Pampering Chef: Holiday Appetizers

To prepare for the holidays, I taught some friends a full menu of sweet and savory appetizers! In this cooking class we prepared various appetizers made with a whole assortment of ingredients using Pampered Chef recipes. Here is the holiday appetizer menu we made:

Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps Round Up!

Today friends came over for a cooking class where we focused on Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps. We all made our own using either apples, pears, and peaches. But before we get into the recipes, do you know the difference between a Cobbler, Crumble & Crisp? If not, here’s some helpful info to figuring out the differences (which I found HERE) :

Cobblers – American cobblers are considered “fruit stews with dough dropped on top before baking” ( They involve a bottom layer of fruit that is then topped with ingredients for a biscuit dough. The result is a dense, rich dessert. Not to be confused with British cobblers (made with meat), popular cobbler ingredients include: apples, peaches and cherries.

Crisps – Crisps also have a bottom layer of fruit, but their topping is much more crunchy than cobblers. Instead of a dough-like pastry that rises, the crisp is topped with a different proportion of butter, sugar and flour that is sort of crumbly, and only briefly browned in the oven. Crisps might include oats or granola in their topping as well.

Crumbles – The crumble also begins with fruit at the bottom, but is topped with a different butter-flour-sugar mixture called a ’streusel’. The three ingredients are mixed just until crumbly and then poured on top of the fruit. This dish is very similar to a crisp but the crumble originated in Britain whereas the crisp is seen as more American. Crisps are also more rich than crumbles with higher amounts of sugar, butter and flour.

Ingredients Used:

To create our Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps, we started by slicing the fruit of our choice into slices and placing them in a greased baking dish. From there, we topped our fruit with one of the following adapted recipes to distinguish them from Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps:

Cobbler Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsalted butter
1 egg, slightly beaten

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients. Cut in butter and add beaten egg. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit, covering all exposed fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Crumble Recipe

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, sift all dry ingredients and cut in butter. Mix until crumbly and sprinkle over fruit, covering all exposed fruit. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.

Crisp Recipe
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup instant oatmeal or rolled oatmeal

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place fruit in the bottom of a baking dish and sweeten, to taste, with a little sugar depending on ripeness. In medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps. Stir in pecans & oatmeal and sprinkle over filling. Bake crisps for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Some of the finished ones while others were baking:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their favorite Cobbler, Crumbles & Crisps recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Shayne of One Bite At a Time! Shayne has won a Stoneware Mini Baker to continue baking throughout the fall, compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Shayne and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Florida
PB&J Crumble Bars
Everyone is familiar with the classic peanut butter and jelly combo… but Karen puts a twist on it by incorporating the flavors into PB&J Crumble Bars! Check out her blog for the recipe and where she found it!
Shayne of One Bite At a Time
from New Jersey
Quick Apple Crumble for Two
Shayne makes these wonderful individual Apple Crumbles for her and her husband to enjoy. I love that these are perfectly portioned and each person gets just enough crispy, crumbling topping all to themself! To find out what inspired Shayne to make these, check out her blog and get the recipe too!
Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Ohio
Caramel Apple & Pear Crisp
How often do you try recipes from brand names? Well Becke did and she submitted this Caramel Apple & Pear Crisp recipe from Pillsbury. Doesn’t it look amazing? You know you want the recipe… so check out Becke’s blog for it!
Kristina of About a Bit of Everything
from Illinois
Apple Crisp
When you’re invited to dinner, one of the best things to bring is a dessert… and Kristina did just that with her Apple Crisp. It’s a great dessert for fall that involves using some common pantry ingredients so you have no excuse not to make this! Check out Kristina’s blog for the recipe!
Kayla of Central Cooking
from Illinois
Apple Cinnamon Cobbler
Therese of In the Kitchen
from Illinois
Blueberry Crumb Bars
Therese created these fabulous bar treats which are a cross between a blueberry crisp and lemon bar. They look delicious and were inspired by her favorite cooking blog. To find out what that blog is and to also snag the recipe, check out her blog!
Kelly of Kelly Cooks… and Other Amazing Feats
from Pennsylvania
Southern Peach Cobbler
With quite a few peaches to work with, Kelly creates this delicious Southern Peach Cobbler. It was definitely the best she ever had and suggests that the recipe can be made with other fruits as well. Even better is that the top crust maintains its texture for several days without becoming soggy! Check out Kelly’s blog for the recipe!

