Friday, April 25, 2014

Dining Out At Home Cookbook 2:Desserts:Strawberry Shortcake

Dining Out At Home Two has a wide variety of desserts such as ice creams,pies,cheesecakes and even shakes.Many of the recipes are very appealing to review, along with being made with simple ingredients.There continues to be something for everyone in this chapter from chocolaty,fruity,rich and elegant.It has been a challenge to decide exactly what recipe to consider and I have finally chosen a dessert that includes, my favorite fruit titled Strawberry Shortcake!

Ted's Montana grill is the restaurant that creates delectable desserts such as this old fashioned strawberry shortcake that is formed with a sweet cream biscuit and fresh strawberries.This restaurant chain has been around since 2002 and specializes in grilling bison as well as preserving the bison herd in America.The desserts developed here are quite extravagant ,especially the strawberry shortcake.However Stephanie's version is dialed back just a tad for everyone to enjoy.Although if your an outrageous person then I encourage you to try Ted's version. Just check it out for yourself and you"ll know what I mean.Now lets see how this recipe turned out for me?

 Well this was the first time making homemade strawberry shortcakes and I am amazed how quick these were to prepare.These little cakes were made with basic ingredients and follow simple steps.Just think about how easy it is to make any biscuit and acquire that information towards this recipe.Also,the assembling of the shortcakes was the best part of this recipe because there is creativity along with skill with putting these together.It can get quite messy;however well worth the effort to enjoy a delicious beautiful dessert.Though the combination of biscuit,berries and ice cream they work so well together even when it's not perfect. 

These strawberry shortcakes were made with a sweet,soft,fluffy biscuit that absorbs the sweet juices of the berries and the creamy vanilla ice cream.The strawberries were wonderfully ripe and sweet, along with a rich vanilla ice cream.This dessert is beautiful with its light golden brown biscuit with vibrant red berries and creamy white ice cream.This shortcake is fruity and fresh that everyone will love.Its simple to prepare and would be great to serve for the holidays, dinner party's and even barbecue.I definitely recommend making these as your next dessert.You can even prepare it before hand and be ready to serve.

I give this dessert a two thumbs up for its simplicity,elegance and fresh flavor!

The Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake By Ted's Montana Grill

1 pound strawberries,washed and slices(about 3 cups)
1 1/2 tbsp sugar,plus more for biscuit tops
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
11/4 cup heavy cream
4 scoops premium vanilla ice cream
whipped cream,for topping

I placed the sliced strawberries in a large plastic container with a lid,then sprinkled 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar over them.Then I covered the container and let it macerate for a couple of hours before use (For me I let it sit for one hour)

Then I preheated the oven to 450 F,Then greased a baking sheet.Then with a medium bowl I sifted together all purpose flour,baking powder and salt.Then I mixed in the cream until the flour was just incorporated.

Then I gently kneaded the dough on a floured surface and shaped into 4 biscuits around 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness.Then I placed the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkled the tops with sugar.Then I baked for 10-15 minutes,until the biscuits are golden brown.

Then to assemble the shortcake,I sliced each biscuit in half and lied the bottom half on a plate.Then I added one scoop of vanilla ice cream to the bottom half and then added a generous spoonful of strawberries,then top it with the other half of the biscuit and then I used whip cream to create a decorate top.

Cookbook Tip: Make a great ahead recipe, by macerating the strawberries and baking the biscuits.Then assembling them when ready to serve.Also use other fruits if you wish and if you have larger sugar crystal that would be ideal for sprinkling on these biscuits.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dining Out At Home 2:Sidedish Part 2

Dining Out At Home Two has a very generous level of side dishes and I just could not pass up the opportunity to create this baked potato casserole. This comforting dish is inspired by a very successful American restaurant called Dickey's Barbecue Pit that spends hours smoking their meat and creating memorable side dishes.This is surely a restaurant I would love to check off my bucket list.

This is a truly easy to prepare casserole that embodies basic ingredients along with consistent directions.Its a comfort food at its best along with emulating everyone's beloved dish, loaded baked potatoes. This recipe is very quick to follow and you can gradually prepare your own main dish while baking these potatoes.This continues to be a very versatile vegetable and the recipe its self is also quite adaptable.The casserole can be simply multiplied for a larger crowd and the garnishes can be simply changed for your own desire.There is lots of room for your own creativity and I adore that this recipe can match with several main dishes.Just think crisp chicken wings,fresh Cesar salad and baked potato casserole.I think a delicious combo at that.Two thumbs up!

Now we cannot go without mentioning the taste test? Well with every bite that I took it was absolute comfort and would love to make this for a summer BBQ. The casserole has layers of texture and flavor that it's almost hard to describe without experiencing it for yourself.The potatoes were incredibly smooth,pureed and fluffy.The flavors were rich,tangy,zesty,savory,buttery and even smokey.The garnishes were the best part by attracting great color,texture as well as overall flavor.It was a top notch flavor experience and would love to make this casserole again. 

I absolutely recommend everyone to try this recipe for themselves.You do not want to miss out on this flavor explosion.Just think about your favorite meal and try integrating this casserole into it.Never known you might love it

The Recipe

Baked Potato Casserole 
Inspired By Dickey's Barbecue Pit

4 large russet potatoes
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup bacon,cooked and crumbled 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onion tops

Preheated the oven to 425 F,scrubbed the russets potatoes and baked them for 1 hour,until tender.Cookbook Tip: You do not have to poke hole in the potatoes,they actually stay light and fluffy if you don't.

While the potatoes were baking, I fried about 7-8 pieces of bacon,more then the recommended amount.I love to have extra if I want more for the recipe or top with a salad.I also grated the cheddar cheese and sliced the green onion. Leaving the garnishes aside,until ready to use.

When the potatoes cooled enough to handle I cut each potato in half and scooped out the flesh into a large bowl.

Then with my electric mixer I mashed the potatoes until smooth,adding in the softened butter,sour cream and milk.Then mixed in the salt and pepper and about 1 tbsp of bacon bits(Tip:You can easily add more bacon if you wish,I did!)

Then I spooned the mash potatoes into a 2 quart casserole dish that is sprayed with cooking spray or greased with oil.(Tip: Mash potatoes get cold very easily,So I turned the oven down to 350 F and kept the casserole warm,until serving) 

Then once it was warm enough to serve,I garnished it with bacon bits,shredded cheese and green onion. (Tip :You could even place it in the oven again to melt the cheese)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dining Out At Home Two:Soups!

Dining Out At Home 2 Cookbook has a handful of comforting soup's that everyone can easily make in their own home.They are soups that are simple recreations from popular restaurants such as Apple bee's,Olive Garden,Kroger's and Outback Steakhouse etc. Also the soups are great to enjoy the next day and I feel can be easily doubled or even tripled to serve a larger crowd.Sounds like a chapter I would dive into first?

So for my choice,I made a creamy based soup from this chapter called Baked Potato Soup inspired by Outback Steakhouse.This was the go to recipe for me because I love the versatility of potatoes and I felt it was quite a unique idea that the potatoes are baked prior for this particular soup.I just knew that this would have a new affect on the potatoes texture and I couldn't resist trying out a new idea for potato soup.So once I made my mind up on the soup I wanted I still felt this recipe was a little lonely and would benefit with a partner recipe.So I chose to make Kroger's inspired homemade bread bowl to serve the soup in, to complete the foodie experience.So how did it turn out for me?

Well I find homemade soups to be quite easy to make,along with lots of room to experiment.Baked Potato Soup is one of those recipes because its made with pretty basic ingredients and follows a simple method.It follows a method of creating a roux,which aid has a thickening agent and enhances flavors.It also follows a method of gradually adding a low sodium broth and a heavy cream to the roux to prevent lumps and help thicken slowly.Both these aspects in the directions help create richness in flavor and a creamy texture for this particular soup.Lastly,I'm impressed that the fact that low sodium broth is use in this recipe because I was able to control the salt content throughout and had more room to season to my desire.Also,in this recipe, there is lots of room to easily add has many different flavors or ingredients as you like and for me I feel to keep as closely as possible to Stephanie's inspiration.

