Monday, June 30, 2008

Chicken Pita Pockets

I have recently discovered Kraft's Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette. It is wonderful on salads, used as a marinade, and as a dressing in salads. The bottle touts that it is free of preservatives etc., and has only 60 calories in 2 Tablespoons, so it is guilt free as well as flavorful. I used the dressing in the chicken salad for these pita pockets, but you could sub any of your favorite dressings in its place.
2 pita pockets
3 oz chicken, chopped
2 Tablespoons Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
finely chopped broccoli
shredded carrot
finely chopped onion
salt and pepper

Combine chicken, broccoli, carrot, onion and vinaigrette in a bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let mixture chill for a few hours. When ready to enjoy, stuff chicken salad into warmed pita pockets.

A Diet High in Fiber?

Well, the small white cat has been at it again. Juniper found the roll of toilet paper, and you can see the end result. I suppose with all the pastry that has been in the kitchen lately, she felt the need to increase the fiber in her diet? Obviously we need to talk.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Daring Bakers Challenge Number One!

Well, the time has come to post my first Daring Bakers Challenge! The hosts for this month's challenge are Kelly of Sass and Veracity and Ben of What's Cooking?, and the challenge was to create a Danish Braid. The recipe entailed creating a yeasted laminated dough, a homemade filling, and a finished Danish Braid. I was pretty scared when I first saw the recipe as I have never done anything like this before, and was worried that this challenge would be too far outside my element.
I am so glad that I tried the Danish Braid recipe and completed the challenge! It was a lot of work (rolling, chilling, rolling, get the idea), but everything came together really well. I opted to use the apple filling recipe, and the flavor of the apples, butter and vanilla was wonderful!
The pastry itself featured vanilla bean, cardamom, and fresh orange juice. My kitchen smelled heavenly as it was baking, and the flavor was wonderful! I'm glad I was able to give away most of the braid, as I would have eaten the entire thing if I had been left alone with it. I have never worked with vanilla beans before, but really wanted to try the recipe in its entirety, so I ordered some from e-bay. I think I may be hooked on vanilla beans now.

This was a terrific first challenge for me....and I'm excited to face the next challenge!


Makes 2-1/2 pounds dough

For the dough (Detrempe)

  • 1 ounce fresh yeast or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the butter block (Beurrage)

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour


Combine yeast and milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed. Slowly add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice. Mix well. Change to the dough hook and add the salt with the flour, 1 cup at a time, increasing speed to medium as the flour is incorporated. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until smooth. You may need to add a little more flour if it is sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly floured baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Without a standing mixer: Combine yeast and milk in a bowl with a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk. Add sugar, orange zest, cardamom, vanilla extract, vanilla seeds, eggs, and orange juice and mix well. Sift flour and salt on your working surface and make a fountain. Make sure that the “walls” of your fountain are thick and even. Pour the liquid in the middle of the fountain. With your fingertips, mix the liquid and the flour starting from the middle of the fountain, slowly working towards the edges. When the ingredients have been incorporated start kneading the dough with the heel of your hands until it becomes smooth and easy to work with, around 5 to 7 minutes. You might need to add more flour if the dough is sticky.


1. Combine butter and flour in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle and then beat for 1 minute more, or until smooth and lump free. Set aside at room temperature.

2. After the detrempe has chilled 30 minutes, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 18 x 13 inches and ¼ inch thick. The dough may be sticky, so keep dusting it lightly with flour. Spread the butter evenly over the center and right thirds of the dough. Fold the left edge of the detrempe to the right, covering half of the butter. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. The first turn has now been completed. Mark the dough by poking it with your finger to keep track of your turns, or use a sticky and keep a tally. Place the dough on a baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Place the dough lengthwise on a floured work surface. The open ends should be to your right and left. Roll the dough into another approximately 13 x 18 inch, ¼-inch-thick rectangle. Again, fold the left third of the rectangle over the center third and the right third over the center third. No additional butter will be added as it is already in the dough. The second turn has now been completed. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

4. Roll out, turn, and refrigerate the dough two more times, for a total of four single turns. Make sure you are keeping track of your turns. Refrigerate the dough after the final turn for at least 5 hours or overnight. The Danish dough is now ready to be used. If you will not be using the dough within 24 hours, freeze it. To do this, roll the dough out to about 1 inch in thickness, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze. Defrost the dough slowly in the refrigerator for easiest handling. Danish dough will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month.

APPLE FILLING (Makes enough for two braids)


  • 4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

DANISH BRAID Makes enough for 2 large braids


  • 1 recipe Danish Dough (see below)
  • 2 cups apple filling, jam, or preserves (see below)

For the egg wash: 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll the Danish Dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, ¼ inch thick. If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough on the baking sheet.

2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Egg Wash: Whisk together the whole egg and yolk in a bowl and with a pastry brush, lightly coat the braid.

Proofing and Baking
1. Spray cooking oil (Pam…) onto a piece of plastic wrap, and place over the braid. Proof at room temperature or, if possible, in a controlled 90 degree F environment for about 2 hours, or until doubled in volume and light to the touch.

2. Near the end of proofing, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

3. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan so that the side of the braid previously in the back of the oven is now in the front. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake about 15-20 minutes more, or until golden brown. Cool and serve the braid either still warm from the oven or at room temperature. The cooled braid can be wrapped airtight and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for 1 month.

Click the picture above to check out the blogroll for the Daring Bakers and see many more fantastic pastries!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ah, the Power of Coffee

When it comes to choosing a beverage, I will admit that 9 times out of 10 a cup of hot coffee is my choice. It could be 90 degrees or 40 degrees, but a steaming cup of coffee is my favorite way to start the day, begin the afternoon, or wind down the evening. Because of this, I almost always have my travel mug with me when I am at work, and it is always full of strong coffee with milk, and maybe a little sugar depending on what mood I'm in.

My summer school class enjoyed the fact that I had a coffee cup everyday, and they were good about helping me keep track of it. I was always setting it down in the classroom and wandering off, only to discover that my "brain" was not with me. Coffee became a part of our daily conversation, and they enjoyed the banter that ensued. Since I had a class of coffee aware students, our last day became a coffee celebration of sorts.

We began the day by writing a coffee poem on a sheet of paper that featured a large coffee cup with lines in the middle. After this, we created coffee art: the kids drew pictures and traced the outlines with glue, and then we sprinkled the glue with coffee and let it dry before shaking the excess coffee off. The coffee vocabulary featured a discussion (and some artwork) of the words "coffee bean", "biscotti", "mocha" and "latte". Before recess we spent some time decorating Styrofoam coffee cups with stickers.

After recess, we discussed the ingredients for our mocha lattes. As a group, we brainstormed a sequence of steps to create the lattes, and then we set to work. My favorite moment of the celebration was when the coffee pot was brewing in the front of the room. The kids gathered around it and watched as the coffee pot filled with fragrant coffee. Of course, what coffee party would be complete without biscotti? Each of the kids had their own biscotti to dunk in the coffee. It was quite the day of coffee experiences for our class.

Mocha Lattes:
Strong Brewed Coffee
Milk, warmed to take the chill off
Chocolate Syrup

Fill cups to about half full with coffee. Fill the cups the rest of the way with milk. Add a spoonful of chocolate syrup. Add sugar as desired.

Banana Pancakes

Yay! It's Saturday and that means.....pancakes!!!! Today I tried banana pancakes. They turned out beautifully!1/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoons salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon oil
1 banana
1/4 vanilla pod, scraped
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and fry on a hot griddle.

Variation: (7/01/08) Tried subbing 1/4 cup buttermilk instead of milk. Really Good!

Peanut Energy Bars

These are very good, and worth the effort! Everything in them is good for you, and they are handy to have when you are on the go. The recipe is found on Eating Well. I used the honey instead of corn syrup, and added the wheat germ to the recipe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie Post Number 2: Mixed Berry Cobbler

The Tuesdays with Dorie Challenge for this week was chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life. The recipe is "Mixed Berry Cobbler", and it is wonderful!
I cut the recipe in half, and made it in individual custard cups. The biscuit topping baked up nice and thick, and had a delicious flavor to it. My individual cobblers took about 40 minutes at the temperature recommended in the book.
I had some scraps, so added decorative hearts to the top of each cobbler.
The berry part of the cobbler was nice and juicy, and the biscuit topping soaked up all the berry goodness!
When I was finished, I took the remaining scraps, and rolled them out into a strip. I sprinkled cinnamon and sugar and raisins over the strip, and rolled it up like a cinnamon roll. The result was an absolutely delectable cinnamon biscuit. Butter and whipping cream make for good pastry!
Be sure to visit Tuesdays with Dorie and check out what everyone made!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Experimenting with Corn Cakes

If you have been reading any of the recipes on this blog, you will know how much I love pancakes. I got to thinking about playing with my pancake recipe again, and this time I decided to make corn cakes. I substituted corn grits for the flour, and added chopped jalapenos and corn to the batter. After the corn cake cooked (I made one big one), I topped it with a mixture of taco meat, peppers, onions, mushrooms and corn seasoned with cumin and chili pepper. On top of all of this I added salsa. It was delicious, and the corn cake had a nice crunch to it.

