Saturday, February 28, 2009

Orange Rice Pudding

I have this thing for rice pudding. Thanks to Tuesday's with Dorie, now whenever I see a recipe for rice pudding, I have an urge to try it and compare it to Dorie's recipe. I think that rice pudding is pretty much always on the light side as far as desserts go, even if it is made with whole milk, but this was a lighter version I saw in Woman's Day Magazine. I love the combination of orange and cardamom, so I put this little dessert on the menu.
We liked it. I still think that Dorie's recipe is the best one I have tried, but this one was good. If you don't like cardamom or aren't familiar with it, I would reduce the amount or go with cinnamon. I really love cardamom and can't get enough of it, so I thought is was a great combination.
I recently stocked up on Arborio rice since I have fallen in love with risotto and rice pudding. Great stuff, that arborio. I can't wait to try more rice pudding.

Orange Rice Pudding from Woman's Day
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
2⁄3 cup Arborio rice
8 cups water
Pinch of salt
4 cups protein-fortified fat-free milk
3 Tbsp each packed light brown sugar and granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 tsp grated orange zest
1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon
1. Place rice in sieve. Rinse under cold water, stirring with fingers to remove excess surface starch. Place in a 5-qt saucepan with water and salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil 7 minutes, or until tender. Drain rice; return to pot.
2. Stir milk and sugars into rice, stirring to dissolve sugars. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain a slow simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently at first and constantly toward the end, for about 25 minutes, or until rice doubles in size, is very soft and tender, and milk has the consistency of heavy cream (mixture will be very liquidy).
3. Pour into a bowl; stir in vanilla, orange zest and cardamom. Cover surface of pudding with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool. Refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours, before serving.
Orange Rice Pudding Parfaits: For each parfait, spoon 1⁄4 cup orange rice pudding into a glass, then top with 3 orange sections, 1 Tbsp thawed reduced-calorie whipped topping and 1 tsp fat-free butterscotch caramel topping. Repeat layers

Up Next- Roll-ups with Peas, Turkey Bacon and New Potatoes

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chicken Breast Florentine with Whole Wheat Angel Hair and Marinara

My older sister shares my love for cooking and good food. Anytime she has an unbeatable recipe that she really loves, she passes it on to me. And I try it, because I totally trust her and have loved everything she sends my way. This is a recipe she shared with me a couple of years ago that I make all the time. I have made it several times when we have had guests for dinner, just because it is really a crowd pleaser. I can't remember where my sister got the recipe. She just emailed it to me and I have been making it ever since. I have made it so many times that I don't even measure the ingredients anymore. I know what it is supposed to look like, so I just proceed. quick sidenote- do you do that with recipes that you know really well? or do you always measure, no matter what?
Back to the recipe. I usually use chicken tenders or thinly sliced chicken breast because that makes it go even faster, but if you have to take the time to pound some chicken breast, it will be worth it. I usually serve green beans and salad with this dinner, but any veggie would be good. I just really like green ones.

1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
2 tsp italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 T olive oil
2 whole, boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded lightly or chicken tenders
1 or 2 jars marinara sauce
shredded mozzarella cheese
whole wheat angel hair pasta, cooked

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the flour in a bowl large enough to dredge the chicken breasts in.
2. Combine the eggs, cheese, spinach, italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl, blending well. The mixture should be the consistency of pancake batter.
3. Place the olive oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken breasts first in the flour, dusting off any excess and then in the batter and carefully place in the hot oil. Saute, turning once, until golden brown on both sides ( about 3 minutes per side), Pour marinara sauce in a 9 by 13 inch dish. Place the chicken breasts in the marinara. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes.
4. Serve over warm angel hair pasta.

Come back Tomorrow for Orange Rice Pudding

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Barefoot Bloggers- Meringues with Pomegranate Gelato and a drizzle of Homemade Pomegranate Molasses

Today's Barefoot Bloggers recipe, Meringues Chantilly, was chosen by BMK, who blogs over at Reservations Not Required. I was actually very excited about this recipe because I have been wanting to make meringues ever since I saw this recipe for Kiwi Meringues, in a recent issue of Everyday Food. I hadn't found time to squeeze them into my treat-making schedule (as strange as that may sound, I really do have one, because there are so many things to make and so little time to make them all), so the fact that I had a date I needed to post them by, really helped me in making these meringues a priority. Now, the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for meringues, has them served with Orange-flavored whipped cream and stewed berries, which I think sounds fabulous, but I had to change it up a bit.
I recently received an email from Diana, the POM Blogger, who works for POM Wonderful. She was wondering if I wanted to try some POM juice, which was ironic, because a day or two before she emailed me, I found a recipe for Pomegranate Gelato, that I had to try. I had searched the grocery stores in my area and none of them had 100% POM juice. I quickly emailed Diana back and told her to please send me a case of POM juice and she did.
Then the idea hit me. Why not fill the meringues with Pomegranate Gelato and then drizzle Homemade Pomegranate Molasses over the top? (More about the Pomegranate Molasses to come- it is so good, it has to have it's own post).
So, I set to work, making the Pom Molasses, Gelato and Meringues and then, I put the whole dessert together. WOW!
Can I just say that this was a fabulous dessert. My daughters were in love with the "white cookies" and the Gelato was amazing. Not too sweet, the pomegranate flavor was subtle and the Pomegranate Molasses, like I said, it deserves its own glory. It is divine. This was an amazing dessert. That is all I have left to say.

Meringues Chantilly 2004, Barefoot in Paris
Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 2 hr 0 min
Level: Easy Serves: 12 meringues
6 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur, recipe follows
Stewed berries, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass and a pencil, draw 6 (3 1/2-inch) circles on each piece of paper. Turn the paper face-down on the baking sheets.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a large pinch of salt on medium speed until frothy. Add 1 cup of the sugar and raise the speed to high until the egg whites form very stiff peaks. Whisk in the vanilla. Carefully fold the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue. With a large star - shaped pastry tip, pipe a disc of meringue inside each circle. Pipe another layer around the edge to form the sides of the shells.
Bake for 2 hours, or until the meringues are dry and crisp but not browned. Turn off the heat and allow the meringues to sit in the oven for 4 hours or overnight.
Spread some of the sauce from the stewed berries on each plate. Place a meringue on top and fill with whipped cream. Top with berries and serve.
Whipped Cream with Orange Liqueur:
2 cups (1 pint) cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar, vanilla and orange liqueur and continue to whip until the cream forms stiff peaks. Don't overbeat, or you'll end up with butter!
Yield: 4 cups
Stewed berries:
1 half-pint fresh blueberries
3 half-pints fresh raspberries, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon orange zest
2 teaspoons framboise (raspberry brandy)
Combine the blueberries, one-half pint of raspberries, 1/3 cup water, the sugar and zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes. The juice will become a syrup and the berries will be slightly cooked. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and the framboise. Set aside.
Yield: 8 servings

Pomegranate Gelato Gourmet September 2006
Yield: Makes 1 quart
Active Time: 15 min Total Time: 3 1/2 hr
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups bottled pomegranate juice
1/3 cup pomegranate liqueur such as PAMA (I just used more Pomegranate juice)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Special equipment: an ice cream maker
Garnish: pomegranate seeds
Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients.
Transfer to a bowl and chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 1 hour.
Freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.
Soften gelato slightly in refrigerator, about 20 minutes, before serving.Cook's notes:•Cream mixture (before churning) can be chilled, covered, up to 1 day ahead.•Gelato keeps 1 week.
Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2 1/2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking occasionally, then boil, whisking, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients.
Transfer to a bowl and chill, uncovered, until cold, at least 1 hour.
Freeze in ice cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours.
Soften gelato slightly in refrigerator, about 20 minutes, before serving

Coming Tomorrow- Chicken Breast Florentine with Whole Wheat Angel Hair and Marinara

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce

We have a winner! I went to and used their random number generator to chose a number between 1 and 65. The winner was #4-Anna. she said "I truly love all seasons but down in the southern hemisphere we have had a bit of wild hot weather so I am looking forward to Winter this year - slow cooked roasts, steamy soupy laksas on Sunday afternoons, homemade baked beans and pork sausages and Mum's bottled Summer fruits are always beautiful in the winter, warmed and served with hot custard." Congrats Anna and thanks everyone who entered the giveaway!
Now on to the food.
This dinner caught my eye when I was flipping through a magazine at the grocery store. I usually skip to the back of any magazine that I know features recipes and try to see if there is anything worth making. This issue of Family Circle had quite a few healthy meals that looked really great. I have never made a blueberry sauce to accompany meat, so I thought this would be a great recipe to try out on my family.
I was a little suspicious of the blueberry sauce, because it smelled so much like vinegar, but everyone agreed that the sauce and the pork really complimented each other and it tasted delicious.
It called for green beans to roast alongside the pork, but I couldn't find any good looking fresh green beans, so I just substituted Kale and turned it into Kale Chips. I also served sauteed Kale with Bell Peppers on the side, because we just really love Kale around here. Does your family love Kale?
Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce from Family Circle Magazine
Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 8 minutes Roast: 25 minutes
1 pork tenderloin (about 1-1/4 pounds)
2 teaspoons sodium-free chicken grilling blend (such as Mrs. Dash) (I used McCormick grill seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces green beans, ends trimmed (I used kale instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1. Heat oven to 400°F. Rub pork with chicken seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Roast at 400°F for 25 minutes, until internal temperature registers 155°F.
2. When 10 minutes of cooking time remain, remove pan and spread green beans around pork; drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Stir beans and return pan to oven.
3. Heat remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion 3 minutes. Add blueberries, vinegar, sugar, thyme and remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper to saucepan; cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Serve pork with sauce.

Up Tomorrow-Barefoot Bloggers- Meringues with Pomegranate Gelato

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

TWD- Caramel Crunch Bars and Rewind- Mixed Berry Cobbler

This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Caramel Crunch Bars, was chosen by Whitney over at What's left on the table? You can find the recipe on her blog or go to this POST and find the recipe from when I made these last year. This recipe is one of the pictures in the book that really catches your eye. I made them last year when my hubby needed some treats for work and I made them into ice cream bars, like Dorie suggests, which turned out to be a very messy adventure. No one seemed to mind the fact that they were so messy. They disappeared quickly. The picture isn't great, but hey, it was taken many months ago. I rarely make something more than once, unless it is unbelievably the best dessert ever. Just because I like baking new things all the time. I haven't made these again, but I do remember them being a hit.
I also did a rewind this past week. For some reason back in June, I skipped out on the Mixed Berry Cobbler. I needed one to take to a get together recently, so I went back and made it. Very good. I doubled the fruit and 1 1/2x the crust, to make it fit in a 9x13-inch pan. I used mostly blackberries, but also some raspberries, blueberries and a few strawberries and lime zest. You can find the recipe for the cobbler- Here.
Now go and see what the other TWD'ers did with this weeks recipe!

Up Next- Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Blogiversary Giveaway- Creamy Parsnip Soup, Curried Carrot Soup with Grilled-Cheese Croutons, and Glazed Lemon Mini-Cakes

