Monday, August 30, 2010

Wishful thinking

It's still 90-something degrees. Ahh, fall in Texas. I miss New England right now... Went running and was run-over by the humidity. Bah! Looks like I'll be running the Half Marathon instead of the Full in November.

Tonight's Meatless Monday Experience was a modified version of a recipe by Rachel Ray:

Spaghetti Squash Caprese

  • 1 (4 pound) spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and lots of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 cup of mozzarella and cherry tomatoes, marinated in olive oil and herbs to taste


To microwave squash, cut in half and seed. Place 1/4-inch water in a microwave safe dish. Place squash in dish, cut sides down -- sides will overlap. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high power 13 minutes. Shred squash and add the "spaghetti" to bowl with liquid.
To boil squash: cut in half and scrape out seeds. Boil squash until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Place 1/2 cup cooking water into a bowl, then drain and shred the squash.
Toss squash with extra-virgin olive oil, red pepper, salt to taste, and lots of black pepper. (I tried to get it to crisp, Add tomatoes and mozzarella and turn off heat. Serve.

Major and I tore it up, Boy did not seem interested as he ate his noodles and veggies. And kosher dog. I'd like to try to make squash-cakes with added zucchini, panko, romano and maybe an egg. Hmmm...

Also yesterday, churned out scones, raspberry macarons, and lemon sponge cake.

For the scones, I used Joe's recipe with less ginger. We slathered them with the lemon curd and each had two. Will be making more in the future. Mmm.

Hot dog! 75% of these are usable, 15% are near perfect! New pans worked like a dream. And I think I have the air-to-meringue timing down - I just tried to think of what it looked like when Madrina Marta would make it for cakes and POOF, gloss!
The sponge cake tasted great but looked awful. The oven decided to drop in temperature mid bake, likely in protest for being in use all morning.

If only I could do this every day...and get paid. :-)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Is that Fall peeking out?

I was pleasantly surprised this morning to find a cool, crisp morning waiting for me. Of course, it was also 5 in the morning...

First day back on the road after two weeks of dealing with the consequences of running the Chupacabra 10k - pinched back nerve. I longingly watched my regular group continue on while I turned and ran with the half-marathon group for six miles. (I did notice how odd that was, to want to run 11 miles) Stranger than that, I wanted to hop out of my car and run some more upon seeing folks running around the neighborhood at home. It's in me now, no matter how hard I run. (ha!)

Also, some failed baking endeavors have not made it online. Lemon curd awaits some tasty scones in the morning (here's hoping). If that wasn't bad enough, I read four different versions of croissant recipes. After some more macarons, it's on. Like kong.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I need to use the lemons I bought at work. Yes, at work. The cafe is featuring local produce here and there and I was swept up in the awesomeness that is The Lemon. (Need I mention that I scarfed down Lemon-Blueberry Angelfood Cake that day?)

The easiest way for me to express my lemon love is with curd. Yummy scented, thick and sweet lemon curd. Now, which version to use... I have six egg yolks itching to be used. So...

For the lemon curd:
              zest of 2 lemons
              1/2 cup (125ml) lemon juice
              1/4 cup sucanat (or sugar)
              1 egg + 1 egg yolk
              4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room

For the buttercream:

                6 egg yolks
                1 cup sugar
                1/2 cup water
                3 sticks unsalted butter, at room

                 1/2 vanilla bean

From Joe Pastry (Whom I have a blog-crush on):
4 egg yolks
5 ounces sugar
3.25 ounces (by weight) lemon juice
2 ounces softened butter
pinch salt
2 teaspoons lemon zest

 From Epicurious (Where every time I see something, I want to make it)

For lemon curd
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Decisions, decisions.  Since I can't run for one more day, one of these will be made tonight... I have a hankering for a lemon bar and lemon macarons.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sugar is love

At last! This was my fifth batch, third successful and edible. After almost coming to blows with an oven that wouldn't get hot enough, I churned these out on Monday and assembled them last night with help from Major. 

Alas, my swiss buttercream is not as smooth as I would have liked, but it's a start. These are my Champagne Cocktail Macarons - champagne shells with raspberry cream.

More tonight. Still waiting for my UPS delivery of larger sheet pans, scale and food coloring. Somehow the box ended up in Harlingen, which is hours away. Tonight! Yay!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meals #4 - 6

Bowtie Pasta with Feta Cheese & Lemon Pepper Chicken

Makes About 8 Servings from Meal Makeover Moms.
  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • One, 16-ounce box dried bowtie pasta
  • 1 small bunch broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 to 3 carrots, chopped or ½ bag baby carrots
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 6 to 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 ½ cups half & half, warmed
1. Season the chicken on both sides with lemon pepper seasoning.  Grill until cooked through.
2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package directions.  If you have a pot that’s big enough, you can add the veggies to the pasta during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  If not, steam the veggies in a small amount of water in another pot.
3. Drain the pasta and veggies.  Stir in the butter, feta cheese and half & half.  Slice the grilled chicken into thin strips and serve along with the pasta.  Serve the lemon pepper seasoning at the table for those who want more on their pasta.

**On the list of meals to make. Not sure if The Boy will like the pepper or the feta. (sigh)

Rachel Ray's Shrimp Fried Rice

  • 2 cups long-grain rice, rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • One 8-ounce bag sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 bunch scallions (3 to 4), green and white portions thinly sliced separately
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • One 10-ounce bag frozen peas and carrots, thawed
Defrost frozen shrimp by sealing them in a resealable plastic bag and submerging in water for 20 minutes.
Chop the green and white portions of the scallion bunch separately and use half tonight. Wrap the remaining scallions in damp paper towels, then in plastic wrap; save for a few days.
Save 20 minutes! Use about 5 cups cooked leftover rice and skip Step 1. Just add the rice in Step 3 along with 1/4 cup water.


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the rice and 2 cups water to a boil; lower the heat, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the sugar snap peas, season with salt and pepper and cook until the shrimp is opaque, about 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the scallion whites and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the garlic sizzles, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice, season with salt and pepper and spread into an even layer. Cook until slightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir and cook for 3 minutes more. Push the rice to one side of the pan; add the eggs, season with salt and cook, scrambling, until set, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the eggs into the rice, then add the shrimp mixture, peas and carrots and scallion greens and cook, stirring, until heated through.
 **For The Boy, we used chicken. He picked out some things here and there, but was a success overall.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

All mine

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups of tomatillo sauce (pureed with garlic, simmer for 5 minutes)
  • 2 shredded chicken breasts
  • 1 cup shredded white cheese (low fat-Monterrey jack)
  • 1 can yellow corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • casserole dish (I use my Pampered Chef Baker)
Assemble by layering two tortillas side by side, chicken, corn, beans, sauce, cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30-minutes - enough to complete one household chore - and enjoy. If you have it, top with cilantro.
**I'd add chopped onions but they'd get picked out. I need to remember to add to the tomatillos! 

Note: Haven't been feeling 100% so even I've resorted to eating Annie's Mac & Cheese. May have a frittata for dinner. Will post recipe if successful.