Sunday, September 28, 2008


I don't know if I'm late or not. I thought the post date was today but I've seen several posts from yesterday. Oh, well. This month, the Daring Baker Challenge was Lavash crackers. Definitely something different. I ended up doing two different kinds because my dough stretched after it rested some and I had to cut some off to fit on the pan. My savory set had sea salt, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and mustard on it. The sweet one had cinnamon and sugar. Both were very good. I think that this would make a GREAT thin crust pizza! For my dip I wanted to make garlic hummus. So, I pulled out the garlic and chopped up EIGHT raw cloves. OH MY! Unless you want your tongue to burn, please do NOT follow this recipe. I think I used triple what I needed! I'm still using it on salads with a little dressing to cover the burn and plan on trying again sometime soon. Making your own is MUCH cheaper than buying it! Thanks Natalie and Shel for hosting. Here's the recipe! For more, check it out here.

Lavash Crackers
* 1 1/2 cups (6.75 oz) unbleached bread flour or gluten free flour blend (If you use a blend without xanthan gum, add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the recipe)
* 1/2 tsp (.13 oz) salt
* 1/2 tsp (.055 oz) instant yeast
* 1 Tb (.75 oz) agave syrup or sugar
* 1 Tb (.5 oz) vegetable oil
* 1/3 to 1/2 cup + 2 Tb (3 to 4 oz) water, at room temperature
* Poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, or kosher salt for toppings

1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt yeast, agave, oil, and just enough water to bring everything together into a ball. You may not need the full 1/2 cup + 2 Tb of water, but be prepared to use it all if needed.

2. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly distributed. The dough should pass the windowpane test (see … ong-Enough for a discription of this) and register 77 degrees to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), satiny to the touch, not tacky, and supple enough to stretch when pulled. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


2. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: The dough should be firmer than French bread dough, but not quite as firm as bagel dough (what I call medium-firm dough), and slightly tacky. Lightly oil a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment at room temperature for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size. (You can also retard the dough overnight in the refrigerator immediately after kneading or mixing).

4. For Non Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Mist the counter lightly with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Press the dough into a square with your hand and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Roll it out with a rolling pin into a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. You may have to stop from time to time so that the gluten can relax. At these times, lift the dough from the counter and wave it a little, and then lay it back down. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap while it relaxes. When it is the desired thinness, let the dough relax for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with baking parchment. Carefully lift the sheet of dough and lay it on the parchment. If it overlaps the edge of the pan, snip off the excess with scissors.


4. For Gluten Free Cracker Dough: Lay out two sheets of parchment paper. Divide the cracker dough in half and then sandwich the dough between the two sheets of parchment. Roll out the dough until it is a paper thin sheet about 15 inches by 12 inches. Slowly peel away the top layer of parchment paper. Then set the bottom layer of parchment paper with the cracker dough on it onto a baking sheet.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the oven rack on the middle shelf. Mist the top of the dough with water and sprinkle a covering of seeds or spices on the dough (such as alternating rows of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, paprika, cumin seeds, caraway seeds, kosher or pretzel salt, etc.) Be careful with spices and salt - a little goes a long way. If you want to precut the cracker, use a pizza cutter (rolling blade) and cut diamonds or rectangles in the dough. You do not need to separate the pieces, as they will snap apart after baking. If you want to make shards, bake the sheet of dough without cutting it first.

5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crackers begin to brown evenly across the top (the time will depend on how thinly and evenly you rolled the dough).

6. When the crackers are baked, remove the pan from the oven and let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. You can then snap them apart or snap off shards and serve.

Garlic Hummus...only if you want FIRE!
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
8 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
pinch parsley
1/2 cup water (or enough to make a smooth hummus)

In a food processor, process the garlic, oil, and parsley until chopped. Add chickpeas and salt. Process. Add water until the mixture runs smooth.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Three Chips a Charm?

First of all, I have a question? I went to an awards dinner Monday night and they had a dessert that was reminiscent of a coffee cake. Made me want to make one. Does anyone have a good recipe for a coffee cake?

Next, I have been given another blog award!!! These are exciting to me because it lets me know that people still read my blog, even though the entries are less often due to a lack of time to cook. From the French Kitchen gave me the Excellence Award. Thank you SO much! Here are the blogs I'm nominating:
A Year in the Kitchen
Baking and Boys
...a Cookie a Day
Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy
Eat Me Delicious
Feeding My Enthusiasms

A little FYI to the deserving recipients, this award comes with a few rules attached to it:
Please find at least 10 more blogs of any kind which you deem to be excellent; but hey if you only come up with 3 or 5, I don’t mind. Quality over quantity folks!
Post about the blogs you picked, linking back to me and to them.
Once you’ve posted, return here to let me know your post is up, and of course let your 10 award winners know too.
Now on to the cookies! About a week ago, when I had my ear infection, my parents came into town for a wedding. Despite feeling a bit down, I decided that I needed to make cookies for my dad as my mom was leaving the next day to go out of town for a week. So, I pulled up this recipe in order to use some of my almost empty bags of baking chips. I changed some of the chips, as reflected in the recipe below. Now, some people really like the classic Nestle recipes; however, I have come to the conclusion that I am not one of them. Let me say that the cookies were not BAD...they are just flat! The texture was chewy enough for me but there just wasn't enough height in them. Some of you may think...bad leavener. I don't think this is the case as EVERY TIME I use a Nestle cookie recipe, this is the type cookie I get...flat! At first I thought it was because of using butter instead of margarine, but this time I used margarine and they were still flat. It must just be the proportion of butter:sugar that they use. All in all, a good cookie, but I don't think I'll use the recipe again. Three Chip Cookies* 4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
* 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 tablespoon vanilla extact
* 1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® White Chocolate Morsels
* 1 cup (6 oz.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
* 1/2 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Peanut Butter and Chocolate Swirled Morsels
* 1 cup chopped pecans

PREHEAT oven to 375° F. COMBINE flour, baking powder and baking soda in medium bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop dough by level 1/4-cup measure 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets or stones. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yummy Peppers

When I went to Sam's Club a few weeks ago, they had a pack of 6 peppers for a little over $6. That's really good considering the peppers were red, yellow, and orange and ONE of these colors in the store is $2-3. So, I picked up the peppers with good intentions. I ended up making some yummy chicken stuffed peppers with them. I wanted to use couscous as the grain but only had around 1/4 cup. I know...HOW and WHY!? My mom would say it's the "Nettles" in me! Anyway, these were just perfect except for needing more couscous. So, you really could make them with or without. Chicken Stuffed Peppers
6 peppers of any color, stem cut off, seeded, and then cut in half lengthwise
1 zucchini, cubed
1 onion, chopped
1-2 SMALL eggplants, cubed
2 chicken breasts, cubed
goat cheese (this MAKES the dish)
spaghetti sauce
garlic powder
Season Salt
couscous (optional)

Boil a large pot of water. Place prepared peppers in the water and cook for 10 minutes (parboil). In a saute pan, place the cubed chicken. Season with garlic powder and season salt. Cook until done. Remove from pan. Place the zucchini, onion, pepper from around the stem of the peppers, and eggplant in the pan. Season with garlic powder and season salt. Cook until veggies are tender. Add couscous if using and chicken. Stir in desired amount of goat cheese. In a large casserole or 11X8 pan, pour some spaghetti sauce. On top of this, place the peppers. Then fill eat pepper half with filling. Any remaining filling should be places around the peppers.
In a 350 degree oven, cook for 15 minutes. When you serve, scoop the spaghetti sauce on top of the pepper when it's on the plate.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Party for SGCC

I want the ringing in my ear to stop. That is currently the mode of presentation of my ear infection...yes, the doctor caught the bug from the patients. Yesterday, I was in much pain at the time; thankfully, my ear started hurting 10 minutes before I left my shift, so I was able to get a prescription and am feeling much better. Despite that, I am enjoying my ER rotation so far! It's nice to work 12 hour shifts in a way because you get days off, instead of the usual 4 off a month on other rotations!

Enough of me, now on to someone who is celebrating a special day. Susan of Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy is celebrating her 1st blogiversary and is having a party. She has asked us to bring our favorite party food. Well, what better party food that cookies. This recipe is really the cookie I take most often to parties; however, I figure I'll give you a new one. And when I say new, it's REALLY new. This is an original recipe that I think is pretty good. It's got coffee in it and is pretty strong. However, if you don't care for coffee, you could remove that or just decrease the amount and it would be fine. In fact, get creative and add something different to suit your tastes...and the others at the party! Claire's Coffee Cookies (how's that for alliteration!?)
3/4 cup shortening

1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 T vanilla

3 T instant coffee

1 cup ap flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups quick cooking oats

1/2 cup almonds, toasted then chopped (you can also use pecans if you prefer)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375. Cream shortening and sugar together. Add egg, vanilla, and coffee; and mix well. Stir together flour, soda, tartar, salt, and oats. Stir into creamed sugar mix. Mix in chocolate chips and almonds. Using a small/medium cookie scoop, scoop cookies onto a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cook for 3 minutes on pan. Remove to cooling rack and allow to completely cool.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Crying Babies at 4 am???

