Apr 27, 2011

Daring Bakers April 2011--Edible Containers

Sigh. I know I am posting this on May first, however in my defense I have kind of had a lot going on!  I whipped this recipe together one night and was pretty thrilled with the results. I topped my "edible container" with a Kahlua mousse and a sunflower brittle and a bit of Himalayan Pink salt to finish it off and add that bit of saltiness that overly sweet desserts just seem to call for.  It was a dangerously good dessert!

the brush down the middle is a cinnamon ganache. YUM!

Oatmeal Cookie Cups

3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 sticks butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 c. Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices; add to butter mixture, mixing well. Stir in oats untill well blended. Press cookie dough into lightly greased muffin tins and depress the center slightly to make a cup. Cook 10-12 minutes or until firm in the middle.

Blog-checking lines: The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at!

Apr 26, 2011

Klapsakkaa--- Buttered Potato Soup

Velvetty, creamy potato deliciousness! This soup was one of the Scandinavian dishes we prepared on Sunday in celebration of our Swedish friend Matt's birthday.   Looking at the ingredients I didn't expect to like this soup as much as I did, but it had a depth that my potato soup recipe seems to lack and was so easy to make.  Whats not to love? PLUS I know I cant be the only one who hates left over mashed potatoes.

Buttered Potato Soup
modified from Scandinavian Cooking by Beatrice Okakangas
2 cups mashed potatoes
4 cups Milk
2 cups half and half
salt and pepper to taste
dash of ground allspice
 In a medium saucepan beat potatoes and milk with a whisk till smooth. Stir in half and half and let come to  barely a boil.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with a dash of allspice.  Garnish each serving with parsley and 1/2 teaspoon of butter.

We added a little bacon and some cheese to the leftovers and it was even better if that is possible!

Apr 25, 2011

Ginger Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Ginger

It's amazing to me how a recipe can grow in my head and become much more complex than it has to be.  Our neighborly buddies birthday is this past week and we decided to have a get together at our house for Easter. Neighbor buddy (NB) wanted a carrot cake for his cake and I started over thinking it immediately. Carrot cake with raisins and coconut, Carrot cake with cinnamon swirl, carrot cake with maple mousse (OK that last part might of been me thinking about another project.) In the end I found a nice simple recipe and went with it.  I think it was a good choice.  The cake incredibly moist and flavorful and the icing... oh man the icing.... I could of eaten it all with a spoon!

even on a paper plate it was so good!!!

Ginger Carrot Cake
modified from Martha Stewart
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 pound large carrots, peeled
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 and grease and flour two round pans. Using the smallest holes (less than 1/4 inch in diameter) of a box grater, grate carrots, yielding 2 1/2 cups(or stick them in your food processor). Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Divide batter between the two cake pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middles comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

2 tablespoon fresh orange juice
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
3 bars (8 ounces each) cream cheese room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of salt
Place butter in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add sugar, orange zest, ginger, vanilla, orange juice and salt, and beat for 2 minutes.

Evie isn't sure if she likes the fondant.(Turns out she does!)
Birthday boy and Evie cute Father/daughter bonding moment over cake!

Apr 22, 2011

breakfast burritos

SA and I love breakfast for dinner, lunch, brunch or breakfast, and one of our favorite meals is breakfast burritos.
I don't really think this requires a recipe because they are so versatile, but more of a list of the ingredients we like to put in them!
These particular burritos included
--black beans
--cheddar cheese
--scrambled eggs
However SA and I like to also do black beans, sausage, cheese and eggs with onions, garlic and tomatoes.

Apr 17, 2011

Chicken Cordon Bleu Crepes ----Daring Cooks April

The theme for this months daring cooks was edible containers, and for once I was completely stumped and out of time.  Finally this past week I thought crepes! For me the Daring Cooks is all about cooking things that I have never made before and while there were great recipes for eggs in cups and polenta cups those are old game for me.  I think I was stirring the polenta for my Dad when I was about eleven. Also, SA and I spent a whole afternoon going through the kitchen getting rid of things that were out of date or we wouldn't use so I am trying my HARDEST to only make things from items I had in the kitchen/pantry.  The pictures do not do this recipe ANY justice.  It was really good, and really filling and the best part was after dinner I mixed the left over chicken with the left over sauce and combined it with some left over pasta from the ghetto pesto and SA and I had great lunches then next day!
Making crepes was awesome too.  Before I started I sternly told the batter that it would NOT act like pancake batter did for me, and I guess I scared it or something because my crepes ALL came out beautifully with out tearing or being ugly or under/over cooked.  I was quite proud!

why must brown/cream things always look so ugly when photographed even if they were delish???

Chicken "Cordon Bleu" Crepes
For Crepe recipe please visit Alton
Chicken Filling:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 chicken breasts cut into small chunks
1/4 tsp. tarragon
1/4 c. diced ham
1/8 tsp black pepper
Melt the butter over medium heat and add onion and garlic and cook until slightly translucent.  Add chicken , tarragon and pepper and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle.  Add ham and cook another two to three minutes or until the ham is warmed through.

Bechamel Sauce
2 cups milk
1 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Pinch nutmeg

Scald the milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Keep on low heat stirring occasionally.
Melt the butter in a separate saucepan over low heat. When it's bubbling, add the flour and whisk three or four minutes or until a golden paste has formed.
Whisking constantly, add the hot milk steadily. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, about 8 minutes.
Whisk in the nutmeg and the cheese, and pour over filled crepes.

Blog checking lines:
Renata of Testado, Provado & Aprovado! was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

Apr 12, 2011

Ghetto Pesto

     I tend to use the term ghetto very loosely.  It's a fault I admit, however I consider the word to be so very versatile.  Sure, sure, I get it: "ghetto is a section of a city occupied by a group who live there especially because of social, economic, or legal pressure." Yada, Yada, Yada. To me ghetto is more descriptive.  Like, damn that girl is ghetto over there in her shawty shorts with "Bootylicious" on the butt, or this pesto is so ghetto because I semi-ho'd it(frozen basil=crazy time!).  (Oh yeah, I went there, take that Sandra Lee!) Now keep in mind, ghetto is not necessarily bad. In fact, tonight it was damn good!
     A couple of months ago I impulsively bought a package of frozen basil at Trader Joe's and it was chillin' in the freezer, begging me with it beguiling red packaging to use it every time I opened the door.  Since there is no fresh basil to be found in the store right now (COME ON SUMMMMMMMMER!) I decided to bust it out tonight and make "ghetto pesto."
It really couldn't of been easier, I popped the frozen little nuggets of basil goodness out of their individual cubes and let them thaw in my mini food chopper(which is being held together by tape and a prayer right now, literally.) Once they were thawed, throwing together the rest of dinner took almost less time than it did to boil the water for the pasta!

Ghetto Pesto
14 basil cubes thawed
1/2 cup of almonds (when I break the rules I break all of them! pinenuts=blech!)
3 large cloves of garlic
a pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 c. olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor (or mini chopper, or blender) and pulse several times.  If it is too dry and chunky add a bit more olive oil.
I like to toss mine when the pasta is still hot so that it coats the pasta well, however I have heard of some people adding a ladle full of pasta water in with the pesto so it makes it a bit more saucy!

Oh and if you were bursting with curiosity, the chicken on top was simply a chicken breast that I coated with some toasted bread crumbs that had been seasoned with garlic, rosemary, salt and black pepper and then pan fried in about a teaspoon (seriously) of olive oil until done and crisp on the outside!

p.s. I guess I should add that the dorot people didn't pay me or give me free product or anything.  It was simply curiosity that lead me to buy the product and then use it in random ways!

Apr 10, 2011

Egg Bake

Some days are just meant for comfort food.  Today SA and I spent the entire day (almost) going through cabinets in the kitchen and reorganizing, cleaning and throwing out expired food.  I am pretty embarrassed to say that we threw away food that EXPIRED in 2007 today.  I really don't understand how we still had it because we did this last year! While I was cleaning I was trying to figure out what the heck I was going to make for dinner.  I am not going to lie we are in a pretty bad place when it comes to groceries but I didn't want to stop mid project and go grocery shopping.  This recipe is one that I got from my best friend who has at times fed 9 kids with it.  Yes, I said 9 kids, and no she didn't birth them all! Seven are step kids, and not all of them live at the same place, but needless to say this recipe feeds a ton! So know in advance, these amounts make enough for one casserole to freeze and one to serve, or in her case enough for 9 kids! For SA and I, I halved it and there was still plenty leftovers for lunches tomorrow and then some!

SA prefers his with a little of our favorite green cilantro sauce on top!

Egg Bake
4 1/2 c. Seasoned croutons
1 c. Shredded cheese
1 medium onion chopped
1/4 c green pepper
1/4 c. mushrooms
8 eggs
4 c. milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1/8 tsp black pepper
8 bacon strips cooked and crumbled

Sprinkle croutons, cheese onion, peppers and mushrooms into two greased pans or one large 9x11 pan. In a bowl combine eggs, milk, salt, mustard and pepper and pour over veggies.  Top with bacon and more cheese and bake uncovered @350 for 45-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. great recipe, but here are the changes I made ;) I added chopped spinach to the onions and croutons, plus a little garlic.  I omitted the peppers and mushrooms and added a bit more black pepper and a little bit of paprika for a little flavor and then I topped mine with cheese and stuck it back under the broiler to get a little color on it once it was cooked.

lol my plate looked a little artistic with the grape jelly smears!

Apr 8, 2011

Hearts of Palm, Black Bean, Red Onion and Corn Salad

When we got to potlucks I always like to bring something different.  This salad usually fits the bill for me and is one of my favorites.  The only complaint I have about it is that it can be expensive to make, so I usually only make it every once and awhile (or when I need to impress some  vegetarians!). We even made a huge dish of this to serve at our diy wedding!

Hearts of Palm, Black Bean, Red Onion and Corn Salad
delightfully borrowed from Emeril Lagasse
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons cane vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon freshly chopped chives
1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed and minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup thinly sliced yellow bell pepper
1/4 cup sliced bias cut green onions
Mixed greens, if desired, for serving

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, herbs, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Slice the hearts of palm on an angle, about 1/2-inch thick. Combine the hearts of palm, red onions, black beans, corn, bell pepper, and green onions in a mixing bowl and toss to combine. Arrange on a platter or individual salad plates, over greens, if desired, and drizzle with the dressing

*sorry about the funk picture! I really wanted to share this recipe and the only pic I had was one when we were headed to a potluck!

Apr 7, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Asparagus Risotto with Spicy Sausage, Tomatos and Basil

Oh man, I am trying so hard not to dwell on it but I am REALLY ready for spring.  Today the sun decided to show its glorious face for a few moments and I was ready for it.  I stopped my spring cleaning and rushed out of  our door with Curry (aka the hotdog bandit) to enjoy it for a few moments and when I came back I decided that we needed to have a bit of color for dinner.  Since I haven't gone grocery shopping I decided to make a risotto that was basically born from the little bits of left over stuff we had in our fridge...and it was delicious!

Roasted Garlic and Asparagus Risotto with Spicy Sausage, Tomatos and Basil
1/4 c. Onion finely chopped
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 C. Arborio Rice
3 C. Chicken Stock
1/2 c. Roasted Asparagus*
2 cloves of roasted garlic
1/4 pound of spicy sausage cooked and crumbled
1 tsp basil
1 small tomato chopped
2 TBSP salted butter
1/3 c Parmesan Cheese (Please use some quality here, folks, none of the fake stuff in the green container!)

Heat chicken stock in a pot on stove on medium heat. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for five or so minutes until the onions are no longer crunchy. Add rice into pan and stir for a minute, coating in olive oil. Add the chicken stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring almost constantly and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process should take 25 to 30 minutes.

Keep the burner just high enough to barely simmer the stock and risotto. You must pay attention, and stir it more than occasionally, but you don't have to be a slave to the stove top.
 Continue cooking and adding stock, stirring almost constantly, until the rice is tender but still firm. Once it is done, take it off the burner and stir in butter, Parmesan cheese, spicy sausage, roasted asparagus and garlic and chopped tomato. Salt to taste.

*to roast asparagus and garlic: clean and cut into 1/2 inch diagonals and spread onto a cookie sheet. sprinkle with olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste and broil for roughly five minutes.  Make sure you watch it! When it starts to blacken it goes quick!