Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snicker Apple Tart

Having made delicious tortes for Thanksgiving (and subsequently Christmas Eve with the in-laws) I was eager to try out something new for 'belated Christmas' with my own folks. A bit of meandering on Pinterest soon turned up this recipe for Snicker Apple Tart and knew I had to give it a whirl.
I made mine in multiple steps, wanting to ensure the oven was ready and available for the holiday ham which means I left the cooked apples sitting in slightly underdone pie shells for more than a few hours which caused the crusts to be a bit soggy even after re-heating...this could be simply the time issue or an oven issue or an issue of impatience, however, were I slightly more prepared for those factors this would have been phenomenal, considering such factors, this was still damn-good ;)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Using a pre-made pie crust, roll out into a shallow pie plate or torte pan, prick with a fork and bake for about 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and core 2 large Apples to be arranged in the pre-cooked pie shells in whatever arrangement you so desire. Over the apples, drizzle 1/4 cup Heavy Whipped Cream mixed with 4 Tbsp. Brown Sugar. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup unsalted Peanuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

While baking, chop 2 Snickers Bars into bite sized pieces.

When 30 minutes have passed and pie is ready, remove from oven, sprinkle with Snicker pieces and drizzle with 1/3 cup Caramel Sauce. Let set a few minutes to get melty and mingled.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pizza Experiment #2: Super Meat and Supreme

Not so much a recipe for extending any shelf life, this is a part of my master-mind plan to develop and master some pizza goodness....because, who doesn't love a good homemade pizza...and because, I just might need to know a solid thing or two about pizzas in the upcoming months ;)

So, after Christmas with family and gifts which would encourage this endeavor, such as a pizza stone and a new cookbook, I was ready to hit the ground running and kick pizza experimentation into full gear. With all the time and inspiration in the world, I prepared a couple of pizzas post-Christmas while the family played games and read new books, there couldn't have been a more peaceful home while dinner preparations were in the works and it's unlikely there could have been a more delighted group of folks once the pizza was prepared.


Pizza Crust
From the Cookbook: 500 Pizzas & Flatbreads

Classified as 'basic neapolitan pizza crust', this recipe will give you enough for two 12-inch pizzas.

Begin by sprinkling 1 tsp. Active Yeast over 1 1/4 cup Warm Water. If you have a standing mixer, use the bowl for that otherwise you'll be doing it by hand in a large mixing bowl. Let water and yeast set for 5 minutes.

Add 1 tsp. Salt, then mix in a total of 3 cups of Flour, one cup at a time (it's recommended to use 2 cups bread flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour, I however, only used the latter). Kneed or mix with a dough hook once it begins to form, for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Divide dough in half and place in separate, lighly oiled bowls. Roll dough around so as to transfer a bit of oil onto the dough ball itself.

Cover bowls with flour cloth or paper towels and allow to rise for 2-3 hours until dough has doubled in size. 

When the rest of your pizza is ready to assemble, simply roll out dough, using additional flour as needed and prepare for your pizza-eating pleasure!

Pizza Sauce
From the Cookbook: 500 Pizzas and Flatbreads

So simple, so delicious.

Heat 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil in a large, heavy frying pan, add 1 minced Garlic clove and cook 1-2 minutes. Add one 28-oz. can of Whole Tomatoes, breaking them down with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until sauce has thickened and liquid has evaporated. Season with salt, oregano, red pepper flakes and other seasonings of choice.

Pizza Toppings
Not rocket science...

For these experiments I prepared one pizza using the following ingredients after spooning on some sauce:

Pepperoni, Sliced Summer Sausage, Canadian Bacon, Sauteed Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

The other pizza was similar yet different and was topped, after spooning on sauce, with:

Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, Fresh Onions, Olives

Both were delicious and well received...what more could you ask for?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Molasses Butterscotch Cookies

Without a doubt, these are my all time favorite holiday cookies and I am incredibly thankful to be back in a country where it is possible to buy butterscotch chips and molasses without much trouble. Not to mention, it's nice to have a wide-variety of beers and, in case you were wondering, these cookies + Blue Moon Spiced Amber Ale, are indeed a fantastic after-school snack!

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine 3 cups Flour, 2 tsp. Baking Soda, 1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1 1/2 tsp. Ginger, 3/4 tsp. Cloves, and 1/2 tsp. Salt in a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together 1 cup Butter, 1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar, 1 egg and 1/3 cup Molasses until creamy. Gradually stir in flour mixture. Fold in 1 pkg. Butterscotch Chips.

Drop batter onto cookie sheet, bake for 9-11 minutes until light, golden colored, should make 4-5 dozen delicious cookies.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Home-made Caramels: Note to Self


Making caramels at high-altitude isn't as easy as simply following the directions. While the caramels were delicious...they were too soft and a pain to wrap. Try again next time.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

German Mish-mash Breakfast

Extended Shelf Life for: Bread Heels, Onions
I think bread heels are slightly obnoxious...until you learn to use them in delicious ways that is.

Since I purchased the Juicer that Can do Everything, I have made my own bread crumbs simply by saving the heels in the freezer until I have enough to fill up a cookie sheet to dry out, on low heat in the oven before running them through the juicer (mincing nozzle of course, not the juicing nozzle).

However, the other day, I had a few bread heels leftover and happened to read this page on Squidoo, which has a handful of great, frugal, use-up-things-in-the-kitchen-recipes, the first of which was this German Mish-mash which was incredibly easy and so, stinkin' delicious!


In a heavy skillet, melt 3 Tbsp. Butter, when it's melted, add half of a sliced onion and stir for a couple of minutes until onions are tender and little brown. Add two slices of bread that have been cubed and stir until they absorb all the butter and become little bite sized toasts. Pour in two beaten eggs, coat bread and onions, cook until eggs are no longer runny. Season with salt and pepper, enjoy!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

White Fudge with Lemon and Pecans

Extended Shelf Life for: Lemons
Being back in the land of Holiday snacking and gaining a few pounds in time for New Years Resolutions had me feeling a strong desire and deep urge to try my hand at some holiday candy-making. I've never done much in terms of fudge and I actually tried a few different recipes this Christmas, but high-altitude laughed in my face and my chocolate fudge was re-created into fudgy, no-bake cookies (which are always a win, so I laughed back, even harder, in the face of high altitude).

However, in the process of making candy at high altitude, I discovered this recipe for Easy White Fudge in one of my all-time favorite cookbooks: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. Because we'd had an abundance of lemons at our door (aka, from the dumpster) in October, I'd learned a few tricks in regards to preserving lemons, and had a jar full of zest begging to be included with this fudge experiment, so I tweaked and altered, and what do you know? I came up with a fantastic, easy-to-make-regardless-of-altitude: White Lemon Fudge.


Line a square baking dish with foil, butter or grease, set aside.

In a 2 quart saucepan cook and stir 3 cups White Chocolate Chips and 1 14oz. can of Sweetened Condensed Milk over low heat. When chocolate has melted, remove saucepan from heat and stir in 1/2 cup chopped Pecans, 2 tsp. Lemon Zest and 1 tsp. Vanilla. Cover and chill 2 hours.

Carefully remove foil from square pan, cut fudge into squares, store tightly covered for 1 week...if they'll last that long!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pizza Experiment #1: Roasted Squash and Carmelized Onion Pizza

Extended Shelf Life for: Onions and Squash
In May of 2012, I decided to become a master of pie. I can do most anything in the kitchen, but I do have random fears of certain aspects, such as pastry. However, I conquered that fear and can turn out a pretty phenomenal pie (if I do say so myself).

Now, late in the year of 2012, I decided to become a master of pizza pie, but not for the purpose of fear, I don't fear pizza, nor pizza crust (although, I have had to re-learn the joys of baking and cooking at high altitude). No, the art of mastering pizza is more an exercise of discovering and developing some top notch pizza topping ideas and concepts for a very specific purpose, which, I currently do not have the privilege of sharing. Suffice it to say, someday, you might get to eat one of my delicious creations...

As for this pizza, I still love the concept, but I need to work on the roasted squash 'sauce' part of the recipe, because it wasn't tops.


Prepare a pizza crust. We do ours in the bread machine. I'll post various recipes later, however, for now, this is just a break down of the topping.

Slice 1 onion and caramelize in a large skillet with 2 Tbsp. butter on medium high heat. Caramelizing takes about 15-20 minutes but is worth every second.

Roast a Squash of your choosing or take out a pack of pre-roasted, pureed squash from the freezer if you so happen to have one.

Prepare 6 strips of Bacon however you choose, I prefer the oven method.

In a sauce pan or deep skillet, heat a touch of butter, throw in some garlic and rosemary for about a minute (until fragrant) and then add squash, heat through.

When your pizza crust is ready to go as well as all the other ingredients, simply top the crust with squash sauce, followed by caramelized onions and bacon bites, top with mozzarella and bake at 450 for about 10-12 minutes until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.

I would love to prepare this in a wood-fried oven, but am discovering that a pizza stone is just as good...for now ;)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Avocado Brownies

Extended Shelf Life for: Avocados
So many avocados, so little time.

It should come as no surprise that I have, yet another, avocado recipe to share here!

I made these for a potluck in late December and even whilst sitting among a homemade carrot cake, a ricotta-orange cake topped with pomegranate and preceded by numerous food items, I only brought a few of these little morsels home with me at the end of the night, which I think is a good sign.

From Mary Quite Contrary Bakes

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 square pan and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together 3/4 cups Flour, 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder, 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder and 1/4 tsp. Salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together 2 mashed, ripe Avocados and 8oz. Melted Chocolate. Stir in 1 cup Sugar until well combined. Add 2 eggs, 3 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil and 1 tsp. Vanilla, mix well until well combined and smooth.

Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake 28-32 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Avocado Bread

Extended Shelf Life: Avocados
The problem, so to speak, with dumpster diving is that you never know what you're going to get, which I've come to love. However, you also never know that you just might end up with a few more avocados even though you just froze a couple dozen.

The not so problematic part of this problem is, since you've done some research on how to use avocados you'll actually be quite happy to discover that the new handful of avocados isn't in quite as bad as shape as the others and doesn't require you to add chocolate to account for color issues.

So now, you get to try a non-chocolate avocado bread, although you never really complained about having Chocolate Avocado Bread in the first place.

From Fleur De-Licious

I was so intrigued by the original recipe that I didn't stray from the recipe, and I'm glad I didn't, the combination of white flour, wheat flour and corn meal was really quite amazing!

Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit, butter and flour a loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup Corn Meal, 1 cup All Purpose Flour, 3/4 cups Wheat Flour, 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder, 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda and 1/4 tsp. Salt, set aside.

In a large bowl, "cream" together 2 Ripe Avocados and 1 cup Sugar with a rubber spatula. Add 2/3 cups Vegetable Oil and 2 Eggs and whisk until well combined. Whisk in 1/2 cup Buttermilk of Plain Yogurt as well as 1 tsp. Orange (or Lemon) Zest.

Add dry ingredients to Avocado Mixture until just incorporated. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Enjoy for breakfast, snack or dessert!

Ginger Snap Peas and Sausage

Extended Shelf Life for: Sugar Snap Peas
A recent dive left the man and I enjoying many lunch boxes filled with random leftovers and sugar snap peas or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with sugar snap peas. It had honestly been quite some time since we'd last enjoyed this little vegetable morsel of joy and in the week of munching on these salvaged goods we were reminded just how delicious they are.

