Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mint Truffles

Mint truffles are one of my favorite candies. I've never made them before, but I had a bag of dark chocolate/mint morsels that I got at HEB on clearance last Christmas so I decided to try to make truffles with them. I made them for my Relief Society lesson last Sunday. I didn't see them last time I was at the store, but I did see that Andes mint candies has some diced up candies in the baking isle that I think will work just as well.

Mint Truffles

1 12 oz back of dark chocolate & mint morsels or Andes mints chopped
2/3 c heavy cream
chocolate coating wafers or bark coating (This is my favorite place for candy coating chocolate. I usually place a big order with them once a year and hope it lasts all year! http://www.wilburbuds.com/docs/category/chocolateconf.html)

Put all the chocolate in a medium glass bowl. Put the cream in a saucepan and heat until very hot but not boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate with a whisk at the ready and once the cream goes in whisk until all the chocolate is melted. Put the bowl in the fridge until the chocolate is hardened (about 2 hours). Use a melon baller and roll small balls and put them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate until firm then dip in the melted wafter coating or bark. I keep these in the fridge until I'm ready to serve.

**special thanks to Matt my hand model, I told him he had to let me take a picture before he ate the last one!

Oreo Truffles

I taught Relief Society on Sunday and made these for a treat. I topped them with little pearl candies I found in the baking isle of my grocery store.

Oreo Truffles

1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate
Sandwich Cookies
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
Chocolate Almond Bark coating

Crush the oreos in a food processor until they're fine crumbles. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 1-inch balls.

Refrigerate for about an hour.
Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet.

**special thanks to Matt my hand model, I told him he had to let me take a picture before he ate the last one!

Tortilla Soup

I LOVE tortilla soup!! This recipe from Marcela Valladolid from the show Mexican Made Easy on the Food Network was really good. I added cilantro and I didn't add the tortillas to the blended mixture because I like my soup more brothy).

Classic Tortilla Soup
Recipe courtesy Marcela Valladolid

Prep Time:15 minInactive Prep Time:--Cook Time:41 min
6 servings

4 large plum tomatoes
1 small white onion or a 1-inch-thick slice of a large white onion, peeled
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 medium dried New Mexico chile, stemmed, seeded, and torn into large pieces
6 cups chicken broth
2 corn tortillas, torn into 1-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla strips:

6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch wide strips
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
6 to 8 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, optional for garnish
Mexican sour cream or regular sour cream, for serving
2 avocados, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes or slices
1 queso fresco or mild feta cheese, crumbled (I used monterrey jack)
Soup: Heat a heavy saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, peeled onion, and unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast, turning frequently, until the garlic is soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic when soft, but slightly blackened. Peel the garlic and set aside. Add the chile and continue to cook for another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the onion and set aside. Continue to cook the tomatoes until charred and blackened, another 5 minutes. Put the garlic, chile, onion, tomatoes, tortillas, and 2 cups chicken broth in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan and add the remaining 4 cups chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Tortilla strips: In a medium, heavy skillet, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 1/2 an inch. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot, but not smoking. Add the tortilla strips in batches and fry until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.

To serve, ladle the soup into 6 individual serving bowls. Serve whole chipotle chiles, Mexican sour cream, avocados, cheese, and tortilla strips on the side.

South o' the Border Prawn Masala

I've been a little obsessed with Indian food lately. This recipe from the Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeria was very very good. My best kitchen assistant helped me make the shrimp stock. I was surprised that she wanted to handle shrimp tails, but very proud of her too! The shrimp I had only had the tails, not the heads or shell so I just used the tails.

South o' the Border Prawn Masala
Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeria

Prep Time: 20 min Inactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time: 50 min
4 to 6 servings

1 pound large head-on prawns, shelled, deveined, heads and shells reserved
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
2 dried arbol chile, stemmed
1 dried ancho chile, stemmed
1 (14-ounce) can peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, liquid reserved
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill (I used 1/2t of dried)
Naan bread, for serving
Remove the prawn heads. In a medium saucepot, bring the prawn heads, shells and 5 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

While the vegetables cook, break the arbol chiles and ancho chile into pieces (remove the seeds, if you prefer less heat and spice), then grind in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Set aside.

Crush the tomatoes with your hands.

Add the turmeric, garam masala, and 2 teaspoons of the ground chile powder to the skillet. Reserve the remaining chile powder for another use. Saute the mixture for 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes and 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice. Cook the mixture, stirring, until thickened and most of liquid is cooked out. Cook's Note: This sweetens the tomatoes and helps bring all the flavors together.

Strain the prawn shells from the water and discard the shells. The water is now a prawn stock. Add 2 cups of the prawn stock to the tomato mixture and bring the mixture to a simmer. The remaining prawn stock can be cooled and frozen for future use. Simmer the tomato mixture, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Add the prawns to the skillet and cook, stirring gently, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, then add the heavy cream and fresh dill. Let the mixture simmer, for 2 minutes more, stirring gently. Season with salt, and pepper, to taste. Serve the masala with warm naan.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Black Bottom Cupcakes - Oldie but goodie

I made these for a baby shower a couple of weeks ago. This is probably one of my most requested deserts. They are SOO good.

Black Bottom Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix + ingredients to make cake
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1/3 c sugar
1/8 t salt
¾ c choco chips
4 oz cream cheese
½ c butter
1 c powdered sugar
(Cream cheese & butter together, add sugar and beat until fluffy & light)
½ c semi-sweet choco chips
1 t butter
(Melt together on low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time)
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Mix cupcakes according to package directions.
3. Fill 24 paper lined cupcake pan with cupcake mixture. Fill each one about ½ full.
4. Beat cream cheese. Then add egg, sugar and salt and mix until creamy. Add chocolate chips.
5. Put 1 ½ T of cream cheese mixture over cupcake batter.
6. Bake for about 20-22 mins or until done (test side of cupcake with a fork).
7. Chill until completely cooled.
8. Top with frosting (since there is already cream cheese in the cupcake you don’t need much)
9. Drizzle with chocolate mixture.

Green Curry

I'm so glad Aarti won, The Next Food Network Star! I've tried several of her recipes and they've been delicious. I made this one a couple of weeks ago. Yum!

Green Chicken Curry
Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeria

Prep Time: 25 min Inactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time: 40 min
4 to 6 servings

2 small bunches cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
1 bunch fresh mint, leaves, coarsely chopped, 1 1/2 cups
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup water, plus 1 1/2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 1 3/4 pounds, halved
1/2 teaspoon malt vinegar
1/4 cup plain whole milk yogurt, whisked until smooth
Cooked basmati rice or warm naan bread, for serving
Add the cilantro, mint, red onion, garlic, ginger, and salt, and pepper, to taste, to a food processor or blender. Puree on high until smooth. With the processor running, add about 1/4 cup water, and blend until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste, a.k.a. "masala". Set aside.

In a large pot or deep skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook, stirring often, until golden brown.

Add the spices and cook for 30 seconds. Pour the masala mixture into skillet and cook, stirring often until it deepens in color and aroma. You'll know it's ready when it looks shiny, little droplets of oil will appear on the surface, and the masala will hold together as a cohesive mass.

Add the chicken, coating every piece in the masala and stirring often. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, so that the masala really adheres to the chicken. Add about 1 1/2 cups water, just enough to cover the chicken, and the vinegar. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in the yogurt. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Transfer the mixture to a serving dish and serve over rice or with warm naan bread.

Snickers Bars

I made these bars from Sister's Cafe a few weeks ago. They're really easy and very tasty.

Snickers Bars
submitted by Erin ~ sisterscafe.blogspot.com

1 box chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 14-oz package of caramels
1 cup peanuts
1 cup chocolate chips (or more)

Mix the chocolate cake mix, 3/4 cup melted butter, and 1/3 cup sweetened condensed
milk together. This mixture will be very thick. Spread 2/3 of this mixture into the bottom
of an ungreased, 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes until set.
Unwrap the caramels and put in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/3 cup sweetened
condensed milk to the caramels, and melt in microwave, 1 minute at a time until mixture
is completely melted and smooth.
Spread the chocolate chips on top of the cooked cake mixture. Spread/drizzle caramel
mixture on top of this. The caramel will be uneven. Sprinkle peanuts on top next. Then
put remaining cake mixture on top next. Again, this mixture is quite thick, so this will
also be uneven which is ok.
Bake at 350 for 16-20 minutes.
Let cool completely before cutting. This is important as the caramel makes it very difficult
to cut if still warm.

Roquefort Pear Salad

I made this recipe from allrecipes.com last night for dinner. Delish!!

Roquefort Pear Salad

1 head leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size
3 pears - peeled, cored and chopped
5 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled (I used blue cheese)
1 avocado - peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pecans (I used walnuts)
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons prepared mustard (I used dijon)
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1. In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool, and break into pieces.
2. For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt, and pepper.
3. In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, blue cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans, and serve.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fruitful Bars

My mom made this cake for my birthday and it was so unique and delicious! No one could stop eating it. It's my Aunt Kim's recipe.

Kim's Hawaiian Friend

2 1/2 c. flour 1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. soda 1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla 2 eggs (optional)
3/4 c. nuts (optional0 coconut flakes
1 10 oz. pkg. frozen sweetened strawberries liquid too.
1 can mandarin oranges with liquid
Mix all but coconut together for 3 min. Pour into sprayed and floured 9 by 13 pan, and sprinkle with coconut-enough to cover.
Bake 40 min. at 350 Spread immediately with the following glaze.:
3/4 c sugar 1/4 c. canned milk
1/2 t. vanilla 1/2 c butter
Boil 1 min and spread over cake