Have you ever wondered…

…what happens to marshmallows in the microwave?

I wasn’t particularly curious, myself.

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But I found out anyways.

Apparently the instructions need to start including bowl diameters as part of their definition of “large and microwave-safe”. As it was I managed to save most of it, transferred to stove top and finished my rice krispie treats. I’d take pictures of those to share, but they’re all gone.

Yes, we were having a craving.

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Lemon Basil Salmon

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In general, I do not like seafood. So far the only exceptions have been the occasional tuna sandwich (mixed with mayo and pickles with lettuce and sometimes tomatoes), and ever rarer do I partake of red snapper or salmon in baked form. So, imagine my surprise when I landed on a recipe that not only sounded good, but tasted good to the point of me thinking, “Wow, I could have this on a semi-regular basis!”

Since originally posting this recipe (again, this is a tweaked version of an AllRecipes.com offering), the GHE and his brother have come very close (if they haven’t succeeded) to perfecting grilling this on a cedar plank. Everyone who’s had it loves it and wants more. This is definitely a keeper.

Lemon Basil Salmon

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
1 t dry basil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 T lemon juice
1 T fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 t dried parsley)
dash of dill

1 lemon, sliced
2 (6 oz) salmon filets

1) mix marinade ingredients in small bowl
2) rinse salmon and pat dry; place in glass baking dish and cover with marinade
3) marinate 1 hour in refrigerator, turning occasionally
4) pre-heat oven to 375
5) place 2-3 lemon slices on top of filets, cover with foil and bake 30-45 minutes, until fish is cooked

I often serve this with green salad and carrots gently steamed with butter and dill.

Cherry Pie

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The other day I made my first cherry pie. Why, you may ask, have I never made one before? Quite simply, I’m not usually a fan of cherry pie, or any fruit pie in general (with the occasional exception of apple, if it’s done just right). I don’t know why, but I rarely like fruit in any form other than fresh or in smoothies. I wondered if maybe it was commercial pies I didn’t like, so I set about testing myself. Plus there were 2 lbs of frozen cherries from our yard, and I figured our trees are getting ready to produce again…I really ought to clean out the freezer of the old cherries before the new ones come in, right? The Dearliest liked that particular stream of logic.

Anyway. The verdict remains I’m not a fan of cherry pie, however the rest of the house is, and they tell me it was really good, so I’m posting the recipe as I tweaked it.

Cherry Pie

double pie crust dough (top/ bottom)

2 lbs sour cherries, pitted (and thawed, if frozen)
3/4 cu honey
4 T cornstarch
1 T butter
1/4 t vanilla extract

1) roll out top and bottom of pie crust; place bottom in pie pan, set top aside
2) pre-heat oven to 375
3) combine cherries, honey, and cornstarch in large saucepan over medium heat; bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 min until mixtures thickens
4) remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla
5) pour into pie shell; cover with top crust, seal, trim, and cut several slits in top for steam to escape
6) bake 45-55 minutes, until golden brown

Sfingi

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I’ve decided I like saying “Sfingi”. One of our hens kinda looks like these as far as coloring, so I’m toying with calling her Sfingi, just to have an excuse to say it. Anyway, I had leftover ricotta cheese from the lasagna rolls and wanted something dessert-ish. It sounded interesting, and they’re really good. Really easy and fun, too. Lots of fun!

It originally called for 2 quarts of oil and a deep fryer, of which I have neither, so I figured the principle I apply to frying falafel patties ought to work as a substitute. It did! Also, drizzling the honey makes a marked difference, because the sfingi by themselves are not terribly sweet. Granted, I did halve the sugar from the original recipe, because often I find desserts are too sweet for my taste. I really liked how this turned out.

Sfingi

1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 T granulated sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 T baking powder
1/2 cu all-purpose flour
1/2 cu whole wheat flour

oil
honey
powdered sugar

1) in large bowl mix together ricotta, eggs, sugar, and vanilla
2) combine baking powder with 1/2 cu flour and gently stir into ricotta mixture
3) gradually add remaining flour to form a thick batter
4) cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hr
5) heat 1/4″ oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until water flicked into pan produces sizzling
6) drop small teaspoon-fulls of batter into skillet and fry until golden, turning once to fry all sides; remove to paper towels to drain
7) drizzle with honey and dust with powdered sugar

Lasagna Roll-Ups

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A pleasant twist on a classic.

This is the recipe I started with (I love AllRecipes.com), though I made a few alterations including–but not limited to–marinara on the bottom and Alfredo on top. It was goooood.

