Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mini Corn dogs!

OK, let me start this by saying, I always thought corn dog, was ONE word.  Google and I have spent some time together learning it is 2 words.  Yea, never knew, and wondering how often I have messed it up and made myself appear completely illiterate.

Anyway.....

I don't think I know a single person who doesn't like corn dogs.  My son used to devour them like they were candy and when we would go to the boardwalk I could count on buying at least 4! 

 
As far as making corn dogs at home.  Not so successful, I will be honest.  I have tried a few different recipes, I even tried a corn dog mix that I only had to add water or milk to, I successfully failed at those as well!  I just never seemed to get it all right before.  I finally just gave up.  However, the other day a bag of "Yellow Cornmeal Mix" presented itself to me and I wondered if I should get back up on that saddle again.  The answer was yes, but I decided to ditch the stick and go for a bite size version.  I like my corn dogs a little crunchy and I achieved it with these little delicious dogs!

Here is what you will need: (oh yea, this makes alot)

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne or hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup flour (for dusting)


Combine all ingredients except the last 1/2 cup flour.  Mix until smooth and completely combined.  Add the 1/2 cup of flour for dusting to a bowl or plate. 

Heat peanut oil (or oil of choice) to 340 degrees.  I used about 3 inches of oil.

I cut 7 hot dogs into 3rds.  This yields about 21 mini corndogs.  Dust them in the flour and using a skewer or your fingers, dip them in the batter and drop into oil.  I use the skewer to poke it to put it into the oil  If you don't mind potentially becoming fingerless, go ahead, I dare you!

Fry until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes!

Remove from oil and let drain on paper towels or whatever you choose!  Serve with whatever condiments your family likes and enjoy!  I prefer mustard or cheese sauce!



Your "feelng corny"chefwannabe

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Great Goulash Debate....and Giveaway! (giveaway CLOSED)

you know the one where nobody can agree on what real goulash is?  Where everyone goes into great detail telling how THEIR mothers made it or how their grandmothers made it.  All the while you are thinking, "that isn't REAL goulash, because my mom didn't make it that way". Busted you, didn't I?  I knew you would be thinking that and you will probably be thinking that when you see how MY mom made goulash.  I have heard of people using, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, tomato paste, tomato sauce, etc.  That is NOT how my mom made it! :))


The reality is, most of our traditional family recipes for goulash aren't goulash at all!  They are variations adapted over time according to availability, the economy and taste.  Right?  REAL goulash includes chunks of meat, vegetables, noodles, seasoned with paprika and is more like a stew.  Well, my version is nothing like that.  Let me tell you about goulash at the Smith's.

Growing up with 10 kids, money was tight.  My mom did the best she could with what she had.  It is this big family joke now how my mom made goulash with 1lb of hamburger and 3 lbs of pasta for all of us.  How she used to brown that meat and kill it until it was like sand granules.  We would have to search inside the elbow macaroni to find some!  She would use tomatoes she had canned from the summer and frankly, it was delish.  The freshness of the tomatoes, with the pasta and hamburger, (regardless of how little was in it) was just delicious.  She also added in onion which I left out of mine today because my husband doesn't like onion.  I will add it into the complex and mind boggling recipe.  Ready for it?

1 lb elbow macaroni.  (has to be elbows, thus the question on the fan page the other night)
3-14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes. 
2 lbs hamburger, browned
1/2 cup FINELY mince onion (optional)

Brown your hamburger and onions if you are adding them in a large pot.  Season it well with salt and pepper.   If you need to drain it, do so and put back into the pot.  In a separate pot boil your pasta for the lowest time recommended on your package.  *9-11 min, use the 9 minutes*.  Drain and pour into pot with hamburger, add in tomatoes WITH their juice.  Mix until combined well.  Season with salt and pepper again and,  waaa-laaaa.  GOULASH!

I know you are probably wondering why I posted such an easy recipe.  Well we do have readers in other countries, or some who have never done goulash this way.  It is so simple, and perfect for quick meals during the work week for kids and adults alike.  You can make a pot and it will last you a couple of meals as it stores fine in the refrigerator for a few days. 

I hope you enjoy this simple, 3-4 ingredient meal.  I have had requests for meals with 5 ingredients or less lately and here is one.  Goulash......Smith Style!

Enjoy!

Oh WAIT!!!!!  We hit 5,000 readers over on Facebook!  WooHoo!  I recently travelled to my sons wedding and visited (very nearby) Savannah, GA.  I wanted to find something I thought you all would enjoy.  I went into a store that a reader recommended "The Kitchen Outfitters" and found an amazing cookbook, and as luck would have it, the author, Mr. Damon Fowler was in the store to sign it.  You can find out more about Damon Lee Fowler here.  He was a delightful, kind man who so graciously signed this cookbook especially for one of you!  Here is what you need to do for a chance to win.



1. LIKE Chefwannabe on Facebook
2. FOLLOW Chefwannabe here on blogspot
3. FOLLOW me on twitter!

Leave a comment below telling me you have done these things, all in SEPERATE comments.  You will get more entries that way!  If you leave that you did all these in 1 comment, you get 1 entry. 

You can gain an extra entry.  Recommend a friend, if they join, they can leave an extra comment with your name, and you will get an extra entry!

You have until Friday, August 31st, at 6pm CST to enter!

Ok, I hope that is easy enough.  I want to thank you all for a year of new friendships, laughter, great food, and a stronger faith in the goodness of people!
 
Your "the blog may have had a birthday but I didn't get older"Chefwannabe
 












Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garlic Knots

Warm bread.  What else is there to say really?

Wait, this isn't bread.  It isn't pizza.  It isn't foccacia


It IS warm, buttery, delicious and chewy.  Hmmmm. 

Well here is the deal.  When I make my famous pizza dough, (recipe can be found here ) I make a double batch, cut it in half since each recipe will make 2 crusts, pop them in a Ziploc and stick them in the freezer. (like so)  I mean, seriously the things you can make with pizza dough are endless, this is one of the greatest things in my opinion to have on hand in the freezer.

I always put directions on the bags as well!!  Handy for sure!!

When I want or need pizza dough, I stick it in the fridge the night before and thaw.  I make many things from my pizza dough, this is just one of those things.  I let the dough thaw as mentioned before, stick it back in my mixer with a dough hook and add herbs, let it work a couple of minutes and you get a gorgeously flavored dough full of herbs and olive oil!

Before mixing

After mixing
Now you can usually buy pizza dough from your favorite pizzeria, you can make your own or buy it at the store.  Just make sure after you thaw it (if frozen) you let it sit for 30 min and get to room temperature.  It is much easier to work with. 

This recipe will make 6 garlic knots!

1 ball of pizza dough
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley (dried)
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp melted butter with 1/2 tsp grated or minced garlic mixed in (for after they are baked)

Put all ingredients in your mixer and let it work your dough about 2 minutes.  You can also knead the herbs and olive oil in by hand if you choose!  Cut into 6 pieces and roll them like snakes as far as you can, approx 7 inches.  Tie in a knot and set on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Let them sit and raise.  They won't raise as much as you think they should, so don't worry if they don't double in size!!  Just before baking, egg wash them with your beaten egg.

Bake at 400 degree's for 10-12 minutes.  Immediately upon removing them brush the tops with melted butter and garlic mixture!

It will taste almost like a miracle.  Serve these with pasta dishes, or any dish!  Use them in mini form for a party!  Better yet, make mini ones, and let cool, slice in half and put a mini meatball on it!  The possibilities are endless but as for me....I am going to enjoy them hot, and garlic buttery with a little pasta!
Your "wishes her middle name was garlicina" chefwannabe




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Orange Creamsicle Sugar Cookies!

Hello!!  I hope this finds you all healthy, happy and maybe even your kids back in school?  I can remember when Cody would start back, which is when I did as well, since I am/was a teacher/full time substitute.  I am a girl who enjoys routine.  Not in a bad, I can never be spontaneous way but in a, I like routine way.  Yea, like that!  Anyway blessings to you all and your children for a successful school year full of learning, success, personal growth and fun!


That being said, it is almost time for afterschool snacks!  I always had cookies baked or made into ice cream sandwiches in the freezer.  I also always had a huge pitcher of kool-aid in the fridge.  My sons friends knew me as the cookie and kool-aid mom.  I would often make what we called garbage cookies, which was nothing more than sugar cookie dough and anything we could find, ends of bags of choc or any flavored chips, candies, nuts, marshmallows, anything! 

Sugar cookies have always been a source of happiness for me.  Remember how I always say in my family everyone has their "thing" they cook or bake well?  Well, for my sister Peg #2 (of 10) it has been sugar cookies.  This woman can put out the most incredibly soft, sweet, heaven in your mouth sugar cookies you have ever tasted.  Then, she tops them them with this frosting, a frosting definitly worthy of topping her famous, heavenly sugar cookies!  She rolls them thick and they are never hard.  I don't like hard crunchy cookies myself. 

The point to this whole blog is that I never have been privy to this recipe until now!  My sister lives in Cincinati and she misses me so much (haha) that she gave up her ultimate sugar cookie recipe.  Can you believe I went and CHANGED it?!?!  I did.  I will make notes of what I changed so that you can omit anything in ORANGE for a regular sugar cookie.  I also, FYI, rolled them in balls and then using my palm or the bottom of a glass pressed them down to the thickness I wanted.  If you roll these out in the traditional way, you will get a few more cookies than the 21 I got from this recipe.  Also for the frosting if the egg whites uncooked bother you, use the ones from the store.  This is my new standby frosting, this and to decorate swiss meringue buttercream!  I have icing left, but you likely won't if you roll them out smaller or roll them out and use cookie cutters! 

Orange Creamsicle Sugar Cookies
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla (increase to 1 tbsp of making plain sugar cookies)
juice of 1/2 an orange
zest of 1 whole orange
Orange food coloring (as much or as little as you want)
3 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup softened butter



Mix all ingredients until combined.  Chill for 2-3 hours.  Roll out as thick or as thin as youw ant.  Bake 7-8 minutes at 350 degrees.  Let cool completely before frosting!


Frosting:
1 1/2 lbs powdered sugar (approx)
1 tbsp flour (heaping)
2 sticks softened butter
pinch of salt
2 egg whites
2-3 tsp vanilla

Whip together until silky smooth and frost cookies!


I hope you enjoy these lovely, orange cookies with the most delicious vanilla frosting!  They freeze great and would make great sandwich cookies too!!

Your "feeling like a glass of kool-aid"chefwannabe


P.S.  Do you like your cookies hard and crunchy of soft and chewy?!  Leave me a comment below and tell me!



 
 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Double Chocolate Mint Brownies

This recipe is a first. 

It is the first time, I have no story or history behind a recipe.  Seriously, have you ever known me to be short on words? 


This makes me nervous.  In fact, I almost feel inclined to make something up but I can't.  I don't roll like that.  So what I will tell you is that I was hungry for something sweet.  I had a bag of chocolate mint chocolate chips I needed to use. I have never liked any brownie recipe I have ever made, so like I do sometimes, I take different parts or just add my own stuff, subtract the icky stuff and hope it works out for the best.  HOLY COW, these brownies are fudgy, soft, chewy, SOOOO chocolatey and a not overpowering, just perfect hint of mint.  Please just go make them.......

Oh that frosting, yea, another happy accident.  Same day as my Spicy Shredded Beef Sandwiches happy accident.  Hmm...do you think either were REALLY accidents?  HA!


Double Chocolate Mint Brownies
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp mint flavor
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup mint chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper or foil extending the sides 1 inch above the top of the baking pan for easy removal.  Spray foil or parcheent paper with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a small pan melt butter and chocolate together.  Stir constantly until melted and smooth, let cool and place in a mixing bowl.


Add sugar, eggs, vanilla, and mint flavoring to the cooled chocolate.  Mix until smooth and everything is incorporated.  Mix flour and baking soda together and then add into mixture, stirring until well combined.  Fold in mint chocolate chips. 


Pour into lined and greased baking pan and bake 30 minutes.  Let cool before frosting!





Chocolate Mint Frosting
3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup chocolate mint chips
1/4-1/3 cup powdered sugar

Melt butter and chocolate chips in the microwave, 30 seconds and then stir, just until all chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Add in 1/4-1/3 cup of powdered sugar. Mix well, with beaters! Add in 1/8 tsp of mint flavoring. Using a piping back or a spoon dollop a bit of icing in the middle of each brownie. Top with a few chocolate mint chips!

