Monday, April 24, 2017

Boulevardier Cocktail

It's just fun to say!
Try it, let it roll off your tongue.
Bo UL le var de A
Welcome to my phonetics, I just made that up.
Add a little French accent twist when you say it, and I think you got this down.

If you like Manhattens, or Old Fashions, then I think you will like this.
A Lot.
Apparently this is the same as a Negroni (but no gin), which is exactly why I like it better. Though this one is pretty good, Amaro Negroni
Wikipedia says it's similar to an "Old Pal".

Makes 1

1 big jigger rye whiskey (or bourbon)
1 sm jigger Campari
1 sm jigger Sweet Vermouth (red)
Orange twist
A marschino cherry (not traditional, but recommended)

Fill up a shaker with ice, pour all the booze over the ice.
Shake, shake, shake.
Twist your orange peel over the glass and pour the boulevardier over the top.

NOTE- You can also serve this over the rocks (ice cubes) instead of straight up in a martini glass.


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The Old Pal Martini

I read a hilarious article in Elle Decor which matched cocktails with your Zodiac sign.
Hahaha, I thought it was ridiculous, until I read what they matched me with.
Here's the article, if you are interested.
It said I was Loyal, Straightforward and Ambitious, just like this cocktail!

Makes 1 large cocktail

2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. dry French vermouth (white)
Lemon twist, for garnish

Stir whiskey, Campari, and vermouth in an ice-filled shaker. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with lemon twist.

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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Breakfast Cookies- Coconut, Almonds, Chocolate and Zucchini

I've been wanting to try breakfast cookies for a while, because you know...
breakfast cookies!
I would be happy to eat healthy cookies to start my day.

I found so many recipes online, with all sorts of ingredients, but I love coconut and I had some zucchini that I wanted to use.  Perfect!  I found this recipe on this cute blog, and only added one thing, nuts!  I felt this needed a bit more crunch, so I added slivered almonds, but walnuts or pecans would be great too. 

Makes 24 large cookies

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (mini chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil and sugars, mix until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract. Next, add the shredded zucchini. Mix until combined.
Slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Stir in oats, nuts, coconut, and chocolate chips.

Drop cookie dough by heaping tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden around the edges and set. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

I got 24 cookies, and yes, I DID eat a little dough!

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Saturday, April 1, 2017

Baked Crab Rangoon

I think we can all admit, crab and cream cheese are awesomely delicious, especially when baked to a crispy perfection.  I'm fully aware Crab Rangoon is one of those American "Asian" appetizers...  and didn't originate in Burma at all. I've been thinking of making this recipe for some time, but really needed a reason to do it. 

Last month, we had a family birthday with a Korean theme menu- my sister made some fantastic chicken bulgogi and my mom brought her famous kimchi.  I was supposed to bring an appetizer. Hmmmm, that's kind of tricky,  you know?  I can't name a Korean appetizer off the top of my head, but maybe you can?  So, I settled on Crab Rangoon.  I

n the below picture, you can see I used canned crab.  I love fresh crab more, of course, but honestly, this is cheaper, easier and pretty darn good!  We bought this at the Business Costco for $9.99 for a 1 lb can (it's sold refrigerated, but it lasts a long time), but unfortunately, we have not seen it at a regular Costco.  I highly recommend this canned crab, just think how easy Baked Crab dip would be if you had one of these in your fridge?

I baked my Crab Rangoon because I think deep frying things is messy and tedious, plus it's certainly more healthy to bake these. 

Makes a bunch, serves a crowd

1 pkg og won ton wrappers
1 lb crab (I used canned)
8 oz pkg of cream cheese, softened
1/2 can of water chestnuts, chopped or substitute 1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 Tbsp soy sauce
Salt & Pepper, as needed
Toasted sesame seeds (optional, garnish)

Dipping sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp garlic hot sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
Make the dipping sauce by mixing all the ingredients above together.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all the filling ingredients together, being careful to not over mix the crab and break it into a "mush", it's nice to have some crab lumps in there. Taste the filling, adjust seasoning as needed.

