Monday, October 29, 2012

Creamy Crunchy Baked Leeks and a Giveaway!

Creamy Crunchy Baked Leeks

I was asked by TLC Book Tours to review Jamie Oliver's new cookbook Great Britian.

First off let me say, if I ever had a cookbook published, it would so much like Jamies. I love that it's loaded with photos and the whole style is very unpretentious. It just flowy and fun. Just like his cooking. The recipes are authentic British foods and in most of the recipes you get a nice little history lesson to boot.

I've been watching Jamie since he was the Naked Chef. I love his casual style of cooking. I love how he will grab things up in handfuls, or gobs as he says, or how he will just say throw a bit of this in or add just a pinch of this in. My favortie Jamie saying is "this or that are best mates". Like this:

"rosemary and pork are best mates"
"apples and brown sugar are best mates"
"avocados and lime are best mates"

You get the picture. I also love how he always says "brillant". Most of the Brits do and it just tickles me to know end.

My maternal great grandmother was English so I'd like to think there are some recipes in this book that she might have grown up eating. There are a few that I had never heard of like......St Clement's Cake, Cranachan, Welsh Cakes, Arbroath Smokies, etc.

So I poured over all the recipes in this book and I had it narrowed down to two recipes. This one for Creamy Crunchy Baked Leeks and his Jammy Coconut Sponge Cake. As luck would have it, my friend Amy at Very Culinary made the cake. You should go check it out! Click here! Amy and I always seem to be on the same wave length when it comes to food so I'm a little surprised that we both didn't post the same recipe.

I'm a leek lover. Caramlized leeks just send me over the top. Leeks baked with cheese. I can't even speak.

This recipe was every bit as delciious as I expected it to be.

Creamy Crunchy Baked Leeks 1

Creamy Crunchy Leeks
recipe from Jamie Oliver's Great Britian
1 rasher of bacon, finely sliced (I used 3 strips) I hear from my Brit friends a rasher is normally 1
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh bay leaf
¾ lb baby leeks (I used regular ole leeks)
Sea salt and ground pepper
1 cup organic chicken stock
5 tablespoon light cream
1.7 ounces cheddar or any delicious cheese crumbled.
1 clove of garlic
3 thick slices of stale white bread, crusts removed
Small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked.

Oven to 400.

Put a medium sized pan on medium heat. Put the bacon, the oil and the bay leaf into the pan and fry for a few minutes until lightly golden. While that’s happening top and tail the leeks (cut off the bottom and the dark green tops), cut in half lengthwise and wash well. Slice them into 1 inch pieces and add them to the pan. Stir together, season generously with salt and pepper then pour the stock and cream in and bring ot a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes. At this point turn off the heat and stir in most of the cheese. The mixture will still be quite runny at this point but don’t worry; it will thicken up in the oven.

Meanwhile, put the garlic and the bread into a food processor with the thyme leaves and pulse until you have nice coarse flavored breadcrumbs.

If your pan is ovenproof you can simply pop it straight into the oven, if not, place into a shallow 8x10 inch pan. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese. Cook on the top shelf for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and crispy. Serve with absolutely anything you like.

So I want to share this wonderful cookbook with one of you. Here's what you need to do to win....

Leave a comment answering this question: What's the last thing you ate?

One lucky U.S. or Canadian reader has a chance to win a copy of Jamie Oliver’s Great Britain.

If you don't have a blog, please leave me email address to contact you!

There are three ways to enter: (1) leave a comment on the blog (2) go “like” The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on Facebook or (3) Already a fan? Just leave a comment on The Wall. Want to increase your chances? You can leave a comment here and on Facebook.

Giveaway ends on Friday November 2 at midnight EST. Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My baby is Sixteen.

Oldies Evan
Evan circa 1998.

See that smirk? He still makes that face.

Evan turned 16 on the 17th of this month.

My baby is 16. I can hardly believe it.

I'm so lucky to have such a sweet boy.

I'll be busy getting ready for his party this weekend.

Our house will be filled with food, family and friends. I can't wait!

I have lots of food to cook but I'll be back Monday
 with a new recipe and a GIVEAWAY!

See you then friends.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Garlic, Basil & Parmesan Cream Biscuits

Garlic, Parmesan, Herb Cream Biscuits 2.

Things are shaping up here at the homestead.

We got some big projects done over the weekend. My hubby made me a beautiful prim shelf and I painted and primed it up. Oh my aching hands. It takes a lot of sand paper to rough up a big piece like that. Good thing I don't have nails or they would have been a wreck. Here's a photo of his handiwork.

