Sunday, December 7, 2014

Buttermilk Potato Rolls

This is my last Thanksgiving post, at least for 2014.  I really wanted to enjoy some delicious homemade rolls for Thanksgiving this year.  Especially since I had recently done a gluten free stint to try and figure out some minor health issues.  Gosh it's good to have gluten back in my life and thank goodness that it's not the culprit.

These rolls were light and fluffy and not horribly labor intensive.  They do require some cooked potatoes; I just threw a few in the oven and baked them while I was preparing other Thanksgiving dishes.  Oh, also you'll need a potato ricer.  Maybe buy your own and make it a good sturdy one instead of borrowing your friend's.  You know, in case it ends up a mangled mess.

You might want to think about making these at some point this holiday season.  That is, if you love and appreciate the beauty of gluten as much as I do.  















BUTTERMILK POTATO ROLLS

The potatoes should be warm when using them.  Either use freshly cooked potatoes or warm them slightly before using.  I used 3 medium-sized baked potatoes that were warm out of the oven, removed the skins and put them through a potato ricer.  You can try mashing them as much as possible if you don't have a ricer; be sure to get them as smooth as possible!

As with all yeast doughs, don't worry about the exact flour amount called for in the recipe; instead mix the dough until it clears the sides of the bowl and is soft and smooth without being overly sticky.  The original recipe called for bread flour and whole wheat flour.  I used bread flour (luckily I could find some!) and all-purpose and thought the result was really good.  

I used active dry yeast, but instant yeast can be used as well.  No need to activate the yeast as you would normally do when making bread.  Add it in with the other ingredients, just as the recipe states, and all should be just fine.  

  • 1 1/2 cups mashed or riced cooked potatoes (see note above)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature (use this make-at-home version if you so desire)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant or active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 4 cups all-purpose (or whole wheat) flour
  • 3-4 cups bread flour

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm potatoes and butter and mix until the butter is completely melted.  


Add the buttermilk, yeast, eggs, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of flour.  Mix well. 


Continue adding the flour (both all-purpose and bread) until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and is soft and smooth.  It may leave a slight residue on your fingers, which is okay, but shouldn't be so sticky that you have dough covered fingers.  


Add more flour if needed, taking care not to over flour the dough.  It should give easily when pressed with your fingers.  


Place the dough onto a floured surface or a silpat and knead for 5-7 minutes.   


Place the dough into a large, lightly-greased mixing bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap.  


Let the dough rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.  


Lightly punch down the dough and roll it into 24 equal balls (about 3.2 ounces per ball, depending on how much flour you used).  Place the dough balls evenly on a parchment or silpat-lined large, rimmed baking sheet, 4 across, 6 down.  Or use two 9 x 13 dishes with 12 rolls in each pan.  


Cover the rolls with greased plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled, about an hour.  


Bake at 375 degrees for 18 minutes until golden on top and baked through.  


Brush the tops with butter after removing from the oven.      


Source:  Mel's Kitchen Cafe 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fluffy Cranberry Salad

Thanksgiving away from home and family is definitely a little different.  It helps to make a few familiar favorites.  My sister-in-law Britney introduced our family to this fluffy goodness when she joined the family a good long while back.  

This is one of those "salads" that can hardly be classified as such.  It's really a nice segue between Thanksgiving dinner and dessert.  And is super tasty for breakfast in the days that follow.  Make it ahead of time and let the marshmallows get nice and soft.  So good.  
















FLUFFY CRANBERRY SALAD

  • 12 ounces cranberries
  • 2 cups Granny Smith apples, grated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bag (16 ounces) mini marshmallows
  • 2 cups whipping cream

Puree cranberries in food processor.  


Grate apples in food processor or use a box grater.  


Combine cranberries and apples with sugar and marshmallows.  Let sit as long as possible.  


When ready to serve, whip the whipping cream and combine with salad.  Mix well.   


Source:  Britney Porter 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chocolate Silk Pie

This recipe is a repost.  I shared it a long while back, but made it for the millionth time this past weekend for Thanksgiving and thought it deserved another shout out.  I made it in actual pie form this time although it can also be made in individual servings like I did here.  This is always a hit and oh so easy, especially if you have a stand mixer.  















CHOCOLATE SILK PIE
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • pie crust (see recipe below for graham cracker crust)

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and oil in a mixer and beat for a significant amount of time.  


NOTE:  I usually turn on the mixer and walk away.  The sugar will not be dissolved even after a significant amount of time.  Don't be alarmed.  


Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time.  Beat well after each egg and scrape the bowl several times.  Mixture will get lighter and fluffier as you continue to beat.  


Put mixture in pie crust and chill for as long as possible, a few hours at minimum. 



Note on Crust:  You can use a traditional pie crust or a graham cracker crust.  I personally prefer a graham cracker crust (see recipe below).  


Serve with whipped cream and top with chocolate shavings if so desired.



Source:  Marsha Porter



GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  



Combine graham crackers, sugar, and butter in a bowl


Press mixture into a 9-inch pie pan making sure the sides and bottom are an even thickness.


Note:  I like to use my hands and a tart tamper to get the graham cracker crumbs evenly spread and pressed. 



Bake for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.  


Source: Ina Garten

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sweet Paprika Chicken

Have you ever seen the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces?  I actually don't remember anything about it except for that Barbra Streisand's character is incredibly passionate about food and loves to make every bite "the perfect bite".  She carefully loads her fork and thoroughly enjoys each tasty morsel.  I get it; I love good food this much too.

This little dish reminded me of Barbra because the ingredients create a pretty fantastic flavor explosion.  And, if you have the patience to form the perfect bites, with a little lime rice, sweet and spicy paprika chicken, and fresh mango, you'll be a very happy camper.  Such a great combo.



SWEET PAPRIKA CHICKEN

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • fresh mango slices 

Place chicken breast between two sheets of parchment paper and pound out the chicken until it is about a half an inch thick.  You can also cut the chicken breast into two thinner pieces if they are thick enough.  


In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  


Pat chicken dry with paper towls and then spread spice mixture onto the chicken breasts.  Use your hands to rub the mixture into the chicken to create an even coating. 

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat until hot and rippling.   


Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, depending on how thick the chicken is.  The chicken will register 160 degress on a thermometer when fully cooked.    


NOTE #1:  You may need to cook the chicken in separate batches.


NOTE #2: The chicken will darken quite a bit due to the brown sugar in the spice rub.  Adjust the heat as necessary, but be careful not to overcook it because nobody likes dry chicken.   


Let chicken rest for 5 or so minutes.  


Serve with lime rice and fresh mango slices.  


Monday, October 20, 2014

Glazed Salmon

I've made this three weeks in a row.  It makes me feel a little more confident in my fish-cooking abilities.  I did almost set off my apartment building's fire alarm last week, but even that didn't shake my confidence.  Because after aggressively fanning the smoke alarm with a cookie sheet, the smoke cleared out, and the salmon tasted amazing.  And, as an added bonus, I think I've figure out how to avoid previously mentioned smoke.  See notes below! 


  












GLAZED SALMON
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce 

Preheat oven to broil and move rack to the second level from the top.


Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium heat, just until better melts.  Whisk until smooth.  


Line baking sheet with foil.  


Spread sauce on fish and broil 8-12 minutes in oven.  Do not turn over.  


Cook just until fish flakes easily with a fork.   

NOTES:

  • I reduced the amounts above because it felt like I was wasting a lot of sauce.  If you're cooking a big piece of salmon, you'll probably want to double the sauce.  
  • I find that brushing the sauce on works best.  When there is excess sauce on the foil it tends to smoke and burn.  Brush on as much sauce on top of the filet as you can without too much of it running down to the foil.  














Source: A Bountiful Kitchen

Monday, September 22, 2014

Granola

My friend Gina passed this recipe along to me and now it's my latest breakfast fave. I made yet another batch today.  I've tweaked it a bit to include only ingredients that I like (no thank you on pumpkin seeds) and are easily accessible to me. Feel free to adapt this recipe in any way that makes sense to you; it really is quite versatile.  As for dried fruit, I think cherries are a must. I love this with milk and especially appreciate the fact that it fills me up for much longer than my other breakfast options.  Enjoy!


