Monthly Archives

June 2010


Midweek Mini-Post

June 30, 2010

E-mails have come in from a few people asking where I got the jars pictured in yesterday’s Light and Fit Berry Sorbet post. I figured I would take this opportunity to put together a little midweek mini-post.

These beautiful little jars are actually Ball Jars purchased from the baking isle at Target. I found these jars perfect since they are smaller, only 4-oz., than regular canning jars making them a more manageable size to fill. Oh, and did I mention the great price? You can snag a dozen for around $8.

Since purchasing these jars last weekend, I’ve been obsessed. Newly-married friends moved in last week a few miles from my apartment, but instead of bringing a housewarming gift that needed to be stored somewhere on a shelf, I brought something that can be eaten with a spoon: homemade peanut butter. Tied up with a string and wrapped in a gift bag, these little jars of peanut butter are the perfect way to say “welcome home.”

Light and Fit Berry Sorbet

June 29, 2010

There are very few things I love to eat in the summer more than ice creams and sorbets. Actually, it’s not just during the summer, it’s all throughout the year. But during the summertime, blogs, websites, magazines, and newspapers are abuzz with recipe after recipe, touting the ease of making your own ice cream and sorbet at home. All this sounds well and good, until I read the dreaded phrase that inevitably comes with almost every recipe I read during the summer months: put the mixture into your ice cream maker.

Ice cream maker? Exactly how many people in America own an ice cream maker? As a dedicated food writer, cook, and blogger I own my fair share of great appliances and specialty kitchen tools, but ice cream maker has never quite made the cut. Spending upwards of sixty dollars on something I might use a half a dozen times during the summer just doesn’t cut it on my 22-year-old budget.

So today I bring you my solution to the no ice cream maker dilemma. This homemade berry sorbet takes less than 5 minutes to prepare, has three ingredients, is incredibly refreshing, and doesn’t require an ice cream maker. It does, however, require a food processor. If I could recommend one piece of kitchen equipment, a food processor would certainly be it. This baby is life changing in the kitchen and with the right equipment, it goes from blender to mixer to box grater to processor. Magic!

And if you need one more reason to convince you this sorbet is worth making, it is incredibly healthy. In fact, it is so healthy you could justify eating for breakfast and dessert; I have. To make sure you aren’t packing the sorbet with hidden sugar, picking the right yogurt is key. For this reason, I love Dannon Light and Fit. It’s relatively low in added sugar and calories, and has great flavor and creamy texture. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to eat more sorbet!

Light and Fit Berry Sorbet
(Printable Recipe)
*2 cups frozen mixed berries
*3/4 cup vanilla yogurt (I favor Dannon Light and Fit)
*2 Tbsp. Splenda, Stevia, or other sweetener

*In a food processor, place the frozen berries and process for 30 seconds.
*Add the yogurt and Splenda to the food processor and continue to process for 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture is well combined and smooth.
*Remove from the food processor and spoon into bowls. Serve immediately or freeze until ready to use. If you freeze for more than 1 hour and the sorbet is too hard to scoop, zap in the microwave for 15 seconds to soften.

Happy Cooking!


Chef Scott Peacock’s Dinner Rolls

June 26, 2010

Having a weekend at home is, to say the least, absolutely divine. Since it’s been almost two months since I’ve had a weekend like this, please excuse the short post. I’ve got a lot more weekending (is that even a word?) to get back to! Browsing the farmer’s market, a birthday barbecue, a wedding, and consuming way too much delicious food make for a wonderful couple of days.

Before I leave you, a word or two should be said about these heavenly rolls. My first Scott Peacock dinner roll was made by the chef himself. Trust me when I say they were beyond perfect and I ate one too many. Buttery all over with a crisp exterior and light, airy interior, these rolls are everything packaged rolls strive to be but never come close. If you make these rolls, people will fall at your feet, proclaim you a dinner roll master, and do favors for you in exchange for more rolls. Next time you need a favor, come with a smile and a basket of Scott Peacock’s rolls. You won’t be sorry.

Have a happy weekend! 

Chef Scott Peacock’s Dinner Rolls
Recipe Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and Chef Scott Peacock 
(Printable Recipe)
* 1 cup milk 
* 6 Tbsp. butter (room temperature) 
* 1 pkg. active dry yeast 
* 1/4 cup warm water (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F) 
* 2 eggs, lightly beaten 
* 3 Tbsp. sugar 
* 4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (not unbleached) 
* 1 Tbsp. kosher salt
*  Melted butter

* Heat the milk to 120*F to 130*F; add the butter and set aside to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, in a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add cooled milk, eggs, and sugar to dissolved yeast and stir to blend. With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups of the flour and the salt; stir until smooth. Add 2 cups of remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring vigorously for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and only slightly sticky. (Only if needed, after 3 minutes of stirring and dough is overly wet, stir in 1 tablespoon flour at a time.
* Cover the surface of the dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Cover the top of the bowl with a second piece of plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled (1 to 2 hours). 
* Lightly butter 24 muffin cups. Gently press the dough to deflate. With lightly buttered hands pinch off generous 1-inch pieces of dough. Fold the dough over, turning and tucking the edges to form a ball. Pinch the seam together to seal. Dip in melted butter and arrange three dough balls in each muffin cup. Let rise until fully doubled (about 1 hour).
* Heat oven to 400*F. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes or until well-browned. Remove from oven. Brush with softened butter. Remove rolls immediately from cups to a wire cooling rack. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving. Makes 24 dinner rolls.

Happy Baking!


Oatmeal Scones with Coconut Glaze

June 23, 2010

As much as I may enjoy a busy, fun filled weekend every now and again, this nonstop travel and craziness has got to stop. Returning home from work last night, I was so tired that I completely forgot about dinner. Trust me, that never happens. So I celebrated the longest day of the year by getting the year’s longest night of sleep. Eleven hours later I feel like a completely new person. Not to worry, this new person still likes to eat and blog.

Scones were never a part of my childhood. I don’t have stories of waking up to the smell of scones or my mom teaching me to make them. The first time I remember eating a scone was in college at my friend Emily’s house. Emily lives on an acreage in Minnesota that looks like something out of a magazine. The house is country-chic beautiful and surrounded by fruit trees, chickens, and goats. Her mom is a do-it-all type that happens to make very delicious raspberry scones. Raspberry scones made with freshly picked raspberries. After that trip, I was sold on scones.

I’ve made scones before, but they’ve usually ended up tasting like rocks. Call me crazy, but I don’t think scones are supposed to taste like rocks. On the bright side these Oatmeal Scones with Coconut Glaze taste nothing like rocks, quite the opposite actually. They are crispy around the edges and light inside and the coconut glaze serves to add extra moisture. While eating one, I found they mysteriously tasted a bit like carrot cake. Don’t ask me how or why. Maybe I’m just imagining things and need some more sleep.

Oatmeal Scones with Coconut Glaze 
Adapted from Gourmet, November 2005
(Printable Recipe) 
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*2/3 cup whole wheat flour
*1 tsp. cinnamon
*1 Tbsp. baking powder
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
*1 1/2 sticks butter
*2/3 cup milk

*1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
*1/4 cup milk
*1 tsp. coconut extract
*1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened)

*Preheat oven to 400*F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
*In the bowl of a food processor, combine flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add oats and pulse for 30 seconds. Add butter, cut into cubes. Pulse 15 times, until butter forms coarse crumbs no larger than the size of a pea. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
*Add milk to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until dough forms and dry and ingredients are just combined. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form into a large rectangle. Cut into triangles and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, until scones are lightly golden.
*Meanwhile, mix together the powdered sugar, milk, and coconut extract. When scones are slightly cool, drizzle glaze over the scones. Sprinkle with coconut.

Happy Baking!



Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark

June 19, 2010

There really is nothing like waking up in the morning knowing the day is completely yours. No responsibilities, tasks to complete, or places to be. Of course being the list maker that I am, a ‘to-do’ list was still made. But today’s list was in my head instead of on paper, a fun list of sorts, and the consequences of not completing the items on my list? None whatsoever. 
You really should try it every now and again. After you accomplish something wonderful, like making a wedding cake, or have a particularly hard week, give yourself a day to make a fun list, a mini-reprieve from the everyday grind, and throw your work related list to the curb for a day. My list?
*Sleep in
*Drink coffee
*Enjoy a long breakfast 
*Catch up with college girlfriends
*Go on a run with J. 
*Spend time outside and get some sun
*Blog (check!)
After being covered in cake batter and frosting for the last two days baking was the farthest thing from my mind. So to get my fix of sweet without the oven I whipped up a batch of Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark. This recipe has been my go-to casual dessert a number of times. It’s fun, quick, and versatile, not to mention delicious. Swap the raisins for cranberries or another type of dried fruit, substitute walnuts or almonds for the pecans, whatever your heart desires. Break it into pieces once the chocolate has hardened, then serve it with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bark 
(Printable Recipe)
*6 oz. white chocolate 
*6 oz. milk chocolate 
*1/2 cup pecan halves, coarsely chopped
*1/2 cup raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit
*1/3 cup shredded, sweetened coconut 
*1/2 tsp. kosher salt 
*Place chocolates in a medium saucepan and melt, stirring constantly, over medium low heat until chocolate is just melted. Remove from heat. Pour chocolate onto a large sheet of waxed paper and spread with a spatula into a thin layer.
*Sprinkle chocolate with the pecans, raisins, and shredded coconut. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. 
*Allow chocolate to harden completely, about 3 hours. To speed up the process, place in the refrigerator. Break into pieces to serve. 
Happy (non) Baking!