Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Meal Plan

I can't believe that December has already arrived.  After focusing on the bustle surrounding our Thanksgiving weekend plans that included five days of having company, I have only just had a chance to recover.  Now that I am at least mostly recovered, I put together next month's plan.  There are still three days that are kind of up in the air regarding specifics (they would be the holidays of course).  There will be several meals repeated this month since we didn't use them last month and they still sound appealing.

Hey, Babe's family tradition for New Years Eve is to graze on hors d'oeuvres all evening which since it sounds rather appealing we will continue but have yet to nail down which ones exactly.  Since Hey, Babe's family always celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve, that is when we get together with them to celebrated Christmas (very convenient) and then they next day we do my family's celebration.  Once I find out what everyone else would like to bring for the meal (both will be at our house this year) I will finalize what I will be making.  

Mon. Tues. Wed. Thur. Fri. Sat. Sun.

Omelets Chicken and Rice Casserole Sheet Pan Pizza Potato Soup Salmon Salad Sandwiches
Barbecue Chicken Braid Spinach Pasta e Fagioli Soup Chicken Stir Fry Tex-Mex Pizza Penne with Vodka Sauce Monte Cristo Sandwiches Salmon Salad Sandwiches
Arroz con pollo Cream of Tomato Soup Crispy Fish Tacos Spaghetti with Chickpeas Pepperoni Pan Pizza Rump Roast, Potatoes, Carrots & Parsnips Salmon Salad Sandwiches
Beef Soup from leftover Roast Spinach, Cheddar & Mushroom Quesadilla & Sweet Potato Black Bean Soup Chicken Curry Over Rice Omelets Christmas Eve Potluck:
Black Bean Soup
Christmas Day Potluck:
Salmon Salad Sandwiches
Chicken Enchiladas Chicken Tortellini Soup Horseradish Honey Salmon Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, rice, green beans hors d'oeuvres
(specifics are as yet undecided)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Daring Bakers Make Crostata

The 2010 November Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Simona of briciole. She chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ to make pasta frolla for a crostata. She used her own experience as a source, as well as information from Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.

I have never tried crostata before, so I was looking forward to this challenge.  While the cream filling sounded right up my alley, I decided to instead go for a simpler version topping it instead with my homemade apple butter.  I thought it would be a nice addition to our Thanksgiving dessert spread.

This was a very easy tart to put together, especially since I was able to whip it together in the food processor.  It was nice and tender and just sweet enough to complement the apple butter.  I actually enjoyed this crust so much that I may use it instead of my standard crust for the pumpkin pies next time.  There are several variations for a crostada including fresh fruit, preserves, or cream, so rather then put all the recipes here I will instead simply provide the link to the options, please head over to the Daring Baker's site if you would like to try one of the variation for this delicious dessert.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Lemon Sugar Cookies, week 9

I knew that this week was going to be a busy one.  One top of all the standard preparations that surround Thanksgiving, we were expecting to meet my sister's future in laws who were driving in from several states away to meet our family.  Just a little added stress to the mix, at least for my Mom and sister.

With that in mind, I decided not to worry about today's cookie post.  Instead, I pulled out a ziploc bag of frozen cookie balls that I prepared months ago and popped into the freezer.  I love this technique, it enables me to make up a large batch of cookie dough all at once (including the accompanying mess) and then either cook them immediately or save them and cook them each one at a time even, whenever I feel like a fresh warm cookie.  It works wonderfully, especially in certain circumstances such as unexpected company, quick weeknight treats, or just so that you don't find yourself eating an entire double batch of cookies in one day.

These cookies are soft and almost cakey with a delicious hit of lemon, and for this batch I combined lemon and lime zest together.  If you don't flatten the dough balls (I don't) they stay softer and more cakey, if you prefer them to develop a chewier texture, flatten down the each cookie before baking it as the recipe instructs.  The original recipe calls for a glaze which I have occasionally used, but I most often serve them plain.  The glaze adds further depth to the lemon flavor since it is bound together with lemon juice instead of your typical milk.  A soft, mildly sweet cookie that is delicious any season, whether it is alongside a cup of hot tea on a cold snowy day or a glass of iced tea under an umbrella in the sun.

For freezing directions (and this is applicable to most drop style cookies, I especially like to do this with Chocolate Chip Cookies):
Scoop out balls of dough to the desired size (1 tablespoon for smaller cookies, 2 tablespoons for larger ones) and space them out very closely together on a cookie sheet so that they are nearly but not quite touching.  Place the tray in the freezer and leave until the balls are frozen solid.  After they are completely frozen, remove them and place them all in a freezer safe container, either a sealed bag or bin.  When you are ready to bake your cookies, remove the desired number from the freezer and place them on the cookie sheet spaced apart with enough room so that they may spread.  Leave the tray out until the cookies balls are mostly defrosted while you are preheating the oven.  Bake according to original recipe's instructions, being prepared to bake them slightly longer if they are not entirely defrosted.  Enjoy fresh, warm, homemade goodies whenever you like.  Restock freezer as necessary so that you don't ever run out.  You never know when you need a cookie in a hurry.

Lemon-Frosted Sugar Cookies
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Food coloring

To prepare cookies, beat granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 4 minutes). Add eggs and next 4 ingredients (egg through 1 teaspoon vanilla), beating well. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (flour through salt). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring well. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap; chill 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Using a 1 TB cookie scoop dip scoop into a small bowl with some extra flour. Shake off the flour and scoop out a level TB of dough. Release dough onto cookie sheet and using a floured hand or bottom of a cup press firmly on the ball to flatten. Place cookies two inches apart. Bake at 400° for 8 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove cookies from pans using a wide spatula, and cool on wire rack.

