Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My new favorite salad

Sweet Potato Salad
Southern Living Annual Recipes 2005

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetable cooking spray
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 celery ribs, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced green bell pepper
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes I used dried
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon prepared mustard I used Dijon
3 slices peppered or regular bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)I left this out

Arrange potatoes in an even layer in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Coat with cooking spray, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or just until tender. Let cool slightly.

Stir together remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, celery, and next 9 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Add potatoes, and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon, if desired; garnish, if desired. Serve warm or chilled.

This salad was so good. The dressing was excellent with that kick from the jalapeño. I didn't add the bacon and I didn't miss it. I think this recipe would work with any potato that can be roasted nicely. I'd be careful making it too far ahead of serving time since the potatoes might get a tad soggy. I only made this for myself and didn't mind the texture of the potatoes the next day (or the day after) but it was definitely best right off. You could roast the potatoes ahead of time but keep them separate fron the rest of the ingredients until you were ready to serve the salad.

I have been accumulating quite a few cookbooks again. Too bad I rarely get a chance to cook anything new these days. I never thought the summer would end basically the same way it started. STUCK.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Basic but delicious

Strawberry Sour Cream Nut Bread
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Recipes with historic notes Copyright 1987,2000

2 scant cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup dairy sour cream I used lite sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
½ cup walnuts, chopped I left these out

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate larger bowl cream sugar and butter till light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then sour cream and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into liquid mixture quickly until just moistened. Fold in berries and nuts. Pour batter into greased, floured 8x4-inch loaf pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 60 minutes.

This recipe probably would have been more helpful during strawberry season, when I made it, but I just never got around to posting it until now. Although, this is a great use of off-season strawberries. I did use in-season local berries in this bread but they were on their last legs. When strawberries are not that great for whatever reason, I find that using them in baking is still an option.

This is a great basic quick bread recipe with strawberries added. You could probably substitute many different fruits or other add-ins. The nuts would have been great in this but we don't do nuts. I made this the same day I made the Zucchini-Orange Bread and this was definitely more popular (over a 'lite' recipe - go figure).

I didn't get this recipe from an actual cookbook, just one of those small recipe pamplets that I picked up somewhere along the way. They're fun to pick up when traveling and they don't take up a lot of space.

I wish I was trying more new recipes to post but things are just too crazy right now.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Coffee brownies with a twist (or swirl)

Coffee Cinnamon Cream Cheese Brownies
Maxwell House Coffee Drinks & Desserts Cookbook Copyright 1999

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3 tbsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cream Cheese Topping:

1 pkg (8 ounces) Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Prepare the brownie bottom:

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a 13x9 inch baking pan with foil; lightly butter the foil.

Microwave the butter and chocolate in a large microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes or untill the butter has melted. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Stir the sugar into the chocolate until well blended. Mix in the eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla. Stir in the flour until well blended. Spread the brownie batter in the prepared baking pan.

Prepare the Cream Cheese Topping:

Beat the cream cheese, sugar, egg, flour, and cinnamon in the same bowl until well blended. Spoon the mixture over the brownie batter. Swirl with a knife to marbleize.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not OVERBAKE) Cool completly in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares. Store the leftover brownies in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 dozen brownies

Most of my baked goods end up with my coworkers and since one of them is allergic to milk (he can handle butter, but other dairy products can lead to trouble) I rarely make anything with cream cheese. Since he was on vacation this week, I decided that I would pull out the cream cheese and of course I had trouble finding a recipe. It's like shopping for a plain black skirt. You think it will be so easy to find but then you can't find one anywhere.

I finally settled on this one. The brownie base of this recipe is almost the same as for the Coffee Brownies. This recipe has more coffee and a bit more flour. They were as solidly fudgy as the Coffee Brownies. These had a stronger coffee flavor but again I think you leave out the coffee without a problem, or cut down on the amount. You could leave out the cinnamon too and just have your basic one-bowl cream cheese swirl brownies which have always been a favorite of mine.

These went over well. I wasn't sure about the coffee-cinnamon twist on an old favorite but I loved it. It was like having a fancy coffee in brownie form.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The perfect brownie (for me)

Coffee Brownies
Maxwell House Coffee Drinks & Desserts Cookbook Copyright 1999

4 large eggs
2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (1 1/2) sticks) butter or margarine
4 squares (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup toasted coarsely chopped nuts (optional) I didn't add these
Bittersweet Coffee Glaze (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9-inch baking pan with foil; lightly butter the foil.

Stir the eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla in a small bowl until well blended; set aside.

Microwave the butter and chocolate in a microwavable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until well blended. Mix in the egg mixture. Stir in the flour and nuts. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Spread the Bittersweet Coffee Glaze over the brownies, if desired. Cut into squares to serve. Serve in tightly covered container.

Makes 24 brownies.

Bittersweet Coffee Glaze

6 squares (6 ounces) bittersweet chocolate
5 tablespoons corn syrup
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 teaspoon instant coffee

Microwave the chocolate, corn syrup, butter, and instant coffee in a medium microwavable bowl on High for 2 minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir until the chocolate is melted. (You might want to add the coffee powder last since it almost burned on me.) Cool slightly. Spread over the brownies.

I picked up this cookbook for 25 cents at a yard sale earlier this summer. I was thrilled because so many of the recipes sound great AND they don't require buying any extra ingredients. Not that they are all plain-Jane but they happen to call for ingredients I already have in my pantry. I always keep a jar of instant coffee on hand specifically for recipes (I can't drink instant coffee).

This recipe made a huge dent in my chocolate surplus. It was worth it! I don't discriminate - I love all kinds of brownies - cakey, fudgy, chewey, frosted, not frosted, glazed, not glazed but my favorite type is fudgy and these were the perfect example of fudgy and the glaze made them even better. This recipe is basically a variation of one bowl brownies - very easy to prepare. I liked the hint of coffee but it wasn't overwhelming. I don't think it would be a problem to leave the coffee out (of the brownies or the glaze) if that isn't your thing or if you just don't have any.

The glaze ended up setting up really nicely. I am glazed-challenged and often end up with a sticky mess but not this time. I did put them in the fridge for a bit but once the glaze was set, I took them out of the fridge and kept them out. The glaze stayed firm for days.

For a while there, I could bake something, taste a small bit of it, then pass it along but with a recipe as good as this I end up sampling more than just a small bit. These were very dangerous. I was very sad when they were gone.