Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Butterflied Chicken

First, the kids have to apologize for the lack of postings lately. For the last few weeks, they just haven't been motivated to do too much, and now with school in full force, postings will only come on the weekends. So they are still here, and participating as much as they can.

Now, on to the chicken!

Sabrina: I really liked this. It was lemony and crispy - all good things about a chicken.

Alexander: I liked it. I've never seen a chicken flat like that before, so I thought it looked funny. But it tasted good.

Thanks Stefany! We really liked this and will try to make it again!

Butterflied Chicken - Ina Garten

1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 2 sprigs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 roasting chickens (2 1/2 to 3 pounds each), deboned and butterflied
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Mix the chopped rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl to make a paste.

Place the chickens on a sheet pan, skin side up, and loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers. Place 1/2 of the paste under the skin of each chicken. Rub any remaining paste on the outside and underside of the chickens.

Turn the chicken skin side down and scatter the lemon slices and sprigs of rosemary over each chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roll each chicken up, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill with coals. Spread the coals out in 1 dense layer and brush the grill with oil. Unroll the chickens, place them on the grill and cook for 12 minutes on each side.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Avocado Project - Continues

Remember the avocado project? Well, guess what finally happened? Yes, we have roots growing!

It took longer than we thought, but Sabrina planted the pit this morning, and put it in a nice, bright sunny spot, so we will continue to watch for an actual plant to form - stay tuned!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Leftover Magic - Risotto Cakes

Now that Sabrina is feeling better, she was inspired to take the leftover risotto and make something new. Well, the best thing (besides arancini) is to make risotto cakes. They are fast, easy and delicious.

First, put your risotto in a bowl. We had about 1 1/2 cups left, so she added 1 egg and some black pepper.

Stir it together really well, and if the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon or so of bread crumbs so that the mixture will hold together. Don't add too much, because then the cakes will be dry.

Form into round cakes, compressing the rice gently so that it holds its shape. Dredge both sides into seasoned bread crumbs:

And place on a greased baked sheet. I lined the sheet with foil and sprayed it with nonstick spray.

Pop them under the broiler for about 5 minutes per side, or until crispy and golden brown.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Panzanella Salad

Hooray for Ina! This week, we made Panzanella Salad that Melissa chose.

Sabrina here: I didn't like it, but it was a neat salad to put together. I had fun cutting all the basil leaves of the plant. Although I felt bad because now there's nothing left. I hope it grows back.

Alexander here: I didn't like it either, but at least I tried it. But I really liked cutting up all the vegetables. I'm getting really good with the knife. Although my mom didn't take any pictures of me doing it - something about the camera battery.

Panzanella Salad - Ina Garten

3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 small French bread or boule, cut into 1-inch cubes (6 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in 1/2 and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons capers, drained
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over low to medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil as needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients together.

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

Coming up next time for the BB group - Butterflied Chicken!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

More Ice Cream

Today, Sabrina tried a new recipe from David Lebovitz's book, "The Perfect Scoop". She loves cheesecake, so why not try Cheesecake Ice Cream?

She gathered the ingredients and started measuring them out:

It was a super quick and easy recipe to assemble. In the bowl of the food processor, she put in 8 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup cream, 2/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla. The original recipe called for lemon zest but she wanted vanilla instead.

I don't know what it is about the food processor and kids, but they love using it!

After the mixture was smooth, she transferred it to the refrigerator to chill for several hours. While Alexander was making dinner, she fired up the ice cream machine and poured the cold mixture in. It froze very quickly - so dessert was ready in no time!

It tastes just like cheesecake! Smooth and creamy - but surprisingly, the kids didn't like it!

Sabrina said, "I guess I prefer my cheesecake in a crust. But I will try another recipe from this book - there are so many to choose from!"

Alexander's Chili Cheese Fries

Woohoo! Alexander is finally back in the kitchen, and tonight he made chili cheese fries.

First, you have to start with his delicious homemade chili. We had some in the freezer, so getting dinner together was a snap.

He used a bag of regular french fries, but instead of deep frying them, he baked them at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, until they were nice and crispy. Then he put some in his bowl:

Next stop - the slow cooker. It's the perfect place to heat up the chili without having to watch it constantly. He scooped it out onto his fries, until he had a nice thick layer:

The final step - the cheese. He used a monterey jack / cheddar blend. A few handfuls and it's almost ready:

Wow! It looks great! And you know what? He ate the whole thing!

