Fish is one of my favorite foods to cook. Any kind of fish. Salmon, Snapper, Bass, Trout, Catfish. We love it all. One type of fish I have never cooked, and only eaten once about 40 years ago, is Swordfish. It is an oily fish and the meat is usually sold as large steaks. The meat is pretty firm, and can be cooked in ways more fragile types of fish cannot. I wish I could have found some for this Donna Hay dish but it was not to be (remember I live in Podunk) so I ended up using some nice Catfish Fillets. Catfish is also a little oily, is quite firm and very mild so it was a good sub for the swordfish since it also tends to take on the flavors of whatever it is seasoned with.

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Cooked in a skillet with coconut milk, red curry paste, and lemon grass, it is quite flavorful. The basil and lime juice added to the sauce provided another layer of flavor. I served it with a little Basmati rice and lots of sauce {I always make more than called for.} I quite liked this and am glad I have leftovers. I just wish I could have scored some swordfish. THAT would have been wonderful!!

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Check on our Website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay – and see who managed to find some swordfish and who subbed something else.

And if you would like to join us we would love to have you. The recipes, through November, are listed on the right. Just cook, blog, share. And if you want to join the line up we would be glad to provide a time slot for you.

Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs means we can make any recipe we want from any past, or present, chef we choose. I like that. It means that if there was a recipe in the past that didn’t fit a theme and you REALLY wanted to make it, or you just found a new one you really like, you can make it now. Excellent!!

So for this week’s potluck I went with Donna Hay and the Chocolate Pear Cake from my new book, FLAVOURS.

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It is exactly what it says it is – a chocolate cake topped with pear halves that have been cooked in butter and brown sugar.

    80g (2 3/4 oz) butter
    2/3 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons water
    4 small small pears, peeled, halved and cored
    CAKE:
    185g (6 oz) butter
    1 1/2 cups brown sugar
    3 eggs
    2 cups self-raising (self-rising) flour
    1J3 cup cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). In a skillet mix the butter brown sugar and water and heat until the butter has melted. Add the pears to the pan, cut-side down, and cook for about 2 minutes. {I cooked mine longer because they were larger and just off the tree.}
Place the pears, cut-side down, in a 23cm (9 inch) round cake tin that has been side- and base-lined with non-stick baking paper. Pour the syrup from the skillet over the pears.

CAKE:
Mix the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
Sift the flour and cocoa over the mixture and stir through.
Carefully spread the cake mixture over the pears in the cake pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and serve the cake in wedges with cream.
Serves 8-10. {Recipe is on page 116 of Flavours}

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I would advise checking the cake before the lower end of the required cooking time. Mine was a little dry. Tasty, but dry. The Hubs liked the pears. Me, not so much.

Want more potluck? Then visit us at IHCC for a buffet of goodness.

You can tell fall is in people’s thoughts now. Summer is winding down, the temps are, in some places {NOT the Deep South much}, cooling just a smidgen, pumpkin recipes are popping up everywhere. And sweet potatoes, too. This recipe of Ellie’s is just right for autumn thoughts.

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Diced sweet potatoes steamed and then mashed with apple cider {Juice because I couldn’t find cider}, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and a little butter.

I didn’t mash mine as much as Ellie suggested. I left mine with some nice little chunks.

It was good. I was thinking how good it would have been with some spiced pecans or praline pecans. Next time. Not QUITE as healthy. I bet the other “Eaters” liked Peggy’s choice as well. You can find out by checking in at the Eating with Ellie blog.

If you would like to join us the recipes from Weeknight Wonders are listed with the page numbers. Cook. Blog. Share.

Summer is usually the season for lots and lots of salads. There is plenty of fresh veggies to add to that bowl of lettuce or greens. So, when the IHCC theme came up SALADS {and Vinegrettes} I knew there would be some good dishes to be had. As it turns out, my salad is NOT made with bunches of fresh veggies but bunches of spicy flavors and only two veggies – Savoy Cabbage and Carrots.Savoy cabbage is NOT easy to find in Podunk, USA. I thought I would have to use regular but at the FOURTH (and last) store….

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Asian Dressing:

    2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
    1 1/2 TBL soy sauce
    1 TBL oyster sauce
    1/4 tsp Tabasco hot pepper sauce
    1 tsp sugar
    2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped (2 teaspoons)

Savoy Salad

    1/2 pound tender savoy cabbage leaves, with tough lower part of central ribs removed and discarded, leaves finely shredded (about 6 cups, lightly packed)
    1/2 cup julienned carrot strips

Combine the dressing ingredients in a plastic bag large enough to hold the cabbage.
Add the cabbage, toss it with the dressing, and allow the mixture to marinate for about 2 hours.
Transfer the salad and dressing to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the carrot.Recipe is from Jacques Pepin’s Table page 296

This was spicy. I think I liked it, but I’m not quite sure yet. It would be a great side with a sweet chicken dish. The heat and the sour from the salad would balance out the sweet. I made the full dressing recipe but only used about 1/4 of the cabbage. Good thing because the cabbage really soaked up the dressing.


What other salads are on the I Heart Cooking Clubs’ salad buffet? Check them out!

I had this brilliant Idea for this month’s Bundt Bakers’ SPRINKLES theme. Instead of going with a regular cake with colored sprinkles I decided to make a cheese cake ‘sprinkled’ inside with mini chocolate chips. In my head it would come out beautifully. 6 little perfect cheese cakes. Dotted with chips. Little sprinkles of cookie on the top.

    The angels would sing. The unicorns would dance.
      I would be the Belle of the Ball!

    Did. Not. Happen.

Instead I ended up with 6 stuck in the pan, partly collapsed, but great tasting, mini bundts. So much for brilliant ideas and head pictures.

    Cue the little Elves of Mischief instead!!

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What you need:

    1 cup finely chopped chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs.


    Filling
    3 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    3 tablespoons all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    4 eggs
    1/4 cup whipping cream
    1 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 300. Spray pan and sprinkle the cookie crumbs springly into 1 10 or 12 cup Bundt” Pan. {I used mini-bundt pans and it was enough for 7 small cheesecakes.}
Mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla until very light and fluffy in a large mixing bowl, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Add eggs one at a time. Mix on medium-high speed for about two minutes.
Add cream and mix well, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.
Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon mixture into prepared pans til they are about 3/4 full.
Bake at 300 for 55 to 65 minutes or until set. Cool upright in pan 30 minutes. Refrigerate 2 hours.

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Recipe adapted from Bundt Classics page 78

While I used the recipe in the book, you could use your favorite cheese cake recipe and just add in some mini chocolate chips.


Here are this month’s “Sprinkles” Bundts:

BundtBakers

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Have you met Melissa? She is my Secret Recipe Club assignment for August. She is just up the block from me in Michigan. Well, maybe not JUST up the block since I am in Louisiana. But after reading through her blog posts and looking at ALL her recipes I feel like we have been visiting each other. She has a beautiful little girl named Summer and she loves to be in the kitchen where she cooks for her family and friends but she LOVES to bake. And I could tell from the list of cookies, cakes, etc on her blog. I did so wish I needed a sweet treat in the house…..I could have filled my freezer and my friend’s freezers with enough treats for a year!!!

You know I cannot just do ONE recipe. I like to get a better feel for my ‘assignment’ so I usually end up with at least two and usually three of their recipes. No different this time. I hope it is a good variety.

I started with her Quinoa Pilaf.

Like Melissa I was late to the Quinoa party but I am making up for lost time. I love subbing it in rice dishes and sometimes pasta so when I ran across this recipe I knew I had to make it.

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Her original recipe called for celery but there was none in the house so I threw in some fresh corn and red bell pepper instead. Love all the colors. All you need to do is saute your veggies (she also has chopped carrots in hers) in some butter. Throw in about a cup of rinsed quinoa. Add enough chicken or veggie broth to cook it along with some salt, pepper, and fresh thyme. It came together very quickly and was the perfect side with our burgers the other night.


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Melissa’s Aunt-in-Law used to make small Strombolis for her Grandmother to freeze, reheat, and eat. This made me crave, like Melissa, some Strombolis for supper. I used Melissa’s dough recipe but subbed out 1/2 of the white for whole wheat flour. I filled one with typical pizza toppings – pepperoni, cheese, red sauce,

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and one with ham chunks and lots of Mozzarella cheese. Both were delicious and didn’t last past one meal. I made them rather large hoping for leftovers, but it was not to be. Guess I will just have to make them again!!!


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This morning for breakfast, well, brunch, I couldn’t decide between Melissa’s Blueberry Scones, Blueberry Pancakes, or the Egg Muffins. I finally decided on the…

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How can anyone turn down pancakes? These were crunchy on the outside, due to being ‘fried’ in butter, and creamy on the outside. And did I tell you they were chock full of BLUEBERRIES?? They were! Smothered in butter and Maple syrup they were the perfect plate. This doesn’t mean I won’t try the scones or muffins, just not THIS Sunday!

So these are just three of Melissa’s recipes. All three were just right and I will go back for more. I still want to make her Whole Wheat noodles, Kung Pao Chicken, Biscoff Shakes, Chocolate PB Mug Cake, and anyone of her trillion sweet treats.

I love Secret Recipe Club . Meeting new cooks/bakers every month. Trying new recipes. Some inside the box, some not. You should join us!

And check out this month’s other member’s dishes.


I discovered quinoa a couple of years ago and now I always have a bag in the house, I often use it subbed for rice and sometimes pasta. It is so good and so good for you since it is high in protein and cooks us so easily.

I am always looking for new ways to fix it so when I saw this recipe I knew I would have to pick it this week for Eating with Ellie.

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This dish is so colorful with the corn kernels, red bell pepper and grape tomatoes. And healthy since it is made with chicken or turkey sausage.

In less than 30 minutes I had a delicious, healthy lunch. Thanks, Ellie!

Check on our website for the other’s quinoa dishes and how they liked it.

Want to join us? We are cooking out of Ellie’s newest book – Weeknight Wonders. ALL the dishes take less than 30 minutes to make so they are perfect for those busy nights/days/weekends when you don’t have a lot of time.

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