Monday, September 29, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake


OK, so we got hungry and ate her.

PEAR ZUCCHINI CAKE


2 tablespoons butter
2 large pears, ripe, coarsely chopped
1 cup grated zucchini
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a bunt cake pan.
Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the pears, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the cinnamon. Set aside until needed.
Whisk together the yogurt and the remaining sugar in a large bowl, until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Combine the flour and baking soda, then add the oil and eggs, whisking well after each addition. Stir the pear pieces and zucchini into the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Set on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

"Pear"rental Supervision Required

Too much time on our hands?...maybe. My mom and I found this pear and couldn't resist giving it a makeover. It looked like it was wearing a thong. So we gave it a breast enhancement as well as a head. I know I will regret posting this in the morning!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Good Burger

What do you do with leftover salmon? Well, I like to make salmon burgers. This is definitely one of my family's favorite dishes. In this recipe I serve it over fresh Foccacia with a BBQ aioli, but often times I will bypass the bread and serve it solo with a yummy sauce instead. Because you are using already cooked salmon, this makes this an absolutely time saving dish. The recipe for the yummy corn wheels is posted under Center Stage Side Dish and is definitely something you should try before corn goes out of season int he next few weeks. I would love to hear from those of you who try it out.


SALMON BURGERS
12 oz salmon, cooked
½ cup chili sauce
¼ cup onion, diced
¼ cup red pepper, diced
2 eggs
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 lemon, zest and juice
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves

Combine all of the ingredients together, meatloaf style. Make sure to blend everything together well. Form into patties. Spray the patties with cooking spray and then place on a hot grill. Cook until hot throughout.

HERB FOCCACIA

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
5 cups all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

In large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F). Let stand 5 minutes until foamy. Add remaining water, flour and salt. Add garlic, oregano, rosemary and parsley, and beat until dough forms.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place 1 hour or until doubled. Punch dough down and knead a few times. Return to oiled bowl, cover and rise again until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets.
After dough has risen the second time, press air out and divide in half. On a floured surface, roll each half into a 9 x12-inch rectangle. Place on prepared baking sheets and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Thanks to Joni Marshall and Yvette Jones for the great pictures.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What is the difference between a hockey mom and a bulldog?

No matter who you are planning to vote for this November, this is very funny!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Cispy Chocolate Chippers

CRISPY CHIPPERS

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until well blended. Beat in milk and the vanilla until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough in 1-tablespoon portions, 2 inches apart, onto baking sheets. Bake in a 300 degrees until cookies are lightly browned, 18 to 20 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan positions halfway through baking. Loosen on baking sheet and transfer to baking racks to cool.

ODE TO COOKIE MONSTER




So I have been asked by a few of you what the secret to the perfect chocolate chip cookie is. My answer...there is no secret. All of us have our own idea of what the perfect cookie is. So I decided to give you a blanket answer and hope you find what you need. I figure that you might be able to tweak your own favorite recipe with the following information...or you might enjoy one of my recipes. As for the age old question: to semi sweet or not to semi sweet That again is up to you....please let me know how your next batch turns out!

Cookie 101
What makes cookies soft and chewy?
High moisture content does. So the butter, eggs and brown sugar are important. Brown sugar contains molasses so it contributes to the moisture. A little extra flour will help keep the moisture from evaporating. Big dollops of dough make softer cookies. It is super important not to bake your cookies for too long, because of course, that will dry them out. I like to remove the cookies when the edges are browned and the center is still cream colored. Remember, that as long as the cookies remain on the baking sheet that they are still cooking. I like to cool my cookies on the baking sheet, this almost always ensures soft and chewy cookies.
What makes a cake-y cookie
Too much liquid from egg or milk will make it cake like- this is because it makes the dough more elastic and they steam and puff more. If I want cake like cookies I usually just add an extra egg-same goes for brownies.
What makes a cookie crisp-y cookie?
You would want to reduce the moisture holding ingredients, allowing a bit more of the moisture to evaporate. This does not include the butter, because that is what makes the dough spread as it melts. To make them crisp make sure that you cook them at a lower temperature for a bit longer- this allows the dough more time to spread. Then bake them until they are golden on the edge and inside.

**remember that the key to a great recipe is proper measuring. Don’t scoop your flour, rather spoon it into the measuring cup.
**Make sure that your baking sheet has had time to cool between each batch (unless you want them crispy) due to the fact it will cause the butter fat to melt faster.
**Remember that margarine is a large part water. Sooo…this will make your cookies spread.
**Don’t forget to pack your brown sugar.
**Sometimes our ovens are calibrated correctly. Learn your oven’s ability, maybe put in a little thermometer to check it out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm In Love With An Old Softie

SOFT AND PLUMP CHOCOLATE CHIPPERS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unslated butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 cups chocolate chips

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.


Place formed dough onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Bake 15 minutes. Cookies should be cooled on baking sheet-this will ensure that they are soft.

Am I Repeating Myself?

To the nice girl in tonight's class:

You asked me what "Scampi" meant. So as promised, I researched it only to find out I (as well as most Americans) am being repetitive. Scampi is a term that describes an ingredient not a form of preparation. The Scampi being a small shrimp. So here is the wikipedia definition of Scampi:

Scampi is the plural of scampo, the Italian name for the Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus), also known as the Dublin Bay prawn (especially in Ireland and the U.K.) and langoustine (the French name).[1] The name is used loosely both in Italy and elsewhere, though in Britain, food labelling laws define "scampi" as Nephrops norvegicus.
The fleshy tail of the Norway lobster is closer in both taste and texture to lobster and crayfish than prawn or shrimp.
In the United Kingdom, "scampi" refers to a dish of shelled tail meat, coated in breadcrumbs or batter, deep fried and often served with chips, peas and Tartar sauce[1]. In the Southern Hemisphere, other species of lobster are used instead, such as Metanephrops challengeri.
In the USA, "scampi" is often the menu name for shrimp in Italian-American cuisine. The term "Scampi", by itself, is also the name of a dish of shrimp served in garlic butter and dry white wine, served either with bread, or over pasta. The word "scampi" is often construed as that style of preparation, not an ingredient, hence the seemingly redundant "shrimp scampi" or the seemingly impossible "chicken scampi".


Well, I hope that clears things up. Feel free to ask me any more questions that I may or may not know the answer to. Ta ta

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oh What Do You Eat In The Summertime?

Hey all. This is a great dessert to finish off the last few recipes I have posted. It is a light summer treat that is super easy to create. You can also make this recipe into a layer cake. Just add more powdered sugar to the frosting recipe until it is a spreadable consistency. Put the blueberry sauce in the middle of the cake instead of on top of it. I hope you enjoy it.

Blue and Orange Cake


BLUE AND ORANGE CAKE

2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
½ cup sour cream


2 1/2-pint blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
zest of 1 orange
extra blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a bunt cake pan or mini buntlette pan. (will make 12 buntlettes) Sift first 3 ingredients into medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Beat in concentrate, peel, and vanilla. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix the milk and sour cream together. Beat in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with milk mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack.
Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. "Bubble" until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally. Chill filling uncovered until cold, about 30 minutes.
Beat cream cheese and butter in bowl to blend. Beat in powdered sugar, then orange concentrate, peel, and vanilla. Add more liquid if needed, frosting should be easily drizzled.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

a la Peanut Butter Sandwiches!

Someone sent me this clip after I posted about it last week. I couldn't resist sharing it with you.....

Fall Frezy

Son: "Mom, what's for dinner?" (as he throws his back back down)
Me: "Dinner? It's only four!!"
Son: "I know...so what's for dinner?"
Me: "Food" (I answer this half because I have no idea, and half beacuse I know if I offer any idea of what I might concoct that one of the four children will wail out in pain because he/she can't bear to eat something so terrible)
Son: "What kind of food?"
Me: "The kind of food you eat"
Son: "Whatever"
Here we are again. It's that crazy time of year where we are trying to re-balance our schedules. Wondering where we might find the time to pull out the fall and winter attire and still make it to all our various extra curricular activities. And really...who has time to cook? If you are anything like me, all you can think about as you are whipping around town, is what could there possibly be that is edible in the fridge? But don't fret, these are the moments you invent your best recipes-you know...the ones that everyone asks you for the recipe and you coolly reply: "I just whipped it up". So relax....resist the urge to order pizza or Chinese and create something. Here is a great recipe for a zesty change up on the Chinese egg roll. I like to serve these with a salad for dinner. Make extras, because they are fantastic cold (although they don't remain crispy) and are a fun substitute for a sandwich for lunch. This recipe is totally simple...but don't tell my husband.

Southwest Meets Eastern

BLACK BEAN EGG ROLLS

1 can black beans
1 cup roasted corn
1 red pepper, roasted and diced
½ cup red onion, diced
½ jalapeño, seeded, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup cooked rice
¼ cup cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp.pepper
1 package large egg roll wraps

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Place 3-4 tablespoons of mixture in an egg roll wrap and roll. In a frying pan, heat 1-2 cups of vegetable oil to med-high heat. Fry the egg roll until browned on both sides (2 minutes on each side). Place on paper towels to drain.

AVACADO AOILI

2 eggs
1 small avocado
1/3 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt (coarse)
2 T lemon juice
1 c light olive oil
1 c vegetable oil

Blend well in food processor the eggs, mustard, salt, avocado and lemon juice. Combine the oils and drop by drop add the oil to the blending mixture. As the mixture thickens allow the oil to flow in a steady slow stream. This is called emulsifying. Mixture should be thick and not oily. Pair the aoili with fresh salsa and serve with black bean egg rolls.