Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies

Tired of pies and cheesecake? Here is the perfect New Year's Eve treat.

1 brownie mix
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 can sweetened condensed mix

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.
Mix the first 4 ingredients (it will be very thick). Press 3/4 of the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Set the rest aside. Mix the peanut butter and condensed milk. Drop over mixture in pan and spread as best as possible. Drop the remaining chocolate mixture on top of the peanut butter layer in teaspoon size blobs. Spread as best you can.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is set.
Cool completely before trying to cut.

Enjoy with a  glass of milk (or sparkling cider) and toast to a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Puff Pastry Rite of Passage

To many cooks a puff pastry seems so difficult that they begin to see it as some sort of rite of passage. Once accomplished they can enter into the world of professional pastry chef or fabulous cook or something like that.

Since I wanted to make a Brie en Croüte with cranberry and rosemary for New Years Eve I decided to give it  a try. I found a great youtube tutorial and spent a  large portion of the day rolling and refrigerating only to repeat it again and again.

The end result was a golden puffed pastry. The layers were beautifully crisp, but the inside considerably oily if eaten warm (unfortunately I filled it with cheddar cheese for the kiddos which is really not recommended). However, I think it will work just great with the Brie.

Difficulty rating: 3 out of 5 where pastries are concerned
My Message: The puff pastry, or as the French call it "pâte feuilletée", need not be so daunting!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Market Street Clam Chowder

If you've been to the Market Street Restaurant in Salt Lake City then you will understand why so many people try to recreate their clam chowder. Here is my most recent creation (and "mmmmm" if I do say so myself):

1 cup potato, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup leek, diced
1/2 cup green pepper chopped
1 cup chopped clam
3/4 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon Parsley
6 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/4 cup wine
2 cups water
1 cup clam juice
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
2 quarts half-and-half or 1/2 gallon milk and 1 pint heavy cream- omit the 2 c water if you opt for milk and cream

Combine melted butter and flour in a large saucepan and cook until you have a nice roux. Set aside in a small bowl. Place remaining ingredients in the saucepan, except half-and-half. Simmer until potatoes are thoroughly cooked. Add butter-flour mixture and stir until thick (slightly less thick than cookie dough). Remove from heat. Stir in half-and-half until blended. Heat to serving temperature, stirring constantly.

Serve with sourdough or french bread slightly toasted and you have a meal that not even your pickiest 4 year old can resist!

Don't be scared off by the large ingredient list. It comes together quickly and is well worth the effort.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Kitchen Diva Pig

For the gift exchange this year I decided to sacrifice the pig I won last year and let some other lucky party enjoy it.

This is Scott when he realized what a cool thing he had gotten...

 This is Christy after she stole it from Scott...

This is me so happy to steal it back....

Guess I actually wasn't ready to say Good-Bye!!

P.S. This is Grandma Sally trying to figure out what she got and still look excited (it was a microwave egg cooker)...

Friday, December 25, 2009

Pictoral Journey- a day in the life of ME!!

The other day I was feeling bad because I had failed to stand guard at Jesse's desk and something got broken. As I was pondering why I had not been there I decided to make a pictoral journey of my day. So here it is....

Make Bark for friends and neighbors...
Clean up Dallin after he tried to clean his own diaper and strip my bed to wash it all off...
Wash 3 loads of linens that Ashley and her friend covered in hairspray and talcon powder (they are now grounded!)....
Break bark...
Pick up the toy that underwent Jaden's surgery and lost all it's stuffing....
Cut the boys' hair and sweep it up (along with the candy they ate during the torture treatment)...
Bathe the boys and clean up the flooded bathroom floor...
Clean up the toilet paper Jaden threw behind the toilet...
Switch the laundry with lots of help from Dallin...
Label cards for friends and neighbors...
Do the dishes...
Spend an hour on the phone with K12 to get my computer running right (darn those PCs- sorry PC lovers!!)...
Remove 3 phonics magnets that were helping jam the printer...
Bag the bark...
Bandage Jaden's knee...
Make PB&J's for the kids' dinner (thanks to a lovely sore throat I can't eat solids)...
Take out the trash...
Go deliver the Christmas cards and bark...
Hoping they are tired and go to bed easily so that I can spend an hour with my husband who has received regular updates by phone.
Yes, this is what our year has been like. As usual, life is full of fun and adventure (even if it isn't the adventure we dreamed of before we had 3 lovely children).
Merry Christmas!

Coq au Vin

So after years of making Coq au Vin I decided that Julia Childs' recipe is the best. Of course, I tweeked it a little because I was afraid that 3 cups of wine would scare my kids off! A large bed of Basmati rice and five chicken legs later...Jesse was licking his fingers and saying it was the best one I'd made. The secret: Merlot and a fresh tomato. Voila!! Succulent chicken that falls right off the bones into your mouth....yummmmm... So much for a traditional Christmas dinner. I guess you have to plan ahead if you want a turkey and stuffing. ;)

Coq au Vin Recipe

  •  2-3 Strips of chopped bacon

  •  2-3 pounds chicken legs or thighs

  • 1 large tomato, chopped

  •  2 onions, quartered 

  •  2 cups carrots, in large chunks

  •  1 cup red wine (you can substitute white grape or apple juice)

  •  1 cup chicken stock 

  •  Salt and pepper

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  •  1 bay leaf

  •  Chopped parsley

  • 1/4 tsp thyme (I say this is optional because I am allergic to it!)

  •  Flour for coating chicken

    Sauté the bacon and remove to a side dish, leaving the grease in the pan.
    Coat chicken in flour and brown in the bacon grease, add olive oil if needed. Top with the vegetables, pour the stock and wine over it and sprinkle with herbs. 
    Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Check the bottom occasionally to avoid scorching.

    Serve over rice or with a side of new potatoes.

    P.S. You also have to plan ahead if you want pictures of this delicious meal, or it is gone before you get the camera out!!! Maybe next time....

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Fall pictures...since I am not ready to care about a 2009 overview!

    So I guess it is time to do an overview of our year, but instead I am going to post some pictures of the family this Fall.
    Pretty Trees...
    Silly Family....

    The Goofiest of us All!!!!