Monthly Archives: August 2012

Peanut Butter Nutella Pocket Pies

I am a bit absent minded.

Absent minded in the fact that I lose things. Constantly. I can’t tell you how many times I have lost my glasses, and Mr Ginge has been the one to find them. Like on top of the microwave, or tucked into my bookshelf, or in the garbage. The worst part about losing things, is that I never  intend  on losing them. My every intention is to put them away in a safe place so that I will be able to find them easily when I am looking for them again. The problem always seems to be when I do try and find these things again. When I’m actually looking for something, I can ( and have!) turned the house upside down looking for it.  Last week is was a passbook. This week it was apples in my freezer.

You see, I know they are in there. Along side the rest of the frozen fruit. Except of course when I wanted it. Then it has mysteriously disappeared or hidden underneath some frozen french fries. I really didn’t feel like tearing apart the freezer, so the mini apples pies I had planned to make, went on the back burner. I’ll find them when I’m not looking for them any more.

Fortunately for me, this is when inspiration stuck. While hunting for a snack, both the peanut butter and the nutella jumped out at me, and I knew then exactly what I was going to do with the bit of pastry. If you are looking for  a quick and easy ( and tasty!) snack, these are definitely it.

Peanut Butter Nutella Pocket Pies

makes  about 8 pies

  • pastry for 9″ pie,  homemade or store bought
  • 8 tsp smooth peanut butter
  • 8 tsp Nutella
  • milk for brushing
  • sugar, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheet with some parchment ( they tend to leak a bit).
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8 in/ 3 mm thick. With a 4 in cutter, cut out your circles. Gather the scraps and roll out again.
  3. In the middle of each of the rounds, drop 1 tsp each of Nutella and peanut butter. Fold the rounds in half and press the edges together with a fork. Place them a couple inches apart on your prepared baking sheet.
  4. Prick the tops with a fork to allow the steam to escape. Brush lightly with milk, then sprinkle the tops with sugar if desired.
  5. Bake in your preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. I checked mine after 15, then let them bake for another few minutes.
  6. Let cool a few minutes on the pan, then enjoy!

- Mel

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I linked this recipe up to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays. Click the link for more great recipes!

Categories: Dessert | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chocolate Dipped Matcha Whipped Shortbread

I think I have an obsession with obsessions.

I find something I like, and then it is literally all I can think about until I find something new to obsess over. Like when I was just starting to blog, I went through a faze where everything I made had almonds in them, or almond extract. Or almond something. Then it was avocados. I went beyond guacamole, then spread it on toast, wraps, grilled cheese. I even went so far as to put it in chocolate chip cookies.

The thing is, it isn’t only restricted to food.  When I was about 7, I found an old mix tape my dad had made. It had Material Girl by Madonna on it. I listened to that song night and day. I made up dance routines to it and but on pretend  shows for my toys. I quite literally listened and rewinded that song so much, that I stretched out the tape. I mean who does that?

I’d like you to think that after I wore out the tape, maybe I got sick of it and don’t listen to it anymore., or at least that my music tastes have matured, but no, Material Girl is on my iPod. I still listen to it.  My bad taste in books is matched by my taste in music, and you now know the depth of how crazy I truly am.

Anyway, more recently it has been matcha that I have been obsessed with. I finally found it, so I have a burning need to put it in everything I make. This time around, I threw it into my Mom’s whipped shortbread, thinking that the delicate cookies would hold up to the subtleness of the green tea. Then for richness I doused them in chocolate. Yum.

Here’s the thing with these cookies. These cookies must be whipped for 10 minutes. No cheating. No, oh they will be ok after 5.  10 whole minutes. If you skimp on the time, you don’t end up with the light, melt in your mouth texture that make the shortbread amazing. I usually set the kitchen timer just as I start mixing. If you have a stand mixer, it’s not much of a problem. If you only have a hand mixer ( like I seem to  whenever I make these cookies) then you are in for a real treat. And lets say after 15 years of making these cookies, I have on hell of a mixer arm.

Seriously. 10 minutes.

Chocolate Dipped Matcha Whipped Shortbread

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp matcha ( green tea powder)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F
  2. In a  large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Beat for 10 minutes. No skimping. Start with the mixer on low, until everything is combined, then amp it up to medium.  After the 10 minutes, you should have a soft, light dough.
  3. Scoop the dough into a cookie press fitted with the disc of choice. I recommend something fairly solid, like a heart or a flower, other wise they might be a bit too delicate to dip.  If you don’t have a cookie press, you can use a pasty bag fitted with a star tip ( or even just scoop the dough on to a sheet). Press the dough onto the sheet, leaving a little space between each cookie.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes. You don’t want to cookies to brown, but you want to cook them enough so that they are crisp. Let cool completely
  5. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and the chocolate chips together over low heat. Once it is melted, gently dip the cookies in about halfway, then set on a sheet of waxed paper. Because the cookies are a bit delicate, you will likely end up with a few casualties. Alternatively, you could always drizzle chocolate over the top.  Stick in the fridge or the freezer to let set completely.

Keely was trying her hand at stealth. Through a lace curtain.

- Mel

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I linked this recipes up to The Weekend Potluck and On the Menu Monday! Click the link for more great recipes!

Categories: Cookies | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Improv Challenge: Greek Pasta Salad

I won’t lie. Corn and Butter stumped me.

Greek Pasta Salad

For this month’s Improv Challenge,  hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, I knew exactly what I was going to make. One thing immediately comes to mind when I think of Tomatoes and Peppers: Greek Pasta Salad.