GRANOLA
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • dried fruit 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 


Line a rimmed backing sheet with parchment paper.  


In a large bowl, combine oats, seeds, coconut, nuts, and salt.  Stir to mix. 


Add maple syrup and coconut oil and stir until well blended.  


Spread mixture in an even layer on the baking sheet.  


Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until the granola is brown and toasted, about 45 minutes.  


Cool completely. 


Add dried fruit.  


Store in an air tight container.  Glass jars work nicely.


Source: Emily Cavanaugh

Monday, September 15, 2014

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips

Welp, summer has come and gone and I'm back to the heat and the sand.  It's actually quite nice to be back to my bed and a routine. And, it's amazing to not be new to everything.  So amazing that I might just stay one more year . . .

I cooked very little this summer because I was busy meeting friends for lunch (Qdoba mostly), playing outside, and spending time with these two.















One of the few things I did make this summer was this yummy bean dip.  If you need something quick and tasty to take to a get together, this is it.  The dip was garlicky and the pita chips slightly chewy (which is how they should be, in my opinion).

Tuck this recipe away for when you're in a pinch for time (and money) because homemade doesn't get easier than this!













WHITE BEAN DIP
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • salt
  • pepper

Place beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley in the food processor. 


Pulse until the mixture is coarsely chopped.  


Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 


PITA CHIPS
  • 6 pitas
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • oregano

Cut each pita into wedges. 


Arrange pita on a large baking sheet.  


Pour olive oil over pitas and toss to coat evenly.  


Spread out wedges evenly and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano. 


Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until toasted and golden in color. 


Source:  Giada De Laurentiis 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Whipped Frosting

I've been a sugar-cookie-making machine lately.  I made them twice in the last week for birthday celebrations.  I tried out this new frosting recipe (since the one I typically use is a little boring and a touch too sweet) and fell in love.  It is light and fluffy and very, very smooth.  It's not too sweet either, which can be a good thing.  Oh, and also, it uses granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar.  I like this because the powdered sugar where I live can be very gritty and not yield very good results when it comes to frosting.

You'll definitely want to use a stand mixer for this one; the frosting needs to be beat for a pretty significant amount of time in order to get everything mixed to a perfect smoothness. If you're having any trouble, just let your stand mixer work its magic a little longer.  

Here is my cute taste-tester:















WHIPPED FROSTING

  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (or vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 cups salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

In a small sauce pan, whisk flour into milk and heat on medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.  It will be the consistency of thick pancake batter.


Stir in vanilla.  
  

Remove from heat and let milk mixture cool to room temperature.  


While mixture is cooling, cream butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes.  


Add the completely cooled milk mixture.  


Beat it for about 5 minutes on medium-high to high speed until it looks like whipped cream.  


NOTE:  It may looked separated at first, so keep beating it until it comes together.  


Source:  i heart eating 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fruit & Cheesecake Parfaits

I've been in transition the last few weeks.  I finished up my school year, spent a few days in Madrid, headed home for summer, and then spent several days dealing with the repercussions of travel and jet lag.

Madrid was lovely.  The weather was perfect.  The streets were beautiful and full of interesting people.  And, the food wasn't too shabby. (Minus one nasty empanada. Bleh.)

I particularly enjoyed the churros and chocolate. Oh, hello.  Freshly fried churros + chocolate to dip them in?!  Genius.  Those Spaniards really nailed it on the head with that one.














And now on to these delicious fruit and cheesecake parfaits . . . The perfect treat for summer.

This post is LONG overdue.  Like, I made these in March for book club, overdue.  But, regardless of how late I am, this recipe is worth sharing.  These parfaits are simple (always a favorite recipe attribute of mine), beautiful, and semi-healthy since they are mostly fruit.  Use fruit that is in season and won't cost you a fortune.

