Raspberry Squares

I am going to share this recipe with you that I originally posted about 5 years ago. Yeah I know I can’t believe I have been writing a weekly blog for about 6 years now. I honestly didn’t know how long I would stick with it. I didn’t know what my objective for a blog would be. I see bloggers come and go, I see them change format, and timing some slow down with how often they write. I am still writing and sharing because I enjoy it, I enjoy hearing that people look forward to reading my post, I enjoy sharing recipes that I would make again. I love it when someone makes one of my recipes and gives me a shout out.

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Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups quick-cooking oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both
12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces
1 10 oz jar of raspberry preserve

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them
Preheat oven to 350’F

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.

Beef Burgundy

My girlfriend KP made this “her way” a week or so ago and sent me a text “Soooo Yummy!!! U gotta make it” I also can’t help thinking Ron Burgundy every time I say Beef Burgundy 🙂

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I do have pretty good intentions when I make up my grocery shopping list for the week. Even though I mostly have a plan; sometimes life happens and I just can’t get to what I planned on cooking. This week I bought 5-lb beef chuck roast with the whole intention of prepping my slow-cooker some night during the week and putting it on to cook while at work. Well the week totally got away from me this week and here we are at Friday already and the roast was still sitting in the fridge.

I’m not a huge fan of freezing beef; well except for hamburger; and my guys were leaving Saturday afternoon for a 5-day ski trip out West so I decided to try something new. I prepped the crock-pot when I got home from work Friday night and put it on before I went to bed. I figured we would have it for lunch; it is a little extravagant for our typical Saturday lunch; but I didn’t have to freeze the roast and I sent the guys off with a really nice meal.

My buddy SF was here as he was going skiing with my guys; he has made a few of the meals from this blog and he really liked this one but when I told him “it is a process” I could tell he was a little less thrilled. He tends to take recipes and tweaks them a little to what he has on hand or feels like. I totally respect that – KP did the same thing! I can’t wait for him to try this recipe and tell me how he made it his own.

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Beef Burgundy

1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

Kosher Salt & Fresh cracked Black Pepper

1 tbs olive oil

4-5 pieces of bacon cooked to crisp and minced

2-3 onions, minced

1 carrot, peeled and minced

¼ cup tomato paste

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

1/3 cup flour

2 ½ cups or 1 bottle Pinot Noir

1 ½ cups chicken broth

1/3 soy sauce

2 bay leaves

2 cups frozen pearl onions

½ cup water

3 tbs unsalted butter

2 tsp sugar

1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if small or quartered if large

Dry beef with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Place half of beef in the slow cooker. Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking; brown remaining beef well on all sides transfer to slow cooker.

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Cook bacon in the skillet until crisp remove and set aside. Stir in chopped onions, carrot, tomato paste, garlic, and thyme and cook until onions are softened and lightly browned.  Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 1 ¼ cups wine, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out any lumps; transfer to slow cooker.

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Stir in broth, soy sauce, and bay leaves into the slow cooker. Cover and cook until beef is tender. 9-11 hours on low or 5-7 hours on high.

About 20 minutes before serving, bring frozen pearl onions, water, butter, and sugar to boil in 12-inch skillet. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until onions are fully thawed and tender. 5-8 minutes. Uncover, bring to a boil, and cook until all liquid evaporates. Stir in mushrooms and cook until vegetables are browned and glazed. Transfer to slow cooker.

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Add remaining 1 ¼ cups wine to skillet and simmer until reduced by half. Let stew settle for 5-10 minutes, then remove the fat from the top. Discard bay leaves, adjust stew consistency with hot broth if needed, mine did not. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sever over mashed potatoes.

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Lobster Cakes

Last week was a long busy week.  So the weather being perfect on Friday we decided to chill out on the patio with no real plans.  I was on my way to the patio when my mother-in-law and niece stopped over for a minute; yeah right!  I opened a bottle of wine and that was it. When my son got out of the shower he came out; when my husband got home he did not even go into the house, just walked right over sat right down work clothes and all.  After a couple of glasses they called my father-in-law to see if he wanted to walk over; they live next door. It was obvious we were all going nowhere fast.