When I was in high school ( and for a short time after I graduated), I worked as a cook in a small local restaurant  that did catering on the side. Especially in the summer.  Many nights were spent not only cooking, cleaning and prepping for the next morning, but also prepping for an upcoming event they were catering. I won’t lie, I hated the catering jobs. You were always fighting for space in the small kitchen, it was almost impossible to get on top of prep work, they made ten tons of dishes,  and it always meant you were in for an extra long shift.

Greek Pasta Salad

The good part about it is that you were almost always rewarded with a bowl of this pasta salad. It was sooo good. I lucked out one day, and was able to take some home with me.  I stuck the containers in the fridge, told my mom there was some leftovers from the restaurant there and then thought no more of it until I got home from and early shift the next day. It was gone. All gone.  And Mom was asking how they made it.

So we tinkered with it, and found something just as irresistible. My brother will literally mound this on his plate.  And it turns out we weren’t the only ones who thought so.  Whenever we took it to get-togethers, we were almost always asked for the recipe. A friend loved it so much, that when she got married, it was my job to bring the salad to the showers, Jack and Jill, and rehearsal dinners. Both her and her new mother-in-law ended up with the recipe afterwards.

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 450g / 1 lb uncooked fusili or other curly pasta
  • 1 pint container of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped or 1/2 red onion chopped ( Red onion is prettier in the salad, but gets to be overpowering if you  make it ahead of time)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  •  greek dressing (recipe below) or store-bought creamy feta dressing.
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse the pasta slightly ( otherwise I find you get a solid lump of pasta) then chill.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onions and feta. Before serving, pour in the dressing and mix well. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Greek Dressing

adapted from the restaurants house dressing and Best Recipes ever

  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sour cream, feta cheese, garlic, oregano, parsley and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pulse a few times to combine and break up the feta.
  2. Add the vinegar and the olive oil and pulse for about 30 seconds. Give the dressing a taste and add the remainder of the pepper if desired. We like it quite peppery.
  3. Pour over your salad or into a container and store in the fridge.

Seriously, eat this now.

And don’t forget to check out what others came up with using tomatoes and peppers!

-Mel


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I also featured this recipe on The Weekend Potluck, the Stone Gable, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday. Click the link to check out more great recipes.

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

So. Let’s talk pasta.

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

Or, more importantly, what goes with pasta. Like bread. Garlic bread to be specific. With lots of cheese.  Spaghetti dinner is not the same without it.

Seriously, in my family, it think the pasta plays second fiddle to the garlic bread. My “I’m-not-that-hungry” sister will take a teeny tiny portion of pasta, then fill up on six slices of garlic bread. No joke.  I can hear her denials already.  :)

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

I was feeling like making bread the other day, and well bubble bread popped ( haha) in to my head. I mean seriously, I know you already eat garlic bread with your hands, but it’s way more fun to rip it from the loaf at the table.

If you aren’t feeling up to making bread, then you could always use store bought dough, just mix the Italian seasoning in with the garlic and melted butter before you dip. Make sure to snag an edge piece. Sooooo good.

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

Cheesy Garlic Bubble Bread

makes 2 8” pans, adapted from my Cheddar Ranch Bubble Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water ( about 40°C/ 110° F )
  • 2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  1. Dissolve the yeast and the sugar into the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, salt and Italian seasoning. Make a well in the middle of the bowl, then pour in the yeast and stir together with a wooden spoon. If the dough is still a bit sticky slowly add in more of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until you get a soft dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead it, slowly working in the remaining flour until you get a smooth and elastic dough.
  4. Lightly grease a large bowl then set the dough in the bowl to rise, until it doubles in size ( about an hour).
  5. Meanwhile, brush the bottom and the sides of the two pans generously with some of the melted butter. Combine the remaining butter and garlic.
  6. Punch down the dough, then cut the dough into 1 in pieces, which ends up being about 30 – 40 pieces.  Dip each of the pieces into the garlic butter mixture, making sure to get some of the garlic on the dough, then nestle them into the prepared pans. You may have to squish them together a little to fit the last few pieces in the pan.
  7. Allow the dough to rise a second time, this time for about half an hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  9. When the dough has risen, pop the pans in for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, sprinkles the tops with the cheese, then bake for another 15 minutes.
  10. Let the bread cool for a couple minutes, then slide out of the pan and enjoy warm.
  11. If you are only going to eat one of the loaves, then tightly wrap it in some plastic wrap. To reheat, just stick in the oven for about 5 minutes or so or until warm.

Seriously, way better than pasta. :)

- Mel

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I linked this post up to the Weekend Potluck, Wednesdays Adorned from Above, and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays! Click the link to check out more great recipes!

Categories: Breads | Tags: , , | 19 Comments

Strawberry Matcha Pops

So.

I finally got my hands on some green tea powder.

It only took the better part of a year, a road trip to the nearest city to the closest Asian food market, dragging my mom and sister along for the ride,  then utterly confusing the poor man behind the counter.

But I got some.

Then my sister and I went hog wild trying to decide what to make.  Green tea frappes. Bubble tea ( which kind of failed before it got off the ground. Does anyone know what we are doing wrong?). Cake. Cookies. Popcorn. We threw ideas back and forth, tried some, put some on the back burner, then because it was unbearably hot, we made popcicles.

That and the strawberry layer makes an awesome shade of pink. Pink food = awesomeness.

And boy were they yummy.

And because my sister also went hog wild with the pictures, we decided to share.

The recipe comes from Jamieanne over at The Sweetest Kitchen (super cute blog btw), and because we didn’t rally change the recipe at all, you can find it here.

Because I don’t have a Zoku Pop maker, I just poured the strawberry layer in my moulds about half way up or until they just reached the bottom of my stick. Then when it was set I poured the matcha layer over top and let them freeze completely.

Then we ate them. So did Jack.  And it was good.

Categories: Dessert | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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