30 April 2009
From Denny: Sometimes, you just don't want all the sugar interrupting the nirvana taste of your chocolate. Well, here is an interesting take on Italian "toast"! I'm used to having bruschetta with marinara sauce or olive tapenade.
The last thing I would have thought of would be to spread it with chocolate, cool! I have seen chef Giada on the Food Network spread her pizza bread with Nutello (hazelnut chocolate spread) that Europeans swoon over like we do peanut butter in America.
The restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia are leading the way with something unusual but very tasty for an appetizer - again. You can make it as a savory or as a sweet version, your choice! Mmmm... fresh and cooling mint...
I think the Great American Oracle (me) predicts this recipe will be adopted eagerly at our house for regular snacking! :)
From: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
12 ( 3/4-inch) slices baguette (about half a loaf)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon fleur de sel (or other coarse-grained sea salt)
Mint leaves for garnish
Brush bread with the olive oil. Toast on a grill or under a broiler until golden brown. Remove from heat and spread a generous amount of melted chocolate over each slice. Sprinkle with fleur de sel and garnish with a mint leaf.
Per serving: 160 calories (percent of calories from fat, 60), 4 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 12 grams fat (6 grams saturated), no cholesterol, 583 milligrams sodium.
And a couple of traditional bruschetta recipes:
Image of Richard Blais! by bionicgrrrl via Flickr
From Denny: Can I tell you that brisket is a huge favorite in the South? Definitely it is in Louisiana as it feeds a lot of people inexpensively, often employed for football season in the fall yet enjoyed for family reunions and summer barbeques too. With the global economy the way it is currently this is a great recipe to share with your friends in many countries!
While it is a dish that is slow-cooked for hours it is not labor intensive, one of those "wrap it up to cook and forget it" situations - my favorite! This recipe comes from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
From John Kessler: Here’s a version of the brisket that won Richard Blais high marks on “Top Chef.” For garnish, you may want to forgo the star anise mashed potatoes his teammate served alongside and instead opt for some plain boiled new potatoes or noodles to soak up the ample sauce. Also, a vinegary pickle or salad would be welcome with this sweet dish.
You’ll need to find a brisket untrimmed of its fat, which bathes it during the slow braise. Your best bet is to find a butcher who will unwrap a fresh whole brisket and cut you a lengthwise half, which makes for a beautiful presentation.
Richard Blais’ 14-Hour Brisket
Hands on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 14 hours and 30 minutes
1/2 of a whole untrimmed brisket, cut lengthwise (about 6 pounds)
3 tablespoons Cajun seasonings
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup spicy brown mustard (such as Gulden’s)
3 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
Coat the brisket liberally with the Cajun seasonings and salt. Fire up a grill and grill the surface of the brisket aggressively, searing it well on each side for maximum flavor. Place the brisket, fat side up, on a large length of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
Combine the mustard and sugar and slather it well over (and under) the brisket. Close it tightly in the foil and then double wrap in a second piece of foil. Place in a roasting pan with sides at least 1 inch high. Place in the oven.
After 12 hours, carefully unwrap and check the brisket. While some clear molten fat will have collected in the pan, the sauce should be trapped inside the foil. If the brisket isn’t fall-apart tender, then return to the oven for 1 or 2 hours. Slice and serve with the pooled sauce.
Notes: Total time includes 12-plus hours of oven time.
Per serving: 877 calories (percent of calories from fat, 28), 73 grams protein, 85 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 28 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 211 milligrams cholesterol, 1,751 milligrams sodium.
29 April 2009
From Denny: Looks like I will be exploring and downright plundering this wonderful recipe database over at PastryWiz.com! Wonderful array of recipes over here at this extensive database.
Repeat after me: Louisiana LOVES lemon! Louisiana people LOVE lemon recipes! We even planted a lemon tree in our back yard a couple of years ago. Of course, we named "him": Lemoncello (how original)
This lower fat version of a Lemon Bundt Cake sounded really good. OK, I'll probably not go for the margarine which I find a revolting taste but at least those with special diets who adjusted their tastebuds could enjoy this recipe. I'll just use clarified butter (or ghee when I can find it on the grocery shelves).
Cooking spray: substitute your own like placing canola oil in a spray bottle to get the same "less is more" effect. Canola oil is a thinner oil than most and can be sprayed.
By using egg whites they eliminate the extra fat and calories, same with using skim milk over low fat or whole milk.
And icing, well, I'd probably use half to none at all as I've never been a huge fan of sugar icing (now chocolate ganache is another matter...).
Better yet I would prefer to serve the icing as a puddle on the side of the sliced cake so you could dip a piece of cake in it or take your fork and lightly drizzle the icing over your slice of cake.
Louisiana people LOVE their sugar icings and call them "Cream Cakes" when used like the one below.
Lemon Cream Cheese Streusel Bundt Cake Image by pirate johnny via Flickr - why couldn't they put a recipe with this yummy photo? :)Of course, this is the fattening version. That's why it looks so appealing, right?! All right, everyone, get your eyes peeled back on to the prize goal: low calorie for today! ;)
Low Fat Lemon Bundt Cake
Yield: Serves 14
Ingredients for the Cake:
Butter flavored cooking spray
8 oz. plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup light corn syrup
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 egg whites
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
rind from 1/2 lemon, grated
3 cups flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Ingredients for the Icing:
1 Tbs. fat-free margarine
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
rind from 1/2 lemon, grated
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbs. skim milk
Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine yogurt, corn syrup, sugar, vanilla, egg whites, lemon juice, and lemon rind and mix well. In a medium bowl, combine flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
Add a the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Let cake cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan. Remove cake from pan and cool in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before icing.
