Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rhubarb Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I am a rhubarb addict!  I love it!  I can eat it raw with just some sugar and be happy.  I know I am not alone – admit it.  People at work know this too, so the other day I had a co-worker bring me a huge shopping bag of rhubarb that was from their garden.  All I could think of was, what should I make with all this rhubarb.  I love strawberry rhubarb pie but I wanted something different.  As I was looking for ideas I came across  Sassy Radish’s blog and saw a great rhubarb strawberry banana bread recipe.  I could not think about anything else but thought that if strawberries and bananas go together, and if strawberries and rhubarb go together, then won’t rhubarb and banana go well together?  They should right?  And what if you add some chocolate chips to the mix.  I was right – lets just say that I should have made two loaves one for me and one for my co-worker who brought all the rhubarb. Now I just have to figure out what else I should make for my co-worker as a thank you for all the rhubarb because the loaf is gone in my belly.

Rhubarb Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Adapted from: Sassy Radish

Yields: 1 loaf (9×5) | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

2 cups rhubarb chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cups sugar, divided
2 cups (9 ounces; 254 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3 overripe bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Position the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together the rhubarb with 1/2 cup of sugar. Set aside while you prepare the bread batter.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt, until fluffy and well-combined.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter and the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar together with an electric mixer on high speed until light and creamy, about 8 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs on at a time, using a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl between additions. Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture in two parts, and, with the mixer on low speed, stir just until just combined. Gently fold in the rhubarb and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Scoop the batter out into the baking pan and smooth out the top. Bake around 1 hour and 10 minutes (mine took 1 hour and 20 minutes) and the top of the bread is a deep golden brown, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. You should feel the top of the bread and it should show some resistance to your touch.

Allow the bread to cool on a baking rack for 15 minutes before running a knife around the perimeter of the bread to disengage it from the loaf pan. For best results, allow to cool overnight (or for the rest of the day) upside down, uncovered. The bottom might get soggy otherwise, and this way you preserve your banana bread’s nice crust.

For best results, store loosely draped with a kitchen towel. Wrapping your banana bread in plastic or foil will result in gummy texture.

Year Ago: Pierce Montee, Coruembouche, Cream Puffs

Sunday, May 22, 2011

20 reasons why cruising is not for me

Our ship

For those that regularly read my blog know that I went on a 2 week vacation a few weeks ago. I went on my first cruise.

I love travelling and have done that all my life, but cruising never appealed to me. I had visions of being trapped on a boat, lots of lines and lots of crowds of people, bad weather and being sea sick. None of this appealed to me. But due to family commitments a cruise vacation came up and we all went.

I am glad I went because now I never have to wonder what cruising is like. I understand that there are all types of cruises, some really high-end where everything is included, including alcohol, bigger rooms, smaller ships, and good food. Then there are cheaper versions where everything is a little less luxurious.

I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise – which is more in the middle of the line class.

I also understand the appeal of cruising since you only have to unpack once, and get to see many different locations and you do not have to worry about planning anything since that is all done for you. The kids have a blast there are activities for them 24/7.  And if you have a large family it could be very economical.  There are lots of people that love cruising, is a huge industry.

Don’t get me wrong i still had a good time on my vacation, the Caribbean was great, beautiful beaches, and the weather was always sunny and in the 90s F.

View from our cabin – this is your view 99% of the time at sea

But I will not go on a cruise anytime soon, here are my 20 reasons why cruising is not for me:

  1. Sea Sick – I never got sea sick but one night it was rough and hard to sleep. I think it might have been first time cruiser bad weather anxiety.
  2. Not able to pick up the soap in the shower – The bathroom and shower is so small so if you drop your soap, you need to step out of the shower to pick it up.
  3. Getting Sick – I am not talking sea sick but getting “the cruise” sickness. I got it and trust me nobody wants to get it.
  4. Having to use Purell everywhere you go – Yes, there are Purell stands everywhere.
  5. Having to be at the pool at 9am to get a seat – I am not kidding
  6. Having to sit 5 inches from your neighbor in the pool – One of the worst things I know. I want some privacy.
  7. Screaming children and adults in the pool – It was just like spring break all over again.
  8. No culture – I left the US and never felt like I did.
  9. Docking at ports with 10,000 other people getting of cruise ships – Do I even have to say more?
  10. Only getting 6-8 hours at port – There were places I wanted to spend more time exploring, but had to get back to the ship.
  11. Lines & Crowds – Yes, there were lines and crowds, it is a big ship but there are still lines and crowds.
  12. Being on a ship with 4400 other people – That is a lot of people
  13. Average Food – Food was my biggest disappointed, I really thought it was going to be good – bland, boring, over cooked, nothing exciting, very disappointing.
  14. Getting Lost – The ship is very large, you do get lost.
  15. No way of communicating with anyone else on the ship – You could leave messages in your room, pay a $2.49/min cell phone charge or just give up.
  16. Average Shows – Yes, it is true. When you hear Simon Cowell say that someone should be on a cruise ship – that is what they sound like.
  17. Ports are boring – Most of the time a port where a cruise ship can anchor is not a place I want to hang around. To get to a place more exciting you have to travel further once on land.
  18. Pay for alcohol – If you like to have drinks during your vacation your bill can get large pretty fast.
  19. Expensive excursions – The cruise line doubles or triples local excursion trips.
  20. Sea legs – You feel like you are on a ship days after you get off.

Main Dining Room

One of the kids pool area – before everyone arrived

Tendering from the ship

Miami

Would love to hear from you, have you ever been on a cruise? Do you like cruising or not and why?

Year Ago: Banana Bread

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

One of my favorite things to make for a brunch party is Baked French Toast and the reason is not only because it is delicious, but because i can make it the night before and just pop it in the oven the day of the brunch.  The last thing i want to do for a brunch party is to wake up at 6am and start cooking.  So this past weekend when i hosted a shower not only did i make the Ricotta Pound Cake but also Baked French Toast.  Usually i will go and buy some cinnamon raisin bread but i really wanted to make my own this time.  I found this great recipe (that i had to add raising to, i have to have raisins in my cinnamon bread) and it could not be easier to make.  The bread was so good that i had to have a few slices for myself with butter before i made it all into my Baked French Toast.  Lesson learned here: Make two loaves!

What are some of the things that you like to make for your brunch party?

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman

Yields: 12 servings | Prep Time: 4 hours | Cook Time 40 Minutes

1 cup Milk
6 tbsp Butter
2-½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
2 whole Eggs
2/3 cups Sugar (1/3 for dough and 1/3 for filling)
3-½ cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Cinnamon
1 cup Raisins
1 Egg for brushing
2 tbsp Softened Butter, For Smearing And Greasing

Melt butter with milk. Heat until very warm, but don’t boil. Allow to cool until still warm to the touch, but not hot. Sprinkle yeast over the top, stir gently, and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Combine flour and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix sugar and eggs with the paddle attachment until combined. Pour in milk/butter/yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add half the flour and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the other half and beat until combined.

Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat/knead dough on medium speed for ten minutes. If dough is overly sticky, add 1/4 cup flour and beat again for 5 minutes.

Heat a metal or glass mixing bowl so it’s warm. Drizzle in a little canola oil, then toss the dough in the oil to coat. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and set it in a warm, hospitable place for at least 2 hours.

Turn dough out onto the work surface. Roll into a neat rectangle no wider than the loaf pan you’re going to use, and about 18 to 24 inches long. Smear with 2 tbsp melted butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkle evenly over the butter-smeared dough. Starting at the far end, roll dough toward you, keeping it tight and contained. Pinch seam to seal.

Smear loaf pan with softened butter. Place dough, seam down, in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix a little egg and brush over the top. Bake for 40 minutes on a middle/lower rack in the oven.

Remove from the pan and allow bread to cool. Slice and serve or make Baked French Toast.

One Year Ago: Chocolate Mouse Cake

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ricotta Pound Cake

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog  this month was Creative Culinary which is written by Barb.  Barb has an amazing food blog with a lot of delicious recipes,  I had a hard time narrowing down of what to make.  But this past weekend i was hosting a baby shower and needed a coffee cake of some sort, and when i saw Ricotta Pound Cake i knew that was my recipe.

There are times when you find a great recipes and just know that you will make it for years, well this is one of them.  I am a huge fan of ricotta cheesecakes, and this is very similar to that.  This Ricotta Pound cake is very moist and delicious, and several people asked for the recipe during the shower.  I did a few adjustments to the original recipe due to some of my favorite ricotta cheesecake memories and this recipe is a keeper.  I know i will be making this lots more, also as Barb suggested i made it the night before.

Ricotta Pound Cake

Adapted from: Creative Culinary

Yields: One 9 inch loaf cake | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time:  60 minutes

1 1/2 cup  flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups fresh whole-milk ricotta
1 1/2 cups sugar sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cups raisins
1 tsp lemon zest
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Blackberries for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and position a rack in the center. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter, dust it with flour, and tap to knock out the excess.

In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, ricotta, and sugar on medium speed until smooth and light, about 2 minutes.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds with blunt side of a small knife, then beat them into batter along with vanilla extract, lemon zest and raisins. On low speed, beat in dry ingredients to combine them, scrape down sides of the bowl, and beat batter for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Pour batter into prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth the top. Give the pan a few gentle whacks on the counter to remove any air pockets.

Bake cake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan 180 degrees to ensure even browning. Lower the temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking until the cake springs back lightly when touched, the sides have begun to pull away from the pan, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 to 35 minutes more.  (I had to cook mine for a total of  60 minutes)

Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto the rack to cool completely. Dust cake lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving it and or add blackberries; the flavor is best on the next day.

Any leftover cake may be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 3 days. The cake also freezes beautifully, wrapped in plastic, and place in a large, re-sealable plastic bag.

One Year Ago: Popovers with Cinnamon Butter

 



Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rum Balls

The other day I had a chocolate craving and made these little things, and not only are these little suckers delicious but they are no bake. These are very similar to Swedish Chocolate balls but with no coconut and instead filled with rum and covered in chocolate. There are many versions to this type of ball. My version is based on oatmeal. But I have seen them based on finely crushed vanilla wafers or other cookies. Also some folks add syrup but I like the butter version. Delicious treat any time of the year and they are very easy and quick to make – once you cool these and then dip them in chocolate, the chocolate cools instantly and they are ready to get eaten.

Rum Balls

Yields: 12 | Prep: 20 minutes | Cooling: 1 hour

1 ¼ cup (3 dl) oatmeal
6 tbsp (1 dl) confection sugar
3 tbsp dark rum
2 tbsp cacao powder
3 1/2 tbsp (50 g) butter melted
1.7 oz (50g) dark chocolate
Sprinkles for decor

Using a food processor grind the oatmeal to a fine grain. Then add the confection sugar, cocoa power, butter, and rum. Mix well. Then roll into small balls, about 1/2 tbsp size, and put them into the freezer for about 1 hour. After one hour remove the balls from the freezer and melt the chocolate in the microwave by heating it for 15 seconds at a time and stirring in between. Once it starts melting just keep stirring until it is all melted. Then dip each ball into the chocolate and put on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with sprinkles. Sprinkle right away as the chocolate hardens quickly since the balls are frozen.

Once you have done all of them they are ready to eat – they will keep well in the freezer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Top 10 Restaurants in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Ft. Lauderdale Intercoastal

I was on vacation for two week and not only did I go on my first cruise (and last which I will write about) but I also spent one week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  My parents currently live in Ft. Lauderdale and I have been there a few times.  This time I decided to make my top 10 restaurant list for those that have not been there before.

Ft. Lauderdale has a lot to offer for everyone.  You have the beach with lots of bars and restaurants.  But then there is Las Olas Bouevard with cute little stores and great restaurants that you can sit outside and do some great people watching.  I also learned that just because a state is sourrounded by water it does not mean they know how to prepare fish.  I have no idea why but fish seems to be a hit or miss in Ft. Lauderdale.  At Yolo it was always prepared perfectly  but at other place you have to tell them not to over cook your fish or 50% of the time they will.  So if you are a fish person this is just a reminder to tell your waiter how you want your fish prepared.

Would love to hear where you like to eat in Ft. Lauderdale but here are my top 10 places to eat:

Yolo (You Only Live Once) – I ate here for lunch and dinner and it was always delicious.  You have the options of decadent or healthy food but all just perfectly prepared.  Their fish is not overdone and their salads are very tasty.  The California Spinach Salad is delicious served with Rotisserie Chicken, Green Apples, Cranberries,  Cashews, Bacon and Chopped Egg . The Prime Rib is out of this world.  Served with Garlic Toasted Ciabatta, Melted Swiss, Caramelized Onions and French Fries. And my favorite dessert is the Ice Cream sandwich with Espresso and Chocolate Cookie Ice Cream and covered in Nuts and served with a warm cinnamon sauce.  Do not miss this place.

Yolo
333 East Las Olas Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2259
(954) 523-1000
Yolo on Urbanspoon

The LeTub Saloon – This place is not in Ft. Lauderdale but in Hollywood, FL which is about 20 minutes outside of Ft. Lauderdale  but you still can’t miss this place. This place serves one of the best burgers in the US.  I am not kidding you.  This is not a fancy place but the burgers are amazing.  A formerly Gas Station but closed in the seventies, the owner personally hand built LeTub totally of Flotsam, Jetsam and ocean borne treasures all gathered daily over 4 years of day break jogging on Hollywood Beach.  Don’t miss this.

The LeTub Saloon
1100 North Ocean Drive
Hollywood, FL 33019-3309
(954) 921-9425
Le Tub Saloon on Urbanspoon

Pelican Landing (Hyatt Regency Pier 66) – Considered “Fort Lauderdale’s Best Kept Secret,” A casual place with simple and good food.  Great people and boat watching at this place.  Go during happy hour and this place is even better since drinks and appetizers are discounted.

Pelican Landing (Hyatt Regency Pier 66)
2301 Southeast 17th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
(954) 525-6666
PelicanLanding  (Hyatt Regency Pier 66) on Urbanspoon

Greek Island Tavern – I have been to Greece and this place has good authentic Greek food.  If you like Greek food you can not miss this place. The Greek salads and the feta here is amazing.  The lamb is out of this world.  Their soups are delicious.  The menu is large and everything I have had here was always just prepared great. On top of that the staff is really nice and the service is great. Don’t miss this place.

Greek Island Tavern
3300 North Ocean Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308-7119
(954) 568-0008
Greek Islands Taverna on Urbanspoon

Casa D’Angelo Ristorante – Excellent Italian place.  You have three locations to choose from , Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Atlantis Resort in Bahamas.  I have only tried the Ft. Lauderdale one but the food was excellent. Veal in a ragu sauce, homemade sausage, veal scaloppini, sautéed shrimp, so many choices and everything excellent.

Casa D’Angelo Ristorante
1201 North Federal Highway # 5B
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304-1458
(954) 564-1234
Casa D'Angelo Ristorante on Urbanspoon

Café Martorano – This is another Italian place that has 3 locations one in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood and Las Vegas, NV.  I have only been to the Ft. Lauderdale  one but a great little place.  They are famous for their meatballs so you have to try those.  But they also have great thin crust pizza, lots of pasta and the South Philly favorites.  I didn’t stay this long but I hear at 11pm it turn into a club.

Café Martorano
3343 E Oakland Park Blvd,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
(954) 561-2554
Cafe Martorano on Urbanspoon

Sage Café – A french restaurant that has two locations one in Ft. Lauderdale and one in Hollywood, Fl.  Great place for brunch, lunch or dinner and order the crepes.

Sage Café
2378 North Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33305-2562
(954) 565-2299
Sage French-American Cafe on Urbanspoon

Coco Asian Bistro & Bar – This place is in a strip mall, so I would have never gone here if I didn’t know about it and it’s a great little surprise.  Very chic and stylish little place. The Chef is from Thailand and the food is excellent.  The spring rolls, dumplings, and curry is excellent.  The menu is large and something for everyone.

Coco Asian Bistro & Bar
1841 Cordova Road
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
(954) 525-3541
Coco Asian Bistro & Bar on Urbanspoon

Vienna Café & Wine Bar – Great Food, Great Atmosphere, Great Wine!  Do not miss the Danish meatballs.

Vienna Café & Wine Bar
9100 W State Road 84
Davie, FL 33324-4416
(954) 423-1961
Vienna Cafe & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Wild East Bistro – Another great Asian Bistro with lots of choices here. Dumplings, Shrimp, scallion pancakes, Shrimp in Grand Marnier and they have kimchi. Something for everyone here. Sit outside but don’t fall into the river.

Wild East Bistro
1200 E Las Olas Blvd # 101
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2367
(954) 828-1888
Wild East Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Foodies 2011

This is just a little reminder that Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday May 8, 2011.  I always do Gift Ideas for this occasion and the gifts are always for foodies.  This year all my gift ideas are coming from Etsy.com which is the world’s handmade market and I love it.  I always find fabulous things there.

