Thursday, February 27, 2014

Orange-Ginger Carrots

These are fast, easy, and delicious. Am convinced they should be on every Thanksgiving table, but try them now and you surely will want to have them more than once a year.


2 pounds carrots
4 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup orange juice (juice of 1 large orange)
¼ cup grated fresh ginger
Grated rind of one orange
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup bourbon

1.    Peel carrots and slice on an angle into ¼-inch-thick slices and place in a 2-quart saucepan.

2.    Cover carrots with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and simmer carrots until tender to the touch of a fork, about 5 minutes. Drain.

3.    In a large sauté pan, add butter and brown sugar. Over medium-high heat, stir for about 3 minutes.

4.    Add orange juice, ginger, and grated orange rind. Simmer about 5 minutes or until liquid thickens and becomes a glaze.

5.    Stir in salt and bourbon and simmer until alcohol evaporates.

6.    Gently stir in carrots and simmer until carrots are hot, about 1 minute.

NOTE: I used the same saucepan in which I boiled the carrots to make the glaze to save washing another pan. However, the extra surface area of a sauté pan might have been advantageous.

I used less ginger and less bourbon.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Three-Cheese Mac and Cheese
Serves 8

1 pound elbow macaroni
8 tablespoons butter, divided
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 pound white Cheddar, shredded
4 ounces Asiago, shredded
4 ounces Romano, shredded
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs

  1. In 7- or 8-quart pot filled with 5 quarts boiling salted water, cook macaroni until barely al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain. Set aside.

  1. In same pan dried, melt 6 tablespoons butter.

  1. Sprinkle flour over butter and cook 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat, whisking to form roux.

  1. Add cold milk gradually, whisking vigorously until white sauce is smooth.

  1. Cook sauce on medium-low heat until thick and bubbly, whisking occasionally.

  1. Whisk in cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

  1. Stir in Cheddar, Asiago, and Romano. Cook over medium heat until cheeses are fully melted, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon.

  1. Stir in cooked and drained macaroni.

  1. Place in lightly buttered 13x9-inch baking dish.

10.  In 1-quart saucepan over the stove or in 1-quart bowl in microwave, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

11.  Add breadcrumbs to melted butter and mix well to make topping.

12.  Sprinkle topping over macaroni and cheese.

13.  Bake in 325°F oven for about 15 minutes.

14.  Then place pan under broiler until breadcrumbs turn golden brown.

NOTE: Experiment adding some depth to this recipe by taking half a peeled onion and sticking a few cloves of garlic and a bay leaf in natural or knife-made slits in onion. Add this onion to the white sauce between steps 4 and 5 and then remove it before adding the cream, between steps 5 and 6. Discard onion.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread

You probably know I regularly participate in a couple monthly blog events.  Both of these events expose me to new food blogs, and who doesn't enjoy perusing new blogs?  ;-)

Taste & Create is a fun one, (created by my friend Nicole who passed the torch to me when she opened her own bakery/cafe in Germany), in which participants are randomly partnered up and tasked with creating a recipe from each other's blog.  (click the link above and email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you'd like to join us!)

The Secret Recipe Club is interesting too, participants are assigned blogs and make recipes, but there are no partners, everyone is in sort of a daisy-chain of food.  (click on the logo at the bottom of this post to get on the list for this one)

This month, the blog I was assigned for Secret Recipe Club was:

It didn't take long to decide on one of Jeanie's Pull-Apart Breads!  The hard part was deciding whether to make Orange or Coconut Lime!!  A quick question to Number One, and Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread was the winner.

This bread goes together easily, rises beautifully and isn't too hard to put together, if a bit messy!

The results are so good that we'll be making this again, in Orange, Cinnamon, and whatever other flavor we can think of!

Coconut Lime Pull-Apart Bread, before glazing

Coconut Lime Pull Apart Bread
 Adapted from The Tasty Cheapskate
Makes 1 loaf 
Prep time: 20 minutes
Rise time: 1 1/2 hours
Cook time: 30 minutes

1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (added by the cup)


1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
Grated zest of 2 limes (reserve about a teaspoon or so for topping)
1/2 cup coconut (I prefer dried raw, unsweetened)

Heat milk and butter until butter melts (Jeanie does this in the microwave, so I did too). Add cool water, so that the mixture is warm to the touch, but not hot (about 110 degrees). Stir in yeast and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.

To this, add 1 cup of flour and mix. Then add another cup of flour and mix. It should be about ready to turn out to knead. (If not, add another 1/2 cup flour). Turn it out to knead adding remaining flour as it gets sticky. I actually ended up using 3 cups of flour total, including what I put on the pastry sheet and kneaded in. The dough should be soft, but not sticky.  It is a nice, substantial dough.

Place dough in a bowl, cover with a lint-free towel and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Punch the dough down and roll it out into a rectangle that is about 12 x 20 inches, about 1/4 inch thick, on a well-floured surface.

Melt butter for filling and drizzle it on, spreading around with a pastry brush so it covers the entire surface area.

Mix sugar, lime zest and coconut well.  Sprinkle evenly over dough.

Cut the dough short-ways into 5 (12x4") strips.  Stack the strips on top of each other. I scooped up the sugar, zest and coconut that fell off and sprinkled it back on the layers.

Cut this long stack into 6 rectangles that are roughly 2 inches wide. Carefully stack them cut side up in a well-greased loaf pan.  Scoop up any sugar mixture that's fallen off and sprinkle it on top.

Cover and let the loaf rise again.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. 

Jeanie says:  "The top will get a little crusty and you'll worry you might be cooking it too long, but don't worry, that's just caramel-y sugar forming on top. Remove from oven, let it cool slightly, and then take it out of the pan and, yup, tear it apart." 

Unless you want some glaze, in which case, continue on:

Coconut Lime Glaze

4 tablespoons coconut milk
1- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice from one lime
reserved lime zest for looks

Mix together and pour over bread while it's still warm.
THEN tear it apart and enjoy!!

Secret Recipe Club

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