1/4 cup corn grits
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup corn
jalapenos, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Pour mixture onto a hot griddle to create a corn cake. Let the corn cake cook well before gentle with it as it will fall apart. After the cake has cooked on both sides, top with taco meat etc.
Meat mixture:
taco meat
green peppers
canned corn
chili pepper
salt and pepper

Combine in a frying pan, and brown in a little olive oil.
After I put the meat mixture on top of the corn cake, I topped it with salsa and a little sour cream.

Daring Bakers!

Once again, I am excited! Butterbur's Bistro has joined the Daring Bakers, so now there will be lots of interesting baked goods popping up on the blog! Be sure to check out the blogroll and see all the fantastic things that the Daring Bakers have been up to!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Pancakes

Ah, if it is Saturday, it must be pancake day! Today, I decided to play a little with my pancake recipe. I substituted a Tablespoon of peanut butter, added 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and increased the sugar by 1/4 teaspoon. Delicious pancakes!

1/4 cup wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg white
1/4 cup milk
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients. Fry on griddle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Peppermint Cream Puff Ring

My first ever Tuesdays with Dorie Post!!!!!!
The first thing you are probably noticing as you look at this post is that I have lovely cream puffs....and no ring....well....
I looked at the recipe and realized that not only did it serve 12 people, but that making it in the ring form would make it very difficult to give away to people. So, I cut the recipe in half and made the dough into individual cream puffs.

The mint infused cream was wonderful, up to the point where I whipped it. I never could get it to make the peaks that it was supposed to. However, the flavor was amazing! I ended up putting plain whipped cream in the middles with the sour cream, and having minty coffee for several days. The idea of infusing the cream with mint is a wonderful one, and I intend to try this recipe again, this time being more careful with my whipped cream.

I was really scared at the idea of making puff pastry. Oddly enough, the pastry was the easiest part of the whole recipe. My mini cream puffs came out beautifully!


Thanks so much for all the warm welcomes to "Tuesdays with Dorie!" I'm so glad to be a part of this baking community! Caroline of "A Consuming Passion" chose the recipe for this week, so please visit her blog if you would like the recipe for this dessert, and also to check out her peppermint cream puff ring pictures as well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Couscous Salad

This made for a quick lunch today. The idea came from a recipe posted on . I followed it pretty closely, but didn't add the cucumber, and only used 1/4 cup of cranberries instead of 1/3 cup.

1/3 cup couscous
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
2 teaspoons balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
salt to taste

Add couscous and dried cranberries to a bowl. Pour hot water over the ingredients. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and let stand for 5 - 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork, and add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Enjoy!

Note added June 19, 2008-- Today I fixed this for lunch and added half a cucumber, diced. Wonderful! Try it- it's good!

Note added June 22, 2008--Added some chopped onion today. I combined couscous, cranberries, and finely chopped onion in the bowl, then poured the hot water over and followed the rest of the recipe (I also had the cucumber in the salad). Very delicous!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes

1 large tomato
salt and pepper
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
green onion, chopped
1/8 cup + 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese
1 egg white

Cut the tomato in half and scoop out the insides using a melon-ball scoop. Season the insides of the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Mix the rest of the ingredients together well and divide between the tomato cups. Bake in a preheated oven (450 degrees) for 20 minutes, or until tops are golden.

Butterbur's Bistro has Joined Tuesdays with Dorie

Yay! Butterbur's Bistro is now a member of Tuesdays with Dorie. Check out the site:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I'm beginning to think that I need to rethink the premise of my blog....I have again another post on pancakes....maybe that should be the focus :)
Anyway, I went to a movie this evening, and had too much cola and too much buttery popcorn. When I got home, I thought perhaps eating something more substantial then greasy and sugary movie theater fare would help settle my stomach. So of course, I turned to: pancakes. This evening, chocolate chips seemed to fit the bill perfectly, adding a nice gooey sweetness to the plain bread of the pancake. I also added a pinch of cinnamon to the pancake batter while mixing the dry ingredients. After ladling spoonfuls of the batter onto my griddle, I sprinkled the semi-sweet chocolate chips on each pancake. And yes, it did help my stomach.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Butterbur's Grape and Pomegranate Fizz

1/2 cup grape juice
1/2 cup carbonated water (seltzer water)
1/4 cup pomegranate juice

Measure out ingredients into glass and stir. Add ice and enjoy!

