Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's gone to the dogs....

A couple of years ago I had become intrigued by the concept of creating homemade treats for my precious canine-american children. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to dig up the old recipes and bake some yummy treats for the furballs tonight. Turned out to be a good idea. Well, at least the dogs loved it - and hey, the house smelled like peanut butter for hours.

Recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies - Doggy Style

2 c. flour

1 T. baking power

1 c. peanut butter
1 c. milk (I find that lactose free milk such as lactaid is easier on their stomachs)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine the milk and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl. Don't worry, it's supposed to be a sticky mess. Then add the flour and baking powder. Mix well until you have a soft dough (I find it easiest to mix with my hands).

Flour your countertop and roll the dough into a ball on the countertop. Place a piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut out as many cookies as you can. Place cut outs on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes (or until golden brown on top and slightly firm to the touch). Allow to cool completely before spoiling your pooch. My resident taste-tester, Miss Emma, definitely gave this recipe two paws up.


Tonight's dinner consisted primarily of leftover veggies from last night's fondue. In an attempt to be creative, I whipped up some vegetable lasagna with a side of roasted asparagus in a homemade vinaigrette. Despite my lasagna fears, everything turned out pretty well.

I started out by sauteeing minced garlic in extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed, of course, Mr. Wilson) for about one minute, in my beautiful new Emeril cookware, courtesy of Josh and Edith.

Then I added one medium onion, diced, and continued to sautee. Once the onions started to turn clear, I added sliced white mushrooms (about 6oz give or take), chopped broccoli, and chopped celery.

After about 10 minutes of sauteeing, the vegetables had started to soften, and I added a jar of supermarket spaghetti sauce (Roasted Garlic is what I had on hand) and laid about two handfuls of baby spinach leaves on top. I reduced the heat to simmer and let it stand for a good 20 minutes. This became my "sauce" for the lasagna.

In the meantime, I prepared my lasagna noodles and the ricotta-mozarella cheese mixture (one small container of ricotta, and about 3/4 cup of mozarella), including some of the leftover "veggie cheese" we had in the fridge.

After getting my lasagna pan all greased up, I began the layers: sauce, noodles, cheese. Repeat. I then baked at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

The asparagus was easy, too. After trimming the woody ends of the asparagus, I placed them in a baking dish and tossed with olive oil. I then seasoned with salt and pepper, and placed them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the vinaigrette dressing:

1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. red wine vinegar
2 T. sugar
1 T. spicy brown mustard
1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
Pinch of thyme, oregano, basil, salt, pepper

I combined the above ingredients in a jar and shook until combined. Quick and easy, and delicious - especially when topping roasted asparagus.

Oh don't worry...there were other kitchen projects tonight....

iFeliz Cumpleanos!

So, yesterday was Marc's birthday, and we celebrated by baking a Red Velvet cake. This was my first attempt at making a Red Velvet cake, so I was a bit insecure, and unsure of the recipe we were using (see below for complete recipe). Nonetheless, it turned out alright. Next time I would try a recipe that had a smoother taste - this recipe was a bit crumbly. That didn't stop Marc from icing the cake though . . . .

We had such a good time baking - despite our lack of cake pans and spatulas (hence the knife being used to apply the frosting). Here is a look at the finished product, birthday candles and all (courtesy of Marc's mom):

Red Velvet Cake Recipe
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 ounces red food coloring
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease 2 (9-inch) cake pans. In a medium bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk. Beat in food coloring and vinegar, then add vanilla. Spread the batter evenly in the pans.
Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool before frosting.
For the frosting, since Marc wasn't too keen on the idea of cream-cheese frosting, we cheated and used pre-packaged vanilla frosting. Hey, it was still delicious!

Does anyone have any different Red Velvet cake recipes?

Onto our next project . . . .