Cheddar Bay Biscuits

These biscuits are ideal served with Streamlined Lobster Bisque.

Sharp Cheddar Bay Biscuits
Yields 10
A delicious drop biscuit that melts in your mouth with cheddar and butter flavors.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups all purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon sugar
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  8. 4 ounces extra sharp Vermont cheddar, grated, about 1 cup
  9. 1 cup buttermilk,cold
  10. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced
For the topping
  1. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  2. 1 garlic clove, minced
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick baking mat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, garlic powder, and cayenne. Stir in the cheddar cheese and butter.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir buttermilk into dry ingredients until just combined. Using a greased 1/4 measuring cup, scoop out equal portions of dough and place on prepared baking sheet. Leave an inch between biscuits.
  4. Bake biscuits until golden brown, 12 minutes.
Notes
  1. The diced, cold butter gives these biscuits their flaky texture. Serve them warm from the oven.
Adapted from Red Lobster Biscuits/Brown Eyed Baker
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Streamlined Lobster Bisque

      For my mother’s birthday, we always used to go out to this little Italian restaurant at John’s Landing in Portland, Oregon.  We ate simmered mussels in marinara sauce, seafood paella with clams, mussels, shrimp and little octopus and heavier entrees made with layers of pasta or gnocchi showered with Gorgonzola cheese and lightened with chopped, fresh tomatoes.  After the feast, I asked for a doggy bag, not to pack up dinner remains, but to gather all the different seafood shells.  I made a version of this bisque, replacing lobster with shrimp meat and an assortment of bivalve shells.

 

Streamlined Lobster Bisque
Serves 4
Lobster bisque is made using just the lobster tails. This version omits picking all the little bits of meat from the rest of the lobster. Also, there is no dunking live lobster in boiling water.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  2. 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  3. 2 celery ribs, peeled and chopped
  4. 2 small onions, diced
  5. 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  6. 2 tomatoes, cut in half, seeded and chopped
  7. 4 lobster tail shells, chopped, meat removed from shells, chopped and reserved
  8. 1 cup white wine
  9. 1/3 cup brandy or cognac
  10. 6 cups fish stock or organic vegetable broth or clam juice
  11. 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  12. 2 tablespoons flour
  13. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  14. Salt and pepper to taste
  15. Snipped chives, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In large heavy saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Stir in carrots, celery, onions and garlic and cook until softened about 6 minutes. Stir in lobster tail shells, tomatoes and white wine and reduce liquid by half about 5 minutes. Stir in brandy or cognac and light liquid with a match to burn off strong alcohol flavor. Add broth and thyme and simmer about 10-15 minutes.
  2. In small saucepan or skillet, melt remaining butter and stir in flour until mixture turns white and foamy. Whisk into stock mixture along with heavy cream. Let simmer until thickened. Add lobster pieces and cook until tender about 2 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls, sprinkled with chives.
Notes
  1. Frozen lobster tails work great for this recipe.
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Refreshingly-Peach White Wine Sangria

    Sometimes the best get-togethers are spur-of-the-moment.  You pick up the phone and call someone, thinking, they are probably busy or doing something with their family, neighbors, friends, book group or whatever, and as it turns out, they are doing nothing and would love to come over.  Make this sangria, once you’ve got your random group together and serve with crackers and Spanish cheese like semi firm, slightly nutty and golden, Manchego cheese.

Refreshingly-Peach White Wine Sangria
Serves 4
Fruity Sangria blends fruit, wine and Peach Schnapps.
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 750 militer bottle Peach Chardonnay or dry white wine
  2. 1/2 cup Peach Schnapps
  3. 3 peaches, pitted and sliced thinly
  4. 1 lemon, sliced thinly
  5. 1 lime, sliced thinly
  6. Maraschino cherries, for garnish
  7. Mint sprigs, for garnish
  8. Grenadine syrup, to drizzle over each glass, optional
Instructions
  1. In large glass pitcher, combine first 5 ingredients. Chill at least 4 hours.
  2. Pour into glasses filled with lots of ice. Top each drink with cherry, mint
  3. sprig and drizzle with about a teaspoon of grenadine syrup.
Notes
  1. Grenadine syrup is optional, but it does lend a colorful, sunset-look to the Sangria. Also, peach wine is very sweet (but cheap!) if you'd like a less sweet version opt for dry white wine.
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Sparkling Peach Lemonade

