Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Honey Wheat Bread

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This weekend, Mai and I made home made butter with fresh cow's milk.  The butter turned out beautiful but we quickly discovered we needed some fresh baked bread to go with it!  

Here are the ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup warm milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups white flour
2 cup whole wheat flour

In your mixer, add the warm water and yeast.  Let that sit a few minutes to let the yeast activate.  You will know when the yeast is active because it will bubble and/or foam. 

Once the yeast is active, add the salt, sugar, milk, honey and white flour.  Mix together, adding the remaining flour a little at a time.

The dough will form on the dough hook.  When it balls up, the dough is ready.  Cover with a clean towel and let it rise in a warm spot - about 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and let it rise again-another hour.

Punch down again and put into a loaf pan, sprayed with PAM.  Let it rise another 20 min or so. 

Brush with melted butter and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Home Made Butter

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My friend Becky drinks fresh cow's milk.  I haven't gotten the courage to try the cow's milk but I have been having fun experimenting with making cheese and..........BUTTER!

Today Mai and I made fresh butter.  It was so easy!  I remember making butter when I was in the Girl Scouts (yes, I was in the Girl Scouts for a few years) by shaking cream really hard, really fast.  That is too much work.

Time to get out the food processor!

The first thing we did was remove the cream from the fresh cow's milk.  The cream is the heavier liquid at the top of the jar.

Put the cream in the food processor.  ALERT!  Do not overfill the food processor.  As the cream is whipped it expands..............hence the towel along the food processor.

Turn the food processor on high and walk away.  Yes, it is that easy.  It will take about 10-15 minutes for the fat to separate.  When that happens you will will have chunks of butter and some liquid.

Drain the liquid from the butter.

Now you have to squeeze the liquid from the butter.

Add a little salt......

We took the cream from 2 gallons of milk.  It made 4 balls of butter.

Now we need some fresh bread..................


Julia Child's Chicken With A Mushroom Cream Sauce

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I love Pinterest!  Yes, I admit to a Pinterest addiction.  I have another confession:  I pin a lot but don't do much with it!  My niece Julia pinned this great recipe and I just had to try it.  It is a Julia Child's recipe so you know it has to be good! 

Wait - good doesn't even begin to describe this chicken.  It was FABULOUS!  This is a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  When I think about French cooking I think - complicated - but this was easy to make.  This recipe is a keeper!

Supremes de Volaille aux Champignons 

(Chicken Breasts with Mushroom and Cream)
Source: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vol. I by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck (Knopf, 1961)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper (each)
5 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 pound diced or sliced fresh mushrooms
1/8 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:
1/4 cup white or brown stock or canned beef bouillon
1/4 cup port, Madeira or dry white vermouth
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons freshly minced parsley

Directions:Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rub the chicken breasts with drops of lemon juice and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a heavy, oven-proof casserole, about 10 inches in diameter until it is foaming. Stir in the minced shallots or green onion and saute a moment without browning. Then stir in the mushrooms and saute lightly for a minute or two without browning. Sprinkle with salt.

Quickly roll the chicken in the butter mixture and lay a piece of buttered wax paper over them, cover casserole and place in hot oven. After 20-30 minutes, insert a meat thermometer to ensure the proper temperature of the chicken.  

Remove the chicken to a warm platter (leave mushrooms in the pot) and cover while making the sauce (2 to 3 minutes).

To make sauce, pour the stock and wine in the casserole with the cooking butter and mushrooms. Boil down quickly over high heat until liquid is syrupy.

Stir in the cream and boil down again over high heat until cream has thickened slightly. Off heat, taste for seasoning, and add drops of lemon juice to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.


Garlic Balls

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My sister Laura lives in California with her lovely family.  We do not get to see them often, but I always enjoy our visits.  California is too far away!

Laura, Tonette, Me and Karrie - giving a toast to Dad

A few months ago, Laura and her daughter Alex came to visit for Dad's funeral.  We went to the house that Dad was born in.............he always told a story that there was a plaque on the house, saying "This is where Tony Maniaci was born."  On this visit, my niece Maria went looking for the plaque-hehe.  I can't help but think Dad was up in Heaven, laughing at the joke.

Little Maria searching for the plaque

Alex and Laura at the house Dad was born in

Laura shares a passion for cooking.  She says this is one of Aaron's favorite things to eat!  Garlic balls!

Aaron’s Garlic Balls
2 pkgs premade pizza dough
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tbs minced parsley
a pinch of garlic salt
a pinch of Italian herbs or seasoning of your choice
Mix all together, form small bite sized balls (about the size of a small meatball).  

Bake on a cookie sheet in the oven at temperature required for the pizza dough until balls are lightly browned.
1 cube of butter
3 cloves of minced garlic
Melt butter and saute garlic in butter to flavor butter thoroughly, add parsley.  Put this mixture into a large mixing bowl and throw all the garlic balls directly from the cookie sheet into the butter mixture, mixing until thoroughly coated.  

Serve piping hot as an hors de oeuvres or with your favorite pasta dish.  This is a dish that is best served right from the oven.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tried and True Recipes #5

You have to love Missouri weather! Yesterday it was 55 degrees, today we are having a winter storm! So far, we have about 6 inches where I live, with more snow coming in tonight!  I'm secretly praying  for my spring break to start early!


Last weeks Tried and True Recipe party had some great recipes!  Here are a few of my favorites!

Beef Taco Boats from My Turn For Us

Seafood Gumbo with Stone Crab by Soup Spice Everything Nice

Thanks to everyone that linked up!  Spread the word.  I know this is a small party but I like that because when I link to parties with dozens of recipes, it gets overwhelming!  Let's keep this going!

Remember the rules:

1. Link up a family recipe or craft
2. Please follow my blog - I'll follow you back
3. Please link to this post in your blogs
4. No spam, contests or giveaways please
5. Please note that by linking up your posts and projects you are giving me permission to use your photos in the featured posts and possibly on my social media outlets. All photos will be linked back to your sites and your posts
6. Visit at least two of the links and comment on the page so the blogger knows you visited

At the end of the week, I will pick out a few of my favorites! Spread the word - there are so many great blogs out there. Let's learn from each other!

Bang Bang Shrimp

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This year I have vowed to be more adventurous with the foods I eat.  I find that when I think about meals to make, I make the same things over and over.  This year will be different. 

Bang bang shrimp..........I fell in love with it when I tried it on the Ruby Tuesday's appetizer menu.   I wanted to recreate this fantastic shrimp and added some rice to make it a complete meal.

Here are the ingredients:

1 pound small shrimp - peeled and deveined
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4-5 teaspoons sriracha
1-2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Cilantro for garnish

Soak the shrimp in buttermilk for one hour.  Heat oil to 350 degrees.  Combine these ingredients:  flour, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, onion and garlic powder.  When the oil is ready, take the shrimp and drain the buttermilk.  Dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture.  Fry until golden brown.

While the shrimp are frying, combine the mayonnaise, sriracha, vinegar, and sugar. 

When the shrimp are golden brown, take them out of the oil and let them drain on a paper towel.   Combine the shrimp and the bang bang sauce.  Serve over rice.

Jonah likes the Bang Bang!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Liebster Award

Yeah!  I've been nominated for the elusive Liebster Award!  Here is the kicker - two people nominated me in the same week!

The Liebster Award is an award given to bloggers by other bloggers. A "High Five" your doing a "Great Job" award.  It's a great way to get to know the blogger and to recognize fellow bloggers. It's like a fun chain letter in the blog world that helps bloggers connect and support each other and to discover new blogs. The award is given to blogs with less than 200 followers and there are a few rules:

1. Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
3. Pass the award on to 11 other blogs, who have less than 200 followers, and link them in your post.
4. Ask the blogs you nominated 11 questions.
5. Go back to their blog and tell them you have nominated them.