You will need small tart tins, as muffin tins will be too big.  Spray, or oil, the tins and set near your work area.

Take two wonton wrappers and cross each layer like the photo below.

Use a tablespoon, or small cookie scoop, and add the filling in the middle of the wonton.
The amount shown below is a bit much... might want to do a bit less. Carefully pinch it together using  your thumb and 3 fingers and push into the tart pan.  It should "flower" up on the sides and look nice!

Here they are all ready to go in the oven.  In this case, I brought them to my sister's house like this to bake there.

Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, or until hot and crispy.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Here's some pictures of the family dinner ready to be served up.  This was a buffet as we had about 20 people for dinner that night. Below, a couple of Asian-like salads with a slaw and a marinated cucumber salad.  Mom's kimchi was a hit.

Marinated chicken thigh bulgogi was SO good.  All my sisters are great cooks. 
You may notice that my sister also has the same Villeroy & Boch china that I have to, in case you are wondering!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Scotcheroo Bars

Chewier and more delicious than regular rice crispy treats, made with corn syrup and peanut butter.

I found the cutest website of a gal, Jenny, who plans parties and makes wonderful desserts. I am just smitten with all the fun things she does when she entertains.  I found this recipe for cookies on her site, and it was just too much fun!  I decided to try these bar cookies out and make them for a gathering at work.  I only  changed one thing on her recipe as I felt the bars just needed a little bit of salty with the sweet and chocolate.

A couple ways of icing them, I took the easy way and just spread on the cereal mixture, though they certainly are so cute the way she did them.

Makes about 24 bars

1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp salt
6 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Step 1. Cook corn syrup and sugar together in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in peanut butter; mix well. Add cereal; stir until evenly coated. Pour into greased 13 x 9-inch pan and pat into place.

Step 2  can be done one of two ways:
Option 1.  Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over cereal. Cool at least 45 minutes, or until firm. Cut into bars.

Option 2.  Let rice cereal mixture set for about 15 minutes.  Using a cookie cutter, cut out a variety of shapes.  Melt chocolate and butterscotch chips together in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly (or use your favorite colored candy melts).  Dip shaped Scotcheroo bars into melted chocolate mixture.  Place on wax paper to dry.
Decorate as desired, or eat as is!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

One Bowl Apple Torte

This is a simple, delicious, homey dessert that I completely had forgotten from our childhood! My sister made it when we were over for dinner one night, pulling a little scrap out of her recipe box, and put the recipe on the counter.  I picked it up to have a look and noted that it was written in another sister's handwriting. It was completely yummy and so easy to make.  I need to do this one again soon.

Love to my Mom and sisters as I think of this dessert tonight.

NOTE- In the pan shown, we doubled the recipe as its about a 11" square dish.

Mom's Apple Torte

Makes on 8x8 dish, serves 4-6

1 egg, well beaten

1 cup chopped apple* (peeled)
3/4 cup sugar
2 heaping Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2-1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Mix altogether, pour into 8x8" greased pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes.

*Note, adding more than 1 cup of apples will makes it thicker and more pie-like.

Serve warm with whipped cream, or ice cream.  Also is good cold.

Mixing it up, ready to go in few minutes.

Here it is ready to go into the oven

Out of the oven, cooling a bit before we dig in!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mahi Mahi with Sundried tomatoes and Artichoke Hearts

I love Mahi Mahi, a tender but firm fish that lends itself to many great flavors.  I buy the Costco frozen individually wrapped fillets and have on hand in for a quick and healthy weekday dinner.  This recipe would also be great for entertaining the weekend too, as it's got a special feel about the dish.

I found the  original idea on All Recipes when I Googled Mahi Mahi and artichoke hearts.  While the idea was great, there were some very strange proportions that needed some help.  You'll be happy to know I cut down on the fat by reducing the butter, also, the garlic was way over the top with 1/4 cup!  I also added capers and eliminated the extra salt as the capers and artichokes are salty enough to flavor the whole dish.