Combine icing ingredients and mix well. Pour or spread icing over cake until it's completely covered. Cool completely before serving.
Fat: less than 1 gram
Following are some more lemon cake recipes to enjoy!
From virtualchocolate.com where you can become a member and become a card carrying chocoholic with your very own 12-step program for overcoming addiction:
Seen recently on a tee shirt ~ "EMERGENCY ALERT: If wearer of this shirt is found vacant, listless, or depressed, ADMINISTER CHOCOLATE IMMEDIATELY."
28 April 2009
Image via WikipediaFrom Denny: OK, yum! We Southerners love our biscuits which to the uninitiated or folks in Britain, Australia, India and the like, these are little breads not the sweet cookies you call biscuits. What a confusion! :)
Usually, they are basically a baking powder-risen (though some versions are risen by yeast) quick bread cut into 3-inch rounds. They are a close cousin of the scone and can take anything on them but most often it is butter and jam of choice. At our house we even enjoy them with lemon curd!
Southern biscuits are the stuff of legends in many an eatery across the Southeast of America. Few homes make them any more so most people go out to eat them at breakfast with a side of ham or sausage and over-easy fried eggs.
Well, I do know how to make them and quite well. No one else in the family ever got the hang of it. This recipe is a bit different than what I use because I don't use lard but rather clarified butter or canola oil for the cholesterol benefit. But lard, well, it tastes divine and you ought to try the original version at least once in your life! :)
When I make them I often pop the unbaked extras into the freezer. They live to feed us the Divine for another day, baking up beautifully from freezer to oven!
The bonus in this recipe too is that it teaches how to make your own baking powder - which is a first for me, cool!
Kneading Note from Denny: Since he does not mention here, and I rarely see it in biscuit recipes, is a trick I learned a long time ago. When making this bread you don't want it to be too tough but rather light and fluffy. To achieve that, when kneading the dough, slowly and carefully flipping it over, gathering it up and folding down onto itself, make sure you don't allow but a sprinkle of flour to be found inside that fold.
Many people put too much flour into the fold and then wonder why their biscuits are hard as rocks and tasteless. Less is definitely more! I don't use a rolling pin either, too much work, just use my hands like most cooks as it gives you that tactile awareness of how the dough is developing and when to stop working the dough.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution they offer a version closer to the historical. Here's Scott Peacock's comments from the article: "Biscuits are the stuff of legend. The mere mention of them conjures images of hearth and home, kindly grandmothers and good-smelling kitchens. A particularly well-made biscuit has been known to inspire proposals of marriage.
People love eating biscuits. They love talking about biscuits.
But when it comes to making them, the sad truth is that many people, even Southerners, are often too afraid to try ...
Experience has taught me that, in the end, a good biscuit really boils down to a few basics: mainly a hot oven, cold fat and a gentle but knowing hand.
But it’s the details that make a great biscuit, and simple as they are, they are important and should be followed closely.
To my taste, a biscuit should be crusty and golden brown on the top — and even lightly browned on the bottom — with an interior that is soft, light and tender but not too fluffy. It should be slightly moist, but not so moist that it becomes gummy when you eat it, and dry enough to absorb a pat of good butter as it melts. It should be flavorful and well-seasoned, with a slight buttermilk tang, pleasing on its own but an excellent vehicle for other flavors as well.
Ratio of crusty exterior to soft interior is important, and I’m no fan of those big, Hollywood-pumped-up-on-steroids-looking biscuits. I prefer a biscuit no larger than three inches or so in diameter and not much more than an inch in height."
Hot, Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits
From: Scott Peacock
Hands on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 22 minutes
5 cups sifted White Lily flour (measured after sifting)
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons homemade baking powder (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup packed lard, chilled
1 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk, plus a few tablespoons more if needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Preheat over to 500 degrees. Put the flour, homemade baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk well to thoroughly blend. Add the lard and, working quickly, coat in flour and rub between your fingertips until about half the lard is coarsely blended and the other half remains in large pieces about 1/2 inch in size.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the buttermilk. Stir quickly, just until the dough is blended and begins to mass. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky and there should not be large amounts of unincorporated flour in the bowl. If dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons more buttermilk.
Turn the dough immediately onto a generously floured surface, and with floured hands knead briskly 8 to 10 times until a cohesive dough is formed.
Gently flatten the dough with your hands so it is of an even thickness. Then, using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. (If the dough begins to stick to your rolling pin, dust the pin — not the dough — with flour. Flouring the dough at this point will result in dusty-looking biscuits.) With a dinner fork dipped in flour, pierce the dough completely through at 1/2-inch intervals.
Lightly flour a 2 1/2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter and stamp out rounds. (Do not twist the cutter when stamping out biscuits.) Cut the biscuits from the dough as close together as you can for a maximum yield. Arrange cut biscuits on a heavy, ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet so that they almost touch. Do not re-roll the scraps. Just bake as is and enjoy as a treat.
