Feb
11

Framed Friday: Ham and Egg Crepe Squares

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks. Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me! My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

Ham and Egg Crepe Squares

from Everyday Food

• 1 cup flour
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 4 large eggs
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 9 thin slices ham
• 9 eggs
• chopped fresh parsley

1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, milk, four eggs and the melted butter in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Let rest for 15 minutes.

2. Heat a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and lightly coat with butter. Add 1/3 cup batter and swirl to completely cover skillet. Cook until underside of crepe is very lightly starting to brown, about 2 minutes.

3. Loosen edge of crepe with spatula and then either using large spatula or your fingers, lift it up and flip it over. Cook another minutes and then slide out of skillet onto wax paper. Repeat until all crepes are done. You should have about 9 when you are done.

4. Preheat oven to 350. Place crepes on a rimmed baking sheet (you can fit 3-4 per sheet). Place ham slice in center of crepe and carefully crack egg onto ham. Fold edges of crepe toward center, using the egg white as a kind of glue. Season with salt and pepper and bake until egg white is set, about 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve at once.

Feb
05

Framed Friday: Butternut Cider Bisque

A special Saturday edition of Framed Friday.

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks. Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me! My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

Butternut Cider Bisque

adapted from the New Red Lion Inn Cookbook
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 large onion, chopped
• 1 carrot, chopped
• 1 stalk celery, sliced
• 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
• 4 sprigs fresh thyme
• 5 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups apple cider
• 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional but great)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Cinnamon sugar for garnish
• Popcorn for garnish (also optional and also great)

1. Heat oil in large pot over medium heat and saute onions, carrot and celery for about 5 minutes. Add squash and thyme and saute, stirring, for another two minutes.

2. Add stock and cider and simmer until squash until very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Puree with immersion blender or in blender until smooth. Return soup to pot and add cream if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat over low heat.

4. Serve, garnished with cinnamon sugar. Put popcorn on table for diners to add as desired.

Jan
28

Framed Friday: Veal Artichoke Ragout

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks. Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me! My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

Veal Artichoke Ragout

adapted from Simply Elegant Country Foods
• Olive oil
• 3 onions, chopped
• 2 1/2 pounds veal stew meat, cut in 1-2 inch cubes
• 3 tablespoons flour
• 1 1/2 cups beef broth
• 1 cup white wine
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• juice of one lemon
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
• pinch thyme
• freshly ground black pepper
• 1 package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted
• grated lemon peel from one lemon
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet. Saute onions and garlic until translucent, about 3 minutes. Transfer to 5 quart Dutch oven.

2. Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil to skillet and brown the veal over medium high heat, working in batches and adding more oil as needed. Add to Dutch oven.

3. Lower heat under skillet and add 2 more tablespoons oil and the flour, stirring to make a paste. Add broth, wine and lemon juice, and stir up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add bay leaf, spices and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

4. Pour sauce over the veal in the Dutch oven. Cover and simmer for one hour. Uncover and simmer for another 50 minutes, stirring from time to time.

5. Add artichoke hearts and lemon peel and simmer 10 more minutes. Stir in parsley and serve.

Jan
14

Framed Friday: Quick Banana Sticky Buns

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks. Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me! My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

Quick Banana Sticky Buns

adapted from Real Simple

• 1 tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (tube of 10)
• 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 10 slices
• 1 banana, sliced thin
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Drop one piece of butter into each muffin compartment. Put a few banana slices on top of the butter, then sprinkle with a little brown sugar and some nuts (if using). Place a biscuit on top of all and press down slightly.

3. Bake until golden, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately run a knife around the edge of each sticky bun, and then put a cookie sheet on top of the muffin tin. Flip the tin over and tap the bottom to release the buns. If any nuts or bananas are left in the tins, just scoop them out and place them on the top of the buns.

4. Serve warm (and these reheat well in the microwave if they aren’t gobbled up right away.)

Dec
21

Framed Friday: Eggnog Cookies.

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks. Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me! My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

‘Tis the season of eggnog, and I love eggnog just a little bit too much for my own good. I am SO happy to buy that first carton that shows up on the supermarket shelf, but after I have a glass or two I start getting that little annoying voice in my head that reminds me that eggnog is about one million calories a glassful, and that’s before you start eating the Christmas cookies that go along with it.

This cookie is the answer to all of that. It’s a light and delicious little treat with just a hint of eggnog flavor in it (there is only 1/4 cup of eggnog in the whole batch), and those little brown flecks on the top of the cookie? Yep, nutmeg. It’s like having a cup of eggnog AND a Christmas cookie, all in one scrumptious package. Plus they are a snap to make.

