Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Note: I did substitute plain yogurt for the creme fraiche. I couldn't locate any creme fraiche and didn't really like it much to begin with. The plain yogurt was a replacement that I found online and is a much healthier option.
1 cup creme fraiche *or like me use 1 cup plain yogurt*
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 lemon, juice only
1 tablespoon sugar
1 shallot, minced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heads of endive, leaves separated
2 heads baby radicchio, leaves torn into large pieces
1 orange, peeled and cut into slices through the equator
1 blood orange, peeled and cut into slices through the equator
Another NOTE: I halved this recipe and had only one head of endive and radicchio. I would maybe double the endive and buy 2 endive for every radicchio to create more of a balance between the two. My mom and I both found we really liked the endive and wished there was more of it.
For the dressing, in a small bowl combine creme fraiche/yogurt, mustard, lemon juice, and sugar. Fold in shallot and season with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in fridge to let the flavors come together. (I was starving and my flavors only came together for a short 10 minutes).
For the salad, toss together the endive, radicchio, and both types of orange slices in a large salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately. Eat everyday, three times a day, for three weeks straight and pray to lose 5-10 pounds.
On another note, I may not be posting too many recipes in April. I am trying to stay away from the fridge, the kitchen, the cooking shows, and all other ideas of food in order to get ready for the cruise. We all know what happens on a cruise........eating, and more eating, and I think you get the idea. I gotta shave off the weight I'm gonna gain on that cruise. On the other hand, I could decide this is my April Fool's hoax and start making all kinds of unhealthy food again. I really haven't decided.......................
Sunday, March 29, 2009
The base of this cake is root beer and dark chocolate. Overall, the cake has 2 cups of root beer (I used A&W). I think the dark chocolate compliments the root beer and helps to bring out the flavor. The frosting also consists of root beer, 2 oz. dark chocolate, powdered sugar, butter, salt, and dark unsweetened cocoa powder. My frosting was somewhat thick, so I added about another tablespoon of root beer to thin it out. This made the frosting capable of spreading. I have a small bundt pan, so I was also able to make 4 ramekins for individual servings later. I plan on taking the bundt cake to my in law's this afternoon. My father-in-law is a sucker for chocolate and has been known to keep Hershey miniatures in his t-shirt pocket to snack on throughout the day!
I thought this cake was fabulous and a great break from the norm. It was chocolately, but not too sweet and you could taste the root beer for sure. The frosting was also somewhat salty and I thought this was a great compliment to the cake. You have to have the vanilla ice cream with the cake because it really does taste a lot like a root beer float. I really liked this recipe and will probably make it again one day. For now, I am going to try and refrain from desserts for the next month. I'm getting ready to go on a cruise in a month and I need to fit in the bathing suit!!
Root Beer Bundt Cake
2 cups root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ c. butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ¼ c. granulated sugar
½ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 c. all purpose flour
1 ¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting
2 oz. dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ c. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
¼ c. root beer
2/3 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ c. powdered sugar
To Serve:Vanilla Ice Cream
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously spray the inside of a 10” bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.In a small bowl, whisk the eggs just until beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy - do not overbeat it, as it will cause the cake to be tough. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time, until a small sharp knife inserted in the cake comes clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.
Root Beer Fudge Frosting:Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth.Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the crown of the bundt in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving, with the ice cream on the side.
Please do yourself a favor and try this one!!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
And finally our new baby. Of course you have to have a co-ordinating computer with your lounge . LOL !!!
Friday, March 20, 2009
This recipe is mainly a braised dish cooked in the oven for about 3 and a half hours. You flour the lamb shanks and sear them on the stovetop. Once they are browned, you add garlic, carrots, onion, cloves, thyme, and a bay leaf. Cook this mix for 2-3 minutes, and then add a bottle of red wine and 1 quart of beef broth. Cover and braise 2 hours. After braising 2 hours, you peel 6 potatoes and halve them. You place them over the stew, cutting potatoes if necessary, and baste them with a garlic-parsley butter and cook, uncovered, for another one and a half hours.
