Sunday, August 31, 2008

Daring Bakers- Pierre Herme's Chocolate Eclairs

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and co-hosted by Tony Tahhan and Meeta at What's for Lunch, Honey. They chose Eclairs.Not just any eclairs though, Pierre Herme's Chocolate Eclairs. We were given a little leeway, as long as we kept either the pastry cream or the glaze chocolate. We also needed to use Pierre's recipe for the pate choux. I have never made eclairs before simply because I don't really love them. My mom on the other hand, loves them. I haven't seen her eyes light up the way they did today, for a long time. I mean she was excited-like little kids on Christmas Day, excited. It was fun to watch.

These came together quickly and didn't give me any trouble. I did have to bake them longer than the 20 minutes called for, because they were not firm or nicely golden after 20 minutes. I was going to make the chocolate pastry cream, but my mom wanted vanilla, so I went with Dorie's Pastry Cream- I added that recipe all the way at the bottom of this post. These were fun to make and they turned out looking good. I made some little puffs, just for fun and I really think the last picture looks like a little monster or something. Maybe I have just been looking at it too long! Anyway, this was a fun challenge. Go see how everyone else did with their eclairs by checking out the Daring Bakers Blogroll. I can't wait to see what we will be up to next month!

Pierre Hermé’s Chocolate Éclairs Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
• Cream Puff Dough (see below for recipe), fresh and still warm

1) Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Divide the oven into thirds bypositioning the racks in the upper and lower half of the oven. Line two baking sheets withwaxed or parchment paper.
2) Fill a large pastry bag fitted with a 2/3 (2cm) plain tip nozzle with the warm cream puff dough. Pipe the dough onto the baking sheets in long, 4 to 41/2 inches (about 11 cm) chubby fingers. Leave about 2 inches (5 cm) space in between each dough strip to allow them room to puff. The dough should give you enough to pipe 20-24 éclairs.
3) Slide both the baking sheets into the oven and bake for 7 minutes. After the 7 minutes, slip the handle of a wooden spoon into the door to keep in ajar. When the éclairs have been in the oven for a total of 12 minutes, rotate the sheets, top to bottom and front to back. Continue baking for a further 8 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed, golden and firm. The total baking time should be approximately 20 minutes.
1) The éclairs can be kept in a cool, dry place for several hours before filling.
Assembling the éclairs:
• Chocolate glaze (see below for recipe)
• Chocolate pastry cream (see below for recipe)
1) Slice the éclairs horizontally, using a serrated knife and a gently sawing motion. Set aside the bottoms and place the tops on a rack over a piece of parchment paper.
2) The glaze should be barely warm to the touch (between 95 – 104 degrees F or 35 – 40 degrees C, as measured on an instant read thermometer). Spread the glaze over the tops of the éclairs using a metal icing spatula. Allow the tops to set and in the meantime fill the bottoms with the pastry cream.
3) Pipe or spoon the pastry cream into the bottoms of the éclairs. Make sure you fill the bottoms with enough cream to mound above the pastry. Place the glazed tops onto the pastry cream and wriggle gently to settle them.
1) If you have chilled your chocolate glaze, reheat by placing it in a bowl over simmering water,stirring it gently with a wooden spoon. Do not stir too vigorously as you do not want to create bubbles.
2) The éclairs should be served as soon as they have been filled.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 20-24 Éclairs)
• ½ cup (125g) whole milk
• ½ cup (125g) water
• 1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
• ¼ teaspoon sugar
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
• 5 large eggs, at room temperature

1) In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil.
2) Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to mediumand start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough will be very soft and smooth
3) Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough. You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time youhave added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
4) The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

1) Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
2) You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined bakingsheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer thepiped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by PierreHermé
• 2 cups (500g) whole milk
• 4 large egg yolks
• 6 tbsp (75g) sugar
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
• 7 oz (200g) bittersweet chocolate, preferably Velrhona Guanaja, melted
• 2½ tbsp (1¼ oz: 40g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1) In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. In the meantime, combine the yolks, sugar and cornstarch together and whisk in a heavy‐bottomed saucepan.
2) Once the milk has reached a boil, temper the yolks by whisking a couple spoonfuls of the hot milk into the yolk mixture.Continue whisking and slowly pour the rest of the milk into the
tempered yolk mixture.
3) Strain the mixture back into the saucepan to remove any egg that may have scrambled. Place the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously (without stop) until the mixture returns to a boil. Keep whisking vigorously for 1 to 2 more minutes (still over medium heat).Stir in the melted chocolate and then remove the pan from the heat.
4) Scrape the pastry cream into a small bowl and set it in an ice‐water bath to stop the cooking process. Make sure to continue stirring the mixture at this point so that it remains smooth.
5) Once the cream has reached a temperature of 140 F remove from the ice‐water bath and stir in the butter in three or four installments. Return the cream to the ice‐water bath to continue cooling, stirring occasionally, until it has completely cooled. The cream is now ready to use or store in the fridge.
1) The pastry cream can be made 2‐3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
2) In order to avoid a skin forming on the pastry cream, cover with plastic wrap pressed onto the cream.
3) Tempering the eggs raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they do not scramble.

Chocolate Glaze Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé(makes 1 cup or 300g)
• 1/3 cup (80g) heavy cream
• 3½ oz (100g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 4 tsp (20 g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces, at room temperature
• 7 tbsp (110 g) Chocolate Sauce (recipe below), warm or at room temperature

1)In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly begin
to add the chocolate, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula.
2) Stirring gently, stir in the butter, piece by piece followed by the chocolate sauce.

1) If the chocolate glaze is too cool (i.e. not liquid enough) you may heat it briefly in the microwave or over a double boiler. A double boiler is basically a bowl sitting over (not touching) simmering water.
2) It is best to glaze the eclairs after the glaze is made, but if you are pressed for time, you can make the glaze a couple days ahead of time, store it in the fridge and bring it up to the proper temperature (95 to 104 F) when ready to glaze.

Chocolate Sauce Recipe from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Hermé (makes 1½ cups or 525 g)
• 4½ oz (130 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
• 1 cup (250 g) water
• ½ cup (125 g) crème fraîche, or heavy cream
• 1/3 cup (70 g) sugar

1) Place all the ingredients into a heavy‐bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil, making sure to stir constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the sauce thickens.
2) It may take 10‐15 minutes for the sauce to thicken, but you will know when it is done when it coats the back of your spoon.
1) You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. Reheat the sauce in a microwave oven or a double boiler before using.
2) This sauce is also great for cakes, ice-cream and tarts.

Dorie's Pastry Cream from Baking
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk– this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (making sure to get the edges of the pot), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat.Whisk in the vanilla. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until they are full incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool it quickly–as I always do–put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cupcake Hero -Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream, Raz-Pepper Preserves, and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I have to admit- when I saw the theme for this month's Cupcake Hero, I was a little shocked. I mean, I have heard of mixing chocolate and chilies, but JALAPENO for a cupcake? My mind was completely blank. Completely. This month is being co-hosted by 2 guests, Rachel- Confessions of a Tangerine Tart and Teri-the 90/10 rule. And they are the ones responsible for this interesting challenge. I was racking my brain, seriously, and then, when I was at the Farmers Market with my mom and sister, I saw the answer to all my problems-Pepper Jelly. PepperLane Products happened to have a booth at the Farmers Market and they were selling ALL sorts of Pepper jelly. We tasted-Blackberry Buzz,Pepp'ricot, Cherry Bomb, etc. You get they idea. There was every type of Pepper jelly and I decided that Raz-Pepper would pair perfectly with these Lemon Cupcakes which have a cream cheese center and lemon cream cheese frosting. I added a 1/2 tsp to the filling before the cupcakes baked and then swirled some into the frosting and, SURPRISE- They were amazingly delicious! Try them out for yourself and see.

