Friday, January 29, 2010

Indonesian Ginger Chicken and Shrimp Bisque

It’s Barefoot Blogger time. I missed the posting date for the first recipe of the month so I’ll give my review for both now. For the newcomers Barefoot Bloggers are a community of food bloggers that twice monthly make, sample and post a review of Ina Garten recipes. Both of the recipes this month PUSHED me right past my comfort zone. I was a good foodie, sucked it up and followed the recipes.

The first recipe for the month was chosen by Todd of A Cooking Dad and he chose Indonesian Ginger Chicken which can be found in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook on page 125 or on the food network site. This was a nice recipe and my family really enjoyed the chicken. I don’t eat chicken off of the bone so my boneless chicken breast was not so wonderful, very dry! I will make this chicken again for my kids and husband. This recipe makes nice wings too.



  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (8 to 12 cloves)
  • 1/2 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 (3 1/2 pound) chickens, quartered, with backs removed


Cook the honey, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger root in a small saucepan over low heat until the honey is melted. Arrange the chicken in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan, skin side down, and pour on the sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pan, turn the chicken skin side up, and raise the temperature to 375 degrees F. Continue baking for 30 minutes or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh and the sauce is a rich, dark brown.

Second Recipe of the month

Jennifer of Our Blessed Home chose the second recipe Shrimp Bisque which can be found in Barefoot Contessa at Home on pages 52-54 or again on the food network site.

To say I was not excited about this recipe would be an understatement. I grew up in South Florida and the idea of any seafood prepared with seafood purchased in the middle of Texas just grosses me out. But again, I was a big girl and made the bisque just as Ina would. I took a few pictures then sat down with my family to eat and IT WAS GOOD. Would I make it again??? Maybe when we are in Florida for the summer. My husband and seven year old had seconds. My five year old finished his original bowl and my three year old informed me that she does not like SHARK soup. Who knew?

Shrimp Bisque

Seafood Stock!



  • 1 pound large shri mp, peeled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 4 cups seafood stock
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 leeks)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic (3 cloves)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place the shrimp shells and seafood stock in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the stock. Add enough water to make 3 3/4 cups.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, or until the leeks are tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the cayenne pepper and shrimp and cook over medium to low heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Cognac and cook for 1 minute, then the sherry and cook for 3 minutes longer. Transfer the shrimp and leeks to a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until coarsely pureed.

In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook over medium-low heat for 1 minute, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the half-and-half and cook, stirring with a whisk, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pureed shrimp, the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper and heat gently until hot but not boiling. Season, to taste, and serve hot.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Veggie Burger!

This is a quick and straightforward recipe that can easily be modified to take on very different tastes. I will admit that I was more that a little skeptical that this would be any good. How can a burger taste good with no meat, I mean REALLY! My Friend Kerri loves them and I trust her taste buds so I gave it a try. My warning is this; when I was handling the burger mix, shaping them into patties, it just didn’t feel right. I did initially make them way too thick, just as I would a beef patty. Thank God Kerri was home with us and said “Uh, Cass those are just too thick.”. Anyway, if you get over the fact that you want these burgers to act, feel and taste like meat then they are wonderful! We topped ours with a salad (olive Oil dressing) and chimichurri salsa. My kids actually loved them with just mustard and ketchup. They all wanted them for lunch the next day and my first grader even took one in his lunch box to school. Give it a try! Change up your spices and have fun with them!

Veggie Burgers

Recipe from Kerri who got it from Teri who got it from a vegetarian cookbook!


  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans (pecans)
  • 4 T oil
  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup bread crumbs ( I used Italian bread crumbs)
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t sage (I didn’t add this)
  • 2 T soy sauce


  • Grind or chop in blender: potato, onion, & nuts.
  • Sauté ground mixture in oil until soft. (Next time I will skip this step. My mix was very soft after going through my processor.)
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Form into burger patties and fry until brown on both sides or bake on oiled sheet at 350°F until brown.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lentil Potpie

This is an older recipe of mine that I use so often that I thought I would share another version of it. I usually make these with leftovers, like chili, but this time I made a quick lentil soup instead. You can use pie crust or puff pastry whichever you have on hand; they are both yummy and quick.

I used chimichurri salsa to season my soup, but you can use fresh parsley if you have it.

Lentil Soup


  • 1 lb lentils
  • 4 large carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 can diced toms
  • 4 sliced of bacon, diced
  • Fresh parley or 1tbls chimichurri salsa
  • Fresh Sage leaves
  • Salt/pepper
  • ½ cup White wine
  • 32 ozs of stock, chicken or veggie
  • Puff pastry sheets


  • Sauté in large pot the bacon, onion, carrots and celery until the the onions are translucent.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and simmer until the lentils are tender and ½ or more of the liquid has reduced.
  • Cool, spoon into individual bowls and top with puff pastry dough.
  • Cut slits in the top to ventilate.
  • Bake at 375 until the dough is golden brown and the soup bubbling.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sausage Bolognese with Penne

After our holiday eating and recovering from some kind of stomach flu we have been working on eating healthier. I think for the most part we have a good diet but there is always room for improvement. I found this recipe in Family Circle and it seemed like the perfect meal to work into our weekly menu. Lots of veggies and still very taste too. The only MAJOR change I made was to use mini Penne instead of Linguine. I didn’t really use exact measurements but very close. Anyway, this is a great dish, easy to make, fast with a processor and low cal too. I included the nutritional facts just so you could see how low cal it truly is.

Adapted from Family Circle, Jan 2010


  • 3 medium-size carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 package (20 ounces) sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 box (13.25 ounces) low-carb linguine (such as Dreamfields)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


1. Pulse carrots, celery and onion in a food processor until finely chopped.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add vegetable mixture and cook, stirring, 6 minutes. Rinse food processor bowl; set aside. Crumble sausage into skillet and cook for 3 minutes.

3. Add wine to skillet; bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Drain tomatoes and save the liquid. Add tomatoes to food processor bowl; pulse until finely chopped. Add tomatoes and their liquid to skillet; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; cook for 30 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in milk and cook another 8 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions in salted boiling water, about 12 minutes. Serve pasta with sauce, and Parmesan, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 8 servings

  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories 289
  • Total Fat (g) 6
  • Saturated Fat (g) 1
  • Cholesterol (mg) 38
  • Sodium (mg) 536
  • Carbohydrate (g) 39
  • Fiber (g) 3
  • Protein (g) 17

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

English Toffee Take 2

Even though our first attempt to make toffee ended so terrible, we were not ready to throw in the towel. We received some insider tips from Mrs. Fowler and other tips from our loyal readers. What we walked away with is that our heat was too low and it should take less than 30 minutes to make. Oh, I almost forgot mention that we were able to sample Mrs. Fowler's toffee. You know how it is, you need a sample so you’ll have a benchmark. This toffee is SOOO O good. I actually had to hide it from myself so that I could save it for Anthony to enjoy! Anyway, armed with this information, we tried again. This time our results were MUCH better. We still need some practice. I think that I got scared and took it off the heat a touch too soon. It’s very yummy and has the right texture but Mrs. Fowler's was still a little more brittle than ours. We’ll try again soon but this batch will go into our bellies and not our trash can, so we’ll count it a success

Mrs. Fowler’s English Toffee.


  • 1lb Real Butter
  • 1 T. Water
  • ½ t. Vanilla
  • 2 C Granulated Sugar
  • ½ lb Slivered Almonds (we used Pecans)
  • Dash of Cinnamon


  • Melt butter in heavy kettle.
  • Add sugar, stirring briskly with a large spoon.
  • Add water, cinnamon and almonds, stirring constantly.
  • Add Vanilla.
  • Mixture will thicken and fall way from the sides of the kettle when nearly done.
  • Cook until it turns a toffee tan.
  • Pour onto well-buttered tray and spread to a thin layer.
  • When cooled, break into pieces

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Butter Homemade!

My favorite friend came over yesterday, bringing with her a fun recipe for making homemade butter with the kids. The recipe is incredible easy and very, very fun. I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or us. We used the buttermilk to make Buttermilk bread.
I hope you give it a try. It is so much fun. If you don’t want to use the jar method as we did with the kids, you can use your mixer instead. We used the mixer on the other half of our quart and it worked the same, although not as much fun.

