Sunday, April 25, 2010

The BEST Saturday Morning Pancakes



Took a day for myself yesterday.  Started off with Bar Method, followed by coffee with friends that take the class.

Came home craving crepes, but instead decided to experiment in the kitchen with a pancake recipe, attempting to make it more healthy.  The results were pretty delicious.

(Sorry this pancake is a clip from the internet and not the real thing.  My camera isn't working...and actually, this recipe requires no baking, so it falls under "$h*t I Make Up in the Kitchen")

Angela's "Heathly" Pancake Recipe

Ingredients:
-1/2 Cup White Flour
-1/2 Cup Wheat Flour
-1/4 Cup Wheat Bran
-2.2 oz scoop of Muscle Milk Protein Powder (Vanilla Flavored)
-2 Tablespoons Sugar
-2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
-1/2 Teaspoon Salt
-1 1/4 Cups Rice Milk (I ran out, so used 3/4 cup milk and 3/4 cup water)
-3 Tablespoons Butter Melted
-1 Large egg, lightly beaten
-Vegetable oil or more melted butter, for brushing in pan
-(approx.) 1/4 Cup Emerald Glazed Walnuts (helpful if you put them in zip lock bag and crush pieces a little)
-1 Large banana, sliced thinly
-1/4 Cup non-fat cottage cheese and clover honey, for topping

Directions:
1/ In bowl, combine all flour, wheat bran, protein powder, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add milk, butter , and egg and stir until flour is moistened

2/ Heat Griddle or 12-inch skillet over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles; brush lightly with oil (or butter...mmmmm, butter).  Pour batter by scant 1/4 cups onto hot griddle, making a few pancakes at a time.  Quickly decorate each pancake with a few banana slices and pieces of glazed walnut.  Cook until tops of pancakes are bubbly, some bubble burst, and edges look dry.  With wide spatula, turn and cook until underside is golden.  Transfer to platter; keep warm.

3/ Repeat with remaining batter, walnuts and bananas, brushing griddle with more oil if necessary.  (Original recipe says it makes three servings...for me, this makes two. )


Top with traditional maple syrup or with cottage cheese and honey if you are feeling sassy.
Bon apetit!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cauliflower Steaks with Cauliflower Puree

So simple and yet soooooooooooo good.  I got this one out of a Feb '08 Bon Appetit magazine (yes, I have had the tear for over 2 years and just now made this recipe for the first time...but definitely not the last)

Taken as a direct quote from the magazine:
"2 servings / Few ingredients, big payoff:
Large "steaks" are cut from a head of cauliflower, sauteed until golden, then baked until tender.  They're served over a simple puree made from cauliflower florets.  An impressive first course, this can also be a lovely side.  Just sear two mahi mahi filets in butter and place them alongside the cauliflower."

I had mine with a roast chicken purchased from the Albertson's deli.  It's Wednesday night, and didn't feel like trying anything past the cauliflower recipe.

Recipe:

1 - 1 1/2-pound head of cauliflower
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup whole milk (I used rice milk)
2 Tblp vegetable oil, plus additional for brushing (I used olive oil)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.  Using a sharp heavy knife, starting at top center of cauliflower head, cut two 1-inch-thick slices of cauliflower, cutting through stem and end.  Set cauliflower steaks aside.

Cut enough florets from remaining cauliflower head to measure 3 cups.  Combine florets, 1 1/2 cups water, and 1 cup milk in medium saucepan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bring to boil and cook until cauliflower florets are very tender, about 10 minutes.  


Strain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.  Spread florets on large rimmed baking sheet, and bake 10 minutes until slightly dry.  Transfer florets to blender.  Add reserved 1 cup cooking liquid and puree until smooth.  Return puree to same saucepan and increase oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Heat 2 Tbsp vegetable oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat.  Brush cauliflower steaks with additional oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Add cauliflower steaks to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer skillet to oven and bake cauliflower steaks until tender, about 10 minutes.



Rewarm cauliflower puree over medium eat.  Divid puree between 2 plates; top each with cauliflower steak.

Sweet Jesus, this is a lot of steps, but if you muscle through it, I promise it's worth the effort!

Chicken Stuffed with Spinach and Wild Rice, Served with Balsamic-Glazed Asparagus


Had to whip up a quick Saturday-night dinner, so I worked with what we had in the house.

For the chicken, I used a quick array of seasonings, including kosher salt, crushed black pepper and left-over Emeril's  "essence" http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/emerils-essence-recipe/index.html


I threw the chicken on the Forman Grill, and while it cooked I combined fresh spinach, left-over Trader Joe's wild rice and some low-fat shredded mozarella cheese w/ salt and pepper in a bowl.  I then heated the mixture in the microwave until the spinach started to wilt (approx 1 minute total, stopping twice to stir ingredients).