Bake in upper third of the oven for 8 to 12 minutes until crusty golden brown. (Check about 6 minutes into baking and rotate the pan if needed to ensure even cooking.) Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter. Serve hot.
Homemade baking powder recipe: Sift together three times 1/4 cup cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Transfer to a clean, dry, tight-sealing jar. Store at room temperature, away from direct sunlight, for up to four weeks. Use in any recipe calling for commercial baking powder.
Per biscuit: 234 calories (percent of calories from fat, 38), 5 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 14 milligrams cholesterol, 553 milligrams sodium.
Yet another easy version of the famous humble biscuit:
From Denny: Pastrywiz.com is a fascinating site with lots of chocolate recipes! This is something new to me though I've made similar cakes I was unaware of this German version. Cheese and chocolate in a cake, who knew? Take a look!
"Sour cream cakes are a dime a dozen, but using, German-style quark (a low- or nonfat fresh cheese that tastes like a combination of sour cream, yogurt, and cream cheese) takes this ordinary chocolate cake into the realm of the memorable. It's fudgy, yet slightly easier on your conscience.
If you can't find quark, which is available in some supermarkets, you can make this cake with sour cream. Since this is a three-layer cake, plan to serve a lot of people or to have a lot of leftovers. This cake is best eaten the day it's made, though it will hold, covered, for twenty-four to forty-eight hours at room temperature. Do not refrigerate."
Yield: 12 to 15 servings
FOR THE FROSTING
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 2/3 cups sugar
6 1/2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, such as Scharffen-Berger or Callebaut, finely chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, cut into tablespoons
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
FOR THE CAKE
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process), plus extra for dusting the pans
4 ounces high-quality unsweetened chocolate, such as Scharffen-Berger or Callebaut, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups cake flour
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 whole egg
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup quark, such as Ellen's Nonfat, stirred until smooth
To make the frosting:
In a medium-size saucepan, heat the cream and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the chocolate and stir until it is thoroughly melted. Remove from the heat, cover, and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Using an electric mixer, mix the butter on medium-high speed until it is smooth and creamy. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add half of the chocolate mixture along with the vanilla. Mix well. Add the remaining chocolate mixture and mix until smooth and creamy.
Set aside until it hardens slightly, to become a spreadable consistency, 1 to 2 hours. (Or, you can refrigerate the frosting for about 30 minutes, or until it becomes thickened and spreadable. Bring it to room temperature before frosting.)
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease three 9-inch round cake pans. Cut a piece of waxed paper to fit the bottom of each pan and place inside the pans. Grease the waxed paper, and dust the pans with cocoa powder until well coated. Set aside.
In a small heatproof bowl, pour the boiling water over the 1/2 cup cocoa. Stir until the mixture is very smooth, and set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in a stainless-steel bowl set over a pan of hot, but not boiling, water. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from the heat.
Into a medium-size bowl, sift together both flours, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 1/4 cups of the sugar and beat until well blended, about 5 minutes. Beat in the whole egg and egg yolks, one at a time. Beat in the cooled cocoa mixture until very smooth, scraping down the sides as you go.
Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the melted chocolate, beating until well incorporated. Add the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and add half the dry ingredients. Then add the quark, mix well, and add the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes.
In a copper or stainless-steel bowl, and using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at high speed. When frothy, add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the egg whites form stiff peaks, 5 to 6 minutes.
Using a large rubber spatula, fold about 1 cup of the chocolate mixture into the egg whites. Then gently fold that mixture back into the chocolate mixture, just until the egg whites are well incorporated. Do not overmix.
Distribute the batter evenly among the pans, and bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not overbake. Cakes are done when the tops are just beginning to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it. Let cool on a rack for about 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Place the first layer on a serving plate and frost the top only. Place the second layer on top of the first and frost the top. Repeat with the top layer. Spread the remaining frosting along the sides until the cake is completely covered with frosting. Cut and enjoy!
Source: The New American Cheese by Laura Werlin
Here is a wonderful small 6-inch easy chocolate cake when there are just two of you at home and don't want the bother of making a traditionally-sized cake that feeds 8 - 10.
26 April 2009
From Denny: I'm always finding the most interesting articles about the latest health study. Too bad there wasn't more research devoted to orphan diseases, ones that afflict a small percentage of the population. Read that as the drug companies believe they can't make big money by searching for cures for these diseases - so they do nothing. Maybe it's the role of international governments to get into the act to help the suffering sectors of humanity? What do you think?
Health is a large area to cover so if you have some suggestions of anything I might be overlooking and you want to throw out at me, please do! You can also email me: email@example.com too if you like. Yes, I actually answer my own email and am not too full of myself - well, not yet, anyway...! :) (There goes that cheeky side escaping again...)
Here are a few articles you might find an interesting read:
Drink Coffee: Lower Risk of Uterine Cancer
Broccoli Sprouts May Be Germ Fighters
The Pill and Gaining Muscle
Popping a Zit Can Kill You?
