Monday, March 30, 2009

So you all know I live in Florida…

I love living in Florida and part of the reason is for the incredible diversity that you find throughout the state. One of my favorite places to go is to Kissimmee in the Orlando area. There is so much to do and I mean beyond the Theme Parks.

What about checking into your hotel and going on a beautiful hike through one of the nature parks scattered throughout the area? Did you know that Osceola County has the largest population of nesting bald eagles in the continental U.S. It’s also one of the country's few re-introduction sites for the endangered Whooping Crane. You can spot some of these awe-inspiring birds at Lake Lizzie Nature Preserve and the Osceola County Environmental Center, just to name a few. My youngest daughter has a huge fascination with birds in the wild so we have actually done this!


Another one of my absolute favorite things to do in Kissimmee though is to just hang out. Most of the hotels have resort like pool areas and the kids love just being there. Nothing like going away and just staying in!


So you see it is possible to go to the Orlando area and not go to the Theme Park but if you must SeaWorld is a blast!!!

Now you have a chance to live your perfect Kissimmee vacation! Enter the Kissimmee Freedom Sweepstakes to win your next Kissimmee getaway!


Tourtiere or French Canadian Pork Pie

The other day T. and I were running errands and talking about food and things that I haven’t made in a while. He mentioned Pork Pie. This has to be one of our favorite meals. Funny though, it’s been well over a year since i have made it. Don’t you hate when that happens???

This is one of those incredibly fast and simple meals that really comes together in no time at all.

I usually make my own pie crust but this time I was kind of tired so I used store bought. Should have made my own…it was just a little too sweet to go with the savory pie. Lesson learned!

Tourtiere (This recipe is from - Janet is Hungry)

Double 9" Pie Crust:
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening and butter mixed
5-6 Tbsp cold water

Meat Filling:
1 1/2 lbs ground pork
1 onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup celery, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground summer savory
1/3 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup water
1 small potato, boiled and mashed
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk


1. Prepare pastry: Cut cold shortening into cubes. Place butter/shortening in food processor with flour and salt. Pulse a few times.
2. Dump flour mixture out into a bowl and start adding water a tbsp at a time until mixture forms a dough that will hold together. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
3. Make filling: In a non-stick skillet with a cover, cook pork, breaking up the larger chunks.
4. Add onion, celery, garlic and cook until the onions are tender.
5. Add salt, savory, pepper, allspice, bay leaf and water. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and simmer 5 more minutes until most of the water is gone (it should still be quite moist).
6. Add mashed potato and remove bay leaf.
7. Roll out pastry (TIP: I roll my pastry out between two sheets of plastic wrap, when it is the right size, peel one sheet away and use the other to pick up the pastry and flip it over into the pie plate). Fill with meat mixture, cover with second half of pastry and seal edges. Cut a few vents in the top.
8. Brush top with a mixture of egg yolk and milk.
9. Bake at 425F for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.

Youngest daughter was in a skating recital over the weekend. She absolutely nailed it...clever little girl!

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Finest Foodies Friday - March 27, 2009

Jenn, The Leftover Queen has asked me to step in and help her out for a couple of weeks by posting the FFF so without further ado…


As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!
What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 3000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

Thibeault’s Table
A blogger out of British Columbia, Canada with a wonderful blog that has great pictures, but you really have to check out the BROWNIES!!!!! I can’t stop thinking about them!!!

Pain au Chocolats
Christina is a blogger out of Illinois loves any and everything considered dessert…now this is a girl after my own heart! She certainly has some wonderful sweets on her blog!

lisa is cooking
Poor Lisa is a self admitted addict…to cookbooks, food writing, recipe collecting, and cooking. LOL! Her blog is beautiful and the recipes are great. I especially loved her rustic bread post!

Cooking Stuff
Bob has a blog that's mostly about food and a little bit about cats, wine and beer. He is based out of Boston and he makes some mean looking chocolate chip buttermilk pancakes! Check him out!

