November 4, 2012


When there is a chill in the air Soup is the cure for all that ails you.  Making your own Soup does take some time but the effort is worth the Amazing flavor that comes of it.  Canned Soup, which is in all of our pantries, is loaded with Salt, preservatives and things that just do not taste good.   If you can chop a Carrot and brown Beef you can make this Soup.  And if you want to feed your family a Soup that is wholesome and beyond delicious, you will be Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

1 T  Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Strips Of Bacon Chopped
2  Anchovy Fillets
1 3/4 lb.  Beef Roast (Chuck or Butt) Cubed
1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
1 t  Fresh ground Black Pepper
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (If Needed-See Recipe)
2 c  Diced Onion Small
4  Cloves Garlic Fine Chopped
4 T  Tomato Paste
1 T  Worcestershire Sauce
2 t  Dried Thyme
1/2 t  Paprika
5 T  Beef Base
8 c  Water
2  Dried Bay Leaves
14.5 oz  Can Of Stewed Tomatoes
1 c  Chopped Peeled Carrot
1 c  Chopped Celery
1 c  Sliced White Button Mushrooms
3/4 c  Chopped Seeded Green Bell Pepper
3/4 c  Chopped Seeded Red Bell Pepper
1 c  Chopped Fresh Trimmed Green Beans
2 c  Diced Peeled Potato (Red or Yukon Gold)
1 c  Turnips Peeled and Diced
1 T  Butter
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper to taste

1.  I do all of my prep first when I cook anything.  I measure all ingredients and check that nothing is left out of the recipe.  Use your ingredients on hand to make this Soup your own.  If you hate Carrots leave them out and add a Veg you like.  Work with the Meat last to reduce contaminating your work area.
2.  Peel, dice, chop all Veg into about 3/4 inch or so pieces.  Slice Mushrooms and Carrots and Turnips.  Dice Onion small so it dissolves into the Soup as it cooks.  Seed and remove the pith from the Peppers.  Remove the ends of the Green Beans and chop into 3/4 inch sections.  Chop the Bacon into small 1/2 inch pieces.  At the market pick a well marbled, with Fat, Beef Roast.  Dice the Beef Roast into approximate 1 inch squares, leaving some of the Fat on the cubes which will give great flavor.
3.  In a large pot or Dutch Oven add 1 T of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and heat to medium.  Add the chopped Bacon pieces and cook until they are brown.
4.  Add the 2 Anchovy Fillets and stir them into the Bacon and Fat and break them up with a wooden spoon until they dissolve.   Don't let the Anchovy scare you.  It will give this Soup great background flavor that does not taste like rotten fish heads like you may think.  It is a complex undertone that really make this Soup better.
5.  Add the cube Beef Roast and add Sea salt and Black Pepper then brown well on all sides.  This may take 8-10 minutes.
6.  After the Beef is well browned remove it and the Bacon pieces to a bowl. Leave any Fat in the pot.

7.  Remove all but 1 T of Fat from the pot.  If there isn't enough Fat add up to 1 T of Extra Virgin olive Oil to the pot.  Add the diced Onions and cook over medium heat until softened and start to brown on the edges, about 7-8 minutes.  Then add the finely diced Garlic and cook for 30 secs more.
8.  To the Onions and Garlic add 4 T of Tomato Paste and cook for 2 minutes.  This step creates a mellow Tomato flavor.  Then add the Worcestershire Sauce, dried Thyme, Paprika and 5 T Beef Base.  Stir in well.   I use a Beef Base that is in a paste form. NOT the dried powdered form.  I use "Organic Better Than Bouillon Base" available in most markets in the Bullion Cubes section.  Its made of real Beef and gives a great depth of flavor.  Penzey's Spices (click Here for the link) also makes a good one at their Spice stores.

9.  Add the Beef and Bacon back to this mixture and stir in well coating all the Beef. 
10.  Add the Water and Bay leaves and increase heat to medium high bringing to a full boil.  Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  THIS IS FLAVOR!
11.  Add the full can of Stewed Tomatoes including the juice from the can and all the prepared Veg and bring back to the boil then reduce heat to medium- low and simmer gently, uncovered, for 50 minutes.  Stir often to keep bottom from sticking.  Check the Potatoes and if they are tender and cooked through your soup is almost done.  Taste the Soup and add Sea Salt and or Black Pepper if needed to your taste. Add the Butter and stir in well and turn off the heat and allow the Soup to rest for 20 minutes before serving.  This rest period allows the the flavors to meld and settle.  Serve with Homemade Croutons or a sprinkle of fresh Celery Leaves from a stalk of Celery chopped.  Yes, you can eat them and they are delicious.

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October 18, 2012


Just when I thought I couldn't eat another Pumpkin flavored "anything", I quickly changed my mind as I thought of creating this recipe for Pumpkin Cupcakes.  The Pumpkin Puree makes these amazing Cupcakes super moist and flavorful.  Pumpkin almost always is accompanied by warm autumn Spices like Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger to make it even more delicious.  Just when you thought you couldn't eat another Pumpkin flavored treat this time of year, you were Cooking The Amazing and Pumpkin never tasted so good.

Here is the recipe.

1 1/2  Sticks No Salt Butter Softened
1 c  Sugar
2/3 c  Dark Brown Sugar Packed
1/2 c  Sour Cream
15 0z. Can Of Pumpkin Puree
          (NOT Pumpkin Pie Mix)
1 c  Whole Milk
3 t  Vanilla Extract
3 Large Eggs
2 1/2 c  All Purpose Flour
2 t  Baking Soda
2 t  Baking Powder
1 t  Fine Grain Sea Salt
2 1/2 t  Ground Cinnamon
1 t  Ground Ginger
1/2 t  Ground Nutmeg
1/4 t  Ground All Spice
1/8 t  Ground Cloves

MAKES approximately 22-24 large Cupcakes.

1.  A lesson I leaned early on in baking is to measure out all the ingredients before I start.  Then I check them off from the ingredients list to be sure nothing is left out.  I learned this lesson the hard way... more than once. 

2.  PLAN AHEAD:  Soften your Butter at room temperature.   Soften the Butter and Cream Cheese for the Icing.  Place 22-24 large Cupcake liners in Muffin Tins.  Or for layer Cake cut 2 eight inch rounds of parchment paper and spray 2 eight inch pans with Nonstick Cooking Spray (Pam) placing the parchment rounds over the sprayed pan bottom and set aside.   I use extra large Cupcake liners from Reynold's brand.
3.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl mix the softened Butter, Sugar and Brown Sugar for 4 minutes with a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of a Kitchen Aid mixer.  It will be grainy but it needs to become well mixed to keep the Cupcakes light.  4 minutes of mixing is important.
4.  Add, all at once, the Sour Cream, Canned Pumpkin Puree, Whole Milk, Vanilla Extract and 3 Large Eggs to the mixed Butter and Sugars.  Mix until well blended about 2 minutes.
5.  In another large bowl sift together the All Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Fine Sea Salt, Ground Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, All Spice and Cloves.  Be sure it is well mixed and sifted.
6.  Pour the dry sifted ingredients over the wet ingredients all at once and mix well, about 2 minutes.  Do not over mix.
7.  FOR CUPCAKES:  Scoop the batter using an Ice Cream scoop or spoon into the large Cupcake liners filling 1/2 way up.  Do not overfill or it will over flow during baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes, turning the trays 1/2 way through baking to get even baking.  Use a toothpick to test for doneness.   The toothpick should come out clean.  Do not over bake.

8.  FOR LAYER CAKE:  Spray with Nonstick Cooking Spray (Pam) and line with a round of parchment paper, two 8 inch cake pans and divide the batter evenly between the pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, turning the pans 1/2 way through baking for even baking.  Use a toothpick to test for doneness. The toothpick should come out clean.  Do not over bake.  Ovens vary so you may need to adjust the time for your oven.

9.  Allow to cool completely in the pans before icing with Cream Cheese Icing.


Here is the recipe.

2   Sticks No Salt Butter Softened
16 oz. Cream Cheese Softened (2 bars)
3 c   Powdered Sugar
4 t   Vanilla Extract
1/8 t   Almond Extract
1  pinch Fine Grain Sea Salt (very small pinch)

  1. Allow Butter and Cream Cheese to sit out until it is room temperature and softened, about 2 hours.
  2. In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.
  3. Cream the Butter with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Then add the Cream Cheese and cream for 2 minutes or so more.
  4. 1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.
  5. Add Salt, Vanilla and Almond Extracts and mix well. Taste and add more Powdered Sugar for more sweetness or more Cream Cheese to meet your own taste.
  6. Keep Cream Cheese Icing at room temperature for the best consistency to ice Cakes.
  7. Refrigerate unused icing. To use again, bring to room temperature then mix with a hand mixer for about 1 minute before using.
  8. OPTION: For those that like a very strong Cream Cheese taste add another 4 oz. of Cream Cheese for a more intense flavor.

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May 31, 2012


What is it about Marshmallows that we all like?  That sticky, sweet, melt in your mouth candy cloud is like no other confection.  It is a sweet treat that adults can get away with eating.  Use it to fill Cupcakes or ice your favorite Cake.   For my Marshmallow Butter Cream Icing all you need is good quality ingredients and a sweet tooth.  Both are easy to come by when you are Cooking The Amazing.

Here is the recipe.

3  Sticks Softened Butter, No Salt
3 c  Powdered Sugar
1 T  Vanilla Extract
1/2 t  Almond Extract
3 c  Marshmallow Cream (about 9 oz)
1 Pinch Of Fine Grain Sea Salt

1.  Allow 3 sticks of Butter to soften at room temperature.

2. Once softened beat Butter with a hand mixer until whipped, about 1 minute.
3.  Add Powdered Sugar, one cup at a time, and beat on low speed at first (to prevent a Sugar dust cloud in your face!) then on high until well mixed. 
4.  Add the Vanilla and Almond extracts and mix in well.
5.  Add the Marshmallow Cream and pinch (a small pinch!) of Sea Salt and mix until well blended, about 2 minutes.  Your Icing is ready to use in your recipe.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2012

April 28, 2012


Who doesn't love Apple Cobbler?  Especially if it is served warm with Vanilla Ice Cream on top.  Apple Cobbler is a dessert that many people make in the autumn when the Apple harvest is at its peak.  Of course, Apples can be bought year round from any market so no matter what time of year you can make Apple Cobbler.  This recipe can be made with any good cooking Apple that holds its shape and packs a lot of flavor.   Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Cortland are just a few of the great tasting Apples that would work excellent in this recipe.   When you are Cooking The Amazing an Apple a day just might happen to be in the form of a Cobbler.

Here is the recipe.

7  Medium Apples (Golden Delicious, Cortland, etc.)
1 c  Dark Brown Sugar Packed
1 t  Ground Cinnamon
1/4 t  Ground Nutmeg
1  1/2 t  Vanilla Extract
1  1/4 c  All Purpose Flour
3/4 c  Sugar
Small Pinch Of Sea Salt
1 1/2 t  Baking Soda
2 t  Vanilla Extract
1 c  Whole Milk
1 Stick  Butter, Melted

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Peel and core Apples and slice into large slices placing them into a large bowl.
2.  Add 1 c packed Dark Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and 1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract and mix with the Apples until well combined.  Set aside and allow the natural Juices to develop.
3.  In another medium bowl add the All Purpose Flour, Sugar, very small pinch of Sea Salt and mix well with a spoon.  Then add the Milk and 2 t of Vanilla Extract and mix until smooth.  Set aside.

