Sunday, October 31, 2010

Candy Corn Ice Cream

Happy Halloween!!!

Recipe for Candy Corn Ice Cream
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

Friday, October 29, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie -Marie-Helene's Apple Cake

This week for French Fridays with Dorie, we made Marie-Helene's Apple Cake.

This cake contains more apples than anything else and I decided it would be perfect as one of the desserts I made for a Fall get-together last week. I was making everything in cupcake form- pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin cupcakes, apple cheesecake (by Dorie too- what a great recipe!)- so I decided to turn this cake into cupcakes too.

Dorie suggests using 4 different kinds of apples, so I used Granny Smith, Jazz, McIntosh, and Golden Delicious. I substituted apple cider for the rum in the cake.
My cupcakes baked up in about 30 minutes or so and turned out great. I dusted them with powdered sugar before serving and they were well liked.

Go see who else made this cake and what they thought about it over at French Fridays with Dorie!

You can find the recipe in Dorie's new book- Around my French Table and Here from epicurious.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ratatouille with Baked Eggs

Sometimes the simpliest dishes are the most delicious and flavorful. That was certainly the case with this Ratatouille. We are still experiencing warm weather, so I had some zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and bell peppers, that needed to be used.

I didn't really feel like making soup or simply roasting my veggies (which would usually be my first choice), but I found a recipe for Ratatouille and it looked delicious.
I saw the idea to bake it with eggs in a recent issue of Everyday Food magazine and used that part of their idea, but a simplier basic Rataouille recipe than the one they included in the magazine.

To make this, all you have to do is chop your veggies, saute an onion, and then gradually add the veggies and stir. So simple.

I decided to serve this over quinoa, but it would be great with pasta or as a stew. It really is so versatile.

My son was not excited when he saw this on the stove, simmering away. He actually wrote me a little note that said "Really Mom, Eggplant?", and left it by the stove, but he ate it and decided it wasn't that bad. He even said it was good. So, that was enough for me. Victory!

I also wanted to share a cake I made this past weekend for my daughter's birthday. Not a great picture, but you get the idea.
She was very specific in her request- 3 layers of alternating sizes, pink cake (inside), purple frosting and real Littliest Pet Shop toys for decoration. I used this recipe for Vanilla Buttercream and it turned out really well. She loved it.

to make Ratatouille with Baked Eggs (from Everyday Food magazine)
After you are done cooking the Ratatouille on the stove-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 3/4 cup Ratatouille in each of four 2-cup ovenproof baking dishes set on a rimmed baking sheet. With the back of a large spoon, make 2 indentations in Ratatouille in each dish. (Alternately, place 3 cups Ratatouille in an 9 by 13 inch baking dish and make 8 indentations.)
Crack 1 large egg into each indentation. Season eggs with salt and pepper.
Bake until egg whites are set, 20 to 25 minutes.

Recipe for Ratatouille
* I used less oil than called for
*I added more dried thyme than called for and some Italian seasoning

Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple Oat Muffins

I guess I am just a muffin kind of girl. They are fast. They are easy. They can be healthy.
They kind of feel like a treat, but healthy at the same time- kind of.

I think muffins make a good snack. These particular muffins aren't very sweet, but they still have great flavor. The streusel that I added gives them just the perfect touch of sugar-y crunch on top.
Because the apple is shredded, it is not as noticeable, which was a good thing for some people in my family. When I said I made apple muffins, my son was a little hesitant because he doesn't love muffins with chunks of fruit. Once he saw that the apple was shredded, he was in.
These were yummy.

Apple Oat Muffins slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping Magazine
2 cups oats (I used quick oats)
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbls canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 cup shredded granny smith apple

2 Tbls brown sugar
2 Tbls flour
2 Tbls oats
2 Tbls cold butter, cut in pieces
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degree F.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Blend wet ingredients with a fork in another bowl.

Stir in shredded apple to wet ingredients.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until moist.

Combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl, combining with fingers until it comes together.

Put batter in a muffin tin coated with cooking spray. Divide struesel evenly among muffin tops and gently press into batter (Make sure it sticks, so it won't just fall off!)

