Archive for February 6th, 2011

February 6, 2011

Green Chili Pork Tenderloin/Stew

by Tracy

Winter can bring out some of the best recipes.  My friend Tami shared this with me.  I always thought it would be HER dish that I would love to taste.   I put on my big girl britches and made it.  It is a new family favorite.  The pork   cooks all day…..my house smelled like I had been cooking for days.  Tami cooks it in a roasting pan with a lid, which is probably best.  I don’t own a roasting pan, and used a 9X13  pan covered tightly with foil and it worked out great.  This is ridiculously simple, so don’t be scared.     Read through the recipe before you start.  It is truly 2 meals in one.   Hats off to a mom of 4 boys that cooks like a chef and shares only the best.  

Green Chili Pork Tenderloin/Stew

Ingredients

1.5-2  lb. pork tenderloin

1/2 c. chopped yellow onion

1 can (4oz) diced green chilis

1 can (14oz)  stewed tomatoes

2 cans  (14 oz) chicken broth

1 1/2 T chili powder

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 T cumin

Spicy Hidden Valley Dressing-optional

Directions:

In a 9X13 pan mix green chilis, tomatoes, broth, chili powder, garlic, cumin.  Place tenderloin in the center of the pan with onions on top and some in the sauce mixture.  Cover tightly and bake at 250 for atleast 7 hours.  Shred pork with fork for pork tacos and serve with sour cream, guacamole, beans,cheese,  and salsa.   To spice up the sour cream, add Hidden Valley spicy ranch dressing.

For leftovers but a completely different meal:  Shred what is left of the pork and let it sit in the juices.  In a dutch oven, add the juices and  pork, add an undrained can of corn,  add an undrained can of black beans, and an undrained can of pinto beans into a dutch oven.  This can sit a night or two  in the fridge.   Heat and serve.   Serve with crushed tortilla chips, fresh advocado, grated cheese, and sour cream.

February 6, 2011

Simple White Wine Sangria

by Tracy

A good neighbor always has a good sangria recipe.  Thanks to Kenda for running this over on a hot Summer day. When Kenda described this sangria, there was a smile that I won’t soon forget!   I immediately knew that this chic knows her sangria.    She made me a copy and I knew it wasn’t her first time to make copies of this.   Who am I to judge?  Well, I have made this 6-7  times and it does get a blue ribbon.     I have doubled this recipe on several occasions making it with the bigger bottles of wine…….works beautifully! 

Simple White Wine Sangria

Ingredients

1 bottle of white wine  (Reisling, Pinto Gris, or Sauv Blanc)

2/3 cup white sugar

a shot or two of gin

1 cup of orange juice

1 orange sliced

1 lemon sliced (or wedges)

1 T lemon juice

1 lime sliced (or wedges)

1 T lime juice

1/2 liter of ginger ale or club soda (ginger ale for those with a sweet tooth)

Preparation:

Pour wine in the pitcher and add oj, lemon juice, lime juice.  Toss in the fruit slices/wedges, leaving out the seeds and add sugar.  Chill overnight.  Add ginger ale or club soad prior to serving.

February 6, 2011

Bing Cherry Mojitos

by Tracy

At an annual party we attend every year, there is a signature cocktail.  Last Christmas, it was my year to host and the pressure was on!   Thank goodness for Martha Stewart.  I love her ideas….from afar!   But, she made my party an A+ with the below cocktail.  She made this on one of her holiday shows the day of my party.  I’m not scared…I made it and loved it.  Of course, you can make this easier…..and I included those tidbits.  Feel free to “UnMartha” this recipe as I did.  

Bing Cherry Mojito

Serves 12

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice, about 9 limes  (bottle lime juice if you aren’t Martha)
  • 3 pounds Bing cherries (or frozen dark cherries if you aren’t Martha)
  • 18 ounces best-quality black cherry or plain vodka (www.beekmanliquors.com)
  • 1 bottle sparkling water (750 mL) or black cherry fresca

Directions

  1. Bring sugar and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely. (Makes about 2 cups syrup.) Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
  2. Put lime juice into a medium nonreactive bowl. Halve and pit cherries (or use the frozen cherries); add to lime juice. Stir in syrup. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight).
  3. Stir cherry mixture and vodka in a large serving bowl. Fill 12 glasses with ice. Spoon 1/2 cup cherry-vodka mixture into each glass. Top off with sparkling water. Serve immediately.
February 6, 2011

Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies

by Kendra

I haven’t made these as much as I should have, but I made them for my annual cookie exchange one year, and so they hold a special place in my heart.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butte
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

February 6, 2011

Rocky Road Crunch Bars

by Kendra

My platonic crush Nigella makes these, and they are so easy and delicious. They even remind me of s’mores, which are just about my favorite thing in the world. I’ve used several different kinds of crunchy cookies, but graham crackers would work in a pinch. What a great, easy chocolate gift for someone you love.

Rocky Road Crunch Bars

1 stick plus 1 tablespoon soft unsalted butter
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons golden syrup or 1/4 cup corn syrup
8 ounces plain hard and crunchy cookies
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Melt the butter, chocolate and syrup in a heavy based saucepan. Scoop out about 1/2 cup of this melted mixture and put aside.

Put the biscuits/cookies into a freezer bag and then bash them with a rolling pin. You are looking for both crumbs and pieces of cookies. Fold the cookie pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture, and then add the marshmallows.

Pour into a 9-inch square foil tray; flatten as best you can with a spatula. Pour over the reserved 1/2 half cup of melted chocolate mixture and smooth the top.

Refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.

Cut into 24 fingers and dust with powdered sugar by pushing it gently through a tea strainer or small sieve.

February 6, 2011

Mom’s Calico Beans

by Kendra

Tracy gave me this recipe that my mom has made for years. It is great for burger cookouts or with fried chicken.

