Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge-Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

I was VERY excited about this challenge. Strudel is always something I've enjoyed eating but for some reason thought it was far too difficult to attempt on my own. Boy was I WRONG....this recipe was sooo easy and the end result was fantastic! I decided to make 1 batch of dough but split it into 2 strudels, one with the traditional apple filling and the other with a cherry cheese filling. They were both sumblime! This was a great challenge and the strudel dough recipe is one I plan on using again and again. Thanks Linda and Courtney!

Strudel dough after mixing all ingredients:

Dough oiled and ready for a rest:

First piece stretched out as far as I could:
Fresh breadcrumb application: Apple filling (I cooked the filling on the stove first just to make sure the apples wouldn't be hard) Cherry cheese filling:
Rolled and ready for the oven:

Final product:

Don't they look good!
Apple Strudel with Cognac infused Creme Anglais:

Apple strudelfrom “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)
1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl. 2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.
3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.
4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.
5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel doughfrom “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers
1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.
2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).
3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.
4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lasagna Greek Style

No, I'm not Greek but I love their version of lasagna. While this recipe is a fair amount of work and be prepared to wash lots of dishes afterwards, it's a labour of love and your loved ones will thank you for it. I usually make the meat sauce the day before assembling this dish, that way it's not as long a process. This recipe makes a lot, I usually get one 9x13 pan and one slightly smaller oval casserole dish out of 1 batch, so it would be great to serve a crowd, or you could freeze cooked serving sized portions for those nights you just don't feel like cooking.

Serves 10-12

Meat Sauce Ingredients:
Enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of a large pot
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 16 ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two

Meat sauce:

Pasta Ingredients:
1 lbs penne
8 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups whole milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup grated romano or parmesean cheese

Pasta:Bechamel Sauce Ingredients:

6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
1/2 lbs grated romano or parmesean cheese, divided

Bechamel Sauce:Directions:

-For the meat sauce, put some olive oil in a large pot, saute onion until lightly browned, add garlic, add meat and cook until brown, crumbling with a fork, add remaining meat sauce ingredients to skillet, mix well, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thick, let mixture cook, remove and discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
-Prepare pasta by boiling until al dente in plenty of boiling, salted water, drain and place pasta in a large bowl, add butter, milk, eggs and 1/2 cup cheese, gently stir to coat, set aside.
-To prepare bechamel sauce, melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan, stir in flour until smooth, cook whisking for 2 minutes, gradually add milk, stirring until thickened, lower heat, add salt pepper and nutmeg, remove from heat.
-In a medium sized bowl, beat 3 eggs, slowly add hot cream sauce to eggs, stir thoroughly so eggs don't curdle.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a large baking pan.
-Empty 1/2 of the penne mixture over bottom of pan, cover evenly with all of the meat sauce, sprinkle 1/3 of the cheese over meat sauce, add remaining penne mixture, spreading evenly, sprinkle another 1/3 of the cheese over top, pour bechamel sauce evenly over entire casserole, top with remaining cheese.
-Bake until bechamel sauce sets and has golden brown patches across top, 45 minutes-1 hour.
-Cool at least 20 minutes before cutting into pieces for serving.

Everything lined up and ready for assembly:

Assembled and ready to go into the oven:

Just out of the oven:

Crostini Anyone??

This is a simple snappy little snack or appetizer that we just love. There's something about oven roasted tomatoes paired with creamy goat cheese on a crusty piece of bread. Everyone I've served these to loves them and they're a great make ahead if you're having a party.

Oven Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini
Makes 24 crostini


12 plum tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

3 cloves of garlic minced

Chiffonade of Fresh Basil

1 Large French Stick, sliced into 24 rounds

1 lbs Soft Goat Cheese at room temperature


-Preheat oven to 425 degrees

-Quarter plum tomatoes and toss in a bowl with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper.

-Spread tomatoes on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

-Roast tomatoes for 35-40 minutes, remove from oven and let cool completely.

-Spread softened goat cheese on each french bread round.

-Place 2 pieces of sliced roasted tomato on the goat cheese and top with a sprinkling of basil.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Granola Bars

I love homemade granola bars. I like knowing exactly what I'm eating instead of something prepackaged, plus these are so much tastier than the ones you get at the grocery store. You could use whatever dried fruit you like in these, and they go great with your morning coffee!

