Sunday, March 27, 2011

Popovers! And some awards....

I've been wanting to make popovers for a very long time. Frankly, I'm not sure why it took me so long--maybe I just thought they would be hard to make. Whoa...was I wrong. These are so, so easy!

I didn't bother to take pictures of the actual making of these. First preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Then, just break 2 eggs into a mixing bowl; beat them slightly with a whisk. Add a cup of milk (I used skim--I don't think it matters what kind). Whisk again. Slowly add 1 cup of all-purpose flour and a dash of salt. Beat it just until the batter is smooth. Fill each section of a 6-section popover pan (use a muffin pan if you don't have a popover pan--and grease it up if it isn't non-stick) about 1/2 full. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Pull them out of the oven and eat them immediately. Preferably with butter and honey. They will be gone in minutes.

Some were a little misshapen. It mattered not. Gave them some character.

I served mine with tomato bisque. Pete wanted me to make another batch immediately for leftovers, but I think they taste best eaten right away, so I'll just whip up some more when we are ready.

Before I wrap this up, I want to thank Angela from The Foodie Road Show (great food--give it a click) for giving me this:

How cool is that? I've never received a blogger award! Apparently, accepting this comes with some conditions. In order to accept I must:

1. Thank the person who presented the award, and link to their blog in this post--thanks, again, Angela!
2. Copy and paste the award image (see above).
3. Share seven things about yourself (below);
4. Pass on the award to fifteen other fabulous blogs, and let them know that they have received the award (below).

Seven random things about me:

1. I was born in Wisconsin and am proud to be a Cheesehead.
2. My first "real" job was teaching people how to use electronic typewriters and word processors. This was before the Internet. Let's not talk about how long ago that was.
3. My major in college was French. It would require a full bottle of wine for me to speak French today, however.
4. I am a Harry Potter geek.
5. I am so uncoordinated that I got a "D" in gym class in high school. Seriously, the uneven parallel bars? Do they still make kids use that?
6. I've lived in 6 states, including California and Florida. Minnesota is my favorite, despite this long, nasty winter.
7. I am addicted to Diet Coke.

Enough about me. Here is a shout out to some of my favorite blogs:

1. To Danielle from Cooking for my Peace of Mind ---Great bread recipes. Plus there isn't a chicken she doesn't know how to cook!  Danielle inspired me to create my blog.
2. The best Italian food you could ever imagine: My Italian Grandmother Michele is one of my BakeSpace Beeps!
3. Need something Gluten-Free? Try Retired with No Regrets Lee makes her own gluten-free goodies and is on the way to writing her own cookbook.
4. Chris from Hye Thyme Cafe makes wonderful Armenian food along with everything else.
5. Spryte's Place is well known for all sorts of goodies. Look up her Rollo Cookies and her Faux White Castles--to die for!
6. Karen has the most beautiful gardens and stained glass. You can see for yourself on her blog Quarry Garden Stained Glass.
7. Moni is a baker and cake decorator extraordinaire. Check out Alaskan Dermish in the Kitchen.
8. Dajana lives in Italy. She makes fabulous treats and shares them on her blog: Baker's Corner....Somewhere in my Kitchen.
9. Sheryle makes homemade goodness...and lot's of cookies(!) on her blog Cookiebaker's Corner.
10. I'm going to put it out there...even though he's a "brother", his blog belongs in the "sisterhood", Shane has been a huge influence on me with his culinary knowledge. Find him at Culinary Alchemy . Do it.
11. Susie is a fellow Bake-Off contestant. She cooks and shares on her blog Hick Chick --love the name!
12. I met Emily at The Best of the Midwest cook-off--she's kind of hot stuff, what with being on the Ultimate Recipe Showdown two times! Her blog Sugar Plum is amazing. Incredible food and incredible pictures.
13. My friend DeeDee doesn't post often enough--her cake decorating skills are unmatched. Find her at DDPie's Slice.
14. Kristen is a SAHM who not only makes awesome food, but tells a good story every Saturday on her blog Frugal Antics of a Harried Housewife.
15. And let's not forget my friend, fellow Minnesotan and fellow Bake-Off contestant, Laura, who shares recipes and design on her blog Ohmydoodle.

Seriously--What a great bunch!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sweet Potato Stuffed Dates

I know, I's St. Patrick's Day. Where's the green? Well, I am wearing some, so I'm safe from the pinches. I just had to share the really quick sweet potato snacks I just made. Easy peasy and sugar-free. I may have to try these wrapped in bacon, but that will be for another day.

I sent Pete to the store for a sweet potato and he brought back a lighter colored variety. It looks to be an O'Henry, according to the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission.

The sweet potato and beet pizza I made last week was really tasty, albeit a little complicated. I'm already getting asked to make it again--a good sign! Today, however, it's all about something quick and easy:

Just mash up about a cup of sweet potato, mix in 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest and one tablespoon of orange liqueur. If children are involved, exchange the orange liqueur for fresh orange juice. Ok--put a couple of shakes of cinnamon (1/4 teaspoon) in there, too.

Next, open a package of pitted dates and take one out. Split it with a knife and, using your fingers, make an indentation in the date. It should look like a little date bowl. :) Do this with how ever many stuffed dates you want.

The putziest part is making the little "date bowls".

Next, use a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to fill the dates. You may have filling left over--just eat this with a spoon. Sprinkle a little more orange zest over the top and stick in a few of those fancy toothpicks.

And there you go. Fun, little sweet snacks that are healthy. Who knew?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Double Sweets with Beets Pizza

Pizza is my favorite food, so what better way to showcase the versatility of  sweet potatoes than to make them into a pizza? The only question for me was what to pair them with? I scoured the veggie department to find the perfect compliment when my eyes came across these......

.....Beets! Sweets with beets? You betcha! The only problem was that I had never in my life cooked a beet, so this entire endeavor was "fly by the seat of my pants".

The bounty included 2 sweet potatoes, 5 beets, and 1/2 of a large, sweet onion.

These babies were really red...and just how do you slice a beet?

It turns out that it's easiest to slice them in a food processor.

Aren't they beautiful?

Let's not forget the star of the show---sweet potatoes! It was a challenge for me to get even pieces out of these...I could feel Chef Robert Irvine's disapproval as I wielded my knife.....

No pizza is complete without onions.

I broke this recipe into two parts: the topping and the dough. I decided to roast some beets, sweet potatoes and onions for my topping, while the dough would incorporate sweet potatoes, as well.

After chopping my veggies, I put them in a plastic bag with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 minced cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of kosher salt, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. I had some "fig infused" balsamic vinegar in the cupboard, and it worked well, but use any kind that you have.

Then I squished it all together......

.....and put it on a foil lined pan. Bake this at 400 degrees F. for about 45 minutes, taking it out once to stir it up. Be prepared to sniff up that wonderful smell.

The beets look a little like pepperoni...

But wait! I had two sweet potatoes. While the veggies were roasting, I baked one sweet potato separately. I used half of that potato for the dough.

The sweet potato turned the dough a beautiful shade of orange.

I divided the dough in half and shaped it into a 12" circle on my well-used Silpat.

Then I sprinkled my pizza peel with some cornmeal.

I topped the dough with a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and a little more salt.

I put half of the roasted veggies on the first pizza, then put some sliced mushrooms on top. Gotta have the mushrooms.

I used a cup of shredded smoked provolone cheese for the grand finale.

Preheat that pizza stone to 450 degrees F. and bake the pizza for 12-15 minutes.

Is that yum or what?

Huge hit with the beet hating husband!! Sweet Potatoes make everything better!!