Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This evening we are hosting friends for dinner, and I will do my best to impress with a kick-ass beef wellington. This is a dish i have often strayed from because it is known for being tough to get right. A particular story always comes to mind involving a chef that once came to my parents house to prepare his special beef wellington. As the story goes, chef took hours and hours and hours to make his specialty. To pass the time, he glugged down several bottles of wine and made a complete fool of himself. To this day, I am not sure if Chef Wino even actually finished preparing the meal.
At any rate, I'll provide a full recipe, and pictures tomorrow ( providing it doesn't take so long to make that I drink myself into oblivion...)
Happy New Years everyone! Be safe, and let's shove 2008 right on out the door.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
1 14oz can Hearts of Palm
1/4 of a chopped red onion
the juice of one lime
2 teaspoons bold and spicy mustard
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cups of baby spinach
Start by preparing the dressing. Whisk the lime juice, and mustard together, and then slowly drizzle in the olive oil while still mixing. Set this aside.
Next, peel the skin off of your mango, and use a pairing knife to remove all of the flesh from the fruit's pit and cut it into bite size pieces. Then, open the can of hearts of palm and drain well. Cut each piece into 4 smaller bite size pieces. Mix mango chunks, hearts of palm, and onion with 3 tablespoons of dressing, and set aside while you prepare the spinach.
Start by placing about one cup of washed spinach onto each serving plate. Next, season with a bit of fresh cracked pepper, and kosher salt. Finally, divide your mango and hearts of palm mixture evenly over the 4 plates. Drizzle lightly with any remaining dressing, and serve immediately.
This is soooo good!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
2 and 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk
2 and 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
2 candy canes
2 tablespoons of sugar
pinch of salt
whipped cream or Cool Whip
Makes two generous portions!
Tis the season! Tonight as John and I decorated our tree, we enjoyed a delicious glass of hot chocolate. Normally I would use milk, but as i am getting over a cold, I wanted to stay away from the dairy products. Feel free to use milk if you like, but the soy is delicious as well.
Start by heating the soy milk over medium low heat until just warm. Next add in the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and whisk well. Break one candy cane in half, and toss it into the warm liquid. Allow the hot chocolate to warm through a bit more, and serve once the candy cane is completely dissolved. If you see any lumps of chocolate, just whisk the mixture a bit more, and you should be lump free. Next, take a plastic bag and stick the second candy cane inside. Use a rolling pin, or even an aluminum can to crush the candy into bits. Finally, pour the hot chocolate into mugs, and top with whipped cream, and your crushed candy canes. Mmmm- Mmmm. You gotta love Christmas!
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Ok...So, I was going for a classic Bolognese when I started, but I realized I had no tomato paste. I subbed in a large can of regular tomato sauce and used whatever else I had on hand. I also experimented with cooking the pasta about halfway in salty water and finishing it in the sauce itself. The result was delicious, and pretty similar to a Bolognese, so I thought I'd contribute it to my wife's blog. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
1 medium onion, peeled
1 green bell pepper, seeded
3 medium carrots, skinned
3 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup kosher salt (use most in pasta water)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 26 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup half and half
1 pound Italian sausage
1 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 or 4 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound penne rigate pasta
1/3 cup parmesan, shredded
Roughly chop the onion, pepper, carrots and celery, and add these to the food processor along with the garlic and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
Add 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the sausage (if you are using links, remove the skin) and using a wooden spoon or spatula, break it into small pieces. Once it is cooked most of the way through, add the chopped aromatic vegetables from the food processor, a pinch of the salt and all of the black and red pepper. Saute until soft. Then add all of the tomato sauce, half and half, red wine and chicken stock and bring up to medium heat. Add the Italian seasoning and bay leaves and simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the rest of the salt and pasta, and then cook until VERY al dente, about 5 or 6 minutes depending on the brand. Bring the sauce up to a slow boil, drain the pasta (but don't rinse it!) and then add it to the sauce. Cook it the rest of the way - about 3 or 4 minutes - in the sauce, stirring constantly. It should absorb a lot of the liquid and a lot of the flavor of the sauce as it finishes cooking. I found cooking it this way accomplishes two things: it adds flavor to the pasta and thickness to the sauce so that it should stick very well to the pasta - like that Bolognese I wanted when I started cooking. Serve on plates, or a large platter if going for a family-style presentation, and garnish with the parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
How does it work? To brine a piece of meat, you basically soak your raw meat in a solution of salt and other liquids for a time before cooking. In the case of a turkey, you would want to allow 6-8 hours depending on the size of your bird. Something as small as a shrimp would only need to brine for about 30 minutes. This isn't an exact science here, so don't even worry about messing it up. Though I can tell you that while your bird is soaking, some pretty scientific principles are at work...and in your favor (flavor?). Basically, the salty solution is actually altering the structure of the cells in the meat, thus opening them up to the flavors of the brine and tenderizing each and every bite! Why oh why did I skip this step for so many years?!!
