Archives for April 2009

A Hungry Housewife Interview

Hey y’all I was very excited to get an email from CafeMom. They wanted to feature me and my kitchen on their website. How cool is that? So if you are interested in reading some tid-bits about me and seeing inside my kitchen…..click HERE. Thanks Cafe Mom!!! P.S. Also happy 1 year blog anniversay to […]

Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecan Cheesecake

No leakage through the 4 layers of Heavy Duty tin foil..nice crunchy crust! Look Ma, No cracks! Yeah And I saved the food porn photo for last! I love drippy shots. The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge …….and I now pronounce […]

Chicken Giardino (with a warning)

WARNING DO NOT make this meal when…..1. Your husband is not home for work yet to entertain the kids while you cook. 2. It is no T.V. week at home. 3. Your oldest shuts your youngest finger in the front door. 4. Your youngest decides to spill an entire package on mini chocolate chips on […]

Easter, a bit late

Waaahhhh. Easter was last week? Oh yeah, that’s right. My bad y’all. Things are crazy around here. But better late than never.We had Easter lunch at my mother-in-laws house this year. Ya know, sometimes it is nice being entertained and not the entertainer. So my contribution for the feast was simple. I brought homemade Parker […]

Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Crisp

Dear Butternut Squash, Please accept this letter with my sincere heart felt apologies.In all of my years of grocery shopping, I have always passed you by. Sticking up my nose at your bulbous, misshapen body. Why did you not yell out my name as I walked on by. Throwing yourself off the shelf to roll […]

Guinness Shepherds Pie

I gave you a little tease on St. Pattys day about my Shepherds Pie. Well here she is in all her glory. Do you hear the bag pipes in the distance?? Or was that angels singing? What ever it was, you will hear glorious music when you bite into this casserole.Many a years I have […]

I have been abducted….

No not really. Ok, well maybe a little. Sometimes I do feel like aliens have removed my brain and are slowly nibbling away at it like some fine French delicacy. ok, ok , ok..I have gotten all of your emails wondering where in the hell I have been. I am sorry y’all, I have been […]

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A Hungry Housewife Interview

Hey y’all I was very excited to get an email from CafeMom. They wanted to feature me and my kitchen on their website. How cool is that? So if you are interested in reading some tid-bits about me and seeing inside my kitchen…..click HERE.

Thanks Cafe Mom!!!

P.S. Also happy 1 year blog anniversay to me…It passed past week and I totally forgot.

Thank you to all of my readers, you all are awesome.

Brown Sugar and Toasted Pecan Cheesecake


No leakage through the 4 layers of Heavy Duty tin foil..nice crunchy crust!

cheesecake

Look Ma, No cracks! Yeah

And I saved the food porn photo for last! I love drippy shots.