Blueberry Day!

Ah, I've decided that Saturdays are pancake days. There is something indulgent and comforting about starting a leisurely Saturday with warm pancakes and syrup. This morning, I used my basic pancake recipe, and dumped some frozen blueberries into the batter. Technically, this is not Kosher because it makes the batter turn an interesting purple/grey color. I love to mix all the juice etc. into the batter when I'm making pancakes though, so the color is just a bonus! I have to have my cup of coffee in the morning, and Saturday is no exception. This morning, I made a strong cup of coffee and added 1 Tablespoon of blueberry syrup and a little skim milk. The coffee complimented the pancakes beautifully. What a way to start the morning!

Juniper Eats Spaghetti

Now, most of you are reading this post with the mental picture of a little white cat enjoying some "fully cooked" pasta in a bowl. This in itself would be an image, as spaghetti can be very unwieldy for a cat to eat, especially for a cat like Juniper who has no patience for anything. However, I'm here to tell you that the spaghetti that Juniper consumed was not was the dry form. Yesterday I made some Lime Chicken with Spaghetti (which was wonderful by the way), and evidently a piece of dry spaghetti fell on the floor when I was working. I was amazed this morning when I heard a crunching sound, and found Juniper on the floor with a long strand of dry spaghetti. She had to work for it, but there is no Spaghetti left. Obviously, I need to feed her more...yours humbly, Butterbur.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lime Chicken with Spaghetti

This came together rather quickly, and was delicious! I think the next time I make it, I will toss in some steamed broccoli or cauliflower.

2 (or more) green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon oil
6 oz chicken, cubed
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons minced parsley (or more)
½ teaspoon seasoning salt
¼ teaspoon lemon/ pepper seasoning
4 oz spaghetti

In a large skillet, saute onions& garlic in oil until tender.
Stir in the chicken and cook for a few minutes. Add lime juice, parsley, seasoned salt and lemon-pepper. Saute for 15-20 min or until chicken juices run clear and chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Add to chicken mixture& toss.

Makes 2 servings

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Butterbur's Taco Salad

1/4 cup taco meat
1/4 cup canned beans (black beans, pinto beans etc.)
1 garlic clove
grated cheese
sour cream or yogurt cheese
green onion

1. In a pan, heat taco meat, beans, and garlic together, mixing well.
2. Toss lettuce, wedges of tomato, and sliced onion in a bowl. Add salsa, and using a spatula, work it into the salad.
3. Top lettuce with meat and bean mixture, and sprinkle grated cheese over the top. Top with sour cream and chopped green onion.
4. Enjoy!
Makes 1 serving.

Yogurt Cheesecake

4 cups well-drained non-fat yogurt cheese
2 cups Sugar
6 egg whites, or 3 eggs
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated fresh lemon peel (zest)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 Tbs. sifted cake flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray the sides and bottom of a 2-quart soufflé dish with nonstick cooking spray. Whip yogurt cheese with sugar, egg whites, lemon juice, lemon peel, vanilla and cake flour; do not overbeat. Pour into prepared dish and set into a large pan of hot water. Bake for 1-1/2 hours or until cake is browned and cracked. Turn off oven and leave cake in oven for 1 hour longer. Remove cheesecake from water bath and allow to cool in dish on a wire rack for 1 hour. Place serving platter over dish and invert. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 10-12.
Per serving: 326 calories, 14g protein, 66g carbs, 1.5g fat, 266mg sodium, 4% calories from fat.

This recipe made a delicious basic cheesecake. I was amazed at the amount of yogurt cheese it called for. Since I had never made cheesecake using yogurt, I cut the recipe into fourths:

1 cup well-drained non-fat yogurt cheese
1/4 cup Sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. grated fresh lemon peel (zest) omitted
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2-1/4 tsp. sifted cake flour

I followed the directions for mixing and baking, although I did leave it in the oven for an extra 30 minutes, and it never did brown. I poured it into a casserole dish that was a little too big, so after I removed it from the dish, I used biscuit cutters to make "cheesecake circles". I then rolled the edges in shaved chocolate. I also took some of the cheesecake and rolled it into small balls that I put in the freezer. After the cheesecake was frozen, I dipped them into semi-sweet chocolate to make candies. Delicious!!!