Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rasberry Cobbler

Last week at the market I couldn't resist buying a quart of the most beautiful raspberries I had ever laid eyes on. They were plump, juicy and bright red. You could just tell by sight that they were at the peak of perfection. So when I got them home I decided to use them right away while they were at their peak. I didn't have any chocolate in the house (which is my usual pairing with raspberries) so I went online for some inspiration. There I found a raspberry cobbler. It looked great and I had never made one before.

This was a fabulous recipe. It was so easy to make (like 2 bowls easy) and tasted just delicious. It was so good that my husband and I finished it off in two sittings. Then I went to my cousin's house the next day for a brunch, and brought a raspberry cobbler and a blueberry cobbler and both were finished off in no time. This is a great base recipe, and can easily be adapted to whatever berry you have on hand which I love. Eat this hot out of the oven with a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have got yourself a perfect dessert.
Source: John Deere Mom

2 cups raspberries
3/4 C butter
1 3/4 C sugar
3/4 C flour
3/4 C milk
1 pinch salt
2 tsp. baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take 3/4 C butter and put it in an 8X8 pan. Stick the pan of of butter in the oven to melt while it preheats.

Meanwhile, put the 2 cups of raspberries into a small bowl.

Add 3/4 C sugar. Mix well.

Now for the batter, pour 1 C sugar into a separate bowl.

Add 3/4 C flour.

Add 2 tsp. baking powder and a pinch of salt.

Finally, add 3/4 C milk to the dry mixture. Mix well.

Now get the melted butter pan from the oven.

Pour the batter into the butter. DO NOT STIR.

Pour the raspberry/sugar mixture into the buttery batter. DO NOT STIR.

Bake in the 350 degree oven for approximately 45 minutes. Be sure to put the pan on a baking sheet as it might bubble over.

Let sit to thicken.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wilton Fondant & Gumpaste Course, Class 4

Last Sunday marked my final class of the Wilton cake decorating course. It's a little sad, I really enjoyed all of the classes. But I feel like I learned so much which is really exciting!

For the last class, I played around with some of my new fondant tools which was fun, and made some gum paste daisies which I think are just the cutest!

If you are thinking about taking the Wilton classes, I really suggest that you do. I can't believe how much I learned and how I can apply the techniques to many different things. I know cake decorating will be a skill that I can use for many, many years to come so in my opinion it's most certainly worth the money on the classes.

Stuffed Zucchini

With an abundance of fresh zucchini growing in my garden, I am always looking for creative ways to prepare it. This recipe is extremely easy so it is perfect for weeknight cooking. The ricotta dresses up the zucchini without overwhelming the flavor. In addition, I use reduced fat ricotta so it's really not that bad for you. This can easily be served as a vegetable or a side and is wonderfully flavorful!

Source: Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, page 157

4 Zucchini (I used 2)
Olive Oil for greasing
1 cup fresh ricotta (I use reduced fat)
1/4 Grated Parmesan
1 tbsp. flour
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper (I omit)
Pinch of grated lemon zest (I omit)
2 tbsp. freshly grated pecorino romano or parmesan
Leaves from 1 large spring fresh basil
2 small garlic cloves, minced (I added)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the whole zucchini and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer the zucchini just until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain and let cool.

Preheat the broiler (I just set the oven to 400 degrees and use the top rack). Lightly oil a large baking pan or sheet. In a bowl, stir together the ricotta and 1/2 cup Parmesan with the flour, salt and black pepper to taste, the cayenne, lemon zest and minced garlic. Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a small spoon. Place the zucchini in the prepared baking pan. Season with salt and pepper and fill with the cheese mixture to form soft mounds. Sprinkle with he pecorino romano cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is warm and starts to brown slightly, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the broiler, chop the basil leaves, and sprinkle on top. Serve warm.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is another meal that is simple enough for a weeknight, but can also be dressed up to serve to company. Just remember that goat cheese tends to be something that you either love or hate, so if you do decide to make this for company make sure they like goat cheese first! Fortunately, my husband and I like it very much so this recipe was a winner.

The original recipe calls for frying the chicken in a saute pan, but I honestly prefer to bake my chicken. It makes much less of a mess and is healthier. Plus, you can just put it in the oven and forget about it while you make your side dish or vegetable without constantly having to hover over it. This recipe is quick, easy and flavorful. A combination that is always welcome in my book!

Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Bride & Groom Cookbook, page 110

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (I used 2 whole breasts)
kosher salt and pepper
2 oz. fresh goat cheese
4 thin slices prosciutto (I used 2)
8 fresh sage leaves
2 cups flour (I used 1 cup)
2 eggs, lightly beaten (I used 1) with 1-2 tbsp. water
2 cups fine dried bread crumbs (I used 1 cup Panko)
1/4 cup olive oil (I omitted)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Using a boning knife, cut a horizontal incision into each breast, without cutting the breasts in half, creating a pocket for stuffing.

