Friday, December 20, 2013

Flashback Friday: A&E's Favorite Desserts

Eight years ago today, two of the best things that I (and David) have ever made were ready.  They took 37 weeks to finish and are sweeter than any dessert.  They are a natural duo like peanut butter and jelly or Charlie Brown and Snoopy and yet as unique as can be.  

I may not be patient enough to let bread rise but I would be patient again for them both.

Chocolate Sheath Cake
Blackberry Cobbler

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Crunch

Of the 4,372 things that make me nervous to raise kids, keeping them away from drugs is in the top 5.  I can preach and threaten and point out examples but at some point I won’t have this much influence and that scares the bejeebers out of me.  When my friend, Elizabeth, sent this recipe – called Christmas Crack – I started to hyperventilate then I had to adjust the name (forgive me Elizabeth!).  

Christmas Crunch
Last night I walked downstairs and found David sprawled out on the easy chair consuming this and simultaneously saying “take this away from me.”    
  1. 2 cups of Honey Nut Cheerios cereal
  2. 6 cups of Golden Grahams cereal
  3. 1 cup honey roasted peanuts
  4. 1 cup of pecans
  5. ½ cup (1 stick) of butter
  6. 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  7. ¼ cup light corn syrup
  8. 2 cups of pretzel sticks
  9. 1 cup of M&Ms (holiday colors make it look festive!)
Preheat oven to 350.  Combine cereals, peanuts and pecans in a large bowl (I actually did not use pecans).  Melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan over medium low, stir in sugar and syrup.  Bring to a boil over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Pour mixture over cereal in bowl and stir quickly to coat.  Spread in a single layer on a light greased jelly roll pan.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

Transfer to wax paper and cool for 10 minutes.  Try not to eat.  Break into pieces and toss with pretzels and M&Ms. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Salads, Vegetables and Sides - A Year in Review

Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted
Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate
“It’s not easy being green.” – Kermit the Frog.  Actually, it was a good year to be green at The Baker’s Mann.  Salads, Vegetables and Sides earned equal representation as Desserts with 17 postings each and dare I say that there are some items below that I enjoyed more than dessert.  Let’s not go crazy…

And this completes our year in review.  I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane and found a few new recipes to try!  I have what looks like some great holiday treats – come back soon and see what they are!
Edamame Salad

·         Orzo Salad
·         Asian Summer Salad
·         Edamame Salad
·         Egg Salad
Sautéed Artichokes
·         Pimento Cheese
·         Broccolini
·         Sauteed Baby Artichokes
·         Kale, Cabbage and Carrot Salad
·         Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella
Orzo Salad
·         Charoset 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Appetizers - A Year in Review

Mexican Layered Dip
I am convinced that the word appetizer gained popularity because people got tired of trying to spell hors d'oeuvre.   Either is popular with me because you can try a lot of them and not feel guilty.  How can those small things have many calories?  ‘Tis the season to consume lots of appetizers – here are a few that we ate this year.

·         Cranberry Salsa
Spinach Artichoke Cups
·         Mexican Layered Dip
·         Spinach-Artichoke Cups

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Entrees - A Year in Review

Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches
“The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.” – Julia Child.  So true!  I recently heard a presentation on the Paleo diet.  Very interesting and thought provoking but I would not have survived as a caveman.

·         Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches
·         Chicken Enchiladas
·         Roasted Shrimp and Orzo
Salmon with Brown Sugar
and Mustard Glaze
·         Fettuccine with Figs, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese

Monday, December 9, 2013

Beverages - A Year in Review

Watermelon Bellini
It is Day 4 of this ice day-cation.  The troops are growing restless.  Is it time for a drink? (which is funny because a main ingredient is watermelon which was in season when posted but not so much today).

Watermelon Mint Tea

I am grateful for power and heat (you should see the neighbor’s trees hanging on the electrical line behind the house).  We, and much of Dallas, ventured out yesterday to the mall.  Nordstrom lost power (except auxiliary, safety lighting) yet allowed people to wander through the store.  Exactly what meaningful transactions were going to occur?

·         Watermelon Mint Tea
·         Watermelon Bellini

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Breakfast and Breads - A Year in Review

Chocolate Chip Scones
“My wife and I tried to breakfast together, but we had to stop or our marriage would have been wrecked.” – Winston Churchill.  Mrs. Churchill and I must have that in common – we are not morning people.  I am good to go after coffee and a shower and maybe around 9:30, the wheels will start turning.  Somehow we had kids who do not know the meaning of “sleeping in.”  My friends with teenagers tell me that it will happen.  But when????