Fall Snacks Adventure Round Up!

It was a beautiful fall day in Chicago and a perfect time to get together with girlfriends. Our foodie theme du jour is fall & game day snacks! One snack that’s great during fall (and well, all year round,) and a must for game day is… popcorn. We soon learned how popcorn is quite versatile for both sweet and savory flavors. Read on to see how we transformed this simple snack into something even more delicious!

Homemade Caramel Corn

The first thing we made was caramel corn due to the length of time for it to bake. You can find the recipe I used HERE. To give it a twist, you can also add your choice of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc) too.

Old Taylor St. Cheese Popcorn

This cheese seasoning is one I picked up from my favorite spice shop, The Spice House. Just add 1 1/2 teaspoons of this flavorful seasoning to 3 cups of popcorn for a great cheese & herb flavor!

Buffalo Blue Cheese Popcorn

The Spice House also carries this amazing Blue Cheese seasoning, which we used. Using 1 1/2 teaspoons of the seasoning with 3 cups of popcorn, we drizzled 1/8 cup of buffalo wing butter and tossed to coat. The buffalo wing butter was made but combining 1 cup Frank’s hot sauce and 3/4 cup melted butter. Unfortunately, this popcorn was such a hit I couldn’t get a picture of it!

Chocolate Popcorn

For some sweet snacks, we got creative with various kinds of chocolate and nuts. I provided three types of chocolate including: peanut butter and chocolate; semi sweet chocolate and white chocolate. For the nuts, we had: almonds, walnuts, and pecans. I also had some dried cranberries as well. To prepare the chocolate, I used large packages of melting chocolate and white melting chocolate. Simply melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler until smooth. For the peanut butter chocolate, I combined creamy peanut butter and 1/3 package of melting chocolate. Heat both the peanut butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until smooth.In a gallon sized plastic zip bag, add 3 cups of popcorn, 1/4 cup of melted chocolate, 1-2 tablespoons chopped nuts of your choice. Zip bag closed and shake until popcorn is fully coated.

Here are the chocolate popcorn creations I made:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pecan Popcorn
White Chocolate Walnut & Cranberry Popcorn

To add to the fall snacks line up, we also made some chocolate covered pretzels with the chocolate we used for the popcorn!

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

For lunch, I stuck with the game day theme and offered some of my favorites including:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted their favorite muffin recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog! Karen will be receiving packets of the same seasonings we used today for popcorn including Old Taylor St. Cheese seasoning and Blue Cheese seasoning! Congratulations Karen and thanks to all those who participated. Read on to check out the recipe submissions!

Karen of Loves to Eat Weblog
from Florida
Cheese Ball with Blue Cheese
If you’re a cheese fan like me, then you definitely have to check out Karen’s Cheese Ball with Blue Cheese. She and her husband love this snack and is perfect for watching the big game. Check out her blog for the recipe and give this a try for the next game you’ll be watching!

Kate of Paved With Good Intentions
from California
BBQ Tortilla & Tortilla Dog
Kate gets creative with tortillas as she uses them for a BBQ Tortilla & Tortilla Dog! I love that these are not only a fun twist on traditional recipe ideas, but are perfect snacks if you’re craving for something quick and easy! Check out Kate’s blog for the recipes!

Scones Scones Scones & English Tea Party Roundup!

Time to warm up our ovens now that fall is almost officially here. Today friends joined me in a Scones adventure where we made a base scone dough and added various ingredients to customize them. There are some wonderful scones made given the ingredients available.

For add in ingredients, I offered:
nuts: walnuts, pecans, almonds
fruit: raspberries, blueberries, lemon zest
chips: chocolate chips, cappuccino chips
sprinkles: caramel sprinkles, cinnamon sprinkles

Here is the base recipe we made for our scone dough, an ATK recipe that I previously highlighted in my blog:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together.

3. Using a pastry blender or your fingertips, quickly cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few slightly larger butter lumps.

4. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of additional DRY ingredients until thoroughly incorporated.

5. Stir in the heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until the dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
6. Add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of additional WET ingredients (such as fruit, preserves, speciality butters) and gently fold into the dough so that everything is evenly distributed throughout.
7. Gather the dough and all dry flour bits and press the dough into an 8 inch cake pan, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 8 wedges.

8 Bake until the scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Here are pictures of our event and final scones, which we swapped:

The parade of scones!
Chocolate chip, cappuccino chip & walnut:Chocolate chip & caramel sprinkle: Chocolate chip, almond & caramel sprinkle: Cappuccino chip & caramel sprinkle: Raspberry Chocolate Chip: Blueberry & Rasperry:

While our scones were baking, we enjoyed lunch and great conversation. Here are pics of the dishes I served for our English tea party inspired lunch:

English inspired lunch: Corn & avocado salad: Tea sandwiches: Caprese stuffed portabello caps:Crudite platter w/dill & garlic dip:

Cheese & crackers:Bruschetta bites:

Peanut butter cookie cups:


To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted English tea party-inspired recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Kristina of About a Bit of Everything! Kristina has won an Easy Entertaining cookbook compliments of Tone’s spices. Congrats Kristina an hope you enjoy the cookbook, especially with the upcoming holiday entertaining season around the corner!

from Chicago, IL
Chocolate Chip Biscotti
Kristina isn’t a big fan of tea so she created these chocolate chip biscotti which she would prefer pairing up with a skinny vanilla latte. These biscotti look so delicious and you’ll need to check out Kristina’s blog for the recipe!

Niki of Big City Cooking
from Chicago, IL
English Peach Scones
Niki joins us to share these beautiful peach scones. What a great flavor to enjoy with a cup of tea. To find out what inspired Niki to make these and the recipe, check out her blog!

Hot & Steamy Chinese Adventure Round Up!

Chicago has gotten quite a bit of rain the whole weekend so it definitely was a perfect day to spend in the kitchen with friends. For my culinary adventure today, friends came over to learn how to make Chinese Steamed Buns and stuffed them with an assortment of fillings.

You will need the following to make the steamed buns:
Your preferred fillings
Prepared steamed bun dough
Extra flour for dusting your hands/fingers
Several 2″ x 2″ squares of parchment or wax paper
Bamboo or metal steamer
Wok or large stock pot with boiling water

Steamed buns are traditional made with a yeast dough and filled with tasty meat and/or vegetable combinations. For my event I offered 5 different fillings I made from scratch including:

Steamed Buns Dough
Now I have a confession. I’m not too fond of working with yeast… and although the traditional recipes for Chinese Steamed Buns use yeast, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find a recipe that doesn’t call for it at all! The following is the adapted recipe I used, taken from the book, Dim Sum: Delicious Finger Food for Parties by Fiona Smith.
Steamed Buns Fluffy Dough

1.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cold water

In a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt & baking powder until fully combined.
Slowly add the remaining ingredients and allow the dough hook to bring the dough together.
Allow the dough hook to knead the dough for 1-3 minutes until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
In a large bowl, sprayed with cooking spray (to prevent sticking), place the dough and cover with a damp cloth.
Allow dough to sit for 1 hour before using.

Making Steamed Buns
Once you have the fillings and dough ready… and you’ve got a pot of water ready for steaming, then the fun can begin! To begin filling and making steamed buns, dust your hands with flour and stir in 1-2 tablespoons of flour to the dough before working with it.

Take a ball of dough about the size of a tennis ball in your hands. Work the dough to create a log about 1 inch thick and about 4-6 inches long.

Once you have your log, break off a piece about an inch long. Roll this in your hands to form a small ball. Flatten this ball in your palms and work to stretch it out into a disc, about 1/4 inch thick. You’ll notice the dough is very elastic and if needed, use flour to prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers/hands.

In the middle of your disc of dough, add 1 teaspoon of your preferred filling. Pull the edges up to create a pouch and pinch the dough to fully enclose the filling in dough.

Place your steamed bun on a square of parchment or wax paper. Continue repeating the steps until you’ve used up all your dough.

Steaming the Buns

I gave everyone of my friends a bamboo steamer for them to cook their steamed buns in. You can find these at your local Asian market or housewares store, such as Bed Bath & Beyond and event Walmart/Target. They are pretty affordable and are great to use for other items like vegetables, lean meats (such as fish, chicken, shrimp), fruits, dumplings… the versatility of this tool is endless! It really is a wonderful way to cook healthy too.