The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge
…….and I now pronounce you Brown Sugar and toasted pecan cheesecake and wife.
Whhhhhaaaaa??, you might be saying, but Leslie I thought you were married to the flourless chocolate cake from last months challenge? Well after a few of you had commented that you were already married to the chocolate cake, I divorced that cheating bastard and have since moved on to bigger and better things. Me and this cheesecake are getting along just fine thank you very much.(And I had him first).
Here in Tampa we have a Cheesecake Factory and they make some FANTASTIC cheesecakes. Well let me just say, and I don’t mean to toot my own horn(toot toot), this was the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. EVER. PERIOD!
I actually have never made cheesecake before. Sure, I have done the no bake minis before, but those aren’t truly cheesecake. I was a bit nervous going into this one, only because I have heard of the cracking on top and the water from the water bath seeping into the spring form pan and getting the crust all soggy. Well again(toot toot) I had no cracking and no water seepage.
I used the Extra Heavy duty foil(the one that is really long), so 1 sheet wrapped around the whole pan.
In my true fashion of using nothing fancy and with the ingredients I had on hand, I decided to make my cheesecake simple with simple changes to the ingredients. But the changes I made made it outstanding.
For the crust, I used brown sugar instead of white and added 1/4 to 1/2 cup of toasted ground pecans.
For the filling, I used 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup toasted ground pecans.
Caramel Sauce
(Joy of Cooking)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Place the sugar in a heavy saucepan and pour the water evenly over. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, swirling the pan by the handle to stir (don’t use a spoon.) Don’t let the mixture come to a boil before the sugar has dissolved completely. Once it’s dissolved, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil, cover the pan, and boil for 2 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to boil until the syrup starts to darken around the edges. Now, start swirling the pan by the handle until the syrup turns a deep amber color, then remove it from the heat and add the pieces of butter, stirring until the butter melts. Next, stir in the heavy cream (if the sauce becomes lumpy, set it over low heat and stir until smooth.) Finally, add the vanilla.
Cool and store in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, spoon the amount you want into a microwaveable container and heat for 20-30 seconds
Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake:
crust:
2 cups / 180 g
graham cracker crumbs
1 stick / 4 oz butter, melted
2 tbsp. / 24 g sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
cheesecake:
3 sticks of cream cheese, 8 oz each (total of 24 oz) room temperature
1 cup / 210 g sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup / 8 oz heavy cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or the innards of a vanilla bean)
1 tbsp liqueur, optional, but choose what will work well with your cheesecake
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (Gas Mark 4 = 180C = Moderate heat). Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into your preferred pan. You can press the crust just into the bottom, or up the sides of the pan too – baker’s choice. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer (or in a large bowl if using a hand-mixer) and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and alcohol and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.
Pan note: The creator of this recipe used to use a spring form pan, but no matter how well she wrapped the thing in tin foil, water would always seep in and make the crust soggy. Now she uses one of those 1-use foil “casserole” shaped pans from the grocery store. They’re 8 or 9 inches wide and really deep, and best of all, water-tight. When it comes time to serve, just cut the foil away.
Prep notes: While the actual making of this cheesecake is a minimal time commitment, it does need to bake for almost an hour, cool in the oven for an hour, and chill overnight before it is served. Please plan accordingly!

Chicken Giardino (with a warning)

WARNING

DO NOT make this meal when…..
1. Your husband is not home for work yet to entertain the kids while you cook.

2. It is no T.V. week at home.

3. Your oldest shuts your youngest finger in the front door.

4. Your youngest decides to spill an entire package on mini chocolate chips on the floor.

5. You step on that piece of glass on the floor from a plate that broke 2 months ago, when you swear all of it was vacuumed up.

6. The bowl of jelly beans falls off the table.

7. Your oldest thinks it would be funny to slap your butt really hard when you are using your chefs knife to cut a red pepper, in turn, slicing your finger.
8. Your youngest thinks its fun to cut one of those thin static-y produce bags into one million pieces.(um yeah, try picking that up)

8. And most importantly DONT NOT MAKE THIS MEAL WHEN YOU ARE P.M.S’ ing.

Good mighty heavens above, it took me over two hell-ish hours to cook dinner tonight. It was good and all, but DAMN!!

Ohhh, Happy day!

CHICKEN GIARDION

(Olive Garden)

Ingredients

Sauce: ****I made double batch of this sauce****
1 Tbsp butter
¼ tsp dry thyme
½ tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tsp garlic pepper
1 Tbsp cornstarch
¼ cup chicken broth
¼ cup water
¼ cup white wine
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Chicken:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced width-wise into ½” strips
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small rosemary sprigs
1 clove garlic, finely minced
Juice of ½ lemon

Vegetables:
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ bunch fresh asparagus (remove bottom inch of stem; cut remainder into 1” pieces)
1 zucchini, julienne cut
1 yellow summer squash, julienne cut
2 roma tomatoes, cut into ½” pieces
½ red bell pepper, julienne cut
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup spinach, cut into ½” pieces
½ cup carrots, julienne cut

1 lb farfalle pasta (bow ties), cooked according to package directions

Procedures

Sauce Preparation:

MELT butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in thyme, garlic pepper and rosemary. Whisk to thoroughly blend and cook for 1 minute.
COMBINE chicken broth, water, wine, milk, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Add cornstarch and whisk until cornstarch has dissolved and there are no lumps.
ADD liquid mixture to sauce pan. Whisk all ingredients together and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.

