Monthly Archives: January 2010

Chocolate Magic Bars

It is way beyond me that something this easy is so good!  And for the life of me I should not keep any of these ingredients on hand.  I honestly could eat the entire pan by myself and almost did last night but GI Joe saved the day and he ate the other half!

Yesterday was one of those days that you just want to stay curled up in a blanket by the fire.  It was quite cold and rainy. I just wanted to stay home, but I had shopping to do.   My niece, that is in pharmacy school, is getting married in June and next Saturday she is having her first wedding shower in Savannah.  We picked up her gift and wouldn’t you know it they had Lenox Butler’s Pantry on sale.  I have wanted it since the first day I set my eyes on it.  Yes, I bought  eight place settings and three serving pieces.  Now if you know someone who wants Vintage Vine in beige, please let me know.  I really need to unload it!  GI Joe said,”Well, Happy Anniversary, Valentine’s Day and Birthday!”  It is so worth it though.

Since having a light dinner last night, I really wanted to go to downtown Villa Rica to Gabe’s.  Their Bread Pudding is the best.  Not wanting to venture out in the rain and cold,  I stood in front of the pantry with the  door open and all I saw was  sweetened condensed milk and semisweet chocolate pieces.  I told myself not to make those bad Chocolate Magic Bars, but myself did not listen. 

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Filed under Chocolate, Cookies, Dessert, Desserts, Eagle Brand Milk, easy, quick, Recipes

And The Winner Is……..

Our 1st Place Winner!

The recipe and all the interesting things that happened in our first lab of the semester is located on the previous post.

Here are the results of today’s bake-off.  Everyone did just great.  Vote for the one that you think deserves the top of this post.  Voting ends Sunday!  Good luck!

To vote go to the comments.  Remember that your e-mail address will not be shared.  It is just for my use to answer questions that you might have.  So here you go with today’s reults:

And a very close 2nd place winner!

 

24 Comments

Filed under Biscuits, Cheese, Cooking, easy, quick, Recipes

Cheese Drop Biscuits with Garlic Butter

If you are in a hurry and are craving homemade bread this recipe is for you!  The Athlete loves these drop biscuits and and I have been known to put them together at the last minute because I saw a look of disappointment on his face.  They only take about 10 minutes to put together so it is hard to say no.  So just get in the kitchen and whip these little drops of cheesey goodness into shape and wait for the compliments to come your way!  Recipe and how to photographs can be found at the end of the post.

Deviating from the usual muffin lab that I do for the  first lab of the semester was quite interesting.  Why change something that works you might ask? Well, having all of the ingredients for a recipe helps.  My pantry had several boxes of Bisquick and the drop biscuits put it to good use.

I gave the demonstration yesterday.  With new cooks their knowledge is very limited so they ask me lots of questions or they just watch and try to soak it all in.  It is as if they are learning a new language. For some of them it is very difficult and for others it comes very easy.I’ve never done these drop biscuits as a lab before, therefore have nothing to compare it to.  All the biscuits were edible!  That is always good.  Everyone enjoyed themselves.

I have to say this about tasting what each group prepared.  Some groups will not start eating until I come to their table and taste their food.  They all sit there speechless waiting for me to let them know how it taste.  Even the slight hesitation as I am talking will scare them.  My approval is a very powerful tool.  Sometimes it is a little scary.  I don’t want to say the wrong thing and discourage a student.    I know you are all are wondering what I might say if the food is bad.  And yes, I have had the pleasure of tasting bad food !!  I always try to remember what a good friend of mine told me. She saw a friend’s new baby for the first time and it was NOT a pretty baby. She said, ” Oh my goodness, what a pretty blanket.”   Focus on the positive!

As a sideline here,  one of the department heads observed me yesterday and  an administrator today.   It is the first time anyone has ever observed the first lab of the semester. All kinds of things can go wrong during the first lab.  You can have students that hate each other working together.  Then you might have a group that every member is scared to do anything so nothing gets done. This list goes on, but all went well!  Thank goodness.

Cheesy Drop Biscuits with Garlic Butter

From Betty Crocker

  • 2 cups of original Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons margarine or butter melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a medium bowl mix Biquick and shredded cheese together.  Add milk.  Stir with fork until soft dough forms.  On a cookie sheet, drop dough by 10 to 12 spoonfuls about 2 inches apart.  I like to used parchment paper to line the baking sheet .  If you do not use the paper I would lightly grease the baking sheet because the cheese will cause the biscuits to stick.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.  In small bowl, stir butter and garlic powder until well mixed: brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.  Serve warm.

Here are photos to show the steps:

2 cups of Bisquick and 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese

Mix Bisquick and cheese . Then add milk and stir until a soft dough forms

Place on baking pan and bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

Mix 2 Tablespoons of melted butter with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

Brush butter and garlic powder on warm biscuits

Enjoy!

Happy cooking,

The Teacher Cooks

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Filed under Biscuits, Cheese, Cooking, easy, Recipes

La Bete Noire or Flourless Chocolate Cake

  

Dark chocolate is a downfall of mine.  I love it!  I had rather have a good salad than a bowl of ice cream, but when it comes to dark chocolate I cannot turn it down.   This recipe for this sinful Chocolate Cake appeared in Bon Appetit in September 2006.  The picture on the front cover  looks as if you could take a bite right from the fork.  I let the magazine sit for about a year before I decided to tackle it.  Why did I wait so long,  I am asking myself now.  The recipe is simple.  The ingredients are sugar, water, chocolate, butter , eggs and heavy cream.  That’ s it!   But it does call for twenty-six ounces of semisweet chocolate!  It is a dessert made in heaven.  It is not for the weak.  Using a 10-in. springform pan it yields sixteen servings.  It is not a very large serving, but I am here to tell you after making this four times that most people cannot eat much more.  It packs a punch!  If you are a chocolate lover like me when you put a bite of this decadent La Bete Noire  into your mouth and  hits your tastebuds you will think that you have died and gone to heaven.  Dark Chocolate heaven, that is. 

Here is how to make it for yourself! 

La Bete Noire –  from Bon Appetit – Jason Aronen, Executive Chef, Wilde Roast Cafe, Mineappolis 

16 servings 

Cake 

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 9 Tablespoons ( 1 stick + 1 Tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
  • 18 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not sweetened) or semisweeet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 large eggs

Ganache 

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet (not sweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

For Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter 10-in-diameter springform pan.  Line bottom of pan with parchment round: butter the parchment paper.  Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around outside of pan, bringing foil to top of rim.  Combine 1 cup of water and sugar in small saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat. 

Melt butter large saucepan over low heat.  Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate: cool slightly.  Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place cake pan in large roasting pan.  Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of cake pan. 

Bake cake until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken, about 50 minutes.  Remove from water bath; transfer to rack.  Cool completely in pan. 

For Ganache:  Bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate and whisk until smooth.  Pour over top of cake still in pan.  Gently shake pan to distribute ganache evenly over top of cake.  Refrigerate cake in pan until ganache is set , about 2 hours. 

Can be made 2 days ahead.  Cover and keep refrigerated. 

Run knife around pan sides to loosen cake. Release sides.  Cut cake into wedges and serve with whipped cream.  

Here are the photos to make this decadent dessert even easier for you to make at home. 

Place water and sugar in saucepan . Boil over medium heat and then let it simmer for 5 min. Remove from heat.

  

Dice Butter

Chop 18 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate ( I used Baker's)

Melt butter and stir in chocolate

Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate; cool slightly

Stir in 6 large eggs making sure the chocolate is cool enough . Don't scramble your eggs!

Pour in springform pan. Place in a roasting pan. Add hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up side of cake pan.

Bake for 50 minutes or until center no longer moves when pan is gently shaken.  Remove from the water bath.  Use the foil as handles to grip the pan. 

Take out of the water bath and cool.

After the cake is cool prepare the Ganache . 

