Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Herb Baked Eggs

I finally joined a blogging group! I've contemplated joining several baking groups, however, I knew I wouldn't be able to commit to making extravagant baking recipes each week. I also knew I didn't want to be eating them every week! When I saw this group for Barefoot Bloggers forming, I was so excited. I knew this was the perfect challenge for me. I love Ina's recipes and I needed an excuse to try more of them. This group allows me to go outside my zone of regular recipes and make things I might not otherwise try. Its also really helpful to discuss the recipe with others and get helpful hints on perfecting the recipe.

For the inaugural recipe, the group's founder Tara of Smells Like Home, chose Herb Baked Eggs from Ina's cookbook, Barefoot in Paris. This recipe was a definite hit. We absolutely loved it. This recipe is great for a casual summer supper or an elegant brunch. This dish was very easy to make. A bonus, it used herbs that I have growing in my herb garden! The only ingredient I didn't have on hand was the heavy cream. I wasn't sure what I was going to cook the dish in since the recipe recommends a gratin dish and I didn't have one. I took the tip of another Barefoot Blogger and used my creme brulee dishes and it worked perfectly. After all, creme brulee dishes are essentially mini gratin dishes. Its important to make sure whatever dish you use is broiler proof. I followed the cooking times as specified in the recipe and was pleased with the result. If you don't like runny eggs, you will need to cook it a bit longer. The only change I made to the recipe was to substitute Asiago cheese for the Parmesan. I served the eggs with toasted french bread and a mixed green salad with strawberries. It was a delicious and filling meal. I can't wait to make this one again. Thanks Tara for picking such a great recipe!

Check out the Barefoot Bloggers Website to see how other member's dishes turned out.

Check back on June 12th for the next Barefoot Blogger's recipe: Pasta, Pesto and Peas.

Herbed Baked Eggs
Source: Barefoot in Paris

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan (I used Asiago)
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)

Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

I thought I would post this recipe for those that need a little Memorial Day inspiration. This would be a great dish for a bbq. The prep for this dish is really quick. I served this alongside barbecued chicken. I made a few changes to the recipe. I used real bacon since we don't eat bacon bits. If I'm going to have bacon I want the real deal, not some fake product. I also used Drew's Natural Ranch dressing since it is free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Next time I make this I would probably sprinkle some green onion on top before serving. I think you could also use the same mixture to make a great cold potato salad.

Roasted Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese
Source: Kraft Magazine Food and Family Magazine Spring 2008

1/2 cup Kraft Ranch Dressing (I used Drew's Natural Ranch)
1/2 cup Finely Shredded Italian Cheese Blend (I used Cheddar)
1/4 cup Oscar Meyer Bacon Bits (I used real bacon that I crumbled)
2 1bs small Red Bliss Potatoes, quartered (about 6 cups)
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl mix dressing, cheese and bacon. Add potatoes and toss lightly.

Place in lightly greased 13x9 dish covered in foil. Baked 40 minutes; remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with parsley

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Banana Coconut Ice Cream

I decided yesterday it was time to break out the ice cream maker this year. I recently got a copy of Dave Lieberman's Perfect Scoop and there are so many delicious looking recipes I can't wait to try. We finally got new furniture for our patio, and are shopping for a grill. I foresee a barbecue with homemade ice cream very soon! In the meantime, I wanted to make a quick treat to go with dinner last night. I made this Cooking Light recipe last year and loved it. There is no cooking involved and very few ingredients. Also, it omits the heavy cream used in most ice cream recipes but does not sacrifice on flavor or creaminess at all. I omit the 1/3 cup sugar completely. The mixture is plenty sweet. If you think you want to add the sugar, I would recommend tasting the mixture first. If you own an ice cream maker, I highly recommend keeping the freezer can in your freezer. I keep mine there, because you never know when the urge to make ice cream will hit an you don't want to wait 8 hours for the can to freeze. To prevent freezer burn, you can line it with plastic wrap.

Banana Coconut Ice Cream
Source: Cooking Light May 2007

1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 cup cream of coconut
1/3 cup sugar (I omit)
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in banana; cover and chill.

Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm.

8 servings (serving size: about 2/3 cup)

Layered Cornbread and Turkey Salad

I've had this recipe in my file for quite some time. I found it in the June 2005 issue of Southern Living. Yes, I've been saving it that long! My clippings file is pretty large and continuing to grow! I finally made this dish yesterday for a friend's baby shower and it turned out great. This dish was so well received that I didn't even have any leftovers to take home! It was really simple to make and presents very well. The other bonus is that it needs to be made ahead so no last minute worries. This is the perfect dish for a potluck or barbecue.

