Archive for March, 2009

Monte Cristo

I’ve had good Monte Cristos and I have had one spectacularly BAD Monte Cristo. My mom makes great ones, and I learned to make mine from her.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about them.

The bad one I had was battered and deep fried. It was *painful* to eat. Ugh, it makes my stomach hurt every time I think about that sandwich.

But mine is much lighter than a deep fried monstrosity.

Here is a recipe for one sandwich, feel free to multiply the ingredients to make more.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

2 slices bread
1 slice american cheese
deli turkey
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
pinch salt
1-2 tsp butter or margarine
maple syrup

Make a sandwich with american cheese and turkey (if you can’t figure that out without more detailed instruction, then I’m sorry, I can’t help you).


Mix the egg, milk, and salt in a shallow baking dish. Dip both sides of the sandwich in the mixture.


Heat butter over medium heat and place sandwich in pan. Cook, flipping at least once, until both sides are golden brown.

Serve with maple syrup.

Ready to eat


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S’mores cupcakes

This is not a perfect recipe. But it’s a great recipe to play with to make better. I’ll tell you what I did, then I’ll give you some untested suggestions.

S’mores Cupcakes

1/4 cup regular cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup boiling hot water
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
mini marshmallows
graham crackers, roughly broken

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly butter, or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a small bowl stir the boiling hot water and the cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
cocoa and boiling water

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
whisking the dry ingredients

Then in the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat only until incorporated.
creaming the butter and sugar

Then add the cooled cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full with batter, then add in a few mini marshmallows and some graham cracker pieces.
adding graham crackeradding marshmallows

Add a bit more batter, and spread to cover the graham crackers and marshmallows.

Bake for about 16-20 minutes or until risen, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean (if you insert the toothpick in a marshmallow, it will not come out clean).

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost with chocolate icing. Place a mini marshmallow on top, and run a lighter briefly over the tops to toast (you may have to blow out a few “marshmallow candles” in the process).

toasted marshmallow on topyummmmmm

Notes: So this is how I did the cupcakes. But when I do them again, here is my plan. I’m going to layer chocolate cupcake batter with big pieces of graham cracker. When they cook, the graham should get soft and meld with the cupcake. Then I’m going to top them with a marshmallow frosting, and sprinkle that with graham cracker crumbs and chocolate shavings. Mmmmmmm.

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Kentucky Hot Brown (sort of)

There are many different ways of making Kentucky Hot Brown. For the full run-down, check out the Wikipedia page on the subject. I did take a couple minor liberties with mine, but it’s my food and I’ll change it if I want to!

Growing up I used to get it at Annabelle’s in New Bern. I literally teared up when I went to the Annabelle’s in Asheville one time and they didn’t have it anymore.

This recipe serves six, but I actually cut it down last night to serve two, and that works just fine. I’ll leave the quantities in their original serve-six state.

Kentucky Hot Brown

6 T. Butter
3/4 c. All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/8 tsp. White pepper
1 1/2 c. Chicken or turkey broth
1 1/2 c. Milk
3/4 c. Parmesan cheese
12 slices Toasted bread
Sliced turkey
12 slices Tomato
12 slices Bacon, cooked
12 slices Provolone cheese

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Blend in flour; stirring until smooth. Stir in salt and pepper. Gradually add broth and milk. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Add grated cheese; simmer for about 8 minutes. Sauce will be quite thick.

Arrange 2 slices of toast on each of 6 oven-proof plates. Top each slice of toast with turkey slices, cover with sauce, then sprinkle with a little paprika. Top each with a slice of tomato and a slice of cooked bacon. Top each with a slice of Provolone.

Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly. Hot brown sandwich recipe serves 6.

with rouxwith tomato and bacontoppeddone!

You’ll notice that the pictures don’t show any turkey. Yeah, well… that’s because we were sitting down to eat, when I suddenly said, “I forgot the turkey!” So, umm, add the turkey.

I also used diced tomatoes and crumbled bacon, because that’s how I prefer things.

I don’t have any plates that I’m sure are oven proof, so I just baked in the pyrex and transferred.

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

I hate lettuce. I know that makes me un-American or something, but I hate lots of things that are quintessential American anyhow. I also hate beef. So there.

But I still like having a relatively healthy side dish to go with my food. And although sometimes a nice spinach salad fits the bill, sometimes that’s just not what I’m in the mood for.

