Archive | October, 2010

Halloween Bark

31 Oct

Happy Halloween everyone! The husband and I were boring this year and didn’t dress up or go to any parties. I think this means we are officially old. Ah well….

Over on the Nest I organized a Secret Ghost swap with my fellow April 2010 ladies in which we all sent our Secret Ghost’s some Halloween candy or candy in general. I new I wanted to make something and when I saw the recipe for Halloween Bark in my Bon Appetite magazine I knew that’s what I would make.

You won’t even believe how easy and versatile this recipe is. I pretty much took the idea behind the recipe and completely customized it to my specifications. And it came out delicious, and thankfully shipped well and arrived in one piece! (well, many pieces, but you get the picture)

 

Halloween Bark

Adapted from Bon Appetite Magazine October ’10

  • 2 lbs semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 8-10 mini dark chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into quarters
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate M&Ms
  • 5-8 mini Milky Way bars, cut in half and then thirds
  • 3/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips
  • milk

Using a double boiler, or a sauce pan with a stainless steel bowl on top, melt chocolate chips. Line baking pan with tin foil. Once the chips are completely melted spread on the tin foil lines pan. Add coconut flakes. Then spread the M&Ms, Milky Way bars, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and press down slightly so they adhere to the chocolate.

Melt butterscotch chips, add a bit of milk to make the chips smoother. Using a spoon drizzle melted butterscotch chips over the candy concoction. Repeat with cinnamon chips.

Freeze for at least an hour, overnight is better. Remove from tin foil and break into pieces.

Feel free to use our favorite candy for this recipe. The possibilities are endless!

Daring Baker’s: (Cider) Donuts!

27 Oct

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

One of the first things that comes to mind when you think of New England and Fall, it’s apple picking. And a day of apple picking is never complete without eating 1 (or 30) cider donuts. I mean, apple picking is pretty exhausting. It’s important to get one’s stamina back by consuming copious amounts of cider donuts and apple cider. Last fall Mr. Kitchen Misfit and I went to Russell Orchards located in Ipswich, MA. They are famous for their hot right-out-of-the-oven cider donuts. In fact, they tell you not to open the bag of donuts right away because the steam is so hot you could burn yourself. That’s just how fresh they are.

I knew that for this challenge I needed to make cider donuts. The New Englander in me just didn’t see it any other way. I initially was going to go the baked route but couldn’t find a recipe I liked that I could bake without procuring a baking pan. The recipe I ended up using was absolutely perfect and the taste of the apple cider was AMAZING.

Apple Cider Donuts

As found via the Washington Post

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat work fine)
  • Canola oil for frying

In a saucepan over medium or medium-low heat, gently reduce the apple cider to about 1/4 cup, 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.

Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat the butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat until the eggs are completely incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the reduced apple cider and the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue to mix just until the dough comes together.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or wax paper and sprinkle them generously with flour. Turn the dough onto 1 of the sheets and sprinkle the top with flour. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still wet. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Pull the dough out of the freezer. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. Place the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (You may re-roll the scraps of dough, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)

Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan (I used a dutch oven) to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees. Place paper towels on a plate. Carefully add a few doughnuts to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden brown, about 60 seconds. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, 30 to 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels after the doughnuts are fried. Side Note: While the donuts are frying, place the remaining dough in the refrigerator. I had a couple of misshapen donuts because the dough was warm and therefore stretched A LOT.

Option #1 – Apple cider glaze – Combine 1 cup confectioners sugar and 2 tbsp apple cider. When donuts are cool enough to handle dip the tops in the glaze.

Option #2 – Cinnamon sugar dusting – Combine 4 tbsp cinnamon with 4 tbsp sugar. When donuts are cool enough to handle mix the cinnamon sugar over the donuts until fully covered.

Consume immediately!

Pumpkin Scones

21 Oct

When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Scone’s on Pennies on A Platter I told myself that I would be making this very soon. I think I ended up making these a few days later! That’s how good the recipe sounded! And they were much more affordable than going to Starbucks and buying one! Not to mention they were soft and delicious.

Speaking of Starbucks, I had their pumpkin latte for the first time this season (SHOCKER!) and I have to say I was disappointed in the flavor. Last year I devoured Starbucks Pumpkin Latte’s by the gallon and it just didn’t have that umph! of flavor anymore! Now, Dunkin’ Donuts on the other hand? A-freaking-mazing. I also recently bought a bunch of Green Mountain Pumpkin Spice Coffee K-Cups for my Keurig coffee maker and I have been a very happy camper since.

Did I mention how much I love this time of year? Best.Season.Ever. If our dating anniversary didn’t happen to fall on a weekend I totally would have gotten married in October. But I was impatient, to say the least.

Pumpkin Scones

Recipe Source: Pennies on A Platter

For the scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (I used allspice)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 Tbsp half-and-half
  • 1 large egg

For the Sugar Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

For the Spiced Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 425˚F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Use a pastry blender or food processor to cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly in texture and resembles coarse cornmeal.