Chicken & Vegetables Preparation:

COMBINE all chicken ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend well.
MARINATE for 30 minutes.
HEAT a saute pan over medium high heat. Add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.
SAUTE chicken strips until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
ADD all vegetables and sauté until cooked through.
ADD cooked, drained pasta and sauce to sauté pan. Stir until pasta is thoroughly coated with sauce.
TRANSFER to a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley.

Easter, a bit late

Waaahhhh. Easter was last week? Oh yeah, that’s right. My bad y’all. Things are crazy around here. But better late than never.
We had Easter lunch at my mother-in-laws house this year. Ya know, sometimes it is nice being entertained and not the entertainer. So my contribution for the feast was simple. I brought homemade Parker House Rolls and a Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.
I have never made fresh rolls before. But with my trusty Bible in hand (a.k.a Joy of Cooking) I was able to whip them up in a snap. Ok, its not really a snap, but they were well worth it. The actual process is super easy(as long as you use your stand mixer), but the waiting time is the killer. From start to out of the oven it was exactly 2 hours. And I am gonna fess up on a secret, I did purchase some frozen bread dough just in case they failed. But they were a winner. So the frozen bread dough remains in the freezer, awaiting its fate.
On to the cake. I made the same coconut cake listed here. It’s Paula Deen’s Coconut Cake and it is a no fail recipe. However this time I didn’t do the 7 minute frosting. I am not a fan of it at all, I made a coconut cream cheese frosting that was yummo. And unlike my normal perfectionist self, I threw my towel in and made the cake cutsie for the kids, and didnt worry about all of the messiness that was going on with this cake.
My vision for the cake was …the green coconut as the grass, the peeps frolicking in the grass, blue frosting as the sky and the coconut on top as the clouds Get it? No? O.K maybe it was just my vision in my own little whacked out head. But the kids got a kick out of it.
The recipes for both are below the photos


PARKER HOUSE ROLLS
Joy of Cooking
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 tablespoons warm water
Add:
1 cup whole or low-fat milk, warmed to 105-115 degrees
5 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
Mix 1 minute by hand.
Gradually stir in:
2 cups bread flour
Then add:
1 1/2 cups more bread flour
Knead about 10 minutes by hand or with dough hook. Transfer to oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, 1-1 1/2 hours. Punch the dough down, knead briefly, then refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes.
Divide dough into 18 pieces about 1 ounce each. Roll dough pieces into balls, loosely cover with oiled plastic wrap, and let rest 10 minutes. Grease a baking sheet. With a rolling pin or a dowel, roll just the center of each round to create an oval. Edges should be slightly thicker than the center. Brush tops lightly with melted butter and fold the ovals in half so the two ends meet. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush tops with melted butter or milk. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Makes 18 rolls.

Jamie’s Coconut Cake

Paula Deen
Click here for the recipe

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Epicurious
3 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3/4cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon (scant) coconut extract
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then cream of coconut and both extracts. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Crisp

Dear Butternut Squash,

Please accept this letter with my sincere heart felt apologies.
In all of my years of grocery shopping, I have always passed you by. Sticking up my nose at your bulbous, misshapen body. Why did you not yell out my name as I walked on by. Throwing yourself off the shelf to roll in front of my cart wheel in almost a suicide attempt to get my attention would have possibly worked.
I am not sure what did it the last time. Maybe it was the twinkle in your root, the shimmer of your skin. But I thank you for hopping in my buggy. I know you were sad to leave your friends behind. But not to worry, I will bring them home on the next trip, because I will never again pass you by. Never, I promise!