The two bloggers that nominated me: Lynn from Turnips 2 Tangerines and Krista from A Handful of Everything.

Thank you so much for recognizing the blog.  I've been working really hard, but enjoying every single moment.  I love cooking and I love sharing the food that I cook.

Here are 11 random facts about myself:

1.  I am convinced I have a parasite in my brain (that is the reason I keep forgetting things)
2.  I want a hobby farm but want to have someone else do the work
3.  I want to have a food truck to make food and drive to poor neighborhoods to give the food away
4.  I never knew that fresh eggs have chicken poop on them
5.  I am a secret prepper
6.  My family thinks I'm crazy for being a secret prepper
7.  I hate zombies - they freak me out
8.  Vampires are cool though
9.  When people ask me to have a party (pampered chef, Tupperware, etc.) I can't say no
10.  I like to make people happy
11.  I really suck at photography

Here are the questions from Turnips 2 Tangerines:

 1. What herb/spice do you use most often in cooking? Baking? - GARLIC
2. What is your favorite cookie? - CHOCOLATE CHIP
3. What kind of car was the first car your ever purchased? - TEMPO
4. What is your favorite vegetable? What vegetable do you dislike? - TOMATO/SPINACH
5. What is your favorite fruit? What fruit do you dislike? - BANANA/KIWI
6. How old were you when you first learned how to ride a bicycle? - HAVE NO IDEA
7. Can you roller skate? Ice skate? - YES, BUT IT'S NOT PRETTY
8. What are you the most afraid of? - ZOMBIES
9. Can you drive a stick shift? YES
10. What is the one thing you would change about yourself? MY  ENERGY LEVEL
11. How many States have you been to/driven through? DO  I REALLY HAVE TO COUNT THEM?

Here are the questions from Krista at A Handful of Everything:

  1. What is your favorite color? - PURPLE
  2. What do you want to be when you grow up? - RETIRED
  3. If you were to recommend a book to a friend what book would it be? - THE HELP
  4. What is your favorite holiday? - CHRISTMAS
  5. Who is your hero? - MY MOM AND DAD
  6. What are you most proud of? - MY SON
  7. I have the hardest time completing…. (fill in the blank) CHORES
  8. If you could go anywhere in the world and money was not an issue where would you go? - ITALY
  9. What is your favorite pizza topping? - PEPPERONI
  10. What is your fondest memory? - ANYTHING WITH MY SON
  11. What is your favorite movie? - FORREST GUMP

Here are the questions I ask of my nominees:

1. What do consider your biggest accomplishment in life?
2.  What is your favorite thing to cook?
3.  What is your biggest vice?
4.  Who is your favorite movie character?
5.  What is your biggest pet peeve?
6.  If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
7. What is your biggest regret in life?
8.  What is the first word that pops in your head after reading this question?
9.  If you were in a beauty pageant, what would your talent be?
9.  Would you rather run down the street naked or eat a worm?
10.  Zombies or vampires?
11.  Do you have a secret tattoo?

The blogs I nominate for a Liebster Award are:

Coffee With Us3
Kathe With An E
Courting Contentment
At the Corner of Happy and Harried
I Got This Martha
Soup Spice Everything Nice
Cheese Curd In Paradise
Cooking For the Seven Dwarfs
Kreative Creationz
A Kitchen Hoor
Chica Chocolatina

 Thanks again Krista and Lynn!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surprise Recipe Swap

This is 2nd month participating in the Surprise Recipe Swap, hosted by Jutta from Hungry Little Girl.
This is a great way to check out other blogs and try some new recipes.

I was fortunate enough to get paired with Ashley from Cheese Curd In Paradise.  I loved looking at the recipes on her blog.  There are a variety of recipes to try.  Her Mexican recipes caught my eye, but I couldn't decide which one to make so I combined two of them!

