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Megans Cookin: May 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bacon Candy Or Devil's Delight?

This is a recipe that I'm sure is from the devil himself.
Originaly called Bacon Candy,
I think they should call it Devil's Delight.

Thick cut salty pork bacon, dredged in brown sugar with a dose of chili powder.

So it's sweet, salty, smokey, spicy, sticky sticks of pure delight.

I know it must be from the devil because it is so evil yet comes off as so good.

What do you think?

Devil's Delight or Bacon Candy

Either way, they were a BIG hit at my party!

Served with Super Simple Pumpkin Coffeecake per request!

Bacon Candy

1 lb Bacon
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1 TBS chili powder (Or to taste)

Add Chili powder to brown sugar and mix well. Dredge bacon slices in sugar mixture coating each side. Lay on backing rack over foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes till crisp.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Apple VS Mushroom Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

OK, now that we got the requires verbiage out of the way, lets start this battle of the strudel. I made it two times. Once with disastrous results and once that was over the top delicious. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

I was on Twitter, tweeting that I was about to start my DB challenge. Do you tweet? I'm addicted. If you do tweet, add me! If you don't, why not??? Give it a try. But let me make one recommendation. Use one of the platforms like tweetdeck. Replies and direct messages are laid out on one page. So mush easier to enjoy the fun.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yea, I was tweeting!

So Barbara of Barbara Bakes tweeted back that she was just starting her challenge too. So we went back and forth, comparing notes, asking each other questions, actually doing the strudel together in real time. Oh the power of tweeter!

My first strudel was a bomb. A series of comical events if you will.
Here is how it all played out.

Apple VS Mushroom Strudel!

Let's start with the dough. I mixed everything in my KA mixer. The first time the dough was too wet. April had already made hers and said (tweeted) that her dough was real wet. So I thought it was OK. But it was to wet to even knead for the 2 minutes by hand, like that the recipe said.

Second time, I had to add about 2 TBS of more flour. That was MUCH better and I was able to slap and knead the dough just as directed. I pretty much knew at this point that strudel #2 would be better. But at this point on strudel #1, I had no idea the mess I was making.

Strudel #1 would not stretch at all. It was more like one big hole. I wouldn't even take a picture.
Strudel #2 worked like a dream! Pictured below in all it's glory! :)

For the filling on #1, I went with the apple filling. I used orange flavored cranberries (from Trader Joe's.) for my raisins. They complemented the apples really well and
I was happy with the filling.

For the filling on #2, I went with caramelized onions and mushroom
with shavings of Parmesan Cheese. This one was awesome.

Now after stretching the dough, you are suppose to brush butter evenly over the pastry and sprinkle the bread crumbs over it. Before I got that far on strudel #1, I get a tweet from Barb. It said:

Oh Megan!!! I just made a huge mess of it!
I forgot the butter and the bread crumbs and it stuck and it's so ugly!

Well, I wasn't having such a good time myself and that tweet just cracked me up. I wasn't laughing at barb, I was laughing with her. But I don't think she was laughing. So I go back to the stretching of my dough, or in my case, the patching of my giant hole. I was deep in thought and remembered April had also said it was hard to move to the pan. Oh crap, I better get it on a tray now I thought. Still deep in concentration, I slide my pastry on to a cookie sheet and dumped my apples on top, and patch worked it to resemble a strudel. You can't roll a hole and besides with my pastry on a cookie sheet, there was cloth to aid me in the rolling
even if you could roll a hole!

Now... did you notice anything? Nothing? Read it again!

I forgot the butter and bread crumbs!

And I damn near forgot the second time too but thank God
I remembered and was able to still scatter them on top before I started rolling.

And with the aid of the cloth, I just rolled that strudel right onto the baking sheet. Although I have to admit, it looks a little scary right now!

Wallah! The finished mushroom project!

I sprinkled the top of this one with Black Hawaiian Sea Salt.

This was a great challenge. I would have never tried it again if Barbara hadn't done it over and said it was killer, I needed to try again. Thank you Barbara for baking with me, inspiring me, and being my blogger buddy!

Go make strudel!

