Thursday, April 30, 2009

Orange Coffee Cake

Well I was going to post this recipe yesterday but we had no power. That is not a good thing when you have just washed your hair and need to blow it dry. To say my hair looked flat is an understatement. And of course I had made plans to go down to Richmond for the day and spend time with my family there. My two grown sons of course mentioned how flat my hair was right away - "What happened to your hair?" was the greeting even before hello! Luckily after a few hours the power was restored. Amazing how we get used to certain things and what we take for granted.

This recipe is very easy and very good. This is best served warm. It doesn't taste nearly as good after it sits for a day. It's another Paula Deen recipe and I have to say, she has not failed me yet. Every recipe of hers is pretty simple and good. This is kind of a semi homemade recipe since you use refrigerated biscuits! I really hope you give this a try because it is so simple and good. You'll be surprised!

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16.3 ounce) can refrigerated biscuits (recommened: Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers)
1/4 cup minced walnuts
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest


1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons orange juice, or more as necessary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

Separate biscuit dough into 8 biscuits. Place 1 biscuit in the center of the pan. Cut the remaining biscuits in half, forming 14 half-circles. Arrange the pieces around the center biscuit with cut sides facing in the same direction. Brush melted butter over the tops of the biscuits.

In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, granulated sugar and orange zest. Mix well and sprinkle over biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine confectioners' sugar, cream cheese and orange juice. Blend until smooth adding more orange juice , if needed, to thin. Drizzle glaze over the warm coffee cake and serve.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shrimp Scampi

Well the weekend is over and we are back to Monday again. The weather was great this weekend. I'll take the heat any day over the cold. It was in the 90's here and beautiful. I wish it was like this year round. Graves Mountain was beautiful. I think it's even prettier this time of year than in the fall. If you ever visit Virginia this is a really nice place to visit. Besides the music and apple festival held there yearly there are also a number of hiking trails to enjoy too. The best part of this visit though is the food. They have a lodge with homestyle dining. Large platters of foods are passed around and it is all freshly cooked. Absolutely excellent! And there is always a fresh pie or cake with ice cream for dessert.

Moving on to more about food, here is a recipe for shrimp scampi. This was very good. My only mistake was not realizing the liquid in this recipe would be only enough to enjoy on the shrimp. I went ahead and cooked a box on angel hair pasta and needless to say the pasta ended up being quite bland! But I would imagine you could easily double the ingredients and it would work fine. This recipe really intrigued me since it used vermouth. Very tasty indeed! I'd make this again, no problem! This recipe came from the Food Network Kitchens.

1 1/2 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup dry white vermouth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Put the shrimp in a large pie pan or plate and pat them dry with a paper towel. Arrange the shrimp so they lay flat and are evenly spaced.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Add the butter to the skillet. When the foaming subsides raise the heat to high and invert plate of shrimp over the pan so the shrimp fall into the pan all at once. Cook the shrimp, without moving them, for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Turn the shrimp over and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl.

Return the skillet to the heat and pour in the vermouth and lemon juice. Boil the liquid until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir the zest and parsley into the sauce. Pour sauce over the shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine.

Divide shrimp among 4 plates or arrange on a platter and serve.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Right now the sun is finally shining through and brightening up my kitchen. It's supposed to be a great weekend and I'm looking very forward to it. We are going to a music festival up at Graves Mountain on Sunday and I don't think that would be a lot of fun if it rained!!! That's one of the nice things about Virginia - you have the mountains nearby. It's my favorite second place to be next to the beach. Oh do I miss the beach. Growing up on Long Island you really take that for granted. Then when you don't have a beach nearby, you realize how much you miss it!

These cookies are great. They come courtesy of my husband's "girlfriend" Paula Deen!!! They are easy to make and if you love raspberries, you won't want to pass these up! Just watch your baking time. They didn't look ready to me and I ended up over baking the first batch.....they were still good though!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 (6 ounce) package raspberry creme filled dark chocolate baking pieces
Raspberry icing, recipe follows

Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars together at medium speed until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating well.
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking powder; gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in baking pieces. Drop cookies by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 12 to 14 minutes.
Remove to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with raspberry icing when completely cool.

Raspberry Icing
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon seedless raspberry preserves

In a bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus

I served these with some leftover ham from Easter and boy were these ever good! I'd never had asparagus this way before and plan on making it many more times this way in the future. This is a Paula Deen recipe so you know it's another "husband request." I didn't have any phyllo so I used pastry dough instead since that was what I had on hand. Very easy to make also....

8 or 9 asparagus spears, depending on size
1/2 (16-ounce) package frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Snap off the tough ends of the asparagus. Unwrap the phyllo dough and cut the stack in half lengthwise. Reserve 1 stack for later use. Cover the phyllo with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Take 1 sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with some melted butter. Sprinkle with some Parmesan. Place 2 to 3 asparagus spears on the short end of the sheet. Roll up, jellyroll style. Place each piece, seam side down, on a baking sheet. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with more Parmesan. Repeat until all the asparagus spears are used up. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eclair Cake

My youngest son had a great birthday yesterday at Kings Dominion. The weather was warm and partly cloudy which is great when you are out all day at an amusement park. Don't want to get too much sun. He rode his first adult roller coaster and loved it. He's not ready to go on any with the loops yet. Those still scare him. And me too!!! I won't ride anything. Oh, I do ride the bumper cars but that's as good as it gets. My only complaint about amusement parks is that the food is terrible and expensive.....We brought a cooler with sandwiches for lunch but for dinner we decided to eat at the park. Boy was that a mistake. $50 for fast food that was awful. Normally, without hesitation, I would have sent the food back and asked for a refund. I don't pay for crap. But since it was my son's birthday and we had two guests with us, I didn't want to cause a "scene." My husband and I just kind of looked at each other and knew what we both would have done under other circumstances. Oh well, we had good weather and great company and a great all in all it was great!

Here is another easy recipe and it's great. I found it on Allrecipes. This is just so good and simple. I highly recommend it. My only suggestion is to make it the day before you plan on serving it. This way the graham crackers have a chance to get really soft. The cake really does taste like an eclair!!!

2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 cups milk
1 (16 ounce) package graham cracker squares
1 (16 ounce) package prepared chocolate frosting (I microwaved this for 20 seconds for easier spreading)

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the pudding mix, whipped topping and milk.
Arrange a single layer of graham cracker squares in the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking pan. Evenly spread half of the pudding mixture over the crackers. Top with another layer of crackers and the remaining pudding mixture. Top with a final layer of graham crackers.
Spread the frosting over the whole cake up to the edges of the pan. Cover, and chill at least 4 hours before serving.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pineapple Blueberry Crunch Cake

This has to be one of the easiest desserts ever. It really is much more of a dump cake than a crunch cake. It's made pretty much the same as a dump cake with simply layering the ingredients. This is absolutely perfect with ice cream. I was thinking also that this is a great cake for kids to make. So easy. This recipes is from Paula Deen - since my husband loves Paula, you know he is the one that found this recipe!!!

The sun is finally shining here and I hope it stays for a while. Not only am I ready for spring but we have another birthday coming up on Sunday. My youngest son turns 10 and we are taking him and some friends to King's Dominion. It's a huge amusement park here in Virginia. A good friend of mine is coming down from New Jersey to take him on all the roller coasters...we'll see. You know how huge coasters are and I'll be surprised if my son goes on all of them. He says he will. He definitely doesn't take after me since I am a wimp. I ride the "bench" very well!!!!

3/4 cup butter, plus more for dish
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice
1 (20 ounce) can blueberry pie filling
1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat over to 350F. Butter a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish.

Melt 3/4 cup butter in saucepan over low heat.

Pour pineapple with juice into the casserole dish and evenly spread blueberry pie filling on top. Cover with dry yellow cake mix and top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Potato Cakes

This is what I do with leftover potatoes. I make them into potato cakes!!! My husband and son love them this way and always look forward to leftovers. It is so simple. All you need to do is scoop out a pretty good portion of mashed potato and flatten into the palm of your hand. Fry in one tablespoon of butter over medium high heat for several minutes on each side. Presto - a potato cake!

My husband recently brought home an ice cream maker....(I don't know if this is a good thing or bad thing since it would be nice to shed a few pounds before summer.) We recently made homemade ice cream for the first time and it is so much better than any store bought that I've ever had. Oh is it good! That's why I don't know if this really is such a good idea!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm Back......with Rugelach!

I am back from spring break and exhausted!!! While I was down at my house in Powhatan I threw a surprise 22nd birthday party for my son. It was a blast and he was totally surprised!!! He had gone out of town to a friend's house the night before so in order to get him to come back home (without too much of a fuss) I had to tell him his dog Bosco was sick!!! It worked like a charm. He couldn't drive down I95 fast enough to get back home. So not only was he surprised when he saw all the guests at his party but relieved his dog was not sick. I felt bad having to tell him the dog was sick since he is very attached to Bosco and had gotten extremely worried but I guess when push comes to shove you've gotta do what you've gotta do!!!

I also would like to thank Judy from Judy's Kitchen for an award. Judy, you are so sweet to pass it on to me. I would like to share this with all my fellow food bloggers that visit my site. I can't tell you how much I enjoy knowing other bloggers visit my site and leave comments!!!

And now to a recipe...another "husband requested" one. This time not from Paula Deen but from Ina Garten. I love Ina's recipes. I'd never made rugelach before and I did find it a bit time consuming but worth every minute. They were delicious and I will definitely be making them again!

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 9 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins (I used golden)
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins and walnuts.

On a well floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges--cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat over to 350F. Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spring Break!!!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very Happy Easter! I will be away this week down in Richmond for spring break so I will not be posting this week. I'll return on Easter Sunday. I will miss posting on my blog...this has become very addicting! Hope everyone has a great week and that we have nice weather!!! Let's hope spring finally comes and stays!! p.s. That's a picture of my "big boy" Bosco - he is really my sons dog but I call him mine!!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Peach Mango Oatmeal Bread

The name of this bread says it all! This is one scrumptious bread. Definitely wait to eat it until the day after you bake it. I have found that quickbreads for the most part are the best the day after baking them. I found this at Natashya's food blog called Living in the Kitchen with Puppies.
Natashya has wonderful recipes and this is just one of many. My husband loved this bread and so do I. I like the idea of the whole wheat flour...makes me feel it's healthier! I also was looking for a recipe with mangoes. I love mangoes and have not baked with them often enough. The only change I made to this bread is to use all purpose flour instead of bread flour. I've never used bread flour and didn't want to go out and buy it if I could get away with all purpose flour. It seems to have worked out fine.

Spring break starts here today and I am looking very forward to a week of not having to constantly remind my son what time it is and that he needs to "hurry up" and get ready for school. A nice, welcome break. It will also be nice not hearing the alarm clock blast in my ear every morning too!!! Have a great weekend!

2 cups peeled , sliced peaches and mangoes, thawed if using frozen, well drained if using canned
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup unbleached bread flour (I used ap flour)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light or brown sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmetg (this really adds flavor to the bread)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Cut peaches and mangoes into small 1/4 inch pieces. Place in strainer to drain. Stir together flours, sugars, baking powder, soda, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add oats, peaches and mangoes; stir to coat fruit. Beat together eggs, milk, oil and almond extract in small mixing bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just evenly moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. If toothpick inserted in center does not come out clean, cover top of bread with foil and bake for 10 more minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.