Saturday, August 28, 2010

Frozen Blueberry Pie

Love summer and all the yummy fruit. We got lots of blueberries and needed to use them. It's rough. Alton Brown's recipe is really convenient. You make pie filling and cook it whenever you want. Of course, we baked it the next day and saved one for later. The pie was very good and not at all runny.

Frozen Blueberry Pie

20 ounces blueberries, approximately 4 cups
4 ounces sugar, approximately 1/2 cup
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 ounces tapioca flour, approximately 5 tablespoons
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 (9-inch) store-bought pie doughs
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon water

Wash the berries and pat dry. Mash up half of the blueberries in a small bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and tapioca flour. Add the mashed blueberries, orange juice and orange zest and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Fold in the whole berries.

Line a 9-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Place the blueberry mixture into the foil and place in the freezer until solid, approximately 6 to 8 hours.

Once the filling is frozen, remove from the aluminum foil and wrap in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

For baking:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Unroll first piece of dough and place into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the dough reaches to the lip of the pie pan. Trim excess, if necessary. Prick the bottom and sides with a fork and set aside. Unroll second piece of dough and cut into 1 1/8-inch wide strips that are at least 10-inches long. Using a ruler that is 1 1/8-inches wide, lay the ruler on the dough at 1 edge and roll across dough using the edge of the ruler as you go to cut through the dough.

Remove the frozen pie filling from the freezer and place into the prepared dough in the pan. Lightly brush the edge of the crust with the egg yolk. Lay 4 strips of dough across the top of the filling horizontally, leaving an even amount of space in between each strip. Fold back 2 alternating strips and lay down another strip in the middle of the pie, perpendicular to the other strips. Return the strips that are laid back to their original position. Next, fold back the other 2 strips and lay down a strip to the left of the center perpendicular strip. Return the strips that are laid back to their original position and repeat on the other side of the perpendicular strip, folding back the same 2 strips as you did on the other side. Once you have a lattice, brush all the strips of dough with the egg yolk, trim excess dough and pinch strips and edge of crust in order to seal. Place on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. The pie should be bubbling lightly around the edges. If the lattice is not browned enough in the center, place under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes.

Place the pie on a rack and allow to cool to room temperature before serving, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin

We have a habenero plant in our garden. It has been spewing out peppers like a crazy plant. This Cooking Light recipe is actually one that I have made before, and love. I am usually a chicken and only use one habenero (good luck finding a scotch bonnet around here). This time we used a few more peppers, maybe 4. It has a nice flavor and still not too spicy.

Jamaican Jerk Pork Tenderloin

2 cups coarsely chopped green onions

1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, seeded and chopped
1 (1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
Cooking spray

Place first 15 ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth.

Slice pork lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open halves, laying each side flat. Slice each half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side; open flat. Combine pork and green onion mixture in a dish or large zip-top plastic bag. Cover or seal; marinate in refrigerator 3 to 24 hours. Remove pork from dish or bag; discard remaining marinade.

Prepare grill. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes on each side or until meat thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunflower Seed Crusted Tilapia

When I first tasted this recipe, I thought it need more flavor. After another bite, I decided I really liked it anyway. I didn't squeeze lemon juice on the fish at the end. I think that would have been what it needed. It's very light and healthy and easy to make. The original recipe called for orange roughy, but tilapia is cheap and easy to find. Plus I like it. So use whatever fish you like :)

Sunflower Seed Crusted Tilapia

2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seed kernels
4 tilapia filets
Cooking spray
Lemon slices (optional)

Preheat oven to 475°. Place a jelly-roll pan in oven while preheating. Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until foamy. Combine panko and sunflower seed kernels in a shallow dish. Dip fillets in egg white mixture; dredge in panko mixture. Place fish on a wire rack; let stand 10 minutes.

Remove jelly-roll pan from oven; coat pan with cooking spray. Coat fish with cooking spray; place on pan. Bake at 475° for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with lemon slices, if desired.

Source: Cooking Light

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Italian Limoncello Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

My husband picked this out for his birthday cake. I think the booze was the clincher. Luckily, we already had limoncello. The cake was super fluffy and nice and lemony. The cream cheese frosting had the texture of cream cheese, but the lemon was definitely the predominant flavor. Not a bad thing, but it was definitely a lemon cake. I used 2 round cake pans since I don't have 2 square ones and it worked fine. Note: after a few days the frosting gets kind of rubbery, so eat it fast.

Italian Limoncello Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1 box of white cake mix
Oil and eggs as directed on the package
Water as directed on package except for 1/4 cup (replace with limoncello)
¼ cup of limoncello liquor
Grease two square 8x8 pans.

Mix the cake batter according to package directions, except replace ¼ cup of the water with ¼ cup of limoncello. Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched, or a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert the two cake layers onto a cooling rack.

Limoncello cream cheese frosting:
1 package of Jello instant lemon pudding mix (I used the small box)
1 block of cream cheeses, 8 ounces
½ cup of milk
1 ounce limoncello

Allow the cream cheese to sit on the counter to soften. Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and mix on high speed about 2 minutes, or until creamy and smooth. Turn one cooled cake layer onto a plate. Spread half the frosting mixture on top of the layer. Put the second layer on top of the first, and cover the top but not the sides with frosting. Add some sprinkles if you desire.

Before serving, dust the cake with powdered sugar.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

It's amazing how many different takes on pasta you can do. It's not just red or white sauce anymore. This recipe is so good. This will definitely be added to the normal rotation.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4-ounce can diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 (10-oz) cans green chili enchilada sauce (I used mild)
2/3 cup red enchilada sauce (I used mild)
1 can large black olives, cut in half
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
16-20 oz. penne pasta (Depending on how “saucy” you want the pasta)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta until tender. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and add the onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes, until pepper is barely tender. Add the cooked chicken, green chilies, spices, enchilada sauces and olives. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Add the sour cream and cheese and heat through, until the cheese is melted (but don’t boil!). Pour the sauce over the hot pasta. Garnish with extra sour cream, cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions or crushed tortilla chips.

Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Creamy Maple Syrup

I wanted to make a recipe that a coworker has for creamy maple syrup, but I haven't received it yet. This was the only one that I found online. It was pretty good. Reminded me of maple candy.

Creamy Maple Syrup

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk (I substituted coconut milk and it worked)
1/3 cup maple-flavored pancake syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter

Combine sugar, 1/2 cup evaporated milk, syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons butter.

Source: Nestle'

Monday, August 9, 2010

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

I decided I wanted to make something with tomatillos. My husband picked out this recipe from Tyler Florence. You can skip the whole "make the salsa verde from scratch" step if you want to save time by using it from a jar. I think this recipe needs a double batch to cover the enchiladas. It makes a lot of filling. It might even need a triple batch. It is very good from scratch though. The enchiladas are a little bit spicy and not as saucy as my regular enchiladas, but I really liked them. We made some with corn tortillas and some with flour. I prefer flour and my husband prefers corn. The corn tends to tear, but it doesn't matter once it's cooked.

Roasted Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Salsa Verde:

12 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed
1 onion, quartered
Splash white vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 limes, juiced
3 poblano peppers
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups canned chicken stock
1 deli roasted chicken, about 3 pounds, boned, meat shredded
Leaves from 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 large corn tortillas
1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese, shredded

Make the salsa: Put the tomatillos, jalapenos, and onion in a saucepan with the vinegar and water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and poach until the tomatillos are soft, about 10 minutes. Drain. Put the vegetables in a blender, add the cumin, and puree. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and salt, and pulse to combine. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the poblano peppers directly over the flame on a gas stove and cook, turning with tongs, until the skin is charred and blackened. (Or, if you have an electric stove, put the chiles on a baking sheet and broil, turning with tongs, until the skin is blackened.) Skin the peppers; then seed, core, and dice them.

Heat a 2-count of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the cumin and cook 1 minute. Then sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer, stirring to make sure the flour doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan; the liquid will thicken. Fold in the chicken, diced peppers, and cilantro, and season well with salt and pepper.

To assemble the dish: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Get your self a large baking dish. Dip a tortilla into the tomatilla salsa and put it on a cutting board. Put a big scoop of the chicken mixture in the center, sprinkle with a little of the cheese, and roll the tortilla like a cigar to enclose the filling. Use a spatula to place it seam side down in the baking dish. Continue to fill all of the tortillas and put them in the baking dish. Pour the remaining tomatilla salsa over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes until bubbly and cracked on top. Serve hot with the guacamole and sour cream.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

I stumbled across the My Kitchen Cafe food blog and found too many recipes I wanted to try. This one jumped to the top of the list. It's pretty easy to make and is probably horrible for you. Good thing I shared it with my coworkers because they are dangerously good. When I cut the bars I thought I overcooked it. I imagined it would be like cutting into a chocolate chip cookie, but shortbread is crisper so they were perfect. Don't forget the foil. It makes it so much easier to take them out of the pan and cut without casualties.

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

The Crust:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet, semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped (if you don’t have a scale, use about 1/2 cup) --I roughly chopped some milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips

The Topping:
6 ounces bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate, finely chopped (again, if you don’t have a scale, use about 1 cup) --I used milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips and no need to chop, but add a few extra chips
1 1/2 cups toffee bits (or about 4-6 Heath bars, chopped)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. To make the crust, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Alternatively, place the butter in a large bowl and use a hand mixer. Beat for 3 minutes, or until the butter is smooth. Add the brown and granulated sugars and beat for an additional 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture. Beat in gradually (you can cover the bowl and your mixer with a towel to avoid flour flying all over the place or just mix in very slowly). Mix until the flour is almost incorporated. Add the 3 ounces of chocolate to the mixer and mix until the rest of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix!

Line a 9 X 13-inch pan with foil, leaving long foil ends on the side. Lightly grease the foil.

Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and press down the mixture with a spatula and/or your fingertips. Bake the crust for 18-20 minutes, or until the crust is bubbling. Remove the crust from the oven and place the hot pan on a cooling rack.

Sprinkle the 6 ounces of chocolate over the hot bars and cover the pan with foil to let the chocolate melt. Let the pan sit for 5 minutes. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the softened chocolate over the crust. Sprinkle the toffee pieces (or cut up Heath bars) over the chocolate and press down gently with your fingers.

Let the bars cool to room temperature. If the chocolate is not set by the time the bars are cool, just pop the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Using the long edges of foil as handles, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Spicy Mint Beef

I watched Giada make Thai food this weekend and it looked so good we had to make it. So I sent my husband to the Asian market. It was a little spicy, a little minty, and very yummy.

Spicy Mint Beef

3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Thai chiles, such as prik kee noo, or 3 serrano chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced*
1 pound flank steak, very thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, seeded and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
1/4 cup fish sauce*
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce*
2 tablespoons black soy sauce*
1 tablespoon chili paste in soy bean oil*
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh Thai basil leaves*
1 cup whole fresh mint leaves
*Can be found at specialty Asian markets

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chiles and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the steak and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the shallots and bell pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the fish sauce, sweet soy sauce, black soy sauce and chili paste. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and cook, stirring frequently until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the basil and mint until wilted. Transfer to a serving dish and serve over steamed rice.