Friday, May 18, 2012

Asian Bowtie Pasta Salad

Is is warming up where you are?  I think we just completely missed Spring this year and bounded headlong into Summer.  While I am looking forward to no school for a little while, I am not ashamed to say that Summer is one of my least favorite months because of the hot weather.  I'm convinced that it's because I grew up on the coast (in Santa Barbara).....I'm really happy when the temp is anywhere in the 60s or 70s.......once it starts creeping up into the 80s and above I complain.....a lot!  

Once the weather starts heating up, I try to do everything I can to not turn on the oven (unless it's for baking).  I'll either fire up the BBQ or stick with something cool for dinner.  My dear friend Lisa turned me onto this recipe for Asian Bowtie Pasta Salad, from Week of Menus.  It's fantastic to whip up for dinner (you'll want to make a 1/2 recipe, and you'll have leftovers), or make the whole recipe and bring to a party.  It will be a huge hit!  You use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, so no cooking required, apart from boiling the pasta!  Add green onions, spinach, peppers, and sesame's delicious, and there is a lot of healthy stuff going on in there!

Check out Week of Menus for the recipe.....and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:

Monday, May 14, 2012

TWD: Pecan Sticky Buns

For this round of Tuesdays with Dorie (Baking with Julia) we are tackling Pecan Sticky Buns.  These are not your ordinary sticky buns.......these have a brioche dough that comes out beautifully flaky and amazingly decadent.  I had never attempted a dough like this.....and to be honest, after reading through this recipe, I was quite intimidated.  However, although there were many steps, and you do need to start these well in advance of actually wanting to eat them.......none of the individual steps were very difficult.

Shall we talk about how much butter you're going to need to use for these?  Nah......let's not.  You'll enjoy them so much more if you don't know.  I know a lot of the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers cut out a lot of the butter.....but man.....they were sooooo worth the calories.  Let's face it, these are not something you're going to be eating everyday.......these are a special indulgence.

If you'd like to tackle these bad boys, check out the recipe on our hosts' blogs.....Lynn over at Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat or Nicole at Cookies on Friday.  And check out all fo the other baker's results here........Enjoy!

This post has been linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - Link Party - T' Time - Tuesday Talent Show - Mrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Tip Me TuesdayLink It Up Wednesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Full Plate Thursday - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Sweet Tooth Friday - I'm Lovin' It - Sweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration -  Scrumptious Sunday - Mix It Up Monday - What Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday - Breakfast Ideas Monday - Show Me What You Got

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Water Lily Cupcakes

Since Mother's Day is coming up, I decided to do a pretty little cupcake that would make a beautiful centerpiece on a dessert table.....Water Lily cupcakes.  I got this idea from Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My.  They've got a ton of amazing looking ideas for totally fun desserts (having two little boys at home, I'm always on the lookout for fun stuff).

For these cupcakes, you can use any flavor cupcake you want...and any size you want (regular or mini).  Go fancy or go plain.....homemade or a box's totally up to you.  Same goes for the frosting......homemade or store bought....your call.  I decided to go really simple, and make a box cake mix of chocolate fudge cupcakes, and bought a tub of vanilla frosting (something I would normally never admit to).

Once your cupcakes are baked and cooled you will also need:

white candy melt wafers
plastic spoons (they must be plastic, not metal)
vanilla frosting
red and green food coloring
yellow sprinkles

1.  To make the petals of the flowers, line a cookie sheet with wax paper.  Place the white candy melt wafers in a microwave safe bowl and heat until melted and stir until smooth.  Dip the back of the plastic spoon into the melted candy so that the back of the spoon is coated, and then gently shake off the excess melted candy.  If there is any melted candy that has oozed over the edge of the spoon use a finger or a paper towel to wipe it off.  Place the spoon, candy side up, on the cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden (for about 5 minutes).

2.  Remove the spoons from the refrigerator and let stand for about 1 minute.  Then, very carefully, bend the back of the spoons to release the candy, forming the petals for the flowers.  You will break a few of them, but once you get the hang of it, it will go pretty fast.  You will need between 3-5 petals per flower, so continue with this process until you have enough petals.

3.  Separate about 1/4 cup of your frosting, and tint to a pale pink color using red food coloring.  Place this colored frosting in a ziploc bag.  Use the green food coloring to tint the remaining food coloring a vibrant (lily pad) green.

4.  Use a spoon to dab a dime-size dollop of the melted candy onto the wax paper.  Take a petal and place the larger end in the melted candy.  Repeat 2-4 more times with additional petals, overlapping each petal slightly, to make the water lily shape.  Refrigerate the flower until it has set, about 5 minutes.

5.  Frost the cupcakes with the green tinted frosting.  Use as much or as little as you like.

6.  Remove the flowers from the refrigerator.  Snip the corner off of the ziploc bag containing the pale pink frosting and dab on dots of pink frosting into the center of the flower.  Sprinkle the pink frosting with the yellow sprinkles.  Remove the flower from the wax paper and place on top of the cupcake.

7.  Serve, eat, and enjoy!

I really hope you give these a try......they're sure to impress!  Check out Cupcakes, Cookies & Pie, Oh My! for more fun dessert ideas.....and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Crazy Sweet Tuesday - Tasty Tuesday - T' Time - Link It Up Wednesday - Tip Me Tuesday - Tuesday Talent ShowMrs. Fox's Sweet Party - Cast Party Wednesday - Bake with Bizzy - Wednesday Link Party - Full Plate Thursday - Sweet Treats Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Food - Sweet Tooth Friday - I'm Lovin' It - Seasonal Inspiration - Sweets for a Saturday - Scrumptious SundayWhat Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday - Mix It Up Monday - Show Me What You Got

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Search for the Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For this round of the Crazy Cooking Challenge (CCC) we are looking for the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.  Hellooooo?  Grilled cheese sandwich??  It could be one of the yummiest foods way was I going to miss this one!

I knew right away which recipe I was going to try!  I've been hearing about the Grilled Cheese Truck here in LA for a while, and their standout Grilled Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork.  Since I haven't been able to find the truck, I figured I'd make it at home, so I was so  happy to find the recipe on Panini was calling my name!

This recipe calls for pulled pork, cooked in the slow cooker for 20 hours.  20 hours!!!  But can we please talk about how absolutely amazing this pork ended up being??  Seriously good stuff!  Absolutely worth the torture of smelling it for a whole day.  Top the pulled pork with some homemade stovetop macaroni and cheese and some caramelized onions......add some bread and more cheese.........and all I can say is WOW!  Not something you want to be eating everyday.......but soooo worth every calorie!  Enjoy!

Grilled Mac and Cheese with Pulled Pork
Source: Food Network via Panini Happy

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
4 cups prepared macaroni and cheese, warmed (see below)
2 onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups prepared pulled pork (see below)
8 slices sourdough bread
12 slices sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)

1.  Spread the macaroni and cheese into an 8-inch-square baking dish to about 3/4 inch thick.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill until firm, about 45 minutes.  Cut the macaroni and cheese into squares that are slightly smaller than the bread slices.
2.  Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
3.  Combine the barbecue sauce and pulled pork in a saucepan over low heat and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
4.  Preheat the panini grill or frying pan to medium-high heat.
5.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and brush on each side of bread slice.  Flip over half of the bread slices; layer 1 slice of cheddar, 1 macaroni and cheese square, and another slice of cheddar on each.  Top each with one quarter of the pulled pork and caramelized onions and another slice of cheddar.  Top with remaining bread slices, buttered side up.
6.  Working in batches, cook the sandwiches until the cheese melts and the bread is golden, about 5 minutes.

Macaroni and Cheese
Source: via Panini Happy

8 ounces elbow macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 dash black pepper
2 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded (8 oz.)

1.  Cook macaroni according to package directions.
2.  In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; stir in flour, salt, and pepper; slowly add milk.
3.  Cook and stir until bubbly.
4.  Stir in cheese until melted.
5.  Drain macaroni; add cheese sauce; stir to coat.

Kalua Pig in a Slow Cooker
Source: via Panini Happy

1 (6 lb.) pork butt roast
1 1/2 tablespoons Hawaiian sea salt
1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring

1.  Pierce pork all over with a carving fork.  Rub salt, then liquid smoke over meat.  Place roast in a slow cooker.
2.  Cover, and cook on low for 16 to 20 hours, turning once during cooking time.
3.  Remove meat from slow cooker, and shred, adding drippings as needed to moisten.


Check out what everyone else made!

This post has been linked to:
Mix it Up Monday - What Makes You Say Mmmmm? Monday - Show Me What You Got - Tasty Tuesday - Tuesday Talent Show - T' Time - Link It Up Wednesday - Tip Me Tuesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Full Plate Thursday - Show Off Your Stuff - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Favorites - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Food -  I'm Lovin' It - Seasonal Inspiration - Scrumptious Sunday

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Club: Baked - Baked Grits

Sorry for the horrible picture.  Late dinner!
For this round of Club: Baked we are tackling the only savory recipe in the book, Baked Grits.  During our vacation in Charleston, SC and Asheville, NC this past summer, the hubby and I tried our fair share of grits, and loved almost all of them!  So when the hubby realized that I would be making grits, you better believe he was a happy camper!

Living in California, I wasn't sure stone ground grits would be super easy to I was happily surprised when I found that Trader Joe's had started carrying stone ground grits about a month or two ago!  These are very simple to put just need to give it time to cook.  Cooked in milk and finished with a ton of could these not be great?

The hubby absolutely adored these!  They are absolutely worth the time it takes to make them.  And the next day?  After the grits had cooled off and firmed up I sliced them and fried the slices.....little grit cakes....yum!

Check out the other baker's results here......and check out Lisa at Gourmified for the recipe......and Enjoy!

This post is linked to:
Tuesday Talent Show - T' Time - Tasty Tuesday - Link It Up Wednesday - Cast Party Wednesday - Full Plate Thursday - Bake with Bizzy - Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday - Friday Favorites - Feed Your Soul - Friday Free-For-All - Anything Goes Linky - Friday Food - Fun Stuff FridaysSweets for a Saturday - Seasonal Inspiration - Scrumptious SundayWhat Makes You Say Mmmmm Monday? - Mix It Up Monday - Show Me What You Got