Purple Kitchen Treats

Over the past few years, I have been working on a cookbook. During this time, I took time off to finish my Master's Degree. Now that I have accomplished that, I am working again on my cookbook, slowly but surely.

However, over the past few months, something interesting has happened...I have received multiple requests for baked goods, particularly my cookies. I am also receiving multiple requests for granola. So, with all these requests in mind, I have started to make my cookies for sale, along with my granola.

My official web site is available, but will be undergoing a significant redesign. Be sure to visit my "official" web site at: http://www.susanshonk.com and watch for some exciting changes.

From the heart of my purple kitchen to you,

Friday, February 18, 2011

365 in 365 - Comment

I owe, I owe, so it's off to the kitchen I go...

I have been so busy at my "full time job" and have not had much time to work on my recipes.  But I am focused and will be back in the kitchen very soon.  I miss cooking and relaxing in the kitchen.  I am planning a pilgrimage to the Grapevine Olive Oil Company tomorrow and that always inspires me.  I can hardly wait to taste the oils and vinegars and to bring a few home to cook with.

I will be posting recipes again very soon and will be back on schedule with this project.

Thank you to all who visit my blog...you are appreciated!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

365 in 365 - #36 - Poblano, Onion & Chicken Quesadillas

Jason came home from work today and was STARVING.....I came in from school about the same time and was very hungry.  Jason was eating chips and salsa, so I had to think of something quick for lunch.  Since we simply love quesadillas, and know how quick they can be, I went hunting in the fridge.   Luckily, I had the fixin's for one of our favorites...poblano and onion.  In order to give the quesadillas more body, I added a rotisserie chicken that I shredded.

Now, I always have a chicken in the house....this is what we feed our cats instead of canned food.  They also get cooked fish, steak or pork tenderloin.  I know...I KNOW....our house is run exclusively for the convenience of the cats.

Anywho....for a change in the cheese mixture that I typically use (finely shredded Mexican cheese blend with finely shredded mozzarella), I grated 1 cup of Colby Jack that was riddled with jalapenos, chipotle and habanero peppers....and yes...I at them too.

So, here is a very simple and very fast lunch or dinner item.  Ooo, one other thing, this is also great for a crowd and is very budget friendly.  This will feed 8 people if you include a side dish and dessert.

1 package of burrito size flour tortillas (I think 8 come in a package)  My favorite brand of readily available tortillas is Mission.  However....I have been known to make my own tortillas and jazz them up with peppers and seasoning.
Sour cream
1 package finely shredded mexican blend cheese mixed with 1 package finely shredded mozzarella cheese.  If you like a bit more spice, you can use pepper jack instead of the Mexican blend.  However, i encourage you to try the Colby jack cheese that has jalapenos, chipotle and habaneros in it....it really is not too hot to eat.
1 rotissery chicken, meat off the bone and shredded
6 poblano peppers, diced
1 very large onion diced
1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper and ground cumin
4 tablespoons of oil

In a large non-stick skillet or Dutch oven over a medium heat, place the oil, onions and poblanos.  Cook for about 15 minuets, stirring occasionally.
Add the chicken and seasoning and heat through
Lay out the flour tortillas and spread each with about 1 - 2 tablespoons sour cream
Sprinkle with the cheese (use a good hand full of cheese for each quesadilla)
Add about 1 cup of the pepper, onion and chicken mix and fold the quesadillas in half

Heat a griddle pan on medium low until hot
Spray with cooking spray and place 3 quesadillas on the pan, or whatever fits comfortably
Cook until golden brown on one side
Use a pair of tongs and grab hold of the open side of the quesadilla and turn over to cook on the other side until golden brown.

Cut each quesadilla into 3 pie shaped wedges and dig in.....you know you want to.

I serve these with fresh diced tomatoes sprinkled with salt and pepper only.  They add a cool touch to the heat of the cheese and peppers

I would love to hear how you like this quick and simple dish.


Monday, February 7, 2011

365 in 365 - #35 - Ginger Pancakes with Peach Sauce

My mom got this recipe from a friend named Kathy when I was in my mid 20's.  I can't remember Kathy's last name or I would happily give her credit for it.  If you like ginger, you will like these.  The flavor is warm and has a little "bite" to it.  Served with the peach sauce, they are sweet, savory and delicious.

Ginger Pancakes With Peach Sauce

1 ½ cups flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 TBSP oil
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
1 extra large egg, beaten

Combine the dry ingredients and stir.  Combine the wet ingredients separately from the dry ingredients and stir

Then, combine all ingredients together and stir until just combined.  Do not stir the batter until it is smooth or you will get a tough pancake.  Cook on a greased griddle as usual.

Peach Sauce

At home, my mom used to serve the pancakes with peach jam.  Jam tends to be a bit sweet for my taste and I don't particularly care for the texture.  I am the one who takes the jam or jelly out of the jar and mixes the dickens out of it until it becomes soft and spreadable.  I wanted to have a much softer texture, somewhere between a syrup and a jam.  So, I decided to try using canned peaches, which worked out surprisingly well.

2 large cans of cling peaches, juice and all, diced
Place in a 2 quart sauce pan and turn the burner on low and bring to a simmer
Mix 1 tbsp corn starch with 1 tbsp water and add to the hot peaches.
Add ¼ cup minced crystallized ginger and stir until slightly thickened

I will be interested to hear how you like these pancakes and the sauce.


365 in 365 - #34 - Blueberry Coffee Cake

From the time I was a very little girl, my mom made this coffee cake when blueberries were at their peak.  This was my dad's most favorite treat, well next to my mom's hermits, pumpkin bread and pumpkin cake...anyway...when my mom would bake this, our whole house would smell of blueberries and nutmeg.  As I got a little bit older, my friends and I discovered a great blueberry patch at the reservoir and I would go pick blueberries just for this cake.  Sometimes, I think about going back to see if the blueberries are still there, but I don;t get back "home" very often.  Each time I make this cake, I make it in my mom's original angel food pan, yes...even after all these years.

Ruthie’s Blueberry Coffee Cake

2 cups all purpose flour, plus 2 TBSP
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt 2/3 cup granulated sugar

4 TBSP butter, melted
4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and drained with the debris picked out.  

¾ cup milk
2 large eggs, beaten

For the topping:
3 TBSP sugar mixed with ½ tsp nutmeg

Buttered or greased Angel Food pan

Heat the oven to 350`, use the middle rack.

Toss the blueberries with 2 tbsp of flour being very careful not to break the berries.  If fresh blueberries are not available, you can substitute 2 cups dried blueberries and toss them with flour as well.

Place the flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl and stir to mix.  No need to sift.  Combine the milk, eggs and butter and add to dry ingredients.  Fold together until just mixed, then very gently, fold in the blueberries.

Gently spread the batter into the angel food pan, sprinkle with the sugar and nutmeg.  Bake for approx 45 to 60 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from the pan.

This recipe also makes a fabulous muffin, just adjust the baking time.

This is a wonderful blueberry cake recipe that works well for a spring or summer party.  Serve with whipped cream and a few sliced strawberries, and you will have a great treat for the 4th of July holiday. 

Nostalgic Red, White & Blue.  

I know you will enjoy this cake.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

365 in 365 - #33 - Irish Bread

This is one of those recipes that takes me back to my childhood every time I make it.  Mom always made this for St. Patty's Day and occasionally throughout the rest of the year.  This was one of her personal favorites.  Not everyone likes the flavor of caraway seeds, so you can leave them out, if you like.  I'm thinking of using the base and substituting dried pears and cardamom....that sounds sooo very yummy to me.  OOOOO - and pear butter to go with......I'll let y'all know how that turns out.

This bread is not cake like, it is more bread-like than other quick bread recipes that you may find.  It is also not very sweet, so it works as either a slightly sweet treat or as a side to go with lunch or dinner.   I serve this warm, either plain or with butter.   

Irish Bread

3 cups of flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
1 cup mixed raisins – dark and light
2 tbsp cold butter, diced
1 egg beaten
1 ¼ cups milk
1 ½ tsp caraway seeds

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  
Blend in butter with a pastry blender
Add remaining ingredients and mix by hand

Grease and flour an oversized loaf pan.  If you double the recipe, this will make three 5 X 7 loaves and will freeze very well.  

Bake at 375’ for 50 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the bread comes out clean.

It also makes great muffins and works well for "tea" or as an afternoon snack.

I hope y'all enjoy!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

365 in 365 - #30, #31, #32

OH MY......I have to play catch-up with recipes!!  Here is a quick catch-up with some favorites.

#30 - Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Now, there are a couple of ways that this can be done.  A true Redneck (and I mean this with all the love in my heart) would take fresh strawberries, cut them up and put them in a bowl and pour on the canned chocolate syrup.  I have to admit....I have actually done this in the past and served the strawberries and chocolate syrup over ice cream.  And yes, this does come in handy for a crowd, and yes....I still do this on occasion, but PLEASE, for the love of all that is sacred to chocolate, don't tell anyone...

Now, for the real kind of chocolate covered strawberries.

1 pint of strawberries
Parchment paper (about 18 inches)
Wash and dry the strawberries
In a microwave proof bowl, add 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and melt very gently in 10 second increments in the microwave, stirring after each turn in the microwave.  this will take you several attempts, but it will work nicely and the chocolate son't seize on you.

Dip the strawberries in the chocolate by their "green thingy" and gently roll to cover, set on the parchment paper to dry and let the chocolate firm up.

This chocolate will not form a hard shell...it will be soft and smooth.

#31 - Peanut Butter Logs
When I was a kid in (I think) junior high, a friend's mom had us make these and I have never seen them since and I loved them. I remembered this when I was considering a store-bought pound cake versus making my own and happened to look down and see a jar of peanut butter in my shopping cart.

1 pound cake with the top cut off so that it is in the shape of a rectangle, then cut into 1 inch by 3 inch logs.
3 cups chopped peanuts (approximately)
Peanut butter, your favorite will do, but I should caution you that crunchy peanut butter does not work as well as smooth.
Cover all sides of the pound cake with peanut butter and roll in the chopped peanuts.

This gets a bit messy and is a great, kid-friendly activity....just break out a drop cloth and all will be fine.

#32 - Sauteed Spinach and Shallots
2 lbs of baby spinach leaves, washed and draineed (they cook down quite a bit)
6 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
4 tbsp of olive oil
4 tbsp butter
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp pepper
½ tsp nutmeg

In a large skillet, sauté the shallots in the butter and oil until browned
Add the spinach into the skillet and sauté until wilted
Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper, stir and serve

Nutmeg and spinach is simply wonderful together, but just a touch so you get the hint or essence of the spice.

On another note, y'all may have noticed that I just LOVE caramelized shallots and caramelized onions.

Please enjoy!!!