Sunday, April 25, 2010

#16 - Pear Crisp a la FABULOUS

The winner in this Sunday's three recipe showdown? The Pioneer Woman's delectable pear crisp.

I have been known to whip up a crisp or two. I even made practice apple crisps during my stint in 4-H (and have a nice scar on my right hand to show for it). But I had never tried pear crisp. Mostly this is due to the fact that until fairly recently, I hated pears. I'm not sure if it's lingering memories of being made to eat them at a baby-sitter's house or the thought of eating the canned varieties with school lunches, but pears were mushy and disgusting in my book. Then I started eating the right kinds. On the right salads. And my world was rocked.

Thank goodness for that or else I wouldn't have this to show for it.

And boy, oh boy, am I glad I have this to show for it. I followed the recipe except I added in oats instead of pecans and as my pears were rock hard, it took an additional 10 minutes. I almost died with anticipation.

#15 - New Pizza Crust Recipe

A long, long time ago, my friend Laura gave me her pizza crust recipe which I've been using ever since. Today, Ken and I decided to use up some of our blue cheese on a pizza and since I had the cookbook out and all of the ingredients, I went with PW's. (Her recipe isn't on her blog, but this is it.)

Perhaps I was trying to do too much. Perhaps I was distracted by the wedding. Or perhaps I was thinking about how I just purchased my first pair of Spanx, but I had a few "oops" moments with this one. A) I didn't realize the recipe was for two crusts. B) I put the double the amount of yeast in. Hey, usually it's one packet. This recipe had MORE flour, MORE liquid, and MORE olive oil. Why would it have LESS yeast? Anyways, it worked out, but I think that it's ultimately supposed to be a bit of a crispier and thinner crust.

Which will I use in the future? Laura's recipe or PW's? The jury is still out....

#14 - PW's Buttermilk Biscuits

Disclaimer: I now call the Pioneer Woman by the affectionate nickname of "P-dub." Ken hates it. He mocks me. But he doesn't mock me when I churn out some delicious foods! And he SHOULDN'T mock me when I'm making biscuits for HIS morning breakfast.

This was the first of 3 "P-dub" recipes that I did in a single afternoon. Ken was getting ready to purchase some horrible chemical-filled biscuits at Meijer and I remembered seeing a recipe in my cookbook for something similar. And thus, I found myself rolling out dough with a soda bottle. I really should invest in a rolling pin.

The results? Who knows? Ken has to eat them tomorrow morning and let me know! (He has also put in a request for some sausage gravy. We'll see...)

Recipe #13 - Cocoa Banana Bread

What to do when one has two overripe bananas and some cocoa powder that is begging to be used up? One types "banana cocoa powder recipe" into google and one ends up with this. A little loaf of this bread got Ken and I through numerous evenings of TV watching and although I found the cake by itself to be a bit too dense, a little ice cream and a little zap in the microwave, made this a yummy treat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recipe #12 - Rice Pudding

I've had a rather large package of arborio rice sitting in my cabinet for a considerable amount of time. As much as I do love risotto, I find it hard to believe that it is worth the amount of labor that goes into it. After 45 minutes of constant stirring and adding liquid, the end results, though good, are too blah to warrant the effort.

Thus, when my BFF blog, Smitten Kitchen posted this recipe for Almond-Vanilla rice pudding, I couldn't resist. It also helped that I bought an entire bottle of almond extract for Christmas cookies and hadn't touched it. I couldn't rationalize purchasing vanilla beans for this particular recipe, but even so, the results were tasty enough. I don't think Ken liked the almond extract and next time I may mess around with it a bit more. No doubt an actual vanilla bean would make this magical. But I'm pretty sure vanilla beans could make mud magical.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Recipe #11 - Roasted Potatoes with Blue Cheese Walnut Butter

As you know, my sister is getting married on 1 May (coming up!) and last weekend we made a family trip to the florist to pick out bouquets and all that jazz. Attached to the florist is a country market and when I couldn't think about tiger lilies any more, I popped in to see if they had any parmesan cheese. Not only did they have the parm, but they also had a very enthusiastic owner who pulled me to the side to see if I was a "cheese connoisseur" and apparently I passed the test, because I was soon sampling spoonfuls of English Stilton blue cheese. 1 hour later, Brooke had her bouquets, table centerpieces, and boutonnieres and what did I have? A full pound of blue cheese and endless possibilities.

Isn't she beautiful?

And then, out of the "blue" (pun intended), I saw a recipe posting on a blog I frequent for Roasted Potatoes with Blue Cheese Walnut Butter. It seemed easy enough. I like cheese. I like walnuts. I like potatoes. And did I like the result? Yes! Tasty and simple to throw together. Nothing to get too superexcited about, but definitely a nice change to the usual potato recipe.

For some reason I can't get it to twist properly, but you get the idea.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Doesn't count, but....

This can't count towards my recipe total, as I've been known to whip it up a time or two, but I just wanted to share it! And the photo is pretty.... Ken and I made Rachael Ray's Balsamic-Glazed Chicken with Mozzarella from her 365: No Repeat book. This was actually one of the first meals I dared to make for Ken as a surprise. Since that time, we've made it a few times with a variety of cheeses and techniques. I have to say that last night's balsamic glaze was the best we've done! Here's the recipe.

And a little encouragement from Rachael herself:

Sunday, April 04, 2010

#87 - Talk One Person Into Making a 101 List

Success! My friend from my hometown has shared her 101 list with me and is all set to start her own journey at accomplishing things! Best of luck, Nicole! Keep me posted!!!

Book #2 - The BookThief

While I was in Australia I sat at a lunch with some university contacts in Melbourne. The discussion gravitated to books and all of the Aussies were raving about a little book called "The Book Thief." Written by an Australian author and taking place in World War II, I decided to give it a go. After making Ken literally drive all around town to get a copy and finding it in the "Teen" section, I wasn't sure what to expect. I started it at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday and finished it at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. And I got teary. Definitely got teary. And I knew what was going to happen!!!

Recipe #10 - Hot Cross Buns

In honor of Easter and in another moment of inspiration from the Pioneer Woman, I decided to whip up some Hot Cross Buns. Maybe whip up isn't the right phrasing as they take a considerable amount of time with plenty of yeast rising in warm places. My first batch ended up with too-dark bottoms, but the second batch was perfect and these were delicious! Especially warmed up in the morning with some coffee. A new Easter tradition?