4.  In a large pan over medium heat on the stove top simmer all the Apples and Brown Sugar mixture with any Juices that developed for 6-7 minutes, until the Apples begin to shrink and get soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
5.  Microwave 1 stick of Butter in a microwave proof bowl.  Divide it in half and pour half into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Reserve the other 1/2 for the last step.
6.  Pour the Batter you made gently over the melted Butter in the baking dish.  DO NOT MIX together.
7.  Spoon the cooked Apples over the Batter in the baking dish gently, distributing them evenly.  Then drizzle all of the Syrup left in the pan evenly over the Apples.
8.  Drizzle the reserved 1/2 stick of melted Butter over the top of everything evenly. 
9.  Place the baking dish on a Cookie Sheet for safe and easy transport to and from the oven.  Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees until the top is evenly browned.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes to set up.  Serve warm topped with Vanilla Ice Cream or with my recipe for perfect Whipped Cream.

COPYRIGHT (c) 2012

March 11, 2012


Lemon Curd is really the same thing as Lemon Pudding and can be used in many recipes interchangeably.  Lemon Curd is best when you use real Lemon Juice and Zest and not that processed Lemon Juice from one of those plastic Lemon things that we all have regrettably used.  I use this Lemon Curd in Tarts as the base for fresh Fruit or in Lemon Cakes between the layers or as the filling for Lemon Meringue Pie.  They are hard to find but if you can find Meyer Lemons use them in place if regular Lemons for an even more Amazing taste.  This Curd has a sweet tart fresh taste that is Amazing on Waffles and Scones.  When you are Cooking The Amazing you can make more than Lemonade with Lemons.

Here is the recipe.

1 1/4 c Sugar
1/3 c Corn Starch
1/4 t Fine Grain Sea Salt
6 Large Egg Yolks, Room Temperature
1 1/2 c Water
3/4 c Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
(about 2 1/2 Lemons)
2 T Fine Grated Fresh Lemon Zest
1 T Fresh Orange Juice
1/4 t  vanilla Extract
3 T  Butter, No Salt

1. In a medium pot off of the stove without any heat under it combine the 1 1/4 c Sugar, 1/3 c Corn Starch and 1/4 t Sea Salt. Whisk this mixture in the pot until well mixed. Later you will cook the lemon filling in this pot.
2. Separate 6 large Eggs (use room temperature Eggs). Use a fork and break up the 6 Egg Yolks well in a small bowl.

3. Add the 6 Egg Yolks into the pot of Sugar and Corn Starch mixture and whisk until you see no more Sugar. It will be thick and pasty. The heat is still off at this point.

4. Add 1 1/2 c Water to this mixture and whisk well until liquidy. It will foam up some. Turn the stove top heat on to Medium and place the pot over the heat and continuously whisk for 3-5 minutes until it begins to simmer and thicken.
5. Once it starts to thicken reduce the heat to low-medium and continuously whisk for about 5 minutes until it has become thick and uniform and the foam has subsided. This part happens quick and goes from not so thick to thick fast. It may bubble a lot and look lumpy. It is important to simmer and whisk scraping the bottom of the pot continuously so it does not scorch and it thoroughly cooks the Corn Starch. Otherwise, it will have a raw Corn Starch flavor when done. YUK! When done it will look like runny, lumpy Pudding. Remove from the heat and whisk until more smooth.
6. In a small bowl mix the Lemon Juice, Zest, Orange Juice and Vanilla Extract. Pour this into the pot and whisk well then add 3 T of Butter cut into small pieces. It will look separated and curdled at first then will come together. Whisk until uniform and smooth. There will be some lumpiness to the curd but it should feel smooth and silky despite the look of it.  You can strain it for a more refined texture through a fine mesh.  I like it unstrained which keeps the Lemon Zest front and center.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using in your recipe or serve as a Lemon Pudding topped with fresh Whipped Cream.

