Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lembas Bread

Lembas Bread (Lord of the Rings “authentic” Elvish bread)

Found from:


2 ½ cups of flour (I used whole wheat flour)

1 tablespoon of baking powder

¼ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of butter
 (I used Irish butter)
1/3 cup of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

½ teaspoon honey

2/3 cup of heavy whipping cream

½ teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 425F. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with a well till fine granules (easiest way is with an electric mixer). Then add the sugar and cinnamon, and mix them thoroughly.
Finally add the cream, honey, and vanilla and stir them in with a fork until a nice, thick dough forms.

Roll the dough out about 1/2 in thickness. Cut out 3-inch squares and transfer the dough to a cookie sheet.Criss-cross each square from corner-to-corner with a knife, lightly (not cutting through the dough).
Bake for about 12 minutes or more (depending on the thickness of the bread) until it is set and lightly golden.

***Let cool completely before eating, this bread tastes better room temperature and dry. Also for more flavor you can add more cinnamon or other spices***

I recommend this with some jam. Very tasty, almost like a scone in texture.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gloria's Versitile BBQ Sauce

This BBQ recipe was given to me by my mother in law Gloria:

1/4 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoon butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 beef boullion cubes
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 glove garlic, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon Worcester sauce

Combine all ingredients and cook in a medium saucepan for about 10 minutes.  Quick and easy!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

Simply Banana Bread

This recipe of banana bread is so quick and easy I have the ingredients memorized in my head.

1. Large mixing bowl (I prefer an mixing bowl that mixes on its own)
2. 4" x 9" loaf pan greased
3. Spatula
4. Oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

3-4 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 table spoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon (or a "pinch") of salt

Optional: chopped walnuts

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt to a mixing bowl and blend.
2.Beat one egg and add to mixing bowl while stirring
3. Add melted butter, continue to stir
4. Add mashed up bananas one at a time to evenly distribute the banana.
5. Optional: Add walnuts
6. Blend all ingredients until evenly mixed, about 3-5 minutes
7. Pour into loaf pan using spatula
8. Bake 350 for 50-60 minutes or until top is golden brown and a tooth pick comes out clean.



Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Popcorn Balls

This recipe was given to me by my mother-in-law Gloria.  These popcorn balls are popular during the winter holidays but can be colored with food coloring for any time of the year!

2/3 cups Karo syrup
2/3 cups water
1 stick butter
2 cups sugar
air-popped popcorn
food coloring

1.  cook Karo syrup, water, butter, and sugar on medium temperature until melting and bubbling occurs
2.  add food coloring
3.  pour onto popcorn
4.  form popcorn balls in any size you choose.  I recommend between a baseball and softball sized.

You can stack them in a large bowl or individually wrap them in cellophane



Fruit Salad from the Gods

This is one of my favorite recipes to bring to a potluck BBQ to bring a healthier choice to the table while still being sweet enough to enjoy as a dessert that doesn't involved baked goods.  This is coming from someone who loves to bake, too!

2-4 large containers of frozen strawberries, sweetened
2 cups Mandarin oranges
6-10 bananas
2 gala apples
1 pear
shredded coconut

Allow the strawberries to thaw and add to a large bowl.  At this point in time, the rest takes five minutes to finish:
add Mandarin oranges
slice up bananas and add to bowl
wash and slice up apples and pear

That's it!  Super easy to do and very delicious.  I like to keep the coconut on the side and then sprinkle on top once you have served yourself to keep the coconut fresh and crunchy. 



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cocoa Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies

Every year at Johnson Space Center, the Mission Operations Directorate puts on the Dessert Extravaganza. A friendly competition between anyone who feels like competing, judged by those who like eating. This year will be second time participating as a competitor, and this recipe is my entry.

I call them..

Cocoa Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies

..or more accurately, Ms. Sarah W. Caron of Sarah's Cucina Bella calls them that. I found her recipe via google, thought it sounded like a fantastic entry, and then tweaked it just a bit to make it my own. Link to Source Recipe  

With regards to making something "my own," one of my worst habits as a chef is that I am very bad at just following recipes. It doesn't matter how I came by the recipe, I almost always add something or change something. Sometimes, that turns out well, sometimes not so much. In this case, the change is very benign, and would be hard pressed to be not delicious...but you will have to keep reading so see what I did. Look for the red text below...that is what I changed.

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup (for rolling)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup ground up peppermint candies 
20 unwrapped Hershey Kisses, Candy Cane variety (For the Dessert Extravaganza, I will use the right kind of Kisses...but the photos below feature Mint Truffle Kisses, because our local grocery is sold out. *sadface*)
(..and yes, the Mint Truffles are open. Don't judge me, I don't believe for a second you wouldn't open yours)(Darth Spatula is watching you.)

