margarita cakes

so, in my new cake love cookbook, there is a recipe for triple lime-chocolate crunchy feet that looked really good, so I decided to try them last night. of course, I made my own "tweaks" to the recipe, and they came out really good, if I do say so myself!

crust ingredients
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt

dry ingredients

2 cups cake flour (all-purpose flour will also work)

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup white chocolate or vanilla chips (I used
milk chocolate, but I think the white chocolate or vanilla would be better)

liquid ingredients
2 limes

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 teaspoons tequila (tequila with lime if you have it)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

creaming ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 ounces cream cheese

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

2 tablespoons lime zest

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

26 small brioche pans

to prepare the brioche pans

  1. in a small bowl, mix together the turbinado sugar and the kosher salt for the crust
  2. place the brioche pans on sheet pans and spray them liberally with a cooking spray. sprinkle a pinch of the crust mixture into each brioche pan.
prepare the dry ingredients
  1. sift the flour, cornstarch, and baking soda together into a medium bowl
  2. add the salt and chips to the bowl and use a fork to gently combine
preheat the oven to 350 and set the racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions

prepare the liquid ingredients

  1. zest the lime and set aside for use with the creaming ingredients
  2. juice the limes into a medium bowl and add the remaining liquid ingredients, whisking to combine
prepare the creaming ingredients
  1. mince the lime zest
  2. crack the eggs and the egg yolks into two separate bowls and set aside cream together the butter and the cream cheese in a large mixer bowl with the paddle attachment
  3. add the sugars and the lime zests beating on the lowest speed until well combined, 3 to 4 minutes
  4. with the mixer still on low speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the egg yolks, fully incorporating after each addition
  5. add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. (move swiftly through this step to avoid over working the batter; don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next)
  6. stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl; stirring to combine any clumps of ingredients at the bottom of the bowl. mix on medium speed an additional 20 to 5 seconds to develop the batter's structure
  1. pour the batter into the prepared pans so that they are three-quarter's full.
  2. bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops of the cakes don't jiggle in the center and they are blonde across the top and browned around the edges. a cake tester should show just a touch of crumbs when they are done baking remove from oven and place brioche pans inverted on a cooling rack
  3. after the cakes have cooled for 3 to 4 minutes on the cooling rack, remove them from the brioche pans (you make have to tap each pan firmly to release the cake)
  4. return the cakes to the cooling rack to cool completely before enjoying or storing up to one week covered at room temperature

28 May 2009

soy-nut brittle

after watching alton brown make edamame brittle the other day, I decided that I wanted to try that with my brittle recipe. I had a hard time finding the dry-roasted edamame that it called for, but I found soy nuts, which Dee and I decided were the same thing. as I have said before, this recipe for brittle turns out perfect for me everytime and this was the first time I played around with the flavorings and I was very happy with the results.

8 ounces soy nuts (dry roasted edamame)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons baking soda
  1. butter (or spray with cooking spray) two sheets of waxed paper (or a spliat mat if you have one).
  2. combine the soy nuts with the cayenne pepper and kosher salt in a small bowl
  3. combine sugar and corn syrup in microwave-safe 1 ½ quart bowl, stir well.
  4. microwave on high 4 minutes.
  5. stir in seasoned edamame, microwave high 3-5 min until lightly browned (golden).
  6. add butter and soy sauce; microwave mixture one minute
  7. stir in baking soda until foamy
  8. quickly pour on prepared waxed paper and let cool
  9. once the brittle has cooled, break it up into pieces and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

27 May 2009

2008 tax season breakfast

since everyone was asking about what I've done for tax season breakfast in years past, I thought I would share those with you, starting with last year, 2008:
  1. peach french toast bake
  2. frittata with smoked cheese and canadian bacon
  3. creole breakfast bread pudding
  4. easy sticky buns
  5. baked garlic cheese grits
  6. praline french toast casserole
  7. princess hollywood square
  8. hazelnut chocolate chip biscotti
  9. savory pretzel sticks

26 May 2009

in your kitchen, tuesday take 5 answers

what you have and what happens in your kitchen is the theme of this week's take 5:
  1. what are 3 things that are always in your kitchen?
    garlic powder
    whipping cream
    apple cider vinegar

  2. have you ever used your oven as Storage?
    yes for dirty dishes when we had last minute company

  3. do you have a bread box?
    yes, we just got one

  4. what is your favorite kitchen appliance?
    my immersion blender

  5. what was the last injury that happened in your kitchen?
    I got burned two years ago when water exploded in my microwave

in your kitchen, tuesday take 5

what you have and what happens in your kitchen is the theme of this week's take 5:
  1. what are 3 things that are always in your kitchen?
  2. have you ever used your oven as Storage?
  3. do you have a bread box?
  4. what is your favorite kitchen appliance?
  5. what was the last injury that happened in your kitchen?
answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

21 May 2009

s'mores cake

a few weeks ago, at our family reunion, my cousin missy made this great cake, so of course, I asked her for the recipe and here it is.  try it, you will love it!

One pkg. chocolate cake mix w/ pudding
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
Marshmallow Cream Frosting (recipe follows)
Garnish:  graham cracker crumbs and strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour 13x9 baking pan.
  2. In large bowl, combine cake mix, cracker crumbs, water, oil and eggs.  Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until smooth.  Spoon into prepared pan.  Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely.
  3. Spread Marshmallow Cream Frosting evenly over cake.  Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and top with strawberries if desired.
Marshmallow Cream Frosting

One 7oz. jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In medium bowl, beat marshmallow cream and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.  Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until smooth.  Beat in milk and vanilla.

