Big Debbie – Oatmeal Creme Pies

Yep I did it again; my husband was reading his weekly Sunday magazine this morning and they have a Food & Drink section with a recipe of the week.  He said “honey you should make these and blog about them”.  I can read between the lines, he really didn’t have any preference if I blogged about them for not; he did however really want me to make them; SO I did – I did mention I was an enabler right!

10-2014 photo clean out 058

I didn’t have everything on hand so he said “give me a list and I will go and get what was needed”; like it was going to be an option for me to go. I feel it is a small price to pay for someone else to bake.  Similar to whoever cooks; someone else has to do the dishes.  It’s only fair right?

The recipe of the week was a play on the Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies.  I am calling them Big Debbie because they have a tablespoon of bourbon in the cookie part and the creme asks for some of the butter to be browned. They are kind of a grown up version of the tasty little morsels, over the years I have bought the little version of them on a whim or maybe a weak moment going through the store, not very often maybe a couple of times a year if that, but they never lasted long when in the house. These are pretty darn good; well see how long these last.

10-2014 photo clean out 045 10-2014 photo clean out 048 10-2014 photo clean out 049 10-2014 photo clean out 051 10-2014 photo clean out 054 10-2014 photo clean out 055 10-2014 photo clean out 061 10-2014 photo clean out 059

Cookie

Preheat 350′

2 cups AP flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

¾ teaspoon salt

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

2 eggs

1 tablespoon bourbon – I used Jack Daniels’

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

2 ½ cups oatmeal

Line a couple of sheet pans with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt.  In a mixing bowl, beat the unsalted butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in molasses and then the eggs.  Add the whiskey and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla. On low add the flour mixture and then the oats.  Using a tablespoon, or similar size scoop for uniform cookies; place on parchment a few inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Creme Filing

3 sticks butter, room temperature and divided

3 tablespoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

3 cups powdered sugar

Melt 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan; swirl around until butter starts to brown. Pour into a bowl/cup. Cool 10-15 minutes; place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. You want it solid but not frozen.  Add to a stand mixer add remaining butter beat until fluffy.  Stop the mixer and add the heavy cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and ¼ teaspoon salt. Mix to combine, slowly add powdered sugar on low speed. Increase speed to medium and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Spread creme on cooled cookie and top with another. Makes about 20

Problem sweet bread – make bread pudding

For as many zucchini breads I make I messed up a batch a couple of weeks ago.  Maybe it was karma for me forgetting an ingredient on my initial post and a friend’s bread did not work out for him. SF sorry this post is too late for your sugarless bread. My error was I forgot to add baking soda; it is edible but pretty dense. I being a true frugal New Englander can’t just throw out the bad loaves but I can transform them into something pretty yummy!

Soup & pudding 046

I will admit I have never made bread pudding before; I did have the most amazing one for dessert at my favorite local restaurant a couple of years ago. They made banana bread pudding that was just incredible; in talking with our waitress she said they made it a pudding because of a failed attempt at banana bread. I have always wanted to try making one but just never pulled the trigger till this morning.

I took a couple of the smaller loaves out of the freezer chopped them up and made my first bread pudding.  I am calling them a success.  It definitely transformed the dense bread into something warm and yummy.  I think I will try to make the same with my next loaves of banana bread. I will try not to mess up the banana bread recipe so I HAVE to make pudding but I feel pretty confident if I do mess it up I can transform it into something pretty good.

You could have it with your morning Tea or Joe or dress it up with some homemade whipped cream or even Vanilla Ice Cream.  My mouth is watering!

Soup & pudding 034 Soup & pudding 038 Soup & pudding 039

Pudding

3-4 eggs

1 cup of milk – or similar volume to the eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp sugar – you can omit it your bread is already to sweet OR add a little more if it is not sweet enough

Zucchini or similar bread chopped into cubes – dry bread works best – if you need to you can grill or pop the bread into the oven for a couple of minutes to dry out.

Greased/spray whatever vessel you are using, add cubed bread, mix first 4 ingredients, pour over bread set aside while the oven is pre-heating to 350’. Once pre-heated bake bread for 30+ minutes. My ramekins took about 35 minutes in my oven.

Whipped Cream

Carton whipping cream or heavy cream

Tsp vanilla

2 Tbs sugar

You can do this by hand; if you are looking for a workout but I add all ingredients to my Kitchen Aid with the whisk attachment.  I do place a kitchen towel over my mixer because it can be messy when it first starts out.  Start out on 2 and then increase to 3 for about 2 minutes.  lift the towel to not over whisk, you want stiff peaks.

