Monday, August 31, 2015

Secret Recipe Tailgate Bonus: Chicago Style Pizza

I've been busy this month with Secret Recipe Club.  My regular Group A post, I picked up an orphan, and now a bonus party for the fifth Monday of the month.  Then next week, September is in full swing, and I'm posting with Group A once again.  Whew.
The premise of Secret Recipe Club is simple:  a group of foodie bloggers, all choosing a recipe from each other's assigned blogs, posting simultaneously.  There are 4 groups, but what happens when there's a fifth Monday?  Up until now, nothing.  But Sarah, our fearless leader thought that we could have some fun with a club-wide party for those interested.  We'd pick a theme, be assigned a blog, and make something for the theme.  This one is perfect for heading into fall.
Tailgating is a proud tradition involving lots of food, lots of alcohol, and the occasional sporting event.  Often, they take place in a parking lot while waiting for said event to happen.  J and I tailgate 7 or 8 Saturdays every fall, usually in the front seat of our car in Ann Arbor with Zingerman's Grab and Go Tailgate bag lunches before heading into the Big House to join the faithful (in case you ever want to try these...I recommend Benno's Birdie as a sandwich.  It's delicious!)
Weekends that the Wolverines are away, we start watching Game Day in the morning and usually turn off the TV around midnight (yes, we are that family) while eating a large breakfast and then finger foods in the evening.  I'll make wings, like I am this coming weekend; or nachos.  Sometimes, I'll make a hot baked dip.  Or sometimes, I'll make pizza.
I was assigned Wendy's blog, A Day in the Life On the Farm.  She and I both participated in Camilla's #TenDaysofTailgate last year, so I knew there would be lots of fun recipes that I might be able to use.  Ultimately, I made something I would never make for a true tailgate, but I would make for a long day of football, lounging, and too much food.
Wendy spent a year posting pizzas.  I found one that sounded good, and when I went back to look at her source material I discovered that this pizza was to mimic the absolutely delicious Chicago pizza of Pizza Papali's in Detroit.  While my favourite will be from the Pizza House in Ann Arbor, Pizza Papali's is darn good.  I was sold.  It's even meatless to boot.  Don't tell J.
I present to you now from A Day in the Life On the Farm, Chicago Style Pizza:

Friday, August 28, 2015

#BookClubCookbookCC: Maple Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts

Somehow I let this month slip away from me.  Today is the day that my post is due for The Book Club Cooking Crew, and I planned so well I forgot to plan to make and blog my submission.  I just hope it's in time.
This month, Andrea of Adventures In All Things Food invited us this month to take a walk in the woods and eat a slice of impossibly lemon pie.  I took up the challenge with J, after reading the synopsis in my copy of The Book Club Cook Book of Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, I thought this was a book we could enjoy together:

As an individual with a visual impairment, my husband isn't a big reader.  It's just too taxing.  As an Eagle Scout, my husband has spent way more time roughing in the woods than I have.  I thought the subject matter would appeal, and we spent a couple of weeks after dinner, sitting as I read Bryson's wonderful story aloud.  We both so enjoyed the story - and now we're looking forward to Labour Day weekend so we can go see the movie.  The book is always better, but we have high hopes.
While the cook book suggested lemon pie, I made one not that long ago, so I went looking for something else.  The inspiration came in the form of Bryson and Katz's trail fare.
Early on in their travels, Bryson and Katz are joined by a woman named Mary Ellen, who turns out to be difficult for both of them to put up with.  At one point, they plan to ditch Mary Ellen, with Katz commenting if it doesn't work, they could always "kill her and steal her Pop Tarts."
I knew in that instant that I wanted to make Pop Tarts.  I spent some time on Pinterest looking at options, J told me that they had to be Brown Sugar Cinnamon, his favourite flavour from Boy Scouts.  I wanted to make the icing maple.
I found very realistic recipes, but finally decided that mine were going to be more of an homage to the Pop Tart with J's filling, my icing, and ideas from a variety of sources.  This one we're going to call my own.
I present to you now Maple Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Son of Magazine Challenge: Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches

You know how you mean to do something, get halfway through, become sidetracked, and eventually come back to the original project for the now much smaller job?  That is the story with these sandwiches.
I made the cookies, put them into a container, and we started eating them as is.  By the time I made the sandwiches, I only had a dozen cookies left.  Whoops.
J and I have had a couple of pool parties in the past couple of weeks, and I meant to make these as a dessert option for the first of the parties (not that it mattered...we had so much food!).  Then, when that didn't happen, I thought to make them for the second party.  But we had birthday cake instead, so I ended up making these as a dessert option for us.  At the beginning of a super hot week, they were a welcome treat.
I know the title says "mini", but don't let that fool you!  One is enough.  It's 2 cookies and a small serving of ice cream rolled in chocolate chips.  But think about that.  2 cookies.  Ice cream.  Chocolate chips.  How could all that together possibly be bad?
From the June 2007 issue of Everyday Food, I present to you now Mini Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Son of Magazine Challenge: Spinach-Stuffed Flank Steak

I made this a while ago.  Like, I was still working awhile ago.  The problem with being inconsistent in my blogging is that things languish on my camera and get forgotten.  This is one of those recipes.
J and I both like spinach, and as a result I use it a lot in my cooking.  Spinach is a versatile vegetable, hearty enough to stand up to strong flavours, and healthy enough to make you feel virtuous.
J and I had this one Friday night after I went to the local butcher and had him butterfly the flank steak for me.  The filling went together easily, and the cooking time was relatively short, although we decided that slightly longer would have been better.  The second night, we were much happier with the level of doneness.
From the May 2007 issue of Everyday Food, I present to you now Spinach-Stuffed Flank Steak:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mile High Vegetable Pie

My mom is here for a few days.  We've been doing the family thing the last few days:  my mom's brothers and spouses, my cousins and spouses and their kids here; and then my mom and her brothers and cousins out for lunch a couple of days later.  With big family groups, we do a lot of potluck.  But with my mom staying here, we try a lot of new things.
My mother and I are both believers in having company and trying new recipes.  If it works, you're a genius, and if you don't, have a funny story later and people to help you hide the evidence in the present.  So it's not a surprise when my mom comes that we try new recipes that we probably wouldn't try with 2 of us at home.
I know I've said it before, but I'm a big fan of the Podleski sisters and their wildly successful series of cookbooks, Looneyspoons.  Their recipes are fun, made with pantry staples, and delicious.  While their original cookbook is now somewhat outdated in terms of nutrition trends, the recipes are solid.  They're low in fat, and often with a few tweaks are something that we enjoy.
I don't tweak a lot of recipes without trying them once.  One should, I believe, trust the process of the author.  But in this case, when I read 2 cups of mushrooms, there was no way they'd be going into my main course; and I don't keep reduced fat butter or margarine, nor do I use egg substitute.  Tweaking was necessary.
This is exactly what the title suggests:  lots of vegetables on a crust.  With a little egg and cheese to hold it together, how could that be bad?
I present to you now from the Looneyspoons gals, Mile High Vegetable Pie:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Secret Recipe Club: Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake

It's not my regular week for Secret Recipe Club, but I offered to pick up an orphan for Group C and post with them this week.  I'm really glad I did.  Partially because after this month I won't really have time for a while, and partially because it gave me another opportunity to explore a new blog and make something yummy.
I was thrilled to get Jane's Blog, The Heritage Cook.  When I joined Group A of the SRC, Jane was our fearless group leader.  I had gone to her site after getting the email with my first assignment, and had poked around a little thinking that there would be lots to choose from when I drew her name as my assignment.  Then the groups changed.  Jane left for Group C.  I was never assigned her blog.
By happy coincidence, I was assigned her blog as the orphan.  I suddenly poked about her blog with purpose!
Jane is a native Californian, and has been gluten-free for 3 years. She has chocolate Mondays.  There are so many things that I'll need to go back and make more!  She has fabulous looking food, and it took a while to find something until I promised to bake for my custodial staff.  I have a meeting today, and I promised to bake for them.  Then I found this recipe.  It was obviously meant to be.
I present to you now the Heritage Cook's Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Grillmistress: Cheeseburger Kebabs

We had a big pool party last weekend for some of my friends from when I was in Youth Group.  Yep, I've known a good number of the people who were here since I was 4.  We ate way too much, swam away the afternoon and caught up.  J and I host this once a year, and it's always so much fun.  One of the biggest deals this year was that we went out and bought a new tank of propane.
When my mom came in June, we set up to BBQ, got halfway through cooking the steak, and ran out of propane.  We then neglected to buy more for a month.  I know.  Have indoor grill, be lazy.  But with 25 people and a freezer full of burgers and hot dogs, the Foreman was not going to cut it and we got a new tank.  
What this means is that we're back to grilling in the great outdoors when the weather is good.  Just as well.  I found these little beauties on Pinterest or Twitter, and decided that I needed to try them myself.  It was a good need.  These are great.
I present to you now from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen Cheeseburger Kebabs:

Monday, August 10, 2015

Oven Baked Crispy Greek Chicken

It's funny how sometimes you won't like a specific food in certain preparations.  I'm not big on raw tomatoes, but I have yet to meet a tomato sauce I wouldn't eat.  I probably have a longer list of things that I don't like than J, but when I do the cooking around here we don't eat the things that I don't like.  Mushrooms and shellfish don't make appearances on our table because of my tastes, and you don't see turkey very often, seeing as J can't stand it.  But there are a lot more vegetables that I don't like than J.  He's not fond of squash, and doesn't like cucumbers.
You would think, then, that I wouldn't make a dish where cucumber features predominantly in the sauce; and yet I did.  And even more interestingly, J liked it.  A lot.  I was told to make this again.  And it was fantastic.  I would recommend it for the non-cucumber eaters in your life too.
From the 2015 Milk Calendar, I present to you now Oven Baked Crispy Greek Chicken:

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Classics: Dill Pickles

I posted a picture on Facebook of the enormous bag of cucumbers that I bought at the Farmers Market this past Tuesday.  I think it was a bushel.
Every summer, my one canning project is making dill pickles using the same recipe my mom uses.  It's simple and forgiving.  I'm not really sure why I started, but I know it was after J and I got married, but I've done it every summer since; even the summer we moved. J is obviously a fan, or I wouldn't bother with something this time consuming that only I eat.  I also make these as Christmas gifts, so buying 23 lbs of baby cucumbers might not seem so crazy.
That's right.  23 pounds.  No one needs that many cucmbers.  I ended up having a friend take some.
One thing that that picture on Facebook did was have a whole bunch of my friends ask if the pickles are crunchy (I think so), and would I share the recipe (yes).
I present to you now from the Mary Moore Cookbook Dill Pickles:

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Breakfast on the Run: Breakfast Sunshine Cake

I'm always on the lookout for good, easy recipes to include in my repertoire.  Good is key.  Easy makes things even better.  While I do draw a great deal of inspiration from Everyday Food and Pinterest, I have found the 2015 Milk Calendar to actually be quite useful.
The Milk Calendar is often hit or miss for me.  Either it's things that just don't look tasty, or they use ingredients I don't buy, or they're for things that I already make and like the recipe I have.  This year, there have been a variety of things that I've made and enjoyed.
I've been trying the Bake It Easy recipes from the front matter of the calendar recently.  Muffins and so forth are always up my alley:  easy to freeze and take in my lunch or eat for breakfast.  I saw this cake and thought it sounded delicious.  I also needed to find a use for the shredded zucchini in my freezer, and thought that this would be a way to use it up before I end up with more shredded zucchini in my freezer for next year.
This is really good, and smells so yummy while baking.  I just don't recommend leaving it in an airtight container on your counter too long.  I think the last couple of pieces fermented before J and I could eat them.  Fermented cake is not really what you want to eat for breakfast.  But vegetables are, and when they're in cake form, how could they possibly be bad?
I present to you now from the 2015 Milk Calendar Breakfast Sunshine Cake:

Monday, August 3, 2015

Secret Recipe Club: Maple Apple Walnut Muffins

It's time once again for the Secret Recipe Club!  After taking the month of July off, I'm so happy to be back.  I missed having the chance to go through another blogger's recipes, select something yummy, and recreate it in my own kitchen.  Want more details?  Check out the site here.
This month, I was assigned the wonderful blog, Chef in Disguise.  Sawsan is an orthodontist who lives in the United Arab Emirates.  She makes gorgeous looking Middle Eastern food that sounds wonderful!  And yet...well...I stayed pretty close to home for the recipe that I finally made.  More on that later.
Sawsan's recipes looked wonderful.  I considered ma'amoul, a shortbread stuffed with a variety of fillings (but I didn't have the beautiful moulds that Sawsan used).  I also liked the looks of Spinach pastry triangles, but J wasn't convinced.  I also discovered that Sawsan is an avid baker.  I wanted to make her Nutella Twist bread because I have yet to meet a Nutella recipe I don't like.  I finally decided on her One Year Blogiversary recipe, Cinnamon Sweet Bread that looked gorgeous, and I was excited about trying the twisting (go look at the picture...I'll wait for you.  Trust me.  It's worth the click!!)
Then I started thinking about the size of that bread.  And the fact that J would probably help me with just a piece or maybe two.  So I started looking again.
I finally found this recipe, and it sounded delicious...and freezable...and not nearly as exotic as where I started.  But trust me when I tell you that the ingredients are staples in a Canadian gal's kitchen, and you need to make these muffins.  Need I tell you!  I've polished off two while writing the recipe preamble, and am trying to decide if a third would ruin my lunch.  It might, but it would be a great way to go!
I present to you now Chef in Disguise's Maple Apple Walnut Muffins: