Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stuffed Peppers.....the perfect side dish.

It's so cold outside! I love this kind of weather, it makes cooking just that much more pleasurable!
So most of you know that cooking is what I LOVE to do...the sad thing about cooking in my house is that nobody wants to join in on the fun, so what I do is pop a movie into my laptop, pour a glass of wine, and just start cooking! ( I guess I need the background noise)
Pepper stuffing in the making

1/2'd peppers, salt and peppered with a drizzle of olive oil

Stuffed and ready for the oven

London Broil, salt, pepper, olive oil, and high heat= nice grill marks, finished off in the oven x 10 minutes = perfection!

I am a frugal chef, so I purchased a piece of London Broil, added a little salt & pepper, and olive oil, and it was ready for the skillet.
I buy most of my produce from the local Mexican Market, so I had a lot of red and yellow peppers that were just dying to be that's what I did!

Stuffed Bell Peppers:
Slice the peppers in half, remove seeds and membranes, add salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil to peppers and roast in a 375' oven for 10 minutes. Remove, set aside.

For the Stuffing:
One large leek, washed, sliced thin
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
Mozzarella cheese, grated
salt and pepper
1 cup roasted tomatoes (quarter @ 10 Roma tomatoes, sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil, add fresh herbs, and bake @ 375' for 30 minutes)
Saute' leeks in the butter and olive oil until tender, about 7 minutes. Add fresh spinach, saute' another 5 minutes, add cooked brown rice, and mozzarella cheese, stir to incorporate. Salt and pepper to taste.

Stuff each pepper, bake at 375' for 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

London Broil:
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add to heated grill pan. Sear on both sides, place pan in oven at 375'  for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, let meat rest for 15-20 minutes, slice against the grain and serve with stuffed peppers.

Don't forget the Pinot Noir!

Monday, December 27, 2010


I can't believe how many people have been talking about chocolate covered bacon, and bacon with EVERYTHING.....The price of a store bought piece of  chocolate covered bacon is outrageous, so I decided to make it myself......I suggest you do the same, or if you are pressed for time, I will make it for you!
One day prior notice is all I need.

Crispy bacon

Melt chocolate in a bowl over boiling water

I found that brushing the chocolate onto the bacon worked best, then refrigerate.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Baking: It's not as bad as I thought !

I have always HATED baking! I mean, I really, really did not like to bake........

About 5 yrs ago, I mentioned this to one of the chefs I worked with at Google. He thought this would be a good time to have me bake a (very large) cake for an important event. I was so nervous, I couldn't conceive the idea of performing such a task. This is when I met Miss Shanon, the pastry chef at Google at that time. Let me tell you about Shanon, talk about "Sunshine" that's her! Always happy, and smiling, kind, and patient, and best of all non-judge mental (lucky for me.) She helped me the entire time with that cake, all the while she was baking cookies, and breads for hundreds of hungry Googlers, she was so at ease the whole day.
Although I didn't take to baking right away, she instilled a confidence in me I never knew was there. She removed the fear I had, and replaced it with "you can do it." And I did just that; but not right away.

Moving on to present time:
I recently met  Miss Becky (through Shanon of course!) Becky and I literally had an "instant connection" like nothing I have ever had. She is bright and cheery and full of energy with such wonderful, inspirational ideas. She is a natural when it comes to baking.
So because of Shanon, and Becky, I have gained not only the confidence, but the excitement to bake! Shanon took the fear out of baking, and Becky ignited the desire within me to bake, that I didn't know existed. How did I become so fortunate to have these two wonderful ladies in my life? This, I don't know. What I do know is that because of them, I no longer fear baking, and I am now passionate, excited, and proud to bake. 
The good news: I have created a "platano bread" (recipe to follow) which tastes similar to banana bread.
The bad news: I don't have a photo because each time I bake one, it's gone before I can take pictures! (Which is also good news)  :)
 Update: photos added.

Carolyn's Platano (Plantain) Bread:
2-3 black plantains (over ripe)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 lg eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon (Kosher) salt / use less if you use table salt
10 tablespoons (room temp) butter

Cream together the plantains, sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, add the butter. Mix together with your hands until the butter is well incorporated. Add flour/butter mixture to the wet ingredients 1/3 at a time until just blended.

Pour the batter into a buttered loaf pan and bake at 350' for 1 hour and 20 min.

Tip: After the first 35 min. of baking, I cover the top with foil, and continue baking. After 1 hour and 15 min, if an inserted knife comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake another 5 min. You might have to do this a couple of times.
Serve warm, (although none of the platano breads I have made, have made it to "warm" yet!)  ;)

Thank you Shanon and Becky!

I prefer to use a sieve to sift my dry ingredients

Use your hands to blend the room temp butter with the dry ingredients

Cream together the sugar, platano (or bananas,) vanilla, and sour cream

Add the flour-butter mixture 1/3 at a time

Mix just until blended

Remember to butter bottom and sides of loaf pan

I wish you could smell this bread!

Once again, it didn't last long. I should have taken a picture of  the kids behind me!
Be sure and let me know when you try this recipe!