Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Today's recipe is a favorite family dessert which we often had at the holidays, and for all of you who may not have the recipe saved you have it.

Chocolate Steamed Pudding
2 eggs well beaten
1 cup sugar
4 Tbsp melted butter
3 oz melted dark or bittersweet chocolate
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
Steam in a pudding steamer for about 1-1/2 hours
Sauce: (the very best part in my opinion)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
Heat ingredients in double boiler until heated through
Serve the pudding warm (can be rewarmed in the pudding pan) with the hot sauce drizzled (or pooled) over the top
Whipped cream optional
Seasons Eatings!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1 Day 'til Christmas

Christmas Eve...hopefully by now the presents are wrapped and the stockings are hung by the chimney with care....if not, while you're out shopping today, stop in at Babe's and leave me a big tip!
Today's recipe is a breakfast dish you can prepare tonight and bake in the morning and it's sure to be a hit with everyone.
Baked Orange French Toast
8 slices french bread cut 3/4 to 1" thick
6 eggs
grated rind of one large orange
2/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup orange liqueur (optional)
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 or milk
3 tsp sugar
4 tsp butter
powdered sugar for dusting
Butter an 8-inch glass or nonreactive baking pan
Lay bread slices evenly in pan
Mix everything except butter and powdered sugar in a small bowl, then pour over bread and dot with butter
Refrigerate overnight
In the morning, preheat oven to 350° and bake about 30 minutes, or until puffed and set. Dust with powdered sugar. If desired, serve with a topping of butter, orange marmalade and maple syrup warmed in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Serves 2-4

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2 Days 'til Christmas

2 Days 'til Christmas and a winter storm is on the way. Time for some warm holiday cheer.
Today's recipe: Peppermint Hot Chocolate
For adults:
mix 1 1/2 oz peppermint schnaaps with one cup hot chocolate, top with whipped cream and garnish with a small candy cane
For kids:
mix 1/2 tsp peppermint extract with one cup hot chocolate, top with mini marshmallows and garnish with a small candy cane

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

3 Days 'til Christmas

3 Days 'til Christmas and still searching for the right recipe for our Christmas Eve Rabbit. I think I've found it on
Grilled Rabbit With Peanut Chili Sauce on Foodista
Grilled Rabbit with Peanut Chili Sauce
sounds right up our alley....check out the recipe and I'll get back to you on how it turned out.
I know, I know....rabbit??? But Farmer Paul from JenEhr assured me it was pasture raised, organic and delicious. And my research shows it is healthier than many other meats.
Whether I'll actually be able to swallow any is the question...but Tim eats most of the meat anyway!
I also researched how to cut up a rabbit, as I've never done that before.
Here's a couple of links that explain it pretty well.
EHow to Cut Up a Rabbit
The Rabbit Wrangler
Next for rabbit terrine or pate.

Monday, December 21, 2009

4 Days 'til Christmas

4 Days 'til Christmas
The cookies are baked, the candy is coated, the packages delivered to the post office, and I played Santa today at the Olbrich Gardens Holiday Train and Poinsettia Display and got the final picture for my 2010 calendar.
Now if I can just make it through the rest of the week at work, on Friday we can relax and stay home in our jammies playing games and eating Lobster Bisque.
Tonight, fresh, local greens with
Miso Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp Miso (get it in the refrigerated section of your local health store or coop, or call me...I've got lots!)
1 clove garlic
1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger (I buy a bunch, peel it, chop it in the food processor and then freeze it in ice cube trays for ready to use recipes)
1 Tbsp honey or agave
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp lemon zest
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar (or whatever you've got on hand)
Put everything in the food processor and process well. Drizzle over fresh salad greens, toss well and enjoy!
Don't have fresh greens...better stop by Don's Produce when the Dane County Farmer's Market opens up again on January 9th at the Madison Senior Center.
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

5 Days 'til Christmas--YIKES!

5 Days 'til Christmas--YIKES, that came fast! I still have to bake cookies and candy and prepare packages for the mail in the morning...better get a move on. First brunch with the gang...all the important things first, the rest in good time. It always amazes me how we manage to fit in time for holiday cheer with everything else going on...oh yeah, and the Packers too!
For gametime snacking...
Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip:
1 can artichoke hearts
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 lb steamed spinach (or whatever greens you have on hand)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan and romano cheese (or just parm if that's all you have)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
crackers or baguette bread
Place the cream cheeses, spinach and seasonings in the food processor or mixer and blend well. Add the artichoke hearts and mix just until the hearts break down into smaller chunks. Heat in a crock pot, on the stove top, or in the microwave. Serve with crackers or baguette bread and dip away!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

