Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coconut Fruit Salad

I'm not really into preparing fruit salads for my family. Our snack of choice is usually fruit and we eat so much of it during the day that I'm usually more concerned with dressing up vegetables in salads instead of fruit. But there are occasions where I want to accessorize my fruit with a little more, something impressive for dinner guests. This recipe is easy, unique, and tastes impressive for such little effort.

Yes, my picture is not very glamorous. I was packing kids' lunches late at night and this is the best photo I could get.

Coconut Fruit Salad

2-3 C. Sliced Strawberries
1-2 C. Blueberries
3 Apples – Peeled, Cored and Sliced
1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Can of Coconut Milk
1-2 Tbs. powdered sugar
1/2 C. Coconut flakes (optional)
1/2 cup mini marshmallows (a fun option for kids)

First, chill the can of coconut milk for at least 12 hours. This allows the creamier part of the milk to separate.

When you're ready to prepare your salad, begin by slicing the strawberries, bananas, and apples.  Place the apples and bananas in a bowl with 1 cup of water and the lemon juice. This prevents browning of the fruit. Remove the fruit from the lemon juice mixture before adding it to the salad.

To make the whipped coconut milk: Remove the can from the refrigerator, open and pour off most of the clear liquid that has accumulated. Transfer the remaining coconut milk to a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high for about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until the coconut cream is thick and fluffy. (It won't form peaks but it will thicken.)

Toss the whipped coconut milk into the fruit, adding the shredded coconut (and marshmallows if you want to make this more desirable to kids) and gently mix.

*My notes: I forgot to chill the coconut milk ahead of time so I put it in the freezer for half hour. It didn't quite separate so I ended up pouring the entire can of coconut milk in and whipping it. It turned out just fine!

Who Dished it first? This recipe was inspired by Daily Dish Recipes with alterations made by me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake

If you're looking for an easy alternative to shortcake made from the box, this is the recipe for you. All you have to do is mix, knead for 2 minutes, roll out, cut and bake. The results are delicious. Enjoy!

Easy Strawberry Shortcake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup butter
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Cut in the butter with pastry blender then stir in the cream and egg. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Roll into a half-inch thick rectangular shape, cut into squares, and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Let shortcakes cool before splitting and filling with sugared berries.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Double Chocolate Cherry Muffins

While at Costco the other day my husband said he wanted to buy their double chocolate muffins. Cringe! Instead, I promised him I would find a recipe and make him muffins that I knew would taste better than those dry, preservative packed muffins.

Since it's cherry season I settled on making these double chocolate cherry muffins. They're very moist with the addition of sour cream and my family ate them right up. They're not great for the waste-line but they sure do taste delicious.

Double Chocolate Cherry Muffins

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 jumbo (3 1/2-inch) muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.
Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a separate large bowl, and make a well in the center; set aside. Whisk together the sour cream, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and almond extract in a bowl until evenly blended. Pour the sour cream mixture into the well, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling half full.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

*My Notes: I used regular sized chocolate chips. I was out of almond extract so I substituted vanilla extract.

Who Dished it first? AllRecipes

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Baked Potato Soup

Who doesn't love a fully loaded baked potato, complete with chives, bacon, cheddar and sour cream? What if you could eat your fully-loaded potato and not feel so guilty? I made this Skinny Taste version of a lighter and healthier baked potato soup and it's delicious! My kids had no idea they were eating a soup made mostly of cauliflower.

Baked Potato Soup with Cauliflower

  • 2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, stem removed, cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 tbsp chopped chives, divided
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can use turkey bacon if you prefer)

Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for 5 minutes, turning and microwave for another 3-5 minute or until tender. Cool and peel.

Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender. Drain and return to the pot. On medium heat add chicken broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a boil. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (I don't have an immersion blender so I transferred the soup in batches to a blender.)

Add sour cream, half of the chives, salt and pepper and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup servings into each bowl. Top with cheese, remaining chives, and bacon crumbles.

Who Dished it first? Skinnytaste

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Granola

What tastes like dessert but you can eat it for breakfast? This fabulous recipe for homemade granola.

My husband was craving chocolate granola last week but living in Hawaii the price of a small box of granola is about $7 and I'm not even sure I could find chocolate granola at our local country grocer. (I think my husband's parents spoiled us both by bringing us some chocolate granola from Europe. You can eat an entire box of that stuff with it's real European chocolate. Delicious!) 

This recipe is delicious in it's own right. I especially enjoyed the addition of coconut shavings and almonds to make an Almond Joy breakfast cereal. 

What I REALLY like about this recipe (besides the chocolate) is the technique of leaving the granola in the cooling oven overnight. I've made granola before and it takes a lot of time and tending as you stir the oats. If I'm not careful my granola will turn out overcooked on top and undercooked underneath. Worst of all, having the oven on for an extended period heats up my kitchen and we're all against a hot kitchen, aren't we? This process allows for the oats to dry out to a pleasant crispiness and saves me a lot of work!

Chocolate Granola

1/3 c brown sugar
1/3 c canola oil
1/2 c honey
1/2 c cocoa
7 cups old fashioned oats
Optional ingredients: 1 cup mini chocolate chips, 2/3 cup slivered almonds, 2/3 cup coconut

  1. In a small sauce pan combine brown sugar, oil, and honey; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa.
  2. Place oats, nuts and coconut (if desired) in a large bowl and stir in the sugar/cocoa mixture. Thoroughly coat the oats with the syrup by stirring and then using the back of your spoon to press the oats and spread the syrup. If you're not opposed to sticky fingers you can mix with your hands to get better coverage. It may not seem like enough syrup but just keep stirring until all the oats are colored with cocoa.
  3. Spread the oat mixture in a 11x14 baking pan or 2 9x13 pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
  4. After 10 minutes turn off the oven. If you're adding chocolate chips, remove the pans from the oven at this point and sprinkle the chips on top before returning the pans to the oven. Yes, you read correctly. Leaving the pans in the oven 1-2 hours or over night helps the granola to finish cooking. Store in sealed containers or jars.
Who Dished it first? Lynn's Kitchen Adventures with slight alterations by me.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pulled Pork with Black Pepper Vinegar

We had a yummy Independence Day picnic this week. My sister was in town and when I asked her if she knew of any 'pulled meat' sandwich recipes she shared this Bobby Flay favorite found in her Good Housekeeping magazine. (Why not experiment with a new recipe on a holiday?!? That's how we roll in my house.) 
The pepper rub for the meat may seem intimidating but it's the perfect amount of spice. I especially liked the addition of the mustard vinegar to the sandwich. Delicious!

Pulled Pork with Black Pepper Vinegar

1/3 c ancho chile powder
2 T sweet Spanish (smoked) paprika
1 T ground dried Oregano
1 T ground coriander
1 T dry mustard
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t chile de arbol powder or cayenne
kosher salt and pepper
1 bone-in pork shoulder (5-6 lbs.), trimmed
12 hamburger buns

1/2 c rice vinegar
1/4 c Dijon mustard
1 T honey
3/4 c plus 2 T canola oil

In a small bowl, combine all spices and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place pork on jelly-roll pan. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; rub spice mixture all over pork. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
Place pork in 6-quart slow cooker bowl. Add 1 can (14 oz) lower-sodium chicken broth. Cook, covered, on Low 10 to 12 hours or until tender when pierced with tip of knife and cooked through (165 degrees F).
In blender, puree vinegar, mustard, honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper. With blender running, add oil in slow stream until emulsified. Can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Transfer pork to clean pan; cool slightly. Shred meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding bone and fat. Mound meat on platter; drizzle with some of vinegar sauce and any accumulated pan juices. Serve pork on buns with remaining sauce and topped with coleslaw. (My preferred 'slaw recipe is found HERE.)

Who Dished it first? Bobby Flay in Good Housekeeping July 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Corn Dog Bites

It's summer and my kids are enjoying eating lunch with me every day. No more sack lunches for another month until school starts!

Corn dogs are not my lunch of choice but when I saw this recipe I just had to make them. I'm glad I did! Each bite is crispy and delicious. The dough has a surprising amount of sugar but I like it. Yes, this isn't the dish for dieters...but it's a fun summer dish when you want to splurge!

Corn Dog Bites

1 cup flour, divided
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup milk
8 hot dogs , cut into thirds
vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Preheat about 3 inches of oil to 350 degrees over medium heat.

Combine 2/3 cup of flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, garlic powder and onion powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the milk. In a pie plate or other shallow dish, add the remaining flour.

Dredge each hot dog piece in the flour and then dip it into the cornmeal batter. Shake off any excess batter, but be sure that the hot dog is fully covered in batter.

Drop into the hot oil and fry until lightly golden brown. Fry in batches, being careful not to over crowd the pan. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and keep warm in a 200 degree oven until all of the hot dogs are fried. Serve immediately with ketchup and mustard, if desired.

*My Notes: These bites cook FAST! I had my daughter removing the bites from the oil as I dredged. By the time one was covered in batter the previous bite was already cooked! It was a regular assembly line with one in, one out.

Who Dished it first? The Cooking Bride

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Berry Dutch Baby Pancakes

I stumbled upon this breakfast idea this week and we've already eaten it twice for breakfast. The idea of eating Dutch pancakes for breakfast isn't anything new to me but this recipe has a few tweaks that I really like. First, cooking it in a dutch oven pan really gives a yummy crispy flavor to the bottom and outer edges. Second, I LOVE the addition of berries! Dutch pancakes have always been a little bland and I felt like I was eating a lot of empty calories with the bread and syrup but the berries add great flavor and therefore no syrup (sugar) necessary! I also love that the recipe does NOT include sugar.

The only kink I need to still work out is size. This dish may be a little small for my family. My kids and I have been eating without Dad for a week and this dish leaves us pleasantly satisfied so I may need to double the recipe and use my large and small cast iron pans when Daddy gets home. I think Dad could eat an entire pan all by himself and with only three eggs that at least won't make me a guilty wife.

Berry Dutch Baby Pancake

3 T butter
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
zest of half a lemon (optional)
3/4 c flour
1 cup frozen berries
powdered sugar, syrup, or topping of choice

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the butter in a 10-12 inch oven proof skillet (I like cast iron) or a 7 x11 inch baking dish. Place pan in the oven to melt the butter while the oven preheats.
  2. In a blender combine the eggs, milk, salt, and vanilla. Blend until well blended.
  3. Add the flour to the blender and blend until smooth.
  4. Remove the skillet or pan from the oven. Make sure the butter is completely melted and pour the batter from the blender into the pan.
  5. Sprinkle with the frozen berries and bake until puffed and browned for about 12 to 15 minutes.
  6. Cut into 4 pieces and serve with sprinkled powdered sugar or syrup.

Who Dished it first? Real Mom Kitchen

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Papaya with Passion Fruit

I love the deliciousness of eating homegrown fruit.

In Hawai'i I can't grow some of my favorite 'mainland' fruits like peaches or pears but I can grow tropical fruits such as lilikoi (passion fruit) and papaya.

If you've never eaten passion fruit, it's a small hard-skinned fruit that grows on a vine-like bush. You cut open the tough skin and scoop out the flesh, seeds and all. It's a tart fruit but still edible on it's own. 

Once my lilikoi are ripe I'll be sharing some great recipes like lilikoi syrup and butter. These are good, but my families favorite way of eating the fruit is by combining the tart flavor of lilikoi with the mellow sweet flavor of papaya. It's goodness in a bowl!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Black Bean and Corn Topped Potatoes

I'm am all for quick and simple dinner ideas that taste good. 

This recipe hits the mark with all three; it can be prepared in under 30 minutes, it's easy to make, and it tastes delicious. Plus, it's meat-free and the ingredients are inexpensive and probably what you already have in your kitchen. 

My kids really liked these bean topped potatoes. The potato toppings have a Mexican food undertone with the cumin and cilantro but you can add a dash or two of hot sauce to spice it up as the current recipe doesn't have much heat. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Corn-Topped Potatoes

4 medium potatoes
cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
1 1/2 cups salsa
1/4 cup (or more) shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Wash potatoes and poke a few times with a fork. Arrange potatoes in a circle in the microwave; cook on high for 10 minutes or until soft.

While the potatoes cook, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray; add onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute three minutes or until onions become translucent. Reduce heat to low and add beans, corn, and salsa; cook four minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Once the potatoes are cooled to the touch, spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and place in baking dish. Top each potato half with a generous spoonful of bean mixture, a sprinkle of cheese and pinch of cilantro. It will seem like a lot of bean filling but the more the better as it will cook down. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie...in a Bowl

Last Sunday evening my husband and I were craving something sweet. I had seen this recipe online as a baked oatmeal breakfast served with maple syrup but to me it sounded like a delicious oatmeal cookie in a bowl that should be served √† la mode.

I really like this dessert with the limited sweeteners partnered with the nutty flavor of the oatmeal. The taste is delicious but my favorite part was the preparation. It took me five minutes to mix the ingredients (I doubled the batch...one for me and one for the hubs), 20 minutes in the oven, and it was done.

Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal (for One) 

  • 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk, well-shaken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a small ovenproof bowl.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg white, and vanilla extract. Pour dry ingredients into wet and stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour mixture into prepared bowl.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until oatmeal is puffed and set. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Who Dished it first? Healthy Food for Living with slight alterations made by me

Stacked Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce

Enchiladas are one of my family's favorite meals.

What makes this recipe unique, besides the creamy green chile sauce (I'll get to that deliciousness later), is the idea of stacking instead of rolling the enchiladas. The difference: layer the meat/bean mixture with pieces of whole or torn tortilla, sauce, and cheese. If you're interested in saving even more time, I like to layer enchiladas in a slow-cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours. It saves electricity and keeps the kitchen at a more bearable temperature.

Now to the deliciousness called green chile sauce. Natalie at Perry's Plate first introduced me to this recipe and her comment of drinking the sauce right out of the bowl is believable. I left the jalapenos out of my sauce since my kids are not fans of heat and the green chilis provided enough heat for their palettes. Plus, this creamy goodness is made with Greek yogurt, NOT fattening sour cream, helping me feel less guilty about licking every drip of the sauce.

This recipe calls for roasting chicken for 30 minutes prior to preparing the enchiladas. I've made this chicken by roasting it in the oven, sauteing it on the stove top, and even cooking it in large batches in the slow cooker. Proceed per your pleasure...just thoroughly cook your seasoned chicken and try not to overbake/overcook or it will be dry.

Stacked Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce

For the chicken:
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T heat-safe oil
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 - 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the filling:
Heat-safe oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
For the sauce:
2 T butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T all-purpose flour
1 15-ounce can of chicken or vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
1 8-ounce can of fire-roasted diced green chiles
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
Cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
For the enchiladas:
12-16 corn tortillas, halved
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Limes, guacamole, and more fresh cilantro for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking dish with aluminum foil.
To prepare the chicken, combine the mustard, oil, chili powder and salt in a bowl. Add the chicken breasts and toss to coat. Place them in the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes then shred with two forks. Set the meat and the juices from the baking dish aside.
To make the rest of the filling, coat a large skillet with the oil and bring to medium heat. Saute the onion for 5-8 minutes or until soft. Add the zucchini and cook for another 6-8 minutes or until zucchini is soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved chicken and juices to the skillet, stir well, and remove mixture from heat. Set aside.
To make the sauce, wipe out the skillet you just used (or grab another one). Melt the butter over medium heat and add garlic and jalapenos. Cook until they're soft, but don't let the garlic brown, about 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook for another minute, until incorporated. Add the stock and raise the heat to high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquids have reduced and the sauce has thickened a bit and become opaque, about 5-8 minutes. Transfer the sauce mixture to a blender or a food processor, add the yogurt, chiles, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne. Puree until smooth. 
To assemble the enchiladas, coat the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with about 2/3 cup of sauce. Layer tortillas to cover the bottom, then add 1/2 of the chicken-zucchini filling, 1/3 of the cheese, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro. Repeat layering with tortillas, 1/2 of the remaining sauce, the rest of the chicken-zucchini filling, 1/3 of the cheese, and a sprinkle of cilantro. Finish off the layers with tortillas, the remaining sauce, and the remaining cheese.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes to brown the top. (I broiled it for a few minutes at the end to really crisp things up.) Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with guacamole and lime wedges.
Who Dished it first? Perry's Plate with slight alterations made by me.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Banana Spring Rolls

My absolute FAVORITE restaurant is PF Chang's. I love their lettuce wraps, mongolian beef, spicy chicken, and especially their banana spring rolls. This dessert is packed with flavor but small in portion size since it's loaded with calories. This copycat recipe tastes exactly like PF Chang's version. Delicious!

Banana Spring Rolls
ripe bananas
wonton wrappers
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon chinese five spice mix*
oil for frying

caramel sauce
ice cream (pineapple coconut, vanilla, etc)

Preheat two inches of oil to 350 degrees in a saucepan. Set two small bowls side by side, one with a scoop of brown or white sugar mixed with the five spice, one with water. Separate the egg roll wrappers you are going to use, one per half banana.

Cut banana in half crosswise, then coat banana in sugar and place in the wrapper. Spread water all over the edges of the dough and roll it up like a burrito, sealing the ends by folding and pushing the dough together with your fingers. If a halved banana is too long, trim the edges to fit the dough. Prepare all the banana pieces before frying. 

Fry one or two at a time, carefully turning to brown evenly on all sides. Remove from oil and slice rolls in half. Serve warm over pineapple-coconut ice cream, with berries and a drizzle of caramel.

