Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sandwich Inspiration

My good friend Ellen made me this amazing grilled portabello and goat cheese sandwich recently. The recipe was in Fine Cooking magazine. You can sign up here to get daily recipe ideas from them via their e-letter. I recreated it at home and had to make it a couple of days in a row (because it's so yummy).
First I make the pesto ahead of time then,  grill the portabellos on a grill or pan.
 Assemble the sandwich with the pesto, goat cheese and portabellos.
Brush the bread with olive oil and grill on the stove top or panini grill. The goat cheese melts down on to the mushrooms!
There's another grilled sandwich I make occasionally that this reminds me of. It's a Barefoot Contessa recipe with pesto, mozzerella and tomato. Pesto is good on most sandwiches. My girls love a little smear on grilled cheese or turkey.
I used some leftover pesto for a St. Patrick's Day appetizer, crackers with goat cheese and pesto. It was the only green food item I served this year. I tried to keep my green influences to the decor. After last year's (green martinis!)
I bought a nitrate free corned beef this year from Whole Foods. Not as strong a flavor, but I  liked it and it was a lot less salty. Almost more like a plain brisket.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mixed Berry Oatmeal Crisp

This is the kind of recipe I love to have up my sleeve! No special ingredients to run out and buy. Stock your freezer with a bag of frozen mixed berries and you'll always have a wonderful dessert to prepare for unexpected guests or if your cake falls on the floor (yes, I've had that happen).  You can adapt the topping to whatever nuts you have on hand.
Mixed Berry Oatmeal Crisp was printed in the March issue of Bon Appetite.
Here the frozen berries are mixed with cornstarch and the crisp topping is thrown together.
Put the frozen fruit in the individual dishes and pile up the topping. They bake for about 40 minutes.
I'm just happy to have another use for these cute creme brulee dishes.
Excellent served hot with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
 Now that's showing some love.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Short Ribs

I've only made short ribs a couple of times but this recipe is a keeper. I read an interview with Mark Bittman when he was leaving his regular column in The New York Times. They asked him to list his top ten recipes from all of his years of cooking and writing. This was one of them and it's so easy. Check it out: Short Ribs with Coffee and Chilis. After browning them I cooked them in the oven for almost three hours.
I served them over cheesy polenta and it was a fabulous combination.
And on a local note, we finally made it to the new Peter Changs. It was really good, but I can't wait to go back and try more dishes. They do have their wine/beer license and the service was good on a busy Friday night. Word on the street is that Mr. Chang may be there only temporarily and is just lending his name to the restaurant. Maybe he has another place in Atlanta? Not sure what to believe...... but I'll keep eating his creations if they're this good.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

I'm always up for getting my kids in the kitchen with or with out me. Madison, my fifteen year old saw this recipe for rainbow cupcakes in a magazine and was dying to try it.  It involved cake mix and lots of food coloring.
She made the cake mix and then divided the batter into 5 bowls to tint the batter.
She made a whipped cream icing. They were very popular with the younger crowd!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My work horse

Did you buy a bread machine back in the bread machine craze of the 90's? I think ours was a Christmas gift and came from Sam's club. I would buy those bread machine mixes at Sam's Club. It sure was easy to throw some water and the mix in the pan and a few hours later, you had fresh bread. The house smelled wonderful but, oh those soft tasteless crusts. Next I got a recipe book on whole grain breads in your bread machine. I made a variety of dense brick loaves full of grains that were hardly edible.
So then the bread machine was banished to the basement for awhile and only used occasionally. In the past few years it has become my work horse! I use it for kneading and rising bread all of the time, just not baking.

It's very easy and comes out perfect every time. I just put my bread ingredients in, and put it on the 'first rise' cycle. It takes about an hour and a half, but if I'm away longer it's fine to just sit in there.

Then I take it out and put in my a bread pan and bake it in the oven so it has a nice crust.
I use it to rise my pizza dough too.
This crazy machine is also a rice cooker. The rice and water goes in the same container and there's a top for the rice cycle.
It steams rice perfectly, brown rice too.
It's only draw back is that it's quite large. I've  pulled my back out hauling this thing up and down the basement stairs! But I use it a couple of times of week for dough and rice.
I bet you could fine a great deal on one of these at thrift shops or yard sales. I'm going to start looking for one exactly like the one I have because I don't know what I'm going to do if it ever stops working.