Archive | March, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Dip

12 Mar
INGREDIENTS:
2 8 oz containers whipped cream cheese
1 rotisserie chicken
1 bottle Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/4 cup melted butter
Some shredded cheese (anything you have on hand–I have used mozzarella, sharp cheddar, pepper jack)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Spread cream cheese in a 9×13 pan.
2. Pick apart the chicken and shred into bite-sized bits. Add the butter and wing sauce , stir well, and spread over the cream cheese.
3. Sprinkle a bit of shredded cheese over the chicken mixture. You don’t want too much because it will congeal as the dip cools. Really just a nice light dusting is perfect.
4. Throw in the oven with whatever else you have cooking and keep an eye on it. On Saturday I wasn’t using the oven for anything else so I cooked this at 375 for about 25 minutes, but I have put it in at 350 and 400.
5. Serve with some pita chips (my preference) or tortilla chips (Matty’s fave) or both!

Flan

12 Mar
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup superfine white sugar (Baker’s Sugar)
1 1/4 cup evaporated whole milk
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed
milk
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts and turns a golden amber color, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully once syrup begins to change color, because it burns easily. Carefully pour the melted sugar syrup into a flan mold or pie pan (I used a pyrex pie pan). Let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
3. Pour evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract into a blender, and blend for a minute or so, until the mixture is smooth. Pour in the cream, and pulse several times to incorporate the cream. Pour the mixture over the cooled caramel syrup in the flan mold.
4. Line a roasting pan with a damp kitchen towel. Place the flan mold on the towel, inside roasting pan, and place roasting pan on oven rack. Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
5. Bake in the preheated oven until the center of the flan is set but still slightly jiggly when moved, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the flan cool, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. To serve, run a sharp paring knife around the inside of the mold or pie pan to release the flan. Invert a plate on the mold, flip the mold over, and gently remove the mold to unmold the flan and reveal the syrupy caramel topping.

Pastel de Tres Leches

12 Mar
INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
5 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Cream butter or margarine and the 1 cup sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat well.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture 2 tablespoons at a time; mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, condensed milk, and evaporated milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7. Whip remaining whipping cream, the remaining 1 cup of the sugar, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. We also like to add drained maraschino cherries (my little brother Adam decorated this masterpiece!).  Be sure and keep cake refrigerated.  Buen provecho!

**Please ignore the background mess in this picture–it is the only one we got of the cake!

Sitting Pretty

11 Mar

Ruby just loves this darling little chair Matty stumbled upon while cleaning out the attic.

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Fiesta!

11 Mar

We had an awesome birthday party for Ruby (and me) tonight! Ruby loved her cake, then fell asleep in Auntie Elise’s arms. Then we put her to sleep in her crib with her friend Lincoln.

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Easy like Friday Morning

9 Mar

I just love waking up snuggling with Ruby and knowing that we have the whole day to spend together. She is so sweet in the morning.

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Gnocchi with Asparagus and Pancetta

8 Mar

I love this very quick, easy meal but had not made it in forever. I finally cooked it tonight. Matty and Ruby both loved it!

Ingredients:
6 oz pancetta, diced
Some extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat a large sauté pan)
A few shallots, sliced thinly
One bunch of asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
One lb of gnocchi
The juice of one lemon
Shaved Parmesan

Directions:
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

2. Cook the pancetta in the olive oil over medium heat until it is nice and crispy, then drain on paper towels.

3. Add the shallots to the pan, season with some salt, and cook until fairly soft and translucent, then add the asparagus and cook for a few minutes (you want the asparagus to stay pretty crisp) .

4. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water and cook just until it floats to the top, then remove it with a spider or slotted spoon and put it directly into the pan, along with about 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.

5. Add the lemon juice, Parmesan, and pancetta to the pan and combine everything. Serve with some extra Parmesan on the side and a glass of wine. Enjoy!

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3/7

7 Mar

Ruby and I had a wonderful Wednesday. We went out to lunch with some friends then helped Suzanne with some wedding crafts. Ruby was intrigued by the fountain outside Suzanne’s apartment.

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Multi-tasking

6 Mar

Here is Ruby, feeding Cash part of her banana as she watches the Super Tuesday returns.

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Ridiculous

6 Mar

Birth control.

Until the not-so-distant past (like a few weeks ago), birth control was a little-discussed topic in political circles and on the news.  The pill was first approved for use in 1960 and has been used by millions of women world-wide since, with very little controversy in my lifetime.  What sparked the current debate is the Health and Human Services rule that under Obamacare all health insurance plans will have to provide birth control to all women who wish to use it, free of charge.  This includes health insurance plans provided by institutions of the Catholic Church, who fundamentally oppose birth control, and up until now have not been required to provide it.

Catholics are outraged.  Feminists are outraged at their outrage.  Cries of indignation that the Republican Party is trying to restrict access to birth control are all over the news and social media.  Sandra Flukes, a law student at Georgetown (a Catholic university) testified before congress that birth control is prohibitively expensive for grad students like her, and that her school insurance should provide it free of charge.  Rush Limbaugh called her a slut and a prostitute because she wants other people to subsidize her sex life.  He later apologized but she didn’t accept, and the damage had been done already.  Now Rush’s words are being used as proof of the GOP’s war on women.

Let me be clear.  I do not agree with Rush Limbaugh’s choice of words.  I just wrote a post about the current tone in our politics, which I despise.  He was wrong to call a young woman he does not know, who was testifying before Congress, a slut and a prostitute.  Even though he apologized you simply cannot un-ring that bell.  He was wrong wrong wrong.

But this entire debate has been hijacked.

HIJACKED.

It is RIDICULOUS how far it has devolved.

No one is trying to restrict access to birth control.  No one.  Not Congressional Republicans, not the presidential candidates.  Not even Rush Limbaugh, although as a broadcaster he is not in any position to do so anyway.

The debate is about the federal government trying to force religious institutions to pay for a product that they deem to be immoral.  The Catholic Church has a long and documented history of opposition to birth control.  This is not some new-fangled position that the Pope dreamed up to oppress women.  The Church has never provided birth control for it’s employees.  This is not a God-given right that is now, all of a sudden, being threatened.

This is about religious liberty, and also about the federal government intruding farther and farther into our lives.    Whatever happened to the government staying out of our bedrooms?  If the government can mandate that insurance pay for birth control, it can also mandate that insurance not pay for birth control.  I, personally, do not want my government to have that sort of power.

So can we discuss that, please, instead of what Sandra Fluke said and what Rush Limbaugh said and if there were any women testifying at a hearing on religious liberty?

This issue is simply too important to be distracted by sideshows.