Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Holiday Culinary Adventure

Two days, four meals and a GAZILLION calories! Ah Christmas!

As most of you can agree, my family uses holidays as an excuse to eat. We headed out on the 24th and the first thing my mother did when I
entered the door was to have me taste her chicken casserole. She then
led me to the dining room where the table was adorned with chocolate bars,
butterscotch bars, fudge, peanut butter pinwheels and her famous cheese ball.

For the evening's activities we headed to my Aunt & Uncles where we had
ham, turkey, homemade macaroni and cheese, baked beans, broccoli casserole
and a whole array of desserts including my sister-in-law's AMAZING pound cake,
coconut pie, chocolate pie and lemon chess bars.

Stuffed we headed home to my parents where I let my dad open his sausage grinder ( I am telling you, it is all about the food family wide). Here we are, can barely keep our eyes opened talking about all the yummy goodness he will create with his new toy. Instead of visions of sugar plums, I must say, I dreamed of chicken sausage and black beans!

At 5 a.m. my mother was up cooking a country styled breakfast that has long been a tradition in our home. I tossed and turned feeling part guilty that I was not helping and then that she was crazy... people were not coming til 9 a.m. Guilt gave in and I got up to enjoy a cup of java and help. On the menu: ham, homemade biscuits, eggs (two different ways) and gravy.

Our family is so big that there are three different shifts of breakfast. After all are fed, we move to the den where we open gifts the include cookbooks, cookie pans and panini grills (again, it's all about the food).

It should come as no surprise that after we open gifts my mother is filling the dining room with cookies, bars, cheese balls and my sister-in-law's new Coconut Cake. I had to snag a slice before we headed to Scott's Aunts

Aunt E has declared that this was her last holiday gathering. She must spend week's preparing her spread... casseroles, turkeys, hams, unique salads and DESSERTS. She is by far the best dessert maker I have ever met. She downsized the dessert menu this year to ONLY four cheesecakes, three pies and four cakes. My favorite was her Amaretto Cheesecake. I hope I am lucky enough to share the recipe with you soon. Another plate of food, one dessert, spiked hot cider and eggnog. . . it is 4 p.m. and we are on our way to Scott's Mom's house for DINNER.

Me and Scott at Scott's Family's--- Betty Allen made us
all wearantlers.
We had a no gift Christmas... it was nice!

Betty Allen (Scott's mother) is another great cook. Each Christmas it is something different; Prime Rib, Braised Ribs, Ham. This year we had Beef Tenderloin with a horseradish spread that was cooked to perfection on the outside grill. To accompany she had my favorite, Asparagus Casserole and also: Spinach Salad, Pinapple Cheese Bake, Brocolli Cornbread and an array of sweet treats. With several glasses of red wine and lots of food I am ready to hibrinate for the night.

The next day we were on the road again, in route to Radford, with a tummy full of my mom's Cherry Yum-Yum, a trunk full of leftovers and a weekend full of culinary memories that we all call tradition.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Two new cookies that I adore


One... have I told you lately how much I love to bake. Especially for
the holidays but I have to tell you that after a weekend of non-stop
gift making I have a bit of bakers burnout.

For our staff Cookie Exchange I tried two new cookie recipes from
my favorite cooking blog--- Smitten Kitchen (www.smittenkitchen.com)
and yet again I found two of the best tasting recipes. Please note that the
chocolate toffee cookie has 1 lb of chocolate.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appetit

(Makes almost 8 dozen small cookies)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath),

coarsely chopped*
1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir
chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water
until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5
minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Roll into small logs. I got

four out of my batter. Chill batter until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed
paper. Drop cut batter into ¼ inch slices, spacing two inches apart.
Sprinkle with a pinch of flaky sea salt, if you’re using it. Bake just
until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about
12 to 15 minutes. Cool on sheets. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store
airtight at room temperature.)

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread

Makes 32 cookies
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 3/4 cup store-bought
mini chocolate chips
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Dissolve the espresso in the boiling water, and set aside to cool to
tepid.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment,
or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and confectioners’
sugar together on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is
very smooth. Beat in the vanilla and espresso, then reduce the mixer speed
to low and add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the dough.
Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated. Fold in the
chopped chocolate with a sturdy rubber spatula.
3. Using the spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size
zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top
open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10 1/2 inch rectangle that’s 1/4 inch
thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from
the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and
thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and
refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.
4. Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven
to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
5. Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm
dough out onto the board (discard the bag) and, using a ruler as a guide
and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Transfer the
squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a
fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the
sheet.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and
front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads will be very pale–they
shouldn’t take on much color. Transfer the cookies to a rack.
7. If you’d like, dust the cookies with confectioners’ sugar while they
are still hot. Cool the cookies to room temperature before serving.



Chocolate and Bourbon... yes, it is true!

My good friend John sent me this recipe that I have in turn gifted to 20 close friends and family.
All I can say is YUM!

Chocolate Bourbon Cake Recipe
adapted from New York Times
Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
5 ounces high quality, unsweetened dark chocolate
1/4 cup instant espresso (can use instant coffee)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon whiskey (can use 1/2 cup), more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar), for sprinkling

Method

1 . Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a large bundt pan (10 cup
capacity), or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans. Melt chocolate in a microwave
oven or in a double boiler over simmering water. Let cool.
2 Put instant espresso and cocoa powder in a 2-cup (or larger) glass
measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to come up to the 1 cup measuring
line. Mix until powders dissolve. Stir in whiskey and salt; let cool.
3 Beat softened butter until fluffy (2-3 minutes on high). Add sugar and
beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well
between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, baking soda and melted
chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.
4 With the mixer on low speed, beat in a third of the whiskey espresso
cocoa mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat
additions, ending with whiskey mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan
and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake
comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for Bundt pan (loaf pans will
take less time, start checking them after 55 minutes).
5 Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake
with more whiskey. Let cool. Sprinkle powdered sugar through a mesh sieve
over the cake before serving.

Okay ladies... here are the appy recipes!


Thanks for co-hosting the Encore party, Jessica!


Cheese Baked Olives
Two shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
36 pimento-stuffed green olives

DIRECTIONS
Mix Cheddar cheese and flour together in a bowl. Stir in butter, cover,
and refrigerate 1 hour, or more.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Form chilled dough into small balls, pressing a deep hole in the center
using your thumb. Stuff each ball with an olive, and seal completely.
Bake in the preheated oven 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown, watching
carefully and turning as needed to prevent bottoms from burning.
Southern Sushi

Adapted from Food Network
1/4 cup gorgonzola cream sauce (cheese and cream mixture)
2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
4 leftover stalks grilled asparagus, cut into thirds
6 ounces grilled flank steak, cut into 12 1/2-inch-wide slices
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Roll Steak with gorgonzola and asparagus. Serve with gorgonzola sauce.
Last night was the Encore Cookie Exchange and we tested out lots of new
recipes. My favorite was the breaded olive... cheesy and salty. YUM!
A special thanks to Jess and Linda for offering their "Christmas House".


Smoked Salmon Cheese Ball
8 oz Cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 c Grated havarti cheese
1/2 ts Horseradish
1 Quick shake worcestershire
1 t Lemon juice
6 1/2 oz smoked salmon ( I used filets)
1 teaspoon crushed peppercorn
1/2 c Ground pecans


Mix all ingredients together and roll into a ball.
Roll in either chopped nuts or chives.



Monday, November 10, 2008

My Sister Jacey (to be read-- Seester ) Says. . .

. . . .make these.YUM! I think she is secretly researching in the middle of the night to find the best options for our cookie exchange. Can you blame her? I am up for a bake-off if they include these. After all, it's all sisterly (read- Seesterly) love!





Hazelnut Cocoa Coins
Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped toasted
hazelnuts (filberts)*
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon shortening

Directions
1. In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and cocoa powder until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour and the hazelnuts.
2. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion of dough into an 11-inch-long roll. Wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Chill for 1 to 2 hours or until firm enough to slice.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Place slices 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 6 to 8 minutes or just until tops are firm to the touch. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; let cool.
4. In a small saucepan, combine chocolate and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Generously drizzle melted chocolate over cookies. Let stand until chocolate sets. Makes about 60 cookies.
5. *Test Kitchen Tip: To toast hazelnuts (filberts), preheat oven to 350°F. Spread nuts in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Place the warm nuts on a clean kitchen towel. Rub the nuts with the towel to remove the loose skins.
6. To Store: Layer cookies between waxed paper in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

. . . I know, Enough with the Soups!

I must admit, in the Fall I turn into a Soup Addict. Tonight I made up my version
of White Bean Chicken Chili... a little healthier. So good, I could not wait to share.
(Since it is less bean-y and more broth-y, Scott asked me to call it Southwestern Chicken Soup.



Southwestern Chicken Soup

1/2 lb of chicken cooked and cubed ( I cheated and got rotisserie)
2 cans of cannoloni beans
1 cup of tomatoes
1 can of green chilis
1 celery stalk chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 small red onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, bruised and chopped
2 cups chicken stock (I made out of the rotisserie)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup of greek yogurt or sourcream

Saute onion, celery, carrot and tomato. Add to pot with stock and other ingredients (except sour cream/yogurt. Cook on low for 1 hour. Add yogurt/sourcream to soup and stir. Serve!



Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Soup for You!

One of my favorite meals in the fall is soup... soup and salad, soup and bread, soup and grilled cheese sammy! Here is a new one that I checked out. So yummy!





Creamy Roasted Cauliflower and Artichoke Soup

1 head cauliflower
extra virgin olive oil
1 C. artichoke hearts (I cooked my own but you’re welcome to try canned)2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
4 C. vegetable stock (or substitute chicken broth or plain water)
1 C. light cream (or half and half, whole milk, or even heavy cream)
zest of one lemon
leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme, crushed
salt
fresh ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash cauliflower then cut into flowerets.
3. In a large bowl toss cauliflower with enough olive oil to lightly coat all the pieces then spread them out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Place cauliflower in a preheated 425 degree oven and roast, turning pieces occasionally until almost tender (between 20-30 minutes)
5. Remove cauliflower pieces to a bowl with tongs; set aside. There should be some olive oil left on the baking sheet. Very carefully pour the leftover oil into a soup pot or dutch oven.
6. Add minced garlic to the oil in the pot and saute over medium heat until just golden.
7. Add cauliflower, artichoke hearts and vegetable stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Turn heat way down and simmer for a few minutes until cauliflower is fully tender (check with fork).
8. Remove pot from heat and let cool slightly. Puree the soup until smooth using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender. Return to pot.
9. Gently reheat soup then add one cup of light cream, zest of one lemon (not juice), crushed thyme, and lots of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Soup can be thinned with extra broth or water if desired. Remove from heat when soup is heated through again.
10. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All Chaos... No Chicken!

Last night I was having dinner with two girl friends and one said she was a little
disappointed that my posts on this blog have not been as consistent... URGH :)
Love her but there are not enough hours in the day!!! Recently I have been so
busy (I know, we all are) and with this I really have been cooking less. So sad.I know,
do you hear the violins? My other girlfriend had a quick rebuttle to the disappointment: Just tell them that your life is serving up a lot of chaos and no chicken! So true... I am sorry if I am letting you down... as soon as I get some chicken I will share it!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Childhood Favorites

In my house, everything is centered around food. I get this honestly... my mom is the same way.
To celebrate, we eat. To mourn, we eat. Almost all of my family memories and traditions are somehow tied to food. This weekend, I went home for a birthday dinner. My sweet Momma worked so hard to make it special by making all of my childhood favorites.

For snack, we had her famous
Pineapple Cheeseball
Ingredients:
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
2 teaspoons seasoned salt, or to taste
2 cups chopped pecans, divided

Preparation:
Directions for pineapple cheese ball.Combine cream cheese, drained crushed pineapple, chopped bell pepper, chopped green onion, seasoned salt, and 1 cup chopped pecans. Chill in refrigerator until firm then shape into a ball. Just before serving roll pineapple cheese ball in remaining cup of pecans. Serve pineapple cheese ball with assorted crackers. Pineapple cheese ball makes about 3 cups of cheese spread.


For Entree, Yucky Stuff (Hamburger Casserole that my dad hates, hense the name- Yucky Stuff)
Ingredients
1 lb. hamburger
1 sm. pkg. egg noodles
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomato paste

1/2 bag of shredded cheese
1 Green Pepper
1/2 Onion

Sautee onion, pepper and meat. Cook egg noodles. Add all ingredients to 9*13 casserole dish and bake at 350 until it bubbles.

For dessert, Cherry Yum Yum!
1 carton Cool Whip
1 1/2 c. graham crackers
1 can cherry pie filling
3/8 c. sugar
1 (3 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
Mix crumbs and butter and 1/8 cup sugar in 8x8 inch pan. Beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar. Add Cool Whip and mix well. Pour cherries over crumb mixture. Pour cream cheese mixture over cherries. Sprinkle with leftover crumbs. Chill before serving.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Next on my list....

Obviously, I am in a Fall/Halloween/ orange and black cooking mood. If it has pumpkin or sweet potato then I am into it. I saw this recipe on my other favorite blog, www.smittenkitchen.com and think, if I have time, I will try these tonight!





Pumpkin-Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar (the original recipe calls for the larger amount; I think it could be dialed down a bit)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or other nuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it. Butter the lining as well. (Deb note: I used an 8-inch square, because it was what I had. It works, too, but the brownies are crazy thick and take much longer to bake, just to give you a heads-up.)

2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering
water, stirring occasionally until smooth.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cayenne, and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture.
4. Pour half of batter (about two cups) into a separate bowl and stir chocolate mixture into it. If you find that it is a little thick (as mine was) add a little more batter (a few tablespoons or so) until it is more pourable. This is important because mine was quite thick, and the pumpkin half was quite thin, so I had trouble swirling the two together.

5. In other bowl, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan smoothing top with a rubber spatula. Top with half of pumpkin batter. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.

6. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan–I didn’t, and ended up with a chocolate base, not that it is such a bad thing. Sprinkle with nuts, if using.

7. Bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

I am NUTS for Nutty Sweet Potato Soup!

Ellie Kreiger is my favorite Food Network gal (Sorry Rache- you are still my second favorite). Ellie cooks always with nutrician in mind and her recipes are easy, fresh and very tasty. I missed Saturdays episode because they changed the time (now is on at 8:30 a.m Saturday NOT 1:30 p.m. ) but Jess told me that she made a Sweet Potato Soup with PEANUT BUTTER. I had to look it up.

After making it I have two suggestions--- increase Sweet Potato and reduce Peanut Butter.
It is very good and screams FALL! Enjoy!

Nutty Sweet Potato Soup
Ingredients:
tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 cup)
2 medium carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (2 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes, with their juices
2/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 cup chopped scallion greens (about 3 scallions)

Directions
Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cayenne, black pepper, garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in the sweet potato, broth, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.*Puree the soup in the pot using an immersion blender or in a regular blender in 2 batches and return the soup to the pot. Add the peanut butter and honey and stir, over low heat, until the peanut butter melts. Serve warm, garnished with the scallions.*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.Servings: 6Number of Servings: 6

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

1 lb of chocolate... this is my kind of dessert!

Scott say this is the best dessert he has ever had... now, let's keep in mind that
he is a little biased but I do agree that it was AMAZINGLY rich and decadent.
If you are into this type of dessert I recommend making it... If you do not love
chocolate then stay away.





Double Chocolate Torte
adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2000
Makes 10 servings
Cake 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Mousse
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 large eggs, separated
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

For cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter 10-inch-diameter springform pan; dust with sugar. Melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt, then flour. Pour batter into pan. Bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), about 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Cover; chill while making mousse.

For mousse: Melt butter in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk yolks, 1/4 cup cream and vanilla in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk yolk mixture into bowl with melted butter. Whisk constantly over simmering water until thermometer registers 150°F, about 6 minutes (mixture may appear broken). Remove from over water; add chocolate and stir to melt. Set aside.

Beat egg whites and 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg white mixture into warm chocolate mixture to lighten. Fold in remaining egg white mixture. Pour mousse over cake in pan; smooth top. Chill torte until mousse is set, at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. Release pan sides. Transfer torte to platter. Using electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup cream in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream over torte.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Halloween Soup

For Kate's birthday lastweek I made Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup.
AMAZING! So rich, savory and a combination of some of my favorite flavors.
A highly recommended choice for a Fall Feast.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup
adapted from Gourmet, November 1996
Three 15 1/2 ounce cans black beans (about 4 1/2 cups cooked dry- my preference)
1 cup drained canned tomatoes
1 1/4 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup minced shallot
4 garlic cloves minced
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground curry
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground tumeric
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups stock (I used chicken)

Saute onion, shallot, garlic. Add to cooked beans. Add tomatoes, stock, spices and sweet potato. When sweet potatoes are soft (not mushy) remove and in a food processor coarsely puree 1/2 of mixture and add to remaining mixture.
Season soup with salt and pepper.
Serve soup garnished with sour cream.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

My love language is food and tomorrow is Jill's prelims for PhD. so I am baking away so she willhave lots of yummy goodness to get her through her stressful 24 hours. I made my lasagna rolls so she will not have to worry about dinner for she and Mark and then two desserts. The Chipotle Brownies from last week and a new recipe. . .

Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!!
Recipe from www.smittenkitchen.blogspot.com
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.
Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/8 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Scones... for people who don't normally love scones

The scones are much lighter, softer, moister (and tastier) and significantly less sweet than those that you’d get in your average coffee shop.


Adapted from the North Fork Table & Inn’s website and Smitten Kitchen (my new favorite cooking blog) .

Super Moist Peach and Blueberry Scones



Makes 12 to 16, depending on how you cut them
2 3/4 cup pastry flour (all-purpose is also fine)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda6 ounces of butter, in 1/2-inch cubes
1.5 cup fresh fruit of your choice, chopped (I chose peach an blueberries and probably did close to 2 cups)
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk or greek yogurt milk mix
Turbinado or sanding sugar for sprinkling (optional, not in the original recipe)

Preheat oven to 375°.
Place cubed butter in freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, measure other ingredients (except buttermilk and fruit) and mix in the bowl of a food processor. Add butter to processor bowl and mix until the butter and flour mixture are the texture of coarse cornmeal. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a mixer and add buttermilk and fruit, mixing on the lowest speed until the dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a couple times. Roll dough out to approximately one-inch thickness (I skipped the rolling pin and just patted it out with floured hands) and cut into squares or (cut cicles with your cup). Cut those squares again on the diagonal, creating triangles. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if you’re using it.
Bake on an ungreased baking sheet 20 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I am not alone...

People are CRAZY about blogging about food. Just found a comprehensive list of
sites for you to check out:
http://www.kiplog.com/food/foodlinks.htm

Next on Grocery list- Lope!

When I was in highschool I always packed lunch and then some treats for my friends (I guess some habits I never grow out of :) ) One of Michelle's Stone's favorites was "Lope", just a simple chopped Canteloupe that my mom always had fresh on hand. Wonder if Chell would like this recipe?



Thai Cantaloupe Salad with Chile

Serves 8
1 large ripe, fragrant cantaloupe, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 diced jalapeno or (for more heat)
Thai red chile, seeded or not
1/3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves or cilantro
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon fish sauce, or to taste
Generous pinch sugar
Course salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large serving bowl, gently combine all the ingredients. Taste and add more lime juice, fish sauce, sugar or seasoning to taste. You can serve this with long bamboo skewers so people can spear chunks of cantaloupe from the bowl.

Look at what I just found!!!

So, how is excited are you to make these? Not half as excited as Scott is to eat them :)
Taken from one of favorite food blogs, A Mingling of Tastes, this recipe is a little less
healthy than my peaches but looks DELIGHTFUL!


Cinnamon Chipotle Brownies

Adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich

I used the 70% cocoa bars by Lindt. Use any good-quality chocolate you like, but I would recommend staying over 60% cocoa. Whether you grind the chipotle chiles yourself or use a powder, heat levels vary. Taste your chile powder and use more or less depending on your preference. If you use flaky sea salt or other coarse salt for baking, use the higher amount.


Makes 12 or 16 brownies

8 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut into 12 pieces
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with nonstick "release" foil or parchment paper (or use regular foil, then coat with cooking spray), letting at least 6 inches hang over two of the sides like handles.Put chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium-low power 45 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave in 15-20 second intervals, stirring each time, just until chocolate is smooth; be careful not to over heat. You can do this in a double boiler if you prefer. Set aside to cool slightly.Combine the flour, cinnamon, chile and salt in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed until thick and light-colored, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate. Gently fold in the flour mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes (mine took exactly 32) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little or no chocolate; toothpick should come out clean when inserted near the edge.Cool completely on a rack. To serve, use the foil handles to lift brownies out of pan. Cut into 12 or 16 pieces. Brownies freeze well.
I will let you know how they turn out!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Healthy Dessert... that I actually love!


For those of you that know me well you know that for food I am super healthy but when it comes to the sweets I LOVE a decadent, rich (often fattening)
dessert. The other night I actually made something light and refreshing that I liked.

Go figure...


Grilled Peaches with a Balsamic Honey Reduction
Half and coat peaches with olive oil. Throw on grill for about 5 minutes.
In a sauce pan reduce down balsamic vinager and honey to a syrup. Cover the
grill peaches and serve over vanilla yogurt. YUMMO!!!!!!!

Stuffed with Stuffed Salmon!


Yes, another Salmon recipe that gets Scott into my favorite seafood.
Stuffed Salmon is a weekly staple!
I take a filet of salmon and cut at a diagnal and stuff with the following:
Spinach
Tomatoes
Garlic
Cooked, crumbled bacon
Creme Cheese (2 tablespoons)

Saute in pan with EVOO and then stuff.
I prefer to grill it as salmon can stink up house. Depending on cut takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. Watch it... I do hate an overcooked salmon!