Here are some recipes that you just might want to give a try this Thanksgiving. If nothing else, fill a large pot or a cooler with water, and throw in a cup of kosher salt for each gallon of liquid. Stir things up a bit and drop in your turkey for awhile. You won't be disappointed.
Watch here as Chef Bobby Flay walks you through the brining process.
Click here for a brine with a bit of a citrus twist, or try this sweet and spicy brine from Alton Brown.
Happy Turkey Day!
Monday, November 24, 2008
1 jar of roasted red peppers (about one cup sliced)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 slices of white bread
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Simply drain the peppers, and them slice them into thick pieces. In a bowl, combine the peppers with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Arrange the peppers on a serving tray and surround with the feta cheese crumbles.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the crusts off of your white bread, and then cut each slice in half down the middle. Feel free to keep the crusts on if you like, I was simply trying to hide the fact that I had used regular ol' wonder bread. I think it worked! Now brush each piece with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Arrange the slices on a cookie sheet, and heat for 8-10 minutes or until slightly brown. Serve with the peppers and cheese for a wonderful and quick appetizer.
If you really wanted to make something special, garnish the dish with capers and fresh basil.
Friday, November 14, 2008
2 large zucchinis
2 tablespoons of good olive oil
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/4 cup of shaved Parmesan cheese
Start by shaving the zucchini into long strips using either a mandolin, or a vegetable peeler. You will only be able to use about half of the zucchini because once you get to the seeded interior of the vegetable, you will not want to use the strips. Save the leftover interior of the zucchini and use it in a stir-fry, or ratatouille later in the week. Set the strips aside.
In a small frying pan over medium heat, lightly toast the chopped mac nuts to enhance their flavor. This will take 4 to 5 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully, because they burn quit easily. Pine nuts are also a very delicious option if you don't like mac nuts.
To assemble the salad, simply toss the zucchini strips with the olive oil, and season to taste. I like to use my hands! Plate the salad into individual serving dishes, and top with the Parmesan cheese, and macadamia nuts.
Note: For best results, use the highest quality olive oil and Parmesan cheese that you can get your hands on. Since this ingredients are used sparingly, you want to make sure they stand out.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 10oz bag mini marshmallows
1 king size snickers bar cut into tiny pieces
1/3 cup chopped salted almonds,
3/4 cup Reeses pieces
Spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable cooking spray, and lightly spray a baking sheet. Set aside.
In a 3 quart or larger, heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and popcorn over medium-high heat. Cover the pan and shake gently. Cook until all the kernels have popped, about 3 minutes. Place the popcorn in the prepared bowl.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth, about 5 minutes. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Using a spatula, sprayed with cooking spray, stir until the popcorn is coated. Spread the mixture over the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and assorted candy. Using a spatula, gently press the toppings into the popcorn. Allow the mixture to dry for 1 hour.
Divide into 2-inch pieces and store airtight in a plastic container.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
1/2 cup of mayo
2 teaspoons of white vinegar
2 teaspoons of yellow mustard
2/3 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste
Hard boil the eggs by placing them in a pot of cool water -just enough to cover the eggs. Bring the water up to a boil and then pop a top on the pot (try saying that 10 times over) and remove from the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cool the eggs under cold running water and gently peel them
Next, scoop out the yolks and set the whites aside for filling. Add all of the remaining ingredients accept the paprika to the yolks and mix well. For a super creamy consistency use a hand mixer to get out any of the lumps.