I bought the lamb shanks at Whole Foods and they in turn bought the lamb from a local source here in Kentucky. The lamb was fresh and looked great. When the dish was complete, the lamb did fall off the bone, but it was somewhat fatty and you could still see a lot of connective tissue. Each lamb shank was mostly fat and connective tissue therefore it didn't net very much meat in the end. I spent quite a bit of time before serving trying to separate the meat and arrange it on a serving dish.
The barley had soaked up quite a bit of the red wine and was almost purple. Although it looked slightly strange, it was okay to eat. It did however taste a lot like drinking red wine, which was also strange. My husband made the comment that the whole dish tasted like barley and reminded him of drinking beer! I wouldnt' say this was a bad thing, but I think the barley was something we just weren't used to eating.
In addition to the lamb being so fatty, and the barley tasting so much of red wine, the potatoes were rather hard and never really got very soft. I followed Tyler's directions and basted them with quite a bit of butter and then even added more butter because I felt like it couldn't hurt anything.
We each had one serving and when we were done I knew that I should not save the leftovers. I was happy that I had halved the recipe and only bought 3 lamb shanks. I took the potatoes off the top and saved them for breakfast this morning and then we tossed the rest. I am not fond of throwing food away and probably only do this once or twice a year, but there was no point keeping it.
I only recommend this dish if you know that you love lamb shanks and barley. If you do decide to make this dish I would also recommend that you try baking your potatoes or cooking them in some other method to ensure they are soft when the dish is complete. The recipe is not included in this post, but I would be happy to email it to anyone if they wish to try this dish.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This pulled pork begins by creating a simple and easy dry rub for the meat. It can marinate overnight, but can also marinate for as little as one hour. The dry rub are things that are typical pantry spices and nothing that I had to buy special. The meat cooks for 6 hours and is a dream to shred. In fact, I was able to shred it all in less than 5 minutes. The dry rub creates a wonderful flavor throughout the meat and carried over after shredding. It wouldn't be necessary to have any barbecue sauce with this pulled pork because it has a wonderful overall taste. However, I had all the ingredients on hand for Tyler's barbecue sauce, included in this recipe, so I decided to go all out. I am so glad that I did! I loved his barbecue sauce and again it is made from items that are usually in every pantry. It was easy to make and easily the best barbecue sauce around. It was sweet, tangy, and spicy and it is almost gone!! I'm wishing there was more of it because it would be nice on other things as well.
I attempted to make some sandwich buns from the King Arthur website and I am sad to report that they did not turn out. This was very upsetting to have pulled pork and no bread/buns. I have to say that I was very dissapointed with the King Arthur directions and recipe and probably will not use their website for future recipes. However, I must admit that their flour is the best and the only one you'll see in my pantry. The next day, I decided to use Tyler's recipe for Parker House Rolls, which was successful. I paired these sandwiches with the peach salad I had made the same day and the flavors were very complimentary.
Everything about this recipe makes it a total keeper! If you like barbecue foods and want to try pulled pork, please check this recipe out online at Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tylers-ultimate/pulled-pork-sandwich-recipe/index.html.
Monday, March 16, 2009
8 thin slices prosciutto (about 1/2 lb) - cook more if you have it. I love good prosciutto!
4 peaches, firm but ripe, halved and pitted
1/2 fennel bulb
2 balls (8 ounces each) fresh buffalo mozzarella, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups fresh hydroponic watercress or other peppery green (I used arugula)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350F. Lay prosciutto slices out flat in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crispy and golden. Remove from tray and drain on paper towels.
Cut peaches into thick wedges; set aside. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, shave fennel into paper-thin crescents. Drop fennel slices in a large bowl of ice water for 1 minutes to crisp; drain and dry on paper towels. Toss peaches, fennel, mozzarella, and watercress(or peppery green) together in a large salad bowl.
To prepare the dressing, put balsamic vinegar in a small bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly pour in oil until mixture emulsifies slightly. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle individual servings of salad with dressing; top with crispy prosciutto.
NOTE: If you have Tyler's book you will notice that the dressing looks different in the book. I think he reduced some balsamic vinegar for the picture. The dressing in the picture is thick and brown and looks a lot like reduced balsamic. Mine is nowhere near as pretty, but it was very tasty.
