Friday, November 27, 2015

The Day I Did Not Bake Christmas Cookies

I should not have typed the other day that the oven was still working fine. Nope. I put in one tray, thank God it was just one tray, of the Snowballs. Snowballs are the first cookie I bake every Christmas. It is my little tradition. I set the temperature and set the timer for 10 minutes. I am preparing the next tray of snowballs and I smell something burning. I look at the stove timer and it is has 6 minutes to go. I open the stove and look at the cookies and the bottoms are black!

Now you have to imagine what the kitchen looked like. I was planning on baking all but one kind of cookie today. I had all my mise en place ready to go.

There was no way I was going to risk the time and money baking in that oven. So I mixed the dough for 3 of the cookies and froze them.

Dinner tonight was a large 1/2 Sausage and Pepper and 1/2 Eggplant Pizza from New Haven Apizza & Bakery. I got the large so we can have leftovers tomorrow night.

I can not believe I have to wait a week for the new stove.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Dinner at my sister's house. Delicious as always. A nice day with family.
Two and three year old cousins playing. 

And the turkey and all the trimmings.
 My sister's stuffing and Chris's stuffing.

And there was pie! 

And of course wine. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Roasted Sauasge and Peppers with Homemade Pasta

On Sunday I roasted Sausage, Peppers and Onions. I added a small portion of homemade sauce that I had in the freezer. Tonight I reheated the Sausage and Peppers and boiled up some homemade noodles that I also had in the freezer. Wow!  Not bad for a Wednesday night! The bread was baked on Sunday.

On other news, I bought I new stove today. I have been having issues with our current stove and we are now down to one burner, the small one, of course. The oven still works so Friday I can hopefully start baking Christmas cookies. The new stove will be delivered next Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

So You Say It's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday Chris!
Yes, I made a cake. I started it as soon as Chris pulled out of the driveway this morning. Working from home today made baking the cake possible. I don't do a lot of cake baking. Cookies are easy for me but cakes seem like a challenge. My mom baked at least 2 cakes a week. So they were second nature for her. But I was thrilled with this recipe and the results. Moist and light and the chocolate flavor was oh so perfect! This is now my official go to Chocolate cake recipe. I found this recipe on Mini Chocolate Layer Cakes. I made my cake in a 8 inch square pan. I frosted all 4 sides plus the middle of the layers. There was not enough frosting so I added in some store bought canned frosting. Sorry about that.

Mini Chocolate Layer Cakes

For the chocolate cake:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup cold water

For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 teaspoon milk (as needed for consistency)

First, preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray an 8 x 8'inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt.

Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the oil, vanilla, vinegar and cold water.

Stir to combine very well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely. Once cool, cut in half. Freeze until ready to frost, if you freeze the layers there should be less crumble when you frost.

To make the frosting: beat together all of the ingredients until light and fluffy. Add additional milk as needed to achieve a frosting consistency.

Stack the two cake layers and add frosting in between the layers.
Frost the sides and decorate.

And yes there was dinner! Balsamic-Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. The recipe is from Cooking Light. What I liked about this recipe was that I could make it last night and just reheat it tonight. I was afraid if I got busy with work making a Birthday dinner might not happen. This recipe made everything work out perfectly.

Cooking spray
4 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups finely chopped red onion
2 cups low-salt beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped plum tomato

2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
3/4 cup warm 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°.

To prepare ribs, heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs; remove from pan.

Add onion to pan; saute 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Return ribs to pan. Add broth, wine, vinegar, sugar, and tomato; bring to a simmer.

Cover and bake at 300° for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool slightly. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Skim fat from surface of broth mixture; discard fat. Cook over medium heat 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

To prepare mashed potatoes, place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Combine potatoes, milk, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mash potato mixture with a potato masher. Serve with ribs and cooking liquid.

The side dishes were the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Parmesan and Breadcrumbs.

Chris made our wine selection with dinner.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Farro Soup With Chorizo

Tonight we had the other half of the Chorizo sausage. Farro Soup With Chorizo. We have had this soup before and loved it. The recipe is from We have enough for tomorrow night's dinner too. Really looking forward to that already!

