Monday, June 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

In talking with someone recently about Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, they made the comment, ‘what makes her qualified to write a cookbook?’  It’s a fair question, since she is a well known actress, is very talented and has her own singing chops ...and now we find out that she can cook, too?! Is that really fair?!

I was actually kind of taken aback a little by that question because I believe that anyone who has a passion for anything and the desire to put themselves through all the work that needs to be done to create something all their own, is qualified. Maybe my internal self was a little defensive because as someone who has dreams of someday writing a cookbook, I would hate to hear someone say that about me...in that tone.

So, with sweet tooth calling for something new, I checked out the recipe for the Peanut Butter Cookies in the cookbook. And I am SOOOOOO glad I did. These cookies stay together, but are very moist (for lack of a better word), they have lots of peanut buttery flavor for the peanut butter lovers in your life, and they stay fresh in a sealed cookie jar for close to a week - if they last that long.


Time to grab a glass a milk and channel that inner child with these delicious peanut butter treats!

Rhubarb Crisp

There are just some times of the year that you feel that you cannot get everything done.   That there is so much to do and so much to be excited about and OH MY GOD...there's so much to do.  Holidays bring that out in a lot of people and I have to say that I'm one of them.  I will be traveling home to Northern Wisconsin for the 4th of July celebration.  As it has been coined in T-hawk, I'm going 'North for the 4th!' 


Before I go, I need to clean the car (including the trunk) and believe me peeps, this is a task.  Of course, there is the packing, working both of my jobs for the week.  Then I'm taking partial vacation when I get back for two weeks because my unbelievably cool/amazing/talented/funny nephew is coming to stay with me...so, I need to get his room ready, make sure I'm as caught up as humanly possible at the full time job so that I can work my half days here and there and create a list of possible adventurous things to see while he's in the big city. 

 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home Made Strawberry Ice Cream

There is nothing like home made ice cream.   Until about a month ago, I would not have been able to tell you the difference.  I recently purchased an ice cream maker for the house and what a difference that makes.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sesame Ginger Chicken Shish Kebabs

Kebabs have always been a fun way to cook your whole meal in one shot.  It involves simply the time to chop the food, marinate, skewer and grill.  It wasn't until I did a little digging that I found out just how old this tradition is and that almost every culture in the world has a variation of it.  Turkey is one of the oldest countries claiming this tradition, where in Turkish "Shish Kebab" is literally translated "skewer" and "roast meat".  Some say it began on the battlefields where soldiers would cook their meat on swords over open fire.  In Portugal, the marinading part was said to be done not only to tenderize the meat, but also to get rid of the gaminess of the meat.   In todays world, the Kebab has been adapted into almost every culture:  Oriental cultures have Satay, which is served with sauces;  Japan has Yakitori, which is skewered fowl; and France has Brochettes, which is the French just changing the name to their word for skewer. 

In my book, no matter what you call it or where it came from, kebabs are yummy...and I will always want to pronounce the word 'ke - bob', like SNL's Mike Ditka pronounced 'Da Bears.'  Not sure why...maybe it's a mid west thing.   Well, enough of me talking...here's the recipe(s).

 
There are two ways to go on this one...home made marinade or Newman's Own.  We did a combination of the two when making this recipe.  Newman's Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing is an amazing easy and tasty way to enhance chicken, whether grilling in Kebab form or just grilling chicken.  The rule with marinading

Banana Bread

As I’ve mentioned before, I do not like wasting...especially not food. Maybe it’s how I was raised or that it just seems like a bad way to manage money when you throw food away. Combine that personality trait with the banana’s going bad in my kitchen and you get Banana Bread. 



Shallot Herb Butter Roll

I know that I said this week was going to be dedicated to grilling and all that fun, and although, this isn't anything that is directly grilled, this is something that will instantly enhance any grilled meat to an almost professional level.  And, it's super simple!  It's a Shallot Herb Butter Roll....



First, pour about a cup of red wine into a sauce pan and heat at medium.  Add chopped shallots.  Simmer slightly for 7-10 minutes until mixture is reduced and the shallots have absorbed much of the wine flavor.  It is important to use the same wine that you would drink normally and not buy a cheaper bottle for this prep.  Same goes for whenever you are cooking with wine.  The better flavor of wine, the better the end flavor of the food.

Remove shallots from the wine and let cool. 

In a bowl combine room temperature butter, cooled shallots and chopped herbs.  Stir until all ingredients have combined.  Spoon mixture onto a piece of wax paper and roll up into a log form, twisting the ends to tighten. 

Refrigerate to chill for at least 1 hour before serving.  Serve by slicing off approximately 1 tablespoon size piece of butter and place over grilled steak.  Let butter melt at least half way and coat steak before eating. 

Butter Roll can be stored in a zip-lock bag in the fridge until it is used up...my guess is it won't last long!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Grilled Vietnemese Shrimp Pops with Peanut Sauce

 I finally have made it out to grill and taken photos to post.  Now, I admit, I have grilled quite a few times this year already, but it's been a lot of the standard - burgers, brats, hot dogs, veggie packs with potatoes, onions, bell peppers...the usual.   Here is something new and fun.  It is from the wonderful Weber Grilling Cookbook...as is many of my grilling adventures.

Rosemary Lemon Martini

Some days are longer than others and for those days, there are these....
Rosemary Lemon Martini's

Whether entering guests and enjoying your evening to yourself, a nice flavorful martini can put the class back into your evening and the swagger back in your step. Although you may not be James Bond, you can make this martini shaken, not stirred.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Grilled Mozzarella Bread

Here's an easy side dish or appetizer Eric created when we were grilling out the other day. It couldn't hurt that this involves bread and cheese...so, really, what could go wrong. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Current Objective:    No More Wasting - Start using all the food in my pantry and fridge and be creative at the same time!

I have started accumulating random foods over the last year...using some for various experiments and some because of sales at the grocery store.  And I don't know if it's because the sun is shining and it's spring cleaning time, but it truly feels like time to clean house in every sense of the term!  By re-introducing myself to cable last fall, I have had access to the Food Network and it is AWESOME!!!  I absolutely love the show Chopped...besides the cooking, I enjoy watching the creativity that comes from people who have chosen this as their profession...plus, they do all of this in under a 1/2 hour.  Some times, I don't really believe that.

Now, I'm not a master chef or know by heart the molecular gastronomy of different ingredient combinations, but my culinary knowledge is a constant work in progress that I feel is improving by the day.  The scavenge for random recipes began.  Not in cookbooks actually, but in my head.  Taking stock of what I have and working that into what I am hungry for is becoming easier.  

I spy:  Chicken + Peanut Butter + Asian Vegetable Noodles = Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce.

Now this did not start out as a spicy recipe, pretty much the basics, but when one substitutes Siracha Sauce in place of ketchup, you start feeling a little kick.