To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Stir in food coloring, if desired. Spread about 2 tsp of the icing over each cookie, or place icing in a small zip-top plastic bag. Snip a tiny hole in one corner, and drizzle icing over cookies. Sprinkle with assorted sugar sprinkles, if desired.

Be sure and check out the rest of the cookies for Week 9 of the Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank You

Well, it's been a bit quiet here since the kids and I have been under the weather with a head cold.  I did manage to get my Christmas Cookies baked and posted for Friday and we are starting to feel much better but since Thanksgiving is this week I'm not sure that I'll be around much.  So much for posting every day this month for NaBloPoMo, oh well, quality not quantity right?

Speaking of quality, I returned to discover that Marcellina must find this little corner worth frequenting because she has selected me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Thank you so much Marcellina!  I am honored to receive this award.  It really means a lot to me especially since I have been blogging such a short time.  It feels nice to be welcomed into the blogging community in such a manner.

The conditions of this award are as follows:
1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

There are several blogs I have recently discovered and find lovely.  In no particular order they are:

Abby Sweets
Passionate About Baking
Steph's Bite by Bite
Monster Mama
Melynda's Food Madness
Baking and Creating with Avril
Baking and Boys
Bakin' on the Side
Making Memories with Your Kids
Two Peas and their Pod
With Thankful Hearts
City Enterlude
Double Dipped Life

Please check out these lovely blogs.  They all contribute their share of lovely stories, photos and recipes. And thank you Marcellina once again.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hungarian Walnut Cookies, week 8

I had intended to make and post a Kolachy recipe that I was going to try.  After having stumbled over it recently and realized that I had all the necessary ingredients  to make it, it seemed to be the perfect cookie to add to the tray this week.  The recipe called for a prune filling among other options.  I didn't have any of the options precisely, but I did have a container of prunes that was just the right amount to make my own prune butter.  Unfortunately, I managed to somehow render the prunes entirely inedible, charred as a matter of fact, in a very short period of time.  All this was done while following the recipe and letting it simmer covered.  Oh well, I know better for next time.

Since that was the last of the prunes I found myself suddenly needing to find another recipe.  I had already softened butter and cream cheese for the dough and while I cold have easily returned them to the fridge, I instead decided it was time for me to attempt to make a cookie I had first tasted in college.

One of my roommates shared these cookies and called them "Kiffles".  They were delicious.  These are one of my favorite cookies, right up there with Chocolate Chip and 7 Layer Rainbow Cookies.  Between those three I'm not sure that I could choose.  Unfortunately, due to a promise rendered to her Grandmother, my roommate was unable to share the recipe.  (I could go off on a long tangent about this practice of "secret" recipes, but I won't.  Suffice it to say that I dislike it.)  I have wanted to try to make these for years, but because of how good the secret recipe version was, I was reluctant to try and fail.  Boy was that foolish because these were at least as good as her version.  That means I could have been making my own all this time.

After reading through dozens of versions in the years since I first tried these, I had a pretty good idea of the ratio of ingredients, so the following is more or less my own.  The interesting part about these cookies is their lack of sugar in the dough.  This is because you will roll them out with Confectioners, or Powdered Sugar instead of flour.  I have had these with various fillings (apparently they can even be made savory, who'd have known?) including both apricot and a walnut filling.  I believe that walnut is more traditional and that is what I have chosen to make this time.  One last note is there seems to be some discrepancy with their name.  I first heard them referred to as Kiffles, but have since discovered that they may be called Kifli as well.  I am not sure which is more accurate, but to me, they will always be Kiffles.

Kiffles or Hungarian Walnut Cookies
6 ounces cream cheese
1 cup butter
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg whites
8 ounces ground walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
pinch Salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration and assembly

1. In a medium bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Stir in the egg yolks and vanilla. Stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until it is fully incorporated. Roll walnut sized pieces of dough into balls (I used a 1 tablespoon scoop) and place on a cookie sheet that is lightly dusted with powdered sugar.  Lightly dust the tops of the dough and place in the fridge, covered, for at least 1 hour.

2. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until foamy, add the sugar, salt, walnuts, and vanilla.  Set aside.  On a surface lightly floured with Powdered Sugar, roll a ball of dough out to 1/8 inch thickness. (Add more sugar as needed to prevent sticking.

--For smaller cookies: Roll into an oval, cut the oval in half through the skinny middle and place a small amount of filling a bit off center.  Fold the dough over the filling and seal.  Twist of the sides and set on a cookie sheet, pulling the sides towards each other to form a crescent.

-For larger cookies: Roll into an oval/circle and place a large amount of filling in the center.  Roll up the dough around the filling in the same manner as for small cookies, twisting the sides and placing the cookie in a crescent shape.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes for smaller cookies or 10 to 12 minutes for larger cookies, until lightly browned. When cool, dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Don't forget to check out the other entries for this week!
Week 8 of the Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Winds-Day!

Weather can be a funny thing, and is entirely undependable.  It can make or break your day, and it can make or break the event you have planned for a day.  Seeing as how the only event I had planned today was to get over a head cold, I felt certain that the weather wasn't going to impact my day at all.

I was cozy and warm inside, content that we had no where to go today and that I could stay in and avoid the damp windy weather that had moved in.  That is, until the wind picked up and started tossing our trash cans down the street.  Apparently the weather was bound and determined to get my attention.  Grumbling a bit to myself that I was going to have to run out into what was sure to be cold and blustery outdoors, I decided to forgo the jacket and just get it over with quickly.

The first surprise was apparent the moment I stepped out the door.  While it was certainly a very windy day (the garbage cans being blown down the street was the tip off for that one) it was not in the least bit chilly.  I didn't need the jacket that I thought I was sacrificing in favor of expedience. 

The second surprise wasn't evident until I turned back to the house and saw this:
A beautiful yellow rose blossoming on the poor neglected bush we inherited from our house's previous owners. 

The windy weather apparently wasn't trying to ruin my day but rather offer up a flower of friendship, the yellow rose.  (That sounds rather cheesy, but I'm going to leave it.)  I'm still a little surprised and amused to be receiving flowers from the bushes this late in the season.  Doesn't weather see the bald Sycamore tree in the background, nearly completely bereft of it's leaves?  Or the Maple Tree across the road in all it's flaming red glory?  Spring and Fall have definitely merged today, a day that I am sure Winnie the Pooh would aptly call "Windsday."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pan Fried Tilapia

Having lived in apartments without automatic dishwashers for around 4 years, I have gotten use to taking shortcuts to reduce the amount of dishes I use for any given recipe.  We are now in a house and have a dishwasher and I still I find myself doing this unconsciously.  The extra dishes weren't even usually something that I had to deal with as the usual agreement between Hey, Babe and I is that one of us will make dinner, the other will clean up after it.  (Though, the amount of dish washing that needed to be done directly impacted the amount of good natured grumbling I would need to put up with.)

There are certain meals that require a lot of dishes.  For example one of Hey, Babe's favorites, Chicken Parmesan. The three dishes just to bread the chicken pieces automatically starts racking up the dish washing points.  This is why when I decided to attempt to make a pan fried fish for dinner, I started out with several shortcuts.  Rather than setting up a plate of flour, a bowl of egg, and a plate of breading I decided to stick with some seasonings, mayo, and panko applied straight from their individual containers onto the fish fillets, no middle man dishes involved whatsoever.  It worked fabulously.

I am quite pleased not only with how well this worked to get the breading to adhere, but also with how flavorful the end result was.  I am also thrilled that Hey, Babe thoroughly enjoyed (and finished) his piece of dreaded fish, he even had to fight Little Man for it!  Solid evidence that both of my guys felt this preparation technique was a winner.  I have a feeling that I am going to be attempting to combine this method with the recipe for Amazingly Moist Salmon.  I believe that the seasonings in the mayo sauce added together with the crunch of the panko breading would be wonderful together.  I will definitely turn to this method again for a delicious and quicker way of breading.

Quick Pan Fried Tilapia
Tilapia fillet
Dried Tarragon
onion powder
garlic powder
panko bread crumbs
olive oil, vegetable oil, or butter

Place desired number of servings of tilapia (or your other favorite fish) on a plate. Pat the surface of each fillet dry and sprinkle dried tarragon, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper on each.

Take a small spoonful of mayonnaise and dollop it onto the top side of each fillet.  Spread a thin layer of mayo to the edges with a knife or your fingers.  Sprinkle panko crumbs liberally over the mayo, using your fingers to firmly press them to the fillet.  Flip each fillet and repeat on the other side.

Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add your choice of grease until there is a layer over the entire bottom of the pan, about 1/4 inch thick.  Fry fillets, in batches if needed, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side depending on thickness, serve with your choice of tartar sauce, cocktail sauce, or ketchup.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Date Nut Bread

Recently I was in a discussion about good holiday breads and what varieties to make.  I suggested Date Nut Bread, which I have always liked especially when it is cold and smeared with cream cheese.  When I was asked for a recipe I realized that I have never actually made my own.  Up until now someone else has always supplied it.

I knew that I had a few recipes in my collection as well as some dates in the pantry.  After perusing the ingredient list and realizing that I had all of the necessary parts, I decided that it was the perfect thing to make while stuck inside on a drizzly day with a head cold.  It was also nice and simple and so Little Man would be able to help.  A perfect distraction to cheer up Little Man, who was disappointed that due to the head cold his cousins couldn't come over to play.  Furthermore, this was the perfect recipe to use and then realize that my loaf pans are not 9 x 5 inches, but seem to instead be 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.  Which is why I found myself suddenly needing to make a smaller round loaf as well.

Most Date Nut Breads that I have tried have been dense, and a perhaps a tiny bit dry (this may be why I like them with cream cheese).  The dates are usually a bit on the chewy side as well.  The bread that I was expecting to come out of my oven never appeared.  This Date Nut Bread is moist, soft, and fluffy.  Because the dates are soaked in hot water and baking soda beforehand, they practically melt in your mouth when you take a bite.  No chewy, papery skins to contend with.

I can't say for certain whether or not this will be as good with cream cheese, as that was the one ingredient I seem to be out of.  I can say that it does look promising.  The cream cheese would add slightly tangy, salty notes that I feel would complement the nutty sweetness of the bread.  I'm not sure that we will be able to find out with this batch how well the two might go together.  This date nut bread is too good on its own to last long enough for me to get some cream cheese to try it with.

Date Nut Bread
1 cup boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped dates (grease your knife if you don't want the dates to stick to it)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped coarse

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

2. Mix the boiling water, baking soda, and dates together in a medium bowl. Cover and set aside until the dates have softened and the water is lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and nuts.  In a separate bow, stir together the brown sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, and egg until combined. Add the date mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined. Gently stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake until dark brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 45 to 55 minutes.  Cool loaf in pan 10 minutes before removing to rack to finish cooling, about 1 hour.

excerpts from Little Man

After and long and eventful day in which Little Man took two small naps instead of his normal one long nap, he was having trouble falling asleep.  Laying in bed he pulled out the standards from his delay bedtime repertoire asking for water, asking for his blankets to be fixed, etc.  None of them were getting what he wanted, namely to have Hey, Babe sit in his room while Little Man fidgeted around pretending to go to sleep.  Finally he tried another trusty tactic, calling out that he had a boo boo.  So in went Hey, Babe to verify the claim.
"What happened?"
"I have a boo boo!"
"On my head!"
"How did you get a boo boo on your head?"
"On my pillow!"
"You laid down on your pillow and it gave you a boo boo?"


It was late morning and the Storm Sprite had announced her desire to join the rest of us poor souls in the realm of the awake, so I was off to get her from the bedroom.  While I was straightening the bed and changing the Sprite's diaper, I overheard Little Man doing something in the bathroom.
"What are you doing in there, Little Man?"
"Um, it's my pants."
"What? Your pants? Are you taking off your pants?" I started to hurry.
"Umm, I think so." 

He thinks so.  Only a two year old couldn't be certain if they were taking off their own pants. Now I'm really hurrying since it seems that I have two children nude from the waist down, and one of them is unsupervised.  As soon as I have the Storm Sprite all fastened up I grab her and head for the door so I can see what troubles Little Man is getting into in the bathroom at the end of the hall.  I see his little legs hanging off the toilet with his pants around his ankles and a huge grin on his face.

He calls down the hall to me, "Mommy, I did it! I peeing! I'm so proud of me!"


Often while I am nursing the Storm Sprite or intend to start or perhaps have just finished, Little Man discusses with me the fact that she is a baby and so she nurses and that he was a baby and he nursed then.  This morning he was snuggled on my lap and his sister was still sleeping.  He turned to me saying, "Little Man's turn to nurse?"

While I'd rather he not start nursing again after having self weaned more than six months ago, I told him okay.  I was counting on having been told and read that most children when they get a new sibling are more concerned with being allowed to nurse then actually participating in the act.  So I tipped him back and prepared to let him nurse and he stopped me with a look of blatant horror and alarm saying, "No! I'm not a baby! That's for babies! It's the Storm Sprite's turn!"


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Daring Cooks make Chocolate Soufflés

Dave and Linda from Monkeyshines in the Kitchen chose Soufflés as our November 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge! Dave and Linda provided two of their own delicious recipes plus a sinfully decadent chocolate soufflé recipe adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s recipe found at the BBC Good Food website.

Having never tasted a soufflé I was very interested in completing this month's challenge.  I had visions of creating a marbled chocolate and banana souffle and serving it with homemade peanut butter sauce.  I told Hey, Babe about the challenge and the direction I intended to head with it.  He didn't seem impressed.  Oh well, more for me.  Unfortunately, normal life interfered with me being able to create my masterpiece.  It began to look like I wasn't going to be able to complete the challenge at all, let alone change it to my specifications.  Thanks to having childcare available from my brothers so I could go to a dental appointment, I was finally able to complete the challenge this weekend.  Since it was coming down to the wire, I decided to go ahead with the chocolate version given and leave experimenting for next time.

The four of us who tried the soufflés all agreed that they were tasty.  I'm not sure, however, that the results are worth the effort.  Perhaps this is because I did something wrong while I was making them, after all mine did not rise much.  I think that what is more likely is that we prefer more substantial desserts.  The next day there were two soufflés that had not been eaten and my brother and I ate them cold from the fridge.  We both agree that we liked them better that way which is interesting since they had shrunk considerably and become much more dense.  They were almost like the lightest, least fudgy version of a flourless chocolate cake you will ever taste.  Since it was just a change in texture and not flavor, I believe my second conclusion is more likely and that it is more a matter of substance than flavor.

I believe that I would eventually like to try making a savory soufflé, but as of right now I am in no hurry.  I think that if I ever make another sweet soufflé it will probably end up in the fridge to chill.  I am sure that doing this is breaking laws of soufflé making everywhere, but that is the way I liked mine.  Thank you Dave and Linda for the challenge!  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Chocolate Souffle
Adapted From BBC Good Food Recipe by Gordon Ramsay

2 Tbsp (30 ml) 1 oz (30g) unsalted butter, for greasing
Cocoa powder or finely grated chocolate

2 tbsp (30 ml) (18 gm) (2/3 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tsp (10 gm) (0.35 oz) caster (superfine) sugar (regular sugar is OK)
½ tsp (4½ gm) (0.15 oz) corn starch (aka cornflour)
1 medium egg yolk
1 medium whole egg
4 Tbsp (60 ml) milk
5 Tbsp (75 ml) heavy cream (or double cream)
3 oz (90gm) good-quality dark chocolate preferably 70+% cocoa solids, broken in pieces
2 Tbsp (30 ml) (15 gm) (½ oz) unsweetened cocoa powder
Optional: 2 tsp orange zest or 2 tsp minced chipotle chile en adobo or 1 tsp chipotle chile powder. (The chile version is a Monkeyshines favorite!) Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

6 medium egg whites
6½ Tbsp (95 ml) 3 oz (90g) superfine/caster sugar (if you don’t have it, regular sugar is OK)

