Monday, September 24, 2012

Key Ingredient Recipe Reader - Your Digital Recipe Box

 I have been excitedly waiting to post this giveaway, from Key Ingredient. Today is the day!

 I have collected recipes for as long as I can remember. I've had recipe boxes, jammed full of clipped out recipes and scribbled down index cards. I finally realized that I needed to find a better way to store my recipes. So, I bought a recipe software program where I could type recipes, print out the recipes on computer paper, slip them into a plastic protective cover-- then place them in a labeled binder. (This was very time consuming, to say the least.) That worked out really well, until I had about 10 jam backed binders. Fast forward to my beginning stages of staring this food blog, in 2008.

 I discovered the Key Ingredient Website, and I have never looked back. Adding a recipe takes less than five minutes!  


One of my favorite features is the Cookmark Button.  If I see a recipe on a website, I can highlight the recipe, press the "Cookmark Button" and a recipe card is automatically created for me!  I appreciate how Key Ingredient automatically adds the recipe source website address.  

How cool is that!

I have created my own profile, so that I can easily organize my recipes, and where people can follow me.   A new feature that Key Ingredient has added (and I really like this one) is that if someone sees one of my recipes, they can "clone it. However, they cannot change the source-- so the recipe always links back to me.  I love that!

 If you have a food blog, you can easily "embed" your recipe card.  Key Ingredient will created the embed code, at the touch of a button.  You simply add it to your post, and you're all done!  Here, I'll show you...



See?  Here's one of my own recipe cards, that happens to be my #1 Most Viewed Recipe on my food blog. (I guess that Meat Loaf is really popular.)  A big bonus to food bloggers-- Key Ingredient does drive more traffic to my website. Nice.

So, what does this website cost?  Nothing!  It's free!  There's no advertising, and I have never received any kind of SPAM email.  

I don't own an iPad (yet), but if you do, they have an iPad version.

I do have an iPhone, and I have their free Key Ingredient app.

The Key Ingredient recipe cards can be easily emailed, added to Pinterest, tweeted-- it's got all the social bells and whistles you could ask for.  What more could you want?

Well, how about a Digital Recipe Box?  Meet Key Ingredients newly released Recipe Reader!!
Next to my stand mixer, this is one kitchen tool that I cannot be without!  I have over 500 recipes that I have saved onto Key Ingredient, and they are organized in 22 of my own different cookbooks.  The Recipe Reader is an invaluable companion to Key Ingredient Recipe Cards, because they can be stored onto your recipe reader!

I owned the original DEMY recipe reader, and I loved it. I found a video that demonstrates a lot of the features I've talked about.  (This DEMY version is no longer available, but you can view this You Tube video by clicking here.)
 
This new Recipe Reader  is truly new and improved. Besides the new sleek black look, it has so many great features:
  • It's now wireless!  Once I programmed my router information, the Recipe Reader automatically goes to my Key Ingredient account, and updates any recipes I've added, when I turn it on.
  • The Recipe Reader is cordless, so you don't have to worry about electrical cords getting in the way. (It comes with a recharger.)
  • I can search for a recipe by cookbook, or category. A new-- and much appreciated new feature is-- I can search for a recipe by ingredient. Yay!
  • Just like an iPad or Smart Phone, you can flip through screen with your fingertips.
  • The screen can easily be wiped with a damp cloth, if you spill ingredients on it.
  • There are some pre-loaded recipes, included with the Recipe Reader.   A new feature is, I can delete the whole cookbook or just the recipes I don't want to keep.  I'm so happy about this new feature.
  • I can increase the font size, if I can't remember where I set my reading glasses.
  • There are three different timers built in. I love this feature!
  • There is a conversion calculator and a lengthy  ingredient substitution list.
  • I especially love the "Short List" feature.  If I'm making a few recipes, I can save them to the Short List, so I can easily flip back and forth with different recipes.
  • Did I mention that it's now wireless?  I so love this new feature the best. Of course, you can use a USB cable, just like the former DEMY model did.
 The Recipe Reader isn't large and cumbersome, either.

Plus, it can be set up in to different positions-- Portrait or Landscape.

I bought my original DEMY Recipe Reader for $199.95, almost three years ago.  It has never failed me, even though it didn't have some of the new features that I've just listed. A few months ago, Key Ingredient allowed me to trade in my old DEMY for this new Recipe Reader, so that I could become acquainted with it.

I have to tell you, that their customer service is stellar.  If I had a question, or had some challenges getting the Recipe Reader to sync, wirelessly, "Heath" immediately emailed me back, and walked me through the process.  

On Sunday, September 23rd, the Recipe Reader was launched with QVC at an introductory price of $161.72 (plus shipping). 

I am so pleased with my sleek new Recipe Reader, that I asked Key Ingredient if I could offer a Contest/Giveaway-- and would they provide one Recipe Reader to my readers?  

Guess what?  They said "yes"!  

You want to one of these. I know it.  I cannot imagine not having my Recipe Reader, at my fingertips.  I no longer have to worry about printing out a recipe that I've saved-- nor do I have to risk setting my laptop on my kitchen counter, and worry about spilling liquid on the keyboard.  

So, how can you enter to win?  First, if you aren't already doing so, please become a follower of my blog. Thank you.
  • You must leave a comment on my blog to enter.  Comments on my Facebook page don't count, sorry. Share with us how you've been saving your own recipes, or how many recipes you think you have saved.   Or just say hello, and where are you from?
  • For one additional entry, please follow me on Twitter and tweet this contest, and leave a comment that you've done so..
  • For one additional entry, follow me on Facebook, and leave a comment that you've done so.
  • I will give you two entries if you create a free account on Key Ingredient, and follow me there. Leave me a comment, here, telling me you've done so.
  • You will get two more entries if you create one recipe card, on Key Ingredient, and use the hashtag #foodiewifecontest  Leave me a comment, here, telling me you've done so.
I will choose and announce one winner on Monday, October 1st.  The small print:  You must have a way for me to contact you. If you post "anonymously", then I need for you to leave your email and first name, please.
The contest is limited to residents of the Continental United States (so sorry....) Must be over 18 years of age.

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. THANK YOU FOR ENTERING.


I'm most excited about seeing what kind of recipes I'll find, from those of you who share one. I'm always looking for inspiration.

Disclaimer: I paid for my own Recipe Reader, and Key Ingredient has not paid me for my  review.  My review is my own honest opinion-- and believe me, I love my Recipe Reader!  Thank you, Key Ingredient for sponsoring this giveaway!


Good luck!

   

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Lemon-Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes with Lemon Curd

Saturday mornings are very sacred to me. The 5:00am work alarm clock is turned off. I can enjoy my morning cup of coffee in a real coffee cup-- instead of a travel mug. I can read the morning paper and chat with my husband.

Bliss. 

Most Saturday mornings, breakfast consists of homemade granola with yogurt or a bowl of oatmeal. But, once in a while, I break away from catching up on emails to make pancakes.  The men in my life love American pancakes. I'm a little more international, because I love Cheese Blintzes  and Swedish pancakes (but they take more work).

Perish the thought of using boxed pancake mix.  This recipe takes about 10 minutes to prepare--tops!
If you've never added ricotta cheese to pancake batter, strap yourself in.  These are moist and tender, and remind me of a hybrid of my beloved cheese blintzes and pancakes.

Adding lemon zest and juice is optional except for us. We love lemon!

But, when you have frozen blueberries, the combination sounded too good to pass up.  Before I began cooking the pancakes, I whipped up a batch of  Easy Perfect Lemon Curd-- that took about 10 minutes to make, from start to finish.

Add the berries, and wait for bubbles to appear...then carefully flip them over.

 Holler for the family to gather around the breakfast table..

You can serve these with pure maple syrup, but the lemon curd is a delicious twist on pancakes.

TASTING NOTES: One very simple word-- Delicious.  Tender, billowy, citrus-y breakfast. Blueberries and lemon are a perfect combination.  Raspberries and lemon go great together, too. When our Meyer lemon tree starts to give us fruit, I'm going to make and can a few jars of this lemon curd. It's so easy to make that you'll never buy it again. 

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.  If, for some reason, you can't view it, just click here.  






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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas (Rick Bayless)

I've been on a cookbook diet, for at least a year. I don't mean Diet Cookbooks. I mean that I'm resisting the urge to buy too many cookbooks.  That's not easy to do, because I love cookbooks. 
My collection has, over the years, taken over Craig's teak bookcase. (I don't think he's too amused by that.)

Today, is an exception, because it's time to add a Rick Bayless Cookbook to my carefully chosen collection. I love Mexican food (no surprise, given my father's heritage) and this recipe was outstanding-- and different than the more traditional red enchiladas.  Thanks to Kim at "Stirring the Pot", she has been cooking, and sharing Rick Bayless recipes for the last five months-- and I have been drooling over all of them.  This particular recipe caught my attention, because Kim says, "This recipe, for Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, is hands down my favorite Rick Bayless recipe from the whole five month period."  Now, that's a good recommendation!

The sauce has a blend of fresh spinach and Poblano peppers, and is blended with milk and chicken stock into a silky white and green sauce.   Only recently, have I discovered how easy it is to char, peel and chop Poblanos (sometimes labeled as Pasilla Peppers), when I made Chicken-& Cheddar Stuffed Poblano Peppers.

You can do this directly onto a gas burner, but I found that placing them in a cast-iron skillet, under the broiler worked great.  Cover them with plastic wrap and let them sweat a bit-- and the peels come right off.  If you're afraid these peppers might be too hot, they aren't. They're very mild, in fact.


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Berry Pie with a French Pastry Pie Crust

Pie. This is my husband's favorite dessert. Olallieberry Pie is his favorite pie.  He's been known to, ahem, devour an entire pie over the course of a few days.   The funny thing is, with the exception of pumpkin pie, I'm not a huge fan of pie crust.  I'd rather make "crisps" by filling ramekins with pie filling and topping it with an oatmeal,flour,  brown sugar, (and sometimes added nuts) and butter topping. Sublime.


Rolling out pie dough, surprisingly, can be therapeutic for me.  I finally mastered the art of making successful pie crusts-- learning the secret of working with cold ingredients and not overworking the dough.

I thank America's Test Kitchen for showing me how to keep pie crust dough from tearing and sticking, and how to easily drape it on a rolling pie and to unfurl it over a mound of pie filling. Easy Peasy, right?  Wrong.  At least, that's what happened with this pie crust recipe.

I'm always looking for new variations of pie/tart dough.  I chose this recipe, because it uses shortening (which pie experts swear is the ingredient to use for tender crusts).  A traditional American pie crusts uses lard or shortening, water and flour.  This variation adds one egg, sugar and white vinegar, and promises to be easy to work with and very tender to enjoy.

I have a pastry cutter, but my food processor makes pie crusting preparation a snap.  Once it's pulsed together, I press it into shape, divide it, place it in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least an hour.

I am addicted to listening to audio books, while I'm in the kitchen (or cleaning the house, or commuting to work).   I was engrossed into listening to a story, and began to work with this pie dough.  I'm not gonna lie, but this pie crust had plenty of challenges.  It's soft, despite that I had chilled it for a while. It began to crack... a lot.  I'd try to drape it over my rolling pin and it would disintegrate.

Son: "Mom, are you okay?"
Mom: "Why do you ask"? 
Son: "You sounded like you had G-Rated tourettes. You were kinda cussing up a storm."

Oops.

I had to resort to rolling the dough on parchment paper, then lift the whole thing up (mutter a prayer of both forgiveness and hope) and flipped the whole thing into the pie plate.  Still I had to patch up the crust-- so, if anyone has encountered similar challenges, please share any tips with me!

I baked this pie for our Labor Day barbecue.  I live just minutes away from Driscolls Berries, so I can buy fresh berries way past summer. (Lucky me, I know. ) I decided to make a berry mix of fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries-- but, wait!

We have frozen olallieberries, that were grown in our own backyard.

With that said, you can bake berry pies year-round, because frozen berries work just as well as fresh-- you don't even need to thaw them before baking.

Have you ever baked a fruit pie, and the filling runs out after you cut into the first slice?  I've used cornstarch and tapioca, which does the job well.  My favorite ingredient is Instant ClearJel, that I order online with King Arthur flour.  I find that cornstarch kinda of "clouds" the look of the baked filling.

I no longer need to measure when I'm making fruit pie filling, and have gotten better at eye-balling how much to use.  With this pie I used one pint, each, of fresh berries-- with the exception of the frozen olallieberries.  I like to add the zest of one small lemon, and the juice.  Because olallieberries can be a bit tart, I whisked together 3/4 cup sugar, and five tablespoons of ClearJel-- adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of the berries.  (If I didn't have ClearJel, I would use about 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch or tapioca.)  Gently toss all the ingredients and set aside.