Great job! I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sabrina's Making Quesadillas

Hooray! Guess who's finally back in the kitchen? Sabrina is, and today she is making a quesadilla. She's enjoying the last few weeks of hot lunches, because once school starts, everything is either room temp or cold. There isn't a cafeteria at their school so they can have fast food delivered, but that's not healthy - so the kids are plotting their strategy for great lunches.

But on to todays lunch - the simple, yet always delicious quesadilla.

First, put your plain tortilla in the pan and set the heat to medium:
Then, sprinkle on your choice of cheese - the kids like a cheddar / monterey jack blend:

Then top the cheese layer with another plain tortilla, and allow to cook for a few minutes.

Flip it carefully, and allow the other side to cook for a few minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is lightly browned.

Remove to a cutting board:

And cut into wedges. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Graduation Cake - Wilton 1

Well, she did it! Today was the last class for Wilton 1. And I made sure I had my camera so I could photograph the cake BEFORE we attempted to carry it home. Sadly, last week, the heat from the car melted the cupcakes she designed, thus the lack of pictures from Class 3.

We finally did the roses - they were tough, but like most things, once you get the hang of it, it was pretty simple. Sabrina decided that she wanted to pipe lines down the cake, so here she is, the pro with the piping bag:

A nice close up of our roses -

This is not the finished cake - Sabrina got a little crazy with the frosting after I took this picture, but she had alot of fun.
Next Saturday, we start Fondant and Gumpaste. Her grandparents 45th Wedding Anniversary is next month and she has big plans for flowers for the cake.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Bonus Recipe

To see Sabrina in action for the BB's Coeur a la creme, head over to My Baking Adventures!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mexican Dip

The kids haven't been cooking too much lately - these long, hot days seem to sap their motivation. All Alexander cares about it ice cream, although he had a molar pulled yesterday so I can understand that!

However, Sabrina made Mexican dip last night, a super simple recipe that I made up several years ago. It's so easy, and everyone loves it!

First, empty one can of refried beans into a bowl. Mash them up really well.

Next, add about 1 cup of salsa. We like our dip spicy but you can use whatever you like:

Then, add in 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded cheese. We buy the cheddar/monterey jack blend from Costco.
Stir everything together really well. You can cook it several ways:

1. Microwave it for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbling and hot.
2. Place it in a shallow, well-greased casserole dish and bake at 375 until hot - or
3. Pour it into a slow cooker (this works best when you are doubling or tripling the recipe) and cook on high for 3-4 hours.

Serve with chips for dipping -

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chocolate Mousse - Crockpot Style

Sabrina saw this post on A Year of Crockpotting and thought it would be a great idea to make it for dessert this evening. Conveniently, we had everything on hand so it was super easy for her to get it going.

First, she whisked together the cream, egg yolks, sugar, coffee and vanilla in the crockpot:

Then she stirred in the 2 cups of chocolate chips:

We set the timer for 30 minutes - my crockpot is large so I warned her that it would cook faster.

After everything was hot and melted I helped her pour it into the blender.

It didn't "puff up" as much as we thought it would, but she poured it into ramekins, rapped them against the counter to remove some of the air bubbles, and chilled them.

Wow - it's very dense - not puffy like a regular mousse. She really enjoyed making it this way, it was certainly different than the traditional method - and if you need a good chocolate hit, this is the way to go!

Thanks Stephanie! We look forward to trying more of your great ideas and recipes!

Chocolate Mousse - A Year Of Crockpotting

2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
3 T sugar
1/3 cup cold, strong coffee
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In your crockpot, add the heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and coffee. Whisk until combined. Add the two cups of chocolate chips.

Cover and cook on high for about an hour, or on low for about two. (Ours took 30 minutes) You are looking for little bubbles in the surface of the cream, and melted chocolate. Stir to combine the liquid and melted chocolate.

Very carefully, pour the mixture into a blender. You'll get about 2 1/2 to 3 cups of liquid. Blend on high until it "grows" to about 5 to 6 cups, and doesn't seem like it will rise any higher.

Pour into serving dishes, and chill for 2-3 hours, or until set.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers - Smoked Salmon

This weeks recipe for Smoked Salmon spread was chosen by Ashley of The Spicy Skillet. A spicy skillet sounds like it would make some great stuff!