*Chinese five spice is made of: cinnamon, anise, ginger and cloves. if you don't have it, shake into the sugar a tiny amount of those spices instead. a. tiny. amount.

**Variation: layer chocolate chips or shredded coconut underneath banana before rolling.

Who Dished it first? Fashionably Foodie, inspired by PF Chang's

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kale White Bean Soup

I'm trying to incorporate more kale into my family's meals. Kale is a "super food" full of healthy nutrients but eating dark green leafy vegetables can be difficult when you have picky children. This soup is packed with flavor and even my kids ate it up.

Kale with Sausage and White Beans Recipe
1 T olive oil
1/2 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
1 medium onion, sliced thin (about 3/4 cup onion)
2 large garlic cloves
1 pound kale, center thick rib removed, leaves roughly chopped
2-3 cups chicken or vegetable stock ***
1 15-ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the bulk sausage. Cook 3-4 minutes, then add the onion slices and turn the heat to high. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the kale, salt, and chicken stock. Cover the pan, lower the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes.

Uncover, mix everything well (the kale will have cooked down by now) and add the beans. Cover the pot again and lower the heat to low. Cook another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then serve.

***My notes: The original recipe called for 1 cup broth but we like a "soupy" soup so I add an additional cup or two of stock when I make this.

Who Dished it first? Simply Recipes with slight alterations made by me.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple Turnovers

If you're willing to spend hours in the kitchen you might as well make a pastry like this. Seriously, this was a labor of love but so worth the effort. Near the end of this pastry-making process my children were anxious to help me with the baking (the sooner mom is done, the sooner they could enjoy the eating) and this is my explanation for the multiple fork creasing shown in the photo below. Annie, the baker behind the recipe, has much prettier pastries.

These apple turnovers were sweet with their sugar dusting, the apple filling had just the right amount of moisture (not too wet resulting in a soggy pastry and not too dry), and I can't say enough times how deliciously flaky the pastry is.

Flaky Apple Turnovers

For the puff pastry:
3 cups (15 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups (24 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
½ cup plus 1 tbsp. ice water
2 tsp. lemon juice

For the filling:
4 large Granny Smith apples (about 2 lbs.)
1½ cups sugar
3 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon 

To make the puff pastry, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade; pulse to combine.  Add in about a quarter of the butter cubes and process until the butter is in dime-sized pieces, about four 1-second pulses.  Add the remaining butter and process to coat the cubes with flour, about two 1-second pulses.  Transfer the mixture to a medium size mixing bowl.

Combine the ice water and lemon juice in a small bowl.  Add half of the liquid to the flour and butter mixture, and toss just until combined.  Keep adding the liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough will clump together with your hand.  Turn the dough out onto a work surface.  The dough will be dry and shaggy at this point.  To fraisage the dough, brace the heel of one hand against the work surface and dragging small portions of the dough forward in short, brisk strokes.  Gather the dough together into a rough mound, using a bench scraper if necessary. Repeat the fraisage a second time.  Press the dough into an 8- by 4-inch rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Place the dough onto a lightly floured large piece of parchment paper and roll into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  Fold the dough lengthwise into thirds.  Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.  Repeat the rolling and folding process once more.  Roll the dough out into a 15- by 10-inch rectangle.  (If at any point in the rolling and folding process the dough becomes too sticky or difficult to work with, transfer it to a baking sheet or cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until it becomes workable.)  Fold lengthwise into thirds.  Starting from the narrow end, loosely roll up the dough into a coil.  Press it to form a 6- by 5-inch rectangle.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.    

Roll the dough into a 20- by 15-inch rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, trim and cut the dough into twelve 5-inch squares, and place 6 on each sheet.  (If they aren't all perfect squares, it is okay - you can cover it up once you fold them over.)  Refrigerate the dough squares while you make the filling.  

To make the filling, peel the apples and grate them on the holes of a large box grater (I used my food processor with the shredding disc.)  Combine the grated apples, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a medium bowl.  Remove one sheet of the dough squares from the refrigerator.  Working with one square at a time, place 2 tablespoons of the apple filling (squeezed of excess liquid) in the center of the dough.  

Moisten two adjoining edges of the dough square with a finger dipped in the apple liquid, then fold the top portion of dough over the bottom, making sure to overlap the bottom portion by 1/8-inch.  Crimp the edges of the turnover with a fork.  Repeat with the remaining dough squares.  Return the sheet of turnovers to the fridge and repeat with the second sheet of dough squares.  Refrigerate the filled turnovers 30 minutes, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.  

While the turnovers are chilling, preheat the oven to 375° F.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir together until mixed well.  

While the turnovers are chilling, preheat the oven to 375° F.  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir together until mixed well.  Brush or mist the turnovers lightly with water and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes, rotating the sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time.  Using a wide metal spatula, transfer the turnovers to a wire rack to cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Who Dished it first? Annie's Eats

Monday, February 27, 2012

Baked Eggs with Ratatouille

I've never before made ratatouille because eggplants intimidate me. The few dishes I've eaten with eggplants I didn't much enjoy the chewy skin or flavor. This weekend I decided to give these healthy veggies another try.
What I like about this recipe is the health (kudos to low calorie dishes packed with veggies!), the skinned egg plants (no chewy skin), and the yummy broiled egg on top. The egg is what convinced my picky 3 year old to eat her dinner...as did the banana split dessert. 
I didn't add the banana pepper because I wanted to keep the heat low for my children's sake. Instead I added a shake or two of red pepper flakes. I also didn't have cocettes so I used ramekins and topped each with only one egg.

Baked Eggs with Ratatouille
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into ½-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
1 banana pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tomatoes, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
2 small zucchini, cut into ½-inch dice
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
8 eggs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup julienned fresh basil
- fine sea salt and freshly
 ground pepper

Special Equipment: 4 6-inch cocottes

Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper, banana pepper and garlic to the pan and sauté until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and cook until tender, about 10 minutes, adding water as necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This can be done up to 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated.

Preheat oven to broil.
If the ratatouille was done ahead and kept cold, gently re-warm over medium heat. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the ratatouille into a cocette, crack 2 eggs on top of the ratatouille and place the cocettes in the broiler and cook until the egg whites are just barely set, about 5 minutes; serve hot with Parmesan and basil on top. 

Who Dished it first? Eric Ripert

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Layered Mediterranean Dip

I'm a fan of Pioneer Woman's site. Her humor, style, and country life are so fun to read about. Even better, I love her recipes. There's no shame in butter, right?  She now has a food site, Tasty Kitchen, and last week a foodie blog friend of mine, Natalie, spotlighted this Mediterranean dip. Mmmm ... it is one my new favorite turn-to healthy finger snacks/appetizers. Enjoy!

Cilantro-Pecan Pesto Layered Mediterranean Dip

For the Pesto:
1 1/2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil, divided
2 T pecans, chopped
2 T pine nuts
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Process cilantro, garlic, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until a rough paste forms. Add pecans, pine nuts, and cheese, and process until blended stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the processor running, pour the remaining oil through the food chute in a slow and steady stream; process until smooth.
Pesto can be chilled for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 1 month if desired. Yields 3/4 cup.

For the remaining layers:
2 cups hummus, any flavor
1/2 cup baby cucumber, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped

For garnish:
pita chips
feta cheese

Assembling the layered dip:
Spread pesto on a platter. Layer the remaining ingredients on top of pesto in the order listed. Top with the garnish ingredients and serve with pita chips.

Who Dished it first? Tasty Kitchen

Monday, February 6, 2012

Brown-Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Brown Butter Glaze

This weekend I tried a new cupcake recipe and I just had to share it here as one of my new favorite dessert Dishes.

First of all, I've never made a brown butter glaze until now and I've been missing out on a lot! What a deliciously buttery sweet glaze and what a fun alternative to the typical butter-cream frosting. I'm also a fan of the density of the cake as it's not your average light and squishy cupcake.  What I especially like about this recipe is NO leftover frosting! One of my pet peeves is not coming out even after you've frosted and I'm glad to say that this glaze recipe makes just enough for the two dozen cupcakes.

This is a very rich recipe so plan to enjoy your one or two cakes and share the rest.

Brown-Sugar Pound Cupcakes with Brown Butter Glaze
Yield: 2 dozen cupcakes

3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the addition of buttermilk, ending with the dry. Scrape sides of bowl and begin filling muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake for 25 minutes.

Set rack with cupcakes over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon brown-butter glaze over tops and let stand until set. Serve glazed cupcakes immediately.

Brown-Butter Glaze
Yield: enough glaze for 2 dozen cupcakes

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 t pure vanilla extract
2-4 T whole milk

Heat butter in a saucepan over medium heat until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Carefully pour butter into a bowl, leaving sediment behind. Add sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk to butter and stir until smooth. If glaze is too thick add more milk. Use immediately.

Who Dished it first? Martha Stewart

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