6 Days 'til Christmas

6 Days 'til Christmas and we're busy making candy and baking cookies.
Today was the last Farmer's Market of the year, so I went and stocked up for holiday meals.
I hadn't decided what to make for our holiday meals yet, and found some interesting options at the market. JenEhr Farms had fresh pasture raised rabbit for the first time. I have to admit, I'm more of a bunny hugger than kill-and-cooker, but I was intrigued by Farmer Paul's desciption of how their cook had prepared the dish on the grill, so I decided to give it a try. I'm letting the meat age and we'll enjoy it on Christmas Eve and let you know what we thought.
I'm researching recipes and found this one from Jamie Oliver that sounds intriguing: grilled and marinated rabbit (coniglio marinato alla griglia). I also picked up some beauty spinach from JenEhr. I purchased some chorizo, bacon, summer sausage, lamb chops and beef tenderloin from Jordandal Farms. I picked up eggs from Pecatonica Farms, cheese from Forgotten Valley Cheese, and sweet potatoes and lettuce mix from Don's Produce, carrots and garlic from Driftless Organics, and apples from Green's Pleasant Spring Orchard. By then my bags were full and my wallet empty so I headed home, pleased with my finds for holiday meals. I'm sorry that the market is closed for the next two weeks, but happy for the farmers that they will have a break from their busy schedules to spend time with their families enjoying their bounty for the holidays. The next market will be at the Madison Senior Center on January 9, 2010.

Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Days 'til Christmas

7 Days 'til Christmas: I finally got the cards in the mail today and finished my homemade gifts, now on to cookies and candy.
One of my favorite side dishes for holiday meals, or any meal, for that matter, is Wild Rice. It's super easy to make, extremely healthy, tasty and versatile. Make extra for leftovers, soups, casseroles, breakfast, whatever!
Wild Rice:
2 cups long grain wild rice--the real deal, not that Uncle Ben's nonsense
6 cups water
2 pinches salt
2 Tbsp butter
Rinse the wild rice then place in saucepan with water, salt and butter. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and cover. Wild rice takes about 1 hour to cook and will become soft and plump when finished. You should check it occasionally to make sure there is still some liquid left in the pan because depending upon your stove it may dry out and burn before the rice is fully cooked.
To help speed up the cooking time, rinse the rice and place in the pot of water for up to 8 hours before cooking. This will help ensure that the rice cooks in the 1 hour. You can easily prepare the rice a day or two ahead of your meal and simply reheat it in the oven, on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

8 Days 'til Christmas

8 Days 'til Christmas and I still haven't finished making presents or mailed my cards...better get crackin'!
Today's recipe is in memory of my good friend, Sandra Hammer, who died from Breast Cancer in 2007. Sandra LOVED lobster bisque, and because of her Tim and I have made Lobster Bisque a tradition on our holiday menu for Christmas. This recipe is super quick and easy to make, even if you don't cook I think you could pull this one off. Look for Better Than Bouillon Lobster Base in the grocery aisle where you find soups. Most stores will carry it. If you can't find it, you can make lobster stock by boiling the lobster shells in water, then strain the water and use that in place of the bouillon and 1 cup water. Look for Lobster Slipper Meat at your local seafood shop or in the freezer section of your grocery to save some money on the meat for the bisque. You can also make it without the meat if you prefer. This recipe can be increased for more servings.
Lobster Bisque:
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
3 Tbsp Flour
1 Shallot, Minced
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Dry Sherry
1-2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp Paprika
White Pepper to taste
1 Cup Minced, Cooked Lobster Meat (optional)
1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon Lobster Stock
1 Cup Boiling Water
Mix 1 Tbsp Lobster Bouillon in 1 Cup Boiling Water and set aside. In a large stock pot or soup kettle, melt 3 Tbsp butter then stir in the shallot and cook until softened and translucent. Stir in 3 Tbsp flour and mix well, cooking for just a couple of minutes until light brown. Add Cream, Milk, Lobster Stock, Sherry, Tomato Paste, Paprika and lobster meat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with White Pepper and serve immediately with crusty french bread for dipping.
Makes 4-6 Servings of rich and dreamy bisque.
You can also substitute crab meat and make it crab bisque.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