Once you have your buns formed and are placed on the parchment/wax paper, carefully put the buns in your steamer basket: Have your large pot or wok filled with enough water to get it boiling. You don’t want the water level to boil up into the bottom of your steamer… just below it (we want to steam the buns, not boil them in water!). Place your steamer in your prepared pot and cover. Here’s a funny picture of our Bamboo Steamer Towers both in my 21 quart stock pot and wok:Allow your buns to steam for about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind, they may look small, but they will puff up and expand while it steams. They will be done when the dough gets a nice sheen to them and is no longer doughy.

Once they are done, enjoy these fluffy savory pillows of goodness!

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted Chinese inspired recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Brooke of Victuals & Libations !

Brooke will be receiving Chinese Five Spice Powder and Crystallized Ginger, compliments of Chicago’s Spice House! Hopefully these ingredients will inspire Brooke to make more Chinese inspired recipes! Congratulations Brooke and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Ohio
Mu Shu Brat Bites
Becke joins us with a creative twist on a grilled favorite – brats! It’s a Chinese inspired take on bratwurst which makes it quite interesting. For Becke’s thoughts and ways she would adapt the recipe for next time, check out her blog!
Brooke of Victuals & Libations
from Ohio
Chicken & Cashew Stirfry
Brooke joins us for the first time with her dish, Chicken & Cashew Stirfry. It’s chock full of various veggies and its pretty versatile too. To find out what veggies Brooke made her dish with, check out her blog for the recipe!
Cassie of Cassie’s Ruminations
from Washington State
Teriyaki Chicken Bowls
Cassie joins us to share her Teriyaki Chicken Bowls. What I love about this dish is that it uses chicken thighs, probably the most flavorful cut of chicken there is! It also uses a great alcoholic drink you can sip while cooking. To find out what that drink is and for the recipe, check out Cassie’s blog!

Tamale Time!

Today, friends and I got together to make tamales! It was a great day and a lot of fun to sit and talk, while making tamales. Making tamales is usually a very lengthy and time consuming process. Each component of making tamales can be done in advance, which makes it easy when you have friends over to make/assemble them. Prior to everyone coming over, I made the fillings, masa and soaked the corn husks so all that we needed to do was assemble them.

For fillings, I offered several kinds including:
salsa verde, citrus & lime chicken
beef & chorizo
southwestern pork carnitas
carmelized onions & peppers
corn & black bean
authentic & vegetarian refried beans

Some additional ingredients I provided for filling our tamales:
green onions
salsa verde
roasted tomato salsa
mexican blend cheese

To go with our tamale lunch, I also made:
Mexican Rice

Tres Leches Flan Cake

Here are some pics of the event and the recipes to follow:

Masa Recipe

1lb lard or 2 sticks butter + 2 sticks margarine
5 cups chicken broth or water
2 lbs corn masa flour
1-2 tablespoons salt

In a stand mixer with your paddle attachment, mix the lard or butter/margarine until fluffy.
Alternate adding the masa flour and chicken broth/water in the stand mixer with the salt.
Continue mixing the mixture until your dough comes together.
To check whether your dough is ready, take about 1/2 a teaspoon of the dough and place it in a cup of cold water. If the dough floats, the dough its ready.

Preparing the Corn Husks

You can find dried corn husks at various stores including some supermarkets or ethnic markets. I picked mine up from an ethnic market and asked the staff for them since its something they don’t always put out. (It helps to know your neighborhood grocery staff too!)

To prepare the corn husks for tamales, you will need to soak them for 30-45 minutes in hot water. I filled up my large 20 qt stock pot with water and heated it up to a boil. I then turned off the heat, placed the husks in the pot until they were fully submerged, topped the husks with a heavy plate (to keep them submerged) and covered the pot. After 30-45 minutes, I pulled the husks out with tongs and placed them in my large roasting pan. This made it easy to bring to the table for folks to use the husks.

Assembling the Tamales

There are so many ways to assemble tamales, but for my event, we kept it simple. To assemble, spread a heaping tablespoon across the widest part of the corn husk. Spread it to a nice thin layer. Down the middle of the masa, place your filling in a line, being careful not to overfill! Take the sides of the tamale and fold it over towards the middle. Fold up the narrow bottom and tie it with a sliver of corn husk. I’m sure if you did a search online, you’ll find so many fun and different ways to package these tasty tamales.

