Monday, February 20, 2017

Monte Cristo Sandwich

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I love making a fancier sandwich at home. It jazzes it up and personally I just love a warm sandwich. Nothing beats warm melted cheese in a sandwich!

Monte Cristo Sandwich

(Adapted from She Wears Many Hats)

Makes 2 sandwiches


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2 eggs

pinches of salt and pepper

4 slices sturdy white bread (or white bread of preference)

2 tablespoons mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

½ pound thick sliced baked ham

½ ounce, weight shredded gruyere cheese

additional salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons butter

optional garnish/toppings: powdered sugar, honey, preserves


Beat eggs in a shallow dish (large enough to fit a sandwich) along with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Set aside.


Assemble sandwiches, with mustard, mayonnaise, ham, cheese, salt and pepper to personal preference. Slightly compress sandwich.


Over medium heat melt butter in skillet.


Dip and coat each sandwich in beaten egg, and place in skillet. Cook sandwiches 2-3 minutes on each side, until browned to liking and cheese has melted.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Homemade Apple Fritters

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I’ve always loved getting apple fritters from the doughnut shop. I finally gave them a shot making them and they tasted pretty good, I just ended up with way too much. I may stick to just ordering them unless I’m feeding a crowd.

Homemade Apple Fritters

(Adapted from Seemingly Greek)

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1 heaping cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 – 2 tsp. cinnamon (depending on how much you love cinnamon)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk + plus more if needed
1 – 1 1/2 cups chopped apple, your favorite kind for eating, peanut sized or smaller
oil for frying
milk and powdered sugar glaze for dipping or just powdered sugar for dusting
(About 1 cup pwd. sugar + 1 T. milk or more)

Mix all dry ingredients together, slowly add the wet ingredients minus the apple.

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Carefully mix until well combined but not overly beat,gently fold in apple pieces.

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The batter should be the consistency of a light cake mix. Once the oil is ready (when a test drop of dough floats to the top of the oil, a drop of water sizzles, or a piece of white bread browns in 60 seconds) then using a cookie scooper or soup spoon, place a 4-5 balls of dough into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd and watch carefully for the underside to turn golden brown, then gently flip over and continue frying until done. I cooked mine about 35 seconds per side, but they were the size of golf balls – adjust cooking times based on size of fritters and temperature of your oil, ideally around 365° F. It is always a good idea to test one to ensure it comes out like you are expecting.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Southern Pecan Praline Cake

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I actually made this cake back in 2015, but it fell through the cracks and never got posted. It’s not a bad cake, I just expected a little more out of it. The cake itself seemed a little on the dry side. I liked the topping, but may make it again using a different cake base.

Southern Pecan Praline Cake

(Adapted from Can’t Stay out of the Kitchen)


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1 15-oz. box Betty Crocker Butter Pecan Cake Mix

1 16-oz. can Betty Crocker Coconut Pecan Frosting

4 eggs

¾ cup canola or coconut oil

1 cup half-and-half (instead of water) for increased flavor

½ cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°.


Grease or spray a 9x13” baking dish with cooking spray.


In a mixing bowl, combine all the cake ingredients except for the chopped pecans. Mix well.


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Add chopped pecans and stir to combine.


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Pour batter into prepared baking dish.


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Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.


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The Coconut Pecan Frosting is included in the cake batter. It is NOT an icing for the top of the cake nor included in the sauce.

My cake took 50 minutes to bake, although the original instructions said 30-40 minutes for a 9x13" pan and 50 minutes for a Bundt pan. I baked mine for 40 minutes and it was a hair overdone and dry. It’s hard to gage this one.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Steak with Maple Bourbon Espresso Sauce

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We love our steak nights! Hubby isn’t a huge fan of sauces on his steak, but one in a while he taste one he really likes. Both of us loved this sauce. Having the espresso in it helped me stay awake for the movie after dinner rather than my normal falling asleep half way through. This should also really be good on chicken as well.

Hurry you’ll want to make this with your Valentine’s Day dinner for sure! I used a filet and seasoned it with our house blend seasoning then poured red wine on it to marinate. If you want another marinade feel free to click on the link for Sweet Cayenne and see what marinade they used with the sauce.

Steak with Maple Bourbon Espresso Sauce

(Adapted from Sweet Cayenne)


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1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup pure maple syrup, Grade B

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

2 pounds of flat iron steak

Coarsely ground black pepper

Oil for your pan/skillet


12 ounces cleaned and sliced mushrooms (I used Baby Bellas)

Coarse ground kosher salt

Coarsely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon butter


Combine all ingredients up until the mushrooms in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook the sauce at a robust simmer for 7-8 minutes until it becomes thick and syrupy. Turn off the heat and leave the sauce on the warm stovetop until ready to serve.


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For the mushrooms:

Return the skillet to medium heat. Place 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Add the mushrooms to the pan and spread them out as evenly as possible. Brown the mushrooms undisturbed for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and sauté for another 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the thyme and garlic and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and add the butter, tossing to coat the mushrooms. Keep warm until ready to serve. (I somehow forgot to take pictures of the mushrooms cooking so please enjoy a picture of my new wine glass lol)


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To serve:

Serve with steaks with the sauce and mushrooms spooned over top. If you like, you may slice the steak against the grain into thin pieces before topping with sauce and mushrooms. Enjoy your masterpiece!

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Crème Brûlée

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We love a good creme brulee. If you can you want to use a vanilla bean. The flavor you get is really nice and with a delicate dessert like this you can really taste the bean. I didn’t get the even coloring I would normally like, I had an eager to help toddler wanting to help with the torch part so it was all hands on deck.

Vanilla bean:

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To make sugared blackberries:

Beat an egg white with a splash of water in a bowl.  Dip rinsed and dried berries in egg wash, then roll in sugar.  Place sugared berries on a plate or cookie sheet, separated, and dry for a couple of hours at room temperature.  Use to decorate a dessert, or eat by themselves.

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Crème Brûlée

(Adapted from Saveur)


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1 qt. heavy cream

1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved

¾ cup sugar

8 egg yolks

Turbinado sugar, for serving


Heat oven to 300°. Bring cream and vanilla bean with seeds to a simmer in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let sit for 30 minutes; discard vanilla bean.


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In a bowl, whisk sugar and yolks until smooth.


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Slowly pour in cream mixture, whisking until smooth; set aside.


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Place a paper towel in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan, and place six 6-oz. ramekins inside pan. Divide custard among ramekins.


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Pour boiling water into pan to come halfway up outsides of ramekins. Bake until custards are set but still slightly loose in center, about 35 minutes.


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Transfer ramekins to a wire rack; cool. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.


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Dab any condensation off surface of custards with a paper towel. Sprinkle turbinado sugar evenly over surface of each custard. Guide the flame of a blowtorch back and forth over surface until sugar caramelizes; let sit briefly until sugar hardens.

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