Sunday, June 29, 2008

Beer-soaked beef

On my local nest board, a lovely lady by the name of Gail recently shared this recipe with all of us. A few of us have already made and WOW...all I can say is that this is one tasty steak! I actually just used a London Broil cut (it was on sale) and it still came out super tender. DH grilled this so we followed the instructions at the end of this recipe. YUM! This marinaded for about 8 hours in my fridge and just came out perfect. Thanks, Gail!

Beer Soaked Beef

12 Ounce(s) beer (I used what we had on hand, which happend to be Miller Light)
2 Tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 Clove(s) peeled and smashed garlic
2 Tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon(s) dark brown sugar
1 Teaspoon(s) salt
1/8 Teaspoon(s) whole cloves
1 1/2 Pound(s) washed patted dry, 1" thick beef flank steak :

In a 9"X13" glass baking dish, combine beer, oil, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, salt and cloves; add steak. Cover dish and marinate in refrigerator, turning once or twice, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours (I did 24 hours the first time I made it).

Place a grill pan in broiler; preheat broiler to high. Remove meat from marinade and broil about 3 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare, or longer until desired doneness.* Remove meat from broiler and place meat on a plate; loosely cover with aluminum foil and let stand for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place grill pan on stovetop over high heat; carefully pour marinade onto grill pan. Bring to a boil (beer will foam) and cook until all alcohol burns off, about 5-7 minutes.

Slice steak thinly and serve with sauce. Yields about 4 ounces of steak per serving.

*You can also cook this recipe on the grill and reduce the sauce in a saucepan on the stove.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TWD: Mixed Berry Cobbler

It's Tuesdays with Dorie time again! After a sad, 2 week hiatus I am back with avengance! Life just was too busy for me to make the attempt for the last two recipes - between showers, graduation parties, and upcoming weddings that I am in this summer (3 to be exact), I've just been flat out but I found time for this week's Mixed Berry Cobbler chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life.

A lot of the P&Q's for this recipe said the biscuit topping was a bit bland. So, since I reduced the recipe a bit, I kept the same amount of sugar, added some cinnamon (about 1 tsp), and a little nutmet (about 1/4 tsp). I also baked this in an 8 inch casserole dish instead of a pie dish.

I was a bit surprised when I cut into the cobbler the next morning to bring some into work for my friend Denice who I was pretty sure would love it, and pretty sure her twins-to-be would too. (side note: My husband and I are not huge berry fans except for strawberries, of course Dorie warned not to use too many so this recipe wasn't 100% up our alley so I decided to share!) and I still found it to be watery despite not using many strawberries (I just used 2 frozen bags of mixed berries - including blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries). It seemed tasty to me though (the one bite I had) and I got rave reviews from my boss and my friend Denice. Actually Denice gave it "5 stars."

So, I think I would make this again if I were expecting company who would like such a dessert - and just nix the strawberries altogether. I am curious to see what other TWDers did about the biscuit crust!

To see the entire recipe, check it out here.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pork Chops & Asparagus

Wayyyyyyy back, last July, I made my first post on this blog, complete with a picture of me holding a giant pork loin I'd gotten at the market. Sometimes these things are too good of a deal to pass up so I buy them every once in awhile and I'm stocked with pork in the freezer for quite some time. I "butcher" it myself at home - making chops, chunks for kabobs, etc.

Last night, I made stuffed pork chops courtesy of my latest giant pork loin purchase. I had cut 3 extra thick chops for just that purpose. I know typically a stuffed pork chop is a pork chop on the bone, but I figured a thick boneless chop would also do the trick.

I used Alton Brown's grilled pork chop brine recipe but made up my own stuffing - an apple and sausage combination. If you've ever watched Good Eats, you know Alton is a huge brine fan. I saw the particular episode where he made this brine and immediately saved it to my "recipe box" on I'm so glad I finally got around to using it because my husband grilled these up and they came out great - moist, tender, and flavorful - which is sometimes difficult to do with pork, especially on the grill.
To accompany the stuffed chops I made asparagus "rafts" for the grill that are a Paula Deen recipe. My husband loves asparagus, I don't love it, but I do buy it to make for him sometimes. These were tasty, even for a non-lover of asparagus, but they were a bit troublesome to skewer! I'd seen the grilled asparagus raft concept in a few places but never really realized what pain-in-the-you-know-what spearing those suckers really are. I think next time I'll pass on skewering them and just have my husband throw them directly on the grill!

Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops

4 double thick bone-in loin end pork chops
1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard powder
2 cups cider vinegar, heated
1 pound ice cubes

In a plastic container put the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and mustard powder. Add the hot vinegar and swirl to dissolve. Let mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes to develop flavor. Add ice cubes and shake to melt most of the ice. Add chops and cover with brine. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

Remove chops from container and rinse. Cut horizontal pockets in each pork chop for stuffing (below). Stuff chops and secure closed with 2 to 3 toothpicks. Grill the chops on medium high heat for 6 minutes on each side.

Sausage & Apple Stuffing for Pork Chops

(from Me!)

3 sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1 Granny Smith Apple, cored, peeled, and diced into small pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard

Combine all ingredients in small saute pan. Be sure to continually crumble sausage as it cooks with spatula. Cook until sausage is browned. Cool to room temperature before stuffing chops and securing them closed with toothpicks.

Grilled Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic

1 pound asparagus
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim asparagus. In a small bowl, combine oil, garlic, zest and paprika and stir with a fork. Lay asparagus side by side and pierce on 2 wooden skewers to form a raft. Place rafts on the grill and brush with oil mixture. Cook to desired tenderness and season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What lurks in the back of the cabinet....

The other day I found a bag of butterscotch chips sitting in the back of my cabinet. I'm pretty good at knowing what I do and do not have in my cabinets, freezer, fridge, and pantry but every once in awhile I get a surprise.

I decided I wanted to make use of them before I forgot about them once again. I went right to Nestle's baking site - - since you can search for recipes by product. I found a recipe for CARNATION Famous Fudge. The original recipe is for chocolate fudge but they also offere peanut butter and butterscotch substitutes. Since I haven't made fudge in ages, I chose to go this route over a cookie of some sort.

This recipe came out pretty good, and it was so easy. My fudge pieces are a little thin because I used a 9x9 pan by accident - oops! Oh well! As you can also see I cut it in various sized pieces for easier snacking!

CARNATION Famous Fudge

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups (9 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil.

Combine sugar, evaporated milk, butter and salt in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stire in marshmallows, morsels, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour into prepared baking pan; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 48 pieces.

SUBSTITUTE 1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Milk Chocolate Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.

SUBSTITUTE 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Butterscotch Flavored Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels.

SUBSTITUTE 1 2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) NESTLE® TOLL HOUSE® Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Morsels for Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels and 1/2 cup chopped peanuts for pecans or walnuts.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Recipe Remix III

The third installment of Recipe Remix has kicked off today. Check it out here for more details! We hope you can join us for some remixing of grilled/cookout favorites!

Robin = Bad Blogger

I have been a bad blogger lately, my entries have been sporadic, but as I mentioned it's more because I've been cooking and baking, but since I haven't had a lot of time on my hands, much of it is nothing new or exciting to blog about.

Rewind to Sunday, however, and I did make something worth blogging about - Carrot Cake Pancakes! I just haven't gotten around to posting anything until today!

As I mentioned in my entry about the TWD Bill's Big Carrot Cake recipe, carrot cake is really something I've gained an appreciation of the past few years. I actually really enjoy the stuff now and hey, it's a way of getting veggies into your diet, right?

So, much to my excitement, I saw a commercial on TV recently for IHOP advertising their "All American Pancake" menu features, one of which being Carrot Cake Pancakes. I told my husband we needed to go there for breakfast one more to have them. I woke up on Sunday morning and while lying in bed I was thinking to myself, why pay for them, when I can just make them myself? I had all of the key players in the house - buttermilk, carrots, pecans, coconut (a great Dorie addition to carrot cake), and I even had some leftover cream cheese frosting from my most recent batch of red velvet cupcakes.

I started with a basic buttermilk pancake recipe which I found on From there I added the players above, plus some pecans. I had added a little extra buttermilk to the mixture feeling it was kind of thick. After my first batch of pancakes I found them to be a little too dense, so for the next batch I put on the griddle I added some more flour. This helped the "fluff factor" quite a bit and made for all around nicer looking pancakes (I've tried to account for those changes in my recipe). To top it all off I heated up some of that cream cheese frosting and drizzled it over the pancakes in place of maple syrup. The result - pure yumminess!

I am also submitting this entry to the Pancakes on Parade blogging event - which is exactly how it sounds! It's an event collecting pancake recipes of all sorts!

Carrot Cake Pancakes
(base of Recipe - "Basic Buttermilk Pancakes" - from

1 cup plus 2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 plus one tablespoon cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
About 3/4 cup grated carrot (I actually gave mine a little whirl in my food processor rather than work at grating them early in the morning!)
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Cream cheese frosting, heated (just a combination of cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, butter, and some vanilla)

Whisk together first 5 ingredients, cinnamon, and nutment in a large bowl. Combine buttermilk, milk, egg, and butter in a separate bowl; add to flour mixture. Then add carrots, coconut, and pecans. Whisk just until blended. Let stand 10 minutes.

