Sunday, December 20, 2009

Easy Company Coffee Cake

I got the idea of using Pillsbury biscuits as the base of coffee cake from Paula Deen. Because I don't use as much butter as she does, and I prefer cinnamon and sugar to coffee and citrus, I changed up her recipe to create my own deliciousness. This is seriously easy to make...and it's perfect for breakfast when you have company.

2 T butter, melted
1 (16.3-ounce) can refrigerated biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers)
1/4 cup minced walnuts
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk, or more, as necessary

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

Separate the biscuit dough into 8 biscuits. Place one biscuit in the center of the pan. Arrange the remaining biscuits around the center.

In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Mix well. Sprinkle over biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

In a small bowl combine confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, and milk. Blend until smooth adding more milk, if needed, to thin. Drizzle glaze over the warm coffee cake and serve.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Panzanella Salad

When we were in Italy in April 2008, I fell in love with Panzanella salad (Tuscan bread salad). I'd never had anything quite like it, and haven't since. Every place I order it has soggy bread or it's too bland. So I created my own without soggy bread, the freshest veggies, and just the right amount of texture. In Tuscany, though, you won't get it with cucumbers and it'll have basil instead of parsley. You will love this recipe!

1/2 loaf day old French bread
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 cucumber, cut into bite sizes
1 container of mozzarella balls
2 T garlic
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 C olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Stir until well coated. Let marinate at least an hour; can be kept overnight.

In a large skillet, warm up enough olive oil to coat the bottom. Cut the bread into bite sizes and, working in batches, cook on all sides until golden brown. Transfer to plate and season with salt and pepper. Do the next batch - you'll likely have to add more olive oil - until all of the bread has been toasted and seasoned.

Place the bread on the bottom of a medium-sized platter. Using a slotted spoon, place the marinated veggies and cheese on top. Add the liquid from the bowl on top and around the sides, just enough to season the bread, but not make it soggy. Top with parsley for color and serve.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blue Cheese Crusted Steaks

I don't have a photo of this new concoction, but next time I make it, I'll take one and load it up then. I also haven't measured the ingredients, which I'll also do next time, but have had several people ask me for the recipe so you'll get it without exact measurements right now.

A few weeks ago, we were at Whole Foods, trying to decide what to have for dinner. I was hanging out with the cheese monger, trying different blues. Kelly wanted a steak so he got a N.Y. strip and I got my cheese and we came home. I ate the cheese and decided to crust his steak with some of it, as well. Following is the deliciousness it became.

Moody blue cheese (get the Moody blue - it makes a huge difference)
Bread crumbs
N.Y. strip steak

Season the steak with salt, pepper, and garlic salt on both sides. Let sit for 15 minutes. Then cook or grill the steak as you like it (about four minutes per side for medium rare). In a small bowl, crumble enough blue cheese that it looks like it will cover the top of the steak. Then pour in enough bread crumbs to mix with the blue cheese, but only about 1/4-1/2 the amount of the cheese. You just want enough to hold the cheese together. Then press it gently into the top of the steak. Under a broiler, melt the cheese on the steak. Just long enough that it begins to brown. Serve immediately.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Roasted Tomato Soup with Chipotle Cream

I was at an event at Merchandise Mart and, in the Kohler store, they were serving little ladles of mushroom risotto with chipotle cream. I thought, "I wonder how you make chipotle cream and if it would be good in anything else?" So was born this recipe. You could actually make it without the chipotle, but it definitely gives it a unique flavor and just the right amount of spice.


2-3 tomatoes on the vine
2 beefsteak tomatoes
2 Roma tomatoes
10 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large yellow onion
1-2 chipotle peppers (to taste; you can find them in a can in the vegetable section)
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 C heavy whipping cream
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line jelly roll sheet (or cookie sheet with lip) with foil. Slice tomatoes in quarters and place on sheet. Add garlic (whole, but peeled) to sheet. Slice onion into rings and add to sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until vegetables begin to brown and the oil is bubbling.

In a large stock pot, heat broth over medium heat. Pour vegetables directly from sheet into pot. Add chipotle pepper (two if you like spicy food). Simmer over medium heat for 20-25 minutes.

Working in batches, pour soup into food processor and combine until all chunks are gone. You can also use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Return soup to pot and add cream. Stir until heated through. Serve immediately.