Now, we just want to know what this tastes like, right? Well I was told that this is the best soup that I have ever made thus far.So I guess that definitely says something right off the bat and I agree that it is my favorite soup as well.Every spoonful of this creamy soup is quite addictive and you just want to go back for second or thirds.It has this layer of flavor and texture that just brings you back every time.This baked potato soup is very creamy and rich with heavy cream, along with tender pieces of potatoes with a well balance of seasoning.Though the big surprise in flavor with this soup is when its served.Because we have crisp bacon,shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion sprinkled on top of this warm,hardy soup.This brings bright and rich flavors to the overall soup,along with a beautiful,impressive appearance. This would be a delicious soup to serve your family and friends.Baked Potato Soup is a top notch recipe and I will  definitely be making it again.

So now that I have a simple and delicious soup.I knew I needed something equally as good to serve it in so I chose to make Kroger's homemade bread bowls.Yes? It's a bowl you can serve with and eat at the same time.This is quite a unique way to include bread and soup together,along with creating a country,rustic appearance.

These bread bowls are quite simple to make and are sturdy enough to hold any hardy soup.They create a wonderfully buttery and fluffy center along with a beautiful golden exterior.Though I do have to be honest it does take some patience to make these buns because of the rising aspect.So I recommend to give yourself lots of time if you have a deadline and to prep any soup ingredients ahead.So overall,I love the bread bowl idea and it was well worth the wait to serve these with the delicious baked potato soup.A top notch recipe and will be making this recipe again as well.

So I am quite impressed so far with Stephanie Manley recipes and next chapter I will be taking on Main Dishes.So be sure to keep close by and see what unique dishes I will take on.Everyone enjoy your weekend and this baked potato soup. 

The Recipe

Bread Bowls 
Serves 5-6 bread bowls

1 1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp quick rise or 1 package instant yeast
1 tbsp sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp semolina flour(optional)
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil,for bowl
Vegetable shortening,for baking

I combined the warm water in a medium bowl with the yeast and sugar.Setting aside to bubble and foam.

I added the flour and salt to my stand mixer bowl.Once the yeast was completed.I poured the liquid into the flour mixture.I placed my dough hook on and blended it on medium, until the hook could no longer blend everything.

I unhooked my bowl, sprinkled flour on my work surface and kneaded the dough, until soft and smooth.

Then I placed the soft dough in a medium bowl with 1 tsp of vegetable oil and turned the dough to coat.Then I allowed the dough to rise in a warm place,covered with a towel.Letting it double in size at 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Then I greased the baking sheet and lightly dusted with cornmeal.Then dividing the dough into 5-6 portions.Forming the balls and placed them on the prepared sheet.Now for a second rising,I covered the buns with a towel and let double in size for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Once they were fully risen, I uncovered the balls and let them sit for 10-15 minutes,to develop a tougher skin.Preheating the oven to 425F. Before baking I sprinkled the bread bowls with water and baked them for 20 minutes,until they became deep golden brown.

Then I removed the buns from the oven and let them completely cool or until easy to handle.Then I cut the tops off of each and scooped out the insides.Then served them with soup.

Tip:The bread inside is great to dip into soup or using for homemade croutons. 

Tip:If using bread bowls later, you can easily wrapped them before use.

Tip: While the dough is rising, this is the time to start prepping your favorite soup, or a soup in this cookbook.

Baked Potato Soup

(Inspired by Outback Steakhouse)
Serves 8-10 cups

4 medium potatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped white onions
1/2 cups butter
1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups heavy cream
1 tsp salt,or to taste
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper,or to taste
8 slices of fried bacon,until crispy and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onion

I preheated the oven to 400 F. Placed 4 medium russet potatoes on a baking sheet and bake them for 1 hour,once they were easily pierced with a fork.I removed the potatoes and let them cool, until they were easy to handle.Peeled and chopped them into bite-size pieces,setting them aside.

While I waited for the potatoes to bake,I fried up the bacon slices, until crisp and crumbly,drain them on a small towel and set them aside.I also grated the cheddar cheese,chopped the white onion and chopped the green onion,setting aside as well.

In a large pot over medium-high heat,I cooked the chopped white onion in the butter,until they were translucent.I added the flour and stirred until it cooked out the raw flour taste.It will smell like cooked pie crust. (Method: This is the roux I was talking about that helps thicken sauces and soups)

Then I stirred in 1 cup of chicken broth,mixing quickly.Once it thickened,I added another cup of broth,letting it thicken further.Lastly I added the remaining 2 cups of broth.Then I stirred in the 2 cups of heavy cream,allowing to thicken again and adding the rest of the cream.(Method: Gradually adding the liquid helps prevent lumps and will thicken more slowly.)

