Friday, October 30, 2009

West Indies Guava Barbecue Sauce

I got 5 little yellow guavas in my basket this week. Never had a fresh guava before. This one had a bunch of inedible seeds in it. After taking the seeds out, there wasn't much fruit left. So I made something easy that didn't require a lot of guava flesh. Barbecue sauce. Can't say that I tasted the guava, but the sauce was good. I forgot to get some liquid smoke, but it had a nice sweet, tangy, and a little spicey flavor.

West Indies Guave Barbecue Sauce

1 guava - peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons liquid smoke flavoring
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon habanero hot sauce
1 teaspoon molasses
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together the guava, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and brown sugar until well blended. Stir in liquid smoke, fresh lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, habanero sauce, and molasses. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Cover, and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Roasting vegetables is good. I keep discovering that it works for more and more vegetables. I never would have thought that broccoli would be good in the oven. This is a really simple and flavorful recipe. Sprinkle on some seasonings and oil and cook for 20 minutes in the oven. Voila!

Chili-Garlic Roasted Broccoli

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, eyeball it
5 to 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon grill seasoning blend (recommended:Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick Grill Mates)
1 large head broccoli, cut into thin, long spears

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, chili powder and grill seasoning in the bottom of a large bowl and add the broccoli spears. Toss to coat broccoli evenly then transfer to a large nonstick baking sheet. Roast the broccoli until ends are crisp and brown and stalks are tender, 17 to 20 minutes.

Rachel Ray

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Filipino Avocado Milkshake

Avocado beverage trial #3. I saved this one for the last because I expected it to be the most avocado flavored of them all. It was. It's not a strong avocado flavor, but it's there. Many people would like it. I don't. I didn't gag or anything, but I really liked the first recipe the best. Green Goblin potion wins!! It really does have them best name anyway.  I guess I learned that avocado can be added to my already tasty smoothies for extra nutritional value, but I will avoid the plain avocado milkshake.

Filipino Avocado Milkshake

1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and cubed

5 cubes ice
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/3 cups milk
1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Place avocado, ice, sugar, milk, lemon juice, and ice cream into a blender. Puree until smooth.

Source: All recipes

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chocolate Avocado Milkshake

Avocado beverage trial #2. This one fell a little flat. Only because it tasted a lot like milk with cocoa powder in it. The powder didn't blend so well. I think it would benefit to use chocolate syrup instead of powder or just use chocolate soy milk or almond milk. Can't taste the avocado. Maybe a banana would be a good addition as well.

Chocolate Avocado Milkshake

½ ripe Hass avocado
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cup skim milk

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend on high until smooth and serve over ice.

Source: skinny chef

Monday, October 26, 2009

Green Goblin's Punch

With a title like this, it seems this recipe is perfect for Halloween. That was not my intention, but it works. I actually was reading about the nutritional benefits of avocado and decided there had to be a way to eat it but didn't taste it. Not a fan of guacamole. I found a bunch of smoothie and milkshake recipes. This is avocado drink recipe trial #1. With the strong flavors of orange and pineapple, the only reason you know this has avocados is the light green color. It is actually really good.

Green Goblin's Potion

1 medium or large ripe avocado
1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
1 Tbs honey
1 1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp lime juice (optional)
1/4 tsp coconut meat or flavor
2 ice cubes--or a handful

Blend all ingredients in the blender.
Website Source:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Skeptical Salad (Winter Version)

My sister dubbed this salad "Skeptical Salad" because she was skeptical about it tasting good. Now she makes it all the time. I can't remember what magazine I got it out of, but it is now a classic at my house. The original recipe uses sliced strawberries. I wanted an option for the winter when you can't get good strawberries. I chose pomegranates. They have the same sweet/tart balance as strawberries. I still prefer the original version, but the winter version is good too. For the glazed walnuts, Emerald makes really good ones. You can try the bulk bins (Sprouts has them) or even make them yourself. Make sure you use good lettuce-- Romaine or the fancy greens. Iceberg just doesn't work in this recipe. I often omit the green onions. They aren't bad. They add a bit of spice, but I think it is unecessary.

Skeptical Salad

Mixed greens
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced OR 1 pomgranate (avrils only)
11 ounce can of mandarin orange segments
2/3 cup green onions, sliced (I rarely add this)
1 cup glazed walnuts

Toss all ingredients

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
2 T vegetable oil
2 tsp Dijon mustard

Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate until serving.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Honey Chipotle Ribs

I decided to try a new ribs recipe when my husband requested them for dinner. I think good ribs are more about how you cook them than what sauce you use. Sauce is important, but there are plenty of good ones out there. The important thing is to cook your ribs until the meat falls off the bone--love the crock pot for that-- and then put it on the grill so that it has that crispiness. MMMM, crispy.

Honey Chipotle Ribs

2 racks baby back ribs, cut into 2 to 3 rib portions
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oven to 375°.
Line a large baking sheet (with sides) with heavy duty foil. Place rib sections, rib sides down, on the baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour.

Combine remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.

Transfer ribs to the slow cooker; cover with onions and pour the chipotle barbecue sauce over all. Cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, or HIGH for about 4 to 5 hours.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad

I suppose it's not very often that most people are wondering what to do with their pomegranates and stumble across a recipe with persimmons and think "hey, I have those too!" Well, it could happen. Or maybe you think this sounds good and want to take advantage of the fall fruit. The one thing I did not have was apples, so I substituted some pears. While this is not a complicated recipe, it is good. I think it is the only recipe for fruit salad in which I have ever used mint. Mint, when used correctly, is a great punch of flavor. Just don't use too much. I found this recipe on

Persimmon Pomegranate Fruit Salad

3 fuyu persimmons, peeled, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces), seeds (if any) discarded

3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 Granny Smith or Fuji apple, peeled, cored, chopped (1/4 to 1/2 inch pieces)
7-10 leaves fresh mint, thinly sliced crosswise (stack then, then roll them up like a cigar and take slices from the end)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey

Gently toss all of the ingredients together.
Keeps for at least a couple of days in the refrigerator, but best eaten same day it is made.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

Giada De Laurentiis really knows her way around Nutella. I'm not sure what makes it gelato, but it sure does taste amazing. I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but just imagine a scoop of velvety, creamy, chocolate goodness. Drool.

Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, crushed, for garnish

In a saucepan combine the milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar using an electric mixer until the eggs have become thick and pale yellow, about 4 minutes. Pour 1/2 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture into the egg mixture and stir. Add this mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Place a strainer over a medium bowl and pour the warm custard mixture through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla and hazelnut spread until it dissolves. Chill mixture completely before pouring into an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions to freeze. To serve, scoop gelato into serving bowls and top with hazelnuts.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnut Lemon Butter

Who doesn't like green beans? This recipe is simple, quick and really brings them to a whole new level. The best part? You can make the butter ahead of time and even use it on other vegetables. I make this for holidays, dinners, or just because. If you can't find any fresh green beans, you could even use frozen.

Green Beans with Toasted Hazelnut Lemon Butter

1 1/2 tablespoons butter, softened

3 tablespoons finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
8 cups water
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

Combine butter, hazelnuts, rind, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; stir with a fork until well blended.
Bring 8 cups water and remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add green beans; cook 3 minutes. Drain. Return pan to medium heat. Add beans and butter mixture; cook 3 minutes or until the butter mixture melts. Toss gently to coat.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chocolate Ferrero Rocher Cake with Nutella Ganache

I saw this recipe while doing some recipe surfing one day and decided I had to try it. Well, I did. I have to say, my version of the cake should be named "disaster cake." I did some research and have figured out the probable culprit. Actually, there are 3 culprits. The recipe I found is based on  a recipe that is from the NY Times, but there are a couple of differences. I wish I had read the original recipe before I tried to make it.