Here are my top 10 gifts for Mother’s day from Etsy.com, something for each foodie mother in every price range.

  1. Recycled bottle canisters with natural corks, leaf emblem – $56 – Magnum wine bottles upcycled into eco-friendly hand painted glass canisters w/ bark-top corks. Set of 3. Each upcycled hand painted glass canister with a leaf emblem is one-of-a-kind. Bottle tops are cropped off, edges are smoothed and polished, canisters are hand painted and baked and topped with natural bark-top corks.
  2. Hand printed linen table runner & napkins – $45 – New Spring collection of hand printed linen featuring poppy print will brighten up your dinner table.
  3. Your State Plyboo Cutting Board – $40 – State series in Plyboo, a butcher block architectural plywood made from 100% rapidly renewable bamboo.
  4. Dottie’s Quadruplets-Set of 4 Caribbean Blue Curvy Mugs – $35 – Perfect for a cup of hot chocolate tea or coffee. These Dottie inspired cups are wonderful to hold and gorgeous to behold.
  5. The Baker’s Necklace – 18 inch ball chain – $20 – For the baker, chef, or cute necklace lover! A mini muffin pan and a set of labeled measuring spoons hang from an 18 inch ball chain necklace.
  6. Scrumptulicious Cookie Box – $18 – The Scrumptulicious Cookie Box includes 4 each of 6 flavors for a total of 24 cookies.  Always freshly baked in a Cookie Box. It’s a scrumptulicious way to taste some of the best sellers! And it makes the perfect gift for any occasion.
  7. Flying Doves Silhouette vinyl wall decal, removable matte finish graphics art – $16 – A beautiful silhouette of flying doves perfect for your kitchen.
  8. KEEP CALM AND DRINK A MARGARITA, 13×19 Poster- $15.95 – This vintage inspired 13×19 poster is a whimsical play off of the original. The Whimsical Collection of Keep Calm is meant to bring a sense of humor and inspiration to continue doing the things we love.
  9. Julie’s Fudge – DRUMSTICK with Sugar Cone Crust, Chocolate Lining, & Peanut Topping – 6 Pieces (OVER 1/2 Pound) – $11 – This fudgy awesomeness is just like the ice cream treat! A crunchy sugar cone crust is layered with a chocolate lining, then creamy smooth vanilla fudge. Chocolate covers the top, and a layer of honey roasted and regular peanut mix generously finishes off this fantastic treat! Pure decadence!
  10. Chocolate Caramel Truffles-1/2 Lb. Box – $10.50 – Handmade caramel meets Belgian Milk chocolate: Handmade caramel is chilled and rolled into balls, then dipped in Belgian Milk chocolate. Once these little bites of love have chilled and drizzle with more caramel.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

Other Similar Items:

2010 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas
2010 Father’s Days Gift Ideas
Kitchen Fasion – what to wear in the kitchen
2010 Perfect Gifts for Him & Her

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tomato and Green Bean Salad

I am back from a long needed two week vacation and ready to start cooking again.  I hope you enjoyed my fabulous guest posts from The English Organizer about organizing your kitchen and other fabulous scheduled recipes while i was gone.  I will tell you all about my vacation soon since i have lots to talk about.

But first i needed to share one of my favorite salads of all times.  I never get tired of this salad.  Plus it was featured in the new amazing magazine by House of Fifty.  If you missed it you have to go and check it out, Janell of Isabella and Max did a fabulous job and all the recipes have step by step instructions.

 

Raspberry & Chocolate Tort

But this simple and classic salad is perfect during a summer night.   Every time I make this I always get asked for the recipe and it could not be simpler to make.  The bottom line is that the real secret of super-fresh food is that you don’t need to do a lot to it to make it delicious. This salad belongs into that category.

My perfect combination with this salad is a great lamb burger or a great steak – really any protein right of the gill goes perfect with this salad during a nice summer night.

Tomato and Green Bean Salad

Yields: 4-6 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes

10 oz green beans
14 oz red and yellow cherry tomatoes
2 green onions

Dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Prepare the vegetables by topping the tail head of the green beans by hand of by knife and then cut them into 3 pieces (1 ½ inch pieces).  Then blanch the green beans.  To do this you put the green beans into boiling water for about 3 minutes and then throw them into a bowl filled with ice water, remove and let them dry.

