Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Provincial Chicken with Swiss

This was a great meal that is perfectly easy to throw together on a busy weeknight. Herbs de Provence is the star of this dish, bringing so much wonderful flavor to the chicken. Swiss cheese adds a smooth bite while the Panko breadcrumbs bring texture. All in all, this is a flavorful and easy meal that will appeal to most palates.

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 cup AP flour
1 egg white
splash of skim milk
Aprox. 3/4 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
aprox. 1-2 tsp Herbs de Provence
2 slices swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking dish with non stick spray. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper. Using about 1/2 tsp. (or more) per chicken breast, rub herbs to provence into both sides of breasts and then dust with flour so the chicken is completely covered. In a small bowl, whisk together egg white and milk, then dredge chicken in the egg white mixture. Finally, coat chicken in Panko breadcrumbs so the chicken is completely coated. Place in baking dish. If desired, sprinkle a bit more herbs de provence over chicken. Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Then, remove foil from dish, place 1 slice of Swiss Cheese over both breasts and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pan Seared Pork Chops with Shallots and Sage

No sooner do I begin the quest for a recipe to make with Pork Chops for dinner one night last week, when I find in my in box a "Dinner Tonight" email from the Martha Stewart website.

This recipe was great. I personally am a huge fan of sage, so the addition of it was very welcome. Combined with the white wine and shallots, this recipe was a huge success and a snap to put together. Perfect for a busy weeknight, these pork chops are flavorful and tender.

Adapted from Martha

4 boneless pork loin chops (6 ounces each) (I used two butterflied pork chops)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup AP flour (I added this)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried (I used more like 2-3 tsp of fresh sage! It was not overwhelming at all; in fact I think that 1 teaspoon would have been far to little!)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock (I added this)
1 clove garlic, minced (I added this)

Season pork chops generously with salt and pepper and dust with flour. In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium; add pork. Cook until browned and opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes per side (I had to cook mine longer than this...more like 5-7 minutes). Transfer to a plate, and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Make sauce: Add shallot and garlic to skillet; cook over medium, stirring until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add sage, thyme, wine and stock. Simmer until sauce is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 2 to 3 minutes; stir in any accumulated juices from plate with meat. Transfer chops to plates, drizzle with sauce, and serve.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Coconut Cake filled with Lime Curd

With the heat wave we're having in this neck of the woods, I wanted to make something summery to bring into work for my final course 1 Wilton cake. I went with a coconut cake filled with lime curd and it was fantastic! It's a perfect cake for the weather we're having and will remind you of sun and the tropics! One word of caution though...don't use too much curd! I didn't think I did, but clearly I did. Even though I made a border of frosting around the bottom layer, the curd oozed out the sides and I ended up having to remove the top layer and scoop a lot of the curd out. It was just a messy situation! But all in all this is another fantastic Good Things Catered recipe and the flavors work out great together!!!

Source: Good Things Catered

2 c. all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened at room temp
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp coconut extract
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1 c. coconut milk, at room temperature


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 9 inch pans (or three 8 inch pans for thinner layers for a three layer cake), covering pans with heavy foil or using bake even strips.
-In medium bowl, sift in flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to combine; set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and beat until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
-Add eggs, one at a time, beating to combine thoroughly between additions.
-Add extracts and coconut milk and beat to combine well.
-Add flaked coconut and beat to combine well.
-Turn mixer to low speed and slowly add flour mixture, beating until just combined.
-Divide batter evenly between two cake pans and tap to release air bubbles.
-Place pans into oven and let bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
-When done baking, remove pans from oven and let cool in pans for 20 minutes.
-Invert cakes onto wire rack and let cool completely.

Lime Curd

Adapted from Joy of Baking

3 large eggs
1/3 cup lime juice (juice of aprox. 4 limes)
1 tbsp lime zest
3/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature

Whisk together eggs, lime juice and sugar in a bowl over a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick and is the consistency of sour cream (160 degrees F), about 10 minutes. If desired, add 1 drop of green food coloring so people know it's lime and not lemon! Remove from heat and pour through a fine meshed strainer into a medium bowl. Immediately whisk in butter until all of it is melted and incorporated into the sauce. Add zest and let cool. Serve immediately or pour into an air-tight container. If you decide to store the curd, make sure to put plastic wrap directly on the curd itself to prevent a skin from forming. Then cover with the lid of the container and refrigerate for up to a week. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Wilton Course 1, Class 4

I thought that this was by far the best class we took in course 1. It was really fun and the things we learned are things I will most definitely use in the future. The roses were challenging at first, but I think by the end of the class I got better at them! I still have more practice to do, but all and all I was really happy with Course 1. Next week: Course 2!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Beer and Cheddar Risotto


I have to admit that I've had the recipe bookmarked for ages now. I knew it would be something my husband would really like but I wasn't too sure about it. I really, really dislike beer, and this called for a whole bottle so I was honestly avoiding making it. But when I couldn't think of another side to make for my Cornish Game Hens, I decided to give this a whirl.

I was honestly very, very pleasantly surprised how this came out. The beer added flavor without being overwhelming. The cheddar made it wonderfully cheesy with a fantastic bite (I used very sharp cheddar!). This was probably the most flavorful risotto I've made to date, and all of the flavors, textures, etc. worked perfectly together. This was a fabulous recipe that I will most certainly be making again!

Adapted From Cooking This and That
Originally from FayeD on the What's Cooking board on the Nest

1/2 small onion, diced (I used 1 onion)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon butter
2+ tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Arborio rice
12 oz. bottle of beer (preferably not light beer) (I used Michelob Ultra which is light and it was totally fine!)
49.5 ounce can of chicken broth
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omitted)


Pour chicken broth into medium saucepan. Keep warm over low heat.

Heat large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat just until butter is melted. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Turn heat to medium-high and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until fragrant.

Add rice and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly until opaque, adding more olive oil as necessary to coat the rice.

Pour in beer, turn heat up to high until it starts to simmer.

Turn heat back to medium-low and add the chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid dissolves. You may not need to use all of the chicken broth - risotto should be creamy and just slightly al dente. This should take 30 minutes or more.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses and cayenne pepper.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic Focaccia

Focaccia Bread has been on my list of things to make for a while now, so as soon as I saw this recipe on Good Things Catered, I printed it out and made it on the earliest day possible and I'm so glad I did! I mean, how can you possibly go wrong with bread, caramelized onions, roasted garlic and lemon? You can't! There is no possible way! My husband and I absolutely loved this bread. And in addition to being absolutely delicious, it was one of the easiest breads I have ever made which is a huge plus!

Whether you make this for company or just dinner for two, you will be so glad you did. It will most certainly dress up your table and your meal.

Source: Good Things Catered

1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water, 110 degrees
1 1/2 c. milk, room temp
4 Tbsp olive oil, plus 2 tsp for onion
5 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced (I didn't have thyme, so I used a full sprig of rosemary and it was just wonderful!)
2 small yellow onions, peeled, halved and sliced (I used about 1 1/2 onions, but they were very large)
5 garlic cloves, roasted (or roasted while dough is rising) and halved from end to end
1/2 lemon, sliced very thin
kosher salt

-In medium bowl, combine warm water and sprinkle with yeast.
-Let stand until frothy, about 5-10 minutes.
-Meanwhile combine flour, salt and thyme in bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.
-Once yeast mixture is frothy, add milk and olive oil and stir to combine well
-Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and turn mixer on low to combine well.
-Fit mixer with bread hook and knead until mixture is not sticky, but springy and elastic, about 5 minutes.
-Remove dough from bowl, wipe out, spray with non-stick spray, knead dough on counter into a ball.
-Place dough back into bowl, cover with a cloth and let sit in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
-Meanwhile, in a small pan over medium low heat, add an additional olive oil until hot.
-Add onions to pan as well as a hefty pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, on low until caramelized, about 25-30 minutes.
-Place in bowl and set aside.
-Once dough is risen, spray a large jelly roll pan with nonstick spray.
-Punch dough down and spread out over jelly roll pan evenly.
-Top with caramelized onions, halved roasted garlic, and lemon slices.
-Cover with towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-Using finger tips, make small indentations across the dough.
-Drizzle very lightly with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle top with kosher salt to taste, and place in oven to bake.
-Bake until turning slightly golden brown, about 25-30minutes.
-Remove from oven, let cool for at least 5 minutes, cut and serve.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Herb Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Sometimes I buy something at the store, not knowing what I'm going to do with it or how I'm going to make it. It keeps me on my toes. Anyways, this was one of those times. My husband mentioned that his mom used to make Cornish Hens on special occasions and he really liked them, so I got them without knowing how I was going to make them.

I chose to simply roast them, like I would do for a chicken or a turkey so I didn't use a recipe, and they came out quite good! I sort of felt bad for the little hen because it was so small and was probably really cute, but that's just the former vegan in me coming back out!!! In my opinion, you either eat animals or you don't and I made the conscious decision to eat meat so I just needed to get over myself!

These were really easy to make (I don't think you need to wait for a special occasion to make them!) and packed with flavor. The herbs de Provence really added a lot to flavor the meat which was wonderfully tender.
2 Cornish Game Hens, thawed if necessary and dry
1/2 lemon, cut in half
1 sprig sage
1 sprig rosemary
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stuff lemon, 1/2 sprig of sage, 1/2 sprig of rosemary, and a dash of salt and pepper into the empty cavity of the hen. Place on a roasting pan or dish sprayed with non stick spray, and rub 1/2 tbsp. of softened butter over each hen. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence and rub into skin. Bake uncovered for 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, bring the oven temperature up to 400 degrees to brown the skin. Just make sure that they are in the oven for an hour total or until juices run clear. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lemon Cake with Fresh Raspberry Mousse Filling

A coworker requested a lemon cake for my next Wilton class cake and I was certainly very happy to oblige! I went straight to Good Things Catered....I knew Katie was a big lemon fan so I assumed she had a lemon cake in her blog and sure enough I was right!

This cake is just you need proof? Well I work in an office with only 8 other people besides myself, it's 10am, and 3/4 of it is gone. I really wanted the lemon to stand out in this cake, so I added 1 more lemon then what was called for which worked out great. The cake is not too tart but the lemon flavor is definitely in the forefront. The raspberry mousse is something that I just made up as I went along but it worked out great! I made sure to make it a bit on the sweet side to contrast to the strong lemon flavor of the cake. This cake is really perfect for springtime; it's light and fresh, with just the right amount of sweet!

Source: Good Things Catered

2 1/2 c. cake flour (I used AP flour, sifted very well)
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 Tbsp meringue powder
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 extra large organic lemons, washed thoroughly then zested and juiced separately (I used 3 lemons)
2/3 c. milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 egg whites, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two cake pans.
-In bowl of electric mixer sift and add flour, sugar, baking powder, meringue powder, salt, and zest of one lemon.
-Stir with mixer to combine, about 30 seconds.
-Add milk, oil, juice from two lemons, beaten egg whites and extract.
-Beat on medium to combine thoroughly, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.
-Remove from mixer and stir with silicone spatula to thoroughly combine (making sure there is no flour mixture left unincorporated at the bottom of the bowl.
-Fill prepared pans 2/3 of the way full and bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (about 25-28 mins for 8 inch pans)
-Remove from oven, let cool 15 minutes in pan and then turn onto wire racks to cool completely.

Raspberry Mousse

-aprox. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
-about 1/2 - 1 cup fresh raspberries, mashed with a fork
-aprox. 4 tsp granulated sugar
-1/4 - 1/2 tsp. raspberry extract (If needed)
-1/4 cup water
-1/2 packet Knox Gelatine

Whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. Add sugar to mashed raspberries and combine thoroughly. Meanwhile, sprinkle Gelatine over water and let sit for about 1 minute. Add Gelatine to the raspberry mixture and stir to combine. Fold raspberry mixture into the whipped cream, and add raspberry extract if desired. Spread on the top of the bottom layer of cake, and then put the top layer of cake over the mousse. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve so the mousse sets up.

Wilton Course 1, Class 3

Oh the dreaded clown cake! My instructor insisted that these were cute clowns, but I'm guessing she has to say that because they really aren't. Personally, I hate clowns and I don't have any kids so this cake was a bit of a wash since I'll (probably) never have to use my new found clown making skills again. However, I did learn how to do the shell border and fill up a bag with 2 colors so it was worth it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Garlic Lime Chicken with a kick

I found this recipe on Allrecipes a long time ago, and it has since become one of my husband's favorites. This chicken definitely has a bit of a kick to it, and the lime pairs very well with it. But in all honestly, this is not one of my favorite chicken dishes. I really don't like spicy things, so I try and use a little less of the spice rub on mine. In addition, I always prefer to bake chicken, not pan fry it. But either way my husband really loves it, so I thought I'd post it because if he likes it someone else probably will too!!!

