Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers: Pizza Party

Wow! An overloading of cooking and posting is going on my house lately. I'm exhausted! But, nevertheless, I couldn't wait to share my Daring Baker's Pizza Party. This month, Rosa, of Rosa's Yummy Yums chose a recipe from “The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering The Art of Extraordinary Bread” by Peter Reinhart. You can get the recipe from her blog. The recipe called for 4 1/2 C flour and I just couldn't bring myself to do it, so I did half whole wheat. It made a lot of dough too so I had to have some friends over for a make-your-own-pizza night and let everyone build their own personal pizzas. The kids had just as much fun doing it as the adults did so everyone was happy.


We had so much fun! We had a variety of sauces including tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, pesto, and ranch dressing. We had a whole bunch of toppings too like mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, Parmesan cheese, olives, tomatoes, pine-nuts, bacon, caramelized onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, sausage, and more! Our friends brought salad and bread-sticks from Olive Garden so we couldn't have asked for a better meal!


My personal pizza had BBQ sauce, lots of mozzarella cheese, crumbled bacon, pine-nuts, and goat cheese and it totally hit the spot!


Now on to better things...

To keep with the theme of the dinner party, I made a dessert pizza with a sugar cookie crust baked right on the pizza stone, 8 oz strawberry cream cheese blended with a jar of marshmallow cream for the "sauce", and topped it with lots of beautiful strawberries, mandarin oranges, and kiwi. I can't even tell you how refreshing and delicious this fruit pizza was. I could eat the whole thing right now! I took lots of pictures too, but I will spare from having to look at all 30 of them since you aren't even getting a bite of this beauty!





Okay, stop drooling and plan your own Pizza Party! Who doesn't love pizza?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes



This was my favorite Tuesday With Dorie so far because it's my favorite...lots of chocolate! It was a great choice by Clara of I Heart Food 4 Thought!


I think I'm the only one who didn't do a Halloween themed cake, but I still had lots of fun adding variety to mine. All the batter made 3 of the cutest mini bundt cakes. I just got the mini bundt cake pan and this was the perfect opportunity to use it. One cake was filled with white chocolate chips, one with peanut butter chips, and my favorite had some peppermint extract added to the batter along with some mint chocolate chips. The cake was super moist and delicious. The glaze was incredible and I loved the little crunch of the chocolate sprinkles on top. I really can't wait to make this recipe again very soon!
Happy Birthday to my good friend, Jen, today! If you weren't all the way across the country from me, I would love to share this cake with you! Love you lots and hope you have a great day!

Also, Tanya, from Sunday Baker is celebrating her first blog-a-versary! To celebrate she is doing some really good giveaways, recipes, discussions, and other fun things so be sure to check it out. Mention in your comment that I sent you so I can get an extra entry in the giveaway! Thanks and congratulations, Tanya!


Don't forget to check out the other Tuesdays With Dorie Bakers on the blogroll!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

24, 24, 24: An International Progressive Dinner



A typical Progressive Dinner is an event where a group of people travel from one house to another having a different course of a meal at each house. At our progressive dinner, instead of traveling from house to house, we took a trip around the world to experience each course in a different country.


We started our travels in China where we enjoyed some Crab Rangoons with sweet and sour sauce. This appetizer is actually an American Chinese dish, but it was named after Rangoon, which is the former capital city of Burma. These were delicious! The crab filling was very tasty and the sweet and sour sauce was a very nice complement. They were a hit!

CRAB RANGOONS

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 ounces fresh crab meat or canned crab meat, drained and flaked
  • 1 teaspoon red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, smashed, peeled, and finely minced
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • 1 small bowl water
  • Oil for deep-frying, as needed

Preparation:

Combine the cream cheese and crab meat. Mix in the remaining six filling ingredients (up to the wonton wrappers) one at a time.

On a flat surface, lay out a won ton wrapper in front of you so that it forms 2 triangles (not a square).

Add 1 teaspoon of filling to the middle, and spread it out toward the left and right points of the wrapper so that it forms a log or rectangular shape (otherwise the wrapper may break in the middle during deep-frying).

Fold over the edges of the wrapper to make a triangle. Wet the edges with water and press together to seal.

Keep the completed Crab Rangoon covered with a damp towel or paper towel to keep them from drying out while preparing the remainder.

Heat wok and add oil for deep-frying. When oil is ready (the temperature should be between 360 - 375 degrees), carefully slide in the Crab Rangoon, taking care not to overcrowd the wok. Deep-fry until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes, turning once. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain. Serve hot with Sweet and Sour Sauce.


Sweet and Sour Sauce

¾ C vinegar

2/3 C sugar

2 T ketchup

1 T Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp salt

2 tsp cornstarch

4 tsp water

Boil vinegar, sugar, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and salt together stirring constantly.

Mix cornstarch and water together and add to saucepan stirring frequently until desired consistency.


The second leg of our journey took us to Spain for a bowl of warm Creamy Almond Soup with homemade croutons. This soup had a very strong almond flavor. The croutons were a nice addition to it.

CREAMY ALMOND SOUP

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup blanched almonds (3 oz)
2 cups 1/2-inch bread cubes (from a baguette)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté almonds, stirring constantly, until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer almonds with a slotted spoon to a blender. Add bread cubes, parsley, and garlic, to oil in skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer about one fourth of crouton mixture to a small bowl for garnish, then transfer remainder to blender. Add broth to blender and purée mixture until smooth.


Transfer purée to a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan and stir in water. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt and serve soup topped with croutons.



Note: Blanched almonds are simply almonds without their skin. If you are anything like me, you are probably thinking that can not be an easy task, but it really is and here is how you do it:

Put your almonds in a bowl and pour boiling water over them until they are just covered. Let them sit for 1 1/2 minutes, but no longer as they will lose their crispness. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain and rinse again with cold water. The skins should be lose now and you will be able to peel it off.




The next stop was in Greece to have Horiatiki; a traditional Greek salad centered around feta cheese and typically does not include lettuce. This was a very beautiful and colorful salad and the dressing was very popular with it.

Horiatiki

Ingredients:

4 ounces feta cheese
1 cucumber
1 red/green bell pepper
5 tomatoes
Black Olives - handful
1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Red Wine vinegar
Olive oil

Assemble feta cheese and vegetables in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and serve.



After our short stay in Greece, we made a quick stop on France to pick up some fresh French Bread.

2 Hour French Bread


1 ½ C warm water

1 package dry yeast

1 T sugar

1 T oil

1 ½ tsp salt

4 C flour

2 T butter

sesame seeds (optional)


Combine water and yeast in glass or plastic bowl. Stir well with wooden spoon until yeast is dissolved. Add sugar, oil, and salt and stir well. Stir in flour and mix well. Cover and rise for 10 minutes. Stir down with spoon, cover and repeat process 6 times.


Form loaf by rolling into rectangle and then into a long loaf. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Slash diagonally 4-5 times with sharp serrated knife. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes.


We continued on to India to try a vegetable curry dish. I am normally not a fan of curry dishes, but this flavor was so mild that I actually enjoyed it. It was so easy to cook it in a slow cooker too so that made it very appealing.

VEGETABLE CURRY

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups green peas
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 cup water

Place all ingredients in a crock pot or slow cooker. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.




Next we were off to Italy for Lobster Ravioli in a lemon butter sauce. This was absolutely amazing. It was a close tie between this and the crab rangoons as to what my favorite part of the meal was. These just tasted so fresh. The lobster filling was just perfect and the sauce just made all the flavors come together. Not exactly the healthiest thing on the menu, but so delicious!

Lobster Ravioli

Lobster Stuffing

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
1 ½ lbs. precooked lobster, chopped
2 leeks, white portion, chopped
½ tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Ground White Pepper
1 lb. Ricotta cheese
1 Egg
1/4 C. Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp. Fresh Basil, chopped fine
½ Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped fine

Place olive oil and butter in a saute pan. Warm. Add lobster, leeks, salt, and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes. Remove ½ of lobster and set aside. In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, cream, basil and thyme, and mix together. Combine cooled lobster mixture and leek mixture.

Filling the ravioli

1 pkg won ton/ravioli wrappers

Brush each won ton/ravioli wrapper with beaten egg. Place 1 tablespoon mound of lobster mixture in center of wrapper and place second wrapper on top. Seal edges well with fingertips. Keep covered with moist cloth or paper towel.

Lemon Butter Sauce

2 ½ C. Butter
½ Tbsp. Garlic chopped
½ tsp. Saffron - you can substitute with tumeric
1/4 tsp. Ground White Pepper
Juice from ½ lemon
1 C. Heavy Cream
½ lb. Cooked Lobster

Melt butter in a saute pan. Add garlic, saffron, and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and cream. Cook until well mixed. Add cooked lobster mixture and cook for 1 minute.

Serve by cooking ravioli for about 2 -3 minutes in a pot of boiling salted water. Remove from water and drain. Cover with sauce.


The final stop on our trip around the world was in Ireland for a rich Chocolate Irish Cream Truffle Cake. This cake was extremely rich and dark. The mint flavor was very mild, but the truffle layers in the middle were to die for. In fact, I can't wait to make actual truffles out of it for the holidays!

Chocolate Irish Cream Truffle Cake

Cake instructions:
12 1 oz. squares unsweetened chocolate
1 c. plus butter or margarine, room temperature
1-1/2 c. Irish Cream (I used coffee creamer, but you can use an alcoholic Irish Cream as well)
1 c. milk
3 lg. eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2-2/3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans.

In a heavy 4-quart saucepan over low heat, heat 12 squares unsweetened chocolate, 1 cup of butter, Irish Cream and milk, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

In a large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in warm chocolate mixture. Add flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; continue beating until batter is smooth and well blended.

Pour batter evenly into 3 cake pans. Bake at 325F for 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; invert cakes onto wire racks and cool completely. When cool, slice off rounded top to make it flat for frosting.

Truffle filling instructions:
4 1-oz. squares unsweetened chocolate
2-1/2 c. confectioners sugar
6 tbsp. butter, room temperature
1/4 c. Irish Cream

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over low heat, heat 4 squares of unsweetened chocolate, stirring frequently, until melted; cool slightly. Stir in confectioners sugar, butter and 1/4 cup Irish Cream until mixture is smooth and blended. (Mixture will be thick so you may have to finish mixing it with an electric mixer).

Glaze instructions:
8 1-oz. squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 c. Irish Cream

In a 2-quart heavy saucepan, over low heat, heat semi-sweet chocolate and Irish Cream, stirring frequently, until melted, smooth and slightly thickened; keep warm.

Assembly instructions:
Semi-sweet chocolate mini chips for garnish

Place 1 layer of cake on a 12 inch cake plate. With a metal spatula, spread bottom cake layer with 1/2 of the truffle mixture. Top with middle layer, pressing down gently but firmly. Spread with the other half of the truffle mixture; top with top cake layer; pressing down gently but firmly.

Over the assembled cake, pour prepared warm glaze. With metal spatula, spread glaze to completely cover top and sides of cake. Sprinkle chocolate chips around the top edge and around the bottom of the cake.


Here are the cute girls we had to help us serve the food and even run a little daycare for everyone's kids. We had 4 couples come on our journey and 12 kids between us!

What a great night we had! We learned a lot about each place we traveled. We had great conversation and great company along the way. The food was fantastic and we've already decided where our next International Progressive Dinner is going to take us!



A big thank you to Foodbuzz for sponsoring this fun night! Check out the 24, 24, 24 link to see how the other participants spent their evening! Thank you to our friends who joined us for the evening and to our great helpers we had as well!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall Pies, Award Tag, and a Special Announcment

Stay tuned for this long post. At the end there will be a special announcement, but don't skip to the end just because I said that. The beginning and middle are pretty good too!

Got this great idea to make these cute little leaf apple pies from Family Fun magazine. They put peanut butter and chocolate chips in theirs, but I was excited to use the apples I got from the local farmer's market in them.
The recipe is pretty basic. Use the Pillsbury roll out pie crusts and use a cookie cutter for whatever shape you would like. Spread your filling of choice in the middle and brush the edges with egg white to help seal shut. Use another cut out pie crust for the top and press the edges together gently. Brush the top with egg white to help it brown and sprinkle with raw or course sugar. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until brown.

The particular cookie cutter I used only allowed for about 2 tablespoons of filling and there was only enough pie crust in the package to make 6 little pies, so reduce the amount of filling you make, or buy a lot of pie crusts!

I tried pumpkin pie filling too with a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter, but I definitely liked apple a lot better.

Prudy, from Prudence Pennywise, tagged me with a Kreativ Blogger award and lucky 7 trivia and now it's my turn to make 7 other people as happy as I was when she gave it to me. I have to say that I feel the same way as she did that most people just won't find my life interesting at all, so feel free to skip to the Special Announcement, as that is very exciting for me.



7 Things I Did Before
1. Work in Student Services at a local technical college
2. Got my Nurse Assistant License
3. Was a nanny to an adorable little girl for about the first 8 years of her life
4. Was a college student at Utah State University
5. Worked at a scrapbook store back when I had time to scrapbook
6. Volunteered at an elementary school cafeteria
7. Worked at Whole Grain, a bakery with the best cinnamon rolls, scones, breads, and cookies

7 Things I Do Now
1. Take care of my three kids ages 5, 2, and 5 months
2. Go to the gym Monday through Friday at 5:45 am without fail
3. Bake...a lot!
4. Talk to both of my sisters on the phone at least once a day, one is in AZ and one is in Southern Utah
5. Work with the youth in my church
6. Run my vinyl lettering business (let me know if anyone needs vinyl lettering!)
7. ALWAYS entertain a house full of neighborhood kids

7 Things I Want To Do
1. Finish my nursing degree
2. Travel all over the world with my family
3. Win some recipe contests
4. Have a reunion with my girlfriends from Utah State
5. Lose the rest of my baby weight (that actually might happen if it wasn't for #3 in the previous section)
6. Be a contestant on Wheel of Fortune
7. Become a really good photographer

7 Things That Attract Me About the Opposite Sex
1. The way he treats his mom
2. He is so good with kids and they just love him
3. He is an extremely hard worker both in and out of the home
4. He is always making me laugh
5. He is spontaneous and always up for whatever
6. He loves playing games with me
7. He will drop whatever he's doing for me
(this was the easiest section to fill out; I could even keep on going)

7 Favorite Foods
1. Spoon Me and Red Mango yogurt
2. bread and butter
3. German pancakes with lemon juice and powdered sugar
4. french fries
5. all fresh fruit
6. Slushies from Sonic and their ice when I'm pregnant
7. pizza
(okay I lied, maybe this was the easiest one and I could definitely go on for a long time)

7 Things I Say Most Often
1. No no, Tallan!
2. Brooklyn, no!
3. Use your words
4. No hitting, pushing, throwing, or kicking
5. Go bug dad for a minute
6. What does crying get you? Nothing!
7. I love you

7 Tags and Awards
1. Cake Wrecks - This blog seriously makes me laugh SO hard. It features professional cakes that I might have actually done better myself!
2. Candy at The Courageous Cook - I love her Courageous Comments and her Football Fridays
3. Tina from Carrots N Cake - She cooks such meals that are healthy and still appetizing
4. Melody at My Sweet and Saucy - This was the first food blog I ever saw and I am constantly amazed at the talent she has with everything she does. Plus, she has her own business and teaches classes that I wish I could take as well!
5. Avesta from Check It Out - this girl is good! Her food is so beautiful and she cooks such a good variety of foods too
6. 3B's - good recipes, good books, and she loves baseball. Such a well rounded woman
7. Clumbsy Cookie - she is like a cookie scientist! I learn so much from her blog!

You guys are all great! Don't forget to do the tag, pick up your award, and pass is on!


Now what you've all hung in there this long for. Something I am very excited to share with everyone. If you haven't heard yet, Foodbuzz has started a new 24, 24, 24 event where they feature 24 meals in 24 hours, featuring 24 blogs and guess what?! I submitted my meal proposal and have been chosen to participate this month! I have to keep my meal a secret, but I'm doing it this Saturday along with the 23 others from around the world that were chosen this month. We will all be posting about our meal on Sunday so be sure to come back and see what we've done! You won't want to miss it!

Watch the little video of the meals that were done last month.







Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Pumpkin Muffins

Going perfectly with my previous post of Halloween Treats, we made Pumpkin Muffins for Tuesdays with Dorie this week. This week's recipe was chosen by Kelly of Sounding My Barbaric Gulp.

As beautiful as the pictures of Dorie's muffins were in the cookbook, I had to make a few changes. Dorrie's were just way too healthy. She added nuts and raisins and topped them off with sunflower seeds. Sorry, just not the right combo for me. I had to make them a little more unhealthy in order for me to enjoy them.

First off, I did do half white flour and half whole wheat flour. That is how I justify adding the extra calories later. My secret ingredient in these pumpkin muffins were cinnamon chips. That's right, not chocolate, but cinnamon! The muffin itself was a little bland. Didn't taste too much like pumpkin to me so maybe next time I'll add more pumpkin, but for now the cinnamon chips added all the right flavor to make them wonderful! I added just 1 cup of the cinnamon chips and it made 5 dozen mini muffins bakes for 8-10 minutes. Next time, I'll do them full size. But, I also had to do a little cinnamon drizzle on the top. To do that I melted the rest of the bag of cinnamon chips with about a tsp of shortening and just drizzled them over the top from a zip lock bag with the corner cut out.

I just love this time of year where we can start cooking with fall flavor. Pumpkin, squash, soup, and more! After Thanksgiving it gets really dangerous though when chocolate comes into play full force! Enjoy the muffins!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Halloween Food Fun!

