Monday, January 16, 2012

Raspberry Lime Yogurt Cake

Let me start off by saying that I had to type the title of this post approximately 12 times because I had a complete mental block.  You almost had to read about Chili Lime Yogurt cake.  Can you just imagine that?!  Yum.
This recipe is based on Ina Garten's Recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake  It was originally found in the Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook.  And, totally unrelated, but super awesome, I have an autographed copy.  I didn't get to meet Ina, but my aunt and uncle sent me an autographed copy as a wedding present and its still one of my favorite gifts.  I photocopy pages I use so I don't ruin the book (I tend to explode ingredients over recipes and cookbooks while I cook).  The Barefoot Contessa is (in full disclosure mode) not my favorite Food Network show, but her recipes are among my all-time favorites.  This is one of my go-to dessert recipes.  It's decadent and indulgent, but in a surprising twist, is made from fat-free yogurt and canola oil instead of butter and shortening.  It's not guilt-free by any means, but it is reduced guilt.  And it's super light and fresh tasting.  I've made it many times just as the recipe reads, but this time I switched things up a bit and subbed raspberry yogurt for plain, and lime for the lemon.  I also skipped the simple syrup soak and found it didn't make a difference in the taste.  Give this a try the next time you have company or you need something to infuse a little summer into a dreary day.  Oh, and if you double the recipe it makes a really nice bundt cake and play with the citrus and yogurt flavors (orange and vanilla would be pretty amazing I bet).

Raspberry Lime Yogurt Cake

  • 1 1/2 Cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Cup raspberry fat-free (or low fat) yogurt
  • 1 1/4 Cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp grated lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup canola oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 Cup freshly squeezed lime juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Grease and flour a loaf pan.  Preheat the oven to 350°.  In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a seperate large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla.  Slowly and gently add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Once combined, fold in the oil until completely incorporated.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool.  When cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top.

Whisk the powdered sugar so there are no lumps and then slowly whisk in the lime juice until smooth.  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Horseradish Crusted Chop Steaks

Do you know how sometimes it feels like you do really well and use up all of the food in your house in the appropriate time, and then other time you have way too much waste? Then there's some weeks when it feels like food just doesn't last as long as it should? We've had one of those weeks this week. I bought buns to make hamburgers and deli meat (chipped ham-for you Pittsburgh folks) and the usual produce. We had tons of leftovers, so the deli meat got pushed to the back of the fridge and unfortunately had to be tossed. Most of the produce got used, but the bananas went bad way faster than they should have (thankfully they can be frozen for smoothies or banana bread or chocolate banana milkshakes). The icing on my proverbial cake though was the buns! Two days after purchasing nice fresh (preservative free) bakery buns, I prepared to make hamburgers for supper. When I opened that nice bag of beautiful buns they were all completely moldy. I really hate to waste food, but I hate it even more when the waste isn't because of eating out too much or forgetting something in the deep dark depths of the fridge. So, my long winded story in a shorter version: Instead of hamburgers for dinner, we had chop steaks. *This recipe would be equally delicious with ground turkey or chicken for those readers who prefer to avoid red meat.  It is a great way to enjoy ground meat without a bun and with tons of flavor.  A nice juicy patty with Dijon and horseradish mixed in, topped with creamy horseradish and parmigiana sauce that gets a nice crust in a hot oven.
P.S.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway here:  Smoky Bacon 'N Blue Dip & a Giveaway

Horseradish Crusted Chop Steaks
1 lb ground meat (I used 92/8 ground beef)
1 Tbl dijon mustard
1 Tbl grated horseradish
salt & pepper (I used 1 tsp salt and about 3 grinds of pepper, but adjust according to your tastes)

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Mix all ingredients together gently until combined and either refrigerate until ready to use or make into 3-4 patties.  Top with horseradish parmigiana sauce and bake for about 20 minutes to desired temperature.

Horseradish Parmigiana Sauce
2 Tbl grated horseradish
2 Tbl fresh grated parmigiana
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream

Mix all ingredients until combined.

Linked to Inside BruCrew Life's Trick Or Treat Tuesday & Mandy's Recipe Box's Totally Tasty Tuesdays

Friday, January 6, 2012

Smoky Bacon 'N Blue Dip & A Giveaway!

