Saturday, May 14, 2011

Do I Really Need A Thermometer?

Today's gadget in question is the thermometer. Do you need a thermometer when you are cooking? Of course you do. You need them to bake meats, cook syrups, fudge, and lots of candies. But what kind of thermometer do you need? Here is the thermometer I have.

I love this thing!!
I can use it for temping meat in the oven, and cooking 
candies on the stove.The two best features of the
thermometer are the timer and the beeper for the temperature. 
When I make brittle, for example, the syrup has to boil to a 
certain degree and it takes about 20 minutes. I simply set
the timer and the beeper for the temp,
and I know that if I get distracted, like I often do,
the beeper will keep me on my toes. 

This thermometer is also digital. 
This is a must for the perfectionist in me.  I have been know 
to agonize over the little red marks on my old thermometer,
trying to gauge the exact temp,matched up with the exact line, 
to get the perfect temperature I am seeking.

So, I am concluding that although all thermometers will help you
in recognizing the correct temperature for your food, this thermometer
will help you be a better cook.

Thanks for listening. I will see you tomorrow to
discuss next weeks menu and the grocery list.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dessert That Is Light & Yummy!

I probably have the worst sweet tooth of anyone I know. (I think I have mentioned it before!) But sometimes I just want a little sweetness, and sometimes I try to eat right. This dessert is sweet, and good for you. And it looks cute.
Here is what you need:
Strawberries~sliced into bite sized pieces
Bananas~sliced into bite size pieces
Strawberry/Banana Yogurt
Heavy Whipping Cream
Toll House Toppers

I picked up these tiny, cute, trifle glasses at Walmart. I think they 
make the perfect presentation for our desert.
Start by placing a small layer of yogurt into the bottom 
of the glass. Place 4 or 5 slices of strawberries on top 
of the yogurt.
Add another layer of yogurt, and then a layer of sliced bananas.

 Add a layer of strawberries.

Add another layer of yogurt, and then a layer of whipped cream.

Remember when we made this in a past post? If you need some info go to
Add your toppers and enjoy.
Shaved chocolate would be great on top also!
Enjoy your light dessert!

Tomorrow we will discuss if you need a thermometer.
Thanks for joining me this week.
See you Saturday! 

Corn on the Cob~ It's our side dish!

I love corn on the cob! Don't you?  It's the perfect accompaniment to so many entrees. This corn I used was not the best.  It is a little early in the season in North Carolina for corn. But it wasn't bad.
 Here's all you need:
Ears of Corn
Salt & Pepper
Put a pot of hot water on your stove. I like to add just a pat of butter to the water.
Bring it to a boil.

While you are waiting for the water to boil, shuck your corn,
and scrub the kernels down to get rid of the silt. (little string)
 Boil your corn for 10-15 minutes. The longer
you cook, the softer your corn. Take your corn out of the
water with tongs, and shake the water off.
Serve with butter, salt & pepper.
When corn is at the height of its season, you really don't
need butter or salt or pepper. It's so good just boiled & eaten.

So, pretty simple, huh?
Thanks for stopping by, see you tomorrow for dessert!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Main Course for Today~The Philly!!

It's hard to beat a philly steak sandwich. I mean, it has everything~tender, juicy, thinly sliced steak, sweet, sweet, sauteed onions, cheesy, chewable, provolone cheese, an oh so soft, and beautifully lightly browned sub roll, and sweet, creamy, philadelphia cream cheese. WAIT! What!..........Oh yeah!
There is nothing better than a philly with cream cheese lightly spread on the bun. The first time I was served a philly with cream cheese was at the Palace Saloon in Fernandina Beach, Florida. It is the most beautiful place, and is also Florida's oldest continually running saloon. But the last time I was there I was told they do not serve food anymore. So Sad!! Well, now it is up to us to keep this tradition alive. Just try it. I know you will like it!!

Here's what you will need:

1/2 pound sirloin sliced very thin
medium onion cut into small slices
provolone cheese slices
super soft deli roll
cream cheese~whipped or regular

 Slice your sirloin very thin, If you are having trouble getting it as
thin as you want it to be,heres a little trick.  Put it in the freezer for
about 30 minutes.This will enable you to have
better control as you are slicing.
Slice your onions into thin rounds, and then cut them in half.
Once they reduce in size by sauteing, they are the perfect bite size!
Start by cooking your onions. I like to saute on medium high heat 
with a little butter. If you saute on too high of heat, your butter will burn.
Go ahead and add your sirloin just as your onions start to saute.
Move your onions and sirloin as they cook.
This is what it should look like when fully cooked.
Drain any excess juice.
Add your Provolone Slices to your meat while it is in the pan.
If you don't have a lid for your pan, you can improvise.
 I used another similar size pan to make my lid.
I have even used cookie sheets when I don't have anything else.
There is no wrong way. You are just trying to melt your cheese.
Prepare your sub roll with the Philly cream cheese. Now, I know
some people like mayo on their philly. So put it on!
There is no wrong way to enjoy the food you like!
You can add tomato and lettuce if you would like.
It's all good!
Use a spatula to put your meat on your roll.
Dig in!

There are some variations you can use to make your philly cheesesteak
more appealing to you. You can saute red, green, and/or yellow peppers
to add to you sandwich. If you want to do this, then put the peppers
on to saute before the onions. Let them cook a little and get a little
soft before adding the onions and meat. Peppers take a little
longer to cook. You can also add mushrooms.Put them
 on to cook early like the peppers. 

Thanks for joining me today. Tomorrow we will make our side dish!
See you then!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dinner Salad w/Homemade Herbed Vinaigrette

Hi Everyone! Today we are making our side dish, a dinner salad with a homemade herbed vinaigrette. Here is your recipe:

Herb Vinaigrette

3/4 cup salad oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
salt & pepper

Salad Mix

1 head Romaine Lettuce
2 Roma Tomatoes
1 Cucumber

Combine the mustard  and vinegar in a glass bowl and whisk together.

Put the mix in the blender with the oil, tarragon, salt and pepper. Pulse your blender for 10 seconds. Add a few more seconds if it isn't totally combined. If you don't have a blender, use a whisk and mix thoroughly.

Transfer to a glass bowl and let it stand for 30 minutes so the flavors can meld.

Wash and chop your romaine lettuce. Lettuce leaves are the best when they are bite size pieces.  They can be cut larger, but then you have to cut your salad with a knife. If you would rather use the pre-cut lettuce pieces from the grocer, just remember to wash them before you eat them. I know they say they are washed, but it's a good idea to wash it yourself anyway.
Slice your tomatoes into small slices, and slice your cucumbers into bite size pieces.
A really well prepared salad is one that does not have to be cut after it is served.

Give your dressing a good whisk immediately before serving.

I am sorry about no pictures today. Technology and I are not the best of friends. But, my camera will be fixed by tomorrows post.

Thank you for stopping by. See you tomorrow.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Steak Bite Scoops

Today, we are going to make Steak Bite Scoops! They are delicious, easy to make, and addicting.
Here's what you need:
Tostito's Scoops
Sour Cream
Diced Onion
Chopped Avocado
Muenster Slices
1/4 pound Sirloin Steak
This menu is not specific in amounts because I am not sure how many Steak Bites you might 
want to make. I would recommend making a lot. They are tasty!!
In my case, I made 9 bites.
Go ahead and cook your steak to your liking. I love medium rare. Then, 
cut your steak in small bite size pieces. 
You need to make them bite size, because you don't want to have to work at biting the steak. 
They should be small enough to fit into the scoop.

Dice your onions, and chop your avocado. Make sure they are bite size also.

Place your scoops on a microwavable plate.

Fill each scoop with chopped onion. If you like onion, put in a lot.
Place your pieces of steak on top of the onion.
Take your Muenster Cheese pieces and cover the scoops like in the picture. Microwave
on high for about 18 seconds for nine pieces. 
They will look like this when done in the micro.
Separate the pieces so they are no longer attached to one another by cheese.
Add a dollop of cream cheese to each scoop.
Add a piece of avocado to top each piece.
Doesn't that look good? 

There are some variations you could make on this appetizer. 
Pieces of chopped sun dried tomato would add a hint of sweetness and a splash of color.
The tomato would look good placed under the avocado, on top of the sour cream.
You could also use chicken. A chicken breast seasoned with fajita seasoning would taste great, especially when topped with chopped onion and chopped roma tomato. You could then top it with 
shredded cheddar, sour cream and avocado. Yummy!
When you get to brainstorming, there are a million different variations!!!
That good become my new hobby!