1 cup of heavy cream and more chocolate ( 8 ounces)

Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat add chocolate and whisk

Bring cream to simmer over medium heat and add chocolate and whisk together.

Pour over the top and refrigerate.

Pour over top of cake while still in pan and refrigerate.

Words cannot tell you how good this is.  You will have to try for yourself.  It is easy yet so elegant to serve.  Go for it if you want a dessert that will be a big hit! 

BON APPETIT!!!

Happy cooking, 

The Teacher Cooks

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Filed under Cake, Chocolate

San Francisco Salad

For about six years GI Joe traveled to Savannah once a month for National Guard duty for the Air Force.  Many of those weekends I traveled with him and spent the time on Tybee Island.  One of our favorite restaurants to visit was the Sundae Cafe.  It is a little funny how we found out about this restaurant.  I was buying gas at the local BP station and when I paid I asked the clerk if she knew of some good places to eat.  She said, ” Well the place next door must be good because there is always a crowd there.”  I would never chosen the restaurant unless someone had recommended it.  It is located within a  a strip of four stores.  The local liquor store is on one side and the BP on the other. We became frequent customers because the food is excellent and it is very nice and elegant on the inside.  So you can’t judge a restaurant by the cover!   One of my favorite dishes to order is the spring salad.  I have tried many times to duplicate it, but failed.  Thanks to Anna,  I have found the recipe !!  

Last weekend we had dinner with our long time friends.  It was a fantastic meal!   Anna served this San Francisco Salad that was  extraordinary!  I love the flavors of the feta and the tart cranraisins with the texture of the toasted walnuts.  Together with the  salad dressing adding  the  right amount of sweet and tangy and red onion gives it the little kick.    So thanks to Anna we can all enjoy this scrumptious salad!    

San Franciso Salad

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/cup sugar
  • 1  tablespoon black pepper
  • 3/4 cup cranraisins
  • 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 bag of mixed greens (or enough for 8 servings)

Melt butter.  Saute walnuts 5 minutes or until golden.  Drain.  Mix sugar and pepper together and roll walnuts in the mixture.  Cool.

Place cheese and nuts over mixed greens and pour dressing over salad.

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup red onion chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 cup oil

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a jar and shake until mixed well.  If preferred, dressing  can be  served separately and spooned over each salad.

Recipe can easily be halved for four servings.

 

Enjoy!

The Teacher Cooks

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Filed under easy, healthy, quick, Recipes, Salad, salad dressing

SUGAR COMA!!!!!

Saturday I participated in one of a series of swanky soirees presented by The Broke Socialite.  It was so much fun!  I love doing this kind of thing.  I guess that is why I do what I do!

As a Family and Consumer Science teacher (aka Home Economics teacher) I have participated in every kind of tour.  This is just a short list:  fabric plants, cookware plants, all kinds of restaurants including kitchen tours of Joel in Atlanta and Sensi at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, culinary schools,  Julia Child’s kitchen,  all kinds of homes from the Old Governor’s Mansion, Swan House and  the Haye House.  I have had high tea at the Ritz Carlton and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. To get my point across I have done my share of tours and this one was about the most fun I have ever had.

We started out early at 8:30!  We got our assignments to a brand spanking new Cadillac SRX  driven by @Chatterbox.  She was a wonderful driver entertaining us the entire morning.

Our first stop was No Mas Cantina for a wonderful breakfast buffet served with our choice of drink.  I chose the Mexican Hot Chocolate which was smooth and creamy and delicious.  Here are a couple of photos of what we enjoyed at No Mas Cantina.

Potatoes, Eggs over easy and Beans with Salsa

It was so good!

This is Helen writer of Sweet Tartlette.  She is a pastry chef from France and  she  enjoyed the Sugar Coma, also.   Check her blog out. Her photography is beautiful.  I really enjoyed talking with her.  Very sweet and ready to help anyone out.