Ok, we have to start by saying this recipe really wasn't high up on our list - but you know, we have to try everything or else we'd be boring! And then no one would want to read our blog.

Alexander here: I got to use the hand mixer for the cream cheese and sour cream. Wow, this thing is cool! What else can I use it for?

I wanted to keep going but my mom said to stop. She didn't want it all over the kitchen.

Sabrina here: Our mom cut up the fish - it wasn't as strong as the tuna that our dad eats. We left out the horseradish because our dad wants to put the spread on his morning bagel and didn't want it to be spicy. Our mom thinks the horseradish would have been great.

At least I got a turn with the mixer!

Both kids: Well, we tried it and we really don't like it. But it was fun making it!

Thanks, Ashley!

Smoked Salmon Spread - Barefoot Contessa Family Style
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish, drained
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 pound (4 ounces) smoked salmon, minced
Cream the cheese in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until just smooth. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, dill, horseradish, salt, and pepper, and mix. Add the smoked salmon and mix well. Chill and serve with crudites or crackers

Ice Cream Sandwiches!

What better way to keep cool that with an ice cream sandwich? Especially if it involves homemade sugar cookies and homemade chocolate ice cream?

Tonight Alexander will demonstrate the proper way to make the perfect ice cream sandwich:

First, line up two sugar cookies:

Then, scoop up the chocolate ice cream and put it in the middle of one cookie:

Put the other cookie on top of the ice cream and gently squish them together. It looks like a hamburger!
Now, his favorite part - THE SPRINKLES! Roll the edges in rainbow sprinkles till they are completely covered:

Perfect! Great job, Alexander!

Coming up tomorrow - Barefoot Bloggers!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We've Been Tagged!

How funny - our mom tagged us! Even though she already knows all this stuff about us, she thought it would be nice if we shared this with our readers. And we thought she was the only one that read our blog!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up

So here are our 6 random facts - our mom said we could do three each -


1. I really want to learn how to surf.
2. I can play "expert" on Guitar Hero III
3. When I am old enough, I want to buy a Lamborghini Murcielago. I'm saving my allowance now!


1. Even though we already have three dogs, I REALLY REALLY want my own dog - a Chihuahua or Pug.
2. I love scrapbooking and I have an amazing book that I did all by myself.
3. Babymouse series books are my favorite - the books are about a middle-school aged mouse named "Babymouse", and she loves cupcakes, surfing and reading.

So how it's our turn to tag someone - we chose:

April's daughter Abby from Abby Sweets
Dianne's daughter Alexis from Dianne's Dishes
Anna's daughter Fuzz from Cookie Madness

Please play along!

Wilton 1 - First decorated cake!

Today Sabrina and I had our second Wilton 1 class - and we got to decorate our cakes!

How do you think she did? She tried to make pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but the icing bag tore and made a mess. She was getting frustrated because the instructor made it look so easy, but I kept telling her it takes practice!

Just look at those stars!

This is my cake - I was trying a bunch of different tips and borders, so it isn't picture perfect, but we had a great time and that's all that matters.

Next week, we are doing figure piping!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Avocado Pit - Progress Report

Well, the avocado pit is still with us - Sabrina has been changing the water and keeping a vigilant eye on it. The outer skin has cracked, and if you look really close, the bottom has the very beginnings of roots starting.

Stay tuned!

Sabrina's Roasted Peppers

The kids are back in the kitchen - after a few days away, they have realized that the food is better at home, especially when you make it yourself!

Sabrina wanted roasted peppers for her pizza tonight - so first, she blacked them on the barbecue. No point in heating up the kitchen if you can help it!

After she brought them inside, she put them in a bag to steam, so it would be easier to remove the skins.
Then she removed the seeds and the stem:

Then she cut them into strips:

She added sliced garlic and olive oil:

And here they are! Great job Sabrina! And the best part? They will stay in the refrigerator for several weeks - if they last that long!

Roasted Peppers

2 yellow bell peppers
2 orange bell peppers
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil

Roast peppers on barbecue until blacked on all sides. Place in ziploc bag and allow to steam for several minutes. Remove blackened skin, then open pepper and remove stem and seeds. Cut into strips, and place in a medium sized container. Place garlic on top of peppers, then drizzle olive oil over the top. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.