Well, I survived my nights in the ER and actually got used to it somewhat. My eating schedule was weird. I would eat breakfast after waking up, eat dinner before I went, and then eat lunch around....1 am. CRAZY! But I'm back to a normal schedule now...7am-7pm starting Thursday. No more mom's bringing their baby in for "crying" at 4 they'll bring them at 3 pm! Isn't that what babies..healthy babies Oh well! I guess, that's what I'm there for, right?

A few weeks ago, for Sunday School, I tried a recipe that has made its way around the Blogworld...Snickerdoodle Muffins by Peabody. They kind of reminded me of the doughnut muffins I've made before. They were very good, though a bit difficult to roll in the sugar mix. Thanks Peabody!

Snickerdoodle Muffins slightly adapted from Peabody

2 sticks unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tartar
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup sour cream
2 and ¼ cups all purpose flour

1 cup sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon mixed together for rolling

Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated. In a separate, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and cream of tartar. Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar.. Place muffin in to muffin tin.. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Healthy Meal...Even for Picky Kiddos!

I had trouble deciding what to post tonight. I think I shall do something healthful (word ala Rachel Ray!). You see, I'm preparing to start a four night run of 7pm to 7am shifts in the pediatric ER. It will be my first shift back since the end of May. I hope I'm not too rusty. While I was at home last week, we had the new physics professor and his family over for dinner. They have an almost 7-year-old little boy who is deaf and blind in one eye. He is the cutest, most animated little boy I've seen. When I was getting dinner ready, I wondered if he would eat this. Mama said not to worry about it. So, I did a veggie and chicken stir-fry. Apparently, he really liked the way I seasoned everything because he at a good bit of chicken and even some vegetables...of course, it probably helps that he likes really salty stuff (soy sauce, thank you!). I would love to spend more time around him and learn more sign language. That night, I learned "no," "hot," (for the stove) "dirty," (for the fly swatter) and "finished." However, for now, my ER children will have to suffice. Hopefully, the stir-fry that I have here will give me the energy to get through the *aweful* night shift...I usually start struggling around 3am! Chicken Stir Fry ala Claire ]
3 chicken breasts, cut in small pieces
garlic powder
Nature's Seasoning
1 green bell pepper, cut in small strips
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, sliced
2-3 yellow squash, sliced
handful of salad tomatoes
1 T corn starch
soy sauce
Lite Catalina/Russian dressing
cooking spray

After cutting the chicken, sprinkle garlic powder and Nature's Seasoning (or seasoning of choice) over the pieces. Put the chicken in a large skille,sprayed with cooking spray, and cook until done. Remove from pan. In the same pan, place the onions and peppers. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and squash. Season the veggies with Nature's Seasoning (or choice of seasoning). Cook until the veggies are to the tenderness you desire. I like mine a little softer than most...I am from the south! Add the tomatoes. Meanwhile, whisk corn starch into cold water. Add several squirts/shakes of soy sauce. Pour this into the hot vegetable mixture. Stir. Once it thickens, taste and add soy sauce as needed. Return the chicken to the pan. At this point, squirt some Catalina dressing over all of it (I go back a forth over it like a salad). Stir all together. Put in serving dish and serve with rice.

Monday, September 01, 2008

It's a Tradition

I got to go home for an entire week...well, Monday through Friday, and really could have stayed longer but decided to come back for a wedding. I took full advantage of my time off but won't be able to go home (I will see my parents but not at home) until Thanksgiving. When I got there on Monday I saw banana bread bananas waiting for me! Yes, back to the tradition of making some form of banana bread when I go home. I love it and try to find a different recipe each time. This time, Mama wanted muffins. She said that they tend to forget about bread but will eat the muffins. I think she likes them with her coffee mid-morning! :-) So, I went in search of a recipe and found this one at Allrecipes. It was easy to make and gave the perfect amount of batter for 12 muffins. I find that sometimes, there is too much batter for only 12 muffins and other times I struggle to get 12 good sized ones. This time...perfect! Mama and Daddy both had one hot out of the oven and they liked them. Daddy said they were perfect because you could taste the banana but it wasn't too sweet and the texture was soft without being rubbery (that's not his word but I think it's what he meant!). By the time I left, we had eaten all but one! Banana Crumb Muffins - adapted from AllRecipes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins. bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of muffin comes out clean.