Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Black Bean-Tomato Soup with Cilantro-Lime Cream

This soup is really yummy, but Stella is my only child that likes it and so cheesy quesadillas are always served on the side.  I like to make this soup just for me to eat for lunch when I don't have to listen to anyone complaining.

Black Bean-Tomato Soup with Cilantro-Lime Cream

2 center-cut bacon slices, chopped
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon, reserving 1 teaspoon drippings in pan; set bacon aside.  Add onion and celery to pan; cook 5 minutes or until celery is tender.  Stir in 3/4 teaspoon cumin, chile powder, and garlic; cook 1 minute.  Stir in bacon, pepper, beans, tomatoes, and broth; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.  Place half of bean mixture in a blender.  Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender.  Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters).  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a large bowl.  Repeat procedure with remaining bean mixture; process until smooth.  Keep warm.

Combine sour cream, remaining 1/4 teaspoon cumin, cilantro, rind, and juice in a small bowl.  Drizzle cream over soup.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

French Breakfast Puffs

I love these little buttery bites!  Preston calls them doughnuts and he thinks that he ate at least 4 for breakfast (maybe more) this morning.  I did the math looking at how many I baked and how many the rest of us ate.  He only had three, but he still doesn't believe me!

French Breakfast Puffs

1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

In a bowl of a standing mixer cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the egg to the butter mixture and beat until light and fluffy.

Sift together dry ingredients.  Add alternately with the milk to the butter mixture until combined.  Don't over mix.  Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake 20-25 minutes until golden.

In a bowl melt 1/2 cup butter.  In a separate bowl combine the sugar and cinnamon.  While the muffins are still warm, dip in butter, coating thoroughly, then coat with the cinnamon and sugar.  Serve while warm (this is a must)!

*I use a mini-muffin tin because I like little bites and I also get more buttery, cinnamon-sugar goodness in each bite!  I usually fill about 18 mini-muffin cups and bake for about 12 minutes.
*To make these extra special try browning the butter that you use to dip the muffin in before the cinnamon sugar.  It takes these delicious little breakfast bites over the top!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

This recipe makes a perfectly delicious little roll to use for a day after Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.  I thought the recipe seemed fitting for the season because it uses sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Buttermilk Dinner Rolls

1 cup mashed sweet potato or yam, slightly warm or at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup sugar
2 packets active dry yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
6-7 cups bread flour

In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together mashed sweet potato, buttermilk, egg, butter, sugar and yeast.  Let the mixture sit for a few minutes while you measure out about 7 cups of flour.

Using the paddle attachment for you stand mixer, stir in one cup of flour along with the salt.  Gradually add more flour, about a cup at a time, until a soft dough begins to form.  If using a stand mixer, switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for 6-7 minutes, adding a little more flour as needed to make a moderately soft dough that mostly clears the sides of the bowl.  If mixing and kneading by hand, dump the dough out onto a floured surface when it gets too hard to mix with a spoon.  Using well-floured hands, knead the dough for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to work surface and hands.

When you finish kneading, the dough should be moderately soft and tacky, but not sticky.  Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times to form a smooth ball of dough.  Spray the inside of a bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place dough inside bowl.  Spray the top the dough to prevent it from drying out.  Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic wrap.  Let dough rise until it has doubled in bulk.

When dough has doubled, push it down with your fists to deflate it and dump it out onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut the dough in half with a knife or bench scraper then cut each half into 8 equal pieces (or more if you want smaller rolls).  Cover pieces with a towel and let rest for a few minutes before shaping.  While dough is resting, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and move two oven racks towards the center of the oven.  Also, line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Shape rolls by rolling against the work surface or between your hands to form balls.  Divide the rolls between the two baking sheets, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap.  Let rolls rise for about 20-30 minutes then remove towel and place baking sheet in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are puffed and lightly brown.  Rotate sheets halfway through baking time (move bottom to top and vice versa).

Let rolls cool slightly and serve immediately.  Or, if making ahead, let rolls cool completely on wire racks then place in Ziploc bags.  To reheat, wrap rolls in foil and place in 375 degree oven for a few minutes until heated through.

Recipe from Pinch My Salt

Friday, November 25, 2011

Buttermilk Pie

My friend Susanna gave me this recipe years ago and it has become a Thanksgiving tradition.  The Thanksgiving feast wouldn't be complete without this pie and my mom's famous pumpkin pie.

Buttermilk Pie

Pie Crust (this is my mama's recipe)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups shorteining
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vinegar
4 tablespoons ice cold water

In a food processor mix together the flour and salt.  Drop shortening into flour in small spoonfuls.  Pulse food processor 4 to 5 times.  The mixture should look very coarse and crumbly.  Pour the flour shortening mixture into a large bowl.

In a small bowl combine egg, vinegar and water and mix well.  Pour over flour mixture and mix gently with a fork or wooden spoon just until dough comes together and ingredients are incorporated.

Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap and form into discs.  Let dough chill refrigerator for 30 minutes.

When ready to use, with a rolling pin, roll pie dough out on a floured surface starting in the middle and working your way out.  Roll dough a 1/2" larger in diameter than your pie pan.  Place pie dough in pie pan and finish edges.

Buttermilk Filling

3 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon butter extract

In a large bowl combine the eggs and sugar and beat until well combined.  Add the buttermilk and mix.  Next add the melted butter, flour, salt, vanilla and butter extract.  Mix until ingredients are well combined and smooth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Pour into two 9" unbaked pie shells and bake for 60 minutes or until custard is set (mine will still be slightly jiggly in the center and will continue to set as the pie cools).  I usually tent foil over my pie after about 40 minutes of baking so that the pie crust and the top of the pie doesn't get too dark.  Let cool to room temperature before serving.  Serve with raspberry sauce and freshly whipped cream.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sesame Noodles

I used a new recipe for lettuce wraps tonight and I think I liked the flavor better than the ones that I usually make.  Sometimes it's hard to tell when I am not tasting them side by side.  I will share the recipe soon, but tonight to go alongside the lettuce wraps, simple sesame noodles.  Tonights meal is one of Preston's favorites!