To fill the little egg white "cups," we load all of the yolk mixture into a zip lock bag with the corner cut off. Gently squeeze the mixture out of the bag's corner to fill the eggs. Garnish with a bit of paprika sprinkled on top, and you are finished. For an elegant presentation, serve with fresh asparagus spears.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
1.5 ounces of vodka
2 ounces of pomegranate juice
1 ounce of simple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 or 4 ice cubes
Rim a martini glass with sugar by taking a wedge of either lime or lemon and rubbing it around the edges of the glass. Next dip the glass into an appropriately sized bowl of sugar, and set aside.
Mix all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into your martini glass, and garnish with a lime wedge. If you are unsure of how to make a simple syrup, see this recipe.
If you are serving these at a cocktail party, it is best to make up a big batch of these and store them in a decorative pitcher. This way your guests will have easy access to these delicious libations. Each guest can simply use the shaker to prepare their own cocktail. You could even rim a bunch of glasses ahead of time. Cheers everyone!
Taste the cocktail for appropriate sweetness before serving as not all pomegranate juices are created equal. If it's not sweet enough, add a little more simple syrup. If it seems too sweet, try adding some extra citrus juice.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Here is a recipe that makes you feel like you are being bad, but your not. I swear! This rendition of a Spinach and Ham Lasagna takes a little bit of time to make, but if you have a little time to lolly-gag around in the kitchen, its worth it.
6 dried lasagna noodles
10 ounces of frozen spinach
2 cups of fat free milk
1/4 cup onion
1 tsp olive oil
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups diced cooked ham
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
Start by cooking the lasagna noodles according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, rinse the noodles with water and set aside.
Next, cook frozen spinach according to the package directions, and then drain off all of the 'juice.' This can be done with a thin kitchen towel or a cheese cloth. Simply dump the thawed spinach into the towel, and squeeze out the juice. The towel will act as a sieve allowing the spinach and the juice to separate without making too much of a mess.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, saute onion for about 2 minutes in the olive oil. Next, add in the milk and cornstarch cooking for 4 or 5 minutes until a thick sauce forms. Spread 2 tablespoons of the sauce onto the bottom of a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Stir ham and Italian seasoning into the remaining sauce, and season generously with pepper, and very lightly with salt. Most of the sauces salt flavoring will come from the ham.
Arrange three lasagna noodles in the pan and cover the noodles with 1/3 of the sauce. Layer spinach on top, and then cover with another third of the sauce. Spread cottage cheese, and half of the mozzarella on top as well. Lay the remaining noodles across the dish, and top with the last third of the sauce, and the rest of the mozzarella cheese and all of the parmasean.
Bake uncovered in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and slightly browned at the edges and on top. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Note: A very tasty full fat version of this recipe could be made using regular cottage cheese, and whole milk.
I adapted this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens "Big Book of Healthy Family Dinners."
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I just watched one of my favorite cooking shows, Jamie at Home. The show, featuring the world’s coolest most laid back chef, Jamie Oliver, is always so breathtakingly inspiring. Today he did an amazing mixed seafood grill featuring shrimp, fresh fish, scallops, and squid. If any food could actually give you an orgasm, this dish would be a strong contender. In honor of the beautiful seafood I saw Jamie prepare, I’d like to share one of my favorite ways to indulge in the bounty of the ocean.
White Wine and Herb Seafood Pasta.
15 basil leaves coarsely chopped
5 springs of oregano chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary chopped
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley
5 cloves of garlic
1 pound of your favorite pasta
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of olive oil
10 oz white wine (nothing too sweet)
1 pound of medium size shrimp
1/2 pound of scallops
½ cup parmesan cheese
Bread crumb topping:
3 slices of bread
2 cloves of garlic – cut in half
2 tablespoon of olive oil
To start, peel and de-vein shrimp and then set aside. Next , cut scallops in half so that they are very close in size to the shrimp, and set aside. Some scallops my not need to be cut.
Boil salted water, and cook pasta according to the directions on the box. To time this dish, drop the pasta into the water right as you begin making the seafood/ sauce.
In a large pot on medium – high heat, combine butter and olive oil, and garlic. Saute for about 2 minutes, or until garlic begins to soften. Add in the seafood and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add in wine and chopped herbs, and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, allowing for the alcohol to evaporate from the wine. Season the pot with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
Pour seafood mixture over your cooked pasta and toss well. Top with parmesan cheese, and bread crumb topping ( see below).
I hope you love this as much as we do. I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe until now!
Bread Crumb Topping:
Process bread slices in a food processor until a very course crumb is achieved. This happens really fast!
In a frying pan, heat oil, and garlic over low heat for about ten minutes. All you are doing here is getting the garlic to infuse into the oil. After 10 minutes, discard the garlic and heat oil over medium heat. Add in your bread crumbs, and stir often as the oil begins to toast the crumbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the breadcrumbs until they are a deep brown color. For the best flavor and texture, you must bravely walk the line between this deep brown color, and almost burnt. Scary, but you can do it…just don’t walk away from the stove!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Oh blog, please don't think I abandoned you. I simply went on vacation. I intended to update you, I really did. It's just that I was in a beach house with 9 really fun people, and they all kept distracting me. I am back now, I promise!
To kick things off this week, here is a really delicious Pad Thai recipe that utilizes ingredients you can find in just about any grocery store. It's easy, keeps well for leftovers, and can feed a crowd. Get ready for something spicy adapted from "The All New Complete Cooking Lite Cookbook."
1 cup chili sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons chopped serrano chile
1 box (14 ounces) wide rice noodles
2 tablespoons of canola oil
1 8 oz package of extra firm tofu cubes
2 cups of rotisserie chicken
5 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic
3 cups of bean sprouts
1 and 1/4 cups diagonally cut green onions
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
12 lime wedges
Combine chili sauce, brown sugar, water, fish sauce, ginger and serrano chile to form a thin sauce. Set aside.
Cook noodles according to the directions on the package. Drain well and set aside.
Next heat one tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high (Seriously, you'll need a really big pan before this is all said and done.) Cook tofu cubes in the oil for about 7 or 8 minutes stirring occasionally. You want them to turn a golden brown color, and develop a crispy texture. Remove from the pan.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil into the pan and saute garlic for about 1 minute. Crack eggs into a bowl and whisk them (just like scrambled eggs). Add to the non-stick skillet and cook with the garlic until you have scrambles. Stir in chile sauce mixture, cooked noodles, tofu, chicken, bean sprouts, green onions, and half of the cilantro. Cook for 3 minutes or until all of the noodles are warmed through and the bean sprouts begin to wilt.
Serve garnished with peanuts, the remaining cilantro, and lime wedges.
I enjoyed this recipe because it gives you that sassy Thai food flavor, without sending you running in all directions for obscure ingredients. Give it a try one night this week, you won't be disappointed.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
I love a smoothie, but not that crappy sugary kind that gives you a headache 15 minutes after drinking. I get suckered into those from time to time by an unfounded craving or two. All of that fake fruit, and high fructose corn syrup can wreak havoc on my system, how 'bout yours? Here is something that I discovered just a few weeks ago after hearing my friend Meghan talk about making a similar concoction. This is my rendition of a slurp-able breakfast that has almost all of your nutritional bases covered.
1/2 cup of skim milk
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons of raw oatmeal
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
8-10 ice cubes
Put all of the ingredients except for the ice into a blender and whaz it up. Whaz...i really wanted to use that particular word for some reason! Then add in the ice cubes, and blend until smooth. This is so simple you can even do it at 7am. I must preface these simple instructions with the fact that I have a wonderful blender. Thanks, mom! Gotta love all of the cool kitchen stuff you get when you get married. If your blender leaves a bit to be desired, just go slow and add the ice cubes one at a time through the hole in the lid. Eventually your smoothie will come together into a tasty, filling, and nutritional treat.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The Game Plan:
Appetizer: Tomato and Cucumber Bruschetta
Main Course: Rosemary Seared Steak
Sides: Asparagus with Roasted Garlic Mayo
Sweet Potato Wedges
Dessert: Chocolate Haupia Pie
If you'd like to pair wine with this meal, I'd recommend starting with something light and slightly acidic such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Beaujolais for your appetizer course. Once you get to the main meal, try something a bit heavier such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, or Zinfindel.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Ok, wow, I haven't posted in awhile. Sometimes life just gets BUSY!!! We just spent the last 3 days cleaning the hell out of our house. It is going on the market tomorrow, so we can move down the street a bit to a much newer house that we designed ourselves. Yay! And that, my dear readers, meant there has been no time at all for cooking. So here is one I've had in the wings for a few weeks. A delicious and creamy fettuccine with roasted red pepper sauce. I know, how good does this sound?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Shrimp and Pasta Salad
This recipe comes together in three easy parts. I will list the ingredients by each separate step, and then explain how it all comes together.
