Monthly Archives: February 2008

Rosemary Garlic Bread, by Bubba

“Omg, it tates like somebody BAKED it!”

 lol, I keep saying this to my husband. I’m not really sure what that means. 🙂 Either way, I had to share the recipe! I must give credit to the Family and Consumer Science teacher at work for the base recipe…I made changes to it, and it became this:

7 oz. water (at 110 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (1 pkg…I used yeast from the jar of “Bread Machine” yeast)
2 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
2 3/4 cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
3/4 tsp. salt

Put in bread machine in above order, with settings of 1 lb. loaf, regular cycle, light crust.  At appropriate time for “add-ins,” add in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or more to taste!),  2 cloves fresh minced garlic, and 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional.)

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p.s. We named our new bread machine Bubba.  hehe   😉

Everything but the…

Kitchen Sink Cookies! Yes, that’s what they’re called. 🙂 But that’s dessert.  Let’s start with a menu for tonight’s dinner.  (I planned tonight’s menu around the fact that I had today off.  Sadly, I filled my day with other random stuff, and dinner was late anyway. Oops!)

**All recipes are from the March 08 issue of Everyday Food (www.everydayfoodmag.com)**

Apps: Citrus Bloody Marys with Smoked Salmon Canapes
Dinner: Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce and Cucumber Salad
Dessert: Kitchen Sink Cookies

Citrus Bloody Marys
6 cups tomato juice, chilled
1 to 1 1/2 cups vodka, chilled
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 to 2 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes), plus 8 lime wedges, for garnish
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons prepared white horseradish
1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot-pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon celery salt (ack! just realized I accidentally omitted. I guess we didn’t miss it much!)
coarse salt and ground pepper
8 celery stalks, for garnisih

1. In a large pitcher, stir together tomato juice, vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, Worcestershire, horseradish, hot-pepper sauce, and celery salt; season with salt and pepper.

2. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day. Serve over ice, garnished with a celery stalk and lime wedge.
Serves 8. (I drastically scaled down, since it was just the 2 of us!!)

Smoked-Salmon Canapes with Tarragon
4 oz. red-fat bar cream cheese (I used regular bar cream cheese, because that’s what I had!)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarrago, plus whole leaves for garnish
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
coarse salt and ground pepper
6 thin slices pumpernickel bread (crusts removed), cut into quarters
4 oz. thinly sliced smoked salmon, torn to fit bread

1. In a med. bowl, combine cream cheese, tarragon, and lemon zest and juice; season mixture with salt and pepper.

2. Dividing evenly, spread bread with cream cheese mixture (about 1 teaspoon per slice). Top with smoked salmon, and garnish with tarragon leaves.
Makes 24. (Again, I scaled down greatly!)

 We decided the particular brand of smoked salmon wasn’t smokey enough for us, but other than that we were happy with the results!

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Rosemary Beef Skewers with Horseradish Dipping Sauce
Serves 4; Prep Time: 15 min; Total Time: 20 min

2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 flat iron (shoulder top blade) steaks (1 1/2 pounds total), gristle removed if any (I used skirt steak)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish, drained

1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil (I also sprayed the foil with some cooking spray); set aside. Soak eight 6-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 10 min.

2. Meanwhile, on a work surface, chop garlic and rosemary, and sprinkle with a little salt. Press blade of knife back and forth across mixture to make a paste. Place in a med. bowl, and stir in oil; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. Cut steaks into twenty-four 1 1/2-inch chunks. Add to bowl; toss to coat. Thread 3 chunks of beef onto each skewer; (I must have cut mine smaller, because I fit 4-5 pieces on each skewer); place skewers onto prepared baking sheet.

4. Broil (without turning) (I did turn mine, because we like our meat really done, at least on the outside!) 4-6 minutes for medium-rare (we probably did ours closer to 10 minutes!). Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. Serve skewers with horseradish sauce.

I put mine over green leaf lettuce and served with some sliced cucumber.

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And for dessert: Kitchen Sink Cookies! “…everything but the kitchen sink…” Again, from EF, March 08 issue.

John’s Kitchen Sink Cookies
2 1/2 cups AP flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks (I used chips)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

3. Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture just until combined.

4. With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks, raisins, pecans, and oats.
NOTE: This is why I freaking work out. No, I don’t mean so I can eat more cookies guilt-free.  I mean so I can handle mixing these things by hand. Phew! That was a hard one. 🙂

5. Drop 2-inch balls of dough, spaced 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly. Bake 12-16 minutes (mine took 18, and yes, I do have an oven thermometer!), or until cookies are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.

6. Cool 5 min on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.)

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I didn’t think of it until I ate one, but I totally think the chocolate and raisins make it taste like there are Raisinettes in there. Mmm. 🙂 The recipe suggests putting in dried apricots or dates instead of raisins, and we think dried cherries would be an awesome combo with the chocolate. It also suggests skipping the oats and subbing sweetened shredded coconut for a tropical cookie. Can’t wait to try those variations too!

Nothing says “I love you” like some goat cheese.

Seriously, I had no idea how in love my husband was with goat cheese until I made this dinner. 🙂 Note to self for future meals…

So here is Valentine’s Day 2008 in a nutshell.  Well, not really in a nutshell, although there was some nutmeg in the ravioli… Sorry. Couldn’t help it!

So this year’s menu was taken from the Jan/Feb 08 Everyday Food (www.everydayfoodmag.com)  It included:

appetizer: Pear and Proscuitto “Carpaccio” with a Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
dinner: Goat Cheese Ravioli with Parlsey Sauce and Lemony Swiss Chard
dessert: Sparkling Lemon and Raspberry Prosecco Floats

Here is a pic of the menu (for V day I like to get all formal and make little menus..it’s a bit fuzzy. So are all these pics, come to think of it. I need a better camera and some better lighting!)

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Ok, so the appetizer (which we actually ended up eating with our meal for some reason) was so good!  Word to the wise, however: when reducing balsamic vinegar, don’t let it go for too long! ewwwwwwwwww. The first batch I made ended up burning and getting all hard. Blech. After round 2 with the balsamic vinegar, though, it was all good.  For those of you wondering, “carpaccio” is in quotes because it’s usually super thinly sliced raw beef, or some such meat. Proscuitto does not need to be cooked anyway, and is actually super thinly sliced cured (I think) ham.

Pear and Proscuitto “Carpaccio”
Serves 2
Prep time: 10 min; Total time: 10 min

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 red Bartlett pear, cored, halved, and thinly sliced
2 ounces very thinly sliced proscuitto
ground pepper

1. In a small saucepan, bring vingar to a boil; cook, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced to 2 T, about 5 min.
2. Divide the pear slices between 2 plates, arranging them in a circular pattern; top with prosciutto. Drizzle with balsamic syrup as desired, and season wtih pepper.

Here it is, with a festive V Day plate (that I bought at Target in Feb 07) :

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Our next course was the goat cheese ravioli.  I used the recommended wanton wrappers instead of making my own pasta, although the thought had crossed my mind. I wanted to be as quick as possible, since I had to work on V Day.  This was a hit with both of us!  Not that tend to I make things more than once ;), but this is on that theoretical list that *might* get made again…

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Goat-Cheese Ravioli with Parsley Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed through a garlic press
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 square wonton wrappers (3 1/2 inch)
  • Parsley Sauce

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together goat cheese, ricotta, garlic, and nutmeg until smooth; season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
  2. Assemble ravioli: Arrange 6 wrappers on a work surface, keeping remaining wrappers covered with a damp papper towel.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; reduce to a bare simmer. Drop ravioli into water, one at a time, stirring them gently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. (Cooking time is the same for frozen ravioli.)
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and arrange in a single layer to drain briefly. Divide between two plates; drizzle with parsley sauce, and serve immediately.

For Parsley Sauce:

In a small bowl, stir together 2 T of finely chopped fresh parsley, 2 T olive oil, 1 T grated Parmesan, and 1 t water; season with salt and pepper. (This reminded us of pesto! Mmm.)

The side I served with the ravioli was lemony swiss chard (they didn’t have any fresh-looking red swiss chard, which I think may have been the point for V Day… but green it was!)

Lemony Swiss Chard

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard (about 3/4 pound), stalks cut into 1-inch pieces and leaves roughly torn (keep separate)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chard stalks, and cook, tossing until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add as many chard leaves to skillet as will fit, adding more as room becomes available; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until stalks are tender, 4 to 6 minutes more.
  2. Drain and discard any liquid from chard in skillet; stir in lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.

Please excuse the pic quality…and I decided to “paint” on a balsamic syrup heart, which looked great at first… and not so great by the time I got the camera functioning.  Oops!

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For dessert (maybe my favorite part because I just love champagne so much!), we had these floats.  Prosecco is actually an Italian sparkling wine, very similar to Champagne.

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Sparkling Sorbet Floats

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raspberry sorbet, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup lemon sorbet, slightly softened
  • 1/2 cup chilled white sparkling wine, such as Prosecco
  • 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint leaves

Directions

  1. Place two small glass bowls in the freezer until chilled, at least 5 minutes. Dividing evenly, scoop raspberry and lemon sorbet into chilled bowls. Pour sparkling wine over sorbet, and garnish with mint; serve immediately.

A particularly fuzzy pic of the desserts (in margarita glasses, because I thought it would be cute 🙂  )

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…and finally, a pic of our table. (Yes, one of the taper candles is crooked, and yes, this bothers me! Oh well… 🙂   ) We had a lovely evening together at home!  To everyone who hates V Day, I say to try making it about spending quality time with the one you love.  Admittedly, the commercialized aspect of it can make going out crazy, depending on where you live and where you’re trying to go… but we always look forward to another excuse to celebrate the love we share with each other. 🙂 (Ok, I’m off my soap box now!)

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