AN ARRAY OF RECIPES AND TIPS
"IN THE STYLE OF" GRAHAM
Last month I won"Chocolate Obsession" at Sweet and Savory for my Chocolate Bowls with Chambord Whipped Cream and Berries; I was so excited and I thought I better have at those chocolate bowls again...this time with white chocolate (they look like little birds' nests with the chocolate eggs). So easy and fun to make...perfect for spring and Easter.
Time to pack my suitcase for Georgia. My kids and I are off for a holiday weekend! I can't wait...nothing better than a little Georgia spring to soothe the soul!
I hate paying the airline for my kids tiny suitcases so I have decided to pack all 3 of our belongings in one suitcase...should be interesting.
Hope you all have a great Easter weekend!
White Chocolate Bowls With Malibu Whipped Cream
For White Chocolate Bowls:
10 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped fine
For Whipped Cream:
Pint heavy cream
1 1/2 Tablespoons Malibu Rum (Coconut Rum)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Toasted Coconut - sweetened coconut flakes
Chocolate covered candy Easter eggs
*Make sure you use latex-free balloons if you or those who are eating the chocolate bowls have allergies.
Make Chocolate Bowls:
Blow up the balloons (you want them small and round, like little bowls).
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Microwave chocolate at 50% power stirring every 30 seconds until melted or melt in a heat safe bowl over a pan of simmering water (don't let steam touch chocolate), stir continuously and let it melt. Remove from heat.
Drop 8 1/2-teaspoons of melted chocolate on parchment paper to make disks…you are creating the bottom of the bowls (so they don’t leak).
Next, carefully dip each balloon (about 1/2 to 3/4 of balloon) into the melted chocolate and set on top of the chocolate disks on parchment paper.
Let set in fridge for about 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes take the cookie sheets out and let the bowls sit for about 5-10 minutes. While pinching the tops of the balloon snip or poke a hole to release the air…SLOWLY.
Hopefully, the balloon will release freely. If it doesn’t, do not pull the balloon away from chocolate just let it sit for a few more minutes and the chocolate should release the balloon on its own.
The bowls are delicate. Keep the bowls on the cookie sheet and put back in fridge.
Toast the Coconut:
Spread sweetened coconut flakes on a plate and microwave,
stirring every 30 seconds until toasted.
Make the whipped cream:
In a standing mixer with a wire whisk combine the heavy cream, Malibu and powdered sugar.
Whip on low for about 30 seconds so it doesn’t splatter.
Increase to high and whip until peaks form and can hold their shape…about 3 – 4 minutes (don’t over mix).
Bring the chocolate bowls out of the fridge.
Spoon whipped cream into chocolate bowls,
top with toasted coconut and berries or chocolate Easter eggs.
I think these are the cutest chickens ever!
What fun it would be to wake up to these little chicks on your table Easter morning or any morning for that matter. Also a fun idea for your kid's lunch box or your own. I guarantee whoever the recipient is; they will love it!
My daughter was screaming with excitement when she saw what I made. Talk about playing with your food...she made them "hatch" about 100 times!
Hard Boiled "Chicken" Eggs- Clean Eating
Hard boiled eggs
carrots (I used carrot chips)
peppercorns (could also hole punch seaweed or use sesame seeds)
If you don't know how to hard boil eggs learn how here.
Cut the carrots in the shape of a comb and a beak for the adult chicken.
For the Adult Chicken:
Set the hard boiled egg upright (if it doesn't stand up cut the bottom off so it is level.) Using a paring knife make a small cut at the top of the "head" for the comb and a small cut on the middle of the egg for the beak. Make 2 small circular cuts for the eyes. Push the carrot comb, beak and peppercorn eyes into their spots.
For the Chicks:
Make a zig-zag cut around the middle of the egg...don't penetrate the egg yolk...just cut through the egg white. Remove the top half of the "shell" carefully or remove the yolk completely. Cut holes for the eyes and make a cut for the beak.
This Indian soup is spicy, sweet, warm and deliciously complex in flavor. "Mulligatawny" literally means Pepper Water.
The recipe caught my attention because I saw a banana in the ingredient list...I knew I had to try it. I added rice to make it heartier and instead of garnishing it with yogurt I added a little coconut milk. If you love curry you will love this soup.