2 cans kidney beans
2 cans butter beans
2 cans pork and beans
1 pound of bacon
½ onion
¾ pound of hamburger
1 cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup vinegar

Rinse and drain beans. Fry bacon and crumble. Saute the onion in bacon grease and set aside in small bowl. Fry hamburger in same skillet. Mix beans, onion, bacon, and hamburger in big casserole dish with only ½ bacon grease. Mix up sauce of ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar. Add to casserole and mix. Cook at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

February 6, 2011

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Kendra

Recently I became obsessed with chocolate chip cookies. The reason is that I read an article in the New York Times with some secrets to making better cookies. There were three tips. I already knew the one about salt making sweet things better, but I didn’t know about the other secrets that bakers know but home bakers don’t generally use.

The most interesting new one to me was about making the dough 36 hours ahead of time. Who knew? Of course this requires a level of organization that I can’t even hope to have. But a girl has to have  a dream, right? It also talked about making them really big, like golf ball sized. This one is a little tougher for me, but I may just have to try it in the name of science!

And finally, I have a confession to make. I love chocolate chip cookies, but sometimes, well they are almost too chocolate chippy. So when I made these, I got chocolate bars and thinly chopped them instead of using chips. I’ll do this from now on. It took 2 minutes, and the results were thin chocolate ribbons going through the cookies, which I found so much more delicious than the lumps of chocolate. It’s just my opinion; don’t judge.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies

Time: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours’ chilling

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content (see note)
Sea salt

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

February 6, 2011

Bananas Foster

by Kendra

I had this one night with friends in Austin and had to get the recipe. Yum!

Bananas Foster

1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla (optional)
1/2 t. cinnamon (optional)
1/4 cup banana liqueur (optional)
3-4 ripe bananas
1/4 cup dark rum
Vanilla ice cream

Melt butter and sugar in pan until sugar dissolves over low-medium heat. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and banana liqueur (if desired) and bananas. Cook for about 5-6 minutes till softened and starting to brown. Add rum and cook till hot, then ignite. Serve over ice cream.

February 6, 2011

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

by Kendra

This recipes is only to be made when you want to pull out all the stops. I made this for the first time in 1996, and it has been a great dessert to serve every since. My least favorite things about cheesecakes is when they crack, and this one is no different. But you just put the white chocolate layer on top, and viola – no cracks!

For an incredible addition, “paint” the undersides of some small washed leaves with chocolate, then refrigerate and peel off the leaf to make chocolate leaves for the top and garnish. Crazy but so impressive!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Serves 8

Crust:
1 cup vanilla wafer or chocolate cookie crumbs
½ cup almonds, ground
2 T. sugar
1/8 t. almond extract
3 T. butter or margarine, melted

Filling:
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped
16 oz. cream cheese
3 large eggs
¾ cup sugar
2 t. flour
1 t. vanilla

Glaze:
¼ cup heavy cream
4 oz. white chocolate, chopped

Sauce:
12 oz. frozen raspberries
½ cup white wine
1/3 cup sugar
fresh raspberries for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For crust: combine all ingredients in small bowl. Mix with fork until resembles course crumbs. Press in bottom of 8 or 9 inch springform pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely. Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

For filling: melt white chocolate in double boiler or low microwave. Cool to lukewarm. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in sugar, flour, and vanilla. Gently but thoroughly blend in melted white chocolate. Pour over crust. Bake until cheesecake is firm around edges, but still moves slightly in center when gently shaken, about 40 minutes. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

For glaze: in a small saucepan, bring cream to simmer over low heat. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Spread glaze evenly over cheesecake. Refrigerate until set.

For sauce, thaw raspberries in a sieve placed over a bowl, reserving juice. In a small saucepan, boil wine and sugar until reduced to ¼ cup, about 10 minutes. Puree thawed berries in a food processor. Press puree through a sieve to remove seeds. Sweeten puree with 2 T. wine syrup and raspberry juice, adding more to taste.

To serve: spoon a pool of sauce on each plate. Place slice of cheesecake on top of sauce. Garnish with fresh raspberries and sprig of mint if desired.

February 6, 2011

Carmelized Banana Creme Pie

by Kendra

Let me tell you, you only make this pie for someone you really love. It’s not quick, but it is delicious. It’s really good if you can find chocolate wafer cookies, but if not, I’ve also used ginger and almond cookies. You could use graham crackers in a pinch (maybe chocolate ones?). I made this pie the first time for my college friend, Colleen, and her then boyfriend, Edmond, when they came for dinner. I’m glad I did, because it is one of my favorite deserts ever.

Caramelized Banana Cream Pie

Chocolate Crust
2 ½ cups chocolate or other flavor cookie crumbs
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
5 T. unsalted butter

Filling
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
½ t. allspice
4 bananas, peeled and sliced

Pastry Cream
3 cups half-and-half
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup dark rum
3 T. cornstarch

1 cup heavy whipping cream
Sprigs of mint

To prepare crust, butter a 10-inch springform pan. In a bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon, then stir in butter. Press into prepared pan, and chill in the refrigerator.

To prepare the filling, put the butter and brown sugar in a pan over high heat and heat until bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and bananas. Sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Spoon the bananas evenly over the crust. Set aside.

To prepare the pastry cream, put the half-and-half in a saucepan with the vanilla bean, and bring to a boil. Remove and discard the vanilla bean. Put egg yolks, sugar, dark rum, and cornstarch in a bowl and whisk together. Whisk about 1 cup of half-and-half mixture into egg mixture to temper it. Then add the egg mixture to the remaining half-and-half and place over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick, 3-5 minutes. Pour mixture over bananas in the crust and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours until chilled.

Whip the cream to soft peaks. Serve pie with whipped cream and mint leaves.

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