Bake for 23-25 minutes until muffins begin to brown and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Shake

I had a little bit of pumpkin in the fridge, leftover from some sort of baking adventure and decided it would be fun to make a shake out of it.
I remembered seeing a Pumpkin Pie Shake in Cooking Light many years ago, so I looked it up and decided to go for it.
I used a combination of vanilla frozen yogurt and vanilla ice cream in this shake. I didn't have pumpkin pie spice, so I just sprinkled in some cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and cloves.
I don't ever use Cool Whip, so once I poured this into glasses, I just added a tiny scoop of ice cream to top it off.

This was really good! It had great flavor and was so simple to throw together.
I love that it really did taste nice and pumpkin-y.
My family loved this shake.

Recipe for Pumpkin Pie Shake
* I used a combination of vanilla frozen yogurt and vanilla ice cream

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chickpea, Spinach, and Squash Gnocchi

I was looking at a recipe on Eating Well and I saw a picture of this recipe- Chickpea, Spinach and Squash Gnocchi. It looked really good, so I decided to give it a shot.

I've only made gnocchi once before and that was with sweet potatoes. I didn't feel like making the gnocchi from scratch this time, even though last time I felt it was fairly simple. Slightly time consuming, but not too difficult.

I kinda just did my own thing as far as making it goes. I feel so comfortable in the kitchen that sometimes I see the ingredients and read the recipe and don't feel like doing what the recipe says exactly.

I prefer to roast my butternut squash in the oven and so I decided to get that part of the recipe ready first. I cubed my squash into small pieces, drizzled it with olive oil and a little salt and pepper and put it in the 425 F degree oven. It was ready in 25 minutes.

While the squash was in the oven, I prepared the others parts of this dish. I used an onion instead of shallots because I didn't have shallots. I sauteed my onion, added garlic, then the gnocchi and vegetable broth. I also added asparagus spears. I wilted my spinach and then stirred in the balsamic vinegar. Right before serving, I added the butternut squash.
It turned out fantastic.
My kids enjoyed it and all those veggies in there added great color.
I sprinkled some chopped Italian parsley on top, just for fun.

Recipe for Chickpea, Spinach and Squash Gnocchi
* I omitted the currants
* I didn't follow the recipe exactly, but used the same ingredients and basic idea

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

This recipe was on the cover on the most recent issue of Cooking Light. Quick breads and muffins are always an easy option when you want to bake something and I wanted to take a treat to my friend, so this recipe seemed perfect.
I had some ripe bananas and I had seen Lori's in-depth review of the bread on her blog, Culinary Covers, so this went onto the calendar as a "definite make".

I made the full recipe but decided to do mini-loaves and muffins, since those are so much easier to share. Plus, I wanted us to be able to try this recipe as well. From the full recipe, I got 8 mini-loaves and 9 muffins. I left the chopped peanuts out of the batter, but sprinkled them on top of some of the loaves and muffins.

This bread was fabulous. I have made almost all of Cooking Light's varieties of banana bread and this was another great one. I didn't think that the peanut butter flavor was extremely noticeable in the bread, but the glaze and chopped nuts on top, really made it seem peanut butter-y.

I would definitely make this again. The person who I shared it with really loved it too.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Banana Bread
* I omitted the chopped peanuts from the batter and sprinkled them on top instead, before baking
* I used skim milk in the icing and added more milk to make it the right consistency. I also added a little bit more powdered sugar.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vietnamese Salad

The other night when I made this delicious Vietnamese Soup, I decided that I wanted to make it a soup and salad night. I googled vietnamese salad and chose from the different links that came up. I have never looked at Goop before, but this salad sounded perfect because it included lots of the same flavors as the soup.

I had purchased a bunch of baby bok choy at the farmers market the weekend before I made this salad. The combination of the bok choy and napa cabbage made for a really great texture in this salad.
The flavors were unbelieveably delicious. So tasty. My whole family loved this salad.

Vietnamese Salad from Goop

This healthy, quick salad has great crunch and lots of refreshing flavors. It’s wonderful on its own and also takes well to simply prepared proteins; grilled fish, shrimp, chicken or tofu are great.