·         Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon Rolls
·         Maple Bacon
·         Chocolate Chip Scones

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Soups - A Year in Review

Corn Chowder
“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” - Ludwig van Beethoven.  Well that can’t be true because I make a pretty good soup; my intentions are pure – maybe I am getting extra credit for that.

There is a reason why I live in Texas.  My blood is not suited for this cold.  A big ice storm cancelled school on Friday and lots of activities on Saturday and possibly Sunday.  I took a shower to give myself a reason not to feel guilty about changing out of my pajamas and into sweats.    

White Bean and Kale Soup
with Sausage
·         White Bean and Kale Soup with Sausage  
·         Corn Chowder
·         Minestrone
·         Creamy Tomato Soup
·         Black Bean Soup
·         Gazpacho

Friday, December 6, 2013

Desserts - A Year in Review

Chapman's Chocolate Pie
“Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate.”  ~Sandra Boynton.  Pssst – I bet the numbers would be higher if the research study expanded to “dessert” and did not limit itself to just chocolate.  I know that I don't discriminate when selecting dessert.  I love dessert – love looking at recipes and pictures, love making it, love eating it, love watching others enjoy it.  Let’s review The Baker’s Mann’s desserts from this past year – my mouth is watering…

·         Chapman’s Chocolate Pie
·         Pumpkin Cake
Carrot Cake
·         Salted Caramel Cheesecake
·         Paula’s Banana Pudding
·         Carrot Cake
·         Raspberry Clafoutis
·         Good Pie
·         Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars
·         Apple Walnut Cake
·         Rocky Road Brownies
Reese's Peanut Butter Cookies
·         Peach Dumplings
·         Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels
·         Cheater Pralines
·         Strawberry Cupcakes

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Baker's Mann 2nd Anniversary

Asian Summer Salad
“I'm just someone who likes cooking and for whom sharing food is a form of expression.”  While I would like to claim this quote as mine, it came from Maya Angelou, but I couldn’t agree more. 

Another year has come and gone and we have journeyed together and expanded our recipe repertoire.  It began as an experiment of social media and a desire to answer the “what are you making for dinner?” It has evolved into an extended family of fellow cooks, an excuse to make the kids try new foods, an opportunity to throw David under the bus periodically, and a personal challenge to find the next great, new recipe. 

Orzo Salad

Thanks to you for being a part of The Baker’s Mann, for willingly sharing your best recipes, for serving as a taste tester, and/or for providing feedback as you try new recipes.  Your interest and involvement keeps me searching and baking. 

Happy Baker’s Manniversary to you! 

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

For the next week or so we will take a stroll down memory lane and review all the recipes from the past year by category.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Chopped Apple Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

David took the kids to see Frozen this past weekend.  Elizabeth was giving me a painstakingly detailed breakdown of the plot.  At one point, it went a little like this “…and Elsa, the queen, she is older but not really old like you, Mommy.”  Ouch. 

A quick check of the internet and one of the many benefits of pomegranates is for “aging.”  Good thing this fruit is currently in season and tastes great!  Bobby Flay created this seasonal salad.  Surprisingly, he did not include pomegranates in the salad itself, just the dressing.  Being the nutty, recipe adapter that I am (ha!), I topped the salad with pomegranate seeds.  No such thing as too many.

Chopped Apple Salad
Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
1.      1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
2.      2 T red wine vinegar
3.      1 heaping T Dijon mustard
4.      1 T honey, or more to taste
5.      Salt
6.      Freshly ground black pepper
7.      3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (add slowly, you may not need all 3/4 c)
1.      6 apples (Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji) any or a combination of all, skin left on, core removed and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2.      2 cups baby spinach
3.      2 heads endive, thinly sliced
4.      1 cup toasted coarsely chopped walnuts
5.      3/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (recommended: Maytag, Danish, Cabrales)
6.      Pomegranate seeds
7.      Salt
8.      Freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:
Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified - taste periodically, I used less than 3/4 c.

For the salad:
Combine the apples, spinach, endive, walnuts and blue cheese in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss to coat, season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds on top.

