Saturday, July 31, 2010

For Jamie :)

This recipe is honor of Jamie Hart - the lovely sister of my lovely best friend, Deb. Being as she currently resides in England with her wonderful wife Tanya- it has been FAR too long since I've seen her! My scone recipe (being decidedly English!) brought her to mind.

Jamie & Tanya's Simple Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, SERIOUSLY cold
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to mix it thoroughly. Next, take your butter and cut it into small cubes and drop into flour. Work it into the mixture with a fork or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add in raisins and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream and the egg until smooth. Then, using a fork stir the egg mixture into the flour until a large ball of dough forms. You may need to get your hands in there and press it around the bowl. Trust me, it's enough liquid.

Turn out the dough onto a floured board and pat into an 8 inch circle. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar and use a super sharp knife to cut the dough into 8 triangles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 7 minutes before eating. It'll be difficult but at least you won't burn your tastebuds off!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Taco Time!

Tacos. I love them. We make them a lot at our place, and I got tired of buying taco seasoning when I was sure I could make it. One day, I was forced into trying it when I was mid-taco making and realized - no taco seasoning. Doh! I stumbled on this recipe and it's divine! Make extra and keep it around for your own taco emergencies ;)

Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin

Optional: for added heat, add in 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

Mix together. Voila! Taco seasoning!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cool Drink in the Hot Summer

Who doesn't love a little Sangria? Like a boozy adult-version of fruit punch, it's the perfect party drink for the summer time. A hot grill and a cool Sangria - and you're well on your way to the perfect gathering.

Classic Sangria

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1.5 cups white rum
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 bottle dry red wine (like Blackberry Merlot)
  • 1 cup pulp-free orange juice

Cut the lemon, lime and orange into thin rounds and place into a medium sized bowl or shallow baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the rum and the sugar and pour over the fruit. Let it "marinate" for two hours in the fridge before pouring into a glass pitcher. Mash the fruit up a bit with a wooden spoon, then pour the orange juice and the wine over the top of the fruit and stir.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back to the Pork!

Every recipe seems to mention my husband, but he's my target market on cooking. :) In all likelihood, Mr. Travis might end up with the pork bone, provided it's large enough and I've washed the sauce off :) A meal for both my guys!

Pork Chops in Mustard Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 (1" thick) pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (i use low sodium!)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the vegetable oil.

In a medium bowl, combine the kosher salt, 1 tablespoon ground mustard, pepper and flour. Whisk together. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture. Brown the chops for 4 minutes on each side. Combine the rest of the ingredients in another bowl and pour over the chops and cook for about 15 minutes, lowering the heat to medium-low.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Shellfish alert!

Even though I am allergic to (and a hater of) shellfish, I find myself constantly making it for my husband and our friends, because they love it! Though, I was once intimidated by them and afraid of overcooking them - I'm quite in my element now. Here's an easy little appetizer for you and your friends.

Grilled Shrimp

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons, hot sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, deveined & peeled with tails on

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pour about 3/4th of the marinade into a large Ziploc bag with the shrimp. Toss the bag around to coat the shrimp and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (2 is better!)

Preheat your grill on medium-low heat. Remove the shrimp from the bag and skewer the shrimp long-ways (through the tail and head, so they're "laying" on the grill). Make sure to throw away the marinade from the bag and only use the "clean" marinade. Oil the grates on the grill (I use olive oil on a paper towel) and cook the shrimp for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until cooked and baste it with the reserve marinade while grilling.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Madeleines, how do I love thee...

For some reason, these cookies remind me of Sharon Chen. Maybe it's just anything French? I learned the recipe when my old roommate professed a love for these cookies. I have to admit - she was right. They're delicious and the perfect afternoon snack with a good cup of coffee.

Madeleine Cookies
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar (plus more for decoration)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and butter and flour your madeleine molds (if you have them) and set aside. In a microwave, melt the butter for 20 seconds and set aside to cool. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanila, and salt until light and fluffy. With your beaters on medium, add in the sugar, and beat constantly for 5 minutes. You want it to be light and fluffy.

Gently add the flour into the mixture, 1/4 cup at a time and fold into mixture - keeping the air in. Add the lemon zest and butter in by folding with a spatula. Immediately spoon the batter into your buttered molds (you can also use a cupcake tin though, they won't be true madeleines!). The batter will be a little bit over the top of the molds - this is okay!

Bake for 13-15 minutes. They should be lightly browned and springy. Wait 5 minutes, then turn the cookies out onto a rack and sprinkle with some additional sugar.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spicy Corn Salad

Summertime was my favorite time growing up, as I'm sure it is for any kid. Living in Texas, well - not so much my favorite anymore. But summertime in California, is amazing. It reminds me of beach bonfires, kabobs on the grill and the smell of the ocean in the air. Since we are a bbq family, I spend a lot of time experimenting with sides. Here's one of our favorites.

Spicy Corn Salad

  • 8 ears of corn, husked
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1.5 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Preheat your grill to medium. Lay the corn on the grill and cook for 12 minutes, turning frequently to avoid burning. Remove the corn from the grill and set aside to let cool. Once cool, take a knife and remove all the kernels into a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the corn and toss to combine.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sweet n' Spicy BBQ Sauce

I'm so excited to share this new BBQ sauce recipe. I stumbled on it today, and made it and it was a total winner! It's sweeter than the one I normally make - but I found I really liked it.

Sweet n' Spicy BBQ Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2.25 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Whiskey
  • 2.5 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground chile powder
Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat the vegetable oil, and add minced onion, cooking 5 minutes or until translucent. After the onion has cooked, add the tomato paste, water, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and honey and stir until combined. Then, add in all the spices and whisk together. Turn the heat up until the mixture boils, and then turn the heat down to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 1.5 hours - stirring randomly with the whisk to check the thickness of the sauce. When the sauce is thick enough for you - turn the burner off and move the sauce off the burner to cool.

Enjoy! :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cake Truffles!

A large craze in Texas at the moment is cake truffles... or really, let's be honest - they're called cake balls. But calling them this in mixed company will result in your husband/male friends/significant others/brothers/whatever giggling like 3 year old girls. I was surprised at how easy and delicious they are to make - all you really need is cake mix, frosting, and chocolate chips. (well, and whatever the cake mix calls for!)

Cake Truffles a la Kelly
  • Yellow cake mix (prepared according to package directions)
  • Whipped vanilla frosting
  • Chocolate chips

Bake the cake according to the package directions. Pull it out of the oven and set it aside to cool. After about 30 minutes, cut the cake into little slices and one-by-one drop them into a large mixing bowl and shred with a fork until it dissolves into tiny crums. Continue until you've crumbled the entire cake. Next, add the entire container of frosting and stir until combined.

Place the mix into the fridge for 30 minutes and use a 1" cookie scoop (or just measure it with your hands and wing it!) to scoop out even-sized portions onto wax paper. When you've scooped them all out, slide the sheet back into the freezer if you can. Next, melt chocolate chips on a double boiler. When 90% of the chips have melted, pull the glass bowl off and finish mixing until the chips are all melted. One by one, drop the cooled scoops of cake into the melted chocolate and then set on wax paper to harden.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

For all of you who thought cream cheese was just for bagels - this post is for you! Why is it that we always drool at the thought of Cream Cheese Frosting but then we reach for a can of premade frosting at the first hint of baking? Here's my recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting - it's worth it!

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese frosting (Don't you dare get lowfat!)

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 2 cups, sifted confectioner's sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. (You can use a mixer on medium or just put it in your stand mixer bowl). Next, mix in vanilla until combined. Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar about a half cup at a time until completely combined. Store in refrigerator!

See? Now that wasn't so hard!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I love coffee. (Points to my mom who told me when I was grossed out by it at 12, that one day I too, would drink it.) I have a favorite memory of Rome, sitting at a little cafe, drinking a wonderfully made cappuccino and dunking an almond biscotti in between sips. This always reminds me of that gorgeous day, in the second home of my heart, Italy.

Almond Biscotti

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped and toasted

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 egg white

  • Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. In a small separate bowl, combine vanilla, almond extract, 2 eggs, and egg white. Mix together and then combine with flour mixture. Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead gently 8 times. Shape the dough into a large roll. Place dough onto a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray, and then flatten the roll down to 1" thick. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Decrease oven heat to 325 degrees, and slice the cooling dough on a diagonal - with slices about 1/2" thick. Place the slices about an inch apart on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the cookies over and bake for another 10 minutes. They'll look a bit soft in the center, but they will harden as they cool.

Let them cool and then enjoy with your favorite cup of coffee :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Quick Fixes

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls. Who doesn't love them? But sometimes... you can get a little sick of them. They're usually on sale so I've got a few "quick fix" recipes to spin these into something you'll barely recognize!

1. Garlic twists! Take the Crescent Rolls out of the tin and lay them out flat. Sprinkle the dough with garlic and onion powder (you dont want to coat these! Use 1 teaspoon of each and you should be good) Take a knife or a pizza cutter and cut the dough into long 1/2" thin strips. Take two strips and twist them together and lay on a sheet pan. Cook at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden brown.

2. Pigs in a Blanket, Mom style! My mom always made pigs in a blanket this way, so here's my take on it. Use cocktail sausages (all beef is best, but whatever works!). Roll the crescent rolls out on a flat surface and cut each "triangle" into three pieces. Wrap each cocktail sausage in one piece of crescent roll and set on a greased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until crescent roll is light brown. Serve with yellow mustard - delish!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Chicago or Bust!

The hubs and I are headed to Chicago for this glorious 4th of July weekend! I've never been but I'm looking forward to the Cubs game we've got planned, the relative/friend visits we've got going... I have to admit.. I am most excited about some Chicago deep dish pizza!

In the spirit of that - Here's a recipe for Deep Dish pizza in your own home. It may not be Gino's but if you can't hop on a plane - it'll tide you over!

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon dry active yeast

  • 3 cups unbleached flour, divided

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

  • 1.5 teaspoons salt

  • 1.5 cups warm water (110 degrees)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 cup spicy Italian sausage, browned and drained

  • 9 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/4 grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/8 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 1/3 cup diced pepperoni

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced

  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce


In a small bowl, dissolve sugar in 1 cup warm water. In a separate bowl, combine yeast, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 cup warm water. Combine the two bowls , mix together and set aside for 20 minutes. In yet another bowl (hello dishwasher!), combine the remaining 2.5 cups of flour, cornmeal and salt. Remove 1/2 the mixture into yet another bowl (or really, even a big plastic Ziploc bag will work here!). Add 1 cup of sugar into the half of the mixture into the bowl. Add the Ziploc mixture back in and mix all together. Add yeast mixture in and stir until combined. Turn the dough out onto a workspace coated with flour and knead until the dough is stretchy - about 8 to 10 minutes. Pour some olive oil into a large bowl and use your hands to coat the sides of the bowl with the oil. Turn the dough out into the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

The Good Stuff

In a gigantic bowl, combine the bell peppers, onions, pepperoni, sausage, cheeses, oregano and garlic. Mix it all together.

Put It All Together

Remove half the dough from the bowl and press the dough into a lightly greased deep dish pan (I use a high sided Springform pan). You want to make sure that the dough is going up the sides of the pan and is pressed into the pan. Bake in the 450 degree oven for 4-5 minutes. Add all the 'good stuff' in and cover with the second crust. Make sure that you press the top and bottom crusts together to form a seal. Add a few slits in the top crust to allow the steam to vent, top with tomato sauce and bake for 45 minutes on the lower rack of your oven. Set it aside for 5 minutes and then dig in like crazy!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pulled Pork Sandwiches!

This week has been really stressful for me, so instead of baking a ton of desserts and eating them all - I'm just prepping my food early and trying to relax! Recipes like this one really satisfy and leave me with some time to relax with a glass/bottle of wine. :)

Pulled Pork in a Slow Cooker

- One 14 ounce can of reduced-sodium beef broth

- 2lbs of boneless pork ribs

- 18 ounce bottle of bbq sauce (I've tried everything from Chipotle-Jalapeno to Sweet Hickory - they all work! Just pick your favorite!)

Add can of beef broth to the slow cooker and place the pork ribs inside. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Whenever you get home, remove the boneless ribs and shred with two forks, pulling in opposite directions. Trust me, it'll work. Add the meat into a bowl and combine with BBQ sauce. Stir until coated and combined. Heap it onto a sourdough roll and go to town! :)