Monday, May 28, 2012

Re-grow Romaine Lettuce





I saw something quite similar to this on Pinterest awhile back.  It was with celery  - since I absolutely DESPISE celery, you can understand why I didn't experiment with it instead. 

When we had Uncle Frank over for our first BBQ of the year a couple weeks back, I saved the bottom of the romaine lettuce that I purchased from the store and stuck it in a cup of fresh water on the windowsill above my sink.  I've made sprouts at home before so I know it's really important to rinse and change the water each day. I applied the same concept to the stem by replacing the water and rinsing the base each morning.  Almost right away I saw some growth, but after going away with Heather last weekend I came home to actual baby romaine leaves!  I can't wait to try this with different types of lettuce, and maybe even stick the base in my garden... 

Have you tried this before?  If so what did you re-grow?

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oreo Cheesecake Sandwich Cookie w/ White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing


A few weeks ago our local grocery store had a huge sale on strawberries.  After we spent a few days snacking on them fresh, I was still left with quite a bit.  I decided to peruse one of my favourite recipe blogs for strawberry recipes, and I found this one.  To say they were a hit would be an understatement.  I brought some to the market and they sold out within the first hour.  I was expecially impressed with the icing... I never would have thought to use melted chocolate!  It's great if you're not a huge fan of super sweet icing - the cream cheese cuts the chocolate and icing sugar quite nicely. 

For last week's market, strawberries were back up to regular price, but I still had some Oreo's left over from the Oreo Truffles I made the week before.  Because, who doesn't love Oreo cheesecake, I figured they would make a great cookie as well.  These bad boys didn't last very long either - I didn't have any left at the end of the day.  I think it's safe to say that this recipe will be a market regular, and I can't wait to try them with different types of fruit and mix-ins. Thanks to Macaroni & Cheesecake for this amazing versatile recipe!  Here's my spin on it below: 


Ingredients
- 1-8oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup of butter, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 18 Oreos

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1-8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature 
- 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 6 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups confectioners sugar

Directions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low and add in flour one cup at a time until just combined.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold crushed Oreo's in with a wooden spoon (or by hand if you find that easier).  Chill dough in fridge for about 15-20 minutes.  

While dough chills, pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and cover a baking sheet with parchment. 

Once dough has chilled, remove from fridge and scoop 1 tbsp balls of dough onto cookie sheet (about 2 inches apart).  Bake for 15 minutes until the tops are set and the outer edges are slightly golden. 

Let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.  While cookies are cooling, make your frosting.  

To make frosting, combine melted chocolate, butter, cream cheese, and vanilla - mix until smooth.  Slowly add icing sugar until well blended. 

To assemble cookies, take one cookie, bottom side up and spread frosting over top.  Top with another cookie bottom side down.  Repeat for all cookies.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  These cookies are great cold or allow them to set slightly for the chill to knock off before serving. 

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Garlic Toast




I know garlic butter and garlic bread are fairly simple recipes, but I know far too many people who purchase the expensive store bought loaves, and it really is SO easy to make at home.  Other than the french bread, you likely already have all of the ingredients at home already!   We had this bread the other night when we had Uncle Frank over for our first BBQ of the season - it went fantastic with our starter cesaer salad, and not a single piece remained at the end of the meal. 

Ingredients
- 1/2 recipe for garlic butter
- 1 loaf of french bread (or your favourite loaf of choice)

Directions
Place oven on broil. 

Slice french bread at an angle for maximum garlic butter coverage. I usually use a brush to coat the bread, but use whatever your comfortable with.  Place on a baking sheet in pre-heated oven.  Watch very closely as it will be done very quickly - as soon as it turns golden brown around the edges. 

We love this recipe for French Onion Soup (replacing the garlic butter with cheese of course).