Pomegranate molasses – this is supposedly available at some stores, in particular in Middle Eastern markets.  You can also make your own – 2 cups pomegranate juice+ ¼ c sugar + ½ T lemon juice.  Place the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has reduced to 1 cup, approximately 70 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick syrup. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the saucepan for 30 minutes. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before covering and storing in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Flashback Friday: Holiday Appetizers

Cranberry Salsa
I nearly missed it - Flashback Friday - but we are back from Austin and San Antonio in the nick of time!  We had our first annual Thanksgiving Wednesday (best ever!) - hope your Thanksgiving was delicious and relaxing and joyous too!

Let the festivities begin!  If you are asked to bring an appetizer to a holiday gathering, wow your friends with one of these delicious dishes. 

Goat Cheese, Sundried Tomato
and Pesto Torta
·         Cranberry Salsa

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cinnamon Rolls

About a year ago, David banned cinnamon rolls from a can in our house.  Something about preservatives…  I am not a bread baker – leave that to my mom – but I broke out the yeast packet and gave it a try.  Actually gave it 2 tries – recipe number one didn’t pass the approval test.  Think it is contingent on the amount of butter and cinnamon sugar on the inside and the icing on the outside.  Duh…

The Baker’s Mann is typically about recipes that can be made on a given weeknight.  This Alton Brown recipe has a pain in the rump factor (12 hours start to finish) because it takes patience  – something that I am in short supply of lately.  But… if you have the desire to make your own cinnamon rolls and you time it properly, this will make your house smell great and make you the star of the family.

Cinnamon Rolls
1.      4 large egg yolks, room temperature
2.      1 large whole egg, room temperature
3.      2 oz. sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
4.      3 oz. unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
5.      6 oz. buttermilk, room temperature
6.      20 oz. all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
7.      1 package instant (rapid rise) dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
8.      1 1/4 t kosher salt
9.      Vegetable oil or cooking spray
1.      8 oz. light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
2.      1 T ground cinnamon
3.      Pinch salt
4.      ¾ oz unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 T
1.      2 1/2 oz. cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
2.      3 T milk
3.      5 1/2 oz. powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add 1 ¼ cup more flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough (with a rolling pin) into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water (I filled a tea kettle with water and then poured it into a brownie pan in the oven) and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Flashback Friday: Thanksgiving

Chocolate Pecan Pie
Even as great new recipes appear, there are always some favorites from days past which deserve to  
reappear and be tried or retried.

Since Thanksgiving is upon us, here are some Thanksgiving favorites that would be a part of my ideal, holiday meal:

·         Turkey Breast
·         Caroline’s Cornbread Dressing
Cornbread Dressing
·         Candied Sweet Potatoes
·         Sour Cream Biscuits
·         Chocolate Pecan Pie

A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.  May your day be filled with gratitude and blessings, family and friends.

Roasted Vegetables
with Balsamic Glaze

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Crostini with Sundried Tomato Jam and Goat Cheese

I am timeliness challenged.  For this reason, my friends know not to assign me the appetizer for dinner parties or gatherings.  Not that I don’t have great appetizer recipes, it is because they don’t want appetizers for the main course. 

I found this Giada recipe and gave it a try.  Definitely include the goat cheese, the sundried tomato and creamy cheese combination on top of a toasted baguette create bite size scrumptiousness.  Invite me to your party – I’ll deliver this appetizer earlier in the day so at least it will be on time when your other guests arrive.

Crostini with Sundried Tomato Jam
and Goat Cheese
Sun-Dried Tomato Jam:
1.      1 (8-ounce) jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and chopped, oil reserved
2.      1 T olive oil
3.      1/2 onion, thinly sliced or chopped
4.      1 clove garlic, minced
5.      2 T sugar
6.      1/4 cup red wine vinegar
7.      1 cup water
8.      1/2 cup chicken broth
9.      1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves
10.  1/2 t salt
11.  1/2 t freshly ground black pepper

1.      1 baguette, cut into 3/4-inch slices
2.      1/4 cup olive oil
3.      Salt
4.      Freshly ground black pepper
5.      5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
6.      2 t chopped fresh thyme leaves

For the Sun-dried Tomato Jam:
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, olive oil, onion, and garlic. Stir and cook until the onions are soft and beginning to brown at the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the sugar, vinegar, water, chicken broth, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue simmering until most of the liquid is reduced and the mixture is the consistency of jam, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

For the Crostini:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

Place the baguette slices on the baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the baguette slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, about 8 minutes.

You can either use plain goat cheese or flavor it.  If you choose flavored: place the soft goat cheese in a small bowl. Stir in the thyme.

To assemble:
Spread the crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Jam and top with the goat cheese. Transfer to a serving plate and serve.