Thursday, December 6, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
*from Cafe Fernando
Makes 25 cookies
1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground hazelnuts (1 cup as whole)
4 oz butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup raspberry jam or 1/3 cup apricot jam (I actually used cherry and it was WONDERFUL!) (*I would add a pinch of salt and maybe some lemon or orange zest)
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy (5 minutes). Whisk together flour and ground hazelnuts and add to the creamed butter. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes (it will be easier to shape). Take a teaspoonful of dough in your hand, form a small ball, press in the center with your finger to make a hole (not all the way) and arrange on baking trays 2 inches apart. (Don’t be tempted to make them bigger than a teaspoonful). Bake for 15 minutes, until the edges are slightly colored. Let the cookies cool and fill the holes with your favorite jams.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Thanksgiving Feast Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Sauce
1 pound ground turkey
about 2 cups of leftover Thanksgiving stuffing (mine had apples, sausage, and walnuts!)
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tbsp steak seasoning mix (if you have it on hand...if not, just add a touch of garlic powder and onion powder)
2-3 splashes of worcestershire sauce
a few dashes of salt and pepper
Form into burgers and grill them up. Top with cranberry sauce, lettuce, onion, and serve...trust me, sooooo good! For the more daring- top with mashed sweet potatoes so you have them IN your burger.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
1 1/4 cups sugar (or Splenda)
1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin puree, (if you use pumpkin-pie mix, don’t add dry spices below)
3/4 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
Pour pumpkin mixture into pie crust and place in large roasting pan. Place pan on oven rack. Carefully pour enough boiling water into pan to come 1 inch up side of spring form pan. Bake cheesecake 1 hour 10 minutes or until center barely jiggles.
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Last year's Thanksgiving
Friday, October 26, 2007
Whole Wheat Linguine with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes and Basil Cream
1/2 box of whole wheat linguine
about 2 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 cup pesto
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tub bocconcini (small mozzarella balls)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1-1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1-2 cloves of garlic (I like mine with a lot of garlic, so adjust to your palate)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/8 cup of Parmesan
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
In a blender or food processor, blend all ingredients together with about two tablespoons of olive oil to start. Once you begin blending, start slowly drizzling olive oil through the top until it gets to the consistency to like. I prefer my pesto on the thicker side, but some people like it thinner. If you are not in the mood to make your own pesto, store bought pesto works just as well!
To assemble the pasta:
Cook linguine using box directions (make sure to salt your water!). In a medium size pan, add olive oil and roast cherry tomatoes with salt and pepper just until they start to split. Take off heat and let them cool. In the meantime, mix pesto and sour cream together. Then, toss noodles, tomatoes, and mozzarella all together and top with a generous scoop of basil cream mixture. This dish is best eaten at room temperature.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Chicken and Orzo with Lemon and Olives
*from Wednesday Chef
8 chicken drumsticks (I used six boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
Salt, pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups orzo
3 cups chicken broth
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 small lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives (I used Spanish olives to cut cost)
1 large bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, divided (I used 1 tablespoon of dried oregano)
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken legs well on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
2. In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the legs well on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
3. Add the orzo, chicken stock, garlic, lemon wedges and juice, olives, bay leaf and 1 tablespoon of the oregano. Stir to combine all the ingredients, then return the chicken to the pan. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the chicken is done (the meat will be firm and its juices will run clear). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, sprinkle with the remaining oregano and serve.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I would say that I have a very slight sweet tooth. For instance, I love having something sweet usually after dinner or whenever I'm drinking my afternoon coffee. I only like a little of that something- just enough to cure the craving and not too much to make me sick. One evening while I was scouring my kitchen for some type of dessert makings I put this yummy dish together. Talk about simple and delicious! This is now one of my top ten favorite desserts and it only has two ingredients- vanilla bean ice cream and raspberries. The tartness of the raspberries balance perfectly with the creamy sweetness of the ice cream. It is just divine!
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce
1 small scoop of your favorite vanilla bean ice cream (I like Breyers- all natural!)
1/2 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries (Fresh raspberries could work too, but I always have frozen ones in my freezer. They work perfectly!)
Put frozen raspberries in the microwave and heat for about 1 1/2 minutes. It should be slightly warm (not hot!) and soft. Take a fork and smash the raspberries until they are a thick sauce. No need to add anything else- just pour over vanilla ice cream and eat. The warm raspberries should just melt the ice cream a little leaving swirls of pink and white. Optional: You can also top with roasted walnuts for a crunchy addition.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Well, I didn't want to throw out a whole batch of curry "soup" and rice. What a waste that would be! With a little bit of creativity I actually came up with this recipe, which is much better.
*adapted from Cooking Light
1/4 cup chopped salted and roasted cashew
Monday, October 15, 2007
*adapted from our friend Shannon's recipe
1 bag VIGA yellow Spanish rice (cooked according to directions on the back)
1 can black bean (heated) *I season mine with about a tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp cumin powder, and a splash of lime for added flavor
For the Sofrito:
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced or cut long and thin
1 cubanelle pepper
1/2 a lime
*1 tsp of adobo chili (optional- I added this to give the sofrito a spicy and smokey undertone)
paprika (to taste)
To make the sofrito, coat the bottom of a pan with a small amount of olive oil (about a 1-2 tbsp) and saute the onions on medium heat until they are slightly caramelized and translucent. Add the garlic and cubanelle pepper. Saute all together until ingredients are softened. Add crushed tomatoes and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Add in 1-2 tbsp paprika (to taste), adobo chili, lime juice, and salt and pepper (again, to taste). Let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Serve on top of black beans and rice.
If you are adding protein (seafood, chicken, pork), cook separately and season how you like. Add on top the above dish.
Friday, October 12, 2007
I finally had a day off yesterday and I must say I really did need it. I feel I've been running on empty for a few day now, so having two days off from Sbux is giving me time to refuel for the weekend. Having said that, I now have time to post a few recipes and cook a bit more.
There is just a hint of Fall here in Orlando. When I walked outside this morning to my car, the air was little cooler than usual. I am so glad! It has been too hot here for too long! So, as promised the other day, here is my recipe for apple spice muffins. Since I used whole wheat flour and one cup of sugar less than most recipes, the muffins were not only healthy but substantial. It is great with a swipe of honey butter!
Apple Spice Muffins
3 cups whole wheat flour (or 1 cups unbleached flour and 2 cups whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 apples (your favorite apples of the sweeter variety) chopped and diced
1 handful of chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line your muffin tin with liners
Whisk or sift together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients and mix well with a wood spoon or spatula. Stir in chopped apples and walnuts. Batter will be very thick and sticky!
Divide muffins in muffin tin. They will not rise very much, so you can fill them about 2/3-3/4 high. Bake for 25 minutes and test with a toothpick (or chopstick for me) to make sure centers come out clean .
Monday, October 8, 2007
*photo from virginiaplaces.org
With my new schedule of working two jobs, I don't have as much time to cook as I used to. I'm lucky these days to get two days a week to make an actual dinner rather than eating a bowl of cereal when I get home at 11:30 at night. This weekend I did wake up early Sunday morning to make some apple spice muffins to welcome Fall and October (recipe to be posted hopefully tomorrow). So until I can post tomorrow, I leave you with one of my top five favorite things about fall: the pumpkin patch. I actually don't like pumpkin in dishes (yes, even pumpkin pie is not a pie I choose to eat) but I LOVE going to the pumpkin patch to get my Halloween pumpkin. I like to walk around and inspect them all before I choose one to take home. I like that each pumpkin is so different from one another in texture, markings and patterns. For me, it is truly an amazing sight to look out among all the pumpkins placed on tufts of hay. It just reminds me that there are things to be excited about still- even if they are small.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
Tomato, Goat Cheese and Feta Strata
Spray a medium size baking dish (close to 10x10) with non stick spray and add bread mixture. Pour over the egg mixture and goat cheese and mix lightly to be sure the egg and cheese seeps through all the cracks. Top with feta and bake for 20 min until golden brown. Let it cool slightly and serve.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
This recipe is a twist on one I took from A's Great Aunt B. Great Aunt B was an amazing woman and one of my absolute favorite people who I feel very privileged to have met. Sadly, she passed away this year, making the world a little less nicer to live in. Before we officially moved to Orlando, I was lucky enough to live with Great Aunt B for a few months while A was finishing up things in South Florida. During that time, she showed me a recipe for curried fruit that was absolutely delicious. It was warm, sweet, spicy and drizzled all over vanilla ice cream. I never thought of making a dessert with curry and fruit together, but as I was researching it on the internet I discovered this dish is actually very southern. Who knew? (I honestly would never have guessed since curry seems so exotic for the South). It did sound a bit strange to me at first, but it really is one of the best desserts I've had. So, here's to Great Aunt B! This recipe is typically made with a can of fruit cocktail (which is equally delicious), but I decided to use fresh pears and a little less sugar to make a guilt-free version.
Curry Poached Pears
2 firm pears, peeled, halved and cored
2 cups water (OR 1 cup water and 1 cup of good white wine)
1/2-1 cup brown sugar (I don't like it as sweet, but some may)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp curry powder
To prepare the poaching liquid, bring the water (or water/wine mixture) and brown sugar to a boil then lower heat to about medium. Add cinnamon, ginger powder and curry powder. Keep it on a low rolling boil for about 5-7 minutes until everything is dissolved and mixed together. The liquid should be a little thicker, but not syrupy. Next place pears with flat halved side down. Poach pears for about 30-40 minutes (depending on how firm your pears are), flipping them half way through so the whole pear gets poached evenly. The pears should be fork tender. Once they are done, let them cool for several minutes. Then serve with vanilla ice cream and toasted walnuts.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
You take recipes from Giada De Laurentis! She is one of my absolute favorite Food Network chefs. Everything she makes (that I've at least made at home) tastes amazing and is never too hard to figure out. Since I didn't cook last night (at all) and just ate leftovers, I thought I'd post one of my favorite Giada quick-fix dinner meals. We actually have made this quite a few times. I know, I've been told we make WAY too much pasta...but we love pasta! Maybe next week, it'll be no-pasta-eating week as a challenge. Happy Friday!
Rigatoni with Red Pepper, Almonds, and Bread Crumbs
from Giada de Laurentis, Everyday Italian
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Pasta with Sausage, Basil, and Mustard
from Food and Wine
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 hot Italian sausages, meat removed from casings and crumbled (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 cup thinly sliced basil
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
I always crave a slightly sweet snack in the early afternoon. These almond scones are perfect with peach preserves and a hot cup of tea.
adapted from Tyler Florence's blueberry scone recipe on Food Network
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut in chunks
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing the scones
1/2 cup non-fat milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp almond extract
handful of almonds for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sift all dry ingredients together- the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Using a fork cut in the butter to coat the pieces with the flour. The mixture should look crumbly. In a separate bowl mix all liquid ingredients together- heavy cream, milk, both extracts. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Fold everything together just to incorporate; do not overwork the dough.
Press the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12 by 3 by 1 1/4 inches. Cut the rectangle in 1/2 then cut the pieces in 1/2 again, giving you 4 (3-inch) squares. Cut the squares in 1/2 on a diagonal to give you the classic triangle shape. Place the scones on an non-greased cookie sheet and brush the tops with a little heavy cream. Then press in almond pieces to top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until beautiful and brown. Let the scones cool a bit then enjoy with some butter or preserves.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I love eggplants-from their wonderfully dark purple skins to their cream colored flesh. They are just beautiful vegetables that happen to taste as good as they look and are extremely versatile. On my last trip to the local farmers market, I happen to stumble on a rather large and perfect looking eggplant for only $1.50. This was definitely the bargain of the week. With a rather picky family, several who claim to NOT like eggplant, I needed to try to disguise and highlight this vegetable in dinner.
Veggie Lasagna with Eggplant
1 15oz tub part skim ricotta cheese
1 small box of frozen chopped spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt, pepper, dried or fresh basil to taste
Completely thaw the box of frozen chopped spinach. Place in small towel and squeeze spinach to get all the water out. You want to get it as dry as possible. Mix ricotta cheese, spinach, crumbled feta. Add salt (a generous pinch since ricotta can be rather bland), pepper, and dried or fresh basil to taste. OPTIONAL: You can beat one egg and add it to the mix, although I learned it is not necessary. Place in fridge until ready to use.
The rest of the lasagna:
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Newman's Cabernet Marinara)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla works nicely- you can boil your noodles if you prefer, but I found the no-boil noodles prevent overcooked noodles)
1 large eggplant
8 oz of shredded mozzarella cheese
a few handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*OPTIONAL: 2 medium sweet potatoes (boiled then mashed with a touch of butter, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg)
Cut your eggplant into 1/2in thick slices. You want them thick enough so they don't fall apart in the whole cooking process. Place your eggplant slices on a well-sprayed (with canola oil) cookie sheet. Make sure each slice has its own place on the sheet and don't pile them on each other. This will cause the eggplant to steam instead of roast. Sprinkle salt on eggplant slices. Roast eggplant for about 20-25 min on 375 degrees, flipping them about 2/3 of the way through. The eggplant slices should be slightly browned and soft and creamy in the middle.
To assemble, spray your pan (I used 8inx8in) with non-stick canola oil. Add a light layer of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Place noodles, a layer of your prepared filling above, then a layer of your roasted eggplant, a light layer of shredded moz and then another layer of sauce. The second layer, continue the same process but add a layer of your mashed sweet potatoes right before you add the prepared filling.
Continue the same layers on up through the pan, layering the mashed sweet potatoes in every other layer if you so choose. At the top, the very last layer should be topped with a generous topping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cover lasagna with foil and cook for about 50 minutes. Then uncover and cook lasagna for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and bubbly.