Eda-MOMMY Dip


Again, for this baby shower this weekend I made Edamame dip.
So YUMMY... and easy! I had made Lima Bean Dip for Jill's birthday
but wanted a little something different (and more green) for this green
and brown shower. I subbed out the edamame for limas...


Eda-Mommy Dip
1 bag edamame
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
olive oil


Add garlic, edamame and seasoning to food processor. Add olive oil for consistency.
Add more seasoning before serving!


Serve with bread, crackers or veggies.

New Favorite Appetizer

Taken straight from BLOGHUNGRY, these savory sweet treats
were a hit at a baby show this past weekend.
Baked Brie Bites 1 pkg. puff pastry
1 egg
Medium wedge of brie
Small container of honey
2 thinly sliced and halved apples or pears
Small pkg. toasted walnut or pecan pieces


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Thaw pastry, unfold, dust with flour, and roll flat. Slice pastry into equal-sized squares. Place a cube of brie in the center of the square with 2-3 small slices of fruit, 3-4 pieces of nuts, and a drizzle of honey.

Fold corners of pastry into center and bunch edges together. In a small bowl beat egg with 1 Tbsp water. Brush egg mixture over pastry. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until golden

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What does one do with White Eggplants???


Well, what I thought were cucumber plants have yielded me the most amazing WHITE EGGPLANTS. Scott called me while I was in Atlanta saying that he thought our cucumbers were white zucchini... when I arrived home I realized that not only were these not cukes, they were not zucks either!

I do not see a lot of difference in the flavor of white vs. purple except that they are a little milder. When I googled them I found:
White-skinned varieties (figure A) such as 'Casper' are tasty and easy to grow, and they give your garden as special twist. Often tauted for being less bitter and nearly seedless, the white, tear-shaped fruits are a real change from the typical purple color usually seen in eggplants.

So far, we have had eggplant three times, all grilled and we have not finished one eggplant. Either we will be eating LOTS of eggplant this summer or I will have to sell some at the Farmer's Market.

This Sunday I made an interesting dish with grilled eggplant, peppers, onions, garlic, chickpeas, steak, cumin, coriander, curry and greek yogurt. So good!

I also found this recipe that I want to try:
EGGPLANT AND WHITE BEAN STEW
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. chopped onion
1 sm. eggplant (about 12 oz.)
2 sm. zucchini (about 6 oz. each)
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
2 cans (about 15 oz. each) sm. white beans, drained
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped coarse
Heat oil in a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes until softened. Meanwhile cut the eggplant lengthwise in 6 slices, then crosswise in 1/2 inch chunks. Slice zucchini in 1/2 inch thick rounds. Add eggplant and zucchini to onion; increase heat to high and stir 3 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients except walnuts; stir to mix. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 4 to 5 minutes until eggplant and zucchini are crisp tender. Stir in nuts. Makes 6 generous servings.

Notes: This is a super casserole for guests. There is no meat in it, yet I have had guests remark how filling and complete the meal is, refusing to believe there is not any meat in it, they don't recognize the rather subtle taste of the eggplant.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Scott's Gone + Seafood + Mojitos= Too Much Fun

This Saturday, Kate and Jess came over for Seafood and Mojitos.
Yum! Yum! Yum! Though I am not quite ready for a Mojito tonight
I will recreate the scallop dish now that Scott is home. . .

Summer Seafood Soup
Ingredients
Sea Scallops
Chopped Tomato
Basil
Garlic
Butter
Olive Oil
Lemon
Salt, pepper and lemon the scallops. Sautee Scallops with Garlic in Butter. At the same time, reduce tomatoes with olive oil and chopped basil. After scallops are brown then add the rest of mixture and remaining lemon juice. Serve with Crusty Bread and Salad!

Stacey Style Mohito


(Since I do not like rum, I make my mohitos with Vodka... A special thanks to Linda H for all the mint :))

Muddle mint in fresh juiced limes. Mix with equal parts vodka, simple syrup, tonic. Serve with a splash of champagne on top

*Warning- engaging in Mohito drinking might lead to dancing, crying and charades... Oh, and hangovers :)*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Karen's Hawaiian Bread


Oh my gosh.... Karen made amazing pinapple bread today for open house.

So yummy.



1 (8 ounce) can plus 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple in own juice, divided
2 (8 ounce) packages cream chesses, softened
1/2 cup chopped almonds
4 cups all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups of flaked coconut
1.5 cups sugar
4 large eggs
4 tablespoon butter, melted

Pinapple Spread
and beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Stir in almonds and (drained) 8 ounce can pinapple

Bread
Sift flour , baking soda and salt in medium bowl
Combine remaining pinapple with juice, cocunut, sugar, eggs and butter in a large bowl nd mix well.
Stir flour mixture.

Spoon batter in prepared loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of loaves come out clean, about 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes and serve with pinapple spread

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My New Favorite Recipe


Okay, so before Ellie on the Food Network endorsed canned salmon I was a little scared.
This recipe was so tasty and really easy. Would be great with that three bean asian salad I
made lastweek. With a rushed schedule and my new frugalness, I simply made a mixed greens
salad with edamame and topped with lime juice and EVOO. This was so good we ate it for two nights in a row.


