Sunday, 13 April 2014

Easter Excitement


PROJECT
Moss Eggs


Moss is one of the many happy harbingers of spring, as winter’s blanket of snow melts to reveal a refreshingly green natural carpet. Bring its bright color and soft texture to the table by molding eggs in a variety of sizes from sheet moss.


INTRODUCTION

Flanking the results with blown-out bird eggs from NakedEggs and branches of Quince blossoms spotlights their size and hue.
Sources

Preserved sheet moss, $4 for 172 sq. in., joann.com
Floral wire, 24 gauge, $2 for 50 ft., joann.com
Egg molds (#E151, #E15, #E153), from $2 each, lifeofthepartymolds.com
Blown-out eggs, from $13, ebay.com/americanmade
MATERIALS
Sheet moss
Plastic clamshell egg mold
Rubber bands
Floral wire, 24 gauge
Wire cutters
STEPS

STEP 1

Dampen moss with water to make it pliable. Press largest, prettiest pieces in two sides of mold first, green side down. (They will be the exposed exterior of assembled egg.)

STEP 2


Fill in rest of mold with smaller, less colorful pieces.

STEP 3

Press both sides of mold together, and secure closed with rubber bands. Let sit several hours, until moss has dried a bit.

STEP 4

Remove rubber bands and gently pull egg halves from mold.

STEP 5


Press halves back together; about 1 inch from seam on one side, pierce through both halves with floral wire. Twist ends of wire together and trim. (Wire will be hidden by moss.) Repeat on other side, then on top and bottom. If eggs need reshaping, briefly return to mold.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Angelic Aphrodisiac

Angel Food Cake


Ingredients:

1 cup (130 g) cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup (200 g), plus 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups egg whites (from about 12 large eggs), at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Have a 9-inch (23 cm) tube pan ready. (Do not use a non-stick tube pan.)

2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, begin to whip the egg whites on medium speed. When they become foamy, add the cream of tartar and lemon juice.

4. Increase the speed to high and continue to whip the egg whites until they just begin to hold their shape in soft, droopy peaks. Gradually whip the remaining 1 cup of sugar into the whites, 1/4 cup at a time. Do not overwhip; the egg whites should not be overly dry or stiff, but soft and cloud-like. At the last moment, mix in the vanilla.

5. With a rubber spatula, then fold the flour and sugar mixture into the whites gradually, a small amount at a time.

6. Spoon the batter in the tube pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the tube pan over a cooling rack. If the pan doesn’t have “feet”, set it over the neck of a heavy bottle or overturned metal funnel, using the center hole of the pan to hold the cake, until cool.

Note: Cake flour is specially milled flour and is low-gluten and slightly acidic and is stocked in most grocery stores. You can remove 2 tablespoons from 1 cup of all-purpose flour and replace it with corn starch, and sift the two together several times for a reasonable facsimile, although it’s not quite the same.



Angel Hair Pasta with Scallops and Tomatoes


Ingredients:

1 lb bay scallops, dried well
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
14 oz can diced petite tomatoes, drained
salt and fresh pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley
7 oz angel hair pasta (I used half whole wheat)*

Directions:

Put a large pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet on high heat. When hot, add 1 tsp of oil and the butter over medium-high heat until mixture starts to brown.

MAKE SURE THE PAN AND OIL MIXTURE IS VERY HOT - Transfer HALF of the scallops to the skillet and cook WITHOUT MOVING until seared: ABOUT 30 SECONDS. Gently flip and sear on other side for another 20 - 30 SECONDS. Remove from skillet and set aside; cook remaining scallops and repeat as the first batch; set aside with first batch.



Angel Rolls


Ingredients:

Recipe from Red Star Yeast
1 1/3 cups Milk
2 Eggs
1/4 cup Butter
5 cups Bread Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Sugar
3/4 teaspoon Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
2 1/4 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast

Instructions:

In a mixing bowl, blend together yeast, 1 cup flour, sugar, and salt. Heat milk and butter to 120º to 130ºF; butter does not need to melt. Add to dry mixture; blend on low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs; beat 1 minute. By hand, stir in baking powder, baking soda, and enough remaining flour to make a smooth, very soft, sticky dough. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Divide dough into 4 parts. Divide each part into 2 pieces. Divide each piece into 3 sections. Shape each piece into a smooth ball. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after touching. Bake in preheated 375ºF oven 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter if desired. Remove from pan; cool.

Get more inspiration from MissInTheKitchen, David Lebovitz and SkinnyTaste

Friday, 28 March 2014

Eggs For Brunch

Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce


1 can (14 ounces) tomato puree
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Big pinch of sugar
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Glug of red wine (optional)
4 large eggs
4 slices toasted country bread, for serving
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil; season with sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 20 minutes minutes. A few minutes before it’s done, I like to add a glug of red wine and let it simmer for a moment.

Gently crack eggs into tomato mixture, cover, and let cook 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, uncover, and let stand 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer each egg to a piece of toast. Spoon over sauce, garnish with cheese, and season with salt and pepper; serve immediately.



Polenta Bowl with Garlicky Spinach, Chicken Sausage & Poached Egg


Serves 4

4 cups water (or a mix of water and milk)
1 cup polenta or cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces (1 cup) goat cheese, shredded cheddar, or other cheese, plus more to serve
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 links chicken sausage, any kind, sliced into coins
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon chili flakes, plus more to serve
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
6 ounces baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs (or 1 per person)

In a 2- to 3-quart saucepan with a lid, bring the water to a rolling boil. Pour in the polenta while whisking continuously. Stir in the salt and continue whisking until the polenta has thickened slightly. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook the polenta for 20 to 30 minutes, whisking vigorously every 10 minutes. The polenta is done when it is creamy, tastes tender, and has thickened into a porridge.

Remove the polenta from heat and stir in the cheese until the cheese has melted. Cover the pot and set aside until ready to serve.



Spinach Salad with Poached Eggs and Pancetta


2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
2 oz. (60 g.) pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm.) cubes
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Pinch of sugar
1 shallot, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggs
5 oz. (155 g.) baby spinach

In a small saute pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Pour into a fine-mesh sieve set over a small heatproof bowl, capturing the fat, and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, thyme and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
Return the saute pan to medium-high heat (it will still be filmed with fat). Add the shallot and saute until soft but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the vinegar mixture, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. Add a few grinds of pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the reserved pancetta fat to the pan, supplementing with olive oil if needed. Whisk until well blended to make a vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then cover to keep warm.
Pour water to a depth of 3 inches (7.5 cm.) into a large saute pan, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crack each egg into a small ramekin and carefully slip it into the water. Adjust the heat so that the water barely simmers. Poach the eggs for 3-5 minutes, then remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate.
In a bowl, toss the spinach with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk the warm vinaigrette to recombine, then drizzle about half of it over the spinach and toss well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Divide the dressed spinach evenly between 2 plates and top each serving with a poached egg. Drizzle each egg with some of the remaining vinaigrette and season lightly with salt and pepper. Scatter the cooked pancetta over the salads and serve. Serves 2.

Get all these blogger recipes from Yummly

Friday, 21 March 2014

Brussels Sprout Blues

Here are some recipes for those of you wondering what to do with Brussels Sprouts =)

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Bacon and Pecorino 


(serves 3-4)

INGREDIENTS:

For dressing:
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp shallot, finely minced
1 small clove garlic, finely minced
1/8 tsp kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

For salad:
2-3 c thinly sliced kale (approx 1/2 a bunch)
1 lb brussels sprouts, finely shredded using a mandolin or sharp knife
3-4 slices turkey bacon, baked and chopped
1/4 c roasted almonds, chopped*
1/2 c Pecorino cheese, finely grated

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and mix. (Alternatively, I sometimes throw everything in a mini food processor and let it do the chopping.) Add in olive oil, whisking (or processing) until combined.
Mix sliced kale and shaved brussels sprouts in a large bowl. Throw in bacon, almonds, and cheese. Pour dressing over the top and toss salad until all ingredients are distributed throughout.



Hot Cheesy Roasted Brussels Sprout Dip


Ingredients:

1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano (parmesan), grated
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Toss the Brussels sprouts in the olive oil, salt and pepper, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet along with the cloves of garlic and roast in a preheated 400F oven until golden brown, about 20-30 minutes, flipping half way through.
Squeeze the roasted garlic from the skins, mix everything, place in a baking dish and bake in a preheated 350F oven until lightly golden brown on top and bubbling on the sides, about 15-20 minutes.

Slow Cooker: Implement step 1, mix everything, place it in the slow cooker and cook until the cheese is nice and melted about 1-2 hours on high or 2-4 hours on low.

