Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins

There’s no doubt about it, I am a Fall person through and through. As soon as September hits, I’m on the lookout for Pumpkin recipes.  If you’re anything like me, these pumpkin muffins are sure to hit the spot.  Just the smell of these as they bake, make your mouth water.

Pumpkin Muffins 007a


Makes 12 muffins

1- 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice

1-1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

For Topping

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Pumpkin Muffins 005a


Preheat oven to 350 and put rack in middle position.  Line muffin tin with paper cups.

Whisk together flour and baking powder in a small bowl, put aside.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together 1 teaspoon cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl for topping.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be almost full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a wooden pick  inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

They’re GREAT warm!

Pumpkin Muffins 011a

Enjoy !

lisa blissful

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cookie in a Cup

Also called,  The Quick Fix, PMS Cure in a Cup, Comfort in a Cup…you get the idea.
Cookie in a cup 005c
When you need a little something, but don’t want to bake 24 cupcakes or a whole cake… this is for you.
I was looking for just such a recipe and this one fit the bill.  Why?  Chocolate Chips.
I’m not sure who originated this recipe but whoever you were, thank you.
Makes 1 comforting cookie in a cup.
Cookie in a cup 005a
2 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp chocolate chips
pinch of salt
Ice cream  or Light Cool Whip (optional)
Cookie in a cup 002a
Mix together all the ingredients in a cup until combined.  I like to combine everything in separate bowl and scoop it into a cup when mixed.
Microwave for about 1 minute and 40 seconds.  Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.

You can choose to eat it like this, warm and plain..
Cookie in a cup 004a
But it’s MUCH better with a little comfort topping ~
Cookie in a cup 007a
THIS is truly Blissful.
Enjoy !
lisa blissful

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Black Rice Salad

A friend first made this recipe when she invited us up to her cottage. Thanks Rose, I’m addicted now.

Black rice, also known as purple rice or forbidden rice, is a kind of sticky rice which is one of several black colored heirloom plants producing rice variants such as Indonesian black rice and Thai jasmine black rice. Black rice is high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene, anthocyanin and several important vitamins.  **Wikipedia**

This black rice salad is really so simple to make there was no recipe for it.  I’m sure you can add whatever you like but because I enjoyed it the way she made it, I put mine together the same way.

This salad can be served at room temperature or cold. ( I like it cold)
I made this salad for a big group and doubled this recipe to serve about 10 people. Adjust as you like.

Black Rice 006a 
(as is, serves 4-6 people)
2 cups black rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Fresh basil
1/2 cup Balsamic Glaze (the thick syrup kind)
**With the exception of the stock to rice ratio, all other ingredients can be done to taste**
Black Rice 005a
Black Rice 004a
Cook rice according to package instructions using water or chicken stock and butter.   When cool, stir in equal amounts of toasted pecans and cranberries.  Add finely chopped chives and basil.  Add enough balsamic glaze to give flavour.  If you have any left the next day, you may want to add more as the rice will absorb some.   Each bite should include all the ingredients so don’t be afraid to add more.
SO Easy!
Black Rice 010a
Enjoy !
blissful table signature new_thumb[1]

Monday, May 14, 2012

Caramelized Onion Flatbread

On a recent trip to Florida we stopped into a restaurant to have a bite to eat.  The flatbread on the menu was too good to pass up.  Caramelized onions, figs and chicken – a delicious combination.
The recipe is basic and wasn’t hard to duplicate.  I also made another and added my own ingredients. To make it even easier I used a ready made Naan.  You can certainly opt to use a bread dough, which I intend to do next time I make these.
These are not so much recipes as they are just ideas.
Flatbread (16)a
Ingredients  for Caramelized Onion & Fig Flatbread
Naan bread (or pizza dough)
2 Seasoned chicken breasts
6 or 7 large onions (enough for about 3 or 4 flat breads)
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
Fig spread
8 Dried figs
Flatbread (2)a
Preheat oven to 350.  Peel and slice onions.  In a hot pan heat 3 tablespoons of butter and less than a tablespoon of oil. Cook onions over medium heat for the first 10 minutes.  Add a pinch of salt.  Cook over medium low heat for the remainder of the cooking time and add brown sugar to cook with the onions.  While your onions are cooking slice chicken breast into small strips and fry or grill chicken breast with salt, pepper, garlic (whatever seasoning you like). I actually like steak seasoning on my chicken.
headboard 124a
Cut dried figs into quarters and add to a saucepan with one cup of water and let boil.  Stir and add small amounts of water as it evaporates.  Cook for about 20 minutes and eventually let all the water absorb, then remove from heat.
Place the Naan directly on your oven racks of the preheated oven and toast for about  5 minutes.
Once the Naan is toasted assemble your flatbreads starting with some fig spread.  Spread a thin layer all over the Naan, then add a few cooked figs,  caramelized onions and then your chicken.  Garnish with any greens you like.  Pop them back in the oven for 5 minutes if you like.

headboard 129a
One of the flatbreads below had caramelized onions, goat cheese, bocconcini cheese and shaved parmesan cheese.
headboard 137a
These were fabulous and there are endless combinations. Give them a try!
Enjoy !