I was so lucky to have my mom and sister come visit this past weekend. The kids got lots of playing in and we got to do some shopping and baking. The problem was that I didn't get to my blog for what seems like forever! I was excited to get to my computer this morning and share the fun things I've been doing!

First are my Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats. I first tried making pumpkin rice krispie treats with pumpkin puree and that was a disaster. The krispies were soggy instead of krunchy! So, take my word and don't try it. I kept trying things and found a winner!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispy Treats
recipe by Becky

3 T butter or margarine
40 regular mallows or 4 C mini mallows
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
6 C rice krispie cereal
1 pkg pumpkin spice Hershey kisses (I hear they are only sold at Target and I had to go to two before finding a store that wasn't sold out yet)

Melt butter or margarine in large saucepan with mallows. Add pumpkin pie spice and mix well. Add rice krispies. Spread in greased cookie sheet with greased spatula and let cool. Frost with melted Hersey Kisses. Cut into 1 1/2 inch squares when cool.



Candy Corn Hershey Kiss Cookies

I can hardly take too much credit for these because they weren't that difficult or anything. But they sure are cute and tasted really good too! I sure was having fun with all the seasonal Hershey Kisses though. I look forward to the new flavors each holiday!
Candy Corn Hershey Kiss Cookies
recipe by Becky

Start with your favorite sugar cookie dough. I used the Betty Crocker pouch mix where you just add egg and butter because I got a really good deal on them and love those sugar cookies. I did add 2 T extra flour though to they weren't as flat after cooking them.

1 bag of Candy Corn Hershey Kisses (found mine at Walmart and haven't seen them anywhere else!)

Bake sugar cookies as you like them.

Unwrap all kisses and melt 10 of them when cookies have about a minute left before they are done baking. Put melted kisses in frosting decorating bag with about a size 4 tip or a plastic bag cutting a small corner off and drizzle across tops of baked sugar cookies.

Place one kiss in the center of each cookie and let cool to room temp. You really have to work quickly so that the cookie doesn't cool too much before you get the kiss on top.

Spooky Cheesecake Pops

Okay, these were the biggest mess, but so worth every sprinkle on my floor and glob of chocolate on my counter. I had so much fun making these for a Halloween party we went to. When we got there though, I had to make a name-card for them that was creative and Halloween-ish, and I really couldn't come up with anything at all except Spooky Cheesecake Pops. I know, I'm totally lame!

I know I talk a lot of my good friend, Steph, from Stephanie's Kitchen, but really I don't know where I would by in my little baking world without her. She made these for a Daring Baker's Challenge a few months ago and I happened to be throwing a baby shower at the same time, so she donated them to me and they were such a hit. I was so excited when I found a good enough excuse to make them myself for this Halloween Party!
You can find the recipe here on her blog. And yes, I know, her's look a lot more professional than mine, but hey, I tried!
Here are some fun variations I did though...

White chocolate dipped covered in Orange Creamsicle flavored crunchies. Found them at Target with the Halloween stuff and they were SO yummy!

I also melted dark chocolate and added orange extract to it before dipping. It tasted like those chocolate oranges you have to whack at Christmas time!

Other than that I just did milk chocolate with lots of different fun Halloween sprinkles.

A good tip: I melted the chocolate to dip in mugs so I could easily dip the pops and coat the whole cheese cake with no problem. The chocolate hardens pretty quick though so be sure to work quickly with your sprinkles or whatever topping you choose to use.
You really have to take the time to make these for your next Halloween party. They were such a hit and I can't wait to make them again for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties with all sorts of variations!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Biscotti


Happy Tuesday!

This week we made Lenox Almond Biscotti for Tuesdays with Dorie, courtesy of Gretchen of Canela & Comino. I have never been a fan of biscotti because I don't get the point of a hard crunchy cookie that usually doesn't have any chocolate in it. What a waste of calories! I'm more of a chewy and gooey kind of cookie girl. But maybe it's the time of year, or maybe I'm secretly a little burned out with chocolate after brownie week, (don't worry, I'll recover by tomorrow for sure) but I think I fell in love with my pumpkin spice biscotti. I had it for breakfast this morning dipped in my caramel hot chocolate. It warmed me right up after being outside in the 36 degree weather. Yes, 36 degrees is what my car said at 7:30 this am. At least the snow melted from yesterday's storm. I'm still a little new to Utah weather, but isn't it a little early for this??? I swear fall only lasted like, 3 days! Back to my biscotti...this was some seriously good stuff. I also made chocolate craisin biscotti and it was pretty good, but I'm not going to miss it when it's gone like I will my pumpkin spice ones.