1. Heat oven to moderate 375 ˚F/190 ˚C/gas mark 5.
2. Take four 1 cup/~240ml soufflé dishes and brush them completely with softened butter. Tip a little cocoa powder or grated chocolate into each dish, roll the dish around tilting it as you do so it is evenly lined all round.
3. For the crème patisserie, mix the flour, sugar and corn starch into a small bowl. Put egg yolk and whole egg into a medium sized bowl, beat lightly, then beat in half of the flour mixture to give a smooth paste. Tip in the rest of the flour mixture and cocoa powder and mix well.
4. To make the ganache, pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring just to the boil. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and beat until it is melted and smooth with no lumps.
5. Gradually stir hot chocolate ganache into the paste from step 3, and add the orange zest or chile if using. This is your crème patisserie.
6. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks with an electric whisk. Sprinkle in the sugar as you are mixing. Keep whisking to give stiff, firm peaks to give volume to the soufflés.
7. Stir about 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the beaten egg whites into the crème patisserie. Carefully fold in a third of the rest, cutting through the mixture. Fold in another third (take care not to lose the volume), then fold in the rest.
8. Spoon the mixture into the dishes. Run a spoon across the top of each dish so the mixture is completely flat. Take a little time to wipe any splashes off the outside of each dish, or they will burn on while cooking.
9. Bake the soufflés for 15-17 minutes.
10. The soufflés should have risen by about two thirds of their original height and jiggle when moved, but be set on top.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sleep Deprivation

The time change has not gone over well with the Storm Sprite.  No one consulted her about it beforehand and she certainly wouldn't have granted her permission even if they had.  This week has reminded me a bit of the misery we went through with Little Man, who was not a great sleeper and did not sleep through the night until he was well over a year old.  I wrote this reflection of Little Man's sleeping habits in his first months and since I am remembering it I feel like sharing.  Reading this again gives me vivid flashbacks but since it is not nearly as bad this time around I am sincerely grateful. 

"...he definitely read the book How to Drive Your Parents Crazy and Rule the Home: The Early Months and is following their guidelines to a "T". From what I can figure out, babies invented sleep deprivation torture, only they are even more cunning then any adult could ever be.

"...the first step is to not let your parents sleep for more than two hours at a time (if you are feeling generous), we will refer to this as Standard Practice. Keep this up for a few days, or even weeks, until your parents, or more aptly puppets, seem to be adapting to their new schedule. From here you may choose one of two options:
A- Stop sleeping altogether during times when your puppets might actually get some rest.  Only sleep when they are driving, eating, working, etc.  During the night while your puppets are attempting to sleep your choice of methods to keep them awake are plenty. One particularly effective, as well as devious, tactic is to fuss until they come to comfort you and then smile and coo to your hearts content.  The puppets ability to maintain their frustration at your, and subsequently their, lack of sleep will be greatly diminished as their frustration with you will be in direct opposition to their adoration of you.  This option you will only be able to keep it up for so long since you need your sleep too, you are a growing child.  In which case you may proceed to the next option.
B- Sleep seven hours straight through the night, utter not a whisper of a peep.  Here is where the fun begins.  Your puppets will now be delirious with joy at the abundance of sleep.  Be prepared to recieve praise, snuggles, kisses and cuddles (note: this will exceed the amount usually recieved when you burp, pass gas, or practice any other socially unacceptable but normal bodily functions).   Ready for the key element in this plan? Return to either option A or to Standard Practice.  It appears that it takes only one night for the average adult to unlearn how to cope with sleep deprivation and the resulting disfunctional puppet will be more amusing than usual..."
-Chapter 1: "Sleep Deprivation, The Key to It All" How to Drive Your Parents Crazy and Rule the Home: The Early Months

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Butter Cookies, Christmas Cookies week 7

When I first saw this recipe in Cook's Country, it was four years ago.  I thought to myself then that it would make a lovely Christmas cookie and decided I should make it.  It didn't happen that year or any other since, until now.  This countdown of Christmas Cookies has inspired me to make a few cookies that I have long wanted to try but haven't because I get caught up in the bustle of the season.  What usually happens to my grand plans for making a dozen varieties of Christmas cookies is they whittle down to only two or three varieties which are mixed up at the last minute.  I am, if nothing else, an expert procrastinator.  (I once started reading an article about procrastination, only to put it down planning on finishing it later.  I never did get back to that article.)

The instructions for these cookies said that I should split the dough in half, rolling each half into a log before refrigerating them.  I am always looking to shortcut the process of recipes, especially now that I have two little ones whose needs often interrupt my forays into the kitchen.  If a recipe calls for rolling out cookie dough and then cutting it, I turn it into a slice and bake cookie, if it is a slice and bake cookie, I turn it into a drop cookie like I did with these.  I used my cookie scoop to portion out balls of dough and then using the floured bottom of a glass to flatten each of them into a round.  This worked marvelously.

The cookies turned out quite a bit larger than I had expected.  Perhaps this was because I skipped the step of chilling the dough, but I think not since my kitchen was quite chilly when I made them.  I liked that because of their size, they have different texture within each cookie.  The edges are crisp and as you reach the center it becomes more soft and chewy, encompassing the best of both worlds. 

The recipe stated to completely cool the cookies on the pan before removing them.  I found that if you left them on the pan too long (i.e. until they were completely cooled) you were going to lose some in the removal process.  To compromise, I loosened them all from the pan at 3 minutes out of the oven but left them still sitting on it to finish cooling.  If you try at 2 minutes, they will still be soft and break apart.  If you try much after 3 minutes they will have permanently bonded to your pan. Somehow in the process of mixing up these cookies, Little Man managed to get cookie dough up his nose.  After his experience I can say with some certainty that doing so is neither pleasant nor satisfying.  I do not recommend trying to eat these this way.