Oh crap, I forgot to tell you I kept a few chips aside and when I pulled the brownies out of the oven I sprinkled a few on top!


Your "chocolate AND minty breath in one" chefwannabe

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spicy Shredded Beef Sandwiches!

Ever make something that you intended to be something else but it turned out pretty tasty anyway?    Yea?  OK, well that happened to me.  And I liked it!  I love happy accidents.  My history with BBQ anything, isn't stellar to begin with. 


Let me tell you about my preconceived notion of the letters B=B and Q.   My mind immediately goes to cheap, gross, BBQ sauce from a bottle that is swallowing up some mystery meat you throw on a bun. It drips, and your sandwich is soggy and you get enough BBQ sauce in one bite to make your will to live decrease by at least half. Ok so that might be a bit of a dramatization but you get what I am saying. I have one BBQ sauce I will eat and it is only available here in Nebraska that I am aware of and it is Cookies BBQ Sauce. 

When we were recently in Georgia, my husband saw this road side BBQ place.  "Ida Mae's, North Carolina Style BBQ".  He nearly had an accident pulling into the parking lot.  I, admittedly, am not a huge fan of the BBQ, anything.  However, I decided I would try it, to appease the hubs and heck, I might actually like it.  I was served up this pulled pork sandwich, not a lick of sauce to be found.  "Hey honey", I said, "I may just dig this place"!  He had his with coleslaw on top I had mine plain.  I raised my sandwich to my mouth and what I tasted was nothing short of divine!  In that moment I think all of my BBQ fear went away.  North Carolina BBQ..........mmmm-mmmmm-gooooddd!  Thanks  Miss Ida Mae!

So anyway, the point is, I accidentally grabbed a beef chuck roast instead of a pork one.  I decided to try it anyway.  Though it was NOTHING like Miss Ida Mae's it was pretty dang tasty and I deemed it good enough to share with all!  This admittedly has alot of ingredients.  I don't know what to say about that, but it turned out fab.  Make sure if you substitute ingredients you use something close in flavor.  I tried to add some alternatives to brands I used.  This is a bit spicy.  Cut out all the spicy stuff in red if you want it mild. 

 Dry Ingredients
2 tbsps Northwoods Seasoning from Penzeys Spices (any all purpose bbq seasoning)
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
2 tbsps onion powder
1/2 tbsp dried parsley

Liquid Ingredients
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp Worcestershire
2 tbsp hot sauce
1/2 cup beef stock or bouillon will work fine just dissolve cube in 1/2 cup water instead of 1 cup

1/3 cup hot sauce set aside for after meat is shredded.


4 lb chuck roast or roast of your choice
2 large onions sliced (optional)

Mix dry spices and herbs together in a small bowl  Repeat with wet ingredients in a separate bowl.  Put roast in the crock pot and salt liberally.  Pour liquid over the top and then sprinkle with the dry herbs.  If you choose to use onions, lay them on top and then let cook on high in the crock pot for 9-10 hours.  Using 2 forks shred meat. When meat is shredded add in hot sauce you set aside and combine completely.  It will be a little zap but nothing horribly spicy.  Top your sandwich with the slow cooked caramelized onions!  You can also serve some of your favorite BBQ along side for those who love it!


Enjoy!

Your "no BBQ sauce for me please" chefwannabe

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cody's Low Country Boil Ya'll!

We had a GREAT time in southern Georgia!  Laughter, love, memories, new beginnings, and FOOD!  Thank to our son and daughter-in-law for making our visit so warm, oh wait, mother nature did THAT part for us!  Anyway, thank you guys for making our trip comfortable, fun, and memorable, we love you both! 


Is there a reason non of you, my fantastic readers who are from GA didn't tell me how hot and HUMID it was?  I mean, I get it, even in Omaha we have horrendous humidity, the kind you walk outside and can't get your breath for a second, but THIS....holy moly, this was some kind of humidity!  I broke out in a rash "prickly heat" all over my arms, it was attractive for sure. NOT.  It rained almost everyday followed by the sun coming out and slowly steaming us alive!  I will never complain about humidity or heat again, never, never, never.  Well, at least not until next summer!

We had a great time, and visited Savannah and Kellers Flea Market which felt almost like being back in Jersey.  On our way back, George even got a North Carolina style BBQ sandwich from "Ida Mae" topped with coleslaw and he was in heaven.  In the parking lot was a fresh shrimp tent, so we nabbed 5 lbs and headed home for Cody to prepare us a delish traditional dish from his area.


He wants me to let you all know this is not a traditional low country boil.  He made it once from what he had on hand, and threw in a few extras and just liked it.  He didn't want his daughter to have to dig in her food to eat corn on the cob so he used frozen kernels.  He is like me, a big fan of eating certain things all mixed together and on the cob, you can't do that.  See he did get some of my traits through osmosis.  He also says you can do this with blue claw crabs, or change up the sausage, as he uses Italian and most use just a smoked sausage.  Anyway, he just wants ya'll (I use this word any chance I get, HA) to know this may not be your traditional recipe but it is his and he loves it! 


Let's get going on this one pot wonder!  By the way, there is a reason they sell shrimp with the heads already cut off, I do NOT enjoy popping heads off of shrimp.  Just for the record, ya'll......


Cody's Low Country Boil
8-10 cups water
1/4 cup seafood seasoning (check out Mr. Pete's Cajun Spices) You can adjust this to your personal taste
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (completely optional)
1 lb Italian Sausage (links or a ring cut into chunks)
2 lbs shrimp (fresh is best but frozen works well too)
3 lg potatoes (scrubbed and cut into 2-3 inch cubes or 2 lbs red new potatoes)
2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 cups green beans (fresh or frozen)

In a large pot add your water, seafood seasoning and red pepper flakes to a boil. 


Add in potatoes and sausage, boil for 10 minutes.  Add in corn and green beans.  Simmer for 10 more minutes.  Add in shrimp and cook 5-7 more minutes. 


Serve in a bowl with the broth.  Have some crusty bread on hand to dunk in the juice and enjoy...kind of like this.


Thank you for trotting down memory lane with me!  My son loves to cook and it was a complete pleasure to just sit back and watch exactly how much he DID learn from me! (and maybe his dad, MAYBE)

Your "though I hated the humidity, I LOVED the people of GA" chefwannabe

PS  He also made the most amazing crabcakes I have ever eaten.  As soon as I get his recipe, you will all get it too!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dishes From Others That You Should Try!

Hello everyone!

When you are reading this, I am likely spending great family time with my son, his girlfriend and my husband.  I would guess we are laughing, eating, exploring and doing lots of chillin'!

I hope you are enjoying the lineup of guest blogs I have arranged.  I am proud and honored to have these women write a post to share with all of you.  It warms my heart that they would take time out of their lives to keep my readers fed with new recipes!

This is going to be a blog where I send you on a trip!  A trip to other blogs, specifically blog posts that include recipes I have tried myself!  Yes, I DO make other peoples recipes from time to time!  And a few of these are on my "to do" list! One that I am sharing with you is one I will be making for sure for my son.  Who cares if it is hot!  We WILL be having chicken and dumplings!!

Enjoy your trip around the blogiverse and make sure if you haven't "LIKED" these blogs on Facebook or joined up to follow them on their actual blogs that you do so!  I would never steer you wrong!

I can't wait to get back and cook again!

The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
http://www.the-not-so-desperate-chef-wife.com/2011/12/buffalo-chicken-dip.html

Southern Plate aka Christy Jordan's Southern Plate
http://www.southernplate.com/2008/07/how-to-make-southern-chicken-and.html

Toriology
http://blog.toriology.com/2011/10/10/roasted-red-potatoes.aspx

My Imperfect Kitchen
http://my-imperfect-kitchen.com/2012/07/15/buffalo-turkey-burgers/

It's Yumilicious!
http://itsyummi.com/zucchini-bacon-potato-pancakes/

This is just an article I found interesting as of late!
http://allwomenstalk.com/10-facts-about-how-colors-affects-our-appetite/

As a former floral designer, this really grabbed me .....EDIBLE FLOWERS!
http://shannonsshanonigins.blogspot.com/2012/07/bite-beautiful-blossom-edible-savory.html

Make sure to look through all the recipes at all of these blogs!  You will love that you did AND....you might find more new dishes to try!

