Friday, February 22, 2013

Must Be Spring!

All around there are signs of spring popping up. This little woodpecker has been busy the last few mornings and I was lucky enough to catch her in the act of chiseling in our tree. I think this is a female downy woodpecker but I could be wrong. It could be a Hairy Woodpecker. In either case it was fun to get a quick look at this little bird today.

{FFWD} Cheating on Winter Pea Soup

Way back at the beginning of February I made Brown Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts. The same night I made Cheating on Winter Pea Soup. I was running out the door to teach a class so I had to leave the finishing touches to my hubster. I passed off the immersion blender with not quite specific instructions and ran out the door. He was so sweet and even took a few pictures for me.
I told my students what I had been cooking and they thought the name was really funny. 

This soup came together very quickly and was surprisingly tasty. I don't believe I have tried pea soup before simply because it looks kind of gross but I am glad I made this. My daughter liked it, my hubs liked it, and my little man was not a big fan. The addition of bacon bits kept this from being a completely vegetarian meal which suited my carnivore hubs. :) 

Make sure to take a look at the LYL to see how other cooks around the world liked this recipe! You can also find the recipe in Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

{FFWD} Valentine's Day Cookies

French Fridays with Dorie has been going strong for quite some time now. Alice of A Cooking Mizer put together a super secret Valentine exchange for anyone who wanted to participate. Today is our reveal day! The other day I got home to find this great big box on my porch. The anticipation killed me...until I could get it inside and rip it open!

My secret Valentine ended up being:
 You can visit Cher at The not so exciting adventure of a dabbler.  The recipe is underneath the cover page and I will post that at the end. I love that she stuffed the box with pages from a cooking magazine. Of course that did not compare to the delicious Peanut Butter Spritz cookies that were hiding down in the wrapping. These sweet, tender little cookies were made even better by the Hershey chocolate drops that made up the center of the cookie.

I loved the cute little holders the cookies were wrapped in. Once the cookies were taken out of the wrapping they held their own as a go to cookie. Of course now I have my eye on a cookie press so I can make these! Thank you Cher for these delicious cookies and for being my secret valentine! I hope the cookies you got were just as delicious as these!

Don't forget to check the LYL to see who sent cookies to who! :)

Peanut Butter Spritz Cookies
Adapted from The King Arthur Flour Cookie Company
8 Tbs unsalted butter, room temp
1 Cup light brown sugar
1 Cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg, room temp
1 3/4 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
Chocolate kisses or drops

Preheat over to 375 F. While the oven is preheating, place two large baking sheets, lined with parchment or silpat, in the fridge.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or large bowl if using a hand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until mixture is smooth. Scrape down sides of the bowl and beet in the egg in until smooth again. Scrape down the sides and stir in flour until incorporated.

If you are going to make these into spritz style, spoon the dough in the barrel of a press and press onto the prepared baking sheets 1 inch apart. You can also spoon these by the teaspoonful (press tops flat after spooning.

Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. They should look set and the edges will be slightly brown. Remover from oven- if you are adding chocolate kisses or discs do this immediately after removing from oven. Let cookies sit on baking sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Friday, February 08, 2013

{FFWD} Fresh Orange Pork Tenderloin

 This week's French Fridays with Dorie recipe was Fresh Orange Pork tenderloin. We are big fans of clementines but I don't buy big oranges very often. My family tends to leave them alone. I discovered as I started to make this that I did not have an onion. I used the one I had in a recipe a few days ago. I sent my hubs to our local grocery that we tend to boycott if we can help it. This store often has out of date items on the shelves, carries pig brains but no rice cakes. He didn't mind running down there and even came back with some cheap individual pies for each of us.
 One thing I really liked about this recipe was the smell of the citrus. Often when I cut up garlic or onions I am worried about how to get the smell off my hands. With oranges, even after scrubbing hands, I don't mind the smell. I got to use my zester! I have a microplane grater that I use for garlic a lot but it doesn't zest like my cute little tool up there with the oranges.

As this was cooking my kids were saying that it smelled delicious and I couldn't help but agree.  When I went to Publix to get pork loin they only had 2 and a half pounds. Once again though they split the package for me so I could have just a pound and a half. This made 12 medallions and we ended up with 1 left. Munchkin took the last one and the rest of the broth braised potatoes to school for lunch.

Overall, this was a delicious dish and I will be making it again! Rave reviews from the fam make it a definite win! :) Don't forget to check out the LYL to see how other cooks around the world did with this recipe this week. :)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Superbowl 2013

 Last weekend, as you are well aware, was the big game. It is the one football game of the year that I really get into. I would have loved for the Titans to be in the game but since they were terrible this year there wasn't a chance. I was quite happy, however, that the 49er's got to go. I have been to one NFL football game and that was when we moved to CA. So of course I was cheering for the niner's!

We have visited a Sunday School class a couple of times and they were having a party. We were invited so I decided to throw together a cake. There was a lot of powered sugar and a lot of food coloring in the frosting. A strawberry cake football field and a chocolate cake football.

We got to the party fairly early and the room filled up quickly. It was fun to get to know some of the other couples and their kiddos at the party. Munchkin and Little Man hung our in the room with the other kids and when the noise got too overwhelming the two of them retreated into the big walk in closet.

We decided it was time to go when the lights went out and the game went on hiatus for a bit. We made it home just as the game started back up again. If you watch for the commercials or the game or just go for the food I hope you had a fun time watching the game!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

{FFWD} Brown Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts en papillote

This weeks recipe for French Fridays with Dorie was Brown Sugar Squash and Brussels Sprouts roasted in foil packages. It took about 15 minutes to peel the and chop the veggies, tuck them into their packages, and then toss them in the oven for 20 minutes. I was a little concerned about the Brussels Sprouts because they have such a bad rap. The concern was for naught though. With the addition of a little olive oil, brown sugar and sage they were quite tasty! 
I made these little packets on Friday night because it was the first time I was able to get to the grocery store. Like I said, this dish came together quickly. That was a really good thing because I had a meeting not long after my hubs got home from work. I scarfed my packet down after inhaling the sweet puff of steam that was released upon opening. Bobby liked his enough that if I made this again he would eat it. Both of the kids liked the squash and tried the apples but because I was not home they managed not to actually try the brussells sprouts.

I liked it. If I make this again I will have to make a quarter of the recipe just for me!

Make sure to check out the LYL to see how other cooks around the world liked this easy dish!