Irish Soda Bread

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hello. I'm sorry I'm a day short of blogging this recipe but I want to share it with you. This is not your typical frying pan Irish Soda Bread. This is nice, moist and cake-like. It's very easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. I suggest that you do not try to half this recipe. I've tried several times and it doesn't come out right. 

Irish Soda Bread

6 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 oz butter
1 cup raisins
1 quart buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut in butter. Add raisins, mix until coated. Add buttermilk, a little at a time. The dough will be wet and soft.

Bake in two buttered pie plates for about an hour or until tops are golden brown. Make sure you draw a cross on top of each of the cakes as this is the traditional way the cakes are made.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hello Followers!!! I'm sorry I've been gone so long. I really don't have an excuse why but the important part is that I'm back! I think I lost my creativeness in the kitchen but it seems my cooking mojo is back.

I would like to share with you a very delicious recipe. My mother's Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is the perfect comfort soup. She has been making this as long as I can remember and when I was younger, I wasn't a fan of the mushroom. I feel bad that I've missed out on something so good.

A few hints, I use pre-sliced mushrooms (and so does Mom) because it definitely cuts the preparation time. And you can adjust the soy sauce and sherry to your liking. If you're not a big fan, use less. We have a tendency to use a little more because it perks up the flavor.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 lbs fresh mushrooms - whole or pre-sliced
1 leek - white part only
3 tbsp. butter
3 1/2 tbsp. flour
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. sherry
1 1/2 c. light cream
salt and pepper to taste

Clean and slice mushrooms (if you didn't get pre-sliced). Trim off and discard green portion of the leek.  Wash the leek well and remove any dirt from the layers (if necessary). Finely dice the leak.

In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add mushrooms and leek and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth, soy sauce and sherry. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add cream and salt and pepper. Bring back to a simmer (not boil) and serve.


Coconut Shrimp

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I cannot believe that in a few days it will be 2010! This year has flown right on by. I hope that all my foodie friends who have stopped by have had a fun and safe holiday so far and wish you all a happy new year.

Today I'm posting my husband's favorite meal - Coconut Shrimp. I made this for his birthday this year and he absolutely loves this. I think this was one of the first recipes I've ever cooked for him. What I like about it, it's an easy meal and you can pair it with anything - fancy it up with some mashed potatoes or just serve it alone as an appetizer. This recipe is scaled down for two people but it can easily be doubled or tripled.

Coconut Shrimp
3/4 lb. large shrimp
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 egg whites
1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut
Oil for frying

Peel, devein and butterfly shrimp. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch, salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.  In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy.  In a third bowl, add coconut. In an assembly line, dip shrimp in cornstarch mixture (shake off excess), then dip into egg whites and lastly, dip into coconut. Make sure you press the shrimp in the coconut to coat well.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Fry half batch of shrimp (about 5-6 - depending on size of shrimp and pan) for about 3 minutes on each side - or until golden brown. Place on rack to drain. Serve warm.


If you liked this, you may like:

Baked Stuffed Shrimp with Crabmeat 

Shrimp Scampi

Twice Baked Stuffed Potates for Two

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is another one of my husband's favorite side dishes. I think he likes this because I make a little potato skin out of the top. They take a little time to make but you can short cut by cooking the potato in the microwave. Trust me, it will crisp up when you throw it back in the oven for the cheese to melt.

Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes for Two

2 large Russet potatoes
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. sour cream
1/2 c. cheddar cheese
1/4 c. bacon, cooked and crumbled
Salt and pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Pierce potatoes with fork and cook in oven for about an hour or until done (if you don't have time to cook for an hour, just cook in microwave).  Remove potatoes and cut off tops of potato, set top aside.. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Scoop out potato in a bowl, being careful not to rip. Leave enough potato inside to form a shell but not too thin.  Add butter, sour cream, salt and pepper (to taste) to bowl and mash with fork until well mixed. Add bacon and cheese, leaving some aside for topping and for the 'potato tops'. Mix well and fill mixture into potato shell. Sprinkle 'potato tops' and potato with remaining cheese and bacon. Bake in oven at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until cheese has melted.


If you liked this, you may like:

Roasted Potatoes 

Breakfast Potatoes

Easy and Pleasing Appetizers

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year.  You know your main menu: turkey and mashed potatoes, what vegatble you're going to serve and your special Pumpkin Pie for dessert. What are you going to make for an appetizer?  Are you going to serve just cheese and crackers with some veggies to hold your guests over before serving Tom Turkey?  Here are a few appetizers that are quick and easy to make.

Sausage Bread

This tasty snack can feed a crowd.  You can make it the night before and warm it in the oven right before the guests come over.

These egg rolls will win the hearts of your guests.  You can make the filling the night before whcih is a great time saver. 

Touchdown Chicken 

These little nuggets are very kid friendly.  They are very quick to make and very good to eat.

This is my husband's favorite snack.  The best part - you can change this recipe to whatever you want. If you don't want a meat filling, go ahead and swap it with some pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and some pepperoni.

I think these Cheese Puffs are the fastest appetizer I've ever made.  They just need about 5 minutes under the broiler in the toaster oven and they're done.

I hope you enjoyed the recipes above and that I offered some help.  I wish you all a safe and healthy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Sesame Chicken

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I will admit, I'm not a big fan of Chinese food but I do love Sesame Chicken.  We went out to dinner earlier in the week and I ordered Sesame Chicken, which I haven't had in the longest time. It inspired me to try to figure out how to make my own. I wasn't too confident as the last time I made Chinese, my Lo Mein went straight from my wok to my garbage. It wasn't so last night. It was delicious!  My husband felt that the sauce could have more sugar but I thought it was just fine.  So, in making, when you taste the sauce, you can add more to it to taste.

Sesame Chicken

2 tablespoons flour 
2  tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 dash sesame oil
1 pound boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
Oil for frying

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 - 1 cup white sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
2 tablespoons white vinegar 
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2  teaspoon chile paste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons green onion

Mix flour, cornstarch, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl.  Add soy sauce, sherry, water, oil and sesame oil to mixture. Whisk until smooth.  Add chicken and stir until chicken is coated in batter.  Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

While chicken is marinating, in a small saucepan, add chicken broth, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chile paste and garlic powder. Whisk and bring to a boil.  In a measuring cup, add cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water; dissolve and add to boiling sauce. Simmer and whisk sauce until it thickens (about 2 minutes). Turn heat to low and keep sauce warm.

In wok, heat oil on medium high heat.  Add chicken in small batches and fry until golden brown (about 5 minutes).  Drain on wok rack and start next batch.  After chicken has drained, put on a plate lined with paper towel and slightly tent plate with foil to keep chicken warm. Once all chicken has been cooked, transfer to serving dish and pour sauce over chicken. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve with your favorite rice.


If you liked this, you may like:

Touchdown Chicken

Lydia's not so Beef Wellington for Two

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I thought this would be a great meal to post for all of you that are looking for dinners for two. We have had Beef Wellington in the past and thought it would be fun to make again. As I was digging around for some recipes, I saw that it had mushrooms and pate in the recipe - this is stuff my husband won't eat. So, I came up with a little recreation that was husband friendly and I still got my mushrooms.

Lydia's not so Beef Wellington for Two

2 pieces of Filet Mignon - about 1/2 lb. each
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. oil
1 sheet Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry
Egg wash (1 beaten egg with a splash of water)

Mushroom Sauce
1 c. sliced mushrooms
5 tbsp. butter
salt, pepper and garlic powder
1 1/2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
6 tbsp. red wine (I used Cabernet)
3/4 c. beef broth or stock

Preheat oven at 450 degrees. Heat oil in a medium skillet over high heat.  Salt and pepper filets. Sear filets for about one minute on each side and set on plate to rest. Refridgerate until filets are cool to touch.

Roll puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle - about 6" x 12" and 1/4" thick.  Place filet on one side of pastry, leaving enough room to fold pastry around filet. Brush egg wash over pastry. Fold pastry over filet, molding it around the meat. Cut pastry and remove filet cut out.  Glaze pastry with egg wash. **Optional - you can decorate the top of your pastry with cut outs of the remaining dough. I made our first initials and put it on top of the pastry.

Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

Saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp. butter.  Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Set aside.

In the same frying pan you seared the filet, saute shallots over medium heat, for about a minute. Add wine and boil until it's reduced by half - usually about 2 minutes. Add beef broth and boil until mixture turns syrupy (usually about 10 minutes). Add remaining butter and whisk until melted. Add mushrooms and pour over puff pastry.


If you liked this, you  may like:

Beef Fajitas

Beef Stew

Halloween Dirt Cake

Friday, October 30, 2009

Looking for a different dessert for Halloween? Look no further.  Dirt Cake is the way to go. It's very easy, kid friendly, fun to make and you can really show your creative side.  It's really fun decorating this cake. You can leave it as plain as I did or really jazz it up for Halloween. I tried making tombstones out of Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies by coating them with white chocolate but they didn't look right.

Halloween Dirt Cake
1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix
1 can Betty Crocker Whipped Frosting - Chocolate
15 Oreos
10 gummy worms

Make cake according to directions on cake box.   Depending on how many people you are feeding, you can either make a 13x9 cake or 2 8x8 cakes. Let cake cool.

Separate Oreos and remove the filling. Crush the oreos and set aside. Once cake has cooled, frost cake with frosting.  Cover frosting with Oreos to make "dirt".  Decorate cake with gummy worms or other Halloween items.


If you liked this, you may like:

Monkey Bread

Apple Crisp for Two

Peanut Butter Cookies for Two

Thursday, October 22, 2009

If you like peanut butter, you'll love these cookies. They are a chef's best friend.  They are very quick to make, easy clean up and delicious. I've scaled down this recipe because the original just makes too much.  This recipe makes about 12 cookies, which is perfect for two people.

Peanut Butter Cookies for Two

1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. + 1/8 c. flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 30-40 seconds. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Mix until combined. Scrape sides of bowl while mixing. Beat in egg and vanilla until well incorporated. Beat in flour and mix well. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, you may want to refrigerate the dough for about 15 min so the do will be easy to handle.

In a small bowl, add about 1/4 sugar. Roll spoonful of dough into 1" balls. Roll ball in dough and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten cookie with fork, making crisscross with fork tines. Bake at 375 degrees for about 9 minutes or until bottoms are slightly browned. Cool on wire rack.


If you liked this, you may like:

Pumpkin Cookies with Walnuts

Apple Crisp for Two

Joanne's New England Clam Chowder

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Here is another secret family recipe I would like to share with you all - my mother's New England Clam Chowder.  My parents have been making this for years and people always ask them when they are going to make it again. It's something that they cook together: he makes the roux; she does the rest. It's creamy and the perfect meal to eat on a cold day.  You can double or triple the recipe to your liking.

Joanne's New England Clam Chowder

2 10 oz. cans of baby clams
1 c. clam juice
6 slices of bacon
1 c. chopped onion
4 c. diced potatoes
3 c. half and half
1/2 c. cocktail Sherry
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

Drain clams and pour liquid into a measuring cup. Add water to clam juice to make 1 cup of juice. Rinse clams under water and set aside to drain.  Cut bacon into 1/2 " strips (Mom uses kitchen shears) and fry in a large saucepan until crisp.  Add onion and cook until tender.  Add potatoes and clam juice.  Cover and let simmer until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).  Add half and hlaf and Sherry and let simmer.

In a small sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to make a roux.  Cook until thick and light golden brown.  Stir into soup.  Cook slow and stir until thick.  Add remaining seasonings and clams. Let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Serve with oyster crackers.


If you liked this, you may like:

Beef Stew

French Onion Soup