Friday, January 16, 2009

Tasty Thai Slaw Salad

I am always in need of side dishes for meals that we have. I usually just look in the crisper and decide what would best suit the main entree. We always have romaine in the crisper, along with green onions and celery. In the past, I have made a pickled celery salad that we both really loved, so I expanded this recipe to include some other ingredients. So the other night when we had our Thai Chicken with Cashews, the perfect side dish was created, quickly and very easily. The salad tastes sweet and sour with just the right punch of spice. It's clean and delicious.

Thai Slaw Salad

1 C very thinly sliced romaine
1 T chopped scallions
1 stalk of celery, very thinly sliced
2 dry red thai chilis, thinly sliced
1 T sugar
2 T white vinegar
2 T rice wine vinegar
3 T chopped cilantro
Mix all ingredients together and let sit as long as possible, an hour up to a day, to allow flavors to meld.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Peasant Pasta...for you and me

This was a delicious meal for a quick and easy, throw together under 30 minutes, dinner. Yum. I found this recipe a couple weeks ago on Good Eats'n Sweet Treats. This looked perfect. With our supply of meat in the freezer dwindling, and italian sausage still remaining, I knew we would have this for dinner.

The ingredients are very simple, versatile, and delicious. Paired with some bread and a caesar salad, dinner was on the table in 30 minutes flat and it was so yummy:)

Peasant Pasta
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1/2 pound hot Italian sausage, available in bulk at butcher counter or, 2 links, casings removed
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, available in bulk at butcher counter or, 4 links, casings removed (I just used 1 lb. of hot italian sausage total)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped, optional
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 leaves fresh basil, torn or thinly sliced
1 pound penne rigate pasta, cooked to al dente (I used rotini)
Grated Italian cheese, for passing
1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. Add sausage meat. Crumble sausage meat as it browns. Add chopped garlic to the pan. When all of the crumbles have browned evenly, deglaze the pan drippings using chicken or vegetable broth.
2. Stir in crushed tomatoes and bring the sauce up to a bubble, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir cream into your sauce, this will blush the color and cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Stir peas and basil into your sauce to combine. Toss hot drained penne rigate in pan with the sauce, then transfer pasta to serving bowl.
Yield: 6 Servings.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Time for bread again!

So here it is Monday already! I love Mondays...I am off of work and it is my day to get everything situated around the house, bake, and clean! I love it. There is nothing more refreshing than a Monday evening, sitting down at night and admiring a job well done:)

So on Friday I mentioned having Mondays be my bread making day. I love this new resolution...fresh baked bread, the smell is amazing.

I always used to be one who thought that bread making must be difficult. But now that I have gotten the hang of letting the yeast bubble and utilizing my handy stand mixer, I think it may be one of the easier things I make!

So today in an attempt to bring some variety into the bread making, I chose to make a cinnamon swirl loaf and a garlic swirl loaf. Both were so delicious. I used the same base for both but chose to fill and shape them differently. They are so, so good and so easy!

Cinnamon Swirl Bread (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)
see adaptations at end for garlic swirl


1 Tbs. active dry yeast
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (105° to 115°F)
1 cup warm milk (105° to 115°F)
3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbs. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 to 6 1/4 cups bread flour, plus more as needed
3/4 cup golden raisins (i omitted we don't care for raisins)
3/4 cup dark raisins (i omitted)

For the filling:

2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar mixed with 4 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
(i cut in half b/c only one loaf was cinnamon- 1/3 C with 2 1/4 t)


In a bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated sugar over 1⁄2 cup of the water and stir to dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the remaining 3/4 cup water, the milk, butter, the remaining granulated sugar, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the yeast mixture and 1⁄2 cup of the flour and beat for 1 minute. Add the raisins, then beat in the remaining flour, 1⁄2 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead on medium-low speed, adding flour 1 Tbs. at a time if the dough sticks, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased deep bowl and turn to coat it.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Lightly grease two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough in half and roll or pat each half into an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle each rectangle with half of the filling, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. Beginning at a narrow end, tightly roll up each rectangle into a compact log. Pinch the ends and the long seam to seal in the filling. Place each log, seam side down, in a prepared pan.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until the dough is about 1 inch above the rim of each pan, 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Bake until the loaves are golden brown and pull away from the sides of the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Turn the loaves out onto wire racks and let cool completely. Makes two 9-by-5-inch loaves.

For one garlic swirl loaf:

Swirl Ingredients:

4 T butter, softened
1 T garlic, minced
2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Combine butter, garlic, parsley and oregano and spread evenly over top of dough, leaving 1/2" at end to help seal loaf. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of butter mixture. Tightly roll dough up into cylinder shape, pinching and tucking ends to form a tight seal and pinching seam to seal.

Bake as directed above.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fresh Bread right out of the Oven!

There is nothing like fresh bread right out of the oven. Yum! Just the smell, the's so good! I have decided in the new year I would like to make our bread as much as possible. We are not huge bread eaters, but what we do eat we enjoy thoroughly. I'd like to try all kinds of things...foccacia, bagels, english muffins, pretzels, etc. Those are more the things we love.

But to start out, I tried a recipe for white bread out of my KitchenAid stand mixer cookbook. It was good, not great, but good for a first timer. Fresh, smelled great, and tasted good as well. It was perfect under the broiler with butter alongside stew, okay for toast, and yummy right out of the oven. So every Monday or every other, depending on how long it lasts, I will be making bread. Next up...whole wheat!

Basic White Bread (KitchenAid Recipe book)

1/2 C low-fat milk
3 T sugar
2 t salt
3 T butter
2 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/2 C warm water
5-6 C all purpose flour

1. Place milk, sugar, salt and butter in small saucepan. Heat over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Dissove yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add lukewarm milk mixture and 4 1/2 C flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer, turn to speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.

3. Continuing on Speed 2, add remaining flour, 1/2 C at a time, and mix about 1 1/2 minutes or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Dough will be slightly sticky to the touch.

4. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover, Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

5. Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf (roll out dough to 9x13, roll up jelly roll style starting from shorter ends.) place each in a greased loaf pan. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour and until doubled in bulk.

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire racks.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Carmelitas...muy deliciosa!

I first tried a carmelita bar at my first christmas cookie exchange as an adult, three years ago. They were so delicious. Leaving the cookie exchange with the recipe in hand, I knew I would be making these again...soon! I've made them in the past and haven't blogged about them, but this time around I remembered my camera and quick took a pic.

I have seen other recipes for similar bars using caramel ice cream topping. I would think these would be great as well, but I love caramels, so we usually have a bag in the pantry and we luck out when we need to make carmelitas!

Here is the recipe I used...thanks to that mom who made them for the cookie exchange...they are amazing!

Oatmeal Carmelitas

32 kraft caramels, unwrapped
5 T of milk
1 C all purpose flour
1 C oatmeal, uncooked
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1/2 C butter (melted)
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Melt caramels and milk in the top of a double boiler. (i used the microwave in 45 sec. increments.) Stir until combined, set aside.
2. Combine all remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and caramels in a separate bowl. Stir until all butter is incorporated and mixture is crumbly.
3. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of a 8" of 9" square pan (i line it with foil)
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
4. Remove from oven, top with caramel mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips on the top. Top with rest of oatmeal mixture, pressing firmly. Bake for another 12-15 minutes.
5. Let cool and when still warm cut into pieces.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

One weekend while passing through the Sur la Table here in the Twincities, my mom and I happened upon the cookbook bigfatcookies. My mom picked it up in an instant, buying it on sale. If there is one thing she can't resist, its baking cookies. As we looked through it we were hooked. There are so many delicious looking cookie recipes in that book, they all must be made:)

So when my mom suggested I take the book back to our house in MN, I jumped at the chance. The first recipe I chose was for Chocolate Chip-Stuffed Cookies. Basically you make a pretty simple chocolate chip cookie dough, make balls, squash them, fill with chips, and then top with another flattened disk. Bake and eat. These are so gooey in the inside, bursting with chocolaty goodness. So YUM!!
I can't wait to try out some more from the book. These did not disappoint.
Chocolate Chip-Stuffed Cookies (adapted from bigfatcookies by Elinor Klivans)

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened for about 30 minutes
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large cold eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until smoothly blended, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled.

On low speed, add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Mix in 2 cups (336g) of the chocolate chips.

Roll 2 tablespoons of dough between the palms of your hands into a ball, flatten it slightly to make a 2-inch (5cm) disk and place on one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat to make a total of 16 disks, placing 8 on each baking sheet and spacing them 4 inches (10cm) apart. Leaving a ¼-inch (6mm) plain edge, lightly press 1 tablespoon* of the remaining chocolate chips onto each disk. Using the remaining dough, make 16 more disks, placing one on top of each chocolate-chip-topped disk. Press the dough disks gently to cover any of the chocolate chip filling that shows around the edges.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are lightly browned but the centers are still pale golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm (the filling will be soft and melted) or at room temperature.

The cookies can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A new year, a second chance

Last year I decided to tackle Baked Potato Soup. Well, it never made it in the blog, let alone a bowl. What I made ended up as pure wallpaper paste, inedible, and definitely a memorable experience.

So the other week when I received my Midwest Living magazine (a gift from my mom, thanks:)), I decided to give it another whirl. Armed with my trusty Le Crueset and some potatoes I was armed for success.

(note the lovely 70's orange...another gift from my mother, one she unearthed from her basement, a old gift from my dad to her...the thing is a relic)

Success it was, the result was a delicious Baked Potato Soup loaded with toppings...

Here is a link to the recipe: Baked Potato Soup

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Well I hope the month long hiatus is history in this new year!

We've been so blessed this year beyond our wildest comprehension by an amazing God.

Hoping you and yours best wishes and great joy in the new year ahead.

As for things around here at Bliss Bounty, great things are in store with new recipes, great food, and an ambitious cook in the kitchen:)

from the both of us at Bliss Bounty:)