Love Forever,
Your new BFF
Leslie


Will you look at that puddle of butter!!

Once I got my beloved Butternut squash home. I really had no clue what to do with it. There was soup and risotto that came to mind. But I was having a sweet tooth. So I used my new BFF as a vehicle to hold my cinnamon, apple, butter crumb topping mixture. OH MY GOD was this good.
I gave myself a big pat on the back after this one. Nothing was left but the skin after the husband and I devoured it.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH APPLE CRISP

Serves 2
Recipe by me
1 Butternut Squash
1 apple, chopped, divided
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Butter, divided
REAL maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350
Cut squash down the middle. Scoop out the membrane and seeds.
In a bowl mix together apples and cinnamon and equally divide them between the 2 squash in the cavities you created when you scooped out the seeds.
Place 1 Tablespoon of butter on top of the apples on each squash.

CRUMB TOPPING

3/4 stick butter
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Instant Oats
1/4 cup Toasted Pecans
With a pastry blender or 2 forks, mix together butter and flour until it resembles peas. Add all of the other ingredients and mix well.
Mound crumb topping over apple mixture.(you will have left over topping mixture)
Drizzle maple syrup over the crumb topping and over the Butternut Squash
Bake for 45 minutes.

Guinness Shepherds Pie

Shepherds pie with Guinness I gave you a little tease on St. Pattys day about my Shepherds Pie. Well here she is in all her glory. Do you hear the bag pipes in the distance?? Or was that angels singing? What ever it was, you will hear glorious music when you bite into this casserole.
Many a years I have been completely drunk at the Irish Pub for “The Holiday”, insisting on eating the Shepherds Pie they plop on my plate. And to be honest it is always bland and nasty to be quite honest. But I still feel the need to order it. I suppose it is some sort of tradition.
A few years back I was on a mission to make a more flavorful version of the gruel. And I think I hit the nail on the head with this one folks. Try it and I think you agree, it is FABULOUS. And if you don’t agree, well then you have serious issues! Sick Psychiatric issues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Hungry Housewife’s Guinness Shepherds Pie

1 ½ pounds Organic ground beef 80/20
1 (1lb) bag frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
2 packets of dry Brown Gravy Mix
1 medium onion
Olive Oil
2 bottles Guinness Beer
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 pounds baking potatoes
¼- ½ cup milk
1 stick butter
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375

To make Potato filling…
Boil the potatoes in slated water until fork tender. Drain completely and place back in pot so all of the water evaporates.
In a medium mixing bowl add butter and potatoes. Mash until smooth, while adding the milk for a medium consistency. Add salt and pepper.

Meat filling…
Cook and drain ground beef.
Place drained beef back in skillet and add 1 bottle of Guinness. Cook until beer has almost cooked out.
Add tomato paste to meat
In a medium sauce pan, prepare the brown gravy according to package directions,
however, use beer for half the liquid called for( 1 cup water, 1 cup beer)
Pour gravy into meat mixture. And cook all together until you get a nice thick gravy.

In medium skillet with olive oil sauté onions until soft and translucent.
Add mixed vegetables to the onions and cook until warm throughout.

In a 2 quart baking dish, add meat as bottom layer, the add vegetables, and then add the mashed potatoes. Top with Shredded cheese.Cook at 375 for about 20 minutes or until cheese in nice and bubbly

I have been abducted….

No not really. Ok, well maybe a little. Sometimes I do feel like aliens have removed my brain and are slowly nibbling away at it like some fine French delicacy.

ok, ok , ok..I have gotten all of your emails wondering where in the hell I have been.

I am sorry y’all, I have been on a bit of a computer cleanse. I haven’t even really turned on my computer in about 2 weeks. That explains my absence on my blog and visiting all of your blogs.
Please forgive my looser self for not hanging around food blog world lately.
I will be back soon. Don’t forget me!