Week 4: Frosting – Strawberry Frosting

Pink frosting is so pretty! But normally, store bought “strawberry” frosting tastes more like chemicals than like fresh strawberries. This recipe tastes delicious and is easy to make too! And it comes out such a sweet, light pink hue.

Puree your thawed strawberries

Beat together butter and salt until fluffy

Reduce mixer speed and slowly add sugar

Add vanilla and pureed strawberries

Mix until blended (this picture is a bit over exposed and doesn’t show the lovely pink color very well, sorry!)

Use to frost cupcakes or layer cakes. Or just eat by the spoonful.

So yummy!

  • 1/2 Frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 c confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Recipe from Sprinkles

Advertisements

Week 3: White Chocolate – White Chocolate Macadamia Bars

I alway find white chocolate really difficult to work with. It’s too hard to melt because it burns so quickly. Never mind that it’s not really chocolate…

I guess this 52 weeks thing is really making me use ingredients that I would not have, otherwise.

So I searched for “white chocolate recipes” and came upon one for a variation of one of my favorite holiday treats! Magic 7 layer bars! Sub regular chocolate chips and butterscotch chips for twice as much white chips! I also used Macadamia nuts instead of almonds or pecans which is what I normally use.

Fist take one stick of butter, place it in a 13″x9″ baking pan and place it in the oven while it preheats to 350 degrees (325 if you’re using a glass dish)

**I forgot to take a picture of this step**

When the butter is melted, take the pan out and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the entire bottom of the dish. Then press to smooth out. I used the bottom of my 1/2 cup measuring cup to even it out.

Then pour the entire can of sweetened condensed milk of the top.

Then sprinkle about 75% the chips and the nuts evenly across the top.

Next, sprinkle the coconut all over.

Then sprinkle the remaining nuts and chips over the coconut.

Place pan in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes.

   

Yummy!

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups (12 oz. pkg.) white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped nuts – macadamia, slivered almonds or walnuts work best

Recipe found at Love From The Oven

Week 3: Soup – Lobster Bisque

I always forget how much I enjoy a good bowl of soup. I never think of making soup at home, and if I’m out I usually don’t order it unless it’s a creamy potato, or lobster bisque. I’ve never made a bisque at home, it seemed daunting. When this soup week came up, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to try it out. I started looking through recipes and I came across “One for the Table” on Huffington Post, with a lobster bisque recipe they said was “better than sex.” This I had to try. Upon reviewing the recipe it seemed to not be very difficult at all. I think I found a winner!

The original recipe calls for 2 tails, 10 oz each, but my tails were on the smaller side (4-6 oz each) so I used 3 tails.

 

Start by cutting the tails in half and deveining them. Then steam the tails over 4 cups of salted water. You’ll want to cover the pot while the tails steam. 5-7 minutes should be good.

When the lobster is cooked, allow to cool slight and remove from shells.

Put lobster meat in the refrigerator for the time being. Place shells in olive oil and sauté for  about 5 minutes.

Add wine, chicken stock and water from steaming tails. Let this simmer for about 45 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to 6 cups.

Now you can dice up the tomatoes, fennel & shallots

  

Sauté fennel and shallots in butter for about 6-7 minutes.

When fennel is ready, pour in 6 cups of the lobster stock (shells strained out,) tomatoes, tomato paste, rice, brandy, paprika, cayenne pepper, thyme sprig and bay leaf. Cook at a simmer for 45 more minutes. Remove thyme and bay leaf. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup, until it is as smooth as possible.

Add heavy cream and lemon juice. Chop up lobster meat into bite sized chunks, and add to soup when ready to serve, and allow to just heat through.

Serve immediately. Melt into the delicious, seductive flavors.

 

  • 2 lobster tails (10 oz. each), split in half
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon sea or kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter plus 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 cup fennel, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shallot, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh tomato, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons brandy
  • 2 Tablespoons raw white rice
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

 

 

 

Amazing Guacamole

I am pretty sure everyone loves guacamole. If you don’t, you will after you try this one. It’s a bit more “wild” than most guacamole. You can kick up the spice (or tone it down) depending on your taste. It has a lot more going on than traditional guac, but that is what makes it special. I have made this for almost every party I’ve thrown, or attended, in the last 5 years, and someone asks for the recipe EVERY time. This is definitely a revved up guacamole that I promise you will make over and over again!

I like to dice up all the ingredients besides the avocado, so there is no time for it to discolor. I also like to put the avocado in a food processor for a smoother, creamier texture. But it tastes just as good mashed with a fork, in a pinch.

When dicing the tomatoes, it try and get rid of as many seeds and “goo” as possible. I recently heard of a great technique for this. Cut the tomato in half, scoop out the pulp and dice the remainder. Clearly, I did not use this technique in the above example.

After everything is chopped, sliced and diced, cut open the avocados and mash or process.

Look how beautiful that color is. Avocados are such pretty fruits. Did you know that avocados are technically considered large berries??

After you mash or puree you avocado, dump in ALL THE THINGS!

Mix together well, and serve immediately!

If I have them on hand, or can remember while I’m in the market, I like to sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top of the guac after it’s mixed up. Don’t mix the seeds into the guac, they will just burst while you mix. You want to get the burt of the seed in your mouth. It’s a very unique addition, and it tastes fantastic!

 

Recipe adapted from “Hot Barbecue” by Hugh Carpenter & Teri Sandison

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • Kernels from one ear of corn (about 1/3 c if you use frozen)
  • 1 ripe tomato, seeded & chopped
  • 1/4 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 c chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (you could never have too much garlic!)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp hot chili sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Week 2: Chinese – Lo Mein

Ahhhhhhhhh! Chinese is my favorite! But I guess it’s more of a favorite from the chinese restaurant, since I almost never cook Chinese dishes at home. Something about it just never comes out the same as my local delivery tastes. So I thought that Lo Mein would be a good at home dish to try out.

I found the recipe on allrecipes.com  and altered it slightly to suit my tastes (i.e. no mushrooms)

First boil water and cook pasta.

Then I cut up all my veggies to get everything ready to go, I had the wok heating with oil while I did this. You want the wok to be REALLY hot when you cook in it.

Throw carrots, onions, peppers and garlic into the heated wok. Stir until tender.

Add bean sprouts and green onions, cook for about a minute. Mix cornstarch with chicken broth and add to wok. Add remaining ingredients and cook until sauce thickens and bubbles.

Add pasta to wok, and toss to coat

   

Serve and enjoy!

  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder

Week 2: Miniature – Baklava

Week 2’s challenge is miniature. I’ll be honest, I’m not really a fan of this. If we’re talking about baking and desserts, who wants “tiny”? I decided to make Baklava, and just make the pieces really small. Then eat 5 of them. Repeat, until pan is empty.

The recipe calls for 1 pound of nuts. It does not specify what kind, I say choose what you like best. I used 3/4 almonds, 1/4 walnuts. My sister said she would’ve used pistachios. That sounds yummy too!

So let’s preheat the oven to 350.

Get a 9×13 pan and grab some phyllo dough. I see a lot of people say to cover the dough with a damp towel while working so it doesn’t dry out. I find that that makes the dough too wet and gummy, and very difficult to work with. Just unroll the dough and work FAST.

Melt 2 sticks of butter and get out a pastry brush. Chop the nuts up and add cinnamon & cloves.

Paint the bottom of the pan with a thin coat of butter. Begin by laying the first sheet of phyllo in the bottom of the pan, then pain the sheet with butter. Continue adding sheets one by one and coating with butter until you have about 8 buttery sheets down.

Sprinkle 2-3 spoonfuls of nut mixture over the phyllo. Then add 2 more sheets (butter between each), and sprinkle with more nuts. Continue layering in this manner until all the nuts are used. Then cover with 6-8 more buttery layers of phyllo.

Butter the top layer and then slice into squares, diamonds or triangles.

Then pop into the oven for 50 minutes, until golden brown on top. The smell of this baking is unbelievable.

While that’s in the oven, prepare the honey syrup. In a saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil until sugar has dissolved.

Lower heat, add honey and vanilla, and simmer for 20 minutes.

When the baklava is done baking, you want to pour the syrup over it right away. But you need to pour it slowly, don’t just dump in over the top!

Let the squares cool completely. Serve in mini cupcake wrappers, or just eat directly out of the pan!

If you have the time, make the syrup ahead of time, and allow it to cool completely. Make the Baklava and pour the cold syrup over the hot squares. It comes out delicious if you do not have time for this step, but try it and see which you like better! Make extra and freeze it!

  • 1 (16 ounce) package phyllo dough
  • 1 pound chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey

Cooking Week 1: Eggs – Cauliflower Puff

When I heard that week 1’s ingredient would be eggs,I knew immediately that I would be making this puff. It’s in the top 3 of my favorite things mom makes. I have never made this dish myself before.

I started nagging mom a few days ago for the ingredients and instructions. You see, the recipe is from an old Gary Null cookbook titled “Hung Up on Vegetables.” But that book is no longer in our possession. It is also no longer in print. We’ve searched across the interwebs for many years now, with no luck finding a copy of the book, or the recipe.

So you need: Cauliflower, eggs, butter, flour, Monterey Jack cheese and milk. Some salt & pepper too. (exact measurements are at the bottom of this page)

 

Preheat oven to 350

 

First cut up the cauliflower and steam until fork tender

Melt butter in pan, add flour to make a roux.

Add Milk

Stir while this thickens into a nice white gravy.

Separate eggs and slice cheese into small pieces. You could also grate the cheese for quicker melting, but I was lazy and just used cubes.

         

Add cheese to white gravy and stir until completely melted

Beat egg whites with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form

Beat egg yolks and add to cheese sauce, stir until completely incorporated. Add salt and pepper.

        

Gently fold egg whites into cheese/egg yolk mixture just until combined, do not over mix!

Place cauliflower into buttered casserole dish or deep pie plate

Pour egg & cheese mixture over cauliflower

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through and top is deep golden brown

Serve and enjoy!

 

Pre heat oven to 350

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Flour

3 eggs, separated

1 c Milk

1 Head of Cauliflower

1/2 c Monterey Jack cheese

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: