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Happy Anniversary JennaDish!

I started this website to nourish my creative soul while getting my Master’s Degree in Education.  It kept me excited to learn many new dishes and to create a journal that my kids and grandkids may be interested in some day.

It was so much fun but now I’m on to new things.  Here are my two short anniversary videos of the fun food I created in my first 2 years. (spoiler alert: cute dog at the end of 1st Year video.) I hope you are fortunate enough to find time to do the things that make you happiest.  Because…

Everybody Has Something They Love to Do.

 

My Animoto Video

Red White and Blue Berry Trifle Cake

Berry Trifle with Spring Form PanRed White Blue Trifle Cake

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Berry Trifle
Compliments of JennaDish
4 to 5 cups berries, rinsed, dried, cut to the size of red berries (raspberries, cherries, strawberries)
1 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries for the top
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
4 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz Cool Whip
1 Angel Food Cake
Prepare a 9-inch spring form pan by cutting a round piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan.
To get the paper to stick better, lightly spray cooking spray on the pan.
Cut 1 or 2 pieces of parchment paper that will fit around the sides, extending about 1″ above the rim.
In a medium bowl, fold 1/4 cup sugar into the red berries and let sit.
In a separate bowl, fold cream cheese and cool whip until smooth.
Cut the cake in pieces, of uniform height, and place half the cake in the bottom of the pan, as shown in photos above. Make sure not to leave large gaps for the fruit to fall through.
Next, spoon half the red berries mixture over the cake.
Next smooth half the cream cheese spread over the berries.  Repeat the cake, berries, cream cheese layering.  Place blueberries on the top.Refrigerate for about 3 hours or more.
When ready to serve, remove the side of the pan, remove the parchment paper on the side.
The dessert will cut smoothly and the parchment paper on the bottom will stay on the bottom, as long as you are reasonably careful not to gouge it.

The Perfect Apple Cinnamon Muffins

 

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Almonds

Apple Cinnamon Muffins without Nuts

Moist Apple Muffins

I think the perfect apple muffins

a) have a cinnamon-sugar topping

b) have small chunks of apple throughout

c) are not overly sweet

d) are moist

e) taste good with or without nuts

and here they are….


Perfect Apple Cinnamon Muffins
Compliments of JennaDish
adapted from Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
MAKES 12 MUFFINS

If some in the family don’t like nuts, and some do, only add nuts to the tops of a few muffins.  And leave them out of the batter.
 
2 apples (I used Granny Smith, but Pippin, Rome, or Winesap would also bake well)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, plus 4 teaspoons for the topping
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup raw (unblanched) almonds, roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 400o. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups. (No need to spray with oil – they come out of the paper cleanly).
Peel the apple and chop into small dice and set aside.
Whisk together in large bowl the flour, baking poweer, and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon.
In a medium bowl, place 2/3 cup brown sugar, the honey, yogurt, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Whisk until well blended.
If using nuts in the batter, add half of them to the flour mixture now, and put the other half aside.
Now fold the wet ingredients into the dry, until just mixed.  Add the chopped apple until just combined – don’t overmix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin papers.  They will be filled to near the top – don’t worry that they look too full, just make sure all the batter is used and is evenly distributed in the 12 muffin liners.
In a small bowl, mix together the second teaspoon of cinnamon and the 4 extra teaspoons of brown sugar.
You would also add the remaining chopped nuts now if you are putting nuts on all the muffins.
Otherwise start without the nuts and sprinkle the desired amount of muffins, then add the nuts to the bowl and finish topping the remaining muffins.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden.  Remove from the oven and let sit on a wire rack in the muffin pan for about 5 minutes.  Carefully remove them from the pan to a wire rack and let cool slightly.  Best eaten the same day.

Make Your Own Gingerbread House: Part 2 Decorating

Merry Christmas!!!

Finishing our Gingerbread House on Christmas Eve wasn't what I had planned, but it was fun!

How to Use Necco Wafers on Gingerbread House

 If you missed how to bake and construct your own Gingerbread House, click HERE.

Gingerbread House

And here's the full scene.  Gingerbread House with Chimney, Candy Walkway with Bridge, Gum Drop Snowman, and Dog House with Dog and Doggie Poo.   Oh yes, and snow.

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If you're in a hurry, or have little patience, make sure to have a large tip on hand to pipe large amounts of icing quickly.  And have a smaller tip for smaller areas.

