Thursday, July 31, 2008

*Gasp!* An update!

My lonely blog finally has an update. After 3 long weeks of absolutely no new entries I am, indeed, back - hopefully!

This Sunday I planned on making the recipe below - on the grill of course as the directions suggest. The meteorologists in the area predicted some rain, but scattered, I figured we'd make do with the possible rain forecast and still be able to use the grill. So I unthawed the pork, got the marinade going earlier in the day, and figured all would be well.

Yeah. It pretty much rained all day - and there was thunder, and lightning. It was really quite a joy. The grill option was definitely out. I mean my husband might as well just stand out there with a neon sign that says "Go ahead...strike me!" if he was going to go outside to cook on a stainless steel grill.

What was plan B? The oven, on my broiling rack - I cooked at 375 for about 10 minutes then turned the broiler on and cooked for about another 10 (which was probably a little too long) but I was desperate to try to get some fake grill marks on those suckers with my broiling rack so I turned them during the broiling process about 1/2 way through. By the way, my fake grilling mark goal didn't really work anyway!

Either way the final product was yummy and something out of the ordinary for us which was a nice change. Unfortunately I only had onions to thread on these skewers since I was too lazy to go get peppers and oh, my husband doesn't eat them anyway (he doesn't eat onions either, but that's ok because it means they were all for me!). I left out a few other items and obviously had to adapt the cooking instructions, but otherwise I really kept to this recipe pretty closely. Now I just can't wait to try it on the grill one day!

Speaking of the grill, don't forget about installment #3 of Recipe Remix - which is all about grilled favorites!

Thai Pork Satay

1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I omitted)
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 pound pork tenderloin, cubed
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained (I omitted)
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 small sweet onion, chopped

In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, green onions, soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, garlic, coriander, and cayenne pepper; add pork, and stir to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes.

Preheat grill for high heat. Thread marinated pork, water chestnuts, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and sweet onion alternately onto skewers. Transfer remaining marinade to a small saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook for several minutes.

Lightly oil grate. Cook skewers for 10 minutes, or to desired doneness. Turn skewers while grilling to cook evenly, and brush with boiled marinade during last few minutes.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sad, sad, lonely blog...

My poor, sad, lonely blog which I have not updated is nearly 3 weeks. I am so sorry that I have done this to you, but as you know there are several factors that play into this:

1) Your author took a weeklong vacation to Walt Disney World
2) Your author has taken up a small side job on Saturday mornings
3) Your author did not feel well last week
4) Your author has not had one free weekend yet this month; nevermind not a whole lot of free weeknights either

So I apologize to you sad, lonely blog and doubly apologize for missing your first anniversary one week ago on July 23rd.

So happy anniversary, and I promise to be back soon!

Your neglectant author

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another wayward, pictureless recipe....

I think I may be losing my mind. I forgot to take a picture for one of the muffins in the previous entry and forgot to take a picture of the Strawberry Bread I made as well. I've decided to share the recipe nonetheless because it was tasty - not too sweet but just enough, and it was sure as heck easy to make. One of these (since the recipe makes 2 breads) made its way to my local nest board "secret baker" recipient as well.

Strawberry Bread

1 bag (16 oz) frozen whole strawberries, thawed, drained
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of two 9x5- or 8x4-inch loaf pans with shortening; lightly flour.

Slightly mash strawberries; set aside. In large bowl, mix sugar and oil. Stir in eggs until well blended. Stir in strawberries until well mixed. Stir in remaining ingredients except nuts just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans to wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Muffin Mania

There is no question there's been a lot of muffin making in my kitchen as of late. I've made 2 different batches in less than a week's time - unfortunately the muffin baking frenzy started almost 2 weeks ago so I am behind on this. Anywho, both batches I made in my jumbo muffin baking pan. Because we all know....there is nothing better than a big ole muffin.

Due to my negligence, there is no picture for the 2nd recipe - Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins from Baking Bites, so just use your imagination a little for what mine look like, and check out the originator's pictures instead! I sent those out as part of the Secret Baker exchange my local nest board is doing. I didn't actually get to try them but my recipient said they were good. My husband was jealous he didn't get to have one of them himself. He did, however, greatly benefit from the first recipe - Dorie Greenspan's Coffee Break Muffins - because he pretty much ate every single one with the exception of me eating the tops of one of them.

Which brings me to the age old question of:

Why are the tops of muffins the best part of a muffin????

Coffee Break Muffins
(from "Baking from My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan)

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (I actually subbed this with 3/4 tablespoon coffee syrup, which is local to New England and may not be found everywhere)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 stick unsalted butter melted & cooled
1 large egg
1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract

Center rack in oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Butter and spray 12 molds in regular siz muffin pan or fit with paper cups (I instead sprayed a 6 cup jumbo muffin pan). Place the muffin pan on baking sheet.

In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon, & salt. Stir in brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk coffee, melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough, a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Divide evenly among muffin cups.

Bake for about 20 minutes (about 24 minutes for me in my jumbo pan) or until a thin knive inserted in center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack & cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Peanut Butter & Milk Chocolate Chip Muffins
(from Baking Bites)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (or smooth)
2 large eggs
1 cup milk (low fat or skim is fine)
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter into your paper-lined muffin tin. Each cup should be filled to the top, not just half way up, to ensure you get a nice dome on the muffin.

Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12. (***Note: This made 6 jumbo muffins which I sprayed to prepare pan; baking time was about 24 minutes at the same temperature indicated above)

Grill + Salmon = Love!

Another week's gone by since I've made a blog entry. Free time right now is a hot commodity and one I can't seem to get my hands on. So here I am, catching up on things.

This past week we made some salmon on the grill, the reason we had salmon is actually a little humorous. I bribed my husband to come pick me up from work because I didn't feel like taking the bus home. Mind you, I only live 10 minutes from where I work but sometimes a little extra movitation to have him come pick me up doesn't hurt. Case in point, I promised him that if he did come get me we'd stop at the store and pick up some salmon to make for dinner. I was already prepared with a quick, easy grill recipe I found on, yes, I'm a planner at heart.

My husband was excited he got to use the new jumbo turner I got him from Pampered Chef - it's perfect for fish. Me, I was excited to have some fish for dinner because let's face it, despite my "bribe" - I was really the one in the mood for salmon that night!

All in all, I was really happy with how this came out, the rub did not overpower the salmon at all and instead only enhanced its flavor. I served it along some couscous tossed in some olive oil, and some steamed carrots. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons dried thyme
1 (2-pound) salmon fillet, cut into portions

Combine first 4 ingredients. Rub spice mixture over all sides of salmon; let stand 10 minutes.
Grill salmon over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.

Makes 4 to 6 servings