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Polenta Rounds with Caramelized Onion, Prosciutto & Provolone

I’ve always liked Polenta.  It’s an awesome base for just about any topping.  You can eat it in so many different forms, but grilled or baked is my favorite.  This recipe is neither grilled or baked, but pretty darn fast and easy.  And the caramelized onion……. to die for!


Polenta takes a long time to cook, typically simmering in four to five times its volume of watery liquid for about 45 minutes with almost constant stirring, necessary for even gelatinization of the starch. There are alternative cooking techniques meant to speed up the process, or not to require supervision. Quick-cooking (pre-cooked, instant) polenta is widely used and can be prepared in a few minutes; it is considered inferior to cooking polenta from unprocessed cornmeal.

But I used it anyway~!



(makes roughly 24 rounds)

2 cups milk

2 cups water

1-1/2 cups polenta

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon of soft butter for your hands, (optional)

3 cups chopped onion

2 tsp butter

2/3 cups brown sugar

8 oz mozzarella

1/4 lb prosciutto  sliced thin

just enough shaved aged provolone to top about 24 rounds


Bring the milk and water just to a boil in a large saucepan. Slowly stream in the polenta while stirring constantly. Dumping the polenta in will result in lumps.  Stir in the salt and turn down the heat a bit if needed (you don't want the polenta to scorch). Continue stirring until the polenta thickens up.  If using the usual store bought polenta this should take a few minutes. Stir in the cheese.


Remove from heat and spread out 1/2-inch thick onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  At this point you could use a wooden spoon or a spatula  to smooth it out, but I waited a couple of minutes till it was slightly cooler then rubbed little soft butter on my hands and smoothed it out that way. Chill in a refrigerator for at least an hour till completely cool.  Your polenta can be made the day before as well.

While your polenta is cooling caramelize your onions with the butter and brown sugar over medium heat.  Once they start to cook, lower the heat to prevent them from burning.  Stir frequently.  Caramelizing onions is a slow process and should be done over low heat until you reach the desired softness and sweetness.

DSCN4046aThey’ll look very brown and taste very sweet when they’re done.


I used about a 2” cookie cutter for my rounds.  I thought they were the perfect size to accommodate all the toppings.  I got about 24 rounds with this size.



Top the rounds with your caramelized onions then a small bit of mozzarella cheese.


At this time I popped them under the broiler for less than 5 minutes just to get the cheese to melt.

When the cheese is melted just enough not to have it run all over the onions, add a small cut slice of prosciutto and a shaved slice of aged provolone.


This appetizer was travelling with me, so I brought them in the tray as pictured above.  When we got there we popped them in the oven again for about 10 minutes.  They were delicious warm, but when they cooled down again we were still eating them.  

Warm or cold, these are to die for.

blissful table signature new_thumb[1]_thumb[1]

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Homemade Gnocchi

I’ve always loved homemade Gnocchi, but not near as much as my oldest daughter.
Jessica is a Gnocchi junkie.   So for her 23rd birthday today, I decided I’d give it a try.  I was surprised at how simple it really is.  There are a few rules that you must follow to ensure light and tender gnocchi.
Here is what I have learned…
Keep potatoes whole and in their skins to boil. You don’t want them to absorb excess water.   I riced the potatoes while they were warm to get them through the ricer better.   Make sure to let them cool COMPLETELY before moving on to the next step. The riced potatoes need to cool so that excess water evaporates.  If you mix flour into warm moist potatoes they will absorb more flour and your gnocchi’s will be  heavy.
Homemade Gnocchi 046a
First I had to get myself a potato ricer.  You can use a ricer or a vegetable mill.   I’ve read that a ricer makes for lighter gnocchi. Use the attachment with the smaller holes.
So lets get to it.
6 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons salt plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 tsp white ground pepper
2 eggs beaten
3 – 4 cups unbleached flour
Sauce of your choice
Homemade Gnocchi 041a
Boil the potatoes whole and  in their skins about 40 minutes, until they easily pierce with a  skewer. When cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and take off any imperfections left behind.  Cut each potato in half and rice them into a baking sheet spreading them loosely so they cool completely or you can  rice them right on the counter and spread them out there to cool. (Make sure they are cool before moving on). At this point, bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons of the salt to a boil. On a cool, preferably marble work surface, gather the cold riced potatoes into a mound, forming a well in the center. Stir the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and the white pepper  into the beaten eggs and pour the mixture into the well.
Homemade Gnocchi 048a

Work the potatoes and eggs together with both hands, gradually adding 3 cups of the flour and scraping the dough up from the work surface with a knife as often as necessary. (Incorporation of the ingredients should take no longer than 5 minutes.  The dough will be smooth but slightly sticky.  Remember the longer the dough is kneaded, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become. Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with flour and cut the dough into six equal parts. Continue to dust dough, hands, and surface as long as the dough feel sticky.  Your dough should like like this.. moist and grainy.
Homemade Gnocchi 050a
Using both hands, roll each piece of dough into a rope 1/2-inch thick, then slice the ropes at 1/2-inch intervals. At this point you can indent each dumpling with your thumb or use the tines of a fork to produce a ribbed effect. (Apparently this practice of ribbing the gnocchi allows the sauce to stick to them).  I left mine plain.  After cutting the pieces toss them lightly in flour to ensure the cut edges are lightly coated.

Homemade Gnocchi 017a
Shaking excess flour off, drop the gnocchi into boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they rise to the surface. Do not overcook.
Homemade Gnocchi 037a

Homemade Gnocchi 031a
Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer them to a warm platter, adding your sauce of choice.  Don’t overcrowd them in the water. Boil in batches if you have to.  Add sauce and grated cheese, Serve immediately.
To freeze gnocchi:
It is best to freeze gnocchi uncooked as soon as they are shaped. Arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on a baking pan and place the pan in a level position in the freezer. Freeze until solid, about 3 hours. Transfer the frozen gnocchi into portion size resealable freezer bags. Frozen gnocchi can be stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks.
To cook frozen gnocchi:
Frozen gnocchi must be cooked directly from the freezer in plenty of boiling water, or they will stick together. Bring 6 quarts salted water to a boil in each of two large pots. Shake any excess flour from the frozen gnocchi and split them between the two pots, stirring gently as you add them to the boiling water. It is important that the water return to a boil as soon as possible; cover the pots if necessary. Drain the gnocchi as described above and sauce and serve according to the specific recipe.
Homemade Gnocchi 043a
Don’t forget the cheese!
Enjoy ~
blissful table signature new_thumb[1]

Monday, February 27, 2012

Breville Pie Maker

I’ve been wanting one of these baby’s for quite a while.  My daughter picked up my ‘subtle’ hints and gave me one for Christmas.  I’ve been busy pie making since.

Breville Pie Maker 008a

This little fella can get you out of a jam pretty darn quick.  I’ve been invited to a few impromptu gatherings and the same question pops into my head about 5.5 seconds after accepting such and invitation…

“What am I gonna make??”

Pastry is very easy and should be a staple in your kitchen, (at least keep a batch in the freezer).  When you’re in a REAL pinch, keep a couple of tins of ready made blueberry or cherry pie filling on hand as well.  I had cherry, blueberry and homemade cinnamony apple pie filling!

Breville Pie Maker 001a

THREE Things to keep in mind:

Breville suggests using puff pastry.  I did… but my personal preference is ordinary homemade Tenderflake pastry.  I’ll tell you why…. I found the puff pastry to shrink, crinkle and wrinkle on the top when the pies cooled.  I didn’t like the look. I tried different combinations too, puff pastry on top/pie pastry on bottom, puff pastry on top and bottom. I’m sticking with pie pastry.

All fillings have to be cooked and cooled.  The pie maker really just cooks the pastry and heats up the filling.  The pies are not in there long enough to cook the fillings.

The Breville instructions also suggest you use 1/3 cup of filling, I used more.. and I’ll tell you why again.. If the pies aren’t filled enough, the top pastry doesn’t touch the top heated element and doesn’t brown.  Filling them a little more makes them brown beautifully.  I also cut some air holes in my top crust so steam could escape making the pies crimp and seal better.

Follow all the instructions given with the pie maker (plus my little added tips) and you’ll have four spectacular pies in minutes.

Breville Pie Maker 011a

My first couple of batches were trial and error.  I made up my mind after the first batch of puff pastry, that I didn’t like that as much as pie pastry.  Trial and error on how much to fill them as well, but they turned out great once I got it down to a science.

Breville Pie Maker 015a

If they cool and you want them warmed up again, they warm up lovely in the oven.

Breville Pie Maker 024a

Is that not the cutest thing you’ve seen !?

Breville Pie Maker 032a

Enjoy !

blissful table signature new