Since yesterday was my blogiversary, I decided to do a little giveaway. Now, I don't know if anyone out there loves cookbooks as much as I do. Maybe you do or maybe you don't. Whatever the case may be, I am going to give 1 lucky winner a copy of Everyday Food:Great Food Fast. This cookbook is really a great asset. It is similar to the magazine Everyday Food, which comes from the kitchens of Martha Stewart Living. What I particularly enjoy about this cookbook, is that it is arranged by the seasons of the years, featuring ingredients that are fresh and available during that particular season.
Here is an editorial review that was featured on "If you are a fan of Everyday Food magazine (and you should be), you will be wowed by Great Food Fast, a gorgeous full-color cookbook filled to bursting with recipes for fresh, flavorful food that is easy to prepare. Organized by season, Great Food Fast features simple recipes for year-round cooking, including no-cook pasta sauces, main-course soups, one-dish meals, and more." --Daphne Durham
I decided to showcase a couple of the winter recipes (since it is still snowing and cold around here) from this book. I made the Creamy Parsnip Soup, Curried Carrot Soup, and Glazed Lemon Cakes. I added the super cute Grilled-Cheese Croutons that I saw in Family Fun Magazine to the Carrot soup, just for a fun topper.
Both of the soups were very good and easy.
The Parsnip soup was a little bit sweet, due to the apples and parsnips, but nice and thick also. I think I used too much of the leeks, which led to a green color soup, instead of the nice white color pictured in the book, but it still tasted great.
The Curried Carrot Soup was the definite favorite. Carrots and curry make a great combination. We loved the grilled cheese croutons on top. I didn't follow the recipe- I just used the same idea. I make grilled cheese sandwiches in my Foreman Grill, which eliminates the need for any butter. The next day we had the carrot soup for leftovers and stirred in some leftover, cooked brown rice.
The Glazed Lemon Cakes were amazing. I used buttermilk in them and that led to a very light, moist cake. I made them smaller than the recipe suggested, but that just meant there were more of us that were able to enjoy them.
So, now that you have a sample of the recipes, in order to win this cookbook, please leave me a comment telling me what your favorite season of the year is and why. I will randomly chose a winner on Tuesday @ midnight and contact you in order to get shipping information. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment with your email address, so if you are the winner I will be able to contact you. The winner will be announced in my post on Wednesday Feb. 25.
My favorite season is Summer. I love hot weather, fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden and lots of sun!
Good Luck Everybody!

Creamy Parsnip Soup from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
Prep: 20 minutes Total: 50 minutes
To prepare leeks: Trim and discard root ends and dark-green parts. Halve lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise. Wash in several changes of cold water until all grit is removed.
1 tablespoon butter
1 pound prepared leeks, sliced (2 cups)
1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium baking potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper
Leek garnish (see below) (I omitted this step)
Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add leeks (reserving 1/2 cup for garnish). Cook, stirring, 5 minutes.
Add parsnips, apples, potato, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return it to pot; stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Leek Garnish.
To make leek garnish, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium-high. Add reserved 1/2 cup leeks; cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
Curried Carrot Soup adapted from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
Prep: 20 minutes Total: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon curry powder
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth (about 3 1/2 cups)
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large (4- to 5-quart) saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, curry powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, carrots, and 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover, and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
In a blender, puree soup in batches until smooth; transfer to a clean saucepan. Add more water to thin to desired consistency. Reheat, if necessary. Stir in lemon juice. Serve garnished with cilantro, if desired.
Grilled-Cheese Croutons from Family Fun Magazine
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon thyme
6 thin slices of bread
3 ounces Cheddar, thinly sliced
Step 1 Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine the butter and thyme. Spread one side of each bread slice with the butter mixture. Place 3 slices in the pan, buttered side down. Top with the cheese, then with the remaining 3 bread slices, buttered side up. Cook, turning once, until toasted on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
Step 2 Remove the sandwiches from the pan. Let them cool slightly, then cut them into 1-inch squares. Makes about 60 croutons.
Glazed Lemon Cakes from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast
Prep: 15 minutes Total: 50 minutes
Makes 6.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for muffin tin
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for muffin tin
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, or plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated, plus juice, plus 2 tablespoons more lemon juice for the glaze
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin(I used a normal sized muffin tin). In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk mixture.
Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in tin, then cool completely on a rack.
Set rack over wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir confectioners’ sugar with remaining lemon juice until smooth. Pour over cakes, spreading to edges with a knife.

Up Next- Tuesday's with Dorie- Caramel Crunch Bars and a Mixed Berry Cobbler Rewind

Friday, February 20, 2009

Celebrating My Blogiversary with The Cake Slice

Exactly 1 year ago, I started this little food blog. I wanted to share my love for baking, cooking, and good food. When I look back on the first posts, it is a little embarassing! I have learned a little about my camera and food photo shoots. Although I am by no means a pro, I feel like I am able to express myself and the food I create through my photos in a more appealing manner now.
Joining the blogging world has been an adventure. I am involved in so many fun baking and cooking groups and have met (not in person) lots of great friends and foodies.
Today's cake comes from one of those groups- The Cake Slice. Make sure you go to the blogroll and check out all the other beautiful cakes!
I was super excited when I saw this months cake- Southern Coconut Cake. My husband is from Georgia and we lived there for 7 years. Coconut Cake is something that always made its way to the table for special occasions. I have never made one before, but I was excited to give this one a try. I decided to make a Lemon Filling, because that is how I always saw this cake served.
Luckily, I had a friend who had just returned from a fun 3-month trip to Brazil and while she was there, she celebrated her birthday. She wanted me to make her a late birthday cake and this was the perfect choice. We loved it!
I actually made a cream cheese frosting instead of the cream cheese buttercream the recipe called for, because I wanted a simple frosting and I have made Italian Buttercream before and I don't love the taste.
This cake was a big hit and perfect for celebrating my blogiversary! Make sure you come back tomorrow, to take part in my first giveaway!

Southern Coconut Cake from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
Makes an 8-inch triple layer cake

For the cake:
5 large egg whites
½ cup of milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 cups of cake flour*
2 and 1/3 cup sugar
4 ½ teaspoons of baking powder
½ teaspoon of salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter (8oz.) at warm room temperature
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 ½ cups of sweetened flaked coconut for garnishing cake

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a parchment circle and butter the circle.
Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk slightly. Add the ½ cup of milk and the vanilla and whisk to mix thoroughly; set aside
In a large mixer bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, beat dry ingredients well in order to break up any lumps. Add the butter and coconut milk on low speed and beat just to combine. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.

Add the egg white mixture in 2 or 3 additions, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Divide the batter among the pans.
Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake taster inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on an 8-inch cake round. Cover this layer with 1 cup of the buttercream frosting. Spread it evenly all the way to edge of the cake. Then sprinkle ½ cup of shredded coconut on top. Add the second layer and repeat the process. Top with the final layer of cake and frost the top and sides of the cake.
Place the remaining 1 ½ cups shredded coconut on a large baking tray. Pick up the cake and hold it on the palm of one hand over the tray. Using the other hand scoop up the coconut and press it to the sides of the cake. Continue with this process until the sides of the cake are covered. Set the cake on a serving plate and sprinkle any remaining coconut on top of cake. Chill cake for at least one hour to allow frosting to firm up a bit.

Cream cheese buttercream frosting
12 ounces of cream cheese* slightly chilled
1 stick of butter plus 6 tablespoons of butter (7 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup of confectioners sugar, sifted after measuring
2 teaspoons of granulated sugar
¼ cup of water
3 egg whites

Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly fluffy and smooth. Add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time, mixing until smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and mix until fluffy. Set aside at room temperature while buttercream is made.
Combine the granulated sugar and water in a small heavy saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Continue to cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the softball stage 228 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, place the egg whites in mixer bowl and have the mixer ready to go. When the syrup is ready, turn the mixer on med-low and begin mixing the egg whites. Slowly add the hot syrup to the whites taking care not to pour onto the beaters, it may splash. When all the syrup is incorporated, raise the speed on the mixer to med-high and beat the egg whites until mixture has cooled and stiff meringue forms.

With the mixer on low, begin adding the cream cheese mixture by the spoonful. When all is incorporated, raise the speed to medium and whip until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Lemon Filling From Southern Living
1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 cup boiling water

4 egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons grated lemon rind

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter

1. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; whisk in 1 cup boiling water. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until sugar and cornstarch dissolve (about 2 minutes). Gradually whisk about one-fourth of hot sugar mixture into egg yolks; add to remaining hot sugar mixture in pan, whisking constantly. Whisk in lemon rind and juice.
2. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened (about 2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat. Whisk in butter; let cool completely, stirring occasionally.

Cream Cheese Frosting from Southern Living

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract

Come back tomorrow for a Giveway, 2 great soups and a treat!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Craving Ellie- Nutty Granola

Here is another short and sweet post. Sweet like maple syrup, which happens to be a main ingredient in this granola.
This week's Craving Ellie recipe, Nutty Granola, was chosen by Leslie over at Lethally Delicious. This recipe was very easy and only contains a small number of ingredients. You can find the recipe over at Leslie's blog. We really liked the granola. It kind of reminded me of the Maple-Pecan Peach Granola I made last year. Next time I will probably double the recipe because these types of things never last very long at my house.
I used a combination of pecans, sliced almonds, and hazelnuts in my granola and I am pretty sure you could use any combination of nuts with the results being really good.
To see what the other Ellie's thought, check out the Craving Ellie Blogroll!