Then cut the cherry tomatoes into halves and chop the green onions and set aside.

Make the dressing by combining Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Toss the cherry tomatoes and green onions in with the dressing; this can sit for a while.

Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette.

Enjoy!

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Maple Mousse in Waffle Cup

It is that time of the month again; here is the next Daring Bakers challenge.

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 27th to May 27th at Daring Bakers!

I had a blast making these.  I knew i wanted to make a “waffle type” container since i am a huge fan of them.  The dilemma was the batter.  I first tried a waffle batter that did not work since it  was too thick, and had to find a waffle/crepe batter to it was shapable.  Then i just decided to place a bunch of drinking glasses up side down so i could put the waffle cups on top of the glasses so they could be shaped.  I had to fold down the sides but otherwise they cooled and stayed in shape just like a waffle cup.  And the combination of the mousse and waffle cup was delicious.

 

Waffle Cup

Yields 8 cups | Prep Time: 30 minutes

Adapted from: Joy of Baking

2 large eggs
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
4 tbsp (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 – 3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup (50 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Vegetable oil and pastry brush

In a medium sized bowl whisk together (or use a hand mixer) the eggs and sugar until frothy. Whisk in the melted butter, milk and vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and whisk until the batter is smooth. The batter should be quite thin (like a crepe batter) so add more milk if the consistency is too thick.

Heat a 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) saute pan over medium heat until it is hot. Reduce the heat to medium low and brush the pan lightly with vegetable oil. Pour or ladle about 3-4 tablespoons of batter into the pan and immediately tilt or rotate the pan so the batter forms a thin 5-6 inch (13-15 cm) circle. Place pan back on the heat and cook until the batter is set and you can see the underside is golden brown (3-4 minutes). Slip a metal spatula under the crepe and gently flip it over. Cook until golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat and slide the crepe from the pan onto your work surface. While the crepe is still hot, put it over a glass and fold the sides down to make a cup. Wait to cool completely.

Continue making the rest of the cups, lightly brushing the pan with vegetable oil each time. These cups are best the day they are made. However, you can store leftover cones in a covered container. To re-crisp the cups preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Working with one cone at a time, put them into the oven and the and bake for about 3-5 minutes or until the cup is hot and soft. Remove from oven and place the hot crepe on your glass again so and fold down the corners to it reshapes to a cup.

Maple Mousse

Yields: 8 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Refrigeration: 1 hour

1 cup (240 ml) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
4 large egg yolks
1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatin
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) whipping cream

Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).

Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.

Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.

Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.

Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.

Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your waffle cups. Decorate with pecans if desired.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Raspberry Chocolate Tort

Calling all chocolate lovers, this one is for you!  Chocolaty, dense, and creamy with a touch of whipped cream and some raspberries – a perfect dessert for a summer night!

But there is more. . .

Today is the launch of House of Fifty magazine that we have all been waiting for and a few of my recipes are featured there, including this Raspberry Chocolate Tort.  House of Fifty magazine was greated by Janell of Isabella and Max design blog. This quarterly e-zine will cover a range of topics from interior design to fashion, organization tips to favorite finds and tasty dishes. There is something for everyone.

This awesome chocolate cake is baked the night before and then kept in the refrigerator to stiffen.  You will not be disappointed!

Raspberry Chocolate Tort

Yields: 10 slices | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 15 minutes

14 tbsp of butter
7 oz bittersweet chocolate (70 %)
4 eggs
¾ cups + 1tbsp sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

For Severing:
1 tsp powdered sugar
3/4 cups heavy cream
8 0z raspberries

Turn oven to 335F.

Melt the butter in the microwave and put the chocolate into the butter to melt.  Stir until all combined and let it cool.

In a separate bowl mix the eggs, and sugar until well combined.  In another bowl mix flour and baking powder and set aside.  Add the chocolate/butter mixture into the egg and sugar mixture and combine well.  Then add the flour and baking powder mixture.

Pour into a buttered 9” cake form with removable bottom.

Bake at the bottom of the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the cake after 15 minutes, it will still be soft in the middle but that will stiffen after it is refrigerated, that is why you have to make this cake the day before serving.

Once you are ready to serve make the whipping cream.  Then powder the cake with powdered sugar, add whipping cream and decorate with raspberries.

Now go to House of Fifty magazine and check it out!

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