Monday, October 29, 2012

Steak with Bourbon & Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

IMG_0202e1Maisie adores nice, rare, perfectly grilled steak, especially if it has been marinated in a delicious, slightly sweet sauce just like this Bourbon & Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce.  I marinated the steak for a few hours in some of the sauce and then grilled the steak, brushing a little bit more on as it cooked.  This sauce was absolutely delicious and would also be fabu on some ribs so that will be my next go with it.  I served the steak with a little salad, drizzled with the Fig Balsamic Dressing from this recipe, and my Hasselback Potatoes with Garlic Sour Cream.  A totally delicious, rich and filling meal. 

IMG_0201eSteak with Bourbon & Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce (adapted from here)

Bring all the ingredients to boil in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce is reduced to 2 cups, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover & chill. Use at room temperature.

I marinated the meat for a few hours in some of the sauce and then brought the meat to room temperature before grilling.  As the meat grilled I brushed on additional sauce.  Allow the cooked meat to sit for about 15 minutes before slicing.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Broiled Tomatoes

IMG_5183eIn years past we’ve had hit or miss luck with growing tomatoes but this year the stars must have aligned as we got gorgeous tomatoes out of the garden all season long.  While I’m happy to eat them raw…continuously, Eammon prefers them added into things and/or cooked so I made him some Grilled Tomatoes
I’m telling you, nothing could be easier, a tomato cut in half, topped with a tasty herbed cornflake crumb and Parmesan cheese mixture and then popped under the broiler to cook.  The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it’s so adaptable to whatever taste you desire or what you have in your pantry.
IMG_5181eBroiled Tomatoes
Pre-heat oven to 450F.  Wash and remove the stem core from the tomatoes and cut each in half from crosswise, NOT stem to blossom.  Place the tomatoes cut side up on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet which has been sprayed with cooking spray.  In a small bowl mix all the dry ingredients together.  Top each tomato half with about 1 Tablespoon of the cornflake mixture and then lightly drizzle with olive oil.  Place in the oven for approx. 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes begin to soften.  Then turn off the oven and turn on the broiler to hi and move the baking sheet about 3-inches from the broiler and allow the topping to get golden brown.  Remove from broiler and serve.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Marshmallow Pops

IMG_5728eSo what do you make to send to school for a girl’s birthday when she’s allergic to wheat, egg & dairy yet you want something special?  For my Maisie, that special treat was Marshmallow Pops.  Super simple to make, colorful and the perfect treat for my girl!

IMG_5718eI first dipped the sticks in some melted chocolate and inserted them in the giant marshmallow.  I allowed them to set so that the marshmallow was securely attached to the stick as I didn’t want them sliding off on the kids.

IMG_5723e After a skim coat of chocolate, and I do mean a skim coat as thick chocolate doesn’t work well on these, I sprinkled the ones Maisie would be taking to school with nonpareils.

IMG_5724e I thought these pops were so fun I decided to make some for her spa birthday party too.  The birthday party ones I sprinkled with jimmies, or sprinkles for you non New Englander’s. 

IMG_5747eBirthday girl Maisie adored her Marshmallow Pops and said that her classmates loved them too.

IMG_5725eMarshmallow Pops

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate bits with a small amount of coconut oil being careful not to over heat.  Once the chocolate is mostly melted, remove and stir to melt the remaining chocolate.  Add additional coconut oil to thin the chocolate if it is thick but you don’t want it too thin and runny, just nice spreading consistency.  Dip one end of the lollipop stick into the chocolate and then insert into one of the flat ends of the marshmallow, until almost all the way through and place on a tray, stick pointing up.  Once all the sticks have been inserted, place the tray of marshmallows in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to allow the chocolate to set so that the marshmallow is securely fastened to the stick.  Once set, one by one, using a small offset spatula, lightly, very lightly, coat the entire surface of the marshmallow with the melted chocolate.  Sprinkle* the freshly spread chocolate with the topping of your choice.  Poke the stick into a block of foam so not to mess up the chocolate and refrigerate the Marshmallow Pops until the chocolate is set.  Once the chocolate is set the pops do well staying at either room temperature or in the refrigerator.

* I found sprinkling the topping on the chocolate worked best, gave me the best coverage and didn’t make the toppings look flat and mashed into the chocolate.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

S’mores Granola Bars

IMG_5680e This month for the Improv Cooking Challenge our hostess Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker asked the participating bloggers to make any recipe of their choice using the two given ingredients of oatmeal and raisins.  Sure, oatmeal and raisins sounds easy enough but I just kept going round and round trying to decide what I want to make.  I finally decided to make something special for my Maisie as it’s her birthday month, and I totally can’t believe that she’s seven, so I figured that I’d spoil her even more than usual.  I of course had to keep her food allergies in mind so other than giving her a bowl of oatmeal with raisins, which I do many mornings, I put on my thinking cap to come up with something that she’d enjoy.  In the end it was Maisie, who without even knowing about my dilemma, came right out and told me what she wished I would make and it fit in perfectly with the challenge.  Maisie mentioned that I hadn’t made granola bars for her in a while and that she’d really enjoy some.  In the past I’ve made a couple of different bars for her including Oatmeal, Cashew & Chocolate Granola Bars and Crunchy Oat, Almond, Cashew & Pebbles Granola Bars and though she’s enjoyed both of those recipes and I’ve made them a number of times, she wanted something different.  I told Maisie that I needed to use oats and raisins but I asked her what else she wanted in her bars and she chose the ingredients.  Maisie asked for cashews, chocolate bits and mini marshmallows.  I also gave her a choice of what other cereal to add to the bars and she picked Rice Krispies.  When Maisie mentioned chocolate and marshmallows, my mind immediately thought of s’mores so that’s the flavor I was going after in making these bars.

 IMG_5682eI used what I had in the house, made things up as I went along and in the end I’d say Maisie did a great job with her flavor choices and the bars came together easily as I made them no-bake so super simple to make.  Maisie and Eammon both loved the bars but Maisie did put in a request for next time, more marshmallows and chocolate bits.  We’ll have to see about that one as I tried to keep the “high sugar” items to a minimum but I’ll probably sprinkle the top of the bars with some extra of both next time because if she can see them, she’ll think that there’s a lot more there than there actually is.  In the end, this recipe is a keeper and a great, on the go breakfast or snack for my Maisie.

IMG_5677e S’mores Granola Bars

Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil and lightly greasing it with either cooking spray or coconut oil.

In a large bowl mix together the oatmeal, Rice Krispies, raisins, chocolate bits, marshmallows and cashews and set aside.  In a microwave safe bowl combine the coconut oil, honey and brown sugar and microwave on high for 1 minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir to combine then return to the microwave and cook on high for 2 more minutes.  Remove from the microwave a carefully mix.  Pour the hot mixture over the dry ingredients and using a wooden spoon, mix until everything is well combined and the chocolate bits melt.  Add the contents of the bowl to the prepared pan and press the ingredients tightly into the pan.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the bars are set.  Using the foil liner of the pan, lift the entire sheet of bars from the pan and onto a cutting board.  Remove the foil and cut into bars.  Wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap, parchment paper or wax paper and store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.



My previous Improv Cooking Challenge entries:

September 2012  Zucchini & Brown Sugar:  Zucchini with Onion & Brown Sugar 
August 2012  Tomatoes & Peppers:  French Fries Hash Browns 
July 2012  Corn & Butter:  Fritos Crusted Pollock 
June 2012  Cherries & Almonds:  Dried Cherry Almond Tart 
May 2012  Strawberries & Cream:  Strawberry Soup 
April 2012  Peanut butter & Jelly:  Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars 
March 2012  Potato & Cheese:  Loaded Potato & Buffalo Chicken Casserole 
February 2012  Ginger & Carrots:  Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing 
January 2012 Lemon & Sour Cream:  Ponderosa Lemon & Sour Cream Tart 
December 2011 Eggnog & Cranberries:  Eggnog Popovers with Cranberry Butter 
November 2011 Pumpkin & Cream Cheese:  Praline Pumpkin Cheesecake 
October 2011 Caramel & Apples:  Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Maisie “Safe” Bacon & “Cheese” Zucchini Fritters (gluten, egg & dairy free)

