Friday, May 29, 2009

Taste & Create XVIV: Oreo Cookies!

For this month's Taste & Create, I was paired with Stef of Cupcake Project. I've had my eye on Strawberry Cupcakes with Champagne Glaze for quite some time now, and I was so excited to actually have BOTH fresh strawberries AND champagne in the house at the exact same time!

But then. Everyone in the house fell ill. There was more painting to be done in the house addition, and I had to sand and paint our doors by last week, and H-Bomb finished Kindergarten and a bunch of other stuff happened. And my lovely strawberries went moldy. I didn't make it to the store in time to complete the event.

With the clock ticking, I started from square one, perusing all Stef's recipes for something which was relatively easy and didn't require any ingredients I didn't have. Luckily I came back to her Oreo Cookies From Scratch! The recipe doesn't take any exotic ingredients, and it seemed simple enough. I finally had a day this week when I felt like I could get it all done too.

I laughed when I discovered that Stef found this recipe during a previous Taste & Create! How appropriate. The recipe has made the rounds, Stef recorded the details in her blog. Here's the recipe, one more time.

I decided on a double batch from the start. I did find it counter-intuitive to add the butter and eggs to the dry ingredients, so I reversed the order. I creamed the butter and sugar, added the eggs, then added the rest of the dry ingredients and mixed until the dough came together.

When it came time to make the filling, I discovered that I only had enough powdered sugar to make 1/2 batch of filling, not the double batch that I needed. :( I can't just "run to the store" since that would take a minimum of 2 1/2 hours and be about 70 miles! Thankfully my neighbor, who is strangely anti-sugar, happened to have just enough! While I'm not a big fan of shortening, I realize it is a necessity in this light and fluffy filling.

These cookies are decadent and delicious, the filling is creamy and just right. I filled about 10 cookies before I had Number One come try one, and now there is only one left on the plate. I think that says it all!

With a double batch I ended up with 148 cookies, enough to make 74 filled cookies.

Oreo Cookies
Chocolate Wafers:

Makes about 40 average sized Oreo cookies.
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, and salt, set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg. Add flour mixture and continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
  3. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Slightly flatten the dough. I rolled my dough into balls and used small heart-shaped cookie cutters after flattening the balls because I wanted a uniform size.
  4. Bake for 9 minutes at 375 F. Set on a rack to cool.
The Filling:
  • 1/4 cup room-temperature, unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla.
  2. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
  3. To make a cookie, pipe teaspoon-sized blobs of cream into the center of the backside of a cookie using a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch round tip. (Stef says: If you don't have a pastry bag, you could easily just spread the filling with a knife or use a Ziploc with the corner cut off as a pastry bag. I had a pastry bag, but I only had a star tip. The tip doesn't matter much.) I used a knife because I didn't feel like digging out my cake decorating supplies; it worked fine!
  4. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.
  5. Serve with milk!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Number One's Smoked Chicken Chili

Last night, Number One used our smoker for the first time in a long time. It definitely will not be the last time. Despite its smoke-blackened skin, the chicken was moist and delicious and the boys and I could not get enough! Luckily we did have some leftovers, and Number One decided to make this chili with them. It was his idea, but I came up with the ingredients, and he put it together (with my supervision), so it's technically a team effort. It smelled so good today while we were making this!

I will post his smoked chicken recipe (and picture) when he makes it again, very soon I hope!

So first, smoke a chicken, or I suppose you could buy a rotisserie-roasted chicken from the store, but you would lose that smoky-good flavor. Then proceed.

We served our chili with Number One's freshly-made tortillas. H-bomb loved it all. And I was too hungry to track down the camera. Picture tomorrow!

Smoked Chicken Chili

Meat from at least 1/2 smoked or rotisserie chicken, deboned and diced
Carcass of said chicken

2 to 3 tablespoons lard
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano

2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained
2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained (or you could use 4 cans of one type of beans)
1 14-ounce can corn kernels, drained
2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes
2 4-ounce cans diced hot green chiles

small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped or fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt, to taste

Remove all meat from chicken carcass, reserving carcass pieces, chop meat and set aside. Add carcass pieces to a large pot and add water to cover, at least 4 cups. Boil carcass gently for about two hours, adding water if needed to maintain about 4 cups, and then let cool. Meanwhile, chop onion, garlic and drain beans and corn. After broth has cooled a bit, strain chicken broth into a clean container; discard carcass.

In a large soup pot, heat lard over medium heat and gently saute onions and garlic until onions are translucent and maybe a little browned, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour, cumin and oregano, stirring constantly until mixed, cook about one minute.

Add all canned ingredients, diced chicken, and strained broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer gently for about an hour, until warmed through.

Stir in kosher salt and parsley, and serve with freshly made tortillas. A dollop of sour cream would be good too.

May Taste & Create: Roasted Eggplant & Caramelized Onion Pizza

For this month's Taste & Create, I whipped up this delicious pizza found on Perry's Plate Food Blog. I used a Calypso Eggplant which is a smaller variety. One note... cut it thin. If the pieces are too thick, it's too chewy. I also used a locally made goat cheese from Maryland's Firefly Farms. Their chevre is great on pizzas, eggs, crackers... just about anything.

I had to make a few alterations to the overall recipe... 1) I thought I had roasted red peppers but turns out they were BAD. Thank goodness I had a yellow pepper in the fridge. I roasted that under the broiler and it worked just fine. 2) I didn't make the crust... I used a pizza dough from Trader Joe's. Still yummy! My husband suggested a thin crust would be divine. Perhaps next time.