Before they earned the right to be in the dumpster, I decided to whip up a quick dinner by cooking some sausage in my cast iron skillet and tossing about 3 cups of Sugar Snap Peas in the Wok with Butter, Ginger and Garlic, Salt and Pepper to taste. Serve this all on a bed of rice and you have yourself a nice weeknight meal!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blackberry-Orange Biscuit Rolls

Extended Shelf Life for: Blackberries, Orange
Sometimes, brilliant ideas are spawned from a dumpster arrival of blackberries and an orange already on the shelf, waiting to be used. And sometimes, those brilliant ideas are compounded by the fact that one of your favorite, most spectacular friends has a birthday the next day.

So you dream and ponder and before you know it your pulling Blackberry-Orange Biscuits Rolls out of the oven, drizzling them with a fine orange glaze and praising the Lord for creativity, dumpster abundance and birthdays!


Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit.

In a bowl stir together 2 cups All Purpose Flour, 1 Tbsp. Sugar, 2 tsp. Baking Powder, 1 tsp. Orange Zest, 1/4 tsp. Salt and 1/4 tsp. Baking Soda. Cut in 1/2 cup Butter with a pastry blender until mixture is coarse and crumbly.

Make a well in center dry mix and add 6 oz. of Yogurt and 1 Tbsp. Milk, mix with a fork until just moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and kneed 10-12 strokes until dough is smooth. Pat or roll dough out to 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick.

In a small bowl, sprinkle a handful or 1/2 cup of Blackberries with Sugar and mash with a fork. Sprinkle with 1-2 tsp. of Cornstarch and mix again.

Spread Blackberry mixture onto biscuit dough. Carefully roll dough as you would for cinnamon rolls.

Carefully slice the biscuit log and create biscuits that about 1/2 inch thick. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until dough is golden brown.

For the Glaze:

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cups Powdered Sugar with 1 tsp. Orange Zest and 3-4 tsp. of Orange Juice until you reach glazing consistency.

Pork Cutlets and Braised Purple Cabbage

Extended Shelf Life for: Red Cabbage, Onion, Bread

If you know the man at all, you are well aware that he is a good eater, bless his soul, because if he wasn't, I don't know what I would do. He eats a wide variety of vegetables and although he claims that the "Only thing better than meat and potatoes is meat and meat," the truth is, we eat a lot of veggie-heavy meals and even a lot of vegetarian meals, so really, his life doesn't center around meat.

This meal is not vegetarian, and it's actually kind of close to a meat and potatoes meal, but my man was so extremely satisfied by this meal that I am extremely confident that it would go over well in many homes...I is still cabbage...which can be unappetizing to some.
Braised Purple Cabbage ~ Ingredients/Directions:

Quarter, core and thinly shred 1 head of Purple Cabbage. Soak in a large bowl of water.

Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. Butter in a heavy skillet or cast iron kettle (my personal choice). Once melted and fragrant, add and saute until golden 1/4 cup finely chopped Onion.

Remove cabbage from water and add to pan along with 1 thinly sliced Apple, 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar, 2 Tbsp. Honey or Sugar, and a shake of Salt.

Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 1 - 1 1/2 hours adding hot water as needed - at the end you want moist, but not soaked cabbage. It will be sweet and tangy and perfectly accompanied by a drizzle of yogurt and topped with pork cutlets as described below!

Pork Cutlets ~ Ingredients/Directions:

Thinly slice as many pork chops as you need to satisfy whoever will be at your table.

Heat 2-3 Tbsp. of Vegetable oil in a heavy skillet or cast iron skillet (again, my choice).

Dip each pork cutlet into a shallow bowl of flour, followed by a bowl of 2 beaten eggs and finally a bowl of bread crumbs (I made my own by saving the heels of bread, drying them in the oven and running them through our juicer on the mincing nozzle, a food processor would work as well).

Fry in the skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side, drain on a layer or two of paper towels, enjoy on a bed of braised cabbage!
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