Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Taste & Create XXII: Spicy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

My favorite food blog event is here again, and this time I ended up with two partners! Created by Nicole of For the Love of Food, participating food bloggers are randomly paired off, to try and blog about one of their partner's recipes.

My other partner this month was Liza of Knick Nosh. You may remember last month I made her scrumptious Greek Salad and also her wonderful [Chicken] Burgers with Portabello Mushrooms, Spinach and Sundried Tomato Mayo. Both of those recipes were so good, I couldn't wait to try her Spicy Oven-Roasted Potatoes. Her Banana Oat Muffins are also on my list!

Tonight I only used about 5 or 6 potatoes, and it was more than enough for the four of us. Since I'm always cooking for little ones, I also substituted Cajun seasoning as Liza suggested. It was still a bit spicy, but Number One and I loved them. I was going to broil them at the end too, but I didn't. Man, I can't wait for my new kitchen...

Spicy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

10 red potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper
(or 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning instead of red pepper and garlic powder)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine red pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper in small dish.

Scrub potatoes clean and slice into ¼-inch slices. Spray potatoes with cooking spray and place in microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 8 minutes. Remove potatoes from microwave and spread out on baking sheet.

Pour olive oil over potatoes and season with red pepper mixture or Cajun seasoning. Combine potatoes, oil, and seasoning. Spread into single layer on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning potatoes after 10 minutes. If crispier potatoes are desired, broil for last 2-3 minutes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Taste & Create XXII: Amish Friendship Bread

My favorite food blog event is here again! Nicole of For the Love of Food created this fun event, in which participating food bloggers are randomly paired off, to try and blog about one of their partner's recipes.

For this month's Taste & Create, I was paired with Carol of No Reason Needed. I was completely tempted by her Funnel Cakes recipe, but my new kitchen isn't finished and I didn't want to make a mess on the unfinished pine floors. Yet!

I was also intrigued by Carol's Amish Friendship Bread and bread starter. Since Number One and I got into making thing with sour dough, I decided it would be fun to try this new starter and see what happened. I followed the starter instructions for stirring, adding things, not stirring, fairly faithfully, until the 10th day came and went. And the 11th. And the 12th. On the 13th day, after not really touching the starter since day 11, I stirred it up and hoped for the best, and proceeded with the recipe.

The bread turned out sadly UNphotogenic, but delicious! It was done after just one hour at 325 degrees (Carol's recipe said 324 degrees, but I kept forgetting to ask about it so I just opted for the standard 325, thinking it could be a typo?) I was in sort of a hurry to get the loaves out of the pans, so they were a bit messy. I'm sure if I had waited about 10 minutes before turning them out, they would have turned out much better, and probably much prettier.

I also froze more than 1/4 cup of dough, because I couldn't wrap my head around the math: you start with 3 cups of ingredients, then later you start with only 1/4 cup? And it still makes two loaves? I guess I'll have to try it and see what happens, but I'm sure I have almost a whole cup of batter in the freezer right now, so I'll definitely try it again.

This is going to be wonderful with coffee in the morning, it is sweet, somewhat light but the top edges are nicely crunchy and chewy. Yum!

Amish Friendship Bread
Makes 2 loaves

NOTE: DO NOT use metal utensils or bowls for this recipe & do not refrigerate prior to baking.

1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk

1. Dissolve yeast in water. Let stand ten minutes.
2. In 2 quart glass, ceramic, or plastic container (remember: no metal!) combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. Mix thoroughly or the flour will lump when milk is added.
3. Slowly stir in milk and dissolved yeast mixture.
4. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature till bubbly.


1 - receive starter batter
5 -add one cup each flour, sugar, and milk; mix well
10 - add 1 cup each of flour, sugar and milk. Mix well. Put 1/4 cup batter in small dish and freeze for next time you may wish to make this recipe.

To your remaining batter add:
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding (4 serving size)

Mix well.

Mix together 3 tsp. cinnamon & 1/2 cup brown sugar. Set aside. Grease 2 large loaf pans. Pour 1/4 batter in each. Sprinkle 1/4 sugar mixture on top of each. Pour remaining batter on top of each loaf & sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Swirl with knife for marble effect. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs at 325 degrees until done. Cool.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

Kendall from Res-o-puh-leese is a Taste & Create participant, so I've been perusing her blog occasionally. (She'd be one of my partners this month if I hadn't made a mistake in the signup list!) I couldn't resist this recipe for one of our Indian favorites, Chicken Tikka Masala, from her Indian Fiesta, uh, Feast.

For her "fiesta, uh, feast," she also makes Paneer Pakora, Naan, Lassi and rice. But I have two young boys. With them running around, Chicken Tikka Masala it was. I wanted to make Kendall's Naan also, but forgot about the rising time. Number One whipped up some extra thick tortillas that worked just fine to sop up the delicious sauce.

The Chicken Tikka Masala is tangy and savory and yummy! I can't wait to try it with grilled chicken and fresh naan!

Chicken Tikka Masala

For the marinade:

1 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (I couldn't find my cayenne)
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon butter, clarified (you can either microwave the butter or melt it in a pan, using only the yellow liquid off the top, not the lighter colored solids that sink to the bottom)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Coat a large heavy skillet with clarified butter over medium heat. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin and paprika. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the sauce is simmering, cook the chicken.
Had I planned ahead and skewered the chicken pieces prior to marinating them, we would have grilled the chicken. But I didn't think of it, so we just fished the pieces out of the marinade and fried them in some olive oil in a pan. Next time, we'll grill them!