9 Days 'til Christmas

9 Days 'til Christmas
Another cookie recipe today

Candy Cane Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup crushed candy canes (do this in the food processor-it's loud, but fast; also, the small ones work best)
3 Tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the extracts and beat until well blended. Gradually add the flour and salt. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Coat two baking sheets with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper. In a shallow bowl, combine the candy canes and the granulated sugar and mix well. Shape the chilled dough into 1-inch balls then roll each in the candy cane mixture. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until browned. Immediately remove from the baking sheets and cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 days 'til Christmas

10 days 'til Christmas...I'm not sure this countdown was such a good idea...time seems to be moving quickly! Today's recipe:
Granny's Ginger Snaps
3/4 cups shortening (I use butter)
1 cup white sugar
1 egg beaten
4 Tbsp molasses
2 cups flour (granny's note: or 2-1/2 cups--what?)
2 tsp soda
salt (I'm guessing 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves (ground)
1 tsp ginger (ground)
Roll in round ball & dip in sugar or candies bake at 350° (she doesn't say how long...I'm guessing about 8 minutes)
I can't tell you how many it makes, probably depends upon how big you roll them. You gotta love Granny's recipes...makes baking adventurous!

Monday, December 14, 2009

11 Days 'til Christmas

11 Days 'til Christmas--YIKES!!! I better get crackin' on finishing my gifts.
Today's recipe:
Granny's Peanut Butter Snowballs
These delicious sweet treats are a hit with kids of all ages, and the kids will love making them too!
1 cup peanut butter
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup toasted, crushed walnuts
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
To roll:
Shredded coconut
Mix together ingredients and roll into 1-inch balls, dip in glaze, and then roll in coconut
Chill to firm them up and just see if you can wait to try them!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 Days Til Christmas

Just 12 Days until Christmas, and the kitties are snuggled all warm in our bed...
In honor of the twelve days til Christmas, I'm posting a holiday recipe each day until Christmas, and I hope you enjoy! I don't have photos of all of them but will share the ones I do have.
Today's recipe:
Lisa's Shrimp Gumbo
3 Tbsp Bacon Grease or oil or butter
1 Green Pepper, diced
1 Large Onion, diced
2 Stalks Celery, diced or 1 cup Cubed Celeriac
3-4 Cloves Chopped Garlic
3-4 Chopped Chipotle Peppers
3/4 Cup Red Lentils
3/4 Cup Brown Rice
6 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 can Tomatoes or 3 large ones from the freezer doused in boiling water, then peeled
1 can Tomato Paste
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Ground Cayenne Pepper
1-2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
1-2 Teaspoons Freshly Ground Pepper
1 Bay Leaf
1 lb peeled, deveined, tail off shrimp, chopped into smaller bite-sized pieces
...and a partridge in a pear tree.
To prepare:
Heat a large kettle over medium heat, then add the fat. Cook the onions, green peppers and celery or celeriac over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more before adding the bay leaf and spices. Next add the tomato and tomato paste and allow the tomato (if frozen) to continue thawing. Next add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the rice and bring the pot back to a boil, then turn down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the lentils and bring the pot back to a boil, then turn down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 10 minutes more.
Serve with homemade cornbread and extra hot sauce for those of us who like it spicy!
Makes a big pot, so you can have leftovers for lunch or even freeze some for a quick hot meal on a cold winter day.
Approximately 8 servings
Start to finish time: 1 hour

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Record Snow

Just a couple of days ago we were saying Let it Snow....and it snowed, and snowed, and snowed!

This is the view Beast saw out the window at 4:30 am this morning. As of right now we are 1 inch short of an all-time record snowfall within a 24 hour period...I think we'll make it! It's the first time I can ever remember all 72 counties in Wisconsin being declared in a state of emergency.

Check out the main page of Lisa's website for more photos from today.

Now the wind comes and all this crazy snow is going to blow around all night while the temp drops well below zero. Gotta love Madison in Winter!

Happy Holidays

xxoo, Beast