Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas Eve dinner was just the two of us this year so I made a beef tenderloin with sauteed mushrooms and twice baked potatoes. Tonight that left over tenderloin will make some great hot beef sandwiches. YUMMY!
1 (3 pound) beef tenderloin roast 
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
4-5 mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 cup melted butter

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Sprinkle garlic on bottom of shallow, glass baking dish and then layer green onions on top. 
  • Place roast on top of onions.
  • Whisk together soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and butter.
  • Pour over the tenderloin.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn the roast over, and continue cooking 35 to 40 minutes, basting occasionally until the internal temperature of the roast is at 140 degrees for medium.
  • Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing

Monday, December 19, 2011


When  you look up recipes for Chicken Adobo ou have to choose between either a Phillipino recipe or a Mexican recipe.  I couldn't choose so I decided to combine my favorite ingredients from each of them and make my own recipe.
Chicken Adobo
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  3tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced VERY thin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 tablespoon achiote seeds
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cover achiote seeds with boiling water. 
  • Cover and set aside overnight. 
  • Drain seeds discarding water.
  • Place seeds, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, honey, salt, pepper and garlic in a food processor. Grind until well blended.
  • In a large wok or skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken on one side until light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and sear the other side for another 5 minutes.  
  • Add the onions over the chicken.
  • Pour the seed mixture over chicken and heat through.
  • Serve hot over rice and vegetable sides. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taste & Create Partner List

Here is the T&C partner list for our extended Holiday Event! I apologize for the delay. Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by January 24th, 2012!
Over the holidays, you'll have extra time to create something fabulous!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post.

If you'd would like to sign up for the NEXT event, please email me by the 8th of the month. (keep in mind the next month is actually February 2012, then every month again after that) You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin!

Can't wait to see what you all create!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Roasted Salmon with Lentils

We have one boy, H-Bomb, who LOVES salmon (and all seafood!) and one boy, Sawed Off, who doesn't like salmon at all. We keep serving it. Last night, when I served up this roasted salmon with lentils, Sawed Off immediately said he doesn't like salmon, he didn't want to eat salmon, etc. complain etc. I asked him if he wanted sauce. He said no. Then I poured sauce on his dad's salmon, and Sawed Off said, "That sauce smells good." So I asked him if he wanted the sauce on the side or on top, and he said on top!

Sawed Off ATE that salmon and loved it, and even asked for more sauce on top! Give this recipe a try, even if someone in your family has mixed feelings about salmon. You might be surprised. And if you like salmon, try this recipe, it's a good one!

Roasted Salmon with Lentils
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Serves 4

3/4 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
(I also added 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
nonstick cooking spray

Combine the lentils and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery (and carrot); cover, and continue cooking until the lentils and vegetables are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes more. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid. Transfer the lentil mixture to a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking liquid with the vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic and parsley; season with salt and pepper. *I prepped all these ingredients while the lentils were cooking, then added the cooking liquid at the end.* Toss half the dressing with the lentil mixture.

Heat the broiler. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the salmon on the sheet; broil until opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon the lentils onto 4 plates; top with the salmon, flaking it into large pieces, if desired. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.

This recipe comes from a weeknight favorite of mine, Everday Food: Great Food Fast.

It's a great cookbook for fairly last-minute dinners, and I turn to it often.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Taste & Create: Buckeye Bars


*Taste & Create is an amazing monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are paired up randomly, and each create a recipe from their partner's blog! It is so fun! Please join us. The deadline to sign up is the 8th day of each month, email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested! For the months of December and January, the Taste & Create will be combined into a single event, with the signup deadline on December 8th and submissions due by January 24th, to give us all extra time to create something fabulous!

My partner this month was Stephanie of Fun Foods on a Budget. So many recipes to choose from, but for me time was of the essence! I just got back from a fabulous family vacation in sunny Mexico, so I needed something quick. I was all set to make Stephanie's recipe for Universal Muffins, originally from The Tightwad Gazette. But then. I decided to cruise through her Cookies & Bars category one more time, in the spirit of the holiday season or something. And that's when I ran across these babies.

Buckeye Bars. I love Buckeye Balls, so the idea of having the same great taste without making individual candies? Wonderful.

In the end I decided to use almond butter, because we are out of our regular natural peanut butter and I didn't want extra sugar. These went together so quickly and nicely in the food processor that I really don't think making the balls would be that much trouble, so I will probably do that again before Christmas.

Also, I must say that I had the same trouble with my chocolate that Stephanie did, but I did leave my bars in the refrigerator overnight before attempting to cut them, so who knows the appropriate timeframe in which to cut them.

And really, I am going to stick with the peanut butter from now on. The almond butter is too gooey, so the bars didn't set up very well. They are sort of a sticky (although yummy) treat that can only be served cold (and are still sticky then). So, my experimentation is a bust, but that won't stop me from eating these AND making them with peanut butter again this season!

