Friday, February 28, 2014

Slow Cooker Margarita Chicken and Black Beans

     I'm pretty sure there's about 150,000 different slow-cooker Mexican style chicken recipes floating around the interwebz, so I figured why not add another? This particular recipe assembles quickly and makes for a fairly versatile meal. We served it over rice, in tortillas and as a nacho topping. Just make sure to drain off any excess liquid if you're using it in tortillas, tacos or nachos, otherwise everything will get soggy. This is very mild. I wound up adding habanero hot sauce to mine, but I really like the heat. As always, any notes are in blue.


Slow Cooker Margarita Chicken
and Black Beans
Ingredients
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color is fine; we used red)
  • 1 tablespoon pepper in adobo sauce (you can find these canned in the ethnic section of most grocery stores)
  • 2 ounces tequila (optional if booze isn't your thing)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (I used the stuff from the little plastic lime. I love that sort of thing)
  • 1 teaspoon Pilsen Latino Seasoning (from The Spice House)
  • for those who don't have access to the above seasoning, it includes: coarse Kosher flake salt, garlic & onion powders, Mexican oregano, Tellicherry black pepper, hot red pepper flakes.
Directions
  1. Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker.
  2. Unceremoniously dump all other ingredients on top of chicken.
  3. Give a quick stir. Cook on LOW 6-8 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from cooker, shred and return to cooker. 

UPDATE: Now there's a YouTube video for this recipe!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Whole Wheat Bread

     Shockingly, I once again turn to my well-worn copy of Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals for a bread recipe. This time it's a simple whole wheat bread. The original recipe called for walnuts, but as you may know, The Wife isn't a big fan of nuts in her bread. I tend to agree with her. I think this bread is fine without the added texture. This makes for a rustic, crusty loaf that's great with soups, or toasted and covered in butter at breakfast. One warning, if the bread doesn't cook evenly, it will rise funny in the oven and end up looking like a mushroom cloud. It still will taste fine, it will just look goofy. A friend has told me that scoring an "X" about 1/2" deep in the top of the dough before baking will prevent that from happening. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.


Whole Wheat Bread
via Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals
Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (omitted)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) quick-rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
Directions
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, nuts (if using), brown sugar, yeast and salt.
  2. In a saucepan, heat the water, yogurt and butter to 120-130F. Add to dry ingredient; beat until smooth.
  3. Stir in enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough (we wound up using the full amount of flour listed in the ingredients). Turn out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes (I just ran it in the Kitchenaid with the dough hook), Do not let rise.
  4. Shape dough into a ball; place on baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Cover and let rest in a warm place for 20 minutes (I know for sure that if I cover this dough and put it in a warm place, it's going to rise. They just told me not to let it rise. Is this some sort of test? What do I do if it starts to rise? Talk it down?) 
  5. Bake at 400F (200C, Gasmark 6) for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown (we went close to 40 minutes. Baking times may vary). Remove from pan to cool on wire rack. 
Don't forget to cut an "X" about 1/2" deep in the top before baking
to prevent the loaf from looking like a nuclear bomb test.
Good times!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Traditional Middle Class Breakfast Casserole

     When I moved to central Illinois, I was greeted with an entirely new menu of middle class food. One of the more ubiquitous dishes was the Breakfast Casserole. You'd find these gastric bludgeons lurking at most potluck breakfasts or brunches. Boasting anywhere from twelve to six hundred eggs and upwards of fifteen hundred pounds of sausage and cheese, a single slice could meet your caloric needs for the next two days. However, they are crazy good. There's a bunch of different ways to make these. You can use potatoes instead of bread, change up the sausage with ham or bacon, use different cheeses or veggies. I have yet to have a bad one. This particular version is pretty basic and is intended to give you a starting point for your own personal breakfast powerhouse. As always, notes are in blue.


Traditional Middle Class
Breakfast Casserole
Ingredients
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 loaf Herbed Swirl Bread, cut into 1" cubes (in the event you don't feel like making bread especially for this, you can sub in 1/2 loaf of any hearty bread)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons Frank's Hot Sauce
  • 8 slices American cheese
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C, Gasmark 5)
  2. In a pan, cook onion, peppers and sausage until sausage is browned. Drain excess grease and set pan aside.
  3. Spray a 13"x9" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Put down a layer of bread cubes in the dish.
  4. Spread the sausage and veggie mixture in an even layer over the bread.
  5. In a large bowl, lightly beat 12 eggs (make sure you take them out of the shells first. That's critical), with the milk and hot sauce. Pour over everything in the baking dish, ensuring that you have an even layer of egg covering everything.
  6. Lay the slices of cheese over the top (next time I think I may put the cheese in between the bread and sausage layer and then sprinkle some cheddar over the top. Live and learn).
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until egg is completely set.
BONUS VIDEO:


A generation of chickens headed to the casserole
Good times!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Slow-Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken with Broccoli

     I'm glad The Wife is working more in the kitchen. Don't freak out; I'm not making any gender specific claims here. The Wife doesn't work much in the kitchen because that's my job. It's also because she didn't have a tremendous amount of confidence in her cooking. Lately she's been poking through recipes and messing around with the ingredients. Nothing ground-breaking, but she consistently achieves success. Her latest success was a slow cooker recipe she found in one of our many slow cooker recipe books. I was extremely pleased with how this turned out. It had great flavor and was great over pasta, rice or bread. My only complaint was that it was pretty salty, but that was down to the Italian salad dressing mix. She even used almost half of what the recipe called for. She also used half of the requested chicken. Next time I'd say go the full four pounds of chicken, or quarter the seasoning. Either way, I hope she makes this one again! As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Slow-Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken with Broccoli
via Crock Pot Potluck For All Occasions
Igredients
  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (as we are not made of money, she used 2 pounds of chicken)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package (1-ounce) Italian salad dressing mix (her package was .6 ounces and we felt that was PLENTY)
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms (she used one 4-ounce can of mushrooms, drained)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (she went with 1/2 cup)
  • 1 can (10.75 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1 bag (10 ounces) frozen broccoli florets, thawed 
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed (she used 4 ounces, and as always, Neufchatel was used in place of cream cheese)
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (she used 1/8 cup dry Vermouth)
  • Hot cooked pasta (We did serve it over pasta, but I also served it over herbed swirl bread for lunches a couple times)
Directions
  1. Toss chicken with oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salad dressing mix. Transfer to a slow-cooker. Cover; cook on LOW for 3 hours
  2. Coat large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onion; cook 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally (since The Wife used canned mushrooms, she didn't add them until the next step.)
  3. Add soup, broccoli, cream cheese and sherry (neufchatel and vermouth in our case), to the pan (hopefully you didn't just throw that stuff into the slow cooker, because if you did, you just screwed up,) cook and stir until heated through. Transfer to the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 1 hour. Serve over pasta (or bread, or rice, or whatever you want. Don't give in to recipe bullying)
Good Times!
UPDATE: Now there is a video for this recipe:

)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cabbage Soup

     You have to love my Great Aunt Ruthie. A child of The Depression, Ruthie is now a spry 93. I'm not even kidding. At 93, she's complaining that the cancer medication she's been taking for a year has now started making her hair fall out. She's been through like five pacemakers. She still has all her teeth. She's sharp as a tack. She also makes a wicked cabbage soup. Unfortunately, like most of my family, she doesn't commit recipes to paper. They're all locked up in her noggin. When I called her for the recipe, she gave me exactly what I expected: a fairly nebulous list of ingredients with no real amounts specified. Her soup was something to behold. It incorporated a whole pot roast and country ribs. I didn't have some of her ingredients on hand. I took what I did have and ran with her fantastic base recipe. I ended up with a soup that is a fine tribute. I can certainly taste her soup in there, but with new flavors along side. I think it's fitting that two different generations of cooking would combine to make something new, but still honoring the old ways. Maybe it's just cabbage soup. Maybe it's a family timeline that gives you gas. As always, any notes will be in blue.

Cabbage Soup 
Inspired by my Great Aunt Ruthie
Ingredients
  • 14 ounce bag cole slaw mix
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 cup corn relish (if you don't have corn relish on hand, just use a cup of frozen corn topped off with some cider vinegar)
  • If you're feeling lazy, you can replace the previous 4 items with one pound of prepackaged sauerkraut
  • 1 onion, cut into 1" slices
  • 1 medium sized green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 4 potatoes, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) tomato soup
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1-1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 large pork neck bone
  • 1 tablespoon Old World Central Street Seasoning (available at The Spice House)
  • If you can't get the spice blend, it has a mix of the following: paprika, salt, celery seed, garlic, sugar, pepper, onion, dill seed, curry powder, caraway, scallions, dill weed and bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
  • 43 ounces water (just fill and empty the soup can into the pot 4 times)
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cole slaw mix, vinegar, corn relish and vodka. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes. 
  2. In a large pan, heat up a bit of oil, brown the neck bone 3-5 minutes on each side. Set aside. Brown the ground beef, draining excess oil. When meat is browned, put it in the biggest damned Dutch oven or pot you can find.
  3. Add everything else except the the green cabbage. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for one hour.
  4. Add the cabbage and stir to incorporate. Return to simmer; cover and let simmer for another hour.
Good times!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bacon Swiss Mini Tarts

     I keep expecting the whole bacon craze to play out, but it is still going strong. People will eat just about anything these days if it incorporates bacon. I'm fairly sure I could serve up cat turds wrapped in bacon and somebody would eat them. What I'm getting at is that there's no shortage of bacon recipes. The wife bought me a book of 101 bacon related recipes for my birthday. I only just got around to trying one out. This particular snacketizer was pretty good. However, I think there was far too much mayo going on here. It managed to overpower most of the other flavors, which is a bit gross. I think a swap out with a bit of cream cheese would be the fix. As always, notes and comments are in blue.

Bacon Swiss Mini Tart
via: 101 Things To Do With Bacon
Ingredients
  • 8 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely minced onion
  • 3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I'm going to tell you again that this is WAY too much mayo. I'd cut it back to 1/4 cup mayo and add 1/4 cup cream cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (I used a teaspoon of dried)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refrigerated flaky buttermilk biscuits (I don't think mine were "flaky." They may have just been regular old biscuits)
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce of your choice
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F degrees and grease a mini muffin pan (this marks the very first time I have used the mini muffin pan. To this point it has sat sullenly in the back of the cabinet)
  2. In a bowl, combine bacon, tomato, onion cheese, mayo and basil (Wouldn't it have been easier to say "combine everything except the biscuits?" Why do people needlessly complicate things? This is why I can't leave the house without sedating myself first)
  3. Separate biscuits horizontally (I'm not laying on the ground to separate biscuits. I just stood right at the counter and did it) and press halves into mini muffin pan. Fill each biscuit half with some of the bacon mixture. 
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown (we went about 15-18 minutes)
Good Times!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cheese Filled Tortellini Soup

     It's always fun when The Wife takes over in the kitchen. She has gained a ton of confidence in her cooking lately. Generally, she just follows recipes word for word. Lately, she has taken to tinkering with recipes. This soup is one of those instances. I had to work a bit late, so she offered to make some soup for dinner to go along with some Herbed Swirl Bread I had made a couple days before. She nailed it with this soup. The garlic pepper was a great addition and she ended up with a flavorful and satisfying soup. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm off the hook for cooking duties. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Cheese-Filled Tortellini Soup
via: Better Crocker: The 300 Calorie Cookbook
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (she used 1 heaping teaspoon of jarred garlic)
  • 6 cups water (she used 3 cups home-made chicken stock and 3 cups of water)
  • 2 extra-large vegetarian vegetable bouillon cubes (I contend that no such thing exists. The Wife used 2 regular sized chicken bouillon cubes)
  • 2-1/2 cups dried cheese-filled tortellini (The Wife was subbing like a champ. She used a 1 lb. bag of frozen cheese tortellini)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (not happening. 1 teaspoon of dried parsley was used)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (after an unfortunate incident following somebody's recipe that used WAY too much nutmeg, she erred on the side of caution and just omitted it)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (she just used black pepper to taste)
  • Added: 1/8 teaspoon garlic pepper
  • Added: 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired (CHEESE IS NEVER OPTIONAL)
Directions
  1. In a 4-quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender. 
  2. Stir in water and bouillon cubes. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; stir in tortellini. Cover; simmer about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tortellini are tender. 
  3. Stir in whatever herbs and spices you're using. Sprinkle individual servings with cheese. 
Good times!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lemon Bars

     I never quite understood the excitement over lemon bars. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy a good lemon bar. It's just that people seem to go nuts over them. If there's lemon bars on the table in the break room, people just go batshit insane like somebody is in there giving away gold ingots.
HOLY SHIT, LEMON BARS!
     Anyways, The Wife had a hankering for lemon bars, and I happened to find a recipe from Allrecipes in a magazine. As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients on hand. I just neglected to use them all. As I mention in the recipe, I'm pretty sure I forgot some flour. What I got was more like lemon curd on a crust. Don't get me wrong, it was pretty good. The addition of some lemon extract gave it a little extra zing. The Wife certainly liked it. She's been sneaking to the fridge and cutting off pieces at every opportunity. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Lemon Bars
via Allrecipes
Ingredients
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix 2 cups of flour and confectioners' sugar together. Cut in the butter. Mix well until the dough resembles pie crust consistency (no clue as to what that is supposed to look like. It was crumbly). Press the dough into a 9"x13" baking pan.
  3. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown (we ended up cooking this about 25 minutes).
  4. Beat together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour (in retrospect, I'm fairly sure I totally forgot to add the flour here. It looked and tasted fine and nobody died. No harm, no foul), lemon rind and lemon extract for at least 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
  5. Bake the bars another 20 minutes or until the lemon topping has set (we went closer to 25 minutes). Dust with confectioners' sugar after the bars have cooled. 
Good times!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Stir-Fried Broccoli with Crabuluxe

     Once again I turn to the Betty Crocker 300 Calorie Cookbook. As always, I end up infuriated. Not with the food, mind you.  No, what really pisses me off is how these recipes are written. Something about the wording of these recipes just makes me insane. They are just needlessly complicated and ponderously worded. The recipes are generally quite tasty. However, this one was a bit bland and could benefit from a bit of spice. I wound up adding a couple teaspoons of home-made Sriracha. As always, any notes are changes are in blue.

Stir-Fried Broccoli with Crabuluxe
via: Betty Crocker 300 Calorie Cookbook
Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh broccoli
  • 2 green onions, with tops
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped (feeling lazy. I used 1 tablespoon jarred garlic)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces frozen salad-style imitation crabmeat, thawed ("salad-style?" What sort of hoity-toity stuff is that? You're using fake crab meat. Don't try to make it sound fancy. If you must, do what we do and call it "Crabuluxe.")
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or hot sauce of your choice
Directions
  1. Peel outer layer from broccoli. Cut broccoli lengthwise into 1-inch stems; Remove florets. Cut stems diagonally into 1/4 inch slices (AHAHAHAHAHA! That was not going to happen. That's just a lot of bullshit work for something that's eventually going to be poop. We just cut the florets off close to the stalk and moved on). Place broccoli stems in boiling water; heat to boiling (THE WATER IS ALREADY BOILING! Why does Betty Crocker insist on constantly fucking with my head?) Cover and cook for 30 seconds. Add florets; heat to boiling. Cover and cook 30 seconds (You know what? No. I'm not doing that. That's more work than I'm willing to commit to. I just chucked the cut broccoli in the boiling water and let it go for about a minute or so). Drain and rinse in cold water. 
  2. Cut onions into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice lengthwise in half and set aside (just slice the onions and move it along).
  3. In a small bowl, mix corn starch and water; set aside.
  4. In wok or 12-inch skillet, heat vegetable oil over high heat. Add broccoli and garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add broth; heat to boiling. Stir in cornstarch mixture cook and stir until thickened. Add Crabuluxe, onions and sesame oil; cook and stir 1 minute.
Good Times!

Slow Cooker Breakfast Concoction

     It is said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I know that The Wife and I make it a point to try to have something for breakfast every day. This can be challenging for us during the week. Normally we end up having toast or a piece of fruit. During the winter, it's nice to have something warm and filling. That's what lead to this recipe. It looks like absolute crap, but it smells and tastes great. There's plenty of good stuff in there to keep you running until lunch. If you don't feel like making my apples, you can get away with regular sliced apples and just add more apple juice to replace the syrup. Other notes are, as always, in blue.


Slow Cooker Breakfast Concoction
Ingredients
  • 2 cups granola cereal of your choice
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups Spiked Apples
  • 1/4 cup syrup from the apples
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (it's not a big deal if you use non-golden, I just liked the uniform color of the dish)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
Directions
  1. Spray slow cooker (the inside, not the outside. This is a critical distinction) with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Load all ingredients into slow cooker and stir to mix.
  3. Cook on LOW for 5 hours. Check it and stir it occasionally. If it starts to scorch, add more apple juice or milk.
It looked better BEFORE I cooked it! At least it tasted good!
Good Times!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Meatball Sub Casserole

     Sometimes it's not about how a recipe looks. I know many of the food bloggers out there cringe at my photography. Most people know by now I don't find it that important. I want the food to taste good, not be photogenic. That leads me to this recipe I came up with. If you don't put sauce on the top, it looks like fake vomit. If you put the sauce on top, it looks like fake vomit with red sauce. I'd like it noted I took the high ground here and did not post a picture of fake vomit for comparison. Enough talk about vomit, let us talk of this fine casserole. I attempted to combine the flavors of a meatball sub into a casserole. I think I got pretty close. The combination of beef and red sauce come together well with the herbed stuffing mix. It's not spot on, but very reminiscent of a meatball sub. Granted, this hasn't really been a ringing endorsement. This is a tasty casserole and we wound up gladly eating all of it. As always, notes are in blue.

Meatball Sub Casserole
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (I used 80-20%)
  • 1 6-ounce box herbed stuffing mix
  • 1 can (10.75 ounce) tomato soup (use two cans if you want a more squishy casserole)
  • 8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 pint red sauce of your choice (I just whipped up a simple one with tomato sauce, garlic, basil and oregano. Use a jar or can of sauce if you're feeling lazy)
Directions
  1. Combine ground beef, onions and peppers. Cook in a skillet until beef is browned. Drain grease (Unless you're a huge fan of lots of grease and a super soggy casserole, then by all means, leave it in)
  2. In a large bowl, combine meat, onion and peppers with stuffing mix and the tomato soup. Mix thoroughly. Transfer to a 13"x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread it into an even layer. Pour red sauce over the top. 
  3. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. 
That's not fake vomit, that's Good Times!
UPDATE: Here's the video for this recipe!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Cranberry Cheese Danish

     I'm not sure what compelled me to try out this recipe. A quick look will tell you this recipe is going to be a Pain In The Ass. However, my love for Danish trumps my laziness. I decided to give this recipe a go. It originally called for blueberries, which I did not have on hand. I wound up using some cranberries we had in the freezer. You could certainly use raspberries or blackberries. The end result will be well worth it. This is a great bit of pastry. The cranberries complemented the lemon icing perfectly. It was everything I could do to keep the wife from just standing at the counter and eating the whole thing at once. As always, any notes or changes are in blue.

Cranberry Cheese Danish
via Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup 1% cottage cheese (there's no telling what the other 99% is)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup 1% milk (I used 2% just to be difficult)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I used corn oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Filling
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (as always, I used Neufchatel)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, separated 
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (I'm assuming they meant fresh. I didn't have fresh. I used 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel from a jar)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (we substituted cranberries we inexplicably stashed in the freezer some time back)
  • 1 tablespoon water
Glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (that is NOT enough liquid to do anything other than give you a chewy ball of sugar. It took us 4 teaspoons of lemon juice to get the sugar into a usable consistency. The extra lemon flavor worked great with the cranberries, too. This goes to prove that I'm a friggin' genius)
Directions
  1. In a blender or food processor, cover and process cottage cheese until smooth (did I just really get told to put the lid on the blender or food processor before running? I can't even turn the damned processor on with the lid off! Do they think I'm stupid? Do they think I'm going to say, "Holy shit! I think I'll run the blender with the lid off!" *BLAM!* "Fucking A! Look at the the cottage cheese on the ceiling! That's great!") Add sugar milk, oil and vanilla; process until smooth (Wait! They didn't tell me to take the lid back off! How the hell am I going to get the rest of the shit in there?)
  2.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to cheese mixture. Process until dough forms a ball (I was leery about doing this in the processor. I transferred it all to the Kitchenaid). Dough will be sticky. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 4-5 times. Place in a bowl; cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg yolk, lemon peel and vanilla; mix well. 
  4. Turn dough out onto a 17"x13" piece of parchment paper. Roll dough into a 16"x12" rectangle. Transfer with paper to a baking sheet. Spread cream cheese mixture lengthwise in a 3-1/2" wide strip down the center of the dough; sprinkle with berries. 
    Looking berry good! I'm not apologizing for that pun.
  5. On each long side, cut 1" wide strips about 3-3/4" into center. Fold alternating strips at an angle across berries. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under (I tucked on the top just to be an asshole). Beat egg white and water; brush over dough.
  6. Bake at 400F for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown (we went about 25 minutes. Cooking times may vary). Remove to a wire rack.
  7. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm pastry. Refrigerate leftovers.
Good times!