Monday, May 26, 2014

Simple Orange Citrus Bars

I recently had a bunch of friends over, just to help me with some cooking, and to play some games, and have a few laughs; It's always lots of fun. We had pulled pork, potato salad, baked beans, and a little Disney Trivia. BTW, I should mention that it was SEVEN of them against just me, and I almost won. They finally beat me with a crazy easy Mary Poppins question, SO unfair, but whatever. I'm not bitter. This is not over.....
 Anyway, I also made these little jewels of orangey deliciousness. They're light and sweet, the crust is flaky, and they're moist and just slightly gooey in the center. And they're SO easy to make. Denny wanted me to call them Outta Sight Orange Bars, going for the alliteration (and a 70s vibe apparently). But no, Dennis, this is not my own recipe, so I'm not the one who gets to name it.
 Make them the next time you want a little picky uppy kind of dessert. (that's a technical term, picky uppy). They're perfect to bring to a BBQ or any casual party.
 Try 'em!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided 
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 
1 cup butter, melted 
2 cups sugar 
4 large eggs 
1/3 cup orange juice 
zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

 Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Lightly greased a 13x9 baking dish, set a side. 
In a large bowl, combine 2c. flour and 1/2c. confectioner sugar. 
Add in butter, stir until crumbly. 
Press mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared baking dish. 
Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned. 
In another bowl, stir together sugar, eggs, orange juice and zest until well blended. Set aside. 
In a small bowl combine remaining 1/2 cup flour and baking powder and add to sugar mixture. 
Stir to combine. 
Pour onto hot crust and bake another 25 minutes or until set. 
Sprinkle with extra confectioner sugar if desired.

I always like orange things to be VERY orangey. So the next time I make these, I would probably add a 1/2 tsp of orange extract.
While I was making them, the first thought I had was "wow, this seems like too much butter for the crust." The amount of butter is probably the reason the crust is so flaky and delicious. I bet you could get away with less butter, which would probably make the crust less flaky and more like a shortbread cookie.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ina's Meatloaf

 For as long as I can remember, every time I felt like making a meatloaf, my go-to recipe was the Meatloaf recipe on the back of the Lipton Onion Soup mix. I've made it for years! And as my nephew Daniel would say, "It's everything I need a meatloaf to be."
And then I tried Ina Garten's.
Um, Ladies and Gentleman, the game has just changed.
The flavors, the textures, SOOO good! You won't believe how good it is!!! I think this is now my new favorite. So here you go, Daniel Boone. Have some Meatloaf, Schmeatloaf, double Beatloaf. It's pretty slammin and I think it might become YOUR new favorite too!!
You should try it! Like, right now.

1 tablespoon good olive oil
3 cups chopped yellow onions (3 onions)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup canned chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (81 percent lean)
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs (recommended: Progresso)
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup ketchup (recommended: Heinz)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not brown. Off the heat, add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste. Allow to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck, onion mixture, bread crumbs, and eggs, and mix lightly with a fork. Don't mash or the meat loaf will be dense. Shape the mixture into a rectangular loaf on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F and the meat loaf is cooked through. (A pan of hot water in the oven, under the meat loaf, will keep the top from cracking.) Serve hot.

There isn't a lot about this recipe that I would change. Like I said, it's pretty slammin'. The only thing I might think about changing is the fact that it doesn't really slice very well. If you know me, you know that I like to serve a perfect slice (cake, pie, etc). Did you read how the directions say not to mash it because that will make it dense? Well, I kinda think it should be dense enough that you can slice it. When I watched her make it on her show (and also when I made it), it just kind of fell apart on the plate when she went to serve it. I think I'd rather be able to slice it, wouldn't you? It's all about presentation. So, perhaps next time I make it, I'll just mash it a little bit. Just a thought!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Eggs Benedict Casserole