Coming Tomorrow- Celebrating my Blogiversary with The Cake Slice- Southern Coconut Cake

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Curried Lentil Soup

There is absolutely nothing beautiful about this soup, except the way it tastes. I was disappointed by the actual color after I pureed it, but everyone agreed that it tasted fabulous, so it didn't really matter. Plus, it has tons of kale and is super healthy. We love, love kale at our house. I made Kale Chips too, because they are delightful. My kids crunch them up like crazy. I used them as a garnish and also on the side. Perfect for a cold night, which we are still having quite a few of, around here.

Curried Lentil Soup from Family Circle
4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 55 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup dried lentils, picked over
4-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 bunch (about 3/4 pound) fresh kale, rinsed, tough stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)
1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook onion and carrot, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in curry powder and cook 1 minute more.
2. Add tomatoes, lentils, broth, water and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to pot. Bring to a boil, then partially cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
3. In batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth; return to pot and gently reheat. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, salt and kale. Cook 5 minutes or until kale is wilted and tender. Dollop each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt.

Up Next- Craving Ellie Nutty Granola

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TWD- Devil's Food White Out Cupcakes

This weeks Tuesday's with Dorie recipe was chosen by Stephanie, who blogs over at Confessions of a City Eater. The recipe she chose was Devil's Food White Out Cake, which is the cake that is on the cover of Dorie's Baking book.
Yes, that lovely 3-layer cake with tons of billowy marshmallow frosting. You might be wondering where that beautiful cake is? Well, I turned the triple layer goodness into cupcakes and made a different frosting. Its not that I didn't want to make the gorgeous cake, but my hubby wanted some treats to take to work and cupcakes are easier to distribute than cake. And, I am all for giving the baked goods away. Then I can enjoy the process of baking but don't have to worry about eating all of the baked goodness.
I have made Dorie's marshmallow frosting before, when I made these Lime Cupcakes for Cupcake Hero. It is really good, light and fluffy, but it took me forever to get the sugar syrup to the right temperature and well, I was in a hurry this time. My hubby requested treats as he was leaving for work and asked if I could have them ready by 1. Not really a problem, but since I was making these cupcakes and 2 other cookies, I didn't have all day to stand there and wait for the frosting to come together. Plus, after making Peabody's to die for Chocolate Malted Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting, I decided that my absolute favorite frosting for cupcakes is sweetened whipped cream. I just started whipping some cream and added alot of powdered sugar and vanilla. You can get great height and the frosting is always light, well at least it tastes light. I have to say that the actual cake (I tasted a crumb before I sent them all away) was a little too chocolately and dark for my tastes. Peabody's Chocolate Malted Cupcakes are my favorite chocolate cupcake. To see some beautiful takes on this recipe, go check out the Tuesday's with Dorie Blogroll and visit Stephanie's blog for the recipe!
Doesn't this frosting look like a soft-serve ice cream cone? Yum!

Coming Tomorrow- Curried Lentil Soup with Kale

Monday, February 16, 2009

Parmesan-Carrot Risotto

I love risotto. It sounds so fancy. But, it really isn't hard to make. I make it all the time, because it is so delicious and simple, really.
I saw this risotto recipe and thought it would make a great lunch, accompanied with a light salad. I used mostly arborio rice because I had it in the pantry, but it calls for plain, old, normal white rice.
The thing I love about risotto is how smooth and creamy it is. It is warm and inviting. Yummy!

Parmesan-Carrot Risotto adapted from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food
Prep: 40 minutes Total: 40 minutes
Serves 4.
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
6 medium carrots, grated
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice (I used 1 cup of arborio and 1/4 cup long grain)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
In a saucepan, bring broth and 2 cups water to a bare simmer over medium.
In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in rice. Add 1/2 cup broth; cook, stirring, until absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups hot broth; simmer over medium-low, stirring frequently, until mostly absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue to add broth, 1 cup at a time, stirring occasionally, until absorbed before adding more. Cook until rice is creamy and just tender, about 20 minutes (you may not need all the broth).
Remove risotto from heat. Stir in Parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper.

Coming Tomorrow- Tuesday's with Dorie

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day! Blushing Grapefruit Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day! Here is a fun, pink treat to celebrate this LOVE-ly holiday.
We have been eating alot of grapefruit around here. They were 5 for $1 at the store awhile ago and we purchased quite a few. We have been just eating them, for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner, so I thought it would be fun to have them in a different way. The cake in these cupcakes is not too sweet and it reminded me of a sponge cake. The cream cheese frosting adds just enough sweetness to make these cupcakes really delicious. And throughout the whole thing, you can taste the sweet/sour of ripe grapefruit.
I love seeing all the grapefruit and lemon zest in the cake and frosting. These little bites are perfect for a fun day. Make some and share them with everyone you care about- Trust me, everyone will be smiling!
On a fun little side note- My blog was named one of Utah's 10 Hottest Food Blogs- Go HERE to read about it on Utah Stories and check out the other great blogs mentioned. I am definitely feeling the love!

Blushing Grapefruit Cupcakes from Woman's Day
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
1/4 cup each oil and water
3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 tsp fresh grapefruit juice
2 tsp each freshly grated grapefruit and lemon peel
1 brick (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 tsp fresh grapefruit juice
1 tsp each freshly grated grapefruit and lemon peel
1 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 drops red food color
3 cups grapefruit segments, preferably Ruby Red
Garnish: mint leaves
Cooking Instructions
Cupcakes: Heat oven to 350°F. Line 16 regular-size (21⁄2-in. diam) muffin cups with paper or foil liners.
Stir flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in center; put oil, water, egg yolks, 3 Tbsp grapefruit juice and the grated peels in well. Whisk liquids to mix, then whisk with flour mixture just until blended and smooth.
Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with mixer on high speed until frothy. Add remaining 1 tsp grapefruit juice; beat just until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. With a rubber spatula, stir 1⁄3 the beaten egg whites into the cupcake batter, then gently fold in remaining whites just until blended. Spoon 1⁄4 cup into each lined cup.
Bake 15 to 18 minutes until tops are browned and a pick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.
Frosting: Beat ingredients (except grapefruit segments) in a medium bowl with mixer on low speed just to blend. On high speed, beat until smooth and fluffy. Finely chop 1 grapefruit segment and stir into frosting. Spread on cupcakes.
Just before serving: Drain remaining grapefruit segments well and place on cupcakes; garnish with mint.
Can be made through Step 5 up to 3 days ahead. Refrigerate airtight. Section grapefruit up to 1 day before using; refrigerate covered.

Coming on Monday- Carrot-Parmesan Risotto

Friday, February 13, 2009

Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Vanilla Bean

Need a Valentine's Day dessert?? This Panna Cotta would be a great choice. I saw it in a recent issue of Health magazine and thought that it would be a nice, creamy dessert, that would be a little bit lighter on the calories. Plus I have tons of vanilla beans and low-fat buttermilk is always in my fridge.
I whipped it up quickly the night before and stuck it in the fridge to hang out over night.
I served it with some blackberries and the adults loved it. The kids really didn't care for the texture, which made for some very funny expressions as they tasted it. I thought that the addition of berries really added something to this grown-up dessert, but it was delicious plain as well. I love it when you can eat a great tasting dessert that really doesn't seem to be missing any flavor or creaminess just because it is a little bit lower in fat and calories~
Buttermilk Panna Cotta With Vanilla Bean from Health Magazine

Prep: 40 minutes; Chill: 3 hours or overnight.
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1. Place the heavy cream and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds into the heavy cream. Add the cut vanilla bean to the cream. Bring the mixture to just a boil, and turn off heat. Cover pot, and let steep for 30 minutes.
2. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water in a small bowl. Let the gelatin bloom while the heavy cream mixture is steeping.
3. Bring heavy cream mixture back to a simmer, and slowly whisk in melted gelatin mixture. Add buttermilk, and whisk until combined.
4. Pour into individual glasses or bowls, and gently cover with plastic wrap. Chill for about 3 hours or overnight; serve.

Coming Tomorrow for Valentine's Day- Blushing Grapefruit Cupcakes