We have some great cooks in our family.
We like to try new recipes and tweak the old ones.
We're always asking each other, "Can I have your recipe?"
So we created a place to share the recipes that others ask for, the experiments that turn out well or the recipes that we fall back on because they're quick and yummy. Some of these recipes are original, some are gleaned from friends and some are blatantly copied from other sources.
All of them have been tested and found delicious.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Madison Park Pork Medallions

(print this recipe)

I made this recipe for the family on Sunday (they're great guinea pigs) and there wasn't a bite left, so I'm pretty sure they liked it! I think it was good enough for a company dinner. The marinating time is 2 hours so be sure to plan ahead.

Serves 4

1     2-pound pork tenderloin
1/3  cup red wine (I used a good cabernet)
1/3  cup chicken stock
2     tablespoons Dijon mustard with mustard seed (Grey Poupon makes one called Harvest Coarse Ground)
1     tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2     cloves garlic, minced
1     teaspoon cumin
2     teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon pepper
1/8  teaspoon red pepper flakes
4     tablespoons cold butter
2     tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Cut pork into 8 equal slices and place in a bowl (if you use 2 1-pound tenderloins, cut into 6 thicker slices)
In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients except butter and chives.  Pour marinade over meat, cover and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours.
Remove pork slices from marinade (save the marinade) and allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to broil or preheat your outdoor grill (I used the grill)

Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and boil marinade until reduced by half (there will be some foamy stuff on the top - you can either skim it off or stir it back in).
Turn heat to low and swirl in butter a little at a time.  Do not allow sauce to boil after butter has been added.
Add chives.

Broil or barbecue pork slices 3 minutes per side (5 minutes or more you're using thicker slices) or until internal temperature reaches 150 - 160 degrees.  Remove to serving platter and spoon sauce over pork, or serve sauce on the side. 

Recipe adapted from "Simply Classic"  Junior League of Seattle Cookbook

Friday, April 15, 2011

Perfect Cupcake Frosting and Filling

I found this recipe over a year ago at ourbestbites.com  and it's become one of my favorite frostings.  It's not too heavy or sweet - it's velvety smooth and light.  I originally used it for Salted Caramel Cupcakes, but I've found that the Salted Caramel Frosting is also delicious on dark chocolate cupcakes.

(print this page)

3 T Flour
1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best, but I've used non-fat when it’s all I have and it’s actually fine)
1/2 cup real butter
1/2 cup sugar (that’s granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring, until  it starts to look like pudding.  It should still be liquidy, but you should be able to see the bottom of the pan while you stir. 
Put the mixture into a strainer and stir it around to push the mixture through and get the lumps out.  Let it cool completely to room temp or chill it in the fridge.  It needs to be cooled completely or it will melt the butter and you'll have runny frosting.

In an electric stand mixer, with the whisk attachment (not the paddle) beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes until it's well combined and fluffy.  While still beating, add the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla.  Beat on the highest speed you can without spraying it all over the place for 7 - 10 minutes. That seems like a long time but that's how long it takes for it to go from looking like a goopy mess, to something smooth and fluffly.

This makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes with a decorater tip or 24 cupcakes if you put it on lightly.  I always double the recipe - it's so good, you can pile it on and it doesn't overwhelm the cupcake!

For Salted Caramel Frosting use 1/2 cup (or more) of caramel sauce, or try this Buttermilk Syrup recipe - it's scrumptious!  Fold the caramel sauce or buttermilk syrup (room temperature) gently into the frosting; you want ribbons of caramel running through the frosting.  Pipe or dollop it onto your cupcakes and drizzle more caramel on top.  Sprinkle with a very scant sprinkling of kosher or sea salt.
 Helpful Notes:
1. Use real butter, and a good name-brand. Cheap butter does weird things.
2. If you beat for the 6-8 minutes and the mixture still looks strange, beat longer and at a higher speed if you can. It should come together, but it takes a little patience!
3. Store at room temperature. Frosting may separate in the fridge, but you can store it overnight if left at room temp and in a well sealed container.
4. Add extracts to your hearts content; lemon is wonderful! Food coloring is also okay.
5. The white sugar can be exchanged for brown. 
6. Do not try to make other substitutions or additions. Sour cream, cream cheese, fruit purees all do disastrous things.

Salted Caramel Cupcakes

(print this recipe)
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (no subs, it has to be DARK brown)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.  Line muffin tins with 18 - 24 cupcake liners.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk and beating on low speed until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.  Bake 20-22  minutes or until toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Try, try, TRY not to overbake.  Allow cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Frost with Perfect Cupcake Frosting mixed with caramel sauce or Buttermilk Syrup.

Buttermilk Syrup

Stir 1/2 cup or more of this delicious syrup into Perfect Cupcake Frosting, drizzle (or pour) it over ice cream or use it for any recipe that calls for caramel sauce.  It's scrumptious!

(print this recipe)

3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup real butter
2 T. corn syrup
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Combine buttermilk, sugar, butter, corn syrup and baking soda in a large pot (use at least a 3 1/2 qt. saucepan or it will boil all over your stove). 
Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low but make sure the mixture continues to bubble.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 8 - 9 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over!

When it's done it should be a luscious golden-brown color.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.
There will be foam on top; it tastes fine but it's not very pretty.  You can skim it off the top, or just stir it in.
Let cool to room temperature.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Firehouse Pasta

This is a recipe that came from Mel.  One day while on bedrest with Caleb (December 2007), I was on the phone with her while she was fixing this for dinner.  Shortly after, she sent me a photo copy of the recipe out of a local newspaper (or possibly a magazine?).  I set it aside and then it was lost.  It resurfaced recently and I was going to fix it tonight, but then no one was going to be home to eat.  I'm posting it here so that (a) I don't lose it again and (b) everyone can enjoy Mel's beloved Firehouse Pasta!

I don't know where this recipe comes from but the article says, "This pasta dish is as good for dinner as it is for a potluck.  That could be because it is from a NY firefighter who prepares it for the crew in White Plains.  Serve with bread and a fruit salad."

AKA: Savory sausage and spinach penne

Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 25 minutes

8 ounces penne pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound sweet sausage, removed from casing
1 pound fresh spinach, small leaves or larger ones torn
1 cup crushed tomatoes
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
¾ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes or ¼ cup dried sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons Tabasco pepper sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese to taste

In a medium saucepan, cook pasta and set aside.  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and garlic.  Saute until garlic is lightly browned.  Add crumbled sausage meat, saute for 4 minutes, then push to sides of pan.

Add spinach, saute until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, white wine, sundried tomatoes, basil, Tabasco and let cook 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add cooked pasta and toss lightly. Salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve warm.