Roasted Vegetables with Israeli Couscous

I love roasted vegetables.  Potatoes, onions, carrots, you name it.  I particularly love roasted squash.  Given the abundance of squash during the fall, I’m in hog heaven.  I bought a butternut squash last week in anticipation of roasting it.  I didn’t have any recipe in particular in mind, so I just sorta winged it.  I spied some Israeli couscous in the pantry I’d bought at my local international foods market and decided it would be a great accompaniment to my roasted vegetables.   I adapted it from this recipe I found on epicurious.com.  It all turned out quite well!  I served the vegetables over the couscous and garnished it with some fresh parsley and shredded parmesan cheese.  I think some goat cheese would also work well with this.  I’ll give that a try the next time I make it :).

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Roasted Vegetables with Israeli Couscous

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large purple onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 T chopped sage leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Couscous

  • 1 T butter
  • 2 c Israeli couscous
  • 4 c chicken broth
  • 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 – 6 whole allspice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.  Divide the squash, onion, garlic and sage between the two sheets.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and browned.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan.  Pour in the couscous and cook for several minutes until the grains are nicely browned.  Add the chicken broth, the cinnamon sticks, and the allspice.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the broth is absorbed and the grains are separated, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. To serve, place the couscous on a plate and top with the roasted vegetables.  Garnish with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese, if desired.
Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm  Comments (18)  

Barefoot Bloggers – Blue Cheese Soufflé

I’m a bad blogger…..I’m several days late posting this for the second October installment of Barefoot Bloggers.  This week’s recipe was chosen by Summer of Sexy Apartment.  She chose Ina’s Blue Cheese Soufflé.  I like blue cheese, but I’ve never made a traditional soufflé, so this was a new experience for me.  I decided to halve the recipe knowing I’d probably be the only one eating it.  That probably would’ve worked out ok had I used a slightly smaller container to bake the soufflé in.  It didn’t poof up as nicely as some of the other Barefoot Blogger’s soufflés.  It browned well, though, and in all was quite easy to prepare.  It did taste good, but I’m not sure I’ll be making it again anytime soon.  Please visit other Barefoot Bloggers to view their (much nicer) creations!

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Blue Cheese Soufflé (Courtesy of Ina and Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 3 T unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
  • 1/4 c finely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1 c scalded milk
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 ounces good Roquefort cheese, chopped (I used gorgonzola.)
  • 5 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 t cream of tartar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Butter the inside of an 8-cup soufflé dish (7 1/2 inches in diameter and 3 1/4 inches deep) and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, the cayenne, and nutmeg. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, until smooth and thick.
  4. Off the heat, while still hot, whisk in the egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the Roquefort and the 1/4 cup of Parmesan and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  5. Put the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, on medium speed for 1 minute, then finally on high speed until they form firm, glossy peaks.
  6. Whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the cheese sauce to lighten and then fold in the rest. Pour into the soufflé dish, then smooth the top. Draw a large circle on top with the spatula to help the soufflé rise evenly, and place in the middle of the oven. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (don’t peek!) until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

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Published in: on October 26, 2009 at 6:26 pm  Comments (10)  

Nigella’s Sweet Corn Pudding

The theme for IHCC this week is the monthly Potluck.  The club will be having a Potluck once a month where you can prepare any dish to “share.”  I love potluck dinners.  It’s so much fun to see and enjoy other people’s creations.  Plus, you generally end up with some new ideas or recipes.  I chose to make Nigella’s Sweet Corn Pudding.  I’m a big fan of corn pudding (or spoonbread as it’s sometimes called) and have posted a favorite recipe I’ve made here.  I saw Nigella’s version and thought it would be a perfect dish to bring to a potluck.  The texture was almost soufflé-like….very light and sort of airy.  I added just a bit of cheddar cheese, which wasn’t part of her original recipe.  I thought it was really good.  My husband?  Not so much so.  He thought it tasted too “eggy” and didn’t care for the texture.  Sigh.  I guess not every recipe is a winner.  While I enjoyed it, it’ll probably be a while before I make it again.  I ended up having to eat the majority of it myself as leftovers (which weren’t bad). :)

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Nigella’s Sweet Corn Pudding (Adapted from Nigella and Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs
  • 18 ounces or 2 1/2 cups canned sweet corn, drained
  • 14 ounces, or 1 3/4 cups canned creamed corn
  • 1 1/3 c milk
  • 1 1/3 c heavy cream
  • Generous 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Butter a glass 12 by 10-inch baking dish and set aside
  3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs together. Using a spoon, stir in sweet corn, creamed corn, milk, cream, flour, baking powder, salt and cheese. Pour mixture into buttered baking dish. Cook for 1 hour until it is golden brown and slightly puffed up on the top. Serve immediately.