 

Sparkling Peach Lemonade
Serves 4
Refreshing, bubbly lemonade for hot, summer days
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Total Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cups peach puree
  2. 1 1/3 cups lemon juice
  3. 1 cup sugar or to taste
  4. 1 cup sparkling water (Club soda)
  5. Strawberry slices, for garnish
Instructions
  1. In glass pitcher, stir together the first 4 ingredients. Chill. Pour into glasses filled with ice and garnish with strawberry slices.
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Summer Squash

     Everyone has one, a vegetable that dominates the garden or a CSA box.  One year it was cucumber, another growing season it was kale that showed up in my community supported agriculture box all the time.  Now, in my square foot garden out the back door, it’s summer squash that is so prolific I still have six long yellow squash sitting in the crisper drawer and that’s after giving away a dozen to grateful friends.

     The best way to deal with an abundant vegetable is to camouflage its appearance.  This way, when you serve the recurring vegetable over and over again, no one has a clue they are eating the same thing again and again.  I started the summer squash season out with a soup, Peach kissed Summer Squash Soup with Cilantro Cream.  Leave out “Summer Squash” when describing the recipe and no one will know what gives this potage its body and sublime richness. 

   Stay tuned for more summer squash recipes as I clean out my fridge.

 

Peach Kissed Squash Soup
Yields 4
Summer squash sneeks into this subtly sweet potage enriched by dollop of cilantro cream.
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 3 large shallots, chopped
  3. 1garlic clove, minced
  4. 1 small yellow-fleshed potato, thinly sliced
  5. 1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
  6. 2 small summer squash, sliced
  7. 2 ripe fresh peaches, peeled
  8. 2 cups chicken broth
  9. Salt and white pepper to taste
For cilantro cream
  1. 3 tablespoons sour cream
  2. 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  3. 1 tablespoon loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
  4. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  5. Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In large 2 quart saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in shallots and garlic. Cook until softened about 2 minutes. Stir in potato, carrot and squash. Slice peaches from their pit directly into saucepan, so as to catch any juices. Stir in chicken broth. Partially cover and simmer 18-20 minutes until potato slices are tender. Let cool slightly.
  2. Working in batches, puree soup in blender or food processor until smooth. Return to pot and reheat.
  3. To serve, ladle soup into bowls. Dollop the soup with cilantro cream sauce and shower with freshly chopped mint.
To make cilantro cream sauce
  1. In small bowl, combine sour cream, heavy cream, cilantro and lemon juice. Stir until smooth.
Notes
  1. Butternut, zucchini and acorn squash may be substituted for the summer squash.
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Parmesan Barley Veggie Burgers

      I was out to lunch the other day (not mentally, but physically) and I ordered a garden burger.  It was not a house made veggie burger, but rather one of those stiff, dense patties thawed from the freezer.  I ate it anyway, but in the back of my mind I was assembling my own version of this cardboard treat. 
To make these burgers even better, dollop a bit of lemon-dill sauce under the lid of a toasted and buttered whole wheat bun.  Stack the burger with lettuce and garden fresh tomato slices.  Freeze leftover patties for another day.

Here’s the Lemon-Dill Sauce:

Makes about 1/2 cup sauce

1/4  cup plain yogurt

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly chopped dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried

 

In small bowl, stir together yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill. 

Parmesan Barley Veggie Burgers
Yields 6
Roasted red peppers and shiitake mushrooms give these veggie patties their texture and color.
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Prep Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  3. 1/2 cup chopped green onions, about 6
  4. 1 red pepper, chopped about 1 cup
  5. 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
  6. 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  9. 1 cup cooked barley or cooked bulgur
  10. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  11. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  12. 1 egg
  13. 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  14. 1 cup panko
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 500F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Grease or spray foil with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. In large skillet, over moderate heat, heat oil. Stir in mushrooms and red pepper and cook until crisp-tender about 5-6 minutes. Stir in green onions and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and mix in ginger, soy sauce, cumin and lemon juice. Let mixture cool slightly.
  4. Scrape mushroom mixture in to food processor. Pulse until mushrooms and vegetables are finely chopped. Scrape mixture into medium bowl and stir in barley, egg, Parmesan cheese and panko. Using 1/2 cup size measuring cup, scoop out and form 6 patties. Space patties evenly over prepared cookie sheet. (Mixture will be wet.)
  5. Broil patties 5 inches from broiler, about 5 minutes per side, until golden. Let cool slightly. Serve warm in a roll or with lemon dill sauce.
Notes
  1. I had leftover bulgur pilaf with toasted walnuts in the fridge so I substituted the bulgur for the barley....walnuts and all!
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Kale Chips

 

I eat these like potato chips.  

 

Kale Chips
Yields 3
Crisply baked Kale Chips
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 16-oz bag chopped kale, washed and dried in salad spinner
  2. 1/4 cup olive oil
  3. salt
  4. pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. Add kale to prepared pan. (or pans in you want to make on two sheets) Toss kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in center of the oven until crispy, 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before transferring to serving bowl.
Notes
  1. Toss in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese and omit salt. Bake as directed.
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Hostess Cupcakes

IMG_2614 IMG_2616 IMG_2618

 Whenever I need to relax, I bake.

I spent the afternoon whipping up a white chocolate mousse filling that wouldn’t set.  Alternatively, I reworked the recipe using a quick buttercream frosting recipe.  Use the frosting on top of the cupcakes in place of the glaze and add sprinkles-that works too!

These are much faster to make if you don’t bother making the filling.

 

Hostess Cupcakes
Serves 24
Devils Food Cupcakes filled with Buttercream frosting and glazed with Ganache
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
55 min
Ingredients
  1. For the buttercream frosting;
  2. 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
  3. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1 tablespoon milk or cream
  6. For the cake;
  7. 3 cups granulated sugar
  8. 2 1/4 cups flour
  9. 1 tablespoon baking soda
  10. 11/2 teaspoons baking powder
  11. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
  13. 4 large eggs
  14. 2 large egg yolks
  15. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  16. 1 1/2 cups strong brewed coffee, warm
  17. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  18. 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  19. For the chocolate ganache glaze;
  20. 1 cup heavy cream
  21. 1 cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  22. For the decoration on top of cupcakes;
  23. 6 tablespoons white chocolate, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with cupcake papers or spray nonstick cupcake pans with cooking spray. (Or make cupcakes in two batches with two 6-cupcake pans)
  2. For the frosting;
  3. In a medium bowl, mix confectioner's sugar and butter. Stir in milk or cream until spreading consistency. Scrape into pastry bag with small 0 shaped nozzle.
  4. For the Devils food cupcakes;
  5. In large bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa until well combined.
  6. In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, buttermilk, coffee and vanilla. Make a well in dry ingredients. Slowly whisk in egg mixture until completely blended. Stir in melted butter.
  7. Pour batter half way up cupcake papers and set pans in middle of the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes until set. Let cool on wire racks.
  8. When completely cool, fill middle of cupcakes with buttercream frosting by placing pastry tip at center of cupcake and squeezing in buttercream. Wipe off any frosting that protrudes to the top.
  9. Heat cream in microwave until hot about 2 minutes. Stir in bittersweet chocolate until smooth.
  10. Dip tops of cupcakes in glaze and let cool.
  11. Drizzle white chocolate over the top of cupcakes of place in plastic baggie and slightly cut off one point at bottom of bag to form a tip. Pipe decorative loops over top of each cupcake.
Notes
  1. If you'd like to skip the frosting in the middle of the cakes, go ahead! The cupcakes are rich and moist without the added filling.
Adapted from WSJ
Adapted from WSJ
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Reject recipe tasters:

Formal discarded recipe taster, "Franky"

 Franky has a very discerning palate and tongue!

Gordy, 10 year old participant.  His wide girth and up for anything attitude has kept him on the panel.

Gordy, 10 year old participant. His wide girth and “up for anything” attitude has kept him on the panel.

 

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Mango Lime Salsa

     When peaches are in season, substitute  them for the mangoes. 

Mango Lime Salsa
This refreshing salsa actually improves if refrigerated for an hour or overnight. The flavors blend and settle into one harmonious mixture.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  2. 2 ripe avocados, diced
  3. 3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
  4. 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  5. 1/4 small red onion, diced
  6. 2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
  7. 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  8. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Serve with tortilla chips.
Notes
  1. I like to serve with homemade tortilla chips. Cut corn tortillas into 6 triangles and deep fry until golden in hot oil. Sprinkle at once with salt and let cool on paper towels before serving.
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