Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
2. In large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth and fluffy. Gradually add milk, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until smooth. Add pudding mixes and beat until well blended.
3. Spread 1/3 of the pudding mixture into bottom of cooled pie crust. Top with half of the banana slices. Spread another 1/3 of the pudding mixture over the bananas covering completely. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the toasted coconut. Top with the remaining banana slices. Spread remaining pudding mixture over bananas. Sprinkle with another 1/3 of the toasted coconut.
4. Using the food processor, puree mango. In small bowl, fold together the mango and whipped topping. Spread mango topping over top of pie. Sprinkle with remaining coconut. Refrigerate at least 2 hours to chill. Cover and refrigerate any remaining pie.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I decided to go with an Avocado Luncheon where each course included avocados. I had nine guests and it was a lot of fun!
2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeds removed, diced
1/4 cup finely diced grape or plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in molcajete or medium sized bowl; mash to combine.
Lunch was an avocado and citrus salad with a jalapeno vinaigrette. On the side were Avocado, Bacon and Sprout Sandwiches with Lemon-Pepper Crème Fraiche. Sandwiches were served on small Ciabatta rolls.
Avocado Citrus Salads with Jalapeno Avocado Oil Vinaigrette
8 cups mixed greens
2 seedless oranges, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large red grapefruit, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled, seed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Avocado oil
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Arrange greens on a large serving platter. Scatter the oranges, grapefruit and avocado over the greens.
In a small food processor combine the avocado oil, vinegar, lime juice, shallot, jalapeno, salt and pepper; process until smooth.
Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad.
Avocado, Bacon and Sprout Ciabatta Sandwiches with Lemon Pepper Crème Fraiche
Lemon Pepper Crème Fraiche:
1 cup crème fraiche
1 tablespoon finely chopped lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lb. thick sliced maple flavored bacon
2 cups sprouts, rinsed and patted dry
3-4 avocados, peeled, seeds removed, mashed
10 Ciabatta rolls, split
In a small bowl stir together the crème fraiche, lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper and salt; set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels.
Spread the crème fraiche on the bottom half of each roll, top with the sprouts, followed by the bacon. Spread the mashed avocado on the top half of each roll and arrange on top of sandwiches.
Makes 10 sandwiches
Dessert was my favorite part of the party! I debated on how to serve the avocado for dessert-I had read online that in some countries avocados are mashed and sprinkled with sugar to be eaten as dessert. That was not particularly appealing to me. I love the combination of avocado and mango so I decided to go with those flavors in a sundae. Edy’s (Dreyers in some parts of the country) makes a Tart Mango Frozen Yogurt that is absolutely amazing!
Tart Mango Frozen Yogurt with Avocado-Coconut Sauce and Toasted Coconut
1/4 cup Crème de Coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 cups Edy’s Tart Mango Frozen Yogurt
1 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted
In a blender (Magic Bullet works great here) combine the avocado, Crème de Coconut and heavy cream and blend until smooth.
Place 1/2 cup of frozen yogurt into each 10 serving bowls. Drizzle the Avocado-Coconut cream over frozen yogurt and sprinkle with the toasted coconut.
Makes 10 servings
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
While creating irresistible treats is one of the pitfalls of baking for me, I do still enjoy baking. I love the feeling of success felt when a batch of cookies comes out just how it is supposed to. It is a great feeling when a pie recipe, once only made perfectly by my mother, comes out just how she would have made it (well, almost).
This past weekend I felt what I like to refer to as “the pull of the oven”. Not unlike the gravitational pull of the moon, the pull of the oven is the season, time of day or time of year, when for the taste of, the accomplishment of, or simply the smell of sweet “somethings” you are compelled to bake.
