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.