Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Coffee and Dessert

Jelly:  How about you make your special coffees tonight?
Kake: Sounds good!  How strong?  The Moon strong or PLUTO STRONG!!  What dessert are you going to make with it?
Jelly:  Some peach cobbler with those farmers market peaches would be yummy.
Kake: Deal.  Now we just need to figure out a way to make the kids go to bed....

Jake's Yummy Coffee (for adults only)
1 8oz cup of coffee
1 shot Kahlua, extra for dipping coffee cup rim
1 shot Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 shot Amaretto
Whipped Cream
Cocoa (sweetened)

Put a small amount of Kahlua on a plate and a small amount of cocoa on another plate for dipping.  Dip the coffee mug into the Kahlua just to wet the rim then dip directly into the cocoa.  Pour coffee into the mug and then add the Kahlua and Bailey's Irish Cream.  Stir to mix and then float the Amaretto on top.  Add some whipped cream and sprinkle a dusting of Cocoa on top.

Double Crusted Peach Cobbler

This recipe came from Bobby Flay's wife on one of his cooking shows.  I always battle with the peach to crust ratio and this recipe is the perfect amount of peaches to crust in each bite. We make this a lot during peach season.

Crust -
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping and rolling
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Peach Filling -
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup water
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch salt
10 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into ¼ inch think slices (if peaches are out of season, use thawed frozen peaches)
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Crust -
Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough comes together.
Remove the dough and knead lightly on a lightly floured surface until it just comes together. Divide dough in half and form into disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Once the dough is chilled, remove from the refrigerator and roll each disk into a 9-inch square approx. ¼ inch thick. Place on silpat or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and return to the refrigerator to chill until ready to assemble.

Filling -
Melt butter in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the sugar and water and cook until sugar dissolved. Add nutmeg, salt, peaches, and flour and cook for 5 minutes.
Preheat the over to 375 degrees.
Place half of the peach mixture in the bottom of a 9-inch square buttered baking dish using a slotted spoon. Top the peaches with 1 layer of dough. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the crust is light golden brown - approx. 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top the crust with the remaining peaches and cover with the other crust. Brush the top with heavy cream, sprinkle with sugar, and return to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly - approx. 30 minutes. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Relaxing Sunday Dinner?

Jelly:  How about a relaxing family dinner this Sunday?
Kake:  Did you forget about our two little monkeys?  I think we left the relaxing phase a long time ago.
Jelly:  I was just being hopeful that they might play along and maybe we could get through dinner without wining and food mashed in the little one's hair.  I can always wish :-)
Kake:  We can about some steak?
Jelly:  Filets and Orzo with Roasted Veggies sound good?
Kake:  But of course...

Filet Mignon
I really love the way this turns out in the oven but of course you could also grill the steaks.

1/2 tablespoon Montreal’s steak seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the pan
2-4 filet mignon

In a zip lock bag combine the first four ingredients and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Add the filet mignons and let marinate for 30 minutes-4 hours in the refrigerator. Remove filets from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (use convection oven if possible). Heat large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add steaks and sear until brown and crusty about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven for approximately 10 minutes or until steaks are registering 125 degrees.

Orzo with Roasted Veggies     Serves about 6
I adapted this recipe from Barefoot Contessa.  This is a great recipe to get the kids to eat their veggies and it is really healthy!  You can add any other veggies you have in our fridge (eggplant, etc).  On busy days or when I am having company over,  I do all the chopping and cook the veggies during nap time and then just cook and add the pasta before serving.  You can serve it at room temperature, cold or warm (my family's favorite)!
1 red bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 yellow bell pepper, 1-inch diced
1 red onion, peeled and 1-inch diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ cup good olive oil
1 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ pound orzo pasta (you can substitute any small pasta)

For the dressing:
1/4 of a freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup good olive oil
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble:
4 scallions, minced (white and green parts)
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the bell peppers, onion, and garlic with the olive oil, salt, and pepper on a large sheet pan. Roast for 40 minutes, until browned, turning once with a spatula.
Meanwhile, cook the orzo for 7 to 9 minutes, until tender. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl. Add the roasted vegetables to the pasta, scraping all the liquid and seasonings from the roasting pan into the pasta bowl.
For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour on the pasta and vegetables. Add the scallions, and pine nuts.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Trip to Louisiana

Setting:  Leaving New Orleans Airport in the rental car on the way to Baton Rouge

Jelly:  I am starving - we must have some lunch before we head to Baton Rouge.
Kake: No this daiquri is giving me the shakes!
Jelly:  Google Places suggests Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar.
Kake:  Hmm...I don't know.  Google Places says it's in Kenner.....wait, the bullet proof vests are in the bag....nevermind
Jelly:  The seafood gumbo was great but the blackened soft shell crab special with shrimp cathy (rice topped with mushrooms and shrimp and a lobster cream sauce) was amazing.   I have never experienced blackened soft shelled crab before - spicy, crunchy and really allowed the sweet crab flavor to come right though.  I had to take a picture...

Setting:  The next morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana after a late night of visiting with friends.

Jelly:  I am hungry - I need a good home-style breakfast any suggestions Mr. LSU Alumni? 
Kake:  Louie's Cafe has the best breakfast in the world.....but I think they're only open from 2:15am - 4am.  Let me check first...nope!  They're open now!!
Jelly:  I think I just had the best breakfast of my life - scrambled eggs, sausage links, outrageous Cajun hash-browns, and an extremely light buttermilk biscuit. Picture time...
Kake: Sorry honey...I don't have any room in the rental car for the wheel barrell you're currently in...
Jelly:  I just had to eat every last bite - I couldn't help it.

Harbor Seafood & Oyster Bar
3203 Williams Boulevard
Kenner, LA 70065-4506

Louie's Cafe
209 West State Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Busy 2 Weeks

Jelly:  We need to plan for the next two weeks - it is going to be busy.  Us in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a wedding this weekend and then I jet off to Nashville, Tennessee the next day for the week.
Kake: WAIT...STOP RIGHT THERE.  You're doing what?!  A WHOLE WEEK in Nashville w/out me.  "Busy"..yeah, two tornados in our house...I'd say so.  You think I'm better looking than Keith Urban?? 
Jelly:  No.  Please focus - while I am in TN you will be controlling the chaos at home with the kiddos.  What are you going to cook for dinners?
Kake:  I can make a mean toast!!  Okay, maybe not Keith Urban.....Kenny Chesney?
Jelly: I was looking for a bit a variety, quick and healthy?

Kake:  I can pull some grass out of the front yard....if a horse likes, maybe the kids will? 
Jelly:  What if I make up a large pot of tomato sauce this weekend and we can use some of it for dinner with pasta for this week while we are busy in the evening packing and preparing for trips.  And also make a lasagna which I will freeze for you to thaw and bake while I am away?

Kake:  Look...the less mainteance the better!!  And there better be detailed instructions or I'm giving the keys to the one year old.......George Strait?

Here is my recipe for the easiest Crock Pot Tomato Sauce.  My family has been making this sauce for years and it can be customized to add in additional veggies, spices and even meats like cooked turkey or ground beef.  You can really customize this to be the sauce your family enjoys.  It also freezes really well and makes an easy healthy meal when things get busy. 

Crock Pot Tomato Sauce 
1 can (102 oz) of Whole Peeled Tomatoes with Juice - I find this at Costco/Sam's Club
1 Onion, diced
1 can (6 oz) Tomato Paste
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 tablespoon Oregano, dried
1 tablespoon Basil, dried
1 tablespoon Parsley, dried
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Optional Additions:
Diced Fresh Tomatoes
1 bag frozen Meatless Soy Crumbles or cooked ground beef or turkey
Veggies, diced (I use whatever is in my refrigerator - peppers, etc.) 

Put whole peeled tomatoes and juice in your Crock Pot.  Use an immersion blender to puree the tomatoes in the Crock Pot. (If you don't have an immersion blender I highly recommend you invest in one - they are easy to clean and make cooking soups, etc. very easy.  You can also put the whole peeled tomatoes in the blender and puree in batches and pour into your Crock Pot.)  Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well.  Turn on your Crock Pot for 6 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW.  Taste occasionally to see if additional spices need to be added.  Use immediately or freeze in smaller container for later use.  

Here is my easy Lasagna recipe.  No need to cook the noodles they will cook as the lasagna bakes.  You can make multiple pans and freeze them for later use - just defrost a night or two before in the refrigerator and then bake.  Toss together a quick salad and/or bread you have a complete family meal.

Kelly's Easy Lasagna     Servings: It make one 13 x 9 inch pan or two 8 x 8 inch pans - about 12 servings
Crock Pot Tomato Sauce (or you can use any other family favorite)
30 oz Ricotta Cheese, part-skim or whole milk
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 eggs
8 oz package of Mozzarella Cheese, grated
1 package of Lasagna Noodles

Mix together Ricotta Cheese, Parmesan Cheese and Eggs.  Then layer ingredients in the following order in the pan.
1. Tomato Sauce
2. Lasagna Noodles
3. Ricotta Cheese Mixture
4. Mozzarella Cheese, light dusting

Repeat until 1/2 inch from the top, finishing with Lasagna Noodles.  Then top noodles with enough sauce to lightly cover noodles.  Sprinkle with lots of Mozzarella Cheese.   Cover with aluminum foil.   Freeze for a later meal.  Or bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Then remove aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and it is hot in the middle.