I intend to make this one again and again, it was delicious.We served it with zucchini "noodles" but real noodles, or even rice would be nice with the sauce.

Serves 2

2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallot, or onion
2-3 cloves finely chopped garlic 
3 Tbsp lemon juice 
1/3 cup dry white wine
3 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup artichoke hearts, drained and chopped  
1 Tbsp capers (optional)
2 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces  
Salt & pepper to taste (at the end)

 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed 
 2 (6- 8 ounce) fillets mahi mahi fillets
1 Tbsp olive oil  

Dredge mahi mahi fillets in flour,  ensure they are fully covered but tap to remove excess flour
Heat olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Pan-fry mahi mahi in the oil until the fish flakes easily with a fork in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer mahi mahi to a platter and tent with foil to keep warm.
While the fish cooks, make the sauce.

Melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir shallot (or onion) and garlic in butter until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Pour lemon juice and white wine into the skillet. Simmer the liquid a for about 3-4 minutes.

Stir tomatoes, capers & artichoke hearts into the sauce; cook until warmed, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove skillet from heat, add cold butter pieces and parsley, and swirl skillet off heat until the butter melts and emulsifies into the sauce. 

Add the parsley, and top the fried fish with sauce and serve at once.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

2016 Top 10 Blog Posts

2016 was a very good year for me personally as well as my blog.  I had more traffic to the blog than I've ever had. This is now my 5th anniversary of food blogging, which seems like such a long time, but then again, it has gone so fast too.  I still enjoy cooking and writing about it... with as much travel thrown in as possible too!  I didn't do as many posts as I have historically, but working full time and taking some night classes can wear a girl out.  

It's a crazy variety of recipes that made my Top 10 in 2016, but here they are!


Strawberry Arugula Avocado Tostados
I received a call out of the blue from the California Giant Strawberry farmers, asking me to create a recipe for their fresh berries.  I received a huge book of fresh strawberries shipped to my door, which is quite inspiring for sure!  I had a blast and earned a little cash.  I really thought of something outside of the norm for doing with these berries, this was a fun, fresh and different appetizer to have. 

Ham and Cheese Croissant Bake
It all started with a huge bunch of leftover croissants.  Everyone knows they get a little stale after the first day, and honestly, how jazzed can you get about leftover croissants over and over?  Well, I must say they taste quite terrific made into ham and cheese sandwiches, soaked with eggs and baked as a casserole.  A keeper for sure.

Butterscotch Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
Just something I made for work one day, they taste pretty terrific, I must say!


Paige’s French Onion Soup
Made with love for my darling daughter.  It's the soup she likes best!

Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Onions
One of those meals where you have a pork tenderloin to cook but no inspiration... hmmm, a couple of apples hanging in the fruit bowl as we didn't like the texture.  Roasted and sauteed up with onions, those apples became the best side dish/seasoning for roasted pork tenderloin.

Pear Blue Cheese Salad with Maple Dressing
Another inspiration from a long weekend in the Columbia River Gorge and a great lunch salad that I had on a beautiful sunny almost Fall day. Pears, Blue Cheese and Pecans are augmented deliciously with a bit of maple in the dressing.

Inspiration from the Summer Olympics in Brazil, a very yummy cocktai!

I had a great business trip to Germany, including Munich's Oktoberfest and remembered a great burger I had in our own Leavenworth Bavarian village. Very soon we were eating Bratwurst burgers of our own!

We had a wonderful time in Venice with our good friends, renting a darling 2 bedroom hotel room complete with a mini kitchen and living room with balcony's overlooking the canal.  Seemed like the perfect dish to make in Venice. It was.

Chicken, Spinach & Artichokes Baked in Foil
Sometimes the best "keeper" recipes are born from laziness... this is one of those.  It tasted delicious and more complex than it took to throw it together.  I highly recommend this!

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