First, in the adapted recipe the temperature was listed at 200 degrees Celsius. After converting this online, I got 392 degrees Fahrenheit. The original recipe says to bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And too hot of an oven leads to cracks in your cake. I had a lot of cracks---it essentially cracked apart.

Second, this recipe calls for 4 "Singapore eggs." Now what the heck are these? After a little more digging, the person who changed the recipe says that she thinks that eggs in Singapore are smaller than the typical American egg. So she added another one. So I had one too many eggs.

Thirdly, she changed the oil that the original called for to butter on a 1:1 ratio. This is inaccurate since it will add a smaller amount to liquid--thus a drier cake.

Did I mention the ganache was too thin?

This is the first time that a cake I made has ever completely collapsed. Now I know why. Check out the pictures. It is officially a disaster cake. Now, the idea behind the cake is good. I may attempt it again. But I definitely have learned some lessons.

Chocolare Ferrero Rocher Cake with Nutella Ganache

Friday, October 16, 2009

Vegetarian Hash

Skillet dishes are a good way to use up some vegetables that you have. They're easy and flexible-- as long as you know which vegetables take longer to cook. I used onion instead of shallots, replaced the red bell peppers with  more green, and used my white potatoes and just cut them a little smaller. Vegetable goodness.

Vegetarian Hash

3/4 lb new potatoes, unpeeled
1 small acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped, divided
olive oil cooking  spray
4 tsp olive oil
2 shallots, minced
2 cups broccoli, shredded
1/3 cup each or red and green bell pepper
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, lightly toss potatoes and squash with 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 2 tsp oil. Place on baking sheet misted with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes until tender, toss every 10 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute' shallots, broccoli and bell peppers for 1 minute. Add potato-squash mixture and cook for 5 minutes or until heated. Sprinkle with lemon juice, remaining 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and heat through.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Turkey Tenders with Cranberry Yogurt Dipping Sauce

I love chicken nuggets. Or in this case, turkey nuggets. I've discovered that you can bread meat in just about anything and it's always good-- panko, regular bread crumbs, pretzel, pita. Not only that, the seasoning possibilities are endless. Well, these are pretty basic, but I really liked them. They're easy and healthy (from the Clean Eating  website). My husband really liked the dipping sauce. I thought it was way too tangy. I used my favorite nugget dipping sauce, honey, to make it better. It is really good with the honey. You can adjust the amount of honey to your own taste--I highly recommend it.

Turkey Tenders with Cranberry Yogurt Dipping Sauce

2 whole-wheat pita breads

1 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 lb turkey tenderloins
1 clove garlic, split
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place pita breads on the foil and bake until dry and crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes.

When the pita breads are cool enough to handle, break them up and grind them into coarse crumbs with a food processor. Stir in salt and fresh sage. Place the seasoned crumbs onto a plate.

Dry off turkey tenderloins with a paper towel. Rub split garlic clove all over the meat. Cut the tenderloins into 1 1/2-inch chunks and place in a bowl. Add olive oil to bowl and, using your hands, mix until the meat is evenly covered with the oil.

Roll each piece of turkey in the seasoned bread crumbs until well coated and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the turkey is cooked through and no pink remains. Serve warm with Cranberry Yogurt Dipping Sauce.

Cranberry Yogurt Dipping Sauce

1 cup fat-free Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

 Combine yogurt and dried cranberries in a food processor and blend until cranberries are finely chopped. Serve with Turkey Tenders.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Udon Noodle Soup

This recipe is a hodge-podge of a bunch of recipes that I saw online. It's not a hard soup to make. You just need some dashi--essential in Japanese soups. It can be home made or made from granules like a boullion. The can be made with kelp, bonito, or mushrooms--or all of these. I went to the Asian supermarket to get my dashi granules. While there I picked up some daikon--Japanese radish and oyster and dried shitake mushrooms. I had a soup at a Japanese restaurant once and was really hoping to recreate it. I'm sure this wasn't perfect, but it was very good. I did find it a little tricky to eat the noodles in the soup. Maybe next time I will break them in half first.

