Monday, December 20, 2010

Homemade Bagels with Butternut Squash Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese

All I can say is that my husband ate these bagels . . . a few of them . . . WITH the cream cheese! If you know my man this is quite the feat . . . the eating of the butternut squash cream cheese! When I told him I was making bagels he asked if we had cream cheese and I told the boy that I "made some" . . . at which point he said that he had to stop at the store on the way home and would buy some plain cream cheese . . . but he trooped it out . . . came home and enjoyed my creation . . . made my day! I have to say that he is ALWAYS a trooper! All I have to say is pumpkin burgers and my fam will say "yeah you owe the kid big time lady!" Thanks love for being the best sport and indulging your wife by eating things that you normally would never dream of!!! I used the recipe for bagels from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. . . so check out their site for the recipe or better yet the book is a GREAT investment! I love it!

Butternut Squash Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese
Recipe by: Emily

8 oz Cream Cheese, at room temperature
1/2 - 3/4 cup Pureed roasted Butternut Squash
2-3 Tbsp Caramelized Onions
1-2 cloves Roasted Garlic

Mix all of the ingredients together and spread on toasted bagels or use as a spread for sandwiches!!! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Beach Birthday Cake

This beach birthday cake was made for a LOVELY young lady who celebrated her 9th birthday this week! It was a fun distraction from Thanksgiving cooking and shopping prep for black Friday! I hope you had a wonderful birthday Chloe! (and enjoyed your cake)Thanksgiving has come and GONE . . . again . . . our family had a great time AND this years black Friday shopping was a LOT less crazy than in years past! We also hit a few new places to eat and have been filled to the gills for the past few days . . . all in all it was a great Thanksgiving and I hope you all had a wonderful holiday too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Laser Tag Birthday Cake

My kickin' nephew B-man asked me to make his birthday cake again this year . . . (You may remember his Pirate Cake from last year . . .) I swear these kids must think I am like Miss Artist/Sculpture/Baker extraordinaire with there cake requests! I wanted to be an artist when I was a kid and still enjoy painting watercolors but I cannot sculpt worth beans kiddles . . . so your cake figures may look cartoonish at best . . .
. . . but you devour them in a flash . . . and seem pretty tickled in your macho manly high five giving ways . . . so I'm a happy Aunt! (And love you to pieces!) I made a ricotta vanilla cake this year and the Birthday boy requested a laser tag cake with "two guys shooting each other" (with lasers). Next up is a beach themed cake for a birthday girl . . .

Monday, November 15, 2010

Caramel Apple Oven Puffed Pancakes with Apple Butter, Buttermilk Syrup

I am not a huge pancake fan . . . I don't go for "regular" pancakes often . . . but I do LOVE Ricotta pancakes . . . and any "jazzed up pancakes." I made these pancakes with the plethora of apples waiting patiently in my kitchen to shine.I am in love with the apple butter, buttermilk syrup! It would make anything taste good! In fact it was a pretty decadent breakfast! Caramel Apple Oven Puffed Pancakes with Apple Butter, Buttermilk Syrup
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese, or blended cottage cheese, or strained sour cream, or strained yogurt
3/4 cup Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/8 tsp Salt
3/4 cup Milk
3 eggs, divided
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Apple Butter
2 Granny Smith Apples, cored, peeled, and sliced
2 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add butter and brown sugar to an oven safe skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted add the sliced apples and cook until softened and the butter and brown sugar have thickened a bit.

2. While apples are cooking whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar together in a medium bowl. Seperate egg whites and yolks. Combine ricotta cheese, milk, eggs yolks, apple butter and vanilla in another bowl, mixing well. Combine the flour mixture with the ricotta mixture and set aside.

3. Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff. Gently fold egg whites into ricotta batter.

4. Turn off the burner and arrange apples evenly on the bottom of the skillet. Butter the sides of the skillet and then pour the batter over apples and bake in a 375 oven until pancake is puffed and golden brown. Flip pancake onto a plate so that the apples are on top. Serve with butter and syrup or fruit preserves if desired. Enjoy!

Apple Butter Buttermilk Syrup
1 cube Butter (or margarine)
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/3 cup Apple Butter
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, buttermilk, apple butter and vanilla. Cook and stir until thick. Add the baking soda, stir and serve warm.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Carolina Style Nectarine BBQ Pork Ribs

Halloween has come . . . and almost gone again. It is now time to trade in the spider webs and ghoulish decor in our home for fall leaves and turkeys. To welcome fall I made a killer BBQ sauce to baste some amazing ribs for dinner. We loved it!
The next day I shredded the leftover ribs from this recipe, added a little cider vinegar to the meat and made pulled pork sandwiches that were unbelievably delish! I LOVE BBQ! My hubby took me to Troy's BBQ in St. George UT for lunch a few weeks ago and um yeah . . . it was amazing! I am all over their pulled pork and fried leeks! If you haven't been their . . . try it! Carolina Style Nectarine BBQ Sauce
Recipe by: Emily
1 cup *Nectarine Mustard
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup light Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Cider Vinegar
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne (optional)
1/2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Butter
1/2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
Mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan except butter. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir in butter and simmer for 10 more minutes. Use to baste meats, or as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!

For the ribs I put boneless pork ribs in the crock pot smothered in Carolina Nectarine BBQ Sauce and slow cooked them until nice and tender. I usually reserve 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and lay the ribs on a baking sheet when they are done, baste them with more sauce and broil them for a minute to get an intense BBQ sauce coating.

*I made nectarine mustard this summer and canned it . . . use any mustard in place of it if you need to!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Chicken Chow Mein with Crispy Wonton Noodles

I am a home body when it comes to eating . . . I like eating out here and there but there is nothing quite like cooking at home and knowing what you put into your food and having the satisfaction of presenting something delish to your family and enjoying it together.
This recipe is proof that making dinner surpasses going out in my mind. Last night was the perfect night to kick it at home with my handsome husband, eat chow mein and watch Halloween movies! The wonton noodles were ueber yummy and we dusted the remainder noodles with cinnamon and sugar and munched some more during our flick. Es Smeckt!
Chicken Chow Mein
Recipe by: Emily

1/4 cup Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
1/2 cup Boiling Water
1 medium Onion, sliced into "moons"
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Celery Salt
3 cups low-sodium Beef Broth
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Vegetable or Canola oil
2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1 cup Celery, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
2 Large Chicken Breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small can sliced Water chestnuts, drained
1 can Bean Sprouts, drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with the boiling water allowing mushrooms to seep for 10 minutes. Remove mushrooms and save for another recipe. Set the mushroom broth aside to use.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides. Add the onions and cook until the chicken is done. Set the chicken and onions aside in a bowl while preparing the gravy.

3. Add the garlic to the pan that the chicken was cooked in and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 1/2 cups of the beef broth and the reserved mushroom broth, and bring to a boil.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup beef broth, cornstarch, celery salt, 2 teaspoons brown sugar and soy sauce. Add the cornstarch mixture to the saucepan and return the mixture to a boil. Add the chicken and onions back to the pan and reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the gravy is slightly thickened. Add the water chestnuts and sprouts. Serve over crispy wonton noodles. Enjoy

Crispy Wonton Noodles
2 cups Vegetable oil
1 package Wonton Wrappers, cut into thin strips about 1/4-inch wide

Heat vegetable oil in a skillet or pan with deep sides until it reaches 350 degrees F. Fry the strips in the hot oil, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the heat with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

* Coat any leftover crispy wonton noodles with cinnamon and sugar and enjoy as a snack!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dulce De Leche Banana Pie

I think we are going to have this pie on our dessert menu for our Halloween festivities! We loved it! Easy, fast, no fuss, and delish!!! I love recipes like that. I think it would also be awesome to add a no bake pumpkin layer to it too! I think this is the easiest and fastest recipe I have ever posted! Dulce De Leche Banana Pie
Recipe: Emily

1 can Dulce De Leche
2-3 Bananas
1 Graham Cracker crust
1 Tub Cool Whip

Spread 1/3 of Dulce De Leche on the bottom of a graham cracker crust. Slice bananas and add one layer over the Dulce De Leche. Spread another 1/3 of the Dulce De Leche over the banana layer and then top with another banana layer. Spread the remaining 1/3 of Dulce De Leche over the second banana layer. Top with cool whip and refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pork Banh Mi Sandwiches

I have been following the food truck competition on the Food Network on and off the past few weeks and became obsessed with trying a Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich!!! They looked SOOOO good on the show and I had never tried one . . . so after tinking in the kitchen and trying out a few recipes . . . this is the winner that I found! Pork Banh Mi Marinade
Recipe by: Emily

1 lb Pork, sliced thin, use loin or chops
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
3 tsp Sugar
1-2 tsp Black Pepper
1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 tsp Sesame Oil
3 Tbsp Shallots, minced
1/8 tsp Onion powder
Juice of a Lime
Pincc of Red Pepper Flakes

1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients and allow pork to marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight. Grill in batches over medium low-medium heat to caramelize the meat.

Pickled Carrot Slaw

1 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes
1 Green Onion, chopped
2 cups of julienned vegetables- I used carrots alone . . . but you can use one cup of carrots and 1 cup of daikon radish if you like. (I am not a radish fan)

1. Combine rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper flakes in a microwavable bowl. Microwave for one minute and stir to dissolve sugar and salt. Add julienned carrots to vinegar mixture and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight. Add the green onion just before serving.

Additional Sandwich Ingredients:

1 Crusty loaf of French Bread or 2-3 Small Baguettes
Cucumber Slices
Fresh Cilantro

To assemble the sandwich portion the french bread into 3 pieces and slice each in half length wise. Lightly toast the bread on a grill or in the oven. Spread the bread with mayonnaise, layer meat, sliced cucumber, pickled carrot slaw, and cilantro sprigs onto bread. Enjoy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coconut Shrimp Curry

I LOVE cooking with coconut milk . . . but try not to too often because it is some rich and heavy stuff (although I do opt to use lite coconut milk often enough when I do cook with it). Pairing coconut milk with curry is out of this world! This curry is rich and creamy . . . decadent if anything. My favorite curry is from Benja's Thai restaurant in St. George, Utah. The Yellow Curry is my very favorite . . . but everything else we have tried rocks too! If you ever get the chance . . . go there! The food is awesome and the hubs and I CRAVE their sushi 24/7!!!
I also ventured out today and bought a jar of italian pickled garlic . . . anyone ever cooked with it before? The girl at the store sold me on its many uses and how interchangeable it is in Italian cooking with regular garlic, and that it is awesome in salsa and good to eat on its own . . . we shall see . . .Coconut Shrimp Curry
Recipe by: Emily

1 1/2 lbs Shrimp, shelled, cleaned and tails removed
1/2 cup Red or Green Belle pepper, diced
1 cup Red Onion, diced
3 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Oil
1 can Coconut milk
1-2 tsp Curry Powder
1/4 cup Fischer Wieser-Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce
Garlic Chili Paste, optional- (add if you want more heat!!!)
1/2 tsp dried Basil or 1 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
1-2 Tbsp Soy Sauce, or Wasabi Soy Dipping Sauce, to taste
1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch, optional . . . add if you want a thicker sauce

1. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat, add the diced onion and cook for 5 minutes, then add the green pepper to the onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the garlic, curry powder and basil to the onion and peppers and cook for one minute.
2. Slowly stir in the coconut milk, mango habanero sauce, and soy sauce. Bring coconut milk to a simmer and add the shrimp. Cook until shrimp begin to turn pink. Whisk in the cornstarch and allow to thicken for another minute or two, taste and season if needed. Remove from heat and serve over rice. Enjoy!

