Monday, December 27, 2010

Maple Whipped Cream

I like to spice things up with my whipped cream every once in a while. I've added amaretto, whiskey, etc. This one I thought sounded good to put on my persimmon and apple tart, I also froze it and put it on blueberry pie. That works really well since fresh whipped cream doesn't keep well in the fridge. Also, you can cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and put dollops of whipped cream on it.  Then freeze them for individual servings later. This whipped cream did not have a strong maple flavor, but it was still good.

Maple Whipped Cream

Chill a metal bowl in the freezer. Remove bowl from freezer and add one cup of heavy whipping cream to the bowl. Beat cream with a hand mixer. As cream begins to thicken, gradually drizzle in 1/4 cup real maple syrup. Continue beating until whipped cream is stiff. Serve atop your favorite dessert!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Buttered Toffee Popcorn

I never really think of making caramel corn, but this looked really good. And guess is. Fairly easy to make and makes a great gift for the holidays.

Buttered Toffee Popcorn

*Note: you want about 18 cups of popped corn. I've found that about 1/4 cup of unpopped kernels yields about 5 1/2 to 6 cups popped corn. While the recipe calls for 3/4 cup unpopped kernels, be sure to only add it a bit at a time in shifts according to your popcorn popper so the kernels don't burn.

*Makes about 18 cups of toffee popcorn (that seems like a lot, but trust me, it goes fast!)

3/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels, white or yellow
2 sticks butter
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 cups roasted, salted peanuts

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Grease two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.

Pop the popcorn kernels, in shifts if needed to ensure your popcorn popper doesn't burn the popcorn, and place the popcorn in a large bowl, sifting through to remove the unpopped kernels.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When melted add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring. Once the mixture starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be slightly thickened. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. The mixture will bubble so be careful.

Pour the caramel over the popcorn and mix slightly. Add the peanuts and mix well but gently (so you don't break apart the popcorn) until the popcorn is evenly coated and the peanuts are distributed through the mixture.

Turn the popcorn out onto the baking sheets, spreading into an even layer. Bake the popcorn for one hour, stirring and tossing every 20 minutes. Move the bottom tray to the upper rack and vice versa each time you stir. The popcorn will deepen in color and harden a bit as the caramel bakes and sets. Cool the popcorn to room temperature. Store in an airtight container. I've found the popcorn will keep, stored tightly, for 1-2 weeks.

Source: My Kitchen Cafe

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Virgin Buttermilk Pancakes

I gave out the recipe for these pancakes 2 years ago and never tried them. I finally did and they are super good. The olive oil can only be found at the Queen Creek Olive Mill or online. Whole Foods carries them, but I don't think they have all the fancy flavors. It's worth the trip down anyway. You could also try putting a split vanilla bean in olive oil and warm it to infuse it. I make rosemary olive oil that way. Anyway, it's worth a try because the pancakes are yummy.

Virgin Buttermilk Pancakes

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup QCOM Vanilla Bean Olive Oil
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt

Preheat skillet or griddle to med-high. Combine all wet ingredients in blender, pulse once. Then add rest of the ingredients in blender, purée until smooth. Pour 1-2 oz. of batter onto griddle. Cook until top are full of bubbles and bottom is golden grown, flip and brown other side. Remove and finish with favorite toppings.

*Try substituting Queen Creek Olive Mill Blood Orange Olive Oil, Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, Mexican Lime Olive Oil, or Chocolate Extra Virgin Olive Oil for unique and tasty pancakes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Italian Sub Stoup with Garlic Toast Floaters

Rachael Ray, this is awesome. The only thing that I have to say that is bad about this recipe is that the next day there isn't any juice and it ends up being pasta----of course it still tastes really good. The flavors are really good and the croutons are a must. They should be snitched straight out of the oven too. Yum. This makes a large batch, so be prepared for leftovers.

Italian Sub Stoup with Garlic Toast Floaters

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, plus 1/4 cup for croutons

3/4 pound, 3 links, hot or sweet Italian sausage, split and meat removed from casing
1/4 pound piece stick pepperoni, diced
1 ham steak, diced (about 1/2 to 3/4 pound)
1 green bell pepper, seeded, quartered and sliced
1 medium yellow onion, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound gemelli pasta or other short-cut pasta
5 cups cubed crusty bread
3 large cloves garlic, cracked from skin
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bunches arugula, trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 4 cups)

Place a soup pot or deep sided skillet on the stove top and preheat to medium high heat. Add olive oil, 2 turns of the pan and the sausage. Brown and crumble the sausage, drain off excess fat if necessary then add the ham and pepperoni. Cook meats together 2 minutes then add peppers and onions and cook 2 or 3 minutes more. Add diced tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add chicken stock and bring stoup to a boil. Stir in pasta and cook for 8 minutes. Make croutons while pasta cooks.

In a large skillet heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil, 4 turns of the pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add bread to garlic oil, toss and toast the cubes 5 or 6 minutes. Season the toasty cubes with red pepper flakes, oregano and lots of grated cheese.

Stir arugula into soup just before you serve it up. Ladle up the stoup and float several toasty garlic bread cubes in each bowl.