Saturday, May 30, 2009

My kids all have their favorite birthday dinner they request and cake. Our youngest daughter Kim turned 23 May 29 but we will have her dinner Sunday since her husband and son took her to San Francisco for the day. Kim wanted a Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake for her birthday, so this is what I came up with. OK kids lets stick with a more normal cake next time LOL. The frosting is great, I just hope it holds up for tomorrow. :o) She likes the Twix Peanut Butter candy so I figure I might as well go all out and add a bunch of those to the cake, I will come back tomorrow and let you know how it taste.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake
I did not use the crust because I wanted it as a filling for my cake.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with aluminum foil.
To Make Crust: In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, peanuts, and cinnamon. Stir in butter. Press the mixture onto the bottom and sides of an ungreased 8 or 9 inch springform pan, and set aside.
To Make Filling: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, flour, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs and egg yolk all at once, beating on low speed until combined. Stir in half-and-half and chocolate chips.
Pour batter into the springform pan. Place the pan in a large baking pan, pour boiling water into the baking pan until it comes 1/2 way up the sides of the spring form pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Let cake cool completely, and keep in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before serving.
Chocolate Banana Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 cup mashed bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 13x9 inch pan.
Beat cake mix, mashed bananas, oil and eggs with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 33 to 36 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cake cool then frost with your choice of frosting, if desired
I used the Peanut Butter Cheesecake for the middle filling.
Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Heavy Whipping cream, as needed until it is nice and fluffy.
2 cups confectioners' sugar
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Chicken and Dumpling


1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 bunch thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup heavy cream I added a 1/4 cup more because someone posted it was dry, they turned out perfect.
2 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
2 ribs celery, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
I also add bag of frozen peas
I also thickened mine with cornstarch mixed with a little water.
In a very large saucepan or Dutch oven, add chicken, chicken broth, thyme, and bay leaf to cover. Turn on heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. *Cook's Note: You'll want to poach the chicken on a low simmer and start with cold stock so the chicken cooks evenly.
Once the chicken is cooked, transfer to a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish and let cool. Reserve broth and discard the thyme and bay leaf. When chicken has cooled, shred. Use your hands or a fork and make sure to get all the meat off the bone. Discard the skin and bones.
Add flour, salt and pepper, to taste, and baking powder to a large bowl and whisk together. In a small saucepan, bring heavy cream, butter and herbs to a low simmer then add to the dry ingredients. Stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Using your hands, form dough into dumplings.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat and add oil. Once oil is hot, add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add reserved broth to Dutch oven with vegetables and add the chicken. Bring to a low simmer. Add dumplings 1 at a time into the simmering soup. Cover pan with a lid and cook for 25 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, if necessary.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toasted Hazelnut and Shredded carrot salad

1/2 cup peeled hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, eyeball it
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound shredded carrots
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup currants or black raisins
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, a couple of handfuls
Place a small skillet over medium heat, add the chopped hazelnuts and toast until golden, stirring and flipping them about for about 5 minutes. While the nuts are toasting juice the lemon into a salad bowl and add the mustard and some salt and pepper. Whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil in a slow steady stream. Add the shredded carrots, red onion, currants and parsley. Toss to coat in the dressing and sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts.

Flank Steak Pinwheels

8 to 10 pinwheels

1 large flank steak, butterflied along the grain
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces Asiago, shredded
8 ounces curly loose spinach leaves, washed, patted dry, stems removed
6 ounces Gorgonzola, crumbled
4 scallions, left whole
8 to 10 wooden skewers, soaked in water
Preheat grill or grill pan to high.
To butterfly the flank steak, start with the meat grain running up and down in front of you. With your knife, begin cutting the meat in half. Essentially, you want a thinner, larger flank steak. Continue cutting the flank steak in half until you reach about 1 inch from completely cutting through. Lay the cut flank steak open and even out the middle so there is not a thicker piece in the center. Or just ask the butcher!
Spread the flank steak out so that the grain is running left to right. Begin layering the flank steak with salt and pepper, the Asiago, then the spinach, the Gorgonzola and scallions. Begin rolling the flank steak tightly and away from you. Evenly insert the skewers 1 to 2 inches along the seam of the pinwheel to hold it together on the grill. Cut in between each skewer but not against the skewer; you want the same amount of meat on either side of each skewer. Grill the pinwheels on each side for about 3 to 4 minutes or until your desired doneness.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

These are a do over ot the Levain cookie. I have to say I like the old recipe better.

Now this is the sweetest cookie ever. :o)

2 sticks ‘cold and cubed’ unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 to 3 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon table or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups good quality semisweet chocolate chips or chunks (I usually use half semisweet and half milk chocolate)
1 cup walnuts (Toast the nuts for more flavor, if desired. Use any kind of nut you like. I love macadamias in these)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle, cream together butter and sugars until well blended and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.. and beat until well incorporated.
2. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips/chunks and nuts.
3. Transfer dough to clean work surface and gently mix dough by hand to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Divide into 12 equal portions, **about 4 oz each
4. Place each on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven 15-20 minutes depending on how gooey and raw’ish’ you like the interior, until very lightly browned, taking care not to overbake. Let cool on rack and store what you don’t immediately eat in an airtight container.
These are best eaten on the day they are made (ESPECIALLY warm out of the oven – like most chocolate chip cookies). To freshen them after a few days (if they last that long), give them a quick nuke in the microwave for 5-10 seconds.
Also, once again, the Levain Bakery does not use vanilla extract in their chocolate chip walnut cookies. If you’d prefer to use it, add 1 tsp along with the eggs.
Makes about 12-14 cookies
* 6 oz portions will give you about 8-10 cookies – bake another 3-5 minutes at 375F.

Playing around with Ground Turkey.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Steak Sandwich

I use to work at Burger Pit on Monterey HWY in San Jose as a teen and that is where I got the idea of my Steak Sandwich.

I just cook up thin (not too thin) steak and add it to a roll that has been under the broiler with garlic butter on it. I do not add any Mayo or anything like that, my husband does sometimes. I just add the lettuce and tomatoes.

I melt butter with chopped up garlic and some garlic powder and toast them under the broiler.

These are great!

Buttermilk Blueberry Crumb Cake

Getting ready to go to Ryan's and Kristine's
My Kitchen aide died on me and they wanted over $200.00 to fix it. It was not that old but past the warranty so I thought I would wait and see what happened. Well Gottschalks is going out of business and I have been looking and waiting but their going out of business sales was more then anyone else regular price. Well to make a long story short they got up to 40% off and then on top of that they were having an extra 20% off so I got a Cuisinart for a little over $200.00
It came with a recipe and a DVD for how to use it and better yet the recipes being made. One of the recipes was this one and let me tell you it was a huge hit. I have people who want to order one from me. I will write the recipe how it is written but I have to confess I did not have buttermilk so I used mild with a little apple cider vinegar in it.
Crumb Topping
13/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
12 T butter, at room temperature, cut into 12 pieces
2 t cinnamon
3/4 t pure vanilla
1/4 t salt
Buttermilk cake
2 2/3 cup unbleached, all purpose flour
3/4 t baking soda
3/4 t cream of tarter
1/2 t salt
2/3 c unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 pieces
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 t vanilla (I never measure this I just pour in)
2/3 C Buttermilk
2 1/2 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 lightly coat a 13x9x2-inch pan with cooking spray.
To prepare crumb topping, place the flour, brown sugar, butter,cinnamon,vanilla and salt in the mixing bowl.. With a flat mixing paddle mix for 20 seconds, then increase speed and mix until the mixture resembles large crumbs, about 40 to 60 seconds. Remove and reserve in refrigerator until ready to use.
To prepare butter milk cake, place flour, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt in a bowl and mix well to combine. Place the butter and sugar in mixing bowl and stir to combine mix on low for about 30 seconds then increase speed and mix until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, add eggs one and a time scraping bowl a few times., add vanilla and mix on low for 30 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of mixing bowl. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the buttermilk, mix on low speed for one minute. Add remaining flour and buttermilk and mix on low for 30-40 seconds longer until smooth and blended.
Pour batter into pan, smooth over top, sprinkle with blueberries evenly over top and slightly press down into batter. Crumble and large clumps in the crumb mixture and sprinkle over the top of blueberries.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 60-65 minutes, until crumbs are evenly golden brown and cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of pan. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. Cool completely before cutting

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cupcakes for Church

Since I have the new mixer I had to put it to use, I got the wrong kind of frosting and it was so warm it would not set up. I have a really cute cupcake booked called Hello, Cupcake. I did not add the gummie leaves to these, Our dentist makes enough money without the gummies on it.

My new mixer. I have so given up on Kitchen aide. I have gone through two of them so I hope this one will last.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


So I wanted to make hamburgers today so this is what I did and they were a huge hit with the guys. (Hubby and boys)
Ground beef
Bold A1 sauce
garlic power
Then I took onions and sliced them thin and added them to an egg that I mixed with cream, salt, pepper and Cayenne pepper, then I mixed in flour and corn starch and fried them in oil until they were crispy, these were great.
OK, I hate to admit this but I hate to fry hamburger because it is so messy so I bake mine in 400 degree oven.
I place them on whole wheat buns with mayo, a little mustard, lettuce, tomatoes and a good pile of fried onions. They were huge and Jacob ate two.

Quick and Easy homemade Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable broth
1/2 pound chopped cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups egg noodles
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Cook onion and celery in butter until just tender, 5 minutes. Pour in chicken and vegetable broths and stir in chicken, noodles, carrots, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before serving.

Mother's Day

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chocolate cream Cheese Strawberries

1 package (1 lb) fresh strawberries
6 oz cream cheese (from 8-oz package), softened
24 vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed (3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
2 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup white vanilla baking chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Rinse strawberries; pat dry with paper towels. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, cookie crumbs, powdered sugar and orange peel with electric mixer on medium speed until mixed. Press about 1 rounded tablespoon cream cheese mixture over bottom half of each strawberry, molding to fit the strawberry. Place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt semisweet chocolate chips and bittersweet chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Holding strawberry by the leaves, dip each strawberry into chocolate mixture, covering cheese mixture. Place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is completely set.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave vanilla baking chips and oil uncovered on High 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted. Continue to microwave at 15-second intervals if necessary to melt chips. Drizzle melted vanilla chips over dark chocolate on strawberries. Place each in paper baking cup. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator no longer than 24 hours

Friday, May 8, 2009

Cookie Dough Truffles

Getting ready for my daughters wedding.


1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1-1/2 pounds semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add flour, alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating, allowing excess to drip off; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes. If desired, remelt remaining candy coating and drizzle over candies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.

Fish Tacos

I would had posted pictures but they went too fast. My husband who does not like fish ate so many of these we had to hide some for the other. I made beef tacos also and these are the ones that went fast.

Beer Batter Cod

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon minced capers
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 quart oil for frying
1 (12 ounce) package corn tortillas
1/2 medium head cabbage, finely shredded

To make white sauce: In a medium bowl, mix together yogurt and mayonnaise. Gradually stir in fresh lime juice until consistency is slightly runny. Season with jalapeno, capers, oregano, cumin, dill, and cayenne.
Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Fry fish until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Lightly fry tortillas; not too crisp. To serve, place fried fish in a tortilla, and top with shredded cabbage, and white sauce.