Layered Turkey and Cornbread Salad
Source: Southern Living June 2005

(6-ounce) package buttermilk cornbread mix
(12-ounce) bottle Parmesan-peppercorn dressing (I used Drew's Natural Ranch Dressing)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 (9-ounce) package romaine lettuce, shredded
2 1/2 cups chopped smoked turkey (about 3/4 pound)
2 large yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup diced celery (about 3 celery ribs) (I omitted)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese (I used shredded Cheddar)
10 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
2 green onions, sliced (I had them but forgot to add them!)

Prepare cornbread according to package directions; cool and crumble. Set aside.

Stir together dressing, mayonnaise, and buttermilk until blended.

Layer crumbled cornbread, shredded lettuce, and next 7 ingredients evenly into 6 (3- to 4-cup) glass containers; spoon half of dressing mixture evenly over tops. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle with green onions just before serving. Serve with remaining half of dressing mixture on the side.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Martha White Buttermilk Cornbread Mix and Girard's Parmesan-Peppercorn Dressing. We used 3-cup marquis-shaped canning jars with lid and screw ring. To find a retailer, visit, or call toll-free 1-866-695-3434.

To make 1 large salad: Layer half each of crumbled cornbread, shredded lettuce, and next 7 ingredients in a large glass bowl; spoon half of dressing mixture evenly over top. Repeat layers ending with dressing mixture. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. Sprinkle top with green onions just before serving. Prep: 45 min., Chill: 8 hrs.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb is a foreign ingredient to me. It was only a few years ago that I even became aware of rhubarb. I think it may be more popular in the northern states. Since that time I have seen a fair share of recipes containing rhubarb. It appears its popularity is gaining with foodies. I've come to learn that rhubarb has a very short growing season, so if you see it in your grocery store or farmer's market grab it! It freezes well so that is a plus. I also learned that the leaves to the rhubarb are poisonous. Thus, its very important to cut those off. I couldn't help wonder who the unlucky settler was that found that lesson out the hard way. It seems most dessert recipes using rhubarb include a mix with either raspberries or strawberries. So, with all the rhubarb recipes showing up in my cooking magazines, I decided I would buy some and give it a try. I ended up making a rhubarb strawberry crisp. We really enjoyed this recipe. The topping for this crisp was really good and the mix of fruit was very yummy. The only thing missing was the vanilla ice cream!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Source: The Boston Globe

Serves 4


2/3 cup flour

½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup packed dark brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up

¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1. In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown and granulated sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2. Add the butter and work the mixture with a fork or your fingertips until it resembles crumbs. Stir in the walnuts.


8 large stalks rhubarb, thinly sliced

1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced

¾ cup granulated sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

½ cup flour

Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish (or another dish with a 2-quart capacity).

In a bowl, toss the rhubarb, berries, sugar, lemon, and flour.

3. Spoon the rhubarb mixture into the dish, cover with the topping, and set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet.

4. Bake the crisp for 50 minutes or until the topping is golden and the fruits bubble at the edges. Serve warm with scoops of ice cream or drizzled with heavy cream.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ricotta Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, Peas and Basil

Finally, I made a Rachael Ray meal in 30 minutes! This is the perfect spring/summer dinner. It takes advantage of all the flavors of the season. To round out the dish I added some sweet Italian sausage. I found this recipe in Rachael Ray's 365 No Repeats. There are several great variations in the book that I also would like to try. It really is a versatile recipe. I know I will be making this again soon.

Ricotta Pasta with Grape Tomatoes, Peas, and Basil
As Adapted From Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats

1 pound penne (I used whole wheat)
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I omitted)
1 medium onion (I omitted)
1 cup frozen green peas
A generous handful of fresh leaf parsley, finely chopped (I omitted)
Coarse black pepper
Coarse salt
20 fresh basil leaves, shredded or torn
1 cup halved grape tomatoes (1/2 pint)
1 1lb bulk Italian sweet sausage (I added this to the dish)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and salt the water. Cook the pasta to al dente.

Place the ricotta, butter, and Parmigiano in a large bowl.

(I omitted this step) Heat a small skillet over medium. Add the EVOO and onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the peas and parsley and cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta. Add to the bowl with the cheeses to melt butter evenly and coat the pasta with the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper. Top with peas, basil, and halved tomatoes. Toss and serve at the table.

Black Bottom Cupcakes

These are my favorite go-to quick baking snack. Its basically chocolate chip cheesecake meets brownie in cupcake form. I made these this week to take along to a craft night at a friend's house. I make them quite a bit during football season and they are always a hit. They are great for picnics and barbecues too. I originally found this recipe in the February 2007 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray, but have since learned it is a fairly common recipe.

Black Bottom Cupcakes
Source: Everday with Rachael Ray

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 large egg
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper or foil baking cups. Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add the egg and mix well. Fold in the chocolate chips and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, the baking soda and cocoa powder. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the oil, vinegar and vanilla and stir until smooth.

3. Fill each baking cup two-thirds full with the cake batter and top with 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture. Bake until the edges are firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Honey Almond Cake

There is only one word that adequately describes this case, addictive! I absolutely love anything that is almond flavored. This cake packs a triple punch of almond with almond paste, almond extract and amaretto. I honestly wanted to eat the batter while I was making the cake. The method of mixing produces a really tender and light cake. This cake was also incredibly moist. Make sure to prepare ahead when making this cake since all the ingredients need to be at room temperature for the best result. This recipe came with my Williams Sonoma Provencal Ceramaic Cake Pan. I fell in love with the pan, and the recipe that came with it when I saw it in the store. I have had the pan awhile and was waiting for a perfect spring occasion to bake the cake. I served this cake at a luncheon yesterday. I served a Mediterranean menu of : Roasted Red Pepper Hummus and Traditional Hummus with Pita Wedges, Greek Spinach Pie, Greek Salad, and Watermelon. To accompany the cake, I served it with the most adorable and delicious little strawberries that my mother-in-law grew in her garden.

Honey Almond Cake
Source: Williams Sonoma

For the Cake:

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 oz almond paste
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
16 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
4 eggs

For the Glaze:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp amaretto
1 tbsp unsalted butter

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Grease and flour Bundt Pan and tap out excess flour.

To make the cake, over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sugar and almond paste and pulse until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps of almond paste. 10-15 pulses. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the milk, almond extract and vanilla. Set aside.

In the bowl of a an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar mixture and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the honey and beat 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat each addition until just incorporated, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 70-75 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, amaretto and butter. Cook stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves 3-5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Tap the cake pan gently on a work surface to loosen the cake. Set the wire rack over a sheet of waxed paper, invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely before serving. Serves 16.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Curry Spiced Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Rice

This meal was a surprise hit at our house. I wanted to try something a little different and this recipe looked interesting. It was a wonderfully flavorful dish. The addition of the mango chutney plays nicely against the spices and adds a delicate sweetness to the dish. The Serrano pepper gives it an ever so slight bite. I did not manage to make this dish in the 3o minutes the book says it can be done, nonetheless it was still tasty!

Curry Spiced Turkey Meatballs over Lemon Rice
Recipe as Adapted from Rachael Ray's Express Lane Meals
4 Servings

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 celery rib finely chopped (I omitted)
1 small carrot, grated and peeled
5 garlic cloves, 1 crushed, the rest chopped
2 lemons
salt and black pepper
1 1/2 cups white rice (I used Thai Jasmine)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 package ground turkey breast
2 large onions, half of one grated, the rest thinly sliced (I used 1 onion)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Serrano pepper, cut in half lengthwise
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 cup mango chutney
1 10 oz box frozen peas (I omitted)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat a medium pot with a tight fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of EVOO, once around the pan. Add 1/2 tablespoon of coriander, celery, carrot, the crushed garlic clove, zest of both lemons, and a little salt and pepper and cook stirring for about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir it to coat in the oil. Add 2 /12 cups of the chicken stock and the juice of one of the lemons. Bring the stock to a boil, cover the pot, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 15-18 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

In a mixing bowl combine the ground meat, grated onion, half of the parsley, half of the chopped garlic, the curry powder, the remaining 1/2 tablespoon coriander, the cumin, half of the grated ginger and salt and pepper. Mix until just combined. Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Dip your hands in some water, then begin rolling small, bite size balls, adding the balls to the pan as you roll them. Continue dipping the meatballs until you have used up all the ground meat mixture. Let the meatballs get nice and brown before you turn them. Cook the balls for 10-12 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to brown them equally on all sides.