Buckeye Bars
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and confectioners' sugar in a bowl or a food processor until smooth.

Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides.

Press peanut butter mixture into pan evenly. Microwave chocolate chips on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave 15 to 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted; stir until smooth. Spread over peanut butter layer.

Refrigerate 2 hours. Use foil handles to lift bars from pan before cutting to serve.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Taste & Create: South African Crunchies


*Taste & Create is an amazing monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are paired up randomly, and each create a recipe from their partner's blog! It is so fun! Please join us. The deadline to sign up is the 8th day of each month, email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested!

This month, I was partnered with Nicole of Seven Ate Nine. I really wanted to make her Hot Crab Dip, but I don't have access to the right kind of crab unless I drive for four hours one way. I also considered making her Savory White Chicken Chili. That is, of course, until I noticed this recipe for South African Crunchies. Not only have I never heard of them, I've never, to my knowledge, made anything remotely South African. Although surprised by their lack of exotic ingredients, I decided I had to make them!

I followed Nicole's lead and made a half batch, using only 1 1/2 sticks of butter and an 8x8 pan. I didn't have any pumpkin seeds, so I used about 1/8 cup flax seeds and 1/8 cup slivered almonds.

Mine turned out somewhat crunchy, but more crumbly...maybe I didn't let them cool long enough? They are tasty though, so I just might make them again! I think I was expecting more of a crisp than a crunch, but honestly I had no idea what to expect, what do I know, so go ahead and make them when you're looking for a different sweet snack. Can't wait to have one in the morning with my coffee, as Nicole suggests!

South African Crunchies

1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups coconut
3 cups oats
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
3 sticks butter
4 teaspoons corn syrup
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together all of the dry ingredients, except the baking soda. Boil the butter and syrup, add baking soda and stir. Mix everything together, press into a flat pan (I halved the recipe and used an 8x8 pan). Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cut immediately and let cool.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taste & Create Partner List

Here is the T&C partner list. Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by December 1st, 2011!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post.

If you'd would like to sign up for NEXT month, please email me by the 8th of the month. You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin! Over the holidays, we'll have a special Taste & Create event, with an extended deadline! You'll receive the partner list as usual on December 11, but your entry won't be due until January 24th, 2012! Extra time to create something fabulous, please do join us!

Can't wait to see what you all create!

Always Eat on the Good China & For Such a Time as This

The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch & Tangerine's Kitchen

The Bad Girl's Kitchen & Fun Foods on a Budget

No Reason Needed & Shortcut to Mushrooms

Tomato Blues & Tasty Treats

Alisa Cooks & Study Food

Cook's Hideout & Searching for Spice

Avocado Pesto & Bizzy Bakes

Edible Entertainment & The Baking Bluefinger

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy &
The Teenage Taste

Seduce Your Tastebuds & Veg Junction

Angry Asian Creations & Tasteful Diversions

Pinks Recipe Diary & Measured in Pinches

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Potato Soup (Hot or Cold)

This, I believe, qualifies as a five-ingredient recipe. It's fast, easy, and great for a cold day. Of course, the cold version (see note), which I haven't tried, should be great for a warm day. This would be terrific recipe to teach your own kids or other kids to make. Could be completed in a class period at school or church.

For a fund-raiser, make lots of this soup at a low cost, using stock base and water rather than canned stock. Have folks donate the garnishes, which folks can pile on as they wish. Charge adults $6 for all they can eat; charge kids $3. Families could opt to pay $20 for their brood. Having donated apple desserts would add a nice complement to the soup.

Wendy’s Quick Potato Soup

Serves 4

1 very large russet potato, about 1 pound

1 medium onion

3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

4 ounces shredded cheese at room temperature

1 cup milk, half-and-half, or cream at room temperature

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Minced parsley leaves, optional for garnish

Sliced chives, optional for garnish

Sliced green onions, optional for garnish

Crumbled bacon, optional for garnish

Finely shredded cheese, optional for garnish

Paprika, optional for garnish

1. Peel potato and cut into small chunks.

2. Peel onion and cut into small chunks; should be about 1 cup.

3. Bring stock to a boil

4. Add potato and onion to stock. Reduce stock to a simmer. Cover pot.

5. Simmer about 15 minutes or until potato and onion are tender.

6. Use an immersible blender to purée incomplete soup, or pour into a

blender, purée in batches, and then return to pan.