Udon Noodle Soup

I didn't really measure, so this is a best guess on the amounts

6 cups dashi
1/2 pack of udon noodles
1/4 cup green onions
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1/2 cup matchstick daikon
3/4 cup mushrooms (shitake, oyster, whatever you want)
1 lb ground pork
2 cloves garlic
1 T ginger
2 T soy sauce
1 T mirin
2 tsp sugar
poached egg (optional)

Boil udon noodles until al dente. Set aside. Prepare dashi. Add soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Add onions, carrots, mushrooms, and daikon. 

Mix pork with ginger and garlic. Roll into small meatballs. Heat frying pan over medium heat and cook 5 to 8 minutes, turning until browned all over. Add to soup.

Place noodles in bowl and cover with soup. Place poached egg on top, if desired.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Persimmon-Apple Tart with Gingersnap Streusel

Persimmons are not exactly a fruit you see a lot of here in Arizona. I have learned that they are a cold weather fruit. That explains it. I got 2 in this weeks produce basket and found them on sale at the Asian market to get 2 more (Sprouts also had them, but they were a lot more expensive there). Gotta say, love google. I learned that there are 2 common types--Fuyu or Hayachi. The Hayachi can only be eaten when really ripe and mushy. The Fuyu, which is what I had, can be eaten anytime. It works really well in a tart since it is crisp like an apple. So I googled some persimmon recipes. The cookies and breads didn't peak my interest. This tart that I stumbled across on the Cooking Light's webpage sounded yummy. I can't help but think that persimmons look like tomatoes and almost expect that flavor. They really taste similar to a pear. I used a pastry crust from Joy of Vegan Baking that was really good and flaky. The gingersnap streusel was a nice punch of flavor. If you don't like gingersnaps, you could use a vanilla wafer.

Persimmon-Apple Tart with Gingersnap Streusel

Pastry for a single-crust 9-inch pie

1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
About 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tart apples, such as Newtown Pippin or Granny Smith (1 lb. total)
4 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons (1 1/2 lb. total)
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Roll pastry out on a floured board to fit a 9-inch tart pan with removable rim. Lay pastry in pan, easing into corners. Fold excess pastry down and flush with pan rim, then press against pan side so pastry extends about 1/8 inch above rim.

Bake in a 350° oven until pastry is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Use hot or warm.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together crushed gingersnaps, brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons flour. Mix in melted butter. Squeeze mixture to form lumps. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix granulated sugar and cornstarch. Peel, core, and thinly slice apples. Stem, peel, and thinly slice persimmons. Add fruit to bowl along with lemon juice and mix well.

Pour mixture into pastry and shake pan to settle filling evenly, then crumble gingersnap mixture over it. Bake tart on lowest rack of a 325° oven until pastry is browned and filling bubbles, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Lay a sheet of foil over streusel if it begins to darken before pastry is done. Let stand until warm or at room temperature; remove pan rim

Monday, October 12, 2009

Turkey Sausage Ragu

I recently discovered a magazine called Clean Eating. The basic idea of clean eating is to eat foods more naturally, not processed. I love the idea. Can't always follow it. But I try. So far, I have made a couple of recipes from this magazine that are really good. I am constantly trying new fruits and vegetables these days--or old ones in new ways. This one has kale in it. Who knew kale could be so tasty? Nothing fancy, just a really good pasta recipe. I love that you can taste all the ingredients without having a sauce that overpowers it.

Turkey Sausage Ragu

3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for garnish
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
8 oz. spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings discarded
1/4 tsp. chile flakes
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 14.5 oz. can chopped tomatoes in juice
1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves, torn with fingers
1 large bunch kale, cleaned, stems discarded, rough chopped
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. whole-wheat pappardelle, fettuccine or tagliatelle pasta
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
Parmigiano Reggiano, for garnish

Add 1 tbsp. oil, onion and thyme to a medium pot over medium heat. Stir to coat, cover and cook until onion is softened and just beginning to color, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Uncover pot, add sausage, chile flakes and garlic, and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, carefully deglaze by adding wine. Return to heat and reduce for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, oregano and kale. Stir well, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue cooking until sauce is reduced and slightly thickened, 10 minutes. Stir in an additional 2 tbsp. oil plus vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper.

When sauce is almost finished cooking, add pasta to a large pot filled with boiling salted water and cook until al dente, following package directions. Drain well and immediately toss with tomato reduction to coat. Then serve, topped with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkling of parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cheryl's Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Lemon

I never had Brussels sprouts as a kid. So I don't have any childhood prejudices towards them. After having Brussels sprouts a few times, I have decided that they need to be made with a little flavor help but are decent. Little mini cabbages. I found this recipe in the newspaper and decided to try it. It's pretty good.

Cheryl's Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Lemon

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pints Brussels sprouts, shredded or sliced very thin
1 large lemon, juice and zest
4 T butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup sliced, fresh mushrooms
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Chop onion. Mince garlic. Shred sprouts by finely slicing with knife. Grate 1 tsp zest from lemon and squeeze 3 T of juice. In large frying pan or wok, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add sprouts, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 15 minutes. Add lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in cheese.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pork Katsu

I don't remember what prompted me to find a katsu recipe. Although it's not really much of a recipe, it is good and easy to make. I used some extra pork loin to make this recipe.

Pork Katsu and Katsu Sauce

4 boneless pork loin chops
Salt and pepper
Flour (about 1/4 C)
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 C panko

Katsu Sauce
1/4 C ketchup
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Dijon mustard

(recipe from Nook & Pantry) Make a slice through the fat and silverskin (tough whitish fiberous membrane) that surrounds the outer edge of the chop every 2 inches around the chop. This helps the chops flatten more evenly and prevent them from curling when cooked. Pound each cutlet with a meat mallet until 1/4 in thick. Use the waffle surface (spiky side) to tenderize the meat and the smooth side to pound the chop to a thin even layer (the bottom of a pan also works).

Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chop then dredge the pork cutlet in flour and shake off the excess. Then coat the chop in beaten egg and bread with panko. Repeat for each cutlet.

Heat 1/4 in of oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Place the pork chops in the hot oil and fry each side until golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towel and pat off the excess oil.

Cut into bite size pieces before serving. Serve with rice and katsu sauce

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sweet Basil Tapenade

This is a recipe from my sister's present to me. She gave me an extra copy of the book Veganomicon so that I could make vegan stuff for her. She's so thoughtful. The tapenade is so good that my dad has even made it. Not just liked it. He made it himself. That's impressive. Normally, we just serve it on baguette slices--toasted is better-- and it's great that way. This time I had some extra and decided it would taste good on grilled chicken. And it does. So I used the chicken recipe from Giada and just switched out the basil dressing for the tapenade (the basil dressing is also tasty--makes a nice lemony grilled chicken). The slightly tart lemon on the chicken was a perfect compliment to the sweetness of the tapenade.

Sweet Basil Tapenade

3 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup walnut pieces or halves
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup walnut oil (can use more olive oil)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
1&1/2 tsp  salt, or to taste
Black pepper

Chop the basil, walnuts, and garlic in a food processor until chunky. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the processor bowl frequency. Add the oils, maple syrup, and lemon zest, and process until thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper. Store in a glass jar with a thin layer of olive oil on the surface and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Grilled Chicken With Basil Dressing

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus 1/4 cup
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 large garlic clove
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Whisk 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a resalable plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turning the chicken occasionally.

Meanwhile, blend the basil, garlic, lemon peel, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Gradually blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired.

Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from the marinade. Discard the marinade. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to serving plates, drizzle with the basil sauce and serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bourbon Peach Cobbler

It's pretty much the end of peach season. But if you still have some peaches and you want to make them into a delicious dessert, Tyler Florence's cobbler is amazing. MMMMMMMMMM Yum! The bourbon is not overpowering and when you put a scoop of vanilla on this, divine. I used skim milk instead of the cream in the dough and it was still good.

Bourbon Peach Cobbler

8 peaches, peeled and sliced, about 6 to 8 cups
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing (I used skim milk)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl add the peaches, bourbon, 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon and mix well to coat the peaches evenly; set aside.

Prepare the dumplings: Into a bowl sift together the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter into small pieces. Add it to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender or your hands until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don't overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add the peaches and cook gently until heated through, about 5 minutes. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches. There can be gaps, the dough will puff up and spread out as it bakes. Brush the top with some heavy cream and sprinkle with some sugar; put it into the oven on a baking sheet to catch any drips. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is browned and the fruit is bubbling

Noodles with Roasted Pork and Almond Sauce

Cooking Light's latest issue has a bunch of noodle-based recipes. You really can't go wrong with noodles and almond/peanut sauce. I substituted Udon noodles for the fettucine and natural peanut butter for the almond butter, since I already had those on hand. Just a little heat and plenty of flavor, this one is easy and good.

Noodles with Roasted Pork and Almond Sauce

1/2 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine (or any long type, fatty noodle)
1/4 cup almond butter (peanut butter works too)
2 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
Preheat oven to 425°.

Drizzle oil in an ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle pork with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper; place pork in pan. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes. Turn pork over, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155°. Place pork on a cutting board; let stand 10 minutes. Shred pork into small pieces.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta water; keep pasta warm.

Combine almond butter, 2 tablespoons pasta water, remaining salt, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, and chili garlic sauce. Divide pasta evenly among 4 bowls; top evenly with sauce, pork, onions, and mint.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Cupcakes

I saw these cupcakes while waiting in line at the grocery store (in the Eating Well magazine). I thought they sure looked like "eating well" to me. Or more like eating delicious. Well, they were okay. Not bad, but not great. The marshmallow frosting was definitely sticky, but not very marshmallowy.

Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups shredded peeled apples
1/2 cup diced dried apples
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, plus 3/4 cup, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons dried egg whites (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions (equivalent to 2 egg whites)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish

To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cupcake liners or coat with cooking spray.

Combine shredded and dried apples in a bowl with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside. Beat oil and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla, increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute.

Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in the reserved apple mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. (The cups will be full.)

Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before frosting.

To prepare frosting: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler (see Tip). Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup water in the top of the double boiler. Heat over the simmering water, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the top pan from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute more to cool. Add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat on low just to combine. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle cinnamon on top, if desired.

Make Ahead Tip: Store unfrosted cupcakes airtight at room temperature for up to 1 day.
Equipment: 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups

Ingredient Note: Dried egg whites are pasteurized so this product is a wise choice in dishes that call for an uncooked meringue. Look for brands like Just Whites in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sweet Pea Baking Company's Vegan Pumpkin Bottoms

I hate pumpkin pie, but I don't hate pumpkin baked goods. Still not my favorite, but these are pretty tasty. So many people love pumpkin--especially in the fall--that I feel I must have something pumpkiny in my arsenal for festivities. I made the mini-muffin version of these, because people like little bites at parties (so they can try more desserts of course). The only thing I would change is to add something to the top. Maybe some vegan cream cheese frosting or drizzle some melted vegan chocolate on top. Yum.

