Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Birthday Cake

We celebrated DH's birthday this week with a birthday cake. The Bozos are still home & I thought this recipe looked like a fun project for us to do together. It was easy enough for kids to make & lots of fun...not to mention delicious!
The frosting on this cake is basically a ganache & it's very rich. The leftovers have proved even better than the fresh cake, as the frosting turns to a fudge like consistency.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ham & Asparagus Strata

I have several strata recipes dog-eared in various cooking mags. But, have never gotten around to making one. On Christmas, my stepmother served two different kinds for brunch & they were delicious! So, now, I am finally making one.
A strata is an Italian quiche. It doesn't have a crust, but instead the bread is cubed up in the casserole. I like it even more than quiche, because it is much lighter. As far as fillings, you can get creative with that. I left my fairly basic, as I wanted the Bozos to eat it.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tomato Alphabet Soup

I have the Bozo's home with me all week. Recently, they have been obsessed with Earth's Best Elmo Tomato Soup. I know my DH loves tomato soup as well. So, I decided to make a batch, to have on hand for lunches this {very, very long} week.
This recipe couldn't be easier. It got a huge thumbs up from the Bozo review & they declared it the best tomato soup ever.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Cookies 2009

My cookies this year...

Coconut Cream-Filled Macaroons

As you can see from my recent posts about holiday cookies, I use a lot of Martha Stewart recipes. I began collecting her yearly Holiday Baking issue years ago & always find inspiration from her original cookie recipes & creative packaging ideas. Last year, I received her Cookies cookbook as a Christmas gift. Now, I have all those recipes in one book, instead of a big pile of magazines.
While I love her ideas & design sense...I wonder sometimes who tests her recipes. I frequently have to adjust them & find that I can never plan on serving one of her dishes without testing it out first. Such is the case with these cookies. They came out fantastic! But, I had to tweak things.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

I made these ginger cookies last month. And, while I thought they were amazingly delicious, they got crisp...very crisp, after sitting a day, or so. When I make my holiday cookies every year, I usually start the process about 5 days before Christmas. So, I need cookie recipes that can be stored a few days. I decided to try these, as they have a chewier texture.
I love the little pockets of chocolate mixed in. And, the use of fresh ginger makes these especially spicy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lime Meltaways

lime meltaways
A new cookie recipe in my usual Christmas baking repertoire. So many cookies involve nuts, chocolate, coconut, etc. But few I have tried use citrus. I thought it would be a nice change. They have a buttery, shortbread texture and a fresh, tart lime flavor.
These cookies are also super easy. The dough can be made ahead and frozen for up to two months. When ready to bake, simply slice the dough and cook. This is incredibly handy during the Holiday season when there's just so much to do!
mix wet & dry ingredients
Begin by whisking together 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a separate small prep bowl, add the zest of 2 limes, a 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, and a tablespoon vanilla extract. Set aside.
Next, add 1 1/2 sticks {3/4 cup}of room temperature unsalted butter to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. To the butter, measure in 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie

I am always on the lookout for a good looking chocolate chip recipe. I bake cookies as gifts for friends & relatives every year. But, I rarely have them done in time for the kid's last day of school, before the holiday break. I wanted to bring cookies into their teachers & these jumbo, delicious cookies seemed like the perfect thing. Both their teachers have little kids & I know that the whole family will enjoy these.
The dough for this recipe needs to chill for 24-48 hours before baking. This step helps the flour absorb the egg & makes for their amazing consistency. So, plan accordingly when making the dough. It can also be kept in the fridge for 3 days. Which is great if you'd like to bake them as you need them.
For precise measuring, I used a scale. But, if you don't have one, the traditional measurements are given as well.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

A Cookie Scoop.

