Posts Tagged ‘In the Bag’

In the Bag for August hosted by Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie.  This event is so much fun to participate in, challenging creativity and the mixing of ingredients, sometimes never tried before.  This month the three ingredients are Chicken, Red Chile, and Garlic

I came up with the obvious, a Chicken Sandwich marinated in Red Chile-Garlic Sweet Hot Marinade.

chicken2 sandwich

  1. 1 1/2 lbs Chicken Tenders
  2. 2 TBS lemon juice
  3. Salt and Pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)
  4. 1 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
  5. 2 tsp Red Chile Paste
  6. 1 clove Garlic, minced
  7. 2 TBS Honey Mustard
  8. 1 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Rinse the tenders and pat dry.  In a large bowl, pour over the lemon juice and mix around to cover all chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients from the sugar to the oil.  Coat the chicken and let sit for on hour.


Preheat the barbeque on medium – high heat.  Add the chicken and grill until cooked through.


Serve on your favorite buns. Serves 6.







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I love these In the Bag events hosted by A Slice of Cherry Pie.  Two to three ingredients are chosen and all interested bakers participate in creating something using those ingredients.  Too much fun! 

This month’s ingredients were Watermelon and Mint.  At first I thought some refreshing drink. Then I thought fruit skewers. But THEN I took it a step further and thought…create something that you’re actually good at. Cake!  It needed to be picnic “fun”, summer light, and refreshing.  


First, you will wonder why it’s called a cake when you don’t see a top layer. Then, you’ll wonder why you don’t see the mint-caramel drizzle on top. All I can say is …. today was just ONE OF THOSE DAYS!  First:  my caramel sauce never colored.  Let me tell you why…I stirred it. Yes. Ultimate error. If you are making caramel, agitating the pan is okay…shake it a little, but DON’T STIR with a spoon. It will turn grainy and that’s EXACTLY what happened.

The never browning caramel sauce

The never browning caramel sauce





Second:  And worst of all… the 2-layer 6″ assembled cake fell out of the fridge and onto the floor.  






Hey Mom!  Not Bad!

Hey Mom! Not Bad!

Oh well… good thing I had the 1 layer 8″ back up.  Stuff happens!

The cake base:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

The Meringue top:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup sugar

The Watermelon Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 TBS confectioners sugar
  • 1 TBS stabilizer such as “Dreamwhip”
  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, diced (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups):  Dice and put in colander to drain excess juices.

Mint Caramel Drizzle:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 TBS water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 mint leaves


Preheat oven to 350 F.  I used 2 6″ cake pans and 1 8″ pan  but if you want 1 layer cake, use 2 8″ pans and cut parchment circles to fit bottoms of pans.  Spray non-stick BAKING spray all around pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.  Beat together the softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg yolks and mix well. Add the flour then the milk and just mix to combine. Don’t over mix. Spread the batter equally among pans if using 2 8″ or equally between the 6″ and a little more for the 8″.  Set these aside.

Megingue:  Beat the egg whites in a clean, glass bowl (no greasy residues) for about 3 minutes until thick.  Add 1 tsp almond extract and gradually add 1 cup of sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Spread over the cake batter and bake for about 35 minutes. Cool completely in the pans before removing. 

Filling:  Beat the well chilled heavy cream, dream whip, confectioners sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Fold in the diced watermelon. Chill until ready.


Mint Caramel Sauce:  In a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pour cream over mint leaves and set aside. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes.  DO NOT STIR. Just give the pan a shake, slight agitation once it bubbles.  You should get a nice caramel color.  CAREFULLY -add the cream (it will bubble up) and mint leaves, cook 1 minute and remove from heat.  Let cool about 5 minutes. Remove leaves and let sauce cool completely.

Assembly:  Put a cake layer – meringue side down on cake plate. Top with filling. Top with other cake layer, meringue side up.  Drizzle with cooled sauce. Chill and enjoy.


NOTE:  Since I made 2 6″ cakes – I used those for the two layer assembly.  The other 8″ single cake-meringue layer, I used as a simple cake-meringue-watermelon cream filling and drizzled the sauce right over the filling. Still just as good – and in the event your 2 layer topples right out of the fridge, you have a back up :).

Here is the 2 layer prior to chilling and falling out of the fridge to become the dogs dinner.

The never to be 2 layer Watermelon Meringue Cake with Mint Caramel Drizzle.

The never to be 2 layer Watermelon Meringue Cake that was suppose to be covered in Mint Caramel Drizzle.


Aside from the mishaps, this is an impressive cake and a great summer dessert using refreshing watermelon and crisp, fresh mint.

Shane liked it! “Woof!”

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ITB: MAY hosted this month by Scott at Real Epicurean.  Check out the site to see what is going on in his neck of the woods.  He has chosen Broccoli and Blue Cheese as our key ingredients for May. 

Nothing else came to mind except Broccoli Blue Cheese Bread.  It works as a great appetizer for cocktail parties, picnics, you name it.  It’s easy and full of flavor. 


Don’t let the “bread” part fool you.  The dough is Pizza dough.  A very easy recipe for which a bread machine was used to do all the hard labor.

The blue cheese should be a milder tasting blue cheese otherwise it will overwhelm the broccoli.  The broccoli and cheese should share in the “staring roll” and one should not drown out the other. 

PIZZA DOUGH (using a bread machine).  Add the following to your machine and set to “Dough” cycle.

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS Dry Milk Powder
  • 2 1/4 cup Bread Flour
  • 1 tsp yeast


  • 1 lb of Pizza Dough (recipe above)
  • 2 crowns of broccoli, chopped
  • 1/4 lb Mild Blue Cheese
  • 2 TBS chopped Sun Dried Tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 TBS Italian Spices (such as basil, oregano….)
  • 2 egg whites
  • garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place washed broccoli in salted water and boil until softened.  Drain and pat dry completely.

Flour a baking sheet and spread out the pizza dough to cover the sheet. Make sure there are no holes.  Drizzle a little olive oil on top of dough.  Leaving about 1 inch from the edge of dough, spread your cooked broccoli.  Crumble your blue cheese on top of the broccoli, followed by your chopped sun dried tomatoes.  Sprinkle on a tablespoon of your Italian spices. 


On the long side, begin rolling up and at about 1/2 way, fold the ends in and continue rolling.  Flip the roll over so the seam is on the bottom.  Brush egg white on top and sprinkle on garlic powder.


Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until nice and brown.


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For the month of March, the “bag” ingredients were Leeks, Eggs, and Cheese. Obvious recipes were omelets, souffles, frittatas, and of course the recipe by Apple Crumbles:  Coddled Eggs with Leek sauce and Cheese.

If you are not familiar with this event it is hosted monthly by ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie‘ and ‘Real Epicurean’.  Bloggers are given three ingredients which they are to use in a recipe.  One or all ingredients are used and other ingredients may be added.


The Leek:  The only negative feature of a leek is that it requires a good cleaning. The lighter portions of the leek are the parts we use for cooking. The tough green ends are discarded.  

Leek has a mild onion-like taste, although less bitter than scallion. The taste might be described as a mix of mild onion and cucumber. It has a fresh smell similar to scallion. In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm.

Leek is typically chopped into slices 5-10mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. There are different ways of preparing the vegetable:


Coddled Egg with Leek Sauce and Cheese – serving 4

A coddled egg should offer a soft center and in french, “oeuf mollet”, “mollet” means soft.  The option for this menu was to cook the eggs slightly longer for a more solid yolk.  1.  I do not enjoy the yolk of an egg and wanted to extract it easily from the white and 2. Ted prefers his left over eggs to have a firm center. 

SAUCE:  The sauce is delicious.  It may be used with other dishes, such as the King Clip Fillets (not unlike Grouper) which we will have tonight.


  • 1 very large leek (about 2 cups), tough green ends cut off, sliced in half, cleaned, and sliced.
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 TBS SmartBalance (or butter), separate  ( 1 TBS for sauteing and 1 for the sauce)
  • 1 TBS Goat Cheese

Wash the leek slices and dry. Heat 1 TBS SB or butter in saute pan over medium high heat and saute leek slices about 5 minutes with a pinch of salt.  Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar to the leeks, stir around. Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until tender.  Transfer leeks to a food processor, retaining about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.  Add the 1 TBS SmartBalance (or butter), and the 1 TBS goat cheese plus 1/2 cup water and puree until smooth.  Serve immediately as the sauce will separate.



