Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

South West Egg Roll

Submitted by Lisa

This is a combination of recipes I have seen over the years.  I basically make it with what ever I have on hand at the time.  The kids love any type of egg roll I make...I think because they can "grab and go" with it.  I never have left overs of these for long.


2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1 medium green bell pepper diced small
1/2 small onion diced small
1 can black beans rinsed
1 can corn
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt

1 pkg egg roll wrappers

dipping sauce:
1/4 c avacado
1/4 c mayo
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 tsp dill
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
dash of milk

Quickly saute the pepper, onions and spices until slightly tender.  Stir in the chicken and corn and beans.  When well mixed and warmed through, set aside to cool a bit.

Set up your work station.  You need a whisked egg in a cup to brush on the edges of the egg roll wrapper.  Put a spoon full of the filling off center of the wrapper and roll up starting at the corner, folding in the side corners as you go.

Set the rolled wrappers on a dry non stick surface not touching each other.

Fry in shallow oil until golden brown.

For the sauce, mix all the ingredients together and serve with the egg rolls.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cheese Straws

Have you ever been invited to a dinner party or gathering where you needed to bring something, but had absolutely no creative spark or time to ignite that creative spark?  Sometimes it can be hard to get everything done with family and kids and still make something "guest-worthy."  I found myself with this problem recently,  where I had neither the ingredients nor the time to make what I was originally planning to bring to a book club meeting.  Perusing my trusted "The New Best Recipe" by America's Test Kitchen gave me the needed inspiration.  Plus I had some puff pastry in the freezer that was just begging to be used. These cheese straws are cheesy and salty and oh so addicting!  And they're easy.  Bonus!  Use as an appetizer, side dish or to dip in your soup.  They're delicious.

*Note:  This recipe requires the use of parchment paper.  I always keep it on hand, so it doesn't seem like special equipment to me, but I realize many may not have it around.  So, go get some!

1/2 box (1 sheet) frozen puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm or Trader Joe's), thawed on the counter for 10 minutes
2 oz. Parmesan or Asiago cheese, freshly grated (1 cup) (I did not freshly grate it, but I did use shredded cheese)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

*Thaw the puff pastry on the counter as you preheat the oven and grate the cheese.
Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or Silpats) and set them aside.  Lay the puff pastry on a sheet of parchment and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the cheese and 1/8 tsp. each of salt and pepper.  Place a sheet of parchment over the cheese and, using a rolling pin, press the cheese into the dough by gently rolling eh pin back and forth.  Without removing the parchment, carefully flip the dough over, cheese-side down.  Remove the tip layer of parchment and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, salt and pepper.  Cover the pastry with the parchment.  Measure the piece of dough and continue to roll it out if necessary to form a 10 1/2 inch square.

Remove the tip sheet of parchment and, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into fourteen 3/4 inch wide strips.  Gently twist each strip of dough and transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing the strips about 1 inch apart.

Bake immediately until fully puffed and golden brown, about 10 minutes, reversing the positions of the baking sheets from top to bottom halfway through the baking time.  Remove the straws from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.  The cheese straws, completely cooled, can be strored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Source: The New Best Recipe

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Triple Chocolate Mini Cupcakes

( sorry for the bad picture!)
Submitted by Lisa

I made these into mini cupcakes.  Let me tell you, filling them with the ganache was challenging but oh so worth it!  I made them for a friends wedding reception.  They were a hit.  The frosting was delicious and the cake was very chocolaty. I am going to be keeping this recipe in my favorites for sure.  (recipe from Annies eats)

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes
Yield: about 32 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
¾ cup hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1¼ tsp. coarse salt
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
For the ganache filling:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. heavy cream
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature

For the frosting:
14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
9 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 tbsp. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. sour cream

For the chocolate curls:
Large block of high-quality semi- or bittersweet chocolate

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line standard cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the sugar over medium heat.  Heat, stirring occasionally to combine, until the butter is melted.  Remove the mixture from the heat and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium-low speed, 4-5 minutes, until the mixture is cooled.  Mix in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and beating well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture and beat until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the sour cream, beating just until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared cupcake liners, filling them about ¾ of the way full.  Bake 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the ganache, place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Heat the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand about 1 minute.  With a whisk, gently stir the chocolate and cream together in small circles.  When the ganache has become smooth, whisk in the butter 1 piece at a time until incorporated.  Transfer the bowl to the freezer or refrigerator to chill and thicken the ganache a bit.  Whisk every 5-10 minutes to help it cool evenly.  Once the mixture is slightly thickened and no longer runny, you are ready to fill the cupcakes.

To assemble the cupcakes, cut a cone out of the center of each cupcake with a small paring knife.  Cut off the pointed end of the cone and discard (or eat) so you are left with a cap of cake to cover the filling.  Drop a spoonful of ganache into the center of each cupcake and recover the hole with the cap.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Set aside to cool until just barely warm.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder and salt.  Beat in the melted and cooled chocolate and then the sour cream.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and well blended.  Frost cupcakes immediately.

To make the chocolate curls, warm the block of chocolate just slightly (heat in 5-second intervals in the microwave - be careful not to melt).  Use a vegetable peeler to create chocolate curls.  Top cupcakes with curls immediately.  Reheat chocolate as needed to keep it workable.

Printed from Annie's Eats

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tikka Masala

I love, love, LOVE this meal.  I'm not even a connoisseur of Indian food, but the first time I tried this I was smitten.  There are just so many complex flavors going on in this dish that set it apart.  The charred chicken with coriander and cumin, the browned onions, rich cream and delightfully spicy garam masala.  My husband and kids are also big fans of this meal, which makes it easy to put on the dinner rotation.  Sometimes if I know I'm going to be pressed for time, I'll make the chicken the day before.  I never use the hot chili peppers, but if you like it hot add them in!  I find the heat from the spices is sufficient for my kiddos.


  • 3 whole (to 4) Chicken Breasts
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Coriander
  • Cumin, To Taste
  • 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Large Onion
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 piece (approximately 2 Inches) Chunk Fresh Ginger
  • Garam Masala
  • 1 can (28 Ounce) Diced Tomatoes (petite diced preferred, but not necessary)
  • Sugar
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 cups Basmati Rice
  • _____
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Chili Peppers
  • Turmeric
  • Frozen Peas

Preparation Instructions

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some kosher salt. Next sprinkle them on both sides with some coriander and cumin. Then coat the chicken breasts completely with the plain yogurt. Set the chicken on a metal cooling rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and place it about 10-12 inches below a broiler for 5-7 minutes per side. Watch carefully so as not to totally char the chicken. It should have slightly blackened edges. Remove from oven (You can also grill the chicken with great results).
Next dice one large onion. In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions and sauté until they are slightly browned. As the onions cook, mince your garlic. Next, cut off the outer skin and mince or grate a 1 by 2 inch chunk of fresh ginger. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions. Also throw in about 1 tablespoon of salt.
Next you are going to add about 3 tablespoons Garam Masala spice. And if you like it hot, this is also when you will add your hot chili peppers. Serranos work well. Now you are going to add your can of diced tomatoes. Continue cooking and stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add about 1 tablespoon sugar. Let this mixture simmer on medium for about 5 minutes.
To a rice cooker add 2 cups Basmati rice, 4 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon Ground Turmeric and 4 cups water. Cover, turn on your rice cooker and walk away. If you do not have a rice cooker, cook your rice as usual but make sure that you use Basmati rice.
After the Tikka Masala sauce has had a chance to simmer for a little bit, add in the 1 ½ cups of heavy cream. Now, chop up your chicken breasts into chunks and stir them into the Tikka Masala sauce. A handful of chopped fresh cilantro is a nice addition if you like cilantro. You can also throw some frozen peas into the cooked rice, give them a stir, and allow the heat of the rice to cook the peas. It tastes great and gives another nice dash of color. Serve the rice with the Chicken Tikka Masala over top. Make sure to have some Nann bread handy, too.

Source:  thepioneerwoman.com

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lemon Garlic Tilapia

Submitted by Melanie

I went to one of my favorite stores yesterday called Sprouts. It's a grocery store similar to Whole Foods. I was walking by the fish counter and realized that I have never bought "Fresh" fish. I normally buy frozen. I decided to get some fresh fish and hoped that my family would like it. I made it for dinner today and it was a big hit. My 7 year son Ethan ate 2 big fillets, so I think it was a success. I added some cooked carrots with a little brown sugar over them and some jasmine rice.


4 Tilapia fillets
3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon of butter, melted (I used about 6 tablespoons)
1 clove of garlic ( I used about 3 cloves)
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes


1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking dish with foil

2. Salt and pepper the fillets. Put butter, garlic, and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Saute until the butter is melted.

3. Pour the butter garlic mixture over the fillets.

4. Bake until the fish is white and flakes apart with a fork, about 15-20 minutes (depending on how thick the fillets are)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Egg plant Parmegiana

Submitted by Lisa
I really enjoy using the fresh vegetables out of the garden.  I had never made this recipe before and decided it was time to tackle the egg plant!  It is really good!  Who knew?  The thing with this recipe is, you need a little time to prepare it. I was canning tomatoes today so I had time to do the little steps this required since I was in the kitchen anyway.  (the browned cheese on top is a must)

Egg plant Parmegiana

The Sauce:
·         1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
·         3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices ( I used 1 onion and 2 leeks from my garden)
·         6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
·         Kosher salt
·         1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes 
·         1 tablespoon granulated sugar
·         3 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole plum tomatoes ( I used peeled/seeded fresh tomatoes from the garden)
The Eggplant:
·         2 medium eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 2 1/2 pounds)
·         1/2 cup all purpose flour
·         Freshly ground black pepper
·         5 large eggs
·         3 tablespoons whole milk (didn't use any, forgot!)
·         4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs (I used ritz crackers, chopped in food processor with the herbs)
·         1 tablespoon dried oregano
·         1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
·          Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
·         1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
·         1/2 cup grated Parmesan
·         1 pound provolone cheese, grated (didn't have any, so didn't use any)
·          2 handfuls fresh basil, leaves only, torn

For the tomato sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Taste for seasoning, the tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Cook for another few minutes if the tomatoes still taste like they need a little more time to break down. Set aside to cool.

