Saturday, February 22, 2014

Raspberry Lemon Muffins

This is what 17 years of marriage does to you: I gave David socks for our anniversary (certainly there is a list somewhere that says “athletic wear” is the recommended gift for 17 years, right?)  In return, when asked for feedback on a new recipe for the blog, he replied: “you’ve posted worse.”  Love flowing both directions.

I think the idea of raspberry lemon muffins sums up marriage, and life, in general – it is a mix of sweet and tart.  And it is the tart that makes you appreciate the sweet that much more.  David thinks I am being Debbie Downer with this deep thought (by Jack Handey – just kidding, by me).  There have been a few sad events these past few weeks around Dallas and it makes you think and appreciate the people in your life even more than before.

So here is to David and 17 years of putting up with me and to all the people who have been a part of the journey throughout the years!

Happy Anniversary David!

  1. ½ c yogurt (plain or vanilla) 
    Raspberry Lemon Muffins
  2. 3 T vegetable oil
  3. 1 T lemon juice
  4. 2 egg whites (or 1 egg)
  5. ½ t lemon extract
  6. 1 ½ c all-purpose flour
  7. ¾ c sugar
  8. 2 t baking powder
  9. ¼ t salt
  10. 1 t grated lemon zest (or lemon peel)
  11. 1 - 1 1/2 c frozen raspberries
  12. 2 T white sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, egg whites and lemon extract.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, ¾ c sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just blended (my dough was pretty sticky and thick).  Gently stir in the raspberries (I used frozen - will have to try fresh ned time but unsure how they would hold up  in this thick dough during the mixing process) – next time, I’m going to try adding more raspberries (like 1 ½ c because who wouldn’t like biting into more raspberries?) 

Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups.  Sprinkle the remaining 2 T sugar over the tops for decoration.

Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool muffins in the tin on a wire rack.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

Our family is infatuated with the Olympics.  The kids like watching all the sports and I like watching the progress on Bob Costas’ eye.  Poor thing, the Olympic platform and the world is watching his eye.  Some of my favorites tweets listed on include: “these Bob Costas jokes are getting cornea and cornea”, “much like the 5th Olympic ring, Bob Costas eye has yet to open”, “on Russian TV, Costas’ eye looks completely normal”, “Bob Costas got a red Ryder BB gun for Christmas” and “Costas may want to work over at CBS.  They have one eye too.”  Glad you are back Bob!

Maybe he accidentally got some of this sauce in his eye.  It has a real kick to it!  The first time I made it (the family reunion where 5 of us ended up with the flu), the shrimp was devoured before I could take a picture.  I had more success on Valentine’s Day – eating and picture taking.  This recipe is from Emeril and this, or similar recipes, was recommended by three separate friends/food connoisseurs - thanks Lauren, Heidi and Carol!  

New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp

  1. 3 pounds large Gulf shrimp (recipe recommends shells on; I bought shelled and deveined)
  2. 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, recipe follows or store bought in the spice aisle
  3. Cracked black pepper
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup chopped onions
  6. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  7. 3 bay leaves
  8. 3 lemons, peeled and sectioned
  9. 2 cups water
  10. 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  11. 1/4 cup dry white wine
  12. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  13. 2 cups heavy cream
  14. 2 tablespoons butter
  15. 1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)
  16. Loaf of French baguette

Peel the shrimp, leaving only their tails attached. Reserve the shells and set aside. (Too much work for me, I bought the deveined and shelled shrimp from the fish market).  Sprinkle the shrimp with 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning and fresh cracked black pepper. Use you hands to coat the shrimp with the seasonings. Refrigerate the shrimp while you make the sauce base.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the reserved shrimp shells (if using them), the remaining Creole seasoning, the bay leaves, lemons, water, Worcestershire, wine, salt, and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Strain into a small saucepan. There should be about 1 1/2 cups. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and cook until thick, syrupy, and dark brown, for about 15 minutes. Makes about 4 to 5 tablespoons of barbecue sauce base. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the seasoned shrimp and saute them, occasionally shaking the skillet, for 2 minutes. Add the cream and all of the barbecue base. Stir and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a warm platter with tongs or a slotted spoon, leaving the sauce in the pan and then whisk the butter into the sauce. Remove from the heat. Mound the shrimp in the center of a platter. Spoon the sauce over the shrimp and around the plate. Serve with crusty french baguette. Garnish with chopped chives (optional).

