Wednesday, September 25, 2013

maple-cornmeal drop biscuits

Hello.  My name is Jen, and I'm a carb-aholic.  I have been for over 30 years, and I am nowhere near recovery.  I'm also a Fall-aholic, and... well... you put those two things together, and everything within you says, "Make the Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits."

Seriously.  Doesn't the name just pull you in?  Especially on those crisp, cool days when you have nothing but time and a cup of stone ground corn meal to spare?

I am not kidding when I say I have fallen in love with my newest cookbook.  The title stole my heart.  Baking from My Home to Yours.  Are you kidding?  Passing it up was not an option. And just as a warning.  Amazon is bad.  Really bad.  Specifically, the "one-click" purchase setting.  If your will-power is less than stellar like mine, two words for you.  

Stay.  Away.

But, I digress.  

Regarding this recipe, these biscuits are easy as can be.  There is no holding your mouth just right to get them to work.  They're tender, yet substantial.  They're slightly sweet and marvelous with a pat of butter or drizzle of honey only.  And as an aside, parchment paper is not necessary if you don't have any.  A buttered baking sheet works just fine.

Fall is official, dear readers, so the Lazy Daisy Kitchen is hopping.  Between now and December, it's full throttle!

Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
makes one dozen
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp cold, unsalted butter, cut in 12 equal pieces
  • 1/2 cup cold, whole milk
  • 1/4 cup pure, maple syrup
~ Center rack in oven and preheat to 425 degrees.

~ Line baking sheet with parchment paper or butter surface thoroughly.

~ Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and soda in bowl.  

~ Drop in the butter, and using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces with flour. 

~ Quickly, with your fingertips or pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry
    ingredients until the mixture is pebbly.  

~ Stir together the syrup and milk in a separate bowl and pour over the dry ingredients.

~ With a fork, incorporate the liquid until it's just mixed in with the dry mixture and you
    have a very soft dough.  Do not over-mix.  It should look like this:

~ With a tablespoon, drop twelve scoops of dough onto prepared sheet and bake 15 
    minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

Friday, September 20, 2013

high five for friday

I'm longing for the day that I get on to blog and have a new house to announce.  The next few High Five for Friday's, I'm going to be crossing my fingers that one of the five "highs" is a new home for the fam.  

But until then, this is what I have to celebrate.  And, truth be told, I wouldn't change a thing.

High Five for Friday!

1. I had one of the most unexpected surprises from my dear co-workers that included this bracelet with my two favorite words in the world.  I can't even imagine life without my sweet friends.  And if you can't imagine life without a bracelet like this, visit Lenny & Eva.  Beautiful.

2. After nine years, John has returned to Mustang football and Lipscomb.  With a 4 and 0 season so far, the Mustang stampede can't be stopped.  Man, I love this game.

3. Daniel is full-throttle football, and loves to turn up his jets on the field.  A Colt today, a Mustang tomorrow.  Needless to say, our blood runs purple and gold.

4. I'm not big on doing too much stuff for the sake of "looking younger," but I do want my makeup to stay put after I've taken the time to put it on.  I've tried a lot of primers, and even though this doesn't advertise itself as such, it acts just like one.  I wouldn't be without it!

5. One of those unique, fun gifts from the cool toy section at Cracker Barrell, these drinking straw "glasses" have given us a ton of laughs.  And, yes.  I'm certain we're breaking every table manner rule in the book.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

cooking light, cooking right - chicken and wild rice salad with almonds

A slight preview of Fall definitely made its way through Middle Tennessee this last weekend. Saturday was one of the most beautiful we've had in a while.  Much cooler temps and great football from all of our teams made for a perfect day!

I have had this recipe dog-eared for months and months... maybe even years, at this point. Once I knew we were in for a more Autumn-like couple of days, I knew this dish would be up for preparation and review.  With it's blend of wild rice, cranberries, and almonds, it did not disappoint in the least. 

Don't let the time it requires to cook the rice keep you from doing this one.  You can just prep everything else while it's simmering.  It's not bad at all!  In fact, this makes such a large helping, it's worth every bit of work.  John and I have both had multiple meals off of it.  There are all kinds of flavors and textures happening, so I didn't tire of the leftovers one bit.

In other news, last night I made my first batch of Caramel Apple Granola for the season.  I can't believe it's already been a year since I gave that recipe a whirl (and heard angels sing, might I add).  The house smelled wonderful, but something happened to the caramel.  I'm thinking I didn't let the water/sugar mixture boil long enough, so shortly after the butter melted in with it, and I attempted to pour it into the oat/nut blend, it set up ultra-fast and wouldn't evenly coat.  

Well, shoot.  Now we have to eat caramelized buttered sugar bits, hiding among toasted oats and almonds, dusted with ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Life it so hard.  

Lesson of the night?  Sometimes a mess-up - especially in the kitchen - can be a very good thing.

one year ago: popie's jalapeƱo poppers

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad with Almonds
makes six servings

For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
Remaining ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted
  • 2 tbsp minced red onion
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cubed (I used a store-bought rotisserie variety... YUM!)
~ Place chicken broth, rice and butter in large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat, 
    cover, and simmer 45 minutes or until tender.

~ Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and garlic in a small bowl.  
    Gradually add oil, whisking continuously.  Cover and chill.

~ In a large bowl, stir together celery, carrots, cranberries, almonds, onion, and chicken.

~ When rice is tender, pour and spread out on cookie sheet to cool.  Add to the
    vegetable/chicken mixture and stir.

~ Add dressing to all and fully incorporate.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.

Monday, September 16, 2013

roasted tomato crostini

To those of you who might check the blog frequently for new posts, bless you for being patient with me.  We are no closer to finding a new house to move into, but we do finally feel like we have "found our groove," as John put it yesterday, in our current place.  At the very least, we know where socks and underwear now are!

I thought this was a perfect recipe to use up the last of Summer's tomato bounty.  It would be beautiful with a collection of heirlooms.  These are obviously perfect appetizers, but paired with a salad of some sort, they could certainly round out a nice garden lunch as well.

I have more to come, and no more waiting days upon days for it either.  I'm happy to say our temp-kitchen was cookin' over the weekend!

Have a great week!

Roasted Tomato Crostini
  • handful of cherry tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • garlic clove/s
  • thyme
  • kosher salt
  • brown sugar
  • crushed red pepper
  • ricotta cheese
  • favorite toasted bread
~ Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

~ Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place tomatoes on top.

~ Mince garlic and add to tomatoes.

~ Drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle a bit of salt, sugar, thyme and red 
    pepper flakes.  Stir around.

~ Roast in oven until tomatoes burst and garlic and tomatoes are tender, about 25-30

~ Remove from oven and smear toast with ricotta cheese.  Cover with tomato mixture and

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

banana blueberry "ice cream"

We are moved.  Barely.  It's been an exhausting week, but we were able to transfer sixteen years worth of stuff from one house, shed, and barn into another house half the size and a storage unit.  

Embarrassing.  That's the word that kept coming to mind this weekend, as we packed up every box at lightning speed to meet the requested departure deadline.  Embarrassing is how I describe the unexplainable need to have so much stuff I think we have to have just to live.  So little of it is actually necessary.  So much of it is just plain frivolous.  And so when we finally find our next home, we will take time to weed out, because I can't do what I just did again.  Well, let me rephrase that.  I won't do what I just did again.  

I.  Want.  Simple.

And speaking of simple, this recipe is good that way.  AND it's healthy.  AND it's delicious... I mean delicious.  I was wowed by the results, to say the least.

Do make sure to let this sit a few minutes before eating or serving.  It will help with the creaminess factor.  

If I were you, I'd go ahead and make a double-batch of this.  Considering my ice cream addiction, this is a marvelous frozen treat to keep in your freezer at the ready.  Cause we all know two scoops of Moose Tracks every night for a near 40-year old doesn't yield desirable results.

one year ago: Old Fashioned Cobbler

Banana and Blueberry "Ice Cream"
 makes 4 servings
  • 4 firm, ripe bananas, cut into chunks and frozen overnight
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • plash of heavy cream (optional)
~ Puree all ingredients in food processor, scraping down sides, until creamy.  
~ If freezing, let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit