Never Judge a Recipe by it ingredients?

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Have you ever heard the expression never judge a book by its cover?  I think this should apply not only to books and people, but also to recipes.  If we simply dismiss something or someone because we don’t like the way it looks or sounds, we just might miss out on something or someone great!

I agree that as many wonderful things you will find, you will also find there will be some disappointments and oh never again moments…LOL.  The most important lesson i’ve learned is when you open yourself up to new experiences it not only touches your life, but at the same time may improve someone else’s life.

You may be thinking to yourself now, “how can I create happiness, new beginnings, and memories just by cooking, communicating, reading and sharing?”  For me, I have made many friends through dishes I have created or a recipe tried and shared.   And also after reading the following books,

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I have met and made online friends with some very kind, talented and creative people who have encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone, spread my wings and fly:  Thank you “Sylvain Reynard, Jennifer and Morgan Locklear, BAE, Kez, Angela

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Ingredient combinations that may scare you: Peanut butter with dill crock pickles, pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips and maple icing, doughnuts with maple cured bacon, chocolate chip cookies with maple cured bacon, chocolate and apricot cake, red wine in chicken barley soup.  Yes, some of these are acquired tastes, but don’t be scarred,  and afraid, take a chance and fly.

Below you will find three recipes: Enjoy KK

Chocolate-Apricot Cake  “AKA MB’s Cake”: (to prepare about 30 min. to bake cake layers: 25-30 min.)

Ingredients:

1 12oz pkg.(about 2 1/3 cups) dried apricots

2 cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup butter (unsalted)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs well beaten(3/4 cup) (room temperature

3 cups sifted cake flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk

Apricot Filing (see recipe)

Chocolate Frosting (see recipe)

  1. Bring apricots and water to a boil in a covered heavy sauce pan, reduce heat, and simmer about 30min. or until moisture is absorbed. Force apricots through a coarse sieve or food mill.  Measure 1/2 cup puree for cake and stir in lemon juice.  Set remainder aside to use in Apricot Filling.
  2. Lightly grease bottoms only of three 9” round layer-cake pans.(you can use baking spray and parchment paper)
  3. Cream butter and extracted together until butter is softened.  Add sugar gradually, creaming until light and fluffy after each addition. Beat in the 1/2 cup apricot puree, a tablespoonful at a time.
  4. Add eggs in fourths, beating well after each addition.
  5. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beating only until blended after each addition, alternately add dry mixture in fourths and milk in thirds to creamed mixture.
  6. Turn batter equally into the pans and spread evenly.(Batter will fill pans only about one-third full, so that the cake layers will be thin.)
  7. Bake at 350 F or 180 C  25 to 30 min; or until cake tester(wooden tooth pick) inserted in center come out clean.  Cool on racks 10 min; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely
  8. Split each layer into two layers. Spread one layer with Apricot filling and place on serving plate. Spread one side of each remaining five layers with Chocolate Frosting. Stack layers chocolate side down, spreading top of each layer with Apricot Filling.  Frost cake with remaining Chocolate Frosting.

Apricot Filling: Blend together in a saucepan 1 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 3/4 teaspoon of salt; blend in the reserved apricot puree (about 1 1/2 cups) and 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil over low heat and cook 3 min. longer, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.

Chocolate Frosting: Melt 8 sq. (8oz) semi-sweet chocolate and set aside to cool. Stir 1 cup sugar and 8 eggs ( about 2 cups room temperature) together in top of double boiler; cook, stirring constantly, over simmering water until thick and amber color. Cool. Cream 2 cups butter (unsalted) until softened; blend in cooled chocolate and 2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add sugar-egg mixture gradually, beating until smooth

* Note: cooled cake layers will freeze well and so will the completed cake.

Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies: Bake 350 F or 180 C  for 10-12 min.

Ingredients:

2 cups soften butter (unsalted)

2 cups sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups pumpkin

4 cups bread flour (you can use all-purpose)

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups chocolate Chips (optional)

Procedure: Cream together butter, sugar, and eggs. Stir in pumpkin. Combine all dry ingredients (except for chocolate chips.)  Add the dry ingredients in slowly do not over mix, next add the chocolate chips and bake. Bake cookies on a parchment lined cookie sheet, place dough 1” apart, allow for spreading. Bake 10-12 min. at 350 f or 180 c, let cookies sit on pan 2 min before placing them on cooling rack. Cool completely and ice.

Icing: 

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter (unsalted)

4 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups powder sugar

1 tablespoon maple flavoring ( you can use vanilla)

Procedure: In sauce pan over medium heat combine butter, milk, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved; remove from heat and cool well. Next add the powder sugar and maple flavoring. Ice cookies

Creamy Chicken and Barley Soup:  Serves 12

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons + 4 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed (I like to use a combination of thighs and breast)

1 large onion chopped (spanish or sweet)

2 carrots, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

16 ounces mixed varieties of mushrooms, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoon dried thyme (1 teaspoon fresh)

2 teaspoon dried tarragon (1 teaspoon fresh)

4 tablespoons dry red wine (drink the rest 😉 lol)

2 cups pearled barley

2 bay leafs

14 cups organic fat-free chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half

2 tablespoons of dry sherry

freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

Sour cream for garnish(optional)

Procedure: In a large soup pot, heat 4 teaspoons of oil. Stir in the chicken and cook 3-5 minutes or until partially cooked and browned on the outside. Remove and set aside. In the same pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Stir in onion, carrot and celery. Cook over medium-low heat for 4-5 min., or until the vegetables are soften and just beginning to brown.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and tarragon. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 15-20 min., stirring occasionally.  Uncover and increase the heat to high. Add the wine and stir until liquid is absorbed, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the barley and bay leafs. Stir to coat the gains. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for approx. 5o min.(stirring occasionally and add chicken at halfway point 25 min.)  or until the soup has thickened and barley is soft. Next add the dry sherry, fresh ground pepper and salt to taste. Slowly stir the half-and-half into the  soup to prevent it from breaking.  Top each individual serving with dollop of sour cream(optional)

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