Pound each breast between 2 pieces of parchment paper until they are about 3/4 of an inch thick. Rub each breast lightly with olive oil.

Stuff each pocket with about 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the goat cheese, spreading evenly, then follow with 1 slice of prosciutto and 2 sage leaves. I threaded a tooth pick through the incision to keep the stuffing in.

Arrange a plate with the flour, bowl with the eggs, and plate with the bread crumbs. Dredge each stuffed breast in flour, then dip it in the eggs, and dredge in the bread crumbs.

Lightly spray a baking dish with non stick spray, and place breasts in the dish. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes, uncovering the dish for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove toothpick and serve.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Rainbow Cake!

Since I saw this cake featured on the Omnomicon blog, I have been hoping for an occasion to make it. Most cakes I make don't really scream "rainbow cake," but finally I found an occasion to make it! In the second class of Wilton's Fondant and Gum Paste course, you make a "sampler" cake. You learn how to drape, make garlands and a pretty handkerchief technique. So since the outside of the cake is sort of a mish-mash, I thought the inside could be fun as well! For really awesomely detailed instructions, head over to the Omnomicon blog. Besides making a boat load of dishes, it's really very easy to make. I did use boxed mix just because I wanted the batter to be perfectly white when I started. I also didn't really care about fat-content because I was making this for my co-workers, so I just followed the directions on the box. In addition, I used only egg whites and I used Wilton gel coloring for the rainbow-ing. I iced the cake in traditional buttercream topped with fondant, and the center is chocolate buttercream.

Whatever occasion you choose to make this cake for, enjoy! It will put a smile on everyone's face and you will certainly get the question..."How did you do that?!"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Roasted Tomatoes

It's tomato season around here, and with an abundance of fresh tomatoes at every local market, store and garden, different recipes to use them are always welcome. I found this recipe in one of my many Williams-Sonoma cookbooks, and tend to make this with almost every dinner during the summer. It's a fabulous way to use up your tomatoes, and it's a perfectly simple and delicious side dish.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Healthy Kitchen: Main Dishes; Page 101

1 large tomato
1 clove garlic, minced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Panko Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut tomato in half. On both halves, sprinkle an even amount of minced garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Add panko bread crumbs on top of both tomato halves and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake on the top rack for about 6-8 minutes, or until bread crumbs are lightly browned. Serve warm.

"World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies"

I printed this recipe out last year after a super-original google search entitled "World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies". I mean, everyone is on the hunt for the best chocolate chip cookies right?! Well if you're not, I sure am. Since then, this recipe has been my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. Do I think that they are the world's best? The verdict is still out. I think that they are very good, but I'm hesitant to give them the "world's best chocolate chip cookie" title. But until (or, if) I find a recipe that is better, this is a great go-to recipe that results in one fantasticly chocolatey, chewy, soft and delicious cookie...and they always get major compliments!

So let me know what you think! Try these and report back. Are they really the world's best? Do you have a better recipe? Am I searching for a chocolate chip cookie recipe that simply doesn't exist because these truly are the best thing on earth?! Let me know!

And in the meantime, grab a nice cold glass of milk, a soft cookie (or 2...or 3...) and enjoy!

Source: Recipe Zaar

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well. Combine dry ingredients together and gradually add to creamed mixture. Stir in chips. Drop dough by the spoonfull on to an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2" apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.

Rosemary Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

For my anniversary, my darling husband got me a fabulous counter top rotisserie. Since then, we've used it every Sunday, always trying a new meat. Pork tenderloin was a perfect meat to use in the rotisserie. It left the meat perfectly juicy and flavorful on the inside and nice and crisp on the outside. If you don't have a rotisserie, I'm sure that this would be just as good baked in the oven, however I didn't make it this way so I'm only going to include directions for the rotisserie. Either way, this is such a simple meal to make, but is loaded with flavor.

1 pork tenderloin
Aprox. 1-2 tsp dried rosemary, minced
3-5 fresh sage leaves, minced
garlic powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If you have a flavor injector, combine 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Inject into pork loin in various places. If you don't have a flavor injector, you can skip this step and move on to the next. In the same bowl (or a new one), add an additional 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, along with the minced sage and rosemary. Add another pinch of salt and pepper to the oil mixture, and stir to combine. Slather over entire tenderloin until completely coated. Fit tenderloin onto rotisserie skewers according to manufactures directions, and cook for about 45 minutes or until the middle of the tenderloin registers 160 degrees. Remove from rotisserie and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut into aprox. 1/2" slices and serve warm.

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