Recipe from Emeril Lagasse

  • 1 pint heavy cream, very cold
  • Pinch salt, optional


Find a large jar with a tight-fitting lid that will hold the cream about half full. Refrigerate the jar for at least 1 hour. Pour the cream into the cold jar. Tightly secure the lid and shake as hard as possible until chunks of butter start to form, 15 to 30 minutes. Pour into a strainer set over a bowl. The chunks in the strainer are butter, and the liquid in the bowl is buttermilk.

Pour the buttermilk into a clean container, cover, refrigerate, and reserve for another use. Turn the butter into a clean bowl and cover with very cold water. Pour into a strainer, discarding the liquid. Continue rinsing the butter with very cold water until the water runs clear. (The cloudy water is buttermilk which will make the butter turn sour.) When the butter is clean, work with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to press out any remaining liquid. Discard this liquid. If desired, add salt to the butter. (Salted butter will keep longer.)

Transfer the butter to a clean container for keeping, pressing with a wooden spoon or spatula to dispel any air bubbles. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Black-Eyed Pea Dip

I’d love to call this hummus but really it's not. Whatever it is, it is truly very yummy and not so bad for you either. It would be great on a sandwich too.


  • Fresh Black-eyed Peas
  • Garlic
  • Green Onion
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dash of Cumin
  • Sprinkle of Paprika
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper flakes
  • 6 ozs of plain homemade Yogurt (can substitute with store bought if you must)


  • Boil Peas until they are tender.
  • Combine all ingredients, except the yogurt, in a food process and blend until creamy.
  • Add more oil if you think it is still too thick.
  • When it's the consistency you like, add the yogurt and blend until fully combined.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cauliflower Soup

If you are having a day like this…

Then you need a warm and healthy soup like this!

Recipe adapted from Experience Life Magazine, Jan/Feb issue.

You can read their version here.


  • 1/4 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 or 4 strip of bacon
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 4 cups cauliflower florets and stems
  • 2 cups diced Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Several leaves of fresh Sage
  • ¼ bundle of fresh Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock

Heat a large stockpot over high heat and add olive oil. Stir in the bacon, onions, celery, garlic and cauliflower. Sauté until the onions are translucent, about three to five minutes.

Stir in the potatoes, spices and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until potatoes and cauliflower are tender.

For a thicker soup you could blend or mash it but I loved all the pieces of potatoes and cauliflower.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

HELP! English Toffee

Hey all and Happy New Year!

I trust that everyone had as blessed a Christmas as we did. I thought I would share a few of our gifts with you today.

My Brother and Sister in Law gave us a Flip Video Recorder, which we are having loads of fun with. Also our friend, and favorite first grade teacher, gave us a copy of the elementary school’s cookbook, which by the way has her famous English Toffee recipe in it. I thought it would be fun to combine both gifts and to show off our young chef in his first cooking video.

Today we finally made the toffee that Anthony has been begging to make since Christmas morning.

Joy, All I can say is my hat is off to you. After more than an hour of stirring we gave up well… I gave up. Anthony wanted to keep going but my back and my arm gave a strong protest. So in the end we are less a pound of butter and still have not had a taste of the famous toffee.

Mrs. Fowler and all my blogger friends, PLEASE send your toffee hints and tips our way. Did I stir too long, not long enough?? Anthony’s ready to try again and I’ll pump some extra iron at the gym this week to get myself in shape for round two!

Mrs. Fowler’s English Toffee


  • 1lb Real Butter
  • 1 T. Water
  • ½ t. Vanilla
  • 2 C Granulated Sugar
  • ½ lb Slivered Almonds
  • Dash of Cinnamon


  • Melt butter in heavy kettle.
  • Add sugar, stirring briskly with a large spoon.
  • Add water, cinnamon and almonds, stirring constantly.
  • Add Vanilla.
  • Mixture will thicken and fall way from the sides of the kettle when nearly done.
  • Cook until it turns a toffee tan.
  • Pour onto well-buttered tray and spread to a thin layer.
  • When cooled, break into pieces.