I encourage everyone to try this recipe. It is the ultimate in spring/summer salad and I really enjoyed it and think anyone who is a salad lover will love it!
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup ice water
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 recipe honey creme fraiche - Using the whisk attachment on a kitchen stand mixer, beat 16 oz. creme fraiche on high for 45 seconds, until it tightens up slightly. Fold in 2 tablespoons honey with a spoon so it is just mixed but you can still see swirls of honey. (I halved this recipe because I could only find a 8 oz. container of creme fraiche). I do not like sour cream and creme fraiche reminded me a lot of this. Everyone else enjoyed the topping. I elected to use cool whip with honey drizzled on top. Try not to make fun of me....this is the only way that I could eat the pie because it was very tangy to me and I really do not like tangy at all.
For the pastry, combine flour, 2 tsp. sugar, and the salt in a food processor and pulse until combined. Add butter and shortening and continue to process until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add cold water and process until dough comes together in a large ball. Turn onto floured surface and gently knead a few times until dough is smooth. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.
Preheat oven to 350. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Put on top of a 10" tart pan (or pie pan as I used) gently pressing it around the insides of the pan. Trim any overhang and discard. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake in the middle of the oven about 20 minutes or until the crust is set and just firm. Remove weights and cool pie shell.
Reduce the oven temp to 325F. To make the filling, use the paddle attachment of your kitchen stand mixer. Beat the butter and the 1-1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy and pale in color. Add egg yolks, buttermilk, lemon juice and nutmeg. Mix until batter is smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add flour and continue to mix until combined. Transfer buttermilk mixture to a separate bowl. Thoroughly wash mixing bowl and attachment with soap and hot water; return to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites, half at a time, into buttermilk mixture. Pour filling into cooled pie shell. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes (or longer) until the pie is set (the pie should still be pale in color). Cool and serve with honey creme fraiche or cool whip and honey : )
Serves 6 to 8
I knew I wanted to make several different flavors of sorbet so I began by making some simple syrup. I consider myself "experienced" in the kitchen, however everytime I've tried simple syrup it has failed. I had just borrowed Martha's Cooking School from the library so I figured I'd give her simple syrup a try......and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!! This recipe is simply 3 cups of sugar and 3 cups of water. I used a big stockpot because I didn't want to risk a sugar burn. You just bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until sugar is dissolved for about 10 minutes. Then you need to let it cool. You can keep this in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. **You can also flavor the simple syrup with aromatics such as: mint, basil, ginger, citrus peel, cinnamon, vanilla and the list goes on and on. You would just get about 1/2 cup of any aromatic and pour the desired amount of simple syrup over it. Let it steep for about 2 hours and then remove the aromatics or strain to remove small pieces. This would allow you to create all kinds of wonderful flavor profiles.
Now that you have made the simple syrup, you are over halfway there. If you are lucky enough to have the syrup in your fridge, then making sorbets is a real cinch. A sorbet is simply a mixture of fruit juice and simple syrup. Here are Martha's guidelines for different types of fruit sorbet. I like to try and cut back the amount of syrup I add to the fruit juice, but you can compromise the final product. The correct amount of simple syrup helps the mixture to freeze and become more solid.
NOTE: Buying this much fresh fruit can be expensive. You can absolutely use frozen fruit that has been thawed. I have tried this with the same results and it is much more economical and just as healthy. I have also cut the recipe in half with great results. Each batch will make 2 cups of sorbet. For now on, I will refer to simple syrup as SS.
Blackberry - 4 cups of blackberries and 1/4 cup water pureed together and strained. Add 2 cups of SS.
Strawberry - 5 cups of chopped strawberries and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water pureed and strained. Add 1 and 1/4 c. SS.
Raspberry - 6 cups of raspberries and 1/2 cup plus 4 tablespoons water pureed and strained. Add 1 and 3/4 cups SS.
Blueberry - 5 cups blueberries and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water pureed and strained. Add 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Lemon - Juice of 8 lemons and 1 and 1/2 cups SS.
Orange - Juice of 5 oranges and 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Lime - Juice of 8 limes and 1 and 1/2 cups SS.