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Now to feed everyone without spending time doing it!  I had no intention of “making” dinner remember we were chilling out tonight. I decided this was a great opportunity to get rid of some of the fruit that was going to go bad if not eaten soon.  It amazes me that fresh strawberries can be in plain sight when you open the fridge but my guys won’t eat them.  Same goes for all fruit that requires effort in my house, as soon as I peel, slice, wash etc. they can’t get enough of them but until I do, they sit! I grabbed a platter and a bunch of small bowls and washed and cleaned, grapes, cherry’s, strawberries and blueberries.  The bowls all came back empty except for the blueberries, not a lot of flavor.

Our patio guests were still sticking around so for the next round I brought out caprese salad, I used up the last of my tomatoes, some leftover mozzarella and luckily I had a leftover French baguette so I crisped up some crostini’s.  Still outside and another bottle of wine opened. I brought out various cheese, some leftover ham slices and crackers.  The mosquitos (NH’s state bird) finally drove us inside around 7:30.  I believe another bottle of wine was opened.  I had some leftover salsa and a half eaten bag of chips.  Had is the optimum word.  Everything I brought out they ate.  Last but not least I had made up and froze some lobster cakes a week or so ago from leftover lobster, yes we had lobsters we could not eat. I heated up the oven threw them in a bit and made a quick dipping sauce from mayo, sweet relish and Frank’s hot sauce.  My in-laws kept commenting that my fridge has a better variety of stuff versus theirs.

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Lobster Cakes

2 fresh Maine lobster meat cut up in nice size pieces

1 large egg

¼ cup mayo

1½ tsp Dijon mustard

1½ tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Kosher Salt

1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs from white bread

1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbs unsalted butter

Place lobster in a medium bowl and set aside

In a small bowl whisk the egg, mayo, mustard, old bay, lemon juice, Worcestershire and ¼ tsp salt. Scrape mixture over the lobster and mix gently, do not over mix.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the parsley over the mixture and mix them thoroughly but gently, you don’t want to turn this into mash it should be loose.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours.

Shape the mixture into 7 to 9 cakes about 1 inch thick. In 12 inch skillet heat the butter and a little olive oil over medium heat. When the butter is frothy, add the cakes to the pan.

Cook until dark golden brown about 4 minutes. Flip the cakes, reduce the heat to medium low and continue cooking until the other side is well browned. 4-5 minutes.

Serve with salsa or another condiment. Again I made a quick mayo, relish, hot sauce that was a huge hit; remember they ate all of the salsa earlier.

Square the other cookie (Raspberry Squares)

There are a couple of types of bar cookies the typical chewy type like brownies and blondies.  Then there is a very nice alternative that is more like a pastry shortbread type that is tender, buttery and crumbly.

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Sometimes you want something sweet but you don’t have the time or patience to make individual cookies.  I will admit I do make more cookies than bars and I am not a fan of jelly filled anything but I found this raspberry bar recipe and fell in love.  I have made these many many times now, when I offer to bring them places I always double the batch just so I can leave some at home.  They are really easy to make, generally can be thrown together in about 15 minutes, not including baking I hope you try making them.  You can substitute the filling for whatever your preference is.

Raspberry Bars

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1¼ cups quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, or a combination of both

12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened but still cool.  Cut into pieces

1 10oz jar of raspberry preserve

 

Easily doubled – which is how I generally make them

Preheat oven to 350’

Spray 9×9 pan fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment or aluminum foil. Fold and press the first sheet into the pan pressing the corners, with the second sheet crisscross over the other.  You will want to make sure the end over hang; this is to take the bars out of the pan a lot easier.  Spray with the sheets with cooking spray.