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Garlic Butter



Not only is this my first recipe of the year that is "summery" it's also the first recipe of the year that I am using freshly grown goods!  While the garlic we're growing at our local community greenhouse plot isn't quite ready, the parsley that I've been growing on my windowsill in my office is doing awesome!  I purchased it as a baby plant from the Farmer's Market last month, along with dill and basil, all of which are doing awesome.  I can't wait to make this recipe with fresh garlic too!  :)

Ingredients
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cloves of garlic (use more or less depending on personal preference)
- 1/4 tsp granulated garlic (I like it to be extra garlicy
- pinch of fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice. 

Directions

Mince garlic and parsley until fine.  Whip into butter and granulated garlic until well combined.  Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. 


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Friday, May 18, 2012

May Long


Happy May long weekend my Canadian friends!  Our long weekend comes a week before the Memorial Day weekend in the US.  This weekend always means the start of summer for me.  It's well known fact in my town that nothing gets planted outdoors until after May long or you risk losing it all to frost (in fact - it frosted here last night).  There are a few brave folks who have already planted but they are the renegades of the bunch.   Our last frost is June 9th here in the mountains (something after living here for nearly 25 years, I am still coming to grips with). Thankfully I have three plots at my local community greenhouse so I have a jump start on the season, but I'll be planting my outdoors seeds the second the weekend has passed.  The Tuesday after this long weekend is nearly as exciting for me as the weekend itself!  

    This May long, Heather and I are heading out on a girl's road trip to BC.  Even though we have been had this trip scheduled for a long time, we have no real plans.  We have a general direction in mind (how brave are we not booking hotels in advance!) but really want to keep the weekend free-sprited.  I am really excited about the entire trip - I envision lots of 90's music, beaches, girl talk, and window shopping!

Marc's having a boy's weekend himself - his cousin is coming to visit from the city, and Uncle Frank will be taking them out to the lake on his new boat!  Who knows, perhaps there is a freshly caught trout recipe brewing for a future post? :) 

I have a post scheduled for Sunday - I'm a little bit nervous not being around a computer until  the following day, but I have faith in technology to do it's part (I hope those are not famous last words!).

I hope you all have an excellent weekend, and do something relaxing and fun!   Tell me, what are your plans for the long weekend?
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Monday, May 14, 2012

Something Different Around Here...


So you might notice something different around here lately!   I had Melissa over at Cherry on Top Blog Designs do what she does best - design a whole new look for Cooking With Jax.  While I was pretty  happy with the blog template I was using before - it was a pre-made template that came with Blogger so I occasionally saw it on other blogs as well.  I wanted not only to clean up the look of my blog, but to have something completely unique that I wouldn't see anywhere else.  I consulted with Melissa and she came up with a design that I absolutely love and reflects my personality. 

Some may call me a perfectionist (ok, I can be really picky) so you can appreciate the task that Melissa had!  She was wonderful every step of the way, always cheerful, and always ready to help with my requests.  She didn't stop until the design was absolutely perfect and I was 100% satisfied.  Once she got to work on the blog, I couldn't believe how quick she responded with different changes.  We e-mailed back and forth over a dozen times in the span of an evening, and from start to finish we were done in a matter of a few days.  I am really happy that I went with her and would recommend her to anyone looking to have work done on their blog.  It was great that we are in different countries, but it was just as easy as dealing with someone local.

You can find Melissa's personal blog at http://www.20goingon80.com/ and her blog shoppe at http://www.cherryontopblogdesign.com/.



A big thanks to Bakeaholic Mama for sending me in Melissa's direction.  Be sure to check out her amazing new blog design as well!  

This is only the start of more exciting things to come for Cooking With Jax... stay tuned!  :) 
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins




I am a huge fan of Costco muffins.  Those huge delicious fluffy muffins that you can always only eat half of because they are so large!  I have never found a chocolate, chocolate chip muffin that is as moist and delicious as they are... that is until a recent "Girl's Night" with my best friend Heather. 