Strudel Dough
from Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers

1-1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36-inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it’s about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum (I used my homemade vanilla)
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins (I used orange flavored cranberries)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts (I didn't use nuts)
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Mushroom Filling
3TBS Olive Oil
2 sweet onions, sliced thinly
10 oz sliced mushrooms
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp pepper
Sea Salt for sprinkling on top
Saute onion in olive oil till wilted. Add mushrooms and cook till juices evaporate. Add cheese and parsley.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Raspberry Lemon Muffins with Double Struesel

Have you heard the news?
BlogHer is having their very first foodie conference.
It's this September and it's open to all food bloggers. BlogHer Food 09

Held at the beautiful St Regis Hotel in downtown SanFransisco, food bloggers are getting together to meet new people, learn, eat, experience, have fun, talk and hang with new friends! Did I mention the food part?


I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I get to meet some notorious bloggers and meet the people behind the blogs I frequent so often. I've got my ticket purchased, my hotel reserved, and a roommate all lined up. I'll be driving into the city with my co-pilot Maria from Two Peas and Their Pod and were rooming together the first night.
We are planning an early morning trip to the farmers market down on the pier before the conference and were getting some people together for dinner the night before. It's going to be a good time in the city! Are you going? Better get your tickets early because I hear they are going fast. You can register here!

Let's celebrate with these healthy muffins. Now these are a keeper!

I got my inspiration for these beauties from Stephanie. She is on a muffin kick, and when I saw her Blueberry Yogurt Muffins,
I knew what I was making.

Raspberry lemon yogurt muffins and I'm doubling the struesel!

These muffins are made with whole wheat flour, yogurt, and fresh raspberries. I used vanilla yogurt because that's what I had, and it needed to be used up! So I added lemon extract along with zest of a small lemon. Next time I'll use lemon yogurt and see if that pumps up the lemon some. You couldn't really taste the lemon quite as much as I would have liked. But the Hubby said he liked them just as they were! So there you have it!

A healthy muffin that is Hubby approved!

You gotta try it!

Raspberry Lemon Muffin with Double Struesel
Inspired from this muffin

1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup splenda granulated (or 1/4 cup white sugar)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
dash salt
1/2 cup apple sauce
2, 6 oz containers fatfree or lowfat yogurt. (I used vanilla but next time lemon!)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
1.5 - 2 cups raspberries, rinsed and patted dry

2 tbsp slivered almonds
4 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 cup uncooked regular oats
Pulse almonds 2 or 3 times in a blender or food processor until chopped. Add brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour; process 5 seconds. Add butter; pulse 5 or 6 times or until mixture is crumbly. Stir in oats; set aside.Preheat oven to 425 degrees and spray 12 muffin cups with pam.In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.In another bowl blend apple sauce, yogurt, egg, vanilla and lemon extract thoroughly. Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture just until combined. The batter will be very thick. Add the raspberries and stir gently. Divide the batter between the 12 cups (they will be very full cups) sprinkle with topping, and bake for 6 minutes at 425, reduce heat to 350 and continue cooking for 12-14 minutes, or until tester inserted into center comes out mostly clean. Cool completely on wire rack.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Caramelized Pear and Sage Crostini

If you throw the word caramelized into a recipe title, you pretty much have won my heart. recipes like my Spanish Beef Dips With Caramelized Manchego Onions, or my Chicken and Brie Quesadilla with Caramelized Onions and Chipotle Mango Salsa. In fact, just last night we had Carmaelized Onion Pie, but I'll share that with ya real soon.

So you can imagine, when I saw the recipe for Caramelized Pear and Sage Crostini, I was in 7TH heaven. This recipe was headed straight to the printer and I made it the very next day. I made it for an appetizer for an already to big dinner and it was a smashing success. I think this would also be good with a salad for a simple dinner.

Caramelized pears with blue cheese on a toasted baguette slice is a perfect combination. Good enough for guests, but I prefer it on a casual evening at home. Serve this with a sparkling wine or a slightly sweet white wine and... Enjoy!