And, if you have any eggnog left over after all that, you can make this.

The end.

Except for the recipe, which I snagged from the always fabulous The Cooking Photographer’s blog – LOVE her.

Eggnog Cookies

from The Cooking Photographer

• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 scant teaspoon mace or nutmeg
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup full fat eggnog
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat the butter, sugar, salt, mace and vanilla extract together until fluffy. Mix in the egg and eggnog. Mix in baking soda, and then beat in flour until just combined.

3. With a standard (size 50) cookie scoop, scoop the batter and place on sheets 2 inches apart. Sprinkle dough very lightly with mace and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden around the edges. Let rest for 2 minutes on sheets then move to cooling rack.

Dec
10

Framed Friday: Chai Hot Chocolate.

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks.  Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me!  My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

Here’s the thing about this time of year. It’s heartwarming, and exciting, and magical… and exhausting. Because let’s face it, we were a little busy even BEFORE we started having to make all those lists and check them twice, right? Don’t get me wrong – I like the holidays as much as the next girl. I love decorating the entire house within an inch of its life. Even those parts that don’t especially love being draped in jingle bells… I just can’t help it.

In addition to all this, my birthday is in the middle of December – and the day after my birthday is the teenager’s birthday. And six days after that is my anniversary. From now to New Year’s Eve, it’s a merry, action-packed blur of wrapping paper and champagne… and I know you can relate, even without birthdays and anniversaries thrown into the mix. Which brings me to the reason (you knew I had a reason, right??) for this particular post. Sometime amid all the shopping and the wrapping and the baking and the tinsel, take a few minutes and make this for yourself. This is NOT your garden variety cup of hot chocolate. This is the kind of hot chocolate that someone who has been running around like Santa’s head elf deserves. It’s not made with powder, it’s made with milk and bittersweet chocolate and chai spices and brown sugar and fresh ginger. It’s topped with a sweet ginger cream that slowly melts into the chocolate. It’s an amazing, once a year holiday treat that has to be sipped slowly and with your eyes closed.

So give yourself a gift sometime in the next few weeks and make this. Turn your favorite holiday music on low, curl up in your favorite chair, and be quietly merry.

Chai Hot Chocolate

from Epicurious

• 4 cups low-fat milk
• 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli)
• 10 cardamom pods, coarsely cracked (If you can’t find these, don’t give up! Just use a little cardamom powder, or some extra allspice.)
• 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice, cracked
• 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 5 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar, divided
• 6 quarter-size slices fresh ginger plus 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
• 1/2 cup chilled whipping cream

1. Combine first 6 ingredients, 4 tablespoons brown sugar, and ginger slices in medium saucepan. Bring almost to simmer, whisking frequently. Remove from heat; cover and steep 10 minutes. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

2. Meanwhile, whisk cream, remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar, grated ginger, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl to peaks. Add more sugar to taste if not sweet enough for your taste.

3. Strain hot chocolate. Ladle into 6 mugs. Top each with dollop of ginger cream.

Dec
03

Framed Friday: Chocolate Pretzel Bites.

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks.  Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me!  My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.


I’ve been happily cooking away for days now testing holiday “gifts from the kitchen” recipes.” My kitchen is a cheery, sticky mess of sugar, chopped nuts, and more chocolate than the eye can see. The Southern husband and the teenager keep drifting in and out to test things, and I keep having to explain to the dog that, incredibly unfair as it may seem, dogs are not allowed to eat chocolate, even if it falls on the floor. Even if she is wearing a completely adorable Christmas collar with a jingle bell on it. Sorry, pooch.

And out of all of this merry chaos, out of all the sweet treats I have mixed up, this one is my hands-down favorite. Sweet and salty, peanut butter and chocolate, smooth and crunchy, this one could not be easier to make or more addictive to have on your counter. Or to have HAD on your counter, because the bowl I had on my own counter is now sadly empty.

Here’s what you need:

A bag of what they call “fountain and fondue chocolate,” and before you panic, they have giant bins of this stuff at Michael’s craft stores. I bought several bags, just in case I can’t stop myself from making MORE of these.

You also need a couple of bags of those little pretzel peanut butter sandwiches (I used the Snyder’s brand. Two 8 ounce bags.

Plus peanuts, peanut butter chips, shortening and some bittersweet chocolate chips.

