Sunday, April 27, 2008

More recipe entries

More recipes for the Show Me Spring recipe contest:

Sheri submitted four recipes:

Lemon Cake
1 lemon cake mix
1 pkg. lemon jello
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup Crisco oil
4 whole eggs

Beat all ingredients in one bowl until throughly blended. Pour into a well greased and floured bundt pan. Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until it springs back when lightly touched. Toward the end of baking time, mix 1/2 cup lemon juice (or juice of 2 lemons) with approximately 2 cups powdered sugar. You want this thin enough to easily soak into the cake. When the cake is done baking, pour the lemon sugar mixture over the hot cake. Let the cake stand in the pan for at least 4 hours. You may have to loosen sides and around tube. Turn out on plate. You can sprinkle cake with powdered sugar or mix a glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar. This cake is moist, tangy, and delicious!

Fruit Salsa
Chop 2 red apples, 2 Granny Smith apples (or other green apple), 2 oranges, 2 pears, 6 kiwi, and one quart or more strawberries. I chop them with my Pampered Chef chopper so they're not too fine but not too large. Mix all fruit in large bowl. Stir 3 tablespoons apple jelly and 1 tablespoon brown sugar into the fruit. If you prefer it sweeter, add a little more brown sugar. Serve with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers, cinnamon or plain graham crackers, or strips of baked pie pastry.

Strawberry Spinach Salad
Using a blender, combine 1/3 cup raspberry vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add 1 cup vegetable oil and blend well. Stir in 1 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds. Refrigerate until ready to serve salad.

For salad, combine 10 oz. baby spinach, 1 pint sliced strawberries, and 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds. Add dressing at serving time.

Sopapilla Cheesecake
For those of you who might not be familiar with sopapilla, it is a Mexican dessert that is a puffy deep-fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and served with butter and honey.
2 cans crescent rolls
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed and smooth. Layer one can crescent rolls, do not separate, on the bottom of a greased 9 X 13 in. baking dish. Spread cream cheese mixture over the crescent roll crust. Layer the second can of rolls over the top. (Hint: I found the easiest way to do this was to place the rolls between two pieces of waxed paper and roll with my rolling pin. I take off the top piece of waxed paper, flip the crust on to the filling, and remove the second piece of waxed paper.) Melt one stick of butter and pour over the top crust. Combine 3/4 cup sugar with cinnamon to taste and sprinkle over the melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Marie submitted Bob's Barbecue Sauce

1 gal. catsup 1 tsp. seasoned pepper (I just use coarse ground)
2 cups brown sugar 1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 c. lemon juice 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup barbecue spice (tones or other barbecue spice)

Mix well and store in container in refrigerator. Keeps well for use during the summer.

Monday, April 21, 2008


It was too nice outside to cook this evening, so instead I put together a sampler of links, thoughts, etc.
  • Lane's Home Cooking is What I Like has a great post on Seven Reasons to Eat Local Food.
  • Have you ever had Strawberry Panzanella? I haven't . . . yet! I am definitely going to try the Strawberry Panzanella from 101 Cookbooks.
  • If you have a garden, you might want to plant red bell peppers this year. Our local grocery store isn't even selling them right now because they would have to charge $5 apiece!
  • Speaking of gardens, I transplanted my zucchini to the garden tonight. I have several types of herbs and some grape tomatoes in my starter tray and have lots of seeds yet to be planted.
  • Although I'm planting a garden this year, I'm still excited about going to Farmer's Markets. I like the Quincy Farmer's Market, and this year I'm also going to visit the Hannibal Farmer's Market. If the price of gas was lower, I'd visit a lot more markets.
  • I am really glad Amy V. found my blog - because now I know about her blog, Delicious by Nature, which has some awesome-looking healthy recipes.
  • If this post, at Annie's Eats, couldn't win an award for most touching blog post ever, I don't know what could.
  • Last night I made the Golden Vanilla Bean Caramels from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert (as voted on in my last poll). I have never made caramels - or anything requiring a candy thermometer - before, and I think I let the mixture get a bit too hot. The caramels were too chewy and had a very faint bitter taste. I'm going to try it again, because I think it is a good recipe . . . I just didn't keep an eye on the temperature!
  • Food Network's Chefography series recently featured Julia Child; I am now a huge Julia Child fan (I know, I'm about 40 years late). I've even watched some French Chef clips on YouTube.
  • Recent additions to my cookbook collection include: Food to Live By, the Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook; Bob's Red Mill Baking Book; and Baking with Agave Nectar. I know . . . I didn't need more cookbooks . . .
  • Did you know that WalMart's website has a "free samples" section? Go to, then to "In Stores Now" at the right, then choose "FREE Samples" - or use this link. Samples are sent in the mail, and I haven't received any spam or junk mail as a result. Another good site is Start Sampling.
  • Finally, does anyone have tips on organizing the freezer side of a side-by-side freezer/refrigerator? Every time I open the freezer, something falls out . . . and I've already cleaned out the old/frostbitten stuff . . .

