Friday, June 18, 2010

Cute baby shower favor idea

I threw a shower for a woman a couple of months ago and she asked if she could bring a favor for everyone. She brought the cutest favor! She put candy in the bottom of a small plastic pot. Then she cut out some fabric into a diaper shape with pins on the side and inside the diaper she put this poem, flower seeds and these flower candies she made. It was so cute.

Potato idea

My husband grew these beautiful multi-colored potatoes in our garden this year. We had small blue, red and white potatoes. I made mini twice baked potatoes with them keeping each colored flesh separate and added different mix ins to each one. They were yummy & fun to make.

Orange and Raspberry Cake

This cake is...AMAZING!! Light, refreshing, creamy, unique...AMAZING! My husband tried it and said this is good, then a few minutes later I looked over and his piece was completely gone and I said oh you did like it and he said that was SO good (he's not really even a sweet person!). Then my friend Cristina said she's not really an orange cake person, but she loved it! It's a nice refreshing orange flavor, not artificial at all since you use fresh orange instead of an orange box cake. I almost didn't use the fresh raspberries, but I'm so glad I did. It really added to the cake.

Orange and Raspberry Cake
Giada DeLaurentis


* Butter, for greasing the pans
* Flour, for dusting
* 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix (recommended: Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe)
* 1 large orange, zested, about 1/4 cup
* 1 1/3 cups no pulp orange juice
* 3 egg whites
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


* 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1/3 cup creme fraiche
* 1 pound powdered sugar
* 1/4 cup raspberry jam
* Water, as needed
* 1/4 cup raspberry jam
* 1 (6-ounce) container fresh raspberries


For the cake: Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of 2 nonstick, 8-inch round, baking pans. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the cake mix and orange zest. Mix for 20 seconds at low speed until the zest is incorporated. Add the orange juice, egg whites, and vegetable oil. Blend at low speed for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula, as needed. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until golden and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 to 32 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely, about 1 hour.

For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and creme fraiche at high speed until smooth, about 10 seconds. With the machine running at medium-low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add the raspberry jam and increase the speed to high. Beat until the frosting is smooth and spreadable, adding water, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed.

To assemble the cake: Arrange 1 cake layer, flat side up, on a cake stand. Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting on top leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spread 1/4 cup of raspberry jam on top of the frosting. Arrange the other cake layer on top. Using a spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with fresh raspberries. Cut the cake into wedges with a slightly wet knife and serve.

Store the cake in a plastic container in the refrigerator. Allow the refrigerated cake to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Cakes

I've been wanting to try this recipe for a long time. I made them this week for my friends birthday. They are seriously SOO SOO good! Peanut butter and chocolate, you just can't go wrong!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Molten Cakes
adapted from Food & Wine Magazine
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus melted butter for brushing
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 ounces dark chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush four 6-ounce ramekins with melted butter. In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of the flour; dust the ramekins with the cocoa mixture, tapping out the excess. Transfer the ramekins to a sturdy baking sheet.
In a medium saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter with the chocolate over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Let cool slightly.
In a bowl, blend the peanut butter with the 1 tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the granulated sugar with the eggs and salt at medium-high speed until thick and pale yellow, 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the melted chocolate until no streaks remain. Fold in the 1/4 cup of flour.
Spoon two-thirds of the batter into the prepared ramekins, then spoon the peanut butter mixture on top. Cover with the remaining chocolate batter. Bake in the center of the oven for 16 minutes, until the tops are cracked but the centers are still slightly jiggly. Transfer the ramekins to a rack and let cool for 5 to 8 minutes.
Run the tip of a small knife around each cake to loosen. Invert a small plate over each cake and, using pot holders, invert again. Carefully lift off the ramekins. Dust the warm cakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls) with Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

I love fresh spring rolls and they are surprisingly easy to make. This recipe is really good. You can use whatever fillings you like. In mine I used grilled shrimp, carrots, lettuce, cilantro and basil.

Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls) with Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe
For the grilled pork:

1 lb pork chops, loin, butt or shoulder. Sliced thin.
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil

Hoisin Peanut Dipping Sauce Recipe

1 cup (8 oz) hoisin sauce (if sauce is thick, add about 1/4 cup warm water to reach desired consistency)
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbs rice vinegar
2 garlic, crushed
1 minced thai chili, or more for desired spiciness

For spring roll rice paper assembly:

About 10 rice paper wrappers
Cucumber, cut into long slices
Fresh herbs: mint, cilantro, basil, vietnamese coriander, balm or perilla
Bean sprouts


1. In plastic bag, combine all ingredients for the grilled pork. Let marinade for about 20 minutes. Grill both sides of pork for about 2-3 minutes, or until desired texture.
2. In blender, combine all ingredients for the hoisin peanut dipping sauce. Blend until everything combines smoothly together. If it is too thick, continue adding warm water until desired consistency.
3. In bowl of warm water, dip each rice paper wrapper for about 3-5 seconds (depending on rice paper thickness). Do not over soak your rice paper wrapper! Place on work service and allow rice paper to soak up water and become gelatinous and pliable (about 30 seconds to 1 minute, again, depending on the thickness rice paper).
4. On top 1/3 side closest to you, lay lettuce on the bottom for added strength to the wrapper. Then place meat, herbs and other vegetables. Roll up spring roll about 1/3 way through, then fold in the sides. View step-by-step photographs of spring rolling here.
5. Serve with hoisin peanut dip.

Another thing to do with the bread!! - Rolls

I decided to try making rolls with this bread recipe that I LOVE! I just took it through the second rise and then plopped hunks of the dough in roll shapes onto a cookie sheet with some olive oil on it. I sprinkled fresh parmesan cheese on top and baked them at 350 for about 15 mins or until golden. YUM!
No-Knead Bread
Jim Lahey at the Sullivan Street Bakery via Mark Bittman at New York Times

Yields one 1 1/2 pound loaf

3 cups bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 c cool water
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add water, and stir until blended; dough will be sticky. Add a little more water if you need to make it sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at room temperature, out of sunlight, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles and it's a little bit darker of a color. Use lightly floured hands to pull the dough off the edges of the bowl and tuck the edges in to make it a round ball. Make sure there is a light coating of flour all over the ball of dough, not too much, just enough so you can pick it up without the dough sticking to your hands.

3. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Fold towel over to cover dough and put it in a draft free place to rise. Let it rise for 1-2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. A half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 475°. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes (I ended up only baking mine 10 minutes extra), until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Crockpot Roast

I wanted to try a new recipe other than the lipton onion soup crockpot roast recipe that I always use. This roast had such great flavor!

I put a chuck roast in the crockpot. Then in a bowl mixed 1 t black pepper, 4 cloves garlic (minced), 6 T balsamic vinegar, 1/2 c soy sauce, 4 T worchestershire sauce, 1 t dry mustard. I poured it on the roast & cooked it for 8 hours on low.

Tracy's sinful oatmeal cookies

These cookies my friend Tracy introduced me to are seriously amazing!! I used the dough in place of apple crisp topping last week and it was so good.

Sinful Oatmeal Cookies

1 c butter softened
1 c brown sugar
1/3 c sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 c quick - cooking oats
1 10 oz package cinnamon chips
1 c raisins or craisins (we used craisins)
1/2 c walnuts, toasted & chopped
1/2 c sliced almonds, toasted & chopped
1/2 c pecans, toasted & chopped

Preheat oven to 350
Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla & mix well. Combine soda with flour and mix into butter mixture. Stir in oatmeal, chips, craisins & toasted nuts. Drop by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets. Bake for 10 - 12 mins.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce

I saw Ina Garten make this on the Food Network & thought it looked delicious...& it was!! It tastes like a light cheesecake minus the crust with a hint of lemon. SOO good.

Coeur a la Creme with Raspberry Sauce

Ina Garten


* 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
* 1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
* 2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
* Raspberry Sauce, recipe follows
* 2 half-pints fresh raspberries


Place the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the beater and bowl with a rubber spatula and change the beater for the whisk attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and vanilla bean seeds and beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick, like whipped cream.

Line a 7-inch sieve with cheesecloth or paper towels so the ends drape over the sides and suspend it over a bowl, making sure that there is space between the bottom of the sieve and the bottom of the bowl for the liquid to drain. Pour the cream mixture into the cheesecloth, fold the ends over the top, and refrigerate overnight.

To serve, discard the liquid, unmold the cream onto a plate, and drizzle Raspberry and Grand Marnier Sauce around the base. Serve with raspberries and extra sauce.

Raspberry Sauce:

1 half-pint fresh raspberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup seedless raspberry jam

Place raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and orange liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. Chill.

Yield: 2 cups