Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet and Tangy Pork

This recipe has a different flavor.  Not my favorite of all time, and the pork is a little bland, so I would highly recommend seasoning the pork steaks with seasoning salt or salt and pepper or something.  The sauce is also kind of bland, but I might play with this recipe again.  Any ideas are gladly appreciated!

Sweet and Tangy Pork

  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 4 boneless pork steaks
  • 10-3/4 oz. can tomato soup
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 8-oz. can pineapple juice tidbits, drained and 1/4 cup juice reserved.
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add steaks and cook until golden on both sides, drain. Stir in soup, vinegar, sauce, brown sugar, pineapple and reserved juice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until pork is cooked through.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Wax Paper vs. Parchment Paper

I have often been wondering what the difference is between wax paper and parchment paper. I finally remembered to google it and this is what I found (it uses reynolds because that's the website where I found it!): 

Reynolds Parchment Paper can be used to line cookie sheets for baking cookies. Reynolds Cut-Rite Wax Paper should not be used for lining cookie sheets for baking cookies. Wax paper cannot take the heat of the oven and will smoke. Both wax paper and parchment paper can be used for lining cake pans for baking cakes. Because the cake batter completely covers the wax paper, the wax paper will not smoke.
Now you know!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Strawberry-Orange Fruit Dip

I got a brand new cookbook for Christmas and for the employee lunch I decided to make a fruit dip from it.  It was an interesting change from the normal dip you get!  Highly recommended as I had to email the recipe to almost the whole staff!

Strawberry-Orange Fruit Dip

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes

  • 1
package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4
cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2
teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2
cup chopped strawberries (about 3 oz)

Assorted fruit for dipping, as desired
1.In small bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange peel with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Stir in strawberries.
2.Serve with assorted fruit. Cover and refrigerate any remaining dip.

If you make the dip in advance (you can up to 24 hours) wait to stir in the strawberries until less than an hour before serving!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I couldn't sleep last night and really felt like baking. It had been a really long day and baking relaxes me (plus it always helps when you can eat cookie dough!). I also had a staff lunch I had to bring stuff too, and I thought you can never go wrong with chocolate chip cookies! {Update} These are awesome and so easy to make! A classic :)

Chocolate Chip Cookies-Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
  • 1/2  cup shortening
  • 1/2  cup butter
  • 1  cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2  teaspoon baking soda
  • 2  eggs
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-1/2  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1  12-ounce package (2 cups) semisweet chocolate pieces

In a large mixing bowl beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in chocolate pieces and, if desired, nuts.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 375 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool. Makes about 60 cookies.

Homemade Graham Crackers

Here is the recipe for homemade graham crackers I mentioned in the Nanaimo Bars post:

I wasn't particularly fond of them. I think I should have added some cinnamon sugar or something.  They weren't terrible, but I prefer the store bought brand :P

Homemade Graham Crackers

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar, Lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon Baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 7 tablespoons Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen)
  • 1/3 cup Honey, Mild-flavoured such as clover.
  • 5 tablespoons Whole Milk
  • 2 tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal. If making by hand, combine aforementioned dry ingredients with a whisk, then cut in butter until you have a coarse meal. No chunks of butter should be visible.
2. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the honey, milk and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
3. Turn the dough onto a surface well-floured and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be quite sticky, so flour as necessary. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Gather the scraps together and set aside. Place wafers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
5. Adjust the rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
6. Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more sweet rice flour and roll out the dough to get a couple more wafers.
7. Prick the wafers with toothpick or fork, not all the way through, in two or more rows.
8. Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating sheets halfway through to ensure even baking. Might take less, and the starting location of each sheet may determine its required time. The ones that started on the bottom browned faster.

Nanaimo Bars

So I decided to join the Daring Kitchen where you can become a Daring Baker and/or Daring Cook with new challenges every month with specific reveal dates.  The January 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Lauren of Celiac Teen. Lauren chose Gluten-Free Graham Wafers and Nanaimo Bars as the challenge for the month. The sources she based her recipe on are 101 Cookbooks and

I did not make the gluten-free graham wafers as I do not have the money to buy all the flours & I will probably never use them again and I'm really trying not to waste stuff anymore!

Anyway, I am going to post the Nanaimo Bars here and the graham cracker recipe here because you will be able to use store bought graham crackers if you wish (but if you have the time, try the graham crackers, even though I wasn't a huge fan).

The bars themselves were good--but VERY rich!  I would suggest using only one cup of powdered sugar in the middle layer.  If I make these again I am also going to use rice crispies instead of coconut in the bottom layer.  I may also try using peanut butter in the middle layer instead of the custard as well, since I think that is where the richness REALLY came from.

Also, for the top layer, make sure you have a HEATPROOF BOWL or a double boiler.  I thought my bowl was heatproof and I was wrong.  Everything turned out okay, but I need to be careful using that bowl from now on ;)  Now finally to the recipe (sorry for the long post):

For Nanaimo Bars — Bottom Layer
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1 Large Egg, Beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups  Graham Cracker Crumbs-I just put the crackers in the food processor, you can also do this by putting them in a ziploc bag & smashing it :) 
  • 1/2 cup Almonds (Any type, Finely chopped)
  • 1 cup Coconut (Shredded, sweetened or unsweetened)--here is where I would substitute rice krispies
For Nanaimo Bars — Middle Layer--here I am thinking of substututing peanut butter or pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons Heavy Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Vanilla Custard Powder (Such as Bird’s. Vanilla pudding mix may be substituted.)
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar--personally I think only 1 cup is necessary if using a custard middle
For Nanaimo Bars — Top Layer
  • 4 ounces Semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1. For bottom Layer: Melt unsalted butter, sugar and cocoa in top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, nuts and coconut. Press firmly into an ungreased 8 by 8 inch pan.

2. For Middle Layer: Cream butter, cream, custard powder, and icing sugar together well. Beat until light in colour. Spread over bottom layer.

3. For Top Layer: Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over low heat. Cool. Once cool, pour over middle layer and chill.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blender Hollandaise

I love hollandaise. I love eggs benedict. I found this recipe & the picture below here for blender hollandaise and it is so easy and yummy I highly recommend it!

 Blender Hollandaise Sauce
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • juice of one lemon
  • cayenne pepper
Melt the two sticks of butter in a saucepan.  Separate the three egg yolks.  Put the egg yolks in the blender on low. Slowly add the melted butter WHILE THE BLENDER IS ON LOW.  Add the juice.  If the sauce is too thick, add more lemon juice.  Add cayenne pepper to taste--as much as you want because it takes a lot to be too strong.  Server over eggs, or with vegetables, however you like!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I have no new recipe to post today but I just need to say I love clementines.  It is clementine season and for the last 3 days I have probably had at least 3 clementines a day.  They're so juicy and delicious! Yummy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Green Beans with Shallot Dressing & Brazil Nuts

I found this recipe on the Tasty Kitchen website.  I looked it up because I had extra shallots left over from my ravioli recipe and didn't want them to go to waste.  I omitted the tomatoes because I don't like tomatoes (I keep trying them but keep not liking them!).  I also used almonds instead of brazil nuts because that is what I had lying around!  I served them with the Dijon-Pepper Steak.

Green Beans with Shallot Dressing & Brazil Nuts

  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinager
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Shallot
  • 2 Tablespoons Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cups Green Beans
  • ½ pints Grape Tomatoes
  • ½ cups Brazil Nuts (or Your Choice Nuts)
Mix the vinegar, mustard, and shallots in a bowl and let sit while you put a pot of water on the stove for the green beans. Once the water starts to boil, put the green beans in. Cook for just under 5 minutes (they will be crispy and bright green).
Meanwhile, drizzle the olive oil into the red wine and shallot dressing. Make sure you stir the dressing while you drizzle in the olive oil.
Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Taste the dressing. You may want it tangier (add more vinegar) or spicier (add more mustard).
Chop the Brazil nuts and set aside for later use.
Drain the green beans and add them (still warm) to the dressing along with the sweet grape tomatoes and toss everything together.
Adjust seasonings as necessary and top with chopped Brazil nuts. Enjoy!


Dijon-Pepper Steak

I made this recipe for Scott & I for dinner the other night.  It was a good taste, but we both agreed the gravy could have been a little thicker.  If I made this next time I would add more flour, or a little bit of cornstarch to the gravy.

I also used a pint of fresh mushrooms instead of the canned ones because fresh mushrooms are just better and you can never have too many mushrooms when it is served with steak :)

From Better Homes & Gardens 365 Last Minute Meals.

Dijon-Pepper Steak

4 Beef Top Sirloin Steaks, cut 1/4 inch thick (1 1/2 pounds)
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 10.5-ounce can condensed French onion soup
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 4-ounce can (drained weight) sliced mushrooms, drained

Trim fat from steask. Press pepper into both sides of steaks. In a large skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add steaks; cook to desired doneness.

Remove steaks from skillet, reserving drippings. Cover steaks to keep warm. Remove skillet from heat and allow to stand for one minute.

For sauce, in a medium bowl combine soup, water, mustard, and flour; stir into drippings in skillet. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more. Serve sauce with steaks.

4 Servings

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ravioli with Peas and Shallots

This recipe is very simple and is under the "kid-friendly" section at Real Simple (I have no kids, but I get emails sent to me from Real Simple that contain those recipes so I try them!)  It is pretty bland, but better than I thought it was going to be.

Next time I make this I'm definitely going to use a tomato based sauce in addition to it.  I also think I'm going to add some mushrooms (just because I love mushrooms) when you soften the shallots.

Oh and I've never used shallots before.  They sting your eyes just as much as regular onions do (anyone have a cure for that?  i LOVE onions, but HATE how my eyes water), but aren't as strong in taste.

I also used a substitute for lemon zest because I didn't want to buy a whole lemon and not use the most of it, and everything turned out fine!


1 1/2 pounds cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 10-ounce bag frozen peas
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook the ravioli according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 2-3 minutes.

Add the peas, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and reserved pasta water. Cook, partially covered, until the peas are heated through, 3-4 minutes.

Divide the ravioli among bowls and top with the pea mixture.


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