Saturday, April 24, 2010

Edamame Pesto Spread or Dip

3 cups Edamame, shelled & blanched
1/4 cup olive oil
Basil(1/2 bunch, or 1/4 cup Gourmet Garden Basil Blend)
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
salt & pepper to taste
Sriracha sauce, a few drops
3 cloves Garlic, minced
juice of one lemon

Blend all of the above ingredients together in food processor, add water if needed, continue to scrape down sides until you get a pretty smooth consistency or leave chunky if you prefer.  
Slice Ciabatta bread into toast size pieces.  Spray with butter flavor non-stick spray and broil just until crisp.  Spread toasts with dip.
Also a tasty alternative to Mayonnaise on sandwiches.
My kids LOVE this.

White Chocolate Lemon Filled Cream Puffs

1 cup water
1 cup butter(2 sticks)
1 cup flour
4 eggs
Electric mixer
Preheat oven to 400’.  In a medium size saucepan bring water and butter to a boil.  Add flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until it forms a large ball, about 1 minute.  If you have a Kitchenaid, transfer mixture to bowl and using whisk attachment beat on high.  If using a hand mixer, you can use the pan, turn off heat and whip fast.  Add one egg at a time until mixture is well mixed and all eggs are incorporated.  Use a small cookie scoop and drop level scoopfuls 1 1/2” apart on cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.  Remove to cookie sheets right away.  (They’re full of air and almost cool to the touch as soon as you pull them out, but be careful still).  This recipe yields about 48 good size cream puffs.  If you use an even smaller cookie scoop(I played around with extra batter using a tsp. size, and they puffed up to the perfect bite size.

1 8oz. block light cream cheese
1 tub whipped topping(not fat free)
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
Juice & zest of one lemon, separated
1 egg
2 Tbl. Cold Butter
1 pkg. white chocolate chips.
In a large mixer bowl, allow cream cheese to come to room temperature.  When soft, beat on high using a whisk attachment.  Add pudding mix and milk and whip on high until smooth and creamy.  Set aside. 
In a small bowl, beat egg with lemon zest and set aside.  In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a low boil, until sugar is dissolved.  Slowly add hot water to egg mixture, whisking, and then add the mixture back into the pan and return to heat.  Keep stirring with whisk until thickened to custard like consistency.  Remove from heat and add cold butter and lemon juice.  Mix well.  Add in bag of white chocolate chips and whisk.  Let set for a minute and come back and stir again.  The heat from the mixture will melt the chips and it will be just about room temperature by the time they’re done melting and mixed.  Pour lemon mixture into cream cheese & pudding mixture and blend well.  Fold in Whipped Topping, you can just use the whisk attachment on low spead. 
Fill a decorators bag with a large star tip attached with mixture.  This will have to be done in batches, so don’t overfill or it will make a BIG mess.  Poke tip into side of puff and fill, you’ll feel the weight of the puff change.  Overfilling is not an issue, but may be slightly yugly(my word for yummy/ugly, it’s all good though).  Spread a little of the cream filling on the bottom of the plate you’ll be serving them on, this acts like a glue so the cute little guys don’t roll off!  Layer, and sprinkle with powdered sugar, layer again, more powdered sugar.  I use a tiny fine sieve strainer or shaker.  Randomly place fresh raspberries around the platter.

Raspberry Dipping Sauce
Okay, this is the EASIEST and BEST dipping sauce ever, use it over brownies, ice cream, cheesecake, etc….  A friend told me about this.  Literally, 1 minute!
In a large mixing bowl, pour in one bag of FROZEN raspberries and 1 jar of strawberry preserves and mix.  Set in fridge, covered, and allow the mixture to thaw and set up just right.  Give it a good stir before serving.  Something about the juices from the berries with the pectin from the jam.  Yum.  I made mine last time using strawberry freezer jam, and my oh my!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Love This! Frazil Ice at Yosemite...

I just want to hold out a cone and pour some flavorings on.  I know, sick, it's loaded with all kinds of fun gastric love, but it LOOKS cool.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chili (I served this at Girls Camp Fundraiser)

2 cans black beans(do not drain)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can tomato soup
 2 Heaping Tbl. each Chili Powder & Cumin
2 Tbl. Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
 1 Medium Onion, Diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, finely diced, most of the seeds removed
1 Anaheim Pepper, finely diced, most of the seeds removed
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbl. Beef "Better Than Bouillion"
1 3 lb. lean Beef Roast, cooked and shredded
1 lb. chorizo, cooked and drained

Sriracha Sauce to Taste

In a large slowcooker, combine all ingredients EXCEPT meat.   Add enough water to the cans of beans to rinse all of the grainy fibery goodness out, about half to two thirds up the can.  Swirl around to loosen up all the residue and add "bean juice" to the crockpot.  Stir all the ingredients.  Cook on High 1 hour and turn down to Low for 5-6 hours, until onions are translucent and soft.  In a large non-stick pan, cook chorizo.  Pour into a fine sieve strainer and drain.  Go back and scrape the "bits" left in the pan, you can add a little water to help.  Pour the "bits" and drained chorizo into the chili mixture.  Add shredded beef and stir well.  Cook for one more hour.  The beef will soak up a lot of the liquid and it will thicken up.  Add Sriracha Sauce to taste if you'd like to add more heat.

**I slow-cooked the roast the day before in the crock-pot.  I use London Broil in the crock-pot A LOT, and this would also work well, any cheap cut will do, even pork.

Serve with Honey Corn Bread or Muffins.

Updated, my favorite version(10/10/15)

3  cans red kidney beans(do not drain)
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
 1 Heaping Tbl. each Pasilla Chili Powder, California Chili Powder, & Cumin
1 Tbl. Worchestire Sauce
 1 Medium Onion, Diced
1 Tbl. Minced Dried Onion
1 Jalapeno Pepper, finely diced, most of the seeds removed
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tbl. Beef "Better Than Bouillion" 
1 tsp. ManSmith's Dry Fire Seasoning 
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Combine above ingredients in crockpot and cook on high one hour, then turn down to low and cook another 5-6 hours.

Add the ingredients below and more water if needed and cook on low for another hour.

2 cups cooked and shredded Beef Roast
2 cups cooked ground beef(drain the oil)
1 cup finely diced cooked bacon
1 Tbl. Cocoa Powder(good quality)

S'mores Cupcakes

I did do a little tweaking, as usual.
Doubled the Graham Cracker Crust Recipe
Use half a square of Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bar with Caramel Filling Instead of Chocolate on Graham Cracker Crust
Used Lowfat Buttermilk instead of Whole Milk
Did Not Torch Frosting

For the graham cracker crust: (Doubled this)
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped(See Substitution Above)

For the cake:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk ( I used lowfat buttermilk instead)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

For the frosting:
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
½ tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.  Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom. (Note: I found the bottom of my squeeze bottle to be the perfect size to do this job neatly and quickly.) Sprinkle a small amount of the chopped chocolate on top of the graham cracker crusts.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven, and maintain the oven temperature.

To make the cake batter, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on low speed just to combine.  In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract; whisk together.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the boiling water and stir just to combine (batter will be thin).
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners, filling each about ¾ of the way full.  Return the pans to the oven and bake about 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the pans halfway through baking.  Allow to cool in the pans 5-10 minutes, then remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in the top of a double boiler. (Note: I just set my clean, dry mixer bowl over simmering water, to avoid dirtying two bowls.) Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk starting at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form.  Mix in the vanilla until combined.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.  Brown with a kitchen torch and garnish with chocolate and graham cracker segments (optional).

Source: adapted from Lovin’ From the Oven, originally attributed to Trophy Cupcakes, cake clearly from Hershey’s

Friday, April 9, 2010

Crockpot Turkey Breast Dinner & Mashed Potatoes

This was SO easy. I purchased a seasoned turkey breast, ribs removed but leg attached. Looked like half a turkey.

Spray crockpot with non-stick spray(don't use a liner, because you'll mash the potatoes in the crockpot). Layer one large finely chopped onion, and 2 lbs. cleaned baby red potatoes, and 3 cloves crushed garlic. Season with black and white pepper(to taste) and stir in one can of fat free cream of chicken soup. Top with 4 sprigs of rosemary. Top with turkey breast. Cook on Low 7-9 hours. You can also do this with boneless skinless chicken breasts, turkey loins, etc....

My turkey came with a pop up "done" insert, so after it popped, I let it still continue to cook for a while longer, it just comes out fork tender. Remove the turkey breast and allow to "set" for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Pour out most of the juices and remove sprigs of rosemary. Use a non-stick masher to make smashed potatoes, adding in liquid as needed. Serve with steamed veggies or salad. EASIEST turkey dinner ever! You can also use the reserved liquid to make a gravy, but I didn't even feel the need, it was SO flavorful and moist. But great stock for another meal. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Central Coast Part 3

This is Montana de Oro's Buchon Trail. We hiked in 1.5 miles in to Disney Point and back. Gorgeous day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Central Coast Part 2

Grossed out? It's pretty disgusting, I admit it. This is Bubble Gum Alley. If you click on the link you'll see there is controversy in how it actually got started. Even my mom says their San Luis Obispo High School class was the one to start it.

Took the kids, they contributed and then I passed out the hand sanitizer after we walked QUICKLY through the alley. The alley starts off a parking lot on the corner of Broad Street and Marsh Street and goes through to Higuera.