Sophie’s Asian Noodle Salad

A quick and easy colorful lunch full of Asian flavors.  Enjoy.

1/4 head Green Cabbage, Washed, Cored, And Thinly Sliced

1/4 head Red Cabbage, Washed, Cored, And Thinly Sliced

1/2 Cup Baby Carrots, Washed, Peeled, And Julienned

1/2 Cup Kale, Washed And Chopped, With Leaves Torn

Sweet Peppers, Washed, Seeded, And Sliced

Stringless Sugar Snap Peas, Washed

1 package Soba Stir-Fry Noodles

Soy Sauce, to taste

Worcestershire Sauce, to taste

Sesame Oil, to taste

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

Rice Vinegar, to taste

Packed Dark Brown Sugar, to taste

Tomato Paste

Ground Ginger, to taste

Sesame Seeds

2 Scallions, Washed And Thinly Sliced

For the noodles:

1. Cook noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

For the blanched sugar snap peas:

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the sugar snap peas. Stir continuously for a few seconds with a slotted spoon or “spider” until the sugar snap peas become brighter in color.

2. Remove the sugar snap peas with whatever you are using to stir them, and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Plunge everything in deep to really let the water get into it, and stir to make sure they are cool enough to handle before you remove them.

3. Dry the sugar snap peas on a paper towel, chop them up, and set aside.

For the original salad:

1. In a medium bowl, combine green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, kale, peppers, blanched sugar snap peas, and cooked soba noodles.

For the dipping sauce:

1. In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, ground ginger, and sesame seeds.

For the finished salad:

1. Pour over salad, toss to coat, and sprinkle on thinly sliced scallions. Pile some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 10 servings

Sophie’s English Muffin “Boozy” Crostinis With Arugula, Capers, And Goat Cheese

A fancy and elegant breakfast or hor d’oeurve that’s a riff on the many varieties of Sophie’s English Muffin Pizzas (similar to a salad (on top of a) pizza).  Enjoy.

1 English Muffin, Sliced In Half Lengthwise

Olive Oil

Red Wine Vinegar

Granulated Sugar, to taste

Arugula, Washed

1 Tbsp Capers

Goat Cheese, Crumbled

1. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, and granulated sugar.

2. Drizzle over English muffin slices (be careful because if you put on too much, it will become soggy).

3. Toast in toaster until warm.

4. Remove from toaster, top each with goat cheese (the heat will melt it), arugula, and capers, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 crostinis

Scones Vs. Biscuits

So, as you know if you’ve seen this recipe, I made scones awhile back: Sophie’s Peanut Butter S’more Scones With Double Chocolate Ganache.  At that time, I’d made biscuits in the past, at BOCES, but I bring that I just throw things together, and see what I get when it comes to baking, I just followed the basic technique and went with the measurements as logically as I could.  I took my streusel recipe, and multiplied it by four so that I could have enough for the batter.  Then, I added one egg, some vanilla, and some milk until it came together.  It was a wet mixture as opposed to your typical scone made with a crumbly dough (I saw that on PW (The Pioneer Woman), but I’m not exactly sure it’s accurate for scones; then again, my way isn’t exactly accurate either because I’m never precise, so…), and they didn’t rise very much, but the texture of the finished was still dry, yet somewhat crumbly, I think, from what I remember last time I made them, and I think, from what I know, that’s the correct texture for scones.  As for biscuits, I want to make cheddar-rosemary ones, and biscuits are very similar to scones.  In my opinion (well…actually, from what I already knew from my mom before researching and taking the time to think), they have less sugar than scones.  My scone recipe has 1/4 cup of sugar, while the biscuit recipe that I created has just 1 tsp.  After researching (and thinking logically), I figured out that I think if I decrease the amount of fat and increase the amount of liquid, it will make for a moist flaky biscuit.  My scone recipe has 2 cups of flour, 3 sticks of butter (or margarine; 1 1/2 cups), and 3/4 cup of (whole) milk (or half and half of heavy cream; really, the different types of fat and liquid that I included in the recipe as alternate options for the butter and milk can alter the textures of biscuits from what I’ve read online, so I would think it could do the same for scones and other baked goods, and you might want to be careful with home much of those you add if you make one of the substitutions), while my biscuit recipe has 2 cups of flour, 2 sticks of butter (or margarine; 1 cup), and 1 cup of (whole) milk (or half and half or heavy cream).  Again, as I’ve mentioned a lot on this website, precision and accuracy of measurements affects baked goods, and if you’re like me, it’s good to know some of the science behind everything because after all, you’re experimenting.  Okay, so I have to go now, but if you have any other opinions contradicting mine about the differences between scones and biscuits, feel free to discuss them in the Comment section.

Sophie’s Couscous Salad With Romesco Sauce

A kosher summery salad with Mediterranean flair similar to Sophie’s Mushroom, Farro, And Mozzarella Salad With Zesty Italian Garlic And Herb Vinaigrette.  Enjoy.

