Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Caramel Walnut Pie

The original recipe had a different pie shell recipe.  I used this crust recipe because I had used it with pecan tarts and it's wonderful!  The flavor from the butter and cream cheese really accents the flavor of the pie.  The original recipe also called for unsweetened chocolate to be sprinkled on the bottom of the crust before adding the filling.  I omitted that ingredient.  The texture of this pie is a little firmer than what you normally find in a pecan pie making it easier to cut.  For changes, add the chocolate, use pecans or even peanuts instead of the walnuts.  Or add some coco to the crust mixture making it a chocolate crust.  One tip, I cooked my pie about 35 minutes so your cooking time will vary depending upon your oven.  Also, it's important to use a thermometer to know when your filling reaches 245 degrees. See the complete recipe by going to Martha's Recipe Cabinet.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ground Beef Dirty Rice with Shrimp

I had found a Dirty Brown Rice with Shrimp recipe that I wanted to try but when I went to cook my rice I discovered I didn't have enough brown rice to complete the dish.  That's when I spotted the Vigo Saffron Yellow Rice.  The original recipe called for onions and bell pepper but when I read the ingredients on the Vigo package I discovered they were already included.  As I did what I tell everyone else to do 'Think With Your Taste Buds' I decided my version of the original recipe would work perfectly.  Well it was almost perfect.  When I tasted my dish I noticed a flavor that was missing.  Since it's made with ground beef instead of sausage I knew exactly what that ingredient was - SAGE!  After adding that last ingredient I had a really delicious Dirty Rice with Shrimp.  One of my food testers was sure I had slipped sausage in instead of ground beef because he could taste the sage.  The only thing he suggested was to add more red pepper flakes to heat it up a bit more.  For me it was perfect.  Find my recipe by going to Martha's Recipe Cabinet.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hummus Deviled Eggs

There is a simple way to change up deviled eggs.  After boiling, peeling and slicing your eggs, instead of mixing the yolks with mayo, use hummus.

For 6 boiled eggs I used about 1/2 cup of smoked paprika hummus.  With all the different flavors of hummus, the flavors of your deviled eggs have just been broadened.  These are so easy to make and the taste is delicious!  I served mine with blue corn chips.  Ummmm good!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mini-Pecan Pies

I found this recipe in a magazine and knew it had to be delicious and it is.  I did delete and change a couple of ingredients.  I omitted the salt in both the crust and filling.  I also omitted the cornmeal that the original recipe called for in making the crust.  I also increased the amount of cinnamon from a pinch to 1/8 tsp.  Changes.  I want to make this recipe using dried apples instead of pecans.  I feel sure it will be delicious!  View the full recipe by going to Martha's Recipe Cabinet.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dressed Up Brownies

Need something just a little dressed up to serve your guests?  Keep it simple.  I mixed up and baked a box of brownies according to the package directions.  While they were warm, not hot, I squeezed some of Duncan Hines' Amazing Glaze - chocolate.  Topped them with sliced cherries and let them cool.  The glaze works perfectly in holding the cherries in place.  As it cools, it firms up just enough to still be moist but not runny.  So, dress up your brownies with this really handy product from Duncan Hines!  It also comes in vanilla which would work beautifully with the cherries or my favorite, coconut.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rice 101 by Uncle Ben's

I've mainly eat the good old "Southern Long Grain", at least I think that's what I eat.  Hopefully after reading Uncle Ben's Rice 101 I think I can now shop for rice with a little more knowledge.

Southern Long Grain Rice:
Several varieties of this rice indicate that this type of rice is grown in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana, and Texas.  It's the most common type of table rice consumed in the world.  It is a long slender kernel, four to five times longer than its width, and is firmer and not as sticky as medium grain varieties.

California Medium Grain Rice:
California medium grain japonica rice is also known as calrose rice and requires a temperate climate and is only grown in Japan, Korea, parts of northern China, Australia, and some countries around the Mediterranean Sea.  Shorter and wider than long grain, the kernel is two to three times longer than its width, and tends to be on the softer, sticky side.

Southern Medium Grain Rice:
Southern medium grain rice is not as white, not as sticky, and not as clean tasting as japonica varities.  There are consumers in places like the southern United States and Puerto Rico who like this type of rice, but they enhance its natural flavor with spices, beans, meats, and sauces.

California Mochi Rice:
Mochi rice is slightly sweeter than conventional rice, but even so, most palates would not detect any sweetness.  Mochi is a specialty variety, with a small number of acres in California dedicated too growing it.

Thai Jasmine Rice:
Jasmine Rice from Thailand has a strong aroma and taste.  Looking much like southern long grain rice before and after cooking, its sticky texture is much like California medium grain and will harden and lose aroma with time.  Many varieties grown in the U.S. imitate this unique type of rice, but so far no one has matched it.

Indian Basmati Rice:
Grown in the northern Punjab region of India and Pakistan, this aromatic rice commands the highest price of any variety grown in the world.  The raw kernel starts long and slender, but increases in length by more than three times when cooked.  Indian Basmati is aged at least one year to increase the firmness of cooking texture and elongation.

Arborio Rice:
An Italian variety commonly used in risotto dishes, arborio rice is close to California medium grain in appearance and texture but is a bigger kernel with a distinct chalky center.  When properly cooked, arborio rice develops a unique texture with a starchy creamy surface and a firm bite in the center.

Wild Rice:
Wild rice is a type of grass that grows a long stalk and thrives in deep water.  Traditionally grown wild in the lakes of northern United States and southern Canada, it is still grown this way in Minnesota and other northern areas.  All wild rice is sold with the bran on the kernel (like brown rice), giving it its black appearance.

Specialty Varieties:
In the U.S., specialty rice varieties are being grown for niche markets.  There are several varieties that have been developed to perform like Thai Jasmine and Indian Basmati, as well as several varieties that have unusual bran colors like Wehani, red rice, and black rice.  In California, several Japanese short grain varieties - like Akita Komachi and Koshi Hikari - are being grown.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Saving Berries From Molding

The information below was sent to me by Author Annette Bergman.  I found it too good not to share.

The key to preventing moldy berries...

Berries are delicious, but they're also kind of delicate.  Raspberries in particular seem like they can mold before you even get them home from the market.  There's nothing more tragic than paying $4 for a pint of local raspberries, only to look in the fridge the next day and find that fuzzy mold growing on their insides.  
Well, with fresh berries just starting to hit farmers markets, we can tell you that how to keep them fresh!  Here’s a tip I’m sharing on how to prevent them from getting there in the first place:  
Wash them with vinegar.
When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water.  Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge.  The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila!  Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft.  So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them. 
You're so berry velcome!
Annette Bergman
Author of:
Things That Make Me Nuts
Return To Tybee
Web site:www.annettebergman.com

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

The original recipe for this soup called for 2 Tbsp. of flour added to the onions for thickening and 3 Tbsp. of sherry.  I omitted both and added the butter to my onions and added celery which wasn't called for in the original recipe.  I also left out the carrots simply because I don't like cooked carrots.  For my chicken I used 2 plump split chicken breasts using this for my broth.  This version gave me a pot full of chicken and rice with just enough broth to make it perfect.  Due to the seasoning mix included with the rice, no salt was needed.  You could add a little garlic and maybe a touch of sage if you want but I found it perfect as it is for my taste buds.  For the full recipe visit Martha's Recipe Cabinet.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Turnip Slaw

I'm not a turnip fan.  I love turnip greens (yes I'm from the south!) but I've never cared for the turnips cooked.  I did love to eat them like you would an apple though.  I would peel, slice, salt and chow down.  To me they had the flavor of cabbage which I love just about any way it can be served.

One of the men I work with brought in 2 five gallon buckets full of raw turnips from his garden.  He didn't eat them and didn't know what to do with them.  I hate to see anything go to waste so I brought some home to see what I could come up with.  Then it hit me.  Like I said, they taste like cabbage so why not make slaw.  I had drop-in company for dinner and decided to see if I could fool them.  I asked both if they liked turnips and both said NO!  I didn't mention them again until after dinner.

I made the slaw using shredded turnips instead of cabbage.  I did realize that the color was all white so I shredded just enough cabbage to add a few specks of green.  Both of my guests raved about the slaw!  After dinner I told both they had just eaten 'Turnip Slaw.'  Neither could believe it.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Poppy Seed Chicken

This dish came from a site called The Girl Who Ate Everything
It's called Poppy Seed Chicken and this one is a perfect, easy to make, delicious casserole that you must try!  I made this and served it to my drop-in company and they loved it enough to ask for some to take home.  It's that good!  So here it is.

5 cups chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (I used 3 large split breasts)
1 cup sour cream
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cps crushed Ritz crackers (about 1 1/2 rolls of crackers)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cubed chicken in a 9 X 13 casserole dish.  Stir together the condensed soup and sour cream.  Pour over chicken.  In a separate bowl stir together crushed crackers, poppy seeds and melted butter.  Sprinkle over chicken and sauce.  Bake 30 minutes, until the top of the casserole is browned and the sauce is bubbly.  Serve plain or over rice. 

Additional ingredients can be added when mixing soup and sour cream:
1 tsp. Worchestire sauce
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. pepper

Comments - I made only 1 change when making my dish.  I used 1 can of cream of chicken and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup.  I might try adding broccoli, maybe a sprinkle of cheese in with the crackers and near the end of baking maybe some French fried onions.  But believe me, this dish needs no additions. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Banana Nut Rum Cake

This idea came to me when I discovered 2 mini-bottles of rum in the cabinet and some bananas that were ripe and needed to be used, quickly.  The 1/2 cup of rum mixed with the bananas gives this cake/bread a deliciously, unique taste.  The only changes I've come up with so far would be to add coconut instead of or with the nuts.  You could use strawberries instead of the bananas or change the flavor of the cake mix.  This is a must try! See the full recipe by going to Martha's Recipe Cabinet

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baked Chicken

One of the men I work with brought a piece of chicken he had cooked to the office and was heating it in the microwave.  The smell was so appealing that I just had to know what he seasoned it with.  Turns out it was quite simple.  He placed his chicken in a dish, mixed Italian dressing and enough Worcestershire sauce to turn the dressing brown.  He then poured this over the chicken and let it marinate.  When he was ready to cook he coated it with McCormick's Grill Mates' Montreal Steak and then grilled.

When I made mine I used 3 split chicken breasts, 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing and 3 Tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce.  I let the chicken marinate all day and since it was raining I decided to cook them in the oven.  After adding my Montreal Steak seasoning I cooked my chicken meat side down in a 350 degree oven until it was done, about 30 minutes.  I then turned it over and cooked an additional 10 minutes to brown the meat side. 

Comments - This chicken came out so moist and so tasty!  If you don't want to use split breasts, use whatever cut of chicken you want just adjust the cooking time.  My co-worker also said he marinates his steaks the same as the chicken before grilling them.  I can't wait for grilling weather to give that a try.