Photo by left-hand @ flickr
25 April 2009
From Denny: Since I have too many interests I've parked them on other blogs in addition to this one. Apparently, most people start a blog, lose interest, abandon the first one to start another blog. Not me. I just keep expanding to ADD more blogs! (totally crazy, I suppose - but hey! I'm happy...)
Anyway, articles about how the brain works, astronomy, psychology, some math and physics on basic levels is what I park over at the blog The Soul Calendar. It keeps climbing in the traffic rankings quite nicely and I happily write about whatever catches my interest for the week! Life is good!
I'm still poking around the web for children's resources for parents and science projects readers might find interesting. If you know of any sites or projects, speak up and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, much appreciated!
Here are a few posts you might find an interesting read:
Is My Brain Making Me Buy Things I Don't Need?
Double Amputees Shed Light on Brain's Flexibility
Robolegs Help People Walk
Hurricane-Killing, Space-Based Power Plants
NASA Photo by Image Editor @ flickr
24 April 2009
From Denny: We love our sweet potatoes here in Louisiana! From Canada.com comes yet another way to enjoy our beloved sweet potato in a gourmet soup. There is a recipe converter link listed after the posting area on this blog in case you are not familiar with the Canadian version of measurements.
Sweet Potato Soup with Matchstick Fries and Frizzled Leeks
This recipe comes from Chuck's Day Off show.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
The Sweet Potato Soup
3 large sweet potatoes, cut in chunks
3 leeks, roughly chopped
Pinch of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Nub of butter
6 cups (1.5 L) chicken stock
1 big knuckle of fresh ginger (about 1 tablespoon / 15 mL) peeled and grated)
2 cups water (500 mL)
Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes.
Wash leeks well and drain, remove any damaged outside peel, remove the hairy white tips from the end, and cut leeks into one-inch slices (leave one three-inch section aside to be fried later for the garnish).
Soften leeks in a large pot with a nub of butter, the salt and pepper. Do not brown.
Add six cups of stock or water
Add sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil until cooked through - just softer than fork tender. Using an immersion blender, purée the ingredients until they are thoroughly blended.
Add the grated ginger, and test for consistency. If too thick, add a bit more water. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Place in a bowl and garnish with a mound of hot crispy matchstick potatoes and frizzled leeks.
Matchstick Fries and Frizzled Leeks
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes (or another medium-starch potato)
Canola oil for frying
A sprinkle of salt, pepper
3-inch (8-cm) piece of leek, julienned
A dusting of potato starch
Peel and cut potatoes into matchstick slices.
Rinse them under cold water in a strainer to remove excess starch. Let drain well. Pat dry. In a deep fryer set at 350 degrees F (180C), fry for three to five minutes submerged in canola oil until a nice, deep golden brown. Drain on a paper towel or absorbent cloth. Hit them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper right away.
Cut strips of leek into julienne slices similar to potato. In a small bowl, place two tablespoons of starch and lightly dust the leek pieces in it to help prevent burning. Fry the three-inch strips of leek in same oil until they are just golden - about one minute, to make "frizzled leeks."
Add to your bowl of matchstick fries. Mix them together. Garnish in a little mound on top of the soup.
Chuck's Day Off airs on the Food Network on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. For more information on Chuck Hughes's TV show and for more recipes, go to: www.foodtv.ca/chucksdayoff
For previous columns and recipes, go to www.montrealgazette.com/life and click on Food & Wine
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
From Denny: When we used to live in Atlanta we often dined our way across the metro area and still didn't get to sample all the goodies - so many great choices! The local newspaper now carries a lot of these wonderful and sometimes classic recipes from the famous local restaurants as the one for today.
From the recipe page: The Chocolate Charlotte “has been on the menu since the day we opened in 1981, and it’s always in our top five desserts,” said owner Karen Bremer. “It’s truly decadent.”
As good as the restaurant version is, the home version may be even better. At the restaurant, the mousse filling requires some gelatin to withstand the rigors of a dessert case, but at home, where the charlotte will rest quietly in your fridge, no gelatin is necessary. The result: “It’s actually a little bit lighter and fluffier,” Bremer said. - Deborah Geering, The Journal-Constitution
NOTE: If you are worried about the uncooked eggs in this dessert, you can use pasteurized, though you will have to beat the egg whites a long time to make them stiff.
From: Dailey's Restaurant
17 Andrew Young International Blvd.
Hands on time: 30 minutes
Total time: 5 hours
1 family-size (about 18 ounces) package brownie mix, plus the ingredients listed in the instructions
2 (12-ounce) packages semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup strong coffee
4 eggs, separated
4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 cups whipping cream, divided
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then grease the parchment paper.
Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until the brownies are done but not crispy. Remove from the oven and cool about 15 minutes. Invert the square pan of brownies onto a cutting surface. Slice a 1-inch strip from one end, then cut the remaining brownies into 3 long strips (they’ll each be about 2 1/2 inches wide). Press the 3 wide brownie strips along the inside edge of the springform pan to form a ring. Use a piece of the 1-inch wide strip to fill in the gap. Using kitchen shears, trim the top edge of brownies flush with the top of the pan.
In a microwave-safe dish, melt the chocolate chips and coffee on 50 percent power for 1 minute. Stir, then repeat in 30-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Beat the yolks and stir in the chocolate mixture.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into the chocolate mixture. In the same bowl as used for the eggs, beat 1 1/4 cups whipping cream until it holds its shape. Fold into the chocolate mixture. Spoon the chocolate mousse filling into the brownie shell and smooth the top. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours.