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream from Gourmet Magazine, makes 5 large cupcakes 3/4 cup cake flour (not self-rising)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cream cheese (about 2 ounces), softened
2 1/2 tsps Raz-Pepper Preserves

Preheat oven to 350° F. and line four 1/2-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk in 2 teaspoons zest. In another bowl with a fork blend butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon juice until smooth. With a wooden spoon beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until smooth. Stir butter mixture into flour mixture until batter is combined well.
In a small bowl with a fork stir together cream cheese and remaining 1/2 teaspoon zest, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon juice until lemon cream is smooth.
Spoon 3 level tablespoons batter and about 1 tablespoon lemon cream into each paper liner. Drop 1/2 tsp Raz-Pepper Preserves over the lemon cream. Spoon remaining batter over preserves, and smooth the tops. Bake cupcakes in middle of oven 20 minutes, or until golden brown, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting with Raz-Pepper Swirl
1 stick butter, softened
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 pd powdered sugar, sifted
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
Raz-Pepper Preserves

Beat butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in lemon juice and lemon zest. When ready to pipe, spread desired amount of Raz-Pepper jelly into your decorating bag and fill with frosting. Pipe onto cupcake. or, stir desired amount of preserves into frosting and spread onto cupcakes. There will be leftover frosting.

Jenny's Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas- Casserole Style

I am sure all of you are familiar with Picky Palate. Jenny comes up with so many scrumptious, crowd pleasing meals and snacks, that it is hard to choose which one to make first! Her pictures are beautiful and she is just about the kindest person out there. I don't really know her, but she comments back to you after you make comments on her blog and it makes you feel like you are friends. Anyway, I saw THESE enchiladas (Please go look at her pictures, they are much more beautiful), and loved the fact that she had incorporated more veggies into them. We were going to have Chicken Enchiladas anyway that week, so I decided to try hers, instead of our family favorite. I did make this casserole style, by layering all the ingredients, because that is how we do it at my house. ( I am not sure how that got started!) And the results were, that everyone loved these! They were absolutely fabulous. I did change a few things, I used flour tortillas, just because my hubby doesn't like corn ones, and I used some queso fresco cheese as well as shredded, because it really needed to be used. I also used Greek Yogurt in place of the sour cream, which I always do. They were so yummy! Thanks, Jenny!
Jenny's Fiesta Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas-Casserole Style adapted from Picky Palate
1 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
3 fresh cloves garlic, minced
6 oz bag baby spinach leaves, chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1 10 oz can Mild Rotel diced tomatoes with Green Chilies
2-10 oz cans cream of chicken soup, healthy request or lower fat
1-10 oz can red enchilada sauce
8 oz greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
Pinch of salt
Flour Tortillas
3/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled
2 Cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place oil into a large skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and cook until wilted down. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, garlic salt, cumin and diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer.
2. Place soup, enchilada sauce, greek yogurt, milk and salt into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir until warmed though.
3. Ladle 1 cup of sauce into the bottom of a large 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer flour tortillas over sauce. Cover tortillas with chicken-spinach mixture. Sprinkle half of queso fresco and 1/3 shredded cheese over chicken mixture. Cover with another layer of tortillas. Spread sauce on top of tortillas. Spread remaining chicken-spinach mixture over sauce and sprinkle with remaining queso fresco and 1/3 shredded cheese. Cover with one more layer of tortillas. Spread remaining sauce on top and sprinkle remaining shredded cheese on sauce.. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chef Jeena's Fishing Trip Event-Blackened Tilapia

This is for Chef Jeena's Fishing Trip Event and because we like to eat fish. I have been using this seasoning on fish for years and we love it. The recipe originally called for catfish, but I always have tilapia in the freezer and so that is what I usually use. I always cook a few fillets with less spice rub for the kids, because it is a little spicy for them. When my hubby was eating this he actually said that we should have fish more often. Yes, that is how tasty this is. Something even a McDonalds lover can appreciate. And, don't you just love those colorful home grown peppers underneath?
Blackened Tilapia adapted from Cooking Light
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil

Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of fish with the paprika mixture.Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add fish; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cookie Carnival-Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Yes, my friends, I have joined in on Cookie Carnival.

I saw so many yummy cookies floating around last month and I decided I could use some fun cookie recipes that are not picked by me. This month we got to try Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti. I had some very excited family members due to great memories of last month's DB Challenge. We loved these, although we didn't eat too many since I decided they would be a good cookie to send to my brother-in-law, Russ, who I am hosting Operation Baking GALS for this month. These was a lot of nibbling and luckily, not all of the biscotti would fit in the box. These were great, an easy first time biscotti making experience for me. I will probably make these again because everyone here love the combination of hazelnuts and chocolate!
CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT BISCOTTI from The Bakehouse via Bon Appetit
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted, husked
3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Grind 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts in processor. Set aside. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Beat butter and sugar in another large bowl to blend. Add eggs and vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well blended. Beat in flour mixture. Mix in 1 cup whole toasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips and 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts.
Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece on baking sheet into 2 1/2-inch-wide by 14-inch-long log. Place logs on prepared baking sheet, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart (logs will spread during baking). Bake until logs feel firm when tops are gently pressed, about 35 minutes. Cool logs on baking sheet 15 minutes. Maintain oven temperature.
Using long wide spatula, transfer baked logs to cutting board. Using serrated knife, cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Arrange slices, cut side down, on 2 baking sheets. Bake biscotti until firm, about 15 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely. (Chocolate-Hazelnut Biscotti can be prepared ahead. Store in airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Whats in Your Lunchbox? Finger-Picking Chicken Balls, Mini Caramel Apples, Mini Bagel Sammies, and Fruit Parfaits with Homemade Granola

When my son started first grade this year and was going to be gone all day, I decided that he was going to take a lunch from home. I wanted to do more than just normal sandwiches and make it fun, so I am going to share a couple of things that he has in his lunch each week. I also pack a lunch for my 16-year old brother, so keep in mind these are all good for any age, even me. First, the chicken balls. How cute are those? They are good cold or warm and you can send some ketchup in a little container for dipping. They were a big hit, as were the mini caramel apples. We made some with butterscotch chips and some with peanut butter chips. Everyone liked the peanut butter variety better. My son was really proud to take those because he helped me make them the night before. Then the mini bagel sammy, kind of fun and totally adaptable to any kind of sandwich toppings and fillings. The fruit and yogurt parfait was loved because of the homemade granola, I even had one myself for breakfast. By the way, I made a batch of that granola which disappeared in less than 24 hours and it was requested I make more. I doubled it the next day and it only lasted 36 hours! On a side note, I did send a cold ear of corn and edamame in their lunches and both were enjoyed. Creativity and Variety are key to not getting bored with Lunch!

Finger-Picking Chicken Balls adapted from Annabel Karmel's Lunch Boxes and Snacks
Makes about 20 chicken balls
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
2 small, skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbls chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in 1 Tbls boiling water
salt and black pepper
flour for coating
1 Tbls canola oil
cooking spray

Using your hands, squeeze out some of the excess liquid from the grated apple. Put the apple, chicken, onion, parsley, thyme, bread crumbs, and chicken bouillon into a food processor. Process until a smooth mixture forms a ball. Season with a little salt and pepper.
With your hands, form the mixture into about 20 balls, roll in flour, and fry in the oil,( I added a little cooking spray as well) for about 10 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through.