Grapefruit - Juice of 2 and a half grapefruit and 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Mango - 6 cups chopped (3 mangoes) and 1/4 to 1/2 cup water - depending on juiciness. Puree and strain fruit mixture and add 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Kiwi - 4 cups chopped (16 kiwi) and 1/2 cup water + 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Puree and strain mixture and add 1 and 1/4 cups SS.
Pineapple - 3 cups chopped (2/3 pineapple) + 1/4 cup water + 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Puree and strain and add 1 and 1/4 cups simple SS.
After you have made your mixture, pour into the ice cream maker and turn on. My ice cream machine took about 30 minutes for each sorbet.
As the warm weather comes upon us this is something that I will be making a lot!! I am getting ready to experiment with passion fruit, guava and also some chocolate sorbet.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Addison just loves doing tummy time with Larsen.
Although this photo was taken a while ago the message is still the same he is growing like a weed.
These arrived on my doorstep today, a beautiful anniversary surprise from my husband who is working in Melboune. Happy four year anniversary David, I love you !
till next time
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Back to the baby artichokes. Originally I wanted to stuff them, but I just didn't have time for that. So, I decided to go with sauteed baby artichokes. How can you go wrong with parmesan cheese on top? My mom was over visiting and together we ate the whole plate of them for lunch. They were very, very good!
1 package baby artichokes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tbs. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
How to prepare artichokes: Cut stem off at base. Peel back and snanp off petals until cone of yellow petals remains. Cut off top 1/3 of each artichoke. Drop artichokes into bowl of water with 2 Tbsp. lemon juice at each step to prevent browning (they will brown a little anyway. Quarter or halve artichokes. Drain well before cooking.
Pat dry and heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add baby artichokes and cook and stir until tender, about 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss with hot cooked pasta and parmesan cheese or add to risotto or pizza.
We chose to eat them by themselves for a healthy lunch option! I can't wait to buy some more.
2 tsp. dry yeast
5 tbsp. water
3-1/4 cup bread flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup carbonated water - I used club soda
1) Sprinkle the yeast into the water in a bowl and let stand 5 mins. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the dissolved yeast, the oil, and 2/3 cup of carbonated water
2) Mix in the flour. Stir in the reserved carbonated water as needed, to form a firm, moist dough.
3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 10 minutes. ***I used my kitchenaid mixer to do this and it turned out wonderful*
4) Put the dough in a clean and oil bowl, then cover with a dish towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down, then let rest for 10 minutes.
5) Divide dough into eight equal pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece to form a round, 6 inches across and 1/2 inch thick. If the dough resists rolling out, let it rest for 1-2 minutes, then continue.
6) Heat a heavy frying pan or griddle over medium-low heat until very hot, about 10 minutes. **Recipe does not say to oil or butter the pan each time, but I found that I needed to do this*
7) Place one of the dough rounds in the hot pan and prick all over with a fork to prevent air bubbles. Cook until golden brown on both sides, flipping it over frequently to avoid scorching and to aid even cooking, about 5 minutes.
8) Repeat with the remaining dough rounds as directed in step 7. Stack the rounds on top of one another and cover with a dish towel to keep soft and warm.
Grilled Flat Bread with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola Mascarpone, and Crunchy Red Grapes *Recipe #28 Page 168*
In Tyler's description he says that this recipe is a truly unique flavor profile. I have to admit that I was skeptical to try this recipe and wanted to try it out for myself first just in case. The first few bites were a little strange, but the more I ate of it the more addicted to it I became. I ate the whole flatbread! This dish is hard to explain, but my flatbread was warm and soft like a pillow. It had the shape and shape of a pita bread, but the taste of a pizza dough. There were so many tastes and textures in this one because you have soft from the bread, creamy from the cheese, crunchy from the grapes and walnuts. The dish is sweet, nutty, tangy, cheesey and a little smoky from the grill. This is a must try and would be an easy dish for spring or summer. Tyler's flatbread was one large flatbread that would serve up to 6 people. I think this would make a good appetizer because it would be something unique that people would talk about. I'll stop babbling now, here is the recipe:
extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, sliced
1 large store-bought rustic-style flatbread
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups mascarpone
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
2 cups firm red grapes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh italian flat-leaf parsley
In a large saute pan heat a 2 count of olive oil over medium-heat. Add onions and slowly caramelize until brown and creamy. Set aside.
Preheat the grill to high. Quickly and carefully wipe the grate with oiled paper towels to create a nonstick surface. Brush the flat bread with oil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce grill heat to medium. Grill bread on both sides until warmed through and brown with grill marks.
Quickly transfer flat bread to a platter and smear with mascarpone while still warm. Sprinkle with Gorgonzola, caramelized onions, toasted walnuts, and grapes. Season with a few turns of freshly ground black pepper, drizzle lightly with some additional oil, and top with a shower of fresh parsley.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Vinaigrette: 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Combine lemon juice and mustard in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the oil, whisking until the mixture has emulsified. Season with sugar, about 1/2 salt, and black pepper.
For the salad:
1 small fennel bulb
4 cups packed baby arugula
1 cup red seedless grapes
1/2 cup roasted cashews
Wash fennel bulb. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, shave the fennel lengthwise so each piece is still held together by the root. Drop shaved fennel pieces in a large bowl of ice water for 1 minute to crisp; drain and dry.
When ready to serve, toss fennel, arugula, grapes, and cashews together in a large salad. Toss salad with vinaigrette, to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Enjoy this salad as part of a healthy diet. I had this salad twice for lunch this week and lost another 2 pounds.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
These three layouts are featured as well I was the artist in the spotlight this month.
Wow I feel so lucky to be published .
Enjoy your weekend.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
extra virgin olive oil
2 large chicken breast halves, skin on
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 new potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cup black olives, pitted
1/2 orange, sliced
fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350F. In a large ovenproof saute pan heat a 3-count of olive oil (3tbsps.) over medium heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper; add them to the pan; skin sides down. Cook for 10 minutes until the skin is golden brown, then turn breasts over and add potatoes, olives, and orange slices. Cook for 5 minutes more, until the potatoes begin to brown. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pan to oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes, until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear (180F). Garnish with fresh parsley leaves.
**My chicken breasts were pretty big and they cooked in the allotted time, about 15-17 minutes.
My meat thermometer broke again. I have a drawer full of new meat thermometers. They only last about 5-10 uses and then they break on me. Good thing they are relatively cheap. I have to replace them constantly.
Everyone please try this. It is healthy, fresh, light and refreshing. One of my Tyler fave's!!
I had some ground beef and chicken breast in my fridge that had to be cooked today. I really wasn't in the mood for cooking meat or eating meat. My husband is on the road, my daughter doesn't like ground beef, and my son is allergic to it. So, I am calling these burgers "hump day" because it was just one of those days in the middle of the week where I just felt "blah" about eating. I am also calling these "hump day" burgers for Donna of My Tasty Treasures. If you have not visited her blog, here is the link http://mytastytreasures.blogspot.com/ She posts her delicious looking food with naughty humor. I always get a chuckle out of her posts.
I looked in my fridge and was bored with propects of a plain cheeseburger with everyday cheese. I found some feta cheese and olives and had a great idea..... a feta cheese salad/topping. This was really tasty and very flavorful and I think if you are a fan of feta cheese you will love this idea:
Mediterrean Style Salad:
1 block of feta cheese, crumbled
2 - 3 sundried tomatoes. chopped
5-6 kalamata olives. chopped
handful of italian-leaf parsley, chopped
olive oil - just a drizzle
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
I mixed all these ingredients together in a bowl and tested it out on a few crackers. It was really tasty on the crackers, so I went ahead and topped my burger with it. I thought it was really tasty and unique and decided to share it. This is a great feta salad for vegetables, crackers, burgers, chicken or lamb. I love salty food, so I really enjoyed it. This recipe would easily make enough to top off four burgers with a little leftover for the cook. You could even eat this alone on some fresh bread or serve it with hummus inside a pita. I could go on, but it's time to watch American Idol and I still have to cook that blasted chicken.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Till next time