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Saturday, October 29, 2011

3 SCARY COOKIES FOR HALLOWEEN (#2)




LITTLE MONSTER, SCARY BUG, OR... SOMETHING SCARY, BUT SWEET!!

 I found this idea of scary bug, that is very wonderful for Halloween. The original recipe is made by a dough, you make from scrach (recipe follow at the end), add pretzel sticks for legs, chocolate ganash to cover everything and scary top and red candy eyes.

I was thinking, to get something easy to make from grocery store, because my daugther, will have no  time to bake and prepare the holloween, Landen's costume, and many other thing to prepare.

I bought small, round pieces of brawny from the grocery store, and pick up toppings for ice cream:
small M&M (colored), chocolate fudge sauce and chocolate sprinkles.





You top the brawny with  fudge sauce (cold, not hot!), add the sprinkles and eyes: red are very striking, but you can chose many collors!!


Here is the recipe, from scratch, from "Bon Appetit", from /foodista/.


Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 bag (8 ounces) thin, short pretzel sticks
1 large bag (11 1/2 ounces) milk chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Chocolate sprinkles
Small red candies, such as Red Hots




Preparation
1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
3 In separate, large mixing bowl, beat together butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until well blended.
4 Gradually add the flour mixture and cocoa powder. Beat to form a smooth dough.
5 Roll a tablespoon-sized ball of dough, and place it on a baking sheet. Arrange eight pretzel sticks around the ball like spokes on a wheel. Press the tips of the pretzel sticks firmly into the dough ball. Continue with the rest of the pretzels and dough.
6 Bake until cookies start to brown around edges, about 7-10 minutes.
7 Remove the cookies from the baking sheets with a spatula, and place on wire cooling racks. Let cool completely. Place the racks on sheets of waxed paper.
8 In a double boiler or the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with vegetable oil.
9 Pour the melted chocolate over each cookie. Coat with chocolate sprinkles. Press in two red candy eyes on the front of the head.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

3 SCARY COOKIES FOR HALLOWEEN (#1)




1. WITCH FINGERS, SOAKED IN BLOOD.


 I found this recipe at foodbuz and I was amazed, how scary, realistic, ugly and funny this fingers are!!!
I am posting the recipe here
(Created by Sheri Wetherell  Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Foodista.com) but I tried to found a easy way to bake these fingers, quick and easy, buying dough from groceries store. 
This way you can bake, having fun with your children, cooking and eating, singing and dancing.....

I bought "bread-sticks dough" and i start making long and narrow stinks.







If they are long enough, they can be cut in two and  pressing the end of it, you add an almond flake to give the impression of a nail.




You can be creative and add  few lines to give an appearance of a finger.

You can brush with egg wash, add salt or sugar on top (as you wish), but I chose not to do either.



As packet insert is saying to put in oven at 325F for 10 minutes, this is what I did. 
My husband said I should keep it a little longer to be crispy, not soft as it was after 10 minutes. 5 more minutes, 325F,  came out nice brown and crispy...


The author of this craft's idea is saying to take the "nails" out, add a little raspberry jam (any one you have in the house, red) and put the "nails" back, to give an appearance of bloody fingers....

SCARY AND FUNNY FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN!!!!


This is the recipe for dough from scratch, created by Sheri Wetherell



Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Slivered almonds (approximately 3/4 cup)
Strawberry or raspberry jam


Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and lightly grease baking sheets.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract. Beat together with an electric mixer; gradually add the flour, baking powder, and salt, continually beating; refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
3. Remove dough from refrigerator in small amounts. Scoop 1 heaping teaspoon at a time onto a piece of waxed paper. Use the waxed paper to roll the dough into a thin finger-shaped cookie. Press one slivered almond into one end of each cookie to give the appearance of a long fingernail. Squeeze cookie near the tip and again near the center of each to give the impression of knuckles. You can also cut into the dough with a sharp knife at the same points to help give a more finger-like appearance. Arrange the shaped cookies on the baking sheets.
4. Bake in the preheated oven until the cookies are slightly golden in color, 20 to 25 minutes.
5. Remove the almond from the end of each cookie and carefully spread a bit of jam on the tip of each finger. Replace the almond to cause the jam to ooze out around the tip of the cookie.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 


(next post, second Halloween cookie)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

POLENTA, EGGS AND A SPECIAL CHEESE FROM TRANSYLVANIA




It is such a big joy!! We received this cheese, very special, nowhere else on the planet, the Shepard make this cheese..."BRINZA DE BURDUF" cheese stored in an evergreen tree bark.....
My husband is so happy, his sister brought this cheese from Bran, Transylvania were is their family's home....



The cheese is very specific to southeastern Transylvania, Romania. It is salty type of cheese, with sheep's-milk cheese, has a strong flavor and slightly soft in texture.

 To obtain it, sweet caş ( =unsalted feta cheese) is cut into small pieces, salted and then hand-mixed in a large wooden bowl. The mixture is then placed in a sheep’s stomach, or into a sheep’s skin that has been carefully cleaned and sawed on the edges, or in a tube made of pine bark. The cheese can be consumed even if kept for a long time in a sheep’s stomach or in a sheep’s skin. If kept in pine bark, the cheese gets a specific pine resin flavor. ( From Wikipedia).

We can eat this wonderful cheese many way, and I would like to put a recipe that is the most comforting, deliciously and bring so much child memories, from our winter dinner.

We make first MAMALIGA (known here as polenta). I used to make polenta in a special pot, mixing and mixing corn meal and water until become a heavy consistency. My mother is telling me I should use microwave to boil polenta, it is easy and is very good. If my mother is making mamaliga by microwave.... why not me?

Put one cup and 3 cups water, in a microwavable bowl, 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 minutes, high power, mix well, 3 more minutes, mix well and last 3 more minutes, to have a very well made "polenta... hot and soft, ready to eat!

Put mamaliga in a oven proof  container, and make 4 little hot in it, were I am going to put a fresh egg. You can use only one cup for one portion.



Add cheese: it is already crumbled in the bark content, and put in oven for 5 minutes to be well cooked.

The cheese is melted, the eggs are well done and you will have a perfect dish, hot, ya-my and gouwee....




APPLE STRUDEL IN A PHYLLO CUP





 
Using phyllo cups, I found that is an easy way to have apple strudel, as you needed it or how many you need it.

You can prepare and bake the phyllo cups, in advance and you can prepare apple in advance too.


  


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Use one sheet, brushed with melted butter, folded in 3 or
/ layer 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each layer with melted butter


1.      Cut squares with scissors from these folded sheets of phyllo for various muffin tin sizes: 3-1/2 inch squares for mini cups; 5-1/2 inch for standard cups; 8-inch squares for jumbo cups. 



2.      Spray the muffin tins with vegetable oil spray.

3.      Press the layered phyllo squares gently but firmly against the bottoms and sides of the muffin cups.



4.      Bake the empty shells until they are crisp and golden about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before filling.  




5.       The cups can be prepared and baked 2 to 3 days in advance and stored in a covered airtight container.  Note: Avoid filling them until just before serving. Moist contents will cause the phyllo to become soggy.


You can fill these cups with many fruits and combination. For apple strudel you  peel, core the apple, 4lb (I use Macintosh, but is all about your preference) thin sliced  and add  2 tablespoon sugar and put in a pot, on stove, for few minutes until they are translucent, not watery. I like to add cinnamon, vanilla, walnuts, and raisin.


 
 You can keep this cooked apple in refrigerator for few days and fill up phyllo cups as you need it.


 When the apples are cool, fill up the phyllo cup and add powder sugar. Bone appetite!


 

Easy Dinner Recipes

I just came across of this site and it is a very good tool for planing meals and save money. 



 Easy Dinner Recipes

There are a few strategies that you can employ to make your dinner cooking experiences a little bit more efficient.
For most people, cooking dinner is quite a difficult task to complete after a long day of work. A typical work day will last 10 hours including the trips to and from work. Fortunately, there are many things that you can do to make dinner cooking an easier task for yourself.
1. There are  many easydinner recipes that require very little effort, and IS FREE. 2.There are new cooking tools that make cooking more efficient, and
3.there also grocery strategies that will make your life easier.

Let’s talk about some of these things. 

Technology in the kitchen has come a long way. There are many new tools that you can add to your kitchen supplies that will make whipping up recipes easier than ever. The first tool that you can add to your kitchen is a wok. A wok allows you to make delicious stir-fries in bulk, which allow for days of delectable leftovers. It’s designed to cook with oils like soybean oil, peanut oil, and corn oil. It’s also a good idea to cook meat first, and then toss in vegetables, which cook a lot faster. Another good option is a crock-pot. Crock-pots are excellent cooking tools for making tasty vegetable and meat stews. Both of these items are really open to a lot of foods and experimentation, so don’t be scared to try a bunch of different ingredients. Lastly, if you’re into sandwiches, try getting a little flat-iron grill. They make great melted and toasted sandwiches. You can also cook breakfast and many other unique items with a grill. Don’t be scared to try whatever you want!

Another good idea when it comes to making dinner an easier task is premade dinners. When you visit your local grocery store, there are many different premade meal options in the frozen food section You can practically find any type of meal that will fit your food preferences. One thing you may need to watch out for is the nutritional content. A lot of these premade meals might contain too much saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. However, if you’re adamant about looking at the nutrition, you’ll be sure to find a meal that will work for you.

Lastly, it would be a great idea for you to keep staples in your kitchen. Staples are foods like meat, noodles, and a variety of easy to cook foods. There are so many recipes that include staple foods that you will have no trouble finding an easy recipe within your food preferences. Also, staple foods can be easily mixed and matched with a variety of other ingredients to make them taste great!

Once you invest in the previously mentioned strategies, you’ll find that cooking is a lot easier and less time-consuming. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

APPLE COBBLER WITH A FLAKY PASTRY TOPPING


Cooks Illustrated, Desserts 





Flaky pastry topping


1c flour
¼ tsp salt
1tbs sugar
6tbs chilled butter, cut into sm. Pieces
2tbs chilled all-vegetable-shortening
2tbs ice water
1tbs milk


DIRECTION:



  1. Mix flour, salt, sugar in food processor
  2. Add butter, with pulses. Add shortening.
  3. Add 2tbs water, must be dough. If it is not add 1tbs water.

  





  1. Place dough on a sheet of plastic wrap and press to make a round/square shape.
  2. Refrigerate, until you prepare fruit.

 
Apples (sliced)=  1 ½ lb  +  2tsp  cornstarch  +   ½ cup sugar  +  cinnamon, vanilla, grounds walnuts.

   


  1. Place dough on top of fruit.
  2. Brush dough with milk, and sprinkle with sugar. Cut few shape, for vent.








    1. Bake (375F) for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, scoring the crust long and cross wide to form 2’ sq.
    2.  Using a large spatula, press the partially baked crust, down into fruit. Continue to bake until crust is golden,15-20 minutes more.

      
    Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

    Bonne apetit!




    Monday, October 3, 2011

    RIBS - BARBEQUE RIBS -the best recipe





    I didn't know how good ribs are, until I ate at a summer party, with lots of beer and lots of ribs...
    I had ribs at many places after that, at parties and restaurants... and I tried quite few recipes, from books, from food network and I find that this Alton Brown's recipe (a little modified by me) it is very good recipe!

    Ingredients

    •          2 whole slabs pork/beef baby back ribs
    .           1 garlic head

    Dry Rub:

    •          3 tablespoons kosher salt
    •          1 tablespoon chili powder/or paprika powder
    •          1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    •          1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
    •          1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
    •          1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    .           2 tablespoon oil
    OPTIONAL, if you want a “little hit”:
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    •          1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning


    Braising Liquid:

    •          1 cup white wine  
               1 cup beer
    •          2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    •          2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
    •          1 tablespoon honey/ or apple juices
    •          2 cloves garlic, chopped


    Directions

    Preheat oven to 250F degrees. 

    In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.  Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat.

    Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour, up to next day.


     Combine all liquid ingredients for the braising liquid.  

    Place the ribs on a baking pan and pour the braising liquid on top of it.

    Push clove of garlic, into the ribs.   



     Cover the ribs with aluminum foil and bake for 4-8h at 250F. Braise the ribs every 1/2 hours. Tilt the baking pan in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. The meat has to be very soft, almost falling from the bones, when is ready.
    NOTE: I don’t like to use this liquid, it is full of fat, from dripping.








    Brush the ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce.





    Place   directly on the pre-heated grill just until the glaze caramelizes lightly and the ribs become dark brown, about 10-15 minutes.

    Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions.

    If you like to use the driping from baking, place the  mixer of dripping with the BBQ sauce  into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze. 

    Serve ribs hot, from the grill with french fry and lots of cold beer, and Bonne apetit!




    Who Loves Ya Baby-Back? food network, 2009 Alton Brown