And, speaking of book club, have you read eleanor and park?  Good read.














FRUIT & CHEESECAKE PARFAITS
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar (divided)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • fresh fruit: blueberries, kiwi, mango, and strawberries

Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat the cream until it begins to thicken.  


Add in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar.   


Continue to beat mixture until stiff peaks begin to form.


NOTE:  Stiff peaks = the cream holds its shape and stands up straight when beaters are removed.  Be sure you've got stiff peaks, otherwise your cheesecake mixture will be too soupy.   


Set aside in refrigerator.  


Beat cream cheese until it is smooth. 


Add in remaining powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.  


Gently fold in the whipped cream until just combined.  


Place fruit in the bottom of the glass, followed by a layer of the cheesecake mixture.  


NOTE:  I put the cream cheese mixture in a pastry bag and piped it into the glasses.  It was easier and didn't muck up the glasses.  


Continue layering.  Finish with fruit on top.  


Here's a 4th of July version I made recently.  Fun and festive.



















Source:  Glorious Layered Desserts by Glory Albin 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pastry Cream

As a kid, my Nana always made English trifle for Christmas dessert.  Colorful, layered, fruity.  There were always two trifles; the sprinkled one signified the kid-friendly, alcohol-free version. Man, I loved those sprinkles.

My British friend Robert recently celebrated a birthday and requested trifle, which worked out well since I'd been wanting to try it out.  The version I put together wasn't totally traditional since it included chocolate cake and pudding, but it did include pastry cream (custard), which is a prerequisite for true English trifle, which is where this recipe comes in to play.

This particular trifle included chocolate and vanilla pound cake, whipped cream, strawberries, and, of course, pastry cream!  It was quite tasty and especially delicious as breakfast the next day.  And, per the usual, I used my little Ikea glasses since I don't own a trifle dish.  They turned out pretty darn delicious!



















PASTRY CREAM
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Bring the milk and vanilla bean to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and set aside to infuse for 10-15 minutes.


Whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.


Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.


Whisk 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolks until incorporated.


Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture.


Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan.


Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.


NOTE:  This seemed to happen quickly, so pay attention and remove it from the heat as soon as the thickening starts!  


Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.


Let cool slightly and cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic agains the surface to prevent a skin from forming.


Chill at least two hours or overnight.


Source: modified slightly from Food Network

Monday, May 19, 2014

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I've tried quite a few different versions of homemade tortillas and these, so far, are the winner!  The dough comes together nicely and is easy to work with.  They are soft and delicious and so much tastier than store-bought.

I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, but you could also use a food processor or mix them by hand.















HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLAS

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook attached until well combined.  


Add oil and water with the mixer running at a medium speed.  


Mix for one minute, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl.  


When the mixture comes together and begins to form a ball, decrease speed to low and continue to mix for one minute more, or until dough is smooth.  


Transfer to a well-floured work surface or an unfloured Silpat.  


Divide the dough into 16 equal portions.  


Flatten each piece of dough a bit and cover with a clean kitchen towel.  Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes.


Heat a large pan over medium-high heat.  


Roll each piece of dough into a large, thin circle.  I try to roll them as thin as possible because they puff up quite a bit when cooked.  


When the pan is very hot, cook each tortilla for about 1 minute or until bottom surface is lightly browned in places and bubbles are forming.  


NOTE: Getting the pan the right temperature can be tricky.  If it is taking longer than a minute to see light brown spots, increase the heat.    
 

Flip to the other side and cook for 30 seconds more.  


Tortillas can be frozen for later use.  




Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Three Favorite Pizzas

Brace yourself for three super delicious, non-traditional, non-red-sauce pizzas.  These are definitely my faves.    

PIZZA #1: ROASTED GARLIC & CHEESE 
Who knew so few ingredients could be SO tasty? Sometimes less is more.
  














  • pizza dough 
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • roasted garlic, a how-to here 
  • fresh mozzarella
  • shredded mozzarella

Heat pizza stone in a 500 degree oven.


Roll out pizza dough on parchment paper.


Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.