I decided to make Chicken Enchiladas.  Here are the ingredients:

for enchilada sauce:
1 Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl flour
1 can (28 oz) red enchilada  sauce
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbl chopped cilantro

4 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 small can of green chilis
1 bag of Mexican cheese
1 bag of flour or corn tortillas

To begin, I combined the spices and sprinkled them on the chicken.  I grilled the chicken, let it cool and cut it into small pieces.  I then combined the chilis, and green onions with the chicken.

While the chicken was cooking, I made the sauce.  First I took 1/2 cup of the chicken stock and combined that with the flour.  In a sauce pan, I combined all other ingredients, heating them to the boiling point.  When the ingredients are hot, add the chicken stock with the flour.  This will thicken the sauce.

Now you are ready to make the enchiladas.  Take a flour or corn tortilla, put some of the chicken mixture, along with some cheese.  Roll it up and put it seam side down in an oven proof pan.

Add the enchilada sauce on top.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top.

 They were really good!  Check out Ashley's blog!  It is one of my favorites!


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tried and True Recipes #4

It was an exciting week at the Kocurek's house!  We have a lovely young lady that will be staying with us for 2 1/2 months.  Mai is Vietnamese but lives in Prague.  She keeps asking me, "Do you cook all of the time?"  Ha! 

There were some great recipes this week!  The good news is that every week the party grows!  I hope that all of you are checking each other's blogs out.  I love looking at all of your blogs and reading your recipes.  Here are a few of my favorites this week!

Four Cheese Profiteroles by It Bakes Me Happy

Home Made Donuts by Home To 4 Kiddos

Cinnamon Rasin Oatmeal Muffins by Courting Contentment

Thanks again for all  of you that shared recipes.  Help spread the word about this growing party!

Remember the rules: 

1. Link up a family recipe or craft
2. Please follow my blog - I'll follow you back
 3. Please link to this post in your blogs
4. No spam, contests or giveaways please
5. Please note that by linking up your posts and projects you are giving me permission to use your photos in the featured posts and possibly on my social media outlets. All photos will be linked back to your sites and your posts
6. Visit at least two of the links and comment on the page so the blogger knows you visited

At the end of the week, I will pick out a few of my favorites! Spread the word - there are so many great blogs out there. Let's learn from each other!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Chocolate Cream Pie

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Today I invited Mom, Molly and the boys to dinner.  I wanted them to meet the new addition to our family - Mai.  Mai is a foreign exchange student that will be staying with us for the next few months.

Mai was born in Vietnam, but lives in Prague, Czech Republic.  She is a very sweet girl.  Mai's favorite food is spaghetti - wow!  She is in the right house!  For dessert, we decided on chocolate cream pie.

Here are the ingredients:

Crust -

1 package of chocolate graham crackers
1/2 stick butter, cold

Filling -

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks
2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cocoa
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping -

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar

In your food processor, mix the graham crackers.  When they are ground to a fine crumb, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Mix until the ingredients stay together when pressed.

Press into a well greased pie plate.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

While the pie crust is baking, start the filling.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter, 1/2 cup cream, chocolate chips, and cocoa together.  When that is melted, add the vanilla.

In a larger saucepan whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, cream and half and half.  Heat until just ready to boil.  In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks.  Take a little of the cream mixture and temper the eggs.  This means that you are warming the eggs up before adding the yolks to the saucepan.  To temper the eggs, take a little of the cream mixture and pour it into the yolks, whisking constantly.  Then, add to the cream mixture.

Pour the chocolate into the cream mixture.

Heat until boiling, then remove from heat.  It should start to resemble a pudding consistency.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.  When it is warm, not hot, pour into the pie plate.  Place in the refrigerator and let it chill.

When the pie is cool, make the topping.  Put the heavy cream into your mixer.  Add the powdered sugar.  Mix until the ingredients resemble the consistency of whipped cream.  Put on top of the pie.  Add shaved chocolate for decorations.

The boys gave their approval!

This pie was definitely worth it!  It was yummy with a double m!  Enjoy!