So, with that in mind, I present to you:

Black Bean and Corn Salad

1 (15-oz.) can Black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. Frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 c. Green onion, chopped
3 Plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 c. Fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. Fresh basil, chopped
1 T. Lime juice
1 T. Olive oil
1/2-1 tsp. Sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

cutting green onionpretty tomatoescilantrobasil

Combine all ingredients and chill before serving. I’ve served this with Creamy Italian dressing in the past, and last night I served it with Light Cucumber Ranch, which was perfect for this salad. You don’t need very much dressing either.

salad on plate

Note: The cilantro is GREAT in this, but then again, I love cilantro. If you’re a hater, you could probably leave it out.

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Baked Brie x 2

I love warm brie with sweet things. For lunch yesterday I decided to make two variations of baked brie. The first was more savory, though it still included cranberry chutney. The second was more dessert like, with a honey maple sauce on top.

Baked Brie with Turkey and Cranberry Chutney & Brie with Honey Maple Sauce

Crescent roll dough
Good quality deli turkey
Cranberry chutney
Brie (I like the kind that comes in a container with no rind)
Maple Syrup

Brown sugar

Open up the crescent rolls and enjoy the loud pop.
Crescent rolls

Divide into four squares, instead of eight triangles.
Divide in four

Fold and roll out until you have a square with no seams.
Roll to get rid of seam

Place a spoonful of Brie on each square.

Working with the first two squares, place a spoonful of cranberry chutney.
Brie and cranberry chutney

Stack some deli turkey on top of the cranberry chutney.
Add turkey

Pull the corners of the pastry together. The picture doesn’t show you, but you also want to make sure to seal any openings very well. You don’t want your filling spilling everywhere.
More folding

With the other two squares, you want to spread out the Brie.
Sweeter brie roll

Fold the squares into thirds
Fold in thirds

Roll it up so it looks like a cinnamon roll.

Place all four rolls into a muffin pan and place in a 350 degree oven.
Muffin pan

In the meantime, add honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, and pecans to a small microwave safe dish.
HoneyBrown sugarmaple syruppecans

The rolls are done when they are a dark golden brown (start by cooking them the amount of time the crescent roll container says, and if they don’t look ready, add some more time). They actually need to be darker than how mine turned out, because mine were still a bit doughy in the middle. If they start getting too brown, and you don’t think they’re cooked through yet, you can loosely cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent further browning.

Place the rolls on a plate.

Heat the sauce in the microwave for about 10 seconds and pour over the brie-only rolls.



Note: You can also make these smaller and put them in a mini muffin pan.

This goes GREAT with thin slices of green apple.

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Chocolate frosting

This is going to be a frustrating recipe to write down, but I got a lot of compliments on it, so I at least want to give you the basic idea. The problem is that this frosting didn’t end up the same as how I had intended, because my original frosting wasn’t very good. But to fix the original I just added stuff without measuring.

Chocolate Frosting

1 bag Ghirardelli 60% cocoa chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter
powdered sugar

Place the chocolate chips in a heat-proof mixing bowl.

Heat the heavy cream, butter, and vanilla in a small sauce pan on the stove until it is simmering and very close to boiling.

Pour the hot cream mixture onto the chocolate chips and let sit for 1-2 minutes. Then using a scraper or spoon, slowly mix the chocolate and the cream until smooth.

Let cool at room temperature until completely cool.

Using an electric mixer beat the chocolate mixture on medium speed, adding powdered sugar 1-2 tablespoons at a time until it is the consistency and taste that you like.

You can just use a spoon, knife, or icing knife to spread onto cupcakes or cake. I attached a star icing tip to a ziploc bag and used that to pipe the icing- I find this to be easier than using a spoon or knife, and the results look better.

Cupcakes 3.26.09

Cupcakes 3.26.09

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I am generally a failure at cookies. I’m getting much better now, but there was a time when I had never successfully baked a cookie from scratch. They always ended up flat as pancakes and just not very good. Then it all changed with this little recipe.

I’ve used the base of this recipe for other cookies, too. My favorite alternate recipe is my Kitchen Sink Cookies, which is this base recipe plus whatever odds and ends of nuts and chips you have around. I think I used pecans, butterscotch, white chocolate, and chocolate chips.


1/2 c. Butter
3/4 c. White sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/4 c. All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
8 oz. White chocolate, chopped
1 (6.5 oz) jar or bag macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
Stir in the egg and vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture.
Finally, stir in the white chocolate and nuts.
Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until VERY lightly browned.
Cool on wire racks. When cool, store in an airtight container.

Note: When I say “very lightly browned” I really mean “VERY LIGHTLY.” You’re going to think these cookeis are under done. They’re not. You want just the slightest hint of golden around the edges, and the inside should still look very under done. They’ll firm up once they’re out of the oven.

mmmm cookies

more cookies.

i've eaten way too many of these

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