Friday, August 31, 2012

Dessert: Chocolate Cupcake Minis

This recipe came with the miniature cupcake/muffin pan we purchased. These were great bites! Because I had more batter than filled the mini pan, I also made some full size cupcakes, which worked just fine.

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. Baking soda
2 tsp. Baking powder
¾ cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. Salt
4 tbsp. Melted butter
¾ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
¾ tsp. Vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF / 175ºC.
  2. Spray mini cupcake pan with baking spray (or line regular cupcake pan with paper liners.)
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cream; beat well. Fill the mini tins ¾ full (regular tins ½ full). Bake for 10-14 minutes for mini cakes and 15-17 minutes for regular size cakes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Top with your favorite frosting when cool.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Salad: Field Club's Strawberry Salad

My good friend Suzanne introduced me to this salad. It is a sweet, yummy, summer salad.

1 pkg romaine
1 pkg spinach
1 cup seedless grapes, halved
1 large container sliced strawberries
½ cup pine nuts or toasted slivered almonds, whichever you prefer
1-4 oz pkg crumbled feta cheese

½ cup honey
¼ tsp Worcester
¾ cup salad oil
1 tbsp poppy seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
¼ tsp paprika
1 tbsp diced green onions

For dressing, place ingredients in a screw top jar and shake. Add to salad when you are ready to serve.

Other Notes:
I don't know how many this feeds, but it's a great salad to bring to a potluck.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Entree: Chicken Alfredo

Chicken Alfredo is not as difficult as it sounds. Ryan found this recipe at Cook's Illustrated, Best New Recipe.
Chicken breasts, grilled and sliced

Alfredo Sauce
1⅔ cups heavy cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 recipe fresh egg pasta, cut into fettuccine (below)
2 ounces (1 cup) parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Ground black pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Egg Noodles
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 eggs

Alfredo Sauce
  1. Bring 4 quarters water to a rolling boil in a large pot.
  2. Combine 1⅓ cups of the cream and the butter in a sauté pan large enough to accommodate the cooked pasta. Heat over low heat until the butter is melted and the cream comes to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until almost al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Add the remaining ⅓ cup cream, the parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, pepper to taste, and the nutmeg. Cook over very low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the fettuccine immediately in heated pasta bowls.

Egg Noodles
  1. Measure out the flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Use a fork to break up the eggs slightly. Use a rubber spatula to mix the eggs into the flour until the dough is smooth. If it’s sticky, knead in more flour. If it’s too dry to mix in all the flour, knead in water ½ teaspoon at a time until the dough comes together.
  2. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Spread dry kitchen towels under the pasta roller and over the counter. Set the pasta machine at its widest opening. Working with one portion of dough at a time and keeping the others covered, roll the dough through the pasta roller. Fold it in thirds like a letter and roll it through the wide setting again. Repeat four more times, adding flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the machine.


  • Sub gluten-free noodles

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bread: French Bread

We make a lot of bread. This recipe Ryan found at The New York Times. When one remembers to make the loaf a day in advance of when you want it, it's not a difficult process.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed

  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Other Notes:
  • Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
  • Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
  • Yield: Single 1 1/2 pound loaf.
  • Original Recipe

Monday, August 27, 2012

Breakfast: (Blueberry) Pancakes

You may have realized by now, my family loves pancakes. We have our go-to recipes, and we've just added another one. This one is by Colleen Patrick Goudreau and out of her 30 Day Vegan Challenge
One morning, Emilynn was complaining about lack of proper breakfast, so I whipped up these. They were so easy to whip together and make, even easier than previously stated easy pancakes. These will probably be my go-to recipe from now on because they only have items we always have in the house. Also, they had more taste than a lot of pancakes, and did not end up being heavy in my belly. 
Pancakes sans blueberries, with maple syrup on top

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (or whole-wheat pastry flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1 cup almond milk (or other milk: soy, rice, hazelnut, hemp, oat)
2 tablespoons canola oil (or nonhydrogenated, nondairy butter)
3 tablespoons liquid sweetener, such as apple juice concentrate, orange juice, or maple syrup
(½ cup blueberries)
Additional oil or butter for cooking (optional)


  1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, oil, and sweetener.
  2. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix just until moistened; a few lumps are okay. Fold in the blueberries if using, but don't overstir.
  3. Heat a nonstick griddle or saute pan over medium high heat. (You may add some oil or butter to the griddle or saute pan and heat until hot, but with a nonstick pan, you don't need it.)
  4. Pour batter onto the griddle to form circle about 4 inches in diameter. Cook the pancakes for a couple minutes on one side until bubbles appear on the surface. Slide a spatula under the pancake and flip it over. Cook the pancakes on the other side for another 2 minutes or so. Continue until golden brown on each side, about 4 minutes in all. 

Other Notes:

  • Makes ~8 pancakes