This kitchen tool will be getting a workout this week in my kitchen, as I begin my Holiday cookie baking. It's perfect for making uniform shaped cookies & speeds up the process...which, is great when you're making as many cookies as I am.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Pasta with Butternut Squash, Spinach & Prosciutto

Like anyone out there in the holiday mode, I have been very busy lately. So, when I saw a recent issue of America's Test Kitchen-30 minute Suppers, packed full of 96 recipes that all cook in 30 minutes, I bought it.
This easy & quick pasta dinner is from that issue. It was delicious.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

It has been pretty slim pickins' around The Parsley Thief lately. I have been caught up in the whirlwind of the Thanksgiving festivities {I hosted 15 at my house & went all out}, having my little sister in town for two weeks from Oregon {with my adorable niece, Sadie}, and trying to get a start on the Christmas season {shopping, ordering holiday cards & hosting a Tree Trimming party at my place this Sunday}. I can't promise that there will be much in the way of cooking posts this month. But, I'll do my best!
Mamalizza has been nagging me to make some mac n' cheese. So, I finally did. I don't really make the homemade variety anymore. The bozos are used to their boxed Annie's & when I put something with breadcrumbs on their plates, they are like, what is this?! If you think your child will be equally picky, you can easily leave them off.
This is an adapted version of a recipe I made quite frequently, back in my Brooklyn years {before children} & it was my favorite hangover special.
It does require more effort than opening a box & blending some powdered cheese. So, I recommend making 2 & freezing one for later {save it for the next hangover}.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for my wonderful family. Some of whom traveled many miles to be here this holiday. I am thankful to be hosting my very first Thanksgiving dinner & being the one who doesn't have to travel this time. I am thankful for my precious boys & my loving husband.
And, right now, I am thankful that I am done cooking...for today.

Thanksgiving Menu 2009

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Crudités with Ranch Dip

Brined Free Range Turkey with Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Creamed Spinach
Roasted Broccolini, Asparagus & Haricots Verts with Shallot Butter
Chestnut Leek Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce (the jelly kind)
Cranberry Orange Relish
Mixed Green Salad with Fennel & Cranberries

Bourbon Pecan Tart
Caramel Pumpkin Pie
Vanilla Ice Cream

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I saw this recipe in an article from Mother's Day, back in May. Why do I now decide to make them? When it's the week of Thanksgiving & I have a million other things to think about cooking? Maybe it's the jar of poppy seeds that's been sitting in my fridge, calling out to be used up. Or, maybe it's just that I felt like it.
These itty bitty muffins are super easy, irresistibly cute & the Bozos loved them.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Kitchen Tool of the Week...

This tool is not only helpful come Thanksgiving. It's great for Sunday night roasted chicken dinners, making homemade stock, or chicken soup.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Squash & Red Pepper Pilaf

I think it's such a bummer that Gourmet magazine is gone. This recipe is from their final issue {November 2009}.
When I read it, my initial thought was that it sounded really healthy. Secondly, it looked very easy & quick. I love that it's a simple way to add some extra nutrition into plain ole' rice. It reminds me a bit of risotto...just lighter.
If you're not a fan of butternut squash, or bell peppers, you can easily substitute any veggie you'd like.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Bozo Picture of the Week...

Hockey Tryouts from katherine on Vimeo.

After only playing the goalie position twice & earning many compliments & encouragement from his coaches, he tried out for the travel team. Here are some shots from those tryouts.
Excuse the especially corny music. I added it as a special touch for my tough guy, as it's his current favorite song {thank you Guitar Hero}.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Spice Sugar Cookies

My 7 year old was begging to make some cookies yesterday. I looked around at what we had on hand in the house & decided to make these. He loves any kind of spice cookie, especially ginger snaps. These came out looking very similar to the ones you buy in a Nabisco box, but tasted even better.
I think I may have to add them to the Holiday cookie list.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Guinness Beef Stew

It's the time of the year when I dust off the old crockpot {nowadays, called a slow cooker} & get to cooking up some stews, chili, or pot roasts. On Saturday, it just felt like a good beef stew day. No plans. Just a family day, with a few hours of hockey thrown in there. I dug around in my bulging recipe file {a manila folder stuffed with torn out magazine pages} & came up with this recipe from Cooks Country magazine.
This recipe makes for a great weeknight meal, even if you're gone all day at work, because the prep can be done the night before & it takes all day to cook {on it's own}. I love the addition of Guinness & bittersweet chocolate. It makes an amazingly rich, dark sauce. I know it will be a hit with whoever you make it for.