Mmm… Cinnamon Bread

20170107_103120-1600x1200Cinnamon bread with raisins because that’s how I remember it when I smell the aromas and close my eyes go back to being 6 years old and shouting “Me Me Me” when my mama asked “who wants cinnamon toast”.20170107_103209-1600x1200Spreading melted butter on the rolled out dough makes it hard to seal the seams but I don’t care.20170107_103338-1600x1200That plastic mat is just the handiest thing but don’t let them tell you nothing will stick to it.  Use plenty of flour when you roll the dough out.  I have a silicone baking mat under it ti keep it from sliding around.20170107_125454-1600x1200These aren’t the prettiest loaves.  I went with this bread machine recipe for these and it seems to work ok.20170107_150215-1600x1200You can’t have too much cinnamon.

Dinner Menu: Spring Flavors

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Lots of fresh spring flavors in this dinner menu, which is what I need after a long cold week.

On the board tonight:

  1. Herbed Fettuccini
  2. Apple Salad
  3. Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt

Herbed Fettuccini

  • 9 oz fresh fettuccine
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz fresh spinach, torn
  • ¼ cup snipped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz fresh parmesan, grated or goat cheese (chevre)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
  • 6 oz artichokes hearts (opt)

2 large saucepans, large serving bowl

Cook pasta according to pkg. directions. Next bring broth to boiling in second saucepan. Add green onion and spinach. Reduce heat, cook and stir for 2 to 4 minutes or until spinach is slightly wilted. Add parsley, herbs, salt & pepper; mix well. Remove from heat; cover and set aside. Drain cooked pasta and remove to serving dish, cover and keep warm

In saucepan combine cheese, milk, and butter. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Add pasta; toss to coat. Remove from heat. Add vegetable mixture, hazelnuts, opt artichokes, half of the tomato to the pasta mixture; toss gently to mix, heat until warm through. Transfer back to a serving bowl, garnish with remaining tomato.

Apple Salad

  • 16 oz spring greens, washed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 2 Fuji (or other sweet red) apples
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2 oz toasted  slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

serving bowl

Layer greens in bowl.  Core and cut apples into large chunks.  Layer over greens, add raisins and nuts.  Mix together vinegar, oil, salt & pepper.  Drizzle over salad, toss, then crumble feta over the top.

Note: If you can’t find toasted almonds, heat a skillet, add almonds and stir constantly until they are lightly toasted.

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Copyright What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Spring Edition

Apple-Raisin-Walnut Crisp

Caramel Apple CrispI love fruit crisps. They are quick and easy to make and with all the good ingredients I feel less guilty about the sweet treat. This one kicks up traditional apple crisp a notch.

Apple-Raisin-Walnut Crisp

  • 3 Granny Smith apples, cored & sliced (peeling opt)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 cup flour

8×8 glass baking dish, lightly greased, small mixing bowl

Place apples, cinnamon, raisins, nuts and ¼ cup sugar in baking dish, mix well.

In mixing bowl, cream butter and remaining sugar, add flour and oats, mix until crumbly.  Crumble over the apple mixture.

Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes until top is golden brown.  Let cool.

Alternately you can use this cast iron skillet method for making the crisp.

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Dinner Menu: Pineapple Rice Bowls and Chocolate Torte

Pineapple rice2In an odd series of events, I was thinking about focusing on rice for this week’s recipe exchange and then pineapples were on sale  – less than a dollar a piece – which reminded me of this recipe which I haven’t make in quite a while. So tonight I made it for dinner for friends.

And just in time for National Chocolate Cake Day, the menu includes…CAKE!

Here is the original post from January 2011 (where does the time go?)

Tonight I’m putting together a menu from two different restaurant visits. Last Friday night Bad Horse and I were in Santa Monica looking for somewhere to have a late dinner. I wanted something light at a place that was neither trendy nor pretentious. Harder to find than you might think. We settled on a cute little Thai restaurant on Wilshire, near the beach. They had pineapple rice on the menu and that sounded like it would fit the bill. I was pleasantly surprised by the dish. First, they served it in a pineapple, which made me laugh and second it was hands-down better than the Ming Tsai recipe I posted a few months ago. I vowed to go home and recreate it. That is our main dish tonight. The dessert comes from a little Italian restaurant near my house where LFern and I had lunch, I believe for my birthday this summer. I ordered their always excellent carrot cake and she decided to try their chocolate torte. We both really liked the torte (ours is a friendship based on coffee and chocolate) and I said I’d try and recreate it for her. It’s 5 months later, but I finally got around to it.   Hopefully it will not disappoint her – I really liked it and had fun making it, twice.