7. Add cheese and stir until it is melted.

8. Stir in milk, half-and-half, or cream and heat gently but do not boil.

9. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

10. Garnish as desired before serving.

NOTE: Recipe can be used to make chilled potato soup. In this case, don’t use cheese. After puréeing in Step 6, chill incomplete soup for up to two days or freeze for up to a month. Then, thaw if need be, and follow Step 8. Chill again. When ready to serve, follow Steps 9 and 10.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mushroom Turnovers with Sour Cream

As soon as I received my Dinner Tonight email, I said "Mushroom Turnovers with Sour Cream" out loud, and H-Bomb said, "Can you make those for dinner tonight??" We had everything except mushrooms and sour cream, and I was planning on going to the store anyway, so I said yes! I ended up with some white button mushrooms, cremini and a couple portabellos (H-Bomb's favorite mushroom). I weighed the mushrooms to equal about 20 ounces, because none of them were in the right size package, of course.

Easy to put together, the hardest part was rolling out the pastry dough evenly enough to make four turnovers of roughly equal size. I didn't trim the edges of the dough, honestly with my poor rolling I needed all the dough I could get!

These are quick, savory and delicious! Three out of four family members finished their dinner. We served them with edamame and green peas (each boy requested each vegetable) to green things up.

Mushroom Turnovers with Sour Cream

From Everyday Food, November 2008

Our flaky stuffed pastries are a vegetarian main that's easy and elegant. Store-bought puff pastry makes quick work of these savory turnovers that require only five ingredients.

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 packages (5 ounces each) mixed mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce box), thawed
1/2 cup sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough (still folded in thirds) to a 20-by-10-inch rectangle. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, trim edges straight; cut dough into four 10-by-5-inch rectangles. Dividing evenly, mound mushroom mixture on one half of each rectangle, leaving a 1/2-inch border on three sides. Lightly brush border with water; fold other half of pastry over filling, and press edges firmly to seal. With a floured fork, crimp edges.

Using a wide metal spatula, transfer turnovers to a large baking sheet. With a paring knife, cut 3 to 4 small slits in the top of each turnover. Bake until golden and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; serve turnovers with sour cream.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kafta - Lebanese Meatballs on a Stick

Once a month, I post a recipe over at Our Krazy Kitchen. I used to post once a week, but life got in the way. Our Krazy Kitchen is a bunch of people who contribute recipes, kind of a nice recipe sharing community. Because there are so many people (I've honestly lost count), you never know what the recipes will be, so I check in just about every day to see what's cooking!

When Lyndsey of The Tiny Skillet posted this one for Kafta, I knew I wanted to make these meatballs right away. I couldn't find lamb, so I just used beef from one of our cattle. The only thing we would do differently is add salt. (we added it on top this time). We did try both ways of cooking the meatballs, and the grill worked easier for us than the grill pan + oven method. Do whatever floats your boat, but make these soon!

formed & ready to grill!

Kafta - Lebanese Meatballs on a Stick

1 1/2 pounds ground lamb (we used ground beef)
4 green onions chopped
1 bunch parsley chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
a handful of mint chopped
1 tablespoon Lebanese seven spice or sometimes called mixed spice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes to get the flavors merging all together nicely and the meatball will form easily. If using wooden skewers soak them for the same 30 minutes so they won't burn on the grill. Lyndsey says, "I don't like to form the meatball too firm so it won't be too dense after cooking...just my preference." Also prepare the Cucumber Sauce during this time.

You can grill them or make them on a grill pan stove-top, Lyndsey suggested browning them on the grill pan first, then transferring the pan to the oven to finish them off. Grill them like you would burgers, just make sure the meat is cooked no longer pink, but try not to overcook them.

We tried both methods, and preferred the meatballs on the grill. We served them with pita bread and Lyndsey's Cucumber Sauce (below).

Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 tsp dill
a dash of garlic powder
a squeeze of lemon juice

Mix everything together and let sit in the fridge while preparing the meatballs.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Make Your Own Pizzas with Newman's Own!

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, I received free jars of Newman's Own Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce AND a free Flip Video Camera with the Newman's Own logo! The mission: create an easy, fast, family-friendly recipe. What better dinner than a pizza night?!

You may have already seen a post like this, in which H-Bomb had a friend over and we made individual pizzas. That time, I used Artisan Bread Dough for the crust, and homemade Marinara Sauce, in addition to the toppings. The boys LOVED them. (follow the above link for those recipes) They had so much fun, and ate all of their dinner, so I decided to let them do it again!

I made a batch of Artisan Bread Dough for these crusts, but accidentally left it out on the counter for over 24 hours, and that, my friends, is too long! When did I discover this? When we were getting ready to prepare dinner, of course. I considered using tortillas as a last-minute crust, but decided to google first. I found a no-knead, no-rise crust recipe to try, on a food blog called Adventures of a Food Slut. (a perfect match for The Bad Girl's Kitchen, I say!)

Super Quick, No-Knead Pizza Dough

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Add remaining ingredients and stir vigorously 20 strokes. Let rest 5 minutes. With floured fingers, pat into pizza pan. (I sprinkled a little cornmeal on the pan first) For pizza, top as desired, and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.

I formed the dough into three individual mini pizzas for the three boys. The toppings were LinkNewman's Own Roasted Garlic Sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni and mushrooms.

The dough took about 10 minutes, including the 5 minute resting time.

The cute pizza prep video (which I am having the hardest time adding to this post!) is about 3 minutes real time, that's all it took for the boys to get their own pizzas loaded up.

Fifteen minutes in the oven, and they were done!

I think the boys can speak for themselves! There was not much pizza left at all!

Thank you Foodbuzz and Newman's Own!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Sauce

This recipe is inspired by part of a gift we received from our good friends Alice and Doug as a housewarming gift two years ago: A jar of Williams-Sonoma Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Sauce. The jar said, " A rich, creamy sauce featuring pumpkin and aged Parmesan cheese seasoned with caramelized onions, roasted garlic and sage." It was delicious. I wrote down the ingredients so I could try to make it from scratch, because there is no Williams-Sonoma anywhere near here.

I didn't end up using all the same ingredients, (namely water and butternut squash) and of course there aren't amounts on a jar of sauce from the store. So this is my own creation, inspired by Williams-Sonoma. I used leftover fresh pumpkin puree I had in the freezer from last year's Halloween!

Number One proclaimed, "This tastes like fall." H-Bomb, after initially saying he didn't want sauce, said he loved it. Sawed Off ate it, but wouldn't commit to liking it. I thought it was delicious, and I'm proud to say the sauce turned out on the very first try!

While it's not as orange or quite as smooth as the jarred sauce was, I can say that I know exactly what is in it, and we liked it!

Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Sauce
Serves 6 to 8 (I'm sort of guessing because we had a lot of leftovers)

1 pound spaghetti or pasta of your choice

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
3 cups roasted pumpkin puree
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sage leaves
1 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
grated Parmesan, to serve

Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta.

In a large pan, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-low heat, until onions are translucent and just starting to brown. Stir in chicken broth and heat. Stir in pumpkin puree and spices, then simmer on low while preparing your pasta as directed. (I actually simmered my puree for about 20 minutes, because it had been frozen and needed to simmer out some of the water.)

Whisk half-and-half into the pumpkin mixture, and heat gently. Stir in Parmesan, adding more if desired. Minutes before serving, stir in lemon juice.

Drain pasta and place in large bowl, pour sauce on top of pasta. Serve with more freshly grated Parmesan on top, if desired.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Blonde Butterscotch Brownies

These were a big hit with my co-ed Great Books group. —Wendy D.


Serves 8

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

1 ½ cup dark brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup butterscotch morsels

1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

2. Melt butter; remove from heat.

3. Stir in brown sugar.

4. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until well-blended.

5. Stir in vanilla extract.

6. Add dry ingredients and stir gently until mostly blended.

7. Stir in butterscotch morsels and walnuts until distributed evenly and none of the dry ingredients can be seen.

8. Spread mixture in a buttered 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

9. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 25 minutes. Do not overbake; brownies will become firmer when cool.

10. Cut while warm. Eat when cool.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


1 1/2 to 2 pounds pork rib chops, trimmed of fat 

1/4 teaspoon sea salt 

1/4 teaspoon  freshly ground pepper
3 teaspoons safflower oil, divided
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 clove  garlic, minced
1/2 cup  orange juice 

3/4 cup  barbecue sauce
2-3 cups prepared white rice
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Generously sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. 
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large ovenproof skillet over high heat. 
  • Add the pork chops and sear to brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan. 
  • Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened. 
  • Stir in garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant. 
  • Add orange juice and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. 
  • Stir in barbecue sauce until well blended. 
  • Return the pork chops to the pan, turning several times to coat with the sauce.
  • In a large baking dish layer the rice on the bottom, smoothing the top.
  • Add pork chops to top of rice.
  • Pour remaining sauce over the chops and rice.
  • Transfer the dish to the oven and bake until the pork chops are barely pink in the middle and an instant-read thermometer registers at least 145 degrees. 10-15 minutes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Spicy Coconut Custard with Candied Coconut

It's so fun entering these contests from Marx Foods! In the most recent Marx Foods recipe contest I entered, I came in third with my Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce!! They were so delicious! And honestly, without Marx Foods providing the dried chile peppers, the inspiration to create those tarts may never have arrived!

So when you enter a Marx Foods contest, you may have an idea of what you're going to get, but it still somehow is a surprise. This particular contest was a complete surprise--RANDOM Recipes! I had no idea what would be in the box, and was pleasantly surprised to find:

Hurray, and thank you!! Now, I love mushrooms, but the ideas just weren't flowing. So I turned to the Coconut Sugar. It's actually coconut sap sugar; I had no idea they even made that! (Did I ever tell you I love coconut?) Still being in love with the chiles from the last challenge, I chose to use those as well. And by now it's no surprise I made dessert!