Then I let the mixture come to a soft boil and then reduced the heat to low.This is when I added the diced bake potato and seasoned with salt and pepper.I found I had to add more salt and pepper then mentioned.To serve,I poured a portion in the bread bowls and sprinkled bacon,shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onion on top.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dining Out At Home Cookbook 2:Sidedish Part 1

Dining out at home Two has a variety of scrumptious side orders that can match with just about any main dish you can convene .The recipes are effortless and practice with very reasonable ingredients.There are side dishes such as casseroles,pastas,rice and even a carrot souffle for increased elegance's. Overall,I love the variation of cuisine and culture that is involved in each recipe so far, due to various restaurant styles.It assigns me a great challenge along with exposing me to fresh new flavors.Its truly a win,win situation.

Therefore what recipe did I choose to create this time? Well I went with a pasta side dish that involves Parmesan along with fresh lemon to pair with salmon and coleslaw.This side dish can couple with just about any of your beloved mains dish and in itself can be the focus of attention.

This Lemon Greek Penne Pasta is inspired by Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant that exists based in many states in the U.S.A.Its  comparable to a Alfredo sauce in sense of being rich and creamy.It's produced with fundamental ingredients and assigns easy steps to develop the side dish.It also embraces the ability to be  adaptable,particularly with the ingredients being utilized.I can even see myself multiplying this recipe to prepare it a a main dish and catering to a wide crowd.Lastly, it can also be created ahead of time and put together at the last minute.Can easily bring it to a potluck dinner.

Though this recipe may be clear it can acquire it's own challenges.These conflicts  can go terribly wrong, very rapidly. Whys that? Well my experience with numerous dairy-based sauces is you have to watch constantly to prevent any scorching.Heavy cream is the one high valued ingredient in this recipe and can easily burn in a very short time.Therefore its very effective to be cautious because once that occurs there is no turning back.No one wants to throw away money.

Lastly, it's also important what kind of Parmesan you decide to use. Preshredded or block? Either can be used and each carry a slightly different texture.What do you mean by that? Well I used preshredded for this recipe and learned quickly that it doesn't exactly dissolve efficiently.This exists due to the additives in the shredded Parmesan to maintain its shape. If you grate block Parmesan you will have a smoother sauce.This is not a big deal for me because the sauce was still smooth and who doesn't love cheese.So if you can handle these efficient tips for this recipe then I encourage you to try out this recipe.

 Now, the flavor and texture are the core to any recipe.This lemon greek penne pasta is rich and creamy likened to a Alfredo sauce.The lemon is certainly the secret weapon to this side dish drawing in a bright,fresh and sharp flavor to the overall cheesy sauce.Its a beautiful delicate sauce over a perfect batch of al-dente penne past,a along with fresh chopped parsley.Its an essential side order for dinner and will aim to impress your family and friends.I give this side dish a two thumbs up!

The Recipe

Lemon Greek Penne Pasta by Sweet Tomatoes

12 ounces dried penne pasta
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 cup grated Parmesan,plus more for garnish (Preshredded Parmesan can be used;however won't melt completely)
11/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Minced parsley or capers for garnish(optional)

I filled a large pot of water half way and sprinkled a small amount of salt into the water.Then placed it at medium heat,until boiling.I added 12 ounces of penne pasta to the boiling water,until they were al- dente.

While I was preparing the pasta,I placed a large saucepan over medium heat,melting the butter and then whisking in the cream.

When the mixture began to bubble,I stirred in the grated Parmesan, until the sauce was well blended and the cheese was melted
(I used preshredded Parmesan and learned quickly that it doesn't melt completely) So if you want a really smooth sauce, grate your own Parmesan. (Tip:watch carefully when making this sauce)

Then I added the lemon juice and lemon zest and seasoned with pepper and salt.

Once the pasta was al-dente. I drained the pasta with a colander and transfer it to a glass bowl. Then I poured the sauce over the pasta and toss to mix well.Then I garnished it with parsley and additional Parmesan.