Caramelized Pear and Sage Crostini

(Printable Recipe)
 Makes 16 crostini

4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 ripe Bartlett pears, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 white or whole-wheat baguette
6 sage leaves, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled mild blue cheese
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Melt 3 tbsp. butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add pears and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pears are soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cut baguette into 16 slices (1/4 in. thick). Spread slices with remaining 1 tbsp. butter and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake slices until well toasted, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. When pears are soft, stir in sage and remove from heat. Top toasted baguette slices with pear mixture and blue cheese. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve warm.
Sunset Magazine
September 2007

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mississippi Mud Cookies

If your a chocoholic, this is your lucky day!

I found a 5 star recipe for these luscious cookies and your gonna thank me!

Using 2 types of chocolate, it's a simple batter.

A few mini marshmallows scattered on top before baking.

Then you get pockets of ooey, gooey toasted marshmallow.

I remember how much I loved the Mississippi Mud cake when I first had it. I immediately asked for the recipe. I made it a few times over the years but you really need a crowd.
These cookies taste just like it and now
I can indulge in Mississippi Mud goodness any time I want!

Do me a favor.

Try these cookies!

You can thank me later!

My daughter wanted a cookie dough care package to take to a sleep over!
We know how to get an invitation to come back! ;)

Mississippi Mud Cookies

Southern Living, August 2007


1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. miniature marshmallows


1. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels in a small microwave-safe glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
2. Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to chocolate mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chopped pecans and 1/2 cup milk chocolate morsels.
4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press 3 marshmallows into each portion of dough.
5. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Chicken and Brie Quessadilla with Carmalized Onion and...

A Chicken and Brie Quessadilla with Caramelized Onions and Chipotle Mango Salsa in a Parmasean Encrusted Tortilla.

There use to be a restaurant that served a quessadilla similar to this one but one day they took it off the menu, never to return. I was so bummed because I really really liked it. This is my recreation. I'm pretty excited about this one. It's a definite keeper.
I hope my pictures can entice you!

I used my cheese I got from the nice people at Ill De France. They sent me a wheel to sample and I first used it on a cheese tray that I made a few weeks ago. It was a mild creamy cheese that went well with sweet or savory flavors. It was delightful and I knew right away that I would use the rest of this cheese on these quessadillas.

This was the best quessadilla I have ever made.

I used the mango salsa in the quessadillo, and again when I found my bottle of Chipotle Mango Grill Sauce. I love this stuff. It also comes in a Raspberry Chipotle as well. All those options are tasty in this quessadilla.

I started by sauteing my onions. I let them cook slow and slow until they were nice and caramelized. When they were done, I transferred them to a small bowl. Then I put my flour tortilla in the pan and warmed up one side. Then I flipped it over.

I added two slices of Ille De France Brie cheese.

Then the caramelized onions.

Grilled chicken pieces.

You could use leftover chicken or buy a rotisserie chicken.

Now for the fresh Chipotle Mango Salsa.

Or your Chipotle Mango Grill Sauce!

Fold it over

Grate some fresh Parmesan over the top.

Flip it over and grate some more Parmesan cheese on the other side.

Flip it over one one more time to encrust the cheese.

Plate it and enjoy!

Chicken and Brie Quessadilla


Chicken and Brie Quessadillas
Brie cheese
caramelized onions
grilled chicken meat
Chipotle Mango Salsa (see Note)
Parmesan cheese grated
Heat oil in skillet. Place tortilla in warmed pan for just a minute to warm. Heat slightly and flip over. Place 2 slices cheese in tortilla. Then layer on onion, chicken, and a spoonful of mango salsa. Fold tortilla over and grate Parmesan cheese over the top. Flip and fry till cheese is browned on tortilla. Grate more Parmesan cheese on this side and then flip one more time and cook till cheese melts and chicken is warm.

Note: For the Mango Salsa, I just bought a store bought container or Mango and Peach Salsa and added a dash of Chipotle powder.

Chipotle Mango or Chipotle Raspberry grill sauce can be substituted for the mango salsa.

Caramelized Onions
1 onion
1/2 tsp sugar
Slice onions into 1/4-inch wide rings.
Heat oil in heavy skillet.
Add onions and a small amount of sugar (optional) and slowly cook over medium heat.
Cook until onions are caramel colored, stirring often, 30 to 40 minutes.

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