Its really hard for me to believe that I have been blogging for 6 months.  I've had so much fun sharing recipes and making new bloggy friends.  So, today, in addition to sharing a recipe for an awesome Smoky Bacon 'N Blue Dip (seriously you'll be hard pressed not to eat it with your fingers), I've put together a little thank you giveaway for my blog readers for sticking with me as I learn my way around.  I have a fun gift bag of Pampered Chef products and a $5 Amazon gift card, because who doesn't love Amazon!  You can use the RaffleCopter giveaway application at the bottom of the post to enter.  I'll draw a random winner next Sunday, 1/15/12 and contact the winner (make sure to leave a way to contact you!) that day.  Good Luck!
On a food related note, it's football playoff season and that means lots of appetizers.  I love the Blue Cheese dip with veggies, crackers, drizzled over a salad, or smothered over top of a warm baked potato.  Unfortunately, I took this dip to a party and felt a little weird snapping a photo while innocent bystanders were just trying to have a snack, so no pictures for you today.

Smoky Bacon 'N Blue Dip
2 Cups Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Mayo
1/2 tsp onion powder (or 1 finely chopped scallion)
4-5 shakes of hot sauce
1 shake of liquid smoke (optional)
1 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Cup crumbled blue cheese
6 Strips of cooked, crumbled bacon

Mix all of the ingredients except for the bacon together in a medium bowl.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to 2 days.  Top with the crumbled bacon just before serving.  Serve with veggies or crackers, or use as a topping.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Warm Mustard Potato Salad

I read on a blog somewhere a long time ago about an idea of allowing kids 5 items that they don't care to eat.  Anything else they have to at least try.  Here's the thing, I need about 10 items for myself.  My husband and I have had discussions about how broad the list items can be.  For example, can you say fish is one of the items, or do you have to be specific, like Salmon.  I have since made an executive decision.  As the mom, my list can be broad.  However, kids won't have that kind of levity.  And, yes, I can do that, 'because I said so."  I also don't want Lilly (and any future minis) to be as picky as I am, so I'm really just guiding them in good life choices.  Right?  Without further ado, my list of 5 despised foods:
1.) Fish
2.) Onions
3.) Raw Tomatoes
4.) Beans (except for green)
5.) Mayo

Because of my mayo aversion, potato salad has always been a no-no.  But, hubby likes it, so I finally found a good delicious compromise.  
 Steam 2-3 yellow flesh potatoes over 1 inch of boiling water. Until just fork tender (took 12 minutes for me).
In a seperate bowl, mix olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard.  Add hot potatoes.  Grate one hard boiled egg using a large holed box grater over top.  (Yes, isn't this genius?  It's from Everday Food Magazine--isn't Martha a genius)  Sprinkle with coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper (to taste).  Toss to combine.  

Serve warm or at room temperature.  

Warm Mustard Potato Salad
(Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine)
1 lb yellow flesh potatoes, 2-3 potatoes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 hard boiled egg
salt and pepper to taste

Cut potatoes into 1 inch chunks and steam over 1 inch of simmering water (about 12-16 minutes) until fork tender.  In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, and mustard.  Add hot pototoes.  Grate the egg over top and add salt and pepper.  Toss to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.

This post is linked to A Little Nosh's Tastetastic Thursday and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday check out all of the amazing links there!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Best Scrambled Eggs!

Today's post is brought to you by slackers everywhere.  I just realized that its been over a month since I last posted!  Maybe you didn't even notice I'd been gone?!  To get started back into it, I want to go slowly.  No recipe today, just a how-to on making the best, easiest, (and sort of healthiest) scrambled eggs.  

Growing up, I worked in a country club restaurant as a waitress.  I pretty consistently worked the Sunday brunch shift and I loved it.  The Sunday shift had regulars, and I loved getting to know people.  I could bring their drinks as soon as they sat down and watch their kids grow.  But most of all, I loved that before we got busy, the cooks always whipped me up a breakfast.  I'm a breakfast fiend.  I'm pretty sure that between breakfast foods and pizza, I could live very contentedly.  I started to ask the sous chef on duty what made their eggs so delicious (almost all restaurant scrambled eggs are light and fluffy and oh-so tasty).  The first time I asked they said they added whipping cream.  The second time I asked they said they didn't add cream, they added 1/2 tsp honey for each egg.  And the last time they said never add anything but water.  Does this make sense to you?  Because it certainly didn't to me.  I've been searching and trying different methods and I finally found my "better-than-a-restaurant" scrambled eggs.  Are you ready for this?!
Beat 2 eggs in a bowl until they are bubbly, frothy and you cannot distinguish the whites from the yolks at all.    Add salt and pepper if desired.  If I'm making a large batch, I use a hand mixer set on low.  In a small non-stick skillet put just enough oil, butter, or non-stick spray to coat and set the heat to low (2 is what I use on my gas range)  Give the eggs one last whisk and pour slowly into the skillet. If you like large curds, just lightly push the eggs around every few minutes.  For smaller curds, you can continue to scramble in the pan.  KEEP THE HEAT ON LOW!  This will take awhile, but good things come to those who wait.  