Sweet Pea Baking Company's Vegan Pumpkin Bottoms

Cake batter:

1½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
½ cup canned pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces (½ tub) Tofutti cream cheese (non-hydrogenated)
¼ cup sugar
2½ teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer (or 1½ teaspoons cornstarch)
¾ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate with fine pieces sifted out)

Make the batter: Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, pie spice and ginger together in a large bowl. Add the water, oil, pumpkin and vanilla and whisk until the batter is smooth.

Make the filling: In a food processor (or with a mixer in a pinch), blend the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the egg replacer, vanilla, lemon zest and salt and let the food processor run for a minute, until the mixture is smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin with muffin cups. Fill each cup with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter. Drop 1 to 1½ tablespoons of the filling into the center of each and then top with the remaining pumpkin batter (about 1 heaping tablespoon on each). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the pumpkin part of the cupcake comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Note: You can also make these in a mini-cupcake tin, filling each cup with 1 tablespoon pumpkin batter and 1 teaspoon of the filling and topping with the remaining pumpkin batter. Bake them for 15 minutes, checking with toothpick for doneness.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fried Corn

Corn is good. Unless it's canned creamed corn. Then, not so much. Last night, we grilled our corn. That is probably my favorite way to eat corn. Rub some olive oil on it and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Then just throw them on the grill until they are fire-kissed. Super-yum. This recipe from Sandra Lee is yum too. I did lighten it a little  bit. I used a smidge of butter and them olive oil instead of all butter. I used honey, a little less than called for. And finally, I used skim milk instead of cream. I really liked the taste of the honey on the corn. I didn't miss the extra fat either.

Fried Corn

4 tablespoons butter

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen corn, defrosted (I used fresh off the cob)
3 tablespoons white sugar or honey  (I used 1 T honey)
1/3 cup heavy cream (I used skim milk)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. When butter is foamy add the corn stirring to coat with the butter. Cook stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add sugar or honey and cook for 2 minutes more. Increase heat to high and add heavy cream-continue to stir so corn won't stick to pan. Add salt and pepper. Cook corn until most all of the cream has absorbed about 5 minutes more. Remove add serve hot

Friday, October 2, 2009

Italian Beef Sandwiches

The meat from this recipe from Cooking Light is so tender, but it lacks a little something. The juice is very thin, so it's much better to use some to dip the sandwich in. It also might improve the flavor if you punch it up with another sauce. The bread is also very important. Make sure it's good bread, it makes all the difference.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (2 1/2-pound) rump roast, trimmed
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)
8 (2-ounce) Italian rolls
Giardiniera (pickled vegetables), chopped (optional)

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large zip-top bag, and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

 Place beef and marinade in an electric slow cooker; cook on LOW 8 hours or until beef is tender. Place beef on a cutting board (reserve cooking liquid); let stand 10 minutes. Thinly slice beef; place in a shallow dish. Pour cooking liquid over beef.

 Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Slice rolls lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Hollow out top and bottom halves of rolls, leaving a 3/4-inch-thick shell; reserve the torn bread for another use. Arrange about 3 ounces beef and 2 tablespoons bell peppers on each roll. Drizzle 1 tablespoon cooking liquid over beef and peppers; top with giardiniera, if desired. Serve with remaining 2 1/2 cups cooking liquid for dipping.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Not a fan of sweet potatoes. Don't hate them, but don't really care for them. This recipe of Bobby Flay's was decent. There is enough spice to punch it up so that it isn't all sweet potatoes. I think this would be a really good recipe for someone who likes sweet potatoes and spicy food. You can adjust the spiciness by the amount of chipotle you use.  I used skim milk and only 1&1/2 cups to lighten it up.

Smoked Chile Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

2 cups heavy cream
1 heaping tablespoon chipotle pepper puree (I used chipotles in adobo and pureed them)
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 1/8-inch thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together cream and chipotle puree until smooth.
In a 9 by 9-inch casserole dish, arrange the potatoes in even layers. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the cream mixture and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cream, and salt and pepper to form 10 layers.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes, remove cover and continue baking for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cream has been absorbed and the potatoes are cooked through and the top is browned