Asian Salmon Cakes
6 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
2 (15-ounce) cans salmon, drained, skin and bones removed
2
eggs, lightly beaten
5 scallions
1/2 cup finely chopped canned water chestnuts
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce, recipe follows

Remove crusts from the bread, break into pieces, and process in a food processor until you get a fine bread crumb. In a large bowl, flake apart the salmon with a fork. Add the egg and mix well. Finely chop 4 of the scallions and add to the bowl. Add the water chestnuts, cilantro, pepper, and the bread crumbs and mix well. Shape the mixture into 12 patties.
In a large nonstick
skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil over a medium heat. Add 6 patties and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the cooked patties to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil to the pan, and cook the rest of the salmon cakes, 5 minutes on each side. Chop the remaining 1 scallion. Serve salmon cakes with the sauce and garnish with scallion.


Creamy Ginger-Sesame Sauce:
1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, or 6 tablespoons nonfat Greek-style yogurt 2 tablespoons mayonnaise 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
If using regular yogurt place the yogurt in a strainer lined with a paper towel. Put the strainer over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain and thicken for 30 minutes. Place drained yogurt or Greek-style yogurt into a small bowl. Add mayonnaise, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

Monday, June 23, 2008

I mean... WHO makes Cobbler when they hate it?


So yesterday, out of the blue, I decide to make cobbler. Not sure what it was. . . a southern domestic goddess channeling herself... a patriotic urge since we are a week out from 4th of July... a momentary lapse in sanity? Whatever it was, it took over. Using an Emeril recipe, I sent Scott to the the store for berries (which, by-the-way, he did willingly knowing my dislike for cobbler and having a slight dislike himself. . . what a good, patient and obediant man.) and I started the dough. An hour later we had the best cobbler I ever have had... and I still hate it. I mean, shouldn't desserts be decadent or cheesy? Guess I can add one more thing to my baking list.

Cobbler, anyone?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Simple Summer Salads

In the summer I like to keep it simple... salads and grilling are nightly staples.
So far this week I have made three very simple summer salads!

Watermelon, Feta and Cucumber Salad

What you see is what you get. Chop cukes, watermelon and crumble feta.
SERVE cold. Refreshing... sweet and salty.

Shrimp, Avocado Salad

Chopped red onion, shrimp, avocado, cilantro, tomatoe and mix
with juice of one lime, 1/2 cup shredded monteray jack, cumin, salt, drained black
beans and SERVE cold. Also think this would be good on a pita.


Asian Three Bean Salad

Got this one from Ellie on the Food Network. So refreshing and healthy.

1 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame (green soy beans)
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup 100 percent fruit apricot preserves
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 scallions, sliced
Salt
Put the string beans and frozen edamame into a steamer basket and steam them for 4 minutes. Transfer the beans to a large bowl and put them into the refrigerator to cool for 15 minutes or longer.
In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, apricot preserves, sugar and ginger. Add the black beans and scallions to the other beans, drizzle with
dressing, and toss to coat. Season with salt, to taste.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Take on Dena's Cake = YUMMY!

On Mother's Day Dena, my sister-in-law and great baker, made an amazing coconut cake. I loved it probably more than any cake I have ever had (sorry, Mom). Recently, in preparation for a get-together for Sex and the City-- The Movie, I created my own version of this cake. INeedless to say, it was a hit. I am not sure what was better... the movie or the cake. Don't worry Kate, you will get more before your birthday... don't we need to celebrate something this month???



Crazy Coconut Cake
 

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed unsweetened shredded coconut
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites

Filling
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 ounces cream cheese, lowfat
1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut

Icing
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, lowfat
1/4 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
1/4 cup toasted coconut

I baked in two cake pans and then split the cakes. Baked at 350 for a little
more time than box said. I then placed filling in between layers (see filling) and then
iced the cake, placing the remaining coconut on the cake. Allow to sit for 24 hours.

Lucious Lime... three slices later!

Well, good thing it is low fat :) Lastnight I googled "Lowfat Lime Dessert" after a
craving and found this recipe on a blog I had never visited...
Made with yogurt and half the eggs, sugar and fat in regular cheesecake, I found this
dessert refreshing and surprisingly rich. Three slices later (YIKES), I highly recommend it!


Low-Fat Key Lime Cheesecake 1 (9 inch) reduced fat graham cracker pie crust
2 (8 ounce) packages reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup Slenda

1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice- I used juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup egg substitute or 3 eggs
1 (8 ounce) container nonfat lime yogurt (or any flavor of your choice)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
Beat in flour. Beat in lemon juice and egg substitute. Stir in yogurt. Pour into crust.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set.
Allow to cool. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Strawberries... my favorite part of summer


I forgot how yummy a Summer Strawberry can be. I just ate an entire
ziplock of strawberries dipped in fat-free sourcream and sugar. Shhh...

Turkey is not just for Thanksgiving Folks!!!

Okay, I must confess that since I tivoed Oprah when Sex and the City was on
I have been taping it daily. And for good reasons... I am convinced that Oprah
knows all... she certainly knows her turkey!

On Thursday's show she had a chef from Donald Trump's resteraunt and share
his recipe for what she calls the BEST BURGER she has ever eaten.



(her picture, not mine)

Well... I made it on Sunday night and I think I must agree. The main ingredient is
extra lean ground turkey (which can sometimes be dry) and the secret ingredient is
granny smith apples. It makes it SO MOIST and SO YUMMY! I served mine with avocado
and melted Havarti cheese.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Stuffed with Stuffed Peppers!



Tonight for dinner I tried my hand at Stuffed Peppers!
I sauteed 97% fat free beef with onion, garlic, tomatoes, bulgar, oregano, shedded
zuchinni and a can of tomatoes. I added salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper. Later I stuffed green and red peppers with the combination and baked for 20 minutes at 350. I then topped 1/2 with provolone and the other 1/2 with Blue Cheese. (I think I preferred the provolone and Scott the blue cheese... tomato/ tomato!)

Either way so yummy! Will definitely do it again. Plus, Ellie from the food network says Bulgar has 65% off your daily fiber! No wonder why I feel so full. Perfect to veg while watching GREY'S ANATOMY :)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heirloom, Baby!


It's Garden time and this year I am growing more than HERBS!!!!!
Scott and I purchased Heirloom Tomatoes at Fresh Market and we de-seeded them and Scott germinated the seeds and raised them into plants- see above (God love his patience)! We have three different types. I feel so Mother Earth-- eating, germinating, growing, eating :)
Since then, I decided to do my own germination! In addition to Scott's Super Yummy tomatoes I have all of my herbs and then a greenhouse (plastic) with purple peppers, red peppers, cinnamon basil and arugula! On the hunt for a new variety of cucumbers.
The year of the garden is in effect. I expect yummier dishes and decreased grocery bills :)

Longtime No Post!

With Spring has come a lack of baking and more grilling... thus less entries!
Sorry for taking a month off! Let me condense my cooking into a list....

Top 10 things made recently:
10- A mess :) I made cupcakes last night for my employee Katie's last day.
Straight from a Stonewall Kitchen box with Nutella Creme Cheese Icing. Kitchen
remains a mess

9- Blue Cheese Burgers- Have been feeling comfort foodie and made burgers (with 97% fat free
meat) stuffed with onions and blue cheese. Made up a YUMMY topping sauteing mushrooms, blue cheese, fat free mayo and a little water. Served on whole wheat! (Scott LOVED them)

8- Wasabi Grilled Pork- With Spring/Summer comes more grilling so I go into MEAT MODE.
Lately I have been marinating pork in wasabi with lime juice, salt and pepper and placing on grill. Serve with grilled asparagus and you barely have any dishes to do.

7- Smoothies- I have been making Mango Spinach smoothies from a recipe that I got on another
foodie blog: http://www.happyfoodie.com/

6- Avocado, Black Bean and Corn Salad- This is SO EASY. Chopped avocado, can or rinsed black beans, can of rinsed corn, lime juice, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. YUM! and so fresh

5- Watermelon and Feta Salad- Need I say more? (Add red wine vinegar)

4- Turkey Avocado Burgers- Again, I told you, salad, meat and fruit my recent diet!
Lean Turkey mixed with onion soup seasoning, cumin, pepper grilled. I top it with Monterrey Jack Cheese, Avocado and Tomato. I serve on one slice grilled garlic bread!

3- Gourmet Pizzas- We have been eating these ALOT. I take a Low Carb Flatbread and grill with olive oil and garlic. Simultaneously I reduce down tomato, garlic and evoo (basil if I have it). This is the sauce. Then top with veggies-- preferably artichoke, spinach, onion and mushroom and mozzarella cheese. Back on top grill shelf for 5 minutes to melt.

2- Frittata- The easiest meal I could ever make! I saute onions, asparagus and mushrooms in a pan. I add 5 whisked eggs, salt, pepper and goat cheese. Put back on the eye and them in the oven on broil until egg rises and slightly brown.

1- Cabbage Broccoli Salad- This is my take on Cole Slaw and Broccoli Salad. I chop broccoli, red cabbage, red onion and mix in a Cole slaw dressing (fat-free mayo, red wine vinegar and sugar). Set in the fridge for an hour to marry the flavors! This is by far my FAVORITE new concoction!

Monday, March 10, 2008

PS...

giving away the carrot cake does not ensure a bathing suit ready body...
it just will help it not get worse. Being a Baker (as I am now, see entry below)
means extra exercise and self disipline... This means squats while brushing teeth
and planks behind the counter at the store :)

Easter means Carrot Cake???

. . . and, we should celebrate Easter all month, right????
Lastweek I made Carrot Cake... my FAVORITE CAKE and had to give all
but 2 slices away (against Scott's wishes) so I can wear a bathing suit in Florida next week. I do have to say, I could have eaten it all... SO YUMMY!!!



Carrot Cake- a variation of a Cooking Light Recipe!
1 cup pineapple crushed and juice
5 cups shredded carrot (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup walnut
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins
Cooking spray


Frosting:
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
chilled 1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese chilled
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine carrot, pineapple and granulated sugar in a bowl.
Beat the brown sugar and butter with a mixer at medium speed until well-blended (about 2 minutes). Add applesauce, 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until well-blended (about 2 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition (batter will have a slightly curdled look).

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt); stir well with a whisk. Add brown sugar mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in carrot mixture and raisins (batter will be very thick). Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare the frosting, beat the powdered sugar, pineapple and cheese with a mixer at low speed just until well-blended (do not overbeat). Spread the frosting over the cake; cover and chill 1 hour.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

It's all about 3!

The first dessert made as a BAKER- Chocolate Cheese Cake!


So easy, this recipe was on the back of the chocolate package:
3 eggs
3 packages of cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 table spoon of vanilla
1 package of bittersweet chocolate
13 chocolate cookies (I did sugar free oreos)
3/4 tablespoon of butter, melted

Crush cookies into melted butter. Place in bottom of 9 inch spring form pan. Preheat oven to 325.

Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Allow to cool. Beat cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in your STAND UP MIXER :) slowly add eggs, one at a time.

Bake in a water bath for 55 minutes on 325.
Allow to cool overnight for best results!

