Friday, March 22, 2013
It has been quite some time, since I made any posts on my blog. I’m sorry for that, for there has been some personal issues that were unavoidable. You see, my wife had passed away and after 28 years of her putting up with my antics in the kitchen, it was and will be miss dearly, For she was my biggest critic, when it came to tasting any of the dishes or desserts that I make. Now I have to take it upon myself to be the guinea pig, and criticize what I make.
Now to the food. But not just any food, for I had a craving for something not too sweet, something close to being healthy and delicious as well.
I went into my laboratory (my kitchen), not knowing what I was going to make. I rummaged thru my cupboards and pantry in search of what I could make. Well as it turned out, it is low in sugar, very healthy (if you’re not gluten-free), but most of all it was delicious. I couldn’t stop at one.
Carrot Cake Bars (Low Sugar)
1 ½ c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. vegetable oil
6 tbsp. sugar
¼ c. unsweetened pineapple juice concentrate
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. shredded carrots
½ c. golden raisins
½ c. crushed unsweetened pineapple, drained
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9x5x3 inch pan.
In a bowl, toss dry ingredients. In second bowl, stir oil, sugar, eggs, juice and vanilla. Stir liquid into dry ingredients until smooth. Stir in carrots, raisins and pineapple. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack, 1 hour.
Light Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsweetened pineapple juice concentrate
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. finely grated orange zest
Beat all ingredients together until smooth.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
My friends had issued me a challenge and I decided to take it on. Well it wasn’t so much as a challenge, but more of a request to make potato soup. But knowing me, they figured that I would do something outside of your typical potato soup. Well they knew me well, and I really didn’t disappoint them the slightest. The only problem I had with this soup, is that I didn’t make enough of it. I know better next time.
Peruvian Purple Potato Soup
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. water
2 lb. purple potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
½ tsp. salt (plus more to taste)
¼ c. cilantro, chopped
Juice ½ a lime, or to taste
Preheat soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions, and bay leaves for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and saute 3 minutes more.
Add potatoes, water and salt. Cover and bring the heat up to boil. Once boiling, lower heat a bit to a slow simmer and cook until potatoes are tender – usually 15 to 18 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree half the soup, or transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree. Be sure to let the steam escape in between pulses so that the steam doesn’t build up and explode all over you. But get an immersion blender, it is so worth it. Return pureed soup to pot and mix.
Add cilantro and lime and taste for salt. Serve!
Friday, January 18, 2013
I have always enjoyed a good pie every once in awhile, but this time around I wanted something with a little oomph and wow. So with a little experimenting I have found that pie.
Mexican Chocolate Cream Pie
10 graham cracker cookie sheets
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. butter, melted
½ c. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. instant espresso powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (optional)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 ¾ c. 2% reduced fat milk
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
¾ tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
For the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor combine the graham crackers, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until the crackers are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pie plate. Bake for 9 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
For the filling:
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder, salt, red pepper (if using), egg, and egg yolk. Place the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until tiny bubbles form around the edges of the milk and it reaches 180. Do not boil.
Gradually whisk half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return the milk-egg mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate.
Place the pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has cooled. Spread mixture into the cooled crust, cover the surface with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours, or until set.
For the topping:
In a clean bowl beat the cream on high speed. Slowly add the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread or pipe onto chilled pie just before serving.
This dish has been inspired with the elegance and beauty, along with a hint of exotic and zest.
Each bite that you take brings to your tastebuds, the sweetness and boldness that the honey and mustard can only bring. While the hint of exoticness that the hoisin can only provide, along with the heat and zestiness of the crushed red peppers brings this dish to an all-time high.
All these flavors bring together a perfect combination and new life to an old dish, where it was thought to be long gone and forgotten.
4 Chicken thighs or breasts
½ c. Honey
¼ c. Brown mustard
2 tbsp. Hoisin sauce
1 tbsp. Crushed red peppers
Preheat oven to 300.
Brown the chicken in a skillet, to obtain an even crisp layer. Remove from the skillet and place chicken into a baking dish bone side down. Cover with foil and bake until juices run clear, or until internal temperature is 165.
While chicken is baking, begin making the sauce.
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients together and bring to a slow boil.
Once chicken is done, place chicken on a serving and pour sauce over chicken and serve.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
These meatballs are simmered in a homemade chili sauce which was give a special snap with the flavor of grape jelly. Yes I said grape jelly, nothing can ever go wrong with grape jelly. This is a perfect appetizer to please the crowd of friends or family gatherings. This is perfect for the tailgate parties during the football games. So make a batch for the Super Bowl this year!
Snappy Glazed Meatballs
1 lb. Ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
¼ c. bread crumbs
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c. homemade chili sauce (see recipe below)
¾ c. grape jelly
In a medium bowl, combine the first five ingredients; mix well. Shape into one inch meatballs. Then in a skillet, brown the meatball, turning occasionally, then drain. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour sauce over the meatballs, let simmer for 15 minutes. Serve in a chafing dish or warmer.
Homemade Chili Sauce
1 peck tomatoes
9 green peppers
6 med. size onions
3 c. sugar
¾ c. salt
1 doz. med. red peppers
1 qt. vinegar
3 tsp. cloves, ground
3 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. ginger
Chop all ingredients in pieces and mix well. Bring to a boil and continue to keep at a low boil for 3 to 4 hours until thickened and cooked thoroughly, can or freeze or can in jars like jelly.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
You may not actually be a royal family, but here is how you can treat your family with royalty. Using this recipe for your next dinner can save you money on your food budget AND serve a delicious meal fit for a high-price restaurant.
Baked Honey and Mustard Chicken Thighs
6 chicken thighs skin and bone intact.
½ tbsp. dry mustard
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard (any other kind of dark mustard will be just as good)
2 tbsp. oil (I like to use a vegetable oil here, because of a higher heat tolerance)
Salt and pepper
New potatoes and green beans to serve
In a small bowl, combine the two types of mustard and honey. Mix them well, taste and add more of either if necessary. Season to taste.
Place the chicken thighs in an ovenproof dish that holds them snugly and pour over the honey mustard mixture. Leave to marinate for several hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350. Bake the chicken thighs for about 40 minutes until the juices run clear.
Pour the sauce into a saucepan and let it bubble for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavors of the sauce.
In a skillet, heat up the oil and place the thighs skin side down to brown. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t brown too quickly and burn.
Serve the chicken with boiled new potatoes, a green vegetable with the sauce poured over the thighs.
Chef’s note: You could use boneless breasts or bone-in, I used the thighs mainly for an economical meal for those on a budget.
Monday, January 7, 2013
This is a very delightful and simple cake to make. It’s sets apart from all traditional cakes made today.
Frothy Coca-Cola and Banana Cake
3 medium eggs
½ c. light brown sugar
1/3 c. Coca-Cola
1 ¼.c. cake flour
1 c. ground almonds (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large bananas, well mashed
5 tbsp. butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
4 medium egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/3 c. Coca-Cola
1 c. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. light brown sugar, combined with above sugar
Preheat the oven to 325. Grease the cake pan or line it with parchment paper.
To make the cake, beat the eggs, sugar, and Coca-Cola in a mixer set to high speed for 5 minutes. You want the mixture to be completely frothed up.
Gently fold in the flour, almonds, and vanilla extract with a spatula. Then fold in the mashed banana, followed by the cooled melted butter. Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake pan.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the meringue, beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar in the mixer, again at high speed, until whisked up into soft peaks. Leave the meringue in the mixer while you melt the sugar. To do this, add the Coca-Cola to the sugar in a small saucepan, then heat gently until the liquid reaches 240°F (or what is known as "soft ball stage"), stirring continuously. Do not perform any other kitchen activities while you are doing this — it needs your undivided attention.
Now turn the mixer back on, but this time on a slow setting. Slowly pour most of the melted sugar into the whisked egg whites.
Now put the lid on the mixture and turn it up to full speed. After you have whisked the meringue for a minute or two. Spread the meringue evenly over the cooled cake, pulling it into artful peaks.
This cake is best eaten within a few hours of making it, but will keep for 24 hours in the fridge.