When the chicken was close to being done (approx 6 minutes on the grill), I removed it, sliced open each breast and filled them with the rice/spinach/cheese mixture (I regret that I forgot about the sundried tomatoes we still had in the fridge...this recipe was good, but could have used more flavor).  I then placed the stuffed chicken breasts on a baking pan and put in the oven for approx. 5-7 minutes - with the oven set at 400 degrees.



While baking the chicken, I poured some olive oil and water into a large pan.  I added the asparagus, squirted some bottled lemon juice on top and then seasoned w/ salt, pepper, lemon pepper and a dash of oregano.  Asparagus cooks pretty fast (about 4 minutes on med/high heat).  As it neared being done, I threw in a little more olive oil, salt, pepper and about 2-3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar.


...slapped everything on a plate.  Poured two glasses of red wine.  Dinner was served!

Glazed Lemon Cookies


Mike is a big lemon lover, so I made these for our housewarming.  They aren't too sweet and have a subtle lemon flavor with a crispy texture (unlike the brownie recipe listed above, these went FAST).

Ingredients:

(Cookies:)
-2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used bottled)
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
-1 cup granulated sugar
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

(Lemon Glaze:)
-2 cups confectioner's sugar
-2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
-1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (again, I was lazy and used bottled)

Directions:
1/ Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.  In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until combined.  With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture.

2/ Drop dough by heaping tablespoons, 1 inch apart, onto two baking sheets.  


Bake until edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.  Let cool 2 minutes on sheets, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

3/ While cookies are cooling make the Lemon Glaze: 
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups confectioner's sugar, 2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest and 1/3 cup lemon juice until smooth.

4/ Spread cookies with Lemon Glaze and let set, about 1 hour.  

(The lemon glaze is runny.  I'd recommend putting it in the fridge for a bit before spreading and laying down some parchment paper for the cookies to set on).

Double Chocolate Brownies


Another Martha Stewart Recipe.  Very fudgy and chewy...but be sure to use Dutch-process cocoa and a high quality bitersweet chocolate.  I used the good old fashioned Hershey's cocoa and Tollhouse chips and these tasted just okay.

Here is the Recipe:

6 Tblsp unsalted butter
6 oz semisweet chocolate coursely chopped
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (I use kosher)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a buttered 8" square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2" overhang.  Butter lining (not overhang).

2/ Put butter, chocolate and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate have melted.  Let cool slightly.



3/ Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Put sugar, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes.  Add chocolate mixture; mix until combined.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined.

4/ Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35 minutes.  Let cool slightly in pan about 15 minutes.  Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.  Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.




Makes 9 large or 16 small brownies


Friday, April 16, 2010

Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops with Wild Rice and Asparagus

Friday night and wanted to make scallops.  I had left-over prosciutto from the spinach & prosciutto pizza that I made earlier this week; so I decided to try something different.


Found this great recipe from Giatta:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pitted black olives (about 10 olives)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 medium scallops
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor, add the tomatoes, basil, olives, and olive oil and process until finely chopped.
Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper. Rub each scallop with the tomato mixture. Fold each slice of prosciutto in half lengthwise, then wrap each scallop in 1 slice of prosciutto. Place wrapped scallops in a buttered baking dish, seam side down. Bake until scallop is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, toss the arugula with the balsamic vinegar. Season the arugula with salt and pepper. Place the arugula on a serving platter or divide among individual dishes. Top with the scallops and serve immediately.

..but I didn't have black olives in the house, so I kept things simple:

Dried the scallops.  Added a little sea salt and wrapped them in prosciutto.  Baked on 350 degrees for 12 minutes and served with baked asparagus w/ lemon juice and oregano and Trader Joe's wild rice (made with chicken stock and olive oil, instead of water and butter).

Served these with a Rose' from Trader Joes.  Bon appetit.

Trader Joe's Prosciutto and Spinach Pizza


This time around, I used Trader Joe's regular pizza dough (instead of whole wheat).  It baked up much better (much puffier and chewier...soooo good).

Everything purchased at Trader Joe's:
-Pre-Made Pizza Dough
-Pizza Sauce
-Bagged Spinach
-Prosciutto
-Low Fat Shredded Mozarella

This time around, I had an easier time getting the dough into a truly round shape.


Easy peasy - threw all the toppings on the dough...

Bake for 8 minute and whala!  Delish!!!