TIME: 15 minutes

  • 4 large bok choy leaves, rough bottoms discarded, stems cut into ¼" bias and leaves shredded (I just sliced these very thinly)
  • 4 big leaves Napa cabbage, shredded (I just sliced these very thinly)
  • 1 bunch watercress (discard thick stems), roughly chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • the leaves from about 8 stems each basil, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
  • ½ small cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 1 red Thai chili (or more…or less), thinly sliced (I used less - omitting it from the kids)
  • ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Vietnamese Dressing (see recipe below)
  • grilled fish, shrimp, tuna, chicken, or tofu for serving (optional)

Toss the bok choy, cabbage, watercress, carrot, herbs, cucumber, chili and ¼ cup of the peanuts together with enough dressing to coat. Serve sprinkled with the remaining peanuts and whatever protein you like.

Vietnamese Dressing

A perfect balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet, this dressing is like a flavor knockout—also a great dip for summer rolls.

SERVES: about 4
TIME: 5 minutes

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper sesame oil (I used plain sesame oil)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (I used honey)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced red onion or shallot

Mix everything together.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

I haven't participated in Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club for many months, but I wanted to make cupcakes the other day and the choice for this month seemed perfect- Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.

You can find the recipe HERE.

I made 1/4 of the cupcake recipe and ended up with 6 cupcakes. I made 1/2 of the 7 minute frosting recipe and got to use some of the egg whites that have been hanging out in my freezer.
I thought the meringue-like frosting was perfect for these cinnamon-y, but not too sweet cupcakes. My kids loved this combination and so did my husband. I had extra frosting, so I piped it onto a plate in little shapes ( it didn't take long for little fingers to find these little mounds).

You can find these cupcakes all over the internet with lots of different frosting choices- I have seen them with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and different types of buttercream, but I think that the 7 minute frosting compliments them perfectly. Of course, if you don't like meringue or marshmallows, you would probably want to choose a different frosting option.

To see who else made this month's cupcake, go to MS: Cupcake's Club!

FFwD- Curried Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

This week's selection for French Fridays with Dorie, chosen by Dorie herself, was Spicy Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup.
One thing that I love about Dorie's cookbooks, is that she always includes different options and ideas to add a little flair to the basic recipe. This recipe had the option of making a version with curry powder. I love curry powder and I thought it would give great flavor to this soup.

So, I made the curry version. I couldn't help but add some veggies- mushrooms and spinach. I used rice sticks because that is all I could find. Topped with chopped cucumber, chopped peanuts, basil & mint leaves and lime wedges. I omitted the sugar.

This soup was delicious. The flavors all melded together into something wonderful. The fresh mint and basil leaves were the perfect little compliment.
I was really happy with the results. Dorie does it again! You should really get a copy of this book and try the soup for yourself.

Go check out the other versions of this soup by heading over to French Fridays with Dorie!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

It's that time of year. The time when I start making pumpkin everything.
I feel kinda embarrassed admitting this, but a couple weeks ago, I bought every last can of pumpkin off the shelf of my local Publix and I will use it all in the next couple of weeks.
I really wanted to make Pumpkin Bread Pudding last year, but never had the right occasion for what I felt, was a really rich dessert.
Then, this year, I ran across a pumpkin bread pudding recipe on smitten kitchen that she made using only whole milk. And a few eggs. One of the things that makes bread pudding so ridiculously rich is the fact that most of the time cream is involved and lots of egg yolks. This recipe made it seem almost healthy. (don't laugh!)

I just happened to have a leftover baguette from when I bought the ingredients for this,
so it just seemed like the perfect time to make the bread pudding.

I toasted my bread cubes in the oven before I threw this thing together, just so the bread would be completely dried out and crisp.
This turned out perfectly. I have made bread pudding before and my husband prefers that I call it something else because he thinks that the word "bread pudding" sounds digusting. So, we call it "French Toast Pie" for his benefit.
We tried a bite as soon as I pulled this out of the oven and it was good. We let it cool a little and added a dollop of slightly sweetened whipped cream- really good. We let it rest a little while longer and tasted another bite- delicious. I put the leftovers in the fridge and they were delicious the next day and the day after that. My husband didn't taste it until 2 days later and he loved it cold, straight from the fridge. (with whipped cream)
I had my son reading the ingredients to me and we accidentally added 1 tsp of salt. It didn't matter. This still turned out fabulously.