1 package Tricolor Pearl Couscous

Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Swiss Chard, Washed And Chopped, With Veins Removed

1 can Chickpeas, Drained

Salt and Pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp Capers, Chopped

Feta Cheese, Crumbled

1 Red or Orange Bell Pepper, Washed

Piquillo Peppers, Washed

Red Grape Tomatoes, Washed

Almonds, Roasted And Salted

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Smashed

Red Wine Vinegar

For the couscous:

1. Cook the couscous according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

For the chickpeas:

1. Heat oil in a pan, and add chickpeas. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy. Drain on a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper.

For the chard:

1. In the same pan you cooked the chickpeas in, cook chard until slightly wilted, remove from pan, and set aside.

For the concasse tomatoes:

1. Cut an X about an inch into each tomato.

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the tomatoes, and let sit for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon or “spider”.

3. Remove the tomatoes with whatever you are using to stir them, and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Plunge everything in deep to really let the water get into it, and stir to make sure they are cool enough to handle before you remove them.
4. Dry the tomatoes on a paper towel, and peel the skin off. Squeeze out the seeds, and discard them. Chop up the tomatoes, and set aside.

For the romesco sauce:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Char the red bell pepper and piquillo peppers on all sides by using tongs to hold them over a flame on the stove set to medium heat.

3. Place charred peppers in a resealable plastic bag (such as Ziplock), seal it, and let sit to let the steam escape.

4. Open the bag (it will be hot), remove the charred peppers, and let cool. Use a knife to cut open the peppers (if you do not want a lot of charred flavor in the romesco sauce, you can scrape off some of the charred skin of the peppers, and discard it), scrape out the seeds, and discard them. Slice the peppers, and place in the food processor.

5. Oil a baking sheet, spread sesame seeds on it, and toast for about 4 minutes.

6. Remove from oven, and set aside.

7. Add concasse tomatoes, toasted almonds, smashed garlic, and red wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and pulse, slowly streaming in olive oil until it becomes a smooth sauce.

For the finished bowl:

1. In a medium bowl, combine couscous, wilted chard, pan-roasted chickpeas, capers, and crumbled feta cheese, stir in romesco sauce, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 couscous salad with romesco sauce

Sophie’s Coleslaw With Ranch Dressing

A simple classic coleslaw with easy homemade ranch dressing that’s a great side for any season.  Enjoy.

1/4 head Green Cabbage, Washed, Cored, And Grated

1/4 Cup Baby Carrots, Washed, Peeled, And Grated

1 Cup Mayonnaise

2 Cups Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

1 tsp Lemon Juice or White Balsamic Vinegar

Lemon Zest

Dried Parsley Flakes, to taste

Ground Dill Weed, to taste

Dried Chives, to taste

For the original coleslaw:

1. In a medium bowl, combine grated cabbage and grated baby carrots.

For the ranch dressing:

1. In a small bowl, combine mayo, Greek yogurt, remaining minced garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper, dried parsley flakes, ground dill weed, and dried chives.

For the finished coleslaw:

1. Pour dressing over coleslaw, and toss to coat. Pile some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 3 servings

Sophie And Kaitlyn’s Crazy Decorated Caramel Apple Rice Krispie Treats

Amped up homemade rice krispie treats that are 100% Desendants 2 (and Raven’s Home)-worthy.  Enjoy.

Butter or Margarine, Softened

Marshmallow Fluff

Brown Sugar

Apple Butter

Rice Krispies

Semisweet or Milk Chocolate Chips

Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Chopped (optional)

Gummy Worms, Chopped

Kit Kats, Chopped

Skittles, Chopped

Rainbow Sprinkles

1. In a saucepan, melt butter, add brown sugar, and stir to caramelize.

2. Add marshmallow fluff and apple butter, and stir to combine.

3. Add chocolate chips, and stir to melt.

4. Stir in chopped Reeses peanut butter cups (if using), chopped gummy worms, chopped Kit Kats, chopped Skittles, and rice krispies, and turn off the heat.

5. Spread the mixture onto a piece of wax paper or an oiled baking pan, and sprinkle on rainbow sprinkles. Let set, and refrigerate until further use. If not, put on a plate, cut into squares, and enjoy.

Yields: a dozen krispie treats

Sophie’s Stovetop Italian Garlic And Herb Truffled Lobster Tail Mac And Four Cheeses

Sophie’s Stovetop Mac And Four Cheeses combined with Sophie’s Italian Garlic And Herb Truffled Lobster Tails to create a heavenly classic with some flavorful added protein.  Enjoy.

1/4 box Elbow Macaroni

2 Frozen Lobster Tails, Thawed

Salted Water

1/2 Shallot, Peeled And Thinly Sliced

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Italian Seasoning, to taste

White Balsamic Vinegar

Truffle Oil

1/4 Stick Butter or Margarine, Softened

1 Cup Whole Milk or Half And Half or Heavy Cream

1 1/2 Tbsp Cream Cheese, Softened

2 slices American Cheese

3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated

3/4 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated

Cornstarch, As Needed

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Seasoned Salt, to taste

For the lobster tails:

1. Add lobster tails to a saucepan, pour over salted water, and bring to a boil, Cook for 8-12 minutes, and cover if necessary. The shells should be bright red, and the meat should be white and tender. Uncover, remove them with a slotted spoon or “spider”, and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan, and add minced garlic and thinly sliced shallot. Let caramelize, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning, and deglaze the pan with white balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.