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  1. 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  2. 2 tablespoons salt
  3. 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  4. 1 tablespoon black pepper
  5. 1 tablespoon onion powder
  6. 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  8. 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

Yield: 2/3 cup; recipe will use 2 T so I cut the recipe above in half and still had some seasoning left over.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chocolate Bread Pudding

Do you have any big plans for Valentine’s Day?  Can I come along?  haha.  All I know is that it is Friday but prelim brainstorming with myself (you ought to try it sometime – you are always right and always get your way – it’s so empowering) involves lobster and this chocolate bread pudding.   

This bread pudding is a classic from The Joy of Cooking.  It is mainline chocolate, deep, rich and exquisite, and melts in your mouth.

Enjoy being with your sweeties this Valentine’s Day – give them an extra hug and a kiss and treasure their presence in your life.

Chocolate Bread Pudding
  1. 1 pound challah, brioche or other light egg bread 
  2. 1 c heavy cream
  3. ¾ c sugar
  4. 1/8 t salt
  5. 12 oz semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use Tollhouse semisweet morsels)
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 2 large egg yolks
  8. 2 c whole milk
  9. 1 t vanilla

Cut the bread into ½-inch thick slices (I use an electric knife – it makes it super easy and minimizes squishing the bread).  Trim off and discard the crust.  Now cut the bread into ½-inch cubes, making 6-7 cups.

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the heavy cream, sugar and salt to a boil.  Remove from the heat and pour in the chocolate.  Allow it to sit for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks.  Then add in the milk and vanilla.  Now whisk in the chocolate mixture (you may want to add a little chocolate mixture first to warm up the eggs and then pour in the remainder).  Once this is all mixed, stir in the bread cubes.  Allow them to soak in the chocolate liquid for 1-2 hours, gently stirring and pressing the bread down periodically with a spatula to help it absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 325.  Generously butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish.  Pour the pudding mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top.  Bake in a water bath (aka, place a larger pan (like a roasting pan) in the oven, place the pan with the bread pudding in it, and then pour boiling water into the bigger pan so that the water comes up ½ to 2/3 of the way up the sides of the pudding pan.  The water surrounding the bread pudding pan will keep it from overcooking and/or burning).

Bake for 55-65 minutes or until the center feels firm when pressed.  Let cool for 45 minutes.  Serve alone or with whipped cream or warm white chocolate sauce.

White chocolate sauce
  1. 9 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  2. 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  3. 1/3 c heavy cream
In a double boiler, place these items in the top bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted.  Remove from the heat and stir vigorously until smooth.  Careful not to overheat or the chocolate will become solid and grainy.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Did you hear the story about the family who named their baby Cydnee Lee 12th Mann?   When Meg first sent me the story, I thought “that is so Aggie!”  But no, there are extreme fans in the Pacific Northwest too.  Trust me, David and I have had fun with our last name.  We considered lots of options when choosing a name for Travis.  Let’s see, there was: Super; Spider; Bat; Fire; You Da’; Garbage; Post; Police; Apple; David Letter; Wo; Sal; Rich; Poor; Fisher; Snow; and Dennis Rod.  But we stopped in the imagination phase!!

Break out the slow cooker and try these short ribs.  The butcher at Kuby’s cooked beef short ribs for his co-workers a few weeks ago.  I found this Paula Dean recipe which sounded similar and earned praise at our dinner table. 

Happy Birthday Claire!!

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

  1. 3 pounds beef short ribs
  2. 1 t salt
  3. 1 t pepper
  4. 1 T garlic powder
  5. 48 oz. chicken stock (I actually used a mix of beef stock, chicken stock and 1 c red wine)
  6. 5 ribs celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
  7. 5 large carrots, peeled and sliced in 2 inch pieces
  8. 8-10 red/yellow/gold potatoes, quartered
  9. 1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
  10. Salt and Pepper to taste

Rub the outside of the short ribs with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a large skillet over high heat, brown short ribs on all sides. Transfer ribs to a slow cooker making sure you get all the juice and brown bits from skillet.  Paula’s recipe cooks the meat first for 8 hours and then adding the veggies and cooking.  Thinking that the crock pot is supposed to be “set it and forget it”, I placed all ingredients (ribs + ingredients #5-10) in together and cooked on low for 8 hours.  Add the chicken/beef stock and red wine (make sure the liquid completely covers the meat and veggies), cover and cook on low for 8 hours. The meat will fall off the bones – remove the bones and then serve the meat, veggies and some juice in bowls (with a side of crusty bread is nice).