Gingerbread House 1

We used Necco wafers in overlapping rows for the shingled roof (below).  We used broken wafers for a stucco look on the front (above).  The large peppermint poles that look like barber shop poles are Bob's Sweet Stripes Soft Mint Candy.  The candy canes at the door are just classic candy canes.  The pathway to the house is made with Nerds and AirHeads Extremes Sweetly Sour Belts. The shutters on the window are fruit slices.

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To make the shingled roof, pipe a large stripe of icing and smoosh the wafer in.  Make sure to start at the bottom of the roof, then add an overlapping row with the new row of wafers placed in between the row below. 

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The sides of the house are decorated with Air Heads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Belts.  They are super easy to cut and paste on the side of the house.  Use your small tip to place a thin stripe of icing on the side of the house where the strips will go, or place the icing on the back of the strip.  Just don't use the smooshing technique here.  You want a clean look.

I was short on time, short on icing, and short on ideas for the back of the house. So I used the small tip to pipe some random icing on the back, like this ….

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…then I cut large marshmallows in 4 slices each, dipped the sticky side in sugar, and stuck the other side against the house (see below for the marshmallow look and above to see how little icing you need for it all to stick). Once all the marshmallows are on, you can continue to use your small tip to fill in the exposed areas with more icing. 


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I used Raisinettes for the chimney.  Cut them in half with a sharp knife and be careful of the crumbs.

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Twizzlers would also be good for the roof.  We used them below for the dog house.  The photo below shows the back of the houses.

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And this is the front of the dog house 

Gingerbread Dog House from Graham Crackers

Alyssa made this dog house out of graham crackers.  The candy canes are from CVS drug store, and were surprisingly easy to cut fairly cleanly.  She made a dog by cutting up a large marshmallow or two, and covering it with frosting. The eyes are Nerds, the ears and "poopy" pile are Santa's Coal Bubble Gum, which I bought at CVS drug store.

Gum Drop Snowman Necco Wafers Gingerbread House
And here's a little snow man made of gum drops, icing and Nerds.  Finish it all of by slapping on lots of icing on the base, using a rubber spatula.  Work quickly – it dries fast. While it's wet, sprinkle plain white sugar (lightly), or use edible, clear or white cake sparkles to look like glistening snow.

Good Luck!

Make Your Own Gingerbread House: Part 1 Construction

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Jillian is making a gingerbread house.  Here's how she baked and constructed the house.

Whenever she gets around to finishing it, we'll post "Part 2: Decorating." Hopefully over the weekend.

Gingerbread Recipe
Compliments of JennaDish

Recipe from Simply Recipes 

6 cups all purpose
flour

1/2
teaspoon baking powder
4 teaspoons ground
ginger
4 teaspoons ground
cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground
cloves or allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12
Tbsp) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed
light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup dark molasses
1 Tbsp water

Gingerbread Dough:

Whisk together the
dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside.

Using an electric
mixer, beat on medium speed the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and well
blended. Beat in the eggs, molasses and water until well combined. 

Beat half of the
flour mixture into the molasses mixture until well blended and smooth. Stir in
the remaining flour. Knead (or use your mixer's dough hook) until well blended.
If dough is too soft, add a little more flour.

Wrap the dough in
plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight. You can
make it up to 3 days ahead of time. Let sit at room temperature for at least 10
minutes before rolling out.

Royal Icing
MAKES 3 cups icing

4 cups confectioner's sugar
3 Tablespoons meringue powder
6 Tablespoons lukewarm water

Beat ingredients until glossy, and peaks form when you lift the mixer.  (See photo further below) This will take 7-12 minutes on low to medium speed, depending on your mixer).

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This dries VERY quickly, so cover it while it's sitting out, with a damp dish towel.  To store and use later, seal in airtight container and refrigerate for a day or two.  The sooner the better.

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Divide the dough ball in two and wrap separately. This will help it become cold faster, but also, will give you the right size when it's time to roll it out.  You'll see.

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While the dough is chilling, make the templates for the house parts.

Jillian got the pattern from here.  

The pdf of this pattern is here: 
Download Gingerbread House Template

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Cut a sheet of parchment paper to the size of your cookie sheet.  Then roll the dough out to about 1/4" thick, in a rectangle the same size as the paper. 

Cut out the pieces on the paper, then lift the excess dough away, leaving this…

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Dough pieces!

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Rolling tip:  Roll from the middle out to near the edge. Then rotate and repeat.  If you keep rolling the edges, it will get thin and break apart.  Also, this method will allow you to roll the dough evenly. 

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And there you have it.  A naked gingerbread house. 

 

Hasselback Potatoes

Hasselback Potatoes
My new favorite potato!

Hasselback Potatoes
Compliments of JennaDish

Use about 2 medium to 4 small potatoes per serving, and about 1 garlic clove per 2 or 3 potatoes

Yellow Potatoes (or Yukon Gold Potatoes)
oil
salt & pepper
garlic cloves, sliced thin or minced
your favorite spice blend for potatoes (I used Penzey's Arizona Dreamin' Spice Blend)
Curry ketchup, optional (squeeze ketchup in a small dish and stir in a pinch of curry powder) 

Wash potatoes.  Make slices into each potato every 1/8" inch, only cutting down to 3/4 of the potato.  To make this easier, put the potato in a wooden spoon and slice the potato, allowing the spoon to stop the knife just short of cutting all the way through.  Place potatoes in large saucepan of cold water and bring to a boil.  Then lower the heat to keep the water at a low boil.  Boil about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  When the potatoes have boiled so they are about halfway cooked, drain them, and put them on a baking sheet in the oven to allow the heat to dry them – about 4-5 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool enough to handle. Then place pieces or slices of garlic clove into the potato slices – about 2-3 slices of garlic per potato.  Melt some butter or use oil to cover the potatoes.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and/or a spice blend on the potatoes.

Roast until cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.  

Almond Cake by Marcella Hazan

Almond Cake

Made this cake to take to work.  Didn't have enough daylight in the morning to get a good photo.

Maybe next time.

But it got rave reviews.

 

Almond Cake
Compliments of JennaDish

from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan

10 ounces shelled, unpeeled almonds, about 2 cups
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
8 egg whites
Salt
The peel of 1 lemon grated without digging into the white pitch beneath
6 Tablespoons flour
An 8- or 9-inch springform pan
Butter for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Put the almonds and sugar in a blender or food processor and grind to a fine consistency, turning the motor on and off.

Beat the egg whites together with 1/2 teaspoon salt until they form stiff peaks.

Add the ground almonds and the grated lemon peel to the egg whites, a little bit at a time, folding them in gently, but thoroughly. The whites may deflate a bit, but if you mix carefully there should be no significant loss of volume.

Add the flour, shaking a little of it at a time through a strainer, and again, mixing gently.

Thickly smear the pan with butter.  Put the cake batter into the pan, shaking the pan to level it off. Place the pan int he middle level of the preheated oven and bake for 1 hours. Before taking it out of the oven, test the enter of the cake by piercing it with a toothpick. If it comes out dry, the cake is done. If it does not, cook a little longer.

When done unlock the pan and remove the hoop. When the cake has cooled somewhat, and it is just lukewarm, loosen it from the bottom of the pan. Serve when it is completely cold. It will keep quite a while if stored in a biscuit box. [or a cake taker, I presume]

 

 

Southwestern Mixed Vegetable Soup

 

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This soup is a great base soup that you can tinker with.  Very healthy.

Tomatillos
I personally felt it needed more spice or complex flavor, so I would recommend adding jalapeno if you like heat, or a teaspoon or two of chili powder.

Southwest Vegetable Soup Recipe

As with many soups, this one is quite tasty the next day and can be altered into something totally new.

With our leftovers, I made it into a fish stew.  I heated it up, add about 1/4 cup red wine (or use white), and added 2 fresh cod fillets, and more fresh pepper.  Very tasty.

 

Southwestern Vegetable Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 4 

2 Tablespoons cooking oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 dried chipotle chile (optional)
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup cooked black beans
3 tomatillos, husked and cut into chunks
1 medium tomato, cored and roughly chopped
1 medium or 2 small zucchini, roughly chopped
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1/4 cup or more chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and cut into rings (optional)

Put the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, chipotle, cumin, oregano, and some salt and peper and cook stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add the vegetables along with some more salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are shiny, just a minute or so.

Add the stock, bring to a boil, and adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently. Cook until the vegetables are very tender (the potato will take the longest), 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve, garnished with the cilantro.

 

Thai Style Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

 
Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu

Alyssa and I visited the Saigon Market at Findlay Market this past weekend.