Zucchini Bread

broccoli - garden 048

broccoli - garden 042

Peppers in the middle on the garden closest to me just terrible

broccoli - garden 045

Zucchini, Summer Squash, Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Butternut Squash all looking good!

broccoli - garden 046 Our gardens are doing really well this year for the most part.  The only disappointments are my peppers, both the bell and jalapeno’ peppers are just not growing or producing.  We have had a bumper crop of zucchini, summer squash and cucumbers.  We have been getting a ton of cherry tomatoes and plenty of roma; I fear all of my beef steaks will all turn red at once.  That will be another weekend of processing.  I am not complaining I am actually very grateful we are having a great year.  My favorite, for 20+ years, supermarket is on strike here on the East coast.

Fortunately I was able to harvest some garlic this year, the bulbs are much smaller than I would like but there were around 70 of them; I had planted 120 bulbs in the fall but I will take whatever I can get considering the last two years I lost all of it.

Today was pickling cucumbers and baking zucchini bread day.  I pickled 8 jars of kosher dill and 34 loaves of various sized zucchini bread – I doubled the recipe below 3 times to get the 34 loaves. So far so good!

garden 2014 031

I started blogging a little over a year ago; a few of you, since there were just  few of you at the start; may remember me posting this zucchini bread recipe around the same time last year however SO many more people have come on board with me since.  Technology is a pretty amazing tool. I was just looking at some of my blog stats and just today I had 3 people from 3 different countries check me out.  Colombia, Brazil and Italy I find that SUPER cool. Also I had barely started my first paragraph tonight when my daughter faced time me from the Philippines; she is there vacationing with a friend of hers from Japan. The world is getting smaller and smaller.

garden 2014 004 garden 2014 007 garden 2014 010 garden 2014 012 garden 2014 020 garden 2014 017 garden 2014 026

Zucchini Bread – bake 350’ 45 minutes or so – depends on what size the pan is.  The recipe easily doubles and freezes well

2 large eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup apple sauce

2 cups sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 tsp cinnamon

1 package vanilla pudding mix

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 cups AP flour

2 cups shredded zucchini that you have squeezed out most of the liquid – I put it all in a colander, place a plate and something heavy on it in the fridge few a couple of hours.  I still had to go to the store so it worked out great.

In a stand mixer add the first 8 ingredients and mix well, add the flour till combined and then add the zucchini.  Spray grease whatever you are using and fill to about ¾ full.  Bake for about 40-50 minutes and let cool for a bit, remove from your dish and wrap or bag.  These freeze really well.  We literally just ate our last loaf from last year just the other day.

If you are using a kitchen-aid with their 5 quart sized bowl you can double this recipe, however it will be very close to the top, so heed my instructions on when to add ingredients, it helps make sure all the ingredients get mixed well.

Thanks for listening

Tiramisu

The Killington Wine Festival was this weekend; very happy that our good friends that live close to the mountain invite us up for a wonderful event it’s always a good time.  We start with a light lunch then we all head to the mountain and try lots and lots of wine. Thankfully we stay on the mountain and have a “well-planned” BBQ. This year’s dinner was excellent. After a few failed attempts over the last few years at varied menus, you have great aspirations before the wine tasting but sometimes execution doesn’t quite come out as planned.this year we came up with a winning menu. We marinated steak tips, prepped hasselback potatoes (I will write about these soon the ones who have had them have asked me to) and I was in charge of bringing dessert; well it didn’t all turn out all as planned, somebody forgot to bring the asparagus. but that’s OK. My brilliant husband came up with me making Tiramisu. If you have been following my blog at all you will see a pattern with him. He loves coming up with delicious yet pretty involved things for me to make. As you will probably also be able to tell; I am enabler since I usually make what he comes up with.They do say the first step is to admit it.

tiramisu 045

 

I had totally intended to make this Friday night so I didn’t have to rush around in the morning.  Sometimes things don’t always work out according to my plans. It was getting late and I was completely exhausted so I decided to break the recipe up and then finish it up in the morning. Sometimes it actually works out even better when time is tight to make parts of recipes and assemble the final product when you have time.

Tiramisu

6 egg yolks

¾ cup white sugar

2/3 cup milk

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pound mascarpone cheese

½ cup strong brewed coffee, room temperature

2 tablespoons rum

2 (3 ounce) packages ladyfinger cookies

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder – use a strainer to help distribute cocoa evenly

In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended.  Whisk in milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils.  Boil gently for 1 minute, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

tiramisu 015 tiramisu 019 tiramisu 020 tiramisu 022 tiramisu 023 tiramisu 024 tiramisu 026 tiramisu 027 tiramisu 028 tiramisu 030 tiramisu 032 tiramisu 033 tiramisu 035 tiramisu 036 tiramisu 037 tiramisu 038 tiramisu 039 tiramisu 045

In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form, whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.

In a small bowl, combine coffee and rum. Split ladyfingers in half lengthwise and drizzle with coffee mixture. Once they get wet it is hard to move them, so if you want to place them in their spot and then drizzle it will work out better for you. 

Arrange half of soaked ladyfingers in bottom of 10×10″ (don’t worry about the size, use what you have) dish. Spread half of mascarpone mixture over ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers and sprinkle with cocoa.  Cover and refrigerate 4-6 hours, until set.  My husband actually thinks it tasted better today Sunday than it did last night; I am not going to listen too much to this since it was after lots and lots of wine – his judgment might have been a little impaired. 

I made the coffee and the egg yolk sugar portion Friday night. Saturday morning I whipped the cream and assembled much easier I think.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

I have been making this particular chocolate cake for as long as I can remember; at least since I was in middle school.

Gyoza 026

 

I am not entirely sure where it came from but I believe it has been around for many many years.  If you are looking for a great recipe to teach a child try this one. It mixes easy in one bowl and is pretty forgiving.  The frosting is pretty simple as well.  The benefit is no box is necessary.

crazy chocolate cake 004 crazy chocolate cake 006 crazy chocolate cake 007 crazy chocolate cake 008 crazy chocolate cake 009 crazy chocolate cake 011 crazy chocolate cake 014 crazy chocolate cake 015 crazy chocolate cake 017 crazy chocolate cake 019 crazy chocolate cake 020 crazy chocolate cake 025

If your house is anything like mine, any given night an impromptu dinner party can happen.  I am pretty sure the majority of people out there like a little something sweet to have after dinner. I believe it is always a good idea to have a few recipes in your back pocket for such an event.  It also helps if the recipe has everyday ingredients you probably already have on hand. It doesn’t take long to put together or bake.  I think the longest part of the process is waiting for it to cool. I know be impatient; I  have even served it slightly warm.

You know when you go to someones house for dinner and you are asked to bring the dessert.  Even though you are full everyone still wants to at least sample it. The host insists you bring the leftovers home.  Well I have not been asked to bring this one home.

This delicious cake meets all of the requirements I listed above; plus it travels well.

 

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Bake at 350’ for about 25-30 minutes – Cool completely before frosting

You can leave in the pan or remove and plate

1½ cup flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

3 Tbs cocoa

½ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup milk

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Spray a 9×9 pan or similar.  This makes one small cake I tried doubling it but I didn’t care for the way it came out.  It is so easy to throw together if you want to make a layer cake just add ingredients to the same bowl.

 

Buttercream frosting

1 stick of softened butter

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

If too thick to spread add a dash or two of milk

In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients turn on the mixer on medium until all combined about 3 minutes.  You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Snacks from the past- Poop Cookies

I am pretty sure afterschool snacks have evolved over the years and some are far healthier that what I used to eat.  When I was growing up, for a spell, we had a housekeeper that also made the most delicious homemade cookies & sugar cinnamon doughnuts for when we got off the bus.  It was for a very short period in our lives, but it was very memorable.  After she was no longer with us we had to fend for ourselves and made due with whatever was in the house; which at times was not much.  I recall eating sardines on saltines, buttered bread cut up in a bowl with maple syrup. I do not have fond memories of either of those but when you go from rags to riches back to rags you figure some things out.

Carrot Cake 308

I do have some fond memories of a couple of afterschool snacks and have shared them with my kids & others.  I really have no idea where my favorite snack came from.  I can’t imagine that I came up with it; but who knows I have always been pretty creative; or at least I want to believe that I was/am.