Mix the flour, oats, sugars, baking soda, salt, and nuts in a bowl of an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.  With the mixer on low, add the butter pieces; continue until the mixer is well blended and resembles wet sand; about 2 minutes.

Transfer two thirds of the oat mixer to the prepared pan; use your hands to press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake until the crust starts to brown, about 20 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula spread the preserves evenly over the baked oats; sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the preserves. Bake until the preserves bubble around the edges and the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 ½ hours. Remove the squares using the foil or parchment paper handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 1 ½ inch squares.

Pork the Other White Meat

This past year or so we have definitely explored pork more often and in a varied of ways; and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.  I am not sure when or who said pork apples and mustard sounds delicious let’s put them together; but damn were they right.  Some of the recipes I have tried and loved are in my monthly and sometimes weekly meal plans.  BBQ Pulled Pork with Homemade Coleslaw on a bun is outstanding and simple – I had no idea.

Growing up I knew that we had applesauce with our pork chops but I was pretty sure that was to add some liquid to the chewy dry overcooked piece of meat we were served.  Thankfully we are now able to have a juicy cooked to perfection chop, loin, bone-in, boneless vehicle to add so many different combinations of flavors – I am hooked!

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Pork Chops with Cider-Dijon sauce

4 center-cut-bone-in chop
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 apple – Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith halved, cored, and cut into small diced pieces
1 medium shallot, chopped
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
½ cup apple cider
½ cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (coarse-grain if you have it)

Position rack in the center of the oven – pre heat at 425’F Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Season the chop with 1tsp kosher salt and ½ tsp pepper. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  If needed working in batches, sear the chops on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the baking sheet and roast until no longer pink near the bone. About 8-10 min.

Lower heat to medium and add the apples, shallots and thyme to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown and soften, about 2 minutes.  Add the cider, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pan, cook until reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Add the broth and mustard and continue cooking until slightly reduced, about 2-4 minutes. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve the sauce over the chops.

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Roast Pork Loin with Apples

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) boneless center cut pork loin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, thickly sliced
2 carrots, thickly sliced
2 stalks celery, thickly, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs fresh thyme and/or
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
2 apples, Fuji, Gala, or Granny Smith, cored and cut into slices
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large ovenproof skillet heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the pork loin all over generously with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until golden brown on all sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the meat to a plate and set it aside. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, herb, and 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir until the vegetables are browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sliced apples, then push the mixture to the sides and set the pork loin in the middle of the skillet along with any collected juices on the plate. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the loin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 140 to 150 degrees F, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Pork cooked this way will be slightly pink. If desired, cook the pork to 160 degrees F, but note that this lean cut will not be as moist at the higher temperature.

Transfer the pork a cutting board and cover it loosely with foil while you make the sauce. Arrange the apples and vegetables on a serving platter and set aside. Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Return the skillet to a high heat and add the vinegar scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen up any browned bits. Reduce by half then add the cider and reduce by about half again. Pull the skillet from the heat and whisk in the mustard, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of cold butter. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
Slice into 1/2-inch thick pieces and arrange over the apple mixture. Drizzle some sauce over meat and serve the rest on the side.

My nemesis – the hard boiled egg white chocolate chip craisin cookies

Who would ever think that they would be taken down a few pegs by a hard boiled egg?

My eggs are not pretty so I thought I would share a picture of one of my Orchids

My eggs are not pretty so I thought I would share a picture of one of my Orchids

If I were ever on Iron Chef or Chopped and the secret ingredient was an egg that you had to have at least one be hardboiled in some form or fashion per dish. I would be chopped first round and it would be the biggest Iron Chef upset bar none. It’s not that I can’t cook them so they come out perfect which I can; they come out yellow, no brown rings (overcooked) or still semi raw but they are golden yellow as they should be. I for some strange bizarre reason cannot peel the damn things without making a complete and utter mess of the kitchen, the sink and worst of all the poor little egg. I have tried adding vinegar, salt separately and together.  I have tried peeling the cold, warm, hot. under water without water and even with a spoon.  Nothing works for me.

I have seen many deviled eggs in my days, not a huge fan of eating them but when I see them at parties and cookouts; trust me I look to see if the whites are a beaten up as mine when I am done with them. I have a couple of theories on this. Either everyone else has mastered the process and I am destined to never be included in that crowd OR they make twice as many as they need and only show off the pretty ones. Earlier this week I made 5 hardboiled eggs; my guys love deviled eggs which is the only reason I keep making them. I only had two that were worthy of going out in public, thankfully the guys just throw them in their mouths and don’t bat an eye at them. One was SO pathetic that there was no way that it could even be turned into a devil, that one I ended up cutting up and threw it on my salad that I made for my lunch.  I usually post a picture or two but I am embarrassed to show off my ineptitude with hardboild eggs.

My deviled eggs are traditional – a little bit of white vinegar, some dry mustard and some mayo, a little salt and white pepper Mix well and I put that into a zip loc bagie, clip a corner and fill the eggs.  Sprinkle a little paprika et voila.

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Since I didn’t take pictures of the eggs I thought I would share something that I know is yummy and looks good to boot.

1 Cup softened unsalted butter (not melted)

1 Cup packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup Sugar

Cream the above –  Beat in

2 Eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

Combine the below

1 1/2 Cup Flour

1 Tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

Stir in

3 Cups old fashioned oats

Add a bag of white chocolate

and a 10 oz bag of craisins

either spray a sheet pan or cookie sheet or use a silpat – drop by spoonfuls onto sheet and bake at 350′ for 10-12 minutes – do not over cook, let set on the sheet for a minute or two ENJOY!

Looks can be deceiving – Coffee Cake

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We had a birthday at work the other day; I asked the b-day girl what she would like to snack on for the day.  She was not a big snacky type person and said that I should make something that I would like to eat.  Well I am not going to argue with that.  So I thought hmmmmm I haven’t had a sour cream coffee cake forever; which is kind of sad.  I do have a great recipe that I have made numerous times over the years but I am always looking for different recipes that I can try.  While I do know the culinary rule of “never try a new recipe on guests” I swear I break that all the time and for the most part pretty successfully.  So I broke the rule and made a new recipe and while it was absolutely beautiful and definitely something you could find at a bakery or high end coffee shop (I swear I saw something like this at Starbucks) it was just far too dry and dense for me.

All at work really enjoyed it or at least they were being polite, my family was clearly not impressed and are far too outspoken.  My husband actually said to me if I sliced it thinner he would like it better, I literally being as quick witted as I am; and has also been mentioned to me a several times, told him to take smaller bites.  Clearly there was an issue.  I totally know how I would fix this and it’s SO simple.

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Preheat oven to 350’ grease and flour 10 inch tube pan.

1 ½ sticks of butter at room temperature

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

3 x-large eggs at room temperature

1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 ¼ cup sour cream

2 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)

1 package instant vanilla pudding

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp kosher salt

Streusel

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup AP flour

2 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp kosher salt

4 TBS cold unsalted butter cut in pieces

¾ cup chopped nuts optional and of your choice

Glaze

½ cup confectioner’s sugar

2 TBS real maple syrup

Cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time; add the vanilla and sour cream.   In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture just till combined.  Use a spatula to completely mix the batter.

Streusel:  add the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl; use a fork to combine to a crumble.  If using nuts add at this time.

Spoon half the batter into the pan, sprinkle with ¾ cup or more streusel.  Spoon the remainder batter in the pan, spread the remainder of the streusel on top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Test for doneness.

Let cool on a wire rack, transfer to serving plate and mix the glaze, add a few drops of water if needed to make it runny.  Drizzle as much or as little as you would like.

My spin is the vanilla pudding which is also in the zuchini bread recipe I use and also I would make and add more streusel. Is there such a thing a too much streusel??? I don’t think so.