Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chicken & Corn Chowder/White Chili

I made this soup about a week ago for dinner & Matt said I should bottle it & sell it! I couldn't figure out what to make for dinner, so I just kind of made it up. Here's what I did:

1. Boil 1 chicken breast in about 8 cups of water along with 1 t onion powder (would probably be better with diced onion) & 4 t chicken boullion (how every much yours needs to produce 8 cups of chicken broth).

2. Once the chicken was cooked I took it out & chopped it into small chunks & returned it to the broth.

3. When it all came back to a boil I added 1 can of rinsed great northern beans, 1 c frozen sweet corn and 4 small new potatoes that I had cooked in the microwave for 5 mins & peeled & diced.

4. I added about 1/2 t cumin (add to taste), about 2 t of crushed green chili peppers (you could just use a couple of teaspoons of canned green chilis if you can't find powder, or more if you like that flavor) & a couple pinches of salt & pepper. Then I turned down to simmer and simmered for about 15 mins.

5. Lastly I added about 3/4 c sour cream and 1/4 c heavy cream and let the mixture simmer for about 10 more mins.

I served it with french bread. It was really good. I think the cumin & green chili added the perfect spice. I will definitely make it again on a cooler night this winter.

Monster Cookies

I made some monster cookies last night for some Primary kids today that are going into Young Women's. They were delish! I haven't made them in a long long time, & I don't know why. They've got the ingredients for 5 cookies in 1 cookie!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chinese Dumplings

When Matt lived in China he loved to eat Chinese Dumplings. There he would eat the boiled kind (according to him, the only kind!). When I lived in Japan we ate Gyoza which are basically Chinese dumplings that are pan fried & steamed on the top, which is the way that I prefer them. I've made gyoza many times, but I always use store bought wrappers and pre-cook my filling so I make sure it's not raw. They've always been good, but not great. I was inspired by this posting on a food blog ( to make completely homemade dumplings. & wow, I'm a changed person! They were awesome! & surprisingly they were not as difficult as I thought they would be (thanks to my brother coming over to help watch the kids & Heather coming over to help me wrap them). I will include the recipes from Use Real Butter's cooking blog, but I highly encourage you to check out her blog & the pictures she has if you want to attempt them. She did a great, & very detailed job of telling how to make them.

Chinese Dumplings/Potstickers

pork filling
1 lb ground pork
4 large napa cabbage leaves, minced
3 stalks green onions, minced
7 shitake mushrooms, minced (if dried - rehydrated and rinsed carefully)
1/2 cup bamboo shoots, minced
1/4 cup ginger root, minced
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp corn starch

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup warm water
flour for worksurface

dipping sauce
2 parts soy sauce
1 part vinegar (red wine or black)
a few drops of sesame oil
chili garlic paste (optional)
minced ginger (optional)
minced garlic (optional)
minced green onion (optional)
sugar (optional)

*One batch of dough should be sufficient for one of the fillings and will yield approximately 3 dozen medium dumplings.

Combine all filling ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly (I mix by clean hand). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make the dough, Method 1: Place the flour in the work bowl of a food processor with the dough blade. Run the processor and pour the warm water in until incorporated. Pour the contents into a sturdy bowl or onto a work surface and knead until uniform and smooth. The dough should be firm and silky to the touch and not sticky.[Note: it’s better to have a moist dough and have to incorporate more flour than to have a dry and pilling dough and have to incorporate more water).

Make the dough, Method 2 (my mom’s instructions): In a large bowl mix flour with 1/4 cup of water and stir until water is absorbed. Continue adding water one teaspoon at a time and mixing thoroughly until dough pulls away from sides of bowl. We want a firm dough that is barely sticky to the touch.

Both dough methods: Knead the dough about twenty strokes then cover with a damp towel for 15 minutes. Take the dough and form a flattened dome. Cut into strips about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. Shape the strips into rounded long cylinders. On a floured surface, cut the strips into 3/4 inch pieces. Press palm down on each piece to form a flat circle (you can shape the corners in with your fingers). With a rolling pin, roll out a circular wrapper from each flat disc. Take care not to roll out too thin or the dumplings will break during cooking. Leave the centers slightly thicker than the edges. Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper and fold the dough in half, pleating the edges along one side (see images above).

To boil: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add dumplings to pot. Boil the dumplings until they float.

To steam: Place dumplings on a single layer of napa cabbage leaves or on a well-greased surface and steam for about 6 minutes.

To pan fry (potstickers): Place dumplings in a frying pan with 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil. Heat on high and fry for a few minutes until bottoms are golden. Add 1/2 cup water and cover. Cook until the water has boiled away and then uncover and reduce heat to medium or medium low. Let the dumplings cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat and serve.

To freeze: Assemble dumplings on a baking sheet so they are not touching. Freeze for 20-30 minutes until dumplings are no longer soft. Place in ziploc bag and freeze for up to a couple of months. Prepare per the above instructions, but allow extra time to ensure the filling is thoroughly cooked.

To serve: Serve dumplings or potstickers hot with your choice of dipping sauce combinations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

I made these about a week ago. I saw the recipe on My Kitchen Cafe & thought they looked delicious. I was also intrigued by the idea that you use vanilla pudding in it's prepared form. It makes the dough really moist. I LOVED the dough & definitely will use it again. The frosting was good. If you love cream cheese frosting on your cinnamon roll then you will love it. I definitely prefer the standard milk, butter, sugar & vanilla or cinnamon on my cinnamon rolls (my mom always replaces the vanilla in her frosting with maple extract & that's super good too).

Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
from A. Marilyn (I got from My Kitchen Cafe blog on the right at the top)

½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 ½ ounce package instant vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
6+ cups flour

1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups brown sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon

8 ounces cream cheese
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk

In a small bowl combine water, yeast and sugar. Stir until dissolved. Set aside. In large bowl, take pudding mix and prepare according to package directions. Add butter, eggs and salt. Mix well. Then add yeast mixture. Blend. Gradually add flour; knead until smooth. Do not overflour the dough! It should be very soft but not sticky. Place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Then roll out on floured board to 34 X 21 inches in size. Take 1 cup soft butter and spread over surface. In bowl, mix 2 cups brown sugar and 4 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top. Roll up very tightly. With knife put a notch every 1 1/2 inches. Cut with thread or serrated knife. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove when they start to turn golden (don’t overbake). Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting (combine butter and cream cheese and mix well, then add vanilla and sugar and mix again, then add milk for desired consistency). Makes about 24 very large rolls.

German Pancakes

Matt made these for us for Saturday breakfast a few weeks go. I'm behind on my posting. & yes I realize I'm a super lucky girl!!

German Pancakes

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons confectioners'
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place butter in a 10 inch cast iron skillet (we use a regular 9 x 13 pan) and heat the skillet in oven.
2. Beat eggs at high speed with an electric mixer. Slowly add the milk and flour.
3. Pour batter into hot skillet. Return skillet to oven and bake for 20 minutes. It will rise like a souffle, then fall when taken out of oven. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Monday, September 8, 2008

__________ Cake

So I found this recipe for a cake online called Idiot Cake by Dave Lebovitz. I was intrigued by the name so I checked it out. A 4 ingredient cake? Sounds like it must be so easy even an Id... could make it right? I think that's why it's named that, but I don't think you can say even an id... could make it when you have to use a double boiler, spring form pan & cook it in a steam bath. So until I find a better name for it I think I will just call it The Cake Without A Name. Matt thinks I should name it a school he doesn't like or a sports team he doesn't like. I won't name them because you know what they say if you don't have anything nice to say. My friend Heather thinks maybe the name means you're an id... if you take the time required & steps required to make it. Any other thoughts?

I will tell you it was pretty easy to make & it only has 4 ingredients which is nice & if you're craving something rich & chocolately this will hit the spot! It's super super creamy & decadent. It's like a super super moist brownie/cake-like fudge/mousse. It's hard to describe other than just saying yum yum!

Chocolate idiot cake

10 ounces (290 gr) ScharffenBerger bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

7 ounces (200 gr) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (200 gr) sugar

Preheat the oven to 350F (175 C).

1. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan* and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If you suspect your springform pan isn't 100% water-tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
You'll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.
5. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

I had a piece of butter cake at a local bakery a few weeks ago & it was really tasty, so when I saw this recipe from Paula Dean I wanted to try it. I made it for dessert last night & it was delicious! I served it with sliced strawberries & blueberries. It's really rich. It kind of tastes like a really moist blonde brownie.

Gooey Butter Cakes
Recipe from: The Lady & Sons Just Desserts
by Paula H. Deen

Butter Gooey Cakes. Ooey Gooey Butter Cakes. Ooey Booey Gooey Cakes. These are just a few of the names I've heard our guests at The Lady & Sons call 'em. But to quote Shakespeare:

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

This is exactly how I feel about our Gooey Butter Cakes. No matter what you call them, they're like that sweet rose that Shakespeare wrote about. These delectable cakes were an instant hit the first day they showed up in The Bag Lady basket and they immediately became one of my most requested items. These little sweeties actually resemble a bar-type dessert instead of what we know as a traditional cake. Over the years, I have made every flavor imaginable, using this basic recipe. I'll give you some of my recommendations but by all means experiment and have fun creating your very own version of our signature Gooey Butter Cakes.

  • Cake

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

  • Filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1 (16-ounce) box confectioners' sugar

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.

  3. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well.

  4. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point!

  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful little cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way-even for piggies like me!