Friday, August 12, 2011

Jarred Salmon??

Sounds weird and I just didn't know about this recipe, but ever since my friend Alice mentioned French Friday's with Dorie, I've been dying to give it a try.  For my first attempt at it though I sure ended up on a week with a very different recipe!

Salmon in a Jar.... I gotta say, this was a new one for me for sure... I wasn't completely sure I would even eat it.  It just sounded so WEIRD.  Being the food lover that I am I decided to just go for it though and see how it turns out.  I was lucky enough to have all the needed ingredients on hand, which was fabulous because the budget right now is non existent!!  And I always have salmon in the freezer.

Now according to the recipe, you can eat this right outta the fridge... For me, not so much.  I LOVE salmon, but I've never even been remotely tempted to eat it without cooking.  So after mine came out of the fridge I threw it on a hot grill for a few minutes on each side.  Then I put it on top of a beautiful bed of greens and tomatoes.  Ta-da!  Salmon Salad. I served the yummy potatoes on the side.  Fabulous!!

I have to say it really was delish!  The flavor infusion was wonderful.  I'm encouraged by the results to try some of my own "jar recipes" and get different flavors.

Unfortunately, the husband had my camera in the field during all the preparations that go into making this dish.  But if you go to the FFwD site you can see what it looks like in the jar.  I have to say... mine didn't look nearly as glamorous as Dorie's.  In fact I was really pretty sure that I wouldn't eat it.  LOL!!  There is something to be said about camera presentation.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kitchen Tip

So I figured I'd add in a few "kitchen tips" every now and then. This is something that I learned from my grandma long before I ever saw it on The Food Network or the likes thereof. She taught me this when I was really little. I'm not saying she invented it, but I'm saying I learned it from her!

K... the next time you have a lemon that you've zested and you're done with it... DON'T throw it away..... use it to clean your microwave! Cut it in half and then put it in the microwave. Microwave for 1 minute, then let it sit in there for another couple of minutes before you open the door.

Open it up, throw away the lemon and use a hot rag to wipe down the insides of the microwave.

Now... for the sake of showing how well this works I'm going to show a picture of my dirty microwave... it's gross but I want a before and after shot so here you go, before:

And after the lemon:

Okay so since I know you want to try it... grab a lemon, or go buy one and then use it to make these delish Cream Cheese Lemon Bars and then clean your microwave! :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lemon & Cream Cheese... I think Yes!!

 These bars are such an amazing summer dessert... you'll want to eat the whole pan... seriously... do not make if you're going to be home alone, you'll eat them all!!  There's just something so fresh about Lemon, especially fresh squeezed, zested lemon.  I loved how my house smelt after I made these up.  

So I originally saw a picture of these on Pintrest... I went searching for a recipe and couldn't really find one that I liked or that didn't seem overly complicated.  Then I found and theirs didn't sound too bad so I figured I would try it out and boy am I glad I did!

Here's what you're going to need for the cake part:

1 box Lemon Cake Mix
1/3 Cup Butter, softened
1 Egg

Blend this all together until it takes on kind of a crumb mixture like this:

Then press it all into the bottom of a greased 9x13" baking dish.  

Now for the Cream Cheese part:
Beat 8 ounces of softened cream cheese until smooth
Add in:
1 C Powdered Sugar
Zest from 1/2 of a lemon
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Mix it all together until nice and smooth.  
Then removed about 1/2 C of the mixture and leave it in the fridge for later on. 
 (Side note here:  I couldn't resist trying... this cream cheese/lemon mixture is absolutely fabulous on a poppy seed bagel!)

Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla to remaining cream cheese mixture.

Now pour mixture over your "cake".

Bake in an oven heated to 350 for 25-30 minutes or until it's set and just starting to brown.

When it comes out is the most difficult part of this whole recipe... you're going to want to eat it right then and there.  But after you let it cool for 10-15 minutes on the counter you need to put the whole pan in the fridge and leave it in there until it's all firm and cold!  

FRUSTRATING for someone like me that wants to eat it RIGHT NOW!!

After you wait, and try it and find it isn't cold all the way through yet, wait some more.  Read a book, fold that load of laundry that is haunting you, eat a poppy seed bagel and then come back.  

Now, spread the cream cheese lemon mixture that you set aside (assuming you didn't use it all on that bagel you were snacking on) and spread it over the top of your completely cooled dessert.

Now you can cut it into bars, or squares and enjoy it!!

Monday, August 1, 2011


Hey Everyone! Working on some organizing on the blog... this one and my personal life/crafting/coffee blog... Callie's Coffee Break

I did a little changing to the blog... it used to be cookingwithcallie, but now it's simply

Trying to make sure that things are easier to follow along with and work better for me so that I can post more regularly :)

I hope you keep following along. Leave me comments too so I know that you've been here!

For the Love of French Fries!

I don't know about you, but French Fries are a favorite in our home. It seems like no matter where you go out to eat they're served as an option for a side... everywhere from McDonald's to Red Lobster. It's a bit crazy. Myself, I LOVE them. But I'm not a huge fan of store bought frozen fries. And I really try not to deep fry if I don't have too. I've been playing around with potatoes trying to find the perfect fry and according to my husband... I did it!

Here's what you're going to need:

4 Large Russet Potatoes, sliced into wedges
Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/2 Paparika
1/4 Ground Mustard
1/2 Garlic Powder
1/4 Pepper
Couple Shakes of All Spice (Such as Lawry's)

These are so easy and believe me, delish that you're going to be making them all the time yourself. Way better than those frozen varieties. Plus it's all fresh, no preservatives and you can customize the spices any way you want.

Okay so start by washing your potatoes, no dirt required for this recipe :) Then you're going to slice them into wedges. For the size of potatoes I had (we are in Idaho after all!) I had about 16 wedges per potato. You just want to make sure they're not much more than 1/2" thick, otherwise they'll take way too long too cook.

Now that you've got them all sliced, throw them into a large zip lock bag and drizzle them with a little extra virgin olive oil. Close the bag and give them a good toss to make sure they're all coated.

Next combine all your spices into a small bowl and mix them up to blend. Then you're going to put them onto a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Make sure that they're all spread out and not touching, this speeds up the cooking process. I like to put a cooling rack on top of my baking sheet. Two reasons: this lets the hot air circulate all the way around the fry, and it gives you these cool little grill marks on fries when they're all done. So this is what mine look like before the oven.

Now you need to throw them into the oven... okay maybe throwing the baking sheet into the oven isn't such a good idea, gently place it into the oven. Oven should be heated up to 425 degrees. Let the fries bake for about 25 minutes. Less if you've got smaller potatoes, a little longer if you can actually find bigger ones.

See the nifty grill marks... they're so good. I also love that with all the spices on there you don't need any of those fatty dipping sauces to go along with them. They're perfect just they way they are!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More Cheese Please

Mmm.... Cheese is a staple in our home. I have so many recipes that include this wonderful edible! Tonight for dinner the recipe was no different. We had a delicious Ham & Cheese Roll-up that includes two cheeses. This recipe was originally from Scott's family, but I tweaked it to meet our taste pallet just a bit. I've also made it with different meats and cheeses. It's a wonderful leftover as well which is good because the Roll-up is huge when it's done, easily enough to feed 8 people.

Ham & Cheese Roll-up

Sliced Ham
Swiss Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Dijon Mustard

2 3/4 C - 3 1/4 C Flour (I use a mixture of whole wheat and white)
1 pkg or 1 Tbsp quick rise yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 C warm water
1 Tbsp melted butter

Melt your butter, add to warm water and add yeast. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add rest of ingredients, adding flour as needed to create a dough ball. Let the dough rest of 15 minutes and then roll out into a rectangle about 1/4" thick.

Create a sauce by combining 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard and 2 Tbsp Mayo. Spread some sauce into the middle of your dough rectangle. Add a layer of sliced ham. Then a layer of Swiss cheese. Repeat your layers only use Cheddar Cheese this time. Repeat again with Swiss cheese. Finish with sauce and ham.
Now cut one inch strips around the dough. You're going to pull up opposite strips on each side of the ham stack and twist or tie them together on the top. See picture:

Once you have it all wrapped up, brush on an egg white wash and sprinkle on some Sesame Seeds.

Now transfer it to a pan and throw it into the oven heated to 400 for 30-35 minutes.

When it's nice and brown and smelling wonderful remove it. Let it rest for about 5-10 minutes to let it all set up before you slice it into chunks to serve!

Hope you enjoy!!

Inspiration & An Invaluable Gift!

I've always loved to be in my kitchen preparing food. In addition, I've always had a joy to share the food I prepare with my family and friends. There's a joy in seeing something that I prepared with my hands bring a smile to someones face. It warms my heart and fills their stomachs! I've been cooking as long as I can remember. I owe much of my success in the kitchen to my wonderful mom and my amazing Grandma! I learned so much standing in a kitchen next to them.

Lately during dinner in between mouth fulls, and sometimes with a mouth full, the kids have been saying, "this is delicious, I need the recipe!" I honestly don't know where they came up with that one, but it cracks me up every time. My daughter (a foodie like myself) is always saying I should open a restaurant of my own. My wonderfully supportive husband has said the same thing on several occasions, especially when the meal I've prepared isn't coming from a cookbook, but straight from my head.

About a month ago my dad was going through some boxes from my Grandparents house. In one he found something that I consider absolutely invaluable... a recipe book written in my Grandma's hand. I can't tell you the number of memories I have of standing in my Grandma's kitchen helping her cook... learning her recipes, and gaining so much valuable insight. She was such an amazing woman and I miss her every single day. My dad gave me this book and I absolutely cherish it.

It's a journal of sorts, meant to originally be a date book. It's dated 1928 so I'm assuming it's about the same time that she started adding her recipes to it. There are also recipes from her friends and other family members, they're all carefully noted. There are some pages that have "very good" written on the top and underlined. Another simply says "not so much". There are several recipes that I recognize as my grandma's and seeing them written in her handwriting just makes them that much more special.

I've always been an avid follower of several food blogs. Recently a friend of mine, Alice, started her own. I have to say it's a good thing she's overseas right now and not here because I'd been in her kitchen eating every day. A few years ago, this blog was it's own recipe blog, but I didn't keep up with it. Now however, life is finally in a consistent place and I want to share what I have to offer in the kitchen. So I'm taking inspiration from my encouraging family, my friends who are food lovers and explorers like myself, and most importantly from my Grandmother who is always with me and found a way to get me this special gift that I will cherish forever.

I hope that you'll come along with me on my journey. I'll make no promises in how often I'll post, but I'll just say that I'll do it as much as I can. I hope you're inspired to create or share my recipes yourself... and share your own as well!