Copyright (c) 2012

February 11, 2012


Delicious Spring Rolls can be made with just about anything like Chicken, Pork, Beef, Shrimp or all Veg.  The key to a delicious Spring Roll is to use flavorful ingredients like Chinese 5 Spice (found in most Markets these days) which is a blend of aromatic and spicy flavors like no other.  Fresh Ginger is also important because it provides an Amazing background flavor that is unmistakable in Spring Rolls.  The secret ingredient in my Chicken Spring Rolls is creamy Peanut Butter.  Yes, Peanut Butter.  It gives a flavor component that compliments all of the Spices and Veg perfectly without tasting like Peanut Butter.  Your guest may ask what is that unique flavor.  When you are Cooking The Amazing a secret ingredient will make your Chicken Spring Rolls the best you've ever eaten.

Here is the recipe.

25  Spring Roll Wraps, Thawed
6 c  Finely Shredded Green Cabbage
1/2 c  Finely Diced Carrot
1/2 c  Finely Diced Green Onion
1/2 c  Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro
2  Finely Chopped Cloves Of Garlic
3 T  Soy Sauce
3 T  Grated Fresh Ginger
1 T  Chinese Five Spice
1/2 c  Creamy Peanut Butter
1 lb  Ground Chicken
2 T  Olive Oil
1 t  Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil For Frying
Water For Sealing Spring Roll Wraps

Makes about 12 Spring Rolls

1.  Thaw out your frozen Spring Roll wraps , if frozen, in the refrigerator.  Finely grate the fresh Ginger after peeling it first.  Prep and chop/dice all of your Veg, Herbs and measure all of your Spices, Peanut Butter and Soy before touching the Chicken to avoid contamination.  Set all prep aside.
2.  Over medium high heat put 2 T Olive Oil in a large pan.  Once the Olive Oil is hot add the Ground Chicken and cook all the way through using a spoon to break it up into small pieces.  This takes about 7-9 minutes.
3.  Once cooked, reduced the heat to medium and add everything but the Cabbage and Spring Roll wraps.  Stir well cooking for 3 minutes distributing the Spices, Peanut Butter, Ginger, Veg and Herbs together with the Chicken.
4.  Add all the Cabbage and incorporate with the Chicken and Veg mixture and stir constantly for 5 minutes while the Cabbage cooks down.  The Cabbage should still have some crispness to it.

5.  Taste and correct for seasoning adding Salt or more Spices to suit your tastes.   Set aside to cool some.

6.   Use 2 Spring Roll Wraps for each Roll because 1 is too thin and not strong enough.  Lay 2 Wraps stacked on each other flat on a board or the counter.  Have a small dish of cold Water next to where you are working.  Dip your fingers into the Water and run it along the entire outer edge of the Wrap.  Moisten about a 1 inch border all the way around.

7.  Spoon about 1/2 c of the cooled (but still warm) Chicken and Cabbage mixture onto the lower 1/2 of the Wrap leaving about 3 inches from the lower edge.
8.  Roll up the lower 1/3 rd of the Wrap over the mixture holding it in place with your fingers.
9.  Fold in both sides about 2 inches toward the middle of the roll and hold them in place.  Moisten underneath the folded sides with Water so the sides will stick to the roll.
10.  Tightly roll towards the top of the Wrap.  Use your fingers and dip them into the Water and apply a small amount of Water to the top of the Roll that will meet the end of the Wrap to help form a seal.

11.  Complete by rolling to the edge and place sealed edge down on a platter or plate and continue to roll the rest of your Spring Rolls.

12.  Add enough Vegetable Oil to come 3/4 way up the sides of your Spring Rolls to a deep pot or deep fryer.  Preheat the Oil to 375 degrees.  Be sure your oil is hot before adding Spring Rolls or they will soak up Oil and be greasy not crispy when done.  Fry for 3 minutes on one side then flip and fry the other side for 3 minutes more.  Don't over crowd the pan or this will reduce the temperature of the Oil.  Fry in 2-3 batches depending on the size of your pot or fryer.

13.  Remove the cooked Spring Rolls and drain on paper towels and allow to cool just a little before eating. 

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