Archive for November, 2012

THE Best cornbread

I’ve had a sick kiddo at my house so she’s been requesting soup–and cornbread. (She’s reading over my shoulder right now and said to call this, “The bestestestest ever cornbread.”) Her favorite recipe comes from King Arthur. I’ve tried to tweak the recipe by adding Greek yogurt for part of the milk, drizzling in some honey, adding whole wheat flour. Surprisingly, the basic recipe is best. So for a quick, moist cornbread (that makes for great snacks in packed lunches) try this version.

King Arthur Cornbread

Prep time: 10 minutes + 15 minutes baking

Servings: 8-10 servings


Ingredients:

1 3/4 cup flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup milk

1 egg

1 stick (8 tbsps. butter, melted and cooled)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in one bowl.
  3. In another bowl mix together the milk and egg.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the milk mixture just until moistened. Stir in the butter.
  5. Spray a 9″ baking pan (I use my cast iron) and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve warm.
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Cowboy Thanksgiving

Photo credit: TheBlaze.com

This year’s Thanksgiving theme–cowboy style!

While we’re keeping our meal fairly low-key, each year we try to do a little bit of a twist on traditional recipes. So this year we’re trying to infuse each dish with some Southwest flavor.

Here’s what’s on the list so far:

Grilled turkey–We’re marinating a boneless turkey breast in chipolte mojo sauce (courtesy of Goya) and then grilling it outside.

Yummy potatoes–Also called “funeral potatoes,” I’m mixing in sliced jalapenos and sharp cheddar cheese

Smokin’ gravy–As long as the we’re turning up the heat on the barbecue and the smoker, the plan is to make the gravy and then put it in the smoker to infuse it with hickory

Bacon green beans–Instead of fried onions, I’m topping my green beans with chopped up bacon (and a dash of cayenne pepper)

Chorizo cornbread stuffing–Spicy sausage called chorizo melds perfectly with cornbread

Your turn–are you making any new recipes for Thanksgiving this year or tweaking traditional favorites?

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Truffle cheese pizza

Braces = pizza around our house. Our family’s favorite Italian deli happens to be right by the orthodontist’s office. So when she’s done having her braces tightened we swing by Alesci’s for their refrigerated pizza dough.

As I was digging through the refrigerator for topping ideas I stumbled on our prized chunk of Trader Joe’s truffle cheese. The cheese has the consistency of sharp provolone speckled with bits of truffle for an earthy, umami flavor. A little goes a long way.

Recipe

Serves: 4-6 people

Prep time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes baking

Ingredients

1 lb. prepared pizza dough

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 cup fresh spinach

1/2 medium red onion, sliced thin

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup truffle cheese (or sharp provolone)

3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough to fill a 9″ round pan. Generously oil the pan and add the dough.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. *I saute the veggies in my cast iron skillet and then bake the pizza in the same skillet. Yeah for easy clean up!
  4. Saute the mushroom and onions together in the heated oil until barely soft.
  5. Lightly brush the pizza dough with olive oil.
  6. Drain any extra liquid from the ricotta and then crumble it over the dough.
  7. Add the mushroom mixture, then fresh spinach. Sprinkle with mozzarella and truffle cheeses.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Allow the pizza to sit for 5 minutes before cutting.

Notes:

  • Turn up the heat by adding a dash of cayenne pepper on your pizza before baking.
  • I served the pizza drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It was perfection!
  • My oldest daughter loved this veggie pizza but my younger kids opted for the standard pepperoni; their loss! (Admittedly, I didn’t push them too hard to try it because I really, really wanted leftovers. And this pizza is even better day two, cold.)

Getting the truffle pizza oven ready.

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9 Secrets to a Really Crummy Kitchen Cabinet Paint Job

My eyes! The glare from the cabinets is blinding.

If you’re looking to take double–no triple–the amount of time to paint your kitchen cabinets than you should, I’ve got the tips for you! These are the tips other professional painters won’t tell you. Promise. So if want kitchen cabinets that are truly unique, with personal touches like paint bubbles, streaks, and overly thick sections, here’s how to do it:

  1. Determine that you’re going to paint all of your kitchen cabinets in one day. No. Matter. What.
  2. Laugh when your husband says silly things like, “Maybe it’s too cold to paint today.” Or, “You know, you might want to paint inside.”
  3. Lightly sand your cabinets right before you paint them. Don’t bother to wipe them down with a towel or anything.
  4. Paint the front of the cabinets first.
  5. Paint in your garage when the outside temperature is 32 degrees or below.
  6. Keep going even when the paint starts to thicken from the cold.
  7. Add more paint to smooth out the thickening paint.
  8. Figure you already painted half the cabinets you outta finish the job even if the paint is the consistency of peanut butter.
  9. Whatever you do never, ever do a sample test of your paint color before you start! That saves way too much time when you figure out your paint is glaringly bright and shockingly shiny.

With these helpful hints (shhhh, secrets!) you too can have crummy kitchen cabinets like mine. And you can join me in spending a day–no three–stripping the paint off and then starting all over again. Bonus: there’s nothing better than spending your extra money on sand paper!

Scrapping, scrapping, and more scrapping in my future

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Backsplashes, ovens, and hoods, oh my!

Making room for a vent

My kitchen is a work in progress.

Here’s what’s happening so far:

  • Ripped out the double oven, microwave, cooktop and gave them to a friend.
  • Ripped out the cabinet that held the oven, microwave, and cooktop.
  • Tore the soffit down above the oven space to create a space for a vent to the outside.
  • Moved all of the plates, pans, and everything else into the dining room. Or what I like to call the kitchen annex.
  • Sawed away the countertops. (Yeah, we’ll need to replace those sometime soon.)
  • Wainscoting is up as the backsplash for the oven and underneath all of the cabinets. Big bonus: I don’t have to tear down all the wallpaper behind it and then repair the walls to paint. It’s covered, literally!
  • Removed all of the doors and hardware on the upper cabinets.
  • Put in a vent through the upper soffit to the outside.
  • Place the hood in it’s spot.
  • Move the oven and get the gas hooked up.

Well, that’s enough for one week!

The oven waiting to be put in

Wainscoting going up

Making room for a vent

Oven in place--and working

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