Step one -Salad Dressing:
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons of rinsed capers
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard
A pinch of dried crushed red pepper (or more to your taste)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 grated romano cheese
Mix all of these ingredients except for the romano cheese together and set aside for a moment. The cheese will be used later as a tasty garnish.
1/2 pound of pasta ( she likes bowties)
Step 2 -Pasta and Shrimp:
1 pound of large steamed/ peeled shrimp
Boil the pasta according to the directions on the box. Do not overcook! Once done, run the noodles under cool water to chill, and then drain well. For the shrimp, you can either steam 'em yourself, or buy some nice precooked cocktail shrimp and remove the tails. Can you tell which way I am leaning on this one? Add both the pasta and the shrimp to your dressing and combine.
Step 3 - Veggies
2 sliced zucchini
1 diced shallot
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Saute your shallot in olive oil until slightly soft ( about 1 minute). Next add in zucchini and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes or until the zucchini is soft. Set aside to cool, and then add into the rest of the salad. Check the whole sald for proper seasoning, and adjust if needed with more salt and pepper.
Let the entire dish chill for at least an hour and top with grated Romano cheese before serving.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Blueberries, blueberries everywhere. I recently went to our local berry farm, and picked my way through their gorgeous rows of tall blueberry bushes. Inspired by the mounds of frosty looking fruit piled in my kitchen, I decided to indulge in these double blueberry pancakes. These baby blues are perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast or, with a little planning you can easily give yourself a lovely Monday morning treat.
Adjust this recipe accordingly based on how many hungry mouths you have to feed!
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups blueberries
Friday, August 15, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese
1 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons of Butter or Margarine
1/2 cup sour cream
A frittata is like an omelet, only much easier. I have to sheepishly admit that I have always had trouble flipping my omelets, and often wound up with some sort of fancy scrambled egg dish (for lack of a better description). So boy, was I thrilled to discover the ease and sophistication of a frittata. All you need is a non stick/ oven safe frying pan, and a few eggs. What you put in your frittata after that can range from leftover steak to vegetables from your garden, to even leftover pasta. Today I'm using zucchini and light Cheddar cheese for a healthy twist. Read on to learn more.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Email your entries to me by August 20th at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll compile a list of favorites just in time for all of your labor day celebrations. I'll try a few out and feature the recipes on my blog at the end of the month.
Ready....Set......Cook away internets, cook away.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
½ cup popcorn kernels
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs water
¾ tsp salt
Kettle corn is a such a delicious treat, that its hard to believe how easy it is to make. Yes, it takes about 4 times as long as popping corn in the microwave, but really, it's worth it. Don't most good foods take a little bit of extra time? So, if you want to treat your friends and family to a gourmet movie night that is easy on the wallet, and pleasurable to the palate...read on. This recipe is yours for the taking.
To start add three tablespoons of oil to a large cooking pot, and let heat on medium for about 3 minutes, or until hot. I used an 8 quart pot, which may have been slightly too big, but its better to error on the side of caution. You don't want your popcorn exploding out of the pot do you? Add in the popcorn, and gently shake around the pan so that the kernels are covered in oil, and are in a single layer on the bottom of the pot.
Friday, July 25, 2008
2 tablespoons of vegetable or peanut oil
1/2 cup water, chicken, or vegetable stock
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar (don't pack it tightly when you measure)
Monday, July 21, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
1 lb of scallops
9 pieces of bacon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
toothpicks (one per scallop)
This easy recipe is a treat for anyone who loves seafood. It can be made in as little as 20 minutes and is great as a passed hors d'oeuvre.
