Monday, January 28, 2008

Blueberry Mojito

Ever since we went out to eat a new restaurant by us and had a Blueberry Mojito. I have wanted to try to make one. So I went out and bought the Blueberry Vodka, blueberries, limes and mint. I thought it turned out pretty good how ever it was not cold enough I think due to the lack of crushed ice in my house.

6 mint leaves
1/2 a lime cut into wedges
1 tablespoon sugar
10-15 blueberries
Blueberry Vodka
Lemon Lime Soda
Simple Syrup

Muddle together the mint, lime and sugar to release the flavor. Add in the blueberries and slightly smush them. ( I know technical terms) Fill the glass 1/2 way with ice. Pour in the Vodka 1 part to 1 1/2 parts Soda. Taste and see if you need to sweeten with the simple syrup.

Easy Snack

What do you eat when your husband's away and you just feel like a little snack.

Whole Wheat Beer Bread
Cultured Butter
Roma Tomatoes
Parmesan Cheese

I cheated as I was feeling really lazy this weekend and made the bread from gasp.... a mix. By Tastefully Simple all you do is add one bottle of beer and mix and 45 minutes later you have fresh bread. Its not perfect and not a yeast bread by any means but if you are in a pinch for some baking smells in your house and tummy it sure does the job. My mom gets me these mixes and several other items when ever she goes to a Tastefully Simple Party.

I used a Blue Moon for the beer. I would suggest using something like that versus a Miller or Bud the taste just isn't the same. An amber or even a lager would be nice as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Bruiser and Oscar

I have quite a few posts in the works but I figured I would post the dogs and newer pictures of them as the one at the beginning of my blog is so dated. And I got to practice with my new camera.

Bruiser in his favorite spot

Oscar and Bruiser


Sundried Tomato Risotto with Italian Sausage and Goat Cheese

7 oz of Oil Packed Sun Dried Tomatoes chopped
3 ½ cups of Chicken Stock
1 ½ cups of Risotto Rice
1 cup onion diced small
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of
Parmesan Cheese
8 oz of Italian Sausage – cooked and still warm
4 oz of Goat Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a pan bring chicken stock to a simmer. In a large saucepan or saucier, heat oil and sauté onion and garlic over a low heat until they are softened. Add rice and coat the rice with the oil and cook for a few minutes til slightly toasted. Stir in the tomatoes. Add in ½ of a cup of the simmering chicken stock until most of the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Repeat this until the rice cooks and only has a small bite to it. Stir in Parmesan cheese and season to taste. Add in the cooked Italian sausage and goat cheese, stir to combine. I like to stir alot of the time while making risotto but you can follow any technique you like.

Expresso Carmels

I saw these I knew that P's office would love them. So I figured I conquered Brittle I could move on to Caramel. I will say that Heidi's are much more flecked than mine but I'm hoping that is because she used beans not powder like I did. And I chose to forgo the nuts as there are people who are allergic so might as well make it so all can enjoy. I followed her recipe to a T otherwise.

Expresso Caramels

2 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon espresso powder / finely ground espresso beans
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup honey

Place the nuts in a medium sized, glass or ceramic mixing bowl.

In a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan heat the cream, espresso powder, and salt until tiny bubbles start forming where the milk touches the pan - just before a simmer. Stir in the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil. Now reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15-20 minutes minutes or until the mixture reaches 260F degrees - hard ball stage. Remove from heat.

Pour the caramel over the nuts and stir until all the nuts are well coated. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for 10 or 15 minutes to allow the caramel to thicken before you attempt to shape it. It is easier to handle this way - not as much spread. Stir one last time and drop by tablespoonful onto a prepared baking sheet (Silpat, parchment-lined, or oiled). Alternately, skip the nut addition and simply spread the (cooled but not set) caramel out on a slab or parchment-lined pan, let it cool completely before cutting into small pieces. Wrap & twist in parchment paper.

In either case keep the caramels in a cool place (or refrigerate) until completely set.

Makes 1 1/2 dozen nut caramels, or a couple dozen individual caramels (depending on the size).

I heard these were very good!

Monkey Bread

I had been thinking about making monkey bread for some time now as it reminds me of my childhood and first baking experiences. But just taking tubes of biscuits and dipping them in butter and cinnamon sugar would not do now. I wanted to step it up alittle but was racking my brain to figure out how. Icing? No to much would stay on top and the bottom layers would miss out. Better ingredients? No that ruins the whole idea of monkey bread, you really have to use the store bought dough. So I definitely had a seek and you shall find moment when I came across this recipe. But I had to make it how I remembered so it couldn't be mini monkey bread but the brown sugar and butter would add just enough of something extra.

Adapted from Monkey Bread Minis

4 cans of buttermilk biscuits
1 cup of sugar
4 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 350. Spray a Bundt cake pan or Angel food cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag and shake to combine. Cut your biscuits into 4 pieces each. Drop the biscuit pieces a few at a time into the bag and shake. I found that adding 10 or so pieces at once would cause the pieces to not be covered throughly in the sugar mixture. Place coated pieces in pan as evenly as possible. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a pan and boil for 1 minute. Pour that over the pieces of dough in the pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes it really depends on how much you like your dough cooked.

I liked this recipe a lot it kinda stepped up the monkey bread I used to know and had great flavor. I think in a bigger pan like this though that you should do 2 layers of the brown sugar sauce as the bottom didn't have as much brown sugar as I would have liked. So next time I will be splitting the sauce between 2 layers of monkey bread.

Once it has been taken apart. Perfectly sweet and crunchy on the outside and a light puffy dough on the inside.