1 tablespoon olive oil
8ounces Spanish chorizo (cured sausage) or kielbasa, sliced
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1tablespoon tomato paste
4cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2cup farro
1 15-ounce can chickpeas
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped 

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the carrots, onion, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it is slightly darkened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the broth, farro, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until the farro is just tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas, chard, sausage, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Simmer until the chard is tender, 3 to 5 minutes.

As a side I had a loaf of Pizza di Scarola in the freezer. Oh this is heaven!!! 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach

I had a package of Chorizo Sausage in the freezer. I had 2 recipes that wanted to make using the sausage. Tonight we had Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach. It is a Mark Bittman recipe that I love! Chris seems to enjoy it too, even though it has spinach, and tonight it had baby spinach and baby kale! Shhhhhh. Our secret!

And I am submitting this to the I Heart Cooking Clubs. Their monthly featured Chef is Mark Bittman. I was glad I was planning on making this tonight. Perfect timing! I love Mark Bittman. I have used his recipes on this blog 31 times, RealSimple comes in at first place with 42 times! I have given his cookbooks as gifts and love his simple approach to good food.

Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo and Spinach


1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible (rinse them first if using canned, then gently blot dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner.  If they are wet when you put them in to the oil they will spatter)
Salt and black pepper
4 ounces chorizo, diced
1/2 pound spinach, roughly chopped (I used a package of baby spinach and 

baby kale)
1/4 cup sherry
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs

Preheat the broiler.

Put three tablespoons of the oil into a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chickpeas and spread them out into a single layer (they won't brown well if the pan is too crowded). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Reduce the heat a bit and cook, shaking the pan occasionally (you mostly just want to let them sit there and fry in the oil), until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes or so. Add the chorizo, and cook for another 5-8 minutes, or until the chickpeas are crisp (taste a couple to make sure). Use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and chorizo from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

Add the last tablespoon of oil to the pan. When hot, add the spinach, then pour the sherry over it.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat until the spinach is wilted and soft and the liquid has pretty much evaporated. Add back the chickpeas and chorizo and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and drizzle with a bit more olive oil. Put the whole pan under the broiler to lightly brown the top.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Roasted Flank Steak with Olive-Oil Herb Or Turn to Post 9/26/15

On September 26th I made a dinner which we enjoyed. We enjoyed it so much that I repeated the whole thing tonight. Except this time I used a Flank Steak.  I even made the Potato and Autumn Vegetable Hash!
The recipe is from Cooking Light. I did omit the garlic.

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) flat iron steak, trimmed
Cooking spray
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium beef broth

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Sprinkle salt and pepper over steak. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak to pan; cook 1 minute on each side or until browned. Add wine and broth; cook 1 minute. Spread herb mixture over steak; place pan in oven. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with pan sauce.

I do love this side dish. It is a Bon Appetit recipe, Potato and Autumn Vegetable Hash. Sadly I used the last Butternut Squash from my sister's garden. I did start the recipe last night. Roasting the beets and prepping the greens. I used the beet greens and Swiss Chard.

My version of Potato and Autumn Vegetable Hash.

Herb oil-
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 large golden beets
1 bunch Swiss Chard, trimmed and chopped
1 2-pound butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 pound garnet yams or other yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
herb oil

Herb oil-
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature and re-whisk before using.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring medium saucepan of salted water to boil. Add Swiss Chard and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Drain well. Set aside. Scrub beets; place in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Pour half of herb oil over beets; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each beet in foil and roast beets until tender when pierced with small sharp knife, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let beets stand until cool enough to handle. Peel beets; cut into 1/2-inch pieces and reserve. DO AHEAD Swiss Chard and beets can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.

Combine squash, potatoes, and yams in large bowl. Add remaining herb oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread vegetable mixture evenly on large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are tender when pierced with knife and lightly browned around edges, stirring and turning vegetables occasionally, about 50 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand uncovered at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven until heated through, about 15 minutes.

Stir beets and beet greens into roasted vegetables; dot with butter cubes and continue to roast just until beets are heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to large bowl and serve.