Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Crisp Oatmeal

I love apple crisp as a dessert, and thought it would be amazing as a breakfast dish. So, to get away with it, I added sweetened oatmeal to the bottom of the dish to make it more 'breakfast like'. That way you start with a crispy, crumbly top, soft sweet apples in the middle, and brown sugar oatmeal on the bottom. Top with unsweetened whipped cream(I added vanilla beans to mine) to finish. *This crisp has a LOT of topping! So, if you prefer more apples and less crisp, simply cut the crumble ingredients in half.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. Oats, old fashioned
  • 3 T. Brown sugar
  • 2 T. Butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 4 small or 3 large Honeycrisp apples(or other variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3 T. Sugar
  • 1 c. Oats, old fashioned
  • 1/2 c. Flour
  • 1/2 t. Nutmeg
  • 3/4 t. Cinnamon
  • 4 oz. Butter, cubed(cold)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 c. oats in a 8x8 square or round dish. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the oats and top with butter pieces.
Toss the sliced apples with the white sugar. Place the apples on top of the oat, sugar and butter layers, patting down as you go.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 c. oats, flour, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cut the butter to the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Place the crumble on top of the apples, covering the entire surface.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crumble is browned on top.
Serve hot with whipped cream!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Braised Lamb Shanks with Mirpoix Gravy and Apple-Pomme Puree

Lamb Shanks are a great hearty fall dish. When it comes to lamb, they are quite a bit cheaper then the rest of the cuts, but require slow cooking for a long period of time to soften them up. When they have been braised long enough, however, they are so tender that the meat will fall right off the bone, so plate carefully!
For the apple-pomme puree, simply add peeled diced apples to the pot along with your potatoes, cook until tender, and puree with a little cream, salt, and butter. Pears would also go really nicely with this dish.

Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Lamb Shanks, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 T. Canola Oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 Celery Ribs, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 T. Herbs De Provence(if you can't find these, just use thyme)
  • 2 T. Tomato Paste
  • 2 c. Dry Red Wine(Cabernet Savignion or Merlot are great for this dish)
  • 2 c. Chicken Stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cornstarch, to thicken
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Sprinkle the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Add the shanks to the pan and brown evenly on all sides. Remove shanks from the pan and place in a crock pot.

In the same pan used to brown the shanks, add the onion, carrot, and celery, adding a little more oil, if needed. Saute the vegetables until they begin to soften, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and herbs and saute for another minute. Stir in the tomato paste and saute until the vegetables are well coated.

Place the sauteed vegetables on top of the lamb in the crock pot. Pour the wine and chicken broth over the vegetables and lamb and cover with a lid. Cook on high for about 4 hours.

After the lamb has become tender enough to easily pull from the bone, check the seasonings in the gravy and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Mix cornstarch in a small amount of water and stir it into the gravy(stir well so there are no lumps!). Let cook for a few more minutes until thickened. Add more cornstarch mixture if needed until desired thickness is achieved.

Serve the shanks with potatoes and gravy.

Braised Lamb Shanks on FoodistaBraised Lamb Shanks

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fresh Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

This frosting is so good! You get lots of sweet, strawberry flavor and such a pretty light pink color. I think this would be equally good, if not better made with cream cheese instead of butter. I will have to try it sometime and report back, but for now....this is going on top of every cupcake I make!

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. Whole Frozen Strawberries, thawed
  • 1 c.(2 sticks) unsalted Butter, slightly cold but soft
  • 1/8 t. coarse Salt
  • 3 1/2 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 t. Clear Vanilla Extract
Place the strawberries in a food processor and puree until smooth. Strain out the seeds and place the pureed strawberries in a small saucepan. Heat the strawberries on medium/high heat until simmering. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes on medium/low heat, or until the strawberries have reduced by half. Let the strawberries cool and reserve 1/4 c. The remaining can be put away for another use.

In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and the salt until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Increase the speed and beat until the butter and sugar are well combined. Add the vanilla and 1/4 c. of the strawberry puree to the mixer and mix until just combined, so that the frosting is thick and dense.
Keep refrigerated after use.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Devils Food Cupcakes

I am on the hunt for a few good cupcake recipes for my daughters upcoming birthday, so I have been trying several recipes out. This one was very moist and had a great texture. I topped them with ganache, which was great, but I also made a fresh strawberry buttercream that was amazing on top of the chocolate cupcakes. I will post that recipe next! Meanwhile, give these babies a try.....

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 3/4 c. hot water
  • 3 c. Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 1/4 t. Coarse Salt
  • 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/8 c. Sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 4 t. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. Sour Cream, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners.
Whisk together the cocoa and water until smooth and set aside.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together, stirring until combined. Remove from the heat and pour into a mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, mix on medium-high until the mixture has cooled down, 6-7 minutes. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar, one by one, beating well each time. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and the cocoa mixture to the eggs and butter and combine well.
Add the flour into the mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beating until just combined after each. Do not over mix or your cupcakes will be tough!

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins, filling each liner 3/4 full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, for about 17-20 minutes, or just until the tops are set.
Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool.
Frost with desired frosting and serve!

This recipe makes about 28 cupcakes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fresh Baby Caprese Spaghetti


This is just for my records =) When I find the energy(this pregnancy is sucking me dry!) I will post the recipe. But the dish consists of homemade spaghetti, orange cherry tomatoes(which taste like sunshine), mini balls of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, garlic, and fresh basil. Amazingly simple and yummy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pan-seared Halibut with Sweet Corn Zabaglione

Now that Hell's Kitchen is over, Master Chef has taken over as my favorite cooking reality show. This dish was another challenge dish that I had to make myself, it looked so good. Cat Cora is the main creator of the dish, but here is my version, with my own preferences! I hope you like it!
*Try and use fresh, never frozen Halibut, if you can find it. The fish found in most grocery stores is previously frozen, although you would think it was fresh when laid out in the display case.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
  • 2 Halibut Fillets, skinned (about 6 oz. each)
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil, to taste
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked, kernels cut off
  • 1/3 Red Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 c. Baby Arugula, washed
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 c. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Egg Yolk
For the Halibut: Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan until sizzling. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides, pressing the seasonings into the flesh. When the oil is hot, Lay the fillets presentation side down in the pan and sear for 2 minutes. Flip over. The fish should be golden on top. Sear on the other side for about 1 minute more and then turn of the heat, leaving the fish in the pan to continue cooking. Keep warm.

For the Salad: In a frying pan, saute 1/2 of the corn and the red onion in olive oil until soft, but not soggy. Place in a bowl and allow to cool. Add the cherry tomatoes and arugula and toss. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

For the Sweet Corn Zabaglione: In a large saucepan, saute the onion and remaining corn in a small amount of olive oil until tender. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the heavy cream and let simmer for 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Place the corn/cream mixture in a blender. CAREFULLY puree until smooth. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolk until broken up. Add a small amount of the strained sauce to the yolk, whisking well each time, until the yolk is warmed. Add the yolk to the sauce and whisk in well.
Cook the sauce in a double boiler until slightly thickened and hot. Season with salt to taste.

To serve: Pour about 1/2 c. of sauce onto the center of a plate. Place the halibut on top of the sauce, presentation side up. Top the fish with a portion of the salad. Eat Immediately!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby Greens with Beets, Chevre, Oranges, Hazelnuts and Fresh Orange Vinaigrette

For those who don't like beets, give this appetizer salad a try. They pair amazingly with goats cheese and a fresh orange vinaigrette. This salad is great served before a fancy entree.
I had this salad at Bambara in Salt Lake for my birthday and loved it. This is my re-creation of it.*This recipe calls for sectioned oranges. I did not get around to taking pictures of that while I went, but HERE is a great tutorial for those of you who do not know how to section an orange.

