Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Cantaloupe Ambrosia

Every spoonful tastes like sunshine!  This stuff will chase those winter blues away. I Love this bowl.  I got it from Etsy from this seller You should check them out, I think you would love them.

Cantaloupe Ambrosia Topping
1 1/4 cup cubed cantaloupe
1 can (20oz.) Pineapple tidbits
1 red pear, diced
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Oranges, peeled and diced
2 Apples
4TBS shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp Orange zest

Drain Pineapple and reserve juice.  Set pineapple and cantaloupe aside.  Add brown sugar and Orange zest to pineapple juice into a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved.Add Apple, Cantaloupe, Pear and Oranges to Pineapple juice mixture.  Stir gently and chill 1 hour before serving.  Add Coconut before serving.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 quarts half & half
1/2 pint whipping cream
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean
pinch of salt

In a large saucepan, add half & half, whipping cream, sugar vanilla extract, salt.  Split and scrape the vanilla bean.  Place the scrapings into the cream mixture.  Over low heat, warm the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.  Put ingredients into an ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturers directions.

Monday, January 25, 2010

White Barbecue Chicken Breast Sandwich


5 lbs split chicken Breasts
2 cups mayonnaise
6 tbs white vinegar
3 Tbs Horseradish (i got mine here: )
2Tbs water
4Tbs lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika

Hoagie Rolls
Pepper Jack Cheese
Place the Chicken Breasts in a large pot and cover with water.  Boil until the chicken is falling off the bones.  Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool.  Once it is cool, shred  it into small pieces.  In a medium size bowl, mix the mayonnaise, White vinegar, Horseradish, salt, black pepper, paprika and lemon juice.  Pour over the shredded chicken, (reserve 1/4 cup sauce for dipping) and mix well.  Butter the bread and place the chicken and pepper Jack cheese on the bread.  Place in a sandwich press for a few minutes (just until the cheese is melted). Add plenty of cheese, as it seemed to disappear on the grilled sandwich.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Eggplant Gratin by Ina Garten

The recipe can be found here:  and all I can say is that you must try it!  It is very easy and very very good! It has a great smoky flavor.  I used Mario Batalli Marinara sauce which I had never tried before.  But, I will use it again because it was really good.

Good Olive oil
3/4 pound eggplant, unpeeled, sliced 1/2" thick
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 extra large egg
1/4 cup hal and half
1/2 cup plus 2 TBS freshly grated parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat about 1/8 inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat.  When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of eggplant and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Be careful, it splatters!  Transfer the cooked eggplant slices to paper towels to drain.  Add more oil, heat, and add more eggplant until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half and half, 1/4 cup of the parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

In each of 2 individual gratin dishes, place a layer of eggplant slices, then sprinkle with parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce.  Next add a second layer of eggplant, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture and finally 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan on top.

Place the gratins on a baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned.  Serve Warm.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip-

Today we are celebrating several January Birthdays at work and a bunch of folks are bringing a dish to celebrate.  Since the dip went over so well for Jamie's Birthday I am making it again.  If you haven't tried this yet, then you must.  It is delicious!  Here is the link to my  recipe Happy Birthday Jamie!  I want to wish Dr. Smith,  Dsha, Dr. Leatherman, Dr. Pisciotta, Chuck and Monica a Very Very Happy Birthday! Eat my friends and be Happy!

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Recipe courtesy Aaron McCargo,Jr and can be found here:

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 quarts water
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, split
1 TBS bouillon flavoring
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup small white onion, diced (1/4 cup)
2 stalks celery (1/2cup), diced
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons italian seasoning
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 1/2 pounds frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of sea salt
1 store bought pie crust

Add diced potatoes to a large bowl filled with cold water.  Set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil.  Add chicken, reduce heat to a simmer and allow to poach; about 8-10 minutes.  Remove the chicken to a plate to cool.  Continue to simmer the broth, adding the bouillon until reduced by half, about 10 more minutes.  Dice the chicken when cooled.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and the celery cooking until translucent, 2 minutes.  Stir in the flour and whisk until it forms a roux.  Add the Italian seasoning and pepper; cook for 3 minutes.

Whisk the roux into the broth and bring back to a boil.  Drain the potatoes.  Add the potatoes and the chicken to the broth over low heat.  Stir in the frozen vegetables.  Place a lid on top and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in cream and a pinch of sea salt and cook for 5 minutes more.

Preheat the oven as directed on the pie crust package.

Lay the pie crust on a baking sheet and place into the oven.  Cook according to package instructions, or until the pie crust is golden brown.  When the crust has cooled, break up into pieces.

Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the pie crust.

  I will certainly make this again.  It was delicious!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paula Dean's Strawberry Shortcake

Oops! Did I do that? Sorry Cooper!

Now, I admit that mine doesn't look as good as Paula's does, but I betcha it tastes just as good.  This stuff was YuuuuuuMMMMyyyyy! You can find Paula's version here:  and it is  so easy.

-1 large angel food cake
For the Custard:
-1 (8ounce) package cream cheese, softened
-1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
For the glaze:
-1cup sugar
-3 Tbs cornstarch
-3 TBS strawberry gelatin (recommended Jell-o)
-1 cup water
-2 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half or quarters depending on the size
-Whole fresh strawberries and mint leaves, for garnish

Slice cake, using a serrated knife, horizontally into 3 equal layers.

For the Custard:
Mix together cream cheese, condensed milk, and whipped topping in a bowl; set aside.

For the glaze:
In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and gelatin; add water.  Cook stirring over medium heat until thick.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Fold in strawberries.
For Assembly:
Place 1 layer of cake in a large clear bowl.  Top with a layer of glaze, following by a layer of custard mixture.  Repeat layering in this manner for remaining cake, glaze and custard.  Top with 3 strawberries and fresh mint leaves.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cracker Barrel Apple Crisp

This is the Perfect Cool Weather Dessert!
It is easy and delicious!
The ingredients include a jar of Fried Apples, and a 16 oz. bag of Kari Lee's Apple Crisp mix purchased at Cracker Barrel Restaurant. you will also need 1 stick of butter.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, place one jar of Fried Apples in a buttered 8"-9" pan.  Combine dry ingredients with cool butter. Mix with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle mixture over apples. Bake 50-60 minutes or until it is golden brown and bubbly.  Serve Warm with ice cream or whipped topping.

This tastes like ooey gooey  caramel apples and is so very good with vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Jamie!

I work with a dear lady named Jamie and today we are celebrating her Birthday.  We are buying her an ice cream cake from Marble Slab Creamery and several of us are bringing a dish from home.  I made Buffalo Chicken dip.  There are many recipes out there for this , but I have concocted my own.  I doubled the recipe so it makes a large batch.

Buffalo Chicken Dip
2 Rotisserie Chcikens from the Grocery store(I used Traditional flavor)
2 6 oz pkgs cream cheese
4 cups shredded mozzerella
2 medium sweet onions, chopped
4 large stalks of celery, chopped small
2 Tbs butter
3/4 jar of Franks Hot sauce-the large jar
1small jar Ranch dressing
1/4 jar of Blue Cheese Dressing.
Pull meat off the bones and discard the skin.  Saute onion and celery in butter until tender.  Mix remaining ingredients, put in a casserole dish and bake for 40 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

I have heard this called "Crack Dip" and now I know why.  It is hard to stop eating once you get started.  My daughter had made a version of this for Christmas and I loved it.  Her recipe did not saute the onion and celery and she used colby and jack cheese.  Hers was really good, but I think mine is better! Sorry Maegan.  Some folks may prefer to use all Blue Cheese Dressing and crumbled blue cheese. But, I am just not a big fan of Blue Cheese.  This dip would make  great "Game Day" food.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMIE! I hope you a most Wonderful Day!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We Have a Winner!!

Yes I know this is quick-(way quicker than I thought it would be)- but, I promise that this cookie is a KEEPER!  It is a variation of the Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe that can be found here I have made this recipe before without any changes and it is really good.  But, this time I made a few changes that I believe Makes this cookie perfect.  The following is the original Recipe with my changes in parenthesis:

NM Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
1/2 cup(1stick) butter, softened(melted)
1 cup light brown sugar
3TBS granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour(1 5/8 cups)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso coffe powder
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips(2-4oz bars Ghiradelli 60% bittersweet chocolate, 1 4oz bar Ghiradelli semisweet-coarsley chopped.)

Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.  Cream butter (melted) with the sugars using an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
Beat in egg and vanilla for another 30 seconds.
In a mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingrediens and beat into the butter mixture at low speed for about 15 seconds.Stir in espresso coffee powder and chocolate chips (chopped chocolate bars).
Using a 1 oz scoop or a 2 TBS measure, drop cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3" apart. Gently press down with back of a spoon.  Bake about 20 miutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Bake a little longer for a crisper cookie.(since I melted the butter, I didnt need the mixer)
Yield 2 dozen cookies

This may sound a little crazy to you but if i eat really really good chocolate, it makes my face tingle.  When I bit into this warm cookie, I had a serious face tingle!  This is a delicious cookie, and I took cookies to work and everyone that tried one said the same thing-It is delicious.   I do suggest that you warm it in the microwave a few seconds after they have cooled off so the chocolate is melty when you bite into it.  The only thing I will do different next time is to make a double batch.  Here are the photos.

The finished product! Yum!  I am very satisfied with this cookie, I still may try a few more recipes just for the heck of it.  For example, I still want to try the Jacques Torres recipe on the Martha Stewart Web site.  I will post it here when I do try it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Verdict is in and I give the Ghiradelli cookies an "OK"

These cookies were pretty good, but not the recipe that I am searching for.   They were chewy with crisp edges,  but seemed to miss the mark on taste.  So, I will continue the search.  I will take them to work tomorrow and Im sure they will be a hit.

The ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Quest

TaDa! A Blog is born! I am planning to post about my sometimes disastrous kitchen episodes and my love of photography. I hope to combine the two into an interesting Blog. So I will start with episode one: Chocolate chip Cookies.

I have been dreaming about chocolate chip cookies. Not just any cookie, but the perfect cookie. So, I am starting my search today. When I bite into this cookie, I want the center to be a little chewy and full of oozy chocolate. I have had one before, but cannot remember where it came from. So, I am going to bake cookie recipes until I find it. I plan to make the Famous Nieman Marcus Recipes-both versions and any others that I can scrounge up that seem appealing. Also, I recently purchased the Ebelskiver pan from Williams Sonoma and will post about my success or lack there of about it. But for now let's get back to the cookies. Today I baked the Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Cookies on the back of chocolate chip bag. I made only one change and that was to melt the butter before adding the sugars. I had read that this produces a more chewy cookie. Oh, also I did not use nuts because Im not a big fan of nuts in my cookies. The recipe is as follows:
Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda 2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt 2 cups Ghiradelli Semi Sweet
Chocolat chips
1 cup butter, softened 1 cup chopped walnuts or
1 cup sugar pecans (optional)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 375F. Stir flour with baking soda, and salt; set aside. In large mixer bowl, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mix on low speed until incorporated. Gradually blend dry mixture into creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts (if used). Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. (If you melt the butter, the creaming process is a breeze. I actually did not have to use my mixer at all. I even used a spoon to add the dry ingredients. I will post pictures of the finished cookies later today as well as my results.