I hope you are having a great day!!  Please keep posting pics of your food, questions and requests while I am away!  I will be reading each time I get a chance and would love to see everything you are cooking while I am away!

Your "Georgia On My Mind" Chefwannabe

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Please welcome Sara from My Imperfect Kitchen.  Sara cooks meals that are fun, full of flavor and color and all around delicious.  She is a dear friend who I think you will love!  Make sure to visit her on Facebook as well!
Buffalo Turkey Burgers
We've loved these Buffalo Turkey Burgers since we first saw them in Rachel Ray's 365 Days No Repeats Cookbook. Over time, we've modified them to fit our tastes, but they're still our hands-down favorite way to make turkey burgers!
Simple ingredients make the taste of the turkey shine through. It's like Buffalo Wings on a bun! One taste and you'll be hooked too!
Start with a pound of ground turkey meat, some diced shallots, finely diced celery and a little ground nutmeg. Shhhhh, it's the secret ingredient! It adds that "this is good, but I can't quite place the flavor" element.

Yep, that's it. Just four ingredients for these fabulous burgers! Shape them into patties. A pound will make four nice patties. We only made three this time. I won't do that again, they were just too big!

We season them with McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning and grill five minutes per side.


Now, the not-so-healthy part of this equation. Melt equal parts butter and Franks Buffalo Wing sauce in a small pan over low heat. Once everything is melted, take the cooked burgers and coat them in the hot sauce mixture. Alternately, you could grill the burgers and simple top them with Franks Hot Sauce, leaving out the butter, but really... why would you do that? Butter makes the world better.

The toppings are simple too! A bit of blue cheese dressing on the bun, lettuce and red onion. It's a Buffalo Turkey Burger after all. I think blue cheese dressing is a requirement!

Serve them with a side salad or cut up carrots and celery! Perfect for a summer night when you're craving something spicy and a plate of hot wings just won't do it.

Buffalo Turkey Burgers
1 lb. ground Turkey (I used Jenni-O)
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 stalk of celery - with the leafy tops - finely diced
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp McCormick Montreal Grill Seasoning
4 TBLS butter
4 TBLS Franks Red Hot (or Buffalo Wing) Sauce

Mix the first four ingredients together in a bowl and shape into patties.

Sprinkle seasoning mix over the burgers and grill over medium heat for five minutes per side.

While the burgers are cooking, melt the butter and hot sauce together in a pan. When the burgers are finished, coat them in the hot sauce mixture.

Serve on whole wheat buns with blue cheese dressing, lettuce and red onion slices.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MARGARITA ANGEL FOOD CAKE (OLE!) ~ Guest Post for Chef Wannabe