IHCC

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm  Comments (13)  

Nigella’s Bread and Milk

This week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is “Midnight Sneaks.”  What qualifies as a Midnight Sneak?  Any dish that would make you tiptoe to the kitchen in the middle of the night to chow down.  Some people enjoy savory-type snacks at midnight, but I go for the sugary, carb-coma inducing foods.  My favorite midnight snack is cereal eaten straight out of the box along with a glass of milk.  I destroy boxes of cereal regularly in this fashion.  When I first saw Nigella’s recipe for Bread and Milk, I thought it sounded kinda funky.  However, since it’s essentially a variation on my favorite midnight snack, I decided to give it a shot.  It was actually quite delicious!  I used my oatmeal bread instead of white bread and added some cinnamon.  This made a pretty good “Midnight Sneak!”

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Nigella’s Bread and Milk (Adapted from Nigella’s recipe on Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 2 thick slices good white bread (I used toasted oatmeal bread.)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar or vanilla sugar
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon or to taste
  • 1 cup milk

Directions

  1. Tear the bread into rough chunks, and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Warm the milk and pour over the bread and sugar and cinnamon to serve.

IHCC

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 4:43 pm  Comments (40)  

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I had a Cookie Monster-like hankering for some cookies the other day.  While I’m a huge fan of chocolate, I thought oatmeal raisin cookies sounded better.  Since I already had the oatmeal out for my World Bread Day bread, I figured why not?  I found this recipe on the All Recipes website.  I’ve made these babies several times before, and they’re awesome.  Of course, the dough itself is irresistible, and I a downed a good portion of it before they even made it in the oven.  Whoops!  I like my cookies chewy, so I tend to under bake them a little.  You could leave them in a bit longer for a more crispy cookie.  Spicy and delicious….a perfect fall-like cookie :).

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Adapted from All Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes until light and golden. Do not over bake. Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm  Comments (17)  

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread for World Bread Day 2009

The International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (UIB) declared October 16th as World Bread Day to celebrate the importance of bread as a staple food in many cultures across the world and to provide as a way for bakers to talk about bread.  For the past 4 years, Zorra has hosted a blog round up to celebrate World Bread Day.  I decided to make Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread from King Arthur Flour’s website (they have a ton of awesome recipes).  I started the bread in my bread machine on the dough cycle and did the final rise and baking conventionally.  Although my loaf was kinda misshapen, it was really good.  The bread had a wonderful texture and flavor.  Of course, I’m very partial to oatmeal and molasses :).  It was great toasted and slathered with butter and apple butter.  Yum!

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Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s website)

Ingredients

  • 1 c + 6 T boiling water
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 3/4 c bread flour
  • 2 t instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 T vital wheat gluten

Directions

  1. Place the boiling water and oats into the pan of your bread machine, and gently mix them together by hand, using a spatula. Allow the mixture to cool till lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, adjust the consistency of the dough with additional flour or water; it should be smooth, though still a bit sticky. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and gently shape it into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pan, cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a dough-rising cover, and allow the bread to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s crowned 1 to 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan.
  4. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Check the bread about 10 minutes before the end of its baking time; if it appears to be browning too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the bread from the oven, transfer it from the pan to a wire rack, and brush the crust with butter (or spray it with Vegalene or butter-flavored pan spray), if you like; this will help keep the crust soft.

world bread day 2009 - yes we bake.(last day of sumbission october 17)

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Comments (20)  

Nigella’s Quick Chili

This week’s I Heart Cooking Clubs theme is One Pot Wonders.  What a perfect time to have such a theme given I had to work all weekend (hence the lateness of my post).  I bought Nigella Express recently, which is great cookbook.  We’ve been having some very unseasonably cool weather here in Kansas, so I decided to make Nigella’s Quick Chili from Nigella Express.  I love making chili when the weather is cool.  Her version was a bit different than I’m used to.  It didn’t contain any chili powder, but it did contain several spices, including cinnamon and cardamom, which I’ve never used in chili.  I did deviate from her recipe a bit by adding an onion and garlic, which I think are essential components of chili.  I made it last night, refrigerated it, and had my husband heat it up while I was at work.  It was delicious!  It was great to come home from work to an already prepared meal.

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Quick Chili (Courtesy of Nigella Express)

Ingredients

  • 5 oz chorizo sausage (not the hard salami sort of sausage), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch half-moons (I used ground chorizo, as it was all I had access to at the time.)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised (I used about 1/2 t ground cardamom instead.)
  • 2 c good-quality tomato and chunky vegetable sauce for pasta (I used diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 14-oz can mixed spicy beans
  • 1/4 c sweet chile sauce
  • 1/4 t chile flakes, optional

Directions

  1. Put the chorizo into a hot pan and cook over medium heat until the sausage crisps a little and gives up its orange-red oil.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook for about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden fork to help it brown (at this point, I added the chopped onion and garlic and cooked until opaque).
  3. Stir in the spices and then add the tomato-vegetable pasta sauce, beans, and chile sauce.  Also add the chile flakes if you need more heat.
  4. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes and eat with rice or just as it is.  If you’re not adding any rice, you might consider dolloping with a blob of sour cream and sprinkling some grated cheese and chopped cilantro.  I can’t think of any way of eating this that isn’t good.

IHCC

Published in: on October 11, 2009 at 4:51 pm  Comments (26)  

Barefoot Bloggers – Cheddar Corn Chowder

This is my first post for the Barefoot Bloggers.  The Barefoot Bloggers are a group of blogging cooks and bakers who test Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa) recipes as a group and blog about them twice a month.  My blogger buddy, Cassie, is a member of this group and told me it was a lot of fun.  I love Ina Garten and have most of her cookbooks, so I figured this would be a good way for me to try her delicious recipes.  The recipe for this week was chosen by Jill of My Next Life.  She picked Ina’s Cheddar Corn Chowder.  It was delicious!  I prepared it over the weekend when we were having cool, fall-like weather, so it was a perfect time for it.  This recipe makes A LOT of soup, so you might want to consider halving the recipe if you aren’t feeding many people or don’t want a lot of leftovers.  Please visit the Barefoot Bloggers site to see everyone’s creations.

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Ina’s Cheddar Corn Chowder (Courtesy of Ina and Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped (I used a full pound of bacon.  Why not? he he he)
  • 1/4 c good olive oil (I omitted this since I used more bacon)
  • 6 c chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 12 c chicken stock
  • 6 c medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
  • 10 c corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
  • 2 c half-and-half
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 10:36 am  Comments (24)  

Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira Cake

This week’s I Heart Cooking Club’s theme is Baker’s Delight.  I was very excited when I saw this week’s theme given my crack-like addiction to sugar.  I knew I could easily find a delicious Nigella creation to make.  This is definitely one of those “sleeper” recipes……deceptively easy to make but absolutely delicious.  After preparing this, I know for a fact I need to invest in a kitchen scale.  I sat here with a calculator and pencil doing the conversions and started praying for the best after closing the oven door.  It’s nowhere near as beautiful as Nigella’s, and that may be partially due to my “calculations.”  Therefore, I’m going to post the recipe as it was written by Nigella.  It was still good, though.  I served it with sliced strawberries, cause that’s my hubby’s fave.

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Nigella’s Mother-in-Law’s Madeira Cake

Ingredients

  • 240g softened unsalted butter
  • 200g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (I didn’t have any superfine sugar, so I buzzed regular sugar in my food processor for a bit.)
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 90g plain flour
  • 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and lined

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar, and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablespoon of the flour for each. Then gently mix in the rest of the flour and, finally, the lemon juice. Sprinkle with caster sugar (about 2 tablespoons should do it) as it goes into the oven, and bake for 1 hour or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack, and let cool in the tin before turning out.

IHCC

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 2:33 pm  Comments (25)  

Oatmeal Toffee Bars

I bought a bag of Heath Bits ‘o Brickle Toffee Bits a while back because I love Heath Bars and figured I could find some delicious concoction to use them in.  I searched the Hershey’s Kitchens website and found a recipe for these bars.  Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and added a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips to the batter.  You can’t have toffee without chocolate in my estimation!  This created a nice ribbon of chocolaty goo in the middle of the bars.  These were really good both before and after baking.  I know this because I might have had a taste or two of the uncooked batter :).

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Oatmeal Toffee Bars (Courtesy of Hershey’s Kitchens)

Ingredients

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 c packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1-1/3 c (8 oz. pkg.) Heath Bits ‘0 Brickle Toffee Bits, divided
  • 1 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 c quick-cooking or regular rolled oats

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Set aside 1/4 cup toffee bits. Stir remaining toffee bits and oats into batter (batter will be stiff). Spread batter into prepared pan; sprinkle reserved 1/4 cup toffee bits over surface.
  4. Bake 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. About 36 bars.
Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm  Comments (18)  
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