Friday, June 24, 2011

Addicted to My Summertime Salad

I picked up what was left of the local strawberries. They were SO juicy that they practically melted in my mouth! Next spring I hope to be more in tune with the short strawberry season and actually go pick some and turn it into freezer jam. But with the few I had I used on a bed of fresh baby spinach from my mom's garden! What a treat!

I toasted chopped pecans, sliced strawberries and crumbled feta cheese. I looked up a recipe for a raspberry vinaigrette only to find out this recipe called for raspberry syrup, something you find in the international isle of the store. Well, I wasn't about to run to the store so I threw in some raspberry jam into my vinaigrette instead. JUST AS DELICIOUS!  Here's the recipe-

Baby spinach or a spring mix
feta cheese
chopped,toasted pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 Tablespoon raspberry jam
pinch of salt & pepper

Blend until smooth- Drizzle onto salad quickly. The dressing seemed to separate very fast.  Serve with a smile and get ready to reload that salad plate!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Secret to a Chewy Cookie

I have always looked for the perfect cookie recipe and tried to keep them chewy by pulling them out of the oven right before they're fully baked and eat them while hot before they turn crunchy.  But while in Taiwan, a stateside friend mailed a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies to a teammate and they were CHEWY even after the long trip overseas! What was the secret? Vanilla pudding mix!! Maybe you already knew this, but this was a revelation for me and I couldn't wait to get back to the states where I can buy vanilla pudding mix and try it out! 
Here is a recipe I found that works very well.  It makes around 4 dozen. The best way to serve them is warm with a glass of milk, so why not refrigerate your dough until guests come over?!

The Chewiest Chocolate Chipiest Cookies
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •   3cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mix together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
In your mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. 
Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My First Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

I keep driving past small produce stands with signs that read, "Rhubarb"and "Local Strawberries". I really like rhubarb when others use it in cobbler or pie, but I personally have never cooked with it. 

This morning, I finally bought some and headed home for a new adventure. My little girl appreciated the juicy strawberries as a snack while I worked on the pie.

I found a recipe that was very easy to follow; "Pucker Up for That Strawberry Rhubarb Pie."  Instead of making my own pie crust I bought two frozen ones, thawed them, rolled them together on waxed paper and placed it in my deep dish pie pan.

Check out her site and have fun! It didn't take me as long as I thought it would. From start to oven it was right around 45 minutes.

My hubby stated he didn't really like rhubarb but would try it anyway. Well, guess what happened? He's a believer!

It is delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!