Lasagna Roll-Ups

12 (2″ wide) lasagna noodles
1 T olive oil
1/4 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups packed fresh spinach, chopped
2 T green onion, sliced
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cu Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 T dried parsley, plus more for garnish
~ 3 cu pasta sauce of choice

1) cook lasagna noodles as directed until al dente; rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towel; place on wax paper
2) in skillet over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender
3) in large bowl mix ricotta, Parmesan, 1/2 cu mozzarella, eggs, parsley, spinach, and green onion; add onions and garlic
4) pre-heat oven to 375
5) pour 1/2 of sauce in bottom of baking dish
6) evenly spread cheese mixture on noodle; roll up beginning with short end, place in baking dish with seam underneath; repeat with remaining noodles
7) ladle remaining sauce over rolls, top with reserved mozzarella cheese
8) cover with foil and bake 20 minutes; uncover and bake another 10-15 min, until cheese is melted

– – – – –

Marinara Sauce
(makes 4-5 cups)

1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
water (1/2 of puree can)
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon honey

1) combine all ingredients in saucepan
2) bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer a minimum of 1/2 hr
3) remove bay leaves before serving or freezing

– – – – –

Alfredo Sauce
(makes ~ 1 1/2 cups)

1/3 cu butter
1/2 cu Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cu cream cheese
~ 1/4 cu milk, half & half, or heavy cream
pepper to taste

1) melt butter in saucepan
2) add Parmesan, thin with milk as needed
3) add cream cheese, stirring until creamy and smooth
4) season with pepper

Croissants

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First attempt at croissants = success.
They are not difficult, however they are extremely Time Consuming due to extensive rolling requirements and needing to regularly refrigerate the dough in 20 min intervals in order to keep it cold.

Pain.

Good news is that before the final rolling, the dough apparently freezes remarkably well, so perhaps making tons of it and then freezing for easier, less painless use in the future would be worth one day of misery.

But ohhhhhh, you forget the misery when you eat them, so maybe I shouldn’t worry too much…

My only other complaint with this recipe is that you end up not using the “ends” of the dough after the cutting. I made two more croissants out of the extra bits, just by sorta shoving them together and pressing them into each other. They weren’t uniform, but after all the work I put into the dough, no way was I going to waste any!

On that note, it seems to me that there should be an easier way to the whole measuring-triangles thing. Next time I might say “to the swamps with conformity” and just eyeball it and forget the ruler. Who cares if they don’t all come out the same size? The people eating them tonight ate them too fast to notice how many they were eating let alone the size of them. 😛

And speaking of size, these made a very nice dinner-roll type size. Good to eat on the side, but not suitable for sandwiches. Unless you wanted tea sandwiches. Which would be really cool, now that I think about it. Three of these would about equal one Costco-sized, I’m thinking.

I will have to experiment more (ha!), but I just noticed something…I think this recipe leaves a slight buttery/ greasy layer aftertaste sort of deal in one’s mouth. It’s not bad, but I’d rather it not be there.

Croissants
(Makes 18)

1 1/2 cu (3 sticks) cold butter
2 T butter, softened
2 3/4 cu all-purpose flour plus 3 T, divided
1 cu warm whole milk (105-110 degrees)
1 (.25 oz) pkg active dry yeast
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 egg, lightly beaten (opt)

1) sprinkle cold butter with a little flour and beat with a rolling pin; work butter into a malleable mass, scraping work surface and rolling pin as needed
2) knead 3 T of flour into butter, working quickly to keep butter cold
3) place butter on plastic wrap and form 9×6″ rectangle; wrap and refrigerate
4) in small bowl whisk milk, yeast, and sugar; let stand 5 min
5) in large bowl mix together 2 3/4 cu flour, salt, and 2 T softened butter; make a well in the middle and pour in milk mixture
6) use a fork or hands to make a soft dough; transfer to floured surface and knead lightly, until smooth; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes
7) sprinkle dough with flour and roll into 15.5×8″ rectangle, sprinkling with flour as needed to keep from sticking
8) position dough with short side nearest you; place rectangle of butter on upper two thirds of dough, leaving 1″ dough border on top and sides
9) fold bottom third of dough up over butter, then top third (with butter) down, as if folding a letter; press all edges together to seal butter in dough; rotate so that the fold is on the left and seal on the right
10) give the dough two single turns*
11) wrap loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes
12) give the dough two single turns
13) roll into a 24×12″ rectangle, about 1/4″ thick; let stand 5 min
14) cut dough lengthwise into two 24×6″ rectangles; refrigerate one strip on a baking sheet
15) with a long side nearest you, start from the left and mark along the bottom edge every 4.5″; mark top edge first at 2.25″, then every 4.5″
16) cut out triangles by cutting from lower left corner to first mark at the top, and continuing in zig-zag fashion down the dough; 9 triangles total
17) make a 1/4″ cut in the center of the short edge of each triangle
18) to roll croissants, gently stretch corners of short edge while rolling towards the point; curve ends to form crescent shape; repeat with all triangles, placing them on un-greased baking sheet 2″ apart
19) repeat steps 15-18 with second strip of dough
20) cover and let rise at room temp 1-1.5 hours
21) pre-heat oven to 375
22) brush croissants with egg; bake in bottom third of the oven 20-25 min, until golden brown
23) transfer to wire rack and cool completely

* ONE SINGLE TURN: with short side nearest you, roll dough into 18×8″ rectangle; fold bottom third up, top third down, and rotate dough so the folded edge is on the left

If at any point during the single turns the butter becomes soft, refrigerate dough for 10-15 min.

If you want to freeze the dough, doso after completing step 12, wrap in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, then place in a sealed plastic bag. Thaw overnight in fridge before continuing.

If you want to freeze baked croissants, doso in sealed plastic bag for up to 1 mo. To reheat, bake 5 in in preheated 300 degree oven.