Okay! You melt up the two chocolates in the microwave, and then dump in the pretzels. Swirl them around until they are good and coated with melted chocolate. Then scoop them out with a fork (which lets the excess chocolate drip off) and lay them in a single layer on cookie sheets that have been lined with wax paper. Now sprinkle them with chopped up peanuts. So far so good…but there’s MORE. Melt the peanut butter chips with a little shortening in the microwave and pour it into a ziploc bag. Now snip a corner of the bag and drizzle the peanut butter mixture over the pretzels. Now pop them in the fridge until the chocolate is hardened and then break them apart.

You have now achieved perfect chocolate and peanut butter happiness. Now all you have to do next is decide: are you REALLY going to wrap them up and give them away? I’ll leave that entirely up to you.

Chocolate Pretzel Bites

adapted from Southern Living

• 2 1/2 cups fountain and fondue chocolate
• 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
• 2 8-ounce bags pretzel sandwich crackers
•1 cup chopped salted peanuts
• 3/4 cups peanut butter morsels
• 1 1/2 tablespoons shortening

1. Microwave both chocolates in large bowl for 2-3 minutes or until melted, stirring at 1 minute intervals.

2. Pour pretzels into bowl of melted chocolate and stir gently until coated. Lift out with fork, allowing excess chocolate to drip off, and lay in single layer on cookie sheets lined with wax paper.

3. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over pretzels.

4. Melt peanut butter chips and shortening in microwave for 30 seconds or until chips are soft. Stir until smooth and spoon into ziploc bag. Snip tiny corner off off bag and squeeze peanut butter mixture over pretzels.

5. Put cookie sheets in the fridge until chocolate has hardened, about an hour. Break into pieces.

Nov
23

Framed Friday: Cool Whip Cookies.

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks.  Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me!  My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting.

So those of you who have been following this blog for a little while know that I have this, um, obsession with cooking. Which sometimes works out okay if I am making soup or other things that can be stowed in the fridge and eaten for leftovers later on in the week.

Where I tend to get into trouble is with the whole baking thing. As in cookies. Because I live in a house where the Southern husband is perfectly capable of eating one cookie and leaving the rest in peace in the cookie jar, so unless the teenager is home with her usual horde of friends, the rest of the cookies sit there on the kitchen counter calling out to me. (And by the way, WHO eats just one cookie? I ask you.)

So over time I have learned that the solution to this particular situation is to pile those extra cookies onto a paper plate and bring them into the office, where I lay them out on the kitchen counter and send out a cookie alert on my Facebook page, and a few hours later when I stroll past the office kitchen the plate is empty. Sometimes a person or two will say “nice cookies!’ to me, but in general the empty plate is the way I know they were a success.

Until I made the Lemon Cool Whip Cookies.

Now to be totally honest, the only reason I made these was because I had a container of Cool Whip that I had bought for something else and never used. So I Googled “Cool Whip Recipes” and in addition to those scary Cool Whip Jello salads that you inevitably run into, I found this cookie recipe that called for a container of Cool Whip, a box of cake mix, two eggs and some confectioner’s sugar. That’s it. And while I am not usually a big cake-mix-user, since I was already down the road with the Cool Whip, I figured what the heck, and I made them, using a box of Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme cake mix.

My first hint was the Southern husband. When I make cookies and ask how many I should leave at home when I pack them up for the office, he usually says “Two.” (Two!!  I mean, really!). This time he said “Ten.”

Hmm.

Then I brought the rest in and put them in the office kitchen as usual.

I got phone calls.

I got emails.

I got messages on my Facebook wall.

I got an actual little handwritten thank you note that someone left on the empty plate.

Who knew that Cool Whip and cake mix were all I needed to spread such joy and happiness throughout the land? Now, a couple of notes about this recipe. You can make it with whatever flavor of cake mix you want – chocolate, vanilla, lemon, strawberry, Funfetti – your choice. And for that matter, you can make it with whatever flavor of Cool Whip you want as well. I have heard rumors that there is chocolate Cool Whip out there somewhere.  I haven’t actually SEEN it, but I’ve heard.

Second, when you mix up the ingredients the dough is going to be VERY sticky. Popping it in the fridge for about 30 minutes will make it a little easier to work with, but it’s still not a dough that you will want to use your hands for. My best advice is to scoop out about a tablespoonful with a spoon, drop it in the plate of powdered sugar, and then use a second spoon to help roll it around until it is nice and coated. Scoop it up and plop it on your cookie sheet and you are all set.

So there you go. Life is better with Cool Whip.

Lemon Cool Whip Cookies

from Allrecipes

• 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 2 eggs
• 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
• 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar for decoration
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets.
2. Beat together the whipped topping and eggs together. Add the lemon cake mix and continue to mix. Dough will be sticky.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Drop by teaspoonfuls into a bowl of confectioners’ sugar and roll to coat. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheets. Bake  for 11 minutes. Cool on racks.

