Thursday, January 28, 2010

Delicious ham and potato soup

4 stars. this got a thumbs up from everyone in the family. we ate it with buttered bread and it was sooo good, and so easy!

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 8
"This is a delicious recipe for ham and potato soup that a friend gave to me. It is very easy and the great thing about it is that you can add additional ingredients, more ham, potatoes, etc and it still turns out great."
3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup diced cooked ham
3 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper
, or to taste
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fondant cake frosting

From the Wilton website
Rolled Fondant
There is no icing that is easier to smooth on a cake than Rolled Fondant. Its dough-like consistency makes it perfect for hand-shaping flowers, 3-dimensional figures and more. Also great for imprinting designs, cut-out accents on cakes and various borders.

Source: Cupcake Fun

* 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
* 1/4 cup cold water
* 1/2 cup Glucose (i used light Karo syrup)
* 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
* 1 tablespoon Glycerin
* 8 cups (about 2 lbs.) confectioners' sugar, sifted
* Icing color as desired
* flavoring as desired

Makes: About 36 ounces of fondant.


Combine gelatin and cold water; let stand until thick, about 3 minutes. Place gelatin mixture in top of double boiler and heat and stir until dissolved. Add glucose, mix well. Stir in shortening; just before completely melted remove from heat. Add glycerin, flavoring and color. Cool until lukewarm.

In large bowl, place 4 cups confectioners' sugar; make a well. Pour the lukewarm gelatin mixture into the well and stir with a wooden spoon, mixing in sugar and adding more, a little at a time, until stickiness disappears. Knead in remaining sugar. Knead until the fondant is smooth, pliable and does not stick to your hands. If fondant is too soft, add more sugar; if too stiff, add water (a drop at a time). Use fondant immediately or store in airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Use fondant immediately or store in airtight container at room temperature until needed. If storing longer than 1 week, refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before kneading. Do not freeze. When ready to use, knead again until soft.

This recipe yields enough to cover a 10 x 4 in. high round cake. If fondant becomes dry, either by adding too much sugar or air drying, add small amount of solid vegetable shortening and knead thoroughly

If you want to make this and have questions (I did) you can just email me

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Buttermilk Waffles

I used to think I didn't like waffles very much. I resisted trying this recipe because I thought, "How good can waffles possibly be?" Turns out, REALLY good.

Buttermilk Waffles
from America's Test Kitchen
Makes 3 to 4 depending on size of waffle iron
(I usually quadruple the recipe so there are a few leftovers for quick before-school breakfasts in the freezer)

The secret to great waffles is a thick batter, so don't expect a pourable batter. The optional dash of cornmeal adds crunch to the finished waffle (I've never tried it). Make toaster waffles out of leftover batter - undercook the waffles a bit, cool them on a wire rack, wrap them in plastic wrap, and freeze. Then pop them in the toaster as you like for a quick breakfast.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornmeal (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg, separated
7/8 cup buttermilk (AKA 2 Tbsp short of a cup)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled

VARIATION: Almost As Good As Buttermilk Waffles
If you're out of buttermilk, try this sweet-milk variation. By making your own baking powder (using baking soda and cream of tartar) and by cutting back on the quantity of milk, you can make a thick, quite respectable batter. The result is a waffle with a crisp crust and moist interior. Follow the recipe below, adding 1/2 tsp cream of tartar to the dry ingredients and substituting a scant 3/4 cup milk for buttermilk.

1. Heat waffle iron. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Whisk the egg yolk with the buttermilk and butter.

2. Beat the egg white until it just holds a 2-inch peak.

3. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients in a thin steady stream while mixing gently with a rubber spatula. (Do not add liquid faster than you can incorporate it into the batter.) Toward the end of mixing, use a folding motion to incorporate the ingredients. Gently fold the egg white into the batter.

4. Spread an appropriate amount of batter onto the hot waffle iron. Following the manufacturer's instructions, cook the waffle until golden brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately. (In a pinch, you can keep waffles warm on a wire rack in a 200-degree oven for up to 5 minutes.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Cake

This is SO GOOD. Like what chocolate cheesecake should be. Like eating a chocolate truffle in cake form. Just make sure you have people to share this with because it's definitely rich.

