12/30/09

5 White Cheddar Cheese Ball



If there was one food (other than bread) that I could choose to live on, it would be crackers and cheese.


I searched high and low on the internet for a recipe that was just like the onion cheese ball that you could buy at the local store.  I wanted a simple, onion cheese ball...no pineapple, no meat, no other stuff....


Couldn't find one, so I looked at the store's cheese ball ingredients and came up with my own, using Tillamook's White cheddar in its famous black wrapper...



What resulted was a creamy, not overly onion-y cheese ball that my mom said was even better than the one at the store.  She even asked for the recipe.  I think I have a winner here ~      Enjoy!

White Cheddar Cheese Ball


12/29/09

7 BBA Update: Multigrain, Brioche & Pizza Napolentana

No, I have not deserted the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge.  Please forgive me for not keeping up with my posts.  I have been baking bread.....trust me!    In my way of repentance, here are three BBA posts, all rolled into one...
I decided to take the Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire and make dinner rolls.  I used cornmeal, rolled oats and wheat bran as my soaker.  Tried microwaving the brown rice, but wasn't very successful.  Better to reserve 3 T. brown rice from your next meal and freeze it for this recipe.

The result was a sweet, flavorful bread with a tight crumb.  I will probably not make this bread again, as I have my favorite  Multigrain Bread recipe that uses a cracked grain cereal and is much easier for me to make.







I decided to try making Brioche for Thanksgiving.  I found these pans at my mom's house.  Even thought they aren't *ahem* brioche molds, they are close enough for a trial.







I used the middle class brioche recipe and even made the "cap" on top of the roll.

The rolls came out buttery and flaky.






I couldn't resist taking the "cap" off and peeking inside...







I even *gasp* put butter on it.  Trust me, you don't want to know how much butter goes in this recipe.

The verdict?  Although light, buttery, and airy, it wasn't my favorite dinner roll.  They are best fresh from the oven and tended to be drier the next day.  I'll stick with my tried and true Dinner Roll recipe.



Next in this roundup is Pizza Napolentana.  This recipe, with an overnight retardation, makes the best tasting and easiest pizza crust.

Yep, for me, it's all about the crust.  On the left is the cheese bread...




the dough is shaped, baked for 5 minutes, taken out, buttered and sprinkled with Salad Supreme and mozzarella cheese.  Then it's put back in the oven for 4-5 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.





I "parbaked" (Parbaking means cooking the bread until it barely starts to change color ~ around 4-5 min.) 20 of these pizzas for my son's 17th birthday party.  All his friends had to do was put on the toppings of their choice and I baked them for an additional 4-5 minutes or until the cheese was brown and bubbly.







The crust browned beautifully on the bottom.  Invest in a pizza stone, if possible.







After one bite, I was in LOVE ~  crispy on the outside, tender and slightly sweet on the inside...







Here's a shot of my hubby's pizza.


He likes everything on it....




So, folks, if you love bread and want to learn how to make the BEST pizza crust ever, and many other fabulous breads, buy The Bread Baker's Apprentice and come join the group from Pinch My Salt ~  you'll be glad you did!



12/23/09

5 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Quiche, Frittata, or Casserole

A neighbor of mine would make this fabulous Quiche Lorraine every year for Christmas.  What was so great about it was that it was cooked and ready to re-heat for Christmas morning. 
 I really, really wanted to make this quiche for my family this Christmas.  But I didn't have the energy.  Or the time.  Instead, I settled on this breakfast casserole that is almost just as good as my friend's quiche.

In my opinion, this is a crust-less quiche.  One other person compared it to a fabulous frittata.  Anyway you call it, it is so simple, and so easy to make.

It starts the NIGHT BEFORE with a buttered 9x13 pan.    I take off the crusts of about 12 slices of white bread and cube them, dump them into the buttered pan and sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  You can use whatever cheese you want....Swiss, Gruyere, or Emmentaler.  Cheddar is what I have on hand.

In a separate bowl, put in 10 cracked open eggs.  Pour in milk, or my case,  skim.  If you want to use half-n-half, or splurge on whole milk, go ahead!  Add in salt,  dry mustard powder (or use the yellow ready prepared mustard) onion powder, and fresh cracked pepper.  You could saute some onions, but I'm going the easy route.... 
Blend it all in in a blender, food processor, or use my favorite...an immersion blender.  So easy to use and quick to clean up!


Pour this all over the cheese topped bread.


 If you see any dry bread crumbs poking out, just push 'em down with a spoon.  You want each and every crumb soaking up this yummy custard...

Put plastic wrap on it, kiss it good night, and put it in the fridge.


(you will want to have some cooked bacon or sausage on hand for tomorrow...)

The next morning, sprinkle some cooked bacon or sausage on top and bake it in the oven for an hour.

By the time the gifts are opened, this will be ready and waiting for all your loved ones...

Merry Christmas!


Breakfast Casserole
(4x6 printable recipe)      (full page recipe)

12/18/09

1 We Have A Winner!

I used Random.org number generator and came up with....*drumroll*
Number 21!

Molly (Google Reader) Frieda, I'd like to see your idea on the BAcon Cheese Tarlet. It looks and sounds more like something my family would enjoy and therefore, something I'd make. Thanks for all of your great recipes and directions. I love your blog.

Molly, email me your address and I will forward it to MyBlogSparkOnce they receive your info, this lovely Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and Holiday Plate collection will be on its way and is yours to keep!

Thank you everyone, for your  participation and comments!

Here's the skinny on the votes:

Crescent Wrapped Brie.....12
Crescent Bacon Cheese Tartlets.....13
Holiday Tree.....4

So folks, it looks like the Crescent Bacon Cheese Tartlets!  

I'll think about it over the weekend and see what I come up with...stay tuned!



13 Peppermint Bark Fudge




Jenn, a  friend of mine gave me some of this last year.

I ate the whole thing.

I waited an entire year for the recipe.

I made it the other day and I have eaten half of it.


I'm giving away the other half before I cave into a sugar induced coma.

Guess what?  I'm giving you the recipe!  Then you can give in to this melt-in-your mouth, slightly minty, fudgy deliciousness ~

I love this recipe simply because it has all the ingredients in my pantry.  Nothing fancy.  No marshmallows.  No creme.  No sweetened condensed milk.  I can make this any time....  that's pretty dangerous.

I am not a candy maker.  I pretty much burn every candy I make.  Or burn myself.

But this?  This is easy.  Easy-peasy.
Let me show you how incredibly easy this is.

First, you line a pan with aluminum foil and butter it.

You can use an 8x8, 9x9 or in my case, a 9x12. 




Put your semi-sweet chocolate chips, butter and milk into a microwave bowl.

Microwave on high for 1 minute.


Stir until everything is dissolved.

I used skim milk, but I bet it would even taste better with 2% or, *gasp*  whole milk.


Add in some real vanilla extract.  Ever since I discovered the real vanilla, I've never gone back.  One day, I'm gonna make my own vanilla extract...

Pour this chocolate concoction into a mixer bowl and add your powdered sugar.  No sifting, just dump it in.  Whip it up until it's thick and creamy.


Spread the fudge layer into your buttered pan.

I just love how the spatula fits into the corners of the pan ~

Now you do the same thing, only with white chocolate chips.   Put it in the microwave on high for one minute and stir until smooth.

Add this good stuff.   Pure peppermint extract.  Mmmmmmm.

This part is totally optional.  You don't have to do it.  Unless you want to.  I added the teeniest, tiniest, drop of red food coloring.  It looks like a weird color, but once you add the powdered sugar, it'll look like a normal light pink.

Once you've added your powdered sugar and whipped it up until thick and creamy, you're good to spread it on top of the fudge layer.

I found a couple of broken candy canes and put them into a ziploc plastic baggie.  Pounded it a few times until I noticed there were little holes in the baggie.....Hmm...I then shook the baggie  over the white chocolate and "dusted" the top layer.  So sparkly.  So pretty!
If you want a more intense peppermint experience, add up to 1 c. of the crushed peppermint right into the white chocolate fudge.  Mix it thoroughly and then spread it onto your fudge layer.  Dust the top with crushed peppermint, if desired.

Cover this fudge with plastic wrap, or it will dry out.  Put it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or until firm.

Cut your fudge into slices, squares, or bars.  Then wrap them in plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature before diving in.   

You HAVE to have these at room temperature.   They'll melt in your mouth....

Happy Holidays!

Peppermint Bark Fudge
(4x6 printable recipe)      (full page recipe)

12/17/09

4 Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Creation: Chicken Cordon Bleu Bites

As a featured publisher for the FoodBuzz community, I participate in the Tastemaker program.  This program allows me to sample products and encourages me to come up with my own creations.   
I was offered a coupon good for a package of Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry, which I have never used before.  This product is located in the freezer section.

Included are two ready to bake sheets of frozen puff pastry.  I took the sheets out of the box, covered it with plastic wrap and let it thaw out on the counter top.  In 40 minutes, just like the directions said, the pastry was ready to use.
I checked Pepperidge Farm's website to get inspired for ideas.  When I think of puff pastry, I usually think of something sweet.  This time, I opted to try something savory.  I love chicken cordon bleu and wanted to create an appetizer.  Instead of purchasing ground chicken, I put a chicken breast and chopped it up in my food processor.

I found a few slices of my Italian bread and soaked them up with a little bit of milk.  Think of meatloaf and meatballs...you need something to tenderize and lighten up the meat.

I dumped the soaked bread into the ground chicken,
added 1/2 t. salt,
1/2 t. crushed thyme,
and 1/8 t. onion powder.  You could use sauteed onions, but I didn't have any on hand.
Pulsed all the ingredients together and this is what I have.  Now, I need something to bind it all together...
A beaten egg will do the trick ~
Now add some of your favorite ham, 1/2 c. diced.  I asked the deli guy to slice me of a ham steak size of black forest ham.  I trimmed the rind off and cubed them up into tiny pieces.

I shredded 1/2 c. Swiss cheese and added that right in.  I thought about cubing it or even putting a single cube in the center of the chicken ball, but decided against it.  I wouldn't want to bite into it and burn my mouth on melted cheese.... 
The puff pastry is pre-folded into thirds, so I opted to make 9 even squares out of one sheet.  Each square is slightly larger than 3x3 inches.

I used my small cookie scoop, which put 2 teaspoons of the chicken mixture into the center of the square. 

I brushed all the edges of the square with beaten egg whites.  This will help seal in the pastry and keep the meat inside.

I folded up each corner, slightly overlapping at the top.  I pinched each of the four seams closed.  The puffs need to go on a lightly greased baking sheet or parchment paper.

I brushed the tops of each puff with a beaten egg mixed in with a little bit of water.  This will brown the puffs beautifully. 
These were baked in a  375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.
Not exactly a single bite size, but generous for an elegant appetizer.



Here's some inside glamour  shots...  I served this with a chicken gravy made with milk.   It was light, crispy, and flavorful.  Definitely reminded me of chicken cordon bleu, but taken a notch higher with the puff pastry!
Thank you, Pepperidge Farms & FoodBuzz!  I will be using this puff pastry again!



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