Sesame Noodles

12 ounces, thin noodles, cooked and drained
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce (add more if you want more heat)
1 tablespoons hot water
4 whole green onions, sliced thin

Whisk all ingredients (except noodles and green onions) together in a bowl.  Taste and adjust ingredients as needed.  Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with green onions and toss.  Serve.

*The original recipe calls for an additional 4 tablespoons of canola oil to add volume to the sauce.  I found that the noodles were too oily, so I always leave it out.

Adapted from Pioneer Women Cooks

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Apple Crumb Coffee Cakes

We had these apple crumb coffee cakes for breakfast this morning.  They were a delightful way to start a cold, fall morning!

Apple Crumb Coffee Cakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Crumb Cakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make the streusel:  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour with the brown sugar and salt.  Add the butter pieces and mix at medium-low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal; continue mixing the streusel until very small clumps form.  Transfer the streusel to a large plate and refrigerate until it is well chilled, about 10 minutes.

Make the crumb cakes:  Line 18 standard-size muffin cups with paper liners.  Spray the liners with vegetable oil cooking spray.  In the mixer bowl, combine the flour with the granulated sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Add the butter pieces and beat at low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add the sour cream and beaten egg and beat until the batter is smooth.  Add the diced apple and beat just until incorporated. 

Fill the muffin cups halfway with the crumb cake batter.  Press the streusel into clumps and sprinkle on top.  Bake the crumb cakes in the center of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until risen, golden and springy to the touch; rotate the pans halfway through baking.  Let the crumb cakes cool slightly before serving. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

October has passed and I haven't shared my favorite pumpkin bread recipe.  This year I couldn't even wait until October 1st to make my first loaf.  My little family loves this bread with the addition of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  It is especially delicious warm out of the oven when each bite has little bits of melted chocolate goodness.  Today, when Noah and Preston finished eating a slice, the evidence (melted chocolate) was all around their mouths!

Pumpkin Bread

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups canned pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup water
2 heaping cups chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour 2 large loaf pans.

In a large bowl combine sugar and oil and mix well.  Add eggs and pumpkin; mix well.  Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Add flour mixture alternately with water to the pumpkin mixture, ending with flour.  Stir in chocolate chips if using.  Pour into greased and floured loaf pans.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine usually doesn't take this long).  Tent loaves with foil if they begin to brown too much. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Coconut Chicken Curry Soup

No complaints from my little ones, Hurray!

Coconut Chicken Curry Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 jalapeno, seeded, minced
3 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups cooked jasmine rice
Toasted coconut
Chopped peanuts

Heat olive oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions to the pot and sauté until softened.  Add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.

Next, add the chicken broth, coconut milk, curry powder, brown sugar, jalapeno and chicken to the soup pot.  Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat and cook for at least 15 minutes.

Next, add the diced bell pepper, green onions, and cilantro to the soup and simmer for 3 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon rice into bowls and top with a ladle or two of soup.  Garnish with toasted coconut, chopped peanuts, and cilantro.  Serve immediately (the green onions and cilantro lose their bright green color as the soup sits).  Serve with pita bread.

*Next time I may try using red curry paste for additional heat.

Recipe adapted from good life eats 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Butternut Soup with Pear, Cider, and Vanilla Bean

I love this soup and I love seeing the little flecks of vanilla bean in each bite.  My little ones were not super thrilled about my choice for dinner, but it was okay because it left more yummy soup for me (it made a great lunch)!

Butternut Soup with Pear, Cider, and Vanilla Bean

3 tablespoons olive oil
One 2 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into
 1-inch cubes (about 4 generous cups)
2 firm-ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch cubes
(About 2 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 cup apple cider or unfiltered apple juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half or cream
1 vanilla bean
Buttered Cinnamon-Sugar Croutons, for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or small stockpot over medium-low heat.  Add the squash, pears, and onion and stir to coat with oil.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and transparent and the pears are starting to fall apart.

Add the cider and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer the mixture, partially covered, for about 30 minutes, until squash is tender.

Using a blender or food processor and working in small batches-don't fill your blender jar more than one-third full; hot liquids expand-puree until very smooth.  Return the soup to the stockpot and add the salt.  Continue to cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, until the soup has reduced to about one-half to one-third of its original volume.  Stir occasionally.  The final consistency is up to you; when it reaches a thickness that seems right-not too thin, not too thick-it's ready.

While the soup is reducing, put the half-and-half in a small saucepan.  Using a sharp knife split the vanilla bean in half from tip to tip.  Using the back of your knife, scrape the tiny black seeds out of the pod.  Scoop the seeds and the pod into the saucepan with the half-and-half, and warm it over low heat, swirling occasionally, until it steams.  Do not allow it to boil.  Pull it from the heat, remove and discard the pod, and whisk to break up any clumps of seeds.  Set aside.

When the soup has reduced to your desired thickness, stir in the infused half-and-half.  Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Serve, garnish with cinnamon-sugar croutons.

*The flavor of this soup is even better the next day!

Recipe from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg

Buttered Cinnamon-Sugar Croutons

6 slices French bread, cubed
1/4 cup butter, melted and browned
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 F.  Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.  Stir frequently, scraping up any bits form the bottom as you do.  Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns.

Toss cubes of bread with browned butter.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon, and toss with bread cubes.  Spread bread cubes on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp; stir bread cubes halfway through baking.