If you can't find the mango ginger habanaro sauce, use mango or apricot jam instead with a teaspoon of minced ginger and a teaspoon (or more) of minced habanaro or jalapeno.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Baked Coconut Shrimp Po'boys

We were SOOOO craving coconut shrimp at our house the other day . . . but I so did not want to deal with splattered grease everywhere . . . nor did I really want to have anything deep fried . . . so we opted to make BAKED coconut shrimp . . . and they rocked!!!
The key to the toasty, crunchy, oh so delish baked shrimp was toasting the coconut before coating the shrimp. I also add a little panko in to ensure a good crunch and to not overpower the shrimp with coconut (can that really happen . . .?) Anywho we LOVED them and ate them one day as a main entree and another day utilized them to make Po'boys. My hubs approved all the way! Baked Coconut Shrimp Po'boys
Recipe by: Emily

1-1 1/2 lb Shrimp, peeled and cleaned with tails removed, medium or large
2 cups Sweetened Flaked Coconut
1/2 cup Panko crumbs
3 egg Whites
1/2 cup flour
Franks Red Hot Wing's Sauce -Sweet Heat BBQ
Fischer Wieser-Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
Hoagie Rolls, lightly buttered and toasted

1. Evenly spread coconut on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, until lightly browned.
2. Pat shrimp dry. Set up your breading station by combining 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in one bowl, the egg whites with 1-2 teaspoons of Franks Red Hot Wing's Sauce -Sweet Heat BBQ beaten together, and the panko crumbs and toasted coconut mixed in a third bowl.
3. Lightly dust shrimp with flour mixture then dip in egg white mixture and then coconut mixture.
4. Place coated shrimp on a lightly oiled cookie sheet to bake. Once all of the shrimp are coated bake for 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree preheated oven, turning shrimp over with a spatula half way to ensure even toasting. Serve shrimp with your favorite dipping sauce or make a Po'boy sandwich with lettuce, tomato and Em's yummy sauce. Enjoy!

Em's Yummy Dipping Sauce
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
a couple of drops of Franks Red Hot Wing's Sauce -Sweet Heat BBQ
2-3 Tbsp, Fischer Wieser-Mango Ginger Habanero Sauce
Squeeze of Lime

Mix together and serve as a dip for coconut shrimp, or as a spread for Po'boy sandwiches.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Chicken Pillows

I am 99.9% sure that everyone in Utah (if not the entire US) has a recipe for Chicken Pillows. So I guess that makes this a classic. Some of you may roll your eyes and say "Chicken Pillows" . . . seriously . . . but they are delish . . . so here they are.
I like a little crunch in mine so I always add either toasted chopped pecans, diced celery or green onion or all of the above when I have them on hand. Then I roll them in either panko crumbs, cracker crumbs, crushed corn flakes, crushed stuffing or croutons or whatever other brilliant ingredients that I have on hand. I top off my chicken pillows with homemade chicken gravy, but you can also use cream of mushroom or cream of chicken soup thinned out.
I have been distracted from posting due to family reunions (had SOOOO much fun!!!) and my new obsession with geneology!!! I made a "spring cake" and "fall cupcakes" for a Relief Society Enrichment dinner and of course had to share more pics!
Chicken Pillows
Recipe by: Emily

1 Tube Crescent Rolls
2 cups Roasted Chicken, diced or shredded
1 8oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
2 Green Onions, chopped
1/4 cup Celery, chopped fine
1/4 cup Pecans, chopped and toasted
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, cracker crumbs etc.

1. Combine the cream cheese, chicken, green onions, celery, pecans and salt and pepper together.
2. Unroll crescent rolls and evenly divide the chicken mixture onto each unrolled roll.
3. Roll or fold the crescent roll dough over the filling, making sure that all of the filling is enclosed in the dough, it will look "something like a pillow."
4. Roll the dough pillows in the melted butter and then in the crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 14- 17 minutes or until golden brown. Top pillows with gravy to serve! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

German Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy

On Sunday evening I browsed the many cookbooks that I brought back with me from Germany and made a list of recipes that I want to make . . . . so I will hopefully be posting more German recipes here within the next few weeks/months. I love German food! It is VERY hearty. I especially love the Knoedls and Kloese that accompany so many meals. I am definitely going to be making some in the near future.
German Meatballs with Buttermilk Gravy
Recipe by: Emily
2 lbs Lean Ground Beef
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/3 cup FRESH Bread Crumbs
1 Small Onion, diced small
2 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard or Regular Yellow Mustard
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 Tbsp Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 Medium Onion, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Buttermilk
1 tsp Brown sugar
2 Tbsp Butter

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, melt together. Add the 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar to the melted butter/oil, add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown. Lower heat to medium low and continue to cook onion stirring occasionally until softened and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes.
2. While the onions cook, mix the egg, bread crumbs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard together in a bowl. In a medium bowl add the ground beef, diced onion and bread crumb mixture together. Mix gentle until the onions and bread crumbs are evenly incorporated. Shape into walnut sized meatballs. After the onions are caramelized add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the onions to deglaze the pan. Remove the onions from the skillet and set aside. Add 1 -2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and fry the meatballs on each side over medium heat until browned.
3. Remove meatballs from the skillet and add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk the buttermilk into the flour, continue whisking until the gravy is smooth. Taste gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Add the caramelized onions and meatballs back to the skillet and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the gravy has thickened. Serve over hot spaetzle noodles. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Spaetzle with Caramelized Onions

I love spaetzle . . . I love to make it and use it in SO many dishes . . . plus my skills at making it have improved drastically over the years. One of my favorite ways to eat it is also incredibly simple. It just takes a little time . . . but is worth it in the end!
I love the look, shape and texture of the noodles. They look homemade, have perfect curves and shapes for cradling gravies and sauces . . . plus if you go to your cupboard and are out of pasta or noodles you can make a batch of spaetzle faster than you can hit the grocery store.
Spaetzle with Caramelized Onions
Recipe by: Emily

2 cups Flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup of Milk
1 tsp Salt
Dash of Nutmeg
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 tsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Butter
Chopped Parsley (optional)

1. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, melt together. Add the 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar to the melted butter/oil, add the sliced onion and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown. Lower heat to medium low and continue to cook onion stirring occasionally until softened and caramelized, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. While the onions cook mix the flour, nutmeg and salt together in a medium bowl. Mix the eggs and milk together in a separate bowl then add to the flour mixture. Whisk together until no lumps are left in the dough. Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place a colander or course sieve over the boiling water, scrape the spaetzle dough through the colander holes using a scraper or spoon allowing the dough to drop into the boiling water like teardrops. Boil the spaetzle for 6-8 minutes or until all of the noodles float to the top, stirring gently to separate noodles if needed. Drain noodles in a colander and rinse with water.
4. Add the remaining butter to the onions, add the spaetzle noodles to the onions and cook for 3-5 minutes, season with salt and pepper. This makes a great side dish for any German fare or alone. Enjoy!

-You can also toast fresh bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top or your favorite shredded cheese.
- Spaetzle is a great sub for macaroni noodles in mac and cheese or in soups!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Over the Top Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry-Rhubarb Buttermilk Syrup

This french toast is over the top! If you need a breakfast that is just going to brighten your day and tickle your toes you have found it! I LOVE this french toast!!! The syrup is D-E-L-I-S-H as is the cream cheese filling . . . second best part is that it is super fast and easy to make! YUM-O!!! At girls camp our amazing cook made buttermilk syrup and added a container of strawberry yogurt to it =wonderful stuff so thanks for the ideas Colleen!Over the Top Stuffed French Toast with Strawberry-Rhubarb Buttermilk SyrupRecipe by: Emily

1 loaf White Bread or Brioche
5 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/3 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
8 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup Brown Sugar

1. Mix the cream cheese and brown sugar together using a fork. Set aside. Beat the eggs, milk, vanilla, and sugar together in a shallow bowl or pie plate. Set aside.
2. Cut the bread into thick 1 inch slices. Make a pocket in the bread by slicing into the top in the middle. (Or you can use two regular slices of bread and spread the cream cheese between the two slices.)
3. Stuff the bread pocket with 1-2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture, dip the stuffed bread into the egg mixture coating well on both sides.
4. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium-low to medium heat. Lightly butter the pan and fry the french toast on both sides until golden brown. Serve with Strawberry-Rhubarb Syrup. Enjoy!

Strawberry Rhubarb Buttermilk Syrup

1 cube Butter (or margarine)
1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/3 cup Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Cook and stir until thick. Add the baking soda, stir, add the jam. Serve warm and enjoy!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Za-Zoom Meatballs

I hope that everyone had a wonderful July 4th weekend! We celebrated today by going out to breakfast and then by watching our towns Independence Day Parade. It was a good day. The hubs and I were too tired to go out and watch the fireworks . . . but we heard them. We will have to do that on the 24th for sure.
My hubby and I were out of town last week . . . so I have been trying to cook "real food" the past few days and hence this little jem of a recipe. He was on a golf getaway with his amazing Dad and I was chewing dust and squealing over bugs in the mountains with the girls in our ward . . . it was wonderful and a day! Za-Zoom Meatballs
Recipe by: Emily

Meat Balls:7 Tbsp Soy sauce, low sodium
6 Tbsp Sugar
1 teaspoon Garlic salt
2 Tbsp Water
3 Scallions, diced
1 tsp Ginger
2 lb Ground beef
1 cup Bread crumbs, I love panko for this!
1 tsp Black Pepper, freshly cracked

Za-Zoom Sauce:1 cup Brown sugar
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 1/2 cups Water
1 teaspoon Ginger, mashed and minced1 1/2 cups Catsup
1/3 cup Pineapple Juice
1/3 cup Vinegar
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and set aside.

2. Mix all of the ingredients together except for the ground beef and bread crumbs. Let sit for 10 minutes.

3. Place the beef in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Put the crumbs in the well and pour the soy sauce mixture over crumbs. Blend beef and crumb mixture together thouroughly with your hands.

4. Shape ground beef mixture into balls and brown in oil.

5. Place the browned meat balls in an oven safe baking dish; pour the sauce over them and bake at 300 F. for one hour. Serve over rice or alone. Enjoy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

L.A. Lakers Cake

My nephew turned 7 years old this week and requested for me to make an L.A. Lakers birthday cake for him . . . so we went off of his favorite player . . . "The Black Mamba" . . . Kobe Bryant. Yes I realize that Odom's # is 7 . . . by "Big T" turned 7 so we had to put that on his jersey . . . but made a black mamba snake as a reference to Bryant. I won't lie . . . I am NOT an L.A. Laker fan . . . Oh the things an aunt is willing to do for her nieces and nephews . . .

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Caramelized Onion Marinara

Pasta is a labor of love for me . . . I love to eat it and make it! I especially LOVE homemade marinara sauce!!! I don't mind simmering pasta sauce on the stove half the day while I clean house and fold laundry . . . those are the best days to make it because after working all day you can sit down to a plate of heaven!!! This time around I really cooked my sauce down and made it thick and rich. The sugar from the tomatoes caramelized . . . everything in the sauce melted together and became rich, and oh so tasty! I love this recipe!Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Garlic, and Caramelized Onion MarinaraRecipe by: Emily

1 large red Onion, chopped
4 14 oz cans diced Tomatoes
5-6 cloves roasted Garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped Sun dried Tomatoes in oil
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 tsp Brown Sugar
2-3 tsp Sugar
1 tsp dried Basil
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1. Heat the Olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Cook onions for 4-5 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown. Lower heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the diced tomatoes with juice, sun dried tomatoes, 2-3 teaspoons of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, minced roasted garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, dried basil and tomato paste to the onions. Lower heat if needed and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. After simmering for 2 hours taste sauce and season with salt and pepper. Serve over your favorite pasta! Enjoy

-This sauce is thick and has a rich sweetness that I love and really brings out the roasted garlic and sun dried tomoato flavors.
-You can also add fresh basil at the end if you like and or parsley.

-If you want the sauce to be less chunky use a potato masher and mash down the sauce half way through cooking, or puree 2 of the cans of diced tomatoes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sesame, Orange, Wasabi Noodles with Crispy Fried Tofu

I was on a bit of a Tofu kick while my hubby was away for a few days . . . he was glad to have missed my little experimentation with tofu in the kitchen . . . poor boy doesn't know what he is missing!
I promised him when we got married that he would never have to eat tofu AND that I would never "sneak" it into anything that I made. I have held to that promise . . . even though he may not fully believe me . . . anyways I like tofu, I may never crave it but I think it is fun to experiment with. I really liked it in this dish . . . with a crispy texture on the outside and the soft middle inside. It was pretty tasty! The cilantro and green onion add a great flavor and texture as well . . . I wouldn't bother making this dish if you don't have the fresh herbs and scallions!
Sesame, Orange, Wasabi Noodles with Crispy Fried Tofu
Recipe by: Emily
1-2 packages Udon noodles (or any favorite Asian noodle)
1 block Firm Tofu
1/2 cup Corn Meal
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup Canola Oil (you can also use peanut or vegetabel oil)
1 Red Pepper, seeded and julienned
1/4 -1/3 cup Wasabi Soy Dipping Sauce
2 tsp Canola Oil
2-3 Tbsp Orange Juice
1/2-1 tsp Orange Zest
1 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
1 1/2 tsp Sugar
2 Green Onions, diced
1 handful Cilantro, torn or chopped
Toasted Sesame Seeds to garnish

1. Slice the tofu in half lengthwise and then into 1/2 inch slices. Place the sliced tofu in a sallow dish and drizzle with the wasabi soy sauce, turn tofu over to coat both sides. Allow tofu slices to marinate for 1/2 hour.

2. Prepare noodles according to package directions and set aside.

3. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Mix the corn meal with a pinch of cayenne pepper in a bowl. Dip the tofu slices in the cornmeal mixture to coat on all sides, tapping away excess meal. (Be sure to save the wasabi soy sauce.) Fry the tofu in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side in the oil until lightly browned. Drain the tofu slices on a paper towel and set aside.

4. Remove the oil from the pan and wipe skillet with a paper towel. Add 2 tsp of oil back to the pan; add the red pepper to the skillet and stir fry for a few minutes to soften slightly. Add the reserved wasabi soy sauce, orange juice, sesame oil, sugar, and green oniont to the skillet. Cook for 1 minute; add the noodles and toss to coat. Plate the noodle mixture then top with crispy tofu slices, cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hot and Sour Soup

I LOVE oriental food! I love spicy things and I love the back of the throat heat that is in this soup! Ironically I made this on the hottest day of summer that we have had so far and tonight I am freezing due to the weather change and the fact that our AC was blasting all day while we were out of town today . . . so I could really go for a bowl of this soup now to thaw my frozen toes!
Hot and Sour SoupRecipe by: Emily

1/2 cup dried Shitaki Mushrooms
1 tsp peeled and minced Ginger
1 tsp Red Chile Paste, such as sambal oelek (add more if you like it really hot)
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 cup canned Bamboo Shoots, sliced
2 boneless Pork Chops, sliced into 1 inch strips
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
Fresh cracked Pepper
1 tsp Sugar
1 Quart Chicken Stock
1 inch piece Ginger, peeled and quartered
1 Green Onion, cut into quarters
4 sprigs of Cilantro
1/2 square Firm Tofu, drained and sliced in 1/4-inch strips
6 tsp Cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Chopped green onions and cilantro leaves, for garnish


1. Steep the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until plumped. Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
2. Heat one quart of chicken stock over medium-low heat in a sauce pan, add the peeled and quartered ginger, quarted green onion, and 4 sprigs of cilantro to the pot. Allow chicken stock to steep for 1/2 an hour before using simmering lightly. Be sure to strain the ginger, green onion and cilantro from the stock.

3. Heat the oil in a wok or large pot over medium-high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, add to the wok. Cook for 3 or 4 few minutes until lightly browned. Add the minced ginger, chili paste, shitaki mushrooms, bamboo shoots; cook and stir for 1 minute to infuse the flavors. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl, pour it into the wok and toss everything together. Pour in the Chicken Stock, bring the soup to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tofu and cook for 3 minutes.

4. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and stir until smooth. Mix the slurry into the soup and continue to simmer until the soup thickens. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1 direction to get a current going, then stop stirring. Slowly pour in the beaten eggs in a steady stream and watch it spin around and feather in the broth (it should be cooked almost immediately.) Garnish the hot and sour soup with chopped green onions and cilantro before serving.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My FAVORITE Mac N' Cheese . . . with Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Onions, Chicken and Parmesan Cheese!

Mac N' Cheese is a regular on the favorite comfort food list . . . but it makes a rare appearance at my house . . . so when I do make it from scratch I like to go all out and make it with some of my favorite ingredients like roasted garlic, caramelized onions, Parmesan cheese, chicken and buttery brioche bread crumbs. Delish!!! My FAVORITE Mac N' Cheese
Recipe by: Emily

2 cups Elbow Macaroni
3 Chicken Breasts, boneless and skinless
1 medium Onion, chopped
4 Roasted Garlic Cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 1/2 cups Milk
1 cup Shredded Provolone Cheese
1 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese
3 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 cups Bread Crumbs, I like to use coarse brioche crumbs best
1. Cook macaroni according to directions on the package to al dente. Drain pasta and set aside in a large bowl.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan, melt together. Add the 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar to the melted butter/oil, add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until onions begin to brown. Lower heat to medium low and continue to cook onion stirring occasionally until softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes.

3. While the onions cook cut 3 chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces. Once the onions have caramelized for 15 minutes, higher the temperature to medium and add the chicken pieces to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is browned and just cooked through. Add the minced roasted garlic to the chicken and remove skillet from heat. Spoon chicken over the macaroni and set aside while making the cheese sauce. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Use the same skillet that you cooked the chicken in to make the sauce, it will deglaze the pan. Higher heat to medium, add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the melted butter and whisk while cooking for 1 minute until incorporated and smooth. Add 2 1/2 cups milk to the flour/butter mixture and whisk while continuing to cook. Once the milk mixture begins to thicken and bubble add the shredded cheeses and continue to whisk until the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes. Taste cheese sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni and chicken mixture and mix well. Pour macaroni mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish and top with 2 cups of brioche bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bread crumbs are browned and the macaroni is bubbly. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving, enjoy!

Bike Birthday Cake and Princess Tiana Birthday Cake . . .

I love making cakes for my nieces and nephews and family members! . . . May and June are very busy birthday months in our family . . . so here are two of the latest to make their appearances at parties this month . . . Princess Tiana was a delicious white cake with a white chocolate buttercream frosting and was requested by the little princess below who just turned 3! Look at those brown eyes! She is going to be a serious heartbreaker one day! (Thank you handsome husband of mine for whipping out the fantastic cupcakes for the party too!) Below is the bike cake that I made for my nephew who turned 6. It was a from the heart cake all the way with his fam cheering him on as he crossed the finish line in a birthday bike race! Love you B & K! Thanks for being such a great sports kiddles and letting your aunt make your cakes!