Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Gluten-Free!

February 5, 2017
In the course of my bringing treats (baked goods and sweets) to the office from time to time, it became apparent that not every one could enjoy the desserts I was making (gluten-free, lactose intolerant, allergies, etc.). So, I’ve begun exploring other “options” and found a couple of delicious gluten-free cookie recipes (below).  Enjoy!
Chocolate Pistachio
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons of almond flour
2 Tablespoons of cocoa
3 Tablespoons of softened butter
3 Tablespoons of Confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon of espresso powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/3 cup of chopped pistachios
Beat the first seven (7) ingredients together on low speed until a “dough” forms.  Mix in the 1/3 cup of chopped pistachios.  Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter.  Transfer the dough to the plastic wrap and form it into a log shape (about 7-8″ long and 2″ in diameter).  Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator to chill (for at least 60 minutes).
When the dough feels firm and chilled, remove it from the fridge and place it on a flat working surface.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Unwrap the cookie dough and slice it into 1/4″ slices (a very sharp knife really makes a difference). You could slice them a little thicker and adjust your cooking time accordingly.  Place the cookies on the baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until they start to brown (but watch them closely after 10 minutes or so to ensure you don’t burn them).  Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring the cookies to a rack to cool completely.
Orange Cranberry — same instructions as above, add the orange zest and cranberries at the same point you added the pistachios above.
1 cup of almond flour
3 Tablespoons of softened butter
3 Tablespoons of Confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
Happy baking!

This Wasn’t Take Out!

January 26, 2017

When I have a craving for Asian food, I usually just go out.  But recently I decided that I should try my hand at cooking one of my favorites (I have several) and found this seemingly easy recipe for orange chicken (courtesy of Harry Wetzel on allrecipes.com).  I also decided to try making my own egg rolls.  Wish me luck!

Asian Orange Chicken

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of orange juice
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/3 cup of rice vinegar
2-1/2 Tablespoons of soy sauce
1 Tablespoon of orange zest
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of fresh minced ginger root
1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 Tablespoons of cornstarch
2 Tablespoons of water
2 skinless and boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 tesaspoon of pepper
3 Tablespoons of olive oil
Cooked white rice

Directions
1. Pour the water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan on medium-high heat.  Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool a bit (10-15 minutes).

2. Place the chicken pieces into a large resealable bag.  Once the sauce mixture has cooled, pour 1 cup of the mixture over the chicken pieces in the bag (reserve the remaining sauce). Seal the bag and refrigerate for a minimum of two (2) hours.

3. In another resealable bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.  Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

4.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Place the marinated chicken into the skillet and brown on both sides.  Remove the chicken to a  plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

5.  Clean out the skillet and add the reserved sauce.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Mix together the cornstarch and the water and then stir this combination into the sauce.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer for about five (5) minutes (stir occasionally).

Cheesecake of the Month – January 2017!

January 15, 2017

I found a UK recipe, so I’m having to convert from metric to US measurements.  This may take a little “fiddling” with to get just right, but here’s my best guess.  Regardless, the flavors sound delicious and I can’t wait to give it a try.

Fresh Ginger Cheesecake

Ingredients
1 cup of crushed gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup of butter, melted
3 (8-ounce packages) of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
1 Tablespoon of flour
2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, grated
1 teaspoon of lemon juice (I may try lime juice just to be different)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of whipping cream
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 (8-ounce) carton of sour cream
2 Tablespoons of sugar
1/3 cup of caramel topping
Crystallized ginger, cut into strips (optional)

Directions
1.  Preheat your over to 350 degrees.  Stir together the crushed gingersnap cookie crumbs and the butter.  Press onto the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.  Bake for 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until smooth.  Beat in the sugar, flour, ginger, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.  Beat in whipping cream just until combined.  Stir in the eggs, one at a time (do not overbeat).  Pour over crust and place in a shallow baking pan.

3.  Bake about 45 minutes or just until the center is set.  in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and the 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Spread this mixture over the top of the baked cheesecake.  Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Loosed the crust from the sides of the pan.  Chill in refrigerator for at least four hours.

4.  Just before serving, warm the caramel topping and spoon over the top of the cheesecake (allow some to drip down over the sides).  Top with strips of the crystallized ginger is you desire.

I Don’t Normally Do Casseroles . . .!

January 5, 2017

But I found this fabulous recipe that was an instant hit (and super easy to prepare)!  And, it has bacon to boot!

Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole

Ingredients
1-1/2 pounds of ground beef
1/2 pound of bacon (cooked and crumbled)
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 package (32 ounce) of frozen tater tots
1 can (10.75 ounce) of condensed cheddar cheese soup
16 ounces of sour cream

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Lightly spray a 13″ x 9″ pan with cooking spray.
3. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet until it is no longer pink and drain the fat.
4. In a large bowl, combine the cooked beef, cooked bacon pieces, cheddar cheese, tater tots, cheese soup, and sour cream.  Mix until thoroughly combined.
5. Spread this mixture into the prepared 13×9 pan.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes (until bubbly).

Enjoy!

Same Ingredients, Different Recipe!

December 27, 2016

I have been making a Sausage and Cheese Tortellini Alfredo recipe for several years now (which is positively awesome).  So when I ran across a recipe for this Italian Soup, I immediately thought that this should be a recipe I try (in the not too distant future).

Italian Sausage Soup with Tortellini

1 pound of Italian sausage
1 cup of chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 cups of beef broth
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of red wine
4 large tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1/2 Tablespoon of packed basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano
1-1/2 cups of sliced zucchini
8 ounces of fresh tortellini pasta
3 Tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven, brown the sausage. Remove the sausage and drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the drippings.

2. Saute the onions and the garlic in the drippings. Stir in the beef broth, the water, the wine, the tomatoes, the carrots, the basil, the oregano, the tomato sauce, and the sausage. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.

3. Skim the fat from the soup. Stir in the zucchini and the parsley. Simmer covered for 30 minutes. Add the tortellini during the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese on top of each serving.

Cheesecake of the Month – December 2016!

December 15, 2016

This month I will be doing a variation on a theme.  I have previously posted a recipe for a chocolate toffee cheesecake, but I’m going to change it up a bit to make a more “festive” holiday version (courtesy of Epicurious.com, thank you).

Christmas Cheesecake with English Toffee

Ingredients
Crust
1-1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of toasted almonds (chopped)
1/2 cup of English toffee bits
2 Tablespoons of dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of salt
6 Tablespoons of butter (melted)

Filling
4 packages (8 ounce each) of cream cheese
1 cup of brown sugar
4 eggs
1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract
8 ounces of chocolate-covered English toffee, diced

Topping
16 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Assorted candies (holiday colored M&Ms, gumdrops, etc.)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the first five ingredients for the crust in a medium bowl.  Add the butter and stir until evenly moistened.  Press the mixture over the bottom and up the sides of a 10″ springform pan.  Bake the crust for 5 minutes and set aside.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

2. Beat the cream cheese and the sugar in a large bowl until blended.  Beat in the eggs (one at a time).  Add the two extracts.  Pour half of the mixture over the crust; sprinkle the toffee pieces over the batter; pour the remaining mixture over the toffee.  Bake until the edges done but the middle is still jiggly (approximately 55 minutes).  Remove the cheesecake, but keep the oven on.

3. Mix the sour cream, the sugar, and the vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth.  Pour the topping over the hot cheesecake and return to the oven to cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack, run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan and refrigerate overnight.

4. Remove the pan, slice, garnish with the candies, and serve.

Awesome Slaw!

December 11, 2016

I generally a fan of cole slaw despite the fact that the mayonnaise makes it a little less healthy option for consuming cabbage.  I will definitely be a fan of this recipe for slaw that doesn’t require mayonnaise, a win, right?  Well, it may not have mayonnaise, but it does have bacon which probably drops it right down to a category of bad equal to that of mayonnaise.  Alas, what is one to do.  But for all of you bacon lovers out there, here’s another option for you.

Bacon Slaw

Cook six (6) slices of thick-cut bacon in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil; drain the bacon and crumble. To the bacon drippings: add 1/2 sliced red onion, 1/4 cup each of the cider vinegar and the water, 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of celery seeds.  Mix well then toss with six (6) cups of shredded cabbage; add the bacon and toss.  Enjoy!

Source: www.foodnetwork.com

Seasonal Holiday Tart!

November 29, 2016

If you are looking for something new this holiday season, here is a recipe for an amazing tart (courtesy of Sqirl’s pastry chef, Meadow Ramsey).

Hazelnut-Rosemary Caramel Tort

Ingredients
Pastry
1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons of all purpose flour
1/4 cup of confectioners’ sugar
3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of fine sea salt
1-1/2 sticks of cold butter, cubed
2 large egg yolks
Ice water

Filling
1-1/2 sticks of butter
1 Tablespoon of chopped rosemary
1-1/2 cup of hazelnuts
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup of packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup of brown rice syrup
1/4 cup of honey
1 teaspoon of fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons of heavy cream
1 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Flaky sea salt (for garnish)
Whipped creme fraiche (for garnish/serving)

1.  Make the pastry.  In a food processor, pulse the flour with the confectioners’ sugar, baking powder, and fine sea salt.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Ad the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of ice water and pulse until the pastry just comes together; add another tablespoon of ice water if it seems dry.  Turn the pastry out on to a work surface and pat into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled (about an hour).

2.  On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a 12-inch round.  Ease the round into a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom, pressing it into the corners and up the side.  Trim off any overhang.  Freeze the tart shell for 30 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights.  Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes before removing the pie weights and parchment; bake for an additional 10-15 minutes longer, until it is lightly browned.  Allow to cool completely.

4.  Make the filling.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat.  Remove from the heat and add the rosemary (allow to steep for 20 minutes).  Strain the butter into a small bowl and let cool.

5.  Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven  until fragrant and golden (the skins should just be starting to split, about 12 minutes or so) .  Let them cool slightly then transfer the nuts to a kitchen towel and rub together to remove the skins; let them cool completely.  Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and spread them in your cooled tart shell.

6.  In a large bowl, beat the whole eggs and yolks with the brown sugar, brown rice syrup, honey and fine sea salt.  Gradually whisk in the rosemary butter then whisk in the cream, flour, and vanilla.  Pour the filling into the tart shell and sprinkle the flaky sea salt on the top.  Place the tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the tart for 50 minutes at 375 degrees (until the filling is set at the edge, but slightly jiggly in the center).  Remove from oven and cool completely.  Store in the refrigerator.  Serve at room temperature (or just slightly chilled) with a dollop of whipped creme fraiche (or plain whipped cream).

Source: the November issue of Food & Wine magazine, p. 98.

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving officially became a holiday 153 years ago (President Abraham Lincoln proclamation, October 3, 1863, declaring the last Thursday of November as the holiday).  I know you are curious and just dying to know some of the facts that follow, so sit back and relax, here is a list of some truly trivial Thanksgiving facts . . . Thanksgiving by the numbers:

  • 4 places as well as 11 townships in the U.S. with “Turkey” in their name
    • Turkey Creek village (Louisiana)
    • Turkey city (Texas)
    • Turkey Creek (Arizona)
    • Turkey town (North Carolina)
  • 7 places or townships with “Cranberry” in their name
  • 33 counties, places, and townships with “Plymouth” in their name.
  • 65,975 = the number of grocery stores in the U.S. (2014)
  • 3,109 = the number of bakeries in the U.S. (2014)
  • 2,798 = the number of fruits and vegetables markets in the U.S. (2014)
  • 243 million = the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. (2016)
    • 44 million (Minnesota)
    • 33 million (North Carolina)
    • 26 million (Arkansas)
    • 20 million (Indiana)
    • 19.7 million (Missouri)
    • 17 million (Virginia)
  • $19.3 million = value of live turkeys imported to the U.S. — mostly from Canada (2015)
  • 850 million pounds = cranberries produced in the U.S.  — 521 million in Wisconsin (2016)
  • 3.1 billion pounds = sweet potatoes produced in the U.S. (2015)

Source: U.S. Census, https://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2016/cb16-ff19.html

Do You Know Your Herbs?

November 17, 2016

Herbs are essential to creating culinary masterpieces.  There are certain ones that no kitchen should be without.  Here is a handy infographic that shows you the herbs and how best to utilize them in your cooking.   Bon appetit!

Herb Guide To Cooking

 

Herb Guide To Cooking [Infographic] by the team at NeoMam