Adapted From The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook
4 medium garlic cloves, 2 peeled and 2 minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions, chopped medium
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/2 shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 Tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
7 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped medium
1 celery rib, chopped medium
1 medium very ripe banana, peeled, cut into 1-inch piece
Table salt and ground black pepper
Cooked white rice (optional, for a heartier soup)
Plain yogurt (optional garnishment)
Minced fresh cilantro leaves (optional garnishment)
Puree the garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons of ginger and water in a food processor or blender.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the coconut and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the minced garlic, remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons ginger, the flour, curry powder, cumin and cayenne; stir until evenly combined, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, gradually add the chicken broth.
Add the carrots, celery and banana to the pot. Increase heat to medium high and boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Empty the food processor's garlic/ginger mixture into the soup and puree with an immersion blender or use a blender to puree the soup in batches filling the blender only halfway for each batch.
Add cooked rice to soup (optional) and heat until hot.
Ladle the soup into bowls, spoon a dollop of yogurt over each bowl, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
Soup can be refrigerated (without garnishments) for up to 3 days.
I have never acquired a love for Lasagna. Always being too heavy, too cheesy, just plain too much for me (probably the exact reasons why most people love it)!
Many recipes later, I have finally found a recipe that is light and fresh and I adore it!
What makes it different? No ricotta! The only cheeses in it are fresh mozzarella and Parmesan on top...this is my kind of lasagna.
Now, if you are die hard on using ricotta go ahead and throw it in along with whatever else you want.
I usually make it as the recipe follows but I have added spinach and mushrooms and it was awesome. My husband really wants meat in it next time so I will probably try some ground bison.
Light and Fresh Lasagna
Inspired by 101cookbooks
Makes 9 3-inch square pieces
1 pound Lasagna noodles (do not use "no-boil" noodles)
3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced or use a garlic press
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with onion and roasted garlic
3 4-ounce balls of fresh mozzarella, torn up into little pieces
a handful of slivered fresh basil
freshly grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a very large pot 2/3 full with water: salt, cover and bring to a boil.
Butter a deep, square baking dish. The one I use is the large Anchor Hocking dish...9x9 and 2 1/2-inches deep.
Place the olive oil, salt, Cayenne pepper and garlic in a pan and saute over medium-high heat for about minute.
Add the tomatoes and slowly bring to a simmer as well.
Remove from heat. Add more salt and adjust seasoning if needed. I used an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce. Set aside.
Boil the pasta for about 8 minutes, don't overcook. Once cooked, drain and run under cold water to stop cooking process.
Lightly cover the bottom of the baking dish with a bit of the sauce.
Next a layer of lasagna noodles (I had to cut 1/3 off of each noodle so the would fit perfect).
Now a thin layer of sauce,
and a bit of cheese.
Then pasta, sauce, pasta, sauce and cheese. Pasta, sauce, pasta, sauce and cheese. Keep going until you've used up all the pasta. You want to cover the top layer of lasagna with sauce and the very last of the cheese so you have a nice cheesy top (I should have used a little more cheese on top...next time)! You could sprinkle a little Parmesan on top too.
Bake until everything is melted and fragrant, 35 minutes or so. Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with Parmesan and slivered basil.
High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup are the main ingredients in Hershey's Chocolate Syrup...followed by water, cocoa and sugar. I have been reading ingredients on common foods I eat and I am amazed how so many things I eat have High Fructose Corn Syrup as a main ingredient. So I found this great recipe...now you can make chocolate syrup at home without the High Fructose Corn Syrup and Corn Syrup and have the exact same taste.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup
Adapted from Amy Dacyczyn, The Complete Tightwad Gazette
Makes 2 cups
½ cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
On medium heat, add the cocoa powder and water in a saucepan and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
Add the sugar, stir to dissolve. Boil for 3 minutes over medium heat.
Add the salt and the vanilla.
Let cool. Pour into a glass jar or an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
You will NEVER see me eat mac-n-cheese but I will eat Spaghetti with Parmesan and Butter any day. This recipe is so simple and delicious I had to post it. I love it because when your cupboards are bare and you have nothing to make you will most likely have these ingredients on hand to cook up a delicious dinner.
Make sure you use real Parmesan from Italy. I know you can buy Parmesan from Wisconsin for 1/3 of the price but expect to get 1/3 of the flavor. Trust me there is a big difference...especially in a meal like this where Parmesan is center stage, it counts.
Spaghetti with Parmesan and Butter
Serves 2 in my house
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan
1/4 cup butter, unsalted
freshly ground black pepper
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. I usually cook 1 minute less than recommended time for al dente pasta.
While spaghetti is cooking, finely grate the Parmesan and cut the butter into small pieces.
Put half the Parmesan and all the butter in a large bowl.
Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain water and add the hot spaghetti to the bowl with the Parmesan and butter. Toss well. Add pepper and finish with the rest of Parmesan.
2 young whitetail bucks in my front yard...
I did it...I finally bought a (as in one) vanilla bean for $8! I have been eyeing this bean in a little glass jar for quite a while now...in fact, every time I went to the store I would stop and look at it. I always felt like I could never justify the expense but then I found a recipe and decided to go for it. I was so excited when I got home. I took it out of the jar and examined my little bean...it smelled heavenly...almost like licorice and cherry tobacco.
Here it is!
For future reference I found vanilla beans through Amazon for a way better deal....here.
Mango with Vanilla Bean Syrup
Inspired by a recipe from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue #48
1 mango, peeled
1/4 vanilla bean
In a small sauce pan, add the sugar and water.
Cut off a 2-inch piece of the vanilla bean and cut in half vertically.
Scrape the seeds out of both sides and add to the sugar and water.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and reduce to a low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Using a paring knife peel the mango. Take a vegetable peeler and cut nice long strips of mango.
Arrange on a plate. Pour the syrup over the mango and serve immediately.
You could also try with other fruits...in the magazine they used papaya but really any soft fruit would work great.
I grew up in an orchard...I loved being able to pick beautiful sweet-smelling apple blossoms in the spring and apples for a quick snack in the autumn when we were out running wild. The field next to us had wild rhubarb for the taking and the field behind us had not-so-wild pot growing that would make the neighbor very upset if we ever touched...if I only knew then what I know now! I loved everything about where I grew up except...the asparagus. The worst evenings were when my mom would send us out to pick wild asparagus for dinner. The problem was my siblings liked asparagus so I could never convince them to come home empty handed.
I despised asparagus until I met my husband (he is a master of the barbecue grill); he makes the most delicious grilled fish and vegetables I can imagine. However, in the winter, when we have 4 feet of snow on top of the grill, I take over and roast vegetables in the oven and guess what one of my favorites is....asparagus!
Roasting vegetables just brings out all the amazing flavor that the vegetables have to offer. You can add whatever seasonings you prefer; my standard is olive oil, salt and pepper but when I need a little more flavor I add soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and oyster sauce....balsamic vinegar would be good too.
This would be great on the side of any meal or added on top of your favorite pasta.
Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms
1 bunch (12-16 ounces) asparagus
8 ounces mushrooms
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil (for easy clean up).
Clean and pat dry the asparagus and mushrooms. Snap the asparagus ends off and discard.
Put the asparagus and mushrooms on the baking sheet. Add olive oil, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce and oyster sauce in a bowl and mix. Then drizzle over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper.
Roast until asparagus is tender but still crisp, about 10 minutes (give or take a few minutes based on how thick/thin your asparagus is).
The key to a pound cake is the 1:1:1:1 ratio. Traditionally, this meant 1 pound of each: flour, sugar, eggs and butter; totalling 4 pounds of cake! Currently, cakes (regardless of weight) are still considered pound cakes as long as the 1:1:1:1 ratio is maintained.
This recipe is a "half" pound cake and almost qualifies to the 1:1:1:1 ratio but the sugar falls a little short unless I count the sugar in the glaze! Regardless this cake is delicious, tart and has a perfect crumb.
Note: Substitute powdered sugar for the granulated sugar in the glaze if you would rather have icing versus a glaze/syrup.
Lemon Pound Cake
Adapted from Food Network
1 1/2 cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unsalted and melted
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons lemon zest
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper dust with flour).
Zest and juice your lemons.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Using a food processor (a mixer is fine too), pulse the sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice.
While they are mixing add the melted butter through the opening of the food processor.
Use a spatula to transfer the butter mixture out of the food processor into a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and gently mix until just combined. Continue with the remaining flour mixture and fold in until you have a batter that is just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan (you busted me, my pan wasn't prepared and I paid the price by loosing a little off of the bottom of my cake!)
Bake until raised in the center and a wooden toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached when inserted into the middle of the cake, about 50-60 minutes. (Note: the original recipe states baking time of 65-75 minutes, mine was done at 52 minutes.)
Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Set a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet underneath (so it can catch the glaze) and turn the cake onto the rack. Peel off the parchment paper. Poke the cake all over with a toothpick so the glaze can soak in.
Make the Glaze:
In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved.
Using a turkey baster or pastry brush, spread glaze all over the top and sides of the cake. Repeat until the entire glaze is used up. Let cool at room temperature. Serve in thin slices. You could also add a little Raspberry Chambord Sauce on the side (maybe a few drops next to the slice of cake on each serving plate) to bring in another flavor.
One of my winter joys...