Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Trip to the Farm Stand

There is nothing like a trip to the local farm stand to put you in the mood for up coming seasons!

Right now they are all decked out for Halloween!

Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
How about you?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cheesecake Brownies

Today I made David Lebovitz's Cheesecake Brownies.
When I saw the recipe I knew my family would love it.
They are Brownie and Cheesecake fanatics- so put the two together and it has to be over the top!
This was a really easy recipe and I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge! What could be better?

Cheesecake Brownies

One 9-inch (23cm) square pan

6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces (115g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup (70g) flour
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (80g) chocolate chips

8 ounces (200g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons (75g) sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9-inch (23cm) square pan with foil, making sure it goes up all four sides. Use two sheets if necessary. Mist with non-stick spray or grease lightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (180C).

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat in the 2/3 cup (130g) sugar, then the eggs.

4. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, then the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

5. In a separate bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the yolk, 5 tablespoons (75g) of sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

6. Distribute the cream cheese mixture in eight dollops across the top of the brownie mixture, then take a dull knife or spatula and swirl the cream cheese mixture with the chocolate batter.

7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the batter in the center of the pan feels just set.
Let cool, then lift out the foil and peel it away. Cut the brownies into squares.
Storage: These will keep in an airtight container for a couple of days. They also freeze well, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Squash Risotto

Today I found myself with half of a butternut squash peeled and cleaned staring at me from my refrigerator shelf. It wasn’t enough to feed 3 hungry adults so I had to figure something out before it went bad!
Then I remembered saving a recipe that I found on the Italian Food at site by Kyle Phillips.

This is Kyle’s recipe that I made with the lonely half a butternut squash and it came simply delicious!
My husband who normaly doesn’t care too much for rice went back for seconds. That’s a winner in my house.

Squash Risotto - Risotto alla Zucca

Risotto made with winter squash is extremely popular in north Italy during the colder months. Little wonder, because a good winter squash has a delightful tangy sweetness to it, while the risotto has a libidinously creamy texture. Perfect on a cold, gray winter day! You'll need:
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes
· Half a butternut squash, peeled and diced (or a slice of a larger winter squash, about 3/4 pound (350 g) diced)
· 1 1/2 cups (300 g) Carnaroli, Arborio, or other short-grained rice
· 1/2 cup dry white wine, warmed
· 1 quart (1 liter) stock (vegetable or bouillon will be fine)
· 1/4 cup olive oil
· 1 medium onion, chopped
· 1/4 cup minced parsley
· 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano, or more, to taste
· 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
· Salt and Pepper to taste
Squash doesn't sauté well, so you will need to cook it separately and then add it to the rice.
Begin by putting the diced squash in a pot, adding broth or bouillon to cover, seasoning with a little pepper, and heat the pot over a medium flame.

Heat the remaining bouillon or stock in another pot.

In the meantime, chop the onion and sauté over a medium flame it in the olive oil in a different pot.

When the onion is translucent and light gold, add the rice and continue to sauté for another 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly lest the rice stick and burn. The grains of rice will become translucent.

While the rice is toasting, heat the wine in your microwave for about 30 seconds. Add it to the rice, and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated. Now add the simmering squash, the pieces of which will by this time be falling apart.

Stir gently, lest the rice stick to the bottom of the pot and burn, and add more liquid as the rice absorbs what's in the pot. Let the rice absorb most of the liquid (you're not making soup), but don't wait until it looks dry, because the grains will begin to flake if you do. Don't forget to check seasoning.Continue adding liquid until the rice reaches the al dente stage of doneness -- chewy but firm.

If you prefer a drier risotto, make the last ladle of liquid a little smaller. If you instead prefer a more liquid risotto (what's called all'onda, like a wave, in Italian) be a little more abundant with the final ladle.

Stir a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter into the risotto if you want a creamier texture, and then add the grated cheese, followed by minced parsley. Turn off the burner, cover the risotto, and let it sit for two minutes, during which time everything will come together and meld.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Apple Pickin'

Our local farm offered 1 and only 1 weekend for apple picking...

So we rushed right over there. The colors are really beautiful these days- not as vibrant as I remember from living in New England BUT not bad for my part of North East Pennsylvania!

The trees were so full of apples that the branches were almost touching the ground. We picked Golden Delicious- Red Delicious-Empire and we managed to find 4 Mutsu...they had 4 Mutsu trees and they were picked bare. We managed to find a few on the ground that were knocked off the tree.

The farm has a little barn where they sell fruits and vegetables -on the street.

The place was bursting with fall colors....
Pumpkins ,flowers, gourds,winter squash...
you name it they had it.
It was really beautiful!

After leaving the farm I took the scenic route home and the colors were really beautiful!


Find a farm and go pick some apples!

Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month .
It is so important to be aware of the warning signs of breast cancer.
The warning signs of breast cancer include: (taken from the Web-MD site)
· Lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
· A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
· A change in the size, shape or contour of the breast.
· A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
· A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly or inflamed).
· Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
· An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
· A marble-like hardened area under the skin.

These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.

Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.

My entry for "Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness," are cupcakes…
I made DEATH BY CHOCOLATE cupcakes
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sour cream
1/2 c. water or 1/4 c. water with 1/4 c. Kahlua
1 boxed cake mix without pudding in the mix
1 sm. box instant chocolate pudding
12 oz. pkg. chocolate chips
With your electric mixer, combine eggs, oil, sour cream, water, cake mix and pudding; mix well.
Add in chocolate chips. Pour into muffin papers.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

I then iced them with store bought vanilla icing that I tinted pink.

I know I cheated -first with the boxed cake mix then with the icing!!!
I did this quick and had to hide them until I took my photos because the "Sticky Fingers" in my house kept attempting to steal them!
The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates that each year, over 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and over 40,000 die. One woman in eight either has or will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Approximately 1,700 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year.
If detected early, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer exceeds 96%. Mammograms are among the best early detection methods, yet 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram.
The National Cancer Institute and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that women in their forties and older have mammograms every one to two years. A complete early detection plan also includes regular clinical breast examinations by a trained medical professional. Monthly breast self-exams are suggested in addition.
Stop by this site The Breast Cancer Site
1.You click daily
2.Sponsors pay for Mammograms
3.Shop their stores and give even more!
Your click on the "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation .

Here are a few links to sites with breast cancer information:
National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc
Susan G Komen For The Cure
The Breast Cancer Site