Add chicken to sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Step By Step Cake Decorating: Spiderman & The Green Goblin

For H-Bomb's 6th birthday, he decided (last year, I think!) that he wanted a Green Goblin party. With Spiderman in attendance, of course, and thank goodness, because there aren't a lot of Green Goblin things out there!

I searched the internet for a cake pan that I could possibly turn into the Green Goblin, and finally found one: Wilton's Whimsical Witch. I found one on ebay, but there is also one available on amazon right now:

I figured since the Goblin has a hat, it wouldn't be too difficult.

For Spiderman, I just ordered a Wilton Spiderman Cake Pan. It sort of felt like cheating. I also ordered a special Wilton Spiderman Icing Color Set so I could get the "right" classic colors for Spiderman.

Two days before the party I baked the cakes, just box mixes, because the decorating is enough of a job for me with all the other party-planning. I had to bake two witch/goblins because the first one fell too much in the middle. That's okay, we had visitors the night before the party, so we ate that cake with them for dessert. I put the cakes on the same foil-covered board, which actually is a gorgeous Paula Deen pie board that I found at Walmart.

On the day before the party I mixed up two batches of Buttercream Frosting. I put a crumb coat on both cakes first, then divided the frosting up into separate bowls in order to mix up all the colors I would need for the two different cakes: red, dark blue, light blue, black, white, green and purple.

I put a little bit thicker crumb coat on the "witch's" face so I could have a cleaner drawing board to change it into the Green Goblin.

Then I started mixing up colors. I decided to work on Spiderman first, so I mixed up the blues and red.

I put the light blue on the cake sides and the edges surrounding Spiderman.

Then I filled in Spiderman's eyes with white and outlined them in black. I also outlined Spiderman and all his webbing in black.

I decided that since I had the black frosting in a bag, I should outline the features of the Green Goblin as well. I drew his face and details right on the cake with a toothpick, then traced the toothpick lines with frosting. I decided to make his eyes red, and did them somewhat smoothly like the Spiderman eyes.

The nice thing about cartoon or comic book characters? They are drawings originally, so I feel like they are a bit forgiving when I draw them on cakes.

I also decided that I need to remove a bit of the Green Goblin cake, namely the witch's hair on the left side, because I couldn't figure out what to do with it. It didn't make sense for that piece to be part of the Goblin's purple costume, and it just looked sort of weird so I cut it off.

I filled in Spiderman with dark blue and then red, using a #16 star tip, and it appears that I was moving too quickly to take any pictures. Then I filled in the Green Goblin with green, using the same #16 star tip. I used some of Spiderman's dark blue to fill in the "extra" areas, which looked nice and alluded to sky if he was flying around. See, you can make just about anything make sense!

I filled in Green Goblin's hat and shirt with purple, and both cakes were finished! It really didn't take very long, just refrigerating the frosting if it got too soft, and then letting it sit on the counter to warm up if it got too cold and hard. I was finished before dinner time, and even had time to drink a glass of wine with my friend Catherine!

H-Bomb declared that the cakes looked "AWESOME." That is good enough for me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Taste & Create XXII Partner List

Once again, the partner list you've all been waiting for! Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by August 24th. If you have any questions or problems, feel free to email me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you'd like to enter next month's Taste & Create, the fabulous event which pairs food bloggers randomly and tasks them with preparing one of their partner's recipes,
please email me by September 8th to get on the list. Here's how it works, in case we have any newcomers who are interested!

Good luck, I can't wait to see what you all create!

Culinary Delights & Tasty Treats

Mixcalculations & Parita's World

Munchkin Mail & Love Big, Bake Often

Quick & Easy, Cheap & Healthy & What's For Supper

Res-o-puh-leese & One Frugal Foodie

The Bad Girl's Kitchen & No Reason Needed

The Spiced Life & Bombay Foodie

The Bad Girl's Kitchen & Knick Nosh

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chicken Burgers with Portobello Mushrooms, Spinach & Sundried Tomato Mayo

This is another recipe from my previous Taste & Create partner, Liza of Knick Nosh, although she uses ground turkey. I simply had to try it. I still don't have ground turkey, but I finally remembered to thaw a pound of ground chicken for this recipe. Number One also decided that grilling would be the cooking method of choice for these burgers, so that's what we did. Our adaptation of the recipe is below; you can see the original recipe here.

Chicken Burgers with Portobello Mushrooms, Spinach & Sundried Tomato Mayo
Serves 4

1 pound of ground chicken (or turkey)
¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder (I didn't have any garlic powder, so I used Johnny's Garlic Spread).

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped

4 large portobello mushrooms

2 cups fresh spinach

4 low-fat English muffins

Heat grill to medium.

Combine sundried tomatoes with mayo. Set aside.

Combine ground turkey with bread crumbs and seasonings. Form into 4 burgers. Spray portobello mushrooms with cooking spray (or brush with olive oil) and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. At the same time, grill the mushrooms about 5 minutes per side.

Toast English muffins just before serving. Spread all English muffin halves with sun-dried tomato mayo. Place a burger on each bottom English muffin half. Top each burger with a mushroom, 1/4 of the spinach and the top English muffin half.
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