Friday, November 28, 2008

Joy to the World

I will be in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for a week starting on Saturday.
Oh Darn!
Beaches, sunshine, margaritas, fresh prawns and lots of time with my parents and my 3 sisters.
No really, they are twisting my arm, ha ha.

I saw this at Joy the Baker on Thanksgiving and thought it would be nice while in the hotel the night before we fly. So I leave you with this luscious little lovely...

Pumpkin Pie Bars

adapted from Kraft

1-1/3 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter or margarine
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, uncooked
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips for sprinkling on top (optional)

oven to 350°F.
Line 13×9-inch pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; grease foil.
Mix flour, 1/4 granulated sugar and brown sugar in medium bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Stir in oats and nuts.

RESERVE 1 cup oat mixture; press remaining onto bottom of prepared pan.
Bake 15 min.
Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, bourbon, pumpkin and spice with mixer until well blended.
Pour over crust; sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture and a handful of butterscotch or chocolate chips (if desired).

BAKE 25 min.; cool 10 min.
Use foil to transfer dessert from pan to wire rack; cool completely.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


TWD is going to be posted not on Tuesday. Just can't see making it ahead of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


There are county fairs in the summer time all over the country. Cows, pigs and sheep are shown along with some of the tightest jeans and the most cleavage county wide. Coins are tossed and so are tummies. Beer is swilled and everything that you could possibly deep fry is calling to you.

And then we have the Greeks, inventors, philosophers, a culture with an amazing history and also that wonderful thing called Phyllo. Paper thin. Versatile. Crispy. It has the delicateness that a communion wafer should have. It is wrapped around sweet and savory with equal success, Baklava being one of the more famous recipes.

So why not blend two great cultures? One, centuries old, full of history and culture. The other, well, think 'Joe Dirt' at the tilt a whirl.

These are baked instead of deep fried.

This was my favorite, York peppermint patty.

(Candy bars in phyllo)

1/2 package phyllo dough
6 candy bars
3/4 cube butter, melted
Optional for in between the phyllo sheets or on top before and/or after:
powered sugar
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray or grease a cookie sheet.
Keep a damp paper towel covering the extra phyllo while you work.
On a flat work surface, lay out one sheet of phyllo and lightly brush with melted butter.
Lay another phyllo sheet on top and brush with butter again.
Repeat with a third layer.
Set candy bar on one end of the phyllo and begin to roll, tucking in the ends as you roll.
Brush the outside with butter and place on cookie sheet.
Bake 25-30 minutes.

Candy bars that come in two pieces work well, just cut the phyllo or use two full sheets per piece.
I used Athens Fillo Dough which comes in 2 sealed packs and I had 19 sheets in the half I used.
This would work very well with leftover Halloween candy. Just adjust the amount of phyllo used and the baking time.

Reese's big cup. Use the regular two pack instead, they will melt better.

Milky Way, much better than snickers.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Arborio Rice Pudding TWD

It is a Saturday night in Autumn. A gorgeous 51 year old woman feels the heat of the night. Is it perhaps a Spaniard, his hot breath on the back of her neck? Or a forgotten lover, here to reclaim the woman he never truly let go of in the inner depths of his heart?

Naw. She is at the stove making Arborio Rice Pudding.
And yes, this pudding may break her heart just like many men have done before. 'Why' you ask? Because she didn't read the part about bubbling away. No, she just assumed simmer. Never assume. The dawn of the morning will slap her in the noggin with reality. She is not a fan of reality. She prefers to believe that all the men in her grocery checkout line are there to give her money because she is an amazing woman. Reality is fat cells and gray hair. Reality sort of sucks. Why would anyone go on a reality show, and then who is dumber? Them? Or us for watching them? Where was I? Oh yeah, reality. Reality is why I am making rice pudding on a Saturday night.

This is week 3 for me with Tuesday's With Dorie and I am really enjoying it because so far these are all new things for me. But! Big but, get it? Yes, reality was a bitch this morning. It tasted good but was nothing near a pudding. Soupy sweet milk rice. Back to the stove with these babies, arborio and vanilla bean are too pricey to not try to rescue. Some other TWDer's tried reheating it and so I did too and it worked pretty well. Is it perfect? I have never had rice pudding so I don't know but who really cares? It tastes good and that is the real goal isn't it?

I doubled the recipe because the reality of 4 servings sort of sucked.

1/3 of the rice pudding was added to the scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean.

1/3 of the rice pudding was added to 2 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate.
1/3 of the rice pudding was added to cinnamon, apricot and cranberry, but reheating this one didn't work out, it just turned color from the dried fruit cooking with it and the milk separated so you don't get a photo of that one because it is in the happy land of fertilize the planet.

Round 2, Sunday. I am making a double batch this time also, but with 4 cups of milk to start, get to the bubbling point and then we will see what happens. Stay tuned for the results.

30 minutes was not the time, nor was approximately 30 minutes. 45 minutes seemed to be the magic number. I still only got 4 servings, at least what I call a serving. Perhaps the extra milk would have made more but the cooking time would have been longer I am sure. Also, having never made rice pudding I may have gone 5 minutes too long. I just made sure I got it to a thickened stage.

I enjoyed this, but I absolutely love risotto and so with the cost of arborio, I will most likely make risotto instead of rice pudding.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Marie Antoinette Toast

I could not eat the entire Kugelhopf myself. Well I could but chose not to, so it was sliced, wrapped and stored for a later date. Kugelhopf becomes stale very quickly and it is best eaten the day it is made. Or, oooohhh, stale bread, we all know what that means. French toast! Or in this case Austria and France, hence the title.

As a kid I hated french toast. Actually I hated most American cooking because it was a time when many women stayed home to raise children and keep the home, and they didn't do it with fake nails, big cars, pampers and cell phones. Wonder bread was wonderous, Oleo was new and green jello molds made you the most creative cook around. Okay, all together now..."Ewwww!". Yeah that's what I thought. Give me my grandmas oatmeal with butter, cream and sugar any day over that food from hell.

Because kugelhopf is a cake, though barely sweet, it does have a sugar crust and raisins. That is why there is no sugar added to the french toast as is usually done or to the pears. This was a very nice breakfast, rich and creamy, not your ordinary fare. It would be great served with bacon or sausage also.

Start the syrup first, then the french toast, and while the toast is soaking, begin the pears.


8 slices stale kugelhopf about 1 1/2" thick
12 T cream cheese
3/4 half and half
2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Carefully cut a slit in each kugelhopf.
Fill with 1 1/2 T cream cheese.
Blend half and half, eggs and vanilla together.
Soak kugelhopf slices in this mixture for 5-10 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed.
In a pan, melt butter on medium.
Add slices to pan and fry until browned on each side about 10 minutes total.


1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/3 c butter
1/3 c chopped walnuts
1/4 t cinnamon

In a small saucepan, warm all ingredients together for about 20 minutes.

2 d'anjou pears
T butter

Melt 2 T butter in a medium saucepan.
Peel, core and slice pears.
On medium/low simmer pears until tender, approximately 10 minutes.
Strain the liquid from the pears and serve.
You can add a little butter and cinnamon if desirable.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kugelhopf TWD

You know how we are all aware of the baking and cooking rules which say that you are supposed to read the recipe all the way through and then you set out all the measured ingredients on the counter in order?
Am I the only one who only does that sometimes?

So I am thinking "what is a kugelhopf?"
I'll just whip it up after work on Monday since I am off early.
Ha ha ha.

Kugelhopf as the story goes came from Austria to France via Marie Antoinette. It is a raisin filled yeast bread or breakfast bread, excellent with butter and honey and makes wonderful toast. It is not difficult but it does require a lot of time for rising.

The ingredients were simple enough, flour, eggs, yeast, yadda, yadda, yadda. But keeping it from sticking to my hands? Impossible. My dough never got soft, it just stuck to the beaters and to my hands, or is that what soft means? I had also read somewhere that it is not a very sweet dough. As I licked some stickiness off my hands I realized that they weren't kidding.
Oops, I forgot to add the sugar.
Okay, sugar added after raisins, we shall see.
Also, where is the chocolate?
I love when dough has risen, it just seems fluffy and has that wonderful smell, and my yeast doughs don't always rise so it was great when this did. Some time spent rising and slapping down in the fridge and then let it rest overnight.
Yeah, I'm good with overnight.
I put it out for the final rise today and oooohhh, fluffy and poofy. Yay!
Off to the oven.

Now I'm thinking "Well this is a good learning experience, I mean, how good can it be with out chocolate?" It took 2 minutes to brush the melted butter (melted butter is always good) on the hot cake and 1 minute to sprinkle natural sugar (sugar is good) on it and 15 seconds to decide to cut a piece before I even photographed it. Wow, I really, really liked it. Now I have to let it cool before I add powdered sugar and take some photos. I would rather eat more and just photograph crumbs.

I think the only thing I might do different is add more stuff, you know, dried fruits and such.
Would I make this again?
Refer to the sentence below.

If anyone feels the need to buy my love, a nice standing mixer would do it. Yes I can be bought.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Chocolate Rugelach

"When no one understands you, chocolate is there."
~Daniel Worona~

For last Tuesdays TWD I only used half my dough, saving the rest because I had wanted to make some with chocolate. I have eaten them before and chocolate were always my favorites. Duh. The strawberry, chocolate and almond ones take a pretty close second though. The chocolate filling is not as sweet which is not better or worse, just different. You can add 1/8 cup or so more sugar if you prefer a sweeter version. Rugelach are buttery rich, oooohhh my favorite, and so versatile. I don't think I am making them again for a while though because I keep eating them all.

I found an easy filling at and just altered it a bit of course. I have also learned a few things regarding rugelach...
*more is not necessarily better, everything falls out as you roll them and they look messier
*12 triangles is better that 16
*perfection isn't going to happen for me for a while

1/2 recipe for 1 dough disc

2T butter, melted
1 t cocoa
1/2 t cinnamon
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup grated bitter-sweet chocolate
1/8 c walnuts, finely chopped

1 egg
1 t water
2 T coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After dough is rolled into a 11-12 inch circle, brush butter on top.
Mix cinnamon, sugar and chocolate and spread onto dough.
Sprinkle walnuts on top.
Cut dough in half.
Then into sixths.
Then into twelths.
Roll from fat end towards point.
Place on parchment covered cookie sheet, point side down.
Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Whisk egg and water and brush on each rugelach.
Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Cool on rack.

1/2 recipe for 1 dough disc

1/3 c strawberry jam, warmed
1 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 c almonds, finely chopped
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

use 1/2 of the glaze above

After dough is rolled into a 11-12 inch circle, spread jam on top.
Mix sugar a cinnamon and sprinkle over.
Sprinkle almonds on top.
Sprinkle chocolate on top.

Follow above directions for cutting, rolling and baking.

The rugelach dough can be found in Dorie Greenspan, Baking From My Home To Yours

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This man gives me hope.
He makes me proud to be an American at last.
I actually cried when I found out it was over and that he had won.
I feel we as Americans can hold our heads up high in the world now.
Finally we the people have a voice.

I consider myself a Christian.
One who cares about human rights, animal rights and environmental rights, all the creations of God.
I have been so hugely offended for so long by the religious right which assumes I follow their dictatorship.

I am proud of America.
We have crossed lines that never should have been.
We have voted in numbers not seen before.
We are not indifferent.
We needed a leader that we could follow.
He gave our youth a reason to care.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD Rugelach

Well this is my very first Tuesday's With Dorie post. I had been wanting to join for quite a while but I did not own the book.
Until Ross.
Yep, you read that right. It was like manna from heaven. As soon as I saw it on the shelf it was in my greedy little hands before I even took a second breath. Thank you discount store with all your poorly behaved shoppers and their children running down aisles practically knocking everyone into the tacky displays and your stuff all over the floor instead of on the shelf like most stores. Yes, thank you. It was worth 17 minutes in line. No need for hello or thank you. Nope, the book is mine, all mine, ha ha ha ha ha ha. Yes, a store like that can put you over the edge. But the book is still mine.

I love good Rugelach and the best I have had were at Irvine Ranch Market in Costa Mesa and not even close to cheap. But now that I know how to make them, watch out. The cream cheese dough was very simple to make in the food processor. And fillings of jam, nuts and chocolate...yeah well just try to stop me. I chose to go with strawberry, chocolate and almond filling. These were easy and very good and adaptable. I will make these many more times, and they will get prettier. This was a nice recipe for my first TWD, so to Grace at Piggy's Cooking Journal I send a heartfelt 'thank you' for making this a pleasure. You can see all the other bakers and their creations at the blogroll also.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Garlic Game Hens

Half of me is from the Middle East. It is not so obvious physically, but in how I love and how I..... 'the opposite of love'. It is the feel for family and making children the center and celebrating life. It is probably why I like to feed people. My Grandma always had a cup of garlic soaking in water above the sink, so it would peel easily. When I say always, I am not joking. The kitchen smelled of love and home and safety. We all have memories of our childhood that nurture us even as adults. Garlic is one of mine.

Robin Sue of Big Red Kitchen, posted a recipe for Super Easy Garlic Chicken. It sounded good, but oooohhh, the photo. Be still my beating heart. Now, I have game hens in the freezer not chicken and since times are economically questionable in this country it just makes sense to make do with what I have, right? My daddy would be proud. Make sure and visit Robin Sues blog for the original recipe. She has the cutest caramel apple kit idea also among other great things.


2 cornish game hens, quartered
3 egg yolks
3 huge garlic cloves, minced

3/4 c bread crumbs
3/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 t Kosher salt
3/4 t fresh ground black pepper
2 T fresh parsley or thyme, minced

4 T butter
4 T olive oil

In a large ziplock bag, mix the yolks and garlic, add the hen pieces and smoosh around.
Marinate at least 2 hours.

In another large ziplock bag, mix all the other ingredients and set in fridge until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Toss hen pieces in bread crumb mixture until well coated.
In a pan just large enough to fit all the hen pieces, place butter and olive oil, set in oven until just bubbling.
Remove pan from oven and place hen pieces in a single layer.
Bake 18-25 minutes.
As Robin Sue said, it comes out juicy, crispy and tender.
Serves 2-6

With buttered peas and sweet potato fries it made a very nice meal.