January 2012

So, here it is, the last Tuesday in January and the last (but one) TWD January treat I missed. {I say but one because there are the Chocolate Fluff Filled Madeleines but those will have to wait.}

January 20, 2009, I missed Mare’s pick. Sorry, Mare. But I am making up for it now.

    Berry Surprise Cake

This cake reminds me of summer. It is filled with berries – Dorie suggested Raspberries but said we could use any berry so I used blackberries and strawberries – and covered with Whipped Cream. Almost a strawberry shortcake, but way better.

The sponge cake is hollowed out, brushed with Raspberry Syrup {I had some DaVinci so I used that.} and then filled with a cream cheese/whipped cream filling and berries.

Since mine was small {6″ springform} I did not slice the whole top of the cake off, but rather cut the center out and sliced off a piece of the removed cake.

I wanted to make sure I had plenty of room for the filling. 1/2 of the recipe of cake was perfect for the smaller springform. 1/2 of the filling and whipped topping was also just right.

Delicious! Light! Refreshing! Definitely something to be enjoyed in the summer, but also a way to brighten up the winter.

You can find the recipe on Mare’s blog – Meet Me in the Kitchen – along with other delicious treats!! Or on page 273 – 275 in Dorie’s Baking From My Home to Yours.

Now on to February and the missing treats….

I know Nancy is catching up on TWD as is Leslie so go visit with them, too.


If a picture is worth a 1000 words I don’t need to say anything else!!!

What you see is one of Malgieri’s bar cookies in the cookie section of the Modern Baker.

The bars start off with a buttery shortbread crust….

….which is gently pressed into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

While the dough is baking you mix together your brown sugar, eggs, sugar, coconut, pecans, and chocolate pieces. {Malgieri calls for 12 ounces of cut chocolate, but I used chocolate chips.} This mix is spread over the baked but not cooled crust…

…and baked for about 20 – 25 minutes until the filling is set. {Have to say, mine never did ‘set’ until if chilled them.} The ‘slab’ is then cut into 2″ squares – which is all you need because they are SO rich, and devoured!!

I know several of the Modern Challenge Bakers have already made these so check them out and visit The Modern Baker Challenge – Cookies.

And if you want to join in the fun, contact us.

This recipe is on page 277 of Malgieri’s the Modern Baker.

So many recipes from magazines, so little time. At least that is how I feel sometimes. I would have to cook 3 new meals a day for the next 20 years or so to fix all the dishes I have saved from mags.

So here we are – one down – 1 million to go!!!

Spinach-Pork Stuffed Shells

    6 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
    1/4 pound ground pork
    4 cups water
    3 cups torn fresh spinach
    1 egg, lightly beaten ,
    3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
    2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon pepper
    1 to 2 cups marinara sauce

Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, cook pork over medium heat until no longer pink; drain and set aside. In a saucepan, bring
water to a boil. Add spinach; boil for 1-2 minutes or until wilted. Drain and
I sauteed the spinach in a little olive oil and butter until wilted.
Pat dry; chop the spinach. In a bowl, combine the pork, spinach, egg, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, cream, garlic, salt, nutmeg and pepper.
Drain shells; stuff with the pork mixture. Spread 1/4 cup marinara sauce in an ungreased 1-qt. baking dish. Place stuffed shells in dish; drizzle with remaining marinara sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until heated through.

    All that cheesey goodness.

These were fairly quick to make (about 50 minutes) and quite tasty. I did add 2 tsp Italian seasoning and wish I had added more. I had already subbed in the marinara sauce for speghetti sauce. I think it gave it a lighter taste.

Thanks to Becky Butch of Missouri and Taste of Home’s Cooking for Two (Spring 2005) for this dish.

I have rediscovered the slow-cooker. And I wish I had done it sooner. I haven’t really used it much in the last four years when I inherited one with a removeable crock from Mom. My old one was really old – all one piece and IMPOSSIBLE to clean. And it seems the crock-pot, or slow-cooker, is making a comeback. There are so many places for recipes out there….

But this one I found in The Best of America’s Test Kitchen (2011) and adapted it to our tastes.

    Slow-Cooker Braised Short Ribs

      5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
      Salt and pepper
      2 tablespoons vegetable oil
      2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
      1 carrot, peeled and chopped
      1 celery rib, chopped
      2 tablespoons tomato paste
      1 teaspoon dried thyme
      2 cups dry red wine
      2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
      2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
      2 tablespoons Minute tapioca
      2 bay leaves
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    1. Cut the meat from the bones and set aside. Arrange the bones in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and microwave until well browned, 10 to 15 minutes, rearranging the bones halfway through. {My short ribs were different than the ones they used so I skipped this step.} Transfer to the slow cooker.

    2. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook the meat until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to the slow cooker.

    3. Cook the onions, carrot, and celery in the empty skillet over medium heat until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and thyme and cook until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine and vinegar and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, until reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tapioca, and bay leaves and bring to a boil. Transfer the sauce to the slow cooker with the meat.

    4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until the meat is fork-tender, about 8 hours (or cook on high for 4 to 5 hours). Transfer the meat to a serving platter. Strain and defat the cooking liquid and discard the solids. {I discarded the bay leaf and kept the cooked onions, celery, and carrots to pour over the ribs with the sauce.} Stir the parsley into the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the meat. Serve, passing the remaining sauce at the table.

    I wish you have had supper with us last night. THIS was delicious. The balsamic vinegar and the concentrated wine really added a tremendous depth of flavor. Served with plain mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus, it was perfect comfort food.

    The article (page 54) contains all the trials and errors usually found in their magazines that make them almost perfect, but I left all that out. So if you want the whole scoop you need to subscribe to their magazine. (And get the review issue for free!!)

Ellie, you are my Hero!! Stir fry with less oil.


    Spicy Chicken Rice with Peanuts

Craving Ellie in My Belly is trying hard to get back in the swing of things. But we made another change. Seems we all like a litle structure so while we have free choice three Fridays/month on the last Friday one member chooses a recipe for everyone to share. This month it was Chaya’s choice and it was a really tasty choice.

While many fried rice recipes use lots of oil Ellie says,

    “This aromatic rice dish is a meal-in-a-bowl you can really cozy up with. It is chock-full of tasty treasures—sweet bell peppers, crunchy water chestnuts, peanuts, and chunks of cooked chicken all stir-fried with just the right spicy kick. Made with a fraction of the oil typically used, you certainly won’t miss the grease—or the extra calories.

Using pre-cooked chicken {Ellie didn’t specify HOW to cook the chicken so I browned mine in just a smidgeon of EVOO} , this rice has just the right balance of crunch {and would have been crunchier if I had actually remembered the peanuts!!}, sweetness, and spice. Perfect!! Thanks, Ellie.

And thanks Chaya, for this pick. You can find the recipe on Chaya’s page or in Ellie’s newest book – Comfort Food Fix: Feel-Good Favorites Made Healthy

If all the recipes in this new book are this good I will have to add it to my shelf!!

{I’m sitting here imagining how good it would be with SHRIMP!!}

Well, it isn’t EXACTLY Spring in the Deep South but with the weird weather we have been having {It was 73 yesterday!} it sure feels like Spring. Which is why I decided to fix this particular Hazan Pasta for today.

    Fettuccini Penne Primavera

That doesn’t look like Fettuccini, you say! Seems when I went to fetch it from the pantry it wasn’t there. So Penne looked like the next best one to use. And it was. The little tubes held little splashes of the sauce and veggies: asparagus, red pepper, zucchini, celery, carrot and onion which had been sauteed. Well, I steamed the asparagus while I was cooking the pasta…

…over the pasta water. {Hazan says to gently boil it but I like steamed veggies better. I wish, now, I had also steamed the zucchini and peppers so they would have not gotten quite so soft while cooking.}

After all the veggies are cooked you add cream and parsley and cook until the cream is reduced then toss it gently with the pasta. Sprinkle with Rarmigiano-Reggiano and you have a wonderderful veggie meal, or a filling veggie/pasta side. Either way, it is very tasty!!

You can find the recipe on page 46 – 47 of Hazan’s 30 Minute Pasta. Check with Peggy and Kayte and see which pasta they chose for 30 Minute Thursday.

Think back to January 6, 2009. Do you know what was baking in your oven?
If you were a member of TWD that year, you had THIS lovely tart in there.

    French Pear Tart

This tart was special because Dorie chose it for the group to bake. And hers is beautiful (DUH!!)
The tart calls for one of Dorie’s crusts – either the Sweet Tart or the Sweet Tart with Nuts. I had some shortbread crust left so I used that. It did add extra sweetness but just made the tart even better. The pear halves are sliced thinly and fanned out over the almond cream.

When out of the oven you can either brush with an apple jelly glaze, or, as I did, dust with powdered sugar.

The recipe is on Dorie’s Site so go there. This is so simple to put together you will want to make it EVERY nite!!!

I’m catching up on the TWD treats I missed before joining so you will be seeing still more of Dorie’s treats over the next few weeks.

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