1) In a large bowl, mix together the flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in the butter and eggs and stir to moisten and combine. 
Top: dry bits; Middle: wet bits; Bottom: ALL THE BITS!!!!

2) Once you have reached "ALL THE BITS!!!!" status (read: all mixed up,) wash your hands,  and then knead the cookie dough together until it forms one smooth ball. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Observe Siri in action! Thanks for timing that for me! (No, the iPhone did not stay in the fridge.)

3) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup ground up peppermint candies in a bowl and the confectioners’ sugar in a second bowl.
Ground up candy goodness..

4) Using a medium cookie scoop (1.5 tbsp size,) if you own one (I don't,) to scoop out balls of dough. Roll each first in the granulated sugar / ground up peppermint mixture and then in the confectioners’ sugar. Arrange on the baking sheet leaving 1-inch between each ball. Once all the balls are rolled out, press down in the center with your thumb to flatten and leave about a 1/2-inch indent. (I was able to get about 16 on a baking sheet...but my cookies, being hand rolled, were not especially uniform.)
Roll, roll, place, and squish

5) Bake for 10-12 minutes, (rotating 180 degrees about halfway through,) until the cookies are puffed and cracked. Remove from the oven and immediately press one Hershey Kiss into the center of each cookie. Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (Note: I neglected the 5 minutes, and they were ok, but they might have been more solid if I had followed directions. :P)
Mmmm... Cooooookies...
6) Enjoy!  (Note: Remember not to inhale while cookie is in proximity to your was rolled in confectioner's sugar!)

- Jen

This is my first post...just thought I would share that. :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Herbed Salmon and Wilted Spinach

I've been trying to eat healthy lately. Today, I REALLY wanted salmon. Usually, I pair it with a delicious risotto and asparagus but, tonight I was in the mood for something different, so I decided to lightly wilt some spinach with garlic, kosher salt and pepper.

So I started with the salmon. The recipe I use is adapted from a cookbook my boyfriend's parents received as a wedding gift 38 years ago. I am not sure of the name of the book and it's no longer in the best of condition, but it has some great recipes like this one. For the salmon you need:

6-8 oz of fresh salmon filet (per person, I prefer with the skin)
1 tbs of butter (this works great for 1-2 people)
Juice of one lemon (this works great for 1-2 people)
Lemon Pepper (I use Lawry's)
Onion salt
Extra lemon wedges for serving if you like

First, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then melt the butter into the lemon juice in a small pan or cookie. When the butter is melted, you cover the salmon in the lemon butter, top and bottom. Then you run the herbs over it. I like a lot of herby flavor on my salmon, so I practically cost it. But you can use a light sprinkle of you prefer. I start with sprinkling the onion salt, then the lemon pepper. I am going to talk about lemon pepper for a second. Use a decent one like Lawry's or Mrs. Dash. I once purchased my supermarket's generic $1 brand. It tasted like Lemon Pine-Sol smells. No joke. I have had luck with a lot of generic spices, but just bite the bullet and buy name brand lemon pepper. After you congratulate yourself on buying name brand lemon pepper, take the herbs and put a decent layer on there. I don't measure, I just eyeball it until it looks like the first picture

If you prefer less herbs, then coat it lighter. If you don't like one of the herbs, don't use it. The original recipe calls for one of the three, but I like the fish better with all three. Much better flavor. After that, bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the salmon easily flakes with a fork. Take it out and it will look like the second picture

Yum is all I have to say.

Next up was my spinach. My mom has been making this since I was a kid. I have always loved spinach. I was a weird kid. But anyways for this (mind you I made it for one person) you will need:

2-3 handfuls fresh baby spinach
Fresh minced garlic cloves
About 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

First thing I do, is mince about 4 garlic cloves. I LOVE garlic. Use this much or more if you like garlic too. Less if you aren't a garlic freak like me. If you do love garlic like I do it is definitely worth investing in one of these gadgets shown in picture 3.

It is one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. You basically put the de-skinned garlic cloves in, roll the big wheel around and you have lovely minced garlic. With minimal effort. And it's dishwasher safe.

Now, once your garlic is minced, I heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Then I put in the garlic and heat it until it's just browned. Then I start adding the spinach. It looks huge in the pan at first. But it wilts down and shrinks. I move it through the pan with a set of tongs until its just barely cooked. Still green, but softer and less crunchy.

Mmm salmon and spinach. So tasty and good for you!

Zoey :-)