I managed to break my chocolate as I was trying to melt it.  I'm not sure how, one second it was fine and the next it wasn't.  I was supposed to be able to drizzle on decorative, delicate swirls of chocolate and then sprinkle on the toasted pecans.  Not wanting to waste the chocolate, which still tasted fine, or waste the last remaining minutes of nap time starting over, I used a knife to spread it on the the tops of the cookies like a frosting and then dipped them each in the pecans.  Using the chocolate and nuts so heavily on each of the cookies caused there to be a shortage and a few remained without.  The toffee flavor is so much more pronounced on these, so if you don't care for chocolate feel free to leave it out.  While I like the plain ones, I prefer the chocolate ones.  The pecans give these cookies that last little nudge over the top from really good to excellent.

Chocolate Toffee Butter Cookies
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Heath Toffee Bits (without chocolate)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup pecans toasted and chopped fine

1.  In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium for about 3 minutes or until very fluffy. Add the vanilla and the egg.

2.  On low speed, add half of the flour to the mixer.  After it is mixed in add the second half, mixing until the flour is no longer visible.  Stir in the toffee.  (I may experiment with adding the nuts in as well so that they aren't relying on the chocolate to hold them  to the cookie.)

3.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, portion out the cookie dough about 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  (Okay, them permanently adhering to the pan makes more sense.  I must have missed this when I read the recipe.)  Dip the bottom of a glass into flour and press each ball down until they are about 1/4 inch thick.  Repeat dipping in flour for each one.  (Optional: chill in fridge for about an hour before baking.)

4.  Bake cookies until just browned around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool cookies completely on baking sheets.

5. Melt chocolate and mix with oil in bowl until smooth. Spread each cookie with melted chocolate or drizzle chocolate over cookies with spoon and top with pecans. Let chocolate set, about 1 hour.

note: I used a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, ending up with 2 dozen cookies.  If you prefer smaller cookies try using a 1 tablespoon scoop but remember to check them since the cooking time will vary a bit.

Please don't forget to check out all the other submissions for Week 7 of the Twelve Weeks of Christmas:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Corncake Pancakes

Pancakes are one of those versatile foods that you can make or top any number of ways and they will always satisfy.  They can be wholesome or decadent, light or filling.  Have them for breakfast, brunch, snack, or dinner and I will be a happy camper, have them camping even!  While I was growing up, when Mom made pancakes it was always with a humongous bowl full of batter.  She would mix it up and grab a platter to flip them on and then get ready to stand at the stove for a while.  One of us kids or my Dad would be on butter duty.  Our job then was to stand at her side with a stick of butter, sliding it over each pancake as she flipped it off of one of the griddles.  Yes, one of them.  Having nearly a dozen people to wait in line for pancakes, my wise mother invested in a second griddle so that she could be flipping eight pancakes off at a time.  I don't have nearly as many people waiting for pancakes when I make them, but I still have two griddles myself since it means the job gets done in half the time and I can actually eat with my family.

We would eat them as they were ready.  As soon as a few more were cooked and buttered they were snatched away and covered in syrup or cinnamon sugar, or very occasionally, jelly.  This meant that we weren't actually all sitting down together to eat, instead we were all in various stages of our individual meals.  That didn't matter to any of us, except for perhaps Mom, who was usually waiting until the last of the batter was cooked before eating her own.

I believe Mom always used the exact same recipe for her pancakes.  I find it funny now that I realize this, but I don't actually have that recipe (mental note: get it).  My recipe obsession has led me to try recipes with all kinds of variations: change the grain (whole wheat, white, corn, oat, wheat germ), change the dairy (sour milk, fresh milk, sour cream, yogurt, buttermilk), change the grease (corn oil, olive oil, melted butter), add something in (bananas, apples, chocolate chips, berries).  I like them all.  It is comforting to know that no matter how much you change the pancake recipe, either by design or circumstance pancakes are still good.  I think, however, that these might be my new favorite.  I love texture and flavor that the cornmeal adds.  These were awesome.  They will definitely be making an appearance Thanksgiving morning when we carry on Hey, Babe's family tradition of making teddy bear shaped pancakes and decorating them with M&Ms.  This means I'll be using the same recipe twice in one month, these must have been good.

Corncake Pancakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup milk
3/4 cup buttermilk (or yogurt)
1/3 cup butter melted (or oil)

Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In another medium bowl, mix eggs and sugar together, stirring for about 30-60 seconds.  Add the milk, buttermilk and melted butter; mix well.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with the mixer until smooth. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.

Spray a hot griddle with nonstick spray. Spoon 1/4 cup portions of the batter onto the hot griddle and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side until brown. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup or apple butter, or jam, or cinnamon and sugar, etc.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Zuppa Toscana

I promise, this is the last soup post for a while.  Not for ever, because some soups are on the menu for this month, but this is the last recipe for October's Menu that is going up.  I realize that not every item on the menu has a recipe attached to it which is because several of those entries do not have recipes (like the sandwiches or salads) and a few of them were skipped (like the Chicken Piccata or Un-Fried Buffalo Wings) and so can't vouch for them and do not have pictures of them. 

This soup is fashioned after one Olive Garden serves with the same name.  I can't say whether or not it is at all like Olive Garden's version because I have never tried theirs, but I can say that this version is delicious.  Hey, Babe's parents happen to love this soup and told me about it.  Shortly after hearing how much they enjoyed it I browsed for a recipe online.  I was curious how it tasted and would rather make it myself then deal with bringing a toddler and an infant to a restaurant, so I copied it down and decided to eventually try it.