When buying scallops, you will find that they have already been stripped from their shells ( in most cases). Look for scallops that have a creamy color and firm texture, with very little aroma and almost no liquid in the packaging. You may need to remove what is known as the beard, or the connective tissue that at one point held the scallop to its shell.
Grease a baking sheet with olive oil, and bake in a 425 degree oven until scallops are opaque and the bacon is crisp. This should take 12-14 minutes.
Remove from the baking sheet and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and one tablespoon lemon juice. Serve with extra lemon as a garnish, and enjoy!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I’m telling you, I can feel my waistline growing as I write this post…
After I graduated college, I got the chance to move out to Oahu’s North Shore. Among the swaying palm trees, crystal blue waters, and killer wave sets, I discovered a little something sweet. May I present to you the Chocolate Haupia Pie, a delicious concoction of chocolate and coconut pudding poured brilliantly into a flaky pie crust and topped with whipped cream. Hard to go wrong, isn’t it? A little place called Ted's Bakery made this dessert famous, so if you're ever visiting the North Shore don't miss this delicious destination.
Now I must admit, this is not my recipe, but it’s damn good. I wish I knew who to attribute this fine culinary creation to, so if your out there, and this recipe looks a little too familiar, reveal yourself. I would personally like to kiss you.
1 (9 inch) pie crust
1 cup of milk
1 (13.5 ounce) can of coconut milk
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
½ cup cornstarch
7/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups heavy cream
¼ cup white sugar
½ tsp vanilla
Bake your pie shell according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or your own pie crust recipe. Set it aside to cool while you work on the pie filling.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the milk, coconut milk, and 1 cup of sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a slow simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water and the corn starch, and add slowly (while stirring) to the coconut mixture on the stove. Continue stirring mixture over low heat and cook about 3 minutes, or until you have reached a thick pudding like consistency.
Next microwave chocolate chips until melted. This process should take about a minute and should be done slowly so your chocolate doesn’t burn. Divide the coconut pudding evenly into two bowls. Add the chocolate chips to one bowl and mix well. Then spread the chocolate mixture into the pie crust making sure to leave room to layer coconut pudding on top. You will probably have a little bit of leftover filling, and this can be stored in the fridge for later. Refrigerate pie for 2 hours, or until very cold and firm.
Serve with fresh whipped cream, and garnish with toasted coconut. You might even want to consider doubling this recipe because this pie is not going to last long!
To make whipped cream, combine heavy cream, vanilla extract and the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form using a whisk or a handheld mixer. If your running short of time, grab a can of whipped cream and go for it! Even a homemade gal has to take a break every once in while.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
1 pound of fresh asparagus
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
1 clove of garlic - grated
1/2 teaspoon of salt - course
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 lemon garnish
Asparagus, which is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber and vitamin B6, has only 4 calories per spear! With all that going for this delicious vegetable, it's no wonder asparagus has landed itself on menus everywhere. Start by rinsing off a pound of asparagus in a colander.
After a thorough washing, pat the spears dry with paper towels to get off any excess moisture. Now, break one stalk where it is naturally the weakest. This will separate the tender top part of the asparagus from its tough and fibrous stem. You will end up discarding about one third of the stalk.
You can now use the new shorter "broken" asparagus as a guide to cut the rest of the bunch.
Spread the spears evenly on a baking sheet. For easy clean up, you can cover the sheet with a layer of tin foil before baking.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the asparagus. Top with a few turns of freshly cracked pepper, and one half teaspoon of coarse salt.
Bake in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
While the asparagus are roasting, take a moment to make this simple and delicious dipping sauce. Just two ingredients are needed to make this sauce - garlic and mayonnaise. (The lemon is for garnishing the roasted asparagus.)
Start by peeling and grating one small clove of garlic.
Then add the garlic to 1/3 cup of your favorite mayonnaise. I used low calorie mayo and didn’t miss a thing!
Stir until well blended and transfer to a decorative serving dish.
After 10 minutes in the oven, check the asparagus to see if it’s done. Look for slightly browned and caramelized stems, and a fresh bright-green color. Don’t overcook the spears, or they will become an unattractive, dull shade of pea-green.
Next, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Garnish the sauce with a bit of lemon zest (optional). Serve as an easy and healthy appetizer or finger-friendly side dish.