  • 8 eggs (4 for boiling and 4 for use in Coddling Cups)
  • 4 Coddling cups (you may poach the eggs as an alternative)
  • 4 tsp SmartBalance (or butter)
  • salt and pepper and parsley

For the boiled eggs, boil to desired doneness, soft or hard.  For the coddlers, bring 1 1/2 ” to 2″ of water to a healthy simmer.  You want the water 1/2 way up the side of the cup. Spray the coddler cups with non stick spray. Mop up any pooled spray at the bottom and drop 1/2 tsp SmartBalance or butter in bottom of cup.  Salt and pepper in side of cup, add the egg. Top the egg with 1/2 tsp SB or butter, salt, pepper and parsley.  Screw on the coddler cover and put into the simmering water. Cover and simmer about 8 minutes. 



  • 4 English Muffins, toasted
  • 2 – 3  ounces Smoked Gouda Cheese, shaved or grated
  • 2 – 3 ounces  Baby Swiss Cheese, shaved or grated

Warm your plates.  Pour 1/4 cup of the warm leek sauce in the center of each plate, forming a circle. Center the English muffin and top with eggs which you have removed from coddler cup with a spoon or split in half for the boiled egg.  On each plate, sprinkle a mixture of the cheese and finish with parsley.

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It’s Saturday. This must be the most popular day of the week.

Last night Ted and I went to dinner, just down the road, at Chesterfields.  It was great except for one piece of fish that didn’t really do anything for either of us. 

I began with a Toasted Head Chardonnay. It was creamy, thick and buttery.

Toasted Head Chard

Toasted Head Chard

We couldn’t resist the glorious bread absolutely dripping with garlic butter.


Because we were both pretty hungry, we had an appetizer of  “Greens-Cherry Peppers Escarole Oreganato Mix Romano Cheese”.  I asked for a few more hot peppers to give it a bit more zip-a-roo. Yummy!


Utica's Finest: Meatless Italian Greens

Utica's Finest: Meatless Italian Greens

The last entree listed looked really interesting to both of us so we both ordered it. “Mix Grill-Halibut, Salmon, Swordfish grilled to perfection served on Champagne and Asparagus Risotto”. 

I asked for mine with just asparagus – no risotto. Ted had the full kit-n-kaboodle.

Both of us loved the dish except for the piece of Halibut. It just lacked flavor. Not sure why because Halibut is usually a really tasty fish. The salmon and swordfish made up for the lacky of  a Halibut.

Mixed Grill with Asparagus

Mixed Grill with Asparagus




Mixed Grill, as described, with Risotto

Mixed Grill, as described, with Risotto

Moving on to Saturday.
Let’s back up. We decided that Shane could be trusted now to be outside his crate at night if he wanted.  We put him to bed last night – he went in his crate. I didn’t shut the crate door. 
Within about 10 minutes he comes upstairs to our room. He got in trouble a little bit with Ted but eventually laid down. Shane seems to have a “thing” for Ted’s smelly socks.  The night went well. He scratched just a couple of times that I heard. Got up when Ted got up. Barked at about 5 AM when the paper was delivered.  Not bad for his first time (other than in the motels) outside his crate at night.
So this morning, we went for a 6.25 mile run. We went UP Sherman Drive. That’s a great big hill. We walked and jogged a bit up that hill (just under 2 miles).  It was a breeze from there.
I grabbed a nice, crisp apple upon arriving home, took a bath, made breakfast.  My Saturday omelet with left over Italian Greens. I couldn’t wait to eat!
Make sure to check in with me tonight (maybe tomorrow) because I’m doing a really special dinner for Ted and a REALLY special cake that I intend to write about and link to “In the bag”, a food event hosted by A Slice of Cherry Pie and Real Epicurean.
Have a great day!

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