Remove the balls from the skillet to a plate, return the skillet to the heat, and add the butter, sliced onion, the remaining chopped garlic, the rest of the grated ginger, the Serrano pepper halves, and salt and pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes until the onions are slightly tender, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the onions with the flour and continue to cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and bring the mixture up to a boil. Add the mango chutney and return the meatballs back to the skillet; cook for 2-3 minutes, add the peas, the remaining parsley and cilantro and cook one minute more. Remove the Serrano pepper from the sauce and discard. Divide the lemon rice among dinner plates and top with meatballs and sauce.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I haven't had many blog updates this week since I have been making some of my favorites that have previously been posted on this blog. If you haven't checked out the recipe for Roast Chicken with Lemon Potatoes and Asparagus you must at once. I've made this dish three times since I found the recipe. Its just delicious, and a bonus you only dirty one dish and a cutting board to make it! Can't get better than that. I also recommend checking out this recipe for Zucchini Fritters.Not only is it a great light meal but makes wonderful use of all the zucchini appearing in the farmer's markets. I also used some leftover zucchini to make roasted zucchini this evening. If you are a zucchini hater, you must try this recipe, it will make you a believer. This is great as a side dish or would be wonderful tossed in a pasta dish. The possibilities are endless.

Roasted Zucchini

Slice Zucchini and toss with olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes.

Stuffed Peppers (sorry no exact recipe, I just threw this together)

We also had stuffed peppers this evening. Such an easy dish to make. I just make my favorite meatloaf recipe and stuff it in the peppers. This evening I used ground beef, rolled oats, grated carrot, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh parsley and basil. I topped it with a chunky tomato sauce. I only made two peppers, so I formed the rest of the meat into a meatloaf for use at another meal. I love cooking once and getting two meals!

Blueberry Raspberry Pecan Crisp

Tonight I was in the mood for a dessert using blueberries. I found this recipe in my Lady and Sons Too! Cookbook. You just can't go wrong with a Paula Deen recipe. This one was actually not too bad on fat or calories either. This recipe was originally published in Savannah Seasons: Food and Stories from Elizabeth on 37th and was republished by Paula Deen. This was a winner in our house. I didn't take a picture since it wouldn't photograph that great but it did taste delicious.

Blueberry Raspberry Pecan Crisp
Source: The Lady and Sons Too!
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cubed
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1 cup fresh raspberries or blackberries (I used raspberries)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cups fresh blueberries ( I used frozen wild boreal blueberries)
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 375.

For topping, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon, and process briefly to mince the oats. Add the butter and process until mixture looks moist and begins to stick together. Stir in the pecans. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate.

In a large saucepan over high heat, stir together the raspberries, granulated sugar, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring until the mixture is slightly thick and shiny, about 3 minutes. Stir in the blueberries and pour into a baking dish. Crumble the topping over the berries and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden. Remove the dish from the oven, drizzle the honey over the topping and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Another Great Salad!

When I get on a kick making something, it usually lasts a few weeks! The last one was soup and now I'm onto salads. The weather has been so beautiful and all the great produce coming to the store makes me want to eat salads. I've started preparing and freezing extra dishes when I cook, so I can have meals at the ready when I need them. Last time I made a chicken dish, I poached some extra breasts and put them in chicken broth and froze. I defrosted the chicken yesterday and used some for a meal. Today, I used the remaining leftover chicken for chicken salad. I threw this recipe together so the measurements are not precise. It really came out delicious. I'm proud to say the lemon thyme I used in this recipe, was picked from my own herb garden! My husband told me I definitely needed to include this recipe in the blog as it was the possibly the best chicken salad he has ever had. So, here is my recipe:

Chicken Salad for 2

1 1/2 poached chicken breasts, chopped
1/4 cup grapes, quartered
1 apple diced
1/2 tsp or so fresh lemon thyme, chopped
2-3 sage leaves, chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Juice of 1/2 orange
Kosher Salt
Mixed salad greens with herbs

Combine chicken, grapes, apples, and herbs in mixing bowl. Season with salt and Pepper. In small mixing bowl combine mayonnaise and almost all of the juice of 1/2 orange. Stir and add to chicken mixture. Once combine, squeeze remaining orange juice over mixture and stir once more. Serve over a bed of mixed greens.