Prim Shelf

I'm pretty lucky that I can just show him a picture and say...."I want that" and he can make it for me.

So I spent the next 2 hours arranging and then re-arranging and re-arranging this shelf and another that I had moved in the room, in fact after I took that picture I changed it again, lol. I just need to stop looking at it.

John had headed out to a game dinner so the boys and are were on our own Sunday. I decided it was Jesse's turn to choose something to make. He loves soup so I suggested we make a mushroom based soup cause he is a mushroom lover. I ended up concocting a Mushroom Vegetable Barely Soup. I'll be posting that soon.

I had been meaning to make a savory version of a biscuit that I had made awhile back. Remember when I made the Blueberry Cream Biscuits? Well yesterday was the day I whipped up a batch.

I am always blown away at how easy and quick these are to make. I thought I could make this version be just as delicious as the sweet blueberry ones and I was right.

I loaded up on some fresh chopped basil, parsley  thyme and rosemary. You can use whatever combination you have on hand. Then I threw in some garlic and shredded Parmesan. Perfecto!

Garlic, Parmesan, Herb Cream Biscuits 1.

Garlic, Basil & Parmesan Cream Biscuits

The key to theses melt in your mouth biscuits is a light touch. Don’t overwork the dough!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves minced garlic
1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs
½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups whipping cream

Oven to 425. In a large bowl stir together all the ingredients except the cream. Mix together gently. Stir in the cream until just moistened.

Turn the dough in the bowl. Gently lift and fold four or five times, making a quarter turn between each fold. Place the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Form into a 7 to 8 inch square approximately 1 inch thick. Using a floured pizza cutter or knife, cut 12 to 16 biscuits, leaving the biscuits intact. Bake in the upper half of the oven for 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cut or pull apart to serve.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Anginetti (Italian Egg Biscuits)

Anginetti 1

My Mom is a great cook. Growing up my brothers and I never really realized that not all kids ate they way we ate. The homemade pizzas, the soups, the casseroles, the cookies, the cakes. My mom and my grandmother were always in the kitchen.

There is one thing I never remember my mom making though....pie.

I am the pie baker in the family. Even she admits it. She can't make a good pie. Luckily I can.

She can make great cookies though. Her three standards are wine biscuits, pepper biscuits and egg biscuits (Anginetti). She also makes a boatload of Pizzelles. Those are my favorites. I told her I have to have her be a special guest on the blog so I can document her Pizzelle making.

She makes lots of egg biscuits too.

She lives 3 minutes away from where I work (yes, Rhode Island is that small of a state) so she often stops by and brings in egg biscuits for my co-workers. They love it when they see my Mom in cause she almost always has some treat with her.

Out of all the cookies she makes, these Anginetti are their favorites.

Super soft with a hint of lemon. These are always gone in a flash.


Anginetti (Italian Egg Biscuits)
Recipe from my Mom Mimi

Makes approx 45 cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch salt
1 cup sugar
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
3 large eggs
½ cup milk
2 tablespoon lemon juice (I use fresh my Mom uses the juice in the bottle)

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Warm water

Sift together the flour baking powder and salt onto a piece of wax paper.

In a large mixer bowl beat together the sugar and the shortening until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until blended. Beat in the milk and the lemon juice scraping the sides of the bowl. Holding on to the wax paper like a funnel, add the dry ingredients into the mixer. Mix until well blended. The dough will be soft and sticky. Cover the bowl and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven 350. Line two large baking sheets with parchment. Spray lightly with cooking spray.

Using a medium scoop (approx. 2 tablespoons) place dough on baking sheet about an inch apart. Bake 12 minutes. These will not brown. If they turn brown you have overbaked them. Let cookies rest 5 minutes in the pan. Transfer to rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze: Combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir in water 1 teaspoon at a time until glaze is as thick as heavy cream. Dip the top of the cookies into the glaze. Sprinkle with jimmies (sprinkles) if desired. Place on rack to dry. Store in air tight container or fridge.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Espresso Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Espresso Chocolae Chip Bread>

Yes I jumped on the pumpkin bandwagon.

It seems like everywhere I turn I seem something pumpkin flavored. Coffee, cookies, cake mixes. Pumpkin is everywhere and I'm so ok with that.

Every fall I stock up a bit on pumpkin. My local BJ's Wholesale club sells pumpkin in a three pack. I'm talking the big cans too. I usually buy a couple each year so I'm always stocked with pumpkin. You never know when there will be a pumpkin emergency you know?

Did you also know that pumpkin is really good for your dog if they have an upset stomach? A few tablespoons is all it takes and I can tell you from experience it really works.

Although I'm sure Moose would love to get a hold of a peice of this bread, this was only for the humans in the house.

This recipe makes 3 loaves of bread. I love that. One to keep and two to give away. I wrapped up one of these loaves and hung it on a friends door handle. She was so happy with the surprise. I gave another to my neighbors son who helped us move a really heavy TV. He's always happy to help us cause I pay him in food.

You could add nuts to this, but my picky crew would complain, so I went with big chocolate chips. Good decision.

Pumpkin Espresso Chocolae Chip Bread 1

This is the second fantastic blog I've found lately. Check out Add a Pinch. Her site is loaded with goodness.

Chocolate Chip Espresso Pumpkin Bread
recipe from Add a Pinch
Makes 3 loaves.
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
⅔ cup espresso *Note
3 cups granulated sugar
3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1½ cups chocolate chips **Note
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add all ingredients except the chips and nuts to a large mixing bowl. I whisked all my dry ingredients together and add them into the batter. Stir together until just combined. Add the chips and nuts in and stir until just combined.

Pour into three loaf pans prepared with baking spray or lightly buttered and floured. I found that each pan held about 2 cups of batter. I scooped up the batter with measuring cup so each pan would have approximately the same amount. I also dotted the top of each loaf with additional chips.

Bake for 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn out of loaf pan and allow to cool completely.

* Note - I'm not a coffee drinker, so I'm certainly not an espresso drinker but I do keep instant espresso powder in my spice cupboard. What I did was add 2 teaspoons of espresso powder to 2/3 cup of very hot water. Stir and add!

*Note - I used Ghiradelli double chocolate bittersweet chips.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Yesterday we celebrated our anniversary.

We took a long walk in the woods with Moose.

Moose was one happy (and tired)
 pooch at the end of the day. 

Walk in the woods with Moose txt

Walk in the woods with Moose

Walk in the woods with Moose 1

Walk in the woods with Moose 3

Walk in the woods with Moose 5

Walk in the woods with Moose 6

Walk in the woods with Moose 9

Walk in the woods with Moose 8

Walk in the woods with Moose 4

Walk in the woods with Moose 12

Walk in the woods with Moose 2

Walk in the woods with Moose 10

Walk in the woods with Moose 11

Walk in the woods with Moose 14

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Apple Crumble

Apple Crisp

We are off on vacation this week!

We always take a week in October because it's my favorite month.

We celebrate 3 birthdays in October, my sister-in-laws, my Dad and my youngest son, and 2 anniversaries, my brother and his wife and ours, so October is a pretty great month in my book and then on top of all the celebrations we have Halloween! My second favorite holiday (Yes Christmas is #1).

I love that the air is crisp and chilly. I love to see the leaves turning magnification colors. I love pulling out my sweaters from the cedar chest.

It's time to settle in and hunker down in our cozy little home.

Vacation is also a time for me to make a bunch of recipes. I'm testing out a new bread recipe, a few casseroles and a potato dish that looks fantastic. I can't wait to share them with you all.

This Apple Crumble will have to hold you over for now.

I found a great blog last week called Alaska from Scratch.  It's one of those blogs that just pulls you in and makes you feel right at home. I found myself scrolling through page after page after page, bookmarking so many of Maya's recipe that I think if I actually blogged them all she would think I'm a bit of a stalker.

I saw her recipe for Ginger Peach Crumble Bars and with a little tweaking turned them into Apple Crumble.

Remember, I have 40 pounds of apples to use up. You are going to be seeing quite a few apple recipe in the near future I can promise you that.

My apples were very sweet to begin with. I used a blend of Macouns and McIntosh apples. If you are using a tart apple, like a Granny Smith you may want to increase the sugar just a smidge.

Can I just say one last thing. Warm Apple Crumble on a chilly day - perfect comfort food.

Thank you for this recipe Maya!

Apple Crisp 1

Apple Crumble
Adapted from this recipe at Alaska from Scratch
4 cups peeled and diced apples
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
Dash salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

For the crumble
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
dash salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
1 egg beaten with 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla paste

Oven to 375.

Put the apples in a large bowl. Add in the flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix with a spoon to coat. Set aside.

In another bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the cold butter into the mixture until it resembles crumbs. In a small bowl beat the egg and the vanilla with a fork and add it into the mixture. Stir to incorporate.

Evenly divide the apples into 4 large baking dishes or 8 small ramekins  If you want to make one big apple crumble, pour the apples into an 8x8 inch baking pan. Spread the crumb mixture over the apples and bake 35 - 45 minutes depending on what size baking dish(es) you are using. When a knife slides into the apples easily, you should be good to go! Place on a cooling rack or eat warm!!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole 2

I'm in a dilemma. It's nothing tragic, it's just that I'm finding myself without enough time to make all the recipes I want to make.

My folders for soups, stews, casseroles and everything holiday are bursting at the seams and I want to reach into every folder and make every dish. I really do.

So where do I start? The soups are calling my name, there are so many I need to make, and the stews, lordy, there are dozens of those too. Casseroles, forget about it, just to many to even think about, so what do I do? I further tempt myself by going on Pinterest and seeing more recipes I want to make.

This one got me. When I saw this recipe for Pizza Casserole on a blog called For Mamas I knew it would be something that my boys would eat right up.

Who doesn't like pizza?

There has to be a few people out there that don't right? I personally don't know of any, but I'm sure they exist. I also know that somewhere on this earth there is someone who doesn't like cookies. I can't even begin to think about that, or someone who doesn't like bacon? I shutter. Nutella - I can't speak. Come on now.

For the most part lasagna and various forms there of are some of the most beloved foods on this big blue marble don't ya think?

I tweaked this a little to make it my own. I added in more pepperoni then the recipe originally called for and I prepped it a but different (see notes). I used medium shells cause I knew that all the sauce and cheese would get stuck in all those little crevices and be heavenly.

I was right.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole 1

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
Adapted from a recipe at For Mamas Blog
1 pound of pasta (I used medium shells)
1 large jar of spaghetti sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 pounds ground beef
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pepperoni slices *See note below
Large container of Ricotta cheese **See note below

Cook the onions in the olive oil until just translucent. Add in the hamburger and cook until browned. Drain off any excess fat.

Boil your noodles in well salted water and cook until al dente. Rinse under cold water. Set aside.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan with sauce. Add half the noodles, half the meat, half of the ricotta and half the sauce. I just dotted the sauce all over and then used a spoon to spread it out a little. Layer on a generous amount of sliced pepperoni. Top with half the of mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers. Cover the top with the pepperoni slices.

Now cover with foil (spray the bottom of your foil with cooking spray so it won’t stick to the pepperoni) and bake at 350 for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes. Let sit 15 minutes before digging in.

I was afraid the pepperoni would be too greasy in this dish so this is what I did. I put a single layer of pepperoni on three layers of paper towel folded in half and microwaved them for 20 seconds. When they came out of the microwave I patted the excess grease off with another paper towel. I stacked them up and sliced them in thirds. I thought this would make it easier than biting into a whole pepperoni slice. I made 3 batches of pepperoni in total.

**Note: When I use ricotta in most dishes, I usually add 1 to 2 eggs, depending on the size of the container I’m using. For this I used 1 egg, a tablespoon of Italian seasoning and ¼ cup grated Parmesan. I used ¾ of the large container of ricotta.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Buckeye Brownies

Buckeye Brownies 1

Even though my husbands family is from Ohio, I had never heard of buckeyes until I worked with a girl who was originally from Ohio (who later married the defensive coach of the New England Patriots and left the company. I just had to add that in) introduced me to them.

The buckeyes I first had were peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. So good. Called buckeyes because the resemble the buckeye nut, which I'm guessing must grow on some kind of tree in Ohio. I really don't know about that. I do know they are a favorite of the Ohio State Buckeye fans and that's good enough for me cause my father-in-law is a fan of Ohio State.

I must state for the record, that I'm not really into peanut butter the way some folks are. I work with a few people who go crazy for anything made with peanut butter. Me, not so much. I don't dislike it, but I'm not ga-ga over it ya know?

I really do like the buckeyes though. I've had them with the smooth peanut butter filling, and with rice crispies added in. Either way, they were good.

My youngest is one of those peanut butter freaks so when I came across this recipe, I knew he would love these.

The bottom layer is just your regular ole' brownie, but the top layers are fluffy peanut butter and then a layer of chocolate.

Like smearing a buckeye ball all over a brownie. Yum.


Buckeye Brownies
Source: Almost Homemade Cookbook

19-1/2 oz. pkg. brownie mix (prepared according to package directions)

For the peanut butter filling:
1 stick butter
2 cups powdered sugar
8oz creamy peanut butter

For the chocolate topping:
6 T. butter, softened
6oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Prepare and bake brownie mix in a greased 13"x9" baking pan according to package directions. Let cool.

Peanut butter filling: Mix powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Chill for one hour.

Chocolate Topping: Melt together chocolate chips and remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally or in the microwave. Spread over brownies. Pop back in the fridge to chill again. Cut into squares and enjoy!