Roasted Eggplant and Caramelized Onion Pizza

adapted from Cooking with Paula Deen magazine

1/2 med eggplant, peeled and chopped
2 T olive oil
3 T butter
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
1 c pizza sauce
1 1/2 c shredded mozzarella
6 slices turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 c chopped roasted red peppers
1 c crumbled goat cheese
1 recipe whole wheat pizza crust

Coat eggplant with olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 10-12 min or until lightly browned; set aside.

In a large dutch oven/saucepan melt butter over med heat. Add onion, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Uncover, increase heat to med-high and cook, stirring frequently until caramelized; set aside.

Spread pizza sauce over crust; sprinkle with 1 c mozzarella cheese. Top evenly with eggplant, onions, bacon and roasted peppers. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and goat cheese.

Bake at 425 for 12-15 min.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Jalapeños con Cangrejos

I am working on some make-ahead recipes for an upcoming party, so this is sort of an experiment. I took a yummy crab/cream cheese filling and stuffed it into jalapeños. Very simple, and delicious. We've done this before, but before we've just baked them and eaten them.

This time, I am freezing some to see if it will work. I'm hopeful that it will work out, the way it does for the scrumptious Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeños, and honestly I don't see why it won't. I'll freeze them for about a month, then take them out and bake them and report back.

For now, we couldn't resist eating the rest of them. We had a small taste-testing party, and everyone loved them.

And YES! I'm happy to report that freezing these babies works fine! Just bake right from frozen, probably about 10 minutes more, until they are just turning golden brown, then watch them disappear!

Jalapeños con Cangrejos
AKA Crabby Jalapeños

AKA Crab-Infested Jalapeños
Makes 40 jalapeños, give or take, recipe can easily be halved

16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
10 scallions (green onions), diced
2 cans crab, drained
about 20 jalapeños, halved lengthwise, seeds and white ribs removed

Mix together cream cheese, scallions and crab until well-combined. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

To prepare the jalapeños, slice each pepper lengthwise, inserting knife tip just below the stem of each jalapeño, as close as you can get to the stem end but not cutting the stem. Pull the two halves apart, and usually the half the stem will stay on each half (this gives you a handle and it looks nice). Use a small spoon to gently scrape out the seeds and the white ribs inside (the spicy parts). Leave some ribs if you want them spicier, but do so at your own risk!

Smear each prepared jalapeño half with a generous amount of cream cheese mixture. Place jalapeños on a baking rack over a sheet pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for about 20 minutes, until cheese is melty and bubbly and just beginning to turn golden brown. Arrange artfully on a platter and serve while still warm.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Taste & Create XVIV Partner List

Here it is, the partner list! Please remember that your submissions are due by May 24. Sign in and submit your entries on the Taste & Create website, please do not email them to me. Feel free to contact me at cowgirlmin [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions at all.

The deadline for sign-ups for June's Taste & Create is June 8th, please email your sign-up information to me at cowgirlmin [at] gmail [dot] com.

(any problems with the links below, please let me know and I'll fix them ASAP)


For the Love of Food & High on the Hog

Food Is Relational & The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch

Columbus Foodie & Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska

I♥cuppycakes! & One Frugal Foodie

Bombay Foodie & Let Them Eat Cake

Perrys' Plate & The Bad Girl's Kitchen (Shell)

La Recette du Jour & My Kitchen Treasures

Ruth's Kitchen Experiments & Tasty Treats

Kits Chow & Culinary Delights

The Bad Girl's Kitchen (Min) & Cupcake Project

Fun Foods on a Budget & What's For Supper

Tangerine's Kitchen & Livin Local

Life at Quail Hollow & More Than Burnt Toast

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Min's Gourmet Burgers

We love burgers. We always try to add a little something to our ground beef for flavor and variety. Usually, it's ground pork and whatever fresh herbs (marjoram, rosemary, oregano, etc) we happen to have on hand. This time, inspired by just having made and loved Alessandra's Meatballs, we decided to add some olives too.

The olives we have are a mix of different kinds, stuffed with different things like jalapenos, little onions, peppers. They are delicious, and they made a fabulous addition to our burgers. We also added garlic and fresh parsley. The pork gives the beef a boost of flavor and keeps it juicy on the grill. The spices and everything else just make it all delicious. You will be amazed what just a few simple additions do to transform your burgers.

I also got some fancy cheese slices to top our burgers off, Applewood Smoked Bacon Cheddar and a nice Pepper Jack. We grilled the burgers, then served them with White Bean and Tuna Salad, and a fruit salad that Wifey brought over. It made an excellent meal.

Min's Gourmet Burgers
Serves about 8
Addition measurements are approximate; feel free to change or substitute!

2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3/4 cup mixed stuffed olives, chopped

Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix gently with your hands, not working the meat too much or too roughly but until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover and let rest in refrigerator for one to two hours, or more.

Form into patties and grill until they are done to your liking. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Taste & Create!! May - September 2009

By now you all know how much I love the Taste & Create event, a monthly food blog event created and hosted by my lovely friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Food bloggers are randomly paired off, and asked to choose a recipe from their partner's blog, create it, and blog about it. Results are featured on the fabulous Taste & Create website. It is a great way to meet new blog friends, learn new recipes & techniques, and is just plain fun. Sometimes, I am even lucky enough to guest-host the event.

I look forward to Taste & Create every month, and yes, I'm actually sad if I can't participate! Last summer, I even participated during our vacation to Michigan, where I created a fabulous fish recipe on my dad's new grill.

Well, guess what? Nicole is having a baby, and has asked me to host Taste & Create from now until September! If you'd like to participate during the months of May to September, please email me each month you'd like to at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com. Go here for sign up information. The sign up deadline each month is the 8th, I look forward to hearing from you.

Congratulations, Nicole!! I'll do my best! And I can't wait to see pictures of the little one!
Blog Widget by LinkWithin