Mini Caramel Apples from Family Fun Magazine
4-inch lollipop sticks
Melon baller
Granny Smith apples (one apple makes about 8 mini apples)
Butterscotch or peanut butter chips
Chopped nuts, nonpareils, sprinkles, shredded coconut (optional)
Small paper candy cups

Step 1 First, cut the lollipop sticks in half at an angle (the pointy end will go into the apple pieces easier). With the melon baller, scoop little balls out of the apple. Each ball should have a section of apple peel. Push half of a lollipop stick into the peel of each ball. Pat the apple pieces dry.
Step 2 Melt the chips according to the package directions. Dip and swirl the mini apples in the melted chips, then roll the apples in nuts, sprinkles, nonpareils, or coconut, if desired. Place the mini apples in paper candy cups to set.

Mini Bagel Sammies by Mary Ann
mini bagel
Garden Vegetable Cream Cheese, 1/3 less fat
turkey, ham, or whatever lunchmeat you want
baby spinach leaves
thinly sliced cucumbers
matchstick carrots
thinly sliced tomatoes
alfalfa sprouts
Spread a small amount of cream cheese on both sides of mini bagel. Layer lunchmeat, spinach, cucumber, carrots, and sprouts on top. Place tomatoes in a separate baggie to be added later, so it doesn't make anything mushy. Put bagel half on top and pack!

Fruit Parfaits with Homemade Granola by Mary Ann
6 oz container yogurt, or spoon desired amount of Greek yogurt into plastic container
Homemade Granola (try this Maple-Pecan Peach Granola, it is yummy!)
cut up fruit of your choice, grapes, bananas, berries, whatever packs well

Pack the granola in a plastic container. Put the fruit in separate container or sandwich baggie and assemble parfait when lunch is to be eaten. If using Greek yogurt, you might swirl in a little honey.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rhubarb Treats- Steph's Rhubarb-Filled Yogurt Cupcakes, Rhubarb Mini Pie Turnovers, Rhubarb Galette, and Prudy's Rhubarb Struesel Coffee Cake

We have had company and as you can see, an overabundance of rhubarb. I have spent the last few days making rhubarb everything. Keep in mind that there are varieties of rhubarb that are not deep red and that is the kind I have available. Some of these pictures may not look so good, but they taste good, I promise~! First, we have the Rhubarb-Filled Yogurt Cupcakes from Steph over at A Whisk and A Spoon.Go HERE to see her beautiful photos. She won Cupcake Hero back in April with these tasty things, and boy, are they delicious. The funny part is that they use a Rhubarb filling that I grew up eating as a breakfast dish. It is the only way we ever ate rhubarb when I was small and so it was so fun to use it as a cupcake filling! Her blog is lovely, so go check it out and make these cupcakes- You will not be sorry! Here is the lovely hole I dug in the cupcake, and then filling it with the green rhubarb filling. It tastes better than it looks! I promise!

Next are the mini pie turnovers and galette. I took a shortcut on these and used refrigerated pie crusts. The filling was marvelous. I made some with 5-inch circles, which I filled with 1/4 cup filling and then 2-inch circles, which I fit a heaping Tbls filling in and then put another circle on top. We used the leftover cream filling from the peach cake last week to dip them in-- Perfection! I used the other part of this pie filling to make a galette.

Now, on to Prudy's coffeecake. It was soo good! And I am a happy camper when I can call anything this tasty breakfast. I added some oats to the struesel topping and it seriously was gone within 30 minutes. It can also be made with any other fruit, check out her original post HERE.

Prudy's Rhubarb Streusel Coffee Cake slightly adapted from Prudence Pennywise
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chopped rhubarb, or other fruit
For Streusel:
1/3 cup heaping brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoon butter
1/3 cups oats
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in flour and soda, stirring just until blended. Add rhubarb and pour into greased 9 by 13. Combine all streusel ingredients and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until springy in the center.

Rhubarb-Filled Yogurt Cupcakes from Steph at A Whisk and A Spoon- makes 12 large cupcakes
-Start by making and chilling the rhubarb compote (process below).
-Bake and cool the yogurt cupcakes (recipe below).-If your pistachios have papery skins on them, blanche them for a minute in boiling water. Drain them, and once cool enough to handle, slip off the skins. Chop them roughly.
-Make the lemon butter icing.
-To fill the cooled cupcakes, use a small knife or round cookie cutter to cut a plug out of the center of each (going in from the top). Save the top bit of each plug. Fill each cavity with rhubarb compote. Cover with the top bit so the filling is not exposed.
-Top with the icing and sprinkle on the chopped pistachios.
Rhubarb Compote Note: This is more of a process than a recipe, and can be adjusted depending upon the amount of rhubarb you have and how sweet you would like it to be. I’d use at least 12 stalks, and any leftover compote is great on oatmeal or with yogurt.-Trim off the tops and bottoms of each stalk of rhubarb. Use a pairing knife to peel away any strings. Cut into 1-inch pieces.
-Weigh the cut rhubarb. Measure out sugar equal to 1/4 to 1/3 of the weight of the rhubarb, depending on how sweet you’d like it. If you don’t have a scale, you can eyeball or use cup measurements.
-Put rhubarb pieces and sugar into a heavy-bottomed pot. Add a small splash of water (just to keep the rhubarb from burning) and place over medium heat. Stir frequently to keep from sticking to the bottom.
-Simmer for several minutes until the rhubarb releases its juice and the sugar is dissolved. The rhubarb will soften and break down and the liquid should be reduced (although if you have an excessive amount, you can tip it out). All this will probably take about 10 minutes, unless you are working with a very large quantity.
-Transfer to a container and chill. This will keep for a week or two.
Yogurt Cupcakes- makes 12 large cupcakes- heavily modified from The 1997 Joy of Cooking
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
5 T salted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 t vanilla
1 c plain yogurt (full or nonfat), cool room temperature (I used Greek Yogurt)
-Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C and spray and flour twelve cavities of a muffin tin (or line with paper cups).
-Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
-Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture.
-Whisk together the egg, egg whites and vanilla. Gradually beat into the butter/sugar mixture until thoroughly combined.
-Add the dry ingredients and yogurt in three parts, alternating and beating smooth after each addition.
-Divide the batter in the tin, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the tins for a few minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Lemon Butter Icing- makes enough to generously frost 12cupcakes adapted from Everyday by Bill Granger
8 T unsalted butter, room temperature
10 oz powdered sugar, sifted
1 Tbls lemon zest (finely grated)
1 Tbls lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
-Beat the butter until very soft and white. Beat in the powdered sugar, lemon zest and juice. (You can adjust consistency with either extra powdered sugar or lemon juice.)

Rhubarb Mini Pie Turnovers inspired by a recipe on The Food Channel website
4 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg
zest of 1/2 orange
juice of 1/2 orange
2 15-inch refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten
Combine rhubarb and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Let sit for 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut 4 5-inch circles and 4 2-inch circles out of your refrigerated pie crusts.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 1 circle on parchment, fill with scant 1/4 cup rhubarb filling and fold over the dough until it meets the other side. With fingers, make sure the crust is closed, by pressing it together and fluting it. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
To make small rounds, place 1 Tbls filling on 2-inch circle and cover with another 2-inch round. Close with fingers.
Make an egg wash and brush mini turnovers with egg wash, using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with decorating sugar if desired. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and crust is golden.
The leftover filling from this recipe can be used to make a galette
Cream from Peaches and Cream Chiffon Cake- Woman's Day Magazine
2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
Stir confectioners' sugar into yogurt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold into yogurt mixture and refrigerate.

Rhubarb Galette
use leftover rhubarb filling from above recipe and 1 refrigerated pie crust (unless you want to make you own dough)
Line a baking sheet with parchment
Roll out pie dough
sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on dough, leaving a 2-inch border
Spoon rhubarb filling into middle, on top of graham cracker crumbs
Fold the sides of the pie crust up, covering part of the filling
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar
Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until crust is golden
serve with ice cream or cream (above)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

2 Bean WonTon Taco Cups and Beef Fajitas

I had some leftover wonton wrappers and we were going to have tacos, so I combined the two in these cute little appetizer cups. These kept the kids busy while I finished everything else for the adults. I love beans, so I doubled up with refried and black. I also love the new lean ground turkey I found in the grocery store that already has the taco seasoning mixed in. It is super moist, which makes it taste wonderful. The brand is Jenny-O, click HERE to see the packaging. You could also just use lean ground turkey or ground beef and use a pkg of taco seasoning. I also had to share the best fajita marinade I have ever tasted. Whenever I serve it, everyone just eats the meat plain, out of the pan because it is so yummy. I added matchstick carrots and thin slices of zucchini to up the veggie intake there. No one even noticed. If you are craving tacos or fajitas, give these a try!

2 Bean WonTon Taco Cups by Mary Ann
18 wonton wrappers
1 pkg. Lean Ground Turkey with Taco Seasoning
1 green pepper, diced
1 can of corn, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can fat free refried beans
2 tomatoes, diced
shredded cheese
greek yogurt or sour cream
cilantro leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Push one wonton wrapper into each cavity of the muffin tin, gently. Spray wontons with cooking spray. Bake in oven until corners are golden brown and toasty, about 4-6 minutes.
Set aside to cool.
In an electric skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil. Add green pepper and onion flakes. Saute for a few minutes and add ground turkey. Cook, breaking up the turkey, for a few minutes. Add corn and black beans. Continue to cook, until turkey is cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat up the refried beans. Scoop a teaspoon or so of refried beans in each wonton cup. Spoon a Tbls of meat mixture over top. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Add tomatoes, a small dollop of greek yogurt, and top with a cilantro leaf.
Serve- There will be enough meat mixture to have regular tacos as well, or serve on top lettuce for a salad the next day
Fajitas by Sussy Jones with vegetable adaptations by Mary Ann
*Fajita marinade
1- 1 1/2 pds beef, cut for stir fry (you could also use chicken or pork)
Flour tortillas
2 Tbls olive oil
1 each, green, red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 small zucchini, sliced horizontally and cut into thin strips
2 cups matchstick carrots
greek yogurt or sour cream
black beans
salsa and other toppings, if desired

1. make fajita marinade and add beef strips. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, but not longer than 24 hours.
2. Preheat Broiler
3. Remove plastic wrap from pan and place in oven about 3-6 inches from the heat. Broil for 8 minutes. Stir and turn meat; broil for 3 more minute or until cooked through to your liking
4. While beef is broiling, heat oil in 10-inch skillet or electric skillet over medium-high heat. Cook bell peppers, zucchini sticks, and matchstick carrots for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with onion flakes, reduce heat and cover. Cook until veggies are tender.
*Fajita marinade
¼ cup canola oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

1. Mix all ingredients in a oven-safe 9 by 13-inch pan.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Orange Berry Muffins

I have made these before for TWD, but basically anything in Dorie's cookbook is game for a remake. They are moist with a delicate orange flavor and the fresh berries are great in there. These are a great way to start the day and my little girl just couldn't stay out of the picture!

Orange Berry Muffins(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours” p. 3)
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
About 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons honey
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries - fresh, preferably, or frozen (not thawed)

Decorating sugar, for topping (optional)
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan, which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Pour the orange juice into a large glass measuring cup or a bowl and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough - the batter will be lumpy and bubbly, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.Bake for 22 to 25 minutes.