In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, half and half, and egg.  Fold into the dry ingredients until barely combined.  It is very important not to over mix the batter.  At this point it should still be kind of dry and crumbly.

Loosely form the dough into a ball.  Pat it into a 1-inch thick, 9″x3″ rectangle onto a lightly floured surface.

Use a sharp knife to slice the dough through it’s width into three equal portions. Cut each section diagonally to produce 6 triangular slices of dough.  (Or, you can slice “X’s” in each section to form 12 triangles.)

Place each slice on prepared baking sheet and bake for 14 – 16 minutes, until the scones are golden brown.

Let cool completely on wire rack. In the meantime, add the ingredients for both the sugar and spice glaze, adding more sugar to make it thicker or milk to thin it out. Drizzle glazes onto the cooled scones.

Consume immediately. Maybe spread on some Apple Butter to make this even more delicious.

Stuffed Cabbage

14 Oct

Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

Well, in case you’ve missed the memo these AREN’T grape leaves. It’s stuffed cabbage. I unfortunately could not, for the life of me, find grape leaves, fresh or jarred. I really would have liked to make grape leaves too, because I got the recipe from my mom, who makes awesome grape leaves. But isn’t that what the Daring Cooks are all about? Using your imagination, not letting a silly thing like not finding the main ingredient for this month’s challenge get you down.  I still liked the outcome of this recipe. I would suggest adding some more spice to it, probably in the form of cumin or red pepper flakes to spice it up a bit, since it was lacking some flavor. But they were still very tasty.

Stuffed Cabbage

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

  • 1 large head of cabbage
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 4 cups tomato puree

Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Cut out the center of the cabbage and place in pan. Boil cabbage for 2-3 minutes, until the outer layers are bright green and tender. Lift cabbage from water, and remove outer layer. Place back in boiling water, and repeat until all leaves are cooked. Reserve 2 cups of cabbage water for later.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook until golden and tender, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, lamb, onion mixture, parsley, carrots, salt and pepper. Stir (or use your hands!) to combine.

Add about 1/3 cup rice filling to one cabbage leaf. Fold sides of cabbage over filling, and, starting with the stem end, roll the cabbage up. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling.
Line a 5-quart Dutch oven with reserved outside leaves. Transfer stuffed cabbage leaves to Dutch oven.
Combine cabbage water and puree and pour over stuffed cabbage to almost cover. Bring to a boil and then gently simmer for 1 hour. Serve immediately.
Again, I would add some red pepper flakes to add a bit of punch to it, otherwise an extra dash of pepper will do the trick. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Granola

7 Oct

I can’t really remember the last time I bought granola. It has to be at least 6 months. Ever since I saw a recipe for homemade granola in an issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I knew I would never be buying granola again. And really, why should you buy granola? Granola is expensive! Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen a box of granola for less than $5 (one that tastes good at least). It’s a little ridiculous. Store bought granola has a lot of extra crap that doesn’t need to be in there. I love know exactly what I’m putting into my granola when I make it. I also like being able to pronounce all the ingredients.

This particular recipe is perfect for fall. In my usual granola recipes I like to use apple sauce to really bind everything together. In this case I used canned pumpkin and it did the trick splendidly. The granola I make isn’t too sweet so feel free to add more sugar if you like.

Pumpkin Granola

  • 4 cups oats
  • 1/2 walnuts
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 allspice
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 275. Combine all ingredients in one big bowl.

I recommend using your hands to mix everything together that way it is combined fully. Plus it’s fun to get your hands dirty.

After it’s been combined, spray a large baking pan and spread the granola on the pan. Bake for a total f 40-60 minutes, or until the granola is dry and dark, making sure to mix every 20 minutes.

I love granola as a pre-run snack, with ice cream, and Mr. Kitchen Misfit has his granola every morning with yogurt. It’s so incredibly simple to make, I’m upset I didn’t start earlier. Give it a try, and you’ll find yourself never buying granola again!

Meatball Pizza

2 Oct

Remember those turkey meatballs I blogged about a few months back? I make them A LOT and I always forget to cut down the recipe so I end up with way too many meatballs I don’t even know what to do with them anymore. So I decided to make them into a pizza!

I mean, why settle for boring spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs when you can have meatball pizza? You really shouldn’t even think twice before making this pizza. I love making homemade pizza because it’s simple and the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Meatball Pizza

  • 6-8 turkey pesto meatballs (or meatballs of your choosing), sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • your favorite pizza dough
  • pizza sauce
  • sliced mozzarella
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder and oregano to taste

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Saute onions and peppers in saute pan on medium high heat and flavor with seasonings listed above. I like to bake my pizza crust for about 10 minutes before adding my toppings, it prevents and liquids from leaking and I think it makes the crust crunchier.

Ladle on your pizza sauce and then add sliced meatballs to the pizza.

Then add the peppers and onions.

And finally the sliced mozzarella.

Bake for an additional 12-15 minutes, or until the mozzarella starts to brown.

Let pizza cool for a few minutes, cut, serve and consume immediately.

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