3. Cut the lobster tails, remove the meat, discarding the shells, and slice it. Add it to the pan, stir, and taste to adjust seasonings as you wish.

For the original pasta:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set aside.

For the four-cheese sauce:

1. In a saucepan, combine butter and whole milk, and let the butter melt.

2. Add the cream cheese, and slowly stir with a wooden spoon.

3. Break up the American cheese, add it in, and let melt slightly.

4. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and grated sharp cheddar cheese, and continue stirring. Sprinkle in seasonings, and stir to combine. Add cornstarch if necessary to thicken the mixture.

5. Turn off the heat, and add macaroni and lobster tails, stirring to combine.

For the finished pasta:

1. Pour the pasta, lobster, and cheese sauce into a bowl, grab a spoon, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 servings

Sophie’s Italian Garlic And Herb Truffled Lobster Tails

Lobster tails dressed up Italian-style for a beautiful flavorful dinner.  Enjoy.

2 Frozen Lobster Tails, Thawed

Salted Water

1/2 Shallot, Peeled And Thinly Sliced

4 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Italian Seasoning, to taste

White Balsamic Vinegar

Truffle Oil

1. Add lobster tails to a saucepan, pour over salted water, and bring to a boil, Cook for 8-12 minutes, and cover if necessary. The shells should be bright red, and the meat should be white and tender. Uncover, remove them with a slotted spoon or “spider”, and set aside.

2. Heat oil in a pan, and add minced garlic and thinly sliced shallot. Let caramelize, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning, and deglaze the pan with white balsamic vinegar and truffle oil.

3. Cut the lobster tails, remove the meat, discarding the shells, and slice it. Add it to the pan, stir, and taste to adjust seasonings as you wish. Scoop some into a bowl, and enjoy.

Yields: 2 Italian garlic and herb truffled lobster tails

Sophie’s Arugula, Sundried Tomato, And Parmesan Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

A simple 3-step side salad perfect for any day of the week.  Enjoy.

Arugula, Washed

Sliced Sundried Tomatoes, Cut Into Smaller Pieces

Olive Oil

Lemon Juice

Red Wine Vinegar

1 Tbsp Honey

1/2 Shallot, Peeled And Thinly Sliced

2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced

Parmesan Cheese, Shaved

1. In a small bowl, combine arugula and sundried tomatoes.

2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, honey, thinly sliced shallot, and minced garlic.

3. Pour over salad, and toss to coat. Sprinkle on shaved Parmesan cheese, and enjoy.

Yields: 1 serving

Sophie’s Fourth Of July Napoleons With Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream And Lemon Berries

A beautiful summery layered dessert filled with homemade vanilla bean pastry cream and lemon berries perfect for the Fourth Of July.  Enjoy.

1 Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheet, Thawed

1 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar, Divided Use

1/4 Cup Cornstarch or All Purpose Flour

4 Egg Yolks

1 Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Caviar Scraped

1/4 Stick Butter or Margarine, Softened

Strawberries, Washed, Hulled, And Finely Chopped

Raspberries, Washed And Finely Chopped

Blueberries, Washed And Halved

Lemon Zest

Confectioners Sugar

For the original napoleons:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Unfold the puff pastry sheet from the package, and place it on a well greased baking sheet. Dock it to prevent it from puffing up too much by pricking it all over with a fork, and cut into thirds widthwise along the fold lines.

3. Bake for about 20 minutes. It should be slightly golden and puffed up.

4. Remove from oven, and let cool. Do not worry if they puff up too much even after you dock them because they will deflate slightly as they cool. Hold your hand over the top of one of the baked puff pastry pieces, slice it in half horizontally (parallel to that hand), and flip the top one over so that it looks like an open sandwich. Repeat with the rest of the baked puff pastry pieces, and set aside.

For the vanilla bean pastry cream:

1. In a saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, and caviar from vanilla bean and vanilla bean pod, and bring to a boil.

2. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks, remaining granulated sugar, and cornstarch until thick and pale yellow in color.

3. Pour some of the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper them, and add the milk-egg mixture to the rest of the hot milk mixture so that the eggs do not scramble, stirring the mixture until everything is incorporated.

4. Cook slowly, stirring constantly, until thick, and it reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F, turn off the heat, and stir in butter. Let cool, and strain into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly over the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.

5. Remove from refrigerator, unwrap, and set aside.

For the lemon berries:

1. In a small bowl, combine strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and lemon zest, and set aside.

For the finished napoleons:

1. Stack the napoleons. Spread some of the chilled pastry cream on a piece of puff pastry, and spoon some of the lemon berries over it. Put a second piece of puff pastry on top, making sure that both pieces are facing up, and layer a third piece of puff pastry on top facing down to close the “sandwich”. Repeat the process again, creating a separate stack, and sift Confectioners’ sugar over them. Cut each widthwise into four rectangles, and enjoy.

Yields: 8 Fourth Of July napoleons with vanilla bean pastry cream and lemon berries