Once I won the pie crust battle, I piled in the prepared berries, and dotted the fruit with small pats of unsalted butter.

Place the top layer of pie crust, crimp and trim and then I like to brush on an egg wash and dust with sprinkling sugar-- for a crunchy texture.

 Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

It's not easy to get my boys to refrain from cutting into the pie, while still warm.  However, the pie filling has to "set" or it will become a river of sugar, sweet deliciousness.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the moment of truth-- the pie filling has set. Yay!  Now, for the crust tasting...

TASTING NOTES:  Despite my frustrations with how fragile the pie dough was to work with...it's definitely very tender and delicious. I used Butter-Flavor Crisco, because that's what I had on hand. The vinegar was not detected, in any way.  Here I am, a self-proclaimed, non-fan of pie crusts, and I ate every single bite.   As for the berry filling-- it tasted like summer, with a perfect balance of sweet and tart.  You cannot taste the lemon, but it adds that lovely brightness in the background.

This pie lasted for one day.  The next day, I returned for a second slice-- and the pie pan was in the sink. Empty.  Sigh.

Ah, but  Pumpkin Season is so close!  While I'm sad to say goodbye to the last of our garden tomatoes and basil, I'm looking forward to making soups, stews and home baked bread.  Oh, and I'm sure I'll be making a pumpkin pie before Thanksgiving.  But, first, I want to make Cathy's Glazed Apple Pie Bars-- they look perfect for Fall!

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.





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Monday, September 3, 2012

Peachy KeenBars (with cream cheese)

I've got some serious recipe posting catchup to do! Morphing into a "weekend blogger" means that I have a backup of recipes to share. Like this one, from a month ago.


 Fresh peach season is quickly fizzling out.  Thank goodness I've made my year's supply of  Spiced Peach-Ginger jam.  I had a few peaches left and I debated on what to make with them.  I always love a good peach cobbler.   Buuuuuuuuuuut, Pinterest reeled me in to make this recipe.

Peach and cream cheese? Um, yeah! In an unusual twist, for me, this recipe uses a boxed Yellow Cake Mix.  (Do I hear hissing?)  I know, I know... I'm usually  a big fan of making scratch cakes.  Once in a while, though, I'll reach for a box of Duncan Hines Cake mixes.  Gotta love 'em for their convenience-- like when you're going to a dinner-- and you offer to bring dessert and realize that work has drained most of your energy.

The recipe also used canned peaches. I didn't have any, so I improvised and lightly poached some peeled, fresh sliced peaches in some water.  Since I had a jar of Vanilla Bean Paste, I decided to add a teaspoon to the mix, and then tossed in a cinnamon stick.  Why not? It sort of made up for my cake mix short cut, right?

 After poaching them for a few minutes, I drained them and reserved the liquid.

One box of yellow cake mix goes into a bowl. Add some melted butter and an egg and mix with a fork.

Press half the mixture into a prepared baking pan, and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. In the meantime,   blend one brick of cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and egg.

Blend, until creamy.  I gotta tell you about this OXO Good Grips Egg Beater. I love it, especially when I don't feel like setting up my stand mixer.  It's great for mixing up small batches of whipped cream, too.

I thought that the cream cheese mixture was a wee bit thick, so I added about 1/4 cup of the reserved peach water (plus, I hoped to add a little more peach flavor).

Layer the peaches, and then evenly pour the cream cheese on top and spread out to the edges.

Add the reserved crumbs and sprinkle on top: Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.


Our friends are used to my bring desserts with one slice missing.  This is all for photography purposes (and quality control)!

Other than my taking the time to peel and poach the peaches, this comes together super fast.

TASTING NOTES:   My own opinion-- this is super sweet.   The rest of my guests liked this dessert, but it is also very rich.  A little goes a long way.  I think some lightly sweetened whipped cream would be perfect on top.  I would make this again, and I'll try using some cherry pie filling-- however, I'm going to try making this Yellow Cake Mix, from scratch.

For a potluck, it's an easy dessert to make.   It'll definitely scratch that sweet tooth itch, too.

So, is it too late in the season to post a Strawberry-Rhubarb crisp recipe that I made?  I can't believe that Fall is almost here!









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