If you want to top the muffins with decorating sugar, sprinkle on the sugar after the muffins have baked for 10 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing from the muffin tin.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Turkey Pot Stickers and Prudy's Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing

I have a couple recipes that I make all the time because I know that my husband loves them. These Pot Stickers are one of those recipes. He doesn't want me to make them when people come over because he wants them all to himself. Well, they are designed to be an appetizer, not a meal (he stills eats 12 or so at a sitting), so I decided to try out Prudy's wonderful Asian Chicken Salad, check her post HERE for the recipe in it's original form. I had to omit the avocado and add a green pepper, other than that it is pretty much the same.
I like to make the pot sticker filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge and then it isn't as time consuming. It is a little time consuming the first time, but the taste is worth it and it is easier each time you make them. I also always double the recipe and freeze some for later because then I can use the entire pkg of won ton wrappers and my husbands always wants more! These two dishes really went well together. It was a perfect dinner!

Turkey Pot Stickers adapted from Cooking Light
2 teaspoons canola oil

2 cups angel hair coleslaw with carrots
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound ground turkey breast
1/3 cup minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced peeled gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 egg white
1 garlic clove, minced
30 won ton wrappers
2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 cup water, divided
Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add coleslaw; cook 9 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. While cabbage cooks, add 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep cabbage from sticking to pan. Spoon cabbage into a medium bowl; let cool completely.
Add chicken and next 6 ingredients (turkey through garlic) to bowl; stir well.
Working with 1 won ton wrapper at a time (cover remaining won ton wrappers to keep them from drying out), spoon about 1 tablespoon turkey mixture into the center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with water, and bring 2 opposite corners to center, pinching points to seal. Bring the remaining 2 corners to center, pinching points to seal. Pinch 4 edges together to seal. Place pot stickers on a large baking sheet sprinkled with cornstarch; cover loosely with a towel to keep them from drying out.
Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place half of pot stickers in bottom of skillet; cook 3 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Add 1/2 cup water to skillet; cover and cook 3 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Place pot stickers on a serving platter; set aside, and keep warm. Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Repeat procedure with remaining vegetable oil, remaining pot stickers, and remaining water.
You can freeze uncooked potstickers- just place on a baking sheet, place in the freezer until frozen and transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag. When ready to cook, thaw and repeat cooking procedure. You can also cook them from a frozen state, it just takes a few more minutes to get them cooked through.
Prudy's Asian Chicken Salad with Ginger Soy Dressing adapted slightly from Prudence Pennywise
8 fresh won ton sheets
cooking spray
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
6 oz baby spinach
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 small cans mandarin oranges
1/2 cucumber, halved and sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
Ginger Soy Dressing: Recipe Below

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat won tons with spray and cut into strips. Bake on foil lined cookie sheet until crispy, turning once, about 8 minutes; sprinkle with sesame seeds. On serving plates, layer greens, chicken, cucumber, oranges, green pepper, cilantro, scallions, peanuts, and won ton strips. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
Ginger Soy Dressing:
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 generous teaspoon grated fresh ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of salt

Whisk all dressing ingredients in a small bowl.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greek Salad

To finish off the birthday dinner we had Greek Salad as well. Usually when I make this salad it has chicken, sauteed in Greek seasoning, on top to make it more of a meal. We had a little chicken leftover, that we couldn't fit on the pizza, so we threw that on top. The salad is a little different from the way I usually fix it- check out this LINK , to see the other way we eat this salad and the greek seasoning I use. There are no tomatoes in the picture, but we added them on the side, because some members of my family think tomatoes are poisonous-(it is an adult). I love serving this in a trifle bowl, because then you can see all the pretty colors and it just looks lovely on the table.

Greek Salad with Vinaigrette by Mary Ann
3 oz baby spinach
1 head romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
1 small yellow pepper, chopped
1 small orange pepper, chopped
1- 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1-14 or 15 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 oz block feta cheese, crumbled
2 tomatoes, chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle Greek Vinaigrette over top and toss; or let everyone dress their own salad.

Greek Vinaigrette* or Athenos Brand Greek Dressing with Feta Cheese
4 Tbls fresh lemon juice
4 Tbls red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

*Combine lemon juice and next 5 ingredients in a blender. Start blending and slowly pour in olive oil. Turn off blender and stir in feta cheese. Store in the fridge.