so take the time to make it taste good!

  • Homemade blueberry syrup
  • Idaho Potatoes
  • Bsct-8
  • Simmer the chicken
  • Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes
  • Light and fluffy
  • DSCF3993

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Simple blueberry sauce for pancakes

My wife bought some blueberries this week and they were wonderful.  Seeing that she made waffles for the family this morning, it was only natural to turn the berries into blueberry syrup.  The berries keep their tartness and contrast nicely with the sweetness of the simple syrup.  My eldest likes the purple color that is achieved when you scoop the syrup onto whipped cream.  Whether this is your interest or not, try this syrup the next time you make breakfast and enjoy yourself!

Ingredients:

Homemade blueberry syrup

1 C Fresh blueberries

3/4 C Light brown sugar

3/4 C Water

Pinch table salt

1/8 t Pure vanilla extract (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Wash the blueberries.
  2. Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and cook over high heat until thickened (about 7 minutes).  You will want to stir the water as it cooks to keep it from boiling over.
  3. Remove from heat and add the blueberries, salt and vanilla.
  4. Place the pan back onto low heat and cook until the berries start to soften and release their juice.

    Simple ingredients

  5. Serve warm.

Cook’s note: You can add a little (1/8 t) of fresh lemon zest instead of the vanilla to give the syrup a citrus brightness.

Garlic mashed potatoes

Idaho Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes served with roast chicken, beef or turkey.  The creamy goodness plays nicely against the heartiness of flavor.  On their own, mashed potatoes are a real treat so when you add garlic and Parmesan cheese to them they are even better.  Steaming the potatoes instead of boiling them gives you a fluffier mash.  Leaving the skins on is good for you and is much easier on you also.  Use real Parmesan cheese, the pre-grated cheese dust tends to stay dusty and gritty in the potatoes – not very pleasant.  These are so good that you do not even need gravy….unless you want some.
We love mashed potatoes and I love when my kids ask who made the potatoes (meaning; are they mine or my wife’s) before they dig in.  I’m sure my wife doesn’t mind that I make the potatoes.
I also make a version of these potatoes with crumbled bacon, chives and cheddar cheese that are very good also.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Pounds russet potatoes

1/2 C Heavy cream

1/2 C Butter

2 T Garlic, minced

1/4 C Parmesan cheese, shredded

Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

 

 

Grate cheese

1. Wash the potatoes and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes.

2. Set a large collander into a large stock pot.  Cover the bottom of the pot with 1 1/2 inches of water.  Set the pot over medium high heat.

3. Add the potatoes, cover with a tight lid and steam the potatoes for about 15 minuts.

4. Carefully remove the collander and rince the potatoes under running water to remove the starch.

5. Add water to the pot so you have 1 1/2 inches again.  Return the collander to the pot and contiue to steam the potatoes until a knife inserted slides in easily.

6. Remove the potatoes to a large bowl and mash them with all of the remaining ingredients.

Cook’s notes: You can peel the potatoes, but the skins have nutrients and add a texture to the finished potatoes.

Drop biscuits – step away from the tube of glutinous goo.

Best drop biscuits

These are a very nice biscuit for breakfast.  My children like them with honey and my wife puts her strawberry freezer jam on them.  I like grape jam.  Every once in a while I will make biscuits and gravy for me and our oldest (we’re the only ones in the family that like it) and I will serve the gravy over these.  You can add some garlic powder and sharp cheddar to the recipe and have a delightful dinner biscuit.

Ingredients:

4 C AP flour

2 t Granulated Sugar

1 1/2 t Salt

4 t Baking powder

1 t Baking soda

2 C 1% Milk

8 T Butter, melted

8 T Butter flavored shortening (like Crisco)

Preparation:

The dough is tacky

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two standard cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Use the parchment paper it works great for this recipe.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl – i like to use my Kitchen aid for this.
  3. Use the paddle attachment and cut the shortening into the flour.  Takes about 5 minutes and in the end you should have a grainy looking flour with flecks of yellow in it.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the flour.  Do not over mix the dough – it will get tough and your biscuits will be crusty and hard.  When you are done the dough will tacky.
  5. Use a 1/4 C measure that has been sprayed with food release oil (Pam) to scoop out the biscuit dough.  Drop the biscuits onto the parchment lined cookie sheets.  Keep 1″ – 2″ between the biscuits.
  6. Bake for 16 minutes; turning the pan half way through.  Tops will be light golden in color.
  7. Serve immediately.  They have a nice butter flavor so try them with honey or jam and hold the butter.

Chicken enchiladas

Simmer the chicken

Last night we had a friend over for dinner.  She is going out east for about 2 months so we asked her what she wanted and to our surprise chicken enchiladas came up.

The secret between a good chicken enchilada and a great one is in how you prepare the chicken.

Ingredients:

3 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 Lime

7 Sprigs of cilantro

6 Green onions

1 t Mexican oregano

1/4 t Cumin seed

1/3 C Medium salsa

1/2 t Fresh ground black pepper

1/3 t Chili powder

Chicken stock to cover

Preparation:

  1. In a large sauté pan brown the chicken breast over medium heat- don’t cook them through.
  2. Add the juice of the lime and the lime to the pan and the remaining ingredients.  Lower the heat and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer until chicken is done.
  3. Remove from heat.  Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and slice.
  4. Make you enchiladas

Cook’s note:  The liquid can be used for Spanish rice or stock for soup.

What I Like Most About My Job

I like that everyone at work thinks that the job is harder than it really is. Most of my co-workers run around in a panic. I come from a background where we were really under pressure (strict due dates, project timelines, etc.) so this is a piece of cake. Sometimes I want to tell them to just chill!!!!!!!! This is no brain work!

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Ganache Filling

If you don’t have a copy of the May & June issue of Cook’s Illustrated I would highly recommend getting one.  Or you can go here http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/login.asp?docid=23637, start your subscription and print it off the web. Yesterday my wife and I tried the recipe for the above mentioned cupcakes and they were a great hit.  Our children were impatient while we made them, but soon went into chocolate comas after eating one.  We took the cupcakes over to some friends who had us over for dinner and they raved about how wonderful they were.

Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes

The cupcakes were everything the recipe promised they would be; “a moist, tender (but not crumbly) crumb capped with just enough creamy, not too sweet frosting.”  We doubled the recipe (so we would have some left over after dinner at our friends) and were able to make 30 cupcakes so our muffin tins must be smaller than the ones CI used for theirs.  Also, the batter is very loose so don’t panic, they bake up wonderfully!

A bit of advice; try using a flavored coffee in the recipe.  We used Berres Brothers Chocolate Raspberry http://www.berresbrothers.com/product/ChocolateRaspberry/FlavoredFruity and made the coffee strong (we like it that way).  This gave the cupcakes a hit of raspberry flavor that was very enjoyable.

These cupcakes are very rich so a glass of cold milk or cup of coffee is a nice compliment to them.

After making these cupcakes a box mix will be the last thing you reach for (or maybe you will resort to the box when unwanted guests stop by).  trust me you are worth the time and effort of these cupcakes!

PS. so are the people you love!

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