Show Me Spring recipe entries

Here are the Show Me Spring recipe contest entries so far:

Sarah entered her version of "Julie's Zesty Pasta," inspired by Madison's Restaurant
Bethany entered "The Easiest Cheesecake Ever!" and "Easy Pasta Salad" and a zucchini recipe
Megan entered "Irresistible Popcorn"
Melanie entered "Pasta Chicken Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Spinach and Bacon"
Lane entered "
Portobello Chicken and Chives"
(These recipes - or links to the recipes - are in the comments section of the original contest post)

In addition, these entries were e-mailed to me:

From Lacey: Parmesan Zucchini Pasta
1 lb bacon
1 medium - large zucchini
1 lb pasta (bow tie or penne is best)
1 can diced tomato (any flavor but garlic would be good)
2 tablespoons garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
Parmesan Cheese to taste

1. Fry bacon until crispy. Set aside to cool.
2. Sauté Zucchini and garlic in 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings
until tender.
3. Meanwhile cook pasta following directions on box.
4. When bacon is cool enough crumble in bite sized pieces.
5. When pasta is tender add bacon, sautéed zucchini and garlic, and
diced tomatoes.
6. Juice lemon over top of mixture
7. Top with Parmesan cheese.

This recipe makes a HUGE amount of pasta. Great for large family dinners.


1. Mix of iceberg, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
2. Put bite-size chunks of pineapple on the salad.
3. Garnish with walnuts and shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.
4. Drizzle Poppyseed Dressing over the entire salad.
For a meal, add bite-size portions of grilled or fried chicken breast.

From Lee Ann: Cheesy Corn Spread

12 oz shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tsp salt
1 12 oz can of mexicorn

Bring cheese to room temperature. In large bowl, crumble cheese with fork into small bits. Mix in remaining ingredients, except corn, until well blended. Stir in corn. Cover and chill for several hours. Serve with crackers.

The contest is open until April 28 - so keep sharing your recipes!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Show Me Spring Recipe Contest

I'm looking for some new spring recipes . . . do you have a good one? If so, share it with me and you could win a collection of great Missouri food products, including:

Cowboy Boyd's Pasta Sauce
Cowboy Boyd's Steak Sauce
Wind & Willow Roasted Corn Chowder Soup Mix
Wind & Willow Country Pecan Cheeseball & Appetizer Mix
Wind & Willow Blue Cheese Cheeseball & Appetizer Mix
Wind & Willow Spinach Artichoke Cheeseball & Appetizer Mix
The Merry Mixers Decadent Chocolate Cobbler
US Wellness Meats All Purpose Seasoning Salt
Forever Herbs Spring Garden Dip Mix
The Smashed Chefs Smashy Parmesan Garlic Dipping Mix

These are some of my favorite Missouri products - and most of the companies are AgriMissouri members (however, I am providing all the products for the prize - this isn't sponsored by AgriMissouri or any of the companies above . . . I just want to share some of The Show-Me State's great products)

Here are the rules:
1. Submit your favorite spring recipe to me by 5:00 p.m. CST on Monday, April 28.
2. Submit recipe by these methods:
A. Post a comment - either post a link to the recipe on your blog - or post the whole recipe in the comment (if you don't have a blog and your recipe is short!)
B. E-mail me the recipe at kenzie.d [at] gmail [dot] com
C. Include a picture if you can, but it's not required
3. To enter, you must be a resident of the USA.
4. One winner will be randomly drawn from all entries.

I can't wait to see your favorite spring recipe!

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

As promised, here is the recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies ever. This recipe is adapted from The New Best Recipe, from the editors of Cook's Illustrated. I made a batch to sell at our garage sale on Saturday. Despite the horrible weather, we didn't have any trouble selling the cookies. I was a bit surprised when one man bought a whole plate of cookies (we were selling these cookies plus snickerdoodles - 2 to a bag - for 50 cents) . . . but then again, which would you rather have - freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or someone else's old clothes?

If you'd rather have chocolate chip cookies, but didn't make it to "the best garage sale in town," here is the recipe so you can make your own:

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 to 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. Mix together butter and sugars until well blended (I use an electric mixer). Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed (or stir) until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips to taste.
  4. For oversize cookies, roll 1/4 cup dough into a ball.* Space 2 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake until cookies are light golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Rotate cookie sheets from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. Cool cookies on sheets. Do not overbake.
* At this point in the recipe, Cook's Illustrated instructs you to shape the cookies by tearing the ball of dough in half, rotating the torn surfaces up, and pressing the bottoms back together into a ball (leave the top surface jagged). I have made these cookies many times - and usually skip this shaping step. I also usually make this dough a day in advance and keep it in the refrigerator. Dough from the refrigerator will be very stiff and may need time to soften on the counter (or in the microwave if you're in a real pinch). To add further confusion, you can also bake these cookies at 35o degrees for a little less time - just be sure to keep an eye on them and don't let them overbake. No matter how you bake them, I'm sure you'll agree they're worthy of being called the "best" chocolate chip cookies!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

After the election . . .

What does this recipe have in common with some politicians? Post-election transformation. Just like some politicians - they say they stand for one thing, but then they vote for another.

Unfortunately, the Crispy Apricot Pork Chops you voted for [in last week's poll] did the same thing - changed after the election. For all those in favor of apricot jam, sorry to disappoint . . . I used Paula Deen's Peach Pecan dressing instead. It wasn't intentional . . . I thought I had apricot jam; I didn't. Peach pecan dressing was the next best option. I feel bad. I'll try not to break my next campaign promise.
Crispy Apricot Pork Chops - or - Crispy Peach Pecan Pork Chops

1 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
2 slices multigrain sandwich bread
4 pork loin chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, patted dry
coarse salt and ground pepper
4 tsp. apricot jam - or - Paula Deen's Peach Pecan dressing

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees; lightly brush rimmed baking sheet with oil.
2. Tear bread into pieces. Place pieces in food processor (my mini-processor was the perfect size for this task), pulse until large crumbs form. Drizzle 1 tbsp. oil in processor; pulse twice, until crumbs are moistened.
3. Place pork chops on prepared baking sheet. Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Spread one side of each pork chop with 1 tsp. jam. Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over chops; pat them on gently.
4. Bake at 425 degrees 14-16 minutes, or until crumbs are golden and pork is opaque (about 150 degrees internally). Serve immediately.

Recipe from the Everyday Food "Great Food Fast" cookbook.

oh, pistachio

This [taking pictures of pistachios] was an impromptu project at work. I took my new camera to the office because I needed to e-mail my insurance agent the serial number to have it added to our homeowners insurance . . . and by chance, a new shipment of pistachios arrived from California. We needed a picture for the website, and of course, I was happy to take some pictures (and learn more about my camera). The pistachios are really tasty, by the way. They'll be up on the web and ready to ship soon if anyone is interested.

The camera . . . it is the exciting "picture-related news" from a few posts back. It's a Nikon and I love it. It might take me a year to learn how to use all the features . . . but it is so cool . . . and did I mention that I have awesome parents? In addition to being great cooks, they are also very supportive of all my endeavors, from blogging to cooking to cattle to photography and everything in between. I am really lucky to have all kinds of great people in my life.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Winter in the Spring

When the summer runs into fall and we have unseasonably warm days, we say it is an Indian Summer. Why isn't there a term for when winter runs into spring? We were lucky to have two nice days this weekend, but so far spring has failed to deliver very many warm, sunny days. With temperatures plummeting and what seems to be an inevitable rainstorm on the way, I decided to cook a traditionally winter-ish dinner tonight: beef stew and corn spoonbread.

I love corn spoonbread. Although I would have preferred warmer weather today, the cold did give me an opportunity to eat corn spoonbread without feeling like I was wearing white after Labor Day. My recipe is from Southern Living's Ultimate Quick & Easy cookbook, which was one of the first cookbooks I purchased for my first post-college apartment. It was a perfect choice at the time, because most of the recipes are simple and straightforward, and it serves two purposes very well - quick and easy meals (of course) and entertaining, both of which are important in the 'first apartment' phase of life. Fortunately, many of the recipes have made a nice transition to the 'cooking-for-mr.-meat-and-potatoes-when-I-get-home-from-work' phase.

Corn Spoonbread

1 (8.5 oz) pkg. corn muffin mix
1 (8.25 oz) can cream-style corn
1 (8.75 oz) can sweet whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 oz) container light sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs

1. Stir together all ingredients and pour into a lightly greased 11x7 (I used 9x13) baking dish.
2. Bake at 350 degrees 30-35 minutes or until golden. 12 servings.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Baguette

Sounds fancy, doesn't it? Well, don't worry - it isn't! In fact, it's not even fancy enough for me to try to make a precise recipe for you to follow. I'll give you a guideline to go from, in case some of these same ingredients are lingering in your refrigerator. That is how I came up with this idea - I had some shaved ham, cheese, pizza dough, and a chicken breast that I needed to use. I didn't want to make an actual pizza . . . and I was thinking ham and cheese rolls (inspired by On The Rise bakery at the Lake of the Ozarks) sounded good . . . but I also had a chicken breast . . . and this is the result:
(sorry about the parchment paper)

If you want to make a (clean-out-the-fridge) Chicken Cordon Bleu Stuffed Baguette of your own, here are the guidelines:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start with 1 portion of fresh pizza, bread, or roll dough (either homemade or purchased); roll/stretch dough into a rectangle shape on a cookie sheet.

Next, smear dough with 1-2 tbsp. butter (this is optional and probably not necessary if you use full-fat cheese and/or a lot of cheese).

Add cheese - I used 3 deli slices of swiss and about 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella (but feel free to use your choice - both in variety and quantity).

Arrange shaved ham in a single layer on top of cheese.

Finally, add shredded pieces of cooked chicken breast* on top of ham.

If you're feeling adventurous, add garlic, herbs or some kind of seasoning.

Roll dough (think rolling cinnamon rolls), starting from the longest side of the rectangle of dough. Press dough together at seams and ends. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let stand a few moments before slicing.Yum . . . I should clean the fridge more often!