IMG_5404e Maisie has been gobbling these fritters down like crazy and I’m thrilled that she loves them so much.  Recently I made Bacon & Cheese Zucchini Fritters which were crazy good and they tasted more like loaded potatoes then zucchini and I knew that Maisie would love them but because of her allergies she couldn’t have any.  Well as I stated in that recipe, our garden is producing a lot of zucchini so I figured that I’d give this recipe another go but make it safe for my girl to eat…and am I ever glad that I did because she’s eating lots of zucchini, not knowing it and loving it.

IMG_5405e Maisie “Safe” Bacon & “Cheese” Zucchini Fritters (gluten, egg & dairy free)

Add the grated zucchini and grated onion to a cheesecloth lined sieve and squeeze & press out as much of the water as possible.  In a small bowl mix together the hot water and Chia seeds and allow a gel to form.  In a large bowl add the squeezed out zucchini & onion, Chia seed gel, potato flakes, Daiya “cheese” shreds, bacon bits, salt & pepper.  Stir to combine well.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Using a large cookie scoop portion out the zucchini mixture into the hot pan, being careful not to over crowd the pan.  Press and spread the zucchini mixture just a little.  Cook until the bottom side is golden and then carefully flip to cook the other side.  Once both sides are golden remove to a paper towel lined cooling rack.  Serve hot, room temperature or chilled.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

IMG_5483eLast month for Secret Recipe Club, Kim of Everyday Mom cooked from my blog and using my  Nutella No Bake Cookies recipe she turned my cookies into a crust and created a lovely and delicious looking Nutella Cheesecake.  Well now it’s my turn to work with one of her recipes as this month I was assigned Kim’s blog for The Secret Recipe Club.  I enjoyed reading through all of Kim’s blog, seeing her especially lovely cake creations and also seeing her children cooking with her in the kitchen because if you’ve read this blog at all, you know I love cooking with my Maisie.  As always it was difficult to pick just one recipe but in the end I decided to make one of Eammon’s favorite foods, Buffalo Chicken Wings.  When Kim made her Buffalo wings she said that it was a flop, that the sauce didn’t stick and that the wings lacked flavor.  She asked for suggestions on why hers flopped so I decided to take on the challenge, determined to make it work and make some spicy and delicious Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings.

The only ingredient change I made to Kim’s recipe was to cut the amount of butter from 1/2 cup to 1 TBS.  But then I doubled the total amount of all the sauce ingredients as I decided that I was going to not only toss the wings in the hot sauce mixture once they were cooked but that I would also marinate the wings before cooking, trying to infuse some additional spicy hot goodness into them.  The other change I made was to really crank up the oven temperature from Kim’s 350F to 500F.  I have found in the past when cooking chicken wings in the oven, like my Chinese Five Spice Wings, that by cooking hot and fast I get nice crispy skin and juicy tender meat so I figured that would be the way to go. 

IMG_5460eWings marinating.

IMG_5465eReady for the oven.

IMG_5471eWings fresh from the oven.

IMG_5473eCooked wings tossed in more hot sauce mix.

So how did the Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings turn out?  Well the sauce stuck, the flavor was spicy hot deliciousness, the skin was crispy, the meat tender and moist…all-in-all total finger-licking spicy success!  Eammon was an especially happy guy when I served these wings so thank you Kim for inspiring me to make these delicious Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings

IMG_5479e Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings (Adapted from here)

Pre-heat oven to 500F.

In a large bowl whisk together the softened butter, hot sauce, Tabasco & chili powder until well blended.  Divide the sauce equally between two large bowls and set one aside.   Add the wing pieces to one bowl and toss to coat until all the wing pieces are coated.  Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Lay the wings skin side up on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet which has been sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy with golden charred bits.  Remove from oven and immediately add the wing pieces (but NOT all the fat and juice on the pan) to the reserved bowl of hot sauce mixture and toss well, coating all the wing pieces.  Serve immediately with Ranch or bleu cheese dressing*, carrot and/or celery sticks.

* Kim raved about her bleu cheese dressing which she made and served with her wings but because no one in this house cares for bleu cheese anything I passed on making the dressing but hop on over to Kim’s blog to find that recipe.


My previous Secret Recipe Club Recipe Posts:

Fried Green Tomatoes 
Chicken Satay Noodle Salad 
Double Chocolate Mousse Cake 
Candied Popcorn
Fruit, Nut & Poppy Seed Chicken Salad 
Broiled Sushi 
Health(ier) Peanut Brittle 
Crunchy Fudgy Heart Bites 
Texas Chicken with Lime Butter 
Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens 
Thin Mint Irish Coffee 
Levain Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies 
Welsh Cakes 
Nutella Crêpes 
Cilantro Lime Chicken 
Holy Guacamole 
Home Style Chicken Curry

Secret Recipe Club

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shrimp & Vegetable Madras Curry for Daniel

IMG_5506e Through my blogs I have met many wonderful bloggers, some in real life but most, just though cyberspace.  It’s amazing though because even the bloggers who you only know via what they write on their blog or by comments they leave for you, you form a bond with them and you look forward to what they write on their blog and what they have to say about what you’ve written on yours.  In my almost 8 years of blogging I have mainly been involved in two online communities, the International adoption community with my Moments with Maisie blog and the foodie community with this, my Cook Lisa Cook blog.  In both online communities I’ve found that most bloggers and those who may not have a blog, but comment on mine, are wonderful, supportive and kind people.  One of those people whom I’ve only met through cyberspace and really because of my participation in The Secret Recipe Club was Daniel Saraga of The Haggis and the Herring.  I’ve loved reading Daniel’s blog as he seemed to have a warm and gracious spirit, his passion for cooking and food shone through in his words and his taste in foods ran right along the same diverse, ethnic and adventurous lines that ours do.  When commenting on my blog, Daniel always made kind, thoughtful and often humorous comments that always warmed my heart and made me smile.  So it was with great sadness that I read of his sudden passing about two weeks back.  Daniel left behind his wife, two sons and third child on the way as well as a large extended family and many friends.  I had tears in my eyes reading Meredith’s words for the loss of her beloved husband, you could tell how much he was loved. 

Daniel was also loved in the online foodie community and that is why today, numerous Secret Recipe Club bloggers are coming together in a tribute day to Daniel by recreating and posting a recipe from The Haggis and the Herring.  

From my reading of The Haggis and the Herring, Daniel seemed to have a special passion for Indian curries, posting numerous delicious versions including Aloo Mutter Butter Paneer, Baked Aloo Kofta Curry, Channa Korma Curry, Channa Masala, Chicken Curry, Butter Chicken, Chicken Madras, Chicken Vindaloo and Chicken Tikka Masala.  So with that in mind I decided to recreate one of his curry dishes.  Unfortunately when I went to make my chosen recipe of Chicken Madras, I realized that I had everything in the house but chicken so knowing how versatile curries are I used what I had on hand for protein, shrimp.  I also decided to bulk up the shrimp with some added veggies as that morning I had picked some gorgeous red, orange, yellow and green peppers as well as some tomatoes from our garden and I also had a package of mushrooms that begged to be used.

IMG_5494eI sautéed the veggies which smelled delicious on their own.

IMG_5496eThen I added the shrimp which had been marinating in the curry sauce along with some crushed tomatoes and a delicious curry came together.  I hope to try many more of Daniel’s curries and other recipes.  He, his posts, recipes and kind words will all be missed.

IMG_5503eShrimp & Vegetable Madras Curry

In a large bowl, whisk together the garam masala, cinnamon, curry powder, black pepper, salt, cayenne, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, lemon juice and 1/2 cup olive oil.  Stir in the shrimp, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a deep pan heat 2 TBS. olive oil on high and add the peppers & mushrooms.  Allow the peppers & mushrooms to brown slightly then stir in the fresh tomatoes and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes start to soften.  Add the shrimp curry mixture and cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously. Add the tomatoes, stir and let simmer on medium-low for 30 minutes.  Serve with rice.



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