Tuesday, September 8, 2009

confetti orzo salad and chocolate cheesecake

We brought these two dishes to a party on Saturday and they were huge hits!

Confetti Orzo Salad

1 box of orzo
2 chicken bouillon cubes (add this to the water you cook the orzo in)
1/2 cup of the following finely chopped:
red pepper
yellow pepper
grape tomatoes (sliced in half)

3/4 crumbled queso cheese (or goat cheese would work here too)

3/4 olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbs of Penzy's "country french vinaigrette" spice
the zest from one lemon
1 tsp sugar

cook orzo and drain
mix the dressing and toss with pasta
add the veggies toss then the add the crumbled cheese

Brenna had a HUGE bowl of this before we even left the house! Kids love how colorful and the since the cheese is super mild, the flavors of everything really mesh well.

this is best when served at room temperature

The Cheesecake:

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling:
8-12 ounces milk chocolate
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee
1 3/4 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
For the ganache:
2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips or a bar chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the crust:
Place the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until combined. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, chop the bittersweet chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the espresso and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

To make the filling:
Cream the cream cheese, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla and almond extracts and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, and the cooled chocolate mixture. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door opened wide for 1 1/2 hours. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature, until completely cooled.

For the ganache:
Finely chop the semisweet chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add the cream and stir until just melted. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.

Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving. Pour the ganache over the top of the cheesecake. Chill for another hour before serving for the ganache to set.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Last weeks menu

I will try to keep this updated daily, we are just getting into a new routine with the kiddos which for some odd reason leaves me to be rising at 5:00 am to get out the door by 7:15.

Any how, here are some of the dishes we prepared and enjoyed.

Rib-eye steaks with buttermilk chive mashed potatoes and shitake and onions gravy

Bowtie pasta with chicken, sundried tomatoes, capers and artichokes

Pork roast with roasted garlic vinegrette and string beans

Spinach, swiss and bacon quiche

Sour cream struesel coffee cake

chocolate cheese cake

and lots of salads.

yummy stuff. Just an idea of what I've been cooking here at the house. I was thinking some pics of the kitchen and what we are working with might be the next post.

Have a yummy day!
C & J

Saturday, August 22, 2009

This week

we made some super delicious food!

First time I made this, but I will definately be making this again!!

Coq Au Vin

Directions & Ingredients:

2 tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 package good bacon or pancetta, chopped
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 large carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 yellow onions, sliced thickly
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy (I buy nippers, perfect amount for this recipe)
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
1 1/2 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound shiptake or procini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Add the frozen onions. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Now, when you take the top off of the pot - do not be alarmed that the chicken is purple! It will turn to a creamy brown color once you add the rest of the ingredients!!

Mash 2 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. If the gravy isn't consistent to your liking, mix a half cup of COLD water and a nother tablespoon of flour together and pour into the pot and stir. Season to taste. Serve hot and enjoy!

I served this with mashed potatoes - the gravy is perfect for them!

Monday, August 17, 2009

homemade everyday


We are Chris and Pepper (aka Jeno)

Welcome to our new blog about cooking homemade everyday.

This blog will be entirely dedicated to food, our love of food, recipes, tips and ideas. The idea behind this happened because we became sick of eating out. Tired of being disappointed by mediocre food, high prices, inconsistent quality, poor service - you name it. We have decided to challenge ourselves to not eating out for an entire year. Now, unless we are out of town or have been invited somewhere for a special occasion, then we will have to bend the rules. But three weeks in and so far so good!

We have always loved to cook, dream of having our own food type business, not sure how or what, maybe catering, maybe personal chef or a small cafe type restaurant some day.

We love to cook - period. We love to experiment. We love to share our food and our friends and family love to eat our food.

So who knows what will come of this. Please leave comments so we know you are reading and enjoying this blog.
And should you have any questions - please ask away!!