Cooking the Tamales

Now that you have your tamales made, you’ll want to steam them in a large pot with a steamer basket. If you don’t have a large pot with a steamer basket, crumple a large piece of foil into a ball and place in a wok, dutch oven or the largest/deepest pot you have. Place your tamales inside the pot and have it lean against the foil ball, all the way around. Carefully fill the pot with water until you have an inch of water. Cook over high heat for 45 minutes to 1 hour, covered. Check the level of the water every so often to make sure it hasn’t completely evaporated. The tamales are done when it peels away from the corn husk easily and the masa turns a slight shade of yellow.

If you need some visuals, here is a link with some step by step pictures and thorough explanations on how to make tamales.

Pie in My Eye Round Up!

With the bounty of fresh fruits in summer, a great way to use them is to make pie! But if you’re like me, you probably don’t want a whole pie in your kitchen to tempt you. So my friends and I decided it to make pies anyway… only in smaller packages as hand pies.
For our hand pies, we chose to fill them with fresh strawberries, blueberries and mango. Here are pictures of our event. Also check out this link for some helpful tips & hints with Pie Dough 101!

Cook’s Illustrated’s Foolproof Pie Dough
– makes one 9-inch double-crust pie –

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water

1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted pie recipes! As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Amy of Just2Good ! Amy will be receiving a Pastry/Baker’s Roller tool compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Amy and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Karen of Loves To Eat Weblog
from Tampa, FL
Mom’s Apple Pie
Karen joins us with a special pie that’s near and dear to her. Not only was it a recipe of her mom’s but she made this pie for someone’s birthday! Check out her blog to find out who and to get the recipe!

Dhanggit from Dhanggit’s Kitchen
from Aix Provence, France
Nutella Dulche de Leche Tartellette
Dhanggit joins us from France and has been one of my fave blogs to read. I’m thrilled that she has joined in this blogging adventure to share with us her gorgeous entry. Even the name of her dish makes me hungry. You definitely should check out her blog for the recipe and get some “Nutella theraphy“… because we all need that now and then!
Amy of Just2Good
from Florida
Apple Pie
Amy shares with us a pie recipe she made and brought to a dinner party. She used recipes from 2 sources to create such a beautiful pie! To find out what sources she used and the recipe, check out her blog!

Melissa of Made by Melissa
from New Hampshire
Blueberry Pie
Melissa shares a pie her husband made, since she isn’t a fan of pie. The pie was bursting with blueberries and I especially liked how the top of her pie was decorated. To find out how and for the recipe, check out Melissa’s blog!

Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
from Ontario, Canada
Raspberry Peach Pie
I’m a fan of peach melbas and after checking out Pyschgrad’s entry, I knew this would be an excellent recipe to try. However, someone preferred that Psychgrad not bake this pie. Check out her blog to find out who and to get the recipe!

The Food Hunter
from Arizona
Honey & Pine Nut Pie
A new comer to the my blogging adventures is The Food Hunter! She shares with us her special pie challenge that combines 2 pantry staples (at least in my house) resulting in a sweet looking pie. Check out The Food Hunter’s blog for the recipe!
Becke of Columbus Foodie
from Columbus, OH
Blackberry Custard Pie
Becke has one of my favorite blogs because she often creates dishes using creative combinations and her pictures are outstanding. I’m so glad she participated in this event because her pie entry looks so delicious! Forget plain custard pies… and forget plain blackberry pies. Combine these two for a pie that’s both fruity and creamy! Check out Becke’s blog for the recipe!

Eggrolls & Asian Appetizers Roundup!

Eggrolls are a popular Asian appetizer but it’s also found in American contemporary cuisine filled with various flavor combinations. Today, my friends and I got together to learn more about eggrolls by spending the afternoon rolling some with an assortment of fillings! For my eggroll adventure, I provided several different kinds of fillings including:
ground beef seasoned with southwestern seasoning,
multi-colored bell peppers, black beans, corn, mexican cheese blend

ground italian sausage seasoned with italian seasoning,
romano cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach, italian cheese blend
ground beef, garlic, onion, ginger, hoisin sauce, tofu, scallions
Vietnamese shrimp rolls:
shrimp, vermicelli noodles, Thai basil, mint, cilantro, bean sprouts

Gourmet: ground beef, caramelized onion, blue cheese, bacon, garlic, artichokes
Dessert: apple cinnamon cream cheese & sweet plantains

Here are pictures from the event:

For lunch to round out the meal, I also served up:

Bamboo Infused Rice

Shrimp Springroll Salad:
Sweet & Sour Meatballs:

Chocolate Chip Cookies:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted Asian appetizer recipes. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Tammy of My Little World! Tammy will be receiving a Basting Brush (to help with future lumpia making) and a bar board/knife set compliments of Pampered Chef. Congratulations Tammy and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Tammie of My Little World
from Ohio
Filipino Lumpia
Tammie takes me back to my childhood with her post on Filipino Lumpia. I grew up making these with my mom where it was a grand production that was sometimes labor intensive. Check out Tammie’s blog for the great recipe and a how to instruction on rolling them up!

Carrie of Carrie in the Kitchen
from Virginia
Lettuce Wrap Chicken Satay
Looking for something healthy asian appetizer? Not all asian appetizers are fried so check out Carrie’s blog for a Lettuce Wrap Chicken Satay. It’s perfect for those who are watching their carbs (like me)!

Heather of The Shannon’s Kitchen
from Florida
Crab Rangoons
Heather tempts me with her crab rangoons! I don’t think I can ever go to a Chinese restaurant without ordering these babies to whet my appetite before my entree comes. Check out Heather’s blog for the recipe!
Jennifer of Jenn & Food, Perfect Together
from Piscataway, NJ
Chicken & Shrimp Dumplings (Shu Mai)
Jennifer breaks in her new bamboo steamer by making these tasty pouches of goodness! She even provides some tips and hints in using a bamboo steamer. Check out Jennifer’s blog for details and the recipe for her dumplings!
Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles
from Philadelphia, PA
Summer Rolls
Bridget shares with us her beautiful spring rolls! They are one of my favorite type of asian appetizers because it’s fresh, light and filling. Check out Bridget’s blog for her fabulous pictures and recipe!
Alex of Eating Leeds
from Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
Salt & Pepper Squid
Alex got me hungry reading her submission to the Asian Appetizer’s blogging event. I happen to love Salt & Pepper Squid! Check out her blog for the recipe!

Ramki of One Page Cookbooks
from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
Ramki shares with us some information on parathas, which are Indian are non-leavened flatbreads. Check out her blog for some great information and varation to this popular Indian appetizer!

Summer Produce Iron Chef Round Up!

Today was a great event where folks brought in a random assortment of summer produce – fruits and vegetables – and together we came up with a lunch menu using the produce and a stocked pantry. We had a lot to work with so it was pretty easy to come up with something tasty.

Here’s our luncheon menu:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted recipes using summer produce. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Oakley of LemonBasil! Oakley will be receiving a Farmers Market cookbook packed with some great recipe ideas for all produce imaginable. Congratulations Oakley and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the pics submitted by my fellow bloggers…

Stina of Eat Something
from Tennessee
Peach & Blueberry Clafouti
Stina does an excellent job tackling Nigella’s recipe for a Peach & Blueberry Clafouti. She has some great suggestions to use other fruit too! Check out her blog for the recipe and maybe try putting your spin on it with other fruits while they are in season!

Kim of Live Love Laugh Eat
from Virginia
Caprese Inspired Green Salad
Taking the components of a traditional caprese salad, Kim makes use of her bountiful garden by adding some cucumbers. Not only is it a colorful salad, but a refreshing one for the summer. Check out her blog for the recipe!

Psychgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
from Ontario, Canada
Walnut & Strawberry Salad
Psychgrad recently visited France and brought back some walnut oil. To make great use of this special ingredient, a beautiful Walnut & Strawberry Salad was created. Check out their blog for some beautiful pictures of their trip to France and the recipe for their delicious summer salad!

Rachel of The Crispy Cook
from New York
Stir-Fried Broccoli Shoots & Tofu
Rachel has a great recipe waiting for you in her blog, using broccoli shoots… a summer produce I have yet to work with. For the recipe and to read more about these broccoli shoots, check out her blog!

Oakley of Lemon Basil
from Portland, OR
Fresh Summer Vegetable Stack
Oakley gets creative with presentation using her summer produce! She used some great vegetables and created a simple and elegant dish. Check out her blog for the recipe and take advantage of the summer produce before the summer’s over!

Jason of Dericious Things
from Chicago, IL
Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
Jason makes great use of some eggplant, squash, mushrooms and basil. Check out his new blog and try roasting/grilling vegetables to create a delicious sandwich!

Can’t Stand the Heat? Get Outta the Kitchen!