Option: Add 4 slices cooked crumbled bacon.
Option: Add 1/2 cup chopped kimchi.
Tip: Don't overcrowd the baking sheet when roasting the brussels sprouts or they will steam rather than roast.



Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon


Ingredients:

1-pound fresh large brussels sprouts, washed, cut in half, brown ends cut off
4 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400.
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; toss to coat evenly.
Spread the brussels sprouts on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally for even cooking.
Taste for salt and pepper.
Serve immediately.

Get all these recipes from diethood, jenniferpiercehealth and closetcooking.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

St Paddy's Day Plates

Pot of Gold Soup


What you'll need:

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
3 medium apples
2 medium butternut squashes (about 3 pounds)
1 cup apple juice or cider
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
Salt and pepper

How to make it:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until soft and translucent. Remove the onion from the heat.
Now set your kids to work peeling the apples while you peel, seed, and chop the squash. Core and chop the peeled apples.
Add the apples, squash, juice or cider, and chicken stock to the onions and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer partially covered for 25 minutes.
Add the brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt and pepper. Puree the soup, reheat, and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.



Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe


What you'll need:

1 (4 - 5 pound) corned beef, rinsed
1 medium head of cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges
6 red potatoes, halved
4 carrots, cut into ½-inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 cups low sodium chicken stock or water
8 ounces beer (any unflavored kind will do; you can substitute water here, as well)
3 large bay leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper corns

Notes:
Serves 4

How to make it:

Place onions, carrots, and potatoes in the bottom of a large slow cooker pot.
Rinse the corned beef and lay it over the vegetables. Add in bay leaves, pepper corns, and Dijon mustard.
Pour beer and stock over everything. Make sure liquid covers most of the corned beef; if not, add more water or stock. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours.
Add the cabbage to the slow cooker and cook until cabbage is just tender (about 30 minutes).
Plate beef and veggies.Slice beef against the grain and serve with extra mustard.



St. Patrick's Day Green Shake


What you'll need:

1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of ice cubes
1 banana
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
Green food colouring

How to make it:

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender (except the green colouring). 
Add 6 drops of green food colouring and blend it all. Add more colour if you want the shake in a darker tone of green. Decorate with green sugar and enjoy!



Mickey's Shamrock Shorts Cookies


What you'll need:

Template for Mickey's Shamrock Shorts Cookies
Scissors
Batch of sugar cookie dough (home-made or store bought)*
Rolling pin
Flour
Wax paper
Kitchen knife
Baking sheets
Cooling rack
Green cookie icing (the kind that hardens when it sets up)
White chocolate chips
Small microwavable mixing bowl

Notes:
* If the store-bought brand of dough you use is too soft to hold the cookie shapes while baking, you can knead in a little extra flour to stiffen it before rolling it out.

How to make it:

Print and cut out the Mickey's Shamrock Shorts Cookies template.
Heat the oven. Working on a flour-dusted sheet of wax paper, roll out the chilled dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Use the template piece and a kitchen knife to cut Mickey short shapes from the dough. Bake the cookies according to the recipe directions and then let them cool completely.
Meanwhile, melt a small handful of white chocolate chips in the microwave according to the package directions. Spread the melted candy on wax paper and set it aside for a few minutes to harden. Once it's ready, cut the candy into thin slivers to use for the shamrock stems, and set them aside for now.
Working with one cookie at a time, spread the tops with green cookie icing. Before the icing sets, add two shamrock buttons. For each, press three white chocolate chips (tips down) into the icing, and add a tiny candy stem.
Set the decorated cookies aside for the icing to harden (four hours or so) before serving.



Taste a Rainbow


What you'll need:

White cake mix (we used an 18-1/4-ounce box)
Food coloring (red, blue, green, and yellow)
Baking cups
Whipped cream (optional)

How to make it:

Prepare your favourite white cake mix, then divide the batter evenly among six small bowls. Following the chart below, dye each bowl of batter a rainbow colour.

RAINBOW COLOR DROPS OF FOOD COLORING
Purple 9 red and 6 blue drops
Blue 12 drops
Green 12 drops
Yellow 12 drops
Orange 12 yellow and 4 red drops
Red 18 drops

Line 16 muffin pan wells with baking cups. Evenly distribute the purple batter among the cups, then the blue, and so on, following the order shown. As you go, gently spread each layer of batter with the back of a spoon to cover the colour underneath.
Bake the cupcakes according to your recipe directions. Before serving, remove the paper wrapping, and if you like, top each cupcake with a whipped-cream cloud.