Once the eggs have solidified a little, you can use half of the skillet to warm up any toppings/mix-ins.  Top with cheese if desired.

Serve and enjoy!  

Keys to a perfect scrambled egg:
  • Add nothing to the eggs except salt and/or pepper
  • Whisk eggs vigorously, that's how they get fluffy
  • Cook on very low heat-creates even, fluffy, moist eggs

This post is linked to Inside BruCrew Life's Trick or Treat Tuesdays.  Check out the great links there (and while you're there check out the awesome blog--I love her recipes!!)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Salted Caramel Crumb Bars

I guess that the holidays are officially here.  I sort of fell off of the blogging wagon last week so I never discussed our Thanksgiving.  Here's the thing, growing up, I thought we had HUGE holiday parties with our family.  There were usually 13 of us, aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins-we all crowded around one table and ate one giant turkey.  Then, I met my husband and was invited to Thanksgiving at his Uncle's house.  I think the first year I attended there were close to 40 people.  3 tables (one dining table that sits almost 20!!), 2 behemoth turkeys, pounds and pounds of potatoes, and enough appetizers to feed a small army.  There are now 4 generations at Thanksgiving and it's been so much fun to watch such a large family grow and change.  Despite the abundance of food last Thursday, cooking must continue.  I whipped up these delicious caramel bars.  They are so rich that 3 or 4 days later, there are still a few tightly wrapped in cling wrap to be enjoyed each evening with a cup of hot tea.  I recommend making these when there are enough people to share with!

Salted Caramel Crumb Bars
(slightly adapted from Cookies & Cups)

2 Cups room temperature salted butter
1 Cup sugar
1 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1 Tbl vanilla
4 cups flour

Preheat oven to 325°.  Beat the butter and sugars together until creamy.  Add in the vanilla.  On low, gradually beat in the flour.  Press 1/2 of the dough into the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan (place remaining dough in the refrigerator).  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Remove and cool for 10-15 minutes.  While cooling, make the caramel.

1 bag caramel candies, unwrapped 
1/3 Cup cream
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt (or kosher salt)

Combine the caramels and cream in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.  Stir and continue microwaving for 15 second intervals, stirring between, until completely melted.  Stir in the vanilla.  Pour over the crust and smooth.  Sprinkle with salt.  Crumble the remaining dough on top evenly.  Bake 30-35 minutes.  Let cool.  Cut into squares and serve.  

This post is linked to A Little Nosh's Tastetastic Thursday and Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.  Check out all of the great recipes there!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Better than Biscuits Bread Pudding

It comes as no surprise to people who know me well, that I'm approximately 65 at heart.  I've always acted old for my age.  In high school when I wore high heeled loafers and dress pants I was frequently mistaken for a teacher (not once, or even twice...but many, many times).  I've been to three concerts in my life, Rascal Flatts (point in my favor), Bon Jovi (point in my favor), and Gordon Lightfoot (negative 100 points).  I've never been in a dance club, ever.  I would live in cardigans.  I like to bake, crochet, and cross-stitch.  Go ahead, you can set me up to be friends with your septuagenarian acquaintances   One of the biggest clues that I'm much older than my years, is my love of bread pudding.  Seriously, I love it!  With milk chocolate, as overnight french toast, with fruit, with white chocolate sauce drizzled over the top.  This bread pudding is simple.  I used 4 leftover Grands Biscuits, but you could use any leftover bread you prefer.  P.S.  Bread pudding makes for a very unappetizing picture, but trust me it's delicious!

Biscuit Bread Pudding
4 Day Old Grands Biscuits (or equivalent)
2 eggs
1/4 Cup sugar + 2 Tbl
1/4 Cup heavy cream
1/2 Cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.  In a bowl, beat eggs and 1/4 cup sugar together.  Beat in milk, cream, and vanilla.  Break biscuits in bite sized pieces and toss in the egg mixture.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.  Pour into a lightly greased pie plate, sprinkle with 2 Tbl sugar.  Bake 25-35 minutes.  Serve warm.