For dinner tonight, I hosted a dinner event where guests came over to learn how to cook an entire meal on the grill. It was extremely fun and the menu was fabulous. Here’s what was on my menu:

To join in the fun, my fellow bloggers have submitted grilled recipes. As I do with each blogging event I host, a lucky blogger receives a giveaway related to the food theme. This event’s winner is Lisa of Lime in the Coconut! Lisa will be receiving a Grilling cookbook and some grilling spices, compliments of McCormick! Congratulations Lisa and thanks to all that participated in the blogging event! Read on to check out the recipes submitted by my fellow bloggers and pictures of my grilling event…

*I’m also submitting my 2 grilled desserts to the Recipe Remix blogging event! Check out their site in September for the round up!**

Here are grilled recipes submitted by fellow bloggers:

Soya Aloo Ki Sabji
(Fresh Dill and Potatoes dry Curry)
submitted by Nidhi of Charche Chauke Ke

Potatoes 1 large or two medium chopped
Fresh Dill/soya 1/2 bunch cut fine
Ginger 1/2 ” piece minced or grated
Green chilli 1 cut fine
Oil 1 tsp.
Asafoetida 1/4 tsp.
Cumin seeds/ Jeera 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder/ haldi 1/2 tsp.
Red chilli powder 1/4 tsp.
Coriander powder/Dhaniya 1/2 tsp.
Dry mango powder/ amchur 1/2 tsp.
Garam Masala 1/4 tsp.

A cast iron skillet is great to cook potatoes in. It gives the potatoes a great crust which makes the dish delicious, so use it to cook the potatoes in if you can. Heat the skillet and add oil. Add asafoetida, cumin seeds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder to the oil.
When you hear the sizzling sound, add the green chilli and ginger. Saute briefly for 30 seconds and then add the potatoes and the dill. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet. Let it cook like that for 15-20 minutes till the potatoes look like they are done. You can stir a couple of times in between.

Lastly add dry mango powder and the garam masala. Mix well with a light hand. And soya aloo ki sabji is ready. This makes a fabulous side dish, whether with lentil soup or even a spicy curry. Its delicious to just snack on them too:). Tastes great with rotis, paranthas or even rice.

Grilled Pizza
submitted by Courtney of Prescription For Good Food
2 frozen pizza doughs (thawed in fridge overnight)
1 can pizza sauce
1 red bell pepper
1/4 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 bunch fresh basil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Prep all ingredients so that everything is ready for the pizzas to be assembled.
Cut the pepper and onion into thin strips.
Mince the garlic.
Roughly tear the basil (or roll together in a bunch and make thin slices for basil confetti).
Preheat the grill to medium high.
Spray the grill with cooking spray(carefully) or drizzle the dough with olive oil.
Place the dough on grill.Allow to grill for about one minute, or until the first side has a few grill marks.
Flip dough over, and begin to assemble pizza.
I added the sauce, onion, garlic, peppers, cheese, and some of the basil.
Grill until the cheese had melted.
Make sure to check the bottom of the crust to make sure it isn’t burning.
Remove from grill and sprinkle with the remaining basil.

Grilled Lemon & Garlic Marinated Pork Chops
submitted by Karen of Love To Eat

2 center cut thick pork chops boneless
3 tbsp lemon juice fresh
3 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp Italian seasonings rub: Oregano, basil, parsley, etc…Great mix
s and p to taste
2 tbsp evoo

Throw everything into a bag or bowl. Mix and cover. Marinate for 2 hours or as long as overnight. I did 5 hours.
Heat grill to medium. Put chops on and grill about 5-10 mins each side depending on thickness. Serve warm with grilled veggies and fresh seasonal fruit..we used grilled corn, peas and chilled watermelon!

Grilled Marinated Kabobs
submitted by Karen of Loves To Eat

1 chopped onion
1 cup honey
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tbsp chili powder
1/3 cup Tabasco sauce
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
the juice from 1 lemon
2 fresh peppers
4 large boneless chicken breasts chopped into 1 inch cubes

Mix the ingredients minus peppers, onion and chicken, in the blender for 30-50 seconds, or until well blended. Add all to a bowl and mmarinate the shish kabobs in the refrigerator for 6 or more hours. Once marinated, load up kabob skewers to your liking, and grill for about 10-15 mins per side or until chicken is completely cooked. Serve with grilled corn on the cob and fresh, chilled watermelon!

