This week, the cherry tomatoes in my garden are sweet and delicious. While they make a flavorful addition to a variety of sauces, cherry tomatoes are so darn cute that it’s fun to cook with them in ways that show off their shape! This recipe combines garden fresh cherry tomatoes with cheddar cheese in a delightful cornbread muffin recipe guaranteed to make you smile. Let’s get started! Continue reading
Are you looking for an easy way to jazz up your weekday lunch?
All over Tokyo, food courts and convenience stores sell triangles of sticky rice filled with all sorts of wonderful goodies. Called onigiri, these snacks fit easily in the palm of your hand, are quite filling, and are very affordable – many cost the equivalent of $1 or less. Our whole family enjoyed sampling onigiri filled with pickles, plums, smoked salmon, and even hard boiled eggs. Our favorite were the plum-filled snacks, which we are creating today.
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Whether you’re making lunch for young children or are a kid at heart yourself, this lunchbox treat is fun, fun, FUN! Simply Continue reading
Our garden produced a nice crop of lovely little purple potatoes this year. The insides are ringed with beautiful shades of violet, but the small size of these potatoes makes them impractical to peel. Voila! Potato chips! What a simple way to show off the color of these heirloom veggies!
On our Kitchen Gadgets page, we’ve provided a link to an affordable gadget which makes potato chips (oil free) in the microwave. It works really well, but makes small batches. We have a LOT of potatoes, and needed to find a way to process larger batches of chips. Aha! This worked like a charm:
Yes, friends, an “As Seen On TV” microwave bacon maker, no joke! We used a mandolin to slice potatoes really thin, sprinkled them with a bit of sea salt, and arranged them in the bacon maker as shown:
We microwaved our chips for approximately 6 minutes (until the chips started to brown). Done! So simple! What a great way to enjoy the high fiber goodness of garden fresh potatoes, without adding fat.
PS – this same technique works for vegetable chips made from yams, beets, carrots, and parsnips. Stay tuned!
My Mom makes these and, like everything my Mom makes, Raisin Crunch cookies are delicious. I enjoy Raisin Crunch Cookies with coffee, because they are crunchy enough to hold up to a quick dunk. To be fair, I enjoy anything with coffee, but still… Happy baking!
Ingredients (Makes 4 dozen)
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup oats (I use old fashioned; quick oats will also work)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisin bran cereal (variations such as “Honey Bunches of Oats” also work well)
1 1/4 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup raisins
Step 1) Cream together butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well.
Step 2) Fold in cereal, coconut, and raisins.
Step 3) Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 14 – 16 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned.
Step 4) Remove from oven and allow cookies to rest on the baking sheets for 4 minutes. This helps them to crisp – and these cookies are supposed to be crispy! After 4 minutes, transfer cookies to cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before covering and storing.
A few modifications to a basic cookie recipe can lead to surprisingly delicious results. These Jeweled Oatmeal Cookies, for example, are pretty similar to traditional oatmeal cookies. If you look at the recipe closely, you’ll notice that the spices (no cinnamon!) and extracts are a bit different, and we’re using colorful candied fruit instead of plain old raisins. The result is a cookie that’s simple enough for a lunchbox treat, but pretty enough for a holiday cookie exchange. Enjoy!
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups rolled oats (not quick oats)
Step 1) Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and almond extract. Stir until well combined.
Step 2) Add dry ingredients except for candied fruit; stir until all ingredients are incorporated.
Step 3) Gently fold in candied fruit. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Step 4) Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 13-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, this particular recipe is heavy with nostalgia. I remember Wiener Winks cooling on Grandma’s kitchen counter on countless occasions throughout my childhood. As soon as they were cool enough to handle, children of all ages (including those “children” with children of their own!) would scramble for a hot dog wrapped in homemade white bread and dipped in either ketchup or BBQ sauce. What could be more American than that?
This week, I taught my little ones how to make Wiener Winks, beginning with homemade white bread dough. I sure had a lump in my throat when a little one exclaimed, “I like making Wiener Winks… it makes me remember [great] Grandma.” I sure do miss her.
Ingredients (Makes 24 Wiener Winks – they freeze well!)
24 precooked hot dogs
2 cups lukewarm (not boiling) water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup dry milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup canola oil
6 cups white flour
Step 1) Combine sugar and lukewarm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in yeast, and allow to sit for a minute or two until the surface of the water appears a bit creamy.
Step 3) Knead dough for a few minutes until a smooth ball forms. Add a bit more flour as needed, to prevent sticking. Transfer dough to a large bowl which has been greased with canola oil.
Step 4) Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise until it doubles in size. This will take about an hour in a warm location, such as an oven that has been warmed to 100 degrees and then turned off.
Step 5) Punch the bowl of risen dough a few times to release air bubbles (this is fun!). Knead on a floured tabletop for a few minutes. Divide dough in half.
Step 7) Wrap each strip of dough around a hot dog, tucking the ends underneath. Place wiener winks on greased baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches of space between them, as the dough will rise and spread a bit.
Step 8) Bake wiener winks in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15 – 20 minutes until the dough turns golden brown. Watch carefully so they don’t burn! Cool on a wire rack. Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce.