Thursday, January 21, 2010

Steak with Spinach Couscous

Steak with Spinach Couscous

3 T. olive oil
1.5 lbs. steak (I used strip, but you can use flank or ribeye or whatever)
Kosher salt & pepper
1 - 10 ounce box of couscous
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 c. pine nuts
2-4 cups of baby spinach (I'm using 4 cups next time because I love spinach and kept adding more to the mixture)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 - 1 t. lemon zest (optional - I'm going to add this next time)

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Season the steak with 1/2 t. each salt and pepper. Cook to desired doneness, 4-6 minutes per side. Let rest before slicing.

Cook the couscous according the package directions; transfer to a large bowl (*Note: I can only find couscous that comes with the season packets and went ahead added the season packet to the couscous with good results.)

Wipe out the skillet. Cook the remaining 2 T. olive oil, garlic, and pine nuts over medium heat, string until golden, 2-3 minutes. Fold into the couscous with the spinach, Feta, lemon juice, and 1/2 t each of salt and pepper (or salt and pepper to taste).

Slice steak and serve with couscous.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cranberry Salad and Topping

Marcia and I worked over Thanksgiving and Christmas to replicate Grandma C's cranberry salad recipe. We got pretty close! Then my Mom made this one and, while different, it is also VERY yummy.

1 (6 ounce) package raspberry flavored gelatin mix
2 cups boiling water
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup chopped celery (optional)
1 cup chopped apple (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 teaspoon orange zest

1 (4 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

Place the gelatin into a bowl, pour in the boiling water, and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Mix in the cranberry sauce, pineapple, celery, apple, pecans, and orange zest until evenly blended. Pour the gelatin mixture into a mold or serving dish.

Chill in the refrigerator overnight, or up to 8 hours.

To make the topping, beat the cream cheese then add the remaining ingredients until well blended. Unmold the gelatin, and spread with the topping mixture or place the topping in a small cup in the center of the mold.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Yup, I did it! I made bagels. I used my KAF All-Purpose Baking Cookbookfor the recipe and took a lot of photos to document the process. The result? Appearance needs some work and taste was good, but more like a sourdough than Einstein's.

Dough Ingredients
1 tbsp instant yeast
4 cups unbleached bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp non-diastatic malt powder
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Water Bath Ingredients
2 quarts water
2 tbsp non-diastatic malt powder
1 tbsp granulated sugar

Combine all the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl

and knead vigorously on medium-low speed for 10 minutes.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and set it aside to rise until noticeably puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Transfer the dough to a work surface

and divide it into eight pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Cover the balls with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 minutes.

They'll puff up very slightly.

While the dough is resting, prepare the water bath by heating the water, malt powder, and sugar to a very gentle boil in a large, wide-diameter pan. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Poke a hold through the center of each ball then twirl the dough on your finger to stretch the hole until it's about 2 inches in diameter. Place each bagel on a lightly greased or parchment-lined (or Silpat, WooHoo!!!) baking sheet and repeat with remaining pieces of dough.

Transfer the bagels, four at a time if possible, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gentle simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, gently flip them over , and cook 1 minute more.

Using a skimmer or strainer, remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.

Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, until they're as deep a brown as you like, turning them over after about 15 minutes, which will help them remain tall and round (which mine didn't...).

Remove the bagels from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

Final Result:

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This is good any time of the year! You can make it with fat free ingredients and still tastes great

8 Servings


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.
  3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.