Before serving, whip the remaining 3/4 cup cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Remove the sides from the springform pan. Serve the charlotte with the whipped cream.
Notes: Total time includes at least 4 hours of chilling time.
Per serving: 525 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 6 grams protein, 56 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 35 grams fat (17 grams saturated), 120 milligrams cholesterol, 139 milligrams sodium.
23 April 2009
From our friends over at the high-toned The New Yorker magazine come funny chocolate cartoons! They don't have embedding enabled and use links to go to their site. These are just 20 second shorts and very amusing!
Lover's Leap, go here.
Chocolate Easter Bunnies, go here.
Photo by heliosphan @ flickr
From Denny: Found at EveningEdge.com is this wonderful Cajun styled fish recipe! I'm a huge fan of wild-raised salmon like you can get over at Whole Foods. Soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic are all perfect flavors for salmon cooking. The unusual dressing sounds unique to go with the fish. Give it a try!
Ya Ya Salmon
From: Gumbeaux's Cajun Cafe in Douglasville, Georgia
"Ya Ya Salmon is the creation of chef Richard Paul-Dennis, has been featured on TV cooking shows. Incidentally, Ya Ya in Cajun means a young, aspiring artist. In the old days, young tap dancers were called Ya Yas. It is also the chef's nickname."
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 (7- or 8-ounce) boneless salmon steaks (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
For the Red Hot Sesame Onion Dressing:
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons red vinegar
3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons dark sesame oil
4 teaspoons black (or white) sesame seeds
Mix red pepper, black pepper, creole seasoning, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and sugar. Coat salmon fillets with the spice mixture and set aside.
To make the Red Hot Sesame Onion Dressing: In the bowl of a food processor, place brown sugar, green, red and yellow onions, vinegar, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Process 3 to 4 minutes. With the motor running, slowly add sesame oil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare grill. Grill salmon long enough (about 5 minutes) to leave grill marks. Transfer salmon to an ovenproof pan. Pour 1 1/2 cups onion dressing over salmon and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in oven 25 to 30 minutes, or until onion dressing bubbles and thickens.
Recipe tester Sara Levy notes that though it might seem that there is a lot of pepper and hot spices in this recipe, the sugar in the rub and sauce tempers it to the point where it has just enough bite without being overwhelmed by heat. She says that it is "very flavorful."
Per serving: 526 calories, 41 grams protein, 19 grams fat (percent calories from fat, 33), 46 grams carbohydrates, 109 milligrams cholesterol, 539 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
From Denny: Since grilling season is almost upon us here is a wonderful post and recipe from a lady who is used to doing ahead and making in bulk! AND she has some great organizing ideas on all kinds of unusual subjects you might not have thought about - until now.
22 April 2009
From Denny: Found these outstanding recipes over at Canada.com. They were featured as Southern-style snacks for the Super Bowl game. The Canadians have a good pulse on Southern food, what a pleasant surprise!
Baked Peel-and-Eat Shrimp With Tequila and Lime
(In Louisiana we call them Oven Barbeque Shrimp and this looks like a good Florida style version.)
You could put all the ingredients for the flavoured butter into the pot, and set the shrimp in the baking dish an hour or two before serving and keep them in the fridge. When ready to serve, melt the butter as described in the recipe, pour over the shrimp and bake.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Makes: 6 (4 shrimp or prawn) servings
1/4 cup butter
2 oz. tequila
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp grated lime zest
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey
1-2 tsp hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
24 large shrimp or prawns, shell on
salt to taste
lime slices for garnish (optional)
Place the first 7 ingredients in a small pot and set over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and well combined with the other ingredients. Set the shrimp or prawns in a single layer in a baking dish. Pour the butter mixture over them. Preheat the oven to 425* F. Let the shrimp or prawns marinate in the butter mixture at room temperature 10 minutes. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until just cooked through. Arrange on a serving plate, sprinkle with salt, garnish with lime slices, if desired, and serve.
Be sure to serve these finger-licking good wings with plenty of napkins.
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus marinating time
Cooking time: 25-25 minutes
Makes: 24 wings
1 cup packed fresh parsley sprigs
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1-2 tsp hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
24 chicken wingettes or drumettes, or a mix of both (see Note)
salt to taste
lime slices for garnish (optional)
Place the first 9 ingredients in a food processor and pulse until sauce-like.
Spoon the mixture into a medium-sized bowl. Add the wings and toss to coat. Cover and marinate the wings in the fridge for 4 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425* F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the wings on the baking sheet in a single layer. Using a teaspoon, spoon the chimichurri mixture left in the bowl over the wings.
Season each wing with salt. Bake 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the wing, or until cooked through. Arrange the wings on a serving plate, garnish with lime slices, if desired, and serve.
Note: Chicken wingettes are the thin portion of the wing before the tip.
Drumettes are the meatier portion that attach to the breast. You'll find chicken wings in these forms at most supermarkets. If you can't, you'll have to split the wings yourself.
