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Ratatouille is coming!! Friday, June 29th

June 20, 2007

 

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The chef who couldn’t cook and the rat who could!!

 

Pixar’s latest animated film is about a rat living in Paris named Remy who just isn’t satisfied with the “garbage” rats usually eat. He wants to be a chef!! He teams up with a chef who can’t cook and together they become the chef each longs to be. How cute is that!

 

It’s due out on Friday, June 29th. I can’t wait!!

Chicken Enchilada Casserole (again)

June 19, 2007

 

 

When I originally posted this recipe I didn’t include a picture. I made this again last night for some friends and finally took some pics.  I also made a few minor variations as I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand and it still came out great!!!

 

 

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Substitutions/Additions

 

  1. I used 1 can of of cream of chicken soup and 1 can of cream of mushroom soup.

  2. I ran out of garlic so I used garlic powder instead.

  3. I added 3 tablespoons of tomato paste 

 

 

Click here for the original recipe/post….

Vanilla Pound Cake with Three Citrus Glaze

June 18, 2007

 

 

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Don’t you love it when a you let your imagination run a bit and whatever you cook comes out great??? This doesn’t always happen to me….I created a very “imaginative” tasting sausage, broccoli and cheese breakfast strata the other day that went straight into the trash (the word “horrid” comes to mind). 😦

 

So, imagine my surprise when I whipped up something from scratch, using ingredients that were all on hand, and it came out great???

 

This is a great tasting poundcake. I used a syrup (poured over the cake and soaked it overnight) and a glaze so the cake is extra moist and very citrusy. If you are looking for a great basic poundcake recipe, this will do and it’s easily modified. You can leave out all the citrus or make it even more citrusy by adding lemon zest or even lemon oil, substitute almond extract for the vanilla,  maybe add poppyseeds or sliced almonds….there are so many possibilites!! 

 

So here’s the story……while shopping at Trader Joe’s sometime last week I was drawn to a bin of fragant ruby red grapefruit. I normally don’t eat grapefruit, not sure why, I just never really eat it. They looked and smelled delicious but even then I only bought one. I brought it to work with me the next day, intending to eat it as a snack but, for some reason, I never ate it. Instead, I just kept picking it up and smelling it. The fragance was very strong and calming, I couldn’t seem to put it down! So, I kept it at my desk for several days, inhaling the wonderful aroma. Then, inspired by this strangely hypnotic grapefruit, an idea began to form in my mind.

 

Since I love poundcake and my favorite is usually a lemon glazed poundcake it didn’t take me long wonder how a grapefruit glazed poundcake would taste. I’m sure that this has been thought of before but it was a new idea to me so why not try it? Once I got started on the glaze though I realized I didn’t have enough juice for the syrup and the glaze so I added the juice of an orange and a lime. This was definitely an experiment but the combination of all three fruits tasted surprisingly good.

 

So here it is. My recipe for Vanilla Pound Cake with Three Citrus Glaze. Try it out and let me know what you think!

 

Vanilla Bean Pound Cake

 

Ingredients

 

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup butter (softened)

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste

5 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup evaporated milk

 

Directions

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour all sides of a 12-cup fluted cake pan.

Beat sugar, butter, vanilla and eggs on high for five minutes until color becomes a pale yellow. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Beat flour mixture into sugar mixture, alternating between 1 cup of flour mixture and 1/3 cup condensed milk until it is all combined into a smooth consistency.

Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Citrus Syrup and Glaze

 

Ingredients

 

1 large grapefruit

1 medium orange

1 small lime

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 

 

Juice the fruit and strain to remove any pulp. You should have about 1 cup of juice. Reserve any extra for another use.

 

For the syrup

 

Combine the granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved and you have a light syrup. Keep warm and set aside.

 

For the glaze

 

Whisk 1/2 cup of the juice with the powdered sugar until you have a thick glaze. It should be thin enough to be pourable but not too runny either. 

 

With the cake still inside the pan, using a ice pick or something similar, poke deep holes all over the bottom and sides of the cake. Pour the syrup over the cake and let sit for a few hours. Once the syrup is absorbed unmold the cake from the pan and place on a cooling rack. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip over the sides.  Let the glaze dry for about 20 minutes then serve.

Ancho Chili Spiced Fried Vegetables

June 15, 2007

 

 

 

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I promised some more zucchini recipes since I’m helping my friend use up zucchini from her garden. This orignally started out as just a red bell pepper and zucchini recipe because I was going for a green and red theme but then we went to Trader Joe’s. They always have all kinds of veggies packed up and ready to go so of course some green and yellow green beans got snapped up and an onion too. I would have thrown in some broccolini for good measure but I ended up saving those for another recipe. 🙂

 

I sincerely thought these would be easier to make than they were but it was definitely a good learning experience!!! Batch #1 was definitely a tester but these came out just right. I meant to make a yogurt dipping sauce for them I kept eating as I was cooking so I didn’t really need it after all. 

 

This is a really messy job, so have plenty of paper towels on hand!!

 

 

Ingredients

 

2 red bell peppers

2 large zucchini

2 cups green and yellow grean beans

1 large onion

 3 cups self-rising flour

1 tbsp. cayenne pepper

2 tbsp. ancho chili powder

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1/2 tbsp. paprika

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 eggs

Oil for frying

 

You’ll Need

 

Cast iron dutch oven

Tongs 

 

Directions

 

Fill a dutch oven about halfway full of oil and heat until 350 degrees F.

In the meantime, slice the onion, zucchini and bell pepper abaout 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Fill a large dish with the flour and spices. Go easy on the ancho chili powder if you have a lower tolerance for spicy foods. You can always fry one vegetable slice to get an idea of how spicy the flour mixture is.

Whisk eggs in a small bowl.

Once the oil is the right temperature, dip the vegetables one at a time in the egg mixture and then dredge through the flour. Make sure each piece is coated evenly and generously. Using tongs, gently lay in piece in the oil, frying about 7-8 pieces at a time.

Lay on paper towel to soak up excess oil then serve.

Hey Good Lookin’ – Ruminations on Pretty Things

June 13, 2007

 

 

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Whaaaaatcha got cookin’?

 

I’ve got pretty things on the brain today. Pretty food related things that is….. 🙂 

 

I’ve also got the word “rumination” on the brain. According to Wikipedia, rumination can mean a calm, lengthy consideration of something. I’ve been thinking about pretty cooking attire since last night. I’ve also been relatively calm since then so I think this word fits in context nicely. 🙂

 

I cook alot. I am always in the kitchen, even when I’m not physically in the kitchen I’m dreaming of my dream kitchen so that’s being in the kitchen too. My cooking passion has recently overtaken my shopping passion and the shoes and purses of the world are crying out in protest!! Occassionally I miss shopping for vanity’s sake but I get so much more out of cooking and sharing my food with others that I prefer the latter now. That doesn’t mean that deep inside, my desire to look cute at all times doesn’t rear it’s ugly (but cute!) head now and again.

 

So who says I can’t look cute in the kitchen? 

 

To see who thinks I can, check out these links:

 

Pretty Green Basil

June 11, 2007

 

 

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I’m attracted to all things green.

That is probably why I like to spend money so much. Ha ha!

Anyways, look at my pretty, pretty basil plant. So pretty that I made some bruschetta yesterday. So simple but very, very tasty. I didn’t take any pics of the bread because I ATE IT ALL!!!!

 

 

Simple Tomato Bruschetta Topping

 

 

This is a great starter to a meal. It’s great for a dinner party because it looks gorgeous, tastes great, and takes very little time to make and the guests can pretty much serve themselves. You don’t have to worry about keeping this warm because it tastes best at room temperature. It’s very fresh and light tasting so it’s not too filling….see my point??? I prefer this recipe to all other bruschetta recipes I’ve tried so far because of the balsamic vinegar. You can use your bread to sop up all the lovely juices. Yumm!!!

 

 

Ingredients

5-6 Roma tomatoes

1 small red onion

4 cloves garlic (large)

1 cup basil leaves

1/4 cup olive oil

3-4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

 

Directions

Coarsely chop the all the ingredients and put in a bowl. Add half of the olive oil and all of the balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more oil if needed so that you have a nice ratio of chunky vegetables to liquid. Serve with a toasted, sliced baguette or sourdough bread.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

Zucchini Madness

June 8, 2007

 

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It’s zucchini time!! My girlfriend Sarah and I cooked dinner last night (roasted chicken, yumm!) and this recipe was my contribution. The zucchini’s are fresh from her garden (picked literally right before we started cooking, how awesome is that!!). You really can’t tell from this pic but they were monster sized zucchini’s. They squeak in your mouth when you eat them!! No chemicals here, that’s what you get when you have garden fresh veggies! She has zucchini’s a plenty so stay tuned for more zucchini recipes. I’m going to try to post more….next week…a possible zucchini quiche.

 

I first learned this recipe when I took a cooking class at the Ojai Culinary School at the Lavendar Inn in Ojai, CA. I’ve tweaked it a bit because I wanted a more intense flavor (gotta love tomato paste!). So thanks to Ellen Sherwood for her wonderful teaching style and great ideas.

 

 

Ingredients

1 large eggplant

1 large red onion

2 large red bellpeppers

4-5 cloves of garlic

3-4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp. tomato paste

4 medium sized zucchini or 3 large

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

 

You’ll Need

1 bakers half sheet

Food processor or blender

Melon baller or spoon

 

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Dice the eggplant, onion and bell pepper. Try to keep them all the same size so they roast evenly, about 1/4-1/2 inch size pieces. Coarsely chop the garlic. Spread out the vegetables on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil over the vegetables and using your hands, mix everything together. Spread out evenly in the pan and roast in the oven for approx. 15-20 minutes. You’ll know they are done when the vegetables are very soft and are reduced to about half the amount.

In the meantime, cut your zucchini into halves and using a melon baller or spoon, scoop out the center, making a sort of trench down the center. Parboil the zucchini in a large stockpot for about 2-5 minutes, it basically depends on how firm/soft you like your zucchini and what size they are. After the vegetables are done roasting, turn down the oven temp. to 350 degrees F.

 

In a food processor, add the veggies and tomato paste. Pulse until you get the consistency you desire. I usually prefer the filling to have some texture so I pulse it a good 5 or 6 times so that it’s relatively smooth but there are still some veggie bits when you bite into it. Scoop the filling into the zucchini, sprinke with cheese and warm in the oven until you are ready to serve.