On the board tonight:

  1. Pineapple Rice
  2. Snow Peas
  3. Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

Pineapple Rice

  • 2 pineapples (if you’re making bowls, otherwise just one pineapple)
  • 4 cups cooked rice (about 2 cups uncooked) – I chose brown basmati
  • 4 strips of bacon, sliced into small pieces
  • 1 boneless chicken breast, diced
  • 8-10 small shrimp, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cashews (I like lots, your mileage may vary)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu

Wok or skillet

The reason I really like this recipe is how fresh it is. The last pineapple rice was heavy on spices and all the flavors blended together. It was good, but this one, with only pineapple juice and bit of ponzu added, really lets each flavor shine. Their version did not have bacon, but I love bacon and pineapple together, so I added it. You can omit the bacon and fry the chicken in a tablespoon of oil instead. Personally, my shrimp ends up on Bad Horse’s plate, so I consider them an optional ingredient.

Coring the pineapple can be tricky. A friend has a pineapple corer and I wished I had one while I was making this recipe. You don’t need to serve it in pineapple bowls, but if you do, coring out the pineapple can be difficult. I cut off the stem to make a flat bottom, cut the pineapple in half, took out the core, scored the pineapple and scooped it out. By the time I was done, the rice had finished cooking, so it was time consuming.

Next you’ll want to fry the bacon until crisp, add chicken and fry on medium heat until it is cooked through. Add shrimp and let cook for 3-5 minutes, add remaining ingredients (including rice), mixing well over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. You want the pineapple and raisins to be warm, but not necessarily cooked. Serve in pineapple bowls with ponzu or soy sauce. Serves 4

Snow Peas

I served these raw because I liked the crisp contrast to the main course. You can lightly steam them if you desire, or even add them to the rice dish for a true one-dish meal.

Chocolate Hazelnut Torte

  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp milk or cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Butter a 10-inch springform baking.

With this recipe, I made it two different times. The first time I separated the eggs, beat the whites until stiff and folded them in last. The second time I just beat the whole eggs until they were frothy. I actually liked the texture better the second way. You can do either. The directions below are for the latter cake.

In a medium saucepan, whisk the chocolate, milk and butter together over low heat until a smooth mixture forms. Set the chocolate mixture aside to cool.

In a blender, beat eggs well. Add sugar, blending until the mixture turns thick and pale yellow. Add the Frangelino and gradually add the cooled chocolate mixture, blending slowly until combined. Add baking powder, vanilla and nuts and mix until just combined.

Bake for 45 minutes, turn oven down to 350 degrees, then cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack until completely cooled. Serves 12 small portions

Shopping List:

  • 2 pineapples (if you’re making bowls, otherwise just one pineapple)
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 4 strips of bacon
  • 1 boneless chicken breast
  • 8-10 small shrimp, cleaned
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup Ponzu
  • Snow peas
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 tbsp Frangelino (opt)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped

Also: baking powder, vanilla, sugar, milk or cream,

Bread Machine Banana Bread

DSC_0923 (1600x1060)Mrs J and I had shopping to do today and as we stirred about in preparation to leave I noticed two over ripe bananas.  I’ve never used our bread machine for banana bread but thought it would be nice to return to a great smelling house.  I found a recipe geared towards our machine but it should adapt easily to other models.  We subbed pecans for the walnuts in the recipe and added raisins and chocolate chips.  Worked great!

Monday Thoughts: House Hunting and Recipes

Jicama Slaw FinalI just put jicama on the grocery list and I plan on making Jicama Slaw (recipe here), perfect for late summer heat. And it makes 6 to 10 servings, so I’ll have it on hand for the week. I can’t complain too much about the heat, because as far as Colorado summers go, this one has been pleasantly mild. Late afternoon showers keep things from heating up too much.

Rainy Weekend

I wanted to talk a bit about house hunting. I know it must seem like I’ve been shopping forever (trust me, it feels that way to me, too). Timing is everything. I started my own business four years ago and two years ago it became my full-time gig. Once that happened, I clearly needed more room as I worked at my home “office” 3 to 4 days a week. I ventured out into the market right at the time things heated up to bubble status. Houses are selling at a ridiculous amount over list.

Luckily, I have great clients, two who are actually custom home builders and one who is a financial whiz. They’ve been very helpful and confirmed my own intuition. I’m taking their advice, waiting out the bubble and trying to find my patience, both for myself and the critters. We all need more room to stretch out and we will find it.

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NOT my actual kitchen LOL

But in the meantime…ugh my kitchen. It’s just unworkable, especially for blogging and photos. No light, cramped space, crappy stove. I’ve been living on salads and diet Coke all summer. I do have a backlog of recipes that I will just have to start posting, sans photos.