Mash the cloves of roasted garlic on a plate and spread evenly over the crust.


Top with chunks of fresh mozzarella and then some shredded mozzarella.


Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and brown.



PIZZA #2: CHICKEN, ROASTED GARLIC, & SPINACH PIZZA
Roasted garlic plus some extras.  It was an experiment gone great.  













  • pizza dough
  • olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • roasted garlic, a how-to here 
  • red onion, thinly sliced
  • baby spinach
  • shredded chicken
  • fresh mozzarella
  • shredded mozzarella

Heat pizza stone in a 500 degree oven.


Roll out pizza dough on parchment paper.


Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt.


Mash cloves of roasted garlic on a plate and spread evenly over the dough.


Top dough with red onions, spinach, and shredded chicken.


Top with chunks of fresh mozzarella and then some shredded mozzarella.


Bake for 8-10 minutes or until bubbly and brown.



PIZZA #3: HAM, CARAMELIZED ONION, & GRUYERE PIZZA
Trader Joe's has a flat bread similar to this that I was trying to recreate.  Mission accomplished!  So. So. Good. 













  • pizza dough
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • Kosher salt
  • onion, thinly sliced 
  • ham, sliced or small chunks
  • gruyere or emmental cheese, shredded

Heat pizza stone in a 500 degree oven.


Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil on low heat in a medium-sized pan. 
  

Add onions, sprinkle with a small amount of Kosher salt, and cook on low heat for at least 20 minutes (or longer) until the onions are dark and caramelized. 


Roll out pizza dough on parchment paper.


Brush dough with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt. 


Top dough with caramelized onions, sliced ham, and shredded gruyere.  


Bake for 8-10 minutes.  

Roasted Garlic

Roasted garlic has been my favorite pizza topping lately. (Stay tuned for a forthcoming post on my three favorite pizzas.) It adds the most incredible flavor and works well in combination with so many other yummy toppings.  The only downside is that it takes some time, so you have to plan a little in advance.  It'll be worth it though.

Other uses for roasted garlic include, but are not limited to: spread on crusty bread, use in pasta dishes, or add to soups or sauces.














ROASTED GARLIC

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 


Slice off the pointed top of each head of garlic to expose the cloves.


Place on foil and drizzle generously with olive oil. 


Sprinkle with Kosher salt.  


Wrap foil around garlic and bake for 40-50 minutes.  


Allow to cool. 


To remove, squeeze gently from the bottom of the head.  The cloves should be pretty soft and pop out easily.    

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pizza Crust

I've been on a pizza kick lately.  I've been making the dough from scratch since I no longer have access to Trader Joe's and their pre-made dough.  And actually, it seems silly that I thought I needed pre-made dough since this is such an easy, EASY recipe.  Really.  I've always been a little nervous about using yeast, but you really can't mess this up.    













PIZZA CRUST
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Stir yeast and sugar into hot water and let stand for 15 minutes or until foamy.


NOTE #1:  Water should be hot, but not so hot that you can't put your finger in it.  If the yeast does not grow, the water was either too hot or not hot enough.  


While yeast is proofing, measure out flour and salt and place in food processor.


With food processor running, pour water and yeast mixture into the bowl and let run until a ball forms.


NOTE #2:  You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook if you don't have a food processor.


NOTE #3:  If a ball does not form or all flour is not incorporated, add a few extra drops of water.    


Turn dough onto floured surface (I use my Silpat mat) and knead into a smooth ball.


Let dough rest for 10-15 minutes on a floured surface.


Divide dough in half.


Roll half of the dough out onto parchment until thin and then top with desired toppings.


Source:  Megan Porter

Monday, March 31, 2014

Butter Measurements

This little chart has really come in handy since butter here doesn't come in the same pre-labeled-half-cup sticks that it does in the states.  I refer to it a lot because I use butter often and have a horrible time remembering the conversions.

Can I get an amen for butter?!      