Spryte’s Place
A blogger out of Pittsburgh who love to try new things in the kitchen. Fortunately her family and friends are usually willing guinea pigs! We all need people like that. The post that really caught my eye was the Chicken Fajita Quesadilla’s because that is usually how we eat. Everyone can personalize there own and can make for a great meal!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Garbage Nachos

At least that’s what we call them. Sounds funny huh? We pretty much call fully loaded anything “garbage”. We have garbage pizza…when you put everything on it that you can think of that would go with your dough and then we have garbage nachos. These are the best!

To top these nachos I used:

Taco seasoned beef (I make my own-recipe here)
refried beans
sharp cheddar
fresh jalapenos
black olives
sour cream
cilantro (added once cooked)


  • Heat the refried beans and make your taco meat.
  • Start chopping your jalapenos, onions, black olives and cilantro. Also grate your cheese.
  • Arrange the chips on parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On top of the chips layer the beans and taco meat. Add the cheese, jalapenos and olives.
  • Bake until hot and bubbly.
  • Top with cilantro and sour cream.

This is a delicious, casual weekend meal for us. Usually on Saturday when I don’t want to cook or clean up too much. It also works out well for us because everyone can have their favorite toppings on their own!

Please try making your own taco seasoning! Not only will you save money but there is less sodium and unpronounceable additives!

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Quick Chocolate Pudding Recipe

T. was starting to feel a little under the weather the other night and I know what that calls for…Chocolate Pudding. He has always called that his medicine and I have a very quick recipe that makes great pudding in a couple of minutes!

Chocolate Pudding (adapted from Better Homes and Garden)

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups free milk
  • 4 beaten egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1. In a medium heavy saucepan combine sugar, cocoa and cornstarch. Stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Gradually stir 1 cup of the milk mixture into egg yolks.

2. Add egg mixture to milk mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour pudding into a bowl. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap. Serve warm or cold (do not stir during chilling). Makes 4 servings.

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

No Dye Red Velvet Cake? Can it be true?

I get my CSA box on Thursday. Really a perfect day to get it. Yes, I know that I seem to have a love/hate thing going on with my box…

This weeks box had some really beautiful looking beets in it. One of them was huge, about the size of my youngest daughters head! It also came with my weekly newsletter. For their newsletter they always feature 2 recipes, come ingredients and a bit of farm news. One of the recipes caught my eye. It was for a Chocolate Beet Cake and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it.

See how moist and delicious it looks? Ummm, nope (see after recipe)!

Chocolate Beet Cake (from

  • 3 large beets
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Trim stems off beets, and wash off dirt. Drizzle olive oil over beets. Wrap loosely in foil and place on a sturdy baking sheet. Roast 45-55 minutes, until tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Remove from oven and let beets cool 10-15 minutes. Peel and cut into chunks.
  4. Place beet chunks and applesauce in a food processor, fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until smooth.
  5. Beat sugar, oil and eggs together in a large mixing bowl. Add cocoa powder and beet mixture. Mix well.
  6. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually mix into batter until no clumps of flour show. Do not over mix.
  7. Stir in half of the chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan.
  8. Bake 40 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake another 2-10 minutes until cake is done. (I skipped this as the cake was domed and the chips would have been everywhere so I just sprinkled it with powdered sugar!)

Results: I am so, so very sad. I just did not like this cake! It didn't have the beautiful color that I thought it would have once cooked. Before it was baked the color of it was just gorgeous. A beautiful, deep, rich red but once it was baked it looks like chocolate cake.

I also think that the flavor of it is a little “irony” or “earthy”. That may have been my fault. The recipe does not have a measurement for the beet and apple sauce mixture and that could add up to a big fail right there. The beets I had were very large. I even removed some of the chunks but I guess not enough. I probably had about 2 cups of pureed beets. I expected something like carrot cake or zucchini cake and this was too strong for me.

I am very picky though…my girlfriend Shellie liked it, as did the girls. I think if I used less beet puree it would be perfect but I still would not have the color I was looking for.

Would icing instead of the chocolate chips or powdered sugar help? I don’t think so. I may just save the icing for another really good banana cake!

Will I make this again? I am not sure. Roasting the beets and pureeing them is a pain in the butt and took a while. I was also disappointed by the color so maybe not but I would love to get the flavor right so you never can tell! It will not be my go to cake for sure!

Maybe we should just try these…Double Dark Chocolate Beet Muffins by Pinch My Salt

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Finest Foodies Friday – March 20, 2009


As always here is what the FFF is all about. Finest Foodies Friday! FFF is a weekly Friday post featuring favorites from The Foodie Blogroll! We do this so we can share in the rich diversity of what The Foodie Blogroll has to offer by featuring some of our favorites and yours!

What is the Foodie Blogroll? It is the first and fastest growing free membership blogroll for food bloggers and has become a wonderful community to share ideas about all things food related. With a membership of over 3000 food blogs, I am sure you can find much inspiration and new friends! :)

The only requirement to be featured here on FFF is to be a member of The Foodie Blogroll and be displaying The Foodie Blogroll widget on your blog. If you are not yet a member, but you have a food blog and would like to join us, please click here!

If you have a favorite foodblog on The Foodie Blogroll, that you would like to be featured here on FFF, please join us over on The Leftover Queen/Foodie Blogroll Forum, and post your favorite Foodie Blogroll foodblogs here.

The Goddess’s Kitchen
Maria is an avid cook and baker who resides in the the UK. I was more than likely drawn to this blog because of the wonderful cookies and cakes that are all over. You need to head over there and check out her Hummingbird Cake – so pretty!

The Gastronomista
Vicki is an avid traveler and cook. Also has a huge fondness for anything local. The pictures on this blog are just beautiful and the collages are stunning. Check out her tour of Anthropolgie. You will feel like you are there with her!

Katie’s profile is what sucked me in and the posts are what kept me there. Recipes and a little peek into a very happy with her life newlywed! Check it out and I guarantee you will leave with a little grin!

All That Splatters
Lori claims that she has hundreds of cookbooks and you can tell which ones have her favorite recipes by the splatters-hence the name of the blog. Cute huh? The recipes and pictures are good. I especially love the Roast Pork with Sagey Onion recipe!

Junglefrog Cooking
Simone lives in the Netherlands. She loves to cook, to travel and photography. And she is good. I love the recipes and the photos are beautiful. I can’t wait to try the Chicken Mango Salad!

That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this week’s FFF. Remember, if you would like to see a blog featured here, who is part of the FBR please visit the forum and nominate them.

Also we all love to know how people came to find our blogs, so please visit all of our featured bloggers today and don’t forget to tell them that you found them via Finest Foodies Friday!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wonderfully, Amazing Morels!!!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Morels!!! And I am so lucky to have an incredibly generous and busy friend like Jaden from Steamy Kitchen!!! Jaden received a box of morel mushrooms from Earthy Delights which is an absolute treasure trove of, what else – Earthy delights. You really need to check them out (they even sell fiddleheads!!!)! Seeing though as Jaden was heading out of town she offered them up to someone who was able to drive and pick them up. We decided that we would meet up for a nice lunch in Downtown Sarasota on Sunday afternoon and I would grab the morels from them there.

After a nice relaxing lunch we headed back south and home, with our box of morels. Just *giddy* we were!!!

We had already decided to have a Swiss chard and summer squash frittata with a salad for dinner and the morels fit in seamlessly. How lucky were we?

After a quick soak in some cold water, the ends cut off and butter heated in the skillet, in they went! After a quick toss around the skillet they were perfectly done and ready for us to eat. Lucky for us the girls did not like them and I sure wasn’t forcing them to eat them!

Once again thanks so much Jaden for your never-ending generosity and to Earthy Delights for providing us with that special treat!!!

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Potato and Leek Soup

I get a weekly CSA box from Worden Farms. I kind of have a love/hate sort of thing going on with it. I thought I would really love it. Supporting the local, organic and sustainable farmer and all. Well turns out it’s really not the best thing for me. I am not very satisfied with what is being sent to me. Not that I am being ripped off or the produce isn’t great but I am so uninspired by a box full of veggies. I want to be at the market or the farm and be able to touch, see, smell and feel the vegetables. This past week I went so far as to go to their weekly farmers’ market to see what I was missing I walked out of there with about $30 worth of stuff but also totally inspired again!!! Sadly I think next year will be a Farmer’s Market year and no more CSA box for me!