I hope you enjoyed today's appetizer. Tomorrow we will be making a 
crisp dinner salad with a herbed Vinaigrette.

Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Creamy Lemon Bars

What is it? It is a handheld juice squeezer.
Do you need this?
Well, no.
Is it worth having?
Oh, yes!
I used this juice squeezer to make lemon bars. In the past, when
I made anything that required fresh squeezed juice, I would simply, roll the  lemon, lime, or orange on the
counter, until the juice has broken from the pulp.
Then I would cut the fruit in half, and squeeze the halves into my
measuring cup. But this is so easy.
 I cut the top and bottom off of the fruit, cut it in half, put it in the squeezer,
and squeezed right into the measuring cup. The two pieces squeezing together
makes sure that there is only pulp left in the fruit. Then takeout the seeds!!

The best part? I bought this item of convenience at Dollar Tree!!
For a $!!!
Isn't that great?
So, if you see this item, buy it!

Here's a recipe for lemon bars that I love, and I'm betting that you will to.
You also get to use your juicer!

Let's Make The Dough First! 

  2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. If you have
a food processor combine your flour, sugar,
and butter in the bowl. Pulse until it's 
dough. But don't over mix.If you are using a mixer, 
combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, 
and butter until butter is in very small crumbs.
 It should look like this!
Press into the bottom of a 11x7 inch pan. 
 Smooth out your dough. My rolling pin was too long to fit in this pan,
so I had to improvise with the cover from my candy thermometer.
Maybe a mini rolling pin would make a 
good kitchen gadget for this blog!!
Bake for 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and lightly browned.
It should look like this. Isn't that pretty?!!

Now, Let's Make The Filling.
4 eggs
2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
sifted confectioners' sugar
Here is your chance to use your fruit squeezer. It will take about
4 lemons to make your 1/4 cup.
Beat your eggs.
Blend together your sugar, beaten eggs, flour, lemon juice
and lemon peel. When you make your lemon peel, use a zester,
or microplane. (sorry, I forgot the picture!!)
When you zest, run your zester over the washed lemon,
but DO NOT get any of the white skin in with your lemon zest.
The white makes the zest very bitter.
Pour your mix over the crust you just baked.
Return to oven and bake at 325° for 20 minutes. 
 Loosen around edges, cut into bars and sift confectioners' sugar over the top while warm. 
I hope you enjoyed this little treat of a recipe.  
(It's adapted from a taste of Home recipe)
I know you will make this over and over again. 
It's that good!
Thanks for joining me this week. Come back tomorrow for the shopping list for next week.
Here's a hint~Think Steak!
See you then!

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Finale!~Tiramisu Mousse

My favorite part of just about every meal is dessert. What can I say? I have a sweet tooth! I truly do believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with having dessert first!!! The dessert for our Homestyle Lasagna Dinner is Tiramisu Mousse. I have made this many times; as it was quite a popular choice when I worked for a catering company. It differs from the classic Tiramisu because we won't be using ladyfingers soaked in coffee. But you will love it. A good thing about this dessert is that it must be made ahead of time so that the mousse has time to set. So there are no last minute preparations to do. You can make this dessert and leave it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Here's what you need:

1 cup Mascarpone Cheese
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
2 Egg Yolks, beaten
1 cup Whipping Cream, beaten to soft peaks
Cocoa Powder or Semisweet Chocolate Bar

Put your Mascarpone Cheese in your mixing bowl.
Add your Sugar.
Add your Brewed Coffee.
Add your 2 beaten Eggs.
Mix your ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mix your heavy whipping cream. We have 
made this before back on 7/16/10. If you don't recall, just go to
Beat your cream to soft peaks, like this.
Fold the cream into the Tiramisu mix.  
Carefully pour the mousse into
individual goblets.
You can make these about 3 hours ahead of time, then
chill in the refrigerator. When it's time to serve, pull them o ut, and shave 
chocolate over the top, or sprinkle cocoa powder over the top.
Isn't it pretty!!
Thanks for joining me this week. I hope you enjoyed our recipes,
and learned something you didn't know.
Remember, please email me anytime if you have 
questions or comments.
See you tomorrow!