Cilantro Lime Halibut w/ Mexican Squash and Beans
submitted by Lisa of Lime in the Coconut

4 filets of fish (Halibut, Mahi Mahi or Swordfish work best here)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lemonJuice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon of Tabasco sauce
2 chili peppers, chopped finely
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse you fish filets in cold water, pat them dry and season with salt and pepper. Set them aside on a platter while you combine all the remaining ingredients. You can use a food processor if you like, but I found it just as easy to chop everything up.

Once your marinade is ready, plunk your fish down in the sauce, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Try not to let it sit for too long because the citrus will begin to “cook” the fish. Preheat your outdoor grill or grill pan and spray with cooking spray or brush with olive oil. Place your well marinaded fish filets on the grill. Pour a little marinade over the filets and close the grill cover. After about 3-4 minutes, depending on thickness, flip your filets. Pour some marinade down on the other side and allow them to finish cooking for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from grill and serve over Mexican Squash and Beans.

Mexican Squash and Beans

2 small zucchini, cut into discs
2 small yellow squash, cut into discs
1 green pepper, cut into slices
1 vidalia onion, cut into slices
1 large tomato, cut in large chunks2 ears of corn (or you can use frozen corn kernels if you want)
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 can of black beans, drained
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

After you’ve chopped up the zucchini, squash, pepper, onion and tomato place in a large mixing bowl. Cover with three tablespoons of the oil and a teaspoon each of the cumin and chili powder. Season generously with salt and pepper and stir to coat all the vegetables with the spices and oil. Peel the ears of corn, rub with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Preheat your grill.

Dump your vegetables into a grill pan on the grill. If you don’t have a grill pan you can use a foil pan. Place your ears of corn directly on the grill. Close the lid and allow the vegetables and corn to cook for about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them, lift the lid to stir the vegetables and turn the corn. The corn will start to yellow, as it softens and browns up slightly you can remove your ears. Once they cool you can cut the kernels off and mix with your finished vegetables. Once your vegetables are cooking to desired doneness, remove them from the grill.

Coriander Pepper Pork Chops
submitted by Angie of Adventures in Home Cooking

2-4 boneless porkchops
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 T. coriander seeds, crushed
1 T. coarse black pepper
1 T. brown sugar
3 T. soy sauce
3 T. Olive oil

Whisk together olive oil and soy sauce in a medium bowl. Add garlic, coriander seeds, pepper, and brown sugar. Whisk together to blend. Place pork chops in dish. Marinate for 30 minutes. Remove the chops from the marinade and broil, pan broil, or grill for 10-15 minutes, turning occassionally. Juices should run clear and chops should be tender and juicy.

JS’s Savory Chicken Wings
submitted by TS & JS of [eatingclub] vancouver

1 tsp five-spice powder
2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp ground coriander
1 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp sesame oiljuice of
1 lime
4 lbs chicken wings

Combine all ingredients together (except chicken) and whisk. Pour over chicken wings and marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.Cooking method can vary.
I baked them in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees, then finished them off at the grill. Alternatively, these can bake for the 45 minutes, broiled at the end for a charred finish. Of course, you can also cook them totally on the grill.

Basil Mozzarella Burgers
submitted by Lauren of Lauren’s Kitchen

For the burgers:
1 pound ground beef
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
About a tablespoon balsamic vinagrette dressing

Combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties. Place on heated grill pan. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side. Turn and cook for 3 more minutes. Serve with Basil Mayonnaise and Tomato Salsa.

Basil Mayonnaise:
2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender. Puree until smooth.

Tomato Salsa:
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup pimento olives, chopped (I omitted.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Teriyaki Kabobs
submitted by Melissa of Made by Melissa

1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef sirloin steak, cut 1 1/4 inch cubes ( I am sure boneless, skinless chicken breasts would also work well)
1 small pineapple, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 large onion, cut into wedges
Other veggies that might be good: Mushrooms, tomatoes, red and or green bell pepper

In a bowl, combine soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and salt; mix well. Pour half of the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag or shallow glass container; add beef and turn to coat. Seal or cover; refrigerate for 4-8 ours, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain the meat, discarding the marinade. On metal or soaked bamboo skewers, alternate meat, onions and pineapple. Grill, uncovered, over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side.
Baste with reserved marinade. Continue turning and basting for 8-10 minutes or until meat reaches desired doneness.