Saturday, October 31, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers- Blue Cheese Souffle

The second October's recipe for Barefoot Bloggers was chosen by Summer of Sexy Appartment. She choose the Blue Cheese Souffle. My first attempt in souffle making was a success. It was a great hit! I will definitely try it again.

* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
* 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
* 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup scalded milk
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Pinch cayenne pepper
* Pinch nutmeg
* 4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
* 3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped
* 5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
* 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Butter the inside of an 8-cup souffle dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter and 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.

Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the souffle dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the souffle rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don't peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

Short Rib Chili

George and I went to Chili Cook off recently and sampled great chili creations but there was a clear winner among them for us. Short Rib Chili. I've never heard of short rib chili before but knew I had to try to make it. I did not have a recipe for this but I've adapted several different recipes to make it come together. If you'd like beans in your chili you can certainly add it, but this chili does not need it in my opinion.

* 2 heads of garlic
* 4 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
* 3 quarts water
* 1 white onion, quartered

* 3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces), halved
* 1/2 large white onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

* 16 dried guajillo chilies* (about 2 ounces), stemmed, halved, seeded
* 3 large dried ancho chilies* (about 2 ounces), stemmed, halved, seeded

* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
* Pinch of ground cloves
* 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

Cut 1 head of garlic crosswise in half. Place in large pot with ribs, 3 quarts water, and quartered onion. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until meat is cooked through, about 50 minutes. Strain, reserving 6 cups meat broth (discard onions and garlic). Reserve ribs. You can pull the meat of the bone into small pieces or cut it into small dice.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap remaining head of garlic tightly in foil and place directly on oven rack. Place tomatoes and sliced onion on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast garlic, tomatoes, and onion until tender, about 1 hour. Transfer tomatoes and onion to processor. Using fingers, squeeze garlic from papery skin into processor. Blend until smooth. Set tomato sauce aside.

Place guajillo and ancho chilies in medium bowl. Add 4 cups reserved meat broth. Let stand 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to processor and blend until smooth. Strain chili sauce into medium bowl, pressing on solids in strainer with rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add chili sauce; simmer 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, cumin, oregano, and cloves. Simmer 5 minutes. Add ribs, vinegar, and remaining 2 cups meat broth. Add meat. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until sauce is thick, about 50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-high heat until hot.)

Monkey Bread

Next on the agenda is Monkey Bread! It is a crowd pleaser and children's favorite! This recipe is from SW Steakhouse @ Wynn Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. The recipe calls for bundt pan but I've decided to give it a shot and bake it in a loaf pan. It is semi-homemade recipe as it calls for refridgerator biscuits.

* Flour, for pan
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 30 buttermilk canned refrigerator biscuits
* 1 stick butter, plus more for pan
* 1/2 cup brown sugar
* 1 cup walnuts


Butter and flour a bundt pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine sugar and cinnamon. Cut refrigerator biscuits in half and toss in cinnamon and sugar mixture. Melt the 1 stick of butter in a saucepan and add brown sugar and bring to a boil; then add nuts. Line the bundt pan with biscuits and pour butter mixture over them.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan when it's still hot to avoid sticking. It might take longer to bake depending on your oven.

Banana Bread

For the past few weeks I cooked, taken pictures and enjoyed all kinds of amazing dishes, but I did not have time to do any posting...So, here it is: few weeks back Kim of Stirring the Pot who has a great blog, posted a recipe for banana bread with cream cheese glaze I thought sounded delicious! Since I've had some bananas lying around I thought it would be a great opportunity to give it a try! I was not sorry. The bread was great and cream cheese glaze made it extra special! If you are a fan of banana bread definitely give this recipe a try. This recipe is from Flour Bakery & Cafe in Boston, MA.

* 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 4 large eggs at room temperature for 30 minutes
* 2 1/3 cups sugar
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 3 cups coarsely mashed very ripe bananas (6 large)
* 1/4 cup crème fraîche
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 1 1/3 cups walnuts (4 ounces), toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 (9- by 5- by 3-inch) metal loaf pans, then dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Sift together 3 1/4 cups flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl.

Beat together eggs and sugar in bowl of electric mixer at medium-high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beater is lifted, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add oil in a slow stream, mixing, then mix in bananas, crème fraîche, and vanilla. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in flour mixture and walnuts gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter between loaf pans, spreading evenly, and bake in middle of oven until golden brown and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and cool completely.

Cream cheese glaze recipe you can find @ Stirring the Pot

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Ribbon Bread with dried cranberries and walnuts

I've been doing some fall baking lately and since it is a pumpkin season, I had to make a my very favorite Pumpkin Ribbon Bread with dried cranberries and walnuts. It is a very easy and quick recipe that produces amazing results. The bread is very moist and delicious. The cream cheese and cranberries provide a little tang to balance the sweetness of the pumpkin...very yummy.


6 oz of softened cream cheese
1/3 cup of sugar
1 TBSP of flour
1 egg
2 tsp. of grated orange peel

Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour in a bowl. Add egg and orange peel and mix together. Set aside.


1 cup of canned pumpkin
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of cloves
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 2/3 cup of flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of dried cranberries

Prepare two medium loaf pans by spraying it with non stick spray. Combine pumpkin, oil and eggs in a bowl. Add sugar, spices, flour and baking soda. Mix till combine. Add walnuts and cranberries. Mix to blend. Pour 1/4 of the bread batter into each loaf pan. Carefully add cream cheese batter and follow it with the reminder of the bread batter. Bake @ 325'F for 1 1/2 hours or until the tooth pick comes out clean.


Grilled Eggplant Parmigiana & Picky Eater

Are your children picky eaters? If they are, you know what you have to go through every day to feed them. You learn to become creative with what you serve them and how you present it. I have to admit, it is exhausting to have to do it day in and day out. My lovely daughter Olivia is one of those kids who is very difficult to feed nutritious meals. She adores everything with tomato sauce on it, so I am trying to come up with all the things that I can add and disguise in the sauce. One of the things she really enjoys is eggplant Parmesan. I've been making it for a long time now and have several great recipes but this one is my favorite. It's healthy, easy to prepare and delicious. It does not require breading or frying, the eggplant is simply grilled and served with easy tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella. If you have a picky eater in your household, give it a try, you might want to cut grilled eggplant in smaller pieces to disguise it, if your child does not like it. I hope you'll give it a try and enjoy it as much as we do!

Here is the recipe:

* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
* 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
* 1/2 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup)
* 4 small Italian eggplants (1/2 pound each)
* 16 thin slices whole-milk mozzarella (from a 1-lb block; not fresh)

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and parmesan.

Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over moderate heat.

Trim 1/4 inch off 2 opposite long sides of each eggplant. Cut each eggplant lengthwise (in same direction as trimmed sides so each slice has skin just around edge) into 4 slices. Brush slices with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.

Grill eggplant, covered, turning over once, until tender, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a work surface.

Spread top of each slice with about 1 tablespoon tomato sauce and top with a slice of mozzarella, then restack each eggplant. Transfer stacks to a shallow baking pan and grill, covered, just until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daring Cooks Challenge-Vietnamese Chicken Pho

This month's DC challenge is hosted by Jaden from Steamy Kitchen. She choose the Vietnamese Chicken Pho and another additional recipe of Sweet Wontons. I didn't get a chance to make sweet wontons.

The soup is fabulous! There is something very comforting about it. My husband and daughter loved it and requested I make it again. It is a keeper in my kitchen!!!

For the Chicken Pho Broth:

- 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
- 1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
- 1/2 onion
- 7.5 cm chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
- 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 500 grams dried rice noodles (about 6 mm wide)


- 2 cups (200 grams) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
- fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
- 1/2 cup (50 grams) shaved red onions
- 1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
- Sriracha chili sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice

To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning. In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

Note: Use same spices as listed in the chicken Pho recipe for pork, seafood and vegetarian/vegan variations. The beef variation lists it’s unique spices in the recipe.

As I did only part of this month's challenge I encourage you to check blogs of my fellow Daring Cooks and see what they've made. You can find them here.

Bon appétit!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blue Cheese Dressing

Do you buy salad dressing? I don't... I know what you're thinking, what??? She does not buy a salad dressing??? No, I don't...There is something about a bottle of dressing that has been seating in your fridge for weeks or months and still appears to be good... I often wonder what's in it that keeps it fresh for so just can't be good for you. Instead, I prefer to make my own, if I feel like having a salad, I just whip up a batch of my favorite and voila! One of my all time favorite is Buttermilk-chive dressing ( I'll post recipe one day) and blue cheese is close second. If you are looking for healthy/low calorie recipe, this is not one of them, although it can be made healthier but substituting most of the mayo with Greek yogurt.

I was wondering what is your favorite homemade dressing/vinaigrette? If you prefer store bought one, is there one brand that you can't live without?

Here it the recipe:

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise ( used 1 cup of Greek Yogurt and 1/2 cup of mayo)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese
Buttermilk (optional)

Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Add blue cheese and stir until well blended. If too thick, thin with buttermilk by tablespoonfuls to desired consistency. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Shrimp Scampi

Few months ago, my foodie buddy Heather from Heather is at home had a garage sale and was selling whole bunch of her cookbooks...She was kind enough to send me some. This recipe is from one of the books, I've gotten from Heather. "Stirring the Pot" by Tyler Florence. We love shrimp scampi and addition of tomatoes to the classic recipe, was absolutely the right way to go. It is a keeper for us!

* 1 pound linguini
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
* 1 large shallot, finely diced
* 5 cloves garlic, sliced
* Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
* 20 large shrimp, about 1 pound, peeled and deveined, tail on
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 cup dry white wine
* 1 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
* 1 lemon, juiced
* 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves


For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the linguini. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta reserving 1 cup of water.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes (if using) until the shallots are translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm. Add wine,tomatoes and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta and reserved pasta water. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers- Cheddar Corn Chowder

This week's Barefoot Blogger selection is Cheddar Corn Chowder and was chosen by Jill Of My Next Life

Jill chose Ina's Corn Chowder recipe. I think it's a perfect Fall soup and I've made it often through the years. I love the combination of the corn, potatoes, sharp cheddar and bacon! It is one of my go to recipes on a cold fall or winter nights.