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Cake

from America's Test Kitchen
Makes one 9 inch cake, serving 12 to 16

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces, plus 1 tsp softened butter for greasing pan
flour for dusting pan
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (This recipe was supposedly design with Hershey's Special Dark in mind - they say other bittersweet chocolates will work, but because the amounts of sugar and cocoa butter differ from brand to brand, they will produce cakes with slightly different textures and flavors. I used a combination of some random bars I had lying around with chocolate chips and Baker's and I thought it turned out really well. Chocolate chips are supposedly not a good direct substitution due to their relatively low fat content.)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 Tbsp vanilla
8 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp salt
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps (Note: When crumbling brown sugar to remove lumps, make sure that your fingers are clean and grease free; any residual fat from butter or chocolate might hinder the whipping of the whites.)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the sides of a 9 inch springform pan; flour the sides and tap out the excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment or waxed paper round. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with a large sheet of foil.

2. Melt 12 tablespoons butter and the chocolates in a large bowl over a large saucepan containing about 2 quarts barely simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Cool the mixture slightly, then whisk in the vanilla and egg yolks. Set the chocolate mixture aside, reserving the hot water, covered, in the saucepan.

3. In the clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds; add half of the crumbled brown sugar, beat at high speed until combined, about 30 seconds, then add the remaining brown sugar and continue to beat at high speed until soft peaks form when the whisk is lifted, about 2 minutes longer. Using a whisk, stir about one third of the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites in 2 additions, using the whisk. Gently scrape the batter into the prepared springform pan, set the springform pan in a large roasting pan, then pour the hot water from the saucepan into the roasting pan to a depth of 1 inch. Carefully slide the roasting pan into the oven; bake until the cake has risen, is firm around the edges, the center has just set, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 170 degrees, 45 to 55 minutes.

4. Remove the springform pan from the water bath, discard the foil, and cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a thin-bladed paring knife between the sides of the pan and cake to loosen; cool the cake in the springform pan on a wire rack until barely warm, about 3 hours, then wrap the pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours. (The cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

5. To unmold the cake, remove the sides of the pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between the cake and pan bottom to loosen, then invert the cake onto a large plate, peel off the parchment, and re-invert onto a serving platter. To serve, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife, dipping the knife in a pitcher of hot water and wiping the blade before each cut. (If you like, dust the cake with confectioners' sugar just before serving or top slices with a dollop of lightly sweetened whippped cream. To make slicing easier, freeze the cake for 30 minutes just before serving.)

Variation: Chocolate-Orange Mousse Cake
Follow the recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse Cake, reducing the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon and adding 1 tablespoon orange liqueur and 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest to the chocolate mixture along with the vanilla and egg yolks.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bake Potato Soup

4 large baking potatoes (about 3 pounds)
2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
6 c. milk
1 c. sour cream (8 oz.)
1/4 c. green onions, finely chopped
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 c. cheddar cheese

Bake potatoes @350 for 1 hour, until tender, or use leftover from the nite before; allow to cool completely. Peel and cube potatoes.

In a large saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour, salt and pepper, until smooth. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook & stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in sour cream. Add potatoes and green onions. Garnish with bacon and cheese. Serve.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chinese Chicken Salad

I found this recipe at Make it and Love it. Served it today for a little party and it was so yummy!

1 chicken breast (grilled and chopped)
1/2 head of lettuce
2 stalks of celery
1 stalk of green onion
2 8 oz. cans of mandarin oranges
1 8 oz. can of water chestnuts
4 oz. of slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 cup of sugar

1 cup of canola oil
2/3 cup rice vinegar
2 T soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar

Heat almonds and sugar at medium heat in a small pan. Stir continuously until the sugar has heated through and coated the almonds with a nice caramelized coating. (Don't worry if the sugar gets all clumpy and seems to not be working. Just keep will melt.) Then spread over foil and let cool completely. Chop up all of the remaining salad ingredients and mix together in bowl. In a cruet, mix in all the ingredients for the dressing. Shake until completely blended. The dressing isn't soluble so you'll have to shake again right before pouring over your salad.

One last note: The dressing made is a bit too much for the amount of salad. So I always pour the dressing over individual portions of salad. But if you'd like to pre-mix your salad if you're headed to a pot luck, make sure to watch how much you're using in the salad. Sample it before serving.