Our second shop was Cacao Atlanta.  On my!  When I walked into the shop the chocolate aroma was heavenly.  We got to sample their Hot Chocolate which was by far the best that I have even had topped with homemade marshmallows.  I thought that I had died and gone to heaven.  Take a look at all the chocolate.  And another thing, Kristin knows chocolate!

Just feast your eyes on this place.  Joli Kobe had the most magnificent pastries and cakes waiting for us when we walked in the door.  Drool a bit over these.

Look at the detail here!

Now it has started to rain but just because we are in a Sugar Coma doesn’t mean we are going to melt.  We are just getting started.  We have two more stops then lunch.

This is the Cookie Studio.  It is a cute little bakery with the kitchen out there for everyone to see.  I loved this place.  It so reminded me of the bakery where I grew up and spent almost every day after school trying to decide between the cream horns or the butter cookies for a snack. One thing that happened while we were there that I thought was funny.  This older gentleman came in to pick up a beautifully wrapped package of cookies and looking around at the twenty four of us and said to me ” What in the world is going on here.”  And I said, ” We are participating in a Sugar Coma!”  I wish I had a picture of his face.  He said , “OK.”  Took his cookies and left.

Here is the menu above the cash register

Our last stop was also a cute bakery called Sweet N’Sinful.  The owner had prepared lots of her cupcakes in miniature form just for us to taste.  Of course she knew this was the last leg of our tour and we could be in a Sugar Coma!  She had to go boxes which all of us quickly filled!  Here are some more droolable ( is that a word?) photos.

We then traveled to Le Fai Do Do for lunch catered by Black Tie Barbecue.  It was fabulous!!  Even after tasting all the wonderful sweets all morning  I can say it was one of the best catered lunches I have had.  For starters we had a spring salad with strawberries and candied pecans with a wonderful dressing.  Black Tie grilled two main dishes chicken and salmon fillets.  My favorite was the salmon.  Side dishes of rice pilaf and the most wonderful bok choy that I have ever tasted.  It was to die for!!!

So that was my Sugar Coma.  It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.

Enjoy your cooking,

The Teacher Cooks

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Filed under Bar Cookies, Cake, Candy, Cookies, Cupcakes, Desserts, suger coma

Tuna Salad with Pasta

On any given day you’re in a rush, right?  Need a very easy and quick meal that you can make from staples found in your pantry?  There is no excuse to order pizza out.  It is expensive and calorie laden.   Here is the answer – pasta salad.   Most anything added to pasta will make a  good meal.  Another good point about pasta is that most people who can boil water can do pasta.  So in the time that it will take you to boil water plus another 10 minutes dinner can then be served.    

Pasta does not always have to  come with a sauce that takes time to make.     Just a little oil, seasonings, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry,or beans in any combination will work.  You can’t get any easier than that!  Be creative!  If you don’t trust your creativity check out the recipes on the pasta boxes.  I have found most of them  very good.    

Tuna salad with pasta  is a standby in my house. Start with just a tuna salad.  I love this and often have it along side a tossed salad and Italian dressing.  The Athlete prefers a Panini which is very good with Havarti cheese with dill.  Yummy!       

Bring the water to boil and then put in pasta.  Cook according to directions on the box.  Now assemble the tuna.   This is what I use:   

Mayonnaise, Sliced green olives, Pasta shells, dill relish, Tuna, mustard

Tuna Salad with Pasta   

  • 2 cups of uncooked pasta shells ( or pasta of choice)
  • 12 oz. can of Solid White Albacore Tuna- drained
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of dill relish
  • 1/4 cup sliced green olives
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon of mayonnaise ( you could need a little more depending on amount of liquid added with pickles and olives) 
  •  2 cups of pasta shells according to directions.  Drain.

   

Mix drained tuna with the remaining ingredients and stir in the  hot pasta.  Enjoy right out of the bowl or wait and serve with crisp greens or a side salad. Serves 4   

Enjoy Cooking,   

The Teacher Cooks

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Filed under Cooking, easy, healthy, pasta, quick, Recipes, Salad, Tuna