Monday, June 28, 2010

Homemade Oreo Cookies

This cookie EASILY makes it into my
top 5 favorite cookies.
They are soft, chewie, chocolaty and just plain yummy.
I dare you to eat just one.

Homemade Oreo Cookies:
Cookie Dough:
2 devil's food cake mixes
1/2 c. butter
1 c. oil
4 eggs
Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-7 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for 4 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.
4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 t. vanilla
Combine all ingredients in bowl of mixer. Beat on high until light and fluffy.
When cookies have cooled completely fill with frosting and just see how long they last:)
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

Anyone who knows me, knows I love Mexican food. The spicier the better.
This particular salad dressing can be heated up or down
depending on your particular taste.
It comes from a restaurant called "Cafe Rio" which is
wildly popular in my neck of the woods.
It is used as a salad dressing, but I think the list of it's uses is much longer.
Anything it touches is better for it!
Tonight this dressing will dress up the enchilada's that I made for dinner -
and later this week I'll squirt it on nachos, in place of sour cream.
The possibilities are endless!

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing:
1 Buttermilk Ranch Dressing Packet (make as per recipe) ***add milk after to thin to the desired consistency
2 tomatillos (tomato like veggie with a husk around them)
1 bunch of cilantro (the leafy part)
1 clove of garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno (use as much or as little as you like, include the seeds & membrane if you like it spicy!)
Remove the husk from the tomatillos, place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Coarsely chop the cilantro leaves, add to tomatillos. Add remaining ingredients, including those to make the ranch dressing and blend until smooth.
Pour it on anything that suits you!
Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Apples in Phyllo

This is one of the tastiest desserts-- and not to mention looks pretty impressive for the little work you actually have to do. Phyllo dough is a bit finicky and sometimes likes to stick together. A bit of patience, as well as making sure the dough is kept covered with a slightly moist tea towel is important so it doesn't dry out and break. You can fill it with anything, but my favorite has to be apples. When I was in France, a good majority of the classic french pastries were baked with apples. So good.

Make sure you defrost the dough in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a few hours before using it. You will use about half of the package for this recipe. You can use the full length or the dough for one large roll, or cut the phyllo in half to make 2 smaller rolls. Make sure to put the unused dough back in the fridge.

You will need:

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced

1/4 C white sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
dash of salt
Combine the sugars and the salt and mix together with the apples. Set aside.

Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

For the phyllo sheets you will need:

1/4 C melted butter (you could use cooking spray as a low fat substitution instead of butter. I wouldn't want to, but it does work)
1/3 C bread crumbs (I prefer Panko, but regular works fine). The bread crumbs will absorb some of the moisture from the apples so the dough does not become soggy.

Lay down the first sheet of phyllo (keep the rest covered). Brush with a bit of butter (or spray with cooking spray) and then sprinkle with a bit of the bread crumbs. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and repeat the same process to use
a total of 10 sheets. If the sheets rip a bit when you are assembling the layers, it will still work out fine.

After you have all of your layers completed, spoon the apples onto the bottom long side of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. (I like to use a slotted spoon so I don't get too much of the sugar juices that will make the dough soggy.) Carefully lift the bottom of the dough and roll over once to cover the filling and fold in the side edges. Continue to roll away from you, keeping the roll moderately tight, sealing the filling in and ending with the seam on the bottom. (sorry, I forgot to take a picture at this point)
Cut a few slits on the top, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden. Let cool before cutting and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream if you like. Enjoy!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Harvey "Papa" Jarrett: A Great Life

This is a very sad day for our family. Our beloved Papa, who we cite as our Dad's first inspiration for cooking-- the one who started it all-- passed away this morning at the age of 94. He lived a full and amazing life; enriching all of those he came into contact with. He was a WWII flying instructor, a Queen's University graduate Engineer, a city planner, a builder, a carpenter, a storyteller, a great cook, and most of all a husband, father and grandfather. I don't think there will ever be a better buffet eater around or a better thrift shopper. I went to a thrift store today in honor of him and of course I cooked today in honor of him. He was ready to leave his frail body and join my Dad in heaven. I'm sure since they are together, there has to be food involved...

Saucy Asian Chicken

I really love Asian food and I am always looking for new recipes. I found this one on the internet and tweaked it a bit. The sauce is sweet and a bit sour with the addition of vinegar; and mild or spicy depending on the amount of red pepper flakes you add. It's a quick-to-make dinner and a good way to use up some of that frozen chicken that I always seem to forget about in my freezer.


3 T cornstarch
1/4 C water
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp ginger root
2/3 C sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1/4 C soy sauce
1/4 C white wine vinegar
1/2 C hot water
pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Mix cornstarch and water together. Then add rest of the ingredients up to the hot water and stir for a few minutes until sugar dissolves. Set aside.

Cut 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces. Cook in a tablespoon or so of oil until cooked, and no longer pink in the center. (At this point I like to either use another pan or take the chicken out for a few minutes while I clean the old pan of the extra grease before putting the chicken back in.)

Add the sauce to the cooked chicken, as well as the hot water, and cook on medium heat for a few minutes while the sauce thickens. Add some pepper and red pepper flakes; as much as you like. I don't add too much if my kids are eating it.
I like to add some steamed carrots or broccoli to the mixture and serve it over rice.