If one has Stand Mixer and Spring Form Pans, Is she a Baker?

I think so!
Three months down and officially a baker... as of last weekend that is!
I am now the proud owner of a stand mixer. Yes, it is true.
Thanks to Miss Betty Allen Hall (Scott's Mom) I now own the tool that
I feel makes me ligitamately a baker. Her husband bought her one and she
has her mom's original SunBeam. . . and so the story goes. Looks like Scott
is off the hook for a little while in the Kitchen Aid department!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who Knew??? Now I am in Trouble!

Okay, I missed the memo that one of my favorite culinary treats was SO EASY!!!!

A week or so ago I was craving coconut (when I say coconut, I mean coconut macaroons!) so Jill said why don't you just bake some, they are SO EASY. Not that I don't trust my dear friend but I did not beleive her. These little pieces of decadence seem so delicate... how would I ever live up to the moistness I was dreaming of. Ah, the challenge. . . .

So, before I headed to Annie Kays to gather the ingredients I googled the recipe to make sure
coconut, condensed milk, vanilla and one egg was all I needed. Low and behold, Jill was right!

So... 20 minutes later there I was, nibbling on one of my favorite treats. And the recipe makes a lot (shhh... I told Scott I burned the first batch but I really ate them all.... OOPS).

Cookoo for Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients:

3 cups coconut
1 can condensed milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 egg white


Whip together, spoon onto greased pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes (check after 8, some batches cooked faster. Makes about 32. Eat and tell your husband you burned half :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lots of love for the lava!

YUM! This is my new favorite dessert. I love it
so much that I have made it two times... One for
dinner party and the other for me and Scott... I ate
two this time. YIKES! So easy, yet impressive. Decadent,
but not too sweet. And you know if I can bake it, you can.
(also, if you need ramicans I have cute pink, chocolate and white
ones at the store).



Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes

1 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
1/2 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
2 eggs
1/4 cup(s) heavy cream
8 tablespoon(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup(s) sugar
1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1/4 cup(s) cake flour

Directions
To make centers, melt chocolate and cream in double boiler. Whisk gently to blend.
Refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm. Form into 6 balls; refrigerate until needed.

To make cake, heat oven to 400°F. Spray six 4-ounce ramekins or custard cups
with cooking spray. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler; whisk gently to blend.
With an electric mixer, whisk eggs, yolks, sugar, and vanilla on high speed about 5 minutes or
until thick and light. Fold melted chocolate mixture and flour into egg mixture just until combined. Spoon cake batter into ramekins. Place a chocolate ball in the middle of each ramekin.
Bake about 15 minutes or until cake is firm to the touch. Let it sit out of the oven for
about 5 minutes. Run a small, sharp knife around inside of each ramekin, place a plate
on top, invert and remove ramekin. Garnish with raspberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Finally! Thinking Outside the Box


So, one of my favorite sweet treats are BROWNIES. You know, the kind that are gooey and nutty? I grew up in a house where we made these little pieces of heaven from a box. Now, in my dear mom's defense, there were NO complaints about the end product...


For those that don't know me, early on I gave myself the title of certified creative cook non-baker so there was NO need to learn the gratifying task of thinking outside the box. When we wanted brownies I bought the box. Very simple. A year ago I decided it was time to learn to fend for myself. I know that most baked goods consist of flour, sugar, butter and eggs... all things we have on any given day in our kitchens. I fantisized of being snowed in and whipping up brownies, cookies or whatever on a whim... without having to venture out for the trusty box.
And thus the journey began...


Scott and my mom will tell you that I am a bad baker because I have issues following direction. I do have to agree... but why do things need that much sugar... that much butter. Well, folks, they need it to taste good. I have attempted almost 10 brownie recipes... unsucsessfully.

On Wednesday, (please note- on a whim) I decided to give it one more try. 55 minutes after following the recipe there they were--- Out of the Box, Gooey, Bittersweet Chocolate Pieces of Heaven. All from my kitchen, no box included.


Out of the Box Brownies


4 squares Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1 cup coarsely chopped PLANTERS Pecans
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil. MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and pecans; mix well. Spread into prepared pan. BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. (Do not overbake.) Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles. Cut into squares. Store in tightly covered container at room temperature.


PS- Please follow the directions :)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Breakfast in Bed???

On Sunday, since it was "wash the sheets day", I decided we could have breakfast in bed.
For those of you who know how anal I can be you know this was HUGE! I made a YUMMY
recipe from Cooking Light for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (partially because I had left over Ricotta from the lazagna rolls). Served with Pecans, Bananas and Hot syrup on top they were DELISH!



Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Ingredients
1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
Salad oil



Preparation
1. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg yolks, and lemon peel to blend. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Gently stir in ricotta cheese.
2. In a bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With a flexible spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter just until they are incorporated.
3. Place a nonstick griddle or a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat (350°); when hot, coat lightly with oil and adjust heat to maintain temperature. Drop batter in 1/2-cup portions onto the griddle and cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and edges begin to look dry, about 2 minutes; turn cakes with a wide spatula and brown other sides, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. Coat pan with more oil as necessary to cook remaining pancakes.
4. Serve pancakes as cooked, or keep warm in a single layer on baking sheets in a 200° oven for up to 15 minutes.
Yield
Makes about 8 pancakes; 4 servings




PS- After I made a huge mess, ate and relaxed in bed until noon I had a dirty house, unproductive anxiety breakdown. Go figure!
PPS- Dirty House Breakdowns in front of significant others can often result in new cleaning supplies... like a microfiber mop and mit. Thanks, Scotty!