For the eggplant (this step is optional, leave it out if you have limited time): Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt on both sides of each slice and allow it to sit for about 1 hour. Salting it draws out the liquid and bitter flavor. After an hour, rinse with cold water and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.

Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat both sides of each slice of eggplant. Arrange them in single layers on the baking sheets.

In a large skillet, pour enough oil to accumulate about 1/2-inch in the bottom. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly (alternatively, test with a thermometer and wait until the oil registers between 380 degrees F and 400 degrees F). Use a pair of kitchen tongs to add a single layer of the eggplant to the pan. Cook them until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel so the eggplant can drain as the others cook. Season lightly with salt. Take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of slices to the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
To assemble: In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the fried eggplant; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. Top with about 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the parmesan and provolone cheeses. Top with a layer of torn basil leaves. Spoon sauce and repeat the layering 2 more times to make 3 layers. End with the remaining mozzarella. Carefully press the layers down firmly into the dish once assembled. Place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. For extra browning, put the dish under the broiler for a minute or two just before serving to get an extra brown cheesy top. I always nibble on a bit of that before sharing it with my friends!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Submitted by Lisa

This is a recipe I have had for 18 years or so.  I have no idea where I first got it.  I am thinking I got it from watching a cooking show. Sorry, can't be more specific than that.  But, I remember just loving it.  It is really pretty simple to make and always impresses.  You can change up the filling to anything that you like.  If you have made cinnamon rolls you can make this.  If you haven't done either, give it a try!  What is cool about this is the method of rolling the butter into the dough.  It creates a butter layer in between so many layers of dough that the steam creates a light and flaky danish when baked. Scrumptious!


3/4 c warm water
1/2 c milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp yeast
1/4 c sugar
4 c flour
1/2 tsp cardamon
1 egg yolk
2 sticks cold, unsalted butter

Egg Wash:
2 eggs beaten with 1 tbsp water

Optional fillings:  sweetened cream cheese, raspberry jam, almond filling, apricot glaze...

1.  In bowl of electric mixer, combine the water, milk, vanilla and yeast.  Let sit until yeast is dissolved
2.  Add egg yolk to the yeast mixture.
3.  Sift sugar, salt, flour and cardamon together, add to the wet ingredients.
4.  Mix with dough hook until it all comes together and pulls away from the sides
5.  Remove from bowl and let rest in fridge for 15 minutes.
6.  On floured surface, place the butter.  Lightly dust the butter with flour and using your rolling pin  lightly pound the butter until flat.  Fold the butter in half and continue to pound until the butter is workable.  Using your hands, shape the butter into a rough 8 inch square.

7.  Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface.  Roll into a 16 inch square.
8.  Place the butter in the center of the dough.  Fold the ends of the dough towards the center, forming a package.  Lightly press the ends into the dough, sealing the package completely.

9.  Carefully lift the package and re-flour the surface.
10. Lay the package back down on the floured surface and roll out to about a 24 inch rectangle.
11.  Fold one end of dough into the center, then the other end to form a square, there should be 3 layers of dough.
12. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 25 minutes.
13. 2nd rolling...do the same thing as step 10 and 11and place in fridge for 25 min.
14. 3rd roll and rest as before
15. After 3rd rest roll out to 1/4 inch thick.

You can either:  egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, roll and cut as cinnamon rolls, or you can cut in squares, place your filling in the center and pull up 2 corners to the middle of the dough and firmly squeeze together, then egg wash.

16.  Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes.
17.  Bake 400 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 10 more minutes or until browned.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pork Loin with Leeks

Submitted by Lisa Serves 6

2 pound boned pork loin 
salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine ( I used chicken stock)
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped 
(I used cherry tomatoes because I had them)
2 pounds leeks
1 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 350º F. Cut pork into 6 thick steaks, sprinkle with salt & pepper. 

Brown thoroughly in a casserole with olive oil and garlic, about 4 to 5 minutes each side. 

Add wine and tomatoes; 
cover and simmer 
15 minutes. 

Clean leeks, split, and slice. 
Remove pork from casserole, add leeks, cover and cook gently 5 minutes. 

Put pork on top of leeks, cover and cook in oven 40 to 50 minutes, until pork is tender. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.