Nov
19

Framed Friday: Overnight Oatmeal.

Hi there, this is Kate from Framed Cooks.  I am a mother, a wife, a redhead,  a dog-lover, a bookworm, a first-born, a photographer, an avid cook, and just a little bit of a hypochondriac. Framed Cooks started as a two week photography project, and two years later here I am, still trying to cook with teenagers and dogs constantly underfoot, still taking pictures of my supper, and still writing about my kitchen escapades for anyone who wants to listen to me!  My basic rule of thumb is this: everything I cook needs to be easy enough to make when you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table… AND it needs to be something you haven’t made a million times before, because suppertime is so much happier when the food is interesting. And if it includes bacon and/or chocolate, even better!

I think I am overdue in terms of singing the praises of one of my very favorite kitchen appliances, which is my beloved, faithful, trustworthy slow cooker. I’ve had the same slow cooker for years and years now – it’s a basic Rival Crockpot model – and I’ve made everything from the best beef barley soup in the world to a really incredible chocolate pudding cake and a lot of stuff in between. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you toss a bunch of stuff in the crockpot in the morning, go out to work, and then come home hours later to a house that smells like heaven and the glorious knowledge that dinner is already made!

Most of my crockpot recipes are dinner-oriented (Well, except for that cake. Which I would happily eat for dinner, but that’s just me.) This oatmeal recipe also makes a fantastic comfort food dinner recipe, but it’s my only crockpot recipe that is perfection for breakfast. Here’s how it works, and why I adore it so much.

First of all, you must use steel-cut oats – none of those regular rolled Quaker Oats for this recipe. Steel cut oats are those hard little round oats – they look like teeny little pebbles and you will wonder how on earth they are going to turn into anything edible, but have faith. You toss them into your trusty slow cooker with some water, a little half and half and some dried fruit. I used dried cranberries and chopped up dried figs, but I think probably anything you have around will work just fine – raisins, dates, etc. Set the slow cooker for 8 hours on low, and go to bed. The next morning you will wake up to an unbelievably amazing aroma of sweet and creamy oatmeal. It has slowly cooked away all night look, and the fruit has somehow broken down and blended into the oats, giving the whole thing a wildly delicious, comforting, sweetly creamy texture. No additional sweetener is needed – just warm up a little milk and grab your favorite bowl.

Take hold of a spoon, close your eyes and dig in.  It’s comfort food extraordinaire, and you may never go back to those little oatmeal packets ever again.

Overnight Oatmeal

from Alton Brown

• 1 cup steel cut oats
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1 cup dried figs, cut in quarters
• 4 cups water
• 1/2 cup half and half

1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and set on low.  Cover and cook for 8 hours.
2. Stir and scoop into bowls.  Pour warm milk over each serving.

Nov
12

Framed Friday: Coconut Beef Stew.

These are a few of my favorite things:
1. Beef Stew
2. Coconut

(Does two count as a few? I can never remember.)

Anyway, imagine this. You get a hankering for a nice, hot, comforting beef stew with all the wonderful ingredients: chunks of beef, pieces of carrot and potato, etc. But instead of the usual beef broth or wine that you usually make beef stew with… you use coconut milk. And you throw in a few spices that are usually not found in beef stew, like coconut and cumin. And when the stew is done, all tender and with a hint of coconut taste after simmering for hours in the coconut milk, you sprinkle it with a little shredded coconut just for good measure. Then you ladle it out into bowls and take your first bite, and you are transported into a land that is a confusingly wonderful mixture of tropical comfort food. I promise you, this is one beef stew that you are going to remember lovingly for a good long time.

Which all goes to show you, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks.

Sorry.  Any excuse to put a puppy picture up.

Anyway… Coconut Beef Stew. Try it!

Coconut Beef Stew

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 onions, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 tablespoons paprika
• 2 tablespoons cumin
• 1 tablespoons cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 14oz can coconut milk
• 2 pounds beef chuck steak, cut into cubes
• 4 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
• 2 cups carrots, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
• 1 cup flaked coconut
• 1/2 cup chopped parsley

1. Heat oven to 350. Put oil in Dutch oven or other ovenproof pot over medium heat. Cook onions for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and spices and stir for one minute. Stir in tomato paste and then coconut milk. Bring to a boil and add beef.
2. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook for 1 hour, then remove from oven and add potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook for an additional hour and 15 minutes.
3. Sprinkle each serving with flaked coconut and parsley and serve.

~ Kate, Framed