Thursday, March 31, 2011

Herbed Mushroom Omelet

My husband is the omelet maker in our home, but I ran across this recipe, I decided to try my hand at one. Let's just say that the reason there is a good reason there is no photo of the omelet. It turned out more like scrambled eggs and mushrooms. While I'll definitely be leaving the omelet making to my husband, I'll also definitely be assisting in making this recipe again. It was wonderful! We usually put cheese in our omelets, but I LOVED the cheese sauce on top!

Don't be afraid of the ingredient list or directions, this is pretty easy and quick.

Herbed Mushroom Omelet
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons white wine
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley and chives
Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/8 cup shredded cheese (asiago, cheddar)
1/8 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons butter
4 eggs
1/4 cup water

For filling: In a large skillet, saute mushrooms in butter until tender. Add wine, stirring to loosen any bits from pan. Stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Put mushrooms in a bowl and set aside.

For Sauce: In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring mixture to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cheese and salt. Keep warm.

For omelet: In a skillet, melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium high heat (use more butter if your pan is not non-stick). Whisk eggs and water in a bowl until blended. Add egg mixture to skillet (pan should be hot enough so that eggs set immediately around the edges). As eggs set, push cooked eggs to center, allowing uncooked eggs to flow underneath. When eggs are set, spoon mushroom mixture on to one side of eggs; fold other side over the mushrooms. Slide omelet on to a plate and top with cheese sauce.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Broccoli Soup

I am so far behind this week that it's ridiculous. I have no excuse except that I have not been sleeping well and I don't do well on small amounts of sleep. Our son periodically decides NOT to sleep through the night and this week is one of those periods. We have been up at least twice a night - with an almost 2 and a half year old! I don't know what causes it, but it lasts for a few weeks and then he goes back to sleeping well.

This year in honor of St. Patrick's Day my parents took us out for corned beef -- at a  New York Deli Buffet night (at The Rampart for those who may want to go).  It was awesome. But yesterday I had a craving for broccoli cheese soup. I decided to try out a "remake" of the recipe from Cook's Illustrated. Good thing I looked at the picture in the back of the magazine because this soup is GREEN! It was not at all what I expected but it is delicious. And perfect for St. Patrick's Day!

Broccoli Soup
2 lbs broccoli, cut in to 1" pieces (I used a bag of cut up broccoli)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced or pressed
Pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, melt butter. Add broccoli, onion, garlic, salt, mustard, cayenne, and all spice. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda to pot. Bring water to a simmer, cover and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes. Stir pot once during the 20 minutes of cooking. Add 2 more cups water and 2 cups chicken broth. Turn off heat and add cheeses. Using an immersion blender, blend soup leaving as many or as little chunks as you want. Alternatively, blend soup in batches in a blender. Thin with water if needed.

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated March and April 2011 issue.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Maple Oatmeal Scones

I adore scones and I have a backlog of scone recipes waiting to be made (Hello, Nutella Scones!). These scones are slightly different than any other recipe I've made because they call for eggs and I generally make scones when I am out of eggs. The scones bake up nice and big and fluffy. In fact, this is the lightest scone I've made yet.  What I really like about this recipe is the whole wheat flour and oats, which add a little whole grain goodness to an otherwise sweet treat. I substituted plain yogurt for buttermilk because that's what I had on hand.

Maple Oatmeal Scones
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick or old fashioned oats
1 Tablespooon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sucanat
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup

In a large bowl whisk together flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture is in pea-sized lumps. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt and maple syrup. Make a well in the flour mixture and add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Gently stir just until dough forms.  Pat dough out in to a disk on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cut disk in to 8 wedges. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Allow scones to cool on a baking rack.

For the glaze, mix together sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Add enough milk to make the icing spreadable.  Drizzle over scones.

Adapted from Tammy's Recipes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Homemade Irish Cream

 I'm pretty sure that I amuse my husband to no end. He must wonder what he will discover when he walks in the door every afternoon. When he called home during lunch and I told him I was making Irish cream, he laughed out loud! Then he wanted why I, a person who despised the taste of alcohol, was making homemade spirits. Well, obviously, because I saw a recipe (which is hopefully forthcoming) that called for Irish cream liqueur and I did not have any in the house. Plus, St. Patrick's Day is next week and what is more Irish than Irish cream (well, maybe Guinness!).

Irish cream is super easy to make. I looked at a lot of recipes and they are all virtually the same. Most call for whiskey, but I opted for vodka because that's what I have on hand. You can make your own sweetened condensed milk, which I will do next time, but I had a can of evaporated milk I wanted to use up. So I dissolved 1/2 cup sugar in the evaporated milk and called it good. 

I'm thinking if you left out the alcohol, this would make a stellar flavored coffee creamer. Or leave the alcohol in ... that's entirely up to you!

I only used 1 cup of vodka because I don't really like the taste of alcohol in general, but you can use up to 2 cups. This recipe filled 3 of those jars in the picture (quarts?) with a tiny sip leftover.

Irish Cream
2 eggs
14 oz sweetened condensed milk (or some variation thereof)
2 cups half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon chocolate syrup
Up to 2 cups vodka or whiskey

Whisk eggs by hand or in stand mixer with whisk attachment. Add in rest of ingredients, one at a time, whisking well to combine. Store in a sterilized glass container for up to three months refrigerated.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gummi Candy

This is about the easiest kid friendly recipe I've ever tried. My four year old could pretty much make these herself (except the "cooking" portion). I am planning to make all homemade treats for Easter baskets this year and this will be perfect for them! I'm hoping to try a more natural version of these soon using fruit juice in place of the Jell-O.

Gummi Candy
1 3 oz box of flavored gelatin (Jell-O)
2 1/4 oz pouches of unflavored gelatin (Knox)
1/3 cup water
Candy molds (or mini muffin cups or ice cube trays)

Place water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle flavored and unflavored gelatin over water and let sit for 5 minutes. Put saucepan on stove over medium heat and heat until the gelatin has combined with the water (takes about 2 minutes). Pour mixture in to a liquid measuring cup. Carefully (or not if your kid is doing it) pour gelatin mixture in to candy molds. Allow to sit until candy has set, about 20 minutes.

Adapted from Skip To My Lou.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

English Muffins

I've never been a big fan of English muffins. I went through a phase in my early 20s where I ate them instead of bagels (less calories, I think), but I didn't like it. My husband, however, loves English muffins. I am happy to buy them for him, but they are expensive and it's hard to find an organic version. I looked in to making them, but every recipe I saw called for English muffin rings and I just didn't see the point in buying something I could only use for one thing (well, I could use them for hamburger buns, too).

I was pretty excited when I found this recipe -- no rings and basic ingredients. English muffins are "baked" on the stove top in a frying pan or skillet. They are super simple to make, but they take some time so don't start them if you are in a hurry. They taste absolutely nothing like the store bought brand. They are much better!

English Muffins
1 3/4 cup warmed milk
2 teaspoons yeast
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
4-4 1/4 cups flour (white, whole wheat or any combination thereof)
Corn meal

Put milk, yest, sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow butter to mostly melt. Add rest of ingredients. Mix until well combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold dough over a few times while in the bowl. The dough will be sticky so you may need to use a tad of flour. Either grease bowl of stand mixer or lightly grease another bowl and allow dough to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Punch down dough. Roll dough in to a rectangle on surface lightly dusted with corn meal. Using a 3" round cookie cutter, cut out dough. Re-roll and re-cut as needed until all the dough is used up. Place cut dough on cookie sheets and cover with a wet towel. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Warm a large pan (with a top) over low heat on stove top. Sprinkle pan with corn meal. Cook muffins for 6-7 minutes on each side, covered. Be gentle when turning so as not to deflate the muffins too much. Cool on a rack. These are freezable!

Adapted from Utah Deal Diva.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Orange Cranberry Yogurt Muffins

When I was pregnant with my son a friend of mine brought orange cranberry scones to our weekly Bible study. They were absolute heaven. But I wasn't sure if the taste combination was a pregnancy "like" or an authentic new love.  It turns out that the orange cranberry combination was not just a pregnancy thing. I love, love, love it!

This past week I've been trying to clean out the fridge and pantry and just use what I had on hand for meals. I only had a few eggs left so I needed something for breakfast that would stretch them. I found a recipe for "Lemon Yogurt Muffins", which worked because I had yogurt to use up, but no lemons. I did, however, have oranges and cranberries to use up.

I made the syrup as written below, but I'm not sure that I love it on the muffins. I would either sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar or make a glaze by combing orange juice and powdered sugar. The recipe made 1 dozen full size and 1 dozen mini muffins.

Orange Cranberry Yogurt Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons honey
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest

1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter muffin tins.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, honey, butter, and zest. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Stir in cranberries (if desired).  Fill muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes or until muffins are lightly golden.

For syrup, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute.

When muffins are done, remove from oven and poke 2-3 times with a fork. Drizzle 2 teaspoons of syrup over each muffin.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Homemade "Shamrock Shakes"

It is officially March, which means it is the season for minty ice cream goodness at a fast food restaurant near you.  We usually make a family trip for the shakes on St. Patrick's Day, but the restaurant was almost always out of them or the shake machine was down. Phooey. These are the easiest thing ever to make at home.

If you really want to take the easy route -- just get some Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, add some milk and blend away!

Homemade Shamrock Shakes
Vanilla Ice Cream
Peppermint extract

For 2 shakes, use about 8-10 scoops of ice cream, 2/3 cup milk and a few drops of extract. The mint is STRONG so use less and add more. Blend it together in a blender. Add green food coloring if you want it to be green!

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