At a traditional grocery store, you might be able to find a few stalks of lemongrass. Or maybe not.

But at this market, there's a whole cardboard box of lemongrass stalks.  And crazy fresh ginger.

 
Lemongrass Lime Chili

This soup was amazing. Lots of flavor.  But if someone in the family doesn't like some of those exotic flavors, cut them back a bit. Use 1/2 the amount of lemongrass and lime. 

 

Thai Soup with Rice Noodles and Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

SERVES 6 

6-7 cups vegetable stock, water, or combination of the two
3 stalks lemongrass
2 Tablespoons soy sauce, or more to taste
grated zest of 1 lime
1 small hot fresh Thai chile, seeded, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup button or oyster mushrooms, chopped fine or sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, trimmed, or shelled peas (frozen ok)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
Juice of 1 lime
chopped fresh cilantro leave for garnish
12 oz box extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes (we used Mori Nu)
8 oz rice noodles (we used Erawan Brand medium size oriental style noodles) 

Heat a pan of water on medium-high heat for the rice noodles. Meanwhile, put the stock in a separate large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mince the core of one of the lemongrass stalks and add it; trim and bruise the other 2 lemongrass stalks, cut them into 2- or 3-inch lengths, and add them to the pot along with the soy sauce, lime zest, chile, black pepper, and sugar. Stir, then add the vegetables and tofu.

When the water for the noodles is boiling, add the rice noodles and cook to just a minute or two short of being cooked, according to package directions.  

Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. Add the lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more soy, lime, chile or pepper as you like.

Add the noodles to the soup, simmer another minute.  Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

Vegan New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice

Vegan Jambalaya
Vegan Jambalaya with Brown Rice Smoked Tempeh

This is the first recipe Alyssa and I have made from the cookbook she got me last June for my birthday, Big Vegan: More Than 350 Recipes No Meat/No Dairy All Delicious by Robin Asbell.
I was surprised at how good this tasted.  Maybe it was that "expectations" thing.  I didn't expect it to taste that great, and it really did.
We used the rice cooker to cook everything together in one pot, except for the last 2 ingredients, which you stir in at the end, just long enough to warm them up.
Some of the family didn't care for the smoked tempeh.  This would be easy to fix because you stir in the Fakin Bacon at the end.  So you could stir in another meat or meat substitute for those that want something else.
New Orleans Jambalaya with Smoked Tempeh and Brown Rice
Compliments of JennaDish
from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium green bell, chopped
6 large scallions, white and green parts chopped separately
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 large jalapeno, chopped
1 large bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dired thyme
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
2 cups vegetable stock (I used unsalted)
1 cup long-grain brown rice (rinse first)
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz smoked tempeh Fakin' Bacon, chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes 
(see below if using Rice Cooker to cook the whole dish)
1. Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add both bell peppers, the whites of the scallions, the celery, jalapeno, and bay leaf. Saute until the vegetables are softened.  Add the garlic, thyme, oregano, and basil and stir briefly, then add the stock and bring it to a boil.  Add the rice and salt and bring to a simmer, then cover tightly and cook on very low heat until all the liquids are absorbed and the rice is tender, 35 to 45 mintues.
RICE COOKER Version: Place all the ingredients, except the tempeh and tomatoes (and green part of scallions) and turn your cooker on for brown rice.  When finished, open the lid carefully and follow step #2.
2. Fold in the tempeh and tomatoes and let stand, covered, to steam the rice and warm the tempeh and tomatoes through, about 5 minutes. Serve topped with the remaining chopped scallion greens.

Red Thai Tofu


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Serve this tofu dish over your favorite rice.  The cookbook this came from suggests a pineapple rice.

 

Red Thai Tofu
Compliments of JennaDish

from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

SERVES 4

1 block extra-firm tofu (about 14 ounces), cubed
1 teaspoon oil
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
1/2 cup sliced shallots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
15 leaves fresh Thai basil

Preheat a cast iron or heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Spray with a little cooking spray. Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, flipping it with a thin spatula once in a while, until it is browned on most sides. The thin spatula is important because you should be able to slip it underneat the tofu and flip it easily, keeping the tofu intact. About midway through, drizzle with 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce and toss to coat.

Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. Saute the red pepper, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil, using a little cooking spray if needed. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the curry paste, water, remaining soy sauce, agave. Add the tofu back the pan along with the curry paste mixture. Cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Thai basil and toss to wilt. Serve!