Friday, April 30, 2010

Brownies (Alton Brown)

The other day Chandra (my SIL) and I were talking about finding the "right" brownie recipe and she was saying she was on the hunt and trying out different recipes. Well A. that got me thinking about needing to eat a brownie, and B. I realized I hadn't made brownies for some time so I started looking around for a recipe too.
I'm a big fan of Alton Brown, I used to love his cooking show on the Food Network and I'm sad to say that I haven't watched it for quite awhile (like atleast 1-2 years). Sometimes he likes to over complicate things for me, but whatever, so I checked to see if he had a brownie recipe and then made them. This is hands down my favorite brownie recipe and I love that it's simple and traditional.

Soft butter, for greasing the pan
Flour, for dusting the buttered pan

4 large eggs
1 cup sugar, sifted
1 cup brown sugar, sifted
8 ounces melted butter
11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it's done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it's mostly cool.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

Here in Utah, we have a Mexican grill place called Cafe Rio (it is quickly spreading into other states as well) but they have a salad that I crave daily weekly mostly because of the dressing that they put on their salad. I've been on the hunt for quite some time for the perfect mock recipe and I think I've found it with the Our Best Bites dressing recipe. I like to make up my own Cafe Rio salad to use this dressing or I just add a little bit to my homemade salsa and go to town with chips. Basically, I can find a lot of uses for this dressing, it's great for dipping quesadillas, pouring over enchiladas (in small doses), etc...

Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing

1 pack (1oz) Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 C mayo
1/2 C milk
1 lime
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 C roughly chopped cilantro (sometimes I use more) ☺
1/4 C green salsa (They recommend La Costena brand and that's what I use)
hot sauce

 Place milk, mayo, and ranch mix in a blender.  2 T of lime juice. Toss in the garlic, cilantro and green salsa. Blend it up. Sample it and add hot sauce to taste. Make it several hours ahead of time to allow it to thicken.

If you can't find the La Costena green salsa, make sure you read the Our Best Bites blog about finding the right green salsa for this recipe.
Grab a tortilla, grate some cheese, throw some rice over the top (seasoned is better, but not is okay too)
Get some chicken or roast beef (or steak)  and black beans to cover
(Sorry, I like a LOT of dressing)
Add some salad and some pico de gallo (I just use my homemade salsa as a sub). Some guacamole wouldn't hurt, but I don't have any.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Baby Food Puree

Making Baby Food.
A lot of people are intimidated by making baby food and I just thought I'd share some pictures to how easy it really can be. On this particular day I made some purees of Prunes, Peas, Sweet Potatoes and Berries (I apparently didn't get any photos of the berries) A great resource for making baby foods (of all kinds) is and they have a section on pureeing and storing baby food.
I'll admit that I still buy baby food on occasion,  between having homemade purees, my food grinder, and buying baby food, introducing my baby to solids is a lot more simple.

I just use dried prunes and let them soak for an hour or more in water and then cook them in the crockpot has a page on cooking methods. With Aidan I preferred steaming most everything I made, but this time around I'm loving the crockpot. (and you don't have to use as much water)
The immersion blender comes in handy for this project.
Fill up the trays and freeze
I then put the cubes in snack bags, and then put the snack bags in a larger ziploc bac and put back in the freezer. When you need to use them, I just pull out how many cubes I need and microwave for about 30 seconds.

I also love this little food grinder for grinding up table food and for less than $10 you can't really go wrong. (and it brings back memories of my childhood since my mom used to use something similar to this for us.)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Homemade Oreo Cookies good. I think it just might be possible to have a sugar induced coma.
The oreo cookie recipe is from cjane, but I used a different frosting recipe. The frosting recipe is from  Tasty Kitchen and this was the perfect excuse to try it out. ('cause I've been needing a reason to make it!) FYI: these are good frozen too and I've been thinking I need to make some more with a chocolate mint theme. ☺

Homemade Oreo Cookies

1 package of devil's food cake mix
2 eggs
3/4 cup of shortening

blend all together at once.
roll soft dough in small balls
on a cookie sheet.
(don't press down,
keep balls intact before baking)

bake at 350 degrees

for 8 minutes

frosting for the middle: (Recipe that I used, down below)
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 stick of butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 to 4 c. powdered sugar
mix until smooth.

when cookies are cool:
frost backs of cookies
and make sandwich with another cookie.

as usual, I made mine too big
Like I said, I've been looking for an excuse to try out this recipe for frosting and I thought it was great! (ok, ok, really I didn't have any cream cheese to make the other one, but I really have wanted to try this recipe.)

•1 cup Milk
•5 Tablespoons Flour
•1 teaspoon Vanilla
•1 cup Butter
•1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla.

While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna

1 head cauliflower, cored
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 can black beans
1 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3-1/3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1 (16 oz) jar tomatilla salsa
6 fajita sized flour tortillas (I made my own using this recipe)
sour cream (optional)

Cut the cauliflower into florets and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Combine cauliflower, tomatoes, beans, corn and cilantro in a bowl. Sprinkle the chili powder and cumin on top and stir to combine.

Coat inside of slow cooker bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Spread about 3 cups of cauliflower mixture over bottom of slow cooker, sprinkle with 1 cup shredded cheese,  and a generous 1/2 cup salsa over the top. Place 2 tortillas on top. Repeat layering

Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 5-1/2 hours, or until cauliflower is tender. Top with 1/2 cup cheese and cook until cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Recipe from Family Circle magazine. I used regular cheddar cheese, and I only did two layers. ☺

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