 Usually, when you make classic Eggs Benedict, you make it in individual servings. You have your toasted English muffins, topped with ham or Canadian Bacon and a poached egg, drizzled with a rich and decadent Hollandaise sauce. DELICIOUS!! The only problem is that it doesn't exactly lend itself to feeding a crowd.
 Well, leave it to my fabulous sister Jeanie to find a recipe for Eggs Benedict that DOES feed a crowd! I mean, it stands to reason. She pretty much feeds the whole world with all the cooking she does. And she knows everything about everything. Let me put it this way....Lots of people come to me whenever they have a cooking question. Well, Jeanie is person I call when I have a cooking question. She's just amazing.
 Anyway, when we had our big Easter Brunch, she brought this dish and it was a HUGE hit. SWOOSH! There was nothing left. The recipe is pretty easy! And it's a total do-ahead, so it's a time saver too. I love that. I can't remember where she found it (somewhere on Pinterest, I think), but I'll still give her the credit for it. So, make this the next time you're feeding a crowd at brunch, or any holiday when you wanna serve a nice breakfast. (Christmas, anyone??) It's Delish!!
Thanx My Jeanie!!

3/4 lb Canadian Bacon, chopped
6 English muffins, split, toasted, and cut into 1" pieces
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika

4 egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup butter, melted

 Place half the bacon in a greased 9x13 baking dish. Top with English muffins and remaining bacon. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and onion powder. Pour over the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
 Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake 375ºF for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
 In a double boiler or metal bowl over simmering water, constantly whisk the egg yolks, cream, lemon juice, and mustard until mixture reaches 160º or until it's thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low. Slowly drizzle in warm butter, whisking constantly. Serve immediately with casserole.

Instead of using this sauce recipe, you could always just make a regular classic Hollandaise Sauce. It's basically the same, though.
Don't have Canadian Bacon? Use regular diced ham instead.
I noticed that there's no salt and pepper added. If I were making this, I'd probably throw some in. Yes, I know the bacon is salty, but I'd still probably add more. Just sayin.
Jeanie told me that the only thing she did differently was that she buttered the English muffins before cutting them up and adding them to the casserole. Obviously. I mean, why wouldn't you???

Monday, May 5, 2014

How to Make Homemade Mayonnaise

  Have you ever made your own homemade mayonnaise? It's SO good! And it's not as difficult as you might think. It's actually quite easy, especially if you have a food processor. Also I think homemade mayonnaise is much better for you, since you don't have all the artificial stuff that is in purchased mayonnaise (at least, that's what I once read in an article). Anyway, it only takes a minute to make and it uses just regular ingredients that you probably already have on hand. Simple! Btw, Yes, you can do it by hand with a whisk, but that's just FAR too much work, in my opinion.
  So here you go. I explain everything in the video, but here's the recipe anyway. Thanx again to Kelsie for being my special guest, and also big thanx to AJ for being the videographer! And remember, like I always say, it's better when YOU make it!!

1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp brown mustard
2 whole eggs, room temp
2 tbs vinegar
2 cups oil

  Place all ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Turn the processor on, and then VERY slowly drizzle the oil into the egg mixture, just a few drops at a time. After you've drizzled about 1/4 cup of oil, you can pour it in a slow steady stream. When all the oil is incorporated, it's finished! Store in the fridge in an airtight container.

 -For a little variation, add some garlic or horseradish before you add the oil Yum!
-Instead of regular white vinegar, I've tried it with lemon juice, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar. My favorite was the regular white vinegar.
 -Instead of brown mustard, sometimes I like to use Dijon mustard. Either one works!
 -If you're counting carbs, you can use Splenda or simply omit the sugar altogether. On the flip side, if you like a sweeter mayonnaise (more like Miracle Whip), you can add a little more sugar to taste.
 -If you're concerned about eating raw eggs, you can absolutely use pasteurized eggs such as Egg Beaters. It turns out exactly the same and you can't even tell the difference. Just use 1/4 cup per egg.
 -I was asked how long it lasts in the fridge, and quite frankly, I have no idea. It's always gone in no time, and then I have to make a new batch!