Tuesday, August 24, 2010

herb butter

I love to have herb butter on hand to mix in with sauted vegetables or on cooked chicken, fish or beef. It's great in or on any kind of potatoes too.
It is just softened butter with fresh herbs mixed in. So why make ahead and freeze? Well, fresh herbs are in abundance right now just outside my back door and so why not? Also, it's great to just slice some from the freezer and not have to make it each time I want some.

I do not have a recipe. I wash and chop basil, parsley and chives then keep adding softened butter till it is a good ratio of herbs to butter. If I am making it to use right away, I add salt and pepper as well as grate in some garlic. Then I don't add salt and pepper to the dish. For the freezer batch I prefer the more basic recipe.

I then scoop it on plastic wrap and form a log. Wrap it tight and place in freezer. I just chop off a chunk as needed.

butter tarts and fall :)

So the freezer is filling up with produce and herbs from my garden. Whole tomatoes waiting to be used in soup,stews, tomato paste and pizza sauce. Basil leaves in zip lock bags with just enough olive oil to coat them and prevent them from turning brown. Parsley leaves, again in zip bags but no oil, to use in soups and stocks etc over the winter. And lets not forget the pile of pesto. I freeze it in large 'plops' then place in zip bags to easily get just the amount needed. And now butter tarts. That can only mean one thing. Fall is fast approaching :)
I love summer, but mostly because it means fall is up next.

Growing up my mom was always baking something. For me, baking is just the means to the end.....yummy treats! So, yes, I "cheat" and buy tender flake tart shells.

Hope you enjoy these very easy to prepare butter tarts

12 (2 inch) unbaked tart shells
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisins

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2.Arrange tart shells on a baking sheet. Distribute raisins evenly into shells.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, shortening, egg, vanilla and salt. Mix until smooth, and pour over raisins in shells.

3.Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until done.
Be careful not to over bake. They should jiggle when you shake 'em......*GRIN* the butter tarts I mean.

Monday, August 23, 2010

taco spiced chicken

This recipe caught my attention on the Betty Crocker web site.

We had it tonight and sliced up the planned-overs to have next week on bbq chicken pizza. So they are in the freezer now waiting to be the star again.
Love that kind of dinner :)

2 tablespoons Old El Paso® taco seasoning mix (or use Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix)
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb)
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Heat gas or charcoal grill. In shallow bowl, mix taco seasoning mix and oregano. Brush chicken with oil; sprinkle with taco seasoning mixture.
Place chicken on grill over medium heat. Cover grill; cook 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut (170°F).
Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, mix barbecue sauce, chili sauce and cumin. Cover; microwave on High 30 to 60 seconds or until hot. Serve sauce over chicken.

Makes 4 servings

So, I put the taco seasoning and oregano mixture on the chicken in the morning and then placed it in the fridge till dinner. I also doubled the sauce mixture and put some aside to baste the chicken with while it was on the barbecue.
This was simple and flavourful. I will make it again.

peach and blueberry crisp

So I basically took my Grannies apple crisp recipe and played with it a bit.

Preheat oven to 450. Not a typo......just to get the topping yummy!

In a baking pan (8 or 9 inch square or 9x13 lasagna style pan) place
3lbs sliced fresh peaches (I left the skin on)

1 generous cup of washed blueberry's
1/2 t vanilla
pinch salt
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1/4 water
Squeeze of lemon juice to just perk it up!
Toss gently to mix

In food processor combine
1 t cinnamon
1/4 white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1/2 flour
Pulse to mix and then add in
1/4 cup COLD butter cubes
(butter should be cubed and placed in fridge to keep cold till right as you are going to use it)

Pulse till butter is still in chunks but mixture is combined
Sprinkle topping over fruit and bake immediately.

Bake at 450 for 10 minutes or lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes.
The 40 minutes is actually for the apple crisp time and this took about 30.

P.S. I ALWAYS double the topping if lasagna size pan :)