The Barefoot Contessa's Granola Bars
makes 12 to 16 bars

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (I like large flaked)
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x12 inch baking dish and line with parchment paper.
-Toss oatmeal, almonds and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
-Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
-Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
-Place butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture.
-Add dates, apricots and cranberries and stir well.
-Pour mixture into prepared pan and press evenly.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown.
-Cool for at least 3 hours before cutting into squares.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Long Weekend...

Well, it's the first official long weekend of summer and of course in typical Canadian fashion the weather stinks but that didn't stop me from getting hubby to fire up the grill! I NEVER buy pre-made hamburgers, or what I refer to as "sawdust" burgers or "hockey pucks"; I'm sorry but they are the most flavourless things I've ever had in my life and when they come off the barbecue most times they resemble in both flavour and appearance a piece of cardboard. Okay, that's enough ranting for one post :) Needless to say, I make my own burgers and today I was feeling adventurous and I needed an excuse to use my fancy new mandolin so to accompany my burgers I made home made potato chips. The weather may not be cooperating but DH still enjoyed his homemade burger and potato chips!

Hamburgers with Garlic Butter
Serves 8-10 (depending on how big you want your burger)

3 pounds of lean ground beef
3 tablespoons HP Steak Sauce
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoons black pepper
4 tablespoons garlic butter


-In a large bowl gently mix the ground beef, steak sauce, egg yolks, salt and pepper.
-Form hamburgers into patties.
-Press a thin slice of garlic butter into the top of each hamburger, making sure the meat entirely encases the butter.
-Refrigerate formed burgers for 30 minutes before grilling.

8 beautiful burgers ready for the grill:

Potato Chips
Serves 4

3 large russet potatoes
3 litres of Canola Oil
Kosher salt to taste

-Scrub potatoes but do not peel.
-Thinly slice potato (a mandolin works great for this).
-Heat oil in large heavy bottomed stock pot to 375 degrees.
-Add sliced potatoes in batches to oil and fry a couple minutes or until nicely browned.
-Once chips are golden brown, remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain excess oil on paper towels.
-Season hot chips with kosher salt to taste.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Daring Cooks 1st Challenge!!

I've recently become a member of The Daring Kitchen, it's an online group that have monthly baking/cooking challenges. May was the first month for our Daring Cooks Challenge and the hosts Ivonne and Lis decided on Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi. I've made Potato Gnocchi before but never Ricotta so I was excited to give it a go.
This was the Gnocchi recipe we were given to follow Ricotta Gnocchi but we were given free reign when it came to the sauces/flavourings we decided on serving it with. I decided on Ricotta Gnocchi served with Shrimp a la Vodka. See the end of post for the sauce recipe.

As the recipe suggests I used fresh ricotta which I drained overnight in the fridge:This is the "watery" residue leftover after the ricotta drained in the fridge overnight:
Ball of "dry" ricotta:
All ingredients in bowl, getting ready to be mixed:
Everything mixed and ready to start "forming" my gnocchi:
Rolling the formed gnocchi in the flour:

My first "sample" Ricotta Gnocchi:
All rolled and ready to go:
Big pot of boiling gnocchi:

The finished product Ricotta Gnocchi with Shrimps a la Vodka, served with garlic bread and tomatoe-mozzerella stacks on the side:

This was a fun challenge, not too difficult and something different than what I've made before. I think I would choose potato gnocchi over ricotta if I had to make them again. I found the ricotta gnocchi had a mushier texture and were very delicate. Overall it was a great first challenge and one that I would say was a success! Can't wait to see what next month's challenge brings.

Shrimps ala Vodka
Serves 4

1 lbs large shrimp (raw) peeled and deveined
1 large white onion diced
1/2 cup vodka (doesn't have to be top shelf)
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
32 oz tomatoe puree
1-2 tablespoons of tomatoe paste
Italian seasoning to taste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
freshly grated parmesean cheese (to taste)
fresh basil (to taste)
salt & pepper (to taste)


1. Melt unsalted butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Once butter has melted add diced onion, saute diced onion until translucent.

2. Add vodka to sauteed onions and let vodka reduce for about 5 minutes.

3. Add tomatoe puree, tomatoe paste and italian seasoning to vodka/onion mixture, let simmer for approximatley 45 minutes stirring occasionially.

