Sunday, May 23, 2010

Apple Rhubarb Crisp

For another tart and fruit-filled rhubarb dessert, repeat Strawberry Rhubarb crisp recipe, but substitute apple for the strawberries and perhaps add more sugar to the filling (especially if the apples are tart).

Best served very warm, and topped with vanilla ice cream!

Blueberry Almond Baked French Toast Casserole

This recipe was adapted from Ellie Krieger's Food Network version, but with a few significant changes.
It turned out wonderfully -- we devoured it for breakfast and finished off the little that remained after dinner, reheated with vanilla ice cream topped with more cinnamon sugar.
If you hate the consistency of bread pudding and super-moist casserole-like things, you might find this too soft for your taste (though you can always play with liquid amount and bake time too to let the top get a little more crispy).

Cooking spray
1 whole-wheat baguette/french loaf (about 18 inches long, 12-16 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes or thick slices
2 large eggs
6 large egg whites
1/2 cups vanilla almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, rinsed and drained)
1/3 cup sliced almonds
4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, +2-3Tbsp for right before baking

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Arrange the bread in the baking pan. Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup. Pour the egg mixture over the bread in the pan, spreading it around so the liquid saturates the bread. Scatter the blueberries evenly on top and sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the baking pan, sprinkle with additional sugar and perhaps more almonds, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Deluxe

"Deluxe" because it also has a buttery pastry crust underneath...but somewhat nutritionally balanced thanks to vegan shortening, fruit, oats, and spelt flour!

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed

~2 cups sliced rhubarb and stawberries (I used 4 thick rhubarb stalks and about 12 large strawberries)
1/4 cup (or less) sugar

3/4 cup oats
3/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
handful of coconut or pecan chips, optional
1/4 cup butter (or vegan shortening), melted

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Place puff pastry in buttered 8x8 pan, press down.
3. Sprinkle sugar on fruit mixture
4. Combine crumble ingredients until it resembles slightly wet sand.
5. Place strawberry and rhubarb filling on top of crust, sprinkle crumble over top.
6. Bake at 350 for about 20-30 min (watch carefully -- could vary!)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cranberry Coconut Avalanche Bars

For a mom who doesn't like peanut butter, a Mother's Day adaptation of the chocolate/PB avalanche bars...

12oz bag white chocolate chips
1/3 cup almond butter
3 cups Rice Krispies, or "Puffed Rice" if you're buying generic
1 2/3 cups mini marshmallows
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup sredded coconut
1/3 cup slivered almonds

Lightly grease a 9x9 pan (or 8x8 if you prefer thicker bars)
1. In microwave-safe bowl dump in white chips and heat on med power for 1 minute. Stir and continue in 30 second increments until chips are melted.
2. Combine the almond butter with the melted chips
3. Add the krispies.
4. Let cool approx 15 - 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so to help cool.
5. Add the marshmallows, white chocolate chips, craisens, coconut, and almonds and stir to combine.
6. Dump mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly, pressing lightly with the back of your spoon, but do not compact too much, otherwise they will get hard.
7. Press some remaining white chocolate chips, almonds, and craisens into the top for garnish.
When the bars are completely cooled cut into squares and enjoy!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cookie Dough Truffles

These are egg-less cookie dough balls, great for recipes where the dough won't be cooked all the way and you don't want to risk infecting anyone with salmonella. This comes from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, and they are delicious. We used them for a deep-frying party, and I can vouch for their insanely delicious nature when rolled in flour and flash fried so that a thin crust encases an amazing gooey center. Addicting...

Cookie Dough Truffles

½ cup butter, at room temperature
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
½ cup chocolate chips (I used big, delicious Ghirardelli special dark chips)

Using a stand mixer (or a bowl and beaters), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Beat in vanilla.
With speed on low, slowly add flour, alternating with condensed milk, beating well after each addition.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Shape balls into 1-inch balls (might have to refrigerate for a few min first so they don't get all over your hands) and place into an air tight container. Store in freezer for at least 3 hours.

Fried Chickpeas With Chorizo and Spinach

I modified this from the NYT to be a little healthier...however, in removing some of the oil, it definitely dried out more than I would have liked. We still liked it enough to make it again though, and when I do I'll cook things for less time than is listed below, and also maybe add even more of the spinach/sherry mix (and not let all of the liquid evaporate from it). Great flavor though, and a fairly simple, almost-one-dish recipe.