Given my temptation shortfall, I decided that I would bake something but it would be something that I probably would not eat. Consulting my (short) list of less-preferred baked goods, I fell upon peanut butter cookies. Not that I have anything against peanut butter-nothing tastes better on a Ritz cracker-I just for whatever reason, have never enjoyed peanut butter in baked goods. My other reason for choosing peanut butter-less self deprecating-is that I have a humongous jar of “natural” peanut butter that I purchased for my daughter to make peanut butter sandwiches for school which she has since decided is too “liquidy” and she would not use it (apparently she’s a Jif or Skippy only girl-who knew?).
My only critique of the preparation of these cookies is that when I went to make the cross marks using a fork, the fork kept sticking. Not being a regular peanut cookie baker I don't know if that's normal or not...anyway, just watch out for that! Also I followed the suggestion of one commenter on the Allrecipes site to chill the dough in a log that way you can slice and bake. It's a lot of dough though so you might want to make a few logs.
Monday, September 28, 2009
A few days have passed since the 2009 National Beef Cook Off in Sonoma, California. I was very fortunate enough to have been selected to participate. A few days have gone by...and I think I may be finally finished with beating myself up over my dish. Well, almost.
(My compliments to the professional food stylists at the Cook Off-you made it almost look edible)
1 pound whole wheat pizza dough
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional to brush the grill
2 boneless beef loin strip steaks (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 red plums, each cut into 12 slices
2 tablespoons Wildflower Honey
1 cup crumbled Pt. Reyes blue cheese
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and flatten each into a 6-8 inch disc; brush both sides of each disc lightly with the olive oil and grill on a medium-hot grill just until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side and then set aside. Grill steaks 9-11 minutes over medium-hot grill (turning occasionally), remove to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
2. Lightly (and carefully) grill plums on both sides on a well oiled grill then fan 6 slices over each grilled crust; drizzle the plums with the honey. Carve the steaks into 1/4 inch thick slices and fan over and/or between the plums, season with the salt and the pepper, evenly dividing.
3. Crumble the blue cheese over the sliced steak and sprinkle with the pistachio nuts, evenly dividing. Return pizzettes to the grill, close the cover and cook until the cheese is melted about 2 minutes.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Guajillo. Don't you just love saying it? Gwah-Hee-yo.
I have never actually worked with dried peppers before. I've worked with dried mushrooms (which I love), but I have always been rather intimidated by dried peppers. But on a recent trip to the supermarket I threw caution to the wind and decided to buy a package of guajillo peppers and a package of ancho peppers.
First up are the guajillos. Easier to use than I had thought, they are an inexpensive way to provide some great flavor to your dishes. They are a mild pepper rating about 2 or 3 on the hot scale-with 10 being super hot, so if super hot is what you're looking for these are not the peppers you want. But if you're looking for a nice smoky flavor, a hint of spice, and some nice color, these peppers deliver on all counts.
The peppers have a leathery skin and need a bit of soaking to reconstitute. Be sure to wash before using and trim the stems before placing in boiling water to reconstitute.
I had an abundance of thin sliced chicken cutlets in my freezer and decided to make use of them, so I thawed and marinated them in a guajillo based marinade then grilled them. Paired with yellow rice and sauteed peppers they made a quick tasty dinner. I also shredded one and added cheese and green onion placed between two whole wheat tortillas for a tasty quesadilla for one of my picky eaters...yummy.
Guajillo Grilled Chicken
4 dried guajillo peppers, washed
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
6 boneless, skinless thin sliced chicken cutlets
Place the guajillo peppers in a small bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover the bowl and let peppers sit for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
Transfer the peppers and 1/4 cup of the water to a food processor (reserve the remaining water). Add the oil, tomato paste, honey, vinegar, cumin and salt; process until smooth. Place the paste and the remaining water into a zipper top plastic bag along with the chicken; shake well to combine. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat a grill to medium high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the hot grill, discard marinade. Grill chicken 2-3 minutes per side.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I really miss my kids when they go back. And now as they are getting older they are often seldom home because of assorted activities, friend gatherings and now my oldest has a job. So truthfully I really kind of like summer when they are around just a little bit more. But like it or not it is time to send them back to school. Two of my kids have already started and one starts next week.
When I was a kid my mother made bologna and American cheese sandwiches on soft white bread on Sunday nights. Helping her, I would usually slice the bologna into quarters so it could be arranged on the bread in a square (I hated cold cut overhang-is that obsessive compulsive?) She tucked the sandwiches in plastic bags and tossed them in the freezer and each morning, assembly line style, we would grab our sandwich, an apple and a small package of pretzels (sometimes we got cookies) then toss it all in a brown paper bag (I tossed it in my Brady Bunch Lunchbox in the early years).
Maple Almond Cinnamon Chip Banana Bars
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, light, firmly packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup Cinnamon chips
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed 15 ½ x10 ½ inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour baking powder and salt. In another large mixing bowl beat together the butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the maple syrup, bananas and the egg, beating until combined. Add the flour mixture a little bit at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Stir in the almonds and cinnamon chips.
Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan, don’t worry if it’s not perfect just spread it as evenly as possible.
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)
1(8 ounce) package of reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It's Barefoot Thursday! Barefoot Thursday is the day when a group of food bloggers (known as "Barefoot Bloggers") with deep admiration for the Barefoot Contessa-Ina Garten, all prepare a delicious recipe from one of her many cookbooks. This week's recipe was chosen by Andrea of Nummy Kitchen.
For the dough:
1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
2 packages dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
Good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
4 cloves garlic, sliced
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the topping:
3 cups grated Italian fontina cheese (8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups grated fresh mozzarella cheese (7 ounces)
11 ounces creamy goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
For the vinaigrette:
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces baby arugula
1 lemon, sliced
Mix the dough.
Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved, add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.
When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic.
Let it rise.
Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. (Be sure your oven is clean!)
Portion the dough.
Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
Stretch the dough.
Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place 2 circles on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)
Top the dough.
Make the vinaigrette.
Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Add the greens.
TIP Make sure the bowl is warm before you put the water and yeast in; the water must be warm for the yeast to develop.
TIP To make sure yeast is still "alive," or active, put it in water and allow it to sit for a few minutes. If it becomes creamy or foamy, it's active.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
4 plum tomatoes
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Not sure if anyone noticed but in bit of overzealous excitement (it was my turn to choose) I posted this last Thursday. Then I surfed around fellow barefoot bloggers blogs and noticed not a single one posted. Why? Because I was a week early!! Ooops! This week's recipe is for Mango Banana Daiquiris and they were just the island treat I needed. I am a mango freak...I love them! I could eat them breakfast lunch and dinner and now I can drink them in between.
When I selected this week's recipe (yes! it was my turn to choose) I knew that I would just be getting back from our Caribbean cruise and I just knew I would need a little something to bring me back to the islands if only for just a few moments! It was unfortunate that my drink was not served to me as I lounged on my deck chair by the pool or that I didn't have fabulous Daiquiri glasses to serve them in, but they were nevertheless delicious. I prepared one batch with the rum for the adults and one batch sans liquor for the kiddies. I have to say I would love to drink one of these every morning (without the rum of course!).
Here's a few super tips on selecting mangoes from your supermarket:
Look for mangoes with multiple colors-reds, yellows and a touch of green on
Mangoes should give slightly when you press on them...not too much
though as you don't want them to be mushy.
Avoid mangoes with blemished skin, try to find smooth, undented fruit.
Mango Banana DaiquirisBy Ina Garten
2 cups chopped ripe mango (1-2 mangos, peeled and seeded)
1 ripe banana, chopped
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 limes)
1/4 cup sugar syrup*
1 1/4 cups dark rum
Mango slices for serving
Place the mango, banana, lime juice, sugar syrup and rum in a blender and process until smooth. Add 2 cups of ice and process again until smooth and thick. Serve ice cold in high ball glasses with mango slices.
*to make simple syrup, heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Chill.
Here's a little St. Thomas shot...ahhhhh...I need to go back...