Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I tried a new way to dye eggs this year. Aren't they colorful?!?

I'm making a quilt out of old ties and consequently have an abundance of ties I have been collecting over the years. I picked out a few that were 100% silk. 

Cut a piece large enough to fit around an uncooked egg. Wrap it around the egg and secure it tightly with cotton string. Place in water with 3 Tablespoons of vinegar and boil for 15 minutes. Cool. Unwrap. The tie patterns and colors will have transferred onto the surface of your egg!

Super fun and easy! Just be careful not to drop one while wrapping them like I did! 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lucky Leprechaun Stew!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 
I made stew and shamrock rolls. The stew turned out fabulous! If you want an awesome recipe for stew, check the pioneer woman's blog; it offers all the details on how to make a good stew.  

This is just a basic stew recipe...brown the stew meat in olive oil and set it aside. Cook the onion and some garlic in the drippings. Throw in a can of tomato paste, some beef stock and a few dashes of Worcestershire  Toss the meat back in and cook it covered for a couple of hours. Toss in some diced carrots and turnips and cook for another 30 minutes or so until tender. Meanwhile, boil some potatoes and make your favorite mashed potatoes. Serve them with the beef stew sprinkled with parsley (had to have something green!).

The rolls are just my favorite recipe rolled into three balls and cooked in muffin tins. 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Strawberry Tart

I received a new magazine subscription for Christmas called Cuisine at home. It is a fun collection of recipes and tips, but the best part is NO ADVERTISEMENTS! 
I tried this recipe for strawberry-frangipane tart in this month's edition and it turned out pretty.
March seems to be the best month for strawberries; they are so delicious!

In a food processor, pulse 1 and 1/2 cups flour, 5 tbsp. sugar, and 10 tbsp. cold butter until mixture is fine. Whisk 3 egg yolks and 3 tbsp. cream together. With machine running, pour the yolk mixture in and process till it forms a ball. Shape into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes. 
Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick; transfer to a 10 inch tart pan. Trim and form dough to fit pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes or more. 
Preheat oven 375*.
Process (in food processor) 1 cup slivered toasted almonds, 3/4 cup sugar, and 2 tbsp. flour until smooth. Add 1 stick soft butter, 2 eggs, and 1/2 tsp. almond extract. Process until smooth, then spread onto chilled crust. Chill until firm.
Bake on a baking sheet until frangipane is golden, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic and chill.
In food processor, pulse 2 cups strawberries and transfer to a bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup sugar, and 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice; let sit for 30 minutes (up to two hours). Strain mixture through a sieve and discard solids. Add water to yield 3/4 cup juice and pour into a small saucepan. Sprinkle 1 and 1/4 tsp. unsweetened gelatin over the juice and let sit 5 minutes. Heat mixture over medium heat until gelatin dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Pour almost all the gelee over the tart. Arrange freshly cut strawberries on top and drizzle with remaining gelee. 
Serve at room temperature.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chocolate-Orange Fudge Cake

This quick cake-mix enhancement turns into an elegant dessert, perfect for those you love.

Chocolate-Orange Fudge Cake

1 pkg. German chocolate cake mix
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. oil
4 eggs
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
1/4 C. chocolate syrup
2 Tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. semisweet chocolate chips

Combine cake mix, sour cream, water, oil, eggs, pudding, syrup, orange peel, and cinnamon. Beat with an electric mixer until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bundt pan. Bake at 350* for 50 minutes. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

You should know me by now and I must admit the things I did differently....I didn't have a chocolate cake mix and just added 4 Tbsp. of cocoa to a yellow one. I didn't have chocolate pudding and used vanilla instead. I also melted part of a dark chocolate candy bar in place of the syrup.

It's what's for dinner

Made some stuffed green peppers for dinner last night and my kids, including the finicky one, actually ate them! I scanned several recipes on the web and then improvised using the ingredients I had on hand.

Stuffed Green Peppers
1 lb. of ground beef
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 C. diced onion
2 C. brown rice, cooked
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese
4 or 5 green peppers
1 C. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 cans tomato sauce

Brown the ground beef with onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add the cooked rice and Parmesan cheese. Slice peppers in half, remove the seeds, and place them in a greased baking pan. Stuff the meat mixture in them pushing it down with a spoon. Pour two cans of tomato sauce over them. Bake at 375* for 35 minutes. Cover them with mozzarella cheese and return to the oven for 15 minutes.

I used to boil my peppers prior to filling them. This was the first time I tried it without that step. I loved the fresh taste! Feel free to substitute sausage for the ground beef, add additional spices that suite your taste, or experiment with other cheeses as well.