Chicken and Poblano Chili Pizzas
You can make these pizzas oven-ready early in the day. Refridgerate and bake when needed. Deep- green coloured, poblano peppers are mildly spicy and have a richer flavour than green bell peppers.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes (per tray of pizza)
Makes: 6-8 servings, 1/2 or 3/4 pizza servings
4 pocketless, Greek-style pita
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
1/2 store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat pulled into shreds
1 small, fresh poblano chili, finely diced
Preheat the oven to 425* F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set 2 pita bread on each baking sheet. Spread the top of the pita with the barbecue sauce. Top the pizzas with the cheese. Arrange the chicken on top of the cheese; sprinkle with the diced poblano peppers. Bake the pizzas, one tray at a time, 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bottom of the pizza is crispy. Cut pizzas into small wedges and serve.
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
From: Robert Phillips
Yield: 4 servings
4 5-to-6 ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon coffee liquor (Kahlua), separated
1 Tablespoon coffee liquor (Kalhua)
1 cup pistachios, plus extra for garnish
1 poblano chile
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 Tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 Tablespoon finely-chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
3 cups stock
2 Tablespoon cream
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Trim any excess fat from the chicken breasts. Marinate the chicken in 1 cup of coffee liquor for several hours or overnight.
Shell the pistachios, roast them lightly in a skillet, and then coarsely chop them.
Carefully roast, peel, and chop the poblano.
Preheat a grill or broiler.
In a saucepan combine all of the sauce ingredients ingredients, except the cream and cornstarch, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Cool slightly. Then carefully pour the sauce into a blender or food processor and puree. Strain through a sieve into a clean saucepan. Mix cream and cornstarch together first, then whisk into the sauce. Heat until slightly thickened.
Adjust seasonings to taste.
Meanwhile, remove chicken from marinade and wipe off excess marinade. Grill or broil the chicken, turning once, until well-browned, about 8 minutes in all. To serve, top each chicken breast with enough sauce to cover and garnish with a sprinkle of chopped pistachios and cilantro leaves.
21 April 2009
From CBS: Instant espresso powder offers the most practical way to impart a rich coffee flavor to cookies, candies and cakes. Sold in well-stocked food markets and specialty coffee stores, the fine powder dissolves quickly in hot liquid, producing a bolder, more concentrated taste than regular instant coffee. This intense flavor comes with a solid dose of caffeine, however, so if you are sensitive to caffeine's effects, look for a brand of instant espresso powder labeled "decaffeinated."
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
3 tbs. instant espresso powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
8 tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
4 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Pinch of salt
16 chocolate-covered espresso beans (optional)
Directions: Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously grease an 8-inch square baking pan.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl; set aside.
In a small, heavy saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and chocolate and heat, stirring occasionally, until melted, about two minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until blended. Gradually stir in the chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in the vanilla, then add the flour mixture and stir until blended.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the center is springy to the touch, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream and espresso powder and heat, stirring, just until the powder is dissolved and bubbles start to appear around the pan edges. Add the chocolate and salt, remove from the heat and stir just until the chocolate is melted. Let cool to room temperature.
Using a small offset spatula, spread the cooled glaze over the cookie in a thin layer. Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 30 minutes. Cut into 1 1⁄2-by-2 1⁄2-inch bars or 2-inch squares. Top each bar with a chocolate-covered espresso bean. Makes 16 bars.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, "Cookies," by Marie Simmons (Simon & Schuster, 2002 ).
Rhubarb is a wonderful Spring tonic as it is a diuretic. Make sure you DO NOT cook or eat raw the leaves as they are toxic! The stalks are perfectly fine to eat and cook up nicely with a lot of brown sugar, some clarified butter, a little salt as a morning porridge or to slather on your toast. That's how we used to eat it at our house when we lived in Maine for a time. We grew our own rhubarb just outside the kitchen door like a little kitchen garden. As a kid I used to love to go pick the long stalks and the huge prehistoric leaves waved at me. It was like they knew they were going to be breakfast without regret. The mind of a child...
Featured here are the recipes of executive chef Kerry Heffernan of the South Gate Restaurant at New York's Essex House Hotel which overlooks Central Park.
Note: If for any reason this video does not display properly or CBS disables it you can click on the title link to take you to the page where the article and video are both located.
FOOD FACTS from CBS:
Gemelli: A type of pasta. The name derives from the Italian word for twins. Gemelli aren't twin tubes twisted around one another, as they may appear to be, but rather are a single, "S"-shaped strand twisted into a spiral. It's similar to fusilli.
Hanger Steak: Hanger steak is so-named because it's part of the diaphragm muscle that hangs between the loin and the ribs. Like skirt steak, hanger steak is a grainy, fatty cut that turns out beautifully if it's well-marinated before cooking. But it can be tough if it's prepared incorrectly. Hanger steak is nicknamed "butcher's tenderloin" because butchers traditionally kept this full-flavored, odd-shaped cut for themselves. It's become very popular now at both high-end and lower-priced restaurants. If you can't find hanger steak, you may use skirt steak or even flank steak.
Rhubarb: Rhubarb can be eaten raw with a little sugar sprinkled over it, but is generally cooked with other ingredients to produce a fruit dish of some type. Rhubarb can be used nicely to enhance the flavor of other fruits, such as pairing it with strawberries in baked sauces or beverages. Rhubarb stalks vary from red to pink and may also appear speckled or green. This color variation has little or no impact on the ripeness of the rhubarb. When selecting, choose stalks that are fresh looking, crisp and blemish-free.
Cardamom: Cardamom is the ground seed of a tropical fruit in the ginger family known as Elettaria cardamomum. The seeds are found in ovalshaped fruit pods that are between 1/4 and one-inch long. Cardamom has an intense, pungent, sweet flavor. In India, Cardamom is traditionally used in curry blends, and in Scandinavian countries, it's commonly added to breads; however, most of the world's Cardamom crop is used in Arabic countries as a flavoring for coffee.
Gemelli Pasta with Spring Peas
12 ounces pasta (gemelli or fusilli)
1 pound fresh or 8 ounces frozen peas
1 bunch fresh tarragon, picked and coarsely chopped
1 half pint heavy cream
3 ounces grapeseed or canola oil if for salad
2 ounces dried mushrooms
1 shallot, minced
2 gloves garlic, minced
Bring 4 quarts water to the boil in a large pot.
Shuck, blanch and shock peas if fresh; allow peas to defrost if frozen.
In a broad 4 quart saucepan, bring cream to a boil, season with salt and pepper add dried mushrooms and allow to infuse for 7 minutes. Add Pasta to salted boiling water.
Bring cream back to a boil, and add peas, check seasoning, add ½ tarragon, shallots and garlic and bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil remove from heat and reserve.
Check pasta and cook to desired stage. Drain Pasta and toss in cream mixture, serve with remaining chopped tarragon.
Grilled Hanger Steak with Fresh Asparagus and Sweet Onions
1 pound cleaned Hanger steak
1 pound pencil asparagus, trimmed 2 inches from bottom
1 pound spring onions, peeled and sliced horizontally into ½ inch rounds
1 bunch scallions trimmed of roots and washed
1 bunch parsley, stems removed
1 bunch Sage, stems removed
2 ounces canola oil
Zest of ¼ of an orange
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon chili flakes
Heat grill to medium/high.
Make a quick herb puree, by blending first garlic, orange rind parsley and canola oil in blender (not food processor) with salt and pepper and blending at progressively higher speeds until bright green but still slightly rough. Taste, correct seasoning and add sage and blend further at high speed until well chopped and combined. Reserve.
Season onions, scallions and asparagus well with salt pepper and canola oil
Cook vegetables on grill, in this order, onions first then asparagus and scallions, until well marked and just about cooked (they will continue to cook off the grill). Reserve on an attractive platter.
Turn grill up to high, clean off any remaining bits of vegetables. Season steak very will on each side and grill steak to desired doneness, remove from grill and allow to "rest" at least 7 minutes so that the juices can recede back into the flesh.
Slice meat and arrange over and around vegetables and serve sauce on the side.
Vanilla Ice Cream with Homemade Rhubarb Syrup and Crumbled Butter Cookies
1 pound fresh rhubarb
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 pods green cardamom
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup water
1 pint ice cream
4 butter cookies (such as Pepperidge farms Bordeaux) roughly crumbled
Wash and trim rhubarb into 3 inch lengths in a sauce pan large enough to accommodate rhubarb in one layer. Bring sugar, water, salt, and cardamom pods to a boil, simmer one minute then add Rhubarb, and vanilla (if you prefer you can do it in 2 batches but it should not exceed one even layer on the bottom surface area).
Cook over medium heat until just before rhubarb is tender (it will go to mush very quickly!), remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Scoop Ice Cream into glasses and layer in poached rhubarb and some of its syrup and crumbled butter cookies over top.
So, how did Heffernan do with our $35 budget?
heavy cream $1.19
grapeseed oil $3.99
hanger steak $4.29
spring onions $1.49
orange zest $.39
Rhubarb Ice Cream
butter cookies $2.00
ice cream $.99
Top Three so far in our "How Low Can You Go" competition:
1. Scott Peacock $32.60
2. Patrick Connolly $33.32
3. Bill Poirier $33.35
20 April 2009
From CBS: "Our simple sandwich is inspired by pain au chocolat, a much-loved after-school snack in France. It is, literally, a chocolate bar sandwiched between two slices of bread. This sweet treat is also enjoyed by schoolchildren in Spain."
2 day-old croissants, cut in half horizontally
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate shavings
1 small banana, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch slices
Directions: Heat an electric panini maker to medium, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Lay the bottom half of each croissant, cut side up, on a clean work surface. Sprinkle with about two-thirds of the chocolate, dividing equally. Arrange the banana slices on top, then sprinkle with the remaining chocolate. Place the top half of each croissant, cut side down, on top.
Place the sandwiches on the heated panini maker and close the lid. Cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the chocolate is melted and the tops are golden, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut in half. Serve immediately. Serves four.
Image via WikipediaFrom Denny: Louisiana has always been about two things - food at an affordable price and French cooking!
Patricia Williams is a former ballerina who retired at age 30. She followed her passion and became a chef, studying in France. She answered the CBS Morning Show's challenge of a meal for a family of four on $35 or less.
Seriously mouth-watering is this comfort food! She lines the meatloaf pan with smokey bacon and it adheres while it is baking in the pan. To serve, take it out of the pan, flip it over so the bacon is now on top: awesome!