Serves 6

Ingredients(Salad):
  • 6 cups Spring Green Lettuce Mix
  • 3 Golden Beets, roasted, peeled, and wedged
  • 3 Purple Beets, roasted, peeled, and wedged
  • 2 Oranges, Sectioned
  • 6 oz. Chevre(Goats Cheese)
  • 1/2 c.+ Whipping Cream
  • 1/3 c. Hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
Ingredients(dressing):
  • 1 c. Fresh squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/3 c. Canola Oil
  • 1/8 t. Ground Mustard
  • 1 1/2 T. White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 t. Minced Garlic
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 3 T. Honey, plus more to taste

For the dressing: Heat the freshly squeezed orange juice in a small saucepan to boiling. Reduce heat slightly and let simmer until the volume is reduced to 1/4 c. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Place the reduced orange juice in a small food processor or blender along with the oil, vinegar, mustard powder, garlic, honey, salt and pepper. Blend until emulsified. Taste and add more honey, if desired. Keep chilled.

For the Salad: Place the goats cheese in a small bowl. Slowly mix in as much cream as needed to make the goats cheese smooth and thin enough to pipe.
Pipe out the goats cheese(I just use a heavy duty quart Ziploc) onto 6 salad plates, about 6 small dollops per plate in a circular fashion. Then place 3 of each color beet wedge in between the goats cheese, also in a circular fashion.
Place 1 c. per plate of spring greens in the center of the cheese and beet circle. Add 4-5 orange sections per plate to the spring greens.
Sprinkle about 1T. hazelnuts on top of, and around the salad.
Drizzle the fresh orange vinaigrette on top and serve.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coq Au Vin

This will always be one of my most favorite chicken dishes. We served this dish at our wedding and it was perfect! Coq Au Vin is French for 'chicken with wine'. This recipe calls for white wine, but you can use red also. I like to use Chablis when cooking with white wine, and a Cabernet Savignon or Merlot when using red wine.
*For those who are new to cooking with wine, remember: When the wine is cooked, the alcohol is cooked out with it. No need to worry. And for those who are too chicken to go to the liquor store to purchase wine(which I recommend, it's much cheaper there), you can find it as cooking wine with the vinegars in your local grocery store. Just remember: Cooking wine is much more salty than regular wine, so don't add as much salt to the dish!

Ingredients:
  • 1 c. Flour
  • 1 t. Pepper
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • 8 bone-in Chicken Thighs, skinned
  • 2 c. Mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 c. Baby carrots
  • 1 large Onion, sliced along the grain
  • 1 1/2 T. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 2 T. Tomato Paste
  • 2 t. Minced Garlic
  • 1 c. White or Red Wine
  • 3 c. Chicken Broth
  • 2 T. Butter
Combine the flour, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the skinless chicken thighs and coat each one in the flour mixture. Set aside.
In a large, deep sided frying pan, heat the olive oil to medium-high.
Add the dredged chicken thighs to the hot oil.
Brown the chicken thighs evenly on both sides.
Remove the chicken from the pan(but leave the pan on the heat) and place on a plate. Set aside.
Add the mushrooms, carrots, and onion to the hot pan and saute for 2 minutes.
* Try to use fresh thyme with this dish, if it is available. Fresh herbs make such a difference!
Add the chopped thyme to the vegetables and saute for 30 seconds.
Add the tomato paste and the minced garlic to the vegetables.
Toss the vegetables until they are all well coated with the tomato paste.
Add the wine and the chicken broth to the pan.
Place the browned chicken thighs back in the pan, under the liquid. Try and spoon the vegetables over the chicken, so that the chicken is completely submerged in liquid.
Cover the pan with a lid and let simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the chicken does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste.
The chicken is done when the sauce is reduced so that it thickly coats the back of a spoon and the chicken is tender. Add the butter to the sauce and stir until blended. Serve with mashed potatoes to use up all the yummy sauce.

Quick Tip #2 - Shredding Chicken made EASY!

It's such a pain to shred chicken breast by breast with a fork. To shred your chicken in 30 seconds or less, just put your cooked chicken breasts in the bowl of a large electric mixer(I use a KitchenAid), put on a paddle attachment, lock the mixer and turn it to medium-low speed for 20-30 seconds. The chicken shreds perfectly and it takes almost no time at all!!!
I will never use a fork again!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cream Cheese Danishes

These danishes make the best breakfast. I mean, who doesn't want to eat a flaky pastry filled with sweetened cream cheese in the morning? And you will love them because they are SO easy to make. Here are a few tips to help you along:
  1. Set your frozen puff pastry in the fridge to thaw overnight. It will be thawed by morning time and easy to use. Puff pastry is sticky and difficult to work with when defrosted in the microwave.
  2. Set your cream cheese on the counter to soften overnight. It will not go bad, I promise ;) This was a trick I learned in cooking school where large amounts of soft cream cheese were often needed. The softer your cream cheese, the smoother it will be when blended with the other ingredients and the better it will melt in your pastry.
Ingredients:
  • 1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/3 c. Sugar
  • 3/4 t. Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 t. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 T. Sour Cream
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 T. Milk
Makes 6 servings.
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and sour cream in a mixing bowl. Cream the mixture until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Unfold the puff pastry and lay it on a floured cutting board. Lightly roll out the pastry until it looks more like a rectangle that a square. Roll the pastry so that the two lines left from the folds are elongated and running vertically. These lines are important for the next step.
  3. Your pastry should have three even sections running vertically. The center section is where you will place the cream cheese mixture. With the other two sections, use a sharp paring knife make 1/2" slices going horizontally down the pastry.
  4. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the middle section of pastry and evenly spread it out. It should look like you have fringe running down each side of the cream cheese. Take each strip of pastry and fold it across the top of the cream cheese to the other side of the pastry, alternating sides until you reach the bottom. Secure the last strips of pastry underneath the pastry and transfer it to a greased cookie sheet.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the egg and milk until blended. Brush it onto the top of the pastry using a basting brush.
  6. Bake your pastry for 20-25 minutes, moving to the very top rack for the last 5 minutes of cooking to help the top achieve a nice brown color. Remove, cook slightly and slice into 6 pieces.

Pretty things....

I LOVE LOVE LOVE finding treats like these at the grocery store. Golden Raspberries. Aren't they lovely? My daughter ate every last one of them, so tempting were they. Anywho, Just wanted to share my beautiful find.
So sorry for the lack of posts lately!!! I have been up in Utah visiting family for the last week or so. But I am BACK and ready to share some more great recipes with all of you, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Seared Flank Steak with Pear Puree and Pancetta Hash


Are any of you Hell's Kitchen fans? I admit that this season, I have HAD to watch it. I love watching the challenges the contestants are faced with. Everything always looks SO amazing and I often wish that I was eating what they are cooking as I watch the show. Last night, the remaining contestants were challenged to recreate one of chef Ramsay's dishes that he had prepared for them, going only off of the taste.....no recipe. It was venison with a pear puree and pancetta hash with a beef glaze drizzled around it. It looked AMAZING.
I have been craving that dish all. day. long. So I decided to recreate my own version, using flank steak instead of the not so readily available venison. I honestly have no Idea what was in the dish besides the meat and puree, so I just guessed on the rest.
It turned out fantastic and the funny thing is, it only took me about 20-25 minutes to make!
Give it a try if you would like something unique and delicious, but fast and easy.

Ingredients:
  • 2 lb Flank Steak or London Broil(let sit at room temperature 30 min. before searing!)
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Herbs De Provence, to taste
  • 2 c. Beef Stock
  • 1 Russet Potato, Peeled and cubed
  • 3 Anjou Pears, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 T. Butter
  • 3 T. Heavy Cream
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 Sweet Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Anjou Pear,peeled and finely diced
  • 3/4 c. Pancetta, finely diced
For the Steak: Coat both sides of the steak liberally with salt, pepper, and the herbs. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the Flank steak and sear on both sides. Cook to medium rare or medium. *flank steak is best cooked to this degree. Any more done and it will be tough.
Remove the steak from the pan and tent with foil on a plate. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes. To serve: Slice on an angle into thin strips, going against the grain.

For the glaze: Pour the stock into a small saucepan and heat to simmering. Let it continue to simmer until it is reduced to about 1/4 c. Remove from heat. The glaze should be thick and syrupy. You only need a little bit to accent the dish.