Recipe for Pumpkin Bread Pudding
* I toasted my bread cubes in the oven at 400 degrees F, for about 8-10 minutes to make sure they were dried out and crispy
* I used only whole milk
* I added close to 1 cup of pumpkin
* this was really good right out if the oven, warm, at room temperature and cold- after sitting in the fridge for a couple days (yes, we tasted it at all those different times)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

I like muffins. I don't like to eat muffins that taste like cupcakes. I prefer healthy muffins and it is fine with me if they aren't super sweet or full of fat, as long as they still taste good and aren't dry.
I wanted to make pumpkin muffins and found a recipe that I tweaked quite a bit. Luckily pumpkin puree keeps baked goods nice and moist, so this recipe didn't need a lot of oil or butter. Low-fat buttermilk also added to the nice texture of these muffins. I like the texture that the oats add to this muffins as well.
I made these before school one morning and added mini chocolate chips because my son thinks that mini chocolate chips make anything better.
I was really happy with the results of these muffins. Moist, flavorful and pretty healthy!

I also just wanted to share this idea I saw in a recent issue of EveryDay Food for a healthy breakfast- Savory Oatmeal with a Egg. I didn't follow the recipe, but I did use their idea (partially). They used quick-cooking oats, a soft cooked egg, and no spinach.
I made my steel cut oats on the stovetop, then fried an egg in a small amount of olive oil. Then I sauteed a couple handfuls of spinach, in the same pan. I sprinkled a little bit of shredded cheese over my oatmeal, then topped it with the egg, spinach and chopped green onions. It was really good. My 3 year old liked it too.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins adapted from FitSugar
Inspired by Carrots-n-Cake and About: Lowfat Cooking


3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
3/4 cups old fashioned oats
6 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk + a couple more Tbls if the batter looks too thick

1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line muffin tin with muffin cups.
  2. Whisk dry ingredients and spices together in a large bowl.
  3. Add pumpkin, oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla to a medium size bowl and mix thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredient and gently fold together, just, until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Fill muffin cups evenly and bake for 18 to 25 minutes. Mine were done in 22 minutes.

Makes 9 muffins.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Southwestern Pumpkin Patties

One of my favorite things about fall is canned pumpkin. I opened a large can of pumpkin a couple weeks ago and starting making some great pumpkin recipes.
I wanted to make something savory and I found this recipe for Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers over at Eating Well. I changed the name to patties because it didn't seem right to call them burgers.

I happened to have one cob of fresh corn left in the fridge, so I used that. I kinda eyeballed the amounts of onion, corn, red bell pepper, etc. and I ended up having to use more pumpkin puree than the recipe originally called for to make the patties hold together.
I found these fun looking Flatout FOLDits and so we used them to hold our patties and toppings.

These were pretty good. The flavor was very similar to a savory sweet potato recipe, if you are looking for some sort of comparison.

This was a fun way to use pumpkin.

Recipe for Southwestern Pumpkin Patties
* I used panko instead of bread crumbs
* I used Flatout FOLDit Artisan Flatbread because it looked fun and different

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter

I don't watch much tv, but for some reason one day, I happened to see The Barefoot Contessa prepare this dish.
Originally, I was just going to use the recipe for the salmon since we love fish and eat it all the time, but then I saw some cool looking purple potatoes at the store and decided I would go ahead and do the whole platter.
When Ina made this dish she was preparing for 12 people, so I only prepared 1/3 of the recipe.

I found fresh wild sockeye salmon at the fish counter and was really excited about it. The salmon was amazing! Best salmon I have tasted. It was soo good.
I reduced the oil in the marinade and the vinaigrette because I always do that when I make a vinaigrette or marinade and I don't feel that it takes away from the overall results.

My kids really liked this meal. I served it on the platter and everyone was able to take what they wanted using a pair of tongs. 1 of my kids didn't appreciate the watercress because it was "spicy".
This was a hit. Very delicious.

Recipe for Roasted Salmon Nicoise Platter
*I omitted the green olives
* I reduced the amount of oil in the vinaigrette and marinade
* I used red wine vinegar in the vinaigrette because I had it on hand

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TWD-Double Apple Bundt Cake

Double Apple Bundt Cake. It just sounds perfect for this time of year. We finally got out of the 90's this past week and had some cool weather, so an apple cake really fit into the beginning of fall.
Lynne over at Honey Muffin chose Double Apple Bundt Cake as this week's TWD pick. She will have the recipe posted on her blog. You can also find many versions of this cake all over the web.