I had a little bit of a hard time with the form of the biscotti though. The recipe tells you to bake the dough in a loaf, let it cool, slice it, and then bake it again, only this time when you bake the slices, you have them standing up like a marching band. Mine started out in great formation, but then you know how in the movies when someone in the first row of the marching band stops suddenly and then no one is paying attention so they all bump into him and everyone falls over with their big tubas and drums and stuff, well that's kind of what happened to my biscotti once they got in the oven. They all fell over on top of each other, so they don't look exactly like most biscotti you might find, but don't judge a book by it's cover. It's the taste of them that counts.

Remember: For the full recipe of Dorie's Lenox Almond Biscotti, you'll have to get the cookbook. Believe me, it's worth it. It's the Dorie Greenspan Baking From My Home to Yours. (see amazon's link on the right side of my site for more info) You can also get it from Gretchen's Blog. But here's how I did my own renditions:

Pumkpin Spice Biscotti

Add 1 tsp pumpkin spice to flour mixture before adding wet ingredients

Chocolate Craisin Biscotti

Add 1 T cocoa to flour mixture
Add 1/3 C craisins to dough


I chose to reduce the almond extract to 1/2 tsp and omit sliced almonds altogether for both recipes

I'm definitely looking forward to another round of pumpkin spice biscotti and caramel hot chocolate tonight before I crawl into bed. Happy dunking!

Don't forget to check out the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers on the blogroll.


ps. a special happy birthday to my good friend, Laina! You know how sometimes you have friends that no matter how much time has passed, or how different the paths of life have taken you, you will always have that tight friendship? She is one of those friends of mine. Love you, Lai! Hope you have a great day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Giveaway Winner and Lemon Chicken

We had so much fun for brownie week last week and I've had a great weekend of not making or eating brownies. I'm almost recharged to get going again!

According to Random.org's Integer Generator, the winner of the cookbook giveaway is...
Here is a list of more of my favorite brownie recipes from some other foodies:

Brownie Caramel Cheesecake from Yummy Dinners

Easiest Brownies in the World from My Kitchen Cafe

Frosted Marshmallow Brownies, and Strawberry Cheesecake Swirled Blondies from Baking Blonde

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownie Cups from Picky Palate

Chocolate Caramel Brownies from Stephanie's Kitchen

Chocolate Toffee Brownie Bites from Two Peas and Their Pod

Mint Chocolate Crunch Brownies from Vanilla Sugar


On to the Lemon Chicken. I got inspired watching a friend cook dinner for her family a few days ago and came up with this lemon chicken idea. Growing up there was the best little family owned Chinese restaurant converted from an old house that I would frequent often for their lemon chicken. It was just perfect. Not too sweet, not too sour, and not at all spicy. After I got married and my husband and I went back to the Bay Area I tried to take him because Chinese food is his favorite. I was raving about this chicken and my mouth was watering and my heart racing with excitement as we were getting closer. We pulled into the quaint little parking lot only to find out the restaurant had burnt down just a few weeks earlier! Isn't that so sad?! I have tried lemon chicken at almost every other Chinese restaurant I have been to and am always disappointed but now I think I have recreated the memory of this little burnt down restaurant with this dish and I am really excited about it.


Lemon Chicken

4 chicken breast OR 12 chicken tenders cut in bite size pieces
2 eggs
1 C flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 T chopped green onion
cooking oil

Heat oil in frying pan for frying at about 375 or medium-high heat. You will need enough oil that is is about 1/2 inch deep at the bottom of your pan.

Whisk eggs in small bowl and set aside.

Combine flour, salt and pepper, and green onion in bowl and set aside.

Dip chicken in egg wash and then in flour mixture. Fry in oil until browned and chicken is cooked through, flipping half way.


Lemon Sauce (adapted from the A Pinch of Salt Lake cookbook)

1/4 C sugar
2 T cornstarch
1 C chicken broth or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 C boiling water
2 T soy sauce
1/3 C lemon juice
1/4 C sliced green onions
red pepper flakes optional if you like a little kick with your meal

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, and broth. Cook until opaque (you can see through it). Add soy sauce and lemon juice and keep warm until ready to use.

Drizzle sauce over cooked chicken and sprinkle onions over top. Serve with steamed rice.

side note: I didn't use all the sauce. Just use as much as you would like!