Hi there from me and all of the BITCHES* at Hot Dishes for Hot Bitches* (FB page)!  I am so not a baker. Too precise for me. I am a dash, pinch, skosh kinda cook.  I can clean out cupboards and a fridge and throw something together (usually turns out ok but then sometimes not so much) but baking scares the bleepers outta me!
I enlisted the help of my friend, Myra, who loves to bake and garden. I bribed her by saying I would cook dinner (second night in a row) if she would bake this baby up!  Well neither of us blogs, either sooooooooo, we forgot to take pictures during the process.  Yeah, we suck. We promise to do better if we are ever invited back (ever). 
Myra just moved in earlier this summer, and so was not entirely sure what utensils and things she had or tossed so at first we couldn't find the zester so I tried some piece off of a grater gadget. Didn't work so hot.  I then switched to a steak knife. SO TOTALLY DANGEROUS...don't do it (yes, I have all of my finger tips and finger nails; not the cake did NOT turn out red!).  Then we finally found the zester (ANGELS sang...NOW I know why it is called ANGEL FOOD CAKE! Always wondered, never knew!).  Made things a lot faster and ultimately, prettier, too!
Myra knocked out the cake, dinner (Thin-sliced Sirloin Tip steaks, cut for stir-fry, with basil pesto, sauteed red onion, topped with fresh garden tomatos over, not mixed in with, spiral pasta and garlic knots (store bought....duh! NOT A BAKER!!) was ready as it went into the oven.  We ate, and drooled over the aroma of the baking cake.  
As dinner ended, the cake was ready to come out (yup, managed to remember to take a picture of at least that!).
Well, the heat might have baked our brains a tad because we skipped over "COOL COMPLETELY" part (we were dying to try it and like the little 5 y/o girls we were, rushed things a bit) so it stuck to the pan and came out not so pretty (AGAIN: NOT A BAKER!!!)
Well at that point, since it was a glaze going on top and not frosting you can use to "hide" such calamity of errors, we decided it would be best to cut a piece and purdy it up for you! (taking it out of the pan made it deflate more than it should have; some deflation is supposed to happen, ours compressed a bit more than it should but still tasted amazing and lighter than it ended up looking (thankfully or this would be the How NOT to make a Margarita Angel Food Cake post!).
We glazed up the slice, put on extra lime zest, (since we had done all that darn work to get it off the limes in the first place!)and added a gorgeous piece of mint from Myra's yard to show off a bit (hey, we are allowed!). 
This cake is amaz-balls as Chef Wannabe says, and I plan to actually attempt it at home (OMG, call the medics to be on stand-by just in case, please!).  I hope you will enjoy this as much as we did between making it, decorating it and eating it as we did!
~Kari McLaughlin
Queen BITCH* of
Hot Dishes for Hot BITCHES* (FB page)
Margarita Angel Food Cake (OLE!)
CAKE:
1 cup cake flour (produces a light and airy cake)
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
12 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons grated lime peel (fresh is best)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice (fresh is best, not from that little plastic lime dealio)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
GLAZE:
1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (see above...USE FRESH)
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila OR 1 tablespoon water and 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (did I mention to use FRESH?)
1 1/2 tablespoons Triple Sec (liquor) (could use Grand Marnier for top shelf cake) OR orange juice (ok, fine, use the bottled kind if you want)
2 to 2 1/4 cups of powdered/confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened (not melted)
2 tablespoons grated lime peel (LAST TIME: USE FRESH (please/thank you!).
1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Whisk flour and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl.
2. Beat egg whites in large bowl on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and salt, beat until soft peaks form.  Add remaining 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat until stiff but not dry peaks form, being careful not to overbeat.  Beat in all remaining cake ingredients except flour mixture.
3.Sift 1/4 cup of the flour mixture over beaten egg whites; fold in with wide spatula.  Repeat, adding 1/4 cup flour mixture at a time and folding until no steaks of flour remain. Spoon batter into the ungreased 9-inch tube pan, smoothing top.  With knife blade, cut through batter in broad swirls, to break any air pockets.
4. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until cake is golden brown and springs back when lightly pressed.  INVERT pan (turn it upside down, literally/seriously) on legs of tube pan or onto neck of bottle (glass soda or wine bottle) to suspend above counter; COOL COMPLETELY (not hot, not warm but COOLED/COLD).  Run thin knife around center and edges of pan; invert cake onto wire rack.
5. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, tequila, triple sec, in medium bowl (if not using alcohol, this is where you sub out for the juices mentioned above).  Whisk in 2 cups of the powdered sugar, adding additional powdered sugar if necessary for glaze consistency.  Whisk in butter (SOFTENED (not melted)) and 2 teaspoons lime peel; spoon over cake. Let stand until glaze is set (yeah, right, like that will happen after all that baking and cooling time!). Cover and store at room temperature.
16 servings (if you are fairies or gnomes...)  (I'm a big girl who eats big girl slices!) :)
*Original recipe from Melanie Barnard, a cookbook author and writer from Connecticut

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Post - It's Yummilicious! Coffee Rubbed Turkey Burgers!

Hi Everyone!  As Chris may have already mentioned, my name is Becca.  I've been given the tremendous honor of posting a recipe for you while Chris is off vacationing with her family this week!  When I heard that she was looking for some help, I jumped up and down and waved my arms around in the air because she’s helped me out on SO many occasions that I wanted to be first in line to help HER out for a change!  I'm hopeful that she’s having a blast and will return to her kitchen refreshed, renewed, and ready for more fun!
Chris asked me if I would make up something with a coffee rub to show all of you today.  Apparently, she must have a fear of cooking with coffee, which I can appreciate, but totally don’t get.  I mean, let’s call it what it is…it’s coffee.  It’s a cup of black, liquid gold.  A jolt-you-out-of-bed cup of loveliness!  What’s to fear?  OK, this is GROUND coffee, but it’s really harmless and OH SO DELICIOUS!  Coffee adds a depth of flavor that perks up anything it’s paired with.  Like these turkey burgers!

