Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Broccoli Pudding?????

Maybe this is a new way to get kids to eat their veggies!  They all like pudding, right?  So make broccoli pudding!  Sounds disgusting?  Weeeeellllllll, I have to admit...this is not an American style pudding...it's a traditional British steamed pudding.

Why did I make a British Pudding?  It's Daring Baker time!!!! The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet.  Suet is basically animal fat, the kind found around organs...the kind that if found in humans is VERY unhealthy!  I must admit, I didn't use suet.  I used a vegetable shortening...which was allowed!  There are multiple types of puddings.  You can boil or steam a pudding. 

We were supposed to steam ours, which I thought sounded better anyway.  There is a traditional steaming bowl used in Britain; however, I didn't have this, so I just used a bowl with a rim and placed this in my steamer/pasta drainer thingie.  It worked perfectly!  Other options are to make a sweet pudding (sticky toffee pudding anyone?) or savory.  I did not make a sweet version but many of these end up looking like a cake.  The savory versions, however, look like a pot pie!  In fact, after seeing someone use chicken, carrots, peas, and a white sauce as a filling I realized that this really reminded me of those frozen chicken pot pies...I LOVED those as a child!  Anyway, I decided to go with a broccoli filling.  I simply put frozen (yet, not defrosted at all) chopped broccoli inside the suet (shortening) dough along with a couple of eggs for binding and some goat cheese and topped it with the remaining dough.  The outcome?  Well, at first I thought it wasn't done after 3 hours of steaming. 

However, I realized that the exposed part of the dough was just moist from the steam and the dish was really cooked.  The crust was perfectly flaky and the inside perfectly cooked!  It reminded me of a delicious broccoli quiche but with crust surrounding it.  Would I make this again?  Probably not...though it was pretty hands off it just cooked for too long.  However, I am glad to know about the steaming method of cooking entire dishes.  Quite an interesting concept that produces a very tender and (if appropriate for the dish) flaky result.  Thanks, Esther, for the great challenge!
Type 1 Puddings — suet crusts.
Pudding Crust for both Savoury Pudding or Sweet Pudding (using suet or a suet substitute):

(250 grams/12 ounces) Self-raising flour (Note* If you cannot find self-raising flour, use a combination of all-purpose flour and baking powder.)
(175 grams/6 ounces) Shredded suet or suet substitute (i.e., Vegetable Suet, Crisco, Lard)
(a pinch) Salt and pepper (Note* If making a savory dish, can be replaced with spices for sweet if wished.)
(210 millilitres/a little less than a cup) Water (Note* You can use a milk or a water and milk mix for a richer pastry.)
1. Mix the flour and suet together.
2. Season the flour and suet mixture with salt and pepper if savory and just a bit of salt and/or spices if sweet.
3. Add the water, a tablespoonful at a time, as you mix the ingredients together. Make up the pastry to firm an elastic dough that leaves the bowl clean. The liquid amounts are only an estimate and most recipes just say water to mix.
4. Don’t over handle the pastry or it will be too hard.
5. Reserve a quarter for the lid and roll out the rest and line a well-greased bowl.
6. At this point add your filling.. a couple of options are give below but have fun and go wild!
7. Roll the final piece of pastry out into a circle big enough to cover the top of the basin, dampen the edges and put in position on the pudding, pinching the edges together to seal.
8. Seal well and cover with a double sheet of foil – pleated in the centre to allow room for expansion while cooking. Secure with string, and place it in a steamer over boiling water.
9. Steam for up to 5 hours, you may need to add more boiling water halfway through or possibly more often. There is a lot of leeway in this steaming time and different recipes give different steaming times. I steamed mine for about 3 hours.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cristy's Cookies!

Last month was a busy baking month for me!  You see, I was on a Q4 call month and I try to take little treats to work when I'm on call...it just makes those 30 hour shifts a lot better for everyone.  In fact, my fellow intern told me that she had been looking forward to working with me that month all year because she knew I brought treats!  :-)

One day I saw this recipe on Anna's site and knew I needed to make it...especially since my fellow intern's name is Cristy!  She loved that they were "her" cookies.  These turned out GREAT!  I cooked them a little long, so they were crisper than I like but the flavor was fantastic.  I think I'd play around a bit to see if I could make them softer but otherwise, wonderful!  A perfect sweet treat! 