Pizza was a bit gooey.  Had issues getting it off of the pizza stone, but still tasted amazing.

------------------------
Since first posting this, I've learned a lot more about pizza making.  It helps to roll out the dough using Cornmeal to coat your pan instead of  flour.  Get an oven thermometer, if possible, to measure your oven temp and make sure it's hot enough.  

TJ's has tons of great dough selections and I find blending their cheeses (like the Quattro Formaggi Blend) help you to get a cheesier, more deilcious pizza!

Crazy Ass Coconut Cake

I wanted to make a special cake for Daisie's birthday - one of my best friends and an amazing chef herself.  I found this recipe on Martha Stewart's website...I may have bit off more than I could chew (as was voiced by Mike):

http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/layer-cakes?lpgStart=1&currentslide=18&currentChapter=1#ms-global-breadcrumbs

 Here is what Martha's cake looked like:




 And here is how mine turned out:

This sad, gigantic cake was a 2-day process.  On Friday night I made the coconut filling - a combo of whole cream, butter, sugar and coconut processed in a blender or food processor.  I had to heat the cream in a "medium sauce pan" on the stove top.  Using our largest sauce pan, the cream and butter mixture still boiled over and made a huge mess.


Saturday morning, I drove to three different places to find coconut extract.  I finally decided on coconut oil.  The oil did something to the chemistry in the cake - where it did not cook all the way through.  




When I tried to slice the two cakes into 3 layers each, the raw centers completely disintegrated.  I basically scooped out the center of each cake and pieced in baked pieces of cake that I had trimmed away. The final dessert was supposed to measure 10" wide and 6 layers high.  Instead the cake collapsed under it's own weight and ended up being 5 layers tall and approximately 14" wide.



Luckily the frosting came out perfect - a combo of real vanilla bean seeds, butter, and powdered sugar.  And with the toasted coconut edges this cake that was so ugly and sad to see tasted amazing












Sunday, April 11, 2010

10 Grain Breakfast Muffins

I took this recipe off of a bag of Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Cereal (with a few tweaks).

Ingredients:
-1 Large Egg
-1/2 Cup Sugar (I use 1/4 Cup sugar and 1/4 Cup honey)
-1/3 Cup Butter or Margarine
-1 cup Unbleached White Flour (I use Whole Wheat Flour)
-1 tsp salt (pref. Kosher salt)
-1 tsp Baking Powder
-1 tsp Baking Soda
-1 cup Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain Hot Cereal
- 1 1/4 cup sour Milk or Buttermilk*
*(I didn't have Buttermilk, so I substituted 3/4C Fage Greek Yogurt and 3/4 Cup Rice Milk.  You can also sour milk by adding lemon juice or vinegar (1 Tblsp vinegar to 1 Cup Milk)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a muffin pan.  Mix 10 Grain Cereal and milk; allow to stand for 10 minutes while assembling the other ingredients.  In a large bowl cream sugar, margarine, and eggs together.  In a smaller bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add milk mixture and grain mixture to creamed butter and sugar.  Add dry ingredients  to mixture and stir until just combined.  Spoon into muffin pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a baking rack and allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before removing from tray.  Makes 12 muffins



I recommend eating these fresh out of the oven, served with butter and fruit preserves (show above with Trader Joe's Raspberry Preserves).  Great with a cappuccino or Chai Tea.

Chicken and Lamb Kebobs with Mushroom Risotto


Lamb, Chicken, Red Pepper, Green Pepper, Red Onion & Mushroom.  Slice it all up.  Dredge meat in olive oil, lemond juice, chopped garlic (I buy the pre-chopped stuff in a jar), kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Put everything on skewers and brush w/ olive oil and sprinkle some parsley or oregano on top.  Place rack at top of oven and set oven to "Broil".  Broil meat for 6-10 minutes (until the meat is cooked through and peppers have blistered).
 Serve with Trader Joe's mushroom risotto (substitute low sodium chicken stock for water).  Yum!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Christmas Baking

Every year for work, I make tins filled with (mostly) traditional family recipes.  
Pictured here:
- Dark Chocolate truffles
-Peanut Butter Balls (aka "buckeyes"
-Peanut Butter Hershey's Kiss Cookies
-Dark Chocolate Chunk Toffee Oatmeal Cookies

Whole Wheat Pizza with Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomatos

I've been wanting to try out  a pizza stone we've had for almost two years.  Bought the pre-made wholewheat dough from Trader Joe's, and their pre-made pizza sauce.





Finished the pizza with fresh Mache, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper.  Manjia!