For the Pear Puree: Add the cubed pear and potato to a large saucepan and cover with water. Heat on the stove until the water is boiling. Continue to cook the potato and pear until they are both tender. Drain the cooking water off of the pear and potato and put back on medium heat. Let the dish cook until all the remaining liquid is cooked off. Remove the pan from the stove and add the butter, cream, and salt to taste. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it is smooth and creamy. Keep warm until service.

For the Pancetta Hash: Heat a saute pan to medium high and add the pancetta. Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the carrot, onion, and pear. Saute the mixture until the ingredients begin to caramelize. The carrot should be soft.

To serve: Spoon the pear puree onto the plate and top with several thin slices of beef. Spoon the hash across the center of the dish and then drizzle the glaze around the edges. Enjoy!!!

A few tips:
  1. You should be able to cook all the dishes at once, as long as you have a stove with four burners. Keep items that are finished cooking before others warm in an oven set to 170 degrees.
  2. If you can not find or do not have an Herbs De Provence mixture, use a blend of thyme and oregano.
  3. When making this dish during the Fall season, substitute the carrot for sweet potato or squash to make the most of Autumns vegetables!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swiss Parmesan Salad

This salad is one of summers easiest and best. It's so simple with a simple dressing to boot. Garlic and Lemon give it the zing while toasted slivered almonds add the crunch. Whenever I make this for dinner I find myself snacking on the leftovers for at least two days. Yes, it is so yummy that I will eat it even if the lettuce is a bit soggy. I think it's the bacon.

Ingredients:
  • 1 head Iceberg Lettuce, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 12 oz. Smoked Bacon, diced and cooked until crisp.
  • 1/2 c. Slivered Almonds, toasted
  • 2 c. Swiss Cheese, grated
  • 2 c. Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
  • 3/4 c. Canola oil
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c. Lemon Juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
For the dressing: In a seal-able container, combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic and Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly and shake until the ingredients are combined. Chill until ready to use.

In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, bacon, almonds, tomatoes, and Swiss cheese. Pour half the dressing over the salad and then toss with tongs until the ingredients are well distributed and the dressing coats the salad. Add more dressing, if desired.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Creme Brulee

One of my favorite desserts of all time(I think I say that about every dessert I post) is Creme Brulee. It is surprisingly easy to make, the real trick with this dish being that it needs to be closely watched and not overcooked. If the custard is cooked too long it will curdle and separate. Not yummy. So watch it carefully!
I spent many baking sessions perfecting the ratio of cream to eggs and I think that this is the perfect balance. Not to egg-y and just thick enough. Let me know what you think if you try this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups Heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups Half & half
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla
  • ¼ cups Sugar
  • 6 Egg yolks
  • Superfine sugar
    1. Preheat oven to 300ยบ.
    2. In a large small saucepan, combine the heavy cream and half & half. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.
    3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar. Whisk until smooth and pale yellow. About 2-3 minutes. Quickly stir the cream mixture into the egg mixture one cup at a time. * Adding all the cream at once will cause the egg yolks to cook and curdle*.
    4. Place 6 ramekins inside of a large baking dish. Pour egg/cream mixture into each ramekin so that mixture is evenly divided among them. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, keeping the oven rack pulled out about 1/3 of the way. Pour boiling hot water into the baking dish until it reaches about 2/3 of the way up the sides of the ramekins. *This is what is called baking in a hot water bath. Cooking the cream brulee in a hot water bath will allow the custard to fully cook, but not curdle*. Slowly slide the rack back into the oven.
    5. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the cream brulee is set, but not firm (will jiggle slightly when lightly shaken). Remove from water bath and let cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Move to the refrigerator and let cool for a further hour and a half to two hours.
    6. Just before service, remove cream brulee from the refrigerator. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon+ of superfine sugar on top of each custard, making sure that all surfaces are coated. With a brulee torch (a small torch designed specifically for the caramelization of sugar) caramelize the sugar on each custard. The surface of each custard should be a dark golden color with a glasslike texture.
    7. Serves 6


      *Note - If you do not have a small torch, you can caramalize your sugar under an oven broiler. Watch it VERY closely if you try it this way.

      *Also, cream brulee is just as good hot, if you don't want to wait for it to cool!