Small Batch Doubletree Copycats (Like Christie Cookies)
1 cup all purpose flour (4.5 oz)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold – cut up
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup dark chocolate chips
3 oz Bits of Brittle (1/2 cup)
3/4 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
1 1/8 cups oatmeal  (quick cooking or old fashioned, ground finely)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
Cream butter and sugars in large mixer bowl. Add egg and vanilla and stir until mixed.
Add flour mixture and oatmeal gradually, stirring until incorporated. Stir in Heath Bits, Chocolate Chips, and nuts. Scoop dough up with a quarter cup measure and shape into big balls. Press them slightly to make discs. Set the discs on a plate and chill for a few hours or until firm. Note: You can bake these without chilling, but I liked the texture better after chilling.
Bake for 8-13 minutes. Cookies should still be slightly underdone. Move to wax paper lined counter to cool, do not use wire racks. (Interesting observation from Anna – wire racks made the cookies crispier, cooling on rack helps internal cooking for underdone cookies and probably makes them chewier).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Who Lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea?

Well, I do know this answer as I work in a children's hospital!  Our department chair even has a SpongeBob tie.  However, I would not recommend living in a pineapple, especially under the sea.  But I would recommend using them in muffins!  I used pineapple in my pie but didn't use the entire can.  I bought (I think) a 20 oz. can but only used about 6-10 oz (OBVIOUSLY I didn't measure!) leaving me with a half a can of pineapple to use for something else. 

Well, I had promised my co-resident in nursery that I would bring muffins one day, so I set out to make a pineapple muffin.  These turned out perfectly if I do say so myself!  Not overly sweet but with enough sweetness from the pineapple.  I did use some sugar but you MIGHT could get away with not adding any (or a little less) if you used more pineapple and included some juice as pineapple is a sweet fruit on it's own.  The texture was so soft, especially in the center!  My co-resident really liked them and was quite grateful for the breakfast to go along with his coffee.   

Pineapple Muffins
10-14 oz. crushed pineapple, with juice 
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup canola oil 
1 egg (I think I used an egg...can't remember!) 
1 2/3 cup self rising flour (I accidentally bougth this the other day and have really loved having it!) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a bowl mix together pineapple and sugar.  Add oil and egg.  Stir in flour.  Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.  Fill each muffin holder 2/3 full.  Bake for 17-20 minutes (once again...I didn't time it...BAD, BAD baker!) or until soft but firm in center and golden but not browned.  I got 12-13 muffins.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Summer Pie

his past week my Sunday School class had a get together.  I offered to bring a dessert and wanted to take something different and fun.  I thought about taking cheesecake simple because I LOVE graham cracker crust!  I also thought about taking cupcakes just because they're fun!  Then my mom reminded me of a DELICIOUS spring/summer pie. 

It is pretty easy, light, delicious, and ALMOST healthy!  Another bonus, it makes TWO pies, so this is great for a large group.  It is called strawberry, mandarin, pineapple pie.  This is a pie that my mom has been making since early in her marriage.  The recipe calls for two bakes pie crusts; however, you could probably use a graham cracker crust, though you might want to be careful as it has the potential to get soggy quickly. 

The sweetened condensed milk really gives the filling a wonderful sweet taste BUT if you wanted to make the pie less sweet or more healthy you could simply leave that portion out.  I hope you are able to enjoy this sometime with your family and friends!

Strawberry, Mandarin, Pineapple Pie 
2 baked pie shells 1 carton (1 lb) strawberries, cut into pieces 
1 can mandarin oranges (in juice)
1 can crushed pineapple (I'm pretty sure the SMALL can), drained 
1 container cool whip (I used sugar free)
1 cup (not the whole can) fat free, sweetened condensed milk 

Stir together fruit, cool whip, and milk.  Divide mixture between the two pie shells and refrigerate.  If you plan on serving the pie the next day, I would suggest making the filling but NOT putting it in the shells until an hour or so until you serve it to prevent the crust from becoming soggy; just store the filling in the refrigerator in a bowl.  This could also help keep so extra fluid that may "drain" from the fruit from causing a soupy filling.

Friday, April 09, 2010

New Stuffed Potatoes

This year for Easter, I went to my friend's house for a late lunch.  She had to work that day and my family stayed in TN, so we thought we'd make lunch together.  Two days before her mom texted her saying that they were coming.  So, we ended up having a larger crowd than expected for lunch. 

Sarah made ham (which her little boy LOVED), rolls, and asparagus.  Her mom brought chicken and grilled it.  I brought pineapple, a blueberry pie (with adapted recipe to come), and stuffed red potatoes.  I had tasted a stuffed new potato dish at a Sunday School party and thought it would be a good dish for Easter lunch.  Your typical stuffed potato uses LOTS of creamy stuff like mayonaise and/or sour cream along with cheese.  OH YUM!  But, this is not so good for you...but you can still have delicious potatoes without all this. 

Instead of sour cream, I used Greek yogurt.  And instead of mixing a lot of cheese into the filling AND putting it on top, I just put a little bit on top when I baked the potatoes.  As to seasoning, you can do whatever you like.  I used salt, pepper, and thyme but green onion/chives would be great.  Additionally, if you wanted to make these more "hearty" you could mix some veggies (broccoli, tomatoes, etc) into the filling.  When I made these, the filling was just a bit too crumbly, so I added a squirt or two of Ranch dressing (fat free or lite).  They ended up being pretty tasty.   

Stuffed Red/New Potatoes
1 bag (about 12-15 potatoes) red potatoes
1 single serving size (6-8oz) container fat free Greek yogurt
seasoning of choice (rosemary, thyme, chives, parsley, etc)
sharp cheddar cheese (using stronger cheeses enables you to use less and get great taste)
Ranch dressing, buttermilk, or milk (something to help thin the filling a tad)

In a large pot of water, boil the potatoes until fork tender but with enough firmness to hold shape.  Drain the water and cut potatoes in half so that they will sit stably on a place.  Using a spoon or melon baller (I used a tablespoon) to scoop out the center of the potato halves.  Take care when doing this so that the skins will hold their shape and not break apart.  In a large bowl, place the potato centers.  Mix with yogurt, salt, pepper, herbs, and liquid of choice for making a smooth filling.  Place the empties potato halves on a baking sheet.  Fill with filling.  Top each potato with a small amount (fingertip-full) of cheese.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges slightly browned.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Bunnies or Turtles?

This weekend is Easter and one of the things associated with this time of the year (for some reason) is the bunny rabbit.  Though that is not the reason for Easter, it is fun to play.  But why not the turtle?  That is a cute, green (spring color) animal, right?  Hmmm.  A couple of months ago, I found a recipe for turtle cookies at Emily's site. 

This produces a crumbly (in a good way...like a sandy) cookie with caramel on them.  The only problem I had was that the caramel got REALLY hard after I drizzled it.  Now, this could have been because of the caramel I used.  Maybe adding some milk to it when I melted it would have helped.  I don't know but the cookies were great! 

Before I give you the recipe I'd like to share why I celebrate Easter.  All of us sin and this keeps us separated from God.  No matter how hard we try, we can't be good enough on our own. But God WANTS us to be His!  He gave us a way to be with Him.  He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to live among us and live a perfect life.  Then despite not sinning Himself, Jesus was sent to the cross to suffer death, the penalty for OUR sin.  He sacrificed His life for us, for YOU!  That is how much He loves you!  His death paid the price for our sin.  But three days later, He rose from the dead.  He lives!  People saw Him.  This resurrection gives us righteousness and life forever with God.  All you have to do is trust Him, believe that He died for you and trust Him.  His death has paid the price for my sin and His resurrection has given me life...and can give the same to you!  I think THAT is reason to celebrate!  Thank God for His grace and mercy to us!

Turtle Cookies by Emily
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
Melted caramel, for drizzling

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until butter browns and starts to foam. Remove from heat to cool.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together melted browned butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until creamy - about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour until just combined; stir in chocolate chips and pecans until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Roll dough into balls (about 2 teaspoons per ball), place on cookie sheets, and flatten using the palms of your hands. Bake 8 minutes or until set and light golden. Cool on wire racks. Drizzle with melted caramel.