We hadn't set out to make muffins that night - in fact, she had already brought a package of mini Reese cups to satisfy our sweet tooth later on (one of the unspoken rules of Girl's Night is that whoever comes to the other's house brings chocolate and Dr. Pepper's or Tim Horton's, depending on the time of day).  I had mentioned that I wanted to try making a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin one of these days, and Heather determined that one of these days was in fact, today.  She pulled up a recipe App on her phone and we frankensteined one up until we figured out what we though would be the perfect recipe.  Heather further made the recipe awesome by placing a mini Reese in the centre of each muffin... just when you think "how could a muffin be any more delicious than this" you are wowed with a peanut butter surprise in the centre.  I hope you enjoy making these as much as we did! 

Recipe makes 24 muffins. 

Ingredients
- 2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
- 24 mini Reese cups (optional)

Directions
In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.  

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, water, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract.  Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.   Fold chocolate chips into batter.  

Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 full.


Place 1 mini Reese cup in the centre of each muffin.


Bake in oven (preheated to 400 degrees) for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. 
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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coconut Shrimp w/ Sweet & Spicy Dipping Sauce


This marks my fourth recipe featured in the Hinton Voice.  I am really excited to share this recipe with you all - and I can't wait to make it for the seafood lovers in my life! 

[It was while dining in Jasper last summer that I first fell in love with coconut shrimp.  As a huge fan of coconut, I’ve always been intrigued whenever I see it on a menu, but never quite adventurous enough to try it.  For some reason I had it in my head that coconut shrimp would be overwhelmingly sweet, but that is not the case at all.  The buttery breadcrumbs paired with the delicate sweetness of the coconut and juicy shrimp creates a flavor combination like no other.

I knew immediately after trying this dish (and paying a ridiculous amount of money for it) that I would have to try re-creating at home… am I ever glad I did!  At less than $2 per serving, this recipe works out to be a mere fraction of what you pay in a restaurant or even in the frozen section of your grocery store. 

I was surprised at how easy it was to make from start to finish – and other than the shrimp, I already had all of the ingredients at home.  I used a basic chicken finger recipe substituting coconut in place of ½ the breadcrumbs.  I found that panko (a coarse, Japanese style breadcrumb) works best for this recipe.] 

Ingredients
- 12 raw shrimp, deveined (I used 30-41/lb)
- 1/4 cup panko
- 1/4 cup coconut, unsweetened
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 egg, whisked
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil

Dipping Sauce
- ½ cup apricot jam
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 - 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
Combine ingredients for dipping sauce and set aside.

Get three small bowls and line then up in a row.  Place flour in the first bowl, egg in the second bowl, and panko and coconut in the third bowl.

Peel the shrimp leaving the tail intact. This is surprisingly simple to do - I found it easier to lightly squeeze the base of the tail with one hand, while peeling the rest of the shrimp with the other.  This helps keep the tail securely in place.

Dip the shrimp in the flour, then in the egg, and then finally into the panko/coconut mixture.  Dipping the shrimp in flour first better enables the batter to stick to the shrimp.

Pre-heat a frying pan over medium heat – melt 1 tbsp butter and then add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Once the butter and oil is heated, place half the shrimp in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until lightly golden brown.  It is important not place too many shrimp in the pan so you don’t overcrowd it – this will help ensure that all of the pieces cook evenly. 

Place cooked shrimp on a plate lined with paper-towel.  Take an additional piece of paper towel and wipe out your pan and start with fresh butter and oil.   Repeat this process until all of your shrimp are cooked.

Tip:  to save on calories and fat try baking the shrimp instead of frying.  Simply place shrimp on a lightly greased baking sheet and cook in a pre-heated 425-degree oven for 10-12 minutes (be sure to flip shrimp over halfway through).

- Nutritional Info (6 shrimp - baked) -


Calories - 225  Fat - 12    Carbs – 17     Protein - 16   Fibre – 3


- Nutritional Info (6 shrimp - fried) -


Calories - 345  Fat - 26    Carbs - 17     Protein - 16   Fibre – 3

- Nutritional Info (1 tbsp sauce) -

Calories - 44  Fat - 0    Carbs - 12     Protein - 0   Fibre – 0



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