The custard is smooth and creamy and cool, with a hint of heat on the back of your tongue. It picks up its yellow hue from both the pureed chiles and the fresh-laid-today chicken eggs! The chiles also provide some nice orangey flecks in the custard.

The candied coconut adds just the right sort of caramely-coconutty crunch, nice texture contrast, and has a unique flavor. The family loved it!

I did some experimenting until I got enough heat in the coconut milk (even throwing some extra Puya seeds out of the package into the pot!) I used the methods my husband and I developed with the tart filling to get all the delicious flavor of those Puyas. If you like more heat, you can use one or two more chiles. The possibilities are endless!

The coconut sugar reminds me of jaggery (an Indian sugar) in the way it behaves when other words, not normally! So the Candied Coconut is a little tricky, but it's tasty if you stick with it!

Spicy Coconut Custard with Candied Coconut
Serves 4

1 can (approx. 14 ounces) coconut milk
2 whole dried Puya chile peppers
3 eggs, beaten gently
1/4 cup sugar

Heat coconut milk and Puya chiles in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Gently bring to boiling, stirring, then turn off heat. Let milk steep for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. I rested my wooden spoon right on top of the chile pepper to keep it submerged during the steeping. After 10 minutes, remove stems from chiles and place them in a small food processor (I used the bowl attachment with my Cuisinart stick blender), along with about 1/4 cup of the coconut milk. Process chiles and milk until chiles are relatively small, then return mixture to remaining coconut milk in the saucepan. Stir, and let entire mixture sit and steep until completely cool.

Place a glass bowl in a pan of ice water.

Add eggs and sugar to coconut milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until mixture coats a metal spoon. (much longer than that and your eggs will start to "scramble," take my word for it!) Immediately pour custard into prepared glass bowl, and stir constantly to cool, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour custard into 4 individual custard dishes (or pretty glasses). Cover custard surface with plastic wrap (to prevent a skin from forming), and chill dishes in refrigerator for at least one hour.

Just before serving, remove from refrigerator, remove plastic wrap (of course), sprinkle with candied coconut, and enjoy!

Candied Coconut:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/4 coconut sugar
1 cup raw dried coconut (not sweetened)

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper on the counter.

Melt butter over medium heat and spread around pan; sprinkle coconut sugar on top. Let melt a minute or two before mixing. This will not look like you may expect it to, the sugar won't really melt or dissolve, it'll just look sort of greasy but will start to spread out a bit. Mix it in with the butter using a wooden spoon. When it is mixed together, turn heat to low and sprinkle in the coconut and quickly stir.

To mix the coconut with the sugar mixture, you'll have to sort of "chop" the coconut into the sugar with your wooden spoon to separate it and break up the clumps, otherwise you'll end up with big brown clumps of coconut sugar and the coconut itself won't have much coating. So, mix and "chop" over low until the coconut is turning golden (both from the sugar and from the hot pan), being careful not to burn it.

Turn coconut onto the prepared baking sheet, breaking up any large clumps with the wooden spoon, then let cool before using.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taste & Create Partner List

Here is the T&C partner list. Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by October 24th, 2011!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post.

If you'd would like to sign up for NEXT month, please email me by the 8th of the month. You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin!

Can't wait to see what you all create!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"Drunken Frenchman" Toast

So this has taken a while, but I finally made it!

For Spring Break, we drove over to Colorado to visit my friend Nicole and her family, who were on vacation from Germany. We stayed at the Devil's Thumb Ranch, outside of Tabernash, Colorado. They have a gorgeous lodge with several restaurants. The restaurant we frequented every morning (and our first night) was called Heck's. It is a very impressive hexagon-shaped (hexagon = six, in case you've forgotten) room which surrounds a spectacular hexagon-shaped fireplace. Breathtaking.

Before we left, I had to try their "Drunken Frenchman" Toast. I asked for the recipe, but the waitress only recited a list of ingredients. So other than the ingredients, the proportions are all mine. For the record, the waitress said "bourbon." I don't have any bourbon, so I chose to use Jack Daniel's. You can use whatever you'd like.

I was hoping it would turn out similar to my breakfast at Heck's, and I have to say, woohoo! This is a delicious rendition of the Devil's Ranch breakfast! Make some at your ranch!

"Drunken Frenchman" Toast
Serves 4

8 slices Texas toast*

4 eggs
2/3 cup half and half
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Jack Daniel's

powdered sugar
maple syrup

Preheat griddle to medium; preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Whisk eggs, half and half, spices, vanilla, sugar and bourbon together in a shallow dish. (a pie plate works perfectly for this). Soak each side of each piece of Texas toast in the egg mixture, (not too long!) then place on griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes each side, until golden brown. Place toast on an oven-safe platter and keep warm in the oven.

To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.

*I actually got nine pieces of toast out of my egg mixture this morning.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bauducco Panettone French Toast

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemakers program, I received two free samples of Bauducco's Panettone! (If you're like me, you're saying, what does that even mean?)

Well, when I opened the box, I saw that a Panettone is a "specialty cake!" We got one with chocolate chips in it, and one with raisins in it. Each cake is about 26 ounces, pretty big! Foodbuzz also sent a couple recipes, for French toast and Bread Pudding. I couldn't resist the French toast...and of course chose to make it with the chocolate chip panettone!

But first a bit of history...right off the box.

"In 1952, in a small confectionery, the Bauducco family began making Panettones using its special recipe directly from Italy. With great dedication, work and a special talent for baking, the family saw its Panettone become increasingly recognized for its quality and unique taste. Carefully prepared with a traditional natural leavening process, each Bauducco Panettone takes more than 50 hours to bake."

We sampled a couple pieces before we made the French toast, and it is delicious! Just the right texture, with a hint of a citrus flavor, which is excellent with the chocolate! So far we've only had the chocolate chip cake, because we have two little boys who love chocolate. They are in love. "That cake is sooooo yummy," they both have said several times. "This is the Best French Toast Ever," they said. Things like that.

If you want to try some, here's one place to get it: Bauducco Panettone with Hershey Chocolate. You do have to carefully remove the baking paper from the cake, but it comes off pretty easily.

The French toast is, of course, simple to prepare. The recipe calls for sour cream, but I made a late-night chip dip last night and...we don't have any more sour I used plain yogurt. I doubled the recipe so we each got a piece, and there was enough egg mixture for 6 half-slices of toast. (the cake is pretty big, so I cut each slice in half for easier handling)

The French toast turned out moist and decadent, a welcome departure from regular French toast. We loved it! It was like a special treat on a regular Saturday. We went simple and served ours with maple syrup (and a little whipped cream for my husband and the boys!)

Panettone French Toast
Serves 2

2 3/4-inch-thick slices of Bauducco Panettone
2 eggs
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream (or plain yogurt)
2 tablespoons milk

Beat eggs, sour cream and milk in a shallow, flat-bottomed dish. (I always use a pie plate). Place panettone slice in the dish for a minute, then turn over to soak both sides completely.

Warm skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add butter to grease the skillet. Gently remove soaked panettone from dish and place onto heated skillet. Cook for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side for soft center, 3 minutes per side for firm center. (I cooked mine for about 2 minutes per side, and they were perfect!)

Spread a little butter on each slice, then drizzle with maple syrup and/or powdered sugar.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Carrot Pie

I told you I was going to make this pie! I found the recipe on Melynda's food blog, Mom's Sunday Cafe, during a recent Taste & Create event. I knew I had to try it, and now my parents are visiting, and the time is right!

This is a wonderful pie, spiced like pumpkin pie. Yum. We served ours with whipped cream. My 8-year-old boy said, "I love how smooth the pie is, just like whipped cream!" We all enjoyed it, and I will definitely be making this again!

LinkCarrot Pie
from Mom's Sunday Cafe, originally a part of the Family Circle "best of the best" series makes 1 9" pie, serves 8-10

1 pound carrots, peeled, sliced and cooked - about 2 1/2 cups
1 3/4 c milk - Melynda prefers a large can of evaporated milk and fresh milk to equal the requested amount, and that's what I did too.
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 t salt
1/2 t each cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg

1 9 inch pie shell - recipe follows or use your own favorite, assemble the crust while carrots cook
Cook in plain water until tender, drain well. While carrots are cooking you can make the pie crust.

1 9" Pie crust
1 1/4 c flour
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 t sugar
6 T butter
2 ice cubes and 1/3 c water in a cup

Combine all crust ingredients except water, cutting in with a pastry blender (or 2 butter knives) until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Using a teaspoon, dribble ice water over the flour mixture and toss together with a fork. Continue dribbling water and tossing together until mixture begins clinging together, taking care not to use any more water than is necessary. Roll out, ease into your 9 inch pie pan and proceed with pie instructions.

To finish the pie, in blender cup, combine the cooked and drained carrots along with the milk, buzz to combine. This will completely cool the carrots, add the remaining ingredients and continue to process until smooth. Pour into pie shell.

Bake 450 degrees 15 minutes, reduce heat to 300 degrees, continue baking 45-50 minutes, or until done. Let cool, serve with whipped cream and a fresh dusting of nutmeg.

Taste & Create: Chinese Fried Rice

Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is FUN. If you'd like to sign up, check out How it Works or email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com by the 8th of every month!


My other Taste & Create partner this month is PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds. PJ and I have been partners before, but it's been a while. I always love being paired with her so I can try totally new things! I made her delicious Vegetable Kurma, and did some experimenting with her Meethi Paratha and Homemade Paneer recipes!

I'm so glad you're back, PJ!!

This time, it didn't take me long to decide to make PJ's Chinese Fried Rice. I happily discovered that we actually have all the ingredients, every single one! Well, except for the ginger garlic paste, but I've made that before.

The only problem, for me, is that many of the ingredients need prep. I don't mind chopping, but you have to cook the rice, boil and shell the edamame, I had to cook my sprouted lentils, make the ginger garlic paste...whew. I used the same pan/lid first for the rice, then the lentils, then the edamame (mine are frozen). But still, all that felt like it took forever.

Lucky I even had sprouted lentils in the pantry! I had found and picked up a bag of dry truRoots Organic Sprouted Bean Trio...including lentils, mung and adzuki beans. We've been cooking the beans and tossing them on salads, which I love, so I was excited to use them another way.

So after everything, this rice is worth it! It is healthy and delicious, I think my dad called it "excellent." Try this soon!!

Chinese Fried Rice

2 cups cooked rice
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
1 onion, finely chopped (I had huge onions, so I used about 4 thin slices)
1 firm tomato, finely chopped (I used 1/2 a big tomato)
1 small green pepper, finely chopped (I used 1/2 a big green pepper)
a handful sprouted lentils (I used sprouted lentils, mung and adzuki beans)
1/4 cup boiled edamame (my family loves edamame, so I used almost 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (I used tamari)

Salt to taste
Spring onions, chopped to garnish

  1. Prepare all ingredients.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok on high heat add the ginger garlic paste.
  3. Stir once and immediately add the onion and saute.
  4. Add the tomato and pepper and stir for a couple of seconds,
  5. Add the sprouts, edamame and the soy sauce.
  6. Keep stirring continuously for a minute and add the cooked rice and lower the flame.
  7. Check for salt and add a little. The soy sauce will have some salt so check before adding.
  8. Stir and cook for a minute for the flavors to blend. Remove from flame and serve hot garnished with spring onions.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ginger-Garlic Paste

A quick post for Ginger-Garlic Paste, a fairly common ingredient in some Indian dishes. I've made it before, I need it again and I don't want to lose the recipe, so here it is. I will be making some again this week, so I'll post a picture.

The original recipe is attributed to Charishma Ramchandani on

Ginger-Garlic Paste

6 cloves garlic, peeled,washed and sliced
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled,washed and chopped into thin long slices
1/8 cup water

Put everything in a blender bowl, cover and process until smooth.

Use in recipes that call for ginger-garlic paste, like this delicious Mushroom-Peas-Corn Pulao.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Taste & Create: Irish Cheese Ball

Taste & Create is a monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are randomly paired, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is FUN. If you'd like to sign up, check out How it Works or email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com by the 8th of every month!


One of my Taste & Create partners this month is Laura of Tasteful Diversions. I was happy to see all of Laura's recipes organized by category on one page! While several of her recipes look delicious, I was intrigued by the Cheese Ball with variations.

I chose the "Irish" variation, mostly because I couldn't imagine what a cheese ball with Bailey's Irish Cream in it would taste like, so I had to find out.

This is a delicious cheese ball! There is a slightly tangy flavor from the Bailey's, which adds interest without a heavy alcohol flavor. It's good! We all liked it. (Mine turned out a little flat because we couldn't wait the full three hours...)

Irish Cheese Ball

1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 – 1 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)

Blend all ingredients together in food processor until creamy. Empty contents of food processor onto large square of plastic wrap. Holding all for corners of plastic wrap, twist plastic closed. Refrigerate 3 hours or until firm. When firm, remove from plastic wrap and shape into sphere. Roll ball in chopped pecans.

Serve with crackers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

*The polls are open for the Chile Challenge!
Please hurry and vote for The Bad Girl's Kitchen's fabulous chile chocolate tarts. Voting will close at noon PST on 9/16!*

I was thrilled when I received an email from Kate from Marx Foods, asking me if I'd like to join in their Blogger Chile Recipe Challenge! Of course I said yes, we love chiles! And she shipped me some free samples of six different dried chiles! We received Aji Amarillo Chiles, Cascabels, Habaneros, Japones Chiles, Mulato Chiles and Puya Chiles. What a great-smelling package!

My husband and I started thinking about all the things we could make for the challenge, and ultimately decided on a dessert, which may or may not surprise you. To us, there just aren't enough spicy desserts. It took us several days to figure out the components, but the flavor descriptions on the packages, as well as sniffing them each time we walked by, were very helpful in our decision-making.

The Aji Amarillo Chiles' flavor is described as "Fruity, poblano-esque." Obviously this pushed us toward strawberries. We also considered raspberries, but didn't want to overwhelm the flavor of the chiles.

The Mulato Chiles' flavor description is "Chocolate/Licorice," well you can guess where we used those!