Butter Measurements
cups
sticks
tablespoons
ounces
grams
¼ cup
½ stick
4 tablespoons
2 ounces
57 g
½ cup
1 stick
8 tablespoons
4 ounces ( ¼ pound)
113g
¾ cup
1 ½ sticks
12 tablespoons
6 ounces
170g
1 cup
2 sticks
16 tablespoons
8 ounces ( ½ pound)
227g
1 ¼ cups
2 ½ sticks
20 tablespoons
10 ounces
284g
1 ½ cups
3 sticks
24 tablespoons
12 ounces ( ¾ pound)
341g
1 ¾ cups
3 ½ sticks
28 tablespoons
14 ounces
398g
2 cups
4 sticks
32 tablespoons
16 ounces (1 pound)
454g

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Mint Parfaits

I made these for a little St. Patty's Day get together last weekend and am happy to report that they taste very much like a shamrock shake from McDonald's. Apparently, shamrock shakes aren't really a thing here, even though there are a ton of McDonald's.  Boo.  This makes me sad.  They are so tasty and remind me of being a kid.  

These little parfaits are very similar to this peppermint pie, except for I made the marshmallow fluff from scratch (not hard at all), put them in individual glasses (or you can use plastic cups), and added a little green food coloring.  I think I like this version even better.  Oreo crust, chocolate silk pie, mint fluff, and a dollop of whipped cream?  Yes, please.  



















CHOCOLATE MINT PARFAITS

Oreo Cookie Crust
  • 20 Oreos, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine crushed Oreos and melted butter and mix well.  


Add a teaspoon or two of Oreo mixture into the bottom of each cup or glass and use a tart tamper to flatten it out.  

--------------------------------------------------

Chocolate Silk Pie 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and oil in a mixer with the whisk attachment and beat for a significant amount of time.  


NOTE:  The sugar will not be dissolved yet.  Don't be alarmed. 



Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time.  Beat well after each egg and scrape the bowl several times.



Mixture will get lighter and fluffier as you continue to beat.



Transfer mixture to a piping bag and top crust with a small amount of chocolate pie mixture.


Place in refrigerator to chill while making the next layer.

--------------------------------------------------

Mint Fluff 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract OR 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped

Combine egg whites, corn syrup, and salt in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  


Beat on high speed for 10 minutes or until thick.  


Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until blended.  


Add vanilla and blend.  


Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large mixing bowl.  


Add milk to marshmallow and combine using a whisk.


Note: It takes a while to incorporate the milk into the blob of marshmallow cream.  Stick with it, it'll eventually come around.


Add peppermint oil and green food coloring (if using).


Fold in whipped cream. 



Carefully spoon mint mixture on top of chocolate pie and place in the freezer for at least a couple of hours.



Before serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream.  



Source:  Megan Porter

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chicken Fajitas with Corn Saute

I really, really love Mexican food, but it can be pretty time consuming.  So many ingredients, so much chopping, so much clean up.  These yummy fajitas are so simple; just throw everything in a slow cooker and leave it be for 4-5 hours.  The corn saute is delicious as well, but not totally necessary, so you could go either way, depending on how much time and/or energy you have.

AND, my favorite thing ever is this new tip for making crispy taco shells.  I like them just a touch chewy.  Y.U.M.















TIP: CRISPY TACO SHELLS 

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Wrap several corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.  
  • Brush both sides of corn tortillas with olive oil.
  • Drape tortillas over twos bars of oven rack so they hang down.  
  • Place a baking sheet on a lower rack to catch any oil drips. 
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes or until your desired crispiness.  

























CHICKEN FAJITAS
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 chicken breasts, frozen or fresh
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce


In a small bowl mix together chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt.  Rub the spice mixture on the chicken.  


Place the chicken in slow cooker and top with red peppers, onions, and garlic.  


Pour the soy sauce and squeeze the lime over the top.  


Cook for 4-5 hours on low.  Shred chicken and serve in crispy or soft tortillas.    



CORN SAUTE

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or canned
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • salt to taste

In a skillet, melt butter. 


Add the onion and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes.  


Add the corn and cilantro and cook for a few minutes more.  


Squeeze lime over the top and salt to taste.  


Source:  modified from Live Simply