Pour by 1/3 cup of batter onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or nonstick pan. Cook until pancakes are covered with bubbles and edges turn brown. Turn and cook other side 2 minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle with heated cream cheese frosting.

Makes about 12-14 pancakes

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lemon Lime Daiquiri Dessert

So, as you can see, there has not been a ton of excitement in my kitchen lately. I have just been very busy the past couple of weeks so leftovers, meals from the freezer, and takeout pizza have taken over some of our meals as of late, and when I have been cooking it hasn't been much of anything new or exciting. I did bake on Thursday night - another batch of Red Velvet Cupcakes. So it's not like I haven't been doing anything, I just haven't had time to try something new. I hope to change that soon but for the meantime it is what it is!

This week I did try a bit of newness for my friends Cathy & Michelle who came over my house to do some super secret stuff which I will not mention here since I may have a nosey reader. I made us some Beer Can Chicken for dinner. But for dessert I wanted to have something for them that was cool and refreshing since it had been crazy hot early this week. Enter - they have some great, simple, and easy frozen desserts on there that I highly suggest you check out. I made some real hits from there last year so when I found the Lemon Lime Daiquiri Dessert I knew it would hit the spot. It sure did! My BFF Michelle said she may even make it herself this weekend for Father's Day. So, long story short, this was a great recipe and nice because you can play around with the lemon/lime ratios if you like one more than the other.

And don't just love my paper plate picture down there. I only bring out my best china when my girlfriends are over - HA!

Lemon Lime Daiquiri Dessert

2 cups lemon or lime sherbet, softened
8 oz cream cheese (I used light cream cheese)
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice or lemon juice
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed (I used light)

Line 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil. Spoon sherbet into prepared pan; spread to form even layer in pan. Freeze 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese spread in large bowl with wire whisk until creamy. Gradually add sweetened condensed milk and lime juice, beating until well blended. Stir in whipped topping; spread over sherbet layer in pan.

Freeze at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into 12 slices to serve. Store leftover dessert in freezer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Recipe Remix Roundup is READY!!!

Check it out! Danielle and I were very excited by the turnout - 20 delectable entries in all. Thank so much to everyone who participated!!!

And look for our next installment to be announced in the next couple of weeks!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Asian Sesame Sliders

Ahhhh....summertime....the smell of fresh summer air, birds chirping, sun shining, and burgers cooking away on the grill, drink of choice in your hand. Yes, that is my idea of a relaxing summer night.

To aid in the creation of said night, I was flexing my creative muscles while coming up with my recipe for Asian Sesame Sliders. I have been thinking of what I can do with a burger recipe that I can submit to Joelen's Burger Bonanza event.

At some point on the bus ride home from work last night it came to me - an Asian twist to a classic hamburger. I also had some buns in the house that were not a standard burger size, so how about sliders instead? And so they came to be....

Asian Sesame Sliders

About 3/4 - 1 lb lean ground beef
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon Chinese Five-Spice powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
3 tablespoons Lite soy sauce, plus extra for drizzling
Small sandwich buns

Spray grill with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Mix all ingredients in medium sized bowl by hand. Form into small patties, about 2 1/2 inchesi n diameter, place on grill. Cook for 10-15 minutes, being sure to flip them occassionally, until well done (if you want yours non-well done that is fine with me, just don't come crying to me when the e-coli comes to get ya!).

Meanwhile, toast buns on grill. Place cooked burger on bun and drizzle with soy sauce.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

It''s Tuesday, and you know what that means - it's Tuesday With Dorie time! This week's recipe is for French Chocolate brownies. I almost thought I would not have time for this week's recipe. I had a very busy weekend with my best friend's bridal shower being yesterday, but luckily I found the time to do this last night.

This recipe was my first experience with flambéing anything. I will come clean...I made my husband do this part. Something about lighting alcohol on fire frightens me. I didn't make many changes to this recipe at all except for using a 9x9 pan (my 8x8 Pyrex dish is currently occupied in the freezer) so I cut the baking time down to about 40 minutes.

Overall, these were pretty tasty, and as I said, fairly easy to make. Raisins and chocolate are one of my perfect food combinations - so the only complaint I really have is that I wish I had used more raisins. Speaking of raisins, since my husband doesn't like raisins these brownies are heading to work so I don't eat the whole batch by myself because I probably could, they are so rich and chewy and delicious!

On a side note, TWD was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal. Check it out!

French Chocolate Brownies
(Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.