After chocolate and strawberries, it didn't take long to come up with the other components of the dessert. In fact, I brainstormed while taking my 8-year-old to school one morning, and made him write down notes for me:

"Straw 8erry chiLe redUction VineGar? Sugartart crUStChocoLate chiLe vaniLLacream DoLLoP"

You can see we changed it up a bit, and modified the recipes to include the chiles and created techniques for maximum chile flavor extraction, to end up with:

Chile-Spiced Chocolate Tarts with Crème Pâtissière and Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

We used a classic French Sugar Tart Crust, intensified a Dark Chocolate Truffle filling, trusted Julia's good old Crème Pâtissière, and spiced up one of Martha's Strawberry Sauces.

We hope you enjoy this fabulous dessert! The strawberry sauce has a hint of je ne sais pas, which you and I know comes from the chiles. The chocolate puts just the right touch of heat on the back of your tongue. These little beauties are a dream! We absolutely love them.

We prepared the chocolate filling and the strawberry sauce first, then the crust. The next day, right before assembly, we prepared the crème pâtissière. To assemble, gently pipe a generous layer of room-temperature chocolate into each tart crust. Top with a lovely dollop of crème pâtissière, and drizzle with strawberry sauce and balance one strawberry sliver on top, just before serving. I decorated the serving plate with a swirl of crème anglaise. Quite honestly, you can make each separate component of this dessert, except the crust, a couple days in advance, and assemble when ready.

Chile-Spiced Dark Chocolate Filling

Adapted from a recipe in Fran Bigelow's
Pure Chocolate

1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 whole dried Mulato Chile

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat cream with whole chile until almost boiling. Remove from heat and steep for 7 minutes.

Reheat cream just to boiling, remove from heat, strain and pour all but approximately 1/4 cup cream over the chopped chocolate. Make sure you catch the big chile, you'll need that in the next step.

Remove the chile stem, and place the softened, warm chile in a small food processor or stick blender bowl with processor attachment, along with the 1/4 cup reserved cream. Puree until relatively smooth. Strain the cream and chile mixture into the chocolate and cream, pressing with a spatula to extract all the spicy goodness.

Mix the chocolate, cream and spiced cream mixture with a spatula until smooth and combined. Let sit at room temperature, uncovered, for 4 hours.

Red Wine and Chile-Infused Strawberry Sauce

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook

2 pints strawberries, hulled
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup dry red wine
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 - 2 dried Aji Amarillo Chiles

If strawberries are small, cut in half; if large, cut in quarters. Combine sugar, red wine, cinnamon stick and chiles in a skillet; cook over medium-high heat until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Reheat mixture and add the strawberries, cook until berries soften slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Discard cinnamon stick and peppers before serving (but if you're storing for a day or two, leave them in until serving!)

Let sit, leaving chile and cinnamon stick in the mixture until ready to serve.

Sugar Tart Crust

From Pure Chocolate, by Fran Bigelow

*Note: I made small tarts with this dough, with a mini muffin pan. I do not have small tart pans with removable bottoms. I do not recommend you attempt this without small tart pans with removable bottoms,perhaps pans like these, or maybe this pan...

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup cake flour
all-purpose flour for dusting

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add the egg yolk. Continue mixing on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until pale yellow in color and completely smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Add the cake flour. Mix on low speed just until blended, being careful not to overmix. Transfer to a sheet of plastic wrap and gently pat into a ball. Wrap well and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Lightly butter twelve 3-inch round tart pans with removable bottoms. (I used a pan with no removable bottoms; not recommended). Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator. Let the dough warm on the counter for about 20 minutes, until pliable but still cool to the touch.

On a lightly floured board gently knead the dough a few times. Pat into a ball, then with the palms of your hands flatten into a 5-inch round disc. Roll the dough our into a rectangle, about 9 by 12 inches. With a 4-inch round cookie cutter cut out circles. Transfer the circles of dough to the buttered pans, pressing into the bottom and sides, keeping the sides even and thick. Trim excess dough along the edges. Pierce the bottom with the tines of a fork and place in the refrigerator. Chill for at least 30 minutes or until firm.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the chilled tart shell on a baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes. Dough scraps may be gathered, returned to the refrigerator to chill, and rerolled.

Crème Pâtissière

From Mastering the Art of French Cooking

1 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sifted all-purpose flour
2 cups boiling milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a whisk or electric beater and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon. Beat in the flour. While beating the yolk mixture, very gradually pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets so that the yolks are slowly warmed.

Pour the mixture into a clean, heavy-bottomed enameled or stainless steel saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Stir with wire whip, reaching all over bottom of pan. As sauce comes to the boil it will get lumpy, but will smooth out as you beat it. When boil is reached, beat over moderately low heat for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour. Be careful custard does not scorch in bottom of pan.

Remove from heat and beat in the butter, then the vanilla. If the custard is not used immediately, clean it off the sides of the pan, and dot top of custard with softened butter to prevent as skin from forming over the surface.
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