Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Toffee Butterscotch Cookies

I'm on vacation but Mr. T is working this week.  I love being able to sit around and watch trashy tv (Real Housewives of Everything!!!) but I just can't do it all day.  I get anxious and there are only so many chores that I'm going to do on vacation.

This leads to me making a mess in the kitchen and experimenting.  I found a recipe in my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook for a White Chocolate Butterscotch Cookie and decided to work with it since chemistry isn't really my thing.

Toffee Butterscotch Cookies:
(adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe)

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup toffee bits (chocolate covered or plain)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the butter, shortening, and brown sugar until it's a light color, around 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix, scraping down the sides as needed.

Once the wet ingredients are mixed slowly add the flour mixture.  Once the flour is incorporated add the butterscotch chips and toffee bits and fold in with a spoon or spatula.

Spoon the batter on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eggplant Fries

I did not eat eggplant as a child.  My grandma was the only person in the family that liked it so no one else ever bought any.  Now that summer is here my CSA Farmer has a bunch of different types of eggplant and I decided that it was time to try something new.

This recipe comes right from the farm.  My farmer told me that this is her favorite way to eat eggplant.  She'll even make this instead of french fries.  I bet that plenty of kids out there would eat these (if they didn't know what they were made of).

Eggplant Fries:
(my CSA Farmer, Kathy)

1-2 eggplant, depending on how many people you're feeding
2 egg whites (or 1 whole egg, beaten)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
enough vegetable oil to fry

Heat your oil over medium high heat in a cast iron pot or use a counter top fryer.

Set up a couple of bowls and put the egg into one bowl and the bread crumbs into another.  Add the chili powder to the egg and mix together.

Cut each eggplant into french fry shapes.  Dip each eggplant fry into the egg and then into the breadcrumbs.  Fry up the eggplant until nice and golden brown.  Let drip dry on paper towels or a metal rack and sprinkle with salt.

They taste great with ranch dressing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shortbread Candy Bars

Yay for candy! I have a ton of candy pieces in my pantry and I need to start using them.  This is one of the easiest ways to use up candy pieces and make something delicious.

This is a basic shortbread recipe.  I used these toppings but you could very easily switch them out.  I've made shortbread with strawberry jam and white chocolate chips before.  It's delicious.  Try new things, it's good for you.  ;-)

Shortbread Candy Bars:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, chopped
1/2 cup butterscotch chips, chopped
1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 square baking pan with aluminum foil.

In a bowl whisk the flour with the salt.  In a bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the flour mixture and mix until everything has just come together.

Spread the mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until the shortbread is golden brown.  Remove from oven and scatter the chocolate and butterscotch chips over the hot shortbread. Return the shortbread to the oven for a couple of minutes (until the chocolate softens). Take a knife or small spatula and spread the chocolate chips out.  Sprinkle the toffee bits over the chocolate and place the pan on a rack to cool.

Once the chocolate has set remove from the pan and cut into 16 squares.

Monday, June 11, 2012

BBQ Red Bean Burgers

Happy Meatless Monday Y'all!

I don't have the best track record with veggie type burgers.  I can never get them to form into a patty and they always fall apart.  I think I have finally beaten the veggie burger!!

These burgers were really easy to make and are full of vegetables.  I also think that this would be a great recipe for kids to help out with.  Kids love mashing things.  Give them a fork or a potato masher and let them go to town on the kidney beans.

These burgers are delicious with out cheese as well.  If you're looking for a vegan option use some egg substitute and skip the cheese.  I promise that you won't feel like you're missing out.

BBQ Red Bean Burgers:
(The Kitchen Witch Blog)

1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 15 oz can reduced sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, plus extra for bun
4 slices cheddar cheese


Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and the onion, garlic, tomato, jalapeno, and chili powder. Saute until the onions are soft.

Place the kidney beans in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add the onion mixture, bread crumbs, egg, and barbecue sauce to the bowl and mix well.

Form the bean mixture into patties.  Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and brown the patties on both sides. 

Just before the patties are finished cooking place a slice of cheddar cheese on top, add a tablespoon of water to the pan, cover and let the cheese steam and melt over the burger.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flavored Sugar

Wanna look cool and impress people with only a little bit of effort?!  Me too!  Making flavored sugar is one way to do that.  It's really easy and they add a lot to the different dishes you're making. 

Making a lemon pie?  Use lemon sugar!  Making an orange tart?  Use some orange sugar!  I love using the vanilla bean sugar in my coffee.  (I think I need to go make a cup of coffee) 

Citrus Sugar:

The peel of 1 orange and/or lemon (little to no white on it)
Enough plain white sugar to fill whatever container you're using, I used a mason jar

Lay the citrus peel out to dry for a couple of hours.  Moisture is not going to be the best friend of this sugar.  Letting it dry will keep the sugar from caking up.

After the peel has dried some layer the peel and sugar in a jar. 

I like to let the peel sit out in the air, on top of a paper towel for at least half an hour.  This helps keep the sugar was caking up. 

Seal up the jar and let it sit for a couple of weeks.  I like to shake mine every couple of days so that the flavor will get all over everything.

Vanilla Bean Sugar:

1 vanilla bean per container.  Again, I used mason jars.
Enough sugar for your container

Split the vanilla bean down the middle.  All of the goodness is inside that little pod.

Fill your container up half way with sugar, stick the vanilla bean in the jar and fill the rest of the container up.  Let sit for a couple of weeks and enjoy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Stuffed Mushroom Marinara

I made stuffed mushrooms a couple of weeks ago for Meatless Monday.  While we were eating them Mr. T said that he'd love to try them with some red sauce.  We talked it out and this is what we came up with.

These were delicious!  The stuffing would also make a great stuffing for pasta (I'm thinking stuffed shells might be in my future).  Here's my advice on how much marinara sauce to actually use.  You don't want the spinach mixture to be floating around in sauce but everything still needs to be moist.  Start out with half a cup or so of sauce, mix it all together and add more if you need to.

If you're looking for a vegan option leave the cheese off.  It's still good.

Stuffed Mushroom Marinara:

4 large portobello mushrooms, gills removed
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus some to drizzle
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 box frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed as dry as possible
1 cup marinara sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and pepper
4 slices provolone cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the onion.  Once the onion starts to brown add the garlic and carrots.  Let everything cook for about a minute and add the spinach.  Let the spinach mixture cook for an additional minute or so (I let them cook while I took the gills out of the mushrooms) and add the marinara sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano.  Stir to combine.

Brush each mushroom cap with a little olive oil and begin to stuff them.

Once each mushroom is as full as you'd like it to be place them on a baking sheet and place one slice of provolone cheese on top of each mushroom cap.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is nice and bubbly.