Over at It's Yummilicious, I try to share a balance of healthy and sinfully delicious recipes.  Be that as it may, I TYPICALLY tend to lean a little more towards the sinful side, primarily because I love baking so much.  However, I snapped the elastic on another pair of stretchy pants a couple of weeks ago, forcing me to take a cold hard look in the mirror and I did NOT like what I saw.  I decided that I have been eating “all things in moderation” very well, so I’ve put myself on a healthy eating plan for a while.  That’s why this recipe for coffee rubbed turkey burgers is so awesome.   The burgers are packed with spices and grilled up until they’re juicy and incredibly Yummilicious.  The very best part of the deal is that you can fix these burgers up with any toppings of your choice.  If you like the flavors of good BBQ, add a little sauce to the top of your burgers.  If you’re a cheesy person, stuff these babies with some shredded or crumbled cheese… YUM!  In my particular case, BACON was calling my name, but I just wanted to be able to taste the tender turkey in all of its java-loaded glory, so I stuck with the basics…. a little yellow mustard, some lettuce and tomato.  WHAM BAM… a big grand slam!

COFFEE RUBBED TURKEY BURGERS:
yield: 4 burgers, 4 ounces each (weight before cooking)
INGREDIENTS:

1 pound lean ground turkey, divided equally 4 ways and formed into patties
1 Tablespoon ground coffee beans
2 teaspoons brown sugar2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder

DIRECTIONS:

In a spice grinder, food processor, or using a mortar & pestle, combine all of the spices. (If you don’t have any of those tools, place the spices into a zip-top plastic bag and close the top.  Use a rolling pin to crush and blend the spices together.

Liberally apply the seasoning blend to both sides of each patty.  Rub the spices in so that it will form a nice crust when you cook it.

The burgers can be grilled, fried in a pan, or even cooked under a broiler.  Be sure to use proper food safety practices by cooking them until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees for optimal safety.     

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Asiago Asparagus, Guest Blog from The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

It is such a pleasure to be a guest in FoodThoughtsOfaChefWannabe's kitchen!  I have long admired Christine for her sense of humor, witty writing style, and delicious recipes.  When she requested my Asiago asparagus recipe, I was only to happy to oblige.  

Asiago cheese is a wonderful alternative to Parmesan and ramps up the flavor of simply roasted asparagus beautifully.  This is one of those easy side dishes that doesn't taste easy!  Lemon slices make a pretty garnish.  

And because I am always looking to stretch a meal or reinvent leftovers, I like to make extra for another night and toss with sliced grilled chicken, fresh pasta, tomatoes and a handful of mixed greens.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and another grating of Asiago and you will have an amazing meal in a snap!

Asiago Asparagus:
asparagus, tough ends snapped off
olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
about 1/2 cup asiago cheese per bunch of asparagus, or to taste
lemon slices, optional
Place asparagus on a greased baking sheet and coat lightly with olive oil.  I like to use my olive oil mister. You want just enough to make the salt and pepper stick but not enough to make it soggy.  Sprinkle asparagus with the salt and pepper to taste.  Bake at 400 degrees.  Depending on thickness, this could take anywhere between 6-12 minutes.  Don't hesitate to prick the thick end with the tip of a knife to check.  The asparagus should be slightly undercooked at this point.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with asiago cheese.  Broil for 1-2 minutes, watching closely, or until cheese is melted and turning golden brown.
Squeeze a bit of lemon juice overtop and garnish with lemon slices, if desired.
And THIS is what she does with leftovers!

Make sure to visit Ann over @ The Fountain Avenue Kitchen or find her @ The Fountain Avenue Kitchen on Facebook.  Thank you Ann, I can't wait to try this, and I appreciate you sharing your talent with my readers while I am away!