13 May 2009

my mom's homemade lemonade

thinking about ways to save money, I thought I would share with you my mom's recipe for homemade lemonade, it is easy and great!!

1 large lemon squeezed with pulp
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup water (more or less to taste)
  1. dissolve sugar in lemon juice in a glass
  2. add water to taste and stir to combine

12 May 2009

recession take 5

we are all trying to save money these days and tightening our purse strings, so that the theme of this week's take 5:

  1. what is one food item you will not skimp on?
  2. what is one thing that you have changed about your cooking to save money?
  3. what is you best tip for cooking cheaply?
  4. what is your favorite "cheap" recipe? 
  5. what is your best tip for eating out frugally?
answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

11 May 2009

drunk strawberry cake

this is an easy and very impressive cake. you do not cook the alcohol out, so it is definitely for the over 21 crowd!
1 box strawberry cake mix
3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup brandy
1/4 cup sugar
1 small (3-ounce) package strawberry flavored jell-o
fresh strawberries, for garnish
1 small container cool whip
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees f.
  2. follow cake directions as written on cake mix box. remove from oven and cool cake completely.
  3. meanwhile, mix gelatin as directed on box. refrigerate gelatin mix but do not let it harden, it should cool to a liquid consistency.
  4. in a medium bowl, combine strawberries, brandy, and sugar. let macerate 20 minutes.
  5. using a straw, poke holes all over the cake. pour gelatin into holes and spread over the top of the cake.
  6. spread layer of macerated strawberries on top of cake. spread layer cool whip on top of the strawberries. garnish with fresh strawberries. refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

08 May 2009

how we drive to houston

since I talked last week about our friday night ritual of prime rib from rudy's as our usual friday nite dinner, I figured today I would tell you about how we eat our way down to houston.  it is about a 3 hour drive from our house in waco to our hometown outside of houston and we have our typical stops that we always make along the way:

the first one cocoamoda in calvert, to get some of their amazing chocolates!  this time I came bearing gifts for ken "the chocolate man", I brought him the intercourses cookbook that I got last month and have fallen in love with.  as a fellow foodie, I thought he would like it and it fit our unique relationship.  as I was standing at the counter waiting for my hubby's decaf coffee, I was reading all the articles that have been written about cocoamoda and I was shocked by how many their were. you know that I can go on and on about cocoamoda, but I thought you might enjoy reading what others have to say, so here are the articles I found about cocoamoda:
gourmet chocolate factory opens in calvert -- kbtx
restorational revival -- the new york sun
cocoamoda chocolate opens in calvert -- houses, gardens, people blog
entrepreneuer aims to put chocolate on the map -- trading markets
texas two-step chocolate style -- chocolate atlas
inside cocoamoda resturant -- flikr

the next stop is wings n more in college station.  there are 4 locations in college station and we used to go to the one that was in the exxon station on the north side of bryan (yes, I call myself a foodie, but one of my favorite places to eat is in a gas station).  they have since moved to a freestanding building, but they are still the location we go to most often.  they have amazing wings and cheese fries and as I tried tonight, pretty good baked beans.  if you are ever in college station, texas or the woodlands, texas I encourage you to give them a try, you will be glad you did.

05 May 2009

spring take five

  1. what is your favorite thing to grill or bar-b-que?
  2. what is your favorite dish to make this time of year?
  3. what is your favorite food to enjoy this time of year?
  4. do you enjoy your local farmer's market?
  5. as a kid did you make breakfast for your mom on mother's day?
 answer these 5 questions on your blog today and enter your name (or your blog's name) in the name field below and a permalink (the url for your blog post with the answer to these questions and not just to your main blog page) to your blog post in the url field. thanks for playing, see you next week!

04 May 2009

vodka pasta

my brother-in-law is cooking for a date later this week and needed a good recipe.  this is my never-fail romantic dinner.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 cup vodka
1 cup chicken stock
1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
coarse salt and pepper
16 ounces pasta, (I usually use penne)
1/2 cup heavy cream
20 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
crusty bread, for passing

  1. heat a large skillet over moderate heat. add oil, butter, garlic, and shallots. gently saute shallots for 3 to 5 minutes. add vodka to the pan and cook until vodka reduces by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. add chicken stock, tomatoes. bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. season with salt and pepper.
  2. while sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). while pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.
  3. stir cream into sauce. when sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. drain pasta. toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. pass pasta with crusty bread.

02 May 2009

warm dijon potato salad with green beans

I don't like the typical (mayo-based) potato salad, i know, that's a crime when you are a southern cook. this potato salad, however, I love!!

3 pounds yukon or baby white potatoes
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
1 shallot minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
30 grinds black pepper
1/3 cup packed finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  1. place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water by at least a couple inches. salt the water generously, bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. drain and rinse under cold water.
  2. bring another pot of salted water to a boil and throw the beans in just for a minute or two until they turn bright green. strain them and run them under cold water to stop the beans from cooking.
  3. in a mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  4. cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into roughly 1 inch chunks. cut beans in half. toss the potato chunks in the dressing and then toss in the green beans and the parsley.