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling (supplement with spray oil as needed)
2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible
Salt and black pepper (I also added some red pepper flakes)
4 ounces chorizo, diced (Spanish style in links, not the soft, ground Mexican kind)
1/2 pound spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sherry
1 to 2 cups bread crumbs

1. Heat the broiler.
2. Put 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet large enough to hold chickpeas in one layer over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add chickpeas and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown, about 10 minutes, then add chorizo. Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes or until chickpeas are crisp; use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and chorizo from pan and set aside.
4. Add the remainder of the 1/4 cup of oil to the pan; when it’s hot, add spinach and sherry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook spinach over medium-low heat until very soft and the liquid has evaporated. Add chickpeas and chorizo back to the pan and toss quickly to combine; top with bread crumbs, drizzle with a bit more oil and run pan under the broiler to lightly brown the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings.

Ricotta Almond Cake

This is a great recipe -- incredibly moist, dense crumb, subtle almond flavor. The ricotta layer sinks to the bottom, leaving you with a moist yellow cake underneath a delicious ricotta layer on top.
Very versatile too, as it can be the base for fresh fruit, or you could frost it, top it with a glaze, slivered almonds, etc.

1 box butter recipe yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup milk*
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp. almond extract

1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

* Add 1/4 cup milk and 1/3 cup flour for altitude

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a bundt pan.
2. Combine cake ingredients, beating until smooth, and pour into pan.
3. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, sugar, eggs, almond and vanilla extracts. Mix until smooth. Gently drop by spoonfuls on top of uncooked cake.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 1/2 hours**, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Sprinkle cooled cake with confectioners sugar, almonds, fruit, etc. (I used a simple glaze of powdered sugar, almond milk, and almond extract). Keep refrigerated.

**At altitude, this only baked for 45minutes, so watch it closely!

Cava Sangria

1/2 apple, chopped
6-8 strawberries, sliced
10 grapes, halved

1/2 cup gin
1/2 cup brandy

12oz grapefruit soda (more if you want to dilute things a bit more)
1 bottle cava (or any dry sparkling wine)
6 - 8 mint leaves

Soak fruit in gin and brandy for at least 1 hour.
Place in larger pitcher, slowly pour cava over top.
Gently stir in grapefruit soda and mint leaves.
Chill until ready to drink.

Mint Brownie HodgePodge Bars

I threw this together on a whim, trying to use up some ingredients taking up room in the pantry. Turns out it was a huge hit...going to have to find a substitute for the Irish Creme Kisses (Junior Mints? Other cream-filled kisses?) since they were a limited time thing, and I think Scott will insist that I make this again...

1 box brownie mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
~1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup mint chips (I used Guittard)
1/2 cup chopped up Hershey's Irish Creme Kisses
1 cup Ghirardelli chocolate chips
1/4 cup chocolate fudge sauce
1 can sweetened condensed milk
chocolate sauce/melted chips/icing for decorative drizzle


1. Stir together brownie mix, butter, and just enough oil til moistened
2. Press mixture into a greased 13x9 pan (or a Baker's Edge pan)
3. Layer chips and candy pieces over top, reserving a bit of each.

3. Drizzle condensed milk evenly over pan. Top with remaining candy/chips.
4. Bake at 350 for 30-40min, until bubbly and golden brown on edges (might have to cover sides with foil so middle bakes but sides don't burn.)
5. Let cool *completely* before cutting; drizzle chocolate over top for decoration.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chimichurri Sauce

I made this chimichurri sauce to coat our freezer-burned Omaha Steaks still hanging around from Christmas. The original recipe calls for hangar steak, and I'm sure that would work even better. I made some modifications to up the heat-content, and for once was pretty happy with how this sauce turned out. When I've tried chimichurri at home before it has always been too lime- or cilantro- heavy. This was mild in terms of flavor but packed enough of a hot/spice kick to make us happy.

1 cup packed flat-leaf parsley
1 jalapeño, seeded (I left a few seeds...)
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons minced mint leaves (I actually just used dried)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cayenne, to taste
3 tablespoons panko (I used extra)

Mince parsley, jalapeño and garlic (I threw it in the food processor for just a few seconds) and mix in a bowl with mint, oil and vinegar. Season with chili flakes, salt, pepper and cayenne until it has a kick. You can reserve part of the sauce at this point if you want some panko-free for marinating, or you can just add it all in.
Stuff or baste your meat with the sauce as desired (recommend 3+ hours marinating)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Spanish Vegetable Stir-fry

More of a method/outline than an actual recipe, but it turned out really tasty and so I wanted to remember what I'd thrown in the pan!

Olive oil/olive oil spray
Chicken broth


red/orange/yellow/green peppers

garlic salt + sea salt
hefty amount of red pepper flakes
few dashes paprika
dash cayenne pepper

Combine all in a skillet with olive oil, keeping moist with broth and sherry as you cook to desired consistency. Season to taste.