My favorite afterschool snack was a peanut butter and fluff grilled sandwich.  Don’t knock it unless you try it.  While I know this is not a healthy snack and it shouldn’t be an everyday snack.  If you like peanut butter and fluff I encourage you to try it at least once.  It is made exactly like a grilled cheese just different fillings.  My daughter doesn’t like fluff and my husband is not a fan of peanut butter but my son loves them and makes them on occasion. I recall sitting around one night surrounded by family not sure how they came up but they are so easy to whip up; I made several of them; sliced them up and handed them out. They were a hit!

Carrot Cake 303 Carrot Cake 304 Carrot Cake 305 Carrot Cake 306

The other is a cold bean sandwich; simply buttered bread, beans done!  I am pretty sure this one came from my parents. I remember my dad putting thinly sliced raw onions on his, he loved cold bean sandwiches. Again might not be for everyone one but it is pretty darn good.  I posted that I was eating a cold bean sandwich on FB a few years ago and it definitely stirred up a response.  Some people loved them others not so much.  Same goes in my house the kids and I like them my husband does not, but his brother does.  He was one of the ones that commented on my FB post.

After reading this I hope you reminisce a little about snacks from your childhood.  If they were noteworthy share them!   I also wanted to share a recipe that I made as a child and still make to this day and it is pretty easy for kids to make if you allow them to use the stove top.

Poop Cookies (not sure why my family called them this but we always have)

2 cups sugar

½ cup butter or margarine

½ cup milk

3 TBS cocoa

3 cups oatmeal

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup peanut butter

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk and cocoa.  Bring to a full boil over medium heat, boil for 3 minutes (do not skip this step) remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Drop by spoonful onto waxed paper.  Let them set until firm.  If you skip the boiling step they will not set up.  Trust me I’ve done it, my son has done it.  Just be patient and let the mixture boil for a bit.

Mother’s Day – Pain Perdu

Firstly I would like to wish all the mom’s out there a wonderful day of peace and relaxation doing whatever it is that makes you happy. I personally hope to get in 9 holes of golf this afternoon. This is my first mother’s day with nothing really planned.  My normal mother’s day consists of me making my mother and mother-in-law either brunch or dinner and sometimes both. Neither is in the state this year so I get the day off, for that matter my own kids are both out of state well actually they are both out of the country.  My son went to visit his sister in Japan; he does arrive home late tonight so off to Boston we will go, my husband and I will go out to dinner somewhere en-route.

Carrot Cake 337

Looking for something a little special for breakfast? Pain Perdu can be as easy or as sexy as you want to make it.  Just the name sounds sexy; you got to just love romantic languages they can make an ordinary meal sound phenomenal.  Case in point Pain Perdu translates to “lost bread” or as we know it French toast nuff said.

My inspiration for how I made this dish was from my favorite local restaurant, they serve something similar for one of their desserts and it is amazing.  It also helps that there were a couple of bananas’ on the counter that needed another purpose and we had some leftover French bread from the previous night’s dinner.  This shows exactly how frugal I can be.  Quick story – my girlfriend was over one night and mentioned something about caramelized bananas so I whipped it up for her YUM!

Sorry a little longer than a quick story – The best French toast I ever had and forever changed the way we make it from that day forward.  For my 25th birthday my husband surprised me with a weeklong trip to the US Virgin Island of St Thomas.  We went into Charlotte Amalie for breakfast at the Greenhouse Café and I ordered French toast.  It looked pretty, but the taste was just amazing.  It was sliced elongated; it was buttery cooked to perfection and sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.  I asked the waitress if the chef would share how it was made.  Even back then I was a foodie and didn’t know it.  His secret was the wash; it was only egg and rum.  Who knew!

Carrot Cake 332Carrot Cake 334

Caramelized Bananas

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 bananas

In a small sauté pan melt butter medium low heat, add sugar and sliced bananas. Cook until sugar has caramelized; watch carefully it could turn from yummy to yucky pretty quickly.

Carrot Cake 330Carrot Cake 333

Pain Perdu (aka lost bread)

3 Eggs

Splash of rum

Splash of Milk (yes I can’t not put some in)

Few sprinkles of cinnamon

Splash of Vanilla

Loaf of leftover French bread

Sprinkle of confectioners sugar

Slice bread, in a shallow dish add eggs, rum and cinnamon beat till combined.  Add sliced bread to egg mixture soak a minute or two, flip to soak other side.  Pre-heat griddle add soaked bread once up to temperature.  Cook till brown on both sides.  While toast is cooking; make the caramelized bananas.

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.

Cookies 007Cookies 012

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

coffee cake 007

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.

coffee cake inside 001

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.