Here it is:

Cheddar Corn Chowder
Copyright, 1999, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, All rights reserved


8 ounces bacon, chopped
1/4 cup good olive oil
6 cups chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
12 cups chicken stock
6 cups medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
10 cups corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
2 cups half-and-half
8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated


In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Griled Brie and Tomato on a crusty bread...

I first saw this recipe on Heather's Blog and had to try it. Heather has a great way of describing food in a way that makes my mouth water.I was not dissapointed. I ended up making basil pesto instead of Arugula, but other than that pretty much followed the directions as posted. Original recipe was from Tyler Florence. You should check out Heather's Blog if you need some inspiration.

Pesto (Gourmet, September 1996)

* 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed well
* 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted until golden, cooled, and chopped fine
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)
* 2 large garlic cloves, minced
* 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Have ready a bowl of ice and cold water. In a saucepan of boiling salted water blanch basil, a handful at a time, 2 seconds, transferring with a slotted spoon to bowl of ice water to stop cooking. Drain basil in a sieve and pat dry.

In a food processor purée basil with remaining ingredients until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Pesto may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, its surface covered with plastic wrap.

1 baguette, thick bias-cut slices
Extra-virgin olive oil
4 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 pound Brie, sliced thin

Preheat grill to medium. Drizzle the bread slices with oil, then grill about 1 minute per side. Remove bread from grill. Spread each slice with some of the pesto. Add a layer of sliced tomato and a piece of Brie. Grill about 1 minute more, until cheese melts and the bread is nicely toasted.

Tres Leches Cupcakes

Last weekend I embarked on a cupcake baking adventure...I decided to make Tres Leches Cupcakes. I really like the traditional tres leches cake and was excited to try the cupcake version. I used the recipe from Food Network and it sounded very good and the final product tasted fantastic, but didn't look great. I think it had something to do with my oven not heating properly because they did not rise much. They instead spread out all over. I ended up having to trim the tops before I ice them. All and all It was a very yummy cupcake but I wish it looked better.

# 1/4 cup shortening
# 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
# 1 cup sugar
# 3 eggs, separated
# 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
# 1 cup all-purpose flour
# 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
# 1/2 teaspoon salt
# 3/4 cup buttermilk
# 1/2 cup evaporated milk
# 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
# 1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy on medium speed; add egg yolks 1 at a time, beating until all the yellow disappears. Add the vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture beginning and ending with the flour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into cake batter.

Fill standard paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire rack that has been placed over a baking sheet to cool.

While cupcakes are still warm, stir together the evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and the coconut milk. Using a meat injector needle, inject each cupcake in several different spots with about 1/2 to 3/4-ounce of the mixture. Or, poke several holes in the top of each of the cupcakes with a 1/4-inch wooden skewer. Pour the milk mixture over each cupcake while they are still warm, filling each hole. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight before icing.

Whipped cream Frosting

2 cups of whipped cream
1/4 cup of powdered sugar

Beat the cream and sugar until the stiff peaks appear.


I'm officially a blogging slacker! I can't believe that I didn't post anything for a week, it's not like I wasn't cooking! Well, enough procrastinating... As I mentioned in previous post, I love fall. I am so excited to be able to cook more soups and casseroles. One of my favorites is Greek Moussaka. Moussaka is a casserole of eggplant and ground lamb with onion and tomatoes bound with white sauce and beaten eggs. I've made some changes to the classic recipe, first I left out the white sauce and second I did not use lamb. Leaving out the white sauce made it much lighter and since we are not lamb eaters I've used ground beef. The base recipe is by Tyler Florence.

* 3 large eggplants
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 lemon, sliced in thin circles
* 1 handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
* 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
* 2 pounds ground lamb (I used ground beef)
* 1 cinnamon stick
* 3 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed
* 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
* 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
* 1 cup fresh bread crumbs


To prepare the eggplants: Cut off the stems, remove the skin with a vegetable peeler, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season all the pieces of eggplant with salt and pepper on both sides. Coat a large skillet with oil and heat over medium flame. Fry the eggplant in a single layer, turning once, until brown on both sides- you will need to do this in batches, adding more oil, as necessary. Drain the eggplant as they cook on a paper towel-lined platter.

Add a little more oil to the pan and toss in the onion, garlic, lemon slices, oregano, and parsley. Cook and stir until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the ground lamb, stirring to break up the meat; season with salt and pepper, and toss in the cinnamon stick. Stir in the tomato paste and hand-crushed tomatoes. Simmer until the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with 1/3 of the eggplant slices; they should completely cover the bottom with no gaps. Spread 1/2 of the meat sauce over the eggplant, evening it out with a spatula. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the feta and Parmesan. Repeat the layers again, ending with a final layer of eggplant. Cover the top with a nice even layer of bread crumbs. Bake the moussaka for 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.