Adapted from

3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder (I omit)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I use 2 whole chicken breasts, pounded thin)

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons garlic powder (I omit this)
3 tablespoons lime juice (I use the juice of a lime)
2-3 tbsp. chicken stock (I add this)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I add this)
In a small bowl, mix together salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder, thyme and parsley. Sprinkle spice mixture generously on both sides of chicken breasts.
Heat butter and olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute chicken until golden brown, about 6 minutes on each side. In another small bowl, combine lime juice, chicken stock and fresh garlic cloves and pour over cooked chicken breasts. Cook an additional 5 minutes or so, or until sauce has started to thicken. Stir frequently to coat evenly with sauce.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

It's no secret that Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs to use. It just brings so much savory flavor to whatever dish your making, that I always have some fresh on hand. In fact, I love it so much so that I have little baby rosemary plants growing on my windowsill. Starting things from seed has ever been one of my strong points, so I'm hoping this works out for me.

Anyways, when I saw these Savory Roasted Potatoes on One Perfect Bite I knew I needed to try them! They were really, really good! The rosemary (as always) brought a lot of flavor and made the potatoes really shine, although next time I'm definitely going to use more! I used 1 full sprig this time, but next time I will definitely be using 2! These were also a cinch to make which is always good on a weeknight! I'm definitely saving this recipe, it is one I will most definitely be making again!

I'm going to keep the recipe as is, but keep in mind that I decreased the measurements of everything because this was just for my husband and me. I used about 4-6 medium/small potatoes which was still way too much for just us! I pretty much just eyeballed all of the ingredients which ended up working well.
Source: One Perfect Bite
Originally from Fine Cooking Magazine

3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 pounds red-skinned or Yukon gold potatoes, cut in 1-inch dice

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk mustard, olive oil, chicken broth, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper until combined. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Dump potatoes onto two greased large rimmed baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Roast, tossing with a spatula a few times, until potatoes are crusty on the outside and tender throughout, 50 to 55 min. Serve hot.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thai Turkey Burgers

It's that time of the year where the grill is finally uncovered, cleaned up and brought to its proper place. The days are longer, the sun is brighter and the men are ready to start grilling. That's why I thought these Thai Turkey Burgers as seen on Cara's Cravings would be a perfect meal for my husband to grill up for dinner.

They were quick to come together and had all of the great Thai flavors that my husband and I love so very much. All of the flavors worked perfectly together which resulted in a very flavorful burger. I topped the burger with a Cilantro Lime Aioli which lent itself perfectly to the flavors of the burger. Honestly, this is one of the best burgers I've personally had; I absolutely loved it. But while my husband said he liked it, he didn't think that it could compete with an old fashioned beef and cheese burger. Oh, men. But he did say I could make it again which is lucky for him because I am going to make it again!!!

Overall, a great burger and fantastic departure from the traditional "beef and cheese" burger. Packed with flavor, this burger was definitely a winner in my book!

Adapted from Cara's Cravings
Originally from A Good Appetite

1 package ground turkey
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 large scallion, minced
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp red curry paste (I added this)
2 tbsp peanut butter (I used reduced fat)
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger (I used a small piece of freshly grated ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I added this)
1 small bunch cilantro, minced (I added this)
Juice of 1/4 to 1/2 a lime (I added this)


Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and form into patties. Grill burgers until they are done in the center. Or you can heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook for about 7-10 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve with Cilantro Lime Aioli on fresh hamburger buns.

Cilantro Lime Aïoli

I'm not going to pretend that this was fun to make. It sucked. My arm felt like it was going to fall off from all the whisking so much so that I needed my husband to help me whisk half way through the process. I was probably adding the oil in too slowly, but I thought it was better safe then sorry for my first attempt at an aioli!

However, it was really good! It went with my Thai Turkey Burgers perfectly and I got to finally use the amazingly beautiful handcrafted mortar and pestle my mom got me from Hawaii 2 years ago!

So I'm glad I tried it, I know I'll make it again, but whisking that much just sucks. Next time I'm breaking out the Kitchen Aid (Why didn't I think of that yesterday?).

Adapted from
Originally from Gourmet

2 garlic cloves
1 large egg yolk
Juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Handful of Cilantro
Kosher Salt


Mash garlic and cilantro together in a Mortar and Pestle with a pinch of Kosher Salt until thoroughly combined into a paste. Set aside. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can mince and mash garlic and cilantro to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. In a medium bowl, whisk together yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl. Combine oils and add, a few drops at a time, to yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all oil is incorporated and mixture is emulsified. (If mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.)

Whisk in garlic and cilantro paste and season with salt and pepper. If aïoli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Giada's Lasagna Rolls

This is a very popular dish in the internet food blogging world, and one that I have been yearning to try. However, my picky husband insists that noodles alone are not sufficient for dinner, so for him I had to pair this with a chicken breast. But for me, this was perfect. Serve this with some crusty Italian bread, a salad and a nice glass of wine and you've got yourself a really fabulous meal!

These were very easy to make, and I loved the addition of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of the dish. I made a few changes to the original recipe that worked out really well for me...namely the addition of the minced garlic; it added so much flavor to the ricotta mixture. Overall, this was really an excellent meal.

Adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

Bechamel Sauce:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk (I used skim)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry (I omitted)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped (I omitted)
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce (I used less then this...probably about 1 cup)
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (I added this)
A pinch of nutmeg (I added this)


To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach (if using), 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto (if using), egg, salt, nutmeg, minced garlic and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamel sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Brownies

Rich and fudgy brownies are decorated with buttercream icing and a whopper "egg" to turn a traditional brownie into a sweet Easter treat.

Source: Martha Stewart

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan or heatproof glass dish. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on 2 sides. Set aside. Place butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water; stir frequently until chocolate and butter are melted, about 7 minutes. Remove bowl from heat; let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Gently fold in flour and salt.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan, and smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until cake tester inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges of the pan. Using parchment, lift brownies out of pan and onto the rack. Transfer to a cutting board; cut into 2-inch squares. Brownies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Quinoa Corn "Salad"

Ever since my husband and I got turned on to Quinoa, I've been looking for a new way to make it but nothing ever stuck out. So when I read about this recipe on the Thyme for Nourishment blog, I decided to try it out. However, I really didn't have many of the ingredients on hand, so this recipe is very loosely based on the original! Either way, it was still fantastic. The Cumin and lime "dressing" really added a great level of flavor to the quinoa and the corn made it oh so pretty. I also used Organic Red Quinoa, just because I think it's prettier then the white and would look nice with the corn.

So all in all, I say that this dish is vistually very appealing and it's delicious! A great way to make Quinoa!

Adapted from Thyme for Nourishment
Original recipe from the American Institute for Cancer Research

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 cup chicken broth
1 can corn, cooked and drained
1 clove garlic, minced fine
1/2 shallot, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 onion, chopped
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa, and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add shallots, garlic and onion. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until onions are translucent and all liquid is absorbed.

In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, cumin and add oil in a stream while whisking. Drizzle over cooked quinoa, then add the corn, and toss everything together to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot. Serves 2.

Pork Chops in a Fig and Shallot Reduction

Two things:

1) If I ate a pork chop one way for the rest of my life, this would be the way.

2) If you haven't checked out the Noble Pig blog, go do it. Now! (please?)

Seriously though, the Noble Pig blog has been one of my favorites for a while now. I love her writing style and we must have the exact same palate because everything she makes I want to try. This, however, was the first thing that I actually did try from her blog and it was *amazing* and so, so easy!!! I had the whole thing done in less then 30 minutes.

This was a fabulous weeknight meal, and would also be great for company (the name alone implies fancy...little will your guests know how easy it is to make!) and if you love figs like I do, you will certainly love this dish. Enjoy!

Source: Noble Pig

1-1/2 to 2 lbs. Boneless Pork Loin Thin Sliced Chops (I used 2 butterflied chops)
2 cups of beef broth or beef stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 large shallot, chopped
9 dried figs, diced (I was convinced I wouldn't be able to find these, but lo and behold they were right next to the raisins and other dried fruit at my supermarket)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

salt & pepper for seasoning

Preheat a nonstick skillet. Add olive oil and fry pork chops in batches, 2 minutes per side and remove from pan; keep warm. Add shallot to the pan and cook until softened, 3 minutes. Add beef broth, balsamic vinegar and figs. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half, about 7 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in a little water. Add this cornstarch mixture and cook 1 minute. Add chops back to the pan and cover. Simmer 2-3 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Remove the chops from the pan and pour sauce all over. Serve immediately.


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