The reason this is called a Double Apple Bundt, is because it contains apples two ways. 2 apples are peeled and shredded into the cake batter and 1 cup of apple butter is also used in the cake.
I don't usually keep apple butter on hand, so I knew I wanted to make mine at home. I knew that way I could control the level of sweetness and spice.

I made 1 1/2 times the recipe so that I could make a normal bundt and 6 minis. I knew I was going to give the big one away, but we really wanted to try this one too, so I kept the minis for us to sample.

I followed Dorie's suggestion and made these the day before, then wrapped them tightly and glazed them the next day. I used granny smith apples and omitted the nuts and raisins.

This was a delicious cake. Moist, with great apple flavor. Absolutely perfect pick.
Check out what everyone else thought by heading over to Tuesday's with Dorie!

Recipe for Oven Apple Butter
* I did not add the total amount of sugar called for. I added 1/2 of it and tasted it, then a little bit more, so it wouldn't be too sweet.
* My apple butter was ready after 3 hours in the oven.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Greek Panzanella

A couple of weeks ago we were having company over for dinner. I always analyze and then over analyze what I should make when people come to dinner. I never know if our way of eating will satisfy someone else's taste, so I get a little crazy about it.
I think about food all the time anyway, so I really just spend too much time thinking, planning, undoing my plans, and re-planning.

It's a process.

I finally narrowed it down to a menu that would savor the last of summer fall-ish type dinner. Since we were still enjoying 90+ degree days and all my favorite summer foods were still readily found at the farmers market, we went with the summer menu.

I wanted to try this Greek twist on The Barefoot Contessa's Panzanella, because the original version is a crowd pleaser that we love.
It turned out to be the perfect choice. Everyone was really happy with this dinner. Phew!

* note--I always toast my bread cubes in the oven, drizzling them with a little bit of olive oil, to get them nice and crisp and also to reduce some of the fat in this meal. I also reduce the amount of oil in the dressing.

Recipe for Greek Panzanella
* I used black olives instead of kalamata olives
* I toasted my bread cubes in the oven instead of sauteing them in oil- it uses less oil and gets them evenly crisped
*I reduced the amount of oil in the dressing by about half
* I left out the red onion

Friday, October 1, 2010

French Fridays with Dorie- Gougeres

Today is the start of a brand new cooking group- French Fridays with Dorie. The wonderfully talented Dorie Greenspan has come out with a new cookbook, Around My French Table and Laurie, the founder of Tuesdays with Dorie, along with the help of a few other talented people, has put together a group that will be cooking our way through this gorgeous cookbook.
I feel like Dorie's recipes
have taught me so much about baking and given me the opportunity to bake things I never would have thought to make and I have TWD to thank for that. Dorie's recipes are always fantastic and delicious.

At first I was unsure as to whether I wanted to join in, simply because I like cooking and choosing for myself what I am going to make for dinner.
But, when I looked through this cookbook, I realized that joining this group and cooking through these recipes would push me to try new and fun things. I haven't ever really cooked french food, so I thought it would be an adventure. I absolutely love trying new recipes.

Plus, there are lots of things that I love in this cookbook, like lentils, beets, fish, green veggies, eggs, and of course desserts, so I decided to go for it.

Dorie chose this month's recipes and started us off with Gougeres-cheese puffs, that are made with pate a choux dough, the same dough you use to make sweet cream puffs, eclairs, or profiteroles. Dorie says that these are made everywhere in France and calls them one of France's "national treasures".

The dough comes together quickly and if you follow the recipe directions, these are a really easy thing to make. They puffed up beautifully.

My only regret is that I didn't buy the more expensive Gruyere cheese to use in these Gougeres. I used sharp cheddar because it was much more affordable, but the cheese flavor wasn't as pronounced as it should have been in these lovely cheese puffs.

The recipe makes a lot of gougeres, and Dorie said they bake up well if you freeze the little mounds of dough and bake them straight from the freezer.
I only baked up 5 of these, so that we could taste them and froze the rest for later- they would be a great appetizer at a party, filled with some sort of savory deliciousness.

If you want to see who else joined in on these tasty little cheese puffs, check out French Fridays with Dorie!

Dorie has posted this recipe HERE or you can find a pdf copy of October's recipe HERE!