And when we do move, then not only can we celebrate, but there should be some fun as I document the inevitable upgrades.

Until then….TaMara

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Fresh and Light

Jicama Slaw Final A friend called me early last week and said, let’s go away to the hot springs. Well, heck, why not,  I needed a break, so we threw some swim suits in the car and drove down to New Mexico. After a day of soaking we headed to the onsite restaurant where a simple side dish inspired tonight’s featured recipe. A light, easy, flavorful and completely unexpected salad.

But before we get to that I have an assortment of salads for you to choose from:

Frequent contributor, Josh D. shares his recipe for Corn and Black Bean Salad here

A trip to the international market inspired several Unusual Fruit Salads (recipes here)

And just in time for Mother’s Day, a fresh, light Spring Potato Salad (click here)

What are your plans for the weekend? We’re expecting a wet and wild Mother’s Day, so barbecuing and gardening are out. What’s on your menu? Any unusual and unexpected salads in your recipe box?

Tonight’s featured recipe takes what is usually an afterthought in a green salad and makes it the star to delicious results. Jicama becomes a slaw that is crunchy, sweet, tangy and really fresh tasting. I was completely surprised when I saw it on the menu and even more surprised at how good it was. I knew I’d be trying to recreate it the moment I returned home. This is what I came up with:

Jicama Slaw

I used my mandoline slicer to julienne the jicama and the cucumber. You can use the large blade on a box shredder if you don’t have a mandoline.

Dressing:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Jicama

Salad:

  • 3 cups shredded or julienned jicama (peeled before shredding)
  • 1 English cucumber*, washed and julienned
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, thinly sliced (red, orange or yellow)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

Combine the yogurt, lime juice, cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

Combine the jicama, cucumber, sweet pepper and raisins in a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss gently but thoroughly to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving toss with walnuts and parsley.

*I like the flavor of English cucumbers and they are unwaxed so I don’t peel them and they don’t need to be seeded.  Peel and seed waxed cucumbers if substituted.

That’s it for this week. If you missed it, the weekly menu of  Bacon Squash Campanelle and Panna Cotta Parfait is here.  Have a great weekend – TaMara

 

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Let’s Talk Stews

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Phew, almost forgot about the recipe exchange – was out house hunting and lost track of time.

I am just not sure how it got to November 1st already. I am not ready for the holiday season to begin. I am thinking about Christmas Eve dinner menu, though, because I am hosting again this year. Suppose to visit family for Thanksgiving, but that may not happen, so I might have to begin to think about that menu, as well.

BTW, in case you missed it – and if you visited the blog anytime in the last week, how could you have – my beloved Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions.

I decided it was stew weather. When things get chilly and busy, stew is one of those things I love to have slow cooking when I get home in the evening.  In my mind, stew is best when it’s simple: meat, potatoes, carrots, turnips or rutabaga, onions, salt, pepper and a bay leaf.  But I understand that there are as many stews as there are families who enjoy them. With that in mind I have a few recipes and the featured recipe will be a simple one that you can add anything to that suits your fancy.

Let’s start with the Dinner Menu this week, which is Spicy Chicken Stew and Sweet Potatoes with Apples (click here).

Tes at Home had a Beef Stew with Apples, link here.

I have a Beef Stew in Wine with both pressure cooker and slow-cooker instructions here.

And finally JeffreyW does a Guinness Lamb Stew, pictured above and recipe here.

What’s on the menu for the weekend? How do you dress up your stew recipes? Hit the comments and share your tips.

Now for the featured recipe with bonus biscuits:

Beef Stew

  • 1 lb chuck, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 4-6 small potatoes, quartered
  • 2 small turnips or rutabaga, peeled and quartered
  • 8 oz baby carrots, halved
  • pinch of rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • ½ tsp ea. salt & pepper
  • 7 cups water
  • 2 tbsp flour

slow-cooker, skillet

Heat oil in skillet and brown beef (you can do this the  night before and refrigerate with all the pan drippings). Place meat, onion, turnip or rutabaga, potatoes, carrots & spices in the slow-cooker,  add 6 cups water and cook according to slow-cooker directions, (usually 8 to 10 hours on low). Before serving, turn heat to high, mix 1 cup water and flour completely, add to stew, stirring constantly, and cook additional 10-15 minutes.

Wheat Biscuits

  • 1-1/2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk

large bowl and baking sheet

Mix dry ingredients together, cut in shortening, add milk. Stir quickly with a fork until completely moistened, don’t over mix. Knead gently on floured surface for 10-12 strokes. Roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into biscuits. Place on baking sheet and bake at 450° for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.

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