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Monday, September 26, 2011

Spinach Pizza...What a way to hide your veggies :)

Hey y'all it's Monday and I'm blogging for last week because I got busy, but this recipe is fresh seeing as I made it on Saturday.  Yes I will blog twice this week (YAY!).  Anyways my inspiration came from going out to dinner with my one of the best girlfriends I have (Jules), we went to Freebirds and I had a spinach tortilla burrito and it was so yummy.  I'm not creative enough to make up my own recipes...yet so I borrowed this one from Dollar Friendly Meals.  Enjoy!

Spinach dough
3 Cups white flour
2¼ tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP sugar
1 10oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed (I am very impatient so I only semi-thawed mine out)

¼ Cup warm water
2 TBSP olive oil

 For the pizza sauce I used the recipe from the semi-baked ziti  http://sunnysweets.blogspot.com/2011/07/meatless-monday-its-italian-for-dinner.html

And now for the toppings, I'm a big fan of lots of cheese and veggies. :)

And Voila!

can you say YUM!

Friday, September 16, 2011

How to Break the Bank in One Day?...Veal Chops! (But Worth It!)

 It's been a long time since I've posted but I have been busy not doing anything productive and not cooking.  Yeah so sue me, but as my comeback I decided to make Dorie Greenspan's veal chops with rosemary butter (sans the butter) because my test subjects i.e. the family isn't a fan of aromatics, well everyone except my sister and I.  This recipe is a bit expensive but on a special occasion they are totally worth it.  Anyways here's the recipe with some pictures I hope that when y'all try to make them at home they come out just as delicious as mine were.

For the Rosemary Butter:
4 TBSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature (This is important or it will be really hard to beat)
1 tsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Generous pinch of salt

For the Chops:

4 veal rib chops, each about 12 oz. and 1 in. thick at room temperature¹*
3-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil 
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary, plus one rosemary sprig
3/4 tsp minced fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper²*
1 large garlic clove, smashed (no need to peel it)
3 TBSP dry white wine
3 TBSP chicken broth (you can make this from a bouillon cube)³*

To Make the Rosemary Butter:
1. Using a rubber spatula, beat the butter in a small bowl until smooth and very creamy.  Stir in rosemary, thyme, and salt, and turn the butter out onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Use the plastic to shape the butter in a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap the log well and chill for at least 2 hours.  (Wrapped airtight, the butter can be refrigerated for 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.)

To Make the Chops: 
1. Put the chops in a large baking dish (a Pyrex pan is perfect or if you're like me and don't have one  use any old glass pan), drizzle with 1 to 2 TBSP of the olive oil, sprinkle with the minced rosemary and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.  Rub the oil and seasonings into both sides of the chops.  (You can season the chops up to 1 day ahead; cover and then in the refrigerator.  Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature before cooking.)
Don't they look amazing already?
2. Put a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat, pour in 2 TBSP olive oil, add the rosemary sprig and smashed garlic, and cook stirring until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.  Pull out and discard the rosemary and garlic and raise the heat to high.  Slip the chops into the pan and cook for 2 minutes more (or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the chop reads 130º F).  Transfer the chops to a warm serving platter and cover loosely with a foil tent.

3. Pour out whatever fat remains in the skillet and put the skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the wine and cook, stirring to scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan, until about 2 tsp remain, about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken broth and cook until you have about 2 TBSP liquid in the skillet, about 30 seconds.  Remove from the heat and drizzle the sauce over the chops.

*4. Divide the rosemary butter into 4 pieces and top each chop with a pat of butte, serve immediately.

Bon Apetit!

¹* Instead of buying 4 veal chops because they are a bit pricey I bought 2 and had the butcher cut them in half because they are pretty thick, so you can feed 4.
²* Also because I don't have fresh pepper and I forget to pick it up at the store I used the black pepper that comes in a little tin almost powder-like.
³* To make the chicken broth out of bouillon you need 1tsp of bouillon and 1cup of boiling water, one of my favorite cheats ;).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This segment is called: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?...

....My wonderful aunt, well she is my aunt not really that wonderful, but still my aunt.  Anyways my aunt came from the old country (Mexico) to visit my cousins who live here and decided to unexpectedly drop by for dinner, well she gave us a couple of hours notice.  So I cooked :) ARGENTINE STEAKS W/ CHIMMICHURRI SAUCE (ha ha chimmichurri), courtesy of America's Test Kitchen of course.  Let's start with Le' Grille, yes I know my picture has food in it already, but we started my momma's green salsa first (I will post the recipe below)....Look I'm smoking Le' steaks (I am not the greatest smoker in the world I really need to go to BBQ U).  But lets get excited ...YUMMY LE' STEAKS!!!!
Le' Steaks!!!

Well all in all it wasn't that bad seeing my aunt was pretty good and she ended up bringing goodies that my uncles sent over from Le' old country (Mexico).  Sorry for all the rambling I'm a bit tired and well fed :)

Le' yummy sweets ♥

And now for the recipes

My Momma's Smoky Salsa Verde (green salsa)

10-12 green tomatillos (they're the small ones with leaves around them, not to be confused with green tomatoes)
1-2 jalapeños
a piece of garlic
a handful of cilantro
about 1 cup of water 
salt to taste

1. Roast the tomatillos and jalapeños on the grill, remove the majority of the skin and put into a blender with garlic and cilantro (you don't need to use all the jalapeños, it all depends on how spicy you want your salsa to be) add about 1/4 cup of your water to the blender and a small pinch of salt, puree it until smooth or chunky if you prefer it that way.

2. Once your sauce is pureed all you need to do is pour into bowls for serving add a bit more water until it's the consistency you want, taste to see if more salt is needed, and ta-da you have your own homemade salsa verde, no more jar stuff for you :)

Argentine Steaks with Chimmichurri Sauce 
(from America's Test Kitchen)

Chimmichurri Sauce

    1/4 cup hot water
    2 tsp kosher salt
    1 1/3 cups loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
    2/3 cup loosely packed cilantro
    6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (you can do less if you don't really like garlic, or you're a vampire)
    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 TBSP cornstarch
    2 TBSP kosher salt
    4 boneless strip steaks (I used top sirloin 'cause I was feeding a bit of people and strip is a bit expensive, you want about 4 lbs.)
    4 2-in. unsoaked wood chunks
    ground black pepper

    1. For the Sauce:  Combine hot water, oregano, and salt in a small bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften oregano.  Pulse parsley, cilantro, garlic, and red pepper flakes in food processor until coarsely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses.  Add water mixture mixture and vinegar and pulse briefly to combine.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and mixture is emulsified.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature at least one hour (if preparing sauce in advance, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using).
    2. For the Steak:  Combine cornstarch and salt in a small bowl. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet.  Rub entire surface of steaks with cornstarch mixture and place steaks, uncovered, in freezer until very firm, about 30 min
    3. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes.  Arrange coals in single layer over entire surface of the grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes.  Scrape cooking grate clean with grill brush.  Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 2 seconds).
    4. Season steaks with pepper. Place steaks on grill, cover, and cook steaks until steaks begin to char, 2 to 3 minutes.  Uncover grill, flip steaks, and cook on second side until well charred about 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip again and cook first side until well charred about 2 to 3 minutes.  Flip 1 last time and continue to cook until second side is well charred and instant-read thermometer inserted into center of steak registers 115 degrees for rare, about 2 minutes, or 120 degrees for medium-rare, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to large plate and let rest, loosely tented with foil for 10 minutes. Slice and serve, passing chimmichurri sauce separately.


    Le' plate with steak, rice, beans, and Russian salad

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Meatless Monday: It's Italian for dinner tonight

    Semi-baked ziti....I don't like pasta dishes to be packed in casseroles and mac and cheese with crumbs on top is just wrong.  I fell in love with ziti when I went out to lunch with one of my best friends it was during Lenten so for all you Catholics out there...you know who you are, well you know what it means a lot of meatless Fridays unless you're truly devout then its meatless everyday during those 40 days.  Anyways my sister and I are doing MEATLESS MONDAYS!!! (echo) from now until we get bored of it (let's see how long that lasts). I am cooking as I type and I can tell you that this sauce is already smelling and tasting so good I want to get some bread and just make a meal of it right now.
    this is what caused all the wonderful aromas in my house
    My pasta is boiling, the sauce is resting and my house smells wonderful. 

    boiling pasta have you ever seen such a beautiful sight
    Ok I'm back and just waiting for my oven to heat up because I like my oven to be super hot before I  put anything into it, or at least that's what I like to tell myself usually I forget to turn it on until last minute.
    my pasta before I put it in the oven
    MY OVEN!!! probably the only time you will ever see it 'cause its cleam
    oh can you see all the wonderful cheeses :)
    It's done I have served myself a very generous bowl and I'm ready to eat, enjoy the recipe!

                          MMMMMMM Ziti!

    Creamy Tomato Sauce
    (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

    3 TBSP unsalted butter
    1 oz. proscuitto minced (I didn't use the proscuitto Meatless Monday and all, so I used 1 TBSP of the oil with the tomatoes and 1 TBSP of olive oil)
    1 bay leaf
    pinch red peppers flakes
    table salt to taste (trust me I went a bit overboard in my pasta so I didn't add more to the recipe)
    3 medium garlic cloves (minced or crushed with a garlic crusher)
    2 TBSP tomato paste
    2 oz. sun dried tomatoes in oil (see this is where the tomato oil comes from)
    2 cups plus 2 TBSP crushed tomatoes (or if you're like me and didn't read the recipe right and I bought whole peeled tomatoes)
    1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP dry wine
    1 lb pasta (ziti)
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    ground black pepper
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (I didn't add this either I don't think I had any)
    and lastly my special additions
    a spoonful of ricotta cheese
    a couple of mozzarella balls
    and parmesan to taste


    1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat add prosciutto (I didn't add this instead I added 1TBSP of tomato oil and another of olive oil), onion, bay leaf, pepper flakes and about 1/4 tsp salt, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and beginning to turn light gold.  Increase heat to medium-high, add garlic and cook until fragrant.  Stir in tomato paste and sun dried tomatoes and cook, stir constantly, until slightly darkened.  Add 1/4 cup of the wine and stir frequently until all the liquid has evaporated.

    2. Add 2 cups crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to slow, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (your spoon will leave a trail when dragged through sauce)

    3. Meanwhile bring 4 quarts water to boil.  Add pasta and about 1 TBSP of salt (here is where I went overboard so I didn't add anymore at the end, which is why I forgot the pepper) and cook until al dente.  reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, drain pasta and transfer back to cooking pot.

    4.(FINALLY!) Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and discard.  Stir in cream, remaining 2 TBSP crushed tomatoes and remaining 2 TBSP of wine into sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add sauce to cooked pasta (I added pasta to sauce, makes it harder to evenly coat pasta), adjusting consistency with the reserved pasta water.  Stir in basil and the big spoonful of ricotta cheese, top with little mozzarella balls and cover with parmesan to taste. Place in oven at 350 degrees (when in doubt use 350) until cheese melts, you can do this in your skillet if its heat proof and serve (this is the semi-baked part)


    this is what it looks like after we all had a taste :) 
    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    Houston we have a location...

     (and a time as well)

    I am baking a difference!

    By participating in Share Our Strength?s Great American Bake Sale, I am committed to raising awareness and funds to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. 

    This year, nearly one in four kids in America will face hunger.  That?s more than 17 million. But, there is hope. Share our Strength is working to connect hungry kids with programs that can help them get the food they need to thrive.
    I'm taking my love for baking and putting it to good use to help kids struggling with hunger, but I need your help! Stop by our bake sale to purchase some yummy treats or make an online donation to my bake sale. Every cookie sold and every dollar donated can make a huge impact. Here are some examples:*
    $1 can help provide a hungry child with 10 healthy meals. 
    $4 can help provide a child facing hunger with a backpack full of healthy food over a weekend when school meals are not available.
     $9 can help connect a child with healthy lunches during summer when school is out.
     $35 can help a child care center provide free afterschool snacks and suppers to at-risk children all year long.
    $65 can provide a grab-n-go breakfast cart to an elementary school so that every student starts every school day with a healthy meal.
    * Gifts made to Share Our Strength represent a gift to our organizational mission and are used to reach the highest number of children facing hunger in America. Share Our Strength combines your gift with others to address child hunger community by community, state by state, all across America.

    Let's roll up our sleeves, gather our ingredients, pre-heat the ovens and together we can bake a difference!

    For those of y'all in Houston here is the info for the bakesale:

    Date: May 14th, 2011 
    Location: Kiehl's
                    4076 Westheimer Rd
                   (near Williams- Sonoma)
    Time: 12 pm to 4 pm, or until sold-out
              (We will be inside)

    Come for the cupcakes, stay for the skin care. Kiehl's will be raffling two skincare sets valued at $133 (Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Supper Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+, and Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate.)
    They will also be providing select free samples of their new vitamin C collection. 
    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Food Blogger Bake Sale Hurray!

    May 14 2011, save the date....WHY?!?!?  Because its your chance to help needy children.  Sunny Sweets is the new host for the 2011 Food Blogger Bake Sale and we need your help to raise money to keep children in America from starving, and you get to enjoy some of the most amazing sweets in Houston.  We still have not found a location but not to fear we will post as soon as we know where we can set up.  Also I will be posting pictures and recipes of the delectable creations we will be serving that day.  I hope to see y'all there.

    Happy Baking
    Sunny Sweets ♥
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Southern Devils Food Cake aka Failed Red Velvet Cupcakes

    This blog is intended to share with y'all my baking adventures. I hope that I can inspire y'all to bake some of the goodies posted here. I will try new recipes and hopefully along the the way I will discover a favorite that will stay with me. I already have many go to recipes but there are many more out there that I would like to explore.

    So without further ado today I have for you a failed attempt at making red velvet cupcakes or as my sister called them Southern Devils Food Cake. See the picture atop. They look pretty don't they? Well pretty they were but they did not taste like what I expected red velvet to taste like. It might have been the oil I used or the fact that I ran out of red dye but they did not live up to my expectations. I got the recipe from My Baking Addiction [another of my fave blogs] and I was so excited to try making them as I had never made them before. Unfortunately my cupcakes came out tasting oily, however I do have to say that the frosting was absolutely amazing. I hate cream cheese frosting but I have to say that I absolutely love this frosting and it is a keeper. I will continue to use it, but I'm going to have to keep on looking for that perfect red velvet recipe. If you are looking for a cream cheese recipe here it is:

    From My Baking Addiction:

    Frost 12 cupcakes

    8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
    3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
    1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 3 ¾ cups), sifted
    2 teaspoons clear vanilla extract*
    1. In a the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together, cream cheese, shortening, and butter until well combined.
    2. With the mixer of low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly incorporated and smooth. Add vanilla and mix to combine.


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