Chef Williams shows you how easy it is to make your own fresh Green Goddess salad dressing and finally, a small bite version of Strawberry Shortcake. A lot of nutritional and taste value for reasonable money definitely qualifies as great comfort food in my book!
Recipes from CBS:
1 pound Arugula
16 asparagus green stalks, standard size
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Wash and dry the arugula. Cut the woody stems off the asparagus; peel the asparagus and save for the salad. Blanch the asparagus in salted water then shock in ice water.
To assemble the salad, place a large dollop of green goddess dressing on the plate. Place the arugula and the asparagus shavings in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper; add the olive oil and the lemon juice and toss. Place 4 asparagus on each plate (2 green and 2 white) and top with arugula.
Green Goddess Dressing
2 egg yolks
2 cups extra virgin olive oil
2.5 cups parsley leaves
2 cups arugula leaves
4 tablespoons tarragon
6 tablespoons minced chives
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 white anchovies
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 ripe avocado
Slice the herbs and arugula thinly and puree with anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, avocado with ½ cup extra virgin olive oil.
To make the mayonnaise, blend the egg yolks and white wine vinegar and slowly add 2 cups extra virgin olive oil; combine and season with salt and pepper.
Bacon and Beef Meatloaf
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon mustard
2 ounces breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 egg slightly beaten
2 pounds ground beef
1.5 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon tabasco sauce
2 teaspoon kosher slat
1 piece of diced bacon
1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned & blanched
Sauté the bacon and add the onions and the garlic; let cool. Mix the remaining ingredients and combine everything with the beef; do not over mix. Place in a 1-pound loaf pan and bake at 320°F for 30 minutes.
Drain the oil that has accumulated during cooking. Remove from the mold and serve with spicy ketchup sauce and green beans.
Spicy Ketchup Sauce
1.5 cups ketchup
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 sticks butter
Tabasco to taste
Combine all ingredients and puree in a blender; season to taste with Tabasco and serve with the meatloaf.
1 pint strawberries - washed, hulled and sliced
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Topping: Whip the heavy cream and add the powdered sugar. Set aside until ready to serve.
2 cups flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
3.2 ounces butter
4.8 ounces heavy cream
3 tablespoons flour for the surface
1 tablespoon cream for tops
1 tablespoon sugar for the tops
Shortcake: Cut the butter in small pieces. Place the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in the bowl of the mixer. With the paddle, beat the butter into the flour mixture; do not over mix.
Beat the eggs and combine with the heavy cream and add to the flour mixture.
Lightly flour the surface and roll the dough into 1 inch height and cut with a 3-inch cookie ring.
Brush with heavy cream and top with sugar. Bake in a preheated 300°F. oven for 20 minutes or until lightly golden.
So, how did Williams do with our $35 budget?
ground beef $4.58
heavy cream $1.19
green beans $1.99
soy sauce $1.39
heavy cream $1.19
Grand total: $34.88
Leader chefs so far this year in "How Low Can You Go?":
1. Scott Peacock $32.60
2. Joey Campanaro $33.27
The Little Owl
3. Patrick Connolly $33.32
19 April 2009
"These are really waffled cakes? moist, cocoa-rich and flecked with ground amaretti (Italian macaroons) and bittersweet chocolate. They're delicious as is, with just a sprinkling of confectioners' sugar, luscious with lightly sweetened, softly whipped cream, and downright indulgent with ice cream and hot fudge."
3 large double amaretti (or 6 amaretti from 3 paper-wrapped packets)
2 oz. high-quality bittersweet chocolate
5 tbs. unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. double-acting baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cocoa, preferably Dutch process
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
Confectioners' sugar, sweetened whipped cream, ice cream and/or hot fudge sauce for serving (optional)
Directions: Place the amaretti and bittersweet chocolate in the work bowl of a food processor or in a blender and process until pulverized; set aside.
Preheat a waffle iron. If you'd like to serve the waffles warm, preheat an oven to 350°F.
Melt the butter; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar and cocoa. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla, almond extract and eggs until well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir with the whisk to combine. Fold in the amaretti-chocolate mixture and the melted butter.
Lightly butter or spray the grids of the waffle iron, if needed. Brush or spray the grids again only if subsequent waffles stick.
Spoon out 1/3 cup of batter (or the amount recommended by the manufacturer's instructions) onto the hot iron. Use a metal spatula or wooden spoon to spread the batter evenly over the grids. Close the lid and bake until just set. Bake these slightly less than you do other waffles because chocolate has a tendency to burn easily. There's no need to worry, but you do want to keep an eye on these. Transfer the finished waffles to a cooling rack while you make the rest. If desired, just before serving, warm the waffles briefly, about 2 minutes, in the oven. They're good at room temperature, too.
To serve: You can present a full five-of-hearts to each person, shaking a dusting of confectioners' sugar over the entire waffle and then scooping some whipped cream or ice cream onto the center. Hot fudge sauce is both luscious and luxurious over these. Broken into individual hearts and filled with ice cream, these make fabulous sandwiches. Makes about 10 full five-of-hearts or about six 6 1/2-inch round waffles.
Adapted from "Waffles from Morning to Midnight," by Dorie Greenspan (Weldon Owen, 2001).