Onto the Potato and Leek soup and how it fits into my CSA box story…

I have been getting a bunch of potatoes in my box lately and I had been wanting to make soup out of them but I have been waiting to get some leeks to make Potato and Leek Soup so when I went the other day I picked up a beautiful bundle of leeks.

I really like simple soups where the true flavors come shining through. T. is of the mindset that everything is better with bacon and could not even fathom the idea that I wanted to make a potato soup without bacon in it. Turns out it was a great recipe and he really loved it. Thanks Alana!!! Took it for lunch today if that means anything!

Potato and Leek Soup (Butter is Love)


  • 2 T butter
  • 3 leeks (I used 4 because that’s what I had)
  • 4 medium potatoes (I used a bunch of small red skins)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 qt. chicken broth
  • I added garlic powder and onion powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk to desired consistency
  1. Thinly slice leeks to the top of the light green part and put in a bowl of water to soak out any dirt
  2. Thinly slice potatoes (I leave the skins on for flavor and potassium)Heat 2 T of butter in a large pot over medium heat
  3. Add potatoes to the pot and sautée until they start to brown
  4. Add garlic and sautée for one minute, careful not to burn
  5. Drain and add leeks, sautée until wilted
  6. Add 1 qt chicken broth and simmer for 30 min (check your potatoes for doneness)
  7. Immersion blend or blend in a regular blender (Be very careful if using a regular blender, only blend half at a time. Trust me.)
  8. Blend in milk until desire consistency is reached
  9. Salt and pepper to taste

This was a beautiful and simple recipe that let the wonderful ingredients shine without covering it up in bacon fat (which does have it’s place people! Just not in this soup)

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I was hunting around the internet trying to come up with something different to do with over ripe bananas. I make banana bread all the time so I kind of wanted something a little special. My oldest daughter was doing her FCAT’s all week (FL standardized testing).

I found this banana cake recipe that was simple, straight forward and (grin) I had all the ingredients!!!

Turned out wonderfully. A delicious light cake that everyone in the family loved! Will definitely be making this one again!

I put really cute little butterfly sprinkles around the outside for the kids and then served ours with banana!

Banana Cake (from Mom’s Who Think)


1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. baking soda (add to pureed bananas)
3 pureed bananas, very ripe

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/2 stick butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb.)
2 tsp. vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13" baking pan or two 9" layer cake pans.

2. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Sift flour several times, then add the salt and baking powder to the flour.

3. To the creamed butter mixture, add the milk and flour (alternating, beginning and ending with flour).

4. Add vanilla and mashed bananas (with the baking soda added to the bananas) to this mixture.

5. Bake layer cakes (9") for 25-30 minutes, oblong (9x13") for 35-40 minutes.

Frosting Directions:

1. Mix cream cheese and butter until smooth, add sugar and vanilla and blend well. Spread on cooled cake.

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Roasted Romanesco

Have you seen this veggie? It seems that some of the crazier looking vegetables are becoming more mainstream. This is the definition of it from Wikipedia - “Romanesco is an edible flower of the species Brassica oleracea and a variant form of cauliflower. Romanesco broccoli was first documented in Italy (as broccolo romanesco) in the sixteenth century. It is sometimes called broccoflower, but that name is also applied to green-curded cauliflower cultivars. It is also known as coral broccoli. It is rich in vitamin C, fiber, and carotenoids.”

I did a post on Romanesco last year because I thought it was such and interesting and unique veggie. This year it is popping up all over the place. I have used it in soups, steamed it, and eaten raw. This time I wanted to try roasting it as I had with cauliflower a couple of weeks ago! Turned out delicious and this is all I did…

Roasted Romanesco

Romanesco, trimmed and cleaned as you would broccoli or cauliflower
Olive oil
salt and pepper
sliced garlic
parmesan cheese grated

Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl toss all of the ingredients and roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes or until just tender.

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Monday, March 9, 2009

Baba Ganoush

A couple of weeks ago when Jenn (The Leftover Queen) and her family came to visit, they arrived and I immediately left to pick up my girls. Being a true foodie Jenn dove right into my fridge and started cooking things up. Just an FYI-this is truly an accepted practice in most people who love foods’ kitchens! I love people to feel at home and what better way for them to do that then to get into my fridge, stove and oven!!! By the time I got home she had cooked up some eggplant and she was all ready to make Baba Ganoush!
I had never made Baba Ganoush before because T. didn’t like it at all. Or so he said. Turns out he really, really likes the stuff. To the point that I made it again yesterday for a a pot luck we were going to. The hostess was asking for exotic appetizers and while Baba Ganoush may not be too exotic but I was sure that it would be something everyone would love! I also made a huge sheet pan of spanakopita to go with it!
Great Recipe Jenn! Thanks once again!

Baba Ganoush (Jenn, The Leftover Queen)
2 eggplants
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup Greek style plain yogurt (I used plain, non fat yogurt, strained)
1 clove garlic, crushed
extra virgin olive oil
fresh parley
pistachios and pomegranate syrup for garnish (I skipped this part, but it would have looked lovely)
To make the Baba Ganoush: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover cookie sheet with foil and pierce the eggplants with a fork to avoid explosion. Bake for 40-45 minutes. When eggplants are finished cooking take out of oven and cool until they can be handled.
Peel eggplants, cut in half and remove seeds.
Place in food processor and sprinkle with lemon juice. Add tahini, yogurt, garlic and salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Process until smooth. Drizzle with olive oil and garnish with parsley, pistachios and pomegranate syrup.
As Always…
Happy Entertaining!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Boos Blocks and KaTom

boo's boards 006

You may have heard about Boos Blocks before but I have more than heard about them. I have been wanting one since we did the renovations on our house about 5 years ago now! John Boos of Boos Blocks have been making some of the finest cutting boards and butcher blocks that you can buy since 1887! When we redid our kitchen my idea was to have a whole counter that would be Boos butcher block. Beautiful stuff but just not practical in my small kitchen!

Fast forward to mid February of this year…the renovations are long done and I have all but forgotten about my hearts desire until Jenna from KaTom emailed me and asked me if I would like a little gift from them in exchange for a review of their site…Have to be honest with you, I hate doing things like this. But when I saw that they would send me a Boos Block I could not pass it by. This was something that I would use over and over again not a product that I didn’t like and would never use.

I wandered around KaTom’s website and saw that they have a huge variety of kitchen items for the residential cook I was truly hooked…Guys, they sell KitchenAid items at competitive prices!!! Some of the stuff was more expensive than I could get at other places but most was cheaper or right on par! One thing I did like was the ease of being able to find what I was looking for on their site. Very user friendly.

So if you are in the market for something for your kitchen –counter top, butcher blocks, coffee makers, mixers, blenders etc. Please check them out!

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

My new favorite way to cook whole chicken legs!

A couple of weeks ago I spatchcocked my first chicken. Since then I have definitely revisited the procedure. I also found that I love the method of cooking that I have been using and thought I needed to try it out on some chicken legs. I have been getting whole legs (thighs and drums attached) for $1.65 a lb at, get this, Whole Foods!!!

I ended up using the exact same method using my cast iron skillet as I did for the spatchcocked chicken. Clementine’s, fresh ginger, head of garlic all thrown into the cast iron skillet in the oven. To read more about the method I use read it here. If you have a cast iron skillet and want to try something different. Please give this a try.

We served it with some roasted herbed potatoes and a salad. I swear to you that I had dinner on the table within 45 minutes of getting home!

As Always…

Happy Entertaining!!!


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the weekend I ended up with a houseful of children and in amongst all of the chaos we also had a birthday party for one of my children to go to and all of the other normal craziness that happens on our weekends. Saturday afternoon though there was a lull in the action and I only had 4 children with me. I decided to get them to help me make some cookies. Yes, I am a brave woman!!!

This is the recipe that they chose and I have to say I was very pleased with it. I think the next time I make them I would leave out the chocolate as they really didn't need them!

Also this is a huge recipe. I have no idea how many cookies it made but I think I baked cookies for about 2 hrs!!!

Oatmeal Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from hersheys kitchens)


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-1/3 cups (8 oz. pkg.) HEATH BITS 'O BRICKLE Toffee Bits
  • 1 cup MOUNDS Sweetened Coconut Flakes(optional)
  • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I added this but I think it made them much looser and spread more)

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Beat butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; beat until blended.
2. Stir in oats, toffee bits and coconut, if desired, with spoon. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto prepared sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove to wire rack. About 4 dozen cookies

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Parmesan Pull-Aparts

Nice fluffy and light rolls!

So this is my third entry into what was suppose to be a 4 part series throughout the month of February (and yes, I am sadly aware that it is March already, but only just!!!). This is all part of our Gourmet bread challenge and BYOB (Bake Your Own Bread) hosted by Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench. You could say that I was one batch behind. I keep threatening to catch up but that just may not be in the cards...

For my third and final entry I had to try the Parmesan Pull-Aparts. They looked and sounded like ones that we get at a small local restaurant here and I couldn't wait to try them. Gourmet Magazine describes them as brioche like in texture without all of the extra work! Sign me up.

When you are done here please be sure to head over to my baking buddies sites... Andrea of Andrea's Recipes; Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen (who also designed our cool badge!); Kelly of Sass & Veracity; Courtney of Coco Cooks; and Sandy of At the Baker's Bench ~ I'm sure they'll have something wonderful going on in their ovens too.

My 9 inch pan turned out to be only 8 inches hence the overflowing appearance...

Parmesan Pull-Aparts

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast granules

  • 1 tsp mild honey or sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

  • 1 1/4 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 cup milk, warmed to 105-115 degrees F (I used 1% )

  • 3 large eggs, divided

  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

  • 1 tablespoon water

  1. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, sugar, flour, salt, and cheese; whisk together. Add milk and beat at low speed with the paddle attachment until dry ingredients are moistened.

  2. Increase speed to medium and beat in the first egg. Add second egg and beat well. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl and paddle occasionally. Continue to beat until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Start beating in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is elastic ~ about 2 more minutes. The dough will still be very sticky at this point.

  4. Scrape dough into center of bowl, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.

  5. Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Let sit at warm room temperature for about 2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.

  6. Gently punch dough down but don't knead it. Turn it out onto a floured surface. Don't worry ~ the dough will be very gassy and light, but it won't be all that sticky. The flour you dusted it with before will keep it from sticking to the bowl; it should come out fairly neatly.

  7. Gently form the dough into a rectangular shape. Go easy here ~ you don't want to press the gas out of the dough, you just want it to form a rough rectangle so it's easier to cut into equal pieces.

  8. Cut the rectangle in half lengthwise, and then into 12 equal parts.

  9. Roll each part into a ball and place in a greased 9" x 2" cake pan, leaving space between the balls.

  10. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till rolls have puffed and fill the pan.

  11. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush over tops of raised rolls in pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

  12. Remove pan from oven and run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen rolls. Invert onto a large spatula or a small rack and then invert again onto a cooling rack. Cool at least 20 minutes before pulling apart and eating.
Makes 12 rolls

Made even better reheated with some garlic butter and more Parmesan! How could that not be good???

Will I make these again? I loved these rolls. Out of all the rolls (yep all 3 of them) these were my favorite. They were simple, elegant looking and fast. All things that are incredibly important to me.

Despite me being late and being short one recipe I loved doing this challenge with my fellow bakers! I think the main thing that it did was remind me how incredibly much I like getting my hands into some yeast breads and kneading with my hands. Don't get me wrong I love the recipes where I could use my KitchenAid but I really LOVED the ones I created with my hands. I have promised myself that I am going to start making some of my weekly bread using the old fashioned hand kneading method!!!

I am submitting this to Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench for her BYOB event as well!

As Always...

Happy Entertaining!!!