4. While sauce is simmering, sautee shrimp in a large pan with a bit of olive oil. Cook shrimp until pink.

5. When sauce is done simmering (after about 45 minutes) add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and stir to combine, once sauce is a light pink colour add cooked shrimp.

6. Serve sauce over cooked pasta, garnish with fresh grated parmesean cheese, a chiffonade of basil and salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

When it comes to my culinary creations, my Mother is my biggest support and fan. She will try everything I make and is always very encouraging. I think I inherited my cooking/baking gene from her, while she doesn't do a lot of baking now, mainly because I do enough to keep her fridge and freezer stocked for months but when I was growing up I remember her in the kitchen baking and cooking. We always had a home cooked meal every night, even though she worked full time. In the "take out" society we now live in I thank my Mother for instilling in me the value and importance of a home cooked meal and even though I do not have children, I make sure my husband and I enjoy a hot home cooked meal; don't get me wrong once in a while "take out" is okay, but nothing beats homemade.

In honor of Mother's Day this year I decided to make this beautiful strawberry cake from a blog that I frequent Good Things Catered. While mine didn't turn out exactly like Katie's and kind of ended up looking like something out of a Flinstone's episode, the taste more than made up for the aesthetics of it. It was my first time attempting to make my own lady fingers and trying to pipe them somewhat similar in size was a bit of a challenge for me, as you can see by my photo, which by the way is also not the best picture since I remembered to snap a shot of the cake while I was in my garage getting ready to load it into the car and take it to my mothers. I did make a couple changes to Katie's original recipe which you can find on her blog, so I will post my adapted version here. Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Joy of Baking

1 c. cake flour, sifted
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
10 Tbsp granulated white sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
6 Tbsp granulated white sugar

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment.
-In bowl of stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, add egg yolk and 2 Tbsp sugar.
-Beat on high until light yellow in color and when paddle is take out of mixture, soft ribbons form, about 10 minutes.
-Beat in vanilla.
-Remove bowl from mixer and sift flour over top of mixture(but do not fold in) and set aside.
-Using clean mixer bowl and cleaned paddle attachment, beat egg whites until foamy, then add cream of tartar.
-Beat until soft peaks form and add sugar.
-Keep beating until stiff peaks form.-Scrape egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture bowl and carefully fold flour and egg mixtures together.
-Place into pastry bags and pipe onto lined baking sheets.
-Place into oven and bake for 9-10 minutes.-Remove promptly and let cool.
-Serve or put lady fingers to use immediately or freeze to store (they go stale very fast).

Lady Strawberry Cake
Adapted from
Good Things Catered
2 1/4 c. cake flour
3/4 c. strawberry puree, room temperature (homemade or you can find store bought in form of a good quality strawberry daiquiri mix as well)
1/4 c. milk , at room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened (not melted)

Whipped Strawberry filling:
1 cup whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup diced strawberries
Icing sugar to taste

Buttercream frosting:
1/2 c. shortening
½ c. unsalted butter
8 Tbsp milk, divided
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tiny pinch of salt
2 c. fresh strawberries
1 batch ladyfingers, piped about 3 1/2 - 4 inches in length

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Line bottom of two 8 inch pans with parchment paper and spray inside with baking spray (I use Wiltons)
-In small bowl, combine strawberry puree, milk, egg, vanilla and whisk until combined well.-In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine.
-Continue beating at slow speed and add butter.
-Mix until combined and mixture resembles moist crumbs.
-Add liquid ingredients and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined.
-Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds.
-Divide the batter evenly among pans and smooth tops.
-Place pans into oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.
-Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks.
-Let cakes cool completely, about 2 hours.
-To make strawberry whipped filling: in bowl of stand mixer, beat whipping cream with vanilla extract until thick, add icing sugar to taste, fold in diced strawberries.
-To make buttercream: in bowl of stand mixture add shortening, unsalted butter, 4 Tbsp milk and vanilla.
-Stir on low, occasionally scraping down paddle and sides, to combine -- this takes a few minutes. Be patient and do now beat faster than the low setting or you will add air to the buttercream.
-Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine powdered sugar and salt and whisk to combine.
-Once shortening mixture is relatively homogeneous, add sugar mixture and stir on low to combine. You will probably need to scrape down the bowl and paddle a few times here. Again, do not increase mixing speed.
-Slowly add additional milk to obtain desired texture. You are looking for a classic thin consistency here.
-When cakes are cooled, level tops.
-Fill first layer of cake with whipped strawberry filling.
-Top strawberry layer with second cake.-Remove tops from strawberries and slice all but one small strawberry (which you will keep whole)-Dollop about 3/4 of the buttercream mixture onto the top of the cake and using a spatula, spread icing over the top and down the sides.
-Use additional frosting to ice the sides and fix any mistakes.
-Place lady fingers around the sides of the cake, pressing lightly into the buttercream to stabilize.
-Cut a piece of ribbon, if desired, and tie a bow to decorate.
-Working from the outside in, lay remaining strawberry slices in concentric circles on the top of the cake until you reach the middle.
-Place the one small whole strawberry in the middle and serve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cake Decorating

