Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Week 12: Sugar Cookies

Alright. I'm going to admit it. I'm cheating a little bit this week.

This recipe isn't really a new recipe, or something that I made completely.

They were beautifully packaged into this lovely jar by my friend Kelli's sister and mom. For Kelli's bridal shower, I won this lovely jar of sugar cookie mix. The colors were made by mixing the sugar with food coloring and shaking it all up 

I was sitting on the front porch reading when I got home and all of a sudden, the urge to bake wiggled itself into my brain. But, it's 80 out...in March. That means the oven needs to stay off more than on. So these quick sugar cookies were the answer.

I mixed them up, just adding butter (mmm), vanilla and an egg. The only problem I found with them was that the sugar got a little hard from the moisture in the food coloring. I had to break it up with a spoon to get it all into my bowl. Then I mixed. And mixed. And mixed. Bits of stuff were flying around the kitchen. It's not a very wet dough. 

It's kind of a weird green color, if you can't tell. By weird, I mean kind of gross. Ick. It still tasted good too. I'm one of those people who eats raw cookie dough. If I get E. Coli, I will die a happy person with cookie dough in my tummy. I'm a rebel, living on the edge.

*Don't eat raw cookie dough. It might contain E. Coli.*

I bake them. And they were much prettier. A very pale blue-green color with spots of color in it where some sugar didn't fully get mixed in. So pretty.

Look at the clean floor too.

No recipe this week since it wasn't a recipe like I usually make. For jar cookies, just type it into Google and you'll find all kinds of recipes. Jazz up your jar with ribbon, lace, pretty cutouts or something else fancy. Tie on a nice label with the directions and you're all set with a nice gift for someone special.

Week 11: Quiche Lorraine

I once made the made the most amazing scones. They were quiche lorraine scones full of green onions, bacon and swiss cheese. The cheese oozes out of the scones and gets a little crispy sometimes. Mmmm. My mouth waters just thinking about them. Plus they have bacon in them. For some reason, I was thinking about them this week. I wanted the real thing though. I wanted quiche and since I've never made a quiche lorraine, I decided to go for it. This isn't a true quiche lorraine because it has the wrong ingredients, but it's close-ish. And the onions are cooked in the bacon juices. Goodness did my house smell good. Quiche is one of those things that you can really add anything to and it's still good. Got some veggies? Throw them in there. Some meat? Add that too. Cheese? Yum. Throw them in if they match. You just have to be careful not to put too much of something in there because it'll rise a little bit and you don't want it to overflow.

I will also admit that I alternate between being a pack rat and purging my things. I hold on to movie tickets from middle school, books that I might read one day, and calendars. I think that I have four calendars hidden away in boxes or drawers that I, for whatever reason, could possibly use one day. That day was today.


I used the 2007 calendar that had radiographs of flowers in it. They are x-rays of various flowers, all in black and white. Since my new comforter is very slightly off-white, yellow and dark grey. I figured that the black and white flower prints would look really good with my new bedspread. I cut the flower images down to 10 1/2 inch squares then mounted them on 12 inch black foam core. I got to use my spray mount too. Here they are, each image, mounted on my wall. :) You're welcome Mom.


Close ups of the flowers:



Calla Lilies

Lily with Bud



Quiche Lorraine
originally from Hungry Cravings

6 ounces bacon, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt
Freshly ground white pepper
4 ounces shredded Gruyère
1 partially baked pie crust

Heat a medium, heavy sauté pan over medium-low heat until hot but not smoking. Add the bacon and fry, tossing frequently, for 9 to 10 minutes, or until rendered. Transfer the bacon to a small bowl. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan and reserve for another use. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for 7 to 8 minutes, or until soft. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon and let cool. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Blend together the eggs and yolk in a small bowl. Stir in the cream and nutmeg and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Spread the bacon mixture and Gruyère in the bottom of the tart crust. Slowly pour in the egg mixture. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown. Let cool slightly, cut into portions, and serve.

Makes 1 9-inch quiche, serving 6 to 8. Best served warm.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Week 10: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

I made a chocolate chip cheesecake.

It looks just like the picture in the cookbook.

It was a hit.

I had been planning on having some of my work friends over to the new apartment for a housewarming party. Earlier this week at lunch, Beth asked what I was doing this weekend and since it was nothing, absolutely nothing, it was party time. I made cheesecake. I made tasty fruit dip and artfully arranged my apple slices to make them pretty. 

Look at that table. Such a nice display of foods. Want a close up of my pretty apples? 

This is what I get for catering with Uncle Frank and having my mother as my mom. 

The cheesecake recipe came from a cookbook that my brother got me for Christmas, or my birthday. They were combined gifts so it could be either, or both. Anyways, when I unwrapped the book, I was told to look at page 14. It was the cheesecake. I think he went through the entire book, made sure he liked 75% of the dishes, and then purchased it for me. 

I have a bonus recipe for you this week. Along with the apples and strawberries I made apple dip. It's simply a large jar of marshmallow fluff and a block of cream cheese. Mix it all together and eat. 

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (I used chocolate graham crackers)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted 
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, divided 

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
2 large eggs 
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Combine cookie crumbs with butter in medium bowl until moistened; press onto bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup morsels.

Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs and flour. Gradually beat in evaporated milk and sour cream. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with remaining morsels.

Bake for 25 minutes. Cover loosely with foil.

Bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Place in refrigerator immediately; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Remove side of springform pan.

Week 9: Sausage Pasta

I collect recipes. I've been doing it for years and I am just now figuring out how to organize them. Whitnie got me a recipe binder and a recipe box for Christmas. The box now contains recipes that I have tried and I like. The binder, which holds fewer recipes, is reserved for the best recipes that I want to make pretty much every day. Then there are the 3-ring binders. Before I got the recipe books, I printed recipes (with pictures of course) and kept them in 3-ring binders. I have three. The first holds all of my desserts. I need an entire binder just for desserts. The next one is for entrees. The last one is all the cupcakes and muffins that came off my Cupcake-A-Day Calendar that my parents got me a few years ago. 

I was thumbing through my recipe collection Tuesday evening while making my grocery list and found this recipe. When I make my grocery list out, I like to pick recipes for about a week and a half. I find that produce lasts this long and that's about when I get bored with all the leftovers I've made from the previous week and need something new. I usually pick a poultry recipe, a pasta dish and then something vegetarian. There isn't a lot of red meat in my diet since I have some ethical issues with the red meat that is in our grocery stores. This week, the recipe I chose was simply called "Sausage Pasta." 

Sausage Pasta
originally from Let's Start Simple
serves 6
2 tsp crushed red pepper
olive oil
1 lb 6 oz coarse italian sausage, without casing
1 tbsp. oregano
1 cup of white wine
zest and juice of 1 Lemon
1 lb 2 oz fusilli or tortiglioni
2 tbsp. of Butter
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
A small bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon*. Fry it until it's about half brown and then add red pepper flakes. Continue frying, until the meat is all browned. Add oregano** and white wine and let half the wine boil away. Turn down the heat and stir in lemon juice and zest. 

Cook your pasta al dente, according to package instructions or personal preference. When done, drain the pasta and toss with the sausage and sauce in your pan. Add Parmesan, butter and parsley. Mix until everything's evenly distributed on the pasta.

Serve with more pasta and fresh parsley.

*I use a  Pampered Chef tool called the "Mix 'N' Chop" to chop up my ground meat. It's awesome. (Thanks Mom!) I guess it's really good when making meatballs too because you can put all your spices and such into the meat and then mix them up with this guy.*

**Don't forget to wake up your spices if you're using dried ones. "Wake up spices! Flavor my food!"**