Roasted Cauliflower with Herbed Breadcrumbs

November 21, 2009

On the hunt for a different veggie to make for dinner one night, I came across the recipe in November Everyday Food for Roasted Cauliflower with Herbed Breadcrumbs and gave it a try. You roast your cauliflower pieces at 450 after tossing with olive oil, salt and pepper. I found 450 to be a bit too hot – it was browning but not cooking through, so I reduced the temp to 400 and that worked better.

While that’s roasting, put 2 pieces of bread and 1 garlic clove in the Cuisinart with salt and pepper and chop it up into breadcrumbs. Then toast them in a skillet with some olive oil, adding thyme and parsley (I used dry and added about a tsp of each).  Martha says to add the zest of a lemon. I was too lazy!

When the cauliflower is ready, squeeze half a lemon over it and toss the breadcrumbs with it. I liked this, but I have to admit I would rather have cheese on my cauliflower any day of the week. The garlic gave it a nice flavor and the breadcrumbs really were good, but the whole thing just felt dry to me.

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Rice Fritters

November 20, 2009

I remembered seeing a recipe for rice fritters in the November issue of Rachel Ray Magazine, but that has long been recycled. With a container of leftover brown rice in the fridge, I decided to take my inspiration from what I could remember of the recipe and put together some rice fritters.

I started with 2 cups of cooked brown rice. To that I added 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 egg, 1 egg white, 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, salt and pepper, 1 tsp Italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp garlic powder. I mixed it up and made it into about 12 little patties and cooked them on my griddle in a few tbsps of olive oil until they were nicely browned on each side.

Yum! This was really delicious. The fritters were crunchy on the outside and cheesy on the inside. The nice thing about this recipe is you could change it up to work with whatever you have on hand – different cheeses, different seasonings and you could even add in some bacon or chopped ham or leftover chicken. We just ate them plain, but I could see serving these with a chicken dish that has a sauce that could go over it. (sorry about the photo – just when I thought I knew how to use the new camera…)

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Midnight Delights

November 19, 2009

midnight delightsMy in-laws just celebrated their 50th anniversary with a party at a restaurant. My mother-in-law asked all 3 daughters-in-law if they would each make a “pastry” for dessert – something hand held (no forks). She gave us each a gold (plastic) tray to use.

What to make? I decided to go with a tried and true recipe rather than take a risk on a new Martha recipe, so I went with Midnight Delights. I have no idea where the original recipe for this came from, but I started making it as a teen. In fact, a batch of these was my first ever Christmas gift to my now father-in-law when Mr. MarthaAndMe and I were dating.midnight delights2

This dessert has a chocolate mocha crust which is filled with a chocolate pecan filling. The crust gets nice and crunchy and filling stays soft and sort of gooey. They are evil if you are on a diet.

So I made about 40 (there were to be 35 guests I was told). Only about 6 were left over, so I think they were a hit.

Here’s the recipe:

Using a food processor, combine:

1 1/2 cups butter (small pieces)

3 1/2 cups flour

2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Once it is like coarse meal, gradually add 1 cup strong coffee (cooled). It will form a ball. Refrigerate for several hours.

While that is chilling, combine:

24 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small piece and melted

1 1/3 cups sugar

4 tbsp melted butter

5 tbsp milk

Mix until combined and smooth. Then beat in 4 eggs.

Stir in 1 cup chopped pecans.

Take the crust out of freezer and preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray muffin tins with cooking spray (I use silicone muffin tins). Press about 3 tbsp of dough into each muffin tin, to form a bottom and side crust that comes about halfway to 3/4 of the way up the sides of each tin.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop one scoop of batter into each tin, so that it comes up to the top of the crust you’ve pressed in.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the filling sets and the tops looked crackly. Let it cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, then remove. Makes about 40.

Note: You can also make this recipe in  mini-muffin tins. Cut the recipe in half and reduce the baking time to about 20 minutes.

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A Merry Martha Gift Guide

November 18, 2009

I decided to put together a Martha Stewart product gift guide. You don’t have to be a Martha fan to appreciate the things she sells. Martha could probably fill an entire store with her products at this point, so my challenge was to isolate just ten to recommend to you this holiday season. Check the list out for things you might want for yourself, hostess gifts, and presents for the ones you love!

cookie book1.Martha Stewart’s Cookies.  This book will be adored by anyone who likes to bake.  The cookies are organized by texture, which is a new approach, and includes classic recipes (peanut crisps, shortbread and snickerdoodles) as well as more adventurous kinds (bratseli, cornmeal thyme cookies, and Earl Grey cookies). $24.95

glue pen2. Fine Tip Glue Pen.  This is a great idea for anyone who crafts, has kids, or has lots of fun office supplies.  This dual purpose glue can be used wet for a traditional glue or once the applied glue has dried for a tacky, temporary stick. It’s a bargain at $3.06.

3. Glitter. Martha Stewart is now probably one of theglitter biggest purveyors of glitter – she has over 100 colors and types. Pick up a pack for crafters or kids. The glitter is excellent quality and the shades of color available are just astounding. $15.95 for a 12 pack.

towels4. Tropical Toile Kitchen Towels. These are perfect for a hostess gift.  The vintage look of these towels means your grandma will like them and so will your newly married cousin.  $8.99 for a 3-pack.

4. Trousseau Pillowcase Box Gift Set.  Beautifully pilllowedged heirloom quality pillowcases will make a welcome gift for anyone. Choose from lace, scallop or delicate blue edging. Because they’re white, they will match any sheet set and the 300 thread count means they will feel luxurious to weary heads. $29.99 for 2 pillow cases.

wedgewood5. Wedgwood French Knot Beverage Pot in Gold. What’s a gift list without a bit of luxury? Martha has her own line of Wedgewood dinnerware, and this elegant coffeepot/teapot is the perfect gift for the woman who has everything. Its delicate design will complement any china pattern and will identify her as a woman of class and taste. $189.

6. Asian Strainer. A fabulous stocking stuffer that will be asian strainerwelcome in any kitchen, this kitchen tool is bigger, lighter and more functional than a slotted spoon and is perfect for scooping veggies or ravioli out of boiling water. $7.99.

recipe7. Magnetic Recipe Divider. You’ve decided to cut your aunt’s cookie recipe in half, but what’s half of a 1/3 of a cup? Take the guessing out of reducing recipes and buy your Secret Santa this magnetic doohicky that does it all for her!  $9.99.

8. Counting Baby Quilt. For the mom-to-be or the new quiltbaby in your life, Martha’s 100% cotton quilt will be a cherished gift whether it is used as bedding or hung on a wall with the attached rod pocket loops. $79.99

cake plate9. Whiteware Cake Stand. Whether you choose round or square, these elegant cake stands will make any cake look like a gourmet treat.  Select 8″, 10″ or 12″ for $22 to $42.

10. Petite Hydrangea Plant.  Send this to your friends and family who won’t be coming home for Christmas (and maybe send one to yourself too!). Martha’s 1-800-Flowers collection includes these lovely live plants, in pink or purple, which will last much longer than hydrangeaa cut flower arrangement and can be planted in the garden come spring, for years of enjoyment. $39.95

Looking for other great gift ideas? Here is a round up of some other terrific gift guides:

Gifts for dogs and dog lovers

Irish music

Gifts for travelers who read

Gifts for travelers

Gifts from paradise

Foodie gifts under $20

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Martha Mondays: 11/23 Assignment

November 17, 2009

I never heard from the person scheduled to make this week’s pick , so I’m going to go ahead and choose it so we can get going with it. I thought we would try something a little different, so I’m choosing Birdseed-and-Suet Feeders from page 36 of November Living. I’m going to paraphrase the instructions for those of you who don’t have the magazine. You need 5 lbs mixed wild birdseed, 2 lbs suet (Martha says you can buy it from a butcher), 1 lb dried cranberries, and 1 lb raw peanuts. You need 5 1-qt plastic containers (takeout style) and twine.

First, render the suet by chopping and cooking over medium until it’s liquid. Strain through cheesecloth and let it solidify. Then heat it and strain it again. Mix it with the birdseed, cranberries and peanuts and fill the containers, leaving a loop of twine coming out of the middle of each. Freeze it 2 hours or overnight, remove from the containers and hang outside. It makes 5 (I’m going to cut this recipe at leas in half I think). I can’t wait to hear how it works for everyone!

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Spatchcocked Chicken

November 17, 2009

spatch chickenI’ve had a whole organic chicken in the freezer for a while and I finally decided to use it up for Sunday dinner. I came up a hybrid Martha/Lucinda Scala Quinn method for cooking it. I have Lucinda’s book, MadHungry (which is great) and have seen both her and Martha spatchcock (I know it sounds obscene!) a chicken on the Martha show (spatchcocking means you cut out the backbone and flatten the chicken to cook it – it cooks much faster this way). I combined this method with the idea in November Everyday Food to cook carrots and potatoes in the pan with chicken parts and with Lucinda’s pan sauce for her spatchcocked chicken in her book. spatch chicken2

So, first I cut out the backbone and flattened the chicken. I put it insides down in a roasting pan and surrounded it with carrots and baby red potatoes. I seasoned the chicken with rosemary, salt and pepper and some roast chicken seasoning I got from my mom. I put the salt and pepper and rosemary on the veggies, as well as some olive oil and roasted it all in a 400 degree oven for about 45  minutes (until the chicken was 165). I removed the chicken spatch chicken3and carrots and stuck the roasting pan on a burner with the potatoes still in it – I wanted them a little crispier. When they were done, I removed them and added a few tablespoons of olive oil, 2 chopped cloves of garlic and 2 tbsp lemon juice to the pan. I cooked it long enough to soften the garlic then served it.

This was AMAZING. First of all, it’s so much faster than a regular roast chicken and feels less fussy. The pan sauce was fabulous and so incredibly simple -something about the lemon and garlic is just to die for. We ate the sauce on both the chicken and on the potatoes. It was perfect. I highly recommend this dinner!!!

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Martha Mondays: Apple Tart

November 16, 2009

mondaysThis week’s Martha Mondays was chosen by AquaSunday – thanks for the pick! Apple Tart, from November Living was the pick. This is a quick version of an apple pie since it uses puff pastry. You have to roll out the puff pastry first to Martha’s specs. Mine stuck a bit to the counter despite the flour. You cut off an inch around the edge and layer that along the side to create crust. The tart has a layer of applesauce, apple tartthen Granny Smith apples which are brushed with butter and sanded with sugar. I added quite a lot of sugar because I do not like my apple tarts tart! I also sprinkled on some cinnamon, because I think that’s necessary too.

You bake this at 400 for 20 minutes – Martha says until the edges puff. Yikes! I should have checked mine sooner. At 20 min, my edges were dark brown. I had to cover them with foil for the next round of baking at 375 – until the apples are golden. When this comes out, you brush with apricot jam mixed with water and dust with powdered sugar. It looked very pretty I thought and apple tart2it was very easy to make compared to a pie.

As for taste, I didn’t like it. I thought it was very sour. I dumped some more powdered sugar on top, but even then I didn’t care for it. The kids ate theirs though (and Dude Martha had more for breakfast this morning). Mr. MarthaAndMe didn’t care for it much either. I did like the puff pastry and it did look very nice. So if I made it again, I would use a different kind of apple that is not so tart and lots more sugar. Then I think it would be very good.

Did you try this? If so, please post a link or let us know how it went, and try to visit everyone’s posts! If you would like to join Martha Mondays, let me know via comment or email.

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