Monday, August 30, 2010

Shallot Mac & Cheese

Those bread crumbs previously mentioned were put to very good use with this tasty little Macaroni and Cheese recipe. I just love Macaroni & Cheese, in fact one of my favorites still is some Kraft from the box made with tons of butter. When I was a kid my favorite was Velveeta, that and Top Ramen…I practically lived on those two things....on purpose.


• Kosher salt
• Vegetable oil
• 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
• 1/2 quart milk
• 4 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 6 ounces Havarti (4 cups)
• 4 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 6-8 slices of tomato
• 2 cups of bread crumbs
• 1 shallot, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot, add in the shallot and garlic – saute for 2 minutes next add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Havarti, Cheddar, large pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoons of butter, combine it with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Enjoy as always….can’t wait for the 3 day weekend coming up!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Simple Bread Crumbs

Bread Crumbs. These are mine; I use them in anything that calls for fresh crumbs. You can make them in just about 15 minute’s total.

I also think they would work great as croutons in a jam….yum jam….ok getting off track here…


3 slices of white bread, crust’s removed
¼ - ½ tsp of onion & garlic powder depending on size/thickness of bread , a little goes a long way
Olive Oil Spray


Pre-heat your oven to 350, move rack to center.

Lightly spray your bread front and back with Olive Oil spray, sprinkle both side with onion & garlic powder.

Place bread on center rack (no pan) until edges are brown and overall bread texture is crisp.

Remove from the oven and chop until desired consistency.


Friday, August 27, 2010

"Party" Petit Fours - Daring Bakers August Challenge

Daring Bakers to me is like a personal trainer. I see this personal trainer from time to time and she totally whips me into shape....or points out how out of shape I am.

PETIT FOURS, when I think of them I envision hundreds of year ago people at court enjoying them. They are dainty & sweet, a beautiful and neatly trimmed treat...well not mine! ha

So, Let's get started why don't we. Oh wait, a confession. This is store bought ice cream...


19 tablespoons (9.5 oz) (275g) unsalted (sweet) butter
2 cups (200g) sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
1/2 cup (110g) packed light brown sugar
1/3 (75g) cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/160°C and put a rack in the center. Butter and flour a 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan.

2. Place the butter in a 10” (25cm) skillet over medium heat. Brown the butter until the milk solids are a dark chocolate brown and the butter smells nutty. (Don’t take your eyes off the butter in case it burns.) Pour into a shallow bowl and chill in the freezer until just congealed, 15-30 minutes.

3. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. Beat the brown butter, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well, and then the vanilla extract.

5. Stir in the flour mixture at low speed until just combined.Scrape the batter into the greased and floured 9”x9” (23cmx23cm) square pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula and Tap the pan on the counter. Bake until golden brown on top and when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes.

6. Once cooled, flip cake out on a flat surface and split cake in half with a sharp knife - LIKE SO ...

So there is another part to this, let me explain - you can totally cook your own ice cream cake by paying attention to the next pictures.

Line a small baking pan with saran wrap. Place a couple large scoops of ice cream on the saran wrap and spread with you fingers and a so

press press press press pat pat press

Now cover with the other half of the wrap and place in the freezer for at least 3 hours. Once it is frozen hard take out of the freezer and place on one half of the pound cake, like so

Now, pop the top on and trim to make it nice & neat.

Next place the whole cake in the freezer for at least 4 hours, remove and cut your petit fours. Then those little pain's in the butt need to be put back in the freezer...longer...few more hours

But you still have more work, time to make the Glaze...You tired yet?

Chocolate Glaze (For the Ice Cream Petit Fours)

9 ounces (250g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup (250 ml) heavy (approx 35% butterfat) cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (32g) light corn syrup, Golden syrup, or agave nectar
2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract

Stir the heavy cream and light corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add the dark chocolate. Let sit 30 seconds, then stir to completely

Dip each Petit Four, tap gently and place on a parchment lined baking pan - and you guessed it...back in the freezer.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stonehedge Sauvignon Blanc 2008 - 3.5 Stars

Tasty, readily available, and cheap..great combo I do believe!

This is a nice little white from Trader Joe's and at just 5 dollars a great addition to your shopping cart.

I give this wine on all counts, taste & cost - 3.5 Stars out of 5

From the people who practice that crazy wine speak

“ The 2007 Stonehedge California Sauvignon Blanc delivers a delightful melody of pear-melon, with flashes of pineapple fig in a lasting yet crisp and clean finish. It is produced 100% from Sauvignon Blanc grown in coastal areas of California. Carefully selected and picked at optimal ripeness for a perfect balance this Sauvignon Blanc will be excellent in warm weather. Its well balanced acidity makes this a great food wine, while its aromatic bouquet makes it enjoyable as an aperitif. “

88 Points, Wine Spectator May 31, 2009

Remember this one next time you hit up your local Trader Joe’s.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roasted Carrot and Avocado Salad

This is one of the most fantastic salads. It is borrowed from Smitten Kitchen and only slightly modified, it is *kick arse*.

Please give it a try, what a wonderfully healthy, hearty, filling meal. It was our main course - well that and a side of Finding Nemo.

- This message has been approved by my boss, Indigo.

Delightfully borrowed and will be heavily used in our rotation:


4-5 medium carrots, peeled & diced in 2 inch segments
¼ tsp cumin
2 Avocado's, diced
Olive Oil
Juice of ½ a Lemon
¼ cup pine nuts
Salt & Pepper


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a roasting dish place your carrots and coat with Olive Oil, cumin, and salt & pepper (do not skimp!).

Roast at 400 for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender & brown. *About half way through add your pine nuts into the dish to toast them too.*

Remove from the oven and top your carrot & pine nuts with the Avocado, drizzle of Olive Oil, and fresh lemon juice.

Enjoy, this will also be our dinner Friday – My husband NEEDS to try this fantastic little creation.

Have I swayed you?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweet Strawberry Cobbler

I invited a new friend over Saturday and had my perfect excuse to cook & bake. Ahhhh, I love it. In fact - Want to be friends? Membership only requires that you "oooooh' & "ahhhhh" and maybe drool a bit over my food.

This little cobbler is just darn good, it is also quite pleasing on the eyes....and being in individual sizes...well that is just nice & hopefully made my new friend feel all nice and cozy.

Delightfully borrowed this sweet treat from :


1/2 cup sugar
3 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp water
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 cups, chopped strawberries (very large pieces)
1 tsp unsalted butter

3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
2 1/2 tbsp plain shortening
1/4 cup cold milk
Raw Turbinado Sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large cookie sheet with foil.

In a large nonreactive saucepan stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the water and lemon juice. Stir in the strawberries.

Cook over medium heat, stirring often until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Don't let your strawberries reduce down to dnothing. Pour filling into ramekins.

Prepare the biscuit topping. Stir or sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Rub in the shortening with your fingers. Using a fork, gently stir in the milk until dough forms.

Press the dough flat on parchment and use a cookie cutter or glass to cut rounds, you can also use cute cutters for the topping - I used a star. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes on an aluminum foil lined pan, keep an eye on your cobbler topping as it browns quickly (top with aluminium foil if it does)...oh man is it G-O-O-D

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cheese Grits & Shrimp

Hi ya’ll! *waves hand* I just love grits, not sure how you feel about them. Grits seem to be one of those you either LOVE them or HATE them foods. My favorite way to eat them is with a huge hunk of butter, cubes of cheddar, and some salt & pepper.

What is your favorite way to eat grits?


Are you a hater??? Do not hate the player hate the grits! Lol


2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of half/half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking grits
1 (7 ounce) package chive & onion cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, mine were frozen
1 large tomato, diced
3 green onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste


In a saucepan, bring the chicken broth and half & half to a boil. Stir in the quick grits and reduce the heat. Cook slowly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chive cream cheese until melted. Let sit for 2 to 4 minutes; keep warm.

In a skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat, add in the green onion & garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes, add in shrimp and cook until pink. Stir in diced tomato and cook until tomato is heated through. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper for taste.

** I also drained any juice off – your choice!Spread the cheese grits on a warm platter. Top with shrimp mixture.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grilled Apple Pie

Apple pie off the grill, so easy I tell you. I was doing some mighty cooking when I spotted a lone apple on top of my refrigerator. It was just sitting there making googly eyes, just hoping it would get my attention – you see folks this little apple just wants to live out its little apple life, and I obliged.

There are no measurements here, this is what you need – eyeball it


Diced Apple, skin on or off – we did on and it was great and gives you a more apparent apple flavor.
Brown Sugar
Crushed Grahams
Aluminum Foil


In a small bowl toss together Apple, brown sugar, grahams, and cinnamon. Place a large piece of foil on a flat surface and place mixture in the center, twist foil up like a Hershey’s kiss.

You can place your apple pie pack directly over the flame on your grill until steaming, mine took about 10 minutes, remove from flame and open to find a perfectly fine treat of grilled apple pie.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Charred Tuna Steaks

OK please excuse your regularly scheduled sugar post for some down right good and savory fair. I like to share all the different things we have here at the Spectrum, but don’t worry, I also grilled up some apple packs aka apple pie off the grill which I will share in a day or two.

Any who, onto these flavorful tuna steaks, feel free to use this marinade on anything though – divine.


¼ cup Soy Sauce
2 tbs Worcestershire
2 tbs seedy mustard
2 tbs white sugar
1 tbs Olive Oil
(2) Tuna Steaks, Regular Steak, Chicken - whatever you have on hand.


Mix all ingredients together, whisk well. Saturate your tuna steaks and cover, marinate for at least 2 hours. You might even pop in the movie Cars and cuddle your toddler, that is what I did…or you could shake what yo momma gave yah…if you feel the urge.

Next grill to your hearts desire, whether you like blood red or severely dead – choice is yours! Remove from the heat & eat, we loved this marinade.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brown Butter Cookies

I have to say that normally cookies are not something that JUMPS in front of me and makes me stop my pre-planned baking…however this little cookie did that. It jumped in front of the line and said “deal with it Jennifurla – I’m first”.

What a rude little cookie, huh!

Delightfully borrowed from Sue - check out her super fab blog :


1 cup salted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbs sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
Sea Salt, Coconut and some I left plain.


In a small saucepan, melt butter on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat once combined well. Let the sugar mixture cool for just a few minutes while preparing the flour mixture.

In a mixing bowl add flour and baking soda. Stir in sugar mixture until combined. I let the mixture rest for about 20 minutes, it was still warm at this point and perfectly mailable.

At this point you will want to pre-heat your oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and start rolling your dough into 1 inch balls. Here is where you can be creative, I dipped some balls in coconut and lightly sprinkled others with sea sure to keep a few plain - I preferred them this way actually.

Bake for 15 minutes, cool and well...enjoy! Also be sure to schedule in a few extra workouts! HA

Open up ladies and gents....

Please please do not make me eat them all....