"Eventually" finally came last month and we invited Hey, Babe's parents to come and try it with us.  Sue was surprised as usual when I told her I was trying a new recipe on them.  She told me, as she usually does, that I am brave.  Personally, I feel that the guinea pigs are the brave ones in my recipe testing endeavors.  After all, they are the ones risking food poisoning or hunger.  There was nothing to fear, this was a success.  It wasn't quite as creamy as I had expected and so I will adjust the cream a bit next time, but it was overall quite excellent.  I do not often use hearty winter greens like kale, but after trying this I will definitely need to change that.

Zuppa Toscana
1 lb ground Italian sausage (mild or spicy, your choice)
1/4 tsp crushed red peppers
1 large diced white onion
4 pieces bacon, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 cups chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream (I will double this)
1 lb sliced Russet potatoes or about 3 large potatoes
1/2 of a bunch of kale
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot set over medium low heat, sauté sausage, crushed red pepper, bacon, onions and garlic for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.  Remove excess oil.

To pot, add chicken broth and heat until it starts to boil.  Add the potatoes and cook about 1/2 an hour or until soft.

Add the heavy cream and kale and continue cooking until everything is heated through and the kale has begun to soften.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Minestrone Soup

I don't think that I have ever taken advantage of soup weather as much as I have so far this fall.  In October I made six different soups, three of them being black bean soups.  Soups are hearty.  They fill you up by themselves but they also are nicely accompanied by sandwiches, fresh bread, or a salad.  This Minestrone is no exception. It is a hearty, healthy, chock full of good for you vegetables kind of soup.

I use to think that I didn't like vegetable soups, and now I'm beginning to realize that I don't like canned vegetable soups.  The flavors are muddied from having sat in a can too long, the veggies are mushy and slimy, the noodles are several times their intended size from over absorbing the broth.  All problems easily rectified by slicing up a few vegetables, or in my case whizzing them through my food processor, and letting them simmer in a pot of good stock.

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 - 3/4 lb. stew beef, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cups beef broth
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 14 1/2-ounce can tomatoes cut up, (I used crushed tomatoes because it is what I had, I think I prefer it this way)
1/2 medium onion chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon thyme chopped
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded cabbage (I easily doubled this as I didn't want the leftovers to go to waste)
1/2 cup thinly sliced zucchini
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans drained
1/2 cup small macaroni uncooked
3 to 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the stew beef until browned. Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, onion, celery, parsley, salt thyme and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the beef is tender, stirring occasionally.

Add the cabbage, zucchini, carrots, garbanzo beans and macaroni. Return the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the macaroni is done, stirring occasionally.  Serve, topping bowls with Parmesan if desired.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

I'm the girl who uses anyone and everyone as my culinary guinea pigs.  Hosting a party or attending a potluck? Let's try this random recipe for the first time.  It often includes tears before the dish is complete (what? I'm emotionally tied to my cooking) especially if it is a dessert.  I'm not sure if that makes me more brave or foolish.  I do know that it baffles Hey, Babe to no end.  He is constantly wondering why I profess to enjoy cooking and baking when it can bring me to tears.  The recipes nearly always turn out well in the end, it is very rare that I find something completely inedible, only once? twice? and I think both times I was only cooking for ourselves so that's okay.  I think it is this track record, combined with my recipe collecting (hoarding) obsession that encourages me to continue on in this manner.

All that being said, it is pretty much only a very good recipe that gets made more than once.  Correction, a very good dessert (non-cookie) recipe.  Savory recipes I have in a much smaller quantity and need to make for dinner nearly every night so they get reused much more often.  Similarly, cookies are more of a spur of the moment let's have something sweet and so they also get made more often.  Fancy desserts however, the cakes, pies, custards, and pastries, they do not get made nearly as often as I'd like to eat them (fortunately for my health) and so they get one attempt at perfection before I move on to the next one that has caught my eye.  So far there have been only a few exceptions, this recipe being one of them.

These cupcakes are so good that I made them several times in one month.  I made them the first time for a family gathering.  Later that night as Hey, Babe was talking with his brother on the phone, they reminisced about how good they were.  Odd since dessert is an unusual thing to come up in their conversation.  The next day we got together with Hey, Babe's sister and her family.  Her husband recalled how good these were, another unusual occurrence.  These were so good we all couldn't get them out of our heads, which is why I made them again, and then again.

When Heather announced that the theme for this month’s Sugar High Fridays was “Desserts with a Hidden Surprise,” these came to mind.  I began to consider other possibilities as well, cookies or perhaps venturing into new territory with candies.  Then I recalled that we were going to be visiting friends who had recently finished construction on their new home and that I had offered to bring dessert.  That sealed the deal.  These are exactly what I wanted to bring.  A sure crowd pleaser.  How could you go wrong with delicious chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate Ganache?  You can't.  Especially when there is hidden within an incredible cream filling.  These are simply awesome.  It is hard for me to imagine anyone not liking these, but if you make them and it turns out you don't like them, would you do me a favor and send them to me?

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
originally from The Food Network
For the Cupcakes:
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
1 stick unsalted butter cut into pieces
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs lightly beaten

For the Filling:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla exrtact
3 tablespoons heavy cream
7 oz marshmallow creme

For the Ganache:
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Icing: (I usually have leftover filling and so decorate with that, though it doesn't really hold it's shape long it saves me a step)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons milk (or up to 2 TB)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.  Place paper liners in muffin tin for about 20 cupcakes.  Do not skip the liners or you will not be able to nicely remove the cupcakes from the pan.  This is the voice of experience, I tried skipping this step because I didn't have enough liners and didn't want to go to the store.  I went to the store anyway (well, Hey, Babe did) and started over again and now must find something to do with destroyed cupcakes.

For the Cupcakes:
Bring the sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Pour into your mixing bowl.  To the bowl add the chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and the mixture has cooled slightly. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Using your mixer, beat the eggs into the chocolate, then mix in the dry ingredients.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin pans.  It says it should be about 1/4 cup per cupcake, but I found that using my 3 tablespoon cookie scoop was the perfect amount and gave me exactly 23 cupcakes with no batter left over.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pans for about 25 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to a rack to cool completely.  The cupcakes are going to sink in the middle, don't worry because when you fill them later they will puff up again.

For the filling:
Using a mixer, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Beat in 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy cream; beat until smooth. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons heavy cream in batches, alternating after each addition. Beat in the marshmallow creme; set aside or refrigerate.

For the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a stainless-steel bowl. Heat the cream and 1 tablespoon butter until just boiling, then pour over the chocolate; let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla; let stand until cool but still glossy and liquid.

Spoon the filling into a pastry bag with a medium star tip. Insert the tip into the center of each cupcake top; fill until the cupcake is heavier (do not overfill). (It's OK if some of the filling peeks out, it will be covered by the ganache.)  I chose to insert the tip twice, once on each side, rather than just once in the center.  It worked better for me and used up more of the filling.  Be sure that the cupcakes are absolutely cool first.  If you fill them warm the filling kind of melts into the cupcakes and disappears a bit.  Again, this is the voice of experience.

Spoon a little ganache on each cupcake and lightly spread with an offset spatula or a knife. Chill for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing: Using a mixer, beat the remaining 1 stick butter, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, the milk and confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding more milk if needed. Spoon into a pastry bag with a small tip (I used a #2 plain tip); pipe onto the cupcakes to decorate.

Store in the refrigerator. Make 20-24 cupcakes depending on how evenly you distribute the batter.


Be sure and check out Heather's round up of all the other Sugar High Friday posts at the end of the month.  Also, you may want to check out Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess and her links to past Sugar High Friday round ups.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Favorite Meatloaf

Last month when I was planning out the upcoming menu, The Pioneer Woman's recipe from her cookbook for her favorite meatloaf came into my blog reader.  It looked so incredible that I immediately added it to October's meal plan.  Never mind the fact that Hey, Babe says he doesn't care for meatloaf.  This baby was wrapped in bacon so I had a hard time imagining him unable to find it at least edible, if not delicious.

During our ever so long courtship, I was constantly warned by Hey, Babe's mother that her children were all picky eaters.  Hey, Babe apparently didn't eat a whole list of things.  Slowly but surely I have been whittling that list down and can now remove meatloaf from it.  Hey, Babe is officially a convert.  I don't expect him to like every meatloaf, but he most definitely likes this one.  It furthermore looks like I won't have any trouble with Little Man and meatloaf because I am pretty sure he ate more in one sitting than I did.  If he keeps this up I just may have to rename him Short Round.

As I am want to do, I made changes to Ree's original recipe.  I can't help it.  I would say that this is a problem but since I like the way things turn out when I change them I'm just going to accept it.  The biggest change was leaving the sauce off entirely.  Hey, Babe upon hearing of it voiced his dissent immediately.  I personally have never liked the ketchup sauce on most meatloaves, I prefer to have it on the side, but he was adamantly against it.  To date he had only managed to eat meatloaf when it was covered with steak sauce or plain ketchup (none of that doctored, sweetened stuff).  This didn't bother me much since it was one less step, plus I wasn't much interested in the sauce in the first place and so I agreed to leave it off.  Other than that, most changes were minor adjustments in measurements, all except the fact that I shaped it into four mini loaves instead of one large one.  I feel that enables it to cook more evenly and thoroughly, as well as a bit faster.

I must say, and Hey, Babe the former spurner of meatloaf agrees, this is the best meatloaf I have ever in my entire life tasted.  It was so good it didn't even need the bacon.  It was so moist, so flavorful, so incredible.  Ree calls it "My Favorite Meatloaf," and I must say that I agree.  I believe that the fresh grated parmesan is the key to this recipe (and not the bacon as I would have assumed).  I'm seriously surprised that we didn't devour the entire thing in one sitting, including the extras that were to go in the freezer (one recipe would be too much for the 2.75 of us, so I baked and froze half for next month, I'll let you know how it is recooked).  We did make a good attempt though.  Like I mentioned before, Little Man ate more of it than I did.  Definitely give this recipe a try.  It just might convert your household picky eater, as it did mine.

The Pioneer Woman's (and My) Favorite Meatloaf
1 cup Whole Milk
6 slices White Bread
2 pounds Ground Beef
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoons Salt Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2/3 cups Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
4 whole Eggs Beaten
10 slices Thin/regular Bacon

Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a broiler pan by lining the bottom with foil.  The broiler will allow the grease to cook off and the foil will help with cleanup later. 

Crumble the bread into a large bowl (I used too small a bowl and ended up dirtying another one) and pour milk over top.  Allow them to soak for several minutes.  Give the bread mush a good stir, breaking up large pieces.  Add the ground beef, Parmesan, seasonings and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With very clean hands (remember to remove your rings, ick trying to get the meat out afterwards if you don't), mix the ingredients until well combined.  It was painfully cold for some reason so I had Hey, Babe mix it. Be prepared to need to warm up your hands in the sink afterward.  Form the mixture into either several smaller (I did four) or one large loaf on the prepared broiler pan.

Across the top of the loaf/loaves, lay out all the bacon slices tucking the edges underneath the meatloaf.

Bake for 45 minutes and serve with your favorite steak sauce (like A1) or ketchup.  Keep eating because it tastes so good, then go for a long walk so you feel less guilty.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...