Thursday, June 26, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Parmesan Chicken

How great is it to come home from a long day at work to the smell of dinner cooking? Now imagine dinner looked like this:

And it tasted as good as it looked. (Maybe even better since I didn't have to cook it, heh.)

Bill took over the shopping and cooking duties for me on this one, so he made a few modifications to his taste. (Base recipe link is available here.) He opted for romaine lettuce instead of mixed greens, and whipped up a balsamic vinaigrette instead of the lemon (just switched out balsamic vinegar for the lemon juice).

Big thumbs up from me, and a smaller thumbs up from Bill. The chicken was moist and tasty, specially when you got everything together in one bite. Bill thought the chicken could have used more flavor (and when you ate it by itself, some additional spices would have been nice). All in all, I'd have to say this is a recipe that I'll gladly add to the week-night rotation.

Thanks to Megan of My Baking Adventures for picking a great recipe! And don't forget to check out the other Barefoot Blogger entries for this.

Parmesan Chicken Mosaic

(PS - Like the Rolling Rock shot? LOL That's his preferred method of cooking. One beer plus cooking makes him a happy camper.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TWD: Mixed Berry Cobbler


Oof, another photo finish (it counts if I took it out of the oven at midnight, right?). I gotta get back to some semblance of a schedule round here. One thing that's good about late night baking, the house has a chance to cool off before the heat starts ramping up again.

This week, Beth of Our Sweet Life chose Dorie's Mixed Berry Cobbler. I groaned when I saw the 60-75 minute baking time. We're in the middle of another typical Colorado summer in these parts. That means most of the week is in the 90s until well after dark with a few days that back off to the 80s. And of course, the 80 degree days just don't seem to work out for me schedule-wise. After tasting the cobbler tonight though, I'd cook this baby if it we were in the middle of a hundred degree month long heat wave. I had to stop myself from eating half the pan, and I still managed to get a stomach ache before I quit.

Dorie calls for either fresh or frozen fruit in the cobbler. I probably should have tried some of the abundant fresh berries from the store, but I figured that this would probably normally be more of a fall/winter dish for me, so I opted to graze through the frozen fruit section to see what looked good. I knew I'd put blackberries in, but I'm not a fan of raspberries and Dorie cautioned against using too many strawberries (they make the cobbler too watery). The mango jumped in my cart while I was being seduced by the bag of dark sweet cherries and I had my fruit trio.


I went by the book for everything else. (Well, I forgot the lime/lemon at the store, but I threw in some dried lemon peel because I had a jar.) I even included the pepper because the whole concept just intrigues me. I'm not sure either affected the final taste, but it's worth experimenting next time around.

I loved the taste of the biscuit topping with all that lovely juice, and I can't wait to experiment with different combinations of fruit. The cherries and mango almost seemed to get lost in the cobbler this time around so I'd probably bump up the amount of those next time. I tried to keep the amounts of each about even as a baseline. Now that I'm thinking about it though, I'd definitely like a few more cups of fruit in the whole thing. The amount of juice to crust was great, but the fruit was a little sparse.

As always, don't forget to check out the rest of the TWD cobblers, and head over to Our Sweet Life for the recipe!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TWD: Under the Wire

DSC00522Woooo, major sugar rush!

This week, Carolyn of A Consuming Passion picked Dorie's Peppermint Cream Puff Ring.  I wasn't sure I'd get it/them done by the end of the day, but I squeaked in without any more midnight baking.

I probably should have done the ring, but the last minute baking meant it was just the two of us eating.  I tried (tried being the operative word there) making cream puffs instead.  This was my first time making pate choux so I didn't know how they'd puff up and/or out.  My puffs all came out looking like UFOs.  Heh.

Bill isn't a fan of mint in his cream puffs (I think his exact quote was "why would you mess up a cream puff with mint?!?) so I opted for flavoring it with a little vanilla extract.  I gotta say, the sour cream gave the cream a lovely tang.  I'll have to try it with mint sometime.

The TWD group made the decision that only the person picking the recipe will post it, so head over to A Consuming Passion for the recipe.  And don't forget to go look at all the other TWD Puffs!


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Pasta, Pesto, and Peas

DSC00462 I was wondering a few weeks ago what it would be like to work through another cookbook (or cook's recipe collection). And like magic, I stumbled on Barefoot Bloggers. They(We)'re doing a twice monthly event dedicated to The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

For the first June recipe, Elizabeth of Ugg Smell Food chose Pasta, Pesto, and Peas. This is my first Ina recipe, and I have to say, it was a success. I did have a few problems with ingredients. My local grocery store didn't have full size fusilli pasta, but it did have mini versions. I opted to go for ready made pesto as well instead of making my own. I put it together early in the day to serve later, and the pasta seemed to mellow well.

I wasn't initially sure it was that good, but quickly found out I couldn't stop eating the stuff. Hubby loved it and I sent a large container home with a dinner guest who asked for the recipe. Next time, I'll definitely cut it in half unless I'm planning on taking it to a party. This makes a ton of pasta!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TWD: La Palette's Strawberry(ish) Tart


We had a smaller crowd than usual when I served up this week's TWD recipe, so I opted to do the individual slice option. That led right into providing different fruits and jams to help tailor things to individual tastes.


One of the options that sounded fantastic to me was to put apple butter on the tart and top it with the caramel apples from the Brown Sugar-Apple Cheesecake recipe.

It was pretty awesome, but I'm still not sure it was worth all the work required for the tart dough.

(Sorry folks for another sub-standard post. I've had a bit of a rough week.)

For the recipe, please visit Marie at A Year From Oak Cottage - she picked the recipe this week. Also, don't forget to check out there rest of the TWD tarts (and see their tarts - heh).

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

Whooo man are those rum soaked/flamed raisins good! I used Captain Morgan Tattoo rum since it was the only dark rum I had in the house. It gave the raisins a delicious vanilla and spice flavor. I used craisins for the snails awhile back, so this was my first taste of these. Nummy!

The brownies came together easily, although they took a little longer than your basic brownie recipe. Not the recipe you reach for when the husband (or best friend) looks over at you at 9pm and says, "You know, some brownies would be nice. Hint. Hint. I love youuuu!" (Okay, the best friend is usually more demanding and/or rude. Heh.)

I used the cinnamon (in for a penny, ie raisins...) and the taste in the batter was very subtle. I don't think I could taste it at all once the brownies were cooked. But the raisins were a lovely addition of sweet and slightly spicy when I got to one. I might even bump those up a bit next time. I can't wait to try these when they're room temperature...

This week's recipe was chosen by Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook. Head over there to see the recipe and her beautiful pictures.

Late TWD

Sorry folks, but my TWD for this week will be late. I have all the ingredients and I'll do my best to get them done before the end of the day.

The dog is scheduled for some emergency procedures today so things have been a bit hectic.