Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fat Tuesday Beignets

A few weeks back, on Fat Tuesday to be exact.  I was perusing a few of the blogs I check out regularly.  I stopped by Living the Scream to see what Carly had been up to.  She mentioned a food blog that somehow I hadn't heard of, Our Best Bites. I don't know how I'd missed that one.  But when I flipped over, they were making Beignets for Fat Tuesday.  I thought it was a sign. 

I've never been to New Orleans.  But I have had beignets.  They are delicious.  But who wouldn't love some fried dough heavily dusted with powdered sugar?  So I decided to give them a try.


Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 c. whole milk
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. table salt
3 1/2-4 c. all-purpose flour
1 scant tablespoon dry active yeast
1/2 c. warm (about 105 degrees) water
1 egg
Peanut oil for frying-I just used vegetable oil

In a small saucepan, combine the milk, 1/4 c. sugar, vegetable oil, and salt. Heat over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan. Remove from heat.

While the milk is heating, combine the yeast and 1 Tbsp. of sugar with 1/2 c. water. Allow to stand for 10 minutes or until it’s very bubbly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the heated milk and 2 c. flour. Mix, scraping the bowl occasionally, until smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Add the egg and mix until well-combined. Add the yeast mixture. Add enough flour to make a soft dough that slightly sticks to your finger.

At this point, you can either place the dough in a bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and cover with a piece of sprayed plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough up to 1 day or you can roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. I have made these both ways and either way worked great. Either way, when you roll it out, roll it into a large rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into about 3″x4″ rectangles. Slightly separate the dough pieces and cover with a clean cloth. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.

When the dough has about 15 minutes left to go, heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil in a large skillet or saucepan to 325 degrees (just use a candy thermometer). This actually broke my candy thermometer.  After that I just tested the oil by dropping one in at a time.  If it didn't raise immediately to the surface, the oil wasn't ready.  If it started to smoke it was too hot. When the oil is heated, fry the dough pieces for about 90 seconds-2 minutes per side or until they are golden. Carefully remove from the oil and allow to drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

Place some powdered sugar in a fine-mesh strainer and sprinkle the powdered sugar generously over the beignets. I put about 1 cup of powdered sugar into a lunch sack.  Then I dropped them into the bag and gave them a good shake.  It was less messy.  Serve immediately. Makes about 24-30 beignets.

We loved these and I have added the recipe to my recipe box.  Thanks Carly and thanks Our Best Bites!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lemonhead cookies

I made these cookies a few weeks ago and they were gone in a flash.  Unfortunately I can't remember where I found the recipe.  But I have already bought some more Lemonhead candies for the next batch. 

Lemonhead Cookies
1 Cup of Butter
1 Cup of White Sugar
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
the zest from 1 lemon
2 tsp of Lemon Extract
2 Eggs
1/4 tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Baking Soda
3 Cups of Flour
6 oz Bag of Lemonheads-Crushed or chopped into smaller pieces

Cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar.  Add in lemon zest, lemon extract and eggs.  Mix until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt.  Add crushed lemonhead candies.  Drop by tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.  I like to use parchment paper on my cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Drizzle with lemon glaze.

Lemon glaze
Start with 2 cups of powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until desired consistency. Drizzle on top of cookies.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I interupt this food blog...

To bring you what we did ALL. LAST. WEEKEND.


I have a 22 year old son who was serving a mission for our church for the past 2 years.  He loves sports! Actually the whole family love sports.  But he felt like he had really missed out on some serious viewing while he was gone.  This year the NCAA changed a few things for their basketball tournament.  Every game in the tournament would be played on live tv.  That meant 4 channels would be covering every game. Live. It also just happened to be my sons spring break from school.  Coincidence?  He thinks not!  So he and his good friend planned out what would be the "perfect weekend".

Here is what greeted any guests.

Here is how the converted family room looked.

Yes.  That's 4 tv's.  We normally only have one tv in there (although now my husband thinks this is a perfect setup).  

And of course we needed to have our bracket nearby.

Yep, husband managed to print out a 3 foot by 4 foot bracket.  That baby will be up until April 4th when the championship game is played.

There was plenty of excitement here last weekend.  We had tons of guests.  And plenty of food too.  I'll be posting a few of the recipes I made in the next few days.  But we also had some good old standbys too.  Like...

PW Sheetcake
Shirley J Chicken Enchiladas
Peanut butter Cookies
Queso Dip and Chips
Hot Wings
Corn Dogs
Banana Bread
Chips and salsa
Pot Roast Sandwiches
Lemon Squares
Caramel Popcorn

And of course, plenty of soda pop and candy. 

We all had a great weekend.  48 games in 4 days.  I was tired by Sunday night!

I hope your weekend was as good as ours!

Monday, March 7, 2011

BLT Pasta Salad

My dear friends, Andrea and Bill, have a huge garden every year.  Last year they planted 47 tomato plants.  They are generous with their tomatoes.  Andrea also shared this recipe with me.  It's a great way to use up some of those delicious tomatoes in the summer. 

My sister-in-law requested this salad at a recent family event.  It was pretty good with the store bought variety of tomatoes.  But boy it got me thinking of summer days with fresh from the garden tomatoes.

This recipe makes a lot.  I double it for family events but I have a HUGE family.  So unless you have a HUGE family (and a HUGE bowl), I'd stick with the original recipe.

BLT Pasta Salad
1 package (16 oz) wagon wheel pasta
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled or chopped
4 ripe plum tomatoes, halved then sliced
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 T. cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, al dente is best.  Rinse under cold water and set aside to drain.  In a large bowl combine pasta, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce.

In a separate small bowl, mix dressing ingredients until smooth. 
Pour over pasta mixture and toss to coat.

Serve Immediately.

Thanks Andrea.  This one's a winner!