A couple years ago my Mom bought me some cake decorating classes for Christmas. I had never decorated a cake before other than slapping some frosting on cupcakes so I thought I would give it a try. I ended up really enjoying my first session and decided to take all the courses offered. Below is a collection of some of the cakes I've made over the past 2 years for family and close friends. I doubt I will ever get a job offer from the Ace of Cakes but it's a fun hobby and something I really enjoy doing.

A birthday cake for Mom:

Pumpkin Cake for Halloween:

Carrot Cake:

Anniversary cake for my Mom & Dad:

50th Anniversary Cake for the in-laws:

Princess Castle Cake for DH's Niece:

Quickie birthday cake for DH:

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake

I love Ina Garten, I have all her books and think her recipes are fantastic!! I love the way her use of simple ingredients and pretty basic cooking methods result in a delicious end result every time. I had a bunch of lemons and a pint of blueberries that I needed to use up so I decided to use the Barefoot's recipe for basic Lemon Pound Cake and adapt it into my own (not all that creative) version of Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake. The result was a moist lemony cake with big beautiful blueberries strewn throughout and topped with a tangy lemon glaze. If you do decide to make this and you are making it in a bundt pan make sure you use lots of baking spray or grease and flour the pans VERY WELL because this cake does tend to stick.

Lemon Blueberry Pound Cake
adapted from Ina Garten

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pint blueberries fresh or frozen

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans or a 12 cup bundt pan. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

2. Cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine the lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Fold in blueberries. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean. When the cakes are done allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out and set them on a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

3. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

My new addiction....

Like my type "A" OCD personality needs another thing to get addicted to I've come to LOVE reading other people's food blogs and finding new and interesting recipes to's become somewhat of an obsession of mine. There are so many fabulous chef's out there and so many great recipes to pick from. I only wish there was more time in the day and more people in my house to cook for since it's only my DH and I and our cat at home and the cat is perfectly content with his kitty crunchies from the store. Anyways, last week while perusing food blogs when I should have been working (but we won't tell anyone) this particular recipe caught my eye since my DH loves loaded baked potatoes. They were certainly a hit with the hubby and I will definitely be making them again, I think they would be a great addition to a casual outdoor BBQ party as an appetizer or something for the guys to nibble on while they're watching the big Sunday afternoon game.

Southwestern Potatoes
Good Eats 'n Sweet Treats

1 package bacon bits, or 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 unpeeled large potatoes, scrubbed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 sour cream, optional (for dipping)

Line 2 large baking sheets with foil and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Toss the potatoes, olive oil, garlic salt and pepper in a big ziploc bag to coat the potatoes.

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes.

Brush with barbecue sauce, then top with the shredded cheese and bacon bits. Bake until the cheese melts, about 3-5 minutes. Top with sour cream, if desired.
Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Apples & Cinnamon

I love any type of apple dessert...there's something so comforting about an apple crisp or apple pie baking in the oven just waiting for a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. So since I love apple desserts but wasn't really in the mood for pie or crisp I decided to make Cinnamon Sugar Coated Maple Apple Cakes by Donna Hay. They turned out well, kind of like a sugar coated doughnut without the frying. If you do decide to make them they really only keep their crunchy-sugary coating on them for about a day before the sugar seeps into the cake and becomes nonexistent.